Category Archives: Wedding Planner Advice

Calling All Pet Parents!

Ryan&Mel_Arrivals and Ceremony-085If you are a pet parent, chances are that you have considered including your fur (or feather!) child(ren) in your celebration. You can’t imagine life without them, so why would you not include them in your big day?! Whether they are appointed as a member of your wedding party, shine as honorary guest, or you pay tribute to them in other ways, you can be sure to find a way to share your love for and (with!) them.

Some couples choose to have their pet(s) escort them down the aisle or as their flower girl or ring bearer. From dapper tuxedo collars to sweet flower crowns, the accessories available will help your already adorable friend to shine in their role. A variety of bow tie and other wedding accessories can be found here. If you’d rather use fresh flowers to adorn your best friend, you can coordinate with your florist to have a custom floral wreath or crown made for them.

If you do decide to have your pet(s) join you for the festivities, there are several important things to remember. First off, double-check that your venue allows for animals to be present. Additionally, it is always important to be mindful of your pet’s personality. If they are on the shyer side, you may want to keep them at home so that they are not overwhelmed by your guests and the excitement of your celebration. Another important thing to remember if your pet(s) will be present on your big day is to appoint a handler. The last thing you want to worry about is their well-being!

If you would prefer to keep your pet(s) at home or are unable to have them join due to venue restrictions, there are many other ways to incorporate them in your big day. Some couples choose to include their pet(s) while taking their engagement photos which can then be used to create adorable save-the-dates! These custom, hand-painted invitations allow you to include your pet(s) in a unique and creative fashion. Another distinctive way to commemorate your pet(s) while leading up to your big day is by the use of custom address stamps for your invites. Some adorable options are found here and here.

Including your pet(s) in your wedding details does not have to stop with your invites. Custom cake toppers not only allow for you to share your pet love on your wedding day, but they also make sweet keepsakes to treasure long after your wedding day has passed. Some favorites can be found here, here, and here.

As with all wedding planning decisions, whether or not you have your pet(s) present at your wedding is entirely up to you and your personal preferences. Keeping your furry friend(s) at home during the festivities does not make you any less of an amazing pet parent and certainly won’t cause them to love you any less.

Are you planning on including your pet(s) for your big day?

Unique Wedding Favor Ideas

Unique Wedding Favor Ideas

If you were to do a web search of wedding favor options, you would be presented with pages upon pages of choices. Long gone are the days of Jordan almonds and bubbles as there are options to fit nearly every budget and theme. If you are still having trouble deciding what favors to offer to your guests after tackling the multitude of pages and posts with ideas, this post is for you!

One of our favorite favor options is personalized matchbooks. While seemingly ordinary, matchbooks are useful (and memorable!). There is a wide variety of custom matchbooks to choose from to suit your tastes. Some favorites are here and here. What better way to express to your guests that you are a perfect match?

If you have a love for traveling and want to incorporate that into your wedding, luggage tag favors are a great way to share your zest for adventure with your guests. If you are having a destination wedding, offering luggage tags as favors is fitting (and functional!). These double as escort cards and have an additional insert for your guests to fill out with their own information for their traveling needs.

Having a destination or summer wedding? If so, sunglasses would be a practical favor option for your guests. You can also have the sunglasses available for your guests as they arrive to your ceremony so that they are not squinting to watch you exchange your vows. These are available to be personalized and come in a variety of fun colors. If you would prefer a neutral option, you can try these. Sunglasses are always a necessity and you can guarantee that your guests will use them after the festivities have come to an end.

Partying all night can make for a rough morning and by providing hangover kits as favors to your guests, you can help to make their mornings a little bit easier. There are many options available for personalized bags or boxes and you can even order personalized water bottle labels to provide with your hangover kits. Some ideas for hangover kit fillers are small bottles of aspirin, some mints or gum, mini mouthwashes, vitamin C tablets, or small snacks. Your guests will be eternally grateful for offering these as favors!

If your celebration continues late into the night, providing midnight snacks as favors will make everyone happy (and grateful!). With sweet treats as your favors, you will not have to worry them being overlooked by your guests and it is a guarantee that they will be enjoyed. Most Krispy Kreme locations offer individually packaged donuts as a catering option. Another tasty idea is to serve mini pies as favors. If you are the DIY type, Our Best Bites has a great recipe for single serving pies here. If the DIY route is not for you, you can contact local bakeries to see if they have any mini pie options.

Another fail proof favor option is cookies. If you want to go the custom route, there is a wide variety of personalized cookie options available to choose from. Beau-coup offers quite a few options for personalized cookies, including ones that can be decorated with your monogram or other fun bridal themed designs and these sweet macarons. Another popular favor idea is to have a cookies and milk bar for guests at the end of the night. What can be better than post-party cookies and milk?!

Do you and your spouse-to-be have a favorite hot sauce or jam? Miniature bottles of your favorite condiments for your guests to take home as favors are another great favor option. You can even personalize the labels to further commemorate your special day. The same goes for favorite beverages. Did you and your significant other bond over coffee or craft beers? If so, try sharing this memory by gifting your guests with small packets of coffee beans or bottles of your favorite beer. Even if it may seem a little out there, you can never go wrong if it embodies a special memory or aspect of your relationship.

While favors are fun and provide memories for your guests, you should not feel required to have them at your wedding. The only reason you should be providing favors is because you want to and not because you feel obligated to. Personally, I love the idea of providing unique favors to your guests, however if for personal (or budgetary!) reasons you would prefer not to have them, own your choice — it is your wedding after all!

Did you have favors at your wedding? If so, what did you have?

Is a wedding website for you?

Is a wedding website for you?

A large number of couples are turning to wedding websites to help communicate important wedding day information with their guests. While not a necessity, personalized wedding websites have proven useful to couples and their guests by allowing couples to express their love with their own little corner in the digital world. There are numerous wedding website builders available, many of which are free or low cost, to choose from. Some of these sites, such as Appy Couple, allow couples to create a website accessible via an app. Majority of site builders allow for you to not only publish a personalized site, but also provide tools that are useful for the path to the big day. If you are uncertain as to whether you’d benefit from creating a wedding website, this post is for you.

Communicating Information: 

Wedding websites serve as a great tool to help communicate important information to your guests, including ceremony/reception details, directions and hotel suggestions. If you are expecting many out-of-town guests, you can also include information for nearby activities or attractions. Does the location of your ceremony get exceptionally hot around the time of your chosen date? You can communicate this to your guests to help ensure that they pack appropriately. Will the ground covering at your chosen ceremony site be difficult to walk on in heels? Let your guests know this on your site, and perhaps suggest to swap out stilettos for cute wedges, or sandals. Your wedding website will also prove useful if there are any last minute changes or updates that need to be communicated to your guests. Having the ability to update the site and not having to reach out to everyone individually will save time and help avoid extra stress as your wedding day nears..


To add a personal touch and further connect with their guests, many couples choose to include stories about their relationship and/or their proposal. If you’d like, you can also share your engagement pictures on your wedding website (we’re sure they’re gorgeous, so why not!?). You further personalize your wedding website by sharing photos and fun facts about your bridal party members. By personalizing your website, you can share your love with your guests – even though you may not have met all of your significant other’s friends and family, they will feel as if they know you before they meet you.

Your wedding website is also a great place to share your #weddinghashtag, if you have one. The Knot offers the option for couples to have Instagram pictures tagged with their hashtag to automatically synced to their wedding website. Lastly, with the wide variety of templates and color combinations available, your website can be customized to fit your unique style. Some websites, such as Wedding Paper Divas, offer the ability to order invitations that coordinate with the design of your site.

Registry Information: 

While it is sometimes considered poor etiquette to include registry details with your save-the-dates or invitations, wedding websites allow for you to provide this information to your guests without feeling as if you are being pushy or inappropriate. Many sites allow for you to link directly to your registry pages or even have the items that you have registered for shown directly on the page.


Another beneficial feature offered by many wedding websites is the ability to have guests RSVP electronically. This feature eliminates the need for you to include self-addressed and stamped RSVP envelopes (yay for budget savings!) and can be communicated via a link on the mailed invitations. The use of electronic RSVPs allows for the number of guests who have responded to be tracked without the need to sort through mailed cards. However, even if you  want to use the traditional return-by-mail RSVP cards, the electronic RSVP feature can prove useful to collect the responses of those guests who forget to respond in your allotted time.

Helpful Tools: 

Wedding websites also typically include countdowns to show how many days are left until the big day. While this feature may truly only be appreciated by the soon-to-be married couple, it provides a certain level of sentimental value to see the numbers inch closer to the big day. Other features that prove useful to couples include the ability to create a guest list and maintain a timeline. Many wedding site builders also allow couples to track the gifts that have been received as well as the progress of their thank you cards.


One of the main concerns about wedding websites is privacy. Thankfully, many wedding websites offer password or invite-only options, where the bride and groom provide their desired viewers with a password or invite. This allows for you to share all of the pertinent details of your wedding while maintaining a level of privacy and not having to worry about unwanted guests.

Final Thought: 

Ultimately, the decision as to whether or not you have a wedding website should be based off of the specific needs of you and your spouse-to-be. There is no reason to feel obligated to have one purely for the novelty of it and if it truly will not save you time or otherwise make your life easier, your time and efforts may be better spent on other wedding details.


Photo credit: Cornerstone Photography

Maid of Honor Duties

Maid of Honor Duties

She said yes! No, not the bride to be, the maid of honor. She has accepted the opportunity to be by your side as you prepare for your wedding. Because a lot of MOH’s don’t know what would help their bride’s out the most, we put together a top 10 list of duties maid of honor’s should do to help make sure the bride and groom’s day is one to remember.

1. Be there for the bride – To lend an ear or a shoulder, this is your most important duty. And because you are already the bride’s best friend, you are probably already doing this. The day of, is going to be especially important. If the bride forgot deodorant, you should have it ready, if she needs hairspray and bobby pins, you should have the extras. Her brain is going to be all over the place, and just having someone there who remembers the small stuff is going to help out a ton.

2. Offer to help the bride with any pre-wedding duties – If you hear the bride stressing about addressing and stuffing wedding invites, you should be the first to arrive with a bottle of wine and ready to start helping.

3. Bridal shower and Bachelorette party – The bridal shower, a lot of times, is co-hosted by the family members, but you should be there to help plan, invite and set-up the shower. As for the bachelorette party, you should be the leader and always keeping the bridesmaids in the loop to make sure the bride has as much fun as possible. Make sure you talk to the bride about what kind of bachelorette party she would like, is she more of a spa relaxation type of girl, or is she a “Let’s go to Vegas!” kind of girl? Whatever the answer is, be prepared to plan accordingly.

4. Hold the groom’s ring during the ceremony – Ring bearer’s are awfully cute, but leaving the grooms ring with the MOH leaves a bit less to go wrong. We recommend keeping the ring on your thumb to make for an easy transition for the ring exchange portion of the ceremony.

5. Prepare your toast – A touching toast to show how much the bride and groom mean to you is key to being a great maid of honor. She chose you because you are her nearest and dearest and hearing a few encouraging and loving words after she has been married will mean the world to her.

6. Get the party started – If the crowd seems a little shy to get on the dance floor, you and the entire bridal party should be out there shaking your groove thing. The more people on the dance floor = the more fun everyone is having!

7. Bustle – If you attended the brides dress fitting, the seamstress should have showed you how to bustle the dress. If you didn’t, have the bride show you before the wedding so you are able to help her. There are so many different types of bustles so make sure you know which kind your dealing with.

8. Help keep everyone organized for pictures – If the bride’s Uncle Joe has wandered over to cocktail hour when he should be taking photos, you’ll need to help corral him. The faster the pictures get done, the faster you (and the bride and groom) get to go in and party!

9. Keep the bride as stress free as possible – Light jokes, reminiscing and ensuring she has had something to eat and drink at least throughout the day will help the bride in more ways than she realizes. We recommend keeping the meals light, and a dress-friendly snack (i.e. grapes, saltine crackers, etc.) before you head out to the ceremony.

10. Assist with wedding clean-up, if needed – Ask the bride questions like does she want you to take her wedding cards/gifts at the end of the night, or are there any special mementos (i.e. toasting flutes, cake cutting set, etc.) she’d like for you to handle. She’ll be grateful that you’ve asked.

Equally as important, remember to have FUN! You deserve to have a good time at this wedding too, so be sure you do! You’ve been a great friend throughout this whole process and there were most definitely moments of stress for you. Get ready to dance the night away and celebrate a night of fun your best friend will be sure to remember for a lifetime!

If you ever have any questions about what your bride may want you to do, just ask the bride how you can help!

Photo Credit to Local Focus Photography

Tipping Etiquette 101

San Diego Wedding PlannerA very common question clients often ask, is “Do I tip my vendors? And if so, how much? And which ones receive a tip?” That being said – this blog is dedicated to answer your frequently asked questions about tipping!

My personal and professional advice is that tipping is up to the discretion of the couple. A couple should never feel like they are expected to tip a vendor out of obligation. This is not like going out to eat at a restaurant where it is expected and often considered a social faux pas if you don’t tip. If a couple feels a particular vendor has gone above and beyond their expectations, or if they have enjoyed working with a vendor – they are more than welcome to give them a tip. If not, they should never feel bad about choosing not to tip.

Who to tip? From my experience as a Planner, I often times pass out the tips to different vendors. I commonly give tips to: photographer, videographer, DJ, catering staff, transportation drivers, (if it isn’t already a part of their contract) and wedding planner. I’ve also on occasion seen tips given to both the florist, the baker, or to a vendor’s assistant.

So if everyone loved the music the DJ was playing, he kept the reception between classy and fun and kept your wedding guests on their feet all night, you may decide to give him or her a tip.

How much to tip? Again – this is up to the discretion of the client. Some people prefer to tip between 10%-20% of the vendor’s total charge, while others may choose to tip more or less. The most important thing with tipping is that the couple does it because they feel like they actually want to, not because they are expected to or it will be rude if they don’t.

Note that some vendors that work in a group setting (i.e. caterers) may also split the tip. Our Assistant, Mesha used to work for a catering company, and was kind enough to shed light that the staff would split the tip at the end of the event.

What if a tip just isn’t in my budget? If you really want to tip a vendor but can’t right away, you can always send a tip to the vendor later. However, if you don’t think it will ever be in the cards, every vendor also really appreciates a great review. If they are on The Knot, WeddingWire, Yelp, or Google, take some time and give them a great review to let others know just how much you loved working with them. Mention specific reasons why they are getting a five-star review from you and everything you possibly can to let the world know just how awesome your vendor was.

Hopefully you’ve found this to be helpful!

Venue Coordinator vs Wedding Planner – What’s the Big Difference?

Are a Venue Coordinator and a Wedding Planner/Coordinator the same thing? The simple answer is no. This blog entry will dispell major differences between each job and what they entail.

San Diego Wedding PlannerSan Diego Wedding PlannerSan Diego Wedding Planner


Venue Coordinator

A Venue Coordinator works for one specific wedding venue. They are often times the point-of-contact you’ll have at your venue. They’ll show you the venue, provide you will the contract/rules, schedule your menu tasting and create the work order for your wedding day. Because the Venue Coordinator works for the venue, they can serve as a liaison between a couple and the catering staff to help ensure the logistics of your wedding day run smoothly. Often times the Venue Coordinator does not remain on-site for the whole wedding (an Event Manager may or may not take their place). While a Venue Coordinator may seem like an inclusive wedding planner that comes with your venue, the client-venue coordinator relationship is not as comprehensive as the same relationship a client-wedding planner would have. In short, because they are employed by a venue, their main obligation is to their employer, meaning they are less likely to have the same pull for negotiations a wedding planner may have.

Wedding Planner/Coordinator

A Wedding Planner specializes in all aspects of everything wedding related, from design, to vendor negotiations, to wedding day preparation (i.e. timeline creation, vendor confirmation, wedding rehearsal, etc). The biggest plus about having a wedding planner is that we work for you, the client. This means that we are an advocate for our couples, and will always make the best decision with you in mind. Your Wedding Planner is typically the first person on-site for your wedding day, and remains at your wedding reception for most (if not all) of the event. Wedding Planners oversee set up, troubleshoot, cue events and help work behind the scenes to make sure everything comes together nicely on your wedding day. We work as an extension of our couples, and our goal is to always, always make sure our clients are happy.

In conclusion, while both Venue Coordinators and Wedding Planners are valuable professionals to throughout the planning process, as well as on your wedding day, it is important to realize that they do not serve the same function. Wedding Planners have a very well-rounded job description, while the role of a Venue Coordinator is very singular. Understanding the distinction between the two roles can help couples avoid frustration and unnecessary surprises on your big day, as well as equip you with the appropriate knowledge to gauge your needs to plan accordingly to ensure a wedding you’ll never forget!



You’re Engaged – So now what?

You’re Engaged – So now what?

I remember that when I got engaged I was SO excited. After my husband and I had called our families and I stopped staring at my ring (I had to be sure it wasn’t a mirage), I wasn’t sure what to do. Overall wedding planning is a HUGE process that can easily seem daunting if you look at it as one solid task. So this blog is dedicated to new brides. You’re engaged – so now what?

Many couple’s first intent is to set a date. I caution against this. Your first step should be to create a mock-guest list to give you an accurate ballpark figure of how many guests you expect. Why, you might ask? Because your guest count will tie into almost every single aspect of your wedding. Your guest count will give you an idea of what size venue is needed, so when you start searching for a venue – you’ll know that it can fit the adequate amount people AND if your wedding date is available.

My second suggestion is to set a realistic budget. Setting a wedding budget will be a determining factor concerning which vendors you can afford to hire for your wedding. Remember that a wedding budget does not have to be the same for every couple. If an aspect of your wedding is very important to you (i.e. wedding dress) it is okay to allocate more money there, and go for a more budget friendly approach in another area (i.e. lighting). For tips on how to create an effective wedding budget, you can check out this article from Boho-Weddings.

Third, I would suggest to chose a venue/date. Some couples prefer to have their wedding on a specific date for sentimental purposes (i.e. anniversary), which may limit your venue selection. If you do not have a specific date in mind and are more flexible, finding a venue may be an easier task.

Lastly – remember to breathe! You’re engaged, and you’re planning your wedding, that is a lot to be excited about. The wedding planning process should be just that – a process. Enjoy this very exciting time in your life:)

Photo credit to: Justice Photography

Love Marks the Spot – Why I don’t offer a Day-of Coordination Package

Today I’ve decided to blog about a common question I get asked by many brides.

“Do you offer a day-of wedding coordination package?”

My simple response is no, I do not. Now let’s talk about why… 

 Love Marks the Spot San Diego Wedding Planner 4

Ideally, I’d like for my clients to trust me because they know me, and feel comfortable with me – not just because I’m their wedding planner.

As a wedding planner, it is my job to ensure that your wedding day runs as smoothly as possible. Couples entrust their wedding planner with a multitude of responsibilities ranging from keeping the wedding day on schedule, to showing the groom how to pin his boutonniere on. I personally want each of my clients to achieve their dream wedding day – or even better, help make your wedding day even better than anything you’ve ever dreamed possible.

Getting to know my clients helps me personalize your wedding, and truly capitalize on the things that are special to you. That’s right. I want to know each and every one of you. I want to know how you met, how you got engaged, how you spend your free time and your dislikes. Getting a good understanding of how you think as a couple (and on an individual level) is the foundation to making sure your wedding day runs smoothly. I genuinely like spending time with my clients, and getting to know each other is a process that “day-of” coordination does not allow time for.

That being said, the closest thing that I have to a “day-of” package is my Conclude Package. The Conclude Package is the equivalent to a “month-of” package. This package includes 2-3 face-to-face meetings  (excluding our initial consultation)+ the coordination of your wedding rehearsal. We’ll use these meetings to go over wedding logistics, but also as a chance to get to know each other on a more personal level. If you’d like to read more about Love Marks the Spot’s Conclude Package, you can check out our Packages & Pricing page.

In the meantime – if you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you.



XOXO Nicole – Love Marks the Spot San Diego Wedding Planner

Things to Consider with an Outdoor Wedding

Since we’re currently in the full swing of summer (high wedding season), I thought it would be a good idea to focus on outdoor weddings – we are in San Diego after all! Below is an awesome infographic that considers outdoor locations, shelters and decor options for outdoor weddings. Take a look and let me know what you think!

So you’re engaged…now what?

First of all, congratulations on your engagement! Getting engaged is very exciting, but after the excitement has settled – the initial steps of wedding planning can be a bit confusing, even overwhelming to some. So what are your first steps of wedding planning? I’ve compiled a short list of easy steps couples can take to get the ball rolling.

1. Set a realistic, affordable budget. Before I was a wedding planner, I was a bride who completely underestimated the cost of a wedding. To set a realistic budget, I suggest you and your groom sit down together and discuss your wedding “must haves” (i.e. an awesome gown) and things that you’d like but can live without (i.e. expensive wedding favors). This will give you a general idea of how to allocate wedding funds. Below you can see The Knot’s “The True Cost of a Wedding” survey results from 2011 (the 2012 results won’t be released for a few more months). This will help give you an idea of what an “average” wedding costs.

Love Marks the Spot San Diego Wedding Planner

*Keep in mind that variables such as time time of year/day of the week, guest count, and food selection can have a large influence on the cost of your wedding.

2.) Choose a date or location/venue. I list these two options together because some couples are set on tying the knot on a certain date, while others may be flexible on the date as long as they can get married at their dream venue. This is extremely important to consider if you want to get married on a Saturday, which is the most popular day of the week to get married (for obvious reasons). If you are set on a particular date you may need to identify a handful of potential ceremony/reception venues, while vice-versa if you are dead set on a specific wedding location.

3.) Decide on your bridal party. This step is one of the more fun steps to wedding planning. I recommend doing this step earlier than later to allow your bridal party to begin saving for wedding related expenses, such as buying wedding attire, or travel expenses if they live out of state.

4.) Begin a guest list. Your guest list will be directly related to your budget – the correlation is simple. The more guests you have, the more expensive your wedding will be. One option you have to make sure your guest list is in check with your budget is to create an “A-list” for people that must attend (i.e. close relatives and friends), a “B-list” for people you’d like to attend (i.e. your college room mate), and a “C-list” for people that can attend if there is room (i.e. your cousin’s best friends’ boyfriend). This will help keep your budget on track.

5.) Book your wedding planner. The earlier you book your planner – the better. Booking a planner early allows your planner time to get to know you and your groom (and your wedding preferences) well before your wedding. This will also allow them to be there for you in all aspects of wedding guidance. If you choose not to book a wedding planner, I highly suggest investing in a wedding planning binder to keep all of your wedding planning pieces in one spot.

If anyone has any questions, I would be happy to answer them! Just a reminder that Love Marks the Spot San Diego Wedding Planner is currently offering 50% off all of our wedding planning packages:) If you have any questions at all, please contact us. Happy planning!

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Love Marks The Spot | San Diego Wedding Planner
San Diego, CA 92101