Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Up Up and Away

When booking a destination wedding you want to try and make the process of getting there a little easy for your guests. A great way to do this is by setting up a discounted airline rate. Most airlines provide a group travel deal, however they require a minimum of 10 guests and they all need to be on the same flight. Meaning traveling together on the same day, at the same time. Considering that everyone has such different schedules this can be a little tricky. This is why we love American Airlines group travel deal. American will offer you a discount code which will give all of your guests 5% off their air fare. Everyone gets to choose their own travel date and time. Visit and go to Group Travel, once you fill out the application within 4 days you will receive an email with your discount code. The great thing is that they extend the code to 5 days prior and 5 days after your wedding, so guests can take advantage of the discount even if they want to stay longer.

Happy Travels!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Pluses and Minuses To Having Indoor Fireworks

People often ask us about the safety and risk to having indoor fireworks incorporated into their wedding. Even though we love the fun and flare that they can add to your special day, there are a few things that have to be kept in mind:

- Collect all paperwork needed: Check and make sure you have the venue management consent, the venue management or production permit for event, approval of venue compliance with life safety standards, and that all fire protection systems, controls, and equipment are all up to date and working.

- Check fire fighting equipment: Make sure there is a minimum of 2 approved water fire extinguishers, other fire equipment as needed/required is there, and existing on-site fire fighting equipments and systems are all in check.

- Double check on your insurance: Make sure the fireworks you have chosen follow the rules of your venue as well as the venues insurance as well as your own is active.

- Make sure that you hire professionals: Get a fire marshal, as well as security for your event so that everything can be monitored as needed.

- Timing is everything: A run through or a rehearsal is sometimes your best bet in making sure everything goes off without a hitch on your wedding day.

- Use a suitable surface: To ensure the safe use of indoor fireworks, please light them on a suitable surface as recommended in the instructions.

- Handling indoor sparklers: Sparklers can get up to 5 times hotter than cooking oil, so they must be handled with care. Ideally, gloves should be worn when handling fireworks.

- Light fireworks with care: Light fireworks one at a time, using a long taper. Do not hover over the fireworks when lighting.

- Ensure each firework is extinguished: After the firework has finished, ensure it has extinguished fully and leave it to cool before disposing of it. Immerse in water if necessary.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

From our SJS Family to yours we want to wish you all blessings of health, happiness and success on this Thanksgiving and always.

Enjoy the turkey!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Whether you are planning a backyard wedding or need chairs/ rentals for your reception in a ballroom, renting furniture gives you more options when planning the decor for your event. Nevertheless, before signing with a rental company it is very important to review and understand their policies and terms.

1. Who is setting up all the rentals? Some companies will deliver the furniture and then set it up for you, while others will deliver and leave you or your venue to set it up. Make sure that the venue will not charge you extra for this.

2. Who is bagging and unbagging the rental chairs? Most rental companies will charge extra for unbagging rental chairs and putting on the cushions. The same holds true at the end of the night when they come to pick up. These charges can really add up and you need to be very clear who is taking this responsibility ( It is you? Is it the venue? Is it the rental company)

3. Even though it may seem unlikely that your rented furniture will become damaged at your event, you should still make it a point to find out from your rental company how much you will be charged if the furniture happens to become damaged. This is especially true for linen. It is very common for guests to spill food or even wine on rented linen. Are you the one who will be left with the hefty dry cleaning bill?

Asking some questions beforehand could prevent the possibility that the rental company might drive up and drop the furniture off at your location, leaving you to do all the hard work yourself. Just like all wedding documents, it is a vital read all the fine print prior to signing any rental agreement.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Devi's Closet

One of our clients found this great website that we thought we would share with the rest of you!

Check out Devi's Closet, the easiest way to rent your outfit for your next big event. Yes, we said rent! They offer some of the top Indian designers for a fraction of the cost. Just rent your dream outfit and return it after your event... how convienent?

Here is how it works:
1. On their home page, choose the date of your event, your size and zip code where the item will be shipped.

2. All the available styles for that date will come up by price, style and occasion.

3. Choose the outfit you like and reserve it on the calendar (make sure to select a rental date of 2 days before the event to guarantee your order will arrive on time).

4. Make sure to select a backup size; you get this completely free.

5. Enjoy your outfit and once you are done, return it completely free. Just drop off your outfit at any blue USPS mailbox and you are done.

Happy Renting!

Your New Best Friend: The Concierge

When planning a destination wedding your guests are going to have many questions:
Where can they go for dinner? Where should they go in the area for tours and sightseeing? What are the best places to shop?

This is when the concierge at your host venue becomes your best friend. They know the area better than anyone. They will be able to give you suggestions to the best restaurants, where you can find those perfect summer flip flops, and the best babysitting company for guests with kids. A good concierge can also help you with local vendor recommendations such as hair and makeup, tailoring, even the perfect florist.

We suggest reaching out to the concierge before you arrive and to get their email address and phone number. You could include some of this helpful information on your personal website so guests can plan their days. When you arrive make sure to ask them for maps to the area as these are great to add to your welcome bags.

The concierge has a wealth of knowledge and is always happy to help, so don't be afraid to ask!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Get Rewarded

When planning a wedding no matter how big or small there will be many bills. Why not get a few rewards from everything you are paying!

Here are a few ways to get back some of what you spent:

1. Most big hotel chains have a rewards program. If you are not part of one make sure you sign up once you sign your venue. Many hotels will offer a certain amount of points or miles that you can later use to book your honeymoon at any of their sister properties around the world.

2. Other than points and miles, rewards programs offer many perks: free upgrades, late check outs, even discounts to the hotel restaurants and spa.

3. Get a credit card that offers mileage. Almost every airline is partnered with a credit card and most of them offer one mile to the dollar. Before you know it you have two free round trip tickets!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What To Look For When You Are Doing A Group Reservation

When it comes to reservations for your wedding, there are quite a few. You need to reserve a venue, decorator, caterer, florist, and several others. But one reservation that is key to any wedding is the Group Room Reservation. Having a place for your guests to all stay, together, and for one price, often is a plus. So what do you look for when creating your Group Room Reservation?

Cut Off Date

The cut off date creates the amount of rooms in your group reservation to be available for a certain amount of time, for a special price (normally up until 30 days before your wedding date). Check the cut off date very carefully on your rooms contract.


Attrition fees are applied when a group cannot fill at least 80%, or an otherwise agreed upon percentage, of the contracted number of rooms. Attrition fees are compensation to the hotel for the rooms that might have been sold had they not been removed from the market by contract. So, make sure you know what the attrition amount is for your block. (If you reserved 50 rooms for Fri and 50 rooms for Sat, then an 80% attrition means you are obligated by contract to pick up at least 80 rooms over those two nights)

Room types

When reading your rooms contract, make sure you know what room type you are booking. For example if the contract says "Run of House", this means it is the basic room type. So, if you think you are reserving Ocean view, or river view or lake view, this is not the case. Most of the premium rooms do not go into a rooms contract so pay attention to this.

Bed Size

Under a rooms contract, make sure the hotel has listed what bed types are being offered to the guest. You may want to tell them we need 25 king beds and 25 two double beds for each night so this is 50 rooms total but 25 in each category. Don't assume that just because you booked 50 rooms, all 50 will have two double beds.

Special Requests:

Before you sign a rooms contract make sure you are aware of the hotel's policies. This includes check in time, check out time, how many guests per room, are cots allowed, are cribs allowed, can one family member be on the same floor or next to another. Just because your guests arrive at 8am to check in does not mean the hotel will have a room ready if the contract states check in time of 3pm.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Serving Lunch and or Breakfast

While serving breakfast and lunch to your guests at the hotel is a very nice touch, the expense can often times can be extremely high. This inevitably takes away from your wedding budget. When our brides us what they should do, we recommend these more affordable options to consider.

1. Ask the hotel if they can include breakfast for your guests. Get a rate with room and breakfast.

2. Take your guests out to lunch at a nearby restaurant. This way you will not have to pay the 22% or so hotel service charges.

3. Consider a hospitality suite where you can bring in your own food and snacks. A hospitality suite allows guests the leisure of coming and going as they please. You can order pizza, subs and bring other items to serve.

4. Another way to cut down on your cost is to ensure that you are reporting your numbers correctly. Though you may have 100 guests staying at the hotel, it is highly likely that around half of them will have other plans or be unable to make the breakfast/lunch. Thus, in this situation you would report that 50 guests would be attending or half of your assumed amount.

Be sure to consider these factors while planning to serve breakfast and/ or lunch to your guests.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ceremony Drinks.

When it comes to your wedding day, ceremony drinks are a must! There are so many different options for ceremony drinks that allow your guests to stay refreshed.

Sparkling Cider makes a perfectly good substitute for champagne.

You can be creative with mocktails that can match your décor by being any color you request.

What about pina colada and daiquiri mocktails for a more festive drink?

Another idea is to serve your guests coconut water, iced teas, juices, and lemonade, which can come several colors and flavors, as well as fun glasses.

Lastly, there is the simple option of sodas, seltzers, and water with different fruits.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Card Box Safety

Now a days more and more couples are opting for no boxed gifts at their reception and instead choosing to have a card box. We personally like card boxes because it minimizes the clutter, they can blend in very nicely with your decor, and who would want to carry around gifts. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind for your card box:

1. Make sure it is placed somewhere that it is visible to everyone, we usually recommend putting it right next to the sweethearts table, this way no one can miss it and you can always keep an eye on it.

2. Make sure the box is completely sealed and not easily opened. We prefer boxes that have a lock and key.

3. Put someone trusted in charge of the box. This person can empty the box if it gets too full and they are responsible for giving you all the cards at the end of the night.

4. We have seen a few birdcages that double as the card box. Although they are beautiful to look at, they are not practical. It is easy for the cards to slip out, or for someone to just take them out.

5. Do not under any circumstances put your card box outside of the ballroom.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Lenox Wedding Planner Tour

Earlier this week Ruth from out staff had the pleasure of attending the Lenox Wedding Planner Tour. This was a tour for wedding planner to visit the Lenox area of the Berkshires and visit some of their best wedding venues and learn more about the area. Ruth came back with many great stories and nothing but amazing things to say about Lenox. We will share more of those details next week.

One of the most exciting things of the tour was the Crane and Co. Table Design Challenge. Each planner was given the opportunity to choose a Crane and Co. invitation as inspiration for a table design. Ruth chose the Embassy Black Pocket Folder Invitation.

The invitation had somewhat of a Gothic feel, so based on the colors and the location she designed the table at (The Apple Tree Inn) she designed an Adams Family inspired table top.

Using some gorgeous Black Magic and Sexy Red roses she put together 3 vases of different heights surrounded by many votive candles and silver candle stick holders and both ends of the table. The Inn had a great bench that added the perfect amount of darkness to the table. She also used some great black sequins linen provided by Classical Tents and square white plates to add some dimension.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Do's and Don'ts of an Outdoor Summer Wedding

Having an outdoor, summer Indian wedding could be amazing, but you need to make sure you cover all of your bases:

Do make sure you cover the top of the Mandap. You want to make sure you are sitting in the shade; otherwise you run the risk of strange shadows on your face, and blazing sun

Do make sure you provide covering for your guests. You can set up canopies, or cabanas, and even big umbrellas.

Do consider your ceremony time. Having your ceremony in the afternoon might mean peak sun and hot guests. We recommend you plan for a ceremony in the earlier morning or early evening, and opt for a shaded area.

Do consider lighter food that complement the weather. Warm weather calls for lighter and more refreshing food. Consider items such as fruit salads, pasta salads, or cold gazpacho. For dessert, sorbets and ice creams.

Do consider heat relief. If you’re having the entire ceremony and reception outdoors, think about having a place that guests can get out of the heat and cool down. Make sure there are plenty of refreshments, cold washcloths on ice, sorbets, and iced beverages being served.

Do not have a white shiny backdrop. White shiny backdrops do not tend to work so well on hot summer days. They reflect against the sun and can be hard on the eyes and terrible for photographs.

Do not chance the weather. When it comes to Mother Nature, you don’t want to take your chances and end up having to move the wedding indoor. Speak to someone at the venue in regards to a backup plan.

Do not leave the cake in the sun. Spending money on a fabulous cake to then have it ruined from the heat is very upsetting.

Do not forget about bugs. If you are having an outdoor wedding, especially in the summer, chances are they bugs will be joining in on the festivities. The last thing you want is mosquitoes and bees all over your wedding. Talk to the venue about ways to prevent the bugs from being around.

Do not think that because its summer and outdoors that your wedding theme needs to be the beach. Sure, if you are near the water, then you might want to consider it. But if you are having your wedding on any other venue, why not explore all of the different options for themes? Make it unique and perfect for you.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wedding Safety

Your wedding is supposed to be filled with love, happiness and laughter. The last thing you should be worried about on your day is the whether your wedding is safe for guests; nevertheless, it is a very important component that should be taken into consideration while preparing for wedding. From long cable wires, to candle decorations, many weddings face an inevitably fire risk. Thus, it is valuable to think about the factors listed below when planning your wedding.

1. If you use candles as well as flowers, be sure the flame of the candle is far enough away from any flowers or other material to avoid fire.

2. Make sure that aisle ways are clear so that guests can quickly exit in the case of an emergency.

3. All fire extinguishers should be labeled and up to date. Most hotels require that all codes are taped down.

4. Electric wires should be tucked away and out of the way from guests.

5. Food should be prepared only in a kitchen or a safe place away from any flammable materials.

Consider these steps and ensure that your special day is safe and fun.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

To Be Wed App

Planning a wedding can be a lot of work, so why not simplify the process? With the help of Sonal J. Shah’snew app you can do just that! Sonal has teamed up with Apple to create To Be Wed, whichis a helpful guide to planning your special day!

On sale now for $0.99 for a limited time only, the Feature List includes:

1. Set Wedding date to automatically generate due dates for tasks.

2. Live Countdown to your big day.

3. Home screen quick view menu for access to To-do’s, Sonal’s social media links, and more.

4. Fully customizable To-do list.

5. Automatically created Schedule To-do list.

6. Share tasks with friends and family by email fromthe app.

7. Set alarms to remind you of task due dates.

8. Mark a task completed in the list itself.

9. Set priority levels for each task.

10. Expert advice/information available from Sonal for crucial tasks.

Whether you want a little help with where to start, are having trouble deciding on specifics that suit you best, or are simply stumped on how to finalize everything, To Be Wed is here to guide you!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Jalpa and Amish's Wedding

This past weekend at the Westfields Marriott Washington Dulles, Jalpa and Amish tied the knot in a beautiful ceremony followed by a night filled with romance and fun.

As guests entered the ceremony there eyes were automatically drawn to the stunning Mandap which was draped in gold fabric and adorned with orange and red flowers. From the vases filled with orchids to the rose petals atop the aisle runner, the room was filled with a sense of romance.

The ballroom beamed candles and gorgeous centerpieces in shades of orange and red thanks to the amazing members of Da Vinci's Florist. After the striking ceremony, all the guests enjoyed a great night of amazing food from Tandoori Nights. The bride and groom along with their guests danced the night away thanks to the tunes provided by DJ Manan Shah.

We wish the couple nothing but happiness and love!

Friday, November 4, 2011

What Does A Bride Need To Do About Changing Her Name?

Research shows that more women are taking their husbands names after marriage. Here is a checklist to follow in order to take on his name:

Marriage License- This is the mot necessary step because you won’t be able to change your name at all without this document.

Driver’s License- You’ll have to take your marriage license and current driver’s license to the DMV to get a new one issued with your new name.

Social Security Card- The Social Security Administration has specific requirements for issuing a new card- you’ll need a new application, proof of citizenship, legal name change, proof of identity, and proof of your old name. Visit their website for examples of accepted documentation.

Your Company’s Human Resources Department- Your employer reports your Social Security payments so you need to make sure to take this step immediately following your name change with Social Security.

Passport- The requirements vary whether you received your passport within a year of marriage or more than a year.

Miscellaneous- Online accounts, credit cards, bank and brokerage accounts, 401(k)…basically, anything you can think of that has your old name on it!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Non Floral Centerpieces

If you are looking to add a unique touch to your wedding reception, how about opting for centerpieces without flowers? I know this might sound a little crazy but there are actually lots of things you can do to create an enchanting and memorable room without flowers. Here are some of our top ides:

Sand Castles


Ice Sculptures




Tissue Paper

Fish Bowl



Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Perfect Wedding Slideshow

Wedding slideshows have become more and more popular, especially during speeches. This is a great way to reminice about your individual childhoods and how your relationship came to be. Follow these 5 steps to create a slide show your guests will never forget.

1. Know Your Audience
Knowing who your intended audience is an obvious, but sometimes an overlooked step in the process of developing your slide show. For instance, you want to make sure to include some photos of your guests in your slideshow. This is a great way to show them that they have been special in your life. It's always a great surprise to see your self on the big screen.

2. Shorter is Sometimes Better
We’ve found that video montages that are between 5 – 7 minutes in length are ideal for wedding receptions. This usually works out to about 3 songs and 75-100 pictures. While you can certainly display more photos during your slideshow, you want to be careful not to subject your guests to an extremely long slide show.

3. Choose Quality Photographs
While recent advances in digital photo restoration have allowed torn and poorly developed photographs to be brought back to life, there is only so much that the software can do. Pictures that look great printed (correct lighting, framing, developed properly) will also look great while scanned. Another thing to keep in mind is that landscape pictures are better suited for this than portrait pictures. You can definitely use a mix of both but you should try using more landscape photos.

4. Give some thought to music
Choose music that has meaning to you; music whose lyrics go well with the pictures. Also pay attention to how long the music is. If you’re only showing 30 pictures, your music should go accordingly.

5. Test! Test! Test!
It is very important that you test your slide show BEFORE it needs to be played. The last thing you want is for the big moment to arrive and when you hit "play" nothing comes up!

Follow these tips and your guests will be sure to enjoy your little trip down memory lane.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Choosing the Right Priest or Pandit

Your wedding ceremony should reflect the values of your relationship. The right officiant will take the time to understand your personalities so that he can set the tone of your big day. A pandit or priest brings his own personality to a wedding. It is important that the pandit’s personality and the personality of you and your fiancé as a couple align. When considering a pandit, you will need to discuss his or her beliefs concerning marriage and each person's role in the marriage. Below are a few questions that are important to ask your pandit.

1) Will we have to provide your travel and accommodations or will you take care of that on your own?

2) Will your have anyone with you (i.e. an assistant)?

3) Does you have a set program that you follow and what is the order of the events?

4) How long is the ceremony? Can he do a shorter ceremony?

5) Do you have to provide the items needed to perform the ceremony or will he bring this?

6) Can you recite your own vows?

Whomever you choose, make sure you are comfortable with his services and you both understand what has been agreed upon for the ceremony. Most priests or pandits do not have a contract but it is highly recommended that you have this.