Category Archives: 04. Wedding DIY

Pinterest {Hair Love}

By now EVERYONE knows about Pinterest…right?  It’s an amazing site where you are able to “Pin” all sorts of pictures, websites and ideas from the internet.  You can organize them into “boards” to help create inspiration for your future home decor, crafts, recipes, wedding, style etc.  The list could go on and on!

Today I wanted to share a great site I found thru Pinterest for a guide to hair.  I have very thick hair and typically it’s shoulder length or longer. It takes me about 20 minutes to blow dry my hair alone!!  That doesn’t even account for any curling or straight ironing!  Hence why the ponytail is my go-to style.  Until now!  I found The Small Things Blog thru Pinterest.  Kate is a hair dresser and shares tons of great tips from hair products to styling.  What I LOVE about her site is that she has quick “how-to” videos for those of us that are truly clueless on how to style our hair!

The top left and top middle images are of Kate modeling her style called “Knotty or Nice“.  I styled my hair this way for Christmas day and received lots of compliments.  My sweet sister-in-law said I looked liked I had stepped out of an Ann Taylor Loft add…AWESOME!!

Be sure to check out her post on styling products here.  The hair spray is life changing!  I was able to find all of the products at my local Ulta with the exception of the Uplifting Foam.

If you want to see more of my Pinterest obsessions check them out here.  If you have not joined Pinterest and would like an invitation just leave a comment below and I will send you one!

Happy styling everyone!

Tips for brides: {What to know when booking your Arizona Wedding Venue}

Booking your wedding venue is one of the first vendors and most expensive vendors that you are going to book for your wedding day.  The venue is also going to be a big part of setting the tone, style and overall feel of your wedding day.  When I booked my wedding venue almost four years ago I received an education by fire.  I quickly learned that it’s not all about just loving the location.  It has to fit your wedding on many levels.  Here are a few things to consider when booking the perfect venue!

{Ceremony-I do!!}

Most venues have a separate fee for the ceremony site.  Often times they have multiple ceremony sites and may charge different rates for different sites.  If there are multiple ceremony sites there is a good chance that there could be more than one wedding going on in the same day.  Venues will do their best to keep wedding parties separate by placing signage around the venue to direct your guests to the right location, but there is a good chance that your guests will see more than one bride on your wedding day.  If this bothers you, you might want to look for a location with only one wedding per day.

You will also want to check and see what their policy is on the decor of the ceremony site.  When will the site be available for you/family/vendors to come and set-up.  I have seen so many times that the florist or family member shows up three hours before the wedding to decorate and the venue is not ready.  If the florist has another wedding that day they are usually on a tight timeline and need to set-up and move on to their next event.  This ultimately causes unnecessary stress and frustration.  Be sure to consult with your venue coordinator to put together a timeline that works for everyone.

{Reception-Let the party begin}

The reception is a huge part of your wedding day.  This is where you will dance your first dance as a married couple and where you will have a chance to mingle with your guests.  This is also where you will spend a HUGE part of your wedding budget.

You will start to hear phrases like food and beverage (F&B) minimum and room fee.  Some venues charge a room fee on-top of any food and beverage costs.  Next, there will most likely be a food and beverage minimum.  Meaning, you have to spend this minimum amount of money to book the room.  This ensures that the venue makes enough money on the event to make it worth having the staff, lights, air conditioning/heating etc going.  Your food and beverage cost will be calculated based on the food and beverage selections you make.  Usually the cost is presented as the cost per guest.  Kids and vendors count too!  Side note-please feed your vendors:)

If you plan on having a small wedding (say 50-80 guests) it might be difficult to reach the F&B minimum.  You can look at options of adding an open bar, additional Hors d’oeuvres or more expensive choices for your main course.

This brings you to the menu cost/options.  The venue should be able to provide a summary of all of their menu items from Hors d’oeuvres, salads, main courses and desserts (if they are providing the cake).  A bar menu/cost should also be provided.  This is usually presented as a cost per hour per person.  Check to see what drinks are  included (e.g. house beer and wine or mixed drinks as well).

{Aesthetics-Oh so pretty!}

This is so important, but so easy to overlook.  You take a site tour of the venue, love the lush plant life, the green grass and the beautiful lobby of the venue.  Everything about it is perfect and you book it!  8 months later your wedding day arrives and the plant life died in the summer heat, the grass is dead because they are getting ready to over-seed, the entrance is going thru a major remodel and the parking lot is a dirt mess.  This is not the venue you booked!!

Look closely at the landscape in general.  Is there a rose garden that you just love?  Will it be in bloom on your wedding date or will they have all died from the summer heat?  Ask for pictures of previous weddings scheduled in the same month as your wedding.  Be specific though.  If you wedding date is early October pictures from a wedding in late October may not be accurate.

Lots of golf courses provide a great location and backdrop for weddings.  The golf course staff and the wedding staff are not always on the same page unfortunately.  The golf staff is primarily concerned about their golf revenue and this means over-seeding the grass in early to mid October.  The grass is a brown ugly color until the new winter grass comes in.  When it does, usually mid to late October, the golf staff does not want any foot traffic on their grass.  This can limit the options for photographs, ceremony sites etc.  It is extremely important to know what the over-seeding schedule is when booking at a golf course (or any place with lots of grass).

Periodically, venues will go thru renovations.  This could be anything from replacing carpet, re-doing pools, updating the entire lobby, etc.  Be sure to ask if anything is planned and what the status would be on the date of your wedding.

{Dates/Discounts/Payments-Let’s talk money honey!}

Don’t be afraid to ask!

Is your date available?

Are there any discounts for different times of the year or days of the week?  In Arizona most venues will provide some kind of discount between June and August.  Friday and Sunday weddings are becoming more and more popular, so discounts for weekend days are more rare, but discounts for weekdays are still available.  You will want to consider your guests though.  If you choose a weekday wedding or a Sunday wedding most guests will be coming from work and have to go to work the next day.  This might damper their desire to stay late and party the night away.

Just like any other wedding vendor an initial payment will be required to secure your date.  This may be a flat fee or a percentage of your total estimated cost.  It’s important to know what the payment schedule is and the cancellation/refund policy.  Very few sites (if any) will refund any of your down payment.  If you cancel within 30 days of your event you may contractually be obligated to still pay for the entire event.  READ the fine print of your contract!!!

{What have we learned?}

Ceremony

  • How much does the venue charge for the ceremony site?
  • Are there more than one ceremony sites?  If so, what is the cost of each? Does this mean there could be more than one wedding at the venue on my wedding day?

Reception

  • Is there a room fee?
  • What is the food and beverage minimum?
  • What are the menu costs/options?
  • What are the bar costs/options?

Aesthetics

  • Landscape-what will the landscape look like on the date of your wedding?  Are there any pictures available?
  • What is the over-seeding schedule?  Will there be any restrictions on the grass on your wedding date?
  • Is there any planned construction or renovations for the venue?  If so, what will the status be on your wedding date?

Dates/Discounts/Payments

  • Is  your date available?
  • Are there any discounts available for different times of the year or days of the week?
  • What is the payment plan/policy?
  • What is the refund/cancellation policy?

You can click here download a PDF here of all of these important questions to ask!

Happy bookingJ

DIY: green and purple wedding colors

I’ve noticed a trend with several of my 2010 fall and 2011 spring brides….green and purple wedding colors with a mix of peacock feathers.  As a photographer I love bright, vibrant color palettes for weddings because they photograph beautifully.  I’ve yet to have a wedding with any peacock feathers, so this inspired me to do a little research.  Here is what I found.

The group of photos below is a great way to infuse the peacock theme throughout your wedding from your invitations to your table decor.  In my humble opinion, a little goes a long way though.  The top left photo is great, but I think at every place setting you might have PETA knocking down your door!  This might be best for just the bride and groom’s table.

I am a huge DIY fan, so I wanted to be sure to includes some examples of easy DIY projects.  Most of these could be done for any color palette.

  1. Paper pom-poms: Paired with a crisp white napkin (which most venues provided anyways) a paper pom-pom is an easy way to add a punch of color to your table decor.  Click here for instructions on how to make them yourself.  You can also buy them on Etsy.
  2. Ribbons:  Make a plain white invitation or program look chic by adding a ribbon that coordinates with your wedding colors.  Take it up a notch by alternating ribbon colors (e.g. brown and green) to bring in a second color from your palette.
  3. Basic brown + punch:  Using a solid brown table cloth creates a nice neutral base for your tables.  Add a bright green napkin and now the table will have pops of color at every place setting.  A personalized favor with coordinating paper tags will give the finishing touches.
  4. Grocery store produce: All sorts of produce can be used to help add some color to your seating cards display.  Limes, lemons, apples, oranges, mini pumpkins…these are just a few ideas.
  5. Paper lanterns: Paper lanterns can be found in just about every color, shape and size.  These provide a nice colorful glow at an outdoor reception or on the patio of an indoor reception.  Most are powered by batteries and LED lights, so you don’t have to worry about plugging them in anywhere.  These are rather inexpensive and easy to find (e.g. click here).
  6. Get personal: Who doesn’t love pancakes and syrup?  Take small bottles of syrup, add a crisp white tag and stamp with a coordinating color and add your initials or the guests name.  Stamps and paint can easily be found at the craft store.

What I really love about the projects above is that most of them utilize simple white stationary or linens and then add a pop of color.  White stationary is easy to find at Joanns, Michaels and most anywhere on-line.  White linens are usually what is included at no charge by the venue.  All you have to do is add the punch of color and suddenly it looks like a completely unique wedding detail.  Get your family and bride’s maids involved too and it will be all that much more special!

Here’s one more inspiration board for you!

All of the pictures featured in this post are courtesy of The Knot, Project Wedding, Southwest Weddings Magazine, and Brenda’s Wedding Blog.

DIY wedding details

I am lucky enough to attend a wedding almost every weekend during wedding season and when I am not at a wedding I am on-line looking at weddings keeping up with the latest trends.  What always stands out in my mind are the little personal touches.  The little details that infuse a wedding with the style, personality and love of the couple make a wedding so unique and special.

Whether your wedding budget is $100 or $100,000 the personal details can make all of the difference and they don’t have to break the budget.  Personal details never go out of style and they really draw your guests into the entire experience with you.  Here are a few DIY ideas for giving your wedding that personal touch.

Candy Bar! Everyone loves candy.  Pick out a few of your favorite candy indulgences and set them out for your guests as a self serve candy bar.  Using candy colors that are coordinated with your wedding colors helps bring the entire wedding theme full circle.  I also love the idea of using a mix of different jars and vases to put the candy in.  A color coordinated ribbon and your candy bar is done!  Don’t forget to have utensils out to scoop out the goodies and something to put them in!

Place cards. Place cards are the easiest DIY project and yet the most forgotten if you ask me.  Anyone can buy the pre-made cards from Walmart or Joanns, but your wedding isn’t about just anyone.  It’s about YOU!  This is a great project to enlist the help of your bridesmaids.  I love these ideas from Martha Stewart weddings.  Check out their website for details and templates on how to make each of these.

Wedding Programs. I often see wedding programs at Church weddings.  This is a great idea if some of your guests or family are not of the same faith.  This gives them an idea of what each part of the ceremony means and who is involved (for example-first or second readings at a Catholic Wedding).  I myself had a Catholic wedding although I am not Catholic (my husband is).  I really wish that I had put together a program to help family understand the ceremony a little better (or at least know when to sit, stand and kneel!).

Giving back. Rather than spending money on wedding favors that guests will most likely forget at the wedding or throw away later put that money to good use and donate to your favorite charity.  These cute little cards can be ordered with up to 100 different images on one side and a message to your guests on the other.  Using a mix of your engagement pictures and pictures of you both during your childhood is a great way to engage your guests.  On the back you can let them know that you have made a donation to your favorite charity in leu of wedding favors.  These cards can be ordered from Moo (or just ask me and I would be happy to help!).

If you want help with any of your wedding DIY project just ask!  I would love to help and feature it on the blog for other brides to see!