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First wedding of 2017! | Woodwinds in Branford

It’s time to fire up the truck and start the official wedding season of 2017! Our first stop is at Woodwinds in Branford, CT for Alicia & Xavier’s wedding on Friday March 24th. The first wedding of the year is always an exciting time because it’s a new year. Like I do every year, I always say that the first wedding is the wedding that all other weddings will be compared to. Because of that, it’s got to be good. REALLY GOOD.

Being at Woodwinds doesn’t hurt. They’ve got hospitality down to a science. The food is spectacular, the ambiance is inviting and if you’ve ever been to Woodwinds before, you probably have met their ROCKSTAR event coordinator Scott. Scott is very enthusiastic and passionate about weddings and it shows when he’s working.

I am soo looking forward to next Friday. It’s going to be a good one for sure.

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Should I fire my wedding DJ?

Taylor writes:
“I found an independent dj who has done multiple events at my venue in New Haven, CT in the past. On his Instagram he has photos and videos of his work and my fiance and I were impressed and booked him. Before we booked him he moved to LA to further his career in DJ’ING and dance.
On the phone he assured us that he’d love to do our event and his family lives in CT still so he’d definitely make it out here for our event. He did not ask for any traveling fees just the cost of doing the event and uplighting ($2,000.)
We signed the contract and sent in the deposit at the end of December. Since then I’ve emailed twice about a receipt for the deposit and I haven’t heard back. Today I reached out to him via text message and he claims he didn’t get any emails and expressed a very lackluster attitude about my event. I know he is an independent DJ but I did expect some customer service and some urgency about my event. Am I over reacting or should I start looking for a new DJ?”

Hey Taylor. You’ve just touched upon one of the points that I make at meetings with clients. And that is, making sure your wedding DJ is a good fit. Besides lighting and other dazzling addons, realistically speaking, what matters is the end result. There’s a lot left to chance in this particular situation. Now of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. After all, there are plenty of local DJs that do destination weddings and work outside of the US as well. But, this is a different situation. The DJ you hired, moved to California. And even though they have a commitment to you, there is a likely hood of a delayed flight, the acquisition of gear to pull it off, and a lot of other behind the scenes stuff that needs to happen to pull off a successful wedding.

The red flag we see here is that the lines of communication are failing. If you haven’t spoken to your DJ in some time and they’re not returning calls, there’s a good chance they aren’t going to. The fact that your questioning whether you made the right decision tells you all you need to know. Find yourself a sure thing. Ask your vendor team for suggestions and they will be able to help you. After all, they see DJs week after week and know the difference between a great DJ and a not so great DJ and also can help you find someone that might be a good fit for your personality based on your interactions with them.

It’s up to you.

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The post you’ve been waiting for – Average Cost of a Connecticut Wedding

Money. It rules the world. From houses and cars to that new keychain you’ve always wanted, it all boils down to one thing. What are you willing to pay for something.
We’re going to dive deep into the dark place that is the Connecticut Wedding Budget. We will cover all of the aspects in chronological booking order. Here we go!

1. Wedding Venues

Wedding venues (catering included) charge per person. In many cases your open bar is included in price of the cost per person. And whether you’re going for the gusto at a premier wedding venue or going for economy, a good starting point is between $80-150 per person. This will more than likely include a 5 hour reception including cocktail hour, a 3 course meal (salad, pasta, & main course) as well as appetizers during your cocktail hour. It also includes the actual venue itself. You’re choosing your venue based upon the look and atmosphere you want to create and depending on your tastes, it could costs you a few dollars more to get what you want. At $100 per plate for 100 guests, it’s going to cost about $10,000 not counting tax and gratuity.

2. Wedding Photographers & Videographers

A seasoned wedding photographer & videographer are PRICELESS! Especially when you figure that the images captured from your wedding celebration are going to be a permanent fixture in your home. Think of them like you would a piece of rare art. Because THEY ARE! Your wedding photos are one of a kind. And making you look your best will run you between $5000-$8500 respectively. Now before you get sticker shock, let me tell you. There is a TON of planning, work, and editing that goes into your one of a kind masterpiece. You’re not going to get that kind of quality from an instagram filter and an iphone.

3. The Wedding DJ

You want your party to ROCK! You want your introductions to be flawless. And you want every moment of your special day to go to plan. This is where the wedding dj comes into play. They are the keeper of the keys when it comes to the success of your wedding. And why? Well, if you ask the majority of couples that have attended weddings, ‘What did you remember most about the last wedding you attended.”, 9 times out of 10 they’ll say whether they danced or not. If you’ve seen a great wedding DJ, you have an expectation when it comes to entertainment. And if you’ve seen a not so fabulous DJ, it makes you second guess whether you want to take the leap of faith when hiring a wedding dj. It is for this reason why PROFESSIONAL GRADE DJS in Connecticut average between $1350-$1500 to start. You will find out very quickly in your search that there are outliers as well but as they say.. you get what you pay for.

4. The Florist

Why do they charge so much for the same flowers that they sell every day? Is it a wedding markup? No. It’s not. When you think about wedding centerpieces in a room for 15 to 20 tables, you’re probably looking for consistency and perfection. Flowers are natural and each one is unique. To make 20 identical centerpieces is no easy task. Each flower is handpicked (literally and figuratively) to create uniform decor for your wedding that best reflects your preferences. While the average flower shop bouquet might run you $50, because of the nature of weddings and the promise of perfection that comes with it, you can expect to double or triple that number for 20 identical centerpieces.

5. The Cake

Who doesn’t love wedding cake? That gorgeous confection isn’t a Betty Crocker special. Over time, the taste in wedding cakes has changed. We’re no longer satisfied with a vanilla cake with white vanilla frosting. Now we see cakes that look like sculptures and are one of a kind for each couple. This kind of artistry takes YEARS to perfect not to mention the preparation and acquisition of the best ingredients to make your wedding cake not only beautiful, but the perfect flavor. And even with all of those things considered, there has to be enough to go around to feed all of your guests. Most wedding cakes fall between the $400-600 range and can be upwards of $1000 depending on the size and sophistication.

Of course there are many other services that can be added to a wedding like day of planners, limos, decor, and more. But for many, these are the core services that most every wedding has. Now here’s a side note to help with sticker shock. Make sure you’ve got your priorities in check. Know what your goals are and plan accordingly so that you have more money for the things that are important to you.

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Wedding Bargain Hunter: Sacrificing quality for convenience.

Wedding bargain hunter: Sacrificing quality for convenience.

How much is too much? The instinctual feeling of “get all you can for as little as possible” is very common in the wedding world. It’s human instinct for the gatherer to obtain the largest bounty in one place to reduce effort. But what if I told you that if you are getting alot in quantity, you could be lacking in quality?

There are many options for weddings. Anyone who’s ever been on Pinterest knows that you have an endless supply of ideas for dresses, flowers, centerpieces, candy tables and more. If you head over to TheKnot you’ll see different themed weddings and the same with WeddingWire. But if you do like your parents did and use the equivalent to the yellow pages to find your vendors on google, you’ll notice once again that there are so many options available in every service category from DJs to decor and venues to formal wear and everything in between. Choosing one of each thing takes time. And time is precious.

It’s very tempting to find an all in one solution to take care of your core wedding services. Cut a check and walk away hoping for the best. It’s convenient and care free. But you know as well as I do, that you have a vision for your wedding. You have plans for that wedding. From how it will look and taste, to the soundtrack of your celebration. It’s all in your head and you don’t have the luxury of time to sort it all out between vendors. So what should you do? First thing I will tell you is to NEVER SETTLE for mediocrity. You’re investing in your celebration because you care about the end result.

If time is not on your side, you can go to the front of the line with your wedding planning by asking for referrals from your booked vendors. Starting with your venue. Your venue is one of the best resources for your wedding because they see so many vendors come through their doors day after day. And because they are the first stop on your list, they can guide you in the right direction and show you options that fit your personality. If you’re looking for experts that offer excellent service, they will know where to go. If you’re not big on the posh wedding and you want to simplify, they will know where to send you. There’s something for everyone out there.

But what about big box all in one companies that cover everything from Djs to decor? Those companies cater to a specific type of couple. The bargain hunter. Think about the last time you went shopping for a handbag or even more personal, your bra. Those are highly personal items that must serve you well over a long period of time. Sure, you could go to the K-Mart and snag one off the clearance rack. You can also buy chips, soda, motor oil and fishing rods there as well.  But for the one item you really wanted to make a difference, you’ll get a couple wears out of it. After a few washings, will it offer the same support as the one in your drawer from the boutique store that specializes in that item?

So treat yourself to what you deserve. Do your research. Get what YOU want for your wedding. And settle for NOTHING. Hire an expert. Ask any former engaged couple and they’ll tell you, it’s so worth it.

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Wedding DJ / MC or both?

Sabrina writes:

Hello Brides! My future husband and I are at odds on whether or not we want an MC for our reception. We haven’t been to many weddings so I’m not sure what to do.  Thoughts? Is it much of a difference if the wedding DJ plays great music?

Hi Sabrina!

Congratulations on your engagement. You asked a very good question. Yes, there is a difference between an emcee and a dj however, in terms of weddings, most DJs in CT do both. The master of ceremonies or MC, handles your timeline for your wedding. They are the keeper of the keys so to speak when it comes to letting your guests and vendor team when certain things are happening. A good example of this would be when your parents dances occur, your MC will be rounding up the other vendors to make sure that there is a photographer available to capture it. He’ll also let the event coordinator or venue manager know when this is happening to allow them to prepare for their next task. Your emcee is both a coach and an advocate to help you get the most out of your wedding.

Now, for the second question. Is it important if the DJ plays great music? YES! Absolutely yes. Because a wedding without the right music is just a fancy dinner. A wedding is a celebration. And what not a better way to celebrate than to hit the dancefloor with a hundred of your closest family and friends. A great dj will listen to your requests and blend them in with crowd favorites sure to keep guests entertained from first dance until it’s time to go.

When you pair a polished MC and experienced DJ, you and your guests can expect to be treated to a very exciting and seamless celebration.

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CT Bridal Show Happy Hour Pop Up in New Hartford, Connecticut

CT Bridal Show Happy Hour Pop Up in New Hartford, Connecticut

Brides, grab your tribe and join us for a wedding vendor extravaganza at the historic Hurley Building (former Ovation guitar factory)! Meet our talented artisans in their craft. Get to know them and check out their wares. Parrott Delaney Tavern will be offering signature cocktails and hors d’oevres and is also available to host your parties and events as well as catering.

Beat the rush of the holidays and save time meeting everyone all in one location while enjoying a night on the town with your friends. This is a FREE event, stick around and have dinner or drinks in the restaurant afterwards.

The Corey Tucker Photography studio is right around the corner as well as several other artists and businesses under one roof at Hurley Business Park of New Hartford

Eolia Mansion at Harkness Park – Pryme Tyme Entertainment

Just last week, we had the pleasure of helping Sara & Ryan celebrate their marriage at Eolia Mansion @ Harkness Park in Waterford. This was our first experience at the mansion. It definitely won’t be our last. The mansion features classic New England architecture with multiple fireplaces, hardwood floors, and gorgeous views of the Connecticut Shoreline. In addition to the beautiful mansion, on-site there is a beautiful garden and stone pergola for wedding ceremonies.

The tent on the back patio was large and spacious with plenty of room for guests to spread out and be comfortable. One other benefit to the tent is that it is climate controlled. This comes to be especially handy in the cooler months when winds can come off of Long Island Sound.

The property is owned and maintained by the Connecticut DEEP and private catering can be accommodated. With all of these wonderful and charming features, we can’t wait to head back to the mansion for the next wedding!

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Saltwater Farm Vineyard Wedding – Aubrey & Bob

Saltwater Farm Vineyard in Stonington CT was the perfect location for Aubrey & Bob’s wedding this past Friday night. Connecticut is home to some of the best waterfront wedding properties in the nation. Saltwater Farm Vineyard certainly did not disappoint. From the ivory crushed stone and winding driveway to the very modern looking steel barn, everything about Saltwater Farm Vineyard is aesthetically beautiful.

The interior decor is what you would expect from a vineyard full of rustic charm, steel kegs and massive wine barrels lining the walls. On the exterior, the vineyard features hundreds of rows of local grapes that will eventually be turned into a delicious New England vintage wine. With a spacious interior and charming landscape, its the perfect setting for an October Wedding.

Aubrey and Bob Wright were married on the back lawn in front of the vineyard on a perfect Friday evening. With the threat of hurricane Matthew far from us, the day could not have been more perfect. Bright blue skies, a gorgeous sun set with a slight breeze and eye popping foliage starting to make an appearance past the grapes.

The one thing that i remember from Aubrey & Rob’s ceremony was their vows. So heartfelt, comically amusing, and delightful. It was no secret. These two were in love. I even began to tear up as Aubrey read her vows to Rob. That’s a rarity when you can get your DJ to tear up at a wedding. After all, it’s our job to remain professional at all times. But moments like these are just another reminder of why we love what we do.

Following the brief ceremony, guests enjoyed wine and cheese on the patio just outside the winery. Soon after they were invited inside the winery for introductions. Each couple was introduced paired with a song that fit their personality. Everything ranging from the classics like Nat King Cole all the way to Fergie and everything in between. The introductions really set the tone for the rest of the wedding.

After introductions, we were treated to a beautiful first dance by the newlyweds and a sumptuous meal followed by hours of dancing, delectable dessert and smores by the campfire outside. It was a wonderful night with Aubrey & Rob.

Venue: Saltwater Farm Vineyard

Photography: Fritz Photography

DJ: Pryme Tyme Entertainment

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Alainah & Joe – Anthony’s Ocean View Wedding

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Michelle & Shane’s Villa Bianca Wedding