Filtering by Tag: baton rouge weddings

Abigail and Robert | July 14, 2018

Randi Fracassi

In that still and settled place There’s nobody but you

You’re where I breathe by oxygen You’re where I see my view

And when the world feels full of noise My heart know what do do

It find that still and settled place

And dances there with you.

Edward Monkton, “That Still and Settled Place”


Candlelight and personal touches filled the Baton Rouge Country Club on Robert and Abby’s wedding day, with their favorite coffee as favors and an entire staircase lit up with floating candles. Soft, bright, and full of laughter, their day was surrounded by family and friends, and what a dream it was to coordinate for them!

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Plan with Me: How to Plan Your Wedding With Intention

Randi Fracassi

We all want a beautiful wedding. A day where all the details reflect you and your style, that tells a story, that has your guests experiencing the best night of your life with you. What the trick is though is how to have that kind of intentionality while planning, and making sure that this day truly does reflect you.

One of the first things that can help as you begin to plan is not to put a timer on yourself. The time crunch will come later, I promise, but relish in this season and allow yourself to enjoy being engaged and to enjoy the planning process. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your wedding. Having the patience to look at options, to build your budget, to create your guest list, to find the perfect pieces to make it all come together, will allow your decisions to be more thought out and ultimately ensure that you get exactly what you’re looking for, and that you’re not compromising on anything relating to your big day.  

Pick a venue that speaks you both of you. This might mean making your way across the state, or video chatting across the country, but your wedding venue sets the foundation of the rest of the aesthetic for your day. Though it can be very easy to get caught up in glamour to the style of a venue, you just also keep in mind the setting and the realistic size of your wedding. That is, having a small, intimate wedding in a hall that can hold 300 will more than likely not be ideal, nor would choosing a space that has many small rooms versus a more open space if you’re looking to create a bright and airy environment. Choosing it with the intention of celebrating you and telling your story is absolutely key in ensuring that your wedding reflects you as a couple.

Besides your venue, do not pick vendors based solely on their prices. I am not saying here that you should completely plan your wedding without thought to cost, but what I am saying is that just because a vendor may be cheaper (or even free) in comparison to another, consider the experience you want to have and whether or not you are getting the most out of your experience for your investment. Like your venue, your vendors help set the tone and are a reflection of you; in regards to vendors that you receive tangible goods from (apparel, photographers, baker, videographers, catering, paper goods), be especially aware that these are what you’ll have to remember from your wedding, and that these goods need to have the most care in their selection.  

While you now may have the perfect setting and team on your side, also take into consideration your wedding party, and the guest list itself. It goes without saying that you want your wedding to be the best of days, and you want to be able to celebrate without worry of offending, hurting, or being otherwise involved in drama. With that, surround yourself with a group of men and women who support you, would hold you accountable, and who genuinely cherish your friendship. Sure you more than likely will have to include friends of your parents, plus ones, or others you may not personally know for the sake of politeness and etiquette, but taking the meticulous care to invite those friends and family that would contribute to your wedding day will complete the atmosphere that you created.

Finally, and most importantly, remember what you have at the end of it all. Once you say goodbye, the venue is cleaned up, and you’re left standing there, you are married. You’ve made a commitment to another person, another soul. Throughout the planning process and the season of engagement in your lives, it should be at the forefront that this is what matters most; that this marriage is what matters and what is being celebrated, and that this party isn’t for show. At this time, take the care to go through premarital or couples counseling in preparation for your marriage, and to make sure that you have those deep down, core value questions (if you haven’t already).

I hope these tips will help you as you plan your wedding with intention, whether it’s to make sure that it’s stylish and trendy or more heartfelt and personal, these suggestions will surely help you as you plan to make the most out of your wedding planning experience!

Happy planning,

Randi

Operation I DO: The First Five Things You NEED To Do After Marrying Your Service Member

Randi Fracassi

While sitting in the Social Security Office waiting for your name to be called may be the highlight of your time post-wedding (just kidding, we all know the Honeymoon is!), there are couple other loose ends that need to be tied up once you’re officially married to your service member. Navigating DEERS, receiving orders and managing your PCS move, obtaining POA, are all details that need to be taken of before you change your social media status (but hey, the lines are long and boring, and there’s quite a bit of time to kill…). Today I’m sharing with you the first five things you need to do post-wedding after getting married to a military personnel.

Let’s also preface this by saying that your Social Security information must be changed prior to all of this. While waiting with other folks in the Social Security Office isn’t exactly the highlight of the marriage experience, it is a necessity in regards to getting your name changed, which I would recommend, as it makes not only enrollment and HR paperwork for your spouse easier, but when you receive orders for your PCS (Permanent Change of Station, aka, moving in your spouse, or moving to another base). Your adventure with Social Security can be shorted by their readily available online forms (found here) and bringing in copies of your birth and marriage certificates.  It’s best to knock this all out in one day if possible, especially since your service member may have to take a day of leave in order to make sure everything is squared away.  

After updating this, get enrolled in DEERS and/or MilPDs, and learn all the fancy acronyms that accompany it. Y’all, the military and government in general is a real big fan of acronyms, and will go out of their way to name a program something ridiculous just to make an acronym for it I promise you. Essentially though, DEERS is the military benefits and resource database (officially called Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System), and MilPDs (Military Personnel Data System) supplements DEERS in that it also keeps track of events throughout your spouse’s career (such as promotions ((and changing eligibility as a result)), additional dependents, and separations). Usually you can do all of your DEERS, MilPDs, and ID paperwork in the same office, killing two birds with one stone. Remember; bring your birth certificate(s), Social Security Card, and your marriage certificate. I would recommend bringing copies of each in the event that they need to keep them.

While enrolling in DEERS and MilPDs, your spouse will need to visit their human resource contact within their squadron or battalion in order to have their pay and BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) changed in respect to their changed dependent status. What’s neat about BAH is that it changes based on location, and grants service members and their families the ability to live outside or in mixed housing.

 After taking care of DEERS and your ID, get added into TRICARE, the healthcare associated with the military. A full outline of the different packages for both enlisted and officers can be found here. Keep in mind that though your active duty service member already has dental, but it is additional for you.

Post all of this paperwork and phone calls and office visits, consult with a lawyer to obtain Power of Attorney. By having POA, you can manage finances, loans, and take care of legal paperwork if your spouse is away for training or deployed.

I would also familiarize yourself with the resources now available to you as a spouse. Besides taking a tour of post or learning about what exactly it is or where your spouse works, but reach out to a Key Spouse or the FRG (Family Readiness Group) about getting involved with your spouse’s unit, and beginning to integrate yourself. You will meet a variety of folks here – both good and bad, comforting and annoying, but the experience itself is what you make of it. And y’all, regardless if you get along with folks or not, at the end of the day, the community that is formed on bases is unlike that of any other; you can’t put it to words how it feels to look around a room, not saying a word, and the woman across knows exactly what you’re going through because she’s been there too. The support is invaluable.

Milspouses, what advice would you give to new spouses? Any tips or ticks to make the process easier? What did you find most valuable as you transitioned into an official SO role? In the meantime, I hope these tips assist you in streamlining your tasks as a new spouse!

Kindly,

 

Randi

Kimberly + Toby | June 17, 2017

Randi Fracassi

"You are the love of my life, and you are the reason I'm alive. And baby, when I think of how you saved me, I go crazy.

"I've never known love like this, and it fills me with a new tenderness. And I know you're in my heart, you're in my soul, you're all I can't resist. And I need to tell you, the first time I held you, I knew you are the love of my life."

--"Love of My Life", Sammy Kershaw, Kimberly and Toby's First Dance Song

When you think of the people of Louisiana, I hope that you picture folks who are humble, kind, and have a deep love and understanding of the importance of family. And I hope that in this thinking, Toby and Kim also come to mind. True country people, they have such giving and generous hearts, and their wedding at the Cedar Post Barn in Albany, Louisiana fit their style to the T, combining Toby's Country Boy Can Survive persona with Kim's more feminine tastes, we brought sparkle and color to the Cedar Post. 

Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Fontenot! We are so excited about your marriage! 

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Vendors & Friends

Coordinating: Poppy Lane Events

Photography: Jessica & Angie Photography

Venue: The Cedar Post Barn

Bridal Apparel: Debbie's Bridal

Bridesmaids: David's Bridal

Groomsmen: Squire's Formalwear

 

Wedding Inspo: Signage

Randi Fracassi

A curated collection of signs and phrases from our past events, other weddings, and just plain beautiful work. We love that brides and grooms are adding these details to their big day, and always look for the perfect piece to complement their style and personalities. 

Welcomes and Programs

Bars and Menus

Mr & Mrs Seating and Hashtags

Quotes and Lagniappe

Found here!

Found here!

Happy planning,

 

Randi 

How to Create a Styled Wedding, No Matter the Budget

Randi Fracassi

You’re inundated on Pinterest, at bridal shows, and through Instagram of lush flowers and glittering tablecloths, or of visions containing farmhouse tables with string and candlelight. Some of these weddings are 100% real, while others are stylized to show how you can pull different design elements together to create a cohesive look. And while some of these ideas and inspiration can be out of budget (say, cascading peonies from candelabras in the fall, when they’re at their most expensive), you can without a doubt be just as skilled yourself in creating a cohesive and flawless design, and having your budgetary cake too.

1)      Start with your venue, and then the time of year. Your venue is going to act as the canvas for the rest of your wedding, and whether your using print outs of images and putting into a binder or using Pinterest, always start with a few images of your venue to start giving you a feel of what the setting of your wedding will be like. In Louisiana, the weather can play a huge factor into the formality and style of an event, so making sure you keep a track on what the averages for the time of year you’ll be married at (and if you can, the temperature for the time of day) will help in the long run. This will help with formality of guests and the bridal party’s attire too!

2)      If you can get a fabric swatch, get it! How a dress or linens look online can be completely different in person, especially if you’re looking to combine colors and tones. Obtaining swatches and samples of what you can potentially have is critical, and well worth the couple of  dollars to get in order to achieve the look you want (and it’s always great to have some on hand for vendor appointments).

3)      Make sure to look at vendors, and save samples of their work. Having a few samples of your vendor’s work is important, not only in having to assess who you would to have, but knowing that they have done the style you’re looking to achieve in the past. Examples of a photographer’s editing style, the different styles of a stationer, a planner’s published works, or having examples of menus (or what the food will look like) from a prospective caterer can all reflect on the overall look of your wedding.

4)      Be sure to also have floor plan options (like if you prefer round tables or rectangle, where buffets will be, etc), different lighting, and poses you would like for your photos. The little things will add up and can make a big impact on the overall look of your wedding. Also include pictures of how you would like your groom and his party to look, and where they can get their attire from.

5)      Include all parts relating to your wedding day. Often on wedding boards you’ll see dresses, hair styles, flowers, and how to break down budgets, and rarely will you find readings, prayers, or timelines you can follow or build off of. Include that in your materials, because the timing of when events take place will effect set up, breakdown, the hours of photography and videography, and can further tailored around how long you have your venue.

Want to see a board showcasing all these elements, and give you a starting point to curating? Check out our sample Louisiana Saturday Night | A Curated Look on Pinterest. We created this board specifically in how to show clients what it means to have a cohesive, final look, and make sure of such boards when working to create customized events. If you would like your own board or want help styling, feel free to contact us! We’d love to help!

Happy planning,

Randi

How to Have a Child-free Wedding and Not Loose Friends (or Your Mind)

Randi Fracassi

“I love kids, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t see the point in paying $40 for a plate of food that they won’t even eat.”

“I just want my guests to enjoy themselves, and not be worried about their kids!”

“There’s going to be alcohol, and I’d rather not have children be in that environment. How to I ask for the kids to stay home?”

Asking about how to pull off a child-free wedding is one of the most common questions I get as a planner. If it’s fair to guests to ask that they keep the kids home, how to word it on an invitation, or what to do if so-and-so says they won’t come if their kid isn’t allowed. Because it’s such a grey area relating to wedding planning, I hope this little guide helps you make this part of planning clear-cut, and helps keep your sanity through the process!

One of the first things you need to do when you decide to have a child-free wedding is to make sure that those closest that have children to you are informed. They will assume one way or another, but it is always better to tell someone in person the correct information beforehand so that they can make arrangements rather than to spring it upon them last minute, and cause a headache for you. In the event that someone is upset (and is vocal) about the fact you’re not allowing children, stick to your guns and reasoning, but do not feel that you have to explain yourself beyond “We just don’t want children at the wedding”.

Once the important parties are informed, be conscious of how to word it on your invitations and all references guests will use (like websites). The best way to do is on a details card or at the bottom of your invitation, with the wording “Adult reception to follow the ceremony”. Be sure to word this based on the formality of your wedding as well to keep the style consistent (talk to your paper goods vendor about suggestions and recommendations as well). If you feel that it won't capture attention and inform guests enough, or even if attendees include their children on the RSVP, do not hesitate to call them and let them know of the situation.

Invitation by  Invitations by Ajalon

Invitation by Invitations by Ajalon

Now, what do you do if…

You have conflicts with parents who have a newborn or small children that they don’t feel comfortable leaving alone. To be honest, there’s not a whole lot you can do; you either stick to the rule no children allowed, or start making exceptions to that rule (and risk having children at your wedding). You must leave the decision up to them, regardless of how important they may mean to you and to have them there. If they feel the same way about your friendship, then I think they can compromise on having an adult night out to celebrate and leave the baby at home.

You experience issues from individuals who are paying for the wedding. This can be a delicate subject, as you want what you want, but you feel obligated to follow the rules or wants of those who are contributing financially to the wedding. These individuals would be the first I would talk to and bring up the idea of a child free wedding. I recommend telling them of costs associated, crying, and the risk associated with drinking adults. If they suggest hiring a sitter or two for the reception to take care of children, then the whole game plan has changed, and will be a totally separate scenario (and logistics regarding liability, insurance, background checks…).

People who are important to you and your fiancé, but aren’t contributing financially. I would say approach these folks the same way as you would with Parents of Newborns, as they both require the same stick-to-your reasons. If they are contributing to the guest list count though, ask bluntly if they would like to contribute towards anything else. I would tactfully remind them that you are managing a wedding, looking at it from all angles, and really would just like to enjoy the day without children.

The aforementioned advice may sound a little harsh, yes, even to myself as I write this out. But the fact of the matter is that children may be an additional cost you don’t want, potentially endanger them if parents over indulge at your wedding, and when you want everyone to be present and involved during the ceremony and reception otherwise occupy them. I love having family and friends together to celebrate and seeing children present at weddings, but more often than not, they do take the focus away from being present and enjoying the wedding day, and worrying about all the What If’s.

Now, if despite all of this, children do still end up at your wedding, my biggest piece of advice is to breathe and let it go. There is nothing you can do at that time to change it, except to make sure they are acknowledged as guests at your wedding.  They will (mostly) enjoy being there, hopefully won’t cause a scene, and the parents will know immediately the faux pas they made when they notice other children aren’t present. Overall, don’t stress over it. There are other more important things that should have your attention that day (like the look on your new spouse’s face when they see you for the first time, or the tears and laughter you’re sharing with your party).

Do you struggle with making these kinds of decisions, or maybe have a unique situation? Feel free to write about it in the comments below, I would love to help and offer advice on how to resolve them!

Happy planning,

Randi

A Personal Post: Why the Military Love

Randi Fracassi

Samuel (my best friend, soul mate, better half...) will officially be Active Duty for the US Air Force in April. He's my rock, my biggest supporter, and best sound board for anything and everything related to business (he, like many men, does not have a single care for anything aesthetic relating to weddings and events, which is ok!). He's my best friend, and I though I'm very supportive of his decision and dreams of joining the Air Force, a part of me is absolutely terrified (I'm sure I'll blog about it in the future, and link back to here). 

Though we've been keeping Samuel's journey relatively low-key, I've always been publicly supportive of the military. I get a lot of questions about why I'm so passionate about our armed forces, and though he's a big reason for it, my passion, love, and ultimate respect starts back into my childhood.

My father is a US Navy Veteran, and for the longest time when I would go the VA with him for his various appointments, I noticed that he was always the youngest guy in the waiting room. Sure, the doctors were about his age, but as far as patients go, we were infants in comparison to the Vietnam, Korean, and World War II folks in the waiting room. Now, Dad is a very sociable man when he wants to be, and when you're in a military hospital, everyone already has some shared characteristics and history to bond over. Though everyone would essentially sit by their battle buddies and others who were around their age, Dad never had an issue talking to other vets and listening. 

And I happened to be listening too. 

You build relationships with these people, and soon you come to recognize them in your comings and goings. You take notice when they haven't shown up in a while. And yeah, they may not always remember you, but there's a comfort in knowing they kinda-sort of think of and ask after you too. That someone with so many other issues will ask about your dolls and the drama of elementary school.  

I'm rambling, forgive me. But I have so many fond memories of Veterans at the VA and the doctors and staff who work so hard to make sure they were, and are, well. 

However, as I got older at the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan "began" to end, I was aware that Dad was no longer the youngest patient. I think I was 15 or 16 when I first saw a younger patient, and to be honest, I thought he was lost looking for his parent. And then it occurred to me he was checking in to his appointment. This veteran couldn't have been five years older than me...and it shook me to the core. 

And to be honest, as I watched him go take a seat, and watched all the older guys and their groups watch him too, I knew that it disturbed the routine that had been created in our hospital. Things would not be the same, and now everyone knew it. 

After that, I got in contact with a group that sent care packages overseas to those deployed. I couldn't tell you how often I sent socks, deodorant, sanitary napkins, and soap over there. Basic things, but they were always on the list of needed items. I don't tend to lament on the contacts I made or where they were from, but after I received a letter back...I stopped sending packages. 

When I got to college though, I knew I wanted to help and give back in any way I could. I ended up joining the LSU Army Scotch Guard, an all-female auxiliary counterpart to the Army ROTC at LSU. As a Lassie, I was able to work with future officers, give back to the community, and build a sisterhood of likeminded women. It is an experience I do not regret. I still keep in contact with all of my cadets (now officers, they're so grown and doing amazing things for our country!). 

And then I met Samuel, who was not affiliated in any way, shape, or form to the military with the exception of several distant relatives. And when he first mentioned joining the Air Force two years ago, I was wary. I had watched friends and their relationships be tested and fail, and I did not want ours to join them. But, with knowing and loving each other the way that we do, I have no qualms and only a little bit of nervousness about this new chapter and career. 

So yes. This is a summed up, rather personal look, into why I have such a passion and soft spot for our military (and really, all of our folks in uniform). I tend to keep Samuel and my relationship private, but as our life together progresses, I will be sure to keep you updated (especially if and when there's wedding planning involved in our future ;) ). 

Happy planning,

Randi 

Cutting the Wedding Cost: What You Should and Shouldn't Leave Out

Randi Fracassi

When you’re on a tight budget or when you’re paying for your wedding yourself, the need to cut costs as much as you can is very real. However, there are just some things related to your wedding that you shouldn’t cut, and in fact invest more into if you are able to. What you actually need for a nice wedding and reception can be essentially narrowed down for a few key items, and of course should be taken into consideration based on personal preferences.

Shouldn’t Cut: Photography

Sure, you have a friend of a friend who will shoot your wedding for free or at a steeply cheaper cost than other photographers you’ve looked at. But look at the experience of this person, their editing style (if they edit their images), turnaround time, and most importantly do they have a guarantee and contract. You won’t always have your wedding flowers (silk or real), you won’t remember the cake flavor, but you will always have the images captured from your wedding. Investing money into making sure those images are exactly as you want will never be a bad thing.

Should Cut: Cake and/or Grooms Cake

Don’t get me wrong, I love a beautiful cake. However, if you’re pressed for money and can’t afford an elaborate four tier confection, don’t beat yourself up about it. Talk to your baker about doing foam layers, or using buttercream instead of fondant or gumpaste. Go with a more simple design and have flowers added. Or, forget a formal cake all together, and do a cupcake tree in your preferred flavor.

Shouldn’t Cut: Food and Associated Rentals

Food is the biggest cost of a wedding, there is no getting around it. Whether you choose to have a restaurant or a private company cater, there are associated costs with not just the food, but the staff in order to serve and wait staff. Most caterers also include plates and silverware in their pricing (if not, ask for a quote directly), which should be considered if you’re weighing the choices between doing it yourself or not. Also, the entire matter of doing it yourself (or having a family member do it): the stress of you or your family having to cook and take care of those details when you’re supposed to be focusing on yourself and relaxing is completely unnecessary.

Should cut: Favors

When was the last time you actually enjoyed a wedding favor or used it? Personally, I do not care for favors, and do not see the added value they give to a wedding. I have yet to hear of a guest genuinely excited about receiving a favor; in fact, guests care more about spending time with the bride and groom, and being personally thanked for their attendance. If you focus your time and ensure that you have an interaction with everyone at your wedding, I promise that no one will notice that they didn’t receive a gift for coming.

Shouldn’t cut: Wedding Attire

As a firm believer in high quality clothing, of course I will suggest that you shouldn’t cut the cost of your wedding dress. With resale websites like OnceWed beginning to become more and more popular, one shouldn’t have to settle for a reproduction dress from Ebay or another auction site. A suggestion would be Etsy to look for something truly unique, or perhaps get into contact with your local university’s fashion department.

Should cut: Signage

Though wooden welcome signs, hashtag indicators, and paper programs are nice details, they are not necessary in order to have a stylish and well thought out wedding. With the rise of DIY couples, Etsy craftsmen and women have started producing customized pintables that you can have places like VistaPrint, Fedex, and event Walgreens print for a significantly lower cost than Wedding Paper Divas or Minted. Though I will always recommend a small business (like Sue Paperie of Ruston, LA or Paper and Things in Baton Rouge), there is no denying that doing the printable route is more cost effective. And, if you still want that welcome sign, look at printing and frame options, or DIY (a tutorial to come soon!). 

 

Poppies, I hope this was helpful in your planning journey! If you ever have any questions, feel free to email

Congratulations! You're Engaged! Now What?

Randi Fracassi

A couple of weeks ago we determined what it truly meant to be engaged (you can read about that here). But now that you're engaged, what are the next steps in planning your wedding? Here are five quick things to do now that you're engaged. 

Image by Rachel Erin Photography

Image by Rachel Erin Photography

Determine what's important to you at your wedding.

Talk with your future spouse about what are things that cannot be missed at your wedding, whether it's photos, the kind of food, or a certain date. Be sure to write it down, and use it to help out with your budget. 

Set your budget and where money is coming from.

Use an excel sheet (like the one we talked about here), write it down, but make sure that there is no mistake of your budget, and make it easy to stay on track of your spending.

Get a planner (or binder) and write everything down that pertains to your wedding.

Whether you get one of of Etsy, the Knot, Southern Weddings, or DIY it. If you've decided that you want to hire someone to keep track of the details, 1) go ahead and hire them, and 2) ensure that they have solid communication with you to keep you on track of when you need to purchase or secure contracts, when payments are due, etc. 

Educate yourself.

Learn the prices, averages, and things about the region you're getting married in and how it affects the wedding industry. Just because a barn venue in Kentwood, Louisiana is one price does not make it the same or reasonable price as a barn venue in Dallas, Texas. Know also the differences in major fabrics and paper goods to make sure that you're not being overcharge for cardstock versus pressed paper or simple tablecloths versus elaborate or finely textured fabric. You can never know too much! 

Don't ask for or listen to everyone's opinions on your wedding.

As soon as it comes out that you're engaged, everyone and their mother comes out of the woodwork to pry, offer advice, and give recommendations. Take it all in, but you do not have to follow it all. Value the thoughts and words of your closest circle, as well as your future spouse. Remember that generally if you ask for advice on one topic, you'll get advice on every topic. 

Hope this was helpful as so many are getting a kick start on their wedding planning! Don't forget to check out our Wedding Planning Timeline or our Budget Series. Happy wedding planning!