Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day!

SHARE THE LOVE!!! IT’S MOTHER’S DAY!
Alicia and Lynetta  | Photo by Signed Sealed Delivered Events
Today is the day to reflect on how much we love, honor, cherish and appreciate our mommas, the women in our lives who have raised us, whom we look up to, learn from and lean on.
Rebecca and Susan  |  Photo by Abbey Miller Sigler
The ones who walked us to school till we were old enough to take the bus. The ones who read us bed time stories. The ones who consoled us in the middle of the night after a bad dream. The ones who showed us how to shave our legs, to put on mascara and how to act like a lady. (Clearly this blog is geared towards the ladies…) The ones who taught us how to boil pasta, and to shop around for the best deals. To treat others with kindness and compassion and love. Who taught us how to wrap a gift with newspaper and yarn and still look beautiful. Who taught us all the words to the Sound of Music soundtrack…
Alison and her beautiful momma  |  Photo by Ten Sixteen Photo
I could go on and on and on… As a planner at Signed Sealed Delivered Events I work super close with brides and grooms. That’s a given. Bbbbuuuuuuttttt I also work with their mommas. Sometimes behind the scenes and sometimes even more than I do with my couples!
Shana and Doris  | photo by Brooke G Images
So today I would like to give a shout out to those ladies… my mothers of the bride and mothers of the groom. You ladies rock! And I love you all!
I gotta be honest, my mom is my best friend and although I am a wedding planner (in real life) I will have her in attendance for most of the big wedding decisions for my up future vows to my love connection {spoiler alert}.
This is me and my momma in real life! Photo by my dear friend BiBi check her out  Photo Elegance She does beautiful family portraits and weddings!!!
I am going to include just a teensy bit of wedding planning info from Signed Sealed Delivered Events to those who need it… but in the meantime, check out a few of my favorite mother daughter wedding moments!!!
Ashely and Kim |  Photo by Josie Anderson
Lauren and Dawn  |  Photo by friend of the family
Danielle and Diane |  Photo by Complete Weddings and Events
Times have changed and so have the roles for moms. Looking for some ways to keep the moms involved with the planning process? Here’s a few from Signed Sealed Delivered Events! – menu tasting – guest list planning – co-hosting the showers – some moms even come to bachelorette parties – budget planning- especially if they are contributing – I like to ask moms to come to the floral designer appointments because not only do they have good taste, but in some cases moms have been to way more weddings than you and your fiance so they will have a good idea of who on each side will get flowers in addition to the bridal party and centerpieces – in most cases your parents are your co-hosts of the wedding and they will be assisting in greeting guests when you are taking photos and visiting with other guests – wedding dress shopping – bridesmaids dress shopping – and of course you should definitely accompany her to HER dress shopping!
This makes my heart sooo happy!!! Jenny and her girls!!! Photo by Ravetta Photography
Have a wonderful mother’s day! Give your mothers and mother in laws a big ole smooch today and tell them thank you for being a part of your world and making it a better place.
xoxooxox,
Ashlee
Always a Bridesmaid … and the adventures of what not to do

Always a Bridesmaid … and the adventures of what not to do

After starring in several weddings as a bridesmaid (yes I said star because HELLOOOOO there’s a camera flashing in your direction all. day. long.), I have had a lot of fun and a lot of tears. Made new friends, lost some friends. Grew closer with others. And of course added to my formal wear section of my closet.
But mostly I have learned a lot of lessons. And because the topic of bridesmaids, do’s and don’t’s and expectations and support is a normal conversation I have with my brides… I wanted to share some of my experiences.
  • I’ve been the Maid of honor.
  • The Overachieving bridemaid
  • The bridesmaid who just showed up for all the parties and went in on the group gift.
  • The one who knows everything about the couple.
  • The one who barley knows the bride.
  • Who barely knows the groom.
  • The one who knows nothing about the couple, including their middles names or even occupation.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I was the jealous bridesmaid. Super duper jealous. I went above and beyond and complained most of the time until I literally gave myself a come to Jesus. This was one of my bestest most closest friends and I was acting a fool.
AND I’ve been the MOH who actually got kicked out of the wedding… After pricing out the bridesmaids dresses, the jewelry, the shoes. Getting that bride and groom phenomenal deals with killer vendors. Including a reception at MY VERY FAVORITE ballroom in town. The one which I imagined for years, making my own grand entrance into the space as the shades went up on the windows to reveal the most beautiful views of St. Louis. Talk about goosebumps. But yes, I loved her and I wanted the beautiful and the best for her so I negotiated with my contacts and got an INCREDIBLE deal for a HOT HOT HOT date. Either way, I got asked to step down and our friendship came to a steep hault. In fact it basically was pushed off a cliff and forgotten. All because I was unable to attend a dress fitting on a weekend in September. BECAUSE I AM A WEDDING PLANNER and WORK EVERY WEEKEND especially in the fall.  Oh and I also wanted to mention this was 14 months BEFORE her wedding. But I get it. Her wedding is important. Your wedding is important. Anyways I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason because I booked another wedding for that date AND I met some super awesome people after that door closed.
I’ve worn brown, and red and purple and persimmon and mocha and blush and black and maroon. And I did get to use them again. I had one ball gown torn apart to add some excitement to a bridesmaid dresses purchased from a consignment shop for a wedding I was planning. And I did wear one again. I wore it to her reception in the states after her destination wedding. And it was cut so low in the front AND the back that I was hiding NO secrets. At 25 years old, I thought this is sexy. But adjusting the “girls” every 2 minutes quickly changed my mind. I felt like I was wearing suspenders and grateful that my parents weren’t on the guest list.
I’ve been the bridesmaid who planned the majority of the wedding. Every little detail. Even spent a huge amount of time planning the best bachelorette parties and showers and creating the most perfect of gifts.
I’ve been the bridesmaid who showed up with NO moolah and NO gift. I was on my 8th month of unemployment and 3rd wedding that summer. I literally caught a ride to get across 3 states to the wedding…
I’ve been the MOH who kicked themselves out of the wedding. Or kindly stepped down, if you will. Sometimes you just have the feeling that you can’t and won’t live up to those expectations. The reason I am sharing this is because I  am human I talk to brides every week about their bridesmaids involvement and what is normal I understand a ton of the experiences of being in a wedding and of planning a wedding I have made the mistakes and know what that looks and feels like Expectations of bridesmaids now vs. 30 years ago are still the same, yet our lives, the               demands, conveniences, our jobs, our priorities are dramatically different. You are busy. Your bridesmaids are busy. We are all busy. It does not mean they don’t care about your wedding. It just means they are living their lives.
When the traditions of bridesmaids getting together to plan elaborate showers and bachelorette parties, making centerpieces, attending all the dress fittings and vendor meetings, were the norm, think about what a young woman’s life was like. Their job was to graduate high school, meet a man, build a home and have babies! Oh and to be pretty. Pretty was very important. Now we are all working, going to school, living independently, dating, volunteering, getting married, having families. And all the while still staying pretty. So basically I’m not saying your bridesmaids shouldn’t partake in all the excitement or all your scheduled events and to just show up day of. I’m merely saying that this is your wedding and it’s important to choose your maids based on your relationship with them. But knowing too that they have a lot going on and that they love you but may not have a ton of time to help glue wine corks together. That is what planners are for. To keep you excited, relaxed and enthusiastic. To keep you on track.   And heck, I am great at crafting. Call me, I love wine and glue guns. But most of all, I love weddings, I understand what your to do list looks like and I can help you stay organized and get you down the aisle to stand next to your bestest buddies, while you say forever to your other half.
Bridezillas: Myth or Reality

Bridezillas: Myth or Reality

It turns out that weddings are a booming business. Especially for those in reality TV production. I have plenty of clients who refer to David Tutera and Kleinfeld’s within the first 10 minutes of our consultation. I never actually paid much attention to these shows because they don’t really showcase all the magic of a wedding to me. And other shows sensationalize the not-so-great parts of a wedding. Sure, that’s awesome for ratings because folks love a little drama, they love to see a girl fly off her handle, demanding the best of the best, having unrealistic expectations and then coin her bridezilla.
Wikictionary defines it as such:
bridezilla (plural bridezillas)
  1. (usually humorous) A woman who, in the course of planning her wedding, exercises or attempts to exercise a high degree of control over all or many minor details of the ceremony and reception.
 
And exactly what may I ask is wrong with someone who wants to control all of the details?
We live in a society that expects perfection. The perfect job. The perfect house. The perfect body. The perfect clothes. The perfect spouse. The perfect relationship. The list goes on and on and on.
 
Now of course, daughter of the Life Coach, I know perfection doesn’t exist.
And as a planner of 6 years, I tell every. single. one. of. my. brides. that it won’t go perfectly.
BUT we will put a team of professionals together that will create the best day for you no matter the circumstances.
AND that something little may happen that you can’t control, your mom can’t control, the venue can’t control and that the planner can’t control, etc, etc, etc
BUT this dream team will do their best, I will do my best, to make sure it gets taken care of.
Let go of the idea of perfect.
Once you do that, things will seem way easier.
 
And not everyone understands this.
And not everyone operates under this idea.
And not everyone understands what it is like to plan a wedding.
You have one day.
One shot. One opportunity. (thank you Eminem)
to create and execute something you have imagined for a long time.
Something that defines your relationship with the person you are marrying.
Something that will entertain your guests.
Something that is breathtaking and beautiful.
Something that will be a night to remember.
That you can look back on with no regrets.
That is A LOT of pressure.
These girls have nightmares about it.
They have opinions being thrown at them from every direction.
They have a budget- and the majority of the time- its hard to stick to and still get everything you want.
They have moms that want it a certain way.
And mommy in laws that want it a certain way.
They have a groom that wants to elope.
They have dads that don’t think the groom is good enough.
And bridesmaids who are jealous that they aren’t getting married first.
And cousins who are mad they aren’t bridesmaids.
And venues that only allow set up 3 hours before show time.
I could keep going….
Oh and by the way, they also have full time jobs- some with multiple jobs.
And kids.
And volunteer.
And take care of their elderly family members.
Oh and did I mention taking care of yourself because you have a gorgeous dress.
You want to look your best.
And you need your sleep while still tracking those hours for work, and making it to the gym at 5am and helping the kids with the homework and keeping up with the laundry or even having a social life.
And there are only 24 hours in a day.
You see, I understand that it is a lot.
Which is why I am in business.
My clients understand the need for someone to help them keep it organized, to stay on track, to offer suggestions, advice, to listen, and to be there every step of the way, especially for those just-in-case moments.
But not everyone works with me. Or is me. Or understands the pressures and struggles of planning while still being a good mom, a daughter, a boss, a co-worker, a partner…
We are human. And it’s normal to get a little anxious with all the added stress.
So yes, you may snap when you didn’t mean to.
And you may cry because you want everyone to be happy.
And you may say things that aren’t true.
I understand that.
And so should, in my opinion, anyone who chooses to work in the wedding industry.
We know what the pressures are, what our clients are trying to manage.
And we certainly shouldn’t judge you for a few slips.
And we won’t take it personally.
Because we are professionals who know that this is normal.
That you are dealing with a lot.
And you will NEVER catch me calling my brides a Bridezilla.
In fact, when folks find out I am a planner, or ask about my business, they 9 times of of 10 say: any bridezillas?
No way jose, because they do not exist in my world.
Only girls who want their day to be magical.
To live up to their expectations, and their parents’ and his parents’ and the bridal party and the guests…
Moral of the story:
Brideszillas are myth. Because we are human.
Just a little wedding cake for thought:
If you are a wedding professional, be that calm, collected individual who offers a shoulder perhaps.
Who lends some kind advice such as: you look amazing, your girls will look amazing and we can find something in your budget.
If you are a family member, friend, co-worker of a bride, don’t take any of it personally; she really doesn’t mean it and she certainly doesn’t hate you.
And if you are the bride, take a deep breath pumpkin, recognize that it won’t be perfect, but in the end you are marrying your best friend.
And if that still doesn’t work, call me, I am a great wedding planner and I happy to help!
XOXOXOOXOXO
The Few. The Proud. The Gung Ho Groom.

The Few. The Proud. The Gung Ho Groom.

I am a constant chatterbox about my brides and how much I love them. How I love working with them and creating the wedding that they have imagined. Bringing it all together piece by piece, detail by detail, month by month until it’s day by day and then hour by hour. I take on their goosebumpy “that’s-the-perfect-song” moment, their nightmares of being late, the dress not fitting, going to the wrong venue, the colors being wrong (they all get them), the excitement of marrying their best friend, the stress of keeping everyone happy, overcoming the last minute changes and challenges… I heart it all. And I heart being a part of it. And I heart that bond that we build from day one that lasts until well after the wedding is over. From house warmings, to happy hours, to baby showers, I cherish them all.
Left- Allison Martin, married June 2013 Right- Alison Shubert, married December 2012
But let us not forget my beloved grooms. Ashley and Eric Anderson, married June 2013  
In 10 plus years of event planning and six specializing in weddings, I’ve had two grooms- two total- that were: go big or go home for their weddings. It’s a must talk about since these fellas are few and far between and it’s impossible not to adore them. Whatever she (the bride) wants. Chair covers, huge floral arrangements, candelabras, a video screening, lots and lots of pink, a Hawiian honeymoon.
Shelby: My colors are blush and bashful M’Lynn: Her colors are pink and pink
And boy oh boy did she love it. Gina that is. JR was my numero uno gung ho groom and he will forever hold a special place in my heart. In fact when I said he did all the planning, I mean, he did it all. I didn’t even meet his other half until the wedding day. And he couldn’t wait for her to arrive, be the princess bride, experience this wedding she dreamed of, and be totally surprised.
Best.Husband.Ever.
And my numero dos in the gung ho groom department is John. I have to share this story because it brings me so much joy. So much joy that I have to brag. At our first meeting last fall, I ask John and the love of his life to tell me about what they are envisioning for their big day. And here is what John announces: “The theme is Rat Pack. Uplighting. Purple for sure. Come January 1st, all the groomsmen are going on diets because I’m going to look hot and they are going to look hot. Whatever Kari wants. She’s going to be so beautiful and I’m so excited to spend my whole life with her. And we need you there to make sure we are doing it right because I’ve waited 13 years for this day and I want it perfect.
John if you weren’t engaged, I would propose to you.
Because you get it.
And damn it, I love how much you love this sweet girl with the long blonde hair, the most contagious giggle who looks at you with those big blue eyes and replies to that entire prelude with: “John, whatever you want.”  
Thanks for letting me brag on you both. So looking forward to your wedding and every moment in between.
BOOM! And that’s what it’s all-a-bout! I just did the hokey pokey people. No joke. And I turned myself around. Leg up and clapped. You’re welcome for the visual. Of the hokey, not Kari and John, they are too cute. And yes John, you do have a job with Signed Sealed Delivered Events as a planner after your wedding. As per usual, Ms. Manion and my BFF Katie, if you are reading this, please forgive the run-on’s, fragments, mis-puncuations, grammar mistakes, etc. I claim it as part of my charm, contrary to popular belief, it’s not to annoy you… or is it???