Wedding Shoes

There are so many decisions to make when planning a wedding. Where do you want to have the ceremony? Will it be religious or secular? Do you want to have the ceremony and reception in the same place? What do you want your wedding gown to look like? All these and many, many, many more details all have to get decided on. Today I want to talk about a very important detail that may not seem that important.

Wedding shoes.

I know what you’re thinking – they’re just shoes. They just need to look good, right? Wrong! Shoes are a pretty important piece of any wardrobe and speaking from experience, you want your wedding shoes to do more than look good. You want them to be comfortable – in theory you’re going to be wearing them for at least six hours, or longer. My wedding day, from the start of pictures until the end of clean up was more than 12 hours long. So trust me, you want comfortable shoes, or at least you want to have a comfortable pair for the reception.

Now, I’m not going to lecture you about choosing shoes. Instead, I’m going to share some wedding shoe picks from brides all over the country.

 

Karen

Karen and Ben got married in October 2014 on a beautiful fall day in Pennsylvania. They got married outside on a golf course, with a dramatic fall foliage backdrop. Karen is a lifelong lover of leopard print, so she chose these gorgeous heels trimmed with snow leopard print. Her bridesmaids rocked red dresses with leopard print shoes. The end result? Wedding shoes that were so Karen – it was a fun way to incorporate a love of Karen’s without being over the top.

Tori and Rich got married in June 2015. Tori chose this terrific shade of pink for her church wedding and traditional reception. The rhinestone details on these sky high heels photographed beautiful and added a bit of sparkliness to her ensemble. Props to Tori for being able to wear such high heels!

Katie and Stew also got married in June 2015. Katie’s wedding shoe pick is a bit nontraditional – but so their whole wedding! Katie and Stew had their ceremony outside, followed by a reception for close family and friends at a favorite restaurant. The next afternoon, they had a blowout picnic reception for their extended family and friends at Young’s Jersey Dairy, an Ohio favorite. Katie and Stew are lovers of all things nerdy, so their wedding featured comics of all kinds – superheros and more, as illustrated by her pick for shoes. These look so comfy! Katie found these delightful shoes at in the Prickly Paw Etsy shop, in case you’re interested.

Molly and Keith got married in June 2016 on St. Simon’s Island in Georgia. Molly and Keith tied the knot under a beautiful tree outside, where these gorgeous wedges were comfortable and chic. Somewhat simple and understated, these shoes scream Molly – they’re just as pretty and sophisticated as she is!

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Of course, you know I couldn’t write this post without including my own shoes, beautifully photographed by Bryon Black. My wedding colors were orange and grey (in my defense, I let my now husband choose the first color, orange) for our May wedding. Believe it or not, I actually had these orange ballet flats for about ten years before the wedding. I bought them to wear with one specific outfit for a conference I ended up not going to, so these shoes just ended up sitting in my closet. Over the years, despite never wearing them, I just couldn’t bear to part with them – and it’s a good thing I didn’t, because orange shoes are impossible to find!

We got married outside, and all of my bridesmaids were at least two inches taller than me, so I decided that I wanted to be comfortable and wear flats. They were the perfect choice for me – they added a fun pop of color to my look, and were also comfortable enough for me to wear all night!

Readers…what did shoes did you wear for your wedding? Or, if you’re not married yet, what kind of shoes are you hoping to wear? Share your pictures as a comment. If you don’t have a picture of your shoes handy, you can always just describe them!

Wedding Regrets, Part III

In my previous posts, I discussed a few different things that I regret about my wedding – my mom having to take care of all the setup and clean up, forgetting the cake knife, issues with the guest book, the issue with the cake topper, etc. Today I’m going to share a final post discussing what I wish had gone differently. Today I’m talking about some of the challenges I had with my vendors.

Since I’m a professional in the business, I don’t want to vendor bash. So instead of offering specifics about the vendors I worked with, I’m only going to speak generally. If you’re in the Dayton area and would like some more specifics, I’d be happy to share my opinions more fully – just ask. With that disclaimer aside, I’m going to start by talking rentals.

I reserved my rentals on Black Friday. The rental company I had to go with is only open Monday through Friday from 9a-5p and Saturday 9a-12p. As someone with a full-time job, the hours were my first gripe – it was really inconvenient for me to physically get to the rental place to look at their rental items. I called ahead before going to the rental company to make sure that they were open, and I specifically said that I wanted to reserve some items for an upcoming wedding.

When my mom and I arrived at the rental place, we were informed that the wedding coordinator was not there, but the employee who was working would try to help us the best that she could. Her assistance was fine. My complaint is that as I was making the reservation, I told her where I was getting married. The venue we had does a lot of business with this company, so I assumed that they were aware of the venue’s policy – if there’s another wedding the next day, your rentals must be delivered the day of the wedding, and picked up by 9a the following day.

The employee I worked with was unaware of this policy – which prompted me to ask if there were any additional fees for this above and beyond the normal delivery fees. I was assured there weren’t, but she promised to check and call me Monday if she was wrong. I never received a phone call, so I was quite surprised two months before the wedding when an additional fee was tacked on. By then I had no choice but to pay it – no one likes unexpected expenses, especially those that are wedding related.

In addition to the fee issue, I also had to field three phone calls from the rental company the week of my wedding. The most frustrating part is that each phone call was a different employee asking the same questions! Although pretty minor, it left me very unnerved, because I suddenly felt like I couldn’t depend on them to do what they needed to do. That being said, the items we rented were fine and were delivered and picked up on time. I just wish I hadn’t had so many issues with them prior to the wedding.

The other vendor I had some issues with was the bakery baking and delivering our wedding cake. One week before our wedding the cake coordinator we’d been working with left the bakery, and despite being assured that there wouldn’t be any transition issues, there were a few bumps.

The day before the wedding, I got a phone call from the new cake coordinator. She was confused about the delivery time for the cake. Our ceremony started at 3p, but we’d decided to have the cake delivered and set up during dinner (approx. 5:30p). Our reception area was an outdoor space, and due to dietary restrictions (being strategically vague here – only one bakery in the area can make wedding cakes with our required restrictions), our cake was a bit different than the average cake and the cake coordinator we initially worked with was concerned about how long the cake would hold up in the heat. So, rather than having it delivered before the ceremony (2p) we decided to minimize that time.

I explained all this when the new cake coordinator asked about timing, and she said she was unaware that the heat could affect the cake. I asked if she had ever made a cake like ours, and she hadn’t. But she still wanted to change the timing on the cake, because it was more convenient for her, and she was pretty sure it’d be okay. Now, I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I’m spending about $800 on a cake, “pretty sure” doesn’t quite cut it for me. I told her this, and she reluctantly agreed to follow the timeline that I had set with the previous coordinator.

A couple hours later, the cake coordinator called again. She was confused about which topper was for the wedding cake and which topper was for the groom’s cake. Not a big deal – that only took a moment to explain.

Then she called back again another hour later – she wasn’t sure what the theme of the groom’s cake was supposed to be. At this point, I was starting to lose my patience. It was less than 24 hours before my wedding, and I was tired of being bothered with details that had been settled months ago. It was not my finest moment, and I’m pretty sure I was a little rude to her. Oops. In my defense, she probably should have looked over our file sooner and asked her questions then, instead of waiting. Other than that, the cakes were delicious. The wedding cake didn’t look quite like I’d imagined, but it was close enough. The groom’s cake was perfect – everyone loved it, and it too was quite good.

Every wedding has issues – that’s just a fact of life. But I wish that I didn’t have to deal with vendor details the last few days before the wedding. I was not in the right frame of mind to be dealing with the items, plus I was busy entertaining guests in from out of town, including my bridesmaids who I hadn’t seen in months, and my godmother, who I hadn’t seen in about twenty-five years.

In hindsight, I should have hired a day of coordinator. Most coordinators handle the last minute details with the vendors, consulting the bride as needed. This reduces stress for the bride, and allows her to focus on the really important things, like spending time with friends and family.

Wedding Regrets, Part II

Yesterday I posted about my first wedding regret: that my mom had to spend the morning of my wedding running around making sure that the venue was being setup properly, and then she had to end her evening by picking up trashing and packing up decorations. Today’s post focuses on my second regret: little day of crises that could have been handled by a wedding coordinator. I use the term “crisis” here kind of loosely – in hindsight these “crises” weren’t huge deals, but the day of my wedding they were truly catastrophic to me. There’s a lot of emotion the day of your wedding, which I admittedly was not fully prepared for. I thought that since I’m an event professional, none of these things would phase me. Oh how wrong I was! I wish there had been someone else there to correct the problems as they were occurring, so that we had less to deal with and more time just to enjoy our ceremony and reception!

The most minor crisis of the day is something that could have been prevented before the wedding started. I ordered a cake topper through Etsy that was labeled as “clear/paintable,” which meant to me that it could be used as “clear,” without being painted. Unfortunately, I didn’t discover until the day of the wedding that the topper was supposed to be painted – it has a printed backing that couldn’t be peeled off like I assumed. As you can see from the picture below, it made the cake topper less adorable than it would have been otherwise.

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If I had been thinking more clearly, or shown the topper to a neutral third party (such as a day of coordinator), someone else probably would have realized that that backing couldn’t be peeled off and I could have had time to paint the topper before the wedding.

The next crisis is probably the one that ended up having the most lasting effects. Before the wedding, I gave our DJ a dossier for the wedding that explained everything he needed to know for the wedding. This included instructions to remind people to sign our non-traditional guest books – a custom banner that I designed and a giant Jenga set made by my matron of honor’s husband. Despite instructions to make the announcement several times throughout the evening, the announcements didn’t get made, and only a handful of guests (less than 25%) signed either of the guest books. We spent a lot of time choosing our guest books – we wanted them to reflect who we are as a couple, and we wanted items that we’d actually use and look at again in the future. I think we chose the right items – we just didn’t get very many guests to actually sign them!

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On a similar note, we also asked the DJ to remind folks to grab a wedding favor before they left. For our favors, we decided to make mix CDs. I borrowed the idea from my good friend Kaitlyn who got married in 2013. Throughout our relationship, my husband and I have always enjoyed making mix CDs for each other, so we thought it’d be cute to share our tradition with others. Plus the majority of our guests had to travel more than 100 miles to come to our wedding, so I thought our guests might enjoy listening to our CD as much as I enjoyed Kaitlyn’s CD as I drove home from her wedding.

However, no announcement was made and we now have about 100 mixed CDs in handmade envelopes sitting on a shelf in our guest room. If we’d had a wedding coordinator, she would have realized that the announcements weren’t being made and reminded our DJ to do so. Then we’d have had more people sign our guest books…and we’d have fewer leftover CDs. I’m considering handing them out at Halloween, or maybe giving one to anyone who knocks on our door. I’m sure the mailman would enjoy one! (Kidding…both about Halloween and mailman! But I just can’t bear the thought of throwing them away!)

Finally, the most major crisis of the evening: we forgot our cake knife. I had grand plans. We were going to cut the cake with a cake knife and server that belonged to my mom’s parents, both of whom are no longer with us. My grandparents got the set when they were living in Alaska and it is a beautiful set. The handles are made out of intricately carved ivory – they were a gift from one of the local Inuit tribes whose children attended the school my grandparents taught at. I thought they’d be a great way to honor my grandparents’ memory at my wedding. And it would have been. Except we forgot them.

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They were left sitting on my dining room table. Have you ever tried cutting a giant wedding cake with a plastic knife? Speaking from experience, I can assure you it is not easy. We only had to cut one piece to smash in each other’s faces but I still feel bad for my fairy godmothers who had to cut cake for all of the guests using only plastic cutlery!

Now, you may wonder, how would a day of coordinator saved us from this mess? First of all, the cake table was set up in the morning. An experienced coordinator would have looked over the set up and asked about the knife, and there would have been time for someone to run back to my house and get the knife. Or, if no one had realized in time, most experienced coordinators bring spares of really important but often forgotten items, like a cake knife. It wouldn’t have been the cake knife I’d planned on using, but it sure would have been easier than using a plastic knife!

No matter how carefully you plan and prepare for events, there’s always something that goes awry. That is just how it goes – and the larger the event, the more things there are to go wrong. Having someone at your event who’s not there as a guest can make a big difference in the success of your event. Coordinators know how to participate without being involved; they watch for minor issues and can intervene before anything happens. Coordinators have fresh eyes, and they’re less emotionally involved in the whole shindig, allowing them to spot problems early, make impartial decisions, and deal with the inevitable chaos. Obviously coordinators aren’t miracle workers – they’re just people. But they’re the people you want to have on hand to make sure that the biggest (and most expensive) party you’ll ever throw is a smashing success.

 

Wedding Regrets, Part I

Today’s post is the first part of a three-part series highlighting some of the regrets I have for my wedding. My wedding was very much a DIY wedding. A DIY wedding was great for me for several reasons.

  • I had plenty of event planning experience.
  • My mom lives nearby and is retired, so she had plenty of time to devote to the wedding projects.
  • I had lots of bridesmaids and friends to help.

But there were also some things that ended up being too much for me to manage while being a bride and trying to enjoy the day. In hindsight, I really wish we had spent the money on a day of coordinator. Day of coordinators are usually minimally involved in the planning process but they’re rock stars the day of your wedding. From the start of setup until the last tear down task has been handled, day of wedding coordinators are there taking charge and making sure everything goes the way you want it. They’re also there to handle the inevitable crises, like forgetting your cake knife (yep…but that’s content for another post!)

At my wedding there were a few key problems that a day of wedding coordinator would have handled. I’m going to walk you through some of these problems over the next few days. The first area I really wish I’d had assistance with is setup and tear down.

Setting up for a wedding is not an easy task, especially if your ceremony and venue are in different locations, or if you don’t have access to the venue until the day of your wedding. The venue I chose is very popular – the weekend I got married has wedding Friday, Saturday, and Sunday just about every weekend, so we couldn’t decorate until the morning of the wedding. My wedding and ceremony were all in one place, but setup still took a lot longer than I planned. My mom and several female relatives (also known as my fairy godmothers) were in charge of setup. To prepare for this, I created diagrams indicating where everything had to go. I also included checklists so that nothing would get forgotten. The fairy godmothers were meticulous. They got there as soon as they were allowed – 9 a sharp. Our wedding ceremony wasn’t to start until 3p, but we’d decided to start pictures at noon. It took the fairy godmothers the entire three hours to setup the venue – so my mom missed all of hair and makeup, and she was also late getting to help me into my dress, because after setting up in the heat for three hours, she had to shower before getting herself ready.

I really wish that my mom could have spent time with me that morning. She would have enjoyed being with me and my bridesmaids but instead she had to oversee setup because there wasn’t anyone else who knew as much about the wedding, other than me, and I certainly wasn’t in the right place to be worrying about that!

Although the fairy godmothers did an amazing job, one very important setup task got forgotten. My matron of honor spent hours making hand poured candles for the tables and to scatter around the reception space. Since they were long burning soy candles, the candles were supposed to be lit just before the ceremony, so that when people moved from the ceremony into the reception space, the barn would smell like fresh linen and be gently lit by the candles. This didn’t happen, and the candles didn’t get lit until dinner was almost done. This wasn’t really a big deal, but it’s a great example of one of the many important roles a day of coordinator fulfills.

Another woe – instead of being able to fully enjoy my evening, I spent a lot of the evening worrying about cleaning up the venue at the end of the night. We had so much stuff to pack up and I spent so much energy trying to make sure nothing was left behind. Having a day of coordinator to shoulder that burden would have made my day a lot more relaxing and enjoyable for me, my mom, my bridesmaids, and my fairy godmothers.

 

 

 

 

Creating the wedding YOU want

As someone who has a wedding planning business and a wedding blog, you may find it hard to believe that I haven’t always been obsessed with weddings. I’ve always been an organized person who loves to do lists and taking charge. In college I got involved with the event planning group on campus and got hooked. But weddings? Nope. Not my thing. I didn’t even plan on getting married – my life plan involved a Ph.D. and like seven Labrador retrievers. No husband, just dogs and books.

So how’d I get here?

While working on my master’s degree, I met the most wonderful man. And I became one of those women who says things like, “When you meet the one, you just know.” I did know, from our very first date that he was something different, something special. In the almost three years we’ve been together, we’ve definitely had our ups and downs. We’ve had our share of arguments, disappoints, and disasters – but we’ve shared lots of memorable moments, and plenty more unremarkable ones. We’ve shared illnesses, laughed over the silly things our dogs (just two dogs!) have done, and we’ve even shared moments of defeat and sadness.

When we got engaged, we thought we’d have a small wedding, just some close friends and family. But the more we talked, the bigger the plans got. And as someone who had never thought about what I wanted my wedding to be like, I was suddenly overwhelmed by the sheer number of decisions and details that needed to be tended to. Although I was a bit unfamiliar with the wedding industry, I felt at home in wedding planning – my years of experience with planning events really paid off.

The end result was a day that was perfect for my husband and I. We were able to make the wedding a real reflection of us a couple, and perhaps more importantly, we were able to share it with all the people that really matter to us – our friends and our families.

I always thought that they saying that your wedding is one of the best days of your life was SO cheesy and fake. Guess what? I was wrong. Our wedding was incredible and I will probably always think of it as one of the best days of my life. Why? Because we had the rare chance to celebrate our love with our friends and family, most of who traveled hundreds of miles to be there, flocking to Ohio from Arizona, California, Texas, Virginia, and New York, just to mention a few.

When planning our wedding, my hubby and I had one goal in mind: we wanted to have an amazing party and make it a night to remember. From the tiny potted pansies on the tables to the embroidered aprons we worn to protect our clothes from the BBQ to the boozy snow cones, our wedding was just that – fun.

Wedding planning often feels like you’re being pulled in a hundred different directions. Everyone has opinions. What helped keep me focused while planning the wedding was focusing on creating an event that fulfilled our deepest desires for the wedding. So as you begin putting together your dream day, take a moment to reflect and figure out what matters most, and start creating plans around that. I recommend sitting down with your partner and creating a list of three must-haves for your special day. Use those three must-haves to guide your planning process. Our three must-haves were an awesome photographer (shout out to @BryonBlackPhotography who was incredible!), great food and drinks (BBQ + boozy snow cones + full open bar), and gluten free cake (my hubby has Celiac – he wanted to be able to eat our cake!)

What are your three must-haves?

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