CT wedding vendors
CT Weddings


Straight From The Professionals

Please help yourself to read real editorial from our vendors in The American Wedding Guide. You will find professional, experienced tips and pointers from “The Best of the Best” of CT.

Avoiding Stress

Meditation will reveal how to keep your heart open and your mind clear during the swirl of wedding planning… as well as your life after the wedding.

Yoga provides stress reduction and mental relaxation through the use of the breath. By becoming aware of the breath during the practice of movement, the mind begins to still. By the end of a Yoga practice, the mind has let go of time and task lists. A bride can learn the art of breathing to help her achieve composure throughout the whole wedding process.

Your mind and body are profoundly intertwined. Certain types of exercises, like yoga or mindful fitness, tap more deeply into this relationship. When movement becomes more meditative, it brings deeper benefits that go beyond merely toning or working your body. You find your source or inner calm, heighten your body awareness, and touch your deepest essence or spirit – all of which are valuable to you as your wedding approached.

Loredana Trandu

10 Things you should do once you are engaged

First, a Congratulations is in order! This is not only a special and unique time in one’s life; it is also a somewhat hectic and whirlwind process. However, do not worry! Hiring a Wedding Coordinator is a smart way to go so that planning can be as stress-free as possible.

Here is a list of the top 10 things you should do as soon as you get engaged.

Get A Manicure

You have this new sparking, absolutely stunning accessory adorning your left hand now, and its guaranteed to attract a lot of attention. Whether it is from the attention of all of those around (“Oh, let me see that ring!”) or the numerous pictures to be taken in the near future, it is important that your hand looks just as nice. Therefore, you should get a professional or an at-home polish manicure to make sure that your hands and nails are in tip-top shape.

Settle On A Budget

You need to decide upon a budget and rather early on. Whether it’s you, your fiancé, his parents or yours, it needs to not only be discussed, but finalized to the last cent in order to maintain positive relations with everyone. No one wants to feel pressured or uneasy with all the planning, and having a clear, set budget is one way of decreasing potential tension that is sure to ensue.

Sign Up For Sale Alerts

There are so many details that go in to a wedding, from the accessories to the honeymoon packages. However, it is important to keep in mind that all things go on sale! So make sure that you sign up for any alerts that might be of use so that you can save as much money as possible.

Insure Your Ring

Make Sure You Do This! Accidents do happen. This is why it is a necessity to insure your now precious accessory. If your fiancé has not done it already, make sure this is done immediately. The jeweler where it was purchased should refer you to certified insurers. Also, make sure to ask the jeweler for an appraisal slip because this will be used to determine its value. I cannot stress this enough, make sure you get your ring insured!

Sign Up For Pinterest

Pinterest is a huge source of inspiration! Everything from your dream dress, to DIY favors, to mouth-watering cakes and everything in between can be found. It is by far a great tool and can be considered a brides best friend!

Have ‘The Money Talk’ With Your Fiancé

The wedding budget conversation is not the only money centered conversation necessary. You are creating a family now and you two will also need to hash out all the logistics that come along with merging bank accounts. The saying “what’s yours is mine” is not as simple as it sounds.

Sign Up For Trunk Show Alerts

Everyone dreams up their perfect dress for their wedding day. Whether it’s princess-like ball gown or a sleek and elegant evening gown, your checkbook will thank you for signing up for local trunk shows. By following your local bridal boutique on Facebook and referring to a regional bridal magazine for a list of the designer trunk shows in your area, you will be able to go, see and touch all the most recent designer gowns – straight off the runway.

Choose A Diet Plan & Start It

It is common for brides to want to look and feel their absolute best on their wedding day. They will want to look great when photographs are taken and feel great doing it. Keep in mind; the worst thing to do is to wait until the last minute and crash diet. Therefore you should start as soon as possible. If you plan on dieting you need to pick an appropriate and well-fitting plan and make sure to stick with it! This is the best way to not only achieve your ultimate goal, but to look and feel your best.

Pick A Location

The location – city and venue – is the most important decision you will make in the wedding planning process. Everyone will have an opinion about where you should get married and where the reception should be held. Therefore it is important to get this discussion started as soon as possible.

Hire A Planner

It does not matter how great of a planner you are or that you are extremely Type-A and organized. The wedding planning process is hectic and a job in itself. Very few people have the time and patience necessary for such a grueling process, which is why you should leave it to the professionals. You want your wedding day to be relaxing and stress-free. Without a planner you are almost guaranteed to be stressed and worried about all the details on your big day instead of focusing on the more important things at hand. Hiring a professional who does this for a living, allows them to worry about the details not only throughout the planning process, but on the day of your wedding as well. Trust me, it will be money well spent!

By being prepared and following a plan will certainly make the beginning stages of the engagement and wedding planning process as easy as possible! Once again, Congratulations! This is a very special time so make sure you stop and enjoy the moment!

Katherine Jacox
Paisley Events

Guest Accomodations

Take a few moments to think about those special people in your life who will travel from far away to be with you on your wedding day. You will want to make their stay an enjoyable as well as a memorable experience.

Most out-of-town guests would prefer not to impose on those involved in the hectic wedding schedule. Make this easy for them by negotiating a group rate with a local hotel. Most hotels give discounts for groups of seven or more guest rooms. First, let the hotel know approximately how many rooms your guests will need. Then, have a relative or member of the wedding party coordinate the individual reservations. Many brides choose to send a letter to their out-of-town guests with the hotel’s special room rate and
reservation number so that each guest can arrange their own reservations. Please be sure to inform your guests that they need to contact the hotel at least two weeks prior to the wedding. By doing so, any rooms that are not booked can be released and you will not be held accountable for them.

Remember, hotel accommodations are a special service you can provide your out-of-town guests. While allowing your guests the privacy of their own room, hotels also enable your out-of-town guests to spend time together and to easily coordinate transportation to your wedding and parties.

In addition, the hotel concierge can arrange tours, shopping visits, or most anything else your
guests would enjoy. This service lets your guests continue to enjoy their stay while you are off on your honeymoon.

Bridal Registry

Selecting a bridal registry early in the wedding planning cycle can easily be one of your most enjoyable and exciting planning functions. Bridal registries are a free service available at many of your city’s finer department and specialty stores. It affords you the opportunity of pre-planning your new home furnishings and guarantees that you’ll be receiving truly welcome gifts from your friends and relatives. You should select your bridal registry as soon as possible after you become engaged. It will function as a helpful guide for selecting gifts for your engagement parties, showers, and of course, wedding. The proper etiquette for informing your guests about your selected bridal registry is to request your bridesmaids, mothers and relatives to spread the word. It is also proper etiquette to include bridal registry information on your wedding invitations.

A bridal registry consultant is more than a sales person. She can help you with coordinating all of the elements that go into furnishing and accessorizing your first home. Selecting the items to furnish your new home should be a joint effort between you and your fiancé. Your guests may then be confident that their gift will be welcome and wanted. Most importantly, you are allowing your guests to help you and your groom build the sets of china, sterling and crystal that will be with you throughout your lifetime. Today’s registries offer you choices from practically every department of the store; china, crystal, housewares, bath accessories, small appliances, furniture, bar accessories, luggage and perhaps even tools. Let your needs and wants guide your choices.

Many stores now have computerized registries which make it even easier to prevent duplication and to inform your guests, especially those shopping in branch stores, of your preferences.

You and your groom can use the helpful checklist of household accessories on the next page to help choose items for your bridal registry.

Newly Engaged

I remember when I first got engaged, there was nothing like it. I was staring at my ring finger every chance I could get — I am sure that is exactly what you are experiencing. This is a special time for you so cherish it; there is no reason to rush into the planning stages.
Although your impulse may be to start calling photographers and caterers, I recommend you and your fiancé really take some time to sit back and think about the elements that are important to the two of you for your special day. Ask yourselves this question: What feeling do you want your guests to leave with?
Let your imaginations run wild. What is most important is that you and your partner are in sync.
Do your homework. It will definitely create clarity for the two of you and make your planning process easier. Pinterest, magazines, blogs — there are so many avenues for you to review visuals. Sharing your vision with vendors through images will create an unspoken understanding between you. I promise it will make the whole planning process easier for you as well as the vendors you have selected.
Think about what season you want to be married in. If you live on the east coast, is it the winter months you see your ‘I dos’ taking place or the beauty of summer? This decision will definitely set the tone for style options available to you as well as budget concerns. For example, during the winter months, tents would be extremely expensive with heating etc.
Choose a date you like. Your anniversary will stay with you for a very long time. Let it remind you of a night of love, fun and strong emotion. Check with your families when selecting your date. If you have a lot of out-of-town guests coming, you may want to consider a long weekend so they have some extra days off work. Selecting a date will also help shape up your timeline. If you select a date that is eight months away you will know how much time you have for everything! Once you choose the date, everything becomes real!

Consider your venue. The venue you choose will set the overall mood and atmosphere for your big day. Make sure it suits you and your fiancé’s personalities and tastes. If you have your heart set on a location that you have been dreaming about for years, you will want to make certain it is available during the time of year you were planning. Saturdays are usually the most desirable evening so they are the first to be requested. When you are able to confirm the date you want, a question I always suggest you ask is “What time of the day will I take possession of the location?” Why? It is important that you have the time you need for set-up, etc. Also, if you were hoping to have your wedding ceremony in the late afternoon at the same location, it is imperative that there is not another wedding happening on property at the same time.

Now it all begins: date, location, time of day, photographer, videographer, gown and wardrobe, save-the-dates, invitations, music, food and beverage, wedding cake, favors, rehearsal dinner plans, bon voyage breakfast for out-of-towners, etc.

In my next article I will be discussing the proper questions to be presented to your vendors as your planning continues.


Alternatives to a Church or Synagogue Ceremony

Many people think their only non-church or synagogue options are a justice of the Peace, a civil ceremony at City Hall, or Las Vegas. However, Ordained Non-Denominational Reverends write and officiate traditional or non-traditional ceremonies that can be religious, spiritual, or non-religious — ofter incorporating various traditions into personalized ceremonies customized by couples’ requests. Choices of standard vows (or vows written by the couples), readings, love poems, Unity candle-lighting, vows to the children of second marriages, and remembrances prayers are just some of the personalizations available.

Find a Reverend who gets to know you, attends (or reviews) your rehearsal with you, and weaves your meeting/dating/engagement story into the beginning of your ceremony—held wherever you choose. Many Reverends offer help with techniques for good couples’ communication, setting short-and long-term goals, baby blessings, naming ceremonies, christening ceremonies, and counseling if you ever need it.

Judith O’Connor

The Wedding Vows

The most basic definition of a marriage vow is a promise two people make to one another, expressing unconditional love. In most Western ceremonies, it is common for the couple to repeat vows of love and support. However, this is not a tradition that is practiced around the world, as many cultures have entirely different or, at the very least, additional ways of expressing love and commitment.

The vows couples exchange are just one part of the wedding ceremony. A traditional ceremony includes the wedding processional (entrance of the entire wedding party), readings from the Bible, a prayer, literature, poetry, or a specially written piece for the event; the wedding vows, the exchange of rings, the blessing (either the official sanction by the officiant or from a member or two of the wedding party), the first kiss of the newly joined couple and finally, the recessional.

The language of marriage vows has varied over the years as much as the two people exchanging them and every couple wants a ceremony that is uniquely theirs. However, vows do fall into some basic categories.

Many vows fall under the banner of tradition, following the time-honored language of the couple’s faith and ending with the famous “I do.” Non-traditional ceremonies include many types of customized vows and rituals chosen by the bride and groom after discussing the main focus and mood of their celebration.

Today, more couples are deciding to write their own vows in order to personalize their wedding for themselves, their family and friends. Some things any couple should keep in mind are the tone they would like to set, the mood they want to convey and the style that fits them best. Whether the vows are traditional, non-traditional or something special they have written themselves, these are words that are meant to last a lifetime.

Before you begin to deviate from the norm and write your own wedding vows, be sure to discuss this with the official who will be presiding over your wedding ceremony. Remember that every denomination has rules and traditions so find out what those are before planning vows that break them. Even though finding the right vows for you certainly takes time, your ceremony will be more meaningful as a result and your words will also say much to the guests about your union.

Susan L. Deyo

Financial Obligations

Now that you are engaged, the first thing to do is to relish it, cherish it, smile at your ring and enjoy every moment!

The next step is to establish a wedding budget together. This might seem a little scary at first and you may feel a bit overwhelmed, but don’t worry. With the proper research and planning guides, you will find a wedding vendor perfect for your budget.

These questions may help to determine an estimate of your budget:

• How many guests do you want to invite?
• Where do you see yourself getting married?
• What day of the week, and what time, would you 
 like to have your wedding?
• Do you want it to be formal or informal?
• What type of food will you be serving?

The following percentages will give you an idea of where costs will lean towards:

50% Reception
10% Bride’s attire
14% Photographor/Videographor
8% Music
8% Flowers
10% Miscellaneous
(includes invitations, rings, transportation, and favors)

The list to the right is a traditional breakdown of who should be responsible for what costs. There are times when tradition bows to practicality. The question of who pays for what really boils down to who is most willing and able to do so.

Gift for groom
Groom’s wedding ring
Gifts for attendants

Gift for bride
Bride’s engagement and wedding rings
Gifts for groom’s attendants
Marriage license
Officiant’s fee
Bride’s bouquet and corsages
Boutonnieres for men in bridal party
Mother’s corsage
His own attire

Bride’s Family
Wedding gift for newlyweds
Bride’s gown and accessories
Invitations, announcements and postage
Wedding planner
Transportation for bridal party
Flowers for the reception
Photographer and videographer
Hotel accommodations
Rehearsal dinner (optional)

Groom’s Family
Rehearsal dinner (optional)
Accommodations for Bride and Groom

Their own attire
Transportation to wedding location
Wedding gift for bride and groom
Shower or luncheon for the bride (bridesmaids)
Bachelor party for groom (groomsmen)

How To Change Your Last Name After You Are Married

How To Change Your Last Name After You Are Married

Changing your name is not difficult, but it does involve a few important steps. Remember, you shouldn’t change your name before the honeymoon. Your name must match all travel documents, most importantly, your passport. Follow the steps below and you will be on your way with your new last name!

1. Obtain your marriage license
Before you can change your name, you’ll need the original or certified marriage license which includes the raised seal and your new last name. If one wasn’t mailed to you, call or visit the clerk’s office where your license was filed to obtain a few copies.
2. Change your Social Security card
Visit the Social Security Administration’s office or website to fill out the application for a new Social
Security card. You will keep the same number
and only your name will be different. Mail in your application or complete the forms at the local
Social Security Administration office. You should
receive your new card within 10 business days.
3. Change your license at the DMV
Once you receive your SS card, visit your local
Department of Motor Vehicles office to obtain a new license containing your new last name. Bring your old license, your certified marriage license and your new Social Security card.
4. Change your bank accounts
Visit your local bank, or branch location, with your new driver’s license and marriage license to change your name on all your accounts. While you are there, you should also request new checks, debit and credit cards.

5. Update everywhere else
Once you have your new forms of ID in hand, you can change your name with all the other agencies, as necessary.

Marriage License
Social Security Card
New License
Bank Accounts
Place of employment/payroll
Credit card companies
Post office
Insurance companies
Utility companies
Landlord or mortgage company
Cellphone company
School, if you are actively enrolled
Student loans
Alumni associations
Club memberships
Voters registration office
Your attorney

Tax Breaks to Consider When Filing Jointly

Tax Breaks to Consider When Filing Jointly

With the many joys that marriage will bring, it will also bring new challenges. Taxes and filing jointing will include many options to consider that should be discussed with a Certified Accountant a year in advance from getting married. You might even be able to save enough on your tax bill to help pay for the wedding!

Dual income earners who earn about the same amount could find themselves subject to a marriage penalty. When one spouse earns significantly less, they could find themselves subject to a marriage bonus. In either case, you don’t want to ignore these marriage – friendly tax breaks.

Spousal IRA:
This IRA offers a way for stay at home spouses to contribute towards their retirement security, and, it could also reduce your 2014 tax bill as well. The working spouse can contribute $5,500 to a spousal IRA on behalf of the non-working spouse ($6,500 if the non-working spouse is 50 or over).
IRA contributions are tax deductible even if the working spouse is covered by an employer-sponsored retirement plan, as long as your combined modified adjusted gross income is less than $181,000. A partial deduction is available on modified adjusted gross income of up to $191,000. (If the working-spouse isn’t covered by an employer plan, there are no income limits.) You have until April 15th to make a contribution for 2014.

Tax-free health benefits:
Employer provided health insurance for spouses of married employees is generally tax-free. While many companies provide health insurance for domestic partners, those benefits are reported as taxable income, which can add hundreds of dollars to the cost of health insurance.

There are many financial aspects to consider as a married couple. Be sure to gather all your financial paperwork and meet with an accountant in advance to help start your new life together stress-free.

Michael D. Green
Arendholz Bryan & Associates, PC

Wedding Flowers 101

Wedding Flowers 101

Flowers are one of the most important components of all weddings. Everyone uses flowers regardless of the style or size of your wedding. There are a few important things to consider when choosing your flowers. Before you decide that the beautiful exotic flower you saw in the magazine is a must have for your bouquet, think about whether it will be cost effective, appropriate for the overall feel of the wedding and available during the season planned.

Not all flowers are readily available year round. Seasonal flowers are abundant and reasonably priced. Non-seasonal flowers are available but at a premium price. If the flower you choose must be flown in from different locations, you will most likely pay extra for these flowers.

Choosing your wedding flowers based on color is another way to capture the attention of those in attendance. To add a personalized touch to your bouquet, try adding seasonal accent flowers, crystals or gemstone studded ribbon wraps that coordinate with your wedding colors.

When to book a florist
Your florist is the expert that understands that your wedding is a very special day in your life and will work towards ensuring that you get the perfect flowers. Book your florist at least six months in advance to ensure ample time to perfect your floral choices. A florist can suggest flowers that you may not have thought of before, or show you flowers you love even more than the daisies you have always dreamed you would have in your wedding.

There’s no right or wrong way to choose your flowers. No matter which flowers you use for your wedding, pick those that catch your eye, those flowers that say something about you and your wedding. Choose flowers that will create a lasting impression and lasting memories.

JoElle Anderson
Dragonflies, A Floral Studio

Wedding Insurance

Do we need wedding insurance?

You just got engaged and you know two things for sure: 1. We will be spending a lot of time and effort to accomplish this task. 2. We will be spending a fair amount of money for our wedding. And, a big question is? Do we need wedding insurance or not?

If you’re eloping or holding a low-key affair, you might not need wedding insurance. On the other hand, if you’re throwing a gala for the ages, it may be smart and prudent to buy some. Wedding insurance typically runs from about $125 to $400, depending on the amount of coverage you need.

Would you spend $30,000 on a car and not insure it? We are forced to buy minimal car coverage here in CT. Why would you spend $30,000 on a wedding and not buy wedding insurance? That’s the argument most insurers put forth, and it sounds reasonable. But what is covered and what is not?

Change-of-heart. No matter how well insured you are, if your bride or groom leaves you standing at the altar in front of all your guests, there isn’t a policy that will cover that. WedSure, a wedding insurance policy underwritten by the Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company, bills itself as the only insurer that will cover you for ‘change of heart.’ That said, someone would have to change their mind at least 365 days from the first covered event, such as the wedding rehearsal. So, yes, if someone dumps you 366 days before you’re standing at the altar and you have WedSure, you are covered. Some of the other big players in the wedding insurance industry include Travelers Insurance and Aon. Some policies will pay for professional counseling if you’re under severe emotional stress.

Someone important suddenly can’t make it. Insurance won’t pay if the groom or bride gets cold feet and bolts, but if either becomes seriously ill or there’s a death in the family and the wedding has to be postponed, wedding insurance will cover that. Many policies even cover unexpected absences, such as a bride or groom being called away for military service. Also, if an officiant, such as a minister or rabbi, a caterer, florist or photographer, does not show up, you can recover costs.

Liability. It depends on your policy, but most will cover you if a guest is injured at your wedding, or if a drunken guest drives away from the reception and gets into a car accident. Most policies cover a 24 to 48 hour period, often starting from the wedding rehearsal dinner to the end of the reception. If your guest crashes a couple hours after your coverage and reception has ended and has the temerity to sue you for it, you’ll likely have to get your own lawyer and not rely on your insurers.

Something goes out of business or breaks. If the reception hall or the caterer you booked can’t service your wedding, or your florist bungles the order, or your wedding gifts are stolen while you’re giving the toast, this is where most wedding insurance policies really shine. In other words, you’ll likely recoup all or most of your costs, depending how thorough your policy is.

When you may not need coverage. Sometimes photographers and videographers have their own coverage. You may also be covered for various crises through your credit cards, warranties or home or auto insurance. Your personal liability and excess coverage only provides you with coverage for losses that you can be held legally liable for. So if you are having a wedding at a catering facility, they should have adequate coverage, including liquor host liability coverage. Of course, if you are spending an unnerving figure like $30,000, you may not care if some coverage overlaps. After shelling out $500 for a wedding cake or $300 for invitations, what’s a few extra hundred dollars for insurance?

The best piece of advice to you all is, shop around or have someone shop around for you, and make sure it’s appropriate and affordable.

And, Congratulations on your up-and-coming wedding!!!

Marc Figlar, CSA
Figlar Insurance

The Wedding Vows

The Wedding Vows

The most basic definition of a marriage vow is a promise two people make to one another, expressing unconditional love. In most Western ceremonies, it is common for the couple to repeat vows of love and support. However, this is not a tradition that is practiced around the world, as many cultures have entirely different or, at the very least, additional ways of expressing love and commitment.
The vows couples exchange are just one part of the wedding ceremony. A traditional ceremony includes the wedding processional (entrance of the entire wedding party), readings from the Bible, a prayer, literature, poetry, or a specially written piece for the event; the wedding vows, the exchange of rings, the blessing (either the official sanction by the officiant or from a member or two of the wedding party), the first kiss of the newly joined couple and finally, the recessional.
The language of marriage vows has varied over the years as much as the two people exchanging them and every couple wants a ceremony that is uniquely theirs. However, vows do fall into some basic categories.
Many vows fall under the banner of tradition, following the time-honored language of the couple’s faith and ending with the famous “I do.” Non-traditional ceremonies include many types of customized vows and rituals chosen by the bride and groom after discussing the main focus and mood of their celebration.
Today, more couples are deciding to write their own vows in order to personalize their wedding for themselves, their family and friends. Some things any couple should keep in mind are the tone they would like to set, the mood they want to convey and the style that fits them best. Whether the vows are traditional, non-traditional or something special they have written themselves, these are words that are meant to last a lifetime.
Before you begin to deviate from the norm and write your own wedding vows, be sure to discuss this with the official who will be presiding over your wedding ceremony. Remember that every denomination has rules and traditions so find out what those are before planning vows that break them. Even though finding the right vows for you certainly takes time, your ceremony will be more meaningful as a result and your words will also say much to the guests about your union.

Susan L. Deyo
Married by Susan
www.MarriedBySusan .com

Wedding Photographer’s Guide

Wedding Photographer’s Guide
to ‘Stress Free Wedding Portraits’

Okay, let’s be real, planning a wedding and wedding day portraits are not only a huge deal, but can be way stressful too! Would you believe that IT IS POSSIBLE to have a stress-free experience? One that you’ll actually enjoy and look back at with the happiest of memories. There are a few key steps that, if followed correctly, can save you a lot of stress and heartache on your wedding day.
Take a deep breath, cheesy right? But, seriously, close your eyes and visualize how you want to remember your wedding day. What do you see when that vision appears? Is it your family laughing while their arms are all wrapped around each other? The way the man of your dreams gazed into your eyes during your first dance together as husband and wife? Or the way he kissed you after you said “I do“. Whatever your vision, tell your photographer! Every couple is unique and has a story all their own – how they met, what their first kiss was like, how he proposed, and the struggles and triumphs along the way. It is the job of your wedding photographer, to translate all of that emotion into memories.
Choosing the best photographer for you. There are a million photographers to choose from nowadays, but you have to be comfortable as if you’ve almost known them nearly your entire life. By hiring a photographer to document your wedding, you are inviting a new person into the most intimate details of your family – some good, some bad, some sensitive, some great, but they are all yours. Being honest, caring, compassionate and intuitive are the best traits you could ask for in a wedding photographer.
One of the most important steps you can take with your photographer when getting to know them is scheduling an engagement session. Don’t be nervous, it doesn’t have to be overly elaborate. Even if it’s only 30 minutes, be sure to make time for it! This is the opportunity that you have to truly connect with your photographer. It’s where you learn each other’s styles and interact with them on a very personal level. Capturing the essence of each moment takes practice, patience and passion.
Get organized and make an itinerary of the days’ events as you envision it. Give it to each vendor that has come together to make your wedding day special and trust in your photographer to keep you on track. Once you’ve finished creating the itinerary, schedule a walkthrough with your photographer to ensure everyone is on the same page and that there are no surprises on the day of the wedding. Schedule your walkthrough approximately two weeks before the wedding and make sure to go around the same time of day as when your formal pictures will be taken. Create a “plan B” for all elements that you can’t control such as rain, snow, wind or cold. All elements, if planned for ‘just in case‘, will save you from getting stressed out on your wedding day.
Create a shot list for your photographer. This is very important, especially if you have a large family. Simply just write the name of the family that you would like to invite for a formal portrait and designate a person per family to gather all of the members. Then, it’s up to your photographers to make all the variations within the large groups. Doing it this way not only creates so much variety in the groupings, but allows the right people to be in the right place at the right times. A vital step in creating a stress-free portrait experience!
So, now you’ve met your photographer and fallen in love – not only with their work – but with them! They’ve put your vision first and foremost, as you’ve done an engagement session, created an itinerary and done a walk through. What’s left? Breathe again, trust in yourself and the decisions you’ve made, have confidence and enjoy your special day. It may go by extremely fast, but the memories will last a lifetime!
Karie Peterson
Karie Peterson Photography

Wedding Invitations

Invitations are traditionally sent out approximately eight weeks prior to the wedding.  Depending on when your wedding date is and what time of year, such as holidays and summer vacations, you may want to send the invitations out as early as 10 weeks.  The more you can provide your guests ample time to plan and prepare, the better. This also accounts for work and vacation schedules for all family members, child/family/pet care, travel arrangements, financial budgeting, etc.   Also, you may want to send a “Save the Date” card four to eight months before your wedding to notify guests that you are getting married.  This will also provide plenty of notice if you are getting married on or close to a holiday, or if many of your guests need to make travel and hotel arrangements. Some also like to combine their “Save the Date” cards as a holiday card if your wedding is scheduled around that timeframe.
Reception Cards are only needed if the reception and the ceremony are in different places.  If the reception is on the same premises as the ceremony, you may want to add a line on the bottom of the invitation that states “Reception immediately following Ceremony”, or a similar statement, notifying your guests that the reception is on the same premises.  Some brides and grooms-to-be may still choose to have a Reception Card added to their ensemble, although not needed, in lieu of adding the additional line on the bottom of the invitation.  Both are acceptable ways of informing all guests of the reception location.
Response Cards are an important way to keep track of how many guests are attending.  It is important to word the Response Card correctly so that you know if your guests are attending; how many are 
attending; and, if need be, what meal choices have been selected.  If your guests may select their meal choices the day of the wedding, then meal choices are not needed to be printed on the Response Card. All Response Cards include return envelopes which are printed with a name and address, typically, that of the bride or of the parents, if they are sending out the invitations. Make sure to give each address a number or a letter to match your master guest list and then write this number or letter lightly in pencil or special pen on the back of each response card. This way, if the guest omits their name, or if you are unable to read their response, you will know who is responding.
Be sure to visit www.USPS.com to view all the choices of postage stamps available. Another option is to go to www.Stamps.com and create your own stamp by uploading a photo for your stamp.
Be sure to have a Return Address printed on your outside envelope.  For a minimal charge in most cases, you can have your return address printed on the invitation envelope in a matching ink color and lettering style when you place your invitation order.
You may also have your guests’ names and addresses printed on the outer and inner envelopes.  (Typically, pocket invitations do not have inner envelopes – just outer envelopes.)  Etiquette has always stated to hand-address envelopes, however, this had been a guideline long before the ability to print each individual guest name and address on the envelopes!
Once complete, bring your entire ensemble to the post office to have them weigh it to determine the proper amount of postage.
An experienced Wedding Invitation Consultant can help you with your decisions and remind you of things you may have otherwise overlooked.  They can also help you with correct wording (first person, third person, etc.) as well as typestyle choices and so much more!  There is so much that you can do with your invitation and the right invitation consultant can assist you throughout the entire process.  Make it fun and enjoyable with the right consultant—contact your local Better Business Bureau to check on their credentials before you proceed.  It is important to trust a reputable consultant who is experienced and knowledgeable in all areas of wedding planning..

Irene Hanley
First Impressions

Wedding Transportation

Transportation is one of the most important vendors a bride and groom will schedule for their special day.  There are some key factors to consider in choosing
the right transportation service for the couples
particular needs.
While searching reviews online is a smart way to track a limousine companies’ track record of quality of
service, this could be a misleading source as well.  A bride may research a large limo company and find some successes and failures, while a smaller company that is new may have much fewer reviews, yet handles less volume which could give you better service at a better value. Smaller companies are also more in tune with the needs of the client and is willing to go the extra mile to provide you with a positive experience, resulting in a shining review. So, while poor reviews can be telling, fewer reviews could mean excellent service with less volume.
There is a reason CT is experiencing a limo bus revolution!  While many surrounding states allow for exotic SUV stretch limos, CT regulations prohibit passengers exceeding nine passengers, even if the seating allows for more.  If you wish to keep your wedding party together rather than hire multiple vehicles and split everyone up, then the party bus is the answer.
Limo buses do not age well, so be sure to ask for the year of the vehicle.  Companies that have new equipment have the bride’s interest in mind and is a positive reflection on the rest of their service. If possible, book a limo bus with a wood floor and you will be happy with your decision.  Do not underestimate the need for a lavatory on the bus as well.  If you have children, seniors, or just people enjoying beverages, having your own bathroom facilities offers a luxury as well as
staying on schedule not having to take “bathroom’ breaks. New buses with a bathroom and wood floor are key features to a happy and healthy day! You do not know where the bus will be the night before and traditional vacuuming will not clean the rug appropriately for your special day. Also, be sure to allow for more seating capacity than you will need to provide extra space for flower boxes, luggage for after party etc.
Following these simple steps in finding the right transportation provider will not only offer a pleasant transportation experience for your wedding, but also eliminate any unnecessary stress getting there on time!
Always remember, going with a small company often provides you big service!

Brian Nelson
Nelson Family Limousine LLC


Choosing your Perfect Wedding Venue

Congratulations on your engagement! This is such an amazing time for you and your fiancé! With many decisions ahead, keep in mind what you both want, but, most importantly, remember to have fun with the whole wedding planning experience!

Before you start shopping around for venues, be sure to start exploring some ideas about your wedding style or theme. Whether it be simple or very extravagant, the style or theme of your wedding should be a reflection of your personalities and meaningful to both of you. Some popular styles lately are rustic, elegant, beachy, whimsical, vintage, classical, casual, black tie, etc.
Don’t worry about picking just one theme, but about what appeals to both of you. You can always
create something original by combining several
different styles. Afterall, this is YOUR wedding! Once you have some ideas in mind, start looking online for venues in your desired area that match your style.

While browsing online, you’ll notice wedding venues have a minimum and a maximum number of guests they can comfortably accommodate. It is always a good idea to come up with a rough draft of a guest list before you head out to look at venues. Knowing about how many guests you will be inviting will also help with budgeting for your big day.

Many brides and grooms these days are looking for “one stop shopping” for their weddings. This means getting as much done in one place as possible. For example, having your ceremony, reception and caterer all in one place may appeal to most people. If you are interested in having your ceremony at your reception site, be sure to mention that to the event coordinator during your tour. The event coordinator will be able to walk you through a typical day transitioning from
ceremony to reception or if the space with be used for both. You’ll also want to find out if your wedding will be the only event happening at the venue on that particular day. Larger venues may offer separate rooms for multiple weddings at one time.

When you go for a tour, you’ll want to ask the event coordinator for an estimate based on the number of guests, the food packages you choose, if you’ll have a ceremony on site, and any additional fees that may not be built into their packages. Not all venues have a caterer at their facility. Always ask if they have preferred vendors or if there is a fee for bringing in your own caterer. Be sure to ask questions about anything that may be unclear to you.

This may seem obvious, but as you walk around a potential venue, take a really good look around to see how much character and decor the facility has. Are you going to have to decorate a lot yourself or does the space speak for itself? Places like mansions and castles often have a certain charm that adds personality without having to include additional
decor. If you are planning on being a “do-it-yourself” bride, how much or how little do you want to add? Venues with less furnishings allow for you to create the style or theme you are looking for.

When you walk into your venue for the first time, it is normal to have that “this is it” feeling, or at least be able to envision your wedding taking place in that space. You may walk into the first venue you look at and fall in love with it. Don’t get discouraged if the first spot isn’t for you, as it may take you a handful of venues to explore before finding the perfect one for your wedding. Choosing the right venue can be tricky for some couples, but once you have your venue picked out, everything else is easier to plan from there. If you stay true to yourself and your wedding style, your wedding day will be everything you wanted, and more!

Victoria Smith
Bill Miller’s Castle


Your Wedding Story

Your photographer did amazing work and the videographer captured the entire day, however, you find yourself overwhelmed with what to look at to remember your special day – the photos or the video.
The solution is to create one story with both your photos and video! With technology changing every day, you can create one beautiful story of the most romantic day in your life to share with your family and friends.
The first step is to determine which photos and video clips you would like to use in your story. Use the video to capture the best parts of your wedding day, such as walking down the aisle, the “I Do’s”, the ring exchange and, of course, the “first kiss”. Also, choose clips such as entering the reception, the “first dance”, cutting of the cake, throwing the bouquet and garter and dances with the parents.
Use the photos to enhance your video. Start with the photos that cover the day that are not included in the video. These could include the bride getting ready for her big day, pictures of the bride with her attendants and family as well as the groom with his family and groomsmen. Gather your favorite pictures of the ceremony and reception to add to your story. Don’t forget to use all those amazing photos you
receive from family and friends who attended as well!
You may also choose to add some photos of the bride and groom growing up, while dating or at the rehearsal dinner. However, as special as these occasions are, you will want to limit them to just a few photos, as this story is primarily about the wedding and your special day.
One of the biggest challenges when putting your storybook together is the length of the story. Ideally, you will want to summarize your entire wedding day to capture the most memorable events, whether it be 30, 45 or 60 minutes long.
Music also enhances your story and should not be loud or obnoxious. Select appropriate music for the pictures that are on the screen and listen to the words of the entire song, not just the chorus. Some song chorus’ may be appropriate, but the words in each verse may not. Try to use some of the songs you chose for your wedding day. Matching songs from the video to the pictures is key to a seamless transition.
The gift of a story of your wedding day created by your photos and video is a special one to share with your family and friends, which will be treasured for years to come!
Sharon Gialo
A Memory 4 You


Your Wedding Photography

In an age when everyone has a camera in their pocket, it’s no surprise that many have discovered the joy of photography. Some do it for fun, some are die-hard enthusiasts, and some are even budding professionals, but is one photographer as good as the next? With so many options, it can be difficult to identify the differences between them. Let’s take a look at a few things that make a photographer best qualified to photograph you and your wedding.
Consistency is the first thing to look for in a photo-grapher. Any average photographer can take a good photo under perfect conditions, and we’ve all gotten that pretty snapshot at sunset on the beach, but a wedding isn’t quite so easy. Despite the differences in people, locations, and lighting, a great wedding photographer should have a portfolio with a uniform look and feel throughout.
Their work shouldn’t rely on gimmicks or digital enhancements to mask poor technique, and further, they shouldn’t be afraid to show you a complete wedding instead of just the highlights. While weddings are always unpredictable and short on time, a great wedding photographer will always  be able to capture the important moments in creating the perfect storybook.
A photographer’s personality is the next important thing to consider. When you have to spend an
entire day with their camera constantly pointed at you, it’s important that you mesh well together.
If they are loud and energetic, but you’re more
reserved, how will that affect your level of comfort in front of the camera? How will that affect the photos? You should feel relaxed and confident as they provide direction, encouragement and reassurance throughout the process. At the same time, they should be able to adapt and get along well with all sorts of people and personalities, which they’ll surely encounter at your wedding. Regardless of your photographer’s natural demeanor, they must be able to command the attention of a group for your bridal and family photos.
A qualified photographer can idealize any situation. As previously mentioned, any decent photographer can take a good photo under perfect conditions, but what happens when inspiration isn’t readily
available? When a photographer is filled with
optimism and enthusiasm, they can see potential where others see limitations. They look at a messy hotel room and see the perfect place for a quiet portrait, or a dark banquet hall as an opportunity to create their own light. With the right skills and attitude, a great photographer will never run out of options, and their portfolio will be evidence of this.
Finally, when hiring a professional photographer, be sure they have insurance and backup equipment and provide you with a contract. Some couples look to friends, family or students to photograph their wedding, which often doesn’t work out very well.  When a friend or family member photographs your wedding, they aren’t able to relax and enjoy your celebration as a guest. Also, if something goes wrong, what happens to the relationship? With a student, can you fully trust them to deliver on their promise? Knowing that not all photographers are created equal, only you can decide what’s best for you in choosing who will photograph and capture your special day.

Mike Yamin
Mike Yamin Photography


Your Wedding Photography

Your wedding day is supposed to be the happiest day of your life when you want to look flawless and picture perfect. So how do you choose the “perfect” makeup on your special day? Most brides like to focus on their eyes, after all, they are the windows to your soul.

When you’re choosing a palette for your eyeshadow, it doesn’t necessarily have to match your wedding colors. On the contrary, you will want to choose colors that will bring out your eye color. How do you know which colors are best for you when there are so many beautiful ones to choose from? Choosing an eyeshadow color is almost like interior decorating. The color opposite on the color palette will make your eyes pop.

For instance, blue eyes should gear towards warmer colors such as chocolates, coppers or peach. For hazel eyes, you have a lot more colors to play with.  If you want to bring out the green in your hazel eyes, try using purple eyeshadows. If you want to accentuate the brown in your hazel eyes, try using light brown shadows. Green eyes tend to stand out with plum or pink colors.

Last, but not least, brown eyes always go well with navy blue, green, and variations of brown. When choosing makeup to compliment your eyeshadow colors on your wedding day, it can be as subtle as using an eyeliner, mascara, or just eyeshadow. As these are just some guidelines to see what colors work best for you, the main thing is to have fun playing with different looks with different colors.  Congratulations on your special day!

Mandisa Duperval
Sweet Dreams Makeup


Capture the Colors

Planning for your big day requires a lot of decisions to be made such as selecting a wedding date,
choosing that special dress, ceremony venue, theme, color and décor. This year’s colors for 2015 is moving away from the vivid, bold colors to a more subtle statement with pastels and metallics. By adding a bold color to your pastels, you’ll be able to combine your love for color as well as keeping with the pastel trend.
The following are examples of what are considered the Top 10 wedding colors for 2015:
1.  Navy, Cream & Blush – The contrast of navy with two softer pastels add drama and make the blush and cream come to life.
2. Shades of Brown & Ivory – These colors are
excellent for rustic weddings, adding accents of gold to make it rich, warm and inviting.
3. Pink, Khaki & Gray – These would look great
utilizing pink as the primary color with khaki and gray as accents.
4. Sangria, Silver & Lavender – Experiment with adding in a pink or a purple for complete elegance.
5. Sage and Sandalwood – Mix in cream or ivory, and even some yellow, to make a beautiful rustic statement.
6. Periwinkle and Peach – Accent it with gold for a “popping” combination for spring, summer and even fall.
7. Royal Blue & Kelly Green – Add in a pastel and this would be great for a military wedding or
a ceremony by the water.
8. Purple & Yellow – Play with different shades of purple with a soft yellow to add lighter accents.
9. Coral, Peach & Powder Blue – Combining a brighter blue with this combination will make the colors  stand out in a spring or summer wedding.
10.  Gold & Burgundy – These are excellent choices for a winter wedding, adding in a soft orange for an amazing fall look!
If you have a favorite color, embrace it. You will
always be happy with your choice. If you’re looking for ideas for colors, start with your venue. Playing off the colors of your venue will provide you with a great start.  Once you have your primary colors to work with, all you will have to do is add your special color touches to make it unique to you.
Danielle Fenton
Jeweled Bouquets