Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Why hiring a _____ is worth it...

Over the next few weeks I am going to be blogging about the lessons I’ve learned so far on what to save on and what to splurge on when it comes to weddings (you might even get to see a guest post by one of my fabulous wedding-planning partners-in-crime, Alyson Gardner of Alyson Jarvis Photography, get excited!).

This question of where to spend your money and where to save it is a question that every bride inevitably faces. I sadly remember it being the main one that kept me awake at night during those first few weeks of wedding planning. 

The truth is that regardless of if your budget is minimal or limitless, knowing where to spend your money and where to save it can make everything following that decision faster and less-painful (and we all know that those two things are music to brides’ ears).

So before I go into where to spend your money and where you might want to save it, I thought I would start by offering my main planning tool: Your Priorities List! While having to stress about who’s allowed a plus one, and how much you can afford per catered plate of food, it’s important to also take the time to let yourself get excited about your wedding, and I believe the best way to do this is to create your list of priorities for your wedding.

Whether it’s on a piece of paper (click here to see a quick template I put together), in your iphone or on the dry-erase board in your kitchen it needs to be written down and concrete. 

A great way to get this list started is by opening a bottle of wine (or a bottle of beer for you and your future hubby) and letting your minds run wild. What is the one thing you have always imagined for your wedding day? A horse-drawn carriage? Having the pastor who confirmed you officiate your ceremony? Walking down the aisle to specific song? WRITE IT DOWN.

And make sure your man gets involved in this too! Did he always think it would be cool to smoke cigars with his buddies at the reception? Has he always thought a live band would make the night? As lame, or even obvious, as it may seem, these are the things to keep at the forefront of all decisions going forward.  

The more you research and the more you experience the reality of wedding planning, these priorities may shift and change, but having that list in front of you early-on will be your best defense in keeping everything in perspective.

So as I leave you future brides, and past or not too soon future brides, with this beginning nugget of wedding-planning gold, I have one cornerstone, over-used (but only because it's true) piece of advice: This is all about You (and by you I mean you and your future hubby of course). 

As finances get tight, deadlines approach and your honeymoon starts to feel like the finish line of a marathon, remember that your wedding is celebration of love! And if you start to really feel the pinch of stress and anxiety, go and pay someone else to do the dirty work ;)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Why paper can make (or break) an event before it even starts

From the beginning of this creative venture I have held the opinion that using paper to publicize an event makes a WORLD of difference. The momentary acknowledgement that a simple Facebook invite or status update  prompts can’t even be compared to the experience a recipient gets to go through when receiving something like an invitation or announcement in the mail. Do I need to illustrate?

Facebook Experience:    Mailbox Experience:
See status update              See something in the mix that isn't yet another bill
“Oh Cool”                              Wonder what it is
Move On                                Wonder who it’s from
                                                  Walk inside, with that mystery still nagging you
                                                  Rip open the envelope to see what it is
                                                  “Oh Cool!”
                                                  Stick announcement/invitation onto Fridge as a reminder
                                                  Optional: Call sender to congratulate or express
Not-optional: get that same boost of excitement each
                                                  time you
 see it hanging on your fridge

Now I know the above is a bit much, but it’s true people! I have enjoyed going to the mailbox so much this year because of all the exciting things happening in all of my friend’s lives, and all the fun mail I get to see mixed in with the pizza advertisements and monthly statements.

I’m reiterating this opinion of mine tonight because it relates to the design work I had the privileged of doing this past week.

A family friend’s daughter is getting married this Fall, and the Mother of the Bride was starting to get worried after not receiving many updates from their venue in regards to guests booking their stays at the lodge. She knew there was plenty of time left but, like with many wedding-related hotel blocks, the Bride’s family had to put down a major deposit to secure the rooms for their tentative guests; a deposit that would not be refundable. So I was asked to create something fun and festive, to get everyone excited for the Bride & Groom’s big day, giving a sneak peek of the fun events taking place that weekend, and encouraging guests to call the resort to book their stay.

My design job was fairly easy since this friend loved my “Save the Date” and was hoping to go for a similar feel. For my own artistic integrity I pushed myself to change some of the major design elements. And I put major effort into their being a different feel for this design from my own “Save the Date.”

I was obviously excited to have a new project to work on (and a paying one at that!) but I also loved working on this because the whole point of this design was completely in alignment with my event-preparation philosophy...

Half of the enjoyment of an event is the build-up and preparation. 

And in sending something like this to guests, it gets them involved in the process. They feel included in the plans, and see that you are thinking of them and can’t wait to enjoy the wonderful upcoming event with them. While getting multiple emails in regards to the same thing can be annoying and unwaranted, I have never known someone who didn't enjoy a little extra pick me up in their mailbox. So whatever the occasion, go ahead, get to printing!