Wedding Wednesday Tips- What to know before hiring your musicians or DJ

Happy Wedding Wednesday loves! 

Did you know that before I entered the world of Wedding Planning, I was a dancer?! I was a professional dancer for YEARS so music is in my blood! I am known to break out at a dance party at any given moment so this is one of my favorite posts to write. 

Events With Ambiance- Amber K. Sanders- Chicago Wedding Planner

 

The first thing to think about, do you want a DJ or live band? Both are great options, so let's talk about the differences between the two: 

DJ vs. Live Musicians

Hire a DJ because: 

  • DJ's can provide a greater variety of music than live musicians
  • You want to make sure that your favorite songs sound the way you are used to hearing them 
  • You want almost continuous music; live musicians will need breaks
  • There is a limited amount of floor space at your reception venue
  • You are on a limited budget

Hire live musicians because: 

  • Live music is more exciting, and more people are likely to dance
  • All of the music will follow the same style ( jazz, reggae, blues, rock), which is essential if you are hosting a theme wedding
  • You aren't likely to hear a style of music that you don't like

Here are some things you may want to know before hiring a DJ or live musician that may make your decision easier: 

  • Do you want to hire them for the ceremony? If so, and you are using a place of worship, have you gotten clearance for them to perform there? 
  • What type of music do you want during your ceremony? 
  • Will the DJ or musicians need to accompany any vocalists during the ceremony? 
  • What mood do you want at your reception? Subdued and romantic or Dance Dance Revolution?
  • What songs do you want to be played?
  •  What songs do you NOT want to be played? 
  • When do you want music played, and do you have special songs you want to hear during special moments ( ie. cake cutting, toasts, bouquet and garter toss)
  • Do you want the DJ or band leader to be the master of ceremonies? 

 

I know this is a lot to think about, but if you know what type of wedding you want your guests to enjoy, the choice is easy! 

Until Next Time, 

XOXO, Amber 

 

 

Comment

amber sanders

My journey to becoming an Event Planner dates back to my childhood, assisting my mother with planning and executing parties at our home and for my dad’s fraternity. I was training to be a professional dancer at the time, so I never thought about being a “Party Planner”, it was just fun for me to help her. After a fabulous and exciting dance career that spanned 20 plus years, I began working as a dance instructor at Arthur Murray Dance Studio in downtown Chicago. Because of my excitement for our studio events and knack for organizing parties, I was soon promoted to Guest Director. This position allowed me to see that Marketing and Event Management was something I enjoyed, and it was then I realized this could be my next career move! I spent the next two years learning as much as I could about the Event Industry, including an internship with Desiree Moore Dent, Owner of Dejanae Events,as well as studying and becoming a Certified Wedding & Event Planner/Designer through Lovegevity’s Wedding Planning Institute. This is how I learned more about the business side of running your own business, which was invaluable information! During this time, I offered my services to family and friends for any event they may have been having to gain as much "real world" experience as possible. In May of 2013, I decided to get my business license and launch Events with Ambiance. It has truly been eye opening that I am now an entrepreneur, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! I am grateful to have family and friends support me, my company has truly become a Family Business!! I am blessed to surround myself with people who are just as passionate about my business as I am; for me, Event Planning is about more than just throwing a great party, it's about creating an unforgettable experience for my clients and their guests!

Wedding Wednesday Tips- What to Know before hiring your photographer

Happy Wedding Wednesday loves! 

One of the biggest regrets I see couples make is not investing in their wedding photography. One of the most important investments ( besides hiring a Wedding Planner) is hiring a photographer who not only is professional but who also creates images that will reflect the style that you and your fiance will love and enjoy for years to come. 

Today, I want to give you some important questions to ask a photographer before hiring them to ensure you're getting your monies worth! 

Events With Ambiance- Amber K. Sanders- Chicago Wedding Planner

 

 

First things first, you need to know what YOU want in your images. SO ask yourself: 

  •  What kind of photographs do you want?
    • Portraits- posed images, taken in a studio
    • Formal- traditional and posed images
    • Candid- informal and not posed images
    • Photojournalistic/ Documentary- images that are taken to create a journal of the day, not posed
    • Creative/Editorial- images taken in a particular style to look like they came from a celebrity or fashion magazine
    • Black and White or Sepia tone
    • When do you want the photographer to be present? Would you like to have the entire day captured, from getting dressed until the last dance, or just ceremony and reception?
    • How do you plan to use the photographs? In traditional or digital photo frames? In albums or given out on cds/dvds? 

With all of the stress and excitement of your wedding day, you want to make sure you hire a photographer who will be able to capture the special moments to help you remember your special day and share it with others. When hiring your photographer, it's important to feel at ease with them, and comfortable that they get who you and your fiance are a couple and will produce the images and look you desire. 

Next post, it's all about the dance party! I'll be giving you tips for hiring musicians and/or DJ's for your wedding. 

As always, make sure you like, comment and share this post with family and friends, because......Friends don't let friends plan tacky weddings! 

xoxo,

Amber 

1 Comment

amber sanders

My journey to becoming an Event Planner dates back to my childhood, assisting my mother with planning and executing parties at our home and for my dad’s fraternity. I was training to be a professional dancer at the time, so I never thought about being a “Party Planner”, it was just fun for me to help her. After a fabulous and exciting dance career that spanned 20 plus years, I began working as a dance instructor at Arthur Murray Dance Studio in downtown Chicago. Because of my excitement for our studio events and knack for organizing parties, I was soon promoted to Guest Director. This position allowed me to see that Marketing and Event Management was something I enjoyed, and it was then I realized this could be my next career move! I spent the next two years learning as much as I could about the Event Industry, including an internship with Desiree Moore Dent, Owner of Dejanae Events,as well as studying and becoming a Certified Wedding & Event Planner/Designer through Lovegevity’s Wedding Planning Institute. This is how I learned more about the business side of running your own business, which was invaluable information! During this time, I offered my services to family and friends for any event they may have been having to gain as much "real world" experience as possible. In May of 2013, I decided to get my business license and launch Events with Ambiance. It has truly been eye opening that I am now an entrepreneur, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! I am grateful to have family and friends support me, my company has truly become a Family Business!! I am blessed to surround myself with people who are just as passionate about my business as I am; for me, Event Planning is about more than just throwing a great party, it's about creating an unforgettable experience for my clients and their guests!

Most Important Questions to Ask Before Hiring your Caterer

Hey, love!

 

In all of my years as an event planner, I tend to get asked the same questions from couples who simply don’t know the proper questions to ask their vendors before hiring them. Now, yes, that is where I come in as your planner to make sure all the I’s are dotted and the T's are crossed, but I want you all to be better informed should you choose to plan your own wedding and hire a planner only for Wedding Day Management ( formerly known as Day Of Coordinator…. But more on that later!)

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to break down the most common questions you should ask your vendor prior to hiring them as well as the answers you should be prepared to give your planner or the vendor to ensure you are getting the best service possible!  

Today, we are looking at the caterer, which is one of the most important ( and expensive)  aspects of the wedding experience. Good food and drink can make or break your wedding, so the more informed you are, the less stress you will have in planning the menu!

questions to ask your caterer| Events With Ambiance- Chicago Wedding Planner

 

What to know before contacting Caterers

Before deciding what caterer you want to work with, you should sit down with your fiance and decide what type of food service you’d like:

  • Sit Down meal

  • Buffet

  • Afternoon Tea

  • Cocktail/ Appetizer Reception

  • Dessert Reception

 

Once you’ve narrowed this down, you can start to focus on more details:

 

  • An estimated budget for food and beverage ( how much do you want to spend per person?)

  • The estimated guest count ( including your vendors!)

  • The reception location. Make sure to make special note if your reception location doesn’t have kitchen access or if your reception will be outdoors.

  • The theme of the wedding. Your caterer can plan a personalized menu to give your wedding that special flare your guests will love!

  • The time of day your reception will be held

  • Your favorite foods

  • Any food restrictions for health, religious, or cultural reasons

  • Do you plan to host a pre-reception cocktail hour? If so, additional appetizers and beverages will need to be ordered

  • The number of courses you’d like

  • Will any children be attending? Special meals can be included specifically for the kids attending the wedding.

 

When it comes to your beverage service, this is also generally handling through your caterer. Most caterers do have a liquor license and can legally handle the bar set up and service.

A few questions you may want to think about are:

  • Do you plan to host a beer and wine only bar or full hosted bar?

  • Would you like the bartender to create a specialty cocktail for the reception? ( This should always be a YES! It is a great way to showcase your favorite drinks and brings another personal touch to your wedding!)

  • Would you like the cocktail hour to be beer and wine only, full bar or specialty cocktails only?

  • Do you want a champagne toast during dinner?

 

Whew! This looks like a lot of information, but not to worry. Take your time making these choices, the more information you can provide to your caterer, the better they can plan a menu for that fits your unique tastes!

Any questions you have that I didn’t list above? Post it in the comments below and I’ll make sure to get you a reply!

 

As always, share with a friend because like I say……. Friends Don’t Let Friends Plan Tacky Weddings!

 

Comment

amber sanders

My journey to becoming an Event Planner dates back to my childhood, assisting my mother with planning and executing parties at our home and for my dad’s fraternity. I was training to be a professional dancer at the time, so I never thought about being a “Party Planner”, it was just fun for me to help her. After a fabulous and exciting dance career that spanned 20 plus years, I began working as a dance instructor at Arthur Murray Dance Studio in downtown Chicago. Because of my excitement for our studio events and knack for organizing parties, I was soon promoted to Guest Director. This position allowed me to see that Marketing and Event Management was something I enjoyed, and it was then I realized this could be my next career move! I spent the next two years learning as much as I could about the Event Industry, including an internship with Desiree Moore Dent, Owner of Dejanae Events,as well as studying and becoming a Certified Wedding & Event Planner/Designer through Lovegevity’s Wedding Planning Institute. This is how I learned more about the business side of running your own business, which was invaluable information! During this time, I offered my services to family and friends for any event they may have been having to gain as much "real world" experience as possible. In May of 2013, I decided to get my business license and launch Events with Ambiance. It has truly been eye opening that I am now an entrepreneur, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! I am grateful to have family and friends support me, my company has truly become a Family Business!! I am blessed to surround myself with people who are just as passionate about my business as I am; for me, Event Planning is about more than just throwing a great party, it's about creating an unforgettable experience for my clients and their guests!

Top 5 Tasteful Twists on Classic Wedding Traditions

Hey loves! 

If there is one thing I love, it's a wedding "tradition". I think there is something so beautiful about honoring a tradition that brides have shared for generations, even if you don't know where it started or why you want to do it! 

Instead of sharing the same classic wedding traditions we all know and love, I want to share some twists on wedding traditions that will give your wedding the AMBIANCE it needs! 

Events With Ambiance | Chicago Wedding Planner

 

1. Instead of wearing a classic white dress, wear a colorful dress or a bold two-piece outfit. 

Your wedding should be about your personal style, your sass, your fashionista flair! Since your special day is the one day that is all about you, why not show it off with bridal attire that is bold and shows your personality?! 

2. Instead of swaying for a classic first dance, take dance lessons and learn a choreographed ballroom dance! 

I was a ballroom dance instructor for Arthur Murray Dance Studios a few years before I transitioned into wedding planning, and I have to say, my favorite couples to work with were the ones who came in wanting to WOW their guests with their first dance! You can learn a sexy tango, an electric salsa, or a romantic rumba! Dance lessons are also a great way for you and your fiance to spend time together and decompress from all the wedding stress! 

3. Instead of having a bouquet toss or garter catch, just..... don't. 

One of the most cringe worthy moments of the weddings I've worked on is the bouquet toss and garter catch. Women are literally tackling each other for a flower and the men can't get out of he way fast enough to avoid catching the garter! Instead, why not do an anniversary dance and the longest married couple left? You can present the wife with your bouquet. The other option is to not do anything.... I guarantee your guests won't be upset! 

4. Instead of cutting the cake and feeding it to each other, have a dessert or candy bar.

I love cake as much as the next person, and wedding cake?! Sign me up! But you and your love may love several types of dessert, or there is a dessert that is special to your family or culture that your guests may not enjoy; so why not offer several treats for your guests? In addition, you can set up the dessert bar with takeout boxes so they double as wedding favors! WIN WIN!! 

5. Instead of having your bridesmaids wearing the same dress, allow them to choose their own dress in a similar color palette. 

Bridesmaids can spend upwards of $2,500 on their friends weddings between shower gifts, bachelorette parties, engagement gifts, hair and makeup, pre wedding attire and attire for the wedding day. Unless you are going to pay for all of your ladies dresses, a fantastic gesture would be to allow them to choose a silhouette they feel most comfortable in, you choose the color palette, length and fabric choices. What a way to let you show your #GirlSquad rocks!! 

 

Comment and Share this post if you see any tips you like or if you need help putting a twist on your own wedding tradition. 

Until Next Time, 

XOXO, Amber 

Comment

amber sanders

My journey to becoming an Event Planner dates back to my childhood, assisting my mother with planning and executing parties at our home and for my dad’s fraternity. I was training to be a professional dancer at the time, so I never thought about being a “Party Planner”, it was just fun for me to help her. After a fabulous and exciting dance career that spanned 20 plus years, I began working as a dance instructor at Arthur Murray Dance Studio in downtown Chicago. Because of my excitement for our studio events and knack for organizing parties, I was soon promoted to Guest Director. This position allowed me to see that Marketing and Event Management was something I enjoyed, and it was then I realized this could be my next career move! I spent the next two years learning as much as I could about the Event Industry, including an internship with Desiree Moore Dent, Owner of Dejanae Events,as well as studying and becoming a Certified Wedding & Event Planner/Designer through Lovegevity’s Wedding Planning Institute. This is how I learned more about the business side of running your own business, which was invaluable information! During this time, I offered my services to family and friends for any event they may have been having to gain as much "real world" experience as possible. In May of 2013, I decided to get my business license and launch Events with Ambiance. It has truly been eye opening that I am now an entrepreneur, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! I am grateful to have family and friends support me, my company has truly become a Family Business!! I am blessed to surround myself with people who are just as passionate about my business as I am; for me, Event Planning is about more than just throwing a great party, it's about creating an unforgettable experience for my clients and their guests!

Top 10 Wedding Blogs

Happy Wedding Wednesday loves! 

I'm sure you've seen by now that planning a wedding can be overwhelming! So many choices to make, so much inspiration and not enough time to get through it all! When you're planning a wedding, you need all the help you can get, and that's why I am sharing some of my favorite wedding inspiration blogs with you. Now, there are 100's of fabulous wedding blogs out there, each with their own niche. These are the Top 10 wedding blogs I love! 

Amber Sanders of Events With Ambiance| Chicago Wedding Planner

Take a minute to check these out and let me know which one is your favorite! 

 

Find a blog you like? Comment below and tell which one. Make sure to like and share with family or friends looking for wedding inspiration! 

Until Next Time, 

xoxo, 

Amber 

 

  1. Munaluchi Bridal
  2. Style Me Pretty

  3. Burnett's Boards

  4. Borrowed and Blue

  5. Modern Luxury Weddings

  6. Chicago Style Weddings

  7. Aisle Perfect

  8. Artfully Wed

  9. Martha Stewart Weddings

  10. Grey Likes Weddings

Comment

amber sanders

My journey to becoming an Event Planner dates back to my childhood, assisting my mother with planning and executing parties at our home and for my dad’s fraternity. I was training to be a professional dancer at the time, so I never thought about being a “Party Planner”, it was just fun for me to help her. After a fabulous and exciting dance career that spanned 20 plus years, I began working as a dance instructor at Arthur Murray Dance Studio in downtown Chicago. Because of my excitement for our studio events and knack for organizing parties, I was soon promoted to Guest Director. This position allowed me to see that Marketing and Event Management was something I enjoyed, and it was then I realized this could be my next career move! I spent the next two years learning as much as I could about the Event Industry, including an internship with Desiree Moore Dent, Owner of Dejanae Events,as well as studying and becoming a Certified Wedding & Event Planner/Designer through Lovegevity’s Wedding Planning Institute. This is how I learned more about the business side of running your own business, which was invaluable information! During this time, I offered my services to family and friends for any event they may have been having to gain as much "real world" experience as possible. In May of 2013, I decided to get my business license and launch Events with Ambiance. It has truly been eye opening that I am now an entrepreneur, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! I am grateful to have family and friends support me, my company has truly become a Family Business!! I am blessed to surround myself with people who are just as passionate about my business as I am; for me, Event Planning is about more than just throwing a great party, it's about creating an unforgettable experience for my clients and their guests!

This is not your mama's wedding......

Hey loves! I can't believe it's been so long since I wrote a post, but I have a great reason. I have recently gone through a re brand of my business and that meant taking time to update my website, get new marketing materials and creating new content that inspires you to host the wedding of your dreams! 

While we are on the subject, let's have a heart to heart about Wedding Planners and why hiring one is super important over allowing your friends and/or family to "handle it". 

Now, I'm sure your sister is a fantastic organizer and your aunt hosts the BEST family reunions.... but your wedding, the ONE day you choose to say I Do to the love of your life before all your loved ones, is NOT the time for them to try out their wedding planning skills! As much as they may have wonderfully heartfelt intentions, I have seen first hand that when you allow other people to insert their opinions, before you know it, your wedding looks NOTHING like you intended. 

Another reason you REALLY don't want to trust your wedding day to a non professional is: your family and friends don't want to spend your wedding day working! This is the one time you will probably be able to get your entire family in one room ( and meet your in laws for the first time). This isn't the day your cousin should be handling catering issues or have your sister running the day of logistics. 

Lastly, you should REALLY hire a professional to work for YOUR best interests; not your mom, your brother, ESPECIALLY not your jealous cousin who's mad you're getting married first because you made a  blood oath when you were five to have a double wedding, or your co workers  who probably weren't getting invited to the wedding anyway! 

I am here to work for you and your fiance, to create the wedding YOU dreamed of. To be objective, a compassionate ear and give you a day to remember! 

Are you planning a wedding and it looks like everyone has an opinion that doesn't match your vision? Contact Me today, and I'll help get you back on track! 

Until Next Week,

XOXO, Amber 

Comment

amber sanders

My journey to becoming an Event Planner dates back to my childhood, assisting my mother with planning and executing parties at our home and for my dad’s fraternity. I was training to be a professional dancer at the time, so I never thought about being a “Party Planner”, it was just fun for me to help her. After a fabulous and exciting dance career that spanned 20 plus years, I began working as a dance instructor at Arthur Murray Dance Studio in downtown Chicago. Because of my excitement for our studio events and knack for organizing parties, I was soon promoted to Guest Director. This position allowed me to see that Marketing and Event Management was something I enjoyed, and it was then I realized this could be my next career move! I spent the next two years learning as much as I could about the Event Industry, including an internship with Desiree Moore Dent, Owner of Dejanae Events,as well as studying and becoming a Certified Wedding & Event Planner/Designer through Lovegevity’s Wedding Planning Institute. This is how I learned more about the business side of running your own business, which was invaluable information! During this time, I offered my services to family and friends for any event they may have been having to gain as much "real world" experience as possible. In May of 2013, I decided to get my business license and launch Events with Ambiance. It has truly been eye opening that I am now an entrepreneur, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! I am grateful to have family and friends support me, my company has truly become a Family Business!! I am blessed to surround myself with people who are just as passionate about my business as I am; for me, Event Planning is about more than just throwing a great party, it's about creating an unforgettable experience for my clients and their guests!

The Top 5 REAL Reasons You NEED to hire a Wedding Planner!

Happy #WeddingWednesday loves! 

You may be wondering why I put "real" and "need" in all caps in the blog title, and here's why. You can google 100 articles that will all tell the reasons to hire a Wedding Planner, and yet none of them seem to keep it real..... So, I want to give you the top 5 reasons you REALLY NEED to hire a Wedding Planner(in no particular order)! 

1. Because you have a full time job, fiance, family, social life and don't have time to abandon all those things to plan your wedding.  Ok, saying you have to abandon your regular life may be a bit dramatic, however Wedding Planning takes a lot of time, so why not hire someone who ONLY job is to plan weddings and allow you to enjoy your engagement process and also keeps you from feeling pressure to give into everyone else's ideas ?! 

2. Because your wedding is NOT the time for your aunties/cousins/friends/co workers to show off their DIY skills. No, seriously, just because your aunt plans all of the family dinner parties and your cousin got married two years ago and your best friend's grandmother is a really good cook DOES NOT mean they should be in charge of planning or being vendors on your special day! 

3. Because your venue coordinator is NOT your wedding planner. While venue coordinators are wonderful and serve a purpose, they are not going to be responsible for creating your timeline, budget, keeping your wedding party on time, making sure the DJ knows how to announce your wedding party names, making sure you pay your vendors on time, or keep your creepy Uncle Jerry from hitting on the bridesmaids when he had one too many whiskeys! 

4. Because neither you (or your family) should spend your wedding day running around handling logistics. This will probably be the one day you get all of your family members in one room and possibly get to meet your new in laws for the first time, this should not be the night you're handling catering issues or keeping the reception on time, and I can guarantee your family and friends don't want to get dressed up only to work your wedding because you didn't want to invest in a Wedding Planner. 

5. Because you have so many ideas, and no idea of how to make them come together! Instead of stressing out about your theme, hire someone like Events with Ambiance to take your vision, throw some sparkle on it and create the wedding of your dreams!

Now that you realize you can't go another day without hiring Events with Ambiance to handle all of your Wedding Day needs, Contact Me today and feel the stress of wedding planning fly away! 

 

Until Next Time, 

XOXO, Amber 

Comment

amber sanders

My journey to becoming an Event Planner dates back to my childhood, assisting my mother with planning and executing parties at our home and for my dad’s fraternity. I was training to be a professional dancer at the time, so I never thought about being a “Party Planner”, it was just fun for me to help her. After a fabulous and exciting dance career that spanned 20 plus years, I began working as a dance instructor at Arthur Murray Dance Studio in downtown Chicago. Because of my excitement for our studio events and knack for organizing parties, I was soon promoted to Guest Director. This position allowed me to see that Marketing and Event Management was something I enjoyed, and it was then I realized this could be my next career move! I spent the next two years learning as much as I could about the Event Industry, including an internship with Desiree Moore Dent, Owner of Dejanae Events,as well as studying and becoming a Certified Wedding & Event Planner/Designer through Lovegevity’s Wedding Planning Institute. This is how I learned more about the business side of running your own business, which was invaluable information! During this time, I offered my services to family and friends for any event they may have been having to gain as much "real world" experience as possible. In May of 2013, I decided to get my business license and launch Events with Ambiance. It has truly been eye opening that I am now an entrepreneur, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! I am grateful to have family and friends support me, my company has truly become a Family Business!! I am blessed to surround myself with people who are just as passionate about my business as I am; for me, Event Planning is about more than just throwing a great party, it's about creating an unforgettable experience for my clients and their guests!

Creating your "wed"site!

Happy Wedding Wednesday everyone!

Creating a wedding website or "wedsite" is an excellent way to provide information to your family, friends and guests about your upcoming nuptials. You definitely include:

  • Your Love Story: To share how you met and fell in love
  • A Who's Who of the Bridal Party: Because who doesn't want to know!
  • The Fine Details: Where and when you'll wed
  • Gift Guidance: The shops and sites you've registered at
  • Guest Book: So friends and family can write how cute you two look in your engagement photos

While there are so many sites to choose from, some of my favorite "wedsite" templates are on 

The Knot

Wedding Wire

, and 

Wedding Paper Divas

. They all offer free wedsites so you and your groom can share your love and wedding plans all in one convenient place! 

Happy Wedding Planning!

xoxo,

Amber