Wadsworth Mansion | Advice for brides
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Advice for brides

NEWLYWED QUICK 10: Susan & Christopher

Spouses   Susan & Christopher

Wedding Date   June 24, 2016

 

  1.  Length of engagement:  11 months, 20 days
  2.  3 adjectives to describe wedding vision:  classy, elegant, unique
  3.  Most challenging vendor to find/hire:  cocktail hour music
     How close to wedding were they hired? 2 months before
  4. Ceremony location:  our church, St. Mary Star of the Sea in Unionville, CT
  5. Most surprising thing:  How quickly the day went…what a blur!
  6. Standout memory:  our first dance
  7. Would you change anything?  Chris: I would have invited more people.  Sue: I would have organized our picture taking time better and had people show up for the reception a little later.
  8. Wedding hashtag?  not really, kind of #chrisandsuesayido
  9. Guests couldn’t stop talking about:  how beautiful and breathtaking the venue was
  10. Advice for future couples in 125 characters or fewer:  Make sure you take time to consciously enjoy the day and take it all in. It goes SO quickly and you will remember very little. Enjoy yourself, relax, and don’t sweat the small stuff!

|| Catering:  David Alan Hospitality Group || Photography:  Val McCormick Photography || Flowers:  It’s So Ranunculus || Ceremony Music:  Bronwyn Burns Violin Studio || Music:  Alpha Waves DJs || Hotel:  Radisson Hotel Cromwell || Transportation:  Liberty Limousine ||

 

Natalie Newman Locke, the Event Supervisor and a Wadsworth Mansion bride herself, is a seasoned wedding & production professional.  When not creatively writing, photographing weddings, or acting as social media guru, she enjoys sampling wedding cake.

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An Ode to Marriage

When sitting down at my keyboard to tap out blog entries, I typically focus on thoughts to consider during planning, what brides and grooms should expect, and words of wisdom about the actual day one becomes wed.  Usually it’s about the new, the excitement, the blissful blur.  Today, however, I feel compelled to discuss something else: what it’s like once the tuxes are returned, the lashes come off, and you’re, well, married.

It takes a little while for the newlywed shine to start to show some wear, but it does.  And life starts to happen again in ways that somehow take a back seat during the engagement phase.  Job stuff.  Family drama.  Bills.  The reality of gaining a lawfully wedded life partner is that it doesn’t stay in that pinnacle moment, rather roller coastering up and down and constantly evolving.  It’s really about how the two of you get from day to day successfully, working as a team.

It isn’t always easy…and sometimes it’s just plain hard.  But in the end, the love you share and life you are constantly building (and rebuilding) together is worth it.

 

Full disclosure – today is my anniversary.  Two years ago I stood on the vista behind the Wadsworth Mansion and vowed to my husband that I’d be in it with him through good times and sad times, easy moments and difficult ones.  And as much of a fairy tale as it was (seriously, it was – watch the preview HERE), we don’t live in a movie or the slow motion stop-time of our wedding day.  In fact, we’ve experienced the gamut of life in the span of a year: laughing until our sides ache with old friends over dinner, supporting each other through major parental illnesses, singing along to the radio at the top of our lungs during road trips, feeling helpless from the losses of multiple pregnancies.  Through the highs and lows, I wouldn’t trade my chosen person for anything in the world.

 

Wedding vows are a serious thing, not to be taken lightly.  You might think that with all of the weddings I witness and am a part of that by now I’d be jaded or unaffected by them.  But it’s just the opposite.  Maybe it’s because I, too, made such life-changing promises here in this place, and I know first-hand what it feels like to say those words with these stately, grand surroundings…  I’m truly moved, though – often – and hearing others pledge their souls and eternal love to one another is an amazing reminder to me of my own vows, and how I can be a better partner to my best partner.

Today’s wedding has been no exception – perhaps it rang even truer because they will share our anniversary date and the same, special venue.  As dinner proceeds and I hear the sounds of celebration and happiness ringing through the house, I’m feeling nostalgic for my own wedding.  So much life has happened since then…  But that’s what marrying is all about – declaring that you’ll go through everything that life has in store hand-in-hand and doubly strong.

May your anniversaries be happy and centering.  May your marriages be long and hardy.  May your loves be nurturing and giving.

 

Happy Planning!
Natalie

 

P.S.  Happy Anniversary, Tom – I love you beyond measure…

 

Natalie Newman Locke, the Event Supervisor and a Wadsworth Mansion bride herself, is a seasoned wedding & production professional.  When not creatively writing, photographing weddings, or acting as social media guru, she enjoys sampling wedding cake.

 

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Raindrops on Roses

Once upon a time, a certain effervescent nun went spinning through the Alps teaching a gaggle of children to sing about their “Favorite Things.”  Although I can completely understand the positive-in-the-face-of-anything attitude of The Sound of Music‘s Maria Von Trapp, most of the people I encounter here at the Wadsworth Mansion are more on board with finding the happiness in “girls in white dresses” than with finding positivity in the first phrase of the song [see blog title].

In all the wedding tours my colleagues or I have given to potential brides and grooms, I can absolutely, 100% guarantee the following phrase of five words has never and will never be uttered:

“I really hope it rains.”

Sure.  Of course.  Naturally.

However, weather-related reasoning is, nonetheless, at the apex of wedding date selection.  Practically all brides and grooms are somewhere along the spectrum between “concerned” and “apoplectic” when considering what kind of day mother nature might have in store for their grand event.  Even the most easy-going couples understand that weather contingencies are an important part of envisioning the big day.

And I totally get it.  As our wedding day neared, my husband and I weren’t exactly jazzed about potentially having to enact our rain plan.  We loved the look of the Wadsworth Mansion’s open air terrace which leads to the expansive vista, and a tent would’ve altered that vision; still, we reviewed all the options and were prepared to pull the trigger had the extended forecast looked iffy enough.  In the end we lucked out with an absolutely gorgeous day… but we also understood it was just that: luck.  Although its easy to say in hindsight, I truly believe that I wouldn’t have let a little inclement weather ruin my day.  I mean, it was the day I married my best friend in the presence of our loved ones.  The rest was just icing on the cake (or the cherry on top, or gravy, or whatever idiom you fancy).

Not all brides and grooms are so accepting of the idea of a potential “weather event,” however.  In fact, I’d say most can be borderline irrational when considering that their date might not be clear and cloudless.  At least half the inquiries of last week alone involved poring over our availability calendar trying to deduce which of the remaining dates will be the perfect combination of not-too-hot, not-too-cold, and rain-free.

Comb through the almanac, find a weather statistician, consult your local psychic; not a soul in the world will be able to predict the forecast with any kind of accuracy so far in advance.  Believe me, I wish I could.  My pay grade would be much, much higher…

So what’s a weather-worrier to do?  Select a date, make a plan…then let it go.  Stressing about the weather is wasted energy.  There are plenty of other things that could benefit from repeated consideration (like if you selected a seamstress who has ample experience altering beaded-fabric, or which guests you can task with babysitting Great Uncle Morty during dinner).  Focus on the things you can control and roll with the things you can’t.

And if that’s easier said than done, then there’s only one thing left to try: singing until you feel better.  Julie Andrews would be so proud.

 

Happy Planning!
Natalie

[A noted field expert (me) prescribes the old standard “Come Rain or Come Shine,” performed here by Ray Charles, although many great versions are out there.  Bring on the car and shower singing.]

 

Natalie Newman Locke, the Event Supervisor and a Wadsworth Mansion bride herself, is a seasoned wedding & production professional.  When not creatively writing, photographing weddings, or acting as social media guru, she enjoys sampling wedding cake.

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Frock It To Me

Whether you’ve been dreading or dreaming of it, the time comes in any engagement when you have to answer the age-old question:  What to wear?  Considering that the obvious answer is “something” – – unless of course you’re on a nude beach somewhere (disclaimer: The Wadsworth Mansion has no beach, nude or otherwise) — you’ll want to think through a few things before deciding on the dress, the tux, bridal party attire, or dress code.

 

 

1.  How you want your wedding to feel.  You’ll be referring back to this one all the time.  It is the key to your wedding seeming cohesive.  Your big event should be a reflection of both of you on your best day   ever.  Decide what that looks like.  Season and location are a big part of this; long, lacy sleeves feel a little imprudent on the shore in August, n’est pas?  Once you select a venue and date, which should help guide your vision, you still may want to think of a few adjectives to fill out the daydream:  whimsical & bright, elegant & classic, modern & trendy, understated & unique, warm & casual…  Once you’ve given yourself a basic road map it’ll be much easier to say, “yes, I loved that sleek, barely-there satin number I saw on Pinterest, but y’know it just doesn’t fit with the wintry, happy, storybook vibe I’m going for.”

 

2.  How you plan to move your body throughout the day/night.  Despite the image you’ve conjured up from the picture-perfect, stock-still photos of gowns you’ve been drooling over since the fifth grade, you will be moving.  A lot.  You’ll be sitting, could be kneeling, oughta be dancing.  Select something that makes you feel like a million bucks and allows you to eat dinner!  Keep this in mind as you try things on, and then again as your fittings happen.  Jump up and down, bend over, put your arms over your head; having to tug/pull/adj ust your wedding finery on the big day is a big no — your tailor’s job is to make you feel effortless regardless of action.
This rule also applies to shoes!  Make sure you can comfortably walk on any surface (and PRACTICE! Yes, you!!) so people are wondering over the vision that you are, not the over/under on when you’ll bite it or go barefoot.

 

2a.  How you want others to move their bodies throughout the day/night.  If you want your bridal party and guests to really cut loose on the dance floor, consider issuing them less restrictive attire and toning down the formality of the dress code.  If the effect you’re going for is a little more elegant than eccentric, remember that bending over to pick up a cornhole beanbag might not be the chicest (or easiest) cocktail activity.

 

3.  How individual you want the bridal party to look.  We are — thankfully — far from the era of matchy-matchy, one-note, prom-esque attendants.  Nowadays it’s acceptable to, y’know, be considerate of the people who’ve agreed to stand next to you and populate all those photographs.  Before placing the order on those shiny, cap-sleeved, mustard dresses and the matching vests and bow ties because they go with your fall scheme perfectly, think about the people who have to wear them.  Think of their body types, shades of skin, colors of hair… You want them to feel confident, right?  Maybe you like the look of similar dresses in complimentary hues. Maybe a patterned fabric in a bias cut will be the most flattering on everyone.  Maybe you want these dresses to actually be wearable more than once.  Even if you want them to be wearing the exact same thing from earrings to nail polish to shoes, you’ll still want to dedicate some time in deciding all those elements.  Do unto others…

 

4.  How you know your invitees.  Unless you’re some kind of royalty with a public ceremony (I’m looking at you, Prince Harry), chances are you’ll know all your guests.  (I mean, except for your fiancee’s Great Aunt Ermingarde who hasn’t left her neighborhood since the Nixon administration and is shockingly making the 3-state trek… although even she isn’t “a stranger.”)  But maybe you’re having a remote, intimate ceremony with just family, which probably invites less pomp and circumstance than a fete with 200 of your parents’ nearest and dearest.  Or, maybe you are having a grandly-scaled affair brimming with all your college buddies, which could make a “Creative Black Tie” dress code apropos.  At the end of the day, your guests will do their best to bedeck themselves according to the standard you set.  Just know the party you’re throwing, and for whom.  And if Great Aunt Ermingarde calls to ask, ” Just what do you mean by Cocktail attire,” she’s not nagging you, but only trying to answer that question:  What to wear?

 

5.  How you feel like you.  Remember when I said your wedding should represent you & your fiancee on your best day ever?  I couldn’t mean that more.  Even if you’re the poster child for the athleisure movement and this is your one chance to really gussy up, or even if you’re a Tuesday afternoon sequins person and you don’t know if there’s enough Swarovski in the world to out-do your everyday, there’s no reason that the fanciest or most refined version of that person can’t be present.  If your heart is set on being a princess for a day, do it — but be yourself.  If you want to wear a jaw-dropping red dress because white isn’t your thing, do it — because that’s you.  Don’t let your makeup artist, or your mother, or your own self-doubt talk you into wearing something that doesn’t make you feel like the ideal version of yourself.  Who cares if it’s different from what you imagined in high school?!  If, on your wedding day, you were to be asked the compulsory red carpet question, “Who are you wearing?” your answer should resoundingly be:  Me.

 

Now — go forth, shop well, be fabulous.

 

Happy Planning!
Natalie

 

Natalie Newman Locke, the Event Supervisor and a Wadsworth Mansion bride herself, is a seasoned wedding & production professional.  When not creatively writing, photographing weddings, or acting as social media guru, she enjoys sampling wedding cake.

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Mailbag #2 (Flower Power)

The Wadsworth Mansion Mailbag is back!  With all the wedding questions and concerns that we handle (I wish I had a nickel for each one), it only seems fair to share and spread the knowledge.  The following are just a few of our true inquiries from the not-too-distant past about all things floral:

 

Tiptoe Through the Tulips
Hello,
My daughter will be getting married there in August, and the flowers are a very important to me.  I know there is a garden on the property where ceremonies happen, which is where [Bride] will have hers.  What flowers will be in bloom then?  I recall you mentioned roses on the tour.  Are there others as well?  Please advise.

Hi [Mother of the Bride] —
Ceremonies in the Tennis Pavilion – where the little, white, columned building is bookended by rose trellises – are lovely, and that will be a perfect place for [Bride] to have hers, too.  The climbing roses there may have a few remaining stragglers in August, but usually the full rose effect is well gone by then.  Our other flowering plants are the giant hydrangeas, which should be white or turning white by August, and they flank the vista just off our terrace.  Since you envision a floral, garden-y atmosphere in the Tennis Pavilion, I have an idea which may work for you despite the season.  Previously we’ve had late summer and fall weddings where the florist has filled out one of the trellises with roses, other flowers, and greenery, with that serving as the ceremony backdrop.  Alternately or additionally, you could have an arbor or chuppah covered in flowers in front of the trellis.  I can point you in the direction of florists who have previously done these sorts of things here if that would be helpful.  Regardless of whether or not you choose to go with any of these options, your daughter’s wedding will most certainly be a beautiful event.

 

Build Me Up, Buttercup
Hey Natalie,
We’ve selected [Florist] to do our flowers, and we told them we want them to put some arrangements on the mantles in the ballrooms.  We’ll be nearby for a tasting next Wednesday.  Can we maybe come by sometime that afternoon to take measurements of the mantles for our florist?  It’ll be good to see the Mansion again, it’s been a little while since we’ve been by…

Hi [Bride] —
So great to hear you’ve picked such a fabulous florist; they were here several times last season, and knowing you and [Groom] I can see why you would select them.  Although you’re welcome to come by next Wednesday anytime before we close at 5:30, I have the mantle measurements to give you right now.  The East Ballroom’s is 9.5″ x 80″, the West Ballroom’s is slightly smaller at 9″ x 78″.  You’re also welcome to use the mantle in the Bar if you like, which is 7″ x 69″.  Some brides and grooms do fairly elaborate mantle decor, while many florists just use (or incorporate) bridesmaids’ bouquets on the mantles — I’ll be excited to see what you all come up with.

 

Orange Blossom Special
Hi again –
I meant to ask you on the phone about colors.  I really like lots of different flowers and want to do like a rainbow theme, but I don’t want it to look bad, lol!  What do other people do?  I just don’t want it to look boring and all the same.

Hi again, [Bride] —
You’ve got a lot going on with wedding planning, so having a little brain hiccup is completely normal!  Most importantly, you should select the flowers and colors that you like — it’s your big day and you should choose whatever makes you happy.  Having options is what it’s all about here at the Mansion 🙂  But since you asked: we’ve seen it all.  Blush, cream, yellow, orange, purple, red, 3 colors, 5 colors, all one color…  It’s completely up to you.  Flowers and decor are the perfect area to spice things up and really make your wedding your own.  If you want more specific guidance, let us know or ask your florist (remember, their name is on it so they will want to meet your expectations of simultaneously lovely and lively flowers).

 

Every Rose Has Its Thorn
Natalie,
Thank you so much for everything at the wedding!  It was the day of my dreams and I can’t believe it’s already over!  I did have a question, though.  [My florist] charged me extra afterwards, and when I asked her about it she said it was because the Mansion made her clean up more than she usually has to.  Can you give me some insight on this?  Everything else was absolutely perfect, so I just want to understand what’s going on.

Hi [Bride] —
You had such an amazing wedding (excellent DJ selection, by the way) and I’m so glad that it was everything you had envisioned!  I wish [the florist] hadn’t decided to tack on additional costs in the end, and I’m happy to explain our policy on flower clean up, and what specifically transpired with your florist.
Our contract states that if rose petals are used they must be picked up by the end of the rental, or the bride & groom will be charged.  We dislike having to deduct such costs from our couple’s security deposits, which is why we discuss our clean up policies and expectations with the florists ahead of time.  I spoke with [your florist] the day before your wedding and told her that it would be her responsibility to clean up any rose petals she scattered.  When she returned at night’s end to pick up her vases and votives, I had to reiterate to her that each vendor is held accountable for their items or debris from their services, and that she must clean up the petals so that a fee wouldn’t fall to you.  She did end up staying to clear the Vista of petals.  Perhaps other venues don’t require their vendors to follow up so thoroughly… but we feel every wedding deserves the Mansion and grounds in pristine condition.
Please let me know if you have any other questions or if I can shed any more light on the matter.  Your wedding was truly beautiful and excellent fun — your dance with your Dad was hysterical — and I can’t wait to relive it again through your photos.  Keep in touch!

 

 

If you have a question you’d like answered about weddings or events, post it in the comments section below.  Maybe we’ll feature it in a future Mailbag Blog!

 

Happy Planning!
Natalie

 

Natalie Newman Locke, the Event Supervisor and a Wadsworth Mansion bride herself, is a seasoned wedding & production professional.  When not creatively writing, photographing weddings, or acting as social media guru, she enjoys sampling wedding cake.

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Focus Is Future (or, How Weddings Are Governed by The Law of Attraction)

I’m not much of a New Age philosphy kind of gal.  Not that I have anything against it, really, it’s just not my particular cup of tea.  But the longer I’m around weddings and the planning stages that precede them, the more I’m convinced that the Law of Attraction is a thing.

For the uninformed, good old Wikipedia defines the Law of Attraction as such:

“…the idea that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts a person brings positive or negative experiences into their life.  This belief is based upon the idea that people and their thoughts are both made from “pure energy”, and the belief that like energy attracts like energy.”

I can’t necessarily speak to the second part, but the first bit about the outcome of experiences being reflective of the energy put into them is a very real occurrence.  And while I think it’s generally true throughout life, it is of course magnified under the glass of a major milestone event like a wedding.

0398 To wit:

A recent bride of the Wadsworth Mansion was the essence of relaxed.  Her planning was thoughtfully arranged and specific, but even as we met to go over details a few days before her wedding she seemed to be in a lovely bubble of equal parts calmness, happiness, and reality.  She was very aware that unforeseen things could happen, but she trusted her vendors to do what they were hired to do and keep her day running smoothly.  Lo and behold — her wedding was a breeze, full of life and joy, and not a thing went wrong!  Within a week of her celebration she had written us to to say that her dream wedding had come true and she couldn’t have been more thrilled.  Hooray!

On the other hand, I can recall an occasion that had a marriage ceremony and reception that felt nothing like a celebration.  Try as the bride and groom might for smooth, easy sailing, their families seemed determined to encounter disaster.  I met them for a rehearsal a day or so before the wedding, and even then I could feel a cloud of negativity hanging just overhead; by the time the big day arrived, the cloud had fully descended into a terrible fog of malcontent and cantankerousness.  Although the bride and groom left that night seeming peacefully light, their family’s negativity would soon find them and everyone else involved in the event, re-coloring the entire picture in sad, gloomy hues.  It’s so unfortunate when a murky, merciless attitude prevents others from having the time of their lives.

These two examples are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to reaping what you sow in the garden of weddings.  It’s amazing how we can predict with quite a bit of accuracy the general outcome of an event based on the process leading up to it.  But we can.

And you can, too.  As you plan your wedding, or vacation, or birthday party, or whatever, take a step back and do some honest self-assessment.  If your outlook is positive — even if it’s realistic — your road should be relatively smooth and happy.  If your attitude needs some adjustment, now is the time to find (or create) that silver lining before the negativity gets out of control.  And if the negative influence isn’t you, find a way to redirect, reduce, or remove that person from the process.

 

Happy planning!
Natalie

 

Natalie Newman Locke, the Event Supervisor and a Wadsworth Mansion bride herself, is a seasoned wedding & production professional.  When not creatively writing, photographing weddings, or acting as social media guru, she enjoys sampling wedding cake.

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For Your Consideration

You’re so excited.  The question was popped, the answer was yes, and now you’re on the whirlwind ride that we call engagement.

You’re overwhelmed.  Opinions from all angles are swirling around as you start to climb the mountain of decision-making known as wedding planning.

You’re resolute.  You know exactly what you want your big day to be like, and all you need is for everything to be perfectly as you designed.

Image Photography 039

However you’re approaching your matrimonial celebration, allow me to let you in on a little trade secret.  Your vendors — those you hire for the goods and services associated with your event (florist, photographer, cake baker, etc.) — are human beings.  I know, I know — it sounds obvious, right?  But you’d be flabbergasted at the countless, true stories that would provide substantial evidence to support how often that fact is forgotten.

That’s not to say that all brides, grooms, or their families behave in ways that seem dismissive of the lives of their trusted vendors (far from it), but it happens often enough that I have to wonder how many people outside of the event business are aware of the way their words or actions come across.

For example, I recently heard about a wedding vendor who had an extremely ill child, which set this vendor back on the designated timeline, although not to any real detriment of the services provided; the couple demanded a full refund, and when the vendor gave the very good reason for the slight scheduling setback, the couple’s reaction was not one of compassion but, “that’s not our problem.”

True story.

Not all such tales are quite as horrifyingly unfeeling.  Most could be characterized as simply inconsiderate.

Another story I’ve heard goes like this:  one of the vendors of an upcoming wedding had a parent pass away, to which the mother of the bride responded, “well you’re still going to be doing this wedding, right?!”  The implications being, of course, that vendors aren’t allowed to deal with their own lives like the rest of the world, and that they’re somehow in danger of forgetting their work obligations.

Regardless of what life throws their way, all that anyone hired to shoot your video or plan your day or arrange your flowers wants to do is put forth their best work.  Their name is on it.  It will represent them in the future.  They will do everything in their power to give you everything designated in their agreement with you, and then some.  I also don’t know of any vendors worth their salt who would enter into a contract if they weren’t able to fulfill it to the best of their abilities, no matter what’s going on.

The most classic case of ignorant behavior towards hard-working vendors is — you guessed it — pregnancy.  A female vendor “with child” can expect (no pun intended) to be on the receiving end of countless comments relating her gestation once the bump is no longer hide-able.  And, yes, I know vendors who will go to great lengths to hide their pregnancy for as long as possible for this very reason.  Some comments are intended to be jokey, while others are just downright impertinent and rude.  In any case, it’s clear that the old common sense rule of “think before you speak” is woefully absent from the minds of many.

Not too long ago there was a vendor that I know who told me that instead of being congratulated on her soon-to-be motherhood, a family member of a wedding in May said, with actual concern, “It won’t affect the wedding will it?”  Her due date was in January.

The all-too-real stories happen all-too-often.

So please consider, through your excitement, stress, and determination leading up to (and on) your big day, giving some consideration to the people you hire to help you have the event of your dreams.  A little thoughtfulness can go a long way.

As the saying goes: remember that your pants go on one leg at a time just like everybody else’s.

Or, less colloquially, abide by the Golden Rule and all will be well.

Happy Planning!
Natalie

 

Natalie Newman Locke, the Event Supervisor and a Wadsworth Mansion bride herself, is a seasoned wedding & production professional.  When not creatively writing, photographing weddings, or acting as social media guru, she enjoys sampling wedding cake.

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Mailbag #1 (Chuppahs and JPs and Tastings, Oh My!)

IMG_3066 We field many questions here at the Wadsworth Mansion — some big, some small (although when they’re about weddings, small is a relative term).  Here are a few of our recent, real queries:

 

Marry Me
Hi again —
We’re having a friend officiate the ceremony; I’ve looked in CT laws, and looks like we’re fine as long as they are credited through [American Marriage Ministries]– but just wanted to see if you had any additional information on this?  No biggie at all if not, but worth asking!

Hey [Bride]!
My understanding is that for a wedding to be legal in CT, a CT Justice of the Peace or Judge or active clergy member must be present to do the paperwork and legally witness your marriage.  I’ve seen couples have their friends do the ceremony with a JP present to do the legal paperwork parts; I’ve also known a JP or judge to do the legal marriage part first (tucked away somewhere) just before the friend does the big ceremony in front of guests and loved ones.  I can recommend several JPs who will happily help your friend marry you.  For a little further reading on legally marrying in CT, read here starting halfway down at “Connecticut General Statutes.”

 

To Taste
Hi Natalie,
We just had our tasting with our caterers and we’re a bit concerned. [My fiance] didn’t think his steak was cooked properly, and as you know having amazing food is a big part of what we want for our wedding.  I’m a vegetarian so I couldn’t taste it to give my opinion, but it was red in the middle…  Since they’re on your list, I thought we wouldn’t have any issues and that they would know what they’re doing, but now I’m worried that we’ve made the wrong decision about caterers.   We did like a lot of what they served (my entree was excellent) but [his] filet wasn’t well done.  Can you tell us how their food has been previously and if any other couples have issues with them?

Hi [Bride],
I’m sorry your tasting wasn’t quite what you hoped for!  I have to say I’m surprised.  I’ve actually never heard any negative feedback about [this catering company], nor had anything resembling a poor experience with them myself.  Have you let them know the exact things that didn’t meet your expectations?  You should — and don’t be bashful about it — because they can’t fix what they don’t know!  And remember that they are caterers; their job is to cater to your needs…which they can do well if you communicate those needs with them.  Tastings usually do go pretty smoothly, generally speaking.  But the reason they exist is to facilitate discussion about the menu and it’s appearance.  Let me also say that unless you’ve specified a particular desire ahead of time (like cooking filet mignon well done, which is atypical for that cut) the chefs will prepare the food to their professional standards.  So, give them a call and share your specific feedback, and continue to keep the lines of communication open with them.  I stand by their abilities to give you precisely the smooth (and delicious) wedding that you want, you just have to tell them exactly what you told me.  They’ll be more than happy to make any adjustments you need, I promise.  Keep me updated!

 

Got It Covered
Hi Natalie,
I was so excited to drop off our deposit and contract that I forgot to ask you about chuppahs when I was there!  Can you tell me where to get one? 

Hi [Bride],
Lovely seeing you today — and congratulations again on becoming our newest official Wadsworth bride!  In regards to finding a chuppah, florists tend to be the way to go.  Quite a few on our “Fabulous Finds for Wedding Planning” have done some really stunning ones here at the Mansion, so be sure to inquire with them.  But regardless of the florist you select, they’re the vendors to talk to about chuppahs (even if you want a very simple, traditional, non-floral one).  Happy planning 🙂
If you have a question you’d like answered about weddings or events, post it in the comments section below.  Maybe we’ll feature it in a future Mailbag Blog!
Happy Planning!
Natalie
Natalie Newman Locke, the Event Supervisor and a Wadsworth Mansion bride herself, is a seasoned wedding & production professional.  When not creatively writing, photographing weddings, or acting as social media guru, she enjoys sampling wedding cake.
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On Uniqueness

MichelleGirardPhotography189-(ZF-7163-86976-1-001) Here at the Wadsworth Mansion, uniqueness is our delight.  Each event is it’s own celebration, standing solo on our calendar for that day and befitting the design of the host’s individual vision.  Our mansion and grounds are merely a (beautiful) blank slate, leaving any and all details  — food, decor, flowers, floor plan, and more — up to the thrower of said party.

When my husband and I were married here almost one year ago, we loved that we weren’t forced into hiring a specific DJ or caterer or florist; the absolute last thing we wanted was a “wedding factory,” where we would just be shoehorned into a pre-set model like afterthoughts and hurried through our wedding to make way for the next one.  The a la carte manner in which the Mansion goes about it’s events allowed our big day to actually reflected us as a couple.  We had the wedding we intended from top to bottom (which, incidentally, you can get a taste of here, just scroll down a bit).

And since then, now that I am employed by the Mansion, I have seen many more weddings and parties here and none are alike.  Even among weddings with similar teams of vendors, the celebrations are unique representations of the hosts.

And all that freedom of choice isn’t for everyone.  I certainly give tours where our historic mansion and it’s one-of-a-kind, symmetrical footprint throws people off.  It does take some creativity to think outside of the same old, single ballroom box.  And that’s okay — coloring outside the lines is great for some and uncomfortable for others.  Plenty of people like to stick to safe, tried-and-true ways of doing things because the enormity of hosting a big event can be stressful enough.

But I can promise that if you’re willing to be intrepid in your party throwing you will reap so much more than if you copy the majority just to stick to the norm.  I recently overheard a comment by a guest at an event (who was late, and purposefully hanging back): “…if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all.”  Yikes.  To be honest, the host didn’t deserve such an assessment at all. However, if that’s the general perspective you’re up against, wouldn’t you want to blow that thought out of the water?

Don’t worry so much about how everyone else did it, or does it, or will do it.  What makes these things so special and noteworthy is how personal they are.

Be uniquely you and your wedding will be extraordinary.

Happy Planning!
Natalie

Natalie Newman Locke, the Event Supervisor and a Wadsworth Mansion bride herself, is a seasoned wedding & production professional.  When not creatively writing, photographing weddings, or acting as social media guru, she enjoys sampling wedding cake.

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How to Make Your Wedding Yours

Oftentimes when giving tours of the Mansion to potential brides and grooms I am asked, “what do most people do?”  While I’m happy to relay typical arrangements of tables and chairs or layouts that harmonize fire code with aesthetics, it seems to me that the question is actually much more loaded.

MMwed-353 The pressure put on couples (by themselves or others) to conform to certain ideas, ideals, traditions, and desires is real.  I see it every day.  I experienced it myself.  It varies in shades and degrees from wedding to wedding, but it is always there.  And it is perfectly natural and to be expected — two people in love from two different families [we hope, but that’s a different blog] and backgrounds are uniting in a singular celebration in a finite period of time.

Amid all the excitement it can be weirdly easy to confuse your opinions with those of your loved ones, or feel pressured into conforming to suggestions you don’t love.  Your best friend continuously tells you what colors she thinks you should use, your favorite uncle has written a song he insists on singing during your ceremony, and your parents feel they should get to cast the final vote on every last detail because that’s how their wedding was planned.  And yes, you want to be inclusive, and maybe someone will have a stroke of brilliance that you never would’ve come up with…

But.  Each couple deserves a wedding that reflects them as a couple.  The two of you should dream up a vision together that becomes the foundation for the event.  You have the right to decide if a particular tradition is or isn’t meaningful to you.  It’s okay if you & your fiancee don’t really care about flowers even though everyone else seems to.  Don’t worry so much about keeping up with the Joneses or being Pinterest perfect or agreeing to things just to appease certain people.  Your wedding will be happiest and most meaningful to all of your guests if it echoes you.

So the question is really, “how do you keep the wheels on the wagon?”wadsworth00496

Step 1:  Breathe.  In and out.  Slow is good.

Step 2:  Remember, everyone involved cares deeply about you.  If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be so passionate.  (This is an important marriage lesson in general.)

Step 3:  Tell yourself that this is all completely normal.  Because it is.  It really, really is.

Step 4:  Listen to the idea.  It just might be a good one, or half a good one.

Step 5:  Thank your loved one for the suggestion.  Whether it’s “yeah, that’s similar to something we’ve discussed,” or “I hadn’t thought of that before, but we’ll take it into consideration,” be kind and acknowledge it’s coming from a good place.  Sometimes recognition of a suggestion is all that’s needed.

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Step 6: Gently remind your loved one that it’s your day.  Be firm if you have to, but the key word is ‘gently’.  Emotions are already high and there’s no need to be nasty.  The point will be made.  Slow your roll, ‘Zilla.

Repeat all (especially Steps 1-3) as needed.

 

Trust the foundation that you set as a couple — and I mean that in life and in wedding planning. The rest will fall (okay, sometimes hurtle) into place.9 Dancing 1
Happy Planning!
Natalie

Natalie Newman Locke, the Event Supervisor and a Wadsworth Mansion bride herself, is a seasoned wedding & production professional.  When not creatively writing, photographing weddings, or acting as social media guru, she enjoys sampling wedding cake.

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