Friday, September 26, 2008

Bridal Fair...Here We Come!

After much preparation, we are SO excited for the bridal event this weekend! Come visit us at Booth 19 for lots of fun! Our booth is surrounded by Festivities, Sincerely Yours, and Benfield Photography. You will be able to find oodles of great ideas just on our row!

We will be offering a chance to sign up for a consultation at our booth, and you never know what you might find along with it! Come and get your name on the list!

We will see you this Sunday in Rogers at the Embassy Suites/John Q Hammons Convention Center. You will have the chance to meet the WHOLE staff, so stop by and have some fun with us! And...Be sure to tell us you are a blog reader when you come!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bridal Fair Pointers

Our next pointer for surviving a bridal fair covers the area of personal contact information. You will sign in and leave your info as you register for the event, but many vendors will have sign in sheets at their booths for receiving more info from them. Here are a few tidbits to keep in mind:

1. Leave your phone number only if you are okay with vendors calling you. Many vendors will follow up with a personal message after the event, and if you don't want your phone ringing off the hook, leave your preferred method of contact (such as email) rather than your digits.

2. Create a wedding email account. Many sites offer free email accounts that you can quickly sign up for. This ensures that your personal and work email accounts are not bombarded with wedding emails. It will help you to keep things organized and keep your sanity when you need a break from wedding planning. My personal favorite free email host is through Google...check out and set up your account today!

3. As I mentioned before, many vendors will have you sign in at their booths. Rather than spending all day writing and re-writing your email address and phone number, why not print some labels with your contact info ahead of time? This way, at each booth all you have to do is peel and stick! A time saver, and a hand cramp preventer all in one!

Remember to give your information only to those vendors that you are interested in working with. Use your eyes and ears to determine which vendors you would like to hear from again and limit yourself to giving only those your personal contact information.

Don't forget to look for us at Booth 19 this Sunday at the AR Democrat Gazette Bridal Event in Rogers at the John Q Hammons Convention Center. The doors open at 12:30 for special pass holders, and 1:00 to the general public. We'll see you there!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Kylie & Brett...Details!

Happy Monday everyone! This week is full of fun things for us here at J.Bailey Occasions, namely the Bridal Fair coming up on Sunday. Don't forget to check back for more Bridal Fair survival tips this week!

Thanks to Dale & Meredith over at Benfield Photography, I have gotten a sneak peek at Kylie & Brett's wedding pictures from a couple of weekends ago. Here, I am stealing their details from their blog. There is A LOT more to see on Benfield's Blog, so hurry over & check it out after you finish reading here!

Here are my 10 favorite things from K&B's Big Day...

~Brett's Midnight Snack in place of a groom's cake. Kylie surprised Brett with 'to-go' bags for all of the guests. We created custom labels to seal the bags and filled them with yummy sandwiches from Jimmy John's.

~Kylie wasn't afraid to mix & match patterns and fun colors that you might not expect to see together. We used a beautiful black & white damask print throughout the event, accented with a dark teal, a bright pea green, and subtle splashes of a great magenta here and there.

~The Lord showed his good grace on us, and in the middle of a hurricane gave us only 3 minutes of showers that day. Thankfully, everyone was flexible and quickly adapted to the changes that needed to be made.

~Fireworks! Brett and his dad worked together with friends to put on a spectacular fireworks show for all of the guests.

~The Drink Station. As we were planning an outdoor celebration in the middle of September, we knew heat & humidity would be a factor to consider. We created a fun drink station for the guests at the ceremony. We had two beautiful containers, one filled with water and the other with lemonade. We dressed up the table with sliced lemons, green garlands, and Kylie's handmade damask drink umbrellas. All of the guests loved & appreciated this detail that was SO easy for us to do!

~Kylie made some music choices for her ceremony that weren't as traditional as expected. She walked down the aisle to her groom to an acoustic version of the song "Crazy Love" by Van Morrison, sung by one of her childhood friends. They ended the night with their last dance to this song as well.

~Fun decor! We brought in my sparkly black chandeliers to dress up the walkway where guests would enter the reception. We also hung lanterns outside above the dance floor.

~Kylie & Brett showed their parents' wedding photos alongside their wedding cake. This was a sweet touch for guests to look at and also a way to personalize something special for the families.

~OZZIE! Kylie & Brett's little, not a baby...their cutie bichon puppy escorted Kylie's mother down the aisle. He did a great job! Kylie found a black & white damask leash and we adorned his neck with a collar of bright flowers.

~They're married! Kylie & Brett have been such a fun couple to get to know and their wedding reflected their style and personalities so well. More than anything at the end of the day, the best part of every wedding for me is that the happy couple starts their new life together. How cool that we get to be a part of making that day happen!

Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Wilson!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Confessions of A Bad Wedding Guest, by Zibby Right

A little something for all of us to enjoy...and learn from! Thanks to my dear friend Alexis for sending this to me!

Last month, on a flight to a friend's wedding in Chicago, I sat next to someone even more clueless about weddings than I was: one of my fellow bridesmaids.

“I bought these great open-toed sandals,” she cooed. “They match the dress perfectly! How about you?”

Hmm, didn't she get the e-mail from the bride insisting we wear closed-toe pumps? Turns out she hadn't gotten her dress altered either ("It'll be fine!"). Plus she'd forgotten to RSVP to some of the wedding-weekend events. And she was shocked to hear that I'd gone to the trouble of preparing a toast for the rehearsal dinner. In short, she was a disaster. But I had to smile. She was just like I used to be.

Before I got engaged last May, I'd broken every rule of wedding thoughtfulness. It wasn't that I didn't care about the bride and groom or that having good manners wasn't important to me. I consider myself a caring friend: I send thank-you notes promptly, I never show up to a housewarming empty-handed. But somehow, the world of proper wedding behavior had eluded me.

It wasn't until I started receiving piles of lovely engagement presents (before we'd even decided to have an engagement party) that I realized I should have given some myself. And it wasn't until my own bridal shower, when friends who couldn't attend made sure they still had gifts waiting for me at the hostess' home, that I learned I should've done so, too. I'd actually arrived at one friend's "game theme" shower with a waffle maker. She'd opened it, paused, and politely said, “Well, this will be a lot of fun to play with.”

I never bought off the registry, reasoning that personal gifts like, say, monogrammed robes, were more exciting than china. "What an original idea," brides would write in their thank-you notes. Now, after spending hours selecting items for my own registry, I find myself slightly miffed when guests don't use it. Why do they think I've gone to all that trouble? And that idea that it's acceptable to send gifts up to a year afterward? No one told me that, though technically acceptable, procrastinating until months after the wedding is disappointing for the bride and groom.

Occasionally, I'd forget to send in the response card until the bride's mother followed up. At the time, I didn't see the big deal. After all, I'd told the bride a million times I was coming! Now, after eagerly awaiting the mail each day so I can tear open those little cards and begin table arrangements, I marvel at my thoughtlessness. With the wedding a month away, I can't remember my vows, let alone which friends told me what. And when guests ask to bring dates, I bristle. Our numbers are so tight I couldn't invite some of my cousins. How could I squeeze in someone's new flame? But then I recall how once, days before a wedding I was in, I begged the bride to let me bring my new boyfriend — of six weeks.

“Fine,” she snipped. “If it's really that important to you.”

I spent the entire wedding locked in his arms, neglecting my bridesmaid duties. Soon after, the boy was history, but I'm reminded of him and my poor judgment whenever I see the two of us in my friend's wedding photos.

Ultimately she got over it; perhaps she'd committed her own faux pas, too, before she was a bride. Or maybe she just preferred to focus on the ways her day was special. I'm mortified by my past behavior, but thankful that this friend and others let it all slide. And now that I'm in their position, I'm trying to do the same. Don't get me wrong: Having to e-mail guests for their RSVPs makes my blood boil. But I know that someday they'll be brides and grooms themselves and discover that there are actually pretty good reasons behind those wedding rules we've all (cluelessly) broken.

This content was written by Zibby Right and first appeared in Modern Bride magazine. For more weddings tips, visit

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

New Gallery on Website!

We have added to our collection of galleries on our website. Check out Staci & Zach's wedding gallery. Special thanks to Memories by Jody out of Van Buren for the photos!

Kylie & Brett Tied the Knot!

Friday evening Kylie & Brett became Mr. and Mrs! Another post with all of the details will come later. I thought I would share their fun engagement video we made for their rehearsal dinner through Animoto. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Lots of Gifts to Give...

Along with planning your wedding comes the joyful task of gift giving. You will have shower hostesses, bridesmaids, and those special people who have been 'extra' help along the way that you'd love to express your thanks to. Many times finding just the right gift can be difficult, as you want to be so very thoughtful. Here is a really fun resource for some different, thoughtful gifts. It is Room Service Home and it is all online! Check out some of my favorite gifts they offer:

The Pink Car Kit for those Girl Emergencies on the Road...

A Pashmina Wrap is a great Bridesmaids' Gift. Choose them in colors each girl would like, or your wedding color that they could wear with their dress at the reception in case of chills.

Personalized Tumblers for the Guys, or Great for Couples too!

A Cozy Throw, Great for Shower Hostesses

Personalized Stamps...Order Early!

Stylish Passport Holders for the Destination Wedding

For the Flower Girl, an Apron to Hold All of Her Crayons!

Fun Luggage Tags for Just About Anyone!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Bridal Fair Pointers: Book Now or Later?

For our next post in our bridal fair survival guide, we want to help you save money!

As you browse through the wedding pro's booths keep an eye out for special deals and savings for 'booking now.' Many vendors want to earn your business at the event, and will offer you great incentives or a fun gift for signing with them the day of the event.

If a vendor you love and are ready to book does not have any special posted, you can always ask them if there is incentive for booking them on that day. You just might be surprised with their answer.

Also, if you are looking at a very popular vendor in your area and you aren't sure if you are ready to book right away, ask them how their calendar looks for your wedding date. If their weekend is quickly filling you might just want to go for it.

One last pointer...many brides attend bridal fairs months before their weddings, and many aren't even engaged just yet. Don't forget that prices can change from the rate you saw at the bridal fair. If you put off booking for several months after the event, you may find yourself dealing with increased prices or package changes from the info you received at the showcase.

Don't be afraid to BOOK NOW if you are certain of the vendors you would like for your big day! All vendors love seeing new clients at these events...why else would we do them?

Don't forget to check us out Sunday, September 28th at the Arkansas Democrat Gazette Bridal Event, held in Rogers at the John Q. Hammons Center!

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Dress: Be Prepared for the Fitting

In my new series of 'tips' for the bride & groom, I would like to highlight a pre-wedding event that is very important to handle properly...the dress fitting! This was one of my favorite parts of being a bride, and many of my clients feel the same way. You've waited weeks, or even months, for your wedding gown to arrive and now you get to put it on!

Here are some tips to prepare for your fitting:

1. Bring all of the undergarments you will be wearing on your wedding day. This will ensure the best fit of your wedding gown. Don't forget the bra, body shaper, petticoat, etc... And, since you've purchased these in advance, you can check it off of the wedding to-do list.

2. Bring the shoes you will be wearing to ensure the length of the dress will be properly hemmed.

3. Take a friend! You'll want a second pair of eyes to help.

4. Wedding dresses are heavy, and you'll be standing still for quite a while. Nab a bottle of water and stash it in your bag to take with you. Be careful to drink while you are in your dress. A straw is usually a surefire way to eliminate spills on the dress.

5. Bring a camera! This is a fun occasion you will want to document!

6. Easy on the makeup. As you get in and out of your dress you don't want to pass makeup from your face to the dress. Be especially careful about foundation and lipstick!

Enjoy your dress fitting. It's finally your gown--not the rack sample that is 5 sizes too big or small. Just think...soon you will be wearing it to marry your sweet hubby!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Who Pays? His & Hers Budget Breakdown

One of the least exciting parts of a wedding is talking money, budget, and numbers in general. A touchy subject when it comes to weddings and the cash flow is 'who pays for what?' And, if the groom's family is supposed to pay, how do we approach them and ask them to be a financial contributor to the wedding?

Here, I am going to provide you with the most "super traditional" breakdown of the budget and if it is HIS responsibility or HER responsibility to write the check. Remember that you need to set up a system that works best for you and your families, so modifications will more than likely be made to this outline.

Bride's Side:
Accommodations for the Bride's Attendants (optional)
Gifts to the Bride's Attendants
Gift to the Groom (optional, paid for personally by the bride)
Bride's Gown and Accessories
Bridesmaids' Luncheon
Church or Ceremony Location Costs
Flowers for the ceremony and reception, plus bridesmaids' bouquets and the groom's boutonniere
Groom's Ring (often purchased personally by the bride)
Invitations and All Paper Goods
Music for Ceremony and Reception
Reception Expenses
Rentals for Ceremony and Reception
Transportation for the bridal party to ceremony and reception
Wedding Consultant
Transportation and Lodging Expenses for the Officiant, if invited by the bride's family

Accommodations for the Groom's Attendants (optional)
Bride's Engagement and Wedding Rings (purchased personally by the groom)
Bride's Bouquet
Corsages for Mothers & Grandmothers, and other honored family members
Boutonnieres for the Fathers & Men (other than groom) in the Wedding Party
Gift to the Bride (purchased personally by the groom)
Gifts to the Groom's Attendants
Honeymoon, including Transportation to the Airport
Marriage License
Officiant's Fee or Gratuity
Rehearsal Dinner (all expenses)
Transportation for Groom & Best Man to the Ceremony
Transportation and Lodging Expenses for the Officiant, if invited by the groom's family
Transportation and Lodging for the Groom's Parents

Surprised by some of these? Many people are. So, now you ask, "How do I ask my mother-in-law-to-be to pay for these items?"

First and foremost, it is the bride's responsibility to clearly communicate your expectations with all parties. Hopefully this will result in no surprises or unexpected expenses down the road.

The best person the bride can use to communicate is her groom. Talk with him about how involved his family would like to be in the wedding planning process. If they do not want or cannot contribute, you should be gracious and move forward with your planning with the resources you have. If they would like to contribute, you can explain the traditional areas in which the groom's family contributes and continue the conversation from there.

In the case that you or your sweet groom-to-be are not comfortable or able to communicate these needs, a wedding professional is a fabulous neutral party to utilize. A well-versed wedding professional should be able to approach this situation with ease and grace, avoiding any unpleasant family issues during planning a wedding.

As I mentioned at the top of this post, these divisions of spending are "super traditional." One of the most successful plans on sharing the costs between parties is for each family to determine an amount that they are comfortable contributing. Group this all together and you will have your wedding budget! If all are at ease with you spending the money in the best way you see fit, this is a great plan.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Staci & Zach Tied the Knot

Staci & Zach were married back in June. When their photos arrived to me over the weekend I just had to put a little something together for them. Thank you to Jody from Memories by Jody for the wonderful photography and for sharing them with me. Enjoy!