Planning: Money Saving Tips!

Every bride has a budget! Here are some great tips on how to save while planning the perfect wedding day.

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Happy Saturday everyone! It’s the weekend, which means brides are in the throws of venue hunting, wedding dress shopping, and other details!

Here are some great ways to save brought to you by Vouchercloud.com all about the little ways you can save.

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You can check out the full post here! Happy planning!

Birdcage and Blushers Event Calendar

pexels-photo-196650Hi Birdies! I just wanted to update you all and let you know that i have updated the Upcoming Events Calendar on the page. Use the calendar to keep track of the wedding events going on in the Chicagoland area. The calendar includes bridal shows and expos, trunk shows for wedding dresses and more! You can find the link to the calendar here

Enjoy!

XOXO

Quick Tip: Wedding Email

If you don’t have an email account just for wedding, you should. Here’s why!

pexels-photo-211856Happy Wednesday! We’ve made it half way through the week Birdies! I was at my desk this week, halfway through drafting an email when i realized the bride had a wedding email address. Yes, an email address just for her big day. Truth? It’s something that i wish i would’ve done while I was planning. If you already have one, you’re on the right track. If not, do it because it’ll make your life a little easier.

Think about all of the email you get in a day. Now think about how many emails you’re going to be receiving during the planning process: responses to your inquires, emails from your planner, the venue, the DJ, the caterer and pretty much any other vendors you’ll need.

The good news is, an email account is free and only takes five minutes to set up. It’s a great way to keep you organized and not let any important emails fall through the cracks. Another great tool to utilize is the calendar. With your wedding email account, use the associated calendar tool to keep track of your deadlines and appointments. You’ll have everything you need in one place.

Hope you enjoyed the quick tip! As always, make sure you subscribe to keep up with all the latest B and B updates!

Happy Planning!

Favorite Wedding Movies!

Happy Sunday! There’s nothing like curling up on the couch and having a movie day on a Sunday.  Wedding movies are awesome for getting excited about your own big day, or if you’re just looking to take a break from all the planning.

I don’t know about you, but wedding movies are some of my favorite! Some of my go-to wedding movies include: Bridesmaids (of course!), My Big Fat Greek Wedding, The Best Man, Sex and the City, The Wedding Planner, and Bride Wars just to name a few.

As important as it is to get all your nuptial ducks in a row, it’s also just as important to take a break every now and again! Check out these list via Buzzfeed and Vogue.com for list of some great wedding movies!

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and have a wonderful week!

B & B Does Indie Wed Chicago!

B + B does Indie Wed Chicago 2016! Check out who i met at the show and my tips on how to attend your first wedding expo!

Happy 2016 Birdies! We’ve been on a bit of a hiatus but I’m so excited to be back to share fun wedding goodies with you this year! To kick off 2016 let’s talk about wedding shows!!

Wedding and bridal expos can be a fun way to interact with wedding professionals in one place, and get inspiration for the big day. To some the idea of going to a wedding expo can be very overwhelming, but they don’t have to be! If you’re thinking about attending a wedding show, here are a few quick tips:

  • See what’s out there!
    • Wedding expos happen throughout the year and they come in all shapes and sizes, from the smaller, more intimiate shows, to large and elaborate affairs. See what’s out there and find out what works best for you.
  • Do your research!
    • Most shows have listings of all the vendors that will be in attendance. Make a short list of vendors that you’ll definitely want to see while you at the show.
  • Travel Light!
    • Not such a good idea to bring yor wedding binder. Maybe a little note pad to take notes, but other than that, travel light. You’ll be walking out with TONS of loot from all the vendors.
  • Take a buddy!
    • If this is your first rodeo, don’t try to tackle it yourself. The show will be so much more fun if you have a buddy to enjoy it with, whether it’s a friend, your maid/man of honor or your fiance.
  • Have fun!

Indie Wed is not your typical wedding expo. Indie Wed was created by Kelly Maron Horvath of Paper Stories, who wanted to connect with brides that had more out of the box, and quirky tastes. And Indie Wed does just that! All of the vendors have something unqiue to offer brides that are looking for something different, from fun catering,  wedding dresses, and more!

This year, Indie Wed took place at the Ravenswood Event Center in the North Center neighborood on Chicago’s northside. Lofty and artisitic, it was a perfect backdrop for all of the fun, creative vendors in attendance. I had such a fun time walking the three levels of the show! Check out some of the fun people that I bumped into!

 

Dame Couture

Dame Couture specializes in vintage wedding dresses! Their north Evanston showroom houses gorgrous vintage wedding dresses. They also do custom gowns, and do restylings if you have a vintage dress of your own!

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Penelope’s Press

Penelope’s Press offers pretty, simple, and creative stationary for all of your wedding needs. From Invitations, Save-The-Dates, and RSVP’s, this is a great place if you really want to customize your stationary. Penelope’s Press has a wonderful personal touch, from hand-drawn designs, to even being able to print your handwriting! Check it out below!

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Spark & Glow Photo

Choosing a photographer is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make for the big day. One of the keys to selecting the photographer of your dreams is choosing someone that you get along with. If you want a photographer who is creative, bubbly, and fun, Michelle, the woman behind Spark & Glow Photo is the photographer for you! Not only does she have a great eye, but every single person in here photos look like they are having so much fun on their wedding day!

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Chicago Vintage Weddings

The boss ladies behind Chicago Vintage Weddings are as classy, elegant and fun, as their display. These ladies specialize in vintage rentals, perfect for brides that are looking for unique, vintage touches to add to their wedding. CVW offers vintage furniture rentals, delicate china pieces, gorgeous candelabras and much more. They also offer full, partial, and day-of planning services!

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LetterBoxInk

Laura Nehls of LetterBoxInk offers intricate designs, vibrant colors, and the element of story-telling for couples to create customized wedding stationary for the big day! Vinyl records, travel tickets, storybooks and more, Laura has a little something for everyone. You can also find her work on Zazzle and Etsy!

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Elysia Root Cakes

Elysia Root Cakes has become a household name in the wedding scene in Chicago. Not only are the cakes stunning, but the flavors are mouth wateringly delicious! One of the reasons why I love Elysia Root cakes, is that they really start with the foundation of the cake and working their way up. There are so many delicious flavors to choose from. The design possibilties are endless from minial to elaborate, and everywhere inbetween. Elysia can design a cake to fit any bride’s vision!

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Indie Wed was such a blast and it’s even better that I can share my experience with you. Stay tuned for more wedding fun! Until next time!

Wedding Decor: Flowers 101: In Season

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Happy Sunday Birdies! I hope you’re all relaxing! As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m in the process of trying to find a florist for my big day! Because of this, I’ve become floral-obsessed! A lot of brides may think that flowers is a HUGE wedding day expense. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be. The first step is doing your research. One really great way to save but still have gorgeous flowers is choosing flowers that are in season! Here are some popular wedding flowers and when they are the cheapest!

  • Calla Lily
    • Calla Lilies are generally available year-round. Late winter to early spring is peak season.
  • Dahlia
    • Dahlias are so gorgeous and they come in varying shades. Purple Dahlias are my favorite! They are in season late summer through early fall.
  • Hydrangeas
    • I love Hydrangeas! I love them on their own, and I love using them as a base for arrangements. They come in so many lovely shades as well. They cost of Hydrangeas depends on the color, as the color is contingent upon the season. You’ll find these beauties most abundant July through November
  • Orchids
    • Orchids are gorgeous and so versatile. They aren’t super expensive either. They’re great because they come in varying shades and they are available all year round.
  • Peonies
    • Peonies are so stunning! They are one of my favorites. Peonies are usually mid range to higher end when it comes to cost. Getting them in season will keep the costs lower. They are in season in the springtime.

There are plenty of other flowers out there! My advice is to keep your options open. Planning my vow renewal, I wanted peonies everywhere! But they aren’t in season in August, so they’d be super expensive. So I kept my eyes open for other flowers that we more cost efficient and just as gorgeous! A good florist will be honest with you about what’s feasible in your budget, and suggests other ideas and options that are equally lovely. Check out a more extensive list of flowers and their seasons on the Knot (see link below).

Have a great week and happy planning!

Sources: The Knot Flower Guide

Friday Tips and Tricks: Budgeting

Happy Friday Birdies!

IMG_5384I hope everyone had a productive week and looking forward to the weekend. Today I wanted to touch on budgeting. Disclaimer: This is in no way financial advising. I want to share with  you all my personal experiencing having to budget for the big day. As I’ve mentioned previously, my husband and I are in the process of planning our vow renewal to celebrate our anniversary next year. The process has been pretty smooth so far, as I locked down most of the major pieces early on. But now we’ve hit the point where my husband brings me back down to planet earth and asks me, “How’s the budget looking?”. Thankfully we’re in pretty good shape, but establishing a budget and sticking to it is always stressful on some level. So below is my tips and tricks on budgeting for your big day!

  • Establish a budget
    • Have a budget. You need one. And if you don’t, it very well my come back to bite you in the butt later. This may be a two-part process for some people. If this is your first rodeo, you may want start out by doing some research about how much an average wedding costs. Please keep in mind that this will vary based on how many people you’re planning to invite and the city that you live in. And look at multiple sources to get a realistic idea (not one glance at Wikipedia). If you already know how much you want to spend, then I suppose you can skip this step. If you’re getting outside financial assistance, that’s wonderful. If you’re not sure if you are getting help from parents or other family members, plan your budget as if you’re paying out-of-pocket, because the last thing you want is to budget and end up having less to work with than you originally planned.
  • Prioritize
    • Once you’ve got your budget, it’s time to prioritize. This is where you decide which area of your wedding are the most important to you. If you care more about the venue and food than flowers, than those things will probably be budgeted higher. Sometimes (like me right now) you’ll find your self at a point where you have to cut costs. For example, in our budget venue and food is the largest area. We don’t want to touch the photographer, and we’re already getting a wonderful deal with or DJ. So we’re compromising with the flowers, by either reducing our budget, or possibly doing our own flowers (which would actually be fun for me). If you’re hiring a planner, they can help you prioritize and stick to your budget.
  • Stay organized
    • It always helps to have a visual aide to keep you on track with where you’re at with your budget. The Knot  has a very helpful budget calculator. You can also find an excel template for a wedding budget sheet. Whatever is easier for you, this will definitely be a useful planning tool.
  • Compare costs
    • When looking at vendors for your weeding, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Even if you have your heart set one certain vendors, look around and compare costs to see what’s out there. But do this with decisiveness. Don’t get overwhelmed looking 20 different florists. Select from a small pool of realistic contenders, so you don’t end up going nuts. When I was looking for my photographer, I looked at five ranging in budgets, then narrowed it down to three. I ended up going with the most expensive one because I loved her work so much and was willing to cut elsewhere.
  • Stick to it!
    • As you start booking vendors, and looking at all the things you’ll need, stick to your budget! If you know you only have $3000 for a wedding dress, DO NOT pick up, or try on a dress that’s $10,000. You’ll just make your planning more difficult. You’ll have to decide if going over is worth having to rearrange your entire budget for your wedding. Keep in mind, you can find things to fit within your budget if you look in the right places. The Overwhelmed Bride is another wonderful resource that I stumbled upon during my planning. There’s a great blog post about budgeting that I found very helpful.

Have a wonderful weekend and happy planning!

I Want To Here From You: Bridesmaids!

Photo Credit: SideStreetDesigns, Etsy.com

Happy Labor Day weekend Birdies! I’ve been so deep in planning I finally had to come up for air. I’m somewhere in-between  work, deciding on bridesmaid dresses and trying to decide on a florist! As I mentioned previously, I’d go crazy without my friends Jillian and Katie. Jill is my maid of honor and Katie is my VIB (very important bridesmaid)! They are so supportive and easy going, and they keep me excited and positive about planning! I couldn’t have asked for two better ladies to stand up with me. I want to hear from YOU! How did you ask your closest ladies to be your bridesmaids? With novelty socks (like I did 🙂 )? A cute note? I’d love to hear your stories! Let me know in the comments or send me a message through the contact page and I’ll select a few to share next week!

Wedding Dresses 101: Silhouette

Happy Monday brides and wedding enthusiasts! Dresses! Dresses! Dresses! Finding your wedding dress can be the most fun (and sometimes the most stressful) part of the planning process. Some brides already have an idea of what they want. Others have no idea where to start. Let’s start with the basics: silhouettes!

 

Photo created by Alyson Pedro
Artwork created by Alyson Pedro

First you have your classic ball gown shapes, also known as the cupcake dress 🙂 On the left you have your classic ball gown, where the skirt of the dress expands from the natural waist. The one on the right is a dropped-waist ball gown, where the skirt of the dress starts at just below the hips, hence the term “dropped-waist” I love a good ball gown. Classic shape that comes in many different materials. Check out this gorgeous Pronovias ball gown and this Pnina Tornai dropped-waist ball gown

Artwork Created by Alyson Pedro
Artwork Created by Alyson Pedro

Next up, you have on your left your fit-and-flare/trumpet style, and on the right your sheath style. I love the flow of a trumpet-style gown. They accentuate the waist and floats away from the body at the hips. It’s a particularly wonderful silhouette for a beach wedding! Fit-and-flare dresses with gorgeous overlays, like this one, are very in right now. The sheath dress is the silhouette that I wish i could pull off! It creates long lines, making you look tall, statuesque and drop-dead gorgeous. One thing i love about sheath dresses is that with this style you can have a flowy material like organza or you can go for a something that is a little more structured. This sheath by Badgley Mischka  is to die for ❤

 

Artwork created by Alyson Pedro
Artwork created by Alyson Pedro

Lastly, we have to your left (my personal fav) the mermaid, and on the right your classic A-line. I believe that every woman’s curves are beautiful. If that’s something you want to show off, the mermaid style is definitely the dress to do it in! The mermaid style hugs all the curves your momma gave you, ending in a beautiful mass of volume at the bottom. It’s the perfect balance of elegant and sexy, like this Mori Lee gown. The A-line is your classic silhouette, floating away from your hips at the waist, creating a nice beautiful line. The difference between A-line and the ball gown is that the A-line silhouette doesn’t have quite as much volume. When I hear A-line, i thing soft and romantic, like this beautiful Jenny Yoo gown.

As you start the hunt, no matter what look you decide to go with, choose the dress that you are the most comfortable in, makes you feel like your best possible self, and most importantly, makes you feel like a bride!

Special Friday Feature: Chicago Wedding Planner, Michelle Jacob!!!!

Happy Friday loves! I hope you had a great week. To kick of the weekend, instead of my usual “Friday Tips and Tricks” I have a special featured guest for you guys! The woman behind Personalized Events by Michelle, Michelle Jacob is one of the premier wedding planners in Chicago with over ten years of industry experience. She was gracious enough to give me insight on her expertise and share it with all of you 🙂

AP: What initially inspired you to become a wedding planner?

MJ: Hospitality. I love taking care of people, and doing what ever I can to make sure they enjoy themselves.

AP: How would you describe your planning style?

MJ: Detail oriented, calm, and thoughtful.

AP: What is your favorite part of the planning process?

MJ: The actual wedding day is my favorite part. There is always so much excitement, and I enjoy seeing my client’s vision finally come together.

AP: What is one of your favorite venues to work and why?

MJ: The Trump Hotel. The views are beautiful, the color palette lends itself for any type of décor, and the service and food are amazing.

AP: Some brides are anti-planner because they are afraid that the wedding planner will take over the entire wedding. What advice would you give to those brides?

MJ: Communication is key. Remember that this is your wedding and your opinion is the most important. Don’t be afraid to say what you like or don’t like. A planner should be there to guide you in the right direction while keeping your best interests at heart.

AP: What is one of the most important factors that a bride should take into consideration when selecting a wedding planner?

MJ: I truly believe that you should select a planner that you feel the most comfortable with. You will spend a lot of time communicating with your planner throughout the months leading up to your wedding, and they will be by your side on your actual wedding day. You want to make sure they are responsive and someone you feel comfortable with.

And now for the fun stuff:

Cake or Pie? Favorite flavor?   Cake. White cake with white frosting.

All time favorite food?   Salt and vinegar chips.

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All time favorite wedding treat?     Doughnut Vault.

Favorite color palette?       White, blush, ivory. (MINE TOO!)

What’s one item that you always have to have in you purse? Chapstick.

Can you give one interesting fact about yourself? I am always the first one on the dance floor and the last one off.

Thank you so much again Michelle for sharing with us! If you’re a Chicago Bride in search of some wedding planning expertise, check out Personalized Events by Michelle . You can also find her on Facebook