Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Bridesmaid Dresses! Deal & Steal! Check!

I was in Baltimore last weekend for a friend's Bachelorette party. We had such a great time celebrating the future Mrs and it was great to have some relaxation and fun with the girls.

There are four of us in the friend group who are engaged so we inevitably talk about weddings and where we are in the planning process.  Two of the other girls are getting married a few weeks after I am   and they were talking about getting their bridesmaids to decide on dresses.  I have been looking casually at bridesmaid dresses but wasn't planning on looking more seriously until about May or so.  With my girls all in very different geographic location (WV, VA, MD and CO) it was going to be hard to find a time and place to go so I figured we should try to find a brand of dress that they carried in several stores so we can all try them on.



After my fellow bride to be's mentioned they already found their bridesmaid dresses I figured I should probably get a jump on it.  I came home that Sunday and went to the Donna Morgan website, since most of the dresses I had seen that I liked were hers and I figured I'd start there and then to JCrew if I didn't see anything. I am of course, very budget conscious so I wanted to make sure the dress wasn't too big of burden.   We all know that no matter how desperately we want to find a dress they can wear again, it probably won't happen and most likely the dresses are going to need some sort of alterations which should be considered as well.  Usually when a bridesmaid agrees to be a part of your wedding they understand this and agree to take it on, however I think its our duty as the brides, to be respectful and do the best we can to not go crazy!!!
So anyway, Im on the Donna Morgan website and I see a tab for "sale" so of course I look there first.  And then I see "Final Sale" but Im thinking, there's no way they'll have any dresses in a current color that I'd like. Sure enough, they had "my color"…in a couple of the dresses that I really loved for $35.99!!!! I checked the size availability and it worked for everyone and quickly sent out an email to all the girls.  They were all able to order them and I  CANT wait to see them.

Woohooo!!!!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Speaking of Shutterfly deals...


How great is this??? Become a friend of Shutterfly on Facebook and score a free wedding guestbook!!

ORRRRR If you need more Thank You cards, Save the Dates, Bridal Shower Invites, Engagement Party Invitations, etc, etc you can get 10 free ones!! Woohoo!!



Monday, March 3, 2014

Why Social Media is Awesome!

I know its so annoying to get spam mail and its even a bit annoying when you get on Facebook (or whatever else you use but Im a Facebook and Pinterest only kind of girl) and there are "sponsored ads".  Id love to just see what cool stuff only my best friends and family has been up to without seeing the 19 things my coworkers have randomly "liked".  BUT. It can be really awesome. Like when you log on and you see that Shutterfly has a free card offer!  Ive been waiting for this from them or Wedding Paper Divas for a while now and today was my lucky day!!!

Between this offer and my coupon from registering at Target (which also gets you lots of free coupons, free Thank You cards from Wedding Paper Divas and more) I got all my super nice Save The Dates for just $.34 each!!! I knew I wanted something pretty specific so if you wanted a less complicated design you can definitely do it even less expensively yourself, but I am so pumped about this! Woohoooo!!!!

PS, I've known people who do "12 Free cards" multiple times by having their family members order them as well and I might have tried that if I didn't have that coupon.  They do still charge shipping which is like $5.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Wedding Appointments!

I made appointments last week to meet with an invitation printer, T&N Printing, a local place here in Charlottesville, as well as MS Event Rentals.  My mom and sister came along with me to meet with them and I am SO thankful they did! The first meeting was to get pricing and information on invitations. I have created my own invitation suite (invitation, RSVP, program/menu) on Pages (I have a Macbook Pro).  Back in September I planned a baby shower for my best friend. I had her party package printed at FedEx/Kinkos and they did a good job, but it was quite a hassle and very expensive. I have purchased her package from Etsy and thought I could do a pretty good job making my own suite for my wedding. I also couldn't find exactly what I wanted from the online retailers such as Wedding Paper Divas, Invitations by Dawn, etc. 

I had expected that the price would be pretty high, although I knew from some recommendations, that the quality would be great. I was thrilled with Nikki quoted me an insanely reasonable price to print the invitations. The paper quality was great and they wouldn't have to charge me a set up fee based on my design and quantity.  I can't say enough about how nice they were and how helpful both Nikki and the owner of the company were to us. 





Our next stop was to MS Events.  We got there a little early and I am glad we did because what I was expecting to be a short, 30 min meeting ended up taking 2 hours!!!!!!  It was so exhausting and overwhelming! I wish I had known going into it that the appt would last that long. I would have been more prepared with ideas and snacks!! :)

I had intended to just look at chairs and silverware and glassware to get an idea of pricing and options that might work for our budget.  Instead it went through the whole shebang of rentals for everything. Linda was very nice and did have some good suggestions on decorations and logistics.  There are so many options for where to put the bread and butter plates, where to put butter (pats of butter on the plates? small scoops of butter in ramekins? Butter on the buffet line?), and on and on.  My amazing mom and sister were so great to sit through that with me as well, they certainly didn't know that it was going to be that overwhelming.






A friend of mine gave me tickets to the UVA vs Notre Dame basketball game and I was able to take my sister which was a welcome relief after such a stressful meeting. I had planned a whole thing of going to lunch with my mom and sister after going to MS Events but since it took so long I didn't have time before getting to the game.  UVA came off with a win too!


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Valentine's Date Night In!

 Many thanks to our photographer Tyler Corvin for sending us a date night gift of a netflix subscription, popcorn and candy! We wanted to do something low key for Valentine's Day, especially since it had just snowed a lot and we were going out the next night with our friends to celebrate my birthday.  We made fajitas, which is one of our favorite meals to cook since we can make a vegetarian and chicken version :)
We watched Hitch and snacked away. Thanks Tyler!

Friday, February 14, 2014

wedding websites

There are lots of great budget friendly options for wedding websites. The Knot, WeddingWire both offer free websites that are pretty customizable and include templates that make setting up your site quick and easy.  They are searchable for your guests to find you easily as well, and include links to your registries to simplify and streamline your information. You can also consider setting up a blog to record and document your wedding planning experiences and have a section there for your wedding details.

I put together a site on wix.com for our wedding website, which looks like this:  


Note: our location and last names have been blurred out, they are there in real life so it doesnt look as weird.

This website was a lot more time intensive as I customized every tab and the layout of every box and text component on the site. This also gave me a lot more flexibility though so I really think it looks awesome.  The basic site is still free, although it has .wix.com in the web address.  You can pay a small fee to not have that, but of course when you are on a budget, does it really matter that much? No.

DIY Bridesmaid Cards


I had seen some really adorable ways of asking your bridesmaids to be part of your wedding.  There are so many cute ideas involving boxes filled with tank tops and ring pops to print your own cards.  I wanted to do something special, but that was budget friendly and age appropriate (I am 30 after all…).  I felt like the cigar box filled with goodies was bit young, I didn't think my bridesmaids would need a sequin tank top for anything and I knew that mailing those would be crazy expensive.  I settled on these cute cards.

I only have three bridesmaids so I think I used just two pieces of teal, two pieces of white, and one pieces of navy blue card stock. I cut teal card stock into 5x7 pieces and then cut white card stock just a little smaller.  I then cut the dresses out of navy blue textured card stock (it had small raised dots all over it).  I punched out the flowers for the mini bouquets using a starburst punch I had gotten from my friend who was selling creative memories.  I used a regular hole punch to punch through the two card stock pieces up at the top to tie the ribbon.  I used double sided tape from Creative Memories to assemble everything and then wrote on the dresses with a silver sharpie. I found a "love" stamp in the dollar bin at Michael's and used a leftover pad of ink that I had from my best friend's baby shower in September to stamp the envelopes (also extras from the baby shower).

I then waited until I saw two of them to deliver them in person.  My third bridesmaid lives in Colorado so I did end up mailing hers :)

Pretty cute, huh?




Thursday, January 30, 2014

Budget Score through Networking!!!

Through my own wedding photography business I have been following Katelyn James for a LONG time. She's incredible. Through her, I found out about Jasmine Star (also incredible), who hosted some free photography webinars which allowed me to become a part of the Richmond Shoot + Share group where I saw the work of Tyler Corvin, who is our wedding photographer!! I was so impressed with his leadership and outreach in the group, and of course his photography portfolio I met with him when we were deciding on photographers and we were able to reserve him for our wedding.  Anyway, Katelyn was hosting a photography workshop and featured Anthomanic as the floral designers.  I then started following Anthomanic on Facebook and I have been so impressed with their work and awed by their beautiful designs.  Just this past week they posted about some inventory they had for sale. I have known I'd like to do something for the centerpieces involving either boxes with flowers or lanterns with flowers around them but I was concerned about the cost.  Even ones from Ikea were like $15 (which isn't terrible, but still, this girl is on a budget!!!!). Anthomanic happened to post that they had 11 lanterns for sale!!!  I emailed immediately and we set up a purchase for the 11 black lanterns and LED candles for $76!!! Woohooo!!!  I can't wait to dream up the tablesscapes now!!! Im not 100% sure what   it will look like, but I'll post some inspiration below!!












Saturday, January 25, 2014

Date Night!


Handsome fiance and I went out to dinner last night. It was great to have a quick date night at the end of a long week! I had really wanted to get a burger and sweet potato fries like we talked about when we left, but our go-to place for that was crazy busy with a frat boy party (the cons of living in a college town). We walked up the street to Mellow Mushroom and had sandwiches instead.  I had an avocado, provolone, lettuce, tomato on pita and he had chicken or turkey or something on a whole grain hoagie roll.  We didn't talk too much wedding stuff, just plans for the weekend and his upcoming week long trip to Raleigh. I used to live there and Im so bummed I can't join him on that trip! I'd love to see my friends and old stomping grounds! 

Make sure you plan some date nights with your soon-to-be and try not to talk about wedding stuff *too* much.  Its a great opportunity to relax and unwind amidst the stressors of life, which can sometimes be the planning process!