St. Simons Wedding Planner :: Island Destination Weddings | Blog
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The Last Week of Wedding Planning

Here it is… the final week leading up to your wedding.  How are you feeling?

Nerves frayed?

Stressed and overwhelmed with details?

Burdened with a zillion questions from family and friends?

Here’s how to make it through:

Monday…

If you haven’t already, begin assembling, alphabetizing and arranging important details of your wedding reception.  Alphabetize your escort cards and separate them from the mix. If you have place cards designating each guests meal preference, make sure it is something that can be quickly ascertained by the catering staff.  Finish compiling programs, favors, etc. remembering auxiliary items that assist in their function (matches, buckets, tape, etc.). Start this now, so that if you need to carry it through the week, you’ll still have time.

Update your wedding website with information you think people are bound to ask– where are the supermarkets, nearest restaurants, hospitals, etc.?  If you have guests who have allergies or food preferences be sure that you let them know they will be accommodated.  Add any transportation pickups and parking information that might be necessary.  Designate one person you trust to handle all of these questions for you in the event that people incessantly call or email you.

Continue to break in your wedding shoes. Vacuuming in your Louboutins is fabulous, honey.

Tuesday…

Look over the timeline from your event planner to go over any additional details or changes.

Deliver finalized version of the seating chart to your event team.

If you are leaving immediately after your destination wedding for your honeymoon, pack separately for your stay at your wedding location and for your honeymoon. Send your local bags back with a friend or your parents.  Be sure to include your necessary travel documents in your honeymoon luggage.

Wednesday…

Take your dress to be pressed if you are traveling to your wedding location.  This is will ensure that it is done by your wedding date.

Finalize the details for your rehearsal dinner: décor, menu and entertainment.

Prepare box of finished items  (escort cards, programs, personal photos, favors, send off items, menus, restroom baskets, etc.)  for your event planner.

Thursday…

Get your manicure and pedicure done today– it will save you time.   Many brides opt to do this on the Friday before their rehearsal or rehearsal dinner, but doing this in large groups can push your schedule to the max, forcing you to be late for ultra important events.

Pick up/purchase your liquor from the appropriate sources if you are supplying alcohol for your bar.  Arrange to have this at the venue or have  someone deliver it the day of the wedding (as most vendors are not equipped to handle extended storage of your items).

Deliver any welcome bags to your guests’ hotels or arrange for pick up from your event planner.  Be sure you include proper local information about the area to spearhead unnecessary calls.

Friday…

Do a final walk through with your planner and caterer to discuss the plans, layouts and details for the next day so that they can remain fresh in everyone’s minds.

Pick up your wedding dress and any formal wear as necessary.

Go through your rehearsal and allow your event planner to disseminate any important information and details to your family and bridal party. Exchange box of finished items with planner or leave them on site (if allowed).

Enjoy your rehearsal dinner!  Limit your alcohol and increase your water intake to avoid bloating and puffiness for the special day!

 

 

We Likey: All I Really Want Registry

Wedding Registry Ideas

Still scrambling to put together your perfect gift registries?

The latest virtual tool for the tech-savvy bride, newly launched site All I Really Want offers a simple, free way to catalogue your ultimate wedding registry. Rather than creating one list for guests to peruse, All I Really Want allows brides-to-be the freedom to create multiple registries from unlimited sites and house them in one simple, stylish location. In a few simples steps, you can start linking your objects of desire from all over the web to be shared.

Launched in February 2012, co-founders Andrew Thomka-Gazdik and Julia Collins wanted to create a simple way to make gift giving easier. Recently featured in Mashable’s “Spark of Genius” series, All I Really Want is “a simple and practical [Content Management System],” that “takes the mystery out of gift giving.” – Mashable.com.

Want to take it for a spin?  See a sample registry here and get started!

Fashion Monday: Donna Morgan Bridesmaids

short ivory bridesmaid dress with rosette skirt

Just because it’s chilly outside doesn’t mean that you can’t still search for your bridesmaids’ dresses for your spring wedding.  Donna Morgan’s beautiful designs feature both long and short gowns that create the perfect soft, silhouette that can enhance all of your bridesmaids.

These gorgeous style as well as others are available at select retailers like Nordstrom and online, with most under $220.

soft color long bridesmaids dresses from donna morgan short bridesmaids dresses teal mint and grey donna morgan

Lovely Lane Chapel Wedding on St. Simons

St Simons Wedding Ceremony Lovely Lane Chapel Epworth

Photo by Jason Travis

One of the  most beautiful wedding ceremony venues on St. Simons Island has to be Lovely Lane Chapel on the Epworth by the Sea campus. Surrounded by lush greenery, it’s stark white vintage chapel is a beautiful backdrop for those looking forward to exchanging vows in a church for their destination wedding.  With capacity of 150 inside the chapel, it can easily accommodate the average sized destination wedding that comes to the area.

St Simons Wedding Ceremony Lovely Lane Chapel Epworth

Photo by Jason Travis

Many fall in love with the architecture outside of this historic chapel, and use its quaint doors to showcase their personalities or themes by hanging ornamented wreaths, moss initials and more.

St Simons Wedding Ceremony Lovely Lane Chapel Epworth

There are plenty of ways to begin your ascent into the chapel– this comes from the side, which is one of my favorites. It allows the bride and her parents a few private moments before walking down the aisle.  Photo by Jason Travis

St Simons Wedding PlannerPhoto by Beacon Photo 

The inside of the chapel is equally amazing.   With the vibrant stained glass windows behind the couple, it truly does make your wedding images striking.  While the chapel itself is rather dark in its color palette, it adds to its personality.  Make sure your photographer knows about this so that s/he can plan accordingly.

2012-12-18_001Photo by Jason Travis

The surrounding oaks and spanish moss which has become a staple to our area are in vast abundance on the grounds.  If you are looking for some places to take pictures outdoors among the natural environment, it truly doesn’t get any better.  If you are looking for an outdoor ceremony should your guest list go over the allotted capacity of the chapel, many brides and grooms have been happy to have their ceremonies outside of the chapel in front of its doors, using the stone pave way as an aisle.

Happy Planning!

The Perfect Holiday Cocktails

Entertaining this Christmas?  We’ve got some festive cocktails that will make your bartending skills the life of the party.  There are some amazing flavors that are wrapped up in this beautiful season and when combined perfectly with the right spirits and appetizers, you’ve got one fabulous party on hand.

Our friends at Wedding Chicks came up with some of their top ten favorites that we thought were swoon worthy (recipes at the aforementioned link):

white winter cosmo holiday cocktail Golden Cadillac Holiday Cocktail Gingerbread Martini
Want more?  We’ve got more!

Ruby Red Sparkling Wine Aspic (jello shooter)

Ruby Red Sparkling Wine

Recipe and directions from Pane e Acqua di Rose:

Ingredients (makes 18):

1,5 bottle of dry sparkling wine
120g of white sugar
38g of gelatine leaves
2 pomegranates
300g of frozen raspberry
1 orange

I put the gelatine leaves in cold water to soften them. In the mean time, I boiled 150ml of water, the sugar and the grated peel of the orange. When the liquid boiled, I filtered it with a strainer, eliminating the orange peel. I melted the squeezed gelatin in the microwave oven, then I added it to the liquid and stirred well. I added the sparkling wine and left it to cool.
I peeled and husked the pomegranates. In every small cup I put some husks of pomegranate and some raspberries, still frozen. I poured the jelly on them and left it to cool. I took the cups out of the fridge a few minutes before serving.

Pomosa

Pomosa

Ingredients

2 ounces of chilled pomegrante juice
Champagne

Directions

For each drink, pour about 2 ounces of chilled pomegranate juice into a champagne flute and fill rest of the way up with chilled champagne.

Rudolph Tipsy Spritzer

Rudolph Spritzer

Ingredients

5 cups orange juice
2 cups chilled lemon-lime soft drink
1 1/2 cups vodka
1/2 cup maraschino cherry juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Garnishes: lemon slices, fresh rosemary sprigs

Preparation

1. Stir together all ingredients; serve over ice. Garnish, if desired.

Turtle Dove

Turtle Dove Martini Holiday Signature Drink

 Vanilla Vodka, Hazelnut liqueur, Amaretto and Cream

Mulled Wine Sangria

Mulled Wine Sangria
Ingredients

1 (750-milliliter) bottle merlot or other red wine, chilled and divided
1/3 cup sugar
1 sachet Mulling Spice Blend
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (about 1 large orange)
1 (16-ounce) bag frozen unsweetened strawberries
1/2 orange, thinly sliced and cut in half
1 (12-ounce) can club soda

Preparation

1. Combine 1 cup wine, sugar, and sachet in a small saucepan; bring to a simmer. Cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat; cool. Discard sachet. Pour mixture into a pitcher; add remaining 3 cups wine. Chill thoroughly. Add juice, strawberries, orange slices, and club soda.

Berry Christmas Cocktail

Berry Christmas Cocktail

Pomegranate Vodka, Triple Sec, Peach Schnapps, and Cranberry Juice

Spicy Rum Punch

Spicy Rum Punch

Ingredients

1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
6 star anise
4 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
2 (64-ounce) bottles cranberry-pineapple juice drink (such as Ocean Spray)
2 cups dark rum
4 (12-ounce) bottles ginger beer (such as Stewart’s)

Preparation

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large Dutch oven; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; let stand 30 minutes.
Strain cranberry mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl; discard solids. Chill thoroughly. Stir in rum and ginger beer just before serving.

Do you have a favorite holiday cocktail? Be sure to share it with us, and happy holidays!

How To Get Guests to RSVP to Your Wedding or Event

RSVP This has to be one of the most frustrating parts of planning for brides when it comes to their weddings:  handling the RSVPs.  Some guests assume that you know they are coming so they need not send a response in.  Others are procrastinators, cards are misplaced or worst yet, they come back without a name on them. What’s a couple to do?  Your best bet is to make your guests feel like the world will utterly shatter and spontaneously combust if they do not receive your response. Okay, not that bad, but make them feel included!  It has been a staple in planning to know that the wedding invitation sets the tone for the event and prepares your guests for what is ahead.  While this is true, most couples and designers fail to put much forethought into the most important and needed card in the invitation suite:  the RSVP card.  Here are some ideas to help your RSVPs roll in: Photo RSVP Photo RSVP Card Here, your guests can see your personality and excitement, and they’ll “have to say no/yes to your face”.  Get creative enough and your guests will know there is a major party ahead. Themed RSVP Cards Themed RSVP Card Unique RSVP Cards Full Invite with RSVP attached Themed invitations, and by default the RSVP cards get people extremely excited for your wedding and event.  If you’ve put this much thought into the invitation, surely the party will be just as or even more phenomenal, right?  They are fun, clever and make an impression on your guests who will actually stop to respond. Change Up the Wording

RSVP Cards with funny wordingModern RSVP

Fun wording for whimsical RSVP Fun Options/Story on RSVP Card for WEdding Graphic Choices  with Fun wording on RSVP One way to inexpensively shake up the RSVP routine is to add your personality with the responses guests have to choose from. Go Interactive Full Interactive RSVP Card Mad Libs RSVP Cards Interactive RSVP Card Multiple Event RSVP Allow Guests to Doodle or Make Notes on RSVP Special Note to Couple on RSVP Card Let Guests Leave A Note on RSVP Card Mad Libs on RSVP Card Allow Guests to Pick Songs Music Requests on RSVP card Interaction is always fun!  Don’t believe me?  Look at the spike in photo/video booths at weddings. People love to have fun, be heard and make their mark.  Doing something as simple as adding an additional line for guests to add their favorite songs  or leaving empty space for them to leave an endearing note, words of advice or favorite recipe for a future family cookbook, involves your guests in a special way.  Want to really have fun?  Cook up the Mad Libs from your childhood as part of your RSVP and have them on display during your cocktail hour for great laughs.   Other Tips for Handing Your RSVPs Use invisible ink on the back of your RSVPs to track If the unfortunate circumstance happens where your guests forget to put their names, you can write it in invisible ink to track them later.   Another way is to number all of your RSVPs on the back and refer to that number on your master list when tracking responses. RSVP Basket to separate responses Need a way of separating your RSVPs during the process? Have basket for those who will attend and those who will send regrets. Two different RSVP Cards for Yes and No An easier method is to have two different RSVP cards– guests will choose the one with their response and send it back. For more great tips on RSVPs and your wedding, dig into ourdelicious post full of advice.

The Cocktails + Details Holiday Gift Giving Guide

The holidays are fast approaching– which means delicious martinis, delectable foods, festive parties and gift giving!  If you still need help selecting the perfect present for that special someone in your life, we are here to the rescue!

For Him

luxury skin care for men

One gift that I personally gave to Captain America (for new readers, that’s my amazing husband) was the Organic Male OM4 Collection.  In just 4 simple steps, your guy will be pampered and on his way to perfect skin.  Filled with rejuvenating vitamin and antioxidant rich extracts that actively defer the onset of premature aging is his best offense to maintaining his ultra good looks.  OM4 comes in 5 sets for specific skin types:  Sensitive, Oily, Normal, Dry and Anti-Aging. Each set retails for $170, but the products are sold separately at www.om4men.com.  My man adores it! Yours will, too!

buddy lee jump rope fitness holiday christmas gift

For the fitness enthusiast in your life, the Buddy Lee Jump Rope will be happy addition in the gym bag.  Unlike traditional jump ropes that can be too short or too stiff, these special calorie burners come with a swivel bearing for easy movement and are speed length adjustable. Get yours for $45 at www.buddyleejumpropes.com.

Brew Shop Beer Making Kit

Have a beer enthusiast in your life?  Check out Brooklyn Brew Shop‘s many beer making kits with favorites like Rye and Smoked Wheat to gourmet favorites like Jalapeno Saison, Chocolate Maple Porter and Chestnut Ale, there is absolutely something for every one.  Can’t choose?  Gift cards are also available.  Kits start at $40.

For Her

Sephora Give Me Some Lip Gift Sampler

No one pampers your pucker like Sephora‘s Give Me Some Lip Sampler featuring some of the best brands such as Tarte, Laura Mercier, Sugar, and more. From stains to glosses, tints to treatments, it’s the perfect for the beauty queen in your life for only $25.

Herve Leger Lilac Infused Body Con Cocktail DressWhat about the fashionista on your Christmas list?  With bodycons still being huge in the fashion world (curvy girls of the world are genuine ecstatic about this!), you can find your perfect dress for that special occasion, like this Hervé Leger cocktail dress from Rent the Runway.  Here, you can rent some of the hottest designers dresses and gowns for a fraction of the price.  Have a shoe freak in your midst? Online boutiques like Kimora Lee Simmons’ JustFab and Kim Kardashian’s ShoeDazzle allow you to pick out your favorite pair of shoes, jewelry or handbags based on your personal style handpicked by today’s hottest stylists.

Horchow Python Travel AccessoriesHave a beautiful Jetsetter in your life?  These gorgeous Python Travel Accessories from Horchow will be right up her alley. Consisting of designer luggage tags and passport covers, they are the perfect way to personalize her travel experience.  They would also make a welcome addition to the Crown D Elite Luggage Collection that make traveling a breeze.


Have you scored the perfect gift for someone in your life?  Share the joy! Tell us all about it! 

5 Ways to Increase Attendance at Your Destination Wedding

We have a special guest blogger today– Nusair Bawla from HotelScouter!  Nusair shares his expertise and knowledge regarding planning successful destination weddings for you and your guests.

Most of us don’t have access to a beach and many of us don’t have a gorgeous mountainside in our backyard where we can get married. In fact, most of us Americans live in the mainland so it’sno wonder that when it comes to planning a wedding, going away is always a popular choice.

In addition to a great location, a destination wedding is also more intimate and in many cases, cheaper than an at home wedding. However, this intimacy comes at a price.

Destination weddings have low attendance

Most destination weddings suffer from a lower attendance percentage than at home weddings. Traditional weddings can have attendance in the 8-90% range (and in some cases, even higher) whereas a destination wedding where the 50% mark is more common.

Most invitees turn down destination wedding invites for two reasons, cost and timing. And if you can figure out how to overcome those two objections, you’ll be able to get more people to attend.

In this article, we are going to go over five things you can do to ensure that your destination wedding is well attended.

Send out save the dates early

That means quick. As soon as you get engaged, start looking at potential wedding dates. Once you have decided on one, send out save the date cards to family and friends.

The earlier you send them out (preferably 8-12 months, if not more), the better. Doing so will give wedding guests enough time to plan their vacations, and holidays while incorporating your wedding into the mix.

To ensure absolute compliance, make personal phone calls (yes, harass if you have to) to guests and get a verbal “yes”.

Plan your destination wedding in a long weekend, not a holiday weekend

Long weekends are perfect for destination wedding because it gives everyone the flexibility they need. Families can stay the entire week if they choose while others can go back to work without having to use up personal or vacation days.

One thing we would not do is plan a destination wedding on a holiday weekend. Many of your guests have commitments for holidays (thanksgiving being a big one) and many families have a tradition of getting together during these times so its best avoid them if you can.

Select a well known large destination

If you want more people to attend, then don’t select a location that is hard to get to or is in a remote region that requires three connecting flights, a 2 hour cab ride followed by a ferry. Select a destination that has lots of direct flights from a lot of cities so wedding guests spend a minimum amount of time traveling.

For example, If you’re getting married in the Caribbean, go with either Puerto Rico or the Bahamas instead of Nevis or Barbuda (need a ferry for this one). The smaller the island, the less optionsyour guests will have when it comes to direct flights. What’s more, costs to get to these remote locations are much higher, leaving your guests with a lighter wallet too.

Finally, when selecting a destination, try picking something that is close to home. For example, ifmost of your family is on the east coast, then select a destination wedding on that side of the country. Florida, the Caribbean or North Carolina would make for some great destination wedding locations. Hawaii would not.

Plan your wedding at a family friendly resort

You will have tons of time to hang out at a super romantic place on your honeymoon so why not plan your wedding at a family friendly resort. Think Beaches resorts or even a Disney wedding and your family will be more than glad you did.

Just because the resort is family friendly does not mean that they are not romantic. Lots of Disney resorts have tons of romantic things that you can do and Beaches has a wedding program specifically for couples with large families.

Get married during the shoulder season

We saved the best for least. Don’t plan your wedding during peak season. Not only will wedding vendor prices be double or triple than normal, airfare and hotel rates will be astronomical as well.

It’s better to book a date that is a month or two before or after the peak season (called a shoulder season). Things are calmer, vendors are less hurried and your wedding will be more enjoyable and better attended.

While there are another half dozen ways to increase your attendance at the destination wedding, the five above will remove most of the objections that your wedding guests may have. And getting rid of their objections is a great way to increase that attendance number.

 

This article was written by Nusair A Bawla, the founder of GroupTravel.org. His website provides an easy way to get group rates for hotels without making a phone call.