chinese sky fly fire lanterns at your wedding

Everyone loves the Chinese Sky Fly Fire lanterns at the end of their wedding. They are sweet, romantic and make for awesome photos! However, as planners, we are the ones behind-the-scenes making sure that this event (if incorporated in your wedding) goes off without a hitch.

Besides the obvious fact of having a lot of room in the sky for the lanterns to take flight in the air and understanding that you cannot, I repeat, cannot light these if winds that are over 10mph … we thought we’d give you some real tips on the Chinese lanterns.

hot tips on creating an awesome chinese lantern event at your wedding:

1. Buy lanterns that are already assembled. 

These thin paper products range in prices. You may be tempted to purchase the cheapest ones. Stop. Do not do it. You’ll deeply regret it and probably burn yourself. The cheap ones require you to assemble the burning mechanism in the lantern in advance. It’s time consuming and often will not stay in place. If you DO get it lit, sometimes the “on-fire” burning portion will fall out … while the lantern is in air. And that may land on you! So spend the extra money per lantern.

chinese sky fly fire lanterns 1

2. Buy disposable lighters that are “wind resistant”.

This is almost as important as the type of lanterns you purchase. Lighting the lanterns is the biggest headache of all. You’ll want to use lighters that you would use for the grill (I’m sure you already thought of that). But if there is any type of breeze, the lighters are hard to use. Especially with the child safety. Your thumb grows tired and it is frustrating. Opt to spend a little extra and purchase a wind resistant lighter. It is disposable but when lit, looks like a little butane flame. We like the Coleman brand.

chinese sky fly fire lanterns 2

3. Have sober people disperse the lanterns and manage the lighters.

If we are onsite, that is us! But if you haven’t opted to get a wedding professional to help you with your day, then designate someone that will be sober. The management of getting the lanterns distributed and actually lit will make the process safer. Trust this.

4. Trash cans.

Unless you unpack each individual lantern (from the packing cellophane in advance), you’ll need a trash receptical to collect a lot of packing material. Even then, sometimes you need to throw away ripped lanterns. Keep your reception looking neat.

chinese sky fly fire lanterns 3

5. Don’t forget music in the background.

This isn’t critical, but since we are always thinking about a great guest experience, don’t forget about having some background music as you watch the lanterns float away into the air. The last time we did this, we simply moved a boom box (it was a quality one) outside and played a few pre-designated songs. No need for moving out your DJ’s equipment, as this event usually happens at the end of the evening anyway.

Final words, there is an art to doing these, so practice in advance. But always be sure to do so in a safe area. Not in the middle of your subdivision with a lot of trees. Over water (with proper direction of the wind) is the best environment.

photo credit: photorexit photography

ps The photos above were “in real life” photos as we tried to get lanterns lit in too strong of winds. The photographers and us had a great time with it. And due to the winds, we had to cancel this event.

plan on!

brides magazine: do not feed your wedding photographer …

We came across an article by Sandy Malone, she’s a destination wedding planner and has had a show on TV. I’ve spoken with her personally on social media and this post is not to attack her. We have a different viewpoint from what she wrote and it is directly applicable to the area we live in, the Midwest – who typically experience very long, traditional, ceremonial wedding days. Also, we’re nice people over here.

Here is the article at Bride’s Magazine.

update: Bride’s Magazine removed the article. Controversy? february 5, 2016

second update: Thanks to Sean Molin you can’t delete anything from the internet, here’s the archive version. Bride’s Magazine simply deleted the post, thinking the negative social media would go away. I hope they plan on addressing the situation.

our viewpoint on feeding wedding vendors

bands

Almost all bands have a rider in their contract that will require a meal. The meal will be given to them before guests arrive or during cocktail hour. While they should be playing during the meal (IF you have contracted that additional hour), then it is up to the band to either eat before or have a few of the musicians playing. Music should be softer in sound anyway, not a full blown band with singing while guests try to dine and talk.

photographers/filmmakers

Many do not have in their contract to be fed. It’s an understanding. If your photographers have been with you from the hair salon (at 10am), pre-wedding photos, ceremony, cocktail hour, grand entrances, a welcome speech … then it bodes that they need to eat. HAVE to eat. If you are unwilling to provide a meal for them, then expect that they have the right to leave the wedding to eat and then return. Who wants that? They don’t need anything special, although she is right, in many circumstances it is more difficult for the catering to provide special, less expensive meals. Either way, they need to refuel their bodies. NO PHOTOS SHOULD BE TAKEN DURING THE MEAL. It’s in poor taste and photos that will never be used in any photo album.

wedding planner team

See above for the photographers, same rule is applied.

dj’s

It’s customary in our area to feed your DJ. They setup before guests arrive and then return to be on-site for 5+ hours.

who could you skip?

Perhaps you have certain vendors that “just showed up” (i.e. photo booth). They setup early and then are able to leave and return when the booth is to be open, may not require a meal. However, it’s better to feed vendors and have them on-site should the timeline need to be shifted due to unforeseeable circumstances.

While you should never need to contract a meal for your transportation driver that has to sit outside for hours to provide guests rides, we will wait until everyone is fed and IF there is left over food, go outside and give the driver a plate. Same goes for security (although most caterers will feed them anyway). This is not included in your catering final count. We do this, because we are all human beings and it’s a nice act of kindness.

final thoughts …

Your wedding planners will work with the caterers to have meals set in a different room while YOU eat. Please note, we don’t care where we eat. Usually it is the first time we have sat down all day and we literally gulf our food down. It’s not pretty. We’ve eaten with plates on our laps in stairwells. We aren’t complaining, our bodies need to fuel up.

Finally, know that we live in a geographical location that being gratuitous to your wedding vendors — that you will continue to see or interact with on social media or in person, is expected. We are not a destination location that you can whiz in, whiz out and never see that vendor again.

So please keep all of this in mind when reading articles that give this type of advice.

featured photo credit: pfe iphone

plan on!

how to propose to your loved one …

Welcome our guest blogger

Today we are so excited to feature a guest blogger, previous bride and client, Madelyn. She had a sweet little wedding last year and we were so pleased to be a part of it.

She married an amazing guy who planned an awesome proposal. But we’ll let her tell the story. -pfe team


Hello lovely people! My name is Madelyn Pike (which is a name this new-wifey is still getting accustomed to!)

A quickie bio about me: I’m 23 years-old. I live in Newburgh, Indiana and I work in recruiting. Things I love include weekend trips, monograms, Chipotle, and I’ve never met a day planner I didn’t like. I firmly dislike alarm clocks and the gym.  My husband’s name is Tyler; I married him because he’s the most charismatic person I’ve ever met, makes me laugh every single day, and looks good doing it. 

Tyler and I married in June 2015 with the help of planning…forever events. During the planning process, I was asked to contribute a guest-blog. Unfortunately, I never found enough time to write. But now that we’re happily wed, I’m ready to reflect on this whirlwind of a planning process!

Proposal Photography

Tyler proposed in downtown Newburgh on June 22, 2014. Being the closet-romantic that he is, Tyler arranged a photographer to capture the most exciting surprise of my life! Having photos of this special moment is something I would recommend to anyone. Like all good things, it’s over in the blink of an eye! And like engagement and wedding photography, Proposal Photos are a way to relive the thrill all over again.

To make capturing your proposal a success, below are some tips for both fiancés-to-be.

1. Work with professionals.

In a pinch, having a close friend or family members snap pictures on their phone works. But 98.5% of the time, those photos will lack the artistic merit of a professional photographer. Do some research, ask for referrals, and find someone who has the experience and portfolio.

If you don’t have the time to research, or don’t know what you’re looking for, contact a wedding planner who specializes in all things wedding. #pfe does offer engagement planning services. They will stay behind the scenes and let the proposer take all the credit! 

burk pike proposal photos 1

2. Have a creative story.

A week before Tyler proposed, he asked me to accompany him to dinner with his parents the following weekend. Later, he mentioned it would be at Victoria National Golf Club. On Sunday, we had an early lunch and he suggested grabbing an appetizer downtown before dinner.

This was all a set-up; a series of nonchalance that ultimately led to my open calendar, appropriate attire for a nice dinner out, and growling stomach. The idea of a proposal NEVER crossed my mind, which added to the surprise. If you’re a prankster like my now-husband, the game of tricking her will be half the fun!

3. If this is a surprise: Be yourself!

If you don’t own a tie and your idea of a fancy restaurant includes the word “Roadhouse,” I do not suggest using a fancy dinner to lure her out. You might as well wear a shirt that says, “Something special is happening tonight!!”

IF you really want it to be a surprise, strategize a plan that fits your girlfriend and your personality as a couple. This is another way that a professional planner can be an asset. For example, I have a friend who is an athlete.  Her boyfriend took her to Indianapolis under the pretense of attending a Colts game. The tickets didn’t even exist, but she didn’t mind when he dropped to one knee at Monument Circle.

burk pike proposal photos 2

3. Encourage a mani.

Part II of that story deserves a certain emphasis. Earlier that day, Tyler noticed my week-old nail polish was chipping (a rarity for me.) With a joke, he called me out. I painted my nails that afternoon. I have never been so grateful! I would have been so mad at myself looking down at my shiny new ring on un-manicured fingers. 

Disclaimer: If your girlfriend couldn’t care less about something like her nails, don’t mention it. Drawing attention to it will only make her suspicious. 

4. Choose a photogenic location.

The last thing you’ll want is a neon McDonald’s sign in the background or random crowds of strangers walking right through your photos.  Start by finding a reasonably low-traffic spot, if possible (obviously you can’t expect to avoid crowds in Central Park or at the Eiffel Tower.) Again, hiring an expert will help you find the perfect spot to pop the question.

burk pike proposal photos 3

5. Consider public versus private.

A public proposal is a fun and vibrant affair. Passerby’s will stop to watch and cheer when they hear, “Yes!” and if your friends and family are present, they’ll love witnessing your happiness firsthand. On the flipside, you can’t beat the quiet intimacy of a private proposal, and the chance to keep it a secret between just the two of you for a little while.

If you can’t make up your mind, do a little of both! My best friend’s now-husband proposed while they were walking along the river in downtown Newburgh. When she said yes, he led her up to Café Arazu where both sets of parents where waiting, having secretly watched from afar.  They were able to have a private and romantic moment and immediately celebrate with their families after.

6. Have a Plan B, C, and D. Maybe even an E.

My husband suggested this one! I have literally just found out that he spent over a month planning how he would propose. I am shocked, but also not surprised. It was truly perfect and makes me feel so special that he put this amount of thought behind it. His advice is to think of it as a game plan (or to hire someone to do that for you.) Then don’t panic if it doesn’t go according to plan; just go with it. It will be perfect.

photo credit: Abby Wendholt

happy proposing!