Wedding Planner : Washington DC : Baltimore | Events by Mackie » Wedding Planner Washington DC, Baltimore

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The Bridal Shower

Weddings The traditional wedding will always be in existence, as will those who buck the system and go the non-traditional route.  As a wedding designer both can be so wonderful.  I really cannot choose one over the other.  As with the wedding the accoutrements of the event can go either way as well.

The latest trend is the Jack and Jill Wedding Shower.  This event takes the traditional Bridal Shower and turns it co-ed.  No more rooms full of women playing toilet paper wedding dress games, or other such capers.  Now you will find co-ed relay races, casino nights, and team trivia.   The gifts, instead of the usual “bride centered” presents are running the gamut.  To assist in the giving party arrangers are coming up with themes that encourage particular gifts…sports themes (golf clubs, biking gear, camping equipment), stock the bar parties where guests are asked to bring their favorite wine, beer, or spirit, and even a movie party where the guests are asked to gift their favorite date night flick for the bride and groom to enjoy together.  There are so many options for this type of soiree that you really cannot go wrong.

So…when thinking about the traditional vs. non-traditional this is definitely an exciting and fun way to do it differently!

Ask us about our Shower, Bachelorette/Bachelor Party services.  We would be happy to help!


Ann-MarieOctober 18, 2013 - 4:26 pm

Sounds like great fun to me. I think it’s more fitting with the times.

MichaelOctober 18, 2013 - 5:32 pm

I am not a big fan of traditional showers mostly because I dont like playing games. When my sister got married we just had an open house and visited with everyone. Although this does sound like a fun idea.

Amar NaikOctober 18, 2013 - 9:57 pm

thanks for sharing this info on latest trend. happy UBC

Finding the Right Professional Wedding Planner…How to Start!

A few days ago I finished writing a response to a RFP (Request for Proposal) for a bride and I was telling a friend about it.  She replied…”Why in the world would you do that?”  Well the easy answer is…because every bride should do an RFP, and every professional wedding planner should know how to construct a response.

If you are looking for a wedding planner, please do not rest on photos, conversations, and referrals alone.  Put in writing what you are looking for, how much your budget is, and everything you expect from your planner.  Send this RFP out to more than one planner,  in other words comparison shop.  Once you have done this a good wedding planner will design a response that answers your request—laying out step by step exactly what he/she will do to meet your standards and construct your perfect wedding.  If you try on many dresses, taste different cakes, and look at many venues.  Why wouldn’t you try out more than one planner in any way you can.

Sara @ Content in the MeantimeOctober 18, 2013 - 1:48 pm

Good point. Thank you for writing this. Found you on Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Marya @ You Pinspire MeOctober 18, 2013 - 2:10 pm

Great tip – thanks for sharing!

AminaOctober 18, 2013 - 5:08 pm

Great Idea!! It’s very important for the bride to get what she’s expecting from a planner. RFPs will give her a quick insight, but also interview the planners after the bride narrows down her list to two. Thank you Mackie for a great post!


Artificial  vs. Fresh

The first picture I conjure up when I think of artificial flowers is this absolutely ridiculous yard that used to be a few blocks from my grandparents house in Denver, CO.  The residents of this house, or actually the husband/father of this household was fascinated with decorating his yard with tchotchkes  and *gasp* artificial plants and flowers.  Now mind you this stuff was clearly plastic, and in my opinion in very bad taste but it is my first true memory artificial plant life, and much like many people I automatically have an aversion to these imitations before I even see them.

So are all artificial plants, or as my friend Barbara, owner of Chapel Hill Floral of Bangor, calls them, “permanent botanicals,” tacky?

Honestly it depends on your preference, but I can tell you that there are artificial botanicals out there that beat the plastic, Barbie looking flowers that stand out in our minds when we think of “fake flowers.”  Many look downright real, and some are even treated so that they have a scent.  Often it isn’t the best representation of the true scent, but a good attempt.

The question, then, is, are permanent botanicals ok for events?  Really there is no right answer.  Both fresh and permanent botanicals have their pros and cons.  Of course as an event designer/planner I prefer fresh botanicals for my events for many reasons.  One reason for my preference is the price point.  Fresh botanicals give you a classic beautiful look, often add to the ambience with their scent, and are most definitely less expensive than a permanent floral of the same caliber in the appearance category.  Permanent botanicals that look genuinely fresh cost a great deal more than fresh botanicals and although you could purchase them and add them to your stock of event supplies, who knows when you will have the opportunity to use, for example, the purple and yellow permanent botanical that you arranged for a client’s birthday party.

Of course the final decision belongs to the client.  If a client wants to keep an arrangement indefinitely…well then permanent botanicals are perfect.  I actually knew a bride who chose to have fresh bouquets for her attendants and a larger version of the same bouquet made of permanent florals for herself.  After the wedding she had her bouquet put inside a glass box and has it sitting on a shelf in her office to this day (that was over 8 years ago).

Another bit of advice…”Do not buy permanent botanicals online.”  If you cannot see it and touch it, you don’t really know what you are going to get.  As you can see in the examples below, permanent botanicals can look very natural in photos, but I guarantee you that many, when seen up close, or worse, touched, it is clear that they are not fresh.

Artificial Red and Orange Bridal Bouquet

Permanent Botanicals


Fresh Orange and Red Centerpiece

Fresh Botanicals

Long story short, the choice is yours, but, if you choose to use permanent botanicals you will pay more for quality and appearance.  If you don’t buy fresh and you don’t pay a healthy price, you are most likely going to have cheap and tacky flowers we all cringe at.  Remember, you get what you pay for!

Jen AndersonOctober 18, 2013 - 9:49 am

Awesome post, and I agree. I’ve seen some great looking artificial florals, but man, you gotta watch it. 🙂

Gena LivingsOctober 18, 2013 - 9:50 am

I love the artificial botanical idea! Plus, it’s a keepsake!!
I personally like flowers to be left in the ground where they belong. I’m all for artivicial botanicals!! 🙂

Your designs are gorgeous!!

Healthy Blessings!

Reception Food – Tapas and Apps

“Delicious” is the word you want to hear about your wedding food, but in addition to that word “Beautiful” is another word that is great to hear, especially if you are the caterer, or the planner who helped create the reception menu. Attention to detail and appearance with food is almost just as important as taste. How food is presented, and its effect on the eye of the beholder can make a huge difference in the mood of your guest and in the overall vibe of your reception. Too often, especially at full service venues, the wedding menu becomes predictable and the presentation is repetitive and boring. Chafing Dishes, platters, and tablecloths become the norm, and nothing is surprising or interesting to look at.

The perfect solution is the cocktail reception with an emphasis on a party atmosphere rather than the formal sit down dinner. With a rise in artful presentations of bite size foods, finger appetizers, and pretty hors d’oeuvres you can have your planner and caterer design fabulous stations that look wonderful and have scrumptious bite size foods at each location.

If, as a couple, you still wish to have a formal sit down meal, try platters or tapas delivered to each table family style. This is a sure way to avoid the pitfalls of “yawn” the boring buffet or the shoe leather steak and rubber chicken plate we have all had the horror of having to force down at many a wedding or event. Tapas allows each table to have three or four beautifully designed platters, giving your caterer more opportunity for artful demonstration, and also allows guests to serve themselves the amount they wish of each dish.

Below are some ideas for bite sized foods. These can all be artfully displayed on stations, or can be delivered to each table as a platter of tapas for a sit down affair. Remember your caterer and/or your wedding planner will know how to round out your menu and present foods in the appropriate manner whether for a sit down dinner or a cocktail reception.


Wedding Reception Food

Wedding Decor…from Drab to Dynamite

In love, ready to tie the knot?  Hate the look of your venue or just want to jazz it up?  Time to transform your space!  Hard to imagine that armory, that community center, or that backyard as the wedding ceremony or reception location of your dreams?  Well check out what some lights, some drapery, and some flowers can do!!!  Don’t worry…if you don’t have a wedding designer to do this for you, you can always get instructions online, rent yourself a ladder and the equipment, and DIY any of these looks!!!  Of course I recommend you hire a Wedding Designer, but I am biased that way!!!  Not to mention, who wants to spend the hours before their wedding day hanging drapery?????

Armory transformed for a weddingWendy at Event Pro Training obviously saw the potential in this dull and drab armory. With black table linens, silver chavari chairs, draped ceilings and walls, and beautiful lighting she transformed this space into a Bride’s dream. With the addition of a black dance floor and the couple’s initials shining from a gobo the final product was amazing!



Pretty little patio with a gazebo. Before and AfterNice, but no wow factor for this couple.  Add an aisle runner, some strategically placed flower stands, swirl designs on the ground with petals, and VOILA…Fascinare created a fantasy garden for a fantasy ceremony.








Off Center Background


Although this room was inviting it had more of a daytime luncheon feel than an evening wedding reception.  The bride and groom wanted a head table placed at the front of the room with guests scattered before them.  With the spatial set of the room it made sense for the head table to sit up in front of the fireplace.  Unfortunately the fireplace was off-centered so either the head table had to be off-centered, or the fireplace would compete as a focal point with the head table.  Not going to work!








A little drapery and some lights at a wedding reception


The wedding professionals at Evelyn Clark Weddings chose an easy fix.  They covered it up and added some up lighting to highlight the head table.  Now…you would never know that huge fireplace was hiding behind that beautiful background display.







Light up your reception venue


Finally…a little up light will do you!  This is the simplest of fixes.  Bare walls, drab or non-existent décor, small budget?













Uplighting - Wedding Reception


Rent LED floor lights and transform bland into VA VA VA VOOM!!  No ladders, no hot lights, no nails…just a few LEDs a power strip and maybe an extension cord!


CindyOctober 14, 2013 - 10:43 am

There are some great hints here on how to make any occasion special, not just weddings. Filing some of these tips away for sure! Cindy, visiting from the Ultimate Blog Challenge on FB.

WaiwaiOctober 14, 2013 - 10:44 am

Wow, beautiful decor!

KGOctober 14, 2013 - 11:49 am

Amazing what event planners and event designers (like myself) will do to a space!!Make it I always say!!