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Wedding & Event Planning | Cleveland Music Group

Win $10,000 Toward Your Wedding and More!

On 07, Apr 2010 | No Comments | In Wedding & Event Planning, Giveaways | By Leigh

Mirassou Winery is announcing the 2010 “I Do with Mirassou” dream wedding contest!

One lucky engaged couple will win $10,000 toward their wedding and a trip to San Francisco! While there, the lucky bride and groom to be will meet Chef Aida Mollenkamp, host of the popular food show, “Ask Aida,” and with David Mirassou of Mirassou Winery. David is a 6th generation winemaker from America’s oldest winemaking family.

Highlights of the trip to California will include a tour of wine country and dinner. Together with Aida and David, the winning couple will plan a winning personalized wedding menu and learn about dessert and wine pairings.

Winners will be chosen out of five finalists, who will win a Mirrasou gift package and be featured on for an online vote from July 16 – August 8, with the winner selected in August 2010.

Enter the contest at Good Luck!

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In Wedding & Event Planning

By Leigh

Tricia’s Top Ten Wedding Planning Tips

On 06, Apr 2010 | 2 Comments | In Wedding & Event Planning | By Leigh

This guest blog post is courtesy of Tricia Dever from Always Eventful Wedding & Event Planning. She has been kind enough to share her top wedding planning tips with our readers.

Tricia’s Top Ten Tips!

10.  First things first:  make a budget

9.  After budgeting, book your major vendors:  Wedding Coordinator!, Location, church, Photographer, Videographer, Florist, Wedding Music!

8.  After major vendors are booked, you can spend months thinking and planning the details!  The cake, the dress, the linens!  That is the fun stuff, so look around, gather ideas and take your time in making decisions.

7. Save the Dates – these are great but be aware that if you are crunched with space, sending Save the Dates will increase your guest count at the wedding.  When you send Save the Dates, that is what people do, SAVE THE DATE! Read more…

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In Wedding & Event Planning

By Leigh

A Wedding Planner’s Wedding Favor Tips

On 04, Mar 2010 | No Comments | In Wedding & Event Planning | By Leigh

Today’s wedding planning tip is thanks to Kathy Boehm of Simply Elegant Affairs. Kathy offers planning assistance as well as Day-Of Coordination.

I suggest to brides and their grooms who are searching for that perfect keepsake for their guests: Why not consider a donation to your favorite charity in the guests names? A lot of money is being spent on wedding favors that become “throw aways.”

Perhaps there is a family member or friend who has been affected by serious illness or the newlywed’s favorite cause is animal rescue. There are a multitude of charities out there that will appreciate this gesture of generosity.

An explanation can be displayed at the place card table in the entry area of the reception or at each individual table. Guests are always moved by the thoughtfulness of the newly married couple. A great start for a new beginning!

This idea can be implemented for any type of party or corporate affair.

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In Wedding & Event Planning

By Leigh

A Wedding Planner’s List of 2010 Wedding Trends

On 11, Feb 2010 | One Comment | In Wedding & Event Planning | By Leigh

Thank you to Brandi Hamerstone, an amazing wedding planner and owner of All Events Planned, for sharing with us her thorough list of 2010 wedding trends!

Wedding  Planners

I know I might end up sounding biased on this one, but wedding planners seem to be a hit in 2010.  Not just full planning packages, people of all budgets and all service levels are seeking out planners to fit their needs.  I don’t know many weddings being planned without SOME level of assistance from a planner.

Wedding Cakes

I’m happy to report that fondant is going away and buttercream is back and better than ever.  After too many appointments with brides trying to explain that fondant does not taste even half as good as it looks, they are all heading back to the ever-popular buttercream, phew!

Bridesmaid Dresses

Matching color, but not matching style bridesmaid dresses.  Brides are now just giving a few specifications to their bridal party (blues, nothing above the knee or backless) and letting them make the choice of the dress.  This always seems to end in a huge success.  Your bridal party tends to be friends that think JUST like you so you end up with different, fun styles of dresses that still fit with your perfect wedding day style.

Dessert at the Reception

Dessert Buffets.  Finally, the bride and groom “get it” and their traditional parents have accepted that the cake isn’t usually a big hit at the wedding.  Candy bars have gone away (phew) and now dessert bars with wonderful, colorful and elegant varieties of miniature desserts are making their entrance.  Yummy!

Favors Are So Last Season

Favors are no longer favorite.  So many couples are using the money that would be spent on favors to donate to their favorite cause or to a different cause based on the passion of each of their guest.  While choosing a foundation that best represents every individual takes lots of time, the bride and groom feel good about doing something special for their guest while helping out those in need.


Memories are made in pictures.  Finally, finally the bride and groom are understanding the importance of good pictures.  Good pictures, not staged, not poorly lit, not portraits, just GOOD pictures.  The skill level of some photographers is well beyond that of even the greatest hobbyist that the money you spend will always be worth it.  Uncle Jim might love taking pictures, but he can’t convey the elegance, emotion, love and celebration through photos like a good wedding photographer can.

The Guest Book

Guest book changes are coming in 2010.  I am not seeing the generic white book with the “classic” white pen in stand at the sign in table.  Now there are memory stones, photo journals, photo booth books and even the engagement book as the signing book.  They are all great changes and fun ideas from the bland and basic book of past generations.

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In Wedding & Event Planning

By Leigh

A Wedding Planner’s Day-Of Checklist

On 04, Feb 2010 | No Comments | In Wedding & Event Planning | By Leigh

Thank you to wedding and event planner Eileen Benson of Elegance by Elm for these wonderful day-of wedding planning tips.

One of the most important tips is to have a plan for a time-line for the day of the wedding. But, leave it up to the planning professionals that you hire and just enjoy your day.

Make out a checklist of everything you need for the wedding and reception. Have a safety kit or tool box, and circle the things you want someone to gather at the end of the evening and put with the wedding gifts.

Regarding the tool box, I never do a wedding with out my emergency kit. Have these things set up ahead of time in case something should occur.  Just a few of the items include:

  • Tylenol
  • sewing kit
  • super glue
  • moleskin
  • band aid
  • mints
  • Shout wipes
  • scissors
  • double sided tape for dresses (sold at dress shops)
  • safety pins

I also always pack up cake to go for the bride and groom, as they never get to eat the cake.

If all the bridesmaids go to Church or a Synagogue to dress, have large, white shopping bags with the girls names painted on them and have the girls bring all the items they need in these bags. Once dressed, they can put all their items back into their bag and nothing is lost. The bags can be loaded into a limo and taken to the club or hotel, and it is so much easier to keep track of everyone’s things.

Eileen Benson’s Sample Day-Of Checklist

  • rings
  • marriage license
  • wedding programs
  • guest book
  • favors
  • seating list and floor plan (copy)
  • cake knife and server
  • place cards
  • menu card

BONUS TIPS from Eileen:

  1. Never let the toasts last longer than 3-5 minutes and limit the number of toasts. Do the long ones the night before. I once had a best man do a toast that lasted 17 minutes.
  2. Do not try to serve a five course meal if you want to dance and have a lively reception. Your guests will get antsy and some may start leaving before its time to hit the dance floor.

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A View from the Stage: Night of the Living Speech

The beast was among them…dressed as one of them..and it was hungry.

The newlyweds were flushed with excitement.  They had painstakingly planned every detail of the reception….the perfect flowers…the perfect band…gourmet dinner…special dances…the……toasts…

It wouldn’t be long now. It had been too long since the thing had fed.  The unsuspecting victims were just now enjoying the salad course.  Soon the thing would eat too.  Only one thing would satisfy its insatiable appetite…time.  And lots of it.  It was just waiting for its cue…

…”and now ladies and gentlemen…a special toast from the Best Man…”


The timeline was dead.

Fiction?  Unfortunately in too many cases, no.  I always remember a “toast” being something along the lines of “over the teeth and through the gums, look out tummy, here it comes!”..but too often a well-wishing Best Man or Maid of Honor sees this custom as their 15 minutes of fame – literally…15 minutes.

One question I always like to ask clients is “what is your goal for this reception”?  Most people say that they want their guests to have a great time, to stay and dance and make the event one people have great memories of.  In short, they want to throw a great party.

So why do so many people seem to forget what makes a great party?

True, a wedding reception is not an ordinary party…but there are some ingredients for successful parties that are universal, no matter what the occasion.  One of those ingredients is the ability for the hosts to take the focus off themselves and put it onto their guests.  This may seem contradictory to the very reason this event is happening in the first place- to celebrate the new union of the two most important people in the room.  But the happy couple is THE reason everyone is there in the first place and the big white, fluffy dress is a big clue as to who the center of attention is.  Making 200 guests – who have already dedicated an entire day to celebrating the rookie-weds – continue to sit through long speeches and toasts to further drive the point home can be the very definition of overkill.

And it can kill your timeline.

The bride and groom are most likely not going to be aware of what time it is – or rather, how much time they’re losing – at any given point of the reception.  Nor should they. But the band the bar and the bus boys definitely know what time it is.  That’s our job as planners and bandleaders and DJ’s – to keep things moving and on schedule.  And ready or not at the end of the night, the party is going to come to a close.  Hopefully by this point it’s your guest’s feet that are tired from dancing and not their rear ends from sitting all night.  You’ve probably paid good money for the band or DJ.  You should get the most out of your investment and let them do what they do best..fill the dance floor.  I’ve seen more than a few brides with that surprised look as though the dancing just started, and it seems we’re “already” thanking the audience and going into our last dance.

Besides, wedding toasts are kind of like inside jokes – filled with memories that approximately 2% (according to statistics I just made up for this blog post) of the entire crowd were involved in and thus, care about.  Making guests endure long winded speeches about things they weren’t involved in is kind of like inviting friends over to sit through  a slide show of your last trip to the Grand Canyon.

Don’t forget the show business aspect of throwing a party.  Appeal to the larger audience.  More elements that everyone can enjoy  – like dancing, eating and drinking – can help ensure a fun reception.

None of this is to suggest toasts should be done away with.  But if brides and grooms make it clear to their respective Best Men and Maids of Honor from the very beginning of the planning process that their timeline is limited, things can move more swiftly to the true business of partying.  A brief toast can still be funny, congratulatory and heartfelt.

And the time-eating beast will have to eat elsewhere.

Geoff Short

At the time of this posting, Geoff was the Sales and Promotions Manager at Jerry Bruno Productions (now Cleveland Music Group) and the bandleader for its band, The Avenue.

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