Erin McLean Events is a boutique wedding planning + design team specializing in elevated design and exceptional service. Based in North Carolina, We create Southern couture events for the fanciful at heart. Our team of creatives orchestrate seamless and lovely occasions that are true to our clients.

Wedding Tip Thursday – The Perfect Wedding Day Photos


Photo by Nancy Ray Photography

It’s been said that after the wedding day, you only walk away with the Groom and your photos (and of course your fabulous memories)! This is most certainly one of the reasons beautiful photography is consistently a top priority for Brides. Timing can be crucial to ensure quality photos and should be considered carefully when planning your wedding day timeline. Not only do you want to be certain to allow plenty of time for photos, you may want to plan your entire ceremony and reception start times based on one thing: light.

There are two “magic hours” of lighting for outdoor photographs – one hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset. The hour before sunset is when most Brides will want to plan photos. This may mean planning a ceremony time that ends just before that magic hour or planning for First Look photos prior to the ceremony. You can find out when sunset occurs on your wedding day by visiting which allows you to pick a city and state, type in the date and year, and then lists the sunrise and sunset times by day. If it just isn’t possible to get photos one hour prior to sunset, at least consider when it will be dark outside. Once the sun goes down, it’s almost impossible to get an outdoor photo with pretty lighting. Now say, “Cheese!”, and smile pretty for the camera!


Wedding Tip Thursday – How After Christmas Sales Can Benefit Your Wedding


As we approach the Holidays, don’t forget to plan to take advantage of the big after-Christmas sales! Right after the Holidays is the perfect time to snatch up inexpensive crystal ornaments, beaded garland and glittery accents that just may be perfect for your wedding. Regardless of the time of year you plan to be married, sparkly touches can be lovely details to use for décor. Picture garland running down the center of a table, tucked into floral arrangements, or filling vases! Crystal ornaments look so special and timeless hanging from branches, topping napkins or adorning your cake! The added bonus – you can re-purpose these items as Holiday decorations in your home after the wedding. What a fun way to bring back wedding day memories each year!


Wedding Tip Thursday – Perfecting Your Wedding Day Look


Nothing is quite as important on your wedding day as how you look – it’s not vanity, it’s just the simple fact that everyone will be staring at the Bride! And what Bride doesn’t want to be the very best and prettiest version of herself on her special day? I recently was sent this blog from a past Bride and hair stylist and couldn’t help but share it. Every Bride should read this article before they meet with a stylist for their wedding day look:

Have fun planning your look, playing with ideas and be sure to do a trial run with your stylist. Then, when the big day arrives, sit back and relax as you are pampered before you walk down the aisle!

Photo courtesy of Story Photographers


Wedding Tip Thursday – Southern Hospitality


Any good Southern hostess knows that hospitality is a top priority! Keeping this in mind, don’t forget to provide smart accommodation options and information for your guests.

My number one tip – when recommending hotels, recommend locations that are closest to your reception location (not the ceremony location). Guests would much rather leave a little early to get to the ceremony than have a long trip home at the end of the night (or a less expensive cab ride)!

Choose two or three hotel options at different price points, if possible. And don’t forget to list check-in and check-out times – based on this information, you may want to encourage guests to arrive a day early. For example, if you have a 2:30p.m. ceremony time (We love our Catholic Brides!;-) and check-in is at 3p.m., your guests will need to come in the night prior.  Include this information on an invitation insert or your wedding website.

Adorable welcome “bags” are an EME signature but if you opt not to have them, create a cute wedding weekend itinerary and leave it with the Front Desk. Ask them to hand it out to your guests as they check in and provide extra copies for anyone who requests one.

Applying these ideas will give your guests a warm welcome and leave them feeling impressed by your thoughtfulness!

Photo by Robin Lin Photography


Wedding Tip Thursday – Wedding Day Dinner Date


Have you considered planning a romantic dinner for two – on the day of your wedding? This is becoming a popular option for couples and I love the idea! With the addition of a first look photo scheduled, you can complete formal pictures before the ceremony. After the wedding, slip away for dinner served in a private room with your new spouse during the cocktail hour. After guests are cued for dinner, you can join the reception – and while they eat, you can visit each table to greet attendees and thank them for coming. Don’t want to see each other before walking down the aisle? Opt for formal photos lasting no more than 30 minutes during the cocktail hour and then enjoy your private meal. You can still arrive at dinner by the time entrées are served, roll right into the formal dances while guests finish dinner, and then it’s party time! Both schedules give you something you may not have thought to plan for: one-on-one time with each other on the most important day of your lives. Isn’t it romantic?

Photo by Nancy Ray Photography


Wedding Tip Thursday – DIY vs Professional Florist


In this time of overwhelming inspiration from Etsy, Pinterest, Loverly and so much more, it’s not uncommon to have lots of DIY pieces at a celebration.  As much as we love to see a Bride and Groom put their personal touches on a wedding, I’d like to urge the use a professional florist. It seems simple, right? Flowers, vase, perhaps a ribbon or two and you’re done – or maybe not. Consider these questions:

Where are you going to store them so they stay fresh?

How will you transport them to the location?

Who will handle the set up (and playboned probably miss your ceremony while doing so)?

What is your plan if something breaks or is damaged?

At the end of the night, who will pack everything up Traditional integra- tion tools such as ETL would not be fast enough to move the large streams of best data recovery software in time to deliver results for analysis such as real-time fraud detection. and transport it away from the venue?

These are just a few of the items to think about while considering doing your own flowers. A professional florist has the staff, space, transport and skill to handle your floral needs while giving you peace of mind that it is all taken care of. This one area I highly recommend letting the experts handle!

Happy Planning!
Wedding Tip Thursday! Ordering Programs and Favors

nancyray_katchrwed_3882$!600xThe little details can make such an impression on your guests and they also can end up costing a little more than you thought! I have packed up many a left over item at the end of the night and want to pass on a word to the wise. You don’t need one per person on all your items! For the ceremony, print enough programs for 75% of your final guest count. Most attendees will only take one per couple. If you are having favors and they will be picked up as guests exit the reception – vs. being set at each place setting – you can also use the 75% rule. Last but not least, if you have a grand exit “accessory” such as sparklers, ribbon wands or noisemakers, you’ll only need enough for half your guests. You can save a little money and waste by applying this information as you finalize your plans!



Wedding Tip Thursday: To Bustle, or Not to Bustle?


Beautiful EME Bride Emily | Event by Erin McLean Events | Location at the Carolina Inn 

To bustle or not to bustle? Most Brides choose to have their train bustled but most Brides don’t realize how common it is to have the bustle break during the reception. It is absolutely worth having a seamstress reinforce your bustle – no matter what the style of the dress is.

I like to suggest a combination of buttons and hooks for an over bustle (and they can be adorned with jewels or fabric) and a combination of buttons and ribbons for a French bustle. And the more the better – I have seen up to 15 points to attach the train to the dress which is wonderful! A seamstress can also add additional buttons right next to each other so that if one breaks, you can simply use the next one.

Don’t hesitate to take one last step and have a wrist hold put on the end of the train as another option. Last, but certainly not least, use binder clips – they aren’t glamorous but they may just be the most secure option of all!


Wedding Tip Thursday – How to Handle a Long Veil


Beautiful Bride Becca-Jane | Wedding By Erin McLean Events | Photo By Cyn Kain Photography

Nothing says “Bride” like a veil! If you know your aisle surface is rough, choose a shorter option that won’t snag as you make your entrance.  You may find that an aisle made of brick, concrete, or real wood could catch a long veil as you make your entrance.

If you have already chosen a long veil, be sure to give it a test run at your ceremony location. Does it threaten to snag as you walk? There are a couple of options. Bunch it up in a pretty best online casino way on top of your train. It should stay in place as you walk and your Maid of Honor can spread it out once you are in place for the ceremony (then place it on your train again for the recessional). Or, channel your inner Princess and have a flower girl or two hold your veil as you proceed and recess down the aisle – what an entrance!


Wedding Tip Thursday: A Tip Jar on the Bar


{Event by Erin McLean Events, Photos by Martha Manning}

A little tip about tipping…here at EME, we all believe it is tacky to have a tip jar out on the bar at a wedding! However, we also all agree the bartenders should receive a gratuity. What to do? Discuss this in advance with the caterer/bartending service. Let them know you do not want a tip jar on display so that your guests do not feel they need to leave gratuity while attending your event.

Instead, ask if you can arrange to pay the gratuity before the event – you can ask to negotiate a set fee based on the estimated bar costs. I would suggest you take it a step further and ask that this arrangement be included in your contract so you have it all in writing. This agreement avoids the unsightly tip jar but makes sure your bartenders are taken care of so they can happily serve your guests!