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Jodell Larkin
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The Ten Top Etiquette Questions Brides Ask
Here’s a few answers to the most asked etiquette questions that I receive.

Can I Have Someone Besides My Father Walk Me Down the Aisle?
The bride’s father traditionally walks her down the aisle, but you can have anyone who is significant—mom or stepdad, brother or sister—walk you down the aisle. You can even walk alone or with more than one person.

No matter who walks you down the aisle, don’t let it be a last-minute decision. The most important thing is to maintain an open and honest dialogue with anyone impacted by your choice.

What Are My Duties as a Bridesmaid?
Bridesmaids generally assist in the planning of the wedding, help the bride choose her dress, attend fittings for their own dresses, and attend any parties they are invited to. Though it often makes sense for bridesmaids to throw the bridal shower, they are not required to do so.

During the wedding festivities, bridesmaids act as an ambassador of sorts to the couple and may be expected to help with the little details that keep the day running smoothly. They should also participate in any activities like a receiving line or a bouquet toss.

Who Hosts the Bridal Shower?
Anyone from the bridesmaids to the mother of the bride to the mother of the groom can host a bridal shower. In any case, the hostess should consult with the bride about the guest list, because shower guests should also be invited to the wedding.

Is It Okay to Use Mobile Devices to Upload Pictures During the Wedding?
When in doubt, it’s better to ask the couple’s permission before posting photos to any social media outlet—especially during the ceremony. Uploading photos not only distracts you from participating in the moment, but it also broadcasts details of the event to people who may not have been invited.

How Do I Decide Who Can Bring a Date?
You should extend a plus one to anyone who is in a committed relationship, whether married, engaged, or in a live-in partnership—even if you haven’t met the other half. You are not obligated to give single guests and guests who are involved in more casual relationships the option to bring a date. You do, however, want to be consistent and avoid making exceptions.

If the invitation does not say, for example, John and guest, guests can assume they cannot bring a date. If someone does show up with an uninvited guest, avoid an uncomfortable situation by finding a place for them and follow up with the invited guest via a polite phone call afterward.

I’m Paying for the Wedding Myself, How Can I Tell My Parents I Don’t Want to Invite Certain People?
It may be best to give your parents an allotted number of spots they can fill as they wish. If there are certain people you do not want in attendance, it’s best to have a private and honest conversation when you first discuss the guest list. Don’t insist your parents feel comfortable with the situation but be clear about your wishes.

How Do I Deal with Guests Who Ask to Bring Kids Even After We’ve Made It Clear They're Not Invited?
You must nip this in the bud. Call the guest (even if they’ve contacted you through another medium, like email) and kindly, but firmly explain that the invitation was just for the adults and that you hope they can still attend. Don’t make exceptions—it’s not fair to other guests who respect your wishes. You can, however, invite the flower girl and the ring bearer without being hypocritical.

Who Should Host the Rehearsal Dinner?
Traditionally, the groom’s family hosts (and pays for) the rehearsal dinner and arranges a guest list in conjunction with the bride’s family. Though some families now choose to split the cost or let the bride and groom host their own rehearsal dinner, the groom’s family should get “first dibs.”

How Much Should I Tip My Wedding Vendors?
You do not have to tip vendors with whom you have a contract if the tip is built in the final bill. Depending on service and relationship, a small gift or a cash tip is at your discretion. You should, however, distribute tips to non-contracted staff like musicians and servers.

Meals for vendors are typically included in your contract, but you should plan to pay for their dinner regardless. Discuss meal options with your venue or caterer to find something that works with your budget.

How Long Do I Have to Send a Thank-You Note?
Though it’s best to send a thank-you note as soon as possible, you have approximately three months to express your gratitude. If the three-month timeframe has elapsed, send any lingering thank-you notes as soon as possible. Sending an email or putting generic thanks on social media, your wedding website, or anywhere else does not replace a handwritten note.

To save time, the bride and groom can both write thank-you notes and simply sign each one. If you’re in a serious time crunch, it’s acceptable to send an email that acts as a digital placeholder to say you received the gift and a thank-you a note will follow.

This just skims the surface of etiquette questions that you may have. Contact me for more information.

Jodell Larkin
Starry Night Events, LLC
info@starrynighteventsstl.com
p: 636.294.4970
c: 636.636.5925
Information gathered from “Real Simple”
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You Just Got Engaged, Now What!
Of course, the first item on your list is setting the date. But be aware that some venues may not have your “in mind” date available. So, have a couple dates ready when visiting venues. You should also consider selection your wedding party. That’s important! So, put on your thinking caps and get that task out of the way. Besides picking your wedding party, you would think the next items on your list would be your ceremony and reception location. But if you are not quite sure of the best venues in your area, especially for your reception, you should consider a wedding planner or consultant. These people know the information on all the hottest venues in town. Planners can do the leg work for you when choosing a venue and bring the information to you to make the final decision. It’s as simple as that! In fact, they can help you through the entire process.

Some wedding consultant packages include wedding financial planning, along with making the arrangements for all airline and hotel reservations for out of town guests. In other words, they take care of most everything for you. This includes managing your invitations and responses, working the contracts with all your vendors that you’ve chosen, etc. Your wedding planner can take on most of this work for you. But you need to be able to meet with her/him to discuss progress. This is much better than working with each vendor individually.

There’s a lot to do to plan for a wedding and its always better to start early. When looking for your ceremony and reception venues, consider your guest list. You’ll need to know if the venue will hold all your guests. Don’t wait too long to hire the caterer, musicians, photographer, and videographer. These professionals should be booked early in the process. Always do some food tastings to get an idea of what kind of food you want to serve at your wedding. The same is true for the musicians and photographer. Make sure you go see their work and check them out. Your wedding planner can make arrangements for you to visit.

Brides always have the need to go wedding dress shopping. I am all for this! You can’t start too early to find the perfect dress. But I would wait until about six weeks to a month before the wedding to do your alterations. By this time any weight loss should be completed. Did I mention I do in-house alterations? I also do embroidery for last minute Bridesmaid gifts. If this helps you, make sure you review my services.

Next you need to look for your florist, cake designer and transportation. Your planner can help with choices for these professionals, since they work with many of the best in the local market. There is a huge difference in both florists and cake designers, so always make an appointment to see the florist’s designs and arrange for a cake tasting.

About six months out you need to sign up for your registry. People may start sending gifts and if completed, this task will be out of the way. You should also book your honeymoon at this time. No matter where you go, your planner can help with this project. Another item to do is to book rentals that will be needed for the wedding day. You should go over all these items with you planner to decide which rental company to hire.

Invitations come next. Your consultant can give you some insight as to what kinds of paper, printing, and verbiage is available. You should also select and order your flowers about five months before your wedding. This will guarantee the correct flowers will be available at the time of your wedding.

Four months before the wedding is a very personal month. This is the time the bride and groom talk to many of the people in their wedding party. They arrange for speakers, talk with the Maid or Matron of Honor about the bridal shower and Best Man about the bachelor party. If you have a planner, it’s a good time to review the budget and see if you are still on track. This might also be the time to select your wedding rings (if not done so already) and arrange for engraving.

The readers should be selected, any traditions should be reviewed, and finalization of time and location of rehearsal should be completed at three months before the big day. The Bride should make appointments for her hair, make-up, and manicure/pedicure. At this time, the caterer should be given the food/menu and beverage selections.

This checklist is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many other items to get completed by three months before your wedding. My full and partial package covers the above items, plus so much more.

If you are looking for “Day-of Wedding” or “Day-of Wedding Plus”, give me a call or send an email. I have pages of details that I can help you with to make your wedding extraordinary. I’ve been known to take a huge amount of stress out of the wedding planning process, especially the actual wedding day.

I know you can do all this yourself. But why not enjoy your wedding day, instead of worrying about every little detail? The wedding planner you hire can do this for you. This person's crew works very hard to make your day something you will never forget.

Jodell Larkin
Starry Night Events, LLC
info@starrynighteventsstl.com
p. 636.294.4970
c. 636.636.5925
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How to Pick Your Wedding Planner!

Every wedding planner tries to create a wonderful wedding day for their potential brides. And most are very good at what they do. But always consider several items before choosing the person responsible for your wedding day.

Here’s a couple things to look for when choosing a wedding planner or coordinator.

Look for a wedding planner who is flexible. People in the wedding industry are busy. But they should always make time for potential clients, as well as their existing clients. Make sure they can meet with you in the evenings and on some weekends. Keeping in mind they may have other weddings scheduled, they should try to work with you on meeting times that are convenient for both of you. Make sure they meet with you several times in person to discuss details and not just on the phone. This is the only way to get all the details correct.

Your wedding planner needs to be creative. Ask for ideas when meeting with your wedding planner. They are the experts. Once they know your wedding theme, they should be able to add wonderful ideas to accent the day. If your planner doesn’t have a clue, this is a sign that you should move to the next planner.

Look for a wedding planner that provides extra skills, such as sewing. This is key! Every planner has a niche. You may find a planner that sells jewelry or invitations. There also may be a planner that does extra services such as calligraphy. But a major service to consider are alterations and embroidery. This is a service that I do in addition to my planning that saves a lot of money for my brides. I alter wedding gowns, mother and grandmother of the bride and groom dresses, along with bridesmaid dresses and groomsmen suits. I can also embroider wedding gown trains, alter scarves, along with my signature bridal handkerchiefs. This is what sets me apart from all the other planners in the St. Louis area.

You need a wedding planner that is very organized. You want your day organized without having to do the work. This is your day and you want to enjoy it. Leave the stress to the wedding planner. She/he should have all the details covered. All this information should be discussed in past meetings, so there is nothing left undone. When having a wedding planner your room layout and timeline should be perfect, and the look and feel of the wedding ceremony and reception should be in the planner’s soul. She should be able to take care of anything within her power to make the day go smoothly. An organized person makes the perfect celebration.

Make sure your wedding planner is a good fit for you and your wedding party. When picking your wedding planner make sure you ask questions. Make sure you are comfortable with the person you choose to orchestrate your day. A wedding planner has a big job to fill, so make sure she goes over all the details before your wedding day. Take all the extras she gives you and don’t hesitate to ask for something different. Your wedding coordinator will let you know if she can provide the extras with or without an extra charge.

And lastly, make sure your wedding planner has great communications skills and is timely in answering your questions. This is also very important. You want answers as quickly as possible. I would give the planner at least four to six hours to get back to you. This is mainly because she could be with another client or at another function. If she gets back sooner, all the better. If she waits over 24 hours, I would skip over that person and look further. One point I want to make is never pick your wedding planner with just an email. It is extremely important to meet and interview your planner in person.

Do not choose your planner based only on price. I know you’re on a budget. But you will be picking a person that you can rely on to make good decisions on all the details. You need to sit down with at least two to three wedding planners and find out more about how they can make your dream wedding come true. A good wedding planner will find out more about your vision and then explain how they can make this happen. Also, do not just go with the coordinator at your reception venue. They can only help you with the reception. A separate wedding planner will work and plan the entire day, including all the vendors, while working in conjunction with the venue coordinator. You will be much happier and less stressed when you hire a wedding planner for your wedding.

What do you look for when picking your wedding planner? Give me a call and let me know.

Jodell Larkin
info@starrynighteventsstl.com
p: 636.294.4970
c: 636.688.5925
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How About Paper Florals for Your Wedding?

Thinking of a unique and awesome way to add lots of color to your wedding day? Why not use an array of paper florals to your lush arrangements with some wonderful forms of paper to complete the details? I know, fresh flowers are a wedding staple, but this is a way to make your day exceptional. For couples looking for something a little different, paper flowers offer a unique way to add personality, playfulness and bright pops of color to your wedding décor. Why not personalize your day with floral vines decorating the ceremony aisle and the backdrop around the wedding party at the reception? You can also use paper flowers from bouquets, to a paper wall using larger-than-life stems at the reception. And the best thing about paper florals, they will last longer than the wedding. So, plan on keeping them for a long time.

Let’s start with the bridal bouquet. You can go wild with color here. Tie your paper flowers in with the colors you’ve chosen for your wedding party. Then fashion your bridesmaid bouquets after “your” gorgeous bridal bouquet. I’ve even included a picture of a paper steam punk bouquet. You will find all kinds of floral designs on Pinterest with instructions. Pick your favorite flowers and create the bouquet of your dreams.

Many brides choose to create a wonderful flower wall that can be used both at the ceremony and reception. If using two-by-fours as your base, make sure you make your wall in sections that can be easily attached together. Some people choose to make their wall on fabric. This is a much lighter creation, but tends to be more delicate and needs to be handled with care.

If you do paper floral centerpieces, this will highlight your wedding colors and pull the reception together. Each table would be outstanding with the same flowers used by the bride and bridesmaids. Even the groomsmen could be tied-in with boutonnieres made to match the bouquets and centerpieces. If you want to go over-the-top, why not stick a long stem paper flower in the bow that’s tied around each chair. This could be used as your wedding favor to each guest.

Many couples are using a great photo or hand-painted picture instead of the traditional guestbook. Why not dress up the frame with paper flowers to remind you of your wonderful day. You can also set some frames around, maybe at your remembrance table that have some matching flowers to tie everything together. There’s so many different ideas for paper florals to personalize your wedding. Let me help you think of ways to make your day special.

Jodell Larkin
info@starrynighteventsstl.com
p: 636.294.4970
c: 636.636.5925
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SEVEN WAYS TO SAVE MONEY ON FOOD AT YOUR WEDDING RECEPTION

Typically, the food at a wedding reception is the second largest expense of your well-planned wedding day. I see today’s receptions now include a cocktail hour, full dinner, and late-night snack. Fortunately, there are lots of ways you can cut costs while still having great food. Let’s talk about SEVEN of the best ways to save on food, your cake and snacks at your wedding.

LOOK FOR A VENUE THAT ALLOWS OUTSIDE CATERING

Many hotels and country clubs require you to use their catering service for your wedding. Make sure you research their pricing on their dinner offerings before you sign the venue contract. While you may get the room for a smaller fee, find out how much the food will cost per person. You should especially look at the difference between the regular and top shelf bar prices per person if you are going for an open bar.

If you can find a venue that allows outside catering, you can shop around for a caterer in your price range, or one that caters to the theme of your wedding. Keep in mind not all caterers are created equal. Make sure you go to food tastings or at least taste their food before making your decision.

DECIDE WHAT STYLE OF DINNER YOU WANT TO SERVE YOUR GUESTS
There are three main styles of dinners caterers serve at wedding receptions. The traditional buffet, plated dinner, and family style are all very popular. The buffet dinner serves a large amount of food in the least amount of time. This is usually the least expensive. The plated dinner can run a little more depending on the main course choice, but has less food waste. Plated dinners are more expensive because extra wait staff must be hired to serve meals to your guests. The family style option has recently become popular, but takes a little extra planning when seating your guests. You need to make sure your table number counts do not change, since this would make changes in your platters food amounts at each table. You can save some money if you choose wisely.

CREATE A DESSERT BAR
Wedding cakes can be really expensive! If you don’t have your heart set on a cake, create a dessert table instead. How fun it would be to have a nice selection of cupcakes, pies, Bundt cakes, cookies, or maybe even cheese cakes on your dessert table. You can also have a candy bar, if candy is a favorite of either the bride or groom. The newest idea is a donut wall, where each guest goes up and chooses his/her own donut for dessert. All you need to have is a small cake to cut for the bride and groom.
Jenna from Dearest Love shared lots of tips and ideas on How to Design the Perfect Dessert Bar on a Budget. Take a look at Jenna's post to get some great ideas.

JUST SERVE APPETIZERS AND DESSERTS
If you’re on a tight budget, have you thought about just serving appetizers and desserts? This post on How to have a {Simple, Tasteful, & Inexpensive} Wedding Reception from Through the Lens of Hannah Diane has lots of great advice for saving money on the reception, especially on the food. Consider starting your reception later than seven p.m. (not at meal time), so people won’t expect a full meal. Hannah has some tasteful ways to have a great reception without serving a full meal.
There are some great caterers out there who serve outstanding appetizers. Talk to your caterer about what they can provide as far as heavy appetizers for your reception. Then do a great dessert table that has lots of variety. This can really cut down on the expense per person.

CONSIDER YOUR BAR OPTIONS
Instead of having an open bar, think about having beer, wine and one or two signature drinks. This considerably cuts the cost of your bar bill, but still allows your guests several alcoholic options. Also skip the Champagne Toast. I would let your guests use whatever they are drinking to toast the bride and groom.

CUT BACK YOUR GUEST LIST
This can be hard to do, but remember that most caterers charge per person. Keeping the guest list smaller means a smaller bill from your caterer. Do you really need to invite the friend of your office worker who you met one time? Also, consider a child free reception. Besides having your ring bearer and flower girl present at the beginning of the reception, maybe have the children stay home for this big party. Just a thought!

DO IT YOURSELF
Meaning not you! Do you have some friends or family members who love to cook? Try getting them on board to help you DIY the food for your wedding. Be sure to delegate and keep most the work off yourself. You have enough to think of and should not be thinking about preparing food or decorating for your reception.

This is where a wedding planner comes in to help with your “Day-of Wedding” responsibilities. This person can help direct all your vendors, plus friends and family through the day. You don’t want to add stress to your wedding day, so consider using a wedding planner to coordinate your day and make it beautiful without spending a fortune. Think about what are the most important items on your agenda (you!) and leave the rest of us, the wedding planners.

Give me a call or send an email if you have any questions. I am here to help!

Jodell Larkin
info@starrynighteventsstl.com
p: 636.294.4970
c: 636.688.5925

​Some information taken from “A Savory Feast”, by Jenna
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So, you’ve already sent out your “Save the Date” cards to your intended wedding guests. It’s now time to start thinking about that ever important and confusing WEDDING INVITATION. And keep in mind you don’t have to match your “Save the Date” cards.

Brides are working on their checklists more diligently than ever. I would not act on the invitation process too early. You have plenty else to do. The couple should order their invitations between four to six months before the wedding. Order 25 extra and other wedding stationary, such as thank you notes and place cards, if you want them to match.

The traditional time to send out your wedding invitations is about two months or eight weeks before the big day. This gives your guests time to make airline and hotel reservations and plan time off work, if needed.

Wedding invitations can be seasonal, just like your actual wedding day. Think of ways to tie in your color scheme and season. Or just pick the invitation that you fall in love with! There are several things to consider when ordering your invitation package. The three major categories are paper, printing, and wording.

PAPER – There are at least nine different kinds of paper to choose from, maybe even more if you talk to your professional printer. The four main types of paper are Linen, Pearlescent, Vellum, and Parchment. Linen is the most common, with Pearlescent running a close second. These types of paper give a clean finish and are usually easier on the budget. Vellum is a sheer paper that is commonly used in romantic invitations. Parchment paper is slightly thicker than Linen. Some other types of paper are Jacquard, which has a raised design, and corrugated, usually out of cardboard or some type of metal. These types of invitations are for the more non-traditional couples. There is also Handmade paper, which is usually thicker, can have slubs, and has a rough finish, Glassine, looking somewhat like cellophane paper, and Rice paper, which has a bumpier finish than linen.

PRINTING – I know of at least five kinds of printing on today’s wedding invitations. There can be a difference in price, so be aware of what you are choosing. Letterpress is the most common, since it is a process using a printing press. Thermography printing is a process with raised letters, making a beautiful impression on the paper. Offset printing is where an inked image is transferred from a plate to a rubber blanket. The offset transfer moves the image to the printing paper surface. Engraved invitations are produced by embossing around lettering printed by another process (lithography or offset printing) to suggest the edges of an engraved plate. And probably the most expensive and most time consuming is Calligraphy. If this is created by hand, it is the most outstanding invitation a couple can use to invite their guests to their special day.

Wording – There are two kinds of wording on wedding invitations, Traditional and Contemporary. As the bride and groom, this will be your choice. The more traditional wording would read, “Mr. and Mrs. Jones, the parents of Alicia Jones request the honor…” While the contemporary version would read like…” We invite you to join us in celebrating…”

There are two ways to have your guests respond to make up your guest list. You can include a response card or have them send an email to your wedding website. You decide which works best for you. Also include any information that seems necessary in your invitation. Maps are no longer necessary, since everyone has Google Maps or another form of directions on their phone/vehicle.

As you can see, ordering wedding invitations can be a confusing process. But I am here to help. Give me a call or send an email if you have questions or comments.

Jodell Larkin
info@starrynighteventsstl.com
p: 636.294.4970
c: 636.688.5925
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Décor Ideas for Your Autumn Wedding
If your wedding is in October or November, I’ve got some great ideas for decorating your venue. Think pumpkins. Fall is a time of gorgeous, warm colors and inspiring organic items to make your wedding the most colorful event of the year.
If you’re having an outdoor wedding, think about the setting. Make sure there are lots of trees in the background, with a lush setting for your ceremony and reception. Autumn is such a magnificent backdrop with its reds, oranges, golds and yellows. And don’t forget green, this year’s Pantone color. You can do so much with Fall colors and the organic treasures the land provides.
First, let’s work on your ceremony. If you want an outdoor service, consider pumpkins and beautiful autumn flowers to set the mood. You can make a display at the beginning and end of the aisle and then either hang lanterns every couple rows, small pumpkins, or even colorful flowers that match the major display. This would make an elegant display at your service.
Moving to the reception, how about using a couple pumpkins and some type of fall display at the entrance of your venue. This invites your guests to an evening of fun and celebration. Use an item that reflects your wedding theme, such as a wagon full of pumpkins and flowers, plus berries, and even cornstalks setting around. Use your imagination!
Once inside the venue, you can follow through with pumpkin place cards, which will help move your guests to their seating arrangements. This makes a very attractive table and is a cute idea. Your table setting could be key when thinking through your wedding theme. I would consider pumpkin cake pops, but you might also vary a little with some sunflowers to break up the décor. Whatever you decide, make sure to make it colorful. If you have white plates and napkins, use color in your centerpieces. If you use white plates and colored napkins, you might tone your centerpiece down a bit. In other words, keep it balanced.
Brides are moving towards the typical cake, instead of dessert tables this year. But you can do whatever you want. I have two suggestions for an outstanding dessert table. Look at the beautiful cake in this blog. It follows through with the theme of the wedding I’ve suggested. Its full of pumpkins, berries, flowers and Fall colors. If you like something simpler, just use a few pumpkins on the cake. You can also do a cupcake tower, which is just as impressive. This is a subject you need to determine with your family and budget.
I’ve given you a few ideas for an Autumn (pumpkin) themed wedding. If you would like more information on different themes for Fall, give me a call or send an email. I would love to help you with your wedding. I’ve got loads of ideas.
Jodell Larkin
Starry Night Events, LLC
info@tarrynighteventsstl.com
p: 636.294.4970
c: 636.688.5925
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I have some Winter Wedding Ideas to share with you today. Take advantage of some interesting and fun suggestions that will make your big day both heartwarming and cozy.

Everyone thinks of Christmas when you say you’re having a winter wedding. But remember, there’s three more months of winter after Christmas. So, you don’t have to go with the traditional red and green. Think Valentine’s Day, the most romantic day of the year! And maybe build your vision around “the love of your life”

It's no secret that the spring and summer months are among the most coveted times of year to tie the knot, but what you likely haven't realized is that a cozy winter wedding can be just as magical as an outdoor ceremony and reception beneath the stars. While a winter wedding date does force your party indoors, cool-weather celebrations offer the opportunity to plan a party with under-utilized seasonal details. Think cozy lodges, warm fireplaces, and the ultimate rustic setting.

From snowy-white tablescapes to bold red and white flower arrangements I love how a winter wedding can look both romantic and unexpected. After months of soft blues, pinks and lavenders, a moody winter celebration is the perfect way to make your big day stand out. But let's make one thing clear: A stylish cold-weather wedding will look nothing like a holiday party.

If you're searching for winter inspiration, look no further than my Pinterest page under “Wonderful Winter Weddings”. I pulled together the most beautiful and unique ideas that are perfect for your big day. From big city bashes filled with winter greenery and glowing candlelight to snow-dusted mountain affairs, I pieced together the best ideas that you're bound to love.

Ready to see some favorite ideas from “Brides” Real Weddings? Then click through to see how real couples celebrated the winter season during their weddings and get planning quick — an early spring is in the forecast!

Let’s talk about some of the main aspects of your wedding.

Attire for Your Winter Wedding
If you want the elegant look of old Hollywood, put the groom in tails, and the bride in a white long silk dress with a white fur or faux fur wrap. Evoke the season with "ice" diamond or diamond-like jewelry. This year’s wedding gowns are moving towards sleeves or gowns with straps, but the bride still needs to look for wraps, shrugs, and capes, or dramatic coats. I've always loved the look of a bride in a white dress and a large red shawl, huddled against her groom who has a red boutonnière. But my personal favorite is the long white, hooded cape. It’s so romantic against fresh, fallen snow.


Where to Have a Winter Wedding
Look for an inn with a fireplace for an intimate winter wedding. Look for an area lodge or venue that has a warm feel and is suitable for fantastic winter pictures. For a larger affair, you may be able to use a historic mansion or private club that will still have intimate warmth. Unless you're getting married in a state that will have guaranteed snow during your wedding date, you may want to avoid a room that has a large picture window. Imagine drifts of beautiful snow, but sometimes you can end up with a grey rainy day. But the weather outside may not be much of a concern if you have gorgeous decorations inside. Be sure to ask what seasonal decorations they use. You'll save money as many sites are already heavily decorated. Also, check to make sure your site will be adequately heated during the winter months; old churches can be especially drafty.

Planning the Menu
You can have all your favorite food but add some winter touches like a squash dish, or warm pumpkin soup. Consider serving spiced wine, or hot chocolate (alcoholic or non-) as special treats. Look for an all-white cake, decorated with snowflake patterns, silver embellishments, or sugar sculptures. You could even add in your specific wedding themed colors to tie everything together. Ask your caterer about using a decorative snow globe as a cake topper

Winter Wedding Flowers
Decide whether you want to go for a silver and white elegant look, or celebrate the season with reds for Valentine’s Day. For those who like silver, look for dusty miller, silver-dollar eucalyptus, and baby blue eucalyptus, mixed with white flowers such as roses, football mums, crocus, lilies and stephanotis. If you're looking for a brighter bouquet, consider red roses with holly and pine-tree greenery. Flowers such as tulips, roses, and ornamental berries generally will be less expensive choices.

The Décor for Your Winter Wedding
Follow the theme of winter with branches painted in white and silver for your centerpieces. Using three different heights is very popular and adds variation to the reception room. Branches with lights and jewels can be used in the tall centerpieces, while medium centerpieces using lanterns, globes, or vases are special. Low centerpieces with mainly flowers only round out the mix.

Favors
An inexpensive homemade favor is a pretty tin of spiced hot chocolate mix or hot cocoa mix with marshmallows. Also, consider a snow globe, with a bride and groom inside, or a valentine cookie cutter with a cookie recipe attached that says your names, wedding date, and "truly cut out for each other".

Special touches
Have the bride and groom travel by horse and carriage to the reception, complete with a fur throw to keep them warm of course!
Commission an ice sculpture to decorate the reception hall
Use a crystal bouquet for that extra wintery feel. As a bonus, you'll get to keep your bouquet forever.
Greet your guests with warm coffee or hot chocolate as soon as they come in the ceremony or reception site.

No matter how you plan your day, there’s always more ideas that a planner can help you with. The ideas are always flowing. And keep in mind a good planner has many connections with the best vendors.

For more information about winter weddings, contact me either phone or email below.

Jodell Larkin
Starry Night Events, LLC
www.info@starrynighteventsstl.com
p: 636.294.4970
c: 636.688.5925
Some information gathered from Brides.com and Nina Callaway
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Wedding Trends for 2017 part 2
This is a continuation from my last blog of what’s popular for weddings in the coming year. Some items are left over from last year, but look for the new and exciting ideas that will make your 2017 wedding a day your guests will always remember.

Invitations and Other Paper

Paper sometimes follows fashion. “Wedding invitation styles often mimic what’s happening in fashion and home decor,” says Jill Ryder of Shindig Bespoke, a custom design studio based in New York City and Philadelphia. You can create that special invitation to express the theme of your wedding using several different forms of paper. For 2017, the mixing two patterns, like stripes and florals, may be a popular way to get attention on the backs of cards or on envelope liners, as well as textured paper.

Decorating with Paper. You may want to incorporate paper into your big-day décor by using floral bridesmaid bouquets. or even gorgeous centerpieces. Paper is used to preserve special wedding "memory moments,". Incorporating paper into your wedding day is quickly growing in popularity — and for good reason. It’s economical, potentially eco-friendly and unique in any way you use it. Tutera says, "there's so many interesting things you can do," and adds, "People are sort of surprised, like oh my gosh, look what you can do with paper." Today’s brides are really into building beautiful floral walls to use in both their ceremony and reception venues.

The Intimate First Look
These are a keeper. Tutera gushes, "I love first looks. I think they're brilliant. It takes me forever to convince a bride and groom to do that," but he adds, "They're more personal — I love them." We here at BRIDES can't help but agree. (And they make for stunning and heartfelt photos, too.) As a wedding planner/coordinator, I feel this makes the day start off just right. And it makes great pictures!

The All-Important Reception

Elaborate Entrances. "We are seeing a rise in elaborate entrances and we expect to see this trend continue into the New Year. This includes over-the-top décor as guests make their way to the event, as well as incorporating unique entertainment (think fire starters!) that grabs guests' attention." —Fabrice Orlando, Cocoon Events Management Group I found that a simple, but elegant entrance sets the mood for the guests. A bride can display her color scheme and tone the minute her guests arrive.

Create a Mood. Lounge areas have been an important decor element at wedding cocktail hours for years, but as after-parties come into fashion wedding pros find themselves setting up more lounge-style seating vignettes closer to the dance floor. You should also consider changing the lighting so the room has more of a club and cozy feel.

Creative Ice Breakers. "Couples are looking for ways to engage their guests throughout the wedding day. Interactive food stations and lawn games are great for fostering engagement, as is unique entertainment (think fire eaters or contortionists!), which will give everyone something to talk about. We also love the idea of guests walking into a photo wall, either stationery or as a slideshow." —Fabrice Orlando, Cocoon Events Management Group Another way to bring your guests together are fireworks. After your ceremony or when people arrive at the reception, start the show. They will be talking about it the rest of the night.

Vertical Impact. "When it comes to wedding decor, couples are looking up for inspiration. They are taking advantage of the vertical visual space above guest tables and highlighting it with several options. Expect to see tall tapers paired with luxurious candelabras, low-hanging string lights or Edison bulbs and chandeliers in a variety of shapes and sizes in 2017." —Audrey Isaac, 100 Candles Greenery is again in style and is awesome to work with, especially with a vertical twist.

Entertaining Your Guests

Reaching New Heights. Couples can’t get enough of the unique perspectives offered by drone technology for both videos and aerial stills, and pros are following suit, offering packages that include drone footage as an add-on option. Poised for take-off: professional-quality, user-friendly drones for non-pros (and perhaps a wedding guest), such as EHang Ghostdrone 2.0, which is controlled by your smartphone via the EHang Play mobile app. I’ve had brides that added a drone to their photography package and were really pleased.

Snap and Chat. Sara Fried says her clients are loving the newest takes on the traditional photo booth. “There’s the slo-mo booth, the animated GIF booth, the flip-book booth and others,” she says. “All are amazing ways to keep guests fully entertained.” Most booths will text the content directly to smartphones, so your friends can share immediately on social media — and you get copies of everything at the end of the night.

Cut and Share. Instagram video edits are an increasingly popular package option from videographers, says Lisa Ashley, owner and curator of the Wedding Artists Collective, a specialty group of wedding photographers and videographers. These 60- to 90-second films “have the look and feel of a cinematic trailer and are wonderful representations of the day,” she says.

Mix it up. Few brides want their tables to look “too perfectly organized,” says Amy Marella, owner of the hidden garden Floral Design in Los Angeles. “they want a more eclectic feel,” she says. Create the look by using a mix of containers and featuring two or three different centerpiece designs.

Stay Connected
Regardless of what trends, themes, or vibes you're going for, Tutera stresses the importance of remaining connected with your new spouse throughout the wedding day celebrations. "What's been happening is couples separate to their friends and don't hang out with their significant other on their celebration. That's not good. That's something I am trying to force people to understand is incredibly important." Noted!

Plan A Destination Wedding?

Faraway Destinations. "While tropical paradises like Mexico, Jamaica, the Bahamas and Costa Rica still top the list of hot spots to tie the knot, we've seen Iceland, Canada and Italy emerge as popular locales for couples looking to go off the beaten path." —Megan Velez, Destination Weddings There are always beautiful locations for a dream wedding in a far-away land. Keep in mind I am a SANDALS expert and can help make your destination wedding an experience you’ll never forget and probably save you some money.

Planning Virtually. "Couples have gone fully mobile with their wedding plans. Millennials are all about instant gratification, so they want their wedding planning right at their fingertips at any given moment. There's going to be a continued increasing in seeing the whole planning process online." —Li Zhou, LadyMarry But I am always there to help.

If you have any questions or need suggestions, give me a call or send an email. I can help plan your 2017 wedding and take the stress out of the planning press.
Jodell Larkin
Starry Night Events, LLC
info@starrynighteventsstl.com
p 636.294.4970
c 636.688.5925

Some information gathered from the Bridal Guide and Brides.com
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With the new Pantone colors of pink and blue for 2017, I’m finding less brides follow the well thought out color schemes, if you will. They are choosing to be more personalized with their guests and concentrating on the “wow” factor. Here’s a few suggestions that might help plan your special day.

Picking a Venue or Setting

Surprise settings. Today’s couples want a wedding that will blow their guests away, and one of the key elements to an unforgettable event is the choice of venue. “Any place with a large plot of land or a distinct building — or both — will allow couples to really personalize their wedding and help them tell their unique story,” says Amy Cagginello, founder of Amy Champagne Events in Connecticut.

Vintage glamour (with a twist). Picture an industrial warehouse decked out with ornate, over-the-top centerpieces and set aglow with strands of twinkling lights and candles. You get the picture: a whimsical mash-up of old and new.

Make it work! If it’s not practical to book a unique wedding venue, Bianca Hall of Chicago’s Estera Events says lofts and tents will give couples more room to get creative. “Or book a rooftop space with a jaw-droppingly fantastic view!”

Let’s talk color!

Pink is In. Blush rose, to be exact, remains the “it” wedding color. Rhiannon Bosse, owner of Hey Gorgeous Events in Michigan, has dubbed blush a “now and forever” shade, because it’s both trending and timeless. Many of the brides I work with have blush pink in the mix. It’s a great color to use for blending with more vivid hues.

Neutral territory. From charcoal to blue-greys, or grey-browns, “This color palette is perfect for the bride who wants to achieve a classic, sophisticated feel that won’t seem dated or look too trendy in years to come,” says Michelle Cousins, the planning guru behind Michelle Leo Events in Utah.

Metallics Add the Glitter. Brides continue to embrace copper, rose gold, and pewter because they’re so versatile, says Sara Fried, of Fete Nashville. Not only do they work with other colors for a look that’s at once relaxed and fun, they are ideal tones for a black-tie evening. Don’t go overboard with shine. Place metallic in specified spots that will sparkle and not overwhelm the room.

A Color Comeback

"Color is making a comeback, versus all-white weddings. We're seeing less floral and more props as well as hanging centerpieces and more lighting patterns in abundance." —Nahid Farhoud, Nahid's Global Events

Neutral Tones with Bright Accents

"We're seeing dreamy palettes of greys, creams and golds paired with glass and metallics." —Audrey Isaac, 100 Candles

The Beautiful Flowers

Flights of fancy. Tall glass trumpet vases are making a comeback. “they allow for large, lush arrangements,” says Cousins, “but they sit above guests' heads, so it’s easy for conversation.” similarly, Bosse is seeing a renaissance of linear, more tailored centerpieces, as opposed to the loose, “fresh-picked” style that’s been popular in recent years. “these structured arrangements fall in line with the trend toward a more classic wedding look overall,” she says

Gorgeous blooms. Peonies, garden roses, ranunculus, dahlias and other “soft-petal” blooms are the top-requested flowers from coast to coast — and for good reason. “They epitomize romance,” says Zoe Gallina, creative director of Botanica international Floral Design in Florida. Peonies, are in high demand, with one planner noting that some brides will time their weddings to take place when peonies are in peak season. Loose rose petals, used as a “garland” or runner atop tables or scattered among floating candles, are another trend that's coming on strong.

Sophisticated whimsy. At the other end of the trend spectrum, gallina says flowering plants like king- and pink-ice protea, along with assorted bold tropical blooms and small potted plants, lend a dose of stateliness for brides who want arrangements that feel natural and organic — yet elegant.

Garden-Inspired Florals

"With florals, we're going to keep seeing garlands, as well as organic bouquets and centerpieces, all of which have had tremendous staying power among brides." —Jamie Chang, Passport to Joy

I love seeing a variation of three different centerpieces on the guest tables. A low, middle and tall centerpiece always makes a spectacular looking reception.

The All-Important Food

Local specialties

As with last year, couples are infusing pride of location in their hometown celebrations, local flavors are taking the spotlight. For example, in Utah, buffalo is often featured as both a main course and as an appetizer, says Cousins. In Vermont, maple flavoring can make several appearances in the menu. Gulf shrimp is on display in various parts of the South, and so on. (The trend carries over to drinks.) “It’s an extension of the farm-to-table trend that popped up a few years ago,” says Chancey, “but even more fun for the guests.”

Pairing

Wine-and-cheese pairings have become a familiar site at cocktail receptions, but the idea of matching different foods with different drinks is being carried over to other types of beverages and appetizers, says Hall. “It elevates the guest experience by keeping folks active and engaged,” she says. Some duets to consider: wine and pasta, cake and craft beer, margaritas and guacamole, or for a wedding brunch, try mimosas and pastries.

What’s old is new again

In 2017, bartenders and mixologists are moving away from the very sweet and/or colorful pours in favor of old-time classics, including the Moscow mule, a Pimm’s Cup, and the sidecar.

Now on to Cakes and Sweets

Sugar high

Tall cakes that look as if they leapt off the pages of your mother’s wedding album are suddenly in vogue. “After the last few years of pies, cake pops, doughnuts, and cupcakes, there’s been a strong shift back to tiered wedding cakes,” says Bosse. “There’s something nostalgic to people about wedding cake.” As for the height aspect of the trend, she says tall cakes lend visual interest to a dessert table and allow for some very creative artistry — anything from hand painting to jeweled accents.

Related: 101 Amazing Wedding Cakes

Sweet satisfaction

S’mores stations and candy bars have been around for a few years, but one new dessert trend is to forgo a formal dessert course and instead serve guests passed desserts and/or set up several grazing dessert stations so guests can mingle and sample, “just like cocktail hour,” says Cagginello. “It keeps the energy going.”

Dynamic Desserts

"There will always be a place for the traditional wedding cake but more couples are embracing alternatives such as doughnuts, cookies and even cheese." —Jamie Chang, Passport to Joy

Let’s Add Some Fun!

A Never-Ending Feast of Food

"Late night snacks are becoming more of a 'must do' as opposed to simply an add-on. We're also seeing additional courses added to the dinner beyond simply a salad and entrée." —Kevin Dennis, Fantasy Sound Event Services

I’ve given you a few pointers to start thinking about for 2017. More to come in the following weeks. If you ever have any questions, give me a call or send an email.

Jodell Larkin

Starry Night Events, LLC

info@starrynighteventsstl.com

p 636.294.4970

c 636.688.5925

Some information gathered from Bridal Guide and Brides.com

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