Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Roaring 20's Wedding

I knew this wedding would be fabulous from the moment I started working with the bride to be. The bride and groom decided to go the more intimate wedding route, choosing a roaring 20's theme! Though this wedding was on a smaller budget, it was not lacking in style! This fun crowd had a blast dressing in 20's fashion, and partying the night away. The wedding was held at the bride's sister's house, which was a perfect fit, being an early twentieth century home.

We used the foyer to accommodate the guest book area, along with many vintage furniture accents to create the 20's feel from the moment you walked through the door.

The tables were adorned with oil lamps and arrangements of peacock feathers and art deco accents. They added a bit of the Speak Easy Tavern feel to the reception time.

The bride carefully chose her gown, shoes, and jewelry to
all reflect her style as well as the period she was representing. She completed the outfit with bright red lipstick and a 20's styled hairdo. It was brilliant.

I designed an old time Candy Store using period sweets on a sideboard.

Guests had been asked to come dressed in 20's style, but for anyone who needed a few more touches to their outfits (or just for the kids to play dress up) we had a few extra accessories on hand.

We used silver painted sticks to create an altar area for the bride and groom. We lighted the sticks and hung crystals to give a more enchanted effect. And, of course, being the 20's, the peacock feathers couldn't be left out!

It was so fun to see how everyone participated in the theme of the wedding and truly had a blast celebrating...20's style!

Special thanks to Laura Redd for helping me make this event one to remember!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Go Big or Go Home?

Most of the time when you think of weddings, you might think the best way to go is...well, big. What's ironic though, is that many times when I ask people what they would have done differently in regards to their weddings, the answer I hear the most is that they would have made it smaller. More intimate. More intentional with fewer people.

This is also a way to cut costs tremendously. If you are in a place of needing to keep things economical, the best way to keep expenses down is to decrease the number of guests. I realize it can be a tricky thing, because many times, families are so big, and friends are so numerous, there's no way to figure out how to lessen your head count. However, if it means being able to go ahead and tie the knot, it might be best to find a way to have fewer people, in a more quaint venue. instead of going big, consider going home.

Some of the sweetest weddings I've had the pleasure of being a part of were held in homes. A home allows for an intimate setting and very comfortable atmosphere for the guests. Sometimes at a bed and breakfast, or other times at a home large enough to have 50 or so guests enjoying being together. Just like at most receptions, you don't need seating for everyone. People like to mingle and stand with small plates of appetizers. If the weather is nice, garden weddings are completely enchanting. Instead of paying the pretty penny for a big name venue, begin to see the possibility of having an exquisite venue in your own backyard.

Sometimes going big isn't possible...
going home always is.

Come back tomorrow to hear about my most recent boutique wedding done in a 1920's home. It might just encourage you that it can be done!

picture credits: http://www.oncewed.com/32639/wedding-blog/real-weddings/a-diy-wedding-at-home-ii/

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

a time for everything

One of the first decisions that you make when planning your wedding is the time and date. If you're trying to cut corners, one thing to think about is what time you will set for your wedding. If you set your wedding to be at 5pm, that means that you will have your reception right at dinner time...which also means you will be suggesting that you will be serving dinner. Meal times = lots of food.

I have a sweet couple that I'm working with right now, and they are trying to keep things as simple as possible...in every way. So, one thing they decided was that they would have their wedding after lunch, but before dinner, so that they wouldn't have to feed their guests an entire meal. They'll still have a few little things that are easy to pick up and eat while mingling, but they won't have to spend a ton to feed everyone a meal.

The food for the reception can sometimes use up to half of your wedding budget! Think outside of the box...if you know that you need to cut back, think about ways that you could schedule the reception to be at a time that you could get away with not feeding everyone quite so much food.

Remember, selective menu does not mean that it will be dull. Check out these beautiful, but simple receptions...

vintage picnic wedding
(one o'clock ~ three o'clock)

(quilts for ceremony and reception seating)

high tea reception
(two o'clock ~ five o'clock)

fun storyboard with this example

dessert reception
(eight o'clock ~ eleven o'clock)

There are ways to be economic and creative while entertaining your family and friends. Whether or not you have dinner, you can still have a fabulous affair!

picture credits: http://theweddingcommunityblog.com/2011/10/17/afternoon-tea-wedding-reception-moody-monday/, http://stylishperfection.com/?p=519, http://www.elizabethannedesigns.com/blog/2008/09/26/reader-question-dessert-reception/, http://www.brides.com/wedding-ideas/wedding-meals-drinks/2010/09/alternative-wedding-reception-ideas-dessert-receptions, http://www.mywedding.com/blog/nggallery/page-6055/image/11281/page-1/, http://bluelilyevents.blogspot.com/2011/05/vintage-picnic-wedding-inspiration.html

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Choice is Yours...

You might remember back when weddings were just something done at church on Saturday afternoons...with nuts and mints...and if you were being really extravagant...a cake. What was celebrated wasn't the wedding...it was the marriage.

We've come a long way since then. Yes, weddings are more personable than ever, and are able to be designed to fit exactly who the couple is, but many times that means more expensive than ever.

The question of doing it on a dime seems like a lost phrase when it comes to weddings. However, even though they have become wonderful celebrations filled with personality and glamour, there are still ways to save.

Just because you can do more than ever these days, doesn't mean you have to. It will still be beautiful...and it will still be your wedding.

I think sometimes, the biggest hump to get over is feeling this obligation to please the people coming to your wedding. I hear all the time people say,

"But, will it be nice enough?"

Not to rant, but if people are coming to your wedding to judge whether or not it's nice enough, they probably shouldn't be there to begin with.

The permission to cut back, is yours to take hold of, and more worthwhile than you might realize. At the end of the day, you will be married...and you don't want to start your marriage with thousands of dollars in debt just because you wanted to show your friends a good time.

Hear me clearly, I'm not saying to just forget about hiring professionals. I'm saying, choose wisely where you put your money. I still stand behind my principles to have people who know what they're doing be in charge of your day. Even the most economical weddings that I have done, have had families that say over and over again, how thankful they are to have someone else in charge of the details of the day. That's a must. You still want good photos to capture the day, and you still want to love the celebration...but this doesn't mean you have to spend your life savings to make that happen.

Choosing the things that are most important to you are key with knowing where to save. If you want to skimp on flowers because they're not that important to you, that's ok. Or, if you absolutely love photography, and you want to spend a bigger part of your budget on that, you can choose to do so. Spend time thinking about the things you care most about, and prioritize those things within your budget. That way, you will know how to proceed with other decisions. The choice is yours...just remember to choose wisely.

picture credit: http://aweddingrunsthroughit.blogspot.com/2010/03/old-timey-tuesday-recessional-and.html , http://www.fashion-era.com/Weddings/1927-old-wedding-photos.htm

Thursday, January 19, 2012

No Money to Get Married...

Lots of times I'll meet women who are engaged...but are still in waiting.

By "in waiting" I mean, they don't have the money to get married. It's a tricky thing. You're in love, you desperately want to get married, but you don't have the money to make it happen.

You might think since I'm a wedding planner, I always have clients who have plenty of money to throw together a fancy wedding...you couldn't be more wrong.

Most of my clients are trying to do things economically...and some really have to be creative to find ways to pull together their weddings on little to nothing.

Is this ringing a bell? (no pun intended!)

There are lots of ways to save when you are planning your wedding.

One thing I love about working with clients is that you have to get real. I'm a real kind of girl...I love being able to encourage the fun details and pull out ideas that will represent my couples, but I also challenge my clients to stay within the parameters of their budget...which is where creativity comes in!

Over the next couple posts, I'm excited to share with you a few real weddings that have been beautiful, simple, and affordable! There are still ways to hear those wedding bells ring...even when you have little budget to work with!

Monday, January 16, 2012

(The After) Birthday Brunch

Turning 30 may not always feel like something to look forward to. It brings with it the feelings of losing youthfulness, becoming more "mature", and truly being an adult. However, even though the world and culture around us tells us to fight our age... to "defy" age, there's nothing like embracing the milestone with a good ol' party.

When Alisa and I first met and talked about her vision, I was thrilled to see all the creative ideas she had. I knew that this party would be one that I would absolutely love to design. What's not to love about food on sticks and flowers in tea cups?

As any event I design, I have a plan of how I want everything to look beforehand, but pulling it all together and seeing it come together, is always my favorite part.

This is a list of the must haves...something I always like to have when I'm planning.

This is how it all came together...

It was so much fun, and everything turned out fabulous! And with all the details taken care of, Alisa could truly, "keep calm and turn 30."

Linking up with In the Studio.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Before and After 30th Birthday

My friend Alisa is turning 30. The big 3-0. And no way in the world, she wants to ruin her party by being the one in charge. She just wants to have fun at her party...a girl after my own heart.

So, our sweet friend has hired me to do what I do, so that Alisa can love every minute of her amazing party.

First, let me say, Pinterest is my friend. It allows conversations with clients to go like this:

Me: So what are you thinking about for your party? Any ideas yet?

Alisa: Have you seen my pinterest board for my party?

And, voila, I have a spring board, and they have a plan. It's a beautiful thing. Of course, we still have meetings to hash out the details, but that's where we start.

I thought it might be fun to do a before and after series with this party...so now you have the before. Come back Monday to see the after! I can't wait to show all the fun details we got to put in on this party!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Simple Trip

Over the holidays, we took a little roadtrip.

Except it wasn't little...one bit. We drove approximately (or exactly)...

When my big sister and her kids moved down to Baton Rouge, I knew it was far...but I don't think I realized HOW far it really was. It's a long way down, y'all...and I'm already down South! (not to folks down there...I was called a "Northerner" at least once...you know because North Carolina has the word "North" in it, apparently that makes me a Yankee...heehee.)

After researching flying prices, and train travel, I realized that we would have to drive it. I was less than thrilled. All I thought of was fighting, feeling irritated, and grumpiness that might consume our two day venture down there. But then, I started to remember.

When I was a little girl, my family took lots of road trips. We had no DVD players, no iPads, no mp3 players...am I sounding ancient? You might remember a time such as that. Anyway, we lived in California when I was young, and we would drive from San Diego to Virginia, and back, a couple times a year. Then, we moved to North Carolina, and we would go back to visit Californina, by way of road trip. Or other fun places like the time we drove from North Carolina to Montana. I loved our road trips. Yes, my sister and I would often have squabbles, or be scolded, but those trips were some of our best family memories.

We knew for our own safety and sanity, we'd have to break it into two days. We planned our trip by having lots of car activities. As we traveled I thought how unusual it was to have unplugged life for a little while. How wholesome it felt to just have an old school road trip.

So, I started to make a list. A simple list of all the things that we had with us, or the kids did to stay entertained for 20+ hours in the car. I thought if any of you have big trips coming up, it might feel encouraging to know that it can be done...and actually is pretty fun. Instead of dreading it, know that it can become a fun way to spend quality time with your family.

the excitement of little things (like our pit stops) became pretty funny

So, here's the trip list. It's kid friendly and budget friendly.

1. Snack Bags. Pack kids their own snack bags filled with lots of options. You have no idea how much time and money this saved. I got a lot of individually wrapped things (granola bars, pretzels, goldfish, raisins, etc.) so that they could each help themselves as they needed. Include a water bottle for each kid - NOT juice boxes - unless you want to add about 500 pit stops to let them use the potty.

2. Spiral Notebooks. I got the cheap kind from Target. Grabbed some of our many many crayons, colored pencils, and markers and put a bundle in each kids bag. They could draw, play games with each other, write down things we saw, etc. Options of a fresh notebook are endless.

3. Activity / Sticker Books. Our sweet neighbor gave the kids these as a present right before we headed out of town...God bless her! They helped a lot.

4. Duck Tape. I mean, who knew!?! We had a blast making bows, rings, key chains, and just ripping it into smaller pieces. It did help that it was hot pink.

5. Bop It. Ok, if you're one of those who can't stand the noisy toys, this might not be fun for you. BUT, I will say, it made my kids just laugh until their sides hurt. They would put it on "quiet" mode, and pass it back and forth...sometimes with a parent in the rotation, sometimes just the two of them. But, it was a fun way to have a little game, but still not anything with lots of pieces to fall everywhere.

6. License Plate Game. We did the old school license plate game, where you try to find all 50 states. We came up a few shy, but still loved looking and finding ones we could.

7. Lacing Game. A while back we were given lacing cards, and the kids had so much fun for a while working on those. Then, they were silly and put them up in front of their faces. Apparently, I thought it was pretty funny, too.

8. Twenty Questions. Kids loved playing this with us.

9. Books, books, and more books. Kids each had a ton of books in their individual bags, but our favorite was reading aloud Andrew Peterson's On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness. A tip for the books, though, let the kids pack paperbacks if possible...they can fit more in, and it's not as heavy.

10. Be Silly. This was definitely the best part. The kids laughed so much together on this trip. They made up characters with ultimate silly names, and then would make up the voices and story lines to go along with them. It was so cute hearing them cackle in the backseat.

Any great road trip memories to share? I'd love to hear!