weddings

Choosing a Wedding Planner Based on Your Needs

You know what they say, a girl’s wedding day is “the most important day of her life.” Although planning a wedding may be the happiest, most exciting time in a bride’s life, it can also be quite hectic, stressful, and overwhelming. There are so many tiny, intricate details that go into planning your special day, which is why many couples decide to hire a wedding planner – someone who assists you in every aspect of your day. But what if your budget isn’t large enough for a wedding planner? Or what if there’s only one aspect of your wedding you’d like extra help with? An easy solution is to hire a wedding specialist – someone who assists you with one specific aspect of your day. Whether it’s the cocktail hour, the décor, the food, or particular vendors, there’s a wedding specialist out there ready to help! Check out some of the components these specialists control to make your life easier and less stressful while planning your wedding.

1. Cocktail Hour. The cocktail hour of your reception is, in other words, the “happy hour” of your wedding where your guests mingle and enjoy themselves. It’s the beginning of your wedding reception and we’re sure you’d love to start it off right-and most importantly-make it stand out. Some of the things your cocktail hour specialist can do includes creating a signature cocktail drink for your guests or arranging comfortable, chic seating for relaxation. They can also draft a menu of delicious appetizers for your guests to have at their leisure or build a playlist of music to set a distinct mood. They can even help you add personalized details such as monogrammed napkins.

2. Décor. Decorating for your special day may be one of the most stressful aspects to your wedding because it involves so many details. We know you’d love to have your guests blown away with your wedding’s décor, and having a décor specialist takes that stress off your shoulders, and has the ability to transform any venue from bland to beautiful. These specialists assist you with your color scheme, flower services, balloon services, backdrops, drapery, lighting, centerpieces, table settings, chair and table coverings, and every minor detail in between to make your wedding unique and one of a kind.

3. Food. Whether you and your partner are interested in a sit-down or a buffet-style dinner for your wedding, the food at your reception affects everyone. Wow your guests with the ultimate feast and a fine dining experience with the help of a wedding caterer. They have the responsibility of designing the meals depending on the time of your wedding and on your guests, incorporating food trends such as cupcakes instead of a wedding cake, selecting main dishes and desserts, and may even choose linens and plates for each table.

4. Vendor Selection. The most stressful part of wedding planning is hiring the right vendors. Be it florists, entertainment, or limos, you want to make sure you hire the right people for your special day. And if you don’t know anyone that personally owns a limo, you might be in the dark as to which is the right company to hire among so many choices. Wedding planners often have developed business relationships with several wedding professionals that they can recommend. Because the reputation of the planner is as much at stake as the vendor, they are sure to only recommend vendors they trust. If you trust your planner, you can trust their vendors.

 

Post By: Izabella De Souza

Photo Sources:

1, 2, 3, 4

First Dance Songs Made for You!

One of the highlights to any wedding is the first dance. The bride and groom’s first dance fills the air with love and illustrates the story of their relationship. So, if you were to describe your relationship in a song, what melody would you sing? Are you a caring and romantic, quirky and fun, or a traditional and classic pair? There are a plethora of aspects to explore when choosing the song for your first dance, and we’re here to help narrow down the choices! Check out some options for your first dance and see which category you and your partner fall into.

Romantic. Are you and your partner in total adoration with each other, and want everyone to know it? Nothing is greater than two hopeless romantics on their wedding day, and the wedding song should display that perfectly. Here are some options for lovebirds that are interested in a sweet and touching first dance.

  1. A Thousand Years – Christina Perri
  2. Marry Me – Train
  3. Make You Feel My Love – Adele
  4. So Close – Jon McLaughlin

Fun. Of course you are in love, but do you want to go beyond that and show your relationship’s fun side in a song? What better way to start your wedding by showing all of your guests you and your partner’s fun, upbeat personalities? If your goal is to have a light-hearted yet loving first dance, check out these options below.

  1. Better Together – Jack Johnson
  2. Crazy Little Thing Called Love – Michael Buble
  3. Is This Love – Bob Marley
  4. Dream A Little Dream Of Me – The Mamas & Papas

Classic. You know what they say, oldies are goodies! The best part about having a timeless song for your first dance is that they are powerful – not to mention everyone in the room will most likely already be familiar with it. You simply cannot go wrong with a classic love song. They effortlessly fit into any wedding along with most couples’ personality and taste. If you and your partner are looking for a song that will please you and your guests, these classics will not disappoint!

  1. For Once in My Life – Michael Buble
  2. At Last – Etta James
  3. Have I Told You Lately – Rod Stewart
  4. Something – The Beatles

Keep in mind, the best song to choose for your first dance should be the one most meaningful to both you and your partner; and you may not always find that on any list.  If you already have a song that you have branded “Our Song,” that would be the one to choose. Remember, it’s your day. So what if your guests have never heard of the indie artist you guys have seen at countless shows; or even if your song is as goofy as doing the chicken dance while wearing a tutu. This is a song that has helped bring your and your fiancé to this very day. While you are dancing together, staring into each others’ eyes and seeing your future with this person, it helps to have the right soundtrack to go with your vision. In the end, that’s the only song that matters.

 

Post By: Izabella De Souza

Photo Sources: 1, 2, 3

Your Wedding… Enhanced!

We’ve all been there – you’re at a wedding, the reception is beautiful, the food is great, and the DJ is getting everyone on the dance floor; but there’s just something missing. There’s nothing too memorable about it. What was the couple’s biggest mistake in planning the wedding reception? They simply focused too much on the wedding basics, without thinking to add that special touch. Learn from others’ mistakes and go the extra mile! To make your special day memorable, strive for enhancements that go beyond the basics. When choosing which enhancements to incorporate into your party, consider those listed below and make your reception one for the books!

1. Photo Booths.  A photo booth is fun for people of all ages, and is the best way for your guests to remember how great your wedding was. The booth prints a photo strip featuring three pictures taken by your guests, which is theirs to keep as a souvenir from your big day. What’s in it for you? Many photo booths print two photo strips which allow for a copy of your guests’ images to be added to an album for you to keep. It’s no wonder photo booths are one of the most popular enhancements at wedding receptions.

2. Uplighting. If you’re looking to create a memorable atmosphere on your big day, consider uplighting.  Uplighting is a source of light which is cast upwards to illuminate the ceiling. Add extra flare to your reception by including your wedding colors in the uplighting scheme. When you and your guests enter the reception, you will instantly feel the elegance, beauty, and love in the room!  Uplighting is an easy, yet soft touch to add to your wedding, and will set a luxuriously magical mood for the night.

3. Cloud Machines. Speaking of magic, why not add some cloud effects to your special day? Cloud machines are one of the easiest ways to put your unique stamp on the party, and your photographer will thank you for the incredible shots. Add a little mystery to the party by having your first dance on a cloud. Cloud machines are often used during the grand entrances of the wedding party as well as bride and groom, but feel free to use them any way you’d like! Unlike fog machines that can sometimes trip a fire alarm leaving your special day a soaking mess, cloud machines operate with dry ice that does not set off alarms.

4. Cabanas. Each table at your reception is meant for formal dining, but what about casual mingling? Cabanas can be considered lounge areas, and are one of the best ways to make your wedding cocktail hour stand out. You and your guests will have a chance to mingle with each other in a sexy, unique way. Your guests will appreciate your effort in making their comfort a priority. After all, the party wouldn’t be the same without them being there to celebrate with you.

Post by Izabella De Souza

The Dos and Don’ts to Building Your Reception Playlist

 

Do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonight. Sounds like the perfect plan for your wedding day, right? We certainly think so. But before you can do that little dance, you’ve got to set the scene for the right wedding reception playlist. Here are some rules to live by when consulting with your DJ about building the ideal playlist.

1. Playlist Harmony. It may come as a surprise, but this is also someone else’s wedding too…your future spouse’s! And just because you’ve come to love one another enough to spend the rest of your lives together, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your playlists feel the same way about each other. Remember to consider both yours and your beau’s musical tastes when compiling a wedding playlist. A variety of wedding songs are to be expected, so don’t worry about his Guns N’ Roses clashing with your Gangnam Style! Maybe he wouldn’t mind hearing an acoustic version of a classic during dinner.

2. Spread the Love. It’s important to keep your guest list handy when formulating the wedding playlist. What will Aunt Debbie and Uncle Rich enjoy dancing to? Or how about Grandma Sue’s favorite ditty, Runaround Sue? Even a sprinkle of some oldies may be appropriate for a portion of the crowd. If your cousin Jaime loves Madonna, throw in a little Like a Virgin. Even if something may not be exactly to your taste, you’ll enjoy seeing everyone else having a great time dancing.

 

3. A Little Goes a Long Way. The biggest mistake people make when going to meet with their reception DJ is bringing along a big list of songs they want played at the wedding. For most DJs, this is unnecessary. At maximum, your DJ should need is a list of about 12-15 songs that depict the mood you want at your reception. From there, he or she will be able to compile a larger playlist based on the list you provide. Remember, DJs have extensive databases of songs from every genre. You may spend hours putting together a list of hundreds of songs that they would be able to compile in minutes.

4. DJ Knows Best. There’s a reason why people hire a DJ. It’s not just to play music; it’s to guide the atmosphere of the party. DJs are trained to read the vibe of the crowd. From there, they choose the best song for the moment. Receptions are usually just 4 hours in length, a time span that is further decreased by formalities like speeches and dinner courses.  It’s crucial that you trust your DJ to make musical decisions during the party. After all, that’s why you hired them in the first place. To feel most comfortable about handing over all the music power for your reception, it’s a good idea to have at least one face to face meeting with your DJ prior to the wedding. It’s best to meet about a month in advance to discuss your expectations, as well as provide a DO NOT PLAY list. This way you’re guaranteed to not hear the songs you dislike. Now you can relax on your big day, knowing the party is in the best possible hands.

Post By: Izabella De Souza

Photo Sources:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

5 Tips for a Successful Wedding

wedding toast, champagne toast, bride and groom

What makes a successful wedding? If you’ve never planned a wedding before, the question probably sounds pretty simple. A cake, a little music, some food, and you’re good-right? If you were to ask a couple that has gone through the wedding planning process, you’d find out that nothing is simple when it comes to creating the perfect wedding. However, if you stick to a few key components, your big day will be a great success and leave your guests with an amazing impression.

wedding, dance floor, party, wedding reception, daning, fun
1. First, it’s so important to remember that you are throwing a party- and a party is nothing without guests. Be sure to consider what kind of party you want have. We all know and respect that Nana and Pop Pop have to be there. But if you want to have a packed dance floor and party that goes way into the night, be sure to invite the people you know
can make this happen. As long as they’re your friends, it’s a win-win.


2. Then there’s the ceremony. As with any part of a wedding, the more creative it is, the better. And the ceremony is where people can afford to get creative without the added costs (pun intended). One tip is to make it short. People don’t usually enjoy a long, drawn-out ceremony, so they’ll appreciate a condensed ceremony. Instead of splurging
on flowers, why not invest in some butterflies to release at the end? They’re only about $100 per dozen. Here’s where you can find them: http://www.butterfly-gifts.com/livebutterflyreleases.html. A good friend of mine did this after her ceremony and it was beautiful! Some of the butterflies even landed on the bridesmaids dresses which made for
some great pictures!


3. Next comes the reception. And let’s face it, it’s the only reason people attend a wedding ceremony-if at all. We all love to party and wedding receptions tend to be the greatest parties of all. Setting the mood for your wedding reception is key. One of the best ways to do this is with the lighting scheme. Tinted hues of violet and blue add
so much elegance to a room. Your guests will feel like they’re in for a great time in a luxurious space.

4. On to my favorite part of every wedding…the food! Whether you’re having a cocktail hour or not, you want the food you serve to do more than just look good; it absolutely must taste good. It’s important to focus on having food you know your guests will enjoy. What’s the point of having rack of lamb or filet mignon if no one eats it? Stick to what you know is good. If that’s some baked macaroni and cheese, so be it. With a good caterer, they’ll know how to make those classic favorites into something special for your big day.


5. Now to what is probably the most important aspect of a wedding, the music. Ok we admit, we’re a little biased in this area, but can you blame us? Music is everything. More than people, lighting and food (maybe not drinks), it sets the stage for an amazing and memorable party. The DJ has the power to guide the party just the way the bride and groom would like, while keeping guests enthusiastic during every moment. Investing in a DJ is major, and we happen to know a pretty good one…

Post by: Izabella De Souza

Photo Sources: http://simplywed.com/2011/02/wedding-mood-board-rustic-italian/, http://www.seweddings.com/uplighting.htm, http://www.christinaweddings.com/officiating-services-ceremonies, http://dancerconnection.com/?page_id=274, http://www.aisledash.com/2010/12/24/champagne-for-every-wedding-budget/

 

How to save money while planning your special day!

 

Are you getting married in one of the most expensive locations in the US?  If you are an LJ bride then most likely your answer will be yes.  Here is a list we have created here at the office that can provide you with some extra cash after your wedding day for things like an amazing honeymoon, house, or a baby!

1. Learn how to negotiate with vendors:  Never fear asking if thats the best the vendor can do, price wise.  Ask them for their opinion on how to save money on their packages.  Most likely, the vendor will work with you and give you options within your budget.

2. Centerpieces:  Over 75% of the weddings we have attended the centerpieces are these large ornate bouquets that scream TOO expensive.  Ask your florist for smaller options, cheaper flowers, and other centerpiece options that require less flowers.  Another tip: think outside of the box and look for other centerpiece ideas such as candelabras, birdcages, wine bottles, feathers, or more.  

3. Favors:  When is the last time you left a party with the favor and said, Oh, my word I really needed another corkscrew or useless doodad that will end up collecting dust.  Another way to thank your guests is by making a donation on their behalf to an organization that hits close to home such as Kicking 4 Celiac, American Heart Association, and/or American Cancer Society.

4. Limousines:  The last thing you need is 3 different limos driving to the same exact place.  Our suggestion is to get a party bus which has room for up to 50 people, food, and more alcohol.  They come equip with more head room as well so your bridal party will not have to crouch down and get all wrinkled before their grand entrance at the reception. You can also add some character to your wedding and rent a school bus for approximately $200-300 for the day!

5. Seat Covers:  Honestly, who even remembers that you had seat covers?  Remember people sit on them so it is one of the last details any guest will rave about.  Most of the time they end up annoying your guests because they just fall apart and end up on the floor by the end of the night.

6. Photography & Videography:  My fiance and I did our own little survey of our married friends to decide whether or not we needed a videographer.  Our conclusion was that they only watch their video once its completed and it ends up right along with all their other movies collecting dust on a shelf.  So with that being said, you can skip the video and hire a quality photographer who is skilled in the art of photojournalism.  They will capture great candids that will last a lifetime and speak wonders.  Another hint, do not have your photographer make a photo album which can add up to $600 to the bill.  They will provide you with a dvd of all your proofs and at some point you can either make your own album or online slideshow.

7.  Food:  One way to save on food is by lengthening your cocktail hour.   You can have a never-ending cocktail hour which provides your guests with passed Hors D’oeuvres for a few hours.  Another option is to have the buffet option where there is no sit down dinner but a buffet with more options.  Also, skip all the add ons that will increase your per person price by $5-20.

8. Rehearsal Dinner:  Who said that the rehearsal dinner had to be a mini version of your wedding day?  Instead of the same old sit down dinner in a fancy restaurant, have a luau in your yard, a backyard bbq, or even a pizza party! Get creative and think outside of the box for this one.  This is another chance for your bridal party to mingle making the wedding day that much more intimate.

Do you have any ideas that we may have missed?  Leave us a comment below, on facebook, or via twitter! 

If you need entertainment for your special day please give us a call and speak with one of our event specialists today! (973.751.8850)  Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook , or repin us on Pinterest!

<3 Mariza

Bridal Expos: Why they’re worth it.

As a bride living in a state where I am unfamiliar with wedding vendors I have feared attending Bridal Expos.  There are a variety of reasons many brides do not attend these expos; including mass emails that flood your inbox, mailings, unsolicited phone calls, and the awkwardness of some vendors “sales” pitches.  My fiance and I have attended two showcases since our engagement and here are some pointers on how to make these expos work for you.  First off, create a wedding email address (ex: goingtothechapel@gmail.com) and never give any vendor your personal email address unless they have been booked.  This will allow you to keep your personal email after getting hitched without having to go to those pesky unsubscribe sites.  Another pointer, be wary of those phone calls after the show claiming that you have won wedding bands or other items, of course…after you attend a 1 hour showcase of sorts that attempts to sell you any plethora of products.

Here are the reasons you should attend Bridal Expos, every chance you can:

1. Venues:  These expos are held in specific locations for a reason.  You may have never thought to hold your reception at PNC Bank Arts Center but low and behold they have a beautiful 6,000 square foot room that holds up to 500 guests.  This room is incredible and personally, I would have never even known about it had I not attended a Bridal Expo this past summer.

2. Vendors, Vendors, and more Vendors: Expos work best for Brides who have just begun planning their special day.  These vendors can tip you towards what colors or themes you would like to use or provide you with any other advice you may need.  My fiance and I discovered a perfect venue location for our wedding through a vendor from an expo.  At times a google search or wedding site doesn’t provide the help you’ll need to plan every aspect.  These vendors practically eat, breathe, and sleep weddings and they can and will point you in the right direction.  It is important to use your time wisely with vendors and make sure you are prepared with questions.  This is your time to have your picking of who you are willing to invest in to make your day stand out from all others.

3. Prizes:  Recently, LJ Productions was at a bridal expo at the Landmark in East Rutherford, NJ and they gave away a free Bachlorette party and honeymoon!  Remember when I told you to be wary of prizes, I was detailing those given out after the expo via another “vendor”.  The prizes Brides win during the expos are incredible and could help a bride and groom planning a wedding on a tight budget.

4. Discounts/Freebies:  Many vendors will offer a discounts/freebies of sorts for booking them through these expos.  Some will give a 15-20% discount or some will throw in some extras (ex: free photo-booth/engagement sessions/lighting).  With the economic crisis who doesn’t want or even need some extras?  Another pointer, attend these events as early as possible in your planning process.  Booking a vendor sooner than later can guarantee cheaper prices as they tend to increase their prices on a yearly basis.

5. Free food:  Who doesn’t like free food?  The food will be provided either by the venue or an outside catering company.  If you are unsure of whether or not you would like to book the venue/caterer, you could always use the expos menu as a sample menu for your own wedding day.  Always use these expos as an inspiration and write everything down that you like or do not like.  You can always use them in the future when planning or discussing details with your vendors/planners.

6. Networking:  By networking I don’t mean with vendors only.  Get courageous and talk with other brides about when they’re wedding is, what they’re themes/colors are, and anything else that could help you.  Remember these expos are for you and its entirely up to you how you plan to use the information given to you.

{mariza}

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