Christine + Michael – Old Town Hall and Colonial Hall, Salem, MA

I love everything old because it comes great stories, which Salem, Massachusetts is chock full of! So bear with me as I intermingle some interesting facts with Christine and Michael’s beautiful wedding day!

Christine and Michael were not only planning their wedding from afar, but many of their guests were from out of town as well.  From the cobblestone streets to the historic buildings and tours, Salem makes for an incredible destination wedding weekend spot.

The bridal party got ready at The Hawthorne Hotel which dates back to 1925.  As for the hotel, not only have many famous people stayed there but several television shows and movies have also served as the backdrop to this beautiful hotel.  It’s old time charm is undeniable and was such a lovely place for Christine and her girls to get ready for the big day.  I just love Christine’s classic and timeless birdcage veil which was first revealed photos taken at the hotel.

Next historic spot was Old Town Hall.  This Federal Style building, dating back to 1816, is the earliest surviving municipal structure.  It’s a very dramatic building with green doors and a steep staircase to enter the building (I learned that these stairs also serve as a resting spot for many). Michael and the guys arrived first, and soon after, Christine and the girls walked over.  The bridal party and flowers were in the most dramatic scarlet red.  This really complimented Chrisine’s vintage look.  While I can only begin to imagine the types of things that took place in this building, for Christine and Michael it was a very intimate Ketubah signing and ceremony.  As their guests arrived they were directed to the ceremony on the second floor of the building.  While guests were taking their seats, and with immediate family and bridal party present, Christine and Michael signed their formal marriage contract.

The final location was Colonial Hall at Rockafella’s which is located in the historic Daniel Low Building.   This building was originally built as a church in 1826 and later purchased by Daniel Low & Co., which was the first mail order catalogue company.  It remained there until 1994 before being turned into a banquet hall.  This room has high vaulted ceiling and lots of natural light.   Guests enjoyed cocktail hour on the balcony of the grand ballroom.  The florals were an assortment of high and low arrangements in the same striking scarlet red.  The table was set with simple silver bengaline linen and white chiavari chairs.  The evening was full of many, many toasts (which they fully warned me of), dancing, great food and good times.  There is something so rich about a place like Salem with all it’s history and makes it so nice to tie into any event.

 

Event Coordination: The Day Of

Ceremony: Old Town Hall, Salem, MA

Reception: Colonial Hall at Rockafellas, Salem, MA  

Floral Design: Evan’s Flowers

Photography: Benj Haisch

Entertainment: Party Time Boston

Wedding Cake: Rockafella’s

Hair: Bella Hair  

Makeup:  Rouge

2014 Color Trends

Around this time every year I can’t help but start thinking about how next years weddings will differ from the last.  Trends certainly come and go but the one thing that is consistently makes for a very good starting point with all your decor is color!  It’s true to think that fashion trends inspire wedding trends.  So by turning to the good old fashioned Pantone colors that are being used by fashion designers, we not only get a good sense of what’s to come but incredible inspiration!  From there it is up to us to make your wedding decor come alive in a way that is unique and special to you.

What can you expect to see in 2014? I see a color palate with a lot of subtle blending.  There is nothing hum drum about these tones. They are unique, somewhat subdued while incredible impactful. Gradiant shades of these very powerful colors paired together in so many different ways will showcase your individual style.  You can go with a more monochromatic or ombre look or dig deeper by noticing the endless color combinations that may be paired using these 6 beautiful colors!

The fun only begins once you choose your schematic. It can then be carried though in smart, sensible and endless ways.  Flowers {of course}. Clothing {dresses, bow ties and pocket squares}.  Food {beverages, dessert tables, wedding cake}.  Simple touches {straws, cocktail napkins, stationary}.  Keeping your color scheme consistent and showcasing it throughout your event will undoubtdly create a look that feels seamlessly coordinated and well thought out.
Take a look at the Pantone color chart for 2014!
Here are some beautiful examples of how impactful each color scheme looks monochromatically.

Lastly, here are a few examples of how beautifully these colors compliment each other when paired with another 2014 pantone color.

Toni + Tad – Artist for Humanity EpiCenter, Boston, MA

Toni and Tad’s love story began poolside.  And I don’t mean sunny beach poolside.   I mean competitive swimmer poolside  (check out their swim parka photo).  Toni is a girl who knew exactly what she wanted and how to achieve it with poise and polish.  And I swear to you there was not a single detail left untouched!

The industrial steel, concrete and glass architecture of the EpiCenter is what makes its event space iconic, but these same unique details can also create a challenge for couples when envisioning a warm ceremony and reception. This bride had the vision for an impactful and beautifully elegant black-tie event inside a very cool, raw building.  Anchoring the space was key and I think that lighting was one of the wisest choices they made decor-wise.  The warm peach ceremony lighting helped to warm the environment, making it feel more intimate. Additionally, this space truly comes alive when its walls are washed with modern paintings created by the non-profit’s own in-house artists.

The bridal party got ready at the Seaport Hotel.  And since there was no first look, it took much strategic planning to be certain that the bride and groom never crossed paths!  As guests arrived at the EpiCenter, they were directed away from the typical street-level entrance.  The couple envisioned more of a ‘grand’ entrance, and instead had guests walk down to the courtyard level, directly into the ceremony space.  The outdoor pathway was marked with garland, twinkle lights, wreaths, large candles and signage to lead the way, making for a very dramatic entry to the venue (and yes we were PRAYING for a dusting of snow!).

We used the same space for the ceremony and reception so during the room turn, guests made their way to the venue’s third floor artists’ studio.  This is another very dramatic space that showcased large-scale paintings on easels, and is infused with subtle color thanks to the splatters of paint on the floor. Placecards were adorable polaroid photos of Toni and Tad, dispayed in frames with wire and mini clothespins.  The reception decor was clean and crisp.  The tables were elegantly set with silver chivari ballroom chairs, platinum romance linens, silver charger plates, simply folded silver napkins with Boston-skyline silver menu cards  and calalilly’s with branches in high glass containers (which helped compliment the height of the ceilings). The lighting was a beautiful touch.  There were uplights around the room, in a cool, winter blue, and mini chinese lanterns hung above the dance floor.  Their cake was the perfect expression of themselves, sweet and elegant.  They kept the cute, unique, well thought out touches going throughout the night.  Precious “he” and “she” cards at the bar shared personality traits about the bride and groom, an ampersand sign connected the chairs at their sweetheart table–which also included a photo of their precious pooches–and the painted mirror that displayed a mini timeline of when they met, got engaged and got married.  And last, but certainly not least, kudos to Night Rhythm who brought the house down!

So as I write this, not only do I miss this this couple, but I miss all their “people!” This was the third and final wedding I did for a group of 4 besties (one was already married before they got to me!).  But now I get to hear about the babies, house buying and career growth phase of their lives!  It was an incredible night of eating, dancing and celebrating this amazing couple….T&T!



 

Event Coordination: The Day Of

Ceremony/Reception: Artists For Humanity EpiCenter

Caterer: The Family Crest

Bartender: Butlers & Bars

Linen: Party Designs

Floral Design: Andrea D’Amelio Floral Design

Photography: Dennis Kwan Photography

Entertainment: Night Rhythm

Ceremony/Cocktail Musicians: The Washington Calvo Harp and Flute Duo

Wedding Cake: Christina Godfrey Cake Design

Transportation: ATR Limousine & Transportation Service

Transportation: Hair:  Lindsey Bieber of Jorgo Salon

Makeup:  Elizabeth Baeb

Fall Is In The Air

With Fall just days away, I am finally coming to terms with the lazy days of summer fading away.  The leaves are changing and the mornings are cool.  The grass is dewy and the days are getting shorter. Truth be told, I am not thrilled.  However, what I do love is the refreshing shift all around us (just don’t talk to me when it’s below zero while I am out walking my dog in the bitter cold or packing the kids with all their snow gear).  I have to admit that I kinda like the first day I pull on my favorite pair of jeans or wrap a scarf around my neck.  Or even snuggling on the couch with the blanket that has been packed away for months.  We begin the slow progression of nesting by preparing for the long, cold winter ahead.

So it’s no surprise that we also see a big change with wedding decor.  The feeling of the flowers from just one month ago has changed from cooler and brighter  to warmer and toastier tones. However, there are more ways than one to bring that feeling into your wedding besides pumpkins, pinecones and leaves.

Naturally, you need to choose a direction for your decor.  I find that once you choose your color palette, it’s so easy to just run with it. Here are a few fun, different ideas for Fall!

Not all apples are red!  The green apple is delicious, clean and crisp and translates beautiful through florals.  You can keep very simple by pairing it with ivory or add a pop of peach or even brown for more dimension!

Photo Credit: Martha Stewart Weddings

Brown is a beautiful. And who says you have to put the pink away?  Paired with brown, pink and lavender give life to this deep, rich, warm tone.

Photo Credit:  Better Homes and Gardens 

An antiqued feeling with florals in shades of peach, burgundy, ivory and green, just may be the most elegant, natural way to bring Fall to your wedding.

Photo Credit: Once Wed 

Jess + Pike’s Wedding – St. Stephens Church, Atlantica, Cohasset, MA

Jess and Pike were married last September in Cohasset.  Jess got ready with her parents, sister and bridesmaids at her parents home in Situate, while Pike and the groomsmen got ready in town at the Cohasset Harbor Resort.

This precious town is the utmost when it comes to intimate quaintness and ocean views full of serenity.   But because the forecast read overcast,  Jess worked feverishly to come up with a beautiful place they could take photos but still be outdoors.   It was no small feat, but she managed to do it…twice!  Photos began with their “first look” the St. Joseph’s retreat.  The ocean views were the most breathtaking place for Jess and Pike to begin their day together.   From there, they went to a private club in Cohasset for family photos.  They were kind enough to make an exception and allowed them to take photos there, as they usually don’t. But if you knew Jess, you’d understand why!   Then it was time for the big moment.  The wedding ceremony at St. Stephens Episcopalian church where Jess’ parents and grandparents were also married!   That’s not something I hear often so so when she told me this, I had goosebumps!

After the ceremony everyone made their way over to Atlantica for food, drinks, and dancing.  Before joining their guests, they spent some time taking pictures on Pike’s family yacht which was anchored in the harbor beside Atlantica.  Naturally, an elegant nautical look was perfect for their wedding. Their seating chart was incredibly clever, for all your boating fans!  There was a compass on top and for each letter of the alphabet that last names began with was a flag that represented that letter.  Their guest book showcased photos from their engagement session…a beautiful day on the yacht!   The tables were set with cobalt blue goblets, blue, white and orange flowers and nautical knots holding the table numbers.  The fireplace was lit and there was an adorable “Eat, Drink and We’re Married” sign on the mantle above! And of course First Class Band kept the dancefloor packed all night!

The entire day from start to finish was truly in Jess fashion…sweet, classy, simple and sophisticated.  It was such a beautiful day and I am so happy to have been part of it.



 

Event Coordination: The Day Of

Ceremony: St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church

Reception:  Atlantica

Rentals: Rentals Unlimited

Floral Design: Studio 123

Photography: Kat Hanafin

Entertainment: First Class Band

Wedding Cake: Montilios

Transportation: Above All Transportation

Hair: Kerri Romano

Makeup: Blush

For Better Or For Worse…Some Of My Favorite Things

Getting ready for your wedding is a huge undertaking.  As if you didn’t have enough on your plate, now you are planning a wedding.  Many of you are working or in school…or BOTH.  I also know, and can relate to, most brides want to look her best on her wedding day.
Here are some personal favorite things that I have adopted in my life.  With that said…for BETTER OR FOR WORSE…there is an exception to everyone of these points.   And I am going to share those as well.  Nobody is perfect. Enjoy the process. Enjoy the journey of your engagement and wedding planning.  And GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK!  Smile a lot.  Laugh a lot.  And if these thing I mention below are part of your focus right now, acknowledge that you are doing the best you can.  Even if you adopt one new behavior, if it helps you find some peace during this extraordinarily busy and sometimes stressful time, then well done to you.  It’s important for me to say that this isn’t a guilt trip nor am I trying to preach in any way!  This is me sharing my perspective and hopefully it will also make you giggle.  For me improvement lies in my own awareness.  I can’t say that I do all of these things every day to perfection, but being aware has pushed me in a better direction!
1.  Yoga – Yoga has been a big part of my life for 15 years.  I started at a gym and then 8 years ago when I could no longer stand the cold room and the clanking of the gym equipment, I made the move to a yoga studio…which I am completely obsessed with.  When I step into that studio and onto my mat, everything about my day goes away.  All of my lists and thinking disappears and I am in a sanctuary where I can BREATHE, take care of my body and let everything go for 90 minutes.  Finding something that makes you refresh your mind and body is a gift.  Whether it is a walk with a friend, meditation, a bike ride or a class at the gym.  Find time for yourself!
SHARE: Do the best you can. Don’t create unrealistic expectations. Try to etch out time to exercise but if something comes up, such is life.  There is always tomorrow!
2.  Skincare – So…I turned 40 in 2012.  GULP.  I am more than 1/2 way to 41 and I am still struggling with that a little bit.  But with the big 4-0 came a major focus on my skin.  I swear I haven’t been this obsessed since my own wedding way back in 1997!  What I can tell you is that while I am not a skincare expert in any way, shape or form, I do have some things that I have found really work.  No gimmicks, I swear!  First off, if you haven’t invested in a Clarisonic, I HIGHLY recommend!  It might just be the best money this girl has ever spent!  It takes a few weeks for your skin to purge (in my experience)…so don’t start using this 2 weeks before your wedding.  Second is another Clarisonic product called the Opal.  And while this is focused on the area around your eyes…I say it can never hurt to start taking care of this area when you are young. Within a few days, I saw an improvement that nothing else has yet to achieve.  Lastly, my most recent obsession, is hand made makeup and skincare from The All Natural Face.  The make all their products in their Framingham store but you can also order online.  These product are amazing.  All vegan, all natural, no chemicals, no additives.  And I swear the make up lasts better than anything I’ve ever used. The other products are made with good organic oils to hydrate your skin yadda yadda yadda… And when I tell you these products are reasonable, that is the understatement of the century.  It’s not a fancy place but the products are great.  It took me a year of a friend telling me to go in (thanks Shannon!) and I’ve been 3 consecutive weeks since!!!
SHARE:
I had the dreaded pimple on my wedding day.  I had been getting regular facials and I made the mistake of going in the day before my wedding.  My esthetician basically started picking around at my skin and wah-la. Guess what I woke up to on my wedding day.  And I am still standing.  My advise?  Go with the flow. Be gentle with yourself…and your skin!
3.  Diet – I have been a vegetarian for 20 years (YIKES).  I have been gluten free for nearly 4 years (by choice…I was recommended by a therapist to try GF to help with inflammation from a car accident).  And do my best to follow an Ayurvedic diet.  We all know that food is our fuel.  And again, I am no expert…just talking from my own experience.  What we eat can make or break us.  Healthy foods make us feel healthy, keep our weight where it should be and give us sustainable energy.
SHARE:
As health conscious as I am…I LOVE my sweets.  Ice cream, sour patch kids, jelly beans…you name it.  The key here is that I do my best.  Don’t deny yourself.  Everything in moderation.
4.  Pamper Yourself – With this one, I could go on and on.  I love massages (if you need an amazing massage therapist see Shannon or Larry Geoghegan at Natick Massage), pedicures, acupuncture, exercising (I know crazy, right?).   I also love jumping rope with my kids, playing with my dog, a good book, dinner with friends, hanging out with my parents and going away for a weekend alone with my hubby.
SHARE:
Let’s be honest when you’re in the thick of it, these things this can feel like another item on your to do list.  But I know for me, etching out time for pure enjoyment can not only be a challenge but often ridden with guilt.  But afterwards, I am always glad I did it!
5.  Smile , Laugh and Breath- Smiling can literally transform your day. Try smiling at someone.  It will change your day when they smile back at you (yes for no reason and yes to a complete stranger).  Laughter is the best medicine.  So laugh a little!  And lastly breathing slow breaths quiets the nervous system.  So take a deep breath!
SHARE:
Unfortunately in our society these things don’t come naturally.  The work ethic in our country, I think, has had an impact on our well being leaving many of us with fast paced, stress induced lives.  I remember at coworkers would tell me they could hear me sighing from down the hall. Good but not good.  I wasn’t breathing well (probably because of stress) and then subconsciously let out this big sigh!  Breathing is something I am focused on improving each day.

Erin + Tom – St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church, Oyster Harbors Club, Centerville, MA

Call me an ocean fanatic.  A lover of weddings.  Gratuitous for amazing clients.  So when you put those things together, you get one ecstatic wedding coordinator!  I felt so honored to be part of Erin and Tom’s entire wedding weekend in the wonderful Cape Cod town of Osterville.

Erin, Tom and their bridal party stayed at The Wianno Club in Osterville, literally set on the edge of the ocean.  It is New England charm at it’s best with views almost indescribable.  To say it took my breath away wouldn’t be an exaggeration!  The girls were so fortunate to be able to use their spectacular sunroom as their hair and make up studio and take in this incredible setting as they got ready for Erin’s big day!

When it was time to depart for the ceremony, guests and the bridal party were taken by trolley.  Erin and her Dad were driven by a family friend in her Dad’s Antique Ford.  Honoring Tom’s Greek heritage, their traditional ceremony took place at St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church in nearby Centerville.  The ceremony was full of wonderful traditions as well as a beautiful live choir and musicians.  And to include Erin’s heritage they were greeted by a Bagpiper as they walked down the aisle as a married couple!

After the ceremony, guests moved on to the private Oyster Harbors Club.  Lucky for them, they had the most perfect September day so they were able to have cocktail hour and photos outdoors.  As guests arrived, they were invited to the lawn sprawling with adirondack chairs and a patio with lawn furniture where they enjoyed signature cocktails, a bountiful raw bar and passed hors d’oeuvres, all served with fun custom cocktail stirrers and napkins.  Erin and Tom decided that a nautical, beachy feel was the way to go with their weekend long wedding celebration.  Their color scheme started wtih their invitations and was carried through most of the fine details.  I especially loved their “logo” with their initials and art of the cape, which they used on their printed materials.  Erin gave her bridesmaids navy and white embroidered totes as gifts and the details continued with their programs, menu cards, placecards and linens to the custom cocktail napkins, straws and stirrers and beautiful florals in blue hydrangea.  Before cocktail hour ended, the photographers took full advantage of the deck overlooking the guests by taking a spectacular panoramic photo!

Once everyone was inside and seated the bridal party, Tom and Erin were announced.  After speeches were given Eye 2 Eye got the party started and kept it going all night long.  It was hard to keep this crown down.  They were having a blast!  And what’s a wedding these days without an after party?  For the guests with more energy, they boarded the bus and headed to The Fox Hole to end the night.  It was the perfect ending to a fabulous day for the loveliest couple!



Event Coordination: The Day Of
Reception:  Oyster Harbors Club
Photography: Snap!
Ceremony Music: Forte Brass
Bag Piper: Patrick McDonnell
Cocktail Music:  Roy Campbell Piano
Entertainment: Eye 2 Eye
Wedding Cake: Cakes ‘n Things
Hair & Makeup: Luz Beauty

Why Hire a Wedding Coordinator?

I am often asked why a bride might hire a wedding coordinator when they have a hotel wedding coordinator as part of their “package”.  So I thought I’d take this opportunity to address the main differences in our roles.  A common misconception is that a wedding coordinator at a hotel does everything that a wedding coordinator does.   So this blog isn’t to sound biased or to say that a wedding couldn’t be fantastic without a wedding coordinator but rather to clarify the differences in our jobs.

The sales person at a hotel is clearly very important and I rely on them for a lot of information I need!  They are the person who will help you to understand the in’s and out’s of the property.  They will have seen the spaces used in a variety of ways and will have the most input on the pros and cons in terms of what works well and what may not.  They also will help you through your tasting and menu planning.  The day of the wedding they will most likely be on site for part of the day and will have a handle on many of the logistics around the hotels responsibilities, which are typically focused on the food and venue.  Often times, simultaneous to your getting ready, they are meeting with other clients, showing the space and working. As they should. That’s their job!

A wedding coordinators job is to be there for YOU. When you hire a coordinator you have someone always in your corner, looking out for your best interest.  In my opinion there are two very important aspects of our job.  One is to know every single detail of your plans, your vendors and that the day runs on time. The other is to have formed a relationship that will put you at ease so you can enjoy every moment with out worrying about whether your band has arrived or if the napkin is folded correctly. A wedding coordinator is on site from the moment that your vendors arrive and are always easily found so that if there are any questions, they can be addressed quickly, clearly and seamlessly!

You don’t get to choose your venue coordinator. But you do get to choose your wedding coordinator. When you decide to hire a coordinator it’s a relationship based on trust. So trust your instincts!

I very often work at hotels and equally as much with caterers. I am most humbled when a client is referred to me because I know they understand and respect my role and that they feel these clients could benefit from a bit more attention.  The other thing is the feedback that I get from vendors when they find out that a bride has hired a coordinator.  If you are unsure, ask them for yourself!  They are usually relieved, particularly the photographers and bands, because they can focus on what they are there to do…take pictures and play music.  They don’t have to worry about what time is it because we are there to do that for them!

And for those who don’t think you can afford hiring a planner or don’t want to use a planner, you might consider a “day of” coordinator.  After nearly 10 years of as full service planner, I decided to create the foundation of my business on “day of” because I believe whole-heartedly in the value and affordability.  At the time there was a clear void in the market. Today I continue to stay focused on “day of” but offer additional consultation to clients looking for a bit more.  So there are options.  It is no longer a luxury.  It’s the foundation to a successful day and more and more brides are recognizing the value!

Hoping for Lucky 13

Happy New Year!  All in all, 2013 is off to a great start!   Amazingly, things haven’t quieted down…even during the “slow season”!   Last week we received word that we are the recipient of 2 awards…WeddingWire’s Bride Choice Award and The Knot Best of Weddings 2013.  We are so appreciative of the recognition and honored to work with such great clients and vendors.

I feel like I am writing my thank you speech for a “People’s Choice Award” but I just want to thank all my brides and grooms for voting for The Day Of and for making 2012 our best year yet!  I am my boss…so the only person holding me accountable is me (sometimes I think that is tougher than having a real boss).  Which is why these awards are even more meaningful. They are the validation that what I am doing works.  That my clients are satisfied with me, my services and the people I am fortunate to work alongside. Our clients’ recognition is the best award of all!  As a services company, our reputation is all we have.

While word of mouth and vendor recommendations have been our mainstay, in 2012 we ventured into the social media world.  While this is a significant effort, it is my pride and honor to share amazing events, experiences and ideas.  So…thank you from the bottom of my heart to all clients who have taken the time out of their busy, newlywed lives to write about their experiences with The Day Of.

Having been a full service event planner for nearly 10 years, I chose “day of” as my focus.  I love what I do.  I love learning my clients plans, hopes and dreams.  I love seeing things and making suggestions that they may not have otherwise thought of.  I love that I am able to offer to my clients the benefits of an experienced full service planner at an affordable price.  We are invested in our clients and at the end of the day, we can run all the social media out there but what we do is based on an amazing relationship, communication, experience and a good sense of humor doesn’t hurt.  Here’s to an amazing 2013!