Friday, March 6, 2015

Wedding Planning Tips & Fun Ideas

There is a TON of great information out there for newly-engaged couples when it comes to planning a wedding. Pinterest is STILL sending me tips...I wonder how long they'll continue to think I'm planning a wedding...Anyway, I just thought I'd share a few quick things that helped me and Jacob in the planning process and a few fun ideas if you're looking for a way to be creative and break the classic wedding mold.

Tip #1: Have an amazing Mom and Sister who know your style and selflessly give of their time and energy to help organize your special day. And did you know that my DAD actually found our venue?!

I mean it – they were irreplaceable when it came to planning and executing all of the fittings and meetings and brainstorming and shopping excursions. I could NOT have done it without them!  
That being said, below are a few ideas for how to stay organized when you’re planning your big day (and all the events leading up to it!):

Tip #1: Multi-purpose address list: Make all those hours you spend putting together the list of addresses for your guests go to work for you. I recommend using Excel so you can easily move/rearrange information. Use this list as a master list for:
  • RSVP’s: You'll need to keep track for catering, dessert, wedding favors, etc. I created a column for adults and a column for children in order to separate headcount for catering. Also, I requested guests send their favorite Bible verse (so Jacob and I could have those to treasure and meditate on in the days to come), so I created a column to track this information and hope to do something crafty with them when things settle down a bit.

  • Shower/Wedding Gift Thank-You's: Make columns for each shower you have and the wedding, and use the cells in each column to keep track of what gifts were given. Then, you can highlight the cell when you've written the thank-you card!

Tip #2: Shared Google Doc: I created a shared Google Excel sheet for Jacob and me to keep track of certain things along the way. This was helpful because we could both update the sheet and not have to send an email each time something happened. Here is a list of the different tabs we included in the sheet:
  • Timeline: Because of the short time frame (4 months between proposal and wedding), we listed out activities that needed to be done, when they needed to be done, and who was responsible for them (Jacob, me, or both of us). Some of the to-do's included:

§  registry
§  guest list
§  wedding party invitations
§  dress/tie shopping
§  meet with the DJ
§  settle on photographers and send picture list
§  address and mail out save-the-dates
§  engagement photos
§  request marriage license
§  gather pictures and videos for the wedding video my cousin put together for the reception (a special compilation video for the guests to watch at the beginning of the reception while we had pictures taken)
§  order invitations
§  address and mail out invitations, etc.

  • Registry: Both Jacob and I took an inventory of what we had in our kitchens that we knew we didn't need to replace or include on the registry. Then, I did some research (it's amazing how you think you know what you want as a woman in the kitchen, but Pinterest helps fill in a number of gaps) and listed in the spreadsheet what we wanted to be sure to scan when we went to register.

    We registered at Bed Bath & Beyond and Target. I discovered that while Bed Bath & Beyond has a more efficient registry process and more extensive options, the "scanner gun" is fairly archaic. (
    Be careful when you select a product to ensure that you indicate how many of each product you want or double-check to see if the store clerk put the amount you requested - we ended up with a registry that requested 16 salad serving bowls!) You can also log into your registry online and alter the number of items there if you would prefer not to worry about numbers while you're in the store registering.
    Target has a really modern "scanner gun" that is pretty easy to use, but the registry doesn't update well when people purchase gifts. We ended up with several duplicates (but these turned into gift cards when we made returns, so that was okay!).
  • Meeting with DJ: This sheet helped us brainstorm songs for the ceremony and reception. We were able to put down ideas, comment on them to each other, review timing, etc. Bouncing ideas off each other was helpful so we could get an idea of what the other person had in mind for different events.

Tip #3: We were so fortunate to come across DJ (Michael) Cone! My Sister heard a recommendation about him and passed along the information. He was fantastic! Very professional, very personable, very prepared. After exchanging an initial email, he met with me at Starbucks (and we conferenced in Jacob) and talked us through the services he could offer. He was super-flexible, and Jacob and I were able to create a playlist for the reception. He had his computer with him and confirmed he could get all the songs we requested. He also had suggestions for songs when we were unsure (what song do you play for the “(cup)cake” cutting??)

DJ Cone is not just a DJ but an emcee. He was the reason everything ran smoothly at the reception from encouraging guests through the receiving line to the garter/bouquet toss to the exit. I didn’t worry about a thing during the reception because I trusted the timing to him.

If you aren’t planning a wedding in the Dallas area and can’t utilize the services of DJ Cone, make sure the DJ you partner with truly understands the type of music you do (and don’t) want played. DJ Cone shares our faith and understood the type of music we wanted to use to celebrate our day, so we were very grateful.

Fun Idea #1 - (Cup)cakes: We wanted something simple and yummy, light and fun, and decorative as a dessert. We also didn’t want to overdo it, and so the idea of cupcakes came to mind. A few years ago, my Mom introduced me to cupcake tiers, and I thought they were so fun! We decided to kill two birds with one pretty little stone and have the cupcakes double as dessert and centerpieces. I ordered the cupcake tiers through Amazon and got a great deal, Mom had these lovely bows made to go on the top tier, and we filled the bottom two tiers with gorgeous little cupcakes.

(On the practical side, doing cupcakes as your centerpiece also helps guests avoid having to stand in line twice if you have a buffet or even three times if you have a buffet AND a separate receiving line. Also, it helped us save money on flowers since we did not bring any flowers into the reception.)

Fun Idea #2 – ‘Everyone’ Bouquet Toss: My Sister and I have never enjoyed the bouquet toss at weddings. It can be awkward and seeing as how we’re both introverts…well, you get the point. So, I thought it would be fun if the bouquet toss was for everyone! This would also make for a better picture if there aren’t a lot of single ladies at the wedding, and it worked well for us because the toss was at the top of the stairs we used for the Exit immediately afterwards. We attached four $5.00 gift cards to the bouquet, and one lucky winner walked away with a fun prize!

Those are just a few organization tips and fun ideas that I think made our special day unique. The important thing is to not feel confined to anyone’s expectations but your own. No one (important) is going to judge you by your flowers/cake/dancing, etc. Enjoy the planning and enjoy the people you plan with!

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