Merriment & Mischief

Attend Bridal Shows & Open Houses To Kick Start Your Planning

To kick start the wedding planning process, one of the best things to do is to attend bridal shows and open houses.  If you don't have your location yet, many of the local wedding venues host open houses where you can come see their spaces set up for a wedding, taste their food and visit some of their favorite vendors.  


Bridal shows are a fun and convenient way to find the right team of vendors. At a bridal show, you will get to meet all the vendors in one place, see samples of their work or taste their food, and have the chance to win wedding prizes that can save you hundreds of dollars!  Many vendors also offer discounts on their products or services at this time.  Another reason to go is to get ideas and inspiration- you can never get enough of that!


1) Hate crowds? Visit booths during the fashion shows.

2) Get the vendor list online ahead of time to plot your route and “must see” vendors.

3) Make label sheets (name, phone, address, wedding date) before you go. It will save you a ton of time when you’re entering all the raffles.

4) Save the heels for your wedding day! Wear comfortable shoes and light clothes.

5) Carry two bags. One for the “look at right away” items you’re handed and one for “look at later” pieces.


Check out our event calendar for a listing of local bridal shows and open houses.

For wedding guidance at any time, we invite you into our wedding resource center in downtown Dublin.  There are listings of 1,000 of local wedding professionals, books, magazines, inspiration drawers, invitations, favors, accessories, gown & flower preservation, and best of all - onsite wedding planners to help guide you for FREE!


Happy Planning,

Jamie M Rapavy

Understanding Food and Beverage Minimums

When a facility has a food and beverage minimum then this is the minimum amount required that you would need to spend on their in-house food and beverage.  Most of the time the minimum does not include tax and gratuity, so make sure you determine exactly what  is included in this amount.  Rental fees, if they charge any, are usually a separate cost.  Minimums range from about $6000-30,000 in the Columbus Ohio area.   


In order to determine what your overall cost will be, choose an average meal price from their menu.  Let’s just say Chicken for our example.  Make sure you do your comparing the same with every location you are considering.  You don’t have to ultimately choose this chicken.  This is just for comparing costs.   So let’s say the chicken meal is $32 per person.  You also want a 4 hour host bar which will run you about $30 per person.  Your total is $62 per person and you have 250 guests which is $15,500.  So, if the facilities food and beverage minimum is $15, 000 or less, then you have met your minimum. This is not your final total as you would need to add in the gratuity and tax.  Lets say the gratuity is 21% and our Ohio state tax is 6.75% (gratuity gets taxed).  Then your final bill would be $20,020.96.  So keep in mind when you hear the minimum you most likely will be spending more.


If the facilities food and beverage minimum is higher then $15,000, then you will need to either choose additional food or beverage or a higher priced items in order to prevent a rental fee.  If you are going to have appetizers or hors d’oeuvres before dinner, then this will help bring you right up to where you need to be.


Keep in mind when budgeting, that not all your guests are going to attend.  Perhaps about 80% invited will attend so consider that when figuring out your costs.  It’s always best to budget for worst case scenario.   

If you think you will not be able to reach the food and beverage minimum then ask the facility if they offer discounts on Fridays, Saturday afternoons, or Sundays.  Most of the time the minimums will be cut by half!




Because I’ve been there, the Mother-of-the-Bride

The big day will arrive and all the planning for this very special occasion will be realized. As you watch your daughter, this beautiful Bride, you will truly understand that you and you alone, have the distinct honor of being her mother, the Mother-of-the-Bride. You undoubtedly will feel a multitude of emotions as the day unfolds. And now you know this day is much bigger than all the planning; it’s remembering all those special and wonderful moments throughout her life that have brought her to this point.  As you watch the stylist twist and turn her hair into a gorgeous “updo” and place the beautiful tiara on her head, you remember brushing her hair into a little pony tail while she wiggled impatiently underneath your hands. As the finishing touches are put on her make-up, you flash back to the day when she was just a little girl and “borrowed” your lipstick and it ended up all over her lips, cheeks and chin. As she steps into her gorgeous wedding gown and takes your breath away, all you can see are visions of her dancing around in great excitement over her first little pink tutu. The memories will undoubtedly flood your thoughts and bring more than one or two tears to your eyes in the process. Because I’ve been there, the Mother-of-the-Bride, I’d like to offer a few suggestions…

Like you’ve done all her life, you’ve wanted every moment for her to be perfect, so it’s no wonder you are working so hard to make her vision of this very special day come true. Remember though this is an extremely important day in your life too. So give yourself permission to look and feel beautiful and elegant. Get an amazing dress, not a matronly one, have your make-up and hair done, and spend time on yourself without feeling guilty. Remember you should be the “second” most gorgeous woman this day. You can do this and still not up-stage your daughter, the incredibly beautiful and young Bride.


Ask your family and friends for help, especially your closest girlfriends.  Don’t expect them to read your mind or automatically know what would be helpful. They may not have experienced this event or understand how much you could use their help.  For example, with my daughter’s wedding, I would have loved to have had one of my girlfriends arrange for breakfast for the bridal party the morning of the wedding. Instead, I found myself heading out at 6:30 am in order to pick-up a variety of sweet rolls and bagels, multiple types of cream cheese, and two large containers of coffee. It would have been so nice if I could have turned this one assignment over to a friend, allowing me to sleep in a little longer or take a more relaxing shower. To release this burden, would have made the morning of my daughter’s wedding a little bit less stressful. And don’t worry, you’ll be able to return the favor or repay your friend in some manner because that’s what girlfriends do. Sometimes, you just need to ask.   


I would encourage you to put things into perspective and maintain balance. It’s easy for the wedding to take on a life of its own and completely consume you. It’s an exciting, hectic, and busy time. There are so many vendors to book, items to order, and details to remember. It can be overwhelming at times and cause a great deal of stress. It can strain the most treasured of relationships, leading to quick words, short-tempered outbursts, and even some “melt downs”.  At times like this, try and remember the fundamental reason for all the planning; the beginning of your daughter’s future with the man she loves. Also, sometimes it’s good to do something completely unrelated to the wedding. Go to dinner, the movies or even the zoo with your husband or call one of your girlfriends and make a lunch date, meet for a long walk or just call and talk with them about anything other than the wedding. In the end, even if it’s not “perfect”, she will be married so try to just have fun with the experience and above all, enjoy your daughter.


Finally, remember those memories and emotions I first mentioned above, well you cannot avoid them, they are going to come. I would suggest that you keep the Kleenex box near and just embrace them. You are uniquely situated and it is an indescribable experience, obviously shared only by those of us who have daughters. It is a time full of tender moments shared with your daughter and many wonderful flashbacks to those days of yesterday. In one way, it is just so hard to believe she has reached this point in her life but on the other hand, it is so exciting and even comforting to watch her make plans with the man she loves, her dearest friend, her future.    

I learned so much from being the Mother-of-the-Bride. It was a time shared with my oldest daughter, Jennifer that I will always hold near and dear to my heart. Jennifer is now married to a wonderful man, Phil and my husband, Rick and I could not be happier about the union. Fortunately for me we have another daughter, Jillian, who will marry someday when it’s right for her. When that time comes, I only hope that I listen well to my own voice.

I hope you will enjoy being the Mother-of-the-Bride every bit as much as I did. 

Best wishes…. Becky


Jennifer experimenting with make up

Finally hiring a professional to do her make up

Mother and Daughter on the wedding day!

Five Must Haves for Bridal Shows

For those that are newly engaged or just have not been to a bridal show yet, here are a few must-haves that I have found to be essential for a day at a bridal show. Not only will these tips make it easier on your body but will also help you get the most out of a bridal show.


1.  Address Labels: This will save you so much time! Almost every single vendor will have some kind of drawing for prizes or a sign up to receive discounts; whether it’s tickets to The Wedding Experience from, Free Champagne Toast if you book by this date, or discounts on honeymoon packages. They all give you a sheet to fill out and instead of having to fill out form after form by hand, you can just place your address label on it and then move to the next booth! This is also very helpful to vendors because it is sometimes very hard to decipher someone's handwriting. Suggestions for the label:

Bride's Name & Grooms Name

Bride's Address

Bride's Email Address


Wedding Date


 2. Comfy Shoes: This is important for not only brides, but also vendors. Standing and walking around all day tires out your legs and feet pretty fast, but you will tire them out even faster in your 5 inch heels. Put on a comfy pair of flats or your favorite tennis shoes, vendors will not judge you for being comfortable. I promise! You can always start toning those legs too for your big day!



3.Wedding Only Email Address: Do yourself a favor; if you have not set up a wedding email yet, stop reading and do it now! This is one of the first things brides should do when they get engaged, not only can it be used at bridal shows but it can also be used when making your wedding website or sending out invitations. You are going to sign up for a lot of free stuff, which means you are giving out your email to a lot of vendors who will want to email you within a few days after the show. Keep it all organized and out of your work/school email. Here are some ideas: or meegan& or you can even put your engagement date! :)


4. Water: Some vendors will give away bottles of water at their booths, but there is never a guarantee there. It gets extremely warm in some bridal shows because there are so many people so instead of paying an expensive concession stand, bring a bottle or two with you. Not to mention, you are going to be talking a lot, you will be very thankful!


5. List of Vendors: Check out the bridal shows website to see what vendors will be there, make a list of ones that you definitely want to talk to whether it is an essential vendor that you need or if they have a service that you might want to add into your wedding, like a candy buffet or a photobooth. This will make it easier for you so that you can visit them first and then look around at the rest of the booths to get inspiration (or free stuff). If you have a time restraint this will also help you plan, otherwise you may be distracted by all the gorgeous looking booths.


Good Luck! ~Meegan

Who said signature drinks are not for breakfast?

Signature drinks have become very popular for weddings! Every bride wants something unique to be served at her wedding whether it matches the theme of the day, is a favorite drink of the Bride and Groom, or a wine from the location of the couple's first date. They are also a great way to help lower your bar/alcohol expenses.

These, commonly fruity, drinks are traditionally served during cocktail hour or at receptions but why not incorporate them into your brunch? This doesn't mean you have to serve the traditional breakfast drinks such as Mimosas or Bloody Mary's, there are tons of recipes out there!

Here are a few of my favorites from Martha Stewart and others:

Pear & Cranberry Bellini

Makes 8 glasses


1 cup pear nectar

1 cup cranberry juice cocktail

1 bottle dry sparkling white wine of choice



1. Combine pear nectar and cranberry juice cocktail into small pitcher.

2. Pour 1/4 cup of nectar & juice combination into each champagne glass

3. Top evenly with dry sparkling white wine of choice


Pear & Sparkling Cider Cocktails


Makes 8 glasses


2 cups pear nectar, chilled

2 cups sparkling apple cider, chilled

2 cups seltzer, chilled

4 ounces bourbon whiskey of choice

1 pear, unpeeled, cored and cut into 8 wedges



1. Combine nectar, seltzer, cider and whiskey in a pitcher

2. Put pear wedges into glasses

3. Pour cocktail and serve immediately



Champagne Punch

Makes 6 glasses                                                              


1 thinly sliced peach

1 cup raspberries

1 cup blueberries

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup simple syrup

1 bottle champagne or sparkling white wine of choice



1. Combine ice, fruit, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a pitcher

2. Slowly pour in champagne or sparkling white wine of choice

3. Pour into glasses and serve


Lemony Spiked Sweet Tea

Makes 8-10 glasses


7 cups water

6 orange pekoe tea bags

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/3 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 cup Bacardi 151 or preferred high-proof golden rum   

Fresh mint sprigs



1. Boil 4 cups of water in a sauce pan

2. Add tea bags

3. Remove the pan from heat, cover and allow tea bags to steep for about 5 minutes

4. Remove tea bags

5. Add sugar and stir until dissolved

6. Add 3 cups of water and stir

7. Put mixture into pitcher

8. Add lemon juice & rum

9. Stir & Chill thoroughly

10. Serve over ice and garnish with mint sprigs





The Perfect You for the Perfect Day

Welcome to my first blog on my brand new site!!  How exciting.  I felt this blog was appropriate for all those about to be engaged for the new year as we go into the new year with a new look so can you!  I have many wonderful people that work with me and have great talents and Blair is one of them!  She is a wedding planner but also specializes in fitness and training.  This first blog comes from her:


As many brides accept a ring and plan for their perfect wedding day, one other thought should come to mind; “I need to plan to look perfect that day too!” What does this mean? Time to hit the gym, hire a trainer, and/or begin some sort of workout program to fit and feel fabulous on that wedding day. I know it seems crazy with all the other planning and details that go into the actual day, but just getting started, signing up and committing to something will help you to reach your goals.


Here is some advice as to how to get started and what to do next (And remember if you are not a member of a gym already no worries, there are plenty of other ideas from home workout DVD’s, to outdoor Bootcamps, or even signing up to complete a race or triathlon event). First of all when is your wedding? How much time do you have to get your body into the shape you want it to look like for the day? Most of us will have about a year to really focus and achieve our dream size and shape yet others have very limited time. The next question I would ask you is how important is this to you? If you can truly and honestly answer this question saying “me looking and feeling fit, happy, and beautiful is a top priority for my wedding day,” then somehow someway you are going to make it happen for yourself.  It is now important that you budget in how much you are willing to invest or spend to achieve the results you are looking for.


If you have a very small budget road races or cycling events are a great way to keep cost low (usually less than $100) and you committed. You could opt for an even cheaper route by committing to doing a certain number of biking miles or running/walking miles by the time of the wedding day. If you have a larger budget, your options may be to invest in a personal trainer, workout DVD’s or online programming, or join a gym. It is best to research or call around to your local gyms to compare pricing and see what is going to be the best for you based on cost, location, training and amenities. I would also recommend writing down your goals whether working with someone or on your own. It is a known fact that people who make clear, specific, and measurable goals usually achieve them so why not do this with your fitness or workout goals for your wedding.


Here are some of my favorite books, websites, and gyms in the Columbus area to help you get started.

-          Making the Cut – Jillian Michaels (book) & any of her DVDs

-          TRX –



-          The Athletic Club of Columbus:

-          Lifestyle Family Fitness:

-          Les Mills:




– By Blair Visser, Personal Fitness Trainer


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