Posts Tagged ‘Amy Mancuso’

Why A Consultant?

November 18, 2008

Preparing and planning a wedding takes time, energy and organization.  The list of questions to answer, decisions to make and details to manage are endless and may be a little overwhelming for someone with limited time, resources or experience in planning such a special event.

 

If this is true for you, then you may want to consider enlisting the services of a professional wedding consultant to help you maximize your time and money. These professionals utilize their extensive database of resources and quality vendors. They provide wonderful, creative ideas and invaluable planning expertise throughout the run-up and including the wedding day itself.

 

The reasons for hiring a consultant are as varied as the couples getting married.  The services of a professional consultant typically include establishing and maintaining a wedding budget, negotiating with vendors, record keeping, scheduling, making appointments with vendors, providing wedding etiquette advice, referring qualified vendors and/or service providers, booking hotel rooms for out-of-town guests, making transportation arrangements, coordinating vendor delivery schedules, overseeing all the wedding details and providing detailed itineraries that keep everyone on schedule on the day of the wedding.

 

A professional consultant can be priceless to some couples; however, not everyone may need the services of a consultant throughout the entire planning process.  If you have the time and skills required to plan your wedding, you may want to use a consultant for rehearsal and wedding day services only.  The consultant will follow through on your plans and ensure that your every wish is carried out.  You can relax and enjoy your wedding knowing that a competent, professional is handling the details, setting you free from constant vendor interruptions, keeping everyone on schedule and handling any emergencies that may arise.

 

Another added benefit is that most vendors enjoy working with a professional wedding coordinator.  With the consultant’s knowledge and expertise in wedding planning, the events usually run smoothly, on time, and the vendors themselves tend to be more efficient.

 

In addition to being knowledgeable, resourceful and creative, the consultant is usually an excellent mediator if there is an issue between the bride and groom or between the families.  The consultant can provide a third-party objectivity to relieve some of the stress and hopefully solve the problem. 

 

Remember, anyone can call herself a “consultant”.  Look for a coordinator who has a proven track record of success and has been certified as a professional in the industry.  Hiring someone who is an expert assures you of the utmost in professional wedding planning and consulting.  It gives you the confidence to know you are hiring someone who is educated and up-to-date with the latest wedding trends. 

 

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Groom’s Day, Too

November 18, 2008

Grooms today are just as much involved in the planning process as the bride and brides are thrilled that their men are taking on more responsibility and getting involved in making many of the decisions regarding their special day.  The groom’s contribution may vary depending on the type of wedding the couple chooses, but nowadays most grooms are older and getting married at a later age, so they are more savvy in handling their own finances and comfortable paying for the things that mean the most to them as a couple.

 

Still the most popular involvement for grooms revolves around choosing the music and what to serve at the bar.   This is an easy way to start the planning process as they are comfortable dealing and making decisions on these two details, and the bride is usually always comfortable with the decisions and gives her a sense of pride that the groom is becoming a joint partner in the planning process.

 

After those details have been established, choosing flowers, décor and other details for the wedding becomes very comfortable for both the bride and groom and the groom actually begins to truly enjoy helping and working together with his future wife in making the wedding day filled with the decisions made together.

 

The rehearsal dinner is another part of the wedding weekend that many grooms choose to be involved, especially if his family is hosting the event.  This is where his style and taste can truly shine in putting a memorable evening together.

 

Besides helping with the planning details, the groom still needs to choose his wedding attire.  Though styles have come and gone through the years, the most popular by far is still the traditional classic tux, followed by a custom suit and suits for his groomsmen.  Once the bride and broom have decided on the “look” for the wedding, the groom will advise the other members of the wedding party, including the groomsmen, ushers, fathers and grandfathers of the chosen attire and help them with all the details in reserving and rental of the attire.

 

Weddings are not just a one-day affair anymore and the guys are now enjoying pre-wedding activities just as much as the girls.  Grooms want to incorporate events that can include everyone from the groomsmen, ushers, fathers and grandfathers and one of the most enjoyable and popular is golf.  Golf outings and/or mini tournaments are usually planned for the Friday before the wedding and it’s a great way for all the guys to get to know one another before the big day.  Other activities for the guys can include wilderness adventures, balloon rides, boating, wine tasting, cigar party, or even a day trip to Vegas.

 

Since there are so many details to every wedding and the decisions are endless, having your professional wedding consultant there to help you every step of the way with ideas, suggestions and recommendations can only ensure that your event will be an incredible occasion to remember forever.

Something Different, Theme Weddings

November 17, 2008

 For those who choose to dance to the beat of a different drummer, weddings today are as unique and creative as the couples who are marrying.  The options are as varied as their personalities.  So for those who want to put a spin on tradition, you are only limited by your imagination.  So if the traditional just seems downright boring, think about a non-traditional or themed wedding or venue.

 

Consider the ceremony on a beach and then celebrate with a traditional New England style clambake, or in a barn with a square-dance reception.  There are Art Deco or Black and White Weddings, where everything from the invitations to the decorations are in black or white or both.

 

You can choose a nautical theme, where the wedding takes place on a yacht, boat or beach with signal flags spelling your names, and wearing a straw boater hat instead of a veil.  Of course, the guys in blazers, seashell centerpieces and a scrumptious seafood buffet.

 

For a Mardi Gras wedding, a jazz band is a must, as well as gumbo, spicy jambalaya, crawfish and an oyster bar.  Don’t forget those Hurricane drinks, and after the ceremony, toss some of beads and carnival trinkets instead of the traditional birdseed or bubbles.  Later in the evening, pass out exotic masks with feathers and glitter to dance the night away.

 

For a more tropical feel, put on a traditional luau complete with pu pu platters and mai tais drinks.  Surround the area with tiki torches, orchids, flowering ginger and palm fronds.  Don’t forget the flower leis for the bridal party and/or guests.

 

The Provencal or Viennese wedding would consist of French bread and cheese, bouillabaisse, red and white wines, dancing to waltzes and ball gowns and white tie.  Finish off the evening by serving caviar, elaborate desserts and the much-awaited departure in a horse-drawn carriage.

 

Besides some of the ideas outlined above, you might consider a seasonal or holiday wedding, a Victorian celebration or even a mystery wedding, where the guests are invited to a party, but aren’t informed it’s a wedding till they are at the ceremony.  Then, they are given clues as to how to the find the reception.  Also, the groomsmen are wearing trench coats and dark glasses.

 

Other possible sites to consider when planning something different: A Marina or shipyard, Art Gallery, Museum, Airplane Hanger, College Campus, Pier, Amusement Park, Train Station, School Gymnasium or Classroom, Winery, Indoor Greenhouse, Public Park, Skating Rink, Racetrack, Barn, Warehouse, Department Store (after hours), Office Building Lobby or Atrium, Theatre or Movie Theater.

For other, non-traditional locations and/or venues, always consult your professional wedding coordinator, who besides helping you plan the perfect themed wedding, can help handle and eliminate any extra challenges staging a wedding and/or reception at any out-of-the-ordinary location or venue can present.

Wedding Traditions

November 17, 2008

Even in today’s high tech, fast-paced world, there are still some things rooted in tradition – like weddings.  Couples today still observe century old practices, updating them to reflect their personality and style.  Here are some questions and meanings behind some of the more traditional wedding customs still practiced today:

 

Why a wedding ring?  Wedding rings are circular to symbolize never-ending love, and were first worn to protect the bride from evil spirits.  Originally, the rings were made out of rushes, hemp, or braided grass.  Then, the Romans used more durable iron to symbolize the permanent bond of marriage.  In ancient Egypt, gold rings were used as money as a symbol of the groom’s wealth and his intention to wed.  Gold has always been a popular choice, but expensive.  It symbolizes lasting beauty, purity and strength.  The Egyptian husband placed a gold ring on the third finger of his bride’s left hand to show that he trusted her with his money.  The engagement ring came in around the 13th century when Pope Innocent III declared that a waiting period was to be observed between betrothal and marriage and this lead to the separate engagement and wedding rings.

 

Why the third finger of the left hand?  Centuries ago, people believed that the vein of the third finger of the left hand ran directly to the heart.  During medieval times, grooms would place sequentially the wedding ring on three of the bride’s fingers to symbolize the trinity – first on the bride’s thumb (“in the name of the Father”), then on the index finger (“and the Son”), then on the middle finger (“and the Holy Ghost”) before sliding the ring onto the third ring finger, saying “Amen”, where the ring remained throughout the marriage.  The tradition has remained until today and is the custom for most of all English speaking countries.

 

Why does the Bride wear white?  Since the Roman era white has been the color of choice and a symbol of celebration.  The color has had different meanings over the centuries including affluence during the Victorian era and then at the beginning of the 20th century, it represented purity.  Today, the color symbolizes joy and happiness and even women remarrying chose to wear some shade of white or ivory.

 

Why does the Bride wear a veil?  Veils were first worn to help the bride remain modest and hide her from jealous spirits.  It also represented the bride’s youth and virginity.  Even today, in most Muslim, Middle Eastern, African and some Eastern European countries, the women must conform to religious constraints and conduct the entire courtship being veiled.  The men are not permitted to see their bride’s face until after the wedding.  Centuries ago, veils were red and were worn to the protect the bride from the devil and “evil eye.”  Sometimes the veils were blue (meaning “constancy”), or even yellow (the classic color of the God of Marriage, Hymen).  Early Christian brides wore white to symbolize purity and celebration.  It was actually Martha Washington’s granddaughter who is said to have started the custom of wearing a white-lace veil.  It was on her wedding day that her fiancé complimented her as she stood behind a lace window curtain.

 

Why does the bride carry flowers?  For centuries flowers have represented a variety of emotions and merits – roses, love; lilies, virtue; and so on.  Early Roman brides carried bouquets of herbs under their veils to symbolize fidelity and fertility, and to ward off evil.  Greeks used ivy as a sign of indissoluble love.  Orange blossoms were chosen by the ancient Saracens to represent fulfillment and happiness.  Today, wedding blooms convey a message of fertility, enduring love and bounty.

 

Why is it traditional to have bridesmaids and ushers?  In early times, it was marriage by capture.  The groom’s friends helped him kidnap his bride and defended him against anyone who might try to rescue her – including her family.  The best man and ushers represent the warriors.  At the wedding ceremony, the groom always stood on the bride’s right side, leaving his right hand, his sword hand, free to defend her.

 

Also, it was customary for the bride to travel to the groom’s village accompanied by escorts, her “bridesmaids,” who would defend her and her dowry against rival suitors and robbers.  In England, married men or, “bridegroom men”, would escort the bride on the way home.

 

There are still many other century-old customs and traditions practiced today.  Working with a professional wedding consultant will ensure than any customs or traditions you wish to incorporate into your wedding will make it a day to remember.

Kids at the Wedding

November 16, 2008

Whether you’re planning on having children from a previous marriage participate in your special day or you just want to invite your friends’ children as guests, here are some ways to let them enjoy the big day:

 

If you’re blending families, have the younger members help light the unity candle or participate in a “sand ceremony” in which each child pours a different color sand into a glass container to create a pattern representing the new family.

 

You can invite your children to stand with you at the altar as you mention your children in your vows.  It can make a huge difference in their attitude toward the wedding and the blending of the families.

 

For older children, let them take a more significant role, such as escorting Mom or Dad down the aisle.  Some children choose to write a special poem to be read or sing a special song during the ceremony or reception.

 

Keeping kids entertained during the day can be challenging.  Make goody bags with coloring books and small toys; give older children disposable cameras and ask them to record the day.  Encourage kids to dance or participate in a dove release.

 

As long as the children feel involved and have something to do, you’re ensured a day filled with fun, laughter and so many special moments that will be treasured for a lifetime.

What’s Hot in Weddings

November 16, 2008

In today’s high tech, fast-paced world, there are still some things rooted in tradition – like weddings.  But Couples today are choosing to reflect their personalities and style in new and exciting ways.  Here are some ideas for what’s “Hot” this year:

 

Color, Color, Color . . . Rich, vibrant, Wow.  Be bold and don’t be afraid to express your inner passion.  Today’s Brides are choosing to show off and make a statement with color from everything from their linens, napkins, table décor, lighting, and even their tables and chairs.  Don’t be afraid to mix and match contrasting colors and patterns.

 

Unique décor . . . Low seating with pillows, amazing chargers, china, flatware and linens pull it all together.

 

Fun, Fun, Fun . . . It’s all abou fun.  Games and parodies (a poem or funny quote left on a guest’s place setting, karaoke, Twister, charades), the choices are endless.  You’re never too old to have fun.

 

Passion Fruit . . . Incorporate and take advantage of mother’s nature grandeur by incorporating bountiful fruit anywhere from centerpieces to outrageous desserts such as cherries Jubilee.

 

Wine Pairings/Tasting . . . Turn your cocktail hour/reception into a wine tasting.  You can provide numerous selections butler passed or available at the bar.  Some couples are even providing at their reception “wine flights” for each individual guest, as well as wine parings with each course of dinner throughout dessert.

 

Parting Gifts/Favors . . . Forget the candles, candy, and picture frames . . . today’s couples want to gift their guests with the unique and unusual.  Some new ideas on the old . . . instead of the common disposal camera; provide each guest with a real digital camera for them to take pictures and take home.  Who doesn’t love some doughnuts or muffins and milk for the ride home or to have the next morning for breakfast.  Or if you want to provide something more elegant, there’s always a mini bottle of Perrier Jouet with a box of truffles.  Want the ultimate individual touch, have the bride and groom hand out personal gifts for each guest.

 

Ceremony . . . Besides the traditional, some new thoughts to incorporate into your ceremony might include reading a short verse about someone who has passed away and then ringing of a bell in honor of them.  This is repeated for all you wish to acknowledge.  Also, a very emotional, touching moment is when the bride and groom separately walk over to each other’s mother, kneeling before her, and telling her in their own words, how much their son/daughter means to them, or other words from the heart.  It’s a very private, bonding moment.

 

Details, Details, Details . . . from gifts to Charities, to taking the time to thank loved ones at soirees during toasts, to serving guests their favorite comfort foods; couples today are really looking for the littlest details to reflect their personality and style.  Don’t be afraid to look outside the box. 

 

With endless choices and options, the planning can seem endless and daunting, but with the help of a professional wedding consultant, who is an expert in the industry, you will be ensured that any wish you want to incorporate into your wedding will be.

Who Will Handle All the Details

November 16, 2008

Imagine, after months and months of planning and perfecting every detail of your wedding . . .

 

  • Guests begin arriving too early
  • Family pictures are not taken
  • The cake is missing
  • Several vendors are also missing
  • The tables at the reception are set wrong
  • The flowers are late
  • The groom’s boutonniere has fallen apart
  • The band’s truck has broken down
  • Your transportation from the church to the reception is nowhere to be found

 

What would you do?  And, more importantly, would you have time to fix it all before the wedding?

 

Handling unpredictable situations and emergencies is another strong argument for hiring a professional wedding consultant.  Now matter how well you have planned Murphy’s Law prevails.

 

Some couples feel that if they are working with a church/temple coordinator and the catering manager at the reception venue, a wedding consultant is not necessary and is really just an added expense.  Right?

 

On the contrary, a good consultant works with the church/temple coordinator and the catering manager as a team.  Each of these three carries specific duties to assure Murphy’s Law will stay at bay.

 

For example, a church/temple coordinator’s duties include details relating to the ceremony and the rules governing the church or synagogue.  These lovely women facilitate the rehearsal, as well as the ceremony – but what if something happens outside her range of responsibilities?  Would she know what to do and more importantly, would she do it?

 

Does she know the vendors and how to contact them?  Does she know how to create bouquets and boutonnieres if one is damaged or missing?  Can she find items the bride might have forgotten or lost?  Does she have an emergency kit?  Your wedding coordinator will have all that and more.

 

The same is true for catering managers.  They are wonderful to work with and they definitely know every inch of their venue.  As a complement your consultant works together with the catering manager to ensure your reception will be smooth and trouble free. 

 

You should know that in most instances, on your wedding day, the catering manager turns the event over to the banquet captain.  Knowing that your consultant is at your reception working with the banquet captain will assure all the details of the evening are well in hand.

 

Many couples need this assistance but are reluctant to hire a consultant because they feel they might lose control of their wedding.  The consultant works within your guidelines and under your supervision.  You control her involvement; however, if a personal crisis should arise, the consultant can carry the ball for you.

 

Though prices vary with the services provided, the money you save through the services she provides may offset the fee you pay.  You set the budget.  With the consultant’s expertise, negotiating, buying power and contacts in the wedding industry, your wedding may be worth much more than you could otherwise afford. 

 

One further note:  Anyone can call herself a consultant.  Look for a coordinator affiliated with a nationally accredited association.  That affiliation tells you that she has been certified as a professional in the industry.  It gives you the confidence you are hiring someone who is educated and up to date with the latest wedding trends.

Another Time Around

November 16, 2008

Many couples today seem to have the same question:  “We have been married before, what can we do this time to make it different?”  The options are limitless.  Whether you prefer to keep it traditional or go for something completely different, being married before doesn’t mean you have to settle for anything less than the wedding of your dreams.

 

For some couples, one of the most important elements is incorporating their children into their wedding.  They want to start off their lives together sharing with the whole family, making each child feel special and part of the celebration.  Whether your child or children are grown or still small, there is a place for them in your wedding, either at the ceremony or at the reception. 

 

The best thing is to first sit down with them and ask how they would like to be part of your day.  Listen to their thoughts and suggestions as to what would make them most comfortable.  You should never try to force a child to do something they are uncomfortable about, especially on your wedding day.  There are many different ways the child or children can be incorporated into the wedding and your wedding coordinator can help you with different ideas and suggestions.

 

As for the couple themselves their wedding can be as simple or as elaborate as they feel best suits their tastes.  Even if you had a big celebration the first time, doesn’t mean you have to skip that type of affair the second time.  Some even choose to make it bigger and better than before.  Others might choose to do something more intimate with a few family members and friends at a private home or venue.  Whatever you choose, it should be right for you and your family.

 

Many brides inquire about appropriate wedding attire for a second wedding.  Again, the choices are limitless.  Whether they opt to wear a beautiful traditional gown with full veil and train, or something simpler such as a cocktail suit or dress – choose the style that best emplifies who you are and what you look best in.  Just because you wore white before doesn’t mean you can’t wear it again.

 

But, on the other hand, if you have always liked a particular color, this is the perfect time to choose a dress in that color and enjoy yourself.  It is your day to shine and you can personalize your look and make it as unique as you are.

 

The same holds true for men.  If the wedding is more formal, wear a tux; if it is a more intimate affair, a suit will do.  Choose the look that best fits the type of wedding and compliments the bride, of course.  No one said you shouldn’t look even better than before.

 

A professional wedding consultant can be a valuable tool to assist in choosing, personalizing and implementing the look and style that best compliments you and your wedding.

A Second Time Around

September 29, 2008

 Many couples today seem to have the same question:  “We have been married before, what can we do this time to make it different?”  The options are limitless.  Whether you prefer to keep it traditional or go for something completely different, being married before doesn’t mean you have to settle for anything less than the wedding of your dreams.

 

For some couples, one of the most important elements is incorporating their children into their wedding.  They want to start off their lives together sharing with the whole family, making each child feel special and part of the celebration.  Whether your child or children are grown or still small, there is a place for them in your wedding, either at the ceremony or at the reception. 

 

The best thing is to first sit down with them and ask how they would like to be part of your day.  Listen to their thoughts and suggestions as to what would make them most comfortable.  You should never try to force a child to do something they are uncomfortable about, especially on your wedding day.  There are many different ways the child or children can be incorporated into the wedding and your wedding coordinator can help you with different ideas and suggestions.

 

As for the couple themselves their wedding can be as simple or as elaborate as they feel best suits their tastes.  Even if you had a big celebration the first time, doesn’t mean you have to skip that type of affair the second time.  Some even choose to make it bigger and better than before.  Others might choose to do something more intimate with a few family members and friends at a private home or venue.  Whatever you choose, it should be right for you and your family.

 

Many brides inquire about appropriate wedding attire for a second wedding.  Again, the choices are limitless.  Whether they opt to wear a beautiful traditional gown with full veil and train, or something simpler such as a cocktail suit or dress – choose the style that best emplifies who you are and what you look best in.  Just because you wore white before doesn’t mean you can’t wear it again.

 

But, on the other hand, if you have always liked a particular color, this is the perfect time to choose a dress in that color and enjoy yourself.  It is your day to shine and you can personalize your look and make it as unique as you are.

 

The same holds true for men.  If the wedding is more formal, wear a tux; if it is a more intimate affair, a suit will do.  Choose the look that best fits the type of wedding and compliments the bride, of course.  No one said you shouldn’t look even better than before.

 

A professional wedding consultant can be a valuable tool to assist in choosing, personalizing and implementing the look and style that best compliments you and your wedding.

Military Weddings—Customs & Protocols

September 22, 2008

As more of our military men and women are being called up for active duty to serve our country, many are choosing to solidify their commitment in holy matrimony before they go.  A military wedding is steeped in tradition, and following are a few guidelines and tips for those who wish to incorporate those into their marriage ceremony.

 

If both the bride and groom are members of the military, they have the option of wearing their uniform or wearing traditional wedding attire.   Choose what feels most comfortable based on how traditional the military wedding will be.  Full ceremonial-dress uniform of the service and rank is often worn – blue in winter, white in summer – including white gloves and swords (for the Navy and Coast Guard) or sabres (for the Army and Marines). If members of the honor guard are also wedding attendants, they must wear military dress.  No one not wearing full dress uniforms can carry a sword or sabre. 

 

Military decorations replace boutonnieres on men’s uniforms; a bride in uniform may choose to still carry a bouquet.  If the bride will not be in uniform, she should complement the very formal style of the military uniforms by wearing a long, elegant dress.  Non-military groomsmen dress in traditional formalwear (ie, tuxedos or suits), as do non-military bridesmaids or attendants wearing equally formal long dresses.

 

For the ceremony, you may choose the military chapel or your own church or synagogue. If you attended a military academy, you may marry there if you are a graduate (active or retired), a child of a graduate, or a member of the faculty or staff.  Each academy and military base/post has its own guidelines.  It is well recommended that you verify your plans well in advance with the proper military authorities, and don’t forget to get permission for flowers, music and photography from the chaplain.  For an overseas wedding on or off base/post, determine what papers are required before a spouse-to-be leaves the United States.

 

For invitations, choose one with either gold-braided edges, an ink drawing of crossed swords, or the insignia of the military branch to which you belong.  When wording the invitation, the only difference is that the groom and/or bride’s rank and service are indicated.  When rank is captain or higher in the Army, or lieutenant senior grade or higher in the Navy, the bride’s, groom’s, or guest’s title appears before their name.  A lower rank would be listed after the name: Max Smith, Ensign, United States Navy.  Mr. is never used to refer to an officer on active duty.  When in doubt, contact your wedding coordinator or the military chaplain or protocol officer at your base for more information.

 

The procession for a military wedding is standard according to your faith, but the recessional is dramatized by the traditional arch of steel swords or sabres.  The arch is formed by an honor guard made up of commissioned officers and symbolizes a safe passage into marriage.  It may be formed outside the church or synagogue, in front of the chapel, or both, depending on house of worship rules, branches of service, and personal preference.  On command, swords or sabres are raised with cutting edges facing up.  The bride and groom enter the arch, kiss, then pass through.  The newlyweds, in uniform, salute the honor guard.  Officers then sheath the swords or sabres and return them to carrying position.

 

For the reception, the bride and groom may wish to feature regimental decorations and music, including miniature flags and the theme song of the groom’s and/or bride’s branch of service.  At a seated reception, military guests are shown to their places in order of rank.  The highlight of the celebration comes when the bride and groom cut the cake using a sword or sabre.

 

Remember, a professional wedding consultant can be a tremendous asset in helping the bride and groom plan their perfect military wedding celebration.