Monday, August 30, 2010

Sweet Twist on An Old Favorite

Ticings=Genius. Source

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Snowball Cocktail Hour Anyone?

As I've mentioned before, I currently live & plan events in northern Delaware, but I grew up in and call Ellicott City, MD my home.  While I could go on and on about how great of a town this is (15-20 minutes to downtown Baltimore, 40 minutes from DC, Money magazine's 2nd best place to live in 2010), what I really want to talk about is a source of great Ellicott City/ Howard County pride: The Snowball Stand on Rt 99.  Everyone in town has been there at least 100 times.  Seriously.  It opens around late May/early June every year to delight residents with dozens of snowball flavorings and numerous toppings.  My all time favorite combo is raspberry with nerds on top.  YUM.  While their popularity continues to grow with people aged 2 to 100 (they now sell TSS apparel and there is TSS facebook page as well as a TSS blog), the simple concept remains the same: quality snowballs served with a smile throughout the summer.
So, now you know how beloved this hometown hero is.  And you know my passion for personalization of events & weddings.  SO, I practically did a back flip when my Sept 25th bride told me back in March that she wanted to have TSS serve snowballs during her cocktail hour!!!  Brilliant.  Especially since her ceremony & reception site is the Howard County Conservancy, which is probably less than a 1/2 mile from TSS.  I should mention that I have known this bride since we were 15 years old and even though we lost touch during college, we just recently reconnected last fall.  As she is an avid blogger and blog reader, she saw a post about Felicity C Weddings on Charm City Bride blog and reached out to me, figuring that there can't be TOO many Felicity's and that it was probably me.  She was right.  We met up again in February to discuss her wedding and now we are EXACTLY ONE MONTH away from the big day!

Back to the snowball cocktail hour.  The idea is to have 3 flavors available and to have them handed out in kiddie sizes during cocktail hour.  It is a refreshing treat and perfect for this lovely Howard County couple.  I searched for some images of snowball cocktail hours online, but I couldn't find any which actually makes me pretty happy.  Because I know that we are doing something completely new!  Stayed tuned for sneak peek pictures shortly after Sept 25th and then probably towards the middle of November  is when I expect to get the professional photos for my use.  Until then, feast your eyes on the prize of Howard County:

The Snowball Stand: a hometown hero since 1974. Source

Monday, August 23, 2010

Wedding Websites- the 411 & a Giveaway!

I don't have concrete numbers, but I would say at least half of engaged couples have their own wedding website.  I believe most are free (here, here, and here) and are pretty easy to set up.  Now, before I go into the basics, I wanted to share this amazing find from WedLoft: FREE wedding website hosting package giveaway.  This package will take away the guess work of couples trying to customize and build a website.  This is a fantastic deal and if you or someone you know is engaged.  First call Felicity C Weddings for a planner... and then check out this giveaway!

Back to the basics.  Just like another other website, there is a home page which typically includes a picture of the couple and a countdown to the big day.  Then there are various other pages; how the couple met, the proposal story, who is in the bridal party, ceremony & reception details/ directions/ maps, accommodations info, guest book, photo albums, registry information, and RSVP section.  The last one is growing in popularity, not only because it is very "green" and eco friendly, but it is a definitely cost saver to only mail out invitations.  It really is such a great idea not only so all your guests are informed, but is a ridiculously easy way for all the guests to really get to know the couple (unless you plan on calling every guest to tell your proposal story).  I even found a wedding website demo from Wedding Paper Divas to give you an idea of a typical site.

Speaking of Wedding Paper Divas, which is an amazing online stationary company, I also came across this offer for free personal wedding websites that match your invitations!  Check out their website and blog to see their whole catalog and be inspired!  Here are just a few of their varied styles.  Enjoy!

Traditional. Source

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Putting the Best Foot Forward  This is a fact.  They dress outfits up or down and can complete the perfect ensemble.  Any bride will also tell you that comfortable shoes are a MUST on your wedding day.  The whole "suffering for fashion" idea goes right out the window when you realize that on your wedding day a bride will be on her feet pretty much all day long.  A lot of brides are opting for shoes with pops of brilliant color that express their personality much more than the traditional white heel ever could.  And the closed toe sensible pump is giving way to platform heels, slingbacks, peep toes, flats, cowboy boots, and even sneakers!  Because some girls are the most comfortable in 4" heels (hello Posh Beckham) and some girls need to be closer to the ground for comfort.  I'm all for this shoe diversity and I hesitate to call it a 'trend' because I don't think colorful, creative wedding shoes are going anywhere. So brides, being comfortable and stylish IS a total option on your big day.  It is also a cost saver if you already have a fantastic pair that you love!  You do not have to spend crazy money on shoes you won't wear again, you don't have to slip into flip flops half way through (unless you want to!) and you definitely don't have to wear the hideous creations above.  I've pulled a few images of the creative brides & their MVP's for the big day.  Enjoy!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Latest Trend: Rustic/ Country Themed Weddings

Every couple of years there is a new trend in weddings.  Sometimes its a small trend, such as the now infamous & always delicious "candy bars" which started around 2007.  But I have noticed that the theme of weddings has also taken a turn in the past year or so towards two main styles that are pretty close in detail: earthy/ natural and rustic/country weddings.  Which makes sense because it is the total opposite of weddings 4-5 years ago that were more streamlined and classic.  I love that the wedding industry is constantly evolving and I think its all for the best.  Theses two styles definitely overlap and if you have been to weddings this year, you most likely have seen some of this inspiration: mason jars & milk vases as centerpieces with flowers as well as floral arrangements that are more organic (not so stiff & perfect), just to name a few.  The idea is a softer approach to the wedding design, which translates into seeking outdoor venues versus hotels and country clubs, lots of candles to create a "glowy" feeling, more informal dress (bride, groom and bridal party)/ informal table settings, and a lot more personalized signage throughout the ceremony & reception all of which creates a small intimate feel than a huge event.

The best trend in the past 10 years (I've been collecting wedding magazines since I was 16) in my opinion that I've seen is the move towards more and more attention to detail and personalization.  Couples are creating weddings with what they actually want, not just what they think they should have.  This year alone I have a jazz band in lieu of a DJ, 2 weddings with bag pipers, and multiple weddings with cupcake towers instead of the traditional wedding cake.  Not that any of those particular details are typical of a rustic/ country wedding, but it just shows that couples now are truly free to incorporate whatever they want for their big day.

Now back to this topic.  A lot of people enjoy the natural style and weddings ultimately SHOULD be an extension of the couples' style.  I wonder how weddings will be styled in 5 more years?  Here are some pictures to brighten your day!  Enjoy!

Amber Events Candy Buffet
The ever popular candy bar. Source
Rustic/ Natural Wedding Inspiration. Source

Sneak Peek- Fehnel Wedding 6.26.10

So here are a few photos from the Fehnel wedding which took place in Wilmington, DE on Saturday, June 26, 2010.  The Delaware Center for Horticulture was the perfect site for this couple- "green", beautiful, and non-fussy.  Although the temperature was climbing as the ceremony time approached, the guests stayed cool in the DCH lobby and later were greeted with ice cold water bottles when they made it down to the outside pavilion for the ceremony.  I'll save the rest of the wedding details for when I post the professional photos.  I've been in touch with the great gals at Clair Pruett Photography and I should have the photos soon!  I can't wait!  But for now, enjoy these guest pictures! 
Source: My lovely & amazing friend Ashley

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Vendor Love- Lindsay MacDonald Photography

**I am re-posting this because it was one of FCW's first posts and I unfortunately stretched the photos trying to get them to the "right size".  After a few weeks of posting & uploading a new photo editor, I think I figured it out.  A thousand apologies Lindsay, I hope this one works!
The first time I meet with a bride, I ask what are the 3 most important aspects of her wedding day. For most brides, this is actually a hard question for one of two reasons. Either the bride has 234334546 important aspects to her day and can't narrow it down or she just wants everything to flow overall and can't choose specific vendors/services that matter more to her. However, photography is almost always a top priority, as it should be. Skimp on every detail you can, but you will really appreciate the money you put out for a quality photog for years and years to come. So, as a wedding planner, I understand the importance of working with photographers that are true professionals with an amazing artistic talent. So, when I find a photographer who really impresses me, I really want to support them.

I had first heard of Lindsay MacDonald Photography in early 2009, around the time I started Felicity C Weddings. Being from the Baltimore area, I was eagerly scouring local blogs to find the hottest vendors. I can't remember exactly where I saw the first Lindsay reference, but once I went to her website, I fell hard for her style. And then I kept seeing Lindsay MacDonald Photography being referenced every.where. She was really taking off as an in demand photographer in the Baltimore area. In fact, in a "its a small, small world" twist, when I was going through her wedding portfolio, I actually saw some friends of mine who were guests at a wedding she shot. Yep, I was instantly intrigued.

Lindsay actually has two websites, Lindsay MacDonald Photography and Lindsay MacDonald Weddings. She has such a range; her portfolio includes food, portraits, personal, engagement shoots, and weddings. Lindsay is originally from outside Boston and is now living in Baltimore. Her work has taken her to from MD to NY and even Mexico! I have followed her blog (and you should too!) for awhile now and imagine my surprise when I was told that I would have the opportunity to work with Lindsay! I met with newly engaged Jen last October who hired Felicity C Weddings for her Day of Coordinator for her May 22, 2010 wedding. Jen had hired Lindsay MacDonald Photography after hearing a lot of great buzz about her as well. As with every wedding I do, in the weeks leading up to the big day I contacted all the vendors to review my day of timeline. Instantly, I felt comfortable with Lindsay and I could tell that she would make my job easier with her experience. I finally met Lindsay and her 2nd photographer, Danielle, on wedding day and both ladies were a joy to work with. Lindsay was extremely professional and focused, but she was also so much fun and made all the guests feel really comfortable. This is the perfect dichotomy of a great vendor. I don't think I saw Lindsay or Danielle without a smile on their faces the entire day into the night. It is obvious they both love photography and they both love shooting weddings. I had not worked with a pair of photographers before, I can honestly say that it was a great experience because I knew that every moment would be captured from many angles.

Now, I don't usually present challenges to my vendors, but Lindsay really impressed me with taking on a vision that I had since the first time I visited the site (Oliver's Carriage House). The reception took place on the 2nd floor which was one big, open, rectangular room with a loft on each end of the room. One loft we utilized for the DJ station and the other loft was mostly off limits because the site is used regularly by a church and this loft is the pastor's office. Well, on my first visit to this room, my wedding planner mind immediately envisioned group shots with the photographer shooting from the lofts. Simple and easy. Only, I do not have a photographer's mind and the trouble with my vision was that there were support beams in the middle of the room which would make these "above shots" tricky. Not to mention that with all the room's lights turned down combined with the dark, stone walls which would create lighting issues. Lindsay and Danielle were super excited to take this challenge on and made it work. In fact, Lindsay thanked me for having her think 'out of the box' to figure out the best way to get the loft shots and I couldn't be happier with the results:
 Oh and another very impressive fact about Lindsay? She was getting married the following weekend! In Massachusetts! On Memorial Day weekend! I was shocked that Lindsay was so cool, calm, and collected considering her own wedding was so close. I don't know if any other bride would be willing to take on such a huge task so close to her own big day. Lindsay did tell the couple and me that because of her own wedding and honeymoon, she may take 4-5 weeks to get the professional pictures back to us. Ha! For those of you not familiar with wedding photography, I've known (non client) brides who have waited up to a year to get back the professional pictures! True to her word, we received the link within the timeline and when I saw the whole wedding, I was amazed. Lindsay was awesome and sent me my favorite shots, although it was very hard to pick just a few and not a hundred. Lindsay featured different pictures on her blog (Birds and Flowers Oh My... Jen and Sean Got Married) and there are more pictures on Felicity C Weddings website, but here are a few that I definitely wanted to show all of you right now:

Monday, August 16, 2010

Let's Hear It For The Bride- Diamond Girl

SO, I have the BEST brides. True statement. The grooms are great too, don't get me wrong, but I typically have the most contact with the bride gearing up for the big day. In the first minute or two of an introductory meeting I know what kind of wedding this newlywed is envisioning and I'm already crazily spinning ideas. All of the weddings I have done are completely different & I would not want it any other way. I love stretching my ideas & inspirations as a wedding planner and adding new visions to my portfolio. Since I do love all my brides, I decided to start featuring my brides and what makes each of them uniquely awesome in my "let's hear it for the bride" section.  Enjoy!

First up is my lovely May 22nd bride, Mrs. Diamond. She is creative (the DIY queen!), lovely, and it was so much fun to work with as her day of planner. I featured her wedding in the post Vendor Love: Lindsay MacDonald Photography.  This bride had a definite vision, shares my love of details, and was incredibly laid back and easy going- all key qualities that a planner thrives on.  As a thank you after the wedding, this bride sent me a great thank you note with a necklace from her Joies Etsy shop. Working on her wedding was such a pleasure and now, this necklace has become my default/wear all the time necklace! Talk about great benefits! She told me in the note that she has a lot more time to work on her jewelry now that all the planning is over and I'm really excited to keep up with Joies shop. To get an idea of her style, I included part of her bio on Etsy and some photos. Do yourself a favor and check out her whole site!

Joies Bio: I create handmade simple and sweet jewelry that hopefully brings a smile to your face. After all, that's my goal! I use glass beads, wood, metals, stone, and minerals to create original pieces for everyday wear. My designs are all inspired by nature – whether it be the grove of trees behind my house, or the many birds that stop by the bird feeder. There is inspiration everywhere to create a simple and sweet design.




Saturday, August 14, 2010

Themed Weddings: Music

Personalization is the name of the game for today's weddings.  But beyond colors and table names, some couples are finding it hard to incorporate their passions with a balance.  Here are a few ideas on how to incorporate music/ musicians into your wedding.  *Note: the first 4 images are all from the same blog, sourced after the last image in the bunch.

wedding cake music
music theme wedding decorations
wedding guestbook

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Book Making Made Easy!

As much as I love scouring the internet for new ideas, I equally love when my brides turn me onto something new.  One of my DIY (do it yourself/ hands on crafty types) brides recently told me about which is a website/ company that helps people create their own books.  I know there are some programs that you can buy to do this, but for someone who is not overly technically savvy like me, this site is perfect! ha stheir own software (Book Smart) that you can download for free which has a bunch of different templates for photo books, portfolios, business books, wedding books, blog books (converting your blog into a book) and actual books.

My bride is going to make a guest book for her wedding with photos of her & her fiance filled with pictures of them with blank pages for signing in the front and back of the book.  THIS I love.  As a planner, I am always looking for new ideas for guest books that will actually be read after the wedding day.  Creating a photo book is also a great gift for parents and the bridal party.  And of course, the couple can make their own book with their professional pictures which is a great way of reliving their big day a month or two afterwards.

I started my own book, a portfolio for Felicity C Weddings this week but it is far from done.  I'm so excited even though my last wedding of the year is not until Thanksgiving weekend so I won't be able to finish the book until I get those professional photos back.  When the portfolio is finished, I will definitely show some pages on here.  Until then, here is a link to a the book examples page and a here is a preview of the look book from the fabulous hat making company, Two Back Flats:

Monday, August 9, 2010

Happy Anniversary!!!

SO... today is my parents' 35th anniversary of wedded bliss. They tell me that the secret is a good sense of humor and marrying your best friend. I would probably not suggest the idea of a long sleeved dress in August, but my mom said that was the style. Women being slaves to current styling has always been an issue I guess. Which gives me an idea for wedding dresses of the ages. Ohhhh ok I'm getting excited and off subject all at once.

Thank you Mom & Dad for well, everything, but specifically for a great example of marriage, faith, and family. Enjoy these groooooovy pictures of the BEST wedding of 1975!

My mom looks so pretty! And young! She was 23.

My mom is the oldest of 7 kids and has 5 sisters. The bridesmaid with the cut off arm is a non-sibling. That'll show her to get in on family memories.

Holy hippy priest!

My mom's parents' backyard aka the reception site

My dad wore a reversible tie. You know its party time when...

Let them eat cake!!! On a hill.
My parents have their wedding invitation (orange! how 70s!) framed in their bedroom
The bridesmaid dresses' bouquet still preserved 35 years later!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Vendor Love- Bliss Spa

Quick info you should know about me: I love being a girl & indulging in all sorts of girlie things. Duh, you may say, because I am a wedding planner. Well, this also applies to loving spa's, which became an annual ritual with my mom as of my 18th birthday. In Ellicott City, I am a loyal lover of the Turf Valley Spa and highly recommend the half day option: lunch, two treatments, and all around awesomeness.

Now, when I moved to Delaware 4 long years ago, my first thought was not to find a new spa because I still went back to Turf Valley every year with my mom. But about 2 years ago, I decided to take another step in my "adult transformation" and get my OWN spa. This is a very important decision in a girl's life after getting your own place of worship (check), bank (check), and nail salon (check).

After doing my due diligence, I settled on Bliss Spa located on Kirkwood Highway in Wilmington, DE. I have had massages, facials, and even couples massages (yes, they make the guys feel comfortable and relaxed) at Bliss and every service was wonderful. This past February I was in and started talking to the manager to let her know how happy I have been with her establishment. I told her I have an event planning company and I would love to work with Bliss Spa in the future. Bliss has varied services for bridal parties from beauty to pampering. SO many brides are steering away from a traditional bachelorette night out on the town by creating a customized spa day- spa IS the new bachelorette party. I'm already planning one for this September. Knowing all of this, I added the spa to Felicity C Weddings' trusted vendors page (just so you know that I truly "test" out services before recommending). I was already on the email list for the monthly newsletter and the latest email was so exciting that I had to share with all of you!

Bliss Spa has decided to introduce a promotion of "Massage Mondays" and "Facial Fridays"!!! Customers will receive $10 off massages on Mondays and facials on Fridays just by mentioning this promotion! Check out the website for full details on all the different options for massages and facials. Whether you are a bride-to-be or not, everyone deserves a little pampering now and again. And you can feel better with the $10 off! Enjoy!