Wedding Insiders Podcast

Our founder (and Mother Hen), Nora Sheils, recently chatted all things Bridal Bliss on the Wedding Industry Insider podcast!  Nora shares her story, how she has built our team, the value of working on your business, rather than in your business, how to effectively lead and best advice for all aspiring planners. She also gave a little teaser on a new startup she is working on that will be relevant for all wedding industry vendors and couples alike! For more details check out Rock Paper Coin.

Big thanks to our friend and podcast host, Eddie Babbage from Timeline Genius, for having Nora on!  She was honored to be in the company of so many wedding industry inspirations like Sasha Souza, David Tutera, Donnie Brown, Kristin Banta, Alan Berg and so on. Enjoy!



RSVP's are one of the most important planning tools for an event. These little cards give you all of the information you need to know about your guests prior to the wedding. They allow you to plan more accurately with numbers which in return allows you the coordinate more accurately with your vendors. Since we at Bridal Bliss love a good RSVP card, here are some tips to think about when drafting up your invitations. 

  • Make sure to list your RSVP date one month before your wedding date. If your wedding is on August 5th, your RSVP date should be on July 5th. 
  • Create a line where guests can enter their names. Traditionally the "M" stands for "Mr." or "Mrs." We typically recommend changing this to read "Name(s)" as it is more clear to your guests. 
  • Make sure to have a line or box for guests to check whether they are attending or declining.
  • If you are including families and children it might be nice to have a line below the attending box that reads "Number attending" where your guests can write out the exact number of people attending.
  • If you need to collect entree choices for guests, we recommend writing, "Please initial an entree selection for each guest" and then listing out the various entrees. We have found this to be the most accurate way to track meals.
  • Make sure the RSVP is easy to read and has plenty of space for guests to write on.
  • Discreetly number your RSVP's (we typically use a light pencil to the back of the card) to coincide with your guest list spreadsheet.  If an RSVP arrives illegibly or with no name at all (you would be surprised how often this happens!) you will still be able track it.

If you are a guest of a wedding and reading this, here are some tips for filling out the RSVP card. 

  • Make sure to write legibly so anyone would be able to read the card.
  • Write out full names, including your last name.
  • Make sure to read over the entire card and fill out all areas that are asked of you.
  • Lastly, make sure to RSVP before the due date!

For more tips and RSVP etiquette, check out the below graphic from Eventbrite. Visit their !event management and planning page to learn about their tools for ticketed events and how they can help streamline the process!


Reflecting on on 2016

Wow...what a year!  2016 has been very good to us and I love taking the time to reflect on it during this season. Bridal Bliss has had a big year!  This was our first full season in Seattle and we've loved every second of it.  With Elizabeth leading the team and Molly, Miranda and Hayley as our lead planners we surpassed our goals and worked with some really amazing people along the way.  We've also been working hard in Central Oregon, and of course keeping very busy in Portland where we were awarded two separate "Best Of" titles this year!

This season has brought with it some really wonderful clients and events that truly took our breathe away.  We love infusing unique details and unexpected elements into our events and this year was like no other.  The northwest is truly lucky to have such amazing talent at it's fingertips--the wedding professionals we have the opportunity to work with are unsurpassed! We are continually updating our blog with photos from recent events and will post our favorite photos from 2016 real soon.  I recently had a conversation with a few of our planners about how fun and unique it is to have the opportunity to create special relationships with our clients, many of which continue well after the wedding comes to an end.  Some of my best friends are past clients and I love it! 

Our team continues to slowly grow as we promote lead coordinators and assistants. Beyond being incredibly talented, supportive of each other and dedicated to our clients...this crew is FUN!  Check out a clip by our friends at Moving Pictures from our photo shoot last spring--it makes me laugh out loud every time!

This year our crew has celebrated weddings (check out Elizabeth's wedding in the current issue of Portland Bridal + Groom Magazine!), engagements, new houses, new babies and puppies. I regularly count my blessings to be surrounded with such an amazing team.  Seriously...these girls are phenomenal and inspiring.

Kayley, myself and Elizabeth with our new additions

I won't say being a working mom is easy, but when I'm surrounded but such supportive women, all of whom take their job seriously and offer up the highest level of service to our clients, it definitely lowers my stress level. I am also so thankful for my "tribe" who help with my kids and my sanity. My mom and mother-in-law are absolute angels and my little ones are incredibly lucky to be so close to their grandparents. I truly don't know what I would do without them.  Beyond all the political turmoil, 2016 has been a pretty epic year both professionally and personally. Thank YOU for your continued support.  I love what I do and can't wait to do more of it in 2017.  Happiest of new years from my family to yours!


2017 Wedding Gown Trends


The verdict is dresses, capes, color, pantsuits and plunging necklines are hot in 2017! Curious what the other wedding gown trends are for the new year?  Check out Nora's live segment from KGW's Today Portland | Portland Seattle Bend Wedding Planner | Oregon Washington Event Design

Venue Coordinator vs. Wedding Planner

Bridal | Portland Bend Seattle Wedding Planning + Design | Jessica Hill Photography

"If my venue has a coordinator – do I need to hire a wedding planner?" We frequently receive this question from engaged couples and think it is beneficial to understand the difference. So we are going to dive more into the difference between these two very important roles when it comes to planning a wedding and let you decide for yourself!

Venue Coordinators are employed by a venue to plan your event on behalf of the venue. They take care of quite a few details surrounding the space such as making sure the it is well kept, tables chairs, etc. are set according to your event layouts and serving as the contact for everything food & beverage related. When it comes to the wedding day the Venue Coordinator will be there to maintain the venue facility, turn on the lights, prep the venue staff, and oversee any food service. Typically once meal service has commenced, the Venue Coordinator will depart for the evening and appoint a Banquet Captain to supervise the rest of the night. Banquet Captains are commonly prepped on the venue-side of the event details.  We commonly work with Venue Coordinators throughout planning and on the day itself.

Wedding Coordinators (also known as "wedding planners" are hired by you, the bride and groom, and coordinate your event on behalf of you. We work for the bride and groom, which often can include finding your venue, recommending and booking vendors, negotiating discounts,  reviewing contracts, tracking RSVP's and many more services.  Typically Wedding Coordinators offer different packages, which allow you to select the level of involvement and assistance. Regardless of the package selected, leading up to the event a Wedding Coordinator is there working with all vendors, creating a detailed wedding day timeline and scheduling load-in and load-out with the venue. When it comes time for the wedding week itself, below is a list of what you can expect a Bridal Bliss wedding planner to do.

  • Finalize the personalized timeline and confirm all vendors
  • Run the ceremony rehearsal
  • Direct the ceremony processional 
  • Set up all decor and personal items including menus, programs, escort cards, guest book, favors DIY items, etc.
  • Coordinate pinning of boutonnieres and ensuring all VIP's receive flowers
  • Assist with wedding photos and photography shot list
  • Act as the point of contact for all vendors.  
  • Assist the wedding party and guests as needed
  • Distribute final payment and gratuity to vendors
  • Provide a fully stocked emergency kit
  • Deal with any unforeseen hiccups
  • Manage the timing of the entire event to ensure the day runs smoothly.

Both Venue Coordinators and Wedding Planners have important roles. While it might be common for one to think these jobs are closely related – they are vastly different and it is important to understand the differences so there are no surprises throughout planning or the day itself! 


Choosing Wedding Professionals | Portland Wedding | Oregon Event Planning and Design | Powers Max Monte Photography

One of the most daunting pieces of wedding planning, especially those attempting it without a planner, is choosing the wedding professionals that will work on your big event.  There are so many reasons why choosing the right vendors is important!  Take a peek at our segment that aired on KPTV's More Good Day Oregon this week!

photo by Max Monte


2016 Wedding Trends | Portland Wedding| Seattle Event Planning and Design | KPTV

Take a peek at our segment that aired this week on KPTV’s MORE GOOD DAY OREGON about exciting 2016 wedding trends!


Cheers to 2015! | Portland Wedding| Oregon Event Planning and Design

Hi everyone! Nora here and I can’t believe yet another year has come to a close.  Tis the season to get sentimental, look back on fun memories throughout the year, count my blessings and set some new goals.  2015 been a year for the books for BRIDAL BLISS in many different ways. Our ever growing team executed a record number of events this year and we’ve had the opportunity to work with some truly wonderful people, clients and wedding professionals alike. We’ve had team members give birth, get engaged, get married and find new love.  It has been an exciting year to say the least! | Portland Wedding| Oregon Event Planning and Design

I am beyond thankful for this talented team of ladies today and every day.  They put their heart and soul into each event, spend late nights emailing, post-event mornings massaging sore feet, give up time with their families to accommodate our clients, they work in crazy heat and rain, negotiate their butts off and work long and hard hours.  I could never thank them enough for their dedication to Bridal Bliss, and it truly means the world to me.  The best part is that this amazing group of women is also a group of good friends.  We have each others backs, spend time together outside of work and hold a true love and respect for each other.  When someone new comes on board, they are welcomed with open arms.  It is a special thing, and I’m honored to be a part of it.  They make me a better planner and a better person. | Portland Wedding| Oregon Event Planning and Design

In a continued effort to grow and better provide services for our clients, earlier this summer we announced the expansion of a second team in SEATTLE, Washington. After many years of traveling to the area for weddings, we decided it was time to immerse ourselves in the market and so far we have received a warm welcome and have a good amount of weddings on the books. It is truly an exciting time for us and I can’t wait to watch this new team rise among the ranks in Seattle. | Portland Wedding| Oregon Event Planning and Design

Photo by Brent Van Auken

This year Bridal Bliss received many accolades and honors.  ELIZABETH facilitated the first wedding “WEED BAR” in the state after marijuana became legal in Oregon.  It went viral beyond the local news being featured worldwide on CNN News, USA TODAYELITE DAILY,HUFFINGTON POSTYAHOO UK  (to name a few) and even JIMMY FALLON had a little to say about it!  It was so fun (and shocking!) to see the coverage snowball.

OREGON BRIDE MAGAZINE named Bridal Bliss Portland’s “Best Wedding Planner” and “Best Day Of Coordinator” of 2015 for the sixth consecutive year.  WEDDING INDUSTRY EXPERTS recognized both our Portland and Seattle teams as a top planning firm and we received the Bride’s Choice award from WEDDING WIRE.  Our clients have written some amazing REVIEWS and our events have been featured on INSIDE WEDDINGSBRIDE’S MAGAZINEBRIDAL GUIDEPORTLAND BRIDE & GROOMOREGON BRIDEPOP SUGAR,STYLE ME PRETTYINSPIRED BY THISBRIT + CO, and WEDDING LOVELY to name a few. | Portland Wedding| Oregon Event Planning and Design

We’ve had the opportunity to work with some remarkable people throughout the year.  From professional NBA players (I’m looking at you, MEYERS LEONARD!  Look for photos in the next issue of Oregon Bride!) to high school sweethearts, to non-profits to same sex couples.  Every wedding is special in its own way, and it is such a joy to learn more about our clients and make their wedding dreams (however crazy they may be!) come to life.  Check back soon for posts from a few of our favorite events.  It is also super fun to meet and work with more and more wedding professionals in the area.  The market is ever expanding and I’m truly in awe of the talent surrounding us!

photos by Ben Pigao Photography

As if Bridal Bliss didn’t keep me on my toes enough, this year was another year trying to juggle being a working mom.  My son, Gavin, is 2 1/2 and a ball of energy.  He makes me laugh until I cry and it is so fun to watch him grow and develop.  The things that come out of his mouth are hysterical! While I’m working away, he is lucky enough to spend time with his two grandmothers.  I think they both like playing “Mimi” & “Nana” more than “Mom.”  My husband and I have enjoyed some fun trips throughout the year and I’m happy to say that even after a few scares, our extended family is all in good health.  I pray that 2016 brings the same! | Portland Wedding| Oregon Event Planning and Design

Thank you so much for your continued support.  I cannot wait to see what the year ahead holds for us, and wish you and yours peace, love and laughter and a very happy new year!