Win a Makeover & Photoshoot!

Confession time: I love to win stuff.  I don’t really care much what it is…if I won it, it must be good.  In fact, I used to be a sucker for registering to win every single little contest I came across.

But I grew weary of my inbox being jammed full of faux winnings.  So I cut back.  Now I only register to win contests that I know are legit.  And I have a great new one for you!

The amazing Sabrina of Sabrina Nicole Photography is giving away a photo shoot and make-over!  Visit her blog here for full details.  Why would you pass on a chance to win an opportunity to feel like a supermodel?

And if you haven’t already, check out my very own contest here.  I’d love to help you be Carefree on your wedding day.

Be Carefree,

Suzanne

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On being Bold

I’ve never done this before, but I decided to go for it.  While out shopping yesterday I noticed a couple registering for wedding gifts.  Perhaps I was emboldened by her gorgeous dress – I felt compelled to say something to her.  But since I didn’t know her, I restrained myself.  At first.

After walking around the store we ended up in the same department.  Once again I walked away.  But I stopped myself, fished out a business card from my purse, and turned around to say something to them.  Of course I did have to compliment her dress – but I also introduced myself and handed them my card.  Upon being told the wedding is to take place out-of-state, I invited the bride-to-be to check out my blog anyway.  I congratulated them and walked away.  The whole exchange took maybe two minutes.

I was proud of myself for being bold enough to walk up to someone unsolicited and hand them a card.  When I am in a wedding related setting I am not shy at all.  But to walk up to a total stranger?  Well that was a big step for me.

But then I started wondering…did they think me rude or obtrusive?  I certainly didn’t mean to be.  I genuinely want to help couples be Carefree – even the ones that can’t or don’t hire me.

Once or twice before I have been at a restaurant or coffee shop and have overheard meetings between couples and potential wedding professionals.  I’ve always wondered if I should have discreetly handed them my card.  Of course I wouldn’t do that if the person was obviously providing the same services I provide (I don’t want to poach) – but if the potential is a DJ or photographer, I have often wondered why not?

My question to you is: as a bride-to-be, would you welcome an unsolicited wedding professional approaching you at a store or restaurant or is that gauche?  What are your thoughts?

Be Carefree,

Suzanne

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Be Prepared

Congratulations and best wishes to the McConaugheys!

Today’s post is inspired by Austin-based DJ Bobby Bones.  He was discussing Matthew McConaughey’s weekend wedding and once again, expressed his ire regarding how “selfish” couples can be.  And specifically in this instance the fact that the wedding festivities lasted for 3 days.

It isn’t the first time he’s complained about something like this.  As a long-time listener I’ve heard many of his rants about “selfish” weddings.  You see, he seems to think that destination and/or multi-day weddings are selfish of the newlyweds.  His argument being that not everyone can take time off work or afford to travel for long weddings.  And of course, he is right in that respect.  But I would like to set the record straight.

Odds are, even a wedding in your hometown will be considered a destination wedding by some guests.  Unless you have lived in one place your entire life and no one close to you has ever moved away, travel will be necessitated by someone.  Often times long-distance guests may be invited, but it is always understood when they are unable to attend.  Is it considered selfish of the bride to invite her grandmother that lives out-of-state?

But let’s just assume he is only referring to weddings in which all the guests have to travel – maybe Mexico or Hawaii (popular destination wedding locations).  In those cases the newlyweds are asking every single invited guest to take time off work, fly to an exotic location, stay in a resort (let’s face it, destination weddings are never held at a Motel 6), pay for food, transportation, wedding attire…an invitation to a destination wedding can easily cost a guest a couple thousand dollars – per person.

But just because you are invited doesn’t mean you have to accept.  Even if you have been asked to be in the wedding party.  A wedding invitation isn’t a command.

Is it selfish to have a destination wedding?  Maybe.  But shouldn’t the wedding day be about the bride and groom anyway?  They are paying thousands and thousands of dollars to throw a party…who says the guests get a say in where it takes place?  Typically destination weddings will have a very small guest list – instead of complaining about how selfish the couple is, why not be glad they love you enough to include you in such a small group?

There is another side to this too: I had a friend that had a destination wedding because she knew certain people would not be able to afford to attend.  People she could not avoid inviting if the wedding was held locally.  Her solution was to choose a destination she knew the people she really wanted to attend could afford…ultimately keeping her unwanted guests at home.  Of course very few people knew that was the reason for the destination – she may not have wanted them to attend, but she didn’t want feelings hurt either.

Back to Bobby Bones: destination weddings also require multiple days of festivities (like Matthew McConaughey’s wedding which presumably included multiple out-of-towners).  And once again, just because you are invited to something doesn’t mean you have to attend.  But if you have traveled for a wedding, why not make a vacation of it?  I just don’t understand why it is a bad thing.

Basically I do think he is right…in a way.  I think all weddings are selfish and I think they should be.  Yes you should think of your guests comfort when making plans and be cognizant of financial limitations your guests may possess.  But ultimately this is your wedding day and it should be everything you ever dreamed wherever you have always dreamed it (if at all possible).  Just don’t expect everyone to be as enthusiastic about your plans as you are – or willing to shell out the time and money to attend.

And be prepared for backlash.  This happened to me when I was planning my wedding 4 years ago.  With half our guests in Dallas and half in Austin, we decided to ask everyone to travel to Galveston so we could have a cruise ship wedding.  This helped us keep our guest count down enabling us to splurge on a few things (like the honeymoon).  Unfortunately one of our wedding party felt Galveston was inconvenient and too expensive for her and she was very vocal in telling me all the reasons why we should just get married in Dallas.  Every aspect of my wedding was a hassle for her.  She later bowed out, frankly to my relief.  It wasn’t because she couldn’t afford to be in the wedding but that she complained about it so much. And if you have read my blog before, you know we ended up changing the location to Austin just two months before the wedding thanks to Hurricane Ike.

You can’t please all your guests.  If someone wants to complain about something – they are going to find something to complain about.  So why not be selfish and plan your wedding for you and your groom?  You are the two most important people on your wedding day anyway, right?

Be Carefree,

Suzanne

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

True Story

I don’t want this to be you on your wedding day!

I’m so fortunate to do what I do, and one of my favorite perks is bumping into former brides (and grooms) after the wedding.  Yesterday at lunch I bumped into one of my brides from last year…and she said something that really hit home.

She told me the number one piece of advice she gives her friends that are getting married is to hire a Day of Coordinator…even if their venue comes with one.  And that her biggest wedding day regret is that she didn’t hire me (I officiated only).  She just went with the on-site coordinator and she was stressed throughout the evening because of things that happened.

I can’t tell you how often I hear this!  And I know you are probably sitting there reading this and thinking it is isolated to a single venue.  But it isn’t.  With very few exceptions, even the venue will recommend you hire a DoC.  Because they understand their limitations, and more importantly, they know how hectic your wedding day will be.

Think about all the things you have been planning for your wedding day, and how crazy it has been trying to fit everything in the last few months.  Now imagine doing all of it in one day.  Someone needs to supervise set up – arrange the escort cards, add your personal touches.  And I’ve said it before, what if something goes wrong?  The wrong cake is delivered or the DJ doesn’t show up?  Who’s going to take care of that?

During the reception you need someone to keep things running smoothly – to coordinate with the catering staff and the DJ.  Who will load your gifts?  Pack the get away car? Line up your guests for the exit?  Or cue your photographer as to what event is coming up next?

And once the evening is finally over, who’s going to clean up?  Not the plates, the catering staff has that under control.  But the dozens of candles you bought, or frames you decorated with, even your guest book.  Who will be in charge of those things?

I’m often told by venue staff how excited they are when they learn their couples have a DoC – because they understand the value.  I’ve even heard of venues that require a DoC.  They know that having a DoC will ensure your wedding day goes smoothly…and that you will be much happier for it.

Don’t believe me?  Ask your venue.  They will probably have a preferred vendor list…but promise that you won’t hire someone just because they are on the list (even if it’s me).  Check your resources like WeddingWire and meet with several before making your choice.  An upcoming bride booked me after checking out two different preferred DoCs from her venue – and hired me because we clicked (in spite of me not being on the list).

And that is my number one lesson I try to teach – love your wedding professionals!  They are going to be with you on the biggest day of your life so far.  That…and hire a Day of Coordinator.

Be Carefree,

Suzanne

Posted in Must Read, Planner/Coordinator, Wedding Planning | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Have a laugh

Here’s an option for your wedding dress after your big day I hadn’t thought of!

While playing around on Pinterest recently, I came across Wedinator…and I just had to share.   Take a break from your serious wedding planning and have a laugh…or two. 😉

Be Carefree,

Suzanne

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Win Peace of Mind!

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

I’ve seen a lot of weddings in a wide range of budgets…from $500 to $50,000.  And while it is true that putting together a wedding at the lower end of the scale can be challenging, it doesn’t have to look cheap.  I’m not going to tell you that you can get a $50,000 wedding on a $500 budget, but if you know what you are doing, you can make that $500 look like a lot more.

As a wedding professional I’ve learned a few tricks.  It isn’t just about DIY projects (though that can help if you have time).  It’s more about knowing where to spend your money.  Only have $100 for flowers?  Don’t buy fake…because you’ll only be able to afford the super cheap (and super fake looking) kind.  Instead have your bridesmaids carry a single rose.  Or a big bunch of baby’s breath. Or don’t have them carry flowers at all.  And don’t use fake petals unless you absolutely have to (because of venue restrictions) – because yes you can tell they are fake, even from a distance.

Of course I’m going to tell you that hiring a wedding planner or day of coordinator can save you money – IF you hire them early enough in your planning process.  But sometimes it just isn’t in the budget.  I get that…but I sometimes think couples with the smallest budgets need me the most.  But how?  I can’t lower my fee, I’m worth every penny and as much as I love this job it is still a job.  I need to make money.

So I decided to have a contest.  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.

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

Be Carefree,

Suzanne

Posted in Must Read, Wedding Planning | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Having it all

Yep. That’s pretty much how I feel…

In yesterday’s post I mentioned it has been a tumultuous year for me so far.  And that although it wasn’t all bad, it has made keeping up with this blog difficult.

The biggest change of the last six months is that I have returned to the work force full-time.  Admittedly that sucks a little as I really just want to help couples Be Carefree for my full-time job.  Alas, it is not meant to be at the moment.  So I have found a wonderful place to work full of fabulous people…it is refreshing to go to work where everyone seems genuinely happy to be there.

My challenge this last month and a half has been re-integrating myself into the full-time workforce.  I’ve done it before, and I’ll do it again, but right now trying to fit all the aspects of my life into one 24 hour day is a little daunting.  By the time I get home from work, I don’t want to cook or clean or blog…I just want to relax with my family. But don’t worry, the summer is here, the boys are out of school, and I’m working out a schedule so I can be everything I want to be.

This last month and a half has also given me pause: if it is this hard for me to re-integrate, this must be how some brides feel when trying to maintain home/work/social life while planning their weddings.  Which is why I encourage every bride I meet to read my blog, even if they choose to not hire me.  But it is also why hiring a Day of Coordinator is quickly becoming a necessary expense on your wedding day (like the venue or officiant).  Think about how crazy the process is making you already (how many times have you found yourself daydreaming about just eloping?) and then multiply that by 100 on your wedding day.  Hire someone else to control the crazy on your wedding day.

Now if I only had someone to do that in my daily life…

Be Carefree,

Suzanne

Posted in Must Read, Uncategorized, Wedding Planning | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Welcome Summer!

As today is June 1, I’ve been doing some reflecting on 2012 so far.  Personally, it has been a rather tumultuous year… it hasn’t been bad.  Just busy.  Really busy.

So I’m failing on one of my New Year’s Resolutions.  Actually, I’m not doing that well on several of them. Blogging consistently being the one most pertinent here.

So we are at the halfway mark and I’m refreshing my resolutions.  I’ve got big things planned for the upcoming months…I hope you will stay tuned…

Be Carefree,

Suzanne

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Passionately Pink

Every bride-to-be should attend at least one bridal show.  They are a great source for inspiration and vendors.  But from a vendor standpoint, they can be very expensive – which is why I have not done many shows.  However I was recently approached to be a part of a show that will not only be a great resource for couples in Central Texas but is also raising money for a worthy cause.

The Passionately Pink for the Cure Bridal Show and Workshop will be held 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.

You can buy tickets in advance here.  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

Posted in Uncategorized, Wedding Planning | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wedding Day Beauty

Just as essential as the proper products: the proper tools. Make sure you have a good set of brushes to properly blend and apply your makeup.

I am a huge advocate for pampering yourself  – whether you go to a salon for a professional mani/pedi or take time out and do it yourself, spending time on YOU is always worth it.  And of course, I think you should hire professionals on your wedding day to pamper you…most brides will hire someone to do their hair but makeup?  That’s usually one of the first expenses to go.

But as I always say, hiring a professional has its advantages.  For example?  A professional makeup artist is going to know all the right brands to use to help you stay gorgeous even in the hot sun.  A pro will know how to highlight and contour your face so the camera captures your true beauty.  A pro can put on false eyelashes without batting an eye (sorry, couldn’t resist).

I understand that when you are trying to cut corners on your wedding day, having a professional seems like an unnecessary expense – or at least a non-essential one.  And while I could argue just how essential it is, if the money isn’t there…well, you have to make do.  And you do your own makeup everyday anyway, right?

Wedding day makeup is different.  I still strongly urge you to hire a pro, but if you can’t here are a few tips I’ve gained through the years to help you to a pro finish.

Wear a makeup primer.  Sure you don’t need it everyday, but are you standing around in the sun for 6 hours everyday wearing a 50 pound dress?  Starting with a makeup primer will help keep your makeup in place all day long.  And don’t forget your eyes – there are special primers intended just for your eyes to help your shadow last hours longer…with no creases.

Green concealer is your friend.  For any red spots or blemishes on your face (or back or shoulders), dab a little green concealer.  You’ll want to gently blend it before your foundation.

Skip the SPF.  This is the only time I ever suggest not putting on SPF – and make sure it isn’t in your lotion or foundation as well.  Or, even better, just make sure the SPF doesn’t include Titanium Dioxide.  The camera flash will pick up traces of the Titanium Dioxide – giving you the dreaded ghost face in all of your photos.  Just try to stand in the shade as much as you can.

Focus on your eyes.  Your groom will be gazing lovingly into them all day long – make sure they are ready.  I have recently tried the new Almay intense i-color shimmer-i kit – I love it.   There are different trios to bring out your eye color so there is something for everyone.

Falsies!  Adding false lashes will give your eyes the most oomph.  I curl my lashes first, put on the falsies, and then put on my mascara blending my natural lashes up from underneath.  But it takes practice!! (I also apply my eyeshadow and eyeliner first – some people recommend the false lashes before the rest of the eye makeup.)

Don’t forget your lips.  For the best staying power for your lipstick try this: chapstick or lip balm, follow with a lip liner that closely matches your natural lip color and line your lips…and then fill them in with the lip liner.  Apply lipstick and blot with tissue.  Place a tissue over your lips and then brush with powder.  Apply lipstick again and blot one more time.  I can’t promise it will last all night, but it should last a lot longer – and with little to no smudging.  I also recommend staying with a natural lip tone – it is less obvious when it does start to fade.

Practice.  I am not a professional makeup artist – these are tips and tricks I have learned throughout my life.  Don’t try any new beauty products or methods for the first time on your wedding day…that’s just asking for frustration.  And allow for plenty of time on your wedding day for application – it will take longer than usual.  Count on it.

And remember, a smile is always the best beauty tip.

Be Carefree,

Suzanne

Posted in Make-up Artists, Must Read | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment