{Wedding Planning} : What I Leaned From Planning My Dream Wedding

Did you like the sneak peek I shared with you? A big thanks to Cassi Claire for those beautiful images. Also for this incredible graphic she made for my facebook page.

Amazing, right?

After planning our wedding for the past 17 months, I'd like to think I learned a thing or two. Overall I am happy with the result but there are definitely a few things I would have done differently.

{Wedding Day Advice}

Be Prepared for the Unexpected...

Everyone always tells you that things will go wrong. Deep down I knew this, but truly didn't believe that much could possibly go wrong after all of my meticulous planning. Well- let me tell you...I felt like a million things went wrong! Starting with the day of the rehearsal, I left an important bag at my florist, an hour away from my house! She called me and left a voicemail which I received shortly after driving the hour home from our initial meeting. I for the life of me could not understand why this was happening on a day when I had so much to do, but, of course, it ended up working out. My dad offered to drive me there to pick up the bag, and then we went to lunch. It was a perfect little father-daughter afternoon on my last day as a single lady and one of my most treasured moments from the weekend : )

Other things went wrong too. During the ceremony, our reader read the wrong passage first and then abruptly stopped in the middle of the second reading and just sat down, I forgot props I made and pictures I wanted to get, and we had about 10 minutes to take bride/groom photos but the funny thing is that everyone kept commenting how flawlessly the entire day went. Nobody knew the difference when it came to the readings and thanks to our awesome photographer, we only needed 10 minutes to nail the shot. So I guess the take away here is that nobody even noticed all the little things I thought went wrong.

*A Word About Contracts Be careful what you agree to in your contracts. Agree to the minimum you think you will need. Vendors will always let you add more services, but not all vendors will be flexible in removing services from an agreed upon contract. For example, the minimum number of people to reserve the room we got married in was 50, which we knew we would have. So when the hotel asked us for an estimated number of guests we told them 125-150. They went ahead and listed 125 on our contract as our minimum number of guests and held us to that number when it came time to pay the final balance. Luckily, we were only 3 people short, and they allowed us to use those 3 people to count as vendor meals, but then the night of the wedding, an additional 4 people (who we already paid for) just didn't show up. Live and learn.

On the other hand, when I originally met with our florist, I ordered church altar pieces. After meeting with our church, they expressed a preference for a different florist, one they usually work with. I called my wedding florist and asked to remove the altar pieces from the contract and they did it no problem. Just something to be aware of.

*People Will Surprise You People will disappoint you. People who I thought wouldn't miss our wedding for the world weren't there, people who told us they were coming, just didn't show up and people came to our wedding, stayed over in the hotel and didn't give us a gift. It happens. There were also those people were amazingly supportive, and sometimes its the last people you expect it to be.  Your true friends and family will support you no matter what and those are the people you want to celebrate with.

Thank you for reading, following and encouraging me during this process. I will miss blogging here each week!  I hope you will keep up with me over at The East Coast Bride or on Pinterest.

Garden Wedding Sneak Peek

Hello E & I readers! I am back from a glorious 2 weeks of honeymooning in Hawaii and thought I would stop by to share a few wedding pictures with you. If you followed along throughout my planning process, you already  know that finding the perfect photographer was extremely important to me. In fact, I spent the most time researching and interviewing photographers than any other vendor we hired. 10 months into our engagement and I still had no photographer. I started to question my standards and began to wonder if my perfect photographer exsisted. Then one day, I saw a facebook ad for a photographer I never heard of before, Cassi Claire. I clicked on her website and was immediately hooked. After seeing these perfect images from my dream wedding, I'm sure you'll agree she was worth the wait. cassi claire photography

cassi claire photography cassi claire photography

nj photographer cassi claire

If you, like me, can't wait to see more, like Cassi on facebook for more updates. And keep an eye out for our wedding, as we plan on submitting it for publication. I'll be back next week with some tips and lessons learned. Leave any questions you want answered in the comments!

Final Post!

I cannot believe this is my final pre-wedding post. {Almost} all of the final details have been finalized, although I am still pulling my hair out over a few things. I tackled a lot in the past few weeks, DIY-ing like crazy and, according to my fiance, taking on way too many projects, but I do think my hard work paid off and I cannot wait for you to see what we have come up with! Burlap played a bigger role than I originally imagined but I love how it added a bit of rustic charm to my otherwise romantic affair. I am proud to say I have stuck very closely to my original inspiration, which I have included here.

I enjoyed blogging here every week and will miss preparing my posts. I so enjoyed writing about my wedding planning progress that this journey inspired me to start a new wedding blog- The East Coast Bride. Check it out and be sure to check in with me if you do! Wish me luck and thank you for reading!

Garden Chic DIY Projects

This is it! Just 9 days until the wedding. Now that we are in the single digits, it is time to begin obsessively checking the weather, stocking up on last minute honeymoon items, and tying up odds and ends. I am lucky enough to be off during the day now that the school year is over and I have been spending my days crafting and staying fit for the big day. A typical day this week looks like this: wake up at 7am, go for a run, shower and work on a wedding related activity until lunch. After lunch it's working on timelines, corresponding with vendors, arranging seating charts and back to crafting until late afternoon when it's time to hit the gym to relieve some stress. My current DIY projects include programs, table numbers and escort cards.

Last week was mostly consumed with attempting to make these gorgeous programs:


How gorgeous are they?! I actually came really close to creating this same feel, although my mom and I ran into a few minor issues with the sewing machine. Fortunately, my grandma is in town for the wedding and got  it straightened out!

...and it's a good thing because we definitely needed the sewing machine for this next DIY project - the table numbers! I talked a lot about table numbers awhile back. I don't know why they are so important to me, but I definitely feel that they are one of those areas that if done right, make a huge lasting impression. Just before writing this post, I was stenciling table numbers! They came out really cute, but I don't want to share until after the big day.

This was my inspiration:

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Something else I have been contemplating for some time now are the escort cards. I had a tough time getting started on this one, probably because I was inundated with so much inspiration. This was another one that had to be just perfect and I have to say I am pleased with the result! Again, you'll have to wait until after the wedding but I will tell you I didn't not stray much from my original inspiration.

one, two

Finally, I am working on some less necessary, but super fun projects: a thank you note to our guests and some adorable signs and banners.

one, two, three

So, there you have it. I definitely have my hands full and will be busy these next couple of days. But hopefully it will all be worth it and after 17 months of being engaged, we will finally be ready to say "I do."

See you next week with my final post as a single lady!

Welcoming Your Guests With Style!

Good morning! This week has been one of the craziest wedding planning weeks so far. And with only 16 days until the wedding, I'm sure you can understand why. A few days ago I had a really terrible hair and make up trial. For the past year and a half I knew exactly how I wanted to wear my hair on my big day and I knew exactly the girl who was going to make that happen. I have been seeing the same hair stylist for years now and we decided to do the trial close to the wedding because my hair would be long (I have been growing it for a year) and I would be tan. Needless to say, I left the salon feeling disappointed and discouraged and frankly, back at square one, but after doing a little more research and talking to friends and family I feel back on track. I just thought I would update you on the craziness of the last few weeks before the big day. If that is the only thing that goes wrong I'll be happy! Today I'm talking welcome bags!

Welcome bags are something I knew I wanted to do from the beginning of the planning process. I just love checking into a hotel for someone's wedding weekend and being greeted with a small thank you. I think the key to successful welcome bags is small and thoughtful items.


Definitely a little love note to your guests is a nice touch!

Source Directions and a map are a must for out of town guests!


Some other things I was thinking: water, advil, some snacks and possibly some champagne?

one, two, three, four, five

*Have any must-have welcome bags items? Please share!

Gifts for the Girls and the Parents

I know our July wedding is near because on this first day of summer in New Jersey, it is one of those hazy, hot and humid days that fog your sunglasses as soon as you step outside. According to my wedding planner 'app' there are a mere 24 days until the wedding. I can't wait to see all of our hard work come together! This week, my thoughts are on gifts for my girls and of course for our parents. Everyone has been so supportive and helpful throughout our 17 month engagement and finding the perfect expression of our gratitude is not easy!

For my girls, I was thinking some type of jewelry or accessory would be nice. The thing is, I really love those shabby chic hangers (fifth picture down) but are my girls going to think that hangers are a lame present?!

 ModDotTextiles LaSirenaBridalhoganfe

 AngelPearls Bragginbags (one of my favorite shops for all things rustic chic!) MangoJewelsShopSomethingBlue

Gifts for the parents proved to be more difficult, but I've found that something personalized usually does the trick!

mollyandmom EmbroiderybyMelissa MyPrimitiveBoutique PhotoFrameOriginals i loved her first cufflinksemmagems

*Please help! What did you get as gifts for your loved ones? Or what truly memorable gift have you received?

{One Month} : Pretty Progress Report

One month. 30 days. 4 weeks. After a nearly 17 month engagement, our big day is almost here. In a recent post, Allison mentioned that there is something to be said for short engagements because you don't have time to get over-inspired.  Prior to planning a wedding I would have said that it is impossible to become over-inspired but now I see how it is completely possible! With blogs, pinterest, wedding mags, etc. it is easy to become overwhelmed with all the beautiful possibilities and veer off track from your original vision. And while sometimes these distractions are welcome, there is always the possibility they can compromise your expectations. Even though I still have so much to do, and overall, I have enjoyed the planning process, I have to admit, I am happy the planning is almost over!

floral headpieceVia Green Wedding Shoes

Fortunately, the majority of the big stuff is finished. All of our vendors have been booked. My dress has been purchased and I have already had my first fitting. The groomsmen outfits are all purchased and their accessories have been bought. My girls' dresses are already in. My family and friends threw me a gorgeous bridal shower and my bachelorette party is planned and scheduled. Our Hawaiian honeymoon is booked. I bought my rehearsal dinner dress.

Stephen Papas Photography, Brooke Images via Pinterest

People keep coming up to me, saying things like, "Oh you must have everything planned already..." or "What else can there be left to do?" While I do feel like I have the majority of things under control, I also feel as though there is so much left to do! Some things I have been thinking about and planning for a long time- the favors, for example, but I haven't made a final decision or began any DIY projects. Others, seating charts, for example, are impossible to begin until all the RSVPs have come in. (The date for this is supposed to be tomorrow, but of course, we are still waiting on a few stragglers! A few other last minute things on my list include: purchasing the bridesmaids' gifts (this will be a post of its own!), find the perfect bachelorette party dress and go shopping for the honeymoon (I'm looking forward to this task!), finalize and execute wedding favors & escort cards, attend all final meetings and print programs for the ceremony.

via Green Wedding Shoes

Just thinking about it all is overwhelming, but it is reassuring that pretty soon, all of our my hard work will pay off and we will be able to celebrate and enjoy our special day.

*Tell me- what was your most favorite aspect of wedding planning? Most dreaded?

{Keri's Wedding} : The Bridal Shower

A few months back I posted about my dream bridal shower. Last weekend, my family and bridal party brought my vision to life with lots of bright pink, pretty signs, and of course, champagne. Everyone contributed something to the day. My mom hosted the event and made the entire wishing well herself! My future sister-in-law and bridesmaid created a memory jar and all the guests wrote little notes with memories or advice. Dan's mom made wine glass favors for all of the guests and my bestie and bridesmaid, Carly made a gorgeous collage of pictures. Here are just a few images from our afternoon with the ladies.

boulevard 572

memory jar

memory jar

memory jar cards

chevron name cards

champagne brunch bridal shower

pink chevron bridal shower

chevron food cards

chevron bridal shower

I look surprised in that first picture but I actually knew about the shower. I even arrived early as to not make a big entrance but as I walked in the door, everyone was standing there with cameras in my face. It was overwhelming! I can only imagine how overwhelming it would be if I didn't know about it!

Overall, it was such a fun day and I feel so blessed to  have such wonderful friends and family. I feel like my bridal shower officially kicked off the wedding festivities. Next up- the bachelor and bachelorette parties!

*What is your shower preference? Surprise or no surprise? 

{Wedding Day} : Must Have Pics

I have not yet posted about my most favorite wedding find (other than the groom, of course!) - my talented (and adorable!) photographer, the fabulous, Cassi Claire. brooklyn photographer

Seriously, how cute is she? Believe it or not, I found her through a facebook advertisement and of course, was thrilled when I realized she was everything I had been looking for. On top of all that, she was within our budget. Since our first meeting, I knew Cassi could handle and meet my very particular needs as a bit of a control freak bride. And when she handed me a multiple page list of shots she hoped to capture, I knew it was truly a match made in heaven.

Having a photographer I admire and trust definitely puts me at ease. I know that she knows what she is doing and will not miss a shot. Here is a not at all inclusive small list of some of the important shots I hope to have to remember our big day.

The Shoes:

Source: Love and Lavender by Sweet Little Photographs

The Bridesmaids Dresses:

Source: Every Last Detail

The Invitation Suite:

Source: Ruffled Blog, Photo by Amelia Johnson Photography

Picture with the Pup:



Source: Weheartit

The First Kiss and The Anti-First Look

Source: one: SMP by Desi Baytan Photography,  two: Krista Lee Photography

Some other must-have pics include: father-daughter first look, groom's first look from the altar and of course all the family shots!

*What is YOUR most important must-have wedding photo?