Wedding Coordinator Best Advice

Vintage Charm

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Thrift Stores can be Magical! – Source

Are you a flea market fanatic? Love a good garage sale? Go gaga over thrift stores? If you can answer YES to any of these questions this post is for you!

Many a wedding or private event can be embellished with items from a thrift or resale shop! If you’re a bride or mother of the bride, don’t be surprised if you find what you’re looking for at a great vintage store. It’s worth taking a look! Incorporating gently used tablecloths, linen napkins, glass, and other barely used treasures can cut your decor budget substantially.

Since we are from the Moon/Airport West area, we’re going to tell you about the awesome choices in our own back yard.

Fenna’s Consignment and Retail Shop- Owner Kelly Cain has re-purposed her former business space into a beautiful vintage and retail shop. Opened just a few short weeks ago, we have stopped in numerous times to ooh and aah over Kelly’s handpicked selections. You will find an amazing assortment of vintage and gently used designer jeans and clothing, housewares, vintage glass, doilies, and much much more. Kelly has partnered with local women artists and offers one of a kind necklaces and other jewelry items as well. Do yourself a favor and stop by Fenna’s Grand Opening this Saturday, February 4th at 10 am. The location is 7051 Steubenville Pike, Oakdale, PA. 15071. Click HERE to get to Fenna’s Facebook page.

Consignment Cottage- Owner Terry Chesky and Joanne Cain of Katherine’s Daughter Events have been friends for many years! This is one of our favorite stops for home decor and a room upstairs is solely devoted to it. There are racks of clothing upstairs and down, a shoe section, designer purses, jewelry, handmade items, and even a maternity section. You owe it to yourself to visit Consignment Cottage on a regular basis to check out the new additions! Click HERE to visit CC’s website.

EcoChic- This is Consignment Cottage’s sister store, also owned by Terry Chesky. We can’t drive into Moon Township without stopping here! There are so many great deals, interesting accessories, shoes, clothing and housewares, you owe it to yourself to make the trip. We bought the cutest purse here not long ago and it never fails to garner big compliments. Click HERE to visit EcoChic’s website.

Let us know in the comments section below if you have a favorite flea market, consignment store, or thrift store. We’d also love to hear your stories of re-purposing gently used items in creative ways!

 

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The Pittsburgh Cookie Table!

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If you are being married in southwestern Pennsylvania, the chances are you are having a cookie table! In my years of experience with weddings large and small, I would have to say almost all of my brides choose this fantastic dessert option!

When I think back as long as I can, I remember my own Greek American family offering cookies at every wedding. Plates of baklava, kourambiethes, koulourakia, halva and other specialities were usually in the center of every table, offering guests a chance for something sweet with their coffee.

These days, family members bake cookies and oftentimes the bridal couple will supplement with more from a local bakery. Brides often mix family cookies with cupcakes, regular and mini size, and some even place a small wedding cake in the middle of their table.

Photo by Electric Lime Studios
Photo by Electric Lime Studios

In my experience, most brides wish to have their cookie table available as soon as guests walk into the reception. The consequence of waiting until later is too many cookies are left over with no place to go! Guests will load containers but even this will not always help. If you are having a large cookie table consider allowing your guests access to it from the moment they arrive at the reception.

Through a recent poll on social media, I asked my friends and family what their favorite cookie table cookie was. The answers were mouth watering! Lady locks, the classic chocolate chip, kolackys, buckeyes, peanut butter blossoms, pizzelles, pecan tassies, lemon squares, chocolate truffles, nut rolls, mini cheesecakes are among the favorites. If I had to choose just one, I couldn’t!

Here’s some helpful hints if you’d like to have a Pittsburgh cookie table:

  1. You don’t have to organize it but it helps if you do. Have a family member ask and keep track of who is baking what. Think of your number of guests and multiply that number by 6. For example, 100 guests x 6 cookies each equals 600 cookies. Divide by 12 and that is 50 dozen cookies. It doesn’t take many family members to bake 50 dozen!
  2. How will you serve the cookies? Hotels usually offer a service where they will tray and serve them for you. There may be a small charge for this. If you purchase plastic cookie trays (with lids) from a restaurant supply place (such as Gordon Foods), you can pre arrange your cookie trays and just take the lids off at serving time. At our barn weddings, we often see individual glass serving dishes and cupcake stands with cookies arranged beautifully. My assistants and I are happy to arrange your cookie table for you.
  3. What will guests take their cookies home in? Options are bags (stamped with the date of the wedding or plain), Chinese take out boxes, or recyclable containers made of light cardboard.
  4. If you don’t wish to have your family members bake for you but want a cookie table, there are many bakeries that would love to help you. Best Sweet Bites or Grandview Bakery are two of our favorites!
  5. Highlight your cookie table with lit mason jars, small led lights, or other pretty embellishments to draw attention to it. If you’re having a rustic wedding, use wooden crates or other props to elevate your platters.
Photo courtesy of Jocelyn Lawry Monacelli
Photo by Electric Lime Studio
Photo by Electric Lime Studio
Photo courtesy Michele Lotowski
Photo courtesy Michele Lotowski
Photo by Joanne Jamis Cain
Photo by Sasha Danielle
Photo courtesy Brandi Hugar of Grandview Bakery
Photo courtesy Brandi Hugar of Grandview Bakery

With a little bit of planning, your Pittsburgh cookie table can be one that guests remember for a long time!

Check our Pinterest page for more dessert/cookie table IDEAs!

 

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Outdoor Wedding? Things to Consider!

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Photo by Jessica Lubert Photography
Photo by Jessica Lubert Photography

Thinking of an outdoor wedding? There are many factors to take into consideration if you are choosing a barn or nature type setting vs. a hotel or banquet hall location. From our experience, here are the questions you need to ask yourself before making the final decision.

1. What time of year do you want to get married? If you live in an area where there are four distinct seasons, weather can have a huge effect on your wedding day. April or May, and September or October weddings can see the greatest temperature fluctuations. Plan on renting heaters if you are considering an unheated barn or your guests will not stay long after dinner. Baskets of warm blankets are also an option you may want to consider.

Sidewalls on a tent, ready to be released and rolled down in case of rain, are a must. Take home umbrellas can be the wedding favor for the guests, especially in April or early May. Check out the My Wedding Favors or Gracious Bridal links on our sidebar for some useful favor ideas.

2. You may have to rent everything. Unless you choose a venue that has its own tents, tables, chairs, dishes, cutlery, porta johns, and kitchen equipment, plan on renting all of these items. Keep in mind it costs more to have an outdoor wedding because in essence, you are re-creating a hall. The things you take for granted when you are indoors (including bathrooms) are not always available when you celebrate outdoors. Barns are usually not large enough on their own to include space for dinner and dancing. Tents are usually a necessary supplement to a barn unless it’s very large.

3. You have to plan for the worst weather. No matter what, you have to live in reality. If you want a June through August wedding, you need to plan for the heat. Spring or fall, plan for rain and chilly temps. If you are getting married next to a pond with no shade and it’s hot, provide parasols for your guests or have them under a tent. Or, offer colorful hand held fans, with ceremony details on them. Keep the ceremony to a comfortable length and have a water or lemonade table nearby. Make a rain plan just in case and don’t be afraid to implement it if the weather looks threatening.

4. Think about the physically challenged. Your grandmother, grandfather and elderly aunt may need a ride down to the pond or location of your ceremony (some outdoor venues have golf carts for this purpose). If the cocktail reception is longer than a five minute walk from the ceremony location, that’s another ride to take into consideration. Make sure there is sturdy seating for the elderly (chairs with arms are best; wooden chairs are not great!) and recruit assistants to be on standby to help those who need it.

5. There could be more rules to follow. In general, barns are next to neighbors who go to bed early. It is likely you will have a 10 or 11pm end time on your event vs. a hotel that will let you end much later. Set up times may be shorter too so you may have to adjust your decor, depending on when you can get in and when everything must be taken down.

Outdoor weddings can be beautiful. Nature is the perfect backdrop. Ask a planner or coordinator to help you think of all the options when considering a wedding under the stars, or tap the expertise of your venue coordinator. This way you will be prepared and ready for any weather or situation.

 

 

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Good Organizational Tips for Brides

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Did you get engaged over the holidays? Congratulations!
Photo by Steve Dalton Photography

If you recently became engaged, congratulations! Perhaps you have already picked out your dress, your bridesmaid’s dresses, and your venue. You are meeting with caterers, checking out favor ideas, and deciding what flowers you want to go with at your wedding.

Your happiness is important during the planning stages and up to, and including, your big day. Here are some tips you can implement to help you stay organized along the way.

1. Have a file or folder to keep all your planning notes and contracts in. Stay as organized as possible and utilize a multi slot accordian file, or at least, multiple folders with the headings of all possible categories of your wedding. Caterer, Bridesmaids, DJ, Venue, all will have different needs and in some cases, different contracts. Keeping track of your notes and paperwork will make your life easier.

2. Read the fine print. You have many things on your mind for your wedding and it’s important to have someone (a knowledgeable family friend or other neutral party) to look over the contracts, agreements, etc. that you will need to sign with your vendors. If you have questions, don’t be afraid to ask. Don’t sign on the dotted line until you understand your obligations.

3. Keep track of your budget. A small notebook or ledger pad will help you keep track of all your expenses. Set reminders on your cell phone, or a hanging wall calendar to keep track of when you are due for payments to your vendors. Don’t live in la la land with your credit card. Keep track of what you are spending.

4. The more you do ahead of time, the less stressed you will be. It’s true. If you wait until the last minute on key items, not only will you pay more, but you will be frazzled at the end. Do as much as you can ahead of time and you’ll see how much easier your life will be. Make decisions on your favors, dresses, shoes, honeymoon ahead of time and breathe easier.

5. Get help. Ask family or friends to help you with tasks that feel overwhelming. Consider hiring a coordinator to assist you in staying on track. Managing stress at this time is crucial and necessary for a happy bride and groom on their wedding day.

6. Maintain your relationship with your loved one. Spend time together, have dates, keep an open dialogue about what is going on during the wedding planning process. Don’t focus obsessively on your wedding; keep it in proportion to your life and make sure you have down time.

6. Keep it simple. If you have many ideas for your wedding day and are feeling anxiety, perhaps you’re trying to do too much. You can’t do everything. Put all your ideas down (even on a Pinterest board) and decide what you can reasonably afford, and what is unnecessary. In the long run, simplicity is really elegant and you can’t go wrong with it.

7. Use a wedding app to keep all of your information together. Share photos, track rsvp’s, even monitor your wedding day weather!

These simple organizational tips will help you stay focused for your wedding day. Remember, this is about you and your groom and the celebration of your union. Keep that in mind and all will go well!

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to share below!

Photo by Zack Wilson Photography
Photo by Zack Wilson Photography
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KDE Offers “Wedding on a Budget” Class!

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Courtesy of Zack Wilson Photography
Courtesy of Zack Wilson Photography

Since time is running short to mail a check, please call the Findlay Township Recreation Department at 724-695-0500 x 246 to register for this class, or send a text to KDE at 412-498-1607. There is still time to attend!

Recently Engaged? Ready to start planning the wedding of your dreams and need some direction? Join Joanne Jamis Cain and Michelene Cain of Katherine’s Daughter Events for this informative class that will help you choose and manage your venue, caterer, florist, wedding attire and theme for your special day. Learn where you should spend money and where you can cut corners to make your day the most fabulous ever. 

If you are a newly engaged bride or just planning a wedding in the near future, take advantage of this opportunity. Katherine’s Daughter Events has partnered with Findlay Township Recreation to offer an evening class on “Wedding Planning on a Budget.”

This class is only two hours but yet covers many of the points necessary for a beautiful, yet reasonable wedding celebration. Held on Tuesday, February 24th, at the Findlay Township Activity Center, 310 Main Street, Imperial, PA. from 6:30- 8:30pm, the class is just $10. Please call 724-695-0500 x 246 today to reserve your spot or text KDE at 412-498-1607.

Event Cakes PGH will be providing delicious wedding cake for the evening snack. Dress casual and bring your questions for the Q & A period to follow the class. In case of inclement weather and/or cancellation, you will be contacted via the phone and email address you provide. 

Feel free to send us any questions through our contact tab that you would like addressed that evening. Share this post with other members of your family and brides We look forward to meeting you and your friends for this informative class!

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What Does A “Day of Wedding” Coordinator Do?

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The beautiful couple. Photo by Dalton Photography
The beautiful couple. Photo by Dalton Photography

We’re offering a $50 referral bonus this summer of 2015 to anyone who refers us to a bride for “day of wedding” coordination service!” Please use our handy contact tab above to send us a message. Thank you!

It’s easy for us to know exactly what to do on your wedding day. But we know this is not always clear up front. These days, your venue or caterer promises to make it all happen on your special day. That may be so. We want to provide a list of what we actually do for brides and grooms (and their families) on the Big Day. This is a good list to take to your venue or caterer. If they don’t do all or most of this, consider letting us help you.

Many brides tell us they do not want their own families setting up table decorations the morning of the wedding. We agree. The morning should be a relaxing time to get ready for what’s going to unfold!

Here’s a great list of what we really do:

2-3 Months Prior to Wedding Day

  • Meet with Bride and Groom at least twice to review all details and logistics planned for the wedding day
  • Touch base with all vendors in the month leading up to the wedding to confirm arrival time and any special needs (electrical, etc)
  • Go with Bride and Groom for their final walk through at the venue before the wedding day
  • Email all vendors a timeline the week of the wedding
  • Attend the rehearsal and coordinate all ceremony details with the officiant

Wedding Day:

Prior to Reception

  • Greet vendors and instruct them as to where to set up (i.e. band/DJ, florist, baker and caterer)
  • Make sure Cocktail Hour and Reception décor is set up according to plan
  • Make sure all flowers are set up according to floral order
  • Make sure reception décor is set up according to plan
  • For outdoor tents, make certain that lighting is arranged and working appropriately
  • Meet with catering staff to confirm food timeline
  • Arrange escort cards
  • Set up guest book, cake cutting utensils, and champagne flutes
  • Set up table numbers and menu cards
  • Set up any amenities baskets in guest restrooms
  • Set up favor table or place favors at individual seats
  • Assist catering and/or venue staff with remaining setup needs
  • Look over guest tables and head table to confirm they are set up properly
  • Review final set up before guest arrival

Ceremony Management

  • Ensure florist has delivered and set up all Ceremony floral arrangements
  • Distribute all flowers to remaining bridal party and family members
  • Set up programs and other Ceremony items i.e. guest book, unity candles, and send off items
  • Ensure that Ceremony musicians have arrived and direct them as to where to set up
  • Ensure that Ushers/Groomsmen arrive on time and are ready to escort guests
  • Ensure designated attendants arrive on time and are ready to pass out programs and assist with the guest book
  • Alert Ushers/Groomsmen as to when to begin escorting guests to their seats
  • Coordinate with the Ceremony officiator to determine signals or cues that will begin the Ceremony
  • Communicate a ‘Countdown to I Do’ with the wedding party members as the day progresses
  • Handle any emergencies that may arise
  • Line up the bridal party for their entrances down the aisle
  • Cue Ceremony musicians when bridal party is ready to begin processional
  • Gather family and bridal party for photos after the Ceremony
  • Transport items from the Ceremony location to the Reception venue and store any items not needed at the Reception (If needed)

Reception Management

  • Ensure proper flow of Cocktail Hour food and drinks
  • Encourage guests to take their seats at the appropriate time
  • Help guests locate their escort cards and dining tables
  • Locate Bride, Groom and wedding party and instruct them to stay to the side of main dining room until they receive cue for their introduction
  • Cue band, DJ or designated emcee when the majority of guests have found their tables and Bride and Groom are ready to be introduced
  • Cue band/DJ, photographer, videographer and immediate family members of the Bride and Groom when important events take place at reception (i.e. first dance, parent dances, cake cutting, and toasts)
  • Cue Father of the Bride, Best Man and Maid of Honor when they are about to be announced for toasts
  • Know the catering service’s schedule, and help ensure that guests are served at the appointed time
  • Distribute final payments/gratuities to vendors at the end of the night
  • Prevent and fix any problems that may arise during the event
  • Remain easily accessible through the entire event in case there are any details the Bride & Groom would like attended to
  • Collect gifts and personal décor items and ensure they reach the designated family member, room and/or vehicle
  • Coordinate Reception departure transportation and/or send off

Our fee for services is relatively small compared with what the true cost of a wedding is these days. Please check our services tab and if we can be of service to you, send us a note through our contact tab. We’ll respond within 24 hours.

Melissa and Steve
Melissa and Steve

 

 

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Jessica and Jason’s Rustic Wedding

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Thank you to Dalton Photography
The beautiful bride Jessica! Thank you to Dalton Photography

It was a day meant for love. I headed up north, to Camp Lutherlyn with my assistant Leah, ready to GO for Jessica and Jason’s wedding!

Jessica contacted me months ago, after her brother and his fiance had arranged for me to be the “day of” coordinator for their wedding in November (looking forward to that!). Jessica impressed me by saying she wanted her family to enjoy themselves on the day of her marriage. And then, when we met to go over everything she said, “I just want all the guests to have a good time.” (WOW!)

And how could they not? With a gorgeous setting, rustic cabins, tall trees, beautiful sunset, delicious food and sweets- everyone had a good time!

The ceremony was held in the forest amphitheater within the camp itself. It was only a short walk down into the majestic sanctuary where cello and soft keyboard music greeted the guests. Jason’s father officiated the sacred event and participated in the most special day of his own son’s life. The beginning of a life with Jessica.

The Bride Arrives! Photo by Dalton Photography
The Bride Arrives! Photo by Dalton Photography
Photo by Dalton Photography
A Forest Cathedral. Photo by Dalton Photography

After the ceremony, it was all fun and good times on the deck of the reception hall. Music, photo booth, and a fantastic S’mores set up awaited the guests. We swooned over the beautiful twinkly chandeliers that Jason created just for Jessica and this special day.

Photo by Leah Marino
S’more Fun! Photo by Leah Marino
Photo by Leah Marino
Love those Chandeliers! Photo by Leah Marino

I will never forget this beautiful wedding, the family and Jessica and Jason. There was lots of love there that day,among all the friends and family. May they have many joyous years together!

The Happy Bride! Photo by Dalton Photography
The Happy Bride! Photo by Dalton Photography
The beautiful couple. Photo by Dalton Photography
Best Wishes to Jessica and Jason! Photo by Dalton Photography

 

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Think About Your Guests

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Photo by Zack Wilson Photography
Picture Perfect Entry! Photo by Zack Wilson Photography

Aunt Claire and Uncle Jim are coming from New York. Cousins Sue and Nick are arriving from North Carolina. Your old college friend Maddie can’t wait to get here.

It’s your daughter’s wedding. Guests are arriving from all over the country to celebrate the big day. You’ve booked the Hyatt, made Pittsburgh gift baskets for their rooms, planned the rehearsal dinner to include them all. Now what?

Recently, a good friend of mine told me how she and her husband traveled miles to attend a wedding. She bought a new dress, shopped for the bride and groom’s present, and booked a hotel room.

Upon arriving at the wedding, there was no one to greet them. Then a young twelve year old girl welcomed them and told them where to sit. During the ceremony (I kid you not), the fire alarm for the building went off. Everyone went outside. After a while, it was the little girl who told everyone when to go back into the building.

I said “Where was the coordinator?” My friend said, “There wasn’t one.”

As I continue to work with brides and their families, it becomes more and more apparent to me that brides who want a coordinator do so for a couple of reasons. First, they want to enjoy their own day without worrying about every little detail. They want someone else (and not a family member) to watch over things, keep to the timeline for the day as best they can, and make sure any emergencies (like that fire alarm) are tended to.

Photo by Zack Wilson Photography
Lots of Happy Guests! Photo by Zack Wilson Photography

Second, they want their guests to have a good time. When it is obvious there is a coordinator, people will notice and take questions to that coordinator, instead of bothering the family. A coordinator is added insurance for a contented day, sort of like a big warm blanket for the entire wedding.

I think of myself as a warm blanket because I bring on smiles and soothe the nervous. Your guests are going to have questions at the ceremony and the reception. And they don’t want to bother you. They want to know where the bathrooms are, where to put their card, when it’s ok to raid the cookie table. They may get to the reception a tad bit late and want to know if they should wait in the foyer while the maid of honor gives her toast, or go and find their table? (answer: WAIT) Even the vendors have questions like when is dinner, when do I start the music for the buffet, etc etc etc.

Ah, I answer their questions. I am the go to person. I don’t bother the bride and groom or the family unless absolutely necessary. And then I keep it brief and non dramatic. Your guests will have a good time, I promise. And so will you.

Photo by Zack Wilson Photography
I love this picture! Thank you to Zack Wilson Photography

Think of your guests. Call us at 412-498-1607 and let us help you on your special day!

Please share and pass this post along to friends who are having a wedding. Thank you!

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