Category Archives: tidbits

Brides Save Lives: Share Your Story to Win!

BHLDN is celebrating essential workers during this tough time by giving away 100 dresses.

While the world goes through some strange and unprecedented times, there are so many people playing very critical roles that are often taken for granted, despite being the backbone of our communities. From the doctors on the frontlines to the moms who are caring for family members while balancing working from home, they are all playing critical roles, and BHLDN wants to celebrate the brides-to-be who are working in these capacities.

Are you planning your wedding while supporting us and others through this challenging time? BHLDN recognizes how difficult wedding planning can be under normal circumstances, so they are giving away 100 gowns to those who are making an impact during these trying times. Every story is different, and no contribution is too small, so go ahead and share your #BridesSaveLives story for a chance to win your dream gown from BHLDN!

Enter to win

Love in the Time of Coronavirus: How COVID-19 Affects Your Wedding Day

By Sarah Baumann Rogers and Lara M. Burnap

As concerns about COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, spread across the globe, the Centers for Disease Control recommends people avoid crowded places and maintain distance from others. While it’s far from the biggest COVID-related concern, this pandemic affects couples with upcoming nuptials. Nebraska Wedding Day asked local wedding experts how they’re responding, whether you should postpone your wedding and how to stay safe.

How are you working with you couples to make this decision about whether or not to postpone their weddings?

“We are taking this one day at a time with each of our clients. As of today, we are working on a Plan B for the majority of our May couples and opening the conversation with our June weddings. All April events have been secured with new plans—most of which are having a small ceremony on their original date.” Rachel Wortmann, Rachel J. Events

“I have had some reach out with backup dates later in the summer, but for the most part my weddings aren’t until later this summer. (Phew!) But I of course would be more than willing to work with whatever they decide to do.” Emily Jessen, Emily Jessen Photography

“I reached out to all of my early spring and summer brides, just to be transparent and let them know I’ve been thinking about them, because disruptions are inevitable. Starting the conversation early is important. Mainly, I wanted to let them know that I would offer any assistance within my power, and be their sounding board if they needed one.” M. Julie Borer, M. Julie Photo

“I’m encouraging couples to do what’s best for their situation and go with their gut. It’s impossible to predict what the future will hold, but the more informed and prepared you can be, the better.” Samantha Areman, Sam Areman Photo

“We are working with each couple on a case by case basis to walk through this decision. We’ve presented several options at this point and taken the responsibility on our end to stay informed on where they can still make a decision, versus where they need to change their plans to fit current regulations. I think recognizing that each wedding has been impacted a little bit differently has been key in helping our couples feel seen and heard during this time.” Natalie Wallace, The Living Room

Should couples postpone for the time being? Or should they reschedule and pick a new date?

“Most of our couples have selected a new date. Some are braver than others and are rescheduling close to their original date in hopes things will clear, while others are taking the safe route and rescheduling further out. I recommend for any vendor that can only support one event in a day (venue, photographer, etc.) to get an alternate date on the calendar sooner rather than later.” Natalie Wallace, The Living Room

“I’m trying really hard to let couples come to that conclusion on their own. It’s a case-by-case situation, and a very personal decision that no vendor can make for them. It’s best to discuss with family and loved ones you trust and have your best interest at heart. A few of my couples are postponing until later into the year, others are splitting ceremonies and receptions. Those couples decided to keep their original date for a tiny ceremony, and celebrating later in the year with anyone that was not able to make it due to guest count restrictions. One couple in particular is just going to make the best of it, keeping their original date, having a small ceremony with only close family present, and no reception. It’s not at all what they had envisioned, but I admire that kind of flexibility in a time when everything is uncertain!” M. Julie Borer, M. Julie Photo

“I think if your wedding is in the next couple months (April, May and early June) it’s good to come up with a back-up date just in case. I wouldn’t make any concrete decisions until four weeks out, since everything is changing so quickly. If your date is really significant to you, keep it and have an intimate vow exchange! You can always have the party later.” Emily Jessen, Emily Jessen Photography

“We are encouraging all April and May clients to keep their original date and postpone their party. Our June/July clients are planning to hang out until more information is available—something we suggest all couples that fall in or after these months do.” Rachel Wortmann, Rachel J. Events

“We are definitely encouraging couple to postpone to a later date. We strongly feel like this will be past us in a few months and still want couples to be able to celebrate their big day.” Kaylin Wilken, Attitude on Food

“If your wedding is in the next month or so, you may not have an option and will have to postpone regardless. Unless you decide to elope with a very small crowd—but keep in mind you may lose out on the money if you cancel with vendors, instead of rescheduling. My recommendation is if your wedding is in the next couple months, start reaching out to your vendors and seeing 1) what’s their reschedule/cancellation policy, 2) what back-up dates everyone has open, and 3) can your vendors pencil you in for a back-up date to give you some time to decide?

“I’m allowing brides to pencil in back-up dates and wait until their wedding date gets a little closer to make a final decision. You should try to make a firm decision either way at least one month out. Keep in mind, many brides may be in the same situation as you, so time is of the essence. Also, if you need to reschedule and a certain vendor isn’t available on the new date—double check that there won’t be any penalties upon cancellation before you book someone else!” Samantha Areman, Sam Areman Photo

How are you supporting your clients if they choose to reschedule or postpone?

“I’m continuing to support and be their photographer (as long as their new date works with my other booked weddings) and offer any help I can. Whether that is reaching out to vendors or brainstorming ways they can keep their original vision with all of the crazy going on. I think just being there and being flexible is the best thing we can do right now.”  Emily Jessen, Emily Jessen Photography

“We are letting couples move to a new date free of charge, and just trying to provide a lot of support/positivity that their big day will still happen—just on a different date.” Kaylin Wilken, Attitude on Food

“Currently we are prioritizing date selection for those weddings that have to move due to social gathering limitations, while we are taking preferred dates for weddings in the next couple of months that may be in need of postponing. If they are shifting onto a date that may have previously been more expensive, we are sticking to their original pricing.” Natalie Wallace, The Living Room

“When I’ve been approached about a reschedule date, I’ve provided them with all of my available 2020 dates and will be transferring their deposit to the new date. If I am not available on their newly chosen date, I am working on finding an associate that can accommodate them and make sure they’re taken care of. It took them a high level of trust to hire me in the first place, so I want to make sure they don’t end up with just anyone. However, I am urging couples to work with their photographer and other vendors as much as possible. Most vendors have already put so much time and effort into a wedding day before it even rolls around, and that’s no small thing.”  M. Julie Borer, M. Julie Photo

“We launched a new elopement package to support clients and other couples going through this that have decided to go the elopement route: ‘Keep the Date, Celebrate Later!’ We created an all-inclusive private ceremony followed by a luxury dining experience for up to 8 people to help them celebrate their original wedding date without having to plan any of the details! For the general public, we have created a page on our website full of free resources and planning tools to alleviate some of the additional stress of a re-plan. This is a collection of: tips for postponing, email templates for vendors, template responses for guests asking about your wedding plans, a few organizational tools to coordinate vendor availability and a link to the growing Facebook group that was created just for couples going through this.” Rachel Wortmann, Rachel J. Events

If couples choose to cancel and instead elope or head to the courthouse, what kind of penalties do they face with contracts?

“It definitely depends on the vendor and what your respective contract with them entails. I’d recommend consulting a lawyer if you are in this situation. Typically, a ‘Force Majeure’ clause is only in effect when it becomes impossible for both parties to uphold their ends of the contract (removes each party of their contractual obligations due to a pandemic or “act of god”). If you decide to elope, then technically the Force Majeure clause would not apply; instead, you would be canceling their services and would most likely not receive a refund. Vendors may offer some grace in this situation, so I would recommend checking with everyone to see what their policies are.”  Samantha Areman, Sam Areman Photo

“None! If they are in the time period where the requirements or guidelines would impact their event, they will face no penalties.”  Natalie Wallace, The Living Room

“I would personally give them their money back after talking through other options with them (with the exception if engagement pictures were already taken, then down deposit would be kept). This is a really hard time for everyone, no reason to make it any worse due to a circumstance out of everyone’s control.” Emily Jessen, Emily Jessen Photography

“As with the majority of vendors, clients who decide to cancel will forfeit all monies paid. We are working closely with all clients to find a way to postpone without penalties and looking at cancelling as a last resort. At the moment, we haven’t had any clients completely cancel.” Rachel Wortmann, Rachel J. Events

“As a photographer, there’s no reason I can’t meet them where they are, be it at home, a courthouse, a park, etc. Now more than ever, it’s important to document their story so that they have a way of sharing it with loved ones who weren’t able to support them in person. However, in instances where they forego my services entirely, I will fall back on my contract, which was written to protect my small business exactly for situations like this.”  M. Julie Borer, M. Julie Photo

“Right now, [if cancelling] they would just lose their deposit. Nearly all of our couples are choosing to postpone though, so that’s been great. Especially since we are a small, local business trying hard to get through this.” Kaylin Wilken, Attitude on Food

What advice would you give couples faced with this decision?

“The same advice I would give them when planning in the first place: this day is about you and no one else. Wedding planning is a stressful process where you’re hearing everyone’s opinion and feel the need to please others. While this is a scary time, you should decide what is important to you and your fiancé. If that means having an awesome party with everyone, then postpone. But if you just want to be married and can live with the celebration later, then go ahead and scale it back to an intimate ceremony. At the end of the day this is your wedding and no one else’s.”  Emily Jessen, Emily Jessen Photography

“It’s all going to be ok and your big day will still happen! We are honored to work with such great couples and we’re here to help however we can.”  Kaylin Wilken, Attitude on Food

“It’s not easy, I understand, but try to be flexible and open-minded about what a wedding can look like. Not every wedding fits a mold, and especially in these times, it’s important to be mindful of this. But most importantly, remember the reason you’re doing this in the first place… it’s not for the party, it’s not for the dream venue, it’s really because you love each other, and that’s more than enough.”  M. Julie Borer, M. Julie Photo

“Take a breath. You are still getting married. Consider a small ceremony with just family to do the important part: becoming a married couple. And then when you can, celebrate with family in friends in a big way later.”  Natalie Wallace, The Living Room

“At the end of the day, you will still be marrying the love of your life, whether it be in a month, six months, or over a year out. Stay calm and try not to stress over all the logistics. It will all come together and be a perfectly imperfect day.” Samantha Areman, Sam Areman Photo

“Keep your focus dialed in on the most important part of your wedding day: you and your fiancé. At the end of the day, you will be married to the love of your life. This is the moment you have been waiting for. While your wedding day may take on a different shape than you envisioned, we promise that your day will be incredible, emotion-filled and a celebration of what matters most.”  Rachel Wortmann, Rachel J. Events

Sweeten the Dessert Table at Your Wedding With These Inventive Treats

Classic treats combine inventive angles and delicate floral accents for a dessert table with color and dimension.

Above: Cake pops add polished whimsy to any dessert spread. Made by Catering Creations, these fun-filled desserts sparkle with edible glitter, rock candy and sprinkles, to delight partygoers of all ages. 

Below:  A delicately marbled cake combines bold details with classic floral elements. Adorned with white roses and seeded eucalyptus, this confection from Cake Expressions, Inc. is pleasing to both the eye and the palate.

Above: Russ’s Market‘s minimalist “naked” cake uses two frosting techniques to accentuate each tier. With fresh roses and pomegranate seeds by Audra Pace at Dream Big Events, this cake looks (almost) too pretty to eat.

Below: (Left to right) Seeded eucalyptus and vibrant florals are the only accessories you need for this geometrically accented cake from Cake Creations Omaha; Your “something blue” is gorgeous—and edible too, with these delicate macarons from Catering Creations; Cake Creations Omaha combines a sophisticated cake with a modern twist, glammed up with hand-painted gold edges against greens and blues for added sparkle.

Above: Catering Creations put together this chocolate chip cookie cake layered with vanilla buttercream frosting. With delicate florals in vibrant purple, this is rustic at its most charming.

Below: Lovers of this traditional breakfast treat will appreciate the delicious simplicity of glazed doughnuts with vanilla frosting, courtesy of Russ’s Market.


Text: Emily Kerr
Photos: Amanda Leise Studio
Art Direction: Courtney Nielsen
Coordinator: Audra Pace, Dream Big Events
Location: Livestock Exchange Building

Black Friday 2019: Wedding Planning Deals from Across Nebraska

The start of holiday shopping season is the perfect time to get going on wedding planning. Some of Nebraska’s top wedding vendors are offering incredible promotions this season – see the list below, and click the links for more details. 

adorned Bridal
November 30
Most bridal gown samples will be marked down to sell off-the-rack, starting at $100. Veils, accessories, shoes and prom gowns are also included in the sale.
Appointments preffered, walk-ins welcome.
More Information  

The Fountains Ballroom
Glenwood, IA
Through December 31, 2020
All Friday weddings are $1,500 off and Sunday weddings are $2,000 off.
More Information 

Hello Beautiful Bridal & Formalwear
November 29–November 30
Receive $200 in store credit when you purchase your bridal gown or special order.
Valid on new bridal gown purchases or special orders over $999.
More Information 

John Moler Photography
November 29–December 31
All wedding collections are 10% off through the end of 2019.
Mention this Nebraska Wedding Day article to receive discount.
More Information 

Kirstina E. Photography
November 29
The “I Want it All” full-day wedding package is $400 off for Black Friday.
More Information 

Megan Kovar Photography
Lincoln, Omaha and surrounding areas
November 29–December 2
Gold and Platinum wedding packages are 10% off for 2020 weddings.
More Information

M. Julie Photo
December 1–December 31
Book a wedding for 2020 and mention this Nebraska Wedding Day article and receive 10% off.
More Information 

Nikki McLeay Photography

Through December 2
Take $500 off select wedding packages.
More Information 

Riddle’s Jewelry
November 29–December 2
Up to 50% off select jewelry.
More Information 

Sam Areman Photo
Through December 5
All items in the print shop are 20% off.
More Information 

Thompson Alumni Center
November 20, 2019–June 20, 2020
With the “Say Yes to Savings” deal, if you book a 2020 wedding by the end of 2019, you’ll get $500 off your wedding. If you book a 2021 wedding before June of 2020, you’ll get $250 off your wedding.
Excludes catering fees. New bookings only. Can be used towards ceremony and reception package, or for reception only.
More Information 

Tiburon Golf Club
Through December 20
Take 50% off room rental rate and ceremony fee, along with a complimentary champagne toast for all guests, for 2020 weddings. 
Must have over 150 guests.
More Information  

Wilderness Ridge
November 29–January 31, 2020
Friday weddings through 2021 are $500–$1,000 off. Yellowstone weddings booked for January and February of 2020 and 2021 are $1,000 off. Receive the Rehearsal Dinner Special (without booking a reception): half-price room rental, bride and groom eat free and take a complimentary bottle of champagne.
All specials are subject to availability. New bookings only.
More Information

To learn about other incredible Nebraska vendors, visit our vendor directory.

Ashley Nicole Photography's shot of an engaged couple in Nebraska

Expert Advice: What to Do for Your Rehearsal Dinner

The décor has been selected, the arrangements made and the plans set in motion. It’s officially time to savor each moment as the wedding weekend unfolds. The rehearsal dinner is often the first scheduled event of the weekend, so it’s important to set the tone with the right ambiance. Depending upon the guest list, budget and wishes of the hosts, the rehearsal dinner can consist of anything from a formal affair to a casual barbecue.

Who Should Host
Traditionally, the groom’s parents host the rehearsal dinner. However, given that many couples are paying for their own weddings these days, the rehearsal dinner can be hosted by both sets of parents, grandparents or close friends and family. It is recommended that the host confer with the couple regarding the theme, menu, decorations and location to ensure it is copasetic with the rest of the weekend. This ensures that the event goes off without a hitch and doesn’t conflict with any of the other wedding plans. The cost of a rehearsal dinner can vary widely, as there are several components to consider. Some factors include the size of the wedding party, the size of each family, the venue as well as the menu.

When to Schedule
Rehearsal dinners often follow the ceremony rehearsal, which is held the evening prior to the wedding. However, the rehearsal party can be celebrated with a brunch or lunch and is most often a casual event. If it is a dinner, tradition suggests that the festivities conclude relatively early in the evening to allow the couple, wedding party and family an opportunity to relax and unwind before the big day to come.

Whom to Invite
The hosts of the rehearsal dinner decide the number of guests to invite. The soon-to-be newlyweds, wedding party, parents of the couple, officiant and spouse, readers and their guests must be invited to the dinner, as they are part of the rehearsal ceremony itself. However, you may also wish to include out-of-town guests and a few close friends to make the event more of a welcoming party for them. Written invitations are not required; however, it is wise to send invitations when the guest list includes more than family. Unless all wedding guests are invited to the rehearsal dinner, no information regarding the rehearsal event should be placed on your wedding website.

Setting the Tone
Rehearsal dinners can be a terrific way to give guests the opportunity to gather in a warm and welcoming environment ahead of the weekend’s festivities. The meal can be a plated gourmet dinner, a tasty backyard barbecue or anything in between. It is often a great time for out-of-town guests to visit with family and spend time with the couple before the big day. Still stumped on what type of dinner to host? Here are some of our favorite ideas.

Backyard Barbecue
Hosted at a family member’s home or acreage, this option is relaxed, budget-friendly and ideal for couples with large families that include small children. To make things easy and enjoyable, consider including yard games, setting up a self-serve beverage stand or hosting a bonfire for roasting marshmallows.

Food Truck
If your ceremony is being held at an outdoor location such as a public park, try changing up the pace from the typical dinner fare and hire your favorite local food truck to treat everyone after the rehearsal with a yummy meal. Paired with some refreshments, bring along beverages and snacks on picnic blankets for guests to relax on the grounds. You can all enjoy a relaxing dinner picnic style.

For smaller rehearsal dinners, hosting the meal at a restaurant is a great choice for planners because it minimizes any stress or mess to clean up the evening prior to the wedding. This makes restaurants the ideal choice for busy parents of the bride or groom who are busy preparing for the wedding the following day. Choose from a pre-selected menu or ask guests to RSVP with their favorite dinner option. It is always recommended to include a note on the dinner invitation addressing dress code. Some restaurants even offer the option to rent the entire space for your event, in which case they’ll close it to the public so that you can enjoy a private rehearsal dinner at your favorite spot.

Proper Protocol
Toasts are often a large part of the evening’s festivities and can sometimes be spontaneous. In this intimate setting, guests feel more at ease sharing memories, stories and well wishes for the happy couple. If the groom’s parents are hosting, the groom’s father will often greet guests and offer a toast to the couple. The father of the bride can toast next, followed by any of the attendants or guests who wish to speak. The newlyweds also can greet guests and say a few words of thanks for their support.

The best advice is to always focus on guests’ comfort while showing appreciation for their time commitment. A wedding is about celebrating love with friends and family, but the rehearsal dinner should honor the loved ones present who may have invested lengthy travel to celebrate and support this marriage. Treat your guests to an evening of fun entertainment, tasty food and refreshing beverages to kick off a weekend that they will never forget.

Ashley Nicole Photography's shot of an engaged couple in Nebraska
Ashley Nicole Photography