New Year, New Blog

1397343-2013_new_year_blackSo I am a couple of weeks late but at least it is still January, right?  Welcome to 2013!

I have always been proud of my blog here on wordpress, but the time has come for me to start anew.  Why should you have to click to another website when you can just read it from my website, right?  If I want you to be Carefree on your wedding day, the first step is making it easier for you to find and read my blog so you don’t miss any great tips and advice.

I am looking forward to a wonderful 2013 – I hope you are too.  And for those of you that just became engaged over the holidays I wish you a lifetime of love and happiness.

Be Carefree,

Suzanne

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The Matas

I told you I had two weddings to tell you about..well here is wedding #2…

Magdalena and Adi were married at the Driskill Hotel in downtown Austin.  I booked this one kind of last minute…perhaps it was just one little detail they forgot?  As the couple lives in Houston, I “met” Magdalena over the phone – she must have liked what I had to say as she quickly booked my services as officiant for her wedding day.

I was very excited to hear they were getting married at The Driskill as that was the location of the first wedding I ever officiated!  It’s kind of nice to return to your roots every now and then.  Plus, it is just a gorgeous location, isn’t it?

I met Adi as I came up the steps to the Citadel Club – he looked very nice in his suit… if perhaps a little anxious to get this show on the road.  The ceremony took place in a cozy room standing in front of a fireplace.  The lovely bride was escorted by her father – there were no honor attendants.  She was beaming in her white gown with beaded bodice.  In fact, I had to hand her a tissue almost immediately as her emotions threatened to get the better of her right away.

The ceremony was simple and one of my favorites incorporating humorous vows that really personalized it just for them.  Their guests loved it – and I think they really enjoyed knowing their guests were caught off guard by the quirkiness of it.  I’m certain they had never attended a wedding ceremony quite like it.

Magdalena and Adi – it was a pleasure meeting you.  Thank you for choosing me to be a part of your wedding day.  I wish you both a lifetime of love and happiness.

Be Carefree,

Suzanne

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The Chang Yangs

It takes a long table to seat 84 guests! Isn’t it gorgeous?

It has been an intolerably long time since I last blogged about a wedding.  And after last weekend I have two!  I will tell you about both, but Jenni and Peter are first…

I first met Jenni months ago – it might have even been December of last year.  She came to my home office one evening with her friend and bridesmaid Grace.  Jenni didn’t have too much planned for her wedding yet, but she told me she was hoping for an elegant Alice in Wonderland vibe.  Love it!  I had such a delightful time getting to know both of them…the initial meeting went on for hours because we kept getting sidetracked!  I felt an instant kinship with both women and was optimistic I would be hearing from Jenni soon.

Jenni and Peter’s wedding was to take place at Laguna Gloria – a venue I was familiar with but had not had the pleasure of working at yet.  And Laguna Gloria provides all couples with a list of preferred vendors – these are not the only ones to choose from, just ones they have confidence in due to their experiences.  Having never worked there, I was not on the list.  And Jenni had already started a great back and forth with her caterer of choice (Crave CateringYUM) who was strongly urging her to use a coordinator from her list.

So Jenni met with two of them.  She talked to them about her wedding and although she had nothing disparaging to say about them, she felt she just didn’t click with them.  Like the way she clicked with me.  And ultimately she had to just go with her gut.  I’m so glad she did!

First, because Laguna Gloria is a gorgeous venue and Jenni had plans to use every inch of it for her wedding day.  Second, because I knew I would be working alongside professionals I trust and have worked with before like Crave Catering and Greenbelt DJ. And third, and most importantly, because I just really wanted to be a part of their day.  I knew this would be a challenging wedding and I knew I could help make it all run smoothly.

One of the biggest challenges of working with Jenni was she is based in New York!  So other than our initial meeting and one brief walk-thru at the venue in May I didn’t even get to see her again until the week of her wedding.  Add to that her busy schedule…let’s just say I love email!

So now it is October and although we’d been having lovely 70 and 80 degree days just prior, good ol’ Texas decided to have one last heat wave so we had temps in the 90s on Friday, October 5th.

Jenni was breathtakingly gorgeous in her Monique Lhuillier gown (I found a picture of it online and have pinned it here – at least I think this is the one she wore).  I am unable to accurately describe it…as soon as I have the photos from the talented Ashley Garmon of Ashley Garmon Photographers I will be sure to post.  The bridesmaids all wore short dresses of their own choosing (with a little guidance from the Bride) in different colors.  The groom and his party all wore grey suits of their own choosing.

The flowers by Posey Floral Designs were soft pinks and white with winter berries and Dusty Miller.  The ceremony took place in the amphitheatre with gold Chinese wind chimes on shepherd hooks lining the aisle.  Jenni and Peter asked their friend Victor to write and perform the ceremony which included a blessing of the rings and a bow to the parents.

Following the ceremony, guests were guided to the Temple of Love for cocktails and appetizers which had been decorated along the way with Chinese lanterns and more wind chimes.  Because Jenni and Peter took most of their photos prior to the ceremony, they were able to enjoy cocktail hour with their guests.

And finally it was time for dinner where we had 11 tables placed end to end for one long King’s table.  Lighting was provided by D&H Lighting and candles along the table.  Guests were guided to their seats by menu cards with their table and seat assignment – each table was marked by drawings of animals in old-time Western wear (adorably drawn by a friend of the couple).  Each place setting had a hand wrapped silver fortune cookie hinge box as a gift to thank their guests…little buddhas with name cards showed guests where to be seated.  Jennie and Peter chose to have a sweetheart table at the bottom of the steps.

After dinner we cut the cake – painstakingly designed by Jenni and executed beautifully by Stardust Pastry.  And she has to have had the cutest cake topper I have ever seen – a gold heart locket with a tiny little pop up bride and groom inside (it took some searching but I finally found it here)!  In lieu of a Groom’s cake, Hojicha and Horchata shooters were served with german chocolate donut holes.

After a quick change and a brief rehearsal upstairs, the couple’s first dance was a choreographed number to “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen…you could tell they worked hard on it and had a lot of fun!  Visit my Facebook page to see a clip from the end of the dance.

There was also a photobooth Peter had put together with the help of a friend and I know they got some great shots.  I saw a lot of people go through that photobooth…alas, my team and I did not have an opportunity to join in on the fun – but we had fun watching others do it!

At the end of the evening the happy couple left to a barrage of high 5’s from their guests and hopped on an electric bicycle built for two provided by Rocket Electric Bikes.  It was a perfect ending, and a perfect getaway  for this fun-loving couple.

Oh and since at the end of the evening Victor came up to tell me how wonderful everything looked “like an elegant tea party” I say mission accomplished. 🙂

Jenni and Peter – thank you for choosing me to be a part of your wedding day.  I wish you both a lifetime of love and happiness.

Be Carefree,

Suzanne

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Natalie and Dustin

Natalie and Dustin will be Carefree on their wedding day!

Congratulations to the winning couple!  Natalie and Dustin have won my Peace of Mind package for their November 27, 2012 wedding.  This lovely couple is getting married on a Tuesday – because that will be their 7 year anniversary!  How romantic is that?  Plus, kudos on saving money on wedding professionals by getting married during the week.

I’ll be meeting with Natalie and Dustin soon to help them fine tune their plans and get things organized for their wedding day.  I can’t wait to share it with all of you.

Be Carefree,

Suzanne

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Peace of Mind Finalists

I know I have been absent for awhile…my apologies.  But I am back with a vengeance today!

I have mulled over all my entries for the Win Peace of Mind contest and have narrowed it down to two great finalists.  And in no particular order, here they are…

Melissa

My name is Melissa and I am a teacher at Galena Park high school in Houston. I want to be a care free bride because this coming August I am starting my first year of teaching and as you may know the first year is the hardest. My fiance and I are getting married April 13, 2013 and we have a budget of less than $5,000. I could use some help.

Natalie

My name is Natalie, and my fiancé Dustin and I are getting married at Villa Antonia (Leander, TX) on November 27th of this year! We are high school sweethearts, and will be celebrating our seventh year as a couple on our wedding day!

Our wedding is quickly approaching, and we couldn’t be more excited, however it is coming with its challenges. Our wedding budget is only $10,000, as we both have student loans to repay, and it has been difficult to know the “in’s and out’s” of wedding planning on a budget. Our wedding also falls on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, and most of our family and friends will be coming from the Dallas area to share our big day with us.  These factors also make the planning process a bit tricky. We would love to be considered for your “Peace of Mind” coordination package that our budget would otherwise not allow for. I am planning this wedding myself, and it would be perfect to have the extra help on our big day so that I can truly be a carefree bride!

It’s not an easy choice, right?  To help me choose, please go to the One Fine Day Weddings Facebook page…go to the Win Peace of Mind Finalists photo album and cast your vote.  The couple with the most likes will be notified on October 1, 2012 that they are the lucky winner!

Good luck to both these couples!

Be Carefree,

Suzanne

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Last Chance!

I want you to jump for joy on your wedding day because you are a Carefree Bride!

The final deadline is here!  All contest entries must be received by midnight tonight.  Are  you getting married between October 1, 2012 and December 31, 2013?  Then why haven’t you entered yet!

The winner will receive my Peace of Mind package completely free (the only caveat is if travel is required, the winner will need to pay a travel fee of $100.00 and possibly overnight accommodations for two nights depending upon location).  If I can drive to your location great, but if you happen to be reading this blog and live or are getting married outside of Texas, I’ll have to ask for travel expenses for me and one assistant.

How do you win?  Write a short, 250 words or less essay on why you want to Be a Carefree Bride.  Include your wedding date (must be between October 1, 2012 and December 31, 2013), budget, and location (city/state – you don’t have to have your venue yet).  While I’m really hoping to help someone with a budget of less than $10,000 all budgets are welcome…who knows, if I get enough entries maybe I’ll have more than one winner…

Please send all entries to CarefreeBride@OneFineDayWeddings.com.  One entry per person.  All entries will become the property of One Fine Day Weddings and may be posted online or in print materials.  The deadline for entries is August 31, 2012 at midnight.  The winner will be announced by October 1, 2012 via Facebook and this blog, as well as being notified by email.  And I’ll be posting about your wedding throughout the process.

Be Carefree,

Suzanne

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You can still win Peace of Mind!

I want you to jump for joy on your wedding day because you are a Carefree Bride!

As the summer is drawing to a close, so is my contest for a chance to win a complete Day of Coordination package.  There really is no catch – all you have to do is write a short, 250 words or less essay on why you want to Be a Carefree Bride.  Include your wedding date (must be between October 1, 2012 and December 31, 2013), budget, and location (city/state – you don’t have to have your venue yet).  While I’m really hoping to help someone with a budget of less than $10,000 all budgets are welcome…who knows, if I get enough entries maybe I’ll have more than one winner…

Please send all entries to CarefreeBride@OneFineDayWeddings.com.  One entry per person.  All entries will become the property of One Fine Day Weddings and may be posted online or in print materials.  The deadline for entries is August 31, 2012 at midnight.  The winner will be announced by October 1, 2012 via Facebook and this blog, as well as being notified by email.  And I’ll be posting about your wedding throughout the process.

The winner will receive my Peace of Mind package completely free (the only caveat is if travel is required, the winner will need to pay a travel fee of $100.00 and possibly overnight accommodations for two nights depending upon location).  If I can drive to your location great, but if you happen to be reading this blog and live or are getting married outside of Texas, I’ll have to ask for travel expenses for me and one assistant.

So good luck!  I can’t wait to read your entries!

Be Carefree,

Suzanne

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Magnetsonthecheap.com

I can hardly believe I designed it myself! So easy to use!

Recently I was approached by magnetsonthecheap.com to sample their product.  All they requested in return was a mention on my blog (thus today’s topic) – my response was sure…but if I didn’t like it, I would say so.

Last week I received my order of two car magnets.  I’m pretty excited because it is something I’d been thinking about getting. My only hesitation was a friend once had magnets for her car and they flew off while she was driving down the highway!  But hey, free is free so I thought why not?  I used the online tools to create my own design and it was super easy!  I’m not all that talented when it comes to graphic design but as you can see by the photo it turned out pretty well!

I chose the heavy-duty (45 mil) magnet, in the largest size offered (12″ x 24″).  My greatest concern was not the look of the magnet, though that was obviously important, but rather that the magnets would stay on while driving around town.

Well not only do they stay in place around town, but they didn’t budge on a recent trip out to East Texas.  And while I wouldn’t say we are speeders, we did take full advantage of newly increased speeds throughout the state.

So if you are still reading along, you may be asking yourself what car magnets have to do with weddings.  Am I right?  Well I’ve thought of a couple of ideas: how about a just married sign for the back of your car?  Or “I’m her Mr” and  “I’m his Mrs” for the car doors?  There are actually many variations you could play with and after the wedding you could always frame them as keepsakes (or hang on the side of your refrigerator)!

The prices are pretty affordable so if you have been trying to think of a way to decorate your getaway car this could be it.  And if you snap a picture of me driving around town with my car magnets, I’ll give you $50 off any package (not valid with any other discounts or offers)!

Be Carefree,

Suzanne

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Cheers – Heather Curiel Photography

Photo by Heather Curiel.

A wonderful new endorsement is up on WeddingWire.com – this one from Heather Curiel of Heather Curiel Photography.

Suzanne is great to work with! For all weddings, I can’t stress enough how important a designated planner is or even a day or co-ordinator. I had the pleasure of photographing a wedding she coordinated in 2010 and everything about the day was perfectly smooth. My absolute favorite thing about her is that she politely helped me group everyone together when it came down to the large family photo. For this alone, I can say her services stand out. The bride was exactly what she strives for, perfectly care free.

Thank you Heather!  To see what other wedding professionals have to say about me, read more endorsements here.

Be Carefree,

Suzanne

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Passionately Pink is almost here!

Check out the Passionately Pink for the Cure Bridal Show & Workshop Facebook page!

I’m really excited about this weekend’s bridal show in San Marcos.  I’ve been working hard on my booth, I’ve prepared two must attend sessions, and I have decided to run a can’t-be-missed-too-good-to-be-true-and-yet-it-is show only special.  And yes, you really have to attend the show to find out what it is.

Every bride-to-be should attend at least one bridal show.  They are a great source for inspiration and vendors. Although tickets at the door are $15 each (remember it is for a good cause!), you can save $5 if you use my vendor discount code (CON132) when you pre-purchase your tickets on-line here!  See you haven’t even hired me yet and I am already saving you money!

What’s better than $5 off each ticket?  How about FREE tickets?  I have 8 tickets to give away – and they go to whomever claims them first.  I can leave them at Will Call for you but you have to let me know you want them.

The Passionately Pink for the Cure Bridal Show and Workshop will be held THIS WEEKEND on July 14th and 15th in San Marcos at the LBJ Ballroom and Event Center at Texas State University.  In addition to the usual vendors and fashion shows there will be breakout sessions on a wide range of topics to help you plan your dream wedding.

And be sure to check out the FAQ section for some great tips on what to expect.  Need more tips on how to make the most of your bridal show experience?

Think comfort!  This is not the time to be stylish.  Wear comfortable shoes!  Leave dangly earrings and long necklaces at home.  If the weather is cold outside, layer layer layer – because it will be stifling inside.  I would avoid big, bulky coats if at all possible.  Leave your purse at home – take just the essentials.  Carry an empty backpack to put all the literature and samples in…sure you’ll get bags at the show but they won’t hold nearly enough.

Don’t go it alone!  I don’t recommend forcing your fiance to attend but ask bridesmaids, mom, sis, or any other friends.  If you have enough, split up into pairs and go down each aisle separately.  Then switch – so you can catch what the others missed.

Have you already hired your Day of Coordinator?  See if he or she can attend with you (at an additional fee).  This would be a perfect opportunity for your DoC to give you tips on the different wedding professionals they have personally had experience with – and to introduce you to them as well.

Bring your appointment book/calendar.  Be prepared to schedule meetings.  Most wedding professionals will be offering show specials and the sooner you schedule your meeting, the better chance you have of your date still being available.  If you make an appointment with someone, please be sure to keep it.  Or at least cancel it ahead of time.  It is not cool to just not show up.  Ever.

Don’t grab everything in sight.  The temptation will be great – so many samples and handouts – how can you say no?  Trust me when I say only take the items that really interest you.  Otherwise you will never be able to remember that XYZ Bakery had the most delicious cake of the day or which stationer had the invitations you have to have.  If you have a hard time saying no, work out a system in advance: Bridesmaid A gets things you love and really want to investigate further.  Bridesmaid B gets the no thank you’s.  This system works really well!

Have a notepad.  Something easy to carry with a stiff back to make writing notes easier.  Each pair should have something to take notes in so when you meet up later they can tell you which booth you have to see.

Create a wedding email account right now, if you haven’t already.  Then use this email when signing up on various websites.  This way all of your wedding information will be in one location and it won’t clog up your personal email account.  And don’t forget to occasionally check it after your wedding day – that may be the only way some of  your wedding professionals have of reaching you.

Create labels.  Most bridal shows have a central check in location where you input all of your information – which is later shared with all of the wedding professionals at the show.  But sometimes there will be drawings at individual booths and having the information on hand is much simpler than having to write it out.  Be sure to include your name, your groom’s name, your wedding date, email address – add phone and mailing address if you don’t mind phone calls and snail mail as well.

Bring a camera.  Be sure to ask permission before taking photos because some wedding professionals will not like that.  However a show is a great way to get additional ideas for your ceremony and reception and if you can capture it on film, all the better.

Whenever possible, go on a Sunday – the earlier the better.  This is the slowest time for the show and will ensure a much more pleasurable experience for you.

Have fun!  Relax. Enjoy yourself.  And be sure to stop by and say hi!

Be Carefree,

Suzanne

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