How to Get Your Buzz On A Budget

Let’s face it, alcohol is not cheap. In fact an open bar depending on how many guests you have in attendance can run several thousands. Let me repeat, it can break your budget by SEVERAL THOUSANDS depending on the size of your wedding. Now, before you revert to prohibition or ask all of your family to come prepared with 2 or 3 flasks of choice liquor, take a moment to breathe. Here is one solution to an open bar to consider that may just help you get your buzz on without breaking the bank.

What Is A Signature Cocktail?

Why serve the same well drinks and beers that every other couple serves at their nuptials when you can have a cocktail designed and served that is all your own. How about a Mixology Class Date? Or, you can check out some of Austin’s finer mixology bars to sample a few cocktails. Choosing a signature cocktail can become an activity to share with your bridal party as well if you know your partner is a straight whiskey on the rocks kind of imbiber. If you know a bartender who can help dream up a cocktail for you from the clouds, or you find one you love at a local bar, a signature cocktail will set your wedding apart.

So how does this save you money?

While no one likes to cut down on choices and liquid courage to party hard on the dance floor, your budget may say otherwise. Instead of an open bar all night with limitless choices on well drinks, beer and wine, think about shortening that liquor list or the entire list for that matter. If you had planned on having liquor at your wedding, take it off the open bar menu.

Instead, ask your server staff to pass the signature cocktails instead. This does two things.

1. When you pass the drink rather than serve it buffet style, it slows down the rate of consumption. The servers roam and thus the drink is not always available within 5 feet. This works well during a cocktail hour before the reception.

2. Your server staff can keep an eye on inventory in the back and make sure to not run out before the cocktail hour ends. The last thing you want is to run out because someone’s uncle somehow snagged 10 or more within the hour. Keep an eye out for tipsy toms.

Another way to look at the signature cocktail as a money saver is picking cocktails or a cocktail that only uses one type of liquor.

Mixers are cheaper than bottles of liquor by far. If you do not open a bottle of liquor it can be returned as can mixers if your liquor is coming from a warehouse. While some guests may only like gin and may frown upon a rum only cocktail, it will save your budget from having to buy those random bottles of gin to appease your aunts.

One last way to save with your cocktail is to check with the venue if the catering is in house, like a hotel, to see if you can piggy back on other inventory orders.

Hotels that provide in house catering for your wedding ask for a guest count 3-5 business days in advance because they must put in an order for your food and beverage needs. If another wedding/event is taking place on the day before your wedding or within a week of your, ask if you can piggy back on their F&B order. What do I mean by this? A hotel would much rather order 100 bottles of vodka of the same variety than 60 bottles of Grey Goose and 40 bottles of Skyy. Why? The same reason some people prefer Costco to HEB. You can buy in bulk and you save. This means you can negotiate a better price per bottle and per head for your cocktail. The same principle can be applied to your food and other beverage needs as well. However, I am not sure you want the same chicken the corporate dinner is serving the night prior.

Check out these fun cocktails to fit any color scheme for your wedding to get the creative juices flowing!

Feature Image Credit: The Wedding Chicks



Guilt Free Guest Lists

Your current guest list for your wedding is too long. Trust me, I have yet to read through all the names as your wedding planner, but I promise you I am right, it is way too long. Those wrinkles that magically have found their way to your furrowed brow from whether or not you should invite your third cousin you barely remember from the ’92 family reunion or the girl from college you met in bio class can be erased. No need to buy wrinkle removing creams or products from the drug store, just cut your guest list down and those worrisome lines can be gone forever, well at least until you have kids.

Here are 2 reasons why a “Guilt Free Guest List” is one that has been trimmed to fit your wedding!

Reason #1: A Smaller Guest List Saves You Money

Short and simple, weddings are expensive. Let’s pretend you are planning a 304 person wedding versus a 240 person wedding. Check out a few sample figures:

304 Person Wedding Mock-Up
Tables: One 60” Cocktail Round Seats 8 comfortably – 38 Tables Needed – $8 per table, Total: $304
Tablecloths: 38 – $10 per table cloth, Total: $380
Chairs: 304 Ghost Chairs – $15 per chair, Total: $4,560
Food: $45 per head for buffet, Total: $13,680 for Buffet
Total: $18,924

240 Person Wedding Mock-Up
Tables: One 60” Cocktail Round Seats 8 comfortably – 30 Tables Needed – $8 per table, Total: $240
Tablecloths: 30 – $10 per table cloth, Total: $300
Chairs: 240 Ghost Chairs – $15 per chair, Total: 3,600
Food: $45 per head for buffet, Total: $10,800 for Buffet
Total: $14,940

Savings? If you shave your guest list down by 64 people in this quick mock-up you save almost $4,000! That is a lot of money back into your pocket, a honeymoon for sure! And if you dropped your list down to an even 200? You would save over $6,000. That is a down payment on a nice car or enough money for your honeymoon and one year anniversary trip! Need I say more? Trimming down your guest list saves you money.

Reason #2: Not Everyone Matters In The Long Run

I say “the long run” for a good reason: marriage is for the long run. Invite people that have added to your life and will continue to support your marriage in the long run. Inviting people because you feel you should is a fast way to add guilt to what should be a guilt free day. You are marrying the love of your life, not their entire family and friends. I want you to take a breather, and imagine your life with your lover 5 or even 20 years from now: who will you still want around to support your family and marriage? Does your best friend’s brother and girlfriend make the cut? Or what about the aunt who you saw once at a funeral? Anyone who does not add positivity to your life or support your marriage should be left off the list in my opinion. Life is short and your wedding is even shorter so much so that you have no room for negative people who could spoil the day. Guilt makes us feel obligated to invite our mom’s best friend and her family, but your budget cannot handle all the extra fluff. Be choosy. You were choosy about who you wanted to marry, so why can you not be choosy on who will have the joy and privilege to celebrate with you? Seriously, let go of the guilt and just make a decision not to invite whomever it is you are struggling with inviting.

How Do I Know Who to Not Invite?
Here are 6 Easy Steps!

  1. Draw four concentric circles. You will need your current guest list handy to write down names.
  2. In the inner circle write down the names of everyone who is a must invite, those vital people in your life. This includes your parents and closest current friends who have supported your relationship 100%. This circle should be small with a short list. These people are those you would want with you if your wedding was reduced to signing papers at the courthouse and those rooms are not huge.
  3. In the next ring surrounding the inner circle write the names of people you want to add to your inner circle of support. These people are best friends, extended family members and other important people that again have supported your decision 100%. These are people you have seen in the last year. These are people who you have talked to about your relationship on multiple occasions. Simply put – they know the name of your partner and not just from a tagged Facebook photo. If you have not talked to them over the phone in the last year more than once about your relationship or seen them in person in a year, maybe they are a better fit for the next ring.
  4. In the third ring, write names of people you would like to invite if your budget allows.
  5. In the outside ring list anyone you have yet to add to your first three circles. This final circle is for people you feel obligated to invite. Maybe you feel obligated to invite your boss or some long lost friend or family member. Maybe your parents handed you a list of people they believe should be at your wedding, people you barely know. Everyone in this circle is being invited out of guilt, compulsion, or fear of family drama.
  6. Now that you have all the names from your current guest list in one of the four circles, shave your guest list down to only the names in the first 2 circles and only some of the names from the 3rd circle. That’s right, only the first two circles really belong, but if you have the money, some from the third circle can attend. I know this seems harsh, but it is necessary. Why pay for people you were guilted into inviting?

It will be tough at first shaving your list down to a manageable size, but it’s your wedding, your budget, and your happiness on the line if you don’t!

Featured Image Credit: Wedding Happy

Are You That Bride?

Well it should not come as a shock as an event planner, I do not always love all of my brides equally. Yes, I love them all, but some I love a little bit more than the rest. Okay, I may be in hot water to even suggest that some brides are a little easier to love than others, but who would I be kidding if I didn’t say such things. So here is the skinny on how to make your planner love you more than the rest in 6 easy steps.

1. Please love your significant other dearly. 

It goes without saying that every wedding planner worth her weight in gold can tell you if your marriage will be the one to last or a repeat customer. Yes, we know who really loves their partner to take it to the altar. So it seems almost silly to suggest not all brides exude deep love and affection for their significant other and vice versa. This is not say the groom must always be at every planning meeting to prove his love or that the bride has to go with her SO’s favorite football team to theme the wedding, but please show your love. More times than not a couple forgets why they are spending so much money on a wedding and that the whole center is the love they share for each other. Plan a date once a week or once a month that you and your lover go out and do not talk one bit about your wedding. Instead spend that time loving each other.

2. Please be considerate of our time.

April through May and October through Thanksgiving are very busy in Austin when it comes to weddings. If your date falls in one of those months, you can bet you are not alone on our list of clients to see and meet this week. Almost every weekend in October will be filled with a wedding and your wedding is just one of them. So please, if I make time to meet with you, make time to be present, on time and ready to rock and roll. Make decisions when they need to be made. Communicate within the normal business hours set by your planner. The same goes for vendors.

3. Please be nice.

Sometimes wedding planning can be stressful. This is a given. All I ask in return is for everyone when stressed to do two things. 1. Take a breath and take time to self care. If you are not sure what I mean by self care, go and read this piece here. So the first plan of action is to stop, breathe and take care of your emotional and physical needs. The second thing I ask you to do is to be nice. Just be nice. You have one wedding you are planning, we have somewhere near 15 or more so we know the stress you are feelings times 10. We want to help you have the best day of your life celebrating the love you have for your SO. Let’s all remember we are people first, then brides, grooms, planners and vendors.

4. Please be armed with a sense of humor.

Things happen. If you know what’s good for you, you would say funny things happen. Yes, things will go wrong. The difference between seeing it as a catastrophe and a hiccup sometimes is the lens you look through. Try to arm yourself with the best sense of humor. Laugh often. Not only does it lower your blood pressure, it helps smooth over the bumps we travel over while planning a wedding. So when it starts to seem a lil stressful refer to point #3 and then move on to point #4, laugh as much as you can.

5. Please don’t get caught up in perfection.

Every bride wants their day to be perfect. In most weddings, their day is in fact perfect. I will tell you though it is not because every last detail was in fact perfect. It is not because every guest had the perfect meal to accompany the perfect entertainment with the most perfect color scheme. Why would a bride tell me that her day was perfect when I know as a planner not every detail hit the head of the nail? The difference in feeling like your day is perfect and having actual perfection is one detail, being present. Instead of perfect please strive to be present instead. This goes for the planning period as well as the wedding. When you have a tasting, don’t think about perfection, think about being present. Enjoy the planning process by staying in tune with all five of your senses. Let that energy carry you into your big day, not the drive for perfection. Trust me, it is one day over in a flash and the last thing you want to say is I barely remember being there at my own wedding. Stay plugged in. Be present.

6. Please don’t exhaust your friends and family with endless talk of the wedding.

I am a wedding planner for a reason. I not only plan these giant events with ease, but love them. So please spare your bridesmaids the “joys” of hearing every last detail about your wedding. They will tire of the talk after only a few months. This is not because they don’t support your or that they are not excited for you, they just have a limited span of time to give to your wedding already. Before engagement, all of your family and friends had their lives to tend to and after engagement they still have the same old grind to get at every day. Solution: Talk to your planner. We love weddings. We can listen to all you want to share. In fact the more we know about who you are as a bride and what you love, the better we will be at our job for you. So gab with us instead.

I hope you enjoyed my list of 6 tips on making your wedding planner love you even more. At 11:11 Events, we love our brides. We want you to be the bride we love so much we would plan your wedding over and over again, it was so breezy and fun. Be that bride, the bride all vendors and photographers talk about for years to come. Be that lover that puts their relationship first so that your wedding planned with us is your only wedding planned for the future.

Image Credit Originally Found On: Truly Heart – Image Created By Starting Today Coaching

Ombre Weddings Are In!

We all have seen ombre hair but what about an Ombre Wedding? Instead of selecting a color palette of alternating and coordinating colors, think about a subtle color spectrum. Going with ombre as your theme can be light and whimsical. Often brides get hung up on trying to match and make the perfect color scheme for their wedding. Choosing one or two colors and focusing on the sultry fade can simplify your designs and add an air of elegance.

Image Credits: Belle The Magazine | Elegant Wedding Invites | Inked Weddings | Food Ideas Recipes | The Perfect Palette | Design Indulgences |

Bookstore Date Night

Now before you judge a blog post by it’s title, just give me 500 words or less to convince you spending your Friday night with your arm candy in a bookstore is just what this girlfriend has ordered. Why? The typical dinner and a movie cliche date is worn out. And let’s face it, who takes a girl to a movie unless he clearly does not feel like her personality is engaging enough to converse with over drinks, face-to-face. That’s right I said it. Now there is nothing wrong with both loving movies and finding the experience an engaging one, but if your task is to learn something about this stranger you say you are dating, talking helps. Last time I checked talking is frowned upon in most movie watching contexts. So here I am recommending not the dinner and a movie, not even dinner, just a bookstore date meant to grow you two together.

Remember the days as a kid, every other birthday party came complete with balloons, candles and the annual scavenger hunt? Well here it is again. Yep, you thought you had outgrown the joys of rummaging through things and dashing down aisles to find item #12 on your list, but today I am giving you permission to let loose with one bookstore find at a time.

Here are my 15 items to find in a bookstore with your honey on your Bookstore Date Night:

  1. Your favorite childhood picture book.
  2. Your favorite childhood chapter book.
  3. Your first “adult” or “young adult” novel.
  4. A recipe you want to make with your lover – write it down for later.
  5. A place you want to visit with your lover in the United States.
  6. A place you want to visit abroad.
  7. A book with a funny cover.
  8. A book that makes you laugh.
  9. The worst coffee table book you can find.
  10. A book about a skill you want to learn how to do.
  11. A book to help your skill set between the sheets.
  12. A book about something your partner loves or is interested in.
  13. A ridiculous calendar – most bookstores have a few in stock.
  14. A book about your favorite artist, musician, or poet.
  15. A book that you feel represents your relationship.

Now go forth and conquer this scavenger hunt at your local bookstore before the clock strikes twelve. I hope you learn something fresh and exciting and laugh a little along the way with your sweetheart. I would love to know what books you found and what it correlates to on the list above in the comments section below, of course after you have put your some of the books like #4 and #11 to the test. Happy Hunting!

Featured Image Credit: Fresh Home | Vanesa Rey

Two Truths & A Lie

When I was a kid we had a get-to-know-you game called “Two Truths and A Lie.” Each person would tell a lie and bury it between two true, yet almost unbelievable stories. We speculated if it were actually possible for someone to successfully climb the Rocky Mountains by age 10 or better yet, would it be possible for someone to grow up in a circus or have had a third arm removed as a child. True detectives were born and story tellers found a platform to share the most exciting and wonderfully bizarre.

I want to share with you my 2 truths and 1 lie I have come to learn and reject as a woman who has found love and love within herself.

Truth #1: You are valuable as a woman.

While this may seem quite obvious, and rudimentary at best, I would venture to say whether it is from the media, our parents, or words we hear passing on the street, some women may take this to be a lie. Why? When did womanhood become a sign of weakness, mood swings, and emotional volatility? Violence against women, degrading ads, and objectification all have become common place in our culture. However, the truth is women are valuable for more than the component parts that make them women. Strength, beauty, and resiliency are found in every woman that finds she is valuable not for what she does, or what she wears, or the place she calls home, but solely because she is. That is power. You are valuable for just being. Let that thought liberate you. When you took your first breath and until your last, you are valuable. Whether you are a stay at home mom, or working woman, single or married for life, you are valuable. Let that sink in. It’s not what you do, you are valuable just because you walk this earth. 

Truth #2: There is no place for “should” in your vocabulary.

Okay, so the first truth may have been a bit easier to digest, but stay with me, this one is important too. The word “should” denotes shame, a bar you need to meet, an expectation held over your head. We heard it growing up as women all to often.”You shouldn’t wear that skirt, you will look easy.” “You should be smarter.” “You should act like a lady.” “You should wear a dress and make sure to keep it clean.” “You should… You should… You should!” The truth is there is no place for “should” in your life as an adult. Why? You get to set the bars and decide for yourself what you love, want and how you spend your time. Why shame yourself for not meeting a standard your parents, society, or even yourself unknowingly has placed on you? It makes little sense to continue the cycle of shame, the cycle of always striving to be good enough for someone else. So trust me, drop “should” from your vocabulary. Start being content with who you are today, what you can achieve within your own limits, which are not to be compared to anyone else. When in doubt, refer to Truth #1 again.

A Lie: You can do it all.

While positivity culture would tell you otherwise, I am going to go ahead and say it, you can’t. That is not to say do not strive for your dreams, face great odds and overcome them. What I am saying is that when you fill your schedule full of activities, work, hobbies, dates, and party nights, you will find you eventually cannot say yes to everything. Why? We are finite beings. Any person who has spent one all-nighter in college knows one must sleep eventually after hours upon hours of mental and physical taxation. While it is attractive to be busy and have a full social calendar I urge you to remember you have limits. The best way to keep from collapsing under the pressure of  planning a wedding, listening to your friend struggling through a break-up, orchestrating a new project at work or making time for your own relationship is to say no and take time for yourself. Taking care of yourself starts with saying no to someone or something else. It is hard. It feels selfish, but it is needed. You cannot do it all. Taking time to recharge with a good book, bubble bath, or run through Town Lake will help you rejuvenate and give back to your body and mind that sustains you during the weekly grind. So say yes to yourself. Take time to take care of number one. Why? Refer to Truth #1 yet again. It’s okay to not do it all. It is okay to just be you, accepting of your limits, and finding time to give love back to yourself. 

Enjoy the weekend ahead. Remember there is nothing you “should” do this weekend. You cannot do it all. And most importantly you are valuable just because you are.

Featured Image Credit: Self

Play With Your Food!

Okay, so we all remember hearing straight from our mother’s mouth as we tried to drink out pasta sauce through a penne pasta straw, “don’t play with your food.” If you had siblings and knew just when mom would get up from the table to check on dessert, you would make sure your brother saw you first before being chided to get the right ratio of disapproving looks to laughs. Well, today is the day your inner kid can come out again and this time we want you to play with your food. Where? At your wedding! And I when I say play at your reception with your food, I do not mean shove the cake in your wife’s face. No you can do that if you feel so inclined, but what I have in mind is fund for your whole wedding party and guests.

New Take On The Cake – The Cupcake Bar

No one is telling you to ditch the traditional white bride’s cake, but why not add a little whimsy to the whole tradition too? We just love The Cupcake Bar in Austin. So just what is The Cupcake Bar besides sweet tooth heaven? The Cupcake Bar allows each guest to have a customized cupcake and experience. You pick the cake, toppings, and icings and your guests get to experiment with all the tasty combinations. It is interactive and a fun way to entertain and wow your guests with an unexpected treat!

The Cupcake Bar

Les Crudités – A French Twist On Fun Finger Foods

Some guests will welcome the opportunity to taste a little of everything your caterer may have to offer. Why do it in a buffet line when tasting stations are interactive and satisfying. Set up several tasting stations around the space for your cocktail hour or reception with individual portions of each selection.Traditionally crudités are raw veggies with a dipping sauce. Why stop with small veggie snacks? Why not individually portioned Mashed Potato Martinis? What about a Tequila Tasting Station? Almost anything you love to snack or sip can be turned into a tasting station!

A Better Way To Beat The Heat – Frost 321

Why settle for chilled champagne when a frozen cocktail is oh so much tastier? We know just who can help you beat the heat at your reception in Austin, Frost 321! Frost 321 is a company that uses liquid nitrogen to chill its beverages and sorbets. If you can dream it, they is probably a way to make it! They set up their equipment and with a few ingredients and a magical display, sorbet, frozen cocktails or ice creams can be served to your guests in under three minutes. You will want them to be a part of your reception, the perfect wow and taste factor for your guests.



Images From: Wedding Belles | The Cupcake Bar | Frost 321 | Wedding Window

Q&A: The Reception

What should I do if I think we will run out of food at the reception?

Well this can happen from time to time. Good caterers add in their contract 5% extra on the guest count on all food and beverage orders. This little cushion is meant to help keep this from becoming a huge issue. However, say you have a few family members pile on more food from the buffet or a few extra people that did not RSVP show up for dinner, there are a few things you can do during and beforehand to prepare just in case.

Buffet Advice:

  • Ask catering staff to monitor the buffet. Having an extra set of eyes on the food will help discourage guests from taking one too many tacos.
  • Switch out plates from larger ones to smaller ones. Using a smaller plate for the buffet will help curb the urge to fill a HUGE plate to the brim. Naturally, some guests will just fill their plate until it can barely hold no more even if they will not be able to eat everything piled on food mountain.

Plated Service Advice:

  • If you get to a course and you do not think you will have enough for say all 150 plates of dessert, don’t fret. Some venues like hotels that have the catering kitchen in house can help you solve this problem in a jiffy. Hotels and other full service venues with in house catering will have inventory on hand from other events and back-up stock. If you only planned for 120 guests, but 30 people failed to RSVP so you suddenly need more food, using two different desserts can ease this issue. If your wedding dessert for your four course meal is cheesecake and the other back-up option the hotel has on hand is chocolate cake, pretty common actually, just ask the hotel to serve every other guest the two options. That way, it will look like you planned for every other guest to have a different alternating dessert instead of 8 tables with one dessert and the remaining 5 with another.

Do I have to do a receiving line? Do you have any alternatives?

No you do not have to do a receiving line. Here is one alternative, and one completely different idea instead that I think beats the line and Texas heat any day!

Receiving Cocktail Line:

Instead of just standing talking to your guests, ask one or two of your wait staff to serve cocktails to guests once they reach the happy couple. So it’s not your traditional line, but it’s not throwing out the concept entirely either. This would be a great time to showcase your signature cocktail for your wedding as well. If you are not doing a cocktail hour, serving a little snack to help guests enjoy the the wait and greet helps too.

Dropping The Line: Why I think losing it is better!

Okay, so one known fact is that more times than not a couples first meal together at the reception is often boxed up and sent home. If you have an evening wedding, that food may not be revisited until the couple is at their hotel well past midnight. And, the big day is tiring so there is a good chance that food will go uneaten until breakfast, if even then. Not eating, only drinking champagne for a long day’s worth of events is not healthy and will set you up for a hard crash at midnight. Why most couples forgo their food is because they spend the dinner portion of the reception mingling and greeting, like a receiving line. They stroll the whole reception taking pics, talking and forget their food is waiting to be noshed.

So what is my solution? When your guests arrive at the reception space, plan a cocktail hour. Instead of the receiving line that starts the reception and ushers guests into the space, let the happy couple take a break. Plan for the couple to eat their meal during the cocktail hour in a private hushed space. This allows for their first meal together to be intimate, they get to eat and talk about the ceremony, and when all is said and done, mingle without letting food go cold. When the cocktail hour finishes, the couple can then reappear and be announced into the space. Guests can grab their food and the couple is free to mingle on a full stomach, champagne in hand.

Do you have a burning question you want answered? Add a comment below with your wedding woes and questions!

Location, Location, Location: Picking A Venue

Picking a venue can seem exciting an nerve-wracking. Here are 3 quick pointers on what you should consider when selecting a venue.

Picking the Date:

One of the very first things as a newly engaged couple is not pick out a wedding dress. It selecting a wedding date. If you are on a budget, be open to selecting a date in the off season. For Austin, peak wedding season is April – Early June and October – Thanksgiving. If you are not dead set on being an April bride, picking an off month could save you a few hundred if not thousand dollars. If the month really does matter, consider your wedding on a Sunday or Friday. Both of those days are often cheaper than Saturday. Once you have a few dates in mind, your first choice and three back-ups, it’s time to find that venue.

Capacity vs. Comfort:

Before you start your engine and drive off to the first venue you find online, ask yourself one question. How many people do I think I may want to attend my wedding. While you may not have your guest list entirely in order, it is good to have a round number. Why? This will be the first question you hear when you arrive on site. If you fall in love with a quaint wedding chapel that can only hold 100 in cocktail rounds for the reception, you now have an upper limit on the size of your guest list. If you were hoping to invite 150 to your wedding and you come from a large family, cutting it down to 100 to fit that venue may not work as well as you may hope. Also there is a difference in comfort and capacity. While you do not want a venue that is too large with sparse amounts of people, because then your reception will not look as entertaining. You also do not want to cram too many into a small space. Yes, you can fit 8-10 chairs around a 60” round table, but there will be no elbow room for guests.

Full Service Venue vs. Venue Only:

So you have narrowed your date and venue choices down and you even have a round estimate for your guest list. Which venue should you choose? If all venues are esthetically pleasing to your theme, here are a few ways to make the decision easier. Some venues are what we call “Full Service Venues.” This means the venue comes equipped with not only the rental space, but tables, chairs, electrical support and a few other amenities. The most common venue that would have a full service offering is a hotel. Hotels are great because if you do all of your catering, lighting, and space rental in house, they will cut you a few deals with the bottom line price and guest rooms reserved. It’s a one stop shop. Dressing suites for the bridal party, guest rooms, reception space, and even a ceremony space all can be accommodated at a hotel. They will have the linens, tables, chairs and catering all available to you. The drawback? If you don’t care for the catering or say the chairs they use, you may be able to outsource to another provider, but the hotel will charge you a fee for not using the hotel’s inventory.

The other option is going with a venue and only reserving the space. Some venues do not offer chairs and tables included. This means you will have to rent significantly more to furnish the space. This is when a trip to a rental gallery will help put the dollar sense in perspective. At the end of the day, the venue only option may be cheaper with the cost of rentals added in. Then again it could go the other way. Whatever the bottom dollar amount is for the space know what all you are getting with the rental. $4,000 at a full service venue may look daunting, but could save you money on rentals in the long run.


Have your own thoughts on picking the perfect venue? We want you to share in the comments below.


Featured Image: Paige Newton Photography

Unplug Your Wedding: Dos and Don’ts

In a world where everyone seems to carry a smart phone in their pocket, it seems almost like a pipe dream to suggest to your guests and bridal party to unplug. Unplugged Weddings however have become an increasing trend in 2014 on the premise than an unplugged wedding is one that all guests are plugged into rather than their phones. Here are a few suggestions to make your wedding smart phone free.

Don’t: Allow the bridal party or family of the bride to snap photos in the dressing room and post online.

Do: Discuss a photography timeline and which shots, such as first look photos, are important to the couple in the planning process.

That way the family knows to wait and not snap photos as not to ruin the first look photos. You don’t want the whole world to see or worse the groom to see pictures of the bride before the scheduled time in the photography line-up.

Don’t: Let guests use their phone during the ceremony. It is rude.

Do: Have a cellphone and coat check.

You want your guests plugged into the experience you have created for everyone to relish in and enjoy, not their Facebook feed. Plus, nothing is more annoying to a photographer who is being paid to snap the wedding when you are in the way to snap your selfie or in the aisle trying to snap a picture of the bride. A flash from a guest’s camera could ruin a perfect shot entirely.

Don’t: Ask guests to Instagram and live tweet your wedding.

Do: Set up a slow motion photo booth and ask your guests to enjoy it instead.

Why? you can live update the slow motion video feed to social media so you capture the fun your guests are having without having to search all of Facebook and twitter for your guest’s photos attached to a hashtag. Any photo booth that can update photos into an album on Facebook or tag the individuals to post on their individual pages is a win for the tech friendly guest.


Featured Image: Glamour