Whether you've dreamed about your wedding your whole life or " not, a bride still needs resources. Lots of them. Luckily, she can find all she needs to make the wedding and reception an unforgettable event at the Cleveland Magazine's Ever After presents The Landerhaven Bride show from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 5.
Ever After features vendors in unique ways to highlight their specialties and provide brides the guidance they need to create an extraordinary affair. We've asked just a few vendors from Ever After for tips on creating the perfect wedding and reception.
Start at the Beginning
The invitation makes the first impression of a wedding. It's how invitees shape their expectations of your event, says Rachel Trem, co-owner of Blue Envelope Boutique in downtown Willoughby. Consider it your branding — and then use that theme throughout the wedding and reception.
"Make it proportional to the rest of your wedding; people will know what to expect. For example, a black-and-white invitation will elicit formal and traditional, while adding burlap and wildflowers to your design will let your guests know your style is more rustic," she adds.
This advice goes for all vendors, but particularly with the printing: Interview your vendor well to make sure it can provide all your printing needs so it's all uniform. "Regardless of the level of formality of your wedding," she says, "work with someone who understands what you want to convey — whether simple and clean or funky — and who can convey that and execute it beyond what you initially imagined."
Choosing the flowers can sometimes be a tricky task, particularly when bridal magazines show huge displays of gorgeous blooms that can be astronomical in price. Pavika Wilson, owner of Pavi Designs in Cleveland, gives us four tips for navigating the decor conundrum.
• Know your priorities. Figure out what you'd like to have to set your ambiance and start with a budget. Then, work with your event decor vendor to modify as needed.
• Flowers that are in season typically are more affordable. It helps to understand where flowers come from. Roses and hydrangeas typically come from South America and are available year-round. Depending on the time of year, local flowers may be available. Ordering specialty flowers out of season will be more expensive, but, again, it's all about priorities. If it's important, make room in the budget.
• Go big for the reception. Wilson says while personal bouquets are trending toward softer, neutral colors such as blushes, creams, mints and taupes, brides can go bolder for the reception, creating a big impact.
• Make it memorable. Picking flowers, a theme or elements that mean something to you and weaving them throughout the day will go a long way to making an unforgettable event.
Memories that Last
Long after the cake has been eaten, the flowers dried and the dress preserved, the photographs will be a reminder of one of the most special days of your life. Tony Ryan and Marc Anthony of Marc Anthony Photography in Independence give us a rundown on what brides need to know about the photos:
Comfort level is vital. This person or team will follow you and the bridal party around all day, capturing the most intimate moments of your special day. It is imperative you are comfortable with your photographer.
Understand the contract. Know what you're getting when you sign on the dotted line. That means knowing exactly who will be taking the photos (sometimes photographers subcontract out jobs if they commit to more than one wedding on that day), what's included in the final package, hours of coverage, when payments are due, etc.
What's he/she wearing? "We dress according to the wedding," Ryan notes. "If it's formal, we wear a suit and tie. If it's black tie, we wear tuxes. Our goal is to blend in and be as least-conspicuous as possible."
Working together. Photographers can help with the timetable, so tap into their experience. They know how long shooting at three different locations will take, and if it might not work with your timeframe from wedding to reception.
Location, Location, Location
Three fundamental things make a reception outstanding, according to Sam Umina, general manager and wedding consultant for Executive Caterers at Landerhaven: the food, the decor and the music. Any one of these elements falling short can be detrimental to the reception, he says. Umina shares tips to help you avoid reception pitfalls:
Conduct the receiving line at the church and jump right into the fun at the reception.
Save the main toasts — father of the bride, groom, bride and best man — for the reception and do any other toasts at the rehearsal dinner.
Pick a variety of food. Be inclusive — not everyone likes fish, beef, chicken or even meat, for that matter. Consider something for everyone, and don't forget to include any cultural specialties to make it your own.
Creating "The Look"
Many brides make a bee-line for the dress store after the question is popped. Or even sooner. But Miranda Park, owner of Miranda's Vintage Bridal and Alterations in Cleveland's trendy Tremont neighborhood, cautions brides to explore their event plans first.
"I've found brides have an easier time shopping when they know a couple of key wedding details, and those are the date and the venue," she says. "For example, you wouldn't want to buy a summery, tea-length dress if you decide to have your weddingin January."
Her second tip is to know your budget and share it with your sales associate when you try on dresses. "There's nothing more disappointing than falling in love with something you can't have," she adds.
Plus, brides should keep an open mind about dresses when trying them on. You may love a photo in a magazine, but in person it could be all wrong, Park says. "Also, many gowns can look pretty boring on a hanger but really come to life on a body."
A couple of quick hints on dress styles: Sweetheart necklines seem to flatter everyone with a soft, feminine look. Likewise, A-line and ballgown skirts balance almost any body. Mermaid styles work well on women who work their curves, and sheath or bias-cut gowns accentuate a slender, athletic frame.