Monday, June 28, 2010

Chicago Out of Town Welcome Basket- the ingredients

Kate Parker Weddings Chicago Welcome Basket

We love making custom wedding welcome baskets for clients across the country and this past week we put together and shipped 25 baskets for a client getting married in Chicago! I wanted to show you the finished product and some some of the fantastic items that filled it!

garret popcorn Kate Parker Weddings welcome basket

First, this is the BEST caramel popcorn I've ever had in my life... In fact, we over ordered purposefully and we have a giant metal bucket full of this stuff in our office. Check out all of the amazing products Garrett Popcorn has to offer- a staple for a Chicago welcome basket.

Kate Parker Wedding Metropolis coffee chicago welcome basket

When we started designing our line of out of town welcome baskets I knew I wanted a great coffee or tea in each of them.... we tried many many different companies and varieties and out of every city and state basket we offer, Metropolis Coffee is by far the best coffee I've ever tasted... great people to work with, great packaging, great all around and the coffee is amazing!!!

Kate Parker Weddings custom welcome map

Finally, we always have a custom welcome map in each of our baskets which includes 5 points of interest of your choice. We used to have a graphic designer in our office so we were able to produce these on our own... Now that we don't have a graphic designer, I attempted to make the map on myself before quickly realizing I was way over my head in Adobe Illustrator and I had to call upon an expert to help finish the project... enter Gus and Ruby Letterpress.... Whitney and Sam graciously moved a few things around for us last week to tidy up and beautify this custom map for Maria and Sam! Thank goodness too, there's looks SO much cuter than mine did :)

There you have it, adding personalized and hand-selected products in our welcome baskets is one of the main reasons ours stand out. We think they're pretty well designed too, if we can say so ourselves! Happy planning! KP

To learn more about our line of Out of Town Welcome Baskets, check out our website! We always make new custom baskets for any city/state/wedding destination!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Getting your marriage license in New England

marriage license

Now I don't want to throw any of my past clients under the bus, so I won't mention any names in this brief but very important post. I have had more than one client come to me the week or so before their wedding asking if they need to get a marriage license in order to get married. Perhaps I'm assuming people are more aware of their responsibilities than they actually are, but I'm writing this to tell you one thing YOU, the people getting married, are responsible for:

1. A marriage license. You can't just say you're married and it's official. Check with the state you're getting married in to find out their specific requirements. Every license has a small fee and some require blood tests, birth certificates, etc. Your wedding planner can't get your license for you, and it's literally the only legal document and most important part of getting married....

For our New England clients, here is a list of website for each state and their marriage license requirements to make it a bit easier for you:

For those reading this blog getting married outside of New England, here's the link to the entire list:

US Marriage Laws

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

DIY- Tissue Paper Flowers

We have SUCH a fun rehearsal dinner/welcome BBQ for this weekend's wedding! One of our DIY projects for the event was making 200 over-sized tissue paper flowers to fill mason jars down the length of 8' banquet tables. This project TOTALLY brought me back to my 7th grade semi-formal where we made 1000 tissue paper flowers and hung them from the ceiling of the gym to recreate a 1950's prom theme. What's slightly more comical is that three of my male music major college graduates made the flowers for me this week and we wanted to share with you how to make them!

1. Select your tissue paper colors. We went with a multi-colored theme of royal blue, orange, pink, and purple.

2. Decide on the size of your tissue flowers. We took a 20" x 36" tissue paper sheet and cut it down the middle, length wise, creating two 10" x 36" long strips of tissue paper.


3. Decide on the scale of your flowers. We used 5 sheets of tissue paper per flower.


4. Fold the paper "petals". Folding back and forth, create a set of equal pleats down the entire length of your tissue paper strip.



5. Cinch the pleated paper in the middle of the strip. Using a pipe cleaner, twist tie, or wire of any kind, grab the center of your pleated strip and twist your wire until it's tight and you have a clear center.




6. GENTLY unpleat each of your tissue paper sheets. Start on one side and work your way to the other side of the flower. Try to get the paper as open and separated as possible, especially as you get close to the wire twist in the middle of the flower. The more tissue you can open up the more full your flower will look.



7. You have one completed tissue flower! You can add a stem using a pipe cleaner if you'd like, or make a full bouquet of these flowers! Enjoy the project!




Sunday, June 6, 2010

Destination Weddings- things to consider


Since we plan mostly New England weddings, with many of our clients coming from CA and NY, I thought I would mention a few of the things you should really consider when having a destination wedding.

The first is what actually defines a "destination wedding". In our opinion, any wedding that asks more than 50% of your guests to drive more than 3 hours in one direction is a destination wedding. Because of the distance, a significant amount of your guests will need to make travel plans which is one of the reasons a destination wedding requires more preparation.

In general, the most important thing to consider when planning a destination wedding is TIME. If you plan ahead you can reserve everything you need to reserve and you can communicate the appropriate information to ease the travel planning process for your guests.

Many couples plan their destination weddings around their guests' experience. They want to make things as easy as possible in terms of their guests' travel plans, and they want to provide as much information and activities for everyone to enjoy once they arrive for the wedding.

1. Overnight accommodations- we did just write about this and you can read the details here, but make sure you offer different price point options and room blocks if you can.

2. Transportation- if your wedding is in a remote location in general, and/or if your ceremony and reception are in two separate locations, consider offering transportation for your guests from their hotels to your ceremony and reception.

3. Save The Dates- creating a Save the Date is a major piece of the destination wedding puzzle. You can include as much information as you'd like in your Save the Date, including the wedding weekend schedule and accommodation and transportation information. Getting a Save the Date out to your guests at least 6 months before your wedding date gives them time to make the appropriate travel arrangements, as well as requesting any work days off for your wedding.

4. Wedding Website- in addition to your Save the Date, consider creating a wedding website to provide even more details about your wedding plans. This can include things to do for the weekend, specifically planned activities,- golf outings, tennis, kayaking, etc. and any additional accommodation or transportation information you didn't include in your printed Save the Date.

5. Welcome Baskets- yes, we make adorable out of town welcome baskets, but they really serve an important purpose. We try to fill them with local goodies and amenities for guests to enjoy but we ALWAYS include a local chamber of commerce map as well as a welcome letter from our clients and any additional schedule or itinerary they want to include. Something to consider including is any news on the day-after Brunch.

6. Rehearsal Dinner/Welcome Reception- when planning a destination, many of our clients struggle with their rehearsal dinner planning as they know many of their guests have traveled large distances and many arrive the day before the wedding. Some clients decide to continue the tradition of their rehearsal dinner including only the members of the wedding party and their immediate families. Others decide to include out-of-towners after dinner for welcome drinks, and sometimes we create events where the entire guest list is invited to a welcome dinner the evening before the wedding. A great idea to include everyone, be prepared to adjust your budget according as feeding 80-100% of your guests is much more costly than your wedding party alone.

In the end, many of these considerations apply to a non-destination wedding, so plan in advance, keep your guests experience in mind, and happy planning!


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Out of Town Accommodations


When we get hired to plan a wedding, 95% of our clients are planning a New England destination wedding. Because of this statistic, one of the first things we do for our clients is find them overnight accommodations for their guests. The quicker you can take care of this to-do item, the better, since there are many factors affected by these decisions. Here are a few things to think about when reserving your accommodations for your out of town guests:

1. ROOM BLOCKS- some hotels will offer room blocks that you can reserve and offer your guests. Often times there is a reduced room rate with your block, but that's not always the case. In the height of the summer season in New England, many hotels will offer you the courtesy of reserving rooms because they will otherwise sell out. Some hotels will require attrition on the room block which means you are required to fill a certain % of the total block, often times it's around 80%, and if you don't, you are responsible for paying for the rest of the rooms. Make sure you check in with your hotel to see how your block is filling up. Many hotels start their room blocks at 10 rooms and then will continue to add to it as you fill the rooms. If and when you reserve your room blocks, make sure you include the name of the block on your Save The Date or your wedding invitation to make it easier on your guests.

2. PRICING- we always suggest trying to get room blocks at three hotels around your wedding location that reflect three different price points to help your guests. Some people at your wedding might have just graduated college and don't have the means to spend $300/night for a hotel room. Some of your parents guests might want to make a mini-vacation out of it and splurge on their accommodations for the wedding. No matter the reason, try to find three different price points to make it as convenient as possible for your guests. One other thought, especially if you can't get a reduced rate for your room blocks, is to ask about a AAA or AARP rate. This can often be up to $10.00 cheaper than the going rate for hotel rooms.

3. STATIONERY- please try to take care of your guest accommodations as soon as you can in order to include this information in your Save the Date and/or Invitations. We suggest including the hotel name, address, phone, website, room block information and pricing if you have that information. Also consider including whether or not there is a 2-night minimum.

4. WELCOME BASKETS- if you'd like to include welcome baskets or welcome itineraries for your guests you will need to know where everyone is staying. Getting a room block at a hotel is the easiest way to keep track of your guests, since everyone will be in the same area. For the hotels that don't offer blocks, you will have to contact your guests directly to find out where they're staying. Write an email asking people to let you know where they're staying, include some sort of check box on your wedding website, or go old school and make a few phone calls.

Maine welcome bakset

5. TRANSPORTATION- similar to your welcome basket situation, you need to know how many guests are staying at each hotel in order to reserve the appropriate vehicles.

shuttle bus

Getting this item checked off your list soon than later will help keep you organized and will help get your other vendors involved the information they need. Good luck with your planning and have a happy wedding!