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Donna & Joseph’s Rustic Inspired Wedding

Tell us your story… We met in high school [Boyertown Area Senior High], during band practice back in 2005…. many moons ago!

Where did you two tie the knot? Lake of Isles Golf Club Resort at Foxwood Casino in North Stonington, CT. I  [Donna] chose the location due to the casino being convenient for out of town guests (half of the people who came to celebrate were from out of state!) and due to the beautiful deck that overlooked the lake and gorgeous scenery.

Donna & Joseph's Rustic Inspired Wedding

Spill the details about your wedding! We decided to go with a rustic-inspired wedding theme using grey and mint green as our main colors. We used burlap and lace accents along with crystal brooches to embellish all of our decor.  Table centerpieces were wooden crates that were handpainted & handmade (by the bride’s Aunt & Uncle) with floral arrangements that consisted of beautiful white hydrangeas with succulents and other greenery.  All bridesmaids wore mint green dresses in the style they prefered, matching hair clips & earrings. Groomsmen wore grey suits from David’s Warehouse with mint accents, and super hero socks & pocket squares which was made by the mother of the bride. I wore a beautiful beaded embellished strapless sweetheart a-line gown with matching jewelry & a bespoke rustic inspired wedding garter set made by Alyson Nicole. My bouquet was handmade by myself with burlap hydrangeas, an assortment of gorgeous brooches, and lace accents.

It was the perfect accent to our rustic inspired wedding theme!

What was your favorite moment? Announcing when we became man and wife. The excitement of finally becoming legally joined in front of all of our family and friends- them accepting, appreciating, acknowledging our love- was definitely the best part of our entire rustic-inspired wedding!

Barn Wedding
Barn Wedding

Vendors:

Photographer – Lillie Fortino
Bridal Garter Set- Alyson Nicole
Florist – Beachwood Florist
Hair & Make-up – Samantha D. 
Bakery- J-Cakes
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A Charming Summertime Barn Wedding

Tell us your story…  We met in late December in Philadelphia through mutual friends.  Maggie was fresh out of a relationship, and Ally was trying to set her up with her best friend…that last part never happened.  After a cross country road trip, followed by more than two years of long distance love, we made things final at the top of Observation Point in Zion National Park.

Where did you two tie the knot?  Our wedding was at Tinicum Park Barn in Erwinna, PA.  We looked at millions of places, from upstate New York to Virginia.  We wanted to be surrounded by beautiful scenery and Tinicum Park was just that.  There was a beautiful fern bed that we instantly fell in love with, and the surrounding land was perfect for pictures.  The venue was reasonably priced and everyone was more than accommodating during the process.   We really lucked out in finding this venue, and snagging the last weekend available for the year!

It was the perfect place for a outdoor barn wedding!

Barn Wedding
Barn Wedding
Barn Wedding

Spill the details about your wedding!  We tried to shoot for simple and laid back, just like us.  The colors of our wedding seemed like a no brainer to us.  Orange and gray, our favorite colors! The orange bridal party dresses made a wonderful pop of color along side the bright green of the grass and ferns, and gray was the perfect compliment.   The aisle,  lined with single stem orange flowers in bright blue wine bottles hanging from the end of a branch stake, led up to the oriental rug that we stood on next to the barn  To bring the ceremony together, we hung large ferns in the barn windows, Maggie’s favorite plant.

We feasted outside under the trees at the wooden picnic tables covered with off white runners.  Our center pieces were clear wine bottles filled with beach glass we had collected from the spot that I had proposed to Maggie.  We danced inside the barn, under large white lights strung along the rafters. Decorations included framed pictures from our many adventures, and each table had either a  large glass vases filled with branches wrapped in fairy light or a gray coffee can filled with ferns.

Our bridal party wore orange wrap dresses with navy sandals, which they accompanied with a silver mountain necklace given to them by the brides.  The other members of the party wore gray pants, white collared shirts, gray suspenders, an orange bow tie and navy shoes. They accompanied their ensemble with a bamboo wrist watch, also from  the brides.

 

What was your favorite moment? I think we can both agree without a doubt that it was the ceremony.  They were predicting severe thunderstorms and hail during the day, but we decided to risk it and hold the ceremony just outside the barn.  We had each written our vows to each other in a small leather bound journal.  Just as Ally was beginning to read hers, the sun broke over the barn and cleared away the dark clouds.  We stood there, in the bright sun, in front of family and friends and read our vows to one another for the first time. Through all the stresses of planning, and getting ready that morning, it was truly a moment in which everything around us melted away.  We laughed and cried our way through, along with everyone else.  You could feel the love and energy in the air, it was truly a magical moment, and we would do it again in a heartbeat.

Barn Wedding
Barn Wedding
Barn Wedding
Barn Wedding

Vendors:

Photographer – Brian & Jessica Patton
Wedding Dress & Bridal Accessories- Alyson Nicole
Bridesmaid’s dresses – Staysi Lee
Caterers – CD’s Place
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V & Z NYC -A Rainy Summer Wedding in Central Park

Tell us your story… Zac is an actor and he was in a play my friend had tickets for. My friend knew the playwright, so after the show we all went out for food and drinks, which is when Zac sat next to me in our booth and asked how we liked the show. He helped himself to my french fries as we got to know each other. We’ve been together ever since.

Where did you two tie the knot? Central Park. I wanted a place in NYC, since this is the city where we met and fell in love. I also wanted a location that I could always go back and visit, with our kids someday, and when we [grow] old. Central Park will (hopefully) always be there.

Unlike restaurants and event centers in NYC which turnover all the time, Central Park felt right.

It’s an iconic NYC location and a place Zac and I love to go to with our dog, Simon.

Spill the details about your wedding! We wanted a pretty casual, yet elegant NYC wedding. Since [the ceremony] was outside in the park we played with that idea [by] using a food truck as our caterer and paper plates to give it that picnic in the park feel, even though our reception was in a dance studio downtown. I’ve always loved black and white, so those were our colors with a splash of gold. Our flowers were Dahlias since they are big, beautiful, and in season. *I purchased my [gold] veil from Alyson Nicole, [who] I met in college. I remember her talent shining though as a fashion student and I knew she would be the perfect fit to make my wedding look come to life. 

What was your favorite moment? One of my favorite memories was when a student of mine texted me in the morning. It was a complete surprise and reminded me how happy I am in my life, working a job that I love, marrying the man that I love, and surrounded by people that I love. I also loved my daddy/daughter dance, which we started slow and ended with a fun choreographed number to my fav, Taylor Swift. One of our friends surprised us with a limo at the end of the night which was fun surprise that we shared with our close friends and family.

Central Park Wedding
Central Park Wedding
Central Park Wedding
Central Park Wedding
Central Park Wedding
Central Park Wedding
Central Park Wedding

Vendors:

Photographer – Bryan Sargent Photography
Wedding Planner/Design- Ashley Bostick
Dress – Kitty Chen
Bridal Veil- Alyson Nicole
MUA – Jessica Huish
Hair Stylist – Kirsten from Matthews Salon
Venue – Central Park
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Wedding Budget Breakdown Guide

The Knots Ultimate Wedding Planner- Charts & diagrams

Congratulations you’re engaged! Now what?

Well first things first, you have to have the money talk with your fiancé and BOTH of your families. Ugh, I know. Soooo awkward but believe me, it’s necessary.

Nowadays the financial burden is no longer shoved on the bride’s family. However that doesn’t mean it no longer happens but help from both families is even better. Weddings are expensive. Another strong possibility is that the bride and groom-to-be are handling the bills, either partial or in full. This has become somewhat of the “norm”, my fiancé and myself fall into this category.

 Whatever your financial situation is, find out who is contributing what amount. If you two love birds are putting money in, look at your financials and figure out how much you are able to save and can afford. The absolute worst thing you could do is plan a wedding that puts you in debt at the beginning of your marriage. Yes, it’s fun to dream of all the things you could do for your special day but come back down to reality. You do not want to put financial stress on the beginning of your life together. So, make sure you two sit down together and discuss what you BOTH want the most and what you BOTH could live without. ::Emphasis on ‘both’::

Once that’s all figured out… How much money should be allocated to what part of the wedding? Well, don’t worry. I put together a handy Wedding Budget Guide just for you! This guide is based off of a few sources; Pinterest has a lot of these and my handy-dandy  Knot Wedding Planner has oodles of information on this topic. Each chart varies slightly but looks very similar to my pie chart to the right.

Wedding Budget Breakdown

Now, don’t feel like you HAVE to follow this 100%. It’s a guideline that is meant to help but can definitely be altered to fit your wedding needs. For instance, my fiancé and I are lucky enough to not have a ceremony rental or an officiant charge (thank you MOG ?). Plus, I’ll be saving money (but not time) by making my own wedding dress, AHH (Read about my Kleinfeld experience here)! The money saved will be allocated into the reception budget to accommodate our ever-growing guest list ?.

Here are some other tips to save and or allocate your wedding budget:
  1. Shop around smartly for vendors. There are tons of wedding professionals out there that are high quality AND affordable. Usually these are the vendors that will be new-er to the industry or they are small local businesses. Don’t discredit these vendors, just make sure to do your research! Wedding Wire and The Knot are great places to start looking, not to mention references from previous brides and grooms. I suggest you do this for all of your vendors, big and small.
  2. Discuss all the possibilities with your vendors. Vendors should be able to give you different price point options and explain exactly what that entails. They also should be able to show you ways to save with substitutions; IE. a florist will know different flowers that may look like what you want but are way less expensive.
  3. Be OPEN and flexible to what is available for use. When you won’t budge on the table setting color or shape, then you’ll have to special order/rent them which adds up quickly.

There are a few things that you MUST remember to include: taxes and gratuities. Taxes are usually included in the bill and some vendors (like caterers) will include a set gratuity in their bill. However, if they don’t that means it’s up to you to include it in your final payment. Even though it’s your wedding, these people are busting their butts to make this day everything you want. So make sure to thank them verbally and tip them, well. Here’s a breakdown of who to tip, how much, and when you should.

Also, don’t forget to factor in potential overage charges and miscellaneous expenses. Some vendors will specify these charges in their contracts but if they don’t it’s safer to leave some room for overages. Better to be safe than sorry!

If you’re interested in finding out more information on wedding budgets and planning please follow me on Pinterest, especially my board “Pretty Little Wedding Planning“!

Happy planning! xoxo

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The PROs and CONs of The Knot’s Wedding Planner book

Wedding Planning

The weekend I got engaged, I was so full of excitement that I was flying high in the clouds. (To be honest, I’m still floating and it’s fantastic.) We met up with our friends the Saturday after for plans we made weeks prior and I could not wait to ask questions about their wedding. That’s all us girls talked about. Where did you find your vendors? Where did you get your rings? What cost the most? Was there anything you wish you did differently? etc. and so forth. The one piece of advice she gave, which I took immediately, was to get a wedding planner binder or notebook.

If I’m 100% honest, I already had a wedding planned (without the vendors) but I needed something to keep it organized and make sure I didn’t miss anything. That coming Monday, I ordered The Knot’s Ultimate Wedding Planner and received same day delivery (yay Amazon Prime!). Monday night, I was in business.

I glanced through the whole book and immediately noticed helpful pages, important pages, and pages that weren’t needed for our wedding. I took out the pages that I didn’t need and started reading thoroughly section by section every chance I could. (I took it on vacation with me and I even took it on a few business trips.) It was extremely overwhelming at first but all I had to do was tell myself to relax and take a deep breath. Planning a wedding shouldn’t be stressful (even though it is), it should be as easy as possible and I believe this book really helps.

It also helps to read bridal magazines. There are tons of helpful articles that can help you make your final decisions or just give you some good advice. Yes, they can be expensive if you keep buying them, but I do suggest picking a few magazines up whenever you can.

MY FAVORITE THINGS/”THE PROS” TO THE KNOT’S WEDDING PLANNER

1. THE WEDDING TIMELINE.
The Knot's Wedding Planner- timeline

There are two options; “normal” 12 month engagement and an expedited 6 month engagement. This handy timeline tells you when to look, when to book, when to send, and basically everything you should do at different times during your engagement.

2. THE AMAZING GLOSSARY PAGES.
The Knot's Wedding Planner- glossary

Almost each topic has one and it is a great help when you want to know the difference between two things or just to know the proper lingo when talking to vendors. Each glossary page has pictures correlating to the term which eliminates the need to Google.

3. THE LOVELY CHARTS & DIAGRAMS.
The Knot's Wedding Planner- charts and diagrams

This wedding planner is loaded with charts and diagrams. There’s one for who to invite, how your wedding budget should be allocated, and more. These pages really help to put everything into perspective. Especially when you’re debating if you should invite your old coworkers that you haven’t seen or talked to in over a year.

4. SUGGESTED QUESTIONS.
The Knot's Wedding Planner- suggested questions

When your looking at a venue or talking to a florist there are certain things you should know. However, when you’re there speaking with them that’s when those questions are forgotten. Of course you can ask more than what’s provided in this wedding planner but for the most part all the important questions are listed.

5. THE LIFESAVING CHECKLISTS.

This wedding planner has a checklist for each section and helps make sure everything gets done. Extremely helpful when there is just so much to do when planning a wedding!

6. QUICK AND EASY CONTACT PAGES.

Besides the contact pages that are inside the sections, the wedding planner starts out with a master contact sheet. Why is this so helpful? Let’s say you don’t have a wedding planner (like me, because I’m basically doing it) and on the big day your phone gets misplaced in the mayhem but you need to contact the bakery and remind them about the fresh flowers you want on top. Well, these pages will make it easy for anyone in your bridal party (put them to work!) to contact any vendor you hired. Plus its always a good idea to have important information in print, no matter how tech savvy you may be.

NOW, FOR THE CONS…

INSPIRATION PAGES

My biggest pet peeve for this book is the pre-made inspiration pages. Maybe its because I have a design background but the layout for these pages are such an eyesore! Not to mention the fact that they limit the amount of inspiration you can put on the page. I don’t know about you but I’ve been “pinning” like a madwoman for this wedding and I have WAY more than 3-4 inspiration photos for every category. These pages also have valuable information on the backside making it hard to simply remove them from the book.

QUICK FIX: 

OPTION 1: Create your own inspiration page(s) with cardstock/regular paper, use a 3 hole-punch, and add it to the binder! I used cardstock for my inspo-pages, printed the photos, cut/pasted them onto the paper, and added some call-outs.

OPTION 2: If your not a crafty person or you don’t like to cut and paste, you can always create the pages digitally. For those of you who like Photoshop, go at it. For those who don’t have access to the Adobe suite, you can use Microsoft Word or Excel.

COLOR CHIP CARD

 

I love that this book gives you color options along with listing on the backside which colors compliment them best. However, the color chips are part of the tab divider for the whole section. Meaning, if you remove any of the colors for your theme/color inspo, you basically ruined the divider. Why would they do that? My guess is to save money. Another con to this is that the colors given are very limited and they don’t include any metallics. Again, they probably did this to save some money in printing but to be honest it would be so much better it if was a separate page or two with more color options.

 

QUICK FIX: 

If you want to use the chip cars but you don’t want to lose the divider, use a binder tab insert that’s also a sheet protector. That way it doesn’t get hidden and you can store the remaining chips inside the sheet protector.

If you’re like me and your colors are not on the chip page, there’s a few options.

OPTION 1: Use Pantone swatches. You can search for the actual pantone colors here, purchase the fabric swatches here. If you want to use paper chips, they can be bought by the book or by the page here. If you have access to a Pantone book, even better!

OPTION 2: Make your own color swatches digitally using Photoshop, Illustrator or even paint! Whatever you use, make sure you have a a decent printer in order to keep the printed swatches as close as possible to the digital ones created.

OPTION 3: Make swatches from photos you find online or in magazines. Pinterest is great for this. There are tons of wedding and color themes floating around. I’ve pinned quite a few on my ‘Pretty Little Wedding Themes‘ board. Feel free to check it out, along with my other helpful boards here! Happy pinning!

OPTION 4: Visit a local craft/fabric store and shop around for ribbon, fabric, paint, or any other materials in the correct colors you want to use. Get creative! Michaels and Jo-Ann Fabrics are filled with products that are perfect for this. OR go to your closest pharmacy and find nail polish in the correct colors. 😉

LIMITED GUEST LIST

When I first sat down to put together a tentative guest list, I thought there was absolutely no way I would have more that 125 people to invite. Well, I was totally wrong. We had close to 200 people and it was shocking. However, the guest list included only allows 150. If you’re having a small wedding it’s perfect, but if not it’s pretty useless. Another thing about the guest list is that it is only for the names. There’s no space to put RSVPs or even addresses.

 

QUICK FIX: 

Create a guest list by using Microsoft Excel or google docs. This way you can keep your guest list organized and add all the information you need, including RSVPs for all the pre/post wedding parties (engagement, bridal, rehearsal dinners), meal choices, gifts received, etc. You can even keep each event on separate tabs to keep better records.

All-in-all…

 

The Knot’s Ultimate Wedding Planner & Organizer is extremely helpful and I would recommend it to anyone planning a wedding. As I go through planning my own wedding (YAY!) I will reference some of the helpful information and pages from this book to give more feedback.

Be sure to sign up for my mailing list (below) to get notifications of when a blog post is up. PLUS, you’ll receive notification of any new products, sales, and discounts for custom accessories to help make your wedding day extra special! I promise not to spam your email either 😉

Happy wedding planning!

 

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I’m engaged!

Friday April 8th is a day that I will never forget.

It just so happens that my whole week was atrocious. My 9-5 was a real pain-in-the-@$$ and I was just running on empty. 5:00pm Friday could not come soon enough.

When I got off the subway to walk back to my apartment I was so excited it was 5:50pm. (I usually don’t get home before 6.) Figured I’d go to the gym and get home at 6:45, order some take-out, and finish up a couple custom orders. Yay! As soon as I got service, I immediately called my mom to discuss her coming up on Sunday for a hockey game and a few other things.
After the four flights of stairs (still taking with my mother) I opened my door expecting to see my cat trying to make his escape but instead I was overwhelmingly shocked at the rose petals lining my hallway directing my gaze to a handsome man on his knee.

Immediate tears.

“Mom, I have to get off the phone.” In true mother form, she did not. She thought something was terribly wrong even when I told her he was on one knee. I tried to be polite but DAMN! I have to go!!!

 

My handsome, caring, selfless man was patiently waiting to ask me to be his wife. I couldn’t have been more surprised or happy in that very moment. We have talked about getting married but when that moment actually happens, it’s an superb feeling.

I was still so in shock after the proposal I actually said “I have to go to the gym.” He just looked at me, laughed, and said “Silly girl, you’re not going to the gym. We are going out!”

I got all dolled up and we headed to our favorite restaurant, The Pearl Room. Naturally I had to wear blue to match my ring 😉

I couldn’t stop telling everyone we just got engaged and I was even too excited to read the menu! Somehow I managed to pick something and we had an outstanding dinner filled with delicious food and a lot of celebrating. Throughout dinner, he kept looking at the time and saying “I really want to get to Windy by 9, because thats around the time we met.” [Windy= Windy City Ale House in Bay Ridge- a craft beer sports bar that is very fun and has really scrumptious bar food, especially their ta-chos (tater-tot nachos). Yes, thats right.] Anyways, I didn’t think anything of it other than it was sweet and that it was probably the time we met there.

Well, we were definitely overdressed and as I was saying that to him, I turn around to see a group of family and friends there cheering. It was another wonderful surprise to the evening. Drinks were drunk, champagne was popped, and the night was celebrated. It was perfect.

AHH! Just blogging about this is making me so EXCITED! I’M ENGAGED!

 

Since bridal is my life, I decided to share my wedding experience with the world to help all future brides!

 

By Monday night I already had The Knot’s wedding planning book and dove right in! You can get this lovely book on Amazon at an amazing price and if you are lucky (and a Prime member) you can receive same day shipping. Heres the link- The Knot Ultimate Wedding Planner & Organizer.  They also have a more recent one that you can buy here, but I went with the original. The revised version is an actual book, smaller in size, and it has a few more extra pages of info that the first doesn’t have. However, the extra pages do not take away from the binder.  It is a great tool and even though I’ve been using it for a week, it has helped tremendously. I’ll talk more about that in another post! 

 

Until then, I’ll be over here… daydreaming about my wedding. <3