Wedding Planning Update 2.0 + Tips!

Hi & welcome back to another wedding update post!
My last update was in October & in the last 3 months I’ve gotten so much done so prepare yourself for a good but long post!
If you’ve been following my ‘gram, you know I finally got to see my venue over Christmas & meet my wedding coordinator & it did not disappoint. I was a little nervous since sometimes things look better in resort photos haha. You can see one below! If you look closely, we’ll be getting married on that balcony that overlooks the beach/ocean.
So excited!
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As of my last update, we only had our venue, our wedding planner, photographer & some possibilities for my dress, (you can read that post here) but as of November, I actually have my dress! Funny story.. I was so set on one Screen Shot 2020-01-11 at 5.04.40 PMfrom Diamond Bride here in MN, my mom was telling to at least check out a couple bridal shops in Iowa just to be 100% sure. I made an appointment with Schaffers & remember looking at a specific rack & feeling like my dress was in there. I brushed it off but once I put on that dress.. I knew & didn’t want to take it off. I’ve been told thats the sign 😉 It wasn’t until after I decided that was the one, that I learned it was from the rack I wouldn’t stop staring at! If you’re in the midwest area, make a trip to Schaffers! They’re so sweet there & have it set up to where racks go by price, so if you’re being budget conscious, you know which racks to stay away from. You don’t want to fall in love with something then learn it’s out of your budget! Here’s a secret about Schaffers.. If you buy a dress the same day as your first appointment you get a $600 gift card to use toward jewelry, alterations, a veil etc!

Catering & Alcohol
We were able to figure this one out pretty quick as our venue provides it! We decided to go with a plated dinner over a buffet. Our biggest thing was that we didn’t want peopleScreen Shot 2020-01-11 at 8.18.41 PM sitting around waiting for others to be done eating, we also would have felt bad for that final group who had to not only wait 15-20 minutes for everyone to get through the buffet line but also end up not getting enough food or a certain choice they wanted. Instead, we’ll be doing a four-course dinner to make it easier for everyone, especially those who get hangry 😉 Brian will have the big job of picking our menu so we’ll have a tasting done in May! Tip: One of the biggest expenses for weddings is usually food & alcohol, amounting to an average of 40-50% of your budget, which has proven true with our wedding. We had the assumption that a buffet was going to be cheaper (makes sense right? You don’t pay for nicer china & extra service when doing a buffet), we found out that plated dinners were actually $40 cheaper per person. This depends on your vendor but we weren’t presented with a plated meal option first.. it was buffet options first, so definitely ask about all options! Tip: Ask your vendor if they provide linens, china, drinkware & silverware with their packages. I can’t imagine anything more irritating than needing to find a rental service just for that! Tip: Ask if you can do specialty drinks! Brian & I plan to create 2 drinks of our own that people can order for our special day (make sure they don’t charge for that!). Brian is wanting one thats tropical & rum based, I’m thinking tequila 😉 It’s fun to have drinks that reflect you! Tip: Before signing a contract with a caterer, make sure they have NO additional fees such as cake cutting fees, corkage fees, or fees to bring in your own champagne flutes etc. I’ve seen venues charge $2.50 per slice of cake they cut. If you have 100 guests, that’s an extra $250.. that could’ve gone to something more productive. If you’re having alcohol, vendors will need to pay their bartenders! Expect to be charged per hour per bartender but not all vendors will charge you with a cake cutting fee or corkage fee, so make sure yours won’t!

Ceremony/Reception Decor
Since we’re doing a destination wedding, we’ll be using the beach/ocean as our decor & some string lights my venue will provide for me, we’re keeping it simple! For our reception, we’ll have string lights that will light up the dance floor as well as some Areca Palm trees they already have planted & will leave in my reception space. My florist is also going to do a mix of flowers for centerpieces as well as vases/candles. Tip: Ask your venue what they provide for decorations & make sure you see them! You wouldn’t want your venue to provide vases & have them be too big or too small.

Video
We now have a videographer! We decided on We Are the Bowsers, they’re a married photo/video team located in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. We’re so so so excited to work with them. They travel too! You can check out the video trailer that made me fall in love with them hereTip: Always check your vendor reviews on The Knot or Wedding Wire before booking. Photographers/videographers only show their best work on their social media & websites!

Save the Dates
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Our Save the dates have been made & sent! I actually researched tons of ideas on Pinterest that I loved, used Canva to design one similar to what I found & printed them off from Walmart on cheap matte paper. There was no need to splurge on these since people will just toss them in the trash anyway! Tip: Over order. Since you only need 1 per household, you truly don’t need a ton but I was surprised by how often I messed up writing an address on an envelope or when I got one back that was ripped open WITHOUT the Save the Date in it. I actually got a couple back that stated addresses didn’t exist when they in fact did. It was nice to have extras to send out just in case!

Florist
We’ll be having As You Wish Floral take care of our flowers & centerpieces! I’ve known Brenda for over 20 years so it was an honor to have her be able to do my flowers. She’s based in Iowa & this is her first destination wedding. I’m excited to be her guinea pig & for her to bring a tropical vibe to my decor! You can check out some of her work on her website or her Instagram hereTip: Ask your florist about the cost of artificial flowers vs real. Depending on your florist, artificial can be more affordable. You can also do a mix of real & artificial to save money as well!

Registry
I know it’s a bit early for this.. but is it really? haha. We made the decision that we won’t be getting physical gifts for our wedding, but would rather have people send us on our honeymoon! We’ve created our registry through Honeymoon Wishes. Honeymoon Wishes lets you add activities to your registry based on where you’re going that guests can contribute to. It lets you add airfare & accommodations as well! I love the idea of people knowing what they’re paying for over just gifting money, it gives their gift more meaning, plus there’s no guess work with how much they should give! Tip: Always add more affordable options to your registry. We know not everyone has $100 to send us on an excursion, so we added options that are under $50, like sending a bottle of champagne to our room, 2 Mai Tais when we arrive at our resort, 2 drinks during Happy Hour, 2 lattes from our resort coffee shop, etc. Always good to have options for those who want to spoil us in an affordable way 🙂

Invitations
Okay okay. This one is early! But I could not pass this up.. We got our invitation design from Etsy. You can see the one I picked here! I fell in love with the simple tropical vibe of these invites. I loved this idea because the invite is sent to you through an editable PDF file. You just add your own details then print them wherever you choose. I found out Walgreens now prints Cardstock but if I find cheaper options when it’s time to actually print them, I’ll let you guys know! Tip: According to The Knot, in 2018 the average cost for 100 wedding invitations was $1,038. By ordering them through Etsy & getting a PDF file, you save money & have control over how many invites, details cards, & RSVP cards you receive. For Brian’s single friends who live in the same household, I plan to do 1 invite card per household, but double the amount of RSVP cards. While it’s good to over order by 5-10, a lot of websites that create & print invitations will have you order a set amount that can either be too much or too little. By printing them on your own, you have control & don’t have to worry about someone over charging you. Tip: Order envelopes from Amazon! You can get a stack of 50 high quality ones for $10! As for RSVP card envelopes, I found a stack of 100 for $9!

Bridesmaid Dresses
So excited about these! I decided to go with Azazie for my girl’s dresses. Azazie has over 100 dresses to choose from ranging $80-$150 & over 50 colors available. Azazie lets you not only order color swatches, but also lets you try on 3 dresses for $10 in your chosen size & color so you know exactly how they’ll look in person. I’m having every girl wear a different color so when choosing my dress, I filtered them based upon colors that I wanted, dresses that looked “beachy” & also only chose from dresses under $100 to make it easy on my girls! Tip: If you’re having your girls wear the same color, let them choose their own dress! They can choose to spend however much they want & get to wear a style they prefer.

Bridesmaid Shoes
Not everyone has to buy their girl’s shoes, but I definitely wanted to spoil them! My Screen Shot 2020-01-11 at 7.16.23 PMwedding planner gave me the advice of gifting them shoes, jewelry, a robe & maybe 1-2 other things. That way I don’t have to worry about putting something together that they’ll never use or end up buying something that’s unnecessary like a makeup bag. I found these gorgeous shoes online from David’s Bridal! I wanted something pretty, simple but also something they’ll wear again! Tip: Buy your girl’s shoes the season opposite of your wedding, because my wedding is in the summertime, all sandals are 50% off right now!

Bridesmaid Robes
This is also a little early haha but I came across these cute tropical robes from ModParty on Etsy. They were under $20 each & also sell on Amazon if you want quicker free shipping through Prime! You can choose to have them monogrammed to add a cute touch to them as well. IScreen Shot 2020-01-11 at 6.54.43 PM loved these because they can double as a bikini cover up in the summertime! I definitely wanted to choose one they could wear again. I’ll do a separate post (probably afterward!) of everything I did to spoil them & how I’m finding affordable, meaningful gifts! Tip: I’ve heard of some brides buying their bridesmaid robes from Ebay. Some people who sell their robes on Ebay are based in China & make them more affordable. I know nothing about who is making them or how they’re made, but some are as little as $3 each!

My Bridal Robe
No one judge me for getting stuff done so dang early. But how cute is this robe from Champagne Bubbles Shop? I haven’t ordered it yet, but this is the one I plan to get my hands on! Tip: Bridal robes tend to be more expensive, but since you can almost always design your own by picking your robe color, design etc.. compare the size of Junior vs Adult. A lot of times Junior is cheaper & will fit better if you’re short!

Address Stamp
This is extra & totally not necessary but it makes your life a little easier! This tropical stamp is also from Etsy, you can check it out here.  I’m honestly so thankful for this, it makes your envelopes look a little more put together & is nice for RSVP card envelopes since you would have to hand write quite a few. Tip: Reuse for thank you cards post wedding, future Christmas cards etc!

Hair & Makeup
Screen Shot 2020-01-11 at 9.56.47 PMYes.. I already have this done. My venue is also a resort so they have a full spa that does hair & makeup for brides! I’m really loving looks like the one pictured currently! Tip: Ask your venue’s spa/salon or any salon you plan to go to about Bridal Packages! Mine will be giving me a mani/pedi, a makeup & hair consultation, a practice session, then makeup/hair the day of for one cost that would have been more expensive if I were paying for each service individually, definitely something I wouldn’t want to miss out on. Same for your bridal party.. Ask about Bridal Party Packages!

That’s all! Whew, that was a long one. Thank you if you read the whole thing. Can’t believe I got this much done in a short amount of time haha. If you wanna read how I’m keeping my stress low during this entire process, check out my post HERE!
Until next time:
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