Being in Alabama, we have some beautiful barn and rustic venues. Rustic doesn’t have to mean cheap, cheesy or country though! When I think of rustic, I think of outdoor elements, and different textures like farm tables, or wrought iron. If you are wanting a rustic wedding, stay away from grandma’s lace, burlap and mason jars. Stick with farm tables for your guests, wooden chairs, snuggle up by a fire, long floral garlands are just some ideas to incorporate that theme. You can also soften the palate with using lighter floral colors if you don’t want it to appear too heavy.
I am so excited to share Jennifer & Andrew’s wedding day with you. Jennifer and I connected over the phone as she was living in Canada and her beloved was in Alabama. She would be immigrating to the US and was planning from afar for the beginning of their engagement. Almost all of their guests traveled from Canada to Tuscaloosa, Alabama for their wedding day so obviously full planning was the way to go for her! We were her eyes and ears, travel planners, and now I am lucky enough to call friend. It was really interesting to learn about Canadian customs and combining those with our southern customs. Jennifer & Andrew wanted to be sure their guests felt at home but also had a healthy dose of hospitality–I mean what’s more southern than a family outing to Dreamland during weeding week?!
My favorite element of Jennifer & Andrew’s wedding was Jennifer’s Hayley Paige dress. The STRIPE. I mean are you kidding me?! Amazing. Jennifer’s dress was at my house for months and I kept telling her I was keeping it 😉 One of my other favorite stories from their wedding is that their cake was Cheesecake Factory Cheesecakes. This was where they had their first date, and a place they love. I just adore when our couples tell their story through elements of their wedding. These two Canadians have developed a love for the south, Alabama and now Alabama Football.
Thank you to our amazing vendor team for working so hard on Jennifer & Andrew’s big day!
Ceremony Venue: St. Francis
Reception Venue & Catering: Embassy Suites Tuscaloosa
Photography: Kelly Anne Photography
Floral: Lindsay Kessler Designs
Draping: On Site Productions
Invitations and printed items: Annabelle’s
Transportation: Prestiage Limo
As you are exploring (obsessively pinning), and turning the pages of every wedding magazine that exists, you are going to see a variety of styles. Developing your own style is very important to us as your wedding planner as we begin the design process. What is important is narrowing in on your design taste & preferences and then collaborating on how to bring those to life through your wedding design. In our style series, we wanted to highlight a few styles to show you what may work for your big day!
This week we are featuring classic ballroom elegance. This is for the bride that is looking for timeless in her wedding design. To me ballroom weddings are over the top in the best way–crystal chandeliers, classically round floral design, formal dinner setting. When a client asks for a more classic, ballroom design profile, I envision a traditionally round bouquet, tied tightly with a bride in a classic type of cut gown, groom in a black tux, and our bridesmaids in formal gowns. Normally, in these design profiles we have more of a traditional monogram in our paper elements. I also like to be sure the colors compliment the ballroom we are in, not compete with it. For seating, I like a chavari chair as I think it is best suited for this type of look. We also normally see the use of candelabras in the floral design or a fluted glass vase for the tall floral element. While classic and elegant are what we do best, don’t be afraid to pull in some current trends in your wedding design. Maybe pulling in an accent color that is current to give your wedding a fresh look. Using a sub font design on your reception printed items like your cups, and favors for some fun are ways to freshen up the look. Classic and elegant doesn’t have to be stuffy!
I am so excited to share images from our fall, rustic inspired vendor appreciation event. I am so very blessed to work with some amazing creative partners and I wanted to truly make them feel loved on by us. For me, the way I show love is through food & gifts. I love feeding people, breaking bread together, enjoying wine and conversation. And who doesn’t love a happy?!
My inspiration for this started with my love of all things plaid, checked, tartan patterned. I also thought there’s no better time for a plaid party than fall! I envisioned everyone snuggled up with a plaid wrap, chatting, dancing, eating, and having fun–that is exactly what happened! Jacki with Salt + Paperie did a great job capturing exactly what I was looking for to introduce the theme to guests when they received their invitations. Since we were hosting at the studio, we turned our parking lot into a beautiful rustic garden lounge and seated area. Each guest was greeted at their seat with a beautiful wrap from A stylish design, and a card done in beautiful calligraphy by Julie with Piper Vine. Happy Catering provided the amazing food, Onsite Productions provided our lighting, sound and music, CeCe Designs blew me away with her florals, and rentals, Special events Company provided our tables, chairs, and heaters (because of course the day I was hosting a party outside it was one of the coldest days in November), and Alex & Sara Luca of AL Weddings captured the night! It was so great to be surrounded by people I love and appreciate and honor them in a really special way!
If you are starting out on your wedding planning journey, you might be experiencing some sticker shock—yes weddings are expensive. So today we are talking about how to create your wedding budget and my recommended percentages per category–get your notebooks ready!
First, use google sheets to create your budget. This can be a shareable document with your fiance and/or parents. It makes it really easy to see what is going on and everyone can contribute. We use an online management system and input all the invoices there so everyone can see what’s going on. Lots of transparency when it comes to money is critical.
Now we are going to talk percentages–get a pen and paper ready! Remember these numbers are based on my market and experience as a planner. It is also critical that your spending is relative to all the other categories. Don’t blow your whole budget in one place then only to be left with pennies for everything else.
Wedding Planners are going to be between 10-15% of your budget. We will save you money, from making expensive mistakes and we’re awesome I promise.
Venues. Your venue rental should not be more than 10% of your budget. I prefer when it is more like 8%.
Catering & Bar. My ideal is around 27% but could go as high as 35% depending on the caterer and what type of event you are having & what you are choosing to serve. Be careful getting higher than 40% of your budget in this category. If you think about it and your budget is $30,000 for 200 people. Say you spend 50% on your catering and bar. You are then only left with $15,000 for rentals, floral, photography, video, dress, gifting, entertainment, and stationery design & postage. That isn’t very much to get the rest of the job done. Be careful over spending in one place.
Floral will be about 12-18% of your overall budget. Keep in mind when you add more guests, you add more of everything else–another table, which means another arrangement, linen, chairs, as well as food & beverage.
Photography/Cinema. In my market, these will be about 8-10% of your budget each. Around $3500-$5000 is average for a good photographer in our market, and cinema is going to run around $2500-$3500.
Keep entertainment around 8-10% for ceremony & reception.
Rentals and decor will be about 3%–some of these items might come with your venue or be included in your floral proposal.
Stationery, postage, calligraphy will be anywhere from 3-8% of the budget normally. Be sure to weigh an invite suite before you purchase your postage.
We hit the high points here on the budget and your big categories. Some things to keep in mind are what is and is not included in your overall wedding budget. Be sure to communicate that to your planner so she knows what she has to work with, and what vendors are truly going to be the best fit for you. Sometimes we see gowns given as gifts, or the bride pays for the hair and makeup, and gifting while her parents might be paying for the majority of the event. Grooms may pick up part of the floral invoice, bar, transportation and band. It is important to know who is contributing what. I hope these tips were helpful today as you begin creating your wedding budget!