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Flipped

From the desk of Christine Altieri…

I have been feeling a bit upside down lately. So much happened in 2016…some wonderful, some not so wonderful…2017 will be a year of seeing the world a little differently.

I thought I would take that feeling and “flip” it around as a topic for my blog. Event design is all about the plan: What is the mission of the event? Who are the bride and groom? What is the company brand? When designing events, we ask perhaps the most important question: What is the look and feel for the event? Are we looking for symmetry, or non-symmetry? Are we working with perfect lines, or meandering aisles? What shall we put on the tables, the floor? But sometimes we like to flip the event world on its head, and design from above.

Negative space is what we like to call it…high ceilings, tent peaks, heavy ceiling beams…the open sky. Filling in negative space with what feels right, and takes what is below and brings it above. I practice yoga, and joke that my best poses are on my head. But standing on my head, or my arms, gives me a different perspective…it makes me look at what is possible.

 

Here are some samples of filling negative space, and turning the event on its head:

Creating a Beirgarden inside, and giving it a modern twist with a chandelier made of hops.

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Since a tent can very cold and have hard edges, fabric can make the tent feel softer and more approachable. Filling in the ceiling with fabric can warm the space and add softness to the tents hard edges.

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Or Lighting can create a sky above, perhaps a canopy of trees.

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Or what about an upside down marsh along the Charles River, and then dance under it?

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An organization that is all about reading and books, let us create book sculptures that created an interesting visual and carried their message through out.

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These are just a few examples of bringing the design above, there is so much you can do if you just take a moment to look up!


Friday’s Finest Foods!

From the desk of Event Manager Elaina Pires

After the excitement of the holidays, we New Englanders truly begin settling into the winter… January, February, and even March can be some of the most brutal months here in Boston. With the summer seeming far off and the cold wind whipping away, it’s a great time to hunker down and discover some of Boston’s best local restaurant. One of my favorite things to do on a lazy weekend is cozy up on my couch and watch “Phantom Gourmet” then go out and experience all the delicious food for myself! Whether it’s for a drink or a comfort meal, these spots are some of my favorites to visit with friends.

Rosebud American Kitchen & Bar

Somerville

(link: http://www.rosebudkitchen.com)

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A milk shake that will warm you up in the winter?! Try Rosebud’s boozy bourbon milkshake, YUMMMM. Craft cocktails and beer paired with comfort food favorites like smoked chicken wings and fried Brussels sprouts make the Rosebud one of my favorite spots. All their wait staff wear flannel, it helps you to feel at home. Rosebud also serves an amazing brunch, with items like brioche French toast and hash and eggs… you really can’t go wrong here.

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The Publick House

Brookline

(link: http://www.thepublickhousebeerbar.com)

11/26/10 5:38:44 PM -- Brookline, Massachusetts Boston University 11/26/10 The Publick House, 1648 Beacon Street ,Brookline is a local bar and eatery. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky for Boston University Photography

Mac n’ cheese craving? Look no further than the Publick House on Beacon Street for THE BEST mac n’ cheese skillet around. Custom create your own combination adding in whichever protein and vegetable you prefer, or just extra cheese on cheese! Publick House’s tavern-like atmosphere with dark wood, cozy nooks, and a huge assortment of diverse beers on draft make this place a MUST to visit this winter.

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Christopher’s and Toad

Cambridge

(link: http://christopherscambridge.com.s122913.gridserver.com)

link: http://toadcambridge.com)

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My all-time, never-fail, go-to cozy nook is Christopher’s on Mass Ave. This no-frills local spot has come to be every local’s favorite north of the river. Christopher’s has it all: ever-changing local beer specials, loaded tater tots, buffalo cauliflower, and amazing burgers. I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t love Christopher’s. Their staff treat every customer like they’re a regular, and if you get lucky you can even snag a seat in front of their roaring fireplace. Rotating local art is always featured throughout the restaurant, with new pieces hung every time you come in.

If you’re in the mood for some music, pop next door to Toad to catch live music every night of the week, at no cover charge. This intimate venue fills up quickly, so best to catch an early dinner and head over to Toad after. Or better yet, go straight to Toad where you can still order a Christopher’s burger at the bar!

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These are just a few of my favorites, but I encourage everyone to not let the winter blues get the best of you! Get out there and explore some new spots this winter. Even when you’re snowed in and feeling that cabin fever, finding a cozy local spot to retreat to can help make the winter feel like it” ain’t so bad.”


Diamonds and lace and pearls…oh my!

From the desk of Creative Event Director, Mindy Home…

OMG. Did you watch the Golden Globes? Did you see the genius that is Marchesa, Valentino, Elie Saab, or Louis Vuitton (to name a few…). I mean, Hello Jessica Biel! Elie Saab knew what he was doing when he dressed you in this – complete with the 3D appliques… swoon.

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The big trends for the red carpet were either picking a bold color a la Reese Witherspoon in a fabulous yellow Versace or selecting something that had sheer elements and touches of glam. Did you see Sofia Vergara in Zuhair Murad Couture?!… I mean, how could you miss her?! Embroidery, sequins or some other kind of fabulous accent turned the dresses into masterpieces.

Thandie Newton in her understated white Monse dress with orange paillettes – yes!

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Lily Collins looking like something out of a beautiful fairy wonderland from Zuhair Murad Couture – yes!!

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Metallics were everywhere! Everywhere we turn these days people are mixing metals and it’s fabulous. Ruth Negga nailed it with a head-to-toe-metallic-modern take on the evening gown from Louis Vuitton.

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Emma Stone won (some best dressed list and a few golden globes) in soft blush accented with stars. STARS people!!!

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Walking the red carpet is a chance for someone to really shine and stand out in the crowd. It’s the same for a bride walking down the aisle on her wedding day. I can’t wait to see how these looks further influence the next round of wedding dresses from designers around the world… just look at this piece from Marchesa’s Spring 2017 Bridal collection.

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And while the very deep-v was also a trend…. Oh hi there, Mandy Moore looking fabulous in Naeem Khan… It may not be the most appropriate look your wedding day – just my opinion – but it’s your day. Do what you want, just own it and feel fabulous as you can tell these ladies on the red carpet did!

 

Photos courtesy of Getty Images, Marchesa dress courtesy of Marchesa


How to be the Best

From the desk of Christine Altieri… 

How to be the Best was the theme of the 21st Marketing to the High End Bride breakfast at the Harvard Club on Commonwealth Ave.   Hosted by Arlene Cronk, owner of Invitations & Company, and in collaboration with Boston Magazine, the breakfast topic was about being the best at what you do in a highly competitive market. What traits do Boston’s best wedding professionals share? And how do you convince others you are the best?

It was my great pleasure to serve on the panel, along with Boston Weddings editor Brittany Jasnoff, Ben Elliott of Saltbox Farm and Saltbox Kitchen, Stacey Kuehn of Stacey Kuehn Hair, and Jenny Williamson of Jenny’s Wedding Cakes. We were charged with answering some of these challenging questions, and to find ways to inspire others to be the best.

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What is being the best? Everyone strives to achieve this, but I think this quote sums up my philosophy: “It’s not about being the best, but it’s about being better then you were yesterday.” As a company we are always striving to be better, to find better ideas and approaches, and to bring our clients the best that the market has to offer.

I thought I would share a few of the questions from the panel, and my answers.

 

Do you always look for the best people to help you? Or do other factors play a more important role in the success of an event?

We work with the people that are knowledgeable about their product, who are willing to think outside the box to help create a memory. We often refer to events as puzzles, and each piece is vital to creating the final product. For that reason we like to work with vendors that are clearly the expert we need and can be that important piece of the puzzle.

 

What do you think high-end wedding clients in general look for in a great event planner? Is it possible to generalize?

Brides are looking for a planner who has knowledge of the industry…venues, trends, etiquette…and who can help navigate the process and advise on how to best allocate the budget in order to achieve their dream wedding. For most couples, this is the first big event they are hosting, and it is a lot of pressure. Most couples have full time jobs and look to a planner to be their voice. They need to trust this planner to communicate their vision, on what clearly is one of the most important days in their lives. Our goal is to listen, understand what they are looking for, and then keep them on track, help them to stay focused, alleviate some of their wedding nightmares, and create a memory that they will share for years to come.

 

Creating the Breakfast for the High End Bride

As a company we were charged with gathering the best teammates to help design and execute the HEB breakfast. We are so fortunate to have such great friends in the industry, so it was easy to form a team of professionals who donated their time, equipment and services, to create a WOW moment for the attendees while giving each of them a chance to showcase their products and services. As a team we laid down a foundation, a starting point to build from.

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Weddings are no longer just spring or summer, but all seasons. That became our foundation, and we used that to think about how we could create a room that would take the guests through each season at a wedding of their dreams.

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The theme was expressed in subtle ways…we used color and texture to evoke the feeling of each season, and it was the little details that share the story simply. We shied away from the expected: snow, leaves, heavy colors, and furniture, and instead worked to create a room design that flowed together.

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It was an honor to participate in Marketing to the High End Bride, and I look forward to attending future events, and continuing to grow our wedding business.

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This is Our Place

From the desks of Jana & Christine…

“Rosie’s Place will always be my family, no matter what.  If it wasn’t for them, I would not be the person I am today.” – Norma O., Rosie’s Place Guest

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Our partnership at AE Events began nearly 10 years ago, and one of our first shared clients was Rosie’s Place. Ever since then, we have both been continually inspired, motivated, moved and humbled by their work. Rosie’s Place is in the trenches changing the lives of poor and homeless women.  As two women businesses owners, who are mothers and sisters and daughters, who believe that every person matters…this work resonates with us.

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Our early experience with Rosie’s Place is a great example of how we took our mission statement and worked it into our daily practice in producing events. We are committed to doing meaningful work in a meaningful way…all focused on our clients.  Rosie’s Place is laser focused on their guests.  They meet them where they are in their journeys.  They see them as a sum of their assets, not their deficits.  They help them find their voices.

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This year’s theme for the annual FWSB luncheon was “This is Our Place…This is Rosie’s Place.” Guest stories like Norma’s were shared by media women and by the guests themselves in video clips. The audience of 1700 heard why Rosie’s Place is their place, giving women the community and acceptance they need.

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At the end of the luncheon every year, we shop at the Women’s Craft Cooperative jewelry booth to support the wonderful opportunity that this creative microenterprise offers Rosie’s Place guests as employment. As we approached the table, who should greet us but…Norma herself! Of course we recognized her from her video, and she went on to tell us about her job and her gratitude for her friends at Rosie’s Place.

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We would not be the company we are today without Rosie’s Place. It is our hope that we help our clients tell their own important stories in every event we produce.

This is our place. This is Rosie’s Place.


Can’t Resist the Twist!

With the cold fall weather fast approaching, it’s important to take advantage of the few warm days we’ll have left. DIY Twister is fun game to play outdoors that won’t blow away in the autumn wind!

 

STEP 1: GATHER YOUR TOOLS

twister-pics

Decide what colors you’d like to use and choose your spray paint style. For this particular party, we used the brand of spray paint that is used in construction or maintenance work. This can sprays straight down instead of perpendicular to the canister, as most general spray paint does. Either kind works fine as long as you choose colors that pop!

The next tool you’ll need is the stencil. We used a square piece of cardboard and cut out a circle from the middle. By using a stencil with the middle cut out, instead of tracing around a circular object, we were able to keep things cleaner and keep our spacing more even.

*HELPFUL HINT*

Keep the inside circle you cut out of the cardboard. You can use it as a placeholder when trying to space the circles out.

You will also need string and 4-6 stakes.

 

STEP 2: SIZING OUT YOUR TWISTER BOARD

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The next step is measuring out your “board” using the stakes and string. Our board was 6’ by 8’ and we started by staking the 4 corners and wrapping the string around each to create an outline. We then also strung a line down the middle of the board vertically and horizontally. These middle lines helped to keep everything in line.

*HELPFUL HINT*

Before painting any spots, make sure you are standing UPWIND of the direction you are spraying. There’s nothing worse than getting a face full of paint and paint fumes!

 

STEP 3: MAPPING OUT THE CIRCLES

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The first circles you’ll want to create are the 4 corners. The next circles should be on either side of the middle horizontal line, then on either side of the middle vertical line. Then, fill in the 2 remaining circles on either side to complete the border. Next, fill in the middle 2 rows. These rows are the easiest to complete—just line up your spots with the spots on the border!

*HELPFUL HINT*

This spray paint does dry quickly but not quick enough! Be aware when kneeling down that you aren’t on wet paint. You’ll also want to leave adequate time for the paint to dry and for the fumes to evaporate before playing.

Once the paint is dry, set up a comfy bench nearby, break out your spinner and enjoy a fun afternoon outdoors with Twister!

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Meet Ronnie!

 

We are thrilled to introduce you to our newest team member – Event Assistant, Ronnie Ayers! 

What was your life like before AE?

I am originally from Seattle, WA (Go Seahawks!) and attended Boston College. After graduation I began working in Human Resources at a Financial Firm in Boston while occasionally flying to Seattle to help with weddings. Best way to compile frequent flyer miles!

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What was it about AE Events that appealed to you most?

I appreciate the wide spectrum of events that AE covers. I have planned weddings and smaller non-profit fundraisers in Seattle, so I saw this as an amazing learning opportunity to expand my experience and soak up all the knowledge of the Boston event-planning world.

If you could plan any event in the world- what would it be and why?

A Royal wedding – it is the perfect balance of tradition, romance and extravagance. There are limited events in which the whole world is on the guest list! Plus – who wouldn’t want to be a part of a real life fairytale?

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 29: TRH Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge smile following their marriage at Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011 in London, England. The marriage of the second in line to the British throne was led by the Archbishop of Canterbury and was attended by 1900 guests, including foreign Royal family members and heads of state. Thousands of well-wishers from around the world have also flocked to London to witness the spectacle and pageantry of the Royal Wedding. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

What are your hobbies outside of AE Events?

I enjoy finding difficult hikes with rewarding views at the top, cooking, taking a spin class, or relaxing with a nice Netflix binge.

What are three words to describe AE Events?

Innovative, reliable, passionate

What is your favorite thing to do in Boston?

Strolling through the Public Garden and down Newbury Street. There is always something new to see.

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What is the #1 thing you can’t go into work without?

Coffee. Coffee. Coffee. When in doubt, there is always a cup of coffee glued to my hand. I also must have a rockin’ playlist to start my day off right on my commute into work! One go-to song: Geronimo by Sheppard.

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We heart BCHL!

Valentine’s Day is upon us and we are enveloped in red and pink… to honor it we were trying to think of something fun to write or show you.  What better than to share one of our past events?  Who says red and pink are only for Valentine’s Day?  They can be used as a beautiful accent for your decor, without being over the top or seemingly girly and childish.

But, as usual, we are getting ahead of ourselves… let’s go back to November, 2014 – the Boston Children’s Hospital League Gala. This one was hosted at the Fairmont Copley and the theme was “Under the Big Top.”

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Yes, this event is to support kids and programs for them while they are at the hospital, but it’s also a night for adults!  So to walk that fine-circus-tightrope-line between childish and chic, we designed the cocktail hour to be a fun and festive filled room with oversized balloons, bright pink and orange accents – complete with an elephant over the bar!

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As guests finished cocktails, they moved across the hall to the Grand Ballroom, where they entered a space that was a bit more grownup – portraying a vintage circus vibe – with golds, blacks and pops of a whimsical red (see – I knew we’d circle back to red and Valentine’s Day). Winston Flowers helped us to create these fun centerpieces – the co-chairs couldn’t believe that red carnations could look so good.  (Sorry, carns, you guys have a bad rap, but things are looking up!)

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This client even had fun adjusting their logo to fit the theme.  Overall, it was a great event that you should consider looking in to for this year!  Planning is just in the works, but it’s sure to be a fun-filled event for everyone!

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Many thanks to all of the vendors who helped to make this event possible (plus Allegro Photography for these great shots).  Added thanks to the Big Apple Circus Clowns and stiltwalker Big League Brian, who are part of the BCHL programming and were added entertainment for our guests!

 


2015: Be Engaged

Happy New Year and Congratulations to the newly engaged!  The holidays are a season of giving and receiving.  We’ve found that a lot of those gifts include giving an engagement ring and receiving love to last a lifetime!

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Image courtesy of Zev Fisher Photography – to see the full photo and more – go here!

In celebration of all that lies ahead for you and yours, here are a few websites that we like to check out when looking for new or unique wedding ideas (or just fall in love with Love!).

Dorfman Jewelers – If you don’t have the ring (but know there’s a promise), be sure to have one of their specialists help you with the Art of Engagement. Discover the newly renovated Dorfman’s when shopping for your wedding rings as well! (and fiances of the world – have your sig-other keep a running list of things they like here – it will make future gift giving easy!)

How He Asked – a website dedicated to marriage proposals, with thoughtful words, photos and even video.  If you’re in the mood to cry out of joy and all things good in the world – go here.  If you’re in the mood to share your story of love – go here.

BHLDN – vintage, delicate, ethereal are all words that describe the dresses, accessories and other beautiful things you can find on this wedding website from Anthropologie.  Sometimes all you need to complete the look is that one perfect thing…

Vows – searching for your wedding dress can be fun, exciting and overwhelming.  The staff at Vows in Watertown, MA will help you find that perfect look. This bridal outlet offers high-end designer wedding gown samples and overstocks from famous designers.  You are one of a kind, maybe the dress should be too!

Style Me Pretty – See what other real couples have done for their weddings – great for inspiration and current trends. We love to see what wedding trends are happening around the country.

Squarespace – thinking of designing a personal website for the Big Day? Check this out – they have wedding templates and make it easy to customize to suit you and your fiance’s style.

Recycle Your Wedding – figured out your wedding style and feeling a little DIY?  We do our best to help our brides find ways to save some dollars here and there.  Sometimes this means buying accents (votive holders, lanterns, and other little tidbits) which can be hard to store.  From the Ruffled Blog – here are some classifieds to buy and sell your wedding goods!

Congratulations again on your recent engagment!  AE Events is here to help you create a beautiful and magical day for you and your family – give us a call or email us to inquire about our services and how we can help you go from Ms. to Mrs.!

 


#10 – Registry Fun!

For #WeddingWednesday we give you our monthly check in with bride-to-be, Elizabeth…

The tradition of giving wedding gifts is said to have developed as far back as 3000 BC. from the dowry given by either the bride’s parents to the bride and groom as part of the marriage arrangement or given by the groom’s family to the bride’s family as a form of payment for their daughter. The families of the wealthy groom offered money, land or an ownership in the family business as “payment” for the daughter’s hand in marriage while the brides family provided the groom with the necessary items for the bride to start a household, such as linens, towels, silver, china, glassware, silverware and other household needs. Fast forward a couple thousand years to 1924 and Macy’s unveiled the first ever wedding gift registry.  After that pretty much everyone jumped on board! Nowadays couples can register at almost any store, setup honeymoon registries and even register for cash.

So a few weeks ago, Tom and I spent a fun Saturday registering for all the items we will need to “start our household” and the fun began at Crate & Barrel.  Thanks to a friend of Tom’s, we learned of a special breakfast Crate & Barrel hosts about once a month for engaged couples.  In the two hours before the store opens couples are treated to coffee, mimosas and munchies while being given a tour of the store with experts on hand to explain those kitchen items you’ve heard you need but have no idea why you actually need them. I must say, this was the best way to start our registry. We never felt pressured by the sales associates to sign up for items we didn’t want and as someone who is easily overwhelmed by crowds (and decisions), this special private time at the store was essential in putting together a well thought out registry of things we actually need and want . To find your own Crate & Barrel “Wedding Party” visit their website or click here.

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After Crate & Barrel, we headed over to Bloomingdales which provided a much different experience, although just as enjoyable.  While we had our own little registry scanner at Crate & Barrel (which is just as much fun as it looks like), at Bloomingdales, we had our own registry person!  Yes, an associate designated to us, who spent close to two hours with us, explaining products and lines, answering all of our questions and scouring the store for items we were looking for. To top it off, she is also available to us throughout the whole engagement and a year after we are married.  Any time we or our guests have a question – she can answer it. Gotta love Bloomies!

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So, of course, after our fun excursions I have some advice for other engaged couples out there…

Include a variety of items at various price ranges. Most wedding etiquette professionals suggest that registries have a mix of both prices and types of items, so that all of your guests will feel comfortable finding something they will be excited to give you. And while it’s okay to have more than one registry, it’s suggested to draw the line at three or four. The idea is to be helpful by offering your guests variety, not self-indulgent by listing your every wish in the world.

– Take your time.  We needed at least 2 hours at each store when we started our registry.  This is not something you want to rush.  Now is the time to do your research, pick up and feel the china and silverware. Envision the items in your home. Ask yourself if you will actually make good use of the items. Then take your time and allow yourself a few weeks to fill in and adjust your registry. Registering was a blast but after 5 hours we were maxed out. Just like the venue search, dress shopping and menu tasting, the registry process can be overwhelming and hard to do in one swoop.  So we continued to add to and fine tune our registry in the weeks after our first excursion. We refined our lists as we realized there were things we had registered for that we didn’t really need or want.  Which brings me to my next point…

– Register for what you want. Sounds simple, right?  But in the cloud of wedding books, articles, and magazines it’s easy to fall into the trap of listening to what certain people say you “should” be registering for.  In this day in age, couples are marrying later in life and it’s more common to be living together before marriage.  Meaning, many people find themselves already owning some of those quality items that they would traditionally register for.  If you already love your current kitchenware, then perhaps register for gardening equipment, camping gear or explore the idea of a honeymoon registry.  Most importantly, don’t feel pressured to register for something just because a list in a magazine told you to.

– Be aware of the store’s return and exchange policies. Typically, many wedding registry retailers have amazing customer service to accommodate to-be-weds’ needs but being aware of the store’s return and exchange timelines will help you better plan and manage your registry.

With that I’ll leave you with this really awesome guide to some of the most popular stores to register with and what perks they offer, from Brides.com: “The 24 Best Places To Register”

—Stay tuned for the next months installment from Elizabeth… 6 months to go!

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