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The Big Day – June 20th, 2015

A final post from our in house Bride…

A little over 3 months ago all of the planning and hard work culminated into literally the wedding of my dreams. And since a picture is worth a thousand words, I figured I’d share some of my favorite shots from the day…

AJust one more thing before I shift into bride mode…

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Our vision was a romantic and classy estate wedding.  If you read any of my prior posts, you’ll remember that we settled on The Bradley Estate in Canton, MA, a red brick Gregorian-style mansion with an amazing brick edged parterre garden, romantically set behind the house and a large side lawn for a tented reception.

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For our ceremony we kept it mostly traditional, though we added in our own vows and a special sand blending ceremony with sand from both coasts to highlight our commitment to combine our two lives. To top it all off, we had one of our closest friends, Kate Baker, officiate the ceremony.

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We wanted cocktail hour to be classy yet fun, so guests sipped cocktails while they roamed the property and played games like corn hole and washers personally built and monogrammed by Tom.

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   The reception of course went by all too fast but what I remember most is being so in awe at all of the people who came to one place for us.  Our perfect day was made possible by our family, friends and of course our vendors who worked tirelessly to make everything perfect for us.  Gourmet Caterers did an outstanding job with the food, presentation and service.  And our DJ, Adam Conrad did an amazing job of keeping the night (and our guests) moving.

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Sperry Tents provided a wistful and light sailcloth tent with bamboo poles and candelabras.  I loved how it made the reception on grass still feel both upscale and intimate.

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We wanted our wedding to be romantic and classic with a little bit of sparkle. We worked with Peterson’s Party Center to accomplish this look with traditional fruitwood chivari chairs for both the ceremony and reception and alternated champagne and blush linens on our guest tables.  One of my pet peeves is when guest tables are too crammed, so we simplified the tables to include only rose petals, votives and centerpieces of gorgeous pink, cream and ivory roses from LauraJean Floral Design

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The table numbers were kept simple too, though each was placed in its own beautiful frame, which I had begun collecting from the moment we became engaged! I loved how this gave the tables a unique yet cohesive look.

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And for the sparkle, I scattered a few rose gold sequin linens (from Rentals Unlimited) throughout cocktails and of course on our sweetheart table.

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Our menu cards, along with the ceremony program and other various signage was beautifully designed by Mr. Tom Boates himself!

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In the end, everything turned out just exactly as we had envisioned it.  Perfect weather, the love of family and friends from across the country and Tom waiting for me at the end of the aisle. We couldn’t have asked for a better day!   

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                                                                                                                                        – Mrs. Boates signing off!

Venue: The Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate
Tent: Sperry Tents
Caterer: Gourmet Caterers
Cake: Konditor Meister
Floral: LauraJean Floral & Event Design
Rentals: Petersons Party Center
Rose Gold Sequined Linens: Rentals Unlimited
Photography: George Street Photography
DJ: Adam Conrad
Officiant: Kate Baker
The Dress:  Mori Lee by Madeline Gardiner
Hair: Janet Rodriguez
Makeup: Danielle Austin


From the Desk of Christine…

Marriage…what a great year to win Boston magazine’s Best of Boston ® 2015 -Best Wedding Coordinator.  With the news of equality and marriage for all, this makes the honor of “Best of” even better!

I thought back on when I first began planning weddings…it was the 80’s!  Weddings were so different then, in fact most of the planning was with the mother.  However, it was in the 80’s that the wedding couple started to have a bigger part in the actual planning, since often they were paying for part of the wedding and wanted to break with some of the old traditions.  During this time, I had the opportunity to work at The Great Hall in Faneuil Hall Marketplace.  As I was spending so much time in this beautiful old building, I thought “what a great space for a wedding.”  My sales team thought I was crazy, but within two years, we were hosting over 30 weddings a year.  This was the start of designing weddings that were just a little different, and not always in a hotel.

I started to think about the trends then, and with the help of Google, decided to share the “wedding styles of the 1980’s.”  When I googled 1980 Wedding Style, the word “vintage” came up, and I nearly choked!  Really, I started doing weddings in a period that is now considered vintage!  I toyed with the idea of tossing my own wedding photo from 1988 in this blog (Laura Ashley dress, large draping floral bouquet and all), but after I dusted off the wedding album and stopped laughing, I determined it might be best to put that picture back in the album where it belonged!  I was a trendsetter in my day…my bridesmaids got their dresses off the racks at Neiman’s and each one was different.  But just so you can create your own visual, these are some of the dresses I had to choose from.

 

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Of course I was also attending many friends’ weddings at that time, and being a part of their wedding parties.  I did have the opportunity to wear lots of chiffon and satin…more then anyone should ever have to wear.  My favorite trend was the Rainbow Wedding Party (not to be confused with the first Same Sex wedding), in which each the bridesmaids wore a dress a different color of the rainbow.  Somehow I always ended up in orange.

(This is a Google photo, not the actual wedding shot!)

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Oh, and of course…we all wanted to be just like Diana!

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There are so many great memories that I have from weddings from the 80’s through today. Styles change, trends change…but the purpose behind each wedding does not.  It is about two people wanting to share their lives together, to build a foundation that they will recreate, grow and change for hopefully years to come.  I look forward to planning many more memories for many more couples, and feel privileged to have this honor.

 – Christine

 

 


HOW COOL IS THAT?

Our team at AE Events found out yesterday that we were awarded “Best Wedding Coordinator of 2015” in Boston Magazine’s #BestofBoston.  Needless to say, we are thrilled and honored.  We may have even jumped up & down in the office just a little bit…I mean, these are the things to celebrate in life, right?  How cool is that?

Ah yes, celebrations.  The spirit of our company is built around crafting experiences that really and truly reflect and celebrate the people that each event is about.  We hope that what comes through to our clients is that we love being a part of creating their moments and their memories.

So we raise a glass to our clients, with a few tributes here….

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Being a part of designing someone’s wedding day?  How cool is that!


#9 – Say Cheese!

It’s Wedding Wednesday and time for our monthly check-in with bride-to-be, Elizabeth…

Say Cheese! No, not that kind of cheese, though I must admit I’m a little obsessed with the Deep Fried Truffle Mac n’ Cheese that will be served during cocktail hour on the big day… but I digress…

As I mentioned before, Tom and I decided early on that there were three things that were undoubtedly more important than any of the other aspects of the wedding: Venue and Food  – which I’ve covered in past posts – and today’s topic: Photography.

Making a decision on photography (and videography for that matter) was another difficult task for us.  Not only does Tom have several fantastic photographer friends but we at AE Events work with many very talented photographers as well!  However, I was intrigued by an advertisement I kept seeing from George Street Photography.  And while I was timid to go with a corporate company vs. an independent photographer – we found that what George Street offered for the price we could afford, was hard to pass up.

Some of the things in our awesome package that sealed the deal:

– Lead Photographer for 10 hours
– Assistant Photographer for 6 hours
– 90-minute Engagement Session with our Lead Photographer
– Online Proofing and Ordering
– Digital Negatives
– Leather bound Wedding Album + Two 6×6 Albums
– Videographer for 8 hours
– Wireless mic for the Ceremony
– High Def Blu-Ray DVD Master Copy of all footage + 5-7 Minute Highlight Reel
– Professionally Certified Video Editors
– Online Portal where you can manage the look of your day, prints, scheduling and have an event coordinator on hand to confirm your photographer the day before and the day of

I’ll save my final review of them for after the wedding, however I can say that so far I am very pleased with their service as well as the photographer that we selected from their network: Colleen Moore McCarthy.

Speaking of which… two weeks ago Tom and I took a day off to meet with Colleen at the Boston Public Garden (the scene of our engagement 9 months ago) for our 90-minute Engagement Session.  And we just so happened to get our shots back last night… Enjoy!

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Happy Anniversary Joanna and Bryan!

It’s Wedding Wednesday and while we can’t believe this lovely wedding is already a year behind us, we are still basking in it’s beauty!  Set at a gorgeous private estate, we brought some amazing vendors together to create the perfect wedding day for Joanna and Bryan on September 21, 2013.  They wanted a classic wedding, with elegant, romantic touches. It started with an outdoor ceremony (perfect weather), cocktails in the house (lots of bubbly), then dinner and dancing (Moroccan spiced lamb, yum!).  Happy Anniversary, you two!

We leave you now to enjoy the beauty of it all from the start of the day to the end – courtesy of Sarah Bastille Photography!

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Flowers by the talented Benjamin Newbold at Winston Flowers

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Joanna made such a beautiful bride!!!

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The Happy Couple! Congratulations all over again!

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Alternative to a traditional guest book – hand typed (or written) notes from guests offering “wishes and wisdom”.

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Many thanks to the vendors that made this wedding possible:

Photographer: Sarah Bastille Photography ¦ Flowers: Winston Flowers ¦ Linens & Rentals: Be Our Guest ¦ Audio & Lighting: High Output ¦ Tenting: Peterson Party Center ¦ Catering: Max Ultimate Food ¦ Videographer: Heirloom Pictures


#4 The Nitty Gritty… Spreadsheets, Dates & Venues

Post number four in our adventures with the engaged couple, Elizabeth and Thomas…

Upon my return from Winter Vacation I got right down to the business of crunching numbers and researching venues. I couldn’t think any more about dresses, décor, flowers or food until I had a date and a venue secured. After all, how could I plan any of the other details until I knew the setting and time of year for our special day? And I couldn’t commit to a venue until I had a basic budget outlined. I knew my numbers could, and probably would change, but I also knew the worst thing I could do would be to use up too much of our money on a venue – resulting in not having enough for the décor that would turn that venue into our vision. So, I quickly realized just how important it was to really KNOW my budget.

When it came to my budget, I was very fortunate to have a generous gift given to me from my Mom as well as additional funds from my Dad and my Grandma. Thomas and I then figured out how much of our own money we would be comfortable spending and that gave us our grand total.  (Tip: Keep in mind that even the most thrifty and organized couples will go over their budget so it is typically recommended to build in a 10-15% buffer into your grand total.)  After figuring out what our number was we put together a good ole excel spreadsheet with every single wedding expense we could think of.  (Don’t freak out: Most wedding books and websites will have plenty of budget templates to steal from.) While traditionally the Bride’s family is responsible for the wedding/reception and the Groom’s family covers the rehearsal dinner, I have found that in this day in age, there are no rules anymore.  My suggestion to anyone, who is engaged and hasn’t figured out these monetary specifics, is to have a conversation individually with your parents.  Go into it honestly and without any expectations and your chances for a productive conversation are pretty good.

After all the “fun” with numbers and spreadsheets it was time for some site visits. Looking at venues, to me, was the same as trying on a dress – I didn’t want to look at something (and risk falling in love with it) that I couldn’t afford. As a general rule of thumb, you should designate about half of your budget to your venue site and catering. Translation: Avoid booking a venue that is going to cost $20,000 in rental fees and catering if your budget is $30,000.  (Unless of course you have some magical way of getting a dress, photographer, videographer, floral, décor, music and rentals for $10K – in which case I ask that you please contact me immediately!)

I must admit choosing a date and venue proved to be a difficult task.  The excitement of the wedding was overwhelming for me (if you haven’t already noticed), and I am that person who has been waiting for my wedding day since I was about 7 years old! So the idea of waiting until 2015 (and being 31) before I was married, started to mess with my head a little bit. Luckily I have an amazing sister (and MOH) to bring me back down to earth and remind me that after waiting all this time, did I really want to rush this experience? Knowing that a Fall 2014 Wedding would mean a stressful 9-10 months of high intensity planning, we settled on June of 2015. Lesson learned? Figure out what is important to you when it comes to selecting a date. Are you willing to sacrifice venue availability, relatives being able to attend or the enjoyment of the planning process in exchange for the “perfect date”?

Choosing a location also became difficult. I had always envisioned myself getting married in my hometown, which just so happens to be considerably cheaper to host a wedding in, as it’s a smaller town. However, all of our memories as a couple are here in Boston.  And isn’t this OUR wedding, not just mine? (An idea I am reminded of constantly during this process!) As it turns out there are very few estates/mansions that host weddings in my hometown – a vision neither Thomas nor I could let go of regardless of cost – and so in the end the decision was made for us – Boston it was.

When looking at potential locations, it should go without saying that whether it be a country club wedding, an estate wedding or a hotel wedding, your venue should represent you and your groom as a couple.  Another very important aspect is flow. When visiting venues I focused on envisioning my event start to finish.  How would people arrive and where would they go once they arrived?  What about after the ceremony – Where would cocktail hour be? When looking at estates, did I want to have dinner in one room, dancing in another, and the bar in the third room, or did I want the whole celebration to take place under a tent? My advice to other brides/grooms is to take a moment envisioning the big day and figure out what aspects are most important to you.  For Thomas and I, we were adamant about having a big party where everyone could enjoy the reception in the same space.

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Although winter when we visited,
I did my best visualizing the Bradley in June!

The Bradley Estate captured our hearts the moment we arrived. Formerly known as Cherry Hill Farm, a colonial farmstead, it was transformed into a classic country estate in 1902. The beautiful red brick Gregorian-style mansion felt like it had literally been built from the vision I had in my head for our wedding. The interior successfully achieves an elegant, antique feel without coming across as “old” or “run down”.   The brick edged parterre gardens behind the house were a perfect setting for our ceremony and the terrace off of the side of the house would allow for a classy cocktail hour. The reception could then be held on the lawn, under a tent, on a warm summer night. With the estate falling within our price range and having our date available – we were sold!  One thing down… about 5 million more to go!

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Follow this link to learn more about the Bradley Estate.

On a side note: Elizabeth makes a lot of good points to you newly-engaged couples out there.  Being up front and honest about your budget will help the planning run more smoothly.  It is rare to have an “unlimited” budget and with today’s family structure, it’s no longer the bride’s family paying the entire way.  It’s also good to plan for that small amount of overage.  Don’t budget it in necessarily, just be aware that estimates don’t always include taxes, admin fees and all of those other small charges that add up. Come back in June to see their next post when Elizabeth realizes that she is only one year away from getting married!


All of the lights

We hope you are enjoying this lovely holiday season filled with all kinds of beautiful lighting – from the candles of the Hanukkah menorah, to the glittering Christmas tree, to the candles on your dining table as you spend time with family and friends, (and don’t forget the crystal New Year’s ball dropped in NYC!) – AE would like to remind you how important lighting can be for an event.

We try to use lighting in a variety of ways to add impact, emotion and excitement to any event of any size. This year included lit LED centerpieces for table decor, an LED curtain as a backdrop, and simple washes of color on the ceiling for added dramatic effect. Here are a few highlights from this past year:

biergarten lighting

With deep blue tones washing the ceiling to set the evening sky, bulb lights strung overhead, and a patterned effect like leaves from a tree, we brought guests “outdoors” at the Boston Center for the Arts Cyclorama this year to create an authentic German “biergarten” (complete with a hops-styled chandelier to set the stage).  Prost! (Cheers!)

Venue: BCA Cyclorama¦ Photographer: Remi Thornton¦ Lighting: High Output

 

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Sometimes just anticipating the light can give you amazing effect.  For Liz and Michael’s wedding this September in North Truro, the use of a clearspan tent allowed the sunset to become the backdrop of their ceremony.  Perfection!

Venue: Kalmar Village ¦ Photographer: AE Events ¦ Lighting: High Output

Joslin HH2013 backdrop

Finally, we used LED curtains for this year’s Joslin Diabetes High Hopes Gala – which changed words and designs as the evening continued. Nice!

Venue: Westin Copley Place ¦ Photographer: AE Events ¦ Lighting: Port Lighting


Remember Spring?

As the cold weather settles in, we at AE are reminded of another time – when flowers were blooming and daylight lasted past 4:30pm!  Well, this spring (May 18 to be exact) we were happy to help Lauren and Tripper celebrate their wedding.  It was a simple but elegant affair, with a ceremony at the beautiful Arlington Street Church, followed by a gorgeous reception at the Museum of Fine Arts.  The bride asked to bring the outdoors in, so with the help of Winston Flowers, we filled the room with small birch tree clusters, lush hedges and other flora set against pleated white organdy linens gave us just the right amount of Spring.  Here are some photos from our friend, Gigi de Manio!

Ceremony Venue: Arlington Street Church ¦ Reception Venue: Museum of Fine Arts ¦ Photographer: Gigi de Manio ¦ Flowers: Winston Flowers ¦ Linens: Table Toppers ¦ Rentals: Be Our Guest ¦ Lighting: High Output

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Raising the Bar (Mitzvah, that is)

Here at AE Events, we design a good number of bar and bat mitzvahs, and have been doing so for years. There’s no doubt—like most everything related to teens these days—bar mitzvahs are getting more involved. Kids know exactly what they want. And most are either specific—or very vague—when describing their vision. That’s where we come in.

Charlotte’s recent “Winter Wonderland” bat mitzvah was held just after the New Year at Temple Shalom in West Newton. Holding the party at the temple let the family avoid shopping around for a venue. Because temples will assign bar and bat mitzvah dates years in advance, booking a location can get tricky as kids from different area temples eye locations. That’s why it’s a good idea to call us as soon as you get a date. We can help secure your ideal venue or offer comparable options if your dream venue is already taken.

Charlotte wanted a kids-only party for 65 of her closest friends, and she wanted it to feel both cozy and special. We set the scene with oversized silver megaloons spelling “Charlotte” that also served to provide a great backdrop for the DJ from Klass Universal Entertainment. The tables were set with sparkly silver linens and pale lavender napkins, with centerpieces by Artistic Blossoms featuring clear vases with faux snow and a mix of branches that were “frosted and snowy,” silver and natural, and bright purple and fuzzy blue. Glittery votives lent a cool, purple glow.

The event went off without a hitch and everyone had a great time. Charlotte was beaming in a purple lace dress and gold heels. The kids enjoyed fun foods by Baker’s Best and a fabulous snowflake themed cake by Newton bakery The Icing on the Cake. Then they danced to hits by Rihanna, Justin Bieber, and Ke$ha, a bit of a departure from the standard bar mitzvah tunes. Airbrush artists created personalized designs on the back of sweatshirts for favors. A photo booth provided extra insurance that no one would soon forget this party, most of all Charlotte!