Tag Archives: Resources

  • Wednesday, January 21, 2015

    If you've been following along, you've seen our Marketing Coordinator, Sam, take you through each and every step while planning her wedding, sharing her helpful hints and advice along the way. We've gushed over Sam's engagement ring, when she finally found the gown, and enjoyed hearing her hilarious anecdotes each step of the way. Sam was truly a vision on her wedding day, and the entire event was seamless and true to Sam's rustic aesthetic, interests, and style. Here is her final post with details on how to plan your wedding timeline. 

    In preparation for my wedding, creating a timeline was one of the hardest things to do - and it was not necessarily fun, but so necessary (think cake tasting without all the fun and frosting-filled parts)! I received lots of compliments from all my vendors about how I was the most organized I bride they had ever worked with. While of course this was a huge compliment, my thought process at the time was that if I can have everything planned out, to the point where no one should have any questions or doubts, everyone can do their job to the best of their ability. My Coordinator can do her best job, the vendors can do their best jobs, and I can have a relaxing and wonderful day - as it should be. The lesson I learned? The more you plan ahead, the less you'll have to do on the day of. Here are some things to take into consideration when planning your big day. 

    Logistical Points To Consider:
    1. How long do you need to get ready? (if you hired professional hair and makeup, consult with them to make sure they have time to do what you've hired them to do). 
    2. How long do you want your reception to be?
    3. If the ceremony and reception are in different locations, time the distance and then add time for people who might get lost or who take their time from the first location.
    4. Write down how long you hired each vendor for.
    5. How much time do you have at your venue? Be careful - some places are stricter than others! 
    6. Does the venue allotment time include setup and take down?
    7. What's the earliest your vendors can start setting up, and at what time do they need to depart?
    8. Just know that everything might not (or should not) go exactly to schedule. If there's a really great couple songs that everyone is dancing to, then you can/should delay your cake cutting by a bit. And if your ceremony cuts a bit into your cocktail hour - don't sweat it!
    9. Lastly, don't worry about any of this once your day comes. It will be your mother, maid of honor and Coordinator's job to keep the schedule going and flowing! Enjoy your day and all the hard work you put into it. Also, because I had such a thorough and detailed timeline, it left no room for doubt because everyone knew what they needed to be doing and where and when. The more work you put into the wedding before it starts, the easier it will make the big day!

    Creating The Timeline:
    When creating the timeline, I found that is was incredibly helpful to refer to all the vendors and help by both their first name and by their title, ex: Florist Kim, Coordinator Margie. That way when other vendors are looking at the list, my DJ knows that Margie is the Coordinator, or the Coordinator's name is Margie. It makes for an easier introduction and then they don't have to go asking who is doing what, or who the florist is.

    Determine who in your family and bridal party is capable of handling tasks that you can delegate. There were certain tasks while I was getting ready that I didn't have time to take care of alone and things the groomsmen needed that I couldn't be physically there for. Here's some of my small assignments that made the day easier for me (thanks again family and friends!): 
    Diann (mother-in-law): Breakfast, snacks and drinks for the guys' and girls' getting ready rooms!
    Rachel (sister-in-law): Help bridesmaids with their makeup (she's got a nack for makeup).
    Julie (bridesmaid): Gather valet tickets for girls' cars going to the venue and call the hotel's front desk to have them ready.
    Chris (groomsman): Gather valet tickets for guys' cars going to the venue and call the hotel's front desk to have them ready.

    Photos by Eyelet Images Photography & Flowers by Art With Nature

    My Wedding Weekend Timeline
    To share my thorough and detailed timeline with you, I went through and removed some details and transformed it into a template and left certain information that should help you create your own! Also, make sure to make your timeline easy to understand for everyone involved in your wedding. A helpful tip is to be sure to think of questions they might have and be sure not to use words like me, mine, I will .... use your name or your title, bride to make it a little easier on everyone! 

    << Access The Timeline Template Here >>

    After you've made a draft of your timeline that you're happy with, share it with all your vendors and ensure they have enough time for prep, setup, take down. Finally, double check that the time you have them on the timeline for is in line with what you agreed in your contract (and paid for)!

    Once your timeline is finalized, make sure all your vendors have a copy (I shared all mine to a Google Doc) and print up a few (I did 10) for the day of. I also gave copies to both parents at the rehearsal and to bridal party and family members who requested it. Also note that this is the timeline that worked for my wedding and it isn't a blanket template for every wedding out there. Other brides might have different traditions or needs for their wedding, but I hope this can at least help you think about key details and how to plan out the entire day or weekend. 

    Happy planning,
    ~ Sam, Marketing Coordinator

    Ready to see more of Sam's helpful wedding advice? Take a look at her Registry Recommendations, Wedding Website, Working With Your Vendors and The Music posts!


  • Wednesday, September 10, 2014

    A staple of any wedding? The music of course! In addition to the traditional "dun dun dah-dun" bridal chorus we all know, you have so many opportunities to customize your wedding with the perfect music. Choosing the music for your wedding is a way to showcase your personal taste in your wedding, but also share beautiful moments with your nearest and dearest. Some of our favorite wedding moments (the father and daughter dance get us every time!) are only enhanced by the soundtrack. Our Marketing Coordinator Sam is back with a little helpful advice for when you're ready to choose the music for your nuptials!

    Image via Style Me Pretty

    1. Determine Tone/Theme:
    The first step in choosing your wedding music is considering who will be at the wedding and the tone you want to set. You may love a certain band or genre but you want to make sure that the music you want people to associate with your most special and romantic day is what fills the atmosphere of you venue. For instance, my favorite music is 90's Rock Alternative and Country - but that is not what I want exclusively playing the whole night. There will only be touches of these styles when it's appropriate. Will you have lots of family and older guests or be mostly inviting your friends? Consider your guests because the wedding is something to be enjoyed by them too - especially when it comes time to hit the dance floor. You don't want your grandmother to leave early because she can't stand the blaring sounds from Nirvana! Balance is key. 

    2. Band, DJ or iPod?:
    Most of this decision will be determined by two thins: how much you value the music at your wedding and your budget. Live bands are beautiful and produce amazing sounds - but they can be very pricey. Don't fret! You have options. For example, you could also just hire live music for the ceremony or reception. DJs can also be expensive, but typically not as costly as a live group of musicians. Personally, I decided to go with a DJ because I wanted to have someone who could react to the guests - and change the music if needed. I didn't trust relying on an iPad or MP3 to play the right songs at the right time. In the end, if the music is not important to you or you don't have it in your budget for a band or DJ, an iPad is the next best option. You can always create your own playlist or download a premade one for your celebration! 

    3. Specify Your "Moment" Songs":
    Like we mentioned before, it's important to pay special attention to the songs you want to play during a special moment in your ceremony or reception. Here are some suggestions based on the "moments" I chose to have, but every wedding is different and you can tailor your wedding to include other moments or not include certain ones too! The other songs that I specified were for while the guests were arriving at the ceremony.

    Here's the standard "moment" songs that you need to pick specific music for:
    Processional Of The Family, Processional Of The Bridal Party, Processional Of The Bride, Recessional

    Grand Entrance, First Dance, Bride & Father, Groom & Mother, Cake Cutting, Bouquet Toss, Garter Toss, Grand Exit

    I found that the hardest songs for my fiance and I to pick were the ceremony ones. We didn't want to resort to the traditional wedding march, but it was difficult to find appropriate, romantic songs that matched the mood of a ceremony. Here's some suggestions I've found in a variety of genres:

    A Summer Song by Chad & Jeremy, And I Love Her by The Beatles, Ara Batur by Sigur Ros, Beautiful by Phil Wickham, Case Of You by Joni Mitchell, Clocks by Cold Play, Colours by Donovan, Crash by Dave Matthews Band, Dance Me To The End Of Love by Leonard Cohen, Down To The River To Pray by Alison Krauss, Dream A Little Dream by The Mamas + The Papas, Emer's Dream by Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Everlasting Light by The Black Keys, Heartbeats by Jose Gonzalez, Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles, Hysteric by Yeah Yeah Yeahs, I Will by The Beatles, La Vie En Rose + Sea Of Love, Lake Yarina by Josh Garrels, Make You Feel My Love by Bob Dylan, Over The Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, Pachelbel's Canon In D, Sea Of Love by Cat Power, Stay Alive by Jose Gonzalez, Stoned Me by Van Morrison, Thank You by Led Zeppelin, The Ludlows by James Horner, Til Kingdom Come by Cold Play, Valium by Lisa Mitchell, Viva La Vida by Cold Play, We Are Going To Be Friends by The White Stripes, Where Is My Mind by Maxence Cyrin, Will Ye No Come Back Again, You’re The One That I Want by The Lennings

    All You Need Is Love by The Beatles, At Last by Etta James, Baby by Devendra Banhart, Crazy In Love by Beyonce and Jay Z, Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Queen, Good Life by Onerepublic, Happy by Pharrel, Heroes by David Bowie, Home by Edward Sharpes, I Want To Love You Madly by Cake, International Players Anthem by Ugk (Instrumental), Let My Love Open The Door by Pete Townshend, Making Time by The Creation, New Life by Jim James, On Top Of The World by Imagine Dragons, Perth by Bon Iver, Shenandoah by Tom Waits, Sleepy Time by Fialta, Smash The Windows, Tender by Blur, Today Is The Greatest by Smashing Pumpkins, Turning Pageby Sleeping At Last (Instrumental), You & I by Ingrid Michaelson, You Know Me by Air Traffic Controller, You Make My Dreams Come True by Hall and Oates

    First Dance
    Dead Leaves and The Dirty Ground by The White Stripes, Excuses by Morning Benders , Friday I’m In Love by The Cure, Harvest Moon by Neil Young, Hysteric by Yeah Yeah Yeahs, I Found You by Alabama Shakes, I Was Made For Loving You by Kiss, Isakov Morning Lady by Gregory Alan, Love by George Burns + Floyd Huddleston, Magic by Coldplay, Sea Of Love by Phill Phillips and The Twilights, Second Star To The Right by Doris Day & The Four Lads, Silent Spring by Massive Attack, Sing To Me by Walter Martin, Sleepwalk by Santo + Johnny, That's What's Up by Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros, This Winter by Cass Lowe, Today by Joshua Radin, You and Me by Penny & The Quarters, You On My Mind In My Sleep by Richard Ashcroft, You Send Me by Sam Cooke

     4. Cocktail Hour, Dinner & Dancing
    Cocktail hour, dinner and dancing. What is the flow of your wedding going to be like? Music plays a huge part of setting the tone and mood. Do you want the whole day to be upbeat, smooth and soothing or a mix of both? What do you want your cocktail hour feel like? I decided to make mine a little more classic by playing lots of big band and old school swing music. My dinner will have romantic songs, both modern and old,  and my dancing part will only feature upbeat music.

    In short: Start your evening off with songs that will be appreciated by all your guests. Older people will be the first to leave so start the night with music that wont have them begging to go home. Have your music progress throughout the night so that you have fun party dancing music for the last half. Don't forget your dancing shoes! 

    -- Sam, Marketing Coordinator

    Ready to see more of Sam's helpful wedding advice? Take a look at her Registry Recommendations, Wedding Website and Working With Your Vendors posts! 


  • Wednesday, August 27, 2014

    While many people refer to the warmer months as "wedding season," we can't help but love the rich and lush colors and blossoms autumn has to offer. Some accents, like succulents and stems of wild blossoms, add a romantic touch to any collection of flowers all year round, but we can't help but adore the rustic tones of a autumnal bouquet. Deep hues of blue, mustard yellows, and brick reds are the perfect accent to a fall wedding. For some harvest season bouquet inspiration, here are a few gorgeous floral arrangements we love!

    Florist: Art With Nature

    Florist: Twig & Twine

    Florist: The Oak & The Owl

    Which fall floral combinations are your favorite? For a dose wedding inspiration perfect for any season, visit here


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  • Wednesday, August 13, 2014

    One of the biggest anxieties when it comes to your big day is capturing it on film. Whether you choose photography or videography (or both!), making sure your celebration is memorialized exactly the way you've imagined is a difficult endeavor. Luckily, Sam and Sarah are back with a few helpful hints for ensuring the images from your wedding will stand the test of time, and always bring a smile to your face. 

    Image via Style Me Pretty

    1. Will you have a photographer? If so, who and how did you decide?

    Sam: Yes, we will most definitely be having a photographer along with a second shooter. To us, this was one of the most important decisions to make because after the wedding is over, all you will have left is your photos (and possibly frozen cake and dried out flowers). This is is the one vendor where I was willing to splurge a bit because I want to have beautiful photos to look back on. I had a few photographers I knew of (through work!) and I contacted a total of about 10. Whilst looking for a venue, I stumbled upon Eyelet Images and fell in love with her style. Her photography is very soft and romantic, but still punchy with the color. I decided to reach out to her for pricing and availability and she was very reasonable -- I expected her to be much more expensive. I immediately got a wonderful feeling from her over our email conversations, and when we met in person, we fell in love with her personality. She's truly just a great gal who is amazing behind the camera.

    Sarah: Yes, I have a photographer. My fiance and I looked through different portfolios and websites to find someone who’s photographs really seemed to embody the look and feel we were going for. We ended up going with Robby Cavanaugh, who is a friend as well.

    2. Will you have a videographer? If so, who and how did you decide?

    Sam: Yes, we will also be having a videographer. This was the easiest and quickest decision to make. Our media gal who puts together our lookbook videos is also my friend, and she had offered to do our videography. I already know her style and have shot videos with her so it was an easy answer -- YES!

    Sarah: We have not officially booked our videographer yet, but that is one of the things that is next on the list. We are going to meet with No One Knows whose wedding videography we absolutely love. We want that cinematic feel to our wedding video.

    3. Are there are many “must-have” photos on your list?

    Sam: Along with all the standard shots, we decided to go with the first look session before the wedding. For many reasons (see here), we just thought it would be more relaxed, more intimate and less intimating than to see each other for the first time at the altar. Plus, I really don't want to cry in front of an audience.

    Sarah: We aren't going to do a first look, so capturing that moment walking down the aisle is very important. Our reception venue has beautiful art deco architecture throughout, so we would like that highlighted as well. We both really want candid, non-posed photographs that really capture the emotion of the night. 

    4. What were the most important questions you asked your photographer?

    Sam: I had my list of standard questions for all the photographers, but most importantly, I wanted to make sure that we'd mesh. I wanted to make sure that we would feel comfortable with that person following us around for 10 hours. Some important questions we did ask was if a second shooter was available, what her style of photography was, how she approached weddings - if she liked taking control and posing everyone or being more of a fly on the wall. I also asked how she felt about having a videographer to make sure there wouldn't be any competition for getting the best shots. There's also a lot of great non-traditional questions in this previous post!

    Sarah: My fiance and I wanted to know things such as is a second shooter needed, and recommendations as far as day of schedule to ensure that what we want photographed can fit in the timeline.

    5. How far in advance should someone book the photographer and videographer?

    Sam: Along with the date and venue, the photographer is one of the most important vendors to select. I think as soon as you can, you should start looking and book one that you feel comfortable with as soon as possible.

    Sarah: I was told 9-12 months in advance for a  photographer and videographer. Our photographer was one of the first things we booked, besides the church and the reception venue. Depending on when you would like to take your engagement photos taken should be factored in as well, in regard to booking a photographer.

    Photography and videography are an essential on your wedding day, and we're so happy Sam and Sarah could share their experiences with us! See more of Sarah and Sam's advice leading up to walking down the aisle here


  • Wednesday, June 4, 2014

    Flowers are one of the most personal aspects of a wedding. The blossoms you choose are the common thread for the day of your wedding. From the moment the bride walks down the aisle, bouquet in hand during the ceremony to grand floral centerpieces or hints of blossoming decor at the reception. Whether your day takes place in a formal dining hall or a rustic outdoor garden, choosing the right flowers help set the tone and theme of your nuptials. Our Marketing Coordinator Sam and Stylist Sarah are here with some helpful advice when it comes to wedding flowers!    

    1. Will you have flowers for decoration?

    Sam: Yes, I most definitely will! My location is outdoors and up against the LA mountains, which means lots of green and neutral tones. I want lots of flowers to complement the venue and to add pops of color to the scenery. Since my wedding is in the fall, the florals will have lots of berries, burgundy, reds and lots of lush green.

    Sarah: Yes, we will have flowers as decoration throughout the venue. I am still figuring out whether I want to do flowers on all of the tables, or mix it up with half of the tables with candles possibly in vintage vases.

    2. Describe your bridesmaids bouquets.

    Sam: My bridesmaids bouquets will be a similar version to mine, but smaller and they will also have a bit more color added to them.

    Sarah:  My bridesmaid bouquets will have a mix of peach, white, and burgundy flowers. I am still deciding on exactly what flowers will be used, but I love the idea of burgundy dahlias, white roses, and peach peonies.

    3. Describe your bouquet.

    Sam: This is how I described my bouquet vision to my florist. "Loose, lush, organic, messy – the farm to table look. I hate when there is glitter, diamonds, rhinestones …. I like natural! Maybe a pomegranate thrown around here or there!" Here's what she has dreamt up for me: "Bouquet to be lush, loose, organic.... Full of both florals and greenery with some texture. Colors: softer palette of creams, ivories, whites, with accents of gold and burgundy along with greenery and vines. Flowers to include Garden Roses, Roses, Dahlias, Lisianthus, Spray Roses, Ranunculus (white should be available) with soft green colored foliage and vines. Wrap: TBD Romantic Velvet and Silks."

    Sarah: My bouquet will be similar to my bridesmaids bouquets, most likely with the dahlias and peonies, but I envision mine to have less color and more white flowers.

    4. Do you have a florist picked out? If so, who and how did you decide?

    Sam: Yes, I found my florist, Kim of Art With Nature Floral Design, very early on because she was highly recommended to me. I fell in love with her work because her specialty is the loose and lush look -- as opposed to the tight and perfect glitzy florals that I am not quite a fan of.

    Sarah: I do not have a florist yet, but it is one of the next things on my list. I have several appointments set up over the next month with various florists.

    Images via Snippet and Ink & Style Me Pretty

    5. How far in advance should someone choose their flowers/book a florist?

    Sam: I booked my florist about 2 months after we were engaged (so about 7 months before the date) but I think you should have that vendor nailed down around the 6 month mark. I think it also depends on how important a vendor/aspect is to you. If the florals are very important to you or if you have a particular florist in mind, I'd say that should be your first call before he or she books up!

    Sarah: According to my timeline a florist should be chosen within 6-9 months of your wedding. I was told that once I have finalized my color scheme, it is advised that you meet with florists to get an idea of how what you envision will fit within your budget

    We love how Sam and Sarah's choice of flowers reflect their personal style and overall aesthetic of their wedding. For more helpful advice, follow Sam and Sarah on their journey to wedded bliss!


  • Wednesday, May 21, 2014

    Today's installment of Sam & Sarah's Wedding Series focuses on one of our favorite aspects of engagement -- planning the engagement photo shoot! If you've been following along with the series so far, you'll know that Sam is getting married in October and planning a rustic, autumnal wedding, while Sarah's wedding is planned for March of next year and will have a romantic, vintage ambiance. Read on to learn about the gals' engagement photo plans!

    Photos via Robby Cavanaugh Photography

    1. Will you take them? If so, how long after the proposal, will you take them?

    Sam: Yes, engagement photos are very important to the both of us - we took them last month! It’s your test run with your photographer, a chance to see how they work, and an opportunity to adjust to having a camera in our faces. Plus, it’s nice to have professional photos of us in normal clothes to decorate the venue and our future home with.

    Sarah: Yes, we took our engagement photos the beginning of this month, which is approximately 6 months after we got engaged. Time has flown by!

    Photos via Eyelet Images

    2. What was your vision for the photos?

    Sam: Simplicty. I know it is very trendy to go all out on the engagement session right now, but that is not our style. We didn’t have a storyline or props. We both wanted to be outdoors and somewhere with gorgeous trees!

    Sarah: I envisioned them to be outdoors in a romantic setting. I pictured us in a field, surrounded by nature - which is exactly what we got. Since our wedding is indoors, we both wanted to do our engagement photos in a different setting, but still have them evoke that romantic, vintage feel.

    Are you keeping your engagement photos simple, or will you have a them? Let us know in the comments below!

    Make sure to catch up on past Sam & Sarah's Wedding Series entries in time for the next installment! And if you're planning engagement photos of your own, take a peek at our styling guide for helpful tips on pinning down your outfit, and read our blog post on choosing a location.


    *Sarah's engagement photos were courtesy of Robby Cavanaugh Photography.
    *Sam's engagement photos courtesy of Eyelet Images.

  • Wednesday, April 30, 2014

    One of the most difficult aspects of wedding planning is deciding which vendors to work with to ensure your bridal visions become reality. For those of you struggling with the planning process, our Marketing Coordinator, Sam, is here to help! If you've seen our past two Wedding Advice posts, Registry Recommendations and Your Wedding Website, or have been following along with Sam & Sarah's Wedding Series, you'll know that Sam is currently planning her wedding and has a lot of firsthand experience to share. Read on for her incredible advice on how to choose and work with your vendors.

    When it comes to wedding planning, the vendors you choose is an extremely important decision; they are the team that will make your wedding day dreams come true. When picking these members of your team, you want to make sure that they are reliable, experienced (or, if they're new, that they at least know what they're doing), responsive, in your budget, and pleasant to work with. Here are some of my tips and tricks for finding and working with your wedding team!

    1. Do The Research: Do a lot of research! See what what the pricing is like out there -- what seems, low, high, and standard? Compare packages between vendors to help you see what is available and to determine how much certain services cost. For example, some photographers offer packages based on hours only, whereas some base their packages on hours, number of photos you get, and print credit. Determine which type of package is best for you and then you can compare that to other vendors. Most vendors can supply a PDF or list of packages for you to choose from, so make sure to look over each option per vendor! 

    2. Reach Out: Don't be shy; email any and all vendors that you're interested in! I must have emailed about 10 photographers before I found my photographer, Lindsey of Eyelet Images! I found it helpful to save an "inquiry template" and kind of reuse that when reaching out, since I was pretty much repeating the same information. You don't want to write all your points over and over again from scratch! Here's an example of my template for emailing venues:

    Hi there,
    I just wanted to get more information about your gorgeous venue!
    - Fall 2014 availability (August - October, Saturdays are preferred)
    - Pricing
    - Do you allow other vendors / caterers to be brought in?
    - Max capacity
    - Do you require vendors to have liability insurance?
    - Where are the bathrooms and how many?
    - Do you allow more than one wedding at your site per day?
    - Table/chair rental pricing
    - Are there rooms for the bridal parties to get ready in?
    - Do you have a required end time for the wedding reception?
    Thanks so much and I look forward to hearing back from you!

    I felt it was easiest to ask all the questions that could make or break a venue upfront so that I didn't have to go through an email thread of eight messages before you finding out it wouldn't work with my max capacity!

    Here's my template for photographers too! All of these questions might be helpful to you:

    Hi there,
    I found you via _______ and I love your photography style! I'd love to get more information from you to see if you could potentially shoot my wedding! I have a couple of questions:
    - What is your availability this Fall (2014) (or if you already have your date - put your actual date)
    - What are your prices/packages?
    - What's your engagement shoot cost?
    - Do you shoot in digital or film or both?
    - Do you have a second shooter option?
    - Do you supply a disk with all the high-res JPEG files?
    - What’s your approach to shooting a wedding? (are you into more natural shots or do you like posing?)
    - Do you have liability insurance?
    - How many weddings have you shot?
    - How would you describe your post-processing style? How much do you edit the photos?
    Thanks so much and I look forward to hearing back from you!

    3. Make Sure You Mesh: This one was super important to me! I wanted to make sure that my "dream team" (that's how I refer to my wedding vendors) was comprised of people that I liked and got along with. When my fiance and I first met and interviewed our photographer, I felt like there was an instant connection! It wasn't awkward at all, even though we'd only talked via email until that point. She was so friendly and warm, and we both felt like we'd be extremely happy with her following us around for 10 hours on our wedding day. I've been told the photographer is the most important vendor to get along with, because they are the only ones who will be "in your face" all day long. We had a similar situation with our florist! We found out that she had graduated from the same college as my fiance and me, and she was born and raised in the same city as me! There were so many similarities between us and she was extremely laid back and easy to talk to.

    4. Be Realistic With Your Budget: Be honest and up front about what your budget is for each vendor! If you can only spend $1,000 on flowers, than don't bother continuing to talk to a florist whose minimums are $3,000. If there is a vendor who is a bit over your budget, see if you can negotiate over a few details. When determining you budget, don't forget to take all the fine print costs into consideration. Take note of sales tax, gratuity, service, set up, travel, and don't forget to factor in the tip! Trying to think of every little charge is the best way to stay on top of your costs and avoid going over.

    5. Voice Your Expectations:  Let each of your vendors be aware of what you are expecting from them. My DJ was wonderful in making me think about what I wanted his role to be in the wedding day. Do you want your DJ to just setup the speakers and play music, or do you want him to be the MC and entertainer of the night? I told mine that I essentially want him to run the show based off of our day-of schedule. I want him to set up two sound systems (ceremony and reception), keep the music flowing, and announce when the dancing, cake cutting, and bridal party entrance is happening. Let them know as early as you can, so they can do their best to fulfill your needs, otherwise it's not fair to have expectations for them that they are unaware of.

    I was upfront with my florist and told her what my vision and color scheme are, and then let her know she can pretty much do what she wants. I am not knowledgeable with flowers, so I'd rather let her, the expert, have the creative freedom to do her best work. I essentially told her that I trust her and that I wouldn't be dictating a lot with her. If flowers are something you personally want to have a lot of say in, make that known! And if you're expecting a lot from your florist, don't tell her the day of your ceremony that you expect her to style the venue when she was only planning on setting up the floral arrangements.

    6. Finalize The Contract: Make sure you've looked over the contract multiple times and that you have the final price inclusive of any tax, shipping, travel, service, and gratuity. Be certain of when your deposit and payments are due and how your vendors want their payments, be it via credit card, check, cash, or wire transfer. Also, make sure that if you've made any special negotiations, they are listed on the contract. For example, we got permission from our caterer to bring in our own craft beer (which is typically not allowed) so I had the vendor add that to the special notes section.

    Once we decided on a vendor and signed the contract, we made a copy for ourselves along with a copy of the deposit check. Then I added all the payment dates into my wedding calendar with a week-ahead notice so I wouldn't miss a payment or worry about remembering all those dates.

    7. Be Nice: Just because your vendors will be working for/with you on your wedding day doesn't give you the right to be mean, rude, or overbearing. Your vendors are people too, who might miss an email or text and possibly make a little mistake. Just think, they are in the wedding business and they are dealing with not just your wedding, but possibly 20 others. Be nice to them and if you see a mistake in the contract, kindly point it out and don't assume they're trying to pull one over on you. The kinder you are, the more helpful and receptive they will be to you. Basically, don't be a bridezilla -- there's a reason that brides get a bad reputation!

    8. Keep Them Updated: Any time you have a major change or new decision for your wedding, be sure to alert all the vendors that will be affected by that. When my fiance and I finalized our timeline, I emailed all the vendors so they could plan accordingly for set up and take down times. When I finalize the bridesmaid dress colors, I'll certainly send a photo over to my florist so she can see what the bouquets will be held up against and pick the best color scheme.

    9. Give Them A Timeline: I think this is an extremely important aspect of communicating with your vendors. Your vendors will need to know the flow of the day that you and your fiance have decided upon, along with what time they can arrive at the venue to set up. Don't assume how much time they'll need -- make sure you have it cleared with them that they all have enough time to set up too!

    Keep in mind that your photographer and videographer will need the timeline of the day so that they know when each aspect of the big day will occur. The DJ will need to know this information as well so he can conduct and maintain the timeline you have set. If you designate the first dance to be at 7pm, he needs to know so he can prepare the music and make that announcement. Your florist also needs to know the timeline so she can swap around the flowers if necessary; we are reusing ceremony flowers at the reception and moving the cocktail hour flowers to the reception as well, so she needs to know the timeline to figure out when to begin shifting arrangements around. Lastly, the vendors need to know what time the event should or has to end (also known as the "strike"). Similar to the set up, they need to know how much time they have to take down everything and when the venue wants all the vendors off the property. Again, clear it with them so they have enough time.

    My suggestion for managing this timeline is to create a Google document with the finalized timeline and to share it with all of your vendors. They can access the timeline at any point through the Google Drive, and if you update it, they will see those changes. I'd also print out a few copies for everyone on the wedding day itself.

    10. Tip Well: It may feel like you've already spent a lot of money on your wedding, but tipping is pretty much an expected part of the budget. Prepare your tips a week before the wedding, put them in envelopes with each person's name on the front, and assign handing them out to someone you can trust. If you really had a great experience with one of your vendors, I'd even go as far as writing a nice thank you card. After all, what's a few more thank you cards on top of the hundred that you'll already be writing for the gifts!

    Happy planning,
    ~ Sam, Marketing Coordinator

    Images via Ruffled Blog & Lisa Poggi

    We hope this post will help you find and work with your dream vendors! For more wedding advice (and more from Sam!), take a look at our Registry Recommendations and Wedding Website posts.


  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014

    Welcome to our third installment of Sam & Sarah's Wedding Series! In the past two entries, we had the chance to meet these lovely ladies and learn how they're organizing their wedding planning pursuits. This week, we're focusing on engagement party plans! Read on to learn what the gals have in mind for their engagement celebrations.

    1. Will you have an engagement party?

    Sam: Having an engagement party is actually not at the top of my list right now! Since we decided to go for a 9 month engagement, planning the wedding party has taken priority. If we do one, it will be small and with close friends when I have the time to arrange it.

    Sarah: We are planning a small engagement party for next month, when my sister is in town. She hasn’t been back to California since I got engaged, and I couldn’t imagine not having her there!

    2. If so, when and where? What do you envision for it?

    Sam: In my front yard this summer because I have a huge grass lawn. I’d want to keep it small and simple - a BBQ with good beer and time spent around our fire pit.

    Sarah: We don’t have any concrete plans yet, but we are thinking something small at a restaurant. Italian food is at the top of my list!

    3. Which Ruche dress will you wear?

    Sam: Something casual and flattering, like the Vista Trails Embroidered Dress and a cute panama hat (why not? It's warm out!). Shift dresses are my go-to look right now and a hat is a necessity when I'm out in the sun.

    Sarah: I'd definitely go with something chic, like the Waiting For You Crochet Dress.

    For more engagement styling ideas, take a look at our helpful guide. We'll see you in two weeks will the next part of the series, so check out our past installments if you need to catch up!


  • Wednesday, April 16, 2014

    If you've been following Sam and Sarah's Wedding Series or have seen our post on wedding registry, you'll know that our Marketing Coordinator, Sam, is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to wedding planning. This tech-savvy gal is extremely organized and utilizes the best sites to keep her guests, family, and wedding party informed. Before planning your own wedding website, read on for Sam's helpful information on creating your wedding website.

    The first thing you have to decide on is which wedding site you want to build your own site through. There are two well-known and reliable free sources I'd recommend -- The Knot and Wedding Wire. If you're willing to pay and have the budget for it, The Appy Couple, Riley & Grey, SquareSpace and Sitting In A Tree are all wonderful options. Once you sign up for your website, you can include the link in your wedding invite, though I'd suggest sharing it on the backside or on a separate slip so it doesn't ruin the design of the invitation.

    Wedding Website Pros:
    There are so many pros to building a wedding website! First, you can save money on the invites you send out, as you don't have to include as much information in the mail and have the freedom to make changes if need be. Second, you can link your registry to your website, which keeps it all in one place. Third, you can include additional information that isn't typically included in invitations, which will keep you from receiving lots of emails and calls inquiring about those details. Fourth, your site will show up in search engine results, which is helpful in the event a guest loses their invitation or is out somewhere without the link on hand, wanting to access information. Fifth, you can link directly to a map to help guests locate the venue. The list goes on and on -- you have endless possibilities when you create a wedding website!

    Wedding Website Pages:
    Now that you've decided to create a wedding website, it's time to plan the pages! Here are the various pages I recommend including on your site.

    This page is pretty simple. You can include a cute little blurb about how excited you are for your guests to join you on your special day and a reminder to keep checking back for updates on the site.

    About Us: Not everyone will know both the groom and the bride. Some guests may know one of you well and only have briefly met the other, so you can use this space to elaborate more on yourselves. Include information such as where you graduated, your hobbies, where you work, and any other fun facts that best show off your personality.

    The Proposal Story: Similar to the above, not everyone who is invited to your wedding will know the proposal story. I think I've recited mine at least 17 times now, and the last thing I want at the wedding is people asking me how it happened while I'm eating, dancing, or cutting the cake. I figured it would be best to have this on our page so everyone would be able to read it before the wedding.

    The Wedding Party: This is a great way to announce who is in the wedding. You could even go into detail about the friendships and relationships you share with those in your party!

    The Ceremony + The Reception: This page is very important. Here you can add the start times for both events, along with the addresses. We also included a nice description about each location so that guests would know what to expect. This page will include some of the most vital information, so make sure to explain things clearly to avoid any mix-ups or confusion.

    Guest Information: This page can include anything else that guests will need to know. I included the hotels where I blocked out rooms, the dress code, weather prediction, and a very important notice from our venue that they required we shared with our guests. I also included our email addresses and my cell number in case anyone had questions. You can also include a list of possible questions that your guests might have (see below for possible guest questions to include).

    Registry:  To practice proper etiquette, it's best to not mention your registry in your invite and only include it on your wedding site. This page should auto-generate after you've added where you are registered; I made our wedding website through The Knot and it automatically pulled all the stores and products we registered for right onto our site. You can also include if you would rather have gift cards or money to help with a down-payment on a house. See my Registry Recommendations for more information!

    Honeymoon: Unless you are asking for honeymoon funds via your registry, I don't think this page is completely necessary other than announcing where you plan to jet off to after the big day. Since my fiance and I haven't decided yet, I just filled in this page to say we are still debating, but Portland, OR is at the top of our list. Your guests (especially family) might love to know this kind of information.

    RSVP: This isn't a feature on all wedding websites, but some have the option to allow guests to electronically respond via their site. I personally prefer the old-fashioned snail mail insert, but this is definitely a way to save you money by not adding the RSVP insert, an envelope, and a stamp to your physical invite.

    Possible Guest Questions To Include:
    While it might seem a bit overly-informative to include this section on your website, I know I'd rather have all the information available for anyone who might have additional questions. You can even use your question section to try to avoid potential negative situations. For example, include a question like, "Do you have colors you don't want us to wear?"  to make sure that guest won't match the bridal party. Perhaps you didn't consider that situation before, and accidental matching would bother you! Having this question and answer available on your site will ensure that only your bridesmaids will be in blush pink on your big day.

    Here are some other great questions to answer on your site:

    When is the RSVP deadline? You can even include that they should expect a call if the deadline isn't promptly met!

    How do I get to the venue? Link to your Ceremony and Reception page with the listed address.

    Will there be parking? If the venue doesn't have its own parking, you can include local parking options.

    Will I have to pay for parking? Will there be valet? Let your guests know if the parking is free or if you have already covered the cost. Also specify if guests should tip the parking attendant or if that has been covered as well.

    What should I wear? What is the dress code? Take into account the weather -- will they need a jacket or sunscreen? Will the event be taking place on hardwood, grass, or dirt?

    Are there any colors you don't want guests to wear? As we talked about earlier, this is the place to address that your guests should aim to stay away from the bridal party colors, and to mention any other colors you don't want at your wedding.

    Are children welcome?

    May I bring a date? Specify how strict your guest policy is. Are you only allowing guests who were listed on the invite?

    Will dinner/food be served? What kind of food will be served? What if I have a dietary restriction?

    Will there be alcohol? Here you can specify is the wedding is dry or if you will be having an open or cash bar.

    Will there be dancing? Can I request a song?

    Can I bring a camera and take pictures? If you want guests to take pictures, this is a good place to include your email if you would like them to email you afterwards. Also, do you want to have an Instagram hashtag? You can announce it here!

    Are the ceremony and reception locations wheelchair accessible?

    Happy website-making,
    -- Sam, Marketing Coordinator

    Images via Style Me Pretty

    We hope this post will help you create a truly informative and easily accessibly wedding website. Is there anything else you're making sure to include on your site?

    For more helpful wedding information and to be notified when we launch new wedding-related blog posts, "like" our bridal page on Facebook!


  • Wednesday, April 9, 2014

    Welcome to the second installment of Sam & Sarah's wedding series! If you haven't read the first segment, make sure you hop on over to meet the gals, read their proposal stories, and get a feel for their wedding visions. This week, these lovely ladies are discussing getting started with the wedding planning process, sharing how much they've progressed and what tips they've picked up along the way. As a reminder, Sam is getting married in October, while Sarah is tying the knot in March, so their progress correlates with how much time they have left to plan. Read on for their updates and firsthand advice!

    1. How are you staying organized? Do you have a notebook? An Excel chart? A wedding planner?

    Sam: I have a 16-tab Google spreadsheet that includes date availability, guest list, predicted RSVPs, budget, deposit and payment dates, venues, photographers, and vendors, in addition to a separate Google calendar (shared with my fiance and mom) that includes all of our appointments, payment dates and other wedding plans. I have a special "wedding" label in my inbox so I can easily see all my wedding emails, and I've made sure that I've saved my vendors as contacts in my phone and grouped them into a wedding group. I also have my Pinterest boards and a secret dress board for inspiration.

    In addition to all of my online planning tools, I have my favorite Rifle Paper Co notepad and Post-Its with daily task lists. Crossing them off makes me feel great! Physical lists are a great way to keep track of what you've done, because as you progress with your plans, it gets more and more difficult to remember what you've done. Lastly, I have a coordinator - not a wedding planner. Her role is more logistical and comes in around the last month and on the day of. I felt I didn’t need a planner and am happy I chose to do it on my own.

    Sarah: My mom gifted me a wedding planning binder that helps me stay organized. It has tabs that include everything from the reception venue to photography, and everything in between! It is extremely helpful to have it all organized in one place. I keep everything from sample invitations, to copies of contracts and receipts in it. I also have a reception venue coordinator who has been a huge help! She will assist me up until the wedding, as well as the day of. I have a wedding Pinterest board, as well as a moodboard, where I display pictures of my potential dress, bridesmaid dresses, sample bouquets, and color palettes. I am a very visual person, so it helps to be able to see how everything will look together as I continue to come up with ideas.

    2. What have you planned so far?

    Sam: At this moment, I have the venue, photographer, dress, caterer, florist, videographer, pastor, maids and men, hair & makeup gal, and a 99% finalized guest list.

    Sarah: I have booked the church I will get married in, as well as the reception venue and photographer. I have a preliminary guest list compiled, and have asked my bridesmaids as well as my matron of honor!

    3. What's next on the list?

    Sam: Designing the invites, booking the DJ, working on the day before/day of timeline schedule, booking a block of hotel rooms for out-of-town guests, and planning the wedding shower & bachelorette with my best friend and maid of honor, Ariel.

    Sarah: Next on my list is purchasing my dress and the bridesmaid dresses, and deciding on a florist and videographer.

    4. How are you feeling? Any tips?

    Sam: I am feeling really great! Organization (read: OCD) is my middle name, so I am on top of everything. I am loosely going by The Knot’s timeline, but I am knocking out things as quickly as I can. I could really use a massage or facial though. That would be nice.

    Here are the tips I’ve given my plethora of recently engaged friends:
    -- Scour the Blogs: Begin with Style Me Pretty -- you can search the gallery by categories, tags, colors, style, or season. Next comes Green Wedding Shoes, Grey Likes, Once Wed, Ruffled, 100 Layer Cake, Rustic Wedding Chic, Snippet & Ink.
    ** I looked through a ton of posts and if you find a venue you like - search "(venue name) Style Me Pretty" and more likely than not, a couple of real weddings at that venue will come up through the blog, so you can see it without having to visit a bazillion places.

    -- Utilize Wedding Wire: It's not a wedding blog, but it's extremely useful when looking for venues. It compiles information that is presented in a consistent format, so it's easy to compare multiple venues.

    -- Pin Pin Pin: If you haven't yet, create a Pinterest board and pin as much as you can. A lot of vendors will ask for your board to see what you're liking, so if you already have what's in your mind on your boards, it's super helpful. Maybe even make a new account that you only use for wedding planning and make each board specific, with topics like dresses (keep that one secret!), flowers, and specific photo shots so you can send that exact board to each vendor. This is wedding planning of the 21st century - gone are the days of magazine tear-outs.

    --  Sign Up: Make an account on The Knot! It's so much help, as they are a wedding authority with tons of resources and a great timeline to follow with options to customize it.

    -- Buy This Book: It was lent to me by my friend's mom and it is the wedding planning Bible. It has advice for every situation! I am really not kidding - buy it.

    Sarah: I'm feeling really happy and excited! I have some major things checked off my list, so that is a great feeling. I would suggest either getting a binder or utilizing some other organizational tool to keep track of everything. For wedding inspiration, I love blogs such as Green Wedding Shoes, The Lane, Bash Please, and 100 Layer Cake to name a few. I would recommend making an account on The Knot as well. They have a lot of resources and great templates for your personal wedding website!

    Where are you in the wedding planning process? Make sure to check back in two weeks for the next installment of the series. And if you still haven't seen the girls' first post, wander on over to for some truly adorable proposal stories!


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