JENNY & ADAM'S ARIZONA OUTDOOR WEDDING

Jenny & Adam were married on a perfect Arizona fall afternoon. Everything about their outdoor ceremony and reception was pure magic, and captured perfectly by Tasha Brady Photography. They were such a fun-loving and easy-going couple who simply just wanted to get married and enjoy the celebration - and celebrate they did! I cannot rave enough about these two and found so much joy working along side them. Jenny and Adam, while I hope your marriage is even more beautiful than your wedding day was, I must say we put together quite the fete! xoxo

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USING PINTEREST TO HELP PLAN YOUR WEDDING VISION

Pinterest is one of those love/hate relationships in the wedding world. On one hand you don’t want to reproduce every image you see out there, but on the other it is a great starting point for gathering inspiration and ideas. When I was engaged I absolutely loved Pinterest (and my now-husband hated it) and was constantly wondering how people planned their weddings without it. I am sure there are plenty of brides out there who feel the same way and find themselves using the platform to define their wedding vision. If that happens to be you, and you’ve discussed your priorities with your fiance first and thought through your wedding budget, then read some of my tips below on how to get started using Pinterest to help define the look and feel for your event.

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START PINNING

Either start pinning images you love or start looking through what you already have pinned. If you’ve been gathering images for years and just recently got engaged then you may find your tastes have changed and developed. This may be a good time to go through your boards and delete images that no longer speak to you and begin gathering ones that do.

USE WEDDING BLOGS

Aside from pinning images directly from Pinterest take some time to go through your favorite wedding blogs and pin from there. Or better yet, go to those blogs’ Pinterest accounts and start following their boards. Some of my favorites are Style Me Pretty, Once Wed, Southern Weddings, Green Wedding Shoes, and 100 Layer Cake.

FIND THE COMMON DENOMINATORS

Set aside some time to go through your pins and look for similarities and themes. The more cohesive they are the better. You may find that you’re attracted to specific colors, textures, outdoor settings over indoor, dress silhouettes, etc. These commonalities can start to form the overall look and feel for your event, and knowing what you’re drawn to will help you communicate with your vendors or potential vendors.

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DON'T GET STUCK

It’s important to not become fixated on one particular image, pose, flower, bouquet, dress, etc. in your Pinterest boards. You want to figure out what it is you are drawn to overall and use that as inspiration to craft your wedding day, not copy it. If you can see your inspiration images as the “big picture” and trust your vendors to bring that to life you will be amazed at what is created.  

THEN, STOP PINNING

This is a hard one! But at some point you need to stop looking at Pinterest or else you’ll start to feel overwhelmed with the amount of ideas that are out there. When you’ve honed-in on your vision and are confident in the direction your design is going in, just. say. no.  

Personally, I believe in finding inspiration in other areas of life as well, whether that’s a book, being outdoors, or simply letting ideas come to you naturally. But you can’t deny Pinterest is a valuable platform! You can see how I use it to visually organize all the pretty things I come across on a daily basis!

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ANNIE & JARED'S FALL ROYAL PALMS WEDDING

You may recall the sweet Mount Lemmon engagement session I shared of these two, and I'm happy to be back with their beautiful fall wedding at The Royal Palms. Lexi Moody Photography captured Annie and Jared's day perfectly, making sure to emphasize all the special details they poured their hearts into for their wedding. The day was studded with navy and copper accents, Arizona inspired florals and succulents, family heirlooms, and a just-right amount of do-it-yourself elements (hello, table numbers!) that perfectly complimented the aesthetic of the their venue.  It was such a pleasure working with them to make sure each of these elements came together. Annie and Jared, thank you again for letting me be a part of your wedding day. You two are one-of-a-kind! xoxo 

Reception Venue: Royal Palms Resort and Spa // Ceremony Venue: Redemption Church Arcadia // Planning: Wild One Events // Photography: Lexi Moody Photography // Floral: Butterfly Petals // Invitations: Minted // Caligraphy & Signage: Freed Hands // Hair: Harley Ann Artistry / Makeup: Heather N Artistry  / DJ: Got You Covered

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WEDDING BUDGET TIPS

So you have come up with your wedding budget, the funds have been allocated across the board, and you’re ready to start planning (and purchasing) away! Let me be the first to congratulate you on reaching this point as I see so many people jump into wedding planning without truly understanding how much they have to spend. Couples who do this will face a lot of frustration later on down the road because they don’t set financial limits and expectations from the beginning. Check out my previous post on what to discuss once you're engaged to help set you in the right direction!

Now, if you are ready to roll I want to share a few budgeting tips with you. I think anyone can benefit from keeping these pointers in mind regardless of how much they have to spend on their wedding day. 

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KEEP A CUSHION FUND

Having a small reserve of your budget set aside for those “just in case” scenarios is always wise. You can be extremely pro-active with your budget and situations will still come up that nickel and dime you along the way - it’s inevitable. Of course having a wedding planner in your corner will help avoid a lot of these financial annoyances, but I still advocate for a small cushion fund to ease the blow in case something unexpected does happen.

INVESTIGATE REWARDS CREDIT CARDS

I’m by no means telling you to go into debt for your wedding day! But if you and your fiancé have set your financial limit and are responsible enough to pay things off as you go, then I highly recommend looking into a credit card with great travel benefits. The points you accumulate during your engagement can go towards your honeymoon airfare and that is a huge savings.

Not only can you make your vendor deposits and payments with the credit card, you can put other wedding related expenses on there as well. I was recently at a bachelorette party and one of our girlfriends on the trip was planning her wedding. She would pay for all of our meals and outings on her card (to get the points) and we would immediately divide the check and venmo her our share so she could pay it off. By the end of the trip we were all shouting, “For the points!” each time a waiter brought us our bill. It was hysterical but also a great financial move on her part!

SELECT A VENUE THAT DOESN'T BREAK THE BANK (So you can splurge elsewhere!)

In general, your venue, food, and beverage total should be no more than 50 percent of your overall budget. If the cost of a particular venue is going to blow the majority of your budget then you’ll inevitably have other areas that are financially neglected. I suggest keeping an open mindset during your venue search; with the right amount of preparation and vision you can transform a space into something completely unique and beautiful.

If you’re hosting an at-home or private estate wedding and don’t have a traditional venue cost you won’t necessarily be spending less, your budget will just be allocated a little differently to make up for the amenities and services a traditional venue supplies. While you don’t always save money going this route it does add a wonderful personal element to your day. Weddings at home or in unique spaces are always some of my favorites to work on with my clients!

I hope you find these wedding budget pointers to be helpful as you set out on your planning journey. As always, feel free to reach out if you are in need of wedding planning services! I love helping couples allocate their budgets!

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THE FIRST THREE THINGS TO DO ONCE YOU'RE ENGAGED

Congratulations! You're engaged and everything about life just got a lot more exciting. The first thing you need to do is pour yourself your drink of choice and enjoy this special time before you get your gears turning about wedding plans too much. Tell friends and family, have an engagement party, stare at your beautiful new ring for hours, however it is you want to celebrate I think you should celebrate away.  

Once you've got that taken care of I'm sure there will be a million things running through your mind. Often times I see couples jumping into planning worrying about the wrong things first. Trust me when I say this will lead to some frustration later on down the road, and I want to help you avoid that at all costs.

Below are three topics to discuss from the very beginning of the process that will set you up for success for the remainder of your engagement. They do this because they create a solid foundation for your wedding day and help navigate the many other decisions to follow. So here is where I suggest beginning...

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DISCUSS YOUR PRIORITIES TOGETHER

I think before you begin anything you and your fiancé should sit down and have a real discussion about what you would like out of your wedding. What are your goals for your wedding? How do you want it to feel? How do you want your guests to feel? etc. Being open and candid about the "big picture" of your wedding day will help you define some priorities, and these priorities along with other things like the budget (more on that in a minute) will guide you through your entire planning planning process.

My suggestion is to come up with your "Top Three" priorities and keep those at the forefront of the decisions you make throughout planning. If you come to a roadblock down the line and you're having trouble deciding between two options, analyze which one is in line with your original priorities and go from there.

DISCUSS YOUR WEDDING BUDGET

Planning a wedding is an emotional process and dealing with money can be a stressful process, so the more you outline from the beginning the easier it is to keep your emotions under control.

It is likely that the money you have to spend on your wedding will be coming from multiple sources. Whether that be you and your fiancé, family members, parents, etc., you need to have a clear understanding of the amount you will be budgeting regardless of where the money is coming from. If you and your fiancé are contributing make sure you come together on a number you are comfortable with and set that limit. Talk with the family members who will be contributing or paying and be clear on what you will be working with. Once you have had the necessary discussions and the budget has been set you can then move forward allocating those funds.

DISCUSS YOUR GUEST LIST

The last major topic to cover after you get engaged is your guest list. Having a clear sense of the number of guests you will be inviting is extremely helpful (and probably necessary) before you move forward with other tasks like finding a venue. Some things to consider are:

  • Roughly how many guests will be coming from your side vs. your finance's side? 
  • The type of atmosphere and ambiance you would like to create. Big party vs. intimate gathering, etc.
  • Will you be allowing plus ones? Children?
  • Of those potential guests how many are in-town vs. out-of-town?

Knowing a number of potential guests is important information from the very beginning. It can be a frustrating task, but remember to stick to your original priorities and invite people who you want to join in on the celebration with you, not just those you feel you “have to” invite. Once you have your rough draft list begin collecting addresses and other important information so you aren’t rushing to gather all of it right when you calligrapher or stationer needs them for your invitations.

I can promise you that if these three topics are discussed from the get go (and you stick to your decisions!) you will feel better prepared to tackle everything else that comes along with planning a wedding. And needless to say, once you have a clear sense of your priorities, budget, and guest list size it’s also a perfect time to hire a wedding planner!

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