Dress Up Your Rehearsal Dinner & Invitations with These 3 Tips

Choosing your invitations and wedding stationery can be an overwhelming process. Where do you get inspiration and then how do you take that inspiration for your own wedding, without looking like everyone else’s? Check out this guest blog from our friends at Basic Invite, featuring tips to dress up your rehearsal dinner and invitations!

Check out this guest blog on our website from Basic Invite! 3 unique ideas for your rehearsal and wedding invitations that you need to know!

Most brides know what’s trending when it comes to wedding invitations and their special day. And for all of those pre-wedding celebrations like the bridal shower and bachelorette party… themes are where it’s at which makes those festivities just about as celebrated as the wedding. But there is one final moment before the most important day comes that is often overlooked, the rehearsal dinner!
Let’s face it, the day before the big day is so chaotic and unfortunately for the runner up rehearsal dinner things usually seem to be thrown together and the night always flies by. But rehearsal dinners deserve a bit more credit than that. It is the final moment for reflection and gathering and the single life after all!

script wedding invitation

So, let’s show rehearsal dinners some love this wedding season by using these three tips to dress it up!

Go Digital

Wedding websites are totally in right now and for good reason! We are living in the digital age and that means keeping up with people’s needs. Wedding websites make it so easy to let your guests know what’s going on ahead of time and in real-time with instant updates!

wedding invitation

Where does the rehearsal dinner fit in to this? Rather than including rehearsal dinner info in your wedding invitation suite use the address request function on your wedding website to request the addresses of your rehearsal dinner guests and send out separate personalized rehearsal dinner invites to just them.

Always Accessorize

Don’t forget to accessorize! Foil details make any invitation pop! With rehearsal dinner invites, that is no exception. Usually rehearsal invites are sent on a smaller invitation so finding an aspect you want to showcase like your names or the border and make it foil!
Choose from gold, silver, or rose gold to match your rehearsal dinner theme or wedding colors.

It’s All in the Details

Rehearsal dinners are usually a more intimate affair so this is the time to splurge on details! Whether your party is low-key and laid back or black-tie attire, set out personalized coasters for guests to grab or place their drink on.

floral wedding invitation

They can take it home as a favor and you get to keep the rest! It’s a super cute detail all new to Basic Invite. Choose a monogram design or upload a photo!
Put these ideas to use and head over to Basic Invite. They’re an online stationery design company providing brides with all things wedding stationery + more!

Authenticity is the New Black

Authenticity is the new black and what it took to succeed in the wedding industry in the past no longer works. Have you noticed a slump in your wedding business this year? Are your inquiries nothing but price shoppers? Do you have less inquiries than ever?

Where are all the brides and grooms? Did everyone just stop getting married? Not likely

So what changed? And what do you need to change to get those inquiries back?

 How to attract brides and grooms and everything you are doing wrong. Read our blog to get social media tips and tricks and find out the secret behind getting your ideal client! #weddingmarketing #socialmediamarketing

Marketing to Brides

How have you reached brides and grooms in the past? We’ve all done the same thing. Online advertising with popular wedding websites, submitting to get published in magazines and bridal shows that packed engaged couples into the room by the hundreds. Whether some of that or all of that worked for you, I know it’s not working anymore.
How do I know? Two reasons:
1. You’re reading this, and
2. None of that works for me either.
But why isn’t it working? We’ve all heard the argument that print is dead, and I am not here for that argument today (at all). So if you’re advertising online, shouldn’t your inquiries still be rolling in? Sure the industry is saturated but that isn’t something new to 2018. Does that mean engaged couples aren’t using online wedding websites like The Knot and Wedding Wire or does it mean that what brides and grooms want has changed?
Both and Neither.
Hang with me here…
bride and maid of honor with flowers
Jessica Janae Photography
Who is your ideal client? Is it an engaged couple with a healthy (i.e. realistic) budget? Do they know what they want and have a certain style? Well, if you’re advertising with the big national wedding websites and/or the local ones, you’re likely not reaching them anymore.
Along with the saturation of the wedding industry, there are more wedding websites and blogs than ever. Where did the brides go? Everywhere. Now you have an overly saturated industry competing for brides and grooms that are no longer contained to a handful of powerful wedding websites.  Maybe you used to get all of your leads from The Knot, and a handful of price shoppers….but now you’re only getting price shoppers. Know why that is?
Because your ideal client left. Except they didn’t all go to the same place. Think of it like dropping a glass bowl: pieces go everywhere. There’s a pile of glass in one spot, another pile somewhere else, and about 30 other piles in random places. Brides and grooms are still using online wedding websites, but since there are so many available, engaged couples are hanging out on the ones that speak to them.
And you’re probably trying to figure out exactly what websites those are, right? Because if you can figure out where the brides went, then you can advertise to them again and everything will go back to normal.

bridesmaids in champagne color dresses

Or maybe you’ve done that already and know what I know: things aren’t going back to normal. Not that way. Not anymore. Because engaged couples are spread out everywhere but now the same amount of people in the wedding industry are going after them. That’s what makes the saturation that much more obvious.
You can waste your time and go broke advertising on every wedding website that you think your ideal client is on. However, that’s only half of the problem. These brides and grooms are all over the place and just as fast as they latched onto these “niche” style websites, some of them left. Basically, those broken pieces of that glass bowl got broken into even smaller pieces.
What’s the glue that holds them all together?

Authenticity is the New Black

Wedding websites have made adjustments because they realize that what brides and grooms want is ever evolving. So many offer a (worthless) wedding planning concierge service, because they know that engaged couples plan from their phones. How to market to millennial brides and grooms is what this whole industry started to focus on. But we only paid attention to part of the technology portion of it….the convenience of planning via smart phone.

bride and groom first look

We all know that the generation getting married is tech-savvy and would rather text than talk. If they can avoid actual interaction with people, that’s fantastic. Why go to a store, when Amazon can drone drop you anything you want in a day?
Because of all this, the whole industry tried to find a way to reach these tech brides and grooms. The idea was (and still is) to provide everything an engaged couple could possibly need online and to be on the online platform, that caters to your ideal couple.
What’s the problem and why isn’t that working? You’ve all underestimated and misjudged what matters to these couples. It’s not all about convenience. It’s about being real.
Authenticity is the new black.
bride and groom
Studio One Photography
A few weeks ago, there was news of a popular wedding website and arguably one of the first wedding blogs ever, shutting down. While many suspect this was a publicity stunt, there are blogs that fail every day just like this one. They can’t drive traffic and they can’t compete with the over saturated wedding website market. They can’t stand out. 
This is the same reason you aren’t getting inquiries. You don’t stand out anymore. Because what worked yesterday, what worked last year, what worked in the past…it doesn’t work anymore. No bride or groom cares if you are a “spotlight” vendor or in some “prestigious” little black book on a wedding website. They don’t even care about….are you ready for this?…They don’t even care how many followers you have.
maid of honor wedding toast crying
Justin Tinapay Photography
Ok, some do, but the majority of the engaged couples will not base their decision to contact you for their wedding on the amount of followers you have. Yes, they want to find you online, but that’s where the desire for convenience completely ends. 
“Who are these women? Does anyone know? I don’t recognize any of them……”

13 Going on 30

You wanna know what I hear from the couples we work with? They want to have a unique wedding. They don’t want something that all of their friends had and they want the wedding to reflect them. They want their guests to know that they are at their wedding and not something out of Style Me Pretty. Brides cannot relate to some picture of a drop dead gorgeous model standing on the edge of a cliff with her equally good looking groom as they embrace at their elopement in Iceland as the clouds part and a single beam of sunlight touches the exact spot they are standing in.
Those aren’t real people. Brides and grooms want to see real people.
“I want to see my best friend’s big sister, the girls from the soccer team, my next door neighbor, real women who are smart and pretty and happy to be who they are. “

13 Going on 30

bride and groom high five
Know what else our couples say? When it comes to choosing a photographer, they want someone that won’t put them in “posed photos”. Yes, the millennial brides and grooms want those candid moments. The same millennials that avoid interaction, text instead of call, and would order Amazon over a trip to the store anyday…those people want real moments of interaction captured on camera at their weddings.
And that’s what everyone is missing. 
It’s not all about having the most wedding information on a convenient platform with the best hashtags and highest SEO ranking. If your content isn’t good, none of that even matters. Say it out loud so you really hear this:
If your content isn’t good none of that matters. None. Of. It.
A social media platform could rank you high, but if that’s not what your ideal client is looking for, none of that matters either. If you want to matter, you need to have what actually matters.
You want those brides and grooms? Make a decision. Decide to be authentic. Authentic on every single level of your wedding business.

bride and groom

The “A” Factor

Do you have it? Are you authentic? Most people struggle with authenticity for fear of being rejected. When you meet someone for the first time, you aren’t meeting them; you’re meeting their representative. How long did it take you before you knew your best friend; your spouse; your roommate?
Now imagine you’re a bride or a groom looking for a wedding venue and wedding vendors. You don’t know what you’re doing because you’ve never planned a wedding before. You are overwhelmed with outside advice, wedding vendor websites and stacks of magazines. You look for venues and vendors and read reviews that all start to sound the same after awhile. What does this all mean?
It means engaged couples have to dig a little deeper searching for venues and vendors. It means venues and vendors have to stand out in a sea of the same thing over and over. You might have everything in common with vendors you compete with. But I guarantee you, there is one thing you have that they don’t: They aren’t you
Time to get comfortable with yourself.
first look bride and father of the bride
Domenick Michael Photography
When Style Me Pretty was going to “shut down”, I had some serious opinions (surprise surprise) which you can read in my blog right here. The gist of it had to do with the lack of authenticity. Style Me Pretty posts the same wedding over and over and over. And look, I’ve been published by them, so this is not a personal ax to grind. This is me being authentic. Their weddings have all become the same over-saturated, natural light, blonde hair blue eyed couples, getting married in lavender fields or surrounded by tall wheat grass.
No one actually looks like that. There’s nothing real about those weddings. And so, the only thing that resonates with couples is inspiration for wedding vibes and maybe colors that look nice together. Brides aren’t jumping on that site, or any other, tracking down the vendors involved in those real weddings and seeking them out. That isn’t happening. Ask around. But let’s pause because I’ll talk about where you actually do need to be later in this blog.
Being authentic can be scary. But think about it this way: you want to attract your ideal client, right? Is your ideal client someone that would like you behind the scenes or just who you pretend to be? I make all of my brides and grooms meet with potential vendors in person. They need to click with these people, not just love their work. You can’t get your ideal client by being something you are not or by hiding who you really are!
bride and mother of the bride getting ready
Domenick Michael Photography
Steps you can take to show authenticity? Behind the scenes videos. Blogging. Going live on Instagram or Facebook. Hosting webinars. You’re a florist? Post a video putting together a centerpiece and talk while you do it. Photographer? Shoot behind the scenes of an engagement photoshoot. Caterer? Facebook live a kitchen tour or tasting. There is so much you can do.
You are not a robot. Stop acting like one.

Right Place. Right Time.

Step 1 is to fix yourself. Get that “A” factor. That brings us to the second part of the problem. Once you have it, where do you show it?
Where are all of the brides and grooms?
bride and groom first look
Justin Tinapay Photography
This should come as no surprise. They’re on social media, specifically, Pinterest and Instagram. And I know what some of you are saying….”Danielle, I actively post on social media and I don’t get brides and grooms…blah blah blah.”
Yeah, well, you’re doing it wrong. First off, check your A factor. If you don’t have that going consistently, meaning every day for at least a month, then that’s your problem. Go back to step 1, which is fix yourself.
If you are authentic and your “A” game is tight, and you’re not getting social media clients, there are many things you can do. A large percentage of my brides and grooms find me on social media. Don’t believe me? Look how many monthly page views I have on my Pinterest page alone:

Yes, that’s one million. It didn’t happen overnight and I have been racing to keep up with the evolving wedding industry just like the rest of you. Between Pinterest and Instagram, I am no longer looking for my engaged couples.
They are looking for me.
You have to leave breadcrumbs. You have to make a trail to your website for brides and grooms to follow. They are not going to follow stale, moldy breadcrumbs that look like everyone else’s breadcrumbs. Everyone has 5 star reviews. Everyone has a bunch of wedding awards. What makes you different?
Take what makes you different to Instagram and Pinterest. However, beware that this is a rabbit hole. It is a time sucker. You have to do it right. You want to do it right? Cause this is where the sales pitch starts and the blog ends. So if you’re not about doing this right, if you think you can do this on your own and master the frequent algorithm changes on social media, then stop reading. If you’re happy about no leads, price shoppers and want to stay in your unauthentic shell waiting for this stationary storm to pass, then stop reading right now.
 
 bride and groom
 
Still here? Good. Welcome to the club of wedding vendors that want to book more brides and grooms. Bridal marketing has been the same for years with little changes here and there. Now, it’s like an earthquake and everyone needs a better wedding marketing strategy so they don’t fall into the earth and get burnt alive by the magma chamber. (I know that’s not how the science of geology works but you get what I’m saying here).
Over the next few weeks, a series of blogs will be released with solid brand marketing ideas. You’ll learn how to leverage free social media and the best tools you need to reach your ideal clients. They are out there, and this is where you will learn to find them. Sign up for the mailing list now to get the crash course information you need. You’ll get blog updates and be able to choose what you want to learn more about every step of the way.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required



 

I’ve done the research. I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t. Don’t spend your time sifting through articles every day when the information you need is one click away. Sign up for the mailing list right now and get ready to find your ideal bride and groom. They are out there. Stop handing them off to mediocre vendors who can’t give them the wedding that you can. They don’t know you exist.
Isn’t it time for that to change?

 How to attract brides and grooms and everything you are doing wrong. Read our blog to get social media tips and tricks and find out the secret behind getting your ideal client! #weddingmarketing #socialmediamarketing

 

The Evolution of the Online Wedding Industry

Well, well, well…in a (not so) interesting turn of events, Style Me Pretty won’t be shutting down this weekend. A massive representation of the online wedding industry and a leader in the rustic chic style has been “saved”. Fair warning, I’m going to use more “air quotes” and italic font than you can possibly imagine. See what I did there?

If you’re not familiar with the whole story, I highly suggest reading my earlier blog on this subject. Otherwise, you’re going to be more confused than a bride deciding between table linen colors. 

Only days away from “going dark”, Style Me Pretty made the “shocking” announcement on Instagram that the original owners were taking over. So, is this the result of a major corporate company yielding to a petition to save SMP, or just an amateur publicity stunt that relied on the stupidity of the masses?

Style Me Pretty has announced that it will not be closing after all. What does this mean and how do you not get destroyed by the evolution of the online wedding industry?

The Announcement
Shortly after word got out that Style Me Pretty would be wiped off the internet as if it never existed, a petition was created to “save it”. During that time, the closure notices posted on their social media accounts and even on their main website all disappeared.
What did that mean? 
Then, the original owner posted on her Instagram account that she was in discussion with the corporation she originally sold the website to, and she had no idea what was going to happen, but she felt positive. Just like the original closure notices, that post has also disappeared.
What did that mean? 

bride and groom sparkler exit

And while all of that was going on, those members of the wedding industry that had been published on Style Me Pretty, all scrambled to screenshot their work. Editors from countless other publications dropped their exclusivity rule and began accepting submissions from those that either had been published on SMP or had recently submitted to be published. 
What did that mean? Well, that meant a serious amount of time for hundreds affected by the closure announcements.
Time Wasted?
Just yesterday, a notice appeared on Style Me Pretty’s Instagram page. 

Style Me Pretty IG screenshot

It’s a long statement (which, by the way, came as a surprise to absolutely no one) and many people didn’t read the whole thing. Why? Is it because everyone has a short attention span? Is it because there are no details that will matter to anyone at this point since the majority of people have a “girl bye” attitude to what looks like a PR stunt?
This isn’t a laundry list of thank yous ala Oscar speech style either. There’s stuff in here that people should read. So, was the length intentional, much like a contract would be in order to take advantage of that short attention span?
Here are a few things that jumped out to me:
“…the original founders have acquired Style Me Pretty’s assets so that the brand can live on and thrive and become even better than ever….Tait and I are SO excited to reboot this incredible company and build on the work that the team at SMP has already created.”
Implying what? A re-brand of a site that completely changed focus when it was originally sold? Re-branding is an arduous task for any company in any industry, and many times it is considered suicide. This website died when it was sold, but it seems no DNR was ever signed so here we are with those cardiac arrest plates yelling “clear” and hitting the chest of SMP.
bridesmaids
Jessica Janae Photography
“In the short term, we will be self-funding the site, running super lean and we’ll be making as much time to interview brides and industry professionals as possible so that we continue to build a place that vendors want to stand beside and readers want to devour.”
And by running super lean, I’m going to jump to the conclusion that many people are out of a job. Would they have been out of that same job had the closure actually happen? Absolutely. But, this feels just like when the Titanic sank and only one life boat went back to rescue those that went down with the ship. Rose is all “I’ll never let go”, but she ain’t sharing that door she’s floating on either so…
The interviews they reference are perplexing too. The online wedding industry is rapidly changing and what SMP offered is not what engaged couples want anymore. Vendors that advertise on the website don’t book couples with the success they used to. Unless these interviews are with vendors outside the SMP “you can’t sit with us” circle, it’s a total waste of time.
“I believe that any joy felt here should be gifted to this incredible team and not to Tait nor myself. It is bittersweet that we won’t be able to take them along right now as the work that they have done for this company is simply immeasurable.”
Well, no good deed goes unpunished.
bride and groom
Mary + Roy
The Greatest Show On Earth
It has been said that to write well, you have to write what you know. Well, what do we know?
Was this all a publicity stunt? It’s starting to feel that way, and there is an overwhelming social media response screaming just that. I’ll admit that when I first heard about the closure, that was my initial thought as well. It was one of those rare times when I was hoping to be wrong. But, once again, I’m never wrong. Ask my husband, he’ll tell you.
Out of curiosity, I looked up the expiration date of the domain name. I figured it would be close to the closure date since we had been told the website would vanish from existence. On the contrary, the expiration date was set for 2020. Which could mean a few things:
1. The domain would be held onto until that time, when it would be available for sale.
2. The owners of the domain would auction it off or sell it to the highest bidder before the 2020 date.
Or
3. The website was never going anywhere. At least not until 2020. Which means they already had other plans and transfer of ownership ideas in place.
wedding bands
Jessica Janae Photography
There are rumors that the corporate owners of SMP did try to sell the domain to other companies, specifically to a competing blog called Ruffled. But is it possible that the original owners were given first rite of refusal and leveraged that to drum up some publicity and see if the buy back would be worth it?
It’s not a total stretch and here’s why:
In my original blog written about the “closure” of SMP, I talked about the evolution of engaged couples. Specifically, how they don’t want anything that SMP has offered. They want authenticity, and let’s be honest, there isn’t a whole lot of authenticity in pictures of a blonde bride and groom standing at the top of a mountain bathing in sunlight while holding a 500 pound bouquet of cascading greenery. The percentage of couples that can relate to that is low.
Shocking right?
We know that SMP had millions of monthly page views. But, if those views don’t turn into conversions for the advertisers, then “bye bye” advertisers. I never advertised with them, but I have had a celebrity wedding I planned published on the first page and pushed by their social media team. What do I know? I know I never received a single inquiry from it, yet I received plenty of inquiries from brides that saw those same exact images on my Pinterest page.

bride and groom at Villanova chapel

How do you get wedding industry members to care about your website again when it has become painfully obvious you’re not attracting their ideal client anymore? A petition with thousands of signatures and a bunch of passion isn’t a bad way to start. Combine that with the panic of “if a website like Style Me Pretty can just close, what does that mean?!” and you’ve got a winning combination. There’s just one problem:
It does not matter at all what the wedding industry and these online wedding magazines and blogs think of themselves. It only matters what the engaged couples think. So, if you have to use a PR stunt to raise brand awareness, is your brand worth being aware of? 
As We Stumble Along
The online wedding industry is not the same animal that it was when Style Me Pretty was born. In fact, the entire wedding industry has been in a constant state of evolution. Style Me Pretty represents a niche market, which on some levels can be a good thing. It’s not a good thing, however, when that niche market appeals to roughly 5 people.
Which brings us to the re-branding implications/promises of the former and now once again owners of Style Me Pretty. They are self-funding which I am interpreting to mean no advertising…for now. If there is no vendor book, like the old (way old) original days of SMP, there’s no obligation on their part to publish anything other than what they want to. What do they want to publish?
bride and bridesmaids
Jessica Janae Photography
Their announcement on Instagram was paired with a photograph taken by the photographer who started the SaveSMP hashtag as well as the petition. Before I started writing this blog, I wanted to sift through the comments for two reasons: 1. What was the reaction of industry members and 2. Did any actual engaged couples care to comment?
While there is no shortage of positive comments and heart emojis, there are a fair share of industry members quick to point out the missing diversity and authenticity on Style Me Pretty.

IG QUOTE

IG QUOTE

It was a good thing to see Style Me Pretty fade away. It is part of the online wedding industry evolution, and the evolution of the wedding world in general. You can have a niche, sure, but if the niche only resonates with the smallest percentage of engaged couples available, either adapt or close.  If the picture they chose to accompany their “J/K we’re actually not pulling the plug” is any indication of their level of commitment to re-brand, then we might see the real death of this website sooner than later.
And since there wasn’t a single comment from a bride or groom regarding the “saving” of SMP, I’m guessing that funeral would be poorly attended.

IG QUOTE

Engaged couples want authenticity. It doesn’t get much more black and white than that. Why members of the wedding industry threw themselves in front of a building about to be knocked over to save someone else’s brand other than work on their own is not something I can understand. Maybe they’re afraid of change, but if that’s the case, then their in the wrong industry.
We will never know if this whole thing was a weak sauce publicity stunt (it was) and I personally won’t waste my time on anyone else’s brand other than my own. Authenticity is winning, finally. The evolution of the online wedding industry is no longer moving at a glacial pace. It doesn’t matter what Style Me Pretty does next. 
What’s your next move?
 

Real Wedding Inspiration: Wedding Planning with Blogger, Melissa Victoria

I love sharing real wedding inspiration with you guys, because I know how every engaged couple is looking for something different. A bunch of real weddings we have planned have been showcased on this wedding blog before, and just like you, I always want something different.
Real Weddings show our readers the final product, but what about the months leading up to it? I chatted with lifestyle blogger, Melissa Victoria, about her upcoming wedding and she gave me plenty of details! If you’re planning your wedding, check out what a fellow fiance had to say, including the one (and only) trend she plans to use for her big day!
Wedding blog with wedding planning inspiration
Courtesy of Melissa Victoria

Melissa Victoria, Lifestyle Blogger

I first found Melissa on Instagram (so shocking, right?) and instantly fell in love with her style. Of course, she’s a California girl, because I always fall in love with West Coast brides and their wedding style….or style in general. When I saw that she was getting married, I had to know more about the big day. 
Let me just say that I tend to fall for the bloggers that radiate “real”. There are about 2 bazillion bloggers out there, and sometimes I feel like I am seeing the same person over and over again. It’s that “my life is perfect, buy this product” smile in their pictures that works for so many bloggers and yet makes me want to basically die. Because no one is that happy all of the time and can you please calm down OMG?!

bridesmaid tote bag bride handbag
 

But Melissa makes you smile when you look at the pictures of her smiling. Her stories are fun and you basically want to just hang out with her. As a wedding planner, I pride myself on the fact that I don’t work with brides I wouldn’t want to hang out with. Bridezillas is a show, not my life…generally. Between her fun style and her intense realness, I had to know more about her wedding details.
And I have to say…none of her answers disappointed. In fact, many had me saying “really?!”, but in a good way. Because she’s different than other bloggers and guess what? That makes her different from so many other brides. Thank. The. Lord.

The Basics

Melissa and Martin got engaged on November 12, 2017 during their weekend trip to Big Bear. Since I was not that bride that had her nails done every week (just in case of a proposal), nor did my fiance have a photographer on stand-by, I had to ask if she was surprised by the proposal. I figured that a style blogger with a huge following would have figured out all the details before her now fiance got down on one knee, but nope!
Engagement ring picture
Gabelli Studio
“Looking back, there were SO many signs of him wanting to propose all weekend long, so when he finally did, it was so special.”
And I love that. Because it used to be (listen to how old I sound, wow) about a man getting down on one knee, pulling out a ring and we’re done. Now, it’s drone footage, surprise family appearances and fireworks. While I love the idea of having that special moment captured by a photographer, I am not in love with the whole “hiring a proposal planner” thing. This isn’t to take away from anyone’s proposal, but I personally like this step to be as basic as possible.


 

Anyway, back to Melissa and Martin! Their big day is February 9, 2019, which means their engagement period is about a year and change. As a wedding planner, I swoon over year long plus engagements…especially when the “must have” wedding date is during the most popular time of the year. Over a year gives you time to enjoy the engagement and get the venue and vendors that you want because everyone isn’t already booked.

The Details

Melissa and Martin decided not to plan anything for the remainder of 2017. But you know what they say about the best laid plans, right? In late 2017 they visited a spot two blocks away from Martin’s job and fell head over heels for it. Despite the whole “no planning in 2017” promise, they locked their venue down in December that year.
Wedding escort card table
Images by Berit
I am sure many of you will just glaze over that like it’s not a big deal. But I want to emphasize that it actually is. When you get engaged, you’re likely to put together some sort of timeline to get stuff done. Sometimes, the perfect venue or vendor will come along at what you decided was the wrong time. I love that Melissa and Martin didn’t turn this place down because it didn’t fit their planning timeline. Take their lead and if you find the venue or vendor before you’re “supposed” to, don’t be afraid to lock it down!
Their guest count sits around 200 people, which seems to be the average for weddings right now. Most of the couples we plan weddings with are inviting anywhere from 150-250 people. If you’re still looking for the perfect venue, it’s super important to get your guest list together before shopping. You don’t want to fall in love with a wedding venue, only to find out it doesn’t fit the guest count you’re inviting.


 

Melissa has put together plenty of ideas and details, and yes, that includes her wedding gown. Since she is a style blogger, I absolutely had to ask her about this! Of all the celebrity wedding inspiration available to brides, she was struck by Olivia Palermo’s wedding style, which included chic long sleeve gowns.
Bride in long sleeve lace gown
Jason Rhee
Not unlike many of my brides, Melissa tried on about 10 dresses and went to 2 different stores before finding the one. I always tell my brides that they will know when they’ve found the right gown (and venue and vendors), and Melissa shares how she knew:
“In the end, I went with something I know what meant for me.”
And it’s true…just like your fiance is meant for you, everything else will be during the wedding planning process.

Wedding Day Vibes

With a February wedding date, the winter wedding season is well underway. But between the obsession with pale colors, and her ever enviable California location, I wondered if she wouldn’t have a wedding full of rose golds, creams and pinks. And as a style blogger, where does she turn for inspiration?
Bride and groom
Justin Tinapay
As much as brides are always looking for something different for their wedding day, many tend to do the same exact thing they have seen everyone else do. Different is scary and if everyone else is doing a mix of muted colors, it’s hard not to play it safe. Well, I was extremely excited to find out that this trendy fashion blogger is not playing it safe, but instead, playing with deep colors mixed in with neutrals. 
Let the church say “Amen!”

Give the perfect travel gift - a Honeyfund gift card
 

Along with their fabulous color palette, Melissa and Martin are going for a vintage feel to go with their old Hollywood glam wedding venue. Their wedding party consists of six bridesmaids and groomsmen, but their wardrobe is at different stages. The idea of keeping the bridesmaids in different gowns is something Melissa loves and already has ideas about. But, remember how I said she was totally real? Well, when I asked her about the groomsmen wardrobe she said:
“Martin has a few colors he likes, so he needs to crank that out ASAP haha.”
Sound familiar ladies?
Sparkler exit at wedding
Jessica Janae

Searching For Inspiration

Wedding inspiration available on the internet can legit drown a bride. With countless wedding websites available, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with ideas only to end up hating them all. So, where does a style blogger turn for her own wedding day inspiration?
red rose
Justin Tinapay
Just like any other bride, Melissa turns to Pinterest and Instagram for wedding ideas. As a wedding planner, we book with many of our clients because they found us on either one of those social media sites and I love finding new ideas and vendors on them as well.
But I know what you’re thinking…you’re always on Pinterest and you keep seeing the same damn thing every day. Right? Hashtags and keywords are your friend and foe. When searching for wedding inspiration, it’s important to be more specific in your searches because “Winter Wedding” is going to turn up a bunch of stuff that you don’t like. Hashtags work on both sites, but Pinterest just brought them back, so a keyword search is a better option. Keep your search general enough so you don’t miss out on creative ideas, but specific enough so that you’re not seeing starfish decor for your barn wedding.
“I love to look up my venue’s location on Instagram every Sunday to see what the previous night’s event looked like.”
Maybe you haven’t found your venue yet, and maybe you have. That doesn’t mean you don’t have a few (or 40) in mind…so use the venue’s social media profile and hashtag to see what other couples have done. It’s not about copying their style, but more about seeing what does (and doesn’t) work. That goes double for those of you that have found your wedding venue!

Moevenpick Hotels and Resorts
 

Trends and Have to Haves

When you basically live on social media, it can be hard to plan an event. You’ve seen it all, and the trends might be less “trendy” and more “played out” by the time your wedding day rolls around. It shouldn’t have surprised me, though it did, that Melissa only has one trend she wants to incorporate for her wedding day:
“A hashtag. I’m a social media chick, so obviously, this has to be part of our wedding.”
Social media chick, or not, hashtags have become a major part of weddings. When the idea first came about, it was largely seen as only good for those that were obsessed with social media. In reality, both then and now, it’s a great way to keep your photos all in the same place. What good are those random pictures your friends and family took if you never see them? 
wedding sweetheart table
Domenick Michael
Just like many other engaged couples, Melissa and Martin want to incorporate their faith into their wedding day. As a wedding planner, this is something I see most couples decide on, but many struggle with.  It could be anything from coming from different religious backgrounds to wanting a religious ceremony outside of a religious house, and thousands of other possibilities in between. The only thing that matters here, is that you and your fiance celebrate your marriage in a ceremony that means the most to the both of you. 
What else matters to Melissa and Martin? Two words: Open. Bar.
“We knew we wanted an open bar because duh- the best memories always include an open bar!”
Truer words have never been spoken.

 

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

More and more, traditional aspects of a wedding are disappearing. Couples are making their wedding a reflection of their relationship by using cake pops instead of wedding cake and having that first look happen long before the walk down the aisle. There are very few rules when it comes to a wedding anymore, so if you’re a trendy fashion blogger getting married, what rules are you following?

black and white photo of bride and groom

The bouquet and garter toss have been put on ice by most of our engaged couples. Honestly though, I miss them both and I pretty much thought I was stuck in the “not cool old person” past by still loving the idea. Leave it to Melissa though, to remind me how awesome and trendy I still am (woot woot), when she told me how they will be incorporating this tradition into their wedding day! Along with that, they will have their special parent dances, but are on the fence about the grand entrance for the entire wedding party; another tradition we’re starting to see fade away.
I asked Melissa if they planned on making their heritage a part of the wedding day. My engaged couples are always looking for that something different, but sometimes that something different has been done for centuries that many couples aren’t doing anymore. Their ceremony taking place in a Catholic Church has to do, in part, with their Latin heritage. But in addition to incorporating their religion, their guests will also enjoy other Latin traditions like the lasso ceremony. The wedding ceremony is a great opportunity to celebrate your traditions in a new way as you begin your new life together!
wedding rope ceremony
Justin Tinapay
What about the structure and the rules? Should you tell your guests what the dress code is, or is that no longer acceptable? What about kids at the wedding? There are so many wedding etiquette blogs, with rules that have been written and re-written for decades. Between those and all the endless “helpful” advice brides and grooms get from friends and family, it’s not easy to keep it all together. 
“I would say to do things the way you want to do them. There will be so many previously married people that will tell you all about their experience and what you should do, but no one knows your heart the way you do.”
As difficult as it can be, it’s important to listen to the voices of two people: you and your fiance. When you plan a wedding, trust me, everyone in your life will become an expert. Your BFF that just got married and suddenly knows everything and your Aunt Sally that got married 700 years ago and also knows everything…No one can change the fact that you will know when you found the right venue and the right vendors. It’s the first day of the rest of your lives, and it’s really important to start it off with your own decisions. 


 

Just like any other bride, Melissa can share the worst part of wedding planning she’s gone through. And just like many brides, that worst part had a lot to do with herself. While she recognized the “I can do it myself” part of her, she worried about being too picky. If you’re that bride that can’t (or won’t) let her guard down and won’t trust her vendors, you are not alone here. Melissa shared that she is really a hands on bride and that trusting others was something she had a really hard time with. 
 I told you she was real…
“I think I’m worried about vendors backing out or not showing up on time.”
Every bride worries about her wedding day, and that is completely normal. It doesn’t mean things won’t go as planned; it just means you’re normal. It’s OK to let yourself worry and to vent about completely ridiculous things going wrong that would never ever happen. Surround yourself with supportive people during your engagement process, people that will let you lean on their shoulders…just don’t forget that they have problems of their own that they made need your shoulder for!
bride and groom spelling LOVE
Justin Tinapay

Your Day. Yours.

A wedding day (can) come with a lot of rules. Rules that are set by you and your fiance, rules set by you before you even meet your fiance, rules by your friend and family, and rules set by all those blogs and magazines you read. The thing is, there are no rules anymore. What was a rule 20 years ago, is only a rule if you want it to be. You get one day to wear the dress you want to wear, to say the vows you want to say and to dance to the songs you want to dance to.
I loved interviewing Melissa for this blog, because I expected a style blogger to follow the rules and that’s totally not her. I thought she would be incorporating every wedding trend under the California sun. But really, she is having the only type of wedding that should be trending:
Her own.
Hashtag You Should Too.
Bride and groom save the date
Courtesy of Melissa Victoria
Thanks to Melissa for taking the time to chat with me about your big day! If you want to read more about her planning process, follow along on her blog right here! Don’t forget to sign up for our mailing list in the top banner to get more stories like this one, plus plenty more real weddings inspiration.
What wedding rules and trends are you following and breaking for your own wedding day? Share in the comments below and let your own voice be heard!

 

 

Breaking News: Alpacas Officially Not Cool Anymore

Style Me Pretty has been a source of wedding inspiration for 12 years now. Back before wedding websites were a dime a dozen, Style Me Pretty represented a more organic wedding style that would eventually become a trend. Phrases like “rustic chic” and “boho” became popular with a major assist from Style Me Pretty. If you like barn weddings, you’re likely on the wedding website every day.

But with the extinction of Style Me Pretty after April 30, 2018, will we also find out that flower draped alpacas aren’t cool anymore? What does this website take with it once it goes dark later this month? How does this impact the wedding industry? 

And is this really a bad thing?

The Fairytale

Once upon a time, a girl created a website full of whimsy. Years later, she sold it to a huge corporation for a bunch of money. Turmoil raged through the land, there was a whole bunch of corporate merger madness and the website went up for sale. No one bought the website and the big scary corporation shut it down. The end.
Not exactly the happily ever after ending, if you consider the corporation being the villain. But, are they?
My husband and I were discussing the story this week and he said something that I have heard before: Businesses are made to be sold. While I understand that to be true, at this moment in time, I could never see myself as a person that creates a business just to sell it. Maybe it’s just not how my character works.
Or maybe I’ve just never had a multi-million dollar offer and a chance to make that decision.
Bridal bouquet
Alicia King Photography
But it’s pretty cut and dry, isn’t it? If you sell something, you are giving it up. You don’t have any control over it anymore and in essence you are choosing the money over what you created. That’s not to say you won’t always have some attachment to the business, but if you care about what happens to it, you wouldn’t sell it. 
In this particular fairytale, our leading character was repeating history. Prior to Style Me Pretty being born, the creator went from having a part time job at a stationery store to creating her own invitation line…which she then sold. The reason why she sold isn’t hard to find, and she basically talks about the stress and an opportunity landing in her lap in an article you can read right here
Later in that article, she shares that she received a buy-out offer for Style Me Pretty. But not the offer she would later accept from the corporation that would shut everything down. Instead, it’s an offer that she rejected because, as she states,  “what we were doing had more value than we knew.”

Start your FREE honeymoon registry at Honeyfund.com
 

Fast forward 8 years, when Style Me Pretty’s continued huge growth leads to a partnership with a corporate company…and eventually the buy-out offer, in May 2017, that would be accepted. Not just accepted, but seen as the “proudest day of her career” according to this interview

 

Growing Pains

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

― Anaïs Nin

The announcement that Style Me Pretty will essentially disappear was bigger breaking wedding news this week than any royal wedding ever will be. Emotions and opinions are really strong, and if I’m being honest, I don’t have mine completely sorted out yet.
bride and groom
Domenick Michael Photography
My work has been published in Style Me Pretty, and I still remember the joy I felt when that happened. Not all publications or wedding blogs are created equal. Style Me Pretty is a bucket list publication for many, including myself. There’s no denying the high level quality of work displayed, so feeling validated when they decide your work is good enough to be included, is normal. 
The problem though, is that those people validating you, aren’t the ones hiring you. Not then and not now.
When Style Me Pretty created a vendor listing, it was invitation only. Yes, you had to pay to advertise, but you weren’t even given the opportunity if your work wasn’t up to their standards. It used to be a big deal to get invited into their “little black book”. If you’re outside the industry, just imagine that for a second: Wedding vendors getting excited that they are good enough to give their money to an advertising platform. 
The thought process behind advertising (or not) in any wedding outlet revolves around return of investment. You put your advertising dollars into the platform that speaks to your “ideal” client. Frankly, Style Me Pretty couples are the ideal client for a good amount of wedding vendors. So between the ego validation and the higher chance of getting your portfolio in front of the clients you want to book, many would’ve gladly thrown money to be on this website. And then bragged about it. 
So, it should come as no surprise that many are devastated by this news. I understand it on paper, absolutely, but I can’t quite get there emotionally. 
Bridal bouquet
Jessica Janae Photography
It’s weird because, you feel like you’re supposed to be mourning. And you’re sad, but you’re not totally sad. It’s almost like when you go to a repast after a funeral. You just put somebody that you love into the ground and you’re never seeing them again. But now, you’re sitting over one of three pre-selected entrees with other family members talking about the good old days and laughing. You’re thinking how you just said your final goodbyes to someone and how devastated you are, so how can you be talking and laughing?
I remember my first funeral was when I was four years old. I was downstairs during the wake because this funeral home was some weird bi-level unit and wakes are really long and when you’re four you have to stay as long as your mom says you have to stay. Anyway…I’m downstairs with a few family members of mine, and just above my head on the second floor was a dead relative. At four years old you don’t really get the concept of death, but what you do know is that it’s sad and therefore, people will cry.
Yet this entire time I’m standing in the random basement of a funeral home, during a wake, and no one is crying. In fact, they are joking, laughing and telling stories. Meanwhile, all I knew was that someone was dead and you’re supposed to be crying. But you’re not.
That’s me with this whole Style Me Pretty death thing. I’m not crying. But this time, I shouldn’t be. And you shouldn’t be either.
Why?


 

Just like anything else, Style Me Pretty changed as the growth continued. The Style Me Pretty that used to get wedding vendors the bulk of their work, is not the one going dark at the end of the month. That one went dark years agoThat funeral is over.
I say this with the absolute and utmost respect for the website and everyone that has been a part of it: the mourning period is done. 
The wedding website that handpicked the vendors that were allowed to pay them to advertise, hasn’t been around for years. When their little black book was selective, you might have found 3 wedding planners in your area when doing a search. But now? There are so many planners listed that you can filter it down to categories like “elopement planners”. Those are just the vendors that are paying to be showcased. I’m not even going to bother figuring out the vendors getting free advertising on their “Vendor Guide” platform, including myself. 
bride and groom
Justin Tinapay Photography
Another change? There are roughly 900 other wedding blogs and websites out there now, many with vendor listings. Is Style Me Pretty still one of the best, even after the corporate change? Absolutely. So why should you still not be crying?
Because your ideal client isn’t there anymore. They haven’t been there since AOL got involved and they’ve been cheating on you with social media. You’ve been chasing the ghost of ideal wedding client past.


 

AOL presents, Style Me Pretty. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? I mean, all the sports stadiums and arenas are named after banks and big companies. I’m sure the higher ups at MetLife know how to throw a football right? (That’s a Giants Stadium reference for anyone that missed it).
AOL and its parent company know nothing about the wedding industry and more importantly, they don’t care. Corporations with portfolios so diversified that none of the companies they own have anything in common do not care. Corporations that own similar companies, only care enough to buy and shut down the one making less money in order to cut competition. 
Businesses are created to be bought and sold, remember?
The point is, corporate got involved, and it’s not the same anymore. Style Me Pretty grew up when you weren’t looking, and the validation you still need from them, has devalued. 

Life Goes On

There are a significant amount of people in the wedding industry involved in a petition to save Style Me Pretty. A petition that is being endorsed by the website’s creator and original owner. Despite the extreme amount of respect I have for both the creator and the website in general, I have to question this move. 
Vintage wedding set up for a dessert table
Alicia King Photography
And while I firmly believe that unless those signatures are on a stack of cash, that this is a waste of time, I’m going to link it anyway to play fair. Hopefully, if you’re a wedding vendor that wants to rip my head off right now, you can take this as my olive branch of understanding your pain. I am not, in any way, trying to mock or dismiss anyone’s feelings.
This week has brought intense debate of whether or not it will matter to future couples that the vendors they interview for their weddings were once upon a time featured by Style Me Pretty. The answer is “no”. It won’t matter if you were never published on Style Me Pretty or if you were featured every week since day 1.
Look how quickly major and devastating news stories are forgotten. This website shutdown didn’t even trend on Twitter. If Style Me Pretty actually disappears from the internet like the corporate owners have promised, people will stop caring much sooner than you think. The website, the hashtag, and everything else will cease to exist. Hell, this blog probably won’t make sense in what? A year? Less?
But it’s more than the website being erased from the internet. It’s about the growth of the website that didn’t match the evolution of the engaged couples. 


 

There’s nothing on that site that engaged couples are looking for anymore. 
Style Me Pretty was Pinterest before Pinterest. Style Me Pretty was the wedding blog before wedding blogs existed. But Pinterest isn’t going anywhere, and new wedding blogs are added every day. The market is extremely saturated, so why on earth would you want to save a website that doesn’t give engaged couples what they are actually looking for?
I said that the funeral for Style Me Pretty was years ago because that’s when their format changed. Marketing in the wedding industry (and I assume others) has also changed since then. But if you’re not changing, if you’re not going through that same growth that Style Me Pretty went through, then your funeral might be next. 
Style Me Pretty got it right with the rustic and organic style wedding trend. The reason that trend, that style, hasn’t died is because it can evolve and change. It is a niche that will survive because of it’s ability to adapt.
The lack of authenticity on “Style Me Pretty brought to you by AOL”, is where they went wrong. And it’s that same lack of authenticity that is present on all major wedding blogs and websites, that is unappealing to couples. This entire world is desperate for authenticity and real connections. You know when people are really desperate? When they’re planning their wedding, a celebration where they will announce to those closest to them that they found their soulmate. That’s when authenticity wins.
Go figure, right?
Vintage white dresser with flowers
Alicia King Photography
And that’s the trend that matters. It’s not about the alpacas as much as it’s about the authenticity. 
It’s growth and it’s painful. No one really likes change and everyone gets annoyed with big corporation take overs. Style Me Pretty grew up, went into a coma, and then Uncle AOL pulled the life support plug. This wasn’t the first wedding blog to go down, and it won’t be the last.
Whether the website is archived or obliterated at the end of the month will not affect your business growth. Wedding vendors no longer need to depend on huge blogs to define who they are. The validation of your work comes from the engaged couples, which is where it should have come from all along. If you’re not authentic, you are irrelevant.
And it’s about damn time.
bride
Style Me Pretty goes dark and what that means for wedding inspiration, engaged couples and members of the wedding industry. Read this blog for everything you need to know!

10 Spring Wedding Ideas

As I write this, the 689th winter storm is quickly approaching the area. It’s the first day of Spring and Mother Nature does not care. Meanwhile, even my three year old is done with the snow. So, to help everybody get ready for Spring (whenever it decides to arrive), I put together 10 Spring wedding ideas that you can steal for your own big day!

Spring wedding inspiration blog

10 Spring Wedding Ideas

When you think “Spring Wedding” you probably think of flowers, right? 
“Flowers. For Spring. Groundbreaking.” -Devil Wears Prada-
It’s a pretty obvious choice to use flowers as much as possible if you’re having a Spring wedding. But most blogs will tell you to just use peonies or other Spring style flowers and you’ll be set. There’s also the idea to use Spring colors like pinks and blues which will only end up making your wedding look like an Easter egg hunt. 
Lighter colors are absolutely the way to go for a Spring wedding, but the answer isn’t just pink and blue centerpieces. There are plenty of color combinations available so you don’t have to feel restricted to pastels. Once you have those colors chosen, you can work with your designer and florist to incorporate them into the decor; particularly the flowers. 

1. Use a Floral Touch at Every Place Setting

Give your guests a touch of Spring when they sit down to your reception by placing a flower either on the napkin and menu or charger plate.
Lavender sprig at a wedding place setting
Images by Berit
If you’re using a charger plate, opt for one with a simple or neutral border, which will allow the floral piece to stand out. For couples offering their guests a meal choice, this is a great way to compliment the menu card as well. 

Floral place setting for a wedding

Instead of using a charger plate, or if your venue does not have the dinner plate pre-set on the tables, use a pop of Spring with a colored napkin to act as the backdrop for your floral piece. Can’t decide on what flower to use? Mix it up and have your florist use two different blooms for every other place setting. 

2. Flower Girl Power

If you have a flower girl or 4 in your wedding party, it’s super easy to incorporate the Spring trend through their dress and even accessories. 
Flower girl ideas for a spring wedding
Jessica Janae Photography
Look for a flower girl dress with a floral pattern or one that can be accessorized with a floral belt. No matter what your colors are, the flower girl wardrobe doesn’t necessarily follow a set of rules and doesn’t have to match everyone else in the wedding party. Don’t be afraid to use a bright pink or purple rose as an accent, even if your colors are white and green. 

3. Flower Crowns

Flower crowns are insanely popular right now (even though I used them at my wedding 100 years ago BTW) and the options are endless. Your florist can create this Spring look for your flower girls, which is always something little girls are excited to wear.
Flower girl floral crowns
Justin Tinapay Photography
Of course, flower crowns aren’t just for flower girls. Bridesmaids are wearing them now and even brides are choosing to wear them over the traditional veils.
Floral crown for a bride
Alicia King Photography

4. Go Outside

Truly having a Spring wedding? Take it outside, even if that means just your wedding ceremony. 
Outdoor wedding ceremony florals
Justin Tinapay Photography
If you’re not in an area where it “looks” like Spring outside, consider adding touches of flowers. Think beyond the ceremony arch or arbor, and put flowers on banisters and railings. Summer weddings can still have a spring vibe, even if the flowering plants have all turned green. Work with your designer to create a Spring vibe, even if it’s just your ceremony being held outside. 
Bride and groom with dog for outdoor wedding
Justin Tinapay Photography
If you are planning on hosting your wedding outside, it’s always important to have a Plan B. For how to prepare for bad weather on your wedding day, be sure to check out our blog on that subject here

5. Bright Colors

Remember earlier when I said you don’t have to make your wedding look like an Easter egg hunt to get the Spring look? While I’m not going to tell you to use bold colors like emerald green or marsala red, you can and should use bright colors like pinks and yellows. 
Spring bridal bouquet
Mary + Roy Photography
Spring is all about new life and new beauty, and sometimes nothing is more beautiful than a bouquet of bright flowers. If you’re worried about the colors being too intense, you can tone it down be using paler colors as well. 
Spring floral centerpiece
Sarah Schulte Photography
Another Spring idea for your flowers is to add in fresh greenery to break up the brighter colors. The greenery acts like a base to all of that color, which is perfect if you’re looking for a more modern look.

6. Lace Dresses

I know there are plenty of brides trying to skip right over this one because you hate lace but hear me out. The reason lace is a staple in weddings is because it’s classic and versatile. For some reason, most brides hear the word “lace” and think of their grandmother’s tablecloths. Meanwhile, lace, when done right, gives a soft and romantic look that is perfect for a Spring wedding. 
Spring bridesmaid
Mary + Roy Photography
When used with other fabrics, lace is a perfect compliment. Even if the bride isn’t wearing a single piece of lace, the bridesmaids can and there are endless options available that even the biggest lace-hater bride would love. Still not convinced? Check out these gorgeous examples our friends at The Dessy Shop have available.

7. Blue Groomsmen Suits

More and more, grooms and groomsmen are pulling away from black tuxedos. Aside from the black tie formal weddings, my couples are always asking me for other options. This trend is likely to continue as more weddings are being designed outside of the standard banquet hall and in places where a black tuxedo just wouldn’t make sense. 
Blue Groomsmen Suit for a Spring Wedding
Jessica Janae Photography
Dressing the groom and groomsmen in blue suits is a great Spring idea for so many reasons. The shades of blue available are endless and even the darkest ones are perfect for Spring. The color is also incredibly formal and can be dressed up (or down) using accessories including shirts, ties and even shoes.
Dusty blue groomsmen tuxedo for a spring wedding
Images by Berit
Not sold on the blue color for your formal Spring wedding? We love when our grooms work with our custom tuxedo designer to create the perfect mix of what they’re looking for. If you want to ditch that black tuxedo, but you know mom wants to see you in something more formal, meet halfway and go for the satin details without everything else. 

8. Cake Flowers

Yes, we’re back to flowers again!! I am a huge fan of real flowers instead of sugary ones on cakes, but for Spring weddings, this is a must
White wedding cake with real flowers
Domenick Michael Photography
There are plenty of ways to add flowers to your wedding cake, making this Spring idea the most versatile on the list. Whether you want to cover the cake in a cascade of roses or simply add a few flowers here and there, we have all the inspiration you need on our wedding cake board right here. 
Roses on top of a wedding cake
Gabelli Studio

9. Floral Linens

Linens are one of my favorite ways to get creative with wedding decor. Floral linen options can be anything from a flat pattern to a more textured cloth. But no matter the color or colors of the floral pattern linen, this is a great spring idea for any time of the year.
Floral reception table
Gabelli Studio
They are also one of the most complicated components, especially when you’re dealing with (at most) a bunch of swatches trying to figure out what works. Since linens can also add up quickly, I always recommend adding linens to a few signature tables such as: cake table, gift/card table, escort card table and the sweetheart table. Since these tables can be different sizes, even using the same linen for all four tables will look different and add dimension to the entire look. 

Floral sweetheart table

10. Sweetheart Table Floral Explosion

The sweetheart table will be a major focus of the reception for the entire night, even if the bride and groom don’t spend much time actually sitting at it. Many times, the sweetheart table will be overlooked and wind up with little decor or just the bouquets from the bridesmaids. While there’s nothing wrong with keeping it simple, there are many brides and grooms that don’t think about this part of the decor until it’s too late. 

The sweetheart table is a great way to bring a little Spring into your wedding decor. Since the table is much smaller, it wouldn’t make sense to simply add another centerpiece. Framing the table with florals is basically inviting the wedding guests into a Spring garden anytime they visit with the bride and groom (which is often). 
Sweetheart table
Domenick Michael Photography
Whether you want to create a lush floral design that drapes to the floor, or frame the table with flowers and candles, you can totally bring a bit of Spring into your wedding by focusing on your sweetheart table!

Wedding Blog about Spring Weddings

Are you having a Spring wedding or bringing a bit of the season into your own big day? What are you doing to make that happen? Share your Spring ideas in the comments below for other engaged couples!

Ranunculus and Other Kick Ass Wedding Flowers (That Aren’t Peonies)

Ok, here come the pitchforks and cries about how dare I insult peonies. Look, peonies are great and all, but other wedding flowers exist. Like ranunculus.

Gesundheit.

Sounds like a sneeze right? Well, it does when some people try to pronounce it. 

Anyway… there are other flowers that don’t have a season that’s 4 seconds long like peonies. And it’s time to give some other wedding flowers the spotlight they deserve.

Let every other bride use peonies, while you have ranunculus on your wedding day. Check out this blog for five kick ass wedding flowers that aren't peonies.

Ranunculus has always been a favorite flower of mine, and if I can convince a bride to use them instead of peonies, I totally will. I like peonies, don’t get my wrong, but so does everyone else. I’m not saying they’re basic but, if they were a person, they would wear Uggs starting September 1st and totally order a pumpkin latte at Starbucks same day.

 

Ranunculus is a gorgeous wedding flower and comes in a bunch of different colors. They look great in everything from bouquets to centerpieces. 

Ranunculus bridal bouquet in deep fall colors, perfect for a rustic or garden wedding. Click the picture and read the blog for other ideas how to use ranunculus for your wedding design!
Justin Tinapay Photography

Just like peonies, ranunculus is fluffy and takes up some room. But they are more structured and hence, more interesting than the peony. Plus, they don’t look like they could fall apart at any second.

So, there’s that.

Ranunculus also has a longer season than the peony, and it’s available during the height of wedding season. By the way, if you’re looking for more information about in season flowers, make sure you check out this blog right here.

Another favorite of mine is the hydrangea. Unlike ranunculus, hydrangea is a well known flower type. But did you know it comes in like 479 different colors?

I mean…roughly.

Check out this wedding blog featuring ranunculus and other kick ass wedding flowers that every bride to be needs to consider for her wedding day!

Yes, the white hydrangea is super popular since white goes with everything, but with purple trending again, I expect to see plenty of purple and antique blue versions of this flower.

Hydrangea, like ranunculus, takes up a bunch of space…except a lot more. Why does that matter? Because if you’re working with a tight floral budget, you want to use flowers that you need less of.


 

Basically, for every stem of hydrangea, you would need a dozen stems of peonies. And peonies are already way more expensive than hydrangea. This means you need more of the more expensive flower.

Bye bye budget.

Ranunculus and other kick ass wedding flowers that every bride should know about for her wedding day. Read the blog for great wedding ideas and inspiration!

Hydrangeas are a lot like a hangover. They need hydration. That means these flowers are best in centerpieces or displays for things like your escort card table. Don’t waste them in a bouquet or else you might have a wilted mess without a constant water source.


 

Frequently, brides will ask me what the alternative is to peonies…especially if they aren’t getting married in the 4 minute long season the flower is available in. I love to recommend ranunculus, but the more popular answer is garden roses.

Ranunculus and other kick ass wedding flowers that brides should know about for their wedding day.
Domenick Michael Photography

Garden roses are huge. If you missed the blog about garden roses and other types of this romantic flower, head over to one of our previous blogs right here

There’s a definite reason that roses are so popular for weddings: they are the ultimate romantic flower. Roses for Valentine’s Day? Slightly popular. 


 

But you don’t have to just go with red roses, and besides an insane amount of variety being available, there are plenty of colors to choose from. If you’re a bride looking for a peony substitute, the garden rose will be the same size and give that same soft and whimsical look.

Ranunculus and other kick ass wedding flowers that every bride to be should know about for her wedding day!
Domenick Michael Photography

The only drawback to using garden roses is that they are extremely fragrant. If you’re a bride with allergies, or concerned about your guests, then stick with ranunculus instead.

While not the perfect substitute for the peony, we are seeing the protea become a popular bloom. With its massive size, only one is really needed for an entire centerpiece. Unlike the peony, however, protea are very structured.

Ranunculus and other kick ass wedding flowers that every bride needs to know about for her wedding day!

But, if you want your flowers to be a metaphor for your marriage, then go team protea and bench team peony. Like, the whole team.

I don’t hate peonies, I swear.

Dessy Group Menswear
 

If you’re still not on board the ranunculus train, and you’re not in love with the other options, don’t fret just yet…

Another showstopping wedding flower is the dahlia. Available in plenty of colors, this flower is softer than the pretoria, but not as fluffy as the peony. But again, the peony looks like it’s going to fall apart at any moment.

Ranunculus and other kick ass wedding flowers that every bride needs to know about for her wedding day!
Images by Berit

Dahlias are not only super gorgeous, but they blend really well with all of the other peony alternative suggestions above. They are such an “in between” flower that they can be the featured artist or the backup singer.

While available during the height of wedding season, brides don’t have to just use Fall colors here. Dahlias are gorgeous in paler shades like peach and cream. 

Ranunculus and other kick ass wedding flowers that brides should know about for their wedding day!
Alicia King Photography

Whether your wedding vibe is romantic and rustic or modern and chic, the ranunculus and really all of these flowers are great alternatives to peonies. Take a look around at some of our real weddings right here and get inspired for your own wedding day. 

Will you be using any of these flowers we suggested? Are you ditching peonies for a different wedding flower? Share your ideas in the comments below for other brides to be!

 

Unexpected Ways to Use Roses in Your Wedding Design

The rose is a classic flower and often used in wedding design. It’s currently trending on social media, probably because Valentine’s Day is in 5 minutes.

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” -Shakespeare

No offense, Bill, but a daisy will never be a rose. It’s not a rose, unless it’s a rose.


 

More than ever, couples want a unique wedding with traditional elements. Roses are something a lot of my couples want to ditch because “everyone uses them”.

But just because everyone uses them, doesn’t mean you have to use them in the same way. In this blog we’ll talk about the unexpected ways you can use roses in your wedding design.

 

Blog cover for wedding inspiration using roses

A Rose By Any Other Name

There are over 150 different varieties of roses, making this flower one of the more versatile ones. Brides can be extremely specific as to what type and color rose they want for their wedding. 
Despite this, roses have the reputation of being boring and overdone. This could not be further from the truth. That’s actually about peonies. *shots fired*
Unlike some other flowers, roses work in everything from boutineers to bouquets to centerpieces. It’s about finding the right rose.

Large white garden roses

Garden roses, on their own, have different varieties. They are all massive in size and have layers of petals, making them the perfect choice for weddings. These babies are in a league of their own and while every other bride is using peonies for their bouquets, you can stand out from the crowd with these instead.


 

Mixing different roses is a great way to add texture to centerpieces and even ceremony design. While garden roses can steal the show, spray roses are perfect supporting cast members. Create a unique look by using them in both the bridal bouquet as filler and as part of the groom’s boutineer as well. Make that boutineer unique by adding a splash of color or adding something funky such as berries or a small succulent. 

Groom's floral boutineer

Ring Around The Rosie

One of the reasons roses are frequently used for weddings, is that they don’t have a season. You could get married in the dead of winter or in the middle of summer, and roses are available. 
Peonies, by the way, are available for about 30 seconds, so let that bandwagon pass you by.
Wedding centerpiece using roses and greenery.
Images by Berit
Since roses are readily available in plenty of colors, it’s easy enough to incorporate them into your wedding design. The pink, white and gold color combination might be trending for weddings right now, but that doesn’t mean you have to use pink and white roses. Work with your florist to explore other options like earl grey and quicksand roses. 
Along with working with any color combination, there is a rose for every style of wedding. This classic bloom is not just reserved for a sit down dinner at a castle in France with a sunset ceremony. 

White wedding cake covered in roses and greenery

Rustic brides can give a boring wedding cake a unique twist by adding fresh roses and greenery to the design. Create a seamless look by using the same florals on the cake as you did for other decor like the centerpieces and bouquets. 


 

If you’re hosting a trendy garden style wedding, using roses seems like the obvious choice. Just because it’s obvious, doesn’t mean the design has to be. This is another great chance to discuss color options with your florist that will leave guests asking you just what type of roses you used.
Long wedding table with roses and candles
Images by Berit
Create a natural look by using roses to enhance a mantle or by placing them inside a fountain. Or go over the top and put them in places that are unexpected like trailing down the inside of a banister. Just make sure you have permission from your venue first!

Wedding decor with a small arrangement and mantle design.

Everything’s Coming Up Roses

What about those brides that aren’t using flowers for their centerpieces, but want to incorporate a floral feel? Just because you’ve ruled out real flowers, doesn’t mean you’ve ruled out all flowers.
And I’m not talking about using fake flowers, don’t worry. 

Dessy Spring Style 2013
 

Floral designs are huge right now in the fashion world. From the wedding gowns to what your bridesmaids will wear, designers are showcasing floral details in everything. 
The “all-white” trend is just as popular as the floral trend, and I am dying over this gorgeous bridesmaid dress by Dessy. 

 

Ivory bridesmaid dress with floral detail

If the idea of putting your bridesmaids in full on floral is too much, consider adding subtle pops of the style instead. A gorgeous floral belt is the perfect touch to add to a wedding gown. Of course, who’s doesn’t love seeing a flower girl rock an adorable rose detailed dress like this one?

Flower girl dress with floral details

Roses are Red…

A lot of my brides shy away from using red roses. Too many bad memories of the losers they dated showing up with gas station roses on Valentine’s Day. 


 

I’ll refrain from calling out any of my ex-boyfriends here.
But red roses are perfect for all seasons, especially late Summer, Fall and even Winter. Basically every season except Spring is what I’m trying to say here.

Bright bouquets for bridesmaids

As a designer, I like to use the season of the wedding as inspiration. It has nothing to do with that myth about using “in season” flowers, which we talked about in this blog right here.
The key to using the colors of the season and still making your wedding look original, is all in the combinations. Let’s be honest, plenty of brides are going to use “Fall colors” for their fall wedding, which includes those deep red roses. Give your guests the unexpected by taking your wedding vibe to the next level.
Red garden rose
Justin Tinapay Photography
Note, I said “vibe”, not “theme” because this is a wedding and not a prom. Just saying.
Red garden roses are showstoppers because they are huge. This means a few go a long way, and you can add in other florals and even fabrics. Create a warm and welcoming reception for your guests with long tables covered in sparkly runners, garden roses and plenty of candle light. 


 

When using red roses, or any dark colors, it’s important to make sure they are seen. When working them into a centerpiece, candles aren’t going to be enough. Use a talented lighting designer to pinspot each table in order to see the centerpieces both in person and in your photographs. 

Some Say Love, It Is A Flower

Roses can play a big part in your wedding ceremony design, just as much as the reception. You don’t need a flower girl to create your walkway. Instead of using a runner or lining the aisle with candles, create a design using rose petals all the way to the altar. Wedding planner tip: rope off the end of your aisle to make sure the design isn’t destroyed by guests looking for their seats. 

Wedding ceremony with floral aisle

Even in small doses, roses can make a big impact. Since it is often regarded as the most romantic flower, using it for your ceremony is an easy decision. 
If you are hosting an outdoor ceremony, you might not be able to create an aisle design. It’s easy enough to design an over-the-top arbor with cascading florals, but not every couple wants that. If you’re looking to keep things simple, but never boring, add in touches of roses to “hold together” the design at the end of your aisle. 

Wedding arch with rose details

Every Rose Has Its Thorn

Roses have always been a part of weddings, and like the traditional white wedding gown, they are here to stay. More than ever, brides want to make their wedding different from the rest. Even though roses are considered a standard wedding flower, when used correctly, they’ll help create that unique wedding design you haven’t seen on Pinterest 100 times before!
Pink, white and gold roses as wedding centerpieces
Mary + Roy Photography
Will you be using roses for your wedding day? What ideas can you share with other brides? Share in the comments below what your ideas are!
 

Everything You Need To Know About Wedding Flowers

Flowers are a huge part of most weddings, but aside from the basics, a lot of brides look for help in this area. Whether or not you can tell a peony from a ranunculus, this blog will tell you everything you need to know about wedding flowers. 

Everything you need to know about wedding flowers is in this blog, including advice from wedding florists for all engaged couples. Find out how to make the most of your floral budget and how to prepare for your appointments.Flowers play such a major role in weddings, that the couples I work with, frequently have more opinions in this area than many others. Sure, the venue is important and I guess the wedding gown is kind of a big deal too…but couples are intense really care about those flowers. Not only do they care, but sometimes brides are so passionate that I forget we’re talking about centerpieces and not politics.

One time, I was discussing the options of centerpieces and watched my bride have a stroke at the mere mention of low centerpieces. It was like we had stopped talking about her wedding flowers and started discussing North Korea. She had a huge aversion to mixing low and high centerpieces because she attended a wedding, was sat at a table with a low centerpiece, and took it personally.


 

To each their own…

The point is, brides (not really grooms, let’s be honest here) have a thing with wedding flowers. When I first start working with a couple, we chat about flowers without going into too much detail. We discuss the general look and feel of the wedding. As we move forward, questions get more detailed like:

Do they have a color scheme?
Are there any flowers they want to avoid?
What are their “must-have” blooms?

For those couples that are opinionated but clueless, I like to know about previous weddings they have attended. If you’re one of those brides that doesn’t know what she wants, but has to have what she wants, this is a good starting point. 

Everything you need to know about wedding flowers is right in this blog! From deciding your entire style to how to make the most of your florist appointment, we've got everything brides need here.

One of the florists that we work with, chimed in on this as well. When I asked Chad from Carroll’s Florist how he works with couples that aren’t sure where to start, he recommends gathering pictures:

“By sharing photos of florals that appeal to you, a florist should be able to get a sense of style that you prefer.”

How To Find Wedding Flower Inspo Photos

It’s not necessary to know the difference between boho and rustic, so stop driving yourself crazy trying to label your wedding style. Instead of trying to use those types of words (that are completely subjective), use words that you actually know and understand. For instance, if you want the flowers to reflect the season you are getting married, use that for your search on Pinterest i.e. “Fall wedding”. 

Tips and tricks for engaged couples on how to select flowers for a wedding and what will help keep the cost down. Read the blog for everything you need to know for your big day!

If you have an idea about your colors, use that when doing your search. Don’t forget to include gold or silver if you’re thinking about incorporating one of the two. For the brides that either don’t care about silver or gold, or want to leave them out of the search completely, try searching with your colors along with things like “clear holders” or “mercury glass”. 

By using specific colors instead of vague flowery language, (no pun intended) you’re more likely to come up with inspiration you actually like. You also should avoid using catch phrases like “boho chic” when initially speaking with a florist. One person’s “boho chic” is another person’s “French vintage”. Let your pictures do the talking. After all, those alone are worth 1,000 words.

See what I did there? I know. I’m so clever.


 

Don’t restrict yourself to just Pinterest either. While that is seen as the place to search for wedding inspo anything, it’s not everything. Be sure to check out Instagram for wedding flowers and use hashtags like you would use on Pinterest to search with. Don’t ignore regular search engines either as you can use the “images” search feature to come up with more flower inspiration for your wedding. 

Wedding Flower Lies

Oh they’re out there…new ones are being made up everyday. But the biggest lie myth about wedding flowers?

“Asking for seasonal flowers doesn’t always mean cheaper!”

Everything a bride needs to know about picking flowers for her wedding day. Find out what to ask a florist and how to save on costs in this blog!

Amanda of Twisted Willow Flowers hears that from brides all the time. In reality, you aren’t guaranteed to save money just by using flowers that are in season.

I know, insane right? Your entire life you’ve grown up knowing one thing to be true: on your wedding day you will have seasonal flowers because they are less expensive.

Sorry to destroy your world. 

It’s a myth that is reinforced not just by the moms and grand-moms of the brides getting married, (sorry ladies) but by the internet and countless wedding publications. In fact, some wedding websites allow you to search for flowers based on your season, while in another article they’ll tell you that it really doesn’t matter.

Why do they do this? To appeal to every single bride so those brides will keep reading, and so that advertisers will keep advertising. Because money. But that’s another blog for another day…

Everything a bride and groom need to know before selecting their wedding flowers. Plus tips and tricks about your wedding flower budget in this blog!

The bottom line is that it’s not as simple as picking in season flowers to keep the cost down. If it was, then brides getting married in Minnesota the month of January would have to resign themselves to holding a bouquet of snow. 

Another myth about wedding flowers concerns the centerpieces. Some of my brides want the tall skyscraping centerpieces because they are hosting their reception with a ceiling in the stratosphere. It’s not necessarily that they want all tall centerpieces, but rather, that’s what they think they’re supposed to do. 

“Many couples assume that with tall venue ceilings, all centerpieces need to be tall. Although a couple may be able to afford 20 typical tall centerpieces, that same budget can be used to create 10 stunning tall centerpieces accompanied by 10 shorter centerpieces.” -Chad, Carroll’s Florist

Just because your venue has a high ceiling, doesn’t mean you are required by law to have all tall centerpieces. When I work with my brides, we always discuss the option of having centerpieces that vary in height. When you look at your reception, the room will always look more interesting this way. Does that mean you have to include short centerpieces that make your guests feel less important?….Not at all. You can work with your florist to have tall centerpieces and ones that are shorter but not low and against the table. 

And if your guests sitting at those tables feel less important, then you invited the wrong people to your wedding. 

Everything a bride needs to know about wedding flowers. Get advice from two of our favorite florists how to get what you want and not go over budget.

Wedding Flower Trends

I’m not a huge fan of following trends in general. I wore Keds all through high-school. But I’m a badass like that. A badass that had to look up if “badass” was one word or two, but a badass nonetheless. 


 

The problem with wedding trends is that what is trending now might not be trending by the time your wedding date rolls around. I always advise my couples to stick with classic styles. You don’t want to whip out your wedding album for your kids and show them how mommy wore a crop-top dress down the aisle. Well the same is true for every other aspect of your wedding, including flowers. What’s on trend today may not be on trend for your wedding day and most certainly will not be trending 30 years from now. 

The point is: don’t pick anything for your wedding just because it’s on trend. OK?

Now that we’ve covered that, let’s talk about what actually is trending and of course, what’s not.

Amanda from Twisted Willow Flowers is tired of seeing one thing: greenery garlands. Even if you just got engaged, or maybe you’re planning your “one day wedding” on Pinterest, whatever…you all know what those greenery garlands looks like.

Everything a bride needs to know about wedding flowers including what's on trend for 2018 weddings and how to stay under budget. Read the blog for tips and tricks from us and two of our favorite florists.

With outdoor, barn, farm and generally rustic weddings taking over the past few years, this has been a super popular design. Typically draped down the middle of long tables, the garland would act as a centerpiece and could be accented with anything from candles to flowers. 

Greenery was actually Pantone’s Color of the Year in 2017, which only made this trend that much more popular. This year, however, Pantone’s Color of the Year is ultra-violet. You can actually get ideas how to work that color into your wedding in another blog we wrote right here. We started seeing purple and even blues talked about at the end of 2017 and Twisted Willow Flowers is seeing purple color schemes starting to pop up again. 

Dessy Group
 

Another trend that should disappear according to Chad of Carroll’s Florist?

“Crystal everywhere. Every time I think it is going away, I get 5 brides in a row looking to drown themselves in crystal.”

With the rise of rustic weddings, it almost appears as if some brides are digging their rhinestone heels into the ground just to prove they are not that. Ironically, it’s easy enough to combine crystals with rustic and get a gorgeous upscale wedding look. But for some brides, that rustic thing is never going to happen for their wedding. Chad’s advice for them?

“Less is more.”

If Pantone’s “Color of the Year” isn’t your favorite (and believe me, I work with some brides that hate purple more than their future mother-in-law), but you want to incorporate some trends, all hope is not lost. When speaking with his 2018 couples, Chad says he is seeing plenty of textured flowers like dusty miller and that the color pallet with greens, grays, dusty blues and whites is on trend right now. Also making a huge comeback? Candlelight.

Everything engaged couples need to know about wedding flowers. How a bride can pick the right flowers, what to expect at a florist appointment and tips to stay under budget. Check the blog for all of this now!

What You Need To Know About Wedding Flowers

Still feeling unprepared? Not sure how to take the next steps and find your wedding day florist? Having your event colors is a big help according to Chad, as he can help couples decide on a style, on a budget, on particular flowers, but “color is a personal selection”. Do your best to select colors before meeting with a florist, even if that means eliminating what you don’t like.

You know you’ve seen stuff you hate at other weddings on Pinterest. Start there. 


 

A word of caution with Pinterest: it can be overwhelming. It’s very easy to fall down the “it’s already 3am and I have to get up in 2 hours so just 5 more minutes but not really” rabbit hole that is Pinterest. Pretty soon you’re pinning random stuff through your squinted eyes and you have an inspiration board with dragons on a beach. Pinterest is chock full of inspiration but it’s not all for you. Keep your searches narrow and don’t rely on that “more like this” feature too much. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that Pinterest showcases styled shoots. That means you are looking at wedding pictures that aren’t from a wedding, but from a properly timed and properly lit shoot. There are no guests, time doesn’t exist, and it’s not reality. In reality, your guests have to sit at the tables and eat. In Pinterest land, guests don’t sit because the couch is stuck where it is and they don’t eat because flowers are spilling over onto the plates. 

So how can you use this site without getting overwhelmed?

“Find your trend through those photos you see and really focus on letting that inspire the theme/direction of the wedding.” -Amanda, Twisted Willow Flowers

Every single thing you need to know about wedding flowers including how to find your wedding day style and stay under budget. If you're engaged, don't meet with a single florist until you read this first!

That’s the key word: inspire. Think about it this way…if you take a picture of Kim Kardashian to your hairdresser and say you want to look like her, is that going to be possible with a pair of scissors and some hair dye? Or would you also need some plastic surgery to accomplish said goal? Pictures should be used to inspire, not to copy. Besides, why would you want the same styled shoot wedding you (and all of your friends getting married saw) on Pinterest?

Be better than Pinterest.

Coping With The Cost

And now, what you’re all really here for: how to deal with the cost of wedding flowers. I know, your best friend’s cousin’s penpal had a 400 person wedding, used all tall centerpieces and only paid $2,000.

No she didn’t so stop listening to that noise. Even if she did, that is the exception and not the rule…and there’s probably more to the story that has been edited better than any episode of “Real Housewives”.

Everything you need to know about wedding flowers including 2018 trends for brides and grooms and how to stay under budget.

Flowers cost money. They do. Frequently, my couples will ask me why flowers cost so much. My answer always starts with “do you really want to know?”. Because, let’s be honest, no one wants to waste their time with an explanation only to be told they’re still wrong. So, if you really want to know, this is where you’re going to find out.

If you don’t want to know, then scroll for a bit to the next heading.

When I asked Amanda from Twisted Willow Flowers what the one thing was that she wished engaged couples knew, this is what she said:

“How much time really goes into the florals. From the start to the finish product.”

This includes meeting or meetings, proposals (there’s always more than one), edits, samples, flower processing, cleaning, arranging, set-up, pick-up and clean-up.

Everything you need to know about wedding flowers including trends for 2018 and how to stay under budget. Check out the advice our florists are giving brides and grooms in this blog.

Now, as a wedding planner, one of the questions I get at every last consultation pertains to what I actually do. It’s a fair question, especially since every planner is different and none of us are J.Lo.

It’s a fair question to ask a florist too, but instead of asking that question, most couples just want the price to be justified. Well, everything that a florist does justifies the price. In addition to paying for the actual flowers, you are paying for the time of a professional…time that was spent with you or on your wedding and not with someone else or on anything else.

Dessy Spring Style 2013
 

You are paying for the talent behind the bouquets and the labor that goes into it all. 

Consider also that you likely don’t have experience with the cost of flowers. “Knowing” what your friend spent, what your mom thinks is fair, or what some wedding website has come up with, does mean you know what flowers cost.

Everything you need to know about wedding flowers, how to stay under budget and what to bring when you meet with your florist for the first time. Engaged couples need to check this blog out!

That’s totally OK.

You’re not supposed to know what flowers cost and each proposal will be different depending on the specific details of the wedding. It is on the couple to work with the florist, communicate what they want and go from there. Have a number in mind? Great. Speak up before a proposal is put together.

Odds are you have a budget, and it’s in everyone’s best interest to share. I once worked with a couple that used the excuse they didn’t know what things cost, so they couldn’t give me a budget. Well, when the florist put together the sample of exactly what they wanted they loved everything…except the price. In fact, when they were told the price, they called it “ridiculous” and said they “weren’t willing to spend that much.”

Which meant they knew what they wanted to spend and simply kept it a secret assuming that the florist would come in under that imaginary number regardless of the details in the centerpiece. Makes sense right?

bridesmaid tote bag bride handbag
 

In the end, the couple ended up using a completely different florist who didn’t execute their vision and who they complained to me about all night. Me. The planner that brought in a qualified florist that did a sample for free and without a contract. My time and the florist’s time was wasted on not just the sample appointment but a meeting prior to that and countless phone calls, emails and inspiration board drawings.

Typically, you have to pay for that and that is just part of what you are paying for. 

It’s best to be honest about your budget, just as you should expect your florist to be. Chad explains that he is open about costs:

“After reviewing their dream florals, which we discuss along with budget, I let them know what the cost will be. I explain how the majority of floral expenses comes from venue decor and then try to get a better sense of what they are looking to achieve.”

What happens if the vision is right but the price is wrong?

“If a couple’s vision and budget match, everyone is happy. If it doesn’t, I explain why and offer a series of solutions that can make them happy both with their wedding day and their wallet.”

Looking to keep those floral costs down? Of course you are. So if the incorrect rule of thumb about using flowers that are in season won’t help, then what will? 


 

When meeting with your florist, they will be able to recommend flowers best for your overall design. If there are certain blooms that would push your budget, be sure to ask them for alternative options. Most importantly, you need to be open to their suggestions. Even if you are the bride that needs garden roses but can’t afford them and will die without them, listen to your options.

Once you have gone over all options and alternatives, as well as what the comparative costs look like, then you are in a position to make a decision. Maybe you’ll sacrifice your favors in order to afford the exact flowers that you want. Or maybe you’ll like what the florist suggests instead. The point is, you have to hear it all before deciding anything. 

“Make sure you have a comfort level with your florist. Give him or her a sense of the style you are looking for and try not to tie him to particular flowers.” Chad, Carroll’s Florist

Ready, Set, Flower

It all comes down to open communication and trust. Amanda from Twisted Willow Flowers says it’s important to “be open to suggestions” during the initial appointment, and to have a general idea of the colors and styles you would like to use. Don’t feel like you need to be prepared to make some grand presentation using inspiration boards and excel sheets. An experienced florist will use with what you give them and will know how to create your vision. A vision you might not even have yet. 

Everything you ever needed to know about wedding flowers including 2018 trends and how to stay under budget. If you're engaged, make sure you read this blog before you meet with a florist for your own big day!

Working with a florist is no different than working with any other vendor. It’s important to trust the experience your vendors have, instead of challenging them with stuff you read on some wedding website. If your gut tells you to walk away from a vendor, do it.

Just be sure it’s your gut talking and not a bridesmaid that just got married and now knows everything in your ear.


 

What do you think about the tips and tricks shared by two of our favorite florists? Do you have any advice you’d like to share with other brides? Comment below with something you want every engaged couple to know before meeting with florists for their wedding!

How to Have an Incredible Garden Wedding

If you’re stuck in the bitter winter cold like I am, it might be hard to envision an incredible garden wedding. How can you picture beautiful trees and flowers when everything is covered in snow? We’ve put together plenty of inspiration in this blog, as well as venue recommendations to get you started. Don’t forget to pin your favorites and share your wedding details in the comments below.

Thinking about a boho chic ceremony with plenty of flowers? Get plenty of garden wedding inspiration, plus real garden wedding venues every bride and groom should consider. Visit the blog for garden wedding inspiration and tips how to add personal touches to this wedding trend.

What are some incredible garden venues?

If you want your wedding to have a garden feel, then the best way to do that is to get married in…you guessed it…a garden! One of the best things about a garden wedding venue is that you’re surrounded by flowers, trees and organic beauty. It’s not necessary to go crazy with decor when it’s already provided. 


 

This is the perfect setting for the boho chic bride to the traditional black tie mandatory bride and everyone in between. The trick is to find the right garden venue that fits your style. Perhaps you like the idea of the ceremony being outdoors, but want to bring guests inside for cocktail hour and the reception. Maybe you’d prefer a tented wedding where guests can enjoy the beauty of the garden the entire day. A full list of garden venues by state can be downloaded in the link below, and past that are some of our favorites!

Garden Venues Across The States

The New York Botanical Gardens

Located in New York City, NYBG is one of the greatest botanical gardens in the world. You can see a real wedding we designed for one of our couples in this blog right here. 

Looking for garden inspiration for your boho chic or outdoor wedding? We've put together a list of venues along with plenty of unique ideas for your own wedding day. Read the blog to get started!

The New York Botanical Gardens hosts both intimate and grand weddings. Engaged couples can create their first look photos on site, and treat their guests to a true garden wedding experience. Starr Events is the fantastic in house catering group, so foodies should add this venue to the list!

Grounds for Sculpture

Located in Princeton, New Jersey, Grounds for Sculpture is a premiere destination for garden weddings. In addition to the gorgeous grounds covered in beautiful flowers and trees, there are countless art exhibits around every corner. 
Garden wedding inspiration plus venues every engaged couple should consider and how to make your garden wedding unique! Read the blog to get ideas and get the free printable venue guide.
Ceremonies can be held in four different outdoor locations and Grounds for Sculpture provides an indoor location in case of inclement weather. Cocktail hour and the reception are located at the restaurant on property with food provided by Starr Events. Guests will travel from the ceremony to Rat’s Restaurant on paths surrounded by sculptures and beautiful gardens. Check out what our couple, Chelsea and Yaw, did for the wedding we planned with them right here.

 
Pleasantdale Chateau
If you’re looking for a more formal garden wedding experience, Pleasantdale Chateau in West Orange, New Jersey is the perfect fit. Set far from the main road, the chateau at the end of the winding driveway includes on-site accommodations as well as separate bride and groom suites for the couple and their wedding party to get ready in. 

Find out where this dreamy garden wedding venue is and get inspiration for your own garden wedding. We share plenty of ideas along with a free printable of venues across the United States for your unique garden wedding.

Couples can take their pictures on countless bridges and anywhere on the beautiful grounds. This upscale setting allows couples to have a garden vibe for their wedding, while providing a beautiful estate for dinner and dancing. 

What Type of Wedding Gown is Perfect for a Garden Wedding?

Once you have the venue selected, it’s time to start shopping for the perfect bridal gown. It’s important to consider your own style as well as where you will get married. Are you more boho chic in an organic garden setting, or will your big day include a clear top tent and fireworks? Below are some beautiful options to consider wearing at a garden wedding.


 

Floral Details

Wedding gowns perfect for a garden wedding! From boho chic to rustic and romantic, we've put together all of your garden wedding inspiration in one blog. Get your free printable guide of garden venues when you read the blog!

Floral details on a wedding gown are the perfect look for a garden wedding. With floral patterns increasing in popularity, brides have countless options with this trend. Whether it’s a small detail like a floral design on the straps, or a big statement using larger details, you can’t go wrong incorporating garden beauty into your gown. Our friends at Bridal Atelier in Montclair suggest looking at Claire Pettibone dresses if you’re looking for romantic floral inspired wedding gowns. You can read about that wedding gown trend and more right here!

The Ballgown

We love this boho chic ballgown and it's perfect for a garden wedding. Check out the blog to get ideas for your outdoor wedding day and download the venue guide for free!

You simply can’t go wrong with a ballgown on your wedding day. Plus, this is the only chance you really get to wear one! Take a spin around the gardens in a romantic wedding gown like this one for incredible pictures. We promise you won’t regret it!

Lace Details

This fitted lace wedding gown that our bride wore for her rustic chic ceremony is perfect for a garden wedding too! Check out this gown and more inspiration for your garden wedding on the blog, and download the free printable wedding venue guide!!

This fitted lace wedding gown is romantic and chic enough for any garden wedding venue. Lace can be beautiful whether it’s an accent or used for the entire dress. For the vintage and boho chic brides looking for the perfect garden wedding gown, look no further than one with lace details!

What Color Combinations are Best for a Garden Wedding?

Dessy Spring Style 2013
 

Garden weddings all have some element of the outdoors. Depending on your location, the season that you get married in should be considered when choosing your colors. Ask the venue to see pictures of the grounds from weddings that took place in the past in the same month you will wed in. What’s in bloom and what isn’t? Will they be changing any of the trees and flowers? If you’re considering a Fall wedding, when do the leaves change and when do they drop? Consider these details before committing to a color combo. 

This gorgeous combination of blues and purples is perfect for a garden wedding. Read the blog to get more inspiration and download the free venue guide to find the best place for your wedding!

A monochrome combination of blues is a chic look for a garden wedding. Keep the vibe organic by using chair drapes like we did here with a deconstructed centerpiece of greens, blues and purples. To get ideas how to use Pantone’s Color of the Year, ultra-violet, in your garden wedding, check out a previous blog right here. 

A mix of pinks and greenery is the perfect combination for a garden wedding. Read the blog to get more inspiration and the free garden venue guide for your own wedding day!

Pops of bright pink mixed with vibrant greenery is a great look for those late spring and early summer weddings. Channel your inner Secret Garden style and create a vintage centerpiece like we did here by using touches of vintage gold.

A rustic chic ceremony isn't complete without plenty of greenery and candles. Find out how to use this style for a garden wedding on our blog right now!

Incorporate the simplicity of nature by using all greenery for your garden wedding like we did here for a ceremony. Keep it clean using clear holders and plenty of candlelight. Not down with the all green look? Mix in different shades of white for a fresher approach that’s perfect for any time of the year!

Garden wedding inspiration for a fall wedding? We've got tips and tricks how to make this trend unique for your big day. Read the blog and download the free garden wedding venue guide too!

Fall weddings mean deeper colors, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a garden inspired wedding in October. This color combination of deep red and light green with pops of gold will bring your garden wedding to a chic new level. 

What Should Garden Wedding Invitations Look Like?

Your wedding stationery should compliment your entire wedding design. An invitation is the first glimpse into your wedding style that your guests are seeing. Here are a few ways you can let everyone know that your wedding is garden inspired!

Romantic wedding invitations perfect for a chic garden wedding. Get inspiration and a full venue list on the blog!

This pale invitation suite designed by our friends Darling + Pearl is the perfect way to tell your guests they are attending a garden wedding. The organic feel with the whimsical font is just perfect for an outdoor celebration. We really love the sketch of the property that helps guests feel like they are already there!

A boho chic invitation suite that is perfect for an outdoor wedding. Check out the blog for garden wedding inspiration and ways you can make your day unique!

Lauren from Darling + Pearl recommends mixing equal parts carefree script, neutral and natural occurring colors, and floral patterns, (or a really rad crest). Throw the added option of torn edges or a watercolor splash or two and you’re garden ready. 

We love this invitation suite for a modern garden wedding. The deep colors look like a gorgeous floral painting and it's perfect for a romantic garden wedding. Find this invitation and more garden wedding inspiration on our blog, plus venues you need to see for your wedding day!

For a modern garden wedding look, we love this invitation from our friends at Minted. Perfect for those candlelight outdoor weddings using deeper shades of purple, blue and gray. You can see this romantic invitation and plenty more by clicking here!

How Can I Design My Wedding With a Garden Theme?

There are countless options when designing your wedding and plenty of things to think about. Will you use round or long tables? Linens or no linens? What type of glassware and plates will you use? It can get overwhelming very quickly, so here are a few things to keep in mind!
Keep It Natural
Doing too much to make your wedding have that garden feel is never a good idea. Depending on your venue and the type of garden you’re getting married in, you want to stick with that same style. It wouldn’t make sense to have bling and marble pieces in the middle of a rose garden. Pull inspiration from your surroundings and everything will flow together naturally.

We loved designing this boho chic gardenn wedding for our bride and groom and working with all that greenery! Read the blog to get garden wedding inspiration and a list of the best venues for your wedding day!

Mix It Up With Long Tables
A garden is the last place you would find round tables with white linens. Invest in table rentals to really showcase the garden wedding vibe and let your florist create an unforgettable design. Long tables have become so trendy that engaged couples aren’t limited to just one style or color. Gray tables are super hot right now and perfect for those deeper colors. If you find a table you love, ask yourself if you could see it in a garden and go from there.

This jaw-dropping wedding reception table is perfect for the boho chic garden bride. Get inspired for your garden wedding with ideas on our blog!

Dress Up Your Bridesmaids in Garden Wedding Gowns
Just like you want the perfect wedding gown for your garden wedding, your bridesmaids should reflect that same style. A long chiffon gown is formal enough for a chic wedding but relaxed enough for an outdoor garden celebration. 

This romantic pale pink chiffon bridesmaid dress is perfect for an outdoor garden wedding. Get this look and more on our blog today!

We love all of the options our friends at The Dessy Group have, like this chiffon gown that comes in almost every color imaginable!

This romantic bridesmaid dress is perfect for any type of outdoor or garden wedding. You can shop this look and see more backyard wedding inspiration on our blog!

What Are the Pros and Cons to Having a Garden Wedding?

Pro: A huge plus to having a garden wedding is the gorgeous scenery that’s already there. You won’t have to dress up the location as much as you would a ballroom. 


 

Con: No wedding is without its challenges, but outdoor weddings certainly have the most. We always tell our couples that they need to have a Plan B and they need to love it as much as Plan A. Never commit to a venue that you’ll only love in the sunshine. Know the backup plans and if they don’t make you happy, you haven’t found your garden wedding venue yet.

This garden ceremony was super chic with an arbor draped in white, greenery and plenty of pink roses. We have more garden wedding inspiration up on the blog right now!

Pro: Many garden wedding venues either allow you to bring in an outside caterer or their in house caterer reflects the farm to table style that is so popular. Whatever the case, you’re likely to have amazing food if you have a garden wedding.
Con: Depending on the location, you could be restricted in terms of noise and have to end the party sooner than you would like. Be sure to ask the venues what time the music must end and the guests must leave.

Vintage china and floral table linens were the perfect compliment for this secret garden inspired wedding. See this look and more on our blog where we're showing you how to make your garden wedding unique!

If you’re interested in a garden wedding and want to take the next step, contact us to get started! If you are planning a garden wedding, what are you doing to make your celebration unique? Share with us and other couples in the comments below!