HOW TO PRESERVE THE MEMORY OF YOUR WEDDING DAY

After your long-awaited wedding day has come and gone, my hope is that there will be many memories you look back on with a full and happy heart. I myself am a firm believer that those memories are ones you should preserve (aka show off) rather than keep hidden on your computer or stored in a box somewhere. We are all guilty of putting off projects from time to time, but I am here to share some of my tried and true favorite ways to make your wedding day last long after the celebration has ended. 

Arizona wedding planner tips for preserving wedding day memories

Photographs

Pictures are likely the first thing you think of when it comes to the preservation of your wedding. After you've hired your dream photographer you obviously want to display the beautiful works of art they captured for you! I always advocate for getting a wedding album and hanging prints in your home. If you came over to my house you would see what I mean, almost every room has wedding photos displayed and it makes me smile every time I look at them! 

If you didn't order an album through your photographer I recommend Artifact Uprising for the do it yourself route. Their albums are beautiful and I have made many as gifts over the years (side note - they also make great photo guest books at your wedding!). As for prints one of my favorite labs is Persnickety Prints. Their quality is amazing and I have done side-by-side comparisons of the same printed photo between them and Costco - Persnickety is always far better and clearer! (Sorry Costco, I still love you for other reasons). And for a non-traditional but totally unique option I am a big fan of Photo Barna company that will print your photos on wood. 

Paper goos and other small keepsakes

I love the concept of framing small detail items such as your invitation suite. If the paper goods from your wedding were a large part of your overall design, then I think preserving them is a beautiful way to turn them into decor for your home. Other keepsakes you can consider framing are small items such as a handkerchief, a ceremonial marriage certificate, fabric swatches or ribbon, pressed flowers from your bouquet, or a ceremony program. One of the best resources for doing this is a company called Framebridge which is an online custom framing service that really simplifies the process.

Wedding Vows

One of my absolute favorites! If you wrote your own wedding vows then a beautiful way to preserve them is to hire a calligrapher or artist to write them out on paper (I say 11x14 or 16x20) and frame them. The ceremony is the most important part of your wedding day and those vows are meant to last a life-time, so why not hang them in your home?!

While my husband and I did not write our own vows we did write love letters to one another and read them out loud during our ceremony. I recently had someone hand-letter them and they are now hanging over our bed. I absolutely love seeing them each day and laugh because it is slightly noticeable who wrote more than the other (guilty). 

Signage

This one is a little more unconventional but stick with me. Have you ever wondering what people do with all those signs they make for their wedding? Personalized signage like a welcome sign/ceremony program or dinner menu are not likely to be reused by someone else, but it seems like such a waste to throw them away. My solution was to turn ours into a more sophisticated version of lawn art. In other words we propped them up against the back wall in our backyard and have trained our vines to grow over and around them. While they are extremely weathered at this point it has given our backyard somewhat of a secret garden effect and is definitely a talking point when we have friends over! I say give it a try if you think it would work nicely with the aesthetic of your garden or backyard. 

So there you have it, some of my favorite ways for keeping those memories alive! I am sure there are plenty of other ideas out there. If you have any send them my way and I will add them to this post!

AMANDA & TYLER'S DARLING BACKYARD WEDDING

When I was working with Amanda on plans for her Webster Farm wedding here in Gilbert, Arizona, she would often joke that her "theme" was transportation seeing as there would be food trucks catering dinner, The Duke Truck serving up drinks, Ollie the Trolley to transport everyone, and The Foto Booth Bus to capture the festivities! The first time she explained her vision to me I was ecstatic to be working alongside such a creative bride and could not wait to help coordinate it all! When her and Tyler's wedding day finally arrived this past April it certainly did not disappoint. Guests enjoyed the charming backyard ambiance and watched as one of the sweetest couples I've ever had the pleasure of knowing tied the knot.

Cheers you two! Your big day will forever be a special memory to me! 

Wedding Planning: Wild One Events // Photographer: Leah Breeze Photography  // Venue: Webster Farm // Floral: The Petal Theory // Caterer: Aioli Burger and Modern Tortilla food trucks // Bartending Service: The Duke Truck // Desserts: Sugar Lane Bakery and One More Bite Bakery  // Rentals: Royalty Rentals // Specialty Rentals: The Confetti Studio // DJ: Groove Mobile DJ Services //  Photo Booth: The Foto Booth Bus // Bride's Dress: Uptown Bridal Boutique // Transportation: Ollie the Trolley

MY LITTLE TEXAN'S 1ST BIRTHDAY PARTY

I have been meaning to share my son's first birthday party for months now, and I think the fact that he is no longer my only baby is what prompted me to finally put this post together. As excited as I am to be a momma to two little boys these days, I still get sad to think that Easton is becoming less and less of a baby with each passing day (and looking through these photos was a huge reminder of that!). At the time of his first birthday party he wasn't walking yet and didn't even have enough hair to have his first haircut at that point. But today at 19 months old he looks like a completely different little boy. Oh how time flies.

When it came time to plan his first birthday my two main goals (besides throwing a fun party!) were to come up with a concept I hadn't seen before and incorporate personal details. When my husband and I found out we were expecting we were living in Texas at the time but moved back home to Arizona about half way through the pregnancy. Texas holds a special place in our hearts so I decided to take a modern spin on the state for his party theme. Everything was black and white with pops of green, yellow, and silver. I used mini cacti as center pieces, put together a nacho bar (because everyone in Texas loves queso), and assembled a simple back drop for the smash cake. I wanted there to be hints of Texas (like the cowhide rugs and stars) without over doing it.

We live in a neighborhood with a great park system so I also wanted to utilize that resource. I had planned on everything taking place under a really neat ramada in our main park, but when the day came it had already been claimed. Despite the set-back we decided to set up shop on the baseball field next door and make do, and thankfully everything came together just great.

At the end of the day I vowed I would wait until he was five before throwing another birthday party of that size, but I would be lying if I said I hadn't already started scheming up ideas for his second birthday party. I just can't help myself. 

Planning & Design: Wild One Events // Photography: Kayla B. Photography // Invitations: Paper Kite Designs // Food: DIY // Smash Cake & Sugar Cookies: Ruze Cake House // Rentals: Y Knot Party Rentals // Giant Confetti: Oh Happy Day Party Shop // Cocktail Napkins: For Your Party // Letter Balloons: Party City 

TIPS FOR ENJOYING YOUR DRESS SHOPPING EXPERIENCE

It's been a hot minute since I last blogged and figured I better add some love to this space so you know I am still here! I've had a couple of brides say, "Yes!" to the dress recently and thought some wedding planning tips on dress shopping could be a great topic. As a little something extra for my local readers, I am including a list of a few of my favorite wedding dress boutiques in Phoenix at the very end! 

Why rush? Unless you are in a serious time crunch to find your dress, I highly recommend taking your time shopping and limit the amount of places you go in one day. I suggest choosing two boutiques max to visit in one day and take your time enjoying the process in order to avoid becoming seriously overwhelmed. This is one of the most fun parts of wedding planning, so why not spread it out over a few weekends?! (Side note - Call ahead to see if places you're visiting allow you to bring along some champagne. Cheers!)

Things to bring besides your besties. It's a good idea to bring the correct type of undergarments (such as a strapless bra), shoes in a height you are comfortable with, and any jewelry or accessories you know you will wear on wedding day. A lot of times you will select your jewelry and accessories after you have found your dress, but if you're committed to incorporating your grandmother's pearls in your attire you may as well wear them while you try on potential dresses.  I also suggest styling your hair how you think you may want to wear it on your wedding day to see how it compliments the dresses (no need to go get a blow out, just play with it the best you can). 

Alterations. Unfortunately, the tag does not reflect the final price you will pay as most dresses require some form of alterations in order to fit perfectly (and perfectly it should!). Ask your consultant to give you an estimate for alterations, including any big changes you are thinking about making to the dress. The beautify of alterations is that almost anything can be done to a gown, but it of course comes at a price. Be sure to factor that in to your budget for attire, along with shoes and accessories.

Some of my favorite Phoenix wedding dress boutiques. This is not an exhaustive list of every dress shop in the greater Phoenix area - we have so many amazing resources here! I am only mentioning some of those that I've personally had a great experience at or recent clients have raved about.

In Scottsdale there is Destiny's Bride, which is a chic boutique with a great selection. Scottsdale is also home to Lovely Bride who caterers to more of the creative and fashion forward bride. In my opinion Lovely Bride Phoenix carries some great designers and one of my personal favorites, Sarah Seven. In the East Valley there is Uptown Bridal and Boutique which has recently restructured their consultation process to offer the ultimate client experience. And even though this post is all about the wedding dress, I feel like I have to mention my favorite local boutique for bridesmaid dresses as well - Bella Bridesmaids. You can't go wrong with any of these suggestions. xoxo

Photo: Amy and Jordan Photography

SIMPLE WAYS TO STAY ORGANIZED DURING WEDDING PLANNING

There are so many things to stay on top of when planning your wedding day. From venue hunting to timeline creation and all the logistics in between it is easy to feel overwhelmed and lose sight of the big picture. Below you will find three ways you can make your life a little easier during your engagement. While these tips won't solve all of your wedding planning woes, my hope is that they give you a little extra room to breath and enjoy this exciting time!

Create a wedding-specific email account. Planning a wedding (regardless of whether or not you have hired a professional planner to help) takes up a lot of time and space in your inbox. Rather than digging through your personal and work (and junk) emails each time you need to find that link from your florist, do yourself a solid and just have one account to keep it all together. As an added bonus, when you have officially tied the knot you can use it as a joint email account for your utilities, banking correspondence, and anything else you two will be sharing. 

Delegate. You will be asked countless times throughout your engagement if there is anything you need help with, but sometimes even the nicest of gestures can be overwhelming when you have so.much.to.do. My advice is to be one step ahead of the game and keep a running list of small tasks or jobs you know are impending but you don't have any problem handing off to someone else. That way when your aunt asks what she can do to help, you can kindly respond with something other than, "Um, I'm not sure, but thank you!" 

Keeping track of gifts received. You will undoubtedly receive plenty of gifts throughout your engagement. In order to avoid forgetting the details of a gift and its giver I suggest using Google docs to log gifts when they are received. Recording the following information will ensure that you don't misplace anything: the date a gift is received, a specific description of the gift, the store the gift was from, the name of the gift-giver, their mailing address, the date you sent off your thank you note. Thoroughly keeping track of all of this will make sure you don't wake up in the middle of the night in a panic. 

Cheers & happy planning! 

Photo: Denise Karis Photography

THE MARRY MART RECAP

We had the pleasure of being included as one of the vendors for The Marry Mart last month out at the beautiful Paseo.  The market was a fun experience and truly a breath of fresh air when it comes to bridal expos. The gals behind The Marry Mart were kind enough to feature Wild One Events on their blog back in January in their "Meet The Vendors" series. You can read my interview below, or click here to see it live on their website. 

Wild One Events creates whimsical events with a strong attention to details! You can be worry free on your wedding day with this team by your side! You can get to know them at our upcoming market in February at The Paseo!

About Wild One Events - "Wild One Events is a boutique event planning and design company. While I offer everything from month-of wedding coordination to stand-alone design work, the heart of the business is in full-service planning where I can work with clients to blend both the logistical planning and design of their wedding into one service. Going into 2017 we are also beginning to offer in-house floral design as well, which is an art I have been practicing over the last year! 

I feel like I have found a true purpose in event planning and design, and being able to make others happy by using a skill I have is why I love being in this industry. Not everyone is naturally inclined to meticulously plan out each detail of an event over the course of 6, 10, or even 12 plus months, and that is perfectly fine! But for me it is a labor of love, and getting to see clients happy and relaxed on their wedding day is a reward I am very grateful for." 

How to book? "I like to make myself and my contact information readily available to anyone who needs to reach out. You will see my email address on my instagram, Facebook, and each page of my website. I also include my phone number in a lot of those areas as well because I think it should be easy for anyone to get ahold of me! Aside from shooting an email or calling, there is the "Let's Get In Touch" page on my website that will kick-start the inquiry process for a potential client. "

How long has Wild One Events been in business? Wild One Events is heading into year 2! 

What to know about Wild One Events? "I want potential clients to know that Wild One Events really takes a collaborative approach to planning, designing, and executing an event. There is a huge amount of trust that is placed in a wedding planner, especially when hiring that person to help execute the creative details of a wedding, so for me it is important for potential clients to know that I want my creativity to work in line with their vision and budget to help craft their dream day."

XO, Steph + Amelia

FRIDAY FINDS

1.) Green Wedding Shoes called this Grand Canyon elopement "legendary," and for good reason too.  

2.) I obsess over everything A Fabulous Fete designs, and these letterpress save the dates for a Montana wedding are no different. 

3.) This awesome dessert table backdrop is from a baby shower, but I think it would work great for the right bridal shower as well. 

4.) I really enjoyed everything about this guide to entertaining on a budget. Hello engagement party idea.

5.) This last find has nothing to do with weddings or events, but if you're about to start your gift registry then check out what Lauren Conrad's favorite kitchen items are. I had no idea I needed an ice crusher, but now I do. 

Amanda & Tyler Gilbert Engagement Session

If you don't think these two are the cutest couple ever then I just don't know what to say. We are exactly one month away from Amanda & Tyler's wedding at Webster Farm and I could not be more excited for them! Amanda has been working hard to bring her dream wedding to life, and I am so honored to be playing a small role in what will be the sweetest of backyard celebrations. Enjoy these beautiful engagement photos from Leah Breeze Photography as a sneak peak into what she'll capture on their big day!   

FRIDAY FINDS

1.) There isn't much I'm not loving about this Washington wedding. First, the bridesmaids are wearing jumpsuits, white jumpsuits. Love at first sight. Second, the talented planning and design team who brought it together is one of my personal favorites to follow, Sinclair & Moore. And third, it's absolutely everything a backyard wedding should be - simple, chic, and beautiful (have I mentioned I am a sucker for backyard weddings before? Because I am).

2.) I first obsessed over this Montana styled shoot and workshop welcome dinner a few months back when I saw it on instagram. I was happy to come across it on Once Wed and fall in love all over again.  

3.) After spending last weekend in Nashville for a bachelorette party, I wanted to include this native's guide to all the best places to eat, drink, play, shop and sleep in her hometown. The guide features my favorite spot from our trip, Pinewood Social. Not only does Nashville make a great destination for bachelor/bachelorette parties, but I think it would be an awesome state-side honeymoon as well. 

4.)  This practical article from the Huffington Post is a good read for couples getting ready to move in together. 

5.) Last, but not least, I though this two-week skin cleanse would be a great way to prep leading up to your big day.  

Jen & Brad's Paradise Valley Country Club Engagement Session

Since we had our final meeting with the venue last night for these two, it felt like today was the perfect time to share some of their gorgeous engagement photos by Amy & Jordan Photography. Jen & Brad hold a very special place in my heart, so to say I am excited for their quickly-approaching wedding day would be a huge understatement! I cannot wait to see everything the three of us have been collaborating on over the last fourteen months come together...and watch as they begin their happily ever after! xoxo

New Year's Eve Wedding at The Paseo

There really was nothing else I would have rather done on my New Year's Eve than help these two throw one heck of a party! Jade and Josh are an extremely fun-loving couple whose personalities were seen in every detail of their day. While there were so many beautiful physical aspects of their wedding, one of the most touching was watching their friend (who also happened to be a  groomsman) perform their ceremony!

Jade and Josh, I appreciate you both more than any amount of words can express! Thank you so much for letting me play a small role in bringing your wedding vision to life. Cheers to many more NYEs as husband and wife!

 Photographer: Denise Karis Photography  // Venue: The Paseo // Getting Ready Location: Gold Canyon Golf Resort & Spa // Wedding Planning: Wild One Events // Floral: J Barry Designs // DJ: Downtown Browne Productions // Caterer: Straight to the Plate Catering // Bakery: Piece of Cake Desserts // Food Truck: Mustache Pretzels // Photo Booth: Posharazzi Photo Lounge // Bride's Dress: Brilliant Bridal // Bridesmaid Dresses: Show Me Your MuMu

Star & Kyle's Amado Wedding

I was excited to work with Star and Kyle for so many reasons. They are such a sweet couple to begin with, I loved their overall wedding vision, they wanted to incorporate a food truck (always making things fun), and they were getting married at an extremely unique venue called Agua Linda Farm. It was a winning combination from the get go!

Not too long after we started working together Star ended up needing an new florist. Although I had minimal experience executing both coordination and florals for a wedding, I offered my services and we went from there. Their day turned out beautifully and was full of personal touches. The guest list may have been intimate, but that didn't stop everyone from dancing the night away! This was one of the most energetic weddings I have worked on to date, and I wish Star and Kyle nothing but a lifetime of happiness together! Keep scrolling to see all the beautiful images by Melissa Holland Photography

Venue & Vintage Rentals: Agua Linda Farm // Photographer: Melissa Holland Photography  // Videography: In Bloom Images // Wedding Coordination: Wild One Events // Floral: Wild One Events // Makeup: Kensington Makeup & Hair Artists // Caterer: Las Vigas Steak Ranch & Food Truck // Bakery: Ambrosia Cakes // Bridesmaid Dresses: Jenny Yoo

New Year, New Services!

2017 signifies Wild One Events heading into its second year of business! In the past twelve(isn) months of helping clients bring their dream day to life I have learned so much and look forward to another year of doing just the same. 2016 taught me a lot of the basics of entrepreneurship, showed me how much I truly love serving the couples who have put their trust in me, and also exposed areas I need to focus on in the coming year.

Now that a lot of the growing pains of year one have subsided, the first item on my to-do list is announcing the services Wild One Events will provide in the 2017-2018 season. While some of these are the same as before, I felt like I needed to better define my offerings as a whole in order to create continuity for potential clients and my work flow. So without much further introduction, below is an outline of the four main services for the new year and a brief explanation each:

  • Wedding Coordination Services: This service is staying the same as we head into the New Year. Our coordination services are what many people associate with "day-of planning," but with plenty added benefits and more than just a day of working together!  
  • Wedding Consultant Services: This is a brand new offering from Wild One Events and is our take on partial planning. In addition to everything our coordination service provides, clients will receive additional communication and custom monthly to-do lists. These customized documents will outline what clients should be focusing on in that specific month of planning and highlight any necessary vendor referrals, keeping in line with the overall budget. 
  • Wedding Planning & Design Services: Nothing changing here! The heart of Wild One Events is in full service planning and design, making this our favorite option for clients to bring their vision to reality. With the introduction of our Consultant Services, those who hire us for Planning & Design will have our complete attention as full-service clients. 
  • Creative Wedding Services: This is somewhat of an umbrella service to cover any of the various design and styling work we may be hired to execute for an event. These projects typically require a more customized process but result in a completely unique touch on your wedding day. There really are no limits to what Wild One Events can create for you, but perhaps the most exciting part of this offering includes floral design! Our in-house floral services will be offered to clients who have hired us for logistical planning, as well those who are interested in just working with Wild One Events on florals! 

Cheers to another year of learning and creating! If you are interested in any of these services, head here!

TIPS FOR CREATING A USEFUL (AND STYLISH) WEDDING WEBSITE

Your wedding website is an essential aspect of communicating to your guests prior to your big day. It is not only a great way to show off some of your favorite engagement photos, but when constructed correctly should let guests know exactly what to expect for your wedding. Here are some of my top tips for putting together a website that not only looks good for viewers but will be useful to them as well (which is exactly why we spend so much time on these things anyways).  

Photo from Minted

Photo from Minted

  • Timing. When you're first engaged there are so many exciting things you want to do right away, but starting your website should not be one of them. Wait until you have key logistical information in place, such as your venue, hotel blocks, and gift registries, before hitting "publish." 
  • Let guests know what to expect. Your website is the place to elaborate on anything that requires a bit more of an explanation. Aside from the traditional timing, location, accommodations, and registries information, let guests know if there is anything out of the ordinary they should be prepared for, if they should consider wearing a certain type of shoe due to the terrain, if there will be transportation provided, etc. They will be grateful that you properly informed them beforehand and show up ready to have a good time. 
  • Keep it simple. There is nothing wrong with writing your love story, introducing your bridal party, or showing off your awesome engagement photos, but do it in a way that is not overwhelming for viewers. Most people will gladly glance through it, but keep in mind why they're there - to look for hotel information and where to buy you a gift. 
  • Budgeting tool. If you are looking for a way to spend less on your invitation suite consider utilizing your website to collect RSVPs. You will save by ditching the response card and the postage that goes along with it. Just be sure to include clear instructions on your invitation when the time comes. 
  • First impressions. While you may not be spending as much time thinking about your website as say your wedding dress, it is worth it to put some effort into creating one that looks good. Two of my personal favorite platforms are Squarespace and Minted for their simple designs that are polished and user friendly. 

I hope you found these tips helpful and, as always, if you need help constructing a wedding website or have questions about the process feel free to reach out! Oddly enough putting together a well-informed website is a task I truly enjoy (I'm a big fan of communication), and something I include in my services. 

ETSY BRIDESMAID GIFT ROUNDUP

I love a good Etsy find, but the amount of things you come across on there while planning your wedding can be overwhelming at times. Today I am sharing some ideas for bridesmaid gifts that have been lingering on my "Favorites" page for far too long...

ARIZONA FARM WEDDING + TIPS FOR PLANNING A WEDDING IN A NON-TRADITIONAL VENUE

My sister-in-law got married this past May on her fiancé's family farm, and she asked me early on in their engagement if I would help plan it. Seeing as I had hosted my own wedding in the middle of a field I definitely had some tips for planning a wedding in a non-traditional venue space (my absolute favorite!).  While her and her fiancé came up with the overall design concept and aesthetic for the event, I helped with a lot of the logistics, troubleshooting, and day-off coordination. Being in the wedding party as well ensured that our organization had to be on-point in order to execute each aspect of the day. 

Venue: Private family farm // Floral: Blume Events // Photographer: Kimberly Jarman // Bride & Bridesmaid Dresses: Allure from Wedding Belles Bridal Boutique // Caterer: Robert's Catering // Bakery: Robert's Catering // Rentals: PRO EM // DJ: Got You Covered 

So what exactly is a non-traditional venue? While there are plenty of ways to define the term, simply put it is a space that is not typically marketed towards weddings and often times will require you to bring in everything yourself. A good place to start when considering hosting your wedding in this type of environment is to begin thinking of locations that are meaningful to you, places you love, or simply a spot that inspires you - then go from there. While the sky really is the limit, some ideas can include schools, backyards, fields, private estates, galleries, lofts, museums, anywhere in nature, public parks, and so on. 

To someone who lacks experience throwing parties in a non-traditional setting, there can be a lot of hidden costs and a lot of additional planning involved. But what you will end up with is a completely unique event! Below are some of my top tips to help you begin the process:

  • Ask a lot of questions, then ask some more. When walking through potential wedding locations ask as many questions that you need to in order to understand what will be required of you to host your event there. Some non-traditional spaces have held weddings on their property before and should be able to give you the run-down. But in situations where you will be the first, be sure to reach out to as many people as you can. You do not want to select a venue without knowing exactly what you will need to bring in. 
  • Do your research. Permits, noise ordinances, and parking are good places to start. Look in to the possible city or county permits you may need for items such as food, alcohol, structures, and other general party or wedding permits. Just as important is being knowledgable of the local noise ordinance so you are able to stay within the limits (no ones wants a party to unexpetedly end early). And lastly, be sure to understand the logistics behind parking and transportation for guests.  
  • Know the additional costs involved. Often times couples are initially drawn to the concept of a non-traditional wedding because of the low up front costs, only to be met by unexpected expenses along the way. The key is to be aware of these potential expenses and how they align with your overall budget prior to selecting your venue. Depending on what your venue does or does not supply for you, things your may need to acquire can include event insurance, rentals, a generator, lighting, additional space for your caterer, a tent for weather purposes, and restrooms. Keep in mind this is only a general list and does not take in account specialty rentals items that will help bring your event design together.  
  • Pretend you are a guest. Once you understand the layout of your potential wedding venue, put yourself in your guests' shoes and mentally walk through your wedding day. From arrival to departure what will your guests be doing? How will they get from ceremony to cocktail hour to reception? What should they be wearing? What will they see? How will the leave at the end of the evening? Doing this type of visual exercise will not only give you a better understanding of the flow of your event, but it will also help you troubleshoot any potential problems. 
  • Hire a wedding planner. You saw this one coming from a mile away. But in all seriousness hiring an experienced professional will help you navigate everything mentioned above, and in doing so allow you to enjoy the process rather than get burnt out from it. Hosting a wedding in a non-traditional space is a ton of FUN, but there is also plenty of confusion that comes along with it. A wedding planner is sure to help you in the process! 

I hope these tips are useful to you as you begin planning for your non-traditional event space! Weddings that pose logistical challenges are what my planning and designing dreams are made of, so if you find yourself in need of help or simply have questions about hosting your wedding in a non-traditional venue feel free to reach out! 

DESTINATION WEDDING WELCOME PARTY

My friends officially get married in some of the coolest places, and that was definitely the case for Kelly and Shane. The two of them are a couple of adventure seekers, so it came as no surprise when they announced they would be tying the knot in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Seeing as they were planning a destination wedding they decided to add some other activities to the weekend as well, giving guests multiple opportunities to enjoy their time in Wyoming. Kelly knew I was starting up my event planning company and asked if I would be interested in helping her and Shane coordinate their welcome party. Um, YES PLEASE! 

The welcome party was held at the sweetest venue called The Old Wilson School House Community Center, which was perfect for an event like this. While Kelly herself did all of the upfront planning, once I arrived in Jackson Hole I arranged the flowers for her, managed vendor arrivals, got everything set up prior to the party, and made sure the the evening went according to plan. 

There was a selfie station, games, live music, local brews, and some of the best food from the Cafe Genevieve Food Truck.  (And cute puppy appearances too.)   

The evening was filled with a whole lot of love and smiling faces everywhere. Guests definitely left having had a good time! This party was a perfect match to Kelly and Shane's fun loving and energetic personalities. I was extremely honored to help out and make the weekend all the more memorable for the two of them. If you are in need of help planning a smaller event like a wedding welcome party, feel free to reach out

JADE & JOSH SAGUARO LAKE ENGAGEMENT SESSION

Not everyone feels like a natural in front of the camera, (although you wouldn't think that of these two with one look at their photos) which is why I always encourage couples to have an engagement session with their photographer prior to their big day. You get a chance to get those nerves out, you receive beautiful images to celebrate this exciting time, and ultimately you're giving yourself the opportunity to become comfortable with the one person you will be spending A LOT of time with on your wedding day. It's a win-win all around!

The photographs below are of one of my couples, Jade and Josh, who are getting married this New Year's Eve. I could not be more excited to work along side these two and help bring their vision to life. Their photographer, Denise Karis, captured the most beautiful engagement photos of them at Saguaro Lake during their session together, and I'm proudly showing off a few of them as I countdown to NYE. 

Towards the end of their session a few wild horses passed through the area making for some amazing photos with them in the background. Jade and Josh, you guys look incredibly happy and I cannot wait for your wedding to get here! 

THE FARM AT SOUTH MOUNTAIN WEDDING

Last fall I had the pleasure of helping Anne and Mark plan their wedding at The Farm at South Mountain. The two of them moved to Utah during their engagement causing them to finish up their planning from afar. I worked closely with Anne and her mother to bring everything together in the last few months leading up to their big day.  

When it came time for the ceremony, Anne and Mark enjoyed their moment despite the uncooperative weather and rain. Anne was prepared with the cutest clear umbrella; I think the photo of her and her father walking down the aisle with it is so endearing! 

Of course the rain did eventually stop and a rainbow appeared shortly after the ceremony. Their photographer was able to capture a picture of the two of them with it in the background - awesome, right! This wedding was exciting to work on in so many different ways and such a pleasure to watch how genuinely happy Anne and Mark were throughout the evening. 

Venue: The Farm At South Mountain // Floral: Petals and Lucy // Photographer: Photographic Passion // Caterer: Santa Barbara Catering Company // Bakery: Honeymoon Sweets // Band: Topkat Music 

INTRODUCTION PART II

As mentioned in my previous post, this second part to my introduction will focus on our wedding (which you can see even more of here) and the planning that went into it. Looking back on that time I can say with certainty that everything I learned (both good and bad) was the foundation to starting a career in wedding planning and design. After all, my experience will certainly benefit anyone who hires me!

Eric proposed two days before Christmas in 2011 and it was a surprise in every sense of the word. Despite my discovery of Pinterest at that point I really did not have too many ideas for a wedding. The only thing we knew we wanted was to be married outdoors and in a nontraditional location. So after a couple months of simply just soaking in the moment, he and I asked permission from his grandparents to host our wedding in the middle of a field on their dairy farm. We decided to give ourselves a comfortable amount of time to plan the wedding and enjoy our engagement, so we committed to the following spring. Once we had the date and location picked I got to work carefully selecting vendors and honing in on our vision.

It was often difficult to explain my ideas to potential vendors – some immediately understood what I was going for, others probably thought I was crazy. While we were getting married on a farm I did not want guests to feel like they were on a farm. I was hesitant to use the word “rustic” to describe anything, but I did want some rustic touches here and there. Confusing, right? My goal was to keep things simple and elegant while still paying homage to the farm’s aesthetic and our location.

I quickly learned the logistical challenges of getting married in the middle of a field. I also learned the importance of prioritizing your desires while staying in line with your budget. Aside from things looking nice and people having a memorable time, our main priorities were hiring our dream photographer, our invitation suite, and our reception table design.

We wanted our memories to last with awesome photographs, and they surely did not disappoint thanks to Kimberly Jarman and her team. We wanted our invitations to give guests a good first impression of our event and communicate that while this wedding was to be held on a farm, it was not going to be overly casual. So we opted for simple yet classic letterpress save the dates and invitations that I LOVED (but still kick myself for forgetting to bring day-of to get some detailed shots of). And lastly, we wanted our reception tables to have elegant linens, place settings, and chairs juxtaposed against the more casual dinner we were serving.  In our minds it was part of the fun of bringing two different worlds together.

I really wanted to work with a full-service wedding planner from the start but never ended up hiring one – something I regret to this day. Between balancing my first year of teaching to ultimately not wanting to give up control I just didn’t make it happen. Towards the end of planning I became extremely burnt out trying to manage everything myself, and many things which were once important to me were left out or simply forgotten. I did hire a coordinator to help me in the last month leading up to our wedding, but there were so many details I lost sight of towards the end that my vision did not come together 100%. To top it off there were let-downs from a few of our vendors. Some design plans did not coming through how I had imagined and a handful of contracts were not fulfilled correctly; there were plenty of issues I didn't have the time to troubleshoot day-of or the foresight to be prepared for in the first place. While I have a lot of fond memories of our wedding day, I still look back with some regret because of how difficult it was to manage everything on my own.

Overall, our day was amazing, the weather working in our favor, everyone had a blast and we still have people complement us to this day (something I am extremely grateful for), but in the back of my mind I know things were not executed the way I had envisioned and I really have no one to blame but myself. However, I do know that while I still wish I had hired a planner from the very beginning, I now have so much knowledge and experience from our wedding that I can apply to any event I work on…especially ones with some, um, challenges.