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31 Oct 2018

How to Plan Your Reception

As you’re counting down the days until your wedding, it’s quite possible that your wedding day timeline took the back burner to your other –  shall I say “funner” – details. With an average of 7 vendors present on your wedding day, it could be a daunting task to juggle the flow while RSVPs and final vendor payments are coming due. When having a wedding planner isn’t in your budget, here are 5 tips on how to plan your reception and stay sane, thanks to

How to Plan Your Reception and Stay Sane


#1: Be Realistic
#2: Get Organized
#3: Learn to Delegate
#4: Trust Your Vendors
#5: Relax

Plan Your Reception
Photographer: Love Pic Love

Timeline Tips From a Pro


As a wedding planner, I’d also like to add a few timeline tips of my own. If you hired a DJ, most often than not, they can provide a reception timeline for you. In case the task of building a timeline is in your hands, here’s an example of how a reception can traditionally flow…

Traditional Reception Timeline

5:30 Cocktails
6:30 Grand Entrance + First Dance
6:40 Welcome + Blessing
6:45 Dinner
7:45 Cake + Speeches
8:00 Parent Dances
8:10 Open Dancing
9:30 Bouquet + Garter Toss
10:00 Last Dance + Grand Exit

For couples who prefer to not be in the spotlight too long, the first dance can be moved to after dinner, and halfway through the song, parents can join in for a simultaneous Father/Daughter and Mother/Son dance. This modified reception schedule can flow more like this…

Modified Reception Timeline

5:30 Cocktails
6:30 Grand Entrance
6:35 Welcome + Blessing
6:40 Dinner
7:40 Cake + Speeches
7:50 First Dance + Parent Dances
8:00 Open Dancing
9:30 Bouquet + Garter Toss
10:00 Last Dance + Grand Exit

It’s often said that wedding days fly by so fast, and having a schedule laid out beforehand gives you the freedom to enjoy each and every moment that happens without stressing about what’s supposed to happen next. If planning your reception is still on your to-do list, these tips should help you breeze through it and still leave you some mental space to update your guest list!

22 Aug 2018

A Big Fake Dallas Wedding

So what exactly is a big fake wedding you may ask? Easy! It’s where a married couple renews their vows, yet pull out all the stops and celebrates with you as their guests!

When I first heard about this concept I was instantly intrigued and wanted to see what it was all about. From the guest’s perspective, they’re attending a vow renewal, complete with a photographer, DJ, dinner, desserts, blooms and bubbly. From the vendor’s perspective, the experience is a twist on a typical marketing event that allows us to mix and mingle with guests (and fellow vendors, too) to make a more lasting impression.


The Mood Board


Creatively, vendors are given a mood board with the theme and colors of the event, and we have the freedom to interpret as our hearts desire.

For this event, the mood was warm and cozy, incorporating rich hues of ember, cider, rose and oak. Stylistically, we at Sensibly Chic Weddings favor texture, asymmetry and contrast in our floral designs, which you’ll see in the centerpieces we created for tables 11 and 12 below.

A Big Fake Wedding | Dallas
Photography credit: Wondery Photography
For these centerpiece designs, we incorporated ginestra, antique pink spray roses, white hydrangea, antique ivory roses, burgundy scabiosa and marsala cymbidium orchids along with agonis, salal, grevilia and eucalyptus greenery in antiqued copper vessels to give a lush, textured and organic shape to each design.

This was an incredible experience for us, and from the reaction of the guests, they loved it too! If you’re in the Dallas area and would like to attend an upcoming event, visit The Big Fake Wedding to get your tickets!

16 Feb 2018

How to Get Love Insurance

So what is love insurance, anyway? If you’re giving your screen a confused side-eye, let me explain before you swipe to your Instagram feed. We’re all familiar with the concept of insurance – it’s protection for our valuables and our health in case something unplanned happens. Knocking on wood here, but cars get dented, homes get flooded, and bones get broken – and our insurance kicks in to help us get back to living life.

Why have insurance for your relationship? Hurt feelings, forgotten birthdays, disagreements with expenses, broke trust and losing your emotional connection with your significant other can cause ripples between the both of you and, if not properly handled, those ripples can create a tsunami of damage to the person who shares your heart.

Love Insurance | Sensibly Chic Weddings
Against the Grain Images

Allow me to introduce you to the lovely and brilliant Michelle Ngoc Turner of The Therapist Within located in Frisco, Texas. In her blog below, she shares valuable tips to keep you aware of the threats to your relationships and how to block their damaging grasp on your happiness. Read on to learn how to identify the common issues in relationships and how to strengthen the bond you share with your significant other.


Protect Your Happiness with Love Insurance


By Michelle Ngoc Turner, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associate

When we buy insurance, we buy protection against the odds. In this modern world, you can purchase insurance for almost anything you own, from your house, car, laptop, or furniture to the ring for your wedding day. Yet, I’ve never been approached or advised to buy insurance for my relationship.

Well, what I just said was not entirely true. Let me take it back by saying this: I’ve been approached by many sales representatives who advised me to buy insurance to cover my marriage. It’s called life insurance. A protection, if granted, only happens if my significant other passes away.

So, how about my relationship in the present? Doesn’t it deserve to be covered and protected too? This is where the idea of love insurance came to light. To be honest with you, I did not come up with this idea. It was from my friend, Nicole, a beautiful and talented wedding planner at Sensibly Chic Weddings, during a conversation one afternoon. We were just talking about our work with couples and what we do to help them create a memorable relationship and then she asked me: “What do you think about love insurance?” That’s when the light bulb went off in my head. I remember sitting there and thinking “Yeah, that’s exactly what I do in therapy. I help my couples create protection for their love.”

When a couple expresses their concern to me whether it is worth it to spend money on premarital counseling, I usually tell them that by investing in this essential step to learn more about each other now, they are preparing for their married life ahead. In other words, they are obtaining a coverage for their future “us.”


Who is Love Insurance For?


Love insurance is not a concept that only applies to pre-married couples. If you’re dating, partnering, living together, married, or re-married, it applies to you too. Here’s why:

  • Unresolved conflicts can damage your marriage in the long run.
  • Lack of communication may result in dissatisfaction and disconnection.
  • Difference in parenting styles, especially in blended families, can increase stress tremendously.
  • Disagreement in money or financial management may result in uncertainty towards the future.
  • Lack of intimacy may cause feelings of abandonment and isolation.

So, what is this love insurance and how can you purchase it?

First, you do not purchase insurance for your love. You create it.

Second, love insurance is the protection of your relationship through the creation of a lasting emotional connection between you and your partner.


How to Get Love Insurance


The best part of this type of insurance is that it’s FREE and it’s UNLIMITTED. No one can tell you how much of your marriage can be covered. No one can increase your premium just because there are flaws in your relationship. You’re totally in charge.
Here is how to create your own love insurance:

Think about the range of coverage for your relationship as an emotional piggy-bank, one that you need to fill it up by depositing the essential currencies below. The more consistent (i.e. ideally daily) you are with this process, the more layers of protection you have:

 1. Speaking your partner’s love languages:
Learn to speak your partner’s love languages because how you choose to show love may not align with what your partner perceives as love. Finding out if words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and/or physical touch are your significant other’s preferred means of expression can help build a deep connection in your marriage (to learn more about these 5 love languages by Dr. Gary Chapman, click here).

2. Doing something nice for your partner without expecting anything in return:
Isn’t it nice when someone does something for you just because? Surprising your wife/husband with a foamy bath, a home-massage session, a candle-lit dinner, or even a board game night, without waiting for anything in return, can provide a deep sense of satisfaction to you as well as a sense of connection with your partner.

3. Having at least one stress-free conversation per week:
It’s very common for couples to start focusing on topics of money, parenting, in-laws, work, school as the relationship develops further. Conversations about each other’s dreams, goals, and interests become rare as you are now more occupied with the family’s daily needs. Remember how much you felt heard when you were able to share your dreams with your romantic partner at the beginning of the relationship? How satisfying was it to be able to talk about your interests without the stress of raising a family? Bring back stress-free conversations in your relationship! Make them a part of your, if not daily, then weekly routine. They are the reminder of romance in your marriage. Keep them coming.

4. Spending quality time together by limiting your screen time:
It’s not deniable that technology has become a vital part of our life. Though when it comes to maintaining the happiness of a relationship, it may not be a bridge that helps you stay connected with others, especially your partner. Sitting next to each other while doing something on your smart phones is not spending quality time together. Likewise, going to bed with your devices on is like sending your spouse the message that “giving you my full attention is not my priority.” Gottman institute suggests that the abuse of electronic devices can lead to disaffection in your marriage. It is a good practice to create a no-technology interference environment for a certain period during the day, especially your bedtime. That way, instead of focusing on your screen, you can turn towards your partner for a deeper sense of connection. At the end of the day, the most deserving person of your attention is your spouse and not a friend or acquaintance you connect through a social media platform.

5. Practicing assertiveness:
Learn to present yourself and your needs in an assertive way. Don’t disregard your emotions by sweeping things under the rug. Likewise, avoid expressing yourself in a hostile manner like yelling, screaming, or displaying passive-aggressive gestures towards your partner. These communication styles can have a costly consequence: your marriage. Practicing assertiveness can help you express yourself in a more effective way, one that clarifies your own needs while still respecting your partner’s needs. Remember, connection is protection and protection is often granted with effective communication. If you need help on how to become assertive, read my previous blogs on communication here and here.

6. Get professional help when needed. Don’t wait!
I cannot stress enough the importance of asking for professional help when you feel stuck in your relationship. Your mental wellness is as critical as your physical health. So, it really does not make sense why we would prolong seeking professional help regarding the condition of our marriage, while it only takes a common cold for many to rush to the doctor’s office. Take care of your relationship with diligence because if you don’t, no one else will.

Just like any form of insurance you have purchased in your life, there is no absolute guarantee that you and your belongings will be 100% covered with insurance. Though, the chance of you being protected and cared for against the odds is high. Likewise, love insurance does not provide a conflict-free and eternally-happy condition for your marriage. However, it does guide you on how to care for your relationship so when a rainy day comes, you will not be overwhelmed by a sense of helplessness.

16 Nov 2017

7 Wedding Secrets From a Planner

Shhh… I have secrets to tell you. Believe it or not, wedding planners aren’t born with wings or a magic wand. Directing a wedding day from the moment the couple wakes up to the moment they’re whisked away under the moonlight actually does take a little magic, mixed with a bit of something else – perhaps sugar, spice, and everything nice? (And… queue theme song!)

OK, back to reality. The emotions on a wedding day can be overwhelming for couples, bridesmaids, groomsmen, and families… but for planners, it’s all normal. Planners like me love emotions – they give us energy and purpose and makes all the months of effort so worth it.

Angela Duncan Photography

But, we also understand that budgets may not allow for a planner to manage the wedding day logistics. After factoring in the cost of securing venues and caterers and floral designers and bartenders, sometimes a planner doesn’t make it on the list of must-haves. (No hard feelings, we understand.)

So if you’re getting married and you’re unable to hire a day-of wedding planner, or if you have friends and family who want to pitch in and help on your wedding day, here are 7 wedding secrets to remember to help give you a more flawless and stress-free day:


7 Wedding Secrets From a Planner


1. Getting Ready: If you’re hiring beauty professionals for your hair and makeup, make sure the bride goes second to last (or sooner). Yes, we want the bride’s makeup to be fresh, but if things run a bit behind schedule (mimosas and giggles tend to linger), the couple’s reveal photos can move forward while the last bridesmaid is getting gorgeous.

2. Pre-Ceremony Photos: Wedding day timelines flow more smoothly when wedding party photos (and family too if time allows) are taken before the ceremony begins. Just be sure boutonnieres are pinned on the groom and his fellas (some photographers can do this – just check ahead of time). My heart cringes when I see photos without them.

3. Ceremony: When your flower girl is feeling a little shy walking down the aisle all by herself, here’s my little trick… I hide a piece of candy at the bottom of her basket, under the petals. I whisper that if she gets to the bottom of the basket she can have it. I of course make sure she asks Mommy or Daddy first.

4. Cocktails: An outdoor bar is a breath of fresh air (weather permitting), so ensure the bar is in a shaded area. If not, the ice will melt super fast and service may slow down to keep the ice replenished.

5. Reception: When hors d’oeuvres are served during cocktails, guests’ appetites are full enough for the first dance and parent dances to happen before dinner is served. Otherwise, try to serve dinner as quickly as possible. If you’re having a buffet, it’s best to have table numbers. Even if seating isn’t assigned, having table numbers helps maintain the flow at the buffet because the DJ can release guests by table.

6. Special Moments: Always make sure the mothers of the couple are in the room when the first dance, parent dances, cake cutting, toasts and bouquet/garter toss are happening. It really is their day, too.

7. Grand Exit: Be aware of lighting outside of your venue. If it’s very dark outside with little to no lighting, bubbles and rose petals are nearly impossible to see, and a photographer’s flash can only go so far. When using sparklers, buckets of water are messy and useless. A couple of pails with sand to keep the sparkler upright is all you need.

Angela Duncan Photography

Whether you’re a bride, a groom, a parent, or part of the wedding party, knowing these 7 secrets gives you an edge on the wedding day. Be prepared for some high fives, eye winks, approving nods and thank you grins from those who notice you taking action. And even when guests don’t notice the magic you sprinkled on the wedding day, glancing at their smiles does the trick, too. Happy planning!