11 Dec 2014

In Favor of First Looks

Diaries of a Wedding Stylist No Comments

I’m going to keep this post short, sweet and simple, just as a First Look should be.

When it comes to taking high stress out of your wedding day, adding a First Look can easily turn those levels down a notch.

Reasons Why:

First and foremost-you get to share a special moment alone (well, almost) with your sweetheart before being whisked away by the groups of guests throughout your night. If you are feeling nervous before your ceremony, this might melt away the bad butterflies and give you the good ones. Plus, this day is all about you two!

Laura Zastrow Photography

Laura Zastrow Photography

Second, it is your wedding day and you’ll look gorgeous no matter what, but your confidence levels will be at an all time high after freshly finishing your pampering that morning. You won’t have to worry about getting a touch up in before photos to cover up any tears that may have strayed during the day.

Heather Cook Elliott Photography

Heather Cook Elliott Photography

Third, you won’t feel rushed after the ceremony-you’ve said your I Do’s and sealed the deal. Now its time to celebrate! Getting a good chunk of the formals out of the way before your ceremony starts is a good way to ensure you’ll enjoy yourself during your cocktail hour. Take a deep breath-the hard part is over, it should be time to relax and enjoy your new last name and company!

MThree Studio Photography

MThree Studio Photography

TIP: A lot of couples who don’t have photos before hand end up missing the majority of their cocktail hour. No pop, clink, fizzing for you, not to mention you might be missing out on some of those tasty appetizer.

Take these reasons into account when meeting with your photographer! First looks aren’t a MUST DO, but they may definitely benefit you in the long run.

Maura Stoffer Photography

Maura Stoffer Photography

TIP: Trust your photographer. Talk to them about places you like/looks you’re trying to achieve. They will be able to come up with a solid plan of action and scope out a location for the photos that day! An unlikely location can achieve some of the prettiest photos.

Photographer Credits, top to bottom: Laura Zastrow Photography, Heather Cook Elliott Photography, M Three Studio Photography, Maura Stoffer Photography

05 Dec 2014

Kicking the Blues & Bulges {Yoga Ward}

Diaries of a Wedding Stylist No Comments

‘Tis the season to be jolly as well as to indulge in all of those holiday delectables. Cookies, candies, wine, oh my!

I will be honest, I’m definitely going to indulge.

BUT I’m also going to kick those calories’ butts and work mine while I’m at it.

Throughout the next few months, we will be trying out different workouts at studios in the Milwaukee area to kick the winter blues and bulges. A few on our list: yoga, barre and pilates.

First up, Yoga Ward.

Yoga Ward

Located on 2nd Street, the studio is easily accessible for yogis coming to class from work downtown. We attended the 5:30 class with Dean and suggest giving yourself plenty of travel time as traffic can move slowly. BUT, street parking is free!

For those of you who have never been there, the space is large and inviting. Gorgeous Cream City brick lines the walls-I said out loud, “I wish I could live here!”

But on to the more important deets.
Yoga Ward offers a variety of classes from relaxing all the way to awakening Forrest for a variety of students-from beginner to advanced.

Our Class: Vinyasa Flow (Mixed Level)

Length: 1 hour 15 minutes

Although Yoga Ward is not a hot yoga studio, be prepared to sweat. Dean keeps a close eye on all of his students and although I hate to admit my moves needed a little polishing, I definitely appreciated his input and suggestions throughout the class.
I recognized the majority of poses, but I also felt that I was being challenged-there was a little bit of a spin of every sequence.

I left the studio already looking forward to my next class. To top it off, I woke up feeling my work out more so than I ever have before.
I was DEFINITELY doing it right!

What to Pack: Water, hand towel and your mat. Yoga Ward doesn’t rent mats, but they do have bottled water if you show up empty handed.

What to Wear: I wore form fitting yoga pants and a loose, light tank top. Clothes that show the outline of your body are most important as you want to make sure your form is correct.

What to Expect: Although our class was unexpectedly small last night, that is not the norm. I suggest arriving early for both parking and prime placement in the class.

What I Loved: Dean truly personalized the class. I’ve been to other studios where the teacher stays at the front of the room throughout the entirety of class. Dean interacted with everyone and perfected your moves throughout the evening.

What I Hated: NOTHING! Except that I let my inner yogi moves get a little rusty!

TRY IT OUT: For only $15, new Ward yogis can get a 3-Class Pass.

TIP Always come hydrated to class! Drink a lot of water throughout the day; I could tell 20 minutes in that my shaky legs were due to my lack of hydration beforehand!

25 Nov 2014

A Different Strip {Ladies’ weekend in Nashville}

Diaries of a Wedding Stylist No Comments

We’ve all heard of the traditional trip to Vegas to give away your soon to be wedded best friend, and even though Vegas is my favorite vacation spot in the US-yes really, sometimes you’ve got to put on your cowboy boots and explore a different part of the states.

And yes, I do mean cowboy boots.

I’m talking about the Music City of Nashville!

What’s not to love about an amazing Iconic music scene, BBQ and it’s within driving distance to boot!

Where to Stay:
The Sheraton Nashville Downtown had great ammenities and even shuttled guests anywhere downtown!

TIP: Shuttle ends at 11pm, but the Nashville strip is only 4 blocks away.

Where to Eat & Drink: Where to start is a better question.

Puckett’s, a grocery store/restaurant hybrid had some pretty awesome BBQ. Their brunch looks promising if you’re (You will be eating BBQ more than once or you’re not doing it right) wanting to start off your day with a kick.

Saint Anejos, located in the up and coming Gulch area, had a cool new vibe. Their extensive tequila list could get you in trouble though! Saint’s Mexican food was out of this world good.
I recommend washing down your dinner with just about any of their margaritas; the ginger being my favorite!

Jack’s: They boast a well deserved first place award for the 2013 American Royal Barbecue Sauce Contest. Their white sauce is the most popular, but my favorite was their spicy sauce.

TIP: This is a great place to stop on your way out of town to get your one last bite of good BBQ.

Acme is the cool new three story bar in the area boasting a rooftop spot as well. Each level has different performers so you can get a taste of a little bit of everything!
The bar and restaurant has a simple and rustic vibe, but is anything but boring.
TIP: A staple Nashville dish is hot chicken. And it is SPICY. I made the mistake of adding extra hot sauce-don’t do it unless you’re expecting to burn off all of your tastebuds.

Tootsie’s is an iconic Nashville hangout. It is “the bar” to be at.
TIP: The upstairs is always packed and the downstairs is tiny! Be prepared to stand and be squished!

Legend’s Corner is the bar we may or may not have repeatedly visited. It boasts beer and up and coming artists. I recommend checking out Cort Carpenter if he’s ever back.

TIP: Most places have online calendars to check out upcoming events/performers. Take advantage of this!

What to Do:
Tour the Yazoo Brewery for only $8.00! Cheap thrills. It is one of the only tours I’ve ever been on where you get samples throughout. The brewery started off of a homebrew kit and continued to expand.
I recommend their hefeweizen.

Check out live music! You are in Nashville after all. (this is almost impossible not to do) My favorite was Cort Carpenter; he did some awesome covers!

Must Do: Checking out the Grand Ole Opry and other Nashville staples.

What to Pack: Cowboy boots!
Okay, so this isn’t a must, but where else do you have a perfectly good excuse to wear cowboy boots daily?
The dress is quite casual; your favorite pairs of jeans and cute tops will fit in perfectly.

TIP: Save some space and nix the heels; there’s limited seating at the majority of bars and the strip gets to be lengthy. Plus, don’t you plan on dancing your night away?

What to Avoid: Not planning ahead. Coming from a planner’s point of view, you might expect this, but take my advice to heart. There are many events I wanted to attend, only to find out that tickets sold out almost immediately. I’ll have to save my visit to Bluebird and the Sirius Satellite Highway Happy Hour until next time. And trust me, there will be a next time.

12 Nov 2014

Jess + Zach {West Bend Country Club}

Days Full of Detail No Comments

Jess and Zach’s rehearsal was the first I’ve ever been involved with that all guests stood in a circle, holding hands with one another (some complete strangers) and one by one not only had to tell a story about themselves, but also had to give a well wish to the soon to be wed couple. In addition to each and every wish, there were several attendants who mentioned having sunshine over the rain showers that were being forecast for the upcoming day.

You could tell people were a little nervous at first, but it was entirely evident after the fact that everyone had huge hopes for Jessica and Zach as well as undying love.

Something else that was evident?

Just how IN LOVE this couple was. Jess seemed smitten, shy and giggly throughout the evening. Zach couldn’t take his eyes off his bride to be.

If they were near one another, which chances are they were, their hands were always interlaced. At some points in time they were entirely oblivious to everyone around them.

It turns out that this wonderful, free and easy going rehearsal was definitely a sure-fire indicator of what the wedding day would be like. Looming clouds gave way to a bright and gorgeous day, just as the bride was stepping foot onto the shuttle.

Yes, this sounds too good to be true-like a fairy tail.

Yes, it really happened.

Jess wanted to add sparkle and shine to every element of the wedding day that she possibly could. And pink. She loved pink. The pops of pink in her bouquet were absolutely stunning.

Throughout the evening, those little touches were evident. From the sequined table clothes, to the shining chandeliers, to the cake.

And I do mean THE CAKE as in just look at this beauty:

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Guests were spoiled by a candy bar and specialty donuts from The Vault in Chicago.

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The evening was capped off by a few rowdy dance offs and sing-a-longs and a oh-so-popular cigar bar.

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Sweets may be the way to a woman’s heart, but those cigars stole the men’s.

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Take a peek at some of my favorite shots of the day thanks to Paper Antler Photography and be prepared to be dazzled by the gorgeous couple to their breathtaking decor.

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Ceremony Venue: Kewaskum Peace Church
Reception Venue: West Bend Country Club
Florist: Marius Bell, Milwaukee
Photographer: Paper Antler, Madison
Ceremony/Cocktail Hour Music: Fretless Strings
DJ: Milwaukee Airwaves, Milwaukee
Cake: CAKE, Chicago
Donuts: The Vault, Chicago
Chandeliers: Majic
Invitations: Paper Envy, Milwaukee
Tent: Arena Americas, Milwaukee
Linens: BBJ, Milwaukee

11 Nov 2014

Bustle Blunders

Diaries of a Wedding Stylist No Comments

A topic that we find oh-so-necessary to touch base on that brides wouldn’t normally think twice about?

BUSTLES-a tiny item that could have a large impact on your evening.

As of late, we’ve be stumbling upon more and more problems, due to brides stumbling along their dresses.

Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind on your wedding day to beware of faulty bustles.

1. It is typical to leave your bustle down for all photos, events before your ceremony. Only after you walk down the aisle does it come up. Refraining from tying it up and pulling it down multiple times will keep all parts intact and strong for later on in the evening when you’re busting on dance moves on the floor.

2. All bustles are different; although we’ve seen many, it doesn’t mean we’ve seen them all! Appoint a bridesmaid or mom to lead in the tying or buttoning of your bustle. Go through the steps a few times before the wedding as to keep from slowing down the tie up.

TIP: If your mom or maid of honor was with you during your dress shopping, they will be the best point of contact for the day.

3. Have a plan of action for if or when your bustle breaks. Bustles are delicate and no matter how expensive your dress was, it doesn’t fool proof your bustle from breaking. Keep a sew kit or pins on hand in case of creating a makeshift bustle.

TIP: It may seem tacky to bustle with pins, but they are often the strongest resolution. And if you are worried that they might show, they are often times entirely invisible to guests. Only you will know they’re there!

27 Oct 2014

Flower Petal Faux Pas

Diaries of a Wedding Stylist No Comments

Where would our lives be without Pinterest?
…my snarky answer: probably outside or on a run, maybe doing some chores around the house or checking off a few tasks on the list.

…my real answer: a little mix of the above, but with a lot less organization, ease, quick resolutions and ideas. I’ll be honest: Pinterest is fueling my find and fix DIYs, organizing my outfits and making them seem a bit more polished, filling my kitchen with glorious scents and helping me find the perfect gifts.

BUT as will all good things, there might certainly be the bad looming around the corner.

In the bridal world, there are some horrible, terrible, no good, very bad things we see on Pinterest.

One of my favorite examples: flower petal designs down the aisle.

First things first, YES they are BEAUTIFUL. But there are a lot of factors when it comes to pulling this off successfully (ever seen those links to Pinterest fails? If not executed properly, this could end up there).
TIP: To capture the perfect shot you’ve seen on Pinterest, the photo was probably snapped within seconds of the petals being placed.

Things you need on your side:
1. Weather
2. Guests
3. Time

Things you can’t control:
1. Weather
2. Guests
3. Time

Weather:
In order for these petal patterns to cooperate, you need the wind out of sight and rain out of mind. One brisk breeze, especially here on the Milwaukee lakefront, and your pattern will be pushed out of place.

Guests:
One false move or one unobservant guest and again, your florist’s artwork is abort.

Time:
Holding off until the last minute is key for this specific design aspect. The only time “the early bird gets the worm” doesn’t apply is before ceremony start time. Guests can and will show up an hour early, cutting into set up time. Waiting for the rain? Or wind to settle down? Having to hold out for weather will undoubtedly hinder set up time as well.

Things to Keep in Mind:
1. Rain Plan
2. Artistic Freedom
3. Open Mind

If you so choose to follow through with your flower petal plan, here are some key components to understand.
1. The weather may ultimately cancel these plans
2. Give your florist your inspiration picture, but allow he/she artistic freedom. They won’t let it look unsightly.
3. Remember from the above, there are some things out of your control. Don’t approach the aisle an expect the flowers to still stand perfectly in place and remember that by the time you as the bride are walking down, the design will surely be scattered from the processional.

TIP: To ensure a picture perfect pattern while remaining worry free, have your ceremony indoors or pick a more plain/pattern free design. It will still look lovely.
TIPx2: Check in advanced to make sure this is allowed by the venue if indoors.

Real Wedding:
Julissa & Ayodeji
Photo courtesy of Heather Cook Elliott Photography

julissa flowers

Photo courtesy of Heather Cook Elliott Photography

julissa flowers 2

21 Oct 2014

The Waiting Game

Diaries of a Wedding Stylist No Comments

Scenario: You just got engaged, your Pinterest wedding board is filled to the brim and you’re ready to get this planning thing going full speed ahead!

As planners, we pride ourselves in getting back to our clients quickly and we appreciate receiving positive feedback on our prompt response rates. Having a planner helps minimize and manage the stress of other vendors not getting back to you. Think of planners as professional stalkers: the moment we receive your email, we contact vendors to get your answer. We will continue through email and phone calls with check ins until we get the sought after info. Sometimes it can take 2 minutes, 2 hours, 2 days…and then some.

We know you’re excited and we are just as excited to get to working with you, but before you get head over your wedding day heels, there are a few tricks and tips to know about within the wedding industry when you hit a few bumps in the road. Especially during busy season.

1. Sundays are Saturdays and Mondays are Sundays. Especially in the bakery and catering worlds.
After long weekends of events, more common than not, most bakeries and catering companies are closed on Mondays.
TIP: This rule does NOT apply to Bridal Shops. Although they may be closed Mondays, they often have extended hours/business days to accommodate your appointments!

2. Two days wait: Getting price quotes/availability for just about everything in the industry can sometimes warrant a day’s (or two) wait. We aren’t stalling to get back to you or ignoring your emails, if we could come up with quotes in the snap of our fingers, we most definitely would! Although we could base quotes off of past client’s info, it is our goal to get you the most up to date pricing/info to save you time in the long run.
TIP: Sometimes following up with vendors 4 times to get quotes back to you isn’t out of the ordinary-even 6 can be normal!

3. Dress appointments and venue tours…weeks out. Once in awhile, you may luck out and be able to get shooed in last minute; but as a heads up, dress appointments and venue tours are often planned at least a week or two out. As are tasting appointments. For a girl who hates to wait, this is the hardest part for me.

4. Holidays are universal.
Think Thanksgiving and Christmas…It is certainly convenient that you may be in town celebrating the holidays with family members and friends-why not get a few wedding meetings out of the way as well? For a profession that is spent working almost every weekend, when it comes to holidays, many take advantage of being able to take personal time off to spend with family.

5. Weekends-Off Limits (to an extent).
I shouldn’t say off limits, but unless you’re headed to look at dresses, most wedding vendors find weekends difficult to meet as they are most likely at a wedding themselves. Put yourself in your day of wedding heels-would you want your caterer, planner, florist (to whom it may concern) meeting with other couples before tending to your big day? You may certainly find yourself saying no…
TIP: This is primarily true during busy season, November-March are often times much easier for wedding vendors to meet on weekends and more common than not, that’s when you’ll see them-take advantage of this!

With every rule, comes an exception; there will always be a time when you may be able to beat the system, but knowing this info is a good rule of thumb within the planning process.

All in all, our best advice we can offer to any bride or groom is that you must plan in advance. Waiting last minute to cram will just cause a headache.
Take it from me, a girl who would appreciate everything falling together in the flip of a dime, good things come to those who wait ;)

11 Sep 2014

A few of our favorite {FALL} things

Shop Talk No Comments

The new season is fast approaching, if you couldn’t tell, open up your eyes!

But, with the breezy weather on its way in, I have begun my seasonal stock up-this is honestly my favorite time of the year!

True, it may be a l i t t l e early for Pumpkin Spice anything, but I’m going to go ahead and embrace a good thing when it appears.

Summer is great and all, but fall is what I live for. The shoes are cuter, the colors are richer, and I can bundle up in my favorite sweater(s).

Not to mention boots. I love the boots. I just added these classics from Lands’ End to my collection last week:

blakely

NOTE: If you aren’t already a fan, the Wisconsin based Lands’ End has a LOT to offer. Not to mention killer sales throughout the year.

My daily wardrobe consists of the usual staples of long sleeves, dark skinnies and scarves. My accessories are where I add in the fun. You can mix and match, play it up or down, look classy and comfortable. (Between errands, office work and studio meetings, comfort is key.)

So, before I get sidetracked, I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite things.

Clutch: Tortoiseshell anything will always be in style; ask your grandmothers. The mix of the black and brown print blends everything together. The clutch caught my eye back in MARCH and with that said, it is something that is not just a seasonal staple, but a daily staple.

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Flats: These calf-hair cuties definitely make a statement on your feet. After having to throw out my first beloved pair after wearing them out on wedding days, I was more than happy to see that they were still available two years later!

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Studs: I have a collection of Kate Spade gumdrops, but Kendra Scott knows how to make an entrance. These Morgan studs are perfect for everyday wear and the smokey quartz is eye catching.

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Lips: Day to day, I try to keep my makeup routine simple. Groomed brows, mascara’d lashes, colored lips. Regardless, Bobbi Brown is my go to girl-I can probably thank Tayla LaMacchia our go to make up gal here in Milwaukee for this obsession. The sheer lip color in Cherry Pink is always in hand and on lips.

TIP: Versatility is key. True, I am stating these are my fall staples, but all items can be worn throughout the seasons! Hence making them great additions to any closet!

Lands End store locations near Milwaukee:

17925 W Bluemound Rd #400
Brookfield, WI
(262) 879-2000

Brookfield Square, 115 S Moorland Rd
Brookfield, WI
(262) 796-5304

(currently 20% off sitewide! Code: FALLBREEZE Pin:1755)

28 Aug 2014

Worth the wait

Tips and Tricks from a Wedding Planner No Comments

My Facebook feed has been seeing a trend lately and not one of those viral videos being shared with a funny animal doing something even funnier…but with engagements galore!

Tis the season!

I am so thrilled as I’ve had many friends become engaged in the past month, weeks and actually in a few days :) (Congrats to the couple who cannot yet be named!)

But with the engagement excitement comes the planning overexcitement. Brides-to-be can’t wait to put their dream wedding boards on Pinterest to reality’s use. (I can’t blame you ladies!)

With that said, it is really easy to jump the gun.

Currently, it is booking time for the 2015 season, but strangely enough, we’ve been getting contacted for the 2016 season already. Do NOT get me wrong, this is the ultimate form of flattery, we are elated about brides who are elated about working with us.

But here are a few things to keep in mind when thinking in advance:

Styles Change:
Think about how much weddings styles have changed in the last year or perhaps the number of times you’ve switched up what your dream looks like.

The main point is, what may be in style this year, probably won’t be as popular next year and well the year after that, well, that’s anyone’s guess…

Families Change:
Sad but real truth, death and illness do occur, and sometimes things happen out of the blue.

A bride booked for 2014 had to change the wedding date due to a family emergency.

Relationships Change:
For the better or for the worse-you may form new relationships throughout the next two years, or you might lose some along the way, everybody has their true blue friends, but there are also some that come and go. Could you imagine having to revoke an invite to be a bridesmaid?

Change is obviously a recurring theme here…

So pick a date, throw out some ideas, but enjoy showing off your ring and gushing for a few months if you’re still 2 years out from your big day! Planning should go into full force about a year out from your date!

FYIs:
-Earliest you can book a venue: 16 months out
-Earliest you can book a caterer: 1 year out
-When you typically order your dress: 8 months out

And if I haven’t warned you enough already, think about fitting into some of your dresses from 2 years ago…

19 Aug 2014

Tried and True: Product Review {Glamglow SuperMud}

Diaries of a Wedding Stylist No Comments

Timing for break outs could never be worse; they show up when you least expect them or want them.

They’re like the guest who didn’t RSVP when you have all of the place settings at each table with no room. Everything was perfectly placed until the last minute.

But, from a planner’s perspective, you’ve got to find a way to blend them in and quickly.

Perhaps it is because I’m actually attending a wedding as a guest this weekend and my face wants to sabotage the rest of my body, but without fail I have a break out. Or should I say HAD.

Instead of having a cry session about it, I took matters into my own hands and nipped it in the bud.

That’s where Glamglow SuperMud came to the rescue.

In GLAMGLOW we trust

In GLAMGLOW we trust

Before you say, “HAVE YOU SEEN THE PRICE TAG ON THAT TINY 1.2oz JAR!?” let me notify you that I indeed have and that’s why I asked for a sample. A FREE sample. Sephora, ladies and gents, is indeed your friend.

The packaging is white, but the contents are dark grey. I was little taken aback as I’ve grown more accustomed to my traditional bright green, swamp monster masks.

In reality, this mask makes you look like even more of a swamp monster, so stay away from your windows or your neighbors might try to sell you out to the media.

After lightly laying it across my face (I didn’t leave thick spots) I let it dry for about 5 minutes.

I noticed that in definitely seeped into my pores and I almost immediately could see every little dot on my face. I had a minor freak out that it wouldn’t wash away and that I had actually done some real harm to myself…

After a good 10 minutes (5 for extra measure) I washed it off.

I wasn’t expecting a miracle, nor was I expecting it to live up to the hype. Honestly, the reviews made it sound like it was indeed some type of super hero for your skin. (eye roll) But…it kind of knocked my socks off, I’m not going to lie.

My face seemed to be glowing, my skin tone seemed to be milkier and my bright red breakout had softened. The redness was no longer flaming red, it had died down to much more of a slow smolder at that point in time.

36 hours have passed and my spots are only tiny pink dots.

To my brides to be who have a break out a week, or days, before their wedding or to anybody who just wants to know, this Super Mud super hero lived up to its super name, take it from me!

Where to buy the full size: SEPHORA

TIP: As stated above, visit your local Sephora and ask for a sample; they’re more than generous and the amount will cover your face AND leave some for spot treatment at a later date.

TIP: Want more on hand, but don’t want to buy the full size product? Check for trial sizes on Ebay; you can buy a few packets at a time to keep on hand for those emergencies. Sephora might catch on if you are continuously coming in for free samples ;)