Unplugged Weddings: The Pros and Cons

These days it seems like everyone always has a phone or some other device on hand. While this can be convenient in many cases, it can also be extremely distracting. This is especially true for weddings! For this reason, the idea of an “unplugged” wedding was created. An unplugged wedding calls for guests to completely put their phones, cameras, and other devices away for all or part of the wedding festivities. Before you decide if this is for you, here’s some pros and cons to consider:

PROS:

  1. No Distractions

    Asking your guests to have no devices out will help everyone stay focused on the celebration. It will allow them to be present in each moment instead of being preoccupied with getting pictures of their own or checking/posting on their social media accounts. This provides everyone with less distractions and more memories made.

  2. Benefits Your Photographer and Your Pictures

    Unplugging for the day is beneficial for your photographer too because it allows them to be the only photographer for the day. This prevents any shots from potentially being ruined by camera flashes or guests that step into the aisle to take pictures. Having an unplugged wedding keeps those aisles clear and lets the photographer do their job to the best of their ability, which results in the best wedding pictures for you!

  3. No Posting Before You’re Ready

    Another benefit is that no one will post pictures you don’t want them to or before you get to. That means no pictures posted without your permission or that aren’t exactly the most flattering. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to announce your wedding on social media and post the first pictures of your celebration.

CONS

  1. Missed Moments

    The downside of no guest pictures is that you won’t get nearly as many shots of your friends and family celebrating during the day’s activities. A guest’s perspective will show you little moments and memories that your official photographer may not get. This problem can be helped by making only your ceremony unplugged. That way everyone can enjoy the ceremony distraction-free, but still capture all the fun at the reception.

  2. Negative Response

    Unfortunately, if you decide to unplug, there will be those who don’t agree with your choice. Some guests will be upset by your decision and may even disregard your request altogether. If you know that many of your guests will react this way, then it may be better to let the wedding stay plugged in.

  3. Less Pictures

    Along the same lines as the first con, this decision can also result in less pictures of the wedding overall. This isn’t a problem for everyone, especially those who are content with the plenty of pictures an official photographer will give you. However, those who might opt not to hire a photographer due to their budget will have virtually no pictures if they have an entirely unplugged wedding.

The decision is yours to make and there’s no right or wrong answer. It’s all about what works the best for you! Decide for yourself what kind of environment you want to create on your wedding day and be sure to enjoy every moment, unplugged or not.

 

The Vow Decision: Traditional or Personalized?

Everyone is familiar with the famous “I do” moment of the wedding vows. It’s the moment that two officially become one and the ceremony becomes the celebration.  However, in recent years, many couples have decided to give their “I do” a more personal touch. These modern couples opt to write their own vows instead of the traditional ones or to combine personal vows with the traditional. Each way has its own benefits and drawbacks to think about.

Personalized

The biggest benefit of personalized vows is just what you’d think: that they are personalized! Writing your own vows gives you the opportunity to be fully yourself and tailor your vows to your spouse and the unique love story you share. It also gives guests a glimpse into your relationship and the sweet connection you have that they might not always get to see. Plus, you can put them in keepsake booklets to hold onto after the wedding is over! However, sometimes writing your own vows can put a lot of pressure on the two of you to find just the right words. The stress can be too much for some and they opt to use the traditional vows, which are simpler but just as sweet.

Traditional

Traditional vows are preferred most by those who want a more traditional wedding overall. Many enjoy the history and sentiment of the tradition, especially those with a religious background. For others, it just keeps things simple and sweet. Specific words said in the vows aren’t as important to some brides as the vowing itself. It also removes some of the stress previously mentioned that can come with writing your own. Using the traditional ones can be a helpful way to keep your ceremony stress-free!

Whether personal or traditional, your vows are something special to share with your spouse. If you really can’t decide which way you prefer, then you can always combine a bit of both. Just remember that they should be what the two of you want them to be. Make them sincere and true to your story and you can’t go wrong!

 

Narrowing Down Your Guest List

Creating a guest list for any event can be pretty difficult, but it is especially so for weddings. There’s your family, friends, college roommates, and even some acquaintances from childhood. The list can go on and on, but at the end of the day you can only invite so many. So, how do you decide who stays on the list and who goes? Here’s some things to consider that can help you decide!

1. Venue

The first thing to think about is how big your venue is and how many people you can afford to pay for. If you already have a small venue, then you’ll know you need a smaller guest list. However, if you have a fairly large venue you will have to decide how many you can afford to have there and use that to determine your number of guests. Either way, think about your space and your budget to come up with a designated number you can invite.

2. Relationships

It may sound harsh, but you have to think about how close you actually are to the guests you’re thinking of inviting. For example, you’ll probably make your immediate family a priority but maybe skip on inviting that one cousin you have that you’ve only spoken to twice. In reality, you have to think about which people you absolutely can’t do without on your day. If you haven’t spoken to someone since high school, then you can probably leave them off the list. Focus on inviting your tribe and those that you for sure want to be present.

3. Groups

One way to make the decision a little easier is to list out everyone you’re thinking about and sort them into groups. The first group will be your must-haves and each group after that will go down in priority. When you need to start cutting you can start with the last group and work your way up. That way, your absolute must-haves will definitely get an invite. Also, it can be helpful to divide the total number of guests evenly to split between you, your fiancé, and each of your parents. Then, each person can make their groups and get their input into the list.

Just be sure that, ultimately, you and your spouse both get to have all of the most important people to you there. That will likely involve compromising on some of your lower priority guests, but it will make for a happier day altogether.  

 

Emergency Kits: What They Are and What To Include

It’s the day of your wedding and you’re already all nerves when you discover a small stain on your dress which you barely have time to think about before one of your bridesmaids tells you that one of the straps on her dress broke and one of the backs for your earrings is missing. You start to panic and, to top it all off, now you’re starting to get a headache from all of the stress. What’s a bride to do in situations like this?

One quick and easy way to prepare for any problems that might come up is to create a wedding emergency kit! This handy little kit is filled with travel size items to carry with you throughout the day in case anything comes up (and it most likely will). So, here’s a list of some things you might want to include in your kit:

  • Sewing kit – From little tears to missing buttons, these can be one of the biggest lifesavers

  • Stain remover – A little stain on a dress? No problem with a little of this

  • Hairspray + bobby pins – Because we all know that at least a couple of hairs always have a mind of their own

  • Safety pins – These are perfect for holding together a broken strap, busted dress closure, or anything in between

  • Aspirin – Headaches and the like seem to always come at just the worst moment, so just be prepared for it so you can get back to the celebration

  • Tampons/Pads – Same as the aspirin; it’s just better to be prepared

  • Super Glue – This can fix a multitude of things and is one of the most useful items to include

  • Fashion Tape – Any hems or strapless dresses that just won’t stay put can be fixed with a little of this

  • Tissues – Great for catching some of those happy tears without ruining the eye makeup you just put on

  • Clear nail polish – To fix any runs in tights or fraying fabrics/ribbons

  • Tweezers – Useful for many cosmetic situations such as applying false eyelashes or plucking a stray hair

  • Jewelry repair (earring backs, clasps, etc.)

  • Makeup – You never know when you’ll need a little touch-up throughout the day

  • Nail Clippers – For all your nail emergencies - they can even be used as scissors for smaller things such as a loose thread

These are just some ideas to get you started! You can add or subtract from this list as much as you like to make it meet your specific needs. You can also choose to make your own kit or just buy a pre-packaged one. Either way, being prepared with an emergency kit can save you a lot of stress. It will also give you some peace of mind that, when things don’t go the way you planned, you’ll be able to handle it and still enjoy every moment of the day.

 

Kids at Your Wedding: Yes or No?

The laughter and smiles brought by children can be wonderfully sweet additions to your wedding, but sometimes circumstances make the day better suited for the adults. As much fun as having kids present can be, sometimes it’s just better to let them stay at home depending on what you have planned. Each bride has to decide for herself what she wants to do, but there are a couple of things to consider when doing so.

First, little ones can be pretty unpredictable. This is great for having fun at the reception, but it can definitely be distracting if they suddenly become vocal during the ceremony. Of course they’re young and don’t realize they’re being disruptive. However, that won’t keep your guests from focusing on the crying behind them while you’re in the middle of your vows. Some brides who really would like kids to be able to attend will opt to make the ceremony adults only but invite the whole family to the reception. That way everyone can join in on the fun!

If you’re going to have kids present, then you’re going to want to plan your entertainment with them in mind. Whether it be coloring books, bubbles, board games, or some other activity, you’ll probably want something designated for just the kids to do. It can also be a good idea to make sure you have someone available to supervise your little guests. On the other hand, if you’re a bride who really doesn’t want to plan anything extra, then a completely adults only wedding might be for you.

Another thing to consider is the time of day your wedding will be taking place and how long you anticipate it lasting. As you go later into the evening you will lose guests that have to take their children home before bedtime or as they get tired. This will prevent them from sticking around to celebrate and will make the dance floor much less lively if you were planning on dancing all night. If you want to have children at your wedding it will be better to schedule it earlier in the day.

In the end, make the decision that’s best for your wedding vision and all of your guests (especially the littlest ones)!

 

Unique Takes on the Traditional Guest Book

Your wedding is a special day with some of the most special people in your life. To remember all the love and memories of the day shared with these friends and family, many brides use a guest book. It’s the place where your guests can make their mark and become a part of the wedding in their own little way. Traditionally, this is done through an actual book that guests can write in. However, there are several other options for those that are looking for a unique twist on the tradition.

1. GAME/DATE NIGHT

One option that’s a lot of fun is the game night/date night guest book. This lets your guests leave ideas for future date nights, games you can play or simply some advice. You can get creative with how you let them share their ideas too! You could have them write on the playing cards or game pieces you would use or on slips of paper that you can draw from when you need some inspiration for something new to do on your dates.

2. DECOR

This option gives you something that you can hang up or display. You can pick from any number of items: picture frames, polaroids, puzzle pieces, mugs, calendars, quilts, a canvas, or pretty much anything you can think of! Your guests can paint, write, doodle, stamp, or draw in any way on your choice of material and create a beautiful piece of art for you to treasure.

3. THE TIME CAPSULE

You can also take the traditional idea of having guests sign a book but have them fill it with advice, messages, or well wishes and turn it into a time capsule. Tell everyone that whatever they write will be seen by you in a year’s time when you and your spouse sit down and open it. This could also be a way to include those that couldn’t attend the ceremony by having them write letters to you that you can add to the time capsule.

There are so many different ways you can create a guest book and express your unique personality. No matter how you may decide to do it, a guest book is a great keepsake for you to look back on for years to come!

 

"Friendsgiving" 2016 - Holiday Hosting on a Budget

If you’re anything like me, every holiday season spurs on a wave of excitement for endless opportunities to host.  To decorate.  To give.  To plan.  To commune.   There aren’t enough “to’s” to even cover all that us creative and festive folk can achieve in just one month of the year.  Most of us know the struggle, though, when it comes time to host a party or plan a dinner – that endless flood of creative ideas quickly curbed by the limits of a tight budget. But who says you can’t have both?  Our mantra at Inspired Help has become “make it work”.  So make your vision work for your budget.  It’s 100% possible.

A couple weeks ago, Brittany hosted her very first “Friendsgiving” with 15+ guests for – believe it or not - under $50. That’s right. I will also personally attest that there was absolutely no elegance and creativity compromised by that dollar value.  It was truly one of the most charming thanksgiving dinners I have ever attended.  If you’re in need of some thrifty inspiration for your holiday ambitions, here’s exactly how she did it!

First off, let’s just take a moment to take in this table set.  Believe it or not, Brittany used Kraft paper for the table runner.  Buying a huge spool of it can be so worth it in the long run and is useful for other things as well, such as gift wrapping, bundling bouquets, or creating banners.  A small spool of it typically runs around $3.00-$5.00 at any paper store. 

The greenery is simply a bundle of eucalyptus – about $12.00 from Nashville’s Import Flowers.  One bundle was able to cover the length of a 12+ foot table. 

As for the candles, Brittany was able to reuse a dozen or so that she had on hand.  Originally, these LEDs were purchased immediately after Christmas during the post-holiday markdowns.  Searching through clearance and sale-item sections is worth it to find ridiculous deals for high quality and reusable pieces like these. 

The festive plates and napkins came from Hobby Lobby and were purchased two days before Thanksgiving.  At this point, holiday items were marked down 80% leaving a whopping grand total of $10 for two packs of 20 plates, two of 50 count napkins and one additional 25 count.  The glasses pictured came from a Dollar Tree at $1.00 each!  For reference, the same styled golden-rimmed glasses are also available at Anthropologie for $18 a piece. 

Some of my favorite Brittany-DIYs of the night were these lovely “What I am Thankful for” bags.  If you caught us on Instagram two Wednesdays ago, Brittany featured a tutorial on how to make them!  If you missed it, the only supplies involved are brown paper sacks from Kroger ($2.00-$4.00), patterned washi tape from Hobby Lobby ($3.00), and a printer.  She simply trimmed the lunch bags two thirds of the way down, then sealed the bottom opening with washi tape to create a beautiful pouch for the silverware.  The leftover lunch sack bottoms were then used as favor bags filled with slow-cooker roasted pecans.  This was both a sweet gift to guests and a simple way to make the home smell like a cozy November. 

Lastly, Brittany had guests each bring a savory dish, sweet dish, or a beverage to cover the meal.  With a little winter jazz thrown into the mix and sweet additional touches here and there (how cute is that chalkboard sign?!), it was such a beautiful night.  And yes, we managed to fit all of that food on the table as well.  Amazing.

Planning and creating on a budget takes a little work sometimes.  It may require some deal searching, repurposing, and coupon hunting.  But it’s so worth it when your guests are raving over how gorgeous everything turned out (and you’re not in the hole over it, either!).  Be inspired this holiday season, and let your creativity do what it does best.  Through it, others will be blessed.  Enjoy the holidays, sweet friends!

 

Images by: Gabriella Alvarez - @gabbaliciousness_

 

 

Common Officiant Mistakes to Avoid

Happy Wednesday!  Today we've just got a quick tip for you engaged ladies in preparing for the ceremony.  First, think about your officiant.  Has he/she officiated many weddings?  Is it a pastor?  A close family friend?  Choosing an officiant is often a sentimental decision, and brides should certainly feel total freedom in picking whom they want!  Remember, though, that no officiant is perfect - no matter how many weddings they may have done.  Sometimes minor details get forgotten; here's a few that we've seen, so be sure to reiterate these with your designated person!

1. Forgetting to seat the crowd

It's an honest rookie mistake, but be sure that your officiant will remember this after you've gotten down the aisle.   Otherwise your guests may be standing for twenty minutes.  Yes, we've seen it happen. 

2. Standing behind this kiss

This one may not seem as obvious to most, but to your photographer it is.  Save him/her the pain of trying to edit around an awkward officiant standing in the background.  The kiss shot will look much cleaner, and you'll be happy you mentioned this to them beforehand!

3.  Skimping over state ordination laws 

Some states differ in how they honor ordinations - specially those who have been ordained online.  Here in Tennessee, someone must be officially ordained to legally marry you.  Be sure to do your research and stay compliant with state laws.  Even if it means having a separate ordained officiant marry you after the ceremony, you don't want to overlook this. 

Fortunately, your rehearsal will allow you to nail down all the small details with your officiant.   It never hurts to reiterate them beforehand, though, to allow for the smoothest ceremony possible!

 

Wedding Tips: Prevent the Wedding Week Chaos

Hello loves and happy Wednesday!

This week I wanted to share a couple thoughts about handling any week-of-the-wedding tension.  The last few days before your big day will fly by in a blur, yet there are endless things to think about along the way.  Rehearsal.  Honeymoon packing.  Emergency kits.  It’s easy to constantly feel like you’re forgetting something.  A lot of times, friends and family can be so eager to help, which is always a huge blessing!  The downside to this, though, is the flood of questions brides get from all sides that can leave them feeling overwhelmed.  In order to keep this extra stress away and best utilize the help that you have, there’s a few simple ways you can prepare the week of!

The best thing you can do to remain stress-free during the remainder of your engagement is to delegate tasks out to your bridal party and family.  Making each of your girls a point person for a specific job will allow your final to-do list to be done as efficiently as possible.  This also ensures that no one is left responsible for remembering everything, and each person can spend time focusing on their jobs.   Along with this, be sure to assign a filter for all questions, whether it be your maid of honor or your mom.   Your filter can be responsible for answering all the questions from friends and others wanting to help and may even direct them to what they can help with.   Taking the time on the front end to distribute responsibilities will significantly reduce your load and allow you to focus on you!

If this speaks to where you’re at in your engagement, I seriously encourage you to let others help you.  Though it sometimes feels like more trouble assigning others to a job than doing it yourself, you will be so thankful you did in the long run.  Never feel guilty for taking a step back to breathe while your friends put in time to help.  They’re there for a reason. 

Have a restful week!

 

Choosing your Bridesmaids with Intention

Last week on the blog I highlighted an awesome company that creates the most gorgeous bridesmaids gifts and proposal baskets!  If you didn’t catch us last week, check out our post here.  This week, in keeping with the theme, I want to address one of the first big questions a bride may ask herself upon engagement: “How do I choose my bridesmaids?!” There’s certainly a lot that goes into choosing ladies (or guys – bridesmen all the way!) to walk alongside during this exciting season.  For starters, here’s a few important thoughts that may help you form your bridal party with intention!  

First, make sure you take number into account.  Though you definitely shouldn’t feel restricted to x number of girls, keep in mind the ratio between girls and guys. Sure, it’s not 100% necessary to have an equal number of bridesmaids to groomsmen, but it at least deserves heavy consideration.  Keep in mind that lining up 15 bridesmaids and only 5 groomsmen may present some challenges.  This will affect not only the ceremony but the bridal party photos as well.  If you’re dead set on an uneven number, though, consider going a more creative route in how you place the bridal party during the ceremony.  For some inspiration, check out our previous post discussing this very topic here!

 While most brides do think about that balance between girls and guys, it’s easy to glaze over this next element of balance.  For perfect symmetry in bridesmaid-only photos, it’s best to choose an even number of bridesmaids instead of an odd.  Why?  Think about all the pictures with just you and your girls.  Having six bridesmaids allows for three on each side.  Only five, however, will leave one side a girl short.  Again, this is a preference that may not matter to you in the long run, but it’s worth considering! 

At some point in your selection process, you’ll probably run into the dilemma of trying to narrow your list down.  One way to help with this is to think about your relationship with each of your potential girls.  How long have you known each of them?  How much is each a part of your life right now?  Some brides go with only choosing those who have been involved in her and her groom’s relationship.  Others opt for picking girls from all aspects of their lives – from old high school friends to current college roommates to the one friend they’ve had since kindergarten.  Of course, going with a broader method of selection will leave you with a much larger bridal party.  But again, this is your wedding, so focus on choosing those who are most important to you – regardless of number.

Your bridesmaids should be the ones you can’t imagine getting married without.  During one of the most hectic yet endearing times of your life, they are your tribe.  Your support.  Your family.  Once you’ve gotten past the choosing part, then it’s all fun from there!  Again, check out our post last week for some awesome ways to propose to your bridesmaids with That’s Darlin’ Gifting!

Happy planning,

 

That's Darlin' Gifting: "Will You be my Bridesmaid?"

Bridesmaid proposals are so fun, I get giddy just thinking about it.  There are literally endless creative ideas for this, and I always love seeing what brides come up with!  I know a lot of ladies, though, that would love to treat their girls in a special way but simply don’t know how!  Today I want to highlight a business that may inspire you in this, and they’re all about cute gifting!  I’ve been swooning over them for some time now, and I’m fairly certain you’ll fall in love as well.

That’s Darlin’ Gifting is a custom gifting studio specializing in weddings and related events.  From bridesmaids gifts to guest welcome packages, they’ve got just about anything you could think of to help treat your loved ones!  Even if you’re a huge DIY girl like me, it can be so hard sometimes running from store to store trying to put something together.  With That’s Darlin, all of that lingering creative pressure is removed.  Each of their packages is customized to fit exactly what you’re needing, and you can rest assured that it will be beautiful. 

I mean, can we just take a moment?

These bridesmaid proposal baskets are some of my favorite creations of theirs.  How adorable is that?!  Their gifts are truly so much classier than anything else comparable I’ve seen.  It’s seriously worth it for all that you're getting.

There’s something so sweet about showing your bridesmaids you appreciate them.  Having a tribe of ladies there for you to keep you sane, help you prepare, and celebrate your relationship is such a special gift, it’s nice to extend one to them in return!  Sometimes words cannot truly convey how thankful we are for someone else, and gift giving is just another way to articulate our appreciation.  You want your bridesmaids to feel so loved and understand all that they mean to you, and what could be more thoughtful than a gorgeous gift box that’s completely personal to them?  I don’t know any girl that wouldn’t absolutely adore this. 

To find more information about That’s Darlin Gifting, go check them out at their website here!  You can also find them on instagram at @thatsdarlin_ and see lots of beautiful gifts they’ve put together.  You may even find some creative inspiration in the process!

 

Images provided by: That's Darlin' Gifting

 

Getting your Groom on Board

Rosecrans-286.jpg

Considering the nature of wedding planning, it’s quite often that the grooms aren’t as heavily involved in the process.  And all things considered, it makes sense.  A bride’s got a vision for her day.  She’s got lots of opinions and ideas fueling the energy to make plans, decisions, and purchases.  Often times, the groom is just along for the ride, playing the role of moral support during that busy time.  But through the time we’ve spent working with brides, we’ve found that often times the fellas simply don’t know how to help!  Here’s a few tips for getting your man involved in practical ways that are actually helpful!

1.     Give him a list.

Think about everything that needs to get done this month.  Now think about all of the straight-forward tasks that don’t have to be done by you.  If you’re DIYing wedding décor, do you need help picking stuff up from the store? If you’re sending out invitations, could you use help getting his family’s addresses? Come up with a basic list of things that might make your life easier and write them down for him!  If you give a man a list, he can easily knock it out!

2.     Get the groomsmen involved.

Sometimes it feels more worth doing a job by yourself if it means that it’s done a specific way.  Consider, though, having a night where the groom and all his groomsmen come over to knock out one big job.  If everyone is there together and willing to help, you can more easily explain a job and entrust it to them!  Maybe it’s painting pallets.  Maybe it’s boxing things up, or loading up cars.  Communicate this need to your groom, and take the opportunity to let them help you in ways that they can! 

3.     Communicate your need for rest.

It’s easy to get burnt out on planning, especially when you’re juggling a million different things at once.  When you’re reaching that point, let your groom know if you just need a night away from it all!  Don’t let your engagement season be overwhelmed by wedding exhaustion.  If you communicate to him that you’d love a night without a mention of the wedding, the two of you can take that time to enjoy each other and nourish your relationship!  Having that small bit of “normal” in a season of crazy may surprise you at how restful it feels.  Even if your man can help in no other way, he can certainly take you out, allowing the two of you recoup!

Take time this week to rest and let others help.  Even the small things can make a huge difference in your week!

 

Wedding Tips: Back-Up Your Music

Hello, friends!  Here’s a quick tip for your Wednesday: Always make sure you have a backup plan for your reception music. 

Regardless of whether you’re having a live band, professional DJ, or a friend running iTunes, all options will involve technology.  And technology fails.  Quite often, actually.  Volume jacks will break, laptops will crash, and it all seems to fail us at the most inconvenient of times.  But as unpleasant as it may sound, it’s best to anticipate for these mishaps ahead of time.  This way you’re already prepared for the worst and will have a good, quick solution at hand!

For those having a DJ, you’ve probably given them some form of a song list.  Screenshotting this list on a personal phone or even printing it out is an extra measure you can take to prevent this from getting lost (whether by human or technological fault!).  If you’re running music off of a personal phone or computer, have your playlist loaded onto a second device in case your first device quits working.  Another way to even further prepare is to find or create a Spotify playlist for the dinner music, one for dancing, etc.  This way you can rest assured that you have pre-approved music that can be accessed from any device at any time! 

Take this and be encouraged to do one simple thing this week to form a wedding fall-back! I promise it will serve you well.

Happy planning,

 

Journaling Your Way to "I do"

Life is fast.  It comes and it goes.  Even the days that seem slow become sweet and distant memories with the blink of an eye.  For soon-to-be brides, life may seem even faster.  Six months to find a wedding dress can turn into one month overnight.  “I’m getting married next year” will change to “I’m getting married next week” before you know it.  Amidst the hustle, it’s easy to lose the sweetness of this time in your life.  We ladies can grow so bogged down by life’s demands that we forget to truly cherish each breath as they’re given to us.  Today I encourage you to slow down and take it all in, and consider one method that may help you to hold onto each moment of your wedding day: journaling. 

Journaling is one of those things that you can either love or hate.  But even if you’re not that into it, consider how quickly your wedding day is going to fly by.  You’ve spent months and months planning for it, pouring your time and energy into perfecting every detail.  But ultimately, it’s going to last for one day.  24 hours.  Journaling allows you to both consciously slow yourself down, and it provides you with memories that are pinned down in your own words.  Years down the road, it will be so rewarding to have those checkpoints to sweep you back into that day. 

Practically, you obviously can’t be journaling through the ceremony and reception.  But think about the possible moments of downtime: getting your hair done, waiting for the whole bridal party to arrive, sitting around before the first look.  Those are quick opportunities for you to literally jot down any thoughts and feelings.  Writing it all down also helps to combat nervousness or feeling antsy, and you may find that it keeps you calm throughout the day! 

If you love the idea of journaling, I truly hope that you find it worthwhile.  Don’t even hesitate to start now, even if you’re still months away!  It will serve you well. Regardless of if what it is, I really challenge you to find something to slow you down during this season. What is it that’s keeping you from doing so? You deserve to breathe, and you deserve to cherish these moments.  In the spirit of October, go grab a blanket and some coffee, and take a moment of rest.  Find whatever allows you to do those things, and don’t let anything snatch away your joy. 

Happy Fall!

 

Images by: Abby Tohline Photography 

 

 

Meet the Staff Monday: LeChelle

Hey everyone! My name is LeChelle.

I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan but somehow found my way to good ole' Tennessee. I am a busy body, book lover, and a ophomore majoring in marketing at Trevecca Nazarene University. With my marketing degree, I plan to work in the events business (how ironic, haha). I am the baby of my family, and if anyone were to ask my family members, I'm sure they would all agree that I might be a tad bit spoiled. Even though I am spoiled, I really love to work hard and explore different aspects of the business world!

Ever since I was a little girl I always planned everything out in my life, from birthday parties to my future wedding. I always found joy in creating and developing events that I would make up in my head. I am now 19 years old and still finding joy and passion in the events business, and honestly, it's a dream come true. Inspired Help is one of the biggest blessings in my life right now because since Brittany invited me to join the team, I now have a family full of other cool people who enjoy doing the same things that I enjoy.

To have the opportunity to experience good people, long but beautiful days, and still be happy with my job is a blessing that I thank God every day for. Our team is amazing, and I am led by the best leaders that anyone could ever follow. I definitely believe that Inspired help is where I'm meant to be and I plan on being around for a long time!

LeChelle

3 Ways to Place Your Bridal Party

Ladies, if you’re engaged, think about your bridal party.  How many bridesmaids/groomsmen do you have?  Have you considered how to place them during the ceremony?  If your wedding is still a long way off, you probably haven’t given it much thought (and we don’t blame you).  Chances are, you may not have even considered all your options.  For a little inspiration, we’ve got some ideas/tips to help you think through what’s best for you! 

Traditional Placement

It seems that most brides, even today, tend to go with the standard bridesmaids-on-one-side, groomsmen-on-the-other lineup.  This certainly is a great option if you’re going for the simple, clean look.  This placement also compliments more traditional styled weddings nicely!  One thing to consider with the traditional placement is the size of your bridal party.  Picture-wise, the divided lineup will look best with small to medium sized parties that have an equal number of guys to girls.  Aesthetically, this will keep your ceremony looking balanced and have the attention naturally drawn towards you and your groom in the center!

Couples Placement

A second option for your bridal party is to have them stand in couplings, rather than having the bridesmaids and groomsmen divided.  This lineup still allows for 2 clean bridal party lines, but it adds a unique feel to it.    Another option with doing couples is to have the ladies sit in chairs or on stools with the guys standing behind them.  Even if you are set on having your maid of honor to your right and the best man on the groom’s left, you can simply have them walk separately and paired with someone else, or even standing as individuals!  This way they can still be set apart without the gender division. 

Group Placement

This option has recently become more popular, as weddings have begun to stray from traditional in style.  The idea of having groups clustered together on each side allows for the bridal party to all feel like one giant family – a community surrounding both you and your groom.  This set-up works especially great for larger bridal parties or parties with a different number of bridesmaids to groomsmen.  Additionally, having groups may eliminate the awkwardness of having a bridesman or groomslady.  Rather than having the one man on the all female side or vise versa, everyone will be casually and comfortably mixed together!  Aesthetically, you may even want to include chairs for the front row of each group in order to create levels and balance on each side.  

The biggest thing to remember is that every wedding is completely different.  Your day will be 100% unique to you, so always choose what you feel most comfortable doing.  Never feel pressured to go with what everyone else is doing, or what people may be expecting you to do.  What is most consistent with the overall feel of your wedding?  Which set-up works best for your bridal party?  These are only just a few ideas, but we hope they have sparked some inspiration!  

 

Wedding Tips: Don't Forget the Linens

Hello loves!  Here’s a quick tip for your Wednesday as you push through that wedding planning! 

As your wedding creeps up, it’s so easy to forget about the small things when so much of your attention and energy must go into the bigger things (your timeline, your vendors, etc.)  One small detail so many brides seem to check off the list then forget about is linens. 

If you are renting or buying your linens, chances are they will be folded up and stored in boxes for several days before you’re going to be using them.  As you would imagine, all of those table clothes and drapes will form creases and potentially be wrinkled the next time they surface.  If you want to save yourself the panic upon realizing this the morning of, designate someone the day before your wedding to pull them all out and steam them!  Whether it’s your maid of honor, your mom, or your wedding planner, this is a simple job that truly pays off in the long run.  Having a smooth aisle runner, for example, really takes your venue to the next level.  Plus, having this covered in advance will save so much time during set-up and tear-down! 

Take the time today to assign someone to this job, no matter how far in advance!  It’s one more thing you get to cross of the list – and who doesn’t love that feeling?!

Have a fabulous Wednesday!

 

Tuesday Tasting with Chef Penelope's Catering

You’ve probably heard the old saying, “You either eat to live or live to eat.” Cliché or not, I undoubtedly belong to the latter.   Food isn’t just for my survival.  It’s an experience – and it better be a good one. 

A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend a tasting with Chef Penelope’s Catering – a five-star gourmet catering business here in Nashville.  Specializing in weddings and special events, Chef Penelope and her team have always gone above and beyond in their services each time we’ve been privileged to work along side them!  We’re constantly referring our brides over to them, and after my experience at their tasting, I’m even more in love.

Before I even get into my dinner (which was, no joke, one of the best meals of my life), let me first say that Chef Penelope’s staff is incredible.  I was instantly greeted by three smiling faces who were incredibly excited about having another guest. From start to finish I felt warmly welcomed.  The entire evening the team was so kind in answering questions, serving their guests, and setting such a comfortable yet classy atmosphere – a rare combination that I was pleasantly surprised by!

Their sampling menu was everything good in this world – four heavenly chicken dishes, a vegetarian tortellini, dozens of different vegetable and side options, a fusion bun bar, coffee bar, and best of all: a bananas foster station.  Needless to say, my plate was overflowing with delicacies.  My two favorite dinner samplings were their Brussels with a Blood-Orange Marmalade and Grilled Chicken with a Smoked Shallot and Tomato Relish.  I seriously couldn’t get enough.  Their Garlic-Mashed Potatoes also came in at a close third, and this potato lover does not give that rating lightly!

But truly, the best part of the meal had been eye-balling me the entire night.  Yep, the bananas foster was too good to be true.  I had no intentions of eating the entire thing, but once that spoon hit my mouth it was all over from there.  I’m honestly still thinking about it two weeks later, along with the rest of my meal which was nothing short of glorious.  

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Brides, I seriously encourage you to check out Chef Penelope and her team.  Don’t let your wedding be remembered by a mediocre-at-best meal.  More importantly, let your first married meal be so worth it after the long day you’ve had rushing to make everything happen!  Chef Penelope has so many catering options – from vegetarian dishes to bar services, and she even offers a “late night snack” option for those who anticipate late hours of dancing at the reception!

They are so worth your consideration, so check them out on their website here where you can contact them and even attend a tasting yourself!  I promise you will leave with a full stomach and a happy heart.  Also find them on their Instagram, @chefpenelope.  Thanks again to Chef Penelope and her staff for an incredible night!

 

Images provided by: Chef Penelope's Catering 

This is not a sponsored post.  All opinions are truly our own.

Venue Highlight: Cheekwood Botanical Gardens

Hi friends!  We’re so excited to show you an awesome venue today that many of you Nashville brides may have not considered!  Back in July, Brittany attended a wedding vendor on-site visit at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens.  After her visit, she was simply raving about the whole experience and the amount of potential this venue has!  When venue searching, brides are often puzzled in finding a location that fits all of their needs: pretty, affordable, indoor vs. outdoor, spacious, and the list goes on.  Believe it or not, Cheekwood is one of the most versatile venues of its kind and may be the perfect solution for your “wants” list!

Besides its beyond gorgeous gardens, Cheekwood is also home to an art museum, a contemporary gallery center, and several event halls that are oozing with architectural beauty.  In fact, they offer 6 different ceremony sites and 4 reception sites, each completely unique in style, size, and price.  One of the nice things about Cheekwood is that they also accommodate a wide span of budgets – their Burr Terrace Garden starting at $700, yet their Museum of Art hall at $7,000.  No matter where you fall, there’s certainly a variety of options available indoors, outdoors, amoung the gardens, up on a balcony, etc!

Another huge plus to this venue is that it’s completely stunning as is.  Just look at that view!  Many brides go venue shopping looking at price only, forgetting to consider that this type of a venue barely needs any extra love at all.  The greenery.  The flowers.  The brick walls.  Everything you could want is already there in its naked state, all four seasons of the year.  Keep in mind that it’s totally worth it to spend a bit more on a beautiful space if it means reducing the budget for decorations!  This saves not only money, but also time spent setting up, tearing down, and extra hands needed for executing it all! 

Aside from your décor needs being reduced, booking with Cheekwood also allows you to utilize their Events Bar Package, with Cheekwood being the supplier of all alcoholic beverages.  They also offer onsite catering or provide a list of approved caterers who are experienced in catering to their venues specifically – a major plus! 

We seriously encourage you to check them out in your search for a wedding space.  Find them on their website here where you can check them out or schedule a site visit!  I am still marveling at the pictures Brittany brought back, and you want your wedding guests to be doing the same! 

 

Images provided by: Cheekwood Botanical Gardens

This is not a sponsored post.  All opinions are truly our own. 

 

Pros and Cons of a Sweetheart Table

If you’re engaged, you know that the decision making process is endless. From all the weddings we’ve done, we’ve found that one of the bigger sources of these decisions revolves around one thing: table arrangements.  For guest tables, there are literally endless options that are completely dependent on your venue, your catering, and your preference.  But for you and your groom, the decision is much simpler.  Most brides find themselves choosing between two popular options: a head table vs. a sweetheart table.  With sweetheart tables increasing in popularity, we’ve decided to break it down for you and help you decide whether or not it’s right for you!

Pro: It allows you time together. 

The day of your wedding can be such a whirl that many newlyweds find themselves at the end of their day having barely spent one-on-one time together.  Having a separate sweetheart table for dinner allows for that special time that you may not get otherwise.  Especially for those not doing a first look, it’s important to make some sort of time to be with each other during your day, and dinner is the perfect opportunity!

Con:  Interruptions are inevitable.

Often times, sweetheart tables are placed away from the head table, such as behind it or off to the side.  While this does separate the two of you from the rest of your guests for a brief time, having that separation will also cause for more interruptions.  Whether it’s Aunt Susie wanting a picture or random guests wandering over to talk, there’s a chance that your dinner may be short lived.  If you’re dead set on doing a sweetheart table, consider placing the table near the head table or even surrounded by tables of family/wedding party.  This way you and your groom are nearby, yet also guarded by the wedding party from interrupting guests. 

Pro: It gives you a chance to breathe.

Your wedding day is one of the most special days of your life, but it will also go by in a blink!  Having a moment away from even your bridesmaids allows you to take in all of the moments throughout the day and actually process that you’ve just gotten married!  Some couples even choose to go away from the reception room to eat dinner – completely isolated from everyone.  This takes the sweetheart table idea to another level, but may be the very thing you need before mingling and dancing!

Con: It separates you from your friends/family. 

Many brides are turned away from the idea of a sweetheart table, being that they would rather spend dinner beside their tribe of bridesmaids or close family.  The separation that a sweetheart creates may also feel odd during toasts with the Maid of Honor/Best Man away from the two of you.  For brides that don’t like having all of the attention on them, this may not be the best option, as that singular table will be the focal point of the entire reception.    

Whatever table arrangement you decide on, there’s always a way to make it work for what you want!  Decide what’s most important to you, and factor in all aspects of your day.  There’s certainly more ways to find time together than having a two-seater table for dinner!  Consider doing a first look, or perhaps taking a post-ceremony break before dinner.  In the end, you want your wedding day to be a joyful memory – so make it happen the way you envision!

Happy planning,