We have just about come to the end of another gorgeous wedding season, which is also a time when many brides-to-be will begin planning for their big day next year.  As opposed to the traditional timing of weddings, it is also important to note that these events have become much more common as year-round occasions.  So whether you are planning for a beautiful fall or winter wonderland wedding, a destination wedding to get away from the Nebraska winter, or a major event in 2015 there are plenty of ways to showcase your style with personal touches and innovative ideas.

Choosing The Venue (And Hosting Your Wedding Guests)

Photo_Molly_Nicola_Embassy_Suites_Lincoln_NebraskaLincoln offers a wealth of unique venues for weddings and receptions, so when choosing where you will host your event, it is very helpful and really, a must, to know what your options are.  While a lot of factors go into the decisions you will make, including date and availability, the size and guest accommodations, time of year and whether you want to be outside or indoors, and so on, once you know what is out there it narrows down the list tremendously.  A major benefit of the venue is the services and expertise of their event staff, which can be a tremendous asset if you don’t choose to hire a wedding planner or if you don’t have much outside assistance from family or friends available, so you want to make sure that you set up a meeting to see if you will work well with them.  This meeting will also serve to get you acquainted with the services that the venue offers, which you may want to utilize instead of outside vendors.  Hotels in particular are a great asset because they offer event space as well as lodging for guests. Molly Nicola, Wedding Coordinator at Embassy Suites, says, “One of the best things about Embassy Suites-Lincoln is that we can plan and host all aspects of a wedding under the same roof.  You name it, we can do it! From the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, to the ceremony, the reception and day after gift opening, we can do it all.  Having all your wedding activities in one location makes your event more convenient for you and your guests.  Family and friends avoid having to travel all over town and it keeps your special day right on schedule.  There are also cost savings benefits on bundling your venue and hotel accommodations together.  Embassy Suites can put together a package that fits almost any budget.

A lot of people don’t realize that all Embassy Suites guest rooms are spacious, two room suites and are perfectly suited for families.  The hotel offers a pool, whirlpool and sauna for guests and is located in the heart of Lincoln’s entertainment and P Street shopping district.  All guests of the hotel will enjoy our complimentary evening reception and famous cooked to order breakfast as part of their stay.  Another benefit of having your room block with Embassy Suites is we will provide you with your own tailored web page; this allows guests to book their own discounted guest rooms with no worries from the bride or groom.”

She advises, “The toughest part of planning a wedding is the guest list.  It’s a good idea to get a grip on how many guests you’re inviting and how many guests will actually attend.  A good guideline is 75% of the invited guests will attend. However, that number may go up if both families are from the same town that you’re hosting the wedding.

The earlier you start planning the better.  Do your research on the best deals at the best times of year and then set your date.  Once you have your venue picked out and deposit paid, everything will fall into place. You can finally start to visualize how everything will look as well as plan where guests will stay.  Furthermore, whether it be the food, photos, venue, cake or flowers, figure out what is most important to you and the groom and splurge. More often than not, you’ll be glad you spent the extra money.

We take pride in being the one-stop-shop for all wedding needs.  Our network of vendors allows us to orchestrate every detail for your wedding.  Whether it’s coordinating flowers, music, lighting, dance floor, cakes or limousines, we are able to make it convenient for you and can arrange it all.  Call me at (402) 473-4712 for a private tour!”

Assistance with planning from qualified, experienced professionals who know everything there is to know about their particular venue is another valuable service that many wedding venues provide.  Deborah Carroll of Country Inn & Suites states, “We offer so many great services for brides planning their wedding receptions.  Besides a great venue that can accommodate up to 250 guests, we have an onsite event coordinator, to help with decorating ideas, set up, coordination of cake, DJ, etc. on the day of the event.  We offer a “Create-Your-Own” buffet option that lets the bride and groom basically design their own menu from a large selection of entrees (including lasagna and enchiladas all the way up to steak and seafood) as well as all the side dishes.  We have a large inventory of vase ware, candle holders, silks, crystals and mirrors to help make your centerpiece designs easy and affordable. One of our most popular service is our on-site ceremony room, called the Lighthouse Room, it can accommodate up to 125 guests.  This room has lovely arch windows and can be set up just like a small chapel. Many brides opt to do ceremony and reception right here, it makes for a fun and uncomplicated day for bridal party and guests.

I recommend, if possible, to make two appointments at the venue—one to see the venue clear and one when it is decorated.  Our venue, like many, is used for meetings/conferences as well as social events, so seeing it set for a conference gives the room a very different vibe.  Take advantage of the on-site coordinator, who will likely have a lot of experience and knowledge that can help make your day go without a wrinkle.  Give the coordinator all the contact information for vendors (cake, DJ, videographer, photo booth, etc.).  This way if the cake doesn’t show up, for example (and that has happened!), he/she can call and help prevent an issue.

One of the most important things to consider is that it is your day, so put your signature on it.  I once was working with a bride/groom who loved board games, so they had a board game table as part of their reception and guests had a great time with that. There are very few limitations on what you can do with proper planning well in advance.  When visiting a venue don’t forget to ask about guest parking, linen charges, bartending charges, service charges, and even taxes.  All of those play a part in your budget and being informed keeps you on track without undue stress as the day approaches.

I also recommend going to the Bridal Fairs in your area.  Vendors offer samples, you can see all the latest and greatest ideas, there are great drawings and giveaways, and you also have the chance to visit directly with a wealth of vendors about their services at one time and place.”

It is very important to coordinate where your guests will be staying with where the actual wedding events will be held, including appropriate transportation. If your guests have the option of staying within close proximity to the venue as well as other points of interest to keep them busy in their downtime, that often alleviates many issues that arise.

Conveniently located in the Railyard, Hyatt Place Lincoln/Downtown-Haymarket is a great place to reserve blocks for wedding parties and out-of-town guests who will be attending your wedding.  Being close to the popular reception facilities, including Grand Manse and only 1/2 block from the very popular Lincoln Train Station, many brides choose the Hyatt Place for their out of town guests for its close proximity to many reception sites.

Photo_Jacquie_Hirschman_Eller_Hyatt_Place_Downtown_Lincoln_NebraskaHowever, in addition to the benefits of hosting guests during their stay, they offer a great space and many attractive amenities for hosting a wedding ceremony and reception as well.  “We have 1788 square feet of reception space and offer the unique option for brides to bring in their own caterer to the Hyatt Place,” says Jacquie Hirschman-Eller of Hyatt Place Lincoln/Downtown-Haymarket. “Hyatt Place also has an outdoor courtyard location with a fire pit, beverage/bar, and seating options for wedding ceremonies, receptions or rehearsal dinners if you choose to be outside for your event.  As we are fairly new to Lincoln, these are options that not many people are aware of yet.”

She advises, “To get the best rates on rooms, book a block of rooms early in the planning stage.   Consider the hotel location in relation to your reception and what amenities are available near the hotel.  For example, the Saturday morning Farmers Market has become a great asset to out-of-town wedding guests looking for something to do before the wedding.

Also, make sure to put a small amount of funds away for incidentals during the week of the wedding.  They always arise and it’s nice to have the funds for them. As for all of the vendors you will work with in the planning stages and right up until the day of your wedding, obtain contracts for every aspect and follow up with them one month prior to make sure everyone is on the same page.”

Photo_Jim_Ballard_James_Arthur_Vineyards_Lincoln_NebraskaHowever, many couples opt for more of a country or outdoor destination as opposed to one in the city.  Again, the best and worst part of planning a wedding is that there are so many options to choose from!  One gorgeous and unique venue that is very popular for intimate gatherings such as bridal showers, weddings and receptions is James Arthur Vineyards.  Jim Ballard, owner of James Arthur Vineyards, says, “The best part of weddings at James Arthur Vineyards is the decorating has been done for you, as we have lovely landscaping surrounding the reflecting ponds with waterfalls as well as the gorgeous backdrop of the vineyards.  The time and expense of decorating is saved as Mother Nature has completely taken care of it all!  The same tender-loving care that goes into the growing of the vineyards can be used in the wedding vows as we say at the winery ‘Growing grapes is like any good marriage….the more you give, the more you get!’

Our wedding fee includes everything from the planning to the set up and clean up; the bride, groom and their families are as much of a guest as anyone else attending as there is nothing for them to do because our staff performs all of the wedding tasks.  We tell couples to just relax and we take care of everything!  We offer great personalized labels for our wine bottles that make great wedding party gifts—we can use the couple’s picture or wedding motif and create labels for their gift giving or for a perfect keepsake. We create and print these in house so there are no minimums.”

For guests hosting or attending wedding festivities close to downtown or the Haymarket/Railyard districts, James Arthur Vineyards also recently opened a tasting room in the From Nebraska Gift Shop.  This is a great stop for anyone who wants to enjoy a glass of one of their award-winning wines, or for out-of-town guests to experience a taste of Nebraska’s history and personality.

Catering Options

In line with the overwhelming amount of options for everything else wedding-related, the sky is the limit for the food and beverages at your wedding as well.  Many wedding venues offer in-house catering services, or have a working relationship with a specific catering company that they refer their business to, but there are also a lot of wonderful local catering companies that can provide your menu on-site if permitted.

Photo_Bethany_Scheele_Rodizio_Grill_Lincoln_NebraskaRodizio Grill in Lincoln’s Historic Haymarket takes a unique approach to providing their guests with an unforgettable experience.  The atmosphere is warm and inviting due to the surroundings just as much as the family-friendly theme, which incorporates the natural wood and brick restored from the original building, enhanced by the lighting and traditional colorful and abstract artwork.  Their buffet-style salad bar and tableside service with appetizers and variety of different rotisserie grilled meats, which are both all-you-can-eat, are perfect for large groups and events because there is something for everyone.  Bethany Scheele, General Manager of Rodizio Grill, explains, “With our gauchos (meat servers) who bring all the grilled items to your table, we offer an experience you won’t find at any other establishment.  There isn’t anything like Rodizio Grill in Nebraska, and while our food is amazing and we offer so many different flavors, the service we provide our guests is just as outstanding.  Many of our guests enjoy the fact that you have the option to choose your own sides, while servers bring you an unlimited choice of meats and grilled items including steak, chicken, turkey, tomatoes, pineapple, lamb, ham, and more.  Furthermore, with our management team having much experience in planning and preparing for weddings, we are able to help you find what is best for your special day as well as for your wallet.  We have the space to accommodate small or large weddings, and the ability to close for larger private events.”

She adds, “My best advice to anyone planning a wedding is to start out with an idea of what you want it to look like.  With a solid starting point, when you speak with your caterer, wedding planner or venue they will be able to help elaborate on your vision.  The most important thing to know about your wedding when planning is to know what you want realistically.  I have helped plan a lot of weddings, and it seems that almost all couples and their families want to do so many things.  Then as the date gets nearer, everything becomes very complicated.  Everyone always has what they want in their mind—some girls as young as pre-teen.  Make a budget, write it all out, and then negotiate what is most important and try to simplify the items on the list as much as possible.  This provides you with a number and a plan that you can see.  If you have to stick to a budget, make it a realistic one and make sure to let the caterer and all other vendors know what you are willing to spend.  Weddings are a fun, festive day that you only get to experience once.  When the day comes, let the caterer, venue, wedding planner and everyone else you have hired work their magic and handle all of the details so that you can take the time to enjoy yourself.  Like I mentioned above, you only get to experience it once, so take advantage of your day and soak it all in.  You paid the other people to do the stressing for you!”

Photo_Michele_Barron_Gretas_Gourmet_Lincoln_NebraskaMichele Barron, Catering Manager at Greta’s Gourmet, explains, “At Greta’s Gourmet we want every couple to have a unique wedding experience that reflects their personalities.  We like to start with an initial consultation to get to know the couple and details of what their ideal wedding meal will be.  After this point we schedule a tasting of the decided upon menu items to make sure that everyone is happy with the chosen menu.  We always try to be flexible and work with each couple’s schedule to make these appointments stress-free and fun.

Our wedding menus range from casual meals of BBQ or hors d’oeuvres to traditional meals served in a buffet setting or as a plated dinner.  We’ve done everything from hog roasts to traditional German cuisine to an elegant Argentinean themed meal. Depending on your budget and preference, plated dinners are a great way to add a little extra something special to your big day.  Allowing your guests (and yourself) the luxury of relaxing at your table, visiting with friends and family members while dinner is served to them is an excellent way to make each guest feel pampered.

I would say that traditional meals are most popular at weddings but we pride ourselves on providing dishes that are always anything but the same old mediocre wedding food.  This is one of the most important days of your life – you should be eating an amazing meal that you love!  We specialize in high quality meats that we butcher in house to preserve the finest flavors and pair those entrees with unique and thoughtfully prepared side dishes, salads, hors d’oeuvres and desserts to create the perfect meal.

We always encourage our clients to ask any and all questions they may have at any point during the planning process.  If you have any details that you want to go over with your wedding vendors, don’t hesitate to schedule a meeting to make sure your mind can be at ease.  The more planning and communication that occurs before the event, the more the clients can relax and enjoy the event knowing that all details are taken care of.

I think it is important for brides and grooms to have a clear idea of what they want on their wedding day and to make those ideas known to each of their wedding vendors.  It’s easy to get wrapped up in appeasing every wedding guest and family member but when it comes down to it – this is your wedding, not theirs; it should be all about what you want.”

Photo_Aaron_Young_Chefauchef_Catering_Lincoln_NebraskaChefauChef can assist with every aspect of weddings from picking a location for the reception to DJ’s to bar services, along with providing catering services and now with “A Cafe by ChefauChef” open they also provide a private rehearsal dinner location. Aaron Young, owner of ChefauChef, states, “Among our catering services, the most popular from our selection has been our Herb Crusted Chicken Breast, roasted red potatoes, and sautéed green beans with roasted red peppers ($6.50/person with 250 or more guests).  When I plan wedding catering I like to ask the bride and groom what they enjoyed eating together during their courtship, and then highlight those foods for their reception. We work with all budgets, and we do not have set prices because we customize each event to the client’s needs and desires.

The average wedding in Nebraska costs $15k, and the three most expensive parts of a wedding are food, flowers, and photography. ChefauChef likes to be that hidden gem, and our average plate per person, with tax and gratuity included, is $12/person. There are a lot of great vendors out there, you just have to look for them, so take the time to shop around and find the best deal. Also, delegate as much as possible and try not to get overly stressed. At the end of the day you are going to be married to the love of your life, and that is what truly matters.”

Photo_Cherie_Anderson_Venue_Restaurant_and_Lounge_Lincoln_NebraskaVenue Restaurant & Lounge offers a variety of hassle-free personalized and accommodating services in the area of food service & catering.  They have three event spaces, including one conveniently located in the downtown area.   Venue can host your wedding rehearsal dinners, bridal showers, and even host wedding receptions for up to 150 guests.  Their catering team will work with you to find menus that fit your theme, suggestions, ideas and most of all, your budget. Cherie Anderson of Venue Restaurant & Lounge states, “We pride ourselves not only taking the stress out of planning this portion of your day, but giving you the peace of mind in knowing full well your guests will receive amazing scratch-based, prepared food that is paired with a professional and proficient service staff.”  When planning your event, Anderson also advises to ask yourself key questions.  She explains, “I think you need to ask yourself very simple questions before you start the planning process, especially when you are working with a budget.  What is really important to you and what’s not that important?  Rate parts of the wedding of high importance or low importance.  Some of the major areas include your wedding dress, bridesmaid dresses, catering, DJ, reception hall, dinnerware rentals vs. disposables, linens, ambiance aspects, flowers, photographer, honeymoon, wedding rings, rehearsal dinner food and location, and so on.

There are many areas that you can choose ‘second class’ and 99% of your true friends won’t even take notice.  Then you can invest your funds into what you and your spouse really care about and focus on aspects that encourage lasting memories with your family and friends.  Also, if you have to get loans to fund a wedding then these questions are critical!  What are you willing to pay interest on for a very long time? Would you rather take a loan out for RENTED chinaware when nice disposables are a fraction of the cost? In hindsight, if I had to do it all over again (at the ripe age of 18), my husband and I would have gone into debt for a honeymoon and invested in a larger wedding ring for myself. They both would have been paid off by now and we would have had the memories of a honeymoon (we went to Omaha) and a ring that lasts a lifetime.  Before you get caught up in the hoopla of planning a dream wedding, decide as a couple where you can compromise so that you don’t blow that budget and have regrets after the fact.”

She adds, “Additionally, when planning a wedding you automatically think about the food that will be needed for the rehearsal dinner and the reception, but often don’t think about hours prior to the wedding.  Pictures are typically hours before the wedding, and this time frame usually falls during a breakfast or lunch portion of the day.  As a bride and groom skipping a day of food before the reception is NOT a good idea.  Keeping your wedding party and family fed is usually greatly appreciated.  Venue can put together and deliver a quick and simple spread of food to keep those bellies full.

It is SO important to pick the brains of all the professionals involved in planning every detail, big or small, surrounding your wedding.”  Cherie stresses, “As an Event Coordinator it’s my job to ask the right questions that get the wheels turning when it comes to food and service so that every avenue has been explored, expectations are met and you feel confident going into the biggest day of your life.”

Tasty Treats

Photo_jeff_white_colby_ridge_popcorn_lincoln_nebraskaWhen providing treats for your wedding guests, Colby Ridge offers a wide variety of products and options to fit any theme or color palette.  Popcorn is one of their traditional specialties, and they can make custom colors for your wedding and assemble personalized, individual bags to hand out to your guests.  You can also buy the popcorn in bulk and use it for a popcorn bar.  Jeff White of Colby Ridge says that the personalized popcorn bags are really popular and a particularly simple yet delicious gift for weddings of any size.  They will not only look nice and get your special message across to your guests, but they are also easy to handle and fun for all ages.  If popcorn isn’t your thing, Colby Ridge owns and operates a candy store with over 200 bins of colorful candy–which is perfect for a candy bar at your reception!  White adds that when you place an order with Colby Ridge, you will always receive a quality product at an affordable price.

Cupcakes & more… offers an array of sweet treats from traditional to one-of-a-kind.  Regina Henson, owner of Cupcakes & more…, says, “The question has been asked and accepted, the date has been set and it now time to make arrangements for the other details.  It’s never too early to reserve your date for your desserts!

At Cupcakes & more…we encourage the newly engaged couple to set up a wedding consultation as soon as possible.  You can schedule an appointment any time during our business hours 7 days a week—there is a wedding consultant available at any time.  The role of the wedding consultant at Cupcakes & more… is to listen to your ideas of the perfect dessert table and then offer suggestions to make your ideas a reality.

When you come in for your initial consultation we will ask you in advance to give us a list of flavors you would like to sample for free.  This gives you the opportunity to taste test your favorite flavors that you would like for your baked desserts.  We currently offer over 350 different flavors to give you a wide variety of choices.  If your family members or guests have a special dietary need, we offer gluten free, dairy free, soy free and sugar free recipes in a variety of flavors as well.  Everyone can then enjoy your dessert table full of sweet treats.

At the consultation we will ask you about your wedding details: date, time, venue, flowers, colors and possible theme.  Be prepared to answer these questions as it will be easier to create the perfect dessert table.  Pictures from magazines, books or Pinterest help in envisioning your dream.  After the details have been set, the creativity and fun part starts!  Do you want a multi-tiered cake, sheet cake, cupcakes, cake balls, cake pops, cookies, brownie shots?  These can all become a reality at your wedding reception from Cupcakes & more… because you can mix and match your dessert table to satisfy all of your guests’ appetites.

Your wedding day and reception is one of the most important days of your life.  Let Cupcakes & more… help you make it special by providing a spectacular dessert table!  We will deliver and set-up for you so all you need to do is say ‘I do’ on your wedding day!  And when it’s time to celebrate your 1st Wedding Anniversary and you can’t remember where your wedding cake top is that you supposedly stored away in a freezer?  No fear, as a wedding gift from us we replicate your wedding cake top for you both to enjoy on your Anniversary!”

Say “Yes” To The Dress…And The Tux, Bridal Party Attire, Jewelry & Accessories Too!

While the bride’s wedding dress is one of the most significant and central parts of the event, her supporting cast should also look their absolute best on her special day.  However, when it comes to wedding attire, the wedding dress in particular is something that should be planned for as far in advance as possible.  Furthermore, in most cases there is a lot more to take into account when planning then just walking in a store and buying a dress.

Photo-Emmy-Gorman-Blush-Bridal-Boutique-Lincoln-NebraskaEmmy Gorman, owner of Blush Bridal, offers the following advice for brides-to-be who will be embarking on the search for the perfect wedding dress:

“The most important tip I can give newly engaged girls is to shop for your wedding gown early! Bridal shopping is unlike any shopping you have ever done before.  Once you have said yes to your dress, it is put into production just for you!  Delivery times from most designers is 4-6 months plus 2-3 months for alterations; we recommend ordering at least 9 months from your wedding.  Nothing is more heartbreaking for us than when we break the news to a bride that we can no longer get their favorite dress in because of a short wear date.  Our brides who shop early really enjoy the bridal shopping process.  They are able to have their gowns arrive and take advantage of fun accessory Trunk Shows and other styling events at Blush.  Your first appointment with us begins a relationship that will last for the better part of a year.

Many brides are tempted to order their bridal gowns online from internet retailers.  It is important for brides to realize that the bridal gowns that they are trying on at local boutiques are NOT available for purchase online!  If you run across a boutique bridal gown online for an unbelievable price, it’s because it is a cheap copycat.  I have brides call or come into my store every week in a state of panic wondering what they can do about their internet gown purchase. The simple answer is nothing and now they are back to square one looking for another bridal gown on a smaller budget.  Shop with a local boutique that you can trust; be honest about your budget limitations as many stores will do their absolute best to accommodate most brides’ budgets.  Local stores have excellent customer service and the relationship with designers to ensure your gown’s arrival.

Bridal styles typically change seasonally. Designers make these trend changes, which then are shown at New York Bridal Fashion Week and Bridal Markets in both New York and Chicago. The speed at which these trends are accepted in the retail industry truly depends on retail location, as well as the preference and style of the customer base. Blush Bridal attends the Chicago market twice a year, so we are committed to bring the latest trends to Nebraska immediately from market!

There are a few trends that are currently popular in the bridal industry. One of these trends is the use of nontraditional colors. Many brides are choosing to wear colors such as champagne, pearl, or blush, rather than the traditional white. Another trend is flirty silhouettes that show off a bride’s curves. Two silhouettes that help to accentuate body shapes are the mermaid and the trumpet. Both of these styles are more fitted throughout the bodice before flaring out around the knee or calf. Romantic details are also fashionable this year. Brides tend to be drawn to some sort of detail that will make their dress unique, whether in the form of lace appliqués, intricate beading or even an open back.

One thing is always for certain–veils will never go out of style.  Randy Fenoli, a fashion designer and television personality who appears on TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress, says that you are just a girl in a pretty white dress until you wear a veil, and then you truly become a bride.  That being said, we LOVE the headpiece trend!  Delicate crystals, lace crowns and boho looks are definitely in this season.  I always advise our clients to spend the money to have an amazing hairpiece, as this is what you will be wearing for much longer than the veil.”

Jewelry and weddings go hand-in-hand, whether for the obvious wedding rings or other items such as gifts for the bridal party, special jewelry to wear for the wedding, or any other host of creative ways to add some shine to the big day!  If there is any place in your budget to spend extra money, this is the place to do it.  Especially in the case on wedding rings, which are prominent pieces of jewelry that you will wear almost every waking hour for the rest of your married life.  Not only is it something you will have forever, but it is something you and others will constantly be looking at—and hopefully admiring!   When purchasing this type of jewelry, you are making a significant monetary investment, so take care to cover all of your bases.  Also, never sacrifice quality and craftsmanship.  Make sure to utilize a local jeweler with a solid reputation, and get the rings insured as soon as possible!

Special Touches for Your Special Day

Photo_Drew_Philippi_Group_Therapy_Bike_Tours_Lincoln_NebraskaIf you are looking for unique, fun transportation or guest entertainment on your wedding day, Group Therapy Bike Tours is an excellent choice.  Group Therapy offers customized options for weddings, which can include transportation between local venues, on-site tours around a property, can be incorporated into bridal party photos or as transportation during the photo shoot, or for non-traditional, creative types, it can even take your bridal party down the aisle in style!  They are also perfect to incorporate into a bridal shower or bachelor/bachelorette party. The pedal-powered trolley that accommodates 15 passengers (six on each side and a bench seat that fits three) can be brought to any destination and their fun, knowledgeable tour guides get you around safely and ensure that a good time is had by all!  Drew Philippi, owner of Group Therapy Bike Tours, adds, “We take pride in tailoring the experience we provide to anyone who wants to utilize our services at their event.  At Group Therapy Bike Tours, we bring people together to have a good time.  The same can be said for wedding related events, so it is the perfect fit!”

Photo_David_Hastreiter_Festive_Expressions_Lincoln_NebraskaWhen setting the mood and atmosphere of your wedding and reception, lighting will play a major part.  This is also an area that allows you to be creative and decorative, whether you choose twinkle lights, strings of lights, lanterns, special light fixtures, etc.  Festive Expressions Inc. is a holiday/event lighting and décor company that serves both commercial and residential properties for weddings and special events.  Festive Expressions offers custom design services, quality products, professional installation, troubleshooting, and takedown.  David Hastreiter, owner of Festive Expressions Inc., adds, “With the innovation of the LED lamp, which is durable, energy efficient and versatile; the options for event lighting are just as stunning as they are endless.”

Your wedding day will be over in the blink of an eye, but the moments captured will last a lifetime.  That is why it is so important to hire a professional photographer and/or videographer to document everything during your big day.  When hiring this individual, visit your top three choices and never book directly off of a referral without meeting first.  Not only does this give you a chance to gauge if your personalities and vision match, but it also allows you to see examples of their body of work and their style in general.  Anyone can, and will, show up to your wedding with a camera but few can capture your important day in a way that will meet all of your needs and expectations.  There are no second chances when it comes to weddings, so make sure to choose an experienced photographer who you can trust to deliver images that you will be happy with and can share and look back upon fondly for all the years to come.

Photo_Jaime_Incontro_Purple_Sky_Productions_Lincoln_NebraskaWhile you may only consider hiring a photographer for your professional wedding photos, there is another service that local photographer Jaime Incontro of Purple Sky Productions provides that would be the perfect wedding gift for the groom – boudoir photographs.  Boudoir photographs are a unique, and likely unexpected, sentimental yet sexy gift for your guy.  She explains, “Boudoir photographs are tasteful studio pictures taken in your lingerie.  This might seem completely out of the realm of possibility for many women, but I strive to make my clients feel comfortable with both myself and their surroundings.  I’ve found that women not only love giving the images to their guy, but they walk away from the experience feeling empowered and sexy.  It is a great confidence boost as well as a great gift, no matter the occasion.  We also can do group photo shoots for ladies, who each take individual shots but also have their friends around for entertainment and moral support.  This works out really well for bachelorette parties, and always ends up being a really fun experience for all.”

It is always exciting to see the new trends surface in weddings each year, and the coming year will be no different.  In an effort to make your wedding a unique event that showcases the personality of the bride and groom and truly “wows” your guests, make sure to enlist the help of local professionals who will help you think outside of the box and can also connect you with a wealth of information and resources.  You deserve nothing less than perfection on your big day, and with the help of these experts, the only thing you will have left to do is enjoy the moment!