Bridal Affairs

Angel of Hearts Weddings offers unique and comprehensive assistance to the discerning bride in planning her wedding with a full range of services tailored to her needs. Making magic is my passion.

Angel of Hearts Weddings--Watching Over Your Big Day!

Here is a place to share all things wedding! Please share your ideas with me.


Monday, October 27, 2014

A SPECIAL GIFT

The holidays are approaching and we are all starting to think of gift shopping.  What better gift for a bride than a gift certificate from Angel of Hearts Weddings!   Its more than a gift.  Its like an insurance policy that your special bride will have a perfect day!   You can buy a gift certificate in any denomination- for all or a portion of planning services.  

Its also a great idea for a bridal shower gift!   So, contact me today to guarantee that the bride in your life will be Queen for a Day!



I DIDN'T THINK OF THAT

When you are planning your wedding there are so many little things that arise- some of which you don't think of, expect or know.   So, I asked my brides to tell me what they had learned, AFTER the wedding.   And, here are some of those things. 
Stressful things:
  Obviously money.  But specifically how much to allocate to what.  And the little things that you don't think of

 You have to decide WHAT is important to you.   List the 3 most important elements of your wedding.  Then, work your budget from there.   The venue and the food are going to be the biggest chunk of your budget. 
Postage - postage for the RSVP's - always forgotten
When you are figuring out the cost of postage for your invitations, you have to multiply it by 2- the outer envelope and the RSVP envelope
Do you have to tip the venue?
You do not have to tip a venue.   
 
What is a service charge?  Is that the gratuity? 
You must ask the caterer about this.   a "service charge" may be in addition to a "gratuity".   Make sure you read your contract and ask the question- "Is the gratuity included in my cost?"   
 
Inexpensive favors that people won't just leave on the table
Favors get left behind.   Make a donation to a charity and tell your guests with a piece of chocolate and a little note that you did.   Something yummy will usually not be left behind.
 

Affordable places to buy shoes
There are so many outlets to find great wedding shoes.   Ask your friends who have been married where they found shoes.   Check out places like DSW.  And, wear them at home with socks on- before the wedding.  That way, they won't be stiff and make your feet hurt at the wedding.
 
Affordable honeymoons
All inclusive resorts are a very affordable honeymoon.    Or, find a great deal with a travel agent.   
How to get a passport
This must be done in person and you must have a passport photo, a birth certificate or naturalization certificate, your drivers license or a military ID, photocopies of all documents and the fee for applying.  Check with your state government office web site for specifics in your state.
 Add in a buffer - you will always go over in some category.
There will always be an added cost somewhere.  So, put that extra money in your budget.
 
"They" always say to put the money toward what is most important, but how much?  If the DJ is most important, how much do you put toward that
 How much depends on what IS most important.  Make some calls and get pricing from several vendors in each category.  

How much a centerpiece actually costs.  And always remember to multiply that by how many tables you COULD have if everyone comes...Just in case!
Centerpiece prices vary according to what they are.   High, full centerpieces will cost more than low, more sparse centerpieces.   Discuss the options with the florist.  And, remember- if YOU are doing your centerpieces, YOU need to provide the means of setting them.  
Why the heck are you wasting so much money on things that you won't want after the wedding?? - the serving set, the topper, etc.
You don't have to have these things.  However, if you choose not to have them, remember that a kitchen knife is not a great prop for a formal photo.  And, a cake topper is something to hand down or sell.  Using flowers instead of a topper is fine.   

Married priests are controversial, but they will marry you -not in a church! - and it still will count as a sacrament in the Catholic church
You need to decide what is important about your ceremony.  And, there are so many alternatives to a church.  

Other Things

How to interview a DJ, florist (how big is a 16 flower bouquet really?  If I pay for 20 is it alot bigger and worth the money?)
Have a discussion with your florist and ask for a proposal.  Ask questions and try to get a mock up of your centerpiece.   Some florists will show you examples of flowers you like and how they look in a bouquet.   Bring pictures and explain your vision.    Be clear about what you want and how much you have to spend. 

Get everything in writing.   
Make sure you get a contract and READ it!  Ask questions.  Understand what is included and what is not.  Be clear about cost.  And, make sure that what you have contracted for is actually what the vendor can do.

Find out what the DJ, photographer, videographer charges for over time.
Your contract with these vendors is very time specific.  If you want them longer, you will have to pay for it.  So, make sure you know what they charge and what notice you need to give them for that extra time.


Get a videographer!!!
PLEASE!!!   Your photographs are very important.  But, video can catch things that photography can't.    Voices, vows, toasts, your music- all things captured on tape that are not HEARD in a picture.

How do you cut a cake for the wedding? 
The catering staff will help you with this.  For some couples, this is an awkward moment.  You both hold the knife and cut a slice from the bottom tier of the cake.   

Don't forget you are supposed to greet all your guests? (not 1/4 of them because the groom won't stop talking....my wedding!!)
Greeting your guests is tricky.  Do you have a receiving line?  Do you have formal photos before the ceremony so you can join your cocktail hour?  Do you have to go from table to table at the reception?  These are all things you want to decide before your wedding day.   

don't forget to feed the wedding party the day of.  prepay for it!
Feeding the wedding party breakfast or lunch is important.  There will be champagne and a shot or two- so food is key to having upright witnesses at the altar!
Remind the party not to drink too much
This is something I ask of ALL wedding parties at rehearsal.  Too much celebrating before the party is disrespectful.  Ask your bridal party to curb their drinking until the party.  And, make sure that everyone has a safe way to get home.

what to do at the ceremony rehearsal - and plan ahead of time for it - who walks with who, etc.
I can't tell you how many times I have had this issue.   Figure out who is walking down the aisle when and know there is a protocol for parents and grandparents.   Make sure that everyone is clear at rehearsal about what time they need to be on deck the next day for getting ready.   Are you walking with your dad, both parents or alone?   If there are children in the wedding who is responsible for them once they get up the aisle- and what to do if they DON"T get up the aisle.   Is there a stepparent or a deceased parent that is being honored?  And, girls on the left, boys on the right- there is a reason!  I would be happy to explain.


Lists of wedding songs, father/daughter dances, etc.  That father daughter dance music was hell for me to find (that wasn't the "daddy you are my hero"
Finding the right song to dance to can be daunting.  Ask your DJ or bandleader for suggestions.   Or, in this case, your wedding planner!   Cali and I worked together on this.

How to make a budget - how to use excel to add it up -
This is a difficult part of planning a wedding.  Make a spreadsheet.  List everything.  Have a conversation with everyone involved with paying for the wedding to see what each contribution is.   Understand that things will add up and add on.  Be prepared.


Keep your receipts so you know how much you paid (so you can sell it accordingly) or so you can order some more of the same item when you run out

figure out a pretty place to have your wedding dress photographed.  And not hanging from the sprinkler system
Most photographers have some great ideas.  But, if you are in a place that doesn't have an ideal spot, go outside and find a wall or a tree.   Seriously, the photographer can take this one on!


How to get a marriage license
Your city government office can help you with this.

The groom might want to buy a pair of shoes so he is comfy and not wearing rentals

Who is supposed to get a corsage or bout?  do the readers get one?
Traditionally, the mothers and grandmothers get a corsage.  Fathers and grandfathers get a boutonniere.  You may want to honor your readers with something also.  And, if you have any other honored guest that you want to recognize, you can do that with a flower.
Vistaprint is a great low cost way to get all your invites, thank yous, etc.
There are a few other sites that offer inexpensive ways to do your invitations, as well.  But, PLEASE!!  Don't use the internet to invite your guests to your wedding.  You are more special than that.


Make sure to get the rights to your photos so you can print them for super cheap and not order their prints!
Your photographer may offer you a disc with all of your photos on it.  Or, you can purchase one along with the right to reproduce them yourself.

Make sure to feed vendors if required by contract.  Sometimes you book them so far out, you don't revisit that contract until too late
Many vendors, including planners, photographers and DJ's require a hot meal in their contract.   Everyone should be fed.   Your team is working hard for you and should get some kind of a meal. 
  

Make sure to have someone to take your gifts to the hotel - and make sure you have room in the car!
I always make sure that all of your personal belongings get into a car or back to the hotel.  If I have to, I pack up my own car and take things to their destination.   This is one of those things that most brides don't think of until the party is over. 

Get a shuttle.  And when the hotel calls it a shuttle, don't assume it is like one you get at an airport.  It could be a dirty minivan!!!!!!!
If you have out of town guests, you need to provide them with a way to get to the wedding.   Not all hotels have a shuttle and some say they do, but it only holds a few people or is a mess.   So, make sure you are clear about a shuttle service or hire a professional company to transport your guests in comfort.


Get a day of coordinator - and if you use a friend, make sure they know what you expect - you don't want the lazy, shy friend!
Having someone who is there ONLY for you is the best answer to this.  Hiring a planner to make sure your day is perfect is like insurance.   You don't know you need it until something happens- then its too late!
Creative inexpensive ideas for party gifts - personal, meaningful gifts are nicer than a silver engraved picture frame.
Lots of things that can be fun and meaningful- and won't be left on the table.

What are you supposed to say for the toast from the bride and groom?
Not all couples want to say anything.  But, if you and your fiance want to say think you or acknowledge those that made your day so special, find words from your heart.  There are no wrong words.  Say what you feel.
Remind the groom that he might need a hanky (or get him a monogrammed one :).  Shredded snotty tissues aren't sexy.
Make sure the stupid men try on their tuxes before the morning of.  Sigh.
This is something that happens all the time!   PLEASE!!!  Don't wait to try on the tux.  Especially if the place they came from DOES NOT own the tuxes.  Find a reputable source for the tuxes that owns their inventory.  That way, if something does go wrong, they can replace it at the last minute. 


What to Expect AFTER the Wedding:
You won't want to watch wedding shows ever again
You won't want to try to sell your things from the wedding (decor, etc)  because you are sick of all the prep from the past year. 
Where can you sell/how do you list your stuff? 
There are sites that are set up specifically for this purpose.   Or, try a consignment shop

 You need to write thank yous - are you supposed to write thank yous before the wedding if you receive a gift or should you wait??? 
Thank yous take a lot of time
If you receive gifts before the wedding- write those thank you notes.  Have your thank you notes made with your wedding invitations.  So, as you receive gifts, you can take care of the thanks!
 
After wedding depression - the let down of all the hub bub and your friends and family going back to their normal lives
How to change your name - and in what order...SSN first, then drivers license then banks then everything else.
There are sites that help you to do this.  Or contact your local government agencies to get the forms.

Neat ideas to preserve your dress, bouquet instead of the norm.  For example, I am going to put together a shadow box with my bouquet or parts of it and      other wedding things.
Other things you should think of - getting life insurance, changing your beneficiaries, etc


Now that I have started the conversation- what do you need to know?  What did you learn from planning your wedding?  Lets keep the conversation going!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

ENOUGH SAID?

This woman is a pro. I manage events and live theater for a living. I found Wendy from a website that promised me an hour long free phone conversation with a wedding planner if I filled out a form online. I filled out the questionnaire and then Wendy called me. She was great. She gave me ideas and listened to me for the hour. I thought that was all I would get, but Wendy decided that she was going to continue to help me. So she offered her help for me for the actual day of my wedding . We agreed on a price, and this amazing woman DROVE to Chicago. Who does that? She wanted to make sure she had a car with her, since I didn't have a car. Smart lady. Rental cars are stupidly expensive in Chicago - and I couldn't afford that.
This amazing woman came to my rescue in CHICAGO. She lives in PA. We made arrangements for her to come all the way here the day 2 days before my wedding. She sat in my living room fighting with my venue for my right to have time to decorate the venue prior to the wedding. (They scheduled an event prior to my ceremony because they didn't have the right schedule on their books). My husband-to-be lost his parents, and my mom is gone as well. Wendy stepped in as my mom. And she made sure that I didn't get stressed when things weren't happening as I had planned. She couldn't stop these problems, she was trying to help and fix them. I couldn't have gotten through this wedding without her. Since she was in PA, I set up all the vendors on my own. But this woman....she took all of this with stride. She managed my day - practically blind - since she didnt set it all up. She was my day of coordinator, my best friend, my mom and my "You [vendor] will do this because I said so" go to person. My wedding was way better because I found her from a random Google search. Thank goodness.
Wendy is a pro. Wedding planning isn't easy. It is about personalities. She does her best to fight for the bride! She is a winner to me. Period.




Wendy was truly my wedding angel!  At first I was hesitant to get a wedding planner, I thought “ that’s for those crazy rich people. I can’t afford one”. Well, I have to say, "you can’t afford NOT to hire one!" Having Wendy actually saved me money, not to mention time, and honestly, my sanity!  
We started working with her about a year before our wedding when my fiancé and I just couldn’t find a venue that fit our budget or was available when we wanted to get married.  We had some rather difficult criteria as well.  I being a chef, wanted amazing, local, seasonal food, and my fiancé, an architect, wanted “ a nice approach and great ambiance”.  I was ready to give up and resign myself to the fact that we just couldn't have the wedding we wanted.
Enter Wendy-she showed us several amazing places and when she took us to Barley Sheaf in New Hope, well, we just fell in love! 
All the vendors she recommended were fantastic as well. The florist made the most exquisite centerpieces using fresh vegetables as well as beautiful flowers. Guest couldn’t stop complementing me on them for being so gorgeous, unique, and so fitting for my personality. I also couldn’t find a wedding dress under $1000 anywhere in NYC. She recommended a few places and I found the most stunning dress in my budget. She came with me to fittings and picked up my dress on wedding day after it was pressed. 
I have been working with Wendy, since October 2013 and my wedding was  August  23rd 2014 and she has never been anything but professional, honest, punctual, and efficient. She was intuitive, took care of everything I asked her. I loved that I could ask her to handle things and know they were handled!  My friend also hired Wendy after I recommend her, and she too was extremely pleased with her work!
Where she really saved my life was the day before and day of the wedding. My fiancé and I got lost on the way to our venue picking up some last minute things, my aunt was having issues with her hotel room, catering for rehearsal dinner needed to be picked up, someone needed to meet with the alcohol vendor, place cards needed to be finished  and a bunch of other little things that my fiancé and bridal party were going to do. The our phone died while we were literally in the middle of nowhere and Wendy took care of it all. She picked up the catering, solved the hotel issue for my aunt, met the alcohol courier, and helped in greeting the guests while we were finally on our way. 
When I arrived the venue she said “ give me all that you need to do, go relax, settle in and I will take care of it all!”  And miraculously she really did!  I was able to relax and actually enjoy the rehearsal dinner instead of having to worry about all the last minute things that I had planned on finishing that day.  It’s unforeseen situations like this that  make you realize a wedding planner is invaluable.  I was able to enjoy my wedding day more than I think any of my friends were able to.  Even my mother and aunt commented on how they had never seen a bride as calm and relaxed as me  during a wedding, my reply “ It’s all thanks to Wendy!”
Having worked with her for almost a year, I really got to know Wendy. I can’t even call her my “planner”, she is now a cherished friend and I recommend her to everyone without any hesitations or reservations.  


"I'm convinced that Wendy is living proof that there are ANGELS living among us; the determination, stress, and work that Wendy will take on to ensure her brides have peace of mind & enjoy their evening free of worry.... well, let's just say that I truly feel that the value of Wendy's service is absolutely priceless, she resolved some errors with our caterer's quotes that saved us almost $2,000! Wendy is a NINJA... A friend mentioned my bustle had come undone & as soon as I looked behind me, Wendy was already there! She made it look easy, snapped it into place & disappeared again!

She's so wonderful there just aren't enough words! Her profile says: "You will NOT find a better value or a more experienced or dedicated planner!" and I can verify both of those statements are absolutely true!

OH!!!!!! AND even if you think you don't need her, here's something you may not have thought of... Wendy not only set everything up, but also made sure everything was packed up and got it to wherever it needed to be at the end of the night. Even if you think you can plan the whole event yourself... just hire Wendy for the rehearsal & day of.. it's completely worth it & you will thank me!!!!!!!

My mother and I insisted on hiring her for my little brother's wedding (BEFORE HE GOT ENGAGED!!!!!!)"

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

EVOLUTION

Photo Courtesy: Weddings By Two
Photo Courtesy: Weddings By Two
As life evolves, situations arise and careers change- or disappear, in the blink of an eye, you either have to "go with the flow" of the tide or perish.  So, as it goes, so shall I go, into a new and exciting venture with one of my past brides.   And, I can't wait to tell you about it.

When I met Elena, she and Hayden were planning a destination wedding.   They have family all over, including Europe, and wanted everyone to descend on one place for the weekend.   As we began planning, Elena and I began throwing around ideas for ways to work together.   She is a personal chef and wanted to spread her wings- and her horizons.   It became clear that she and I have the same philosophy about clients, that our personalities worked well together and that we both had some great ideas!   So, a new business evolved and here we go.

The business will take two paths.   One will be social, with unique bachelorette parties, bridal and baby showers, private dinner parties and small weddings of under 50 people.  The other path will be wellness based.   Yoga and healthy eating, weekends for families with autistic children- a place for the kids to be engaged and the parents to relax, cooking classes and other events that promote healthy living.  

So, if you are planning a special party and would like someone to make it extraordinary, let Elena and I share our ideas with you!   We will handle the food, the staff, the decor, the facilitation and the stress.   You will enjoy the party!    

For more information:

wendyangell@gmail.com
cheftedeschi@gmail.com

We can't wait to hear from you!

Photo Courtesy: Weddings By Two

Photo Courtesy: Weddings By Two

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

GREAT PERFORMANCES



One of my first weddings was here, at Wave Hill, on the Hudson in New York. The bride was a producer for 60 Minutes and everything had to be perfect! Enter one of New York's finest caterers- Great Performances!! It was a glorious affair! So, how thrilled was I when asked to reconnect with Liz yesterday!!! Great Performances is the exclusive caterer at Wave Hill and several other premier venues in New York City, 
including The Plaza Hotel. 



Liz Neumark is the creative force and owner of this finely tuned company, and she never misses a beat! Working with Liz and her team is a pleasure and so easy. Her attention to detail and her philosophy about a bride's wedding day are right on the mark.

Great Performances has a new Wedding EPK- to tell the story of what they can and will do and keeping brides abreast of trends on the cutting edge of weddings and food. The list of possibilities is only as limited as your imagination. With stunning venues, a professional team of experts on all facets of weddings and menus that are fresh, seasonal and from local sources. 


Liz began her journey as an artist, with a passion for photography. She formed a company providing waitress help for special events- employing women in the arts who needed steady work. And, "by accident", as Liz likes to refer to it, Great Performances was born. Today, she maintains one of the top catering companies in New York AND owns a farm where many of the ingredients are grown for the company.

Katchkie Farm , a 60 acre farm in NY state, is home to many of the vegetables, herbs and spices used in making the the beautiful and delicious dishes that will be served at your wedding. Liz wanted a sustainable and environmentally respectful approach to her kitchens, with farm inspired dishes and a collaborative effort with other local food sources. She uses flavors in season and creates menus based on what is fresh and growing NOW.

I asked Liz about some of the things her culinary team creates and my mouth was watering as she described soups, ravioli, hors d oeuvres and other delectable goodies that evolve out of the Great Performance kitchens.





In addition to the wonderful culinary delights of Great Performances, you will find no shortage of other creative geniuses at work at Great Performances. Your wedding will be styled from start to finish- with every design detail tailored to your vision. From artistic table top design to unique serving pieces, to your printed materials, everything will be impeccable and a treat for the eyes.



The creative team at Great Performances also stays current on all the latest trends. Farm tables, small plates, creative venues, unique ways of serving food, gluten free menus, all things that are trending. Staying at the top of her game is Liz's priority. Liz has catered to celebrities, top corporations and those that understand the quality and expertise of Great Performances.

I look forward to collaborating with Liz on more weddings and I am thrilled to be able to share Great Performances with all of you! Thanks to Liz and her team for always doing an outstanding job and for the opportunity to share your success with my readers! To contact Great Performances:

Great Performances Inquiry

Happy Planning! 


Monday, September 29, 2014

DIY DO'S AND DON'TS

 

You're engaged and looking at all those rustic, outdoor possibilities.   Barns, gardens, and tented lawns.  All perfect for the darling Pinterest ideas you have been collecting.   And, right in line with your budget.   WAIT.....!!!   Before you sign up for that clearing in the woods or that barn that has no heat, no kitchen and no bathroom facilities.   Before you start shopping on Etsy and at Michael's, start collecting mason jars and old bottles and burlap- STOP! - and take notes.  

Crafty brides- and some "not so crafty" brides are becoming commonplace.   But, girls, you need to consider the facts.   When you book a venue with a clearing in the woods, over a bridge, down an embankment to a pavilion- all that crafty stuff has to get there, get set up and get back at the end and into a car.   YOU also have to get there- in a wedding gown.  


Once all those boxes of homemade stuff get there- WHO is going to set them up?  Most venues give you limited time on the day of to set up.   If you have not hired a florist to do your centerpieces, your caterer is not going to do this for you.  And, a florist is not going to set up your DIY centerpieces if they are only delivering bouquets.   Are you prepared to spend your wedding day sweating it out to put up tables and decorate them?   Shouldn't you be having your hair done, spending time with your bridesmaids and relaxing for that special moment when you walk toward your groom?   But, OK, you enjoy all that crafty stuff and you are on a budget.   Hire a planner to coordinate your wedding day.   Have that someone who will set up all the wonderful things you have put together.

I recently did a wedding where the bride and her maids came to the venue- all made up with hair done, and proceeded to put up tables and chairs and decorate the space.   By the time they were done, they were all sweaty, exhausted and had to rush to get ready.   Is that how YOU want to spend the start of your wedding day?    Now, I know everyone is on a budget.  You would rather be putting that money toward a house or even the honeymoon.   And, you can do all those DIY projects if you are up for the challenge.   But, hire someone to take care of them on your big day!  



 And, work with a real caterer!!!!   A caterer can be found at any price range.   And, you can tailor your menu to any budget.   But, you need a professional to set up the venue, serve the food, clear away the dishes and clean up and break down.  Again- that is NOT the job of the bride!!!!   

Finally, Pinterest is a great place for ideas!  I love going there for inspiration.  But, please keep in mind that many of the pretty pictures you see are "styled shoots" and not real weddings.   Some of what you see is far more expensive and/ or complicated to do than you realize.   And, some of it was done by event designers with rented pieces and not DIY at all.  

When choosing to do a DIY wedding, keep your feet on the ground and your logical mind in check.   Realize what is really possible and figure out HOW you are going to make it all come together BEFORE you start!   You will save yourself a lot of stress down the road.   And, hiring a planner is NOT only for big budget brides.   I have worked with many brides on very tight budgets.  But, they realized the value of having someone to lean on for such a special day in their lives.   

Note:  All the photos here are from my brides.  



Friday, September 26, 2014

15 LUCKY COUPLES

Exclusive Cocktail Party With Rustic Charm
You are invited to an exclusive cocktail party at one of
the area's most spectacular venues. If you are engaged and looking
 for a unique wedding destination with rustic charm,
 amazing views and plenty of
 activities to entertain your wedding guests all weekend,
 Olde Homestead is the place.

 

Be transported to this idyllic spot in a luxury party bus.
 Then enjoy cocktails and hors d'oeurves from one of Philadelphia's
 most sought after caterers, as you tour the venue and
 speak to other wedding vendors to help plan your big day.
 Space is limited to 15 couples.
 So, don't delay!   

 

Book your spot for this fabulous evening of food,
 fun and the magnificent fall beauty that is the Lehigh Valley.
 Spend a romantic evening in the country with your
 beloved and plan the most romantic weekend of your lives!
 Hope to see you there!

 

Date: October 19, 2014 from 5-7PM 

Boarding Time: 3:30 at King of Prussia Mall 



For more information contact:  Wendy Hartigan
wendyangell@gmail.com