You’re Engaged! What’s Next?

You’re Engaged! What’s Next?

So, you’ve just changed your status and posted the pic with a spouse-to-be on your arm and a sparkler on your left hand, so now what? We’re sharing a how-to guide for what steps to take after you get in engaged. Yep, we’re serious — in our book, it’s always good to be proposal prepared!

Photo By Jason Loves Maggie

Photo By Jason Loves Maggie

1. Enjoy the moment together.

We know that you’re dying to post a ring selfie and announce to the word that you’re gonna be a Mrs., but trust us when we say that you’re life won’t end if you don’t immediate take to social media. After the proposal, take a few moments to just be with each other and revel in the moments. This is a time you’ll never be able to get back, so make sure to really soak up the memories while they’re unfolding before your eyes!

2. Call your close friends and family first.

Once you guys are ready, go ahead and make the big announcement to your closest friends and family. This doesn’t mean send a mass text or post a generic “for all the see” post on social media — this means calling those that are closest to you and personally letting them know. Or, better yet, sharing the new in person. Those that are near and dear to your hearts will appreciate the kind gesture and it will make them feel special that they didn’t find out that you’ve gotten engaged through a Facebook or Instagram post.

3. Announce on social media when you’re ready.

Then, when you’re ready, feel free to post the details, the ring picture, the post-proposal pictures, and all that jazz to all your social media sites. We promise that within seconds flat, you’ll have the most comments and likes you’ve ever received in your whole online-present life.

4. Get the ring insured.

Obviously, we don’t expect you to call up your insurance company immediate after he drops to one knee, but we are serious when we say that having your engagement ring ensured is a VERY good decision. The purchase was a big one for your spouse-to-be, so make sure the investment is covered should you lose your ring, drop it down the sink, etc. Yes, this kind of stuff happens all the time.

Photo By Candace Jeffrey Photography

5. Treat yourself to a manicure.

In the months after you get engaged, you better bet that everyone and their brother is going to want to see your new bling. Prepare your hands for their big performance by treating yourself to a gorgeous manicure!

6. Start looking at potential dates. 

As wedding planners, we know that the date is key when it comes to budget, snagging all the vendors you want, scoring a great local venue, etc. So, start talking about potential dates of your wedding early. Pick out 2-3 potentials and go from there. Usually, you’ll find over time that one date works out much better than all the others.

7. Start brainstorming & browsing ideas. 

It’s never too early to start thinking about what you want your big day to do look like, so go ahead and browse on Pinterest, flipping through magazines, having brainstorming sessions with your fiancee and family, and envisioning what you want for your dream day! Having some idea of what you like early on will help guide you to the right vendors right off the bat, which is an amazing advantage to have when you’ve got a million details to figure out.

8. Set your wedding budget.

As soon as you and your fiancee are ready to start looking into booking a venue and hiring vendors for your wedding day, we suggest that you first sit down as establish a budget. Doing this will help narrow your search and will give you a realistic idea who and what you can afford to include in your day.

9. Hire a wedding planner.

Sure, we’re biased, but there are definitely real benefits to hiring a wedding planner as soon as you get engaged. First of all, it helps you figure out important details early and gives you immediate access to the planner’s recommendations for venues and vendors (we know what things cost to save you that research). Plus, hiring a wedding planner early in the game also helps you save money and have a stress-free experience all the way from “yes!” to “I do.”

10. Have an engagement party!

Finally, don’t forget to celebrate! If you aren’t the big engagement party type, keep things small – have an intimate backyard BBQ, invite your best friends and immediate family over for a dinner prepared by you and you fiancee, or go for cocktails as a group. Whatever you do, remember that getting engaged is a big deal — don’t get bogged down in wedding planning details and forget all about the reason for the ring.

There you have it, current and future brides-to-be! Are you looking for expert help to get you started, now that you’re engaged? Explore more about our services here


~Blog contributed by Audra Jones


Bridesmaid Drama: She’s Decided To Back Out

Bridesmaid Drama: She’s Decided To Back Out

An email from one of our current brides: I’m having some bridesmaid drama at the moment, and she’s decided to back out before the wedding. I’m really hurt. What do I do?

Like every wedding, emotions and stress run high during the planning process. We’ve got that fact down to a science. But the stress can become personally attached, as we’ve seen when dealing with all things pertaining to the bridal party.

C&A Bridesmaids

But now you’ve asked your friend/relative/colleague to be a part of your wedding party, she accepts, but then has a change of heart. It is heartbreaking. While tradition (wayyy back) dictated that only illness or a death in the family would be the sole reason for reneging on being a bridesmaid, we all know today is much different than days from the past. Someone may relinquish from wanting to be a bridesmaid due to pregnancy, a critical business-trip, school demands or family issues. Or perhaps a jealous maid. Or maybe she only accepted because you were in her wedding. With our current bride’s dilemma, this particular bridesmaid just didn’t understand the financial commitment being a bridesmaid entails.

Our professional on whether or not to replace her or not is this:

If the situation has happened very early-on, then there is no harm in asking another person to step-in, someone who may not have even known they weren’t chosen in the first place.  If the ex-bridesmaid creates more drama or has “let the cat out of the bag”, you could still ask someone else, explain what has happened, and as a nice gesture, offer to absorb the costs associated.

However if the planning is well under way or the bridesmaid backed out last minute, it’s best to carry on without that attendant—you wouldn’t want to offend someone by asking them in the eleventh hour. Just be sure your programs, table seating cards, and processional are all up to par with the change.

Give us a holler, we’d love to help you solve your wedding woes, or get you started on the right path.

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I Don’t Need Another Toaster: How Am I Supposed To Know What To Register For?

I Don’t Need Another Toaster: How Am I Supposed To Know What To Register For?

So you’re engaged planning for your wedding, and now you have to think about the bridal registry, too? When should you register? What should you register for? And where? Read below for some key guidelines to help you along:

Photo by jenandjon Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Photo by jenandjon Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)


1. When Should I Plan To Register?  Many brides often ask “how early should I register” and I would recommend as early as possible. Some guests may want to have the “top pick” from your registry list. Take our word from one of our interns who works as the manager of her retailer’s wedding registry who suggests 6-9 months prior to the wedding. Anything beyond that, and the registry software may have gone through an update (and you may need to make some additional updates on your end…or worse!), or your taste(s) may change, and you’ll be deleting and adding to the registry, causing yourself more work and angst.


2. How Many Stores Should I Register At? – There are no “correct” amount of stores that you need to register at. Instead of thinking “how many”, think about variety. Your guests will feel more at ease if there are several options within all price ranges, both online and in-store options. Also, some guests go-in as a group when purchasing a gift. Keep in mind if your registry is “up” during the holidays, you may have friends/family who wish to make a selection from your registry.


3. Where Should I Register And What Should I Register For? – You may want to consider specialty stores or national department stores for the widest variety. But you’re not limited there—maybe you want to remodel a certain room in your home, so you may want to register at a home improvement store (that’s what we did!). Or perhaps you do a lot of traveling, and want traveling necessities like luggage, organizers, iPad accessories, etc. Or perhaps you are the “outdoorsy” type and want to register for a tent, grill, umbrella, etc. Can’t make a decision or are you two polar opposites? You can each “part ways” – I know of a bride who loved to read, and wanted to stock their library, and so she registered for books. Or if your fiancé likes to cook, or is concerned about the bar, he can take “that area”. One gem we love, is, which syncs all of your registries from different retailers into one location (psss…you can also register for cash! See tip #5 below!).



4. How Do I Let Guests Know Where I Am Registered? – This one is easy. You can let guests know where you are registered in any fashion except in the wedding invitation (shower invitation of course, is fine). So word of mouth, save-the-dates can have info listed, or on your wedding website.
5. Can I Register For Cash? – If you’d like, sure! It’s not just about vases and bed linens anymore. Many couples are choosing to register for cash, honeymoons, or even frequent flyer miles! Just understand that not all guests may be “ready” for this hip, new swanky wedding registry idea (Aunt Matilda may think it’s tacky). Some firms charge a fee above and beyond the amount of the gift (which the bridal couple can elect to pay so the guests don’t have to), so be sure to do your research first. We love HoneyFund for honeymoons,  or

The point of your bridal registry is to make sure you don’t end up with 10 toasters, or vases, or two closets full of towels that you may not need. Keep it personal, and you may also snag some discounted items from your registry after you’ve been wed, since many registries let you make a purchase from the registry at a reduced price after the wedding date.

Stressed in other areas of the planning? Want more tips like these? Join in on the fun, here!

Choosing Wedding Flowers: 5 Tips Every Bride Should Know To Keep It Affordable

Choosing Wedding Flowers: 5 Tips Every Bride Should Know To Keep It Affordable

Since the Victorian times, brides have chosen to mark their special day by carrying flowers.  Choosing Wedding Flowers is one of the most exciting yet daunting tasks of the wedding planning experience, as there are hundreds of gorgeous blooms to pick from, which can quickly add up. But if flowers are used sparingly, you can actually save on your Flower tab. We can help in choosing wedding flowers with these 5 tips that every bride should know to keep it affordable:

1) DON’T Use Florals In Your Centerpieces – Sounds counterintuitive, right? But you don’t need to use a main floral display for your centerpiece. Why not instead place individual flowers or a small grouping of flowers in other areas? Add visual interest in non-traditional areas by placing a flower at every guest’s plate,  at empty corners of the room, or at the bar.

Floral Design by The Harwinton Florist

Floral Design Credit: The Harwinton Florist

2. It’s Not The Size Of The Container… Be it a vase, planter, or tea cup, it’s not the size of the container that affects the price when choosing wedding flowers, it’s the size of its opening at the top of the container and the number of flowers needed to fill it. Using a variety of smaller-necked containers (votive candle holders, shot glasses, candle sticks,), your florist can work individual holders into a pattern of densely-grouped flowers for more impact on less of a budget.


3.  Share Your Florals With Another Bride – Is there a ceremony or reception taking place either before or after yours? Why not speak with the site’s coordinator about obtaining the other bride’s contact info, and discuss ways to share the expense. Some of our brides have done this by incorporating the sharing of the florals on areas such as the arches, altars, pews or ceremony chairs, the bars, or other common areas.

Ceremony Arch at The Riverview | Floral Design by The Harwinton Florist

Ceremony Arch at The Riverview | Floral Design by The Harwinton Florist


4. Accessorizing With Flowers In The Hair – Forget expensive veils or headpieces (which will run $100+), opt instead for a few fresh blooms in your hair. This can easily be a DIY project by individually wiring a few flower heads or individual heads onto a comb or bobby-pin clip, and then have your hairdresser pin them in your hair.


5. Something Other Than A Flower   –   Think outside the traditional bouquet, and go for paper flowers, silks, or other design elements such as feathers or ferns!


Gorgeous Peacock Bridal Bouquet | Floral Design by The Harwinton Florist


Whichever way you decide—whether florals will be front and center, or just an accessory—your flowers will be central to your day, and will symbolize hope, love and joy for your future together! Need more help in ways to keep your florals affordable or finding the right florist to work with? We’d love to chat, we have hourly appointments available too! – find out more here.

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8 Tips for Planning the Perfect Engagement Shoot

8 Tips for Planning the Perfect Engagement Shoot

There are literally so many directions you go when planning an engagement shoot that’s perfect for you and the love of your life. In fact, just the thought of all the themes, locations, styles, and outfits you can choose from kinda of makes our heads spin. So, when the option are limitless, how do you go about putting together an engagement shoot that you’ll love for years to come and that’ll really show off your story and your style as a couple? We won’t say the process is easy, but with these 7 planning tips up your sleeve, we’d definitely say the road from “yes!” to e-shoot can be a whole lot less bumpy. What’re you waiting for? Scroll down for our favorite tried and true methods for styling the engagement shoot of your wildest dreams!

Photo By Candace Jeffrey Photography


1. Choose A Photographer You Love: You can style everything about your engagement shoot just perfectly, but if you don’t hire the right photographer, then you’re in a for a whole world of trouble (e.g., photos can look awkward, you might feel comfortable during the shoot, you might not like the shooting style). Therefore, it’s essential to pick a photographer who you really adore on many levels, including price, shooting style, and personality, so you can feel comfortable in front of the camera and have piece of mind that you entrusted someone who shared your vision with this monumental task. A few great way to get started searching for a photographer who sends you head over heels is to ask for recommendations from friends and family members, browse blogs of local photographers, and most important, sit down face-to-face with your favorite photographers to go over everything before making a commitment to hire one who suits you best. Being comfortable with the person behind the camera is key to achieving beautiful, natural-looking photos!


Albert Palmer Photography via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

2. Select A Location That’s Special: Many couples really worry about what location(s) to choose for their engagement shoot and often turn to their photographer for help. But, as most photographers will tell you, picking out a location that’s special to you as a couple, that really captures your imagination, or that makes you feel at home is essential. Nothing else matters — it doesn’t matter if your backdrop is touristy, out of the norm, or even totally out of left field as long as it is special to you as a couple in some way. When you begin racking your brain for backdrop ideas, sit down together and make a list of places that you love around town, places that are significant to your relationship, and places that you’ve always wanted to visit. Then, go out and explore the town, revisit your old favorites, check out new places you’ve never seen before, walk down random alleys, etc. This is a fabulous way to discover uncharted territory and scout out a few places that really make your hearts go pitter-patter.

3. Create A Must-Have Photo List: Let’s make this clear now: Your photographer (even the best of the best) cannot read your mind. Therefore, it’s really essential to create a must-have shot list of your photographer before the big day of the engagement shoot begins. This will ensure that your photographer snags all the photos you really have your heart set on and will also clue him/her about the style you are really looking for in your photos. Clearly, this is a win-win situation and can help guarantee that you love, love, LOVE your engagement photos now and forever.

4. Put Together A Mood Board: If you really have no idea where to start, then putting together a mood board on Pinterest is an excellent way browse ideas and pull together engagement shoot themes or tones that really tickle your fancy. After a week of exploring and pinning, do an overview of your board. You might be surprised how easy it is to discover what you are really drawn to, whether it be a fun theme, vintage styling, or colorful outfit choices! Once you finally do decide on the look you’re going for, put together a whole new pin board that focuses on pulling together creative inspiration that goes right along with your approach. Oh, and don’t forget to share this board with your photographer… not only will it help give him/her direction, but it’s a great opportunity for him/her to suggest ideas you many no have considered.

5. Browse Lots Of Photography Blogs: Early on in your planning, be sure to browse lots of photography blogs! This will help you uncover great ideas, styles you love, and looks you’d like to channel in your very own engagement shoot.

6. Incorporate Individualized Props (If You’re Into That): Although they aren’t right of everyone, props are a really, really amazing way to add a little spunk to your engagement photos, show off a bit of your personality as a couple, bring in a theme and/or tell a story. If you do end up bringing in some props of your shoot, just make sure that they really reflect something special about the two of your and that they are used in moderation. Otherwise, the use of props can feel a bit forced and cheesy. Your photographer is a great person to consult for recommendations for prop rental companies and ideas that will really enhance your photos, too!


Shutterbug via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

7. Wear Outfits That Feel Right: In addition to location choices, outfit selections are definitely one of the most complicated parts of planning a perfect engagement shoot. Just like with the location, there are tons of options and directions you can take in terms of your clothing picks, so it becomes really difficult to narrow down your outfits to just a few selections. However, it can be done! Our best advice is to choose outfits you feel really comfortable in and that really make you feel your best — from there, themes and colors, etc. are just extra icing on the cake. But, a few tips to keep in mind: 1). Don’t overmatch with your fiancee. 2). Choose outfits that range in terms of formality (maybe start with casual looks and end with more formal attire). 3). If going with a theme, don’t be afraid to rock something out of the box! 4). Consider your environment (you’ll freeze in a sundress in the middle of winter and the backdrop/outfit selection will look really odd paired together).

8. Have Fun!: Finally, the biggest secret of having scoring engagement photos you love is to have fun! That means enjoying planning, embrace funky ideas, and just being yourself and really reveling in the love you share with your fiancee all the way from step one to the day of the shoot. When you’re having a great time — it’s pretty impossible to not love the photographs that result!


Gabriel Li via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Need some extra help putting together an engagement shoot style that’s right for you? Contact us and we’ll help you put together an engagement session plan that’s just perfect for you!

~Blog contributed by Audra Jones

Wedding Guests Who Don’t RSVP Or RSVP “Yes” But Pull A No Show

Wedding Guests Who Don’t RSVP Or RSVP “Yes” But Pull A No Show

Seeing as we’re experts on all things wedding planning, there tends to be a surge of excitement and nervous tension (sometimes downright drama) within the planning months. But then as the wedding date draws closer, the pressure is on to now pay close attention to the guest list and also the room block. It’s a game of who is coming and who is not, who’s bringing a plus-1 who wasn’t supposed to, and of course those that don’t RSVP.

Why is that?

Perhaps, like all of us, your guests are busy. Or they forgot. Or they’re waiting for something “better” to come along (sorry). Whatever the reason is, sometimes we have seen relationships between the couple and the non RSVP-er become strained due to frustration and hurt feelings, especially when it comes to co-workers, as it can become very awkward to walk up to a colleague to ask “so, are you coming to the wedding?” while other non-invited colleagues are near by.

DTAs Guest List Sort-3Way Color

DTA’s Preferred Guest List Spreadsheet


So is it okay to send that person, or any non RSVP-er, an email? Absolutely. If you want an accurate headcount—ummm, of course you do because this is costing you a small fortune—then it is certainly acceptable and leaves you no choice but to phone or email with a pleasant “’just wanted to check in to be sure you got the invitation, as we haven’t heard from you…”. Here at Down The Aisle, we take that discomfort right out of our clients’ hands by doing this step for them, regardless of which package they’ve booked with us, if this were ever the situation. We take the reigns as a non involved third party, and we keep it friendly versus accusatory. Now, if this unresponsive guest still becomes a fence sitter or is still unsure and your deadline has passed? Then the general rule of thumb we follow, is consider this couple a “no”. There are deadlines in place for the caterer for a reason—the food/beverage order has to be ordered quite a few days in advance of the wedding.

So, next point…what happens when a guest either responds as a “yes” or has to be followed-up with to get their “yes”, but then they pull a “no show” at the wedding. They simply just don’t bother to make it to your wedding. While we haven’t seen this as much with our couples—the failure to not RSVP is much more common—this happened at my own wedding with a few guests (yes, not just one or two but a “few”) who “no showed”. It was certainly annoying of course, but nonetheless, it didn’t stop me from following-up with them afterwards to ask what happened. Turns out—believe this or not—there are parts of North America (where I am from) that simply sees an RSVP as “no big deal”, a cultural difference if you will, if they either don’t RSVP at all, or say “yes” but then don’t come. Either way, the “no-shows” will most likely feel a tad bit of guilt, while you, your in-laws or your parents can box-up some meals to save as leftovers (note: some places have policies in place that disallow this). Just don’t send the “no-shows” a bill for their meal, as this won’t take the cake.


We'll Tackle Your Invites And RSVP's!

We’ll Tackle Your Invites And RSVP’s!

Need help with those fence-sitters? Wanna help close the loop once and for all on your guest list RSVP’s? We’ve got that covered!

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The Competitive Side Of Wedding Planning

The Competitive Side Of Wedding Planning

Have you ever been at any “mingling” function, a BBQ cookout, or say, a company party? You know what I mean, those moments when you may not know a soul, and you’re standing there with a drink in hand, eating a pepper-dipped-in-something in the other, and the question comes flying from a passer-by: “so what do you do?”…I always hated this question, because how am I supposed to answer this? I’m self-employed, I work for myself, and I do a lot of things. I care for my two young kids each and every day, I go to Target at least once or twice a week, I’m into Yoga, I read, I bake (I don’t like to cook, so this is as close as it gets), and love crafting. They’re not asking me who I am, they’re asking me what brings me income (right?). So then I guess that response would be “I’m a Mom who runs a business”. I might as well say I juggle while driving.

So it got me thinking…Why do we walk around asking “what do you do?”, anyways? Are they truly interested in you, or is it that sometimes we don’t know what else to say? Or perhaps, they’re trying to gauge our worth in society. Why we feel compelled to pigeonhole people based on one’s occupation is beyond me. Sometimes, this happens with weddings, too.

No one wants to feel like their wedding is a contest, but sometimes we see a variation of this when we work with setting our clients’ budget—it brings out that competitive game of “bridal wars”. All of a sudden you’re mentioning what your sister’s best friend’s maid of honor had at her wedding, or your boss’ daughter who wore couture and had their ceremony blessed by the pope himself.

Let me be honest straight from the horse’s mouth: whether our couples share that they have $15,000 or $150,000 to spend on their wedding, they still don’t feel like it’s enough. They’re often left thinking “if only I had a bit more, I could do ‘X’”. This just becomes a vicious cycle where every decision you just made to feel secure in your wedding planning, can lead to second guessing yourself because of what someone else may or may not have had. And the world of Pinterest, can also lead to these feelings of self-doubt.

So despite the competitiveness and unsolicited advice from others that wedding planning brings, keep in mind you’re not having a wedding just for the sake of making a statement, you’re making a start of your marriage. Ultimately, it’s up to the both of you.

Wedding Planng Advice

Oh, and the next time someone asks me “what do you do?”, I’ll be sure to answer “I live my life”.

Feeling lost in the vast sea of wedding planning, or has the wedding planning starting to feel like a competition? We can help you establish views from a third party perspective, thus avoiding the drama. We’d love to connect!

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The Top 5 Bridal Registry Tips Every Bride Should Know

The Top 5 Bridal Registry Tips Every Bride Should Know

Registering is often times one of the things a newly engaged couple looks forward to the most! This may be your only time to get everything you’ve ever wanted, so you want to make sure you get it right. Currently I’m interning with Down The Aisle as a social media and marketing intern, but I’ve been a bridal registry consultant for over three years now (at Bed, Bath, & Beyond) so I’ve learned a thing or two about the process.

I’m here to share the top 5 bridal registry tips every bride should know:

Stefani As A Bridal Registry Consultant For Bed Bath & Beyond

Stefani As A Bridal Registry Consultant For Bed Bath & Beyond

1. Make an Appointment

While appointments are not required, it is only beneficial for you and your consultant if you make one – especially if you’re coming in on the weekend when it’s the busiest! This way, a consultant in the store will be prepared for you. When couples don’t make appointments, there is a good chance that the consultants on staff that day could be with another customer, meaning you might need to wait.

2. Be Open With Your Consultant

We are here for one reason, and that is to help you and make your wedding planning process less stressful! Therefore, it helps us when you are open and share things about your life: your background, if you currently live together, what your goals are for your registry, etc. That way, we get to know you more and are able to build a trusting relationship. It also enables us to better share our expertise on products we think you may need, and to give recommendations.

3. Don’t be Afraid to Register for Expensive Things

If there is one thing I always tell my couples, it’s to register for the things you have always wanted! This is your special day, and likely the only time you are going to do this, so don’t be afraid to put something on your registry because it has a higher price point. Your wedding guests want to buy you nice things, and often people come together to buy a more expensive gift. So go ahead – scan that top of the line $600 AllClad cookware set, or that gorgeous $150 Riedel wine glass set!

4. Get your Future Hubby Involved

It is very beneficial for a groom to be there for this process as well. Of course I have seen grooms come in who are just as excited as their brides, but I’ve also seen the other end of it – isn’t enthused at all and has no opinions on what to register for. As a bride, you are going to be sharing all the gifts you receive with your soon to be husband, so it’s important he likes them too! Encourage him to come, even if only for a little. He gets tired after you’re only in the store for 30 minutes? No problem – make an appointment to come back and bring your maid of honor or Mom to finish up!

5. Have Fun!

Who doesn’t want to go around and scan everything they have ever wanted, so that others can buy these gifts for you?! No one I know. Have fun with this! It shouldn’t be a strenuous process. Going a little scan crazy? You can always go online and delete excess items or add new things you may have missed. This also isn’t a process to complete in one day. It can be overwhelming, so you can come in to add things as many times as you like!
Interested in learning more or need help with your planning? Let us know – we’ve got your covered!

~Stefani Sholtis, Social Media & Marketing InternStefani signature


Venue Spotlight: Simsbury 1820 House

Venue Spotlight: Simsbury 1820 House

Traditionally, the most important decision a bride and groom made while planning their wedding was choosing the right venue for their celebration. Today’s couples, however, place just as much emphasis on the food. As a result, some couples go the route of renting an “empty” space and bringing in a high quality caterer of their choosing in order to deliver on both. I recently rediscovered a venue that offers both a gorgeous space and phenomenal food in one of Connecticut’s most picturesque towns. Welcome to the Simsbury 1820 House in Simsbury, CT!

Simsbury 1820 House / Metro Bis

Simsbury 1820 House / Metro Bis

Perched atop a hill overlooking Simsbury’s charming downtown, the Simsbury 1820 House is an elegant country inn with a rich history. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this quintessential New England bed and breakfast and its 31 guest rooms have been graciously restored and feature luxurious, modern amenities in a period setting. After attending a friend’s wedding here years ago, I became smitten by its classic beauty and timeless charm. Now as a local resident, it strikes me as a place that strives for excellence and prides itself on being a gathering place for both the community and intimate celebrations.
As if all this wasn’t enough, it has now joined forces with the award-winning Metro Bis restaurant. Since its days as a snug bistro on Route 10 in Simsbury, Metro Bis has had an outstanding reputation for superb food and great service. Ranked in the top five restaurants in the state for American food according to the Zagat Survey, Metro Bis moved into the Simsbury 1820 House back in 2013. I knew the combination of the two was something special and would be a very attractive option to engaged couples planning their big day.
Recently, I had the chance to chat with its Innkeeper, Pamela Gutlon, and Courtney Febbroriello, co-owner of Metro Bis and wife of its celebrated chef, Chris Prosperi. Courtney is an accomplished author (her memoir, “Wife of the Chef”, was published in 2003) and runs both the front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house operations at the restaurant.

Q: How long has Metro Bis been in business?

A: Metro Bis has been in business for 17 years–15 years at our bistro that was just up the road, and we’ve been here at the Simsbury 1820 House for the last two years. During that time, we’ve hosted numerous weddings, along with a variety of other private events including rehearsal dinners, showers, anniversaries, birthdays and retirements.

Q: Tell us about hosting a wedding here.

A: It’s a great place for hosting a wedding. Many of our couples choose to have both their ceremony and reception here, while their guests enjoy the convenience of staying on the property.
We host a large number of weddings on Sundays, when the restaurant is closed for business. They have access to the whole restaurant, so they can hold their ceremony on the restaurant’s large porch or at our ceremony space behind the Inn. The reception itself can be in the actual restaurant. If a couple is interested in a Sunday wedding, we just ask that they meet our $2,000 food and beverage minimum for opening up the restaurant. We also host weddings Mondays through Saturdays while the restaurant is open for business. In this case, our couples usually get married at the ceremony space and then move into our downstairs event space through its own private entrance.

Q: How many guests can you accommodate?

A: If the wedding reception is being held inside the restaurant, full seating is 70 guests. The downstairs event space can accommodate 120 guests.

Q: Do you offer wedding packages, or are they customized to the couples needs?

A: While we do have a couple of menus that we’ll provide to couples, the majority of the time they are customized for each wedding. We work with the bride and groom on what they’d like to serve their guests. We’ve even themed out the food for certain weddings. We’ve done Thai food, Indian food, French food. The reality is that our chefs are at a higher level, so we’re able to do this. We’re flexible and try to accommodate the couples’ wishes as best we can.

Q: What sets Metro Bis apart from other Inns that feature a restaurant on the premises?

A: We’re a full-service restaurant, so we have flexibility with the bar. There’s no need to bring in the alcohol from other suppliers. It’s all here.

Q: What is your most popular time of year for weddings? How far in advance should couples book their wedding?

A: We’re pretty busy Spring through Fall, although we do host winter weddings as well. We recommend couples book with us as soon as possible. We’ve had couples book two years in advance, while we’ve also accommodated last minute bookings.

Q: What makes the 1820 House special as a wedding venue?

A: The Inn gives you that destination feeling without having to go to Vermont. You’re local, but still have that feeling of being away, and you’re not spending a fortune to experience that atmosphere.
Sims 1820 Hse Lobby

The Lobby of the Simsbury 1820 House

Q: What is the Inn’s best feature?

A: Everything is right here…the whole experience. You can have the ceremony here, the reception and your guests can stay at the Inn. You don’t have to miss a minute of the celebration.

We want to thank Courtney and Pam for being a feature on our blog! Should you be interested in hosting your wedding at the Simsbury 1820 House and Metro Bis, please contact us . Together Down The Aisle and the Simsbury 1820 House along with the Metro Bis team will make your wedding day extraordinary!

5 Wedding Budget Secrets From An Expert Wedding Planner

5 Wedding Budget Secrets From An Expert Wedding Planner



5 Wedding Budget Secrets From An Expert Wedding Planner

It’s no secret, that one of the most stressful and painstaking steps during your engagement, is the wedding budget planning. If composing it weren’t challenging enough, then there’s sticking to it. Most likely, you’ve never had to sit and ponder a cost to feed 100 people, how large a tent is needed to cover a specific square footage, or  which papers/enclosures to forgo to make your invitation envelope “lighter” to be mailed at a lower expense.

When working with couples, I always recommend  that the planning process should begin with the budget.

I know, not as fun and “pretty” as sitting for hours pouring over Pinterest, but wedding budget planning is difficult, and many choices that you weigh-on and decide, will of course affect your overall cost. Here are five wedding budget secrets that I’d like to share:

Photo by Gwendolyn Pellegrino Photography

Photo by Gwendolyn Pellegrino Photography


Expert Planner Secret #1: Have A Separate Account

Open a separate “wedding fund” checking or savings account. This not only streamlines the process, but also makes it easier to track what is available, and what is being spent. Plus, you can have both yourself and your fiancé’s name jointly on the account, and after marriage, can have an already established account that just needs to have a name change (if applicable).


Expert Planner Secret #2: Discuss Ahead Of Time Who’s Paying For What

Tradition states that it is the bride’s family who should pay for the wedding; however, this is no longer the norm, nor is it the expectation. Today, contributions towards the wedding come from many different sources, but don’t just expect it to be this way. We worked with a bride who “thought” her mother was handling the centerpieces, only to realize that was not the case, and we had to choose another path for the centerpieces—thankfully with us on her side, we caught this early-on, and were able to-work the budget to compensate. I know it’s a tender topic, but you will really need to have this financial discussion with your family members, and more precisely, spell-it-out on a spreadsheet who is contributing for what.


Personalized Wedding Budget by Down The Aisle

Personalized Wedding Budget by Down The Aisle


Expert Planner Secret #3: Don’t Follow The Magazine’s Budget Advice

I hate to be the bearer of this, but please don’t follow those “pie-charts” or lists from the wedding magazines that advise allotting a certain amount or percentage for your wedding budget planning. Not only are they not realistic (they’ve never worked with any of the couple’s we’ve worked with), but they aren’t specific to the region that you’re planning in, nor are they compensating for the time of year or day of the week, i.e., a Friday , Sunday or even a weekday wedding will be less expensive.


Expert Planner Secret #4: Stay True To Yourself

Focus your wedding budget planning around the things that matter most to you, and you’ll never go wrong. Don’t feel bad if you don’t have a fortune to spend on your wedding—leave the extravagance to the celebrities, and infuse your celebration with creativity and simplicity that represent your personal togetherness. This not only alleviates a lot of stress in the wedding planning budget, but we apply this with our couples, and all of them report post-wedding how “wowed” their guests were, from the most simplest of things. Trust me, your guests will remember a hand-written personal note, a DIY-crafted cake topper, or a well-crafted speech over any lavish floral display.


Photo by

Photo by Jasonlovesmaggie

Expert Planner Secret #5: Hire The Best Professionals Within Your Budget

A wedding is not only a celebration, but it is an experience to be lived and enjoyed. It is not possible to have the day you envision just by selecting the “cheapest” service professionals. Ask friends, family or co-coworkers for recommendations, or consider working with a wedding planner who is skilled in knowing the a variety of wedding professionals who are competent within your budget—plus not only are they familiar with the regional demographic,  they can help you in deciding on your priorities so that you don’t overspend in one area, and not have enough in another area.

Remember: focus the wedding budget around the things that matter most to you. Does planning the wedding budget overwhelm and keep you up at night, not knowing what things cost, or how to compose a budget. Look no further, we can help!

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