Friday, July 25, 2008

Making Your Guest List

One of the most important but probably least fun aspects of wedding planning is completing your guest list. Believe it or not, this list will be used in a multitude of ways...more than you would expect!

My best advice is to create your list in Microsoft Excel. Most people have computers that use Excel, or a compatible program. It is quite easy when a shower hostess calls you for names & addresses of guests to copy & paste out of this list into a fresh document for her. Also, you can print labels or anything that you need an address for quickly via Excel.

Be sure to make each column a separate item. Here are some we suggest:
First Name
Last Name
Suffix (Like Jr. or Sr., for example)
Zip Code
Phone Number (If they don't RSVP your wedding coordinator will need to call them.)
Email Address
A List or B List (in case you have to narrow down later)
Guest Of (Bride, Groom, Bride's Parents)
Out of Town (Yes or No)
Child (Yes or No)
Notes (Vegetarian, Do not seat near Grandpa, etc...)

Getting started in this direction will make your planning process much easier. If your wedding team uses wedding software like we do, this information will aid you in planning seating arrangements, maintaining RSVP's, getting welcome bags out, and even help group guests based on their flight information. Yes, that is out there!

From your mother to your shower hostess, your MIL-to-be to your wedding planner, but most importantly you, keeping your guest list thorough and organized will keep everyone happy!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Kylie & Brett's Engagement Site

I just can't get enough of Kylie & Brett's wedding/engagement website! They are using Benfield Photography for their wedding photographs and this custom designed website came along with their package.

I am thrilled that this couple is a part of my J.Bailey family. We have a lot of fun together and we rock the budget! Their "What I love about him/her" sections just made me cry! I hope you enjoy getting a little glimpse into their wedding...

Kylie & Brett's Website!

Something fun coming VERY soon...

Check back tomorrow (or maybe even sooner) for something very fun, sassy, and cute coming your way!

Friday, July 18, 2008

A sticky situation

As I am planning away for my sweet younger cousin's wedding shower, I began thinking back to what is was that I loved during my own. And then there were the things that didn't go so well. These were extremely few & far between, but the biggest issue was that by the time the gifts got passed, loaded into the car, and back to mom's was inevitable that someone's card had fallen off their box or that their gift didn't make it onto my list. You sit down to write your thank you notes and realize, "Who is this cookbook from?" Uh oh...

It happens to the best of us!

I came across a quick & easy solution to this problem. Consider making labels for each gift. As you open the card, ask your sidekick (bridesmaid, sister, mom) to write the gift giver's name onto a label and then once it is open, attach the sticker. These can be as simple as some white labels you purchase at Wal-Mart, or as cute as some custom gift tag stickers. Of course, you want someone to keep a list of gifts and the giver for you as well, but this is a sure-fire way to ease the stress of a mystery gift!

Happy planning!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Oh my...

I want to apologize to those of you who received multiple emails from me today. Apparently my email server was having problems and most of the people on my list received repeat emails up to 4 times. My apologies! I hope that the problem will be quickly resolved!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It's Up!

My big news is that my brand new website is up & running for all to enjoy! I hope you will find it more appealing, easier to browse, and full of great information for you.

Go check it out!

Monday, July 14, 2008

New website coming soon!!!!!

Great news! After lots of hard work we are approaching the launch of our new website! You will find it to be quite user-friendly, and a better showcase of our work. I can't wait for you to see it! Keep checking back for the official launch announcement!

Day 10 of Summer: It's a Great Season to Celebrate!

There is not a doubt that everyone looks forward to the summer! Kids are out of school, we rush to the beautiful beaches, and everyone looks better with a tan! The excitement around the summer can be spread right to your wedding day...

Remember that some guests may be traveling far & long to be a part of your Big Day. Make sure that they can enjoy this little vacation. Take advantage of the opportunity to show off your hometown, or wedding destination. There's a reason you chose your wedding spot so share it with your closest friends and family.

The summer holds many celebrations, so why not make one of them your own? I hope that my 10 favorite things about summer weddings have inspired you to plan your own. Don't forget...the summer is a busy wedding season so get right to work!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Day 9: Fun Dresses All Around

Bridesmaids, Brides, Moms, Guests...every girl loves a new dress, and Summer is the best time for them! may want the chapel length gown for the ceremony, but why not change into a great reception dress? This is such a great trend right now! want to look great, feel great, and be able to boogie right? Try these on!

Bridesmaids...the tea-length bridesmaids dress is so very IN right now! Here is a great shot from Suzanne & Ben's June 14th wedding. Great job Janelle Vano, a fabulous photographer from KC!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Day 8: Keep those Guests Busy!

Every wedding celebration brings together guests from near and far. For the guests who have traveled, it is always nice to provide them with a nice introduction to the area where they will be spending their weekend. Remember that your wedding will only take up half of a day of their stay.

Summer is a great time to keep your guests entertained! There are always festivals, bands playing, baseball games, Farmer's Markets...the list goes on & on!

Check with your local visitor's bureau (for Fayetteville, it is located on our Square) for what's happening in town on your wedding weekend. Here, you can also pick up maps for your guests! Locally, Citiscapes magazine is a free publication with all the info for NWA. You can also check out or to be in the loop!

Provide your guest with a list of great things to do for your wedding weekend, and it will make their stay even better! No time better than the Summer!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Day 7: Outdoor Lounges

Not every bride is an outdoor wedding kind of girl. This doesn't mean you should limit your guests to staying inside on a beautiful summer night. If you have a nice space outside, why not transform it into a relaxing spot for guests to enjoy the evening?

One fun thing with an outdoor lounge is that you can change up your style. Is your wedding more traditional? Why not spruce things up with a modern lounge spot? Or go for something totally shabby chic and cozy. The possibilities are endless...just remember to keep the flow. Use the same colors in flowers or lighting, pillows or a cool rug. If your wedding falls earlier in the season when the nights are still cool, consider a venue with a great outdoor fireplace or bringing in some fire pits!

Days 7,8,9 &10...on their way!

Hi everyone!

I promise the final 4 reasons I love summer weddings are coming soon. My week has been swamped with appointments and lots of new exciting things! Check back tomorrow!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Day 6: COLOR...take your pick!

Summer is the perfect time to choose from any color in the rainbow for your wedding! And mixing & matching is SO HOT right now! Summer is the time for color. Summer is also a great time for very natural, romantic weddings with neutrals and naturals. See what I mean? Get out the swatchbook and go for it!

Remember that you can find inspiration for your wedding style just about anywhere! Your favorite dress, a great couch, that fabulous pair of shoes, a park, an animal...the list goes on & on! Don't be afraid to take your vendors a picture of the greatest pair of heels you've ever seen and say "I want my wedding to look like this." A great vendor will be very inspired!

Here are some great color pallettes from Style Me Pretty...

Friday, July 4, 2008

Day 5: Fireworks, of course!

I think this post speaks for itself. What a cool treat for your guests!

Thanks, Dale for the photos!

I must say that we are blessed to live in a country with so many freedoms that we take for granted each day. Let's remember our blessings today, and let's offer our prayers and love for those who are continuing the battle to keep our freedoms. Thank you to all of our troops who are protecting us, and thanks to their families for the sacrifices they have made so that others can live safe, happy lives here in the USA.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Day 4: Beautiful Landscapes for Photos

You can't beat green grass and blooming flowers for photo opportunities. You may have to plan on getting a little warm, so bring some water and a cool towel or ice pack just in case! The photos are worth it!

Here are a few shots from Lauren & Dusty's Dale Benfield!

And a couple more great summer-time shots...
Here is Abby in a field of Texas blue bonnets! (Photo by Mo Photography)

And a few of Lauren & Stuart's bridesmaids. (Photo by Jason Hudson)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Day 3: Really Cool Treats

What other time of the year are you able to serve your guests some of the tastiest treats around? Ice cream, mini-milkshakes, sherbet & sorbet, and popsicles can all be designed in oh-so-chic ways that make them even more refreshing. We are always looking for fun, flirty ways to introduce pops of color and charm into weddings without going overboard. Choose fruity flavors...and a cherry on top!

Guests of all ages can enjoy these finger sized snacks. Introduce them as appetizers or mini-desserts to be hand passed at cake cutting time! Yum!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Day 2: Keeping you and your Guests creative ways!

As everyone knows, summer weddings can get a little....warm! This Day goes out to all of you brides having or guests attending an outdoor wedding or reception.

For the bride...a new concept in aisle style is the personalized parasol. I love the chic look of a bride with a pop of color, and this is a great way to accomplish that without having to wear color. You may be thinking, "I don't want to carry a parasol down the aisle with me!" This makes for gorgeous photos, so even if it is a little splurge for some fun shots, it is well worth it! Here is a great example of a bridal custom parasol...

Now for the wedding party! I do love these coming down the aisle, especially in a beach setting! But remember that once they walk down the aisle with them, they either have to hold them or have a place to put them. There are lots of fun things you could do with wedding party parasols, such as create the altar or stage area out of them for an outdoor ceremony.

Or, for just a tiny bit of this look, use your tiniest wedding party member...the flower girl! This is adorable, and something she could keep and use or play with after the wedding.

Now for the guests. Every one of my brides who have had an outdoor ceremony have been concerned with their guests sitting in the shining sun. A creative solution to this is to have baskets of small umbrellas available for them as they enter your ceremony area. I love the "Stay Cool" tag idea! I also love the look that the colorful parasols down the aisle give. If a guest gets too warm, all they have to do is pick it up!

You can also make double use out of your wedding programs, creating them as a handheld fan. These are great to have already placed in the seats prior to the ceremony. One obstacle that is often forgotten with outdoor events is the wind! Programs are easily blown away when stacked and left unattended at a table. Laying them or hanging them at each seat is a hopeful way of preventing this laughable situation.

If you don't want your program to act as the fan, use a bright alternative to add a pop of color to your ceremony. These would look gorgeous laid out on a table or placed in each seat.

One other nice treat for your guests is to provide a cool beverage for them to sip during the ceremony. One of my brides had personalized bottles of water. I also suggest a nice set-up where guests can make a glass of cold lemonade, water, or sweet tea. (Can you tell I am a Southern girl?)

And now for my favorite new idea for outdoor weddings! (This could definitely be carried to any indoor wedding with lots of dancing...) The TIE TREE for the guys...

Men, especially young men, who attend weddings and like to boogie often face the question of what to wear. They know if they wear a suit and tie they are more than likely going to get a little hot and sweaty on the dance floor. The tie tree is the perfect solution!

Simply place a tie rack near the dance floor with a small sign explaining this fun way to keep cool. You will need to provide stickers or tags for the men to attach with their name to their tie so no one takes off with the wrong one! What a great way to keep cool!