When a bride approaches me with a question that I have not already posted a blog article about, I immediately add it to my list of future blog topics. Well, friends, it happened last week! One of our HLE couples getting married in the fall is not a fan of the traditional bouquet & garter tosses and came to us seeking some fun alternatives that would both entertain guests AND replace the span of time that is normally reserved for the tosses.

With all of the alternatives that I will share with you below, keep in mind that I recommend saving these for after the dance floor has opened. This way, it serves as a ‘surprise’ element and will re-energize your guests as opposed to having them available the entire cocktail hour and/or reception (plus, you save money by limited to a couple of hours). Here we go!

 

1. Hired Entertainment

This one is always fun, because there are SO many options to choose from! However, it will probably almost have the biggest impact on your budget since it involves hiring external professionals. Some popular ideas include hiring a live painter, performers, different forms of musical entertainment (musical groups, bands, etc.), dance troupes, etc. These tend to be super memorable and guests will be talking about your wedding for ages to come. If you’re looking for ways to make guests forget about the fact that they missed the traditional tosses altogether, this choice is definitely a winner!

2. Late Night Treats

Some of our recent favorites have been pizza deliveries, chocolate chip cookie bars (with cold milk!), and donuts! Super inexpensive, yet always a crowd pleaser since everyone usually has the munchies after lots of dancing and alcohol. If you’re feeling super fancy, ask your caterer about sundae bars or even consider hiring a food truck!

Left Photo Credits // Photographer: Jen Rodriguez Photography // Ice Cream Truck: Sweet Lucie’s
Right Photo Credits // Photographer: Abby Q Photography // Pizza: Bella Familia Pizza

 

3. Bouquet Dedication

Do you have a special guest who is engaged (and has his/her fiance in tow) and don’t mind sharing the lime light a bit? Call them out to the dance floor and allow them to dance to a romantic tune, while holding your ‘toss bouquet’. A bit into the song, invite all of the other couples out on the dance floor and share a couples dance before letting loose again and dancing the night away. Your friend will, most likely, be extremely touched and it will allow some slow jams to break up the faster-paced songs (and may even get some of the older guests out on the dance floor for a dance or two).

4. Karaoke

Okay, Okay. Who doesn’t love karaoke? I’ve seen the DJ offer up this opportunity at even the most formal of weddings and the guests go wild. I’m def. not saying that your entire reception should be composed of guests taking their shot at becoming the next famous musical artist, but allowing them 15-20 minutes of karaoke jamming may be more popular than you think. Esp. fun with a younger, hipper mix of guests vs. your older generations – so take heed, you know your guests the best. Even better, allow your guests to write karaoke requests on the back of their invitations and randomly select them to hit the mic at the appointed time. What fun!

5. PhotoBooth

Photo Credit: Iconosquare

This is one of the more popular options (dare I say overdone?), BUT – guests will never tire of this fun form of entertainment, we don’t think. Plus, there are so many more types to choose from these days than the black, traditional box that we are used to. You can select to hire a slow-motion booth – which records movement with fun music into a small clip, OR a filming setup that actually allows guests to leave you a short message – LIVE! If either of those options don’t work for you – you can always choose a simple setup with a glitzy backdrop that go with the tried and true snapshot!

 


We hope that this helps you if you are engaged and/or planning a wedding and are brainstorming some alternatives for the bouquet/garter toss. If you choose pizza – mail me an invite! K, thanks, bye! ūüôā

Happy Planning! XO – Lacoya

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Summer is just around the corner and we know that there have been PLENTY of proposals that have occurred within the past few months! With that has come a slew of engaged friends who have asked the ever-so-popular question:

“I’m engaged!!!
…….Now what?”

After sharing my thoughts here, there and everywhere – I thought it would be a great idea to create an always-accessible, one-stop-shop for my top recommendations right here on the blog! Enjoy the read and, if you just so happen to BE a newly-engaged bride or groom, let me know if you’ve done any and/or all of the things listed. If so, YAY! You are on the right track and I can’t wait to hear what your next steps are!

Happy Hump Day, friends!


1. SHARE WITH OTHERS (IN YOUR OWN TIME).
You just got engaged. YAY! Breathe it in with just the two of you for a moment. Only you can dictate how long that moment should last. A few hours, a day, a week…..whatever amount of time that you desire. But keep in mind that soon, everyone and then some will know and the wedding planning process may start before you’re even ready to begin (depending on your personality and the personality of your closest family and friends). They may want to jump into everything right away, while you may desire a few days to let it sink in. If you do – take that time and keep it private for a while. That’s OKAY!

However, for that girl who has dreamed of this moment her entire life, who has been waiting on her tippy toes for the man of her dreams to pop the question and already has the majority of her wedding planned already (she just needed the groom to get in formation) –¬† share a few minutes with your soon-to-be-husband and go forth. Enjoy every second of it. Either way, don’t be pressured to share when you’re not quite ready yet because you feel as though you’re ‘supposed’ to. This is your experience – make it an enjoyable one.

2. HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER
No, I’m not just saying this because I’m a wedding planner. If you do not have it in your budget to hire a planner, I will not say that your wedding day is destined for disaster. The one true goal of any wedding is for two people to become married – plain and simple. You can honestly do that with no budget – just head to your nearest court house. However, if you are wanting to experience a wonderful, seamless wedding day that is sure to be packed with a lot of logistics, vendors, timeline restrictions and guest management and you want to GUARANTEE that things are executed with excellence and that your stress-levels are kept to an all-time low – I highly recommend budgeting to hire one.

A great wedding planner can help you with every single thing that is mentioned within this post. They will assist you in creating the perfect budget, vision, guest list and everything else. They will have answers to all of the questions that you most likely have and will put your mind at ease with their expertise throughout the planning process. They will also, more than likely, save you hundreds of dollars – not only by using and/or referring their vendor network, but also by preventing you from spending dollars in unnecessary places and keeping the budget in mind at all times (esp. when Pinterest has you feening to spend all of your money on EVERYTHING). Trust me on this one – hire a wedding planner. EARLY.

Note: I love my Wedding Day Execution brides and still do an excellent job of executing their logistics seamlessly, but these sorts of packages normally do not include budget & vision, vendor referrals & management services, etc. This means that when you hire a ‘Day-Of/Month-Of Planner’, don’t expect them to be able to prevent ANY/ALL disasters on your wedding day. They are only able to execute with excellence what they have been given to work with. If you have hired a crappy DJ, the planner cannot be held at fault when they butcher everyone’s name during introductions, plays all of the wrong songs and struggles to get everyone on the dance floor. This is why booking a package that involves a planner assisting you to create budgets, vendor teams, etc. is so crucial in the long run – we execute our services in a way that will achieve the ultimate goal – which is not only to execute a wedding day seamlessly, but to execute an AMAZING wedding day seamlessly.

2. BRAINSTORM YOUR WEDDING DAY VISION + BUDGET
You may be wondering why we recommend combining these two steps into one. After working with countless amounts of brides and grooms early on in their wedding planning journey, I have discovered that many have made the mistake of establishing a budget without doing much research on how realistic it is for both their desired logistics and overall vision for their day. We’re all for establishing a budget that is comfortable for all involved in covering the costs for the wedding, but if that number does is not realistic for the vision, it will either be setting you up for extreme budget creep (underestimating necessary expenditure to achieve the vision) OR unnecessary spending (overestimating and then feeling pressured to spend the money with no thought to whether it actually achieves the vision or not).

The goal is to create the vision and then do the research to determine the necessary and very realistic budget to achieve that vision. Your ‘vision’ should include your desired date, location, number of guests, style & decor (any details that you are favoring at this point), important factors (this determines where you will want to spend your money based on what matters most), etc. etc. Do you value good food and entertainment – then research reputable bands/DJ’s in your area and budget for somewhere in the average range. The same for all of the other categories.

Also, when creating your draft budget, be sure to research the different areas in which you’ll be spending money. You’d be surprised the categories that couples forget to include (wedding party gifts, undergarments, custom guestbook, etc.). Discuss and brainstorm these costs BEFORE finalizing your budget so that you will not be disappointed in the end by having to sacrifice something or purchase it and end up going WAY over budget.

What this will result in is both a realistic and achievable budget for the vision that you have in mind. Will there be sacrifices and/or compromises? More than likely. But this is what is involved in planning a wedding – the RIGHT way. You’re welcome.

3. CREATE YOUR GUEST LIST
I won’t go into too much detail on HOW to slay this step, well, because we already have. You can find it by clicking here! The ultimate step in finalizing the draft budget discussed above is to analyze it together with how many guests that you are desiring to invite. A quick way to do this is to divide your total ‘draft’ budget with the amount of guests that you are desiring toe invite. For example, if your total wedding budget for a D.C. wedding is $60,000 and you decide that you want to invite 200 guests, that equals up to about $300/person. That doesn’t seem too bad (for those outside of the wedding industry) until you review your vision and it includes getting married at a $10,000 venue (rental fee) and a food/beverage minimum of $30,000 for weekend weddings – leaving only $20,000 to invest in the rest of your wedding day details (which can add up VERY quickly with an experienced, reputable vendor team and minimal DIY).

However, if this is your DREAM venue and your heart is set on it, you could cut your guest list in half, cover the cost of the venue and still have a realistic amount of money left over after booking your venue to invest in planning services, attire, photography, videography, rentals & decor, stationery/paper goods, transportation, etc. Likewise, you could keep the amount of guests the same, but may need to rethink and/or compromise on your choice of venue and other categories.

The bottom line is – do the research. Set yourself up for success. Prevent being ran over by vendors charging over-the-top pricing for competitive services OR not being able to recognize extremely low-priced vendors and then discovering why on the day of your wedding. YIKES!

4. SCHEDULE TIME TO RELAX
All of this planning that you’re about to jump into is EXHAUSTING. Even for those who have dreamed of this moment their entire lives. Planning a wedding is a lot of work and if you zoom through it without any breaks from start to finish – you will become overwhelmed and not be able to enjoy it. Be sure to take moments to just relax and remember that at the end of the day – you are going to be married to an amazing man. Try to plan your wedding day for at least a year in advance to allow yourself moments to simply take a break from it all for however much time you need. The lesser amount of time left to plan, the lesser amount of time to relax and enjoy the process. You’re engaged! Enjoy being a bride!


I hope you all enjoyed hearing our thoughts on what to do FIRST once you’ve become a BRIDE! Here’s to a wonderful, joy-filled and stress-free planning experience for all of the brides and grooms out there!

XO – Lacoya

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12 days ago I embarked on a fabulous European journey with my husband in celebration of our 5th wedding anniversary this year. Yesterday, we returned to find our home safe, sound, and happy. We are truly grateful. Today is my first full day back into the office and it’s full of sending email updates, drafting timelines and floorplans, laundry and snail mail sorting. But one thing is for sure – I have never felt as invigorated, refreshed, clarified and joyful as I am on this day and moving forward.

This time away from the screen has done more for my heart and my business than I ever thought possible. I am super-charged and committed more ever than before to become the best version of myself for my family and my clients. To dive deep into the relationships that will influence me in the best of ways, while remaining focused enough to not become overwhelmed with concepts or emotions that don’t serve me and this life of mine well.

Here’s to this wonderful and amazing mind-shift that has unexpectedly taken place over these past several days. I’m so excited! I had planned to use today to share a recap of my journey and all of the travel tips and suggestions that I have gained throughout the trip, but there is SO MUCH, friends, that I’ve decided to share it in next week’s post! I’m going to take it in stride and commit myself to making it super intentional and helpful to those of you who are planning travel of your own and are interested in hearing my thoughts and take-a-ways as a novice traveler!

I will leave you with a quintessential Parisian shot of the Eiffel Tower that I was able to grab Рbecause, well Рthis.

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It’s Wednesday – and we’re headed to Rome! We’re spending the morning exploring the last gems of Paris that we’d like to visit, and then catching a late flight to Rome and arriving in the late evening. Since we shared our itinerary for Paris – I thought I’d drop in and share our itinerary for Rome that we are super excited to dive into! Take a look and, if you’ve been to Rome before and have visited some of these places – let me know what you thought!

Next week, I’ll officially be back into the office and sharing #allthethings that need to get done before executing our very first wedding the season – yay! Off to enjoy these last few moments before hopping on a plane!

 

 


Day 1
8:00am РBreakfast at Giselda (Trastevere)
9:00am – Stroll/Explore Trastevere
12:00pm¬†– Lunch at La Boccaccia¬†(Pizzeria) OR The Fish Market¬†(Fish…no surprise there)
7:30pm РDinner at Pianostrada (Mediterranean)

Note: As you can see above, we reserved this day for lots of spontaneous exploring so that we can soak everything in for a bit before the real tourism begins!

Day 2
9:00am¬†–¬†Breakfast at Parenti La Vacca (Mediterranean)
10:00am¬†–¬†After-Breakfast Treats at¬†NovecentoTredici
1
0:30am – Tour Vatican Museums + Sistine Chapel
1:00pm – Lunch at Pinsa ‘Mpo (Pizzeria)
2:00pm – Tour St. Peter’s Basilica
7:00pm –¬†Dinner at La Zanzara¬†(Mediterranean/International)

Day 3
9:00am¬†–¬†Breakfast at Pasticceria Regoli¬†(Bakery/Coffee Shop)
10:00am – Tour the Colosseum
12:00pm РLunch at La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali (Mediterranean)
1:30pm РAfter Lunch Dessert at Giolitti (Ice Cream)
2:00pm – Tour Palatine Hill & Roman Forum
8:00pm – Dinner at Osteria Bonelli

Day 4
9:00am¬†–¬†Breakfast at¬†Coromandel (International Breakfast/Coffee House)
10:00am¬†–¬†Tour the Pantheon
1:00pm¬†–¬†Tour the¬†Trevi Fountain
2:00pm – Lunch at Osteria da Fortunata (Mediterranean)
3:30pm РTour Borghese Gallery
7:00pm РDinner at Farinè La Pizza (Pizzeria)

Day 5
NOTE: We marked this day as a “free day”, meaning that we have no real itinerary, but did list some possible sights that we’d like to visit if we have time. Here they are:

Piazza Navona
Arcibasilica di San Giovanni in Laterano
Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
Abbazia di San Paolo Fuori le Mura
Church of St. Louis of the French
Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola at Campus Martius
Basilica of San Clemente al Laterano
San Pietro in Vincoli
Fontana dei Quattro fiumi

Lunch at Trapizzino (We DO have a lunch spot, though!)


AH! Super excited to explore this city and soak more beauty and history in. Here we go! See you guys back in the office on next week – I’ll be kicking into high gear and sharing all of my goals to prepare for our first wedding of the season next month. Hugs!

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Ah! This time next week, I will be in Paris with my husband – with no kids! We’re both super excited to enjoy this time away together and soak in everything that this beautiful city has to offer. We decided to split our vacation into two amazing cities – Paris and Rome – simply because we wanted the opportunity to be able to explore some pretty iconic locations AND rest and relax all within the same vacation. Once we finalized our final destinations, of course, I went into planner-mode and began to search for an amazing trip planning app to help us create and organize the perfect itinerary – and I’m sharing it all here with you, today!

The app that we came across and ended up LOVING is TripHobo. This crazy amazing website allows you to map out your entire trip, complete with specific airfare, hotel and/or lodging, and sight-seeing information! Without further ado, come along with us on our trip to PARIS!

P.S. – Don’t worry. I’ll be sharing our Rome itinerary with y’all next week and then come back and share my dish on it ALL. You’re welcome.


Day 1
6:55am – Arrive at the Charles de Gaulle Airport (Paris, France)
8:00am –¬†Pickup Paris Passes (Holy Moly – we’re going to see #allthethings)
8:30am – Angelina’s for Breakfast (Supposedly, they have the best hot chocolate!)
10:30am – Stroll through Le Marais (a trendy & hip neighborhood with great food and shopping!)
11:30am РBrunch at Le Loir Dans La Théière
3:00pm – Check into Hotel Augustin
6:00pm РDinner at Boucherie les Provinces (Pick out your cut of meat & they prepare it for you!)

Note: We purposely did not put a lot on our first day just so that we can relax and recoup from an 8-hour flight!

Day 2
9:00am¬†–¬†Breakfast at¬†The Hardware Soci√©t√© Paris (Brunch, Brunch, Brunch!!!)
10:30am – Stroll around Montmartre
11:30am РStroll the Pont Alexandre III
12:00pm РLunch at Restaurant Sapori Di Parma (so proud Рno website to be found!)
1:30pm – Visit the Eiffel Tower
2:30pm – Paris Big Bus Tour
5:00pm – Seine River Cruise
7:00pm РDinner at 

Day 3
9:00am¬†–¬†Breakfast at Holybelly
10:30am¬†–¬†Visit the Notre Dame Cathedral
12:00pm¬†–¬†Visit the Pantheon
12:30pm – Lunch at Au P’tit¬†Grec
2:00pm¬†–¬†Visit Saint-Chapelle
3:00pm¬†–¬†Visit the Musee D’Louvre
5:30pm¬†–¬†Wine Tasting at¬†Les Caves Du Louvre
7:00pm – Dinner at¬†L’avant-Comptoir

Day 4
9:30am¬†–¬†Breakfast at Frenchie To Go
10:30am¬†–¬†Visit the¬†Musee d’Orsay
1:00pm¬†–¬†Visit the¬†Arc De Triomphe
12:30pm РLunch at Las Du Fallafel or A La Biche Au Bois
3:00pm¬†–¬†Visit Champs-Elysees
7:00pm РDinner at Lockwood

Day 5
9:30am¬†–¬†Breakfast at Vandermeersch
10:30am¬†–¬†Visit the¬†Palace of Versailles
1:30pm РLunch Du Pain Et Des Idées
2:30pm¬†–¬†Visit¬†Palais Garnier
4:00pm РVisit Luxembourg Palace & Gardens
5:30pm – Dinner at Pedzouille

After dinner, we’re heading back to the airport to catch a late flight to Rome! Whoohoo!


Some additional notes tips for planning:

  • Be sure to check opening times for the attractions/restaurants/stores. Some are closed on random days throughout the week.
  • We wanted to leave the nighttimes open for absolute spontaneity, so this is why there’s never anything much past dinnertime. We may take this time to rest after walking, hitting up a nearby pub/bar, strolling into a fabulous dessert recommendation, etc. Who knows!
  • Download Google Translate! We do know a TINY bit of French (after about 20-25 Rosetta Stone lessons), but we’d like to at least know how to read and do our best to communicate in the native language while we are there. I have received advice from other travelers that the French will respect you more and be nicer if you try your best to be respectful to them – even if you sound terrible while doing so!
  • If you end up purchasing the Paris Pass, be¬†aware that the museum pass only comes in intervals of 2, i.e. – if you purchased a 3-Day Paris Pass, then your Museum Pass is only valid for 2 days from the time you first enter a valid museum.

See you next week to give you the dish on our Rome itinerary! XO

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