musings from the ladies of a day in may events



creating the wow factor

Have you been searching for that perfect detail that will really make your wedding guests say “WOW!”? Something that will be a conversation piece for years to come and leave a lasting memory with you, your family and wedding guests. Here are a few of our top tips and tricks for creating the “wow factor”.


Image via Blaine Seisser Photography

The personal touch
If you really looking for your guests to say “Wow!”, consider putting extra attention into a personalized detail that each guest will receive. For Krista and Jed’s wedding, each guest received a “place card” in to form of a three dimensional, illuminated lantern complete with the guest’s calligraphed name and table number. When hung in a mass overtop a boxwood wall, this stunning entry piece set the tone for the event while guests oohed and ahhed as they entered the ballroom.


Sylvia Weinstock Cake, Image via Forbes

Appeal to the sweet tooth

Take a cue from the “Queen of Cakes”, Sylvia Weinstock, and hire a fantastic baker to create your dream wedding cake. A multiple tier creation complete with edible embellishments and an over-the-top design is sure to create a lasting memory. Extra points will be earned for a fun, unique Groom’s cake.


Image via Marcy Blum

A space that is lounge-worthy
Sometimes your guests want to get out of dodge and chat with an old friend that they haven’t seen in a while. Creating a lounge space that is a bit removed from the party while still keeping the action nearby allows for these intimate and memorable moments to take place. Even if your guest didn’t spend the entire evening dancing the night away, the fact that they were able to re-connect with an acquaintance will make the evening a memorable one.


Image via Gifts for the Good Life

Who doesn’t love a little swag every now and again? Give your guests something to enjoy upon arrival, as well as, something to take back home and they will feel taken care of for the entire weekend. With Etsy and the all-great-and-powerful Google search, we have access to a plethora of suppliers and artisans who can assist with any and all wedding swag needs. There are also some amazing companies who specialize in creating personalized and branded gifting experiences- shout out to our friends Heather and Susan at Gifts for the Good Life!

A Day in May Events- Style and Motion (9) EDIT

Image via Style & Motion

Go out with a BANG!
If you’re at a location that allows it, consider hiring a professional fireworks display company to create a show as the finale to the evening. Nothing can say “WOW!” quite like pyrotechnics after all, and if you’re guests are not expecting it, they’ll be even more impressed. By hiring a professional company, they’ll take the guest work out of local ordinances, permitting, etc. allowing you and your guests to simply enjoy the display!

the art of the place setting

Suttons Bay, MI Wedding Photography - Lauren & Jon - © Dan Stewart Photography

Image by Dan Stewart Photography

Your wedding guests will spend a great portion of the evening seated at their tables – therefore it is essential to create beautiful (and functional!) place settings. This is where they will enjoy toasts, your first dance as Mr. and Mrs. and the dinner menu you’ve so carefully curated. When it comes to event design you can start the process thinking big by considering the room’s layout or focal points of the space, but sometimes we reverse that process and find inspiration in the finer details, like the table design and place settings. Tablescapes can inspire the look for the entire space and set the tone for the day! The table linens, china, flatware, glassware, menu, place cards and decor must work harmoniously to create a stunning place setting that your guests will enjoy throughout the evening.


Image by Kate Krueger Photography

There is beauty in simplicity. Crisp white china allows the colorful blooms to serve as the focal point on the wooden banquet tables. Calligraphed place cards add a classic, personalized touch!


Image by Jen Kroll Photography

For this lakeside event, we paired beautifully embroidered paisley blue linens with woven rattan chargers for an elegant, yet laid back vibe. The pair of adirondack chairs was a recurring motif in the couple’s wedding branding and the wedding day itself – the menu is a great place to incorporate branded elements from your stationery or other printed pieces. Additionally, the guests names were calligraphed and secured around the napkins with lovely blue ribbons.


Image by Jenna Rowland Photography

At ADIM we are crazy about monograms and personalized pieces. We adore these chic napkins embroidered with each guest’s initials. This place setting also exemplifies how you can mix patterns at your tables to create a unique and interesting design. The texture of the linens paired with the birch pattern of the circular menu enhanced the design of the reception decor. Another great way to personalize your friends and family’s place settings is to leave a hand written note for each of your guests. Who doesn’t love a personalized letter?!


Image by Jen Kroll Photography

When you are designing your place settings, be sure to not overlook your flatware selections. These beautifully detailed pieces are a highlight of this place setting’s design. They also perfectly compliment the silver beaded chargers and the color palette of the floral centerpieces. Whether you choose ornate, vintage flatware or perhaps stunning gold utensils, this is another thoughtful detail to consider in the design.


Image by Jen Kroll Photography

Add layers of detail to your place setting to create interest. From the rich detail of the gold chargers, to the colorful goblets, to the hand dyed silk ribbon used to secure the blush napkin and menu, all of these elements worked together to create a place setting that delighted guests for the entire evening! While this design was full of details, the table wasn’t overly crowded. The comfort of your guests and the functionality of the design is of upmost importance!


Image by Jen Kroll Photography

We love using interesting decor pieces and a pop of color to add an unexpected touch to the place setting design. The vivid hues of purple used in the glassware and the table linens were bold and beautiful. The glass terrariums filled with a delicate flower was a lovely way to hold the guest’s place cards. You might also consider sourcing unique decor pieces or larger blooms and placing them directly in the center of the plate.

There are infinite ideas and way to approach your table design. Be sure that the pieces you select are a reflection of your aesthetic and have fun with the styling and placement!

Bridal Bouquets we Love


From colorful arrangements with coral charm peonies and red ranunculus to a monochromatic bouquet with soft pink garden roses, there are stunning combinations to suit every bride’s style. The bridal bouquet is a great opportunity to showcase your personal style and compliment your beautiful gown. In addition to the color palette of blooms, consider the texture and shape of your bouquet as well. Adding in dusty miller offers a lovely textural element or perhaps you add greenery to create a cascading effect.  Here are some of the arrangements that are currently inspiring us!

Bridal Bouquets

Image on Left by Lexi Vornberg/Floral Design by Floral Verde; Center image by Jen Huang/Floral Design by Laurel Lane; Image on Right by Kurt Boomer/Floral Design by Kelly Kaufman


Image on left by Jen Kroll Photography/Floral Design by Modern Day Floral, Center Image by Harwell Photography, Image on Right by Harwell Photography/Floral Design by Field of Flowers Farm

All Tents are Not Created Equal

One tent, two tents, red tent, blue tent. Chances are, if you’ve spent some time perusing the internet or any type of social media looking at weddings and special events, you’ve noticed the varying types of tents and infrastructure. While it may be difficult to put your finger on what makes each type of tent different, we are here to break things down for you.

clear span 2

Image by Jose Villa, Event Design by Easton Events

Clear span Tents
‘Clearspan tents by definition indicate that they clearly span a space, meaning no interior poles or obstructions.  This means there are no obstacles to plan around and no site-line issues, which are common headaches when designing an event under a traditional pole tent.’ They are erected in “bays” and then the canvas is stretched overtop. Because of the way they are constructed, clear spans can be placed overtop existing items including landscaping, trees, restroom trailers, etc. There are no straps extending off the sides of a clear span tent as the stakes go straight down into the ground from the base of the uprights. Clear spans are also known to endure the highest wind speeds and strongest gusts. Lastly, even though the phrase clear is used to describe a clear span tent, the roof, gable ends and sidewalls of a clear span can be either solid white or clear pending the design. For more in’s and out’s on this type of tent, there’s a great run down you can read here.


Image by Kate Krueger Photography, tent by Special Events Party Rental, design by A Day in May Events

Frame Tents
Frame tents are constructed with the shelter, or metal support system, first and the canvas is stretched and secured over top with the body of the tent erected. Frame tents are often used in conjunction with clear span tents and often serve as connecting or auxiliary structures to the main tent. Frame tents also have no center poles and there are different canvas applications- clear or solid. Frame and Clear span tents are both “structure” tents. They have ample attachment points off their truss or rafters to suspend fixtures or attach speakers.


Image by Jen Kroll Photography, Event Design by A Day in May Events

Pole Tents
Pole tents are the type of tent that most people seem to be familiar with. A pole tent has a dramatically tall, peaked roof which is held up by center poles. Around the perimeter of the tent at each tent leg, straps and stakes extend outward to keep the tent in place (similar to the frame tent). For some, the undulating peaks of the pole tent tend to be more pleasing to the eye and more “wedding like” versus the more structural clear span or frame tent. While pole tents can withstand mild breezes, they are not recommended for areas that are prone to heavy wind gusts as they are not as structurally sound as clear span or frame tents.


Image by Jen Kroll Photography, Event Design by A Day in May Events

Specialty Tent- Sailcloth Tent
Throughout the past few years, the sailcloth tent has become widely popular and is more prominently seen on various social media outlets and wedding inspiration guides. Similar in shape the the pole tent, the sailcloth tent’s peak roof is supported by center poles with tent legs, straps and stakes supporting the structure from the perimeter. Their are a couple unique features that set the sailcloth tent apart. The no valance design along with the translucency of the sailcloth fabric roof creates an open and airy feeling with a nautical flair. The whimsical flags that adorn the top of the peaks further add to the character of the structure. Lastly, with the center poles and perimeter legs typically being a finished, warm wood, the structure remains the perfect fit for a coastal soiree or woodland fete.

sailcloth 2

Image by Liz Banfield Photography, Event Planning by Bliss Weddings and Events




Selecting your Wedding Venue

Congratulations! You’re engaged! Now what?  Chances are there are a million and one things racing through your head as you begin to plan you wedding to your beloved. Two of the first questions to consider are ‘When?’ and ‘Where?’  The ‘When’ is certainly a personal decision. You might select a date because it is meaningful to you and your family, or because it is your favorite time of year, or simply because your favorite photographer is available that weekend. Only you can pick your perfect wedding date.  The ‘Where’, however, is something that we certainly can assist with or at least help to be your trusty guides.

A couple of years ago, we had the pleasure of partnering with our clients for the creation and development of a venue in Grand Rapids: The Ballroom at McKay.  Through that project we assisted with sales and bookings, staff training, collaborative business development, operations strategy, event furnishings and lighting procurement, art direction (collateral, website and branding materials) and so much more.  Through that partnership, we learned a lot about wedding venues most importantly, what to consider when choosing yours.


Pictured Above: Cherry Basket Farm

What is included with the rental?

When choosing a venue, it’s important to know what all is included with the rental.  This is imperative as anything that’s not included would be an additional expense and potentially a large chunk out of your overall wedding budget, not to mention, more vendors for you (or your planner) to worry about on the day of the wedding.

Cherry Basket Farm, located in the picturesque Leelanau Peninsula is “a private setting that celebrates the best and most special qualities of Northern Michigan”.  Cherry Basket Farm, also happens to be the home of Epicure Catering, an award winning caterer specializing in local, sustainable cuisine.  By choosing Cherry Basket Farm as the location for your wedding, their comprehensive catering and day-of vendor management packages also include the following: separate bride and groom dressing areas, a forested ceremony site with chairs, lower barn area with bar, cocktail tables, bar stools and a gift table, farmyard and yard games, crisp white pole tent for dining with removable window sides and dimmable lighting, tables and chairs, upper barn with dance floor, seating for 50, a coffee station, dessert station and ample power for your band or DJ, handicapped-accessible mens and womens restrooms, and on-site parking.  With all of these items included in the cost of your package, the value of the rental has increased, leaving less for you to worry about on the day of your wedding.


Pictured Above: Pacific Oaks Vineyard Estate

How long do I have access to the space?

As much as you want to believe that your wedding is the only one of importance to the venue, unfortunately, that is not the case.  Along with making sure that your wedding goes smoothly and that you and your guests have the time of your lives, the Venue Coordinator is also focusing on the next couple to get married and making sure that all of your best interests are kept in mind.  In order to accommodate multiple events, venues have established hours of rental. This typically includes a few hours in the morning prior to your wedding for setup, the duration of your event and a couple hours after the party (for tear down).  When working with your wedding vendors, it’s important that you (or your planner) make sure that your vendors are aware of these time constraints, what you are asking them to do, and that what they are proposing is able to be accomplished during the rental period.  If you are considering a lengthy setup, it may be worth your while to chat with the venue coordinator about the opportunity to purchase additional hours for setup and teardown.


Pictured Above: Four Season Resort Vail

Is there a Food and Beverage minimum?

For larger resorts or hotels, it’s not uncommon for them to forgo the room rental all together and instead establish a Food and Beverage [F&B] minimum that must be met in order for you not to incur additional room rental costs or fees.  The F&B minimum typically excludes taxes, fees and gratuity and is formulated based upon your guest count, specific location (which room you decide to book within a larger facility), the time of year (high season events typically incur a higher F&B minimum) along with a handful of other factors that come directly from the venue.  The F&B minimum is not something to be scared of but rather just something to consider.  If you are choosing not to serve alcohol, you may need to enhance your hors d’oeurves selections in order to ensure that you meet the F&B minimum.


Pictured Above: The Ballroom at McKay

Are there certain Vendors that I have to use?

When we were developing The Ballroom at McKay along with our clients, we know that it was important to surround ourselves with vendors who would respect and care for the venue just as much as we did.  Because of this, we created a Preferred Caterer list, or a list of caterers for couples who booked with The Ballroom can choose from.  As a venue, this ensured that the onsite kitchen was only to be accessed by licensed and insured professionals.  As a soon to be married couple, you can rest assured that the caterer you select will be held to the highest of standards and has proven time and time again to be “tried and true”.  A Preferred or Recommended Vendor list should provide peace of mind, however, if you are dead set on using a professional who is not on the list, you may want to reconsider your venue prior to remitting a signed contract and deposit.

These are just a handful of questions you should ask your venue prior to signing on the dotted line.  One last helpful tip to consider…we sometimes start our venue conversations by asking “What can’t I do [in this space, location, room, etc]?”.  This usually throws the Venue Coordinator for a loop, as it is not a question they get asked very often. Trust us when we say, you’ll be glad you asked!