Thursday, May 5, 2016

Planning a Montana Destination Wedding: Step 1

Well, it's official!  The papers are signed and Ashlee & Jesse have accepted the prize for their free Montana Destination Wedding!  As a planner, my first step once someone books me is having an initial consultation.  Because so many things were already established in advance of this wedding (being a giveaway and all), a lot of the "normal" things I would talk over with a client needed to be tweaked.  Here's what we're doing instead:
  • Our initial consultation pretty much reviewed the budget line by line, to explain to Ashlee & Jesse what was included and what would be additional, if they decided to add on.
  • We now know their color scheme is blush & navy <3
  • Ashlee's tastes are described as "elegant and vintage" in style, whereas our giveaway is very rustic.  So we've been working on ways to give her what she wants without adding additional costs to her.
  • The wedding planning workbook is in the mail to Ashlee!
  • Her Pinterest board for inspiration have begun (you can see the board HERE)
  • Her 2-D tablescapes have been updated to her color scheme
  • and her invitation ideas are in the process of getting updates to meet their color ideas and style preferences.
  • All the participating vendors have been re-contacted with the winner's information, and we're locking in contracts for all the items we've rented.
Wedding planning doesn't need to be stressful.  As a planner, we know what to attack first to keep someone on track, and on budget.  In this example, it's been about two months, and our "free" wedding is pretty much planned, with minimal stress to the bride & groom.  Now we just get to talk about small details and custom tailoring items to Ashlee & Jesse's wants.  Below are some images of what Ashlee & Jesse and I have been working on (and just part of what's included with our full service package)!

A layout of the event venue, which shows where each part of the wedding will take place.

A map of the layout inside the event tent, to scale.

The 2-D table scape that Events by Autumn creates for each client

Ceremony Mood Board

Cocktail Hour Mood Board

Reception Mood Board

Floral Design Mood Board

Involving Animals in your Wedding | Practice Makes Perfect

Alright folks, this is a topic that needs much discussion.  Everyone loves their pets.  And more often than not, they want to involve the animals in the wedding day.  Here are some things you'll want to consider before committing:

1.  What is Your Animal's Temperament?
If you have a naturally anxious animal, please consider how a large crowd will affect the pet.  Just imagine how YOU feel getting up in front of a crowd of people.  You can't expect a shy or timid animal to walk down the aisle on its own.  Also beware, if your dog has the tendency to get "snappy" if it's stressed, this is NOT an animal to bring to a wedding.  Only the most laid back, docile, well behaved animals should be part of the wedding.  Even THEIR behavior may become unpredictable with that many people in one place.

2.  Animals in Guest Rooms
Just as we said in #1, an animal who is under pressure can act different.  We're heard horror stories of brides leaving their pets in the guest rooms after the ceremony, and the dog rips up all the pillows.  Know your animal, and come prepared.  Bring a kennel for the guest room, toys, food, and water.  Help the animal feel comfortable in an unfamiliar place.

3.  Who is Watching Your Pet?
Think about it - you'll be busy on your wedding day.  You're getting hair & makeup done, taking photos, talking to guests, and dancing.  Where is your pet going to be?  Make sure you've found someone who will "pet sit" the animal until it's necessary for the pet to be involved.  This shouldn't be someone in the wedding party, typically.  It should be someone the pet already knows, loves & trusts, whose sole responsibility it is to care for the animal that day.

4.  Grooming
You are NOT brushing your dog or horse in your wedding dress.   Just don't do it.  Pay someone, or ask a friend to make sure the animal is prepped and ready for the big day!  The added responsibility of having to make sure your pet looks its best is just another stressor you don't need.

5.  Practice Makes Perfect
Have your dog walk down a practice aisle on it's own.  Put a giant fake floral collar on your dog.  When you put real flowers around its neck on the wedding day, it may hate them otherwise!  Also, ride your horse in a long white skirt, which swooshes in the breeze.  Training an animal is a big part of having success on a wedding day!  No one wants to get bucked off their horse because the dress touching its behind spooked it.  There's plenty of YouTube videos out there.  Don't be a YouTube video.

6.  Do Not Tie a Ring to the Dog.
Just as you shouldn't entrust a wedding band to a toddler ring bearer, you shouldn't trust an animal with that responsibility either.  Tie fake rings to the dog, if they're going to be your ring bearer.  Have the best man actually holding the rings at the altar.  This ensures the dog doesn't run off with your investment tied to its neck.

Make a wise choice when it comes to your pets.  If you can't commit to 1-6 above, you might want to consider leaving the animals at home on the wedding day.  And most importantly, have a sense of humor.  If your pet gets nervous and poos at the altar, it will be something you'll laugh about for years to come.  They're animals, and although you may practice till you're blue in the face, you need to just enjoy their company on the big day, no matter what happens!

photo courtesy of Stella Kelsie Photography
Photo Courtesy of Stella Kelsie Photography

5 Tips for your Engagement Session

We love it when our members submit blog posts to us!  Here's a wonderful post from Stella Kelsie Photography about engagement photos.  If you like her suggestions, we strongly urge you to follow her blog for more insight.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Styled Shoots create unrealistic expectations

We'd like to set the record straight.

Nearly every photo you see of wedding decor, on Pinterest is from a styled shoot.


Even if it's a photo FROM a real wedding, it was probably staged or styled to look that way!  What your wedding day will look like is incredibly different.  The small details you put into the day will blend into the overall picture.  Your venue will seem huge and your details will feel like they suddenly don't matter.  But they DO matter!  Your wedding day is all about the individual guest experience.  We love that people put time and effort into those small details, and the photographers will capture those details in a very flattering way.

Let's say you choose red as a wedding color, and the photographer walks by a flowering bush with red blooms at the ceremony site. They may pause to take a photo of that, because that detail was a part of your day, and relevant to your story.  You didn't even have to put that plant there.  That's part of what a photographer does - find the small pieces of your wedding details, to document the day.

Our best example comes from  She was doing a maternity shoot for a client, and chose a location which (to the naked eye), was less than ideal.  There was a house to one side, and an overgrown vacant lot to the other, and a road running right in front.  But her final product was completely stunning.  Take a look below!  A photographer's job is to crop out the unflattering parts of the wedding day, and give a small glimpse into the beauty that was there.

So we just want brides to understand that when you look at small details on Pinterest, and you want your wedding to look like that, it CAN, but only through the eye of a great photographer.  When your wedding day comes and your 40'x80' tent looks so huge, and the $3,000 you spent on flowers doesn't nearly have the dramatic effect you hoped it would. . . DO NOT PANIC.  Your photographer will make that tent look absolutely amazing, and give you great memories to take home.

Involving children in your wedding

If you're marrying into a family with children, it's very important to include the children in the wedding day. There are all sorts of ideas on Pinterest to include the children in the ceremony, from sand ceremonies, to special presentations ( but what about the rest of the day?  Here's a quick list we've compiled:

  • Let the children escort you down the aisle
  • Have the children make a special presentation (whether it's speaking, singing a song, or giving a gift)
  • Have them sit with you at the head table
  • Let them help as ushers
  • Make your oldest daughter or son your maid of honor or best man
  • Let them give a speech at the reception
  • Make sure they get flowers just as special family members would (boutonniere/bouquet)
  • For the girls, let them get their hair & makeup done, and get them a special dress
  • For the boys, dress them up like the wedding party, so they feel included

No matter what, make sure the children are included on your wedding day, and are included in plenty of photos as well.  Giving a special gift and speech TO the children at the reception is a nice touch to publicly welcome them into this new blended family.  After all, you're marrying more than just the bride or groom.  The children are a major part of this new adventure!

Don't forget the wedding fonts!

Sometimes it's mind blowing how many brides don't even think about fonts on their wedding day.  It's FREE and one of the easiest ways to add personalization!  Think about just how many items with a wedding have fonts on them:
  • Invitations
  • Programs
  • Escort Cards
  • Place Cards
  • Food Menus
  • Buffet Labels
  • Bar Menu
  • Favors
  • Welcome Baskets
  • Thank you Notes
  • There's even more than this list. . .
So why not personalize it all and use the same fonts throughout?  We suggest picking a combination of a script & print font for your invitations.  That way, it's easy to translate into all the possible applications you'll need.  There are a bunch of free fonts available online, but one of our favorite sites is:

You can pay for fonts too, but if that's the case, any vendors who are making their own signs won't want to pay for the font also.  So picking a free font is easiest for all to use.

Picking the right wedding colors

Do you remember the color wheel from art class in 8th grade?  When you're an artist, a lot of things you do depend on knowing & understanding the color wheel and all its parts.  Below, we'll give you a color lesson, and hopefully it helps you choose a great wedding color combination!

1.  Picking the right Hue, Shade, Tint, and Tone for the time of year & combination of choices: 
  • Hue is the pure color.  As is.
  • Shade is the hue + black.
  • Tint is the hue + white
  • and Tone is the hue + grey

Let's use red as an example.  Depending on the time of year, different hues, tints, tones & shades would work best!  Here are some ideas using red!
  • Spring: Blush, Rose
  • Summer:  Red, Cherry, Candy, Crimson
  • Fall: Berry, Blood, Brick, Sangria, Apple
  • Winter:  Merlot, Wine, Jam, Mahogany, Currant, Garnet

2.  Understanding Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Colors
If the venue is surrounded by fresh yellow flowers, a purple wedding would really give some contrast (because it's a complementary color)!  Whereas if the venue has orange flowers, and blue wedding would really pop.  

3. Monochromatic Weddings can be beautiful too!
Let's say you want everything to be in shades of blue.  Just keep the hue of blue the same, and add more white or black to the color, and it will achieve a true monochromatic effect.

4.  You LOVE a certain color
Then go for it!  But, for the best effect, make sure you've picked a color that's definable.  For example, Tiffany Blue isn't called Tiffany Blue to everyone.  It can be defined as Robin's Egg Blue, or even Teal to others.  Read tip 5 to help define your color choices!

5. Explaining wedding colors to everyone else
When you choose a color for your wedding, sometimes our favorite thing to do is head to the Home Depot paint aisle and pick up free color swatches.  You can see your color choices right next to each other, and get a feel for if they'll jive or not!  Bring those with you when selecting bridesmaids dresses, choosing invitation envelopes, ordering flowers, etc.  When you say "orange," that can be tangerine orange, peach, or coral.  So having this swatch is most helpful when trying to explain a color!

6.  When in doubt, consult the internet.  Just type in "wedding color combinations" and a million ideas will pop up.  If you've selected one main color, but aren't sure what else goes with it, this can be a big help!


Current trends & your wedding

So, you're in love with the Boho trend.  You like macrame, large floral crowns, barn wood tables and tapered candles.  You're not alone.  But what happens when you look back on your wedding photos in 30 years?  Will you cringe at what you thought was once beautiful?  Think of the wedding dresses that were so popular in the 80's.  And the tulle.  Oh, the tulle.  That was the trend in those days.

Weddings are a lot like fashion trends - you'll be completely in love with something one day, and then years down the road, wonder why you thought that ever looked good.  Keep that in mind when designing your wedding.  If you're into fashion or current trends, then embrace it!  But if fashion isn't your thing, and you rock a style of your own, show it.  Either way, your wedding is an event that should reflect YOUR style.  Personalize it however you see fit.

Not everyone wants, or can afford the most popular wedding styles.  But you can certainly pick and choose what elements reflect you as a couple.  Just because blogs publish photo after photo of magazine quality weddings, you shouldn't add details just because a blog told you it was cool.  Make sure you're adding elements because they make sense to your style and your budget.  Happy planning!

Floral Crown Image from Style Me Pretty