January 2018

January 29, 2018

Practically gone are the days when you registered for linen and china, monogrammed glassware, and Tiffany crystal. Back when getting married also meant moving out of your parent's house and into your new, 1,100 sq ft palace.

Nowadays marriage comes at a later time in our lives, most couples are closer to their 30s when they say “I do” and have been living on their own with their own sets of stuff.

It's exciting, the prospect of getting new, shiny matching everything, but before you go crazy with your scanner gun, take a second and take inventory. Let me explain.

What You Have That Needs Replacing

Does your blender fail to blend? Are your knives dull as (INSERT SOMETHING DULL HERE) and no matter how many trips to the grocery store to sharpen them up, they just aren't worth salvaging? Replace or upgrade those things that need it, because you need them, as proven by your current use of them.

What You Have That Works Well

You might be thinking, “I should get another one, just in case the one I have breaks,” but unless you are inviting 6,000 people to your wedding I think we can both agree that there will be other things that you are in want of more, than this thing it is that you already have and that works well. Look at what you don't have first.

What You Don't Have But Would or Could Use if You Did

Oh man, slippery slope my friend. How do you know that you'll use it? Before adding it to the list answer me this: can you borrow it from someone else, test it out and ensure that you really would use it? I think this is a good plan, because in my family the things that I don’t have but would use if I did end up being things that one of the moms owns, doesn’t use, and doesn’t mind loaning me with an infinite loan term.

What You Don't Have But Just Want

Again, perhaps let's start with more important items, like new towels that don't smell like wet dog... because you use them on your dog.

Keep in mind that a small registry forces people to either purchase what's on it or give you cash. If you leave the option for gift cards or a honeymoon fund, you might find people contributing to that as well. Booyah.

My husband and I have a go-to gift; it's tried, true and tested. We purchase the frame off of their registry and add a Benjamin. Say cheese Franklin.

When it comes down to it you want to ask for gifts that are going to enhance your marriage, that are going to bring you closer together to be more comfortable, cleaner, healthier, or have more fun as a couple together.

Prosperity, Love & Happiness,

Josey

January 22, 2018

I realize in part I: What questions should I ask at The Wedding Fair, that we missed out on a lot of vendors. I mean, there’s a whole other category of wedding vendors that deserve their own blog post: the ones who give out samples.

First of all, let’s thank those vendors for giving of their time, their film and their food. So nice. Secondly, let’s make sure that you get to know those vendors as much as possible so that you can determine if they’re a good fit for your wedding.

HAIR AND MAKEUP

Nothing like a beauty bar to get you excited for your wedding day. And this vendor affords you the best opportunity for brain picking and question asking, because you get to sit still and be beautified.

Make sure that somewhere between the lipstick and the mascara you ask a few poignant questions. Like, “Do you provide on-site hair and makeup, or work out of a salon”, “What is your travel fee”, and “How long do you suggest for each person getting hair and makeup done”. How nice to know those things before you sign the contract.

PHOTO BOOTH

Yes! This one is so simple. “Are you available for my date?”, “How many hours do most weddings use a photo booth for?”, “How much space should we give you at the reception?”. Asking the experts is the best way to get the answers you’ll need to create your timeline, and create a room layout.

Some photo booths have a set amount of space, others are more flexible. Some you provide your own backdrop, others have it included. Get to know the logistics of the photo booth, and don’t forget to snap a momentum of your time there at the wedding fair.

BAKERY

Or other dessert vendor. Try it and you might like it. But don’t forget to ask a few questions, mainly about style. Open your Pinterest board again and show them the cake style that you like. If it’s flowers you want added, do they do the flowers or do you add this to your florist invoice? Most cakes get set on a cake stand, is this something they rent to you or do you rent (slash buy) it for yourself.

Not interested in cake? Show them that donut bar you want replicated. If you have food allergies, make sure you mention those. You’ll be pleasantly surprised on just how accommodating your dessert menu can be.

CATERING

Yes! Samples! Pulled pork and bruschetta and anything else they can fit into a paper boat or a tiny plastic cup. But don’t forget to, well, not forget what vendor you ate what from. “Oh that tasted so good”, does your wedding no good if you can’t remember the caterer who cooked that. Use The Wedding Fair program to mark the vendors that you like the most, and grab a business card along with a napkin as you walk away from their booth.

You’ll want to ask yourself an important question, “Do we like this caterer so much that we will get married at any venue they can cater at”. I mention this on purpose because not every venue allows every caterer and not every caterer is at every venue.

If you haven’t booked a venue yet, then be open. Try all the foods and let that guide which venues you want to get married at. If you have a venue in mind, or have already booked one, check which caterers they allow or prefer. That way you can make good decisions at the fair. Ones that result in fewer headaches and more full bellies.

In general wedding vendors just want to talk to you at The Wedding Fair. They want to know about your wedding, about your plans, even about your proposal story. They care about who you are and what you want for your wedding, so tell them all about it!

Prosperity, Love & Happiness,

Josey

January 15, 2018

I’m a planner. Like, for real, I am a wedding planner, but in life, I like to have a plan, make plans, replan and execute plans. If you’re anything like me, then you want to head into the doors of the Minneapolis Convention Center for The Wedding Fair with a plan.

You want to know what you’re getting into, but also you want to know how you can walk out of the wedding fair with plenty of information and answers to continue wedding planning successfully.

It isn’t enough to ask ‘How much do you cost’. Surprising as it might seem, vendors rarely jump for joy when hearing this question asked. Why? Because there is so much customization these days, hardly is one wedding exactly the same, cost and everything else, as another wedding.

Read on for my best tips on what questions you should be asking at The Wedding Fair.

VENUE VENDORS

You might think you have a good idea of all the venues in Minnesota, but you’re about to have your world rocked. There a tons of Minnesota wedding venues, each with their own unique feel and specific list of amenities. Be open. Ask if your date is available, but also ask about seeing the space.

“When do you do tours and who can I bring?”

You won’t be able to get a true sense of how you feel in the space, until you are in the space. Of course, it’s good to ask other questions like, “What is the capacity of your venue for ceremony and reception?”, “How long do we have the venue on the day of our wedding, what about a rehearsal onsite the day before?”, and “What are the best bits of your venue?”

But be open-minded. Seriously, I’ve seen it happen where a venue a bride thought they wouldn’t like, they do AND a venue a groom thought for sure they would love, they just don’t.

GIFT REGISTRY

You might think you know everything about registries, especially if you have been a wedding guest all summer long. But make sure you ask the basics, “How do I add items to my registry?”, “How do people view my registry?”, and “What are popular items that get fulfilled?”. I like the last one, mostly becomes I’m curious… soooo curious.

Some stores also offer a registry party. Party as in champagne, appetizers and customized help to create a registry filled with items that get fulfilled.

ATTIRE

Lucky for you The Wedding Fair has an amazing fashion show that you can attend to get inspired and to see the dresses (and suits) in motion. When you head over to the bridal shop booths and wedding suit stands, there’s one question that you must ask, “When do you have fittings and how many people can I bring along?”

You’ve got to try those threads on for yourself before you can determine if you like the way they look on you. So don’t be afraid to sign up for a fitting, ask if they offer discounts for scheduling a fitting at the fair. Also think about one-stop shopping, “Do you have accessories in store, which ones?”

Don’t be afraid to pull up your Pinterest board and ask, “Do you have styles like this?”. You’d be surprised how knowledgeable someone can be about fashion (that’s me, being sarcastic).

FLORIST

While you have your wedding inspiration images pulled up, how about showing them to the florist vendors, ask them “Can you do this (show picture)”. Honestly, I know the answer will be yes, but until you hear it from the person whom you are potentially paying, you might lack confidence in their ability to execute your vision.

A florist doesn’t just provide flowers so ask them, “What additional costs are there besides flowers? Do you have rentals like vases or arbors?”. This can prove invaluable and really move along your planning process. Also ask basic questions like, “Is there a minimum I have to spend?” and “How do I handle the end of the night, with all of those flowers?”

I’ve been at a wedding or two which lacked a plan for the flowers, and if you think all of your wedding flowers will fit in your Toyota Camry, well, then you’ve probably watched too many commercials, because they don’t.

Oh boy, we’ve only got through 4 venue categories. Let me ask you, what vendors are you looking most forward to meeting the fair? What questions are you going to ask?

Prosperity, Love & Happiness,

Josey

January 8, 2018

My handwriting is nothing to rave about; admittedly, I do not possess the talents of a calligrapher. But I sure can appreciate a well written outer envelope when I see one. Hand-addressed wedding invitations have taken on a life of their own, with every type of font available at your fingertips, colored envelopes and different types of writing utensils, it can get complicated real quick. If you are opting for this fancy detail for your wedding stationery, there are just a few things I think you should consider.

COST

It costs extra to add handwriting to the outer envelope; I’m sure this is a no-brainer. But it costs per envelope, so the more people you invite (that live in separate households) the more this detail will cost. That is, unless you address them yourself. These days there are plenty of online classes, and a couple local ones too, you can take to learn the craft.

SPACING

Hiring a professional can really save your stress level, especially if you are a perfectionist and if you don’t have good penmanship. Or if you just lack the ability to write in a straight line (flashbacks to yearbook signing). It isn’t just about the lettering it’s about accounting for enough space to write all the information on the envelope. Not to mention legibility. You know, so that the postal service can actually deliver your wedding goodies.

STAMPS

Don’t forget to leave room for one stamp, or more, depending on the weight of your invitation. Of course, if you are using special stamps or ink that might get smudged, even when dry, you’ll want to consider hand canceling your envelopes. That way they won’t get ruined before guests even get to see them.

SIDE NOTE: When you mail something the post office makes a mark on the stamp to prevent it from being reused. This is called cancellation. In modern America, this process is done with a machine. A machine that could care less about the wax seal inside of your envelope or the fancy writing on top of it. Bypassing the machine and canceling the stamp manually means more man hours (a person has to do it instead of a robot), hence the need to special request and pay for hand-cancellation. Now you know. I feel like there should be an episode of Reading Rainbow about this...

COLOR OF ENVELOPE + TYPE OF INK

If you are thinking of having a colored envelope you’ll need to try out pen and ink colors. Legibility and visibility. Another reason why hiring a professional could really be the right way to go, since they already have a plethora of pens and know which papers work best with them!

And that’s all of what I think you should know before you opt for handwritten addresses on your wedding invites.

Prosperity, Love & Happiness,

Josey

January 1, 2018

If you are reading this post thinking,

"Oooh she's going to tell us where to get a free bridal bouquet or free ceremony decor, or a free limo and then she'll tell us how to get to our wedding guests to pay for their own drinks and dessert."

You are so wrong. So, very, very, wrong. What I am going to share with you is wedding budget boosters. As in, if you employ these ideas you can boost your wedding budget.

You can make your wedding budget stretch farther and feel bigger than it actually is. You will beat the system and still be able to say, "Ooooh our wedding was wonderful, we didn't spend a lot on flowers or decor, but it didn’t matter, our guests had a lovely time with us and it was beautiful!"

Here are 5 Wedding Budget Boosters:

1. Start by keeping your guest list small.

Under 200, under 100 would be great. Do you want to know what adds up when it comes to your wedding budget? It's people. Those people that you love and that you want to surround you with love. Because here's the truth: meals are per person, invites per person, also menu cards, place cards, programs, chairs, space, etc.

It all adds up. If you can just take a second, do some foreshadowing, and think to yourselves, “Is it really important to have Kevin at our wedding?”

If it is - great! But chances are, you can cut back and you can save big time.

2. Have breakfast for dinner.

This is not my idea, but it is genius. Straying from the traditional wedding menu can be a game changer. If your venue allows, provide your own sweet and salty bar instead of appetizers. Opt for a breakfast buffet for dinner or choose to skip an open bar.

Caterers have a great deal of flexibility these days when it comes to a menu selection, be brave and ask for the food that you like eating and don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

3. Go green with the flowers.

This may seem like an oxymoron but it's not. Opting to include more seeded eucalyptus and less $8 per stem peonies can really work in your favor. Think about saving the pricey floral buds for things like your bouquet, your boutonniere, or maybe even your head table decor.

Get married at a venue that doesn’t need a lot of decor. Opt for a location that can stand on its own, and these days there are plenty to choose from. You can find a plethora of Minnesota wedding venues at The Wedding Fair.

4. Get married during the week.

A lot of venues will have lower or waived rental fees for weddings during the week (Monday through Thursday) and during slow season (in Minnesota, November through April). I like this tip. I like it because it automatically includes tip #1. Fewer people are willing to take time off of work during the week, therefore fewer people will come to your wedding and you will spend less money, not just on rental fees. Whoopie.

I know this was a tough one, lot’s of Pinterest-bubbles being broken but I think it's important I say one more thing.

5. You should have the wedding you want, but you should also spend your money on what you want.

You being the plural you, as in you + fiance. If a honeymoon is in the plans, perhaps you'll want to hoard more money for a grander vacation post-i-dos. Maybe you are looking to buy a house? Remember that whole housing market crash thing that happened, two words: down payment. And lastly, if you don't like my ideas, don't take them. I'm already married so it's no sacks out of my bin (... er... no skin off of my back).

How do you plan to save dollars? Comment below please! (so I can steal all of your ideas and tell the whole world).

Prosperity, Love & Happiness,

Josey

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