wedding planning

TWIRL BRIDE BLOGGER || HOW TO BEAT THE LAST MINUTE JITTERS

TWIRL BRIDE BLOGGER || EMILY RHOADS (ALMOST EMILY HALL!!)

Hello Friends! I know its been a little while since I wrote about my wedding planning and bridal life but that’s because I was wedding planning! It is so crazy how fast our engagement has flown by and how what felt so far away is now only 7 days away. It really just hit me yesterday how soon our wedding is and man oh man am I excited! I know that our wedding day is going to go by so SO fast that I am making it a point to soak up these last few days as a fiancée. 

Elizabeth+Cox+Favorites-0003.jpg

This whole time I’ve been wondering why everyone gets so stressed when planning their wedding, but in this last month I totally get it. Now we are getting down to the nitty gritty of finalizing everything from the guest count aka tracking down all those people who never slipped that RSVP card back in the mail to figuring out how much beer and wine to buy to scheduling those last minute appointments and finally making sure everyone is going to be where they need to be when they need to be there. It’s a lot of stuff. And because of that a lot of wine has been drank in the process, oops! But at the end of the night next Saturday we will still be married even if some people don’t show up or our grandparents are a little late for pictures or if heaven forbid it rains. Y’all seriously pray that it does not rain next Saturday.

Austin and I have tried to cut out some time for ourselves to relax and enjoy these final days as an engaged couple. We let ourselves enjoy a few quiet days at the lake for Memorial Day. We go for evening walks and try to talk about our plans for after wedding day, like what’s still on our travel bucket list or pick out our favorite houses in the neighborhood. I think we are both a little more excited about being married and building our life together than we are about the actual wedding. 

Twirl-Encouragement-Cards4.jpg

I had no idea what to expect in this last few weeks so here are some tips for all you brides for handling the craziness that is the month before your wedding!

  1. Set those “RSVP by” dates a little earlier than you think you will need, because there is nothing more stressful than trying to contact those sixty people who didn’t RSVP in a few days before the numbers need to be back to all of your vendors.
  2. Speaking of RSVP card, if you aren’t giving every guest a plus one, put ‘__ of 1 guest is/isn’t attending’ trust me, I didn’t do that and I wish I had.
  3. Enjoy your parties and showers to their fullest. Put the phone down, stop checking your email, guest counts and details can wait a day or two and it wont be the end of the world, I promise!
  4. Go to the county clerk’s office as early in the morning as you can and you’ll get in and out of there faster than it took to find a parking space. We got our marriage license yesterday, YAY!!
  5. Take some time to relax and get your skin photo ready at the same time. I love put on a facemask and take a few minutes to relax and read or watch a movie while it does its thing.
  6. Don’t stress if you didn’t hit your fitness goal or attain your dream wedding body. Your groom thinks you are the most beautiful woman in the world and you are going to rock that dress!
  7. Drink lots and lots of water. Your skin will thank you, your body will thank you. That’s just a good life tip. 
  8. Talk about anything but the wedding for an hour with your fiancé daily. Talk about dogs, food, movies, sports, or whatever it doesn’t really matter but I promise he will appreciate it! 
  9. Make an itinerary for all of the really important people in the wedding such as parents, grandparents and the bridal party so everyone knows where are supposed to be and hopefully it will keep you from answering the same questions over and over again.
  10. Last but not least, take a deep breath and remember you and your honey will be married no matter what happens!

TheMalicotes (12 of 37).jpg

To our sweet Em,

We cannot WAIT to celebrate this much anticipated wedding day next week!! We've seen you as a "bride" so many times over the last 4/5 years but when we see you as a real bride... there won't be a dry eye to be found.

What a joy it's been to witness your relationship with Austin develop and grow over the years. There is so much to celebrate next weekend and celebrate we will!!

Can't wait until the "just married" sign marks the beginning of your new season of life next Saturday! Yay!!

Xoxo, Your Twirl Girls

A Ring to It - Preppy or Playful?

The Dress: Stella York 5906

So you’re Anchored Down and ready to tie the Knot? Perfect, we know just the wedding dress that can make your beachy dream come true. And if you’re not so traditional, you still “mustache-k” about this dress for your hipster-inspired event. Our French Mikado designer ball gown from Stella York is the perfect dance between elegance, sophistication and whimsy. Its figure-flattering fitted bodice features a sweetheart neckline and crisscross pleating that plunge into a thick, waist-accentuating pleat. Best of all, this dress is versatile for many different types of weddings. The back zips up under fabric covered buttons that continue to the edges of its court train. Choose from traditional white or romantic ivory. This dress is also available in Plus sizes and features side pockets.
Whether your vision is for a preppy nautical day on the cape or a playful hipster soirée this dress will be just right!

 

Nautical Wedding:

Veil: Sara Gabriel veil with white stripe/piping that adds preppy flair and structured lines, common for a nautical style.
Bridesmaids: strapless LulaKate Pearl dress with blue stripes and yellow heels
Groomsmen: seersucker bowties, navy blazers and khakis (thecordialchurchman-blog.com).
Flowers:  hide and seek design
Location: Martha’s vineyard/beach (mvislandweddings.com)
Cake: Martine’s

 

Hipster Wedding:

Veil: With Sara Gabriel bird cage veil
Bridesmaids: Jenny Yoo mink grey Wren dress in soft tulle
Groomsmen: Suspenders, white button downs, grey  khaki
Flowers:  Jaclyn Journey flowers
Location:  barn/outdoorsy and nature
Cake: Martine’s

Whatever your wedding vision is, Twirl can help you make that vision a reality.

xoxo, Olivia

Top 10 Things To Keep in Mind When Shopping For Your Wedding Dress

Wedding dress shopping is so important and so special. Finding the perfect dress isn’t always what it seems — and it certainly isn’t like an episode of Say Yes to the Dress. Don’t stress, though. With a few ground rules you will be able to set an action plan and find the dress of your dreams! The Twirl Girls are always here to help.

top10things

 

1. SET YOUR BUDGET

Establish the maximum amount you’re willing to spend on your wedding dress — and stick to it. The total budget should include the dress, as well as the estimated costs of alterations, veil or headpiece, and belt. Those “hidden” costs add up. Also, make sure you are upfront and honest about your budget with your consultant. Tell her your budget at the beginning of your appointment. She wants to help you find the perfect dress, but she doesn't want to put you in a gown you can't afford. If you fall in love with something out of your price range, heartbreak is inevitable. Sticker shock is an absolute real thing, so make sure you are firm on price. So, be honest so your consultant can help you out the best she can. Call ahead to bridal shops and ask what their price range is. They will be happy to give you that information. Most shops aren't going to price specific dresses over the phone, but they will be willing to give you a price range. Budget is important to everyone so make sure you know what yours is.

2. IT’S NEVER TOO EARLY TO START LOOKING

As soon as the ring is on your finger, it’s pretty much time to go look at dresses. From a logistics standpoint, starting the process at least eight to nine months out is a good idea. Some brides even start looking a year before their wedding. Allow yourself time to actually find it, then allow time for fittings, alterations, and having it delivered from the designer. Most wedding dresses are in production 5-6 months before they even think about shipping from the designer to the store. Some bridal shops will have dresses you can purchase off the rack, but most places are going to have to do a custom order, so be prepared for that. Having the dress taken care of and bought will also make the other details of the wedding come together more easily. Here at Twirl, we would rather you start looking and buying sooner rather than later. Give yourself all the options. Start early!

3. HAVE A PLAN

Like all good plans, research and appointment-making is essential to buying a wedding dress. Subscribe to some bridal magazines or pick up a few, put in some time on Pinterest, browse local vendors websites, read reviews and check out your favorite bridal designers for inspiration. Most bridal salons, specialty shops, and department stores don’t operate on a walk-in schedule. Make sure they’re expecting you upon arrival. It is always better to have an appointment. That way a salon can make sure you have a consultant to work with you the entire time, and open space in the store. It never hurts to call ahead. Especially on a Saturday, most stores cannot accommodate walk-ins. Making an appointment also prepares you for going to the store. Browse the designers listed on the store's website and get an idea for the each designer's style. Having a plan when you walk in to the store is also a good tip. Make sure you have researched enough to know what styles and silhouettes you like.

4. LIMIT YOUR ENTOURAGE

You’ll most likely want a second and third opinion. Outside perspective and honest feedback is welcome, but too many opinions can cloud your gut judgment. The say you can never have too many friends....except when you are shopping for your wedding dress! Bringing every single bridesmaid and every single family member is not always as fun as it sounds. And it sometimes is not very effective in the decision making process. We recommend no more than 3 or 4 people coming with you. It's hard to hear a bunch of different opinions and brides sometimes stress out trying to make sure everyone likes it. The most important thing is that YOU love the dress, even if it means going against the popular vote. Also, we recommend bringing anyone with you to your appointment whose judgment you cannot make a decision without. Shopping with just your girlfriends can be fun, but if you need Mom's ultimate say, make sure she is at the appointment with you.

5. EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED

Here’s a a pretty obvious shocker: You may actually look good in styles you didn’t think would flatter you. Perhaps you thought an A-line strapless gown with lots of beading was the only thing you would be willing to get married in, only to discover a lace cap-sleeve mermaid gown was the clear winner. Having an open mind is essential. You may discover that what looks good in a magazine, doesn't necessarily look great on your body type. But don’t be disappointed by dashed expectations — go in with an open mind, and remember to try on a variety of silhouettes. At the very least, it will give you an idea at what to look for (and what not to look for) in the future.

6. DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE BIG PICTURE

Is this the wedding dress you can walk down the aisle in? Can you sit in at dinner? And dance your heart out on the dance floor? If you can’t envision lots of different  scenarios while narrowing down the options, put the dress on the back burner. You want to look beautiful, feel beautiful, and let’s be honest, you want to be comfortable, too. Your dress should reflect your personality. Your groom wants to see the person he fell in love with! So when you can see yourself actually getting married in a dress, put that one in your top choices.

7. NO TEARS, NO PROBLEM

Despite the fact that every reality TV show and romantic comedy have made you (and everyone around you) believe you will shed tears as soon as you come out  in “the one,” this isn’t always the case. And that’s okay. It’s totally okay if you do cry — it is an emotional and special moment — but don’t let the absence of tears make you think it’s a sign that you don’t absolutely love what you’re wearing. The waterworks just aren’t for everyone. You might be less emotional about it because it most likely wont fit properly. More realistically, girls cry when they are in their first fitting of the dress actually made for them. That is the first time it seems more real. So don't worry if there are no tears! Also, don't be worried if the people in your entourage don't cry either. They obviously think you look beautiful!  It doesn't have to be tearful to be magical and special.

8. SOMETIMES THE FIRST DRESS IS “THE ONE”

Shopping for a wedding dress doesn’t always require countless try-ons. Sometimes it really is love at first sight. There’s nothing wrong with finding “the one” right out of the gate — it certainly frees you up to focus your time and energy on things like venue, cakes, floral arrangements, and securing the best photographer. You would be surprised how many girls actually choose the first one they pick. You know your style and you know what looks good on you. Trust yourself! If it happens to be the first one, that's okay!

9. LIMIT THE NUMBER

Once you start getting up there in numbers with how many dresses you have tried on, you are only going to start confusing yourself. Limit the number of dresses you try on. You do not need to try on 50 dresses to find "the one". That is almost like giving yourself too many options. Limit your search. That is the best way to find the absolute perfect dress.

10. DRESS UP (JUST A LITTLE)

It might be difficult to imagine yourself walking down the aisle if you’re trying on dresses with post-yoga hair and no makeup. You don’t need to look your Sunday best, but a little mascara and your hair styled in the way you’re thinking of wearing it on the “big day” could make all the difference when you’re envisioning the entire look.

Hope you all now have some ideas about what to be thinking about when looking for the perfect dress for your big day! Happy Shopping and Congrats!

XOXO, Caraline

Lexington Vendor Spotlight - The Limestone Club

All you brides and grooms out there in search of a wedding venue in Lexington, I have the answer for you - The Limestone Club.  The Limestone Club is a historical downtown ballroom located on North Limestone in the heart of Lexington.  It is a perfect place for an engagement party, rehearsal dinner or small reception site. 

The shotgun style ballroom is elegantly decorated and includes tables and chairs in the rental price, which is very affordable.  There is also a two story deck on the back which was a big hit with our guests.  One of the best features is that you can bring in any caterer and your own bar service!  That is certainly hard to find.  The Limestone Club also offers add on features such as linen service, bar tending service and an event coordinator should you need any of these services. 

We hosted our rehearsal dinner at The Limestone Club and couldn't have been more pleased.  The owners are so helpful and friendly and are flexible on set-up times.   I would highly recommend this Lexington venue for any wedding event! 

You can reach The Limestone Club at 859-253-1950 or e-mail them at info@limestoneclub.com.

-Ty

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!

-Ty

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!

-Ty

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 info@simplylovestudio.com! Don't miss out on this great opportunity to learn from the best of the best professionals in Central Kentucky.

Tuesdays with Ty - Last week as a single lady!

This time next week I will by lying on the beach with a banana daiquiri in my hand and my HUSBAND by my side!  I cannot believe this is the last time I am writing Tuesdays with Ty before the wedding.  Time has certainly flown by and I am so excited for this weekend!  I have enjoyed sharing my journey with everyone.  Don't worry...I'll be back to update you with photos and wedding day do's and don'ts after we get back from the honeymoon:)   I thought it would be fun to re-cap my fun wedding week attire with everyone!  Brandon keeps asking just how many dresses I will wear because I keep parading out with more for him to critique.  My excuse is that I will only get to be the BRIDE once and I want to make the most of it. 

Beginning on Thursday I plan to start wearing white...because I can.  We do not have any particular event on Thursday other than set up for the rehearsal dinner, but I plan to wear a super cute white sun dress my mom found for me in California!  

 Friday I will have 2 wardrobe changes.  At 11:30 that morning I will be surrounded by all the special ladies that are a part of the wedding for my bridesmaid luncheon at Circa 1840 in my hometown, Georgetown.  For the occasion I will wear an ivory dress by Chloe & Reese sold at Twirl.  Later that day, I will change for our rehearsal and dinner.  Since we are doing a Fiesta theme, my dress is not white...but the festive Shiloh dress in fuchsia and ice blossom print by Thread, also sold at Twirl!!

Rehearsal Dinner Dress by Thread

   

  Now, for the wedding day!  3 wardrobe changes total!  The time before the wedding will be spent at ChaCha Salon and brunch at Josie's.  Every person that has been in a wedding before knows that you need to wear something that doesn't go over your head when you are changing.  So, while in Nashville on my bachelorette party I found the sweetest white strapless dress that is comfy and perfect for the wedding day.On to the wedding attire!  As you may remember, I am wearing my mother's gown (with new life and style breathed into it).  I am giving you a sneak preview of mom in the original 1976 gown.  Of course,  I cannot post what it looks like now until after the wedding, but I love it and it is so special.  

 For my final wardrobe change of the evening, I will change into a fun short, ivory reception dress by Lynn Lugo (also available at Twirl) after we cut the cake and do our first dance.  I am seriously obsessed with this dress!

On Sunday morning we leave bright and early for the honeymoon and again, I plan to wear white!  Well this one is white and black and has fun flowers at the bottom, but still!  I will be Mexico ready when I get on the plane!Happy Planning!

-Ty

Tuesdays with Ty - Enjoy the moment

With 11 days left before our wedding day my mind is starting to spin with last minute details of what all needs to be done.  I have my to do list tucked snugly in my purse every day and enjoy marking things off as we get closer! The most important advice my best friend gave me is to enjoy the moment!  Take the time to enjoy your last few days as an "engaged" couple...you will never be that again after the big day.  We are also going to take some time to have dinner with each of our parents again to convey our thankfulness for their support and love throughout this time.  My parents have been truly wonderful and I will never be able to repay them for all they have done.  I want to be able to celebrate with them and celebrate!

A few other things that are topping my list:

  • Final guest count and walk through with our location, The Carrick House
  •  Send final table number and follow up with florist
  • Timeline finalization with coordinator
  • Order rehearsal dinner food
  • Shop for bridal luncheon hostess gifts - Peggy's Gifts and Accessories has super cute gifts and is a neighbor of Twirl, conveniently!
  • Get the program approved by minister and send to print!
  • Finalize bridesmaid gifts
  • Confirm honeymoon reservations
  • Make sure your hubby-to-be has all his attire taken care of:)
  • Send out a note or email to all your bridesmaids with the itinerary of Friday and Saturday with hair appointment times and what time they need to be at the location for photos, etc.  PS - make sure your groom does the same for his guys!

There are a few fun things I am planning as well!  This week my Matron of Honor, Nancy, and I are going to Happy Hour to go over everything to make sure I am not forgetting anything!  It will also be fun to relax and take a moment to breathe. 

 Next Monday I am getting a massage before I start getting everything together for the honeymoon!  There is certainly a lot take care of, but just keep a list going and ask for help if you feel overwhelmed.  This is a time you should be joyous and not stressed.  Enjoy the moment.

Happy Planning!

-Ty

Tuesdays with Ty - The Marriage License

18 days.  That is how many days we have left before the wedding!  I cannot believe how time flies and how quickly I know these next 18 days will go by.  So, on Monday, Brandon and I headed downtown Lexington to get our marriage license!!  Having a marriage license is required in order to officially be married on your wedding day.  Getting it does not mean you are married, just that you are legally allowed to be married.  The license becomes official after the ceremony when both the bride and groom sign it with your witnesses and the officiant.  After that it is filed and then you get your marriage certificate in the mail a few weeks later!

So here are a few tips on what you need to know for getting a marriage license in Kentucky (you can search your city for local requirements):

  • Both bride and groom must go together to to the County Clerk's office to apply for the license
  • The license is valid anywhere in Kentucky
  • Both of you must have a valid ID with you (driver's license will do)
  • The license is valid for 30 days after it is issued, so make sure you don't go too far in advance
  • There is a fee ($35.50 in Kentucky) and you have to pay with an in-state check or cash, so be prepared
  •  They will give you the license - we are taking ours to our preacher to keep and remember to bring on the wedding day.  He will take care of getting it signed and mailed back in.
  • You will get the official certificate in the mail a few weeks later.  You need this in order to officially change your name!

Enjoy this day together and your last few weeks of being engaged!  We went to stock up on honeymoon beach basics afterwards:)   

Happy Planning!

-Ty

Tuesdays with Ty - Engagement Pictures

Most couples opt to do their engagement photos right when they get engaged, but there is really no rule saying when you should do them.  We opted to wait until the weather was a bit warmer since we wanted to do them outside so we just did them two weeks ago:) Engagement pictures can serve a few different purposes.  They can make a cute save-the-date card, can be used for engagement announcements in the newspaper, could be great gifts for Christmas or Mother's Day depending on the time of year, and give you a good opportunity to work with your photographer before your big day.  Getting used to the style of the photographer will be key for your wedding day pictures.  The more comfortable you are the better pictures they can capture!

One other idea my best friend used (and I am stealing) is to use your engagement pictures to make a unique guest book for the wedding.  Let's be honest, how many people will get out a book of just names signed?  But a book of your engagement pictures with room for guests to leave a message is a keepsake you can always treasure! 

Now, on to the setting for our pictures.  Our wonderful photographer, In Retrospect Photography, met us in the historic downtown area of Lexington called Gratz Park.  We walked around and used several backdrops of old homes and spring flowers and even wandered into a parking garage for a more "urban feel".  Even though urban is a stretch for Lexington:)   We wore colors that complemented one another, but weren't too matchy.  Cailyn told us to be comfortable and we didn't want to be pulling and tugging at something we weren't comfortable in.  I chose a cute, casual sundress for the first outfit.  The second outfit I changed into a little black dress...still casual, but a little more dressy.  I love dresses, have I ever mentioned that??

We told Cailyn we only had one request for a photo.  Brandon and I are both fanatical University of Kentucky basketball fans.  Since one of our first times hanging out we watched the SEC Basketball Tournament we wanted to tie that in somehow.  We requested to take one picture at Rupp Arena where the old basketball floor is displayed.  I know, we are dorks.  It was fun though and totally represented our relationship and something we love to do together!

The best tip I can give for engagement pictures is to just enjoy the time and be comfortable so the love you share can reflect in the pictures.  Enjoy your engaged time together!  It flies by...trust me!!

Happy Planning!

-Ty

Tuesdays with Ty - Bridal Portraits

As you may or may not remember, I am wearing my mother's wedding dress.   It is finally finished undergoing the major renovations and is beautiful!  My sister-in-law even started crying when she saw it. I decided to book an extra session with my photographer, In Retrospect Photography, with just me to do some bridal portraits BEFORE the wedding day.  This way you get to wear your dress an extra day and get to do a trial run with your hair and make-up!!

The biggest reason I decided to do this bridal portrait session is to be able to display a picture of my mom in her dress and me in her dress at the reception.  I plan on putting them on the cake table.  That way everyone can see the major changes we made, but how special the dress still remains.  This would be a really neat idea even if you aren't wearing a family wedding gown.

Here are some Bridal Portrait tips:

  • Schedule appointments for your hair and makeup.  Do a similar look that you want for your wedding day.  That way you can see if you like the look in pictures before the big day when there will be no "do-overs". 
  • Pick  a beautiful location and one you wouldn't have time to go to on your wedding day.  We went to Shaker Village here in Kentucky.  All the Spring trees and plants were in bloom...gorgeous!!
  • Take a blanket or old sheet with you to put under your dress to keep it clean if you are going to be outside.  You can hide it in the pictures with the dress.
  • Pack a couple bottles of water with you and maybe a little snack if you think you will be gone for a while.
  • If you have your make-up done ask if you can take the powder with you and return it the next day.  That way you can touch up if needed.
  • Take your mom or maid of honor with you - it is a special time of wearing your dress for the first time!  Have them enjoy it with you:)

Obviously I cannot post my pictures yet, but enjoy this time and enjoy your pictures!!

Happy Planning!

Ty

Sunday Soirees at Shelia Bayes Fine Jewelers

Calling all Kentucky brides...Shelia Bayes Fine Jewelers and Jacki Allen Wedding and Event Planners have teamed up to offer free bridal seminars once a month through August!  The first event is this Sunday, April 18 from 1:00-4:00 pm at Shelia Bayes Fine Jewelers located in The Shops at Lexington Center, 410 West Vine Street in Lexington. This weekend's event will feature Bridal Gowns by Bridal & Formal, Photographer Ian Lozada and Wedding Planner 101 by Jacki Allen.  Each bride also gets a fabulous gift bag!!  YAY! 

Happy Planning!

-Ty

Tuesdays with Ty - Ceremony planning

With 7 weeks to go now we are turning our focus to the details of the ceremony.  The big pieces of the ceremony have been put into place, but now we need figure out the little things that will make our day memorable. Obviously, you need someone to perform your marriage ceremony and since our wedding isn't taking place in a church we had to decide who to use.  The minister from my hometown church is marrying us.   Most ministers are very specific on how they want the ceremony to run, so getting this detail taken care of will help you move forward on this part of planning.  In our pre-marriage counseling classes we will go through and plan the ceremony and how we want it to go with the minister.

If you want to start getting an idea of how it will go before you meet with your minister, The Knot has a good resource of program wording by ceremony and religion type.   You can use this as a basic outline until you meet with your officiant to get his/her ideas.  This way you can start getting an idea of what readings and music you want to incorporate and where it is appropriate.

As for readings, I think it is important to use things that are special to you and your fiance.  Of course, there are the very traditional readings that are beautiful and never go out of style.  However, we are going to incorporate some Bible verses Brandon used during his proposal.  He had written a few very special ones about love on little cards for me.  We are also going to have the readings done by couples that are special to us and in the program list how many years they have been married.

If you want a different twist, you can always pick a unique poem or short book.  One of my favorite weddings I attended had a children's book read during their ceremony called "I Like You".  It was SO appropriate because she is a kindergarten teacher.  Don't be afraid to go out of the box!

Music in the ceremony is the same...you can always go traditional and classic.  There are great resources for that as well on The Knot.   BUT we aren't going traditional on the ceremony music!  We are having all acoustic guitar and I am so excited!  Brandon has a friend that is a musical genius, so he is in charge.  We are using a few special songs (that will be revealed later) and one that was written by the guitarist we are using.  I also have a dear friend, who happens to be a Grammy Nominated Artist, who is also singing.    I hope it will be memorable for all.

Tip: Go to YouTube and type in different songs to see if you like them.  Most anything can be found on YouTube and you might find something different!

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Make your ceremony your own!  It is the little things that mean the most.

Happy Planning!

-Ty

Tuesdays with Ty - Reception Menus

The food served at your wedding reception should help reflect you and your fiance's style and tastes.  What if your tastes are vastly different, you may ask??  That's where you can (and should) build both in to the menu.

Brandon and I we decided at the beginning we wanted everything to be comfortable and relaxed for our wedding day, and that will extend to our food.  Our caterer, Lundy's Special Events, has a HUGE menu to choose from.  After weighing all the options, we decided on a dinner buffet for our reception.  We are trying to stick within our budget and while some may think heavy hors d'oeuvres are less expensive...think again!  Since the portions are smaller, many people will eat several.  If you are going this route, be sure and include some more substantial food mixed in.  The bite sized menu items are all the rage with receptions this year.  I love the idea, but it just wasn't our style for the main course, so we plan on using it later in the evening.

So...now to reveal our dinner selections!  It is important to make sure YOU are going to enjoy the food served to all your guests.  Brandon doesn't like crazy foods and I love home-style cooking, so we are doing a traditional Southern meal.  Southern pork tenderloin, fried chicken, green beans, garlic mashed potatoes, salad and fresh fruit!  I am getting hungry just thinking about it!  We are also going to serve a "late night snack" but have yet to decide what it may be.  The ideas we have been given are Krispy Kreme donuts, mini cookies and milk shooters, cheese sticks, mini milkshakes...I could go on and on! 

Food stations are also a fun idea for receptions.  We considered doing this with a pasta station and hot brown station.  Never be afraid to ask your caterer what your options are...the possibilities are endless!  Nacho bars, sushi bars, mashed potato bars, etc.  You can make the reception meal whatever you want!  Just make sure everyone will eat, drink and be ready to dance the night away!

Bridesmaid Tip: Offer to take your bride out to dinner at her fave restaurant to help brainstorm her favorite foods.  This may trigger a reception idea she may have never considered!

Happy Planning!

-Ty

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 is...to 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!

-Ty

Tuesdays with Ty - Wedding Shower Time

Friday was my very first wedding shower! My dear friend Hillary and her mother hosted "A Taste of Tuscany with Ty" at the best Italian restaurant in Lexington, Portofino.  It was only appropriate for Hillary (8 months prego, BTW) to host an Italian themed party, since her family is Italian. 

Upon entering the cozy Wine Room, the centerpieces featured bright fuchsia flowers and grapes in a clear round bowl with wine corks in the bottom.  Each arrangement had Italian wedding wishes on a card as well.   The place cards were all placed in wine corks as well and had Italian sayings on them. We all enjoyed a fabulous dinner and then devoured the favors of Italian kisses, chocolate covered grapes and Italian Confetti for dessert!

I must admit it was quite strange to be the one finally in the spot light opening the gifts and having pictures taken...but it was too much fun!!  The generosity and love you feel from your friends and family is amazing.  Hillary and Mary certainly outdid themselves and pulled off the perfectly planned shower.

Bridesmaid Tips that will make your shower outstanding:

  • Select a theme and stick with it.  It will help you stay consistent and make everything memorable.
  • Purchase thank you notes for the bride so she is prepared to send them immediately following the shower (Hillary even addressed them all for me!)
  • Have someone write down all the gifts and who they are from so the bride has it all together for thank you notes.
  • Do not go overboard on the shower games.  We just did one for the door prize...if anyone wants a copy I am happy to send:)

Bride tips:

  • Take a small hostess gift to show your appreciation for the person having the shower for you.  It does not have to be anything fancy...just thoughtful.
  • Send your thank you notes as soon as possible!  This is very important and appreciated by everyone.  They don't have to be long, just to let them know you appreciate their generosity.
  • Savor every minute of this time!!

Happy Planning!

-Ty

Tuesdays with Ty - Planning the Honeymoon

On these cold, snowy days in Kentucky I am longing for tropical breezes and sunshine!  What better time to plan our honeymoon??!! 

Since we were pretty much snowed in yesterday, Brandon and I started researching honeymoon spots and weighing our pros and cons for each location.  Where do you begin, you may ask??  We started with deciding what kind of trip we want...a relaxing, tropical get-away where we can lay on the beach with a few good books and not worry about anything other than what fruity daiquiri to try next or where to eat that night.   There are lots of options out there depending on what type honeymoon you want.  We won't have more than a week due to his work schedule and mine with Twirl, so somewhere far, far away isn't ideal for us.  We are sticking with somewhere within a 4-5 hour flight so the relaxation can begin right away!  That being said, we will end up in either Mexico or the Caribbean!

There are TONS of great options out there for helping you plan if you are doing it on your own.  You can always go the Sandals All-Inclusive route - they have tons of great locations and know how to treat honeymooners.  My best friend just went to Sandals St. Lucia and loved every minute of it.  There are usually local representatives you can speak with about different options and they will help tailor your trip to exactly what you want.

Travelzoois another great website for deals on trips.  Yesterday I found a trip to Playa del Carmen Mexico to a great resort for a heck of a deal!  I also found a 6 day trip to the Amalfi coast of Italy for an unbelievable price.  If we had more time, believe me we would be in Italy!  My suggestion if you find any hotel on a deal website like this is to look it up on TripAdvisor and read the traveler reviews on everything.  You can usually get a good feel of how the resort will treat you, how the food is, etc.  That way you can make an informed decision on your trip.  Expedia and Orbitz usually are a big help when looking for deals as well.

In the end, it just comes down to what you and your fiance want out of the Honeymoon experience.  You can make any budget work and have a fabulous trip!

Bridesmaid Tip:  Sign up for Travelzoo or other travel website "Deals of the Week" to keep your eyes open for deals to send your bride for her honeymoon.  Any little bit of help is welcomed when trying to plan everything.

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 tips...do 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!

-Ty

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 all...you 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!