Tag Archives: planning

{linky love}

happy sunny (finally) afternoon readers! I recently updated my |inspired| blog list (down + to the left) and wanted to introduce the newest add – Brandi Hamerstone of All Events Planned.  Brandi isn’t new to my blog by any means {see here, here and here — just to name a few mentions}, I have just totally dropped the ball on adding her to my list of daily wedding inspiration.

I love Brandi’s blog because she gets right to the heart of the wedding, the little things that we don’t think about, but should. The timelines, the outlines, the questions. Forget the frill and get the facts. Brandi’s blog is the best around for any bride planning her own wedding.

Go check her out. Like now.

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wedding inventory

So you may be wondering why my posts have been so sloooow coming lately. My apologies – if you were. Amidst the busy internship, running around with wedding stuff, basketball workouts, puppy classes for my one year old dog and house cleaning on the weekends, I’ve been slowly catching up on my wedding inventory . . . rather than actual planning and moving forward (with the exception of my printed invites – thanks mom).

Wedding inventory, you know, figuring out exactly what the heck I have. It’s been just two months short of two years since we got engaged. It’s totally acceptable to forget what I purchased in 2008. Shoot, who am I kidding, the closer it gets to the wedding, the less memory my brain is holding onto. Yeah, scary.

Anyway, to remind myself what I have and to organize those little jewels for when I’m actually ready to start making sense of it all, I’ve decided to make an inventory book. Not quite as big as the wedding planning one (thank g), but a task none-the-less. It’s how my brain works, so don’t freak out if you don’t have one. Don’t think I’m crazy if you don’t think you need one, either.

Inventory, it’s exactly what it sounds like. I’ve spent the last couple months, here and there, going through my “wed stuff” boxes, taking pictures of what I have and organizing those pics into categories. These organized pages of pics and captions then go directly into my wedding inventory binder. It helps me know exactly what I have, exactly what I still need and exactly how things will be laid out.  No room for surprises. I hope. They’re just not fun. I’m already stressed, can you imagine what I’ll be in three months? 

Just my type A, detail-oriented (and a tad bit OCD) nature, I suppose.

If you need to refresh your memory of all the stuff you’ve saved up since that pretty little sparkler slid onto your finger too, I can say it is helpful just to go back and see what you’ve got. Get rid of the stuff you’ve changed your mind about or try to find new uses for it if the all-too-often notion of “what was I thinking” crosses your mind. It happend to me . . . a few times. Declutter. It’ll help you stay focused and organized (not to mention save much-needed time) on the big day.

Have any of you done wedding inventory? Or did I totally just give you another reason to lable me as “crazy bride?”

Oy . . . don’t answer.

Get organized,

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Victory #11 Rentals

Wedding rentals – check!

Okay so the rentals aren’t the most fun or even the prettiest part of the wedding, but I’d say, they’re the most necessary piece to the puzzle. You know – chairs, tables, plates . . . not much of a wedding without them.  For some time now, my mom has been working with the wonderful people over at Party Palace  to figure out how many we need of what, and I can tell you, they’ve been very patient with us!

Mom put our linens on hold awhile back and since then, we’ve been adding things (e.g., plates, cups, etc.) to our order,  increasing the numbers, getting rid of some things altogether, etc. Not only that, it’s a confusing process to go through. Not only are you guessing on the number of guests that will show up to your wedding, but you have to calculate the amount of flatware (forks, spoons, knives), stemware (wine), glassware, plates, bowls – everything – you need.

Do you need salad plates? Cake plates? Are you having separate silverware for the dessert than for dinner? How many guests will drink the cocktail as opposed to the wine drinkers? Are you having water glasses and a carafe at each table?  How many guests at each table anyway?

See – freaks you out a little bit, huh?

Like I said, a lot to think about and a lot scary when this whole wedding thing is new to you. Just ask me and my mom how much this stressed us out.

That is, until my wonderful wedding planner friend Brandi, over at All Events Planned, swooped in and saved the day with her words of wisdom.


Plate and Flatware Tips + Calculations

No one should ever be asked to reuse glassware at an event . . . if you must, have the catering staff re-wash glasses for reuse

Rentals are expensive – something to consider when picking your location/venue to see if they offer any freebies

Go with the basics if you’re on a budget, they’re cheaper and no one will notice

Make sure you have plenty of everything

Silverware – if you preset your tables (even with a buffet), people won’t take more than one of each and may cut down on the number that is actually used

Order about 10% over your highest guest count so that you don’t run out. There is nothing good about running out of plates.

e.g., Buffet plates and flatware = 2508 * 10% = 275

Glassware/Stemware Tips + Calculations

This depends on the drinks available to your guests. We’re having beer, wine and one signature cocktail. These are Brandi’s basic calculations based on 100 people.

Half your guests will drink either beer and wine and half will drink the signature cocktail.

Guests tend to drink three drinks the first hour and an additional drink for each hour after that, that the bar is open.

**base these numbers on your guests and whether they’re light/heavy drinkers**

100 people

25 – beer

25 – wine

50 – mixed drinks

Calculate how many hours your bar will be open and add/subtract based on whether you think your guests are light or heavy drinkers

Consider using the same glasses for soda, beer and mixed drinks instead of specialty glasses

Other things to consider


Water glasses for the table?  Or water from the bar?  The problem with no water at the table is that you will have the bar congested with people just wanting water, but at the same time, if you have it at the table you are paying for 250 water glasses for people who might not even drink the water or show up.

What we’re renting

Linens – lots of linens

Wine glasses

Cocktail glasses

Plates – Party Palace has newer ones and they’re very chic and simple, perfect for my style!

Linen Napkins

Champagne flutes for the wedding party

So what about the beer? We’re going a simple route and using clear plastic cups. We’re not too fancy and I’ve seen them used at weddings and haven’t thought twice! Soda – we’re having a soda fountain and will also be using small clear fountain cups. 

I hope this information helps you brides and grooms who have yet to step into the rental territory, just remember to keep breathing and use this wonderful formula Brandi has provided us with.

Thank you Party Palace for your wonderful patience and pretty plates and thank Brandi, once again, for your wonderful advice!

You saved my butt 🙂

Party Palace

2011 West Lincoln Avenue
Yakima, WA 98902-2412
(509) 453-0048 Party Palace


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Secrets from the Cake Maker


 Meet Christie of Christie’s Cakes – cake aficionado, flawless froster and an all around awesome lady.  Not only did Christie take the time to meet with me and the FI on a family trip to Tacoma (since we couldn’t make it down to Yakima), but she also answered all our questions, led the conversation when we weren’t sure where to go next and brought some of the most amazing samples for us to taste test.  Being involved in the wedding process for almost 12 years, Christie has a lot of solid information to share with brides-to-be that I couldn’t resist posting it for all of you. Thank you again, Christie! I’m so excited to see our cake on the big day!    

How many years have you been baking cakes?      

I am starting my 12th year…     

How did you become interested in cake baking?     

My mom is truly the best baker in our family; she makes the best cheesecake, so I grew up baking.  I had a Holly Hobby oven at 6, and had my dad try ALL the flavors, all the colors.   So years ago when my youngest brother was thinking his girlfriend was the one, I decided I would do their cake.  After lots of practice, and offers from lots of guinea pigs (otherwise known as every friend of mine), I’ve gotten pretty good…     

What is the hardest thing about baking/your job?  

Having to tell people that I don’t have a spot left for their cake…  I am one of those people with a talent who loves to share it, so I am always sad that I have to turn them away.    

What do you love the most?   

It is probably two fold, first, I love working through the planning with them, being creative, sometimes brides have no idea which look they are going for, and when I see that light bulb go on for them I realize I have just helped them create that special cake their biggest day.  Second I love the finished product, and sometimes when I am lucky enough to be there when the bride sees the cake and smiles at me, I know I’ve been a part of that….  it’s a great feeling.   


What is your best skill for cake decorating?  

I listen to people, listen to their story, I think it helps me when I am decorating, and lots of patience!  

You’re known for your whip cream frosting, why do you choose this one?   I prefer the natural look it makes, and I love the taste.   Some people have a specific look they are going for and while whip cream can’t re-create say a “Mad Hatter” type color scheme, but it can do most other looks.       

On average, how long does it take to create a wedding cake and what’s involved in the process?  

Every cake is different, but the time starts from the first meeting, shopping for the ingredients, baking, designing, cleanup, and delivery…  sometimes it takes more time than I think, but I always make sure to leave myself plenty of time for each cake.   

Does it seem like everyone is straying from the usual two or three tiered cake with plastic “husband and wife” perched on top, in favor of something a bit more unique?     

The styles of the cake are sometimes offset or have both square and rounds together, or arranging individual cakes on separate stands.  More and more often people are choosing flower toppers, monograms, or more comical ones like bobble heads, or the bride chasing the groom.  

Are couples more interested in taste than design, or vice versa?    

I think everyone expects to show up and see a pretty cake, but when it’s pretty and it tastes good, people will be talking about it for a week…  I start with great family recipes, only book 2 cakes in a weekend, and never bake too early, freshness is critical to a great tasting cake!    

What are your favorite types of cakes to create?   

I love wedding cakes, they are so lovely, but I also love baby shower cakes with little pink accents and ruffles…… or maybe my individual Chocolate Fudge cake with Espresso touches!    

Have you noticed any trends lately?     

With the popular new shows like Cake Boss, people bring in pictures of cakes that cost several thousand dollars expecting for it to fit into their budget, those shows aren’t very realistic for what most people are looking to spend.  

What are some of the common mistakes couples make when choosing a wedding cake?   

I think people do more research, so I find brides do a pretty good job of knowing what they are looking for, I usually find the most common problem isn’t the cake, it’s the placement of the cake at the reception.   I do try and suggest things that they might not think of, e.g., keep it away from windows, avoid hanging electrical cords, or exposed outlets.  Make note of the things that are behind you in the pictures, sometimes these make for some laughs when the photos come back.   

What tips can you offer to those shopping for cakes for their own weddings?   

Bring pictures, the cake topper, and fabric swatches, it isn’t always necessary, but it helps to make sure we are thinking the same thing.     Pick flavors that will appeal to most people, remember brides, you aren’t eating the whole cake!     Many couples like to store the leftover cake in the freezer for their first anniversary, what storage tips can you offer?     

I would say about half of my brides intend to save their top tier, so I suggest that they put it in the box, put it in the freezer and then when they come back from their honeymoon, take it out, wrap it in plastic wrap, put it back in the box, and then plastic wrap the whole box….     

Are there any interesting “wedding cake” stories or mishaps you’d like to share? 

I have flown to Hawaii to do several cakes, and going through the airport with cake decorating supplies raised a few eyebrows!  Checking my cake luggage sure didn’t stop me from going again though!    





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Rehearsal Ceremony Tips via All Events Planned

The wedding rehearsal.  Who really plans that in advance? I’ve thought about the rehearsal dinner, but only because I’m so excited for our fiesta themed soiree!  The actual rehearsal though – not really.  Event planner, Brandi Hamerstone of All Events Planned brought this one to my attention.  As she says, “it’s not one of the most difficult aspects of the wedding planning but certainly one that can cause some headaches.”  I’m sure I’ll have enough to worry about the day before the wedding, I don’t want this to be one of them, and I definitely don’t want it to slip through the cracks.  Neither do you.  So read Brandi’s tips for getting through your rehearsal ceremony with as much ease and grace as possible.
1. Make sure everyone knows what time it starts.  If it starts at 6pm, then it needs to be clear it STARTS at 6pm, not that people should just start arriving at 6pm.

2. Figure out who is in charge.  Does your pastor/rabbi/officiant want to run the ceremony or will your wedding planner be in charge of organizing the ceremony?  Or, do you have a ceremony coordinator on site?  If so, try to meet with him/her before the rehearsal so you will get a feeling for their style. 

3. Have directions to the rehearsal ceremony and then to the dinner after.  This way there is no confusion for the people who have come in from out-of-town. 

4. This may seem silly, but make sure everyone stays sober.  Depending on your religions and traditions there may be a lot for your bridal party to remember AND to listen to, the last thing you need is someone being tipsy then and missing our on their part the next day.

5. Try to explain what roles each person will have and whether you want them to practice at the rehearsal ceremony.  If your uncle is doing a reading, tell him if he should do the actual reading or if you just want him to stand up to acknowledge he is doing it.

6.  Have all the props that you need, there that evening.  You are going to be nervous and stressed and the last thing you want to do is just “wing it” without something there.  Make a list of items, have someone make sure they are all there, that way they will be there when you arrive the next day as well.

7. Make it clear to everyone that this rehearsal is a BIG deal and that they need to pay attention.  Be sure to explain to your family and friends WHO is running the ceremony so they know who to listen to and follow for direction.  Rehearsals have last two or three hours long because of “rowdy” bridal parties and too many people trying to give direction.

8.  Have opinions on what you want to see.  You will be at the end of your ability to make decisions at this point, but force yourself through one last night of details.  If you don’t “care” or it doesn’t matter anymore, someone else will be making the decision for you, and you may not be happy with the results.

9. Stay on schedule.  You will more than likely have some type of event scheduled after the rehearsal so keep track of time.  Your guests may have just come from work, or from driving a long way, and they too will want to head out for dinner sooner rather than later.  You’ll have plenty of time to catch up with everyone at the rehearsal dinner, so keep on track with doing only what you came for, rehearsing. 

10. Relax.  This is the one part of your wedding day you get to “practice” and it doesn’t get much better than that.  You actually get to run through this process one, maybe even two times so trust me, you will be ready by your wedding day.  You’ll be too nervous/excited/anxious the next day to remember much anyhow, so just enjoy the night before your wedding day. 

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What is in a budget?

Sure, budget is one of the first things you should think about when you begin planning your wedding.

But, it doesn’t belong only at the beginning.

The budget should be a constant through out the process — that’s why these posts will never go away.

Two Be Wed, a wedding consultation and planning boutique in Houston, is riding the 21st century, technology wave by doing live podcasts for engaged couples and planning pros around the world!

As TBW points out, the source of the most stress in planning a wedding is the budget.  A wedding is meant to be beautiful and memorable . . . but it can also be very costly and staying within budget isn’t always as easy as it sounds.  TBW’s budget podcast teaches us excellent tips about prioritizing and how to communicate our finances.

Two thumbs up TBW!

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Behind the Cost of Weddings

In my recent interview with the Yakima Herald-Republic (no, this isn’t another rant), I divulged information about my wedding normally toted as a “family matter”.  This wasn’t easy.  However, the minute (as in two) amount of backlash I received really made me see how differently people think – especially those who are foreign to the process by today’s measures.  So, to enlighten us all, I am re-posting Behind the Cost of Weddings (found via Blue Orchid Design) — it’s perfect for the newly engaged, industry pros, planning brides, MOB’s (and MOF’s – don’t want to leave the dad’s out :)) or the just plain curious at heart.  How timely — enjoy!

tree money

Yuck. Money. The subject no one wants to talk about but we all have to deal with, especially when it comes to weddings. And it’s no secret that weddings are expensive – even an intimate, backyard ceremony with a handful of guests can stretch the wallet fairly quickly. I wanted to get into the reasoning behind some of the common price tags and help put some of the sticker shock at ease.

But it’s just some pretty paper: Invitations
A good rule of thumb when budgeting for invitations is this: a decent (read: nice quality, but not necessarily elaborate) invitation should cost around the same price as a greeting card. While we may buy greeting cards here and there as the occasion calls for it, you normally don’t purchase 150+ greeting cards all at the same time. If you want a custom invitation, you can expect to pay more because you are compensating the artist for her designs, proofs, revisions and edits, assembly and general labor.

All you’re doing is pushing a button: Photography & Videography
If all you want from your wedding are pictures that look like snapshots your slightly inebriated Uncle Frank took, then there are plenty of moonlighting hobbyists-who-call-themselves-professionals to choose from. If you want art and photographs that will capture the emotion of the day, then realistically you need to expect to pay more. Photography can easily be one of the most spendy parts of the wedding and for good reason – when all is said and done, that is what you will have left (well, that and your spouse of course!). I have met many, many married women who regret going cheap with their photography. Also, the final product usually doesn’t come out of the camera ready to go – a lot of behind-the-scenes editing and design goes into producing great photos. If you’re having video, you can count on hours of editing, including finding the right moments to splice things in, cueing the appropriate music to match, etc.

So you’re like JLo in that movie: Wedding Planners
No, I’m not like JLo and wow, did she make my job look easy! Hollywood has a knack for doing that though, don’t they? The biggest thing you are paying the planner for is her time – the average wedding takes more than 250 hours to plan and there are only 52 weekends in a year. Both of these facts limit how much we can take on and commit to. It may seem like you are paying the planner for one day, but in reality 250 hours translates into more than six 40-hour work weeks. And that’s just for your normal, run-of-the-mill wedding. If you want something unique and special, even more time is involved.

They are just going to die tomorrow anyway: Flowers
Even flowers from the grocery store can be pricy – that is just the nature of a live element. When purchasing flowers, you are paying for so many things – the grower’s cut (planting, growing, watering, feeding, harvesting), the packaging and shipping of them in a manner that they will not wilt or die on the way to your location, and then the florist’s fees (design, watering, prepping them with special concoctions that prolong their lifespan, arranging, delivering, etc). Yes, a lot goes into those pretty bouquets.

It’s just some fancy chicken: Food
Hands down, food is usually the most expensive item on the budget, and again quantity plays a big role. A nice dinner for two can sometimes be a splurge and when you’re feeding 150+ mouths – well, I’ll let you do the math. It is also important to look at quality when you are choosing your menu, and quality costs more, just like it does in every other part of life.

There are lots of areas of weddings that I didn’t cover here, but I wanted to give a quick overview of some of them. The time-tested adage “you get what you pay for” has been proven over and over again with weddings. You don’t need to break the bank on your wedding or try to keep up with the Joneses – but it is important to go into the wedding planning process with an understanding of where your money is going so that you can best prioritize its use.

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