Exciting New Program for Burgh Brides!

Happy Bonus Post Friday!  I’m in a crazy good mood for a few reasons: 1.) It’s Friday!  2.) Today is the first day of spring!  3.) Fish fry dinner tonight!  And 4.) I have a crazy BIG announcement to make!  Drum roll please…

I’m partnering with the my most favorite downtown venue, the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel, along with the talent behind Sapphire & Lace Event Design, Mosaic Linens, Jack + Bean, and Found + Made, to bring you Pittsburgh’s FIRST EVER WEDDING DESIGN WORKSHOP!

(Cue the applause. Pop the champagne.)

You guyssss!  I’m so excited about this I can barely stand it!  You see, I’ve had this idea for a little while now – a different kind of wedding event.  The city already has so many bridal shows where you can meet vendors and find great deals.  But, I never thought that those were the areas local brides needed the most help.  What I DO think brides often need help with is wedding design and styling.  Let’s face it…designing a wedding can be stressful and a lot of hard work, especially if you don’t consider yourself to be creative.  Can you really take all of your Pinterest boards, mesh them together, and create a cohesive look?  How do you bring to life all of the ideas swimming around your head?  What about making sure the style of your wedding is carried throughout the entire day (and even before that)?  So many questions, right?!  We’re packaging up the answers, plus providing a ton more information and inspiration at our workshop on April 22!  I don’t want to give away too many secrets so I’ll just say this – mark your calendars now!  If you’re in the midst of wedding planning, you do not want to miss this event!

I went to my friends at The Renaissance with the idea, hoping they want to be on board as well.  Things exploded from there.  The idea for this wedding style and design how-to session eventually became a part of a larger program recently implemented by The Renaissance.  It’s called Bridal Boot Camp, it’s amazing, it’s FREE, and it’s open to ALL local brides-to-be who want a little help preparing for their big day!


Here is my good friend and fellow wedding lover Katy, catering sales manager at The Renaissance, to explain more.

What is the Bridal Boot Camp?
The Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel is inviting all future brides to complete a complimentary 8-week Bridal Boot Camp program featuring various physical and wedding-themed informational sessions.  Brides are encouraged to bring their bridesmaids or a fellow bride-to-be to weekly sessions featuring either PiYo classes and running hours or scheduled workshops focused on hair and makeup, healthy detox and diets, and reception design from various Pittsburgh-based vendors.  In celebration of the completion of the program, participants will be treated to a cocktail party at the hotel!

Where did the idea for this program come from?
Our social media committee meets every week and we were throwing around ideas for our RLife events, which are events each Renaissance Hotel provides to their guests during their stay at the hotels.  We wanted to tie in our brides, and as a result the workshop ideas starting rolling.   It turned into its own program, which we are now opening up to ANY bride, not just the Renaissance Bride.

What can brides expect?
The Bridal Boot Camp program offers an exclusive experience that is not offered elsewhere.  The program was designed to feature basic wedding topics that may be overlooked or under-considered during the wedding planning process.  By merging various educational segments with physical activity, Pittsburgh’s brides will be encouraged to put their minds and bodies to the test before saying “I do”.

Eeeeeeek doesn’t this sound so fabulous?!  Not only will this program help whip you into shape, but it will also help immensely with planning your big day!  Although the program is already a few weeks in, there are still plenty of excellent sessions on the horizon.  View the complete Bridal Boot Camp program calendar or see more details on the Burgh Brides event calendar.

So, how do you sign up?  Call 412.992.2042 and ask to be put on the email list.  You’ll receive a reminder before each session. You don’t have to go to every session; just RSVP for those you’re interested in attending.

Just sayin' though…you’ll DEFINITELY want to RSVP for our design and styling workshop on April 22!  I’ll be there, we have lots of information to share, and a few surprises in store.  It’s going to be EPIC!

Wedding Budget Breakdown

Before you book a single vendor, purchase any items, or basically spend one red penny, you and your fiance need to have an honest conversation about your wedding’s budget.  This talk might be tough but it’s absolutely essential.  Weddings are expensive.  In fact, the Huffington Post reports that the average cost of a wedding is approximately $30,000.  Unless you have buckets of money lying around (who does?), you’re going to need to spend wisely.

The first step toward doing that is deciding an overall budget and breaking down how you're going to spend said budget  Determining what you can expect to spend on different aspects of the wedding, such as food and beverage, transportation, and printed materials, can help you stay on track and eliminate a shocking grand total at the very end.  Countless (and various) wedding budget breakdowns can be found online, but I find this one from David Tutera’s The Big White Book of Weddings to be the most realistic and easiest to work with.  Of course, I put it all into a pretty infographic for you.

Whether you'll be spending $30,000 or $3,000, the percentage of your budget that you can expect to dish out for each category generally stays the same.  Having trouble figuring out what 8% of your budget is?  Let’s face it, no one remembers high school algebra (Sorry, Miss Harris!).  I created a helpful tool that will easily calculate all of the percentages…and I'm sharing it with all of you!  To use the Wedding Budget Breakdown Calculator (someone please think of a better name and let me know), just enter your total budget at the top.  The rest of the fields will self-populate with the correct percentages and totals.  You're welcome!

However, there are a few things you should keep in mind!

This breakdown is flexible.  Maybe your ceremony and reception are both taking place in a hotel.  In that case, you likely won’t spend 2% for transportation.  Allocate that to another category, such as flowers, decor, or something else that is important to you.  Perhaps you aren’t interested in a videographer but want to splurge on a top shelf bar instead.  Take that 1 or 2% you would have spent on video and add it to the food and drink.  If you spend 5% on the cake, you’re going to need to cut 2% from another area in order to stay on track.

Be aware of “hidden” costs.  The 2% allocated to your dress should include the cost of alterations, while that amount put aside for hair and makeup should include the cost of trials.  Besides the wedding invitations, the Save the Dates, calligraphy, and postage for all mailings should also come out of the 2% budgeted for printed materials.  The venue rentals should include both your ceremony and reception sites.  Things add up very quickly!

While helpful, this breakdown isn’t all inclusive.  Items like marriage license fees, bridal party gifts, a wedding planner, or a honeymoon aren’t included.  Some of these purchases could come out of your extra cushion allotment, but try and save this for unexpected or higher-than-anticipated costs.

Remember, these aren't hard and fast rules.  Some couples prefer to choose three or four areas that are the most important to them and splurge on these accordingly.  They can then cut costs when it comes to other items that aren't on their must have list.  You could try this method instead!  I personally think the best way to keep track of your spending is to combine the two…select the aspects that are most important to you and shuffle percentages around accordingly, allotting more to those must haves and less to those items you aren't going to miss if they aren't there.

But most importantly, what you need to keep in mind is that a wedding doesn’t have to be lavish or over the top to be beautiful.  I put that sentence in bold to really hammer it home.  A wedding is about you and your sweetie.  Not the dress, the flowers, the food, the favors, or anything else.  All of those things are just icing on the proverbial wedding cake.  It isn’t worth ending up in the poor house or having credit card bills you can’t pay off.  Before you do any other wedding planning, have a heart-to-heart with your fiance (and any other parties who might be contributing) about what you can comfortably spend, both overall and on those most-important areas.  Make a pact to stick to that budget no matter what.  Your wallet and relationship will thank you later.

Say Hello to Burgh Brides

Hi there!  Welcome to Burgh Brides!  I’m so excited to finally be able to share this blog with you.  It’s been a little dream of mine for many, many years.  As a matter of fact, I first purchased the domain name back in 2009 when I originally came up with the idea of a blog dedicated to all things Pittsburgh weddings.  However, life happened and it got put on the back burner…for nearly six whole years.  But today, here I am, and here you are, and I’m thrilled you’ve stopped by!

Burgh Brides - A Pittsburgh Wedding Blog!

So what is Burgh Brides all about?  I’ll get to that.  Before I do, let me tell you why a Pittsburgh wedding blog in the first place.

I’m a born and raised Yinzer, minus the accent somehow.  I love this city, its history, and its kaleidoscope culture.  Where else can you find one of the best hospitals in the nation, a sandwich with French fries on it, and a global university that is renowned for its fine arts AND computer science AND engineering programs (high five, CMU!)?  This place is awesome!  But for a while Pittsburgh was getting a bad rap.  How many “worst of” lists were we placed on?  Worst dressed, worst place for singles, worst traffic nightmares, ugliest accent, ugliest women (rude!), and the list goes on.  Quite frankly, I never understood it.  And I was sick of it.  Luckily, in the past few years our reputation for being one of the “worst” cities has turned around and Pittsburgh now ranks #1 on numerous “best of” lists.  People are finally learning what we've known all along – this place is special.

Throughout my near-decade in Pittsburgh’s wedding and event industry, I’ve seen some incredibly beautiful things…weddings that are styled nearly to perfection, details that would knock your socks off, unique venues, gorgeous gowns, and vendors who are true artists.  I wanted to share all of this with all of you!  Sure, there are a million wedding blogs out there.  But most of the time, Pittsburgh gets overlooked.  They feature New York weddings, they feature Chicago weddings, they even feature Philly weddings.  But very rarely do you see a Pittsburgh wedding featured on Style Me Pretty (unless you work with Elizabeth Craig, who is insanely talented and has been featured multiple times, rightfully so).  So what do we Pittsburghers do when the rest of the world isn’t talking about us?  We talk about ourselves, and know that the rest of the world will start listening eventually.

That’s how Burgh Brides was born.  I created this blog to show off the awesome weddings that take place right here, so that we could toot our own horns.  I want to share ideas and inspire brides to create their own gorgeous day.  I want to be able to pass along some of the logistical know-how that I’ve gained from years as a wedding and event planner, and hopefully make the planning process just a little less stressful.  I want to introduce brides to all sorts of awesome, super talented vendors who are just waiting to help make their day magical.  I want to be your unofficial wedding planner, your second maid of honor, and your wedding cheerleader!  It’s going to be so fun!

So what can you expect to see?  For starters:

  • Real wedding and engagement sessions (and hopefully some styled shoots too!)
  • Vendor features
  • Ideas and inspiration
  • Trends projected and traditions explained
  • Planning tips and logistical help
  • DIY tutorials
  • Resources and tools

And I’m just getting started!  I’m so hopeful about what this blog can turn into and I’m excited to see it grow and transform.  For now, I’m just so glad to see you!  I'll be posting twice a week so check back on Thursday for the first of the Real Love Series.  I hope you like what you see so far and I can’t wait to become better friends!

P.S. I'd be remiss if I didn't send a HUGE shout out and an ENORMOUS thank you to Beth and Sam Insalaco!  These two.  Oh my goodness.  So much talent between the pair.  Sam is the master tech mind behind Burgh Brides.  If you need a website or help with SEO, give his company, theBREWROOM, a holler.  Beth is not only an incredible photographer who took the head shots you see but she also created the pretty logo and graphics.  Burgh Brides really wouldn't have been possible without these two and I'm so thankful I get to call them my friends!  xo