Monday, September 12, 2011

Being "Unique and Different"

Recently, I had an epiphany of sorts.  I was thinking about vendors and weddings and such.  It has always confused me that we would have brides who felt that they needed to choose vendors that were all new to us.  Nobody off of my Favorites List, all people we had never seen before.  Hmmmmmm.
So this is where my epiphany comes in.  It dawned on me that the reason some brides feel compelled to choose vendors that are different from the ones we normally use is because they think that having unique vendors will make their wedding unique!!!
In a nutshell, they couldn't be more wrong.

What makes your wedding unique?  What sets it apart from the weddings of all your friends?  I can tell you one thing that doesn't affect the uniqueness of your wedding, and that is your vendors.  Vendors are the framework that you build your wedding on.  They are the 2x4's and lumber that your house is constructed from, and upon which you decorate, furnish and paint to make your house unique.  It isn't the lumber that makes a house unique, it's the work that your architect does on the design, and the decorating that you do once the design is accomplished that make it so special.
So to carry that analogy along, you, my brides and grooms, are the homeowners, and I am your wedding architect/General Contractor (we do design/build weddings! :).  It is my job to help you design a beautiful and unique wedding.  Just as General Contractors have subs that they work with all the time, I have "subs" (that we call vendors) that I work with best.  We have our framers, our dry wallers, HVAC, windows, flooring, and painting, roofers, landscapers, concrete and asphalt contractors: all the different people that it takes to build a house.
It's my job as your "General" to bring all these people together, coordinate their work and schedule them so that your house is built efficiently and on schedule.  It's also my job, since we are "design/build" to help you tweak your floor plan to make it fit your family, to keep your design consistent throughout the changes we need to make, and to ultimately provide you with a home that reflects your tastes and your vision, and that you will be happy living in!
I have often said that I could use the SAME VENDORS for every single wedding we do, and our weddings would all still be unique and different!!!  Just as an interior decorator wouldn't do the same design in every house, a florist is going to talk with you and design something unique for your wedding. The DJ is going to play different music, suited to YOUR tastes, and provide the extra activities that you request.  Your cake designer will create the perfect cake for you.  It isn't WHO you choose that is important, it is THEIR LEVEL OF EXPERTISE!
The folks on our Favorites List have proven their expertise over and over and over again.  I could work with them week in and week out, and still have beautiful unique weddings every time.
I just finished reading a fun series of books by Nora Roberts, her "Wedding Day Series" which follows four women who start a wedding venue in the one friend's Mansion in Connecticut.  They are fun books, a little racey, because after all, it IS Nora Roberts!  Parker, who owns the Mansion, is the coordinator, Laurel makes the cakes, Emma does all the flowers, and Mackenzie is the photographer.  Together they create all these beautiful, unique weddings for their clients.  Basically the same people doing every wedding, but every wedding unique in its own way because they are professionals and know how to make them unique and flawless.
We often talk about "A-Team" weddings at Aberdeen.  These are the weddings that have all of OUR vendors for their event.  These weddings are as smooth as glass.  No worries about flowers that haven't shown up at 4:30, no cakes that are starting to slide apart, no DJ dragging his equipment in through the guests because he is late arriving.  These issues just don't happen when we have an A-Team Wedding.  Everything happens as it is supposed to, on schedule and perfectly timed.  Mike (the Transaudio DJ we work with most) and I have developed a psychic connection when it comes to orchestrating a ceremony and reception!  I look at him and he knows what to do!  It's magical!  We're like a pitcher and a catcher--we have our little signals that we pass back and forth, and the wedding progresses, perfectly timed and flawless.  The correct music plays, it fades beautifully in and out at the absolute perfect moment.  Who wouldn't want that sort of perfection for their wedding?
This same symbiosis occurs when Stringsounds plays for a wedding, or Cynthia Shelhart, or any of a number of other musicians on our list that work with me over and over again.  We all work together like a well oiled machine.  It doesn't mean that they play the same music each time, of course not!  Each wedding has its own unique music, what sets them apart is that they are flawless!
I could write a book about the issues we have had with vendors over the years.  Photographers and DJ's particularly because these are the people we work with throughout the event.  Some of them were just plain bad.  I've had to testify in court against a DJ who absolutely trashed a reception.  With others, I've had to try to fix the problems that they have created, either because they were unprofessional, inexperienced, or sometimes just unfamiliar with how we work and what we do.
It isn't that the people on our list are the only good vendors in Northwest Indiana; that's not my point at all.  There are, of course, other good vendors out there, it's just that they aren't necessarily familiar with our facility and us, and how we operate.  Consequently, it is much more difficult to create that perfectly timed, and flawlessly orchestrated wedding.
To continue our analogy, if your framing contractor isn't good, your house is eventually going to have structural problems, regardless of how beautifully you decorate it.  The walls will develop cracks your roof might leak, who knows what might happen?  If your landscape sub isn't up to par, you might have big problems with the sprinkling system, or the beautiful curly willow might be planted over your sewer line where it grows into it and creates problems later.
Even if you get lucky and choose good subs for your home contruction, if they aren't people that your General Contractor works with regularly, you could experience months of delay because he can't get them there to do the work.  When your GC uses a sub regularly, he has a lot more "clout" when it comes to scheduling them and getting them on HIS time table.
Obviously, the analogy could go on and on, and of course, it doesn't translate totally but you get the idea, right?   My point is this:  USE OUR FAVORITES LIST!  It's only purpose is to help you plan a flawlessly timed and orchestrated wedding!  It is YOUR personality, uniqueness, input, and ideas that will make your day unique and different from anyone else's.
And as ever, I am here for you to help you with the ideas portion.  If you need some help in that department, just let me know and we'll get together and see what we can come up with!!

(And by the way, do I need to say this again? WE DO NOT RECEIVE ANY KICKBACKS FROM OUR VENDORS!  The ONLY reason we recommend these folks is because we KNOW they are good, and we also know that they are familiar with our facility and each other.)

Sunday, August 28, 2011


After some terrifically busy weekends, and weekdays too for that matter, I finally have a day "off" to sit in my jammies all day (as in, it's 2:30 in the afternoon, and yes, I am still in the jams!)
So, what do I do on this golden day?  I read a beautiful book about EVENT PLANNING!!!!!  For the last 5 hours I have been pouring over an absolutely fantastic book---"Art of Celebration--New England".  I have stuck at least 20 markers into it, with notes written on them about the inspirations and ideas that the beautiful illustrations in this book have given me.  It's part of a series which includes a book for Georgia, Chicago, Northern California, Southern California, New York City, New England, South Florida, and maybe one more that isn't coming to me right now.  Oh, it's Washington D.C.
THESE ARE AWESOME BOOKS!!!!!!!  So many fabulous ideas for flowers, decor, lighting, food, linens, chair ties; you name it!  Obviously, the events featured in these books are gazillions of dollars.  They are, for the most part, REALLY high end events, but the beautiful thing is, so many of their ideas can be scaled back for the common man--or woman!  So many things can be done on maybe a slightly less grand scale, but still will add some great punch and spark to YOUR event.
I have these books at work, in my office, and I would be THRILLED to share them with anyone who would like to come by and look at them.  I'll even be happy to loan one out to you, just like the library, if you want to take it home with you and check it out.
An aside note:  There is a stationery designer in Boston by the name of Kelli Parker who does some truly lovely things with invitations and paper pieces for weddings and social functions, who was featured in this book.  I looked up her website, and on her blog she is having a contest to give a copy of this book to some lucky person!  Well actually, she already had the contest and nobody entered!  so maybe if a few people go to her blog and "enter" she'll give it to one of you!
And yet another aside note:  In one of her blogposts she mentions that the Dessy Bridal company is using Pantone colors for their gowns, and Pantone has an entire site dedicated to bridal colors and design.  You can order swatch colors, create mood boards for different combinations or for the colors that you have decided on; all kinds of fun things.  So if you are taking the day off today too, check it out!

Sorry, I have to get back to my book now, I think I should get dressed  before dinner time. :)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ring Things and Ring Dogs

This morning, Colin Cowie shared some terrific ideas for the rings in your ceremony, so thought I would share them with you.  Here is what he has to say as well as his suggestions:

Exchanging rings is not only a symbolic and poignant gesture of two lives merging, it's another opportunity to add a personal, stylish touch to your big day. Having a little one carry a traditional pillow is no longer the only way for your ring to arrive (though, it is hard to elicit the same kind of "oohs and ahhs" a ring bearer inspires when he walks down the aisle).
  • Man's Best Friend
    If your dog is an essential part of your life, why shouldn't he be in the wedding party?
  • Branch-ed Together
    In many cultures, the branch is a deep-rooted symbol. Though the exchange of rings is not a tradition in a Greek wedding, having the rings brought out on an olive branch is a great way to put a modern spin on old traditions. The same can be done with a luscious grape vine.
  • Under Your Nose
    Sometimes the best solution for a ring arrival is no procession at all. There are many creative ways for your rings to rest during the ceremony. If you're having a beach wedding, the rings can sit beautifully in an abalone shell. Using flowers can be a great alternative: pomander balls have the look and feel of a pillow but are a chic way to keep the rings in place.
  • Passed Around
    For smaller weddings, passing around the rings is a beautiful and intimate gesture. Have your ushers pass the weddings bands around so your guests can touch them, symbolically handing their love and good wishes to you through the passing of the ring.
I particularly like the symbolism of passing the rings around through all the guests.  It really illustrates that the couple is part of a supportive community that will be there for them in good times and bad.  

We have had lots of ring dogs over the past 12 years.  I think we are probably up to about 14 or 15 total.  It's always fun to meet our couples' canine friends, and to be honest, they are many times much easier to deal with than tiny children! :)  We've had a Bernese Mountain Dog, a Jack Russell Terrier, a Husky, a Keeshond,   a Golden Retriever, a Labrador, several Heinz 57's, and most recently, a Chi-Wienie!
We do have a few rules for ring dogs that I would like to share with you.  It will make things easier for you, for me, and especially for your doggie.
1. Your puppy dog needs to have some basic training.  He must, of course, be well housebroken.  He should be able to walk on a leash and be able to sit and stay through the ceremony (if that's what you are going to have him do),  You need to think through how you would like to include him in your ceremony and what behavior that will require, then you need to start early on with the required training so that both you and your furry friend are confident on the big day.

2. It helps if your dog is used to crowds of people.  Some dogs get all freaked out by lots of people touching them and fawning over them (which is what happens at weddings).  Introduce your dog to people BEFORE the day of the wedding.  Incidentally, did you know that when someone leans down in front of a dog to pet them them, making straight on eye contact with them, that this is instinctually VERY threatening to a dog?   He needs to be accustomed to humans doing this to him, even though his genetics tell him that they are being aggressive, otherwise someone might get bit! And it probably won't be your dog!
3.  MOST IMPORTANT:  Someone who is NOT a member of the wedding party, or one of the parents, needs to be there JUST FOR YOUR DOG.  Obviously, this should be someone who knows your dog and gets along with him.  Your dog sitter shouldn't be anyone who has another job on the wedding day (usher etc.) and it shouldn't be anyone who is involved in the formal pictures.  This person is going to be there solely for your dog and will take care of him from the time he arrives for the ceremony until after the pictures when this person will take your dog home, or where ever he is going to go (your house, your mom's house, friend's house, etc.) while you all go on in to the reception.  The dog cannot be locked in the bride's room, or a car, or anywhere else, for the six hour reception, this just isn't fair to your dog!  

Our main concern, when having your pet in your wedding, is that your little friend is happy, and at ease, and taken care of, throughout the ceremony.  We want it to be a good experience for everyone.  You, your guests, us, and most importantly, your dog!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Making It Work

Megan calls me on my cell phone before I went to work—
“Mom, one of our grooms from 2004 called and needs to talk to you right away. He said that he and his wife are having some problems, and he would like to bring her here where they got married and dance with her to their first dance song.”
“Awwwwh!  That is so sweet!  Megan we have to do this!  When does he want to come?”
“Tomorrow afternoon.”
“We don’t have anything on the calendar tomorrow, do we?”
“No, I think it’s clear”
“Oh Megan, we have to do this!” I’m already choked up over the whole idea.
“Yes, I agree, we have to!”  Megan is a little on the teary side too.
“So did you pull their file?”  (Oh yes, we have files in our basement from every wedding we have ever done, all boxed and filed away by date—it’s amazing how often we refer to them)
“Yes, I have it here in front of me”
“What did they have for their dinner?”
“It was cranberry chicken, pesto smashed potatoes, and California medley.”
“Hmmmmmmm.  We are serving cranberry chicken Thursday for the golf outing, aren’t we?”
“Yes, we are.”
“Ok, let me call Patti and see if I can make this happen!”
“Ok, bye!”
So I dial up Patti, our chef,
“Patti, one of our former grooms called, and he wants to dance with his wife and re-propose to her on the dance floor where they originally had their reception.  Have you ever heard anything so romantic? 
“Oh my gosh, that’s awesome!”
“I know, so here’s what I’m thinking.  We’ll set a little table on the dance floor and serve them the dinner they had for their reception.”
“Oh that would be sooooo cool!  I think we can do that.”
“You’re amazing!  Thanks!”
So I go to work, and as soon as I get to my office, I call Kevin (not his real name of course) ---
“Hi Kevin!  Megan told me about what you want to do, I think that’s about the sweetest thing I’ve heard in years, and we would like to make it extra special for you by serving you your wedding dinner as well!”
“Really?  That would be terrific!  How much would that cost?  I would love that!”
“Don’t worry about it, it’s on us, we’re all just so impressed with how romantic this is, we really want to make it special for you.  Can you be here at 5:30?”
We go on to discuss all the finer details, what their first song was, how he will play it and the timing of the whole thing.  Then we hang up.
Our kitchen staff comes in to do prep for our Thursday event, and while they are there, they prepare two plates of wedding fare for our guests.  Patti leaves them in the cooler for me with explicit instructions on how to finish the chicken, separately from the plate, in the oven so that it is crisp and nice, exactly how long to leave it in, etc. etc.   I read all my “marching orders” and figure the times out so that I can put the plates on the table at exactly 5:25, under plate covers, so that Kevin and Lauren will have the place to themselves. 
5 PM
Everyone has left for the day.  I go to the kitchen and turn the oven on, fill the water glasses, pour the wine, light the candles on the table, and reread my instructions.  All the doors to the building are locked except for the main doors in the front. 
At 5:20 I hear someone in the lobby so I walk out to see if someone has come in.  My biggest worry is that someone else will come in and “blow the moment”!
Just as I get to the door I see Kevin, looking very spiffy in a suit and tie--
“Where’s Lauren?”
“She’s in the car, blindfolded, she doesn’t know where I’m taking her!  Can I bring her in?”
“Sure!  I just need about 5 minutes to finish your dinners, but you can come sit down and I’ll bring it to you as soon as it’s ready.”
5:25 PM
I plate up their dinners, put the orchids on them, and the plate covers, and take them out to the table. 
“She already cried!” Kevin says with a laugh and a big smile.
“It’s just so…..” Lauren says with a tremble in her voice “It’s like being back at our wedding all over… that’s where we sat, and it’s just so….” She can’t go on, I can hear the tears in her voice.
“Well I’ll leave you two alone, enjoy!” I say, and I leave.
I go to the kitchen to straighten up, and after 20 minutes or so, I hear Tony Bennett singing “The Way You Look Tonight”.  Kevin had mentioned that this was the song for their first dance.  It’s slow and sultry, husky, as only Tony can sing it, with a simple piano accompaniment. 
In my mind I see them on the dance floor, under the spotlights, swaying slowly in unison, as I have seen so many couples over the last 12 years.  But this time it’s different—this time it’s only for them. 
The song ends and I hold my breath, knowing that he is dropping to his knee and asking her to marry him all over again.  What will she say?  My mind races with all the possible outcomes. 
I listen at the door of the kitchen, and all I hear is the music playing on the ipod. I don’t hear any voices, have they left already? I go out to check on them, and there they are, big smiles on both of their faces. 
“She said yes!” Kevin tells me, the excitement and joy in his voice nearly has me running for the Kleenex box!
I give them both a big hug.
“That’s wonderful!  You know, we marry people for keeps here!”  I say with a laugh, “You guys take your time.  Would you like a little more wine?”

I hope things work out for them.  I hope that they once again find the love that they had the day they were married.
 Sometimes it isn’t easy being married. 
Sometimes you just need a fresh start; a new beginning. 
Sometimes you just need to dance again.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Growing Pains!!!

So I have a new computer.  Yaaaay! Right?  Well kinda.  It's nice to have a new computer that is really really fast, and it's nice to be able to see the letters on the keys (even though I don't look at the keys when I type, honest I don't--Miss Hedrick--my 10th grade typing teacher! :) but I had used my old computer so much that I wore the letters right off the keys!)
Here's the problem with a new computer, my old computer was like an old oversized sweater that you wear on weekends to watch movies and eat popcorn.  It was SOOOOOOO comfortable!  I knew all of its ins and outs, we were a team.  Now here is this newcomer, this stranger, that's like a new pair of four inch heels!!!!  Ouch!  It hurts!!
I had been using Windows XP 2003, (I jumped right over the Vista years, yay!)  Now, all of a sudden I have to deal with Windows 2010!  I also have Google Chrome instead of Internet Explorer, and Office 2010 instead of Office 2003!!!  My head hurts!  I feel like I've never touched a computer before!  I'm sitting here thinking that I want my old comfy sweater back, but time marches on, and my old sweater was thread bare and falling apart, time for new.  So I guess I'll just have to grit my teeth and plow through this.
My kids used to tease me because I had a brick of a cell phone that was about 5 years out of date, but I wouldn't get a new one, because I just didn't have the time to learn how to use it!  The learning curve nowadays with all the new technology that is constantly bombarding us, is astounding! We used to have a TV with an on/off switch and a dial to find our choice of about 4 or 5 channels.  Our phone plugged into the wall, and had a rotary dial, and all you did was pick it up to talk and put it down to hang up.  We didn't have computers, cell phones, VCR's, TIVO, or any of these electronic wonders.  It makes my head hurt to think of all the things we have had to figure out how to work over the last 20 years--even my stove and microwave require studying the manual to figure out how to use them.  About the only thing left that doesn't require a Master's Degree in electronics is my freezer.  I love my freezer.  It's easy.
I know, my age is showing.  All of you that are 30 and under take all of this in stride because you've never known anything different.  Those of us that grew up in a simpler time keep trying to adapt, and for the most part, do a pretty good job of it, but boy, something like this really makes my head spin!
So if you don't get a speedy reply to your email in the next couple days, it's probably because I haven't found the "reply" button yet!  Thank goodness we still have the qwerty keyboard!  Brandon tells me that the new MS Word 2010 is going to make me crazy for the first couple weeks till I get used to it.  Oh, I am looking forward to THAT!  I had just finally made friends with 2003, and now I have to change again.  Sigh.

On another note, but also related to technology, I listened to my parents' wedding yesterday morning from 1949!  My father, ever the early adapter that he was, had set up a reel to reel tape recorder in the front of the church to record their wedding ceremony.  Wow.  They were both 19 years old, pink cheeked and wet behind the ears.  I heard my grandpa answer "her mother and I do" when the minister asked who gives this woman.  My dad and my grandfather both passed away in 1982, my mother in 1992.  How precious to hear their voices again--younger, and not what I remembered, but definitely them.  We also had an 8mm movie (in COLOR which was the newest thing in 1949!!) of my parents' wedding.  I haven't seen that in a long time, but it was always the hit of the home movie nights.  The finale was always the wedding movie.  I would love to see that again.  I think my brother has it.  Hopefully he has had it converted to a DVD.

Precious.  These things are so precious.  I guess the bottom line of this post is that you have to keep up with the technology.  Old VCR tapes need to be converted to DVD before all the converters are gone along with the players (how many of you still have a VCR player? Hmmmm?)  And in the future, something will come along to replace the DVD's and we will need to convert our DVD's to the new technology so that we can still use them.  So that hopefully, 62 years from now in 2073, you, or your children, or even your grandchildren, will be able to watch YOUR wedding video and see what you were like so many years ago!

Now, I need to go learn the ABC's of all this new stuff on my computer.  Argh!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Awesome Winter Wedding Photos!

I wanted to share with you a post on the "Ritsy Bee" blog about winter wedding photos.  It really shows how beautiful and unique a winter wedding can be.  It's the perfect opportunity for the bride and groom who like to think "outside the box" and want to do their own thing rather than the same thing everyone else does. 
I'm particularly in love with the bouquet!  Is that not the most gorgeous thing you've ever seen?  Just look at the color palettes it inspires!  Pale, pale platinum satin, or a really soft grey green bridesmaids, even a deep but very subdued forest green would be amazing!  I love the idea of using pinecones in the centerpieces, what an economical way to get a ton of pow for a few bucks!  Some seeded eucalyptus sprigs or dusty miller stems tucked between the pinecones to dress them up a bit.  You could even use platinum Christmas balls in various sizes to add a little shine and sizzle. 
Take a look at the photos from this beautiful wedding!  It might just inspire you to fall in love with winter!  (Keep in mind that we have December 10th and New Year's Eve still available! :)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Emily and Mark 6-10-2011

Emily found a photo of a gorgeous aisle treatment done in thick petals with huge hurricanes along it.  We modified the idea a bit, in order to use a more sturdy vessel, and of course, to keep the petals from costing a king's ransom!  This was what we ended up doing down the aisle--beautiful!  My understanding was that she used about 100 roses to make the petals (an easy thing to do, by the way, if you want to save a few dollars!) She made the petals a couple days ago, put them in plastic zip lock bags in her refrigerator, and brought them to us the day before the wedding.  We took it from there!
The glass cylinders have petals sunk in the water (they want to float!) and a 3" floating candle on the top of the petals which we lit for the ceremony. 
This really looked amazing!  And it could be done in any number of colors or combinations of colors. 

Oh my, the flower girls always steal the show!  Sooooooo cute!  Olivia and Savannah.  Olivia is the daughter of the Matron of Honor (the bride's sister) and Best Man!  They are alumni of Aberdeen Manor from five years ago. 
As I mentioned on our Facebook page--the bride and groom did it right!  They remembered not to toast to themselves! Just as you wouldn't sing Happy Birthday to yourself or applaud for yourself, and of course, Queen Elizabeth doesn't sing "God Save the Queen" to herself: you don't toast to yourself.  Just one of those little etiquette things that gets frequently missed.  Good job Emily and Mark!
The bride and groom left to a bubble send off in their limo after enjoying a delicious meal of champagne chicken, sour cream and chive mashed potatoes, and chef's medley, followed by their beautiful wedding cake.
It was a lovely evening for everyone!
Best wishes you two!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

FORE!!!!! Tips for your Wedding Outing

Making your “wedding weekend” special involves a lot of planning, for you guests, your wedding party, and the two of you. Depending upon the day and time of your wedding, you may have “down times” during the weekend that you want to fill with some organized activities for some or all of your guests.
One of the activities that is mentioned often is the idea of having a golf outing for the golfing members of your guest list. This can be great fun for the groomsmen, or larger groups that might involve some of the guests.  It's a wonderful "mixer" for guests, relatives and friends that might not know each other.  There's nothing like a round of golf to make strangers into lifetime friends! 

Here are my TOP 10 TIPS to consider when you arrange your outing:

1. Consider the time of your outing very carefully. Keep in mind that it will probably be a little longer than your usual round. Don’t schedule things too close to rehearsal times or other activities where the bride might need you to attend! The last thing you want to do is tick off the bride right before the wedding! Of course, if the bride plays golf, there's no reason to exclude her or her attendants from the outing, but most brides and bridesmaids prefer to use this time to get the mani's and pedi's taken care of, and maybe have a nice lunch together.  It's nice to make the offer to the girls though.

2. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure—take a change of clothes with you and your toiletry kit, just in case you do get caught short of time and need to change at the course to save time. And make sure that your groomsmen follow suit! Be prepared for unexpected delays.

3. Consider the format. Especially if you have some duffers, think about a scramble format to speed up play and make it more fun for everyone. If you have a couple of non golfers in the wedding party, they can always be designated cart drivers, or score keepers if they don't want to be left out of the fun.

It’s nice if the groom has an opportunity to spend some time with everyone who participates in the outing. This can be done a number of ways, but one of the easiest is to have the groom play a couple holes with each foursome. Particularly if you use a scramble format, having a fifth player for a couple holes shouldn’t slow down play. So if you have 16 people playing in addition to the groom, or 4 foursomes, the groom would play the first 4 holes with the first group, then drop back and play the next 5 with the 2nd group, then after the turn, play the next 4 with the 3rd group, then drop back and finish up the last 5 holes with the 4th group. Of course, the number of groups you have will determine how many holes he joins in for. If you have a small outing, you might have two foursomes. Maybe you could put the groom in one foursome and the best man in the other, and they could switch at the turn, so that the groom gets some time with everyone.

4. Be respectful of other golfers. Try not to slow down play. Keep the alcohol under control, so that you can participate in other wedding activities later in the day.  In a word guys, don't be stupid. :)

5. It’s fun to provide a little goodie bag for each of your golfers. You can get as crazy as you want to with this one! Custom embroidered golf towels in the wedding colors, imprinted tees with the bride and groom’s names and wedding date, imprinted golf balls, golf shirts, caps; you name it! Bag tags, pencils, umbrellas, T-Shirts, divot repair tools, the sky is the limit! Obviously, you probably don't want to do everything, but a couple of nice imprinted items in the "wedding colors" with whatever theme you are using, help to add a little festivity to the day. You can also include a small snack, a bottle of water, maybe a short written explanation of the format, some wrapped hard candies, a damp iced wash cloth if it's a hot day, whatever . Assemble everything in a small gift bag that can be placed on the cart for each golfer before the round begins.

A quick note about personalizing and imprinting;  Decide what you want to imprint and how many, then find companies that will do multiple items if possible to save on set up costs.  For example, I have linked the clothing items above to which is an amazing site to purchase small quantities of caps, shirts, and lots of other items in small quantities at great prices.  If you have a "wedding logo" or motif that you want to use, you'll be paying a set up charge, either in the cost of each item or in a separate set up charge.  Also consider the shipping charges into the total cost.  If one company does multiple items, your shipping will probably be less than if you purchase from multiple companies.  There are, of course, many companies that imprint and personalize items.  I've had good luck with the companies that I linked, however it never hurts to shop around!

6. Green fees can be a bit of a touchy subject. Some grooms pick up the cost of the round for their participants, others expect everyone to take care of their own greens fees. It kind of depends on the budget. Some grooms include the outing for their groomsman as part of their groomsman’s gift. In any case, however you decide to handle it, make sure that everyone knows in advance whether they are paying their own greens fees and how much it will be so that there are no nasty surprises.

7. Provide prizes for the winning foursome.  Extravagance isn't necessary--it is, after all, the crowing rights that are important here!  Some fun things for prizes: a golf umbrella, a putter or driver, coupon for a free round in the future, a golf shirt, golf glove, cooler bag, you name it.  Remember that you need to think about having 4 of a prize if you have a scramble, as the winners will be the foursome and not necessarily an individual. 

8. Games on the course are fun, a prize for the longest drive, longest putt, closest to the pin, can spice things up.  The first group out can place the signs and the last group can pick them up as they go.

9.  Photographs of the event are always a wonderful keepsake after the big day.  The photos can be included with your wedding weekend photos, or assembled separately into a book or album to reminisce over in years to come.  Some photos to be sure you get:
a nice intro shot of the clubhouse or the sign at the entrance
one of each foursome with the groom
detail photos of any special items you provide for the outing--imprinted items, goody bags, shirts, etc.
carts leaving for the first tee
Teeing off photos
Action shots on the course
pictures of the prize winners with their prizes
19th hole shots as everyone enjoys a cool drink after the round

10. Most importantly, HAVE FUN!  Let the details take care of themselves the day of your outing.  If you have planned carefully and covered all your bases, you should be able to relax and enjoy the company  and companionship of all the people who love you and are thrilled to spend this time with you.  As with everything having to do with weddings, it's all about you and your guests, and the joy of being together at this happy time.  Everything else is window dressing.

The Course at Aberdeen, and their manager, Chad Hutsell, are anxious to help you with your outing plans. Aberdeen is very convenient to the Manor, for those of you having your weddings with us. It is a beautiful track, with lots of what Jim calls “interesting little golf holes”! Their pro shop is staffed with folks who can hook you up with anything you need, and they will make advance tee times for wedding outings so that you can make sure your timing is good. Aberdeen also has some nifty discounts for our wedding outings!! They have beautiful practice facilities, with a huge driving range, putting green, and chipping area. They also have a top shelf locker room with showers and locker storage in case you need to change clothes after your round.

Give Chad a call at 219 462-5050, or send him an email and get your outing plans started today! The Course at Aberdeen will help you make your wedding outing a fabulous event, and a special memory of your wedding weekend in the future!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Travel Agent Updates

You wouldn't believe how much money Nicole is saving our clients!  It seems like every time I see her she has a new story about someone who thought they were getting such a great deal on a flight from the "on line" brokers, and then Nicole buzzes in there and saves them hundreds at the bat of an eye!  It amazes me!  I was like everyone else--I didn't think a travel agent could beat the online prices!  HA!  Was I ever WRONG!!! 
If you are planning your honeymoon, and want to find out what Nicole can do for YOU, give her a call at 219-299-3511.  Nicole makes appointments at times that are convenient for you, just like we do in the shop, and she is usually in the shop during our "walk in" hours, although she does a lot of the travel junkets so you might want to call her first.  She just got back from a trip to Mexico where she toured about 40 resorts in 5 days!  Whew!  It's what makes her really good at her job though. She knows her stuff and she is thrilled to be able to share it with you!

(Ok, so this isn't REALLY Nicole--but if she keeps saving people all this money,
we're going to have to get her the Super Woman outfit!!)
Disclaimer:  Just so you all know, and so that there is no misunderstanding about our relationship with Nicole and Aberdeen Travels,  we are giving her space in the shop because we know that it is something that will be a huge help to our couples who are planning weddings and honeymoons.  We do not receive a percentage, or a kickback, or anything else.  If you have read our "Favorites List" you know already, that's NOT how we roll! :)  Just like our vendors on our Faves List, we recommend them because we know they are good and they are going to be a valuable asset to YOU, our clients.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Mike and Danielle--5-7-11 The French Connection

 I just love these two!  They put so much thought and attention into all the little touches that make a wedding personal and special.  They were engaged in Paris, so of course, they used that as a kick off point for a wedding that had touches of France all over. 
Mike and his mother danced to a rock and roll song and really cut the rug!  Mike said he knew he would be all weepy if they did a slow dance, so they used a song from Pulp Fiction and really busted a move!
 Mike and Danielle did the choreographed dance that is offered by Transaudio, their DJ, and the crowd loved it.
 Cupcakes with a small layer for them to cut at the top were served instead of traditional wedding cake.  Cream filled cupcakes by Chesterton Cake Shoppe were a huge hit.
Cute cute cute!!!!

Each table number had a French statement related to love with the translation. Their centerpieces were wine bottles that were cut to go over candles in a holder, tres chic!

We had great fun setting up the favor table for them!  We used some glass shelving to set out the Orangina on several levels, and give the table some dimension.  Mike spent hours wiring a little Eiffel Tower with twinkle lights.  They also had yummy little shortbread cookies with the Eiffel Tower pressed into them that were dipped in chocolate (oh hurt me!) These were in little glacine envelopes in a basket for guests to help themselves.  So cute. 

So you ask, "How did they get so many people out there for the garter and bouquet? 

It was a terrific idea!  They put a lottery ticket with the garter and also with the bouquet, and invited ALL the ladies, married or single, and then ALL the men, married or single, out to try to catch it.  Nothing like the hope of a winning ticket to get everyone out on the floor!!  It was very clever, and Mike and Danielle figured there wouldn't be many "singles" at their wedding reception, so this was a great way to get folks out there.
All in all it was a wonderful wedding for a terrific couple!  We had so much fun planning it with them!
Congrats Danielle and Mike!  Nos meilleurs voeux à vous!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Jen and Chris 5-14-11

Wow!  What a magical wedding!  The guests were absolutely blown away when they walked in!
It was fun to do a "cool" color this time, the soft baby blue looked amazing!
Gorgeous florals by Kristina Lynn--
Jen and Chris used the "crystal curtains ceiling" and also the "crystal curtains backdrop" behind the head table.  What's really cool about these is that when you get the room full of people, the air moves ever so slightly which makes the crystals move, and they "twinkle"!  It's really beautiful! 
Martini anyone?  Their martini luge was a huge hit.  The drink (which was baby blue of course, to match the color theme of the wedding!) was poured into the top, and it runs through the ice block which cools it down, then it pours out into the glass below.  Very cool--no pun intended!

An amazing cake by Linda Monroe--we love her cakes! 

DJ Steve Zana kept the crowd dancing all evening. 
Chris and Jen will have wonderful memories of their evening here at Aberdeen Manor, thanks to photographers Leroy and Jane Clemons and a video by VU Productions. Both are wonderful to work with and we really enjoy having them here with us.  It makes everything go so smoothly.
Great wedding you two!  Congratulations and all our best wishes!  

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

An Interesting Story!

I was going through my email this morning, and came to the following:

"My name is Jason and I found a camera yesterday on a Southwest flight from Phoenix to San Jose. The camera looks like it belongs to a white, gay male couple who attended the wedding. Can you please provide Bo & Erin my email so we can identify who the camera belongs to and how to get it to them?"

So of course, I forwarded the email to Erin so that she might be able to get the camera back to the rightful owner.  It was driving me crazy, though, to know how someone on a flight from Phoenix to San Jose would end up with this camera, and better yet, how did he figure out that it was Bo and Erin's wedding on April 2nd that was on the camera?

Well, being the nosey person that I am, I wrote him back and asked him!  Here is what he said:

"I went through the pictures to try and find out who it belonged to. The only identifying thing I could find was the projected hologram on the wall at the wedding reception with the data "Bo & Erin April 2, 2011". So I did a Google search with Bo & Erin and found your blog site with their Pretty in Pink wedding pics. It looked like a match."

So I guess the moral of the story is, make sure you use a gobo with your names and the date so that if anyone loses their camera, the finder can contact you!  How awesome is that?  SO nice of Jason to make the effort to hunt down the bride and groom to try to return the camera!  But equally awesome is the power of the Google search!  Wow! 

Seriously, I am going to take a photo of my name and cell phone number, and I'm going to just leave it on my camera when I download the pictures.  That way if I ever lose it, someone could look through the photos and maybe be as kind as Jason was and return it to me.  In retrospect, I wish I had done this on the camera that was stolen from me in London last summer.  I might have gotten my 746 EDITED pictures of our trip back!  It would have been a long shot, but at least I would have had a chance of getting it back.  As it was, there was nothing in those pictures that would have given anyone a clue of how to contact me.  Jason would not have been able to find the owners of this camera without the gobo on the wall.
I am just amazed. 

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Phillip and Julia 4-30-2011

Wow!  Black and white weddings have really returned to the forefront this year!  Black and white in combination with a color-pink, fuchsia, red, bright green, yellow, you name it!  Surprisingly, it isn't always in combination with black bridesmaid's gowns as in the past.  The gowns have been in the bright color many times, or at least with a bright colored sash or trim.  Really pretty combinations!

Phil and Julia used a beautiful shade of raspberry pink, soft but vibrant.  Really pretty.  They had originally planned on the garden for their ceremony, however with all the wet weather in the last couple of weeks, along with the high winds that were whipping through the garden, they decided that the chapel might be a better option. 
Here are some photos from their ceremony and reception:

 Their 2 year old twin daughters were flower girls.  They also were very interested in dancing with mom and dad for their first dance!

Lovely wedding you two!  All our best for a wonderful future together!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Royal Wedding Blues

Last week I read an article by a woman who had been married 2 weeks after the historic Charles and Di wedding. Here is what she had to say about it:

"I had the misfortune of getting married two weeks after the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana. My wedding was always being compared to the fairytale wedding and beautiful bride. No one spoke of my dress as they couldn't stop talking about Lady Diana and how beautiful she was. If people only knew what a bummer that was to an already stressed out bride!
During my ceremony the preacher stated,
"We know this can't be as beautiful a site as the wedding of the royals, but the love is still there!"

Oh, isn't THAT special!
Gosh, they just became engaged a few months ago (I guess they don't have to worry too much about booking venues and availability!)  I wonder how many weddings were already booked for the 29th, as well as the 30th and the couple of weeks after.  I wonder how many brides found out that "their day" was going to be shared with William and Kate, long after they could do anything about it?
This all reminds me of when my oldest daughter was born, in a goofy kinda way.  I had always planned if I had daughters, to name them after the sisters in Little Women (I know, you probably don't even know what I'm talking about, right?  They were Jo, Amy, Meg and Beth.)  Incidentally, I managed to work in three of the four by naming my oldest daughter Amy ElizaBETH and my youngest Megan (although Meg in the book was actually a Margaret), but that's another post.  Anyway, Amy was born in April of 1976, just days before Jimmy Carter rocketed to the forefront of the 1976 presidential campaign--and what was his daughter's name?  You got it--Amy!
All of a sudden Amy became HUGELY popular!  EVERYBODY was naming their baby Amy, and worse than that, whenever anyone asked me her name and I told them, they would say "Oh, I'll bet you named her after Jimmy Carter's daughter!"  Aaaaaaaaaarrrrrrgh!!!!  Amy was probably the most popular girl's name of 1976 because of it, and all through school Amy had bunches of other Amys in her class at school. Bummer!
I suppose that brides for the next several months are going to have to endure a similar comparison.  While in a way it's exciting to be marrying at the same time as the Royals, it's also a little deflating to couples who thought that "their day" was going to be theirs alone. 
Here at Aberdeen, we make a special effort to make every bride feel that she is our ONLY bride.  We work hard at it ALL the time, and this week as well as in the weeks and months to come, I am going to make an extra special effort NOT to bring up a discussion of this affair on the other side of the world to any of our brides.  Their day is still going to be theirs alone at Aberdeen and THEIR wedding is always going to be the Wedding of the Year.
We all need to be sensitive about our enthusiasm for this royal wedding, and remember that some folks, particularly brides, might not share our excitement about it!
I hope that everyone will join me in making our brides, and ALL brides, a Princess for the day and insuring that their day is still theirs alone! 
(P.S. Of course, I will still be getting up at 3 a.m. to watch the coverage! :)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

April 16, 2011 Michelle and Paul--The Window Debut!

After the window was installed last week, we were all anxious to see how it would look for a wedding!
I have to say, it looks like it's been there from the beginning!  We are all so pleased with the results.  It was worth every cent.
So Michelle and Paul were the lucky couple whose wedding was the inaugural run for the window.  What a great couple!  So nice.  I love having weddings with couples like them.

 Theirs was a small event, about 100 guests.  Their flower girl and ring bearer stole the show!  What darling kids!  Alexis, the little flower girl, was so sweet.  I asked her if she was ready to do her big job, and she told me "Well, actually, I'm a little bit nervous!"  So grown up for such a little girl!  Like most her size though, she was really into the whole thing, and took her petal dropping VERY seriously!

 I don't think the ring bearer was quite as into it, but he did a great job too.

Their colors were pewter grey and orange.  Gerbera Daisies made up the bouquets, the boutonnieres and the centerpieces, as well as decoration on their cake.
Because of the smaller number of guests, we were able to use the North Room for the cocktail hour, and then bring the guests around to the South Room for dinner.  Tres chic! We left our "window" in the wall to make it more cozy and inviting.  It also makes a nice backdrop for photos when the head table is in front of the garden doors.  The gift table in the wall, with twinkle lights, looked beautiful from both sides of the room.
All in all, a lovely evening for a lovely couple!  Congratulations Michelle and Paul!!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

15 Days and Counting! William and Kate Updates!

So, are we all going to get up at 4 a.m. to watch the coverage of the Royal Wedding?  Hmmmm, I may have to think about that one!   I'm thinking that I can watch most of it live, and still make it to work at noon, depending on whether the time difference is 5 hours or 6.  I think it's 5 during daylight savings time.  So if the ceremony is at 11 a.m., and the guests will begin arriving between 8 and 10--wow, that makes it really early!
This morning I've been looking at all the information online about the wedding.  I found a VERY interesting itinerary of the day on the official website.  It has information on their wedding party, which will be Kate's sister Phillipa as Maid of Honor and William's brother Harry as Best Man.  The rest of the "wedding party" are children!  Interesting!  Four girls ages 7, 8, 3, and 3, and two boys 8, and 10.  They are officially called bridesmaids and page boys.  One adult attendant on each side and the rest children?  Hmmmmm, I think this makes me glad I'm not coordinating weddings in the UK!  I have enough trouble getting grown ups down the aisle sometimes!! :)
Here's a very informative link for information on wedding traditions in the UK.  I was surprised at how many differences there were! 
Kate and William came up with their guest list just like all of us commoners.  The couple made their list, each family made their lists, and then they put them all together.  Another little fact I found very interesting--they have invited 1900 guests to the ceremony, 650 guests to the lunch reception at Buckingham Palace (hosted by Her Royal Majesty!) and then dinner and dancing for 300 guests in the evening (hosted by Prince Charles).  Wow!  We could have had their reception at Aberdeen!  Ha! 
Most interesting though, was the information on their wedding cake!  They have hired Fiona Cairns, a well known cake designer in Lancastershire, England.   Fiona is apparently the UK's answer to Sylvia Weinstock, Colette Peters and Ron Ben Israel!  She has some beautiful pictures on her website of things that she has done.  The Royal wedding cake is going to be done in the Joseph Lambeth technique which is very popular in England as well as in Australia and New Zealand.  It is SO beautiful, and SO delicate!
The Lambeth technique involves delicate piping and intricate details.  Either in all white or colors.

I have a sneaking suspicion that after the 29th of April, our local cake people will need to brush up on the Lambeth technique!
The other interesting fact about the cake is that it will be made of fruitcake, which is the traditional wedding cake in England.  The tradition of putting a piece of wedding cake under your pillow to dream about who you would marry involved the fruitcake, rather than our traditional American wedding cake.  Much less messy I would think!  It's usually covered with marzipan which is made from almond paste, and applied similar to rolled fondant--but it is much more tasty!  (Incidentally, the one plus that fondant has over marzipan is that it can be white, whereas marzipan is a light beige color, with white royal icing on it though, it can be really beautiful!)
In the coming two weeks we'll talk more about the big wedding, and how it will affect our wedding traditions here. 
What aspect of the wedding are YOU most excited about?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

"Pretty in Pink" Erin and Bo -- April 2, 2011

I think if I had to choose only one color for every wedding, forever more, it would be pink.  There is just something so "weddingish" about pink!  It's feminine and frilly and of course it is the "girl" color!

Erin chose to use soft, pastel pink with ivory for their wedding colors.
Wedding programs gave the guests a run down on what was going to take place, as well as who the participants were. 
Pew bows with hydrangea and roses on every other row were repurposed across the head table for the reception after the wedding, along with the table arrangement which was placed in the center of the head table, and the two side arrangements that were positioned behind the head table.  The flowers were done by The Flower Cart in Chesterton.  As usual, an awesome job!
Aberdeen Manor provided the balloons for the balloon release.  They all stayed in the coat room until after the ceremony ended, when our servers took them over to the chapel and gave them to the attendants to pass out to the guests.
Three little flower girls took their job VERY seriously!  So cute!  Their petal gowns (from Affairs) were adorable, especially with the pink organza sashes.  One little flower girl was older than the other two.  She was able to lead the way and help get the little ones down the aisle.  It was a HUGE help. 
I know you are wondering--well, the groomsmen wore champagne vests and ties, and the groom wore ivory.  None of them were required to wear pink!  (although, we have some beautiful pink vests and ties, and personally, I think it's a very becoming color on most men!)
The balloons were passed out to the guests after the ceremony as they left the chapel, with instructions to wait to release them till the bride and groom stepped out and released theirs.  It was a beautiful sunny day, and the guests didn't mind waiting outside the chapel.
After greeting all the guests, the new Mr. and Mrs. Casey stepped out and released their balloons!
Absolutely beautiful!!  (And contrary to popular belief, the balloons freeze in the upper atmosphere and turn into dust.)
A beautiful placecard table awaited the guests' arrival after the ceremony. 
Their cake was simple and elegant, with pink spray roses decorating the tiers, a sparkly "C" on the top!

 Their tables were decorated with alternating centerpieces.  Half were tall, like on the placecard table, and the other half were low bowls with huge pink roses--the size of teacups!  Beautiful!
 Bo and Erin opted for the "Crystals and Candles" ceiling decor, as well as a gobo heart shining above the head table.  Magical!  And of course, it snowed over their first dance!  Mike the DJ commented afterward: "Well folks, let's hope that's the last snow we see for this season!"
A magical evening for a terrific couple!  If you want to see more photos of Bo and Erin's wedding you can go to Bella Photography's website.  They have a terrific montage set to music of their photos from the wedding.