Real Wedding: Rachel + James

When I think of my childhood, there is one smiling face that shows up in more than half of my memories and that is the face of my friend Rachel. Our friendship has been nothing short of adventurous: from riding ATVs up north with no helmets and watching her cousin bite worms in half in order to “fish better” to staying up ungodly hours of the night to watch trash TV to cruising the Caribbean twice to witnessing drug busts in the nation’s capital to acting as one another’s wedding Plus One’s to surviving puberty, high school, and a number of break ups, we have done so much together!

Needless to say, when Rach texted me one January morning to tell me she was now engaged to her high school sweetheart, my heart was bursting! Not only because IT WAS ABOUT TIME, but also because our conversation turned to wedding plans and logistics. As an event coordinator at the Winery still, I started to cry when she took me up on my offer to host her intimate nuptials at my venue AND allow me to help coordinate the Big Day.

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Expectations of Your Bridal Shower

If you’re totally new to the whole bridal shower thing, you are not alone! Last weekend my future MIL graciously threw me a bridal shower with G’s side of the family in his hometown, but going into the celebration I really didn’t know what to expect. I have only been to one shower prior so I was completely unaware of what the event would entail.

In short, at your bridal shower you are the guest of honor as your closest friends and relatives gather to eat, chatter, and lavish you with a truckload of amazing gifts. This is one party you do not need to worry about planning on your own, but it may help to know what to expect so to best be prepared. So read on to discover a few more details on this traditional pre-wedding party used to celebrate and shower the bride-to-be with many well-wishes.

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4 Wise Tips on Preparing for Marriage After the Wedding

I know I’ve said it before, but here I am saying it again: the wedding is only the beginning of what should be the rest of your blissful married life. As husband and wife, you’ll be embarking on years of new adventures after the one day of festivities. Your wedding day is only a grain of sand in the grand beach of your entire life. It is best to prepare for life following the Big Day and not only the day itself.

I am a big believer that if you adequately prepare for something — that is, to prepare mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically, all of the above — then your chances of success increase substantially. Though I know there will never be enough wisdom and information I can gain to fully prepare for marriage, I do feel I’ve gained a few gems of advice in which to set a firm foundation as a newlywed.

These four gems include advice on communication, clarification, adjustment, and agreement between both the husband and wife in order to have a happy marriage. They touch on possible challenges once you’re married and encourage you to invest in your partner following your vows. They are all examples of how G and I plan to enter our marriage, and I would love to share them with you!

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Knowing Where To Draw the Line on Your Wedding Budget

Okay, time for some tough love. My average wedding while I was a wedding coordinator was $17,000, and I simply received that amount for the venue, tables and chairs, linens, the dinner catering, and the bar tab. For those couples who wished to add music, photography, desserts, decorations, and any other basic wedding niceties, you could be looking at a minimum of another $10,000 added to your budget. The Knot actually stated that the typical modern wedding averages $35,000. My jaw dropped reading that article, actually. For G and I, this *clap* was *clap* not *clap* an *clap* option.

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Vendor News: Videography Decided

We have been going back and forth on the topic of videography since we solidified our budget five months ago, and some great questions are been risen: should we hire someone, should we buy a video camera, who would we have film everything, would a cellphone work just as well, won’t photographs be just as good, where could we place a camera rather than have someone hold one, who do we know that can edit, what fits our budget, where could we elope, etc. And we have finally decided on an answer! (Plus we’re proud to say discussion on elopement has dropped from 10 times daily to nearly three…)

We are going with the online videography option called WedIt. With WedIt, we will have five iPod Touches delivered to us the week of our wedding in which we can disperse among our guests, set up in special locations, or pretty much do what we would like with them in order to film/snapshot the important parts of our ceremony and reception. Then, once the wedding is over, we can either download all the pieces on our own in order to edit them or send them back to the company and have a edited video made for us. Though we aren’t sure exactly how we will edit the camera footage, we do feel this is a great option for us while trying to safe-keep memories without spending an arm and a leg on a professional videographer.

Thinking ahead, I plan to have two of the cameras stationed on tripods to capture the ceremony and one camera at the reception’s photo booth in order to capture all that fun. The other two I am going to ask a few artsy friends to safeguard and capture some important moments throughout the night. All in all, we are excited for this Pinterest find and for another budget-beater!

#Inspiration: Rustic Cake Toppers

Our days are quickly passing and the final orders are being made to make sure we have everything we need for the Big Day. Which means another #Inspiration board post is due! Since my last one on bouquets and boutonnieres, we are happy to say that our flower order did arrive. Though the shipment came about four weeks after the date stated (I was sweating, friends), all the silk flowers did arrive and they were perfect! I could not be happier with the stems purchased from LightInTheBox.com, and even happier with the price point being a third of the costs I would have spent at Michael’s or another craft store.

Those flowers are currently at a friend’s house being arranged into some beautiful bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, and a cake topper. However, I am not 100% sure I only want the floral on our cake or if I should also add a rustic-themed embellishment above the petals. Hmm.

Well, while I continue to sway back and forth in my consideration, take a gander on some rustic cake toppers I’ve discovered on Pinterest and Etsy which might just take the cake… (See what I did there?)

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I Bought My Dress Online & I Adore It

Traditionally, wedding dress shopping is done in a wedding dress boutique. The bride-to-be, her mother, and perhaps even a few bridesmaids join in for a day out on the town scouring shoppes for the perfect dress. Even before they’re engaged, most brides have their ideal gowns chosen and are on the hunt for either that exact designer dress or something very similar.

Unfortunately (or fortunately for me), I am not traditional in this sense. I never wanted to go to David’s Bridal or a local boutique to shop for my dream dress. Instead, I took to the World Wide Web and found exactly what I was seeking, and for a fraction of the price.

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How We Saved Costs on Invitations & RSVPs

As I finish off my last bottle of Syrah and wait for G to finish leading his youth group, I am in a slightly better mood than when I arrived home this afternoon. I came home after a typical work day to find a sweet little gift on my front step. The gift, lovingly given by Mr. Postman, was a carton full of G’s and my wedding invitations — the invitations we had hand-crafted and dropped into the mail only two days prior. To accentuate the package, a handwritten sign was taped to the carton as well which read, “$0.21 needed on each due to enclosure.” It made me grimace…

And face-palm myself.

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A Mixed Tape on Ceremony Music

G and I are attempting to narrow down our list of song options for the ceremony. (I think this has been his favorite part of planning to date.) We need around 13 songs for the entire church event and it seems almost impossible to minimize the list to only a dozen or so titles. We are considering mostly modern instrumental music, though there are a few traditional pieces we’ve decide upon for the rentals and other matured guests.

I’ll be sharing our little finds throughout the next few months on the growing list below, but please feel free to give some advice and/or suggestions for other songs we should use.

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