Everyone, Outside!

There's no disputing it, outdoor weddings are beautiful. You just can't beat that natural light. So when couples see those images on Instagram and Pinterest, they easily attach themselves to the idea that an outdoor wedding is the natural choice. Of course there are obvious benefits: beautiful pictures, needing far less décor, having a causal feel, etc. But there are also so many complicating factors we think couples forget to consider. Below are some tips and tricks to plan a successful outdoor soiree.  

  • Pick a realistic time of year. Sure, if you are in Southern California, there's probably very few months that are off limits for a wedding. But for the rest of the 49 states, there are definitely some months that are better than others. I don't care who I offend with this next statement: please don't get married outside in Atlanta, during the day, in July. Even if your ceremony is only 15 minutes, you have to count the time guests will likely be spending outside before and after the ceremony. We've seen some pretty gnarly sunburns that have been incurred within 20 minutes of standing in direct sunlight.

Photo: Gemini & The Bear

Photo: Gemini & The Bear

  • Have a GOOD plan B. Generally a venue that has an outdoor space will provide you with a suitable option whether that's an indoor space or a tent of some sort. Make sure it's an option you would actually be happy with and one that actually has the capacity to seat all of your guests! Often times, we see couples extremely disappointed to be using their plan B space because they had only pictured themselves getting married outdoors. If you plan on doing an outdoor wedding that does not have a suitable indoor option, we suggest putting some money aside in an emergency fund (aka the "Oh Sh!t fund") for a tent or creative seating/décor if it's being held inside.

  • Plan for the cold too! There are those iffy months, April, May…well these days…it really could be any month… (sidestepping that global warming convo for now) where it can be unseasonably cold. If that's the case, going with that aforementioned tent is a great idea. Venues generally allow you to add heaters (or air conditioning) 24-48 hours in advance, allowing you to make a game-time decision.

Photo by: Perez Photography

Photo by: Perez Photography


  • Hydration stations. Giving guests access to water (and other drinks if you're feeling fancy), fans, umbrellas, sunglasses etc. is really important. And make sure that your bridal party, family, officiant, etc. are well hydrated before the ceremony starts! Remember, even if it's a nice 75-80 degrees out, everyone will be standing/sitting in one place anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour! Eventually the heat can catch up with you and have disastrous consequences. Plus, adding thoughtful touches, not only make for a great guest experience but also good for pictures too!


  • Check your attire. Avoid dark colors or heavy materials like velvet, for you as the couple or anyone else who may be standing up there with you. Opt for lighter weight, breathable materials if possible. For a South Asian wedding, keep in mind the added weight, resulting in added heat, that comes along with duputtas, large malas, turbans, heavy jewelry, etc. Paring down your attire will not only look outdoor appropriate, but also keep you cool, resulting in better pictures and a happier couple!

Photo: Vitor Lindo

Photo: Vitor Lindo


F.A.Q.

Today we're bringing you some answers to some questions that we've actually been asked by both prospective and current clients as well as family and friends, all while shamelessly plugging our services! Hey, if you can't advertise on your own blog…

 What is it that you do?

 I'm starting with the hardest question first. The truth is, even through our best efforts to itemize what services we will offer in our proposal to clients, it is hard to explain because there is no way to anticipate all the things that come up during the planning process and the wedding itself. But once we are on the job, we are ON IT. Our goal is always to produce a finished product that is what the clients envisioned and something we can be proud of. So whether we are there from the time you're searching for venues or step in on the day of, we are looking at every single aspect.

The hardest thing is to itemize is what happens on the wedding day. There have been weddings, where we vetoed the lighting scheme as it was being set up, created additional seating because the couple did not account for all of their guests, directed the decorator to add a runner in aisle so the bride wouldn't be in the mud, set up the ceremony space as the procession was arriving, calmed down the property manager after he found out there was illegal alcohol on the property, and the list goes on… Essentially we are project managers and we micro-manage in the best way possible. Often times our couples don’t know what we’re doing behind the scenes and that’s just how we like it.

 What would you do differently than if I planned my wedding myself?

 The biggest difference between a couple planning their own wedding and us stepping in, is that we have experience on our side. We can anticipate a lot of different scenarios because we've lived it!

 We also plan weddings with the guest experience in mind. What couples may not often realize is that the rhythm of each event is so IMPORTANT to the overall feel of the wedding. When we create our down-to-the-minute timelines, we are making sure that things run on time and that they make sense. When things run smoothly, guests can really bring the fun and energy, which after all, is what this celebration is all about!

 And finally, we also take a lot off your plate. Planning a wedding can be overwhelming to say the least. But we want the journey to be fun, too! And while stress is inevitable, having a fun friend (yes, we become your friends- or so we like to think) on your side, advocating for you and getting you what you want, the process seems a little less daunting. The common thread between all our clients thus far is they’ve all told us they were not stressed on their wedding day. That alone, makes us feel worthwhile.

 Where do you store your inventory?

Here's the thing, we aren't decorators. And although we do provide design services, we don't actually provide any florals or décor. What we do is find you the best possible team to execute y[our] vision.

Photo by:  Jamie Howell

Photo by: Jamie Howell

 Why should I hire you guys?

That was the first tough question we faced during our first client meeting. At the time, we scrambled to get our elevator pitch together in a pinch, but our message really has not changed over time. We take on a limited amount of clients a year and we really focus on you. We care just as much about the experience as the finished product. Our vibe (as the kids are calling it these days) is to provide the feel that you're working with a friend. We are approachable, reliable and responsive. And maybe putting this energy out into the universe has made us lucky enough to work with couples who are down to earth and understand what is important, thus making it an enjoyable process for all of us.

Do you have a preferred vendor list?

 While we are constantly creating lists of vendors who we like, based on our experience working with them and/or their aesthetic, we don't have a "preferred vendor list." That means we want to get you know you as a couple and what you like and build an event based on that, instead of pushing our own agenda and re-creating the same wedding repeatedly..

Image by:  Vitor Lindo

Image by: Vitor Lindo

 You have full-time jobs, families, dogs, etc. When do you have the time to do this?!

Good question. The truth is, we find the time, with the help of very supportive partners, because we love it. We both have jobs that can be a pretty serious and real at times. For us, it's a great escape to be working on something that should be bringing joy! My husband always jokes, "you're stressed so you decided to take on weddings?!" But meeting new people, being creative, making lists and problem solving is fun for us. We're also great friends, so working together is the best excuse for us to hang out!

 What does it cost to…

Let me stop you right there. The range on weddings is incredibly expansive which makes it hard to answer that question. So I promise, we're not just copping out when we say: let's talk. We don't have a minimum spend and are willing to work with a variety of vendors, so will try to find you someone in your price range or tell you your vision and budget don’t match. But in a super nice way.  We can help you put together a comprehensive budget based on your priorities and go from there.

 But first, you have to hire us. (Shameless, right?)

Charleston Beach Wedding: Priyanka & Amogh

Planning this destination wedding was a labor of love. We spent countless hours sending emails, making calls, and creating spreadsheets for the better part of a year without ever having met the bride and groom in person. But it was such an adventure to plan this wedding from scratch and meet such amazing people along the way. As soon as we made it on to the property, surrounded by palm trees, breathtaking beach homes and views of the beach, we felt a sense of excitement and energy that made all the moments leading up to this one So. Worth. It.

We met Amogh & Priyanka in person just a few hours before the first event started. It was readily apparent that they were incredibly relaxed and ready to enjoy the festivities just as much as their guests. From all our long distance interactions, we knew they were funny, warm and laid back. So it was such a pleasure to see that same attitude spill over to their own wedding weekend.

This was one of the most fun weddings we have been to as a planner or a guest (evidenced by the fact that we found ourselves on the dance floor at the end of the night)! Their guests seriously brought the energy from the commencement of the sangeet, to the early-morning baraat, and all the way to the last song of the night at the reception. At one point we noticed there were multiple dance parties going!

Their guests had traveled from far and wide to celebrate this wonderful couple and they were making the most of it. The evenings were filled with dances, speeches and videos that were all filled with warmth, humor and love. It was clear how important Priyanka and Amogh were to the people in their lives. And even more clear how important Priyanka and Amogh were to one another; their sense of compatibility and adventure was a common theme throughout the festivities.  

We were so lucky to work with a wonderful team of vendors who put their hearts (and sweat—-boy was it HOT) into putting together a magical weekend.

Congratulations you two! Hope your first few months of marriage have been filled with fun and adventure!


Vendors:

Venue: Wild Dunes Resort

Planners: Cakes & Rosé Events

Photographer/Videographer: Vitor Lindo

Decorator: Loluma Events

DJ: Other Brother Entertainment

Bridal Hair/Makeup: Tooba Gaya

Horse & Carriage: Camden Carriage Company

A Park Tavern Wedding: Kim & ZaK

One month ago, we had the privilege of working with Kim and Zak, a couple who put in a great deal of thought when it came to the small details on their wedding day. From our first meeting, it was clear that they wanted to incorporate things for which they shared a common love: particularly paying homage to their dogs and Game of Thrones. During the ceremony, they incorporated a beautiful wine box ceremony, enclosing a box of wine in a time capsule, to be opened on a future anniversary. As much thought as they put into the details of their big day, it was readily apparent to us that they were not going to stress over the little things and really try to enjoy their day. Because above all, the most important thing was that the wedding was a mark of the start of their lives with one another.

It was a beautiful wedding from start to finish and they picked an amazing team that was able to execute their vision. Congratulations Kim and Zak, we wish you all the best in your married life!  And we pass along a cheers for when you open that bottle of wine!

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Vendors:

Venue: Park Tavern

Months of coordination: Cakes & Rosé Events

Photographer: Gemini & The Bear

Florist: Stylish Stems

DJ: Amp’d Entertainment

Hair/make-up: Formal Faces

Officiant: Sensational Ceremonies

Bakery: Fete and Figs

Event rentals: Miss Milly’s

Neon sign rental: Neon Company

Perfect Playlist

Recently, during the last dance at a good friend’s wedding, a close friend was visibly unhappy by the ballad blaring to close out the night. I asked what the problem was, thinking it was a perfectly sweet way to end the festivities, he said, “do you remember what your last song was?” Even though it was more than four years ago, I did: Safe and Sound by Capital Cities. I remember because I specifically made sure that was the last song of the night. But I did not expect anyone to notice, let alone remember years later. He told me he loved it because it kept everyone’s energy up; energy that poured into multiple after parties.

The goal for any wedding (or any event) is that you pick a great team of vendors who don’t need a lot of management. But don’t overlook the music which is a integral part of your event from start to finish. Below are some tips on making the dance floor the place to be!

Don’t Skip Over the DJ/Band Questionnaire. Usually before your event, even if you don’t have an in-person meeting with your band or DJ, they will send over a questionnaire or schedule a call to discuss your preferences and find out what you do not want. Take this seriously. If you are beyond tired of the Cupid Shuffle or do not want to Get Low with Lil Jon, then make sure they are on your “do-not-play list”. On the flip side (see what I did there?), send over a list of songs you do want. When you hear them sprinkled throughout the night, you and your partner will find yourselves mid-conversation jetting on to the dance floor.

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Mix Up the Playlist! I’ve been to some Indian weddings where they played Indian music Lionel Ritchie Style: All. Night. Long. It may just be my personal preference, but if you have a mixed crowd, make sure you include some songs to please everyone. And if you insist on sticking to one particular genre, at least mix up the decades, and play some older songs. This will ensure that the older folks will get out of their seats, who are typically known to defect after the cake has been cut. I made sure to include some Bee Gees, Elton John and vintage Hindi songs from the 70s that had our parents partying right there with us.

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Pay Attention to the Flow. On that note (sorry, I can’t stop) make sure you talk to your music provider about creating a flow to the evening. Bands and DJs know to play more family friendly (or older songs, as mentioned above) early in the night while saving the down and dirty songs for late night. I, personally, also love some ballads sprinkled in so that I can sneak in a slow dance here and there, or take a break to get some cake and coffee.

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Schedule Enough Party Time, but Not Too Much. If you have speeches and choreographed dances planned, make sure you allot enough time for your guests to actually get up and party themselves. But don’t go overboard, and have four hours of dancing and forget to create a time where people can eat in peace. Events are all about balance and timing, and too much of a good thing is…too much.

Music is deeply personal and taste is extremely subjective. Stay true to yourselves, keep all your guests in mind (at least for a song or two) and communicate on the front-end about your preferences so you can dance the night away carefree.

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Our First Wedding: Sabah & Nakib

During our initial business meeting, front and center on the agenda was the discussion of how we could acquire business; that elusive first client who would entrust us with one of the most important days of their lives.

Shortly after that meeting, we began telling our friends and family that we had started a side business. Not even two weeks had passed when, our friend Megha, who designs beautiful Indian clothes (see below), referred us to a couple who was looking for a planner. We couldn’t believe how fast an opportunity fell on our plate.

Enter: Sabah & Nakib. We took that first meeting and were up front and honest about our experience- we had none. But we promised them that we would make them our sole priority, investing all our time and energy into making sure things ran seamlessly on their big day. Ultimately they decided to give us a shot, and I’m sure I speak for all of us when I say there were some nerves on whether we could deliver.

In the month leading up to their wedding we spent time going through all the details, constructing timelines and speaking to vendors. They kept reiterating to us that their friends were a lot of fun and they just wanted everyone to have a good time.  It all came together fast and before we knew their wedding weekend arrived. We put on coordinated outfits, printed our ultra-revised timeline and got to work.

The wedding was absolutely beautiful. We had to hand it to them: they picked a wonderful team of vendors who executed on their vision. But it was also a lot of fun; their friends did indeed bring a lot of energy.  Behind the scenes we were working every minute to ensure that the day was going according to plan. Having planned my own wedding, I knew it was a lot of work, but knowing what goes on behind the scenes was another story! It took two whole days to gain feeling back in my feet!

What we will most remember about their day was the undeniable love for one another.  It was the kind of love and protectiveness we could feel from the first meeting until the last few minutes of the reception. It was touching to see a groom be so attentive to his wife-to-be. In fact, one of the only things he asked of us on that day was to continually make sure she was doing alright. And when he jumped up to join in a choreographed dance to surprise her, the look on her face said it all. It was truly a pleasure to work with a couple who not only cared deeply for one another, but also cared about their friends and guests who were there to celebrate with them. And they were beyond appreciative of our work and took the time, repeatedly, to tell us so.

That’s when we decided that this the type of couple we want to work with—intelligent, classy, caring and genuine. Sabah & Nakib, we hope that your first year of marriage has been wonderful and we are forever grateful that you gave us a chance! Cheers!


You can read more about their wedding featured in South Asian Bride Magazine!

 

Photography: Jamie Howell Photography

Decor: Events in Style by Beenish

Catering: Café Bombay

DJ: GTB Produtions

Video: Timepiece Media

Attire: Megha Ramani

Hair: Bride & Bristle

Makeup: Theresa Stone

 

 

 

timing is everything.

the importance of planning punctuality

We’ve all been to that wedding.

You’re sitting outside in the hot sun, sweating, thirsty, looking for an hors d’oeuvre but the ceremony hasn’t started yet. It was supposed to start an hour ago. But the bride isn’t ready, the priest is running late, the florist is still putting together the final touches. Now you’re hangry, and the cute guy two rows up is no longer maintaining eye contact because he’s sweating up a storm. Forty five minutes later, things are underway but you look around, and everyone is on their phone or standing under a tree to catch some shade.  You start to wonder if you can sneak back to your room to take a shower and a nap. But hold that thought because the father of the groom has passed out from sitting in the sun. So maybe this particular scenario is a little too specific, but you know the feeling.

The crux of any good event is the flow. And the flow is determined by people running on time. When there are delays, guests tend to become hungry, tired or irritated. By the time the reception arrives, people are calling it a night immediately after dinner and the party is dead on arrival.

When planning a wedding, there is so much emphasis on choosing the perfect décor, picking the perfect menu, and creating that dance-able playlist. However, often times, timing of the day is left to the last minute or not paid attention to at all, leaving chaos on the wedding day. Here are some tips to keep your event on time:

Hire a planner. Of course we would suggest this. But trust us! A planner will sit with you at least a month in advance and construct a detailed timeline; one that is likely to be revised repeatedly until just a few days before the wedding. The planner distributes the timeline and coordinates with other vendors, family members and the bridal party to make sure everyone knows where to be and when to be there. A good planner will also be the one to tell you whether your idea of the evening makes practical sense. For instance, any planner will tell you that leaving 15 minutes for family portraits in between the ceremony and reception is not going to work. It may take 15 minutes to find that uncle who is already making a beeline for the bar! Even if you don’t hire a full planner, a month-of or day-of coordinator can handle the timeline and enforce those timings on the big day.

Build in buffer time. If you have family members that you know are likely to be late, you know your bridesmaids take forever to get ready,  or a vendor will be caught in rush hour traffic, build in some extra time for things to go wrong. While it will be everyone’s best intention to follow the timeline, things are bound to go off the rails when there are so many people involved. Building in some extra time keeps you relaxed even if there are delays. Pro tip: don’t share that you’ve built in delays!

Think of your loved ones. Often times, couples will create detailed timelines that are very centric, to well, themselves. We get it, this is your day, but if you’re not getting married at city hall, then thinking of your guests is important (more on this later). Creating awkward gaps in the day, asking your bridal party to be up at 3am for hair and makeup, or asking your guests to drive all over the state in a short period of time does not make sense. If you want your guests to enjoy the day and remember it as a great party, make a timeline that makes sense for everyone.  Talk with your planner about how you can maneuver the schedule so that you aren’t sacrificing things that are important to you, while making sure your guests aren’t stuck standing outside the venue for an hour without a refreshment or a chair anywhere in sight.

You can’t account for every single scenario on your wedding day. And things are bound to get off track. But being prepared with a timeline, anticipating others’ needs, and being realistic about how long things will take will go a long way. When everyone has their energy, the party is sure to last well into the night, leaving your guests with the feeling that your wedding was a great day.