Tuesday, November 5, 2013

First Look. Do or Don't?

Michael and I just got our engagement pictures done last week. They were so fun and so romantic. It was just us and our photographers. It made me think about our wedding day of course and if we'd do a first look. Originally I told our photographers I wasn't sure about doing it….. but then I realized that I've told all my personal wedding clients to do it! And for so many reasons… to share that moment with just the two of you and not in front of a crowd, to be able to spend some time together before the ceremony starts, for plenty of time for photographs before- and now after the ceremony, etc etc etc. Well we decided we are going to do a first look, and I can hardly wait for it.

I was browsing tonight on one of my favorite wedding websites and they had an article on should you have a first look? It was a great read. I totally agree with this statement;

"But even couples who favor the first look worry that, since you already saw each other, you lose some of the shine and magic from your walk down the aisle. I can assure you that that's simply not true." 

I've noticed that every wedding I've either shot or attended where they did a first look, the bride and groom still experience those emotions- and honestly probably more emotion that they would have had you not seen each other. I've also seen couples shed no tears, and just joy and smiles, at their first look and break out with emotion at the alter. 

On the same site there was an article titled '75 adorable reasons to have a "first look" before the ceremony'  which just brought tears to my eyes. There are some really precious moments there. 

So did you have a first look? Are you planning on it? Think about it. It's not a decision you should just decide on a whim. It's one that should be discussed between the two of you. Does it make since for you all? I know some people that wouldn't dare too- but this is your wedding! 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Used? Rented? Crazy?! Yes. Yes. & For Sure.

So as an engaged women finding the dress creates a lot of mixed emotions.
It makes it all seem real.
You may be really happy or unhappy with your body.
The price of a dress, for one day, can get really crazy.

I've mentioned in pretty much every post, make sure you are doing what is important to you and your fiancé. The dress maybe one of these things. So it may be on the Top 5 Most Costly Things. And that's perfectly fine!

Every bride wants to look their most beautiful self... If that dress is $300 or $3,000.

Now don't call me crazy, okay do, because I do think this is a little crazy- BUT it makes sense... And when I thought about it before being engaged there was no way I would do it but I'm giving it more thought.

Have you ever thought about renting your dress or buying used?

STOP! Don't leave. Hear me out... Even if you know you want to be the first and only person ever wearing the dress you will slip on that day.

Like most things in life, I have to weigh out PROS and CONS.

+ It will cost a third of the price of new dress
+ It's only been worn once
+ I can try to talk the seller down some if I think it should be cheaper.
+ I can get a dress 2, 3, maybe 4 times my budget since it will be a reduced price.

- My possible future daughter can't wear it if it's rented
- What if something happens to it if it's rented?
- I'm not the first to wear it
- What if there is something extremely wrong with the dress they aren't telling me?

Lets's be honest here.... The majority of people reading this aren't getting a dress designed to be a one-of-a-kind dress. Meaning, there is going to be someone else (or you know, thousands) wearing this dress on their wedding day too. So you've got to make it your own- add a different belt, chop off the train or add a long train, change the cut of the dress from straps to sweetheart....

With all this talk, I found a dress on Once Wed that I love. The only place that carries this dress (in Kentucky) is in Louisville. I want to try it on first to make sure I like it on my body first right? Of course. So I made an appointment for next week to drive up there with my mom, sister, and hopefully MOH to try it on!

Side note, she is selling it online for half the price as the store is selling it. 

Here are some sites that sell not only wedding dress, but accessories, clothes, other dresses, shoes, etc!

Some sites that sell discounted designer dresses:

Make sure to email the seller for all questions.
Look at the tabs on the site that explain how it all works.
I'd ask the seller to send more pictures via personal email to reassure me that they aren't going to just run off with my money and that the dress is in great condition.

Be sure also to try on dresses that may not be what you thought you wanted. A different style may look incredible on your body! Can't hurt right?

Have fun with it!!

Monday, September 30, 2013

At The End of the Day.....

I've realized somethings are going to cost much more than I imagined they would. They are important things to us. It doesn't matter what expensive is, $500 or $2500.

I keep telling myself (and Michael) this when we think, are we really spending that much on this?

At the end of the day all we will have is
our rings,
our pictures and video,
each other. 

Those first two things (to us) should cost the most. These three things are going to be with us for a lifetime. 
Some of our memories will fade. 
The food and cake will be eaten. 
The flowers will die.
The dress and tie will be hung up in the back of a closet.
The gifts will be used or spent. 
We will still be wearing our rings.
The pictures will be hung.
We will be holding each others hand. 

What's important to you?

Just think, at the end of it all, I will be married to my best friend, soul mate, and partner for life. 

Finding Neat Things

Have you ever gone to a wedding and thought, 'Were the heck did they get that? It's so cute!' Yeah I do it to every wedding I go to. And the answer is always some random site like, cheapweddingdecor.com Like who would go there? (ps, that's not really a site)

Here are some sites, not the best places ever but you can dig in them and find some really inexpensive, cute ideas:
saveoncrafts.com This is the most awesome place to go get bulk decor and rustic ideas. They have jars, jute fabric, signs, baskets, arches, bird cages, chalkboards... I could go on and on.

orientaltrading.com I'm sure you've heard of Oriental Trading and got those magazines before for childhood parties or weddings. Some of the stuff there is really clique, but some stuff you could really use! Just think and search. Things I like from there are the treat bags, straws, globes, suckers, and other cute nick-nacks for the wedding and even bridal shower.

koyalwholesale.com This is a newer site to me so I'm still finding out all the new fun stuff it has. So far it has everything! It's got awesome bulk (15+) order offers. There is more than just wedding and wedding decor... there's all event decor, lighting, diy craft supplies, linens, favors, candy bar supplies and so much more.

weddingshop.theknot.com/wedding-decorations.aspx You've also had to hear of TheKnot.com, but you may not know that they have a shopping site too. They've got great ideas on how to use the stuff too.

Do you ever look through a magazine and when you get to the pages with all the items on it with 'gifts for the bridesmaids' or 'favors for guests'? Well look a little deeper at those pictures... there are details with website info. Websites you've probably never heard of and have really awesome stuff!

It's like they add the word 'wedding' on the something and the price instantly doubles. So look other places besides wedding stores and sites. Those other party supply stores have stuff for you too. Also, when calling places about renting items or just wanting info, just say 'for an event' and not wedding. Sometimes that really helps the price.

You don't have to break the bank and go in debt to through a celebration as important as a wedding. It's important but so is buying a house and paying off car and student loans.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Building & Organizing A Budget

Every book, site, magazine and wedding planning self help article says that establishing the budget is one of the first things to do once you've become engaged. I agree with this- to a degree.

I agree that everyone needs a number.. A number that you all want to stay under or around. But when it comes to subcategorizing that budget is crazy. They all have charts saying 15% goes to venue, 10% goes to venue, or 7% to food... blah blah blah.
For example;
'We can't go over $500 for flowers, $600 for cake, and $1,000 for the venue.'

Create an Importance List. Things from top to bottom of what matters the most. Just get the things that matter to the most to you and your fiancé done first. If photography is the biggest thing- book it first. If you are wanting tons and tons of flowers, talk with the florist first to get a quote. By doing this you know how much of that budget is going to those important things. Now you can use the remainder to the best ability. If invitations, cake, food, or decor isn't as important, you know how much you have left to use.

Before starting my last and final semester, and recently engaged, I wanted to get the things we wanted to most taken care of before starting school. Those being venue and photographer.. then came cake and flowers. These last two things you can usually email back and forth with (and the caterer) on ideas before they give you a budget. You can start by telling them what you envisioned, the feel of the wedding, and guests. Then they can get back to you with a quote. If that quote is too high, ask for something similar but less costly.... Like with flowers, I've found that peonies are not an option for our October wedding unless we had an unlimited budget. So my florist suggested other flowers that looked like these. Same with the baker- you want a certain flavor that is a 'premium' flavor.. so instead of the entire cake in that, get one layer or maybe a smaller cake and cupcakes in that great flavor.

I will be talking more about this in separate posts, but just want to make sure I say it here too.... make sure you are price checking around. Unless you know that there is a certain place or person for something you want- PRICE CHECK!!! Ask recent friends that got married who they used and get reviews, look online, look in books and magazines, call and email. You don't want to know you could've got something that is the exact same for half the price. Also ask those venders that you've already booked- that have probably worked with everyone and have good advice.

Now, how to get that budget. Money talk with anyone is awkward. Most people aren't going to come out and say 'Hey! I'm going to give you x amount of dollars for the wedding.' Which means, yep, you've got to ask. If you're a younger couple, this being your first marriage, and if they haven't mentioned it before, you have to ask your parents. Some parents know how much they will give you because they gave the same about to your siblings to make it all equal- which is incredible to know you can expect that money whenever you need. If your parents are divorced it means you have to ask twice. Just think of it like this, what's the worst that can happen, they say no? Ok, that's alright. Here's where you hope for the best and expect the worst. I also think, this is something that you need to ask your own parents, separately. Your fiancé may know about your parents financial situation, but it still doesn't make it a comfortable conversation. You ask your parents, and he can ask his. And say, it's not fun asking for money, and I know what you've been going through but I just wanted to see if you thought you'd be able to help out at all... if it's $100 or $1000, every penny helps. And chances are they appreciate that you understand, and that they will end up paying for more than you realize throughout the engagement.  

Don't forget to have fun! This is all the fun part!! Details and ideas bouncing back and forth. Accept your budget no matter what size it is and work with it. It will probably take some researching for some stuff- so have fun with that too!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Will You Be My Bridesmaid?

Being a bridesmaid is not only a big deal (and job) for the bridesmaid, but it's a big deal for the bride to select those ladies. 

Do you pick who you talk with now? 
Do you pick your childhood friends that you've remained in contact with?
Do you pick family or your family to be?
Do you pick 2, 4, 6, or more people? What is a good number? 

These are all questions that a newly engaged woman thinks of. They are all good questions too. From my experience being a bridesmaid, I say this.... think, pretend, wait, think, react. 

  • Think about who you want by your side because they will be around you a lot- hopefully. They will be at dress fittings, bridal showers, bachelorette parties, dinners and celebrations, you'll be there picking out their dresses, conversing on flowers, jewelry, hair and make up ideas. There is a lot of time shared between the two of you. And on the flip side of that... make sure you want to spend that much time with them. 
  • This is where I would pretend. Picture yourself doing all those things I said with them! Are you annoyed with the thought of that? I wouldn't pick them. 
  • Wait. If you're having a wedding 6 months to a year, plus away, wait. Wait till you've got some other plans down first before you officially ask them. I do think there is a big exception for that. If they are having to do a lot of traveling- for dress fittings, showers, and for the days leading up to the wedding- don't wait too long to wait. They may need to save money and even time at work to ask off for those days. 
  • Think about it all again. This time think about if all the girls will get along together. Think about if they can afford to be a bridesmaid- it's not a cheap role. Think about all the other things going on in your head. 
  • React. FIRST bounce all these thoughts off your groom. It is his wedding too. If it's a family member, or member to be, talk to your mom or mother in law to be. They may have good opinions on it. THEN officially ask them to be your bridesmaid. 
Now I don't do much little or low key. I love decorating and doing everything a little dramatic. I guess that's just my personality....... ;) 

Here's how I asked my girls. With a little box. And it was on a budget... Budget doesn't mean cheap or cheap looking by the way. You can do anything at on any budget!

The Contents:
  1. Box- Hobby Lobby $.99
  2. Notecard- Designed myself and had printed at Office Depot- $6 for 8 (but they gave my like 32 total cards!)
  3. A Disposable Camera- Michael's Craft $2
  4. Post It Note's in the shape of a ring- Meijer $3 for 2
  5. Box of Tissues- Michael's Craft $.50
  6. Ring Pop- Meijer $.25
  7. Personalized Koozie- Etsy $7
  8. Jute twine, triangle with initial, and ring- had but can get easily found at Michael's or Hobby Lobby

Total cost each- $13!

Using our wedding colors I worked with Jackie on Etsy. Pick your own colors, your own font, everything!! 

Visit her shop HERE!

I used the same font from the Koozies to type out my "Will You Be My....' and wrote a little personal note on the back!

I typed these up (using the same font again) to give the
girls an inside on what I am looking for and planning. 

The Big Day one said our wedding day and where.
The Girls one said all the girls names, title, and how I knew each one.
Your role one said what I want from them- to have fun, stand by my side, and yatta yatta
Your dresses ones said what I am envisioning their dresses to look like. I also included some pictures I found on the web for inspiration.  

I wrapped up the boxes nice a tight with my favorite- jute twine, added a banner with their initial and a little craft paper colored ring!  

I loved watching all the girls open up their box, reading the note and cards, and enjoying it all just as much as I enjoyed putting it together!

New Start! New Blog! New Meaning!

Hopefully some of you all are from my previous blog!
New life changes are upon me and it's time to track them all.

I'm going on three months of being engaged to the love of my life, and also going on being together for four and a half years. Where does time go?

Let me give you a run down on the details of the engagement before giving you the run down on the wedding plans already made and what the purpose of this blog is!!

July 4th:
Flood warning in effect and it was raining sideways.
Lunch with my best friend (and newly weds).
Indoor games with them... okay the guys played pool and we caught up on honeymoon and life details.
Dinner with Michael's family.
Watched it rain some more.
Waiting for it to pass and finally.....
Watched some fireworks.
We drove up the farm a little bit to be alone and watch the fire in the sky.
Then POP comes out the ring. And POP comes out the question. And POP comes out the watery eyes and a big 'of course' response.
It was magical, special, and oh so sweet.

So now that you have the run down on the proposal, let's get to the wedding details already made!
1. Wedding venue. The wonderfully grassed area near a black barn at the Cardome Center about 45 minutes away in Georgetown, Kentucky.
2. Photographers. The incredibly honest, beautiful, and down right hilarious couple, the Malicotes.
3. Talking to a baker about our awesome cake. Talking to the florist about our messy, yet simple flowers.

Lastly. The purpose!!
I am a planner, a perfectionist, and love every minute of the last three months so far. I had a ball planning and putting together my BFF's bridal shower and bachelorette party. So I'm going to share my experiences with you all. My DIYs, my ups and hopefully few downs during this process.
Hopefully you can get a new craft, idea, or words of advice out of this for your big day, or just any day!

Thanks y'all!