Guide to Serving Your Guests What's in Season

Going on tastings before your wedding can be a lot of fun

...until you look at the bill of what you want to serve.

Luckily, serving food that is "in season" can help cut cost, add color, and elevate the freshness of your dishes.

Shopping seasonal is the way to go!

Here's How to Incorporate Spring Produce into your Wedding Meal

Salads

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Beet and arugula salad will target two veggies on our list, not to mention the gorgeous color that beets will add to your table tops.

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Spinach and strawberry salads are a spring staple for anyone who needs a sugar fix in the first course.

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Never go wrong with serving potato salad! Elevate this Fourth of July staple by tossing warm potatoes into a fresh green salad packed with herbs for texture and flavor.


Appetizers

Asparagus can make for elevated finger food.

 Serve wrapped in bacon or prosciutto for a more savory dish.

Serve wrapped in bacon or prosciutto for a more savory dish.

 Or have them wrapped in puff pastry for our carb kings and queens out there.

Or have them wrapped in puff pastry for our carb kings and queens out there.

Artichoke hearts are easy for guests to pop in their mouths during a cocktail hour.

 Breaded or stuffed artichokes are a great way to add some crunch to your cocktail hour.

Breaded or stuffed artichokes are a great way to add some crunch to your cocktail hour.

 Going gluten free? Serve marinated artichoke hearts, always a favorite.

Going gluten free? Serve marinated artichoke hearts, always a favorite.

When in doubt, you can't go wrong with a grilled veggie platter full of variety for all of your picky wedding guests.

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Desserts

Pies are a taste replacement if you are not into wedding cakes.

 Cherries are in abundance come spring, so go classic with cherry pie and vanilla ice cream.

Cherries are in abundance come spring, so go classic with cherry pie and vanilla ice cream.

 Rhubarb is only in season for a little bit each year, so if your wedding falls in this window take advantage and serve strawberry rhubarb pie, your guests will thank you!

Rhubarb is only in season for a little bit each year, so if your wedding falls in this window take advantage and serve strawberry rhubarb pie, your guests will thank you!

Go classic with a fresh fruit tray that incorporates local produce so not only will your guests be happy, but so will your local farmers market.

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Lemons are in season come spring, depending on how hot it will be at your wedding cool your guests down with some delicious lemon sorbet.

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Cocktails

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If you are having signature cocktails on your big day, consider putting citrus fruits on display. Not only will they add color, but they are extremely tasty and refreshing without adding too much sugar.

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Never underestimate the power of fresh herbs. Adding a sprig of rosemary can really elevate a cocktail. Still skeptical? No judgement, research which proteins go well with herbs that are in season and settle the fish versus chicken versus beef debate.

Spring Wedding Fever

It is finally everyone's favorite time of the year. 

Flowers are blooming,

School is ending,

Most importantly it is Spring Wedding Season!!!

We have put together Our Favorite Spring Wedding Trends to give you serious spring wedding envy.

Check out what's in store for this seasons hottest floral, venue, color, and dress trends!

Flower Wedding Trends

This year you can expect to see more moody and dramatic bouquets, new arrangements including wreaths and hanging centerpieces, and the incorporation of other living elements such as succulents and vines.

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Still need more inspiration? Read up on the color psychology behind flowers in this article by FTD. 


Venue Wedding Trends

Last year we were seeing a lot of rustic barn and outdoor wedding receptions. While that is still in high demand, a lot of couples are over dealing with April showers and have come up with a happy medium. This year couples are on the hunt for venues that allow you to bring the outdoors inside. You still get that outdoorsy feeling you love but without having to face the elements. 

On the other hand, more industrial and minimalist venues have popped up on our radar as well, breweries and wineries are a great choice for couples feeling this look.


Color Scheme Wedding Trends

Picking your wedding colors is a big step in the design process of your big day. Check out our top three favorite mood boards for this spring's wedding trends.

 Moody, ultra violet color schemes are going to be huge this season.

Moody, ultra violet color schemes are going to be huge this season.

  Add a lot of depth to your wedding color scheme with these rich hues.

Add a lot of depth to your wedding color scheme with these rich hues.

  Greenery has taken place of a lot of floral trends recently, also check out the caligraphy etching on glass, that will also catch your eye this spring.

Greenery has taken place of a lot of floral trends recently, also check out the caligraphy etching on glass, that will also catch your eye this spring.


Dresse Wedding Trends

Lastly, what our brides have been waiting for: this spring's bridal dress trends.

 It's the year of the bridal cape, so don't be hesitant to pick that strapless dress you fell in love with, there are plenty of other ways to stay warm this spring.

It's the year of the bridal cape, so don't be hesitant to pick that strapless dress you fell in love with, there are plenty of other ways to stay warm this spring.

If you opt to have sleeves on your wedding day, try on a few with bell sleeves. This would especially be a trend to follow for our boho brides.

As we all know, spring can have extremely unpredictable weather, so if you are worried about your train getting dragged through puddles or mud, maybe consider going shorter for your wedding day!

Go To Honeymoon Registry Guide

As we promised last week, we're here to discuss our favorite honeymoon websites and all they have to offer!

It can get tedious trying to sort through the different sites out there, so we picked out Our 4 Favorite Honeymoon Registries that should be on every couple's radar.

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1. Traveler's Joy

Use this site if: you really only want to register for honeymoon related experiences.

Traveler's joy is a great resource for couples who are serious about cashing in their wedding gifts as experiences rather than items. You can customize the captions on your registry making the interaction more personal, giving guests a chance to understand why the two of you want to dive face first over the edge of a cliff in South Africa. 

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2. Wanderable

Use this site if: you are a graphic design artist in training.

Wanderable is another website that focuses completely on the honeymoon itself. Overall, it is very similar to Traveler's Joy, besides the actual construction of the site. Wanderable is known for its beautiful online templates and ability to incorporate pictures of the two of you while you tell your story.

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3. Honeyfund

Use this site if: you are looking to register for more than just your honeymoon.

On Honeyfund, couples can create wish lists, register for gift cards, wedding expenses, donations, down payments, and more. This would be perfect for couples who are spending less on their honeymoon and want to register just for plane tickets or hotel reservations among other things.

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4. Zola

Use this site if: you are looking for a one-stop-shop.

Last but not least, Zola offers anything and everything you could imagine registering for. Get access to free shipping and gifts from any website, while also registering for unforgettable honeymoon experiences. You can also create a web page with details about your big day for guests who lost the address of the venue, didn't write down the date, or really any other question you foresee coming your way. They are a long time fan favorite for many reasons but maybe the most important: they have the lowest cash fee and are extremely user friendly.

Well after all that, we hope y'all have a better idea of which site is perfect for your registry. 

Don't just take our word for it, hop onto these links and check out sample registries and success stories from couples just like you!

If you missed out previous Honeymoon registry post click here for more ideas!

Rock Your Registry

Creating your registry is supposed to be fun, right?

I mean who doesn't love getting gifts?

Unfortunately, many couples find creating their registry to be more tedious than exciting. Some couples are dying to get that new pasta attachment for their KitchenAid while others are stressed out about where they are going to fit everything.

Whether you two are moving in for the first time after saying "I do" or have been living together for years, try these unconventional ideas to spice up your registry!

AND...if you go the traditional route then make it a date night y'all! Grab a cocktail before and after, grab that scanner gun at Target, Crate & Barrel, or any other great store of choice.  Make it fun, because it can be and when else can you pick anything you could dream of in the store!


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Here's to all the couples out there who plan on traveling but have no flights booked yet. They prefer spending their money on more important things while traveling like trying out all the hottest local restaurants. But, maybe staying in someone else's bed isn't your thing, if not, you can register for gift cards to a number of airlines and hotels. Hyatt and Southwest have some great options.

2. Donations

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Some people don't like getting gifts, or may not need anything. These couples may consider setting up a donation link on justgive.org to their favorite charities so guests still feel like they are giving back. You can also set up a GoFundMe if you want to keep track of donations and submit them yourselves. Still want a little something for yourself? We don't blame you, Simple Registry allows you to put literally anything on your registry, so feel free to ask for a few necessary items while still including your favorite cause.

3. Honeymoon sponsorships

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There are countless sites that allow guests to actually pay for excursions during your honeymoon to bring down your overall cost! Some popular sites are Honeyfund, Traveler's Joy, or Wanderable.

4. Subscription boxes

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Subscription boxes are all the rage right now, but they can add up! If you and your newly wed love cooking, consider registering for a subscription box like Blue Apron so you can get messy in the kitchen together!

Some other fun subscription boxes perfect for couples are: 

5. Classes or memberships

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If there's something you two have always wanted to learn more about such as ceramics, dance, or a foreign language, have friends and family members buy you classes. Memberships to your favorite spots in town are useful too, think of all the free date nights that can come from these! Peek is a great tool to find activities in your city you would have otherwise never thought of. Also when in doubt, never underestimate the power of Groupon!

6. Home remodels

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For the couples who already have built a home together but are desperately in need of a change, register on Blueprint to have family members gift you your new kitchen or bathroom. On the other hand, Feather the Nest can be used for couples who are looking to buy their first home together.

7. College fund

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Lastly, with college becoming more and more expensive, it is never too early to start saving for your future children. Not planning on having kids? This idea could work for you or your spouse too if either of you are planning on going to school in the future. Gift of College is a great website that allows friends and family to buy gift cards that will go towards saving for an education. The College Saving Plans Network also has tons of great resources on how to save for college.

Check in next week to read all about which sites will help you plan an unforgettable honeymoon, and even better how to get it for free!

Fast Food Infused to Weddings, Yep it's a Thing!

Finding a venue that really speaks to you and your fiancé may seem like an impossible task; the options are never ending. You could hold your reception at a banquet hall, on the beach, in a hotel, at your country club, in a barn, ect.

The most touching weddings take place somewhere that holds a special meaning for the couple. Whether it's on campus of your alma mater, or at your favorite fast food chain where the two of you have shared countless romantic late night bites, the perfect venue does exist. Yes you read that right, getting married at your favorite fast food chains may be the answer to your venue scouting prayers.

Read up on where fast food fans have tied the knot and look to see if your favorite is on the list!

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McDonald's

Talk about a destination wedding to remember, McDonald's locations all across Hong Kong offer four different wedding packages at their restaurants. 

Each one includes:

  • Decor
  • Games
  • Gifts
  • A catered reception of your favorite McDonald's treats.
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No word on if McDonald's in the U.S. is planning on jumping on the wedding train, but hey, a girl can dream, right?

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Taco Bell

Taco Bell made headlines last year when they announced they were launching new Cantinas without a drive thru so they could sell alcohol in their stores. Among that exciting news, here's more: you can now get married at the Taco Bell in Las Vegas!

The $600 wedding package includes:

  • A ceremony with an officiant
  • A private reception for you and 15 guests
  • Custom merchandise
  • A gorgeous sauce packet bouquet
  • The finest dishes off their menu for you and your loved one to share 

White Castle: The Royal Wedding

Speaking of Vegas, there is some competition in the world of fast food weddings on the strip. Recently, White Castle held a contest for engaged couples to share their love story and how this bite-sized burger chain played an important role in it.

The first place couple was whisked away to Vegas to enjoy:

  • A rehearsal dinner
  • Full ceremony and reception
  • Cake
  • Flowers and decor
  • A fully catered reception by White Castle.
  • AND a five night honeymoon vacation to Belgium.

Look at the happy couple!

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Second place was impressive as well, White Castle catered two couple's reception with White Castle staples for up to 200 guests

Domino's

No, most Domino's stores do not have enough room for a full ceremony and reception, but they are still determined to be part of the wedding game. Domino's has released a wedding registry for the ultimate pizza lovers.

Among the registry gifts are meals titled:

  • "Wedding Night"
  • "Post-Honeymoon adjustment to real life" 
  • "Cater the Bachelorette Party"
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When it doubt, give the cheesiest gift of all: pizza.

Starbucks

It's no secret that our society is coffee crazed, but some of us spend the better part of our lives with a Starbucks permanently in hand. If this is you, maybe consider saying I do over Saturday morning coff

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Check out #starbuckswedding on Instagram for some serious inspiration and ask your favorite barista if your Starbucks will help you say "I love you a latte" to your fiance.

Where to Cut Costs Without Cutting Quality: Decor

Welcome to the last post of our cost cutting blog series! This week we're talking about every DIY bride's fantasy: decor

Decor can be a really unique aspect of your wedding and we are here to help you get the most for your money. This can range from large scale items like renting vintage furniture pieces, all the way to smaller scale items including place settings and party favors.

No matter their size, it is important to remember that all of your decor will work together to create your picture perfect day.

Tip #4: Decor

We know when it comes to weddings it's hard to say no, but trust us more isn't always more.  Go double duty on some of the decor and floral arrangements especially if you are using the same venue for the ceremony and reception.  Use the bouquets as center pieces, or floral arches as a backdrop to the head table. 

Speaking of floral arrangements, if you're comfortable with it, go ahead and make your own centerpieces and bouquets! Floral shops charge a lot for labor, and depending on how many arrangements you want to have at your wedding it can end up being a huge cost. Consider taking a floral design class to learn the basics so you can put your personal touch on your wedding.

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Don't be afraid to think outside the box!

Succulents wrapped in tissue paper are a bright and fun addition to this table top.

When creating your own centerpieces, or any other decor, go secondhand! Borrow vases from family members, or hit up your local thrift shop for vintage pieces that will make each table look unique.

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When choosing a venue, try to picture what you want your wedding day to look like. Depending on the venue, you may not even need to bring in that much decor! Most outdoor venues come with their own free decor and breathtaking backdrops.

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DIY when possible and when it makes sense financially. The materials needed for a project can really add up, so weigh your options here but definitely buy in bulk and get crafty when your vision calls for it!

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Now that you have tips on where to save money, go out and make your dream wedding a reality! Don't forget to read up on the rest of our blog post series full of money saving tips when it comes to stationery, vendors, and food and beverage!

Where to Cut Costs Without Cutting Quality: Food and Beverage

It's a new week which means a brand new blog post about saving money on your wedding!

This week might be the most important because we are talking about food and drinks.

There are always so many changing trends when it comes to what to serve your guests and how to serve them. Follow our advice and you can impress your guests with amazing dishes and drinks without breaking the bank (and hopefully you'll get a chance to enjoy them too).

Tip #3: Food and Beverage

Plated meals tend to be the more expensive option when feeding a crowd, and unfortunately, are not always appreciated.  Think of the times you have received a plated dinner at an event and wished you had a bigger scoop of mashed potatoes but less veggies. Family or buffet style options allow for your guests to feel like they can take as much as they like without hurting the chef's feelings for leaving something untouched on their plate.

Speaking of wasted food, a lot of the wedding cake goes uneaten, so if cake isn't your dessert of choice, don't order one! If you are still trying to keep the tradition alive, opt for a small cake so you and your newly wed can still cut it together. Better yet, pick something sweet you both equally enjoy like cinnamon rolls, cupcakes, or pancakes and cut into a tower of that. 

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If you feel like you cannot go without an extravagant wedding cake, then fake it! Ask your baker to create a cake out of styrofoam or cardboard and icing.  They will make the top layer out of real cake so you can still make a show of cutting it in front of everyone, but when they bring it to the kitchen to cut the rest, they will be serving your guests out of identically decorated sheet cake. 

Trust us, no one will know and it is extremely common to do. Plus it photographs beautifully! You could have cakes as gorgeous as the ones below for less.

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An open bar can be way more expensive than people realize but thankfully there are plenty of options when it comes to alcohol,  including signature cocktails, a la carte pricing, BYOB venues, or serving only beer and wine. Don't be afraid to get creative here and experiment different signature cocktails with your fiancé! 

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Lastly, if you will be having a lot of little ones running around the reception, ask if the chef will prepare kids meals.  They won't cost nearly as much as the other guests' meals and will probably be more up their alley anyway.

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Don't forget our stationery and vendor saving money techniques! And get excited for next week's blog on saving money on decor!

Where to Cut Costs Without Cutting Quality: Vendors

Welcome back to part two of our blog post series on cutting costs for your wedding! This week: vendors.

Choosing vendors can be stressful because, like stationary, there are so many different things to think of:

Who will be the photographer?

Where will you be getting the cake? 

And most importantly...where will all of this be taking place??

Lucky you found us because we are here to tell you how and when to cut costs when it comes to choosing vendors and venues! 

Tip #2: Vendors

When hiring photographers or musicians make sure you schedule their time wisely as many will charge by the hour, so make sure you are being strategic with your timeline and not paying them to wait around until they are needed!

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Or, do away with outside vendors all together and ask talented friends and family members to be part of the ceremony as the musician or even the officiant.  This will not only cut costs but make your ceremony so much more personal.

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If you are lucky enough to live near a university (hint: Columbia is home to multiple) take advantage of  eager to please students working for a lower cost, or work directly with the services offered by the university (did someone say Tiger Garden?)

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You can save tons of money on your venue if you do not get married on a Saturday! Consider getting married on a Sunday morning and have an extravagant brunch as the reception or get married on the eve of a holiday so your guests will most likely have to next day off!

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Speaking of venues, finding one that allows you to bring in all of your own vendors instead of making you use theirs will save you tons of money in the long run! Not to mention, you get to have all your favorites without feeling like you are making sacrifices.

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Make sure to check out our money saving tips when it comes to stationery if you haven't already, and we'll see you next week to talk about saving money on food and drinks!

Where to Cut Costs Without Cutting Quality: Stationery

In the age of social media, it's so easy to get lost in day dreams of your perfect wedding while scrolling through pictures on Instagram or Pinterest. 

Don't worry, we all do it...but what's not so easy?

Getting hit with reality when you see the price tag attached to your dream dress on Pinterest.

Luckily, there are plenty of places you can cut costs without your guests noticing, allowing you to splurge on details that are truly important to you and your fiancé.  We have put together a blog post series so you can soak up every last tip on saving money to make the wedding of your dreams a reality.

Tip #1: Stationery

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I know what you're thinking: how expensive can paper really be? 

Well...let's say each person attending your wedding will receive one of each of the following:

  • save the date

  • invitation

  • RSVP card 

  • return envelope

  • menu

  • place card

  • program

  • thank you card

That's eight pieces of stationery per person, lets say multiplied by 100 guests, that's 800 pieces of paper you will be paying for.  

Instead, you could create a website for your wedding where guests will RSVP. This will save a lot of money on stationery and postage in the long run. A website can also be used for registry information, engagement photos, or any extra information about your wedding that wasn't included on the invitations. 

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If you still prefer to have real stationery, try printing your guests names on each individual menu to eliminate the need for place cards.  Limiting the number of items you are printing can drastically cut down your final cost. 

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Using online templates and printing them yourself will also save money. You won't be paying for shipping costs or labor, and your invitations will still look beautifully custom made.  

Our favorite website is Elopements check out some of out these gorgeous samples!

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 RSVP postcards eliminate the need for return envelopes and they use cheaper postage.

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Lastly, eliminate day of stationery all together (the environment and your wallet will thank you) by using one large program, seating chart and menu for guests to look at as guests walk in.

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Now that your money savvy in all things stationery, make sure to check back next week to learn about saving money on vendors!

February Wedding Events

Learn how to plan your wedding at these amazing local Wedding Events in Columbia during the month of February! 

Plus only at these events will we be giving a limited number of couples free access to our debut Wedding Planning & Educational Platform! That's right free!  More details on our platform can be found here!


Wedding Stroll in The District | This Saturday

Visit Columbia's downtown wedding vendors to see what the heart of our city has to offer! 

All details on the event page, click here!

Best Part! Meet Anne, Wedding Planning Expert, at The Broadway Hotel from 4:00-6:00. Get all your wedding questions answered and advice you need to plan the wedding of your dreams.  

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Educational Workshop | Next Wednesday

Join us for an evening of learning how to plan your wedding from the experts!

Plus enjoy a canvas swag bag of goodies, appetizers, wine and more! 
All details on the event page, click here!

Buy your ticket now, click here!

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You Said Yes! Now What?

The hardest decision for couples to make when planning their wedding isn’t what color scheme to go with, or what food to serve, it’s where to start. 

Weddings don’t just happen over night, trust us.  There are so many details that need to be considered and, we get it, it can be overwhelming. 

Below are our tips on how to make this journey feel a bit more manageable. 

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1.       Have Everything in One Place

Whether this is on your calendar, Google Drive, or Aisle Planner, make sure there is one place you can go and find everything that has to do with the wedding.  Otherwise, you’ll find yourself writing down appointments in your planner, but looking for the details on your phone which just creates unnecessary stress that can and should be avoided.

2.       Utilize Checklists

It’s no secret that checklists make everything run more smoothly, so why wouldn’t you use them for your wedding?  Go one step further and download one of the dozens of apps that are designed to make using checklists a breeze. (Our favorite is Asana as mentioned in our blog post from earlier this month "How Do Brides Stay Organized" http://www.annabelleevents.com/blog/how-do-brides-stay-organized

3.       Set Time Aside

As tempting as it sounds, working on your seating chart from your bed while binge watching Netflix may not be the best idea.  Setting aside a few hours a week to work through some items on your checklist without distractions is a much better plan. Make a day of it, grab lunch at your favorite café and camp out for a few hours, bonus points if you and your fiancé set aside time together to work on the wedding details. 

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4.       Invest in a Planner

Lastly, and probably the most obvious tip, is hire a wedding planner!  We already know where to start in the planning process, and we’re pro organizers.  Hiring a wedding planner not your style?  At the very least utilize those people in your life who are eager to help with any of the details you find yourself struggling with; like your maid of honor who has an eye for graphics and would love to help design your invitations. 

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Time to Get Started on your New Year’s Resolution: Finally Getting Organized.

How Do Brides Stay Organized?

These days technology is everywhere; the phrase of the last five years seems to be “there’s an app for that”. 

Staying organized while planning the wedding of your dreams is no different. 

We have put together our favorite online tools that not only save us time and stress but are equally appreciated by our brides.  

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1.       Google Drive

Most people already use Google Drive for work but it's also a great tool for wedding planning because it allows you to create documents from anywhere, at any time while editing existing ones.  This is a great place to keep living spreadsheets for your guest list or vendors, so your documents are always extremely up to date.  The best part? There IS and app for that!  You can edit any of your documents from your phone even if you can’t get to a computer.

2.       Asana

Asana is another website that translates seamlessly into an app, so you can access it whether you’re at a cake tasting, bridal fitting, or scouting that band your fiancé promises will be an absolute hit.  There is something so satisfying about having a list of things to do and crossing them out no matter how big or small the task was.  Asana allows you to do just that while keeping track of how many tasks you have completed and how many more you have left.

Here's one of our check lists created in Asana:

Anne went live to show you how our team uses Asana! 

 

3.       Aisle Planner

Unfortunately, Aisle Planner has not formatted itself to fit in the palm of our hand just yet, but that doesn’t take away from all its other incredible features.  Aisle Planner is your one-stop-shop for all things associated with your big day.  It has different formats for whatever your needs are including calendars, timelines, checklists, and seating charts.  You can even create design boards straight from Pinterest, update and plan your budget, collaborate with your wedding planner, need we go on?  Like we said, it has EVERYTHING. 

Check out how easy this timeline is to use!

Click on any of the links above to get started! Happy Planning...and Organizing!

Fall Wedding Favors

Fall in love with autumn wedding favors.

These ideas bring the warmth of the season to all your guests tables and echo the atmosphere of autumn throughout your whole reception. Any of these favors perfectly add to your autumn wedding theme to keep your guests remembering your beautiful fall wedding for years to come. 

1. Edible Delights

Give your guests a taste of fall with these wedding favor ideas! Options such as caramel popcorn and apple cider mix are the perfect way to satisfy your guests' sweet tooth. You will have everyone craving more!

 Apple Cider Mix

Apple Cider Mix

 Caramel Popcorn

Caramel Popcorn

 Caramel Apples

Caramel Apples

 Smores

Smores

 Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin Seeds

2. Functional Fun

Take your wedding favors to the next level with functionality! Have your guests leave with a token that they will use for years. Whether its a candle, a blanket, or a wine stopper, everyone will adore this wedding favor ideas!

 Fall Scented Candles

Fall Scented Candles

 Designer Bottle Opener

Designer Bottle Opener

 Wine Stopper

Wine Stopper

 Blankets for Autumn Nights

Blankets for Autumn Nights

 Wedding Mugs

Wedding Mugs

3. Our Top Pick

Choose this fire-starter pine cone to melt your guests' hearts! This wedding favor combines functionality with preciousness. Your friends and family will swoon over this gift around their bonfires.

 Pinecone Fire Starters

Pinecone Fire Starters