Category Archives: Wedding Dilemmas

Forget Me Not Friday: All About Tents Part I

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Tenting 101!!

So you need a tent….

Whether you are having your reception entirely under a tent or adding onto a building to create some extra space – tents come in a ton shapes and sizes.

Let’s start with the 4 main types of tents that are used to create event spaces.

Pole Tents: A traditional pole tent is constructed using center poles to push up the canopy portion of the tent. The tent is stabilized with guylines, which are ropes or cables that are used to restrain the motion of the tent, at each of the side poles.  Pole tents are usually installed on grass or soil since they are staked into the ground. They need about 8’ extra feet of clearance around the perimeter to accommodate the length of the guylines. We tell our clients that a pole tent has that circus feeling with swooping high ceiling.

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Sperry Tents: Sperry Tents are constructed out of sailcloth canopies that have geometric support patches and sweeping seams.  These handmade tents have support poles within the tent that are built out of solid wood. The peaks of a Sperry Tent can also be topped with pennant flags! When you light the ceiling of a Sperry they have an amazing glow.

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Frame Tents:  A frame tent is a versatile and free standing structure that can be installed on about any surface! These tents are constructed with a heavy aluminum framework and are anchored down with weights. Since they are freestanding structures frame tents can be installed against an existing building to create an extension of an indoor space. Frame tents do not have center poles allowing for a clear interior space. They are not very beautiful as the ceilings are quite low. If you can afford to do some draping to disguise the poles and beams that is ideal.

Navitrac Tents: Navitrac Tents and Frame tents are very similar in terms of appearance. However, the structural elements of Navitrac Tents are a bit different. Navitrac Tents are designed with thicker beams, thus eliminating the number of metal poles within the tent. Frame and Navitrac Tents come come in two forms: white top and clear top. The Navitrac is sturdier  than the frame so if weather conditions are not optimal the Navitrac is the best bet

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Wedding Tents

Image 1 courtesy of Lucy O, Image 2,3,4, and 8 courtesy of Lynne Brubaker, Image 5,6,7, 10 and 11 courtesy of Patrica Lyons, Image 9 courtesy of Jen Fariello.

Forget Me Not Friday: Children At Your Wedding

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Couples often wrestle over whether to include children at their wedding reception. It can be a prickly topic when the groom’s side doesn’t want to include children at all and the bride’s family wants them at the head table! Some families wish to create an affair that celebrates the love of all ages whereas other families feel strongly that the little ones will spoil the solemnity of the special evening. We have seen impassioned reactions on both sides of this topic!

If you want to include children (other than the flower girl and ring bearer) at the wedding meal, we recommend having a stationed dinner.  Include a station that you know they will enjoy like a burger bar or pasta station.  The informality of a stationed dinner creates a more forgiving ambiance if a mishap occurs and the extra bit of noise adds to the fun.

If you are planning on having a formal multi – course seated dinner we suggest asking the venue if there is separate room that the children can play in and have a kid friendly meal. This way they are nearby but not included in the dinner.  It is almost impossible for children to enjoy a 2-hour dinner and therefore the parent’s don’t enjoy it either.  Be sure to get a babysitter to help keep the children entertained and provide crayons, coloring books, and a few games.  Request that the venue provide a DVD player and ask the parents to bring some of their kid’s favorite movies.

Once the band strikes up we often find the children are the first ones on the dance floor! There is something very sweet about a little girl dancing with her uncle on his big day or a bride twirling her little nieces.  With proper for-thought, children can definitely bring joy to any wedding celebration. Their energy and excitement will be contagious!

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Easton Events CharlottesvilleEaston Events Image 1, 5, 7, 8, and 9 courtesy of Patricia Lyons, Image 2 courtesy of Paul Morse, Image 3, 4, and 10 courtesy of Jen Fariello, Image 6 courtesy of Lucy O.

Forget Me Not Friday: Wedding Day Makeup

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wedding planner virginiaThis week, we had the great pleasure of interviewing one of our favorite makeup artists, Lora Kelley of Lora Elaine.  So for this Friday and next, we will be sharing her tricks and tips of the trade for achieving your perfect wedding day look!  Even if you’re not a bride-to-be, we’ve found Lora has some wonderful, helpful advice to make you look glowy and beautiful every day!

Easton: How should a bride select her makeup artist?  What are the things to look for / avoid?

Lora: Brides should select makeup artists based on five main criteria.  Makeup skill, how long they’ve been working as a makeup artist, the products they use (are they professional, high end, quality products?), their portfolio, and referrals or reviews from other brides or vendors.

Ask yourself if their past brides look natural?  Does their skin look dewy and fresh?  Do you see yourself in this makeup artist’s work? I would avoid anyone who does not have a substantial body of work to represent what they do.  It’s not always easy, as an artists, to keep up with these things, but it’s really important, as a bride, to know how you will look in photographs – after all, that is what you have for the rest of your life, and you want to LOVE the way you look!

wedding venue charlottesvilleEaston: As a makeup artist, what is your personal style?

Lora: Almost every single one of my brides says the same thing: “I want to look like myself, just a bit better.”  My goal is to make your natural beauty more obvious.

Occasionally, I have people request a smoky eye or bright lip (and I love doing this), but most of my brides just want to look like a natural, more glamorous version of themselves.

I think I work well with all of my brides because I have been a bride myself, and I know what looks good on skin.  I also know what reads well on camera, what feels comfortable, and what enhances a woman’s look.  I always go for a dewy, glowy skin – very fresh faced with subtle accentuating of the eyes, cheeks and lips.

event coordinators vaEaston: How should a bride best prepare for her wedding day in the area of skincare?

Lora:  I have six recommendations for any bride, so she feels at her best on the big day.

1. Take vitamins – specifically zinc, B7, B12 and a women’s multivitamin.  Personally, I recommend taking these to any woman every day, but definitely start when you get engaged.

2. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, or stress.  Cortisol is a hormone released into your body when you experience stress, and it can make your hormones to fluctuate, causing you to break out.

3.  Avoid smoking. I have some brides who ask me why they break out around their mouth and on their chin, and the first question I have to ask is “do you smoke?”  Smoking is often something people don’t think about, but when you inhale smoke or are around it a lot, all of those toxins cling to your skin and clog your pores.  Unfortunately, that means breakouts.

4. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  The number one way to flush your system of toxins and help your skin cells turn over quickly is to drink lots of water.  It keeps your skin taut and plump.

5. Find a skin care system that works for you.  Right now, I am loving Arbonne.  Luckily, I have a fabulous friend who gave me their entire line (which has a European formula with yummy vitamins to nourish your skin).  My skin hasn’t been this happy in a long time!

6. Be consistent. Everything works better if you do it every day for an extended period of time.  If you have to, set yourself an alarm to remind you to take your vitamins, drink your water, and plop on that moisturizer.  Do it!  You will be so glad you did!

wedding makeup
Thank you, Lora! To check out the rest of Lora’s portfolio, we encourage you to head over to her makeup website.  Stay tuned for next Friday’s makeup lesson!

All images courtesy of Eric Kelley Photography.

 

Forget Me Not Friday: Your Budget

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One of the most important steps in planning your perfect wedding is determining the budget.   Once you have taken special care to establish the amount you are able to spend, making decisions about other key details will become much easier.  Here are a few of our tips for planning a budget.

1. Assess the total wedding fund.  One of your first steps in planning will be to decide the amount of money available to devote to your wedding events.  Discuss with your families how much each of them will contribute to the celebration.  We see more and more that parents of the bride, parents of the groom, and the bride and groom themselves collectively contribute to the wedding budget.

2. Determine guest list.  Once you establish your “do not exceed” number, it is time to create a budget to determine how many guests you will be able to invite.  Often, we meet with a bride and groom who have created a much larger guest list than they can actually afford to host.  It is difficult to cut down your invitations, but it is a necessary step in throwing the wedding that will best serve the guests in attendance.

3. Determine major costs.  To create your budget, start by contacting a few wedding venues to get an idea of the average food & beverage costs, including tax and gratuity.  The food & beverage expense will typically comprise 40% to 50% of your overall budget.  Ask the venue for a sample breakdown of an all-inclusive proposal of a typical wedding held at their site in the last six months or so.  Some venues will charge only a venue access fee and you will then need to meet with a couple of caterers to get separate estimates on food & beverage.

4. Assign budget values to other wedding priorities.  Search for sample wedding budgets and use these as a guide to get ballpark figures on other anticipated costs beyond your venue fees.  Determine what parts of your wedding are most significant to you and allocate a larger percentage of your budget there.  For instance, if photography is of utmost importance to you and your family, then perhaps you can cut down on your florals budget in order to book the more expensive photographer.

The wedding budget is always a hot topic in wedding planning, so stay tuned for more Easton tips in the future!

All images from real Easton Events weddings!  Image one courtesy of Patricia Lyons, Images 2 & 3 courtesy of Lucy O Photo, Images 4 & 5 courtesy of Lynne Brubaker

Forget Me Not Friday: Strike up the Band

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There are so many choices when it comes to selecting the music for your wedding reception: dance band, soul band, swing band, DJ… the list is almost endless!  Here are our tips for how to navigate this decision process when planning your event.

wedding bands If you have been to an event recently and loved the band, start there!  Nothing is better than experiencing a band in person.  Track down their name and find out their rate.  If they are not in your budget, we suggest calling your local entertainment-booking agent to find out who plays in a similar genre.

Finding your band can be a challenge so be patient with the process… but when you find something you like, don’t hesitate!  When an agent sends you a list of bands, remember that these bands are not on hold for you.

wedding planner vawedding planners vaIf you don’t prefer a band or it’s not in your budget, a DJ is a wonderful alternative.  DJs also range in price and style – from classic tracks to a more nightclub sound.  If you prefer contemporary music, a DJ may be your best option as DJs have access to the widest variety of music.  Try to attend an event where your preferred DJ is performing or if the DJ is out of town, be certain to connect on the phone and check out their website.  You’ll want to make sure that they are willing to work with the mood you are trying to set with your wedding music.

Whether you use a band or a DJ, a crowded dance floor is a true sign of a successful wedding!

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All photos taken at an Easton wedding by Holland Photo Arts.

Forget Me Not Friday: Catering Considerations

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wedding catering

Selecting a caterer and a menu are among the most important decisions made during the wedding planning process.  With countless culinary options and dishes to delight any palate, we have a few tips on how to navigate your catering choices.

Most wedding venues will have in-house catering services, so be sure to review the venue’s menus before booking to determine that their pricing and cuisine fit your taste and budget.  If your venue does not have in-house options, ask the staff for recommendations.  When you contact caterers, ask if you can have a tasting without signing a contract.  Typically there will be a fee for a tasting if you select an alternative caterer.  Ask them if you can chat with one of their former brides to compare their experience with your expectations.

You’ll also need to think about the style of dining you prefer: a seated 3-course dinner, passed hors d’oeuvres, a variety of stations?  Ask the caterer what are the most popular cuisine choices and ask your venue what style of service they feel works best at their site. At your tasting, take notes and don’t be afraid to suggest changes!  Snap a photo of all the food served, so you won’t have any problem remembering later.

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Other considerations:

1. Gratuity.  Gratuity is normally between 18-20% of the bill and tax is 9%.  It really adds up so be certain you include these items in your budget.

2. Utensils.  If you are having a stationed event, ask your caterer to serve foods that can be consumed with a fork only as your guests typically will not be seated.

3. Toasts.  If you are including toasts during a plated dinner, it is always best to schedule them at the end of the meal so they don’t disrupt service.

4. Attire.  Always ask what your servers will be wearing.  If your event is black tie, you will want the wait staff to be dressed appropriately.

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All images taken at an Easton event, courtesy of Jen Fariello

Forget Me Not Friday: Singing in the Rain

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Rain: it happens.  It even happens on wedding days.  And while we wholeheartedly believe in rain plans, we also know that much of a successful, rainy wedding has to do with the bride’s attitude towards it. As the French say, “mariage pluvieux, mariage heureux.”  A rainy marriage is a happy marriage.  A wedding is a joyous occasion, one only made more memorable by a few raindrops or even a thunderstorm.  After all, the day is about you, your groom, and the love you share – rain or shine!  Here are our tips to remember if you’re graced with a shower or two on your big day.

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1. Attitude.  It’s all about how you react.  If you smile, pick up your train, and dance anyway, your guests will notice.  And follow suit.

2. Photo ops. Take advantage of those gray skies and misty landscapes for some gorgeous photos!  Something about how rain changes the light can make a very pretty picture.

3. Accessorize.  Only in rain do you have the perfect excuse for adorable galoshes and glamorous parasols.  Have each of your bridesmaids don a pair of rainboots in your color palette for a fun, memorable photograph.  Or hand out colorful umbrellas to each guest during your outdoor ceremony.

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image 1, image 2 via Cramer Photo, images 3 & 4 via Lucy O Photo, images 5-8 via 100 Layer Cake, image 9 via Adam Barnes Photography, image 10 via 100 Layer Cake, image 11 via Snippet & Ink