Video Blog: Using Pinterest for Wedding Inspiration

Shari Zatman, Owner and Principal Event Planner and Designer of Perfectly Planned by Shari, discusses the use of Pinterest as a tool for wedding inspiration.

5 Tips for Newly-Engaged Couples

5 Tips for Newly-Engaged Couples

January 24, 2018

You have the ring, you’ve spread the news and all of a sudden, scrolling through Pinterest for wedding ideas has become one of your favorite hobbies. With any wedding engagement comes some obvious stressors, but we’re here to help!

Here are our top 5 suggestions for the beginning stages of planning your wedding:

1.Take some time to enjoy your engagement
Before jumping into the planning process, take some time to truly enjoy your engagement. Whether that time together is spent on a romantic date, casual night-in, or a short getaway, be sure to savor this time together without discussing all of the wedding details.

2.Tackle that guest list
Creating your guest list early on can help you avoid a plethora of problems. You’ll have an understanding of how large of a venue you need, and how flexible you can be with your budget. This lays the framework for our next couple of suggestions.

3.Talk through your budget
Do you have a restricted budget or is it flexible? It’s important to work through your budget and decide who is contributing to the wedding expenses and what the maximum amount of money is that you are willing to spend on your wedding.

4.Secure a venue and wedding date
It sounds obvious, but it’s difficult to take any additional steps until you have selected a venue and confirmed your wedding date, so you need to start here. Since you have a general idea of how many guests you’ll invite and what your budget is, you can start to sort through venue options using those important criteria.

5.Consider your vendors
What vendors are most important to you – Your photographer or florist? Maybe it’s your band or a DJ? Start to research potential vendors, and don’t be afraid to meet with several for comparison before making your final decision. We may be bias, but we are positive that a professional Wedding Planner should be one of the first vendors you hire because we can help you make all of the right decisions. As with other vendors, explore your options and talk to different planners to see which one is the right fit for you.

(Featured image taken by Joey Kennedy Photography.)

Maggie & Chase’s New Year’s Eve Wedding

Maggie & Chase’s New Year’s Eve Wedding

December 31, 2017

What better way to ring in 2018 than with a jaw dropping wedding with your closest friends and family? Maggie & Chase celebrated their marriage at the Four Seasons in Chicago over the New Year, and we’re still swooning over the details. The Perfectly Planned by Shari team had the privilege of collaborating with HMR Designs, an event design company in Chicago, to create Maggie & Chase’s dream wedding.

From the revolving champagne table to the stunning centerpieces, this wedding truly brought the couple’s vision to life. Here are just a few of our favorite things:

Elegant Ceremony Space
A 40+ foot floral and candle lined aisle with dripping gladiolus florets overhead met by a custom coordinated gladiolus chuppah.


Candlelit Cocktail Hour
Custom-designed bars and back bars, candle-lit etageres for escort card display, lounge seating and fragrant florals.

cocktail hour

Reception Vibe
Ballroom entrances with vertical gardens of magnolia, white pine, cedar and oregonia.
Three unique centerpiece styles including 7’ tall magnolia trees and white pine trees aglow with “fairy” lights and glistening “bubble” candles.
A veritable garden of mixed evergreens and white king protea, hydrangea, roses and orchids accented with votive candles.


Personal Touches
Marble place cards done with dye cut gold lettering and a custom printed marbleized dance floor.
A sculpted cake made to look exactly like Maggie & Chase’s beloved dog.
Late night pizza that the Four Seasons made from Maggie’s grandmother’s recipe, presented in military style service and fanfare.


Just before midnight the guests joined in on a countdown and were surprised by confetti canons that launched at the stroke of the New Year.

Thank you to the many fabulous vendors that helped us make this wedding so amazing: HMR Designs, Frost Lighting, Imagination Designers, Kent Drake Photography, Chicago Players, Nota Bene, Four Seasons Chicago.


Tis the Season for Engagement – Gift Ideas for the Newly-Engaged Couple

Tis the Season for Engagement – Gift Ideas for the Newly-Engaged Couple

December 27, 2017

Engagement season is finally here, which means love, celebration and some new bling. Looking for a thoughtful gift for your newly-engaged loved ones? We’ve got you covered. Scroll through our favorite gift ideas for the happy couple.

One Hope Bottle

1. Sip, Sip Hooray! What better way to celebrate than with a sparkly bottle of sparkling wine – especially when your purchase supports a nonprofit organization. We love the glitter details on these One Hope Wine bottles.
One Hope Wine, California Brut Sparkling Wine Gold Shimmer Edition
One Hope Wine

Kate Spade Etched Glasses
2. Let’s toast to the happy couple! Celebrate with a cocktail in a set of “yours” and “mine” etched glasses. The best part? These High Ball glasses are dishwasher safe.
Kate Spade New York, Two of a Kind Yours and Mine High Ball Set
Kate Spade

Ring Dish

3. To have and to hold – A ring dish that can be customized with initials, engagement date, a monogram, and much more! It’s perfect for that new “bling”.
HappilyLittleHomeShop, Personalized Engagement Dish with Initials

Vow Books

4. Is the couple writing their own vows? Their wedding day sentiments will be kept safe with these letter-pressed vow journals. A thoughtful gift for not only the wedding day, but also their bright future together.
QuinnLuu, Letterpress Vow Journals (Set of 2)

Two in the Kitchen Cookbook
5. We love a couple who cooks together! This is a useful gift that allows the couple to spend quality time together in the kitchen. This cookbook features over 150 recipes for all different occasions.
Williams Sonoma, Two in the Kitchen Cookbook
Williams Sonoma

Book a 2016 Wedding + Receive a Luxury Gift Package!


Perfectly Planned by Shari is offering a Luxury Gift Package to Brides who contract full service wedding planning for 2016 weddings with us between now and the New Year.

The gift includes the following:

  • – Complimentary Engagement Photo Shoot with Rhaina  Taylor Photography
  • – Complimentary Hair and Makeup Trial with Studio Booth
  • – Complimentary Fitness and Massage Package from Extreme Fitness

The value of this gift totals $800.00.

Availability is limited, schedule your consultation with us soon.



7 Things You Need to Consider When Planning A Wedding At Your Home

Weddings at home are lovely and some little girls dream about having their own wedding on the property where they grew up, but there are many factors to consider before being certain a wedding at home is the right venue for you.

“Adequate Space”
Measure your property or use a rental company to do so. If you are going to be outdoors hire a rental company for tenting and make sure they confirm that you have adequate level space for all of your needs. Additionally, make sure you have all the extra spaces you will need for getting ready, photos and more.

How many guests are you having? You likely don’t have enough items of your own to service the number of guests attending for a wedding. You will need to rent practically everything- glassware, dishes, flatware, linens, tables, chairs, etc. This can add up so make sure you consider all of this when budgeting.

“Catering Facilities”
Will the caterers be using your kitchen? Do they need you to build them out in a catering tent? Either way you need to have the caterer do a site visit and make sure they have what they need or they will have to set up the proper facilities temporarily onsite for them to use by renting everything they need. Again, this can increase your rental budget so you will want to find this out early.

Do you want all of those people walking through your house to use the bathroom? The answer is “no”. You will need to consider renting portable restroom trailers. These are actually very nice. You do not need to use Porto Potties. The restroom trailers are air conditioned, lit, and look like an actual bathroom.

Where will all of those cars park? Even if you hire valet parking you need to pre-determine the location where the cars can go nearby and make sure the valets can quickly get to that location and back.

“Trash Removal”
A wedding will generate a lot of trash. Make sure you have plenty of waste receptacles placed properly for trash then discuss trash disposal with your caterer. Have them remove it from the property or place it in the proper pick up location for you.

“Being Able To Enjoy It”
Consider how you will be able to be a guest at your own event if it is your home. We suggest hiring a good Wedding Planner to handle all of the planning and manage every detail onsite for the wedding. Trust us, this is the only way you will really get to enjoy it.

5 Top Reasons Why Venues Should Encourage Couples to Hire a Wedding Planner

The International Special Events Society Pittsburgh Chapter held an Industry Forum for the first time at their April Meeting. This provided an opportunity for members and guests to submit questions in advance which became “Hot Topics” posed to the group for industry discussion.

As the Vice President of Programming and Education for the chapter and the organizer of this meeting, I saw one question submitted several times by event planners. “Why do venues tell couples not to hire a Wedding Planner?” This question sparked a lot of conversation.

Representing the venues in attendance, the general feeling from them was either that they, as the venue, felt like they could (or should) provide all of the services to the couple themselves AND it is better to have no Wedding Planner than to be working with a bad and inexperienced planner.

There may be some additional reasons that were not shared during the meeting, but as a Professional and Experienced Wedding and Event Planner, I would like to share my opinion on this.

To all venue coordinators, good planners can work together with you to improve your life! Really, it’s true!

Here are 5 Top Reasons Why Venues should encourage couples to hire a Wedding Planner.

1. If you want to avoid working with the bad and inexperienced planners, then you can control that by referring only planners that you know are good, experienced and have a great track record. If you discourage working with a planner and the couple decides they want to hire one anyway, you may be at more risk by not referring because they will go out on their own and potentially hire someone you have to work with whom is not a professional, you have never heard of, whom is new or inexperienced making your job a lot more difficult.

2. Planners really do want to work together as a team. We are not looking to make your life harder- really. We want to see the best possible outcome for the couple just like you do. We value your knowledge and experience about your property and will rely on you to know information about all things venue related such as proper load in requirements, power, measurements, policies, payment terms, insurance, food and beverage and more. We will properly convey this information to our couples and follow your direction. You are our very important liaison and that is valued and appreciated.

3. You can’t be everywhere all the time. We know you also have to represent your venue every day which means while preparing for a wedding, while the couple is getting dressed, while the set up is happening, you may need to be showing the venue to other interested couples and giving tours or may need to attend to other things. When a planner is onsite for a wedding, the planner is there dedicated to that particular event the entire time which means you can step away and attend to other things.

4. Having a planner will lighten your work load and save you time. Just think about how many phone calls and emails you field from each couple/wedding and how many questions you are asked. Just imagine if that was all being directed to the couple’s wedding planner the amount of time that would save for you. Not to mention the other responsibilities you sometimes pick up like unexpected set up and assembly of items that you now have to take care of that turns out to take a ton of your time.

5. We are working with couples outside and offsite of the venue. We know you provide wonderful advice and direction to couples. We also know that you can’t be with them for meetings and appointments when they are outside of your venue. A Wedding Planner will provide additional services such as accompanying them to vendor appointments to convey their vision, designing the branding of their event and working with a stationer and design team at their locations to style the wedding, ceremony direction at a church or off site location and much, much more.

If you represent a venue, I welcome your feedback and response and truly hope to work with you soon!

Amy and Bob’s Lingrow Farm Wedding

Amy and Bob’s Lingrow Farm Wedding

Amy and Bob were married at Lingrow Farm on October 24, 2014. They were blessed with a gorgeous, sunny Fall day which was absolutely perfect for their outdoor ceremony set in the gazebo by the lake on the property’s farm. As if on cue, while Amy and Bob said their vows two horses grazed just behind them in the distance.

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The ceremony itself was very personalized. From the custom printed burlap aisle runner to Amy’s sister singing the bridal processional. The brides two brother in laws also personalized their wedding by officiating. Amy and Bob wrote their own vows which were both humorous and heartfelt.

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The couples’ whimsy was evident in all of their personal touches. They displayed their love, of all things “mustache”, in a variety of ways. The groomsmen all wore matching mustache Converse sneakers and mustache socks. Bob had custom mustache Converse made for himself in lime green.

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Their reception was “rustic chic” in the barn at the farm. DJ Kelli Burns kept the dance floor full and entertained the guests all night. After enjoying their dinner, a bonfire was lit and guests were able to roast marshmallows and make their own s’mores by the fire.

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For some scenes from the wedding, check out this short video courtesy of Trillium Wedding Films:

Thank you to the many wonderful vendor partners who worked with us:
DJ Kelli BurnsWhitling PhotographyTo The BoothTrillium Wedding FilmsTwisted ThistleLingrow FarmsOakmont Bakery

Tina and Damien’s Pittsburgh Destination Wedding

Tina and Damien’s Pittsburgh Destination Wedding

We were thrilled to have worked with Tina and Damien for their destination wedding celebration in Pittsburgh. The planning faced some challenges with the couple living in London, England (visiting only a few times before their wedding) and planning a three day extravaganza for their guests in less than four months. 

The vision: Friday Welcome Reception, Multiple Wedding Events on Saturday and Steeler Tailgate Party followed by taking their guests (55 tickets to be exact) to the Steeler game on Sunday. Owner, Shari Zatman, worked mostly remotely with the couple to design this entire weekend of events. 

Tina and Damien were married civilly several years ago before they had their two gorgeous children, but with Tina being born and raised in Pittsburgh, she identified Pittsburgh as the destination where she would like to bring everyone to host her dream wedding. 

The couple hosted a Welcome Cocktail Reception at the Duquesne Club the night prior to the wedding to greet their friends and family who traveled from all over the world to be with them on their special day. In addition to local family and friends, guests travelled from Australia, England, Brazil, Hong Kong, Malaysia and all throughout the United States to celebrate with the couple.

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On Saturday morning, guests gathered at St Vladimir’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church as the bride and her father arrived in style, traveling from the Omni William Penn in a 1940’s vintage car.  After the exchange of vows, guests proceeded to an afternoon luncheon at Monterey Bay on Mt. Washington overlooking the city. Guests were greeted at Monterey Bay by champagne, passed hors d’oeuvres and soothing sounds of a strolling violin. 

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Guests walked through the ground level entryway of white fabric draped and adorned with large floral clusters. Before boarding the elevators to the restaurant, guests selected their calligraphed escort cards that were hanging on the wall among greenery accented by blue silk. Dark Navy was paired with warm ivory tones to create a soft and romantic color palate used throughout the entire wedding, from printed materials to florals and linens. When guests found their seats, they enjoyed their delicious meals while taking in the best view of Pittsburgh. The couple was honored by many toasts from their family and friends accounting their deep love and commitment for each other.

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The third part to their day was “the party”. Guests boarded the buses once again and were driven to Perle, a sophisticated champagne lounge in Market Square, and the champagne and drinks were flowing all night. Upon entry, there was a large floral framed board with Polaroid pictures of the guests who attended the Welcome Reception the previous evening. 

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Tina and Damien started off the party by pouring champagne into their tower of glasses. In addition to an elaborate food display, guests enjoyed three cakes that were on display. One represented Tina, one represented Damien and the third was their wedding cake. The very stylish bride opted for a clothing change, slipping out of her wedding dress and into a floor length sequin gown which she wore later in the evening.
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Their talented DJ kept the music going all night as their guests had a ton of fun and got down on the dance floor. Friends and family appreciated the front balcony of Perle which offers amazing views of Downtown Pittsburgh. The Speakeasy lounge included a “Pittsburgh Cookie Table” with 100 dozen cookies baked by local family and friends. Everyone also enjoyed the photo booth. 
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The fun weekend didn’t stop there! On Sunday morning, all guests were invited to an authentic Steeler Tailgate Party outside at Stage AE prior to the Steelers VS. Cleveland Browns game. Everyone sported their Black and Gold gear and waved their terrible towels as they enjoyed a Bloody Mary and Mimosa Bar, pierogies, kelbasa and other Pittsburgh tailgate favorites before heading over to Heinz Field for the game. 

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We wish Tina and Damien a lifetime of love and happiness and it was our pleasure to work with such a beautiful couple!


Many thanks to all of our wonderful vendor partners who helped us make this wedding weekend so spectacular:

Duquesne Club, Omni William Penn Hotel, Monterey Bay, Perle, Stage AE, Aramark, Goldstein Photography, Robert Charles Wedding Films, Allison Mcgeary Florist, Nota Bene, Bella Christie and Lil Z’s Sweet Boutique, Steven Vance, Festivities, Event Source and more.

Here is a short feature film of the highlights of this beautiful weekend. It is worth watching! We’d like to thank Trillium Wedding Films for doing such an amazing job capturing this event on film.

Radiant Orchid – Incorporate it into your Wedding

Every year people all over the world from wedding planners to florists to fashion designers anticipate the color of the year.  Pantone LLC, a group of people gather to decide what color will be the new trend for the new year.  People are inspired by the newly chosen color.  It will be seen on runways, red carpet events, and maybe even at your wedding.

The Pantone color for 2014 is Radiant Orchid.  The color is said to inspire confidence and emanates great joy, love and health.  You may think this color is too bold for weddings, however, there are many ways to incorporate Radiant Orchid into your wedding even if it is just in small doses.

Accessories for the Bride

In most cases the bride is wearing a white or off white gown and a neutral shoe.  Perhaps you could dawn a touch of orchid with a purple stilletto?  Brides love a surprising element like an unexpected colorful and fabulous shoe.  There are different ways to incorporate Radiant Orchid into the shoe you choose to wear, whether it be the entire shoe, a few words written on the bottom  or maybe even Radiant Orchid rhinestones on the heel of the shoe.  Be creative, it’s your shoe, your color; people will love whatever you choose to do.  You could even wear the shoes again after the wedding with a suit, jeans, cocktail dress or anything that pairs well with them in your wardrobe.


Radiant Orchid pairs well with its sister shades of lavender, purple and pink.  This would be great for bouquets for either the brides or bridesmaids bouquets. You can also have your groomsmen’s boutonnieres Radiant Orchid to match your bridesmaids flowers.

An elegant flower that is also eye catching is the Phalaenopsis Orchid.  This radiant orchid blooms cascade down a dramatic stem.  It is a beautiful flower to use in your wedding where it can make an appearance in your bouquets, centerpieces, floral garlands or even as hair accessories.  Also, putting a Phalaenopsis Orchid in your hair that is Radiant Orchid extends the color that you are looking to bring into your wedding.

Attendant Attire

Bridesmaid’s dresses and groomsmen’s ties and vests are ways many couples get their scheme across.  You may think that having all of your wedding party in Radiant Orchid may be too much.  You can alternate with the sister shades previously mentioned to use an ombre color palate.  If you do not want different color dresses or vests/ties you may consider a Radiant Orchid sash for the dresses and only ties for the men.  Radiant Orchid is a beautiful color and will make a statement no matter what you choose, play around with your options see what your best fit is.

Print Materials

Print materials are used to introduce your color scheme to your guests.  Invitations, seating cards, programs, menus, favor tags and more are all details your guests pay attention to.  Radiant Orchid is a great pop of color to stand out on printed materials.


Linens, chair covers, centerpieces and tableware are all a vehicle to incorporate Radiant Orchid into your décor.  Uplighting is also a great way to use Radiant Orchid into your décor.  You can use dim lighting around the room with colors in uplighting focused on the dance floor, the couple, or the bar.  If uplighting the room is not what you want at your wedding, consider using a monogram on the wall in the Radiant Orchid palette.  Along with the monogram, using throw pillows on lounge furniture or using colored tie backs on chairs will help display the Radiant Orchid in a more subtle display.

Food and Cocktails

When considering ways to display your color scheme, do not forget about the food choices and cocktails.  Consider your wedding cake.  You could have Radiant Orchid flowers displayed on the cake, the cake itself as an ombre color, or even having a different flavor for each layer.

Cocktail hour is a great way to display your color scheme by having a color coordinating specialty cocktail drink.  A great Radiant Orchid cocktail is:

Pomegranate Splash

  1 oz Pom or pomegranate mixer/juice   

½ oz wild blueberry mixer/juice   

1 oz vodka   

½ oz raspberry Chambord 

  Add ingredients to cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake until cold and frothy.

Pour through strainer into chilled glasses.


Radiant Orchid is a bold choice for a wedding color, but play around with it, see what you like best and go with it.  In the end, your color palate is your choice and as long as it is used tastefully, enjoy it and own your decision.
Radiant Orchid Radiant Orchid 6 Radiant Orchid 5 Radiant Orchid 3

Radiant Orchid 4 Radiant Orchid 2 Radiant Orchid 1




Photo Credit





LMD Floral