Paul’s Dirty Thirty White Trash Bash

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My love turned thirty this past weekend, so it only made sense that I would throw a themed party in his honor.  And what better way to celebrate my favorite southern gentleman, than to surround him with all things ‘Merica? Bring on the camo, red solo cups, and PBR!!!  This is how we pulled off Paul’s Dirty Thirty White Trash Bash!!

imageFirst of all, there was the matter of inspiration.  I saw an Instagram post I did last 4th of July about this locally brewed beer from a brewery down the street from us.  However, there is nothing that screams ‘Merica quite like PBR.  It also happens to be one of Paul’s favorite suds.  I still think PBR stands for “Paul Beer Drinkin’ Roney.”  Long before hipsters took to the blue ribbon winning beer–a newly minted 21 year old, boot cut jeans-wearing bartender named Paul, pounded the American ale by the six pack. Although he hates that his favorite go-to has become a fad for the young and black rimmed glasses type, he loves that at most bars, a can still averages at about $2.50.  So, it all started with a PBR—

I immediately tasked Paul and his brother; Matt to drinking a case…for the sake of decoration of course.  One drunken night, a wire wreath shell, and a glue gun provided me with this beauty:

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Ain’t she purdy?  My aluminum art wasn’t the only thing that was made from the brothers Roney and their PBR binge.

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This guy was the inspiration for these guys:

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I like to think that it adds a little something special…a feminine touch so to speak.  A little hemp string, a tight sailor’s knot, and a few of the poor man’s rose (carnations) and our redneck window treatment was complete!

Last year, I even made an entire 4 tiered birthday cake for Paul out of PBR!  Dang it…I wish I had held off for this year.

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I found this camo burlap at Walmart in the hunting section, while I was searching for a camo shirt to wear to the party. Duck blind camouflage?  How about table cloth?!!  It turned out to be my favorite find!  At a little more than $15, I finally found a tablecloth big enough to fit our custom farmhouse table, even for just a night.  *Ok, we may or may not still have this on our table out of sheer laziness.

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I added wooden table signs made of roofing nails and barn wood, camo paper products, and PBR drinking glasses to complete my themed tablescape.  Paul’s NASCAR flag provided that certain je ne sais quoi that really pulled the room together.

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My mother instilled in me from a very early age that you should always be ready to entertain.  That means that the house is always tidy, you always have a bottle of wine handy, and guests never go hungry as long as they are in your company. This mentality also conditions you to really listen to your friends and family about their particular likes and dislikes.  For instance, I know that the Roney boys like their M&Ms in peanut and almond form, my mother needs a minimum of 2 good bottles of cabernet, and my Georgia Southern buddies need a steady stream of chocolate milk, Powerade, Pepto, and Tums when they come to town.  I keep these stocked.  Chances are, if you’ve told me something is your favorite–I’ve got a stash somewhere.  That being said, I had a menu brewing as soon as we set our theme.

I started out by having Paul whip up a batch of his spicy chili, which paired well with the jalapeno cornbread whoopie pies with the goat cheese and chive filling.  Thank you Pinterest!  Some peach bourbon BBQ meatballs in the crockpot and various chili fixins weren’t hard to whip up in a flash.  Just don’t do what I did and forget to turn the crockpot on until the party started…

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I also bought a keg.  I know, I know.  When was the last time you threw a keggar?  I’m pretty sure I was 22…  That being said, the PBR did flow and beer pong was played.

As we all know, you can’t have a party without a cake.  Paul’s favorite is Boston Creme Pie, and it should be known that last year, the two of us got drunk on Duck Dynasty wine (oh yeah, that’s a real thing) and decided to attempt to bake one. It looked like this:

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I mean…this is why you don’t ever drink and bake.  However, this year, I had a little more time to research how to…well, make the filling stay in place.  The trick?  Hollow out the top of the bottom layer and load it up with the filling.  This minimizes the “ooze factor” and prevents the above from happening.  This year, Paul’s birthday cake looked like this:

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In an attempt to provide snacks in multiple locations around the house, I set up s’more stations around the deck so people could roast their own marshmallows.  Again, thank you Pinterest!  This was such a crowd pleaser!!  Who would’ve thought that a tin foil-lined terra cotta pot plus hot charcoal would provide so much entertainment and joy?  Brilliant I tell you!

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And finally, I really went all out with my theme.  Bathrooms are no exception.  I particularly enjoy sprucing up a powder room with fresh flowers, candles, Poo-pouri, and yes, we have a bathroom guest book.  I really committed this time though.  No southern household is complete without a Mason jar soap dispensar (my mom got me one from an antique market).  And nothing says “redneck” like an outhouse.

Before you panic, I didn’t actually have an outhouse erected for the sake of the party!  Though, a fancy pants port-o-potty would have been hilarious.  I opted to turn our downstairs bathroom into one though:

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Hope you enjoyed this hillbilly happy birthday post and I’m so blessed to get to share in all of the many milestone birthdays with Paul!  Sugar, you think 30 was themed…just wait til 40!!  XOXO–Kori

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Pinterest Purge

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Pinterest.

There was a time…not so long ago, when girls planned weddings without having a million pins at their fingertips.  There was a time, when we planned weddings based on original ideas of our own.  We had never heard of burlap wrapped anything, and once we had our mind set on a color/theme…it stayed there.  Those were simpler times.

Nowadays, we have the one board (or secret board) with 2,400 pins labeled “One Day” or “Fairytale Wedding” and that’s where I’m gonna stop you.

As a planner, I love Pinterest.  I love seeing what’s on trend for the whole party planning industry and more often times than not, I get those “my, that is so cute” ideas from a pin tucked away in a board called “Genius”.  But, Pinterest is also a wedding planner’s nightmare.  I can’t tell you how many brides I have met that want me to plan their wedding and upon arrival, I am given access to the prized bridal board.  And there I sit…for hours…  My eyes, bloodshot, I usually come away with confusion and a migraine. Does she really want peacock feathers in the bridesmaid’s hair, but also wants a blush and gold palette? And what is with that Spiderman figurine peeking out of the wedding cake about?  Oh wait…she pinned EVERY thing she thought was cute for the past 3 years?  I need a shot of bourbon.

Knowing this and feeling an impending burning between my temples at planning my own Pinterest-aided wedding, I knew I needed to go into this with a game plan.  So, here are my 5 tips for keeping your sanity while pinning–

1. Pin til your heart’s content: For the first week/month of your engagement, feel free to pin until you pass out.  You like that chalkboard menu? Pin it!  That pair of Kate Spade shoes?  The $600 Manolos?  What about the diamond encrusted Yves Saint Laurents?  Pin, pin, pin!  Pin everything!  And then…

2. PURGE: Take one theme.  One color palette.  And if it doesn’t fit–purge it.

3. Organize through sub boards: I decided to take a super organised approach to pinning from early on.  Every category of a wedding had it’s own secret board.  “Let them eat cake” focused on all sorts of sugary confections, while “Say yes to the dress” had everything from dresses, to shoes, to veils.  This helped to manage the influx of pins without overwhelming me.  It’s also a hell of a lot easier to find things.

4. Recruit: I have noticed that sometimes, no matter how organised you are, when it comes to the wedding planning, you might need a little outside influence.  Even the most professional of planners need some reeling in from time to time, and that’s where implementing a “purge person” is key.  I enlisted my future sister-in-law; Nicole to peruse through my pins with me and junk things.  Sometimes it just takes a little outside perspective.  Make sure that your purge person can be objective and sees your vision the way you see it.

5. Check off your list:  As you get through your sub boards and start making concrete decisions, make a board with your names and the wedding date.  After each major decision is made, add those pins to this board and erase your sub board one by one.  By the end, you will be left with one cohesive, beautiful board!

I hope that helped, it sure helped me!  I also found this article in the Huffington Post to be quite enjoyable in relation to pinning.  And just remember, that when you meet your planner for the first time, to not overwhelm them with your pins.  Anything over 250 pins in one board is borderline out of control!

Popping the question…Will you be my maid?

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Now that you have had time to mull over the seemingly impossible decision of who to put in your wedding party (check out this link for some helpful hints), it’s time to get asking!

I love a good craft project any day, so this was just another way to show my appreciation, excitement and mad crazy spray adhesive skills!  I’ve included a few of the cutest ways to ask your maids to stand beside you, as well as my own Kate Spade themed surprise!

b91f3ea489266d2c72306c2b0c0b474eIf you got engaged around the holidays, think about sending personalized ornaments for the tree.  I wish I had seen this earlier to be honest!

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BHLDN has the prettiest things that make this girly girl’s heart melt!  These adorable balloon pop-the-question maid cards are only $14 and add the perfect amount of feminine whimsy.  This site carries tons of beautiful things for you and your maids!  I would highly recommend checking out their site, or a store if you’re lucky enough to live near one of their 7 locations (which unfortunately, I do not).  Don’t think that I haven’t thought about a road trip to Chestnut Hill, Massachussetts…

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And don’t forget a card!  For my bridesmaids, I hand wrote little cards with a sentiment that ranged from heart felt to hysterical.  One of my favorites that I found: I need someone to make sure I don’t ugly cry at my wedding.  That would be you; MOH!  (and if you say no, I will ugly cry right here, right now.)  I found a bunch of adorable cards on MarryGrams‘ Etsy page.  Who wouldn’t say yes to this adorable card?

43f9fdac89fab2952295d752e82be669For my own, it started with a box.  I found these chic Kate Spade nesting boxes at Paper Affair when I was shopping for a bride last summer.  At the time, the boxes were being sold as a set or individually, so I picked up a few of these polka dotted ones for a great price!  Originally purchased as odds and ends boxes for my office, after I got engaged and settled on my three lovely maids, I found that these boxes would make the perfect vessel for my bridesmaids’ surprises.  Kate Spade became the theme (because what I love even more than a good spray adhesive is a great theme) and I began perusing Pinterest for the rest.

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8a8e29a8712e0d8dc7e8c17d47365056With the inspiration in place, I decided to pull a couple of my favorite things to make a bubbly gift for my bridesmaids.   What you need to re-create this:

  1. Champagne flute. I bought mine from Crate and Barrel.
  2. Pack of paper straws. You can find these anywhere, but my Target polka dot straws did the trick.
  3. Wooden clothespins.
  4. Black card stock.
  5. Gold paint pen, I used a white one.
  6. Gold glitter.
  7. Spray adhesive.

*A trick to using the spray adhesive: clip the clothespins to a coat hanger, spray them, then dip them into a solo cup of glitter until coated.

I added a mini bottle of my favorite champagne (now would be a good time to glitter those bottles like I showed you in my last post) and a Kate Spade-inspired pad of paper to jot down any wonderful wedding ideas!

I’m so happy that the ladies I chose will be there standing with me on my big day, as they have since the day I met each of them.  They deserve to be pampered and praised!

And lest we forget, your groom can get in the action too!

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Though Paul is more of a staple gun craftsman and not so much a glue gun crafter like myself, he is no stranger to being “iced”.  He went the more traditional route when it came to asking his groomsmen to be a part of our wedding party (face to face, beer-in-hand conversation), I found this on Pinterest and thought it was too cute not to share!

Have a wonderful weekend and stay warm!  Next week, I’ll give you a glimpse into our engagement photos and how we went about picking our photographer.

Start the day with a smile and end it with champagne…

Happy New Year’s Eve y’all!

New Year’s resolution time.  In addition to the obligatory “I’m gonna eat clean and workout every day” promise that I make to myself on a yearly basis, I am adding “blog more” to my string of resolutions.  Blog more, sleep more, drink less…beer (I’ll never give up on my champagne and wine), manicure more, cook more, clean more…  I’ll be happy if I can commit to at least two of those.  So, in a show of good faith to the “blog more” resolution, I give you a New Year’s Eve installment of Wedding Wednesday!

Our topic today?  GLITTER.  (Men everywhere just died a little inside).

My best friend Brett says that glitter is the bane of his existence.  It should be known that at any given time, there is glitter on some part of my personal space.  Currently, my deck and my entire office is covered in a light film of red, green, and gold glitter.  It’s like a Christmas stripper elf exploded all over the place.  I have a very understanding fiance and boss.

I am a product of my late grandmother Edna and her proclivity toward glitz, glam, and glitter.  The woman had rhinestone encrusted Ferregamos in her closet and diamonds in her watches.  She and my grandfather ran Crye Jewelers in downtown Richmond, Indiana when I was a kid.  I would spend Christmas visits behind the sparkling counters watching her interacting with her customers.  It’s probably one of the few places that I recall being able to sit still for hours on end; just watching.  She instilled this love for sequins, dress up, and make believe.  I never saw my grandmother without her “face” on, and though I show up to work often times without an ounce of concealer or mascara, I do adore my chances to be fancy.  And glitter just does that for me.  It reminds me of Christmas lights, jewelry counters, and the sequined embellishments that adorned all of my presents from my grandmother.  I can only imagine that she would love everything about throwing a wedding these days and that she would approve of the following list of glittery gorgeousness!

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First off is this amazing wedding dress!  It’s just the right amount of sparkle without being overkill.  I love the bedazzled bodice and how it looks as though there is a shower or sequins raining down all of those ethereal layers of tulle.

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And don’t forget about your maids!  As you’ll see later this year, my girlfriends will be decked out in Gatsby-inspired gowns with just the right amount of head to toe sequiny goodness.  This dress with the cowl neck draping in the back is one of my favorites that I’ve seen lately.  The only thing to remember when putting your girls in sequins, is that they can rub under your arms and can sometimes be very uncomfortable.  But, then again…sometimes a little discomfort is the price of beauty right?

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My favorite trend that I’ve been seeing will also be making a cameo at my own Fall wedding this year.  It is the sequined table cloth.

Whether it’s for a head table or a sugary sweet cake display, I think just a small pop of glitz is enough to make your event extra special.

Of course, you can ask anyone who knows me—I am a champagne kind of girl.  I won’t get into my love affair with the bubbly, but let’s just say, if there’s champs involved, I’m all about it.  You can bet that the following ideas will be a must at bachelorette/wedding morning festivities for me and my girls:

champagneEdible, glitter-rimmed glasses of champagne.  Oh my heavens!  I had a go at making edible glitter while babysitting once, which is actually pretty easy.  Just set your oven to 350 degrees, mix 1/4 C of sugar and 1/2 tsp of your favorite color, bake on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet for 10 minutes, and voila!  A little sugar rim, a little champs, a strawberry, and a paper straw…just lovely.

© 2013 | Haley Sheffield | www.haleysheffield.com

Glitter

My Flirty Thirty was glitter themed…

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Christmas Champs!

I am also a huge fan of glittering bottles of champagne.  Please refer to the above mentioning of my glitter bombed office space–needless to say, my workmates were ever so happy to get these little babies for Christmas this year.  Just a can of spray adhesive, some glitter, and a bottle (about $7 for a cheap bottle).  I first came across this idea when I was putting together a bachelorette party for my friend Kristin.  Ever since, it has been my favorite go-to gift!

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Finally, I am all about a grand exit.  Fireworks provide the ultimate sparkle factor, but I’m in love with these DIY confetti poppers.  I saw them in Anthropologie retailing at $12/push pop.  Naturally, I took that as a challenge and bought my own supplies for these guys (for less). I will show you how to make them in a blog later down the line.  Brett, get ready!  I feel like your glitter nightmares may come true come November 😉

I hope that this post brought a little sparkle to your New Years!  Everyone have a wonderful and safe NYE and look forward to many more Wedding Wednesdays in 2015!!

Cheers!

Kori

Say “I do” to the venue!

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I would like to begin by begging for forgiveness in shirking my responsibilities of a timely bridal blog post.  I know what you’re thinking…”how can you already be slacking on your blog?!  You only have THREE posts!!!”  I could say that I got swamped at work, or that wedding planning has consumed my entire being…but that would be a lie.  And I won’t lie to you.  I will however, vow to give you a new post every week until my wedding day.  Even if the weeks leading up to the big “I dos” are posts that consist mainly of me in various stages of stress; ranging from giddy jumping around in my wedding shoes, to binge eating Talenti from the carton, to sobbing in a corner surrounded by boxes of wedding decorations. I promise.  Forgive me?

Ok, good.  With that being said, here is the blog that I have had sitting on my computer for a month…waiting…

The first vendor that we secured for our wedding was our venue.  And to be honest, I think it’s the most frustrating while also being one of the most important.  Within days of our engagement I began inquiring all over the Roswell/Alpharetta area about pricing and availability.  As I have been compared to an over excited terrier in the wedding planning aspect, it was fitting that I would arrive home, armed with copious pages (18) of research.  My future husband is a saint.

Sidenote: I grew up in Roswell.  Long before there was Mac Mcgee‘s with it’s signature red porch, I was having a pre-prom meal at Pastis .  Before there was Osteria Mattone, I gushed at Fratelli’s with friends about a 6th grade, Osteria’s Ryan Pernice, and his performance in the Pirates of Penzance .  The Roswell Mill was a place where my best friend Kelley and I would go exploring on lazy Sundays between Weird Club meetings.  And every Saturday, Founder’s Hall was dripping in tulle and served as the castle where Princesses married their Prince Charmings.  Relocating back to Roswell, though not entirely by choice, was the best move I ever made.  The landscape has changed a little and the restaurants along Canton Street are trendier, but I still maintain that some of the most beautiful weddings still take place in historic Roswell.  So, naturally, that’s where I began.

I knew that I wanted to get married in Roswell, surrounded by the memories and places of my childhood.  I knew I wanted to get ready in my parents’ bathroom with the family dog; Maverick watching us from his perch on my mom’s bed.  But most importantly, I wanted to get married somewhere that was within walking distance of Canton Street so that Paul and I could continue celebrating late into the wee hours with our guests.  Having the general location in mind helped a lot in narrowing down our venue possibilities.  I began scouring the websites of Founder’s Hall, Naylor Hall, and the Roswell Mill.  Comparing prices and calculating how many champagne soaked steps it would take for my guests to walk to Canton Street.

Then, my future sister in-law derailed me.

Nicole was the first person that I began divulging my wedding plans to.  She is my Pinterest Police, which means monitoring that my boards don’t get too overwhelming (another post for another day).   And despite having only known each other for a year, I feel like she really gets me.  So, of course she would send me a link to the perfect venue.

Summerour Studio.

The moment that I clicked the link, I fell in love with this Atlanta-based space.  It was a little rustic, but had an industrial feel about it.  And that staircase!  Quickly, my vision started shifting to a swanky, downtown affair…until I saw the price.  My heart fell out of my butt when I saw the rental fees.  With the average rental rate being a whopping $3,000-4,500, my dream venue was turning into just that; a dream.  If I were a little younger and a little dumber, I would have booked it and began slicing everything else to the bare bones.  Flowers?  What flowers?  Cake? Little Debbies for everyone!!  Back to square one.

Feeling a little dejected, I found myself curled up in bed, absent mindedly perusing venues on Wedding Wire.  I scrolled from one to another, each space a little less impressive than the next.  The venue I clicked on last caused me to turn off the episode of The Real Housewives of Orange County I was watching (don’t judge me).  TURN OFF!  There it was, a venue in Roswell that I’d never seen before!  Nestled between Diesel Pizzeria and an antique store, off of Alpharetta Street, is a white, nondescript event space.  A space that I have driven past a million times.  The Roswell Historic Cottage.  Right in the heart of downtown Roswell.  At half of the cost of Summerour, I could have my rustic meets industrial space, with a double staircase, within walking distance of Canton Street!  It took me about 2 hours to set a meeting with Mahi and only 5 minutes at the venue to decide that this was the place I would marry Paul.

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I mean…how could I not?

The venue includes all tables and chairs, as well as valet parking.

So, let’s see how we’re doing in the Bridal Budget Breakdown:

With $6,240 set aside for the venue space, rentals, and food.

-$1,800 rental of facility, -$150 Cleanup, -$200 Police officer =$2,150

That leaves us with $4,090 for food and miscellaneous rentals (tableclothes and glasses).

What I have learned about booking your venue is that there is no need to binge blow your budget on the first space that catches your eye.  The right venue will capture your heart AND fit within your means.

At the end of the day, I could marry Paul in our home office, surrounded by my Harry Potter collection and various pieces of Georgia Southern football memorabilia.  At the heart of it, it’s so easy to get lost in the planning and lose sight of what this day is really about.  I’ve watched many brides, myself included, fall into this trap.  It’s important to have someone there to remind you that this is just one day (I know, easier said than done) and it will be over before you know it.  It took me years to let those words sink in.  So remember that whether it’s in a bar, a courthouse, or a fancy country club– it will all melt into the background when you see the person you love, waiting to promise their forever to you, nothing else matters.

***As karma for not posting in a month, I tried saving this and coming back to it (after spending my entire lunch break editing) only to lose it entirely. Twice. Lesson learned blogger gods, lesson learned.

It’s a Date!

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November 20, 2015 we will officially become Mr. and Mrs. Paul Roney!

While closing your eyes and pointing to a random day on the calendar seems great in theory, picking the date of your wedding is a methodical, time consuming process.  From the time of year to the day of the week, the date of your wedding will determine a lot of the details that go into creating your personal fairy tale.  Don’t fret, I’m here to help though.  I’ve compiled a list of things to factor in when deciding your wedding date, plus a few things that weighed heavily in our own decision for our November nuptials:

Season: With 4 different seasons, you have a myriad of themes and color schemes to choose from.  Sweet tea bourbon popsicles during the cocktail hour for those hot summer weddings or a hot chocolate bar with Bailey’s and Kahlua floaters to keep your guests warm and cozy during a winter wedding.  How do you choose?!  Obviously, the first thing to do is to think about your favorite seasons and come up with those corresponding 3 months.  *I’m a sucker for all things Fall (pumpkin spice lattes, falling leaves, and leather boots), so we went with September, October, and November.  It is important to know that the most popular wedding months are: June, August, and September with October becoming a newer favorite.  The least popular (or what I refer to as the “dead months”) are: January, March, and December with February close on their heels.  That being said, you might spend more on a wedding during the most popular months, while you could grab a venue for significantly less during an off season month.  Also, take into consideration the temperatures in your area during these months.  For instance, Georgia in the summer is all one big bug infested, frizzy-haired, sticky nightmare.  Same thing goes for Boston in the winter, but we’re talking snow piles that go over my head there…

Day of the Week: It’s important to know that Saturdays are the most expensive wedding day. Period.  Fridays and Sundays are a cheaper alternative, but don’t forget about the obscure Tuesday night wedding.  When picking the day, the key component to consider is travel.  We decided on a Friday, because venues that we were looking into were significantly less expensive.  That being said, our battle will be with glorious Atlanta traffic.  If you’ve ever driven through Atlanta at 3pm on a Friday, you will sufficiently know what it’s like to be in my own personal Hell.  Be prepared to tell your guests to leave an hour to an hour and a half to make sure they make it in time for the ceremony.

Another hurdle you face when you schedule your wedding on a Friday is that everyone has to take off work.  This can be a lot to ask of your guests and I fully understand that it’s not just asking someone to take off work, but it’s asking someone to take a precious PTO day or an entire day without pay.  Letting your guests know ahead of time that they’ll need to take a day off gives them the opportunity to make the best decision based on their hectic work schedules.  Make sure that you thank your guests and let them know how much you appreciate everything that they are doing to be there for you.  Especially if it means sitting in THIS…traffic

Time of Day: Evening weddings vs. morning weddings are the difference between mimosas and wine and church attire or black tie.  The task you will have is deciding what kind of wedding you want and what time of day will coordinate with the overall experience you are looking to create.  We decided upon 4 pm, solely based on the “golden hour”, which you will learn more about in my photography post.  It’s basically that time of day where the natural light outside produces that golden, rustic glow that is perfect for pictures.

Holidays: I am a Christmas freak.  I start playing Christmas music in my car (because Paul can’t handle it until after Thanksgiving).  I live for decorating in plaid, white fairy lights, the bustle of a busy mall, wrapping presents, and hot chocolate. That being said…I will never get married on or near Christmas.  Two big productions in one month is too much for my little heart.  I would simply com-bust from excitement.  There are, of course, pros and cons to having a wedding close to or on a holiday.  Usually, the main pro being that it’s less expensive.  Around Christmas time, you usually have a lot of free decorations that help give you more bang for the buck.  I find the cons tend to out weigh the pros though when it comes to holiday weddings.  It’s simply put; incredibly inconvenient for people.  The only time that I’ve ever enjoyed a holiday wedding was for my friends Brittanie and Colin, who threw their nuptials on New Year’s Eve.  They had plenty of champagne and let party goers free to roam the streets of Savannah with plenty of time to spare before the clock struck midnight!  Other exceptions are Halloween themed costume weddings (make sure your event is kid friendly to make up for a lost chance at Trick or Treating) and Valentine’s Day (couples may opt to do their own thing).  Our wedding happens to be the week before Thanksgiving, which will only really effect our projected honeymoon departure time.

Tax Weekend:  Bet ya didn’t think about this one.  Typically falling on April 15th, many people shy away from this weekend due to sheer stress.

Other important dates:  I did extensive research on this one.  With as many birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays out there, I scoured my calendars (yes, I have multiple) and made sure that my wedding didn’t fall on a significant birthday of a friend or family member.  I also fact checked on anniversaries, graduations, school breaks, etc.  No one wants to go to someone else’s wedding on their birthday.  I don’t care what your friend says, she’s secretly going to be thinking that your cake should have candles on it…  Just save yourself the trouble of a “how dare you get married on my birthday” moment and find another weekend.

Sport Seasons:  If you are die hard college football fans like Paul and I, it is important that above all else, you look at your teams’ schedules.  This is a little difficult if you both have different teams (Paul is a Florida Gator and I am a Georgia Southern Eagle…we’ll talk about why that’s funny later).  That’s 24-28 different games and oftentimes 2-4 different bi weekends.  I took a cue from my friends Brett and Meagan who got married on a Friday during GSU’s season just so that they could wake up and drive to the game the following day.  Hail Southern!  This goes for any sport.  Opening day at Turner Field, the Falcons vs. the Jaguars, the Hawks vs. the Heat, the…oh wait, we don’t have a hockey team anymore…you get the picture.  Also, make sure that if you know your families have a particular team that they watch, that you do them a courtesy and not let your wedding fall on a major rivalry game.  And if it does, make sure that you understand when Uncle Randy goes to check the Buckeye score in the bathroom during the reception…  Just in case you were wondering; Georgia Southern conveniently plays UGA the Saturday after our wedding…I know where we’ll be…

Just remember that no matter what day or time of the year you choose, there are no real “wrong” days.  Your wedding date should be a day that means something to you and your spouse.  Now that you’ve picked your date and set your budget, you are ready to get your hands dirty…you have officially begun the wedding planning process!  Good luck and enjoy the ride!unnamed                                                       *Photo cred: Sonja Cooper of Cooper and Co Photography

Budget Breakdown

Wedding planning means different things to different brides.  On the one hand, it is filled with champagne, tulle, and all things blush and bashful (spoken like a true southern, Steel Magnolia belle).  On the other hand, it can be a soul-sucking anxiety train that makes your hair fall out.

I don’t care how “chill” you are as a person.  There will be a day that planning your wedding will get the best of you and you find yourself shaking in a corner.  Whether this presents itself literally or figuratively, it doesn’t really matter.  Just know, that every bride faces that moment.  Also, know that there will be fights.  Between you and your fiance, your florist, your bridesmaids, your mother…  And they’ll be over something stupid.  *stay tuned for the ridiculous first wedding related blowout between Paul and I later in this series.

Knowing these two things ahead of time and coming to peace with them is half the battle.  The other half of the battle is doing your best to keep the fights to a minimum, remember that this day is about you and your fiance starting a new adventure together (not the flavor of the cake or the favors or the band), and keeping on BUDGET.

95% of wedding related fights are about the budget.  Therefore, it is the most important thing to establish before you hit the ground running and booking vendors.  Statistically speaking, if 95% of fights occur due to budget, I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure I only have to take the obligatory 5% in pre-matrimonial misery.  And thus, we began our wedding adventure hammering out what we could realistically afford.  Which leads me to my second point:

Do NOT go into debt for a wedding.

One night vs. the rest of your lives.  I’m most definitely not a math person (which has been the case my entire life and is why I’m an event planner/writer), but I do know that this wedding business can break the bank.  Trust me, I’ve watched a couple ladies spend what most would spend on a house for one night.  For the rest of us, who will be eating Ramen and anything on the manager’s special section of Kroger for the next year, budgeting is key.

Paul and I decided early on that we would take full responsibility of our wedding and it’s costs.  13 month engagement=$13,000 budget.  That number right there makes me want to weep.  I look at it and think to myself; “I could buy a new car with that”.  I do this as I drive down 400 everyday, holding my phone at odd angles as I try and get the tape deck adapter to work so I might listen to “Fancy” .  In my 2000 Nissan Maxima GLE (that I’ve named Onyx).  With it’s 250,000 miles…  But a new car will have to wait and I will find that walking down a candle lined aisle toward my Prince Charming will outweigh the rattling noise that my car makes.  …my priorities may be a little skewed.

Another very important reason to budget is that it helps to mold and shape your big day.  Our budget immediately began shaping our wedding into an intimate, close friends and family only affair. I saw candle light and romantic draping and soft shades of blush…very Twilight meets Jessica Simpson’s first wedding to Nick Lachey.

Our budget guide comes from the Knot Book of Wedding Lists and looks a little something like this:

Reception and Rentals: 48% (this includes food and alcohol) $6,240

Ceremony: 3% or $390

Wedding Rings: 3% or $390

Stationary: 3% or $390

Flowers: 8% or $1,040

Photography/Videography: 12% or $1,560

Wedding Attire: 10% or $1,300

Entertainment: 8% or $1,040

Transportation and Accommodations: 2% or $260

Gifts: 3% or $390

With that being said, something that I ask all of my brides before we really delve into details is this: What are the 3 most important elements of a wedding to you?  This question is usually met with a little bit of confusion, but it’s designed to see where we can move around funds within our budget.  If you couldn’t care less about flowers, but want a vintage get away car for the send off, it gives us wiggle room to work in everything you want in your big day.  For me, it’s always baffled me why we have to have altar flowers if you have a beautiful altar.  Why buy $500.00 altar flowers, when you can take that money and put it into an amazing hanging flower installment?  Or a bourbon bar?  

Stay tuned to see what our top three are!  Budget..check!