Hey friends, Happy Wedding Wednesday (a few days early)! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend as things slowly start to open post quarantine. I think we have a ways to go but I'm thankful for progress, even if it's at 25%, LOL.
As we all know, weddings can be expensive no matter the budget. For me, I knew I wanted to gift my bridesmaids some pretty stellar gifts the day of my wedding, but I also took into account that my wedding was just 3.5 months post Christmas. I did not want to have to settle for 'less than' when gift giving to all of my loved ones.
I knew I needed to map out my finances so that I could focus on what was important during the holidays and not be stressed about money or not being able to afford the gifts I wanted to give. Gift giving is one of my favorite things to do! I love the entire process... coming up with an idea or concept, shopping, and finally wrapping with love.
My advice is pretty simple! Christmas in July (let me elaborate a little more down below), gifting your gals during Galentine's, and for those of us lucky enough to celebrate Mardi Gras, sending your favorites king cake will all help to alleviate the financial burden during the holidays ALL while planning a wedding.
1. I technically didn't gift my sister her MOH + Christmas gift in July, BUT, I did make sure I purchased it then (I also gifted my other MOH tickets to see Heather McMahan in December, but purchased our tickets months prior). Which meant that that was less people I had to buy for during the holidays. You don't have to actually gift give during July or other “non holiday” months, but maybe you purchase something for your parents or siblings so that you'll be able to get to everyone, stress free!
2. A lot of brides will try their absolute hardest to gift their bridesmaids something special for Christmas! Here's how I improvised: Galentine's Day! Because of COVID, my girls are stuck with me for another year. They deserve ALL the gifts I can give to them. This year, I will shower them with gifts over Valentine's versus Christmas. Even if you want to gift friends who aren't bridesmaids gifts, Galentine's Day is my new go-to.
3. For me, a lot of my reps (people I deal with for milliganmovement.com), live out of state. Instead of me sending something for Christmas, they get King Cake for carnival - I've done this for years now! I also LOVE my nail lady, and I send the salon a king cake every year. You might have a very close relationship with your hair dresser or accountant- send them a King Cake ( or a bouquet of flowers)!
They don't have to get something during the holidays for them to be important to you. For Christmas, I can focus on Garrett + my immediate family. Everyone else (close friends, bridesmaids, co-workers) can be celebrated on February 14th or during carnival - if need be.
All selections and opinions in this post are my own.
After being together for almost 3 years, Garrett proposed on February 9th, 2019 under the Crescent City Connection bridge. Here’s how he pulled off the biggest surprise ever! It all started with my photographer telling me she wanted to submit print work for a local magazine cover story and needed couples to model for her. Little did I know the man of my dreams was going to ask me to take his last name! After the proposal, I was whisked away to another surprise! Garrett arranged for all of our closest friends and family to be waiting for us for an engagement party. I didn’t think things could get better than this day, but they did! BLUSHING with excitement, we spent the next year planning with wedding extraordinaire, Valerie Gernhauser of Sapphire Events. Valerie is an A-LIST planner who has produced weddings all over the WORLD. Fast forward to this past December… We were spending the holidays building excitement with family members, as this was our only Christmas as an engaged couple and also because we were less than six months out from our special day. Fast forward to February, less than two months away from our wedding, we started getting news about the Coronavirus that was quickly spreading. Everyone was so unsure of what direction things would turn and laws were quickly passed that no more than 10 people could be allowed to gather until April 13th. Phew! I felt relieved that my wedding weekend would be after the virus passed. However, as we all know, that is NOT what ended up happening. We were SO disappointed when we learned the ban had been extended to April 30th, and we would no longer be able to celebrate with friends + family. After a lot of talks about whether we would wait or just get married with no one or just a few people in attendance, we decided to still exchange vows and celebrate on our special day, 4.18.20! We immediately sent out postponement suites and started planning for a Mirco Wedding. Since we could not have more than 8 guests at our micro wedding, our full wedding party could not be there in person, but they were still adamant about having a virtual rehearsal dinner. Not all of them knew we were still getting married the next day, so we surprised them with the big news during the call! We spent a little over 20 days planning our micro wedding with planner, Minimal Matrimony. With even more excitement because no one outside our family and closest friends knew, our big day was finally here (even though) we had to celebrate in a small way. We only had six guests in attendance at our Micro Wedding to keep everyone safe + healthy. That was our top priority! We FacedTimed two of our parents who couldn't be there in person and had our wedding party on a separate FaceTime call. It wasn't the outcome we originally anticipated BUT we were surprised at how WONDERFUL our special day turned out! In no way did we feel like we missed out on anything. It was unique, unconventional, and even more special than I could have dreamed. Having a Mirco Wedding was a new adventure/experience for ALL of us. I can now check #MicroWedding off the bucket list! I left the venue on Saturday with a full heart and a new last name!
So what is a Micro Wedding?
Micro weddings are quickly becoming a THING. A wedding is considered to be mirco when there are only 30 guests or fewer. Anything between 30 and 50 guests is considered to be a mini wedding. Side note: the bride and groom are included in these numbers!
guest in attendance
I got a lot of questions about how many guests were at our micro wedding. We had six guests in attendance. My Maid of Honor/sister, my Matron of Honor, Garrett’s Best Main/brother, and our officiant were “in person” guests. My mom and Garrett's dad watched from their cars with the windows rolled down. His dad hasn't seen anyone since the beginning of quarantine!
Everyone's safety was our top priority and legally, we couldn't have more than 10 people! We kept it as small as possible, because we knew that we were still going to have our BIG wedding celebration next April. Eventually, we would be celebrating with everyone in person!
I don’t think either of us imagined getting married without our grandparents there, but for their safety they had to watch through FaceTime. Our parents watched from afar as well, and we only felt like my MOHs and his best man were necessary for attendance (even though we wish our whole party could have been there)!
The photographer was there, but she wore a mask and stood far away from everyone the entire time - real life! We wanted her to be safe and follow legal guidelines about distancing.
What about the people who should have been there? Garret’s mom and my dad could not be there as they are both (temporarily) living with our grandparents. My dad started remodeling his new condo right before quarantine started, and Garrett’s mom is helping his grandmother list her home in Joshua Tree, California. We FaceTimed them both so they could witness the ceremony! We also FaceTimed the rest of our wedding party.
To make sure our parents, grandparents, and the rest of our wedding party could be there, we sat three phones on the white fold-out chairs we rented from Explore Element. ALL of our guests technically had a front row seat via FaceTime!
venue + vendors
I already had my eye on this venue, because it is where I was supposed to take my bridal portraits. It is a private residence that looks identical to the Wedding Cake house on St. Charles Avenue, and my sister just happens to be best friends with the family that lives next door! This was totally just a lucky coincidence. It was meant to be!
Florals: Fallo Vanos 504-837-5338 (The florist was having trouble getting fresh blooms otherwise we would have lined the aisle with florals. She also had to make my bouquet with half silk florals.)
Limousine Rental: Rolls Royce from Unique Transportation 504-455-1115
Cake: Ruthie's Cakes 504-733-6045
Tuxedo: John’s Tuxedos
Welcome Sign: Rebecca Calligan (bridesmaid)
Seating and Decor: Explore Element
elements for a micro wedding
Given the circumstances, we couldn’t have our day go exactly how we originally planned, but there were some elements I wanted to include to make our micro wedding just as special, if not more!
2. Music (we packed a small Bluetooth speaker which I’ll link here)
3. First dance -- half way through the song, our siblings, officiant, and my Matron of Honor (who are husband and wife) joined us on the “dance floor” for the rest of our song.
4. Champagne toast
5. Cake cutting
6. A proper send off with sparklers
7. Rolls Royce
I think these elements are what gave us ALL the feels!
We also managed to have a welcome sign, which made our venue feel like it was “actually a wedding.” I had the perfume I wore that day photographed, because even though I did not get ready in a traditional setting, having these small details photographed made it seem real.
We rented 4 fold out chairs for our “virtual guests” to sit on. The easel for our welcome sign & the chairs are from Explore Element.
If you’re a bride to be hoping to still have a reception, I would consider something in a backyard, because as of now, nothing is open to host a reception. I’m going to share some photos of a small wedding reception I found on Pinterest. All of these photos seem so perfect for a small gathering to celebrate you & your soon to be husband.
Here is a photo list I made to make sure my photographer captured every single detail!
(Inspiration for an intimate backyard reception.)
We had no formal itinerary in terms of specific times and durations, we casually moved from one thing to the next. After arriving, we took some pictures separately. Then, we had a special moment, just the two of us, sitting in the back of the Roll Royce, soaking it all in. Rachel even managed to snap some pictures of this intimate moment. It was as close to a first look as we could get. After the ceremony, we had our first dance, a champagne toast, cut the cake, and an official send off as husband and wife.
I need to credit my Photog, Rachel Madelyn and how wonderful she is! She kept things moving and her GOOD energy was felt by everyone in attendance. Even before the wedding, she was keeping me calm and collected! I texted her... it’s raining... she said WE’ve got this! I knew if we had to take photos in the rain, she would make them look like shots out of a magazine.
what about our big wedding?!
Another question that was asked is if we still plan on having our BIG wedding and the answer is YES!
Garrett & I spent about a year planning for that special day, and we were SO excited to celebrate with our friends and family. I worked really hard with our wedding planner to hand select top vendors + I purchased a gorgeous wedding dress that I cannot wait to wear in 2021! I did not want all of my planning to be for naught.
We postponed our wedding with less than 30 days to go, so everything was basically paid for! It would be such a waste of money to just cancel it all together. Nothing was canceled, we simply postponed.When we realized we had no choice, I inquired about dates in June & July but our venue, The Southern Hotel, was very hesitant to reschedule for Summer. I knew Fall would be such a busy time of the year, all of our vendors would not be available on the same date in Fall. Because of this, we just pushed it back an entire year. I’m also a big numbers person and loved 4.18.20 + April is ideal for us both. Garrett’s birthday is in March, and my birthday is in May... It’s what worked best for US.
how i plan on making 2021 still feel special!
Reception? No! Everyone’s health + safety was our top priority. And again, our BIG wedding isn’t canceled. We know we’ll have a big party and celebrate with everyone in 2021, so we didn’t feel like we missed out. In order for next year’s BIG wedding to still feel special, here’s what we decided to do.
1. We exchange traditional vows this past Saturday and kept our personal vows for next year
2. We also decided to move our honeymoon to 2021 and take a mini moon once the travel ban lifts
3. I didn’t wear my original dress because I’m obviously saving that for 2021!
4. We’re saving our first dance song for 2021, so we danced to the song we were supposed to exit the altar to. The song lyrics mention blue skies so that was my “something blue”! (Which is somewhat of a stretch, but it worked :)
5. We also decided to get ready together with our two siblings. His brother is his Best Man and my sister is my Maid or Honor! This helped keep the vibe small + intimate. We laughed, toasted with champagne, and listened to an awesome playlist as we all got dressed.
All outfit details are linked here! I wore Garrett's Grandmother's earrings (which was my something old) and my mother's garter (which was my something borrowed to be passed down to my sister).
I think we were both surprised at how well Saturday went! The overall feeling, excitement, & vibe was surreal. I'm an extremely detail oriented person, and I just kept telling myself that whatever happens HAPPENS. This was really challenging for me. I had to give up my original plan, expectations, and control of the situation. I feel like I grew as a person because of this experience (cheesy to say, but it is true!) I had to give up my "OCD-ness," accept the reality of everything and make the best of it. I knew I could not plan everything like I originally wanted, and that was OKAY! I rolled with the punches and at the end of the day, what mattered was marrying the man of my dreams. On Saturday, I got a few texts asking if I was concerned about the rain, I just kept saying that I was excited, because it's considered GOOD LUCK and clear umbrellas would easily fit into my micro wedding aesthetic (LOL). It ended up raining up until we were supposed to start the ceremony... HOW PERFECT!
Some people ask me if next year will not be as significant because we had a micro wedding. I wanted April 18, 2020 so badly that I was going to make it happen one way or another. I think had we not done something this past Saturday, we would have felt like we did miss out. Our day would have passed, and we would have been thinking about what could have been all day long. But instead, we were able to celebrate in a small but special way. We're SO glad we had our micro wedding and can’t wait to celebrate all over again next year!
All selections and opinions in this post are my own.
A statement no bride wants to hear or say... WEDDING POSTPONED! Being the bride is suppose to be exciting, magical, and a once in a lifetime feeling. To suddenly shift gears and postpone your big day is the complete opposite of magical. With everything going on in the wedding industry, learning how to navigate through this MESS can be a bit overwhelming! After brainstorming and speaking with my wedding planner, I've come up with a few steps you can take once you've decided to postpone your big day.
1. Hire a wedding planner! If you didn't already have one, NOW would be the time to hire one. I can not tell you how THANKFUL I am to have a wedding planner. They are the ones reaching out to all our vendors finding out their availability for our newly anticipated wedding date (thanks coronavirus). If this situation wasn't stressful enough, reaching out to 10+ vendors seems like an endless nightmare! Wedding planners are party professionals, this is what they do! They know the ins and outs of the business and they're only going to point you in the right direction. My wedding planner is the best in the business. Not only has her team planned weddings all over the country, but they've planned and executed weddings all over the WORLD. If you're looking for a wedding planner that you can trust on the most important day of your life, hire Sapphire Events!
2. Stay informed! Your big day is super special and important to you and your significant other. Make sure you're staying up to date with all laws and CDC regulations.
3. While your wedding planner is reaching out to all of your vendors, it's important to update your wedding party and guests. I would say that's it's perfectly acceptable to send text updates to let your wedding party know whats going on. Some of them might be able to help if you don't have the budget for a wedding planner (your wedding party is also your safety net)! Allow them to help out with tasks if needed.
4. It's time to inform your guests! Either by email or snail mail, announce your new news. Send out an un save the date or a card stating that your wedding has been postponed. In my opinion, the sooner the better! A lot of guests have spent money on flights, hotels, and so many other things. You want to make sure they have the opportunity to cancel any reservations so they can be refunded.
5. I'm sure if you've postponed your big day, you and your significant other have already had a serious conversation. I think it would also be beneficial for the two of you to discuss what expectations you both have about what's to come. Now that things have shifted, so do our expectations.
6. Marriage license. If you already applied for your marriage license, don't forget that it has a 30 day window. If you've postponed your wedding months later, you'll have to reapply.
7. Don't forget to thank everyone who ends up helping you through this hardship. It takes a village and you want to let your village know how much you appreciate them. Recommend all of the vendors who helped you by sending all the brides to be their way!
All selections and opinions in this post are my own.
When I originally planned this post, I thought I wanted to go into detail about my venue selection, what tips I learned from Valerie, and how we finalized the guest list... but I decided to dive deeper into my wedding planning and tell you guys how and who we hired as our photographer, videographer, band, and DJ. The very first thing I suggest doing is hiring a wedding planner! They CAN and WILL help you with everything, give advice from 1st hand experience, and set you up on a timeline for success! Sapphire Events was the best decision I made (besides saying yes to marrying G!)
My wedding planner, Valerie, has amazing YouTube videos that go into detail about budget, guest list, and your venue selection. So, once we made a deposit on our selected venue, we then dove straight into photo, video, and entertainment.
Wedding Day Photographer: Lainey Reed Photography
Rehearsal Dinner Photographer: Rachel Madelyn Photo
iPhone Photographer: Katelyn Ehrhardt
Videographer: Our Story Creative
Band: Nola Dukes Band
DJ: Kurt Valvis
So I’m sure by now you know that being an influencer/blogger can lead to sponsorships and collaborations. I have been lucky to collaborate with so many great wedding vendors! However, I had my heart set on certain photographers, videographers, bands, and a DJ. I decided that these were the things I wanted to hand select without having to collaborate, because I knew exactly who I wanted. The photographers, videographer, band, and DJ were not things I wanted to skimp on... I knew they would take up a large part of the budget so I planned accordingly. It’s all about balance, right?!
As soon as I picked my band and DJ, I met up with my bridesmaids to pick out songs! I’m not afraid to admit I can be an OCD bride... so we went to a coffee shop and looked through the band’s suggested song list and also put together a playlist for the DJ. I have been to so many weddings with great music that really got people on the dance floor and others where the music was kind of generic, so I made sure we picked a killer playlist! The band was something my mom wanted more than anything else! She wanted a large 10 piece band. (I didn’t even know that was a thing... according to her it is.) Because the band is so large, we actually got to hand select a few of the instruments. That was pretty cool!
For video, I wanted a highlight video a few days after my wedding, so my planners negotiated that into our contract (another great perk of having a planner)! I also wanted my videographers at my rehearsal dinner. In the south, it is very common for guests to give speeches at the rehearsal instead of during the actual wedding (wedding day dinner is usually buffet style) and I wanted to make sure those sweet + special words were documented for us to have forever. And now that we have our photographer, videographer, band, and DJ we can shift gears to focusing on picking out our cakes, invitations, and of course florals!
Make sure you keep an eye out for more videos that showcase the wedding planning process on my IGTV channel.
All selections and opinions in this post are my own.