Wednesday, November 11, 2009

“Caribbean Style Weddings” along the lakeshore

Exciting News from a local business associate, Jody VanBogelen: Here's the Press Release-
The Organized Partner, Southwest Michigan’s leading event planning company announces the launch of “Caribbean Style Weddings” for 2010. Together with a team of professional vendors, The Organized Partner offers this one -stop-shop service for the destination weddings planned for the beautiful lakeshore in Southwestern Michigan. The Organized Partner will take care of all the details of planning a complete Destination wedding in the Saugatuck/South Haven areas.
This service offers a complete event concept including a beautiful beach or park location, officiant, 2 nights lodging, wedding cake, ceremony items and much more. Add-on professional services will allow the bride & groom to completely customize their day with live musicians, decorated structures, and video streaming, to name a few.
Talented & generous wedding professionals unite for this event to accomplish the goals of the happy couple assuring an intimate wedding experience.
The “Caribbean Style Weddings” package will be offered Monday through Thursday’s at 1:00pm & 6:00pm daily and will accommodate up to 50 people. This service will not be offered on the weekends. Early scheduling is important.
“It’s amazing the number of couples that come to Southwest Michigan for their destination wedding. The Organized Partner and its affiliates, experts in the area, make sure the event is perfect in every way” says Jody VanBogelen, owner of The Organized Partner. “The “Caribbean Style Weddings” package is a great alternative for a small intimate ceremony. We are thrilled to offer this elite service, along with our Full Service Event Planning & Design services .”
For more information on this and all of their services please visit: - “services” page or call at: 269.760.9991.
About The Organized Partner:
The Organized Partner is a leading event & wedding planning company in Southwestern Michigan since 1999. We offer full time event & wedding planning to the most descriminating client. We have high expectations for ourselves and the providers we work with. Our goal is to “surprise” our clients with superior wedding specialties and white glove service every time. We specialize in the full event concept style planning with an emphasis on outdoor weddings for the local and destination bride bringing expertise, time & cost saving techniques, and stress relief. Our philosophy is that an event planner is more than a planner, we are your partner. For additional information please contact:,, or call us at 269.760.9991.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

$50K from Weddingwire!

Brides! If you haven't signed up on Weddingwire yet, now is the time! $50k plus With This Ring for your wedding is a winning combination.

Friday, August 28, 2009

How to make a Ring Book

The book lover, English major and crafter in me just thought this was an excellent alternative to the ring pillow! So easy to create and coordinate with your colors or theme, unique and safe for the rings, too. Let me know if you try this!

How to make a Ring Book

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Weekend of Family and Lessons: Part 2

My dear cousin, Lois has a son Steve, who contacted me earlier this year. He had found his special someone, Kim, and wondered if I would be available to marry them. I, of course, was honored to do this for them and said YES! I even blocked out the entire day for just them; turning away three other inquiries later, so that I could enjoy being a guest at a family wedding, once the ceremony was finished.

I arrived at Engel Farms for their rehearsal at 10:30 am on Friday. We had intermittent showers that day, but nothing too heavy. Our rehearsal only received a few sprinkles. We walked through the plan twice and everyone felt comfortable.

The location is quite roomy and the wedding would take place in the stairway to the barn entrance with the congregation on the lawn in front of that. The barn was also set up with tables and lights, as the dance reception area, and the tents behind the barn were set up for dinner. This is not the first time I have been at this location, as Lois' daughter Abby had been married here, as well. However, I had booked a wedding before knowing about hers last year, and showed up later as a guest to the reception.

We expected the next day would be breezy and cool, but if there was rain, it would be like Friday. We were so wrong. It rained hard then would stop for awhile, begin to mist, and then start pouring again. This went on all day. It began to clear and the chairs were wiped down before the wedding was to begin Saturday at 4 pm.

Kim made her entrance in the horse-drawn carriage and looked amazing! We welcomed the sun and the guests and began the ceremony. I got about one-fourth of the way into the ceremony, when the heavy mist began and a few umbrellas went up. I looked at Lois in the front row, and she indicated to move. I asked everyone to quickly and carefully come into the barn, so we could finish in there.

I wish we had rehearsed what we would do, but a plan had been put into place just before the wedding, in case the rain didn't let up. We really didn't go through all the logistics, but knew where we would stand and put the crowd. The barn had a loft that would look down to the dance floor area, and it made a perfect extra viewing area for the overflow. The DJ and I quickly got the crowd in and the wedding party in their places. The ceremony resumed and went off without a hitch.

It was definitely a different experience for me this time. I have never officiated the wedding of a family member before. It was much more emotional; having a personal attachment to the person, as well as having so many family members there watching me "work". I wouldn't have traded it for anything, though. I was so happy to be their wedding minister! They are such a sweet couple and I was pleased to give them this "gift." Steve's father, Mark, stood up for him, and when Steve's sister, Abby and her hubby walked up the aisle as attendants, and she smiled and whispered, "I love you!", to her brother, the huge tear that ran down Mark's cheek was impossible to miss. I looked down at Lois tearing up, as well, and was glad I still had two more attendants, some children and the bride's entrance to recover from the lump that just took residence in my throat.

I am sure their pictures will be beautiful, and they had both an outdoor and indoor ceremony! How unique is that! And, though this went smoothly, I have learned for all my outdoor weddings, let's do one "quick run through" of inclement weather procedure and not just talk about it. Even after all the weddings I've officiated, I still am learning new things. That's one of the many great things about what I wedding work day is never a "same thing - different day"! Each one is so unique and special.

A Weekend of Family and Lessons: Part 1

I was so excited to begin this wedding weekend and the first wedding was Jordan and Julia on Friday. I was told they were getting married at Morris Chapel in Niles. I found the address and asked the bride about it in a prior email along with some other follow up questions. She neither confirmed or denied the question and so I mistakenly assumed all was well with the location.

It had been a difficult week prior to the wedding for Julia, Jordan and their family, as Julia's grandmother had just passed away. I tried to keep communication to a bare minimum, and when we last spoke, I told her I would arrive 30 to 45 minutes ahead of time, as is customary for me. She told to come right in when I got there and she would be in the basement area preparing.

I showed up at the mapped out location at 2:45 pm for a 3:30 pm service. I got a "sinking feeling" immediately driving up, as there was not one car in the lot. I walked up to the doorway of the chapel and there were cobwebs on the door! I knew this had to be the wrong place, but I had been told it was a historical site and there was a historical marker in front of the chapel!

I went back to my car and began trying to call the two numbers I had for this couple, but only reached voicemail. I left a message on both. I noticed a woman across the street and approached her, but she said they do have church every Sunday there, but no one had been there last night to prepare (and I knew the couple had gone the night before). A sign outside the church gave two phone numbers; one just rang on, the other went to voicemail but gave an emergency number for the minister. I tried that and got voicemail and left a message, hoping he would know where the location was. I tried the couple's numbers again and left voicemail twice.

Finally, I received a call from a bridesmaid who had gone to get their cell phones and found my messages. I got directions from where I was to Morris Farms Chapel from the photographer and arrived late, but everyone understood what had happened.

The wedding itself was lovely and the location is beautiful. I highly recommend it. The difference between where I was and ended up is not a big stretch. The church I was at first was once on the site where this wedding took place; hence the name/location confusion. However, I must insist, from now on, in verifying the address of the location, especially for smaller weddings that don't have a rehearsal before, as this one. I may even ask that one person have a cell phone "on," and on them before everyone arrives, as the "emergency contact". I would still have been on time (not too far between locations) had I been able to reach someone right away. Another lesson learned. Thankfully, the couple were gracious, patient and understanding, along with all their family and friends.

Friday, August 21, 2009

I’m Engaged!! Now what…

One of the most common mistakes in planning a wedding is doing anything before the guest list.

So many brides get engaged and say, what should I do first? They are in a hurry to book a venue and start ordering save the dates, but it is so important to know how many will be there. First set the budget, and then create your guest list. What good will it do to have booked a beautiful place that can only hold 150, when you create a guest list that is now 225? However, if you have had your heart set on a very specific location or other vendor, book them sooner, rather than later. Keep in mind that that could very well mean scaling back your guest list to accommodate that dream.

Once you’ve established a budget and know the number of the party, you can either choose your planner, if you are using one (which I highly recommend and they have numerous packages to fit your needs) and they will help you take care of the rest; or proceed to obtaining your venue, Save The Date mailings, catering, officiant, DJ, photographer, florist and gown. Choose anything else after those important elements.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Handmade accessories for your wedding or any day

Have you been looking for that special piece to wear on your wedding day! Look at this gorgeous Heirloom cuff found at Heather Jolie designs! Heather is designing new, unique and stunning pieces all the time. I know that if you want to create a one of a kind special order, she will work with you, too. Under a time constraint? Let her know, and she may be able to get it to you in time for that special day, too.
Heather lives in sunny Jacksonville, FL, and says, "I am a wife and mom and currently work full-time. I love art, and hope to one day make a living by being an artist or running a cupcake shop ;)! I also love fashion and interior decorating. I love God's creations and hope that my designs reflect that..."
Check back frequently, as Heather is always designing something new, unique and lovely.