Jake & Chelsea Stroyan

I was very fortunate to be able to attend my close friend and cousin Jake's wedding. I was fortunate because it was all the way in Orlando, FL and it's not a quick, inexpensive flight. It was on April 9, 2014 in the Orlando temple. I flew down a few days before to enjoy Florida with the fam and be apart of the rehearsal dinner and Bachelorette party. My cousin sure did get lucky with Chelsea because she is amazing. I have come to know her really well and am so stoked she is part of the family.

If you know Florida you know that it is extremely humid especially in August. It was definitely a climate shock. Luckily the temple wasn't too crazy on that Saturday.

I helped my aunt (Jake's mom) with the wedding luncheon after the temple. I called and scheduled a caterer, helped order the food, find a venue, decorations etc.

I also helped Chelsea find bridesmaids dresses along with a photographer in the Orlando area and find pots for the succulents (wedding favors).

Chelsea and Jake's colors were gold and white and it would be considered trendy and formal. It was at the Winter Park Racquet Club in Winter Park, Florida. There was a buffet-style dinner along with many wedding festivities including the groom singing and playing a song for the bride! It was very special.

After the reception the guests headed outside for an extravagant sparkler send off. Then the bride and groom got a special ride on the back of a boat for their grand exit.

Photography: Lens & Light Photography

Baily & Austin Brasher

On December 22, 2014 my beautiful cousin Baily was married and sealed for time and all eternity in the Draper temple to the love of her life Austin Brasher. Even though it was freezing and one of the busiest days ever at the temple it was definitely memorable.

They had their reception later that evening at Stones Gates Center For The Arts in Pleasant Grove, UT. I had a blast planning her wedding as I was able to be apart of it all from start to finish. We had a lot email exchanges, texts, Baily isn't much of a phone talker but we made it work. We even met a few months before in Washington for an in-person planning session/check-in with my aunt Jane. 

Baily and Jane were a little worried with how everything was going to turn it out but it was truly amazing. Austin's uncle catered the food. The cake was beautiful and delicious along with all the other treats. My favorite was the hot chocolate bar. Her colors were a deep red and gold. Perfect for a seasonal/winter wedding. Her photographer was a friend of a family's and she did a great job as you can see. 

Photographer: Chaos and Bliss Photography

4 Tips On How To Make Your Guests Happy

Last August I attended one of my friend's weddings at a beautiful golf course in Portland. The ceremony and reception was gorgeous and I was very happy to be there. If I remember right the ceremony started at 5pm and the invite said to arrive 30 minutes prior. We got there in plenty of time and so did the other guests. We were all just standing around unsure what to do. It was 93 degrees outside and we all were sweating. It soon was 5pm, and there was still no sign of the bride and groom. Finally 5:15 rolled around and the groom came out. Tip 1: Start your ceremony on time. Guests don't want to wait around for you especially in the middle of August. After the ceremony we found our place cards and sat at our designated table. There was again a lot of waiting around for the bride and groom to enter so they could be seated and we could begin the dinner. If you are going to be serving dinner you should consider giving two options for dinner. I really liked that my friend did this so they aren't stuck with something they don't like. So Tip 2: Give your guests an option if you are serving dinner at your reception. They also gave out two drink cards per guest to redeem for alcoholic beverages or whatever you wanted besides water. Most weddings I've been to also only have coffee, water or lemonade. It is nice to be able to get a soda or alcohol and not have to pay extra for it. After dinner, we were all unsure what was going on. I had never been to a reception where there was so much waiting around time. Tip 3: The less waiting around time between dinner, speeches, dances, cake etc. the better. After sitting at the table for about 45 minutes, we were being greeted by the bride and groom and thanking us for coming. They took the time and went to every table-every guest to say thank you and greeted them. I have been to many weddings where the bride and groom don't even talk to most of their guests. Tip 4: If you are not going to have a line where guests can greet you, you need to go around to each table and thank your guests so they know you care and appreciate them coming.

Hopefully you can take away from this some valuable tips on how to make your guests happy.

Social Media At Weddings

The trend of social media at weddings is becoming more and more popular. Brides are choosing to have signs at their weddings letting guests know to use their hashtag for pictures, posts etc. via Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. 

In fact, New York City's W Hotels are now offering brides and grooms the ultimate social media experience for only $3,000. The social media concierge live-tweets the ceremony and reception, uploads pictures and videos to Vine and Instagram, and encourages the guests to use the specified hashtag. 

I have helped couples set up blogs and websites for their wedding, but now they are wanting even more social media at their wedding. Currently W is the only company on the market today that has a designated concierge for social media. However, the wedding industry is confident that this will be the next big thing to come.

I personally see the benefits of having a sign at your wedding/ceremony with your wedding hashtag. It will allow you to create an instant, easily accessible photo album of your entire wedding. All the pictures will be freely donated by your guests, all you have to do is encourage them to use it. 

Arnie & Shantae Anaya

One of my long time friends Shantae got married last month, ( I know I'm a little late posting.) I've known Shantae since my senior year of high school when we worked at Bally Total Fitness together. When I found out she was engaged in September, I was so happy for her and wanted to help plan her wedding. Thankfully she gave me permission and we immediately started planning. It was such a fun wedding to plan and be apart of, and Shantae was a perfect bride to work with. However, due to some unforeseen circumstances I wasn't able to be apart of the big day, but it turned out (of course) to be a beautiful wedding and I wish I could've been there.

The wedding ceremony and reception was at The Falls Event Center in St. George. It is a beautiful place to have a wedding. They have indoor and outdoor areas and you get access to all of it. They let you choose your own caterer, and all outside vendors which is nice so you have freedom to choose what you want. They set up the ceremony chairs for you as well as give you linens to use. I know Shantae enjoyed working with them and they were extremely helpful through the whole process.

Shantae and Arnie chose perfect spring colors: light pink, dark pink, and grey and wanted to give off a flirty, fun theme and turned out perfectly. They had yard games for their guests that her and Arnie made and they looked awesome. The food, flowers, cake, guest favors, decorations, everything all turned out great. Shantae made a gorgeous bride and I am so happy for her and Arnie.

Adrian Vanderhoof Photography

Picking Out A Men's Wedding Band

Now that the most important ring is decided on it's time to think about your groom's ring. Traditionally not much money is spent on the groom's ring. Some things to consider when picking out his ring is his everyday style. If he's a laid-back guy you might want a classic band or if he's more of a flashy guy maybe he would like some bling of his own.

Most men these days are all about tungsten rings. For one, tungsten is a hard metal. This is good if he is active and works with his hands frequently. Though tungsten is not scratch proof it is very scratch resistant. Tungsten is traditionally a dark grey metal but comes in all shades of grey. The styles vary greatly whether you want plain tungsten all the way around or one that is inlayed with another material. My husband's ring has carbon fiber in the center. It can be fairly inexpensive (his was free with the purchase of my ring). Any jewelry store will have tungsten rings and they range in price from $30-350 depending on the quality and style. It is a safe, great pick. It is my style of choice and is popular especially with our generation.

Since yellow gold is hot and trendy right now maybe you want to consider that. It is a bit pricier but it is a cool look and you can fall anywhere from very simple to heavy on the "bling". This was hot when our parents got married maybe your dad has a gold ring like this.

Silver or white gold rings are the classy and traditional ring that can start at $40 for silver and $200 for white gold and go up from there. The styles again range from simple and plain to one or multiple diamond studs. You could even go with some black diamonds or get a band that looks more like yours if you're into that sort of thing.

Other options include platinum, titanium and ceramic. Titanium rings are resistant to bending, and is scratch resistant and has comparable prices to silver. Platinum is known for its ability to almost never break and will remain in better shape than silver or gold over the years, however it is very pricey. Ceramic has a similar look of tungsten. It looks like it's always polished and is the least inexpensive  of all.

As you can see there are a lot of options. If you aren't quite sure what your husband would like ask him-there's no harm there.

Ceremony Etiquette: Everything From Processional Order To Recessional Order (Formal)

It is important your bridal party knows the processional order (walking into the ceremony) and recessional order (leaving the ceremony) to avoid any chaos and confusion. You will practice this at your rehearsal dinner and your wedding planning (me) will walk you through it.

For the males that are escorting it is a general rule of thumb that you keep the woman on the left side of you unless they are going to be sitting on the Groom's side (right side) of the alter.

Processional Order:
- Groom's father's grandparents (seated on the right side)
- Groom's mother's grandparents
- Bride's father's grandparents
- Bride's mother's grandparents
- MOG escorted by Groom or her husband
- MOB escorted by a son or FOB
- Wedding Party:

  • First the officiant will walk in and the Groom will follow. Or you can have them come in a side door if available.
  • Groomsmen and bridesmaids will walk in pairs starting with who will stand farthest from the Bride and Groom and ending with the best man and maid of honor closest to the Bride and Groom.
  • Ring bearer and or flower girl
  • Finally the Bride escorted by the FOB. 
Recessional Order:
- Bride and Groom
- Ring bearer and flower girl
- Maid of honor and best man
- Bridesmaids and groomsmen
- MOB and FOB
- MOG and FOG
- Grandparents 

At a later date I will go over song choices that are good to play during the ceremony as well as how a traditional ceremony is conducted.