10 Ways She Trimmed $21,000 Off Her Wedding Budget

Myself and every other wedding planner will tell you the most important way to save money on a wedding is to PRIORITIZE. Decide what is most important to you and your fiancé before you start spending money. My husband is an avid reader of Lifehacker.com and in his reading he found an interesting article on how a bride saved $21,000 on her wedding budget. He immediately thought of me and sent it to me thinking I could refer to it. I thought it was an excellent article so I would like to share it with my brides.

The two most important things to this bride, Jane, was a live band and a pretty dress; she could care less about the programs and escort cards. Jane was able to always find a way to get everything she needed for less than full price. Whether than meant negotiating with a vendor, waiting for a sale, or using "rewards" points she ended up saving $21,484.00!

Here are the 10 ways she saved:

1. Don't Be Overly Accommodating. Her wedding was originally supposed to be on a Friday night and after she signed the contract the venue coordinator later called to tell her that she had accidentally double-booked her date. Jane didn't say that was okay, instead she said firmly, that she was disappointed and might take her business somewhere else. The venue coordinator then said that she would give her a Saturday evening wedding for a Friday evening price which saved Jane $11,450 less than it would have cost. Wedding vendors juggle at least four brides a weekend and errors aren't that uncommon. So if your vendor makes a mistake remember that you have leverage. Don't throw a tantrum, but don't be a pushover either.

2. Borrow Instead Of Buy. Before you purchase something think back to all the weddings you have been to recently, and think if there was a past bride that wore or used an item that you would want to use and borrow. Jane loved her sister-in-law's veil and so she borrowed it from her, and that saved her $50.

3. Negotiate, Negotiate, Negotiate. After Jane booked her venue, the next biggest priority was hiring musicians. She and her fiancé wanted a live band but she knew they charged a ton for a Saturday night. She told the bandleader how much she would love them to perform, but that the price was steep, and asked if there was anyway they could cut it down a little. They immediately slashed the price by $2,500.  Jane said she would think about it and get back to them. A few days later she called and asked again if that's the best price they could give. They said they could drop it another $2,500 if they paid in cash, and they would throw in a cocktail hour duo for free. That saved Jane another $800. Negotiating isn't always easy and can be scary because you don't want to annoy the vendor and make them not want to work with you, but it can be worth it. Bottom line: Never accept a vendor's first price without trying to negotiate.

4. Work With Your Venue. The wedding business is filled with partnerships. Venues always refer brides to certain vendors. Always ask the venue if there is a list of "preferred vendors." There is always a good chance you'll get a good deal that way. By using Jane's venue's preferred hair and makeup team her total cost of the package for her and her bridesmaids was $200 cheaper than normal.

5. Call On Talented Friends. One of Jane's and her fiancés friends is an ordained minister. They decided to ask him if he would marry them. Of course he accepted, and he didn't charge them. For their appreciation, they gave him a $250 gift, and still saved $250. They have some other friends who are musically inclined and offered to play music for free during their ceremony. They also gave them gifts and still saved $750.

6. Shop Around. When you are choosing a vendor always do your research. The more websites you visit, calls you make, and meetings you set up the more you will know when negotiating prices. Jane visited two florists and liked Florist A better than Florist B, but her price was $1,100 higher. She emailed Florist A and told her she would really love to work with her but she got an estimate from another florist that was $1,100 less. Florist A got back to her and matched her price. Jane got the florist she wanted for the same price!

7. Wait For Sales. The earlier you plan the more deals you will find because you will be able to wait for sales. Jane and her fiancé knew what bridal party gifts they wanted to buy for their bridal party way in advance, so they waited to purchase them. They were on TheKnot.com so they signed up for their newsletter. When December came around they got an e-mail about their "Year-end clearance Sale!" It saved them $120. She was also patient about her wedding shoes. She found some that were $215 from Bloomingdales but got them for $150 because of the big holiday sales that are around Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day.

8. Pay Attention To The Fine Print. When planning a wedding you read and keep track of dozens of contracts that happen to be long and detailed. It is easy to skim through them quickly without really knowing what you are signing. Resist that urge, and analyze it to make you sure understand the agreement. Most places give you a copy of what you are signing but if they don't be sure to photocopy it in case you need to refer to it at a later time. Jane's vendor told her that it would cost an additional $180 to use two colors for invitations. She thought that sounded different from what the vendor originally told her so she went back and checked her contract. Sure enough the vendor was wrong. She pointed it out to the vendor and they corrected the error. Had she not spoken up she would have been charged extra.

9. Use Rewards Points. Since her fiancé is a Hilton Honors member they were able to use 160,000 rewards points to get a free hotel room for two nights for their honeymoon to Hawaii. That saved them $800. Remember to think about frequent flyer miles and credit card rewards points as well when making Honeymoon plans.

10. DIY It. Instead of asking a professional company to print her ceremony programs and reception cards Jane printed them herself. This saved her $175 for the cards and $400 for the programs. You can also find DIY wedding decorations, jewelry, food etc. It is easy to get sucked into the wedding spending whirlpool. In the end vendors just want your money they don't truly care about making everlasting memories.

Remember to focus on what's really important: that you and her sweetheart are getting married and starting a new life together. Try and cut back where you can so you can save for a new home together like Jane and her husband were able to do. For more ways to save go back and read my other post titled: Wedding Budget 101.

Wedding Day Emergency Kit

How many times do you go on a trip and forget something that you wish you had? That happens to me ALL the time and my husband can attest to that. Your wedding day is not one of those times you want or can forget something. So here is a list of must-haves to pack before your day so your day will run as smooth as possible, hopefully without any hiccups). This list was compiled from my own list, as well as StyleMePretty, MarthaStewartWeddings and TheKnot 

If I were planning your wedding which ( I should be) :) I would have most of these items for you as part of your wedding planning package. I will let you know the things you will need to have before your big day.


  • Lipstick/gloss
  • Bobby pins
  • Hairspray
  • Water bottle
  • Makeup
  • Breath mints
  • Nylons (Extra pair)
  • Clear nail polish (for ripped nylons for you, bridesmaids etc.)
  • Pain reliever
  • Tide To-Go pen
  • Razor
  • Toothbrush/paste/floss/mouthwash
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Tampons
  • Chapstick
  • Bandaids
  • Kleenex
  • Deodorant
  • Tweezers
  • Lotion
  • Make up remover
  • Q-Tips
  • Small mirror
  • Spare underwear (just in case)
  • Earring backs
  • Heel protectors for walking in grass in heels
  • Chalk (for stain disguise)
  • Dryer sheets (to fix static)
  • Lint roller
  • Eye drops
  • Corsage pins
  • Mini sewing kit (needles, thread, buttons, safety pins)
  • Hem tape
  • Lighter (for ribbon or hem that starts to fray)
  • Small scissors
  • Smelling salts (in case someone faints)
  • Straws (for brides drinks so she doesn't mess up lipstick)
  • Brush/comb
  • Perfume
  • Nail file
  • Krazy glue
  • Blister treatment
  • Granola bar (you never know when you're going to get hungry)
  • Nail clippers
  • Pens
  • Antacid
  • Nail polish in the shade you are wearing

This is pretty much everything you may or may not need. You can never be too prepared.

Designing Your Layout

I am currently planning a wedding for my friend. She was so thankful I had mentioned to her the importance of designing a layout of the reception. i.e., where you want the chairs, tables, decorations, etc. She had also told me that her venue was asking for a layout down the road so they could help set up and get tables and chairs where they need to be so she was thankful I had mentioned it to her now. Her wedding is still a little over three months away but since I'm in Oregon and she is in St. George its even more important we are ahead of the game.

I recommend all brides start designing the layout of their reception four months prior to their big day so they can figure out how many decorations, and table cloths amongst many other things you will need. The layout should not only include tables, chairs, which decoration, centerpiece and flowers go where, but a detailed map of the venue. You will want to decide what door you want guests to come through, and which rooms you will be using on the day. You also need to know where all the outlets are so if you have lights and music you can plan out where it's all going to be plugged in and that will determine which tables go where.

If you are going to have a formal dinner then you need to strategically place where the head table is going to be so all the tables can see you. Remember the head table needs to be rectangular- you don't want guests looking at your back all night and guests don't want to! Have your immediate family sitting at the table closest to you. A lot of people forget about this and in the end only a select few tables can see them. You also can decide what guests you want at each table at this point as well. Remember not to over-cram the tables. Don't ever put more than 10 guests at each table.

Designing your layout is critical so that your reception setup will run as smooth as possible, and those helping will know what to do so they can get it done as quickly and efficiently as possible. Make your layout look very nice. This can take a while so take your time and don't rush this or it may reflect in the appearance and layout of your reception.

McKenzie & Jon Scherbel Wedding

Okay so here are the photos I have been promising for a week now! McKenzie looked absolutely beautiful in her and Jon looked very handsome. They sure make a good- looking couple. So happy for you two!

As you can see it was a BEAUTIFUL reception and day. 

Where Has Jocelyn Been?

So you're all probably wondering why I haven't posted in over two weeks when I usually post twice a week. The truth is I have been in Utah and have been busy with family, Thanksgiving and the holidays as well as working on some actual weddings.  :)

Yesterday my gorgeous cousin McKenzie was married in the Oquirrh Mountain Temple in Utah to her wonderful husband Jon. Her reception was at Noah's in South Jordan and it turned out beautifully. I am so thankful I was able to help plan her dream wedding and be apart of it. I took tons of photos and once I get home to Oregon I will post them with more details since I left my camera cord at home.

I hope you all are enjoying this freezing cold weather and are having fun in the snow, sunshine or wherever you are.

Here I am taking photos

Experiencing 'Cold Feet'?

We have all heard of the expression 'Cold Feet' when getting married. We have seen it on tons of wedding movies. Unfortunately no one really talks about how to mentally prepare for your wedding day and avoiding cold feet. Getting married is a big step in your life and as a wedding planner, not only do I plan the wedding, but I am also here to bring you that comfort and assurance you may need. My hopes is after reading this post that you bride and you groom will feel relieved and much better about taking the step into marriage. 

The Wedding Knot says, "Got cold feet? Are you experiencing a chilling fear as you realize that you're about to spend the rest of your life with the same person? Don't worry, it happens. Most of the time, this freak-out period just means you're suffering from a case of pre-wedding jitters." So take it from a famous source and understand that almost everyone has these feelings. It's common. Below is a list to help you determine whether it's "Cold Feet" or something more.

Is this how you feel?

               They're getting on your nerves. I can't express to you how many times Ty and I both got on each other's nerves the whole time we were engaged and planning the wedding. It is totally normal. I have had friends approach me and ask if it is just them. It happens almost with everyone who gets married. Think about it. You are both stressed, busy, not getting much sleep, and it's building up. Now that the wedding planning is winding down so should it and it will. 

               Your'e freaking out because you're noticing changes in yourself. You're not eating, not sleeping, you're sweating all the time, panicking and then you start to question whether or not you're making the right decision. Stop right there and don't let it go any further. This is also very common amongst brides and will settle down once the wedding day rolls around. As girls we like to think and over-analyze everything. You know what I'm talking about and this is what is happening in this case.

               More issues are arising about living together and what each of you wants in your future home. For example, you want a dog and he hates them or he is a pack rat and has too much stuff and you want him to get rid of it. Merging two lives together is not a breeze. These reasons are not worth thinking twice about. It will all work out in the end and you both will be happy.

There are several other issues similar to this that you may be experiencing and if that is the case than don't worry, it's just the pre-wedding jitters. If the issues are more serious than these like: abuse, drug/alcohol addiction, betrayal then you should talk with a family member or seek professional help and postpone or call of the wedding. 

Marrying your best friend and sweetheart is the greatest day of your life. Say goodbye to the cold feet and pre-wedding jitters! 

"Girls Just Wanna Have Fun"

In the famous words of Cindy Lauper, "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" brings me to my next topic of the bachelorette party. It is the last hoorah from single life to married life so make it good. The maid of honor and bridesmaids are in charge of planning it all. Remember to include co-workers, friends, cousins, and all the girls. The bachelorette party differs from the bridal shower in the sense that rules are, whoever is invited to the bridal shower must be invited to the wedding and that is not the case with the Bachelorette Party. When planning the bachelorette party make sure you don't do it the night before the wedding if you're going to do something extravagant. Typically the maid of honor and bridesmaids will cover the costs of the party, but remember it can get expensive on depending on what you decide to do. Here are some ideas some more extravagant than others:

Possible Bachelorette Party Ideas:
-NYC girls trip
-Spa weekend
-Glamping (Glamorous Camping)- Check out how fun this looks
-Dinner party
-Night on the town
-Low-key night at someone's house with some fun bachelorette games
-Drinks/dessert at a restaurant
-Karaoke bar
-Tea party
-Bachelorette games- Here are some fun, creative game ideas

Make this fun for the bride and something she'll always remember. Do something you know she likes to do, or would like to do. This needs to be a night she can relax and let loose from all the wedding planning and stress. This night should be reserved for laughing, having fun, reminiscing and making fun of the bride. ;) You can even make it more exciting and have the guests bring gag gifts for the bride with something funny she has to wear all night or make it sexy and have everyone give lingerie. Make sure you do the gag gifts before your adventure so she can wear that silly wig or crown all night long.

My sister and friends made me wear a crown, boa, tutu, necklaces, and a sash that said "Bride To Be" I even was given a foam axe... don't ask me what that was for. We went out for drinks and then back to my girlfriend's house for dancing it was so much fun. It allowed me to go crazy and have some freedom before I got married. Make sure you remember to live by the song, "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun"!

My Super Fun Bachelorette Party. I have the best sister, friends, and cousins EVER!

Duties as a Groomsmen/Best Man

As a groomsmen or best man and in your friend's wedding you really don't have a lot of responsibilities to the wedding and the groom. Sure, you're a groomsmen and a best man but you don't have to help him pick out his tux or hold his hand on his wedding day. You also don't have to plan bridal showers or anything like that. You've got it easy compared to the bridesmaids and maid of honor. You're only real responsibility is to plan a sweet bachelor party for your buddy that he will always remember. You're probably thinking, "Why am I reading this post from this wedding planning chick? She's not a guy and has never been to a bachelor party." True, I haven't been to a bachelor party before and I am not a guy, but I love weddings and all things that come with a wedding and that does include a bachelor party. I like to think that I know guys-as I am married to one. I'm not here to tell you what you should do, I'm just here to give you some possible ideas and to remind you that you need to remember to do this and organize something. I know as guys you tend to forget and do things last minute but this should be planned out so no one has scheduling conflicts and you can make reservations if you need to. You want this to be a great night for your friend. It might be the last night away from his soon-to-be-wife and it's his last night as a "single" gent.

Possible Bachelor Party ideas:
-Surfing outing at the beach
-White water rafting
-Trip to Vegas/Atlantic City-just remember to not make it a Hangover spin-off
-Go to a legit steakhouse
-Rent a yacht
-Ice fishing
-Weekend golf outing
-Road trip
-VIP room at the nightclub
-Party at someone's house

Maybe your buddy just wants something low key and that's fine too. Get all the groomsmen, brothers of the bride and groom, cousins, friends-all the men and just do something small. Usually all the guys will chip in to cover the costs for the groom on whatever you end up doing.

The best man is considered the host and is in charge of making sure everyone knows when, where, who, and what of the whole party. Do something that you have all talked about doing and have never gotten around to actually doing. Whatever you decide on doing don't do it the night before the wedding; give everyone sometime to recover. Remember to have fun and be safe!

Making It Legal

I know all the legal stuff isn't that fun to talk about but it is very important that you do it or you won't be able to get married. A marriage license is required in every state in the U.S. It is like a permit that says that you are allowed to get married. The rules and requirements for obtaining a marriage license vary from state to state and country to country. Independent of your location, nearly every city and county have websites where you can go online and find out what is required.

Here is a list of questions you will want to find out:

  • Is there a waiting period and how long is your marriage license valid? Some states have a waiting period of how long it takes to get the marriage license back (think of it as a processing period). You don't want to apply too early and end up having to reapply and pay more money because it expired. Aim to get the license about two weeks before your date. 
  • What documents will you need? Most states require birth certificates, proof of residency, driver's license, if you have been widowed or divorced copy of death certificate or divorce decree,
  • How much are the fees? All states have a few and it is up to you to pay that fee when you apply to get your license.
  • Is it a blood test required? The District of Columbia and females in Montana are the only two places that require this.
  • If you are having a destination wedding you will need to find out residency requirements (how long you must be in the county before you can apply). The country made have specific laws about how long you must be in the country before you can legally get married.
Here is a chart that lists the state, if they require a blood test, how long the waiting period is, and when the license expires. However, I'd recommend contacting your county to ensure this is still correct. Here is another website I found that has more details on what you need to bring, rules and fees. 

If you want to have a destination wedding in Mexico here is a link to information on what you will need to do. The same for the Bahamas.

Hopefully this information was useful and now when it comes down to the time where you need to get your marriage license you will know what to do and it will be easy and not stressful.

The Famous Article: "Marriage Isn't For You"

So my newsfeed on Facebook has been blown up with this new "Marriage Isn't For You" article by blogger, Seth Smith. Obviously I knew it was about marriage hence the title, but no idea why all my friends were reposting it. My husband and I were talking last night and he asked me if I read the article. I replied, "no" and he said that he hadn't either but he was reading on today.com how the guy wrote the article in hopes to touch someone who was going through a similar experience in their marriage. So I thought, I should probably read it. Since I write about weddings, mainly planning, I figured I switch it up today and talk about this post that has gotten an unbelievable amount of hits and it's significance. So if any of you haven't read it, I recommend giving in and reading what all this fuss is about. 

It starts off taking about how he has been married a year and a half and has decided that marriage isn't for him. A bold statement like that will get anyone to keep reading. He then gives their background and how he started having all those questions many of us have as marriage approaches: Am I marrying the right person, am I ready etc. etc. He went to talk to his dad about the "doubts" he was having and his dad shed some light on the issue that was very moving and comforting. He told him that he was being selfish and how marriage isn't for you. It's for the person you marry. You marry to make someone else happy. You marry for a family, for future children. It's not about you but for the person you married. 

He then shares how he has been going through some things and it had built up pressures and emotions in their marriage and in turn he had become "selfish." His wife however took him in her arms and showed him what love, marriage, selflessness, and forgiveness was all about. He says, "I realized that I had forgotten my dad’s advice. While Kim’s (his wife) side of the marriage had been to love me, my side of the marriage had become all about me. This awful realization brought me to tears, and I promised my wife that I would try to be better." 

After reading this article I had the realization, how amazing it would be if we could all take Smith's father's advice and concentrate on our spouse, their needs, and what makes them happy. If we did that we would all be happy in our marriage and relationships. "The more you truly love that person the more love you receive," Smith states. 

So for me being married over two years now I can relate to this article. I love the messages that were shared. We all want to be better people, better husbands, better wives and reading this gives that inspiration you need. Marriage hasn't been a breeze and there are arguments where I just want to shake my husband, but if we can apply what Kim did in a similar circumstance and take our spouse into arms no matter how disrespectful, inconsiderate and selfish they have been to us, our "fight" can turn into an outpouring of love. 

Marriage is a beautiful thing. Don't forget what marriage is really about in all the hustle and bustle of wedding planning. 

Rehearsal Dinner

A rehearsal dinner is when the bride, groom, officiant, bridal party and their families all get together to run through the wedding ceremony usually the day before the wedding (but it doesn't have to be). It is typically in the evening and dinner is served following the rehearsal. It also gives a chance for families and friends to celebrate and come together in honor of the bride and groom in a more relaxed atmosphere.

It is customary that the groom's family host the rehearsal dinner but it is not obligatory. You will need to talk with the vendor about coming to use the site for the rehearsal. After the rehearsal you can go to a restaurant for the dinner or someone's home. Again, it is up to the groom's family or whoever is paying. Depending how many people you are inviting to the rehearsal dinner you can send out an invite or you can call or e-mail the guests. Besides the bridal party, family and the officiant it is also nice to invite the out of town guests and close friends. It is polite that the bride and groom introduce everyone as it maybe the first time that the parents or family are meeting each other. If the Maid of Honor and Best Man have gifts for the couple they can present them at the rehearsal. This is also where the bride and groom give their gifts to the bridesmaids and groomsmen. The main purpose of the rehearsal dinner is to relieve pre-wedding tension and make everyone feel included and comfortable without the stress of the next day.

You can choose to have a casual or formal event as long as you don't overshadow what's to come. Since the rehearsal dinner is more relaxed the food should complement that. You don't have to even have a dinner if you don't want to you can just have hors d'oeuvres, drinks or a BBQ. If you want a more intimate setting that's fine but you should do something for the out of town guests that are coming even if it's just a large dessert party the night before following the rehearsal dinner.

I had a "rehearsal dinner" if you want to call it that the night before my wedding. I didn't have an actual rehearsal but all my out of town family on my side and the groom's side got together and we all went out to dinner. Everyone paid their own way since it was very informal A rehearsal dinner is when the bride, groom, officiant, bridal party and their families all get together to run through the wedding ceremony usually the day before the wedding (but it doesn't have to be). It is typically in the evening and dinner is served following the rehearsal. It also gives a chance for families and friends to celebrate and come together in honor of the bride and groom in a more relaxed atmosphere.

It is customary that the groom's family host the rehearsal dinner but it is not obligatory. You will need to talk with the vendor about coming to use the site for the rehearsal. After the rehearsal you can go to a restaurant for the dinner or someone's home it is up to the groom's family or whoever is paying. Depending how many people you are inviting to the rehearsal dinner you can send out an invite or you can call or e-mail the guests. Besides the bridal party, family and the officiant it is also nice to invite the out of town guests and close friends. It is polite that the bride and groom introduce everyone as it maybe the first time that the parents or family are meeting each other. If the Maid of Honor and Best Man have gifts for the couple they can present them at the rehearsal. This is also where the bride and groom give their gifts to the bridesmaids and groomsmen. The main purpose of the rehearsal dinner is to relieve pre-wedding tension and make everyone feel included and comfortable without the stress of the next day.

You can choose to have a casual or formal event as long as you don't overshadow what's to come. Since the rehearsal dinner is more relaxed the food should compliment that. You don't have to even have a dinner if you don't want to you can just have hors d'oeuvres, drinks or a BBQ. If you want a more intimate setting that's fine but you should do something for the out of town guests that are coming whether it be just a large dessert party the night before following the rehearsal dinner.

I had a "rehearsal dinner" if you want to call it that the night before my wedding. I didn't have an actual rehearsal but all my out of town family on my side and the groom's side got together and we all went out to dinner. Everyone paid their own way since it was very informal and since we were having a luncheon the next day that Ty's family was paying for.

Having a rehearsal dinner is just one more occasion you get to spend with family and friends. The wedding weekend should be a non-stop party so you might as well have a rehearsal dinner.
Ty & I at our Rehearsal Dinner. As you can see very casual just at Fuddruckers. 

Brides Must Read: Preparing for Hair & Makeup Trials

Hair and makeup is crucial on your big day in the sense that you obviously want it to look perfect for pictures. Keep in mind that you don't want your hair and makeup too drastic from your everyday look. You don't want to look back at pictures and regret how you did your hair and makeup because it was too "extreme" or "outlandish." It is highly recommended that you have trial runs and test out a number of different looks so you know what is best for you. You should plan to have trial runs 1-2 months before your big day, depending if and when you are getting bridals done. If you want bridals done with the same look you're going to have on your wedding day then you may need to have these appointments earlier. You can even plan to go from your trial run to your bridals to take advantage of your beautiful hair and makeup.

You should also start collecting pictures (I recommend Pinterest for easy organization of these ideas) now and save them in your wedding book to show whomever is doing your hair and makeup what you like and the look you're going for. When you make your appointments make sure that the stylist or makeup artist is available on your wedding day. If your ceremony is at 10am make sure they are open to do your hair and makeup early. It is very important you go into the trial run appointment on time so that you can see how long it will actually take to do your hair and makeup.

Some brides forget that when you get your makeup done to still look natural and yourself. You wouldn't want to do a dramatic smokey eye when your everyday look is usually mascara and a little bit of eye shadow. Your husband won't even recognize you! Makeup artists will tell you that especially on your wedding day you should look naturally beautiful and not have a lot of eye makeup. Yes, go get some fake eyelashes or go get extensions if you want, you should go all out for your day but veer away from being overly makeup dramatic. You wouldn't want to take away the attention from your beautiful dress now would you?

Depending on where you get your hair and makeup done keep in mind that it can get pricey. Most places will charge your for the trial run. Some hair stylists will even charge per "look" as you change styles from up-do to down, or curly to straight. If you have a friend that is good with hair and makeup that is definitely the best route so you don't have to break the bank. It even gives your friend a great opportunity to be apart of your wedding day, and I'm sure they'd be honored to help. Some brides even do their own hair and makeup. If that's you, more power to you. Whatever you decide remember to look natural and know that you will look gorgeous no matter what you do.

Thinking About Having A Luncheon?

Deciding on whether or not to have a luncheon is usually up to the Grooms family since they're the ones who will cover the cost. If you have a long break between the time of your ceremony and time of your reception then I would highly recommend a luncheon. It gives you more time to spend with family and friends, especially those who have traveled to be there for your big day, instead of leaving your guests hanging between events.

Who do you invite to the luncheon? Again that is up to you but remember this is supposed to be a smaller, more intimate gathering, so usually it's just family, the wedding party, and then maybe a few close friends who traveled to come to the wedding. It will be easy to try and invite everyone you know, but remember keep it small. If you and the Groom's family decide a luncheon is needed, let them know ahead of time how many guests you will have so there's enough room for everyone. You don't need to send invites to this you can just let your family and the wedding party know when you talk about the wedding plans. Also consider a location that isn't too far from the temple or where the reception is going to be. You and your family and friends will need to change before the reception and possibly need to help set up so a good in between spot is ideal.

Besides eating great food you can also have a little program if you want to. I had my mom and aunts sing a song (it's a tradition) and I played a video I made of pictures of me and Ty from when we met until that point. My brother and cousin (who I am very close to) were serving missions at the time they sent in a little video to us and we played those. We then had my sister, the Maid of Honor, and my brother-in-law, the Best Man, give their speeches. After that, Ty and his dad said a few words and it was great. Depending on what all you do at the luncheon it usually lasts around two hours.

I hosted my luncheon at Hayden's Grill, in Tualatin, Oregon where a lot of people have wedding receptions. It was perfect. They had it all set up before we arrived since we were all rushing over from the temple. The food was amazing. My mother-in-law and I were in close communication and we picked the menu together to make sure there was food everyone would like.

I loved having a luncheon where I could talk with family and friends and not have to rush off to take pictures or talk to someone else. If you have the time for it, I would highly recommend it. If you are getting married around lunch time or in the late afternoon then an alternative might be to have a breakfast. The luncheon should be a casual setting where everyone just comes in Sunday dress. It gives you a chance to relax and take a deep breath on a day that otherwise was start to finish, hectic.

As the bride and groom having a luncheon allows you to make sure you thank everyone for coming to the wedding and for everyone's help. Not only is a wedding expensive, but it is a lot of work. Make sure you express gratitude to your parents and everyone else.

My friend Ashley and her husband Robbie walking into their luncheon

Robbie's father giving his speech

Tips For Men: Getting Permission From Daddy

Asking your girlfriend's father for his permission to marry his daughter is tradition. It allows for the father to "consider" the groom's ability to love and care for his daughter. It gives the father and the groom chance to get to know one another and feel comfortable around each other. Before you make a huge decision like this you want others to be on your side-you want their blessing and that is just what this is. You're getting the father's blessing to marry his daughter. If your girlfriend's father isn't involved in her life or has passed then you would ask her mother and maybe her older brother if she had one.

Now most of you are wanting the how-to on how to do this, because it very well can be intimidating and a little scary. If I was a guy I would be feeling the same way and I am very glad I didn't have to ask my husband's father or mother for permission to marry their son. Truth is, there really is no how-to because everyone is different and every circumstance is different. Here are some tips that I recommend based on other people's experiences as well as my husband's.


  • Make sure your soon-to-be bride has no idea you are planning on talking to her father. It makes it more of a surprise for her.
  • Usually most guy's talk to the bride's father the week before or few days before they plan on popping the question.
  • Be prepared for questions he may ask and be relaxed. Hopefully you have met him a few times before this point (for your benefit) and can anticipate what he may ask you.
  • If you can't meet to talk to him in person, then arrange a phone call where you are alone and won't have any distractions or interruptions. 
  • Practice in the mirror a few times before you call or meet him.
I unfortunately knew my husband went to go talk to my dad it was just too obvious. My husband came to visit me for the weekend as he was living in Washington I was in Oregon. Apparently he had the ring in his pocked the entire weekend and was just waiting for an opportunity where he could talk to my dad without me knowing. My dad was working crazy long hours at the time and whenever Ty tried to slip away without me knowing my dad couldn't meet up. So one night we were watching a movie and eating ice cream and my mom yelled to Ty that my dad wanted to talk to him. They went on a drive and I might add it was a long drive. I knew Ty was planning to propose soon so I knew that's what was happening. So when he got home I pretended like I didn't know what just happened even though I did. The next day he ended up proposing and I had no idea it was going to be that soon so it all ended up working out.

I have never known of anyones father turning the man down except in some TV shows so your chances are in your favor. You got this!

Jef Holm asking Emily Maynard's father permission on The Bachelorette

To my LDS Brides: Right After He Proposes

This post is directed to my LDS brides who are preparing to get married in the temple. First off, congratulations on the engagement! It's such an exciting time. The first step you need to take after you have gotten engaged and chosen a date is call the temple. Remember that they are closed on Monday's. I was engaged on a Sunday and I was so excited to call the temple and schedule a date and time and it felt like an eternity waiting until Tuesday. Anyways, call and set up a sealing time and of course when you want to take out your endowments if you haven't been through the temple yet. Usually it's up to the bride on when she wants to get her endowments out, but most brides get their endowments out a few days before the wedding. In order to set a date with the temple they need some information:

  • Your full name
  • Your fiancé's full name
  • Your membership numbers if you have them, otherwise they can look that up
  • The date and temple your husband got his endowments out
  • Your addresses and phone numbers
  • How many people you are expecting to come to the sealing
  • The date and time you wish to get married

When you get to the "picking a time" part of the conversation they will tell you immediately if it's available or the times/dates they do have available. They will also give you sealing availability based on the size of rooms they have and how many guests you told them would attend. They will grab your e-mail addresses so they can send you information a couple months before and encourage you set up a date and time to get your endowments out if you haven't yet.  

When you schedule the sealing time you may want to plan out how the day is going to work, including the weather. Consider a 1:00pm sealing in July. Just about anywhere you'll be outside taking pictures in the mid-day sun. It will probably be sweaty and uncomfortable for you and those in attendance. Also consider a 9:00am sealing means you need to get to the temple an hour before, so 8:00am and have your hair and makeup done before then. Your day might start at 5:00am or earlier depending how long it takes to do both. Or, if you're going to a salon or a makeup counter they might not even open until 8:00am or later, unless they're giving you special treatment. In my opinion, however 11:00am is close to perfect as you can get. It gives you time to have a nice morning, get ready as needed, and avoid the heat if it's a summer wedding. There are a lot of things to consider when scheduling a sealing time and there is no perfect answer. The time may change drastically based on your individual circumstances.

If a lot of brides are getting married on the day you have chosen, then you might want to consider getting married on a weekday like a Thursday. When we were married the temple had just reopened. Even when I took my endowments out it was the first day it was open (Tuesday) in a month and the session was packed. They said that on Saturday (the 13th) they were going to have eight brides getting married so I didn't want to compete with that. On Friday (the 12th) another girl in my homeward was getting married. I didn't want to divide the attention since many of our guests would be the same people. So I decided on Thursday, August 11th at 11am which happened to be Ty's parents anniversary as well. It was a "meant to be" moment for him. Because I had chosen an "odd" day,  I lucked out and had the brides room all to myself. It turned out that there was only two other brides scheduled that day; one before me and one after me. I didn't see either of them.

My soon to be sister-in-law is in the same boat as we were. She had planned to get married Saturday, December 28th but another girl in her homeward was getting married the same day. She changed her date to Friday, December 27th as to not compete and split the ward. So bottom line, you should go into the scheduling being somewhat flexible.

I was worried that taking pictures afterwards was going to be a struggle if there was another bride close to me. I was pressed for time with the photographer and didn't want her waiting around for previous groups to move. Fortunately, that wasn't a problem for me but I have heard of it being a problem for others. Also, if you choose to get married in a more popular temple, like the Salt Lake Temple, expect to see many brides jostling for photo spots. 

The temple sisters love talking to brides and scheduling dates. They are excited to help in anyway so don't hesitate to ask them questions, and certainly don't be embarrassed if you call them a few times in a day. I had to call at least three times trying to schedule my date and time. 

Many of you probably won't have an opinion on the sealer, but some might. I have a good family friend who is a sealer in the Portland Temple and I wanted him to seal us. I had to make sure he was either scheduled to work that day or that he could be there to perform the ceremony. Also, if you do want a certain sealer it is nice to call them and ask them if they would be willing to officiate in the sealing.

You will also want to consider who you want as the witnesses. Your bishop might talk to you about this when you meet with him, but usually it's your fathers. Also, when you get your endowments out and the day of your wedding, you will have an escort who is already endowed. She will help you get ready and guide you throughout the experience. This person is usually your mom, but if your mother isn't available it can be a close friend or relative. 

Also keep in mind, even though you're getting married in the temple you still need a marriage license.  You can bring that when you get your endowments out. There is so much happening on your wedding day, it is so easy to forget so I recommend giving it to them early. Some states require a serological test. Find out if your state requires this or not and get this done. I will talk more about this at a later date.

The temple will also ask you if you're planning to wear your wedding dress in the temple for the sealing. If you are, they have certain rules and guidelines.

  • It must have long sleeves
  • It has to be white, not ivory or cream
  • There can't be a train on it or it has to be detachable
  • It can't have a low neckline and it has to be long in length
Most brides don't end up getting married in their actual wedding dress. Most wear the dress that is part of their temple clothes that they wear in the endowment session. If you are wanting your dress delivered to the temple beforehand, they can store it in the bride's room for you so it's there when you get there. Just let the temple know this in advance so the attendants can look for your dress' arrival.

If you have a lot of family who isn't able to go into the temple, you may consider having the ring ceremony part outside the temple. Or if this doesn't apply to you let the sealer know you want to have the ring ceremony included in the sealing.

I know this was a lot of information but hopefully it was helpful. Stay tuned for another post about what to expect for the actual wedding day at the temple.

A Post For The MOH (Maid-of-Honor), Bridesmaids, and MOB (Mother-of-the-Bride)

Now I mentioned in the very beginning that I would title my posts for certain "people." With most of my posts being directed to the bride I will direct this to the MOH, bridesmaids, and MOB since the bride doesn't plan her own bridal shower. Now the bride might end up having a few different bridal showers, but as a Maid of Honor, bridesmaids and MOB you are responsible to plan one bridal shower.

  • First thing's first, pick a date that is good for the bride of course. In can be six months before the wedding or the week before the wedding, it doesn't matter. After you decide the date, determine the time of day.You can also make it a surprise shower if you wanted to. 

  • Figure out where you are going to have it. A lot of times it is at one of the bridesmaids houses or a good friend's house. If you're going to go all out, you can do it at some fancy hotel, restaurant etc. 

  • Decide on a budget and who is paying for what. It is kosher to ask all the bridesmaids to help pitch in. Make sure everyone knows how much they need to pitch in in advance. It can get expensive to reserve a hotel room or a botanic garden especially once you add in the cost of food, decorations, gifts etc. 

  • Pick a theme. Depending on where you have this shower might depend on what theme you decide on, but a lingerie theme is always fun, or if she has a favorite color you can do a lot of decorations with that color. Keep in mind that themes often lead to easier planning and more fun of course. 

  • Determine the guest list. Everyone who is invited to the shower should also be invited to the wedding. If it's a surprise shower you can ask her mother, sister or groom about attendees, but if it's not just consult the bride. If you're doing just a girls shower then make sure the bride and groom's close female relatives and friends are invited. If you're going to do a couple's shower then obviously make it more coed friendly, don't just plan a traditional shower and invite the boys as well. This will obviously make it a larger event which will require more food, more space, etc. If you're on a tighter budget I would do a girls only shower. 

  • As for invites, they don't need to be too fancy just as long as they reflect the theme of the shower. You can make them, or they have cute ones online or at any store. Make sure there is an RSVP on the invite to either the MOH or a sister and have guests RSVP a couple weeks beforehand. 

  • Choose the food. Depending on what time you decided on determines what food will be served. For example if you do a Saturday at 11am then plan on "brunch type" food. A weeknight at 7pm  says that dinner won't be served, but there will be desserts and light finger food. If you want dinner to be served then make your time a little earlier and maybe you include that information on the invite. If you're going to be at someone's house then maybe you want to consider getting a caterer. Another idea could be to find out where the bride and groom are going for their honeymoon and do a dinner that replicates something they will be eating on their honeymoon. Have some hors d'oeuvres and then of course some amazing dessert for later. You can do homemade or from your best local bakery. 

  • Next up, entertainment. This can get fun. Besides the opening gifts, visiting, and food you need to have some games planned. Here are some fun games and great suggestions if you're struggling coming up with your own ideas. The newlywed game is a classic and must-play. I played this at my bridal shower and for every question I got wrong I had to chew a huge piece of bubble gum. It wasn't so fun for me but the crowd sure got a kick out of it. Another way I have seen this done is for every question the bride gets right she gets a dollar and everyone she gets wrong the person that asked the question gets to keep the dollar. 

  • Lastly, let's talk about gifts. On the invites most include where the bride is registered so guests can get something off their registry or if it's a lingerie theme include the bride's sizes. When you're opening presents have the MOH or sister right down which guest gave which present so the bride can do thank you cards. 

Hopefully this post was some help to you in planning the bridal shower. Bridal showers are fun and an opportunity where guests can shower the bride with love, gifts and good wishes. Happy Planning!

My bridal shower hosted by my bridesmaid Katie Falk and MOH Kaitlyn Giles

The Best Way to Organize your Wedding All in One Place

Something that brides typically don't think to do is to create a blog or website for their wedding. It is perfect for friends, family and guests to get information on the couple, and all the wedding details. It is such a cute, smart idea and I wish I would've done it. If you are engaged for four months or longer then you should definitely find the time to create a blog or website. It doesn't take too long, but if you are feeling like you don't have the time your wedding planner (me) can help you. This is right up my alley.

Things to include on your Blog/Website:

-Your Story: how you met, how long you have been dating, when he proposed, etc., etc. This can be very entertaining and everyone loves to hear the story of how you met. You can also include a portion about the bride and the groom separately.

-Wedding Accommodations: Where your guests should stay. Usually you have a few hotels close to where the wedding will be. As the bride it is your responsibility to you call the hotels and get prices. Sometimes they will give you a good deal on some rooms if you tell them it's for your wedding. Your guests will be very grateful for that.

-Directions to Wedding: You will want to include maps and directions to the ceremony, reception, rehearsal dinner etc. and anywhere else that guests need to be.

-Carpooling: If there will be carpooling available for family etc. to get to the destinations.

-Attire: What you expect guests to wear for the rehearsal dinner (formal or not), and any other wedding festivities.

-Weather: This is especially important for out of town guests traveling to the area. Be sure to update this regularly especially the week before. A direct link to a page with the forecast that guests can check so they know what to pack and bring would be helpful.

-Registry: A lot of guests lose their inserts from the invites that tell where you are registered. on where you are registered. Your blog can contain that information easily for your guests to reminded of those locations. Even easier for them, you can provide links to your registries that they can follow and purchase the gifts online.

-RSVP form: If you are requiring your guests to RSVP to your wedding this is a lot easier than sending in a form. They can just go to your website and RSVP there. This way you can make sure you get all your RSVP's quickly and track them easier. Make sure you include when you need this done by.

-Poll: This can be used to gather real information or just for fun. You might ask for a song or drink requests. Or maybe you'll see which bridal member will be the first to cry at the wedding etc.

-Contact Info: This is perfect so you can gather guests addresses easier and quicker than making a page on Facebook or going through old address books of your parents. Who is sick of getting a notification every time someone posts on So and So's getting hitched page with their "Congratulations" and address? I know I am.

-Open Houses: If you're going to have an open house in the groom's home town, include that date and location.

-Guest Book: You can include a guest book where guests can type a message online whether or not they are able to attend.

-Wedding Party: You can introduce your wedding party with pictures and a little information about them.

-Honeymoon: If you want to include your plans for your honeymoon you can do so on here too.

-Wedding Itinerary: This is such a good idea if your having a lot of events. I had a friend who had a dinner for out of town guests at her house with the date, time, location, what was going to be served, what to wear, directions etc. Following that was the bachelor and bachelorette parties with locations, times etc. The next day was a spa day for the bridesmaids and a golf date for the groomsmen, and that night they had the rehearsal dinner with again, location, time, attire, directions, what was going to be served etc. Then of course all the information for the wedding with even more details. This is a very important piece to include. All the different events can very hard for guests to keep track of so having it all typed up for them so they can just print it off will help it all run more smoothly.

I love to go and look at different couples wedding websites and blogs, not only because I love weddings, but also because everyone's is so unique. Making a website or blog is really the best way to keep all your information organized and in one spot. Once you make your website or blog get the word out via social media or by any other means but also remember to put the web address on your save the dates, announcements/ invites.

Here are a few examples of wedding websites and blogs.

Lisa & Ryan Barker


Sarah & JJay Jensen

Avoiding Becoming A Bridezilla

Overtime I have collected a few tips to remember that will help you avoid becoming a "Bridezilla", as well as minimize your stress. No one wants to be a Bridezilla, but sometimes in the heat of all the planning we lose our cool. Hopefully this list will speak to you and you can remember to be kind and appreciative to those who are helping you plan your wedding.


1.) Delegate sensibly. Delegating is key to keeping you sane. You CANNOT do this on your own. Fortunately, there will be tons of people eagar to help and be part of the day. Just make sure you give assignements to people that are capable of completing them. Your mom probably shouldn't plan your bachelorette party. Your grandma shouldn't be setting up chairs and tables. And your eight year old sister shouldn't be in charge of the parking situation. Also, don't overburden family and friends. They will want to enjoy this day with you.
2.) Sometimes family/friends/ etc. can be overbearing. Listen to every word of their input and thank them.
3.) Consider getting a wedding planner. If there's a lot to do and you and everyone else can't afford the time required to plan everything you need then this is a must. Generally speaking, the bride needs to be able to contribute a full 12 hours per week for planning, organizing, preparing, and getting the wedding put together.
4.) Take pictures and notes at bridal and event shows. This will help you when you start really planning your wedding.
5.) Be patient with your family, especially if they're helping split the bill. They just want the best for you and aren't trying to make you upset. It's a stressful, busy time and remember they're on your side.
6.) Put your foot down when you need to. If you're very set on a specific caterer then explain that without being too selfish. Let your mom know what is most important to you.
7.) Compromise. If you really want that caterer, and your mom has a strong opinion about the DJ then maybe you let her pick the DJ and you the caterer.
8.) Keep lines of communication open. Let your friends, family etc. know that they can come to you about anything. My mother-in-law came to me about the bridesmaids skirts I picked out. She explained that they weren't the most flattering on my sister-in-laws and offered to pay to have someone make the skirts. I was flexible on this, and the end product turned out great.
9.) Remember your marriage is more important than the wedding. Sometimes in all the hustle and bustle we overlook this and lose sight of what's really most important. In the end it doesn't matter who took your pictures as long as you have them, and who did your hair.
10.) Cross-off "non-essentials." If you're on a tight budget and trying to save money then go through your list and decide what is most important to you. Maybe you don't need to have that makeup artist who charges $100 an hour or those $500 shoes with the diamond studs.
11.) Have fun, you'll be married in the end.

Keep in mind, There's no "best way" to get married everyone does it differently.

Here are some websites that I have found useful to help with ideas and planning.


How To Make Your Guest Book Significant

Remember to have some form of guest book at your reception. A guest book allows you to look back and see who was there on your special day as well as let your guests leave you a nice message. There are so many options for a guest book and all are equally neat, it just depends on what you want and how creative you care to be. You can have an engagement picture framed with a white matte border and have guests sign the matting around the picture. You can make a photo album book of you and your fiancé with pictures of you two and have guests sign pages around the pictures. I have seen tons of different creative ways to do a "guest book" without actually having a book. Theses include: signing their names and advice on puzzle pieces, corks, rocks, etc. A very unique guest book I found was to have a polaroid camera sitting out with blank pages. The guests take a picture of themselves and then sign their name. I would have loved this idea for my wedding. Ty and I look back at our guestbook at least a few times a year especially on our anniversary. There were so many people there that if we saw them on the street we wouldn't know who they were. It's not us being ungrateful of their presence, but because they were friends or coworkers of our parents (you'll have a lot of those), it would have been nice as we were reading their note to have a face to go with it. I also wish I would've had an option for couples to write down advice for us. I recommend having both of these options at your reception if you can. It is really fun to sit down together and look back at these things and memories of your wedding.

Help A Girl Out

Hey All!

So this is going to be a post not about weddings but about helping me out. Thank you SO much for reading my posts and helping me build my traffic on my blog and website. However, I have still not received any comments on anything I write and would LOVE to hear from my readers. So comment away. Let me know if you're liking what I post, or have any questions etc. etc.

Also, I am looking to start getting some advertisements on my blog, but before I do I need more traffic. So spread the word. If you know of anyone who is engaged or soon to be engaged and is looking for a wedding planner and some help share with them my blog and website.

Lastly, if any of you know any advertisers who would be interested in putting some ads on my blog let me know.

Thank you for all the support I have received. You guys are awesome and keep me going.

The Importance of Writing Thank You Cards

After the honeymoon and after you've opened all your lovely presents it's time to start writing and addressing your thank you cards. Make sure while you're opening your gifts that you designate someone like your mom to write down all the gifts you received and who they were from so you can be thorough in your thank you cards. Writing your thank you cards does take a while, but it is worth it and your guests truly appreciate it. As a rule of thumb you need to have all of your thank you cards sent out no later than two months after your wedding. That is a really easy deadline. Ty and I had all our thank you cards out less than a month after our wedding. So I challenge all your newlyweds to have your thank you cards no later than a month after.

This past August I attended a friend's wedding with a gift, and I have still not received a thank you card. Since that wedding I have gone to other weddings and brought gifts, and received their thank you cards. The long wait leads me to believe they aren't sending any. It makes me feel that my gift and presence there was insignificant to them. Don't be like this couple. Express your gratitude as quickly as possible.

You can find really cute thank you cards online. I have seen some where the couple has "thank you" written on a small chalkboard or piece of paper and they take a photo with it on their wedding day to use for thank you cards later. Or you can choose a wedding photo and create a thank you card from that. These are really cute ideas but you have to wait until you get all your wedding photos back from the photographer, which can take a while. Or you can also just buy some at Target like we did. I have known a lot of couples that do that. Do whatever is in your budget, because remember you also have to get stamps for them all too.

Make sure you are genuine and express true gratitude for their gift. Include what you like about it, or how it will be put to good use. Thank them for attending if they did. It is so important that that they feel that you appreciate their friendship and for bringing you a gift (because they really didn't have to). The notes don't need to be more than a few sentences, but you need to handwrite each one. It takes time but shows them your truly appreciative.

Happy Writing :)