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wedding planning

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One local wedding planner is using her creativity to make dream days come true, and also inspiring local professionals to get creative in their fields too.

Founder of Rachel Lynn Studio
Rachel Murphy, Founder of Rachel Lynn Studios

When a love for helping others comes together with a flair for the creative, Rachel Murphy found her calling. “I love weddings because it combines everything I’m passionate about: helping others, creating an unforgettable experience, bringing people together, flowers, decorations, love, dancing…I could go on and on,” she laughs.

Murphy went to school for art education, “but I pretty much knew before I graduated that I might not love being in the classroom,” she explains. “[However], I’ve always had the urge to teach and/or help others [while] fulfilling my creative, artsy side.”

Wedding planning bloomed out of a gig as a floral designer. Murphy explains, “[We] were expecting our first child and I just wanted to do something fun that I had always had an interest in.” Her friends began requesting her floral expertise for their own special days, which gradually expanded to her now all-encompassing wedding planning services called Rachel Lynn Studios.

Murphy was raised by entrepreneurs, she says, “I’ve never had a clear picture of what I wanted to be when I grew up,” she recalls. “I can say, whatever job I was doing, I would dream about putting on really incredible events.”

Rachel Lynn Studios designs all aspects of the wedding planning process. They are based out of Cincinnati, but have also planned events in Dayton, Columbus and Northern Kentucky. “And if anyone wants to fly me somewhere tropical, I’ll happily plan an event there too,” she jokes.

Murphy says her secret to success is getting to the root of what brides truly want out of their wedding, and their life. “I [always] ask, what are the images that seem to pop up over and over again,” she explains. “Those images tend to be the important stuff and give a good sense of what you want your wedding to feel like.”

Regarding her philosophy on wedding planning, Murphy says, “I believe in shaking things up a bit. Find a few places you can break away from the mold, from how things are always done.” She adds, “Also, I believe in enjoying the whole planning process. There will be some tough decisions to be made, but at the end of the day, we’re literally celebrating love. What’s not fun about that?”

Beyond being the engine of the planning process, Murphy enjoys bonding with brides over their special days. “I find a huge part of my job is just reassuring brides that it’s going to be okay, and to keep focused on the real reason for the wedding,” she says. “The dress, the flowers and the festivities are all just a bonus.”

Murphy also expands her services outside of the wedding realm, including “trainings, dinners, golf outings, birthday parties, donor events, showers or just a good old-fashioned party. There aren’t enough of those these days.”

This past year, Murphy partnered with her “business bestie” Sara Cormier of Cormier Creative to move into a studio space. The space, Creative Hook Up, hosts a variety of events to bring creative small businesses together. “We host chats over coffee for creatives, and we’re also offering different classes and workshops that we think small business owners would benefit from,” she says.

To learn more about Rachel Lynn Studio, visit www.rachellynnstudio.com and follow along on Facebook and Instagram. To learn more about the Creative Hook Up, visit www.thecreativehookup.com.

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    For our annual wedding issue, we chat with a local wedding concierge to learn about the biggest bridal trends, best local vendors and a big wedding expo coming up this week at Great American Ballpark, complete with a grooms workshop at the batting cages. Keep reading for all the big day details.

    A Bride's Mafia will be hosting its annual Afterhours Bridal Show this March 10 at Great American Ballpark.
    A Bride’s Mafia will be hosting its annual Afterhours Bridal Show this March 10 at Great American Ballpark.

    This year’s wedding season is upon us. If you’re planning a wedding, then you know that there’s a lot of work behind the words “wedding planning.” Whether you’re doing it on your own or with the help of a planner, you’ll quickly learn that there are different wedding trends every year.

    That’s where Nidhi Bedi, founder and owner of A Bride’s Mafia, a Cincinnati-based wedding concierge business, can help. She says with expansive visual resources like Pinterest, brides are following fewer trends and mass-produced concepts, and instead, finding inspirations that uniquely create their her own vision. “Brides aren’t going by what’s trends or the colors they saw at the last wedding,” she adds. “This year is about designing their vision and making it a reality.”

    Nidhi Bedi
    Nidhi Bedi

    For example, Bedi says, while metallic is very popular among brides, they’re bringing this style out in their own unique way. “Some brides to them to make their event over the top, some use a sparkle to make it whimsical and others use it to make it complete earth tones,” she says.

    Bedi says brides are taking Pinterest ideas and customizing them. “They will take lighting, chandeliers, linens and centerpieces, to name a few, and give it their own personality stamp,” she says. “They aren’t just using up-lighting, but brides are turning to gobos with monograms and customized designs.”

    When and where a bride is having her wedding also plays into the design, theme and colors she chooses. That’s why she recommends booking a venue as one of the very first steps in planning, as it sets the tone for many other wedding day decisions.

    The trends that Bedi says makes her most excited for this year’s wedding season is all the variation. “I just love the different weddings we’ve been seeing – from metallics, earth tones, bright color fusion and greenery,” she says. “There’s so much variation and I love them all because it makes each event so unique.”

    Bedi and A Bride’s Mafia are helping brides meet with the vendors of their dreams at the upcoming Afterhours Bridal Show at Great American Ballpark on March 10 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. “This show is absolutely my favorite of the year,” says Bedi. “It’s so fun! It’s at the ballpark and we have 90 amazing vendors in this show.”

    From table linens to photographers and videographers, florists and DJs, the Afterhours Bridal Show lets you meet with those vendors to let you see the latest trends up close and personal.

    Bedi says that A Bride’s Mafia took extra steps this year to help get the groom involved. “I think we’ve hit a home run there,” she says while discussing the new Grooms Workshop.

    The workshop, hosted by Hey! Mr. DJ, allows grooms to get pointers on how to make their day unique and how to be involved in the finer details of the planning process. Plus, after the workshop they get to go to the batting cages.

    Brides who attend the show can enter to win a $20,000 wedding. The winner of the grand prize will get married at the ballpark, and A Bride’s Mafia covers the rental, dress, tuxedo, DJ, photographer, videographer, hair, makeup, florist, limousine, cake and a coordinator. “It always makes my day to meet the winner and see how excited they are,” she says. “The team of vendors that do the giveaway are so amazing and incredible.”

    Bedi says A Bride’s Mafia also has some big things planning for this year. “We’ve got some things up our sleeves we are working on – we just can’t say it yet, so stay tuned,” she adds.

    To learn more about this season’s wedding trends, local vendors and how to hit the ground running with your wedding planning, visit www.abridesmafia.com. You can also get complimentary tickets to the Afterhours Bridal Show here.

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    Learn about a local lady who launched a full-service event planning business, who specializes in weddings and also corporate planning.

    030915CAREER1
    Maura Bassman, owner of Cincy Weddings by Maura

    She remembers watching “Father of the Bride” like it was yesterday. It was the first time Maura Bassman saw an event planner in action, and she knew immediately that’s what she wanted to do for a living.

    “I was so excited because it was the first time that I realized my love for weddings could actually be translated into a career,” she recalls. “From that moment on, I knew I wanted to be a wedding planner and I continued to keep my eye on the prize.”

    Today, Bassman is the owner of Cincy Weddings by Maura, which launched in October 2014. While weddings are her main focus, she also enjoys social and corporate planning.

    For brides, Bassman created a variety of easy-to-understand package options allowing couples to choose when they need planning advice – the beginning, the middle, the end, or everything in between. “The first step in the planning process is to meet with me to discuss your wedding vision, budget and other details relevant to your wedding,” she explains. “From there, I help you choose a package option that is perfect for you. Through vendor relationships and our planning expertise, I make sure you are making the best investments possible regarding your wedding day.”

    A Cincinnati transplant, Bassman moved here from West Virginia in 2005 and studied Entrepreneurial studies at Xavier University. During college, she conducted her co-op at March of Dimes and helped with the planning of large fundraising events, where she was able to really get experience in the planning industry. Then, after she graduated from Xavier, she worked as an event coordinator for a restaurant as well as two large Cincinnati wedding venues.

    Bassman says her favorite part of what she does is building relationships with couples and their families. “I find that by building those close relationships with my clients, I am able to provide couples with the wedding they’ve always envisions,” she says. “It’s so much fun being part of this process with them – I get to meet them when they are newly engaged and then see them become man and wife!”

    To learn more, visit the Cincy Weddings by Maura website, visit her blog, or email info@cincyweddingsbymaura.com.

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    Getting married but not sure where to start? One local business is helps to put your big day together – starting with your floral arrangements. Read on for more.

    Jeff and Robert Green of {say i do} love weddings & events llc
    Jeff and Robert Green of {say i do} love weddings & events llc

    {say I do} love weddings & events llc is now a blossoming business, and it all started with their beautiful floral arrangements. Jeff and Robert Green founded the business in July 2011, and now it’s a full service wedding and special events florist based in the Reading Bridal District.

    “After working in the floral industry for 30 years and seeing the same designs and materials being utilizes, over and over, we were both inspired and challenged to bring new bridal bouquet designs to the heart of the wedding industry,” explains Jeff. “We use different mediums, textures and non-traditional floral products.”

    Some of the unique mediums the duo uses in their floral designs include brooches, fruits, vegetables, houseplants, garden succulents and natural branches including twigs and jute. Jeff says that branching out – quite literally — has allowed them to provide an individualized event experience within an affordable budget for brides-to-be everywhere.

    The Greens also provide box-bulk fresh flowers, fresh floral design, glassware rental, Manzanita tree rentals, event coordinating, event vendor referral, candles, delivery-set up-teardown, free personalized consultations by appointment and free prototypes of bouquets.

    “This year, as we grew, we moved to our Design Center at 116 West Benson Street in the nations largest bridal district, The Reading Bridal District,” says Jeff. “In the upcoming year we are planning on hosting some design classes on bouquet making and centerpiece designing for the DIY bride.”

    Jeff adds that he and Robert know how important staying on budget is for brides and grooms, which is why they plan to provide more options for the DIY bride. In the coming year, Jeff says, they want to offer as many options to make as many dream days come true — whatever that dream might look like for each individual couple.

    To learn more about {say I do} love weddings & events llc, visit www.theknot.com, www.weddingwire.com, “like” them on Facebook, or check out their website. {say I do} is located at 118 W. Benson Street in the Reading Bridal District.

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