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8 Tips For Being An Amazing Wedding Guest

Happy Wedding Wednesday! I'm so happy to share today's post, which I hope you find to be very insightful from a couple's and wedding planner's perspective.

A wedding is such a joyous, celebratory event. It joins together family and friends, all in the name of love. Couples, planners and vendors work diligently to produce beautiful, enjoyable and well executed weddings. One of the things I love as a planner is education - whether it's going to trainings or coaching my couples and peers. Well today, I'm happy to share some tips for wedding guests! 

 Photo Credit: Mandi Mitchell Photography

Photo Credit: Mandi Mitchell Photography

Whether these are tips you already know or perhaps some you've never considered, I hope they equip or refresh wedding guests on ways to help the couple during the planning process and to show up in love and support on wedding day. There are so many great tips to be shared on this topic, but here are my top eight:

1. Be timely with rsvps and arriving to the wedding

In this busy, on the go world we live in, returning a rsvp card might unintentionally fall to the bottom of your to do list. However, wedding guests are encouraged to make this a priority. Why? It's essential for the couple, caterer, wedding planner and other vendors in accurately accounting for meals, seating, and many of the wedding day details. Whether you can attend or not, do the couple (and vendors) a favor and respond with your gladly accepts or regretfully  declines by the requested deadline. Also, don't forget to write your name on the line allotted for you on the rsvp card.

Also, on-time arrival to the wedding is so important. Here's a tip - plan to arrive 15-20 minutes prior to the ceremony start time. This will give you plenty of time to sign the guest book, locate the gift table, freshen up your lipstick and find a seat before the processional begins. If you arrive 30 minutes or more early, kindly understand it's unlikely that you will be able to seated, as doors generally are not opened until 15-30 minutes prior to the ceremony. On the flipside, should you arrive late, also kindly understand that you will not be able to be seated until the wedding party and couple has processed in or you may be unable to be seated for the ceremony (based on the couple's preference for late arrivals). So in short, plan for traffic and make every effort to be there on time to joyfully celebrate with the couple. 

 Photo Credit: LaJoy Photography

Photo Credit: LaJoy Photography

2. Notify of any food allergies/dietary restrictions

Along with sending in your rsvp, there may be an option for you to select an entree choice, depending on the couple's catering options. If by chance the couple has opted to serve guests the same meal, caterers can of course still accommodate those with food allergies and dietary restrictions. Should you be vegan, vegetarian, allergic to nuts, or have any other accommodations that need to be made for your meal, kindly notify the couple or wedding planner when you rsvp. The last thing we want is for any guests to have a reaction or become ill at the reception. If you don't have food allergies or dietary restrictions, it is recommended to refrain from requesting special meals or changing the entree you selected on the day of. Additionally, please be understanding that caterers typically do not box up uneaten or leftover food for guests to take home, like a restaurant, so it's recommended not to make this request.

 Photo Credit: Rhea Whitney

Photo Credit: Rhea Whitney

3. Refrain from bring uninvited guests

Ok folks, if you want to be an amazing wedding guest, you will shoot to the top of the list by only bringing invited guests. I get it, sometimes you may want to bring a date but you weren't given the plus one option, or perhaps you were unable to secure childcare for your child...regardless of the scenario, it's so important that the number of guest(s) for your invitation be adhered to.

In addition, it's important not to assume that a plus one or other family members were invited just because you were (with the exception of your spouse who the invitation should already be addressed to). The general rule is whomever the outer envelope of the invitation was addressed to are the only invited person(s). For example, if an invitation was addressed Mr. and Mrs. Sean Carter, they wouldn't assume that Blue Ivy, Sir and Rumi can attend, otherwise their names would have been listed, too. For unmarried guests, if you are extended a plus one it should say for example Mr. John Doe and Guest (or the invited guest's name). 

Let's show the couple love and support by respecting their guest list wishes and not requesting to be invited or taking it upon yourself to invite others to come with you. Additionally, swapping out invited guests for uninvited guests is also highly discouraged. Save yourself the hassle of having an uninvited guest turned away at the reception because the wedding planner will respect the couple's wishes.

4. Be mindful of the hired pros

When the couple has hired quality professional wedding vendors, rest assured that you are in for a treat at the wedding, but also that the couple is in good hands and their wedding wishes will be executed. To that end, it is important to be mindful of the couple's hired pros. A few ways you can do this are:

  • Avoid blocking the photographers and cinematographers view. The couple has likely invested in top notch vendors (they have if they are a sensational couple), so the last thing they want is Aunt Jane, Uncle John and Cousin Joe standing in the aisle taking photos and going live on Instagram obstructing the vendors view and worse being in the vendors shots. We get it, you want to capture memories of your loved ones day too, but please know that it's first most important for the vendors to do their job without obstruction. If it is not an unplugged wedding, feel free to take photos in your seat, at your table, and with the couple and guests at an appropriate time.
  • Avoid suggesting changes or additions to the flow of the wedding day. Perhaps there are family traditions you would love to see at the wedding or maybe you've attended many weddings and have great ideas that you think could be utilized. While the ideas may be great, understand the planner can not implement changes or additions to the wedding. We have worked hard to gather all of the couple's wishes and the couple has entrusted us to execute that vision alone.
  • Avoid asking the DJ for song requests. I'm a huge music lover, and many wedding guests are too, so naturally you want to hear your song! And that's totally fine. However, understand that the couple has provided the DJ with the genres of music they like and in many cases specific songs and artists they want to hear. Therefore, allow the DJ the opportunity to not only fulfill the couple's wishes, but also to display their talent and skill.

5. Consider the wedding style in terms of attire

The only attire rule that used to apply was never wear white to a wedding. However, with so many new wedding trends, in some instances guests are actually invited to wear white or all black, when couples suggest color codes. In other instances, couples have black tie formal weddings or the opposite rustic weddings. In terms of attire, my tip is to consider the style of the wedding in an effort to determine what to wear.

Generally, jeans and super casual attire is a no-no, unless it is specifically requested for guests to come that casual. My personal rule of thumb when no style is inferred, is to A) consider the couple's style, venue(s) and invitation for guidance - if it's a super formal venue or invitation then I dress up a bit more, B) generally defer to a dress, and C) my husband generally defers to a suit (if it's not a beach wedding).

 Photo Credit: Rhea Whitney

Photo Credit: Rhea Whitney

6. Get out on the dance floor

Don't be a party pooper, get out on the dance floor (of course if you have a health issue this doesn't apply)! Now if you're not the dancing type, no worries. My recommendation is to at least get out there for 1 song, and enjoy cake and conversing with other guests in the meantime. Additionally, if it's an evening wedding, and perhaps you are unable to stay until the end, try to hang around for as long as you can. After all, if everyone leaves early, that would be no fun for the couple, right?! Most of my sensational couples look forward to having a great time on the dance floor with their guests, so don't disappoint them :)

 Photo Credit: Rhea Whitney

Photo Credit: Rhea Whitney

7. Show the love

After working for nearly a year or more on their wedding, couples are excited for the culmination of the wedding planning. Show them your love and support for their new life together, by not only showing up to the wedding, but extending personal congrats to the couple. The most common way to do this is to bring a card and wedding gift from their wedding registry or a monetary gift. Additionally, when the opportunity presents itself, tell the couple how happy you are for them, how nice the wedding is/was, and how amazing they look. After all, who doesn't love well wishes and compliments right?!

 Photo Credit: LaJoy Photography

Photo Credit: LaJoy Photography

8. Enjoy yourself

Last but not least, all couples want their wedding guests to have an amazing time, so enjoy yourself! Soak up the moments celebrating your loved ones, seeing friends and family, eating a delicious meal, hopping in the photobooth and hitting the dance floor. Many couples work hard to personalize their weddings and create an amazing guest experience, so enjoy it all! When I'm not planning a wedding, I fully enjoy being a wedding guest, as it's a 2 for 1 deal - celebrating people I love and date night with hubby :)


Alright folks, that's my top eight, and I hope you enjoyed them! In the comments section, tell me what you think, and any other tips you would add to this list.

Sensationally yours,

Shalyce

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10 Reasons to Hire a Wedding Planner - Pt. 2

Happy Wedding Wednesday!

I've received such great feedback on last week's post, and today I'm back with part 2, sharing the last 5 of my top 10 reasons to hire a wedding planner. So let's jump right into it, and you can check out part 1 here, in case you missed it.

 Photo Credit:  Rhea Whitney

Photo Credit: Rhea Whitney

6. DEVELOPMENT AND EXECUTION OF YOUR VISION

By now, you've got a Pinterest board filled with inspiration, flipped through tons of wedding magazines, and have hit that heart button on all the fabulous wedding photos on Instagram. Whether you've fully determined a wedding vision, style and/or theme or perhaps just have a color scheme in mind, a professional planner, especially one who is also a wedding designer like myself, is equipped to support you in developing and executing your vision. While many of the steps you may have taken like creating a Pinterest board are helpful in identifying your interests, a planner will help to take your interests and build upon that to create a personalized and cohesive vision. From the save the dates, to the wedding website, to the flow of the wedding day, to the florals, linens, and attire, all elements of your wedding should tell a story - your story. Equally important, the elements of your wedding should all be cohesive. 

Once the vision has been developed, a planner also ensures it's executed. From providing floral, rental and lighting vendors, to presenting custom stationery and out of the box personalized details and more, a planner takes the leg work out of the design process for you. We are skilled in creating amazing weddings and have a talented network of professional vendors on hand to assist us bringing any vision to life. Thus, on wedding day, you can walk in wowed by your vision coming to life, and relaxed because you left the job to a professional.

7. LIAISON FOR THE IMPORTANT PARTIES INVOLVED

I've never met a couple that wanted to keep up with all the vendors and parties involved with the wedding. Let's face it, for the couple, planning a wedding is supposed to be fun - rightfully so. A planner is so valuable in managing communication with the venue and wedding vendors, so you don't have to spend your engaged days on the phone and emailing multiple vendors 24/7. We manage the implementation of your wedding wishes with the various vendors and keep you in the loop of important matters and what is needed from you; thus, keeping the process simple and stress-free. Additionally, we keep the wedding party notified of important details, as it's important that they are familiar with the planner prior to the wedding. In short, we streamline the process by serving as the point of contact for the important wedding matters.

8. SKILLED TO CATCH THINGS YOU MAY NOT

While the checklists they provide online and in wedding magazines are a good gauge for some of the things that have to be done when planning a wedding, those lists aren't the end all be all. I can't tell you the amount of times my couples have said the phrase, "Wow, I didn't know that" when I share a task to be done or provide insight on certain wedding questions. A wedding planner can be considered a form of insurance, as we help ensure that everything that needs to be done for your wedding is actually done, and we double check everything.

Tasks like reconciling rsvps to verify the accurate guest count and against the floorplan and seating chart, reviewing vendor contracts for accuracy and so that you are covered, proofing invitation verbiage and proper guests addressing (not to mention verifying the invitation weight before mailing), and so much more are all examples of a wedding planner's skills to ensure all the planning tasks and the wedding day goes off without a hitch. Just like owning a car and not having insurance is risky, likewise, planning a wedding without a planner is a huge gamble on your most special day.

9. EXPERTISE TO RUN THE SHOW ON WEDDING DAY

I'm a huge advocate for couples enjoying their engagement (while the planner manages the big stuff), and especially enjoying their wedding day. The last thing you want to do is be worried about what happens next and who is doing what on your wedding day. It would be difficult to have an enjoyable and stress-free wedding if you a) don't have a professional planner to manage the full wedding day, or b) hire an amateur to coordinate your day, who in turn could be just as detrimental as not having a planner at all.

By having a professional planner manage your wedding day, you can find comfort in having your day well executed and running on time. In addition, your wedding day wishes will be implemented, while you simply celebrate and enjoy joining together as one with the love of your life. Exactly how it should be! 

You can be at ease while getting your hair and makeup done - your planner has confirmed the needed end time with your stylist and makeup artist. You don't have to wrangle the wedding party - your planner has given everyone their marching orders and the timeline, and is ensuring throughout the day that everyone is good to go. You don't have to worry about if the flowers have arrived or where the DJ is - your planner has communicated thoroughly with all vendors and is working on site with them to get the wedding set-up flawlessly. You don't have to worry about the processional, ceremony or reception agenda being executed - you've worked with your planner for quite sometime and they have all of your wishes and the timeline for the day, which will be executed seamlessly. As a planner I'm so invested in my couples and the success of their big day!

10. PROTECT YOUR SANITY AND HAPPINESS

Last but certainly not least, having a planner means having an advocate for your sanity and happiness. After all, this is supposed to be one of the happiest times of your life, right?! A planner's job is first and foremost to get to know you the couple, so we can best serve you. Your happiness is our happiness, so assessing your needs and wishes is paramount, and from there working hard to meet your needs. Professional planners are inventive, organized, creative, critical thinkers, problem solvers, sometimes therapists, passionate, and best of all knowledgeable about your wedding and the business of managing weddings. We are advocates for you and your blissful journey to marriage, and help to ensure that your planning process is enjoyable and your wedding day is exactly how you've planned for it, and in our case, absolutely sensational! So keep calm and hire a planner! It goes without saying, Sensational Soirees is here and would love to serve and support you!


Those are my top 10 reasons for hiring a planner! I hope they were insightful, and shed light on what we offer couples and our passion in doing what we love! Tell me what you think in the comments section. For questions regarding Sensational Soirees planning services, please contact us here, and you can learn about my approach to planning here. I can't wait to support you on your journey to 'I do'!

Sensationally yours,

Shalyce

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10 Reasons to Hire a Wedding Planner - Pt. 1

Engagement season is in full swing, and my timeline was buzzing with beautiful proposals over the holidays! So in honor of the first Wedding Wednesday of 2018, today we're talking about wedding planning.

If you're wondering what you should do after your love pops the question, there are 3 steps I recommend here. Obviously, one of those 3 steps is to hire a planner. Why you ask? I'm so happy to tell you exactly why, hence today's post. Maybe you already know that you will definitely hire a planner for your big day, or perhaps you're questioning if it's worth the investment. There might be others of you who believe your venue, family members and/or friends can help you handle everything. Whether you are in one of these groups or maybe somewhere in the middle, today's post is here to shed light on the role of a wedding planner, why we're irreplaceable and how we add real value to couples. 

 Photo Credit:  LaJoy Photography

Photo Credit: LaJoy Photography

This is a topic I'm so passionate about and could literally talk about all day, but to save you from excess reading, I'm breaking this up into 2 parts, so here's 5 of 10 reasons to hire a wedding planner: 

1. PROFESSIONALISM AND DEDICATION YOU CAN RELY ON

When you hire a wedding planner, you will in turn receive: a wedding advisor to lend expertise and insight, worker bee committed to you and the execution of ALL the wedding plans, a bridal bestie to share the excitement with, a visionary to deliver concepts to wow you, and an advocate for your wedding day dreams come true and marriage.

Many times newly engaged couples assume that family, friends or a venue appointed coordinator can fulfill the same role of a professional wedding planner. While the support of loved ones and your wedding party is wonderful, they are there to support you while a planner is there to be the source you can depend on to ensure your wedding is everything you hope for and much more. After all, that is not only our job, but our passion. We have so much experience in executing weddings, and we remain educated on all things wedding, which makes us both knowledgeable and reliable.

Many venues and caterers are offering day of coordinators that are sometimes referred to as wedding planners. However, any coordinator or planner from a venue or caterer is not the same as a professional wedding planner. A day of coordinator provided by the venue is an asset to couples and wedding planners in managing logistics from a venue and catering perspective, and I enjoy working with them. Given a planner's wedding logistics expertise and dedication to the couple, we thrive in managing ALL elements of your wedding so that it reflects you and your vision. A venue or caterer appointed coordinator will limit their service to the realm of what impacts the venue or caterer, while a planner will be involved with each aspect of the wedding from beginning to end.

2. MANAGEMENT OF ALL THE WEDDING PLANS AND DETAILS

This point perfectly segways from my first point, as your wedding planner is the one who will happily manage all the details for your wedding. Whether you have a small or large wedding, there are several details that go into planning a wedding such as choosing your color palette, picking out stationery, deciding on special elements to be incorporated, receiving and tracking RSVPs and much more. As the couple, it would be overwhelming for you to handle these details on your own, which is why a planner is there to lead this process and keep things organized along the way.

3. BUDGET INSIGHT

How much do flowers cost? How much should I estimate for catering? What else needs to be factored in the wedding budget? These are questions that couples will ask themselves and not have an answer for without having a planner. Sure, your vendors and venue will provide you with a proposal highlighting their service fees and rates. But only a planner will equip you with a comprehensive budget projection at the very start of the planning process.

It is very risky to begin booking a venue and vendors without an overall wedding budget or knowledge of what goes into a wedding budget to begin with. For example, if you book a venue and caterer that equals up to $30,000, but you later determine that you only want to spend $35,000 on the entire wedding, you will certainly be in a big predicament. Which is why the very first thing I discuss with my couples is their budget.

We will discuss the amount of money you want to spend on the wedding, and then in turn I will offer up average estimates for your wishes (tailored to your wedding style) and all the wedding budget categories - DJ, favors, photography, you name it. Furthermore, if your wishes don't align with the money you intend to invest in the wedding, then we revisit the budget and your wishlist until we are able to find a workable solution. In addition, for full-service wedding clients you get the added benefit of budget management throughout the process to ensure you stay on target with your vision and budget goals. The value of budget insight is truly priceless.

4. STRESS-FREE AND ORGANIZED PLANNING PROCESS

Planners are skilled in our ability to keep things organized, which makes for a stress-free planning experience. Couples find us valuable for so many reasons, and our knowledge of what tasks need to be done during the planning process is one of them. Often times newly engaged couples may only know that they have to secure wedding attire, venue and vendors, and decor. Then their stress comes into play when they don't realize floorpans need to be created, how to secure wedding insurance, how to properly address wedding invitations, how the wedding day will flow from start to finish, and more. However, as planners, we ward off the stress for couples by being knowledgeable of what is needed for a couple's wedding day and leading the planning process to ensure that everything gets done and at the right time. We go beyond those Pinterest checklists, and execute the important planning.

One of the things that my couples love is our online planning portal where the guest list, seating chart, checklist, vendor contacts, inspirational photos, contracts and so much more are housed. Additionally, they love that this is a system that I update frequently, and they can log on at anytime 24/7 to see everything related to their wedding in a clear, concise and orderly format. As a couple, your job is to enjoy the process, not be stressed with managing all the plans - therefore we take care of them for you.

5. ACCESS TO AND INSIGHT ON REPUTABLE VENDORS

In our Internet and social media driven world, it's quite easy to Google or hashtag search for anything or anyone. You could easily Google Washington DC wedding venues and find a long list of places. However, does weeding through a long list of places or vendors sound like fun to you? It doesn't to any of my clients, which is a part of the reason why they hire me. While they may know of some vendors or venues that they are interested in, they want to be sure that these places and companies are reputable and to receive other venue and vendor recommendations that I have.

As planners, we are known for working with amazing vendors and also networking with new vendors. Coupled with that, we are knowledgeable of our clients and the specific needs of their weddings; therefore, we are equipped to make the right venue and vendor recommendations for your event, instead of just a random list based on a generic search. For example, if I know a couple loves water, then I help them to personalize their day by incorporating their love for water by recommending waterfront venues or perhaps just doing a waterfront engagement session with an amazing photographer skilled in that type of scenery.

In addition to providing access to these reputable vendors, as a planner, I also communicate with them on your behalf. I understand couples are busy and want to avoid stress, so reaching out to multiple vendors and venues could be overwhelming for a couple, which is why we establish those initial touch points to gain the vendors availability and more information on their services to further assess if they are a match and available before even sending a couple's way. Again, a planner is there to add value and streamline the process for both our couples and vendors. 


I hope this post helped you understand more of what planners bring to the table, as the glue that helps keep all your wedding plans together. Stay tuned for part 2 on the next 'Wedding Wednesday'! Share below which of my 5 points you find to be most valuable. 

Sensationally yours,

Shalyce

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Meet Grace + Ivory

Happy Monday! Today, we're dishing on wedding gowns, and I have a special treat for you. 

I had the pleasure of attending the Grace + Ivory preview event in D.C. a couple of weeks ago, held at Bureau Studio and styled by Elizabeth Carberry. I went with the intent of learning about this amazing bridal company to share with all of my sensational brides. After leaving the event, I was so sold on Grace + Ivory, their stunning, affordable gowns and equally important, their mission. I immediately reached out to Tina Zysk, the Founder and Creative Director, so that she could share more about her amazing company here on the blog. She graciously accepted, and today I'm happy to bring you all the 411 from our conversation about Grace + Ivory and why brides should totally choose them for their wedding gowns.


MEET GRACE + IVORY

 Photo Credit:  Stefanie Kamerman

Photo Credit: Stefanie Kamerman

When should brides reach out to you for their wedding gowns and what's the process like?

We recommend reaching out to start the process about 5-6 months before your wedding. You can learn more about setting up a design consultation, ordering a dress, measurements, shipping and the overall process here.

When designing your gowns, where do you find inspiration?

I like to think of myself as the Creative Director when selecting gowns for the Grace + Ivory collection. I work directly with a designer/dressmaker and she has the technical details and expertise when it comes to designing and dressmaking. I select dresses that I think represents today’s metropolitan modern bride – hip, on-the-go, hardworking, and kicking butt. I like having a variety of dresses ranging from pretty, soft tulle dresses with lace to a sophisticated, sleek look with hand-beaded details.  

 Photo Credit:  Stefanie Kamerman

Photo Credit: Stefanie Kamerman

What is the starting price of your gowns?

Our dresses range from $695 to $1,595 plus tax. 

Do you also do custom work or customize gowns in your collections at the request of a bride?

Yes, we offer custom options to the gowns in our collection. If you love one of our dresses but would want to change something about that particular gown, contact us for a design consultation and we can discuss over email or over the phone about the custom options and any other questions. This is all before your dress purchase (if you decide to move forward).

 Photo Credit:  Stefanie Kamerman

Photo Credit: Stefanie Kamerman

When patronizing your company, tell us more about the worthy cause customers are also supporting?

One of my biggest reasons for starting Grace + Ivory is to merge an awesome business making wedding dresses and being able to contribute to helping others who may not be as fortunate. As our mission is about women helping women, a portion of every dress purchase goes to helping women and girls in need. We’re currently supporting Plan International’s Because I am a Girl (BIAAG) Program, which runs programs in countries around the world focusing on girls’ health, education, empowerment, and community involvement. BIAAG’s call to action raises awareness about girls’ rights and the need for justice and equality. Grace + Ivory supports Plan’s belief that gender equality is central to achieving long-term change and the BIAAG call to action to ensure girls everywhere can learn, lead, decide and thrive.

I love your dresses done differently slogan and that your gowns are made to measure. Tell us more about this.

I founded Grace + Ivory with the intent to do dresses differently by giving brides another option with a socially conscious approach providing beautiful, quality, made-to-measure wedding dresses. During the search for my own wedding dress, I felt that wedding dresses were overpriced and I wondered why. After doing some digging, this gave me the idea of partnering directly with a dressmaker, cutting out a middleman, which allowed me to offer gorgeous dresses of the same quality of those from other designer brands at a fraction of the price. Every dress is made-to-measure saving a bride on alterations costs and giving her a beautiful, custom-sewn dress made just for her.

If a bride has an eye on a dress, we encourage her to reach out for a consultation with us over email on our website. We can answer any questions about measurements and custom details all before you buy and no commitment is expected.

We start each individual dressmaking process once an order is received. Our personal design stylists are there to provide the best customer experience. Our design stylists work with a bride from initial inquiries, to helping with dress purchasing, custom requests, follow-up questions, and shipping and receiving. With our dress process, the made-to-measure and custom aspects, and being able to help women and girls in need, we’re doing dresses differently. 

 Photo Credit:  Stefanie Kamerman

Photo Credit: Stefanie Kamerman

How can brides find you?

Visit us at www.graceandivory.com and feel free to email us at hello@graceandivory.com.

Thank you so much Tina for sharing with us today, and Stefanie Kamerman and Paca Lee for the lovely photos! If my hubby and I renew our vows, I definitely know who I'm calling! Brides, I hope you check out Grace + Ivory for your wedding gowns, and tell them I sent you! Share in the comments section the type of silhouette(s) that you love for wedding gowns.

Sensationally yours,

Shalyce

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I'm Engaged! Now What?

Happy Wedding Wednesday! 

For all of my newly engaged and perhaps soon to be engaged couples, today's post is just for you! :) 

First off, congrats on your engagement! How exciting?! Planning a wedding is an amazing experience, but even more amazing is spending the rest of your life with your soulmate. I celebrate with you in your decision to make your love last a lifetime.

So you're engaged...now what? If you're in the phase of not knowing what to do next, I'm happy to share my top 3 tips for what you may want to consider doing.

 Photo Credit: SC Stockshop

Photo Credit: SC Stockshop

 

ENJOY THE MOMENT

Now that you've said "YES", it's a great idea to just enjoy your engagement for a few weeks or more before you hit the ground running with wedding planning. This time will allow you and your love the opportunity to enjoy each other, think about your future together, and share the news with loved ones.

Whether you plan to get hitched shortly after the engagement or perhaps will wed in a year or two to give you more time to iron out the wedding details (and your budget), be sure to enjoy the wedding planning process and preparing for marriage!

 Photo Credit: Dave McIntosh Photographics

Photo Credit: Dave McIntosh Photographics

DISCUSS INITIAL PLANS

Now that you've taken the time to enjoy the initial engagement excitement, it's time to get down to the business of wedding planning! I strongly suggest sitting down with your fiancé to discuss your collective vision and desires for the wedding. Think about the important planning topics, such as date options, intimate versus large wedding, location, wedding style and more. 

Wedding blogs, magazines and Pinterest are great resources to begin determining the things that appeal to you; however, be careful not to overload on these resources if you find that you get easily overwhelmed with everything in "wedding world".

As you discuss initial plans, considering your budget and how you will or can realistically invest in your wedding is extremely important. Your budget can drive several factors such as date, guest count, venue and design. The current average cost of a wedding is $35,329, reported by The Knot, so as you dream up your wedding vision also keep your budget in mind and discuss with parents that may be contributing.

 Photo Credit: Rekita Nicole

Photo Credit: Rekita Nicole

HIRE A PLANNER

I know what you're probably thinking - shameless plug for Sensational Soirees. But I PROMISE this isn't. I too was once a bride, and when I went through the planning process there was no way I could've done it without the help of a planner.


Whether you plan to be very hands-on or somewhat hands-off with the wedding details, it's important to hire a wedding planner for many reasons. to include but not limited to: 

1. Our wedding industry expertise, as we help you navigate through important wedding planning decisions, which can help save you time and money.
2. Our experience to guide you through the planning process, while making sure nothing is forgotten along the way.
3. Our partnership in being dedicated to you, your vision and management on wedding day, so you can enjoy yourself stress-free.
 

Additionally, a planner who is also a designer, like myself, brings added value to the table in being able to design the beauty and details of your day, and provides expert insight on the cost to bring your vision to life. Designers have great vendor relationships, so that you have a team working together, while you relax, to make your day all you wish for and more.

While parents and the bridal party are of great support to a couple, nothing can replace the true value of a wedding planner right there on your side, helping to bring your wedding day dreams to life!

 Photo Credit: Rhea Whitney Photography

Photo Credit: Rhea Whitney Photography

I hope you find these tips to be helpful! If you'd like a copy of my guide "I'm Engaged, Now What?" you can download it here, and feel free to tell an engaged friend! And if you're newly engaged, share in the comments below, so I can congratulate you!

Sensationally yours,

Shalyce

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