My Wedding Planning Experience

Well, ladies, as you may know, I am getting married (YAAYYYYYYY) sound the horn, blow the whistle!!!  I am so excited and I cannot wait to be Mrs. Payne! Logan is the most incredible man I have ever met. So basically let me insert my first tip to all you single gals. WAIT!!! Be Patient, love yourself, don't settle and when God wants you to meet your soul mate you will. Don't rush it because your friends are getting married or think you can change someone or think it will get better... it won't. That being said save yourself some heartbreak and divorce money and trust me when I say it is in God's time. Now that I got that out of the way I wanted to share my experiences and some vendors I chose to use and why. I planned this wedding basically by myself. Yes you can too and just get a day of coordinator. Be prepared as this one is long ha! Hopefully, will help you decide yourself as well. 

Picking vendors is so easy if you know what you want and know what to look for. For me, I wanted fun, light-hearted vendors that understood what I was going for and wasn't treating me like cattle. Trust me a lot will and you don't want that or have time to email someone begging them to respond. That being said the first thing every bride should look at is the Venue. Yep, you heard me right.. not the dress ladies, just wait til you lock down a venue. Reason being is you don't want a super elegant formal bridal dress if you are getting married in a rustic type venue. Also, it takes a lot of stress out of everything else and makes it that much easier.

 Once we locked down our venue you better believe I was hightailing it to the dress shops. I first went to Vera Wang and yes they are beautiful gowns and gorgeous, however, my experience was they were trying to force a dress on me and telling me I didn't have the body for certain dresses. My gut was saying no this doesn't feel right. My point is that if you feel this way no matter what everyone is saying around you leave. go somewhere else and try on what YOU love. We can get easily coerced into liking a dress we don't actually love because why? Well, we have waited for this moment our entire life and want to say yes so bad so we tend to say it too early. The opposite side of that is not saying yes fast enough and thinking you need to try on 100 dresses, don't do that as it will confuse you and you will end up having no idea what you want at all!

After I went to another I did research and found a beautiful Bridal Salon in Sarasota called Blush Bridal Sarasota. I chose them because 1. It looked gorgeous but 2. They had the designers I was interested in. 3. Beyond kind.  I went there with only 2 people. Logan's mom and my sweet bridesmaid Shelby. I recommend keeping it very small as again too many opinions are dangerous. These amazing ladies Fondren and Nicole set up the most beautiful display, we are talking amazing champagne, petite fours all with gorgeous fluffy, feminine pillows. They had me email them dresses I was interested in seeing and already had those pulled. They stepped back and let me shop looking at every gown and not rushed. I tried on 5 and man oh man was one of those 5 my dress!!!  I knew it the second I put it on. Not because I was crying but because I didn't want it off. That is a sign it's your dress!!  

Next for me was Save the Dates, Invites, and all other paper material. That was easy for me as I had heard about Minted and loved that they were easy, affordable, classy, custom, oh and did I say affordable? They have the most darling invites, save the dates, rsvp cards and more. Also, the print the names on the envelopes for FREE! Yes, I said free! I had a custom color that they matched for our hotel guest information card. Everything was so easy with them and got delivered to my door within week to week and half. Brides can spend far too much on paper goods for their wedding and you don't need to! Trust me as beautiful as an invitation can be, do you ever save them? NO! Ok, unless it is family, we don't save them we write the date in our calendar and toss so why spend over 1k on invites that will be thrown in the trash when you can order from minted pay a lot less and still a gorgeous simple invite? Trust me use them or someone like them and put that money you save on photographers.

That led me to my next venture- Photographers. As with most venues they have their preferred vendors of which sometimes I am hesitant about for many reasons and to be honest, I looked at all of their's and was not impressed and then got to the last one on the vendor list and was like " Thank God" I found my photographers. I honestly knew just from the way Concept Photography they shot photos they were for me. They are not your typical wedding photographers, they were fun and outside the box. When I called and said let's do this they were like yes and what about this and so cool about everything. No cheesy poses and yes, they can do that if that's what you want. However, they picked out the places of our engagement shoot which was Coppertail Brewery and made us so comfortable. Afterward, Logan was like "dude, they are cool and that wasn't awful at all, I had fun" which ladies as you know it is INSANE he said that! But, that is how much fun Sara and Jason are. They make you feel like you have been friends forever and get what you want. I cannot tell you how much talent they have. It is unreal and yes you will want to hang out them that's how cool they are. Basically, when looking and choosing someone make sure they have the same vibe as you have. If you are more traditional then get a traditional photographer. Also, my biggest, biggest  tip is DO NOT JUDGE WORK OFF WHAT THE MODEL LOOKS LIKE!!! To be honest, most photographers will only put up or let you see their "Best shot' from weddings. Ask to see them all. My dog could take one good shot of anyone but it takes talent to take 200 shots of someone and them be amazing. Ask for permission to see them all. With Sara and Jason I didn't have to.. they offered!   

Now bring on the Florist!- Again, as with everything I wanted in my wedding I wanted it to be me, fun with a little edge but still classic. Every wedding florist I spoke to was like are you sure you don't want just white or some more white or more pale pink.. No, I don't and while i think those colors are beautiful and soft and delicate they just didn't feel like me. I wanted color and lots of it! I wanted shades of pink, magenta, blush, reds, and deep plums. I wanted FUN! Honestly, I barely wanted white and not because I don't think it is stunning because trust me I do, it just isn't my personality. A lot of brides get caught up in what they "think" people want them to do. Don't do that again your day, your ideas. DONE! I finally spoke to In Bloom Florist and Janessa and Rochelle got it. I knew she got it when this gal came out in matching leather jacket. Anyone that knows me, knows I was sold! Trust me, at first, I did the pale pink and white thing and two weeks later called and said this isn't me and Janessa and Rochelle said good let's have fun.  I sent them ideas and they did a mock up ( I posted about this on Instagram) and holy cow was it perfect and on point! They even did 3 mock up bouquets pictured here.  When picking a florist, again make sure they understand what you want and that they are excited to work with you and it isn't jsut another "job" for them! 

Lights, Camera, Action! Last but not least on the "Main" vendor list is Signature Chandeliers  . One look at their website and you will know why I chose them! Seriously stunning, and well-priced chandeliers. Before I spoke to Ben Lawles (owner) I saw his work and it stood out beyond everyone else in the Florida area. Others were way more expensive and yet, to be honest, had not so beautiful chandeliers. The ones Ben uses in his company are breathtaking, classic, luxurious, and just like they came from a fairytale. The thing I loved about working with them is we had a budget, like all brides you go over, just deal with it as it will happen, trust me. Anyway, we had a budget and we wanted a mixture of two packages he had so he said give me a few days and then boom in my mailbox I had a plan he designed for me for my wedding!! He made it custom to our budget and his artistic ability with lighting. Wait until you guys see what he did! UGHHH I am so excited to feel like a princess dancing under those chandeliers! My point, is don't just lock down the first person on your google search. People think lighting and that stuff is easy and it isn't you need the right guy and someone that loves his job and wants to make your wedding special. He could have easily said no, you have to choose a package but he didn't. I recommend any bride to have at least one chandelier  on your wedding day. They are beautiful over the dance floor or as an entrance or over the cake. You can get smaller ones and they are so affordable! It is a extra touch of glam to put on your special day and best part you won't regret it!  

Luckily when I found Ben, I found he also has  Kaleidoscope  lighting. Because he was a genius at the chandelier design and we needed a few lights draped around our venue as it is outside with no lighting we still wanted it soft and romantic and well, he came up with something that was subtle and will look beautiful in photos and yet still enough lighting so my Mamaw won't trip lol. Lighting is key to an outdoor or indoor venue. It can dress it up and you can skip on so many things if you have great lighting and few good flowers you are set! 

I hope you guys enjoyed my book. It will be released on paperback next month.  I have been writing this for a while and yes it is long and I tried to go into every detail without boring you, but sorry if I did as these are things that might help you out on your special day! Just think by me doing all this research I can say when someone says " who was your planner" oh it's me I designed it and it came to life because of my amazing vendors. Not to mention it saves money and I love everything artistic and I loved planning!

I will do another blog on details such as jewelry, what I am getting bridesmaids, and  shoes. I might give some info on makeup and hair trials.. just maybe lol. Kidding that will totally be a blog!

Please leave comments/questions

 

xoxo

 

Jess