Surviving A Bridal Show – 9 Easy Tips

Bridal Show season is just around the corner. So it seems fitting to re-do this post.

A Bridal Show is a great place to get started with your wedding plans. Held at various types of venues – including convention centers, banquet halls, even your local shopping mall — they can be quite large (100 different vendors or more!) or much smaller, and more intimate (only 10-20 different vendors). Regardless of size, the main purpose is still the same, you get a chance to take a sneak peek at the local professionals – see examples of their work, taste samples of cakes and foods, and collect vendor brochures and literature.

While tempting, now is not the time to get all of your planning done in a whirlwind of a few hours. You want to be a savvy shopper, and select just the right vendors for you. Here are a few easy tips to help you along.

1. Create a game plan
Which types of vendors you are most interested in? Are you looking for a DJ? Perhaps you still need a florist. Figure out the types of vendors you most want to see, then plan on visiting their booths first.

2. Things to bring

  • Pen and paper, (you’ll want to take notes).
  • A tote bag (to carry all those flyers and brochures you’ll be picking up).
  • Address labels (saves time filling out all those contest and door prize slips).
  • Cash (to pay for admission and to purchase a light snack or beverage).
  • Checkbook or credit card (in case you find the perfect vendor and want to put down a deposit).

3. Wear comfortable shoes
And if possible, leave your coat in the car. You’ll have enough to carry without having to lug around a coat. And you’ll be that much happier if you’re comfortable. Also, wear clothing with pockets. When you come across a vendor that you especially want to remember, place his or her card in your pocket instead of in the tote bag where it can get mixed up with all of the other cards and flyers you’ll be getting.

4. Only bring one or two people with you
Have mom, your maid of honor, a bridesmaid, or fiancé come along. They can help you carry the brochures you’ve picked up, and you’ll have someone who knows you to bounce ideas off of. Just don’t bring a whole entourage. It’s harder to keep a large group together (you don’t want to be spending your time looking for who you came with!) Also, too many people will offer too many different opinions, which will be confusing and not much fun.

5. Eat before the show
Not all shows offer snacks for purchase, and you don’t want to be walking around on an empty tummy! While there will be plenty of yummy samples of foods and cakes to try, this is not the place to load up your plate for a meal.

6. Take notes
Jot down pricing and package information, as well as your personal opinions. Is there anything about a vendors’ personality that stands out to you? Is he or she courteous and polite, or unfriendly and grumpy? Are they enjoying themselves, or do they seem to want to be somewhere else? After you get home and are sorting through that pile of flyers you’ve picked up, it will be hard to remember who was who. A few notes will help remind you who you’ll want to contact later, (and who you want to steer clear of!).

7. The Fashion Show
A popular portion of most bridal shows is the Fashion Show. If you’re like most brides, you’ll want to attend it, so find a seat early – at least 20-30 minutes before it starts. However, if you already have your gown, or otherwise aren’t planning on attending the fashion show, use this time to talk with the vendors you are most interested in. Things will be much more quiet and calm, and you’ll have a better chance at getting their undivided attention.

8. When to sign on the dotted line
Guess what? You don’t have to make a hurried decision at the show. Sure, all of the vendors would love for you to sign on the dotted line right then, and may even offer a discount if you do. But wouldn’t you rather be a savvy shopper and take time to carefully look over everything and figure out which vendors will truly best suit the style of wedding you and your fiancé envision?

9. Read
Before you decide to book someone, be very thorough. Carefully read everything (literature, samples, flyers, contract – EVERYTHING!!) before you sign and put down a deposit. Make sure what they offer is really right for your wedding vision, is what you and your fiancé really want, and that their terms are acceptable. Ask questions so there is a complete understanding between you and the vendor. You don’t want that ‘great deal’ to turn out to be a headache because you didn’t notice the “additional costs” or the “fine print.”

So go and enjoy yourself! It’s just a bridal show!

Upcoming 2014 bridal shows in and around Dayton

Dayton Bridal Expos
Saturday, January 11 & Sunday, January 12
Dayton Convention Center

Brides Against Breast Cancer
Charity Wedding Gown Sale & Bridal Show

Friday, January 24 & Saturday, January 25
Hilton Garden Inn Dayton/Beavercreek

A Bridal Affair
Sunday, February 9
Holiday Inn Dayton/Fairborn

Dayton Bridal Expos
Sunday, February 23
Dayton Marriott

photo credit: number657 via photopin cc

photo credit: Sarah Parrott via photopin cc

Hearts, Joy, Love!

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Did you attend a bridal show, and just end up feeling overwhelmed? I can help. Contact Jean at or at 937-235-2586.

20 Easy Ways to Cut Your Wedding Budget Without Cutting Back On Style (#11 – 20)

Are you looking for ways to cut your wedding budget without sacrificing your wedding vision and style? Check out 11 – 20 of these 20 easy tips.

11) Use Non-Floral Elements in Your Decor

Vintage-Travel Themed Wedding Centerpiece

Non-floral items such as pinecones, twigs, berries and feathers are inexpensive ways to enhance your bouquets and other floral arrangements. Christmas bulbs, paper or fabric flowers, crystals, and seashells add inexpensive, but fun touches.

Bowls and vases filled with brightly colored seasonal fruits are fun and festive, but less costly than floral arrangements. For an Autumn wedding, try bowls of acorns or fall leaves.

12) Order Additional Cakes
Instead of having your wedding cake large enough to serve all of your guests, order one smaller display cake for pictures and your cake-cutting ceremony, and have extra cakes out of sight in the kitchen. You will save money since the ‘kitchen cakes’ aren’t as elaborately decorated. And once they’re all cut and plated, no one will be able to tell the difference.

11 Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding That Actually Work

13) Have a Signature Cocktail
If you want to serve something more than just wine and beer, why not try a signature drink. You can choose a favorite cocktail, or try one that coordinates with your wedding theme – Pina Coladas for a tropical themed wedding or a Gin Gimlet for a Great Gatsby theme.

14) Shop Around for Your Bubbly
Champagne is a sparkling wine produced from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France. It’s a festive way to celebrate, but can get pricy. Check out this list of several sparkling wines that taste just as wonderfully, and cost less than $20 per bottle.

15) Beg, Borrow, (Don’t Steal!)

Borrowed Wedding Cake Topper

Special keepsakes such as a cake knife/server or toasting glasses are a nice touch, but in reality, after the wedding day most couples just end up putting these items in the attic. They never see the light of day again. Save some cash by borrowing your keepsakes and accessories from family and friends. You’ll also be getting your “something borrowed.” By the way, this little cutie was the same cake topper the bride’s parents had on their wedding cake!)

16) Keep Your Bridal Party Small
Keep the number of your attendants to a minimum. The fewer the people, the fewer attendants’ gifts, bouquets and boutonnieres you will need to buy.

17) Have Your Centerpieces Do Double-Duty

wedding cake centerpiece

Think about using an alternative to traditional flower centerpieces. Your wedding favors grouped together in a pretty bowl, or individual tiers of wedding cake on a cake pedestal make pretty centerpiece presentations.

18) Downgrade the Fancy Ride
Limousines definitely look elegant, but you’re only going to be in for a short time. You can save money by getting a town car instead of a 6-passenger limo for the bride and groom’s getaway at the end of the evening.

Or rent a premium or luxury vehicle from a car rental company such as Avis or Hertz – you can have it for the whole weekend for a cost comparable to a renting a limo for just a few hours.

19) DJ vs. Live Musicians
Simply put, DJs typically cost less than a live band.

20) More Music Money Saving Tips
For a ceremony and reception that are at the same location, consider hiring a DJ provide music for both. However, if you prefer live ceremony music, choose a smaller combo such as a guitar/violin duo or string trio instead of a quartet, then have them provide the music for the cocktail hour. On the other hand, if you want a live band for your reception, hire only the keyboardist for the cocktail hour.

Hearts, Joy, Love!

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For more money saving tips and planning ideas contact me today at or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

Photo Credit: Use Non-Floral Elements: Washington DC centerpiece openField photography

20 Easy Ways to Cut Your Wedding Budget Without Cutting Back On Style (#1 – 10)

Are you looking for ways to cut your wedding budget without sacrificing your wedding vision and style? Check out 1 – 10 of these 20 easy tips.

1) Choose Flowers That Are In Season

wedding bouquets with flowers that are in season

Many popular and beautiful flowers are available year round. However, there are some — peonies and lilies of the valley, for example – that have a limited bloom season, and quite expensive out of season. So choose flowers that are in season.

Also consider using flowers with a similar look. Cabbage roses resemble the pricier peonies and are available year round. Other year-round flowers include: Carnations, Baby’s Breath, Sunflowers, Asiatic Lilies, Dendrobium Orchids and Spray Roses.

2) Put a Limit on the Alcohol Choices
You can save money by serving just wine and beer, instead of having a full open bar. Your guests will be happy and so will your wallet.

If your reception site allows you to bring in your own alcohol, purchase wine by the case as many places offer a case discount. You’ll pay your caterer a corkage fee to pour it, but wine purchased through him can cost twice as much. Most merchants offer a 10 percent discount for buying wine by the case.

3) Let Mother Nature Do Your Decorating

Outdoor Wedding Ceremony

Choose a naturally gorgeous site and save on decor – such as the well-manicured lawns of a country club, or beautiful gardens for outdoors, and an art gallery or historic home for indoors.

4) Have Your Flowers Do Double-Duty
Your ceremony floral arrangements can be re-used at your reception. Pew décor can dress up a seating card or favor table. Bridesmaids’ bouquets look pretty on the cake table. An altar arrangement is perfect sitting in front of the head table.

5) Offer Champagne for Just the Toasts
Only serve a glass to each guest for the toasts. Or just provide Champagne for the head table and parents only. The rest of your guests can toast with whatever they are drinking. Make sure you also offer some sparkling grape juice for the under-21 crowd.

6) Have Your Wedding Earlier in the Day
Breakfasts, brunches, and afternoon teas are delicious and fun, and they usually cost less than evening receptions. The menu usually consists of lighter fare which doesn’t cost as much as a typical reception dinner. Also, they don’t usually last as long as an evening event, so you may save some money on your venue; and people typically don’t drink as much alcohol earlier in the day, so the bar tab will be less.

3 Money Saving Tips Without Sacrificing Style for Your Wedding

7) Cake and Punch
A cake and punch reception can be quite inexpensive. This style of reception usually takes place in the late morning or afternoon, and is simple and elegant. You can change it up by serving several cake flavors and designs, and serve a festive punch. Here’s one of my favorites (which I found at Razzle Dazzle Recipes).

Tastes Like Champagne recipe

8) Avoid Costly Entree Choices
Instead of serving pricier entrees or cuts of meat for dinner, incorporate them into your hors d’oeuvres. You may love lobster, but it will be pricy to serve lobster tail to all of your guests. Instead, serve lobster puffs during your cocktail hour.

9) Have Your Cake and Eat It Too
Serve your wedding cake as dessert instead of ordering a wedding cake AND serving a separate dessert.

10) Simplify Your Wedding Cake
The biggest cost of a wedding cake is in the labor – so choose a less elaborate design. Use less costly embellishments such as ribbon or fresh flowers.

Tomorrow we’ll conclude with Tips 11-20.

Hearts, Joy, Love!

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For more money saving tips and planning ideas contact me today at or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

Photo Credit: (Choose Flowers That Are In Season: Bridesmaids’ Bouquets) Brian James Photography

Top 6 Florist Boo-Boos Brides Make When Planning Their Wedding

bride's bouquet with callas, ranunculus, and stephanotisIf you’re like most brides and grooms, you’re going to have flowers (including bouquets and centerpieces) for your wedding. Save time, money and headaches by avoiding these top 6 wedding flowers mistakes.

1. Not thinking through DIY projects
Doing the DIY route for your wedding florals is way more than just ordering some flowers online then plopping them into a vase. You’ll need to properly prepare the flowers once they’re arrived – trimming stems, placing in water (over simplified here, there’s more to it than that) – so the flowers have opened and ready when you want them.

You’ll need a lot of room – 20 centerpieces take up a lot of space. And this space needs to be cool, (below 65 degrees is ideal, brrrr), so the flowers stay fresh. You’ll need transportation that can accommodate transporting several centerpieces and other floral arrangements so they get to the ceremony and reception looking perfect, not squashed and beat up.

Unless you’re really experienced in floral arranging, it can get overwhelming, and more costly in the end.

bride's bouquet with orange and white roses

2. Not communicating with your florist
Communication is key, and it is so important to fully express what you want and like as well as what you DON’T want and DON’T like. Bring in pictures found in magazines and online. Bring in color swatches (please don’t rely on color name alone!), bring pictures of your gown and your attendants’ dresses.

3 Money Saving Tips Without Sacrificing Style for Your Wedding

3. Limiting your color palette to only one color
I don’t mean one color family, but ONE COLOR. You may be thinking, “my colors are lavender and white, so my decor will be lavender and white.” Sounds good in your head. But, in reality, if your bridesmaids will be wearing lavender dresses, choosing lavender flowers, (and lavender table linens), it will be visually boring. Everything will blend.

Instead of “matching” colors, choose colors that accent and compliment. Want dramatic? Try lime green or red flowers with a lavender gown; for more classic look go with yellows and golds.

4. Selecting a bouquet that is too big
You’re the bride, and you want a beautiful bouquet that is grand. And rightly so. You are the bride, and your bouquet should stand out.

But size isn’t necessarily the way to go. Bigger isn’t necessarily better. If your bouquet is too big it will compete with, instead of complementing, your wedding gown. And a bigger bouquet will be heavy.

5. Selecting centerpieces that are too small
Yes, smaller centerpieces cost less, and I’m not saying that you have to have huge centerpieces. But you’ll want something that won’t fade into the background, or look like the table decor isn’t finished.

A single bloom in a small bud vase will get ‘lost’ on the tabletop. Instead do a grouping of bud vases, or a small container of flowers (julep cups are cute).

6. Not reusing ceremony arrangements
You’ve chosen pretty flower arrangements to decorate the aisle and altar area for your ceremony. Too bad they’ll only be seen for about 45 minutes or so (wedding ceremonies usually only last about a half hour, and figure in some time for your guests’ arrival). Why not get your money’s worth and re-use them at the reception? Incorporate your ceremony flowers into your reception centerpieces, a little decor on the bar or in the restrooms, on an entry table . . .

Hearts, Joy, Love!

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For more great planning tips and ideas, contact me today at or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

Photo Credits:
(bridal bouquet) Dave Lesko Photography
(bridesmaids’ bouquets) Faye Sommer Photography

5 Things to Bring with You to the Bridal Salon

1. Shoes that have a similar heel height to what you will be wearing on your wedding day.

2. A supportive strapless bra

3. A hair tie. This way you can easier see how your gown will look when wearing an updo.

4. Photos of dresses you like that you’ve found in magazines and online.

5. A digital camera or camera phone so you can take photos of yourself in the gowns you like. (Check with the salon first to make sure they allow this).

Bonus tip – Make sure you have freshly shaved armpits and legs!

Hearts, Joy, Love!

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For more great planning tips and ideas, contact me at or at 937-235-2586.

photo credit: Sanderslelli via photopin cc

Bride & Groom Q & A – When Putting on a Veil, Where Should the Comb Be Placed?

Q. – When putting my veil on, where should the comb be placed?

A. – It depends on how are you wearing your hair, and what look you want.

If your hair will be styled in a high bun, place the comb underneath the bun with the veil falling behind you. However, if you have a blusher, place the comb closer to the top of your head so it falls evenly around your face.

Basically, anywhere between the middle of the top of your head and the middle of the back of your head. It is dependent on your hairstyle and the look you are going for. Depending on the veil fullness at the comb, wearing it on the top of your head will give a more youthful, princess-like look and will allow the veiling to drape over your shoulders.

Wearing it toward the back of your head will give it a more streamlined look and will make the veil fall behind you. Bouffant and bubble veil styles are typically worn higher on the head.

Hearts, Joy, Love!

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Do you have a wedding dilemma or question you need answered? I’d love to help. Contact me at or at 937-235-2586.

Veil on back of head
photo credit: Bellafaye via photopin cc

Veil on top of head
photo credit: VancityAllie via photopin cc

Bride & Groom Q & A – What Color Should My Veil Be?

Q. – What color should my veil be?

A. – If you want a more traditional look, the tulle on the veil should be the same color as your dress, or one shade deeper. You don’t want to pair a bright white veil with an ivory gown – it will make your gown look dirty.

Veils come in many colors, usually in different shades of white and ivory, as well as gold, pink, and bronze. Also, since tulle comes in so many different colors – sunflower, chartreuse, fuchsia, lilac, and royal blue to name a few – you can always get your veil custom made if you are looking for a non-traditional color.

Hearts, Joy, Love!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Do you have a wedding dilemma or question you need answered? I’d love to help. Contact me at or at 937-235-2586.

Photo credit: L-O via photopin cc