I’ve always known it was you: Pt. 1

Remember those save the dates I showed ya’ll way back when? Well the wedding has come and gone and I never showed any planning details or recaps. Oy! Better late than never right?

This was not only a wedding I was planning, but also a wedding I was in.  Jaci is one of my oldest and closest friends and we have known each other for almost 20 years! Anyway, to refresh your memory this was a lovely spring wedding with a “whimsical modern garden” feel (or something to that effect). In case you forgot, this was the Save the Date that I designed.

I also had the honor to design the entire invitation suite for the wedding. Using the forsythia and the gray and yellow color scheme as inspiration we wanted the invitation to have a bit more of a traditional yet whimsical feel with the illustration, rather than the modern feel of the full color style used above. To help with this I once again enlisted the help of one of my graphic design friends Courtney O’Connell and we used this pretty number (with a few tweaks):

I made a few size options in both rectangular and square so that the bride could decide what route she wanted to go. Ultimately we decided upon rectangular as it was easier for both printing costs and mailing purposes. Initially, the plan was to go with a pocket fold invitation but again, costs and ease of mailing came into play and the decision was made to go with a twine wrapped stack.  This is what the whole suite looked like put together:

By happy accident the important titles (a.k.a. everything in black) actually printed with a slightly raised texture which I think added to the invitation significantly. The whole thing was finished off with a pearl silver envelope for the RSVP and the suite.

All in all I was pretty happy with the final product. I didn’t actually get to see anything printed until the full invitation arrived in the mail so it was a nice surprise! I would definitely recommend DIY’ing paper products for anyone worried about budget. With so many online sites to help with purchasing the envelopes, pockets, even pre-cut paper – it’s a breeze! (or you could always hire me! lol)

As great as all the paper parts are, I know what really matters is the wedding….so stay tuned for pt 2 with details, photos and more!!


The Year of the Wedding

Given the look of my current projected calendar, it appears that 2012 will be the year of the wedding. This projection not only includes the weddings I have contracted as work, but also the weddings I will be attending to benefit my social calendar. I am really looking forward to being a guest at a handful of events this year because:

A. It will be nice to be on the other side of the party for a change (I’ll also get to dress up fancy in all those old semi-formal dresses hanging neglected in my closet)

2. It will provide me with an excuse for a little bit of travelling and vacation time and

C. I will be celebrating a very important moment in the lives of a lot of very important people in my life!

This is exciting.  One of the most exciting parts about some of these upcoming weddings is that I will also be in a few of them.  The downside to having so many events on the upcoming calendar….the financial burden.

I’m sure everyone has felt the strain of wedding finances at some point, whether it be questioning how to afford a simple gift for a recently married friend right out of school, finding the funds to travel to an out of town wedding for friends or family, or even having to buy that new dress to wear to said event. It can be tough. What’s shocking to me is how much the average person spends on weddings these days (as a bride/groom and as a guest), especially if acting as a member of the bridal party.

I recently stumbled upon this article and info graphic combo from the financial site Mint.com via Wedding Channel.com and they put the expenses of a bridesmaid into an interesting perspective:

(you can also check it out here or read the full article here) Now, obviously this is just the average and there are plenty of brides who keep costs down for their party members, but it’s true (and crazy!) that expenses can get exorbitant these days. I think that Mint provided a lot of great suggestions on how to save some pennies and I think some of these can apply to the guests as well such as sharing hotel rooms with others you know are travelling and getting creative with the gifts, even pooling with other guests for a larger item. Sometimes the sentimental gifts, i.e. homemade, gifts can be the most thoughtful.

Thankfully, I have some great, budget conscious friends in my circle so I’m heading into this year of weddings with a positive outlook, eager to celebrate!

Back in Action

I know a start every post with a “sorry i’ve been absent” statement, but i’m not entirely sorry this time. I’ve had some things going on lately that have left me with less than a desire to talk about all things weddings, lets be honest. I do however have a whole heck of a lot to talk about now. First things first – a recap of the wedding I did last month. Sara and John had a wonderful “winter” (come on it’s Florida) wedding the week after Christmas in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Sara’s father is a pastor at a beautiful methodist church in the area so naturally the ceremony/reception was on location and he performed the ceremony. I had a wonderful time working this wedding because Sara and I are friends from High School, so it was great to be involved with someone I had a history with!

Sara wanted a casual, laid back event with some slightly southern touches! The main inspiration for decor was mason jars, ribbon, lots of candles and flowers that looked like they were picked fresh from the garden. We created garden wreaths to hang in the reception (the whole thing was DIY btw) and even had mason jar tealights hanging from the trees outside. It was beautiful, but I will let you see for yourself. I am still waiting for more pics from the lovely photographers Kim and Eve but here are some sneaks in the meantime (there are more photos on their blog – all were posted on Jan 19):

All in all, it was a great day! Sara looked beautiful in her lace Casablanca gown. All of the ladies wore classic black dresses so that not only would they be comfortable to dance all night – but they were sure to wear their dresses again!

As you can see in some of the photos – they lucked out by having their wedding around the holidays. The church was already decorated with greenery and white lights which added wonderfully to the decor. We created a photo booth as guest entered the reception using fabric left over from the DIY table runners in the reception. Aside from Sara’s bouquet all of the flowers for the reception and the bridal party were made by family friends to save on costs.

To save costs and allow for an interactive reception, Sara and John used an interactive “jukebox” app (available on ipods/iphones/etc) that allowed guests to request songs throughout the night!

Congratulations again to Sara and John it was such a pleasure working with you on your big day!!!!

(all photos courtesy of TheBigDayBlog).

Party in a Box

No, not the JT skit sorry. Party decor in a box. That’s right. There is no longer a need to spend hundreds of dollars to throw a small get together, shower, or seasonal party. Behold ACME Party Box Company. My new best friend. A lot of their products are vintage chic and kind of bohemian – which I totally love juxtaposed with an uber modern backdrop. Anyone? How about country chic? Maybe?

Anyway, you can purchase pre set boxes, or search by party themes and choose sets of items individually. They have everything from favor bags and place card items, to table runners and even mason jar drinking glasses. That’s right. You can even get all of your plates and utensils in your box. Some of them have premade invitations to match. SO EASY RIGHT?!?! The decor is just so cute as well.  Check it out:

LOVE IT! LOVE IT ALL! The holiday and kids party boxes are adorable as well. Yay for ACME saving the party day.  I’m so glad I happend to surf through this site today. It just made my day for sure.

Every penny counts

I found this link on one of my regular blog reads today (shocker!), and I was really excited I’m not going to lie.

“Cost of Wedding”: here has used industry surveys, bride surveys, and just general regional information to calculate the average cost of a wedding based on your regional zip code.

Cool right? According to Cost of Wedding – on average, US couples spend $19,581 for their wedding. However, the majority of couples spend between $14,686 and $24,476. This does not include cost for a honeymoon or engagement ring.

Interested to see what the site had to say about Miami I hopped right on. I then proceeded to laugh. I know everybody has different budgets and circumstances when it comes to their wedding. I’ve worked with a lot of brides who have very low budgets, and I have seen brides come through my office with astronomical budgets – the kind that make you ask where they came from. I suppose these two extremes could balance each other out, but I was anticipating a pretty high average. I was shocked to see that the average cost for Miami was….

between $14,906 and $24,843

I’m sorry come again? They do caution that if you select well-experienced professionals, designer labels, popular venues, etc etc. you can expect to pay anywhere from 50-100% higher (uh yea).

Despite the flaws in calculation for Miami, (I tested it out with other areas, including my hometown, friend’s hometowns, etc and they were all a bit more on par) the site is pretty cool. It will break down the average costs for each area: accessories, florals, entertainment, invites, what have you – and I thought it was pretty helpful to see a comparison of the average per item.

Seasonal Parties

So it’s almost that time of year – Holiday time! (My favorite time, and the only excuse for a “winter” we have here in Florida). A lot of people throw seasonal parties, especially for Christmas or New Years. While I would obviously recommend using a party planner (cough cough), there are a few things you can do to prepare early for your party, thanks to tips from Apartment Therapy.

1.  Check out the calendar. Make sure that your date of choice doesn’t conflict with anything happening in your circle of friends or even in your community.

2. Skip the Evites. Though this is a quick and easy way to get the word out fast, it can often go unnoticed in the email inbox. Not to mention snail mail invites set a better tone for the event.

3.  Start bargain hunting. Looking for great decor items or real table settings (Glad has its moments), thrift stores and garage sales are a great place. You can always sell it later.

4.  Menu Planning. If you’re providing the food yourself, test out some recipes before the party. AT also recommends trying foods that can be made early and frozen.

5. House Cleaning. Pick a few projects around the house that need to get done and start knocking a few out each weekend leading up to the event, this way its not all left towards the last minute.


I personally thought these tips from Apartment Therapy were great – and if I had the space in my current abode I would LOVE to throw a holiday party. For now, I’ll just have to hope someone else asks me to help with theirs. 🙂 Check out the link above for more on each of the tips and the great blog that is AT.

If I Had a Million Dollars…

A wedding is certainly a worthy recipient for spending. The Clinton’s would agree. There has been a lot of buzz lately about this weekend’s biggest event – the Clinton- Mezvinsky wedding in Rhinebeck, NY. The multi-demoninational (Marc is Jewish – Chelsea is Christian) ceremony took place at the Astor Mansion with about 500+ guests in attendance. The guests were left in the dark about the exact location until the event arrived – told only to be within driving distance of NYC (according to ABC News that is).

Rumors stated that wedding cost $2-5 million dollars. Just for some perspective, at $2 million, the event cost 100x the national average of American weddings. I’m going to take a stab that the wedding actually cost on the lower end of the estimate, but either way you look at it’s freakin expensive. I was immediately interested in knowing where that money went. None of this is confirmed, but we’ll run with the rumor mill just for the fun of it.

Reception Space: up to $200,000

Catering: Rumored to be catered from three different restaurants – averaging $1500 a plate

Music: Jimmy Vali, $40,000 or so

Florist: Jeff Leatham from Paris (there was a brief TLC show about him about a year ago)

Wedding Dress: Vera Want $15000.

Mother of the bride dress: Oscar de la Renta

Planner: $175,000 (I can’t imagine making that much!)

Invites: Rumored anywhere from $35-50,000

Security: Rumored from $30,000-$200,000. Secret Service was obviously involved – and they also purchased the “no fly zone” above the event area

According to some of the news sources, residents in Rhinebeck who were directly affected by the Wedding (like the ones who lived on the shut down roads) were given wine baskets as appreciation gifts. I can only imagine the delicious wine in those gifts!

Official Details of the wedding are not being released, but I’m sure it was an amazing and wonderful event. Here are some images of what was released:

Source: Huffington Post and ABC News

In my opinion, Chelsea looked amazing. Hillary didn’t look too bad herself (check out pictures of the rehearsal dinner outfit – hello Hillary!).  While your at it… check out Jeff Leathem’s site if you wan’t to drool a bit – I know I do. Though I may never have a chance to work on a wedding even half this scale, it sure is nice to dream.