Take Me Out to The Ball Game

I am a huge Atlanta Braves fan and now that baseball season is here, besides wedding planning, you can find me watching the Braves. One of my first out-of-town trips with my now husband was to Atlanta to go to a Braves game… and in fact, that’s where we went again to celebrate our first anniversary last year! (On a side note, I’m headed to Atlanta this weekend for my matron of honor’s baby shower… and I checked, hoping their was a Braves game and unfortunately, they’re on the road)

Atlanta 2009

Atlanta 2009

Atlanta 2012

Atlanta 2012

Some people love sports so much, they incorporate that in to their weddings. So with baseball season underway, I wanted to share some ways you can incorporate the love of the diamond (the one with 4 bases) into your big day.

Have guests sign a bat instead of a guest book

Have guests sign a bat instead of a guest book

Baseball_2

Baseball-Wedding-Cake

baseball-wedding

wedding-guest-book

Baseball Cufflinks

Baseball Cufflinks

Baseball-themed Wedding Invitation

Baseball-themed Wedding Invitation

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New York Mets Garter

New York Mets Garter

Candy Trays

Candy Trays

Table Numbers

Table Numbers

Wedding Invitations pictures 042

Baseball_3

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Planning with Pinterest: Pros & Cons

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We all, meaning I, have spent hours browsing the endless eye candy that Pinterest has to offer. When I first joined I really didn’t understand what it was, other than I was finding tons of recipes, fashion, fitness and wedding (even though I’d already gotten married) ideas that I wanted or wished I could have to put into action. Pinterest can be a great tool to use to plan many things, and for many brides when they get engaged, they go Pin-crazy. I’ve put together a list of good and bad things about trying to Pinterest plan.

Pros:

-Ideas for pictures: I’ve found countless of picture ideas I never would have thought of if I never got online. I can easily show my photographer some great snapshots I can’t go without on my big day.

YES - Have your family and friends in the background of the first kiss instead of the officiant

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First kiss from behind the preacher

Awesome shot!

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– Ideas for colors/bridesmaids dresses and flowers: I can easily show a florist and look for bridesmaids dresses that go along with a shot I’ve seen and easily Pinned.

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-Easy organization. When visit a vendor or go to the bridal salon to buy bridesmaids dresses, I can easily whip out my phone and show colors, ideas and my vision. I don’t have to print out endless amounts of pictures and remember to bring them with me when I meet with a vendor. It’s all right there!

Cons:

-Idea and Information Overload: One could possibly spend countless hours looking at ALL of the great ideas for favors, pictures, colors, decorations, extra fun activities, etc. But you can easily get overwhelmed with all of the ideas, trying to do all of these great ideas that sounded good at the time but make you lose track of the purpose of the day- marrying the love of your life. I was talking to a friend of mine whose friend recently got married, and commented that she got so caught up in doing all of the ideas she saw on Pinterest, it became too stressful.  You don’t want to spend your wedding day stressing over whether the photographer is going to still be there at the end to snap that awesome ‘sparkler picture’.

-Will I be able to afford that?: As many start to actually plan their wedding, they quickly realize that:

True!!!

Things you think you are definitely going to have at your wedding- like a rustic barn venue and vintage cowboy boots for all of your bridesmaids- might not be a financial reality.  Looking at all the pictures then realizing what you can actually afford can leave you feeling inadequate and unfulfilled. Just remember that you don’t need all the bells and whistles- remember the true meaning of the day!

absolutely amazing

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– Usability of images you find: Again, as you start to plan, you’ll probably realize that some of the stuff you Pinned really isn’t even useful to your actual planning.

 Pinterest can be fun- but try not to get overwhelmed! It’s really easy to get caught up in “I need to do this” and “I must have this”. Don’t lose sight of the point of your day. My advice is pick 2-3 really good ideas that you find and focus on those instead of trying to focus on 15 things you find you want to do.

Blog inspired by Pencil & Pancakes

What To Wear For Engagement Pictures

I am a firm believer that the three elements you need for a successful engagement shoot are simply 1. a good photographer 2. a couple in love and 3. stylish outfits! I know that may sound a bit shallow, but when I looked back at my favorite engagement sessions they all contained those three key things. I am not a stylist, fashionista and definitely not an expert, but after a little research I found some great tips and pointers from the people who would know best, photographers.

1.  Coordinate Colors. This doesn’t mean matchy-matchy, it just means that you wear colors that complement each other and pieces that have common shades. Here’s a great example from Pinterst.

Spokane wedding blog

An easy way to pair colors is to choose one hue (like the pink blouse below) then combine it with a neutral.

2. Be bold with color. Black is slimming but it doesn’t always come out well in photos so try and pick a bright color that will stand out.

Spokane wedding venue

From Hazelnut Photography

3. Wear extra make-up! Your engagement session is a great time to try out your wedding make-up artist. So try and see if you can coordinate a trial on the day of your engagement session. If not, make sure you wear heavier make-up than your everyday look, and definitely wear lipstick! Be sure to bring your make-up with you for touch ups.

4. Don’t be afraid of prints. I know they may be a bit scary, but a head to toe print can look great in photos. Just make sure it’s one that is flattering and hits you in the right places! Also, stay clear of logos and designs on shirts, etc. To balance the print, have your fiance wear a solid color.

From Hazelnut Photography

5. Choose clothes that complement your surroundings. Try and wear an outfit that matches your location. For example if you are going to be shooting in a wheat field, then wear a casual sun dress with cowboy bootsBut if your shoot is more formal, a cocktail dress or nice pair of slacks and sweater is the way to go.

6. Have an outfit change. It’s a good idea to have one casual outfit and one more formal one. And if you are unsure of what to wear, bring a couple options to your shoot and ask your photographer which one they think will work best.

7. Wear playful accessories. Play up your femininity if the outfit is edgy or choose edgy jewelry to balance super feminine outfits. If your outfit is pretty casual, try sprucing it up with a pretty necklace, high heels or cute flats.

8. Avoid anything too trendy. You want your outfit to be current and contemporary, but not something that’s going to be embarrassing in a couple months!

9. Wear layers. In my research, there were quite a few photographers who said that clothes photograph better when they are layered. So add a cardigan, blazer or jacket to finish your look!

10. Be true to your style. It sounds like a cop out, but really and truly the best photos are the ones where the couple is just being themselves. So above all, wear an outfit you’re comfortable in and that accentuates your style and best features.

 

Say “I Do” To These Things, Too

Everyone knows that weddings cost a fortune (regardless of your efforts to save), but there are certain things in your wedding you absolutely cannot skimp on! Set your budget, assuming you have one, around these three things. They are, arguably, the most important.

1. Photographer and Videographer

Here are just a few reasons why:

• A great photographer can anticipate what will happen next. You’ll never miss great moment in your wedding because your photographer wasn’t prepared.

Reason: They are very experienced and know good and well when something special is going to happen.

• A top-notch photographer can make an ordinary photo into something extraordinary.

Reason: The experience of photographing many brides has shaped their ability to understand what the bride is looking for. They are able to create the perfect photo you had in mind, and more.

• Hiring a friend can be scary! In other words, avoid hiring them!

Reason: Sometimes, the photos don’t turn out as you had imagined and there is some animosity between you and your friend. Who needs the extra stress? You just got married and had an amazing honeymoon and then come home to the real world and find out that your friend didn’t produce the photos you dreamed of. No one wants the confrontation or the elephant in the room when you go hang out with your girlfriends.

• Once it’s over, it’s over! You want to capture these moments forever!

Reason: You only have the photos and videos to relive the moment. With good photography and video work, you can look forward to sharing this moment with your friends and family who couldn’t make your ceremony, or even your children when they start asking questions about your wedding. It goes without saying that photos are fantastic keepsakes, but video will give you an immersive experience. Videographers can capture the true feeling of love in the air. Remember, a picture (or a video) is worth a thousand words!

2. Gifts

I know this isn’t one many people think about – that’s why I included it! When I say “gifts,” I am talking about gifts you might give to one another’s parents, as well as gifts you might offer the bridal party and groom’s party. Traditionally, in most American weddings that is, the bride’s parents will be paying for your special day. Don’t you think you should that deserves a gesture of gratitude?
• In 2011, the average cost of a wedding was $27,000 (excluding the honeymoon). Thanks mom and dad!

Reason: On top of paying a small fortune for the wedding, it’s tradition that parents give the bride and groom a gift. If you ask me, the wedding is a present in itself! With that in mind, it’s important to share how much you appreciate your parent’s hard work, financial support, and their willingness to take the time to give you the wedding you have always dreamed of.
• Bridesmaids and groomsmen give up time out of their busy lives to make your day special by attending all of your showers and parties, as well as the wedding itself. And a lot of the time they pay for their own dresses, tuxes/suits, shoes, and lodging. Thanks ladies and gents!

Reason: Of course they wouldn’t miss it for the world, but I’m sure they would be grateful if you showed your appreciation with a little somethin’ somethin’! Acknowledge that you’re aware of their support and that you recognize the sacrifices they may have made in order to make your day something special.

Courtesy: Photos By J.Kay

3. Your Unique Style

I’ve always heard the saying, “the marriage is for the couple and the wedding is for the parents.” Well, lucky for you, that’s not the case anymore.

• The wedding is not about pleasing your family or your guests! It’s about you!

Reason: Of course you want everyone to love it just as much as you and your bride/groom-to-be, but don’t forget this is a celebration for you! I know, I can’t say the word “you” enough. Now keep in mind, I’m not talking about becoming the infamous and dreadful bride-zilla. But, I encourage you to stay true to your style, whether it’s out of the ordinary or completely by the book! There are many ways to incorporate your style in your wedding.

 

Oh, one last thing: Problem with the folks? No problem.
• If you want to keep it simple but your mom wants an extravagant celebration and throws in the phrase, “it’s my money, shouldn’t I get a say?”

Try this: Split the cost of the wedding 3 ways. This is a new idea that consists of the bride and groom, bride’s family, and grooms family splitting the cost of the wedding three ways. Many couples have started using this strategy because they feel like it’s fairer to everyone. Plus, mom and pop don’t get to chime in quite as much. After all, it isn’t all your folk’s money anymore, is it?

With these things in mind your dream wedding isn’t out of reach. I promise you won’t regret saying “I do” to these things, too.

Reference: Two Birds, One Stone

Alternative Guest Books

If you don’t fancy the traditional guest book there are plenty of alternatives out there….

  •  Why not buy a large photo frame and ask people to sign and/or write a message on the mount. After the wedding you can frame one of your favourite wedding photos’, framed by your guests messages. A perfect keep sake.

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  • Typewriter guest books are a fun alternative to a traditional guest book – and look fabulous! Perfect for vintage-style weddings.

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  • Double the fun in your photobooth by providing guests with boards to write their messages on. After the wedding, gather the photos and pop them in an album as a fun guest book alternative and a fabulous reminder of your wedding.

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  • Polaroid guestbooks are another fun and fabulous idea. Ask guests to take a picture of themselves, stick it into a book and write a message. Guarenteed laughs along the way!

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Some couples have opted for a Wishing Tree rather than a traditional guest book. Adpated from an old Dutch tradition, guests are asked to write a message or wish on a piece of paper and then hang it on the tree, which then bring the wishes to life. You can buy wishing trees or DIY brides can try creating their own wish tree from branches, but either way a Wishing Tree is an imaginative way to add some whimsical magic to your day. What’s more, they can be totally personalised to tie in with the colors of your day. Why not decorate with ribbons? Cut the paper into love hearts or leaf shapes? Just make sure you leave enough paper for all your guests to leave a message!

Image via

Image via

  • For crafty brides, how about a Quilt Guestbook? Although it undoubtedly takes time (and a certain amount of skill), there’s no denying that the finished result is simply stunning…and something you can treasure forever. The Offbeat Bride blog has a fantastic post on “How to make a wedding quilt guestbook“.
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    Inspiration from The Casual Bride

Day After Wedding Day Shoot

Ever considered a Morning after/ Day after wedding shoot?

A morning/day after wedding shoot is a great way to capture your first day together of being married. More and more couples are choosing to have these as it gives them the chance to take more relaxed and low key shots. It also allows them to get images in different locations and/ or styles without worrying about the time schedule of their wedding day. Some people really like the idea, but believe that the shoot will delay their honeymoon, however planning one for when you and your partner get back is always a possibility.

When you start to think of the different elements, there are so many options to choose from when planning a day after wedding shoot. Maybe you didn’t have an engagement shoot and so would like to plan one for your first year anniversary together, just like this one featured on green wedding shoes.

Perhaps you’re planning a destination wedding, in which case you could get your photographer to shoot you and your partner touring and exploring a specific area of your destination. Many wedding destinations have beautiful scenery and historic sites and these can be used as backdrops – Take inspiration from this couple.

There are no wrong or right ways to do a morning/day after shoot, so whatever suits you and your partner’s personalities is what you should go for. After all you want to feel comfortable.

wedding photography morning day after shoot

Couple snuggled up in bed (morning after wedding) still in wedding attire

wedding photography day after_morning after shoot

Love this shot! Perfect for a hot destination wedding

relaxed day after wedding shoot

The images can be as relaxed and playful as you want

wedding photography morning day after shoot_destination wedding bahamas

You don’t have to wear your wedding attire….This shot captures the joy of ‘just married’

If you and your partner were thinking of planning a morning/day after wedding shoot, I hope I’ve given you a few ideas to get you started. Like I said, there are no wrong or right ways to do this….be creative and most of all do what you want as you’ll enjoy it and it will most certainly show in the pictures!

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4 — Reposted from: Coordinated For You

First Looks For The Bride & Groom

This post’s title says, first looks are awesome! There’s just nothing else to it! First looks are something that have become more common in recent years. My husband and I decided on a first look and some of my most favorite photos come from our first look.

So here are some situations that could possibly happen on your wedding day that could possibly conflict with photo time if you don’t have a first look…

– Things can and most likely will not stay on schedule.  You’ll likely go over the estimated amount of time, especially things like a catholic mass.

– If you’re traveling from Point A (ceremony) to Point B (reception), there could possibly be traffic! Or just really stupid people who don’t know how to drive.

– You could get held up by a mob of wedding guests who are SO excited that you just got married!

– Family photos could take SO much longer than you anticipated because Uncle Bill decided to go smoke after the ceremony and he can’t be found.

And last but most importantly…

– The sun goes down. And therefore goes away. See ya sunlight!

And now for some fabulous reasons why first looks are awesome

– You absolutely WILL GET that image of him seeing you for the first time. And it will be beautiful. And it will just be the two of you.

– You’ll be able to have some alone time together. Chances are that you haven’t seen each other since the night before at your rehearsal- you’re bound to be bursting at the seams because you have something to tell your best friend, right?! Oh, and there’s the fact that you’re going to be SUPER excited that you’re about to get married!

– You can cry, he can cry- each of you can show every bit of emotion that you’re actually feeling because it’s just the two of you (and your photographer).

– You won’t have to worry about rushing to take photos right after the ceremony.

– If the weather decides to act up after your ceremony (rain, snow, sleet, wind, etc), you’re not completely screwed.

– You won’t have to worry about whether or not your photographer got enough awesome photos of you and your non-photogenic now-husband .

– You’ll have more time to enjoy your wedding day. Hey, you might even be able to go to cocktail hour!

– Your photographer will for sure have time to capture photos of the reception decor before guests go in!

Oh and the most important one…

– The photos will be AMAZING!

Now I know what you’re thinking. You want to stick with the traditional route. You want to have the experience of walking down the aisle and seeing your fiancé’s face light up. BUT you’ll still have that experience. You’re not changing the fact that you’re still walking down the aisle, or that his face will still light up. You would just be eliminating the chance for stressing about photos.  When I was walking down the aisle, I was so concerned about not tripping and not crying that I could hardly even look up at my husband! Plus some guests may try and talk to you as you walk down, like telling you how beautiful you are!

I’m not saying you HAVE to do a first look. I’m just saying that it will make your day so much better- from a photo perspective and from a logistics perspective! So give it some thought. It’s a great opportunity, too, when you have 2 photographers, that way they are able to catch each person’s emotion.

For those of you have had gotten married already, please comment and share what you did! If you’re still trying to decide, we can help you- tell us why you’re on the fence.

Source: Kim DeLoach Photography

Source: B. Mullinax Photography

Having Bridal Portraits Done

Planning and coordinating a bridal portrait session is a favorite event most Southern Bride’s look forward to when buying their dress, selecting a bridal bouquet of beautiful fresh flowers, glittering jewelry, perfect make up and hair style and a photographer to capture it all. The completed professional framed portrait is usually set up on an easel at the wedding reception for friends and family to enjoy.

What purpose does a bridal portrait serve?

There are many benefits to planning and preparing for a bridal portrait session. It allows the bride to see her wedding ensemble all together and be able to change or tweak elements that may need attention so that her wedding day will flow effortlessly.

Traditionally, they were used as wedding announcements in the local newspapers (announcing the newly married couple), but engagement photos and/or a photo of the bride and groom are more common photography sessions today. Bridal sessions give brides an opportunity to have a formal portrait of themselves in their wedding gown, without the rush and hustle of a wedding day.

What are some ways a bride can prepare for her bridal portrait?

A bride must contact and coordinate with many professionals for this portrait date. The photographer, makeup artist, hair stylist, florist and venue manager must all be contacted and a date agreed upon that will work well for everyone’s schedule.

When should a bride have her bridal portrait taken in regards to her wedding timeline?

Several factors can determine when bridal sessions are scheduled. If you’ve ordered your dress, you need to make sure you allow plenty of time for it to come in and alterations to be made. If you’re planning on having a photo on display at the wedding reception, you need to communicate with your photographer and make sure you have plenty of time to choose and order a print or canvas and have it framed prior to the wedding. I highly recommend scheduling your session 1 to 2 months before their wedding.

 

Photos By JKay

Where should a bride have her bridal portraits taken?

I believe in taking your portraits somewhere that might be significant to you, like your college campus, the park you grew up playing at, maybe at the church your parents got married. I think it’s best to take your portraits somewhere other than your wedding venue. You’ll have some many photos from that place on your wedding day.

*If you are arranging for your bridal portraits to be taken at an inside venue (could be a good idea if it is going to be either roasting or freezing outside), keep in mind that the more natural light, the better.

*If you plan to have your bridal portraits taken at an outside location, remember that the weather is fickle and the light changes from season to season.

*If the location you have chosen has strong sentimental value to you, make sure you explain this to your photographer.

What about the wedding dress? How is it kept clean and new when the bridal portrait is being taken?

Of course, you’ll want to keep them as clean as possible, but it doesn’t always require that the dress never touch the ground. I’ve seen brides bring sheets to keep underneath their dress, and if you’re going out in the middle of a field on a farm, this might be helpful, but if you’re staying indoors, it’s unnecessary and can slow your session down. Sometimes, dresses do get a little dirty, but typically it’s only the underneath edges, which will never really show up in pictures or on the wedding day, and it can always be cleaned prior to your wedding. The best thing to do to keep your dress clean is to pick it up when you walk, and be sure your hands are clean.

Courtesy: Alyona Photography

Liz Roberts Photography

Dave Gilbert Photography

100 Ways to Personalize Your Wedding

Prepare yourselves for 100 incredible hot tips on how to make your wedding stand out from the crowd. Too many weddings are same-y and unoriginal, and this Before the Big Day mega-list is your way to make sure your wedding doesn’t fall into the same trap. There’s tons of incredible wedding inspiration in this list, so do share the love and forward it to all your engaged friends. So…. what are you waiting for?…..Scroll on down for a wedding ideas overload!!

♥ Wedding Details  ♥

1. Think about what you love to do together and build that into your day. If you love to read, stack old hardback books on the tables to create mini-stands for your flowers, if you love chocolate {and who doesn’t} how about sending out Willy Wonka inspired ‘gold tickets’ as your wedding invites?

2. Turn the wedding day on its head. Instead of starting the day with the ceremony, have it in the evening before dinner. This way you get to greet all your guests, and you’ll feel much more relaxed as you walk down the aisle.

3. Put together ‘welcome packs’ for out of town guests, giving information on the area together with a little gift.


4. If your guests will have to walk from the ceremony to the reception, consider p roviding them each with a single colored helium filled balloon that matches your color scheme. The vision of dozens of balloons all ‘walking’ their way through a country lane or a town centre (great way to make sure your guests don’t get lost!) is fantastic and makes for great photos. Once all of your guests have arrived at the reception, you could have someone ready to arrange them into two rows for you to walk through and as you reach each guest, they release the balloon into the sky, again fantastic for your photo album!
5. Set up a craft area where guests can make something to take home (e.g. a brooch or bow tie).

6. Choose a signature cocktail and give it a memorable name.

7. If you’re having a Christmas wedding, ask each of your guests to bring an ornament for a Christmas tree. You’ll use them on your tree every year, and it’ll be a fantastic annual reminder of your wedding.

8. Consider alternatives to the traditional wedding car. Many brides are wanting something different. Consider a horse-n-carriage, a pedicab or maybe a boat, if you’re wedding is on the water.

9. Arrange family wedding photos, going back as far as you can, in vintage frames and display them at your ceremony or reception – it will provide a talking point for guests and create a lovely decorative feature.

10. Ask your guests to circle words in a dictionary to remind you of their wedding day. Then ask them to write a message on a bookmark to explain why they picked each word. You’ll always need a dictionary in your home, and you’ll cherish this one forever.

11. Rather than getting your guests to sign a traditional guest book, you could get them all to sign some pottery such as a large platter. This will give you a lovely and unusual keepsake of your day which you can display in your home afterwards.

12. Tuck handwritten notes into the napkins for your guests – write about your favorite memory together or simply tell them what they mean to you.

13. What is your favorite book or film? Could it work as the basis of a wedding theme? I’ve seen fantastic weddings themed around the film ‘Up’ and ‘Alice in Wonderland’ or “The Secret Garden.”

14. Instead of a traditional guest book, you could leave a card and pen at everyone’s place setting, with each one having a different sentence to complete such as, love is…, top tips for a happy marriage, or asking them to jot down a favorite memory of you both.

15. Include your pets in your big day, either in person {doggy ring bearer?}, or as a motif on your menus? You could give dog-shaped chocolate wedding favors, or name your wedding tables after your pets.

♥ Wedding Favors ♥

16. Create personalised fortune tellers for each guest. Instead of telling fortunes, write them up with fun questions about you as a couple. Then on the back, print the menu.

17. Order can koozies for guest’s drinks. Include your name & wedding date along with a fun saying or picture.

Photo Credit: Photos By JKay

18. As an alternative to favors {which can become costly as the guest list rises}, donate to a charity which is close to your heart. Charities will often send pin badges and cards for each guest explaining that money has been donated in replacement of a favor.

19. Personalized button badges and old-fashioned 3D glasses make great favours, and fantastic photo props too!

20. Ask your florist to design the table centres with multiple mini vases which guests can then take away with them at the end of the night, so they double up as favors and a lovely memento of your wedding day.

21. If the two of you love cooking, then why not create a little pamphlet of your favorite recipes, as a wedding favor. Or a list of your favorite restaurants? You could add little notes like ‘This is where X proposed’.

22. Only invest in favors if you really love them. Guests will only remember the truly great ideas. To save money, how about making favors such as home-made jam or chocolate truffles? You can save money and have fun with your favourite ladies at the same time!

23. Give your guests fancy-dress favors. Stick-on moustaches and silly glasses will raise a laugh, and get your guests talking to each other.

24. Make your favours – bake cookies, make jam or brew up lemonade, and bottle it with personalised labels.

25. Horse shoe wedding favors represent how lucky you feel to have found each other, and every guest goes home a little luckier.

26. If you can’t get going without a cup of coffee in the morning, give each guest a mug containing a little bag of your favourite grind. This works for tea too. Ikea sells mugs for about a $1 each.

♥ Wedding Decorations 

27. Decorate your venue with hundreds of paper lanterns. They’re cheap and cheerful, and you can always sell them on after your wedding. If you tie in tiny LED lights, they’ll even glow after dark.

28. If you’re getting married on a farm or in the countryside, use straw bales as seats. If you cover them with old tablecloths, it’ll fit in with a vintage-themed wedding.

29. Using unusual containers for flowers, such as old fashioned bottles, jugs and glass jars, can add a lovely kitsch look and can be picked up for a bargain at charity shops.

30. Bright table cloths can make a real splash at your wedding reception. Choose a colour to contrast with the flowers and napkins.

31. Use fruit instead of flowers to decorate your wedding tables. Paper bags filled with cherries, or baskets filled with apples make a fantastic display, and your guests can either eat them, or take them home as favors.

32. Children’s blackboards are a great way to communicate with your guests. Write little messages like ‘Love is Sweet’ or ‘All You Need is Love’. You could also use a large one for the menu.

33. Have you considered getting married at night? You could say your vows by candlelight, and then lead your guests in for an evening reception.

34. Paper is a great way to decorate your wedding venue. Not only is it cheap, but it’s incredibly versatile. DIY your bunting, pompoms, and streamers. For tutorials, search the wedding blogs.

35. Christmas weddings can allow couples to be more creative with décor and centre pieces by using Christmas decorations in the shops and incorporating these into the day. Often with winter weddings, couples can spend less on flowers and maximise the offerings already in place in the venue.

36. Use ribbon or lace to decorate your ceremony and reception. Wrap ribbon around candles and napkins, or use it to decorate the aisle and tables.

♥ Wedding Flowers 

37. Instead of carrying a bouquet, ask your florist to make you a crown of flowers. It’ll give your wedding a pagan feel. Bridesmaids could be given corsages instead of bouquets in another twist on the norm.

38. Make use of your mother or grandmother’s jewellery by pinning it to your bouquet. It’ll make your posy so much more personal, dress it up and act as your something borrowed.
39. Instead of the usual fresh cut flowers, how about using herbs or unusual pot plants to make a nice arrangement. Guests can then take parts of your display home with them at the end of the day.

40. Make your bouquet personal to you by choosing a flower that has a special meaning.

41. If you’re worried that your wedding flower budget is getting out of control, keep things simple by just picking one cheap bloom. Clouds of carnations or baby’s breath look just as beautiful as more expensive mixed bouquets of roses and peonies.

42. Choose flowers that are in season to keep the cost down. If you have plenty of time and some garden space available you could even think about growing some garden style flowers yourself. Not only would they look lovely, but the garden would then be a fantastic reminder of your wedding day too.

43. What about an alternative wedding bouquet? I’ve seen them made from butterflies, buttons, paper, flowers created from coca-cola drinks cans, lollipops, parasols, and more…

44. Try to be clever with the decoration pieces that you are using for the wedding to maximise their use. Can the flowers be moved from the church and repositioned?

♥ Wedding Venues 

45. If your wedding is going to span the whole day, your guests will appreciate a separate space to the revelry, where they can relax for a while. Personalize this area by having a screen showing you and your partner’s favorite romantic movies.

46. Choose an unusual venue for your wedding – from steam trains to aquariums, there’s a world of choice out there for something completely different. Or you could hold your reception in a stylish restaurant for a sophisticated and unusual wedding celebration.

47. Consider a weekday or Sunday wedding. Venues often offer lower rates for these days and it may just enable you to afford that perfect venue that was previously just out of budget! Dont worry so much about people taking a day off work, those who love you will do it in a heartbeat.

48. If you’re worried about having to invite large amounts of family members, choose to have a destination wedding. It’ll immediately bring down the guest list to only your nearest and dearest.

49. Have the wedding in a local hall for a vintage, old-school feel. Dress the room with family and friend or you cut costs even further and go outdoors…providing blankets for people to sit on and have a wedding picnic.

50. For a truly unique wedding, the best setting is a dry hire venue – one where you literally just rent the four walls. You can then fill it with things you have chosen yourself – right down to the cutlery, meaning your day will be a true reflection of you and totally different to every other wedding. This type of wedding takes a lot more organization and shopping around, especially if you are on a tight budget, but is well worth the effort.

51. Consider making yours a winter wedding. Venues and suppliers often offer lower rates for off-peak weddings. Not only will you save money across a lot of areas, but you’re more likely to get a higher turn-out for your celebrations, when you’re not competing with the rush of summer weddings and holidays.

♥ Wedding Entertainment 

52. If you need a performer or an artist, why not call upon your local drama academy or art school. They will be much cheaper and they will so appreciate the opportunity.

53. If you want to have some unique touches at your wedding, allocate some money in your budget for it. There are a lot of things you could have, but do you really need a chocolate fountain, ice cream tricycle, caricaturist, magician, candy bar, fireworks and a photo booth? Just pick one!

54. To help break the ice at dinner, why not have your Best Man host a quiz about you both? Each table would work together as a team, and you could offer a prize for the winner.

55. Make the arrival of the wedding cake an event, by asking your caterers to turn down the lights and bring it in decorated with indoor fireworks. At our wedding, we even asked the DJ to play ‘Eye of the Tiger’!

56. Set up a guest photo booth with personalised props and/or boards for your guests to write messages to you on.

57. Instead of a DJ, get all your guests to choose 3 or 4 ‘floor fillers’ that they love and collate them into an iPod playlist. That way you can have purely music you love, and know everyone will enjoy.

58. To help introduce guests to one another and add an element of cheeky fun, write a short but funny ‘one liner’ about each guest on the back of their place card. People will then ask what their ‘one liner’ means and it works brilliantly at breaking the ice. Alternatively, if you have a group of friends on one table, they’ll all understand the little jokes and it really gets the atmosphere going.

♥ Wedding Food 

59. Maximise your wedding cake by incorporating this into your wedding breakfast and serve as dessert. If your venue is happy to allow this, you can save considerably per head. In addition to this, you could also ask the venue to ‘dress’ the plates so the cake is served with fresh berries and cream at a fraction of the standard dessert price. Cupcakes also work well for this option too!

60. Consider having your speeches during your reception when the champagne or prosecco is flowing.

61. Rather than having a traditional wedding cake you could decide to serve chocolates and your favorite drink as a night cap later on in the evening. You could also set up a tasting bar for guests to sample different varieties.

62. Dessert tables are a hugely popular trend right now. If your budget won’t stretch to having yours professionally catered, why not ask 4 or 5 friends who are handy in the kitchen to bake some goodies as your wedding present. You can then put your own DIY decoration skills to use to create a stunning – and much more personal – display.

63. Cocktails are actually cheaper than straight champagne. So choose a Bellini as your signature cocktail, and mix it with prosecco. No one will ever know the difference.

64. What’s your favorite late-night snack? Serve it at midnight to all your guests.

Photo Credit: Braedon Photography

65. Instead of having a traditional wedding cake, why not ask your guests to take part in a Cakey Bakey! Each guest can bring any type of cake, the more extravagant the better, and the bride and groom will judge the cakes on the day. They can then hand out awards/rosettes during the speeches and have different categories. The winning cake is then used as their cutting cake!

66. Food and beverage is a large percentage of your wedding budget, so if you’re struggling to cut down on guest numbers then why not have a later ceremony followed by an elegant black tie affair with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres instead of a 3 course sit down meal.

67. Keep it seasonal – from food to flowers, this will reduce your costs and ensure your wedding is in keeping with the weather and time of year. Hold a BBQ in the summer and have an open fire with marshmallows in the winter to make the most of your day.

68. Instead of a dessert or sweet table, you could have a fun DIY station to decorate your own cupcakes. There could be a variety of different and more usual flavours with a selection of icings and toppings.

♥ Wedding Ceremony Ideas 

69. As part of your wedding ceremony, seal love letters and a bottle of wine in a box. You could even hammer it closed! The idea is that if you’re having trouble in your marriage in the future, you can open it up and be reminded of what brought you together.

70. Write your own vows, keeping it relevant to your life together.

71. If you’ve got ring bearers, give them flags saying ‘Here Comes the Bride’, and encourage them to walk down the aisle ahead of you and your father. It’ll get everyone smiling, and take the focus off you a bit.

72. Not everyone gets married in a church, but you might want to create your own ‘alter’ as a focus for the wedding ceremony. There are tonnes of ways of doing this, from hanging multicoloured ribbons, or crepe paper, a gorgeous piece of fabric, or lots of paper pompoms. I’ve even seen it with birdcages and lanterns hanging from a tree. Anything to create a focal point.

73. If you’re not walking down a traditional aisle, why not create a circular, snail-shaped one. That way all your guests get a good look at you as you walk down the aisle, and you’ll say your vows in the centre of all your friends and family.

74. Create a fun and unique ceremony procession. Walk down the aisle to one of your modern favorites then mix up the running order a bit so guests are left surprised and stunned!

75. If you already have children try to involve them in the ceremony. Many ministers or JOP’s can adapt your wedding ceremony to include a blessing for you all becoming a family as well as the marriage. You may find that they will include this in the price too!


♥ Wedding Stationery 
76. I love seeing personal touches at weddings so how about making your own invitations and hand writing them? The hand written word is very rare nowadays and your guests would really appreciate the personal touch – and you might even save some money in the process!
77. Have an engagement shoot and use the photos for your ‘Save the Date’ cards and/or table numbers
78. Toss out traditional save-the-dates and create a home made video with information on your upcoming wedding. Send a DVD to each prospective guest.

79. Your wedding stationery sets the tone of the day, but unique creations are rarely economical. You could look at creating a ‘wedsite’ instead – a totally personalised wedding website which allows you to send your invitations, track your RSVPs and gift list as well as keep guests informed of the travel and accommodation details. Not only will you save money, but you’ll get extra environmental kudos for going green!

80. Think outside the box for how you print your wedding stationery. Why use paper, when you could use plywood, fabric or even balloons {the invitation appears as you blow up the balloon}. Some of my favorite Save the Dates have come printed on magnets.

♥ Wedding Budgeting Tips 

81. Budget! Budget! Budget! Budgeting may be the least fun, and most difficult part of planning to face, but budgeting early and honestly will mean you steer clear of exposing yourself to ideas you can’t afford. Establishing a sound budget that reflects what is most important to you as a couple will ensure you get the most out of every penny you spend!  (See: Let’s Talk Budget)

82. Let your guests send you packing with honeymoney. Honeymoon gift list sites can be a smart way to have guests contribute to your honeymoon fun. This can save you money on what could be a very pricey trip, but you can also personalise your web page and have your guests contribute to different parts of your trip, making this more unique.  (See: Alternative Gift Registries)

83. It’s the personal touches that can make a wedding unique, so why not think about a workshop activity for your friends to do. You could have a fantastic afternoon learning how to arrange flowers or make stationery and then put your new skills to good use for your wedding.

84. Hire a planner! Most brides think that they cost the earth, but we save you time, money and stress as well as working with you to make your wedding day unique and ensure that it’s about what you want rather than what your family think you should have!

85. Beg, borrow or steal (ok maybe not steal!). Bridesmaids and friends may have already been married and may have anything from a veil or tiara, to something more unusual or unique that you could ask to use on your day.

86. Hire Don’t Buy. It’s possible to hire beautiful pieces to create unique and quirky decorations, for much less money that it would cost if you bought them yourself. Vintage china looks great for a relaxed tea party theme.

87. Search online for the cheapest suppliers. We found tissue paper for our DIY pompoms for a fraction of the price on eBay, and large round white balloons for much less too.

88. Use your friends’ talents. Think about any skills your friends might have, from being creative and crafty, having beautiful handwriting, floristry skills, or handy with make-up; you could put these skills to  good use you save on otherwise expensive suppliers. This also adds a unique and personal touch to your day.

89. If your church ceremony is followed by another wedding, discuss with the bride whether it is possible to share flower costs and rental for other props etc.

90. Instead of buying expensive thank you gifts for parents, attendants and so on you could buy some lovely food and wine and host a dinner party to thank them instead.

91. Ask your caterers to use only local ingredients from local suppliers when creating your menu. You will find that sourcing food locally cuts down on the cost.
♥ Ideas for the Groom & Ushers 

92. Don’t just match the ushers ties, buy them matching socks. It makes for fantastic pictures.

93. Sew a message into the inside of your husband’s jacket. He won’t see it till he’s getting ready, and it’ll be a lovely way to get a message to him before you walk down the aisle.

94. Write on the soles of your husband’s shoes. If you’re having a church service, when he kneels down for the blessing, the congregation will be able to see your message.

95. Don’t forget to remind your ushers to decorate your going-away car. Tin cans and an old boot are traditional, but ribbons and pom poms are the new fashion. You’ll need a Just Married sign too.

♥ Wedding Dress & Accessories 

96. Don’t buy ‘wedding’ shoes. There are lots of companies that supply shoes specifically for weddings. Why not choose a pair from the high street? They’ll be less expensive and you could choose a unique colour to match your theme. Who says your shoes have to match your dress?!

97. Don’t buy a wedding dress. If you’re looking for a really simple gown, then you might just find a white dress for a fraction of the price. Remember the word ‘wedding’ often adds 15% to the price. Also, consider buying your wedding dress second-hand, or from a sample sale. There’s plenty of websites out there, just google ‘second hand wedding dresses’. Get in touch with your favourite designer and ask them when they host their sample sale, or wait until just after Christmas when everyone reduces their prices.

98. Line your wedding shoes with a pattern that fits in with your wedding day. Or stick lucky pennies to the soles. 

99. If you’re a creative bride (or have creative friends!) consider buying your dress ‘off the rack’ and customising it yourself. Adding a few special touches can make your dress unique without breaking the budget.
100. Challenge the norm by wearing a non-white wedding dress. Soft blush and pastel shades are in fashion this season, and there’s a suggestion soft patterns might be in trend for 2013!  Go on, I dare you!

Pro Insight: Brooke Christl Photography

Since entering in to the world of wedding planning, I have been accepted by so many wonderful people who know what it’s like to start from scratch.  Luckily, I knew many of these people as I was planning my own wedding and they offered me lots of advice on the way so I figured that advice would be great to share. Let’s start with Brooke Christl of Brooke Christl Photography!

I met Brooke back in 2010 when I was in my friend’s wedding in Conway. Krystle & Joe had hired Brooke as their photographer and I loved her! I loved her personality, her attitude, her vibe and most of all, her kindness! Brooke recently got married as well and knows what it’s like to be on both sides of planning now.

Brooke Christl

How long have you been in the industry? I’ve business for 5 years here in Myrtle Beach
What made you get into the photography industry? I graduated Photography school from Brooks Institute of Photography in 2003 and moved to NYC to work in the fashion Industry.  After spending 3 years working in the city, I relocated to South Carolina and started my business here a year later.
What is your favorite thing about working with brides? I love being able to show pictures to clients that they saw in a different way at the time.  With different lighting and posing, you can make an ordinary thing look extraordinary.  I also love the interaction of couples and they direct how the shoot will go.
What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to weddings? My pet peeve would be not having enough time to capture the wedding day.  It is very important for a bride to be organized and have a good timeline and stick to it.  This is where having a planner becomes very essential…  To keep everyone on schedule 🙂
What is your favorite thing about weddings? I love almost everything about weddings!!!  But….I love being able to work as a team with other wedding vendor making sure the couple has the absolute perfect day!!!
What is your favorite wedding detail you’ve ever seen or created? 
One of my favorite details was a rock ceremony.  It was actually the couples 10 year vow renewal to the day.  because of the military they never had their big wedding until 10 years later.  They went to Aruba for their honeymoon and it’s tradition there to stack rocks (each rock representing a wish) and when the waves knock the rocks down the wishes are suppose to come true.  They brought some of these rocks back to incorporate into their vow renewal 🙂

Courtesy: Brooke Christl

Biggest piece of advice to brides: Plan ahead so you can enjoy the day.  It all goes by so fast and you want everything to run as smooth as possible.
To find out more about Brooke & Brooke Christl Photography: