Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The 411: Kids At Weddings

I'm sure that most of us have some foggy memories of going to a family wedding as a child.  There was a lot going on, we were in uncomfortable clothes and everyone was really tall.  The idea of including kids in a wedding reception has mixed reviews across the board.  But if you do decide that you want the magic that only children can bring to a wedding, read on for a few tips to make sure that everyone has a great time! 

#1. Keep kids in mind, always.  For the ceremony, make sure there is a clear exit for guests with small children who may not be able to make it through a full sitting-still ceremony.  Bonus for supplying a small book or QUIET toy to keep kids occupied.  Also confirm that there is a place for parents to take kids out of the reception room too, just in case.

#2. Make sure there you provide a kids menu for the cocktail hour and for dinner.  We all know that kids can be picky eaters, make sure you talk to the parents and your caterer before the wedding to discuss any allergies and the final kids menu.  Parents may bring cereal just in case but if you can minimize what parents have to bring, all the better.
Photo credit: Procopio Photography, Ford wedding

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

When The Unexpected Happens- Why You Need A Planner

The foundation of wedding planning is logistics.  I like to say that I am in the business of solutions; that even if it is not my fault, it is my problem to solve.  The most accurate description of what I do is being a client advocate, making sure that everything and everyone involved is working for the best interests of my clients.  The day of your wedding you want to be calm, excited (yes, both at the same time) and enjoying every minute.  Peace of mind is priceless, knowing that if any issue comes up, you have a professional to handle it before you even know about it.  It is my job to have all the resources to pull together my client's vision.  Here are few true stories (mine included) of how a planner saved the day when the unexpected happened on a wedding day. 

I recently had a bride whose makeup artist had a huge family emergency the morning of the wedding.  The makeup was supposed to start at 7am for a 12:30pm ceremony and I got a text at 7am from the bride that the makeup artist couldn't make it.  After making a few calls, I secured a makeup artist who I had the pleasure of working with on another client wedding.  She turned her whole day around to come help my bride.  With the late notice and travel time, makeup started at 9:30am, 2.5 hours later than scheduled.  Thanks to working well with all the great vendors, I managed to catch up to the original timeline by cocktail hour and my clients had a gorgeous wedding day.   

My own image, camera phone 

Rain is what presented a huge problem for this couple, whose wedding site was on top of a hill and the only road up was a muddy mess which almost cancelled the wedding!  This smart couple had a planner that helped them move their entire wedding to a new venue, an industrial warehouse, and transformed the space with all the incredible vendors in a matter of hours!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Guest Post: Divine Transformation

One of the best parts of my job is meeting and working with great vendors who truly love what they do.  Rev. Laura Cannon & I make a great team for our clients and I am so thrilled that she agreed to write a guest post to discuss the most important part of a wedding- the marriage that happens after the big celebration.  Her experience as an officiant and relationship coach has given her some great insights, so read on and enjoy!

I am so lucky to be one of those people who absolutely loves their job.  How could I not?  Being a wedding officiant means that I get to spend one of the most joyous days of a couples lives with them.  But it isn't just the wedding day that I love.  I love being truly invested in my couples happiness, even after the big day!

One thing that I always discuss with couples is the importance of the engagement period.  Many couples look at the engagement period as the time to "plan the wedding."  By the time people meet with me to plan their ceremony they are already mentally bombarded with decisions about flowers, cake flavors, chair covers, linens, music... the list goes on and on. (Photo credit: Procopio Photography, Ford wedding 9/25/10)

I started asking couples,  "How much time have you spent planning your wedding so far?"  The answer was usually something like "too many to count."  On average a full-scale event planner takes 250 hours to plan a wedding, and remember, they know what they are doing!  I would follow up this question with, "How many hours of you spent planning for your actual marriage?" You know, the life that will be waiting for you after the cake is eaten and the music has stopped.  The response:  Deer in headlights stare.

Many of us get so wrapped up in planning for this one (albeit very special) day, we neglect to realize that planning for our married life is equally important.  Not only am I a wedding officiant but I am also a relationship coach.  I coach couples in all stages of their relationship from pre-engagement to post marriage.  From my work with these couples it became clear that there were definite indicators that I could see even before they walked down the aisle that would indicate how successful their marriage would be.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The 411: Small Business Saturday

Holiday season is upon us.  While we are welcoming back another year of holiday commericals enticing us to get our wallets ready for this huge shopping weekend, there is one new movement that is gaining a lot of steam: Small Business Saturday.  SBS is actually in its 2nd year and the whole point is for consumers to shop only at small businesses this coming Saturday, November 26th. 

We all know that Black Friday is a HUGE American phenomenon, with thousands of people camping out on Thanksgiving night in anticipation for stores opening at midnight with mind blowing deals on holiday shopping.  And yes, we all love the big retailers, but think of how many small businesses are overlooked?  Taking one day to support will make a huge impact on small businesses across the country, a boost we all need.  Shopping exclusively at these small businesses is not only good for the them, but think of all the personal interaction that you miss as just another face in the crowd at the nationwide stores, not to mention the unique gifts for your friends & family.  And just to be clear, small businesses are located in your community and online (hello Etsy!) so show your support however you want.   

Not sure where to find these great businesses?  Since social media is king, Small Business Saturday has a facebook page which allows small businesses to register and consumers can search their local businesses!  According to the Small Business Saturday Consumer Spend Survey 2011, 61% of consumers plan to shop at locally-owned clothing and accessories stores on November 26.  I'll be posting local vendors this week for you to check out, focusing on the great wedding vendors I've worked with through Felicity C Weddings.  Because of course you can shop for wedding items along with holiday shopping!  

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wedding or Party: Tables & Desserts

It's back!  I know it has been some time, but there are too much awesome hard-to-tell-if-it's-a-wedding-or-a-party images to not do another post.  So, be honest and give your best guess.  Good luck!

 Wedding or party? Here is the answer.

 Wedding or party? Here is the answer.

 Wedding or party? Here is the answer.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Trendy Wedding Signs & New Sign Inspiration

Personally & professionally, I have a love-hate relationship with trends.  Trends are a good thing.  They move society forward, one idea can be interpreted in many ways and can spin out into 50 ideas.  But when a trend makes everyone feel forced to follow, that's when I'm over it.  I really believe that your style should be a mixture of ideas, inspiration AND your personal style. 

This is no different for your wedding day.  The wedding industry is not exempt from falling into trend ruts (hello 'rustic' decor).  It's not that wedding trends are bad, but I always encourage my clients to personalize their wedding as much as possible.  This means taking something meaningful to you and using it in your wedding- a favorite poem, lyric, pet names, etc.  I've also included some creative signs that I really like, hopefully they will inspire couples to create their own wedding style. Enjoy! 

Trend: Eat, Drink & Be Married
Image #340576
Update 1:
Update 2:
Image #340595
Trend: Just Married
Update 1:

Monday, November 7, 2011

Guest Post: The Military Bride Part 1

Military couples have the 'normal' stress of weddings plus a whole 'nother level- civil ceremony only? ceremony and reception for friends & family? when? where? before deployment or after?  My first military bride in particular is unforgettable- we planned together for a year and a half... while she & her Navy husband were stationed in Guam!  Throw in the fact that planning with my Guam bride included a 14 hour time difference, her husband was deployed for part of her stay and she conquered a few tsunamis just to name a few reasons why this is one planning process I will always remember. I've asked her to share her amazing story and she happily obliged.  You can follow her adventures on her own blog and on here as this is the first in three posts on her wedding story.  Enjoy!     

“Do you see him?” I whispered to my best friend, trying to discreetly point out the cute boy on the chip aisle of the grocery store. Casually leaning against the shopping cart talking to his two friends, his hoodie, with “Surf Rescue” printed on the back, caught my attention. And when I saw him turn a corner riding the cart, you know how we all used to -- both feet on the bar in the back, enough weight in the basket to counterbalance you -- I knew I had to meet him. Fortunately, one of his friends noticed my sideways glances and made sure they got behind us at the checkout line. My girlfriend and I giggled and glanced, but I wasn’t sure what to do. Would he be turned off if I approached? The cashier handed us our receipt; it was do or die. My friend nudged me, handing me a pen, and said “Just go!” Scrawling my name and number on the back of the receipt, I walked the long 3 feet closer to him and found myself frozen by the deepest brown eyes I’ve ever seen. I have no idea what I said or what he said to me, but he had my number and, embarrassed, I walked away certain I’d never hear from him again.

My phone rang late Saturday night and the next morning I listened to a voicemail fueled by liquid courage and decided he sounded normal nice enough. Sunday afternoon, after flopping on all of my roommates beds and debating every detail, I called him back. Pacing around my room on my cell, we talked for about an hour. He was part of the Corps of Cadets which didn’t phase me, my dad was a Colonel in the Army. My dad had also been in the Corps of Cadets at Virginia Tech, and met my mom there. I knew what the military was about. Chris was a Navy brat and was hoping to be a pilot. Our first date led to a second, a third and soon we were officially a couple. My first experience with how the military would play into our relationship was his summer cruise. He was sent to San Diego for a month to learn about life on a carrier. I stayed in Blacksburg taking summer classes. It was only a few months into the relationship so I honestly wasn’t too affected by it. He came back to Blacksburg for the rest of the summer and our relationship grew. A year older than him, I graduated in December of 2005. This began our long distance relationship. He graduated in May 2006 and was accepted into Flight School. In the following 3 years, he would move every 6 months, to Florida, Oklahoma and back to Florida. I stayed in Maryland working and going to visit every 4-6 months. He asked me to move in with him when he moved from Oklahoma back to Florida, but the timing for me was off and I had to say no. I wondered if I had missed my chance. He became a helicopter pilot and got orders to Guam. I was crushed. No that doesn’t do it justice. I curled into a ball and sobbed thinking I was losing my best friend. He was going to be training in San Diego for 6 months before going to Guam and I decided to go with him. I figured the time together would help me decide whether to wait for him or call it off when he moved to halfway around the world. We packed as much as we could into his Camry, I sold my beloved 1994 Honda Civic and we drove across the country to North Island Coronado Navy Base.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Hitched!!! Turner Wedding 8.13.11

One of the most rewarding parts of my job is seeing not only my clients fully enjoying their big day, but also seeing the two families coming together.  Even more rewarding is working with a family on more than one wedding!  After working in April on the Williams wedding, I was contacted by the wife of Mrs. William's cousin.  Frances & Paul Turner had a court ceremony in November 2009 and were planning a full blown ceremony and reception for all their friends & family in August 2011.  Frances had been planning for over a year and half when I came in the picture for Day of Coordination and we had such a good time working together, I truly have the BEST clients. 

Frances & Paul already had a great foundation for their wedding and had chosen some great vendors which made my job easier.  The bride, her female relatives and the mother of the groom were pampered by Monica Cook Make Up Artistry and Silver Immersion, who worked their magic on the hair styling.  The ceremony & reception were held at Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore, MD and the caterer was the on-site SAGE Dining Services.  I could not be more impressed with any particular aspect of this site- the Marikle chapel is breathtaking (see photos below), the site coordinators Bodga and Mo were amazing and the catering was delicious with a great staff to boot.  Father Thomas Malia officiated the full Catholic mass complete with Philippine traditions to honor the bride's heritage.  Elaine Bryant of Harp Shadows provided the ceremony music and the entire wedding day was captured by Beverly Lynn Photography.  Decor was completed by the always amazing My Flower Box Events LLC who provided the gorgeous floral arrangements for the ceremony, reception and all family flowers. 

The reception music and MC duties were handled by Walt of DJ Dunick who was kept the guests partying until midnight!  Last but not least, the delicious wedding cake was crafted by Sweet Bakery Baltimore. All of this was made a success by having my fabulous sister, Jeanette Carmody, as my event assistant.  There were so many great details it was hard to narrow down to this post, check the Felicity C Weddings facebook page for the complete album.  I sincerely wish the Turners years of happiness and love!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Guest Post: The Wilmington Photo Booth Company

Chances are that if you have attended a wedding in the past 2 years, you probably have seen a new vendor who is making a splash in the wedding industry: the photo booth!  This new option is guest friendly but being so new, some couples may not know what to look for in a photo booth vendor.  Enter Pete Marroni, owner of the Wilmington Photo Booth Company in Wilmington, DE, with some insight for couples to consider when choosing a photo booth vendor.  Take it away, Pete:

Photo booths are quickly becoming a must at wedding receptions. The buzz they create is unmatched at a wedding. So where do you start if you are choosing a photo booth company?

Have you seen a photo booth in action? If you have seen one or two photo booth companies in action you can use them as your starting point. Nothing beats seeing the photo booth company in action. As there are huge differences in quality and fun with the various companies. If you haven’t seen any companies ask around. Who should you ask? Anyone who has hired a company in the past is a great way to start. You can ask friends and family who you’ve known to been at an event with one, however you may not get the complete feel fro how the whole process worked and how the dealings were with the company. If you’ve hired an event planner they are a great resource. Event planners have typically seen many photo booths through their work. Often they can tell you the pros and cons of each company. The venue contact should know a great deal about photo booth companies as well. Both the venue and event planners love sharing this info as if you hire someone who has a good reputation it makes their job easier. Once you narrow down a few companies we recommend setting up appointments to go and see the photo booths in action. This can be done at their office or at a bridal show/public event. Be weary of anyone who is not willing to show their product.

What does the photo booth look like? There is nothing worse then having a great setting and having a cheesy looking photo booth. Again this comes down to seeing is believing. Also ask or see how many guests can fit into the frame. Many times you can only get two or three faces in a shot. If you want large group shots (which enhances the fun) make sure that the photo booth can accommodate. 

Is the company full time?  How quickly did the company get back to you after initial contact? Many companies have started a part time business and if they have you want to make sure that they are still responsive. Make sure that the company is fully licensed and insured. Many venues require the latter and require a certificate to confirm this. Also the quality of website that the company has is a pretty good indicator of how serious they are about their business.

Is the company receiving good reviews? As with all wedding vendors, on-line reviews are a great way to weed out the less than stellar performers. Testimonials on the company website are fine, however they are only going to put up the good ones.  A great resource for reviews are independent sites like the Knot and the Wedding Wire for instance.

How nice are the prints? A photo booth company that spent the extra time ensuring that they are producing high quality prints is worth looking at. How nice does the graphic and text look on the strip? How quickly do the prints come out? This is a very important aspect of your photo booth experience and is often overlooked. Ask to see samples from different companies.

How nice are the extras? The same could be same for props, memory book, frames and other options. See if the company reuses props. Ask to see a memory book and ask to see what company they use for their memory book and check out their reputation. The memory book is something that you will look at for years to come. Quality may not mean anything now but 5 or 6 years down the road a book that has held up well will stand out. Also check to see about place cards, thank you notes or save the date magnets. All of these options enhance the total experience.

How accessible are the prints after the wedding? With social media being king you want to make sure your guests and you have the ability to get the photos digitally after the event so they can easily be put on facebook. Some companies may not host the photos at all or they may charge you extra. Sometimes they are watermarked or they only get put up for a month. Also check to see what size photos are accessible and if the strips themselves are accessible. You may also want to check to see if guests can get additional strips after wedding at no extra charge? Many times only two strips print out and if there are ten people in the shot either 8 or 9 people are losing out on that memorable shot.

What kind of value are getting? Getting what you pay for is very important in today’s day of age. When comparing prices make sure you look at the overall picture, as sometimes cheaper is not better. True value comes from weighing all aspects of your experience. Good luck!


Peter Marroni
Owner/Event Consultant
The Wilmington Photo Booth Co.
(302) 388-3619
"Capturing You at Your Finest"

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