Wedding Planner Journey: The Guest List!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Wait, who are you inviting? And oh- surprise- I’m going to bring a date!
Yes. It’s time to talk about… the guest list. After our budget creation, our next order of business was the guest list. The guest list is honestly one of the hardest aspects of your wedding. You have glorious friends and family but, the question remains- can you afford to invite EVERYONE?
In most cases, it’s no. But, remember that doesn’t mean you don’t love someone. It simply means that your pocket book isn’t that deep. Being on the other side of weddings has taught me probably the most important note in planning my own wedding. Every guest, you pay for. You pay for their food, drinks and overall experience.  Every guest has a dollar sign attached to their name. Yes, it’s a black and white way of looking at the guest list- but it’s true.  Additionally, venues often have a cap of guest that you can invite. For instance, our venue only holds 150 guests.
Now, here we are. Shea and I want an intimate wedding. To be honest, I never really thought I would be the, “I want to get married in a princess dress and dance the night away” type of girl. Planning weddings is what I do. I deal with clients on a daily basis and help others plan their weddings. The last thing I really wanted to do was spend the money and plan my own wedding. One night, after a few glasses of champagne, champ is by far my favorite, my father and I made a bet. I had told my family for years that I wanted to get married in a vintage 50’s dress at the courthouse. Maybe some rice would be thrown, and we would dine at our favorite restaurant for the reception. I was confident that this was my vision. So, my father and I shook on it. Now, here I am engaged- planning a wedding. Why you ask? Well, when I told my mother about my courthouse plans she replied, “Weddings aren’t just for you. They are for your friends and family.” I understand what she said- they are a celebration. Now here I am planning our wedding, and well I am glad I changed my vision. Sorry Dad. Although my vision has changed, I still want to create an intimate celebration, like I had dreamed of, with just our close family and friends.  
We chose the number 120. We made a deal that we will not go over. And honestly, I won’t let it happen. Shea wrote down a list of his family and friends. I created my own list. Currently we are around 100. But, we are both noticing that as our time goes by, our parents and even ourselves; realize we left a few loved ones off. Over the next year, I’m sure it will grow and we will need to create a Plan B list. What is a Plan B list? Well, as RSVPs return, you will realize that some guests will not be able to attend. Well, hello Plan B. Do you have a distant family member that you would like to invite but had to prioritize, well put them on the Plan B list. Simple and effective, I promise you.
As for dates, ohhhhhh wedding dates. As a planner, this is my advice: If a wedding guest has a serious significant other and will not know anyone at the wedding- give them a plus one. If you are inviting a close group of gal pals that you can all place at a table- have them enjoy and celebrate together. Be decisive, and don’t be afraid to write in the number of guests allotted on the RSVP card. I can’t tell you how many weddings I’ve worked where we are short chairs, table seating, or even meals due to the surprise date. Be as precise and detailed as possible to limit mistakes and unknown factors on your day of.
Only time will tell what changes will be made in our guest list. Our guest list may not be set in stone until Save the Dates go out, but there is one thing we do know, that we want to spend our wedding days with those we love and not go in debt doing it. 

Interview with Elegant Affairs

One of our amazing Elegant Affairs team members Kat Blunt conducted an interview with Owner/Wedding Planner Lori Losee about her company and her love for everything DIY.

Check out the interview and the Blog Post.

Review from Client

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Thank you so much for all of your hard work during our wedding! It was a perfect day and we had a fabulous time, creating the most perfect memories that will last our lifetime! We couldn’t have done it without your help – you solved all our problems and kept all the worries at bay. It had an amazing impact on my planning – I wasn’t stressed at all. Rachel, your Hawaiian dance was amazing and we’re still having people comment on it.
 ~Amy & Eli, Laurel Creek Manor, August 30, 2013

Wedding Show DIY Project: How to make our stars!

The highlight of our booth according to the Seattle Wedding show vendors and attendees were our hanging stars. I went in search of cute yet easy to make stars to hang in our Persian themed wedding booth and came across a great blog that had the stars I was looking for. I wanted to make something that was easy and didn't have to glue, tape or staple. 

Here is a link to how to make the Stars!

I spent less than $7 on 30 cardstock paper in three colors and with the aid of a pen, scissors and a scoring tool, my team and I spent one evening tracing and cutting out the stars and assembling them.

This was by far the easiest DIY project we have done and all of the stars came out spectacular.

To hang the stars we used a small scrapbook hole punch and then strung them on fishing line and viola there you have it!

Our biggest piece of advice is to get paper that is not too heavy nor too thin so the star is easy to fold and bend and hold its shape.

Seattle Wedding Show Recap

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The 2014 Seattle Wedding Show is officially in the books. We some amazing couples and vendors and can't wait to get to work. For our booth this year we wanted to break out of the box and do something a little different. Wanting to emphasize the rich colors that we see as a trend in the upcoming year, we went with a Persian themed booth. Working with some pretty outstanding vendors, our reality came true. Thanks to A Tailored Affairs, we chose the gold fabric for the back of our booth with an orange Indian inspired fabric as the focal point.

For the table we went with a blue linen complete with a gold patterned sequin overlay. To complete the tablescape, we used two white lanterns, gold flatware courtesy of AA Party Rental and gold round chargers.

Then there are the flowers. Knowing my vision, I went to the flower man himself, Christopher Flowers who created these unbelievable arrangements.

Finally, the main attraction of the booth that really got people talking where the stars that we strung through the top of our booth. When it came down to the construction of the stars, we wanted a no-fuss DIY craft and we found this amazing template and the Elegant Affairs team spent three hours drinking wine and eating pizza creating these stars. 

We will be posting the star tutorial tomorrow.

We have to thank all of the amazing vendors who helped make this booth successful:
Also thank you to Alante Photography and Azzura Photography for these beautiful images of our team and booth.

Wedding Planner Journey: Search for the perfect dress!

I’ve lived in Seattle for three years now. I enjoy every moment of the bustling city. Around the holidays, I leave the traffic for Eastern Washington to visit my family. This year, I went down to the Tri-Cities to visit my sister and brother-in law. We thought that it would be a fabulous and fun idea to try on dresses with my sister, who happens to be my Maid of Honor, and my mother. The only thoughts that occurred through my mind were the following, “Well, this is going to be fun!”, “It’s going to be just like dress up!” and “I won’t buy a dress on the first day of shopping!”

Yikes. Dress shopping for myself was not what I expected. I have gone dress shopping as a bridesmaid and consultant. It’s fun picking out bridal gowns for others. Deciding between mermaids, fit and flare, ball gowns, lace, tulle, ivory, or white seemed pretty simple on the other side. As we walked into the first store, my sister gleamed in excitement. All I could think about was, “There are so many dresses here. How do I know what I want?” I’ve been to sixty some weddings and I am absolutely CLUELESS. I’m pretty positive I looked like a deer in the headlights. I was silent, looking through the racks, and wanted out. Sara grabbed dresses off the rack and exclaimed that I needed to try all of them on. I went to the dressing room with the saleswoman and honestly, I only tried on one of the 3. I didn’t feel like trying on anything else. I was overwhelmed.

We went to the next store and I felt like I had a moment to catch my breath. We met my mom at the second store and she greeted me with a big hug! Dress shopping with my mom is so important to me. About a year ago, I tried on my mother’s 1970’s silk, custom made, bridal gown. I remember the glimmer in her eyes as she saw me in her wedding gown. She had offered to let me wear her dress, but I decided to create a new moment for us buy shopping for a new one. This is a special moment for my mother and in the end she would be buying my wedding gown.

We walked into the next store and a friendly woman greeted me. This shop was so much easier. They asked me what I was looking for. I quickly spurted out a list of all the things I didn’t like. Little did I know, what I thought I had wanted from my pins, looking at client’s gowns, I realized that my “dream” dress wasn’t what I wanted after all. I tried on a MAGNIFICENT bridal gown. They did me up, with the veil, flowers in my hair and all. Mom and Sara loved it. I loved it too. Then, as soon as I saw myself in the mirror, I was overwhelmed. Is this the dress for me? Should I buy it? Is it too soon?

I ended up leaving the store without the dress. That was the best decision I made. I wanted to go home and think on it, and I’m glad I did. If there’s anything I’ve learned from my dress experience on the other side:

1.       Don’t get discouraged if what you think you originally wanted isn’t what you want after all; sometimes the dress you least expect is for you.
2.       Don’t let the saleswoman wrap you into bridal gown fever. Yes, you like this dress, but is it YOU? Can you see yourself walking down the isle, dancing the night way, and feeling just like you?
3.       Is it in your budget? I recommend trying on dresses that are in your budget. On a whim, the saleswoman had me try on a beautiful blush bridal gown that was WAY out of budget. That was a mistake.
4.       Limit your audience. Yes, it’s fun to bring all of your bridesmaids and friends. Before, think about what their opinions are like. Do you have different styles? Will you be shopping for your friend and not you? This is your moment. Find something you can cherish, find something that you desire.
5.       Finally, Don’t be overwhelmed. Enjoy the process. I forget that this time, and when I look again I want to be ready to enjoy and take in every moment.

I’m planning on going dress shopping this summer for my perfect dress. In the meantime, I have decided not to look at any more bridal gowns. I want to enjoy my experience, not create  headache to find the perfect one. 

Wedding Planner Journey: The Hunt is On!

Friday, January 10, 2014
The holidays are over. Part of me is very thankful for January.  My life is finally back to normal, well almost normal. Life hasn’t been the same since I’ve been engaged; it’s been fast paced and exciting. The calls have finally died down and I now I feel like I can retract back into my cozy apartment and relax. Sometimes I forget that I’m a bride or that I have a wedding to plan. Not only do I have a wedding to plan, but we have the Seattle Wedding Show this weekend. This week is a big week for Elegant Affairs and our wedding planning team. We have anticipated the show for almost a year now. As a team, we have planned every detail to a tee and we are ready. I may be ready as a vendor, but am I ready as a bride?

The Seattle Wedding Show is an experience.  As a vendor we work to create a positive atmosphere for all our brides that enter our booth. The doors open bright and early. Before you know it, all of the brides eagerly flow in. It is overwhelming. I have seen so many brides walk around the Convention Center with a glazed over look on their faces. There is so much to see, so many vendors, and amazing deals everywhere. 
Everyone wants you, but who do you want? This is what I need to remember- who do we want?

This year will be a different experience for me. I will be working the wedding show and will be attending as bride. I will walk down the aisles of vendors- many whom are my friends. I’ll share my fabulous news of engagement followed by shrieks of delight. Even as a vendor, I have to think about what is best for us. Yes, there are various deals at the wedding show, but is it true to who we are? Will we be making a good decision choosing one vendor over the other?

Here is my personal advice, as a wedding planner- vendor-bride, hunting for the most magnificent wedding vendors Seattle has to offer. This is my wedding show game plan.

  • I’m going to look around at various vendors. I will look at ALL the vendors the Wedding Show has to offer. Yes, I know what vendors provide catering, or who is a florist we use on occasions, but I will take all vendors into consideration. I will be open minded. I will explore new options. I will look for a vendor that can cater to my needs.
  •  I will watch the fashion show. I think I have an idea for the perfect dress, but who knows what is out there? I want to visit various bridal gown vendors and see what they have to offer. Do they have off the rack dresses that can be purchased today? Are there any dresses that I love?
  • I plan on trying cake, pie, and cheesecake. In no specific order. I will take multiple samples… and I may have to return for more. Just in case.
  • I will look at all wedding photographers. Does this photographer have the style I am looking for? What is their turn around rate for photos?
  • As for dresses, I will play a little dress up, but I will think clearly of my vision and the dress experience I would like to have.
  • Most importantly, I will have fun as a bride. I will not have a glazed look over my face, or be the next contestant on Extreme Couponing. I will breathe, smile, and enjoy the ride.

The one thing I will not have to search for is an amazing woman to coordinate our wedding day. I have had the pleasure to work for such a supportive company over the last three seasons. Lori, the owner of Elegant Affairs, will be standing next to me on our wedding day as a bridesmaid. As for our wedding, it will be run by Elegant Affairs. I highly recommend hiring a wedding coordinator. Yes, I am a wedding planner but, I will have a coordinator run our wedding. I can do the planning, decide between lace and satin, but I want someone to take the stress off of us so we can truly enjoy our day with our loved ones. I want my guests, family, and friends to eat, drink, and watch us get married- not box up the reception at the end of the night. 

Don’t be shy; wedding coordinators are here to help.

I will be working the Seattle Wedding Show with Lori, the wonderful owner of Elegant Affairs, and two amazing woman from EA. Stop by, give me a wave. I’d love to chat about our wedding experiences together. After all, we are each other’s best resource.

Cheers and Happy Wedding Show ya’ll.