AYW Exclusive: How to Throw a Winning Bridal Shower

‘Tis the season…of romantic, wintry proposals! And with proposals, come months spent planning- weddings, of course, but also, wedding showers. If you’re the lucky friend or family member taking on the potentially daunting task of throwing a bridal shower for the special bride-to-be in your life, read on for a simple how-to…

 

The guest list: first things first! Answer the following questions: will this be a ladies only event? a couple’s shower? a lingerie shower? This information helps determine who will receive an invitation. In some cases, the guest list may be limited to bridesmaids, close friends + close-in-age female family members. In others, invitations are extended to elder family members of the bride and groom, family friends, etc. The “theme” usually plays a role in dictating who appropriate guests are. Bringing us to our next topic of conversation..

The theme: Upon choosing the general type of shower you’ll be throwing, consider choosing a theme based on the bride’s personality + preferences. Does she have a favorite vacation spot? A love for travel? Does she prefer a certain type of cuisine? Have a favorite, festive cocktail? It’s what makes any event unique: the details, large and small, that are designed with the belle of the ball in mind. Once you’ve decided on a theme, get your creative wheels turning! Hop on Pinterest or a wedding + lifestyle blog and keep your eyes open for adaptable ideas for decor, cuisine, signature drinks, and fun event-specific group activities. We love how this tropical styled shoot we created could be easily translated in to a fun, summery shower theme idea! And finally…

 

The execution: We always recommend working with trustworthy vendors, no matter how small or large the event you’re coordinating may be. Trust your florist, caterer, stationer (etc.) to help in making creative decisions. Be sure to thoroughly explain your vision for a specified theme, and allow for their professional input as often as necessary. If you’re DIY-ing any portion of the event, don’t be afraid to delegate! It’s likely that there are other close family members and friends that would be honored to help in pulling the shower together.

Most importantly- have fun!  And we don’t just mean during the shower- we firmly believe that the planning process of any event should be enjoyable and memorable. Savor these celebratory moments leading up to the big day, you’ll wish you could relive them later on!

And, of course, should the task of planning a shower seem too daunting, the doors to our AYW office are always open! :)

 Photos:

Allen Tsai Photography, Simply Mox Paper, Culinary Art Catering, The Wildflower Floral Design

As You Wish Exclusive: Keeping Up With The Kids

It’s a trivial question to consider when building your wedding guest list… kids or no kids? In the varying cases of As You Wish receptions passed, our clients have accommodated for their youngest guests in creative ways. If your final guest count should include a large handful of kiddos, we’re suggesting some out-of-the-box opportunities to keep up with their little personalities + ensure that your event is “kid friendly.”

1. Kid-specific Menu Items

Perhaps the most simple way to cater to kids during a reception is to work with your chef to assemble meal and dessert options that will please their palates. For instance, chicken tenders, fancy french fries, mashed potatoes, and the like are more apt to suit a child’s fancy than say… a filet mignon. Often times, this will help to save dollars on your catering order. Win, win!

2. A “Kid’s Room” or “Kid’s Table”

Depending on your venue and floorpan, it could be possible to congregate kiddos into their own exclusive space. We’ve even coordinated a separate room- complete with babysitters and kid-specific activities- to create a sort of “mini-party” for the kids to enjoy while their parents are mingling (worry-free) at the reception. A smaller-scale option is to assign specific dinner tables for the kids, and including goodie bags or tabletop games at their place settings.

3. Provide “Kid-approved” Entertainment

We’ve brought in stilt-walkers, caricature artists, college mascots, balloon twisters, face painters… you name it! All provide an additional element of fun for your younger crowd of guests. (We’ve found that adults get excited about these entertainers, too!)

4. Invite them onto the dance floor! 

Albeit some kids are more timid than others, a simple invitation onto the dance floor can bring about a whole lot of fun for all involved. Some of the most memorable wedding reception moments include the bride or groom breaking it down with their kid-family members and friends! (This always makes for adorable pictures!)

 

Photos by: Sarah Kate Photography, Jonathan Ivy Photography, Havi Frost, F8 Studio & Edmonson Weddings

AYW Exclusive: The Little Things

It’s true what they say, a “little” does go a long way. We’re all about attentiveness to the minute details when it comes to planning a wedding. And, of course, this mindfulness for the minutiae extends past the design and decor of an event. Today, we’re talking small additions to your big day that make all the difference for family members, bridal party attendees, and guests. “Little things” incorporated throughout the wedding festivities that speak of your grand gratitude + appreciation for them; be it personal mementos or notes gifted to parents and bridesmaids or supplementary conveniences for guests that make your reception that much more memorable, these small notions make for a very special wedding celebration! Take a look at some of the ways our As You Wish brides have incorporated “little things” into their big days..

Image by f8 Studio 

Image by f8 Studio

Welcome boxes or bags are an increasingly popular way to set the tone of the upcoming wedding weekend experience for your guests. Upon checking into their hotel accommodations, they’re greeted with a box full of goodies- bonus points if the contents echo the wedding design theme, or pay homage to the bride and groom’s home state!

Image by Sara + Rocky Photography

Personal gifts from a bride to her immediate family members, usually presented during the hours leading up to the wedding ceremony, warrant teary eyes and precious memories. These customized handkerchiefs, scripted with a special message from the bride, were perfect!

Image by f8 Studio

Image by Bradford Martens

Cocktail hour fun! These brides offered theme-specific merriment to guests before their receptions even begun.

Image by Allison Davis Photography

Image by Bradford Martens

Image by f8 Studio 

Image by A Guy and A Girl Weddings

A crowd favorite, for sure: the late night pass. When all the dancing has ensued after-dinner appetites, these snacks are just what guests need to keep spirits high and the party going! We love when our couples choose to offer their miniature servings of their own late-night cravings to the crowd. How cute are those grilled cheese and tomato soup shooters?!

Image by Edmonson Weddings

To encourage guests to freshen up but waste no time returning to the dance floor- include cute bathroom signage, along with baskets of powder room conveniences such as hairspray, breath mints, hand lotion, etc.

Image by Jennifer Yarbro Photography

Image by Allison Davis Photography

Party props encourage all of your guests to have a good time on the dance floor! Not to mention, glow sticks and customized sunglasses make for awesome reception pictures!

Image by Edmonson Weddings

Finally, an impressively special way to wrap up the evening is a “same-day edit” film showing created by videographers. (Our friends over at Hakim Sons Films provided the experience shown in the image above.) Guests get to view- and virtually take part in- the moments leading up to the party!

Trending: Adding Au-Naturale Elements to Your Wedding Day

The initiative to “go green” is widespread in the current day and age, impacting industries of every shape and size; the world of weddings being no exception. We’ve found many an opportunity to devise creative and tasteful wedding design alternatives that help to reduce the overall carbon foot print of an event for the eco-aware bride and groom. So today, as a small token of our appreciation to Mother Earth, we’ve rounded up a few on-trend ways to incorporate eco-friendly elements in the design and execution of wedding celebrations. Scroll on for some au-naturale wedding inspiration!

Photo by Bradford Martens

To reduce the amount of paper dedicated to an event: display the dinner menu on a single mirrored or chalkboard surface in place of a menu card at each place setting; or select a paper designer that offers the option to print your stationary and day-of paper products on recycled paper!

Photo by A Guy and A Girl Weddings

Photo by Andrew Chan Weddings

Minimalistic and earthy floral installations and decor, like the table runner of lush greenery and the terrarium pictured above, reduce the amount of fresh flowers often thrown away the day after the wedding and breathe understated beauty to the look and feel of an event. Another option is to consider repurposing ceremony flowers into the reception space!

Photo by A Guy and A Girl Weddings 

Favors- like these coffee beans packages in recycled paper, stamped bags- present a great opportunity to combine a couple’s personality with an environmentally friendly notion. Sending your wedding guests home with something they’ll actually use or consume is key.

Photo by Andrew Chan Weddings

This As You Wish bride opted to place a charming and bio-degradeable coaster at each place setting. Say “thank you” to your guests with coasters that double as plantable flower seeds- how neat is that?!. Your loved ones will take home a token of natural beauty to remember your special day for seasons to come!

Photo by Edmonson Weddings

Perhaps one of the most popular “green” alternatives to involve in a wedding is biodegradable flutter-fetti as a toss item for the newly-wedded couple’s exit. A bonus: it photographs well!

Real Wedding: Spring Hindu-Catholic Wedding

Last week, we shared the first round of photos from one of our all-time favorite wedding weekends to date, kicked off by a fabulous Sangeet party. The multicultural + multiple-day long celebration that took place last Spring, beautifully designed and planned by As You Wish lead planner, Rachel Burt, was memorable in more ways than one.  Unforgettable moments include: a Lamborghini driven INTO the Fairmont hotel by the Groom; the Bride and Groom’s first dance complete with a fireworks display; and the crowd of guests viewing a same-day edit film (created by none other than Hakim Sons Films) of the festivities at the conclusion of the reception. An expert team of vendors brought their A-game to pull off a soiree that was jaw-droppingly gorgeous in terms of design, meticulously executed, and… so. fun.

We’re endlessly thankful to: Bella Flora for bringing our design vision to life with whimsical, elegant, and garden-esque florals that transformed The Fairmont ballroom into a thing of ethereal beauty; Southern Fried Paper and Nicole Black calligraphy for stunning paper products and hand lettering; the JenXFaces team for enhancing the beauty of an already-gorgeous Bride and her bridal party; Jordan Kahn Band and DJ Riz for top-notch entertainment throughout the entirety of the weekend; Pyrotecnico for wow-worthy fireworks displays; Fancy Cakes by Lauren for her handcrafted and beautiful cakes; Hakim Sons Films for their cinematography magic; and finally, Edmonson Weddings for capturing these moments on camera so beautifully! Enjoy this sneak preview of stunning images and stay tuned for the full photo album to go live on our Facebook page later this week!

As You Wish Exclusive: The BIG Reveal, A Bride’s Reaction to her Wedding Décor

Admittedly, there are multiple awe-worthy moments on a wedding day: when the Bride first steps out in her wedding gown, when the Bride and Groom first lock eyes, when the Bride walks down the aisle, the first kiss shared as husband and wife…the list goes on. And then, one of our most favorite gasp-inspiring moments as wedding designers: when the Bride sees her wedding reception decor- that she’s dreamt of throughout months of planning and preparing- become reality for the very first time. On multiple occasions, we’ve snuck our Brides and their Grooms into the reception space before guests have been invited in for the evening, to take a “first look” at the decor and design of their special event that we’ve envisioned and anticipated since the day they first sat down in our As You Wish office. Lucky for us, photographer’s have captured these priceless reactions on camera, and today, we’re sharing some of our favorite “room reveals” from past events!

Photo by Sara + Rocky Photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos by Jennifer Yarbro Photography

Photo by f8 Studio

Photos by Bradford Martens

Photo by Allison Davis Photography

 Photo by Sarah Kate Photography

Photos by  Jennifer Yarbro Photography

Photo by Edmonson Weddings

Photo by Perez Weddings

As You Wish Exclusive: Behind the Scenes at Events

Ever wonder what a day in the life of a wedding planner really looks like? Look no further, we’re sharing a little behind the scenes lowdown of an AYW planner, today’s focus: the in’s and out’s of orchestrating real weddings. We’d like to think that the guests of each event hardly notice us, that’s our goal, really- to coordinate a flawless wedding ceremony and reception for our bride and her wedding attendees that seems to flow so seamlessly, they don’t even have a chance to notice our staff.

But today, for a brief moment, were pulling back the curtain and sharing a thing or two about weddings that the guests typically don’t get to see.

For starters, we’ll introduce you to our right hand man on wedding weekends, the one guy we’re sure of, we really cannot afford to live without: our clipboard.  Before the event, we print out a nice long list of documents that outline everything anyone would possibly need to know about the event. And until the festivities commence, this beacon does not leave our sides.

Beginning the day before a wedding, we’re directing ceremony rehearsals. Guiding the bridal party through a flawless precessional and recessional, reminding them (mostly the groomsmen), twice and sometimes thrice, to smile during tomorrow’s ceremony, to position themselves towards the bride at all times, and to not lock their knees when walking down the aisle.

On the big day, we arrive as early as the first vendor to begin setting up the many elements of ceremony and reception’s decor. We’re confirming and reconfirming that all of the day’s moving parts are acting according to scheduled times; that is, the groomsmen are arriving on location, the bride is well out-of-sight from the groom, lighting specialists and florists are completing the look and feel of the reception space as previously detailed, cakes are delivered in perfect form, etc, etc.

All the while, our lead planner is at the bride’s beckoned call to ensure that she is as happy as she should be during every portion of her special day. This can entail, but is not limited to: fashion-taping odd’s and end’s of her bridal attire when needed, hemming her gown (true story, this has occurred just minutes prior to a ceremony before), bustling her gown in between the ceremony and reception, searching high and low for missing crystal hair pieces that were supposedly packed in a relative’s bag, making sure her veil is hung up and out of reach if she chooses to remove it for the reception, touching up her makeup, smoothing fly-away hairs before she makes her way to the dance floor for toasts, coming to the rescue with breath mints after she’s eaten a heavily seasoned dinner meal, and making sure her toasting glasses and serving utensils are polished for photos of the cake cutting.

As guests are arriving, we are directing them to the guest book and then their allocated seating. We are also communicating directly with the DJ or musician performing the ceremony and reception, cueing the music at all the correct moments. We’re pinning the boutonnieres onto each groomsmen’s jacket (we are in luck if the bridal party is relatively small in size, twelve groomsmen on the other hand, can leave our hands tied for a few minutes). We’re consoling confused and sleepy flower girls and ring bearers and ushering them down the aisle with the goofiest smiles we can manage. We’re corresponding with the photographer, especially if the bride has a detailed shot-list of photos she has expressed as ‘must-have’s’ throughout the day. We’re transporting ceremony props to the reception space during cocktail hour, if necessary. During the reception, we are the direct line between the bride and groom and the venue or catering directors. If the bride and/or groom have any complaints about their meal, we are communicating that to the catering staff and doing everything within our power to leave the bride and groom more-than-satisfied. We’re letting the DJ know that the next dance set should be pushed back ten minutes if the guests are still in the middle of eating their meals. Towards the end of the reception, members of our staff begin transporting luggage, belongings, and gifts to the hotel room that the bride and groom will be staying in for the night.

All in all, we are doing our darnedest to make the day effortlessly beautiful for the bride, the groom, their families, and their friends. And, we have fun while doing so!

Photo Credits: Sarah Kate Photography, Creative Shotz, Christographer, Joseph Mark Photography.

As You Wish Exclusive: Behind the Scenes at the Office

Today, we’re offering up a VIP look at a weekday in the life of an As You Wish planner. Last summer, we remodeled our beloved office space, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the look and feel of the environment where we plan and design all of our awesome clients’ events! Our goal was to capture the essence of a fresh bridal color palette and design scheme, and we think we’ve achieved just that. Take a look at our lovely little As You Wish home…

In our meeting space, our hope was to have easy access to inspiration for the clients we conference with. We have shelving to display our design boards from previous weddings, cubicles to exhibit various props, paper products, and tangible decor elements from past events, and a high-definition TV with simple connection to our photo gallery.

Schedule a time to come by and consult with us, we’d love to chat about your big day in our gorgeous meeting space (pssst, there are always mimosas involved!)

Photo Credits: Jennifer Yarbro Photography

Life of an As You Wish Bride: Bridal Budgeting

Creating a budget for your wedding can be mind-boggling to say the least!  Here at As you wish, we suggest creating the wedding budget first when diving in to the wedding planning process. Although it may seem daunting, once accomplished, it provides a clear direction for which venues and vendors to meet with to create the perfect team for your big day!

  Budgets vary from wedding to wedding since all are so unique. They depend on the city, guest count, what type of look you’re going for, and so much more. There are a lot of items that factor into a budget, making it stressful and extremely time consuming to create. So how can you create a budget and eliminate some of your stress?

Often, we see brides heading to a number of different websites that assist in creating a wedding budget. The sites will give you a percentage of what you should spend on each element. For instance, 50% on the reception, 10% on the flowers, etc. Although great in theory, they don’t take in to account the city you live in or any personal elements of your wedding.

So what are your other options if budgeting website isn’t the way to go? Here at As you wish, we take the time to sit with you and have a discussion about what is most important to you!  Every bride is different! Some can’t envision the wedding without a live band, while others would rather put that money toward over-the-top centerpieces and hire a DJ. We help you talk through all of your options and come up with something personal and realistic! We help you make the most of your money and even show you some places where we know we can swing a deal. Having a clear set plan and setting a budgetary expectation on the front end always minimizes stress throughout the process.

If for any reason, you are tackling your own budget, here are some helpful tips:

1. Start with the guest count- this will be the determining factor for all of your cost

2. Outline anything and everything that could be involved in your wedding, especially if you want specialty items that aren’t typically reflected in the wedding budget. This could be anything from Welcome Amenity Bags in the hotel rooms to a custom dance floor!

3. Know that the budget will be a fluctuating document throughout the process! You may go over in some areas and under on others based on your choices, and that is ok! On our spreadsheet, we have an “Over/Under” column that helps us keep track of this to make sure it all evens out in the end.

4. Lastly, one trick of the trade is compiling all payment information on this original budget spreadsheet. That way, you have one easy reference point to see your budgeted amount, actual amount spent in each category, and what the payment schedule is for each vendor. Too, it makes it easy to reference what vendors you have booked, and what you still need to do!

If you’re struggling with your wedding budget, please do not hesitate to give us a call! Whether your budget is big or small, the professional, certified planners at As you wish can help create a wedding you will never forget!

1. www.realsimple.com 2. www.realsimple.com 3. www.theknot.com