planning a wedding

Tuesdays with Ty - Thank You Notes

Thank you notes are an absolute MUST to show your gratitude for the outpouring of love you experienced during your wedding.  While e-mail, texting, website and Facebook posts are appropriate for some things...they most certainly do not replace the kind gesture of a hand written note and should not replace your wedding thank you cards.  Some people will tell you that you have a grace period of a year to write your thank yous after the wedding, but why leave it hanging over your head for that long??  Our goal was to have them done as quickly as possible after we returned home from our wedding.  We are now 6 weeks post wedding and just have a few left to write for gifts we recently received. 

As for the style of your thank you cards, that is personal preference.  You can have cards printed before your wedding with your new name on them, but we opted to share a wedding photo on ours.   Polka Dot Papers, who did our wedding invitations, offered to do a photo card for us.  One of my bridesmaids had these made by Grey Ink a few years ago and I loved the card and still have it on my refrigerator!  When we returned from our honeymoon I sent her a photo and she had the cards to us within a few days.  In the mean time we made sure we had recorded all the gifts given to us so we did not leave anyone out.

To make the card writing more fun, we cooked dinner a few evenings and made a date night out of it.  Brandon wrote the cards to his friends and family and I did to mine.  The wording does not have to be anything profound...just thank them for taking the time to come to the wedding (if they did) and how much their love and support means to you.  If a monetary gift was given, you don't have to mention the amount, just that you appreciate their generosity and how much it will help as newlyweds.

In the end, it is the act of taking the time to write the note that matters most. 

Happy Writing!


Tuesdays with Ty - Wedding Day Do's

Now that it has been a few weeks since our wedding, I can think more clearly about what advice to give to other brides and bridesmaids.  I was so emotional about everything for a while after the wedding...and admittedly even a little depressed it was all over. 

View from the back where Dad and I waited

Here are a few of my favorite things or the "Do's" I would suggest:

  • Do spend the night before with family or friends.  It was so nice to wake up at my parent's house and be able to relax that morning with them.
  • If everyone is going to the same salon, go early and hang out while everyone is getting their hair and make up done.  Plan for mimosas and brunch and just enjoy everyone.
  • Have your photographer join for salon time.  I think we had some great shots just hanging out together.  Brandon and his guys played golf that morning and the photographer joined them for a bit as well!  Capture every moment!
  • DO have a person serving as your wedding coordinator.  Even if you can't afford someone, have a friend that is organized help out.  Ours was invaluable!  She took the dresses to the venue and made sure everything ran smoothly for the wedding and reception.
  • Do have someone video the wedding ceremony for you.  Once I started down that aisle it is all a blur, so it was nice to watch everything and remember it all.
  • If you are willing to buck tradition a tad, I would recommend having a special moment together before the wedding.  For us, Brandon had my bouquet at the spot where we were getting married.  I came out of  the front doors of the Carrick House and met him there.  It was so nice to see him and relax before there were going to be 250 eyes on us.  We did all of our pictures before and it made us so at ease for the wedding.

  • If you are having an outdoor ceremony, offer a beverage to your guests.  We had tea and lemonade stations and it was a huge hit in the heat!  We also had our programs printed as fans to help keep everyone cool as well.
  • Brides - if you can get to a spot in the back of the ceremony to watch all the music and everyone be seated I would recommend it!  Standing at the back watching it all come together with my dad is one of my favorite memories. 
  • After the ceremony have a spot to meet your bridal party before everyone goes into the reception.  We had the Carrick House designate an area with drinks for everyone so they didn't have to wait in line.  It was fun to hang out and take some fun pictures!
  • Save your cake topper and eat it when you get home from the honeymoon.  We hardly got any cake at all, so this was great!  We are going to have a fresh one made next year for our anniversary:)

  • Before you leave your reception, have your coordinator pull your parents out first to a special area so you can properly say your thank you's and good-byes.

I have WAY more Do's than Don'ts, but I will share those next week!

Happy Planning!


Bride's Night out at Simply Love Studio

Simply Love Studio is featuring a Bride's Night Out educational series that is completely FREE for brides! Join them on Wednesday, June 2 from 6:30 - 8:30 pm to learn all about planning your dream wedding with details on budget, rentals, flowers, catering and photography!

You can RSVP to! Don't miss out on this great opportunity to learn from the best of the best professionals in Central Kentucky.

Tuesdays with Ty - Wedding Invitations

Selecting your save the date cards and invitations are very important in setting the tone for your big day!  Brides these days have a ton of options to choose from and that can make it more difficult.  After  your colors, theme, venue and time are selected it is your choice on whether to send a save the date.  Personally, we decided to save a bit of money and fore go the save the date.    That being said, I have received so many cute options before!  Refrigerator magnets, Christmas cards...even a save the date via Facebook...yes, you read that right Facebook is taking over the world! 

In order to get an idea of what style you like look at different planning blogs and websites.  For example, Style Me Pretty has gorgeous pictures of real weddings and lists the vendors they use.  There are also some preferred vendors listed so you can browse their websites and see what you fall in love with and find your personal style.

Personally, I am mix between traditional and fun and I think that reflects perfectly in our invitation.  Luckily, I have a dear friend, Elizabeth Henderson with Polka Dot Papers, that has been helping me with invitations for years now.  In our meeting I told her my preliminary ideas and also came prepared with how many invitations we needed and when we wanted to get them in the mail (8 weeks prior to the date).   She produced some samples for me and we chose the font style and look we liked best!  I LOVE what she came up with and it perfectly incorporates our style and colors without going overboard.  One other thing we did to save a bit of money is a reply postcard!  This saves having to buy another envelope and postcard postage is about half of what a normal stamp costs.  If you are tech saavy, you can set up a wedding website and request guests to RSVP via internet!  One of my New York friends did this last year and it was too cool!

The next question calligraphy or not calligraphy??  While it is traditional and gorgeous, we took an easier route and are having Polka Dot Papers print the outside and inside envelopes for us.  Technology makes this super simple these days via an Excel Spreadsheet and mail merge.  This will save us a ton of time and money, but still look nice and match the font on our invitation.

Bridesmaid Tip: Offer to help your bride with the stuffing/stamping of the invitations!  Have a girls night...pop open a bottle of wine and enjoy!  This will take a load off of your bride's shoulders and give you an excuse for a girls night too:)

Happy Planning!


Tuesdays with Ty - The Guest List

This part of wedding planning could quite possibly be the trickiest and stressful part of your wedding experience.  Parents, grandparents, friends all giving their input and putting the stress on who you need to invite!!  It is enough to drive any bride crazy.

No one really realizes  just how many people you know until you start making your wedding guest list.  I suggest you start this process soon after the engagement before you start looking for venues.  You will need to know the core group of people you have to fit and most all places you visit will ask you how big your wedding will be.   This will also help with the catering and bar budget and everything else!

We started making an Excel spreadsheet (yes, I know, I am a dork) of family on one page and friends on another.  That way both lists were organized and separated.  You can make columns for each name, address, what names you want on inside envelope and it also gives you a central location to keep the RSVPs as they come in.  You can also keep track of gifts each guests sends as well and have their address handy for thank you notes!  This one list will keep you organized throughout your wedding process:)

So now the tough part.  Where do you draw the line on who to invite?  We set a budget and are trying really hard to stay within it.  Our guest list way exceeds the budget we set, but our wedding falls on a holiday weekend, so we are assuming that may play into who will actually be able to make it.  We also made the preliminary list and THEN asked the parents if anyone important was left off.  This will eliminate them adding a ton of people that you may end up having to trim down.  While you want to keep them happy (especially if they are helping to pay) this is your wedding and you don't want a ton of people there you don't know. 

Also remember a few etiquette not invite anyone to a shower or wedding function that will not be invited to the wedding.  Never tell someone you can't wait to come to their wedding unless you are 100% sure you are invited.   Another biggie is whether or not to let single friends bring a guest.  While tradition says you don't have to give them a plus one unless they are seriously dating someone, if you can swing it with your budget it is always nice to give them the option.  I was the single girl for years and it was never fun to be reminded that I didn't even have the choice to bring anyone.

Bridesmaid tip: Help keep your bride calm through the process of the guest list.  Offer her advice on if she should invite her kindergarten teacher just because her mom wants her to...and help her realize it will all be ok in the end!

Happy Planning!


Tuesdays with Ty - Rehearsal Dinner Planning

Rules for planning rehearsal dinners in today's modern times is not as simple as it once was when it was just handed over to the future in-laws.  Today's couples are faced with divorce and very busy family schedules.  Brandon and I are one of those couples that have financial support from his family, but they do not have the time to help with the planning.  We didn't let it stress us out...we just talked about the type of dinner we wanted and went for it!

You may remember back from my first blog that Brandon and I LOVE Mexican food and even celebrated at a Mexican restaurant the night we got engaged.  So when the rehearsal dinner brainstorming session began to find a relaxed and affordable menu a Fiesta was at the top of our list!  Who doesn't love chips and salsa, tacos and margaritas?!

We started searching for a rehearsal dinner spot in Lexington that would let us  bring in our own caterer and alcohol.  That is not an easy task!  Luckily, I stumbled upon The Limestone Club downtown Lexington only one block from The Carrick House where our wedding (and rehearsal) will be.  The Limestone Club is a shotgun style building that is open and very casually elegant.  Tables and chairs are included in the price of the rental and they have many other add-ons you can take advantage of like linen service and bartenders.  They also have an iPod dock for your use as well.  Best of can bring in any caterer and alcohol you like!  It is all very affordable.

We started doing research on what kind of catering we could do and checked into Qdoba.  For around $8.00 a person you can have chips, salsa, queso dip and a hot taco or burrito bar!  YUM!  We are also going to have my personal fave...a margarita bar and Mexican beer bar (Corona, Dos Equis)! 

To get ideas for decor, I went to the old standby, Google, and searched "Fiesta Rehearsal Dinner".  This is where I found our invitations and color inspiration!  I found the invitation below and immediately contacted the owner of the Empress Stationery blog to get pricing and information.  This was exactly what I was looking for!  We are going to use aqua linens on the tables and make DIY tissue paper pom-poms for the table decor.  These are all over Etsy if you do not want to DIY:)

And last but certainly not least...rehearsal dinner attire!  After having such a hard time choosing bridesmaid dresses, my rehearsal dinner dress came pretty easily.  One of Twirl's designers, Thread,  came out with a new Blossom Print in their Spring 2010 collection.  I fell in love with the Shiloh dress in the Fuchsia and Ice colors!  It will be perfect for our fiesta and any other style rehearsal dinner you are having!

Bridesmaid Tip: If your bride is planning her own Rehearsal Dinner...offer to help with decor or organization of the event.  It will help her stay organized and not get too frazzled!