You’re Engaged! What Now?! 16 Things To Do After You’re Engaged

January 8, 2016 at 5:04 pm (Uncategorized)

You're Engaged Now What

We are in the peak of engagement season, so if you recently entered the newly-engaged club or are thinking it might just be around the corner, congratulations! Check out our top 16 things to do once you’re engaged:

  1. First thing – pop the champagne and celebrate!

Guys – you just ENGAGED! Before you do anything at all, take the day/night to celebrate this seriously joyous moment. If you have family or friends who were in on the proposal, be sure to thank everyone for sharing in your big moment and soak up the moment!

  1. Call your friends and family

In the digital age in which we live, it is just about the most natural thing to want to share your joy online in 140 characters or less. Fight the temptation, though, and take the time to actually call (yes, you read that right!) your friends and family first. Not only is it proper etiquette and polite, but they’ll appreciate being in the know before your social media acquaintances!

  1. Get your ring sized and insured

If your fiancé already picked out the perfect sparkler, then head out ASAP to get it sized properly and insured. You’ll be showing that bad boy off quite a bit from now on, so make sure it fits securely. To get your ring insured, simply call your broker to add it your already existing home or renter’s insurance policy. You may need an official appraisal or complete other paperwork, but your broker can guide you on the process.

  1. Daydream with your fiancé

Set aside some one-on-one time with your partner to just daydream – what colors do you love? What ambiance do you envision? What are some of your favorite foods? What sort of feeling do you want your guests to have on your wedding day? Don’t make any plans yet – just give yourselves permission to dream big and talk!

  1. Set a budget (and create a savings account)

Weddings can be very expensive, so it’s important to establish your budget before any serious planning takes place. Make sure to include both families in the discussion if they will be helping to pay and ensure that everyone is comfortable with the decisions. If you and your fiancé are paying for even a portion of the wedding, considering setting up a wedding savings account and depositing a portion of your paychecks every payday. You’ll be surprised how it will add up, and it will help save you from reaching for the plastic! Just make sure to use it for wedding-related items only.

  1. Get organized

Once your budget is squared away, it’s time to start the real planning! Figure out a way to get organized, though, first. Use spreadsheets to track appointments, keep a binder of tangible items like swatches and clippings. Also, get that wedding Pinterest board made if you haven’t done so already! If you decide you want to hire a wedding planner, start sending out inquiries and choose a person who you can see yourselves working well with throughout the entire process. You and your fiancé can decide how best to keep yourselves organized, but make sure you have a plan in place.

  1. Assemble the perfect wedding party

You and you fiancé will have to decide on how you’d like to structure your wedding party. Is it limited to brothers and sisters, or will you include other relatives and friends? Do you want a large or small party? Flower girls and ring bearers? Just know that your wedding party is your choice – don’t feel that you must include your best friends from high school who you hardly speak to anymore if you don’t want to! If you’re looking for a unique, cute way to ask the members of your wedding party to stand by your side, a quick Pinterest search will yield a plethora of ideas!

  1. Take a stab at an initial guest list

You don’t have to set it down in detail quite yet, but you’ll need to have to at least have a rough headcount in order to seriously start considering venue sites. Every venue site has a maximum capacity, and most will have minimums that you must meet in order to book your date, too.

  1. Set a date and lock down your ceremony/reception venues

Whether you are planning to get married in peak season, in just a few months, or even if you are planning your wedding for a year down the road, it’s important to set a date and investigate your venue choices. Why should you lock down your venue first? To ensure you secure your date, and also because some venues (like The Willow Room) offer all-inclusive packages that might help you take care of other details such as catering, florist, DJ, lighting, and much more! Even if you aren’t looking for an all-inclusive package, your venues are the foundation for the rest of your planning. That all being said, it is perfectly okay to take your time deciding on when and where you’d like to get married! Don’t feel like you have to rush, and don’t let anyone else try to rush you into deciding either.

  1. Reach out to vendors you’d like to work with

Once your date and venues are set, now it’s time to add in all of the really fun details! Contact the vendors who you’d like to work with and let them know the date of your wedding and where you will be having your ceremony and reception.

  1. Start trying on those dresses!

Although it might seem a little bit odd, it’s important to have your venue planned before going wedding dress shopping. Your choice of dress will most likely depend upon the backdrop for your ceremony and reception – are you going ultra elegant, or more rustic casual? Again, feel free to take your time searching! They say you know it when you see it on, but don’t be afraid to take a dress on and off multiple times before deciding. Your dress is going to be in all of your photographs and videos for the rest of your life, so be choosy, enlist your bridesmaids for opinions, and try on and on and on!

  1. Create a wedding website or blog

A wedding website is an essential tool for you and your guests, especially if you’re having a reception with a lot of out-of-town guests. Include some of the items that make your relationship special – include a “how we met” page, photos of your proposal, your engagement portraits, etc. Make sure to include information and advice on the specifics of your big day, such as: wedding details, hotels, maps, and local sightseeing.

  1. Create a registry

This step may very well happen earlier on in your planning process depending on if you’re having an engagement party and/or if you’re being bugged about what people should buy for you. If you and your fiancé are already established and don’t want or need to create a traditional registry, consider setting up a savings account for something like a down payment on your future home or honeymoon that guests can donate to. Include the details in your invitation and on your wedding website!

  1. Plan your honeymoon

No one says that you must take a honeymoon after you’re married, but if you and your partner want to take one immediately after your wedding or at some point thereafter, discuss where you’d like to go, when, and for how long. Again, it’s important to set up a budget and come up with a savings plan, and be sure to check out multiple sites for deals, or consult a travel agent for packages and savings.

  1. Relax!

We’re going to level with you – wedding planning is stressful stuff, and there will be things that go wrong and things that will stress you out along the way. If you start to feel completely overwhelmed, give yourself a break by grabbing a latte, getting a manicure, leaning on the people in your bridal party for support, or all of the above!

  1. Set up a weekly date night with your fiancé

You’re getting married to the person you love and want to spend the rest of your life with. Make sure to set aside time every week to just be together without talking about wedding planning; simply enjoy each other’s company and delight in being in love!

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7 Unique Ways to Use Pinecones at Your Winter Wedding

December 18, 2015 at 3:54 pm (Uncategorized)

7 Unique Ways to Use Pinecones

Looking for an affordable yet elegant way to bring a touch of the outdoors inside for your winter wedding? Look no further than the pinecone! These little guys can be used to help you spruce (pun absolutely intended) up everything from your tables and chairs to your bouquets and even your cake! Take a look below at seven of our favorite ideas:

Guest Gifts

Firestarter

These fire starter pinecones are a cute and memorable way to say “thanks” to the people who came to celebrate you on your big day. And, you can easily make them yourself with this handy tutorial or buy them.

Bouquet and Boutonnière

Bouquet

Looking for a truly unique option for your bouquet and/or boutonnières? A mix of pinecones and delicate frosted stems or succulents are a beautiful choice for your winter wedding. We recommend something a little softer for the bouquet toss, though!

Cake and Cake Topper

Cake

Pinecones make for an excellent minimalist cake decorations and toppers. Consider adding doll accessories to your pinecone cake toppers for a new take on the traditional bride and groom!

Table Assignments

Nameholders.png

Using pinecones as holders for table assignments is not necessarily a new idea, but you can make it uniquely yours with a few simple touches. Consider adding a glittery silver tablecloth underneath, or add holly and sleigh bells to the table to give it extra pop!

Photography

Photography

A ring shot is a must-have for any wedding photo album, and pinecones make are a natural holder for you and your spouse’s rings!

Ceremony Decor

Ceremony Decorations

Flowers are a timeless way to dress up the seating at your ceremony site, but for your winter wedding, swap out the flowers for wreaths, and dress them up with pinecone accents and tartan ribbons.

Kissing Balls

Kissing Ball

Kissing balls can be used in so many ways from bouquets for the bridesmaids to decorations at the reception. Plus, they are another great DIY option that’s easy on your budget!

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10 Reasons to Dream of a White, Winter Wedding

December 4, 2015 at 8:11 pm (Uncategorized)

Winter Wedding

Everyone loves a good summer wedding with the warm weather, long nights, and bright sunshiny days, but there is something seriously cool (pun intended) about the magic of a wintertime wedding! We asked real Pittsburgh-area newlyweds why they decided to have winter weddings, and here are their top 10 reasons why they recommend a winter wedding:

  1. Picture Perfect

We have two words for you: winter wonderland. If you’ve never seen pictures from a winter wedding blessed with delicately falling snow, we recommend you pause in your reading to do a Google image search right now to see what you’ve been missing! While no one can guarantee snow (especially for a Pennsylvania wedding!), the possibility of having photos of a snow-kissed scene while you and your spouse share a kiss make it worth it!

  1. Lower Costs and Better Availability

Wintertime weddings tend to have an advantage of cost savings over peak periods like summer. Depending on the date and day of the week you choose, you could end up receiving significant discounts as well as better availability for your favorite photographer, venue, DJ/band, and much more. Plus, you could take advantage of the huge savings during the holiday months to purchase your rings, décor, and accessories for the big day.

  1. Holiday – Celebrate!

If you and your spouse-to-be have family and friends living outside of the area where you plan to be married, having a winter wedding around the holidays could be the perfect opportunity to include guests in your wedding who might otherwise not be able to make it. Although the holidays are usually “the most wonderful time of the year,” you can make it even more special and personal by choosing to be married on a holiday itself!

  1. Built-In Décor

Whether you’re watching your budget or simply in love with the festiveness that comes with the holiday season, choosing a winter wedding means beautifully built-in décor everywhere from churches to reception sites to even city streets and squares!

  1. Romance

Sweetly scented garland, pops of bright holly, flickering candles, tinkling sleigh bells – winter weddings outright boast of romance! Plus, the chilly weather means extra snuggling for both newlyweds and guests. 😉

  1. Color Palette and Fashion

The colors of the season – deep blues with bright silver, or rich combinations of red, gold, and green – give winter weddings a stunning sophistication. In turn, long, flowing cloaks and capes with furry accents will keep you warm while also providing a distinct elegance. You could also choose to get funky with your accessories – consider wearing white winter boots and carrying an umbrella if it’s snowing!

  1. Earlier Evenings

Having the evenings setting in earlier can be a bit of a drag, but having the sun set earlier on your wedding day can add romance to your ceremony, reception, and your photos. Plus, an early evening means more time for you and your guests to dance and celebrate the night away!

  1. Be Different!

We all know that summertime means wedding time – you and a lot of your guests will travel from wedding to wedding, week to week all summer long. A winter wedding could mean higher guest attendance since you won’t be competing with as many weddings, and it could be a welcome break for your guests! And while there is traditional winter wedding décor and color palettes, don’t be afraid to incorporate bright colors and vibrant patterns into your wedding day if you long for a break from tradition.

  1. Comfort Food and Drinks

Each season brings its own seasonal food and drinks, and wintertime means deliciously filling comfort food and warm drinks that give you a hug from the inside. The Willow Room offers gourmet menus as well as coffee bars and other fun stations, so we can work with you to get a wintertime menu you and your guests will love!

  1. Honeymoon

While having a winter wedding can be spectacularly beautiful with snow and ice, going on a tropical honeymoon and coming back with a tan can make your winter wedding experience that much better! If the tropics aren’t quite what you had in mind, though, consider going on your honeymoon over a holiday break from school and work in order to get the most out of your travel time.

Are you officially dreaming of your own white winter wedding?! Visit The Willow Room online at www.thewillowroom.com to view photos, floor plans, and more, and contact The Willow Room at (724) 379-5666 to schedule a tour, discuss availability, and start your journey to the perfect winter wedding!

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Planning A Wedding? 5 Tips To Get You Started

October 22, 2015 at 2:29 pm (Uncategorized) ()

Planning a wedding is an amazing time in your life, but it can also be overwhelming. There are so many little details to think about and you still have to go about your daily routine.

Here are five tips to get you started:

  1. Enlist the help of your bridal party and/or friends and family members. You could ask each bridesmaid to help you research one aspect of the wedding: venues, flowers, DJs, photographers. It gives them a chance to be a part of the planning and helps you by seeing all their research, coupled with your own.
  2. Use an app. Ones like Pinterest can you get you started thinking about themes, colors, inspiration, everything! You can even add people to your boards so that your bridal party or friends and family can pin things that they think might be of interest to you.
  3. Visit wedding websites. There are a ton! The Knot, Wedding Wire, MyWed, the list goes on and on. Use these sites to help you research vendors, read reviews from other couples, schedule appointments or request information. Information is right at our fingertips.
  4. Talk to those who have been married recently or work in the industry. Have a friend that works in a flower shop or know someone from work that recently got married? Ask about their experiences and opinions. Sometimes you have no idea what people you see every single day can tell you about vendors, locations, favors, etc.
  5. Try to de-stress. We know this is tough. But try setting aside dedicated time to work on planning, so you can focus the rest of your time on other things you love doing. Date nights, visits with family, etc. Try not to have wedding on the mind all the time.

We wish you happy and fun planning!!!

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Groom Style!

October 16, 2015 at 5:24 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

The wedding industry has no qualms about making a big to-do about the dress. And while it certainly can be a centerpiece to the entire wedding, there is something to be said for a sharp-dressed groom. Gone are the days when it’s as simple as a tux. Grooms and their groomsmen’s style now ranges from ultra casual to classic black. Here are a few ways to break from tradition and give your wedding day look a personal touch.

Since black-tie isn’t for everyone, many grooms are now choosing to go with a cotton or linen suit and opt for simple white shirts or a pattern that can be dressed up, like gingham.

If it’s a more timeless look you’re after, you can’t go wrong with a matching tie and pocket square. These can coordinate well with bridesmaids’ attire, too!

One way to tie in some personal flair is through cufflinks. Sometimes just a peek of fun is all it takes to set your style apart – these make great groomsmen gifts, too!

And don’t forget about those kicks! Another great gift (and a more comfortable way to spend the day!) is by swapping out dress shoes for sneakers or boat shoes.

What special touches did the grooms in your life choose?

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Proposal Stories We Love

October 9, 2015 at 5:10 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

If you just love a great proposal story, you must check out HowHeAsked which shares some of the sweetest proposal stories we’ve ever heard.

We thought we would share just a few of our favorites from the site:

Rachel and Patrick – New York City!

Chase and Brit – Outdoors!

Aroha and Wynne – Video Included!

Rob and Danielle – In Paris!

We also found some more awesome stories on this Bridal Guide site. There are 48 truly spectacular stories to read here. Each one is so special. We can’t stop reading!

Do you have a fantastic proposal story? We would love to hear it!

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Favorite Pinterest boards to follow for Fall recipes!

September 16, 2015 at 5:00 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Oh, Pinterest. Aside from planning hypothetical weddings and our future children’s birthday parties, Pinterest is a wonderful place to seek out recipes and kitchen inspiration. But with millions of pins for everything from pot roast to pumpkin pie, it can be overwhelming to sort out the good from the bad.

Not to worry – we’ve done the legwork for you! Whether your favorite part of Fall is the warm baked goods, or you’d rather pull up a chair to a comforting dinner that simmered in the crock pot all day, here are some of our favorite Pinterest boards to follow for Fall recipes!

Who: Damn Delicious, a recipe developer and blogger with nearly 100 boards. Chung-Ah Rhee posts many of her own recipes on boards like “All Things Savory!” and “Fall Recipes” but also spreads the love on shared boards like “The Best Recipes on Pinterest” and “Best Comfort Food Recipes.”

Top Fall Picks

Copycat Starbucks Pumpkin Scones

Cheesy Baked Butternut Squash

squash

Photo Source: Diethood

Who: How Sweet Eats, writer of a best-selling cookbook with more variety in food boards than you can imagine. Owner Jessica Merchant is a Pittsburgh native who loves desserts and savory dishes. Merchant posts a mix of lifestyle pins and recipes on boards like “Sprinkles for Life” and “burgers + sandwiches: I can’t get enough.”

Top Fall Picks

Sweet & Spicy Homemade Snack Mix (perfect for football games!)

snackmix

Photo Source: howsweeteats.com

Crockpot Brown Sugar & Roasted Garlic Pulled Pot Roast Sandwiches

crockpot

Photo Source: howsweeteats.com

Who: Kitchen Konfidence, a self-described “food explorer” is a prime example of quality not quantity on Pinterest. While he may not have tens of thousands of pins, the recipes you’ll find on his account are as enticing as the world’s most grand buffet. He’s got an entire board devoted to cooler weather recipes and this one, as well as an entire board devoted to San Diego restaurants if you’re ever in the area.

Top Fall Picks

Spiced Molasses Cookies with Creamy Vanilla Frosting

molasses

Photo Source: Kitchen Konfidence 

Pumpkin Chicken Chili

chili

Photo Source: Kitchen Konfidence 

Bon Appetit!

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Autumn/Fall Theme Wedding & Shower Ideas

September 10, 2015 at 1:07 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

With the start of Autumn just around the corner, it’s a popular time to celebrate upcoming events. Whether it’s a shower for bride or baby or a wedding, it almost seems like a no-brainer to take advantage of the crisp air and cozy feel this time of year brings.

An autumnal theme is not difficult to carry out, no matter how front and center you want its elements to become. If you happen to choose a fall theme for your wedding and your planning begins well beforehand, stock up on décor and supplies at the end of fall the previous year when they’re marked down in price. Products are so similar from one year to the next, no one will ever know the difference!

Invitations
This is probably the most obvious play on words – but a wedding this time of year will automatically make you think of “fall”-ing in love. This works just as well for a bridal shower as it does the wedding invitation, itself.

Photo From Etsy Shop https://www.etsy.com/listing/154368477/printable-fall-in-love-bridal-shower

Photo From Etsy Shop: Doodlebug & peep

Food
Pumpkins and apples are a versatile choice in food – and they make great displays on this theme.

http://creative-wedding-cards-design1117.blogspot.com/2012/04/or-as-i-like-to-call-it-wedding-cake.html

Photo Found On Karlee’s Blog

A build-your-own caramel apple station would be a great favor or dessert table at any fall-themed event.

http://dawnypoo.blogspot.com/2011/10/caramel-apple-creations.html#.VezESbxVikp

Photo Found Here Photo Credit: Cristel at Curiosity Garden Studios

Another sweet for the sweet? Donuts and cider! A sure crowd pleaser at any celebration

Décor
If you used a theme like “fall”-ing in love with the invitations, why not carry it out to the event itself? A banner bearing the tag line and accompanying garland would be easy to craft but also readily available on a site like Etsy!

http://something-old-weddings.blogspot.com/2014/06/how-to-plan-wedding-on-budget.html

Photo Found Here

For a baby shower, why not make the day all around the little pumpkin? This is another theme that would be great to start out with on the invitation.

Photo From Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/listing/204030512/baby-shower-decor-little-pumpkin-banner

From Etsy shop: Paperstrip 

All other décor – whether shower or reception should showcase the season’s best parts of nature – leaves, apples, pumpkins, pinecones, cranberries and spices all make for beautiful, simple and affordable ways to get into the spirit!

Photo Source: http://www.savvysassymoms.com/blog/little-pumpkin-baby-shower/

Photo Found On Savvy Sassy Moms 

Happy Autumn!

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The Willow Room Sweetheart Special

September 1, 2015 at 12:55 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Introducing The Willow Room Sweetheart Special. This is a $10,000 all-inclusive wedding package, priced for up to 100 people and it includes tax and service charge!! We know wedding planning is a lot of work and with this package, we can be your one-stop shop.

Your Package includes:
Venue for 5 hours
Bridal Suite with Bridal Butler – room just for the bridal party with storage, outlets, mirrors and private bathroom 
White Ivory or Black Linens and choice of Napkin
House Bar Package
Champagne Toast for Bridal Party
Choice of Soup or Salad
Two Single or One Duo Entrée
Custom Wedding Cake with Cutting and Service
Coffee Station
Fresh Floral Centerpieces
DJ (up to 5 hours)
Photographer (up to 8 hours)
Bridal dance with Attendant
Customized Room Layout and Design
Professional Vendor References
Invitation for Two to Tasting Event

This package is valid for any new clients booking weddings in February or March of 2016, but it must be booked by 9-30-15 to receive the discounted rate.

Call Cara at 724-379-5666 or email gm@thewillowroom.com today to schedule a tour, ask questions, or check date availability!

candy

Photo Credit: Laurel Mountain Photography

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‘Ready To Pop’ Baby Shower Theme Ideas

August 21, 2015 at 2:53 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

No doubt about it –by the end of nine months, any mama-to-be feels like she’s ready to burst. Help her forget the uncomfortable feelings (at least for a little while) with this adorable ‘Ready to Pop’ themed baby shower! This theme lends itself to both genders as well as gender-neutral showers. From food and drink to tongue-in-cheek décor, there are countless ways to carry out this theme!

Invitations
An easy and inexpensive way to kick off the theme is with the invites. Tie a balloon to the paper and use the same color scheme as the decorations for the event.

Photo Courtesy of http://www.tealandlime.com/2012/04/shes-going-to-pop-baby-shower-decor-and-food/

Photo Courtesy of Teal and Lime

Food
Luckily, “pop” is an easy word to tie in to a catchy phrase or label, one of the easiest being food. Of course there’s the obvious – popcorn.

Photo Source: http://blog.hwtm.com/2013/11/pink-glam-pop-baby-shower/

Photo Source   Photo Credit: Rebekah Meredith Photography Planning, Design, Styling: Miriam Corona Events

And cake pops! Equally sweet in pink, blue or shower-themed colors.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Startraks Photo / Rex Features (1342278cd) Food at the party Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott celebrate their daughter Stella's 3rd Birthday with a 'Hello Kitty' Themed Party, Los Angeles, America - 11 Jun 2011 Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott celebrate the 3rd birthday of their daughter Stella McDermott with a 'Hello Kitty' themed party in their backyard. Many of Tori and Stella's friends came to share in the fun and Dean treated the kids with rice krispy treats dipped in liquid nitrogen which made fog pour out of their mouths.

Photo by Startraks Photo / Rex Features (1342278cd)
Food at the party
Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott celebrate their daughter Stella’s 3rd Birthday with a ‘Hello Kitty’ Themed Party, Los Angeles, America – 11 Jun 2011

And soda pop – another great way to tie in shower colors, no matter how unique.

Photo Source: http://www.karaspartyideas.com/2012/11/ready-to-pop-fall-themed-baby-shower.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+KarasPartyIdeas+(Kara%27s+Party+Ideas)&utm_content=FaceBook

Photo Source: Kara’s Party Ideas  Photography Credit: Megan Kelly Photography

Games
While guests munch – or even just mingle – have them take your own version of a “pop” quiz. Include funny questions about things like cravings or baby names.

Or take bets and create a pool where guests can choose the date and time they think the little one will enter the world.

Photo Source: http://www.holy-craft.com/2011/09/shes-about-to-pop-baby-shower.html

Photo Source: Holy Craft 

Favors
Thank guests for “popping in” with a sweet mini champagne (save a few for mommy post-delivery!)

Or an indulgent bubble bath – bubbles do “pop” after all!

Photo Source: http://www.popsugar.com/moms/photo-gallery/15691202/image/15691328/She-About-Pop-Bubble-Themed-Baby-Shower

Photo Source: Pop Sugar 

Congratulations! Your bundle of joy will be here before you know it!

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