Bridal Show || Fall 2014 || Brazos Valley Wedding Planning

On Sunday, September 21, our local Bridal Association held the annual Fall Bridal Show and Benefit where this year, 82 vendors in the wedding industry came together to showcase their trade and put their best foot forward to meet planning brides. It proved to be one of the most attended shows, by brides and vendors alike, which is always a good reflection of those involved!

The bridal shows have become fun for us on a few different levels of participation. We get to enjoy the “bride” side by guiding current clients that we are wedding planning with and making sure they hit certain booths while at the show to do side by side comparisons. Then, we also get to exhibit as a “vendor” but more importantly, assist other vendors in booth design and rentals to help make their booths look the best they can! Here are a few of our favorite reasons from both sides of why bridal shows are pertinent to planning…

Why attend as a bride?

Style – Yes, as a “designing” company, this is always one we stress! Whether you are selecting vendors or just visiting with ones you already have contracted, you want to know they have a sense of style that fits with what you are planning. Your styles don’t have to match, you just have to have confidence that your florist, baker, wedding coordinator, wedding designer/decorator, rental company, photographer and videographer (to name a few) have the ability to read your style and execute what your vision is.
ComparisonThis is one chance you get to have vendors of the same trade in one location where you can pick their brains and decide which you feel most comfortable with, whether it is that you make your decision that day or set up a follow up appointment to make that final agreement. Ask them the same questions, don’t be afraid to talk price, and use the time as a mini interview session.
IdeasYou may already have your vendors selected, or your wedding may be out of town, but going to bridal shows can often trigger the creative juices and add some element of surprise for your wedding. If you find something you love there, don’t be afraid to talk to the vendor about it. They should be more than happy to share the tricks of the trade even if you aren’t able to work together.
GiveawaysThat’s right, free things! Most bridal shows offer door prizes, hourly drawings, vendor booth drawings, and/or grand prizes that can really add up when you’re tallying up your budget. Don’t miss that opportunity!
Girls dayTake your mom, his mom, your girlfriends and bridesmaids and just make a day of it! This can be a good bonding time for all of you without being too overwhelming with opinions and will give everyone something to focus on. They can even have wedding specific jobs after attending the show as you get details nailed down.
Eat Cake!…and all other goodness! – Possibly one of the most fun components of planning any wedding…the cake tastings! At bridal shows, you get to taste multiple cakes by multiple vendors so you can be absolutely confident they one you have chosen is the one that matches your taste buds. But not only do you get to sample multiple cakes while at the show, you get to sample the culinary work of different caterers as well.

Why attend as a vendor?

StyleShow it off! As vendors we should be flexible with the way we work our style to make sure that the end product reflects the wishes of the client. But the bridal show is an instance, just like in a vendor’s office/showroom/personal space, that we all get to use our creativity and show what our personal style is which is a huge draw for clients and should be a lot of fun for vendors. Use trendy colors or themes, or stick with something traditional and classic that always screams your name. Just do your thing!
NetworkingWorking in a like industry we need to know who we are working with, who offers what services, what names go with what businesses, and be able to share stories, business laughs and referrals. Most of the time when we are all working together it is at a wedding or event, so the shows are a little more light hearted, a little less focused on one client and can typically spare a few good conversations. It also helps to know who you like on a personal level so that you can share that, and professional experiences, with your clients. We all know how powerful word of mouth is!
Meet those bridesWhat other opportunity are you going to have to be in a room with 250-400 brides who are in the middle of planning their weddings?! This is your platform! I hear people say all the time, “The shows don’t really work for me.” If that’s the case, no big deal, but make sure you track that progress. Know going in what will make it successful for you. How many bookings do you need to get to cover your costs? How many bookings do you need to get to exceed your expectations? Set goals and make those connections with the brides that you can feel are the right fit with you. It is a hard realization as a vendor, but we are not meant to work with all clients. A bridal show brings these different personalities to you for a mini speed dating session so that you can gather their information and follow up down the road to make sure you reconnect.
A day out of the officeThis can mix it up a little bit and give you a different line up in your schedule! In the wedding industry 8am-5pm jobs are not the norm, but this can help get you out of the office, stop the computer work, and get the social chatter going. It is usually a welcome break.
Team buildingThis is a good opportunity to give different members of your team “Bridal Show” related jobs and see how they handle the task of setting up, exhibiting and pulling together a full concept of a booth. There are more components that go into it than some expect and working on projects such as this are good steps for those coming into the industry. Make sure as the manager, or owner, that you help along the way and know what the end product will be so that you can give your stamp of approval because ultimately you will hold the responsibility.

To those who attended as brides, we enjoyed meeting you and talking briefly about your wedding plans. We’ve been excited to start relationships after the show and will enjoy seeing those weddings bloom.

To those who attended as vendors, we enjoyed talking with you, seeing your ideas and style and will see you again soon.

To those who were on the planning side of the show, job well done and congratulations on the contribution that will be given to Pink Alliance at the October banquet. The donation is always such a high point!

Happy planning, businesses and brides. xoxo

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Social Media During Wedding Planning :: post do’s + don’ts

you the Queen of Social Media who shares every last detail of your day with all 3,000 of your “closest” Facebook friends at the close of every day? Or maybe your significant other is the one who holds that title in your relationship. When in the midst of wedding planning social media can be a great research tool, can help you document the decisions and wedding day, and can help you communicate with guests. On the flip side of that, it can be very dangerous. You can be bombarded by opinions and “suggestions” that may not be the direction you need, you can give too much information to those not intended, and you may make a few of those “closest” friends feel alienated.

Here are a few things to remember:

{do}
Inform those who are close, especially family, of your engagement before posting it. Your phone will be ringing as soon as your post has the first comment if you didn’t follow the proper chain of communication with family members and close friends of your big news! Once you’ve done your due diligence, flash that ring, or pictures of the actual proposal and start sharing away.

{do}
Put out a call for recommendations and opinions on styles, vendors, locations, etc. You may find your favorite vendors and locations based on word of mouth, but also remember that you may need to take some of the style opinions with a grain of salt. Keep most “calls” on the light and airy side to avoid issues too personal.

{do}
Create a private page that can be an avenue for information with wedding party and guests once you start getting the RSVP’s. You can have your wedding website, accommodations, times, addresses and alternate location information all listed for everyone to reference.

{do}
Get inspiration from friends’ albums and wedding photos on their pages. You may know someone who got married at your venue or had their reception at the same location and by looking at their photos it could help flow your creative juices.

{do}
Ask your guests to tag pictures, use a hashtag, or share in a group so that everyone can see your wedding day captured differently after it passes. It is always fun getting to relive through different views!

{don’t}
Use Facebook (or alternate social media) as an open call for addresses, or as an invitation for guests to the wedding. Your entire friend list will not be invited to the wedding, though some may feel they got snubbed without an invitation. You may have budget or venue restrictions that dictate a small guest list, but you don’t need to feel compelled to tell all. Privately message, make a phone call, email or text those who you are getting addresses from and move forward from there.

{don’t}
Ask your wedding party to be a part of your special day on Facebook. Use some personal, face to face communication, or phone if distance is an issue, to let them know that they are special to you and you are excited to have them be included.

{don’t}
Share too much information, or ask for too much information before discussing it with your significant other. Make the wedding planning something that you do as a couple before including the rest of the cyber community. Make sure you are on the same page before going full steam ahead in one direction and having everyone else on your side.

{don’t}
Direct friends to your wedding registry on social media. It is similar to printing it on your wedding invitation. Your guests will ask you, your parents, other friends, or see it on your shower invitation or wedding website and find the gifts from there. Listing your registry on your own page is like simply saying, “Get me a gift, please.”

Remember in your planning, just make sure you focus on what’s at hand and if you are a person who shares your life on social media, continue to do so, just modify a few wedding related posts to not tip over the edge! If you are not an every-day sharer, don’t feel obligated to change your nature.

xoxo

Jennifer Ann + Andy || may 30, 2015

 

Jennifer Ann and her mom, Jeannie Smith, were women on a mission when it came to wedding planning. The vendor selection process was a breeze, Jennifer Ann and Andy chose a venue that would showcase their day perfectly, and a time line was put together to make sure the planning was taken care of around their busy lives in a manner that fit them well. Then wedding week came about. Everyone in the Brazos Valley is familiar with the rainy, stormy Spring we experienced in 2015. When looking forward to weekends, the forecast could make you cringe. It was no different for the weekend of May 30th and 48 hours prior to the wedding, Jennifer Ann and Andy, along with the support of their families, made the call to change venues. With a swoop of calling guests, vendors, wedding party, and a few small tweaks, all was in place and the family never skipped a beat.

If asked to describe this sweet family, I think the words Southern Grace are most fitting. If you’ve ever met them, you know you are always greeted with open arms and a warm hug, just like a part of the family. And the guests that arrived on the wedding day to celebrate Jennifer Ann and Andy were such a testament to this.

 

Here is what Jennifer Ann shared when we asked for advice for planning brides and her experiences.

q: How long did you plan your wedding?
a: 13 Months

q: What would you call your wedding style?
a: Rustic Elegance

q:What was your inspiration when putting together your wedding design?
a: Keeping my love of flowers a priority in the planning process, the florals really became the focal point of the event. Keeping with neutral tones in the table linens and accent colors enabled the florist to take flowers that were in season/abundant and really capitalize on those colors. The end result was EXACTLY how I pictured it- beautiful flowers with neutral and gold undertones.

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q: What was your favorite part of your wedding day?
a: Dancing the night away with my new husband, our friends, and family!

q: What piece of advice would you give other couples currently planning their wedding?
a: Enjoy the planning process and try not to get too stressed if something doesn’t go as planned. We changed our venue 48 hours before our wedding day due to weather. While we could have gotten stressed, we tried extremely hard to remember what was most important—we were going to be married by the end of the weekend and that was ALL that mattered! Our wedding turned out so much better than I ever imagined!

Additionally, Make a list of what you consider the most important parts of your wedding day- and work to make those particular things the very best! Ashley & Co was great at helping with this. Kelly knew I loved flowers and wanted the reception area to be pretty. Giving her and the florist the ability to take that and run was the best thing we did! 

 

q: Who are your “love role models” and why?
a: Our parents- we both grew up in homes where our parents loved each other and loved Jesus.

q: What does marriage mean to you?
a: It means having a permanent best friend- right?! All jokes aside, marriage is a commitment between two people and God. We both take this commitment very seriously and are so thankful God has allowed us to go through this journey of life together! 

q: Where will you and your spouse be in 50 years and what will you be doing?
a: Living in the mountains and maintaining our active lifestyle while enjoying our family and friends. We love the outdoors and we love people- so we know those will both be parts of our future!

 

Those involved.

{bridal gown} Beautitude || beatitudebridal.com
{bridesmaids attire} Bill Levkoff || www.billlevkoff.com
{men’s attire} Men’s Wearhouse || www.menswearhouse.com
{rings} Montelongo’s || www.montelongos.com
{coordinator} Kelly Nail || Ashley & Co.
{rehearsal dinner} The Veranda || the-veranda.com
{venue} The Equine Complex || (979) 458-9166
{photographer} Ashley Monogue || www.ashleymonogue.com
{caterer} D’Vine Cuisine || www.dvinecuisine.com
{bar} Chartwells
{ceremony music} BCS String Quartet|| www.bcsstringquartet.com
{dj} Downtown Event Services || www.downtowneventservicesllc.com
{lighting} RDM Audio || www.rdmpros.com
{cakes & desserts} Cakes by Blondie || (936) 873-2311
{florist} Postoak Florist || www.postoakflorist.com

Jennifer Ann & Andy, Jeannie & Bob, thanks for letting us share your joy.

xoxo

Jill + Shawn || october 4, 2014

When we initially met with Jill, we were fortunate enough to meet Shawn and Jill’s parents in the same meeting. The family dynamic was so funny and we immediately fell in love with all of them! Shawn seemed to take the “observer” seat and let Jill take control of the design and details, which she was absolutely amazing at. Jill had done so much planning on the back end of getting her ideas toget…

Assem + Brian || august 30, 2014

Destination wedding, Bryan, Texas. We were contacted by Brian about seven weeks prior to their set wedding date. From a coordination perspective, it is always exciting to get to put together any wedding on a shortened deadline! Brian had flown back to the States and decided that there would be no better location than Bryan/College Station, Home of the Aggies (of course, his Alma Mater) to play…

Mock Set || college station event planning

What exactly is a “mock set” and what are the benefits? If you’ve ever been in our showroom I’m sure the words mock set have been thrown out in conversation more than once! We are strong believers in mock sets and try to encourage our coordination and rental brides to do one prior to their weddings. If you have heard the phrase in passing, but really aren’t sure what it is, or if one would be…

Abigail + Walter || june 28, 2014

Laughter, design, humor, love. These all come to mind when thinking back on the time spent with Abigail, Walter and Deborah (Abigail’s mom) planning their perfect day at Double Creek Crossing in June. The mother-daughter bond that Deborah and Abigail share is absolutely admirable. Design was always important to the two of them, and in true groom fashion, Walter was happy with what made his blushin…

Laura + Donald || june 21, 2014

We first met Laura and her mom (Marcy) during our initial consultation and were immediately drawn in by Laura’s calming personality. She knew what was important to her and had her hit list ready to go when it came to the wedding. We had six months to plan, she was at the beginning of her demanding time of work and knew that time management was at the top of the list while finding vendors that fit her style and budget. Marcy and Donald provided the perfect support to Laura during the planning and as a team they planned their dream day, and on the wedding day the love that Laura and Donald were surrounded by was so prominent!

Ryan Price captured their wedding day perfectly. I love how you can hear their laughter through the pictures. I think I could look through these all day, every day. What a beautiful summer wedding at The Greenbranch.

We asked Laura to share some words of wisdom with us and future brides.

q: What piece of advice would you give other couples currently planning their wedding?
a: Don’t rush to start planning…take your time to feel inspired before you decide on things. Make the major decisions first (dress, venue, photographer, food) and then all the little things will fall into place. And ENJOY the planning process, each moment is special because you’ll only do it once in your life.

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q: What was your favorite part of your wedding day?
a: I don’t think there was one particular moment, but it was all the little moments that I will remember and cherish… and having all our friends and family in one place – I just remember the feeling of being surrounded by so much love.

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q: What would you call your wedding style, and where did you go for inspiration?
a: Country Garden. Lots of Pinterest! Lavender & mint color palette, outdoor/garden/rustic barn settings.

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q: What does marriage mean to you?
a: Having someone to share life’s joys and sorrows with. Always learning from each other and growing together.

Those Involved
{bridal gown} Brickhouse Bridal || www.brickhousebridal.com
{bridesmaids attire} David’s Bridal || www.davidsbridal.com
{men’s attire} Men’s Wearhouse || www.menswearhouse.com
{rings} Ben Bridge || bride || Gordon’s || groom
{coordinator} Kelly Nail || Ashley & Co.
{venue} The Greenbranch || www.thegreenbranch.net
{photographer} Ryan Price || www.ryanpricephoto.com
{caterer} D’Vine Cuisine || www.dvinecuisine.com
{dj} Downtown Event Services || www.downtowneventservicesllc.com
{cake} Cake Junkie || www.cake-junkie.com
{florist} Postoak Florist || http://.weddings.postoakflorist.com
{bar} Luke’s Bartending || www.bcsbartenders.com
{beauty} Celebrity Salon || www.celebrityspa.net
{ceremony music} The Big Apple Trio
{honeymoon} Estes Park, CO

Laura and Donald, thank you for letting us share your day with you. We can’t wait to see how the two of you grow together in your journey of life and continue to spread more love within your family and the world!

xoxo

Steps to take After the Wedding

 

Congratulations, you’re Mr. & Mrs.! You have survived the months of planning, compilation of details, hard work, and incredible celebration with your family, friends, and new spouse. There are just a few more things to tie up the loose ends, make things legal, and get you fully settled into your new life. Read along for some guidance on what to do next and remember, the sooner you get started, the easier this will be.

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{marriage license}
Your marriage license should have been filed by your officiate following the wedding. It can be filed in person or mailed back to the county to be filed and a certified copy will be returned to the address you provided on the license. Once you receive this, hold onto it and keep it out, you will be using it quite often in the first few months to make these changes. Depending on the county, this could take a couple of weeks to process.

{name change}
This is something that offers many possibilities these days. A woman can keep her maiden name, hyphenate, take her maiden name as her middle name, drop her maiden name altogether, or just add her new married name to the last of her existing names. If you are changing your name, you will need to visit the social security office and DMV. Also remember any other form of ID that you have such as a passport, bank account, credit card, cell phone, etc., and start notifying those administrators of the change.

{say your thanks}
Be as prompt as you can with your thank you cards for all gifts you have received, which include showers before the wedding and gifts received at the wedding. Above those thank you notes, if you had anyone who went above and beyond during your wedding time that you feel needs a little extra pat on the back, send them a note. It might be a parent, an extra helpful bridal party or extended family member, or a wedding vendor who just made the day that much better. Let them know you noticed.

{cohabitating}
If you are a more modern couple, you may have lived together before this point, so this may not be as big of a step as it once was. But if you are moving in together for the first time, remember to communicate and start learning each other’s habits and patterns because you both may be moving into the other’s space. This is when you get to start setting up your house, apartment, duplex, etc. how you want it. You get to decorate and blend your styles using the fantastic gifts from your wedding registry and a little of what each of you had before the wedding. (Which can be a good and bad thing!) Again, patience is good in this situation and decorating together can teach you a lot about personalities.

{finances}
This was probably a conversation before the wedding, but it may not be a bad idea to revisit the finances. Talk about bank accounts and if you will keep everything separate or will combine, existing loans, salaries, monthly bills, general spending and budgets. This will keep you on track and in the clear with your spending.

{your gown}
Once the wedding is complete your wedding gown will need to be cleaned and you may want it preserved. Or, you may decide you want to donate or sell it. Each person is different and has a different expectation for their gown after the wedding. Decide exactly what you want done with yours after and start making those plans. If you decide to get it preserved talk to the bridal consultant that helped you with the purchase of your gown to get a direction that they trust.

{pictures & videos}
Before the wedding your photo and video vendors may have spoken to you a bit about what they need from you. For example, the videographer may need you to give them five songs to fill in for your highlight video. The photographer may need you to choose 80 images once they have processed everything so that they can begin working on your album layout. Be aware of what those vendors need and know that the sooner you get what they need to them the sooner you will have your product to share with others.

{legal, formal & little pieces}
This is where insurance, naming beneficiaries, writing wills, changing email names, business cards, name plates a work, changing your status with your accountant and all the little things come in. Look into insurance with your spouse and decide which policy fits best for needs and complete that paperwork. Once you have made the decision on your name change notify your supervisor at your job to have your new name listed on all that it should be.

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