How to :: Vendor No Thank You

April 10, 2013  |  Wedding Tips  |  No Comments

We, as vendors, know that we won’t be the perfect fit for all couples. And, that’s OK. As important as it is for the bride (or couple) to feel that she “fits” with a wedding planner, photographer, officiant, etc. it’s equally important for us to feel as though we can deliver on your expectations and work well together throughout the process.

I’ll cut to the chase.

You may meet with many, many vendors before you find the perfect planner, florist, photographer etc. You may not think much of it, but taking the time to send the ones you don’t end up choosing an email saying that you’ve chosen to go another direction is so very much appreciated.

You won’t hurt our feelings; we truly want what’s best for you. I remember laboring over these emails when we were getting married. I remember my MOH telling me it was OK – to press send on the short note thanking them for their time  but  explaining that we had chosen to go in another direction.

You don’t have to go into significant detail as to why you’ve chosen someone else, but if you’d like to include the reason (experience, price, etc.) that’s great too.

I know you have plenty of other details to worry about, so even using the same email for multiple vendors would be OK (and we’d probably never know!)

I think I’ll speak on behalf of many vendors when I say – thank you, thank you in advance.


Breaking Tradition : The First Look

March 28, 2013  |  Wedding Tips  |  No Comments

About little more than a year ago, Val wrote about Southern traditions to ditch.

Rereading this post, I couldn’t help but think about our own wedding and my aversion to first-looks.

As a true Southern bride, we decided not to do a first look — despite our photographer’s recommendation. Looking back, it was a mistake. By the time BC and I took photos, he was “photoed” out, and we were ready to get to the reception. Who isn’t?

The church coordinator was ready to shut things down, and everything felt rushed. And even though there’s one shot we love, these were the photos I wish we would have had more of. There aren’t many traditional shots of BC and I from that day – one of the only downsides to how many photos we have from engagements, bridals, rehearsal dinner and day-of.

Catherine and I spent a lot of time picking a perfect second location for the bridal before shots, but we (I) were stubborn and more dedicated to tradition than to our photographer.

If there’s one thing I’d do over about my wedding (and this is really the only thing), we’d do a first look.

So, here’s to breaking tradition. To first looks!

church photo, tradtional wedding photo

(Here’s our favorite post-ceremony photo.)


How to :: Wedding Registry

March 12, 2013  |  Wedding Tips  |  No Comments

Keep Calm and Carry On

If you’ve been told that registering for your wedding is like running a marathon, consider those people your friends. It’s the truth. If you’re a runner, you’ll want to be sure you bring your GU or Shotblocks with you even though you’ll clock less than a mile. At the minimum, bring a snack and a bottle of water.

What should be a fun and exciting experience often results in frustration and being overwhelmed. So, I thought I’d share a few tips I learned from my own experiences as well as those from friends who are newlyweds.

First: the scanner-gun is not nearly as fun as it seems. And, if you only take one thing from this article, please let it be to not register on a Saturday or the same day as a large bridal show.

Where to start?

Start with identifying the things you need. Depending on where you register, you may be provided with a suggested list, but you can always start by thinking about each room in your house. Here are a few lists you may find useful from Bed Bath & Beyond, Dillard’s (choose Tips & Checklist), Macy’s. Pottery Barn has one once you are registered.

Knowing the items you need, you can identify the places you want to register based on your style. Don’t forget to consider your guest list. How many do you think will shop online? How many will want to look at the items in person? Is there a store convenient to your guests?

I had always wanted to register at Pottery Barn. Since there wasn’t one in the city where we got married (or where most of our guests lived), I kept my list at Pottery Barn pretty short.

If you are having a couples shower, you’ll want to make sure that of the places you choose has items that your fiance would like. I doubt Pottery Barn is one of them. 🙂

What’s the magic number?

Keep in mind that it’s good to give your guests choices, so registering at more than one place is beneficial. You’ll also need to identify how many gifts you need to register for. A good starting place is to consider how many showers you’ll be having and the number of guests in attendance. Then, think of your final wedding guest list. While some people will stick to the tradition of getting you one gift (either at your shower or at your wedding), some people will give more. You won’t do yourself any harm by registering for one gift per shower attendee (or couple if it’s a couples shower) and one gift per couple invited to the wedding.

As I registered for gifts, I was very price conscious, but friends and family kept reminding me that this was the time to request items we needed. Give your guests a wide variety of price range (it’s OK to include the KitchenAid Mixer). Choose a wide variety of items in the $40-70 range including the everyday, practical items (toaster, blender, iron, storage containers, etc.) Closer friends and family may appreciate gift options in the $75 – $150 range.

While these items are less “fun,” don’t forget to consider registering for these items:

  • Vacuum
  • Knives
  • Drawer organizers
  • Power tools
  • Spice Rack (preferably with the spices!)
  • Two sets of sheets for the beds in your house
  • Hamper(s) and Drying Rack
What are the perks?

Believe it or not, there are actually positives to this experience.

Pottery Barn is is the same family as Williams Sonoma, West Elm, and a slew of other brands. Gift cards or return money can be used at any of these stores. So, if you’ve been eying a few items at one of the other stores, you’re in luck. They offer a 10% completion discount for 6 months after your wedding.

Bed Bath & Beyond hosted a completion day where they opened the store a few hours before normal, and everything purchased was 20% off. Macy’s offers a 10% completion discount for 3 months after your wedding, and Dillard’s offers 20% off for up to 3 months.

Some stores offer a Thank You card organizer or a tool that tracks which guests buy which gifts. This is extremely helpful when you get a gift that doesn’t have a gift message or the card is misplaced from the gift.

What if you don’t want to have a traditional registry?

Simple Registry.



How To :: Let Go

February 22, 2013  |  Wedding Tips  |  No Comments

I was looking through Dawn Earles’ blog today (who I can’t wait to work with!) and came across this quote from one of her recent brides. Not only do I whole-heartedly believe in this advice because it’s my job, I was lucky enough to have a mother who forced me to have a wedding planner for this very reason – reducing the stress the week and day of the wedding.

Advice to future brides:

“I did not have a wedding planner….I was the planner. I felt as though me, my mom and my sister could do everything; however, I feel as though a wedding planner would allow you to feel less stressed and more of a guest at your own wedding, rather than a hostess. Enjoy every second! The day goes by so incredibly fast. And remember, a wedding is not a marriage, it’s just a day. It is truly about you and your spouse and the friends and family you want to share your commitment with.” -Mandy 

I was the bride who had to make every decision – and by every, I mean every. There wasn’t a detail of our wedding that I didn’t know about or faciliate. This is how I wanted it to be. But come the week of the wedding, I was fried. I didn’t want to have to think about calling vendors or assembling programs nor did I want to think about having a timeline for the rehearsal or the day of the wedding. I didn’t want to think about who would get our ring bearer his pillow. It was essential to me that everyone know exactly where to be at what time, but it wasn’t something I wanted to do the week of the wedding. And let’s all admit it, it’s much easier for the wedding party to think the wedding planner is nuts rather than the bride. I’ll happily take that off Southern Fete brides.

Whether you’re the bride who is a control-freak (couldn’t there be a more flattering word?) or a bride who’s embracing the whole experience and letting things go as they may, having a wedding planner will ensure that you can let go of reigns the week of your wedding (or before if you wish). I haven’t met a bride yet who has regretted her decision to embrace her wedding week…I’ve only met ones who wish they would have had someone to hand control to.

Have a great weekend!


love a little more, hustle a little less


How To :: A Perfect Wedding

June 13, 2012  |  Wedding Tips  |  1 Comment

Each wedding I have done (47, I think!) is completely unique. I learn something new each time.

For Laura and Jason’s wedding a month ago, I saw in Laura what I always preach is the best way to achieve the perfect wedding day. I teared up a few times because I was so excited for them to experience it so fully.

The morning of the wedding, I texted Laura. It had been pouring all morning with more rain in the forecast for the day, something that could have totally discouraged her and pulled her mind away from her soon-to-be husband and the blessing of the day. Here was the response I got:

What Laura didn’t know, is that while some brides see it this way, others think of how their day is ruined because of the rain.

I can’t stress it enough, things will not go according to plan. And the more things you feel have to be a very specific way, only multiply the more reasons that could make you upset on your wedding day, if you let it.

I like to think that I’m in control on a wedding day and if I do my job perfectly, a couple will have the best day ever. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

A little tough love.

I can only do so much for you to have a happy day. It’s ultimately your own choice if you enjoy your wedding day. I’ve seen brides happy with the most understated wedding and brides completely distracted by the most minute things. It’s rare but it has happened and it’s difficult not to feel that it’s a reflection on the job I’ve done. I’ve had to realize, a person’s outlook is personal and I can’t “coordinate/plan it.”

The good news.

That is actually a VERY good thing!! It means you are in control of how you view the day, and no outside elements can mess that up!

It’s my hope that EVERY bride and groom will experience the utmost joy on their wedding day. Here’s some advice that I got to see in Laura that I believe helped make her day so special.

1. Keep your focus on the purpose of the day. All things will fall into place. You don’t want to remember that tiff you had with the groom or curse words you yelled at a vendor. You want to remember the smiles and laughs. Laura was sooo excited to marry Jason and showed that in so many ways. And it got me equally excited.

2. Trust your vendors. I’ve preached this before. Your vendors will perform incredibly better if they are confident they have your trust. Every single vendor of Laura’s came up to me and commented on what a wonderful bride she was and how truly HAPPY they were to do their best for her. It was incredibly eye-opening. They went above and beyond for her. Being surrounded by that atmosphere of mutual love, respect and trust made for an incredibly smooth day.

3. Love others selflessly. I watched Laura throughout the evening chat with lots of guests. She was so thoughtful asking them questions about what was going on in their world. If she hadn’t been wearing a white dress, her humble, sincere attitude could have easily hidden the fact that this day was just about her.

I wish I could tell you about all the things my bride’s have taught me. Sadie’s generous nature, Bria’s laid back attitude, Emma’s loving spirit. And so many more. Thank you, brides!! You have taught me not only about weddings but about life and I am forever grateful!

To those of you yet to get married, I wish you so much joy on your wedding day and hope these tips will help!! : )

I will leave you with a few photos of Laura and Jason by Dawn Earles. Dawn always does such a wonderful job and is amazing to work with!! Enjoy!

The Future of Weddings

June 5, 2012  |  Wedding Tips  |  No Comments

Inspiration here has been pretty sparse lately. It’s hasn’t just been because of a busy season but because I’m having trouble deciding what to feature.

We’ve had eras of very distinctive trends (like rustic, modern, art deco, garden, even ballroom) and I’ve always been excited to see what the new trends are. And excited to share those things with you. I think the era of “trends” as a whole is almost dead. Simply put, we won’t have weddings that have every detail based around one theme.

This could totally just be my own interpretation or a point you reach after being surrounded by weddings long enough but I honestly think/hope the way we look at trends will change and what’s trendy may be “personalization” and not one theme like “vintage.” This doesn’t mean there won’t be vintage weddings but that they will be based on meaningful back stories and can include other elements as well.

As I follow blogs and inspiration, I’ve felt a major mental block to share anything because I don’t want to put crazy ideas on here for people to simply incorporate because it’s cool/trendy/pretty. I also think I felt the need to explain why I don’t put everything cool that I see.

Now that I’ve shared my thoughts, what has inspired me lately?

I personally think decor will shift from “everything but the kitchen sink” to clean and simple pieces that pack more punch. Things that have inspired me lately are these more simplistic and clean elements, whether it’s modern or vintage. Less stuff leaving room for what’s most important. THE PEOPLE. This obviously means the couple, but the friends and family as well.

Weddings have so much potential power.

1. Whether it’s showing people a deep and meaningful love between a couple that will last. (You have no idea who has lost all hope in true love, or may be thinking their own marriage is near over and find encouragement in witnessing your love story).

2. Others observing how many guests show an outpouring of love and support on a couple. (I’ve witnessed this with one of my couples in particular, Summar and Stewart, and it was such an inspiring day. It changed me and challenged me to love more selflessly. I had countless guest coming up to me and telling me why they loved Summar and Stewart. How amazing that a wedding can do that! It made me that much more excited to see these two people come together)

3. Families that come together, find a common ground. It’s amazing how two people can bring together two different types of people. For weddings, people put those differences aside to celebrate the love between the bride and groom. Seeing them mix and mingle is always fun and inspiring to watch!

I plan to post more inspiration with the hopes that it will inspire your own story!! Enjoy a few of my recent favorites!

1. Couple 2. Hedges 3. Aisle 4. Outdoor Space 5. Cake 6. Couple