Nick and Shannon by Ivan George

The Four Seasons of Weddings

Anytime is the Best Time…to Get Married

Today, there is no such thing as a wedding season.

“It’s really all year round for our community, especially during these last three to four years,” said Lorraine Konja from Lorraine’s Event Planning/Coordinating. “Some couples do prefer certain months and seasons over others, but at the same time a lot of them are not picky, because they know they are so limited to dates.”

Limited in the sense that halls get booked quickly, often with weddings and events scheduled a year in advance.

With every season, there are pros and cons. “I always remind my couples that during the fall and winter season, it gets darker earlier so then they can have an option on when they want to take their outdoor pictures for that day,” said Konja. “Personally, I love when the groom sees his bride for first time at the church, walking down the aisle to him but a lot of couples are more concerned about the pictures for the day.”

A WINTER Blast

Vanessa Konja #2

When Chris and Vanessa Battah were planning their magical day, the first storm of the season was not part of the festivities. They married on December 11 last year.

“Weather is the uncontrollable force of nature that has no empathy and can derail your dream wedding at least for a moment,” said Andy Keina, co-owner of Top that Table, wedding planners, designers and coordinators. “If your wedding is held in a season that can face extreme weather conditions, it’s important to know what to do if weather impedes your wedding plans. Worries about temperature, rain, snow – everything about weather – adds to the general level of stress involved in such an event. Winter weddings can be magical and romantic, but there are a few inevitable issues that go hand-in-hand with weddings held during the darker months.”

The Battahs faced one of those inevitable issues — a big snow storm — but Vanessa didn’t mind. She wanted a winter wedding.

“I chose Christmas time because I think everyone is just so humble and happy during that time, even a blizzard couldn’t stop my happiness that day,” said Vanessa. “I think Christmas decor is so beautiful and warm.”

She also knew that she wanted to incorporate her Catholic faith in her wedding day. “The two of us couldn’t be one without Jesus,” said Vanessa. “What better way to celebrate our marriage then during the time our savior was born.”

If a couple chooses winter, there are some things to keep in mind. “Invest in winter accessories; it will be cold,” said Keina. “Accessories will be important to keep warm. You will need to plan for extra travel time. Bad weather means bad traffic so give extra time for travel to your ceremony no matter how near or far you are going.”

Having extra accessories and other clothing items is also important. “Don’t ruin your heels,” said Keina. “Have a second wedding shoe for your outdoor pics because you don’t want mud or snow in your Jimmy Choo’s or Valentino’s. Indulge in Beauty Prep. Chapped lips and dry skin are inevitable with winter. Keep your lips, hands, and face moisturized.”

A wedding is all about the timing. “It gets dark much earlier in the winter so adjust your photo schedule for more light,” noted Keina. “Taking pictures before your ceremony is often a good option.”
You can have a lot of fun with a winter blast. “Winter weddings tend to happen near or around the holidays. You may want to embrace the season by incorporating holiday themed favors,” said Lawrence Yaldo, co-owner of Top that Table. “Vanessa bought personalized ornaments for each family as their place card to hang on their Christmas tree.”

As much as flowers and décor create themes in a wedding, Vanessa said that “they weren’t important to me or Chris. That’s where the ornaments came in.”

Vanessa tied the Christmas season into her wedding by handing out ornaments to each guest with their family names on them. “Although it was expensive, I knew I wanted everyone to go home with something to represent Christmas.”

The snow was not a surprise as forecasters had been predicting several inches of snow to flow down throughout that day. “I woke up that morning praying and laughing with God that I knew this would happen to us, but to just keep everyone safe,” said Vanessa. “I accept whatever He gives me.”

The only thing the snow did was delay the night because of the slippery roads. Only 15 people were a no show. “If you have a contingency plan, you won’t have to stress in the days leading up to the wedding,” said Keina. “Think of your guests: Will they have to walk along a snowy path to get to the ceremony or reception. Be flexible with timing of the day in case there is a delay with guest arrival.”

Although the snow put a damper on getting to the wedding, it didn’t cloud celebrations. “Chris and I were looking forward to traveling to St. Lucia in the 90-degree weather while all the Michiganders were freezing,” said Vanessa with a chuckle. “It’s just another fun reason to get married in the winter, an excuse to be in a warm climate for our anniversary each year.”

Chris and Vanessa met about three years before they married, through mutual friends and family. They didn’t initially hit it off but eventually decided to date and then fell in love. Chris proposed about a year before they married. “I had no clue,” said Vanessa. “He had picked out my ring in early November of 2015 and took my parents out for lunch about a month before he proposed to ask for my parents blessing. After our parents met in November, Chris and I promised that we would spend each Sunday attending mass and then spend the rest of the day with both of our families. I mainly fell in love with him, because of his love for Christ. It was very important to me to find a man, who was faithful.”

Chris always knew Vanessa wanted a Christmas wedding. “On the day he proposed, we started off at mass, and ironically both of our parents had plans that day. So we started the day with brunch at the same place we had our first date,” said Vanessa. “It was a very snowy day but he insisted on going to Campus Martius. We grabbed some coffee and started walking towards the beautiful Christmas tree. Chris knew how much I wanted to be married around Christmas time. He asked me to put on a set of headphones connected to his phone to watch a video he had made for his nieces birthday. Turned out to be a video with our wedding song and memories of us together. He then asked me to marry him at end. I was full of emotions. I had no clue! He even asked all of my brothers for my hand.”

SPRINGING into a Wedding

Shannon and Nick Hannawa didn’t plan on a spring wedding, but it turned out to be the best decision for them. “Spring is one of Michigan’s most beautiful seasons in my opinion,” said Shannon. “May is a gorgeous month where the flowers are blooming and the weather isn’t hot, but just warm in a relaxing way with a slight calming breeze. Our guest weren’t fanning themselves, instead they were taking in the beautiful Michigan day, dancing and enjoying the zeffa.”

Futre Wave Images-Shannon Wedding # 5

Nick pre-planned the date. “He wanted to beat the busy summer wedding season and he knew he wanted Shenandoah,” said Dalia Attisha, The Wedding Planner. Nick’s mom helped plan the day. “We had a wonderful zeffa at my in-law’s home,” said Shannon. “We had more than hundred guests and because the weather was great, we were able to use the inside as well as the outside of the home, which was like a mini party before the reception.

Shannon credits the spring season for her fabulous wedding day. “The weather made things easier for the photographers who don’t have to deal with cold brides or sweaty cranky grooms,” she said. “I was also able to have more flexibility with my dress; it offered me the opportunity to pick a dress that was lighter and allowed me to have an open back, rather than having to plan for a colder evening.”

Prior to meeting Shannon, Nick attended law school with her brother. They eventually met and dated for three years. “Nick is always really good about planning something fun and unique for us to do,’ said Shannon. “He had planned for us to attend a wine tasting event which he claimed was going to be hosted by Hour Magazine, at a cute place in Royal Oak called Michigan By The Bottle.

Hour magazine is one of Nick’s favorite publications and he enjoys local events so nothing seemed unusual to Shannon. “The scene at the restaurant was what any person would expect at an event, framed issues of Hour displayed around the restaurant and other random guest posing with the magazine for a photographer, Shannon noted. “Little did I know at the time, the photographer was Angela Jaboro, she actually approached our table at one point and asked if we would mind being in some photos, of course Nick seemed thrilled about the possibility of being in the magazine and gladly posed for the camera.”

Nick eventually asked the sommelier for Champagne. “As she set the bottle down, she said this is our special reserve and rotated the bottle,” explained Shannon. “At first glance, I read just my name, but then I saw more clearly that it was an engraved picture of a man on one knee and a women. I unknowingly read out loud, ‘Shannon will you marry.’ I couldn’t read any more, I was so surprised.”

She began to cry while the photographer captured the moment. Nick’s sister took video and the restaurant erupted in cheers. “Even more of a surprise was the fact that Nick had hid this from my parents and only asked for their blessing moments before he proposed, while he claimed he was using the restroom. He really did an amazing job making all my dreams come true and I couldn’t be any happier looking back,” said Shannon.  Their spring wedding was in the plans as Nick had picked the date ahead of time.

When planning a spring wedding or one in a particular season, there are certain things to keep in mind. “Always keep holidays in mind, and the calendar month,” said Atisha. “Spring time is during Lent, Easter and First Communion season, so it’s a very eventful time of the year for our church along with our community.”

In the spring, there are some things you can do that you can’t other times of the year. “Some flowers are available during this season versus later in the year like Peonies,” said Atisha. “Finding a date at a highly desirable location during this time of year is more challenging due to so many other events. The weather is warmer so couples can take outdoor photos and have more flexibility with clothing. Many couples prefer to avoid the snow; snow storms that can be possible during the late fall and winter months.”

Despite the time of year, there are many common mistakes couples make. “The biggest mistake is comparing your wedding to other couples and their weddings,” said Atisha. “Seeing photos on social media like Pinterest and Instagram while day dreaming about incorporating the idea/element into their wedding and then finding out they can’t afford it and possibly going over their budget to portray an image to their guests and sometimes put their fiancé’s in debt because they insist on having certain elements at their wedding.”

Budgeting is key in all seasons, explains Atisha. “So often couples book vendors based on weddings they walked in, or their friend or cousin hired, without thinking their budget through and then realizing they can’t afford the venue or the photographer,” she said. “Couples really need to think of their future and not just live for the day. They have a full road ahead of them and if they don’t build a solid and stable financial foundation for their new journey, they will surely create problems in their future. If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.”

A SUMMER Sensation

Tony & Aileen by Ivan George # 1

Summer time is Melanie and Danny Shaman’s favorite season of the year. “I couldn’t imagine our wedding day without the sun, and considering Michigan’s unpredictable weather, we knew that the summer would be the best season of the year to make our dream of a sunny wedding weather day coming true,” said Melanie. “Aside from summer being our favorite season of the year, a summer wedding worked best around my school schedule.” She is a full-time student studying physical therapy. “A summer wedding enabled us to have enough time to really enjoy our wedding and it was also a great time to go away on our honeymoon to Greece.”

They were married on Sunday, July 3 last year on a holiday weekend. “I know that guests tend to leave Sunday weddings earlier because they have to wake up early for work the next day, but the great part about getting married the day before the Fourth of July is that most guests did not have to worry about waking up for work,” Melanie noted. “Our guests were able to stay the entirety of our wedding and truly enjoy themselves as they partied the night away without worrying about an early wakeup the next day.”

Traditionally, summer has been known to be the peak of the wedding season. “Although wedding season, especially in the Chaldean community, has expanded into earlier and later months throughout the past few years, summer still continues to be the busiest time of the year for Chaldean weddings,” said Suhair Kallabat of Eventfully Yours. “Couples who want to marry in the summer must book far in advance to get the date that they want, especially if what they want is a weekend. I have a lot of couples who are resorting to picking a weekday wedding date because it is all they can get during the summer season that they want.”

Couples planning a summer wedding must also keep in mind that a summer wedding comes at premium. Summer couples pay the full price for their venue if marrying on the weekend, whereas that rate is discounted a bit during the off season.

Proper attire in the summer must also be a serious consideration. “It is imperative that everyone is dressed appropriately for the ceremony, not only at a summer wedding, but year round,” said Kallabat. “With summer weddings, with the hotter temperatures, the bride and guests seem to pick ‘hotter’ selections. These dresses maybe absolutely stunning, but not exactly church appropriate.”

The Chaldean Diocese requires that the bridal party and guests are covered properly for the church service. Kallabat reminds all her couples of this requirement. “Covering up for the ceremony doesn’t have to mean your bridal style is lost,” she said. “There’s a number of gorgeous pieces that can be added to your dress that still maintain the style of the dress while showing reverence in church.”

“I knew that I needed something that would be weather appropriate for a summer wedding,” said Melanie. “A significant part of our wedding day was spent outside taking pictures, and in designing my dress; I knew I wanted something that would work with the hot summer weather.”  Melanie worked with a designer who created a lace, strapless ball gown. “The gown was whimsical and elegant, and I felt like royalty in it,” she said.

Summer is ideal because of the weather. “Granted, we do live in Michigan, so even our summer weather can be inconsistent and unpredictable, but for the most part, summer is a couple’s best bet if they want a sunny and warm wedding day,” said Kallabat.

It’s also ideal for guests with out of state guests. Traveling is easier. “Our décor was also inspired by the summer,” said Melanie. “We choose to mix lighter, summery colors in our flower color scheme. We had a mix of whites, pinks, and greens combined with ivory sequenced linens and mahogany chairs for a fresh summer look.”

Danny and Melanie met at a gathering thrown by one of our mutual friends. “One day, Danny suggested that we take a step back in time and be kids again for the night,” said Melanie. “We spent the evening channeling our inner child, playing our favorite childhood arcade games. It was a blast.”

After playing a bunch of fun arcade games, they ended up in the photo booth. We made different funny faces in the few shots, and then Danny got on one knee and proposed. “I was completely and utterly shocked. I was filled with so much joy,” she said. “Once I was able to finally collect myself and accept Danny’s proposal with a YES, we walked out of the photo booth to yet another surprise – our family and close friends. Danny had arranged for them to be there for our proposal to surprise me and help celebrate with us.”

The biggest challenge is often planning the actual wedding. Many couples like to incorporate interests and their own identities and for Melanie and Danny it was Game of Thrones. “We decide to incorporate elements of the show into our wedding in a cool way,” said Melanie. “Our seating charts were not the typical seating chart. Instead, we had two Game of Thrones seating charts that Suhair helped us to create.”

The first seating chart, was titled “Brace Yourself, Marriage is Coming,” and under that it said “You Can Find Your Seat Here.” On each side, it listed the names and the house each belonged to: Danny House of Shaman for the groom, and Melanie House of Toma for the bride. The next board, closer to the reception entry way was identical, except that it was titled, “Brace Yourself, Marriage is Here.” “Guests LOVED our seating chart,” said Melanie. “It was one of the most snapped elements of our wedding.”

They incorporated more Game of Thrones elements with life-size cherry blossom trees that sat atop the tables. The final Game of Thrones element was a string quartet that played during dinner. “The string quartet played music from the Game of Thrones soundtrack, beginning with the theme song, and it was a hit,” said Melanie. “Our guests loved their performance, and it added a special vibe to the evening.”

Along with the planning, Kallabat said there is one key element no couple should forget. “Sometimes couples get so caught up in planning their wedding that they forget that even more importantly, they should be planning their marriage,” she said. “I like to refocus my couples when I sense that they’ve lost sight of the true meaning of their engagement. As important as planning a wedding is, it is of the utmost importance for couples to be preparing for the sacrament that they are about to receive.”

FALLING In Love

When June Abro was planning a couple’s wedding in the fall, he knew they wanted that particular time of the year. “They figured it wasn’t going to be too hot or too cold,” said June Abro of a June Event. “They had a perfect day.”

Tony & Aileeen by Ivan George # 3

They were looking for a Saturday in either September and October. When they found the date they wanted, they booked it right away. “It ended up being Sweetest Day and they wanted for all of their loved ones to share in their ‘sweetest day’ with them,” said Abro.

Weather is not the only thing to keep in mind when planning a wedding, explained Abro. “Think about holidays and if guests have to travel and the wardrobe,” he said. “When planning a fall wedding, keep in mind daylight savings and that your clothes don’t clash with the time of the year. Certain wardrobes go with certain seasons.”

The weather in the fall can be ideal as it was for this particular couple. “Amidst the weather changing, the colors are changing” said Abro. The elegance of the outdoor pictures were beautiful. It was a cool Autumn day for them.”

As much as some couples love the fall season, it doesn’t limit the wedding planner. “We feel that the season should not dictate what you want to do,” said Abro. “It’s your wedding and you can have the wedding of your dreams no matter the month. The only thing that is crucial is the flowers that are in season. However, if you have no limits on your budget, you can have them any time of year for the right price.”

The season should not deter you from your dreams. “It’s your wedding; you can do whatever you want as long as its styled right,” said Abro. “If you love fall colors but are getting married in spring, it can still be done as long as your ‘Color Story’ is done well and your wedding planner designs it just right.”

Regardless of the time of year, Abro encourages couples to stay calm. “A mistake is when couples tend to get stressed during the planning period,” he said. “This is supposed to be a magical time – pick and have faith in your vendors that at the end of the day, they will throw you the wedding of your dreams!”

Side Bar:
You got engaged and now there is so much to do. Perhaps you are debating whether or not to hire a wedding planner. We posed that question to Lawrence Yaldo and Andy Keina from Top that Table and they gave us ten reasons why you need one.

1. Minimizing the stress and maximizing the fun.
2. Trouble shoots a variety of things that could go wrong: wardrobe malfunction, cake catastrophe, seating issues, etc.
3. Helps negotiate pricing and budget planning
4. Makes your vision turn into a reality
5. Helps organize all the details when planning a destination wedding.
6. Manages times by creating a schedule so that no time is wasted.
7. Acts as a mediator when dealing with family expectations, shows you the available options, and can be relied upon to give you expert advice so you make an informed decision.
8. Recommends solid, reputable vendors to serve every aspect of the wedding.
9. Every bride and groom wants something “different” for their wedding, so they can design and create something memorable.
10. Brings knowledge and understanding. Planners have been in the industry for years and are experts in protocol, etiquette, and everything it takes to pull off an event of such magnitude.