Category: Wedding Tips

2016 Wedding Trends!

Who’s ready for some new wedding trends to steal?! The Knot just released their 2016 wedding trend report, and I must say their wedding cake video projection idea is catching our attention.

Here is what we can look forward to this wedding season:

Two-in-one dresses-These offer more bang for your buck and can take you from ceremony elegance to reception party ready!

Floral dresses- Not sure if I’m the only one who paid attention to upcoming spring trends during bridal fashion week recently, but florals are in (and I’m loving every little detail of it). Not only are floral printed gowns taking the stage and altar, but we can also expect traditional dresses with 3-D floral details flooding bridal runways. Pretty cool right?

(Photo above is Hayley Paige’s gown at Hayley Paige’s actual wedding)

Satellite bars- Sometimes one bar just isn’t enough. Couples are setting up two (or more) bars to accommodate guests, but keeping the usual mixed drinks, beer and wine setup at one bar and using the “satellite” bar for a designated signature cocktail, spirit, or wine tasting ☺

Contemporary choirs and late-night karaoke- Now this is a new and fun one! You may be thinking choir?! And trust me, so was I at first, but picture this: 20-person marching band or gospel choir performing your favorite rock ballad for the walk down the aisle or an a cappella version of your first dance song. Talk about show-stopper. If an after-party is in the works, karaoke and some photo booth props make for a fun night cap.

Dessert upgrades- If you’re looking for a new twist on sweets, but still want a wedding cake, you can now use video projection onto wedding cakes to give them an entirely new look. The plain tiers of the cake act as a canvas for projecting video displays. Also heating up are donut displays and mini icepops with the couple’s name on the stick.

Total personalization- Weddings are beginning to tell the story of a bride and groom’s life together. Some examples include serving their favorite dish from a local restaurant, having an ordained family member officiate the ceremony, or decorating tables inspired by their favorite movies.

Locally sourced food- Wedding menus are mimicking the offerings at your local farm-to-table restaurant. Today’s wedding menu goes far beyond the standard chicken or fish choices as more and more couples are opting to serve guests high quality farm-fresh local ingredients.

Food-inspired floral elements- bouquets and centerpieces are transforming from more than just beautiful floral arrangements…fruit and vegetables are making their way into the floral scene. Berries in bouquets, Kale or artichokes in centerpieces, you name it!

Stylish grooms- If us ladies can have two dresses and look absolutely stunning in each, it only makes sense that guys want unique reception looks too. Custom suits with embroidered monograms, velvet loafers and personalized cuff links give guys more style options than ever before. Some ideas include switching to a dinner jacket for the reception or making a wardrobe change to a different bow tie or pocket square. Another fun idea is rounding up the groomsmen and having a preceremony shave, guaranteeing a well-groomed wedding party and the opportunity for some fun photo-ops. Just be careful with the sharp razors!

So what do you think of these new trends?! We would love to hear if you plan on incorporating any of them into your big day!

Reasons to hire a wedding planner

Over the years, I’ve seen (and written) quite a few posts about all of the reasons you NEED a wedding planner.  However recently my friend Shannon with Clicking Through Life Photography emailed me her own list and asked me to proof-read it.  I read through it and realized it was one of the most accurate, and concise lists I had ever read.  So of course, I asked if I could share it with all of you.  So here it is… the top 10 reasons you need a wedding planner!

Top 10 Reasons to Hire a Wedding Planner 
10. Sounding Board — Wedding planners are a huge creative resource. They listen to your vision and dreams for your wedding and bring their creativity to the process to help your vision come alive.
9. Big Picture — When you pick a venue they often give you a “wedding coordinator” from the venue to help coordinate the day. This person is NOT the same as an independent planner. He or she is the venue’s catering manager and their job is to make sure that everything having to do with the facilities runs smoothly. While they are helpful, they do not cover the scope of what an independent planner does.
8. Budgeting — Wedding planners have been in the industry for some time. They know what things should cost and the difference in value. They can help you navigate the often confusing waters of wedding industry price tags and balance your budget around YOUR priorities.
7. Enjoyable Process — I’ve observed so many brides through the process of planning their wedding and when they do it without a professional planner, oftentimes by the time the wedding comes around, the process has been so stressful that they just can’t wait for it to be over. Planning your wedding is supposed to be an enjoyable process. A good wedding planner helps you enjoy the journey.
6. Mediator — A good planner serves as a buffer in tricky relational situations. It’s a known fact that it’s impossible to make everyone happy when planning a wedding. A planner is a safe neutral person to point to for direction. It’s easier to tell your future mother-in-law, “My planner thinks we need to….” instead of “I think we should….”
5. Timeline — Your wedding day will involve numerous vendors who need to work together to insure that the day goes smoothly. A planner understands how each vendor relies on the others and serves as the team captain who coordinates the complexities of the timeline with all its moving parts.
4. Knowledge Base — This is likely your first time planning a wedding. Planners have been in the industry for years and are experts in protocol, etiquette and everything it takes to pull off an event of such magnitude. They are a HUGE and readily accessible resource for education.
3. Background — In addition to possessing a wealth of knowledge, planners have been in the industry long enough to know who the players are — which vendors can be trusted and who has the best business practices. A referral from someone who has roots in the industry is GOLD when you’re having to place such a high level of trust in those you previously had no knowledge of.
2. Save $ — I have had the planners I’ve worked with tell me that they can actually help their clients save enough money on their wedding to cover the cost of hiring them! How unbelievable is that!?
And the #1 reason to hire a wedding planner is…
1. Stress — The difference in the stress level of a bride who has a professional planner and one who doesn’t is palpable. When it comes to the day of your wedding, the most important thing is that you are able to relax and enjoy it. You are the bride. You don’t want to end up being the point person for issues and questions that will inevitably arise. Hiring a planner frees you and everyone you love to live in the moment on your wedding day.
Thanks Shannon!
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What dining style is best for your wedding?

Let’s talk food! One of our favorite topics, of course. More specifically, I want to focus on dining style choices because they can really have an impact on the timing and activities of the day. Below are some popular dining options, their pros and cons, and the amount of guests they are best suited for.



  • less expensive than more formal dining styles
  • picky eaters can rejoice because they will have the choice of what they eat and how much they eat
  • quicker option than more formal choices (*as long as you don’t have too many guests)
  • offers more choices for guests with dietary restrictions
  • saves (some) money on catering-staff charges because guests are serving themselves


  • large guest counts may make buffets disorganized
  • buffets give guests control over the wedding reception timeline, which could throw off the schedule
  • one buffet table serves around 100 guests, so more tables may have to be added depending on how many guests you have
  • if you aren’t careful a buffet can become less budget friendly, as it may require a surprising amount of rental equipment

Price Range: affordable
Atmosphere: lively and energetic
Best Suited for: 60-100 guests

Family style:


  • highlights the idea that two families are joining together
  • more affordable than plated dining style
  • less chaotic than a buffet because guests aren’t constantly leaving the table to get more food, which also makes for an efficient and somewhat quick dinner
  • this style lends itself perfectly to the trend of gorgeous large banquet tables
  • perfect for smaller, more casual weddings, as it can allow the guests to leave feeling very bonded with one another


  • you may need to increase your budget for rental items to account for additional platters and serving pieces
  • you may have increased food costs because your caterer will need to make extra food to ensure nothing runs out
  • if the caterer is not set up to properly organize a family style reception things can be disorganized. Ensure that this is something the venue, staff, and caterer are capable of doing.

Price Range: mid-range
Atmosphere: intimate
Best Suited for: 80-100

Plated meal:


  • most formal dining choice and often the most elegant
  • the more formal the event, the more likely it is that guests will expect sit down service during the meal
  • allows guests the ability to sit and relax instead of worrying about how to get their own food
  • the larger the guest count, the more convenient plated dining will be because you won’t have to worry about crowds of guests trying to get their food
  • when all guests are seated it is easier to organize toasts and cake cutting, as opposed to people being responsible for getting their own food and holding up the schedule


  • staffing portion of the catering bill will be higher due to the need for a larger waitstaff
  • if you have a guest list with vegans, vegetarians, meat eaters, and people who are gluten free, the plated style dinner can be very difficult to accommodate them
  • plated can take away from certain ambiances and make the reception feel more formal than you originally planned for it to be. If rustic and casual is the feel that you are going for, plated might not be the right option to fulfill that.

Price Range: a bit pricey
Atmosphere: elegant and formal
Best Suited for: 100+

This may just be the planner in me, but try to keep the timeline/schedule and guest count in mind when choosing a dining style. Parties that are significantly large, weddings that have a lot of activities planned, and weddings that are dependent on staying on time should be conscious of the amount of time certain dinners take.

Remember, you don’t have to be chained to one option for the entire wedding day! Feel free to combine styles. The salad could be family style, the main course could be plated, and dessert could be buffet! This is your day, have fun with it and do what you want!

Vendor Meals

You’ve made it – your wedding date is quickly approaching and you’re at your final meeting with your venue.  You’re proving final choices and head count.  The best caterers and venues will ask for two counts – your guest count, and your vendor count.

Two important notes about this.

  1. Alcohol

Your venue shouldn’t charge you for alcohol for your vendors.  Your vendors shouldn’t be drinking – ever.  We are there to work, not party, and drinking is not acceptable.  Your venue knows this and should be willing to remove the alcohol cost for your vendors.  This is the same with other miscellaneous fees like cake cutting, or valet.


  1. The Vendor Meal

You’re at the end of the road.  Those costs are adding up… fast.  You’re writing a whole lot of huge final payment checks.  So when your venue tells you that they have a “vendor meal” option and offers it to you at 25% of the cost of your regular meal, you’ll probably take it.  We understand.  But you should know what that vendor meal usually means.

Most “vendor meals” are cold boxed lunches.  We get a generic sandwich, a random bag of chips, an apple, and maybe a cookie.  It doesn’t matter if we are vegetarian, or need to eat gluten free, or are allergic to peanut butter cookies, that’s what we get.  We have no choice of sandwich, or chips, and we’re usually left pretty hungry.

Remember that by the time dinner comes around, most of your vendors (e.g. your photographers, videographers, wedding coordinators) have already been with you for 6-7 hours.  They’ve been working that whole time and haven’t taken a break to run through and grab a nice lunch in the middle of your wedding day.  Any of us that have done this before are smart enough to bring snacks with us, but most of us are also looking at between 2-9 MORE hours of work before we can get home to our beds…and fridges.  We’re hungry.  Like, really hungry and we need some energy to keep us running at full-steam until your night finishes.

You also need to be aware that your vendor contract may have included a “hot meal” clause.  When you signed that contract, you probably agreed at that point to provide that vendor with a hot meal at the reception.  Now I’ve shared countless boxed meal dinners with vendors that mentioned to me that they have this clause in the contract but the good ones don’t sweat it.  The good ones aren’t going to ruin your wedding day just because they got a sandwich.  But you should check the contract before choosing meal choice, because that clause is probably there.

Now I”m not saying we need filet…. honestly, by the end of the wedding season most of us are kind of sick of filet anyway.  We would just like some kind of hot, substantial meal.  The important thing is to ask your venue what is included in the vendor meal.  Some venues, like MacRay Harbor, have a wonderful vendor meal.  They bring us a menu and we get to choose between 3-5 hot meals off of their restaurant menu – like a hamburger, or a chicken caesar salad.  This is a PERFECT alternative.

Remember, your vendors are working hard to make your wedding day perfect.  They’re putting in a lot of hours, a lot of heart, and pouring the best of themselves into your Big Day.  Think about them when you’re giving that final count.  Trust me, they’ll love you for it!

The Holy Grail of Skin Care!

I’m changing it up on the blog today… here’s a little “beauty blog” for our soon to be brides!

I had picture perfect skin throughout my teenage years. I would say that’s pretty uncommon for most teens going through those hormonal changes, but I really lucked out. However, it caught up to me.. quick. My life post high school until about a week ago has been a messy ride. I’ve dealt with every skin issue in the book. Oily skin, large pores, black heads covering my nose, cystic acne, and the worst of all — scars from all my troubles. I came to the realization that this was just something I was going to have to live with. NO ONE, should have to feel like that.

For starters I have to say, I’m a product junkie. Some of us are into buying shoes, others into purses… (I’m definitely into those also)… but beauty products is where my money is really spent.  You name it, I’ve tried it. I can’t even think about all the money I’ve spent on crap that doesn’t work. I’ve even gone to the extreme of trying birth control, twice, which left my with a non-functioning liver. That’s a whole other blog though!

Last Saturday, 2/21/15, I struck gold. I made a stop into Sephora to return yet another failed $60 product. The sales lady was trying to convince me to take my $60 and turn it around to buy this detoxifying face mask. Something told me “No Nicole, don’t waste your money again!!”. I left and headed to Ulta to buy a few misc. things as I always do. At Ulta I was asking the sales person there if she heard of the face mask Sephora was trying to sell me. She said yea… but I have something better for half the price. She pretty much sold me right there. She handed me PUR Dirty Girl Detoxifying face mask. It’s line from Bare Minerals. For $30 bucks I thought what the heck I’ll try it. With my new face mask in the bag, I mosied on over to find some other things I could blow my money on & found The Body Shop Tea Tree line. After staring and reading for 30 minutes I decided to buy the Blemish Fade Night lotion. Between these two products, my life has changed forever. I know I sound kinda ridiculous, but when you’ve battled this for so long finding something that actually works makes you feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

I used the mask twice, and the lotion every night in the past week. Every. single. blackhead. I’ve had is gone. My pores are shrinking, my skin is GLOWING, my scars have FADED 50% IN ONE WEEK!!!!! I could just jump & scream right now!! I am so so so excited for summer to roll around & not have to worry about caking on my foundation when I’m trying to enjoy fun in the sun on Lake St. Clair. I actually bought a BB cream, because I don’t need buy heavy duty full coverage $60 foundation anymore.

I really wanted to share this to not only bring praise to these two products, but to hopefully help someone else who struggles. The best thing about it is these products are very reasonably priced. See the links below for the holy grail of skin care, also a few other things I love & work into my beauty routine!  TRY IT LADIES! I hope your results are as perfect as mine. 🙂

The Body Shop, Tea Tree Blemish Fade Night Lotion
It’s all in the name !!

PUR, Dirty Girl Detoxifying Mudd Masque
I believe this is the product that is literally extracting all of the dirty ness from my skin

LUSH, Grease Lighting
Great spot treatment. Dab a bit on the troubled area, moisturize & you’re good to go friends!

LUSH, Ocean Salt
Great exfoliate! I use this everywhere


LUSH, Dark Angels
Another great exfoliate & cleanser. I use this on my face more than Ocean Salt because the lack of alcohol. Using the Ocean Salt on my face to much dries it out and causes irritation.