Monday, November 21, 2011

Grand Tasting at The Wentworth Hotel & Spa

As you may know, we are the exclusive preferred wedding planner at Wentworth Hotel and Spa in Newcastle, NH. We've written before about this amazing and historic location and all that it has to offer, but we wanted to share with you a fun night we just had on Friday at The Wentworth.

The historic (and newly renovated!) Wentworth Hotel and Spa
All couples getting married at The Wentworth are invited to tastings, at which they meet the vendors on the property's preferred vendor list. It's a fun night with lots of food and drinks where couples, their families, and their friends can get a real feel of what the day may look like.

A full shot of our As You Wish table in The Grand Ballroom before the other vendors arrived.

This table represents the Little Harbor package in The Wentworth Ballroom.

Little Harbor detail shot.
We designed two different tables at the event, one representing the Little Harbor package, and one representing the As You Wish package. (For more on The Wentworth's packages, look here!) Kathy Jardiniere, the Wentworth's preferred florist, brought our floral dreams to life with these gorgeous centerpieces. The linens on the As You Wish were provided by BBJ Linen. Be Our Guest provided the linens on the Little Harbor table, as well as the plates, glassware, and flatware on the As You Wish table. The plates, glassware, flatware, and napkins on the Little Harbor table are The Wentworth's very own supplies.

Our chair treatment of braided sashes were a big hit!

Thanks again to
Maine-ly NewHampshire!
Maine-ly New Hampshire provided all of the perfect paper accents (Mr. and Mrs. signs on the Little Harbor package, and Bride & Groom sign, escort cards, and menu cards on the As You Wish package).

The event is so much fun, as we get to not only meet the couples and their families, but hang out with some truly amazing vendors! We always have an awesome team at this location, and the Grand Tasting on Friday allowed the couples to experience just why the vendors have made it on the list.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Vendor Highlight: The Rivermill

Downtown Dover is home to some really awesome vendors, one of which is a venue that's great for all sorts of events...The Rivermill! Rivermill is one of those establishments that as gorgeous as the actual place is, the people who run it are just as amazing! Read below to hear from Michelle about this historic and intriguing building.

"At Rivermill, we believe that every event should be a unique expression of its host's personality, message or ideals. With this thought in mind, we invite you to choose your own seating plan, d├ęcor, entertainment and even your own caterer. Select one of our preferred partners, bring in your own vendors, or work with our experienced staff to find that elusive, defining component. Whatever the occasion, we’ll help you create the perfect atmosphere in which to welcome your special guests.

With lofty ceilings, 1800s brick-and-beam architecture and tall, arched windows offering views of the Cochecho River, Henry Law Park and Dover's historic City Hall clock tower, Rivermill is distinctive enough to stand on its own, or it can serve as a blank canvas on which to paint your entertainment masterpiece.

So whether you're looking for a traditional reception, a classic New England lobster bake, a black tie formal or a distinctive themed event of your own creation, Rivermill provides the ideal setting to make your dream a reality."

Visit Rivermill (and us!) in person
Rivermill at Dover Landing
2 Washington Street, Dover NH

Or visit them online and on facebook!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Wedding Belle Wisdom: For the Low Key Couple

For some couples the idea of all attention focused on them makes them want to run. For others, they don't want a big formal to-do as the celebration of the wedding. In this case one great option is to host the reception, or maybe even the wedding itself, at a private residence.

Recently we worked with this amazing couple who had their wedding reception at the parents' house in Maine. It was a gorgeous setting right near Nubble Lighthouse, and worked perfectly for the relaxed lobster bake feel the couple wanted!

Whenever the wedding ceremony or reception is held at a private home, however, there are issues that inevitably come up. The reason they are bound to arise is that the location was not designed to host a wedding reception! While it sounds silly, it's true. Rather than rule out the option, we have some advice on how to alleviate some of the ails in order to make the space work for you. (All photos are just quick snapshots I grabbed with my phone. Professional photos to come from Shane's Maine Photography!)

1. Keep it more informal
View from the top of the informal vibe!
Different rooms will mean it's hard for guests to be gathered in one spot. Therefore many of the formalities of a traditional wedding (first dance, champagne toast, etc) can leave guests feeling left out rather than part of the special day. The setting lends itself to a relaxed atmosphere, so rather than fight it, embrace the comfortable and fun feel.
And if anything big is happening, make sure it's happening where everyone can see it. For example, toss the bouquet from a balcony into the yard where all the guests are gathered.

2. Match the number of guests to the space available
Maximum capacity is not the ideal in a private home reception. The right number of guests is the amount that can move comfortably through the house without feeling squished. It's also really important to consider bathrooms the number of bathrooms in the house. While having access to plumbing is definitely a plus when compared to some outdoor venues, too many guests can overwhelm the facilities. Consider that the guests will be at the house for some amount of time near 5 hours. They'll want to move around and explore without feeling crowded.

3. Pick one focal area
People gather around three things: food, alcohol, and other people. When planning the reception try to pick one big open area to focus decorations on. This will draw people to the space and keep the event social and entertaining for all.
Drinks and a candy bar helped to spread people out throughout the day.
We might even suggest lawn games should the space allow. It will get different people interacting in a fun way, as well as spread them out!

4. Be very clear about what is off limits
As the location's main function is most likely someones house, there are going to be things that are private or have been moved out of the way. This last weekend we used simple privacy signs, and then locked the one door behind which we were hiding many personal belongings.

5. Hire a caterer and bartender
Fun personalized drink holders were
available for all guests!
While this may seem like a no brainer, hiring both a caterer and bartender will allow everyone to sit back and enjoy much more. While it may seem like a cute idea to have your Dad grilling for everyone and Aunt Sue pouring drinks, it puts a lot of strain on everyone involved in background details.
Consider it as a backyard barbeque on steriods. Everything is more rushed with more pressure and it will lose the relaxed feel very quickly. And hiring a bartender will release you of liability when it comes to overserving. People are likely to drink more especially at a private home in a relaxed atmosphere. (Speaking of, have LOTS of bottles of water available!)

6. Stock up on cleaning supplies
The house is going to take a hit. I recommend buying double of what you think you need, as you will eventually go through it anyway if you don't on the day. Bathrooms will need restocking, guests will spill, dishes will amass. Just be prepared to wake up on Sunday with quite the to do list.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Don't Let the Rainy Weather Ruin Your Day!

Planning an event in New England adds an additional element to the planning process. While we are fortunate enough to have every season, New England occasionally gifts us with experiencing every season in one day. While picking a day in August may seem like a safer bet, consider this weekend when Hurricane Irene is sweeping in with storms all over the coast.

So how do you prepare for the unexpected? We’re sharing some of our more last minute ideas on how to keep Mother Nature from raining too much on our parades. All of these are things that can be done within the last days before an event when is offering depressing news, except for the first. Our first rule is the golden rule of trying to plan any outdoor event.

  1. A SOLID rain plan
We’re not talking about planning on everyone going inside if it sprinkles. We mean having a solution that will comfortably fit all guests and additional tables. This is why we ALWAYS recommend a tent at outdoor venues (which can also help with too much heat). If your rain plan is moving inside, be sure there is plenty of space for everyone and you can still do most of the activities you had planned. The rain plan should also take into account the following points.

  1. Sides for the tent
If you are renting a tent, it is likely they offered the sides. If you initially refused, but the weather prediction has since soured, we recommend calling the company to see if they are still available. While they end up blocking views, they can be essential in keeping your guests dry and warm. The sides can also be pulled aside, taken off, or put up only on some sides. The versatility of the sides is a very helpful feature, provided you have someone there who knows how to properly put them up and take them down. This is a rather crucial piece that can become more complicated when trying to figure it out later. At the very least make sure someone from the tent company shows a few people how to handle the sides. Caterers and wedding planners will also often know as well.

  1. Heaters
Even if the temperature doesn’t drop significantly, rain makes people want warmth. If it is a predicted rainy day, be prepared for cold guests. Whether this means renting a heater from the tent company or having blankets on hand for later in the night, try to anticipate guests wanting warmth.

  1. Slip-proof surfaces
Even if the rain stops, the damage might not. If there is a dance floor or floors inside that may become slippery when wet, consider putting in a rug, an outdoor weather mat, or other slip proof surface for people to wipe their shoes on. It will save you clean up and twisted ankles all night.

  1. Transportation
If it’s a day filled with sunshine, guests won’t grumble over a little bit of walking (well, most won’t). But if it’s raining or muddy, that short walk will become a major issue. If the space allows, consider seeing if a there is a trolley or shuttle available in the area. If they aren't, there's a good chance a school bus would be available.

  1. Sand/Kitty Litter
This is another strategy for after the rain. If there is an area that guests will be walking through on the yard, placing sand can soak up the water and keep shoes from sinking in. Kitty litter also works, and can even be sprinkled on driveways or walkways and then swept up to minimize puddles.

  1. Umbrellas and Ponchos
Everyone has umbrellas, but maybe they could become your favors! Umbrellas never go to waste, so some in your colors could be a fun touch and be super cute in photos. And if it's looking torrential, cheap plastic ponchos. They again can be really fun in photos, and come in every color (including clear). It's a nice, considerate touch that your guests will truly appreciate.

We hope this helped! Do you have any other ideas on how to stay dry and warm? Leave them below!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

How Lighting Can Transform Your Wedding!

Leslie recently wrote a piece on the easiest and most economical way to transform a venue for a reception. Not only do we have that advice, but also three of our favorite lighting vendors to work with! We've also included some photos from one of our weddings at the Wentworh Hotel to show you how dramatic the change can be! Thanks to Daniel Doke for the fantastic pictures.

When you think about redecorating your home, all design experts will tell you that the most economical way to make the biggest impact is to paint your walls! When you walk into your reception tent or room, you may like it, but feel that you wish you could paint the walls to incorporate your wedding colors. Clearly, this is not a possibility, most locations frown on painting the walls ;) However, most reception spaces today choose neutral colors for the walls and of course a tent is a blank slate! So, how do you accomplish getting your walls painted without actually painting the walls? The answer is simple and can be cost effective if you use the right resources and take time in the pre-design phase to get the most impact for your money!
The answer: LIGHTING! This used to be a very expensive endeavor. You had to hire a large lighting company, bring in tons of staffing to set-up, run and breakdown the equipment. Hiding wires, large display boards, and sometimes with all of that, you still only got a static color on your walls. Today, with the technical advances in the industry you can now have battery powered, single LED uplight units placed throughout your room to create an entire atmosphere! The best part, they are all controlled from a small computer panel and the lights can be changed during the reception at any time with a simple push of a button. Keep it relaxed for the dinner, then when the dance floor gets hopping, the lights can create a night club experience for your guests!
Small extras can also make a huge difference! A couple of popular options - Hang a light from the ceiling or a pole and light your cake table. Order a custom monogram for your dance floor.

Enjoy dreaming of all the possibilities! Your guests will feel that the room was built for you!
There are three particular companies we love working with that are spread throughout New England. Check out their websites below to become even more inspired!
New Hampshire: Event Lighting Concepts,
Eastern Mass (Boston): Advanced Lighting & Production Services, Inc. (ALPS),
Western Mass: CJC Event Lighting,

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Vendor Highlights: MAC Photography

We work with some truly fantastic vendors, and want to continue our series of sharing them with you! Up next, MAC Photography! Check out some of their photos below and read about why we love them!

MAC Photography, located in Downtown Portsmouth NH, consists of a team of professional artists dedicated to preserving your wedding memories. They offer over ten years of professionalism combined with a unique blend of classic and modern photography. It is their goal to find that special difference with each and every client. They pride themselves in capturing the fine points of your day with style and elegance and their professional artistry is well known throughout the Seacoast for doing just that!

Place cards from a Wentworth By the Sea event.

“There are three key elements that separate us from our competition! First is our digital enhancements. Digital imaging plays a hug role in photography, it is not only important to hire a great photographer but also someone who is well educated in the latest digital enhancing techniques. We offer digital enhancements free of charge, every single printed photograph whether it’s a wall portrait, wallet, or album page is retouched complimentary. Our standard enhancements include whitening and brightening of teeth, evening skin tones, and saturating colors but we can even go as far as changing blinking eyes, moving signs and cars, and make body parts slimmer."

"Second is the way we photograph client’s wedding details and use them as textures and graphic elements within the wedding pictures and album pages. This look transforms wedding images into custom artwork."

"And third is the amount of planning we do with clients to ensure the day goes smoothly. Approximately two months before the wedding we meet the couple at the reception site to scout out spots for pictures outside and inside in case it rains. It’s very important for us to establish an A & B plan before the wedding day. We complete a family formal questionnaire and create a wedding itinerary for the bridal party and wedding vendors. We started offering this service because we wanted to relieve our couples of any stress on the wedding day."

- Michelle Brewster and Jodi Ramos, MAC Photography.

Visit MAC Photography at to view their full portfolio, pricing and packages, and review what past couples thought about their services.
MAC Photography
500 Market St #2B
Portsmouth NH 03801

Dress from Madeleine's Daughter

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Belle Turned Bride - Photographer Martin Haseman

My friends call me un-photogenic. I’ve been told that something happens the moment the flash goes off; they’ve seen it happen countless times. A twitch of the face and my normal, pretty smile is morphed into a frightening triple-chin sporting nightmare.
I’ve heard all the tips; weight on your back foot, don’t stand straight on, smile with your tongue on the roof of your mouth, close your eyes until I say “3.” I may be a lost cause but is it wrong of me to hope for a few perfectly frame-worthy pictures from my wedding day?? I don’t think so!
I know I speak for Spencer and I when I say that choosing a photographer was one of the most important decisions we had to make for our wedding. Pictures will be the one thing we can take away when the festivities are over. I want them to be artistic, romantic, emotional, and to capture the true essence of who we are. I also have a personal goal of having a photographer who is capable of capturing my best angle (if there is one).

Martin Haseman of Martin Haseman Photography
In my years of working weddings I have met some unbelievable photographers. I have spent countless hours scrolling through their colorful blogs in awe of their sheer talent. Martin Haseman is among them. I presented his work to Spencer shortly after we returned from Italy and he was (obviously) equally impressed. We are thrilled that Martin will be photographing our wedding. His work captures all of the aspects we were looking for in a photographer. I also know from personal experience that he is absolutely wonderful to work with. I am excited to have someone I know and trust behind the lens. I also think his cool-calm demeanor may have just what it takes to reign in the triple-chinned beast. I guess we will see during our engagement session next month!!!
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