5 Smarter-Not-Harder Weight-Loss Tips for Busy Grooms

Cross out2.png

So you decided to take the plunge, but you want to look good in front of all those people, right?

Awesome.  It’s easier than you think, but you gotta work smarter not harder.

If you want to shed that spare tire and give yourself a boost of confidence on your wedding day, here are 5 “smarter-not-harder” weight-loss tips to remember: 

#1 - You Can’t Outrun Your Fork

Trying to eat 1500 calories and burn 2000 at the gym sounds great, but rarely works.  MAYBE 1 out of 10 can pull this off. The dedication and self-control required is too much.  You should certainly exercise, but forget about calories in vs calories out. Which brings us to the next point...

#2 - Forget About Calories

The calorie myth has been busted.  100 calories of Twinkie is not equal to 100 calories of avocado.  Period. Trying to count them is annoying and time-consuming anyways. Instead, focus on what your calories are made of. Which again brings us to the next point…

#3 - Food is Food

Food is something that lived outside (plants and animals).  Before you eat something read the damn ingredients list and ask yourself, “Is this food?”  If you have a hard time pronouncing it, you might be eating something used in yoga mats. This stops weight loss.

#4 - Sugar = Fat

The most important thing to remember for fat loss is that SUGAR TURNS INTO FAT.  This includes fruit. The more you limit high sugar/carbohydrate foods the quicker you will drop excess fat.

#5 - Protein Style

When eating out, order protein style. I know bread is the best part, but it makes you fat.  Period. Eggs and bacon for breakfast. A burrito bowl at lunch. Meat and veggie entree at the restaurant. Avoid junky carbs. If cravings hit hard, potatoes and rice are permitted in moderation.

Keep It Simple Stupid!

Don’t over-complicate this. If it grew or walked around outside, eat it. If it came from a factory, avoid.  Limit sugar, INCLUDING FRUIT. Focus on eating mostly meat, veggies, eggs, nuts and seeds…in that order.

SAY IT OUT LOUD: MEAT, VEGGIES, EGGS, NUTS, AND SEEDS.

Man up and drink water. If you’re “drinking calories” this whole process takes longer.

AND MOVE YOUR BODY. 

It doesn’t have to be much. Go for a jog, do some push-ups, squats, sit-ups. Do this before work.  Get your heart rate up and you’re winning.

PRO-TIP #1: SKIP SOLID FOOD BREAKFAST. DRINK A COFFEE BLENDED WITH COCONUT OIL OR GRASS-FED BUTTER.

PRO-TIP #2: ORGANIC DARK CHOCOLATE (70% or higher) FOR DESSERT CAN HELP SQUASH SUGAR CRAVINGS. Two options from Amazon here and here.

Want a free meal plan complete with snack ideas to help you slim down for the big day?  

Pop your email below and I’ll fire one over. 

Easy Peasy…

Can a Virtual Wedding Assistant Replace Your Wedding Planner?

With more work being done online these days, and everyone with an eye on their budget, many brides wonder if a Virtual Wedding Assistant can replace their planner/coordinator.  

WEDDING PLANNER VS. VIRTUAL WEDDING ASSISTANT.png

As a planner for 13 years who also has virtual wedding assistants, I’d say the short answer is NO.  Having a professional planner around to hold your hand on the big day is invaluable, and if you can afford it, will be money well spent.

But let’s be real…the budget’s the budget, right? For many brides, hiring a VWA is the only feasible option.

So you may be wondering, what is a virtual wedding assistant?

A VWA is basically your online helper who handles the tedious tasks normally assigned to the planner/coordinator. It’s a great option for budget conscious brides because there is SO MUCH STUFF TO DO to pull off a wedding and so little time to do it. Your VWA will research vendors and give you price comparisons, write your timeline, even track RSVP’s and hunt down your Aunt Julie who never responded! All at a fraction of the cost of full service planners.

If you’d like to learn more about our VWA’s, check out the full details here. After 13 years in business with over 150 5-star reviews on Wedding Wire and Yelp, we’ve got this wedding thing down to a science.

MAKE WEDDING PLANNING GREAT AGAIN

5 Easy Stress Hacks for Planning Your Dream Wedding

Stress and anxiety have reached epidemic levels in the US.

In fact, 70% of adults say they feel stress or anxiety daily! Imagine what planning a wedding does to that number?

Whether being worried about budget, creating the timeline, or arguing with in-laws about the guest list, stress is around every corner leading up to big day. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are tools you can use to reduce stress.

Below are five tips that help reduce wedding planning stress and help make wedding planning great again!

  1. Stop Looking! - Once you’ve said yes to the dress, hired a photographer, booked your venue, stop looking! Continuing to scroll Pinterest for wedding dresses after you made a decision leads to second guessing yourself and feelings of regret, which are gateways to stress. Trust your gut, move on, and be happy about your cute dress!

  2. Hire a Virtual Wedding Assistant - Let’s face it, wedding planning is a huge production. Everyone needs help. If possible couples should hire at least a “day of coordinator,” but if that isn’t in the cards, consider a Virtual Wedding Assistant. They handle all the stressful and tedious tasks like price comparing vendors, confirmations, and RSVP followups. You even get a professional timeline (something normally reserved for high-budget weddings), all at a fraction of the cost of a full-service wedding planner. Did your shoulders just relax a little? Thank your VWA.

  3. Trust Your Gut - Don’t underestimate the power of trusting your intuition. If something doesn’t feel right….don’t do it. If the DJ rubs you wrong because he seems scatter brained and flaky, don’t book him! Who cares if he’s the lowest priced? There may be a reason for that. What you save in dollars you pay in stress wondering if he’s going to show up on your wedding day. Every decision you make should feel good. If it doesn’t, step back in reconsider.

  4. Set RSVP Due Date 30 Days Out - This is a huge headache for most couples. Putting together seating assignments trying to follow up with RSVPs can get stressful quickly. Setting the due date one month prior to the big day gives you extra time to follow up with stragglers so you can complete seating assignments and order escort cards. It’s crazy how many little stress-inducers appear from nowhere while planning your wedding. Another reason to hire a professional coordinator or a VWA.

  5. Prioritize Self Care - This may be the most important. You can’t pour from an empty cup, so be sure to keep yours full. Eat well, exercise, sleep, meditate, take deep breaths and all of the other things you know make you feel good. Because when you feel good, you’ll be more resilient to the inevitable stressors that come with planning a wedding!

Did we miss any? Leave a comment below and we’ll update the list with the best ideas!

5 easy ways to reduce stress while planning your wedding

5 Easy Budget Hacks to Cut Wedding Costs

Everyone wants to save money on their wedding.

Unfortunately for budget conscious brides, prices keep going up making it harder to create their dream wedding. What ends up happening is compromise…aka sacrificing what you really want for what’s affordable. Everyone’s LEAST favorite part of the wedding process.

But there is hope!

Here are five tips that help cut costs without sacrificing the wedding you envision!

  1. Limit Your Guest Count - Cost per person isn’t just about food and beverage. For every 10 people that come to your wedding, that’s another table, linen, centerpiece, china, flatware, favors, invitations, etc. This is often the hardest but also the fastest most effective way to cut down on budget. Sit down as a couple and create your parameters and stick to them. Here are some examples:

    • Must have seen them in the last year

    • Must have met both of us

    • If significant other of guest, must be over one year relationship

  2. Hire a Virtual Wedding Assistant - Let’s face it, wedding planning is a huge production, and you need help. If possible couples should hire at least a “day of coordinator,” but if that isn’t in the cards, consider a Virtual Wedding Assistant. They handle all the tedious tasks like price comparing your vendors, confirmations, and RSVP followups. You even get a professional timeline (something normally reserved for high-budget weddings), all at a fraction of the cost of a full-service wedding planner.

  3. Be Flexible On Date and Time - You probably already know this, but Saturday evenings are prime time, and most expensive. Fridays and Sundays are more cost effective. So are mornings. If dancing isn’t a huge thing, consider a Sunday brunch wedding! Who doesn’t love a Sunday Funday? Be open to new ideas!

  4. DIY Invitations and Stationery - With sites like Canva, there are tons of great design templates for invitations, rsvp cards, programs, menus, etc. Canva will even let you download the files with printing guidelines. Find a local inexpensive printer, and voila, you just saved a bunch of $$ on invites!

  5. Eliminate Favors - This can be tough. But consider this…about 50% of favors get left behind, which end up in the trash. Consider a fun donut or dessert bar with to-go bags guests can fill up on their way out. They’ll never notice they didn’t have a trinket sitting on their napkin!

Have any other tips or tricks?! Comment below or send us a message and we’ll update the list!

5 budget tips for planning your wedding

How to Become a Wedding Planner From Home

Many girls dream of becoming a wedding planner, usually after attending a great event or planning their own wedding. So you may be wondering, is it really possible to become a wedding planner from home? Could you really start a successful business making dreams come true AND be your own boss?

You sure can! That’s how I got started!

With the right approach, it’s easier than you think! You just need to do things right from the start.

how to become a wedding planner from home

First off...why start a wedding planner home business?

  • Your own schedule and hours

  • Satisfaction of making dreams come true

  • Massive earning potential

  • Little upfront investment

  • Little overhead costs

  • Over 2 million US marriages each year = job security.

How to Become a Wedding Planner From Home: Six Steps to Success

Make no mistake – successful wedding planners work hard and dedicate themselves entirely to their clients. Nevertheless, the road to success is relatively simple if you put the work in.

Whatever your current position and long-term career goals, the process of becoming a wedding planner from home looks a like this:

1. Research

You need to understand the industry, and everything you need to know about the wedding planning profession can be found online. In doing this you’ll quickly learn if this profession is right for you. And the better you understand the industry the quicker you can develop the skills, talents and knowledge you need.

2. Learn From the Best

Become an intern for an established planner and take notes. Pay close attention to how the rehearsal and wedding days are organized. Notice all the moving pieces and how the planner handles everything. A good planner will have a very solid structure. Make copies of the outlines and timelines and imagine you would handle things. Be proactive and ask the planner you are assisting what she needs help with…don’t just wait around to be assigned tasks.

**PRO-TIP** The rehearsal super important. It’s your first impression to the wedding party and all eyes are on you. It’s the perfect time to inspire confidence in your clients. If you want a free guide on how to run the perfect rehearsal, I got you. Drop your email below and I’ll send it right over.

3. Build a Website

Once you’re ready to start you need a website. These days, a beautiful website is easier than you think to build with services like Squarespace, and since everyone will look at your site before booking you, it’s worth it to spend some time here. Even if you don’t have tons of portfolio photos, you need a professional feeling website.

4. Market Your Services

You need visibility. I’ve seen the most experience planners fail not because they weren’t great planners, but because they didn’t remain relevant. Be social, go to events, keep your social media updated, hand out business cards, show up and talk to venue managers. Anything you can think of to get your brand out there. Consistency is key!

5. Network

You need contacts. Venues, rentals, videographers and photographers, restaurants, country clubs, DJ’s, florists, etc. All the people needed to put a wedding together. You need these people in your address book and you certainly want them to like you. Again, go to your local networking events!

6. Be Relentless

You must commit, go all in. Success is found in persistence. You’ll run into obstacles, setbacks, complications, and your patience will be tested. Most people give up, BUT NOT YOU! Set lofty goals, keep and open mind, and the business you desire will manifest before you know it!

Drop your email here and I’ll send you a free guide on how to run the perfect wedding rehearsal!

Now go get em’!

Love and Light,

Holly

how to become a wedding planner from home
HOW TO BECOME A WEDDING PLANNER FROM HOME
how to come a wedding planner from home
HOW TO BECOME A WEDDING PLANNER FROM HOME

5 Tips to Become a Wedding Planner in California

So you’ve been bit by the wedding planner bug, and now you want to start a wedding planning business.  Great! It’s a wonderful career with huge earning potential, and you get to spend your days making people happy.  What more could you want?

California is big.  Really big. In fact, there are over 230,000 weddings EACH YEAR!  But with that big market comes big competition. If you’re looking for the top tips on how to become a wedding planner in California, your search is over.

  1. You Need a Nice Website

    This doesn't mean expensive.  It should be clean, user friendly, and simple.  Companies like Squarespace and Wix make building your own easy.  Google the top wedding planners and check their sites. Browse this one (I build myself using squarespace)!  Take notes. The last thing you want is to lose clients to an another planner because he/she has a better website.

    Spend the time, make your site enjoyable to click through.  GET HELP if you need it.

  2. Show your face

    Being in the good graces of a venue manager or other industry vendors can be sooooo valuable.  Imagine the bride who’s obsessed with her photographer, but hasn’t booked a planner, so she asks him for referrals.  Just so happens you’ve been building a relationship with that photographer at networking events.  If you want to become a wedding planner in California, be ready to network and keep your name fresh. You’ll be shocked at how far that takes you.

  3. Learn From the Best

    Become an intern for an established planner and take notes.  Pay close attention to how the rehearsal and wedding days are organized.  Notice all the moving pieces and how the planner handles everything. A good planner will have a very solid structure.  Make copies of the outlines and timelines and imagine how you would handle different situations. Be proactive too! Ask the planner if he or she needs help with anything, do not wait to be given assignments.

    **PRO-TIP** The rehearsal super important.  It’s your first impression to the parents and wedding party and all eyes are on you.  It’s the perfect time to inspire confidence in your clients. If you want a free guide on how to run the perfect rehearsal, I got you.  Drop your email below and I’ll send it right over.

  4. Niches Make Riches, Bitches

    There are lots of planners out there.  So how can YOU set yourself apart? What can you specialize in?  Maybe it’s Indian weddings?. Maybe you’re into the hippie vibes and you want to attract those clients.  Jewish weddings are popular too. In the beginning, try to corner the market of a certain niche. Then as business increases, you can expand your base.

  5. Hustle

    California is competitive.  There’s plenty of hungry girls out there ready to make a name for themselves.  What’s going to make you stand out? Working smarter not harder, and pure persistence.  Never take shortcuts that sacrifice your quality of service, but ALWAYS take shortcuts that can get the tedious stuff done quicker.  That’s why I created the Wedding Management Mastery course, (which I’ve discounted especially for you for reading this article to just $49) so you can work smarter not harder from the get go, and stay ahead of the competition.  


Drop your email here and I’ll send you a free guide on how to run the perfect wedding rehearsal!

Now go get em’!


Love and Light,

Holly

5 tips to become a wedding a planner in california
5 TIPS TO BECOME A WEDDING PLANNER IN CALIFORNIA
5 tips to become a wedding planner in california
5 TIPS TO BECOME A WEDDING PLANNER IN CALIFORNIA

5 Mistakes Every Hockey Loving Groom Can Avoid

Congrats!  You made it to the Stanley Cup (aka found someone who will actually marry you). It may be hard to believe, but it’s real, and coming quicker than Maurice “The Rocket” Richard...

for-my-hockey-wedding.jpg

Now comes the dreadful part.  

You have vows to write, speeches, find the right DJ, the photo/video crew, there’s family to deal with, and you better figure out the seating. Tons of stuff you probably want nothing to do with.

To help you keep your sanity leading up to the big game, here are 5 mistakes every hockey-loving groom can avoid.

  1. Show Up to Practice - You wouldn’t show up to the Stanley Cup without practicing, right?  Same goes for your wedding. You gotta get involved in the planning. So play all positions. Don’t just sit back at goalie. Jump up to center.  Hang back on D. Ask questions. Have opinions. Be supportive, but not a pushover.

  2. Generic Vow Fail - Most grooms Google their vows right before the wedding.  Without a personal touch, everyone knows you printed them out the day before, including your lady. So spend some time on your vows, and PRACTICE.  If you’re a real hockey fan, drop your email below and I’ll send you some clever hockey lover vows you can customize.

  3. Keep The Gloves On - During the wedding planning process tensions will rise.  THIS IS NORMAL. Not just for planning weddings, but marriage in general.  Keep the gloves on, EVEN IF SHE TAKES THEM OFF.

  4. Don’t Get Hammered - Catching a buzz is one thing.  Blacking out and blowing your speech or causing a scene is another.  Unless you and the lady agree on taking shots of Johnny Walker, keep it together.  The wedding day is symbolic and will be looked back on by everyone, ESPECIALLY your wife.

  5. Watch The Game Clock - Guys are usually oblivious to time on the wedding day.  I know I was. In retrospect, this was a huge mistake. Missed photos, wasted time, and higher stress levels are the result.  You don’t need to know the minute-by-minute, just have a general idea. Set reminders on your phone or ask the boys to help you.  If you step in and save the day because you knew time was running low, you’ll be the biggest stud, and your fiance will repay you later...

It may feel overwhelming, but you got this. Close your eyes and imagine your vows killing in front of all those cheering fans!  Think of all your hard work paying off for the best party of the year.

And for the real hockey fans, if you need a little help, I got you.

Pop in your email and I’ll send you pre-written fill-in-the-blank vows you can easily customize. You can show your love for the greatest game AND that special lady, all while getting laughs along the way.

The Biggest Secret To Securing Wedding Room Blocks For Your Client....

To get five FREE TIPS for aspiring wedding planners, CLICK HERE!

-

I was tossing and turning last night thinking about how I used to LOATHE getting room blocks for clients.  Seriously such a headache. A few years ago I discovered a freakishly awesome company called Where Will They Stay? and my life changed instantly.

So as I laid awake feeling grateful for this company I realized you should know about them too!  That way you can skip all the headaches! Hooray!

It’s super easy to start.  Contact Where Will The Stay and register as an Event Professional.  From there fill out the details for your clients’ wedding and they will contact the hotels for you.  Yes, you read that right, they will do your job for you! Ahhhhhhhmazing.

Next they send you a super duper professional report with hotel names, rates, and any other pertinent details.   With the click of your mouse you casually forward to your client. They select the hotels, and BAM, WWTS obtains the contracts and agreements for you.  

SO FREAKIN’ EASY.  SO MUCH TIME SAVED.

Oh and did I mention that you get a commission from WWTS once the event occurs?  Wow. Just Wow. I know, you love me right now. And they don't give me commission for referring you.  I just love them (and you) soooo much and I know you’ll fall in love with them too!

-

To get five FREE TIPS for aspiring wedding planners, CLICK HERE!

5 Mistakes Every Groom Can Avoid on Their Wedding Day

Dude, you’re getting married!  Awesome!

I’m guessing you want to have a blast and make awesome memories on your wedding day, right?  And you also want your bride to look back and think “Oh wow, what a perfect day.”

Great.  You and every other groom. There’s a handful of mistakes you must steer clear of in order for the big day to go smoothly.

How do I know all this you ask?

Well, I’m already married, so this is coming from experience.  But I’ve also been in the wedding industry for years (my wife is a wedding planner and owns this blog), so I’ve seen and heard all the common dumb-dumb mistakes grooms make.

So let’s get you ready for the big show.  Avoid these top 5 mistakes to ensure the wedding goes off without a hitch.

  1. “Just tell me when to show up.”

    Just showing up for the biggest party of the year with no effort sounds nice, but it’s not realistic.  This is YOUR party too. Get involved, ask questions, don’t be a pushover, and make sure the day is fun for you and the boys too.  Your lady will love this.

    **Pro-tip**  If you disagree with something she’s trying to plan, make note, and circle around LATER.  Don’t be the dream killer right away if you think something should change or it’s not in the budget.  Have a solution/replacement idea ready.

  2. “Oh S#!7 I forgot my…”

    It takes a little forethought, but have a checklist of everything you want/need on the wedding day.  Watch, tie, rings, special socks, lucky pendant, cologne, deodorant, etc etc. If you need advice, ask your planner, friends or the almighty Google.

  3. Personalize the Vows

    Super important. Everyone knows if you print your vows out the day before. If you want to look like a total stud, PERSONALIZE your vows. This will be the difference between “Aww that’s cute, he Googled his vows yesterday.” and “Wow he’s so thoughtful! What a catch!” And your lady will give you those sexy eyes you love so much.

    Not a writer or unsure of where to start? I got you. Drop your email below and I’ll send you pre-written vows you can easily personalize.

  4. Oops I got Hammered

    Bye-bye sexy eyes...hello daggers.  Catching a little buzz to calm the nerves is one thing.  Taking shots and getting sloppy is another. Yes, the wedding day is supposed to be fun, and it will be, but you’re also the host, and eyes are on you.  Judgy eyes.  There are few days in a man’s life when he get the opportunity to show what he’s made of, and the wedding day is one.  Getting hammered and blowing your vows/speech is a MASSIVE mistake.

  5. You forget it’s all about her

    Ok, you got involved, made sure the party will be fun, the budget is good, the bridesmaids and groomsmen are happy, family is happy, you’re not hammered.  All great. But today is really about your bride. She’ll remember this day forever. FOR-EV-ER. Write a few love letters for her to read during the day.  A one-pager while she’s getting ready, a shorter one for after photos, and a suuuuper brief one for right before walking down the aisle.  Make sure your planner knows everything.

    Get her a gift to open with the first letter in front of her bridesmaids.  This will impress the F out of her friends, which she’ll love.

    If giving a speech always END with the focus on her.  Remember, it’s all about her. How lucky you are to have found her.  Thank her parents for bringing her into this world, her bridesmaids for supporting her, etc.  

    **Pro-tip** If you’re up for it, do something thoughtful in front of everyone...a grand surprise  Sing a song, play the piano, give a gift, read a poem you wrote. Whatever it is, make sure everyone sees it.

    You’ll be a stud, and she'll NEVER forget it.

Remember to spend some time on those vows! And if you like shortcuts, drop your email below and I’ll give you PRE-WRITTEN but easily customized vows that will make that lovely lady glow on the alter. There’s a special bonus in there for sports lovers too.

Good luck!

The Best Cheat Sheet For Collecting Liability Insurance

To get five FREE TIPS for aspiring wedding planners, CLICK HERE!

-

Collecting vendor liability insurance certificates can be such a drag.  I swear it’s like herding cats sometimes. Soooo after YEARS of pulling my hair out I created a step-by-step guide to make the process efficient and painless. It’s so simple my assistants or interns handle now!

VENDOR LIABILITY INSURANCE CHEAT SHEET - Download now

This little gem has saved my team and me HOURS (which turn into DAYS after you plan enough weddings), and I want you to have it!

So what will you do with a few extra days of life?  

Yoga? Netflix?

-

To get five FREE TIPS for aspiring wedding planners, CLICK HERE!

How To Run A Wedding Rehearsal Like a Veteran Wedding Planner

The rehearsal is hugely important.  More so than you think....

It sets the tone for your clients big day and is also your first impression to the wedding party.  You know, those people you want listening to you. It’s crucial you exude confidence and execute a seamless rehearsal so there’s no question who the boss is.

This is often easier said than done.

The problem many planners face is that running a rehearsal can be a bit like herding cats.  There’s a lot of moving pieces and if you don’t have the process NAILED it can get messy and time consuming.  If it’s not flawless the bride’s confidence in your abilities may be shaken.

No bueno for wedding day stress levels.

After 12 years planning weddings, and plenty of rehearsal blunders along the way, I figured out the formula for a picture perfect rehearsal.

Follow this step-by-step process to for a simple and efficient wedding rehearsal:

  • Introduction

  • Place everyone where they will stand during the ceremony

  • Practice recessional

  • Practice processional

  • Give a ceremony overview once everyone is back up front

  • Conclude with important details for the wedding day

  • Give last chance for any questions

It’s suuuuuper helpful to have detailed instructions written out for everything along with a checklist so you don’t forget anything.  I highly recommend having those handy.

If you want a copy of my personal template and checklist, just Venmo me $10 and I’ll send it over.

KIDDING.

Just enter your e-mail below! =)




Love & Light,

Holly

FREE GUIDE!  How To Run A Wedding Rehearsal
how to run a wedding rehearsal
how to run a wedding rehearsal
FREE GUIDE: HOW TO RUN A WEDDING REHEARSAL
FREE GUIDE!  How To Run A Wedding Rehearsal
how to run a wedding rehearsal
how to run a wedding rehearsal
FREE GUIDE! HOW TO RUN A WEDDING REHEARSAL

Here's My Exact Guide To Onboard/Close Out Wedding Clients!

To get five FREE TIPS for aspiring wedding planners, CLICK HERE!

-

Do you have a streamlined process for booking new clients and closing out weddings?  Where do you track it?

I personally use Aisle Planner (Use code SIMPLYSWEET 30 day trial + 25% off your first three months!) to track onboarding/closing out clients!  Check out below for my exact checklists!  

Onboarding A New Client:

  • Create and send contract

  • Create and send invoice

  • Countersign contract and confirm initial payment is received

  • Send welcome email

  • Create project in Aisle Planner

  • Send client intro to Aisle Planner

  • Put wedding in calendar

  • Add client to event schedule (this where I track all upcoming events along with staffing)

  • Add client's info to email list

  • Add client's name to ROI sheet (this a sheet to track the ROI of our leads!)  

Closing Out A Client: 

  • Send request for a reviews

  • Add clients name along with vendors/instagram handles to "photo marketing" document (this is a sheet I can easily reference when posting photos on social media for vendor credits)

  • Pay staffing

  • Send thank yous to all vendors

  • Obtain wedding photos (6-8 weeks)  

I hope this helps inspire you to create your own onboarding/close out list or perhaps update the one you already have!     Doing this on Aisle Planner is SO easy!  I created these as checklist templates and import them to each client's lead record upon booking!  And remember, you can try out Aisle Planner FREE for 30 day, plus get 25% off your first three months!  Just use code SIMPLYWEET on checkout!  

-

To get five FREE TIPS for aspiring wedding planners, CLICK HERE!

Here's My Exact Guide To Onboard/Close Out Wedding Clients!
FREE Checklist to onboard and close out wedding clients for wedding planners

Nine Tips For Wedding Transportation Bliss

Guest Blog Provided by Swoop

As the famous song says, “Get me to the church on time,” or to the wedding ceremony or reception. There are so many important details to consider when planning the ideal wedding. Food, flowers, the music, the dress!…and of course, the people! Providing transportation for your guests can assure that they are transported safely (not driving their own vehicles) and in timely manner from multiple locations (think hotels, Airbnb, airports) and they’re not worrying about finding or parking at an unfamiliar venue.

Getting the wedding party and the guests delivered to the right place, on time, and in comfort and style…is one of the most important elements of the perfect wedding day…for everyone!

Here are Swoop’s Top Nine Tips for Planning the Perfect Wedding Transportation:

1. Plan Ahead and Book Early

Book your transportation early on in your wedding planning — at least six months ahead or nine months if you are scheduling a summer wedding. The closer the date gets, the less available (and possibly more expensive) transportation options may get.

When planning, here are some quick tips and tricks to think about for different transportation options:

  • Wedding Shuttles: include an option for transportation on your invitation RSVP for invitees. This will help you estimate transportation needs.

  • Separate vehicles for family members and those in the wedding party

  • A possible limo for the bride and groom

  • Valet + Transportation if you are looking into both (using the same company is recommended)

2. Include Your Wedding Planner

Transportation should be an integral part of your planning, which means looping in your wedding planner. Your wedding planner, who’s most likely in contact with your other providers, should have Swoop (or your other transportation provider) on their speed dial. When the wedding planner is working with your transportation provider, they can help with “day of” logistics including managing guest expectations and assisting drivers with any changes

3. On-Site Support Can Be Crucial

While you may incur a nominal fee, having your transportation company provide day-of, on-site coordination support, especially if there are trips requiring multiple large vehicles or shuttle services, can keep things running smoothly.

4. Get Those Driver Details

Transportation providers should send you driver details (name and phone) 24–48 hours before the event. Make sure to pass this information to your wedding planner should any special requests come up.

5. Preview Your Vehicles

To assure that the vehicle you’re renting is in excellent condition, clean and with the amenities listed, ask to see pictures of the actual vehicle you’re renting (we’ve heard horror stories!). You should clearly be able to see both the exterior and interior of the actual vehicle. Swoop guarantees that every vehicle it provides is vetted, highly-maintained and comes with a 5-star driver.

6. Communication is Key

Be specific with your guests, wedding planner and transportation provider when it comes to pick-up and drop-off points and estimated times. If you have a strict ceremony or reception start time, communicate that so the company can create a logistics plan around it. Have a wedding website? Include transportation schedules so guests know when the shuttles will depart and return.

7. It’s All About Options

Ask for different wedding package options that fit within your budget. If there’s a vehicle you prefer but it’s out of your budget, ask if they have a price-matching policy. Some companies charge you by the hour so if there are budget constraints, offer transportation before or after the reception.

8. Check on Wedding Experience

Chat with your transportation provider to ensure that the drivers are experienced when it comes to wedding transportation and if those drivers are familiar with the particular venue. Some venues are challenging to access (narrow, curving roads or tight parking areas); see if your provider will perform a dry-run to see if the vehicle fits within the venue.

Having a tailored logistics plan provided ahead of time will help set the right expectations with your entire team, including your wedding planner.

9. Most of All…Have fun!

Transportation should be part of the celebration; whether you’re taking a limo, shuttle services or a fancy trolley, sharing the experience with friends and family can be a ton of fun! Planning ahead will just increase the enjoyment.

--


Need some help with an upcoming wedding or looking for advice on wedding logistics? Let Swoop know — they are here to help! Click here to schedule an appointment with a Swoop Wedding Account Manager.

Swoop is a group transportation company that specializes in events and wedding transportation. They’ve moved over 30,000 people to weddings and events and in the last three years, they’ve supported 300+ weddings. Check out recent customer testimonials on The Knot, Wedding Wire and Yelp.


NON-TOXIC NAIL POLISH for your wedding day

Ughh…I really hate to break this one to you all…really, it hurts…but I gotta do it…

Conventional nail polish is often packed with chemicals and super toxic ingredients, especially for kids and pregnant women, so I wanted to share some safer alternatives to make your wedding day a bit more high vibe and health conscious.

First off...the bad stuff.  Nail polish often contains Toulene, a chemical found in gasoline, which is known to cause reproductive harm and dizziness. The CDC warns it can cause central nervous system problems. Formaldehyde, a known carcinogen used to preserve dead things (yuck), is found in many nail polishes.

And finally, Dibutyl phthalate (DBP), a chemical banned in Europe and known to cause reproductive problems, particularly in boys, shows up frequently. It’s classified at the highest danger level by the Environmental Working Group because it can cause organ problems and endocrine disruption.  WTF?!

And unfortunately, with that soup of chemicals sitting on our nail beds, they are absorbing into our bodies.

So, here are a few non-toxic nail polish options that have been recommended. I personally haven’t tried them all, so I would LOVE to know what you all think!

  1. Acquarella is ranked 1/10 on the EWG database (10 being very dangerous).  It’s a bit spendy, but it stays on nails without a strong chemical smell.  They also have a great non-toxic nail polish remover.

  2. Honeybee Gardens is another that has tons of colors.  Free of many dangerous chemicals and given a low rating on the EWG website, it can be removed using vodka!

  3. A great option for kids is a brand called Piggy Paint.  Doesn’t stay on nails too long, so probably not a great idea for the wedding day, but the kiddos will love it.

  4. Ella + Mila are currently developing the Love Collection, “an array of dreamy colors that promises to spread pretty polishes to all those in love.”  Never tested on animals and 7-free, meaning they avoid the harshest chemicals.

To remove all these Karma Organic makes a great non toxic nail polish remover.

Give these a try and let me know your feedback!  And if you have any suggestions or products that you’ve found, please comment below!

Shop the above items below!



FREEZER MEAL PREP For the Health Conscious Busy Bride

I am SUPER excited to share my new passion of freezer meal prep. My husband and I are super health conscious, and we are also very busy. The amount of time we spend in the kitchen making nut milks and bone broth, making gluten free sourdough bread and kombucha, and just the general every day prepping/cooking food is insane. We love it, but wow is it a huge time burden. We got in the habit of meal prepping where we’d cook a TON of food on Sunday to have on hand for the week. It was great while it lasted…Rory, my now two year old, was a newborn at the time and I did like having easy things on hand. However, I did realize that while I do love left overs, I don’t love to eat food on Thursday that was cooked on Sunday. We also made huge batches of things and I got sick of eating the same thing all week. So needless to say, it eventually fell by the wayside.

Fast forward a few months ago, I was craving some sort of way I could be more efficient in the kitchen. I had this idea…what if I could prep food and freeze it while it was still raw? It would last a while, all I would have to do is thaw and cook it when we want it, and best of all, it would taste FRESH! A little searching on Pinterest and I realized I did not invent this idea LOL. Which honestly, is even better…because there were already a ton of resources out there for me! No need to reinvent the wheel, right?

I found this SUPER cool site, Once A Month Meals, that has truly changed my life and how I think about cooking! What attracted me to OAMM is that there are a ton of filters you can sort recipes by…. Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Whole 30, AIP, Paleo, Vegan, Seasonal..ALL.OF.IT. That sold me. I wouldn’t have to deal with modifying recipes.

It’s $16/month and here’s how it works. You create your menu (you can have up to 5 menus at a time, 15 recipes on each menu). When you are ready to go, you click “DOWNLOAD” and you get a PDF that includes:

  • A complete grocery guide with all of the items you’ll need for your menu

  • A prep instruction list for chopping (how you should prep all items before assembling)

  • Assembly instructions (details how to prep/assemble all meals)

  • Thawing instructions for all meals

  • Cook instructions for all meals

It’s AMAZING. She also has you make two of each meal to save time on prep. AKA. If you make 5 menu items, you will end up with 10 meals. This is so genius because when I’m prepping broccoli beef, I may was well do it twice since I have all the ingredients out.

So now that I’ve been doing it for two months, here are my thoughts/tips so far….

  1. I’m not sure how long I’ll keep my membership with OAMM, but I’m learning SO much on freezer prepping, so I’ll probably keep it a few more months to try out their different recipes and see which ones become family favorites! (A lot of the recipes are only available to members). I feel like I’m getting the hang of it down and could use freezer prep with other recipes I already know and like.

  2. I’ve now realized, I will never (never say never)…re-phrase…I will TRY to never just prep/cook one meal. If I happen to be cooking a dinner for that night, I will be sure to now just prep double the ingredients and put one meal’s worth aside to freeze.

  3. I did a marathon day where I prepped 20 dinners, plus 2 different soups that yielded four single servings each. That was WAY too long for me to be in the kitchen. I spent 3 hours, and Eric did all of the clean up. I now know that I cannot spend that much time in the kitchen in one stretch. However, I am now looking at my frozen meals like a bank account. I made a huge deposit and plan to never have a zero balance. As I withdraw meals, I plan to add a few back in here and there and hope to always have 5-10 meals in the freezer. All the other times I’ve prepped a few meals here and there and have thrown them in the freezer and that has been super enjoyable for me.

  4. Here are the plastic tubs that I use to prep and freeze most meals. I like them because they are resuable. They say they are dishwasher safe but yeah…not really-ish. I always rinse them out with soap and super hot water and call it a day. It’s also nice to use the tubs because some of the meals allow you to cook from frozen in the Instant Pot, and the contents of the tub fit into the Instant Pot perfectly when frozen.

  5. Freezer space. That’s just one thing I have no answer for. We have a huge deep freezer in our garage which makes it feasible for us to store all those tubs. It would certainly take up less space to use ziploc bags, but we’re trying to stay away from single use plastic. Maybe one day my stasher bag supply will build itself up!

  6. I also selected the setting “Dump and Go” in recipe filters under preparation because all of those recipes allow you to just throw all the ingredients into a tub and be done with it. Some require a little cooking upfront which I don’t want to do. (Except for the soups! Those I cook, let cool, and then freeze in individual portions in mason jars to re-heat)

  7. Not only has it saved me time, but it’s saved me a HUGE amount of mental energy! I don’t waste any brain power wondering what I should make for dinner because it’s already done (not to mention the time I save by not having to prep dinner)

  8. I also like that I’m not committed to any particular meal at a given time. I can open our freezer and peruse the selection and decide what we want to eat tomorrow. We’re not tied down to any one meal!

Here are a few of our favorites from Once A Month Meals: (the below listed are all Gluten/Dairy free, and I believe all are Whole 30 too!)

If you have any questions, please post below! And if you have any freezer meal favorites, please share them with us!!

***This post does contain affiliate links, but all things that I use and recommend personally!***

Why You Should Hire A PROFESSIONAL WEDDING BEAUTY TEAM

WHY SHOULD YOU HIRE PROFESSIONAL WEDDING BEAUTY TEAM??  I get this question a lot. People want to use their personal hair stylist for their wedding...or their cousin who’s SUPER good at makeup.  I totally get it. You have those personal connections and brings even more intimacy to your wedding day. But promise me, you will hire and use stylists and artists that experienced in the world of weddings on your wedding day.  And planners, encourage your clients to hire professionals and help them understand why.

Here are just a few reasons….

  1. TIMING:  Wedding schedules move fast AF.  When you have yourself, 6 bridesmaids, and 2 moms...That is 9 people needing hair and makeup.  Stylists/Artists versed in weddings are quick. They can bang out a full makeup application or a full updo in just 30 minutes.  While your personal hairdresser might be AMAZING, they may not have the experience to spend 1 hour on you, and 30 minutes on other services.  It doesn’t mean they aren’t skilled...it’s just not what they do every day. If you are dead set on using your own hair stylist, consider using him or her just for you, and another stylist(s) for everyone else.

  2. QUALITY:  Artists and stylists that trained in weddings know how to make it last.  Wedding make up artists know how to apply make up in a way that will A. last all day and B. look good in flash photography.  Wedding hair stylists know some sort of crazy magic to work quickly while also ensuring that every bobby pin will not move 1 mm.  It’s true! Every time I’ve had my hair and makeup done by one of the beauty teams I work with, I come home at midnight and look EXACTLY the same way I did when they finished...minus the lipstick I was too lazy to reapply.

  3. LESS STRESS:  Because wedding beauty teams and produce high quality in a short time, which in turn keeps you on schedule, there will be less stress the morning of the wedding.  Think about it...hair and makeup is the very first segment of time of your wedding. Do you want to lag behind and feel stressed? It will set a tone for the entire wedding day (even just subconsciously), and you don’t want to feel like you are in a rush the rest of the day.

SOIL + SOUL // MODERN Bouquet Preservation

Did you happen to catch our Instagram live with Soil and Soul two weeks ago??  If not, let me catch you up!  Natalie is the AMAZING woman behind this modern bouquet preservation art and I seriously want everyone to know about this!.She takes your bridal bouquet and creates amazing one of a kind art with a resin type material to create a seriously BEAUTIFUL piece to display in your home.  

Bouquet preservation is going to make a SERIOUS come back when the wedding industry catches wind of her..Visit her website to learn more about her design process and see her other products (aka bridesmaids pieces, flower girl necklaces and ring holders).

ANDDDD...if you mention "Simply Sweet Weddings" when booking, she will give you three free small bridesmaids artworks to give to your bridesmaids, or moms, or someone special in your life!

Enjoy some photos of her work below!

modern bouquet preservation by soil and soul
modern bouquet preservation by soil and soul
modern bouquet preservation ring holder
modern bouquet preservation
modern bouquet preservation


WHOLE WEDDINGS // ZERO-WASTE Plantable Seed Wedding Invitations & Stationery

A week or so ago I had the honor of spending some time on the phone with Kendra Meany from Whole Weddings! She is leaving a huge mark in the wedding industry by bringing zero-waste, sustainable wedding invitations to the table. I absolutely LOVE invitations and all the paper products that come along with weddings. The menus, programs, escort cards…I love it all. But with all that paper can come a lot of trash. Enter Whole Weddings. She prints all of her products on plantable seed paper that will bloom into gorgeous wildflowers!

She can work with clients in person, or remote as well! She’s based in Connecticut, but don’t worry, you can also work with her no matter where you are! To learn more about her design process, visit her “Process + FAQ” page! And to just learn more about her company and movement in general, visit her WEBSITE, and be sure to check out her INSTAGRAM as well!

Annnndddd….last but not least, she is offering 20% OFF thank you cards when you mention “SIMPLY SWEET WEDDINGS” when placing your order!

zero waste wedding invitations
zero waste wedding invitations

Check out a quick 3 minute video of the samples we received in the mail!

The 4 Adaptogenic Mushrooms You Need In Your Life!

I’m not talking about those kind of mushrooms, but whatever floats your boat! I am talking about adaptogenic mushrooms. Adaptogens are “natural substances considered to help the body to adapt to stress and to exert a normalizing effect upon bodily processes.” Essentially, they promote homeostasis in the body. And lets be honest, there’s not much that can f*ck up your homeostasis like planning a wedding.

According to Tero Isokauppila, the founder of Four Sigmatic,

“To qualify as an adaptogen, a mushroom must help the body in a non-specific way. That last part is important because rather than serving a single, targeted purpose, adaptogenic mushrooms will adapt their healing properties to whatever your body specifically needs at a given time in order to restore you to peak functionality. Think of adaptogens this way: You know that good friend who comes over to your house to vent after she’s had a bad day, but sees that you’re over the moon about some terrific news and promptly adjusts her demeanor to celebrate your happiness with you? That’s what an adaptogen does in the human body — it senses what the body needs and alters its behavior in whatever way necessary to foster peak health.”

— HEALING MUSHROOMS BY TERO ISOKAUPPILA

ADAPTABLE…ok, that’s like, exactly what we need during wedding planning season. We need a natural substance that can sense what we need exactly when we need it. Weddings can stir up a lot of emotions and lot of personalities so the flexibility is key.

So how can these four adaptogenic mushrooms below help you throughout your planning process and on your wedding day?

CHAGA // THE BEAUTY SHROOM: Chaga is the mushroom you’ll want to take regularly throughout your whole engagement. Chaga is packed with antioxidants and supports immune functions and overall health and wellness. Those antioxidants will improve your skin, as well keep you healthy during this busy time!

REISHI // THE CALMING SHROOM: My personal favorite, Reishi relaxes the body, calms the mind, relieves stress and supports sleep. Soooo, basically take this one every day! What’s great about reishi is that it calms you down without making you drowsy, so this mushroom can be taken at any time of day! I especially like this one first thing in the morning. For anyone with anxiety, I would definitely take this before every wedding related event, (Engagement Party, Bridal Shower, Bachelorette Weekend, Wedding Day, Morning After Brunch, Etc.) and especially the wedding day when nerves run high!

LION’S MANE // THE MENTAL FOCUS SHROOM: Lion’s Mane supports focus, creativity, memory, concentration and brain health. This is the perfect mushroom to take before planning meetings with your vendors, while working on your seating assignments, and any other task that you want to bring your mental A-game. Lion’s Mane gives your brain an energizing hug.

CORDYCEPS // THE ENERGIZING SHROOM: Cordyceps helps you achieve and sustain steady energy levels without the caffeine jitters. Cordyceps would be great before your all of your wedding related events (Engagement Party, Bridal Shower, Bachelorette Weekend, Wedding Day, Morning After Brunch, Etc.) and any long planning days. Cordyceps are also great before physical activity (great pre-workout) or a particularly busy day (long work day followed by wedding planning at night?).

Good news is, you can combine these mushrooms and take them together! I know, you’re wondering where you can pick some up to get started with them ASAP so shop our favorite brands linked below!

FOUR SIGMATIC:

SUN POTION

OM ORGANICS









Sources:

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adaptogen

  • https://us.foursigmatic.com/pages/healing-mushrooms-book

METABOLIC FLEXIBILITY For The Perfect Wedding Day

So What In The World Is Metabolic Flexibility?

As the ketogenic diet gains popularity many people have at least hear the word “Keto” even they don’t know what it means. However, most people have never heard the term Metabolic Flexibility, which is a bummer because it’s pretty awesome.  My goal here is to give you the super high level view, then point you in the right direction if you want to know more.

I’m sure everyone knows the basics of metabolism, but as a quick refresher, our bodies need energy that comes from the food we eat.  Like putting gas in your car, you put food in your mouth which your digestive system breaks down in order to extract the “energy” from.  This energy powers your body.

To most people's surprise, your body is actually a hybrid that uses two different types of fuel.  Like a Toyota Prius can use electricity or gasoline, your body can use glucose or ketones.  Glucose comes from breaking down carbohydrates while ketones come from the breakdown of fat.  Eat an apple, glucose. Slurp down some coconut oil, ketone zone. Easy peasy...right?

Unfortunately, because of our high carb diets, 99%* of people these days CAN’T burn ketones...yet.  Glucose is easier for the body to use and always available, so fat burning never needs to happen, and doesn’t.  This lifetime of sugar burning has told our bodies to simply shut off it’s fat burning capabilities.  The old, “If you don’t use it, you lose it” adage holds true.

Sad face.

Becoming metabolically flexible really just means to reactivate your fat burning abilities.  Run out of gas (aka glucose)? No problemo. Ketones can step in to save the day. Unfortunately when most people run out of gas, there’s no ketones to step in.  Instead, headaches, fatigue, shakiness, extreme hunger pangs, and serious hangry mood swings happen. The classic signs of low blood sugar. With all the craziness of a wedding day this is more common than most people think.  

The real interesting piece is that ketones are waaaaayyyy more efficient at powering your body than glucose.  We’re talking like 10x here. Less brain fog, higher energy levels, and oh yea if you wanna lose weight, think of burning your own stored fat for fuel. Mind blown, I know.  My husband and I lost 30 pounds each without really trying.

And it’s great for everyone on the wedding day!

WHY THIS IS GOOD FOR WEDDING VENDORS: We all know that vendor meals are in our contracts. And we all know that there’s been those crazy days where we don’t get to sit down to eat until 10pm. Sometimes stuff happens and we don’t get to eat. Sometimes we forget our snacks. Or sometimes we have our snacks and get so busy we don’t have a chance to eat them. This is where being metabolically flexible is SO CLUTCH. To be able to switch over to burning ketones and power through the day without getting shaky and hangry is major. It all allows you to think more clearly and have more energy which I would say is a major plus for any wedding vendor.

WHY THIS IS GOOD FOR BRIDES/GROOMS: So as we know, the wedding day is busy AF. Getting ready, pictures, ceremony, more pictures during cocktail hour. It is likely you will go HOURS without food. As a planner I always carry some good quality snacks in case brides need it, but having ready access to good snacks is not the reality for all brides and grooms. Not to mention, while I do have a few snacks, I certainly don’t have enough to feed a bridal party. So this is where being metabolically flexible comes in. Imagine being able to make it through pictures without feeling the pains of low blood sugar. Oh, and not to mention, for any of those couples looking to shed a few pounds before the wedding, metabolic flexibility will help with that.

Best resources to get started:

SO…if I’ve piqued your interest at all and you are loooking to learn more, I recommend starting with Mark Sisson's book, The Keto Reset Diet.  He’s a wealth of knowledge on metabolic flexibility, and isn’t so extreme like some other keto peeps.  My husband Eric calls him the Silver Fox and aspires to be as fit as him in his 60’s. (insert eye roll here). Eric and I have actually been following a keto diet on and off for about five years and he wrote a book called Ketogenic Diet Mistakes to Avoid and created a Udemy course too!  They basically detail all the mistakes we made in becoming metabolically flexible. The book is only $2.99 on Amazon, but if you prefer a video course use the code SIMPLYSWEET and get 20% off!

And final words to leave you with….”He or she who is most flexible is most successful”


* making up that number LOL, but I know it’s high