Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Let Wedding Season Begin!

If you haven’t noticed by the countless facebook statuses and photo albums, wedding season is upon us! And with wedding season comes wedding showers!

Wedding showers are a fun chance for the friends and families of the future married couple to take the scheduling reigns over and treat the happy couple to some parties hosted for them rather than by them.
Whether it’s a small and rowdy get together of close friends, or a large and sophisticated society fete, a wedding shower is all about kicking off the wedding festivities and getting everyone into the spirit of the upcoming nuptials.

 We threw my beautiful friend Alex a fun and festive Monograms & Margaritas shower a few weekends ago, which gave me the fun opportunity to design a loud and bright invitation (something I hadn’t had the chance to do yet) of course in her Alma mater's (UF) colors.

And I was also asked by my aunt to design a tea party shower themed invite for a shower she is hosting for a friend’s daughter later this summer.

I always believe the invite sets the tone for the upcoming celebration, so I was happy to design both of the above to get the excitement of the season of celebrations started!

** If you have an upcoming event you would love to have invitations designed for, please message me at to discuss rates and services; you can check out my growing portfolio of designs at Nothing Like Paper - Online Portfolio

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Your Groom deserves to Look Great on Your Wedding Day Too!

Tux rentals are the norm these days, and in most cases it’s rightfully so. Places like Men’s Wearhouse and Savvi formal wear have perfected the art of getting a group of men all into the same outfit during the same time with little effort needed on the guy’s part – and if you live with or grew up with a man you know that’s a feat ;)

It shouldn’t be surprising that Jason and I were convinced we would also be going down this route when we first started wedding planning. Not only did it sound like the easiest route, but many tux rental companies spend lots of money advertising “specials,” and “deals” to help convince you that this is the most budget-friendly option as well.

But the more research Jason and I did the more we couldn’t help but feel that maybe (while remaining budget-conscious) we wanted to go a different route. The idea of tuxes just felt stuffy, and I was less than impressed with the way run of the mill tuxedos (and especially the vests included) looked on my shorter, broad-shouldered fiancĂ©e…

One afternoon in September, two of my girlfriends and I filled empty Arizona Tea bottles with prosecco and orange juice, and waltzed our way into one of Georgia’s many bridal shows held at a local convention center. I came guarded, knowing that this bridal show was more for the laughs and free cake than actually signing my name on any dotted lines. I threw entry cards into a few honeymoon sweepstake boxes and we made a bee-line to the back of the room where all 3 of us could see the big cake table calling our names. But before we could make it to said cake table, we were stopped by a barrage of very enthusiastic, and insistent, men in suits representing one of the many tuxedo rental companies present for the show. While being friendly, these men made it clear that we weren’t making it to the cake until we saw what they had to offer…

Yes, this tux company pulled out all the gimmicky stops and managed to include a giant money booth in their display. I for one was not interested, but after a little nudging, my amazing friend Aimee decided to give the money booth a whirl.

The guys were surprisingly helpful in trying to motion different techniques to her through the walls of how to collect the most money, etc. And by the end of it I was truly impressed at her skills – managing to collect $123 all in single dollar bills, that’s skills people!

A few weekends later, Jason and I waltzed into the tux rental store to bring in our savings sheet and see how great of a deal we had scored. After a long explanation of all that the rental would get us, and an elaborate walk-through of our “massive savings” we were presented with a number. Let’s just say that somehow all of those “massive savings” seemed to disappear once the final total was handed to us.

Even though we were already disheartened, it was our first trip to a tux store for our wedding, so for kicks I allowed the salesman to put Jason in their idea of a “modern cut” tux (which was my 1 request in regards to the guy’s attire) and was, again, less than impressed.

Me being the stubborn deal-finder that I am quickly told the man in the store that we weren’t ready to sign our name to anything, but would happily call back a little closer to our wedding date to get the process started…we never called.

Fast forward to three weekends ago and this time Jason and I decided to go to one of our tried and true stores, Men’s Wearhouse. Jason has rented at least 3 tuxedos through them for other weddings, and has always enjoyed the customer service he receives when shopping there. While I was hoping for a better experience, I still came armed with a firm budget and expectations to present to the lucky salesman who walked our way.

We immediately were surprised at how relaxed, understanding and accommodating the staff was to our needs. After walking in and talking for a while we realized two things that made their sales approach stand out:

  1.       While Men’s Wearhouse rents tuxedos for events, they obviously make a large percentage of their profits on suit sales – which leads them to a more flexible sales approach
  2.       They are also one of the few stores that LOUDLY advertises their buy 1 get 1 free sales (along with whatever special they’re running at the time) – and from our own experience, they are MORE than happy to help you find what you want, put something on hold, and then have you come back when a special is running so that you can really get the best deal for the item you’re interested in

We went into the store thinking that we would more than likely buy Jason’s suit (have it tailored to fit him perfectly, and be able to be super picky about what we wanted) and then find a tux that the groomsmen could rent (to help them save some money). But our salesman offered us an even better option!

In 4 days, the store’s next Buy 1 Get 1 free special began (running for 4 months). If we wanted to pick out a suit we loved for Jason, we could then use that special to get his suit, and all of the groomsmen their own suits for half price! We could also use the special and apply it to the dress shirts and ties for the big day. This means when you crunch the numbers, that all of our groomsmen are buying $350 designer suits (plus the dress shirt and tie) for almost the same as it would cost them to rent a tuxedo for one day!

Men’s Wearhouse Tuxedo Rental
Buying components during B1G1 Free special
Dress Shirt
None provided
Optional; up to $30
$240 - $270

I know that this option isn’t realistic for all couples. That $15 - $45 difference in renting and buying can break some people’s monthly budgets at our age, but for all the men involved in our wedding it made sense. They are all young professionals/students who will benefit from having a suit they look sharp in (and this was something we cleared with each of them before going forward with our plan). We also don’t have to scramble down from Rome, GA to get all of our tuxes returned in a specific time frame which the guys will appreciate that morning after the wedding.

Just to top it all off, because of all the rentals and purchases Jason has had to make through Men’s Wearhouse so far, they gave him a $50 gift certificate to use for any future purchase (which we will gladly be using for his tie, dress shirt and/or shoes however the remaining expenses add up).

If buying a suit is a viable option for you and your groom, I highly recommend it. Every man feels on top of the world in a tailored suit, and this will be a really sentimental thing for Jason to have in his closet for years to come. So do your research, be open to a few options, and give yourself to find an awesome deal like we did! Then your groom can feel as great on your big day as you do J

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

People Will Remember the Negatives more than the Positives...

This week’s topic can be filed in the “lessons I’ve learned” tab rather than the blatantly obvious one. And while it isn't focused on hiring a specific service, it's still a very important lesson I learned of where to spend your money when it comes to a wedding budget.

Many brides know (or have at least heard of) the importance of hiring a good photographer, or the immense benefits of letting someone else do the behind-the-scenes grunt work; but when it comes to today’s post, this lesson is one may have to learn from their own painful experience…

After being a guest at over a handful of weddings the last few years, I have seen and learned the importance of HAVING ENOUGH FOOD!

And I’m talking about pre-dinner food here people.

There is nothing worse as a wedding guest than sitting through a beautiful ceremony, and arriving at a reception all-excited to eat and drink to find no food in sight. I don’t care if your ceremony is 15 minutes or an hour. There is something about arriving somewhere, knowing you will be eating there at some future time that gets your stomach grumbling. And unfortunately we all also know the devastating effects that come from one’s attitude if hunger takes over (have you really not seen the Snicker’s bar commercials? Please do yourself a favor and check out this gem if you haven't:

Try to put yourself in this situation: You can smell the main reception meal either emanating from the kitchen, or sitting in those chafing dishes ready for the buffet, and all you can think is, “When are the bride and groom going to get here for heaven’s sake?” That wonderful ceremony you sat through fades to the background as your mind can now only focus on the sudden moans and bellows coming from your belly. No longer are you in the mindset of love and fairy tales and happiness; you are frustrated and hungry and desperate…

While the above may sound extreme to some, I am one of those lucky people who does quite-literally respond to hunger in the same way as the characters depicted in the Snickers commercials. I can’t think straight, everything is annoying, and I am physically unable to portray anything other than misery on my face. So I of all people should have known the importance of having enough food to nosh on before dinner is served right? Wrong.

In my own efforts to penny pinch, I started on the route of thinking, “Oh, dinner will be served within an hour of people arriving…they don’t need snacks,” and the often-thought, “Well we don’t want to be wasteful with how much food we have…”

But then, for the sake of my future wedding guests, God directed me to a friend’s wedding where the only reply a waiter could give me and my hungry friends was “Dinner will be served soon..." and the lesson immediately hit me.

Unfortunate as it is, in most cases it is much easier to focus on (and even remember) the negative rather than the positive. So no matter how satisfying and delicious your catered food may be for your guests, if they are left standing around hungry before dinner is served, that is more than likely one of the big things they will remember from your big day. And as a future bride, who has already put so much effort and time into ensuring your guests are having fun and enjoying your big day just as much as you are, you owe it to yourself and your hard efforts thus far to include this important part in your pre-wedding plans.

Whether it’s peanuts or canapes, making sure your guests are well-fed from the start of your wedding day through the night is one of the easiest ways to make sure they leave with something wonderful to say - which if you're going to the efforts to create a big day, is what you are really hoping to inspire, isn't it?