Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Wedding Wednesday: My Best Wedding Planning Tip

We’re officially halfway through our engagement, and I finally had my first wedding planning panic last week. Overall, planning has gone pretty smoothly, and I was feeling great about save the dates going out immediately following Hunter’s sister’s wedding, but when my planner encouraged us to go ahead and order formal invitations, I looked at my calendar with no time to go to Fairhope in the coming weeks and panicked. Fortunately, my mom came to Birmingham on Sunday and we were able to get an appointment to discuss invitations on Monday morning. We’re waiting on the proof before giving the ok to have them printed but being able to do that together in person with how many decisions there are was crucial! I think my mom and I both feel better about having that knocked out in plenty of time to get them in the mail by our ideal date.

Hopefully, it will be somewhat smooth sailing from here! I know that may be wishful thinking but I’m doing my best to keep everything in perspective. Design to-dos are next and I have a feeling I will really enjoy that although keeping all of my big ideas on budget and cohesive is what may be a challenge. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to have a pretty wedding and my best wedding planning tip seems to fit that phrasing since I’m not the first person to recommend it and certainly didn’t come up with the idea.

top (in an extra small) // shorts (in a size medium) // watch // bulletin board

 After you get engaged and are starting to think about planning your wedding and reaching out to vendors, the best advice I can give you is to make a separate email account specific to your wedding and wedding planning. It sounds as simple as it is! Beyond just staying organized and making sure that email outreach to a vendor for a quote or a contract that needs signing isn’t overlooked it’s amazing that it’s separate from my personal or work email and I can check it when I’m in the planning headspace.

I used Gmail to set mine up and have filtered any and everything wedding related through it. Once we decided on vendors I made folders for each and am so glad that their pricing lists, contracts, and other correspondence aren’t getting confused with every online brand’s sales emails. I’d consider myself to be a pretty organized person, but emails (and my car) are where I allow things to be a bit messier in my life and this has helped tremendously. Even now as my maid and matron of honor are organizing details for my bachelorette (which I can not wait to share with y’all) I’m making them send any details they may want my help with through there too which feels formal but is how I know I won’t miss something important. My dad is emailing our dance suggestions there too so I’ve got everyone trained on the importance of that separate email, haha! 

Since I’m not through the entire planning process at this point I can’t say with absolute certainty that this is the very best tip I’ll have when it comes to planning your wedding, but I’m confident that it will relieve some stress just to have all the details in the same place when you need them! If y’all have any other easy and “life-changing” tips like this for the next four months of planning I am all ears. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Fourth of July Finds

I can't believe we are at the point in the summer where the Fourth of July is only a week away. I knew June would feel fast but I didn't realize just how fast until now! Hunter and I have joked that we weren't going to be the couple that argued about which side of the family we spend Christmas with, but instead that our argument would come with the Fourth of July given how much we both love the holiday and our family's traditions. Since my brother and sister-in-law now live in California, our beach weekend with my family is no longer dictated by the holiday but instead with when they will be there meaning that Hunter has won out with us spending the long weekend with his family at the lake the past few years. With an hour and a half drive, beautiful location, and a quick walk to the dock to jump into the water or go on the boat I certainly can't complain! 

It comes as no surprise to y'all that I love a theme and while I wish I could've gotten this post up sooner I'm happy that hopefully it will give you enough time to browse ahead of the holiday weekend even if just for inspiration! If you see anything you like the links to each of the items can be found beneath the image. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Wedding Wednesday: Picking Bridesmaid Dresses at Bella Bridesmaids

 After back-to-back wedding weekends (Hunter’s sister’s wedding and my little from Furman’s wedding in Savannah) I’m so excited to be staying put in Birmingham this weekend. We have an engagement party for a couple Hunter knows from high school but aside from that we are keeping our calendar pretty open. 

I’m glad to finally have had time to work on another Wedding Wednesday post to share and the focus of today’s post is going to be bridesmaids' dresses and my experience picking them for our wedding. All but one of the weddings I’ve been in have used Bella Bridesmaids to order their dresses so that felt like a no-brainer to me. I’d been to the Birmingham Showroom with Janie to try on options for her wedding and was fitted there for other weddings so I knew they would be helpful and have plenty of example dresses to show me since I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted. 

With an appointment booked and three bridesmaids able to join me, we went midweek about a month and a half ago to have them try on styles. I had attempted to do some research and scroll through Bella Bridesmaid’s website to save any styles that I thought would be worth trying on and once we arrived I handed those off to our stylist/consultant, Jordan, who was so wonderfully helpful! While she was pulling those we were able to look around to identify any other dresses that I wanted the girls to try on. I was pretty certain I wanted my bridesmaid dresses to be blue (shocker I’m sure), but was also open to the idea of a deep green since those will be our primary colors for decor. 


When browsing the selection in the store I spotted the perfect blue that I hadn’t seen on the website since it was a newer style from a brand and figured why not add it to the dresses that the girls were already trying on. Not all of the dresses are in the showroom in every color, but Jordan was great about showing me different swatch options as dresses were tried. We identified a few to keep in mind, but I felt like I needed to see all the ones we pulled before really narrowing them down. I tried to keep in mind how comfortable a dress would be while also envisioning how it may pair with my dress. As soon as Rebecca put on the blue dress I pulled while browsing in the store it immediately jumped to the top as a front runner.

I hadn’t heard of the brand before, but it’s by Lula Kate which is based in Charleston and made in New York. You’re able to combine any of their skirt styles with any of their top styles which felt like far too many decisions to make for me at the moment, but really allows brides to customize the dress however they’d like. We tried on a couple of styles from the brand but I ultimately loved their Classic Faille material in Hydrangea (a true light blue as opposed to the icier options I had seen from other brands) with the Grace Bodice and Trumpet Skirt. As Rebecca, Janie, and Macy tried it on they each said it was the most comfortable and their favorite of the bunch which was reassuring! 

While I love bows I feel like a bow on the back of a wedding dress may become the noticeable puff sleeve trend of our mother’s wedding dress era and wanted to avoid that on my own dress (a little hint of what that will look like for y’all). But when I saw the subtle bow across the top of the bridesmaid dress I loved the idea of incorporating it in that way. It even extends around the back to make a really pretty hidden seam which other people probably won’t care about but I noticed. I think the thicker straps and not form-fitting skirt will make it one that my bridesmaids don’t have to fight with when it comes to alterations and wearing it the day of too! 

Since my mom was in Fairhope at the time of the appointment I wanted to make sure to send her pictures and get her thoughts on how the style would pair with my own dress and she and my sister-in-law who was in Fairhope visiting agreed that it was a beautiful option. Jordan also showed me some of the adorable patterned fabrics that Lula Kate offers and could do for rehearsal dinner or party dresses. I was so tempted to order something in the blue material with the green embroidered Lily of the Valley but couldn’t come up with an occasion for it. Had I been getting married in the spring I think I would have highly considered the pattern for bridesmaid’s dresses! At my sorority little’s wedding this past weekend in Savannah as the bridesmaids were walking down the aisle I could immediately tell their dresses were by Lula Kate and the same color but a different top style than what I picked out! This was the first time I’ve seen them used at a wedding I’ve attended and seeing them in person was just further solidification that they were exactly what I didn’t know I was looking for. I’m biased but I think that the color couldn’t be more perfect! 

Since I don’t want to spoil the way my bridesmaids will look in the dresses I’ve included a few photos of me trying on the dress (I had to get in on the fun) as well as other styles made by Lula Kate that were available at Bella Bridesmaids. At the time of our appointment, Jordan mentioned that Bella Bridesmaids was working to get the various styles added to their site, but if you’re a bride I can’t recommend browsing in person at Bella Bridesmaids enough. They have shops in many locations around the US and will host your out of town bridesmaids to try on the style you've selected and order in person from the showroom you've set up online once determining the size they'd like. It makes such a difference to see and feel the different colors and materials and have friends try them on if possible! I had the best experience and can’t wait for my bridesmaids to get their dresses in so I can gush over them again.

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Sunday Shopping Vol. 100

 We have officially hit 100 Sunday Shopping posts! It only feels right to celebrate with some adorable finds in my favorite color combination, blue and green. After two back to back wedding weekends for friends that embraced that color scheme clearly I'm not the only one gravitating toward the combination! I've included links to each of the items beneath this post for easy shopping. I hope y'all have a great Sunday. 

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Blue, White, & Bridal! Pretty Pieces for Weddings and Beyond

I originally was going to share this graphic in yesterday's Wedding Wednesday post, but with how much I had to update y'all on decided that post felt long enough! We all know that I am no stranger to loving blue and white, so I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite blue and white finds (so far) for summer. The more I looked at many of them the more I thought that some would be great for bridal looks as well. I know I said this in a previous round up, but unless you're at someone's wedding related event I don't think white needs to solely be reserved for the bride. While I could see myself wearing some white on my bachelorette at the end of this summer since I'm seeing so many pieces I love, I'm really hopeful that my wedding weekend wardrobe consists of some color so that I'm able to rewear the items in the years to come.

So whether you're a bride or not, if you love blue and white and summer silhouettes I suspect you'll find something you love in this roundup. I'm specifically toying with ordering these earrings for our wedding weekend since they are currently $100 off and would be a pretty compliment to my engagement ring. Still waiting for my mom to respond to my text about whether or not I should...

If you see something you love you can find links to each item beneath the graphic, and if it happens to be from Tuckernuck be sure to use the code "YOURULE" for 20% off. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Wedding Wednesday: Rentals, Cake, Hair & Makeup, and more!

 It has been far too long since I’ve written a new Wedding Wednesday post to update y’all which is a shame since there have been quite a few updates! I knew May and into summer would be busy, but I don’t think I expected my days to be quite so filled between my full-time job, planning our wedding, out-of-town trips, and celebrating friends’ weddings and our calendar is only getting more full! I’ve been making notes of all of the different things I want to update y’all on so hopefully having some ideas organized will make these posts more frequent. 

Since our last general update, I made a trip to Fairhope for my mom and me to meet with our planner at our reception venue and stopped back through Fairhope on my way back to Birmingham after a bachelorette on 30A for a cake tasting. 

If you missed the past updates find them here: Wedding Wednesday (the first of the series) // Planning Update // How I Asked My Bridesmaids

Fairhope Planning Trip: My trip to Fairhope back in April was incredibly helpful since we were able to walk through our reception venue with our planner, Anne Morgan. There was a wedding at the venue that weekend and we were able to see the space set up with a different style tent than the one we had seen when attending a wedding reception there. We spoke with the manager of The Fairhope Inn about some logistics we’re hoping to make easier and were able to see it as more of a blank canvas! Anne Morgan has made this entire process so much easier on us and was able to give great suggestions on what kind of rentals we would and would not need as well as where we should focus our flower budget. After walking through the venue we sat down at a nearby coffee shop and went through some day-of logistics and other questions my mom and I had come up with over the course of planning so far. While we have time before a day-of timeline needs to be decided it helped to hear some of my mom’s priorities and have Anne Morgan give suggestions about how to make those things realistically happen. 

Bridesmaid’s Dresses: I’ll do an entire post about this soon, but I’m pleased to say I found a bridesmaid dress that I love that my bridesmaids seem to love as well. I took a few of my bridesmaids that are in Birmingham to our Bella Bridesmaids in town to try on some things I had seen on their website. I’m so glad we went in person since we landed on a dress that wasn’t on the site and is the perfect silhouette to compliment my dress and my ideal shade of blue. My friends are the best too since they all got their orders in days before our order deadline which we put earlier than we had to allowing them plenty of time to alter should they decide to. 

Save the Dates: A big relief lately was getting our save the dates finally ordered. We are using Paper Eliza for them since she did our custom crest (that post is still to come as well). Narrowing down wording, fonts, and colors was a little tricky but I am thrilled that they are currently being printed and will be to me to address soon! I’m not looking forward to addressing them and having everyone see my handwriting but since we’re still collecting the last of our addresses this way makes the most sense. Also, if anyone has a secret source for stamps let me know since I’m not liking anything I’m seeing.

Hair & Makeup Team: I had been saving some photos on Instagram of hair and makeup artists in the area and got quotes from a few different people before ultimately deciding on a team that can do both! I’m hoping that I’ll be able to line up a trial at the same time as dress alterations to see how things will look all together. I’ll be giving my bridesmaids the option of doing each and am also thrilled that they don’t need a final count on that until much closer to the wedding date! I found the team I’m working with through my maid of honor’s cousin so having a nearly first-hand recommendation makes me feel especially confident about them! 

Tent & Table Rentals: This was something my parents were eager to get nailed down since we knew it would be a larger expense! Since our venue has a pretty courtyard we are excited to utilize it for our band, dance, floor, and additional tables. We ended up selecting the tend that we saw when visiting the venue in April since it covers nearly the entire courtyard but has legs that are tall enough that people inside the venue can still see all of the merriment should they choose to be in there. In addition to the tent, we rented a stage, stage front, lighting package, dance floor, bar to use outside, tall bistro tables, chairs, and a few plain linens for dining tables! While most of these details aren’t that fun it does feel good to have that squared away so that the courtyard can be used rain or shine. 

Bride’s Cake: While overall the planning process has felt pretty easy when it comes to decision-making, choosing the cake especially felt that way. I explained to Anne Morgan what I was thinking and she suggested a bakery that I’ve grown up with treats from! Since I tacked on a cake tasting to a quick trip to Fairhope on the way home from the beach I invited my dad to join me so that I wouldn’t have to go by myself. I get my sweet tooth from my dad so it was an easy yes on his part and I think a happy relief from just signing wedding contracts and writing checks. Pollman’s put together two different cakes with four different fillings in each. We decided against a fruit filling for their buttercream almond emulsion and when they sent back a container of just that along with the two cakes for Hunter to taste test back in Birmingham he should feel lucky any of that filling frosting made it back! We’re going with a classic design and having our florist place flowers on the cake, but I’m pleased that Hunter’s end decision about the flavor aligned perfectly with what my dad and I decided! 

I suspect we’ll use a different bakery for his groom’s cake since I think his mom wants something with a bit of a theme and Pollmans does more traditionally shaped cakes, but I’ll let them figure that out! 

Bachelorette Party Date: Another big relief item for me was nailing down a bachelorette party date and location with my bridesmaids. I’m not the only one with a busy summer and early fall, so narrowing a date that worked best for as many people as possible felt like a major success. My maid and matron of honor may think I’m no fun since I definitely gave input on the theme and are making them let me help where I can, but I can not wait to get into all of the details of the weekend. We will be going to Hunter’s parents’ lake house on Lake Martin for a long weekend toward the end of summer which will be the perfect location for the theme I have in mind! Don’t worry, I’ll be sharing plenty more about this once it’s closer to time!! 

I really do feel like we’ve hit most of the big stuff necessary so far and definitely think I’ll feel that way once I make a final decision on linen rentals and mail out our save the dates. The next planning parts feel more fun to me and I know my mom will be a lot of help when it comes to giving input on formal invitations which I hope to get to pretty soon! 

What I’m Currently Working On:

Linen Rentals // Narrowing Initial Flower Quote // Mailing Save The Dates // Overall Design and Layout // Invitations

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Sunday Shopping vol. 99

 Happy Sunday! This weekend was our first no plan, in-town weekend in what feels like a month. It felt good to stay put for a weekend and decide what we wanted to do based solely on what we were in the mood to do as opposed to what we had confirmed an invitation for. The next couple of weeks will be a lot of fun with two weddings on the horizon so we opted to go out to dinner and play Scrabble on Friday night and enjoy the farmer's market and cook in on Saturday night. Down time also gave me ample time to browse my favorite online retailers to put together what may be my favorite Sunday Shopping post yet!

I just ordered this dress for a wedding in August (use the code YOURULE for 20% off!) and am so tempted to order this top as well. I have no doubt that this dress will sell out and have had my eye on a bag of this style! You can shop all of the items using the links beneath the image! 

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