Thursday, November 1, 2012


Well, the 31 days of October are over. However, I am not done with this blog. I may not get to my posts for a few weeks. Work is about to get crazy with several assessments, report cards, and parent/teacher conferences. But don't worry...I promise to finish the 31 Day of Wedding Planning as soon as I can. Thanks for sticking with me.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I wanted to apologize for being so many days behind. I am fine and I have not given up on this blog. It may not all get accomplished in the 31 days of October and it already failed to be done in 31 consecutive days. However, I still plan to finish as soon as I can. I have been very busy with work lately and I feel like the posts are requiring more and more work as the planning items get closer to the big event. I want to do each post justice to be the best of help for you so I would rather be behind schedule and write thorough posts than be on schedule and not provide any helpful advice to you.

With that being said, the blog posts are on my VERY long to-do list and are not forgotten. I have a draft of the next post and am hoping to get back to giving your some wedding wisdom in the next few days.

Thank you for being understanding and patient!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Day 19--Music

Ever since we were little, we played dress-up, had pretend weddings, and hummed the wedding march song. We knew from such a young age that music was a part of and important at a wedding. More and more over the years, I have been to weddings or seen videos online where people incorporate all different kinds of music into their ceremonies and receptions. Music that is special to them, music that is their own, music to have a good time, and music to get the party started. Artists write songs about weddings, for weddings, for first dances, and for father-daughter dances. There is no doubt that music is an important part of weddings.

So how do you pick songs? How do you know how many songs?

Here are some thoughts:
  • It is typical to have a song for walking in and walking out of the ceremony. It is up to you what you want to play. You can do instrumental or a song with lyrics. I personally, am a big fan of music lyrics. Yes, I love the music too but I really pay attention to words and when I like a song, it is because of the clever, inspirational, or beautiful words. Therefore, I chose to have all my songs for the ceremony include the lyrics rather than an instrumental version. We actually had two songs for walking in--one for the bridesmaids and one for me. Both songs did not play the entire way through. We practiced the timing of walking to make sure at least the first verse and chorus were played before fading out. The song my bridesmaids walked into was Waiting All My Life by Rascal Flatts. We picked this songs because it has a good beat for walking, not too fast and not too slow. We also liked the lyrics because my fiance and I both felt the words were true about us so it was a song to each other. After the sign-bearer and flower girl made it to the front, the music changed to a song for me to walk in to. For a long time, I had wanted American Honey by Lady Antebellum to play because I felt this song described me so well. But then as the wedding got closer, I got thinking that the song was about me but that was it. I wanted the song to be about me plus the man I was about to marry. So I changed it last minute (no one knew except my mom until the rehearsal). The new song was All Your Life by the Band Perry. I am so glad I chose this song instead because to me it felt like this song was speaking my heart while I walked down the aisle towards the love of my life.
  • It is becoming more popular include songs during the ceremony. Some people do a sand or candle ceremony, or communion and often have music play during that time since there is no talking. Some people even choose to play their own song, from one to another, or both playing together. We chose to have a song play during communion that had been really special to us throughout our whole relationship. The song was God Gave Me You by Blake Shelton. I like this pick because it had a spiritual aspect to it and was very fitting for while we were doing communion. We also included another song during the ceremony for a more fun thing. This was going to be our first kiss and so we wanted to add a little something extra. We had a short clip from Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not by Thompson Square play after the Pastor said "You may kiss the bride" and before we actually kissed. It was really fun and I'm glad we did it.
  • A song for exiting the ceremony is nice to have as well. We picked an up-beat song that would be fun for everyone to walk out to and celebrate. Our song was Don't That Make You Wanna Fall in Love by Kenny Chesney.
  • The First Dance was really hard for us to pick. We listened to dozens of songs. We knew it would be a country song since we both love country music. We ended up choosing a Lady Antebellum song where both male and female sing, which I loved because then it was from both sides of our relationship. There are so many great love songs but I said no to them because I personally didn't want it to just be from the perspective of the man or the woman. Our song was "When You Got a Good Thing". We aren't good dancers and didn't want to be out on the floor by ourselves for over 4 minutes. After the first verse and chorus, we had our DJ invite other couples out onto the dance floor. He invited them a little bit at a time based on how many years they have been married. By the end of the song almost all the married couples had come out to dance with us.
  • Father-Daughter Dance and Mother-Son Dance--Choose a song that has special meaning to you and your parent. Maybe it's a song you played or sang together growing up. I actually let my dad pick and it was a surprise for me until we danced to it. He picked My Wish by Rascal Flatts. About halfway through the song, our DJ invited all other fathers to bring their daughters out and dance. Nate picked Have I Told You Lately by Rod Stewart and they also invited other mothers and sons to come dance halfway through.
  • For dancing music during the reception, it is up to you what songs you like and what kind of party you want to have.We invited my brother's college roommate to come and teach our guests how to swing dance while we were taking pictures after the ceremony. We chose lots of country swing music for the lessons and dancing during the reception. We also chose several good dance/party songs some that are classic oldies and some that are more recent.
Music, along with the decor, setting, and style, can set the mood for a wedding. I would encourage you to sit down and hand-pick songs for your ceremony and special dances. Think about songs that have special meaning for you. As for the reception, pick songs that will create the kind of dancing and party atmosphere you want. I would recommend mixing up fast and slow songs for different generations of guests. If you are interested in country swing songs, leave a comment and I can email you the list we used. I loved how our reception and the dancing went. It was such a fun time. So many people were out on the dance floor smiling, singing, and dancing. I had a blast, and I hope my guests did as well.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Day 18--Cake and Dessert

Now the main meal is important, but the dessert is really important! It's funny because my fiance doesn't really care for desserts or sweets and I actually included something in my vows saying we would "agree to disagree on desserts and decor pillows". Agreement or disagreement, we did have cake and dessert at our wedding. Originally I wanted pies but he vetoed that...looking back, not sure why the anti-sweets guy got to make that call, but oh well, I love what we ended up doing.

Now cake is the traditional dessert to have at your reception, however there are many new sweet trends that are becoming more popular:
  • cupcakes
  • pies
  • different cakes, one at each table--even as part of centerpiece
  • candy table
  • chocolate fountains
  • dessert table
I knew that I did not want a huge wedding cake to feed everyone. How many weddings have you been to where there is SO much leftover cake? I did not want that to happen...especially after talking to a local baker and finding out much money cakes cost!

When you are planning this part of your wedding, here are some things to consider:
  • What do you and your fiance like? It is your day after all, so let this  be something you love or something that has a special memory/meaning attached to it for you.
  • What are your colors and theme? The style of your wedding may lend itself very well to a specific kind of dessert. The dessert can also be a great way to incorporate your colors in a fun and tasty way.
  • How many guests are you inviting? Along with food, dessert gets more expensive as your guest count increases. If you have a large wedding, you may want to consider cupcakes, mini desserts, or a candy table to cut costs from a large cake. Another idea is to have a smaller cake for the cutting and pictures but then get several sheet cakes (Costco is a great option for this) for the majority of the eating.
One of my girlfriends had a friend make her wedding cake. It had fondant in her wedding colors and the Bride and Grooms' initals as cake toppers. It was gorgeous. I asked her who had made her cake and contacted the girl to see if she would be interested in making one for me as well. I had seen some ideas on Pinterest and knew exactly what I wanted: simple (are you seeing a pattern yet?), two layers, fresh summer berries as the decoration. I wanted white cake with strawberry filling. She made me a sample so that I could taste it. The cake was so moist, her filling was so delicious, AND she had tried a new white chocolate frosting recipe. Normally, I am not a big white chocolate fan, but this was SO incredible! We went with that combo. I gave her pictures and told her that I really just wanted it simple and she could arrange the berries however she felt looked best. When she arrived with the cake, my  jaw dropped! It was exactly what I had hoped for. I loved it!

Some of our wonderful church ladies carrying the cake to the food tent.

Don't you just want a piece?

I love how she added the blossoms!

Oh my yumm!!! It tasted so good. I was fine that I had a small plate of the food, but I wish I could have had 2 big slices of cake :)
 Now you have probably looked at that cake wondering, how did that feed 250 people? It didn't. We had a different dessert for the guests. I wanted to stick with simple, summer, country dessert and I came up with this idea: vanilla ice cream with strawberry topping and a heart-shaped sugar cookie!

We were able to get a special purchase from Costco for the berry topping. You know their very berry sundaes that are so good? We ordered 2 cases of that berry topping. We ordered gallon tubs of vanilla ice cream from WalMart and my mom and I made 23 dozen sugar cookies. Look at how much flour and butter we needed! It would have been SO nice to have 2 ovens to speed up the baking process. We could roll and cut the dough much faster than our oven would bake them. We baked them a few weeks before the wedding and froze them. They were thawed on the wedding day and it turned out great. Right before we put the cookies in the oven, we sprinkled clear sugar crystal sprinkles on them to add a little sparkle. :)

Doesn't this look like a great country summer dessert?

Dessert line!

What did you have for dessert at your wedding?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Day 17--Photographer

Your wedding day is great. All the decor pieces are set-up, all the flowers a beautiful. Everyone looks great. It's picture perfect. Which is why it's so important to have perfect pictures of it. Photographers can be expensive, but think about this...after the wedding is over, you have the memories, the marriage license, rings, and pictures. Pictures will last and wouldn't you prefer to have great pictures to remember your special day?

With the technology of digital cameras, more and more people are becoming good photographers and choosing a friend or family member to shoot your wedding for free or a low cost is definitely an option to consider. However, there are some things to be said for professional photography that are worth the cost. My family carefully considered all the options in this area and we were very happy with what we chose in the end.

In choosing a photographer, here are some things to think about:
  • If you have a family member or friend who is a professional photographer, I would start by asking them. Their close relationship to you may allow for a price reduction without a quality reduction. However, consider how close they are to you and if you would prefer for them to sit and enjoy the ceremony or be kneeling in the aisle to catch your first kiss on "film".
  • If you have a family member or friend who takes good pictures, consider them as an option. Look at some of their work. Find out if they have ever shot a wedding or helped shoot a wedding before. Talk to them about how comfortable they would be doing it for you. They may be a great option for your wallet, but think about if they will produce the kind of pictures you really hope for. Do they have knowledge and experience with lighting, exposure, artistry, portraits, and managing groups of people. We highly considered several different options within this realm however in the end we decided against it because of the quality of photos I hoped to have.
  • If you want a professional photographer, I would suggest starting with someone you know or a referral from a trusted source. Knowing the experience someone else has had with a photographer can speak volumes to choosing them for yourselves. 
  • If you do not have any referrals, get online and start searching. Read reviews, look at their work, and contact them. Our photography decision was pretty stressful for me at first as our leads kept falling through and nothing seemed to be the right choice. One day, I got online and found about 12 possibilities. I emailed or called all of them to find out if they were even available on my wedding day. That narrowed it down by a few. I did all the reading online about them that I could and looked at their pictures to see what I liked. Two really stood out to me and one called me back right away and was able to meet within a few days!
  • Think about what kind of photos you want, how you want to get them in the end, and what your budget is. All of these factors are important in choosing a photographer. Some will be a great fit for you and others just won't based on their style or package options. I knew I wanted a photojournalist style and some creative shots. My dad being big into photography wanted to be able to get most, if not all, of the images rather than a select package. My dad, fiance, and I met with Matt McKnight, the photographer I had found online. We all liked him right away. He was personable, professional, humorous, easy-going, and willing to work with us and create a package that fit our needs and desires. We chose him as our photographer and I am so glad we did.
  • Do an engagement photo session with your photographer. I think this is really important so that you can get comfortable with your photographer and they can also get to know you. Especially with photojournalism, it's important I think for the photographer to see you and your fiance, watch how you interact, and get an idea of how best to capture your special moments. Engagement photos are also great for Save-the-Dates, Invitations, framed prints, or a photo guest book. Plus, I personally think it's a lot of fun to get picture taken.

Our photographer was a lot of fun. We really enjoyed working with him and we love the pictures he captured! He and his assistant were with us all day long. They both did an amazing job documenting all the little details and big events throughout the day. At the same time, they were able to blend in and not be a big distracting during the ceremony or reception. There were so many times I wasn't even aware they were taking pictures but then when we saw the images later we were so glad they had been there snapping away. I loved that we could combine my ideas for shots with their expertise and creativity to get great results! I love my wedding pictures and I look forward to viewing them for years to come!

Most of the photos on this blog are credit of my photographer and his assistant. Their website links are at the bottom of this post.

I love how the assistant got a picture of the lead photographer hiding in the background.

Capturing family portraits

Not gonna lie, it was pretty fun being followed by a camera all day.

The assistant photographer captures the vows.

Here are some of our favorite engagement pictures:


We used some of our engagement pictures for decor:

 And I made a photo book with lots of blank spaces, which we used as a guest book.

Matt McKnight:

Jerome Pollos:

Day 16--Food

First, I apologize for not doing this blog post yesterday. But, I had a very good reason for it---after being gone for 5 1/2 days, my husband came home yesterday. I missed him lots while he was gone! So we spent the evening together. I told you it was a good reason :)

Now back to wedding planning business. Almost all weddings include some sort of food for guests. Choosing a food/meal option comes with another decision, which you may or may not have already made--time of day for your ceremony and reception. The time of the day does dictate what sort of meal you should provide and what guests will expect. If you have your wedding during a regular meal time, it is polite to feed your guests that meal. If you have your wedding in between meal times, you can go with hors d'oeuvres, a light meal, or even a candy or dessert table. Choosing a non-meal option is cheaper since you will need less food per guest. Of course if you want to do a meal, there are options to reduce costs.

The food also depends on your venue and style. If you are having a formal wedding at a venue with catering included, your meal might be a sit-down, served, multi-course spread. A more casual wedding could be a buffet line. If your wedding has a theme, it is a good idea to carry the theme with the food as well. There are lot of decisions to make with food. Here are some things to think about:
  • The number of guests. The price of food will obviously increase as your guest count goes up.
  • How do you want it served? Servers to the table? Food line dished out by servers? Buffet?
  • How many options do you want? If you are having your wedding catered it is easier to provide more options than if you are choosing to do food yourself. It is popular these days to include a vegetarian option as well.
  • How do you see food fitting into the night? Do you want there to be a good amount of time set aside for a sit-down meal or would you rather have a quick meal so you can get the party started?
  • What food do you like? What food would fit with your style of wedding?
Here is what we chose to do for our wedding. We picked a 5pm ceremony time. This lends itself to a dinner reception. You would not expect guests to come to a 5 o'clock wedding having already eaten dinner. We knew we would feed guests a meal but then we chose this time for non-food related reasons. We chose 5 o'clock because it would be starting to get cooler and we could hopefully avoid the mid-July heat as much as possible with an outdoor wedding. The lighting for pictures would also be getting better throughout the night. It wasn't too late for guests who had to drive an hour or so to get home afterwards. Once we knew we would be serving dinner, we thought about our style: simple, country, backyard. I really wanted my guests to stay, and have a good time. I wanted this to be very simple and just a big party with all our favorite people. We chose to have it be a backyard barbeque. Once we decided that, we discussed different menu options and finally nailed it down. We had hamburgers, pasta salad, fruit, and chips. For beverages we had lemonade, water, and iced tea. I will say the food was probably the most stressful area for my mom. We were providing the meal ourselves and it can be really hard to figure out how much to buy/make for your guests. We did our best to guess, made a few trips to Costco and ended up with a lot of extras that we were able to give out to people. If you have more specific questions about quantities, just leave a comment and I can help based on what we did. My mom asked some people to help by cutting and prepping food, making the pasta salad, cooking the burgers, and working the food tables during the wedding. It all went so well. Sure, it wasn't a fancy meal and probably not what guests will remember about my wedding. But that doesn't bother me. I didn't the food to be the most remarkable or most expensive thing. Looking back, I am really pleased with the decisions we made about food and so thankful for all the people who helped pull it off!

Burger Masters
Not messing around with the grilling

Setting up the food line

Backyard BBQ

We didn't eat much, but what we did have was very good!

Lemonade, fruit, burgers, chips, and pasta salad. Gotta love summer food.