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Ronnie Got Engaged!

Growing up, most girls envision a picture-perfect moment…the marriage proposal!  I never really had something specific in mind, but knew that when I met Joe, things were different. We understood each other’s jokes, had similar interests, and awkwardly (or awesomely) operated on the same wave length the majority of the time. Here’s a summary of what has happened on our adventure, and where it all stands today.

The Engagement

Joe was gearing up for his graduation from business school at Boston College in 2017. Little did I know, Joe called my parents (who live across the country) ahead of time and asked for my hand in marriage. After receiving my father’s blessing, Joe began the process of secretly getting a ring made that was reflective of who I am. Always a fan of the fabled “two-for-one” deal, Joe was planning on proposing to me right after his graduation ceremony. I had no idea, but his mom, my parents, and a couple of his close friends knew what I was in for.


After the ceremony, Joe dragged me around campus to take pictures together. I grew a bit frustrated and annoyed (it was cold out!) and wanted to just get in the car and to warm up. Finally, as I began to walk to one of the dozens of locations, Joe instead grabbed my hand as I was walking away and when I turned around, he was on his knee in his cap and gown!

Moving In

Moving in was a crazy concept to us….and finding a place in Boston in June is difficult! Joe went to see an apartment in Quincy, MA, and before I knew it, he had locked us into a two-bedroom apartment near the red line in a brand-new building. We love our new apartment!

Venue Shopping

The hardest part about venue shopping is figuring out what type of experience we want our friends and family to have. Given the size of my family, we knew the wedding would be in Seattle to make it as easy as possible for everyone. We flew out to the West Coast figuring we would end up at the winery that we had a soft hold on. But little did we know that the “wildcard” venues we threw in would actually win us over! We still have a bit of discussing to do, but are getting close to a decision. We are so excited to plan our wedding and have the time of our lives!  Stay tuned for updates on our journey.


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

 

 


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.!

 


#11 – 6 Months To Go!

It’s #WeddingWednesday and time to check in with our bride to be, Elizabeth! Holy cow, only 6 months to go?!

We’re Halfway There!

Yes, as of December 20th, it will officially be six months until our big day.  Where does the time go?!  This year just flew by… and I feel like we all say that every year, but seriously, this year went by even faster than normal…

I cannot believe that just about this time last year, in about 5 days to be exact, Thomas was getting down on one knee and asking for my hand in marriage…a whole year ago!

I’m constantly fielding the “How’s the wedding planning going?” question and I think that while it’s assumed that all brides are stressed out – people don’t always know (unless they’ve planned a wedding) exactly WHY it’s so stressful.  So, since I’m about halfway through the planning process I thought I’d give everyone a little window into what’s been done and what is still yet to come…

A few of the things we can cross off our list…

– Set a date
– Chose a venue
– Set a budget
– Develop a Timeline/To Do List and finances tracker/budget keeper
– Chose an officiant (One of my dearest friends – thank you Kate Baker!)
– Chose a caterer, had a tasting, and set a menu
– Purchase my dress
– Begin our rental order
– Finalize the guest list
– Chose a photographer/videographer and have our engagement shoot
– Reserve hotel room blocks and our Bridal Suite
– Reserve a tent
– Select bridesmaid dresses
– Create and send out Save the Dates (design courtesy of my amazing Groomy)
– Create our registry
– Set up our wedding website (again, thank you Groomy!)

 And here’s a peek at what still needs to get done over the next 6 months:

– Secure day-of transportation
– Finalize Honeymoon plans
– Purchase wedding rings
– Select, order and send out formal invitations
– Book rehearsal dinner location
– Finalize floral order / table decor
– Finalize cake order
– Purchase wedding favors
– Order groom/groomsmen attire
– Schedule dress fittings
– Order additional print materials (menus, escort cards, etc)
– The dreaded seating chart
– Find makeup and hair stylists
– Final walk through at the venue
– Obtain marriage license

 …and that’s a little glimpse into my world right now.  It’s also not even half of my list, so I better get going, I have a lot of work to do!  Until next time….Happy Holidays to everyone!

 


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


#7 – Drum Roll Please… The Dress.

Not so fast… stop reading now if you are expecting to catch a glimpse of arguably the most touted part of a wedding – the dress.  Unfortunately for my guests, the big reveal will be June 20th, 2015, right around 4 o’clock pm.  However, I thought it would be useful for those of you who may be newly engaged or soon to be engaged, to share what I learned during the dress shopping process.  And I’m going to tell you up front – it’s not at all like you envisioned when your Barbie got married….

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10 Things I’ve Learned About Wedding Dress Shopping

1) The Myth of Dress Shopping – It’s NOT an episode of “Say Yes to the Dress”: I will admit to watching endless episodes of “Say Yes to the Dress” and “I Found the Gown” with my Saturday/Sunday morning coffee… And even though a lot of professionals will tell you the “this is the one!” moment is a myth perpetuated by such shows, I was so excited for my own “Say Yes to the Dress” moment that I went shopping just five days after getting engaged!  Boy was I knocked off my feet.  Even though I went into the shop knowing I wouldn’t leave with a dress, the pressure of having an opinion (and trying to gauge what my mom and sister thought) was overwhelming.  I wish I could say I came home from that first visit glowing, but truthfully I was so exhausted I needed a nap.  My shopping visits over the next months were just as exhausting, though I will admit I did finally have my “this is the one” moment. Bottom line: Be prepared to be frustrated, stressed and overwhelmed and let the experience run it’s course.  I still believe everyone gets their moment.

photo 1-Dress shopping just 5 days after getting engaged!-

2) Knowledge is Power: After that first overwhelming experience, I knew the key to my success was to arm myself with as much knowledge as possible.  I credit theknot.com and their amazing directory of designers.  I was able to go through and see not only what styles I was interested in, but also what designers I liked.  I then weeded out the ones which were out of my price range, found out what shops in my area carried the designers I liked and went from there.  I’ve gone dress shopping now 6 times and at 4 different stores (Miss Ruby, Chryssie’s Bridal, Manhattan Bridal and of course the famous Vows Bridal Outlet), all of which offered an amazing selection and even more amazing customer service!  With the help of the associates at the stores and my friends and family, I was able to fine tune exactly which style and designer I liked the most.

3) A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned: With all that “Say Yes to the Dress” watching, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing you need to spend thousands of dollars on a dress.  And I am here to tell you – as a fellow dress enthusiast – it’s very easy to find a dress you love that’s well within your budget.  Believe it or not, “The average price of a wedding dress is $1,355” according to a recent survey in Brides.com. Use your resources to find designers within your price range, find the stores that carry them, and do not try on a dress that is outside your budget… Which brings me to my next point…

4) DO NOT TRY ON A DRESS THAT IS OUTSIDE YOUR BUDGET:  I wrote that in caps for a reason.  It’s undoubtedly the worst thing you can do…In my opinion anyway.  Yes, there is a chance that you could try on a dress, outside your budget, and end up hating it.  But we all know the reality is that you probably will love it – and then you’re in trouble.  If you really have your heart set on a specific dress or designer that you cannot afford, try finding a sample that the store will sell you off the rack, or find a store like VOWS (From the popular TV show “I Found the Gown”).  Vows scours stores all around the US for designer samples – from Lazaro and Monique Lhuillier to Vera Wang and Oscar de la Renta – they then purchase them on sale, fix them up and resell them at a discounted rate.  Definitely worth a visit if you are in the Boston area – though be sure to make an appointment in advance!

5) Keep Calm and Carry On:  It’s easy to get wrapped up in the craziness when a sales associate tells you they can give you a discount if you buy the dress today. Or at a store like Vows, where dresses are off the rack, you risk losing the dress altogether if you leave the store without it.  I found myself really struggling with putting a deposit down on a dress at Vows to essentially hold it for 5 days while I thought about it.  I left the store, grabbed some lunch, took a deep breath and realized that if someone else bought that dress I wouldn’t be devastated – that was my answer. My advice…don’t make a monetary move unless you can’t live without the dress…I ended up not getting any of the dresses I almost put a deposit down on at Vows.

6) The Extra’s: Don’t forget to add in any likely alterations and accessories.  Most brides need shapewear (which isn’t cheap), shoes, and a veil or headpiece.  Either have these items built into your budget separately or include them in your dress number. Most likely you will need some sort of alterations, even if it’s just a bustle.  Keep in mind that some dresses will require more alterations than others.

7) That’s Classified:  Keep that dress under wraps!  I know it’s hard – I wanted to show off my dress to just about every stranger I ran into.  But the more people I told, the less special my dress started to feel.  Leave the big reveal for the big day… good things come to those who wait!

8) Sit IN it for Awhile and Sit on it for Awhile Literally, sit in the dress.  Walk around in it, jump up and down in it, and sit in it.  Is it comfortable?  You’re going be wearing it for 8+ hours so it better be!  Then sit on it… the decision that is.  I technically found my dress 2 ½ months ago but only recently made my decision that it was definitely the one. Unless you are under a time crunch there is nothing wrong with sitting on your decision for a while.  It gave me time to really envision the dress with our wedding and with a clearer head I felt more confident in my decision. Plus, if you have more than a year before your wedding, you also risk finding another dress you love even more!

9) Does it Match?: I personally had a tough time making a decision on a dress because of my extreme appreciation for all dresses.  I loved almost everything I tried on because I love everything about weddings!  The decision was made easier by reminding myself that the dress needed to fit with the rest of our wedding.  And while I think there are brides who can pull off any dress in any environment, I think most of us agree that the design of the dress worn for an art gallery wedding is much different from the one a bride wears for a beach wedding.

photo 3-My most recent shopping trip with my Mom and Sister-

10) Make sure it’s YOU: In the end, there were two dresses left.  There was the dress I had always envisioned myself wearing.  A very traditional look I had dreamed of and dressed my Barbie in.   But then there was the one I had envisioned in the last 6 months since being engaged… The one that matched everything else in our wedding… The one that gave me butterflies… The one that was the most like ME.  And while it’s hard to describe what this means without giving away what it looks like – everyone will know what I’m talking about when they see it next June…

…It’s the one. 

That’s all for this month!  Tune in next month for more wedding planning adventures!


#5 What does the groom say?

Weddings are about the couple, not just the bride! So we decided to hit up the other side of this equation – Thomas – for his thoughts on the whole ‘getting engaged’ thing, now that we are one year away from the Big Day.

So You’re Ready To Propose

So you think you’re ready to propose… not so fast!  A proposal worthy of the beautiful woman you are asking to spend the rest of your life with isn’t as easy as picking out a ring and hoping she says yes.  What are the 4 C’s?  What do you mean I can’t just walk out with the engagement ring the day I buy it?  Rings have sizes?  These were just some of the questions I had, and learned, throughout my proposal journey.

Be Confident She’s On The Same Page:

This one should go without saying. A relationship involves two people, and just because you’ve gotten to “that point” in your relationship doesn’t always mean she is in the same place. It might sound unlikely, but I’ve heard more than a few stories where the guy is ready to pop the question and the girl is ready to move on.  If you aren’t sure she will say yes, you’d better make sure before spending a lot of time and money proposing.  Forcing a girl into a situation where she has to say yes will likely not end well for either of you!

Picking Out a Ring:

Rings are not cheap.  The traditional guideline on what to spend on a ring is the equivalent to 3 months of your current salary (after taxes), though that is very much open to variation depending on your current financial situation.  The real key is to not put yourself into an incredible amount of debt, or make foolish decisions just to meet that number (DO NOT buy your ring on a credit card unless you can pay it off with another source immediately).  Typically your fiancé-to-be will have an idea of what size stone or diamond she is looking for, and hopefully it’s within reason.

Next, figure out what else she is looking for. I learned early on about the “4 C’s” (guidelines to focus on when picking out a diamond): Carat (the size of diamond), Cut (the shape), Clarity (are there any “inclusions” or dark spots?), and Color (is it clear or is there a tint of another color?).  Typically the most important factor to girls is the size followed closely by shape or setting.

Elizabeth mentioned she was less concerned with the color or clarity, but while I had the opportunity to buy a slightly bigger diamond with a sizable black inclusion in the middle of it, it just didn’t feel right – nor did it meet my standard of quality. In addition, Elizabeth hinted many times about the importance of an intricate setting as well as taking a particular liking in the Tacori brand.  For this reason I made sure to spend a little more on a specific setting to make sure it had the look she desired, even though it meant a slightly smaller diamond.

Another tip…If you can’t figure out how to find her ring size, an average ring finger is a size 6. When it comes to the type of metal, the most common type of metal is white gold, though this is definitely something worth getting right.  Find out what kind of jewelry she typically wears and use that as a guide. Lastly, plan to purchase the ring at least a month in advance (maybe more) so that it is ready in time for your proposal.

The Big Day/Night:

Before I planned everything out I noticed a picture on Elizabeth’s Pinterest page called “Rules for Engagement” that I think are a really great set of rules to follow for any man proposing:

1) Ask for her parents blessing.

2) Make it a surprise.

3) Use her full name.

4) Get down on one knee.

5) Have somebody catch it on camera.

#1-4 should be fairly obvious, but #5 was really an excellent touch.  This moment is just as important as any other in your life, and if you’re going to spend thousands of dollars on a photographer at your actual wedding, it’s a steal to spend a couple hundred and capture the proposal.  For our proposal, I turned to the wonderfully talented Mikhail Glabets to capture the special moment, and we couldn’t have been happier with the results! And to top it all off I’ll actually add a 6th item: Have her favorite champagne chilled and ready!

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Listen To Her Clues:

As you’ve read along you probably have noticed that Elizabeth did a pretty good job of making me aware of what she wanted without being overbearing about it, and I made sure to do my research ahead of time as well.  This is an important point for both the guy and the girl in this situation.

Ladies, it’s not always obvious what you really want.  Make sure to help your man out by leaving him clues or bringing it up in conversation (but please don’t come across as demanding or expecting).

Guys, your fiancé-to-be has been dreaming about this stuff for a very long time and probably has an idea of what she wants.  While I know most guys don’t want to feel like they are just being told what to do, now is not the time to prove your independence by ignoring her desires.  Absolutely find ways to make the proposal your own, but make sure to do your research so that you are trying to re-create the moment she has been dreaming about.

 

 Bride-to-be Elizabeth, approves this message.
Watch out for July’s post when E&T decide the fate of the food… Adventures in Catering and Cake.


#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!

6

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!


#2 If you like it then you better…

Our first post told you the story of Elizabeth and Thomas.  I’m sure you wedding fanatics have been waiting with bated breath… as promised, here is “The Engagement” – Where did we leave off?  Ah yes…

After living in the same city (finally!) for a year, Thomas popped the question on December 21st, 2013.  After a Christmas dinner at Bistro du Midi, we walked through the public garden and approached one of my favorite spots: the bridge that crosses the pond where all the swan boats glide along during the beautiful summer months.  During the winter months the garden and the bridge are beautifully lit with lights for the holidays, making it an ultra romantic spot to get on one knee.  And so as we crossed the bridge, Thomas got down on one knee, effectively stopping all walking traffic and asked for my hand in marriage.  Everyone clapped when I said yes – the icing on the cake for this hopeless romantic!

Which brings us to present day and all of the fun that comes with planning the wedding of my dreams!  I look forward to sharing this experience with everyone and hopefully some of the things I learn along the way can help some of you (or at least keep you entertained)!

-Elizabeth

PS- Thank you to my amazing fiancé for arranging to have a photographer present at the bridge that night.  And another huge thank you to Mikhail Glabets for capturing our special night so beautifully!

 

hug on bridge

The happy couple

on one knee

From Miss to Mrs!

Thomas surprised Elizabeth with a beautiful Tacori Petite Crescent ring with a cushion cut center stone surrounded by a diamond halo.  Gorgeous!!! Thomas selected the ring at Barmakian Jewelers in Framingham.  (PS Barmakian – Elizabeth thanks you!)
Stay tuned for our next installment “I’m Engaged! … now what?!” in April!

 

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