How To Find A Wedding Dress

Two weeks ago, I pulled into the next station aboard the wedding planning express. I shopped for and found my wedding dress. So sorry, this post will not contain pictures of said dress but I will share some highlights from the day and what I did to plan ahead of time.

First, back in September I started looking for bridal boutiques around Atlanta. This process was very overwhelming because if you live in a metropolis, like myself, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed so I recommend starting with the basics:

  1. What is your budget? If it’s over $1000, you can probably go to a brick-and-mortar store and find a dress. If it’s less than that, you may be limited to the internet but there are beautiful dresses available less than $1,000! I have had many friends and coworkers sharing stories and photos of their fabulous dresses bought for a few hundred. Know your budget and know you CAN look fantastic on your day for any price. 
  2. What is your timeline? I have 12 months before our ceremony but many couples have less than that. Most dresses, once ordered, can take up to 10 months to make. So plan ahead and ask if the dress you pick can be made in time for your big day.
  3. What alterations need to be made? Most dresses are made in standard dress sizes. After you plug in your measurements, you’ll know what size you are. If you are like me, you fall between sizes. I chose the larger of the two, knowing that I’d need to make alterations. Typical alterations can take 3 to 4 months: cups have to be sown into the bust, the hem (usually) needs to be adjusted you your height, a bustle needs to be sown in, etc. Everybody is unique so more than likely you will need some alterations, take these into account when you’re budgeting money and time. This topic brings me to sizing… It’s a hot issue that I got A LOT of feedback on before shopping. Some people to choose to size down and diet themselves into their dress, others recommend to stay where you are or size up so you don’t have to stress about losing weight. It’s such a personal choice, I chose to be happy with my current size and I picked that. But, you do you, no judgement.
  4. Whose opinions do you value? Most boutiques only allow you to have 4 to 5 individuals come with you. If you chose to invite that many loved ones, make your appointment REALLY far ahead of time. Typically, big parties require a full suite or a big couch to fit on. I made my appointment four months ahead of time and was able to invite 5 people: my mom and 4 best friends. I sent out an evite ahead of time to add a bit of fun and excitement to the appointment.
  5. Bring pictures of dresses you like to your appointment but be open! My key to success in dress shopping is being flexible. I went into my appointment with a bunch of pictures of what I wanted and what I thought I looked good in but what I ended up picking was nothing like what I brought. Turns out, I don’t look like the 6 foot tall models in the dresses that I saw online. It’s great to have an idea of what you want but be open to trying other things, you may surprise yourself! I only tried on eight dresses. The one I went with was number three. I put it on and knew it was the perfect one for me.
  6. Be vocal and alliterate. Trying on dresses can be very overwhelming. For me, it started to make things very real. This stress can ruin your entire appointment if you let it but try to work through it with words. Look at each dress and tell your consultant what you like, what you don’t, what you would change, and how you feel. For example, there was a beautiful dress that I got into and had literally no words. I just stood there knowing something wasn’t right. Finally I said, “It feels like I’m wearing someone else’s wedding dress.” It was so white and bridal, I knew it was what I would wear if I was a little girl dressing up playing bride. Surprisingly, this comment helped my consultant a lot.
  7. It’s probably not like Say Yes to the Dress 🙂 I have been watching TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress for years. I’ve pictured myself at Kleinfeld’s going through the whole rigmarole, crying, and spending $20,000 on a Pnina Tornai. However, more than likely, your appointment will not look like that (but it may, you do you).  I didn’t cry but I knew I had the right dress by the joy I felt in it. I didn’t want to cry, I just wanted to smile! Moral of the story: don’t automatically think you haven’t found your dress because you don’t cry.
  8. It make take several shopping trips and several boutiques. I found my dress on my first trip but you may not. No shame in that but have other appointments planned and scheduled. I had two other appointments in the books that I was able to very easily cancel. Just keep in mind: flexibility, time, and your budget. The place I went to first was a sister location to the boutique my future sister-in-law got her dress from. (The White Magnolia. Cannot recommend it enough!) The other two places were ones I’d seen advertised on The Knot and Wedding Wire, online wedding planning websites.
  9. Accessories. This is last because it might not be at the forefront of your mind while shopping but it should be. Veils, jewelry, hair accessories, and shoes… these things add up really fast. So plan to shop for them the same day you find your dress or soon after. This way, you can get a full picture of what you will look like on your big day, and what you’re spending on it all.

I figured I’d include some of the dresses I tried on (and didn’t choose) here. We were not allowed to take pictures in them so I went onto the designer’s websites and pulled some. Enjoy.

Just like finding a husband or wife: once you’ve found the right one, stop looking!

Perhaps you hate the wedding posts? Perhaps you hate dress shopping? You do you, boo.

Best,

michelle.  

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Hey michelle., where have you been?

I know it’s been a few weeks since I last posted but January is always a rough month for me. However, I was asked to write the wellness blog for my Center this month at work. I decided I’d share it here too, enjoy:

Every year as January rolls into February, the temperatures stay cold, the days stay short, and I begin to loose motivation. Things I typically enjoy, like working out and having dinner with friends, become a chore. All I want to do is get home from work, put on sweatpants, and watch television or snooze. I don’t want to put on layers of clothes just to take the trash out or walk down to the mailbox. I’d rather just stay indoors where it’s warm. This hibernation typically leads me into the winter blues. It’s normal for many people, especially those living in colder climates, but it doesn’t have to happen!

Recently, I learned about the idea of hygge, which is a Danish concept related to surviving the long, cold, dark days of winter. Hygge (pronounced hue-guh not hoo-gah) is a state of mind. In English it is described as coziness, charm, happiness, contentedness, security, familiarity, comfort, and kinship. Practicing hygge means participating in simple rituals or activities, such as making hot tea or lighting a candle, with happiness and a positive spirit. This same attitude is then brought to the spirit of going outdoors into the cold. Alfred Wainwright (1907–1991), famous for his hiking guides, wrote, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.”

I believe that if Danish people can battle their winter blues with hygge and suitable clothing, then so can I. It just takes 5 minutes of energy to get off the couch, put on winter clothing, and go enjoy the beautiful outdoors. After all, sitting on the couch feeling miserable will not beat the winter blues.

Fortunately, I live in Atlanta with its relatively mild and short winters, but they can still suck a lot of the joy from the first few months of the year. So, this year before spring hits, I’ve decided to put on a warm coat, go outside, and live life a bit fuller. Just this week, I took a chilly walk and was thrilled to see few flowers making their first appearance of the year.

Another way I’ve tried to practice hygge is to eat outdoors during my lunch break. Going outside when I don’t have to might sound silly, but I spend 8 hours a day in an office with no windows. When I get to work, the sun has barely risen, and by the time I leave, it is setting and my vitamin D exposure is almost nonexistent. That 30 minutes of being outdoors, no matter the temperature or weather, has become invaluable to me. If it’s raining, I sit under a covering; if it’s absolutely freezing, I take refuge in my car; but mostly I just soak in being outdoors and remember that this season is temporary. Honestly, it is my favorite part of the day no matter the temperature or weather.

Additional ways I beat the winter blues are to give myself time to be in my home crafting or reading a book — hygge. Making the decision to leave home or be active indoors might feel monumental sometimes, but at the end of the season when spring is blooming, I will remember that I’m in a much healthier mindset than if I had just slept though winter.

If you’d like some more information, try the book The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking. Disclamer: I have not read this book but the reviews look promising. Let me know what you think!

Have a great February! Fortunately, the groundhog did not see his shadow so we are in for an early spring this year. Woohoo 🙂

Perhaps you hate posts without pictures? Perhaps you hate the winter? You do you, boo.

Best,

michelle.

December Book(s) of the Month

This December I was able to read two books. One of which, I read each and every year, Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris. It is a collection of six short stories, each one absolutely hilarious. The first story is about his time as an elf in Santa Land in the New York City Macy’s on Harold Square. I have read this book on Christmas every year for the past four years and still laugh each and every time. Recently, I also found out that the Santa Land story was featured on an episode of NPR’s This American Life podcast. The story is only slightly different but equally as hilarious. The book is a short only, 134 pages. It usually only takes me three sittings to get through the entire book. I highly recommend it if you want to get into the Christmas spirit and laugh your tail off. The back of the book says:

David Sedaris’s beloved holiday collection is new again with six more pieces, including a never before published story. Along with such favorites as the diaries of a Macy’s elf and the annals of two very competitive families, are Sedaris’s tales of tardy trick-or-treaters (“Us and Them”); the difficulties of explaining the Easter Bunny to the French (“Jesus Shaves”); what to do when you’ve been locked out in a snowstorm (“Let It Snow”); the puzzling Christmas traditions of other nations (“Six to Eight Black Men”); what Halloween at the medical examiner’s looks like (“The Monster Mash”); and a barnyard secret Santa scheme gone awry (“Cow and Turkey”).

No matter what your favorite holiday, you won’t want to miss celebrating it with the author who has been called “one of the funniest writers alive” (Economist).

The other book I read in December was the sequel to Crazy Rich Asians, China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan. I said in a previous post that I wasn’t in a hurry to read the second book but I got it as a birthday present and decided December was the perfect time to crack it open. Overall, I thought the book was incredibly entertaining. I liked this book so much that I actually dropped it in the bathtub while it was full of water. It follows many more story lines than the first novel so even if one character’s story isn’t of interest to you, then next chapter brings you back to a character you may be more invested in. The book is 479 pages and broken up into three sections. The first section look me the longest to get through because it took a while for the really meaty parts of the novel to get going but once I got to the second section I was fully invested and completely engrossed in the stories. When I finished the book I looked at Jay and said, well now I want to read the third one. The author does a great job setting the audience up for the last book in the trilogy. It is definitely on my reading list for 2019.

The back of the book synopsis says:

It’s the eve of Rachel Chu’s wedding, and she should be over the moon. She has a flawless Asscher-cut diamond, a wedding dress she loves, and a fiancé willing to thwart his meddling relatives and give up one of the biggest fortunes in Asia in order to marry her. Still, Rachel mourns the fact that her birthfather, a man she never knew, won’t be there to walk her down the aisle.  

Then a chance accident reveals his identity. Suddenly, Rachel is drawn into a dizzying world of Shanghai splendor, a world where people attend church in a penthouse, where exotic cars race down the boulevard, and where people aren’t just crazy rich … they’re China rich.

Happy 2019 everyone, I hope you’re settling into winter and enjoying the chilly weather. Perhaps you hate reading? Perhaps you hate the winter? You do you, boo.

Best,

michelle.

Happy New Year, North Carolina!

This year for New Year’s weekend, Jay and I travelled to Sugar Mountain, North Carolina for a weekend of skiing with friends. In total, we had a group of about 9 people stay in the Air B&B all weekend. We late Friday night and headed almost straight to bed which was good because Saturday was a rough day for us.

We started out trying to get breakfast fixed & eaten, everyone’s snow gear and stuff packed up, and rush out the door. Unfortunately, that’s where the “fun” started. I started to back out of the very steep gravel driveway and slid off landing my vehicle between a tree and the driveway, stuck. I was a little shaken and frustrated but not scared. The car didn’t flip thanks to the rocks and trees, thank goodness, but we had to call a tow truck and wait for him to arrive. Norman, the tow man, was very nice and said that the address has had multiple cases of this same thing happen, which made me feel better. I’m not the only one to slide off of the driveway apparently. Eventually, after a tow, we were finally able to head to the ski shop and rent our gear.

The shop was crowded but we left with our gear in hand ready to get on the mountain. Unfortunately, our excitement had to wait. We drove up the mountain, sitting in traffic, to full parking lots and people everywhere. It took another hour to get parked, bused up the mountain, make our way through the crowds, and get a lift ticket. At this point I was done. I was hungry, tired, and emotionally over all of the crowds. Skiing was the last thing I wanted to do but after a sandwich and a shove into ski class, I started to calm down.

I haven’t skied in 20 years. I used to ski growing up in Colorado but the past few times I’ve gone to a resort, I’ve opted to snowboard. In all reality though, I’m a horrible snowboarder. I fall a lot and it’s exhausting to get back up, so this time I returned to skiing. In my opinion, it’s a lot easier to be a beginner skier then snowboarder. After the lesson, I felt relatively confident and I started making the green runs. I fell a few times but got back up and had a great time. After skiing Jay went into the lodge for a moment to get our stuff out of his locker, however when he returned someone had taken his skis by mistake. We looked high and low for them but they were nowhere to be found… the great luck continued. Eventually, the rental place called and said that some lady had taken his by accident and returned them, thankfully. After the rental fiasco, Jay and I headed back to make dinner for the group. When we got to the Air B&B there was water leaking (or pouring) out of the refrigerator. The ice inside had melted after our group’s groceries had been stored and now the water was pouring out (yay, more joy to that day). That night (after a mop) we watched television, hot tubbed, and licked our wounds. The day was stressful but I was so glad it was over.

Sunday was similar to Saturday, but without the tow truck, stolen skis, and leaking fridge. We left to ski and made runs all day. We went from about 1pm to 8pm with a break while the ski resort ran the machines over the snow to smooth it out. I loved skiing, hopefully in the future I can invest more time and money into the sport. I’d love to make it a real hobby that I feel confident in.

Monday was New Year’s Eve. The group went to the local BBQ place, The Pedalin’ Pig. Every time we drove past the restaurant, the parking lot was packed so we assumed it must be good. We were right, it was delicious! After lunch we visited a local winery and tried out some local tastes. Overall, not the best wine I’ve ever had but it was nice to sit with friends and talk about our resolutions and goals for 2019. Once we got back from the winery, we began setting up for our NYE party, Air B&B style. I had bought party décor from Target & Party City before we left Atlanta. The theme was black and gold. We set up a photo wall, played games, did 2018 trivia, wrote ourselves notes to open in a year, made pizzas, and watched Black Mirror Balderdash on Netflix. When the clock hit midnight we blew our noisemakers, popped balloons, and toasted with champagne.

Tuesday was New Year’s Day. We packed up, said good bye, and headed home to reset for the work day ahead. I’m so glad I was able to make the trip happen, even with all of the drama on Saturday. Things don’t always go smoothly but the trick is flexibility and resiliency. Happy 2019 everyone!

Perhaps you hate skiing? Perhaps you hate parties? You do you, boo.

Best,

michelle.  

Merry Christmas, Missouri

Friday, after another grueling week of working two jobs, Jay and I prepared to head to Kansas City for the holidays. My parents recently moved to Kansas City, MO from Dallas, TX. Neither, Jay or I had ever been to KC so we were excited to check off another place on our travel list. Unfortunately, the trip started rough with a delay that had us departing Atlanta after midnight. However, it was a quick flight and we didn’t have any additional issues. Saturday was a busy day of last minute Christmas shopping, eating, baking and seeing Mary Poppins Returns. The movie was so cute. I’d say 4/5 stars because… it’s not the original and only Julie Andrews can get 5/5 stars, sorry Emily Blunt.

Sunday was a bit quieter day. We went to church, napped, and watched football all day. After a Cowboys victory, we decided to head to the Country Club/Village area of Kansas City. We ate Chuy’s for dinner (we Texans love our Tex-Mex, even in KC) and drove around the area looking at Christmas lights. In case you were curious, this area of KC is full of box stores and brands you’d see in almost any big city: Tiffany & Co., Madewell, Vera Bradley, Old Navy, Apple, etc. After dinner and the drive, we headed home and watched Christmas movies until we fell asleep.

Monday, Christmas Eve, was probably my favorite day of the trip. We started off at Union Station looking at the model train exhibits which were unbelievable, truly. I was super impressed. We then walked in and out of stores looking at all the goodies and trinkets for sale. Afterward, we took the above ground walking tunnel link to the Crown Center where Jay and I went ICE-SKATING! It was SO FUN. I absolutely loved it. I didn’t fall or bump into anyone which made me feel relatively confident. We skated for almost an hour and then headed home to change for dinner and Christmas Eve services at church.

Pro Tip: not many restaurants are open late on Christmas Eve. Do your research ahead of time to find out what is open for the time you’d like to eat. We ended up at Olive Garden before they closed at 8. A few years ago my family did not do this research and we ended up eating fried chicken at the only place open within 5 miles of our church (in Dallas-Fort Worth).

Wardrobe: My Christmas dress is from Ivy City Co. I was obsessed with it from the minute I saw it advertised. It’s on the expensive side but it is worth every penny. It is quality fabric sold by small business owners who practice responsible buying. They also have mini versions of a lot of their clothes so you can match your kids (if you have them)!

After church we climbed into our Christmas pajamas and watched Christmas movies (and Monday Night Football) until we heard Santa outside and headed to bed. 😉

Tuesday, Christmas Day, was a busy one. My sister’s flight arrived into KC from Houston around 10:30am but her bag did not. We watched A Christmas Story a few times on TNT while we waited, then switched over to the Disney Christmas Parade. You know you’re starting to get older when you have no idea who any of the artists performing on the stages are.

After breakfast casserole and my mom’s traditional Christmas day smoothie, Orange Julius, we passed out presents and began opening. Between the five of us, we got enough stuff to fill almost every inch of the living room floor. We are so blessed each and every year to be spoiled so much.

After presents was supper preparation as my dad headed back to the airport to retrieve my sister’s bag. He arrived back about 3pm and it was time to eat. Dinner was a bit hilarious. For the past few years, my family has been having steak on Christmas day, this year my parents thought they would preorder prime ribs from Longhorn steakhouse and then just warm them up in the oven for dinner. Well… they tasted great but the meat was way past tender and juicy. Don’t get me wrong, the food was fantastic and we were blessed to have such a wonderful meal but overcooked meat was definitely not anticipated for Jay’s first Christmas with my family. He also got to experience my favorite dessert, Big Cherry Salad. His response was, “that was cool.” Obviously, not a fan. Looking back, I’m he was dreaming about his family’s Christmas meals instead of ones that involve, cherries and Jell-O. Sorry, babe.

After dinner it was time to pack and head to the airport. (Tally, my dad’s third airport run on Christmas day). Thankfully, our flight, connection in Chicago, and trip back to Atlanta all went without any problems. Overall, I had the best time in KC. Truth be told, I did not give the city much credit but the place has plenty to do and see around the holidays. Thank you to my parents for hosting us and being so generous with your time, money, and love. You made Jay and I feel very comfortable and warm in a place we’d never been before. Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!

Perhaps you hate the holidays? Perhaps you hate steaks? You do you, boo.

Best,

michelle.

Looking Ahead.

This week, I hit a breaking point. I’m tired. I’m emotionally tired of constantly feeling moody and cranky; I’m physically tired of not getting enough sleep; and I’m mentally tired of the hustle. It doesn’t help that I still hold my part time job at Dick’s, which means that two to three nights a week I work 7:30am-11pm. Hitting this breaking point really started me thinking about what I want next year to look like. This year I got my masters, got a job in my degree field that pays me enough, and found a wonderful man. What’s next? How can I start to battle this painful tiredness and look forward to 2019?

  1. Learn to say no. I don’t have all the answers but I have learned that everyone has a limited amount of capacity and no one can do it all. If I’m going to pull myself out of my perpetual tiredness state I’m going to have to make changes and learn to say no. My first recent no was to Christmas cards. I had the whole idea planned out, use our engagement pictures to print cute Shutterfly cards and send them out. Sounded easy enough but then it became an activity that I had to terminate. I did not have time to text people, ask for their mailing addresses, wait for a response, fill out the envelope, buy stamps, and get them to a mailbox. Nope. I realized my capacity to put out Christmas cards was non-existent. I realize this Christmas card example may seem silly but it is just one small thing that I struggled to say no to. Now, as 2019 approaches, it’s time to start making bigger choices and learning to say no to things that will not help me to reach my goals.
  • Make SMART Goals. I heard a podcast recently about setting intentional goals. In public health we call them SMART goals. Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Relevant. Timely. In other words, don’t just say “In 2019, I want to lose weight.” This goal is not SMART, instead say “I want to go to the gym three times a week to lose 5% body fat by June 1, 2019”. Giving yourself SMART goals helps to keep you accountable because these goals live in the realm of possibility. Personally, I don’t know what I want my SMART goals of 2019 to be yet, but I do know what lifestyle boundaries I want to use to achieve them.
  • Set boundaries. Now, I understand that everyone has the luxury of being able to have a consistent work schedule that pays enough. I 100% get that. I’ve been there. I have cried because I wasn’t sure how I was going to pay rent or fill my car with gas. I’ve been that person for majority of my adult life so far. But now, I’m tired and I realize that I’m fortunate for the ability to start making choices and setting boundaries. Also, I realize that some of you reading this may not have this problem at all. You are perfectly happy saying no to things and living in the moment, I wish I were one of you but I am not. I am a Type-A overachiever who has yet to learn how to say no or set boundaries. If you’re like me, guess what? There are solutions.
  • Start new rhythms. Along with working hour boundaries, I want to start adding other healthy rhythms into my life such as eating cleaner and putting more physical exercise in my routine. This may sound very cliché but my body changed a lot in graduate school. I gained weight, unhealthy cholesterol levels, and horrific skin allergies. As a public health professional I am not practicing what I preach. I used to get mad at myself for not being able to do it all and be perfect at everything, but I now know that does not improve any behaviors. I’ve learned that I have to give something up to let something new in. For example, I have to give up some shifts at Dick’s if I want to have an hour each day to take a dance class or go to the gym. I also have to give up buying large amounts of things so I can by fewer products of quality.

Figuring out your rhythms, boundaries and goals are important steps for initiating change. I too am still figuring this out but, for now, I know what direction I’m headed in. Hopefully these quick and dirty ideas will help you to start brain storming along with me. Let’s make 2019 a healthier, more adventurous and more giving year than 2018 was. To give this post some visuals, I’ve included some random pics from December.  

Perhaps you hate change? Perhaps you hate new goals? You do you, boo.

Best,

michelle.

How to shop for a wedding venue.

This past weekend was quite the adventure. As you may know, I got engaged in July. I’ve been pretty slow to jump into the wedding planning but little by little I’ve started to create a list and timeline to start pulling details together. First up was the engagement party in November. I haven’t written a blog about this yet because I’m waiting for the photos to get in. The next step for us was venue shopping. Throughout this post, I have included photos from the appointments. You’ll find out where we chose at a later time. This post is specifically about questions to ask as you start this journey: where, when, how many, and BUDGET.

Question 1: Where? Locations are very personal because the options are basically endless. You could choose your living room, a national park, a church, a mountain top, a mosque, an island etc. I suggest doing some chatting with your partner about what place is special to you both and why. For example, you could choose to have the ceremony in one place and the reception in another. This may be best for individuals following religions where it is required that you get married within their buildings. Or you can choose to have no reception at all, it’s what best fits you and your partner. Then there is the element of travel. If you want all of your family to come (and they all live in central location) it may be best to choose somewhere close to them. If you want to elope and not worry about guests, perhaps Vegas appeals to you. Choose what has meaning to you and your partner. Personally, Jay and I have family everywhere. Texas, Michigan, Colorado, Tennessee, Missouri, South Carolina, North Carolina, etc. Thus, choosing a location that was convenient was not going to happen; anywhere we chose would require travel of everyone. My only stipulation was that the location was within a 3 – 4 hour driving distance of Atlanta and I had to feel a connection to the place, which is why we chose Asheville, NC. The connection part is a whole other blog post I’ll try to write in the future. 😉

Question 2: When? This question is a big one because it can affect the where, how many, and budget categories. May places have “busy seasons” for weddings. Typically those seasons are late spring, summer, and early fall. However, this will change by location. Usually, during these seasons it is more difficult to reserve already booked venues and the prices sky rocket. Venders know they are in high demand so they can ask for more money for their services. On the flip side, getting married in a not so busy season can be difficult because photographers, musicians, caterers, and florists maybe on vacations or taking periods of leave. Which leads me back to my example in Asheville. I decided I wanted a Christmas wedding. Reds, greens, golds, twinkling lights, trees, hymns, etc. My thoughts are, it’s less to decorate and people will hopefully already be traveling that time of year. So far, the idea has held budget-wise. Venders are already giving us deals because they have no other clients booked and they want the business during the slow season. The hang ups have been venders on leave for the holidays and the possibility of bad weather. Asheville snows, ya’ll. It gets cold and there is the possibility of bad weather on the actual wedding day. This led us back to the where. Are the venues on top of hills or mountains? Do they have weather contingency plans? Are they a part of a hotel where the guests could stay if they got snowed in? All of these are things to think about…

Question 3: How many? How many people do you want at your ceremony and reception? Will you allow children? How many people will actually fit in your space? Will there be elderly people or those with physical disabilities who need an elevator or ramp? Know all of this before going venue shopping. If there are children, many people decide to hire a professional babysitter so parents can enjoy the reception. Venues may have the option to hire a kid’s club staff member. Additionally, how many people will fit into the space? If you’re planning for 200 people, a space for 150 will be too tight and a space for 500 may be WAY too big. There is nothing like paying for unused space. Food also comes into play here. Most places have per-person prices for food. They will give you options and you will pay per the number of people who attend.

Question 4: Budget. Money can be an uncomfortable topic for many but (overall) weddings are not cheap. Have an honest conversation with the person or persons footing the bill. Do your research and have an idea about what ball park you are shopping in. Don’t spend all your time looking at venues that are too expensive. It will be discouraging and a waste. Again, there are so many beautiful and wonderful places to have a wedding, the venue should not break the bank. I started with my dream location in Asheville and moved on from there. I knew it was not realistic so I looked up other venues more appropriately priced for us. They all had the same look and feel as the dream but not the price tag.

In the end, I talked to 6 venues, made 5 appointments, and ended up touring 4 locations. They were all beautiful and had wonderful coordinators willing to answer all my questions. I went in with a compiled list of questions such as: Parking? Linens? China? Set up/ take down? Bridal (day of) coordinator? What’s included? What’s not included but mandatory? How many days till you need to sign the contract? Deposit? Payment schedule? Blah, blah, blah…My best advice is to do your homework and come prepared! I was blessed to have my mom there to shop with us for a third set of eyes, ears, and to share her thoughts. If you’re able to bring a third party or opinion you trust, I encourage it. Hopefully some of the things I’ve learned will help you. Remember: the most important thing is not the wedding, it’s the marriage. Whether your marriage starts on a beach in Tahiti or in your backyard, it will be beautiful because it is yours.

Pro tip: don’t schedule all your tours during a snow storm. There is high likely hood you will get snowed into your hotel and/or your AirB&B will cancel on you.

Sorry to those of you who don’t want to read about weddings. It’s the current season I’m in so, these posts will occur periodically. However, your regularly scheduled michelle. book-of-the-month and travel posts are still on the docket for 2019.

Perhaps you hate weddings? Perhaps you hate snow? You do you, boo.

Best,

michelle.