The Cycles of Life

new yearWell it is finally 2020 and I wish you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. As for me, this past year was a very difficult one for my family and I, as my father passed away in September, the same month my mother passed, but several years ago. Two months after he passed away I had my birthday, then came Hanukkah, Christmas, my sister’s birthday and of course, now the New Year. All these “celebrations,” one after the other, were firsts without my father and extremely painful. Waking up in the morning and thinking about wishing him a happy new year and then the realization that I will never get to do that again. Suddenly I am an orphan and the month of September really sucks. When I talk to my sister we cannot talk about memories without breaking down and whereas before it was just mom we missed, now it is both of them and the “remember when” chats are doubly devastating and it has gotten worse during the Holidays.

My father had a long and really good life. My parents were happily married, had their own business and travelled extensively.  One of their favorite places was the Kruger National Park in South Africa and Chobe Sunsetneedless to say, memories of our family’s many vacations there came flooding back! The 2am wakeup calls to get to the gate of the Park early in time for breakfast and so that we can watch the sun rise in that most incredible of places. We visited the KNP so often that my dad became a honorary game ranger. I don’t know whether they still do that, but years ago it was a big deal. Mom’s ashes are sprinkled there and now dad’s will be too, and I know they are in their “happy place,” and at peace. While I have not been back there for many years, I kept looking at the posts and beautiful pictures in a Facebook group about the Kruger National Park, and remembered all the places they mention, almost as if it was yesterday. Each camp has a special memory… a boyfriend I met, the BBQ or party on my parent’s birthdays or anniversaries… and the peace that is indescribable.

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Backyard weddings never looked this good!

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In the last post I wrote that having a backyard wedding could be one way to save quite a bit of money but received a few comments that the idea of a having a wedding in someone’s backyard didn’t actually conjure up exciting images so I decided to do a blog post showing just how magical a backyard wedding can be.

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The Wedding Budget!

chuppah on beach

For the couple on a tight budget!

Now that you and your fiancé have decided on your vision and the most important aspects of the wedding, the next step is the budget. A realistic budget that will allow you to choose most of the must-haves for your special day. In order to do this well you should know approximately what things cost in your area. You don’t want to spend time creating a budget only to discover that flowers cost twice as much as you had hoped to spend, so do the research. When you have info on most of the costs, you can look at the available funds and figure out what kind of wedding you are going to have. If needed and possible, ask your parents if they are willing to help in some way – whether by paying for some aspect of the wedding or just adding funds to the budget. Have a discussion with them and share your wish-list so that they know the scale of the wedding (and also so that they don’t try to pressure you into having the wedding of their dreams!) With open communication, parents can tell you how much they were planning to contribute. If you want their help financially you’ll get much better results when you invite parents to participate and allowing them to state what they’re comfortable with. Show them your priority list and share your excitement about the wedding planning process, rather than just telling them what your dream wedding is going to cost or trying to guilt-trip them into contributing more than they can afford. Never compare what they are contributing to what the in-laws are! If you initially told your parents that you are paying for the wedding yourself but after a period of time expenses have piled up and you now need help, just be direct and ask whether the offer of financial assistance is still on the table. Just FYI – couples typically spend between $20,000 and $33,000 but, it is possible to spend less than $10,000 and still have a fabulous wedding.

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I said YES!

Chuppah JJ

So…your partner proposed and you said… YES! and then reality hits you. HELP! Overwhelming details spinning through your mind furiously and you are wondering how you will actually pull this off followed by images of the dream wedding you have imagined maybe since you were a kid. If you and your partner decided on a long engagement you might not be panicking too much or if you are not surprised by the proposal and have secretly been planning under the radar, you have most likely thought about most of the details by now and are ready to jump into action. Continue reading I said YES!

Infusions, Champagne Bar and Wedding Trends.

This blog is inspired by research I have been doing for a couple  who is so much fun to work with – a planner’s true ideal client! As we are going over the details for their wedding, their signature cocktail came up. As they are having pink-ish/blush accents in their bouquets and decor they wanted to carry that through to the signature champagne
cocktails as well which had us discussing what we would have to infuse their champagne with to get that effect. Continue reading Infusions, Champagne Bar and Wedding Trends.

Fun Pairings for Cocktails and Food Stations

Hamburger sliders and friesOne of the biggest challenges for any caterer or wedding/event planner is to find fun and unique ways to wow guests at an event so fish and chips with mini beersI have been looking around for inspiration for the next wedding we are both planning and catering and will share with you some fun beverage and appetizer pairings for cocktail hour and even for the main course that your guests will love! These appetizers are served a little differently than what we are used to seeing at events and this will work well whether you are having a formal black tie or casual backyard event. In fact imagine inviting your guests to a black tie wedding and then giving them fish and chips wrapped in paper with mini beer shots! So far we have had rave reviews.

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A Chuppah, Arbor or Arch?

chuppah rose colored and ligthsI have recently had inquiries about the difference between Chuppah’s Arches and Arbors so I thought it would be a good topic for a blog post as I am sure there are other couples asking the same questions.

The chuppah, like the one in the picture on the left is a tapestry attached to the tops of four poles. The word chuppah means covering or protection, and is intended as a roof or covering for the couple at their wedding. The “roof” consists of a cloth or sheet, sometimes a tallit which is a Jewish prayer shawl. The tallit could be stretched or supported over four poles, or manually held up by attendants to the ceremony. A chuppah symbolizes the home that the couple will build together. It is said that the couple’s ancestors are present at the chuppah ceremony.

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What is Your Wedding Style?

Great proposal venue!

What is your wedding or event style? When I first meet a couple I suggest that they close their eyes and envision what they want their wedding to look like as though it is the day of. To “look around” for details. I ask them to write down how they feel and how they “see” their surroundings and then we start a vision board using either Pinterest or an actual vision board or vision book. Once they find a venue we discuss how their vision compliments the venue, the challenges it may present and how we can overcome or modify their preferences.

If they envision a hotel or art gallery for the reception then the couple’s style probably leans more toward the elegant and/or modern. If they envision it in a barn, garden, beach or other outdoor space then they could lean more towards the rustic, country chic or casual style. As spring is here and summer is around the corner,  I thought it would be a good time for a blog about outdoor weddings and event styles.

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The “WOW” Factor.

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Message to the bride from the groom

How adorable is this unique way to send a note to your wife to be on your wedding day!

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Wedding Chair Cover

I recently searched the internet with a couple to find items that could add the WOW factor to their wedding without breaking the budget and found some great ideas. These days almost anything at an event can be dressed up that will literally leave your guests speechless.

One way of dressing up your venue is adding some swag to your ceremony reception chairs or even just to the chairs at the sweetheart table so they stand out from the rest. These two choices were the bride’s favorites. Once we had made the decision about the chairs we moved on to table settings.

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Why you should hire a wedding planner

Summer Outdoor Wedding

When couples decide to get married one of the first questions that come up is how much are they going to spend, what will they spend it on and whether they need a WEDDING PLANNER. Couples often think that they will save money when they do it themselves but this is far from the truth. Below are some of the reasons a wedding planner is not only a fantastic resource which will make life so much easier for the couple and family but also helpful to keep the budget on track and ensure you thought of everything. Most of all you will be able to enjoy the wedding day while leaving the details to someone else! Here are the top 5 reasons to hire a planner.

 1) Stress – A planner takes on the stress so you don’t have to. A planner will be the one to respond to all of the emails from various vendors and serve as the point person so you only have to deal with one contact. They will coordinate all of the meetings and be there to remember the details, plus ask the right questions. And most importantly, the planner will be there on the big day to make sure everything runs smoothly so you can be with your family and friends.

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