We teamed up with Liz at Lovely Somethings for her expert opinion on wedding invitation etiquette.
It’s no secret that stress is a part of our lives. From our jobs to our relationships, stress can seem unavoidable. Add wedding planning into the mix and our internal stress-meter can reach capacity.
So the question is, how do we respond? How do we cope? And how can we equip ourselves to be strong enough to handle it? For some, the answer can be fitness! Thank you to our friends at Harness Cycle (especially instructor Katie Spies) for the expertise and advice in this blog post!
How does fitness help relieve stress?
One of the most studied ways to relieve stress and anxiety is the practice of physical activity. According to Harvard Medical School’s Health Watch*, stress doesn’t just have an effect on our minds, it affects our bodies, too. I’m sure you’re familiar with the iconic line from Legally Blonde, where Elle Woods so boldly declares, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don’t kill their husbands. They just don’t!” Well, Elle was right. Exercise does release endorphins, and it reduces the levels of stress hormones in your body including cortisol and adrenaline which contribute to the heart beating fast, sweaty palm feeling associated with stress. Exercising regularly also helps us look and feel our best, leading to an increase in self-confidence and self-worth.
Let’s face it, though. One of the toughest parts about deciding to add fitness into your daily routine is actually taking the first step. Is it easier to sink into your sectional with a glass of wine after a rough day? 100%. But if that’s your usual coping mechanism and you still feel stressed and anxious afterward, it might be time to switch things up! We fall into comfortable habits because that’s all we know, and it’s what feels safe to us. So while working out may feel like a chore at first and may push you out of your comfort zone, take a chance on yourself. Exercise your power. It’s in there, you may just have to sweat a little to feel it. And after one class- whether it’s yoga, spinning, running, boxing, lifting weights, or Zumba, you will feel a difference. I hope that difference becomes a habit. And I hope that habit becomes your new routine. So it’s not just something you do to feel good, it’s something you do because you look forward to it.
Beyond helping you to look + feel your best, how can a regular fitness routine benefit you pre-wedding?
I’ve seen it, you’ve seen it. Shedding before the wedding. That mindset can go one of two ways. One, you look forward to your regular fitness routine because it keeps you balanced and helps you relieve some wedding planning stress. Or, you see this fitness not as a routine that helps keep you anchored and grounded, but as something you have to do in order to look good for your wedding. The problem is, not allowing yourself to enjoy exercise can be a stressor all on its own. Instead of allowing for internal healing, you view exercise as the only way to achieve outward confidence on your wedding day. You’re placing the value of exercise solely on the physical appearance it provides. But it is so much more than that!
Having a routine that you genuinely enjoy takes the guesswork out of things. By using fitness as a way to prep for your wedding day, you will benefit from physical changes. But more importantly, you will show up in this next phase of your life grounded, self-confident, and empowered to grow. Because it’s not just about looking your best, it’s about feeling your best. Harness Cycle, for many of our riders and team, has become a constant in our lives, a space that is uplifting and energizing. Creating your routine pre-wedding will not only help you to look and feel your best, but it will be an anchor as you experience a major life change.
How does a regular fitness routine impact a relationship? What is an easy way for couples to implement a routine together?
Ultimately, when you feel your best, it’s not just you who feels those good vibes – those around you can sense it as well! I’m not saying people who exercise are better people, partners, or friends, but I think whenever you take time for yourself to reset, recharge and stay grounded, it can have a positive impact on your relationships. It comes down to you feeling your best, not for your significant other, but for yourself. That kind of “me time” is not selfish; it’s one of the most important things you can do for yourself. How can you give love when you lack self-love? How can you give time to others when you can’t give time to yourself? You have to refill your cup first. If your cup is full of stress, you’ll spill stress on those around you. If your cup is full of doubt and self-loathing, those will run over and affect anyone who is a significant part of your life. But when you fill your cup with good things – gratitude, love, compassion, balance – you can share those good things with those around you. That not only strengthens your relationship with yourself but with those around you, especially those you love. It may only take forty-five minutes on a stationary bike to fill up that cup, but if you can look forward to that as part of your routine, it can change your entire perspective.
When it comes to implementing a fitness routine with your significant other, focus less on doing something together and more on encouraging each other to find something that works for each of you. Your partner might want to get swole and you might want to hit up the treadmill, but that doesn’t mean you can’t meet up at the gym together. Or at Harness, we cross train with other groups in the area, especially with our own Running the Bridges every Wednesday. So you can hit up a Harness ride while your partner runs. Even getting involved in Cleveland Plays, where the workout is less about the actual workout and more about having fun and being part of a team. Most importantly though, it’s about supporting and respecting each other. And as age old saying goes… ‘til sweat do us part.
With two locations in Cleveland (Ohio City + Downtown) Harness Cycle offers over 50 classes per week to incorporate into your weekly schedule. A great add-on to any wedding weekend is our signature b(ride) event. The private reservation includes a private house ride for up to 40 guests, shoe rentals and 15% off retail after the ride. To learn more visit: https://www.harnesscycle.com/private
Your wedding welcome party is the kickoff to the wedding weekend festivities! It's a time for you to greet out-of-town guests, spend some extra time with your family + friends, and generally get the weekend off to a great start.
When choosing a location for your welcome party, low-key + casual is a great choice! This party is more about quality time with your guests than fancy food or intricate details.
We've compiled a list of our favorite spots in the Cleveland area to host your welcome party that we think fit the bill!
Punch Bowl Social
Located just a few blocks from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, this lounge boasts a rooftop hangout, multiple bars, a restaurant, and games (like pool, foosball, and arcade games) that your guests are sure to love! It's a fun and trendy spot with plenty to keep you entertained amidst the party mingling.
Platform Beer Co.
Breweries are a great, low-key spot to host a gathering, and Platform Beer Co. is no exception. The Cleveland tasting room has 20+ beers to try, seating inside, and a patio. It's the perfect spot to welcome your closest family + friends!
Bar Cento is a modern Italian eatery focusing on locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. The food is out of this world and the vibe inside is rustic and comfortable. Your guests will love circling up around a table and sharing a bite and a good time!
The Cambridge Room at House of Blues Cleveland
The Cambridge Room at House of Blues Cleveland is a great space that is perfect for this type of event! It's equipped with AV capability so you can use a microphone for toasts, play a custom playlist for the evening, or include a slideshow as part of the party's entertainment.
The Cambridge Room at House of Blues Cleveland
Wedding management... what is it, really? You're probably more familiar with terms like "day of coordinator" or "month of coordinator" but here at Oak & Honey, we're not sure that really exists! As wedding planners, the details are so important to us. And because of that, it's really hard for us to step in for just one day, or even just one month, and execute your wedding day flawlessly. After all, you've been planning the details for months or more!
So instead of trying to step into your wedding day plan, we designed a package that lets us support you in the weeks leading up to your day, understand your wedding vision and design, and jump in on the day-of as your logistical team. We call it wedding management, and it's a great fit for couples who need help getting across the wedding finish line.
Photo Credit: The Heartlanders Co.
Our wedding management package is comprehensive. We'll spend some time chatting in person and on the phone to understand your vision and what you have planned for your big day. And then we'll help you:
build your wedding day timeline so that the day flows smoothly and you have plenty of time for everything that needs to happen throughout the day, without feeling rushed
interface with booked vendors and contracts to confirm timing and other important details that are critical to a well-executed wedding day
manage all your day-of logistics, including: greeting and directing vendors, coordinating set up, managing the schedule so the day runs on time, acting as a point person for your vendors throughout the day, coordinating a sendoff, and assisting with clean up
Photo Credit: Nancy Pauline Photography
Ultimately, wedding management is perfect for you if you want a team by your side on your wedding day to make sure that your only job is to enjoy yourself!
Your wedding is a day to share your love and commitment with your closest friends and family. It's your introduction to the world as a married couple! It's also a time to showcase and celebrate your personal style. As a bride, you put a great deal of care and attention into choosing the perfect wedding dress... something that suits your style, something you can twirl and move around in, something that makes you feel beautiful.
The dress, the venue, the decor, the food, etc. all play a role in showing your taste and preferences, so why not apply that same level of personalization to the menswear for that big day?
There are so many ways to make sure your groom's style is represented, so we chatted with Brandon at Self-Made Custom Menswear to get the scoop. Below are five trends he shared with us to ensure the suit garments are as full of personality and uniqueness as the special man wearing them.
#1: Pattern Blazers
The traditional black tux has been replaced with beautiful, elegant pattern fabrics that are for the most stylish of grooms. Stick to dark tones with bold accents or go with a lighter base and dark accents. You can even mix different textures on the blazer like satin and velvet for a truly unique garment.
#2: Accent Buttonhole Stitching
Nothing says “custom” like a hint of hand-stitched color on your sleeve and lapel buttonholes. The first buttonhole on your sleeve could be all the accent your outfit needs, or you can get super creative and add color to each buttonhole. These tiny details make a huge impact and show your guests how no detail went overlooked.
#3: Bold Linings
Who said the inside of the blazer needed to match the outside? Get funky with a contrasting inner fabric or match the outside swag with equally fabulous fabric on the inside. You can even stitch details (like your wedding date or lyrics from your first dance song) into your garment for a subtle, yet special, touch of flair.
#4: Unexpected Socks
One of the items that can be most easily forgotten on the “Wedding To-Do List” is the socks! Forget the ancient notion that your socks have to match your dress pants, and instead shake things up a bit. Let your groom and groomsmen pick the socks that show their personalities best. The subtle splash of color will leave their ensembles looking perfectly inspired.
#5: Bold Neckwear & Brilliant Boutonnieres
Flowers aren't just for the bride! The simplest way to add personality to your suit is with a coordinating boutonniere, an elegant bow tie, or a fun pocket square.
If you're in Cleveland, Ohio or Edmonton, Alberta, schedule an in-person appointment with their expert stylist to go over the customization options, fabrics, and measurements for your garment. Not in either of those cities? Visit their website to design your custom garment easily online.
If you'd like to connect with Brandon and the Self-Made Custom Menswear team, find them below on Instagram or Facebook.
As planners, we want to provide our couples with information to help them plan and prepare for their wedding days. As a bride, we know a big part of that preparation is looking and feeling your best. We always recommend that brides consider having their makeup professionally done - and with that comes a decision. Will you choose traditional or airbrushed makeup for your big day? To help you make that choice, we interviewed Karin at Cleveland Makeup Artistry to help spell out the pros, cons, and key considerations that apply to each makeup option.
What is considered a "traditional" makeup application and how is that different from an "airbrushed" makeup application?
There are a lot of misconceptions about traditional makeup versus airbrushed makeup, so I'm happy to break that down for you. A traditional makeup application includes liquid, cream, and powder face products applied with brushes. An airbrushed makeup application uses special formulas of liquid makeup that are applied using an airbrush gun. The formulas are very thin in density and can be run through an airbrush system to deliver the evenest distribution of product possible. Think about how other things are painted when airbrushed - such as cars, walls in a house, or artwork. The airbrush delivery system is the best tool to give the effect of a flawless and evenly painted surface.
Within the realm of airbrushed makeup, there are several different formulas that can be used, including water-based, silicone-based, and alcohol-based products. Depending on the type of airbrush foundation used, a different coverage, finish, and wear time can be achieved.
This bride never wore foundation and really wanted to look and feel like herself on her wedding day. We airbrushed with a water-based formula to give the most natural look possible. We used a minimal amount of concealer on the skin and under eyes before airbrushing. You can still see her skin, and every freckle possible, but she photographs beautifully.
A professional airbrush makeup artist should offer different formulas of airbrush makeup to customize looks for their clients. The skin should be prepped properly before the airbrush makeup is applied to achieve the best look for each individual's skin type and situation. I personally believe that the airbrush makeup should not be touched with powder, blush, or any other makeup product once it’s completed because it compromises the airbrush effect. Not only foundation, but also blush, bronzer, highlight, and contour can all be achieved with an airbrush. There are mattefying sprays and setting sprays that can help set makeup and keep it looking fabulous all day.
This bride wanted full-on glam for her makeup look, so we layered different cream products under the airbrush formula to give a dense look that really pops on camera.
Most people think that the advantage of airbrushed makeup is that it is extremely longwearing. While there are longwearing formulas, they might not be right for everyone. It’s important to work with your makeup artist to choose the right application technique and formula of makeup that will work best for your personal style and skin type.
What are the benefits of traditional makeup? Are there any negative considerations of this makeup application?
The biggest benefit of traditional makeup is that there is so much variety in formula and colors available on the market, so you can really customize a formula, color, and style that is right for you. Another great benefit is that it can be easily mixed on a palette with skincare or other products to create new customized options. Many makeup artists will carry one or two formulas of foundations and concealers, along with different pigments, color correctors, and mixing mediums in order to achieve the ideal skin look for each individual they touch.
A challenge for makeup artists regarding traditional makeup is keeping up to date on all of the products available. The beauty industry is always growing and changing. New technologies for different formulas are always being updated. It can be tough for us as makeup artists, as well as for the average consumer, to know where to start when looking for the perfect foundation. We could spend hours in a department store, Sephora, or drugstore looking through the different options. For that reason, many of us tend to stick with what we know works best, versus choosing the new product or gimmick that's available on the market.
What are the benefits of airbrushed makeup? Are there any negative considerations of this makeup application?
Airbrushed makeup is simply the most flawless way that any product can be applied to a surface. With that being said, it may not be right for everyone. In order to get the smoothest look, the surface being worked on has to be smooth as well. If an uneven surface is airbrushed, the product can’t have the even distribution that the tool is intended for. For that reason, skin should be prepped and primed properly before beginning. It’s important that skin is exfoliated so that all dead skin cells are removed. I also recommend removing vellus hair (also known as peach fuzz), as airbrushed makeup can sit on top of this. For skin with severe texture or fine lines, airbrush might not be the best option.
Does airbrushed makeup feel different when it's applied than traditional makeup?
As it's being applied, airbrush makeup feels luxurious and relaxing. Once the application is finished, many clients point out that they can’t feel it on the skin at all. There’s an element of skill and control that the makeup artist employs, using minimal product stretched as far as possible to give this effect.
When is traditional makeup the best option for a bride? When is airbrushed makeup a better option?
Traditional makeup may be best for a bride with severe fine lines or texture on the skin. Otherwise, regardless of the type of coverage, finish, and wearability a bride is going for, airbrushed makeup provides the most event application of product to the skin. I believe that a bride deserves the best on her wedding day, and that there is really no better option for a flawless look than airbrushed makeup.
This client was the Grandmother of the Groom. She had never had her makeup professionally done before and wanted to go all out for her grandson’s wedding. We used a traditional foundation applied with brushes to give her skin the most youthful, radiant look.
Does Cleveland Makeup Artistry offer both traditional and airbrushed makeup options?
Yes, we offer not only a tradition and airbrushed options, but a third service called Express Makeup. The Express Makeup Application is 20 minutes long (half the time of the traditional or airbrushed application), and uses a minimal amount of products and techniques. This service is great for brides who don’t usually wear makeup day to day, but who want to look and feel their best for their wedding day. It also works well for junior bridesmaids, large bridal parties who don’t have a lot of time for getting ready before an early ceremony, and those on a budget.
Where can people find you online?
Oak & Honey Events is proud to be an environmentally friendly event planner. What does that mean? Well, it means that you’re conscientious about the resources consumed in the production of your event, and that you search out ways to make environmentally friendly choices throughout your planning process.If planning an environmentally friendly event is close to your heart, then you will love what we’re about to share. Oak & Honey Events teamed up with Lesley Cohen Travel Planning to bring you tips for extending your eco-friendly planning all the way through your honeymoon!
Many hotels are Do-Gooder establishments that give back to the community or use green supplies throughout their properties.
If you’re looking for a fabulous eco-friendly bachelorette destination or a stateside honeymoon, Lesley highly recommends the 1Hotel in Miami Beach. They use reclaimed materials in the hotel and everything is inspired by nature - hemp mattresses, organic sheets, the list goes on. 1Hotel also offers health-conscious amenities like fabulous exercise options, healthy food options with local ingredients, and a holistic spa. They truly provide an environment that is healthy for both their guests and the earth. Read more about their story, here.
If you prefer a more exotic honeymoon destination, Lesley recommends Laucala in Fiji. They put it best on their website: “Style and sustainability go hand in hand throughout,” and that could not be truer. Laucala uses farms and fisherman on the island for a real farm/sea to table experience. And you might have seen the photo of their famous glass-sided pool. It’s the epitome of luxury meets eco-friendly. Read more about their story, here.
If you’re ready to jump feet first into honeymoon planning, get in touch with Lesley!
Lesley Cohen // firstname.lastname@example.org
Melanie, Founder of Oak & Honey Events, shares some of her favorite local and eco-friendly gift picks for the favorite people in your life. Earlier, we shared her favorites for the special lady or man in your life, now we’re sharing some of her favorite gifts for the hostess with the mostess at all of your holiday get-togethers. We hope our posts will not only help you find the perfect gift that the special ones in your life will enjoy but also help you support local businesses and reduce your impact on the environment. Making someone’s day and giving back to the community – What could be better?
Today on the blog, Melanie gives you some of their favorite local gift picks for your hostess.
All of Lauren Studio’s products are handmade in Lakewood, Ohio. Lauren's products are inspired by her contemporary art upbringing and influenced by abstract geometric forms. I love the sleek, contemporary design but functional use. I've been swooning over their geometric diamond dish - a perfect addition to anyone's home.
Jessica N Designs
Jessica N Design products are hand stamped goodness made in Ohio. They offer a number of fun designs perfect for any occasion but you should have no trouble finding a gift for your hostess. I recommend spreaders with hand stamped sayings like," spread joy", "spread love", and "spread cheer," is the perfect holiday hostess gift. Cute and ready to use at any holiday get-together.
My current obsession is 1820 House Candles. The candles are hand poured based out of East Palestine, Ohio. Their candles focus on aromachology which is a "basic awareness of how a certain fragrance evokes feelings of peace, happiness, bliss, relaxation or bring up memories of something familiar or comforting." Pick-up a candle from their holiday collection your hostess is bound to love.
Popes Kitchen offers fresh, locally sourced ingredients in all their products. They have a number of delicious cocktail mixes and bar products to spice-up any drink at your next holiday party. Some of my favorites are the Mellow Bloody Mary Mix, Strawberry Balsamic Sauce, or the Hot Sauce Gift Pack. The Mellow Bloody Mary Mix is perfect for News Years morning!
Sage and Spice Botanicals
Sage and Spice Botanicals is a small botanical company based in Cleveland, Ohio. They offer many artisan herbal products made with organic and fair trade botanicals. Sage and Spice has some great tea blends that are perfect for the friend that does not drink coffee. One of my favorites is the Sunset blend.
Willey Creek Spoon and Utensil utilizes traditional greenwood carving techniques to make wooden spoons and various other kitchen utensils. I chatted with Bill, the owner, at the Crafty Mart in Akron, and he shared with me that many of the items he makes use fallen down wood in his backyard. The spoons would be a great addition to tie on to a jar of Pope’s Kitchen’s Strawberry Balsamic sauce.
We are so excited to announce that Amanda Cursaro of Baci Designer will be taking over the blog this week! She will be sharing eco-friendly tips for couples who are looking to reduce their impact on the environment with their wedding stationery.
Amanda is the owner of Baci Designer, a boutique wedding stationery company founded in 2008. Baci's mission is to create timeless wedding invitations and coordinated details through original and intentional designs for engaged couples seeking an editorial look that is reflective of their style.
Often people assume stationery isn't one of the areas of their wedding where they can truly be eco-friendly. After all, it is mostly paper and I've often heard, "It will just get thrown away." However, that isn't necessarily the case if you put original and intentional thought into creating an heirloom-quality design people will want to share with others and treasure as a keepsake for years to come.
Aside from the thoughts of a mushy custom stationer on why wedding paper isn't wasteful, there are tons of practical options to reduce your environmental impact when choosing your stationery.
Recycled and Tree-Free Stock Options
The obvious start is with 100% recycled stock. This can come in most any form, but our favorites come from the Neenah Paper Mill in fabulous tones like Concrete, Grocer's Kraft, Honeycomb and Wrought Iron. Gone are the days of drab, dirty looking recycled stock. Neenah's Environmental Line is not only created using sustainable practices, but 100% renewable electricity as well.
The majority of the wedding stationery we create here at Baci Designer is printed on Savoy's 100% Pure Cotton Stock - it not only offers the most luxurious fabric-like texture, but it is tree-free, acid-free, recyclable, biodegradable and elemental chlorine-free.
A fun and unique option is Seeded Stock made with post-consumer materials (often paper and fabric) and embedded with seeds that can be planted after use. Each sheet is completely different from the next, adding a fabulous element of texture and thickness. Seeded Stock comes with seed options to plant everything from flowers to herbs and vegetables.
Hiring a professional stationer will provide you with the most resources and knowledge in order to ensure you're getting the best eco-friendly wedding suite options. They'll also be able to ensure you are ordering correct quantities to cut down on waste and brainstorm some of the best options to help reduce your impact.
Useful Homemade or Local Flowers
Photo Credit: Doug Treiber Photography
When choosing favors to gift your guests at the end of the night, stop and think about how useful they are before purchasing. Consumable items are often the best option here - think a trio of macarons from your local bakery, homemade jam using an old family recipe or your favorite childhood treat packaged in a reusable container. A simple tag printed on one of the recycled and tree-free stock options above can accompany all of these pieces.
Reusable and Repurposed Decor and Signage
Photo Credit: Suzuran Photography
Day-of stationery pieces are some of our favorite things to create, but they require a bit more thought ensuring they aren't wasteful. We love to see pieces in your home as decoration (welcome signs and picture frames used for table numbers are perfect for this!) or as an heirloom piece you put away for your own children (a framed program or laser-cut cake topper).
Repurposing items from the ceremony to the reception is also a great way to minimize your impact. Your planner will happily move your welcome sign from the ceremony entrance to greet guests as they enter the reception as well. We also create two-sided signs for this purpose, too.
Renting or Selling Items Post-Wedding
Don't see a need for 25 acrylic table numbers after your wedding? Try renting first. Sometimes things are created specifically for you and your event, so renting isn't an option, but it is worth inquiring. If you can't find exactly what you're looking for as a rental and you do need to purchase pieces, after your wedding sign up for a resale event (like Recycled Wedding Boutique) or post on a sale site for the next lovely bride to snag for her big day!
Thanks again, Amanda, for sharing such insightful information!
This week we're thrilled to turn the keyboard over to Katie Marotta with the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park! She will be sharing some valuable tips for couples who are in the venue selection stage of planning, and also provide a list of helpful questions to ask venues of interest.
Katie has worked with the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park for 4.5 years. The Conservancy is an organization that supports and encourages those to connect to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and by hosting weddings here, they are able to preserve the park for future generations. She started as an event host in 2012 and was promoted to Sales & Guest Services Manager in 2015. Currently, Katie manages both the Hines Hill Campus for special events as well as Stanford House for overnight use. She loves working in such a beautiful park, and especially loves working with brides to help make their dream weddings happen! She says the best part of her job is greeting guests and seeing their faces light up as they enter the completed wedding day setup.
Photo Credit: Janelle Putrich Photography
Always schedule a site visit
Scheduling a site visit with the facility manager gives you a chance to walk through each part of the wedding day and gain inspiration from the manager's past experiences at that particular venue.
Know that every venue's available dates are constantly changing, so it helps to be open to what's available.
Disclose important details
Having an estimated guest count and disclosing any other important details are going to help the facility manager give you better options for your wedding needs.
I think it's beneficial for brides to come prepared with an open mind, a tape measure, and a camera.
Photo Credit: Janelle Putrich Photography
Questions to ask:
What are the rules and regulations particular to the venue and outside property?
What are the out of season dates and deals available?
What is the venue capacity, amenities, and any restrictions?
What furniture and decor items are provided?
What additional furniture will be needed, outside of what the venue provides?
What is the earliest time that setup can begin?
Is there a set time that cleanup needs to begin and is there a cutoff time where guests need to vacate the site?
What is the alcohol policy?
Exclusive vendors and catering options
Who are your recommended vendors? These vendors are ones to take with great consideration and have experience working with the venue.
Does the venue have decoration inspiration or suggestions?
Is there lodging nearby and/or any overnight bridal specials?
Is security required?
How much parking is available to guests?
What outside lighting does the venue provide and what are some additional lighting options, if needed?
Are there any outside noise ordinances?
What is required in order to reserve a date?
What is the cancellation policy?
Bottom line - remember, this is your special day, and when you find the right venue, the rest will be a walk in the park!
We hope these questions and tips will help all the newly engaged couples out there with their venue search! Thank you for the wonderful tips, Katie!