Tackling the Guest List

Tackling your guest list will likely take more than one night and more than one bottle of wine. Before you’re engaged (and have set a budget) you imagine your guest list will include your extended families, both of your college friends, sorority sisters/fraternity brothers, a few high school friends, those friends you’ve made as a couple, and maybe even work friends (it is polite to invite your boss).

Once you get a quote back from a caterer, your philosophy on who gets invitations will likely change. At $15-45 a head, your wedding can get exponentially more expensive as your guest list grows. And you will have to reconsider some of the people that might have made your first draft list.

We started with an excel sheet and put our immediate families, our wedding party (and their +1s), and our vendors on the list. While you don’t necessarily need chairs for vendors or invitations, you do need to feed them (although it does not have to be the same food you feed your guests*). We then added extended family members that were a must and our mutual friends. Our list quickly approached 125. We discussed other friends/guests we would like to invite on an individual basis and made decisions to add or leave off of the list. THIS WAS NOT EASY. There were easily a dozen more people we each would have invited but it would have made us go over budget, and also cramped our reception area (they cannot fit over 200 people in there!).

We took several days (weeks) to finalize our list – and even at the near end we were adding people to it. You should look at it as a work in progress (until you have to give your final counts to your vendors). At some point, you’ll consider eloping, having a small intimate wedding, or tossing your budget and inviting everyone you know – and then you’ll come back to reality. Once we made our list, we used it for everything, including invites, RSVPs, seating chart and thank yous (If you do it in Excel like we did, it’s easy to copy the tab and use the same list without recreating data!)!

Even if you have an A list and a B list, don’t tell a “B list” guest that some A listers couldn’t make it, so you now have room for them (had an ex do this to a mutual friend, very tacky – but did give us a good laugh!). There will probably be some guests that you thought were “sure things” who will end up not being able to come – and it will make room for others if that’s how you want to see it. Or it can cut down on your costs.

Just remember that you want people there that you care about and that care about you. You want people there who will enjoy celebrating the love that you have found and your new adventure. It’s not about who your parents want to invite (unless they’re contributing funds!), and it’s not about not hurting people’s feelings. It’s your day. It’s about you (and your groom) and with whom you want to share your special day. Good luck!

 

Wedding Show Wednesday!

This past Sunday, I made the trip back to my hometown to attend a bridal show with my Mom and high school best friend, Brittney at The Inn at Virginia Tech.
Bridal1It was a smaller show than the one I attended at the Carolina Inn back in January. And by “smaller” I mean… a lot smaller and different. There were maybe 20 booths set up, including photo booth rentals, caterers, photographers, Mary Kay, a nutrition store. I was surprised that there weren’t any hair salons with booths. Only one store showed off gowns (and suits/tuxes) and it’s the same store I bought all of my homecoming/prom dresses from growing up.

bridal3

I was excited to try delicious treats and champagne while we explored the booths but there were actually very few treats to try, and no champagne to be found anywhere. I did stumble across some ah-mazing macarons – I seriously might have to have these at the wedding.
bridal4Originally, we had planned to go to the bridal show for me – and so I could spend time with these two special ladies, but Brittney got ENGAGED on Friday night, so we were able to celebrate with her and help her get some ideas and information to begin planning her perfect day! Although the bridal show was slightly disappointing, I had a blast with these two ladies! Take a moment to wish Brittney congrats!

bridal2

Happy Hump Day & Congratulations Brittney & Josh!

Bride Wars

Many of you may remember me mentioning that a very good friend, a best friend, got engaged two weeks after I did. We were both going to be experiencing this exciting time in our lives, at the same time. Let me go back… we’ve been best friends since we were 15. We spent summers together, we celebrated birthdays and graduations together, we visited each other in college, we shared everything for the past 11.5 years. And here we are, growing up and getting married and we won’t be sharing that.

A few weeks ago, I changed up my wedding party. This was not a rash decision, but a well thought out one (and that’s becoming more clear as the days go on). It was weighing heavy on my heart for a while before the decision was made – but with two weddings being planned, it felt like only one of them was being focused on. I should have prefaced this post with “THIS IS HOW IT FELT TO ME,” because of course, every story has 2 sides. I understand that living within 5 miles of each other makes it much easier to get together and talk weddings but part of me, the little girl in me, the bride-to-be in me, wanted to stand up and scream, “I’M GETTING MARRIED, TOO!” But I didn’t do that… I didn’t do that when our other 2  “best” friends were asked to be Maid and Matron of Honor in the other wedding, or when she browsed for wedding dresses on the day that MY bridesmaids were looking at dresses to wear in my wedding, or when she announced she was using the same colors as me, or even when a slightly edited version of an email I sent to my bridesmaids was sent from her to her bridesmaids just 2 hours after mine. Nope, I kept quiet. I did mention it once, and was told, “It’s the time in our lives where everyone is getting married, we just have to deal with that.”

I don’t want to deal with that. I want to (and deserve to) to be the center of attention, the star in the spotlight, and at the least, the focus of MY bridal party. But I wasn’t (with the exception of two fabulous friends!)… and I was starting to feel like not even a friend after taking the highroad and offering to host a bridal party for the other bride and being told “We’ll be hitting up all the bridesmaids to help.” And just like that, I was lumped into a group of people that were not life-long friends, but just bridesmaids. I did not list out everything that had hurt my feelings over the past months and I was not mean in my request. I was honest and open, and hoping that my best friends would understand. I actually hoped (that maybe just ONE of them) would have apologized and asked how they could fix the situation, but no… they all immediately opted out.

I am not bitter and I still 100% believe I made the right decision in asking them to step down. They have all made it clear that they do not wish to be a part of my wedding planning, my wedding day, or even my life. Some of their family members have made similar decisions, which hurts, and sucks all at the same time. I do not regret my decision. I have taken the highroad. My attempts to contact them have gone unanswered. I’ve been unfriended on Facebook by some. Yet, I still have plenty of people in my life who are caring, understanding and WANT to be involved in my planning, my happiness and my big day. And yes, it’s MY day – so this is the one time in my life where I can be selfish and soak up all of that attention. I just had to surround myself with people that could enjoy it with me – and I can’t express how thankful I am for each and every one of them.

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

Congratulations amy!

My sweet BFF from high school (one of my BMs) is engaged to her long-time love (7+ years!), Clay! I am SO incredibly excited for the two of them to start their engagement journey and experience this exciting time in life. I don’t think I’ve stopped smiling for them and I’m sure the bride-to-be hasn’t either! Take a second to leave a comment & wish the sweet couple congratulations!

lovebirds
Stolen from Amy’s Facebook*

 

Also – Merry Christmas Eve! I’m excited to celebrate my first (and last) Christmas as an engaged woman! ❤

Meet the Fockers

I spent this weekend with my soon-to-be in-laws. My fiance’s sweet parents and his brilliant sister who graduated from UNC-W this weekend with her Masters! Every time we are with them it is just delightful. Whether we are playing Apples-to-Apples, watching Bad Santa, hanging out with Will Ferrell or picking up sand dollars on the beach, it is always a wonderfully enjoyable time. (Not to mention his parents love food in the same way I do… so we eat, a lot!).

546787_10100298185530913_673317564_nI’ve heard so many horror stories about in-laws and especially the mother-in-law not getting along with the girl who is spending forever with her son, but that is in no way the case! I love, love, LOVE my soon-to-be mother-in-law. She is a wonderful woman, very admirable and sweet and perfectly Southern! I honestly could not have hand-picked a better woman to be my mother-in-law. Landon’s dad is also amazing, he’s incredibly smart, can always make me laugh and always makes a point to ask about my family, which makes me smile inside. Quite possibly the best part of this is that I also get a new sister (I already have one sister-in-law  in my brother’s wife).

Today, my newest soon-to-be sister-in-law and I had a private warm vinyasa yoga class in Wilmington. Seriously, we get along great. I can’t imagine him having a sister that was any more perfect! We love the same things, can share clothes, ran our first half marathon together and somehow always kick-ass when we’re on the same game team. I love her and I feel very lucky to be joining her family.

I love my family. I’m very passionate and protective of them (even though more than 48 hours with them usually results some sort of “I’m adopted” rant). I can’t wait to see them in just 9 days and hug my little cousins, spend yet another Christmas with the sweetest and best grandfather anyone could ever have and spend our first Christmas with my adorable nephew. I love that even after all these years, and after we’ve all grown up, we all still make our way back to our small town and have a huge Christmas breakfast together with 30+ people. I’m also very happy that just a few days after that, we’ll be spending Christmas in Fearrington with my fiance’s family for our very first engaged Christmas. yay!

Gee, I really love you…

I didn’t do a Thanksgiving post because I was passed out after eating a plate full of southern deliciousness (turkey, sweet potato pie, mashed potatoes, green been casserole, stuffing… and of course, pumpkin and chocolate chess pie).

But, while we were celebrating Thanksgiving with my fiance’s sweet, sweet family (that I am SO lucky to be able to call MY family now), we had a little engagement shoot at Fearrington Village.



Fearrington Barn



And our shoot wouldn’t have been complete without a few “fun” photos…

YAY! We’re getting married!

 

“Make sure you marry someone who laughs at the same things you do.” – J.D. Sallinger

Hope y’all had a nice Thanksgiving. I’m very thankful for both of my families, my supportive and oh-so-sweet fiance, my best friends – who are also my bridesmaids, my sweet pups that can brighten any day, and being so blessed in life. I’m one lucky gal!

 

Never too many white dresses!

Yesterday, I ordered the J. Crew Blakely dress thinking that it will be absolutely perfect for a rehearsal dinner dress! Maybe a little early for that part of the planning, but it as on sale and I’ve had my eye on it for a while! And even if I don’t wear it for the rehearsal dinner, I will wear it for a party/shower or something! Seriously… it’s too cute!

I also orderd a while tulle dress from Anthropologie that I thought would be perfect for the engagement party that my sweet, big brother is planning for me right now. I bet no one would have guessed when we were kids that we’d ever like each other enough to plan engagement parties and baby showers for one another.

Cousin Brandy’s wedding circa 1996/97