Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What You Need to Know Before Saying 'Yes to the Dress.'

It's week 4 of the Simply Events interns blogging. If you missed the past three blogs, you can check them out via the links below!

Amy's blog about "How Pinterest Has Changed the Wedding World"
Danielle's blog about "10 Creative Guest Book Ideas"
Erin's blog about "Four Factors to Consider When Planning a Destination Wedding"


Photo Source:  Kleinfeld Bridal
I am certain that we have all seen the show Say Yes to the Dress. Whether you watch it religiously or have caught a show here and there, we have all seen it at least once. One of the most exciting parts of planning a wedding is deciding on the wedding dress! Every girl wants to find that "perfect dress" to marry the "perfect man" and every girl should find that dress. However, finding that dress can be a bit tricky. I was a consultant for a bridal salon for a year and I believe that finding the right dress will help set off your planning in the right way. Because of this I am here to share some advice I have learned.

1) Know your budget. It has been said time and time again but it is important. When you go wedding dress shopping you need to know your budget and you need to stick to it. If you go outside your budget you will find a dress you love and in the end be heartbroken that you cannot afford it. Save yourself the heartache (and potential financial burden) and stick to your budget - much like the rest of your wedding planning!

2) Be open to trying anything. My favorite brides to work with were the ones who came in with a little bit of an idea of what they wanted but were open to trying on any dress in any style. For most brides, this is the first time they have ever worn a dress as unique as a wedding dress. Because of this most brides really do not know what they want in a dress until they start trying them on. Often brides will leave with a dress they never thought they would pick. Plus with so many different styles out there you want to make sure you are picking the right one.

3) Be prepared to purchase that day. Lots of times girls will come in just wanting to get an idea for what they want and that is completely okay. However, often girls will find the dress that day and want to purchase it. While you do not have to, you should be ready to buy if you find the perfect dress.

4) During your appointment, your consultant is your best friend. Yes, most consultants make commission, and yes that means they want you to buy a very expensive dress. However, we will be honest with you. We will help stick up for what you want. We will never let you purchase anything that makes you look bad or is unflattering. Trust us because all we want to do is help you find the perfect dress!

5) Once you find the dress, stop looking. Brides always think they can find something better and I can guarantee they will. There is always a new style coming out and because of this brides want to continue to look. Unfortunately going to many bridal salons can confuse you in the end. Once you find a dress you love, that's it, stop looking.

6) Don't bring every person you know and their hair dresser. In fact do not bring more than 2-4 people. And make sure those people are people you are very close to, like your mom, sister and best friend. Too many people = too many opinions and your may walk out with a dress you do not really love.

7) Enjoy your appointment! As cheesy as it sounds have fun at your appointment. It is often a bonding experience for you and those you bring. It is a once in a lifetime experience and is not meant to be stressful. Enjoy the day!

Happy Planning (and shopping)!


- Jennifer O.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Four Factors to Consider When Planning a Destination Wedding

Every woman, at some point in their life, considers a beach wedding. It’s romantic and exotic but not always for every couple. Below are 4 factors to consider when thinking about a destination wedding! 

  1. Planning
    • When considering an away wedding, you have to keep in mind how much or how little planning you are willing to put into it. If you want to mostly plan yourself there are a lot of things to keep in mind. 
      • For example, all planning will be long distance and finding local florists, photographers and venues can take a lot of time and research. 
      • If your wedding is in a different state (or sometimes even a different country!) you will have to go through the process of getting a marriage license in an unfamiliar territory and could possibly run into some complications.
    • If you’re okay with less involvement, an all inclusive resort would be the easiest way to go for a destination wedding. They usually provided comprehensive packages which can include a consultant who can help you plan and do a lot of the leg work for you.
  2. Guest list 
    • With a destination wedding usually comes a smaller guest list. This way you don’t have to feel bad about not inviting those long distant second cousins you only see on holidays. You can keep it simple with just your closest family and friends.
    • A smaller guest list means you can spend more personal time with the people in attendance. Whether it is just the two of you or family & friends, you can always have a nice celebration with everyone when you return home.
    • One disadvantage of hosting a destination wedding is depending on how far away your ceremony is, some people you care about may not be able to make it. The expenses could be too much for them or they may have trouble getting time off of work. Another consideration is that elderly guests may not be able to travel long distances. 
    • We suggest that before making final plans and booking tickets make sure to talk to those people who are most important to you.
  3. Money 
    • Spending a weekend or longer in a dream location can actually cost less than a fancy dinner at a more local location. Since you don’t have that large guest list you will not be spending as much per person at the reception. Etiquette for destination weddings says that the bride and groom (or whoever is hosting/paying for the wedding itself) should pay for hotel rooms, food, and most of the expenses for their guests. However, the guests would pay for their own airfare. 
    • Simply Events intern, Erin said, 
      • "I went to my cousins wedding in October of 2009 located in Cancun, Mexico. My mom, my two younger sisters and I went and I know we paid for everything ourselves. We have a large family and almost everyone came so it would have been very expensive for the bride and groom to pay for everything for everyone. I think it is unrealistic for guests to expect the bride and groom to pay for everything. If a guest really wants to be with them on their special day the expenses are worth it. Plus it is like a vacation for you!"
    • A negative to a destination wedding is that some of your guests may not be able to afford all of the expenses that come along with attending the ceremony. Talk to the people you want most to be there and consider helping them pay for some of their flight or hotel room. You can also consider talking to a travel agent; they usually have group discounts for traveling!
  4. Honeymoon 
    • By having a destination wedding you can have your honeymoon in the same location as well which can save you a lot of money and make it affordable to go to that dream place you have always wanted to visit. Plus it gives you a reason to visit the location again on an anniversary!
    • Though you can save money by having the wedding and honeymoon in the same location you have to think about the fact that your friends and family will be there as well and if that is going to make it feel like you don’t really have a honeymoon! There are a few easy fixes to make sure you get your alone time. 
      • We think the best option is to either plan to get there before everyone or stay longer after the day of the wedding. Arriving early, regardless of the reasoning, is a good idea so you can make sure everything is ready for the big day. 
        • Erin says, "When my cousin got married in Cancun he and his fiancĂ© were there for two weeks total. They arrived a week early with their parents to make sure everything was ready and stayed for a week after the ceremony for their honeymoon after everyone had left." You can have a week-long vacation with family then have your week of alone time. 
      • If you can’t afford to stay for an extended period of time, another option is scheduling alone time by planning a couples massage or other private activities. While you two are having alone time you can plan fun things for your friends and family to do as well.

A lot of planning and thought goes into a wedding no matter where the location. Just remember that your wedding day should be in the place YOU want it be, with the people YOU care about, and it should be a day to remember forever! 

Thanks for reading my blog post!

~ Erin W. 

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony & Thank You!!

On Wednesday, March 12, I had my very first Red Ribbon Cutting at the Lebanon Area Chamber of Commerce office.  As a new member of the Lebanon Chamber, they wanted to celebrate my company, Simply Events, and introduce it to the local community.  I had never been to a ribbon cutting before so I had no idea what to expect. However, I cannot tell you how humbled and honored it was to be a part of this small yet very powerful celebration.  

I have been in business for four (4) years and I have had many ups and downs throughout those years.  I wanted to write this blog post to thank everyone who has been there for me and by my side from day one moving forward.  

First and foremost, I must thank the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  He has given me so much and I am so grateful for all of the blessings in my life, my business included.  

Me and my husband, Jamie. Picture from 2008!
Also, my husband, Jamie.  Without his support I would not be where I am today. Jamie is with me every step of the way and is no stranger to late night conversations about business strategy, growth, and management.  He is just as much a part of Simply Events as I am! 

Me and my beautiful mother!
I cannot begin to describe how awesome my mom is. My mother is without a doubt the strongest woman I know.  Her love & support for me and my company is humbling and I am so proud that she is my mom! In addition, I owe a lot of my planning skills to her; after all, I got it from my momma! ;) 

Top Row: Melanie, Laura, Amy, Maura
Bottom Row: Amy, Danielle, Erin, Jennifer, Kati, Sam

My first 'full time' employee, Laura Neeb and the rest of Team Simply Events! Laura is a rockstar and I am so thrilled to have her as part of my company. In addition, I would not be able to execute all of these amazing events without the help of Team Simply Events and the wonderful group of interns! They say the hardest part about running a small business is hiring the right people. I suppose I just got lucky to have all of these amazing people by my side!

Me with my brother, John, and sister, Allison
Lastly, all of my family (John & Allison) and friends. There are way to many to list them all but they definitely know who they are!! I seriously have the best family and friends a girl could ask for! Example, two of my dear friends drove down from Columbus to be at my 30 minute ribbon cutting ceremony - how cool is that?! 

Anyway, I know this is a sappy post and do not do these often (or ever for that matter!) but I really felt the need to thank everyone who has made me the business owner I am today! 

Top picture consists of my family (husband, son, and mom) friends, Lebanon Chamber Ambassadors; District Representative at U.S. House of Representatives David McCandless; Mayor of Lebanon, Amy Brewer; and Cindy Bennett with the office of the Treasurer of Ohio Josh Mandel.
Bottom left: me with David McCandless. Bottom middle: me with Amy Brewer. Bottom right: me with Cindy Bennett. 
Thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate with me for my ribbon cutting! I am very excited and proud to be a new member of the Lebanon Area Chamber of Commerce!

- Catie

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Monday, March 10, 2014

10 Creative Guest Book Ideas

Traditional guest books are a thing of the past! There are plenty of fun, creative, and unique ways for your guests to remind you of who celebrated your special day! Here are 10 creative, alternative guest book ideas to keep in mind while planning.
  1. Photo Booth/Polaroid Pictures: A photo booth is a fun way to keep your guests entertained, and can also double as a favor for them to take home! You can add props for the guests to use for fun. Photo booths can print 2 strips, 1 for the guest to keep and 1 to leave in a book with a message for the bride and groom.

The Polaroid pictures can work in the same way, just make sure you have plenty of film!
Photo Credit:
  • Fingerprints: This unique guest book idea can also be used for art in the newlywed’s home! Be sure to have ink pads and baby wipes nearby for guests to clean their fingers. The guests stamp their thumbprint and then write down their name.
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    Photo Credit:

  • Engagement Picture Book: This is a great way to allow your guests to see all of your favorite engagement pictures! You can create your own design to the album, allowing open spaces for the guests to sign and write their messages.

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  • Matted Photo Frame: Have guests sign their name on a matted frame using an acid free, fine point pen. Include the lyrics to your first dance, or a favorite quote. Your favorite wedding picture can be added later!
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  • Jenga or Puzzle Pieces: This is a great idea for those couples who love game night! Have guests sign their name and write messages on a Jenga block. Every time you play the game you will be reminded of your special day!  
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    Photo Credit: Oh Lovely Day
    The puzzle guest book features a picture of the bride and groom. Have wedding guests sign the back of a puzzle piece and write a special message. Guests can add the puzzle pieces in a glass jar for the couple to complete when they get home!
  • Bench: For a more rustic feel, a bench can be another great way to remember those who shared your special day! Seal the bench with some glossy Mod Podge to preserve the messages. Bonus points for the groom if he can make it too!
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    Photo Credit:

  • Quilt: A quilt is also a creative guest book idea. Once all the pieces are sewn together, you can always be reminded of your wedding day. Make sure to place a piece of cardboard under the squares to avoid the fabric marker from bleeding through!
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  • Advise & Well Wishes: Instead of guests signing a book, have them leave some advice and well wishes for the new Mr. and Mrs. A fun idea for the couple to read through after the wedding or when they need some advice later on!
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    Photo Credit:

  • First Initial of Last NameThis guest book idea is another creative idea that can also be displayed in the couple’s home! Have guests sign their name using a paint marker.

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    Photo Credit:

  • The Bible A Bible also makes a very unique guest book. Have guests highlight their favorite verse and sign their name next to it. This is a very special way for the couple to remember their wedding day and have as their family bible for years to come!
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    Photo Credit:
    Happy Planning!!
    ~ Danielle S.

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    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

    How Pinterest Has Changed The Wedding World

    ahhh!! We are so thrilled to have our first blog post by one of our 2014 interns, Amy Noel!! Check out what she has to say about Pinterest and how it has changed the wedding industry!

    Photo source
    I don’t know about you guys, but not a day goes by that I don’t get on Pinterest to see what’s trending. Whether it is home decor, fashion or weddings, I think I may have a Pinterest board for just about everything. I think one board that every girl has on her profile, engaged or not, is the “Wedding” board. Some make their wedding boards private, to turn away suspicion from friends and family, and some flaunt every dress and flower link they can find. However you manage your Pinterest boards, there is one thing for certain, Pinterest has changed the wedding planning industry, forever. 

    Before the addicting website was popular most brides-to-be turned to wedding magazines to find ideas and trends. This was somewhat inconvenient because when you found something you liked, you had to tear it out and organize it yourself. Brides would store their pages in shoe boxes, wedding binders or whatever empty pocket they could find in their purse. Transporting these boxes and binders to each wedding appointment proved to be annoying and unmanageable. Not to mention the cost of subscribing to multiple bridal magazines can be pricey. 

    The reason that Pinterest has been so successful is because of it’s convenience, accessibility and it is completely free! You can access it from your computer or smartphone so your pins are always at your fingertips. There are pre-set categories that you can browse or you can search for anything that your mind can think of. Since there are so many aspects to wedding planning, brides have found that this is the easiest way to organize their favorite ideas. You can have one board for the entire wedding or you can break it down and make a board for each component. Users can also add links and thumbnails from websites they have found that may not be on Pinterest yet. Being able to access pins from your smartphone gives brides accessibility to their ideas when at wedding appointments without the bulky magazine pages. 

    As much as I love the site, Pinterest can be somewhat deceiving. Yes the amazing centerpieces, to-die-for dresses, and one-of-a-kind cakes would complete the wedding of your dreams. But in this economy, can brides really afford it all? Unless the thumbnail is directly linked to a site where items can be purchased, brides might find that they cannot afford what they’ve pinned until they have actually gotten a quote from that particular vendor. This can be disappointing but taking advantage of the DIY category on the site might cut down cost and give the bride something similar to what they want. 

    Whether you use Pinterest to organize your life, as a networking tool for your business, or to live vicariously through your pins, the website has something that appeals to everyone. It provides ideas and concepts that can be neatly organized and easily referenced at a later time. As engaging as it is, use with caution. Do not set your heart on particular things before checking to see if it’s feasible and within your budget. Not getting too carried away will ultimately prevent from disappointment and ensure that you will always be a happy bride.
    Check out the Simply Events Pinterest Boards for some amazing Pinspiration! 

    Thanks for reading my blog post!

    --Amy N.

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