Be the Carefree Bride

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As much as I believe in and love my job as a Certified Wedding Planner specializing in Day of Wedding Coordination, I’ve often said there are only three things you need for a wedding: a couple and someone to marry them. It is a great honor to be chosen as the person that unites a couple on their wedding day. The ceremony is the whole reason there is a party afterwards, and it can really set the tone for your entire event –and not all Officiants are created equally. How do you know which one is the right one for you? If you are planning a church wedding, your decision is already made. Two birds, one stone right? If this is you, you don’t even need to finish reading this post. For everyone else, there are Officiants for hire. It could be a Justice of the Peace, an Ordained Minister with no church affiliation (like myself), or a close friend ordained online. However, marrying a couple is more than just reading a ceremony. You want someone that is confident. Someone with a good speaking voice – not just a good reader. And you absolutely must love your Officiant. Is this someone you would enjoy having over for dinner or a game night? Is it someone that projects warmth, friendliness, love? You will remember this person every time you think back on your wedding day or look at photos – make sure it is someone you will think back on fondly!

It’s always best to be prepared no matter which type of Officiant you are looking for – here are some questions to get you started. Some you need to ask yourself, some are for your Officiant.

For You:

  • What kind of ceremony do you want?

Religious, no religion, or something in between

  • How long do you want your ceremony to be?

Long or short are not correct answers. When thinking of your ceremony, remember that you will be standing in front of your loved ones, wearing a heavy dress or a suit/tuxedo…and quite possibly on a hot day in the sun. I suggest standing still – no fidgeting, texting, phone surfing, for however long you think you want your ceremony to be. Then think about all of those conditions I just mentioned. Are you sure you still want a 45 minute ceremony?

  • Do you want a somber ceremony, or something a little more light-hearted?
  • Do you want any readers during your ceremony?

A reader can read from the bible, a favorite book or poem, or even your favorite song lyrics.

  • Do you want a unity ceremony included?

Traditional (candle or sand) or non-traditional (Wine and Chocolate, Tree Planting, Wish Lanterns – create your own!)?

For your Officiant:

  • Why did you start doing weddings?
  • What type of ceremonies do you do?
  • Do you have stock (insert name here) ceremonies to choose from or do you write your own?
  • What will you wear for our ceremony?
  • Will you attend the rehearsal (some Officiants charge an additional fee)?
  • Is there a travel fee (some charge per mile outside a certain range)?
  • What time will you arrive for our ceremony?
  • How do you present your ceremony? Do you use a bible/book/binder/iPad/kindle/paper?
  • Will you mail in our marriage license for us?
  • Is there anything else we should know?

I hope this helps you make the most of your time interviewing your officiant, and making one choice of your big day just a little bit easier!

Be Carefree,

Suzanne

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Love is in the air!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Writing my first Carefree Weddings blog on the most love-filled day of the year seemed like a good fit, as February is a HUGE month for me this year! Firstly, I am now with Carefree Weddings full time, and secondly, I just announced my first pregnancy – which means I was tethered to Facebook for quite a while ;). As I read my friends Facebook messages to their loved ones on this Holiday, it got me thinking about Valentine’s Day weddings & holiday weddings in general.

Deciding to have your wedding on a holiday may sound like fun for everyone, and it will be - as long as you plan accordingly! My [destination] wedding day was the Saturday of the Memorial Day Weekend in 2014. When we were planning it out, we knew our guests would need to travel for the wedding, so we thought it was a great idea to have it on a 3 day weekend, so people wouldn’t have to take as much personal time off to travel. Once we knew for sure that it was going to be a destination wedding, we got to work sending out our Save The Dates with the location on them right away holiday weekend airfares can easily get out of the affordable range if you wait too long. Even if you are planning to do your holiday wedding locally, it is still a good idea to send the Save the Dates ASAP - people make holiday plans many months in advance.  Incorporating the holiday into your wedding colors or decor can add a touch of whimsy to your holiday wedding, but try not to over-do it. Signature cocktails would be a fun way to combine the wedding and the holiday in one! I became a junior home-mixologist trying to figure out our wedding cocktails and coming up with the perfect names. Call me crazy ;) … wait, forget I said that.

If you are a real holidays fan, and wish to get married closer to the major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas – which may be a strategic move since your family will be nearby already – call your favorite venues and discuss what deals they can offer you for booking a wedding in those months. Great deals can be had in the Winter time, however,  a lot of venues and vendors will be busy with  holiday parties, so you also may have competition. I suggest to book weddings near Christmas way in advance!

Holiday wedding tips & tricks

  1. Send Save the Dates (don’t forget the location!) as soon as you decide you are having your wedding on or around a holiday.
  2. Include some touches of the holiday in your décor and signature cocktails.
  3. Look into your favorite venues and vendors and see if you can get a discount for a late fall or winter wedding – you will stand a greater chance with a very early booking.
  4. Hire a wedding coordinator to keep it all organized, and to execute a backup plan in case of weather or other unexpected situations.

Be Carefree,

Tiffany

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Introducing....

tiff headshot

Now that I have explained my absence, I have a big announcement to make! I have decided to partner up with Tiffany Averill.  Tiffany has assisted me with several weddings (I still did a few over the last year, I just didn’t really talk about it) and I have decided to make her my partner.  She is currently going to school to be an event planner, but she is also getting some side learning from the best (me!).  I love her enthusiasm for weddings and learning - and I’m confident you will love her too.

Welcome to the Carefree Weddings Team, Tiffany!

Be Carefree,

Suzanne

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Like Sands Thru the Hourglass…

Photography by Shot Of Whimsy
…so are the days of our lives. I grew up hearing MacDonald Cary says those lines and it never meant much to me. Frankly, a lot of you reading this post are probably wondering who MacDonald Cary is and why did he say this to me all the time. For the record it was the opening of my mother’s favorite daytime soap opera, Days of Our Lives.

That line never meant much to me then. I was a kid. Time could not move fast enough for me…I wanted to grow up and see the world! And of course, I did grow up. I moved away, went to college, got married, and had twins. My own little version of a fairy tale. But they grew up too!

Why am I telling you all of this on a wedding blog? To explain my absence over the last year and a half. In August 2014 I decided to take a sabbatical of sorts – from weddings. It was the beginning of my boys’ senior year of high school and I felt like I needed to be available for them every weekend if they needed me. I can’t lie to you – I was SO SCARED of losing my boys to college life that I wanted to stop and savor every last moment I could with them.

And it worked. I spent a lot of time with them in the last year, and even though they have both gone away to school, they still come home to visit. And so it is time for me to rejoin the wonderful world of weddings in full force!

There is also another message here: enjoy every moment. It’s so easy to get caught up in the minutiae of day to day life – then throwing wedding planning into the mix? It’s easy to forget to appreciate the little moments. But that argument you are having over whether or not you can afford this or that aspect of your wedding that seems so important right now? I hope you can look back on it and laugh…remember it fondly. How intensely you fought for your idea…only to forget all about it on your wedding day.

Remember there are only 3 things you really need on your wedding day: you, your love, and an officiant.

Everything else is just icing on the cake.

Be Carefree,

Suzanne

(Photogr aphy by Shot Of Whimsy)

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Cheers - Amanda and Henry

When my husband and I tied the knot we always knew we wanted someone who could design and hold a wedding ceremony unique to us and no one else. As parents of two late daughter’s we wanted to find a way to incorporate them into our service as being part of our family. Suzanne did more than just that, as a mother and new wife I will always be entirely grateful to the time and thought she put into designing the ceremony of our dreams. If you are looking for someone who truly makes your day about marrying your best friend, I would highly recommend Suzanne. 

We also had her as our coordinator and she was nothing less than perfect and professional in every situation handled. Not a single detailed went untouched, not a single issue arose; she even remained in contact after the wedding, and thanks to her we enjoyed our entire day carefree. Planning your perfect day takes so much time and effort that putting the responsibility into the hands of another on your wedding day is a huge decision to make and after having only talked to Suzanne for five minutes I knew she was the real deal. I would not recommend anyone so highly if I did not feel she truly made the wedding of my dreams come true. I can promise choosing carefree bride was the best decision we made for a day that creates memories for a lifetime. 

Thank you so much Suzanne, anyone who meets you can tell how dedicated and passionate you are about creating the perfect wedding day. We will never forget how memorable and personal you made it for us and our family. 

Amanda & Henry Sanchez

Thank you Amanda and Henry.  To see how Carefree Weddings rated, click here.

Be Carefree,

Suzanne

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