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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Vendor Spotlight - The Wedge & Wheel

I'm so very excited to share a vendor spotlight of The Wedge & Wheel located in Stillwater, MN. Normally, a cheese monger wouldn't be one of the vendors I'd expect to review, however, I've recently done a wedding where we had a cheese tower instead of a traditional wedding cake. It was such a wonderful twist to an old tradition.

Oh. My. Goodness. We were provided with four wedges of delicious, artisan cheese. (The 4th wedge, and top tier is not pictured here because it needed to stay in the refrigerator until it was ready to be served.) Soft cheese, hard cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese. Served with an array of crackers! This tradition is very popular in Europe but it is making its' way across the pond. More and more brides are deciding to offer decadent cheese towers for dessert or serving a wedge along with a charcuterie for Hors D'ouevres.

The Wedge & Wheel, traditionally caters to customers who stop into the shop to enjoy wine and cheese expertly paired together. However, when we approached them about sourcing a variety of rare cheese for a tower, they were ready and willing! They provided expert opinion on the tools that would be needed to chop the cheese, and the best way to display it (a wooden cutting board with floral accents.)

It was a pleasure to work with them, and their knowledge was superb. It's truly a memorable alternative to a wedding cake, and just as beautiful!


Friday, October 9, 2015

The Stillwater Public Library/Loft at Studio J Wedding

Stillwater is one of Minnesota's premiere destinations for weddings. This quaint town on the St. Croix River is picturesque and with so many wonderful spaces to get hitched, it's no wonder that so many couples gravitate here.

 One of the coolest spaces for a wedding ceremony or reception is at an unexpected public venue - The Stillwater Library. They have a rooftop location that has sweeping views of Stillwater. With a beautiful white pergola to set the ceremony space, this is an awesome space to get married! It is quite large, which means it can accommodate a huge guest list. Bonus!

In August of 2015, I had the pleasure of working with Erin and Kiel, who hired me as their "Day of Coordinator." Erin was such a lovely bride and very fun to work with! She was very organized and relaxed on the wedding day. It was a fantastic day with perfect weather, and everything went smoothly.

Erin & Kiel picked the Stillwater Public Library for their ceremony, and followed up their reception literally only blocks away. After their gorgeous rooftop ceremony, guests walked to their reception while  the wedding party, rode around Stillwater Trolley for some site seeing and pictures.

The couple chose Camelot Photography lead photographer  Matt Garceau to shoot their wedding! An award winning, amazing studio, I'm so glad they chose Matt. He is a consummate professional and a pleasure to work with! The photographs are absolutely gorgeous, and as a planner I really appreciate having pictures that showcase my work well.

 They held their reception at The Loft at Studio J which is a newer event space. It has been open for a couple of years now, and due to it's prime location in the heart of Stillwater and the industrial chic feel, it's quite in demand!

Erin's colors were reminiscent of a late summer day, periwinkle, cream and soft duck egg blue. This color palette fit perfectly with her Hydrangea and white Rose bouquets and centerpieces, provided by Camrose Hill Flower Studio. She painted Ball Mason jars in coordinating colors, and floral placed fluffy, white hydrangeas in them. A few well placed candles, and a lovely centerpiece was created.

The newlyweds opted for a bountiful buffet provided by The Deco Catering. Seriously, the Deco creates the most stunning buffet displays and their food is excellent! They are an award winning European style caterer, and do an excellent job of creating the perfect menu for your event. They go above and beyond. In fact, Erin didn't want a traditional wedding cake so she had them do an ice cream bar with all types of different toppings!
The guests were blown away! :)

After a lovely meal,  guests danced the night away to the beats from DJ Justin Haffner of Justin Haffner Inc. One of the coolest things about the dance space was the Coca-Cola wall backdrop that made for awesome pictures of the couple during their first dance!

When it was time to retire, the couple simply walked across the street! Above Capture Salon, where Erin and the girls got ready, is The Lift Bridge Loft, which can be rented out. It's basically a studio apartment with all of the amenities you would need, right across the street from Studio J. What a great idea! Pamper yourself at the salon before the wedding, an after, retire to your own special space above it!

All in all, it was a lovely day with a very wonderful couple! Cheers Erin & Kiel!


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Vendor Spotlight -Midland Hill's Country Club

Hello Wedding Enthusiasts!

Today, I want to spotlight a lovely country club, located in Saint Paul. Midland Hills Country Club is a beautiful place to host a wedding ceremony and reception! I've had the pleasure of both attending a wedding as a guest here, and working as a planner here.

Both occasions were great experiences! Their staff is top notch, who make sure to work with you every step of the way so all the details go smoothly. Midland Hills has a very regal feel to it, it boasts a large ballroom with a fantastic dance floor, large windows to create the perfect backdrop for your head table, and a nice outdoor space to linger on a summer evening.

Of course, Midland Hills is a golf course, so there are ample places to capture beautiful photographs! Imagine driving around in a golf cart with your photographer, finding the perfect landscape to snap a few photos with your sweetie!

Midland Hills catering staff is top notch! They have an expansive menu to choose from, and take great pride in making sure that their sit down dinner is served in a timely manner. Of course, if you want to do a buffet, there is that option as well. The event space has a nice lobby area where guests can be hosted for cocktail hour. If you choose to do a wedding ceremony here, the staff can expertly flip the room from ceremony space to reception space in an hour to an hour and a half depending on the size of the guest list.

The large dance floor is definitely a perk! I've been a guest at a wedding here where the couple had professional salsa dancers come in and teach us how to dance because that is how they met - taking salsa dance lessons! Keeping the guests on the dance floor all night is one of the ways to have a fantastic reception.

I truly hope that I've inspired you to check out a premiere country club located very near the Twin Cities. Happy planning!

* Wonderful Day Weddings LLC was contracted for hire by Bellagala for this wedding.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Creating a Personal Cocktail

Hello Wedding Enthusiasts!

As we all know, an essential part of making any wedding great is a kickin' cocktail hour. It gives guests a chance to unwind from the emotional high of watching you get you married by imbibing spirits and noshing on tasty finger foods!

I'm a huge fan of providing a "signature drink" during your cocktail hour because it cuts down on your bar costs but also because it's a way to honor your tastes as a couple. So how do you go about picking the perfect cocktail to represent you?

I would suggest finding a drink with a story behind it. Perhaps you're marrying somebody with a Russian heritage, and Moscow Mules are all the rage right now. Maybe you were drinking Whiskey Sours when you met, or you both have an epic love for Surly, or there is an inside joke about that time you got randy on the beach. Okay, scratch that one, maybe a personal cocktail shouldn't be too personal!

Whatever the connection, make sure your guests know why you picked this particular concoction. The best way to share is by displaying a drink menu featuring your signature cocktail and a little quip about why you chose it. "The Garden of England cocktail - Gin, Prosecco, Rosewater to celebrate Matt & Kaylee's engagement at Windsor Castle" or whatever.

When picking your signature drink, it's also a good idea to choose something with minimal ingredients, three or four max. Make sure to include them on your sign, so people understand what's in the drink and can opt out if it isn't their jam.

The best way to serve a signature drink depends on what it is. If you've chosen your favorite wine, absolutely have your service team make the rounds with glasses on trays. However, if you're going to do something that requires some mixing, you might set up a station with a bartender on hand to make them quickly and have some pre-set.

I hope that I've inspired you with a few ideas for coming up with the perfect personal cocktail. Cheers!


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Semple Mansion Wedding

Hello wedding enthusiasts!

Today, I wanted to take the time to reminisce about a very lovely couple and their fantastic wedding at Semple Mansion. This past July, I had the opportunity to watch a year's worth of meticulous planning come to fruition! Jennifer and Matt, two of the most gracious people you will ever meet, got married at Semple Mansion.

This is one of the premiere mansion venues in the Twin Cities. Located in the heart of uptown, just off of Franklin Avenue, this gem has been a favorite among couples that want a little sophistication for their nuptials.

Semple Mansion was built in 1899 for the Semple family. It boasts the Grand Palladian Ballroom, the largest of the time period. Today, it hosts elegant traditional weddings. Couples usually get married in the Grand Foyer, then after the ceremony they head across the hall into the drawing room for cocktail hour. Finally, guests go up to the third floor for a dinner reception and dancing.

Jennifer was just a vision! Her beautiful, fit and flare dress was embellished with gorgeous beading.  Matthew looked dapper in his black suit. The two took their vows in front of windows that streamed sunlight, and ornate floral arrangements. Crystal chandeliers and handsome woodwork created the perfect simple and elegant backdrop for the ceremony.

Afterward, guests enjoyed an array of cocktails while the couple and their wedding party were whisked away for a few more pictures by the experts Bellagala Photography. When cocktails were finished, the did the Grand Entrance into the ballroom from the staircase. Then they joined their wedding party at the head table. (An interesting side note, Semple Mansion is one of the few premiere venues that allows you to bring in your own alcohol.)

Jennifer and Matt wanted to have a vintage style wedding that reflects their sophisticated style. They opted for pastels to compliment the summer season. In lieu of over the top floral arrangements, Jen wanted to keep it simple and used gold and crystal candelabras surrounded by a smattering of rose petals. Each table number was housed in an ornate frame. LED candles were set in coordinating crystal sherbet glasses to flank the centerpieces.

Three Sons Signature Cuisine provided a sumptuous three course meal. As always, their coordinated service was a joy to watch and it gets the food out very quickly! They boast a time of twenty minutes or less to serve the main course.

After dinner was finished, entertainment from Bellagala kicked off the evening with first dances. The couple and their guests danced the night away, staying until the wee morning hours before being shuttled back to the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

It was a truly spectacular wedding for a fantastic couple! I'm so happy to have been a part of it! I truly hope that I've inspired some ideas for my vintage junkies. :)

Happy planning,

Marissa Partridge


*Wonderful Day Weddings LLC was contracted for hire by Bellagala to plan this event.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Wedding Upgrades

Hello Wedding Enthusiasts!

As a planner, I work with a variety of budgets. I've had the pleasure of planning intimate affairs on a shoe-string and we used our creativity to stretch the budget. Additionally, I've worked on weddings where no expense is spared. I've found that there are a few non-essential wedding elements that can take your event to new levels. If you have the means to include them, it's my advice that you consider doing so!

1) Backdrops - These are usually strategically placed behind the head table and can be made from solid materials or fabric and lights. They really define the space where the wedding party will sit as special, and provide wonderful photo opportunities during speeches. Another area where backdrops can be used are for photographing wedding guests. This is an especially fun accessory when you have an outdoor cocktail hour. Setting up a station of hanging frames, a vintage sheet or crystal beading with a camera on a tripod attracts guests. It's a fun distraction during cocktail hour.

2) Photo-booths - The next upgrade that I've found to be very popular is the photo-booth. These differ from backdrops in that they are actual photo-booths, like what you would find at the arcade. They come with an attendant and your guests will leave with a strip of themselves and their antics. Many companies also will put together a photo-book for you, which many couples opt to do in lieu of a traditional guest book.

3) Lounge Area - Most receptions have some form of dancing. Couples these days are recognizing that keeping people on the dance floor the entire evening makes for a very memorable event. Therefore, they're making it easier for guests to stay close to the action but allowing them a place to sit down and rest. Lounge areas use chic furniture, couches, chairs, and cocktail tables situated near the dance floor. This is great for older guests to be close to the action early on in the evening (Grandma can be right up front watching your first dance) and for the guests that stay late into the night, taking small breaks in between songs.

4) Intricate Floral Installations - These cost a pretty penny, but are so worth it when you look back on your day via the photography. Many times, these are placed above the head table along with a backdrop. Other times, they're placed in places where you know you want to take advantage of the building's unique architecture. For example, the banister of a grand staircase, or the archway of the church door.

5) Additional Lighting - Investing in specialized lighting is definitely an upgrade. Chandeliers, paper lanterns, vintage light bulbs, Gobos, pin lighting.... All of these elements help to define the aesthetic of the reception. Many couples use crystal chandeliers to create elegance in basic structures, like tents or warehouses. Gobos with monogrammed initials gracing the dance floor celebrate the importance of your first dance, and up lighting in different colors can set help guests get into the mood to party! Lighting can generally be added on to your entertainment package, so be sure to ask about it.

6) Ceiling Draping - Speaking of lighting, swags of flowing fabric hung from the ceiling go hand in hand with beautiful luminaries. Generally, they are also lit with strands of twinkle light. The billowing lush fabric does a great job camouflaging an undesirable ceiling and creates romance. Worth every penny, especially when transforming a boring ballroom.

7) Special Entertainment - This trend is a personal favorite. I love dancing, so when a couple indulges in a choreographed dance or hires dancers to give a performance and entice guests onto the dance floor, I just love it! Other options, depending on the vibe of your reception, include alternative performers. Everything from belly dancers to fire breathers, and jugglers. Of course, be careful to pay attention to the overall feel of your event.

8) Late Night Snacks - The Late Night Snack is ingenious. Seriously, putting food into guests that have been imbibing is a great idea. Bonus if it's non-fussy, like pizza, sliders and fries, or a tortilla chip bar. Not only does it sober people up just a little, it takes care of those hunger pangs that hit around midnight. 

I truly hope that I've inspired you to consider upgrading your wedding. Adding just one or two of these elements will help to make your wedding a memorable masterpiece. If you can do them all, I'm sure we'll be seeing your fete on the pages of all the bridal magazines! :)


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Transportation Logistics and Styles

One of the last elements to come together for a wedding is often transportation. It's hard to imagine how you're going to transport guests or get to your hotel accommodations before you've even selected your wedding dress! However, it's something to consider early on in the process.

 If you have sizable portion of your guest list coming from out of town then you will probably need shuttles. Think about it, you don't want Great Aunt Gertrude trying to navigate the downtown gridlock or an unfamiliar suburb. Usually, a mini-shuttle is sufficient for most guest counts. They can transport up to thirty people at a time. If you don't have far between your hotel accommodations and venues, several trips is optimal. However, if you have a larger guest list with the majority of people coming in from out of town, definitely consider renting a coach bus.

Logistics are an important part of securing transportation. You have to think about managing the wedding party, the couple's getaway car and having vehicles for VIP's, like mom and mom in law. First off, how are the ladies getting to the ceremony location? Are they getting ready there or at the salon or hotel? What about the gentlemen? Are they getting ready at the same location, and do they need to be there as early as the girls? What about after the reception - can wedding party members leave their vehicles at the location overnight? Do you want to include your wedding party in the final send off at the end of the evening or have a car for just you two?

Figuring out logistics beforehand can really help you articulate your needs when you speak with a transportation representative. If you have some idea of how many trips you will need to take that day and how many people will need to be transported, they will be able to help you accurately secure the type and how many vehicles you will need for your big day!

Finally, we need to talk not only about function but about style! I think it's best to match your vehicle style to the type of wedding your having. If you going sleek and modern, a limo hummer would be
awesome but if you want a vintage wedding, a classic Rolls Royce might be a better fit. If you want something memorable and out of the ordinary, consider using a trolley to transport you around town, or if your venue location is in the country why not do a horse and carriage?

Whatever your transportation needs, talking with your planner will help you pin down what is essential for moving people from point A to point B seamlessly. Happy planning!