Introducing Antique Coach Excursions & A Special Offer!

Skip the limo and boring school bus.  Arrive to your wedding in total class and style with Antique Coach Excursions.  For a little vintage vibe added to your day, choose one of their completely restored charters that will certainly have your guests talking.  Plus, have you ever seen a cooler photo backdrop?  If you're looking for a way to get from point A to point B, check them out in the Burgh Brides Vendor Guide!

And you can save 10% if you mention Burgh Brides when booking!

Wedding Planner vs. Venue Coordinator: 7 Big Differences

Fewer sentences makes this wedding-planner-turned-wedding-blogger cringe more than:  

  • “We’re having a cash bar.” 
  • “Do we have to feed our wedding vendors?”
  • “I don’t need a wedding planner.  My venue has one.” 

(Insert all of the sad crying face emojis here.) 

Listen, I don’t believe in telling brides and grooms that they NEED to do anything.  I say it’s your wedding; you can do whatever the hell you want!  There are no rules, especially none that states you have to have a wedding planner.  BUT before you totally commit to not hiring one because you think your venue coordinator is basically the same thing as a wedding planner, read this. 

Wedding Planner vs. Venue Coordinator: 7 Big Differences from Burgh Brides

1.) Sales vs. Logistical Planning

A Wedding Planner is…

  • A logistics and creative wizard.  They are hired by YOU to work their magic.  Planners specialize in coordination, execution, and design and can help you with everything from budget tracking and contract negotiation, to finding that perfect shade of blush pink.  They’re in it for you and you alone. 

A Venue Coordinator is…

  • In sales, most likely.  While they may have experience in coordinating and executing events, their job falls within the sales industry.  They have quotas and sales goals to meet and their ultimate responsibility is to serve the venue.  While they might have your best interests at heart, they weren’t HIRED by you and therefore don’t work for YOU. 

2.) Wedding Budget

A Wedding Planner will…

  • Save you money in the long run.  Planners do all that they can to help you stick to your wedding budget and possibly even save you money.  Many planners work with vendors to offer discounts or upgrades to their clients, but more importantly, wedding planners know all the tricks of the trade that will leave your money in your pocket after the wedding day is over. 

A Venue Coordinator will…

  • Be motivated by sales incentives and bonuses.  That might mean they’ll try to push you over your anticipating budget.  They are in sales, after all.  It’s their job, so you can’t really blame them.  Just be aware. 

3.) Vendor Recommendations

A Wedding Planner will…

  • Suggest the best vendors for you based on your wedding style and budget.  They will likely already have worked with those vendors in the past, which means they’ll have a great rapport…which could mean an easy experience for you too!  Additionally, many planners will attend meetings with those vendors with you to ensure that it’s a perfect fit and everyone has all the information they need. 

A Venue Coordinator might…

  • Only suggest those vendors that are on the venue’s preferred list.  The venue may be getting a kick back from these vendors, or that list may be very outdated.  Even if the venue doesn’t have a preferred (or worse, exclusive) list, the venue coordinator might only suggest those vendors who have worked at that venue, which is a disservice to you and all of that other talent out there.   

4.) Ideas & Inspiration

A Wedding Planner will…

  • Make creative design suggestions for every aspect of your wedding, like how to display your escort cards in an eye-catching way to which hair accessory will go best with your wedding dress style.  Wedding planners loooooove details and they will offer their design expertise so that every last one of them at your wedding is styled to perfection. 

A Venue Coordinator might…

  • Offer up some design ideas.  Or they might not.  It all depends on how involved they want to be in your creative process.  But if they do, those suggestions will likely revolve solely around the venue, not the entire wedding as a whole. 

5.) Vendor Management

A Wedding Planner will…

  • Work with ALL of your vendors throughout the planning process.  They’ll negotiate contracts on your behalf, they’ll make sure your wishes are being carried out, and they’ll make sure everyone knows what time to arrive and what to do when they get there. 

A Venue Coordinator will…

  • Likely only work with those vendors that impact the venue…the linen company, florist, DJ, caterer, etc.  But what about everyone else, like your makeup artist, hair stylist, or the limo?  The jobs of these vendors are usually done before getting to the venue, so the coordinator there likely won’t ever contact them. 

6.) The Ceremony & Rehearsal

A Wedding Planner will…

  • Conduct the ceremony and rehearsal no matter its location.  Church, synagogue, local park, your own backyard, the random street block that you’ve shut down just so you can say I Do…it doesn’t matter.  Your wedding planner will be there to make sure your walk down the aisle is totally flawless. 

A Venue Coordinator will…

  • Conduct the rehearsal only if your ceremony is also taking place at your reception venue.  They won’t travel to another location to make sure the best man has the rings or that there is a lighter next to the unity candle.   

7.) On Your Wedding Day

A Wedding Planner will…

  • Likely be the first to arrive in the morning and the last to leave at the end of the night.  The person you spent months working with to make sure your wedding day is exactly what you’ve imagined will physically be there to carry out on those wishes and make your dreams come true! 

A Venue Coordinator will…

  • Probably leave after dinner is served.  That isn’t to say you’ll be totally on your own!  It’s just that after the meal, usually a banquet captain is put in charge to make sure the rest of the night goes smoothly, in terms of catering anyways.  Your DJ and photographer will likely have to jump in to make sure other events like the cake cutting, garter toss, and sparkler exit are executed according to plan.  BUT that also means your DJ and photographer are then paying less attention to what THEY were hired to do. 

Hey, I’m not knocking venue coordinators!  I know many of them and they are all very hard working and dedicated, and the impact they can have on your wedding day even varies from venue to venue.  But I like being honest with you; it’s one reason people love Burgh Brides so much.  And if I’m being totally honest, there are some big differences between a wedding planner and a venue coordinator.  Maybe you need a planner, maybe you don’t.  But at least now you can hopefully make a better informed decision! 

What do you think?  Did your venue have a coordinator?  What did he or she do?  Did you hire a wedding planner?  Why or why not?  Comment below! 

Introducing the Gardens of Stonebridge!

Nestled on 78 acres, the Gardens of Stonebridge is the perfect wedding venue for anyone who has always dreamed of an outdoor affair!  Inspired by nature and adorned with lush foliage, water gardens, and a lawn built for a tented reception, the Gardens are romantic, secluded, and organically beautiful.  Managed by JPC Event Group, it's the latest Pittsburgh wedding space to join the Burgh Brides Vendor Guide.  Head on over and learn more about them!

Gardens of Stonebridge - Pittsburgh Wedding Venue & Burgh Brides Vendor Guide Member

Planning Your Sonoma Wine Country Honeymoon with The Wine Road

So all of my posts have convinced you to take a Sonoma wine country honeymoon, huh?  Good for you!  You will NOT regret it!  There is no other place that combines romance, relaxation, and adventure quite like Sonoma, CA.  But where to begin with all of that planning?  Half of the battle of a planning a honeymoon is actually planning a honeymoon.  The researching and Googling and looking at photos hoping they’re actually accurate and you don’t end up in a total dump of a hotel…ugh, it’s exhausting.  To ease all of that honeymoon planning stress, check out The Wine Road.  Here’s just how they can help you plan the post-wedding trip of your dreams!

Planning Your Sonoma Wine Country Honeymoon with The Wine Road featured on Burgh Brides

The Wine Road is a unique organization comprised of the best wineries, bed and breakfasts, boutique hotels, and other accommodations in Sonoma county.

Their mission is not only to enhance the area through tourism, but also to make sure guests don’t miss one single bit of wonder the valley has to offer.  Their website offers a comprehensive list of must sees, dos, drinks, and eats, making trip planning a breeze.

But to make it even easier, try the Wine Road's concierge service.

For absolutely no fee whatsoever, a real live person will discover your accommodation, activity, and budget preferences and will create custom recommendations tailored just for you.  A complete itinerary of wine tours, tastings, recreations, restaurants, even transportation and lodging, and all you have to do is answer a few questions.  It’s like having your own personal Sonoma county travel agent and there’s seriously no cost.  Did I mention it’s totally free?

Planning Your Sonoma Wine Country Honeymoon with The Wine Road featured on Burgh Brides

Stayed in the adorable Camellia Inn, thanks to The Wine Road!

Planning Your Sonoma Wine Country Honeymoon with The Wine Road featured on Burgh Brides

Hot air ballooning on your honeymoon bucket list? The Wine Road can make some great recs, like Up & Away Ballooning!

If you like the idea of planning your trip or if you prefer to explore Sonoma on your own, get the Wine Road tasting pass.

Planning Your Sonoma Wine Country Honeymoon with The Wine Road featured on Burgh Brides

Tasting “darn fine barn wine” at J. Rickards Winery

Thirty bucks gets you free wine flights at over 60 wineries, allowing you to sample as you go or check them all out.  But if you’re like me and don’t really know the difference between a pinot noir and a cabernet, the Wine Road can help with that too.  Their website features a whole section full of wine tasting tips and even a glossary of wine terms.  You’ll be sippin’ like a pro in no time.

Planning Your Sonoma Wine Country Honeymoon with The Wine Road featured on Burgh Brides

Zialena means Aunt Lena in Italian. The logo even features the family ravioli stamp!

After you’ve arrive in Sonoma, the Wine Road can help you on the ground too.

Their comprehensive maps of Sonoma wineries (yes, a printed, hard copy, physical map that folds up…remember those?) comes in super hand when you’re in the valley and can’t pull up Google maps on your phone (no service!).  This baby will get you from point A to point B, although I’d highly recommend just hiring a driver for the day.  The Wine Road can help with that too!

Planning Your Sonoma Wine Country Honeymoon with The Wine Road featured on Burgh Brides

From social media to their podcast to their blog and even an app, it’s easy to stay connected with the Wine Road.

I highly suggest giving them a follow to see if they’re a good fit for your honeymoon plans.  And if so, then holler at them for the trip of a lifetime!

While this post was sponsored by The Wine Road, all opinions, insight, and recommendations are my own.

Thinking of honeymooning in northern CA?  Don't miss my Ultimate Sonoma Wine Country Honeymoon Bucket List and my Guide to Sonoma County Wineries!

Want to read what others are saying?  Check out these posts from my friends at Apple Brides and United with Love!

Timeless Gold & White Wedding at the Fairmont: Steph & Andy

For Steph and Andy, getting dressed up and going to nice dinners is a go-to date idea.  When it came time to get married, they aimed to recreate that feeling of a special night.  A romantic dinner, lots of candlelight, and a good ol' fashioned party is all it took to bring their vibe to life.  The Fairmont Hotel and the downtown area hold special places in Steph and Andy's hearts, so it was a natural fit to host their big day.  Once the venue was nailed down, the rest of the details were easy to figure out – timeless, neutral, and a hint of glam.  From the gold foil laser cut invitations to Steph's long lace sleeved Tara Keely sheath gown to the oh-so-bridal bouquet of white peonies, lilies, and hydrangeas (The Blue Daisy Floral Designs outdid herself this time), this day was as classic as it gets.  After a Heinz Chapel ceremony, guests entered the hotel ballroom to find even more chic-meets-glitz details like sheer ivory linens embroidered with gold satin ribbons, a gold painted wedding cake, and lit candles just about everywhere they turned.  What a special night indeed.  And it was all expertly captured by none other than Steven Dray Images.  This one's got me like whoa.

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From the bride…

When and how did you two meet?  What was the proposal like?  All the juicy details!

Andy and I are in the same industry.  At one point, we were doing the same job (title attorneys) for competing companies.  He works for EQT and I work for Consol Energy.  We met at a Young Professionals in Energy happy hour at Olive or Twist.  He overheard me tell my friend I was hungry and immediately asked me to dinner with him.  I awkwardly said yes.  We walked over to Six Penn Kitchen and had our first date.

Describe the look, theme, style, and colors of the wedding.  What inspired it?  What was unique about it?

Candlelit dinner, romantic setting, neutral ivory tones with hints of gold.  We love getting all dressed up and going to nice dinners, so we wanted to capture that feeling and atmosphere.  We knew from the beginning we wanted a traditional, classic, and timeless wedding.

We really wanted photos of our grandparents, who could not physically be there to share in our day.  So we blew up photos of them and had them displayed in the foyer.

What was your favorite moment of the day?

Steph

Aside from marrying the man of my dreams, my favorite memory is more of a feeling.  It was when we got in the limo after our ceremony.  It started to hit me – we just got married!  We were there with the people we loved the most, holding hands, smiling, laughing, and of course jamming to our favorite music.  It was the happiest moment of my life!

Andy

We did a first look.  I really liked seeing Stephanie before the rest of our guests and not waiting until she was walking down the aisle.  She looked so beautiful and  happy.  I was just staring at her until she finally said “Come here” and gave me a hug and kiss.  It's easy to get caught up in the regimented nature of the day, so having that moment of just us together and feeling the excitement and happiness we both had was a great start to the big day.  It calmed a lot of nerves.   It also meant we could spend more time together instead of just waiting until the ceremony.  It extended our celebration because we were together longer and enjoying more of the day as a couple.

What advice would you give to other couples planning their big day?

No matter how much planning or time you put into it, something is going to go wrong the day-of.  You need to focus on the big picture, your feelings, and your partner and not let it ruin your day.  No one notices except you and if you choose not to let it bother you, then you can fully appreciate and take in each moment.

We both are really glad we did the first look.  It calmed both of us down and we were able to spend more time together throughout the day.  It felt more like a celebration of us since we are experiencing more of it together.

Set aside time for just you and your spouse.  It sounds like common sense but the day is full of you waiting for the next task, the next thing on your day-of schedule.  It's really easy to get lost in the mix and not live in the moment.  Try to sneak away or meet on the dance floor and enjoy each other, take in the venue, and the people around you.

Vendors

Bride's Dress: Tara Keely | Bride's Shoes: Badgely Mischka | Caterer: Fairmont Pittsburgh | Ceremony Location: Heinz Chapel | DJ: Bryan Hoover of Pittsburgh All Stars Event Services | Flowers: The Blue Daisy Floral Designs | Hair: Simply Captivating Styling | Makeup: Jae Lee Paredes of JL Makeup Studio & Beauty Boutique | Officiant: Rev. David M. Anderson, Jr. | Photographer: Steven Dray Images | Reception Venue: Fairmont Pittsburgh | Stationery: More than Words | Videographer: Michael A. McKown of The Pros | Violinist: Devin Arrington

Flowers: The Blue Daisy Floral Designs | Makeup: Jae Lee Paredes of JL Makeup Studio & Beauty Boutique | Photographer: Steven Dray Images

Introducing JL Makeup Studio & Beauty Boutique!

JL Makeup Studio & Beauty Boutique is the latest powerhouse glam squad to join the Burgh Brides Vendor Guide and I couldn't be more excited to introduce you to them.  Two of the area's leading makeup artists teamed up and have since added hair stylists, estheticians, and other beauty experts to their arsenal.  Their experienced and versatile staff make JL Makeup Studio a tour de force of epic proportions.  Makeup application, hair styling, lash lifts and extensions, waxing, facial treatments, you name it – this crew will have you looking your absolute best on your wedding day.  Go meet them in the Vendor Guide and read all about what they can do!

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas You’re Bound to LOVE

Calling all sweethearts!  These Valentine's Day gift ideas will help you celebrate February 14th in style.  Ranging from inexpensive and heartfelt trinkets to always romantic jewelry to sentimental home decor, these Etsy finds are sure to put you in the mood for love.  While you don't technically need a mid-winter, likely-invented-by-retail-companies-holiday to express your feelings, being a little extra romantic and thoughtful on V-Day never hurt anyone.  So go ahead and get your shopping on!

Valentine's Day Gift Ideas from Burgh Brides

  1. Home is Wherever I'm with You Print $10
  2. XOXO Tic Tac Toe Necklace $54
  3. 52 Reasons Why I Love You Custom Deck of Cards $65
  4. 14k Gold Stacking Rings $185
  5. All You Need is Love Print $4.99
  6. Love Journal Notebook $28
  7. Sassy Periodic Table of Elements Valentine's Day Card $5
  8. Valentine's Day Pencil Pack $10
  9. Red Heart French Knot Embroidery Art $30.15
  10. Boho Red Heart Ornament $15
  11. You're My Favorite Person Mug $13.99
  12. Husband To Be Card $5.72
  13. Personalized Song Lyric Pillow $28
  14. Couples Infinity Pillow $29.50
  15. Date Night Ideas $17.75

Introducing Pittsburgh DJ Company & A Special Offer!

Wedding dancing is the best kind of dancing.  I'm pretty sure your friends will agree when they hear Pittsburgh DJ Company at your wedding.  These self-proclaimed “dance floor fillers” will get even the biggest non-dancer to bust a move.  How?  Because they LISTEN!  Well before the wedding, the professional DJs of this boutique music company get to know you and your style.  Then, while they're playing for all of your friends, they PAY ATTENTION to what the crowd likes (and dislikes).  It's a knack that only comes from years of experience in all kinds of different settings and for all types of crowds.  Pittsburgh DJ Company is the newest Pittsburgh wedding DJ to join the Burgh Brides family, and I HIGHLY encourage you to trust them with all of the music for your special day!  Go read more about them in the Vendor Guide!

Plus, if you mention Burgh Brides, you'll get four FREE uplights!

The Bedroom Must Have Every Newlywed Home Needs!

While you're busy planning that wedding, don't forget about life after the big day.  Making a home with someone can be fun, stressful, and difficult all at the same time.  Whether you're just moving in together or have cohabited for quite some time, I'm sure you can agree that merging two lives isn't always the easiest thing to do.  While you're arguing over whose furniture to keep and whose artwork to hang on the walls, remember that you absolutely need to agree one thing – a mattress!  Think about it…it's the one thing that you'll both use every.single.night.  A good night's sleep is literally the best thing you can do for your body and mood, so selecting the right mattress is crucial.  Lucky for you, I've found it and I'm so excited to tell you all about this bed in a box from Tomorrow Sleep!

The Bedroom Must Have Every Newlywed Home Needs from Burgh Brides: A Tomorrow Sleep Mattress Review

Touting itself as “the most comfortable hybrid mattress,” Tomorrow Sleep uniquely combines memory foam support with coil springs.  They also have an entire line of pillows, sheets, and other bedroom must haves that work in conjunction with the mattress for an overall sleep experience.  Sold exclusively on Tomorrow's website, these products get rave reviews and score lightyears ahead of comparable brands.  So when Tomorrow Sleep offered to send me a mattress to try out, I jumped at the chance.

Prior to this, my husband and I had a traditional queen sized mattress that we topped with a memory foam pad.  I usually slept well but always felt a little tired during the day, but I just assumed it was because I work 87 hours every day (joking).  After about a month of using our new Tomorrow Sleep mattress and their sleep tracking device, I can see how wrong I was.  Now, I'm literally obsessed with our bed and can't wait to hit the hay at the end of the day.  Here are just a few reasons why!

Easy Unpacking

I have never ordered a mattress online before, but I just assumed it would come in an enormous box.  I was a bit worried because our house is old and the staircase is pretty narrow; I had no idea how my husband and I were going to get a queen size mattress up to our bedroom.  Imagine my delight when our Tomorrow Sleep arrived in a box smaller than I am (20” X 20” X 42”)!  It weighed about 100 lbs, but we hauled it upstairs with minimal effort and opened it up.

The Bedroom Must Have Every Newlywed Home Needs from Burgh Brides: A Tomorrow Sleep Mattress Review

This literal mattress in a box was vacuumed packed and folded, but we cut open the packaging using a cute, handy dandy branded letter opener that was included.  Our new mattress was laying flat on our boxspring in a matter of minutes, and I couldn't wait to lie down!

The Bedroom Must Have Every Newlywed Home Needs from Burgh Brides: A Tomorrow Sleep Mattress Review

The Bedroom Must Have Every Newlywed Home Needs from Burgh Brides: A Tomorrow Sleep Mattress Review

Cool Comfort

Like I mentioned, Tomorrow's mattresses consist of a memory foam/coil hybrid.  This unique combination allows your body to be supported but also cool.  There is nothing I hate more than being too hot in the middle of the night; I'd rather be too cold than too hot!  Traditional mattresses can be dense, trapping heat and causing you to sweat (gross).  Tomorrow's memory foam allows air to circulate, keeping your body temp regulated.  The coils flex individually, meaning pressure isn't dispersed throughout the entire mattress.  So every time my husband moves or gets up for a midnight snack (which he often does), I am not woken up.  I love my husband but sharing a bed isn't always the most fun thing (don't mess with me and my sleep).  Our new mattress is a very close second to actually having my own bed again!

The Bedroom Must Have Every Newlywed Home Needs from Burgh Brides: A Tomorrow Sleep Mattress Review

A Built In Brain

Not all sleep is the same.  To get more insight on what kind of sleep we were getting, Tomorrow also sent us a pair of Sleeptracker Monitors.  About the size of a credit card, this device is little but mighty.  It works in conjunction with the mattress to track heart rate, breathing rate, body temp, amount of light sleep, length of REM cycles, and body movements.  It then provides a daily analysis and “sleep score” via their mobile app.  I can even answer questions about that day's exercise, stress level, and screen time.  Why is this info important?  Over time, you can find a correlation between these numbers and your sleep quality.  Then you can adjust things like your bed time, bedroom temperature, and even your night time eating habits to improve your shut eye.  As Tomorrow puts it, they believe “the better you understand what you do while you sleep, the more you can improve how you feel when you step out of bed.”

The Bedroom Must Have Every Newlywed Home Needs from Burgh Brides: A Tomorrow Sleep Mattress Review

The Bedroom Must Have Every Newlywed Home Needs from Burgh Brides: A Tomorrow Sleep Mattress Review

Complete Sleep System

More than a mattress company, Tomorrow offers products to enhance your overall sleeping experience.  With memory foam and plush pillows, 500 thread count sheet sets, an all-season comforter, a mattress protector, and even blackout drapes, Tomorrow can improve the time spent in your bedroom one accessory at a time.  I've used a memory foam pillow for years but admittedly, mine has seen better days.  I can't wait to add one of Tomorrow's to my nightly routine!

The Bedroom Must Have Every Newlywed Home Needs from Burgh Brides: A Tomorrow Sleep Mattress Review

100 Night Trial

Nervous about buying a mattress online?  I don't blame you.  But Tomorrow's 100 Nights Risk-Free guarantee, coupled with their free 2-3 day shipping and returns, they  make it pretty hard to say no.  If you don't love your new mattress after 100 days, they'll take it back; no questions asked and no matter the condition it's in.  They'll even send someone to pick it up so you don't have to worry about shipping it back.  A policy like that speaks to just how much they believe you're going to enjoy it.  You really have nothing to lose.

Save $100 NOW!

Have I convinced you yet?  No?  How about I sweeten the deal even further?

Use the code BURGH100 and get $100 off any $500 purchase through March, 31, 2018!

Then come back here and let me know what you think of your new mattress!  I just know you're going to love it!

Want to know what others are saying about Tomorrow Sleep?  Read these posts from my blogger friends!

While this post was sponsored by Tomorrow Sleep, all opinions, insight, and recommendations are my own.