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.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

STORYBOOK WEDDINGS



Today I have an exciting new product to tell you about! Yesterday, as I was scoping out new ideas and responding to my LinkedIn requests, I happened on this new little company and I just had to share. So, I made a phone call and got the "story" from the ingenious founder of The Wedding Story Writer. This concept is the brainchild of Michelle McMurray. Michelle, a writer and lover of weddings, gave her own mother the gift of a diary of her wedding day. That gesture led to the birth of her concept- and her business. Now, Michelle and her team of writers, scattered all over the United States and available for destination weddings, is ready to chronicle your wedding day.


Who would not want a beautiful book with the story of such a milestone, to "have and to hold"? A storybook to be read to your children. An addition to your wedding video, or an affordable alternative to a videographer. If you are looking for a unique way to remember your day forever, this is it!


Speaking to Michelle, a bubbly and vibrant lady with a smile that shines through the phone, I asked her about her business and we chatted about how and why she came to this business. She explained to me the process and some funny anecdotes about her experiences. Guests are curious and the groomsmen are pretty disinterested in the storytelling. But, brides love the idea and the finished product, a beautiful book with a special story, full of details that many brides miss on their wedding day. As a spectator, Michelle can stand back and watch, taste and listen to the day. As a "silent" vendor, she can delve into the nuances of the day, explain the sights and sounds of how the day unfolds.
Michelle will arrive while you are preparing for your wedding. She will sit and listen to thoughts, your chats with the girls, the funny and touching moments between you and your mom. Taking notes and observing all that surrounds your day. From the weather, to the visuals of the room, to the walk down the aisle and the taste of the cake, Michelle will write down every detail of your day. Then, like all great storytellers, she will weave all those notes and observances into a storybook that you can read and re- read for years to come.

I love this idea. First of all, unlike photos and videos, it brings to life the smells, the quiet conversations, the essence of your day. Things that a camera can't capture- the taste of the cake melting in your mouth, the whispered chatter of guests coming into the ceremony, a few words from a special guest about you. It is a beautiful way to remember your wedding and Michelle makes it fun and unobtrusive as she writes furiously all day in the background. So, if you are looking for something new to bring to your wedding, give Michelle a call. This is a fabulous new trend in the making!

Monday, February 20, 2012

INSPIRED BY MARDI GRAS

Just a quick inspiration for Mardi Gras. Taking the color palette of one of my fall brides and Mardi Gras, with its feathers and a bit of flair, I have created this board for a bold and beautiful wedding. It doesn't have to be February to use the colors and feathers of Mardi Gras. Rich jewel tones and Masquerade themes can be used throughout the year. And, finding inspiration is easy! I found more images than I could use. So, here is to Mardi Gras and Katie. Find your inspiration and enjoy! P.S.- Etsy is a great place for all things inspired! And, if you haven't discovered Pinterest- Get There!!Link
Credits:
Artisan Bake Shop- cake
BHLDN- shoes and wedding gown
Dessy- bridesmaid dress
Lazaro- feather wedding gown
My Dream Wedding- shoe clip
Powder Blue Bijoux- hair clip
Sharp Scissors- tutu
Victoria Westbury- bridesmaid dress with purple sash
Bridal Bijou- center mask
Frosted Petticoat- chocolate mask

Monday, February 13, 2012

BE MY VALENTINE

Tomorrow is a day for hearts, flowers and fancy chocolates. So, what better day to dream about a Valentine wedding. Of course, Pinterest is abundant with images of Valentines and all things red and pink. And, in my files, I have some images of those reds and pinks too. Here is an inspiration for a romantic and nostalgic Valentine wedding. Happy Valentine's Day from Bridal Affairs!

Red gown from Carolina Herrera, dainty white nymphs from Papilio, heart lolipops from Frosted Petticoat on Etsy, raspberry chocolate martini by Martha Stewart and red heart cake from
Sprinklebakes, strawberry wedding cake photograph from Sarah DeShaw via The Wedding Chicks.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

WILL YOU LOVE, HONOR AND RESPECT...

When choosing the professionals that are going to help you plan the most important and emotionally charged day of your life, there are many things you need to consider. Today, I am going to try and guide you down the path to choosing vendors that will ensure you have a perfect wedding day. Some of the same qualities that you looked for in choosing a mate, you should also look for when choosing your vendors. These qualities are TRUST, RESPECT AND OPEN COMMUNICATION. You must also realize that you are buying products, though emotional in nature, you are still
in the marketplace and the professionals you are seeking are in busi
ness. Every bride is on a budget of some sort. And, there are wonderful professionals for every budget. Respecting the fact that these professionals make their living in this industry is important for you to remember. There are many ways to save money, to cut costs in one area in order to use it somewhere else and ways that your wedding vendors will be happy to add in something, cut the cost of something or help you to tailor your budget and not lose the integrity of your big day. So, before you cancel someone out as "too expensive" or "I don't need that" or " I have a friend who can do that cheaper", think about the fact that hiring a professional is the REAL cost effective and surest way of having a day that is flawless and wonderful.What should you look for in your wedding vendors? There are so many websites to "guide you" to choices. There are hundreds of wedding pros in all facets of your wedding needs. How will you know if you have chosen the right one, the best one for you, an ethical and honest one? Here are five things to look for when meeting with prospective vendors.

Photo Courtesy of Sarah Dicicco Photography

1. Are they caring and available? Your wedding should be a priority to someone you hire. They should be interested in you, your wedding, how you met, your family dynamic and your vision and budgetary boundaries.

2. Do they listen? You should hire people who hear you, who listen to you, who understand what your wedding means to you.

3. Do you "click"? You should feel a connection to the people you hire for your wedding. Photographers and planners, especially, should be people that you like!

4. How prompt are they? When you call or email a vendor with a question or a thought, it should be addressed in a timely fashion. You should not have to wait days to hear back from them.

5. Don't be afraid to ask questions. And, make sure the professional you are meeting with asks questions too. No one should assume they "know what you are thinking". If they aren't asking questions, they aren't listening.

Here are some other things to be aware of when you begin hiring the people who will be making your wedding day a flawless one.

**Know your budget going in. Be realistic about what you have to spend and how much wiggle room there is. Meeting with vendors who are out of your reach is a waste of everyone's time and can be very upsetting and frustrating to you.
**Understand that this is a business. Be respectful about discounts. This is how these people pay their bills. Just like your doctor, a plumber- and you, this is a job. So, don't ask for things that are unreasonable to ask.
**Be upbeat and friendly. Bossy behavior and aggressive demands are not the best course toward a happy day. Remember that you have put your trust in these people. And, though this is a huge event in your life, you would not want someone to treat you badly in your business life. It is true that you catch more flies with honey!
**Be flexible. Be ready and willing to compromise on things and be aware of what is readily available, such as seasonal flowers, limited bars and shorter time slots for photographers and videographers.
**Be aware! Have a trial hair and makeup session before you finalize the deal. Do a tasting, so that you know how your meal will be presented. Go to an open house at a venue or caterer, so that you can taste the food and see the set up before you commit. Look at the photographer's work. They all have books, web sites and blogs. Just make sure that what you see is really their work- especially on line. Get referrals. Find past clients that have worked with the people you are considering. See how their day turned out.
**Read the contracts! Don't assume anything. Make sure you understand exactly what they will do, how they work and what they expect in return.
**Plan for emergencies. Mother nature, an unexpected disaster, all kinds of things can happen. Have a plan B and get wedding insurance.
**Trust your vendors. Once you have contracted with the people who will bring your dream wedding to life, trust that decision. You have chosen these people intelligently. So, let them do their job and allow them to guide you in the right direction.
**Hire a planner. I know, it isn't in the budget, you are doing it yourself, your mother is helping you. A planner can save you money along the way, can steer you to the best vendors for your dream and your budget, can fend off many emergencies before they occur and be your advocate during the process of hiring vendors. A good planner will also be able to facilitate your day from start to finish and that is something that you, the bride, can not do yourself.
From choosing colors and flowers and linens, erecting a tent in hurricane season, to getting you down the aisle in style and presenting a feast to die for, your wedding professionals are there to help you. If you use your head, as well as your heart and you apply the three basic concepts of Trust, Respect and Open Communication, you will have the perfect wedding. There are many seasoned and wonderful people in this industry. There are also bad ones. Use these tips and you are sure to weed out the garbage and find the gems!

And, as always, let me know how I can help you to have a Beautiful Day!

Monday, February 06, 2012

WHAT'S IN A NAME?

Yesterday, I posted on my blog at Philadelphia Wedding about the pitfalls of hiring the wrong planner. Today, I want to address the many titles that "planners" take on and the difference between planners, designers and coordinators. But, before I do, let me tell you some things to look for when you are looking for the right planner to help you navigate the journey to your most important day.

Experience Versus Education: In your quest for the right planner, you have probably read the message boards, blogs and web sites of many people. Some have years of experience, while others are new to the business- MANY others. They have stated that they have planned their own weddings and have decided that this is their dream job. They have gotten a "certificate" from a local college, association, on line or from another planner who "teaches" new planners. While those certificates are recognized as a starting place for a new planner, they don't really speak to the need for a good planner to have connections in the industry, knowledge of who is a professional with quality product and a network of possibilities for every budget and taste. These are all things that come from doing it. A good planner has years of experience with good and bad wedding professionals. They have a sense of where to guide you based on your needs and budget. And, they have a serious commitment to the difficulties and challenges of the the job "planner".
Contrary to popular belief and REALITY TV, this is NOT a glamor job. It is a serious profession and not for everyone and anyone.

Associations: There are many associations connected to the industry, as well as to the catering and events industries. Belonging to these associations, while a good way for a planner to keep abreast of trends, network and enjoy the "perks" of the industry, they are not always a necessary mark of a good planner. The most important mark of a good planner is their experience, their track record and the opinions of the industry professionals that know them.

Cost: Planners charge in many ways. Some charge a flat fee for specific duties , or a percentage of the budget for full planning. Most planners will add other duties on an "a la carte" menu or as an added charge. There are other planners who have "packages". These "packages" range from full planning to day of planning. Each package includes a list of duties that will be performed. Still others charge on an hourly basis. They may combine a package with an hourly charge for additional time. Make sure you understand what is included when you sign a contract. Ask questions about what you can expect from your planner and what will be billed as an extra charge. And, before you discount a planner as "TOO EXPENSIVE", break down what is included with that planner and what an hourly rate would be or an a la carte charge would add to the initial fee. You can't always dismiss a planner based on price. Remember that this is a profession, a livelihood and a skill set that has been honed over time. And, if you have a good planner, the time involved in helping you plan your wedding is priceless.

Now, let me explain the differences in titles. This is an area that creates a great deal of confusion. So, if you understand the differences and what you can expect, it will be easier to choose the right fit for your needs.

Planner: A planner is a professional that will guide you along the path to your wedding. Assisting in choosing vendors, developing timelines and budgets, facilitating your rehearsal and wedding day. A planner will accompany you to meetings, tastings. And, a planner will help you to realize your vision. Again, you must understand what a planner charges for these duties and what is included in the initial cost and what is an extra charge. But, a planner should be your personal assistant, your advocate.

Designer: This title is self explanatory. An event designer does just that- designs your wedding. Your palette, your
tablescapes, your flowers. A designer will facilitate the execution of how your venue looks on your wedding day. Many event designers have "planning" as part of their advertising. They may have a planner on staff or have a relationship with a planner. When you hire an event designer, be sure that you are also hiring someone who will follow all the aspects of your wedding and not just how it looks. And, be sure of how these firms charge.

Coordinator: Most venues have an "in house coordinator". Literally translated, this is the person in charge of the venue on your wedding day. They are an employee of the venue- not you! Their loyalty is to the venue- not you! And, their job is to see to the food and set up at the venue on your wedding day. What happens before the wedding, what happens if your have a dress disaster, a limo that is late or a photographer that doesn't show up is not their job! They are NOT your advocate. They are NOT going to handle your mother or get you down the aisle. They are there for the good of the venue. So, when they tell you NOT to hire a planner because they have it covered- don't listen. Also, beware of "day of" coordinators. What is that? How can someone have one meeting with you a few weeks before your wedding and then show up and have ANY idea how to ensure you have a flawless day? The answer is- they can't! If you are going to invest in a planner, make a wise choice and hire someone who will be involved at some level throughout your planning process.
Finally, a note to you DIY brides. While it is widely assumed that doing your own flowers, cake and favors is a great way to save money and put your "stamp" on your wedding, it may not be true! Unless you are superwoman with nothing else to do with your time during the planning process, this can be a costly and stressuful mistake! There are certain things that you should just leave to the pros! And, if you do plan to add those DIY projects, remember that SOMEONE has to implement those projects on your wedding day. So, if you decide to do your own design, do yourself a favor and hire a planner to help you. Remember, on your wedding day you can not be the florist, the baker or THE PLANNER. And,neither can your mom or your maid of honor. Invest in the insurance that is an invaluable asset to any wedding day. HIRE A PLANNER!