Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Brides Tell All: Allison Harris Elledge's Wedding Woes & Wisdom

Image by Andrew Bowser Photography

From your own experience, what advice would you give other women for their wedding day?

Allow yourself enough time to get ready! I didn’t want to get my hair or makeup done until absolutely necessary (I had a huge fear of bad, flat wedding hair and worn-off makeup!)…but, I found myself having to rush a bit to leave on time! Thank goodness my mom and grandmother left the hotel later than I did… I forgot my garter in the rush! My advice would be to make sure you allow plenty of time to get ready, that way you can enjoy without having to rush!

Looking back, are there any details from your wedding you would have changed or excluded?

I think I would have served “adult drinks” at the happy hour. I know it’s terrible to admit that sometimes people need a little help getting out on the dance floor, but it’s the truth! We only served sweet tea, lemonade, and water at the happy hour because we were worried we might run out of alcohol later in the night! Well, that, and I didn’t want people getting too “tipsy”, haha! But, it turned out that we had more than enough…plus, starting the “adult beverages” a little earlier might have resulted in more guests getting out on the dance floor sooner! We had plenty of people dancing, but I’m always up for more (and, the truth is, some adult beverage might have helped more people get their courage up to get out there sooner in the night)!!

In your opinion, what are some good ways to keep costs low when planning a wedding?

First, just ask! We had some WONDERFUL vendors (who I thought I wouldn’t be able to afford). But, many of them were able and willing to work with us on price (and payment plans) so that we could afford to use their services. I think that sometimes vendors are just as excited to work with brides who love their work as we are to hire them…expressing that excitement and asking where price can be cut sometimes gets you a long way! And, the worst they can say is no!

In what ways did you make your wedding and reception different from all the rest?

I hope that what made it different was that we made a real effort to show our personalities in our wedding. A lot of times, weddings become “typical” because people don’t know that they can think outside the box! There are so many wonderful choices out there, people no longer have to go with the typical wedding choices (unless they want a traditional wedding, of course!). I think we made a lot of “non-typical” choices, such as fun and modern (rather than fancy) wedding invitations and programs, homemade jelly & salsa (made by Chris’s mom and nana) for thank you gifts, a marching band, fight song recessional, non-flower centerpieces, and lots of DIY touches! Oh, and we included our beautiful, wonderful dog as our ring bearer! He was a big hit!!

What was your favorite detail about your wedding and reception?

Ok, this question is too hard, I can’t pick just one! But, amid all of the tangible details that I loved, I would have to say that my most favorite thing was the wording that made up our ceremony. I think that it is definitely easy to get caught up in centerpieces and invitations, but it is important to remember the bigger picture…you are committing to forever with another person! I think that we stayed true to ourselves with our ceremony, which we wrote start to finish (with the exception of our officiant’s opener). We integrated traditional and non-traditional elements, and we tried to communicate to our witnesses the way in which we are approaching our marriage.

What was your favorite experience or memory from your reception?

One of my favorite memories (I have so many!) was my sister’s maid of honor speech. My younger sister had like 12 pages of speech written (that she pulled out of her dress, haha)! She started talking and immediately started crying! She totally forgot about her 12 pages of speech and spoke from the heart, which was a truly wonderful moment for me. She was so adorable!

What is the best way to keep your guests excited and involved at the reception, so they won’t leave early?

Well, this answer came directly from my guests! I was told by numerous guests that the excellent coordination (by J.Bailey Occasions, of course) kept things running smoothly, so that there was a wedding “happening” every 30 minutes or so. This ensured that guests were never waiting around for anything, whether that be food, cake, the bouquet/garter toss, or our exit! Our wedding was run like clockwork, which kept our guests interested and involved…all of the credit for that goes to Jenessa and her team!

What do you suggest as good wedding music? Is it best to use live music or a CD?

We used a DJ (Groove Productions). I think the answer to this question depends on your personality and the personality of your guests. We had guests that were ready to break it down, so a DJ was perfect for that. I think a band that could cover a wide variety of old and new songs would have also worked, but that was outside of our price range! I felt that if you’re going have a band, you better have a good one (and good ones are expensive!). So, for the budget-watching bride, a good DJ can be more than sufficient!!

What is something that stressed you out while planning, how did you alleviate that stress, and what solution did you find for the problem?

Well, we got married in Fayetteville, but I was living in Lawrence, KS for pretty much the entire time that we were engaged (dang you, graduate school!). On top of that, I had no family in Fayetteville or Lawrence. And Chris lived in Mississippi for the year before the wedding (dang you, graduate school…again!). So, needless to say, the sheer distance between myself, the wedding, and the people involved was pretty stressful. Having a coordinator in town was my #1 solution, which worked wonderfully! On top of that, LOTS of emails and phone calls between all of the people involved in the wedding (my parents, bridesmaids, groomsmen, officiant, vendors, etc)! And, in the end, it was all worth it to be able to get married in Fayetteville…it’s where Chris and I met and the place that I love most!

What is something you did not expect about planning a wedding that you experienced?

How much fun it would be! I was never a girl who planned her wedding from childhood; but, once I got engaged, I really enjoyed using wedding planning as a creative outlet. Not only was DIY cost-effective, but it was really fun making things that I knew would be a part of our special day ☺

Allison & Chris, it was so much fun working with you two! You made my job enjoyable and fun and you had a beautiful wedding day! I am so glad that we got to be a part of it!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Allison and Chris' Wedding Day Movie

Yesterday I got to show you some of the fun details from Allison & Chris' Fall Fayetteville wedding. Now you get to see it in motion! Thanks to Tulsa videographers, Pen Weddings, the Elledges will be able to look back on their wedding day and see the hustle and bustle and hear the emotion in their day. You also get a tiny time lapse into our "flip" of the Barn between the ceremony & reception. Thanks to Pen Weddings for sharing with us! You will definitely want to visit their site, especially Sarah's blog. I could watch it All.Day.Long.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Allison & Chris' October Fayetteville Wedding

Everything about this wedding says Fall to me. From its October 16th date (shout out to my bday!), to its Pratt Place Barn location, and the rustic homespun details, Allison made her dream day come to life on the perfect, crisp Fall day in Fayetteville.

Allison and Chris are University of Arkansas alumni who no longer live in Fayetteville. They chose their college town as the melting pot location for friends and family who came in from all sides of the country. Allison's vision for the day was rustic simplicity with some modern touches. I'm excited today to share the details.

Before we begin, let's give the credit to Springfield photographer Andrew Bowser for his lovely work capturing their day.

Allison is the true definition of a DIY bride. She tapped into her very creative, crafty, handy side and created some wonderful details for the day. She created these adorable wedding signs to point guests in the right direction once they arrived on Sasafrass Hill.

Alli and Chris were wed inside the Pratt Place Barn, with a mentor and friend officiating the ceremony. Allison, a self described non-flower girl, chose personal flowers that were modern and rustic all in one design. Jules Design created the personal flowers for the day.

Check out this beauty! I loved her birdcage veil.

We also brought in a few lovebird details, including the emblems on the invitations and the programs. Allison loved working hard finding wonderful vendors on Etsy to bring these details to life!

Baxter, the couple's beautiful fur child, served as the ring bearer for the day. I have never seen a better behaved pooch! Isn't he beautiful?

My favorite, and I mean FAVORITE, detail of the day was a big time surprise for the groom. We hid members of the Razorback Marching Band in the balcony of the Barn during the ceremony. After being pronounced husband and wife, Chris and Allison turned to the crowd and from above the Arkansas Razorback Fight Song began playing. Not only was Chris shocked (I read his lips to Allison..."Did you know about this?") but the guests clapped and sang along! in the midst of football season!

Mama Dean's Soul Food restaurant provided a true Southern dinner for the night. We all know that no guests left this party because they were hungry! There was enough chicken fried chicken and corn poppers to feed an army! Not only did Mama Dean do the cookin' she also was found shakin' it on the dance floor with the bride.

This sweet cake from Rick's Bakery was topped with the lovebirds again and used the couple's moss wedding color in its ribbon details.

One way that Allison infused a personal touch was by creating her own favors for the guests to take home. They personally canned her Mom & Grandmom's jellies and salsas! YUM-O! (Yes, I took a few for myself!) And of course, Allison created the fun "Thank You" sign to top off the display.

At the end of the night, Chris and Allison drove away in wedded bliss in the coolest vintage pickup truck. This find was all the groom's and what an awesome finale it was!

Come back tomorrow to see the beautiful video that captured this Fall wedding day!

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Brides Tell All: Brittany Lavy Priest's Wedding Woes & Wisdom

From your own experience, what advice would you give other women for their wedding day?
Pick what you love and don't spend any time second guessing your choices. I am a very decisive person and that gave me comfort because I knew I made the right choices the first time around.
My second piece of advice is to pick the best wedding vendors and put trust in them that they know what they're doing. I was so confident in my people that I never had to worry if they knew how to do their job correctly.
My third and final piece of advice is to use a wedding planner. It allows you to enjoy being the bride!

Looking back, are there any details from your wedding that you would have changed or excluded?
I think everything was perfect. Even if it wasn't actually perfect it all felt perfect to us!

In your opinion, what are some good ways to keep costs low when planning a wedding?
Decide what your priorities are and use that to help you decide where to spend your money. I thought about what meant the most to me (dress, style, photography, flowers, and reception) and Chase (band, beer, food and fun) and went off of that. When I had to make choices about budget I went with things that still got across that feeling or look I was going for but maybe cut it back in scale or number.

In what ways did you make your wedding and reception different from all the rest?
I wanted our wedding day to really represent us. The style of dresses, tuxes, flowers, invitations, and decor were all reflections of our style. Everything about our reception showed our personalities. Our reception was held at my parents' house. There isn't a more "me" space than my home with my family. It was beautiful but still very relaxed. I picked what I loved and I think when you do that, your personality will show.

What was your favorite detail about your wedding and reception?
I don't have one favorite detail about the reception. My favorite part was seeing all of the details come together. It was all of the little details that we put thought into that came out so perfectly when they were all put together.
My favorite detail pre-wedding was our Save the Date. We have dated since junior high and we made a timeline of some of our favorite memories together. It sort of told our story to our guests and makes a great keepsake for us to have.

What was your favorite experience or memory from your wedding or reception?
I don't know if it was my favorite at the time...but looking back my favorite memory would have to be when I was standing with my Dad and the doors of the church opened for me to walk down the aisle. I was so overwhelmed/excited that I was about to get married that I burst out into tears...and continued to cry until the ceremony was over.
Favorite memory of the reception would be my Dad busting a move to a Rolling Stones song. It involved a lot of air guitar moves. It was hysterical because it was really the last thing I was expecting.

What is the best way to keep your guests excited and involved at the reception, so they won't leave early?
I think it helps to have a great location, great band, good food and lots to drink. HA! Seriously, the band is key. If people aren't dancing they just won't stay as long. It helps when the reception has a good flow to it. Older people will leave early and so the first dance and cutting the cake should happen fairly early so that they get to see what they want to see.

What do you suggest as good wedding music? Live or CD?
I suggest LIVE music 100%!!!! We had an organist play and then we also had someone sing a solo. The church had a list of approved songs and I went through and listened to them and picked what I thought was pretty. It is simple and I loved my choices.

What is something that stressed you out while planning, and how did you alleviate that stress and what solution did you find for the problem?
I am not a major stresser (side note from Jenessa: Brittany, Chase, and their families are ROCKSTARS at not stressing out!!!), however the reception was indoor and outdoor. The weather was nasty leading up to the wedding and we had to look at other options for the reception venue. I didn't want to have it anywhere other than my house but I also didn't want my guests to be in a flood zone. So we looked at other options and came up with a back up plan. The day of the wedding I got up early and had to let Jenessa know by 8AM what my decision was. She is so calming and level headed that it put me at ease. I prayed, talked with everyone, consulted the weatherman, weighed my choices and went with my heart. The weather cleared up and the reception weather was perfect.

What is something you did not expect about planning a wedding that you experienced?
I did not expect to be calm enough to actually enjoy my wedding day. When it came down to the day of the wedding I knew that everything was already taken care of and I didn't have to worry. I got to focus on the experience of the day, and that was really special to me.

Thanks for sharing, Brittany! You will go down in the books as one of the best brides ever and I appreciate how wonderful you and your family were to work with! Brides, take Brittany's wonderful advice and apply it to your wedding day.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Brittany and Chase: Backyard Wedding Reception

Yesterday you saw the sweet ceremony of Brittany & Chase. Today I'll be sharing my favorite details from their at home reception. Let's start by saying that the reception went to Plan C when crazy spring storms literally rained on our parade in the days leading up to the wedding, turning the backyard to muddy mush! When the severe storm threatened to interrupt the wedding day, the bride, mother of the bride and I were found downtown scoping out a backup-backup location. Yes, of course we had a rain plan already in place....just not one that could handle impending severe weather. Who wants to be in a tent during a tornado?

Needless to say, after some prayers to the Big Guy upstairs, the bride and her family rolled with the punches and a wonderful backyard reception was still enjoyed by all of the guests. There wasn't a drop of rain during the reception! We actually had to pull back the tent walls so that the guests could enjoy the delightful day! Thanks, Lord!

Brittany and Chase have a wonderful relationship with their family and having their reception at home was the perfect setting for everyone. The guests were 'golf carted' up to the house and welcomed with warm hospitality. The dining room table was one of my favorite designs of the day. We had beautiful florals along with family wedding photos from generations long ago, needlepoints made just for the bride on her wedding day, and so many personal wedding details.

Guests enjoyed cocktails and hand passed hors d'oeuvres around the pool before heading down to the tent below. We had bellini's served to infuse a little pop of pale pink into the cocktail hour. The tent was dressed with a mix of pewter pintuck, champagne pink, and cream lace linens all surrounded by classic silver Chiavari chairs {all rented from Festivities}. Centerpieces were a mixture of tall flowering branches and low peonies, baby's breath, garden roses, and other garden flowers in just about any type of container you could imagine! From milk glass to mason jars to pitchers and even old trophies, the flowers found their homes in a variety of vintage containers.

The simple & beautiful cake was created by Shelby Lynn's Cake Shoppe and topped with lush pink peonies.

Brittany changed from her cathedral length ceremony veil to this adorable organza flower in her hair for the party.

The dance floor was rockin' to the music of one of my very favorite {and highly recommended} Arkansas party bands, The Rockets!

We brought in a custom photo booth from Vintage Photo Booths for guests to enjoy. The custom booth allows you to choose decor to compliment your party. Brittany found the creme antique doors at a local thrift shop and we used them as the backdrop for the booth.

The night continued with lots of dancing, great food and drinks, and celebrating Brittany & Chase. Brittany's maid of honor, and younger sister {this dad has 4 more girls to marry!} caught the bouquet, and then we sent these two on their married way!

Congrats again to Brittany and Chase! They're approaching their anniversary quickly & I can't believe it! Thanks to all of our vendors for making this a spectacular event for the couple. Props to Benfield Photography for the wonderful photos!

Tomorrow we will hear from the bride with her Wedding Woes & Wisdom just for you!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Brittany and Chase: The Wedding Ceremony

Last May two junior high sweethearts tied the knot and became husband and wife in a true hometown celebration. Brittany and Chase were wed at Central United Methodist Church on Dickson Street, a downtown Fayetteville icon {if you ask me} because of its beautiful, traditional architecture and its steeple that stands tall in the downtown district. Here are a few of my favorite details from their wedding ceremony.

Brittany's flowers were some of my favorite from the entire year of weddings. The cream and pink peonies were a delightful nod to her Spring wedding date. They are classic, feminine, lush, and oh so Southern in the best way. We incorporated them in the bride's bouquet, the bridesmaids' bouquets, and simple pew markers to note the honored guests' seating at the church. Jules Design was the mastermind behind the floral loveliness!

The altar arrangement was simple and stunning. The church, whose natural beauty, size and scale are phenomenal, doesn't require much when it comes to making things beautiful. We chose tall, all white and cream arrangements and an assortment of candles for some softness at the altar.

The flower girl carried a sweet pomander ball of all pink for a monochromatic look with her soft pink dress. What a doll!

The wedding programs were printed on the sweetest shimmering pink paper and showcased a hand drawn icon of the church, previously seen on the couple's adorably personal Save the Date. All of their wedding paper lovelies were created by none other than Amy Hannon of Sincerely Yours Paper, Inc.

Time to get married! I love this image of Brittany and her father, Trevor, walking down the aisle. To me, it shows that even though they saw each other prior to this moment, the emotion and feeling of walking down the aisle to your groom is still there. Brittany cried all the way down the aisle and through the personal ceremony as they promised their vows to each other. I loved her sweet demeanor all through the day.

And here they are just seconds before being pronounced husband and wife. Brittany's lifelong pastor, HD McCarty, was praying a prayer of blessing upon their marriage just before they left the church.

Special thanks, as always, to the talented Benfield Photography team for their beautiful way of capturing Brittany & Chase's wedding day and for sharing their images with us. Come back this week for a glimpse into the backyard reception of these two lovebirds.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Guess where I am? Not in the office....

That's right! My honey has swept me away to a much warmer place on this earth for some much needed Mom & Dad relaxation. I will be back in the office next week! Until then, enjoy browsing and find inspiration for your wedding day! And, yes, that picture above is where I am right now!!!

One & Only Palmilla

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Brides {and moms!} Tell All: Lucy Semple

{Remember when I said I was 9 months preggo at this wedding? Love those pregnant chubby cheeks!}

Here are Lucy and Cynthia's Wedding Woes and Wisdom for you brides and moms out there....

From your own experience, what advice would you give other women for their wedding day?
Listen to the expert (Jenessa) for wisdom she’s gained from experience, but if you feel strongly about something, remember that this is your day! Tear out as many pictures of things you like and don’t like (from flowers, table arrangements, paper products, etc…). This makes it easier to figure out your style and vision for the day.

Looking back, are there any details from your wedding you would have changed or excluded?
Absolutely not. My day was actually exactly how I imagined and hoped it would be. ☺

In your opinion, what are some good ways to keep costs low when planning a wedding?
Prioritize. I LOVE flowers, so that was a priority for me. I was not as concerned about other things. Also, be willing to do some work yourself. I know we saved money because I was willing to type up my “guest booklets” that we put in everyone’s rooms and then we had an expert (Sincerely Yours) make what I wrote look pretty.

In what ways did you make your wedding and reception different from all the rest?
-We served some of our favorite foods (queso, chips, salsa, bread pudding),
-we had 3 types of personalized cookies as party favors,
-we used our save the date as sort of a ‘theme” and carried it through onto our guest boxes and cookies,
-we had a “day of the wedding” bbq lunch so that all of our guests could get together
-we brought in a cigar roller for the men to enjoy
-we had a photo booth which entertained adults and kids
-signs that said “Sparklers to light the Semple’s way” and “Sweets to send you on your way” on our departure table that included sparklers, personalized matches, and cookies.
-we had pizza brought in about 45 minutes before we departed as a sort of “late-night treat”. It was a hit!

What was your favorite detail about your wedding and reception?
The flowers!!! I had torn out so many pictures and had described as best I could what I wanted it to look like and the flowers were beyond my wildest expectations. They were amazing!

What was your favorite experience or memory from your wedding and reception?
Taking a few minutes to walk around just my husband and me and take in everything at the wedding. We took a few minutes to talk to eachother and walk around the entire reception without talking to guests…..those are the pictures in my mind that are not a blur. I also remember dancing a lot – I wanted to have fun at my wedding and I did! ☺

What is the best way to keep your guests excited and involved at the reception, so they won’t leave early?
Surprise them by having some things that are “special” and not like all the others……We had a few:
The pizza that we brought in a little bit before our departure was one fun part.
Our band was REALLY great, so people wanted to keep dancing.
The photo booth helped the children stay entertained so that they weren’t ready to leave.
My mom kept telling her friends that they shouldn’t leave because the sparklers were going to be so pretty! ☺

What do you suggest as good wedding music? Is it best to use live music or a DJ?
I think it totally depends on budget. If you can afford it, a live band always helps to get the party going and get people on the dance floor. They can also “Read” the crowd to see what type of music they should go to next. If you have a DJ or a CD playing, just make sure to consider what type of music you want playing when. Be specific with whomever you work with so that they know what YOU like and what music YOU enjoy. I remember that our band played a couple of songs that weren’t our style, so we went to them and asked them to go another direction and the problem was solved.

What is something that stressed you out while planning, and how did you alleviate that stress and what solution did you find for the problem?
Most of my stress was because I was planning a Fayetteville wedding from Dallas and I felt out of the loop sometimes. Jenessa always did a wonderful job of calming me down and getting me back into the loop. ☺ Other than that, the most stressful is the budget, for sure! My advice for both issues is just to communicate with everyone you are working with. Our flower budget was a bit higher than we wanted it, so my mom had a long phone call and went through all of the expenses with our florist. They were able to compromise on some changes and the problem was solved.

What is something you did not expect about planning a wedding that you experienced?
Bonding with so many of the vendors we worked with for those months. We were lucky to have worked with wonderful people who I now consider friends! It was also special bonding for my mom and I because we did so much of it together. It can be stressful, but it also has so many fun parts!!!

Thanks, Lu! Now on to Cynthia...
What did you enjoy most about your daughter’s wedding day?
I loved the whole day, but especially the actual wedding and reception. It was all we had planned for and hoped it would be.

Was there any detail about the wedding and reception that made it unique to your daughter and her personality?
Both venues (a small chapel and the barn) were perfect for her.

What would have made wedding planning an easier and more enjoyable experience?
It was an enjoyable experience, and I wouldn’t change anything.

What expense was well worth the cost?

If a mother of the bride is not seeing eye to eye with her daughter when planning a wedding, what advice would you give her?
It’s the daughter’s wedding, not hers.

How involved were you with the wedding planning? Do you wish you would have been more or less involved?
I was very involved in assisting and carrying out plans, but my daughter made all the major decisions. I wouldn’t change it at all.

I hope you have enjoyed learning all about Lucy and Chris' wedding day from start to finish! Leave some comment love or any questions you have below!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Lucy and Chris' Pratt Place Barn Reception Comes to Life

Want to see Lucy's beautiful reception come to life? Check out this super fun time-lapse video of the process!

Come back tomorrow to hear advice from Mrs. Lucy and her mom, Cynthia!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Lucy and Chris' Pratt Place Barn Reception

Following Lucy & Chris' ceremony, guests were whisked away to the lovely Pratt Place Barn for the celebration of this new marriage. The flowers, food, and entertainment were to die for!

The draping in the Barn for this reception was truly a new concept, never before created at Pratt Place. We chose to draw the eye upward to accent the Barn's architecture. Floral wreaths and trailing ribbons hung from the Barn's iron lanterns down the center of the venue.

Lush, sweet centerpieces were presented in many variations to create visual interest at different heights in the room, as well as different textures as your eyes swept the room. All of the arrangements were surrounded with twinkling candlelight to make the room glisten. So much loveliness to take in!

The stunning cake was highlighted with pin spot lighting, as well as framed by a floral wreath hanging above. This cake was created with the most intricate details, including folded sugar flowers and golden ribbon, an identical match to the bride's couture wedding gown. Its prominent placement in the center of the room made it a highlight of the reception design.

Guests danced to the beats of Dallas party band, Cuvee, snapped crazy party pics in the photo booth, and enjoyed hand-rolled cigars on site throughout the evening. {Sorry, Cyn, but this is one of my favorite photos from the whole wedding! Woo Pig!}

Before heading out the door, guests had their choice of custom sweets. Lucy and Chris chose their signature wedding design, a nod to their Texas home, and a hand drawn image of the Barn all to be laid on sweet cookies. Sparklers were passed out for the grand getaway, and the horns played "When the Saints Go Marching In" as the newlyweds went on their merry way!

Lucy and Chris' wedding day was a true reflection of them, their families, and their friends. Their vision came to life with the work of so many talented vendors from a multitude of states! What has been your favorite aspect of this wedding? Let us know by leaving your comment below! Come back on Monday and Tuesday to see {yep with video!} how the Barn was transformed, and to hear advice from the bride and her lovely mother!

The Vendor Team:
Wedding Coordination: J.Bailey Occasions
Photography: Polito Photography
Videography: NILO Productions
Ceremony Venue: Stone Chapel at Matt Lane Farm
Reception Venue: Pratt Place Barn
Floral Design, Draping, Lighting: Distinctive Designs by Tanarah
Rentals: Festivities
Catering & Bar: Catering Connection
Cake and Cookies: Shelby Lynn's
Wedding Invitations and Paper Lovelies: Sincerely Yours Paper
Photo Booth: Making Memories Photo Booth
Band: Cuvee
Transportation: HETXNA