Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Rock Me Like A Hurricane

This past weekend Mr. E, the fam and I traveled up to Philly to celebrate the wedding of BM Philly and her husband D.

The weekend was filled with wonderful events from the welcome BBQ on Thursday, to the rehearsal and cocktail party on Friday to the big event on Saturday.  Of course the weather was a big topic of interest as Hurricane Irene was heading our way.

BM Philly and her mom worked so hard on the beautiful purple and green wedding details many of which were DIY such as the programs, flip flop baskets, ceremony decor and cake pops.

BM Philly even surprised D with a Boston Sports themed groom's cake at the cocktail party on Friday. I like to think she got that idea from all of her dedicated reading of Weddingbee :)

Unfortunately their plans of a gorgeous garden wedding were dashed by the torrential downpour and wind thanks to Irene.  Their wedding was still amazingly beautiful even though the tornado warnings shut the party down a little early.  The food was amazing, the cocktails were flowing and we made more than one trip to the photo booth not worrying about the rain until the very end.

With warnings of the hurricane approaching and transportation in the Tri state area shutting down, there were more than a handful of guests that understandably decided not to make the trip to the wedding.  If you were a bride in that position, would you want to receive cancellation calls and texts ahead of time, or after the wedding?  Was anyone else's wedding effected by the hurricane this past weekend?

*I know that weddings are more of a first world problem.  My heart goes out to those that lost loved ones or their houses in Hurricane Irene.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Passport To Love: Budget Breakdown

Let's talk numbers, shall we?  As a financial operations analyst, numbers are actually my friend.  Give me some spreadsheets and I'm a happy camper.

You may remember that we extended our engagement into a 25 month period in order to save up enough money for the wedding that we wanted to have. We were fortunate to receive some financial help from my parents, Mr. E and I paid the other 65%.  I'm going to be very honest with you all, we ended up spending a pretty penny on the wedding.  There were splurges that were not needed, but totally wanted.   We ended up going over budget, (but I'm throwing in everything I can possibly think of) so here's how it breaks down.  It's a little long, but I added pictures to help :)

Guests: 120
Original Budget: $35,000

Venue: The Tribute Golf Club, The Colony TX

Cost: $15,926.51 (38.7%).  Obviously the biggest ticket item in our budget.  This included the ceremony space and chairs, rooms for the bridal party to get ready in, ballroom for the 5 hour reception, all of the chairs & tables, dance floor, service staff, food & alcohol for 120 people, the Crowne suite for our wedding night and breakfast the next morning.  We added onto our package with a 3rd entree and the mac & cheese bar.

Planner, Flowers, Decor: Kathie Seeley with Grand Events

Cost: $4,330.33 (10.5%).  Kathie was truly amazing!  She was one of the first vendors that we booked and was with us every step of the way, even through staff turn over at our venue.  She did an amazing job keeping me calm during the planning period and setting up every single one of my DIY projects on the day of.  She did all of our flowers, which included 2 arrangements for the ceremony space, 13 centerpieces, 4 bouquets plus a toss bouquet, 12 corsages for the moms and aunts, 11 bouts for all of the guys, flowers for the cake stands & napkin wraps, and arrangements for the cocktail tables and guest book table.  She dealt with ordering the linens (napkins, table cloths, chair sashes, chiavari chairs for the bride and groom)  from BBJ linens, so that's all rolled up into this cost.  Other items in this amount include all of the candles on the tables, the fabric for the gazebo and an extra team member to insure all of the DIY projects were set up right (it took some time for someone to stuff each and every one of the take out boxes with our chocolates).  I know that wedding set up would not have looked as perfect as it did without Kathie.

Photographer: Lynn Michelle Photography

Cost: $6,495 (15.8%).  Pictures were my number one priority when it came to the wedding.  These were going to be the lasting memories for such a fantastic day and we went for the one of the largest packages available.  Lynn was simply amazing.  We booked her in 2009, yep nearly 2 years before our 2011 wedding.  Lynn and her team captured every single one of our DIY projects as well as all of the love and laughter that was a part of our big day.  This amount included engagement pictures, a canvas wrap, rehearsal and rehearsal dinner coverage, 3 photographers on the wedding day for 10 hours (although they were there early and stayed late), guest cards that we included in our thank you cards to let guest know about the online gallery, an album for us and 2 parent albums.  If I had to do it again, I would book Lynn in a heart beat! LOVE her!

DJ & Lighting: Blair Sparkman with Party All The Time Productions

Cost: $2,400 (5.8%). Blair was a vendor suggestion from our planner Kathie, and he was a fantastic deal!  This cost included the DJ service, microphones for the ceremony, uplighting and pinspotting all around the reception room.  As our final guest count came in, we decided to add in the custom gobo of our wedding logo.

Videography: Austin Walton Productions

Cost: $2,056.75 (5.0%).  Videography was one of those splurges that we didn't factor into our original budget.  As the planning period progressed and I saw so many beautiful videos online, I really wanted to squeeze it in.  Austin did an amazing job of coordinating with the photographers to ensure that he wasn't getting into their shot, and he is really such a nice person!   We haven't seen our video yet because it's a 4-5 month turn around, but I'll come back and share it with you all if you still want to see it.

Ceremony Music: Steve McDonald, Steel drums booked through Islands in the Sun Productions

Cost: $475 (1.2%).  The steel drums may have caused me a little stress, but it meant the world to surprise Daddy E with them.

Photo Booth: Premiere Booth

Cost: $1,040 (2.5%).  I loved the pictures that we received from the photo booth.  Our guests had a blast and I can't wait to put all of the extra strips in a scrapbook.  The cost  included 5 hours of use, set up and break down as well as a staff member to run it, and a CD of all images which had the strips as well as individual shots.

Cake: Candy Haven

Cost: $715 (1.7%).  We ordered 2 delicious cakes with some custom work as well as 40 double dipped strawberries.

Attire: Bride & Groom

Cost:  $1,936.50 (4.7%).  Mr. E's rental suit was free since we had 5 other guys renting theirs, so this amount includes my dress (621.67), alterations (120) my hair pin (37.89), our custom chucks (140), Mr. E's tie (15), cufflinks (32.05) my heels (25.40), garter set (29.49) and hair and makeup for myself, 4 bridesmaids and my mom (915).  Mama E gifted me my veil and my beautiful necklace.

DIY: Paper products and wedding decor

Cost: appx $1,750 (4.3%).  This is approximate because I didn't keep track of each and every trip to Michael's.  This includes all of our various paper products and postage (invites, save the dates, rehearsal dinner invites, programs, menus, etc) as well as other decor items like our cake toppers, props for the photo booth, napkins, matches, sparklers, serving set, flip flops, baskets, bubbles, OOT boxes & snacks, wood signs, guestbook set up, take out boxes, chocolate ingredients and more.

Rings, Party Gifts & Miscellaneous

Cost: $2,460.35 (6.0%) This included: our two bands and engraving, gifts for the bridal party (necklaces, earrings, coach bags, ties, custom converse shoes, gift cards), our parents (ties, hankies, gift cards), a donation for our officiant, our marriage license, tips for vendors, 1 hotel room for Mr. E and another for my girls and me on Friday night.

Send Off Brunch: Fairfield Inn & Suites.

Personal Photo

Cost: $1,565.67 (3.8%).  An Easter Sunday brunch for 50 of our guests.

Whew!  That covers just about everything except for the rehearsal dinner which my parents paid for, our minimoon in San Antonio and our honeymoon in Mexico.

The grand total is $41,151.11.  That looks so crazy because we were over by $6K. In our defense, when we first came up with our original estimate there were numerous items that we did not include in it like our attire, bridal party gifts, DIY projects, send off brunch, our rings, and splurges like the photo booth, videography and lighting.  Also the price per person at our venue went up from the time we booked to the time we paid (package prices are not in the contract, only the amount for the spaces as well as a food and beverage minimum).

When we first started planning, I didn't think that we would spend nearly this much money, but as we saved more and more we decided to give into more of our splurges.  There are so many little things that you don't think about that pop up close to the wedding (like hotel rooms, marriage licenses, tips for vendors, extra materials for DIY projects), so my advice would be to have some extra in the budget as the wedding day gets closer.  The best part about this final amount is that we did not have one single bill to pay after the wedding, and the entire weekend was totally worth it!

With that, I would say the Elephant "Passport To Love" recaps are now officially complete.  Hopefully the percentage breakdown will help another bride out there!

Did you add things to your original budget as you progressed in your planning?

All photos from Lynn Michelle unless otherwise noted.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Passport To Love: Send Off Brunch

Waking up the morning after our wedding was another early morning.  Sometimes I really wish I could just sleep in.  Our wedding package at the Tribute included breakfast in bed, but since we were up so early we decided to pick up the room, pack up the car and enjoy our delicious breakfast in the pub.  The staff was busy preparing for their Easter brunch, so we ate in a booth out of their way.  After turning in our suite key, we drove off saying one last good bye to our wedding venue through the side mirror.

We arranged for our guests to enjoy one last wedding weekend event at the hotel that so many of them were staying at.  Mama E did a wonderful job of repurposing our flowers and wedding decor to fancy up the hotel conference room.

Mr. E and I enjoyed mimosas while mingling with our guests.  We didn't have anything to eat (other than a piece of bacon or two), but from what I heard the food was very tasty!

After a little more mingling and reliving the night before, Mr. E and I made a little speech thanking our guests once again for celebrating our wedding weekend with us.  It meant so much to both of us to have so much love and support surrounding us as we began this new chapter in our lives.

And with that, we said our good byes.  Gave one last kiss and hug to my parents, then headed out on our road trip minimoon to San Antonio.

Did you (or will you) have any wedding events the day after the wedding?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Passport To Love: Light It Up

We were so excited for our sparkler grand exit!!!  It was something that we did not think would happened, but as luck would have it our venue changed their policy and it lit up our night.

The sparklers were set up along with our remaining bottles of water.  Our guests must have danced up a thirst because there were no bottles left on our way out.

Due to our delay in starting our private last dance (some guests were helping themselves to our table names and extra chocolates) and the high wind, our guests had to light the sparklers twice.  Maybe we should have purchased longer ones like Mrs. Buttons.

And away we go!

We circled the building and were about to head upstairs before Mr. E reminded us to get some pictures for our thank you cards

We headed up to our suite, popped some champagne and ate some of our cake that we didn't really get to enjoy at the reception.

And that concludes our absolutely wonderful wedding day!

Trying to stretch out my time on the Bee, I have a couple of posts still up my sleeve.  Next up: our morning after brunch.

Will you have anything special for your send off?

All photos from Lynn Michelle

Catch up on the Elephant recaps, Passport To Love: