Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Did You Know?

On average, US couples spend $19,581 for their wedding. However, the majority of couples spend between $14,686 and $24,476. This does not include cost for a honeymoon or engagement ring. 

On average, couples that live in or travel to Fayetteville, AR spend between $12,576 and $20,960 total for their wedding.

On average, couples that live in or travel to Fayetteville, AR spend between $953 and $1,589 (or 7.5% of the overall budget) total for Flowers & Decorations. 

On average, couples that live in or travel to Fayetteville, AR spend between $79 and $131 for the Bridal Bouquet.  You should expect to pay, on average, between $158 and $210+ when choosing well-experienced professionals, unique or custom products and services.

Info taken from

How much did you spend on YOUR wedding?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

3 Words

Last week I sent an email to friends, clients and colleagues asking for 3 words describing the Rose of Sharon.  With the responses I created this word cloud.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

From Wedding Vendor to Bride: Week 4

Wedding Date Minus 26 Days (Monday, December 6)

diamond engagement rings* Rings are in!  Can't wait to wear mine!  EXACTLY what I wanted.  So pretty. (sigh)

* I made my final decision on the dress. After hours of soul searching, I realize that while a little bit of me wants to be the princess bride, that part isn't 6 hours long.  And after looking at my expressions in the photos, I'm OBVIOUSLY having more fun in the non-traditional dress.  So, non-traditional it is!  It's a relief to have the decision made.
In Adrian's favorite dress...
In another traditional dress...
and in the non-traditional dress.
Note to all brides: when shopping for a dress, take a camera!  It makes a world of difference for seeing how you REALLY look!

* Purchased the cutest faux-fur bolero jacket from ModCloth (because I HATE being cold).  Now I need shoes.

* Met with the first caterer today. At the last minute, Jason couldn't go with me, so my sister went instead.  Yummy bread pudding and crème brule!  We should get the estimate tomorrow.  After telling Jason all about the tasting, we realized that there had been a miscommunication and he wanted a served meal instead of a buffet meal.  Emailed the caterer to see if this was possible.

* Talked to Karie about using real dinnerware.  We decided that for the size of our guest-list, the real dinnerware works.

* Finalized the floral designs in my head--all except for a couple of large pieces.  I'll order flowers tomorrow.  

* Made plans with Karie to visit Compton Gardens this weekend for a walk-through, to decide the layout of the ceremony and reception, and to schedule the day.

Wedding Date Minus 25 Days (Tuesday, December 7)
* Not much happening today, just waiting to hear from the caterer.

* Had a few extra minutes (well, an hour or so) so I decided to look at Dillard's shoes.  I found two pairs: a really cool black platform and a pretty nice silver peep-toe.  Both have extra cushion so I can stand for several hours if needed.  Couldn't make up my mind...I bought both! 

Wedding Date Minus 24 Days (Wednesday, December 8)
* Ordered most of my flowers.  I’ll wait until next week to get the final few items.

* Today I'm making the FINAL final decision on my dress.  I've definitely decided to go non-traditional.  Fitting appointment tonight. Ended up trying on a couple more dresses.  Yep, the first one I tried on is still my favorite. And it's non-traditional.  I'm going to surprise Jason, so, on the very off chance that he will read this, details will have to wait until after the wedding. On a less fun note, I had to try on body shapers as well.  NOT comfortable!  I think I'll try Spanx...I've heard good things about them.  Unfortunately, the black shoes are too tall for the dress.  Silver it is.  

This is a dress I tried on for NOT me!

I've been overwhelmed with the kindness of my friends and clients.  Since posting the last blog last week, I've had several offers for dresses.   Thank you!  

* Michelle's dress is in!  Adrian's should be in today as well.

* Whoops, I forgot to go by Eventures and double check the napkin color.  It's on the calendar for next week now.  Details, details.

* Still no word from the caterer.  I’m emailing another to see if they are available.

Wedding Date Minus 23 Days (Thursday, December 9)
* Adrian's dress came in yesterday...and our first gift.  Do we open it now or wait until the wedding?

* Heard back from the 2nd caterer today.  Price is a bit higher, but she provides plates, forks and stuff, so we won't have to rent that.  It evens out.  Got a great review of her as well.  

* Adrian tried on the dress and her new shoes.  WOW! She's all grown up!  I think Jason almost cried when he saw her.  She has to practice walking in heels now.  'Shoulders back.' 'Stand up strait.' 'take smaller steps.'  ... all things my mom used to say to me and now I'm saying it!

Wedding Date Minus 22 Days (Friday, December 10)
12/15 note: no emails from Friday, nothing on the calendar.  Is it possible that I didn't do anything wedding today?

Wedding Date Minus 21 Days (Saturday, December 11)  THREE WEEKS!
* Except for returning the black shoes (and finding some really great boots), the only wedding stuff today was shopping for undergarments.  Dillard's carries Spanx, so I tried those.  MUCH more comfortable.  If you absolutely have to wear shaping garments, I'd go for the Spanx!

Wedding Date Minus 20 Days (Sunday, December 12)
* Met with Karie at Compton Gardens today.  We decided where everything would go and planned out the day.  She's taking care of EVERYTHING! All I’ll have to do is get pampered and show up.  She'll make sure everything is set up, everyone is where they are supposed to be, and clean up afterwards!  If I haven't said it before...a planner is worth EVERY PENNY and then some!  

* Room layout…CHECK
* Ceremony schedule…CHECK.  Jason and I will be walking down the aisle together.  I was really having trouble visualizing the ceremony.  Since we’ve both been married before, the whole walking down aisle and being ‘given away’ by my dad didn’t feel right at all.  Karie suggested Jason and I walk together. 
* Music plan…mostly CHECK.  (Just need Jason to pick some songs now.)
* Transportation…CHECK
* Pre-wedding pampering plan…CHECK

* Karie also gave me a list of things to take care of next week:
  * Get the marriage license
  * Confirm a caterer and finalize the menu
  * Get Jason's suit purchased
  * Stop by Eventures and check napkin color

That’s all for now.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

From Wedding Vendor to Bride: Week 3

Warning...text heavy blog.

Well, things certainly picked up this week!  

Wedding Date Minus 33 Days (Monday, November 29)
* Back to work on the wedding planning today. 
* Heard from one of the caterers I was hoping to use...closed for the holidays.  :(  

* Emails sent and received, online dress shopping, online shoe shopping, online jewelery shopping.
* Talked to Jason's  sister-in-law today. She and Jason's brother aren't going to be able to make the wedding (they live in California).  I was willing to change our date if need because I know Jason REALLY wanted his brother here.  But Jason said it was OK.  I'm going to try to set up a web-cast of the ceremony for them.  If anyone has tips in this, it would be greatly appreciated.

Wedding Date Minus 32 Days (Tuesday, November 30)
* Got the cost breakdowns for our honeymoon.  Who would have thought that it would be less expensive to go to Jamaica than To Hawaii?  Now if Jason gets his passport application together tomorrow, we can book the trip.  I'm a little worried that the upcoming Christmas holidays will make getting a passport more difficult.

* Found my gift for Adrian.  I'd say more about it here, but she might see it. Also found a BEAUTIFUL necklace on super-sale for myself.  When I told the jeweler, that I'd be back on Saturday to pick up Adrian's gift, he told me I'd be back before that to get the necklace for myself.  He was right...I didn't make it out of the parking lot. 
* Made the final payment to Compton Gardens.   
* Spoke with another catering option.  Was NOT impressed with the service attitude.  We're going to try to make it by for a meal at their restaurant this week to see if we like the food (they don't have time to schedule a tasting with us).
* Sent an email to a third catering option in hopes of getting a tasting scheduled.  One of the drawbacks of planning a holiday wedding is that caterers are BUSY at this time of year!

Wedding Date Minus 31 Days (Wednesday, December 1)
* I finalized the invitations tonight...with the help of my super-talented sister, of course. (We're using to send e-vites.)  The original design artwork didn't fit the options available on, so I decided to stay with and change the artwork instead.  Luckily, my wonderfully talented sister was willing to make changes for an hour until we got something we both liked.  
* Jason got the passport sent off and...
* Booked the honeymoon.  We're going to Jamaica!  Sun, warmth, and room service...I can't wait!  Oh, I guess there will be a beach or two as well.  Sarah at Destinations has been great to work with. We did everything over the phone and email... Just the way I like to work.   
* Spoke with vendors about my flowers some more today.  Still haven't decided exactly what I'm doing.
* Here's my email to Karie today: 

--rings on order
--dress shopping this weekend
--left messages/talked with Leslie's Catering & Spring St.
--make-up trial run tomorrow
--hair trim scheduled for mid december
--honeymoon options being looked at
--talked to jason about play list
   * do i need to provide the ipod?
   * what about speakers?
--invites being finalized
--bridal registries started
--sending photo contract in as soon as I find out if she takes credit cards
--talked to jason's mom...there won't be a rehearsal dinner 

--when does jason need to have his suit purchased & fitted by?
--when do adrian and michelle need to have their clothing ready?
--i haven't heard back from the JP...can you follow up, please?
--with the holidays, what's our deadline on getting a marriage license?

What Do I Need To Do Next?

I tend to not use capital letters when emailing friends. :) Her reply was much more detailed and informative!  

Wedding Date Minus 31 Days (Thursday, December 2)
* Put together the guest list and gathered all the email addresses.  Only two of our guests don't have email, so we'll call them tomorrow for a personal invitation.  For the invitations, we used They have lots of options and are easy to use.  I upgraded to get the virtual envelopes, which look really cool.
Here's a sample card I created for the blog...

* Finally spoke with one of the caterer we want to try out...we've been playing phone tag for a few days now.  Tasting set up for Monday.
* Got a message from the jeweler that the rings are being overnighted and will be here tomorrow!
* Sent out the invitations.  I have to say, I'm impressed with this method.  I've already had 4 RSVP's (out of 21)!
* Karie followed up with the JP.  There might be a slight timing issue; the JPs usually swear in on the 1st, but she doesn't know know what time this will be.  Hoping for the best!

Wedding Date Minus 29 Days (Friday, December 3)
* Received more RSVPs today.  
* Looking back at my emails and calendar, I apparently didn't do much for the wedding on Friday.

Wedding Date Minus 28 Days (Saturday, December 4)  
Realized to day that the wedding is ONLY 28 DAYS AWAY!!!!
* Dress shopping!  At Adrian's request, we are shopping for a 'real' wedding dress.  Honestly, I wasn't too into this, but it turned out to be fun.  Adrian brought a friend and I had my mom, sister, and best friend , as well as Adrian and Sarah.  Ashley from David's Bridal was the best! (I need to take her some flowers!)  She was honest with her opinions, and never got upset or frustrated with us...even when we added two more people to try on dresses!  Ashley helped us find a wonderfully cute dress for Adrian and a matching dress for Michelle.  Adrian's dress will have to have straps added, and Michelle's is in a matching color and is in a style that is perfect for her. By the end of the day, we were all tired and hungry, so I decided not to make a final decision on my dress.

follow-up: So I'm completely at a loss as to which dress to pick.  I keep flip-flopping. This is frustrating!

Wedding Date Minus 27 Days (Sunday, December 5)
* Reminded Jason that he needs to 
find a suit and get alterations scheduled.  
* Spent all day looking at dresses again and trying to 'see' myself in them.  Still no decision.
* Tried to visit one of the caterers, but they're closed today. On the other hand, we found a wonderful little Mexican bakery in Springdale. Fresh donuts....mmmm!

Whew! Quite a week.  Stay tuned....

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Off Beat Bride


We're now listed as a vendor on OffBeatBride!


Monday, November 29, 2010

From Wedding Vendor to Bride: Week 2

Week two of wedding planning included a holiday.  Thanksgiving slowed down the process quite a bit.

Wedding Date minus 40 Days (Monday, November 22)
* Today I completed the contract for our location (Compton Gardens in Bentonville).
* I scheduled my pre-wedding hair appointment for a touch-up and trim. Also scheduled a make-up trial run.
* Because of the short work-week and our upcoming wedding on Friday, I'm shifting focus to the shop.  Flowers are coming in for our Friday wedding and we need to prepare for our design day tomorrow.
* After work, I surfed the web for wedding shoes. What do you think:
neutral (vintage look):
sunburst (sparkles!)

  Fuchsia Dance Shoes (color!)
  These also comes in silver.

... and a cute jacket to wear over my dress. Have I mentioned that I HATE being cold!?!

Wedding Date minus 39 Days (Tuesday, November 23)
* I heard back from a caterer today.  Now to decide what kind of food we want and start scheduling tastings.  I'm looking forward to this part!
* Called the travel agency to start looking for honeymoon options.
* Not much else done today--off to the holidays!

Wedding Date minus 38 Days (Wednesday, November 24)
* Holiday time...means vendors aren't available to answer questions.  I've been on the receiving end of this, so I guess I'll wait until Monday.
* Window shopping on the registry websites.  Not much we need, but fun to look anyway.

Wedding Date minus 37 Days (Thursday, November 25)
* HAPPY THANKSGIVING! No wedding planning today.

Wedding Date minus 36 Days (Friday, November 26)
* Black Friday.  Wedding to set up this afternoon, so it's a work day for me and the crew.  I did get the contract from the photographer (Andrea Parnell).  Other than that, very little planning happened today.  The crew talked about what flowers I should have.  They are doing most of the design; I just have to get the flowers.  We talked about tulips  and peonies 'Coral Charm' peony ('Coral Charm'  ('Coral & Gold' and orchids cymbidium orchid bloom (  Oh, and lots of foliages.  The design for my bouquet is starting to take shape in my mind, too.  

Wedding Date minus 35 Days (Saturday, November 27)
* One of my brides from this summer read last week's blog and reminded me that she works at Israel Diamond in Tulsa.  We decided to drive over and shop for our wedding rings today.  Ashley was wonderful and helped us pick the PERFECT rings.   I'll show a pic after the wedding. :)  If you're looking for jewelery, call Ashley! NOW it's starting to feel real!  Something about buying the rings really brought it home that I'm getting MARRIED!
* Had a date at the Tulsa Zoo and came home to eat at ROTC (one of our favorite places).  Not too impressed with the zoo...maybe because it was winter.
* Shopped around on-line for jewelery.  I found this on Etsy...what do you think? 

I also need a gift for Adrian; something to make her feel special.  Nothing's felt just right yet.  Suggestions anyone?

Wedding Date minus 34 Days (Sunday, November 28)
* Do-nothing day.  Looked for more gift ideas for Adrian; that's about it.  Tomorrow it's back to major planning since the holidays will be over.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

From Wedding Vendor to Bride: Week 1

As a wedding vendor, I'm around wedding a lot.  And by 'a lot,' I mean several times a moth.  this week, however, I moved to the other side.  On Monday, Jason and I decided to become 'officially' engaged.  We've been talking about marriage for almost a year.  But life got in the way and we decided to hold off.  Monday, however, brought some more changes and Jason asked me to marry him.  Of course, I said YES!

And, in true when-you're-ready-you're-ready fashion, we picked January 1, 2011 for our date. That gave us exactly 47 day s to plan!  Included in those 47 days are Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas.

Can it be done?  Of course!  Can it be done with minimal stress?  We'll see...

Here's what happened in week 1:

Wedding Date minus 47 Days (Monday, November 15)
* Jason asks me to marry him. I say yes.
* We pick the date: 01/01/2011
* We talk about general stuff like afternoon or evening wedding?  Alcohol or alcohol-free?  Size of guest list?A few basic questions are tossed around, but not much else is decided.
* That evening Jason tells some of his family the news, spurring the need to tell my parents.  We wake Mom (who is at our house that evening) and tell her.  She's excited and somewhat surprised.  Then we call Dad and Jason asks for his blessing.  (This was super cute and unexpected...I AM in my mid thirties, after all!)  Dad gave his blessing.

Wedding Date minus 46 Days (Tuesday, November 16)
* The day starts with calling family and telling them the news.
* Official planning starts.  First call: Karie Sutton (Weddings by Karie) because I need a planner.  Every bride needs a planner, by the way!  Here's a person you get to give all the chores to that you don't want to deal with AND they won't get mad at you.  Plus they know stuff.  Like how a tasting works with the caterer and what needs to be done first/next.
* Call friends and give them the news.
* Start thinking about where to have the wedding.
* Set up wedding website and go through checklist of things to be done.  Remove all non-essential items.
* Start setting up the wedding budget.
* Talk to Jason about what's important to him (food, photography, guests enjoying themselves rather than dreading ANOTHER wedding attendance) and what's important to me (food, size of guest list, the guest experience).  Good, we match on more than one!
* Answer 'Who's going to do YOUR flowers?' a dozen times.  (It's Hannah--my super talented assistant designer.  I'll do my bouquet.)
* Spend at least an hour talking to Karie about what we want.
* Get a list of people to contact from Karie.
* Email JP for availability.

Wedding Date minus 45 Days (Wednesday, November 17)
* Starting to stress the location.  So much can't be decided until this is locked down.  It can't be too big (takes too much to decorate a big space and our guest list is small); it needs to have some personality; hopefully, it will have water nearby; it can't be too expensive; and most importantly, it can't be a place I've worked at a million times!  I do NOT want my wedding to feel like a day at work!
* Talk to super-talented graphic designer sister about designing invitations.  We're doing e-invites because we have so little time, because of budget, and because I prefer electronic stuff to paper stuff.  
* Decide on a kid-free wedding.  We decided to do this because we realized that with our small guest list, the inclusion of kids would mean 1/3 to 1/2 of our guests would be under 10 years old.  That just changes the whole feeling of an event.  So instead, we're going to offer a child-sitting service.  As Jason's sister-in-law put it, 'That will make [your wedding] a date for us, too. 
* Decide on colors. Charcoal Gray and Coral.  Realize there aren't many flowers or dresses in coral in January.  Decide to keep the colors anyway.

* Spend at least two hours on-line looking for a location.  Spend another good chunk of time talking to Karie about locations.  Run some location options by Jason. Get vetoed.  Try again.

Wedding Date minus 44 Days (Thursday, November 18)
* Picked a location!!!! Compton Gardens in Bentonville. Everything on the list but water near-by.  
* Now all the other stuff can be planned.
* Look at photographer websites.
* Updated planning site and budget.

Wedding Date minus 43 Days (Friday, November 19)
* Today is a work day.  Well, a design day.  I've been working all week and fitting this stuff in on breaks and at night.  But we have a wedding on Sunday, so today the focus is creating beautiful flowers for someone else.
* Talked to Karie and Jason about catering options.
* The BIG thing for today is telling Adrian (Jason's daughter) and hoping she's happy about the news.
. . .
* She is!  and she wants to be part of the planning.  She asked if she could go dress shopping with me, my mom, sister and maid of honor.  I wasn't planning on a formal wedding dress, but i can see that this is important to her.  So we'll at least have one day of dress shopping.  It will have to be an off-the-rack dress that requires very little alteration.  There just isn't time for anything else.

I have to say, her response was the thing I was most worried about with all the planning.  I'm SO very happy that she is excited! 

* Picked first member of wedding party.  At dinner Adrian asked Jason who his best man was going to be.  Jason asked her to be his Honor Attendant.  Her face lit up; it was beautiful!

Wedding Date minus 42 Days (Saturday, November 20)
* Day off (mostly).  Apparently my brain has stopped working.  Nap time.
* Asked Michelle to be my Honor Attendant.  I don't like 'maid/matron of honor.'  Who really cares if they are married or not. And 'matron' makes them sound OLD.  

Wedding Date minus 41 Days (Sunday, November 21)
* Delivered the wedding we designed on Friday.  Congratulations Natalie and Tye!
* Talked to Karie about various details.  Delegated picking linens and chairs to Karie.
* Talked to Hannah about flowers.  Told her I'd order them and giver her a bit of direction, but it was mostly up to her.  I have total confidence in her.  Between Hannah and Karie, I have no doubt the reception will be beautiful.
* Emailed a couple of caterers.
* Looked at photographer web sites.  Found one we like; need to see if she's available.
* Talked to Jason about rings.  We're not getting an engagement ring, just wedding rings.  We're picking those out next weekend. 

*  Tried on a wedding dress from a friend.  It needs altering, but it's beautiful.  Adrian wasn't so thrilled.  I think it's the shopping experience she wants.

So that's week one!  Come back next week to see how things are progressing.