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Monday, January 11, 2016

A vintage wedding at Mount Ida Farm.

Gosh, it feels like ages since I wrote on this blog and since I coordinated Amanda & Dave's big day at Mount Ida Farm on August 29th, 2015. I finally have pictures and their wedding video to share from the big day!

Amanda was definitely a bride who knew exactly what she wanted! She had a vision and she made sure it came through everywhere throughout the big day. As always, Mount Ida was beautiful (I swear I'm not biased or anything) and every one I worked with the entire weekend was beyond amazing.

Isn't Mount Ida's Mountain View site GORGEOUS?!

And this little guy....PRECIOUS.

This was my gift to Amanda & Dave after they booked!
Purchased from LetsTieTheKnot

And now for their beautiful wedding video!


Ceremony & Reception Venue: Mount Ida Farm
Videography: Doug Stanford
Lighting & Tables: MS Events
China: Festive Fare
Cake: Sweethaus
Donuts & Ice Cream Truck: Carpe Donut

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Glitter Everywhere!

If there's one thing that's become apparent in most recent weddings seasons, it's that 99.9% of brides love glitter. Not only was I one of those brides, but it's all over Pinterest which basically means - TREND.

So to keep with the trend, what are some fun, unique ways to incorporate glitter into your big day?

Glitter Table Numbers

This is a super easy one and it adds such a pop to your tables without taking away from the rest of the decor.

Just get some wooden numbers from your local craft store (or you could cut these from Styrofoam board with stencils), cover them in modge podge and then douse them in glitter. Once dry, use some spray sealant to ensure the glitter doesn't get everywhere (and so your future husband isn't having glitter nightmares).

For the base, get some cake boards - 6" or 8" is probably best depending on the height of your numbers and cover them in glitter spray paint.

Once dry, use a hot glue gun to affix the number to the base and voila! You've got glitter table numbers!

Glitter Dipped Votives

Another really simple one. All you need is votives, modge podge, glitter and a paint brush.

Use the paint brush to paint on any design you'd like - whether it's polka dots (finger tip might work better), dipping the bottom, lining the top, ombre effect (thick layer at the bottom and slowly thins to the top). Whatever you want!

Once dry, just seal them and you're done!

And really, you could do this with anything you wanted to add a fun touch of glitter to - mason jars, candles themselves, etc.

Glitter Branches

One of my favorite things to do with centerpieces is have some short centerpieces and some taller, more dramatic styles around the room. Glitter branches are the perfect fit for something like this!

You could just put them in a simple tall vase, maybe fill the bottom with some flowers. Or you could nestle them down in a box with some white hydrangeas.

Glitter Place Cards

Having assigned seats at your head table or even all your tables? Add a touch of glitter to the place cards!

There are two options here. One a lot easier than the other, but both are pretty simply.

Just find a cute little tag and line it with glitter tape on both sides. I'm not sure it gets easier than that.

If you want it to be a bit more glittery (and messy) - cut out some small pieces of card stock, fold in half and then modge podge and glitter the entire back and a portion of the front. The only hard part about this one is making sure the modge podge doesn't weigh down the card stock and keep it front standing. You'll likely need to go back and reset them to keep them upright, but once you do that once and let them rest you should be fine!

Glitter Chalkboard Signs

Another super simple one!

Just buy some cute little chalkboard signs from your local craft store and just go to town with the modge podge and glitter. Tip: let the a portion of it dry before trying to do the last part, otherwise, you'll have fingerprints all over which just means you're going to have to go back later anyways!

And there you have it: glitter for the rest of your life (because we all know that stuff gets on everything and is with you for the rest of your life - ask my husband).

*Linking up with MegMacy & Amye!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Where do I even begin?

Congrats, you're newly engaged! This time in your life is likely a whirlwind. So many people to talk to, questions to be answered, decisions to be made, etc.

Most brides' first question, after they get through the glamour of the engagement, is "where do I even begin?". Good question!

Without a doubt, your venue is the absolute most important decision you make and the first to tackle (well after you figure out that darn budget - that's never too fun unless you're really rich!). Your venue sets the stage for a good majority of the decisions to follow - most importantly your wedding date. You very well can't book any other vendors without knowing your date and while you might have a deal breaker of a date in mind, it wouldn't be the wisest of decisions to assume the venue you fall in love with will have that date available (and your venue may supersede your need for a particular date - you never know!).

If you do have a specific date in mind, then I highly suggest beginning the venue hunt ASAP. Even if you're well over a year out from said date, it's very possible that the venue you fall in love with could book a client well over a year out. Hey, that date might be just as important to another bride that got engaged a day before you! Now this doesn't mean, if you're within 9 months of your date, that your venue will be booked. But the sooner you get in touch with them, the better you'll feel. Not to mention, it also helps narrow down the list of possibilities.

Even if you don't have a specific date in mind, your venue is going to help you answer a lot of additional questions and point you in directions you otherwise might have not know about. Do they require you to use certain vendors, what kind of look/feel does it have (theme, colors, etc. will come from this answer), how far is it from the location where most of your guests will be coming (helps determine how far in advance you'll need to send out Save the Dates), etc.?

I'm also a firm believer that you shouldn't make your venue decision, by making other decisions first. Find some venues that you love, then learn their requirements and see which you can handle. For example, don't choose a venue simply because they have an on-site coordinator, when you love the venue that doesn't have one, but still requires it of their couples. That venue with the on-site coordinator that you maybe don't 100% love may be $3000 more expensive than the one without that you do love! You'll definitely be able to find a day-of coordinator or even a full-on wedding planner for less than that, so I'd highly suggest looking at other aspects first.

Once you've chosen the venue, I think the next best question to ask yourself is: what's important to you and your groom?

A close second with venue, maybe even a tie, is a photographer. They usually get booked a year or more out, as well and this is especially important if you have a specific photographer in mind. Some photographers only do a certain number of weddings a year, so you'll want to be sure they not only have your date, but they still have spaces available! If photography isn't as important to you and you're not specific in who you want, this doesn't have to be as high on the priority list. Once you have a venue, they'll likely give you a list of preferred vendors and it certainly doesn't hurt to find a photographer that knows the lay of the land at your venue. Now that's not saying you shouldn't book someone who's never photographed a wedding there, just something to keep in mind!

Now you've got your photographer and your venue - does you venue require a day-of coordinator or planner or do you simply want one to ensure you can be stress free (yes, you do! duh!)? Now that you have your date marked in stone, you'll be able to narrow down your list of wedding planners (if you're ahead of the game and done research already) to ones that still have your wedding weekend open. There are some vendors that can book multiple weddings in a weekend, like a caterer or florist. But in my eyes, wedding planners should not be booking more than one wedding in weekend (especially if it's a Saturday wedding). If you find someone who offers to double-book a weekend (and definitely make sure to ask!), I'd highly suggest finding an alternative. There is so much that goes into planning/coordinating a wedding, especially those last few days/day-of. If you choose a planner who's coordinating a wedding on the Friday before your wedding, who's going to manage your rehearsal? You want to ensure that your wedding is at the forefront of your planner's mind and they won't have anything else that takes them away from you on your big day (weekend)!

I'd say next in line is catering. This can be a time intensive search, especially if your venue allows you to use any caterer you'd like. You'll want to give yourself plenty of time to do a couple different tastings and allow for things not to go as planned. Just because your BFF's brother loved caterer A, doesn't mean you and your groom will and you may need to move on to B, C or even D (let's hope not ;)).

Once those big pieces are in place, I'd say - RELAX! Then handle the rest of these items, at your leisure. Although if any of the tasks below are incredibly important to you, definitely push those to the forefront. This is a very general timeline and it can/should be altered to fit your needs.

However, my biggest tip is this: do not wait to do something, just because the checklist says it doesn't need to be done yet. If you have time to cross it off, why not? You'll save yourself so much stress in the long run, I promise!

7-9 months:
  • Wedding dress time! It usually takes 4-6 months to get your dress back (unless you go off the rack), so you want to allow time for it to come in and even more time for alterations. 
  • Pick your theme, colors, etc. 
  • Start researching DJs
  • Find a florist that fits your style
  • Book an officiant
  • Get engagement pictures taken (if you want to use them for your Save the Dates)
  • Start narrowing down Save the Date ideas
  • Start working on your wedding website, so it's ready when you do send out those Save the Dates. Even if it's not ready by the time you send out the Save the Dates, include the website address anyways, so guests know where to go for future questions (and let's hope they do so ;))
6-8 months:
  • Send out Save the Dates - the sooner the better, especially if you're planning a wedding that's at least 2 hours from the majority of your guests
  • Find a hotel or two for your out-of-town guests. Research their requirements - are you liable for the the rooms that you blocked off, that aren't booked? Do they have a 2 night minimum? Is there another event going on in the area that weekend that may cause a hike in prices?
  • How will your guests be getting to/from the venue? Do you need to book a shuttle? What about you and the bridal party? Will you already be on site or will you need a ride to/from?
  • Find a hair stylist and makeup artist, then book your trials for both!
  • Narrow down ideas for bridesmaid dresses and groomsmen suits - find some dresses you like, then start researching salons in the area that offer the most variety when it comes to designer. For example, if Bridal Salon A is only 5 minutes away, but they only offer one of the three designers you like, it's probably going to be worth it to drive an extra 30 minutes to Bridal Salon B that has all 3. It's hard enough to get a group of girls together all at the same time, no sense in stressing yourself out twice!
  • Find someone to book your rentals through - do you want farm tables? Does your venue provide linens or do you need to go elsewhere? Want some funky furniture to provide a lounge area for guests (and awesome pictures!)? Most rental companies have a large number of everything, but they may have some more unique options in smaller quantities and you don't want to have to go more than one place for your rentals!
  • Decide on a honeymoon spot!
  • Register for gifts! Don't need anymore glasses or forks? There are so many fun alternatives these days! You could register for your honeymoon or even just straight up cash. There are lots of ideas on how to word those requests too, so you're not just saying "GIVE ME YOUR MONEY". 
  • Find someone for the cake. Don't want a big cake? Find someone to do a cutting cake and then place an order for mini-cupcakes at your local grocery store! (No one ever eats all the dessert - don't waste your money!). 
  • Start thinking about the rehearsal dinner. Will it be at the venue or will you need to rent a space?
3-5 months:
  • Start researching wedding suite designs that go with your theme. Do you want to use a standard design available on sites like Minted or Wedding Paper Divas? Or would you rather go a more custom route? Do some research on Pinterest and Etsy regardless! You'll be amazed at all the unique ideas available outside of those big websites!
  • Have your bridesmaids and groomsmen place their orders for their dresses/suits. I'd say 4 months out would be the absolutely longest I'd wait to do this. Bridesmaid dresses usually take at least 3 months to come in and you'll want to leave time for alterations. Suits aren't as tricky - unless you're looking for something out of the ordinary - like a heather gray, 3 piece, slim cut suit (not many out there!). Also, you'll want to make sure you have time for your bridal party to get the right accessories! Maybe the groom wants his men to wear brown shoes, but the rental place only has black. If you find this out early, you'll still have enough time to hunt down the right shoes. 
  • Purchase yours and your groom's wedding rings! Wahoo! More bling! 
  • Start really thinking about the ceremony. Will it be traditional? Do you want it to last 5 minutes or 45 minutes? Will there be musicians or are you using your DJ for music? Who will speak?  There's no need to finalize things this far out, but it's good to get a general idea early on. 
2 months:
  • Send out your invitations, if you haven't already! Give your guests enough time to book their hotel rooms, buy you wonderful presents (!!) and RSVP in a timely manner (they still won't - womp womp). Require all RSVPs to be returned no later than about a month before the wedding, maybe even 6 weeks, just to be sure you have time to track down the stragglers (the best part!). 
  • Start alterations on your wedding dress! You'll likely want to have 2-3 fittings, to make sure the dress fits you like a glove on the big day. After you have the first one, have another about 4 weeks out from the wedding and then your final one the week of, if possible. 
  • Start looking for wedding accessories: jewelry, garter, etc. 
  • Have all of the programs, menus, etc. printed
  • Purchase favors/thank you gifts
1 month:
  • Organize guest list, work with planner/venue on seating arrangement for reception
  • Finalize ceremony readings and music
  • Send DJ a "must play" and "do not play" list!
  • Create weekend timeline for bridal party - I highly suggest printing these out for each person, so you can save some more questions
  • Confirm final payments with all vendors - who needs to be paid in advance, how will they accept payment, etc?
  • Confirm with your wedding planner/day-of coordinator exactly what she is taking care of for you, so you can shorten the to-do list and stress on yourself
  • Get your marriage license!
Then, go have yourself the BEST DAY EVER!

*Linking up with Meg, & Macy!

Friday, January 16, 2015

5 truths about wedding planning.

First off, I'd like to thank you all for your overwhelming well wishes and kind comments this week! I'm so excited to launch this new blog and dive deeper into this wedding planning business, so I appreciate your support more than you'll ever know! Before I get on with today's post, just a reminder - the $25 Starbucks Giveaway ends on Monday! Go enter!

My plan for Friday's on this blog is to give you 5 things about weddings - pretty general, so we'll see where it takes us!

Today's topic -

1. Unless you have an unlimited budget, it's going to be next to impossible to get everything that you want. If you know you this up front, it'll be easier to handle in the end. Make a list of what are must haves. Heck, if you want you could even go so far as to also make a list of what you don't necessarily care too much about. Once you have your list(s), start with the must haves. You never want to wait on something that is important. That budget goes QUICK! You don't want to be left with something on your must-have list and no money to spend on it.

2. You will have problems along the way. Whether it's having a hard time finding a particular vendor or a vendor you've contracted with backs out on you. Everything will not go smoothly all the time. But that's ok! It'll get figured out, so try not to stress too much about it immediately. This is also a big reason why having a wedding planner is a huge help! Your wedding planner can be there to not only calm you down, but also provide some alternative solutions that maybe you didn't think of!

3. People will not RSVP. No matter how simple you make it, for some reason this is an absolutely impossible task for everyone to get a handle on. This is why I suggest sending your invites out far enough in advance that you can realistically ask for them to be returned 6 weeks out from the wedding date. This gives you time to follow up with the stragglers, reassess the list (send invites to Plan B guests, if you have those) and get a jump start on your seating arrangements and table setups.

To add to this, people will likely ask about plus 1's or kids. I think it's important to make this very clear on your invites. There are easy ways to ask that your guests leave their children at home without sounding harsh. Just add a section on your website/details card with the subject of Children and say something like: "As this is an evening event, and we want our guests to kick back and enjoy the night, we ask that alternative arrangements be made for any children under the age of 16."

For plus 1's, I love the idea of including the number of people invited to the wedding on the RSVP card: "_ of 2 attending." This way they fill in their number, but see the max number expected to attend. Simple, subtle, and to the point!

4. The timeline will go array. Even if you are the timeliest of timely people and you are adamant that nothing will go off schedule, there's a 99.9% chance that it will. Your hair dresser will be late, pictures will take a bit longer or the guests will straggle in a bit later than planned. It's inevitable, but if you prepare yourself for this in the beginning, it'll be a lot easier to handle. Give yourself some extra time in the timeline. Even if you don't think the ceremony will last longer than 10 minutes, give yourself 20-30. That way, if you do start 5-10 minutes late, you're still on track for the cocktail hour and reception to go on as planned.

5. Your wedding weekend is going to go by faster than you'll ever imagine. You'll hear this one a lot. It's one of those things that will probably go in one ear and out the other because you hear it so often and you think "I know! I get it!". But trust me, it's also one of those things that you'll never truly understand until you're in the moment. Just when you think it's all going by at a good pace, it'll be Sunday morning and the party is over. Whenever you can, take a few seconds to take your surroundings in. Watch one of your bridesmaids get her hair done for a few minutes, go outside and take some time to breathe and think about the day. Anything you can do to "pause" time for a couple seconds is going to be worth it in the end. Although I will say, I think a good sign of a fun weekend is when it goes by in a flash. Nothing boring or terrible ever seems to go quickly, so if you feel like your wedding weekend lasted all of 5 minutes, then you probably did it right!

I hope none of this scared you new brides out there. That was not my intention. However, I think it's important to understand that while wedding planning is SO FUN (obviously I'm a little obsessed with it...), it's not going to be all rainbows and butterflies. If you prepare yourself for all of this up front, you'll be much less stressed and prepared to handle the not so great when it comes along!

Happy Friday, Friends! Have a fantastic (I hope long) weekend! See you on Monday!

*Linking up with April, ChristinaNatasha, & Darci.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


My first blog post on the new blog! Ah, welcome!

I'm pretty excited to get this blog underway, especially considering the absolutely gorgeous design Erin made me! Isn't she the best?

You might be wondering, what's the goal of this blog? And even if you're not, I'm going to tell you anyways. Ha.

I hope to use this blog to bring you all the details about weddings I'm planning/planned and also ideas for brides-to-be. Topics are going to range anywhere from tips/tricks, fun ideas that maybe you hadn't thought of, to DIY decor, trends, etc. Every day I post is probably going to be a little different, but there is one thing I can guarantee. It'll be all wedding, all the time! So if weddings aren't your thing, this probably isn't your place (but I hope you'll stick around and test out the waters a bit before you exit!).

I've already got some posts up my sleeves, but would love to hear what you guys are interested in hearing about? Anything you're trying to figure out in regards to your own wedding? Want some planning advice? In the DMV (DC/Maryland/Virginia for those of you that are unfamiliar, but may have friends here!) area and need a wedding planner of your own!? ;) I would love to hear from you, regardless of the reason! Comments are definitely one of my top 3 favorite things about blogging!

And as a giant thank you for stopping by and beginning this journey with me, I've got a lovely $25 Starbucks Gift Card to giveaway. I mean there's a pretty strong chance, wherever you are, it's about 2 degrees and feel liks -15 (unless you're in Florida and then I'm wondering where's my invite!) - so what's better than a warm, pick me up from the 'bux?

Thanks again for reading along and I hope to see you around in the future!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Linking up with MegMacy & Amye!