I’m engaged, now what?

It’s engagement season and it’s your turn, you’ve said “YASSS!”, sent the proposal video to your entire group chat, called your family, made it Facebook official and spammed everyone’s Insta-feed.

I had one of my clients tell me recently that they sat down and realized they had a wedding to plan but didn’t know where to start. So what did they do? “We looked up: “How to plan a wedding on Youtube”- my mouth dropped. The reason? They hadn’t been to many weddings, but their Youtube search lead them to WeddingWire, which lead them to me, so everything is right in the world now! Here’s a few tips to help you get the ball rolling.

Line up your wedding planning resources

After you’ve decided on a date, it’s time to start researching and for that, you need a couple of good resources to guide you. Wedding Wire is a very popular website that showcases wedding vendors in your area! Everything from beautiful venues, talented photographers, elegant floral designers, rental companies you name it. Snuggle up with a glass of wine, make a list of the vendors you need to hire and create an account on Wedding Wire. Research one category at a time, it can get overwhelming fast, be sure to read reviews and choose 3 vendors per category and reach out to them for info on their services and prices.

Talk Money

You might not realize it but having an idea as to what your ballpark budget is will be extremely helpful. Sit down and talk with your partner about what that number looks like, if it’s realistic and most importantly- do you both agree on it? Today’s wedding’s typically cost more than most couples project so round that number up and over project and try to stay under that. Both of you decide the top 3 most important aspects of your wedding you want to splurge on, for example: food, entertainment and photography. Prioritize those items and whatever remains from your wedding budget can go towards the other areas.

Don’t rush in

It’s crucial that with any potential vendor you are thinking of hiring, have a conversation with them. Emails are great to get facts and service information, but you are hiring a whole person with the service they provide. Their photos look great online, their music sample sounds energetic and upbeat, their flower arrangements are exactly what you are looking for- but do your personalities jive? It’s likely you will be working with this person for months, if you don’t get along or like their system of doing things, if your expectations don’t match the way they do their work, it might not be a good fit. So, schedule a phone call, no matter how tiresome it seems and get to know them!

Have a checklist and follow it

If you decide not to hire a planner to do the leg work for you then you will absolutely need a checklist to help keep you on schedule and on track. There might be items on the list that may or may not apply depending on the type of wedding you’re planning to have but at least have it as a guideline. Here’s a free complete Wedding Planning Check List PDF

Lastly? Stay as organized as possible and if you aren’t organized and get easily confused, overwhelmed or just don’t have the bandwidth in your already busy life? Hire. A. Planner. You can’t put a price on peace of mind.

Engagement Season: Never Stress! How to quickly find the best Toronto vendors before your wedding in 2020 with ease

With 3 months of engagement season still left, it really is the most exciting time of the year. There’s nothing we love more than getting excited inquiries in our inboxes:

“I’m getting married on __________ 2020 and we are interested in learning more about your services!”

That type of email is typically a very preliminary step in the search for your team of wedding vendors that will take you from planning to wedding day. But there are some key steps that you absolutely cannot miss if you want the best vendors for your wedding. Now they may not be the best in Toronto, but they are the best for YOU. Remember that!

  1. It’s more than just about pricing

CO0A9361There are so many moving parts within the services that wedding professionals offer and it can be difficult to know exactly what the value of a service should be when you know nothing about it. So- you need to deepen your knowledge of what these professionals do. It’s not as simple as slapping a cake together the night before, or ordering some flowers to make some table arrangements. In order to truly appreciate the value of a service, you have to understand it. Ask questions! If you don’t understand why the flowers you want are so expensive? Ask. If you don’t realize how much time and money (yes I said money) goes into planning a wedding? ASK. Get a better understanding of the service, what it entails, the amount of time and resources it takes and once you understand that, pricing will make sense.

2. Don’t just communicate via email

portrait of young woman using mobile phone in cafe

Okay, no one has time, we’ve established this and making time is a pain but it’s necessary. Why? Because you aren’t JUST hiring a decorator, you aren’t JUST hiring a planner, you aren’t JUST hiring a DJ- they are a whole person. Yes, they are providing a service and the service might be amazingly priced and they might do stunning pictures…but what if you don’t get along? What if you don’t like their process? What if they don’t feel the need to respond to emails as quickly as you would like? What if their laid back manner makes you feel like they aren’t taking your concerns seriously? Wedding professionals are PEOPLE with personalities, do they mesh with you? You can’t always tell over email so get on the phone with them or meet them for coffee. Your level of comfort and how reassured you feel afterwards will assist you greatly when choosing from such a large pool.

3. Respond to emails

close up photography of woman sitting beside table while using macbook

This one drives me batty and yes, I’m going to call it as I see it. 9 times out of 10 you reach out to wedding vendors to get more information, pricing etc. Wedding professionals respond (hopefully in a timely manner) send you information, and then radio silence. You reached out to us, needing our assistance. Have the courtesy to respond back, even if you decide to go with someone else. Let us know, we won’t be offended but to just leave us in limbo is not only rude, but it doesn’t make for a professional relationship. Frankly, a client that doesn’t respond to my emails is telling me they don’t value my service at all. If the expectation if for wedding pros to respond to YOU within a certain amount of time, why can’t we have the same expectation? I don’t keep wedding dates open for long, if I have to send more than 2 follow up emails, I already don’t want to work with you because you don’t value my time. Someone else will!

4. Be transparent

MakeupTell us what you want! Don’t be “iffy” or constantly change your mind (because that is a huge mistake that will cost you!). Just let us know what you want, what you are thinking, what is your best case scenario, what are back up options and we will do whatever we can to make it happen. And if you don’t know…tell us that too! We are there to work it out and work alongside you, that’s how we support you. I love being able to present options to a couple if they “just don’t know” because at the very least it gives you some ideas to start with. But if you don’t tell us what you want, what your vision is, we can’t give you our best. We can’t streamline our talent and creativity without being pointed in some sort of direction. This is YOUR day, we will make it happen if you just tell us what you want!

Wedding planner reveals 4 common mistakes couples must be quick to rethink to avoid jaw-dropping disaster

Your wedding day is a huge investment, not just of money but of time and effort. You want it to go smoothly but it might all backfire if you are doing any of these things.

Changing your mind too many times

Oakview+Terrace+Wedding+-+Bridal+Portraits-83We know it can be tough to commit to one idea, color or concept- there is so much beautiful inspiration, you would do all if it if you could. But you can’t. It’s one thing to think you want one thing and then change your mind, we can deal with that, it happens! Now if you change your mind multiple times, before, during and after meetings and consultations- this is where it gets tricky. Have you ever tried to navigate through an email feed that contains 27 communications trying to find the most recent requested changes? Having to update notes too many times can result in something being forgotten or overlooked, we’re human and it can get confusing. Another issue that stems from this that couples get upset over is that every time you change your mind, the price changes. This leads to having to update another quote and emailing that off, which takes more time. It also means you have less time to execute or place orders because nothing has been concretely decided.

Procrastinating until the last minute

Now, if you wait too long to make decisions (possibly because you keep changing your mind!) this will work against you. Of course we aren’t saying to rush into anything, this is your wedding, you want to think things out clearly and determine what you both want and what works within your budget. However, if you wait until a few weeks before to make choices about crucial elements like décor, entertainment, flowers, food/desserts you will be in for a shock. Vendors get booked fast for wedding dates by couples who know what they want. Certain décor items may already be rented if you wait too long to decide. Flowers must be ordered way in advance or you are looking at a significant increase in price and the possibility of the flowers you want not being available. To wait too long will cost you!

Not starting your seating chart early

Oakview+Terrace+Wedding+-+Reception-19You’re probably thinking “but why? I should just wait to get all my RSVP’s in…”, we guarantee that you will not get all of your RSVP’s in by the deadline date. In fact, we guarantee you will have to designate someone to call people to get their confirmation. If you know off the bat which guests will absolutely come, get those names on a tentative excel sheet and organized into a table. If they need to be swapped later that is fine but get their names, family members and plus 1’s on there. Waiting until you get all of the RSVP’s means you will be way too close to the wedding date trying to get this done and if you’ve chosen to do it yourself, you will not have as much time or energy as you think. Also, keep track of who you invite but don’t give a formal invite too, we’ve seen guests show up and NOT be on a seating chart because they were forgotten!

Micromanaging your wedding planner

We know you want your day to go perfect and we know your organizational skills are superb but so are ours! That’s why your hired us! The day of the wedding is when you relinquish control (cringe…yes we said it), and enjoy your day. Let us worry about making sure Uncle Joe doesn’t get his hands on a microphone, your limo shows up on time and that no one in the family takes it upon themselves to try to change the seating chart the day of because they don’t’ like it (yes, we’ve had that almost happen). Your planner is more than capable of handling those things and more while you spend time with your nearest and dearest and celebrate your beautiful day. Let us do what you’ve paid us to do!

If you choose not to hire a planner, here’s a Wedding Planning Check List PDF you can download to help keep you on track!

50 Wedding Themes for all engaged couple styles

 

1. Life’s a Beach

2. Sorrento (think lemons)

3. Mint to Be

4. Kate Spade

5. Enchanted Forest

6. Secret Garden Party

7. Black Tie (think Gatsby)

8. Roaring 20’s

9. Black Panther

10. Mediterranean

11. Pop-up

12. Welcome Aboard

13. My Sun & Stars/Moon of My Life (Game of Thrones)

14. Parisian

15. Vintage

16. Shabby Chic

17. Boho

18. Boho-Rustic

19. Rustic

20. Country

21. Tropical

22. Old Century

23. Disney

24. Vineyard/Winery

25. Safari

26. Old Hollywood (Vintage Glam)

27. Rustic Modern

28. Italian Romance

29. Masquerade

30. Star Wars

31. Sail Away

32. Go Green

33. Mexican Fiesta

34. Southern Garden

35. Scottish Themed

36. Geometric

37. Impressionist (water colors)

38. 60’s Mod Party

39. 50’s Retro

40. 80’s

41. 70’s Disco

42. Pumpkin Patch

43. Superhero

44. Fire & Ice

45. Winter is Coming

46. Outdoor Pool Party

47. Japanese Cherry blossom

48. Fantasy (think Unicorns)

49. Winter Wonderland

50. My Big Fat Greek Wedding (insert your culture)

100 Insanely smart tips to help a busy bride stay on budget and save money while planning a beautiful wedding

  1. Keep your guest list small
  2. Choose flowers that are in season
  3. Consider a Friday or Sunday wedding
  4. Create & print your own invites- here’s a discount code for Minted
  5. Get married on off-peak season (November-April)
  6. Skip the plated meal and do a buffet
  7. Have more comfort food and snacks vs formal food options
  8. Rent certain items vs buying them
  9. Choose a non-traditional wedding venue: municipal park or beach
  10. Google local sample sales and trunk shows for your wedding gown
  11. Shop local outlet stores for bridesmaids’ dresses
  12. Purchase handmade items directly from the seller e.g. Etsy
  13. Ditch favors or limit them to 1 per couple
  14. Keep the ceremony and reception at the same place to cut down rentals, transportation and décor
  15. Rent your wedding dress
  16. YouTube makeup tutorials or go to Sephora for a makeup lesson then do your own makeup
  17. Swap in a sweet table instead of a dessert course
  18. Buy your own booze for the wedding
  19. Only serve appetizers during the cocktail hour
  20. Find a music student(s) to entertain during cocktail hour or for the ceremony (have them audition first!)
  21. Find a newer cake artist to make your cake
  22. Swap your cake for smaller cupcakes or tarts
  23. Limit the bar hours or have an alcohol-free wedding
  24. Instead of multiple shooters, only have 1 photographer
  25. Use wildflowers as fillers in your centerpieces
  26. Opt for sparkling wine over champagne
  27. Use a credit card to pay for vendors etc that has points or rewards so you get something back
  28. Google local wedding shows to get deals on potential vendors
  29. Use coupons or Facebook Marketplace to score deals on accessories or décor items
  30. Hire a wedding planner; what you pay them to do will end up being made up in savings because they can negotiate contracts and save you time
  31. Schedule to do cake cutting and first dance earlier in the evening to cut down on photography hours
  32. More than 3 courses for dinner might be excessive, guests should be fed but don’t overdo it
  33. Have a smaller cake created for display and cutting and have a larger slab cake in the back that gets served to guests
  34. Have a smaller bridal party to cut down costs and possibly hassle
  35. Ditch the bridal party altogether and just have a flower girl and ring bearer to save on gifts
  36. Use a playlist for the cocktail hour and dinner and a DJ for the reception party
  37. Cocktails and mixed drinks are usually more expensive at the bar so limit the options to beer and wine
  38. See if the venue has larger tables so you cut back on the amount of centerpieces
  39. Use something other than flowers for your centerpieces such as candles, picture frames, lanterns
  40. Elope or do a pop-up wedding
  41. Consider emailing your “Save the Dates”
  42. Only invite people you are close to you (you’ve seen and hung out with them in the last 5 years)
  43. Stick to the house wines offered instead of specialty ones
  44. DIY certain wedding items
  45. If one of your friends recently got married and kept some of their décor, ask to borrow it
  46. Buy things like candles and favors in bulk, the price is usually less (buy more than 50 pieces)
  47. Have your shower or rehearsal at home instead of a restaurant
  48. Naked cakes look lovely or instead choose buttercream icing over fondant
  49. Kids meals are cheaper so be sure to ask for a kids menu if you plan to have kids at the wedding or have no kids at all
  50. Only have 1 or 2 options for vegetarian or vegan meals, the more choices the more money
  51. Borrow accessories from friends or a family member instead of buying them
  52. Have the wine at dinner served rather than sitting on the table so consumption is staggered during the evening
  53. Don’t forget tips, shipping fees and taxes and gratuity to be factored into your budget
  54. Decide if you are allowing +1’s or not, additional guests can impact your budget greatly
  55. Negotiate pricing on some contracts
  56. Read over contract carefully and ask questions, it’s very easy to misunderstand something and then get overcharged
  57. Enable people to RSVP on a website instead of traditional paper RSVP’s, plus it’s easier to track
  58. See if your venue has a list of preferred vendors, sometimes they want you to use them but it might cost you. Ask if you are permitted to use outside vendors. They may require approval
  59. Find a venue that needs minimal décor
  60. Get married in a backyard garden to save on venue and décor costs
  61. Price shop for vendors to before booking anything to see if there are comparable prices available
  62. Avoid getting married on a Saturday or a long weekend, it’s the most expensive day to get married
  63. Keep appetizers between 2-3 pieces per person and keep in mind the caterer will likely try to up sell you
  64. If you are wearing a longer dress, no one will see you shoes so why splurge?
  65. Go through each item on your budget to see if there are ways to trim it down
  66. Everyone loves a good wedding trend but they are usually pricey because they are in high demand
  67. Hand write your place cards/escort cards or design them on Minted
  68. Research various wedding budgets and revise yours based on what your research finds
  69. Thank you’s to the bridal party are lovely but don’t have to break the bank
  70. Consider one big single bloom for the bouquets
  71. Don’t let vendors rope you into more than you want too (a planner can help with this) you can politely decline any add-ons
  72. Florists typically charge more for labor so buy your own flowers in bulk to save
  73. Stick to a signature cocktail during the cocktail hour and have it passed around. It will not only save on alcohol but will add a nice personal touch as well.
  74. Can we say: “Free wedding stationary printables” We said it.
  75. Instead of renting a nice car, can you borrow one from someone you know?
  76. Keep all of your receipts so you can monitor what you’ve spent
  77. Ask guests to email their RSVPs to you directly and keep an email file folder of them
  78. Choose a venue outside of a major city. Costs of downtown venues and parking can make sticking to your budget difficult
  79. Wait for a good deal to take your honeymoon instead of right afterwards. Check out Skyscanner or Next Vacay
  80. Get a dress that actually fits instead of off the rack and needing expensive alterations
  81. When in doubt, don’t buy a dress a size or two too small, it’s easier to make a larger dress smaller than the opposite
  82. For any out of town guests, ask hotels close by the wedding venue for reduced rates based on rooms booked
  83. Instead of expensive centerpieces, have empty vases on the tables and use the bridesmaid’s bouquets as centerpieces
  84. Troll Instagram and wedding websites for contests and giveaways
  85. Go to Wedding Wire and see if any vendors you need are offering discounts on their services
  86. Buy as much as you can in bulk (food, flowers, candy) rather than specialty stores that will have higher prices
  87. Shorten your planning time, you will be much more decisive with a strict timeline
  88. Only have the photographer and videographer cover just the ceremony
  89. See if videography can be added to your photography package instead of hiring 2 separate vendors
  90. Any leftover wedding items you have, sell them online
  91. Use the word “wedding” only when necessary (like with venues and photographers) sometimes there’s an up charge
  92. Only splurge on ONE thing like good food or music
  93. Find out if there is a minimum spend at the venue if they have in house catering. Usually if you make the minimum spend, they waive the venue rental fee
  94. Keep your invites to a singe sheet, pretty but simple. It will save on postage
  95. Ask friends to help where they can, as ushers, officiant, MC, DJ
  96. Sew your own table runners with fabric you purchase yourself
  97. Silk and paper flowers go a long way
  98. Skip the traditional wedding dress shops and go to major retailers like Le Chateau or Etsy for your dress
  99. Consider a different time of day: Morning or afternoon so you save on dinner food
  100. Make sure you and your partner are both on the same page on where to splurge and where to cutback!

Top 5 Wedding Floral Trends for 2019

Greenery has been at the top of wedding florals for the past 2 years and its likely not going anywhere but other trends have made their way into the wedding industry. If you are saying “I do” this year, there are some big trends that have everyone swooning.

Monochromatic arrangements

Textural detailing is the main focus in this trend, from bouquets to centerpieces; monochromatic blooms in lovely neutral tones or all white are a big hit thanks to the minimalistic wedding trend. Adding some dried elements or sparse greenery add dimension and pretty aesthetic and don’t overpower the simplicity.

Monochromatic

Dried flowers and Grasses

Pampass grass is everywhere and its by far our favorite trend right now! It’s a beautiful feathery light brown grass that looks stunning in floral installations, bouquets and ceremony backdrops. It pairs well with baby’s breath and dried lavender for a more bohemian wedding style. Wheat grass, bunny tails work well as alternatives or added elements to bouquets and centerpieces as well.

Pampass

Ferns

Keeping in stride with the boho wedding style, ferns are an organic and beautiful accent to bouquets, centerpieces and garlands.

Living Coral

This gorgeous color is the Pantone for 2019 and we can’t wait to see how its used. A pop of color in a floral arrangement can go a long way. Calla lilies, ranunculus, poppies, peonies, roses, snap dragons, tulips and dahlias come in coral and are great options depending on the arrangement.

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Big Blooms

Protea and Anthuriums are just 2 insanely gorgeous flowers you can add one or two to a bouquet or a centerpiece and make a huge impact. 

Protea anthurium

Style Shoot: Woodland Escape

I had the privilege of being able to do outdoor shoots last year for Elegant Wedding Magazine. I shared the first one with you all, Spring Garden at the Toronto Botanical Gardens in Toronto.

This shoot was very different and I loved it for that reason. It was paramount that as many natural elements were included to maintain an organic feel. It’s not often an outdoor wedding can utilize most of the natural elements outside to contribute to the overall tone of the event style. But it can be done!

Here are some of our favorite shots of this simply stunning shoot!

To see more head on over to the Elegant Wedding Magazine blog post Moody Woodland Forest Wedding

Vendor Credits:

Venue: Fantasy Farms
Photographer: The Butterfly Photography
Florals: Divine Flowers Toronto
Dresses: Mona Lisa Bridal Gallery
Table Top Decor: Plate Occasions
Rentals: Chairman Mills
Decor and Props: Cre8ive Studios
Stationary: GM Calligraphy
Cake and Confections: Dolce Vita Cakes by Albina
HMUA: Makeup Couture/ Hair Couture

How to rock a venue open house

If you are recently engaged, living in the big TO and still shopping for the perfect venue, this blog post is for you! January-March are the months when venues host an event called an “open house” to showcase the venue’s potential for a wedding. They hire wedding vendors such as a DJ, catering company and sometimes an entertainment company for the evening. You will get to enjoy wine, finger foods, a band or a DJ while getting to check out a venue that might work for your wedding day.

What to look for

Sight-lines

When you look around the room, do you see any large pillars that disrupt a clear line of vision? This is one of the most important things you need to look for when searching for a venue. When you imagine the set up, will anything block the guests view of the ceremony or honor table during the reception? Will photographs look strange? If the room is open concept you are good to go but if it’s a venue with a bit more of a rustic/industrial look, its not a “all bets are off” scenario but careful consideration of the setup will be required.

Washrooms

Besides cold food, nothing is worse than a 200 plus wedding guest count and a one stall washroom…that the bride can barely fit in. Washrooms are a big deal ladies; are they properly cleaned and well stocked (yes snoop those cupboards!!) Does anything look like it’s in need of maintenance? Do the toilet’s flush properly, is there hot water to wash hands, are the soap dispensers full? How many washroom stalls are there and is it wheelchair accessible?

Special Amenities

Another great thing to peep is aspects of the venue that are unique and special. Some venues have an outdoor patio which is great for when you need to get some air. What a about a rooftop patio, who doesn’t love a view? Is there any natural lighting that you love which will translate into beautiful city lights at night and add to the ambience the evening? If you have a summer wedding, do they have a garden area you could gain access too? Parking anyone?!

Wedding Packages

Whether it’s when you first walk in, or are walking out, someone should be handing you a cute little gift bag with a cookie, business cards, gift cards and a wedding package from the venue. It will give a very detailed outlining of what they offer, what’s included and not included in their packages and pricing.

So, call up a few of your girlfriends or bridal party for that matter, when you RSVP include how many will be accompanying you. Don’t eat a heavy dinner since there will be plenty for you to munch on when you get there. Enjoy the entertainment, music and wine and look out for these 4 things I mentioned. It’s a great way to have a nice free little girls’ night out while searching for your wedding venue.

Below are a couple of upcoming venue open houses this month and next, so if you haven’t chosen a venue yet, now’s your chance to see it completely done up and at it’s full potential!

Eg West  Richmond

Style Shoot: Spring Garden

Wedding season is right around the corner so here is some Spring Garden inspo my team and I created at the Toronto Botanical Gardens.

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Planning: AVP Weddings & Events | Photography: White Lotus Wedding Studios | Flowers: CA Flowers | Makeup & Hair: Miss Thani | Dress: Vera Wang Toronto | Decor: Glamourous Affairs Inc. | Rentals: Chair-man Mills | Linens: Linen Closet | Stationery: GM Calligraphy | Cake & Desserts: Fruitilicious Cakes | Popsicles: Happy Pops | Engagement Ring: Michael Hill | Model: ICON Models (Diana) | Venue: Toronto Botanical Gardens

2018 wedding trends that will make you want to have another wedding

As 2018 comes to a close, we are doing a little “throw-back” to some of our favorite wedding trends!

  1. Dark, moody florals

This may have been just a trend for 2018 but I love moody florals all year round. They bring such intensity and depth to bouquets and other floral arrangements.

wpm_stylized_shoots_black_diamond_01

  1. Translucent Accents

Acrylic was everywhere this year, acrylic stands, acrylic chairs, see through tents you name it. What we loved about this trend was that it added a contemporary element to décor and the overall feel of the reception. It was combined nicely with rustic themes as well as modern weddings

  1. Colored Candles

A lovely touch to tablescapes this year were candles in multiple hues. It helped balance out bright florals and soften other décor elements.

Woodlandshoot_-227

  1. Dramatic Backdrops

Flower walls, geometric wooden structures, strings of dangling lights and flowers- it’s the “wow” factor. From photo booths to escort card tables, backdrops were taken to another level this year and we loved it!

  1. Single Stem Bouquets

Brides are going for more quality than quantity. It’s easy to think more blooms look better but reality is, one or two gorgeous blooms have just as much, if not more impact visually. We hope this trend continues!

  1. Balloons

Usually I see faces cringe at the idea of balloons since they are typically seen as a little juvenile and childish. But custom arches and clusters and photo walls are huge statements that brides are loving!

100layercake

  1. First Look

We are familiar with a bride doing her big reveal to her soon to be spouse but 2018 included the bridal party, the parents and basically your “day 1’s” and it was just a moment full of feels.

  1. Sleeves

Flutter sleeves, flowy sleeves, cap sleeves and removable sleeves- they were all the rage along with capes when it came to bridal attire. Dramatic and romantic it doesn’t matter, sleeves were a wedding dress highlight this and certainly a trend in 2018.

  1. Circular Arches

We saw them everywhere, style shoots and gorgeous indoor as well as outdoor ceremonies. They added a beautiful dimension to nuptials and photographs.

moncheribride

  1. Unique Non-Traditional Venues

Couples opted for venues that had more of a sentimental feel like beautiful camp grounds, concert halls, the family home backyard. This is such a lovely trend that speaks to the couple making the wedding more personal.