Need some fun winter date night ideas? Look no further. We have given you every reason to snuggle up next to your honey and have a simple, yet romantic night!
Christmas Tree Shopping and Decorating
I don’t know about you, but I can’t start the holiday season until my tree is up and decorated. Every year, my husband and I go get our tree, put on a Christmas movie, make some tea and sweets, and decorate our tree together. It is a simple date night that gets you into the holiday spirit. My favorite part is when we pull out our ornaments and reminisce about the meaning behind each one.
I may be one of the most uncoordinated people around. My husband plays hockey and can skate circles around me while I shakily wobble across the ice with a death grip on the railing. What I love about our ice skating dates is that it is 100% an excuse to hold hands because what else is going to keep me from falling?!
See The Nutcracker
The Nutcracker is a holiday classic. Growing up, my mom and I went to the San Francisco ballet to see The Nutcracker every Christmas. We would get fancy hot chocolate and I would ogle at the dancers. As I grew up, I became too “cool” for this adventure, but it makes for a perfect date night. Get fancied up, grab dinner, and enjoy the perfect holiday show together.
See the lights
Whether you drive around and look at lights on houses, travel to the holiday lights at the zoo or the botanic gardens, or you venture to the Parade of Lights in the city, make a date of it. Pack some hot cocoa and some delicious snacks and bask in the beauty.
Make Gingerbread Houses
Gingerbread houses make me feel young again. With all the stress in our adult lives, it is fun to let go every once in awhile. Head to your nearest store and grab a gingerbread house kit (or make it yourself if you are ambitious), clean off the kitchen table, crank up the Christmas tunes, and gingerbread house away. My favorite thing to do is go to my favorite local candy store and get fancy candies to decorate (but mostly eat) with.
Go for a Sleigh Ride
Bundle up and head outside! Snuggle up next to your honey for a traditional sleigh ride. You can venture to the mountains or your city’s downtown to enjoy this. There is no excuse not to get super close during this adventure.
We hope to hear from you soon!
J & S
From all of us here at Sweetened, we want to wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving! We feel so blessed to have the opportunity to work with so many amazing brides and families, and we hope that you are sharing your thankfulness today.
J & S
Let's start with my sincere apologies for not having written a blog post since MARCH! Ah! While I have no excuse for April, May, and June lack of blogs, I am SO excited to share with you our most recent adventure - GREECE!
As you know, Sara and I started our Sweetened adventure last year after we worked tirelessly to plan my wedding. After all the hard work that we put into my wedding, I knew that Sara needed an adventure of her own - so Greece, it was! We were so blessed to visit many amazing places and stay in gorgeous hotels and we simply couldn't wait to share it with you!
Our highlights included:
- Horse back riding in Crete with Finika Stables. Gregory and Eddie were amazing hosts and the traditional Greek feast after the ride was to die for. Not only that, but Gregory and Eddie worked hard to make sure that everyone was always laughing and felt safe at all times.
- Safariing through the Crete mountains to visit Zeus' birthplace and play with goats.
- Santorini at night where the landscape sparkles like diamonds.
- Climbing to the top of an active volcano to then jump into the hot springs.
- Visiting the Acropolis on a day when three cruise ships landed in Athens.
- Island hopping to Hydra, Poros and Aegina to see the smaller, but still beautiful islands near Athens.
- Learning traditional Greek dances and trying traditional Greek food.
Not only did we love all our excursions, but we of course had to find one wedding photo shoot to see. All I could focus on was how hot they must have been. Once a wedding planner, always a wedding planner.
J & S
AHHH! We know that we have been a little M.I.A in the blog department recently, BUT we are so excited to announce that we have opened an Etsy shop. :) Sara has been working tirelessly to create perfect designs for us to feature and we are so excited to share our shop with you!
Check out Sweetened Design Co. Please check back often as we will continue to add more designs within the next few weeks. :)
J & S
We wanted to remind all of you about the AMAZING offer we have for the month of February. We are offering our Sweet Tea (day of planning) package at a flat rate of $1000 and all other packages will be 20% off. Take advantage of this ‘sweet’ deal while you can!
Jessica & Sara
On the fence about hiring a wedding planner? Read on to see why we recommend it!
Congrats! You’re engaged! Next comes the fun part, right?! For some, yes! Planning your wedding is an extremely exciting and personal time. Every bride wants their wedding to reflect their personality and traditions, so many want to make sure that they are completely in charge of planning the big day. But for others, planning a wedding can be a daunting task. That’s where the pros step in. Planning a wedding takes a lot of time, energy, and creativity. Hiring a wedding planner helps to ensure that everything you want happens on your big day without creating too much stress for you.
The average couple spends at least 200+ hours planning their special day. Between trips to venues, food tastings, researching the perfect venue, finding the perfect DJ, etc… your time can get eaten up. A planner is there to smooth out the process, stick to your budget and help you stay on track without wasting your time. They will work with you to help refine your already amazing ideas and bring them to reality.
Wedding planners are a huge resource for couples as they search for ways to make their day special and unique to them. The close relationship that planners develop with vendors helps make for an easier planning process and sometimes opens up opportunity for the chance to negotiate discounts. What flower is the least expensive for your time frame? Where do you seat the guest who shouldn’t get ahold of the microphone? They have witnessed just about everything and have learned what works and what doesn’t work, meaning they can offer guidance where it matters most.
If you didn’t already know, wedding planning can be stressful. Often, this stress carries over into relationships. Wedding planners have been there and have experience handling conflicts when they arise. We’ve all been there – sometimes you just need to vent and take a step back to look at the big picture. Planners can often double as unofficial therapists, finding compromise for some decisions that may be more difficult than others.
On the day of the wedding, you shouldn’t have to worry about a thing. You are there to be swept away in a day full of love and celebration and nothing should come in the way of that. The wedding planner is the person who ensures that happens. Instead of vendors coming to you or your family for any questions, they talk to the wedding planner. The planner will ensure that any crisis that might occur gets dealt with (you don’t need to know that the cake is getting delivered late as you’re are putting on your dress!) and makes sure that the guest that might have had a little bit too much to drink makes it home safely. Not only that but they will create a solid timeline for the day and ensure that everyone stays on track and is in the right place when they need to be. Everything from the rehearsal through the end of the reception is carefully planned out.
Wedding planners are there to ensure that you have a worry-free and stress-free day. There is nothing better than seeing the beaming smile on the bride as she starts the rest of forever with her “meant to be”. This is your day, so enjoy it and leave the work to the pros.
Jessica & Sara
In case you aren't counting down like I am, Christmas is officially only 4 days away. AHHH!
The holiday season is one of my favorite times of year (second only to wedding season, obviously :)) and after a 19 hour drive, I am finally home with family.
As I sit here on the couch dreaming about snow (which I won't see much of for Christmas seeing as snow isn't that popular in Northern California), I started to think about the beauty that is a winter wedding. I could sit here and share with you all the magical aspects of a winter wedding, but I don't think words could do these weddings justice. Instead, I found some absolutely magnificent pictures that highlight the amazingness that is a winter wedding. I mean, can you really go wrong with a beautiful white gown backed with a light dusting of snow? I think not! Enjoy!
Jessica & Sara
Every November, people around the world reflect on what they are thankful for. Social media blows up with the Gratitude Challenge and Hallmark floods stores with beautiful cards about being thankful for each other.
Here at Sweetened, we are thankful for so many things. We are thankful for the ability to pursue our passion of wedding planning together and thankful for the people that are support our dreams. Without their support, none of this would have been possible.
Not only are we thankful for the ability to pursue our dreams together, we are both thankful for many other things in our lives. We wanted to a take a moment to share with you one thing we are thankful for and we hope that you will share with us what you are thankful for.
Sara is thankful for her family. Encouragement from family is what has given Sara the confidence to pursue what she loves. From traveling the world to taking a leap of faith to open Sweetened, Sara’s family has been her constant cheerleader. They believe that if you dream it, you can do it and Sara couldn’t be more thankful to have them in her life .
Jessica is thankful for the ability to do what she loves. Without the support of her family and friends, pursuing her passion of horse back riding would be nearly impossible. Not only is Jessica thankful for the ability ride and drive horses, but she is thankful for the ability to pursue her dreams.
Now it is your turn. What are you thankful for?
Jessica and Sara
As snow is predicted in the forecast for those of living in Denver, we wanted to take a moment to recognize that it is still fall. Halloween just finished up and Thanksgiving is coming soon. Before the weather changes drastically, we want to highlight some of our favorite fall venue types.
1. Apple Orchards
Nothing screams fall more than apple orchards. Walking through the apple trees, enjoying the delicious smells, and seeing the fall colors creates the quintessential fall atmosphere.
Riding a gondola up to the top of your favorite resort in your favorite dress with your favorite people creates memories you will never forget. With fall being the time of fall colors and cooler temperatures, a mountain top wedding is the perfect way to personalize your wedding. Maybe you and your soon-to-be love skiing/snowboarding or may hiking is your thing. No matter the love, a mountain top wedding can capture it all.
3. Historic Locations
Why not add a little history to your wedding day? Maybe you and your soon-to-be love history or maybe this venue has meaning to the two of you, but why not share it with your family and friends. Not only will they get to come and witness the union of two of their favorite people, but they will also get to grow their own historical knowledge.
Hay rides, bonfires, animals, and cowboy boots - what more could you want. As the weather starts to change, everyone wants to grab their closest flannel shirt and vest so why not incorporate those traditional fall styles into your wedding and venue choice. Ranches have a picturesque background no matter their location and there is something for everything to enjoy.
5. Family Estate
As we mentioned in our Top 10 Fall Trends blog post, family is important at every wedding. Why not honor your family and their traditions by holding your wedding at a family estate. This will create a relaxed environment for you while you get ready as your family will know the estate like the back of your hand and it will give your guests and new in-laws a glimpse into your family traditions.
Jessica and Sara
In honor of the beginning of fall, we wanted to take some time to highlight some of our of favorite fall wedding trends. The following made our top 10 list, but the choices were not easy to limit.
As the weather gets colder, every bride needs something to keep them warm as the day turns to night. Fall brides can rejoice in the fact that it is 100% okay to wear plaid on their wedding. Not only will you stay warm, but you can use the plaid to help play up any decor or theme that you are using. If plaid during your wedding isn't your thing, why not try it as a "get ready" shirt for you and your girls.
2. Fall colors
Whether you use fall colors in your wedding palate, or you pick a venue that highlights the changing leaves, fall colors are always a must for a Colorado wedding. The minute you lay your eyes on the fall colors, your mouth will drop as your eyes fill with the beauty surrounding you.
When fall rolls in, pumpkins can be seen everywhere. For a fall wedding, pumpkins can be used in many ways. They can be a major part of the decor, a favor, or even part of the food. Have you ever had pumpkin spice cake? If so, you probably loved it. Why not try it for your fall wedding cake? Make sure to set aside extra cake for you and your new better half because the cake will disappear.
4. Caramel Apples
Whether they are sitting on the dessert table or given out as favors, caramel apples cannot be beat. The savory sweetness is hard to pass out and attract every type of guest. Why not try a caramel apple bar instead of a dessert table to include an interactive dessert aspect into your wedding? I can guarantee that you guests, young and old, will love this (and probably come back for seconds).
Shawls can be a perfect accessory for any season. So why not incorporate them into a fall wedding? Consider leaving a basket of shawls at the start of your ceremony aisle or at the reception for guests to use if the night gets chilly. They could also be the perfect gift for bridesmaids. You could even add a monogram to give them a personal touch your girls will love.
6. Industrial-esque Venues
Fall can bring cold and unpredictable weather. With that, the weather can become every brides biggest worry. Don't let weather control your day! Why not look into an industrial-esque indoor venue? These"warehouse chic" venues will protect you from the elements, while creating a modern look for your wedding day.
There's something classic and cozy about pie. It makes us think of family. Perhaps, you have a family recipe that's been handed down through the generations. This could be a perfect way to add some personal charm to your fall wedding.
I know we already talked about fall colors, but gold is the color of choice. Every fall wedding needs some accent of gold to highlight the time of the year and the beauty that is the light sparkling off of gold. Gold glitter, gold dresses, gold frames are all perfect ways to highlight this fall color.
Family is the most important part of every wedding, but there is something about a fall wedding that really makes us think family. No matter if your family is big or small, they are the second most important of your wedding (you and other half are first). Your family might become your favorite wedding accessory.
Signature drinks are all the rage, so why not incorporate cider into your drinks of choice. You could do simple apple cider or you could spice it up by creating a fun drink for your guests to try. Our personal favorite is "Christmas in a Cup" which is Fireball Whiskey and hard apple cider.
Jessica and Sara
As you prepare for your wedding, everyone is going to tell you to make sure to savor every moment. If you are anything like me, you will smile at them and tell them you will and then disregard it.
Take it from me - don’t disregard this. If there is anything you are focused on during on your big day, this is the thing to focus on. The day is going to fly by and all of sudden you will be heading out for the night with your other half. You will be giddy and so in love. You’ll share your love with each other on the way back to the hotel or house and the next morning you’ll wake up still in bliss over the events of the day before.
As your family and friends start to head home, you’ll realize that all your hard work and planning is officially over and you are married. This will be the moment that you want to start the whole thing back over because it was just that amazing. Make sure to take a few moments to yourself as well as with your other half to savor every moment of the day. This is a day you will never forget. Take a step back, take a deep breath, and take in all the love. You won’t regret it.
Jessica & Sara
On June 6th, my life changed forever. I married the man of my dreams and I wouldn’t change a single thing. After over a year and a half of planning, everything came to fruition and it was absolutely perfect. As this day unfolded, Sara and I knew that this was our passion and we wanted to share our passion with everyone. So, here we are.
In honor of Labor Day, I want to write that my wedding went off without a hitch and that nothing went wrong. I want to write that all the events that we planned while working hard at our other jobs went absolutely perfectly, but I’d be lying. Like really lying. On Thursday night, we did a welcome party on Banjo Billy’s Bus Tours. It was a blast and if you have never done a Banjo Billy’s tour, I would highly recommend it. They are so knowledgeable about the history of Boulder and Denver and of course, sitting on comfy couches enjoying beverages with your best friends can’t ever go wrong.
But I digress, the night went perfectly. The busses were most split up girls versus boys (my bus was far superior :)) and everyone was having a blast enjoying the sites, history, and beverages. After our two hour tour of Boulder, we started the journey back to the hotels in Longmont. The weather started to change, but those of us that live in Colorado thought nothing of the change. Remember, just wait 5 minutes and the weather will change again. We danced and sang our way back to the hotels as the wind made us shiver. As we pull into the hotels, the rain starts coming down and we all raced inside.
The boys bus had a much different experience. They all burst into the hotel soaking wet clambering on and on about the tornadoes that had seen. Of course, I didn’t believe them, but the news told me otherwise. They were right. Three tornadoes had touched down within 10 minutes of my wedding venue and the rain had flooded my rehearsal dinner site. At 11:30pm that night, we received the email that the rehearsal dinner/welcome party may have to go to a different venue. Less than 24 hours before the rehearsal dinner, Sara and I (with the help of one of my bridesmaids, Caitlin) were talking alternatives and deciding how we would get the word out.
I could have freaked out. I should have freaked out. But I didn’t and I am so glad I didn’t. We had to make a few minor changes, but no one knew any different. Being a bride will be some of the best days of your life, enjoy it no matter the potential changes.
There might be minor changes right before the big event(s), but don’t let those get you down. You and your planners have worked hard to make the day perfect and nothing will change that. You and your soon-to-be husband are together, and all your friends and family are here to celebrate you two, they don’t care about the weather. They don't care about the changes. They just want you to be happy. Remember that. Even though I know its hard. :)
Jessica & Sara
After spending over a year and a half planning my wedding and then getting the most rave reviews for how it all happened, Sara and I made the big decision to make this our life. Sara has always wanted to be a wedding planner and she flourished as she planned my wedding. From the minute I told her she was planning my wedding (yes, told not asked), her eyes sparkled with excitement. Every wedding planning session was full of positivity, creativity, and productivity. Sara is the creative genius behind every operation. She has the ability to take a bride’s vision and make it a fairytale. Not only is Sara creative and passionate about wedding planning, but she also lives for her. She dedicates every free moment to every little detail of the wedding to make sure it is absolutely perfect. Let me introduce you to Sara Wells.
Hi everyone! You won’t see me on the blog very often. That’s Jessica’s talent. But I wanted to jump in and list a few fun facts about myself! Here are my Top Ten:
- New Zealand. Always, forever, anything, and everything.
- I am the pickiest eater ever. So much so that friends will sometimes watch how I approach my meal.
- I can’t kill anything. I will catch any bug/mouse/rat/animal and release it outside.
- I think traveling is the best form of education. There is nothing like learning about a new culture first hand.
- I have a cat with three legs named Thimble.
- I’m an adrenaline junkie! I will always say yes to jumping out of a plane or repelling down a waterfall.
- I own a sword.
- I absolutely adore the Pantheon in Rome. I could sit and stare at it all day.
- My mom is my best friend (other than Jessica).
- Rugby is my favorite sport. Go All Blacks!
While I'm here let me tell you a little about the other half of this sweet partnership. Jessica is the rock of Sweetened. She is one of the strongest people I know and carries a fearless attitude that allows us to make any request attainable. There is no 'I can't' with Jessica. She's a problem solver and uses her talents to create beautiful details. She has always had a knack for events, but I think working on her wedding really allowed her to tap into that and find her true calling. So now, let me introduce you to Jessica Martinez.
Jessica’s Top Ten
- If money grew on trees, I would have a barn full of horses that I would get to spend every day with.
- I have 6 siblings and I’m a middle, oldest, youngest and only child.
- My eyes change color depending my surroundings.
- I was born and raised in Northern California (the best half). Unfortunately, Sara was born and raised in Southern California (the worst half). :)
- I have a Jack Russell that would rather sleep and cuddle than run and bark.
- I’m allergic to dairy and gluten.
- I went to CU-Boulder for journalism, Regis University for a masters in education and now I’m a wedding planner. I love wearing many hats!
- I like to set work out schedules but not work out.
- I’ve been riding horses since I was three years old.
- I have an obsessive compulsion to organize everything. Color coding makes things even better.
Jessica and Sara
Today, I learned a new word - "wewe." Did you know that when you take a selfie with other people it is actually called a "wewe?" Well - I didn't, but today Sara and I took our first "wewe" with our first official client - Gabi!
To say that we are excited to be such a big part of Gabi's wedding day is an understatement. I met Gabi our junior year of college as her sorority was one of my sorority's Greek Week partners. Gabi and her outgoing personality walked right up to me at an event and from that moment on, I couldn't imagine my life without her.
They say that there are Texas Gentlemen but Gabi is a Texas Woman. She embodies a deep love for her friends, family, and country that is beyond what most people show in their entire life. She puts her whole heart into everything and she is always there to support everyone. Her true Texas charm attracts all that are lucky to be around her. She is one of the most genuine, caring, and loving people that I have been blessed to know.
I am beyond words as to how I feel to have Gabi in my life and I am so happy for her and her future husband as they embark on their next adventure together. Their love and dedication for each other is contagious and I cannot wait to be there to see their big day happen.
Oh and did I say that I also get to be a bridesmaid?? Yay! :)
Jessica and Sara
Everyone will tell you that your wedding day is the best day of their lives and they are….RIGHT! I never thought I would be the girl that gets giddy over my engagement and then even giddier over planning every single part of my wedding, but I was and I am so glad I was.
Working up to the day of your wedding is like a roller coaster ride that you cannot get enough of. Even the harder moments are worth it in the end. Together, as best friends, Sara and I bounced ideas off of each to create the most magical day in my life and now, we want to do that for you!
Today, we launch Sweetened Events and cannot wait to make your forever sweeter than sweet tea. We will start accepting clients on October 1, 2015, but please don’t hesitate to reach out to us before then.
Jessica & Sara