Plan your unique wedding at the Michigan Renaissance Festival

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Did you know you could get married or renew your vows at the Michigan Renaissance Festival? You can! I am always preaching about making your wedding unique to you and what you enjoy as a couple. The latest trends do not matter as much as your likes and interests. The Michigan Renaissance Festival invited my family to get a taste of the festival a couple weeks ago.

 

 

You might enjoy a Renaissance Festival wedding if you are into costuming, cosplay, or very themed, festive celebrations! If you’ve never visited this type of festival, I recommend you do that before planning your wedding there, however. You’ll want to make sure you like the festival “vibe”.

 

 

There are several package options and menus available.  You can design your wedding more traditional or festively themed. A Wedding Planner can help you plan all the details. Take a look at the wedding brochure here.

The Michigan Renaissance Festival also offers vow renewals every Sunday. Visit their website for more information on all celebrations!

What to do 1-2 months before your wedding

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Other posts in this wedding planning series:

What to do when you get engaged

What to do 6-9 months before your wedding

What to do 4-5 months before your wedding

What to do 2-3 months before your wedding

This week…

 

Ceremony Details.

Start writing your vows, if you haven’t already.

Finalize readings and songs for the ceremony. Review them with the people that will be performing them.

Meet with your Officiant to finalize his or her words.

Bridal Gown.

Once your alterations are complete, have another bridal gown fitting. You want to leave enough time to make adjustments, if necessary. Take a friend with you so you can get an opinion on the cut and fit.

Write thank you notes.

Stock up on nice thank you notes, envelopes, pens, and stamps. Begin writing thank you notes for any gifts received so far. Update your registry and add more items to it, if necessary.

Hang with your girls or guys.

Schedule a casual luncheon with your bridesmaids or groomsmen. Take this time to relax and enjoy those you consider special enough to be included in your wedding party. This would be a great time to give them any gifts you’ve purchased for them.

Wedding insurance.

Wedding insurance is a growing concern for many people. Should you get it or not? First, you need to find out whether your venue requires liability insurance. More and more venues are making this a requirement, so make sure you double check! In the grand scheme of wedding budgets, wedding insurance isn’t that expensive. And it just might give you peace of mind.

 

You’re almost there!! Yay!


Check back for more wedding planning tips and videos. If you’re in the Detroit or Ann Arbor areas, contact me for help!

What to do 2-3 months before your wedding

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Other posts in this wedding planning series:

What to do when you get engaged

What to do 6-9 months before your wedding

What to do 4-5 months before your wedding

This week…

Finalize everything.

You have done so much work and planning and now it’s time to finalize it all! Start with your guest list. Once your guest list is finalized, send your invitations to your calligrapher. Just remember to mail them out a solid 8 weeks before your wedding date. You want to give your guests enough time to make travel arrangements, arrange for child care, or ask off work.

Finalize your rehearsal dinner reservations and send out those invitations. The general rule is to invite your entire wedding party and their significant others, close family and friends, plus anyone who has traveled from out of town to your wedding.

Book your hair and makeup artist, if you haven’t done that already. Don’t forget to include your mom, your mother-in-law, grandmothers, and your bridesmaids.

Finalize the wedding menu with your caterer, finish shopping for party favors and gifts, and gather all your wedding accessories such as baskets, ring pillow, candles, and decor elements. Finalize your wedding day transportation, as well.

Confirm tuxes.

Confirm the details of any tuxedos or rental attire your wedding party is wearing.

Wedding ceremony.

Choose the special songs for your processional, recessional, and grand entrance! If you haven’t chosen readings or songs for your ceremony, do this now. Consult with those who will be playing, singing, or reading.

Do you dance?

Consider signing up for dance lessons! Do this especially if you’re nervous about that first dance.

Going on a honeymoon?

Finalize your honeymoon details.

Check on your registry.

Check that your registry still has plenty of gifts left to choose from. If you’re worried about seeing what gifts have already been purchased (don’t act like you haven’t been looking!) you can ask your wedding planner, maid-of-honor, or best man to look for you. 🙂


Check back for more wedding planning tips and videos. If you’re in the Detroit or Ann Arbor areas, contact me for help!

What to do 4-5 months before your wedding

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Other posts in this wedding planning series:

What to do when you get engaged

What to do 6-9 months before your wedding

This week, I’m talking about what to do 4-5 months before your wedding:

 

Order wedding invitations.

Order your wedding invitations with enough time to have them customized, addressed, and mailed.

Shop & buy wedding rings.

Shop around and find the perfect wedding rings for you and your partner. Decide whether you want to have them engraved and have that done at the same time.

Food, food, & more food.

Cake: Schedule cake tastings with several bakers. Choose your favorite cake, filling, and frosting flavors and place your order.

Caterer: Plan your final menu. Consider adding some favorite family dishes or regional favorites to really make the menu your own.

Rehearsal Dinner: Schedule your rehearsal dinner at one of your favorite restaurants!

Reserve your rental equipment.

Do you need to rent any tables, chairs, or decor for your wedding? Now is the time to reserve them! Don’t forget linens and specialty dishes.

Finalize the Groom & Groomsmen attire.

You’ve researched suits or tuxes for the Groom and Groomsmen. Now it’s time to make some decisions! Finalize your choices and have the men in your wedding party get fitted and put in their orders.

Start your wedding registry.

Start your wedding registry at some of your favorite home stores like Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Macy’s, etc. If you’ve been living together for a while and have a lot of your home goods, you can choose to start a Honeyfund registry. Whatever your choice, make sure to start your registry before your bridal shower so guests have plenty of gift options to choose from.

Wedding favors & gifts.

Are you giving out wedding favors? Begin putting these together. Also, begin to think about gifts for your wedding party.

Hair & makeup.

Research hair and makeup ideas. Consider the style and tone of your wedding and pick related styles.

Wedding participants.

Choose who will give readings, recite poems, or sing at your wedding. Ask them to be involved and choose what material they will contribute.


Check back for more wedding planning tips and videos. If you’re in the Detroit or Ann Arbor areas, contact me for help!

What to do 6-9 months before your wedding

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If you haven’t read about what to do when you first get engaged, then read this first!

Once you have all those initial things taken care of, you can move on to this video and blog post!

 

Inform out-of-town guests.

If you have family traveling from out-of-town, give them as much notice as possible once your wedding date is set. This is usually accomplished with a save-the-date card. You can choose to send a save-the-date card to all your guests or just those who will have to travel. You should choose a hotel and reserve a block of rooms at this time, too.

Think about your wedding attire.

I’m quite sure you’ve started looking at wedding dresses, tuxedos, or suits already! Now is the time to make a list of shops to look at. Most places will require an appointment nowadays, so call them up and ask. Spread a few shops out over several weekends so this isn’t an overwhelming task. Don’t forget about your accessories!

Before these few months are over, you will also want to think about attire for your wedding party.

Begin an exercise routine.

Most people wish to get in better shape before the big day, so now is the time to start an exercise routine. If you’re self-motivated, set a gym schedule yourself, but if you aren’t, you may have to hire a trainer.

It’s time to talk to vendors.

Florist & Decorator: Do you know what type of floral design or type of flowers you want at your wedding? If not, start a Pinterest board with styles and colors that you like. If you already know what you want, it’s time to find the perfect florist.

When looking for the perfect florist, start with their website or Instagram. You should be able to determine if their style matches yours by looking at their past work. Try to narrow it down to about three florists. Call them up and make an appointment! Once you speak to each florist and get their price points, you can hopefully narrow it down to just one.

If you want decor other than flowers, look into that at this point, also.

Caterer: Is food included with your venue? If not, you should schedule a time to speak with local caterers and see what they have to offer. You won’t make any final food decisions at this point, but you do need to secure your caterer.

Photographer & Videographer: There are many different styles of photography and videography. Do you want light & airy photos? Or dark & moody? This will determine which photographers you want to meet with.

DJ & Musicians: The DJ & reception music sets the tone for the party! Make sure you really click with your DJ.

Officiant: Find someone who meshes with your wedding style and book them!

Consider wedding insurance.

More and more venues are requiring wedding insurance nowadays. If you’ve booked your venue already, check with them and see if it is required. Even if it isn’t, you might want to get it anyway. In the grand scheme of your wedding budget, wedding insurance isn’t that expensive and it can really save the day if the unthinkable happens.


Check back for more wedding planning tips and videos. If you’re in the Detroit or Ann Arbor areas, contact me for help!

how to start wedding planning, wedding planning, newly engaged, detroit wedding planner, ann arbor wedding planner

Just got engaged?! How to start wedding planning.

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Congratulations! You’re engaged…and probably overwhelmed with all the new information coming at you! Where do you start wedding planning? This is why I created a series of videos to help you step-by-step along the way. This first video covers the first things you need to establish when planning your wedding.

With any luck, you have at least a year to plan your wedding. With that amount of time, it will be simple to split up all your tasks pretty evenly…and give you plenty of time to focus on each task. So, my video series starts out with items to plan 10-12 months before your projected wedding date.

Introduce your families.

If your immediate families haven’t met each other yet, plan a get-together that will allow you to introduce them! Chances are, they will meet several times over the next year, so giving them a relaxed environment to get to know each other will be very helpful.

What is your wedding budget?

Figure out who is going to pay for what…and how much money total you will have to put toward the wedding. Be realistic here. Keep in mind that, for most venues and vendors, you will be required to pay a deposit upon booking. The balance will be due in different time intervals leading up to your wedding date. Every couple’s budget planning will be different based on several factors.

Do you have a lump sum saved already?

Are your parents (or anyone else) giving you money for your wedding?

Will you be saving monthly to pay for the wedding?

Total wedding budget = Amount of money already saved + Monthly possible savings until 2 months before your wedding

Example: Let’s say you have saved $5,000 to put toward the wedding budget. Your parents will contribute $10,000. And you can afford to put $1,000/month from your paycheck toward the budget. Your wedding is one year away.

Your total wedding budget = $5,000 + $10,000 + ($1,000 x 10 months) = $25,000

Create a tentative guest list.

Creating a tentative guest list will be helpful because so much of your wedding is priced per guest. You will also need to know this number when looking for venues because each venue has a maximum number of guests allowed. It is also helpful to organize your list into people who you most want to attend down to people who could possibly leave off the list.

Knowing these two numbers, your total number of guests and your budget will greatly help you in the next stages of planning.

Choose your Attendees.

Choose who will be your best man, maid of honor, bridesmaids, junior bride, groomsmen, flower girl, ring bearer, ushers, guest book attendant, singer/musicians, and officiant. You don’t have to ask them quite yet, just start brainstorming!

Tour & book venues for ceremony & reception.

You can’t book any other vendor until you set your wedding date. And you can’t say a date for sure until you’ve signed the venue contracts and paid your deposits. This is an important step before moving forward! Give yourself some time to tour several venues you are interested in before making a final decision. Take a list of questions with you!

Research wedding dress & tux styles.

This is the first thing most people want to look at when they get engaged! And that’s okay. But, just look for now. 🙂

Going on a honeymoon?

Start researching possible honeymoon destinations. Read travel blogs and watch YouTube videos to get an idea of each location.


Check back for more wedding planning tips and videos. If you’re in the Detroit or Ann Arbor areas, contact me for help!

If you are having a Detroit wedding (or anywhere in the vicinity) you can find some great wedding vendors linked within this post!

Brunch & Bubbly 2018 | Planning your Detroit wedding

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If you are having a Detroit wedding (or anywhere in the vicinity) you can find some great wedding vendors linked within this post!

When I found out we were moving to the Ann Arbor-Detroit area, I knew instantly I needed to connect with local brides and other wedding industry professionals to be successful in my wedding planning business. I fully believe in community over competition, so if I can help other vendors and brides connect as well, then that would be icing on the cake!

Elise Luddy of The AIsle Agency jumped on board without a question! It took us a little over a year of planning to see the dream come to fruition, but we did it! We just hosted our first bridal show on June 24, 2018. We collaborated with some amazing vendors and volunteers to pull it off! They set up display tables, prepared speeches, answered audience questions, and stepped up when we needed additional assistance. I think I’m said “thank you” to them about a million times! LOL

The Venue, Food, & Drink

Brunch & Bubbly for Brides was held at The Baronette Renaissance Hotel in Novi, MI. We received so many compliments on this gorgeous event space throughout the event. The catering staff prepared a delicious breakfast, lunch, and mimosa station for everyone. It not only tasted good but was all displayed beautifully. It is a great location for your Detroit wedding reception, as it is connected to the hotel. Your out-of-town guests won’t have far to go after the wedding is over!

Brunch & Bubbly for Brides | Bridal Show | Detroit | Ann Arbor | Wedding Planner| Nova Photography | The Baronette Renaissance Hotel

Brunch & Bubbly for Brides | Bridal Show | Detroit | Ann Arbor | Wedding Planner| Nova Photography | The Baronette Renaissance Hotel

Brunch & Bubbly for Brides | Bridal Show | Detroit | Ann Arbor | Wedding Planner| Nova Photography | The Baronette Renaissance Hotel

Brunch & Bubbly for Brides | Bridal Show | Detroit | Ann Arbor | Wedding Planner| Nova Photography | The Baronette Renaissance Hotel

Brunch & Bubbly for Brides | Bridal Show | Detroit | Ann Arbor | Wedding Planner| Nova Photography | The Baronette Renaissance Hotel

Brunch & Bubbly for Brides | Bridal Show | Detroit | Ann Arbor | Wedding Planner| Nova Photography | The Baronette Renaissance Hotel

Registration

Every attendee received a beautiful rose from Mancuso’s & Mancuso’s Weddings.

Our registration volunteers, Mary & Miranda, were such a huge help!!

The Baronette Renaissance Hotel | Mancusos Florist| Mancusos Weddings

Speakers

I didn’t want this event to just be vendors selling their services, like so many other bridal shows. It was important to me that our speakers actually teach the brides something about planning their wedding. We started off with Lawton Lunce Mobile Entertainment. Lawton spoke on choosing your wedding entertainment and how to determine where to place your entertainment to get the most bang for your buck.

The Baronette Renaissance Hotel | Lawton Lunce Mobile Entertainment

 

We heard from Devoted Beauties by Trae next. She spoke about finding your perfect lip color for your wedding day.

The Baronette Renaissance Hotel | Devoted Beauties by Trae | Lipsense

 

We had a few extra minutes before lunch, so Stephanie Holmes Hair volunteered to speak about finding a hair stylist that will give you the look you want for your wedding day!

The Baronette Renaissance Hotel | Stephanie Holmes Hair

After lunch, Ashley Wilson of The DULCE Experience spoke about the process of creating a wedding cake. She also gave some pointers on fitting a luxury wedding cake into your budget!

The Baronette Renaissance Hotel | The DULCE Experience

Vendors

Our attendees had time to speak to each vendor…and, in some cases, sample their goods!

The Baronette Renaissance Hotel | Nova Photography
Nova Photography

 

Brunch & Bubbly for Brides | Bridal Show | Detroit | Ann Arbor | Wedding Planner| Nova Photography | The Baronette Renaissance Hotel | Stephanie Holmes Hair
Stephanie Holmes Hair

 

Brunch & Bubbly for Brides | Bridal Show | Detroit | Ann Arbor | Wedding Planner| Nova Photography | The Baronette Renaissance Hotel | Good Cupcakes
Good Cupcakes

 

Brunch & Bubbly for Brides | Bridal Show | Detroit | Ann Arbor | Wedding Planner| Nova Photography | The Baronette Renaissance Hotel | Open Me When Box
Open Me When Box

 

Brunch & Bubbly for Brides | Bridal Show | Detroit | Ann Arbor | Wedding Planner| Nova Photography | The Baronette Renaissance Hotel | Golden Mirror Photobooth
Golden Mirror Photobooth

 

Brunch & Bubbly for Brides | Bridal Show | Detroit | Ann Arbor | Wedding Planner| Nova Photography | The Baronette Renaissance Hotel | Devoted Beauties by Trae | Lipsense
Devoted Beauties by Trae

 

Brunch & Bubbly for Brides | Bridal Show | Detroit | Ann Arbor | Wedding Planner| Nova Photography | The Baronette Renaissance Hotel | Lawton Lunce Mobile Entertainment
Lawton Lunce Mobile Entertainment

 

Brunch & Bubbly for Brides | Bridal Show | Detroit | Ann Arbor | Wedding Planner| Nova Photography | The Baronette Renaissance Hotel | Sweet Kathy's Bakery
Sweet Kathy’s Bakery

 

Brunch & Bubbly for Brides | Bridal Show | Detroit | Ann Arbor | Wedding Planner| Nova Photography | The Baronette Renaissance Hotel | Mancuso's
Mancuso’s provided all our beautiful flower arrangements

Q&A Panels

Our final event festivity included two Q&A Panels! The first was composed of a hair stylist, a makeup artist, and a photographer (all businesses linked elsewhere in this article). The second panel consisted of amazing wedding planners.

A Trace of Elegance

Andrea Solomon Events

Vows & Veils

Dressed In Details

Brunch & Bubbly for Brides | Bridal Show | Detroit | Ann Arbor | Wedding Planner| Nova Photography | The Baronette Renaissance Hotel | Andrea Solomon Events | Vows & Veils | Dressed In Details

 

Thank you to Nova Photography for all the beautiful photos!!

Thank you to The Baronette Renaissance Detroit-Novi Hotel for hosting us!

Thanks to The Aisle Agency for coming along on this journey with me!

Brunch & Bubbly for Brides | Bridal Show | Detroit | Ann Arbor | Wedding Planner| Nova Photography | The Baronette Renaissance Hotel | Christa Graham Weddings & Events | The Aisle Agency

Brunch & Bubbly for Brides | Bridal Show | Detroit | Ann Arbor | Wedding Planner| Nova Photography | The Baronette Renaissance Hotel

I won’t lie: The planning and execution of an event like this is exhausting!! But, because this is what I love to do, I am already craving another opportunity to plan a wedding or event. If you need help planning your Ann Arbor or Detroit wedding, please send me an email!

The Best Wedding Venues in Metro Detroit

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If you are in the beginning stages of planning your wedding, the first thing you need to do (after hiring a wedding planner, of course! is secure your venues. Once you book a venue for a specific date, you will then be able to book all the other vendors you need to make your wedding day perfect. But what venues are best? Here is a list of the best wedding venues in Metro Detroit from experienced wedding industry professionals!

Detroit Masonic Temple

Historic, GORGEOUS, and suitable for larger weddings, the Masonic Temple is a great choice for your wedding celebration! With two ballrooms and a chapel, there is space to host your ceremony and reception, the Masonic Temple makes logistics super easy for both planning and your guest experience. Add in the history and beautiful architecture of this building, you’ve got a winning formula for your wedding day.

Indian Springs Metropark

Design Quintessentials Best Wedding Venues in Metro Detroit Indian Springs Metro Park
Photo Credit: Design Quintessentials

If you’re looking to get out of the city and into a natural setting for your wedding, check out Indian Springs Metropark. The rustic Environmental Discovery Center is available as an indoor space, while other shelters provide smaller, outdoor spaces. Ching from Design Quintessentials recommends having an outdoor ceremony and an indoor reception.

Belle Isle Boat House

Best Wedding Venues in Metro Detroit | Belle Isle Boat House | Christa Graham Weddings and Events | Detroit Wedding Planner
Photo Credit: © Lighting With Love Photography

 

I just attended an event at the Belle Isle Boat House this past weekend. It is old in the best way possible! It was founded in 1839 as the Detroit Boat Club. The building has a very special feel to it. Peeling paint on the windows only add to the antique feel of the space. The charm of the indoor space is just the beginning. Look outside to see the gorgeous views of the Detroit River and skyline!

Waterview Lofts at Port Detroit

Best Wedding Venues in Metro Detroit | Detroit Wedding Planner | Christa Graham Weddings & Events

Ilze from Ilze Lucero Photography recommends Waterview Lofts at Port Detroit. If you want views of the Detroit River and a modern event space, this might be the venue for you! Add a yacht to provide a truly unique wedding experience!

Planterra Conservatory

Kari Dawson Photography Best Wedding Venues in Metro Detroit Planterra Conservatory
Photo Credit: Kari Dawson Photography

If plants are your thang, you definitely want to check out Planterra Conservatory! I have personally worked with Planterra as a wedding coordinator and can say they are very accommodating and easy to work with. Planterra is a full-service event space and includes catering and decor.

If you need some help narrowing down your wedding venue options, please contact me! Consultations are always free.

Wedding Favors | Party Favors | Do I need to give party favors to my wedding guests | Wedding Planner | Detroit | Ann Arbor | Michigan

Do I need to give party favors to my wedding guests?

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The tradition of giving a gift to partygoers dates back centuries. Way back when, these wedding favors might have been silver, candied almonds, or lace love knots. A wedding was considered a lucky occasion, so these gifts were symbolic of the hosts passing their good luck on to their guests. (Source)

Party favors can seem like such a waste of money, especially when you look at your total wedding budget. In comparison to other, high-ticket wedding items, a party favor can seem like the easy item to cross off the list. So, do you really need to give party favors to your wedding guests?

The short answer is: No, you don’t. The longer answer: Party favors are a nice gesture, allows you to tell a bit more about your love story, and can create an extra element of fun to the party!

Party favors are a nice gesture.

When you take into account all that your guest had to do to attend your wedding…buy an outfit, devote almost an entire day to your event, possible time off work, travel time and expenses, buying a wedding gift and possible babysitter expenses…a party favor doesn’t seem like such a waste of money after all.

Tell your love story.

A party favor is a great way to extend your wedding theme or tell more of your love story! Choose a favor that represents a key moment in your relationship. Tell this story on a tag attached to the favor or in a beautiful frame on the favor table.

An extra element of fun.

Your party favor doesn’t have to be in a tiny cardboard box! Hire a photo booth and give photo strips to your guests. Or have a full dessert buffet to offer your guests a sweet ending to the evening!

Will people be upset if you don’t give them a wedding favor? Probably not. Will they appreciate the extra special touch if you do? Absolutely! So, if you can squeeze it into your budget, spring for it. But, if your budget needs some extra wiggle room, forget it and have a great time with your guests!!


Want me at your disposal to answer the tough questions like this? Send me a message!

Detroit | Ann arbor | Lansing | Michigan | Wedding Planner

Greenhouse Wedding at Planterra Conservatory

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I was recently blessed to work with the T & L families in organizing a beautiful greenhouse wedding & reception!

The wedding was in the GORGEOUS St. John’s Armenian Church in Southfield, Michigan.

Detroit | Ann Arbor | Lansing | Wedding Planner | Armenian Wedding

The ceremony was filled with tradition. It was mesmerizing to watch! I mean, look at those crowns!! <3

The party continued at Planterra Conservatory in West Bloomfield, Michigan. Planterra is a huge greenhouse conservatory. Flickering candlelight and snow gently falling outside…..MOOD!! I can’t get over how intimate this venue felt!

Detroit | Ann Arbor | Lansing | Wedding Planner | Planterra Conservatory

Detroit | Ann Arbor | Lansing | Wedding Planner | Planterra Conservatory

 

The best part of the night, though? The family! There was such a genuine feeling of love and celebration!

Detroit | Ann arbor | Lansing | Michigan | Wedding Planner

Detroit | Ann arbor | Lansing | Michigan | Wedding Planner

Detroit | Ann arbor | Lansing | Michigan | Wedding Planner

 

Happy Wedding Day, M & B!

Detroit | Ann arbor | Lansing | Michigan | Wedding Planner

Team of Vendors:

Photo Credit: Kari Dawson Photography

Videography: LightCraft Entertainment

DJ: Lawton Lunce

Transportation: Rockstarz Limos