Monday, November 9, 2015

Will Unplugging Really Solve the Problem?

Search the internet for the topic "Unplugged Wedding" and you'll find TONS of articles on how offended people are by guests taking photos at their wedding or in their way while while shooting photos at a wedding.  

Article by angry photographer showcasing guests rudely standing in the way of his photos 

Article by less angry photographer about the dos and don'ts of taking photos at weddings 

A Knot discussion on to ban or not to ban

An article on HOW to word the banning of phone photography at your wedding 

(Not a single phone to be seen!)

My feelings, as a planner, is that it isn't the phone photography that is the problem, it is the rude guest that is the problem.  There are always guests at the wedding who disregard etiquette and polite conduct.  This guests is the one who will show up late for the ceremony and walk right in the front door (usually in the middle of the ceremony) anyhow or the guest who will loudly complain when the bar closes for dinner (and demand someone get them a drink).  This person is the same person who most likely ignores polite conduct in day to day life as well.

I suggest we ban rude guests from the wedding, not photography.  We can ask that guests use some basic common sense at our weddings. We ask that they please regard this as a valued and important day to the two people who are joining their lives together.  We explain that the people at the wedding are considered the most important and cared for people in the bride and grooms lives and they should conduct themselves in such a fashion.  

Other suggestions would be that they stay quiet during the ceremony, that they stay present during the couples vows and that they pay attention to the day and what the bride & groom have asked of them.  

We ask that they show up on time, maybe even a few minutes early.  We ask that they sit where they have been escorted and take the programs, bubbles or rice without complaint.  We can ask that they not argue with the bartender over what liquors are/are not available at the bar.  We can ask that they enjoy the food and their chosen entree without expecting the staff to accommodate their change in mood/mind or taste in food (which somehow only applies to that evening).  We ask that they get up and show interest for the special moments of the evening, the cake cutting, the first dance and just a few others.  We can also ask that even if they don't like the favor, they take it at the end of the night, because someone picked it out in hopes that you would appreciate the thought.  

I don't think asking the guests to be unplugged is the answer.  There are so many times that my clients have been thrilled to see all the photos that their guests have taken of their big day.  The special view that someone was able to get, the secret look that another was able to catch and the fun interactions that your guests had together are all great things you'll miss when you insist on unplugging everyone. Even I'll follow the hashtag to see what is happening at the very wedding where I'm working.  I have the chance to see what guests are doing, what they are seeing and what they are thinking.  It's fun and these are unique photos that while they will never make it to your wedding album, will be photos that you cherish having.  

I think we need to expect more from our friends and family.  We should expect polite behavior, kindness and some common sense.  I don't think that's asking too much but I do think that's asking more from people than they are normally used to giving.  I'll start a hash tag for my weddings that would be as simple as #commonsensewedding or #myguestsdon'tsuck or #stopbeingsorudeatweddings (too long maybe?) 

What do you think?  What are your stories of your guests?  Was everyone amazing?  Was everyone involved?  Share with me, and let's start a trend of awesome weddings with equally awesome guests!

Happy Planning!

Brandi Hamerstone  

Friday, July 10, 2015

Venue Visit- Maltz Museum

Maltz Museum 2929 Richmond Road Beachwood, Ohio 

I had the pleasure of finally getting to stop by the event space at the Maltz Musuem and meeting with Sheri Stallsmith (formerly of the Akron Art Museum and Hale Farm).

The Maltz Museum is located on Richmond Road in Beachwood, which is the perfect location for access to hotels and things for your out of town guests to do so it is an optimal site for wedding receptions.

They have an open floor plan available and it is a clean space that is open to all styles and options of style for your wedding day.  The initial vibe that I would get from the space is more of a warehouse/modern style so you can work with that or just use the space and create what you want.  

You do not have to be Jewish to use the center or kosher, anyone is welcome.  They have ample parking, a great list of caterers to work with (A Taste of Excellence is one of my favorites and they are on the list!) and with such a great/central location you can use vendors from all around without travel issues.  Although, White Flower Cake Shop is right up the street if you are trying to stay local. 

I love the space and they are currently booking for July/August of 2016 so if you want to get into a widely underused location that will be a unique experience for your guests, this is the space.  Call 216.593.0595  or email Sheri now for more information or a tour of the space.  

Then call All Events Planned to help organize the rest of your day! 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Martha Stewart Weddings- Summer 2015- Read with me!

Don't have the time or energy to find the content among all those ads in this Summer edition of Martha Stewart Weddings Magazine?  Well then, read along with me as I highlight the highs and lows of what they have to offer in this edition.

First off, the cover of this edition is fabulous.  I love the coloring and while I'm not the biggest Sarah Jessica Parker fan, she looks adorable!

11 pages in and we've got the table of contents.  Brides magazine has 28 pages of ads until you reach the table of contents, in case you were comparing.  

Page 74- Bridal Party Kids- From Darcy
The adorable part here is that there are some simple ways to do kids hair for the wedding.  You can grab a few of your flower girls and put together an adorable look!  Or, better yet, you've got some ideas to give to the awesome stylist you hire to manage all of the looks for you!
Great tips include-
Offering SMART snacks- Candy is going to end up making them sick and sugar drinks will do the same.  A cute little snack pack with granola bars, cheese sticks and some crackers will tide them over much better and you'll avoid the sugar crash later when you are trying to get photos.
Appoint a wrangler- Have someone either an adult or a babysitter that can manage all of the kids in the wedding party.  This is a task that occasionally falls on me, the planner but my time is better spent focusing on the wedding so have someone that isn't involved and will be free to run around and catch everyone.
Have ZERO expectations for success.  I tell all of my brides that this will be a hit and miss experience for the kids.  You'll either get perfection or a mess (sometimes something adorable in between the two) so don't get your hopes up so high that you let a screaming toddler ruin your day.  Hope for the best but be ready to nix the plans at the last minute if you've got a ring bearing tearing off his clothes and throwing things.  

Page 106- Tinker Taylor
I LOVE this idea and while I understand the pricing it makes it hard to justify asking your bridesmaids to participate.  

Page 110- Good Things
Hot Dog Bar!  What a fun concept for a summer wedding and with so many options on hot dogs (vegetarian, vegan, etc.) you could put together this station and please even the pickest eater!  We just did a hot dog station at a wedding a few weeks ago at the Akron Rubber Ducks Stadium and it was a hit! (pun intended) 

Page 164- The A to Z of DIYNow DIY in itself is a great concept but the IDEA of you doing all kinds of work and crafting on your wedding day or even the month leading up to your wedding (the most stressful time in the wedding process) seems crazy to me.  There are great planners, designers and studios that can put these looks together for you and unless you are a DIY master, the money you spend will be worth it for you and everyone you try to get involved.  

Page 185- The Planner- RentalsWhat a great idea to put together information and a pull out sheet on rentals.  This is the #1 issue that people run across when planning their outdoor, tent, backyard wedding.  Not to mention when you get a fantastic venue and have the budget to look into some real rentals (Borrow Rentals is amazing)
Assess your Needs
Spend Wisely
Get it in Writing (I say this about any vendor you talk with!)
PICK A THEME!  You can get carried away in these places (think: being able to rent everything that Pier One has to offer or Home Goods) so make sure you start with a concept, color, design and your space availability.  This way you don't leave with things that don't make sense (waste of money) or things that you'll end up not having room for (again, waste of money).  

Page 192- Ask Martha
How many bartenders do we need? 
Their answer is one bartender per 30 people.  I'm not 100% sure that is the actual number, it will depend on the level of alcohol you are buying, what you are wanting to provide to the guests, how many guests and their drinking level.  I would say that's the safe number but it seems like you'll end up with a TON of bartenders ($$) too.  If you are looking to save on cost, I wouldn't see 1 per 50 or even 75 depending on the bar.  

Page 194- Build a Better WebsiteI just want to touch on the idea of a wedding website.  You DO need one.  It should have all the details, hotel information, schedule of events for the entire weekend so people know where to be and by when, shuttle information and yes, even your registry.  Those are the basics, anything beyond that is just personal preference.  

The palette coloring this month is copper and white.  I'm not a huge fan at all.  

Page 224- Come on, Get Happy (Photo Shoot)Love this and normally I pass over photo spreads.  This has fun coloring, ideas and cute puppies.  What's not to love?

Page 246- Best Foot ForwardInterview with SJP.  She does not look as happy in this photo as she does on the cover.  That's that.
Page 276- 50 Born in the USA Favors 
Ohio got buckeyes.  Seems to lack some creativity that I would expect from the magazine since anyone could come up with that idea.  Would have liked to see something local or more original. 
Here is a list of products from Ohio-  
And when all else fails a Lebron Jersey will work and be appreciated.  #allin

Page 312- 20 Years of FavorsI like seeing all the favors over the years.  1995 Monogrammed Box of Fruit Cake (?what?) 2015 Hand Painted Cookies.
My take on favors is that unless they match with your theme, have personal meaning to you or are edible (HUGE hit) then don't bother with them.  As a planner, I box up and take home over half of the typical favors that are put out (because guests leave them behind) so don't waste money where it won't be appreciated.

I wasn't absolutely in love with any of the "real life" weddings they featured this month, normally I do love to hear the stores and see the details, but none stuck out.  I'll see you again for some wedding reading next time!

Happy Planning!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Brides Magazine June/July 2015- Read with Me

Don't have the time or energy to find the content among all those ads in this June/July edition of Brides Magazine?  Well then, read along with me as I highlight the highs and lows of what they have to offer in this edition.

Well, 28 pages in through a majority of ads and a the table of contents, we come to this month's Question to the staff of Brides magazine.  This month's question:

Where's the most romantic place you've been?
(And let me just say this now, the staff at Brides magazine must be making a fortune because these are not your average locations for the average bride & groom to travel to for romance) Some of the answers from the staff were:
Como Shambhala Estate in Bali
Linda Vista in Costa Rica
Patricia, Italy

Le Sain Geran in Mauritius

I'm not kidding, their year end bonuses must be incredible to afford these trips.

PAGE 78- My favorite section is Ask Us Anything. I love wedding advice, especially reading the question and figuring out what advice I would give and then finding out what they say.  

Most Uncomfortable Question-One of my friends keeps asking me when I'm choosing my bridesmaids.  I already have...and she's not one of them, how do I break the news?

Yikes, that's a tough one and I can honestly say I was almost at a loss for advice.  Maybe avoid her forever?  I have uncomfortable situations, especially around weddings because everyone is so emotional when it comes to the decisions you have to make.  They offered some great advice to tell her ASAP and just let her know the bridal party is small and possibly offer her a role of a reader.  Still a tough situation.  

PAGE 82- Another favorite Brides Poll- This month, my favorite topic, working out/exercise.
They are saying that 4 out of 5 are working out but only 50% are dieting.  That process has to go together because all the working out in the world won't fix bad eating habits.  Trust me.  

PAGE 102- The After "AFTER" Party-
A whole article on having sex on your wedding night.  While some of you may want to shy away from this topic, it really is a valuable piece of information.  More than half of my brides end up saying they didn't have the time/energy to be intimate on their wedding night.  While we all know that the days of saving yourself until marriage are long gone (for some people) this is a really special day and the night should be just as special.  You spend that entire day with SO many other people, celebrating and talking, this night is just for the two of you to come together and enjoy each other, for the first time as husband and wife.  We won't get too much into the details of everything but you will feel like you missed out if you don't make this something of value.  Just have a little talk before about trying to leave a half hour early or start sipping water towards the end of the evening and be sure to have a late night snack before you head to your room so you aren't starving!  

PAGE 116- Haute Inspiration-
I have to say I'm more of a classics style girl so the idea of feathers, pleats and 3-D floral for my wedding gown just doesn't appeal to me.  Maybe for a styled shoot but not for my actual wedding day.  

PAGE 141- Braid Upgrade 
There is nothing more that I love for hair than a braid.  I was so excited when this style came back and LOVE seeing how much can be done with the basic braid.  Up, down and to the side, this look always comes together perfectly for most brides.  Of course, my favorite is the picture they use for the main title page of Blake Lively, stunning! 

PAGE 161- 25 Ways to Personalize Your Party
I tell ALL of my clients, if you are going to spend this kind of money on your wedding day, make it all about the two of you!  Incorporate personal touches when you can without going overboard, but remember people are there to celebrate the both of you, let them know more about how you met, why you fell in love, etc...a few of the more original ones are- 

#2- Do a LAST Dance- I've had a few clients do this, and really it is more for the two of you, a way to wrap it all up.  This may even help with the "after, after party" plans as well.  

#21- Hand Painted Shoes- I had one bride do this for her wedding day along with her dad and they both had these amazing, personalized shoes to wear.  It was something special for them and an extra touch for the select few that pay attention to details, to appreciate.  

#24- Use Personal Photos- Love having photos of the two of you growing up, dating, travelling and just being a couple.  It is so fun to see the two of you in love and again, that's why the guests are there!

Then we pass through a few articles, photos shoots, travel locations, etc...nothing that appeals to me a ton in this months edition.  

Page 264- Their section of weddings they feature that are typically not your "typical" bride and groom.  This month has a Mexican model and her husband an equity manager.  Their wedding is, of course, lovely.  They, of course, had a wedding planner, yay!  

Page 268- What's your TOP Priority
Wonderful article on prioritizing your marriage.  I'll take the highlight from the article to give you an idea on why it is so great-
"I've seen beautiful couples crash and burn because they gave something else priority over their relationship and proved it one small choice at a time" 
That's how all relationships fall apart, one small thing at a time.  Eventually all those small things add up and start eating away at all the good things you worked so hard to have.  Don't let that be you!

Page 276- You're Invited
A Capital Affair- Stunning wedding with the most amazing color palette in DC!
Urban Oasis- A wedding held in my favorite, a clear tent!
Clear Skies in Seattle- A very brave wedding held outside without a tent?!?!  

That's it for this edition of Brides magazine.  Did you read on your own?  Have different feedback?  Love different articles?  Let me know!  Read along with me next month!

Brandi Hamerstone 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Snapshot of Emily & Steve at The Silver Grille

Thrilled to feature a quick snapshot of the wonderful wedding from April 18th at The Silver Grille with Justin Ketchum Photography!

Also, this wedding was the first chance I had to hear the great Erin Rossi of The Element from Cleveland Music Group sing, live and she is incredible!  

Check out the photos through the link listed below- 

Happy Planning!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Trainer for your Wedding Day-

The #1 thing that I hear about, outside of the obvious plans for the big day, are the size and shape the bride wants to be for her big day.  
Once the dress has been ordered there is a rush to squeeze out as many pounds as possible to be the "perfect size" for the day and for the dress.  

I know that working out and dieting are big on the list but the first thing I would say is that dieting should be immediately removed.  The last thing you want to do during a stressful time in your life is eliminate foods, cut back on needed calories or shock your body by drastically changing what it is used to.  If you need to do anything, cut back on the amount of the food that you eat but don't try to do a major overhaul, at least not now.

The other thing I would recommend is to get yourself a trainer.  I know, I know you are probably thinking that the last thing you need is another expense but trust me when I tell you that this one will change your life.

I workout with a trainer two times a week and the changes I've seen have been dramatic.  I have worked out my whole life, from running, weight lifting, aerobics, yoga and beyond but once I started with a trainer I felt like I was just entering the world of fitness.  

Here are a few reasons you should consider a trainer too-
1- You have someone to track your progress.  You may not notice the changes, but your trainer will and they will be able to adjust accordingly.  They will notice the changes in body, ability and focus and it is good for someone to be able to point that out to you.

2- You have someone to push you.  The trainer will know what your body can do and can safely push you to your max.  Injury is the LAST thing you want before your wedding so having a skilled professional coaching you is worth every penny to avoid spraining or tearing anything.  They can also make sure that you don't keep lifting those 10lb weights when they know your body can handle picking up those 20lbs.  

3- You have someone to personalize.  You can hop on the elliptical every single day for the nine months before your wedding but your results won't be exactly what your body could provide.  With a trainer they are able to pinpoint weak points, strong points and adjust accordingly.  This plan will change up your body and what it is used to enough that you will notice REAL results.  

4- They hold you accountable.  This is HUGE as you are going to have 101 excuses to not workout during this time.  I'm not implying that you NEED to lose weight but what I am saying is that staying fit and healthy during this stressful time will allow you to stress less, sleep more, feel better and keep you strong and feeling good throughout. 

Don't take my word for it, plenty of trainers offer wedding packages or even first time visits for free.  Call one up and see what you think.  You may not love the first one you meet so don't get frustrated, just keep trying.  Look for friends and family that look great and are in shape, ask them what they do or who they work out with and if you are already working out at a gym, stop by the front desk and ask if they offer recommendations.  

Or you can contact my personal trainer directly and receive 10% off sessions.  Obviously, I think the world of her or else I wouldn't be able to feel this type of dedication to the concept of a trainer but you'll have to see for yourself!  
Erika Kohler at Results Personal Training 

Aron & Erika also happen to be past All Events Planned clients-

Happy Planning! 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

LuLu's Sweet Secret- The secret is she's amazing!

I had the wonderful joy of experiencing a cake tasting this afternoon with fellow wedding planner, Jennifer Hartman of Heart 2 Heart Occasions.  

We were invited to experience LuLu's Sweet Secrets cakes and also to check out the amazing art work that she creates in sugar flowers.  To claim that she has "talent" is quite an understatement as we were both totally blown away when we saw the realistic looking, delicate, incredible and EDIBLE flowers she creates for cakes.  

Our tasting menu was as follows (please be advised you will want to immediately eat cake upon reading this)  Also, keep in mind that all of the items are created by hand and absolutely fresh.  

Almond Cake- Dluce de Leche French Buttercream & Almond Praline (that's REAL almonds to create the almond flavor in this cake, it was my favorite) 

Victoria Sponge- Strawberry Preserve & Strawberry Buttercream & Vanilla Bean French Buttercream

Vanilla Cake- Lemon Syrup & Blackberry White Chocolate Swiss Buttercream & Lemon Buttercream

Chocolate Cake- Dulce de Leche & Fleur De Sel & Belgian Chocolate Swiss Buttercream

Here are the cakes from the tasting- 

These cakes were SO good.  You could taste each flavor that she put together in each cake.  They were soft, moist and creative.  This isn't your everyday cake, this is a spectacular creation of flavors that together provide an outstanding experience.  If you want something a little different, something that your guests won't get everywhere else, this is your wedding cake vendor!  

Here is some of her art-

My pictures do her work no justice, head over to her blog to check it out.  Keep in mind that those flowers are all edible, that work is done individually, by hand and is a true piece of art!

Happy Planning! 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Questions That Lead to Love....?

I've seen this article passed around over the internet and then had a client send it over to me for review.  She suggested that I send it to my other bridal clients so that they could have these conversations with the person they are about to marry.  

What do you think?  Can you ask?  Do you already know?  Is anyone willing to have the conversation and let me know how it went?  Could we find two strangers and see what happens? 

Here is the actual article-  

Here are the questions from the article- 
Set I
1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?
3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.
9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.
12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
Set II
13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
16. What do you value most in a friendship?
17. What is your most treasured memory?
18. What is your most terrible memory?
19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?
20. What does friendship mean to you?
21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?
22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.
23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?
24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?
25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling ... “
26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share ... “
27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.
28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.
29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.
30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.
32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?
34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?
35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?
36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.

Happy Planning!