Xiaoni and Jung

Happy Monday! 

I'm so excited to share another of my 2017 weddings with you today.  Xiaoni came across my website since I used to be based in Iowa when she was searching for wedding vendors for her Iowa City Wedding.  Even though I had already moved to Omaha, she decided she wanted to have me travel back to help her with her wedding.  

Images by Emily Crall

Images by Emily Crall

We did most of our full planning sessions through email and phone calls since I was in Omaha and she was living in Connecticut.  Her fiance, Jung was living in California! I met them both about a month before their wedding when we met in Iowa City to walk through their venue and finalize the design and details.  

Images by Emily Crall

Images by Emily Crall

Their wedding day started a little cold and rainy for late May, but the rain cleared out enough for them to take most of their pictures outside. 

Photos by Emily Crall

Photos by Emily Crall

Photos by Emily Crall

Photos by Emily Crall

Their ceremony took place at the Methodist Church on the University of Iowa campus.  Both Xiaoni and Jung had attended undergrad at U of I and the campus was very special for them since it was where they met.  Their reception took place at the U of I Memorial Union.  

Images by Emily Crall

Images by Emily Crall

Their guest count was very small and intimate-only about 45 guests were in attendance.  Xiaoni's family traveled over from China for the wedding! Both families spoke little English, but they spoke different languages from each other!  It was such an interesting dynamic and I felt so lucky to be involved in such a special event for two families.  Even though they couldn't to each other very well, love radiated from Xiaoni and Jung, and that is universal.  

Photos by Emily Crall

Photos by Emily Crall

I was able to work with two vendors that I really admire for this wedding.  Emily Crall did the photography and she is so talented and one of the nicest people I've ever met.  And Shelly Sarver did the florals and she is one of the best florists in the Midwest.  Everything she does is absolutely gorgeous!  They had an amazing vendor team beyond Emily and Shelly as well.  Be sure to give them some love below!

Photos by Emily Crall

Photos by Emily Crall

Planning and Design: Chevrons and Champagne
Ceremony Venue: First United Methodist Church, Iowa City
Reception Venue: Iowa Memorial Union
Cake: Tip Top Cakes
DJ: BAM Productions
Dress: David's Bridal
Videography: Diamond Label Films

XO Lindsay

 

How to use Pinterest to Define your Style

Chances are, you probably have been secretly pinning wedding related pins on a hidden board long before you were engaged.  it's okay, this is a safe place. You can admit it!  But, if you've been keeping a board for 2, 3, 4+ years, who knows what all you have pinned on there.  It can be overwhelming, so here's some tips for you to create a cohesive board that will be helpful while you're planning.  

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1. Start Fresh. 
Start a new board.  You don't have to delete your old one if you have one, but starting a new one helps you narrow down your vision.  You can keep it secret if you don't want to share it with all of your followers, it's totally your call! 

2. Pick Your Colors.
Decide what colors you want to use in your wedding color palette.  Jump over to Pantone and play around in their color studio to find colors you love.  Then pin them to the top of your board so you can reference them as you're planning

3. Define your Style.
Before you start pinning like crazy, define your style.  Pick 3-4 key words and use them in your board description.  Think of words that will describe the pins on the board.  If you can't think of words, think about your reception and ceremony venues.  How would you describe them?  Is your venue Rustic? Classic? Modern? Elegant? Name your board " Our Modern, Elegant Wedding".  

4. Keep your Pins Cohesive.
Once you define your wedding style and pick your colors, only pin items that match your colors AND your description.   I know it's hard because there are so many things on Pinterest.  But, this board is to narrow down your vision.  

5. Be Selective.
Use Pinterest as a search engine.  Search by category and pin only items that you LOVE.  Then once you've added multiple pins from that category, go back and narrow them down.  These pins are what you'll share with your vendors.  If you have one naked cake, one marbled fondant cake, and one buttercream cake, you baker isn't going to know which one to quote.  It's fine to keep 3-5 pins from the same category on your board, but make sure they're similar enough that your vendors will understand your vision. 

6. Change your Descriptions: 
You know how each pin has stuff written underneath it? Edit that and note what you like about the Pin or what you would change.  If you found the perfect bouquet but it's not the exact colors, note that.  

Here's one of my boards that I've created for a wedding.  It's not a lot of pins, but it shows a clear vision.  

Let me know if you have questions or if you want a wedding Pinterest board review!

XO Lindsay

Five Tips for Staying Organized when Wedding Planning

You've probably heard me say it 100 times before, but there are SO many details that go into your wedding.  So, here's a few of my favorite tips I share with my couples to stay a little more organized.  

1. Hire a Wedding Planner
Okay, this one might be the most obvious.  But hiring a wedding planner for full planning is going to keep you the most organized throughout the process.  A key to a good wedding planner is organization, so you know that they'll already have a system in place.  They also are most likely going to handle a lot of your vendor communication, contracts, and detail tracking.  Therefor you have a whole lot less to remember, since they'll have that information.  

I have an amazing client management system that I use with all of my planning couples.  They can see what I'm working on at all times.  I keep To Do lists, wedding day notes, vendor and timeline information in the system so it's all in one place.  I have access to it anywhere from my phone and so do my clients! 

Image by JM Studios

Image by JM Studios

2. Start a Separate Email Account
I love using email to communicate, mostly because then I have all the information to look back at later in the process.  A lot of wedding vendors are the same way.  So, you're going to get a lot of emails throughout your engagement.  So, start an email account you use just for your wedding.  And start it right when you get engaged.  That way all emails that pertain to your wedding can go through that account.  Create folders for each vendor and keep all your emails in the folders, even after you've responded so you can go back and see past information.  

3. Create an Online Filing System
Personally I love using the entire Google suite for everything from Gmail to Google Drive to Google Calendar.  With Google Drive you can create Google Sheets and Docs to keep notes, budget information and save files.  Save all your contracts in your online drive.  Put payment reminders,  meetings, and important dates on your calendar.  And then sync it with your phone, tablet, and share it with your partner.  

4. Create a Questions and Follow Up Schedule
You're going to have a lot of questions while you're wedding planning. So, you're going to want to make sure you get those answers and keep those answers organized.  Ask each of your vendors when you book them how often you should be in touch with them through the process.  Some vendors like to touch base a few times, others like to schedule a final meeting right before the wedding to finalize details. 

I suggest creating a document (in Google Drive) to keep track of any questions that you have for each vendor or any changes you need to let them know about from the original time you talked. Try not to send an email with a single question (unless the response is urgent), instead wait until you have a few questions and send them an email. Or, wait to ask all your questions at your final meeting. Then keep track of the dates you received responses. This will cut down on the number of emails you receive and keep your vendor more organized.  

Then, finally when you are making the final payment, send them over the final details of your wedding day and any changes you want to confirm.  For example, remind them you changed a cake flavor from chocolate to champagne and the date you discussed it.  They'll appreciate your organization and it will help keep all details and changes straight.  

5. Create a Binder and bring it on your wedding day
Having everything online and organized is great through your process is great.  But on your wedding day having everything printed and at an arm's reach is even better. Just think if you're in a location with bad cell service.  Print your contracts, timeline, and vendor contact info.  That way if you're missing a corsage, you have your contract detailing the numbers and the phone number for your florist at your fingertips.  

I do the same thing as a planner.  I have everything online and have my phone and ipad to access it, but I print out contract, contact information, details and notes for setup and tear down, and timeline information.  Especially if you don't have a wedding planner, you want everything available to you on your wedding day.  I had one couple this year that their bar ran out of alcohol and the vendor was claiming that they brought everything the couple ordered.  But, because I had a copy of the contract with me, I was able to open it and show them they were incorrect.  The couple ended up getting a partial refund and it saved a lot of time and arguments of "he said, she said" (things that should never have to happen on a wedding day anyway). 

Hopefully those details help you stay organized.  If you're still overwhelmed or you're just not great with organization, consider hiring a wedding planner.  If you're in the Omaha, Lincoln or surrounding Nebraska or Iowa areas, let me know!  I'd love to help!

XO Lindsay

Vendor Introduction: Omaha DJ Image Entertainment cfgfw

Happy Monday and happy December!

It's the first Monday of the month and I'm continuing the local vendor introductions. Today I get to introduce Ben from Image Entertainment. Image Entertainment is a top wedding and event DJ in Omaha. He's answering some of my questions below!

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Tell me about you and your business! What should a couple consider when hiring a DJ? 
A couple should consider the experience that they want to have & give to their friends and family. One DJ company can be perfect for one couple, but the exact opposite for another couple. Always ask to meet with the DJ that you are going to get. 

What other services does a DJ provide other than just music? 
Each DJ company will vary with the additional services they offer. Some offer photo-booths, up lighting, or even video services. At Image Entertainment we are partnered with the best companies that do offer those services and couples will get a much better product at the same "bundle" rate. We do offer some upgrades to our packages, but we keep the focus on our trade and make sure we give the best we can. 

How does a good DJ help guide the wedding day? 
This is the biggest difference between a professional and a guy that keeps a couple of speakers in his garage. A professionally trained DJ will not just play music when the time is appropriate. A professional DJ will MC and coordinate the formal events while maintaining appropriate music for the time of the evening. 

How does a couple know if a DJ is the right fit for their day?
I always say trust your gut and reviews. It can be easy to sell a bride and a groom and they may like what they hear... but always do homework to know what you are hearing from the DJ/DJ service is backed up with extensive reviews. 

What are some things that separate different DJ companies? 
In my opinion time always prevails and you either make it or fade away. If you undercharge to beat the competition, you will get bookings at first. But if you do not offer a good service and reviews come back negative, you will not grow as a company. In addition to the "craigslist DJ", there are companies that charge at very high rates. This gives off the perception that you are the best in the area. But again, when you do  not deliver, you will not get residual business from satisfied customers. They will feel as they were taken advantage of. 

Are there any trends or things you're seeing a lot of couples request for 2017/2018 weddings? 
The trends I personally love is when couples think outside of the box and break tradition. I love seeing unique dessert options, or new ways to old formal events. I am not in the event design business, but i am seeing some insane color & designs that are just amazing. I have the pleasure of seeing the same spaces at venues that we frequently DJ at... but the experience is different each time. 

Image from Image Entertainment's Facebook Page

Image from Image Entertainment's Facebook Page

If a couple is having trouble coming up with music choices, is there a source you suggest that they check out? Or does your company make suggestions?
We have a comprehensive list that we offer to clients that breaks down some of the most popular music by decade and genre. We do offer up options or suggestions for everything but the first dance. We feel that one should be hand picked and chosen by the couple solely. 

Any wedding nightmare situations that you've encountered that a couple can avoid by planning ahead? 
No nightmares. I hate to worry brides. I always say as long as two people say "I DO", the rest is icing on the cake. Plan accordingly if any events will be held outside and have a back up plan... and talk with your DJ and hall manager to get a realistic timeline to assure the evening will be well planned out.  

And anything else you'd like to share with brides and grooms?  
A DJ secret that most couples will not think to ask is if the DJ is trained to mix music, or just fade out of one song to the next. A real DJ will mix tempos and beats to keep a more engaged dance floor. We take time to train our DJs to effectively keep guests out on the dance floor. The time people have at your wedding and reception is the most remembered thing. 

What other questions do you have for a DJ? You can find their website here and their Facebook page here!  

Planning a Nebraska Wedding

Tips for the newly engaged:

Tis the season of engagements!  November through February sees a lot of question popping and your favorite vendors are going to be receiving a lot of inquiries.  So, if you're one of the lucky ones who has a new sparkle on your finger, here are some tips to start planning your wedding!

Choose what's most important to you: Venue, Date, or Vendor:

What's the one thing that you've always imagined about your wedding? The date, the venue, the designer, or another vendor like your photographer? Start with planning the ONE thing you won't compromise on.  If you're set on a special date, you may need to compromise on a vendor or venue that was already booked that day.  If you're set on the venue, pick your date based on their availability. If there's a vendor that you absolutely have to have on your dream team-choose your date based on what they have open.  Some vendors and venues book up very quickly and you may need to choose a date a year plus in advance.  

 

Consider the Season:

Nebraska weather is unpredictable, to say the least.  So, consider the seasons when picking your venue and date.  Choosing a date for an outdoor wedding doesn't come without the chance of rain, wind, snow, heat, or storms.  So make sure your venue has a backup plan or, make sure to budget for a backup plan.  I've had outdoor weddings in 100+ degrees, ones where it rained, and ones where there was an unexpected cold spell.  I've also had one that took place in a park the morning after a tornado went through--the groomsmen were out cutting down trees and clearing the area.  Also consider what would happen if a snow storm came through and roads were closed and guests and vendors couldn't get to your venue, even if it was all inside!  Consider investing in wedding insurance if you're at all worried about the weather! 

 

Consider Location and Local Events:

If you or your fiancé are from Nebraska, you're probably aware of local events that happen every year.  Like the Berkshire Hathaway event in April and the College World Series in June in Omaha.  And the game days in Lincoln. These are just examples of major events, but it's always good to check event schedules for other major concerts, conventions or events. These events don't have to prohibit you from planning your wedding during those times (although the week the Huskers have a bye in the fall is ALWAYS one of the quickest Saturdays to book up!). But, consider a few things when booking during those events.  Hotels tend to be more expensive and fill up faster during those events.  If you have a lot of out of town guests, this may make finding accommodations for them more difficult.  Flights, especially during the College World Series and Berkshire event tend to be more expensive.  Traffic and parking in downtown Omaha and downtown Lincoln is already difficult, but on a game day or during an event, it's even harder to find (and more expensive).  Make sure to check on parking options with your venue.  Consider providing transportation or, choose a venue outside of the area that the event is going on. 

 

Hopefully these tips will get you thinking about some of the things to consider while planning. If you're in need of a wedding planner, event designer, or florist, let me know! 

XO Lindsay