Lolo Event Design Shares Top Tips for Stress Free Wedding Planning . . . plus, a gorgeous backyard fall wedding

I have a special treat to start your week with today. Boston-based event planner, Lo McShay, of LoLo Event Design, has created her top tips for stress free wedding planning and is here to share them with you. And, she's also sharing a gorgeous backyard wedding that I know you will love. Just think . . . fire pit and s'mores to end the night with . . . yum!

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Winter is finally over and that means engagement season has ended and wedding season is here. Newly engaged couples have undoubtedly stocked up on the prerequisite wedding magazines and have a newfound appreciation for the serious condition that is Pinterest addiction. To help make sense of it all, Lo McShay, founder of LoLo Event Design, a premier entertainment specialist company based in Boston, shares her top tips for a stress-free wedding planning process:  

The venue search: 
Your wedding planning ultimately starts with the venue because the venue selection is the biggest decision of the wedding planning process (a couple’s combined venue and food & beverage costs reflect on average 46% of their total budget). The venue search can be daunting but Lo McShay tries to remind couples that there’s no such thing as a "perfect" venue; the key is finding the venue that’s "perfect for you."  By prioritizing your wish list and asking the right questions, it’s possible to find your perfect venue. To help couples with their search process, McShay has compiled a list of must-ask questions in this venue questions check list. Getting the answers to these questions will aid in ensuring you stay on budget, while also ensuring your venue fits your wants and needs. 

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And, now before Lo shares more of her wedding planning tips with you, I just have to show you this backyard fall wedding - I'm totally in love with it. The couple wanted to create a comfortable and tranquil atmosphere for their wedding guests. The wedding took place at the home of the bride's aunt {a place where Erin, the bride, holds fond childhood and family memories}. Along with the location, the entire wedding incorporated their family. Their officiant was the groom's brother and instead of bridesmaids and groomsmen standing by the couple - their families stood by them. The relaxed backyard vibe was carried out thru the use of picnic blankets on the grass for the cocktail hour and there was even a fire pit for late-night marshmallows and s'mores. There was also seasonal décor that included pumpkins, gourds, cornstalks, mums and natural wood to complement the autumn wedding.

And, now back to the wedding planning tips to make your day stress-free . . .

Design your wedding around YOU: 
Striving to make every event truly unique, Lo McShay emphasizes to couples that their wedding is the first time they're hosting their family and closest friends as a couple, so the principles they apply to their everyday lives should translate into their wedding. McShay starts the design process with a laundry list of questions for her clients and does not stop until their vision is brought to life. "When I first engage with a couple I try to unearth what exactly makes them tick, what makes them unique," says McShay. “I ask questions such as, how did you meet, what do you like to do on a Friday night and where did you spend your childhood summers? From there we develop high-level story boards with interior design and fashion imagery to nail their personal aesthetic.” These answers fuel the event design process and truly make the wedding unique to the particular couple.

The event timeline: 
The biggest piece of advice for clients and what LoLo Event Design spends a lot of time organizing is the event timeline. McShay’s timelines are typically upwards of 10 pages long and include all drop-off/set-up details and key points throughout the night. The timeline may go off course a few minutes here and there, but it’s key to have a plan and to have someone who’s going to help you stick to that plan. McShay always suggests keeping your guests in mind, thinking through each transition and keeping a few surprises for the end of the night to keep spirits high. “When it comes to the end of the night, you’re exhausted and your guests are too, so we suggest having your bartenders serve guests espresso and tequila shots on the dance floor. No one has to wait in line, everyone can keep dancing and this will ensure you get the most out of the last hour at your reception.”

Keep your guests relaxed: 
To really make your guests feel welcome and that they’re special enough in your life to be invited to your big day, the key is making them comfortable. McShay suggests having cocktails ready for them as soon as they walk into the event. Whether it’s a signature drink or lemonade before the ceremony, it’s these little touches that really make your guests feel comfortable and welcome. The more relaxed your guests, the more fun they’ll have and ultimately the more fun you’ll have.

LoLo Event Design is a full service event consultation and design firm offering imaginative entertaining opportunities for discerning clients throughout New England. Ms. McShay – considered one of area’s premier entertainment specialists – is known for signature hand-crafted details and her ability to transform spaces with a custom twist. Whether it’s styling for a photo shoot, a fundraiser for the Guidance Center at the Charles Hotel, a wedding at the Chatham Bars Inn, an intimate New Years’ Eve party at Battery Wharf, or a small private dinner party for two at home, LoLo Event Design custom tailors each and every event.  For more inspiring ideas or information, visit www.loloeventdesign.com or call (617) 838-5921.

Vendor Credits for Wedding:
Kelly Benvenuto Photography, Jules Catering, Peterson Party Center, Party Designs, New England Country Rentals, Wedding Flowers by Annette, Beaunita Bakery, Shear Illusions Hair Studio and Spa, Wedding Paper Divas, Ellas Paper, Berklee School of Music, Groove Entertainment.