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Ask Primpy: Should I Hire a Day-of Coordinator?

Elegant wedding at Spiaggia in Chicago, Illinois
Elegant wedding at Spiaggia in Chicago, Illinois

 

So what is the biggest regret couples have after their wedding day? According to a recent study, a whopping 72% of recently married couples regret not hiring a day of coordinator for their wedding day. 72%!!! Anne, a bride who got married in Connecticut last year, very much regretted not hiring a DOC and had this to say; “Day of coordination is very important. We had some issues with the venue and the buses that were out of my control that day. I realized how frustrated I was that I had to worry about some small details [on my wedding day]…”

For most couples who have never planned a wedding before, it’s hard for them to grasp how insanely busy and hectic things become in the weeks and days leading up to your wedding day. This is where a day of coordinator can save you countless hours of frustration, stress, heartache and worry prior to your wedding and on your wedding day. A DOC works for YOU and knows every single detail of your wedding day both big and small. From the officiant, to the photobooth you rented, to the special table settings from the rental company that you just MUST have on your big day, a day of coordinator makes sure all of your vendors show up on time, set everything up on time and in the case of transportation, ensures that you and your guests actually arrive for the ceremony/reception/other wedding day events on time!

You may have some questions as to why you need a DOC, so I will answer the most frequent questions we hear from engaged couples.

What exactly is a day of coordinator?

Day of coordination is a service that many wedding planners offer and typically includes key coordination between all of your wedding vendors in the month/weeks leading up to your wedding day (this service is often referred to as “Month of Coordination). This service is usually more affordable than hiring a wedding planner to plan your entire event from day one.

But my venue offers a “wedding coordinator” as part of my venue package. Isn’t that basically the same thing?

This is where most couples get confused. Unless your venue offers full wedding planning services as part of your wedding package (which is very, very rare—I only know of one such venue that offers this service), it is not the same thing. Not even a little bit! While the venue provided coordinator is there on the day of your wedding to make sure everything flows—they work for the venue and not for you.   So for example, if your photographer becomes MIA four weeks before your wedding and you’ve already paid in full, or the florist you hired all of a sudden has a shortage of the perfect blooms you’ve requested for your big day, this venue coordinator will not be the person to track your vendor down, renegotiate your contracts or find alternate vendors in case you need a plan B (and in some cases, a plan C).  This is something that you and your fiance(e) would have to do yourselves and having to deal with any potential last minute changes the month of your wedding is extremely stressful.

A day of coordinator sounds great and all, but I heard that wedding planners are super expensive, so it’s just not in my wedding budget.

This is simply a misconception–most wedding planners offer a number of different services beyond Full Planning (which does tend to be on the pricier side because of how labor intensive it is).  Many planners offer Partial Planning, Month-of/Day-of Coordination, and other custom services.  We here at This Modern Love Events exclusively offer a 3rd tier of wedding planning called Digital Pre-Planning–learn more about it here; TML Events Digital Pre-Planning.  It never hurts to have an initial conversation with a planner, to discuss your wedding planning needs and which service would benefit you the most. We always offer a free consultation if you aren’t sure where to start.

Hindsight is 20/20, which is why again, 72% of couples regret not hiring a day of coordinator. Think ahead—not hiring a day of coordinator is like trying to put on a play without a director. You and your spouse to-be are the actors and stars—it’s not your job to manage lighting, sound, and the rest of your cast!

TML Events Vendor Spotlight: Barcelona Wine Bar in New Haven, CT

TML Events Vendor Spotlight: Barcelona Wine Bar in New Haven, CT

 

For those of you who may not know, New Haven, CT is a foodie’s paradise.  With world-renowned pizza places and an incredible array of ethnic restaurants, the options for a delicious meal are endless!  That’s why we were THRILLED to learn that one of our favorite New Haven eateries Barcelona, an amazing wine and tapas restaurant, provides catering for special events and weddings all throughout Connecticut.

Warning–these food images may cause you to drool all over your smartphone or keyboard so proceed with caution!

I was invited by Barcelona New Haven’s event manager Helen to come in for a tasting of some old favorites as well as some new additions to the menu.  I was super impressed to learn that they don’t actually have a separate catering menu–any of their dozens of tapas and entrees can be served at events both big and small.  Some of my new favorites included the Smoked Trout Pate with pickled onions, the Shrimp Escabeche and the Potato Tortilla served with chive sour cream.  Delicis!!

Smoked Trout Pate on the left, Shrimp Escabeche on the right
Potatoes Tortilla w/ chive sour cream
These dishes were incredibly tasty, especially the Potato Tortilla.  For as many years as I’ve been dining at Barcelona, I realized that I had never once ordered dessert (and anyone who knows me knows that dessert is my favorite part of any meal!). So we decided on a dessert sampler which included Flan Catalan, Crepas Salguero, Warm Chocolate Hazelnut Cake and of course Churros.  Each dessert was spectacular and I can’t believe I had been missing out on them for all of these years!
Awesome desserts!
If you’d like a refreshing and modern break from the chicken/beef/fish entrees that are standard fare at most weddings, I think Barcelona offers fantastic options that will wow your guests–leaving them thoroughly satisfied and super impressed.  Not only are they located in New Haven, but they have several locations throughout CT too, from Hartford to Stamford.  Barcelona has also expanded to Boston, Atlanta and the DC area.
What I also learned is that they have another restaurant called Bartaco , a taco bar with a laid back beachy theme.  Any one of these restaurants can cater your wedding–whether you are looking for tapas style dishes, custom tacos or a giant paella dish that can feed around 80 people each!

 

Huge paella pan that can feed up to 80 people per dish
Tacos galore

Depending on the size of your wedding, you can also choose to have your wedding at their locations as well if you have your heart set on a restaurant reception.  In addition to weddings, they of course also cater any type of event, including corporate events, dinner parties, etc.  We hope these photos didn’t leave you too hungry and if they did, you now know where you must have your next meal :)

Photographer Credits: Troy Lilly for Barcelona food photos, Manny Vargas for Bartaco food photos, me for Barcelona tasting food photos (aka the ones obviously taken from a cell phone!)

Exciting News for This Modern Love Events!

Exciting News for This Modern Love Events!

Wedding season has begun!  In the midst of coordinating a wedding with over 200 guests for this coming weekend and coordinating a 2-day corporate event a few days later, we thought we’d throw yet another project in to the mix (because we’re clearly not busy enough as it is!!)  We are thrilled to reveal that we are working on a complete branding and website redesign for This Modern Love Events!!  We are so excited to be working with the super talented GoldenFox Design :)  Here is a teaser of our new company logos–we are seriously in love with them all!

We just love how the colors pop and how my favorite colors (teal and gold) are so beautifully integrated.  Goldenfox also created a custom brand board for us which will be used to design our marketing materials and new website.  We LOVE it!

There will be more reveals in the weeks to come so stay tuned!!  What do you think of our new logos and colors?

This Modern Love Events Real Weddings: Pine Orchard Yacht & Country Club Branford, CT

This Modern Love Events Real Weddings: Pine Orchard Yacht & Country Club Branford, CT

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When bride Liz reached out to me for day-of coordination services four weeks before her October nautical-themed wedding at the Pine Orchard Yacht & Country Club in Branford, CT, I knew we’d have our work cut out for us!  But nonetheless, we were very excited to help her and fiance Ed have a beautiful and flawless wedding day.

We got to work right away and ironed out all of the details (both big and small) that always seem to materialize in the few weeks leading up to the big day.  We introduced ourselves to each vendor they had booked, reviewed and confirmed the details of each signed contract, established set-up/delivery times, created a budget sheet to keep track of final payments and created a meticulously detailed itinerary (seven pages long!) for the wedding weekend.  We also accompanied the mother of the bride on a final meeting with the florist and helped the couple book last minute limo transportation for the bridal party and coach buses for the hotel guests.

Ed and Liz were a joy to work with–they were such a sweet, easygoing couple with a loving and supportive group of family and friends to help them celebrate their big day.  We also got the chance to work with some fantastic local vendors who helped execute a beautiful wedding day for the happy couple–we had such a blast working with them all!

pine-orchard-yacht-country-club-wedding-branford-connecticut

All photos by John-Paul Teutonico Photography

Liz and her bridal party were primped and pampered at JoBella Salon at the Omni Hotel in downtown New Haven, while the guys got ready in the best man’s room at the hotel.  My fabulous assistant Katie held down the fort at the Omni, making sure the hair and makeup team got the girls done on time, while I was over at Pine Orchard Union Chapel and the Pine Orchard Yacht & Country Club to start setting up for the big day.

omni-hotel-new-haven
bride-getting-ready-jo-bella-salon-new-haven
omni-hotel-new-haven-wedding

The entire bridal party was then transported to the Pine Orchard Yacht & Country Club for Liz and Ed’s romantic first look as well as photos with the bridal party.

pine-orchard-yacht-country-club-wedding-branford-connecticut
pine-orchard-yacht-country-club-wedding-branford-connecticut
pine-orchard-yacht-country-club-wedding-branford-connecticut

Guests then started to arrive at the historic Pine Orchard Union Chapel where the ceremony was to be held.  The bride’s uncle officiated the wedding which put such a heartfelt and personal touch to the ceremony.

Pine-Orchard-Union-Chapel-Branford-Connecticut
Pine-Orchard-Union-Chapel-Branford-Connecticut
Pine Orchard Union Chapel Branford, Connecticut
Pine Orchard Union Chapel Branford, Connecticut

The Chapel was a five minute walk from the Country Club, so while Liz and Ed took off towards the reception venue in a golf cart (how cute is that!?), the bridesmaids led guests in a procession towards the venue.  In the meantime, Kati and I collected all of the floral arrangements in the Chapel to bring them over to the Country Club, adding some additional decor to the space while guests mingled during cocktail hour.

Nautical theme wedding, navy and white wedding
Nautical theme wedding, navy and white wedding
Nautical theme wedding, navy and white wedding
Nautical theme wedding, navy and white wedding

nautical theme wedding, navy and white wedding

By the evening, the reception was in full swing with dinner, drinks, heartfelt speeches from Liz’s mother, sister/MOH and Ed’s brother/best man.  The band kept the dance floor hopping all night and provided the perfect backup when one of Ed’s groomsmen did an impromptu performance!

We wish Liz & Ed a lifetime of happiness and were honored to have been a part of their special day!

From the bride Liz via WeddingWire;

“Choosing to work with Martine at This Modern Love Events was one of the best decisions that we made during the whole wedding planning process! From the very first consultation meeting we could tell that she was the right planner for us, and so we hired her on the spot. We chose the “Month Of / Day Of” planning services, which was so helpful as we came down to the most stressful part of the planning process – trying to pull all the final pieces together….
We really cannot say enough about Martine. She is very professional while still keeping it all fun, and she is extremely patient! No matter how many times I changed my mind or put off a decision until the last minute she was always calm and supportive, which helped me to keep my anxiety in check. Her expert advice along the way helped us to make some of the most difficult last minute decisions. She definitely went above and beyond our expectations a number of times.
Most importantly, working with This Modern Love allowed my husband and me to feel confident before our wedding weekend and to enjoy a stress-free wedding day. TML was crucial in the days before our wedding coordinating the vendor services. The help that Martine and her assistant offered during the set-up, the rehearsal, and the day-of was invaluable.
We had initially been on the fence about whether or not we needed to use a coordinator or if we could just handle things ourselves, and after my experience I cannot imagine any other way. Choosing to work with This Modern Love was a great investment and we wholeheartedly recommend their services!”

The Wedding Team
Wedding Planner/DOC: This Modern Love Events
Ceremony Venue: Pine Orchard Union Chapel
Reception Venue: Pine Orchard Yacht & Country Club
Photographer: John Paul Teutonico Photography
Band: Cracked Ice
Florist: Myers Flowers
Hair & Makeup: JoBella Salon

Primp My Bride Real Weddings: Classic Elegance in New Rochelle, NY

Primp My Bride Real Weddings: Classic Elegance in New Rochelle, NY

Today’s real wedding is very special to me because the bride Marilyn is one of my oldest friends in the world.  We’ve been best friends for 18 years and I was luckily able to witness the beginning of her and her awesome husband Joey’s love story, which began in high school.  It was an honor to be standing by their side as a bridesmaid and watch them start a new chapter in their lives as husband and wife (cue the tears)!


All photos by Forged in the North Photography.

Okay now that I’m done being sentimental, their wedding was gorg, fun and full of awesome surprises…Giant vodka ice luge?  Check.  Cigar and whiskey bar? Check.  Live drummer alongside the DJ?  Check!!  Here’s our Q&A with the bride.


When was your wedding and where did it take place?
Joey and I were married on September 12, 2014 at St. Luke’s Church in Whitestone, NY.  The reception was at the Glen Island Harbour Club in New Rochelle, NY.  The weather was absolutely picture perfect that day!
Glen-Island-Harbour-Club-New-Rochelle-NY-wedding
saint-lukes-church-wedding-whitestone-ny


When did you know that your wedding dress was “the one”?

I had a pretty clear idea of the dress style I wanted, so that helped narrow down the options when I went dress shopping–I also knew that I would definitely be a Pronovias bride (since they specialize in lace), so booked my only dress appointment at their beautiful flagship store in NYC.  I only tried on three dresses before I found “the one” (which was dress style Leroig).  I felt stunning in the gown, but what really sealed it for me was the look on my mother’s and sister’s face–I knew then and there that it was the one!



Rank your top 10 favorite memories from your wedding day!

#10 – Seeing our vision and personal touches come together. I have a Type A personality, so making sure every little detail was perfect was crucial.  Since I’m all about the personal touches, walking into our decorated reception venue for the first time was definitely one of the highlights of my night. From the candlelit orchid centerpieces, the perfect placement of the beautifully wrapped favors and the sixty-eight hurricane candles that lined the bay windows to the vintage birdcage card holder, everything was absolutely perfect.

Choosing a DJ for the wedding was also very important to us as we both LOVE to dance. We decided to go with DJ Serg, a DJ we’ve seen spin since we started going to clubs as teenagers!  He had also DJ’ed at some of our favorite weddings, so hiring him was a no-brainer and one of our best wedding decisions.  He kept the dance floor packed and provided the amber uplighting for the entire room. He also prepared our wedding slideshow, which was one of the most emotional parts of the wedding for us.  Seeing pictures of us as children with our dearly departed grandparents as well as pictures of us at the Prom was truly special.

Last but not least, the vodka ice luge was not included in the original plan–it was actually a last minute gift from our banquet manager.  Anyone who knows me knows that there are few things I love more than drinking and reminiscing about college, so of course proving to everyone that I could still chug ice cold vodka from an ice luge shaped like a martini glass without choking was one of my favorite wedding moments!

Glen-Island-Harbour-Club-New-Rochelle-NY-wedding
Glen-Island-Harbour-Club-New-Rochelle-NY-wedding
Glen-Island-Harbour-Club-New-Rochelle-NY-wedding

 #9 – Cutting the wedding cake. Cutting the wedding cake was a lot of fun because it showed what a pair of spazzes we are.  We started cutting the cake and couldn’t get the knife through–turns out we were cutting a layer that wasn’t actually cake!  After the maitre d’ took over and showed us how to properly cut the cake, we had a blast taking huge spoonfuls of cake and force feeding them to each other.  Yet another reason we are perfect for each other!

Glen-Island-Harbour-Club-New-Rochelle-NY-wedding



#8 – Opening my wedding morning gift. I will honestly say I was not expecting a wedding gift from Joey.  I thought my engagement ring and wedding band were more than enough so I was extremely surprised when my matron of honor gave me a gift from him.  The box was almost too stunning to open! But of course I did, and inside was an exquisite gold swarovski elephant.

Not only am I completely obsessed with collecting elephants but it was gold, one of our wedding colors.  From the moment I received that beautiful symbol of good luck, I knew the wedding would be perfect.



#7 – Getting ready with my friends and family.  I chose to get ready in a hotel suite rather than my childhood home for several reasons–location, comfort, and because it would guarantee that my family wouldn’t be late!  We had two makeup artists and three hairstylists to help me, my mother, several of my 10 bridesmaids and flower girl get ready.  I also had the hotel set up a breakfast buffet in the suite so we could drink champagne and eat while we got ready.   My best friend Martine set up the coolest playlist which had us all singing and dancing.  Getting ready in that room with my closest friends and family was one of my favorite memories from my wedding day.

#6 – When my mothers buttoned the back of my dress.  When Pronovias told me I could alter my wedding dress to have buttons run all the way down the back of my dress, I was over the moon!  But of course I didn’t realize how much work would go into buttoning the entire dress, so it became quite a task on the day of the wedding.  Originally, my mother tried but she only got halfway through, so my stepmother stepped in and buttoned the rest.   Having both my mothers help me get ready was such a touching and personal moment.

#5 – Taking pictures!  One of the reasons I think our wedding was so perfect was definitely the weather.   It was neither hot nor cold and there was not a cloud in the sky.  This stroke of good luck, combined with our super talented photographers and the most scenic wedding venue ever resulted in the best wedding pictures we could have asked for.   I’m pretty sure a lot of brides wouldn’t say that taking pictures is one of the highlights of their wedding day, but it actually was for me.

It was so fun hanging out with our bridal party near a stone castle in the woods and our photographers turned it into quite the adventure–they even had me and Joey climb rocks!  It was a lot of fun but it was also one of the few private moments that Joey and I got to spend together on our wedding day.  Even though we had our videographer and photographers with us, it still felt very intimate. I think you can truly see how much we love each other in those particular photos.

Glen-Island-Harbour-Club-New-Rochelle-NY-wedding
Glen-Island-Harbour-Club-New-Rochelle-NY-wedding

#4 – Sparkler Send Off.   I was definitely a Pinterest bride–I actually can’t imagine what planning a wedding without Pinterest is like!  So of course a lot of my ideas came from there. One idea that I saw on Pinterest quite a lot was the Sparkler Send Off.  It looked like a lot of fun and the pictures always turned out so awesome but putting it into practice was a lot harder than I thought.   I had so many questions! How many sparklers did I need? How do I let the guests know when it was supposed to happen? Where will it take place? How do I make sure it happens before everyone leaves?

Luckily, my amazing banquet manager Rocco and superstar photographers, Forged in the North, knew exactly how to make it happen. It turned out perfectly and was so much fun that we ran through the “guard of honor” twice! Not to mention, the photos were pretty amazing!

#3 – Dancing with my father. They say weddings are about the bride, but I believe that they are also about the father of the bride.  Not only was he at my side for the biggest day of my life, but he was glowing just as much as I was. My father and I have come a very long way in our relationship so having the perfect father/daughter dance was very important to me.  I actually chose the song we would dance to before I was even engaged.  My father’s favorite band is Guns N’ Roses so I wanted to dance to one of their songs but it was very difficult finding a song that wasn’t too fast or rock-and-rollish.   With the help of my fabulous DJ, we were able to find a rare acoustic version of “Sweet Child of Mine“. The look on my father’s face when the song started playing was priceless. It was truly a perfect moment.

#2 – Our First Dance. There were many songs in the running for our first dance as husband and wife. I always imagined that my wedding song would be “Never Tear Us Apart” by INXS but that was before I was even with Joey.  It dawned on me that I should probably include my future husband in the decision for our first dance song, and he actually surprised me with the perfect choice.  He told me that when we were together as teenagers, he always thought of me when “The Scientist” by Coldplay came on. I realized that I too always thought of him when that song played.

Even though the song may seem like an odd choice for a first dance (since it’s about a breakup) given our history, it was the perfect song for us. With lyrics like, “I had to find you/ tell you I need you/ Tell you I set you apart” and “Tell me you love me/ come back and haunt me/ Oh and I rush to the start/ Running in circles/ Chasing our tails/ coming back as we are“, it was literally our song.  I still get teary-eyed when I think of us dancing to that song.

#1 – Walking down the Aisle. I loved our wedding ceremony so much but walking down the aisle was one of the most nerve-wrecking moments of my life (comparable only to walking on stage to get my law school diploma).  I did not expect the church to be filled to capacity nor did I anticipate what it would feel like to have all those eyes on me. However, once I got over the initial shock and found Joey through the crowd, we just locked eyes and I pretty much floated towards him. We didn’t have a first look, so seeing him at the altar with that look of happiness on his face was truly one of the best moments of my life.

Wedding Vendors 

Photographer: Forged in the North Photography
ReceptionVenue: Glen Island Harbour Club
Ceremony Venue: St. Luke’s Catholic Church
Florist: Arcadia Floral
DJ: DJ Serg
Videographer: Patken Photographer
Limos: Ultimate Class Limo
Bridesmaid Dresses: My White Wedding Bridals
Photobooth: Send in the Clowns
Favors: Casa del Corredo

Ask Primpy: How Do I Choose the Perfect Wedding Photographer?

Ask Primpy: How Do I Choose the Perfect Wedding Photographer?

This is another question we are often asked by couples–with the vast array of talented wedding photographers out there (especially if you live in or near a big city), how do you choose the one that’s right for you? For this Q&A, we chatted with the super talented Connecticut photographer Joanna Fisher of Joanna Fisher Photography!  Joanna’s work has recently been featured in Style Me Pretty and she gives some excellent tips below on finding the perfect wedding photographer for your big day.

All photos by Joanna Fisher Photography.

How early in the wedding planning process should a couple start looking for a wedding photographer? 

If you have your heart set on working with a particular photographer, give them as much
notice as possible! A great time to start searching for your photographer if you don’t have a
particular one in mind is right after you book your venue. This allows your potential photographer to check their availability against your wedding date so they can hold it for you.  

Alternatively, if you don’t have a specific date in mind, you can work alongside your potential photographer and venue to ensure that both are available on the same day!  

What’s the best way to figure out if a photographer is the right fit for you? 

There are so many amazing photographers in the industry and it can be a daunting and difficult task to decide who might be the best one to capture your wedding day. It’s been my experience that the best way to get the most out of your photographer is to make sure that your personalities really click. Beautiful photographs that you love and fit your style are important – but your photographer’s personality can make or break your experience! 

Your photographer is going to be with you for the better part of your day. You want to be sure that you get along, that you trust them completely…and a sense of humor never hurts!  After all the planning you put in to your wedding day, it often happens that the wedding day timeline simply doesn’t happen the way you’d planned.  You want to be sure your photographer can roll with the punches, adapt to the situation and laugh about it with you! 

What if I’m shy/not photogenic/hate having my picture taken, etc?  What advice do you have for people who are uncomfortable in front of the camera? 

A great way to make sure you’re going to be comfortable in front of the camera on your wedding day is to take advantage of an engagement session beforehand – this is something that many photographers are now including as part of a complete wedding package.  Not only is this a cute way to create Save the Date cards and a fun way to spend a few hours with your love, but it’s the perfect practice run before the big day! Your photographer’s personality should shine here.  Wedding day portraits can sometimes feel rushed, but during an engagement session you get to slow everything down and focus on just the two of you – which will in turn allow you to relax and get used to the camera being pointed at you all day! 

 What should a couple do when they’ve found their dream photographer, but find out they are totally out of their budget? 

This can be such a tough spot to be in – especially if you’ve found a photographer that you click with and who’s work you love.  My advice would be to see if the photographer has a “basic” package.  For my brides who want the quality of my work, but don’t have an unlimited budget (because who does, really?), I offer a completely “a la carte” Wedding Collection.   This is for coverage only, but allows the couple to add on things that are most important to them – whether that be digital files, an album, or anything else.  

Deferring the cost of those products until after the wedding (and after the couple has received any monetary wedding gifts!) can also allow the couple to get exactly what they’re looking for in their photographer without compromising their immediate budget.

How long does it typically take to receive your wedding photos? 

Every photographer is differrent, so this is an important question to ask your photographer during any initial consults.  I promise a turnaround of 6-8 weeks in my contract, though it’s often much sooner – my average is about 2-3 weeks.

Start your search early for your photographer to ensure availability and if photography is one of the top priorities for your wedding day, splurge a bit on the one you love (and cut the budget elsewhere on things that don’t matter to you as much).  Happy hunting!

Ask Primpy: New Q&A Series!

Ask Primpy: New Q&A Series!

 We are launching a new series on the blog called “Ask Primpy”, where we answer your most burning wedding planning questions.  I’m kicking this series off with the most popular question I hear from engaged couples which is…“How do we cut down on wedding costs?”

By far, the most efficient way to save money on your wedding is to cut down your guest list.  The cost per guest you incur usually includes catering, rentals and even the number of centerpieces needed (most couples are surprised by this but think about it–more guests + more seating = more centerpieces).  Because the number of guests directly impacts all of these things and more, this is where you’ll see the biggest cost savings when planning your wedding.  
Cutting the guest list can be done in a number of ways, but there are certain things to consider before deciding if sweet Aunt Josie will make the cut or not. First, who is paying for the wedding?  If you and your spouse-to-be are responsible for most or all of the budget, then you pretty much have free reign on determining who will be invited or not.  If either of your parents are paying for the wedding, this is where things get much more complicated.  As the hosts, your parents can pretty much dictate the guest list.  So unless they have explicitly told you that they are leaving the list in your hands, avoid going bridezilla on them if they decide to invite their childhood friends, college friends and the guy at Starbucks who makes their coffee “just the way they like it”.  After all, they are footing the bill!
Now if you are in charge of the guestlist, cutting the number of invited guests can be done in a number of ways.  Here are my top tips on saving big bucks for your wedding!
Have your ceremony and reception at the same location.  This can potentially save you a ton of money and stress.  You’ll be saving big on transportation costs and having to pay for separate ceremony and reception rental fees.  And having all of your events at one location is less stressful overall since all of your vendors only need to show up to one location.  

Make it an Adult-Only event (aka leave the kids at home).  If this is the route you decide to go, it’s fine if the only children invited are ones that are in the bridal party. 
No Unknown Plus Ones.  What this means is that instead of giving guests free reign on the RSVP to invite “Guest”, make sure you actually know who “Guest” is and that person is invited by name. 

Consider having a destination wedding.  If you are really keen on getting your guestlist down, but know it’ll cause lots of drama if you have a local wedding and don’t invite certain local family and friends, my favorite solution is this…have a destination wedding!  For the most part, your key guests will make an effort to travel where ever your wedding will be and you won’t offend guests (if you invite them and they can’t make it, that’s not your fault!).  Just note: if your destination is far enough to require getting on a plane, obviously this won’t work if any of your VIP’s have a flying phobia, so chose your location wisely.

Have a wedding planning question that is stressing you out?  Send an email to info@thismodernloveevents.com and we’ll answer it on the blog!  And if you find yourself in need of a wedding pro, check out the various wedding planning services we offer at This Modern Love Events.  We’d love to help you plan a stress-free wedding day!

NYC Bridal Fashion Week 2014

Last month was that time of the year again–Bridal Fashion Week in NYC!  I was down there with the Sally Conant Ph.D., the Executive Director of the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists, where we spent the weekend running two booths–one over at Pier 94 for the International Bridal Fashion Week show and the Couture Show hosted by TheKnot at the Metropolitan Pavilion.  We saw some GORGEOUS wedding dresses from various designers’ 2015 Spring collection and we had the honor of getting an invite to the biggest wedding industry bash of the year, TheKnot Gala (where I got to meet the famous Randy Fenoli from Say Yes to the Dress!)

At Pier 94, we saw gorgeous wedding gowns from both well-known and up & coming designers.

We also met with a fabulous new designer, Kelsey Ganna, from New Zealand.  Her line, The Flower Bride totally nails the boho/chic vintage bridal look.  We were swooning!

Over at TheKnot’s Couture Show, we saw some fab gowns and got to chat with some of our favorite designers, including LA-based designer Madeleine Fig.  TheKnot had the most adorable set-up for the welcome lounge at their show!

After 3 days of working both markets, I got to eat, drink and dance the night away at TheKnot’s annual wedding industry Gala at the New York Public Library.  There were over 1,000 attendees and I also got the chance to mingle with wedding industry elites such as Carley Roney (TheKnot’s co-founder), Randy Fenoli (Kleinfeld Fashion Director and star of Say Yes to the Dress) and the tremendously talented Jannina Figueroa, owner and designer of Madeleine Fig.

Photographer Credit: Ready Luck Photography

 My awesome husband came with me and was the perfect arm candy–we had a BLAST :)

Entertainment was provided by Hank Lane Music who kept everyone dancing all night long with the incredible live band!

We loved every minute of it and can’t wait to see what TheKnot Gala has in store for 2015 :)  Check out more amazing photos from TheKnot Gala here!

Primp My Bride Real Weddings: Vintage Farm Wedding in East Lyme, CT

Primp My Bride Real Weddings: Vintage Farm Wedding in East Lyme, CT

It’s one thing to see photos of swoon-worthy weddings, but it’s another thing entirely when you not only get to attend said swoony wedding, but are also good friends with the bride and groom (hi guys!).  Karen & Kam had a beautiful outdoor wedding on a farm in eastern Connecticut complete with delicious food, awesome guests and a rockin’ DJ.  Oh and did I mention that instead of cutting a cake, they decide to pop the biggest bottle of champagne you’ve ever seen?!?

All photos by Ian Christmann of Catalyst Photography.

When was your wedding and where did it take place?

We got married on August 16, 2014 at White Gate Farm in East Lyme, CT.  Although August in New England is typically known to be hot and muggy, the day was absolutely gorgeous–70 degrees and partly sunny with a nice breeze!

How long did it take you to plan your wedding?

We got engaged in March 2013 but decided to wait a few months before delving into wedding planning–we just wanted to enjoy being engaged!  We started making wedding decisions in the summer of 2013, which still gave us a full year before our wedding to plan.


When did you know that your wedding gown was “the one”?


I had been struggling to make a decision between two dresses I had tried on–problem was I was on my own so didn’t want to make a decision until I had the opinions of the ladies who mattered most to me.  In a stroke of luck, both my mother and future mother-in-law were both visiting Connecticut one weekend, so along with my future sister-in-law, they all came to the dress shop with me.  They liked the first dress I tried on, but when I saw the expression on their faces when I came out of the fitting room in the second dress, I knew it was “the one”!  It was a Justin Alexander gown and I got it at Bliss Bridal in Cheshire, CT.



Rank your top 10 favorite moments from your wedding day!


10. Getting ready in the morning.
 Few things are better than sleeping in and having a latte delivered to your door first thing in the morning. The morning of the wedding was this and so much more!  Sipping lattes and getting pampered with my sisters and sisters-to-be is my version of fun. And having the most important women in my life help me button my wedding dress was beautifully symbolic of the wedding day.

9. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.  I hadn’t remembered it was tradition to wear something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, until my sister-in-law gifted me a beautiful blue monogram embroidery to sew into my wedding dress. ‘Something blue’ – check! ‘Something new’ (dress) – check! My ‘something borrowed’ was especially meaningful. I wore a strand of pearls from my husband’s grandmother, which had been worn by the women in his family on their wedding day. My ‘something old’ was a handkerchief from my grandfather’s mother, which came in handy during the exchange of vows.

8. Popping champagne.  I am never one to say ‘no’ to dessert – but cake lands at the bottom of the list of my favorite sweets.  And with a husband who would rather have a second entrée than a sugary treat, we figured we would invest our money into something we love – champagne!  Not only was it epic to pop a 9L bottle of Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc (vintage from the year we met!), but the champagne was delicious and the photos were even better!

7. The food!
Anyone who knows my husband knows he is serious about food. Which is why hiring A Thyme to Cook was an easy decision. They source all of their ingredients locally and were able to use our own honey for the chicken course. Oh – and they took notes from our floral design and incorporated lavender into the lemonade and chicken.

6. The first look with my father.  These days it seems that more and more couples are opting for the photography trend of first looks before the ceremony. But it was important to me to be old-school and see each other for the first time as I walked down the aisle.  I was torn between wanting to capture the emotion of a ‘first look’ on camera but also waiting to see each other as I walked down the aisle. Instead, I did a ‘first look’ photo with my father and they are my favorite photos of the two of us!

5. The last slow dance of the night.   The final slow dance of the night was “Better Together” (Jack Johnson) – a song that fundamentally defines our relationship. Already loving slow dancing with my hubby to one of our favorite songs, tears filled my eyes when our family and friends encircled us with their arms around each other.

4. Our wedding officiant.  It was important for us to have a meaningful relationship with the person who would marry us on our wedding day. We wanted someone who knew and loved us both as individuals, but also as a couple. So the decision was obvious. Our officiant was our dear friend who introduced us the first night we met and who has watched us grow in our relationship. His ceremony was the perfect mix of hilarious and heartfelt – and his sincerity, evident.

3. The toasts.  It’s always flattering to have someone stand up at an event to tell stories about how wonderful you and your spouse are together and as individuals. We had asked my husband’s brother (best man) and my sister (maid of honor) to each make a toast at the reception. They both exceeded expectations in flattery and story-telling – what more could you ask for?!  I had also been nudging my stage-shy father in the weeks leading up to the wedding to make a toast. After some cajoling, he agreed to make a short toast, briefly thanking people for coming.  So it was very unexpected when he took the mic and began imparting marriage advice and his wishes for a long and happy marriage!  I can barely remember the details of what he said since I was in shock – but from the photos, it appears he was melting my heart!

2. Celebrating with family and friends. Guests traveled across the country and around the world to participate in our wedding. Seeing people from all the parts of our life together under one tent was awesome. But more than that, our guests knew how to party. The dance floor was never empty – and isn’t that the hallmark of a good celebration?

1. Marrying my husband.  Our wedding day was filled with happy tears and laughter for me – but never more so than during our wedding ceremony. Even with a faulty microphone and wind that kept tussling my veil, there is nothing I would change. While the details of the reception, flowers, music, etc were fun to plan (but stressful at times) the significance of those moments ultimately hinged on the reason for this wedding celebration – the beginning of our marriage.

Wedding Vendors
Photographer: Ian Christmann of Catalyst Photography
Location: White Gate Farm
Caterer: A Thyme to Cook
Planner: Josh Chalmers of Earth2Events
Florist: Gira
DJ: DJ Renzo Hernandez
Hair/Makeup: Simply Gorgeous by Erin
Groom + Groomsmen Suits: Enson’s
Bridesmaids Dresses: Weddington Way
Videography: WeddingMix

Hottest New Wedding Gown Trends from LA’s Bridal Market

Hottest New Wedding Gown Trends from LA’s Bridal Market

In addition to my own wedding planning company This Modern Love Events, I am also the Assistant Director for the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists.  It’s an awesome gig that I happened upon when bringing my own wedding gown to Sally Conant Ph.D., who not only runs the award-winning gown cleaning & preservation company called Orange Restoration Labs in Orange, CT, but is also the Executive Director for the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists.  This is so perfectly complementary to my business and means I get to live and breathe weddings pretty much every day!

They tasked me with representing the Association in Los Angeles last month for TheKnot’s bridal Couture Show, where dozens of designers showcased their new gowns for the upcoming bridal season and where bridal shop owners can place orders for these gowns for brides (like you) to purchase!

The Association is a sponsor at all of the Couture Show events hosted by TheKnot, and are there so we can meet with designers and offer them our free gown care labels to put in the wedding gowns.  This is so that after the wedding, a bride can call one of our Gown Specialists (represented in 500 cities around the world) to clean and/or preserve their wedding gown.

I invited my cousin Tiffany along with me (her first time to California!) and she helped me set up our sponsor lounge.

Tiff helping me put together preservation boxes for our display!
Sponsor table
Sponsor lounge where attendees were able to relax and munch on some donuts and fruit

We saw some fabulous gowns from both established and up & coming wedding gown designers.

Casablanca Bridal Runway Show
How gorg is the back of the 2nd dress on the left?!
Lost in a sea of wedding gowns!
More fab wedding gowns.  The one in the middle actually had a bluish tint which was really unique and pretty
The show happened over the course of two days and on the first night TheKnot threw a fabulous party on a rooftop that overlooked the Hollywood sign.  
Enjoying cocktails and hor d’oeuvres courtesy of TheKnot

We had a great time!  Sally and I will also be at the upcoming bridal fashion week shows this October in NYC, again hosted by TheKnot, held at the Metropolitan Pavillion, and another show hosted by New York International Bridal Week at Pier 94.  It’s going to be a busy but fun-filled weekend!  I’ll be sure to share lots of photos :)

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