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4 Documents Your Wedding Vendors Will Ask You For

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

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How To Prepare For Major Event Changes

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

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Everything You Need to Know About Wedding Attire Fittings

Everything You Need to Know About Wedding Attire Fittings

Whether you’ll be wearing a dress, suit, or jumpsuit on your wedding day, it’s such an exciting moment to find the piece of attire that makes you look and feel wonderful for your big day. However, that attire isn’t quite ready for you to slip into just yet. Unlike the average dress you buy in the store, a wedding gown will need to be altered a few times before your wedding day to ensure it fits perfectly. Fortunately, wedding fittings aren’t a complicated process. Just come prepared, leave everything up to your seamster, and you’ll be ready to walk down the aisle in no time! If you’re not sure what happens during a fitting or you don’t know what to expect, don’t stress. Here are the things you will need to keep in mind when getting your gorgeous attire ready for your special day! Have undergarments, shoes, and accessories ready Before you go to your first fitting, have the undergarments and shoes you’re going to wear with your attire ready and bring them with you. Switching your shoes or even your bra can change how your attire fits. When picking out your shoes for the wedding day, consider all the places you’ll be having to walk; if your ceremony is in grass or another spot with uneven terrain, you may want to opt for flats or a block heel to ensure you won’t be sinking with each step. Also consider where you’ll be taking photos. If you’ll be going to a location like the beach, chat with your photographer to see if you’ll be walking through sand or if there’s a pier you’ll be able to walk along. It’s also a great idea to bring along some accessories you want to wear with your attire and decide which ones work best with your overall look! If your attire has a lower neckline, a statement necklace or pair of earrings are great options. If you’ll be saying “I do” during a colder month, consider purchasing a fuzzy shawl to keep you warm. For a suit, determine if you'd prefer a tie, bowtie, and/or pocket square. And if you’re not a big accessories person, that is totally fine too! Opt for what makes you feel your best. Book your first fitting about six weeks before your wedding Once you purchase your attire, ask the boutique where they recommend getting alterations done. In general, anything with “bridal” or “wedding” in the name will be more specialized and therefore may cost you a bit more than a seamster that advertises other alternation types. If you’d like to shop around, you can always get some quotes from a few different places and then make your final decision. Your first fitting is all about making sure your attire is the right size, design, and color. This is also the time to ensure your seamster understands the alternations that need to be made. With that said, look for areas that need to be let out, taken in, shortened, lengthened, etc. If you need a bustle added, make sure to let your seamster know! While your seamster will be able to see what areas need adjusting, let them know if there are any other areas that aren’t feeling quite right. Be sure to bring with you all of the undergarments you’ll be wearing and bring a trusted friend or family for an extra set of eyes to confirm you don’t miss anything. Schedule your second fitting 3 to 4 weeks before your wedding Your second fitting is your opportunity to ensure all the concerns pointed out in your first fitting have been fixed. Also, make sure you feel entirely comfortable in your attire and can move around well in it. Try walking, sitting, dancing, etc. If you see a problem, don’t hesitate to point it out! You may have to schedule more fittings before you get it completely right. Get the details right on your final fitting Your final fitting is the time to make sure you know how to put on and take care of your attire. Do you and a trusted wedding party member know how to unbutton your dress? Are there any complicated straps you need to learn how to manage? Learning these things will eliminate any unwanted stress when getting dressed on your big day. Also show a friend or family member how to bustle your train if needed. These can be complicated, and if the appointed person hasn’t bustled a gown before, it’s best for them to practice a few times so that it’s a smooth and easy process on wedding day. All that’s left after your last fitting is to pick up your attire! To ensure it is picture-perfect, pick up your attire at least one to two weeks before your wedding day just in case there are any last-minute issues your seamster needs to fix. Wondering if you need a Wedding Planner? TAKE THE QUIZ & FIND OUT NOW

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Our Favorite Fall Wedding Trends

Our Favorite Fall Wedding Trends

In case you haven’t heard, Starbucks released their fall drinks yesterday, meaning that autumn is here (despite what the calendar and this 80-degree weather says!). It’s time to break out the cozy sweaters, light up that fall-scented candle, and dust off your family’s pumpkin pie recipe. Along with all the glorious activities, drinks, and foods fall has to offer, you also have the opportunity to lean into autumnal wedding trends. Now, you probably know that the Burst team is all about making your wedding scream YOU, despite what trends (or family and friends) may say. And that being said, seasonal trends certainly do not need to be limited to their range of months. If you’re getting married in June and want to offer guests apple cider and a selection of pies for dessert, go for it. Or if your nuptials are planned for January and you want a bright and vivid color palette, don’t let anything hold you back. It’s your wedding, and you can do what you want! So on that note, below are some of our favorite fall wedding trends, perfect for any time of the year. Fall Decor Let’s talk colors first. You can of course incorporate the more obvious colors of fall into your color scheme -- burnt oranges, burgundies, deep greens, and warm yellows. Autumn is also a great time to incorporate jewel tones like magenta, deep teal, and emerald. If you’re looking to lighten up your palette, consider sage, ivory, blush pink, or light peach. In terms of decor, candles are a great way to create that warm, cozy fall look. Include leaves or branches into your centerpieces to capture a rustic fall look. Or, you could write your guests’ names on colorful leaves for seasonal appropriate place cards. Pumpkins (mini or regular sized) can also add a nice pop of color to your decor. Use them in the entryway of your venue, lining your aisle, or as a unique element in your centerpieces. Dried flowers scream autumn and add texture to your decor. You could also include dried or fresh seasonal fruits into your decorations like apples or pears. Food Fall means that there are so many delicious ingredients in-season. Sweet potatoes, butternut squash, cranberries, apples, brussel sprouts (and of course pumpkin) -- the list goes on. Your caterer will likely feature many of these on their pre-set menus, but you can also discuss any specific items you’re looking for with your chef. On the dessert side of things, pie is likely the first autumn-friendly that comes to mind. Seasonal favorites like apple, pumpkin, and pecan are sure to satisfy your guests’ sweet tooth. If you’ll be having a dessert bar, include fall favorites like pumpkin cookies, apple crisp, caramel-pecan cheesecake, or apple cider donuts. If you want to get guests involved with their eats, set up a create-your-own caramel apple station with toppings like crushed nuts, chocolate chips, and sprinkles. Or, keep your guests warm by the fire with a make-your-own s’mores bar. Drinks Alcoholic and non-alcoholic, you’ll have plenty of options for seasonal drinks at your wedding. Hot or cold, apple cider will be enjoyed by both your adult guests and the kiddos. If you want to offer an adults-only version, add in some spiced rum for a delicious autumn signature drink. If you’re more about the pumpkin side of things, the options for a signature drink here are also endless, like a pumpkin pie martini or pumpkin old fashioned. Include the beer lovers of your group in the festivities by offering a pumpkin ale. With the crisp weather, an autumn wedding is the perfect time for a hot chocolate or coffee bar. Include seasonal mix-ins with your spread like pumpkin or hazelnut creamer and cinnamon sticks. Guest Experience No matter the season, it’s always trendy to really think about providing your guests with the best experience possible! If you’ll be hosting an outdoor ceremony, consider providing guests with blankets to keep them warm in case of chilly weather. For an autumn-specific guest book alternative, have guests sign a pumpkin or wooden leaves that you can combine to create a tree. If you have outdoor space, set up lawn games like cornhole, giant tic-tac-toe, or pumpkin bowling to keep guests entertained during cocktail hour. When it’s time for guests to depart, send them home with a seasonal favor like a local jar of honey or maple syrup, a bag of caramel popcorn, a mini candle, or a personalized coffee mug. Wondering if you need a Wedding Planner? TAKE THE QUIZ & FIND OUT NOW

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10 Must-Have Items for Your Wedding Day Emergency Kit

10 Must-Have Items for Your Wedding Day Emergency Kit

On your wedding day, you want everything to go as smoothly as possible. But no matter how much planning and preventative actions we might take, little emergencies can still pop up! From headaches to ripped attire to chipped nail polish, anything can happen on your wedding day, and we want you to be prepared as much as possible. Enter the wedding day emergency kit. If you’ve hired a wedding planner or coordinator, they will likely bring an emergency kit with them that will cover all those potential mishaps for the day of (even ones you hadn’t thought of). If you’re not quite sure this is something your planner will be bringing, you can always confirm with them and see if there are any additional items you should pack. It’s best to take your emergency kit with you throughout the day if you can. Have it with you while getting ready, taking photos, and of course take it along with you to your ceremony and reception. This kit is full of items and tools that you may help out with issues that arise on day-of. While this list is by no means exhaustive, here are our top 10 must-have items for your wedding day emergency kit. 1. Sewing kit Like all items in your emergency kit, you hopefully won’t have to actually use this one on wedding day. But rips and tears in your attire can happen, and a quick stitch can go a long way. Try to get a few different colors of thread to match your attire, your partner’s attire, and your wedding party’s attire so that your bases are covered. 2. Mini hair kit If you’re hiring a professional wedding hair stylist, they know the tricks to getting your hair to stay put for hours of activity. But frizz and flyaways might pop up (especially if you’ll be putting in and taking out a veil throughout the day). Gather a mini hair kit with extra bobby pins and hairspray to tame any flyaways that might appear. 3. Extra makeup Just like with your hair stylist, your makeup artist is going to create a look that’s meant to last you the whole day. It’s always safe to have extra mascara, concealer, and of course lipstick so you can do any touch-ups throughout the day. At your trial session, check with your artist on what brands and colors they’ll be using so that you can get a matching back-up set. 4. Band-Aids From cuts and scrapes to blisters from shoes that aren’t broken in, Band-Aids will come in handy on your wedding day (especially if you have some younger, more rambunctious kids in your wedding). Toss an extra box in your kit to stay prepared, and you can even throw in some blister numbing or healing cream to ensure you last in your beautiful wedding day shoes. 5. Snacks and water Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! And EAT something on your wedding day. The last thing we want is for you to pass out mid-ceremony. 6. Stain stick remover We stand by eating on your wedding day, but that doesn’t mean spills and stains can’t happen! Grab a stain stick remover or two for your kit so that small spills are not an issue. 7. Nail polish If you’re getting your nails done for the wedding, grab an extra bottle of your polish color in case any knicks or scratches occur. Also throw in a bottle of clear nail polish to top off any touch-ups with. Bonus! If someone is wearing tights, clear nail polish will stop tears in their tracks. 8. Pain reliever Whether you drank a little too much at the rehearsal dinner or just aren’t feeling your best, have a bottle of pain reliever on hand so that you can get back to enjoying your day. 9. Mints/mini toothbrush Keep the smooches with your soon-to-be spouse fresh by popping a container of mints in your kit. Plus, you’ll be mingling with a lot of people throughout the day, so having these on-hand is the best way to avoid any stinky breath situations. 10. Steamer To get out any last-minute wrinkles, stick to using a steamer rather than an iron. It’s easier, quicker, and safer for most fabrics and will come in handy for you and your wedding party. Some hotels have a steamer available at the front desk, so if you’re not looking to purchase one, you can always check with them first. Bonus! Okay this one isn’t technically for emergencies, but it’s always a good idea to pack an extra invitation suite. Your photographer and/or videographer will use this to create beautiful detail shots! If you’re feeling extra creative, you can even help out with styling by providing personal items like a perfume or cologne bottle, ribbon that matches your color scheme, a family keepsake item, etc. A wedding day emergency kit will help you tackle unwanted accidents with ease. Start shopping for your kit in the weeks before your wedding, and pack it up a week prior to the big day so that you don’t have to worry about last minute. It’s always best to be over-prepared, so best-case scenario, you don’t use any of these items! But it’s always helpful to have them on hand just in case. Wondering if you need a Wedding Planner? TAKE THE QUIZ & FIND OUT NOW

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How To Be a Great Wedding Guest

How To Be a Great Wedding Guest

Wedding season is in full swing, and you might find your refrigerator decorated with a myriad of save-the-dates and invitations. Whether you’ll be attending your first wedding or your fiftieth this year, there are some basic etiquette rules that you should follow as a wedding guest. The best rule of thumb? Put yourself in the couples’ shoes. How would you want your guests to act on your wedding day? If you wouldn’t want your guests texting you the morning of asking for directions to the venue, then don’t do it to others! Follow these rules to be an outstanding guest at the next wedding you’ll be attending. 1) RSVP. Yes, this seems obvious, but every married couple can tell you that they had to track down X amount of RSVPs after their deadline because people didn’t respond. Once you receive your invitation, try to respond as soon as possible. You may need some time to figure out your work schedule, travel plans, etc. and that’s okay! Just make sure to RSVP by the deadline. This is also a great time to let the couple know of any dietary restrictions you have. More often than not, there will be a spot on the RSVP for you to convey this information. But if not, just send the couple a note about your restrictions so they can plan accordingly. 2) Read the invitation (and the wedding website) carefully. Your invitation should tell you all the information you’ll need to know for the day-of. Carefully read over the invitation for all the important details like the where and when, the dress code, if you have a +1 or not, and if kids are invited. If the couple has a wedding website (usually listed on the invitation), this is where you can find additional info like notes on hotel room blocks, shuttle schedules, and more. If you have questions, take another look at the invitation and website to make sure you didn’t miss anything. And if you do have questions close to or on the wedding day, try texting someone other than the couple like one of their wedding party members, a family member, etc. 3) Be on time. A wedding isn’t the time to be fashionably late! Double check the invitation for the start time of the wedding and allow yourself extra time to park, go to the bathroom, and grab a seat. If you’ll be driving yourself, check out the route on Google Maps and buffer in some extra time in case there’s traffic. 4) Put away your phone. The couple hired a professional photographer (and possibly a videographer as well!) for a reason! Don’t get in their way by sticking out your phone to snap a photo of the couple during the ceremony. Not only will you be getting in the way of the photographer or videographer, the photos they take will be littered with guests on their phones, which doesn’t look cute. Once you head into the reception, it’s generally safe to pull out your phone for some photos, but still be mindful of other guests and the wedding pros. When it comes to posting on social media, follow the couple’s lead. Wait until they have had a chance to post before you show off your pics from the day. 5) Stay positive. Mingling is more or less inevitable when it comes to weddings, and you may find that you’re attending a wedding with an ex-friend or family member that you might not get along with too well. Despite whatever has come between you, keep things cordial and light. Now isn’t the time to dig into the past and bring up any issues. On the flip side, also keep negative comments about the wedding to yourself. Everyone has a different budget, style, and vision that all impact how the wedding day turns out. Couples may choose to forgo certain “traditional” wedding elements or may infuse unique components into the day that you haven’t seen before. If you’re not a fan of some aspects of the wedding, keep any negative comments to yourself and remind yourself that it’s not your wedding. 6) Celebrate but don’t go overboard. The reception is time to let loose, have fun, and dance the night away! But just because there’s an open bar doesn’t mean you should treat the wedding like your favorite club. Monitor your alcohol intake and don’t get too rowdy -- the last thing the couple wants to do is have to deal with a guest that drinks too much or can’t get themselves home safely. Weddings are such an exciting time for both the couple and the guests. It’s a time to celebrate the love of a pair that you care for, so make sure you are helping to make their day special with these tips! Wondering if you need a Wedding Planner? TAKE THE QUIZ & FIND OUT NOW

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The Benefits of Hosting an Off-Season Wedding

The Benefits of Hosting an Off-Season Wedding

Every summer and fall, wedding bells are ringing, love is in the air, and everyone’s mailbox is flooded with wedding invitations from friends and family. These seasons are prime time for couples to get married, and you may also be thinking about getting hitched during this time too. The problem that many couples run into when getting married around the summer and fall months is competing with a lot of other couples for the best dates, venues, caterers, photographers, and more. This type of competition can lead to a great deal of frustration, and no one should be stressed out when planning their big day. While it may not be your favored option, any time between November and April is a great time to say “I do.” We’ve helped numerous couples plan their big day and have seen the benefits of them opting for a wedding during a different time of year. Here are a few reasons why an off-season wedding might be the better option for you: Less Competition A lot of couples have at least a few vendors that they follow on Instagram, love their work, and have their sights set on them for their big day. Unfortunately, if you’re planning your celebration during prime wedding season, it can be a huge disappointment to find that your dream vendors are booked solid. Having a wedding during the off-season months helps to avoid this obstacle. Since fewer couples get married in the winter, you’ll have a higher chance of securing the services you want from the vendors you’re dreaming of booking. Better Rates During the off-season months, you have the opportunity to get cheaper rates. Many venues offer discounted prices during the winter months, which could help you snag your dream location at a fraction of the cost. Other vendors may also be able to offer your more competitive rates because their schedules are more flexible and open than during the summer and fall months. You can also get better honeymoon rates! Depending on your destination, you may be traveling to a city during its tourist off-season, meaning airplane tickets, hotels, and more will be discounted. Plus winter in Chicago = summer in the southern hemisphere. Get the best of both worlds by planning a winter wonderland wedding and then jet setting to a warm destination south of the equator for your honeymoon. Less Guest Conflict From vacations to family reunions to attending other weddings, your guests likely have a packed schedule for the summer. Because of this, you may run into a larger number of guests not being able to attend your nuptials due to scheduling conflicts. Hosting your wedding during the off-season increases your chances of having more guests RSVP “Yes” to your invitations. But just like with a summer or fall wedding, take a peek at your calendar before choosing a wedding date to ensure you don’t clash with any major holidays, family birthdays or celebrations, vacations, etc. Winter Wedding Ideas Winter weddings indeed mean colder weather, but there are also endless unique themes and ideas to create a truly special and personalized day. Plus, how adorable are newlywed photos in the snow? If you’re a lover of cold weather, consider an outdoor ceremony with fresh snowfall, followed by a candlelight reception with guests content sipping mulled wine and enjoying seasonal eats. Just make sure to give guests a heads-up about your outdoor ceremony so they know to dress warmly! Provide guests with fuzzy blankets and light up the fireplace or fire pit at your venue for a warm and cozy reception. If you’re planning to take photos around the city, you’ll also face less competition at popular wedding photo spots like the Wrigley Building or the Art Institute Gardens. If your wedding party will be tagging along for photos, provide them with personalized scarves or gloves so that they stay warm and have a thank-you gift to take home with them. An off-season wedding doesn’t equal a cold day with no attendees. Getting married during this time will help you avoid a stressful planning experience and enjoy a successful wedding you can remember for years to come. If you’re considering a winter wedding, contact us today to chat through your options and see if it’s the right fit for you! Wondering if you need a Wedding Planner? TAKE THE QUIZ & FIND OUT NOW

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Best Practices for Wedding RSVPs & Seating Assignments

Best Practices for Wedding RSVPs & Seating Assignments

One of those wedding tasks that sparks instant dread in most couples is the topic of RSVPs and seating assignments. You’ve probably already realized, but these tasks can be tedious and frustrating. Whether you’re dealing with 30 guests or 300 guests, there will always be those pesky people that don’t RSVP by the time your deadline rolls around. There may also be guests that change their RSVP after the fact, causing a ripple effect when it comes to seating assignments. Below are some of our best practices to get you through this process as quickly and painlessly as possible. Set Yourself Up for Success Before even sending out your invitations, get your information organized. We recommend using a program like Google Sheets or Excel so you can sort data and add in formulas in a fairly simple and straightforward way. At this point, you likely have a final guest list prepared, along with each person’s address. There are a few other columns you’ll want to add in to make managing RSVPs a breeze: Contact info (either a phone number or email address so that you can easily follow up with them if they do not RSVP on time) Meal selection, if applicable Do they have any allergies or dietary restrictions? Do they have a +1? Do they have any kids that are also invited? Are they 21 years of age or older? (and will therefore count towards your bar count, if applicable) Will they be attending any other wedding weekend activities like the rehearsal dinner or brunch? Do they need any special accommodations, like wheelchair accessibility? Are they traveling from out of town and will need accommodations like a hotel room or shuttle? You can also add in a notes section for any of those miscellaneous points you want to keep in mind. After all your guests are entered, sort the guest rows by however makes the most sense to you: alphabetical order by last name or first name, grouped by relationship (i.e. wedding party, partner 1’s family, partner 2’s family, partner 1’s friends, etc.), etc. Consider Your Planning Timeline A question we get asked frequently is, “what should my RSVP date be?” The biggest factor that will help you to determine this is when your vendors need your final guest count by, primarily your venue, caterer, and whoever is providing your bar package. You should be able to easily find this information in your contracts, but they generally need your final count 10 to 14 days prior to your wedding date. You’ll also want to buffer in some time to reach out to anyone that doesn’t respond by the RSVP date. Give yourself about 1 to 2 weeks for this, even if you think you don’t need it. You never know what’s going to pop up at work, in your personal life, etc. that will prevent you from not reaching out to people the day after RSVPs are due. All things considered, a solid rule of thumb is to set your RSVP date about a month out from your wedding. Tracking RSVPs If you’ll be receiving your RSVPs cards back by mail, set aside a day each week to update those. It’s a simple but time-consuming task, so don’t bother cracking open your guest list every time you get an RSVP back. Now more than ever we don’t want you to get wedding planning burnout just a month or so before the wedding! After your deadline has passed, follow up with any stragglers who haven’t RSVP’d yet. Although this can be slightly annoying to do, you hopefully have already gathered their contact info (see above) so this step goes as smoothly as possible. Creating Your Seating Arrangement So, you’ve gathered up all the RSVPs from your guests and are finally ready to tackle those seating arrangements! Before taking this task on, check with your venue and/or caterer on what size tables you’ll have. 60 inch round tables more comfortably seat 8 people if you’ll be doing family-style dining, but they can sit up to 10 people if needed. 72 inch round tables can seat 10 to 12 people. Chat with your florist as well to see how many can realistically fit at each table given your centerpieces and other table decor. Also ask your venue for a layout of your reception space. If the tables are already numbered, great! If not, you’ll just need to number each table, starting with 1. Make sure to share your table numbering system with your venue and caterer, so they know which table number matches up to the seating chart when setting up and providing dinner service. After your table numbers are all set, it’s time to actually assign your guests to a particular table and/or seat. For this, it’s really a matter of playing around with it and seeing how the numbers work themselves out. A few tips: Keep VIPs at tables close to the head table (especially those that are giving speeches, a prayer, etc.). Check with your DJ on where their speakers will be set up. Keep elderly guests further from the speakers. Consider relationship dynamics. If you have individuals coming that don’t cooperate well, try to keep these people spread out from each other. If guests were able to choose their meal, you’ll need to provide this information to your caterer, along with notes of any guest allergies or dietary restrictions. Even if you’ll have meal selections printed on a place or escort card, always give your caterer a back-of-house list of meal selections for easy reference. Once you’ve submitted your final guest counts and meal selections to your venue and/or caterer, you may get some last-minute changes from guests. Track these as they come in, but wait until the day before your wedding to send these to your vendors. This will ensure information doesn’t get mixed up; too many updates can get confusing and create bigger problems. Tracking RSVPs and seating assignments isn’t the most luxurious part of the wedding planning process, but it’s so necessary to keeping the day organized and running smoothly. Hopefully with these tips, this process will be a breeze for you, and you and your partner well on your way to your final wedding-day countdown! Wondering if you need a Wedding Planner? TAKE THE QUIZ & FIND OUT NOW

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7 Excuses to Get Your Friends Together This Holiday Season

7 Excuses to Get Your Friends Together This Holiday Season

Over here at Burst HQ, we love all things holiday. And although it’s still July, we’ve got this year’s holiday season on our minds! For many of us, the 2020 holiday season just didn’t quite feel right. With restrictions on travel and having to forego annual parties and gatherings, the season looked and felt a bit different than usual. Which means that this year, we are ready to party! Are you? If so, check out below for some of our favorite excuses to get your friends together this holiday season. 1. Dining in the Dark Halloween falls on a weekend this year, so you’ve got plenty of days to celebrate and knock the socks off your friends with an impressive dinner party. Make things extra spooky by dining in the “dark.” Adorn your tables with glow sticks, twinkle lights, and lanterns to create a dark and moody dinner setting. Decorate with items like fake cobwebs, plastic spiders, and hanging bats. 2. Halloween Masquerade If you’re looking for a fancier spin on the classic dinner party, invite your friends to dress up in their finest attire and don a mask to keep that Halloween mystery going. Guests can enjoy appetizers and champagne as they arrive, then be seated for a delicious meal full of fall staples. And of course, don’t forget about dancing afterwards! 3. Pumpkin Carving Perfect for any time during the fall, pumpkin carving is a classic that all your guests will love. Gather up a variety of different pumpkins and have a carve-off to see who can create the spookiest, prettiest, or most original design. (Also, how cute would it be to carve “Will you marry me?” into a pumpkin!? Someone with a pumpkin-loving partner needs to get on this and send me pics after!). 3. Friendsgiving Everyone knows it, and everyone loves it. Why have just 1 Thanksgiving dinner when you could have 2? Invite your friends over and ask each one to bring a staple Thanksgiving dish. Make sure everyone shares with each other what they’ll be bringing ahead of time - you don’t want to be left with 3 pans of stuffing and no mashed potatoes! If you’re looking to kick things up a notch, rent some tableware and decor from a local event rental company to create a beautiful, seasonal tablescape. You’ll be supporting a local business and are sure to have to have the best Friendsgiving set-up on the block. 4. Neighborhood Harvest Potluck Gather up your neighbors and have a festive fall potluck. The ideas here can be endless. Plug in a TV and turn on some football to watch. Have classic harvest games like bobbing for apples or pumpkin bowling. Or even bring out the cornhole for a classic football season activity. Once it gets dark out, light up a fire pit and roast some marshmallows and hot dogs. 5. Mimosas & Mistletoe Where are my fellow brunch lovers at? This one's for you. Break out the bubbly and mistletoe and host a holiday brunch for your friends and family. If you’re really looking to lean into the holiday theme, use cookie cutters to create snowflake-shaped pancakes, offer festive drinks like cranberry mimosas, and incorporate a gift-giving game into the festivities like white elephant. 6. Gingerbread House/Cookie Decorating Contest Show off your competitive side with a little Holiday Baking Championship-style cookie or gingerbread house decorating contest. Gather up all the necessities like frosting, sprinkles, candies, gumdrops, and candy canes (and of course don’t forget the cookies) and give your friends one hour to show off their best decorating work. Make sure to appoint a judge or two to determine who the final winner is. You can even send the best decorator home with a prize like a cozy scarf, a DIY hot cocoa set, or an at-home spa basket. Plus, you’ll all have some delicious treats to munch on afterwards. 7. Holiday Karaoke Channel your inner Mariah Carey and have some friends over for holiday-themed karaoke! Invite your guests to wear their favorite ugly holiday sweater or holiday jammies and serve up some eggnog to get the party started. YouTube has tons of free videos for karaoke, and you can even purchase some fake microphones from a store like Party City to really make the most of your karaoke experience. Are you too busy to plan a holiday party? Don't know where to begin? Need a partner in crime to help you plan a killer party all while staying in budget? We are now offering holiday party planning! Whether you'll be putting together a Halloween soiree, your annual Friendsgiving, or a good old-fashioned holiday party, leave it to our team of event directors to produce a cheery and heartwarming gathering. Want to learn more? Schedule a free, no-strings-attached consultation HERE!

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How to Efficiently Pack Your Wedding Decor

How to Efficiently Pack Your Wedding Decor

The last thing we want you (or your partner or your mom or your planner) to worry about on wedding day is “where in the world did the [fill in the blank: escort cards, card box, candles, etc.] go?” At most venues, you’ll only have a couple of hours to get everything set up for your celebration. So packing your decor in an efficient and effective manner is key to avoiding last-minute stress. Once you’ve purchased all the decor you’ll need for the day-of, it’s time to strategically pack it so setting it out on wedding day is simple and straightforward. Before packing everything up, double-check your inventory list to make sure you have absolutely everything you need for the day. We recommend packing for the wedding day at least 2 weeks prior to your big day. Not only will you have plenty of other things to do leading up to the wedding, but this also ensures that everything is organized and you’re not throwing items randomly in a tote at the last minute. You’ll also still have time to purchase any last-minute things that you may have missed or thought of while packing up. Below are our top tips to ensure your decor is sensibly packed for your wedding day. Tip 1: Unwrap everything and remove any price tags or stickers. Yes, we mean everything! Trying to rip off that annoying zip tie that’s around your cake knife on the day of your wedding is a waste of time. Unwrap everything. If it’s fragile, still open it up, remove any excess tape or wrapping, then rewrap it with bubble wrap. Also remove any price tags or stickers that are on your decor. Have some Goof Off on hand in case you run into any stickers that leave behind residue. And don’t forget those pesky stickers at the bottom of clear vases! Even if they don’t seem very visible, you don’t want a price tag to ruin the look of your beautiful design. Tip 2: Mark the items that are yours. With either tiny stickers or a Sharpie, mark the bottom of the items that are yours. This will help avoid any confusion on what items are yours, the caterer’s, the venue’s, or the florist’s at the end of the day. Tip 3: Have separate totes/boxes for each room or area of your venue. Ceremony in one box, reception in another. If you’re having your ceremony and reception at different locations, make sure to assign someone to transfer any items from the ceremony site to the reception that will either be reused or that you’d like to keep. Let them know if there are any other items that can be thrown away post-ceremony. If your ceremony is at the same venue as your reception but in a different room or area, it will still be helpful to separate your decor between the two rooms. This way, whoever is setting up won’t have to carry things between rooms or accidentally mix items up. If you have a lot of decor, it may even be helpful to break your items down into smaller boxes. For instance, you can divide these by areas of the reception, such as tableware, welcome table, memory table, etc. Tip 4: Label everything! Even if it seems obvious, label all your items with a sticky note. You can also include its desired location, set-up preferences, etc. Also label the outside of each box or tote you have. Include what room or location the box is intended for and a list of all the items inside the box. Tip 5: Put escort cards in alpha order. This is the most critical part of packing! If you have escort cards, make sure that they are in alphabetical order before packing them away. There is absolutely no time on wedding day to alphabetize them. If you’re opting for place cards, organize them by table. If you’ll have assigned seating at each table, put them in order going around the table and make sure to provide a seating chart to whoever will be placing the cards. If you won’t have assigned seating at each table, at least group couples and families together so that they’re sat next to each other. Tip 6: Have instructions for the way you want everything to be set up. It’s likely that you won’t be setting everything up on the day-of, so write out instructions on where you want each item to be placed and how. If you can, set up your items at your house and take photos of the layout. This is the best and easiest way to convey how you’d like everything to look. Whether you use written instructions, photos, or both, it’s always best to be too thorough than too vague. Chat through everything with whoever will be helping set-up on the day-of to clarify any points of confusion or questions. Tip 7: Make a plan for post-reception. Just like with set-up, assign someone to be your point person for breaking down all of your decor at the end of the night. Whether it's the same person or someone different, also have someone who is in charge of returning the items to your hotel room (or wherever they will go after the reception). When faced with that final huge pile of wedding day decor, it can feel a bit overwhelming trying to get everything organized! By following these tips, you’ll save time and stress both on the day-of and leading up to your wedding. Happy packing! Wondering if you need a Wedding Planner? TAKE THE QUIZ & FIND OUT NOW

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6 Things To Do This Summer Instead of Wedding Planning

6 Things To Do This Summer Instead of Wedding Planning

Summer is in full swing, and that means it’s the perfect time to give yourself a break from wedding planning. We know that you don’t want wedding planning to consume your life, and it doesn’t have to! Our process has built-in planning breaks so that you have time away from the checklists & details to really enjoy your engagement and avoid wedding planning burnout. We want you to love your engagement, no matter how long or short it might be. And the summer is the perfect time to take a step away, soak up the sun, and have some fun with your family, friends, and soon-to-be spouse. Here are 6 great summertime activities that have absolutely nothing to do with your wedding: 1. Travel After a year of no travel, we’re thrilled to finally be able to start safely traveling again. Whether you’re visiting a new destination or heading to a long-time favorite, just having the opportunity to travel is exciting in itself! Not looking to jet-set across the country? Plan a staycation in your hometown. Book a hotel room for the weekend, make a reservation at that restaurant you’ve been dying to try, and have an adventure right in your own city. 2. Spend Quality Time with Friends & Family Chances are, adding wedding planning to your plate ate up a bit more of your free time, and you may not be seeing your friends and family as much these days. Find some time this summer to reconnect with those you haven’t been in touch with as much lately. Grab a bite to eat, go for a walk, or schedule that group FaceTime you’ve been putting off. And don’t forget about your wedding party! Take some time to thank them for the support they’ve given you throughout the wedding planning process. If your conversations have been centered around wedding planning recently, treat them to a drink or coffee and commit to leaving wedding talk off the table. 3. Treat Yourself Wedding planning can get stressful so make sure you’re taking the time to take care of yourself, however that looks to you. Schedule an at-home spa day complete with a bubble bath, candles, face masks, and a mani-pedi. And hey, maybe your partner will even throw in a free massage! Looking for other ways to treat yourself? Go shopping for a new outfit you feel amazing in, grab a scoop from your favorite ice cream spot, read your favorite book, buy yourself a beautiful bouquet of flowers - do whatever makes you feel happy and relaxed. 4. Plan an Outdoor Date Night Take some time to get out of the house and go on a date with your partner. The options here are endless! Go see a movie in the park, attend an outdoor concert, plan a picnic, do something active like kayaking or playing tennis, go to the beach, visit the zoo, splash around at a waterpark, get your adrenaline pumping at an amusement park...the list goes on! 5. Try a New Recipe There are so many delicious and versatile ingredients in season during the summer to experiment with! If you’re looking to get creative, try to recreate your favorite dish from your favorite restaurant. Or, have a cook-off with your partner and see whose creation comes out on top! You’ll have a great new recipe in your repertoire and get to indulge in a delicious meal. If you’re more into baking, try creating a summery dessert like strawberry shortcake, ice cream sandwiches, or peach cobbler. 6. Sign Up for That Class You’ve Been Eyeing Whatever that class is: pottery, painting, group fitness, cooking, mixology, coding, music. This could be the summer that you develop a cool new hobby! And who knows, maybe you’ll even be able to incorporate your newfound skill into your wedding. However you choose to spend your summer, make sure to take some time to enjoy the beautiful weather and take a step away from wedding planning. We promise that the checklists will still be there when you come back! Wondering if you need a Wedding Planner? TAKE THE QUIZ & FIND OUT NOW

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US99 Interview: How to Plan Your Wedding in Phases to Save Money and Stress

US99 Interview: How to Plan Your Wedding in Phases to Save Money and Stress

Our CEO, Alexis Alvarez, sat down with Melissa & Austin at US99 to talk about how couples can use phase-based wedding planning to save money and reduce stress. Q: We’ve been talking with wedding planner Alexis Alvarez from Burst Event Co. about all the little things you can do to make your wedding a little more affordable and a little less stressful. So, what do you have for us today Alexis? A: Today we are talking about planning your wedding in phases. This will help you simplify the process, get shiny object syndrome out of the way, and focus your planning so you’re not overspending or doing things out-of-order in a way that will cost you money and stress. The first phase is booking all the key vendors you need to make your wedding day happen. So, you’ll need a place to get married - that’s your venue. You’ll need to feed people - that’s your caterer. You’re going to want some sort of documentation, so that’s usually photo, video, or both. You’ll need someone to legally marry you, so you’ll need an officiant. Then, we need some sort of entertainment like a DJ or band because your guests want to dance, especially now that dance floors are open! Q: You’re speaking my language! What’s the next phase? A: The next phase is design and logistics, so all things pretty and functional for your wedding day. We want it to look beautiful with floral and decor, yummy cake, hair and makeup, and all those pretty things. But we also want it to be functional, so we want to answer the questions of who needs to be where, when, and how are they going to get there. That’s talking through photo locations, getting ready location, transportation, and room blocks for your guests, so that you have not just a pretty day but a functional one as well. Q: Okay, and what’s the third phase? A: The third phase is reconciliation. If you’ve hired a day-of or month-of coordinator, this is where they’re going to jump in. This phase is where we’ve done all the planning, and we’re going through it with a fine-tooth comb to make sure there aren’t any gaps that need to be filled. You’ll talk to vendors about what they need for their success; for example, does the DJ need a table, linen, or the wifi code? Which vendors require a meal? And then we’re tackling all the little things that couples are always afraid they’re going to forget like sending invitations, tracking RSVPs, ordering favors, and putting together welcome bags. All the tiny details that can only happen right before the wedding. Q: Alright, what’s the fourth phase? A: It’s the wedding day! Q: That’s great! My sister-in-law is getting married on Saturday, so we need to know - what do we need to tackle on Saturday? Hopefully, someone is in charge of vendor communication so your family isn’t having to do that. If not, assign someone as the main point of contact; ideally, not mom or someone that is in the wedding party. You want it to be someone that doesn’t need to be present in the moment. The biggest thing on wedding day that I tell couples is that at this point, it’s time to let it go. If you’re not going to think about it on your 10th anniversary, just let it go and enjoy your day. We’re here to get married and celebrate, and everything else will fall into place. Wondering if you need a Wedding Planner? TAKE THE QUIZ & FIND OUT NOW

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