Book Review – The Bride’s Money Book: How to Have a Champagne Wedding on a Ginger-Ale Budget by Pamela A. Piljac

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Book Review – The Bride’s Money Book: How To Have A Champagne Wedding On A Ginger Ale Budget by Pamela A. Piljac

As a wedding planner and designer I am always on the look out for helpful resources to add to my library to use assisting couples plan their own weddings. The Bride’s Money Book: How To Have A Champagne Wedding On A Ginger Ale Budget  presents some good and useful ideas.

The questions to ask service providers are definitely beneficial since each couple, whether or not on a strict budget, needs to be an informed shopper. The tips offered in the later chapters are useful as well as they give each bride and groom many cost saving ideas which they can choose from. Although these tips can often be found in other sources (bridal magazines, planners, web sites) it is convenient (and time saving) to have them all in one place.

There is no one way to have a ceremony and reception as the “Sample Weddings” section explained, however only one included the budget used, and it was over budget. Also, paying [their estimated expense] for dinner is NOT budget minded. It may have been helpful to know where Rachel and Mark’s reception was taking place, since typical weddings (and budgets) vary considerably from places like New York or Los Angeles to the Midwest.

I must disagree with the statement on page 7 which states, “people seldom use wedding consultants unless they are having a larger, more expensive wedding.” Many couples have smaller guest lists and lower budgets. Those with less money to spend can benefit from the assistance of a professional to ensure that their hard earned dollars are spent wisely, and that they get the most bang for their buck.

Overall The Bride’s Money Book: How To Have A Champagne Wedding On A Ginger Ale Budget is a helpful read for anyone (male or female) who is planning a wedding.

Hearts, Joy, Love!

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If you have questions or are looking for ideas, contact me at or at 937-235-2586.

How to Shoot Weddings (When You’re Not a Wedding Shooter)







photo credit: Kris Krug via photopin cc

Grabbed the mail the other day, and a cover story on my husband’s copy of Popular Photography (June 2014 issue) caught my eye.

“How to Shoot Weddings (When You’re Not a Wedding Shooter).”

Now I’m thinkin’, “Great. An article on how to fake-it for wannabe wedding photographers.” Ok, I’m really not a cynical person, but I am a firm advocate for having a professional vendor team – your dj, your planner, your photographer, all of them – who is experienced and knows weddings.

I was pleasantly surprised.

In the article, author Peter Kolonia gives 25 dos and don’ts that advises the soon-to-be wedding photographer (probably a friend or family member of the engaged couple) to:

    • do their homework (visit websites of wedding photographers, search the net for wedding photos taken at the venue)
    • be prepared (practice with any unfamiliar equipment, get the day’s agenda, have extra batteries & memory cards, discuss what photos the couple wants
    • be realistic (make sure the couple knows you’re doing this as a favor and can’t guarantee results, securely store full memory cards, bring an assistant).

I still believe in using a pro wedding photographer – but for the couple who really wants their friend or relative with a little skill behind the lens to do the honor, the tips in this article can help avoid a disaster, while helping to set and meet realistic expectations.

Hearts, Joy, Love!

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Real Wedding by Weddings From The Heart Candice and Chris

Real Wedding – Candice & Chris

Bride and Bridesmaids bouquets by Sherwood Florist

The New Mr. & Mrs.

above photos by openField photography

We recently had the pleasure of having one of our weddings that was inspired by the couples’ love for vintage and travel featured on

Candice and Chris are both JAGs in the Air Force who share a love of travel. (They met in Italy!) and they decided to pay homage to their careers as attorneys by hosting their reception at the historic Old Dayton Courthouse after getting married at Holy Trinity Catholic Church.

Decor details included iconic European and travel elements such as postcards, luggage/travel stickers, suitcases, hotel keys, and an appetizer table depictive of a Parisian market. The centerpieces featured their collections of cobalt blue wine bottles, vintage tea cups/saucers, and old books with French, German, British, and American titles.

Vintage-Travel Themed Wedding Centerpiece

photo credit: openField photography

During the reception, Heidi with Paint Your Event captured the event on canvas, creating an incredible and unique keepsake that now hangs in their home.

Original Reception Painting by Paint Your Event

You can view the entire Classic Bride blog post here.

Our Vendor Team:
Ceremony Site – Holy Trinity Church
Reception Site – Old Dayton Courthouse
Photographer – Lauren Chapman and Robbie Gantt openField photography
Florist – Jessie Sherwood Florist
Hair & Make-up – Ryen from Eye Do Hair
Caterer – Elite Catering
Painter – Heidi Schwartz Paint Your Event
Cake – Karen Ankrom Tiers of Sugar

Hearts, Joy, Love!

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Looking for unique ideas for your wedding? Weddings From The Heart can help. Contact me today at or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

Bride & Groom Q & A – Cake Toppers

classic bride and groom wedding cake topper

photo credit: Photography By Shaeree via photopin cc

Q. – I don’t know what wedding cake topper to get. Some look so heavy.

A. – Cake toppers come in just about every style – monograms, bride and grooms, doves. Even dragons, the Chinese Double Happiness symbol, a pair of dogs. The possibilities are endless.

So, how to decide what type of cake topper to get?

Easy. Choose a topper that coordinates with your wedding theme and style. You can go traditional with a bride and groom, or choose something more stylized to fit your wedding theme. For Dr. Who fans, have a pair of daleks. And a castle is the perfect topper for a princess theme.

dalek wedding cake toppers

photo credit: FrozenCapybara via photopin cc

Castle Wedding Cake Topper

photo credit: Weddings From The Heart

Top 7 Alternatives to a Traditional Wedding Cake

Flowers are a popular choice for a wedding cake topper. You can have your florist create a small arrangement. Or you can use your toss bouquet.

Wedding Cake with Floral Cake Topper

photo credit: 808 Studios Photography

While most cake toppers are made with their purpose in mind – to sit atop a cake – some can be a bit too heavy, unless additional support is in the cake. You certainly won’t want your cake topper to sink down into your cake, or to fall off!

The only way to know for sure is to have your baker the topper do a trial run of just the top tier. That way she can see if any extra dowels or other support methods will need to be inserted into the wedding cake.

Then again, there’s no rule that says you have to have a cake topper. Some wedding cakes are quite lovely with nothing at all on the very top.

Wedding Cake by Tiers of Sugar

photo credit: openField photography

If you do decide to use a cake topper and it ends up that it will still be too heavy for your cake, you can always set it on the table next to your cake.

Good luck!

Hearts, Joy, Love!

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Do you have a question or wedding dilemma? Let me know. I’d be happy to help. Contact me at or at 937-235-2586.

Top 13 Common Myths & Misconceptions About Wedding Planners

medusa - common myths & misconceptions about wedding planners photo credit: bl3w via photopin cc

Medusa, the Loch Ness Monster, Big Foot, Jennifer Lopez as The Wedding Planner . . . What do these things have in common? They’re all MYTHS!

While being a myth doesn’t keep people from seeking some of these out (well, maybe not Medusa . . . ) they often prevent couples from seeking out the assistance of a professional wedding planner.

To help clarify and debunk some of these, here is a list of some of the more common misconceptions of professional wedding planners, aka wedding consultants, wedding coordinators, and bridal consultants.

1. Consultants are expensive and only for the rich and famous.
Like most people, much of what you know about a Wedding Planner is what you see on TV, the movies, and in magazines. Lavish celebrity weddings sell ratings and more copies – but they are not the stuff of everyday real-life weddings. And the people who produce these weddings (Colin Cowie, Preston Bailey . . .) provide a very different service than your local Wedding Planner. The local Wedding Planner understands what’s in their region — current trends, and all the great local vendors and resources.

Also, most Wedding Planners offer different levels of service, from a basic hour-long session to full-service coordination and design, so you should be able to find something in your price range quite easily.

2. My caterer also does wedding planning. Why not just use them to plan mine?
A caterer’s (or florist’s, or dj’s, etc.) main job is to provide the service they are specifically trained and experienced in. While they are busy providing their service on a wedding day, how are they going to take care of any the other behind-the-scenes things? They just can’t be in two places at once.

3. I’ve just booked my reception venue and they have a list of “preferred vendors.” Why should I pay someone for the same information?
Because a Wedding Planner doesn’t give the same information. The “preferred vendor” list provided by venues, caterers, etc. are often vendors who have paid to be on that list, and is not an indication of their style, pricing, availability, nor reputation. This very same list is given to all of the venue’s clients.

On the other hand, the list of vendors provided by a Wedding Planner is tailored specifically for each bride & groom. You have your own specific style and desires, as well as budget, that you want for your wedding day.

Wouldn’t you rather have a list of available vendors that you know specialize in your desired style, and fit your budget?

4. But I don’t want someone to plan my wedding they way they think it should be.
A Wedding Planner will take the time to find out exactly what you and your fiancé want out of your wedding, how you envision your wedding day, how much you have and want to spend, and what your priorities are for your wedding.

She will also take the time to get to know YOU. By doing so, then she can make referrals and suggestions based on your unique desires and dreams for your wedding day, and NOT some preconceived notion of what a wedding “should” be.

She will help you plan your wedding the way YOU want it to be, not the way she thinks it should be, or (worse yet!) “the way it’s always been done.”

5. Don’t consultants take ‘kickbacks’ from the vendors they refer?
Absolutely not! It is unethical to accept kickbacks, finders fees, or whatever you want to call them. A Wedding Planner’s main focus is on you, the bride and groom. The Wedding Planners are looking out for the bride and groom’s best interest, not their own, nor any other vendor’s. The ONLY exception is if the consultant’s fees will be paid by the vendors and not by the client.

6. Won’t a consultant want to run the whole show?
A Wedding Planner will work with you, handling as much or as little of your wedding as you want. After all, it is your wedding. The Wedding Planner is there to help you and your family make the day perfect. If you want her to, the Wedding Planner will run the whole show, but it is your show that she is running.

7. Our church has a wedding coordinator. Why do I need someone else?
The person at the church is usually only familiar with his/her aspect of the wedding — getting the bride down the aisle on time — not the complete planning process, and is primarily concerned with making sure the rules of their church are followed. Don’t assume the church coordinator will help with any set-up, assist you and your bridal party while you’re getting dressed, pass out and pin on boutonnieres and corsages, make sure everything and everyone is in place, or be able to fix any behind-the-scenes problems that may arise.

8. I can find vendors off the internet. Why pay someone to do this for me?
You can pick names from the internet yourself. However, this is no indication of their style, price ranges, availability, or if the vendor is even reputable. Referrals provided by a Wedding Planner are not pulled off of the internet or out of the yellow pages, but from a data base of pre-qualified, reputable vendors who match a specific set of criteria that fits your wedding vision and budget.

9. My friend (or sister) just got married, and her wedding was great. Why can’t I use the same vendors?
Of course you can use the same vendors, but do you really want to have your wedding just like someone else’s?

10. My mom is helping me. Why hire someone when we can do it all?
Using the services of a Wedding Planner does not prevent you and/or your mom from “doing it all.” Instead, with her training, experience and expertise, the Wedding Planner is on hand to assist and guide you through the entire wedding process, offering suitable suggestions and quickly remedying any problems, so no one ends up too stressed and too tired to enjoy the big day when it finally arrives.

Wouldn’t you rather look forward to and enjoy your wedding day with anticipation than get so stressed out that you can’t wait for it to be over with?

11. I’m organized so I don’t need a wedding planner.
Planning a wedding takes more than just organization. You also need time.

On the average, it takes a bride at least 200-250 hours to plan her wedding. So you need to ask yourself, with everything else going on in your busy life, is there enough time? Having a Wedding Planner does not exclude you from planning your wedding. In fact, it will make the process easier. So why not let someone else do the leg work and leave the fun parts to you?

12. My venue has a wedding coordinator
While the venue coordinator can offer wonderful help and advice, their role does not cover the full range of wedding planner/coordinator duties. In truth, the role of the venue event coordinator is to manage the venue, make sure its contractual obligations to you are met, and that any venue “rules” are followed. They are not in contact with any of your other vendors prior to your wedding day.

They may not even be there on the day of your wedding (or only be there for part of the day). It’s even possible the by the time your wedding day is here, they are no longer with the venue, leaving you to have to bring the new person “up to speed.”

A Wedding Planner will be there with you throughout the whole process, offer suggestions and advice based on what will best suit you and YOUR wedding instead of just how things are done at a particular venue, and have at her fingertips all of the information from all of your selected vendors pertaining to your wedding.

13. My vendors are all professionals, I don’t need a planner
The use of a Wedding Planner in no way implies that the vendors aren’t professional or have to be watched over in order to get the job done right.

Most weddings utilize anywhere from 10 – 20 different types of vendors. All of the communication necessary during the planning process – questions asked, changes made, questions answered, things added . . . will take a lot of time. How much extra time do you really have to make additional phone calls, often getting voice mail, leaving messages, then waiting for those return calls? Part of a Wedding Planners role is to take care of this communication for you.

Not to mention that 10-15 of these vendors will have an active role on your wedding day itself. It’s so important that everyone is working together as a team, and is working off of the same time schedule. So your Wedding Planner is the team leader. We pull everyone and everything together to make sure that your wedding day meets the vision that you had during the planning, leaving you to be able to relax and get to enjoy your wedding day.

Hearts, Joy, Love!

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See how Weddings From The Heart can make your wedding day stress-free, enjoyable, and just the way YOU want it to be. Contact me at 937-235-2586, 937-581-3647, or and schedule your free, initial appointment!