chinese sky fly fire lanterns at your wedding

Update: Guess what kids? According to this site, Indiana has banned the use of sky lanterns. As of now, Kentucky still allows it.

Everyone loves the Chinese Sky Fly Fire lanterns at the end of their wedding. They are sweet, romantic and make for awesome photos! However, as planners, we are the ones behind-the-scenes making sure that this event (if incorporated in your wedding) goes off without a hitch.

Besides the obvious fact of having a lot of room in the sky for the lanterns to take flight in the air and understanding that you cannot, I repeat, cannot light these if winds that are over 10mph … we thought we’d give you some real tips on the Chinese lanterns.

hot tips on creating an awesome chinese lantern event at your wedding:

1. Buy lanterns that are already assembled. 

These thin paper products range in prices. You may be tempted to purchase the cheapest ones. Stop. Do not do it. You’ll deeply regret it and probably burn yourself. The cheap ones require you to assemble the burning mechanism in the lantern in advance. It’s time consuming and often will not stay in place. If you DO get it lit, sometimes the “on-fire” burning portion will fall out … while the lantern is in air. And that may land on you! So spend the extra money per lantern.

chinese sky fly fire lanterns 1

2. Buy disposable lighters that are “wind resistant”.

This is almost as important as the type of lanterns you purchase. Lighting the lanterns is the biggest headache of all. You’ll want to use lighters that you would use for the grill (I’m sure you already thought of that). But if there is any type of breeze, the lighters are hard to use. Especially with the child safety. Your thumb grows tired and it is frustrating. Opt to spend a little extra and purchase a wind resistant lighter. It is disposable but when lit, looks like a little butane flame. We like the Coleman brand.

chinese sky fly fire lanterns 2

3. Have sober people disperse the lanterns and manage the lighters.

If we are onsite, that is us! But if you haven’t opted to get a wedding professional to help you with your day, then designate someone that will be sober. The management of getting the lanterns distributed and actually lit will make the process safer. Trust this.

4. Trash cans.

Unless you unpack each individual lantern (from the packing cellophane in advance), you’ll need a trash receptical to collect a lot of packing material. Even then, sometimes you need to throw away ripped lanterns. Keep your reception looking neat.

chinese sky fly fire lanterns 3

5. Don’t forget music in the background.

This isn’t critical, but since we are always thinking about a great guest experience, don’t forget about having some background music as you watch the lanterns float away into the air. The last time we did this, we simply moved a boom box (it was a quality one) outside and played a few pre-designated songs. No need for moving out your DJ’s equipment, as this event usually happens at the end of the evening anyway.

Final words, there is an art to doing these, so practice in advance. But always be sure to do so in a safe area. Not in the middle of your subdivision with a lot of trees. Over water (with proper direction of the wind) is the best environment.

photo credit: photorexit photography

ps The photos above were “in real life” photos as we tried to get lanterns lit in too strong of winds. The photographers and us had a great time with it. And due to the winds, we had to cancel this event.

plan on!

2016 wedding trends

There are lots of wedding trends that don’t make it to our local area in the Tristate. However, here are five trends we feel that we WILL see, or in the very least, hope will come soon.

Or watch me on WEHT Local Lifestyles TV Segment regarding this topic.

5 wedding trends in 2016:apps

1. passed hors d’oeuvres instead of food stations

We are seeing that more of our clients are considering having passed hors d’oeuvres during cocktail hour (before the formal wedding dinner). This takes the place of a large food station for guests to serve themselves. It creates an awesome guest experience and encourages you not to over purchase the hors’d.


2. all things metallic

Metallic, sequins, glitter, foil … anything shiny will STILL be hot this year. Gold is the best option, but many people still love silver.

naked cake

3. naked cakes

Naked cakes aren’t necessarily a rustic option but certainly is not uber formal. We like to describe it as an organic and earthy look to your cake. Don’t be surprised that this may not save you money. It takes a lot more work to create a good looking naked cake. Your baker has to make sure that the lines are clean. There is no frosting to cover those imperfections, so it will take more time, which may mean more of a cost to you.

live musicians

4. blending live music with your DJ

We had this a few years ago at the request of our bride. DJ plays the music and a violinist and/or drummer accompany whatever song is playing. It’s freeform and totally cool. You’ll need to find the musicians that have this talent and of course talk with your DJ before booking. The result for the guests? #onfire

arial shot

5. drones, go-pro’s and same day wedding films

Having a still photo from an aerial perspective continues to be hot. Be sure to talk to your wedding photographer or filmmaker to see if you can’t capture a still shot. GoPro’s are kinda awesome too (we have one now and plan on using it this year for some fun). Think about how you could use one to capture some behind the scenes or at your actual wedding.

Finally, the “same day wedding” edit films are finally becoming more mainstream if you can afford the extra service.  The idea is, right after you kiss and say “I Do” your filmmaker team starts editing a short film of the getting ready, the ceremony and behind the scenes that happened earlier that day. Then at the reception when the dancing starts you can share with your guests to relive what they missed. The additional cost is for more film editors, but, the reaction from your guests is nine-kinds-of-awesome.

What trends would you like to see happen here locally?

feature photo credit: pfe iphone

plan on!

tossing birdseed at your wedding

The tradition started in Roman times, where wheat was thrown on the couple after the nuptials as a symbol of fertility.

Once wheat became too expensive, rice was used instead … and the tradition stuck.

Then enters the Urban Legend that rice will cause a bird’s stomach to blow up. Apparently you need to visit some rice farms, because birds EAT rice! They eat almost anything.

So guests switched to birdseed. Friendly to the environment! But NOT friendly to the bride and groom.

Have you ever been pelted by tiny little hard pebbles? That’s what rice or birdseed feels like. It hurts. And these itty, bitty, little hard particles of fun, get stuck EVERYWHERE. Down your strapless dress, in your expensive coiffed hair, your veil … you get the picture.

Don’t forget the aftermath on the ground after the tossing is all done. What do you think could happen with a bunch of birdseed on a smooth surface and then grandma walks across on it wearing her slick dress shoes? That’s right! Slip and fall!

So when I talked with Laura Kirtley today on Local 7 Lifestyles on the recap of her beautiful wedding that took place on November 16, 2013 … she told me the guests tossed birdseed for the wedding exit out of the church. She admitted that she remembered me mentioning not to do this in a previous wedding planning segment.

She said it was painful. There was birdseed stuck under her dress on her stomach that she didn’t find until later that night when taking off her dress. She couldn’t smile because she said she had birdseed stuck in her teeth and mouth.

Bless her heart.



image credit: anonymous guest at wedding

So please, if you aren’t going to listen to a seasoned wedding planner, then listen to this real bride. There are many other options to consider for your ceremony send-off:

  1. Rose Petals (real only)
  2. Feathers
  3. Wands with colorful ribbon
  4. Sparklers
  5. Bubbles (not the hugest fan because the pavement can become slick)
  6. Biodegradable Confetti (large size)
  7. Pom-Poms
  8. Custom Flags
  9. Choir Singing Escort
  10. Kazoos (see our real bride above)

… and more! What did we leave out? And thank you Laura for sharing your story and photos … you’re a great sport and you were a lovely bride.

featured image: photorexit

plan on!

UPDATE: It’s gets better … you can see her sneak peek video of her wedding … the part of when they come out of the church is in the beginning.

5 wedding myths debunked!

Recently had some questions and comments from people, so thought I would just put this out there. Prepare yourself for #realtalk

Five wedding myths debunked and why they suck:

  1. You need to spend 3 months salary on the engagement ring. Who made this up? A jeweler, probably. Instead why not discuss the rings with your betrothed and openly talk about how what type of financial investment you want to make on the rings (yes, his too). Listen, talking about money is a really good thing before you pop the question. To some women it is very important to have a big ring and to others it really doesn’t matter. So have that discussion and be smart with your money.
  2. You must have equal number of bridesmaids and groomsmen. Yes, bride’s still ask me this! I say what is more important is to ask the meaningful people in your life to stand up with you when you get married. This may mean there is more bridesmaids than groomsmen, or you have chosen a man as your best man of honor, it’s all good. You do, you.
  3. Rain on your wedding day is lucky. *sigh* Okay, technically it is a Hindu tradition that rain is lucky because it promotes a strong marriage. The wetness makes the “tie of a knot” harder to untie. Whatever. Your marriage has no more luck than if it didn’t rain. I think really good luck is if it started raining dollar bills from the sky, but that’s not going to happen. Instead, mentally prepare yourself for a rainy wedding day and have a Plan B for outdoor ceremonies or receptions and time for photographs.
  4. It’s bad luck to see the bride before the wedding. This comes from the tradition of arranged marriages, when the bride and groom first face-to-face meeting WAS at the ALTAR. So I believe we can ditch this tradition as being anything but archaic. If you wish to not see each other before your wedding, then by all means. It’s just not going to bring you anymore luck than the rain mentioned above.
  5. You need to have wedding favors for your guests. Unless you can come with a cute unique idea that fits your overall theme of your wedding or both the bride and groom’s personality, then don’t purchase favors just to have them. Who’s going to use a matchbook? Put your money to better use: a smores bar, hot chocolate station, an extra hors d’oeuvre, a signature drink … you get the picture.

There are so many more to add to this list … any come to mind?

featured image: pfe iphone

plan on!


What’s In…What’s Out?

I love it when the magazines will update us on what is hot and what is not from the coasts. This just in from Brides magazine March/April 2006 edition.

Natural, loose bouquets
Small clutches of mixed flowers for bridesmaids
Cake jewelry toppers
Cakes displayed under mini tents or gazebos
Signature Cocktails
Monograms on everything
Invitations in a modern font on colored paper
Simple wedding programs enclosed in a monogrammed cover
Formal seated dinners
Stretch limousines for the getaway
Swing music and jazz standards
Salsa band during the cocktail hour
Hiring a lighting expert (my personal favorite – and I’ve got one!)
The Beatles’ “In My Life” as the processional
After-party in a lounge setting

Tight, round bouquets
A single flower for the bridesmaids’ bouquets
Sugar-paste flower toppers
Simple cake tables next to dance floor
Martini bars
Flowers on everything
invitations in a formal script on white paper
Booklike wedding programs that include bios, readings, song lyrics, thank you’s, etc
Food stations with open seating
Vintage cars or boats for the getaway
Motown, funk and disco
String quartet during the cocktail hour
Relying on existing lighting
Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major as the processional
Going straight home

plan on!