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Planning Your Wedding: Plan now for a perfect day in Lincoln, Nebraska

Planning-Your-Wedding

As the temperatures slowly get a little warmer and the snow melts, one thing is quickly approaching: wedding season. When the flowers start to bloom, brides around the city are gathering last minute details and scoring their Pinterest boards in hopes of some inspiration for their special day. To help some Lincoln brides get ready for their big day, here are some helpful ideas to get you down the aisle.

The rings

The ring is the symbol to the world that your married, so don’t think of it as a small detail that can wait until the last minute. “Rings are important because they are a symbol of love and the commitment they are giving,” Jenny Thomas at AT Thomas Jewelers said. “One of the first things people say when they find out you are engaged is ‘let me see your ring.’ It should be a source of pride for the wearer and giver of the ring as well as fit your style and budget.”

A popular style this wedding season is rose gold. “Rose gold is a new trend in bridal rings as well as doing a colored center stone, colored diamond or gemstone,” Jenny said.

If you and your significant other like to wear unique things, you can always customize your rings to make it fit with both of your personalities. “Couples are wanting something that no one else has. Custom design is more popular than ever. The world of Pinterest has exploded with ideas and styles for people who are getting engaged,” Jenny said. “Custom design allows you to blend all parts of designs you have found in real life to those available only in picture form online. We offer custom design and it is a huge part of what we do with engagement rings.”

As you plan for your wedding, make sure to let your ring speak for itself and for your personality. “Your ring should be as unique as you are. Take the time to find and design exactly what you want. You will be wearing this ring for a long time so you want it to be a piece of art to wear every day,” Jenny said.

The Dress

When you walk down the aisle, one thing is for sure; people will be staring at your dress. The dress is something every girl dreams about, so make sure that on your big day you are wearing a dress that flatters you and your big day. Some things to think about when shopping for your dress is when to shop, where to shop and what styles you are looking for.

“I recommend shopping for a bridal gown anywhere from 8-12 months before your wedding, depending on how much time you have and how decisive you are,” Cheryl Thompson at Elegant Occasions Gowns said. “If you don’t have that much time, you are not out of luck though. While I recommend ordering a gown at least six months prior to your wedding, we typically see them arrive within 2-4 months.”

Some new trends this season are lace and straps. “Lace is a hot trend! Vintage themed weddings are really popular right now, and to get that vintage feel, many girls are incorporating lace into their gown. Lace doesn’t automatically mean vintage though, it’s all about how you accessorize and decorate. If you love lace but aren’t wanting the vintage look, don’t worry, you can still do lace,” Cheryl said. “Also, straps are making a come back. For a long time everything was strapless, which made it very difficult for those who didn’t want all that skin showing, or who wanted more support up top. Each season, we’re seeing more and more gowns being offered with straps.”

Also, don’t forget the bridesmaids! “Once you finalize your bridal gown, start shopping for bridesmaid dresses if you haven’t already. Be sure to give your girls a deadline to get their measurements and deposits in. The deadline should be at least 2 weeks before the date you plan to order,” Cheryl said.

Lynne Rustad with Ellynne Bridal added, “This year’s brides have the most beautiful choices. This season is exploding with lace and flouncy skirts, open backs, mermaids and ball gowns. All of these, of course, are fit for a princess!”

Photographer and Videographer

One thing is certain, wedding pictures will stay with you forever. Everyone loves reminiscing about his or her big day and the only way to do that is to make sure you have a great wedding photographer.

“Pictures are so important for so many reasons, but we tell all of our brides that you can’t do this day over again, and the one thing you’ll have 10 years for now is the portraits to tell the story. They will help you remember all the little things that you spent so much time preparing,” Sunny Dwyer at Shane and Sunny Photography said.

When choosing a photographer, make sure to ask around to other couples and check out photographers’ websites to see the style they use and if it fits in with your own style.

“Please don’t pick a photographer based on price. As tempting as the “friend that does photography’ is, they are a friend, not a business and the images will reflect it,” Sunny said. “You usually get what you paid for when it comes to wedding photography. Also, interview the photographer. Websites can be deceiving. For Shane and I, we want to book you for one big reason. Yes, everyone has a budget, but it’s just as important to us that you like us personally and could see spending your big day with us knowing that we will get all the shots you’re looking for with no worries. Even if there is a photographer in your price range and has good work, a bad personality can ruin your entire experience.”

Just as important as your photos is your video of your event. Capturing the sounds and action of your event just can’t be done with photography and your wedding video is something you can watch over and over throughout the years. Gone are the days where it suffices to have Uncle Al film you with his video camera as you walk down the aisle. Today’s wedding videos are true works of art and something to be treasured. Many wedding videographers can not only film your wedding, but they can also create a video for you to show at your wedding. By using footage of the two of you as a couple (photos, old videos, etc), your videographer can put together a short ‘film’ that guests can watch while eating dinner or while waiting for the wedding party to arrive after the ceremony. This is a sure tear-jerker and a great way to introduce you as a new couple!

Bachelor and Bachelorette party

The last night of “freedom” is a big deal to many soon-to-be brides and grooms. Instead of hitting the normal bar scene, why not consider something a bit unique for your party? One place to consider in Lincoln is Corky Canvas.

“This unique concept at Corky Canvas is just what Lincoln needs for a fun night out,” Angie Lewis at Corky Canvas said. “With a glass of wine in one hand, and a paintbrush in the other and the music rocking, it’s a great way to celebrate and paint a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. Our instructors will lead you step-by-step as you recreate the featured painting. At the end of the night, you will have your very own piece of artwork to take home and hang on your wall. We provide everything you need including the canvas, paint, easel, brushes, and aprons. No previous painting experience is necessary. In fact, if you think you have zero creativity can barely draw a stick figure, then this is the place for you.”

Another fun and unique idea for a bachelorette party or a pre-rehearsal dinner get together would be ArtGlass Unlimited, Lincoln’s full service stained glass shop. Not only does ArtGlass Unlimited sell a number of unique items that your wedding party could pick out as gifts for you, but they also have classes where everyone in your party can learn to make their own unique piece! You can reserve a special night for the group where they can come in and socialize, snack and create beautiful one-of-a-kind pieces, some of which could even be worn on your wedding day.

Salon and Spa Services

Hanging out with your bridesmaids before the wedding is one of the most fun parts of your big day. Many brides have treasured memories of spending a few hours at the salon, watching their sister or mother have her hair done and getting her own beautiful hairstyle while chatting, laughing and maybe even sipping on some mimosas. You might even want to incorporate a facial, relaxing massage or other spa service into this ritual for a truly wonderful experience.

Remember, if you plan to schedule salon or spa services for your bridal party, it’s best to schedule it well in advance so the facility can be prepared for you, especially if you have a large party. Some spas and salons may even consider closing to the general public during your appointments so that you and your bridal party can have the place all to yourselves! If you already have a good relationship with a stylist or spa services provider, make sure you talk to them first. It’s likely they will make some special accommodations for you on your big day. If you don’t already have a trusted stylist, now is a good opportunity to call around, ask for referrals and find one that you can launch a great relationship with.

Venue

When planning your wedding there are many things to decide upon. One of the most important, besides the ring and dress, is the venue. One place in near Lincoln to consider hosting your wedding is the Strategic Air and Space Museum.

“One of the spectacular features of the Strategic Air and Space Museum is the breathtaking glass atrium at the entrance of the museum housing the SR-71 Blackbird,” Angela Roeber, Director, Marketing and Public Relations at the Museum said. “The space can accommodate an intimate wedding of 50 or allow for up to 300 guests. Larger groups of up to 2,000 guests can be accommodated in our exclusive hangars, which allows you to be seated right next to our aircraft collection.”

If the Museum sounds like the place to have your wedding, make sure to book in advance. “We want you to have the wedding you’ve always dreamed of. I suggest calling as soon as you have your date selected. This way you can plan according to your schedule and timeline and not someone else’s,” Angela said.

When booking any venue, make sure to have your budget figured out before you start planning. “Before a bride and groom start looking at anything, they need to prepare a budget. This will help to create guidelines to start your search. Start by securing your venue for the reception as well as for the ceremony. If your venue does not have exclusive catering, I would recommend that you book a caterer and begin working on food selections,” Angela said. “The venue that you choose, as well as your caterers, may be able to assist you in more ways than you thought possible, which is always helpful when planning a wedding. Don’t be afraid to ask them for their recommendations and suggestions.”

The Museum will also honor having outside caterers if that is what you prefer. “We honor an open catering policy which allows our patrons to choose their favorite caterer. Our list of recommended vendors offers suggestions to those patrons who are searching for an experienced caterer,” Angela said.

For groups over 200 guests, the Museum provides tables and chairs. Larger groups need to work with a rental company for additional seats. “We also have a sound system, screens, staging and podiums that are available for groups of any size,” Angela said. “Guests are encouraged to tour the entire museum. With over 300,000 square feet of space, interactive exhibits and a helpful friendly staff, your event is sure to wow all our your guests.”

Another trend in venues for receptions are Food Stations. “Food stations are becoming quite popular for wedding receptions,” Angela said. “They mix the best parts of buffets and the most elegant aspects of a sit-down dinner. Food stations have all the variety of flavors a buffet offers, but without that sloppy cafeteria feel. Plus, you get the chic presentation of plated dishes and the finer attention to ingredients that make a sit-down stand apart.”

Crystal Meister with The Apothecary also has some ideas on general wedding planning in general and choosing a venue in particular. “First, outline your needs and goals,” she stated, “Then make sure to ask lot of questions of the vendors! Discuss your goals with your fiancé and family/friends who will be involved with your wedding and have a general idea of what YOU want for your wedding memories.”

“When meeting with vendors, share your goals and needs and ask lots of questions—continue asking questions on the services provided and especially ask about all fees, taxes, gratuities and other possible charges.  You want your wedding to culminate in great memories—by planning ahead and asking questions about costs, you can avoid unpleasant surprises in the form of unanticipated expenses.

For example, when choosing your wedding reception, ask plenty of questions so you will know your facility, food and beverage costs up front.  Bridal couples have shared horror stories–they thought they were getting a great deal from their chosen facility only to be surprised as their wedding day approached and unexpected charges and hidden fees were added to their bills.  They ended up spending thousands more dollars on their reception than they initially expected.”

“One trend I’ve experienced is bridal couples handling more aspects of their wedding instead of hiring outside vendors—which reduces their overall wedding costs,” continued Crystal. “For example, more couples are creating their table centerpieces and decorations.  I think Pinterest is big reason why.  I definitely wish Pinterest was around when I was planning my wedding!

A second trend is retaining control over food and beverage providers, which is a great way to realize substantial savings.

A third popular trend is creating a wedding package—in other words, host most, if not all, of the wedding activities at the same location.  For example, our Apothecary Lofts and the Ridnour Room enable a wedding party to host all activities, including the rehearsal dinner, a bridal sleepover, pre-ceremony preparation, the actual wedding ceremony, wedding reception, wedding overnight and gift opening brunch.”

“Overall, bridal couples are planning wedding activities with a budget in mind, probably due to recent economic times. Bridal couples should focus on their overall budget, a large portion of which is the wedding reception.  Because it is difficult to compare reception venues on price alone, the overall budget should include the venue fee, food prices and beverage costs.  While one venue may quote a lower fee, the bridal couple should add the quoted fee to food and beverage costs, to determine which venue provides the best value.  If you book on facility cost alone and you are required to buy their food service and beverages, you may actually end up spending thousands more on your reception than you would have had you chosen a venue with a higher rental fee but lower food and drink costs…or better yet, a venue that lets you choose whomever you desire to handle the food and beverages—there are some very economical independent vendors who provide good food and beverages at a fantastic savings. Our facilities, The Apothecary Lofts and Ridnour Room, are venues that let each couple choose whoever they desire to cater the meal and beverages.  We even allow couples to bring in their own food and alcohol!”

If you’re looking for a nearby venue that is perfect for a spring or summer wedding, you might want to consider James Arthur Vineyard in nearby Raymond, Nebraska. Wedding at this vineyard are held in front of the beautiful waterfall and provides a perfect backdrop for your intimate wedding of 70 guests or fewer. Guests (of age) are even treated to a wine toast to help usher you and your new spouse into your shared future! You can also have your reception here if you choose where your guests can enjoy the beautiful surroundings while sampling all of the wines the vineyard has to offer.

Depending on where you decide to have your wedding, you may need to think about the weather. If your wedding is outdoors, you just never know with Nebraska weather if you will have sun and nice breezes or rain, wind and other weather that can put a damper on your day. You might want to consider renting a tent for your outdoor wedding to protect you and your guests from the elements and keep everyone in one general area for the festivities. There are a number of different types and sizes of tents available, so contact a professional such as Lincoln Tent to find out what is available and what would best suit your event so you can reserve the right tent early in the planning process.

Music

The music sets the mood for your event. What mood do you want your music to set for guests? An upscale, unique choice is to have live, professional musicians. Whether it’s a soloist who sings at the ceremony, a string quarter that plays during the processional or a jazz band to entertain during the reception, live music always makes your event classy and memorable!

Transportation

Everyone knows that the only way for a couple to get around on their wedding day is a limo! There’s just something about loading your party into a beautiful, convenient limousine or limo bus where you can all celebrate together and get to your destination safely and in style. You can use the limo to transport everyone from the wedding to the rehearsal or, if you’re holding both in the same place, you can take the limo between the events to take pictures or just to take a ride with everyone and get away from an hour or so. Remember, when wedding season hits, limo companies tend to get booked very quickly so make sure to reserve yours as soon as you have your wedding date set!

Catering

What is something that most people will remember about your wedding? It’s the food, of course! While you will probably be most concerned with your dress or your flowers, it’s likely that your guests will want to know about the food and drinks as this is the part of the celebration they get to personally enjoy!

When choosing your catering, you need to first keep in mind where you are having your event. Many venues have their own catering or work with certain caterers that you need to choose from. If you have your heart set on a certain caterer, you need to plan your venue around this as many of them won’t let you work with just anyone.

The second thing to keep in mind is your budget. While every bride and groom would probably love to shower their guests with unlimited drinks, prime rib and lobster tails, the truth is that the food is one of the most expensive parts of your wedding and you can easily blow your budget on an elaborate meal and not have enough to spend on other aspects that are important to you. Once you have your budget set, you can start talking with your catering company about options that fit into that price range.

Finally, you need to know what type of event you want to have and make sure your meal options fit in with this. Do you want a casual event and are encouraging everyone to be comfortable and not too formal? Then some pulled pork sandwiches and a few side items might work great. Is a non-traditional, unique affair that is shying away from the traditional seated dinner? Then food stations with different appetizers, desserts and small bite entrees just might fit the bill. The food and drinks, along with the venue and décor, will be setting the tone for your reception so make sure it’s sending the message you are after!

Once you have these things decided, you can start talking to caterers about your ideas and see what they have to say. It will be easy to see who shares your vision and is willing to work with you to have the perfect food for your event.

The dessert is also something very important to your event. Everyone knows that there is usually the traditional wedding cake at each wedding, but don’t think you HAVE to have a wedding cake. If you want to do something a little different, why not consider having an assortment of cupcakes or other individual desserts instead? Dessert bars are becoming very popular and allow your guests to choose what they’d like for a sweet end to their meal.

Of course, many brides will still want to do the traditional cutting of the cake, so if you don’t want to forego this tradition, you may consider having a small cake in addition to your other desserts so you can have the best of both worlds!

Small Touches and Gifts

Sometimes it’s the small touches that sets your event apart from the others and makes it stick out in people’s minds. Although you will probably spend most of your time trying to pick out the perfect location and the most gorgeous dress you can find, what people may remember is something like a unique ice sculpture or a delicious dessert. One small touch that is affordable and fun is customized bags of popcorn. These individual-sized bags can be imprinted by Colby Ridge with you and your spouse’s picture and date of your wedding and given to each guest to take home with them. What a fun and delicious way to remember your big day!

Gifts are an important part of any couple’s big day and those who are attending may wonder what they could give the couple that is not only useful, but also unique and will stand out in their memories. One of the best things you can do to achieve these goals is to get something that is personalized. Here are a few ideas:

–Framed invitation. It’s likely that the couple spent a lot of time picking out or designing the exact right invitation to their event. Since the invitations get sent out, they may not even have any for themselves after the big day is over. That’s why getting one beautifully framed for the couple is a wonderful idea and something they can hang on their wall and enjoy for years to come. One idea is to have it framed in stained glass, which can be done at ArtGlass Unlimited. You can choose the perfect colors to complement the invitation or to match the colors the new couple will have in their home. If stained glass doesn’t appeal to you, you can also go to a custom frame shop such as FastFrames, where they can customize the perfect frame for the invite that the couple is sure to love.

–Gift for the home. Depending on the couple whose wedding you are attending, they may have a new home they will decorate together from scratch or they may be blending two homes together. Either way, giving them something for the home they will share as a married couple is always a good idea. ArtGlass Unlimited has a number of great stained glass gifts such as lamps, night lights, decorative art pieces or even a photo of the couple fused onto glass.

–Contribution to the honeymoon.  Most couples want to take a honeymoon together after their wedding day. However, some of them can’t afford the honeymoon they really want or will be struggling to cover the costs. A great gift is to contribute to their honeymoon budget. This is a great thing for parents or grandparents to think about as they can ask the couple beforehand if this is something they would be interested in. You can then help them promote the idea so that other guests can contribute as well. This is especially beneficial for the couple that may be combining homes and already has all the household goods and décor they need and would much rather have some extra money to spend on their first vacation as a married couple.

One thing to not forget when planning your wedding is to have a little fun! “When I see couples planning their weddings, I want to tell them to have fun with it,” Cheryl Thompson with Elegant Occasions said. “It’s the only wedding the two of you are going to plan together, so make this time special. Be a little flexible and if you are, the small things won’t stress you. While I agree that details are important, if something isn’t working, don’t stress yourself and everyone around you out by trying to make it work. You can try to find a creative solution around the problem or ask for suggestions from someone in the bridal industry, we’ve usually heard it all!”

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