Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Three Must Haves For Throwing a Surprise Party

A surprise can elevate any kind of celebration to a higher level of fun, all while twisting the guest of
honor's expectations in many directions! It's the element of surprise; the fact that the guest of honor doesn't know about the celebration! Planning them can be tricky, and if you're entertaining the idea of throwing a surprise for a loved one, there are 3 MUST HAVES for pulling it off successfully.
  1. Help from family and friends.
    • It is nearly impossible not to utilize your friends and family to assist you in genuinely surprising your guest of honor.  
    • Don't be afraid to ask others to help get the guest of honor out of the house for the day so that you can set up. However, you MUST make the reason for him/her leaving the house for the entire day believable.  
    • Also, make sure that he/she doesn't have the opportunity to 'pop in' during the day in between activities.  Secretly schedule the day's itinerary for your guest of honor and account for any possible short comings that would allow for a surprise visit home - nothing would be worse than him/her walking in on your decorating your house for the big surprise!!
  2. Time (at least 6 weeks of planning).
    • Planning a party of any kind requires advanced notice to your guests and a lot of logistics in the meantime - especially when it comes to a surprise party.  Make sure you allow yourself at least 6 weeks of continuous planning to ensure a smooth and successful surprise for your guest of honor. 
  3. All your bases covered.
    • What do I mean by this?! Have a fake scenario built up for when your guest of honor asks you what the plan is for the weekend or day of the party.  You want to make sure that you are in control of that day's happenings so that he/she doesn't make plans to do something else.  How awful would it be to throw a surprise party and the guest of honor not show up?! YIKES!! 
    • Another way to make sure you have all your bases covered is to nail down the guest list and make sure that anyone he/she would and/or could talk to before the party knows about the party. You need to make sure that all the guests know to play along with any possible plans that your guest of honor would try to make with them. 

However, the main key to throwing a surprise party is to remain in control of all things that day. DO NOT let your guest of honor make his/her own plans that could possibly jeopardize the outcome of all of your hard work!!

If you need assistance in throwing a killer surprise party, contact us today - we would love to help!!

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

To Toss or Not To Toss...

Standard wedding traditions, such as the bouquet and garter toss, tiered wedding cake, and line dancing, are quickly being replaced by modern, unconventional trends. Check out these new traditions in this week’s blog!    

  • Fewer flowers or eliminating flowers altogether:
    • Brides are substituting the traditional flower arrangements with vintage books, lanterns, lace, candles and more. Straying from the cookie-cutter look, brides are trying to add that unique touch for a more personal wedding feel.
  • Wedding party mix-up:
    • Long goes the standard girls on the bride’s side, boys on the groom’s side! Wedding parties now include the bride’s brother standing on her side, the groom’s best “gal” friend on his side. Brides and grooms are also choosing to have smaller wedding parties with 4-6 attendants on each side.
  • Cupcakes, dessert bars, and MORE:
    • Brides are no longer choosing the traditional tiered wedding cake. From cupcakes to extravagant dessert bars filled with candy, pastries and pies, anything is possible! Gluten free cakes and desserts are also becoming a popular wedding day trend.
  • Guestbook gone wild:
    • The “sign your name on the line” guestbook has been thrown out the door. Brides are now creating guestbook masterpieces to be cherished for years to come! From thumbprint trees and calligraphy notes to a framed locket fence resembling the “love fence in Paris,” guest books have now become quite the rage!
  • Reception with a twist:
    •  Many brides are electing to ditch the bouquet and garter toss and get on with the show. Creating a fun, party atmosphere guests will remember seems to find precedence over the traditional formal events of the wedding reception timeline. 

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

4 Tips to Make Your Event Management a Breeze

There are many resources that can make managing your event a breeze. However, if you don’t know how utilize these resources correctly, your event can turn into a stressful mess making you want to pull your hair out! Check out these tips that will ensure your event goes off with a hitch and you’re left stress and worry free!!

1.     Don’t make more work for yourself.
a.     Use social media to your advantage! Facebook’s event application makes inviting guests and keeping track of your event details easy and simple.

a.     Communicate with key people (vendors, guests, etc.) via email to ensure a paper trail is created and you can refer back when necessary. If there as been a change in the event program, make sure that it is specified and properly documented on paper!

3.     Invest in an online event management program!
a.     Online software programs like Constant Contact and Eventbrite are very useful for event marking, registration management, ticket sales and MORE! The benefit of these programs significantly outweighs the minimal fee charged to use them.

4.     Not the creative guru you wish you could be? Utilize Pinterest!
a.     Pinterest makes a great resource for your event inspiration. With this online resource, you can easily search for ideas and create ‘pinspiration’ boards that will help bring your vision to life!
Technology has become a huge player in the event management industry. However, one of the most common mistakes that we see is when event managers/host try to use ALL of the online event management programs.  This is a huge mistake and will only cause confusion for your guests and create more work for you. DO NOT try to keep track of event registrations in more than one place.  Use one and only one! For example, do not create a facebook event page AND use a constant contact event marketing system. 

So remember, use technology to help make your event management a breeze but do not overdue it!

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Final Words before "I DO" -- Personal Note to Your Spouse-To-Be!

After an 8 month hiatus from blogging, we are back!! Make sure you stop in every Wednesday to check out our weekly post.  We will be featuring topics from all walks of event planning.  We welcome your suggestions on what you want to hear from our experienced and professional event planners.


Looking for a romantic way to express your final words to your future husband or wife before you walk down the aisle?! Check out this timeless trend of writing a heartfelt personal love note.  Not only do these special words add a touch of romance to your big day, they also make for incredible photos! 

Wondering what your love note should say? Here are some helpful tips to get you started!
  • Significant moments in you relationship that you value
  • Qualities you love about the person you are about to marry
  • Something special about the day he popped the question
  • Things you are looking forward to experiencing with your future spouse in the future - hopes, dreams, wishes, promises
Remember those incredible photo moments we were talking about, check out these pictures and find some inspiration for your big day!

Photo credit: It's a Bride's Life
Photo credit: Dreaming of That Perfect Day

Photo credit: Matt Shumate photography blog

Photo credit: Live View Studios

Photo credit: Style Me Pretty

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Monday, February 25, 2013

Bridal Show Booth Setup

A few weekends ago, I participated in the 2013 Winter Bridalrama Showcase.  The show was a huge success and I am thrilled to begin working with all of the brides that book with us through the show! Just to name a couple, one bride & groom are saying 'I Do' at the Cincinnati Zoo in October.  Another couple is getting married at The French House in Cincinnati. This particular venue holds a very special place in my heart as it is the exact location that me and my hubby said our vows!

Here are some picture from the show of my booth display!

A former bride of Simply Events helping me showcase my brand new logo banner!

Stephanie & Maura browsing through the Simply Events look books!

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Bridal Show Sneak Peek!

This Saturday, February 23, I will be a vendor at The Metropolitan Club Bridal Open House.  I am thrilled to be invited to this showcase for the 3rd time in a row.  This bridal open house is very small & intimate and gives me the opportunity to talk with brides one-on-one.  This specific show in the past has been a huge success and I am only hoping that tomorrow's show is no different!

Earlier in the week, I traveled up to Prime Time Party Rental to pick out my table linens, chair covers & sashes, and chargers.  Here is a sneak peek of what is to come for tomorrow's show!  I hope to see you there!

An elegant black, silver, & blush pink table.

A burlap table linen adorned with gold & brown accents.

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Vintage Plates

Last weekend, I participated in the Winter Bridalrama Showcase at The Duke Energy Convention Center.  The show was a HUGE success for Simply Events and we are so excited to begin working with all of the brides we met! 

While working at the show, I met a vendor who rents vintage china for weddings and events.  She is an amazing woman and is right on target with the wedding industry and it's fascination with vintage/shabby chic decor.  I want to take a second to share with you her collection because it is beautiful!  Make sure you follow her on Pinterest!

Need help designing your vintage wedding or event? Contact us today to learn how we can help make your vision a reality!

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

How to Host a Customer Appreciation Event: Additonal Tips

Over the past three weeks, I have shared with you How to Host a Customer Appreciation Event. I have covered the budget, the 5 W's, and the invitations & swag.  Now that you have the basics, I am going to share with you some additional tips to ensure your event is smooth sailing from start to finish.  

  • Assign a Project Manager  
    • If you have a “project management type” on staff, use them. Create a project management document for your event.  
    • If you do not have one on staff, this is a task that your event planner can assist with.
  • Confirm All the Details
    • Always confirm with each vendor their tasks, times, involvement one week prior to the event. 
  • Hire an Event Planner
    • Involve an event planner, if possible. Due to pre-negotiated reseller relationships, event planners can lock down venues, catering, swag and more for less than it cost you.
  • Be Responsible
    • DO NOT let your customers drink and drive. Make sure you offer a cab service to your customers. 
    • In some cases the cab company will let their cabs hang out at the venue in hopes of having rides.
    • If there is alcohol, do not let yourself get out of line. Remember, as the host, you represent your company!
  • Be "Dietary Needs" Conscious
    • When considering your catering options, don’t forget there are a lot of vegetarians and non red meat eaters out there.
  • Have a Back Up Plan
    • If weather has the potential to spoil your event, always have a back-up plan for bad weather fun.
  • Enjoy The Party
    • Do not overload yourself or your primary company representatives with event tasks. Ensure that you have interaction time with your customers.  A good way to ensure you will actually get to enjoy the event, is to hire an event planner!
Next week is our last post on How to Host a Customer Appreciation Event. Make sure you check back in for event ideas! 

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

How to Host a Customer Appreciation Event: The Invitations and SWAG

Over the past two weeks we have hashed out all there is to know about budgets and the 5W's.  Now let's go over the invitations and the SWAG or promotional items!

The Invitations:
How many times have you received one of those impersonal e-mail invites asking for your attendance at a swanky event? Probably more than you can remember. It is completely worth it to invest a couple hundred dollars into actual hard copy, old fashioned, snail mail invitations! Trust me, it will speak volumes about the seriousness of your event and show your guests that you are willing to put in the extra effort.

However, we understand if this is not in your budget and since I did stress how important it is to stay on budget, you do have another option - e-mail invitations.  I suggest that you shy away from generic and plain e-mail invitation templates. These will not excite your guests and will likely result in extremely low RSVP's.

Choose a web-based event-marketing tool that has graphical invitations.  On the plus side, most online event marketing tools have a registration management on the back end - this will allow you to track who has responded, who has opened the invitation, etc. You must be careful though. A downside to e-mail invitations is that sometime they get placed in people's junk email boxes.  If you are not hearing from anyone, send a follow up email from your company e-mail address asking if they could check their junk boxes.

No matter what format you use, hard copy invites or e-mail invites, always be sure to include an RSVP (if this is a hard copy invite, make sure the RSVP is already stamped and ready to be mailed - DO NOT make your guest pay for this postage!).

One week before the event, call all guests with a reminder. Many people have things come up at the last minute and forget to decline, or feel as though it is not necessary.  By calling all guests, you will be able to hone in on your final number!

The SWAG (Promotional Items)

Just like the 'wedding favor', do not have a customer appreciation event without an appreciation gift.  Preferably, this gift should have your company's logo or event branding on it.  Put your creative hat on again and look for unique items that people have not seen before.  New promotion items come out everyday!

Consider a product(s) that your customer base will likely look at or use everyday.  Also, try to relate it back to what your company is all about.  Giveaways are an effective way to keep the name and memory of your event top of mind long after the event is over.  If you are serving a custom made signature cocktail at your event, create a recipe card and put it inside a cocktail glass as their gift. This will ensure that every time your guests drink out of that glass or make that recipe, they think of your company and your event.

Big No-No's: Flimsy t-shirts and substandard pens and notepads! Everyone already has plenty of those. If you are going to give away 'cheap' stuff, you are better off giving nothing at all.

Be sure you are not giving away swag that was distributed by your company at past events - this will make it seem as though you are just rounding up whatever you have.  Also, everyone at your event should receive the same gift. Do not favor your biggest clients - this will greatly irritate your average and small customer base - something you definitely do not want to do at a customer appreciation event.


Next week: How to Host a Customer Appreciation Event: Additional Tips!

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Monday, February 4, 2013

3 Things for Your Groom To Do

With the tradition of the bride's family paying for the entire wedding quickly dwindling, many brides want their fiance to be more involved.  It's rare that they simply just show up at the alter at a given time.  Brides are wanting their main man to take charge and get invested in the planning aspects! 

So, here are 3 things that your groom can easily complete. 
  1. The Honeymoon.
    • Even though it's not effecting your wedding day, it is your first vacation as a married couple.  The honeymoon is a HUGE task and by delegating it to your fiance, you will be able to rid the stress of travel planning and focus on the wedding details. 
  2. The Transportation.
    • Having your fiance browse through limo options, vintage cars, or any other type of wedding day transportation, will not be a boring task for him.  Trust me, choosing between a stretch Hummer limo or a classic 1959 Cadillac Convertible will be more fun for him than you may think! 
  3. The Hotel Accommodations. 
    • As the bride, you may want to control which options your guests have for hotel accommodations.  However, why not let your future hubby choose the hotel you two will stay at the night of the wedding? Many brides assume they will just stay in the same hotel as many guests.  I always caution my brides of this choice, simply for the fact that many of their guests will be at the same hotel! 
    • Your wedding night is one meant just for the newlyweds. Not the newlyweds and their family and friends! It's also smart to stay at a hotel close to the airport if you will be leaving for your honeymoon the next morning. 
Some other wedding planning elements your groom can assist in are cake tasting, venue selection, and tux outfitting! Remember, the couple who plans together, stays together!  

For tips and tricks, contact Catie today! 

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Friday, February 1, 2013

The First 5 Things A Bride Should Do After Getting Engaged

I often hear brides say, "I'm engaged, now what?!" So, I decided to write this post of the 'The First 5 Things A Bride Should Do After Getting Engaged.'
  1.  Make the Announcement
    • Be sure to tell close family and friends first, preferably in person if you live close, or make a special phone call.
    • The last thing you want is for your parents to find out on Facebook!
  2.  Talk About Your Wedding Dreams
    • Sit down with your fiance to talk about what is most important to you as a couple.
      • Is it the food, the experience, the dress, etc.
  3. Talk About the Money
    • A HUGE element when planning your wedding is how you're going to pay for everything.  By nailing down your budget before you start signing contracts with vendors, you will have a better handle on what is realistic and what is just plain out of reach! 
  4. Create the Guest List
    • The guest list is the number one element of your wedding that will effect almost everything.  It will alter the number of tables, chairs, favors, linens, china sets, centerpieces, etc. 
    • Remember, the average cost of a wedding in Cincinnati for 150 is $25,000. 
    • The best way to control your budget, is to control your guest list! 
  5. Choose the Time of Year
    • Many would say that number 5 is 'set the date.' However, many couples determine the date based on venue availability.  So, unless you have a special date in mind, you should first determine what time of year you want to say 'I do.'

Once you have completed these five items, you can now begin to search for the perfect venue and vendors to bring your wedding day dreams to a reality.  If you need help moving forward from here, contact Simply Events! We would love to be a part of your big day!

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    Wednesday, January 30, 2013

    Bridal Show Designs

    In honor of our upcoming bridal shows, we wanted to take a look back at our past bridal show booth setups!  We want to hear from you, which is your favorite? 

    February 9 & 10 - Bridalrama Winter Showcase -- Want FREE tickets? E-mail Catie today!
    February 23 - The Metropolitan Club Bridal Open House -- To attend, contact Angi Rachford today!

    Bridalrama Winter Showcase 2010
    Bridalrama Summer Showcase 2010

    The Metropolitan Club Winter 2012
    The Metropolitan Club Winter 2012

    Bridalrama Summer Showcase 2012

    The Metropolitan Club Fall 2012
    The Metropolitan Club Fall 2012

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    Tuesday, January 29, 2013

    How To Host a Customer Appreciation Event: The 5W's

    So, last week I touched on budget. This week I will cover the importance of the 5W's when it comes to hosting a customer appreciation event - the who, what, when, where, and why.

    The Who:
    There is no bigger mistake when it comes to hosting any type of event than getting the guest list wrong. Only invite guests who will have a positive impact on your gala. Don't feel obligated to invite every single customer - especially the disgruntled ones.  Also, do not forget to invite people from your own company who are high energy and will have a positive impact on the overall event.

    Lastly, I strongly recommend inviting 'hot' prospects. This is a great way to help close a pending deal.  If the prospect sees a room full of happy customers, this will only help your cause. However, choose only one or two at the max, as your customers may catch on.

    The What:
    Time to get creative! What type of event would you like to host? Many make the mistake of hosting an event that THEY would enjoy as opposed to hosting an event their customers would enjoy.  Don't be afraid to reach out to some of your customers and ask them for suggestions. This will make them feel appreciated and give you another touch point with them.  

    **Make sure you tune back in for week five's post on event ideas!**

    The When:
    Determine what time your event will take place. Will it be in the evening or during the work day? Keep in mind your guest list and their family commitments. We have seen great success with afternoon events - 4pm - 6pm is a popular time frame! This not only accommodates the people with families, but if there are those that would like to continue on through the night, they can! Also, we have found that Thursdays and Fridays work well for these types of events, as internal meetings start slowing down toward the end of the work week.

    The Where:
    Venue selection is extremely important in the overall success of your customer appreciation event. You want to make sure it is exciting, innovative and high class. Trust me, customers know when you produce products and services on the cheap and it is no different with appreciation events. Make sure your venue is close to your customers, and always take into consideration traffic patterns. If your event is not local, be sure the transportation you provide is nice, safe, and reliable.

    The Why:
    Throughout the planning process, you may lose sight of why you are doing this in the first place. Remember, you are having your customer appreciation event to thank anyone that has helped you grow your revenues.  Therefore, make sure you acknowledge each and every person in some way.  This can be done in the beginning of the event by introducing each person (if it's a small event), and if applicable saying a word or two about them.  Roasting your clients is great fun too - just be sure to choose your words wisely!

    Don't let the stress of planning ruin this opportunity for you. If you have additional questions, contact Simply Events today. We would be happy to help you plan your next function!

    Stay tuned for next week's post:  How To: Host a  Customer Appreciation Event - The Invitations & SWAG. 

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    Wednesday, January 23, 2013

    The Knot Best of Weddings 2013

    On December 28, 2012, I received a phone call and an email from informing me that I am a winner for 2013 Best of Weddings!  I could hardly contain my excitement and was speechless for several minutes.  Receiving this badge of honor was incredibly unexpected considering I do not even pay for advertising with  

    So, how on earth was I eligible to be a winner? It's all about the customer reviews! Therefore, I dedicate this award to all of my brides and grooms who shared their experiences about me and my company, Simply Events, with the rest of community.  It truly does mean the world to me to be acknowledged for something that I have such a passion for! 

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    To read my reviews click here! Also, if you are part of the Simply Events family, please feel free to keep those awesome reviews coming! I would love to receive The Best of Weddings 2014 and the only way that will happen is if YOU help me out!

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    Tuesday, January 22, 2013

    How To Host a Customer Appreciation Event: Budget!

    Don't underestimate the impact of a good customer appreciation event.  Customers are your livelihood and they expect some type of token for their efforts. A customer appreciation event is an event where you can thank everyone at one time, and that is a beautiful thing.

    The most important thing to remember when hosting this type of event is, if you are not going to do it right then don't do it at all! Be creative and work hard to be sure your event is successful and remembered by all.

    Over the next 5 weeks, I will be posting a weekly update on How To: Host a  Customer Appreciation Event. I will cover budget, the 5 W's, invitations & SWAG, additional tips, and event ideas!

    First things first: Know Your Budget - and stick to it!
    • Plan a GREAT party within your budget
      • You want to host a great event for your customers, however, you do not want it to be at the expense of the overall well being of your company!  
      • Do not waste your time and energy on thinking up an elaborate shindig when your budget is minimal.  This will only discourage you from wanting to host an event all together. Recognize the funds you have to spend and create a realistic plan (similar to how you create your annual marketing plan(s)).
    • Co-Host
      • Still don't have the funds you wish you had? Consider partnering with another department and combine your funds. 
      • Co-hosting is a great way to increase the budget and introduce your customers to more of the company.
    • Have a multiple events throughout the year 
      • A way to highlight 'larger' customers is to split your budget up into multiple events.  This way you can allow for more specialized time to be spent with different customer levels.
      • REMINDER: Do NOT forget the little guys - they are just as important in the livelihood of your company's success.

    Stay tuned for next week's post:  How To: Host a  Customer Appreciation Event - The 5 W's 

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    Friday, January 18, 2013

    DIY Wedding Decor for Under $100

              You will need:          
    • Three (3) rectangle vases 
    • Two (2) of each size cylinder vase with 3" floating candle
      • 6" x 3.25"
      • 7.5" x 3.25"
      • 10.5" x 3.25"  
        • A set (one of each size) can be ordered here for only $14.99.
    • Ribbon color of choice.
      • $4.00 for one spool at any craft store.
    • Nine (9) stems of hydrangea (3 stems in each rectangle vase)
      • You can order a stem of hydrangea for just $3.00.  Just make sure the florist you use sells wholesale.
      • If you need suggestions on a florist, contact Catie for excellent vendor recommendations!
    •  Green filler to create some fullness
      • You can use any kind of filler and should only need to spend about $10.
    • Bear Grass to float in the cylinder vases
      • One bundle will do the trick for a low cost of $10. 
             Total DIY Project: under $100!          

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    Tuesday, January 15, 2013

    Top 10 Most Requested Wedding Songs of 2012

      Simply Events reached out The DJMG to see what they considered were the "Top 10 Most Requested Wedding Songs of 2012." According to their group of well known DJ's, the following 10 songs were the most popular for 2012. This playlist ranges from classic wedding tunes to just plain fun dance music! 
    1. "How Sweet It Is" by James Taylor  
    2. "Let's Stay Together" by Al Green
    3. "Celebration" by Kool and the Gang
    4. "Bust a Move" by Young MC
    5. "Let's Get It Started" by Black Eyed Peas
    6. "Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO
    7. "Wobble" by VIC
    8. "Wild Ones" by Flo Rida
    9. "You're My Better Half" by Keith Urban
    10. "Amazed" by Lonestar

    The DJMG has a roster of six of the most talented DJ's nationwide.  You may recognize these names: DJ Clockwork, DJ ETrayn, DJ D-LO, DJ DaveyC, DJ Drowsy, DJ Young Mase​! 

    Are you searching for the perfect DJ for your wedding reception?  Contact Catie today to learn about our preferred vendors program!

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    Monday, January 14, 2013

    First Dance Songs

    Last week, we asked Simply Events' Facebook friends to share their first dance song.  We absolutely l.o.v.e. the responses we received!  We got everything from the classic Etta James to a more modern take with the Foo Fighters! Check out these 5 first dance songs!!

    From the owner of Simply Events, Catie Harris
    "Lucky" by Jason Mraz & Colbie Caillat

    From Simply Events bride, Meredith Stacy Harris:
    "At Last" by Etta James

    From the Marketing Manager of Prime Time Party Rental, Amy Grasso:
    "Everlong" by the Foo Fighters

    From Simply Events Facebook friend, Janelle Tinch:
    "Sparks" by Coldplay

    From one of Simply Events' go to wedding vendors, Amy Diller:
    "I Won't Give Up" by Jason Mraz

    Are any of these the song for you and your big day?!  Share your first dance song with us! 

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    Thursday, January 10, 2013

    Wrap It Up!

    Bouquet from Inspired Floral Design. Photography by Ron Wood Photography.
    Every bride visualizes what she wants to look like on her wedding day; the dress, the shoes, the hair, the makeup, the veil, the jewelry, and of course the bouquet! However, many brides forget about one very important element within their bouquet - what it will be wrapped with! 

    Here is a small detail that can really go a long way when it comes to your dream day!  Here are a few things to consider when choosing what to wrap it up with:
    • Make it flow
      • Go with something that is in line with your decor and overall wedding theme. However, don't be afraid to mix up the elegant with something that is more casual.  The whole 'matchy-matchy' thing is way outdated!! Mixing the old with the new, and the classy with the casual is 100% acceptable!
    •  Make it comfortable
      • Choose a fabric/material that is not completely uncomfortable to touch and hold.  Remember: you will be holding your bouquet for hours during photos. The last thing you want to worry about is the material hurting your hands!
    • Make it meaningful
      • If possible, try to use this decor element as an opportunity to create meaning.  For instance, maybe you didn't want to wear your mother's wedding gown, but you want to show her some love by using just a small swatch to wrap your bouquet in.  Just image how she would feel by this surprise!  Or maybe you were gifted by your grandmother with an embroidered handkerchief, those make great wraps!
     What did you wrap your bouquet in?

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