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Questions To Figure Out What Kind of Wedding YOU Want
As you’re chatting with potential wedding vendors, you might find that they (Burst included) will ask you a LOT of questions about your wedding day. There will be the basics like ideal date, budget, and guest count, but they also may dive deeper into your specific vision, priorities, and guest experience. With an endless source of ideas on Pinterest & the Knot, countless details to consider, and “helpful” feedback from every family and friend you’ve ever had, it can be difficult to really nail down how YOU want your wedding day to look and feel. Below, we have a list of questions to help you figure out what kind of wedding YOU want. A few notes before we get started. Keep in mind, there are no wrong answers! This is your wedding, and these questions will serve as a roadmap for gaining a clearer vision of your day. If you don’t know the answer to some or most of these questions, that’s okay! These are helpful items to consider as you’re starting to wedding plan, but by no means do you need an answer to every question at this point. Moreover, you have time to think through your answers and chat about them with your partner. This is also a good starting point for looping in any others who may be involved in the planning process. So with that, let’s begin! Where do you want to get married? What time of year do you want to get married? What time of day do you want to get married? Do you want to get married on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or another day of the week? Is there any flexibility to where/when you want to get married? Do you want a one-day event or events over several days (i.e. welcome cocktails, rehearsal dinner, farewell brunch, etc.)? How many guests are on your guest list? How many guests do you actually want to invite? How many guests does your _________ [fill in the blank: parents, grandparents, future in-laws, etc.] want to invite? Do you want to invite kids to your wedding? What is your budget? Who is contributing to your budget? If others are contributing to your budget, how involved do they want to be in the planning process? What is the amount you are realistically comfortable spending? What are your top 3 priorities for your wedding? What are your bottom 3 priorities for your wedding? How involved do you want to be in your wedding planning process? How involved do you want others to be in your wedding planning process? (This could be your partner, parents, grandparents, wedding party, etc.) Do you want an indoor or outdoor wedding? Or a mix of both? What style(s) of venue do you like? (Industrial, loft, barn, estate, vineyard, hotel, ballroom, garden, historic, museum, country club, rooftop, etc.) What style(s) of venue do you not like? Do you want a religious ceremony? Is there a certain style/theme you want for your wedding? This can work both ways: some couples have a certain style in mind and base their venue selection on that. Other couples develop their style/theme after choosing a venue. So don’t fret if you’re not quite sure yet! Are there certain colors you want to incorporate into your wedding? What is most important to you about your guests’ experience? Do you want a more formal or informal reception? Is there any certain entertainment you would like to have for guests? Is there anything (an idea, certain vendor, etc.) that you’re like “I can’t live without ______ on my wedding day!!!!”? If you’re still feeling overwhelmed during or after going through these questions, it might be helpful to chat with a planner to separate out what you actually want and need from what you don’t. We’re just a phone call away! Wondering if you need a Wedding Planner? TAKE THE QUIZ & FIND OUT NOW
The Difference Between a 12-Month and 6-Month Planning Timeline
If your new year was met with a new piece of jewelry symbolizing your lasting love, then you might be excited to jump right into planning your wedding! One of the first tasks you’ll tackle is figuring out a date, or at least narrowing down the time of year you’d like to get married. If you’ve had your heart set on a summer wedding and are wanting to get married in 2022, you have six or so months to plan an entire wedding. But is that doable? And how does that impact your planning timeline? Let’s start by taking a look at how Burst’s planning process works based on a 12-month engagement. On average, this is the typical engagement length our couples have, but there are certainly couples that plan on a shorter or longer timeline. For a 12-month or longer planning period, we follow a phase-based approach: Phase 1 (ends ~9 months prior to the wedding) Venue(s) Photographer Caterer Videographer Entertainment Officiant Between phases, couples have a 30-day break so that planning doesn’t consume their entire lives. This is a great time to reconnect as a couple and focus on what really matters. If you’re planning on a timeline longer than 12 months, you may opt to make this break longer. Phase 2 (starts 7 months prior to the wedding; ends 4 months prior) Design & Logistics Meeting Florist/Decorator Stationer Rentals Cake Hair & Makeup Artist Transportation Room Blocks Followed by a 30-day break. Phase 3 (starts 3 months prior to the wedding) Begin Reconciliation Phase as scheduled Phase 4: Wedding Day! Now, we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: While we absolutely have a process we guide our clients through, customize this order how it makes sense for YOU. If there is a vendor you’ve been following and your wedding day wouldn’t be the same without them, go ahead and book them. But when in doubt, this booking order should give you some guidance on who to talk to next. For a 6-month planning timeline, this process is of course going to be a bit quicker and more condensed. But it is absolutely doable! Now, I will say that with a year like this one, where we’re dealing with ever-changing COVID numbers and guidelines as well as a higher number of weddings, hiring a wedding planner in some capacity will make this process easier on you. If you’re aiming to plan a summer 2022 wedding, reach out to some planners to chat about your vision and priorities to see if this is a realistic goal for you. With a 6-month planning period, this is the process that we recommend: 6 Months Prior Venue(s) Photographer Caterer Room Blocks Logistics Meeting / Timeline 5 Months Prior Videographer Entertainment Officiant Design Concept Finalization 4 Months Prior Florist/Decorator Stationer Rentals Cake Hair & Makeup Artist Transportation 3 Months Prior Begin Reconciliation Phase as scheduled While your decision on when to get married may be impacted by a number of factors, make sure to consider your personal lifestyle – do you have the time and resources to plan your wedding in 6 months? If you have a hectic work schedule, for example, it might not be realistic for you to take this on, at least without some professional help. Wondering if you need a Wedding Planner? TAKE THE QUIZ & FIND OUT NOW
What's the Difference Between a Wedding Planner and Venue Manager?
If you’ve been on the hunt for your dream wedding venue, you may have heard the term venue manager tossed around. Every venue has one (but may use alternative terms like event manager, event coordinator, venue director, etc.), and they’ll be on-site on your wedding day. But what exactly is their role, and what will/won’t they handle? Read on to learn the wedding day difference between a venue manager, wedding planner, and more! A venue manager’s primary responsibility on wedding day is to oversee the venue. Quite literally, they make sure the place doesn’t burn to the ground. Now, more often than not, that’s not an issue, so they’re ensuring the venue is safe, clean, and protected from any damage caused by your other vendors or even your guests. They see that vendors are following proper load-in/load-out procedures, assisting with any venue-related questions or issues, and generally keeping an eye on guest behavior. Additionally, if your venue offers an in-house bar, the venue manager will oversee its operation and the bartenders. If your venue has in-house catering, you’ll likely have a separate venue manager and catering captain. Different venues have different processes, but in general, your main point of contact leading up to the wedding will be the venue manager; they’ll then pass the details of your food and beverage service onto the catering captain for execution on the day. The venue manager may or may not be on-site on the wedding day in this case, or they may be on-site for the beginning of the day to help get everything started and leave after dinner. Likely, what you’re most concerned about for the wedding day is who is going to set up your decor (think guest book, escort cards, card box, any DIY projects, etc.), who is going to execute the day, and more. In most cases, a venue manager will NOT handle these things. There are some exceptions to that rule, but more on that later. If you’re wanting someone that will handle these tasks on your wedding day, you’ll want to look into hiring a wedding planner or coordinator. This person will handle all aspects of the day-of to ensure everything runs smoothly and on time; that would include timeline maintenance, liaising with all vendors, setting up decor, executing the ceremony and reception, assisting guests as needed, etc. A wedding planner will of course help you to source and contract vendors, whereas a wedding coordinator will start working with you closer to your wedding to finalize details leading up to the wedding (for our Bursties, this process typically starts three to four months out from the wedding date). Some venues do offer what is typically referred to as “day-of coordination.” Now, this could mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. The crucial difference here is if your venue is outsourcing your day-of coordination, or if they have an in-house employee that handles this. If coordination is something your venue handles in-house, it will likely only cover anything that actually occurs within the venue. This could include setting up and tearing down your decor, running your on-site ceremony, and overseeing your reception but wouldn’t include anything prior to you getting to the venue like keeping track of your hair and makeup schedule, executing an off-site ceremony, managing off-site photos, etc. On the flip side, if your venue outsources wedding coordination to a planning company, this is when you’ll get full service on the wedding day from hair and makeup all the way until your grand exit. If you’re overwhelmed by what your venue may or may not provide, just ask! Get a clear list of what they will and won’t handle, and it’s always best to have this listed out in the contract just to be safe. Moreover, most planners and coordinators offer free phone or video call consultations, so if you’re considering their services, we recommend chatting with them to determine if their services will be beneficial to you on wedding day. Wondering if you need a Wedding Planner? TAKE THE QUIZ & FIND OUT NOW
A Colorful and Rustic Wedding on a Stunning Wisconsin Farm
Filled with all the love and romance you could be looking for, Shristi and Jon’s wedding at a beautiful Wisconsin barn featured eye-catching jewel tones, intentional DIY projects, and the cutest pup ever. The Couple College sweethearts, Shristi and Jon met while attending engineering school at the University of Illinois Chicago. Jon popped the question while the couple cruised around Lake Michigan (hello, gorgeous views!) and Shristi said yes. They *technically* got married during COVID but wanted to plan a beautiful ceremony and celebration for their family and friends. The Vision Shristi and Jon had originally planned to get married in India, but once the pandemic hit, their plans had to be adjusted due to the travel restrictions. They ultimately decided to get married in the States and to have a separate Christian celebration & a traditional Indian celebration. They had a clear vision when it came to their design and wanted to incorporate bright, colorful jewel tones. To ensure they and their guests had a wonderful time, they wanted the day to flow seamlessly and be expertly organized. Getting Ready The Farm at Dover features two houses that the couple and their wedding party members were able to get ready in. The ladies spent the early afternoon getting their hair and makeup done while noshing on mimosas and snacks. Meanwhile, the guys hung out in the venue’s renovated granary and toasted the day with some beers. Shristi and Jon’s adorable puppy, Teddy, was also on-site for the day and enjoyed exploring the farm’s 20 acres (and stealing all the guests’ hearts). The First Look The first look was a sweet and personal moment filled with all the love! Shristi stunned in her mermaid-style, lacey dress. The Ceremony As guests arrived, they were greeted by the beautiful sounds of the Camerata String Quartet. The ceremony, led by Pastor Benny Square, took place in a secluded, wooded area of the farm and included a unity candle ceremony that incorporated both sides of the family and symbolized the coming together of two families as one. The entire ceremony was live-streamed by Cage + Aquarium so that Shristi’s family in India could still partake in the day. And that stunning arch? Shristi and Jon MADE that. Talk about a very successful DIY project! After the ceremony, guests strolled over to the lower level of the barn to enjoy cocktails and appetizers. The Reception Once it was time to kick off the reception, guests transitioned to the upper level of the barn and were first treated to some hilarious introductions of the wedding party, which included mini roasts written by Shritsi and Jon of each bridesmaid and groomsmen as they made their way into the room. The guests loved it, and it added to the fun and excitement of the evening. After Shristi and Jon were introduced, they cut their three-tier cake from Nissi’s Cake Room and sat for a delicious meal by Chef David’s. After speeches and dinner, Shristi and Jon stepped out to the dance floor for their first dance, which was a choreographed routine to How Long Will I Love You by Ellie Goulding. The whole room was so amazed and brought to tears by their dance (myself included)! Once the dance floor opened up, it was time to party. Later in the evening, guests snacked on a variety of donuts from Firecakes. At the end of the night, guests gathered outside for a beautiful sparkler exit to send the couple off. The Details Besides the ceremony arch, each guests’ place card was handmade by the couple. During the ceremony, the programs served double duty as folding fans so that guests could stay cool in the heat of August. The floral arrangements by The Great White Farm really tied the theme together, and the unity hoops behind the head table were such an eye-catcher. Their personalized card box and tree guest book are mementos Shristi and Jon will be able to treasure for many years to come. Venue: The Farm at Dover / Planning: Burst Event Co/Catering: Chef David’s / Photography: Jonathan James Photography / Live Streaming: Cage + Aquarium / Quartet: Camerata String Quartet / DJ: DJ Shaun Anthony / Florals: Great White Farm / Cake: Nissi’s Cake Room / Hair & Makeup: Jandee Salon / Rentals: Top Choice, Tablescapes, & Well Dressed Tables / Donuts: Firecakes Donuts Wondering if you need a Wedding Planner? TAKE THE QUIZ & FIND OUT NOW
Creative Wedding Favors
Favors are a sweet way to thank your guests for their support and presence at your wedding. But too often, favors either don’t get picked up by guests on their way out of the wedding, or couples over-order and are left with fifty candles with their new last name on it. There are a few key characteristics to purchasing a favor your guests will enjoy for many years to come. Number one, make it useful. Number two, it doesn’t have to be personalized with your names and date on it. As much as your guests love you, they likely don’t have a need for a coozie with your names on it. Number three, consider your group of guests. If you know you don’t have a lot of coffee drinkers in your crowd, you might want to steer clear of giving guests coffee beans. If you want to save some money on favors, consider having a favor table rather than placing favors at each of your place settings. This way, guests can choose if they’d like to take one, and you won’t need to purchase a favor for each guest. Instead, order somewhere from 50 to 75% of your guest count. Just make sure to have a sign on your favor table so guests know the goodies are for them! So how to pick a favor that is unique and useful that your guests will love? Take a look at some of our favorites below! 1. Local Snacks Leaning into the food scene of the city you’re getting married in is always a safe bet. If you’re getting married in Chicago, consider popcorn from Garrett or Nuts on Clark or donuts from Firecakes or Stan’s. Or, if you have a hometown snack that you grew up loving, offer this as a favor! This could also be something that you as a couple love. Whether it’s your favorite cupcake, macaroon, candy, chip, etc., see if you’re able to order some in bulk and pack them up in cute, personal containers. Or, see if a local shop is able to offer single-serve, individual bags or boxes of your favorite snack! 2. Acrylic Coasters If you’re looking for something a little more personal to each guest, check out these personalized Acrylic Coasters. Because these are individualized with each person’s name, these can serve double duty as both a favor and your guests’ place cards or escort cards. Your guests will treasure the thoughtfulness of these coasters, and they’re incredibly useful after the wedding. 3. Flower Seeds Planting a sapling or plant is a common symbol of unity in wedding ceremonies, so invite your guests to join you in your new chapter by offering them flower seeds. To complete the gift, include a small pot with the seeds for guests to start growing their flowers in. You can include any type of seeds, but bonus points if it’s a flower that’s included in your wedding! 4. Tequila Shot Get the party started by offering guests a shot of your favorite liquor. It certainly doesn’t have to be tequila -- go with whatever fits you and your partner best! Or, if you’re not a fan of shots, sub this for a mini bottle of champagne. This is another favor option that can serve as a place card or escort card as well! All you’ll need to do is include a tag on the shot with the guest’s name. 5. Coffee Beans or Tea Leaves If you or your partner are a coffee or tea fanatic, share your love of it with your guests! Give out little bags of your favorite coffee beans or tea leaves. If you’re divided as a couple on the coffee vs tea debate (or maybe you’re a hot chocolate lover!), offer Partner 1’s favorite coffee beans and Partner 2’s favorite tea leaves, for example. Plus, the pun ideas here are endless -- love is brewing, thanks for bean here, the perfect blend, together for eterni-tea, grounds for celebration, etc. 6. Temporary tattoos How freaking cute are these? This is such a great interactive gift that your guests will be loving during your reception. Nothing like getting tatted up before hitting the dance floor! This lower-cost option still has such a strong impact, and guests are sure to remember this unique favor for years to come. With so many options to choose from, it can be a little overwhelming trying to find the favor this is right for your wedding and your guests. And remember, if you’re not finding something you love, you certainly don’t have to offer guests a favor! It’s okay if favors are lower in your priorities and don’t make the cut by the wedding day. Your guests will still have a wonderful time celebrating your love and marriage! Wondering if you need a Wedding Planner? TAKE THE QUIZ & FIND OUT NOW
8 Signature Drinks To Wow Your Friends & Family This Thanksgiving
Who said signature drinks are just for weddings? Not us! Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and one easy, yet so effective, way to step up your dinner this year is by offering your guests a signature drink or two. Instead of just offering wine, a signature drink is a fun and creative way to impress your guests! Bonus points if you give it a punny name. To ensure your signature cocktail really shines on the day of, play mixologist a few days in advance and try creating the recipe. Plus, a cocktail could be just what you need to keep the Thanksgiving dinner hosting stress to a minimum! Check out some of our favorite recipes below to get in the festive mood! 1) Pumpkin Spice Martini Nothing screams fall quite like pumpkin spice, and you’ll feel oh-so-classy with this Pumpkin Spice Martini. Make sure to shop early for this one, as it includes pumpkin liqueur that is typically only sold seasonally. 2) Toasted Pecan Old Fashioned Pecan pie, but make it a drink! If you’re opting for this old fashioned, make sure to read the recipe closely -- you’ll need to soak pecans in whiskey for 3 to 4 days, so plan ahead! And of course, don’t forget the sugar cubes and oversized ice cubes. 3) Cranberry Moscow Mule This summer classic is made with a cranberry twist for a delicious and refreshing fall cocktail. Serve it up in a classic copper mug with a lime and fresh cranberry garnish. This one is also so simple to make into a mocktail. Just omit the vodka, and voila! 4) Apple Cider Mimosas If you need a simple yet seasonal option, check out these Apple Cider Mimosas. This recipe swaps out orange juice for apple cider and is perfect for sipping if you’re up early to start cooking (but we’re not here to tell you a mimosa is only for the morning). Plus, you’ll kick things up a notch with the cinnamon sugar rim and apple garnish! 5) Pomegranate Ginger Smash With just 3 ingredients, this cocktail is so easy to create but still has that wow factor. Ginger and rosemary balance the tartness of the pomegranate, while the ginger beer adds a tangy fizz. Plus, the color of the pomegranate makes this cocktail a beautiful addition to your Thanksgiving table! 6) Mulled Wine A cold-weather classic, mulled wine is the perfect option for warming up during this chilly holiday. It’s very versatile, so you have options when it comes to the types of wine, fruits, and garnishes you can include. Toss everything in a slow cooker for an easy and delicious drink that doesn’t require too much work! 7) Thanksgiving Margarita Now, personally, I would have never thought of a margarita as a potential Thanksgiving drink. But this recipe features several fall flavors like pear, cinnamon, and apple for a yummy seasonal twist on a classic cocktail. 8) Salted Caramel White Russian This one is perfect to break out for dessert. Sweet and creamy with a touch of salty, caramel is a warm flavor that adds a new flavor to a classic white Russian. Have your dessert and drink it too! Whether you go with a more simple option or pull out all the stops for your signature cocktail, these recipes will be such a fun addition to your Thanksgiving menu this year! And we can’t wait to see you show off your creations on Instagram soon. Wondering if you need a Party Planner? SCHEDULE A FREE CONSULTATION WITH US!
7 Tips for Planning the Perfect Friendsgiving
It’s November, and the sun is setting at 4 PM now, which means Thanksgiving is right around the corner! And we of course cannot forget about Thanksgiving’s more relaxed and communal cousin, Friendsgiving. If you’ll be hosting this year’s Friendsgiving, it can be an exciting but stressful responsibility. From making grocery lists to prepping food to being a wonderful host, you’ve got a lot on your plate (haha, get it?). Check out our tips below for planning and hosting a Friendsgiving that will be a relaxing and delightful gathering for all. Tip 1: Select a point person, but… Don’t take on the responsibility of planning an entire Friendsgiving on your own! Accept help from the friends and family who will be joining. If you’re going to be cooking up a whole turkey for your celebration, it’s easiest for this job to be assigned to the host since it will be all happening in their own home. But for appetizers, sides, and desserts, look to your guests to help with preparing or providing those. If you’ll be doing a potluck-style dinner, coordinate with everyone to ensure there isn’t overlap in the dishes that are being brought. The easiest way to do this is to send out a Google Sheet for your guests to write down the dish they’ll be bringing. Also check in with your guests to see if anyone has dietary restrictions or allergies that may require some alternative dishes to keep everyone full and happy. Tip 2: Get prepared If the majority of cooking will be done in your home, ensure you have the proper cooking ware and serving utensils on hand, as well as a large enough quantity so that you’re not having to constantly rewash dishes throughout the day. And of course don’t forget about plates, forks, and knives for your guests! You’ll also want to confirm that you have an appropriate number of tables and chairs for everyone to sit and eat comfortably, as well as a table (or tables) to display your delicious spread of food. Tip 3: Offer guests appetizers If guests will be arriving prior to when dinner is served, consider offering up some appetizers to keep hungry stomachs satisfied. These don’t have to be anything extravagant -- think cold dishes that you can prep in advance or simple recipes that only call for a few ingredients. Guests will be happy to have something to tie them over until dinner (and have something in their stomachs besides wine, which leads me to my next point...). Tip 4: Don’t forget the drinks Food is the star of the show at Friendsgiving, but don’t forget about the drinks! Wine is a staple for a classic Thanksgiving meal, so offer guests at least one red and one white. If you want to have an open bar, ensure you have the alcohol, mixers, garnishes, and ice that you’ll need to create a variety of drinks. Want to kick your bar up a notch? Consider offering a signature drink or two that features flavors of fall. For those that don’t drink or would like an alternative to alcohol, have some coffee and tea on hand. You can also crack open some sparkling cider to keep the festive spirit alive! Or, create an alcohol-free version of your signature drink so that all guests can enjoy. Tip 5: Play some background music Set up a light and enjoyable playlist to play before and during dinner. This will help to create a warm and welcoming environment, as well as set the mood for the overall experience. Keep the volume loud enough that guests can hear and enjoy the music, but low enough so that conversations don’t get interrupted. Tip 6: Have some to-go containers ready Has anyone ever had a Thanksgiving dinner without leftovers? Didn’t think so! Purchase some to-go containers so that guests can take some of the leftover food home with them. This way, your fridge isn’t overstuffed with leftovers that won’t get eaten. If you overstocked your bar, you can also send guests home with a bottle of wine as a thank you present. Tip 7: Prepare for clean-up As much as possible, try to clean up your kitchen and eating area throughout the day so that you aren’t left with piles of plates by the end of your celebration. You can also ask some guests to stick around to help with cleaning up (but make sure to mention this to them beforehand). Going for a more casual dinner vibe? Consider using disposables to make cleaning up a breeze. Hosting a Friendsgiving is no easy feat, but with these tips, you’ll be on the road to a fun and festive gathering of friends. Need help with planning the perfect Friendsgiving or holiday party? Click HERE to schedule a totally free consultation that will help you stay in budget, set clear goals for your party, and keep planning predictable and simple. Happy hosting!
Creative Chicago Proposal Ideas
November to February is affectionately known as engagement season in the wedding industry, and you may be thinking about popping the question to your partner this season. Like many of your soon-to-be-engaged Chicagoans, you want a fun, fresh, and personalized way to propose to your lover. Or maybe you’re needing to send this blog to your boo for a little nudge. Either way, read on for some of our favorite city proposal ideas, from simple to extravagant. For the foodie couple: It’s no secret Chicago is home to a wide range of delicious restaurants, from homey classics like Giordano’s to indulgent tasting menus like Alinea. Take advantage of the city’s food scene by taking your partner out to a tasty meal. The question of where depends on your style as a couple! If you prefer dinner with a view, consider a dinner cruise along Lake Michigan, during which you’ll be treated to a classic 3-course meal with breathtaking views. Or, if you’re looking for a little more DIY, create your own food walking tour with a handful of stops that are meaningful (and yummy) to you as a couple. Consider a stop for drinks, apps, a main, and dessert. Perhaps you prefer to keep things a little more low-key but still want to take advantage of the awe-inspiring Chicago skyline. Book a stay at one of Chicago’s iconic hotels; whether on the river or in the Loop, snag a room on a higher floor for the best views. Order in your and your partner’s favorite restaurant, pop a bottle of bubbly, and have a romantic dinner for two overlooking the city! For the nature-loving couple: Despite being a large metropolitan city, Chicago has so many nooks of beautiful and serene nature. Although the weather is starting to get chillier, the beach is still a stunning place to propose! (And am I the only one that thinks the lake still looks great when covered in ice caps?). If you’re not a big fan of the beach, try out the Chicago Botanic Gardens. With 385 acres of land and 27 gardens, you’re sure to find the perfect spot to get engaged. If you prefer something a bit more intimate and hidden, the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool is the spot for you. Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Lincoln Park, it features a looping path, spots to stop and observe nature, waterfalls, and an eye-catching pavilion for popping the question. For the Chicago-born-and-raised couple: If you’re a Chicagoan looking to incorporate your love for the city into your proposal, you’ve got plenty of options. First head over to Navy Pier for a romantic ride in the iconic Ferris wheel. Then, take a stroll through Millennium Park, stopping at the Bean to get down on one knee! Celebrate after with a cake shake from Portillo’s. Want to incorporate an experience into your proposal? Take your partner on a trip to Museum Campus for a visit to the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, or Adler Planetarium. You could propose in any of these, or walk out to Northerly Island Park after your visit for a proposal with a stunning view of Chicago. If you want to avoid (some) tourists, consider other museums like the Museum of Science and Industry, the Chicago History Museum, or the Art Institute. Each one is conveniently located by a park with a gorgeous setting for your engagement. For the couple looking to take it to “new heights”: If you want to feel like you’re on top of the world during your proposal, the Willis Tower Sky Deck is the perfect place for you. (If you or your partner aren’t a fan of heights, you might want to skip this section). With gorgeous views day or night, you’ll literally be standing on top of the city during your engagement. Or, kick things up a notch with a private helicopter tour! Fly around the city to get a birds-eye view of all the famous buildings Chicago has to offer. It’ll be a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you’ll never forget. Proposing to your partner can be a bit intimidating! But with a solid plan that fits you as a couple, you’ll be on your way to a perfect proposal. Wondering if you need a Wedding Planner? TAKE THE QUIZ & FIND OUT NOW
How To Avoid Wedding Planning Burnout
If you’ve been around here for a bit, you know we often talk about how being engaged can go from the best time of your life to super stressful in a blink of an eye. From figuring out a budget and guest list to sorting through hundreds of vendor options on The Knot to realizing that your favorite Pinspiration is going to cost you an arm and a leg, wedding planning stress is no secret. And having this stress for a prolonged period of time can lead to burnout. We’ve likely all heard of burnout as it relates to the workforce, but it can also happen with activities that you are contributing a lot of time and energy to like wedding planning! Now, no one wants to dread wedding planning or have it be an unenjoyable process. But how can you avoid wedding planning burnout? Read below for our top tips to loving wedding planning from the start. Get Organized Before even starting to plan your wedding, we recommend creating a new email inbox for all things wedding-related. Having a separate email address for just wedding planning will help keep your wedding emails separate from your personal and business inboxes. While at work, you won’t be flooded with emails from your vendors and can instead hop into this special inbox whenever you’re ready to do some wedding planning. You can of course do this for free with Gmail, and along with an email, you’ll also have access to Google Drive. This is where we recommend you house all your wedding planning documents: proposals and contracts, meeting notes, spreadsheets like your budget tracker and guest list, timelines, floor plans, etc. You can create folders for each of these categories (and even sub-folders if you’re super into organization like us) to keep things nice and tidy. Now onto your Google Calendar (no, we aren’t sponsored by Google)! This is where you can house important reminders, such as payment deadlines, upcoming meetings, and notes like when you’re able to pick up your wedding day attire from alterations. Pick a Planning Day If you keep a tight schedule, select a day (or two) and time during the week that you can dedicate to wedding planning. As much as possible, try to stick to your schedule so that you are focusing on planning only during those times. When the time for planning rolls around, this is when you can hop into your new wedding planning email and start tackling your checklist! Schedule Planning Breaks If you’ll be planning your wedding on your own, it will be helpful to put together a timeline and checklist of when you hope to accomplish certain tasks (and make these deadlines as realistic as possible). Here at BURST Event Co, we plan our weddings in stages, and our planning cycle is broken down into 4 phases. After we complete each phase, the couple goes on a 30- to 60-day wedding planning break. These breaks are so beneficial to helping couples love their engagement; they have the chance to step away from wedding planning for a bit and really connect with their partner & remember what this time in their life is all about. Even if you won’t be hiring a planner, you can incorporate planning breaks into your planning period as well! If you’ll be planning your wedding on a tighter timeline, you can always take shorter breaks, such as one or two weeks, so that you still have time to step away from planning. Take this time to go on a date with your soon-to-be spouse, treat your wedding party to drinks (and don’t talk about wedding planning), and practice some self-care. Keep Communication Open Most likely, you’re planning your wedding with at least one other person, whether it be your partner, a family member, a friend, or a planner. Keeping the lines of communication with your planning partners open is so essential to reducing wedding stress for everyone. This starts at the beginning of planning. Talk with each of the people involved in your wedding planning process that are either contributing to your budget or helping to actually plan. This is a great time to hear everyone’s thoughts and priorities, set expectations, and get everyone on the same page. Chatting with your planning partners in an honest way from the start of planning will help reduce unnecessary stress and drama among parties. Then, throughout the planning process, continue to keep the lines of communication open! Even if it’s just you and your partner planning your wedding, be open with one another about how you want your wedding day to look and feel. It will get you on the right track and make the planning process so much more enjoyable. Close Pinterest If we could shout it from the rooftops, we would. Pinterest is not the end all be all of wedding planning! Yes, it’s a helpful tool for gathering inspiration photos and planning resources. However, the photos you see on Pinterest are intended to be just that - inspiration. And unfortunately, Pinterest can give couples unrealistic expectations of what they think they can (and can’t) afford. More often than not, this relates to wedding flowers and other design elements. So before getting too far into the Pinterest rabbit hole, chat with a wedding pro to see what you really can afford. Whether it’s a florist, planner, or designer, talk with them about your budget and top priorities and go from there. Chances are, they’ll be able to put together a beautiful design for your wedding that you wouldn’t have been able to find on Pinterest in the first place! Remember that when sourcing design vendors, it’s their job (and likely their passion) to produce original, creative designs for you. So close out Pinterest and let the pros wow you! Wedding planning can (and should!) be a fun and pleasurable experience for you and your partner. By trying out these tips from the start of planning, you’ll put yourself on a path to enjoying the process and avoiding burnout. And remember, if you do start feeling wedding planning burnout, that’s okay! Talk about it openly with your partner and see what adjustments you can make to get back to loving your engagement. Wondering if you need a Wedding Planner? TAKE THE QUIZ & FIND OUT NOW
7 Ways to Elevate Your Guests' Wedding Experience
Not only do you want your wedding day to be smooth for you and your soon-to-be spouse, you also want your guests to have a relaxing, enjoyable experience! There are several ways, big and small, that you can take your wedding day from the standard ceremony and reception to a wonderful event for your guests. Now, I’m sure the words “elevating your guests’ wedding experience” probably made you feel like you’re going to have to break the bank and forget about your budget. But it doesn’t have to! There are low-cost and totally free ideas below that will enhance the flow of your day without ruining your budget. Here are 7 ways to elevate your guests’ wedding experience: 1) Your invitation & wedding website The guest experience isn’t just about wedding day -- it relates to all things your guests see or do leading up to the big day. Ensuring your wedding information is clearly relayed and easy to find on your invitation and wedding website is the first step to creating a wonderful experience for your guests. Your wedding website should be clearly listed on your invitation and save the date. The website should include a variety of information, such as: Date, time, and venue of your wedding (for both ceremony and reception if they will be at separate locations) Guest dress code Accommodations information: Including your customized hotel booking link or code for your room block Transportation information & schedule: If you’ll be having a shuttle for guests, list when and where it will depart from. It’s also helpful to include parking information for any guests that may be driving. Registry links Any arrangements for children (see below) Local recommendations: Things for guests to see and do in the city you’ll be getting married in COVID-related notes: If guests will need to wear a mask, practice social distancing, or any other COVID restrictions or recommendations Any other miscellaneous notes: Such as your wedding will be in grass and guests should avoid wearing stilettos 2) Welcome Drinks As guests arrive to your ceremony, consider offering a welcome drink station. While you can certainly offer alcoholic beverages at this time (or stick to a single option like champagne), you can also simply offer something to keep guests hydrated like fruit-infused water and iced tea. If pre-ceremony drinks don’t work for your venue layout, you can also plan to have butler-passed water, wine, or champagne waiting for guests as they enter into your cocktail hour space. This allows for guests to grab a quick sip and will help to reduce the immediate lines formed at the bar. 3) Timeline If you’ll be putting together your timeline by yourself, run through it a few times to see how the timing of the day will feel to guests. Put yourself in your guests’ shoes to see if there are any dull moments or times when the flow of the day feels off. For instance, extending your cocktail hour by a half-hour or even an hour might work well to accommodate your photo schedule, but it's likely going to leave your guests feeling antsy as they wait for the next part of the evening. Running through your timeline from a guests’ perspective can also help you to determine if you should be providing any extra accommodations, such as transportation from your ceremony to your reception. 4) Kids’ Activities If you’re inviting kiddos to your wedding, remember that they might get a bit antsy. Offering some kids-only activities is a great way to keep the little ones entertained (and allow their parents to have some fun too!). During your ceremony, offer the kids quiet, individual activities like wedding-themed coloring pages or word searches. For the reception, seat kids together at a table with butcher paper instead of a linen; set out markers and crayons so the group can create their own masterpieces. You can also hire kids-specific entertainment, such as a balloon artist, magician, or caricature artist. If you prefer to keep your wedding adults-only but still want to help out those guests with little ones, consider hiring a babysitting service. There are companies that specifically specialize in event babysitting, and this is something you could set up in an extra room at your venue or in a meeting room at the hotel. Check with the service to see if they bring activities or if you should drop off some coloring books, board games, books, etc. Post the necessary information to your wedding website so parents know when and where to drop off their little ones. 5) Host a Wedding Weekend This is highly recommended if you’ll be hosting a destination wedding but is also a great idea if you have lots of guests traveling for your wedding! Hosting a weekend of wedding-related activities is a great way to thank guests for their time. It’s also an easy way for guests to get to know one another, and you’ll have more time to connect with all your guests rather than just a quick chat at the reception. Your wedding weekend could include a variety of events such as a welcome party, rehearsal dinner, luncheon for your wedding party, and post-wedding brunch. You could even kick things up a notch and organize some group activities like golfing, going on a sightseeing tour, attending a group cooking class, etc. 6) Food Nobody wants to have hungry wedding guests. Keeping the food rolling throughout the day will help keep guests happy and comfortable. If you’re looking to take your food to the next level, you have endless options for creative catering ideas: Interactive food stations (live sushi making, guacamole making, etc.) Late-night snacks (bonus points if it’s a local favorite) International and/or cultural food Seasonal foods or ingredients Bite-sized food pairings (i.e. mini grilled cheese and tomato soup, mini tacos and margaritas, etc.) Food trucks Raw bar Individual charcuterie boards Espresso or tea bar The list goes on and on! If you’re looking to extend your unique food offerings, consider incorporating local bites into your favors or welcome bags. Wedding favors too often get left behind at the reception, but offering guests something edible to take home with them will definitely help prevent this from happening. 7) Entertainment When it comes to the dancing portion of your reception, there are a few ways to get guests involved. One way is to let guests submit music preferences or song requests. The key here is to gather these in advance. If you’re doing online RSVPs, this is an easy spot to add a question about the guest’s music tastes. If you’ll be doing mail-in RSVPs and don’t have enough room for extra questions on the RSVP card, you can easily add a short form on your wedding website for guests to enter their info. A lot of couples we chat with want their reception to be a super fun party -- and we totally get and love that vibe! But what we see often is just the young people hitting the dance floor. Throwing a few slow songs into your playlist is a great way for older guests to feel included in the celebration. Beyond dancing, there are plenty of alternative entertainment options for you to include in your reception. The most popular that likely comes to mind is a photo booth, but you can even hire dancers or performers, set up outdoor games like giant tic-tac-toe or Jenga, book a team mascot, have an on-site wine or whiskey tasting, and more. These ideas only touch the surface of what your wedding experience can be for guests! If you’re looking to chat through more ideas or want to see how you can incorporate these elements into your wedding day, schedule a free consultation call with us HERE! Wondering if you need a Wedding Planner? TAKE THE QUIZ & FIND OUT NOW
4 Documents Your Wedding Vendors Will Ask You For
After months of planning, it’s such an exciting feeling to know your wedding day is right around the corner. You’ve hired professionals so that your day runs smoothly, and it’s time to let go of the reigns so that they can do the job your hired them to do. To ensure you are organized and prepared for the day of, there are a few documents you’ll need to provide your vendors. Read below about each of them so that you can go into your wedding day worry-free! Ceremony & Reception Song List These days, lots of DJs and bands have online platforms for you and your partner to enter in your general wedding information, song requests, don’t play list, and more. If you’d like to get a jump start (or your DJ doesn’t offer this service), there are a few different music-related decisions you’ll want to think through. When considering what genre of music and what specific songs you want played at your wedding, remember that your DJ is a professional! We definitely don’t recommend making a whole three to four hour playlist for them to play because, well, that’s what you hired them to do. While you can definitely let them know a handful of songs you want played, giving them a general gist of your musical likes and dislikes will allow them to do their jobs to their best abilities. There are some songs that you’ll want to specifically pick if you’d like. For ceremony, these would be: Prelude songs: Any songs you want played while guests are being seated prior to the ceremony Processional song(s): Noting if there are different ones while certain groups walk down the aisle, such as family members, wedding party, and you and/or your partner Ceremony songs: For example, if you’ll be doing a unity ceremony and want a specific song to be played during it Recessional song(s): Couples most commonly just pick one song for their recessional, but if you want to pick multiple songs, go for it! Postlude songs: Any songs you want played while guests are transitioning to cocktail hour Moving into your reception, there are several moments you can select songs for: Formal introductions Cake cutting First dance Special dances (i.e. parent/family dances) Cultural/religious dances Last dance of the evening Beyond these moments, DJs will typically ask for you to select 10 to 30 songs that you like and/or want played during dancing. From there, they’ll be able to gauge your music preferences and curate a playlist for the evening. Shot List Similar to your DJ, your photographer may have an online system or questionnaire for you to fill out. Beyond this, they may ask you for a shot list. This will list out every family photo that you would like taken. For wedding party photos, group and individual photos are generally taken, but if there are certain groups of people you would like in addition to these, it’s helpful to list those out as well. Most commonly, family photos are done after the ceremony, and your photographer will utilize the shot list to keep this running as smoothly as possible. It’s also helpful to let any family members know that they’ll be included in photos post-ceremony so they know to hang around and not head to cocktail hour quite yet. When compiling your family photo list, first break it up between the two sides of the family. From there, try to list the photos as strategically as possible so that family members are removed or added to photos with as little shuffling as possible For instance, if the first group photo is you, your partner, and your parents, add in your siblings to the next photo rather than switching over to an entirely new group of family members. Entree Selection & Allergy List If guests are selecting their meal for dinner, you’ll need to provide your caterer with an entree selection list. This will detail the guest’s name, what table they are sitting at, the meal they’ve selected, and if they have any dietary restrictions or allergies. This way, your caterer can make any adjustments necessary to their entree. It will look something like this: Table 1: Jessica - Chicken Sarah - Beef (nut allergy) Peter - Chicken Paige - Vegetarian Andrew - Beef Beth - Vegan Ian - Chicken You’ll do this for each table at your reception, and of course don’t forget your wedding party and you and your partner! On this document, it is also helpful to include the overall counts for each entree (i.e. 35 chicken, 60 beef, 12 vegetarian, 3 vegan), along with a key for your entree indicator on your escort or place cards if it isn’t intuitive (i.e. pink dot = chicken, blue dot = beef, etc.). Seating Plan Along with entree selections, you’ll also provide your venue and/or caterer with your seating plan. This will be used for a few things. For whoever is setting out the tables and chairs, this will be a quick reference of how many chairs need to be set at each table. Similarly, your catering staff will know how many place settings need to be put out. If guests have assigned seats, you can specify which guest will be at each seat for whoever will be setting out your place cards. Staying organized in the weeks leading up to your wedding is so important, and providing your vendors with these documents will help you focus on the things that matter on your big day. It’s time to enjoy your work and let your vendors work their magic! Wondering if you need a Wedding Planner? TAKE THE QUIZ & FIND OUT NOW
How To Prepare For Major Event Changes
Wedding planning is stressful to begin with. You’re spending a lot of money on a major milestone, and there are always a lot of priorities and opinions to balance. Throw a pandemic in there, and it can start to feel like you have no control at all! We’re unfortunately a year and a half into this pandemic and COVID is still a part of our daily language. While it’s certainly not enjoyable to think about, there is still a chance that certain restrictions could come into play within the next few months. Naturally, as wedding planners, we want to make sure you are as prepared as possible for something that is very unpredictable. It’s overwhelming to consider a pandemic wreaking havoc on your special day that you have been planning for months, and we totally get that. Follow these tips to assist you in making decisions when it comes to major event changes. Don’t be emotionally charged when making decisions With anything related to COVID, planning ahead is key. While no one wants to think about a pandemic ruining their big day, we unfortunately can’t predict the future (as much as we wish we could!), and you may be faced with different restrictions in the months and weeks leading up to your wedding. Making a plan of your responses to certain restrictions will help you avoid in-the-moment, emotional decision-making. There are a few different scenarios to think through when evaluating how COVID could affect your event (more on that in a minute). These decisions don’t need to be rushed - take your time to really think through each one and its consequences so that you make the best decision for you, your partner, and your guests. Have a plan While we can’t predict how the infection rates or restrictions of the city or state will change, we can use past data to make educated decisions on how COVID may impact your day. At the time of this blog, all individuals are required to wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status in the city of Chicago. If you’ve already booked a venue, check with them on their specific restrictions to see how they will handle this on wedding day. Based on past restrictions, there may be a variety of other factors that come into play when considering your event and COVID. Think through each one to determine what your plan would be if that restriction were to go in place: would you continue planning despite the restrictions? Would you prefer to postpone or reschedule? Or, would you cancel for the time being and pick planning back up once COVID has settled down? A few other scenarios that we’ve seen in the past could be that the city restricts event capacity to 100 or 50 people. What does this mean for your guest list? Would you be comfortable cutting your guest list if needed? Another past restriction would be the inability to have a dance floor. Is this a make-or-break factor for your wedding day, or do you like the idea of having alternative entertainment for guests? Talk with your vendors If any of those scenarios have you considering a reschedule, postponement, or even cancelation, make sure to read carefully through your contracts and chat with your vendors about what this would be mean for your paid deposits. Most vendors require non-refundable deposits to hold your wedding date, but they may have added fees if asked to reschedule a different date. Chat with each vendor about what this might look like. Also consider your vendors’ calendars. If you’re looking to reschedule to a certain future date, all your vendors might not have that date available. If there’s a certain vendor (or all your vendors) that you don’t want to part with, confirm their availability for your new date before signing any contract addendums. Purchase event insurance You’ve probably already realized, but weddings are expensive! And having the pressure of COVID changes only adds to the stresses of planning a wedding. Purchasing event insurance is the best way to protect your investment from any unforeseeable changes. In the most basic sense, event insurance will cover those non-refundable deposits that you’ve paid in the case of events like a pandemic, business closure (i.e. think: if your venue were to shut down a month prior to your wedding), etc. Nowadays, many venues are starting to require their clients purchase event insurance. If this isn’t the case for your venue, we still highly encourage you to read more about it and see if it is the right choice for you. Some of the most popular event insurance companies are WedSafe and Wedsure. COVID is scary! We know it. It’s intimidating, stressful, and frustrating having to consider a pandemic altering your wedding vision. But having a plan and taking the time to consider your wants and needs when it comes to your wedding will ensure your day is still as you envisioned. Wondering if you need a Wedding Planner? TAKE THE QUIZ & FIND OUT NOW