Favors that are FUN!

Having wedding favors will never go completely out of style. So here are a couple fun ideas for your guests to enjoy!

 

Jars of…

It’s a general truth that if they can’t eat if or use it, don’t do it! With that, guests love little jars of… well, anything! You can do jars of honey, olive oil with a favorite recipe attached, or candies. Either way, it’s sure to be a hit!

 

Something they can assemble.

All of you guests will have different things they love. You will never go wrong having a station where they can assemble their own favor. Whether you want to provide candy, different flavors of pop corn, trail mix, or beef jerky, your guests will always love it!

 

Plant it!

Photo by Gina Dreher Photography

Photo by Gina Dreher Photography

Think green! Tiny plans are a great, environment conscious gift for your guests. And at a bonus, they give some added decor to your guests tables!

 

Use it NOW!

Not all favors have to be taken home to be used! We have had our couples provide sunglasses for the ceremony, flip flops for the dance, and pashminas on a chilly day.

 

Remember, at the end of the day, if they can't eat it or use it, don't do it! ;)

How not to have a boring wedding!

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Many weddings follow a specific flow of events. Arrive at ceremony, sit through ceremony, stand at cocktail hour, sit at reception, go through buffet, dance, catch the bouquet…

Well, here are a couple of ideas that will leave your guests saying “Now that was a great party!”

  • Have a photo booth

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Some Brides feel the Photo Booth is over done, but the fact is, guests like them! To add a new twist, hire an interactive Photo Booth like Tap Snap! Guests can edit their images on the large touch screen, change the backdrops, and upload them right to their favorite social media site!

  • have live music

Live music brings a vibrant party atmosphere! Most bands can cover your favorite hits and also bring DJ equipment, ensuring you have all of your favorite songs even if they are not on their play list! 

  • Snack Snack Snack

Whether you do a late night buffet, a station for s’more making, or schedule a night food truck to arrive hour and a half after dinner, having interesting food choices throughout the entire event is a fast growing trend. You know what they say, the fastest way to someone’s heart is through their stomach!

  • Favors that are fun

The age of providing the traditional box of custom M&M’s is over! Instead, make your favors interactive. They can be custom sunglasses for a sunny ceremony, or glow sticks and flip flops for the dance. It’s a general rule that if they can’t eat it or use it, don’t do it! But if they can use it while at your party, it’s bound to be a hit!

  • Throw tradition out the window… At least a little

Find some ways to break out of the traditional mold. It could be a dress that isn't white, or a location that is not your traditional venue. We have a couple who has a very laid back group of guests who are not the dancing type. They don’t really want to stare at an empty dance floor, so we are opting to have a small acoustic band playing while guests are mingling on lounge furniture and enjoying yard games during their outdoor event. This coffee house feel is nothing like the traditional reception and it is PERFECT for our Bride and Groom and their friends!

  • Stations: Doesn’t matter what they are

We have had Coffee stations, Salad bar stations, Bourbon tasting stations, cigar rolling stations, and cotton candy stations. Really, if you can think it, make it a station! Your guests will love having multiple things to enjoy during your reception!

  • Lounge around

You will always have a group of distant family members or friends who want to sit and catch up. Give them a fun space to do that away from the music and noise. It also gives you a fun space to introduce great design elements!

Check out our next blog for more great favor ideas!

How to Start a Wedding Budget

Photo By Lola Jo Photo Design

“I have no idea what a wedding costs!”  I hear this statement at the beginning of EVERY budget meeting I have with a bride. So let’s just get the facts out in the open… Weddings are EXPENSIVE!

There really are few options out there that will allow you to have a wedding for under $20,000, regardless of how small your guest count is. The national average for wedding expenses is just under $30,000 and Wichita is no exception. Here are a few tips on how to create a REAL budget for your wedding day expenses.

1. Start with a List

There is a reason why wedding planners keep on task when planning so many events at once. We are the masters in making LISTS! I would suggest buying a simple notebook to keep all of your wedding notes in. Start by making a list of every vendor you need to book for your wedding, as well as expenses you know you will incur (ie. invitations, wedding attire, marriage license, etc). It also can be helpful to adjust that list in order of what is most important to you. So if you want an amazing photographer but the cake can be rather simple, fit the important things into your budget first.

2. Create a Guest List

Once you have your list of everything you need to pay for, create a comprehensive guest list and have your fiancé's family do the same. This is where it can get hard. You have to think of every guest as a number. Every person in attendance at your wedding is a chair, an invitation, a napkin, a cocktail. If you are wanting to keep you budget as small as possible, your guest count is the first thing that needs to shrink!

3. Do Some Research

Once you know how many guests you would like to have, call around to some different vendors to get pricing information. It is completely acceptable to get multiple quotes before booking a service and I encourage you to do so. Even if they are just estimations, you can get an idea of what your wedding will cost you. If, when talking with a vendor, they are not willing to be open about their pricing or they seem frustrated that you would just like a quote, that is a major red flag and you should move on!

4. Be Willing to say No

I mentioned that cutting your guest list is hard. Well… this is harder. I have had a $100,000 wedding still go over budget, so there is one important factor every bride needs to get accustomed to right away… You have to be willing to let some things go! A beautiful wedding is not about having everything that is typical. It’s about have a few elements that have impact. Find the areas that will give you the most “Bang for your Buck” and put your budget there. After all, more isn’t always better, sometimes it’s just more!

5. Work Smarter not Harder

There are some things that can be done cheaper if you do them yourself. Buying flowers from Hobby Lobby and assembling them yourself is not one of them! That’s just one example, but seriously, you get what you pay for. If a quote seems like it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Hire true professionals… especially planners! Many times we can not only save you time, but we can get you exclusive discounts that will keep you from breaking the bank!

One Final Tip

Keep an emergency fund. Every wedding has unexpected costs when you get closer to the day of. If you plan ahead by creating an emergency fund within your budget, they won’t surprise you. If you luck out and your emergency fund is still intact after the wedding, you will be happy to start your marriage with a little money in the bank!

You survived the Bridal Expo! Now What?

This past weekend was one of the biggest and best bridal Expo’s we have been a part of! Nearly 2,000 brides (along with their moms or best friends) were in attendance and visited with over 260 wedding professionals in a mere matter of hours. If you were one of those brides planning a 2015 wedding, you probably went home with 28 pounds of brochures, fliers, and business cards!

Here are a few tips to help you figure out what to do with all of those marketing materials that are probably all over your room or kitchen table!

 

1. Organize! Organize! Organize!

Start by dividing your brochures by category. When you have them arranged in individual piles (e.i. DJ’s, Florists, Caterers, etc.), go through each pile and order them from most impressive to least impressive. If you can’t remember the conversation you had with that company, don’t write them off, just make a point to look into them by visiting their website later.

 

2. Start with your priorities!

Look at the vendors you are still needing to book for your wedding and start with the most important. This will vary from bride to bride, but if your highest priority is beautiful photos, look at your photography options first! Work through your collections one at a time, reviewing each company and narrowing down the best contenders!

 

3. Do you research!

As you spoke with each vendor, you may have been impressed with their marketing materials and their elevator pitch, but lets be real… You need to know that when the rubber meets the road, the wedding professionals you hire are going to deliver! Take a minute to look up the vendors whom you are considering. Read through their content on their website, find their page on Facebook, but most importantly, find a review or two and see what past brides have thought of their service. Most companies are reviewed on sites like WeddingWire.com or TheKnot.com.  This will take some work and a lot of time at a computer, but this is the biggest day of your life. It will be well worth it!

 

4. Think outside the bag!

If you still just haven’t found that gem you are looking for, keep in mind that not every wedding professional participates in the Bridal Shows. In fact, there are many vendors who are AMAZING that weren’t there. If you have any questions of who some of these vendors are, feel free to contact us and we will let you in on some of Wichita’s best kept secrets! ;)

 

5. Make some appointments and be prepared to write some checks!

Once you have a list of vendors who are your top picks, start making some phone calls and book some consultation appointments with them. Though to you, your September or October wedding is months away, you need to get your vendors nailed down as soon as possible! Many vendors book a year to a year and a half out, so start being proactive and book your vendors now!

Party, Party, Party!

Photos by T&J Studios

Photos by T&J Studios

I was honored to be able to plan Lori Dechant's 30th birthday party last month! The studio space at T&J Studios was the perfect location for her event. The amazing food, provided by the Flying Stove, and this awesome cake from Buckingham cakes, were a huge hit! Thank you to T&J Studios, Bowman and Company, Furniture Options, P.Ink Creative, The Flying Stove, Buckingham Cakes, Xclusive Bartending, The Wichita Photo Booth Company, and Majestic Lights for assisting in giving Lori her best birthday to date!

It’s Expo Time... 6 Tips of Survival!

 

Well, the holidays have come to an end and with the dawn of a New Year comes something else... the season of Bridal Fairs!

 

If you have just gotten engaged or are in the midst of planning your 2015 or 2016 wedding, you will want to check out the Bridal Expo. However with over 200 booths, it can be a little more overwhelming then you think. Many of Wichita’s vendors will be participating in the Expo at Century II next Saturday and Sunday, January 10th and 11th. As you prepare for your weekend of cake tasting and flower shopping with your mom and a couple of your closest friends, here are a few tips to guide you along the way.

 

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  1. Prepare for Battle:

NO…not really. No one is going to tackle you at the Show, but you do need a plan of attack before you even get to the Expo. Start by making a list of what all you need for your wedding. Even though your list may still be long, this will help you to be able to sift through the vendors you need to talk to as you walk through the show. You can also look at the Wichita Bridal Show website for a full list of vendors by category.

 

2. Stay Organized! 

When you enter the doors at the show, you will receive a vendor guide (very helpful in showing you where vendors are located) and a bag for brochures. The bag is what will get you into trouble! It is absolutely a must have, but after a day of talking to about 200 people, you will put everything in your bag and go home. When you get home and open the bag up… everything gets confusing!

It can be so hard to remember which conversation went with which company/flier. All the faces will start to blend together and all of the information you collected, suddenly feels lost.

Best remedy: Carry a PEN!

Doing something as simple as marking a STAR for those you love (or in some cases, an X for those you don't) on a flier or in your vendor guide after you walk away from a booth will help you tremendously. Make small notes about that company or their booth display to help you remember what you loved about them!  It can also be helpful to pick up the business cards of your top pick vendors and put them somewhere other then in your bag (e.i. your purse or even your back pocket). Or better yet... use that iPhone that will probably be in your hand anyway and take photos of the booths you love, including the company name!

 

3. Hunt for Professionalism!

I would love to say that every vendor you meet will be amazing, but that is not always the case. When talking to a vendor, keep in mind that you are basically interviewing them to play an integral role in one of the biggest days of your life, so it is okay to ask questions! Here are a few questions to get the ball rolling.

  • How long have you been a__________?
  • Where did you receive your training?
  • What happens if there is an emergency and you can’t come to my wedding?
  • How many staff do you have?
  • How many events have you done?

If something seems “off” it probably is, so walk away.

 

4. Be Prepared to spend some money!

Most vendors are not going to pressure you to book at the show, but almost all will offer a Show Special. If you find a vendor you love and they have your date available, snatch them up before someone else does! This is especially true with what I call your 'CORE vendor' group. These are the elements that all weddings have: Venue, Music, Flowers, Photography, Food/Beverage, Rentals (depending on venue), and Planner (no, not every wedding has one, but I think every wedding should! ;) Please make sure to hire a gem in these areas and don’t be afraid to spend a little $$$ on them. They will really make or break your wedding day!

If you have any questions about Wichita’s elite group of vendors, please feel free to contact me!

 

5. Have fun!

Don’t let the volume of the show stress you out! Take this time to walk around with your friends, eat some cake, and have a good time. You don’t have to make any concrete decisions at someones booth. I am a firm believer that every good decision should be "slept on"...  so just drink it all in and revisit all the details you acquire (accompanied by your awesome note taking) the next day!

Also, we were all raised to be polite, but don’t feel you have to give your name and life story to every vendor out there.

 

6. And last but not least… Exit Stage Right!

It’s a two day show! So, if the thought of tasting one more piece of wedding cake makes your stomach churn, or seeing yet another photo of a smooching couple has you ready to draw mustaches on their faces, then you’ve had enough for one day. Armed with your notes, a collection of business cards, and 27 pounds of brochures and magazines, head for the door. When you get home, ask your fiancé (sweetly) for a foot massage; and while he’s rubbing lavender oil into your tired tootsies, entertain him with your adventures at the fair. (But don’t be surprised if he keeps one eye on the ball game!) After all, there's always tomorrow!

 

Wedding Star Photo Shoot!

We were honored when WeddingStar contacted us, asking for us to produce a photo shoot using their products. The images will appear on their website and possibly in their upcoming magazine! Thank you to Gina Dreher Photography for these amazing images!

 

 

The Wedding - Unplugged!

Image by Sublett Studios

Image by Sublett Studios

When It comes to your wedding day, you want everything to be perfect! You are excited to see your months of planning and design work come to life and lets be honest... so are your guests. So with that excitement, comes the desire to document it.

I have seen this happen so many time. The bridal party has had their entrance, the church doors are closed so that the bride can get into position. There is a grand, musical crescendo, the doors re-open and as the bride begins her walk down the aisle to meet her groom, out pops the iPhones, iPods, iPads, Androids, digital cameras, disposable cameras, the "I think I'm a Pro" cameras, and every other "Lets post this to Instagram with my awesome filter!" devise out there!!!

In the process, the photographer misses the perfect image of the bride with her father because an iPad is in the way and the videographer now has all of these arms flying up or into the aisle in every one of his shots. Not to mention that any photos the photographer is able to get, have now been completely washed out by Aunt Susie's camera flash!

As much as I love the details and the design aspects of planning a wedding, it is so important to me that my brides understand the importance of their wedding day Photo and Video! These are the only tangible items you will have to remember your wedding day by. Not only is it crucial to choose a quality photographer or videographer, it is important to think of the elements that they will be shooting in. One of many ways to assist your photographer in ensuring that you have awesome images is to have an UNPLUGGED wedding!!

There are several polite ways to inform your guests that your event if officially "Unplugged"

In Your Invitation

To give your friends and family some advance notice, consider putting an additional card in your invitation. If you are having a formal event with an Attire Card, you can place that information on it as well.

Let Your Ushers and Guestbook Attendants Help!

These people are the first to come in contact with your guests. Let them assist in informing those in attendance that you have asked that no photos be taken.

Signs and Programs

Whether it is part of your wedding program, or a sign posted at your guestbook table, you can always let your guests in on your desires for your wedding day. It can be formal or funny, but always keep it polite!

 

Here are just a couple of wording options for you to consider!

The constant need to "Selfie" this and "Update" that is distracting! Encouraging your guests to enjoy the moment and put the distraction away. It's for their own benefit... Really!! 

Not every bride has the same feelings about having their wedding "unplugged", but as a wedding professional, I see the need for it every weekend. Your photographer will adore you, your videographer will love you, and your guests will have so much more fun without even realizing it!

 

Keep the wedding fun and lively... and "UNPLUGG IT!"

Check back in of Monday for "How Not NOT Have a Boring Wedding!" ;)

Erica + Chad's wedding film by Briskhouse Studios

I always feel honored that a couple would choose to put their trust in BAE for their wedding day. I feel even more blessed when genuine relationships are made between myself and my brides. Chad and Erica were no exception! This was such an amazing wedding, captured by Jacyle Marie Photography and Brickhouse Wedding Films! Chad and Erica put so much thought into creating a fun atmosphere for their guests that was truly breathtaking at the same time. Erica was definitely one who knew what she wanted and paid attention to every detail! From the live band, to the extensive buffet which also featured traditional Lebanese cuisine, to the fantastic linens and chairs... nothing was overlooked! Check out their amazing wedding film by Brickhouse Wedding Films. You can also view their photo collect in our Gallery page.

Unity Ceremony... Step outside the box!

The unity ceremony holds so much meaning in a wedding and is one of the oldest wedding traditions! It is a public display of two becoming one! As a wedding coordinator, I can’t tell you how many times I have heard brides say “I don’t want to do a unity candle or sand ceremony...I want something that is different!” 

Pour different colors of paint over a canvas, and let the colors run together. After the wedding, you will have a fun piece of art to hang in your home!

Incorporating children? Just add additional colors and let them help in the pouring.