How To Be a Gracious Bride

Every engaged gal fears being called the B-word.  You know which one I’m talking about.  The one that insinuates that you’re being selfish, controlling, and/or unrealistic.  I’ll be honest – when you’re planning your wedding and things aren’t going quite as you had thought they would, it’s actually not all that difficult to slip into the role of a bridezilla.  We’ve all been there a time or two and it’s not pretty.  I get that planning a wedding can be incredibly stressful.  Really, I do!  But that doesn’t give you the right to be a crazy person.  Instead, follow these few tips and be a kind, gracious, glowing bride who is beautiful both inside and out.

Burgh Brides Tips On How To Be A Gracious Bride

Say “thank you.”  A lot.  Be grateful.  To your fiance, your bridal party, your family, and your vendors. They are helping you; don’t forget that.  Acknowledge the time, money, or effort that someone has given up all in the name of your big day.  So overuse the words “thank you.”  They’re simple, they’re free, but they go a really long way.

Be nice to your vendors.  I can’t stress this one enough.  You will totally reap what you sow when it comes to relationships with your vendors.  If you’re kind and gracious to them, I guarantee they’ll work extra hard to make your day spectacular.  Be considerate of the fact that your wedding likely isn’t the only one they’re working on.  Cut them some slack when it comes to responding to emails or phone calls.  And please, for the love of Pete, feed the ones who will be working all day.  A real meal.  It doesn’t need to be the filet and lobster tail your guests will be eating, but something substantial that will keep them fueled and focused.  Back in my wedding planner days, I had numerous clients ask if they had to provide meals for their vendors.  Yes, yes, yes, 1000% yes.  This is not the place to save a few dollars.

Diversify your conversations.  By all means, be excited about your wedding!  It’s an exciting time! But try to not talk about it 24/7.  Your friends and family are happy for you, but they don’t want to hear about your wedding alllll the time.  If someone asks you a question about the wedding, go right ahead and answer them.  But be sure to follow up with a question about them.  Ask about what they’ve got going on and be genuinely interested in their answers.  Take the same approach with your fiance too.  Make a rule to routinely do non-wedding related activities together and have a weekly “Absolutely No Wedding Talk Allowed” evening.

Remember it’s not just “your” day.  As a matter of fact, vow to never let the words “It’s my wedding!” cross your lips.  Sure, you’re the bride and you’ll undoubtedly be the center of attention, both during planning and on the wedding day.  But the celebration belongs to other people besides yourself, such as your fiance and your parents.  Let them share the excitement and joy with you.  Involve them, take their opinions into thoughtful consideration, and pick and choose your battles wisely.  Often it’s better to concede on something small than it is to deal with the hurt feelings later.

Don’t expect too much from your bridesmaids.  They are not your actual maids.  Don’t treat them as such.  You want to be friends with these girls after the wedding is over.  So don’t make demands on their time; ask for their help instead.  And if they can’t help with or attend something, be understanding.  Keep them involved but don’t expect them to run errands or do things that aren’t wedding related.  Also, be thoughtful of how much money you are asking them to spend.  A dress, shoes, jewelry, bridal shower, bachelorette party, gifts…the costs add up quickly and can be exorbitant.  Have an honest discussion with them early in the planning process to get an idea of how much they are comfortable spending and then try your best to stick to that.

Roll with the punches.  Some things will go wrong, both during the planning process and on your wedding day.  It’s just Murphy’s law.  Maybe your favorite photographer will already be booked, maybe the flowers you were dying to have are just too expensive, maybe it will rain on your wedding day, or maybe the DJ will play the wrong intro music.  Whatever it is, in the grand scheme of things, are any of those really a big deal?  You’ll still be married to your sweetheart at the end of it all.  Have a Plan B for everything.  Accept that minor obstacles or mishaps will happen, let them roll off your back, and move on.  When it comes to snafus on the big day, keep in mind that you are likely the only one who knows how things were “supposed to” be or go.  Guests are typically none the wiser when something goes awry. I guarantee they won’t even notice. Don’t stress about it too much and get back to partying.

Because Burgh Brides are the best kind of bride, I'm sure you knew all of this already.  But a friendly reminder never hurt anyone.  What other advice would you give for being a gracious bride?

Ask Burgh Brides: June

I'm loving all of the great questions that have been submitted to Ask Burgh Brides so far!  This month's question comes to you from a soon-to-be Pittsburgher who is wondering when to book her reception venue.  She writes…

“I was wondering how quickly venues book in Pittsburgh.  I just got engaged and I am moving to Pittsburgh at the beginning of June.  Since Pittsburgh will be our new home we decided, it would be the best place to get married.  However, I am not too familiar with wedding planning in the area!”

First of all, let me tell you how happy I am that you've decided to tie the knot in the Burgh!  Not too long ago, my friends at Modern Era Weddings wrote a blog post on the top five reasons to get married in Pittsburgh and it's AWESOME!  From lower costs to spectacular views to crazy unique venues, the Pittsburgh wedding scene is popping.  And no wonder.  We're pretty sweet.

But speaking of venues, most sources advise booking yours at least a year prior to your wedding date.  However, I think this could be a bit flexible, depending on a few things:

  • The time of the year.  May through October marks “wedding season”.  This is when most venues and vendors are booked solid.  If you're open to getting married in the “off season,” say in January, you may have a better chance of securing your choice venue with less notice.
  • The day of the week.  Obviously, Saturday is the most popular day for weddings.  Friday is a close second.  Opt for a Sunday or even a Thursday wedding and there will be more openings for you to choose from.
  • The popularity of the venue.  Places like the Carnegie Museum, the Heinz History Center, the Pittsburgh Opera, and other wedding reception hot spots book up quickly, sometimes even more than a year in advance.  If you don't have quite that long, try looking for a new, not-yet-heard-of-by-everyone venue.  If not much word about a place has gotten out yet, the chance of them having some openings is higher.  Similarly, try searching for non-traditional venues, which are more likely to have some free weekends.  A private residence, a restaurant, or even a park pavilion can easily be transformed into a beautiful wedding venue with just a little TLC.
  • How far you're willing to travel.  Go outside the city a little bit and you'll increase your chances of finding a venue that doesn't fill up quite as quickly.  Plus, weddings outside downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods tend to be less expensive all around.

Readers, what do you think?  How far in advance did you book your venue?  Comment below and help a fellow Burgh Bride out!

Planning a wedding and need some help?  You've come to the right place!  Submit your question and you could see it answered right here on the blog.

An Introduction to Evermine + A Discount!

Affiliate-Link

When I discovered this amazing website a few years ago, I think I literally jumped for joy.  Evermine is like the holy grail of cute, personalized wedding accoutrements.  From water bottle labels to envelope seals, coasters to Save the Dates, magnets to buttons, postage stamps to gift tags, and stickers, labels, and tags in every shape, size, and color, Evermine has everything you need for make your wedding full of those extra special touches.  Here are a few of my favorite ideas on how you can use Evermine products to make your wedding stand out!

Keep things classic with a simple floral wedding invitation.

Evermine - One Stop Shop for Custom Wedding Labels, Stickers, Invites, & More!

These oval gift tags are the perfect finishing touch when tied to Pittsburgh themed welcome bags.

Evermine - One Stop Shop for Wedding Paper Accessories

Jazz up boring Aquafina with customized water bottle labels.

Evermine - One Stop Shop for Custom Wedding Labels, Stickers, Invites, & More!

These Gatsy-inspired custom drink coasters will have your cocktail hour feeling more like a speakeasy.

Evermine - One Stop Shop for Custom Wedding Labels, Stickers, Invites, & More!

Hey all you home brewers, why not serve some of your own creations to your guests? (And slap these clever labels on the bottles!)

Evermine - One Stop Shop for Custom Wedding Labels, Stickers, Invites, & More!

Start dinner off right with these pretty watercolor wedding menu cards.

Evermine - One Stop Shop for Custom Wedding Labels, Stickers, Invites, & More!

Mixed tapes will never go out of style.  Give guests a CD of your favorite love songs and personalize it with these cute CD labels.

Evermine - One Stop Shop for Custom Wedding Labels, Stickers, Invites, & More!

Homemade favors are the way to go, and these square custom stickers would blend right into a kraft box.

Evermine - One Stop Shop for Custom Wedding Labels, Stickers, Invites, & More!

Turn each thank you card into a little party with these confetti return address labels.

Evermine - One Stop Shop for Custom Wedding Labels, Stickers, Invites, & More!

Every product is completely customizable, and the website is very easy to use.  You can whip up your own versions in no time at all using their templates.  Select the shape, size, and color, change the text, and see a preview of the final product immediately.  Since lines have character limits, you might need to get creative with your wording, but that’s part of the fun.  They also use high quality papers and printing, the shipping is quick, and the prices are very reasonable.  With dozens of designs in a rainbow of colors, there is something to fit the look of every wedding.  Each design is also offered in a variety of formats, shapes, and sizes, meaning you can create something for every facet of your wedding to maintain a cohesive look all around.

I’ve ordered from Evermine dozens of time and I’ve always been happy with the products.  I’m not being compensated in any way for this post; I just really love what they have to offer and I think you should know about them!

Now go create something awesome!

Save

Save

Using Ebates for Wedding Savings

Raise your hand if you love Ebates as much as I do!  Don’t know about this little gem of a money-saving website?  Prepare to be amazed.  Simply put, Ebates pays you to shop online.  You read that correctly. You GET PAID to SHOP.  Ebates has partnered with thousands of retailers to snag you cash back on your online purchases.  Here is a longer description of how it all works in your favor:

  •  After you’ve created your Ebates account (which is totally free and they even send you a $10 gift card to your choice of a few major retailers, just for signing up), you can install the Ebates Cash Back button to your browser.
  • When you’re shopping online, the button will alert you if that retailer has a cash back offer.  Click the button and the offer is activated.
  • If you complete your purchase, the cash back is added to your Ebates account and you get a big fat check or a big fat deposit to your PayPal account every quarter.  It’s literally free money for doing nothing more than clicking a mouse.

If that doesn’t make sense, watch this video.

Each retailer offers a different cash back percentage, and Ebates offers double cash back on select retailers each week.  Plus, they have a whole slew of coupon codes.  The savings are virtually never-ending.

So what does this have to do with your wedding?  There are a number of Ebates retailers that sell wedding essentials or items you could easily use on your big day. To name just a few:

Bed, Bath, and Beyond – 2%
Macy’s – 3%
Target – Up to 5%
Use those gift cards you received at your bridal shower to purchase some more items off your registry.

Sephora – 4%
Ulta – 4%
Purchase some pretty new makeup for your honeymoon or splurge on a new perfume to wear on your wedding day.

Ann Taylor – 2.5%
J.Crew – 3%
Extend the savings to your bridesmaids by selecting one of the many stylish and affordable dresses these stores sell.

Hotels.com – 3.25%
Orbitz – Up to 8.45%
Travelocity – Up to 4%
Hello cheaper honeymoon!

Candy Warehouse – 4%
Old Time Candy – 5%
Design a candy buffet that would make Willy Wonka proud and put a few dollars back in your pocket while you’re at it.

Blue Nile – 2.5%
Save on your guy’s wedding band or some pretty jewelry for your mom or future MIL.

Paper Source – 3.5%
Bridal shower invites, save the dates, thank you notes, place cards, favor boxes, guest books…you could probably purchase all of your wedding paper goods from this one store alone.

The Knot Wedding Shop – 6.5%
I think every bride makes at least one purchase from The Knot’s wedding shop.  They have almost everything.  Those few hundred custom printed cocktail napkins that you just have to have…might as well save a few bucks on them.

I could go on for pages and pages; there are literally thousands of retailers featured on Ebates and so many ways you can use this site to your wedding budget’s advantage.  Two percent here and there may not seem like a lot but it adds up quickly.  And if you purchase on double cash back day, you’ll score twice as big.  Don’t forget to search Ebates or Retail Me Not for coupon codes for additional savings or free shipping.  Your wedding budget and wallet can thank me later.

Ask Burgh Brides: April

Last month, I introduced a new feature to the blog, Ask Burgh Brides.  Have a question about wedding planning, need some advice, or just want to bounce an idea off of someone?  I'm all ears!  Fill out the form at the link above and I'll answer a few each month or so right here.

First up?  A question from Maddie, who is getting married this September.  Maddie writes…

“My fiance and I are having an intimate, very ‘us' wedding this September.  We're not getting married in a church, and we're only inviting parents/siblings/surviving grandparents.  Neither of us have ever wanted a traditional or big wedding, and we don't have the money to throw a party for 200 people anyway.  We're having a cookout with our friends the day after to celebrate with them, and the day after that, my fiance's parents are hosting a big party for us with his extended family.

There are some people who already have hurt feelings over our wedding plans (cousins who wanted their daughter to be the flower girl, a grandma who can't believe we're not inviting her other son).  There are also some who will definitely have hurt feelings because they wanted to attend, but won't be invited.

I've explained to these family members as delicately and lovingly as I can where we are coming from, and yet some people just don't get it.  How can I address these people in a respectful way that also shows that I'm not going to change my mind about our plans?  Some people are pressuring us to change our plans to accommodate them and it's really starting to become hurtful.  Also, how can I announce to extended family members that we got married in a loving, respectful way?  I know that some people send out wedding announcements after the fact but it seems like that might reopen hurt feelings.”

Wow, Maddie, you are making me start this series with a tough one!  It's a shame that family members are pressuring you to change your wedding plans or are making you feel guilty about them.  I suppose they mean well and are just upset because they were hoping to share your special day with you.  However, that doesn't change the fact that you want what you want – a small, intimate affair for close family members.  I hate to say this because it sounds brattier than I intend for it to but – it's your wedding.  Don't feel the need to apologize for your wishes and desires, or worse yet, change your plans.  By explaining things in a respectful and loving way, you're doing all you can.  Unfortunately, there will always be some people who will never understand why you're doing what you're doing.  But that's ok because it's not their wedding (see a few sentences ago).  It's a tough situation but my best advice to remain your sweet, polite self, explaining your wishes in a respectful way, but to try and not to let them rain on your wedding day parade!  If your parents are supportive of your plans, it could help to have them in your corner, explaining things to hurt family members and trying to smooth things over with them.

As far as announcements go, they certainly aren't mandatory.  If you feel that they may pour salt on some people's wounds, then don't feel obligated to send them.  But for those guests who took the lack of an invitation in stride, wedding announcements are a nice idea.  Hopefully receiving an announcement will remind the former folks just how in love and happy you are, making them forget about their hurt feelings.

Readers, what advice would you offer to Maddie?  Comment below and help a fellow Burgh Bride out!

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop Recap

Last week, I teamed up with the super talented ladies of Sapphire & Lace Event Design, Jack+Bean Event Stationery, Mosaic Linens, and Found + Made to teach (what I'm pretty sure was) Pittsburgh's first wedding design and styling workshop!  We took over the ballroom of the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel and hosted an evening of inspiration and education for local brides.  If you weren't there, you missed a good time!  But lucky for you, Dawn Derbyshire Photography was in place to document all of the pretty details and I'm giving you a full recap today.

The event started off with a the simple, and probably obvious, question – “What is design?”

Ladies, listen up!  Are you paying attention?  This is really important! 

Wedding design is sooooo (o x 9863958) much more than just your color scheme!  Creating a cohesive, impactful look for your wedding day means a whole heck of a lot more than just picking out pretty bouquets to match the bridesmaids' dresses.  Instead, it means determining a style, look, or even theme and weaving commons threads of that style/look/theme into every single aspect of your wedding day.  From the invitations to the favors, and everything in between, all aspects of your wedding should be cohesive and look like they belong together.  There is a fluidity between the big aspects, such as your venue and even your dress, and all of the details, like the menu cards and cocktail napkins.  Don't just stop at picking out a few colors!  Find something that inspires you – a piece of art, a book, architecture, a flower, a hobby, whatever! – and determine what style it lends itself to.  Then, let everything else flow from there!

To give our guests a visual representation of what we meant, the team came up with three different concepts and created tablescapes to go with each of those.  Mood boards showed guests what inspired the looks and they were able to see, touch, and explore all of the elements that brought that look to life.  From nailing down a style to selecting all of the various pieces, we explained the thought process behind each and every decision.  I think this really helped our guests understand more clearly what “creating a cohesive” look really means.  Plus, it was so fun to see all of the pieces come together!

Our first concept was bohemican chic.  Think jewel tones, natural elements like antlers and feathers, bright flowers and succulents, brass candlesticks, amber glass, and even birdcages.  Our tablescape was absolutely breathtaking!  We also created a lounge area to inspire unique seating vignettes for cocktail hours, after parties, or even quiet spaces during dancing.  Colorful and a bit anything goes, this look was flawless!

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Boho Chic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Boho Chic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Boho Chic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Boho Chic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Boho Chic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Boho Chic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Boho Chic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Boho Chic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Boho Chic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Boho Chic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Boho Chic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Boho Chic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Boho Chic Inspiration

The second style was modern.  Minimalistic but bold, this look was inspired by black and white stripes and lots of greenery.  In contrast to the boho chic look, you won't find much color here.  But it still packed a mighty punch.  The linen grabbed your attention and kept it, since the other details are subtle.  We also worked up a styled cocktail table.  Your cocktail reception is a great place to have a little fun with specialty linens, unique centerpieces, or even cute signs with your wedding hashtag or fun facts about the bride and groom.  This look was sleek and stylish in a quiet way, but it definitely made a statement!

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Modern Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Modern Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Modern Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Modern Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Modern Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Modern Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Modern Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Modern Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Modern Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Modern Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Modern Inspiration

The final concept was classic and sparkly.  We were inspired by lots of candlelight, mixed metallics (yes, it is ok to mix gold and silver!), and monochromatic florals.  This style is perfect for the traditional bride or the one who wants a pretty, feminine look.  The navy blue linen was rich but was softened by the white and ivory flowers, pastel blue napkins, and menu card with its subtle punch of coral. Gold beaded chargers, lots of mercury glass, and candles galore completed this tablescape.  We also created an escort card table that had a big wow factor!  A large display of various candles set a romantic tone and the sequin linen was just gorgeous.  The entire look was soft, glowing, and romantic!

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Classic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Classic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Classic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Classic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Classic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Classic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Classic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Classic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Classic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Classic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Classic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Classic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Classic Inspiration

After exploring the three tablescapes, it was time for my favorite part of the evening…the Design Bar!  We had various shaped tables in place and lots of extra linens, centerpieces, table numbers, menu cards, candles, and other accessories and guests were encouraged to play and create their own beautiful tablescapes.  The team was there to spark creativity and help guests think outside the box.  It was like playing dress up!  So fun!

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Design Bar

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Design Bar

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Design Bar

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Design Bar

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Design Bar

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Design Bar

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Design Bar

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Design Bar

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Design Bar

We even spent a little time getting to know our guests, learning about their wedding looks and helping them come up with ways to bring those to life.  The ladies asked great questions and I hope that they found the night to be fun, educational, and inspirational.  We're already looking forward to bigger and better workshops!  If you're in the midst of wedding planning, let us what you would like to see at the next one!

And a HUGE thank you to the amazing vendors who helped me bring this idea to fruition!  Bethany, Julie, Molly, Jen, Laura, Dawn, and Katy – you gals are the best!  Thank you from the bottom of my wedding detail-loving heart!

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!

2015-03-19_0004

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

Save