Wedding Timeline Tips

July 13, 2017. Category: advice, wedding planner, wedding tips

One of the most important elements to planning a wedding is having a great timeline. This alleviates stress and allows for a more seamless wedding celebration. Below are some tips we hope will help you on your wedding day!

Allow at least 30 minutes to get into the dress.
It doesn’t seem like it will take that long, but there is always that one last trip to the restroom or a tricky zipper (or though we don’t like to admit it, squeezing into your Spanx!).  The last thing you want is to rush through the dressing process, feeling and looking stressed in your photos.

Photography: Katelyn James

Distract your guests during band breaks by having something else happening.
Unfortunately, most bands don’t play straight through the reception and need to take a few breaks. During these breaks, it’s the perfect time for toasts or cake cutting. The band won’t be playing during those events anyway, so no one will notice they’re not playing or miss out on any dancing!

Photography: Sam Hurd

Make sure to limit number and length of toasts.
Though there is nothing we love more than a heartfelt speech or sweet toast, there is a limit to how long guests will pay attention. Try to limit the number of speeches at one time. Planning for some of the toasts to happen at the rehearsal dinner can help to reduce the number at the reception. We also find that splitting up the toasts throughout the night so that no more than two people are speaking in a row helps keep guests’ attention.

We recommend telling your speakers to stay within 3 minutes per toast, knowing that inevitably some will run a bit longer. Long speeches could compromise the quality of the meal, delay guests hitting the dance floor and minimize opportunities for additional photos. If you talk about the plan in advance, your friends and family will have a better understanding of why you want the toasts short and sweet: more time on the dance floor!

Photography: Jodi and Kurt

Double the amount of time you think it will take to get to your venue.
Even though we always plan for worse case scenarios, you never know what could happen on your wedding day. It’s really important to cushion your timeline and double the amount of time you think it will take you to get your ceremony and/or reception. The last thing you want is the stress of sitting in unexpected traffic, late for the ceremony!

Photography: Eric Kelley

Plan to arrive early to the ceremony to get out of sight.
There is something magical when the doors open and the bride walks down the aisle, everyone anticipating her entrance and a glimpse of the dress. It’s also really nice to have time to yourself right before the big moment. Plan to arrive 40 minutes before the ceremony, before guests start arriving, so that you can slip out of sight. Or, you can wait out of view in your transportation right up until the moment when you walk down the aisle.

Photography: Connor Studios

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How to decide on an indoor or outdoor wedding

June 21, 2017. Category: advice, tips, venue, wedding planner, wedding tips, weddings

One of the hardest decisions a couple has to make while planning their wedding is the venue. Some couples really love the idea of having part of their celebration outdoors, but in the DC area, that can be tricky.

For some, the thought of not having an outdoor ceremony and/or tented reception is heartbreaking, and for others the risk of an outdoor soirée seems too stressful. If you are a couple who is still going back and forth, we have put together a list of Pros and Cons for both which we hope will make the the decision and planning process a little bit easier.

Indoor Wedding

If you have always dreamed of having your wedding in a gorgeous ballroom or at an iconic historic location, such as a museum, having an indoor wedding is the perfect choice for you. However, if you are still on the fence below are some Pros and Cons to an indoor wedding that might help sway your decision.

Pro: Weather is not a concern – With an indoor wedding, there is no need to worry about the weather. It doesn’t matter if it there is an unexpected down pour that day or if it is unseasonably warm or cold, the weather will not be an issue. Also, your guests will not have a problem packing the dance floor with good air conditioning.

Photography: Jodi and Kurt  Floral: Edge Floral    Venue: The Hay-Adams

Con: Windows and natural light – If you find a venue with windows, this is not an issue, but many ballrooms are built on the lower level of a hotel or in interior rooms of a museum and do not have any natural light.  This can be an issue if you want light, dreamy photos or hire a photographer who only shoots in real film.

Photography: Abby Jiu   Floral: Amaryllis  Venue: Decatur House

Pro: Endless décor options – Depending on the space, most if not all indoor venues will allow you to manipulate the space in some way or another, especially if you have selected a venue that has blank walls which will provide the perfect backdrop to customizing your wedding.

Photography: Sam Hurd   Floral: Southern Blooms

 Venue: Pippin Hill Farm &  Vineyards

Con: Unexpected décor costs – While having a blank space is very appealing and exciting, this can also get very expensive very quickly. As you may have to consider all the elements that will be needed to bring your vision to life from lighting to flowers to draping to all the rentals. Just make sure that when you are looking at the space, you are also adhering to your budget.

Photography: Abby Jiu     Floral: Amaryllis    Venue: Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium

Pro: Intimate Dinner Party – With all of your guests in one room, depending on the size of your event, indoor receptions can often feel like an intimate dinner party.

Photography: Abby Jiu    Floral: Amaryllis

Venue: National Museum of Women in The Arts

Outdoor Weddings

Have you always envisioned yourself getting married at your parents house or sitting in a lush garden under a tent surrounded by your nearest and dearest? If so, then an outdoor wedding is for you. However, one of the biggest challenges with an outdoor wedding is the weather. An outdoor wedding ceremony and/or reception, though beautiful and often breathtaking, can sometimes be logistically a bit more challenging, especially if the weather does not corporate. If you are up for the challenge or still find yourself on the fence here are some Pros and Cons to an outdoor wedding that might help you decide.

Pro: Beautiful scenery and backdrop – Outdoor weddings offer beautiful settings for a wedding and as a result, couples that decide on an outdoor soirée often save on design costs. Since the scenery is so lovely you really don’t need to add too many additional decor elements.

Photography: Eric Kelley     Venue: Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards

Con: High rental costs – Most outdoor wedding venues will need you to be tented, which can be expensive depending on the type of tent to want. Also be prepared to budget for items you may not necessarily have thought of, such as portable restrooms, flooring, a dance floor, tables, chairs, and lighting.

Photography: Kate Headley    Venue: Private Estate

Pro: A bit more relaxed atmosphere for your guests – An outdoor venue is also a great option for cocktail hour. Your guests can enjoy cocktails on the lawn while also playing lawn games or and taking in the view. Also, if you are allowing guests to bring their children, an outdoor wedding allows children space to run around.

Photography: Jen Fariello

Con: Unknown Weather – If you decide to have part or all of your celebration outdoors, be sure to have a plan B for bad weather.  There is no way to know how hot, cold, rainy or windy it might be.  If you don’t have a back up plan that you love (tent/interior space), you will make yourself crazy in the lead up to your wedding checking the weather.

Pro Tip: Most importantly, try to remember that no matter what location or venue you decided on be it indoor or outdoor, your wedding day will be beautiful and one of the best days of your life. Once you have logistically come up with the plan, all the other pieces will fall into place. Enjoy it – it’s your wedding day after all!

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Wedding Invitation RSVP Do’s and Don’ts

March 30, 2017. Category: advice, Invitations, weddings

The correct wedding etiquette can at times feel overwhelming and confusing, especially when it comes to wedding invitations and even more so if you are the bride!

We are often asked a lot of questions about wedding invitations Do’s and Don’t and most often are regarding a RSVP. So to make your planning process a little bit easier our president Aimee Dominick  put together a list of a few things to keep in mind.

Photography: Abby Grace    Invitations: Flourishing Penguin

  • If you are deciding on having a pre-selected course for dinner, make sure that your guests initial their choice of Beef, Fish, or Vegetarian. This way you will know exactly who in the couple is having which meal.

 

  •   We never ask guests to list allergies, as we don’t want to encourage guests to tell you was they dislike and would prefer to substitute. If there is a guest who has a severe allergy they will let you know on the RSVP card. {See real invite below}

Photography: A. Dominick Events

  • We really do love the old fashioned RSVP with a reply date, the notes that guests write to the couple are always to sweet. Do make sure that you number the back on each RSVP card in pencil just in case they don’t fill them out correctly!

 

  • Alway pre-stamp your reply card, this will ensure that it will get back to you and makes it so much easier for your guests to fill it out and return it.

Photography: Bonnie Sen    Invitations: Flourishing Penguin

  • Don’t be afraid to reach out to guests who have not responded by the deadline on your RSVP card. Don’t worry your planner can help you with this!
  • Get excited! Getting your RSVP’s back for your wedding is such a fun and exciting time as you get to see who of your nearest and dearest will be coming to celebrate with you and it also means that your wedding is not far away!
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5 Topics All Couples Have to Discuss Before the Wedding Planning Begins

March 10, 2017. Category: A. Dominick Events Team, advice, wedding planner, wedding tips, weddings

Though she is often behind the scenes are thrilled to see our very own Aimee Dominick featured on BRIDES today with a set of five tried-and-true questions you’ll want to discuss as soon as possible that are guarenteed to make the whole wedding-planning process a little bit easier!

Photo: Megan Beth Photography

Whether you start planning your wedding the second you get engaged or opt to wait a few weeks as you practice introducing your boyfriend as your fiancé, there really is a right way to kick off the process—and it’s not by heading to the bridal salon to try on gowns! Instead, below are few questions you’ll need to answer together before you get down to the wedding details that will help set you up for success! {Below are her 5 tips as seen on BRIDES}

1. What is your budget?

“Whether or not you have a planner, you can’t make any decisions or hire any vendors without knowing what you want to spend,” says Dominick. Discuss what is realistic, based on what you’re able to contribute (as well as what any family members may be chipping in), and use that overall number to help guide you as you start to check off big-ticket items like venue rentals and catering.

2. What is your vision?

This is a fun one! “Compile images and inspiration that speak to the look you’re hoping to achieve,” Dominick suggests. These could be pictures from wedding websites, home-decor or fashion magazines, or destinations you really love. “We pride ourselves on creating an event that is authentic to the couple, so defining how you see your celebration early on will help dictate the details that are included throughout the planning process.”

3. What are your priorities?

In addition to how you want your wedding to look, you as a couple (and also as individuals within the couple) will have things you care about more than others. “Ask yourselves questions about what matters most, whether it’s a specific live band or photographer, as well as what matters less. Knowing where you’re comfortable spending less (such as choosing simple save-the-dates instead of an elaborate design) will allow you to budget more money for the things you really care about,” Dominick explains.

4. What are your family dynamics?

Though not directly related to the look of your wedding, having a grasp of your family dynamics will help you, your planner, and your vendors avoid causing any undue stress. For example, if your planner knows your parents are divorced and are not on good terms, she can make sure to seat them far enough apart, as well as help you figure out how to have planning conversations that won’t ruffle too many feathers.

5. Are you having a first look?

Discussing your first look before you start planning? Yup, it’s worth considering! “Knowing whether you’ll be taking photos before the ceremony or if you’re waiting to do them all once you’ve said ‘I do’ will impact the timing of your entire day,” says Dominick. It affects everything from how early your photographer should arrive to when your bouquet needs to be ready to when the first hair and makeup appointment should be scheduled. She makes a good point!

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Do you have a wedding rain plan?

February 10, 2017. Category: advice, rain plan, real wedding, wedding tips

Let’s face it, we don’t live in California.  In this region the weather is unpredictable, and if any portion of your wedding is outdoors, you need a solid rain plan!

Since today is national umbrella day, we could’t think of a better time to discuss your options. Sometimes a tent is the best solution as it often allows you to still be in the space you initially wanted to have your ceremony or reception but it is just undercover.

Photography: Bonnie Sen 

If tenting is not an option, then make sure the room or space that is available for your ceremony or reception is something that you won’t regret.

Photography: Kate Headley

However, try not to worry too much about the weather, unfortunately it really is out of your control but knowing what your options are will alliviate some concerns if inclement weather conditions arise.

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