Alex + Joe | June 29, 2019

Venue: Front + Palmer | Caterer: Feast Your Eyes Catering | Photography: Love Shack Photo | Stationery: Chick Invitations | Bride’s Dress: Alyne by Rita Vinieris | Bride’s Shoes: Vans personalized by Skinz Customs | Maid of Honor Dress: Katie May | Hair and Makeup: Beautiful Brides Philly | Officiant: Maura Bernt of Journeys of the Heart | Florals: Papertini | Furniture Rentals: Barnes Farmhouse Tables | Lighting: Synergetic Sound | DJ: Lovesick Inc. | Cake: Feast Your Eyes Catering | Donuts: Federal Donuts | Photo Booth: Poser Booth | Transportation: Philadelphia Sightseeing Tours | Hotel: Hotel Monaco | Rehearsal Dinner: Fork


Images via Love Shack Photo

Caitlin + Patrick | May 4, 2019

Ceremony Venue: Chapel of Saint Joseph’s | Reception Venue: The Horticulture Center | Caterer: Constellation Culinary Group | Photography: Andrew Graham Todes Photography | Videography: Montague Films | Hair: Taffeta Design | Makeup: Vintage Veils | Florals: Robertson’s Flowers | Lighting: Eventions Productions | Band: Sid Miller Band | Cake and Dessert: Isgro | Transportation: Delaware Express and Philadelphia Trolley Works | Hotel: Hilton Philadelphia City Avenue and Courtyard Philadelphia City Avenue | Rehearsal Dinner: Estia | After Party: Bourbon Blue

Images via Andrew Graham Todes Photography

Jess + Jon | September 27, 2019

Venue: Front + Palmer | Caterer: Feast Your Eyes | Photography: Paige Duborow of Heyjinx Design | Bride’s Dress: Jim Hjelm from The Sample Rack | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Jenny Yoo from Bella Bridesmaids | Groom and Groomsmen Suits: Men’s Wearhouse | Hair and Makeup: Beautiful Brides Philly | Officiant: Jim Rosengarten of Journeys of the Heart | Florals: Robertson’s Flowers and Events | Lighting: Synergetic Sound | DJ: DJ Jim of Synergetic Sound | Cake: Feast Your Eyes | Transportation: Limo Today | Hotel: Hotel Monaco | Rehearsal Dinner: Barbuzzo

images via Paige Duborow of Heyjinx Design

Annie + Greg | October 19, 2019

Ceremony Venue: Saint Patrick’s Church | Reception Venue: Barnes Foundation | Caterer: Constellation Culinary | Photography: Emily Wren Photography | Videography: Emily Wren Photography | Bride’s Dress: Sareh Nouri from Van Cleve Bridal | Hair and Makeup: Nancy Caroline Bridal Beauty | Post-Ceremony Entertainment: Avalon String Band | Florals: Carl Alan Floral Artistry | Band: CTO Midtown Express | Donut Tower: Federal Donuts | Transportation: Mid-Atlantic Limousine | Hotel: Acorn Club

images via Emily Wren Photography

Emma + Nate | August 24, 2019

Venue: Barnes Foundation | Caterer: Constellation Culinary | Photography: Asya Photography | Videography: Asya Photography | Bride’s Dress: Piper by Jenny Yoo from Lovely Bride | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: BHLDN | Hair and Makeup: Aleksandra Ambrozy | Officiant: Maria Odilia Romeu of Journeys of the Heart | Florals: Love ‘n Fresh Flowers | Band: Soul Patch Philly | Cake: Nutmeg Cake Design | Transportation: Philadelphia Trolley Works | Hotel: Ritz-Carlton | Rehearsal Dinner: Barbuzzo

Images via Asya Photography

5 Tips to Soothe a Stressed Mother of the Bride

Published on on May 22, 2016 by Jillian Kramer

In the throes of wedding planning, it’s easy to forget that you and your soon-to-be spouse aren’t the only ones super stressed. “Wedding planning and the wedding day itself are stressful for not only the couple, but also the mother-of-the-bride,” says Jaclyn Fisher, owner of Two Little Birds Planning in Philadelphia.

Why? As John Duffy, Ph.D., licensed clinical psychologist and author of The Available Parent, explains, “just like the bride, her mother has an awful lot to accomplish, and a lot of planning to do, leading up to the wedding day. Along with that, it is important to keep in mind that she has also been envisioning this day for many, many years. It is an important day for her too.”

So in between easing your own anxiety, be sure to take care of your mom, too. Here, our experts suggest five ways you can soothe even the most stressed mother of the bride.

1. Include her in the planning process.
It may seem counterintuitive to ask a stressed-out parent to pitch in. But sometimes a mother-of-the-bride’s stress comes from not knowing what’s going on and feeling pushed aside, Duffy explains. “I worked with a couple recently who, recognizing the anxiety of the mother of the bride, arranged planning meetings with her every few weeks,” he says. “This made her feel like a valued part of the process, and important as well.”

2. Take her on a special shopping trip.
Don’t leave your mother to pick out her wedding day attire alone, warns Fisher. “Your mom may be feeling stressed about what she’s going to wear on the wedding day,” Fisher explains. “She wants to look and feel her best, but also wants her dress to complement your wedding day style. Ease this pressure by planning a special day where the focus is solely on finding her the perfect dress.”

3. Arrange for a spa day for her — and foot the bill.
Duffy says you’ll get bonus points if you pamper your mother before and after the big day. “This way, you’re acknowledging the degree of stress she is and has endured,” he explains, “while also sending a thank you to her for her contribution. She will feel pampered, taken care of, and appreciated. There is no lose here, for anyone.”

4. Include your mother in a wedding-day toast.
If you and your spouse plan to offer up toasts at the reception, be sure to give a shout-out to the mother of the bride, Duffy says. “And don’t let this be a quick thank you among a list,” he says. “Take a beat. Tell a story of how helpful she was when you were stressed, or a funny event that took place during the planning. She will feel appreciated, publicly and clearly, and truly feel more a part of the proceedings than any kind of afterthought.”

5. Be happy yourself.
Says Duffy, “This may seem like an odd or elementary piece of advice, but in my experience, there is nothing that makes a mother of the bride happier and less stressed than to see her daughter, and her future son-in-law, happy. So, come to her to help solve pre-wedding problems and issues, sure — but also go to her when you feel blissful. She is going to want to be a part of that as well.”

6 Talks You and Your Partner Need to Have the Week of the Wedding

Photo by Tara Polly Photography

Published on on May 23, 2016 by Jillian Kramer

You may think you’ve talked your wedding to death by the time the week-of rolls around. But you’re not done yet. As Jaclyn Fisher, owner of Two Little Birds Planning, so aptly explains, “communication is important throughout the entire planning process, and especially the week of the wedding.” And here, our experts say, are six talks you must have during those seven days.

1. No wedding talk allowed
There are a million wedding things you’ll need to talk through this week. But none of those conversations will be as important as the ones you have that aren’t about the wedding at all, says Fisher. “Couples should always make time for one another and give themselves an opportunity to clear their minds of anything wedding related,” she says. “Whether it’s going out to lunch during the work week, cooking something new together for dinner, or going for a walk, a change of pace can lead to a simple conversation that reminds a couple what is most important: enjoying each other’s company. While the wedding may seem top priority, your life after is what matters most, so continue to tell and show your fiancé how much you love him or her.”

2. Your last-minute to-do list
In the week before your wedding, you’ll likely have several last-minute errands to run. Think: Turning in seating charts, dropping off final payments, picking up rental attire, and passing along final head counts, says Aviva Samuels owner of Kiss the Plannerin Palm Beach, Florida. “Who will handle these tasks?” she asks. “They need to be clarified so that common wedding jitters don’t reach all new heights.”

Not only that, but Fisher adds that tackling your last-minute to-do list together will help you ensure that “you aren’t duplicating efforts or forgetting anything while assuming the other is taking care of it.” Plus, she says, “it’s also a good opportunity to make sure that the workload isn’t lopsided and to discuss how you can help each other. There are plenty projects that you can do together such as wrapping gifts, printing programs, or assembling welcome bags.”

3. The wedding-day timeline
You’ve made your timeline and checked it twice. But are you both on the same page with who needs to be where, when? “The week of the wedding, couples should review their wedding day timeline, specifically the time spent with the wedding party before the ceremony,” Fisher says. “Bridesmaids will be asking what time to report for hair and makeup. The groomsmen need to know when they should be dressed and ready for photos. Review the game plan together as a couple, so you’re communicating the correct information and everyone is on the same page.”

4. Vendor gratuities
One money item you must talk about the week of your wedding is vendor gratuities. “After reviewing contracts to make sure gratuity isn’t already included, couples should decide who they want to tip and how much,” says Fisher. “They should then set aside the gratuities in sealed, labeled envelopes and designate a person to distribute them, making it one less thing on their minds the day of the wedding. Couples should also include a heartfelt, handwritten thank you note for those vendors who went above and beyond throughout the planning process. Kind words from the couple will be appreciated just as much as the tip itself.”

5. Wedding-day expectations
Use the week before your wedding to set yourself up for wedding-day success. “This is a good time to address your expectations for the wedding day itself, if you haven’t already done so,” says Samuels, who especially recommends discussing how much alone time you plan to fit in. “Private time can be carved out after the ceremony and before the reception begins. You might choose to sneak away to refresh and have a few bites before joining your guests, or you might not want to waste a minute of the reception apart from your family and friends. Each of you might have a different idea and discussing it in advance will be helpful.”

6. Your emotions
Lastly, says Fisher, you should get real about how both of you are feeling as your wedding day approaches. “The week of the wedding, couples should have a general check in to talk about how they’re each feeling, what’s on their minds, and what, if anything, is causing them stress,” she says. “Hearing how excited your fiancé is feeling may ease your nerves. There may be a problem that you’re unaware of, but able to help solve. And sometimes it just feels good to vent and get it all out. Communication is key in all relationships, but extra important the week of the wedding.”

The (Instagram) Stress is Real: How to Deal With Social Media Pressure When Planning Your Wedding

Photo by Elizabeth Messina
Published on on May 29, 2016 by Jillian Kramer

While we often use it for inspiration to create a killer party, “social media, and especially Instagram, has become an added stress for couples planning their weddings,” says Jaclyn Fisher, owner of Two Little Birds Planning in Philadelphia. “Couples feel more pressure to create Instagram-worthy weddings like the ones they see online.” But you can fight social media stress and still create a gorgeous wedding with these expert tips.

Keep it real.
Says Fisher, “When looking at weddings on Instagram, remember that they often aren’t real or budgeted for reality.” Rather, she says, much of what you see on this social site comes from styled shoots. “So use them as inspiration, not as something you’re trying to copy or recreate,” Fisher suggests. “For example, you may see a couple beautifully posed on an antique sofa set on the edge of a cliff. You many not have a cliff side venue, but you can still set up a lounge with vintage furniture, which can double as a photo backdrop. It’s about taking inspiration from these photo shoots and applying them to your wedding in your own unique way.”

Put it into perspective.
You’re probably not having a wedding to keep up with the Joneses you don’t know. So, says Aviva Samuels, owner of Kiss the Planner in Palm Beach, Florida, “remind yourself of the reasons that you are having this wedding. Is it to impress your friends and family, or to be able to celebrate finding your soul mate for life? If you can stay focused on the joy that you are feeling, rather than getting caught up in what others are thinking or going to say, you won’t have to succumb to the pressure of having the perfect wedding with every perfect detail. Putting it into perspective is really helpful when it comes to having the perfect day.”

Focus on your wedding, not someone else’s.
So you love that someone else served gourmet sliders as a late-night snack. But you can love it, says Fisher, without having to recreate it. “Prioritize a few thoughtful and genuine details, instead of overdoing it with details that don’t make sense to you as a couple,” she suggests. “For example, you don’t need to have a food truck because you’ve seen them on Instagram weddings and want to be on trend. But if you had your first date at a food truck or it’s where you two go for lunch every Saturday, it makes sense to incorporate it into your wedding day.”

Trust your decisions.
Your Instagram feed is filled-to-the-brim with wedding gorgeousness. And, says Fisher, “it’s easy to second-guess everything when you’re bombarded with an endless supply beautiful weddings and cool details on Instagram. But trust that you made the right choice the first time and don’t let these images sway your vision or decisions.”

Hire a professional.
Finally, if you do truly won’t be happy unless you have an Instagram-worthy wedding, then “hire a professional to alleviate some of the stress that goes along with all the details,” suggests Samuels. “Even if you have a lots of creative ideas, you might not have the skills or the time to implement those ideas and you wouldn’t want the added pressure to add to your stress. A planner can alleviate a lot of the headaches that comes with logistical challenges and a designer can alleviate the pressure you might feel when trying to design your wedding on your own.”

What You Can Start Planning Before He Pops the Question

Published on on September 29, 2015 by Jillian Kramer

You don’t have a ring — but you know it’s coming. And as a practical person, you’re itching to plan even before your significant other pops the question. So we asked wedding experts which wedding plans are safe to get a head start on. After all, says Minneapolis-based Blush & Whim owner Jennae Saltzman, “being prepared will make a naturally stressful time so much more fun and relaxing.”

1. Your budget.
If you know a proposal is all but imminent, it’s likely you’ve discussed your future with your significant other. So continue the conversation with him or her and your family members to see what a realistic budget might be for your big day. “Think about it: You wouldn’t buy a house, car, or make any type of big purchase or investment without knowing what you want to spend,” points out Jaclyn Fisher, owner of Two Little Birds Planning in Philadelphia. “Why would a wedding be any different?”

2. How many guests you’d like to attend.
Now’s not the time to collect an exact head-count, but it’s smart to “get a rough idea on how big your event is going to be,” says Saltzman. “It’s easy to forget that your parents and in-laws will have their own list in addition to yours, so start the conversation and get people thinking about who they want to include on the master list.”

3. What your dream wedding would look like.
Asks Fisher, “Do you picture an outdoor ceremony or getting married in a church? Are you thinking winter, spring, summer, or fall? Do you want a wedding that feels modern, traditional, rustic, or vintage?” If you can answer these questions now, you’ll have a clear vision to execute when the time comes. Keep all your ideas handy in a Pinterest board, Fisher suggests, but “if you don’t want friends and family asking questions, make those boards private until he pops the question.”

4. Checking your dream venue’s availability.
Popular venues sometimes book up years in advance, especially in summer months. So “if you have a specific time frame or date you are hoping for, you better start looking up your dream venues to see if they are even available,” Saltzman advises. “If you know before you have a ring on your finger, you can save yourself the disappointment of not getting the date you want. Flexibility is key in wedding planning, so it’s always good to be well informed on what is and isn’t available.”

5. Which wedding dress you’ll buy.
It’s A-OK to flip through bridal magazines and wedding blogs in search of the style you think you’ll rock down the aisle. “Your dress will dictate a lot of design related items,” explains Saltzman, “so it’s good to start researching early.” Just don’t try anything on quite yet!

Finally, don’t go overboard with good intentions of getting ahead. Remember, says Fisher, “a wedding is about the couple, so if you’ve gotten a head start on the planning without your significant other, welcome his or her input when the time comes.” It’s also smart not to drag your partner into pre-planning if he or she isn’t willing or ready. “There’s nothing worse than stressing out your partner before you have a ring on your finger,” says Saltzman. “It’s always good to be informed and prepared, but don’t go crazy. Use the time as more of an informative period, instead of a decision-making time.”