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Making a Difference instead of Making a Splash
Planning a wedding is a serious task – there’s so much to consider in order to reflect the two of you, how to entertain your family and friends, and sometimes as we know “the devil is in the details”. In the process of planning it is possible to lose sight of what is important in the middle of all the tulle, lace, invitations, favors, and photo booths. Ultimately, the point of a wedding is the marriage – how you two will live your lives together. A recent trend has couples making a difference, opting to spend or donate their wedding budget on a cause or charity close to their hearts. If you want to give back and extend your celebration to the wider community, consider looking into some of these different options.
Pinterest can be a helpful tool but it can also lead to a serious case of “wedding envy” and spur competition to make each wedding more opulent and fantastic than the last. Instead of the hottest wedding trend, try researching your church, community center, or a cause close to your heart to find a way you can contribute. Gather your wedding party to work for a weekend on a Habitat for Humanity project or spend a few hours serving meals at a homeless shelter.
Check out vendors – from wedding dresses to venues to photography – who give back to charities on Black Sheep Bride to find one that fits you. You can find someone in nearly every vendor category that will support a cause that’s special to you, making even your wedding expenditures count.
• Are you environmentally conscious and looking for a stunning but Eco-friendly gown? Check out Pure Magnolia gowns and Restitch Studio, both Black Sheep Bride vendors specializing in making you gorgeous for your day while reusing already existent or sustainable materials.
• Looking for a photographer who gives back? Check out Sandrachile Photography in Pittsburgh – she donates to Too Young To Wed, an organization that combats forced child marriage as well as Rabbit Wranglers, which rescues neglected and abused rabbits.
• A major wedding budget item is food, and quite often there are lots of leftovers from weddings. In Pittsburgh, consider donating leftover wedding reception meals to 412FoodRescue, an organization that collects good food that would otherwise be discarded and distributes it to community organizations in need.
• Flowers are a considerably large chunk of a wedding budget, and are often completely neglected after the few hours they are used to grace the reception tables or other parts of the venue. In Pittsburgh, why not give those flowers a second chance to bring a smile to faces by donating them through an organization such as Centerpieces 4 Seniors to a Senior retirement home, where they will be enjoyed for days. Started by Kelli Burns and Rose Davidson, these ladies collaborated by asking brides and venues to donate floral arrangements to the organization, which delivers them to senior care homes. They will pick up arrangements after any event, and often brides who choose Kelli Burns Entertainment for their DJ services will opt to donate their floral arrangements after seeing how much Kelli and Rose care for their service to Centerpieces 4 Seniors.
Recycled Weddings recently got national coverage in an article in The New York Times, highlighting four couples who chose to donate their time, money, and host their special day in a non-traditional but meaningful way. One couple chose an LGBT community center integral to their relationship for their venue, another was married at a homeless outreach shelter where they serve meals. An Indian couple traded the traditional Indian wedding for a simple ceremony at City Hall and dinner with family and friends, instead donating $20,000 to a charity that feeds children victims of Boko Haram violence and encouraged their guests to donate too. For every “big wedding” aspect they celebrated, a final couple involved their wedding party and families in packing brown-bag lunches for homeless shelters and other outreach.
How can your wedding make a difference?
Alexandra & Nick Pazzaglia
Candlelight Winter Wedding and Reception at The LeMont, Mount Washington, Pittsburgh PA
January 16, 2016
Three words to describe their wedding: Fun, Elegant, Energetic & Interactive
Every wedding is special and unique because of the couple being married and the family and friends who gather to bear witness to their marriage. But every so often, a wedding comes along that shines with the personality and love of the couple and all of the elements fall into place to make their wedding truly phenomenal. Alex and Nick’s candlelight winter wedding at The LeMont on Mount Washington was just such a magical moment. Alex and her mother, Debra, had planned down to the very smallest detail to make this wedding perfectly memorable and wonderfully intimate for their guests.
On the wedding evening, the lower ballroom of The LeMont on Mount Washington glowed with candlelight from the arrangements flanking the aisle and the altar, behind which the Pittsburgh skyline glowing brightly made a twinkling nighttime backdrop for Alex and Nick’s vows.
The focus on family was evident throughout the ceremony. Alex and Nick exuded excitement and love for the family they were building with Nick’s young daughter, Bella. Their wedding party included several adorable children as ring bearers and flower girls, including Nick’s nephews and Bella.
A beaming Alex and her father Ryan processed down the blazing candlelight aisle to “Nella Fantasia” by Sarah Brightman. Before exchanging vows, the couple shared a special moment with Bella by participating in a sand pouring ceremony, with Nick, Alex, and Bella each taking a turn to pour colored sand symbolizing each of them joining together as an inseparable family. As a special tribute to Alex, her aunt Janet serenaded the happy family with “All I Ask of You” during the sand pouring.
Finally, after exchanging their vows and rings, the happy couple kissed to the applause of their gathered family and friends. The bride and groom led the way for the whole bridal party to exit nearly dancing down the aisle to “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by Steve Wonder
Alex and Nick’s reception was just as sparkling, candlelit, and full of family as was their ceremony. As each member of the bridal party entered, Kelli Burns introduced them to the guests and gave a brief and humorous bio on each person, bringing the guests and bridal party closer together. Finally, Alex and Nick entered the ballroom hand in hand with Bella, being introduced as “The New Pazzaglia’s!”
Washed in glowing candlelight and surrounded by family, friends, and sparkling crystals, Alex and Nick danced a choreographed box-step for their their first dance as a married couple to Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud”. It was truly a magical moment. Breaking tradition, they invited their guests to join them on the dance floor immediately after the first dance. The ballroom turned into an enthusiastic dance party with all the guests crowding onto the dance floor. Alex, Nick, and Bella danced as a family to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” as well as a few other songs before everyone was invited to sit for dinner.
The rest of the evening was equally enchanting, and all about family traditions. Alex and her father, Ryan, shared a beautiful moment, beginning the Father & Daughter dance to Heartland’s “I Loved Her First”. Suddenly, the sentimental strains transitioned to a cheery, upbeat German polka, and Alex and Ryan grinned from ear to ear and started to bob up-and-down in the beginning of a traditional German polka. To the applause of the guests, they chasséd across the floor while everyone cheered and tapped their toes.
Nick and his mother, Sue, did a heartfelt dance to Celine Dion’s “Because You Loved Me”, smiling the whole time.
The dance floor was busy all night while guests cut a rug and got footloose, all set against the backdrop of the sparkling Pittsburgh skyline.
One of the most memorable dance floor moments was when Bella and one of the young ring bearers began a “lightsaber” duel worthy of two Jedi Masters with the light-up batons provided by Kelli.
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Alicia Krupa + Jason Landrio
A Winter Wedding at Hotel Monaco in Downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
January 9th, 2016
Three words to describe their wedding day:
Classy, Fun, Celebratory
Alicia and Jason knew from the moment they met that they would share a love to help each other through the good times as well as the bad. Their wedding at Hotel Monaco in January was a celebration of their love and the joy and support of their family and friends.
Paying homage to their love of R&B and Soul, the bridal party entered to “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King, and in special tribute to her life with Jason so far, Alicia was escorted down the aisle to “Trouble, Heartaches, and Sadness” by Anne Peebles.
The vocalist, Anne Peebles, sings about her past trials and tribulations, telling her constant companions Trouble, Heartache and Sadness that she no longer needs them.
“Coz I found the love I need a long time
I found the love to ease my troubled mind
Love blind hanging over my head
All of this time so it won’t rain on me
He’s my sunshine, and your loving me
Gonna set me free yeah… “
The deep love expressed in the Bride’s processional was echoed throughout the entire ceremony. Alicia and Jason exchanged their vows during a candlelit ceremony surrounded by their family and friends. From touching readings by Alicia’s aunt and uncle to the couple presenting roses to their mothers, Alicia and Jason’s ceremony was full of an intimate, caring, tender love to last a lifetime.
Following the ceremony, Alicia and Jason’s reception continued the candlelit joyful celebration. One of the most memorable moments of the night was the happy couple’s jubilant first dance to William Bell’s “Every Day Will Be Like A Holiday”, with Jason scooping up the couple’s young son, Chace, to dance with him and Alicia. The guests rounded out the evening with an energetic dance floor that showcased some serious dancing skill and enthusiasm.
The touching moments shared between Alicia and her father, Stanley Krupa, during the Father & Daughter dance were full of smiles and laughter, and they both radiated a quiet and peaceful happiness.
A mother’s pride in her son and his new family could not be more evident in Jason’s mother, Laura Landrio. Laura beamed at Jason through the Mother & Son dance. Together, the new Landrios, their parents, and extended family and friends danced the night away in celebration.
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This is an exciting time of the year, the very beginning of the year. It is also a very weird time of the year. We are still emotionally hungover from the holiday season, the marathon run that begins the day after Thanksgiving and ends the second day of January. In addition to feeling a hurricane of emotions, some good some bad, we are also riding high on optimism and hope for the future. That is why we make New Year’s resolutions, but resolutions are not the only thing we pay attention to; we also pay attention to trends. Like resolutions, trends affect everything around us and ultimately change how we behave. We build weddings on a foundation of what is popular at the time and 2016 is poised to be a very interesting year for weddings. For starters, they will be more techie than ever before.
Marta Segal Block of The Huffington Post writes, “For the past few years technology has been at the top of every wedding trends list. But what those lists mean by “technology” has gotten a little old: hashtags, charging stations, that cool thing Disney does with the movie on the cake…Hardly the stuff of fairytales for most couples interested in technology.” Some technological innovations Block touches on are photo apps, drones, on demand bar service, and more. Perhaps the most important of these things is the on demand service, which is preventative measure against overspending on alcohol at your wedding. This is accomplished by giving the bride and groom the ability to order more alcohol if needed during the wedding itself.
Then there are trends that have nothing to do with technology, nothing really to do with increasing the efficiency of your wedding planning, but they deal more with the aesthetics of the wedding. This might involve your stationary and it seems that glitter on your stationary is out and foil stationary is in. The most aesthetic jarring change in trends for weddings in 2016 seem to involve the things that you sit on and at: Tables and chairs.
Danielle Rothweiler of The Huffington Post writes, “Keeping with the idea of tossing the formalities aside when planning a wedding, banquet round tables are starting to not be “in” anymore. Long tables, square tables and even a mix of everything look amazing at a wedding. However, the lucite and mirror tables are how you kick your wedding up from a 9 to a 10.”
Kicking your wedding up from a 9 to a 10? Who doesn’t want that to happen at their wedding? That is a big jump and if it requires something as simple as a changing of the guard in terms of tables and chairs, you should absolutely consider it. Remember how important aesthetics are to the overall vibe and success of your wedding.
In 2016, there will be technological innovations, a change in aesthetics, and last, but certainly not least, a greater presence on social media that may psychologically impact a bride and groom’s mentality going into the ceremony and reception. Rothweiler writes, “It doesn’t matter if it’s a massive celebrity wedding or a random “Real Weddings” feature that a bride wants. Everything blends together in social media land, and a bride can drown in the inspiration available to her. Getting overloaded on wedding details is not the bad part here. What’s bad is when the bride figures out what she wants, and her decision was influenced (unbeknownst to her) by hashtags like “Wedding Goal”.”
In 2016, a couple preparing for their wedding is more vulnerable than ever when it comes to hashtag psychology, pooling over Instagram photos of pricey weddings and wondering if their wedding can ever match up. This adds unnecessary pressure to an already stressful situation. You have to keep in mind that every wedding is different and no one set of standards applies to them all. Weddings should not be competitions; they should be about two hearts coming together as one and that is something you will not find in a toy box of hashtags.
At Kelli Burns Entertainment, we always keep our eyes on trends, because that makes us better at making your wedding the best it can possibly be.
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In only a couple of days, most of us will be sitting around tables with friends and family sharing in delicious food and good conversation. Then, after that, we have about two more months of these gatherings until the New Year opens the glitzy drawbridge and we can enter the next stage of our lives. This is a very exciting time of the year as we give thanks for all the people and things that make us happy.
When you think of Thanksgiving or this time of the year, chances are you do not think of weddings, bridal parties, or anything related to nuptials. Perhaps you should; after all, “The holiday season is a popular time for popping the question and more than a quarter of engagements take place between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s day,” according to HNGN.
Hmm…that makes sense. This is the season of celebrations, friends, and families. If you are going to pop the question, now is a good time, especially since you are constantly with loved ones. Maybe there is no better time of the year to do it. At the very least, it is convenient. The specialness and cheerful atmosphere is there for the taking. So yes, there is a wedding-like enthusiasm in November and December, but this is not a blog post about the surge in engagement proposals this time of the year; rather, I want you to think of what you are thankful for when it comes to weddings nowadays. Now hear me out.
If Thanksgiving reminds us of all the ways in which we are fortunate, and of all that we take for granted, we should apply that same attitude to weddings and wedding planning. In other words, what wedding trends do you take for granted? What wedding trends do you like? Regardless of how you feel, the ball is in your court when it comes to imagining and reimagining wedding trends and that is something we should all be thankful for. These days the most beautiful thing about getting married is that you can completely customize the wedding, make it all about you and your partner. Just look at this Huff Post Weddings article.
Stefania Sainato writes, “We surveyed top wedding planners and vendors across the country to get the inside scoop on how they’re modernizing the most popular wedding trends to date. Get their expert advice on how to breathe new life into tried-and-true favorites and make them your own!”
Maybe that is the overarching message of Thanksgiving, “breathing new life into tried-and-true favorites and make them your own.” Sainato covers 10 different wedding trends, including mason jars, burlap with lace accents, photo booths, candy bars, chevron, barn or Gatsby-themed weddings, overly produced wedding photos, muted color palettes, creative signage, and sparkler sendoffs.
Now that list might make you dizzy, but the trick to customizing your wedding is to take these “classic” trends and spice them up or, in other words, show them how thankful you are in a different way. Take photo booths for example, which are a staple at most weddings. Having your photo taken is always fun, but it is easy to become complacent because of the same old photo booth where you and your date or you and a bunch of friends cram into something that is the size of a cubicle and make funny faces for a few seconds. Photo booths should be about emotion and fluidity. It should not turn wedding guests into stiff, almost-stoic mannequins. Sainato suggests we add things like unique backdrops and funky-looking furniture to the photo booth experience. We need to have the photo booth match the personality of the wedding reception. This might also mean upping the technological magic and offering a video booth option for your wedding guests.
Remember, every aspect of your wedding is completely up to you, so you must determine what trends you are grateful for and what trends you could do without. Although Sainato offers up some nice suggestions, the ball is always in your court. At Kelli Burns Entertainment, I will help you breathe new life into tried-and-true wedding favorites and make them your own, and that is something I am very thankful for.
October is almost here, and the changing leaves and cool weather have us thinking of Halloween and how much fun these seasonal weddings can be – especially with the holiday falling on a Saturday this year! From touches of orange to a gown with ornate, black detailing there are so many ways to add a spooktacular touch to your nuptials.
Whether you are a bride looking to stray from the white dress norm or are interested in adding a pop of bright color to your big day, Halloween is the perfect time to do so. In recent years, black wedding gowns have become a fashion-forward alternative to the traditional white gown, providing you with plenty of options to choose from. Every bride deserves to feel beautiful and confident on her wedding day, so choose the dress that speaks to you, regardless of its color.
Looking for a more subtle homage to the holiday? Pumpkin colored ties and bright orange bouquets are two great ways to incorporate some spooky spirit. One of my favorite ideas: A pumpkin basket for your flower girl to carry. Orange flower petals or dried leaves in shades of spice and burgundy with look stunning on the aisle.
From your save the dates to the wedding cake, there are so many little touches that can be added to your event. Touches of orange throughout the venue, glowing jack-o-lanterns and themed décor are some of our favorite ideas. Vintage candelabras and cobwebbed branches will add to the bewitching fun. Add a unique spin on the popular cookie table and create a candy buffet instead! Choose all your favorite chocolate treats and let your guests fill goodie bags to take home.
Set the mood with a dance floor that looks like it came straight off the set of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” music video. Smoke machines and mood lighting paired with Halloween hits like “Monster Mash” and “Ghostbusters” will have your guests on the dance floor in no time.
There are so many fun and unique ways to incorporate Halloween into your October wedding. Make the day your own with these ideas and enjoy the haunted fun!
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Don’t flowers just make you smile? After visiting many nursing homes it occurred to us that having fresh flowers could make the nursing homes brighter and happier. Dazzling flowers immediately bring smiles and excitement to a mundane day.
This is how the idea started. Simply bring in flowers for the residents of nursing homes to brighten their dining rooms and start a wonderful conversation.
Then the idea grew. Knowing that I perform at weddings and other events, I thought it would be good to save the centerpieces that were destined for the trash. By donating flowers to local nursing homes we keep the party going! Then we got other professionals like DJ Jeremy Ganss, Ansley Esterline from Bliss Events, and Melissa from the Blooming Dahlia involved in the program.
With their help we were able to make 6 arrangements out of just one centerpiece!
We are now in our 3rd month of making a difference in senior lives.. The re-purposed centerpieces are delivered to local nursing homes to bring happiness and cheer to the residents and care givers. We share small details of the fun event and residents begin to connect with pleasurable events from their past. Seeing seniors smile as they talk about the centerpieces and enjoy their dining tables is so refreshing!
How Can You Help?
Let us know if you have an event and are willing to join us in brightening the lives of seniors. Donated centerpieces will be picked up at your event and delivered by Centerpieces 4 Seniors friends.
Kelli Burns and Rose Davidson
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There are plenty of details to consider when planning your wedding day. After months of preparation, the big day will go by in the blink of an eye. And then it’s time to relax and enjoy a week or two of newlywed bliss. So how do you decide where to go?
First, discuss time and budget with your significant other. Before you choose a location, consider how much time you will be able to take off of work and how big your travel budget is. From exotic, far off locations to a cozy trip across the country, here are options that will fit every lifestyle:
With soft sand and all-inclusive resorts, beach honeymoons provide an escape from the world into your own private paradise. For the couple looking to unwind and enjoy some time alone, a tropical resort is the perfect option.
When choosing a beach destination, consider weather. We recommend avoiding a trip during hurricane season, or choosing a warm, sandy location outside of the hurricane belt. One hot honeymoon destination is Bora Bora. A coral island in the French Polynesia, Bora Bora is an exquisite, volcanic island surrounded by coral reefs. A well-known tourist destination, there are plenty of adventures for you and your spouse to encounter – think snorkeling, swimming and quad touring the mountains – as well as time to relax and enjoy each other’s company and the crystal clear waters. Newlyweds Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux spent their honeymoon here – and so did our celebrity clients, Lisa and Henry Swager!
Are you and your spouse looking to kick off your marriage with the adventure of a lifetime? From mountains to rivers to ancient runes there are many ways to satisfy your desire to explore. Look into national parks and eco-lodges and plan a guided tour for one of the first days of your trip. Your local tour guide is sure to have better information than any site on the internet, so ask plenty of questions and learn about all that the area has to offer. Then spend the rest of your trip visiting and exploring the spots mentioned.
For couples looking for a trip a bit closer to home, a trip out west to Yellowstone National State Park and the Grand Canyon is a great idea. Another adventurous – and tropical – destination choice is Costa Rica. Spend an afternoon zip-lining through the jungle or kayaking a river, then relax on the beach in the evening.
If you love the rush of city life and the feeling of being on the go, a city honeymoon is the trip for you. From outdoor markets to museums and a bustling nightlife, there are plenty of cities both near and far that will give you the chance to learn and explore together. Immerse yourself in local culture with reservations at a popular restaurant, a tour around the city and tickets to a local theatre.
While Paris has always been the city of love, there are many other options to consider. Barcelona, Spain is one of our favorite choices. Looking for some other ideas? Visit The Knot to see their list of most romantic honeymoon cities.
No matter what trip you choose, your honeymoon will provide you with memories that will last a lifetime. Take some time to relax after all the stress of the big day and enjoy the company of your new spouse.
A couple of the questions I frequently hear couples puzzling over are “How long should the music last?” and “How many hours should the reception be?” There are plenty of traditions incorporated into most wedding receptions and based on the number of guests, dinner courses and your open bar package, the length of time you spend at the reception can vary. Here is a little more information on events commonly included in the reception:
Depending on the location of your wedding ceremony and reception, the receiving line is almost always at the ceremony location. For couples who plan to take pictures after their vows, your guests will probably beat you to the reception. In this case, I recommend having the receiving line right after the ceremony.
Kick off the reception and give yourself time to get to the wedding after your photos and enjoy your guests at the cocktail hour. Greet your guests and give them time to mingle while the event staff serves hors d’oeuvres.
Once the DJ announces your parents, your wedding party and, of course, your grand entrance, head to the dance floor! This is a beautiful moment to celebrate the beginning of a memorable evening with family and friends.
Champagne Toast & Speeches
When everyone is seated and the first course has been served, the best man will give the champagne toast, with a response from the groom. Then it’s the maid of honor’s turn, sometimes followed by your parents and other guests.
Depending on if you have a buffet meal or sit-down style, dinner will progress differently. The dinner typically will take one hour. Once dinner is over, the dance floor will open up for the celebrations to continue!
There are many other traditions that may be incorporated into your wedding, including the parents’ dances, the longevity dance and the throwing of the garter and bouquet. Many families also choose to include customs that celebrate their ethnicity, like the Hora, a Jewish wedding dance, and the kalamatiano, a Greek one.
Talk to your significant other about wedding traditions that their family follows and be sure to include some that incorporate both sides of your new family!
As a quick rule of thumb, I recommend a reception with four hours of music for up to 75 guest and five hours for 150 guests. For a wedding with 200 guests or more and multiple courses, six hours may be needed. While four or five hours do not sound like a long time, remember what a big day it has been. If the event goes too long, it will seem to drag on. End your big night on a high note! From early hair appointments, to the wedding, photos and more, you’ve been busy. Enjoy the celebrations – they will fly by!
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For all you dog lovers looking for a way to make your special day memorable and unique, consider including your pooch in the ceremony. With help from local dog trainer Mr. O, your dog can learn to accompany you down the aisle! Whether you are looking for a flower girl, ring bearer or furry additions to your bridesmaids and groomsmen, Mr. O can train your dog to participate.
Mr. O’s Dog Training Place offers a variety of training options for dogs, including a wedding dog training course. This course will teach your pup to walk down the aisle and sit or lay with your wedding party throughout the ceremony. Training will be taught without a leash and when the ceremony concludes your pet will walk back down the aisle and wait with you to greet the guests.
Let your pets enjoy the festivities of your wedding ceremony as well. After all, they are a part of your family! The Dog Training Place can provide a trainer to attend your reception, allowing you to relax and avoid the worry of having to keep an eye on your pets all night. Instead, the trainer will watch over your pets, make sure they are fed and help to pose them for pictures while you enjoy your special night to the fullest.
Located at 2622 Leechburg Road in Lower Burrell, Pennsylvania, Mr. O’s Dog Training Place can be reached at 724-339-1962.