fab friday finds - Olivia Luca Designs | Cincinnati + Dayton Wedding Planners

Having trouble finding the perfect gown? Or is your inner fashion designer just dying to come up with a gown for your big day? Olivia Luca Designs to the rescue. I could spend hours playing on this site. In a few simple steps, you can design your own gown. Pick from several styles for the bodice, skirt, add details (or not) choose your fabric and size. At the end you have a custom made gown at a great price.

I'm sharing 3 designs I played with this morning. Click on the images to see more of the detail, including the fabric type + price. All three are under $1500 and one is under $1000. I didn't use the least expensive fabric either, two of the designs feature organic or fair trade fabrics - perfect for the eco + socially conscious bride.

Join me at Olivia Luca Designs and waste a little time having some fun this fab friday morning!


Tools + Tips Thursday - Straws! | Cincinnati + Dayton Wedding and Event Planners

Yes, straws. Simple, I know, but having these on hand makes a word of difference, just ask your makeup artist. Use a straw to keep your gloss from disappearing each time you take a drink.

They are also easier for those of us who are, let's say, accident prone. If you are super clumsy (we all know who we are) try a cup with a lid + straw to make spills even less likely. Adding this item to your "day of" list of necessities is simple + cheap and you will definitely use them!


Amanda + Mike = New Parents! | Cincinnati Wedding + Event Planners

To say that Amanda + Mike are big Cincinnati Reds fans is an understatement. You may remember their 2008 wedding that literally took place on the infield of Great American Ballpark. So when they sent me photos of their new addition - Zachary 'Zac' - I wasn't surprised to find a slew of baseball themed photos. I love this one - notice the Reds hat is personalized with their last name too. He's destined to be a little Reds fan.

Congratulations Amanda + Mike!!!!

Zachary 'Zac' Michael Schirmang
February 13, 2010 @ 1:15 am
8 lbs 15.5 ozs20 inch

Photo by Stephanie Boon Photography

What to Wear Wednesday | Cincinnati Wedding Planners

I was at a loss for inspiration last week for WTWW so I asked for some ideas for events, and I received a ton of great ones from my friends and fellow wedding vendors - including the one for this week's What to Wear Wednesday - a Courthouse Wedding (thanks Nance!)

When I started the board, I allowed a *slightly* larger budget for today's WTWW of $200 instead of $150.... I mean, it is for your wedding, right? Even I thought it might be tough, but much to my surprise, I was able to put together all of these pieces for just over $150 - the total for today's Courthouse wedding outfit... $154.93.

Dress - Macy's
Hairpiece - Enchantedly Yours via Etsy
Earrings - Jurgita Handmade via Etsy
Shoes - Caparros via DSW


Vote for Us! Prime Time Party Rental Tabletop Competition

Vote for Cincy Event Planning in the Prime Time Party Rental contest!!!

Look for our sexy + sweet table - Each comment or "like" counts as a vote - only one vote per
person - Thanks again to Poeme and Tres Belle Cakes for help making the table fab!

Vote here -

photo of the week by loft 3 photography | Cincinnati + Dayton Wedding + Event Planners

This shot by loft 3 photography is amazing - I wish I had a picture of my two oldest girls like this when they were little. These sisters are cute as can be. Check out the rest of the shoot on the loft 3 blog.


Inspiration: Spring | Cincinnati Wedding + Event Planners

This 40 degree weather is giving me spring fever. This week's board is a perfect look ahead to spring... a vintage garden wedding. It all started with the dress by Carol Hannah (Project Runway) that I found via Etsy. The end result is a board that is soft, romantic and chic all at the same time.

{Dress, Table Setting, Birdcage, Bouquet, Cake Table, Invitation, Armoire}


Tools + Tips Thursday - Timeline | Cincinnati + Dayton Wedding and Event Planners

One of the services we are most often asked about is developing a timeline. The task seems to be a daunting one that most of our brides are overwhelmed with. And no, we aren't talking about the pretty picture timeline like the one to the left. These are fun for the bridal party or family to have to know the basics but a detailed timeline is broken down in much smaller intervals with more details like addresses, applicable vendors, etc.

So how do you start your timeline? Usually we start from 30 minutes prior to the ceremony and work backwards. Things to keep in mind while arranging your timeline:

- How long does your photographer need for photos?
- Are you planning to see each other ahead of time? If so this impacts the amount of time (if any) you'll need post ceremony.
- How many hours did you book your photographer overall? You'll want to make sure you have your pro there for preceremony photos + the major events at the reception as well if you went with a smaller package.
- Are you going to multiple locations before or after the reception?

- Build in extra time for all travel. You are moving around in a gown, with heels + flowers. Not mention the rest of the bridal party. Add extra time for parking if you are not renting a vehicle for the entire wedding party.

Hair + Make-up
- Most make-up artists ask for about 30 minutes per person. Hair ranges from 30-60 minutes depending on the length + style. Find out if your selected vendor is going solo that day or if there will be an assistant so you can double up your appointments. As a standard, hair comes before make-up.

Don't forget to allow yourself a little down time to eat! Make sure you have something pre-prepared, catered or delivered.

Post Ceremony -
- Are you having photos done or going straight to the reception?
- Will there be a cocktail hour?
- What time will dinner be served?
- Do you want to do your first dance right away or wait?
- Other items to consider - cake cutting, toasts, parents dances, bouquet toss, garter toss

These are just a few of the items to consider when building your timeline. Based on your individual plans + locations + vendors there can be so many more things to cover.

The key to any good timeline is to ensure you have plenty of time and don't feel rushed. If you have plenty of extra time built in the worst thing that can happen is you are running ahead of schedule. Make sure you have a detailed timeline with exact addresses for vendors, the bridal party and immediate family. Distribute the timeline early enough that you can make changes but not too early that is forgotten about before the big day - bring extra copies in case.

Last, be willing to be flexible if something needs to shift based on things out of your control. It's your wedding - you should enjoy it - leave the details to the pros you have hired!


What to Wear Wednesday | Cincinnati Wedding Planners

Today's post was inspired by suggestions from two wonderful women and wedding business owners.... Nance @ Brideface and Annie @ Varland Photography. Nancy suggested engagement photos as the event for today and Annie pointed me over to Kortnee Kate's blog to check out a fab coat in a recent e-pic shoot. I combined both ideas for today's what to wear wednesday board - a winter engagement shoot. Who says you can't look hot when the weather is cold (ok, freezing)?

The only think missing is the pants - but we all have a fab pair of dark denim jeans or flattering black pants in our closets already, right???

I love the color of the coat and the amazing amazing scarf (the splurge in this outfit) that I found on Etsy. Paired with a cute pair of flats from DSW (less than $20!) and simple silver hoops and you have the perfect oufit for an engagement photo session in Cincinnati (once the snow melts!)

Coat - Nordstrom
Scarf - Etsy
Shoes - DSW
Earrings - Target

Total Cost: $146.83


photo of the week = last look | Cincinnati + Dayton Wedding + Event Planners

I absolutely love this shot by Neysa Ruhl Photography. Neysa has such an amazing eye and it incredibly talented, not to mention sweet as can be! This stunning bride just happens to be my cousin Laura (ok, technically my husband's cousin) as well. For more photos from Laura + Josh's wedding at the Madison check out Neysa's blog.


Inspiration: Bold Color | Cincinnati Wedding + Event Planners

While reading Courtenay Lambert's blog, I was immediately struck by the amazing color in this bridal party shot by Cindy of Wagner Photographics. I knew I would have to use it for a future inspiration board. The dresses are striking and the bouquets are stunning. I had a great time finding pieces for this board. As gorgeous as this color combo is, it isn't done as often as the pink and kiwi or lime but I think the overall effect is both elegant + playful.

Bridal Party, Chair, Shoes, Invitation, Vintage Brooch, Cupcake Liners, Eyelet Lantern, Suit


fab friday finds - go green + save some green | Cincinnati + Dayton Wedding Planners

We've all heard the three Rs a million+ times... reduce, reuse, recycle. Hopefully we're all doing our part daily.... but what about when you are planning your wedding??? Reusing other couples' wedding items is a perfect way to go green + save money while planning your wedding. There are a ton of websites offering gently used wedding items for sale at bargain prices.

These sites are also great for those brides that have expensive taste but a small budget. Many of the sites below offer gorgeous designer gowns at a fraction of the cost of new.

A few of our favorites:

Bravo Bride
With a ton of categories + free listings + easy search options Bravo Bride is one of our favorite sites. As a seller, if you choose to upgrade to an enhanced listing a portion of the proceeds goes to the American Heart Association Go Red for Women Campaign. Items we found, include a NEW two-tone 3mm Tiffany & Co. wedding band for $650 (retail $1200), a $4700 Kenneth Pool by Amsale gown for $2500 and tons of other wedding decor items.

Bride to Bride Boutique
Another comprehensive site with plenty of listings. There is a 1.99 entry fee for sellers but no fees for buyers. Sellers can upload up to 3 pictures and you can see the location of the seller so you can narrow it down to a local area if you prefer to avoid shipping.

Recycled Bride
A very user friendly + pretty site offering everything from wedding dresses to decor to rings and as the site says "everything else." It's free for buyers + sellers. This is definitely one to check out.

Once Wed
A killer blog with fab inspiration that also features a previously owned wedding dress section. Dresses from Monique Lhuillier, Lazaro, Anne Barge, and countless other top name designers... definite worth checking out.

Another amazing blog offering romantic vintage inspiration has a free wedding classifieds section offering dresses + decor + accessories, etc. Check this site out if you are specifically looking for beautiful vintage goods.

The Knot Trash to Treasure Board
You have to be a member of the Knot Community, but sign-up is easy. Check out this board for everything wedding related, from favor boxes to a Maggie Sottero Fiorella. Also check out your Knot local community board for items for sale from local brides (and avoid shipping!)

The Wedding Bee Classifieds
Simliar to the community boards on the Knot, members can post items for sale. It's easier to use if you use the filters at the top of the page to really narrow down what you are looking for. Some of the categories allow vendor posts for available goods + services, so those might take a bit more time to sort through.

Check your local craiglist or freecycle for items as well - especially if you are looking for vintage vases, cake stands, or any types of items that do not have be identical. You'll be amazed at what you find.

Other Dress Only sites
Encore Bridal
Preowned Wedding Dresses
Sell Your Wedding
Wore It Once

Jenni + Michael = Engaged!

I met Jenni when she was a bridesmaid in Stacey + Joe's wedding in November of 2008. We were so excited when she decided to use CEP for her upcoming wedding to Michael this June at Paul Brown Stadium. I picked a few of my favorites by Varland Photography but make sure you check out Annie's blog for more pics. I love the idea of an e-pic session at the zoo!


What to Wear Wednesday | Cincinnati Wedding Planners

Today's event? Date night - in honor of Valentine's Day this weekend. In the craziness of wedding planning and attending showers + parties, you can forget about spending time alone together with (gasp!) no wedding talk! Trust me you should definitely take a night for dinner for two, see a show or movie or just get out with the two of you.

The splurge in today's outfit is the dress from the Limited - at $89.50 it's a bit chunk of our $150 budget. However with a few stylish + inexpensive accessories, the entire outfit comes in at a price of $146.16. The best part is this dress can be worn again, for work or play - making it a great investment.

Dress - The Limited
Earrings - Forever 21
Ring - Target
Belt - Forever 21
Purse - Target
Shoes - Payless


photo of the week = snow in love | Cincinnati + Dayton Wedding + Event Planners

Ok, so the title is terribly cheesy, but I just couldn't help myself. Seriously though, how romantic is this engagement picture shot by the incredibly talented bobbi + mike? I love the city (Chicago) + the snow + the energy of the whole shoot. Check out the rest on bobbi + mike's blog here.


Inspiration: Valentine's Day | Cincinnati Wedding + Event Planners

This week's board is inspired by Valentine's Day... it's only appropriate right? I love the vintage glam feel of this board. A little edgy but still romantic + sexy. Again, we are happy to feature several Cincinnati vendors in this board - cake by Jerry's Cheesecakes (perhaps the most decadent + delicious cheesecake on earth), hairpiece by Pin Me Up Couture, placecards by Giddy Ink and bouquet by Katie Elfers. We also managed to use a pic from clients - Lindsey + Keith's real wedding - actually this board could easily be the inspiration board from their wedding last January.

Necklace Dress Hairpiece Ring Cake Candles Placecards Chairs Decor Bouquet


fab friday finds - Ikea Vases | Cincinnati + Dayton Wedding Planners

I don't know about you, but I love having Ikea in the area. Sure it's not super convenient for me, and I can't spend less than an hour in there at a time, but still - I'm in love. While looking for vases for an upcoming event, I stumbled across some great deals on vases - perfect for centerpieces.

All of the vases we're showing you today are under $5 each. There are a ton more in the $5-$15 category - still a great deal if you want something different and funky for your florist to use! Using your own vases is a great way to trim expenses and you can always post them for sale or reuse them in your home after the wedding!
Here are a few of our favorite finds:

So simple + a steal at .79 each. Use in clusters with single stems or use a single large bloom.

This next set is probably my favorite. We're using these for an upcoming event. Each one has a different mod design and they are only 1.99 each! Check out what Courtenay Lambert did with them for Julie + Eric's wedding last year.

This vase is bigger than it looks. It's 5.5" wide at the top and 7" tall. $1.99

I love the vintage look of these next vases. The vases are so decorative + colorful you could easy get away with some pretty inexpensive flowers to place in these. $2.99 each.
Hello color! I love the hues in both of these sets. You can use these individually or together to create a circle or wavy line. Very mod. Very fun. $1.99 each.

Ikea has a few basics too. These are pretty inexpensive for everyday prices. You could probably get similar options on sale at Hobby Lobby or Michaels, but you won't have to wait for a sale at Ikea. From left to right these rectangular vases are $2.49, $1.99 + $5.99

This next set is from the pots + plants section. An unbelievable deal @ .99 for the 3 pack! These would be perfect for herbs, succulents or clusters of other flowers/plants.

Like I mentioned there are so many more options at Ikea. Check them out for yourself here.


Tools + Tips Thursday - OTC Essentials | Cincinnati + Dayton Wedding and Event Planners

What OTC meds do we keep in our kit? We thought we'd share a list of the ones we use most. Of course you can avoid the need for most of these by getting a good night's sleep, eating a healthy dinner/breakfast + not stressing out on your big day! But just in case, here's a peek inside our "traveling pharmacy"

Headaches + Migraines + Pain Relief

We like to keep several of these types on hand. Everyone has something that usually "works" for them. The Tylenol Rapid Relase Gels are great because they work so quickly.
Digestive Issues

These can be the worst + most embarrassing symptoms for anyone in the bridal party. We always keep Rolaids Plus + Tums in our kit. It's amazing how stress can tie your stomach in knots - especially if you had a particularly decadent rehearsal dinner meal or drinks the night before. These help cure a sour stomach in no time.

Cold + Sinus + Allergy

Sometimes, regardless of how well you take care of yourself, the environment can wreak havoc on your allergies or a random cold can just appear virturally out of nowhere. We keep a range of sinus, allergy + cold relief meds - all non-drowsy! As well as cough drops just in case.
First Aid

Last but not least, we keep a first aid kit handy. Truth be told we use the band-aids more for shoes than scrape coverage, but nonetheless it has definitely come in handy on more than one occasion (think rambunctious ring bearers + daredevil groomsmen).

So there are the basics of our OTC essentials in our kit. Of course we have so many more things in our kit that we'll continue to share with you every Thursday as well.


What to Wear Wednesday - Honeymoon | Cincinnati Wedding Planners

This cold weather is giving me cabin fever... so today's outfit is for your honeymoon (on the beach of course!). I love the versatility of the combinations below. Two different tops - one for lounging pool or oceanside and the other if you are playing some beach volleyball or something active. Same with the cover-up options - one for the heat of the day and one for a walk on the beach at sunset.

Best of all - the ENTIRE collection you see below is $132 - all from Old Navy. And if you are a bargain shopper like me, you know you can always find sales + coupons for Old Navy, making an even better deal. I'm seriously considering this collection for our vacation to Emerald Isle this summer! Here's the breakdown:

Halter Tankini Top - $19.50
Halter Bikini Top - $16.50
Bikini Bottoms - $16.50
Hoodie - $19.50
Terry Shorts - $12.50
Dress - $19.50
Sunglasses - $9.50
Hoops - $7.50
Wedge flip flops - $7.50
Flat Flip Flops - $3.50

Total - $132.00


Location Preview: Mariemont Barn | Cincinnati + Dayton Wedding + Event Planners

We love planning events in new spaces. This one is no different. The Womens Art Club Cultural Center (also know as The Barn) is a gorgeous space nestled in a relatively residential area in Mariemont, Ohio. The rooms have been renovated and there is space for a large tent in the courtyard space. Current cost to rent the entire space is an extremely reasonable $700. Take a look at some of the interior photos I snapped on our last visit. We are definitely looking forward to working with this blank canvas for Nicole + Tony's wedding reception in April!

For more information on the space + rental information visit the WACCC barn blog.

photo of the week by Cuilla Photography | Cincinnati + Dayton Wedding Planners

I love this image by the talented Geri Cuilla of Cuilla Photography.... it just completely draws me in. You can almost *feel* the love radiating from this couple, right? For more photos from this sneak peek, check out Geri's blog.


Inspiration: A few favorites | Cincinnnati Wedding + Event Planners

This board started with a bouquet from Courtenay Lambert Florals, one of our favorite floral designers. The bouquet is from the real wedding of Nancy from Brideface (another favorite of ours). After finding the monogram from yet another favorite, Lucky Designs, and searching another fab source, Etsy, the board came together beautifully.