5 Tips to Finding the Perfect Wedding Dress

Everyone knows that finding the perfect dress for your special day can be stressful. Here's what they don't know: it doesn't have to be stressful at all! Wedding Wire recently released their 2017 Dress Shopping Guide (click here to view the guide in its entirety online) and it is filled with tips and tricks for easy, stress-free wedding dress shopping. Here are the top 5 tips that I pulled from the guide, and my thoughts on them!

1. Start Shopping 9 Months Before the Big Day

There is nothing more stressful than waiting for the last minute to start looking for the perfect wedding dress. It can take months for a dress to be created, if you decide to go that route and have a dress custom designed for you. Additionally, even if you do find the perfect dress and it has already been created, there is no guarantee it will fit you perfectly, and having a dress altered can be a long process. Trust me, you will be a lot less stressed if you start looking for your dress 9 months before your wedding date!

2. Know The Dress Style You Like

We all know that there are a million different styles of wedding dresses to choose from (okay, maybe not a million, but it sure seems like it). When it comes to picking a wedding dress style, there are two main factors to consider: the silhouette and the neckline. With so many silhouettes and necklines to choose from (A-Line, Strapless, Illusion, Ball Gown, etc.) it's easy to feel overwhelmed. If you walk into the bridal boutique or store without any idea of the style of dress you want, you'll be there for hours, trying on way too many dresses. However, if you walk in knowing you want a fit-n-flare gown with a sweetheart neckline, you'll try on fewer dresses, saving you time and a whole lot of stress!

3. Check Websites and Client Reviews

Before you can find the perfect dress for your big day, you want to make sure you are finding the salon or boutique that fits your needs! The best way to go about this is by conducting lots and lots of "research". First, you'll want to do some searching to find out what boutiques and salons are in your area. (If you're looking for a local suggestion, check out BELLE MARIÉE BRIDAL - she has tons of styles to choose from, well-suited to any bride!)  Once you have a short list of possible salons, you should peruse their websites. Make sure you're checking their dress inventory (if they have one on their website), so you can get a good idea of the types of dresses they sell. Then, you'll want to check prices to make sure you're choosing a place that is within your price range. After you've narrowed down your list during your website sleuthing, you need to read client reviews! You won't know for certain whether a boutique or salon is right for you, unless you hear first hand how they work with their clients. Trust me, if you follow these steps when choosing a wedding dress vendor, you'll be able to find the perfect fit, and ultimately, the perfect wedding dress!

4. Bring Along As Few People As Possible

This one is pretty self-explanatory. The majority of us have probably seen the movie "Bridesmaids" and as most of us know, the more people you have there, the more opinions there are being thrown out, the more drama can occur! You don't want the moment you choose the dress you're going to get married in ruined by unnecessary stress and drama because your entourage gets into an argument about which dress is "the one". Keep your entourage small, maybe only bringing along your best friend and a very close family member whose opinion you genuinely value. Believe me, you'll thank yourself later!

5. Be Your Own Advocate

Ultimately, the final decision is up to you! Don't settle on a dress that you're not in love with just because your mother, best friend, etc. is pressuring you to make a decision. Make sure you are communicating to your stylist what you like and don't like so they can do everything in their power to help you find the perfect dress. It comes down to this: your wedding day is about you and your fiancé. In the end, the only person's opinion who truly matters when it comes to picking your wedding dress, is your's. Be your own advocate and don't settle just to make someone else happy!

-Abby

Event Assistant Team

 

TOP FIVE BUDGET BUSTERS

The perfect wedding comes from a perfect budget.

Originally published in COMO Living Magazine, link here 

top 5 budget busters.jpeg

For AnnaBelle Events, it's inquiry season- all the couples who got engaged in the fall and over the holidays are ready to start planning. One of your first steps is building your budget. If you've made the wise choice of hiring a wedding planner (nudge, nudge) then a budget meeting will be one of their first to-dos. Include all contributors in these talks, because you'll need everyone on the same page about why flowers cost $4,000, or how a videographer is completely different than a photographer (and you need both!). 

Rather than go through all the things you should budget for, we are going to cover things you should avoid- the budget busters. 

1. Exclusive Venues

While recommended vendors are great, having exclusive vendors is much different. This will lock you into their prices, services, and policies. If you find a venue with exclusive agreements, make sure you have pricing from all those vendors before signing your venue contract. 

2. Venues without Amenities

Yes, I'm sticking to venues for two of these busters- it's the first thing you book and it determines nearly every other vendor you use. Our No. 2 budget buster is a venue that is just a building- maybe it has bathrooms (let's hope) and a "caterer kitchen" (meaning sink, water, and refrigeration). 

3. The Outdoors

The everlasting trend of Midwest weddings! You throw up a white tent and invite your closest 100 friends and family. It won't be more than a few grand, right? Wrong! You also need bathrooms, power generators, outdoor lighting, parking, parking lighting, transportation to and from parking, rain plan items, catering tent and equipment, ice and ice trailer, fans or A/C or heat, bug spray, landscaping- and that's just naming the essential items 

4. Unvoiced Parent Opinions

This is why you should include contributors in budget talks. At that meeting, encourage everyone to voice their full, specific opinions. Real-life story: A bride's dad said steak and decent wine were a must. We got it accounted and budgeted for. Fast-forward a few months to the catering tasting. Dad ended up wanting filets and table service for everyone. As you can imagine, the price of filet times 350 guests was much different than standard wedding steak. The budget was busted, and guess who it fell back on? The bride. And she ended up having to cut things she really wanted because of it. 

5. An Untracked Budget

Track every single thing that you and anyone else spends. If you don't, you will end up going crazy in one of two ways. The first is when you go crazy saying, "I'm spending like a crazy person!" and think you've overspent- because when else in your life are you dropping $1,000 deposit checks every other day? The second is when you go crazy saying, "Everything is going to be fine!" and start rattling off those $1,000 checks like nothing. Then you go to add everything up and realize you busted your budget. Then you have to cut things like gifts to your wedding party, alterations, and even hair and makeup.

There are your budget busters! Rip this page out and put it at the front of the budget section in your wedding binder. Leave the busting for the groomsmen's moves on the dance floor.

 

Anne, Owner & Event | Wedding Planner AnnaBelle Events

Thirty, Flirty, and Thriving

As much as we love working weddings, sometimes it's nice to switch things up and throw a big social occasion instead! We finished out this past year by throwing a huge surprise 30th birthday party at Bur Oak Brewery. When we were approached by the husband of the birthday girl, we knew we had to put something spectacular together for him-what a keeper am I right ladies?!  

*Disclaimer these photos are from our iPhones, no judgement!

This party was pretty unique since we didn't have any specific details or theme to brainstorm off of from the client herself, but it made it that much more fun! After learning that the birthday girl was super fun-loving and chic, we decided on an 80's theme because nothing beats the classic hits and neon color patterns. We planned to flood the entire brewery with pink lighting, gold accents, and sparkles! SW Productions transformed the entire venue and even created a gobo to help add to the party! The name of the event changed to "Jessie's Dirty 30" so you can only imagine how fun the party turned out to be! ;) 

Gold, shimmery linens covered the cocktail tables that were spread out across the brewery and were topped with gold candle votives. We were lucky that A1 Rentals had so many linen color options to choose from- it made sticking to our theme super easy! We wanted the atmosphere to be laid back so we decided against having any large tables where guests could sit down and eat. This worked well though since we incorporated a large photo booth from JKelley Photography and a game area where corn hole could be played.  

The party didn't just look good, but we made sure it tasted good too! All of Jessie's favorites were served buffet style; that included an array of meats and sides from Dickey's Barbecue, mac n' cheese, corn dogs, and mozzarella sticks. Also, let's not forget the popcorn machine we had running all night! To top off the evening, we had multiple different flavors of cupcakes from Small Cakes Cupcakery (which were delicious I might add)! To be honest, it was hard to tell if guests enjoyed the cupcakes or the open bar more! 

One other special touch we added to Jessie's party was a chalkboard welcome sign designed by Inkling that had all sorts of fun facts from the year she was born. I still can't get over the fact that gas was only $0.30 a gallon in 1986! Overall I'd say the party was a success, but again, can you really go wrong when you have friends, food, and booze together in one place?! 

-Nicole

Lead Planning Assistant

What's hot now?

It's the start of a new year and with that comes new trends! YAY! Wedding Wire made a huge list of new trends that we should watch out for in 2017 and I'm writing to share my thoughts. These are just a few of the trends I hope to see pop up more in the wedding industry this year because I'm ready to see change. After all, isn't that the point of starting a new year? So I hope you guys are ready because here we go! 

1. Less pinks, more rose golds

I love that rose gold is becoming popular! My mom is actually the one who first started wearing rose gold around me, and whether it is jewelry or clothes, she rocks it and so can you! Rose gold can be incorporated into your wedding color scheme, place settings, or in your bridesmaids dresses. It's a fun color that will pop, grab people's attention, but won't take the focus away from the bride. 

2. Two-piece bridesmaid dresses

2 piece bridesmaid dress.jpg

It may just be because this trend started a few years after my last prom and I missed out on the opportunity to wear something so unique and fun, but I really do like the look of a two-piece dress. It's flattering on almost everyone and can either be simple and modest or can give off a more elegant look when beading and embellishments are added.  

3. Sheer and sexy wedding dresses

sheer lace dress.jpg

Now ladies, when I say sheer and sexy I don't mean you're showing off everything you've got. I mean a illusion neckline, open back, or a laced dress with intricate patterns, allowing you to show off just enough to where you feel sexier than normal, but won't get yelled at by your grandmother. 

4. Brunch weddings

Is there really even any reason to explain this one? We all know you love brunch and so do your guests! Waffle bars, mimosas, and donuts-I'll just let you marinate on that....plus, think about how much money you could save without serving plated dinner meals. 

5. No more vows or toasts from phones

PUT DOWN YOUR PHONES!!! I can't stress enough how annoying it is to see people read vows and speeches off their phones. Like where has the thoughtfulness and elegance gone? Instead of using your phone, use a cute notebook or journal and write down what you want to say. Not only is it more presentable, but this way the couple can keep your kind words forever.  

6. Velvet Upholstery

This trend has already hit the market here in Missouri and hopefully it continues to get more popular. E. Clare Vintage style furnishings are a special touch that our brides like to add on their big day because they know that their guests will become mesmerized. It's a totally unique look you can't go wrong with! Especially you bo-ho chic, vintage brides out there-I know you're thrilled about that blue velvet couch being in fashion now! 

7. Parent's first look

In my opinion why wouldn't you do a first look with your parents? I am a huge daddy's girl, but that doesn't change the fact that your parents are the ones who helped you get to your big day. Through all the band recitals, bad-boys, and career moves they want to see you smiling and glowing on your wedding day just as much as your fiancé! 

8. Creative cake flavors

Vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry...I bet you got bored just reading those flavors. Bananas Foster, tiramisu, salted caramel, and lemon berry...I bet you're mouth is watering now! Why not mix things up and go for a more decadent cake flavor, you won't be sorry! 

9. Colored envelopes

It's crazy to me how people want such elaborate invitations and stationary but then pick a nude or white envelope. You think your guests are going to be more excited when they see a gold envelope arrive in the mail or another ordinary white one that reminds them of bills? Yeah I think the gold one too! Take it from us here at AnnaBelle Events, the paper products we produce are anything but ordinary and really do make all the difference! 

10. The last-last song 

I immediately fell in love with this trend when I read about it! This happens after the last dance for the crowd and after everyone is cleared out of the room. The only people then allowed in the room are the couple, DJ, and photographer/videographer. How sweet and romantic right?! Quick, someone grab me a tissue the waterworks are coming! 

So there you have it guys! These are the top 10 trends I hope to see really impact the wedding industry this year. You may disagree with some of them, but I truly think we have some game-changers on our hands! 

-Nicole

Lead Planning Assistant

AnnaBelle Events Honored with Wedding Planning Award - 2017 WeddingWire Couples' Choice Recipient

AnnaBelle Events Honored For Excellence With 2017 WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Award®

                        Columbia, Missouri – January 10th, 2017 – WeddingWire, the leading global online marketplace for the wedding and event industry, announced AnnaBelle Events as a winner of the esteemed 2017 WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards® for Wedding Planning in Mid-Missouri!
                        
                        The Couples’ Choice Awards recognize the top five percent of wedding professionals on WeddingWire who demonstrate excellence in quality, service, responsiveness, and professionalism. The prestigious awards are given to the top local wedding professionals across more than 20 service categories, from wedding venues to wedding photographers, based on their professional achievements from the previous year. 
                        
                        The WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards winners are determined solely based on reviews from real newlyweds and their experiences working with AnnaBelle Events. Award-winning vendors are distinguished for the quality, quantity, consistency and timeliness of the reviews they have received from their past clients.

                        
                        “The Couples’ Choice Awards’ ninth year features one of the most impressive groups of dedicated and acclaimed wedding professionals yet,” said Timothy Chi, CEO, WeddingWire. “It is our honor to work with high-caliber merchants, such as {Enter Your Business Name}, who not only make a couple's big day possible, but also contribute to the more than 2.5 million U.S. reviews represented on WeddingWire.  We congratulate all of this year's winners on their achievements.”
                        
                        As a Couples’ Choice Awards® winner, AnnaBelle Events is highlighted on WeddingWire, which is comprised of more than 200,000 wedding professionals in the U.S.
                        
                        AnnaBelle Events is thrilled to be one of the top Wedding Planners in Mid-Missouri on WeddingWire. We would like to thank our past clients for taking the time to review our business on WeddingWire. We truly value all of our clients and appreciate the positive feedback that helped us earn a 2017 WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Award.
                        
                        For more information about AnnaBelle Events, please visit our website at www.AnnaBelleEvents.com
                        
                        To learn more about the WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards®, please visit www.weddingwire.com/couples-choice-awards.
                        
                        About WeddingWire, Inc.
                        WeddingWire, Inc. is the leading global online marketplace connecting consumers with event and creative professionals. Operating within a $200 billion industry, WeddingWire, Inc. hosts 10 million monthly unique users across its mobile and web platforms. Consumers around the world are able to read over 3 million vendor reviews and search, compare and book from a database of over 400,000 businesses globally. It provides these businesses the technology they need to serve their clients through advertising, marketing and business management tools such as websites, payment processing, invoicing and contracts. Founded in 2007, the WeddingWire portfolio of sites serves couples and businesses across 15 countries in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia, making it the worldwide leader in weddings with brands including Bodas.net, Casamentos.com.br, Matrimonio.com and more. The company employs more than 800 and maintains global headquarters in Washington, DC and international headquarters in Barcelona, Spain.  
                    

WEDDING TRENDS TO TRY (AND DITCH!)

Originally published in COMO Living magazine, link here.

Pickup the December/January issue to see the full printed editorial. 

Welcome to what is going to be a super fun column all about the ins and outs of weddings. I’m Anne Churchill, Columbia’s seasoned and locally grown event and wedding planner. I’ve been planning meaningful moments and special days for 10 years, and now it’s time to spill the beans: the good, the bad, and the ugly of planning weddings. I’ll share tips and tricks, plus (I’m sure) some giggles as I pull from real-life stories.

The first thing to tackle is wedding trends: what’s hot and what’s not. Here in the Midwest, we tend to be about three years behind what we see on the coasts. Some may see this as a negative — not I. There’s two great benefits to this. As long as you’re on top of it, you can be the first to do something in Columbia while still having dozens of examples from the coast to refer to. And we only do the tested and proven trends — forget the trends that come and go in six months or, even worse, backfire. (Literally. Flames on your wedding day. Think the fire breathers under a tent were a good idea? No, they weren’t.)

Here are the two trends that I think are tired, done, and over with . . . even for good ol’ CoMO:

Doors (or some other entrance) to outdoor wedding ceremonies.

Here’s the hard truth. You’ve chosen to get married on uneven ground with the elements of wind and rain. So the beautiful idea of doors swinging open upon your entrance isn’t so easy, and it’s something to avoid when you consider the hassle. Even if you get those babies perfect . . . you know your guests are going to see you walk (or ride an ATV) up to them, right? Boom. Surprise gone. Just embrace the land you’re getting married on!

The super short wedding ceremony.

I’m talking five minutes total. I think this comes from the stretched out ceremonies we grew up with. And trust me, I get it: I was raised Catholic. But just because you don’t want mass and communion doesn’t mean we need to make your ceremony shorter than a Hulu ad break (insert spinning loading wheel here). Really, why are we all coming together? For a wedding! So let’s have one! Readings, songs, and all. It all goes so fast — relish in the moment.

I won’t ever leave you on a negative note, so here are two newer trends I love for weddings. Fingers crossed they’re here to stay.

The alternative dessert.

I’m not just talking cupcake towers. Dessert is a great time to be nontraditional without making your grandmother gasp. Think small bites and a variety of tastes. It’s a great place to introduce the trend of food stations using a dessert spread, or even pies (if you’re considering pies, call the gals at Peggy Jean’s — they love weddings!). Take the opportunity to hit everyone’s taste buds and get funky with it. This is a fun time to play up the theme or season of your wedding.

Live everything.

Live painting, live cooking, live performances. Considering live options are great if the couple is looking to be less traditional or add in a spark. One of my favorite new vendors is TooRooster Artistry. Cindy Scott paints live, right there, and it’s amazing. Your wedding guests will crowd around her and the final product is a true piece of art, unique from any gift you’ll receive. Live catering stations or food trucks add energy to the meal. Let your guests pick exactly what they want to eat and enjoy the satisfaction of freshly prepared food.

At the end of the day, here is my biggest piece of advice when it comes to tackling trends: learn from others. As you attend weddings, take note of what works, what you love, and what makes you say “oh no!”

Consider what your guests might need when experimenting with a trend. For example, if you’re having food stations, create signage if your guests typically attend buffet dinners. Or, if all of your family weddings have been at the country club, go rogue and pitch a tent in a field. Make sure they get the vibe of your wedding from the invitation, so they’re ready for the fun night.

Being trendy can be successful, as long as you give it thought.

We've Got Something Brewing...

Working for an event planner sure has its perks. We get an abundance of free dessert samples in the office regularly, we have flexible hours, and no one event is ever the same. But one big perk I just had the opportunity of being a part of was a huge Style Shoot Collaboration. Let me tell you guys, it was awesome! 

A style shoot is a mock-event that we put together with various vendors in order to showcase what they can do, as well as ourselves.

Afterwards, a book or portfolio is usually made of the pictures from the event so our clients can see our work. Our last style shoot was a mock wedding so this time we decided to switch things up. We were fortunate enough to connect with Bur Oak Brewery and transform their unique space into a stunning reception area! As part of our well crafted celebration, we used this time to celebrate AnnaBelle Events reaching a landmark of 115 events! The other vendors that joined our team were: A-1 Party and Event Rental, Images Above, JKelley Photography, Bleu Events, Harold's Doughnuts, KBW Floral Design, TooRooster Artistry, and SW Productions

This style shoot was particularly exciting for me because my (really cool and talented) boss let us interns come up with the style and theme for the event! It was like planning my own wedding-literally every girls dream right?! Everything from the color scheme to the seating arrangement was part of the planning process and it was a lot more detailed then I thought. A shoot like this takes a ton of communication, organization, and trust in your vendors! Most importantly it takes hard work and patience, which all becomes worth it when you see the transformation you've created! 

We really wanted our well crafted celebration to stand out from other events our guests have attended. We chose to go with an industrial, vintage-chic style because we wanted to stray from the norm of this years wedding trends. This year we saw an abundance of light pink and navy blue color schemes, rustic-country inspired decor, and round-table top seating. Going in a whole new direction allowed our clients to see just how creative we can get and allowed our vendors to really branch out as well. One aspect of our event that we really stressed was the lighting since the venue space was so big. I think the pictures speak for themselves when I say lighting is a secret weapon clients often overlook! As it became darker outside, the lighting inside the brewery came to life and took the event to a whole other level! Not only did the lighting make the venue look more elegant, but it even helped the floral and rentals pop! 

I could go on and on about how amazing I think the shoot turned out, but why not take a look for yourselves! Can you even tell this is a brewery? ;) Thanks again to all our amazing collaborators for making this well crafted celebration one for the books! Also remember that details, no matter how big or how small, can make a difference when it comes to transforming a venue space!  

  • -Nicole
  • Lead Planning Assistant

7 Wedding Favors Your Guests Will Love

When you're planning a wedding, every little detail counts! You want your guests to remember the food you served, the shoes you wore, and what your flowers looked like. Well, why not give them something they can take home so they can remember your special day forever! These brides of ours got creative and thanked their guests with some pretty memorable (and delicious) goodies!  

1. Custom Cookies 

Cookies are a yummy way to let your guests know you appreciated them for celebrating with you. Your initials or monogram are an easy way to personalize the treat. You could also attach a little "Thank You" note to them and have your friends grab them on their way out! This can even be a fun DIY project for all you crafty brides out there! 

2. Koozies 

Whether you're serving water or beer, koozies are the perfect wedding favor. Personalize them to your liking, including your names, date, or even add a cute quote like "Love Lasts Forever". How ever you choose to design them, your guests will love a nice cold drink, even during the reception! 

3. Build Your Own S'mores

This idea was the sweetest one we've seen yet (pun intended)! This groom popped the question while they were camping and what goes hand-in-hand with camping? S'MORES!! This fun and savory to-go bag will have your guests mouths watering their whole ride home.

4. Coasters

This is another great DIY favor, that is super easy and won't break the bank! Choose your favorite pictures with your friends and family members or stick to pictures of just you and your partner and create the gift that all your guests can use for years to come.  

5. Party Horns

Cheers to a new couple and a new year! This New Years Eve couple gave party horns to their guests so they could start the year off right...this favor also helped make the count down to midnight even more exciting! 

6. Popcorn

Caramel corn, kettle corn, buttery- the flavors are endless! Need I go on? This favor will be one all your guests and their stomachs will surely remember! 

7. Mini Mason Jars

One of the top trends this year has been mason jar favors, but what you put in them is what counts! We've seen jelly beans, Hershey kisses, flower seeds, sand, and much more. The best part of these favors is that your guests get a two-in-one gift: the jar and whatever is inside!  

- Nicole

A Memorial Weekend Hitch-Off

When you first think of Memorial Day, what pops into your head? Flags, soldiers, and outdoor barbecues? Well, this year we spent our Memorial Day weekend at two memorable weddings, with two very unique couples. From a lavish, bohemian style wedding to a simple, country inspired couple, our two days that weekend couldn’t have been more different. 

West Coast Style Meets Midwest Wedding!

It is no secret that fashion, design, and events are inspired from trends we first see on the coasts that make their way to the Midwest.  We’re on a mission to show you how to bring Cali-Style to your Midwest Wedding!

It’s easier than you’d think, while the West Coast has mountains, beaches, and ocean we have rivers with bluffs, lakes, and vast green spaces. Take a look as we compare venues of these two regions, showing how while there are miles separating us the style is not too different!

 

Cliffs and Vineyards | These venues feature stunning views in the distance as  the backdrop to the ceremony bluff tops.

Cali-Style | Malibu Rocky Oaks in Malibu, California

Cali-Style | Malibu Rocky Oaks in Malibu, California

Midwest Style | Les Bourgeois Blufftop on the Missouri River in Rocheport  

Midwest Style | Les Bourgeois Blufftop on the Missouri River in Rocheport

 

Lush Yards Surrounded by Trees  | These venues provide a beautiful frame of trees while opening to a grass area set for a ceremony

Cali-Style | Taft Garden Ojaj, California

Cali-Style | Taft Garden Ojaj, California

Midwest Style | Private Residence in Columbia, Missouri  

Midwest Style | Private Residence in Columbia, Missouri

 

Waterfalls | These venues offer an amazing focal point creating a setting unlike any other.

            Cali-Style | Grand Tradition Estate in San Diego,      California

            Cali-Style | Grand Tradition Estate in San Diego,      California

                Midwest Style | Big Cedar Lodge in Branson, Missouri  

                Midwest Style | Big Cedar Lodge in Branson, Missouri

 

Big Beautiful Barns | No longer only for the rustic couple, these barns are vintage and chic.

Cali-Style | HammerSky Vineyards & Inn in Paso Robles, California

Cali-Style | HammerSky Vineyards & Inn in Paso Robles, California

Midwest Style | Bluebell Farm, Fayette Missouri  

Midwest Style | Bluebell Farm, Fayette Missouri

 

Clear Span Structures | Be it a tent or a greenhouse, these venues allow the outside in while staying covered.

Cali-Style | Private Residence under a Clearspan Tent

Cali-Style | Private Residence under a Clearspan Tent

Midwest Style | Bluebell Farm, Fayette Missouri

Midwest Style | Bluebell Farm, Fayette Missouri

AnnaBelle Events Wins Wedding Wire Couples' Choice Award® 2016

It is with tons of excitement that we share AnnaBelle Events has won the WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Award for 2016 – for the fourth consecutive year! 

This award is given to the top 5% of Wedding Professionals Nationwide and it is a huge honor to be part of the group!

Read the full press release below!

Columbia’s Own AnnaBelle Events Wins a WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Award® 2016 for fourth consecutive year

                     COLUMBIA, MISSOURI– {January 6, 2016} – WeddingWire, the leading global online wedding marketplace, named AnnaBelle Events as a winner of the prestigious WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards® 2016 for Wedding Planning in Columbia!  This is the fourth consecutive year AnnaBelle Events has received this honor.

The WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards® 2016 recognizes the top five percent of wedding professionals in the WeddingWire Network who demonstrate excellence in quality, service, responsiveness and professionalism. The esteemed awards are given to the top local wedding vendors in more than 20 service categories, from wedding venues to wedding florists, based on their professional achievements from the previous year.

While many industry award winners are selected by the host organization, the WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards® winners are determined solely based on reviews from real newlyweds and their experiences working with AnnaBelle Events.  Award-winning vendors are distinguished for the quality, quantity, consistency and timeliness of the reviews they have received from their past clients.

“We are thrilled to celebrate such a high-caliber, committed group of professionals for the Couples’ Choice Awards’® eighth year,” said Timothy Chi, CEO, WeddingWire. “We are proud to continue to serve as the industry leader, with over 2.5 million consumer and peer reviews, and feature award-winning merchants such as AnnaBelle Events who understands the impact reviews have on their successful businesses.”

“AnnaBelle Events is proud to be one of the top Wedding Planners in the Central Missouri area within the WeddingWire Network. We would like to thank our past clients for taking the time to review our business on WeddingWire. We value all of our clients and truly appreciate the positive feedback that helped us earn the WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards® 2016.” – Anne Churchill, Owner & Senior Planner.

For more information about AnnaBelle Events please visit our website at www.AnnaBelleEvents.com

To learn more about the Couples’ Choice Awards®, please visit www.weddingwire.com/couples-choice-awards

2015 Trends | This Year's Best Wedding Trends

Overlooking my last wedding of the year from the balcony of Kimball Ballroom, it struck me how much 2015 has rocked!  It wasn’t really a shocked or surprised feeling, but one of those moments of yippee, wow, and we did it!!!

We did a lot of new things this year – took chances and pushed ourselves to create amazing events and weddings. Thinking through all those memories of 2015 I’ve pin pointed 5 “trends” I think are super awesome.  They sum up the year and for us are not going anywhere, anytime soon, hopefully we’ll have clients embracing these for years to come!


Flipping Spaces

We’re starting with the hardest one first, physically the hardest that is!  Whether it was determined by the budget, personal preference, or good ole’ Missouri weather our team was hard at work making one space work for two purposes.  Imagine you enter a beautiful ceremony set for 200, after the Mr. & Mrs. say I do, you head to enjoy a nice cocktail hour (only 1 hour or less!), and then come back to enter the same space dressed to the nines for a reception filled with dancing, dinner, and entertainment!

This one is best described by pictures and video, take a look…


Muted Palettes

In good Midwest tradition, we see trends hit our scene a year or so after the coasts.  Some may find this as a negative, I think it gives us the tried, tested, and true version of trends.  We let those coastal dwellers get all the kinks out!  There are two major pieces to “muted palettes”.  First, that it’s a palette, gone are the days of a blue and yellow wedding.  Where you pick two colors and get matchy-matchy.  This year, brides picked a variety of colors, say 5 or 7, creating a palette we worked with for everything.  Second, is the pop! Selecting one color that adds fun and wow to the palette as a whole.  Like bright yellow or purple in a sea of golds, silvers, and ivories.  Take a look at our fav palettes…


Personal Touches

We’re BIG, HUGE believers in making weddings and events personal so you never forget why you are there and who you are there for.  This year we saw this shine through with favors and entertainment

With handcrafted and hand-painted bells for each guest, brought by mother-of-the-groom from his hometown in Mexico.

Scratch tradition and replace them with board games, this was one of the liveliest receptions of the year!


Catering Early

It’s easy to fall into routine and use the same timeline of events.  While that is all well and good, and 85% of the time works, we mixed it up this year when it came to dinner time.  At first this came out of necessity due to timing, then it turned into a tested and trusted option.   Traditionally dinner follows the bride and groom being announced into the reception, many times we slip in toasts or cake cutting beforehand too.  Sometimes this can land you at 8:00 or later before guests get full.

This year we switched it up – about halfway through cocktail hour dinner became available.  Be it food stations, plated, or buffet the guests ate before the bride and groom.  Say it isn’t so! Then I’d be lying and I’d also be lying if I said it didn’t work flawlessly.  Because boy it did, guests were surprised and excited!  Plus, the energy of the reception stayed high and well balanced with the drinks being consumed.  So as you are planning, play with that timeline a bit and don’t be afraid of mixing it up!


Fireworks

Nothing says "finally" like fireworks and as it ends our 2015 Wedding Trend List it also ended many, many of our receptions this year! What a great gift for your guests and a beautiful photo op!  Don’t make this an afterthought in 2016, put it in the budget.  Also make sure you hire someone license, insured, and experienced.

Mock Reception | The Blue Note

We had such a fun time dressing up The Blue Note last month! Being able to transform someone's vision from a concert hall to a wedding venue is only possible with the help of amazing vendors and rental supplies. We started with a color scheme, classy and "blue", with navy and gold. This transformed into a Pinterest page and on to A-1 for a wish list!

Photography by Catherine Rhodes.

Photography by Catherine Rhodes.

A classy design all began with beautiful, textured linens, runners, china, and chiavari chairs. It is so easy to make a picture perfect design concept come true when we have endless options to choose from at A-1 Rentals! We then added our fun final touches to the decor with sparkling blue menus and sparkling champagne!

To make the night so memorable and fun we could not have done without Catherine Rhodes photo booth and photography. Peace Frame Productions put together a video that recaps the evening perfectly!

We had delicious appetizers from Bleu Catering , cake by the always amazing Edith Hall, and beer from Logboat Brewing Company. Belle Mariée topped off the reception by providing beautiful dresses and models to accompany the jazz band.

Photography by Catherine Rhodes.

Photography by Catherine Rhodes.

Big thanks to The Blue Note for not only providing the space, but also in house tables, bar staff, security staff, sound technician, two full bars, and a state-of-the-art sound and lighting system. Being able to create the layout desired, while also leaving room for extra walking area was made possible due to the large and historic building provided.

With the easy communication and organization between vendors and The Blue Note, the only thing left to do was have fun and enjoy as everything came together.

Spring 2016 Pantone Colors

“Colors this season transport us to a happier, sunnier place where we feel free to express a wittier version of our real selves.” -Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director, Pantone Color Institute

Pantone has released it’s Fashion Color Report for Spring 2016 and it is everything!

From exciting and bright to neutral and classic, this palette will get your creative mind running.

These colors are chosen by color experts from around the world, incorporated from upcoming spring fashion collections and expected color trends, and announced semi-annually for the fashion industry.  Laurie Pressman, Vice President of the Pantone Color Institute, says that these are colors that everyone will want to wear, we will see them everywhere this Spring.

Pantone aimed at producing a palette this spring that would ” transcend cultural and gender norms”.  Both their men’s and women’s collections focus on calming stability.

We Now Do Event & Wedding Invitations!

We are so excited to announce our newest service at the AnnaBelle Events studio, Event and Wedding Invitations!

It is a natural addition and expansion for our team. Who knows your day, design, and timeline better than you?

Your Planner!  So why wouldn’t we also do your invites!  The most exciting part is that we are an authorized Dealer & Designer for Envelopments, an amazing line of invitations, pocket folds, and gorgeous paper making your invitations custom.

 

So where do we start? You're engaged or have an event in mind and that is great! While you are spinning with ideas there are some questions to ponder before stepping into our studio to start the invitation design process.

Yes, think of this as homework - you need to prepare to do this right. Sure, you can look all you want and see what you love but in order to get down to the business of getting an estimate or ordering, you should have a few of these questions answered as they will be our guide through the process.

You need know…

WHO you are inviting?

WHAT the style or colors of your wedding or event are?

WHERE & WHEN is your wedding or event taking place?

HOW should your guests respond to you?

 

ALSO, know roughly how many invitations you need.  Remembering that many of your guests are couples and families, your count should be of the mailing addresses, not the number of people attending.  Plus some extras just in case you inadvertently left someone off your list or make new friends between now and your special day!

LASTLY, it’s really helpful to give yourself a budget that feels comfortable to work with.  This will help determine how many layers you can play with, what types of paper to use, and what additional products to include.

Our invitations start at $1.50 an invite and $5.50 a wedding suite.  Keep in mind envelopes and postage are just a few of the things that increase the price.

Contact us to setup a design consultation to get your invitations started!

Tips to Planning the Perfect Bridal Shower

If you have the privilege of planning a bridal shower and have never done it before, you might be surprised at the undertaking that it can quickly become. Although you might feel inundated with ideas of pulling off spectacular do-it-yourself (DIY) creations and expensive foods and favors, don’t feel pressured to drive yourself mad in a quest to throw the shower of all showers. Unless the bride feels the need to run the party herself, chances are high that your shower idea will be successful. Here are some additional tips to throwing the perfect bridal shower.

Get the Bride’s Input

Getting the bride’s input can be very useful for creating a shower schedule. You want to have the shower at a convenient time for the bride and make sure that people she wants to be there are included. You can also get theme ideas from the bride, either by explicitly asking her or being sneaky and asking her questions about herself and the groom in order to build on your own secret theme. If you should get stuck on ideas and want the shower to remain a surprise to the bride, then get input from someone close to her, such as her mother. At the very least, you should get the following input for planning the party:

  • Best date and time
  • A guest list
  • Whether or not gifts are requested

Choose a Theme Based on the Bride or the Couple

Not every bridal shower is required to have a theme. You can just throw a party with food and general decorations, if you want. However, creating a theme can make the shower more personal and provide ideas for decorations or bridal shower invitations. When choosing a theme, select something specific about the couple. It could be the year that they met or went to high school, their shared passions or interests, or where they’re going for their honeymoon. If you’re throwing a couple’s shower, definitely make sure the groom’s interests are also included.

Take Advantage of DIY Activities

You don’t necessarily have to supply the gifts for every guest or be responsible for a plethora of games and activities. DIY crafts make the perfect party favors and activities. There are ideas from create-your-own-fragrance bars to arranging a flower bouquet. Simply supply the materials and let your guests go crazy. 
 

Enlist Help

Planning a shower can turn into a big undertaking if you have grand plans. In addition to planning for activities, you likely need to consider decorations and food. Rather than stressing yourself out, create a shower committee and enlist the help of other friends or family members of the bride. If you don’t mind handing over the reins, assign specific tasks to individuals and let them figure out the details. Again, having a theme already established can give everyone a great starting point. If you have the budget for it, then hiring a caterer or having the shower at a location where they will provide the decorations and food for you will save you a lot of time and stress.

Don’t Be Afraid of Your Dollar Store for Favors

When planning a bridal shower on a budget, your wallet might be stretched thin when it comes to supplying favors or gifts for the guest It is fairly traditional to have shower guests leave with something as a memory of the party. Luckily, your local dollar store should have plenty of items at an affordable price. From votive candles and bubble bath to wine glasses and picture frames, take a trip down the aisles to get inspired. It does not have to be expensive and your guests will appreciate the gesture.

Check Local Businesses for Ideas

If you’re really strapped for ideas on where to plan the shower and what to do, check out your local businesses. You might be surprised at the different activities that are available for showers. You can reserve a room at a local restaurant or schedule a wine tasting. Set the bride and her guests up for a spa day, or maybe see if a local professional will come and teach a class such as cooking, makeup, or painting. You might be able to find a variety of ideas for any budget.

Keep Your Guests in Mind 

The bridal shower is not the same thing as a bachelorette party. While you might be tempted to include funny, racy games, keep in mind who will be attending the party. If there will be elderly family members of the bride in attendance, you might want to forgo the lingerie theme. Then again, perhaps the elderly family members will be fine with it! If you’re planning anything that might be considered a little racy, check with the guests to get an idea of what is and is not appropriate.

Make It Memorable and Keep It Manageable 

Throwing a bridal shower is the creation of memories for the bride leading up to her big day. It doesn’t have to be an expensive affair. Just make sure to give it plenty of thought and time for preparation. Whether you’re having it at a restaurant or in the living room of your home, a solid theme with a few activities, food, and favor ideas for the guests will likely lead to the throwing of a perfect shower.

Bryan Passanisi is online marketer and writer living in Redwood City, CA. He graduated from The University of San Francisco with his Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing. Bryan has managed a popular wedding blog and has created viral content. He currently is a blogger for Shutterfly.

Photography Credit: All photos from Karen Up On the Hill

My Dream Bride!

It is so easy to make a picture perfect wedding come true when we have the picture perfect bride! Choosing a package that fits you best is sometimes a stressful task. This can determine how much is done by you, and how much is taken over by us. With the Day-Of package were are not as involved in pre-wedding planning, but a few things can make everything stress free! With simple communication, organization, and a smiling face, there is no room for stress or hiccups. 

1. Communication
The perfect bride is easy to communicate with. The more we can be on the same page with you and what your dream wedding is, the more we can make that come true for you and your fiancee. Weddings are stressful! That is where we come in, ask away! We are here to answer questions and concerns. With Day-Of we are not as hands on as our Full Services packages, so the more you can communicate with us on pre and post wedding tasks, the more efficient ad effective our job can be.

2. Organization
We LOVE organized brides! Layouts, decorations, seating charts, set up, pick up and vendors. The more we know, the better. We once had a bride type out a list of EVERY decoration she had and exactly where everything went for both the ceremony and the reception! Set up was so fast. Everything was exactly where she wanted it and we knew exactly what was going home with her that next day. This allowed us to still be very hands on with vendors and set up without exceeding the package limits. 

3. A Smiling Face
Yes, we know this sounds funny, but smile! Your wedding is one of the best days of your life. Relax and enjoy it! The more you can relax and trust us, the better we can work our magic. We will have time for concerns and questions through pre-wedding meetings. With communication and organization before your big day, the only thing left to do is have fun. Enjoy the day, take in everything, and simply watch as everything comes together.