When the Weather Outside is Frightful....

When the weather outside is frightful… Charleston SC is known for its beaches, its charm, and its people. It’s also unfortunately known for its unpredictable weather. One moment the sun is shining and all is right with the world, and then you turn around to face some pretty ominous clouds coming your way. This can be rather tricky to plan around for a wedding, BUT! Don’t fret, we have some helpful tips if it rains on your wedding day!

There’s truly no need to stress over having a little rain on your wedding day. Be decisive about where you will have your ceremony (if it’s outside, have it outside! No one will melt, we promise), trust that your vendors will know what to do, and breathe….you know I hear somewhere it’s good luck if it rains on your wedding day!

Tip for Prevention: If your event is outdoors, think of using Hay as seating. The hay will soak up the water and will prevent mud from forming. If you have a tent, think of lining the tent’s perimeter for extra protection.

Things to remember: Towels! Towels are absolutely necessary if you will have a rainy day. You’ll need them to wipe down chairs, and to sop up wet entry ways.

Grab some umbrellas! This should go without saying, but you’ve put so much time into the way you will look on your wedding day, make sure you’re protected! It would also be a nice touch to have a stash of umbrellas for your guests as well. Do you have ushers? Send them to greet your guests at their cars with umbrellas and walk them to their seats.

Happy Beginnings, Mike

Contact Us

Bridesmaids Dresses

When planning your wedding, picking the wedding colors can be an exciting time! The bridesmaids dresses make the single greatest color statement of the wedding because the bride's gown is typically white or off-white. This color scheme should influence the choice of flowers, table arrangements, table linens, china and cake decorations.

When the bride is selecting her color scheme, there are certain things she should consider. What are her favorite colors? What color or shades of color work best with the complexions and hair colors of her maid of honor and bridesmaids? What styles of dresses will be most flattering to her attendants' figures? Which styles are most in line with the degree of formality of the wedding?


Here are a few friendly tips a bride should keep in mind when choosing her made of honor and bridesmaids dresses.

  • *Bridesmaids' dresses should be similar in formality to the brides gown. Hems should fall at the same place on each bridesmaid.
  • *When the bridesmaids' figure types vary quite a bit, it is appropriate to select different styles of dresses for each, but in the same fabric or color.
  • *The mad of honor can wear a color or style that is different from that of the bridesmaids.
  • *The bride may choose different color bridesmaids dresses in the same style, or same shades if she thinks it will be more flattering to the complexions of her bridesmaids.

Being able to share your special day with your best girl friends is such an amazing memory for all.

Hope you have enjoyed taking a peek back to our previous Bridesmaids dresses . On your wedding day, what colors and styles will you choose?!

Happy Beginnings, Mike

Contact Us!

How to Choose a Wedding Florist

Do ya'll love flowers as much as I do? After you have decided on the wedding venue, you will want to ask the manager about what flowers and decorations are allowed. There are certain factors that will guide your selection of flowers, for example, the size and style of the building, the formality of the wedding, the wedding budget, and venue regulations.

A brides first meeting with the florist is exciting and important, it will be mainly to discuss the general style, feel, look and themeof her vision. Primary items to approach are bridesmaid's bouquets, the men's boutonnieres, corsages for the mothers, centerpieces for the reception, and any other decorations that will be needed at the ceremony and reception site.

Keep reading to learn more about the symbolism of flowers and bridal bouquets!!


Different cultures have associated flowers with specific meanings and concepts! Here are a few of our favorites!

  • Baby's Breath ~ Innocence
  • Bachelors Button ~ Celibacy or hope
  • Buttercup ~ Riches
  • Carnation ~ Pure, deep love
  • Daffodil ~ Regard
  • Forget-Me-Not ~ Remembrance, or true love
  • Gardenia ~ Joy
  • Jasmine ~ Amiability
  • Lily ~ Purity
  • Marigold ~ Sacred affection
  • Mimosa ~ Secret love
  • Orchid ~ Rare beauty
  • Peony ~ Bashfulness
  • Rose ~ Love
  • Violet ~ Modesty
  • White Daisy ~ Innocence
  • White Lily ~ Purity
  • White Rose ~ Worthiness
  • Yellow Tulip ~ Hopeless love

 Bridal Bouquets 

Spray~ The Spray bouquet is a magnificent bouquet that is a cluster of blossoms arranged in a triangular shape.

Cascade~ The Cascade is a tear-shaped arrangement whose blossoms spill gracefully towards the floor.

Nosegay~ A nosegay is round in shape and consists of tightly bound clusters of small flowers.

Crescent~ The crescent is a bowed arrangement, designed for the bride to nestle on one arm.

Hand-tied~ The hand-tied is a simple cluster of long stems, tied together with a ribbon.

Friendly Tips

  • ~Try using different types of lighting in the venue to add drama to the decorations! Pin-spot lighting showcases centerpiece arrangement. Or, you could place twinkling lights among the trees around the reception area! Your florist will always have creative ideas!
  • ~ If you are planning to be married in a church, consider tall altar flowers! Several churches have high ceilings.
  • ~ Important! The corsages for the bride and groom's mothers should be identical! This is the best way to avoid any feelings of favoritism between the mothers.
  • ~When choosing the wedding day, if your date is set near a major holiday such as Valentine's Day, Christmas, Mother's Day or Easter, flower arrangements will be more expensive because the florist will be charging more at the peak of demand.
  • If you are having an evening wedding, we suggest using white flowers, because dark colored flowers seemingly get lost in the dim lighting and shadows.
  • Lastly, make sure to have fun when picking out your flowers! The energy and the mood of a wedding are largely dependent on the flower choices. Have fun, pick your favorites, and watch your guest walk in to the wedding in awe!!


Happy Beginnings, Mike

Contact Us! 

Pre Wedding Parties and Celebrations

We all know that engaged brides know how to party, right?! If you aren't aware of all the fun that you can have during your engagement period, keep reading!

Engagement Party

First let talk about engagement parties. It is customary for the bride's parents to host an engagement party for the bride and groom. The engagement party is a great opportunity for family members to relax and form relationships with each other. Generally, engagement parties are informal affairs, usually taking place as a brunch, luncheon, or dinner. This is a time for the father of the bride to announce his daughter's engagement to his future son-in-law. After the engagement party, the bride and groom should make an effort to thank the host, traditionally the bride and groom will take the host out to dinner or give them flowers as a token of appreciation!

Bridal and Wedding Shower

A bridal shower is a party where the guests enjoy themselves while offering encouragement and gifts to the bride! Today bridal showers serve the same purpose as dowries did in ancient years, it provides the couples with items they will need when they start their lives together. Typically these gifts will be presents for the bride and grooms first home. **Hint** Make sure to finish your registry list before the bridal shower!!!

Bridal Luncheon

The bridal luncheon is held on the day of the rehearsal dinner! Bridal Luncheon's do not have to be a "luncheon", they can be held as a breakfast, luncheon, afternoon appetizers, or dinner. The bridal luncheon is the brides opportunity to thank her wedding party for standing by her side on the day of the wedding! It is customary for the bride to invite her mother and sisters, as well as the grooms mother and sisters. Bridal luncheons would be a great chance for the bride to give a token gift to her mother and mother in law!

Bachelor Party

The tradition behind the bachelor party, is that it is the groom's final fling before he leaves he bachelor days to become a "married" man! ** Hint** Ladies, do not let your men have their bachelor party the day before the wedding! Nobody wants a hungover groom!

Rehearsal Dinner

A wedding is one big celebration from start to finish, and this includes the Rehearsal dinner the night before the big day!! Typically the rehearsal dinner is held directly after the wedding rehearsal, and as we all know is typically held by the groom's parents. However, this does not always have to be the case. Rehearsal dinners are usually held at restaurants, country clubs, or private homes! When it comes to dress, throw all rules out the window! This is no right or wrong dress for a rehearsal dinner, formal wear or non formal wear, this is for the bride and groom to decide when they pick the venue for the dinner.

The rehearsal dinner is a good time for the bride and groom to give gifts to the wedding party, if they have not done so already! It is tradition for the made or matron of honor and/ or the couples parents to give a toast to the bride and groom. Some weddings, typically southern weddings, a grooms cake is common. If so, typically the grooms cake is served at the rehearsal dinner.

The engagement period is such a fun and amazing time for the bride and groom! This is an important time to share with loved ones!

Happy Beginnings! Mike

Contact Us!

Fitness Tips Before Your Wedding Day!




Every bride wants to look her absolute best on her wedding day. Every bride will do almost anything to be the picture perfect bride, from hair and makeup to nails and waxing! Today we are going to share 10 fitness from fitness expert, Marcia Inoue of Hawaii Fit Body Boot Camp. We want to share these tips so that you can feel and look amazing on your big day!!

1. How can brides best tone their shoulders and arms to look gorgeous and fit in their strapless wedding gowns?

The best toning exercise for those lean, are push-ups. Vary the placement of your hands on the ground to target the different parts of your arms. Try these variations of the basic push-up....hands out wide, hands by your shoulders, hands lower by your chest, hands together making a "heart" with your thumbs and pointer fingers. (Expert tip: keep your elbows in towards your body.) Start out doing as many as you can of each variation and work your way up to 15 of each.

2. How can brides best tone their back for those awesome "glance over my shoulder" photos?

The "breast-stroke" is a great back toning exercise you can do on your living room floor! Lay on the floor, stomach down. Stretch your arms out over your head. Arch your back up, lift your head and chest off the ground while doing the breast-stroke with your arms. Return to starting position and repeat. Do three sets of 20 reps.

3. What's the best way for brides to lose those last 10 pounds, 3 months before their wedding?  

Follow these five easy rules and you'll have no problem losing those last ten pounds.

  1. Eat every 2-3 hours. This will keep your metabolism burning! Stock up your purse with some easy snacks. My favorites are "Think Thin" bars and "Lara" bars.
  2. No starches after 3pm. That means...no rice, pasta, potatoes, etc. for dinner. Eat your starches at breakfast and lunch. Load up on lean meats and veggies for dinner.
  3. Drink Up! Hydrate. Divide your body weight by two and that's how many ounces you need to consume a day. (Ex: 135 lbs woman needs to drink 65 ounces per day.)
  4. Cut down on the sweets. Try not to consume any processed sugar. Get your "sweet fix" from natural sugars.
  5. Don't eat within 3-hours of your bedtime. Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night.

4. There are a lot of BUSY brides who don't have time to exercise daily. What alternatives can you recommend to keep "active" during a normal day?

Buy a pedometer (they are very inexpensive and can be found at Sports Authority) and wear it from the time you wake up until you go to sleep each day. Your goal is 10,000 steps a day. Tips on how to reach your goal each day? Take the steps instead of the elevator. Park further away and walk through the parking lot. Find some stairs on your lunch break and run up and down for 5-10 minutes. Take a 30-minute walk after dinner.

5. How can brides best prepare for their crazy-hustle-and-bustle-busy wedding day?

 I always tell brides to get in a great workout the morning of their wedding. It will calm the pre-wedding jitters and wake you up. The best part? When you sweat it unclogs yours pores and your skin will look more radiant. Make sure to drink a lot of water to keep that healthy glow all day long.

6. What should brides eat (or not eat) the week before their wedding?

 Do Eat: Veggies, lean meats or tofu and lots of water. Keep healthy snacks in your purse when you're on the run.

Don't Eat: Carbonated beverages (causes stomach bloating), sodium (causes water retention), fast food, fried food, starches and sugar.

7. Any workout or stretching tips for being comfortable wearing a heavy gown all day?

Posture, posture, posture. Keep those shoulders back and chest out. It may sound simple, but this will line your spine up correctly to alleviate strain from the gown. Make sure to wear your shoes around for the month before the wedding so you are able to walk in them and they don't bother you. The more comfortable your feet, the better your posture will be. Strong core = good posture, so do those sit-ups and planks before the wedding!

8. What are some great restaurants you'd suggest brides eat the week of their wedding?

 Shabu Shabu House (just don't eat the rice and go easy on sauces), Shokudo (spinach salad & salmon dinner). Actually any restaurant is good if you order salads (easy on the dressing) or lean meat or fish.

9. Brides are so busy and excited, they barely touch the food they've so carefully chosen for their wedding. Any tips on what they should eat to keep their energy up?

Eat a well-balanced breakfast with protein (eggs, tofu or lean meats). Make sure to drink water throughout the day. Most fatigue is caused by dehydration. So, even if you can't eat throughout the day, make sure to stay hydrated. Keep a Lara bar or Think Thin bar nearby and just take a couple bites if you can to keep your body fueled.

10. What's the #1 workout tip or fitness advice you'd give a bride?

Make the time for your workouts. This is your special day and you want to look your best. Go for high intensity, shorter workouts since you're limited on time. 30 minutes a day is fine as long as you're working at a high intensity. 

This is your big day, and we want you to feel amazing, healthy, and glowing! As a wedding planner, we are here to make your lives easier! Eating a healthy diet and getting good exercise will not only make you feel glowing, but will also help to relieve the stress that comes with planning a wedding! So relax and enjoy yourself. You deserve it!!

Happy Beginnings, Mike

Contact Us!

History of Wedding Traditions

Weddings are steeped in ritual and tradition, even the simplest ceremony cannot avoid using ancient symbols. When planning your wedding, you may come across some of these customs and traditions, but may not be aware of the symbolism of each! Sit back and relax, lets take a peek into the history of wedding traditions...

  • ~ Why do we throw rice?
  • Throwing grains of rice at the couple symbolizes the desire for fertility. It also expresses the hope for a long life with good health, successful careers, and bountiful harvests.
  • ~ Why do we tie cans to the bridal couple's getaway car?
  • Sounds of bells, the clinking of champagne flutes, and tin cans dragging behind the getaway car are holdovers from the desire to drive away jealous spirits that were thought to lurk at times of change!
  • ~ Why does the bride have bridesmaids?
  • This tradition began in ancient Rome; a couple was legally required to have at least ten attendants to witness the marriage contract. In other cultures, bridesmaids are used to "hide" the bride from any evil spirits who might try to cause trouble for the newlywed couple.
  • ~ Why does the groom have ushers?
  • For the same reason that a bride has bridesmaids, the ushers are used to confuse evil spirits that may be trying to harm the newlywed couple.
  • ~ Why does the bride wear a veil?
  • By concealing the brides face, a bride camouflaged herself so that evil and jealous spirits could not identify the bride. The white veil is a symbol of modesty and virginity.
  • ~ Why does the groom stand on the bride's right side?
  • This tradition started in ancient years. Standing at the bride's right side made it easy for the groom to grab his sword with his right hand and fend off any intruders who might try to do harm to his bride.
  • ~ Why wear a wedding ring?
  • The symbolism of the wedding ring began in early Egypt, the rings circular shape symbolizes eternal and unending love!
  • ~ Why do we have bridal showers?
  • Bridal showers became custom, with brides receiving gifts from her family members and friends to help prepare her for married life
  • ~ Why are wedding dresses white?
  • A white wedding dress symbolizes the brides modesty, like the color of the veil.
  • ~ Why is the wedding ring worn on the third finger of the brides left hand?
  • It was believed that the vein in that finger leads directly to the heart!
  • ~ Why is the wedding ceremony sealed with  kiss?
  • The kiss represents an exchange of spirits, uniting the couple in both body and spirit.
  • ~ Why does the bride carry a bouquet?
  • This ancient Roman tradition began with the belief that carrying bunches of fragrant herbs and flowers would ward off evil spirits. The ancient Greens carried ivy as a symbol of unending love. 
  • ~ Why does the bride toss her bouquet?
  • Tossing the bouquet has come to mean that the single woman who catches it will be the next to find a husband and marry. 
  • ~ Why "Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue?"
  • Something old and something new symbolize continuity while making the transition to a new way of life. By borrowing something from a happily married woman, the hope is that the woman's good fortune will rub off on the bride. The color blue is associated with purity and modesty. 


Next time you are at a wedding, shock all the guests with your knowledge of wedding traditions!! They will be amazed!

Happy Beginnings, Mike

Contact Us! 

Wedding Reception Styles

Were all excited to start planning our weddings, right ladies?! We all know the reception is the "party" part of the wedding, and brides spend a lot of time and planning bringing together the perfect reception that the guests will never forget!  

Here are three reception ideas that will help you get started with your planning! Happy Beginnings! The Big Three:

Food Stations, Cocktail and Sit-Down Dinner are the most common types of parties today. Special occasions including weddings, showers and Monday night football gatherings are planned for one of these party styles.



Food Stations

A festive and well thought out buffet is a fun and easy way to entertain. It gets the host away from the kitchen and out among the guests. A buffet can be as casual as pasta with garlic bread and a salad or as formal as a standing rib roast with all the trimmings.

There are two styles of buffet. At a lap service buffet, guests eat standing or seated at the sofa. This style lends itself to talking, mingling and grazing. It works for small receptions and parties in small places and it's the perfect way to serve a casual dinner party for card games or an evening of movie watching. A sit-down buffet is suitable for a more elaborate occasions; it works best for family holidays, weddings and large or small dinner parties. No matter what the menu, after the set up, with a buffet, you will be free to relax and enjoy the party too.

Formal Sit-Down Dinner

A formal sit down dinner is served in courses. Invite your guests to arrive a half hour or so early for a relaxed cocktail period.

Place cards at the table encourage lively conversation. Placing talkative people with quieter ones or new guests with regular ones will help spark lively conversation and keep the tone of the party balanced, preventing any guest from being left out of the fun.

Most hosts who plan formal dinners use servers. This allows the host to enjoy the party guests instead of jumping up and down to fetch food. For a formal party, take out your best china, silver and candle sticks. Make your table as beautiful as possible.



Informal Sit-Down Dinner

An informal sit-down dinner may or may not be served in courses, the food may be more casual, but the etiquette guidelines still apply: dinner is served at an appointed time, and assigned seats make it fun and interesting. For an informal sit down dinner, set the table in an eclectic style: mix china, glassware and linen patterns–use serving containers of different sizes, shapes, colors, and materials. Place all the food on the table at one time, and relax and enjoy your guests

Happy Beginnings! Mike

Contact Us! 

Save the Date and Wedding Gift Etiquette

In today’s world, planning ahead has become a necessity. Save the dates allow your guests to plan for your wedding day well in advance. This is especially important for out-of-town guests, or destination weddings. Remember, this is not an announcement, it’s just a heads up!

Save the date etiquette is vital here. The most important thing to do before sending out a save the date card is to finalize your guest list. The save the date card is a pre-announcement that lets your guests know that they will be invited to the wedding.

Once you sent out a save the date card to a guest, you cannot un-invite them. If, by chance there is a wedding budget crisis, and you need to make guest cuts, it is good to know this before you send out the cards. You can trim a guest list easier when the guests are not yet pre-invited.

When you send out a save the date card, be sure to list if the person invited can include a guest. There are a couple of ways this can be done. If you know the name of the guest that will be invited, include them when addressing the card. If not, it is acceptable to include "and guest". Also, if children are to be included, list them on the card as well.



When should save the dates be sent?

Send them as soon as you set your wedding date and have secured your ceremony and reception sites... This can be from 6 months to a year before the wedding. When planning your destination wedding, the more time you can give your guests the better, it can be a year or mom in advance.

Helpful info:

The only guests who will be invited to the wedding should receive a save the date. For wording, keep it shirt and sweet! Your names, wedding date and “Invitation with details to follow.” If it’s a destination wedding how about including travel agencies along with resort and hotel information.

Your save the dates can be anything from refrigerator magnets to photo postcards, skies the limit!

Wedding Gift Etiquette

Wedding gift amount etiquette is a topic that has been discussed with set amounts one should give the happy couple. It is important to remember that the gift is a representation of your love for them... no matter what it costs.

It is not good wedding gift etiquette for a couple to ask for money or gifts when they invite loved ones and friends to their wedding. It is an opportunity for those invited to help the couple start their lives with the gifts that they choose.

Wedding gift etiquette states that if you are invited to the wedding you should present the couple with a gift. It is appropriate to send the gift to the couple or a parent before or after the wedding. If you choose to give the couple money, you can give the card to them during the reception.

When you are deciding how much to spend on a gift, the most important thing you need to do is look at your budget. Also, be mindful of how many weddings you will be invited to during the year. Purchasing multiple wedding gifts in a year can add up quickly, especially if you are invited to bridal showers as well.

Also, you need to take into consideration the amount of travel you will need to do in order to attend the wedding. If you are traveling some distance to the wedding, those costs will need to be factored into the budget amount you have for the wedding gift. The bride and groom will be so grateful that you took the time and expense to attend their wedding, they will not be expecting an extravagant gift.

Once you have looked at your budget and determined how much you have to spend, get creative. Take what you know about the bride and groom and find a gift that is either on the registry, or one that you know they will enjoy. Our favorite gifts from our wedding weren't the ones that were really expensive. They were the little ones that came from the heart of the guests. After 13 plus years of marriage, we still know who the gifts were from.

Wedding gift amount etiquette comes down to what you, the guest can afford. For those you are really close to, it is appropriate to do more for them, if you can. The bride and groom will show their good wedding manners by being grateful for anything and everything that they receive.

Happy Beginnings, Mike

Contact Us! 

Finding the Perfect Wedding Photographer

Ok, so now you’re engaged and you’re to do list is going to grow by the day. One of the biggies on that list is finding the perfect wedding photographer. Looking for the right photographer can be one of the more intimidating parts of wedding planning, but wedding photographers in beautifulknow how to get the job done! When you book a wedding photographer you’re purchasing a product (albums, canvases, prints, etc) but you also need to find someone you can trust completely. Knowing where to begin can be a challenge, so don’t hesitate to ask your planner for some referrals. I have provided some tips to get you started and lead you in the right direction.

When should we begin to look for a photographer? It is never too soon to find your photographer! Planning on having your photographer booked at least six months in advance of your day is a good goal. Any less than that the risk is not bingeing able to hire your first choice. Also, having less than six months restricts your options for bridal and engagement sessions. If you live in a region that has more extreme temperatures you may find yourself limited to a hot or cold time of the year. Finally, more time to cultivate the relationship with your photographer is always a good thing.

How do I begin my search? If you have friends that have been married within the last year, start asking them about their wedding photographers. Ask to look at their albums, images and just as importantly pick their brains about the experience of working with that photographer. Google is also ad incredible tool. Search for photographers in your area and don’t forget to search using the name of your venue. Look for photographers that have blogged about your wedding location. Make a favorites folder in your web browser and limit yourself to 15-20 wedding photographers. Once you hit 20 always knock someone off of the list when adding someone new. From that list make a “Top 5″ list. Contact those photographers and set up consolations. From that point you already love their photography. Personality, budget and availability will likely be the deciding factors.

How much do I need to know about their camera equipment? Photographers love to talk about gear, so don’t be afraid to ask about their cameras, lenses and backup strategies. Photographers that shoot digital should be shooting on the latest camera bodies. Technology has made huge leaps in the last 18 months and the creative possibilities available to photographers in low light are better than ever. Your photographer should have backup camera bodies and assortment of large aperture lenses specialized for low light photography. Ask your wedding planner and photographer how they handle the security of your images after the wedding. Typical solutions should include multiple backups in their studio as well as secure off site backups such as duplicate hard drives in a back safety deposit box. They should have “worst case” plans. Hard drives are mechanical and will fail, and home and studio accidents can happen. You want to know the long-term safety of your wedding day images has been planned for.

Are engagement photos really necessary? The time in your life between your engagement and wedding is one of the most exciting you’ll experience. Having a photographic time capsule by virtue of an engagement session is something that you’ll be more grateful for as the years pass. Not only that, the time and experience spent with your photographer before the wedding day goes a long way towards establishing the trust a photographer needs to create their best work. Having spent time creatively together before your wedding, you will understand the way your photographer works and having seen the results you’ll trust that work. Knowing that you can just enjoy the day and your wedding photographer will be there to scoop up the moments is a wonderful feeling on your wedding day.

How important is a second photographer? There is a lot of talk about second shooters these days. Quite frankly, you don’t want to hire a photographer that couldn’t capture your day solo. One person cannot capture every moment but neither can two. A second shooter may add a small measure of security but it is often marginal. Some photographers would disagree with me on this point but from my perspective as a wedding photographer I would rather be concentrating on my clients and their moments on their wedding day than managing a second photographer. If you are paying extra for a second photographer I encourage you to ask to view a portfolio of those shooters images. Photographers often charge for a 2nd photographer and then use unpaid assistants that are looking for experience. If you are having a very large wedding with many attendants (250+ guests) that’s when a second photographer really adds value.

Happy Beginnings, Mike

Contact Us





How to Bustle a Wedding Gown

How to Bustle a Wedding Gown



A grand tradition emerging once again! Bustles are back, longer trains, longer veils, both traditional and illusion gowns. Love it! A few weeks ago,

You've finally found it! The dazzling gown of your dreams! Now it's time to decide what bustle is right for you, your budget, and style of dress? Bustles are made to lift the train of your gown up off the ground. This is typically done between the ceremony and reception so that the gorgeous wedding gown you have chosen does not accidently get ruined or stepped on while celebrating with family, friends, and your one true love!

A Short Over View of Bustles

The Over Bustle

On an Over Bustle the fabric of the train is brought up to mid-level on the outside of the skirt. This is accomplished with either clips or buttons to shorten the train of the gown.  A good seamstress will hide outer holds into the seams or detail work so they are not easily visible to guests. As with most bustles, the amount of fabric is determined by the height of your shoe and the hem.

The Under Bustle or The French Bustle

With an Under Bustle or French Bustle the points to tie up the gown will all be on the under side. This is typically accomplished with 1-5 ribbons or rings either color coded or numbered. Under Bustles require some assistance from the bride. She will need to hold the upper layer(s) of the skirt while her chosen bridal party member tightly ties the ribbons together. Once all the bustles are in place the upper layer(s) of the gown will be let down revealing a gorgeous, traditional billow or ripple effect on the backside of the gown.

The Bubble Bustle

The Bubble Bustle is a newly emerging form of Bustle designed to create a shorter informal version of your gown.In this instance, the loops or string ties are on the bottom hem of the gown creating a bubble effect at the bottom of your gown. It is important to note, that bubble bustles average around 15 ties and are typically the most expensive of the bustle styles.

Remember Not All Bustles are Made Equal!

Assign someone to help bustle your dress on the wedding day. On the last appointment of your alteration, bring up to three trusted companions to learn your gown bustle. Typically this will include the maid of honor, other members of the bridal party, or your wedding planner..

Its important to keep in mind that bustles do not come standard on gowns by the manufacturer or bridal boutique. They will be added per your request by a seamstress once your gown has been selected. Thankfully, most bridal boutiques work directly with trusted seamstresses who will gladly aid in selecting the right bustle type for your gown.

Happy Beginnings, Mike

Contact us

Tips For A Smooth Wedding Day

I have planned weddings for hundreds of couples, walking by them every step of the way. Now let’s be honest, we all know how stressful the actual planning of the wedding process is, but even after all the planning is done and we await the big day, the stress typically does not end until the festivities are officially over and the couple is off on their honeymoon. Because I know your nerves will be shot on your big day, I have provided some tips I have found helpful to ensure your wedding day runs smoothly.

1) Make a timetable for the morning of. Hair, make-up, breakfast, bouquets and breathing...the morning of your wedding is a hectic one to say the least! The trick to making the hustle and bustle more exciting than stressful is to make out a short time table (and keep to it!) You don’t have to get into incredible details but it’s handy to have a notebook with approximate arrival times of you suppliers (also have a contact number jotted down for each so that anyone can give a bell while you’re working away yourself), timing for hair and make-up etcetera to be finished and the last possible minute you can get into your dress.

This is one tip that a surprising amount of couples don’t heed. For peace of mind (and piece of sanity) on your big day, send any directions or info needed to all guests with their invitations, or put them on your personal website. People who take for granted how easy it is to get from church to reception or to get to the venue at all find themselves on their phones all morning telling their mates to take ‘the other right’. Knowing that you’ve done all you can to get people to the wedding means that yourself and your OH can turn your phones off without so much as a wince.

2) Assign a member of the bridal party to your photographer. Once you’ve done all your research and are happy with your photographer, you shouldn’t really need to be worried about getting the shots you want on the day. If you want a mixture of documentary style shots and posed pictures, assign a bridesmaid or groomsman to the task. They can work with your photographer to make sure you get all the shots you want, from gathering groups of people to pointing out who’s who among the guests –just make sure the photographer knows who they should deal with for the day, and vice-versa

3) Make sure you have a dresser. This is an obvious tip, but one which is often forgotten; make sure somebody knows how to get you in and out of your dress! Assign someone to this task and make sure you do a quick dress rehearsal the week of the wedding so that your dresser is comfortable to take charge on the day. This person can also be in charge of having pins, chalk and any accessories you are wearing on the day. Make sure this person hasn’t got a fresh manicure or dark nail polish that will come off on your dress.

4) Create a perfect emergency bag. You’ve probably heard this one before, but there’s a good reason for it. Your emergency kit is your savior for the day and will hold everything you need for any nasty little situation. Start by making a list (or getting a list online at Weddings Online!) of all the things you might need throughout your wedding day, from the moment you wake up to when you go to bed. A good emergency kit will prepare you for anything the day throws at you, from dress stains (Tide Sticks ROCK!) You won’t need to keep this all on yourself for the day though, hand it over to your chief bridesmaid who can do a few make-up checks throughout the day, apply a little extra lippy, or baby wipe any tears.

5) Style out your wedding car. We’ve all heard of the bride jumping out of her wedding car on the way to the church, and heading into the local garage for a bottle of water, haven’t we? If you want to avoid a pit stop in white, kit out your car with all you’ll need on the way to the ceremony, and later, the reception. You’ll need lots of water to keep you hydrated for the day, and it’s also handy to have a few nibbles in the car too to keep your sugar levels up. Go for something healthy that won’t stick to your teeth or get too messy –yes that means the chocolate mousse is out I’m afraid!

6) Gift Cards and Gifts Have somebody there to take care of any cards or gifts you are given on the day. There’s nothing worse wondering whether or not somebody gave you a card when you get to writing your thank you notes. Ask a member of the bridal party to keep everything together for you, and if there’s any gifts, to jot down names of people on a notepad. This is a good way to make sure nothing goes missing with all the hustle and bustle of the day and will also give you peace of mind knowing that someone’s got your back!

7) Keep the kids entertained. If you’re having children at your wedding, you should think about implementing a few structures to keep them entertained. If you are having more than four under agers, hiring a professional to do the entertaining for you is immediately going to take a whole heap off your shoulders. However if you’re only having one or two, make up some goodie bags with little toys from the Pound shop a few weeks before, or ask your wedding coordinator if they have a room for the kids to go to play around

8) Make preparations for all types of weather. This one is especially important if you are planning to get married in Charleston S.C. anytime from April-October. No matter where you are there is always a chance of ok here goes, yes I said it “Rain”. Plan B you’ll have to prepare for the worst! Have somewhere indoors that you can take photos in case it rains, and make sure to get yourself a pretty umbrella for getting you in and out of cars! If you have the (nicer) complaint of too much sun, maybe invest in a bridal parasol, there are some really pretty ones available online! If it gets cold, maybe have a pair of vintage gloves on hand to keep warm in photos? Faux fur muffs are also really popular and great for keeping your mitts warm too!

9) Allocate time to spend with your other half. There is so much to do during the wedding day, from the photos to the speeches and the first dance; it’s so easy to forget what the day is really about: two people taking a vow to love each other forever. Taking time to just be with each other, even for 20 minutes, will instantly relieve any stress you have on the day and remind you what it’s all about. Head outside during the reception for a few minutes and take a deep breath together, you’ll look back on those few minutes when it’s all over and be glad you had them.

Now that all that is done and hopefully your nerves have gone down and you're less stressed because half of your "to-do" list has been marked off, LET'S CELEBRATE!



Happy Beginnings, Mike

Contact Us

Summer Wedding Inspiration: Your Time to Shine!

 I’ve found future brides frequently ask two questions when it comes to wedding planning. 1) Where and how do I become and stay inspired? It’s so funny because over the years I have seen that there are brides who have been planning their wedding since they were little girls and know EXACTLY what they want, while on the other hand there are brides who have no idea where to begin or what they want. So where do I go from here? A common question to ask yourself is what time of year do you want to be married? 

The second question you want to consider is: What type of woman are you? Romantic, Retro, Classic, DIY?

 Let’s take a look!

The Retro Summer Bride

Let’s look at “The Retro” inspired Bride-to-be, when it comes to wedding planning. How about collecting memorabilia from a particular time or place in your life or your imagination?? Estate Sales. Garage Sales, Flea Markets, your parent’s attic, all may have hidden gems just waiting to get scooped up and personalized by you.

Escort Cards: How about hanging a clothesline between two trees, have your escort cards hung with clothes pins?

Tables: Small round tables with vintage linen, the more design and color the better

Centerpieces: Old Colored Mason Jars, Medicine Bottles, Fresh Seasonal Flowers, all make unique and affordable centerpieces.


Menu: A Large Chalk Board with your reception menu. Food Stations with small vintage picture frames with food item offered.

The Romantic Summer Bride

Ahhhhhh the romantic! The romantic bride-to-be would most likely go along

Escort Cards: Small locally grown trees work perfectly as an escort card display and as a unique wedding reception decoration. Pin your escort cards to organic locally grown tea bags and then simply arrange them within each Branch.

Tables: White is Right! How about rectangular tables covered with simple white cotton linens and surround each table with natural wood slatted chairs.

Centerpieces: Collect classic teacups and saucers. They’ll become the focal point of your centerpieces. Cluster and stack a few of them together on each table. Use some of the teacups to hold garden plants and vines that will creep across the table linens.

Entertainment: Croquet or bocce anyone? Or how about cornhole! This is a great way to entertain your guests! ! Why not throw in a bit of competitive edge to your celebration, Winner gets a bottle of bubbly!

The Summer DIY Bride

This, my loves, gives you a chance to shine and show off your creativity! After the ceremony, ask your guests to join you for a cozy, intimate afternoon picnic. Beach, Plantation or Public Park, what better way to have your guest’s kicks off their shoes and relax?

Escort Cards and Centerpieces: How about what I call “The double whammy” doubling up and incorporating escorts cards with déco. Have mini vases full of potted garden herbs for your guests. These pots will not only serve as escort cards -- each one will have a small sign on it with your guest's name and seating assignment -- but when brought back to the “table,” it’ll also serve as the centerpiece. For an added bonus, they’ll also take them home as favors! This is what truly makes wedding planning a unique personalized experience.

Tables: Nope… Blankets!! Cotton Quilts and Throws are wonderfully light. Have a basket full and let your guests chose their size and color and sit where they’d like

Menu: How about wicker baskets with recycled paper containers to go along buffet line and help themselves. Set up your food stations as though they were farmers’ market tables, allow guests to select picnic-friendly menu items, like fresh fruits, vegetables, salads, and finger sandwiches.

Happy Beginnings, Mike

Contact Us

Vow Renewal -Second Time Around



Staying together deserves a celebration too.Why save all the splashy, no-holds-barred wedding celebrations for the newly betrothed? When half of all marriages end in divorce, shouldn't the committed couples that survive the wear-and-tear of a partnership deserve a heartfelt party too? So, if you and your partner are candidates for planning a well-earned recommitment ceremony, read on for the “whys” demystified for this too-rare event!

Why Do It Again? There are pretty much four good reasons for a do-over:

1. You want to commemorate a huge decade anniversary in a big way. 2. Your original wedding wasn’t as dreamy as you wanted (whether due to a mishap like a hurricane, you were young and it was your parents’ to-do or you didn’t have the hefty budget then that you have now). 3. You eloped the first time and now you want to gather your friends and family. 4. You’ve survived some tests to your marriage—from sickness to a long-distance military deployment—and it’s time to re-affirm your love.

Why It Is More Relaxed Since a vow renewal doesn’t have to be recognized by your religious or civil authorities, the sky’s the limit on who can marry you and where you can do it. Ask your oldest child to act as officiant—you don’t need a legally legit officiant to sign off on a marriage license. Do it on a desolate tropical island—the country’s rules on visitor weddings won’t apply to you.

Why It Is Hassle-Free You can skip the bachelor or bachelorette parties this time (you’re not single anymore, remember?). And you don’t need to go out and choose a gift registry either; that is reserved for first-timers who need to accumulate the basics to build a home…that you already inhabit. You also don’t need to pick attendants because their official role is as witnesses and there’s nothing official about a vow renewal.

Why Not Let Someone Else Host? While you and your fiancé hosted your first wedding, a nice touch to a vow renewal is to have a close friend, or even a child if old enough, host the celebration. Since you don’t have to do your ceremony in a traditional place of worship, you are free to marry anywhere your host suggests.

Why You Skip Some Rituals And Repeat Others When Colin Cowie recently planned the vow renewal ceremony for celebrity actress Holly Robinson Peete and former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete, he made sure some traditions of their first wedding resurfaced at the renewal ceremony—and others, like involving their four children in the ceremony—were brand new. Some rituals to skip on the do-over event include the father-daughter or mother-son dance and the toss of the bouquet or garter. However, continuing the tradition of the married couple’s first dance, especially to the music used the first time around, is a nice touch.

Why Your Dress Code Can Be Creative If you still fit into your original gown and tux, go for it. But you can also slip into something festively suited for your occasion’s location from a party dress to a fitted gown. Just skip the veil—the first time was enough.

Why You Exchange Words—And Jewelry The words you speak the second time around are meant to affirm your love so many years later. It is nice to recall things you said the first time you married as well as address how your union has changed—for the better. While you already have a set of rings you’ve exchanged, it may be time to upgrade your baubles or engrave your original bands with new words. Other options are exchanging different objects: Holly Robinson Peete, for example, gave Rodney a pair of cufflinks at their 17th anniversary vow renewal ceremony.

Why The Reception Is Different The core of this event is to celebrate your enduring love. So, let your guests shower you with toasts acknowledging this feat. Other nice touches at the reception include bringing your original wedding album and juxtaposing it with photos of your married life. And don’t forget to hire a photographer again—you’ll want to have it all captured just like the first.

Why Your Invite Needs Special Attention Since this event isn’t nearly as commonplace as a wedding, your invites need to be very informative. Hosting the event yourself? Try:

The honor of your presence is requested at the reaffirmation of the wedding vows of NAME OF COUPLE DATE

Or, try:

Please join us as we renew our wedding vows and celebrate NUMBER OF years together NAME OF COUPLE DATE Having your kids host it? Say: The children of NAME OF COUPLE Request the honor of your presence at the vow renewal ceremony [or reaffirmation ceremony] of their parents on DATE

Happy Beginnings! Mike

Contact Us!

Make Your Wedding Day all about You!

Good afternoon friends!  I plan a lot of weddings in which the couple wants to do something to add a little bit of flavor to their wedding day but often get asked “how can I do so?” Don’t worry it is completely normal! So to help you out a little bit I have developed a list of ideas to help you out if you want to personalize your wedding a little bit, Enjoy!

1. Choose a venue that feels like you- Whether it already has things incorporated or not. You don’t want to pick a place that absolutely doesn’t look like you. You want to pick a venue that is close to your own personal style.

2. Write your own vows- Take pen to paper and write straight from the heart. Have someone who is near and dear to you do a reading.

3. Start with the tabletop- Personalizing the look of the wedding can be as easy as adding an overlay of fabric over the basic table cloth that’s already provided. And decorate each napkin, whether it’s adding a sprig of rosemary or a fun little note that you can put on the tables. Pinterest is always a good way to look up fun ideas!

4. Create your own table numbers- Instead of using the plastic table numbers that come with every catering facility, make your own!

5. Have fun with the way you word your menu card- instead of having it say, ‘In honor of, you could say ‘Let’s eat!’ or something fun like that.

6.Create a signature cocktail- Now more than ever, people are into the whole cocktail experience. Skies the limit, whatever reflects your own style DO IT!

7. Feel free to indulge with an ice-cream bar stocked with your favorite flavors.

8. Summer ceremony? It gets HOT here in Charleston during the summer so a good way to keep your guests cool is to have your wedding programs printed on paper fans.

9. Ask your videographer to set up a stationary camera and let guest’s record messages—It's a video guest book!

Remember it’s your day and it can be everything and more than you ever imagined. Be honest, creative and asys, “enjoy the ride.”

Happy Beginnings! Mike

Contact Us

Beach Style Wedding

Are you a bit of a free spirit who would like to get married with a breeze in your hair, the sun on your face, the sound of waves lapping on the sand and a beautiful bouquet of flowers in your hands? If this is you then it sounds to me like you’re a bride with a vision, and that being getting married on one of the beautiful beaches of your choice

Remember, you’re getting married on a beach, which means you need to be thinking lightweight gowns with fabrics like chiffon. Consider the romance of your surroundings – white sand and blue skies. Think about simple ‘goddess’ style lines to your wedding dress, which hang in simple folds and drape the body loosely. Or you may prefer strapless style wedding dresses, which also look fabulous as you glide elegantly towards your groom and you’ll stay cooler when the time comes for dancing.

running down beach.
running down beach.

Bridal Accessories? Well, you might decide that a vibrant tropical flower in your hair is enough to set off your outfit. As for bouquets, this is the time when some brides choose to commission a piece to keep forever as a memento of their special day. Think about shading yourself and your maids under a parasol. And as for shoes, it’s time to ditch the heels – think wedding flip-flops instead. No matter what you chose, I promise it will be breath taking!

Happy Beginnings, Mike

Contact Us

Get Creative With Your Centerpieces



The days of uniform centerpieces are quickly fading away. These days, mix and match centerpieces are all the rage.The idea is to design a variety of centerpieces which have enough in common to work in harmony, but avoid looking overly coordinated or “matchy-matchy”. High and low table arrangements are one way to express this trend. The florist creates two or three different centerpiece designs in a range of heights, and they are spread evenly throughout the reception tables, alternating high and low on each table.



Another idea is to group a cluster of flowers in non-matching vessels in the same color. Using the same color ensures that the grouping flows well, while the different heights and shapes provide visual interest. For even more offbeat reception centerpieces, try the trend of using unique props as flower vessels rather than standard vases. Unique vessels such as boxes, stacked books, and even kitchen accessories can serve as the foundation for floral displays. Another fun trend regarding the centerpiece vessels is to fill them with a decorative element, such as crystals, colored water, pebbles, sea glass, or even fresh lemons, limes, or green apples. It is an easy way to make the centerpieces look high style and very current. It is always a good idea to have different ideas on what you want and talk to your wedding planner about it, from there the both of you will be able to tell your florist exactly what you want! Be fun with it because that is what it’s all about!



Happy Beginnings, Mike

Contact Us

Four Seasons of Wedding Planning Colors

How the Four Seasons can have an impact on your wedding planning colors


Spring is about freshness!!! Fresh natural colors like yellows, greens, blue and pink are my favorites. I’m all about what local and vibrant.


What comes to mind? Fun and Festive! Consider if you wedding is indoor or outdoors. Indoor venues are more conservative and follow one tone, so we suggest pulling in all those vibrant bright colors that Mother Nature provides us. Outdoors gives us the opportunity to use the surrounding beauty of nature and lends itself to what is in bloom and flourishing! Sometimes in this case, less is more


Now for example, Charleston’s autumn, go as quick as they come. Our summers last so long here in Charleston SC __Link that all the above could come into play. Now for your Northerners, that’s a different story. With the transition from summer brings, orange, brown and red color schemes.


Wintertime anywhere is a great opportunity to incorporate lighting. Candles are a wonderful way to replace (Not Totally) floral. My advice, Fire and Ice. Shades of red, white, light blue and silver are simply elegant and timeless.

Not Crazy about the 4 Seasons idea for inspiration? No biggie because it’s all about you and your vision.

Happy Beginnings, Mike

Contact Us

Banning Cell Phones at Weddings

Greetings my lovelies,

I’d like to share with you my suggestions from an experienced wedding planner’s perspective on why guests should refrain from using their cell phones during a wedding ceremony and other private moments during a couple’s special day. I have seen everything from guests climbing a tree, leaning right into the altar area and actually standing in the aisle!!  Wedding guests are there for one reason: to support the couple. Nothing about that requires telephone access during the ceremony, or leaping up with a camera like you’re at a concert.


Here are my suggestions:

Put a note in your wedding program:

"We ask you to kindly turn off your ringers during the wedding ceremony and refrain from taking photos. We have professional photographers on hand to capture all the special moments and are excited to share their photos with you per the request of couple in the near future."

While cell phones are a means of entertainment and communication, they can also be a hindrance to the wedding party. People texting during the wedding ceremony have absolutely no interest in the main event. People clicking photos with flash during the wedding ceremony may lead to a hassle for the photographer trying to get professional shots. And the worst group is the ones who let their phones vibrate or ring out loud during the ceremony or when the officiate is speaking.

Ask your officiate to make an announcement. "The bride and groom have asked me to ask you to put your phones and cameras away during the ceremony. Please sit back, relax and enjoy.

Ask your DJ or band leader to make an announcement. Put a sign on the bar and reception table with a note saying. "We encourage you to share your selfies with a hashtag #_____ “

In closing, I’ll leave you with this thought.  “Lets tune into our hearts and not social media for once in our lives.”


 Happy Beginnings,Mike


Sweet Treats-Wedding Cakes and Candy!

There is nothing new about having a fancy cake at a wedding reception, but every season brings about new trends for this old classic. Of course, there is the cupcake tower, and now the brownie cake, but for most couples, a tiered wedding cake is still the preferred wedding dessert. One reason for this is that it gives so much opportunity for creative expression. A truly beautiful wedding cake can be the showpiece decoration of the entire reception. Tall cakes, with five or seven tiers are one popular trend currently. This allows for a lot of drama and elegance.

The fun surprise is that in many cases, not all of the tiers are actual cake. There many well are some Styrofoam tiers stacked with the real cake to allow for extra height. When it is all frosted together, it is impossible to tell.Crystal monograms and flowers are more in vogue these days then traditional bride and groom cake toppers. For those who can afford them, elaborate sugar flowers are very popular, with fresh flowers a close second. The ultra-smooth look of fondant has reigned supreme in recent years, but lately brides have been rediscovering the joys of classic butter cream frosting.

Colorful and unique cakes continue to be very sought after, as brides now view their wedding cake as an opportunity to really make a statement. A very popular trend over the last several years is the candy buffet. What's not to love about a whole big display dedicated to candy? The concept of the candy station is simple: set out large jars or bowls of delicious candies with scoops. The key to making it elegant is to design an attractive presentation, such as over sized glass apothecary jars with silver scoops.

There is usually a theme to the candy, as well. In some cases, it is simply an assortment of the bride and groom's favorite childhood sweets, but many couples make the theme more elaborate than that. It could be carnival theme candy, all pink or all blue candy, or perhaps all chocolate candy. The candy buffet often serves as the wedding favor, so be sure to set out to-go containers. Chinese takeout containers with a custom sticker are a popular way to box up candy favors, or one can use simple glassing bags with pretty stickers for sealing. This is one trend that is sure to stick around, due to its overwhelming popularity withCharlestonSCwedding guests!

Happy Eating,


Contact Us!

Save The Dates are Fun!!!

In today’s world, planning ahead has become a necessity. Save the dates allow your guests to plan for your wedding day well in advance. This is especially important for out-of-town guests, or destination weddings. Remember, this is not an announcement, it’s just a heads up

Guests Save the date etiquette is vital here. The most important thing to do before sending out a save the date card is to finalize your guest list. The save the date card is a pre-announcement that lets your guests know that they will be invited to the wedding.

Once you sent out a save the date card to a guest, you cannot un-invite them. If, by chance there is a wedding budget crisis, and you need to make guest cuts, it is good to know this before you send out the cards. You can trim a guest list easier when the guests are not yet pre-invited.

When you send out a save the date card, be sure to list if the person invited can include a guest. There are a couple of ways this can be done. If you know the name of the guest that will be invited, include them when addressing the card. If not, it is acceptable to include "and guest". Also, if children are to be included, list them on the card as well.

When should save the dates be sent? Send them as soon as you set your wedding date and have secured your ceremony and reception sites... This can be from 6 months to a year before the wedding. When planning your destination wedding, the more time you can give your guests the better, it can be a year or mom in advance.

Helpful info: The only guests who will be invited to the wedding should receive a save the date. For wording, keep it shirt and sweet! Your names, wedding date and “Invitation with details to follow.” If it’s a destination wedding how about including travel agencies along with resort and hotel information. Your save the dates can be anything from refrigerator magnets to photo postcards, skies the limit!

Happy Beginnings, Mike

Contact Us