Some of the greatest moments in many people’s lives are their marriage proposal and the ensuing wedding ceremony. What happens in between, the planning of that wedding, is both exciting and stressful enough to cause even the most organized and confident brides- and grooms-to-be a high level of anxiety. The time commitment and variety of components required to cover all of the necessities at your event seems to be one of the major sources of pressure and worry, but can easily be avoided with the right people and businesses guiding you through the entire planning process.

When couples spend so much money on a single day, it is wise to remember it vividly. Video will definitely allow them to do that, said Randy McGinnis, owner of Moments in Time Images.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen documenting your event, Moments in Time provides two videographers that will spend up to six hours shooting many different angles of pre-ceremony festivities, the ceremony and reception highlights with three to four cameras. The footage is professionally edited into a storybook-like DVD or Blu-Ray disc. Moments in Time also offers photography services, effectively covering all the bases for documenting your wedding day ceremony and festivities.

Many brides and grooms think they can cut corners on wedding videography by asking a friend or relative to shoot the wedding with their low-end camcorder or, worse yet, a cell phone video camera. McGinnis states, “Couples will save money on this type of video, but I guarantee you they will not be happy with the end result which will be a shaky, badly lit video with horrible audio.” You only get one shot at properly recording your wedding, so you shouldn’t take your chances. Additionally, technology has advanced the videography field so much that today’s high-tech cameras produce sharp, high-definition images and editing software allows Moments in Time to do precision editing that produces a cinema-like product. Moments in Time uses several advanced videography cameras, including the Sony FS700, which shoots super slow motion and is perfect for capturing footage for any type of event, including weddings or other events such as sporting events or music videos. If you are considering going without videography services for your wedding, McGinnis urges you to re-evaluate that decision. He says, “Research shows that couples who don’t videotape their wedding later come to regret it.” McGinnis first got involved with wedding videography in the 1980s, when videography was done on VHS tape and without editing. He has seen a vast amount of changes in technique and technology since then, and has always stayed current on the latest and best ways to deliver an excellent finished product that you can treasure for your lifetime and pass down to future generations.

Sunny-Dwyer-Shane-and-Sunny-PhotographySunny Dwyer of Shane & Sunny Photography also emphasizes that you should NEVER hire your relative or friend to take your wedding pictures. You may love your aunt Susie that always has her camera out at family events, but you definitely should not trust her with capturing quality images on one of the biggest days of your life! Shane & Sunny Photography offers a variety of different photography packages that ensure the right fit for every couple on just about any budget. With over 25 combined years of experience, they are trained photographers (who learned with film) and experts at paying attention to all of the minor details that make a major difference.  One aspect that they have learned to be particularly efficient with over the years is time management.  Sunny adds, “Shane is exceptionally great at time management.  When you have a group of people, small or large, you MUST know how to keep the day on track.  As the photographer, you are in charge of running most aspects of schedule for the day and it is so easy to get off track really quickly.”  They offer a great mix of traditional and contemporary photography, are trained for indoor and outdoor lighting, and consistently provide their clients with quality images that they can view and share with pride.  When you hire Shane & Sunny, you are hiring them for the complete package of experience, technical skill, time management AND personality!

cali-hlavacHiring a professional for the important aspects of your big day is a decision you definitely won’t regret.  In light of significant technological advances in recent years, professional videography for a wedding is quickly becoming equally as important as professional photography services as they both capture your memories in a completely different way.  A Sound Impression offers DJ/Hosting services, Videography, and slideshow or love story videos for weddings.  Cali Hlavac, owner of A Sound Impression, advises that when you are visiting with professionals while deciding who to work with, use that time wisely and pick their brain.  She explains, “If you’ve seen a photo of something, or have a unique idea, ask around to see if it’s been done before.  Remember, we work weddings every single weekend – there’s a good chance we’ve seen it happen and can tell you whether or not it worked out, and/or help you with logistics.  I feel that specializing in the wedding industry gives us an advantage because we live and breathe weddings daily – new trends, venues, vendor reviews – it’s our 100% focus.  Vendor knowledge of a wedding day is incredibly underutilized!  I often wish more couples would pick our brains with ideas before executing them.”  It is also a good idea to ask about any trends you may be interested in.  Hlavac adds, “One of the newest trends we are seeing more and more of are hiring live bands for entertainment, and also hiring a videographer to provide a Same Day Edit.  This is where they film all morning, through the ceremony and edit the footage on site to be shown at the reception.  It really increases the ‘Wow!’ factor of the day, and is something that leaves guests talking about for months after!”

crystal-meister-the-apothecary-lofts-and-ridnour-roomTo many, the reception is just as important as the wedding.  This is a time to celebrate and enjoy the company of your family, friends and guests.  The Apothecary is a stunning venue that can accommodate just about any size or aspect of your wedding celebration.  The have three separate facilities available to reserve for numerous activities related to a wedding, such as a rehearsal dinner, overnight accommodations, ceremony and reception location, and gift opening.  Crystal Meister, Facilities Manager at the Apothecary, says “We are very unique when compared to other venues in town since we are the ONLY venue that allows each couple to completely control everything about their food and beverages.  Whereas many venues will require a couple to use their on-site or preferred caterer for the food and alcohol, we offer a different approach and instead let each couple choose whomever they desire to cater the meal and beverages.  We even allow couples to bring in their own food and beverages, without charging any additional fees.”  She adds, “When planning any event, be sure to ask lots of questions about the facility, and not only about the rental fee.  There can be a lot of hidden costs outside of the rental fee that will drastically change the overall cost of the event.  Be sure to ask about each venues food costs, beverage costs, server/bartender fees, gratuity fees, taxes, entry and exit times, fees for use of certain equipment, decoration restrictions, lighting and thermostat control, music restrictions, and so forth.  I recommend taking a long list of questions with you to each venue you tour or call and make sure you receive an answer for each question, and to be wary of those venues who want you to place a credit card on file as it is essentially like handing over a signed blank check.”   Guests usually remember two things about wedding receptions and activities: whose event it is and where it was held.  Thus, choosing a facility that enhances the experience for not only yourself but your guests and allows you to interact is critical to a successful reception.

Another excellent venue to consider hosting your wedding reception is Country Inn and Suites.  Deborah Carroll, Event Coordinator for Country Inn and Suites, believes that every wedding reception at their establishment is just as important as the first reception they ever hosted—it is NEVER just ‘another reception.’  The staff at Country Inn and Suites gets to know you on a personal level, so having your day be flawless is personal to them as well.  Carroll says, “Although we are one of the more average size wedding reception venues in Lincoln (accommodating between 100-250 guests in our Nebraska Ballroom), we believe we set ourselves apart by offering ample free parking just outside the doors of the venue, very competitive hotel rates to wedding blocks, all day access to the venue starting at 9:00 a.m. for special decorating needs, and most importantly some great food for your guests.  As the Event Coordinator, I assist our clients from the very beginning with decorating ideas, food tastings, hotel stays for guests, recommendations for DJs, rentals, and chair covers.  We can even do your centerpieces for you–and all of that at no extra charge!  We allow the bride and her family to be as involved with set up and decoration the day of the wedding or as uninvolved as they want to be.  I had a bride several weeks ago that said ‘make it look good’ then showed up for the reception, so that is what we did!”  She adds, “I believe weddings should be as individual as the bride and groom.  Be true to who you are as a couple when planning your wedding and reception, after all it is your day.  Start your planning with that in mind–the things that make you who you are, what you love to do, the people who mean the most to you, what you love to eat, and the kind of music you love to listen to.  As a result, I think you will find the ‘theme’ for your day will come together easily.”

The Embassy Suites offers personalized planning for a “one stop” shop.   A personalized Wedding Coordinator will assist through the planning right up to the reception, and they can also accommodate other events leading up to the wedding, such as gift opening, bridal shower, and the prenuptial dinner.  The Embassy Suites can also suggest vendors for your DJ, Florist, cake and special lighting services.  They will be by your side to offer support, creativity, and to answer all your questions and to ensure that your day is everything you imagined it would be.  In conjunction with the event planning, they offer Special Room Rates that are valid for all Two Room Suites that includes complimentary cocktails and cooked-to-order breakfast.  The Embassy Suites’ chef has created a fabulous wedding menu, but is also happy to customize a menu to accommodate any special needs.  Finally, they will take care of all of your reception set up and clean up needs so that you can relax and enjoy your special day!

Located only 25 minutes from either Omaha or Lincoln, the Strategic Air & Space Museum offers a number of options for your wedding and/or wedding reception. With over 300,000 square feet of space, planning an event is easy and allows for a range of possibilities. This Angela-Roeber-Sac-Museumvenue can accommodate a group of anywhere from 20 to 2,000. One of the best features of the Strategic Air & Space Museum is the glass atrium at the entrance of the Museum. This offers a unique and intimate setting for your guests underneath the SR-71 Blackbird. For larger groups you have the opportunity to rent one of the Museum’s display hangars. Both hangars allow you the opportunity to dine under the wings of their aircraft. No matter what location you choose it’s sure to be a stunning and inspiring event.   When hosting your wedding event at the Strategic Air & Space Museum, you also enjoy free parking for all of your guests, open catering, and access to all of their interactive exhibits and attractions.  Angela Roeber of Strategic Air & Space Museum suggests, “Before you start planning, ask yourself a few important questions. What kind of wedding do you want?  Think about the kind of feeling or vibe you want for your day.  Also consider if you want a church wedding or a non-religious civil ceremony.  Finding the right setting for the ceremony and reception is crucial.  Before you begin the venue hunt, try to narrow down the general location.  Do you want to get married where you live now or where you grew up, or are you considering a destination wedding?  Always try to evaluate what is important to you, personally, as individuals and as a couple.  Decide together what aspects of your wedding will have the most importance.  By knowing your priorities, it will help you decide where you want to spend your time and money on when planning your wedding.  The Strategic Air & Space Museum allows for a relaxed atmosphere in an extraordinary setting.  Let us manage the details so you can spend your time enjoying your special day!”

photo-jim-ballard-james-arthur-vineyardsJames Arthur Vineyards offers a unique venue for intimate weddings and receptions.  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.”

photo-lori-miller-lincoln-tentIf you are hosting an outdoor wedding or reception, Lincoln Tent can provide any size or type of tent you require.  They offer tent rentals, flooring, lighting, and basically anything you may need to doll up your tent (aside from tables and chairs).  Lincoln Tent fabricates and constructs their tents by hand at their shop in Lincoln, so they can custom make just about any type of tent you have in mind.  Lori Miller of Lincoln Tent emphasizes the importance of having your event carried out exactly the way you have always imagined it.  She says “Don’t get hung up on being original or what everyone else wants–this is your day and you should treat as such. Make decisions for you and your fiancé, not for everyone else. Take the advice of others for sure, but at the end of the day, do what makes you happy. There are no do-overs, so don’t live with regret.”  From her years of experience with providing services for weddings, Miller suggests that when planning your event there are several steps that will ensure everything falls into place accordingly.  “Get your budget together first. Sit down and list out all the items involved in your wedding, such as the venue, photographer, food, and so on. Then rank them based on importance. Based on your rankings, that’s where the money should be spent and you should always spend more for what you want. If it’s not that important, then why spend more money on it? It helps justify some of the costs, because generally you get what you pay for.”  The sky is the limit with Lincoln Tent, who can turn your vision into reality with customized options that provide shelter and set the stage for your celebration!

Cherie Anderson - Venue copyVenue 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 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 chinaware when nice disposables are a fraction of the cost? 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.”

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.  The options are endless, but make sure to be as thorough as you possibly can in planning for aspects that often get overlooked on a big day until it’s too late.  This is yet another example of why it is SO important to pick the brains of all the professionals you will be working with in planning for every detail, big or small, surrounding your wedding.

When 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 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.

Jeff-White-colby-ridgeWhen 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 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.

Hallow Candle Co offers customized wedding gifts, decor and favors in the form of customized candles.  Hallow can customize any candle from small thank you gifts with wedding colors and logos to entire centerpieces for your reception tables!  The staff at Hallow Candle Co. will work with you through the entire process to make sure they get it just right and Sarah Mullinsyou end up with a unique, perfectly designed, and customized gift or decoration from the showers to the big event.  Sarah Mullins, owner of Hallow Candle Co., says “Planning, hosting and organizing a wedding can be very stressful – however you can eliminate the stress by identifying what your strengths are, then consulting a professional for those things you’re not as efficient at!  Keeping idea books during the process will help you and your planners visualize the look feel and theme of your big day – and don’t forget to say a big THANK YOU to friends and family helping you along the way.  Little gifts like personalized knick knacks, jewelry, or candles are always a nice touch!” She adds, “While planning your wedding, always remember to shop local as much as possible.  Local businesses can often provide services and products faster and with more customer service.”

ashley-pavlish-body-nouveaux-spaBody Nouveaux offers many services to help the bride shine on her big day.  Ashley Pavlish of Body Nouveaux notes that their facials, spray tanning services, and Slender Body Wraps are the most popular.  Pavlish also emphasizes the importance of planning in advance.  “Many brides will come in for a series of facials and/or chemical peels a few months before their wedding day to ensure their skin looks flawless.  We usually do a spray tan one or two days before a special event, but we suggest our brides to come in ahead of time for a trial run.  Some clients like their color the very next day and some like it faded a few days.  Coming in for a trial run will help us decide what day would be best, and we also offer our ‘Glowing Bride’ spray tan package which give our brides two sprays with a savings of $10.  Weight loss certainly takes an extended amount of time, and many brides are losing weight before they walk down the aisle. I can’t tell you how much more results you will get by utilizing Slender Body Wrap alongside other methods for losing the weight.  Our wraps help you feel refreshed and energized, which we have found to be a good motivator to keep our clients working toward their goals.  We have even had brides or bridesmaids call in on a last minute situation to where they can’t even zip up their dress!  There have been many times we can help them not only zip it up completely but to feel more comfortable in it–and many times with just one wrap!  Body Nouveaux also offers a Bridal Party Spa Day.  This package includes a one hour massage and one hour facial for the bride and four others in her bridal party.  Thisspecial package also includes a spa lunch provided by their neighbors at High Society Cheesecake.  This is a great opportunity for the bride and her ladies to come and relax in their own private room, and to have a full day of pampering and girl time.

Emmy-Gorman-Blush-Bridal-BoutiqueBlush Bridal Boutique offers exclusive gowns, jewelry and accessories for Nebraska’s fashion forward bride.  They also offer unique and trendy designs for bridesmaids, Mothers of the Occasion, and flower girls.   At Blush Bridal, they style you from the time you walk through our door until the day you walk down the aisle.  Emmy Gorman of Blush Bridal Boutique points out that in her experience, many newly engaged women underestimate the amount of time that it takes to plan a wedding.  She advises, “Always start your planning process at least twelve months prior to the wedding and start by thoroughly researching your timeline and budget.  If you set clear cut budgets and timelines up front, planning can be really enjoyable and stress free.  Blush Bridal stylists are very knowledgeable about the wedding planning process and are readily available for questions about all aspects of planning.  Bridal gown shopping is different from any other shopping experience.  Begin your shopping 9-12 months prior to your wedding, schedule appointments at your favorite boutiques, and bring only 1-2 guests whose opinion you really value with you.  Keep an open mind and ask/listen to feedback from your stylists; ultimately remembering how you feel in a gown when making your final decision.  Allow 6-9 months for your bridal gown to arrive and 2-3 months for the alterations process.”  Blush Bridal focuses on an intimate, personal shopping experience for their brides.  Blush stylists help create a memorable, relaxing, personalized appointment for a bride and her guests for a fun girls day out!

Angie-Lewis-the-corky-canvasWhile you are sure to be making tons of plans and arrangements for your wedding, you will also be planning for other customary events surrounding the wedding such as bachelor and bachelorette parties and the bridal shower.  The Corky Canvas is a great place to host a bachelorette party or bridal shower.  Angie Lewis, owner of The Corky Canvas, says “If you are planning a fun and unique bachelorette party, bridal shower, or a girls’ night out prior to the big day, The Corky Canvas is the place for you!  No artistic ability needed! Really! We’ll have the music pumping and the wine flowing for your fun night out.  Plus, your friends will have a painting they can take home to remember this fun night!  You’re welcome to book a private party or, even better, join up with one of our regularly scheduled classes.”  Private parties can be held any day or night based upon availability, and you can always check out the event calendar at to see what is open or what classes are scheduled that you may be interested in joining.  Or if you would like to host the event at your house or another location, that can be arranged as well!

Weddings are joyous occasions you get to spend with all the people that matter to you, and a celebration that starts your life as a married couple.  It is incredibly important to make sure this day is planned correctly, so you have fond memories instead of horror stories about stressful mishaps.  This is YOUR special day, and as such, should be composed of everything you imagined it would be and especially everything that you have spent your time and resources on planning for.  If you choose the right people to help you with your wedding, you are effectively ensuring that you can focus what is important–your happiness and making great memories.