Wedding Wednesdays Q&A - Wedding Planning Advice by Destination Wedding Planner Mango Muse Events

Q: My partner and I did things a little backwards and got pregnant before getting married.  We brought our beautiful little boy into the world last year and we’re now planning our wedding.  Since I’m now a mom as well as a fiancé, I really want to make sure our whole family is a part of the wedding (my partner also has a 5-year-old daughter from a previous marriage) and include our children in the wedding.  The problem is that my son is only going to be about a year old we when actually get married.  I really want him to be part of the wedding, but I also don’t want him attached to my side the whole day.  How do I reconcile these two and make it work?

Congrats!  I recently planned a wedding for a couple who was in a similar situation and wanted to include their children in the wedding, so I totally understand where you are coming from.

Now, the trick here is to find that balance of including your children in the wedding, but not having to take care of them all evening.  I know you love your kids, but you want to have a good time chatting with your friends, drinking and dancing and not necessarily being a mom all the time.  The right balance for you will depend on how much of a worried mom you are and how detached you want to be.  But, that you have to figure out for yourself.  What I can help you with are some ideas to include your children in the wedding and some ways to detach.

So, let’s start with how to include your children and specifically your son. The most obvious choice for your fiancé’s daughter would be to have her in the wedding ceremony as either a flower girl or taking part in some type of unity ceremony.  In that same vein, you could have your new son be a ring bearer who gets walked down the aisle by you (he could also be your bouquet!) or is pulled in a wagon or is held by your parents.  Once up at the altar, I’d suggest that you hand him off to either your parents or a family member or a babysitter.

Another fun way to include your children in the wedding is to do a special dance.  You could do a different take on a mother-son dance with your new son and/or a father-daughter dance with your fiancé and his daughter.  You guys could start off separately and then come together for a few moments as one family doing a first family dance.  I really like the symbolism of this since you’re now going to be a new family together.

In terms of detaching yourself from your children, the easiest way is to plop them with their grandparents or another family member.  This person would be in charge of the kids for the majority of the day or at least the times when you don’t want to be worrying about them.  However, this can hard on your family members since they now won’t be able to be fully involved in the conversation or what is happening.  So, another great option which I actually think is better is hiring a babysitter or nanny for the day.

Some couples have a nanny or babysitter they use regularly and would prefer to bring them to their wedding while others are ok with just hiring someone who is in the area.  I’m not sure if you’re having a destination wedding or not, but either option can work.  The nice thing about a babysitter is that your family can enjoy themselves too and your babysitter’s sole job will be to take care of your children and make sure they have a good time.  Your daughter is probably old enough to hang out with the other kids or her cousins if you have those, but someone will still need to watch over her.  The babysitter can do that for you.

Another perk to hiring a nanny or babysitter is that they can also take the kids up to your hotel room to nap or sleep when it’s bedtime for them but still party time for you.  If they get cranky or have a meltdown, you have someone there who can whisk them away without ruining the moment for you or any of your loved ones.  It’s a pretty big win all around and I highly recommend it.

Children in the wedding dancing at a Sonoma wedding reception by Destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events

(Photo by Arrowood Photography)

Are you planning your wedding and feeling overwhelmed? You’re not quite sure what you should be doing or if what you’re doing is right. Does this sound familiar? We understand and we want to help you!

We’re in the process of putting together a step by step wedding planning program just for couples like you. The program is not yet live, but if you want help and guidance to plan your wedding and make the process easier and happier, sign up to become a VIP. You’ll get put on the waitlist and get early access to the program when it does go live (you’ll also get a special bonus perk from us too!).

First Access to the Passport to Joy Destination Wedding Planning Program by Destination Wedding Planner Mango Muse Events

May 04, 2016 by Jamie Chang

April is gone which means it’s time for May flowers and our May Wedding Planning Challenge!  For those of you joining us for the first time, welcome!  And for our followers, welcome back!  Each month we challenge you to face your wedding planning struggles and take action using the MME Method to make your wedding planning journey more joyful.  You can also take our past challenges on defeating overwhelm, staying organized, finding your colors, and making good decisions.  They are all super helpful.  This month we’re tackling a biggie, so let’s dive into our May Wedding Planning Challenge.

May Wedding Planning Challenge

Have you ever had someone come into your house and move something?

You don’t notice that the item is gone at first, but when you try to go looking for it, you can’t find it.  You’re getting frustrated and confused and thinking, “I always put it here, where is it?  Where could it have gone?”

After searching for a while and turning your house into a big ole mess, you end up not being able to find it.  You give up because you have better things to do and then it pops up later in an area you would never have guessed.

Later you find out that your friend or mom moved it, not maliciously, but they just used it and placed it elsewhere.

Sound familiar?  This has definitely happened to me and I’m sure it’s happened to you as well whether it was a friend or a mother, father, sister, brother, or significant other.  Some people are neat freaks, others are totally messy and others somewhere in the middle, but no matter how organized you are, it’s still frustrating when someone else comes in and moves things without your knowledge.

One of the biggest (and most sensitive) wedding planning struggles couples face is dealing with their family and friends and their involvement in the planning of their wedding.  On one end of the spectrum, there are couples whose family and friends can’t keep away and are completely overbearing with opinions and help.  And on the other end, there are couples whose family and friends are totally hands off and they are left alone to plan their wedding and sometimes struggle with trying to get help.

Dealing with your loved ones can be tricky when it comes to your wedding because these are important personal relationships and you don’t want to fight, be demanding or make someone sad.  At the same time, you want your wedding how you want your wedding and you don’t want someone coming in and moving stuff around.  So, what do you do?

I know family and friends can be frustrating to matter where on the spectrum you lie.  But first, remember that these people love you and they just want you to be happy.  Like the moved item, they are not trying to be malicious, they may just not know how best to be of help to you.  So, in our May wedding planning challenge, we’re going to share with you the MME Method to working with your family and friends so that you can have the happiest wedding planning journey and wedding day imaginable.

May Wedding Planning Challenge by Destination Wedding Planner Mango Muse Events

Step #1:  Figure out what your situation is.

The first thing you need to do is to understand where on the spectrum you are.  Do you have everyone coming at you with suggestions, opinions and plans?  Or do you have no one?  Is it just one person that is butting in all the time?  Or 2 or 5?  And who are these people?

Step #2:  Figure out what you want.

You need to ask yourself, do you want help?  Most people will say yes to this, but there will be some that say no.  While no is totally an acceptable answer, you will want and need help at some point, so don’t completely shut down the idea.

The next question to ask is what kind of help do you want?  Are you looking for opinions on things like your wedding attire and flowers?  Or do you want someone to take on a job (or jobs) like finding you a vendor?  You want to figure out what kind of help you desire so that you can be clear on what to ask for.  By the way, if your answer is you want help with everything, I’d suggest hiring a wedding planner or signing up to be on the waitlist for our new wedding planning program.

Step #3:  Evaluate the players.

Now it’s time to look at the people in your life from step 1.  If you had one or a bunch of people who are overwhelming you, take a look at each of them and evaluate your relationship with them (i.e. your closeness), what they are good at and what kind of help you want from them.  Get the free guide at the end of the post to help you with some ideas.

For example, say it’s your sister who is the one who is constantly emailing you about this or that and giving her opinion on every decision you make.  First figure out your relationship, are you close and she’s just super excited?  Or are you not that close and she’s just the forceful, overbearing type?  Or something in-between?  Then figure out what is she good at. What are her natural skills?  Does she have a great design eye?  Or is she really organized?  Or is she good with people?  Lastly, you want to figure out what you would ideally want her to help with.  This could be nothing or maybe it’s help shopping for decor items or negotiating pricing.

If we’re talking about a parent, they are a bit more special so you’ll also want to think about what they care about. For example, if your mother is opinionated, but only really cares about what the flowers look like, that is the area you’ll want to involve her in.  Or if your father doesn’t care about anything but the wine, then you’ll want to make sure he comes to the tasting.

As yourself these questions for each person that is trying to help you so that you know where everyone stands and what you want from them.  Now, if you are on the opposite spectrum and no one is trying to help and you want help, do a similar exercise where you look at those you are close to and who you’d want help from.  Then think about what they are good at and what kind of help you want from them.  You can also do this exercise if you have one or two people who you’d like involved in the planning of your wedding, but who currently aren’t.

Step #4:  Sitdown and have a chat.

This is when things can start to get a bit sensitive, but you can do this!  And you can do it with grace, I promise.  So, what you need to do now is have a chat with each of your loved ones that you either want to involve in the planning of your wedding or don’t want involved (but currently are).  This doesn’t have to be a serious talk (unless your situation is out of control), but just a friendly chat so that everyone is on the same page.

There are a few different situations you may be in, so I’ve laid out some guidance for you for the most common ones.

If you want them involved, but they need to tone it down – For this person, thank them for their excitement and for being so willing to help.  Then tell them there are things you want to handle, but there are some areas (or an area) what you need help with and you’d love it if they could help you in these areas.  This shows your appreciation and then gives them a focus.  Once they say, “yes of course”, then you’ll tell them what you’d like them to do.  The more specific you can be, the better so that there isn’t any cause for confusion.  For example, I’d love for you to come with me when I try on dresses next week.  Or I’d love to get your thoughts on my wedding flowers once I’ve finalized them.  Or since you’re the music guru and you know what kind of music we like, would you be able to help us find the right band?

If you’ve done your homework with the first 3 steps this should get them on board and excited to help you in the area you want help.  If after the chat they keep coming to you about other items outside of what you talked about, just politely thank them and let them know this is an area you want to handle yourself.

If you want them involved, but they currently aren’t – For this person, tell them how important they are to you and how you can’t imagine your wedding without them.  If they have been reluctant because they jealous or perhaps they just didn’t want to be that overzealous bridesmaid, this lets them know that you care and will soften them up.  Then you can mention the thing you’re struggling with and ask if they’d be willing to help.  Most people will say yes, but you’ll have to judge if they mean it or not.  You really don’t want someone to do something they don’t want to do, so you can also tack on at the end that they don’t have to help if they don’t want to.  Tell them that it’s really ok if they say no, but you’d appreciate it if they could help.  If they are willing to help, then you just need to let them know exactly what you need help with.  Start with something small or simple before you give them something larger to do.

If you don’t want them involved and they currently are – This one is the hardest.  For this person, you’ll want to start by thanking them for their excitement and for being so willing to help.  Then tell them honestly that while you appreciate that they want to help, you and your fiancé really want to plan your wedding on your own.  It’s not that you don’t love them, but it’s just important to the two of you that you do this together.  They should hopefully understand and back off.  And if they don’t back off, at least they’ll know why you aren’t responding to all their emails with photos.

If they are your parents.  Parents are extra tricky especially if they are helping to pay for the wedding, so with this one you need to be extra tactful.  If you want to get them involved and they currently aren’t, the same guidelines apply as mentioned above.  But, if they are involved and you either don’t want them to be or you want them to back off, here is the truth – you need to involve them somehow.

If they are bankrolling the wedding, they will most likely want some kind of say (or a larger say) in the wedding, so you’ll have to give them something.  But, what they have a say in is what you can control.  If you go back to step 3, you thought about what they are good at, what you’d like help with from them, and what they care about.  Use those areas to help guide you with what you involve them with.  You don’t have to let them make any final decisions (unless you want to), but you will want to let them have a role in the process so they are involved.

If they aren’t bankrolling the wedding, they have less of a say, but they are still your parents, so include them in the ways that make sense for you.

So, for your sitdown, you’ll want to start off by thanking them.  Then let them know that it’s important to you and your fiancé that the wedding is your own.  You want it to celebrate your love and so you’re looking to create your wedding the way you two want it and you hope they can respect that.  How many areas and how much you involve them is up to you, but you’ll want to mention that you do value their opinion and then talk about what you want their help with.

Now, it’s your turn!

Don’t be frustrated or daunted! Take action and get your house back!  Take our May wedding planning challenge to help you work happier and smarter with your family and friends. It will only help your relationships and make the wedding planning process easier for you.  Don’t forget to get your free guide with 60 ways to include your family and friends in planning your wedding without going nuts.  It will give you some great ideas and as an added bonus, you’ll get some help too!

And of course, we want to hear about your successes with the MME Method to working with your family and friends and how it brought more joy to your wedding planning.  Share one example of how you figured out how to work with a family member or friend in a comment below or on social media with #weddingplanningchallenge.  Happy Planning!

May 02, 2016 by Jamie Chang

Yesterday we answered a question about how to pick the right wedding dress for a destination wedding, so we’ve got wedding dresses on the brain.  To help all you lovely ladies out, we’ve picked some of our favorite dresses from the recent Spring 2017 bridal fashion week shows.  There were definitely some trends (some new, some old) on the runway and we’ve picked out five of our favorites to share with you today.

Trend #1: Floral wedding dresses

Since it was a spring show, there were a lot of nature-inspired and floral wedding dresses.  These are great not only for an outdoor wedding or a garden wedding but for the gal who wants to be one with nature.  What I love about each of these floral wedding dresses are that they are all different with their own style.

In this first wedding dress by Lela Rose, the bodice is where the design starts and then the florals trickle down the skirt.  It’s airy and light with the thinnest straps which I love.

Floral wedding dress by Lela Rose bridal from Bridal Fashion Week Best wedding dresses picked by Destination wedding planner, Mango Muse Events

Monique Lhuillier brings in some color to her florals along with a fun short to long skirt, followed by some tulle.  The structure, body and movement of the skirt are awesome.

Floral wedding dress by Monique Lhuillier bridal from Bridal Fashion Week Best wedding dresses picked by Destination wedding planner, Mango Muse Events

Elie Saab’s version is sweet with a slightly Asian feel to the florals.  And the matching shawl is pretty great.

Floral wedding dress by Elie Saab bridal from Bridal Fashion Week Best wedding dresses picked by Destination wedding planner, Mango Muse Events

This wedding dress by Mira Zwillinger has a more wintery feel to it with a focus on the branches and scattered flowers.  This sheer look was also very prominent on the runways as well which you’ll see in many of the dresses.

Branch and floral wedding dress by Mira Zwillinger bridal from Bridal Fashion Week Best wedding dresses picked by Destination wedding planner, Mango Muse Events

Amsale’s floral wedding dress is simple, soft and light.  I love how when the light hits it there is a slight reflective shimmer.  It gives it a little extra magic.

Leaves wedding dress by Amsale bridal from Bridal Fashion Week Best wedding dresses picked by Destination wedding planner, Mango Muse Events

Lela Rose also gave us a floral patterned wedding dress as well.  While not for everyone, I like this option for those who like the floral motif, but want something a little more spunky and fun.

Floral print wedding dress by Lela Rose bridal from Bridal Fashion Week Best wedding dresses picked by Destination wedding planner, Mango Muse Events

I really like the contrasting florals on the bodice of this second Mira Zwillinger wedding dress.  There are crisp flowers and then slightly softer and fuzzier ones.  This actually reminds me a bit of a coral reef and the sea urchins and anemones floating in the water which is why I love this dress for a beach wedding.  It has such a flowy feel to it.

Ocean inspired wedding dress by Mira Zwillinger bridal from Bridal Fashion Week Best wedding dresses picked by Destination wedding planner, Mango Muse Events

Trend #2: “New bling” wedding dresses

Next up are what I like to call the “new bling” wedding dresses.  In the past, dresses with sparkle and beading used to be covered in the stuff which made them look very heavy (even if they weren’t).  These new bling dresses are a bit more subtle, intricate and in my opinion, much prettier.

Take this Jenny Packham dress for example.  The bodice is sheer with some beading, but it’s made to look soft.  There is a distinct design and pattern to it which makes it approachable for the girl who maybe never thought about a dress with bling.

Beaded wedding dress by Jenny Packham bridal from Bridal Fashion Week Best wedding dresses picked by Destination wedding planner, Mango Muse Events

Here is another dress from Mira Zwillinger where we see the sheer look, but what I like about it is the use of the sparkle factor.  There is a lot of it, but you aren’t overwhelmed.  It’s detailed and modern.

Beaded wedding dress by Mira Zwillinger bridal from Bridal Fashion Week Best wedding dresses picked by Destination wedding planner, Mango Muse Events

This beauty by Naeem Khan is exactly what “new bling” is all about.  It’s totally reimagined for a more modern, alternative look.  I could see on a girl with a more urban style or someone having an intimate wedding outdoors.  It’s totally fun and different.

Beaded wedding dress by Naeem Khan bridal from Bridal Fashion Week Best wedding dresses picked by Destination wedding planner, Mango Muse Events

Trend #3: Front slit wedding dresses

Another trend we saw on the bridal fashion week runways were front slits.  Showing off your legs without going for a short dress makes your wedding dress a bit sexier while still being totally classy and we’re liking it.

This Monique Lhuillier has not only one front slit, but two to show off both legs.  The cream color of this dress is great and did you notice the sheer theme again?

Cream front slit wedding dress by Monique Lhuillier bridal from Bridal Fashion Week Best wedding dresses picked by Destination wedding planner, Mango Muse Events

Another Monique Lhuillier dress, this one is a lace wedding dress with not only a front slit but a deep v neck as well.  The two mimic each other which I think looks lovely and once again is sexy, but not slutty.

Lace front slit wedding dress by Monique Lhuillier bridal from Bridal Fashion Week Best wedding dresses picked by Destination wedding planner, Mango Muse Events

This crisp white Amsale wedding dress is a sleeker version of Monique’s.  The front slit peek mirrors the bodice’s peek.  It’s covered up, but fun.

Modern front slit wedding dress by Amsale bridal from Bridal Fashion Week Best wedding dresses picked by Destination wedding planner, Mango Muse Events

Trend #4: High neck wedding dresses

Another trend we saw and were loving on the bridal fashion week runways were the high neck wedding dresses.  These are a new way of covering up without looking like a prude.

Check out this Elie Saab airy number.  The detailed bodice leads up to a covered neck which drapes out behind her.  I love this.  It’s like a cape, but not.

Airy wedding dress by Elie Saab bridal from Bridal Fashion Week Best wedding dresses picked by Destination wedding planner, Mango Muse Events

This fishnet Naeem Khan wedding dress has so much lovely detail.  The sheer look with that high neck counteracts each other and creates a beautiful effect.

Fishnet high neck wedding dress by Naeem Khan bridal from Bridal Fashion Week Best wedding dresses picked by Destination wedding planner, Mango Muse Events

This Vera Wang is reminiscent of old French style gowns with large hips, but much more modern.  The cut of the dress is flattering and the pleated skirt is great.  I love how this dress makes you look at her face and shoulders.

High neck wedding dress by Vera Wang bridal from Bridal Fashion Week Best wedding dresses picked by Destination wedding planner, Mango Muse Events

Another Naeem Khan dress, this one has detail galore from the crystal neck to the floral design to the sparkle tights.  This has so much to look at, but it’s somehow regal and fun at the same time.

High neck wedding dress by Naeem Khan bridal from Bridal Fashion Week Best wedding dresses picked by Destination wedding planner, Mango Muse Events

Christian Siriano (from Project Runway) came out with his first bridal line this year and this high neck wedding dress was one of them.  The sheer effect here is great, it’s like she’s been drizzled with snowflakes.

Sheer high neck wedding dress by Christian Siriano bridal from Bridal Fashion Week Best wedding dresses picked by Destination wedding planner, Mango Muse Events

Trend #5:  Sleek wedding dresses

Sleek and modern wedding dresses are not a new trend, but these versions definitely are.  They totally caught our attention for their details and I love these options for the bride who doesn’t want a wedding dress with a lot of fluff or fuss.

Not only is the flutter bottom dreamy in this wedding dress by Kelly Faetanini, but the way the sides are constructed is so flattering.

Flutter modern wedding dress by Kelly Faetanini bridal from Bridal Fashion Week Best wedding dresses picked by Destination wedding planner, Mango Muse Events

This Amsale dress is all about the top.  The shapes are interesting and the cut is great.  Simply beautiful.

Modern wedding dress by Amsale bridal from Bridal Fashion Week Best wedding dresses picked by Destination wedding planner, Mango Muse Events

I love this Elie Saab for the simple top, but especially for the slit and bottom.  It has an almost architectural feel to it with the angles it creates.  And hello, pants?!  Awesomeness.

Modern wedding dress by Elie Saab bridal from Bridal Fashion Week Best wedding dresses picked by Destination wedding planner, Mango Muse Events

This Lela Rose wedding dress is a grown up version of the two-piece wedding dress.  An elegant and structured top meets a leafy embroidered skirt all while being totally sleek and modern.

Two piece modern wedding dress by Lela Rose bridal from Bridal Fashion Week Best wedding dresses picked by Destination wedding planner, Mango Muse Events

Those were the top 5 wedding dress trends we enjoyed on the bridal fashion week runways.  Did you have a favorite?  Let us know in a comment below and stay tuned, we’ll be doing another post with our favorite wedding dresses for the non-traditional and alternative bride.

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Apr 28, 2016 by Jamie Chang

Wedding Wednesdays Q&A - Wedding Planning Advice by Destination Wedding Planner Mango Muse Events

Q:  I’m having a destination wedding on the beach and everyone is sharing all these floaty, ethereal or Grecian looking dresses with me.  While they are beautiful, they just kinda aren’t my thing. Do I have to pick a wedding dress that is “beachy”?  How do I pick the right wedding dress for my destination wedding?

I love this question!  And I’ve gotten it many times, so you’re not alone.  Another version of this question that I get from brides is, does my wedding dress need to match my venue?  The answer to your question about whether your wedding dress needs to beachy (and if it needs to match your venue) is a resounding NO!

Don’t feel pressured to force your wedding dress decision to match your destination location, your venue, your fiancé, your colors or anything really but, yourself.  You want to feel beautiful in your dress, so pick one that you love regardless of everything else.

So, how do you pick the right wedding dress for your destination wedding?  Start with what you like and read this past post about how to start looking for a wedding dress.  Once you’ve started to look, picking the right wedding dress for a destination wedding is a combination of having that intangible I-feel-beautiful-and-look-awesome feeling along with whether it hits the destination requirements.

The destination requirements will vary by every couple and every destination, but here are the general items you’ll want to think about:

1. Weather – Are you going somewhere hot? Or cold?  Humid?  Rainy? You may want to pick a dress that works well with the weather so you aren’t shivering or sweating to death.  You want to be comfortable in whatever way that means for you.  You’ll also want to take into account how your body runs and if you tend to be cold or hot.

2. Travel – Will this dress be hard to travel with?  Most dresses won’t be that simple to travel with and you’ll have at least a normal size garment bag, but some wedding dresses are larger, have trains or wrinkle easily.  It depends on how much you care about those things, but it’s something to consider.

3. Location – Ok, so I know I said you don’t have to pick a dress to match your destination location and that is still true. But, it’s still something to consider if your dress totally contradicts with your location.  For example, let’s say you’re getting married in the forest which means a wet leafy ground and you don’t want to get your wedding dress dirty.  Then picking a ball gown with a long train isn’t going to be the best idea.  But, if you love a ball gown and don’t care about it getting dirty, then go for it!  See what I mean?  You just want to make sure what you want and where you are having your wedding don’t contradict each other because we’re going for happy here.

You’ll want to think through your destination requirements and how you feel about each of them before you assess the wedding dresses you’re considering.  But, armed with this info and how you innately feel about the wedding dress, you’ll know how to pick the right wedding dress for your destination wedding.

Bride in a lace wedding dress for her Sonoma destination wedding by Destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events

(Photo credit: Andria Lo Weddings)

Are you planning your wedding and feeling overwhelmed? You’re not quite sure what you should be doing or if what you’re doing is right. Does this sound familiar? We understand and we want to help you!

We’re in the process of putting together a step by step wedding planning program just for couples like you. The program is not yet live, but if you want help and guidance to plan your wedding and make the process easier and happier, sign up to become a VIP. You’ll get put on the waitlist and get early access to the program when it does go live (you’ll also get a special bonus perk from us too!).

First Access to the Passport to Joy Destination Wedding Planning Program by Destination Wedding Planner Mango Muse EventsFirst Access to the Passport to Joy Destination Wedding Planning Program by Destination Wedding Planner Mango Muse Events

Apr 27, 2016 by Jamie Chang

Destination Weddings by Mango Muse Events

I’ve been getting a lot of questions recently about having a destination wedding in Europe and given the state of affairs, whether it’s still a good idea.  Couples are wondering if it’s safe or if they should reconsider a different area.

These are totally valid questions and important ones to ask.  With the ISIS threat, the world is a bit scary and with the recent attacks on Paris and Brussels and the related refugee crisis in Turkey, Greece, Italy and other countries in the EU, the situation feels understandably unknown and unsure.  I get it.  It’s hard to plan ahead for a destination wedding in Europe when you don’t know what will happen.

Here’s the thing you have to remember, though, you won’t know what will happen in another area of the world either.  Think about the couple who planned a wedding in Costa Rica or Fiji or Aruba a year ago.  How were they to know that the Zika virus would be in their area?  They couldn’t know.  There are natural disasters, viruses, and terrorist attacks that can happen anywhere.  You can’t plan for all of it.  And you honestly won’t know because things can change in a year or even 6 or 3 months.

So, what do you do?  I don’t think Europe is less safe now then when it was a year ago.  If anything, the security is better and more vigilant.  It feels scarier because of what has happened, but I don’t think it actually is.  Think of it this way, would you not go to New York after 9/11?  Well, maybe not immediately after because the city was dealing with the aftermath, but ask yourself, would you not feel safe in New York?

If you really want a destination wedding in Europe, if that is your dream or the place you two feel connected to, I don’t think you should change your plans.  You should still plan for and create the destination wedding you want, but if you are still worried, here are 3 tips to help make your destination wedding in Europe safer and give you peace of mind.

3 Tips to Make Your Destination Wedding In Europe Safer

1. Stay away from big cities.  If you really are worried about terrorist attacks and you want to pick the safest place for your Europe destination wedding, stay away from the big metropolitan cities.  Terrorists are always aiming for large cities and populated areas because it’s where they can inflict the most damage.  So, pick an area that is less populated like the French countryside or by the water in Lake Como.  On the upside, you’ll have a much more relaxed and leisurely time as well.

The gardens at Chateau de Jalesnes, a French destination wedding venue in Loire Valley

2. Pick a less newsworthy country.  This is going to sound a bit bad, but I’m all about honesty here.  So, if you are worried about terrorist attacks, then pick a country that is less newsworthy.  When I say less newsworthy, I don’t mean it’s not beautiful or a lovely place to visit, it’s just isn’t as popular as a tourist destination or not as volatile or as big of a country and most importantly, not as big of a target.  Some good examples are Switzerland or Ireland or Norway.  To wrap your head around this idea, think about US states.  New York or California, for example, are going to be more newsworthy than Utah or Kansas, they just are.

Luttrellstown Castle in Ireland for an Ireland destination wedding in Europe

3. Communicate with your guests and be prepared. Honestly, this is an important tip no matter what kind of destination wedding you are having, but this becomes especially important when it comes to safety.  Stay up to date and keep your guests informed on the situation in your location and if there is any information they need to know with regards to travel or the wedding itself.  Make sure your wedding website has all the information they’ll need to plan their trip, and provide them with all the pertinent info they need onsite in their welcome bags.  Be prepared so you can handle any potential changes by hiring a destination wedding planner, getting travel insurance, and having a cell phone that works globally (or get a local one).

Welcome bag for wedding guests with an itinerary and snacks for a Paris destination wedding by destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events

Lastly, while this is not a tip to make your destination wedding in Europe safer, it is a tip that you should always keep in mind with destination weddings – be flexible. Destination weddings are by nature more fluid and unpredictable.  It’s important to be flexible and adapt if things are not exactly right or if things need to change.

Don’t cancel your destination wedding in Europe just yet!  It’s still a great place to visit and is safer than you think.  If you’re worried, though, use our 3 tips to help make your destination wedding in Europe safer and give yourself the peace of mind you’re looking for.

 

Are you planning your wedding and feeling overwhelmed? You’re not quite sure what you should be doing or if what you’re doing is right. Does this sound familiar? We understand and we want to help you!

We’re in the process of putting together a step by step wedding planning program just for couples like you. The program is not yet live, but if you want help and guidance to plan your wedding and make the process easier and happier, sign up to become a VIP. You’ll get put on the waitlist and get early access to the program when it does go live (you’ll also get a special bonus perk from us too!).

First Access to the Passport to Joy Destination Wedding Planning  Program by Destination Wedding Planner Mango Muse Events

Apr 26, 2016 by Jamie Chang

It’s your wedding day and you want to look your best!  You want to be a natural bridal beauty which means feeling and looking beautiful in whatever way that means to you.  But bridal beauty goes beyond great makeup and hair, you want your face and your body to be radiant and what better way to emphasize your natural beauty than with all natural beauty care?  It’s Earth day today and in honor of our planet, today we want to share some amazing all natural beauty products to help make you an all natural bridal beauty.

I recently discovered this Brooklyn-based brand called S.W. Basics which I think is pretty great.  Their products are made of all-natural simple ingredients that you can actually pronounce – what a concept! Most of their products contain 3-5 ingredients which are certified organic, fair trade, or sourced from family farms.  Their products are effective and they have skincare products for your face and your whole body.  I’ve tried a few of their products personally and they leave your face feeling clean and hydrated.  I’m particularly fond of their toner.  While it has a little bit of a smell, it feels great.

In addition, I love that when you purchase their products you’re supporting a small business.  They also stand by their products 100% so if you aren’t satisfied they’ll make it right. If you’re wanting to go all natural with your skincare, you should definitely check them out. Oh, and did I mention that while you can buy their products online, they also sell them at Target?!  Easy to get as well, love it!

Mini kit of S.W. Basics all natural skincare products perfect for an all natural bridal beauty

(Photo from S.W. Basics)

Be a natural beauty and check out S. W. Basics or another natural skincare line.  There are a quite a few now that focus on creating effective, organic skincare and putting products that are natural on your face. Which if you think about it, just makes sense whether you’re a bride or not.

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Apr 22, 2016 by Jamie Chang

Quick and Easy Wedding Planning Tips | Mango Muse Events Destination Wedding Planner

How are you coming along with the April Wedding Planning Challenge and making good wedding decisions?  If you’re still struggling a bit with making your wedding decisions, never fear, we’ve got a quick and easy wedding planning tip to help make your wedding decisions easier.

You’ve taken the April Wedding Planning Challenge, so you know the questions you need to ask in order to have the information you need to make a sound and good decision for you and your wedding.  But, sometimes after going through the process, you’ve got two options (or three) that are both good options, so you’re not sure which one is the best option.  If this sounds like you and you’re debating back and forth between two wedding photographers or two hair and makeup artists or two wedding invitations, here is a quick and easy wedding planning tip to help you through your wedding decisions.

Make a decision by picking one of the options and then sleep on it.

What you want to do is choose one of the options and then stop thinking about it.  You won’t tell anyone about your decision (except maybe your fiancé), but you’ve made one.  Then you go about your day.  Go through a whole day and night with that decision made.  Then when you wake up in the morning assess how you feel.  Are you excited?  Are you sad?  Are you still unwillingly thinking about the other option?

Couples tend to overthink wedding decisions in general and this is an easy way to see how you really feel about your options without overthinking it.  If you’re sad or longing for the other option, then that is the right one.  If you feel excited and jazzed, then the option you picked was the right one.

It’s a simple technique but one that works well not only for your wedding decisions but for all your decisions in life. If you’re struggling between two good options, this is the way to figure out your decision.

If you haven’t yet taken the April wedding planning challenge and gotten your FREE Decision Making Cheat Sheet, go right now and get it!  It will give you the tools you need to make your wedding decisions so much easier.

Apr 20, 2016 by Jamie Chang

Destination Weddings by Mango Muse Events

There aren’t too many things that I hate as I’m not a hateful person.  But, I hate mosquitos.

Partially because they are annoying, but mainly because they love me.  I must have yummy blood because if you stick me in a room in a tropical climate, I’ll be all the mosquito repellent you need (I’m probably all the vampire repellant you need too).

So, it always concerns me when there are mosquito-based viruses because the chances I’d get them are high.  On my trip to the Caribbean last year, there was a big concern about the Chikungunya virus which causes severe joint pain.  Pretty much all the islands in the Caribbean had the disease.  While I somehow (and luckily) didn’t get it, I am amazed at the amount of harm a little mosquito can do.

If you’ve been following the news at all I’m sure you’ve heard about the Zika virus and the harm it causes to pregnant women and their children.  The virus ridden mosquitos have spread to the Caribbean, Central America, South America, Mexico and the South Pacific.  Basically, places that are warm and tropical.

So, what does this mean for your destination wedding?  I’ve probably gotten you to start feeling itchy with all this mosquito talk, but it’s an important question to ask especially if you thinking about having your destination wedding in an active Zika virus area that is popular for destination weddings like Costa Rica, Mexico or the Caribbean.  To help you plan for the Zika virus, we’ve got 4 tips to make your destination wedding as virus free as possible.

4 Tips to Handling the Zika Virus at Your Destination Wedding

1. Aim for a Zika free location.  If you haven’t yet decided on a destination location, try to pick a spot that isn’t currently on the active Zika virus list.  For example, as of today (4/19/16) in the Caribbean, St. Barts, Turks and Caicos, Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands are Zika free.  Check the up to date CDC list of active Zika locations to help guide you.  If you’re ok with a non-beachy location, the safest locations will be at elevations above 6,500 ft. because the mosquitoes that spread the Zika virus don’t live that high due to the environmental conditions.

2. Think about your pregnant (or possibly soon to be pregnant) friends.  Take a quick look at your guest list and see who is pregnant now and who you think might have a chance of being pregnant by your wedding date.  Now, how many people are you looking at?  Hopefully, this is a small number, but if it’s a large proportion of your guests or it’s your closest friends, you may want to reconsider your destination location if you’ve picked an active Zika virus location (or even a Zika free location).  This is a hugely personal decision and depends on how important these people are to you and how important this location is to you.  For those not changing your location, while you can’t plan for everyone and you don’t know what will happen come your wedding day, knowing ahead of time who might pull out will help you to adjust and plan accordingly as the time nears.

3. Warn your guests and if you know of anyone who is pregnant, email them directly.  Make sure to mention the Zika virus status of your location on your wedding website and update it if anything should change.  If you have any close family or friends who are pregnant reach out to them directly to let them know what the situation is so they can plan as well.

4. Take precautions.  While you and the majority of your guests may not be pregnant, the Zika virus is still a virus that comes with fever, rash, and joint pain.  So, getting it isn’t fun no matter who you are.  Make sure to encourage your guests to bring mosquito repellant and have some handy in their welcome gifts and at every event so that you’re doing your best to protect not only yourself but everyone you love as well.

One last note – The Zika virus is continuing to spread and they are predicting that the mosquitos will end up in the US this summer in warm, wet places like Miami and Charleston.  So, you may not be able to run from it unless you either pick a wedding location in a high elevation or one that isn’t mosquito heavy.  It’s something to keep that in mind before you pick or change locations.

Beach wedding ceremony on St. Croix at a Caribbean destination wedding by Destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events

(Photo credit: McAllister Photography)

Are you planning your wedding and feeling overwhelmed? You’re not quite sure what you should be doing or if what you’re doing is right. Does this sound familiar? We understand and we want to help you!

We’re in the process of putting together a step by step wedding planning program just for couples like you who are planning their wedding on their own. The program is not yet live, but if you want help and guidance as you plan your wedding and make the process easier and happier, sign up to become a VIP. You’ll get put on the waitlist and get early access to the program when it does go live (you’ll also get a special bonus perk from us too!).

First Access to the Passport to Joy Destination Wedding Planning Program by Destination Wedding Planner Mango Muse Events

Apr 19, 2016 by Jamie Chang

If you’ve been hanging around our blog for a while, you know I love stories.  It’s the thing I love most about weddings.  I love learning my client’s stories and who they are.  Their story helps inspire the wedding which is essentially an extension of their story.  It’s the next chapter and I have the pleasure of helping them create it.  I want to make sure their wedding is personal, meaningful and creates the feeling of who they are and this shows up not only in the design, but the planning and the experience as a whole.

Because stories are so important to us, today I want to share a wedding story with you.  A couple of mine decided to have a destination wedding in Hawaii. The bride grew up Catholic, but the groom’s family was not.  It was important that she getting married in a Catholic church, but not have too overly of a Catholic church wedding since both families were not Catholic.  If you’ve ever been to a Catholic ceremony you know that it can be long and not always the most fun for guests.  So, the couple wanted to make sure that the church was close to the wedding reception location.  This resulted in the selection of a large church that had super tall ceilings. It was pretty, but huge which posed a bit of a problem.

The couple themselves are really easy going and from a style perspective very simple.  They didn’t want anything over the top or fussy.  So, when faced with this massive church, the challenge became how do we design for it while keeping the couple in mind?  The natural tendency with this church would be to create a design that is large and tall to work with the height and size of the church.  But, that wouldn’t work well for the couple.

After some creative brainstorming and research I ended up presenting the couple with an idea to have these wooden pedestals that held these simple, but pretty arrangements.  The natural looking pedestals gave the arrangement height without being over the top.  In addition, we added some maile leis which not only gave the pedestals more greenery but some fragrance as well.

Floral pedestal created for a church wedding for a destination wedding in Hawaii designed by Destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events

These pedestals didn’t actually exist in the world, so I created the custom design pieces so that it would work with the floral arrangements.  The best part was that all the flowers were able to do double duty and work on the reception tables as well.  So, not only did we save them money, but we created a design that fit well with both the church and the couple’s style.

Simple calla lily arrangement created for a church wedding for a destination wedding in Hawaii designed by Destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events

The end result was pure harmony.  I was thrilled with how it turned out and the couple was too because it represented them well and worked perfectly with their church wedding.  And just look how beautiful the bride looks!

Bride and her father walking down the aisle at a church wedding for a destination wedding in Hawaii designed by Destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events

(Photo credit for all photos: Allina Yang)

I hope you enjoyed our church wedding story today.  We’ll be sharing more stories to help inspire you to create a design that fits with your story and who you are.  Till then, happy planning!

Are you planning your wedding and feeling overwhelmed? You’re not quite sure what you should be doing or if what you’re doing is right. Does this sound familiar? We understand and we want to help you!

We’re in the process of putting together a step by step wedding planning program just for couples like you.  The program is not yet live, but if you want help and guidance to plan your wedding and make the process easier and happier, sign up to become a VIP.  You’ll get put on the waitlist and get early access to the program when it does go live (you’ll also get a special bonus perk from us too!).

First Access to the Passport to Joy Destination Wedding Planning Program by Destination Wedding Planner Mango Muse Events

Apr 14, 2016 by Jamie Chang

Wedding Wednesdays Q&A - Wedding Planning Advice by Destination Wedding Planner Mango Muse Events

Q: I’m having a museum wedding and so I’m starting to look at caterers.  There is a preferred vendor list with 8 caterers that I have to work off of, but I was wondering, where do I start to find the right caterer?

Great question!  So, the best place to start to find the right caterer for you is going to be with their websites.  I know, it sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many couples overlook this step.

Start by checking out their website, not just to learn about them, how they work and what they believe in, but to see some of their food and most importantly to look at sample menus.  If you love food like me, it’s always fun to look at menus.  But whether or not you are a foodie, you can get a sense of their food via their sample menus.  They are only going to show menus that represent the kind of food they do and what they think they do well.  So, if you are (or aren’t) loving what you see and it sounds yummy (or not yummy), that is a good place to start narrowing your options.

If by chance the caterer’s website doesn’t have sample menus, then you’ll want to reach out and ask for some.  They may try to get you on the phone first, but I always find it’s best to look at some menus before setting up any meetings.  It really gives you a good feel of what they can do and what they like to do.  There is no point talking to a caterer who specializes in Asian fusion food when you want Italian.  Or picking a caterer who is all about farm to table sustainable food and you want something special shipped in from France.

You want to find a caterer that is a good match for you and your food tastes and desires and looking at sample menus is the first place to start.  Now, one thing to keep in mind is that many caterers can do a variety of different types of cuisines, so when you look at their menus you may see a wide range.  This is their way of telling you that they have the capability to do many different things.  But, in the end, it comes back to what sounds good to you.  Looking at these menus will help you to narrow the field to find the right caterer for you.

One last thing I want to mention is that besides looking at the actual food menu items, you’ll also want to look at the pricing.  Every caterer is different in how they price, but also, the range of pricing will vary, so check that out as well because every couple has a budget and you want to make sure you’re working within it.

Short ribs on a caterer wedding menu at at San Francisco wedding planned by Destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events

(Photo credit: Jerry Yoon Photographers)

Are you planning your wedding and feeling overwhelmed? You’re not quite sure what you should be doing or if what you’re doing is right. Does this sound familiar? We understand and we want to help you!

We’re in the process of putting together a step by step wedding planning program just for couples like you. The program is not yet live, but if you want help and guidance to plan your wedding and make the process easier and happier, sign up to become a VIP. You’ll get put on the waitlist and get early access to the program when it does go live (you’ll also get a special bonus perk from us too!).

First Access to the Passport to Joy Destination Wedding Planning Program by Destination Wedding Planner Mango Muse Events

Apr 13, 2016 by Jamie Chang

about

Jamie Chang

Freshly picked is a blog of tasty morsels to inspire, amuse, encourage, excite and help make your life easier. We share wedding planning, travel and design tips and inspiration and anything else that tickles our fancy.

Jamie Chang is the owner and destination wedding planning guru at Mango Muse Events, a boutique destination wedding planning and design firm specializing in creating unforgettable experiences. Mango Muse Events is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and orchestrates events all over the world.

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