How To

12-Month Event Checklist

Here at Noir, we are loud and proud Type A's. We have checklists for our checklists and spreadsheets on spreadsheets on spreadsheets. We've even had a fellow vendor or two comment about our overly organized tendencies. Because, yes, we will show up at your wedding rehearsal with a spreadsheet including names, photos, and relations of your entire bridal party + VIP list. We're pretty much the FBI.

It should also be noted that we really like PRETTY THINGS. Well, obviously, right? Maybe it's our graphic designer rubbing off on us, but when we put together a checklist we want it to look gooooood.

When you hire Noir, you get the motherload of spreadsheets. We're talking checklists, budget trackers, layout, menu plans, timeline, VIP list. You name it, it's on your spreadsheet, and it's completely customized.

But, even if you don't hire us, we want you to have your things organized...and pretty too! Which is why we're sharing our 12-Month Event Checklist with you. Use this pretty little paper as your jumping off point to keep your wedding plans on track.

Xo,
Ashley

6 Weddings Trends for 2016 We're Obsessed With

A new year means new trends and we're freaking out. 

2016 is going to be an incredible year for gorgeous, unique, and memorable weddings. It was almost impossible to narrow it down to our top 6 favorites. After much internal struggle, we did it. 


Naked Cakes
Rustic is truly here to stay. These undone cakes are serious showstoppers - in the very best way.

Smoke Bombs
Your photographer's job just got a whole lot easier. Seriously, how cool is this?!

Comfort Food
Late night snacks have always been fun, now the whole menu can be just as exciting. Everyone from your niece to your grandma is going to squeal with delight when they see these options.

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Metallic Color Palettes
What better day to go all out than your wedding? Metallic palettes transcend all seasons. Gorgeous year-round!

Jaw-Dropping, Gorgeous Lighting
Your guests will be immediately reaching for their phones to Instagram your beautifully illuminated wedding. If they can pick their jaws up off the floor, that is.

Creative Reception Seating
Goodbye boring seating! Mixing up the seating arrangements will elevate your wedding from pretty to absolute perfection.

Crazy beautiful, right? We think so, too.

Xo,
Colette

99 Problems & A Vendor Shouldn't Be One

When your metaphorical (or literal) coffee spills, we'll be there to clean it up.

When your metaphorical (or literal) coffee spills, we'll be there to clean it up.

If you’re an avid Noir Event Co. blog reader (we’re hoping we have at least a few people suckered in by now), you already know having a wedding coordinator will alleviate stress, free up your time, and solve just about all of your wedding problems.  So, if you’re planning on hiring us, you can stop reading here.  Look at that – we’re already saving you time!

If you still need convincing that a wedding without Noir just won’t do, grab a coffee or cocktail or whatever you feel like hydrating with and let’s dive in.

As much as you hope and plan for your wedding day to go off without a hitch, the world isn’t perfect and inevitably problems arise.  You are bringing together a ton of people you expect to make your dream come to life: a florist, a DJ or band, a venue, a caterer, an officiant, a baker, maybe a rental company, possibly lighting and chairs…the list goes on.  Unfortunately, the odds may not always be in your favor.  Follow these 5 quick tips to avoid vendor problems and rest easy.

1.     Do your research!

This is about 75% of the battle.  Before you even meet with a vendor, peruse their website, check out former client reviews (Hi Google! Hi WeddingWire! Hi The Knot!), stalk them on LinkedIn… Wait, how did people do anything before the internet?  Just make sure you hire vendors who are experienced, reliable, credible, and awesome.   

2.     Set realistic expectations.

If you’ve paid your photographer for 8 hours of coverage and they started shooting at 10am, do not expect them to be snapping pictures of you and your college friends doing the Cupid Shuffle at midnight.  Keep it real, folks.

3.     Read, re-read, and then read your contracts again.

Each vendor should walk you through their contractual agreements.  Ask questions, seek clarification, and never assume anything.  A contract is intended to protect the vendor, but this is a two-way street and should be handy if ever needed during the planning process, the day of, or after the big day.

4.     Designate a “Go-To” person.

Trust me, no one wants to drop any kind of bombs around a bride or groom on their wedding day.  Today is the day you get to pass the buck off!  Plan in advance for someone you trust (Mom, MOH, Colette, Ashley…) to be the person your vendors tap on the shoulder with a question or concern.

5.     Stay calm and remember the big picture.

There are no do-overs.  As much as you possibly can, let any problems roll off your back and enjoy the moments you’re making celebrating marrying the love of your life.  That’s really what it’s all about after all.

Life is weird and imperfect and you’ll never be able to predict the future.  Just remember, no do-overs.  Enjoy every single second.

Xo,
Colette

Shake It Like A Salt Shaker: Breaking Tradition

When it comes to weddings, and life in general, traditions are beautiful, meaningful, and incredibly important. But that doesn’t mean we can’t break a tradition here and there for the sake of something that is, perhaps, more modern and even more meaningful to you.

Here are a few ideas for breaking traditions at your wedding. (There are many, many more where these came from…)

Mix Up the Bridal Party
Can we talk about me for a second? Okay, thanks. I sincerely regret not asking some of my best friends to stand up in my wedding because they are dudes. It didn’t even occur to me that I could have asked them to be my bridesmen until it was too late. So mix it up, I say! Bridesman, Groomslady, whatever floats your boat. And if people don’t like it, well then…that’s just a ridiculous thing to be upset about so who cares what they think.

Let Them Eat Cake
Or fruit tart, or pie, or cream puffs, or pizza, or tacos, or….oops, just getting hungry now. In all seriousness, there is no rule stating you must serve cake at your wedding. So what’s your favorite dessert? Do you and your fiancé have a special treat that is meaningful to you? Maybe you make chocolate covered strawberries every year on your anniversary? Go for it!

Flip the Timeline
Whoever said you have to wait until after dinner to have your first dance apparently just wanted nervous nellies to starve on their wedding day. Of course, you don’t want to make your guests wait until 9:00 for dinner, but changing your timeline around a bit can make the day suit your style and needs better than a traditional timeline might. Not to mention, the element of surprise for your guests is FUN! I can guarantee most of your guests have been to a wedding or two or two hundred before and can set their watch to the timing of a reception. Shock them out of their wedding stupor.

Do Me A Favor, Stop With These Favors
Let me preface this one by saying, you can never go wrong with a really great favor like classic truffles from your favorite chocolate shop. High quality, edible favors are the bomb. This will always be true. However, for many people, favors become an afterthought in idea and expense so you end up with bubble wands and Jordan almonds. If you get to the point where you’re spending $100 on oddly colored almonds, just remember what I’m about to say: You don’t need to have wedding favors. But if you really do want to give something to your guests (and I don’t blame you, they’re awesome), donate that money to a charity in their name or take some time to think of an interactive station where guests can make their own favor to take home. You can even make that station triple as entertainment, a favor, and a late night snack. Caramel apples, trail mix, s’mores…the world is your oyster.

So, the moral of the story, shake it up. Your wedding can be whatever you want it to be.

Xo,
Ashley

The Head + The Heart of Picking Your Venue

I have been waiting years to write this one, guys.

Oh, the stories I could share after working for a wedding venue for six years. Maybe another time. For now, I’ll just stick with sharing the best advice and tips I collected along the way.

Choosing your wedding venue is probably one of the most thrilling parts of the planning process. You’re just engaged, crazy in love, and walking around on a cloud. However, you’re also at your most vulnerable. You’re wrapped up in the excitement of your family and friends, staring at that beautiful ring on your finger all day long, losing yourself in Pinterest boards. And that’s totally cool! Be excited. Be very excited. After all, you’re getting married! Just don’t forget to be smart.

Step 1: Brainstorm
I’m a sucker for a brainstorm. Maybe it was all those elementary school worksheets, but hey! I find it helpful to let the ideas flow freely and see it on paper (or my MacBook). First and foremost, chat with your fiancé about his or her thoughts. If you already know your family and friends will play a huge part in the planning process, seek out their ideas, too. Just remember, in the end, it’s your decision. Try to write down adjectives about how you want your wedding to feel as well as the logistics you have in mind.

Adjectives

  • Relaxed
  • Inviting
  • Modern
  • Elegant

Logistics

  • Outdoor ceremony site
  • Lodging near or on-site
  • 200+ reception capacity
  • On-site catering

Step 2: Do your research
WeddingWire and The Knot are great places to start researching your wedding venue.  I cannot stress this enough; read those reviews from previous clients.  This is a window into the soul of the venue.  Trust me, if someone has an amazing experience with their venue, they want to spread the word and share with newly engaged couples.  In turn, pay close attention to any negative reviews.  Try to decipher why the reviewer had a not-so-great experience and use your best judgment to determine if it seems like a warranted complaint.

Start contacting venues that spark your interest for more information on availability, packages, and pricing.  Be mindful of how quickly you receive a response.  If you’re waiting days/weeks, this could be a sign of things to come.  Narrow it down to a few that align with your vision, vibe, and budget and book those in-person consultations and tours!  

Step 3: Ask Questions
I don’t think I’ve ever walked in to a meeting without at least 10 minutes of prep.  This shouldn’t be any different. Come prepared to your consultation with lots of questions and do not be afraid to ask them.  You will be dropping the most cash on your venue over anything else for your wedding.  You will be contractually tied together.  Ask, ask, ask.  Also, make sure you (or whomever you appoint) takes good notes.  It will all start to blend together after a few days of tours.

Step 4: The Head & The Heart (not just an indie folk band)
Gather your data. Analyze, compare, contrast. Make that Excel spreadsheet I know you’ve always wanted to. Then, follow your heart.  Let yourself fall in love again – only with a building or outdoor space this time. 

 

If it all sounds like too much, there’s also a one-step approach.

Step 1: Hire Noir Event Co.
We’ll work through the brainstorm with you, present you with in-depth research, ask all the questions you probably won’t think of, and then help you select the smartest, loveliest, most perfect venue for your wedding.

Way easier, right?

Xo,
Colette

Tackling the Wedding Timeline Like Clay Matthews

Because I was very cool in high school, naturally, I was in band.  Every other day, I spent ninety minutes in a room packed full of teenagers hyped up on Red Bull and raw cookie dough from the school store. What should have been a recipe for chaos was immediately shut down when our director began class. The room would fall silent as he approached the podium and picked up his baton. Over ten years later, I truly understand and admire the unwavering control a conductor has over a band.

With the best intentions, your wedding vendors will all have their individual priorities the day-of. Your photographer will want to squeeze in every last second with you, your partner, and the bridal party before the grand entrance. Your caterer will want the dinner courses timed perfectly with the chef. Your DJ will want enough time to transition his equipment from the ceremony to the reception site.

Your family, friends, and bridal party will have expectations, too. Your nervous maid of honor will want to make her speech only after at least one glass of champagne. Your mom will want a picture of the whole family together, and I mean the WHOLE family. Let’s not forget, your friends will want at least a moment to say hello and congrats.

This is the chaos. Your event coordinator is the conductor.

The good news is that all these expected events are planned. The better news is that when you have an event coordinator, all the unexpected events are planned, too. 

Planning your wedding timeline can be a daunting task, especially when this is the first time you’ve ever tackled it. While no two weddings are the same, having years of planning experience has provided us with some great insight as to what works and what definitely doesn’t when bringing so many people and priorities together. Many of the day’s events will happen simultaneously and having a professional leading the charge will make it all happen harmoniously. 

We know you want to make everyone happy and ensure your guests have a great time. We want to make YOU happy and having our help guarantees you have an unforgettable, flawless, perfectly timed, and well-planned wedding day.

Xo,
Colette

No Kardashian-Sized Bank Account Here

This past weekend I overheard a conversation between a few women about weddings...specifically how much they cost. One woman admitted, embarrassed, that she was already saving for a future wedding despite the fact that she's not engaged. 

I can't say I would necessarily save up for a wedding that early on, but I can absolutely see where she's coming from. Weddings are deceivingly expensive. Most people don't realize just how much it will cost until they're knee deep in contracts.

I remember thinking $12,000 would be enough for my dream wedding (albeit, realistic dream wedding--no Kardashian sized bank account here). Ohhh, newly engaged Ashley was so adorable. 

I didn't take into account that the wedding I envisioned would require more than a payment for food and entertainment. Not only did I have to pay to have my hair done for the wedding, I had to pay for a hair trial. Not only did I have to pay for invitations to be printed, I had to buy their envelopes and pay a million dollars in postage.

When you're planning your wedding budget, it can be hard to think of every detail when you've never planned a wedding before. And, for obvious reasons, most people have NOT planned a wedding before.

This is the point when it pays (saves) to have someone on your side with experience. Someone who knows the little details that you haven't thought about and has the vendor connections and experience to find ways to cut cost. 

Hiring a day-of coordinator for my wedding (Colette!) not only saved me money in connections and ideas (hello, videographer hook up!), but relieved my wedding planning stress...priceless.

Xo,
Ashley

How to Know When You Need the Olivia Pope of Weddings

Not every couple needs a wedding designer + coordinator.  It may seem counter-intuitive to admit that, but let’s be honest with each other, okay?

Planning a wedding should be exciting, romantic, and a true bonding experience with your partner, family, and friends.  Planning a wedding should not be stressful and consume your every waking moment.  This is why wedding planners exist.  Necessity really is the mother of invention. And that’s the exact reason Ashley and I partnered to create our business, Noir Event Co.  Not only will we take away the stress of planning a wedding, but we’ll give you back your much needed sanity.  It’s your job, your families’ job, and your friends’ job to enjoy your wedding, not work it.

So, how do you know when having the help of your Aunt Susie and second cousin just won’t be enough?  Let’s attack this head-on.  No nonsense.  You may want to consider hiring a wedding planner if…

  • You have no idea where to start and the idea of planning a wedding sends you into a self-induced anxiety spiral.  
    No worries.  We’re basically the Olivia Pope of weddings.  If you don’t know who Olivia Pope is, please begin watching Scandal immediately.  Basically, we’ll swoop in, hold your hand, calm your nerves, set you at ease, and rock your wedding.  We hope we get to share a bottle of red wine with you at some point, too.
  • You have lots of ideas, but don’t know how to organize and make your vision come to life.
    You’re our favorite!  We love couples that bring a binder of magazine clippings to our first meeting, send us links to their Pinterest page, and email us “I love this! How can we do this?” ideas in the middle of the night.  We’ll keep you focused, take all the boring/not-so-fun stuff off of your plate, and guide you through the process.  We promise it will be fun.
  • Your venue has an on-site wedding coordinator, but you don’t feel like you’re getting the attention or full-service your wedding will require.  
    Listen, I’ve worked with some amazing on-site coordinators.  Heck, I used to be one!  On-site coordinators know the venue like the back of their hand and are absolutely key to making your wedding a success.  We know how to partner with your venue, fill in the gaps, and execute your wedding flawlessly.
  • You simply just don’t have the time or energy to devote to planning a wedding.  
    Guess what?  We DO.  You’re in luck.  Hire us and we’ll take it from there.
  • You need a professional.  
    We have the experience, the expertise, and the passion to make your wedding incredible.  We’ll answer all of your questions, be your biggest fan, and take away the stress.  Think of us like an encyclopedia, waving one of those huge foam fingers, relaxing in a hot bath.  Can you see it now? Good.
  • You need help mostly on the day of the wedding.  
    You’ve spent months, maybe even years, planning this one day.  Now you need someone to make it come to life.  Have fun getting ready with your pals, marrying the love of your life, and celebrating.  We’ll handle the rest.

Like I said, not every couple needs us.  But, you’re not one of those couples, are you?  We thought so.  Let’s do this!

Xo,
Colette