Thursday, April 23, 2015

Preparing for 24 years, not just 24 hours

As a wedding and event planner, my favorite aspect of the job is the ability I have to help design and implement beauty that is pleasing to the eye. Along with the decorations, I get to see ALL aspects of the wedding planning process, including the way the couple interact with one another and what they find most important in preparing for their marriage and wedding day. 

All to often I see the bride and groom getting lost in the details of planning, and if I am completely being honest, I do to. Recently, I have been more sensitive to this issue and want to take a moment to get more personal. 
Prior to my very own wedding/marriage my expectations were full of fairy tales and lots of loving. I was naïve in thinking that there wouldn't be difficult days and that the key to a long, lasting marriage wouldn't take WORK at all! I expected my husband to allow me to do whatever, whenever and however, without throwing a fit and with complete support. His expectations were different, but also self seeking at times...a barefoot and pregnant wife, home cooked meals and a perfectly cleaned home when he came home from work each day. I thought he would continue to wine and dine me, and he thought I would give him daily love notes that would never cease. 
This was certainly not the case and was almost culture shock upon revelation. Lust quickly became starch reality. No more wine and dining, or cute little notes--go ahead and add kids to this recipe, along with disagreements, kids fighting, careers, long hours, pet peeves, worldly influences, all kinds of kid activities and an enormous amount of other distractions.

I have to admit that after my husband proposed to me in Africa...this was grand(oh man, if he asks me big questions like this all the time, I am going to be the luckiest girl ever!)I came home from that amazing, surprise proposal and quickly got lost in the wedding hype, showers, the decor, and all the ideas I had in creating something unique. I hit the ground running and soon forgot why I even said "yes" to the man of my dreams. I can say without question that most conversations we had as a couple during the 6 months of planning, were quickly "wedding" related. What kind of food, how many tables and chairs, what was our color and theme? We forgot to continue dating. Forgot to continue getting to know what our likes and dislikes were and most certainly forgot to build a strong foundation for the next 24 years of marriage instead of the 24 hours of wedding celebration.

My 7 year marriage has had it's challenges, but I can say that after 7 years, it has truly become about "love" and not lust. Sometimes, love is a daily choice even, but I know God has brought me the man I am suppose to live life's adventures with. I share this in hopes that you will ask more of the hard questions and have more uncomfortable conversations that are not all fun to set the foundation for a strong marriage before your big wedding. 

While we aren't the way we used to be be walking down the aisle, we can still integrate the things we loved about each other during the 'lust" stage; notes, diners out...they just simply mean more now, especially when it is not as common as before the "I Do".
I think it’s important that newlyweds-to-be discuss what is expected in a marriage—what each person hopes for and how they plan to make it work for them. Couples are really doing a disservice to their lives together if they don’t discuss the big issues before they take that final walk down the aisle. Now, let me assure you, I know that there will be conflict even if you do your homework before hand. Preconceived notions and comparing our relationship to other couples; that's what gets us into trouble!
Here are some questions you can ask on your next date that will begin to create open communication between you and your fiancé, all while preparing for a day that honors your life long commitment to each other. 
  • Besides love, what is your main reason for marrying your partner?
  • What are three things other than appearance that you love about your partner?
  • What does the word "compromise" mean to you and how will you apply it to your marriage?
  • Who will do the majority of the household chores?
  • How will they be divided if you both work?
  • If you plan to have children, how many would you want and when would you like to start growing your family?
  • How much of your income would you like to save?
  • Do you save?
  • How do you prefer to spend your free time?
  • Are you impulsive or a planner? 
  • How do you deal with the unexpected?
  • How do you deal with conflict/confrontation?
  • Do you share the same level of religious commitment?
  • How will you resolve disputes?
  • What’s your 5-year plan (both personally and professionally)?

What are some creative ways that you might be preparing for your marriage while planning your wedding? We would LOVE to share with others!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Venues in Wichita and Surrounding areas!

We took a vacation from our blog series last week, but we are back and close to the end of the series! We have been able to feature several vendors and past brides who have talked about some of the important elements that go into the planning of a wedding celebration.

Although many have already chosen their venues, we have fall brides, 2016 brides and companies trying to determine the best venue for their celebration. We thought we would compile a list of venues in Wichita and the surrounding areas that could host your party.

The list is written in no particular order, but will hopefully give you more options to think of while you are choosing the best one for you! Make sure you read to the bottom to read tips on choosing a venue.

1. Bartlett Arboretum-south of Wichita
2. Botanica-Downtown Wichita
3. Plymouth Congregational-College Hill in Wichita
4. Pathway Church-West Wichita
5. Central Christian Church-East Wichita
6. Cathedral-Downtown Wichita

Reception Venues: 
1. Villa Luna-West Wichita
2. The Ville-Andover
3. Skyline Venue-Downtown Wichita
4. The Lux-Downtown Wichita
5. Venue 3130-west of downtown Wichita
6. Loft 420-Downtown Wichita
7. Museum of World Treasures-Downtown Wichita
8. The Point Event Center-Augusta, Kansas

Ceremony and Reception Venues:
1. Abode Venue-Downtown Wichita
2. Wichita Art Museum-Downtown Wichita
3. Botanica-Downtown Wichita
4. The Boathouse-Downtown Wichita
5. Noah's-East Wichita
6. Exploration Place-Downtown Wichita
7. Cowtown-Downtown Wichita
8. Illusion Studios-Derby
9. Event Center-Kansas Star Casino
10. Tanganyika-Goddard

Country Venues:
1. Fidelis Events-Near Eldorado
2. Prairie Pines-West Wichita
3. Eberly Farms-West Wichita
4. Fulton Valley Farms-Near Towanda
5. Redbud Party Barn-Douglas, Kansas
6. Stonehill Barn-Maize, Kansas
7. Gracehill Winery-Whitewater, Kansas

Hotel Venues: 
1. Hyatt Regency-Downtown Wichita
2. Ambassador Hotel-Downtown Wichita
3. Hotel Old Town-Downtown Wichita
4. Homewood Suites-East Wichita

Rehearsal Dinner locations:(50-100 guests)
1. Ya Ya's-East Wichita
2. Larkspur-Downtown Wichita
3. Newport Grill-East Wichita
4. Ambassador Hotel-Downtown Wichita
5. Loft 420-Downtown Wichita
6. Villa Luna-West Wichita
7. Corporate Caterers-East Wichita
8. Event Center-Kansas Start Casino-Mulvane
9. Hereford House-East Wichita

Here are 5 key things to look for when choosing a venue:
1. Clear communication with event venue coordinator
2. How many people can the venue accommodate?
3. What are the rules on decorations allowed or not allowed
4. If the venue can accommodate multiple events in one night, how does the effect your event?
5. What do the reviews say?

here is a great link to more important questions to ask! click here

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Bride's Experience-In Her Words

Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure that I am really living in my dream job. While it has had challenges, hard clients, mistakes, and great ops for lessons learned, I keep on keeping on because of the people/clients that make it truly rewarding and exciting. I am beyond thankful for the incredible events we have had the opportunity of being a part of. From the Not Wedding(aka..Big Fake Wedding), Biz Bang-Youth Entrepreneurs biggest Fundraiser, to the countless weddings. What an honor!!
For today's 4th post in our blog series, I have asked a few of our past brides to share their "been there, done that" experience with other brides-to-be! Brides! If you have more questions you want answered from other brides who have already gone through the planning process, we are launching a Bridal Mentoring program that is FREE. Please contact us and we will put you in touch with a past bride to be mentored and encouraged by during your very own wedding planning process. Email us at: This is a great tool so make sure you take advantage of this opportunity!

Bride and Groom: Kelsey and Brandon Baker
Venue: Exploration Place
1. What is one thing that you have heard the guests remember most about your wedding? Our guests are still to this day telling us how awesome the reception was and how much fun they had.
2. What was the deciding factor when choosing your vendors? Some of it was recommendation from other brides, but I really took Ashley's advice as a planner who has dealt with so many vendors! If she recommended someone that's who I wanted!
3. Were there any unexpected trials your experienced during planning? There was no unexpected trials during the wedding planning process! It's crazy because I tell people that wedding planning was so easy and I was never stressed about anything throughout the whole year of planning. As a very anxious person, I had assumed my anxiety would be at an all time high, but I really didn't have any problems with it. The only issue I had was not realizing how heavy my dress would be and that it would fall so much making it a little long. Walking into the reception I kept tripping on it. I will never forget that Ashley and Amy were on their hands and knees pinning up my dress so I would stop tripping I loved my dress, but wish I would've had a short fun dress for the reception!
4. What element was most important to you for your ceremony and then reception? The most important thing about the ceremony to me was time. I hate when ceremonies take forever, so I wanted a 30 minute ceremony and one where the minister didn't talk forever. Our minister at East Heights was perfect and actually quite funny! At the reception my main goal was for us to have an awesome DJ so that it was fun! I wanted people to leave our reception talking about how fun it was and we definitely accomplished that!
5. What is most memorable to you? The most memorable thing was how much fun my husband and I had that day! We had a blast with one another and our closest friends and family!! We said we had so much fun we wish we could do it every year!! I also think part of that was due to the fact that there was no stress in the planning process! I didn't have to worry about anything and could just enjoy it all!
6. What piece of advice would you give to brides/future bride? My mom and I always say the #1 piece of advice we would give to any future brides is to hire Events By Ashley!! They make it so you can enjoy every part of your day and never have to worry about the small stuff! I know so many brides who weren't able to relax and enjoy the day because they were so stressed about all the little details that ultimately people don't care about! The day goes by so fast!! Hiring a wedding planner gave me the piece of mind to know that all those little details would be perfect and taken care of, allowing me to fully enjoy every part of the day!!

Bride and Groom: Isabelle and Rob Rotola
Venue: Abode Venue
1. What is one thing that you have heard the guests remember most about your wedding? The venue and decorations. They tell me it was simple yet beautiful and although I didn’t have tons of decorations the venue was pretty the way it is without having to add much.
2. What was the deciding factor when choosing your vendors? Price and also style. When we met with them we paid attention to how they treated us and how well they listened to what we wanted to make sure we could trust them to do what we wanted.
3. Were there any unexpected trials your experienced during planning? Yes!!! I had lots of questions, doubts and had a hard time making some decisions since there are so many details that we don’t realize when it comes to planning a wedding, no mater how simple it is. It was also hard for me since I am not from the USA and the culture and wedding traditions are not the same. I overlooked some things because I simply didn’t know that they were important and I wish I had known. Also there are so many options out there and it was hard for me to pick one of each and stay within budget.
4. What element was most important to you for your ceremony and then reception? We wanted our ceremony to be short and simple yet different. We wanted to include all of our immediate family members and close friends in it to share that special moment with them. The most important element for our reception was to make sure our guests had fun. We wanted the reception to represent what we like and who we are. We did that by serving our favorite foods as dinner, a candy table for the groom instead of a “grooms cake”, cupcakes and brownies instead of a wedding cake and played the music we like.
5. What is most memorable to you? How beautiful everything looked, how much fun we all had and how smooth everything went.
6. What piece of advice would you give to brides/future bride? I recommend getting a wedding planner first of all. I didn’t from the beginning and I wish I had someone to help me explore different options and be the creative side when I was blind, just trying to get things done and looking at ideas on Pinterest. Take your time when choosing every piece of your wedding, don’t try to rush and look at different options even if you are not sure if you like it or if you don’t think you can afford.