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wedding details

There's a new Venue in Town

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There's a new Venue in Town

Hey y’all, we are here today with some awesome news. I am so excited to share this with you today. We were talking about budgeting and thinking about our wedding planning with more logical and strategic measures so that we can live our lives with no regrets. We spoke about taking steps to avoid making the most common mistakes that brides can sometimes make during planning. So today I am excited to share about this wonderful, wonderful, treasure that has now opened up in the Orlando area.

We all love when we come across a hidden gem. Especially when there is a huge amount of value packed into the offer. The find is half of the thrill right? We then love to share it with every girlfriend or person who would listen like “girl you wouldn’t believe what I just found at (insert whichever store here)”.

Well. There is a new venue in town and it is absolutely divine!!!

Remember a few blogs back, I shared with you that seven years later a few family members still feel some type of way because my wedding was small and exclusive. Well, it was. We had exactly twenty guests. I shared that with you because, this amazing new venue is perfect for if you want to have a small, intimate and classy wedding for you and the most important people in your lives. 

Destiny Event Venue is located in the Historic part of Longwood FL, owned and operated by Keith and Lakishia Lovett, who are also owners of the amazing décor company Destiny Divine Kreations. Can you imagine the possibilities? Keith and Lakishia have been decorating and coordinating weddings across the Orlando and Jacksonville area for six years. Now with a venue, there are endless possibilities for amazing creations. I am talking about some custom designs. And the best part?  The venue is primed to be a one-stop shop. With a partnership with Pierre’s Kitchen and Sugar Chic by PS I Got This, you can book your venue and step next door and book your caterer and cake all in the same day. Wouldn’t that be amazing to be able to set up your venue walk-through, your food tasting and your cake tasting all in the same 2-hour window?

There is no obligation to book with the other vendors to book the venue,  there is still amazing value when booking the venue by itself. Their highest price for a weekend wedding is $2,500. But, it is what you get when you book. This price already includes your décor. It comes with acrylic chiavari chairs, your choice of color linens for your tables (including the cake, gift, and head tables), chargers, hanging chandeliers for your wedding ceremony and a beautiful backdrop with uplights. You can customize the décor by upgrading the décor offered in the package for an additional fee. This venue is not exclusive to weddings, it can also be used for other events as well. The maximum capacity that it can entertain is seventy-nine with a dance floor. Check out their facebook here. Contact them via email or text or check out their Instagram page to see the amazing things that are happening at this hidden gem which will soon become “the place” to have all the best classy and glam, intimate events.

We never want to miss out when our favorite store is having some kind of sale on something that we consider of great value for us. Don’t miss out or sleep on this venue. You get a major value for a great price, and the bonus of being situated next to a caterer and a  bakery that makes wedding cakes and desserts? My value for your budget (yes there is that word again) radar was blown away when I walked in the door of this place so I had to come and share this news with you.


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We all have regrets - three mistakes that brides can sometimes make

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Oh man, I regret…

 How many times have you said that? Hindsight being twenty/twenty and all that, we end up saying this too many times. And sometimes it is something simple that we can just brush off and mark it in our “never to repeat” experiences. But how destructive this would be when planning a wedding?

Expounding on last week’s blog about the importance of learning about your financial mindset and creating a budget, we will talk about certain experiences that real brides have had planning their wedding and things that they ended up saying “I regret” about. If you’re wondering how this links with budgeting and finance, stay with me.

Overspending on the wedding dress

Here is one that is heard a lot – “I shouldn’t have spent so much on my dress. I only wore it once and now that is money I’m not able to use (insert monthly expense here)”. Think about it. Now, disclaimer. I’m a firm believer of you finding your dream dress that will make a statement. It is your day, why not make several statements? Just consider that if you’re going to splurge on your dress, having a budget is a great visual reminder. What is that reminder saying? If you are going to spend nearly $3,000 on a dress, then you have to cut funding from another category to be able to afford it.

Not hiring a wedding planner

Another that brides have said that they regretted is not allocating funds to hire a wedding planner. A lot of times venues provide venue coordinators. Let me be the first to let you know unless they say “wedding coordinator”, expect to only receive help with areas that pertain to the wedding venue. Some venue coordinators are really helpful and do liaise with vendors that will be involved with the wedding. However, (the majority of the time) it is primarily with their preferred vendors (which you could be paying a premium price for).

There’s a marked difference between and venue coordinator and a wedding planner or day of wedding coordinator.  These brides have said that they regretted not hiring a coordinator because they were not able to enjoy their wedding day, having to manage vendors, contracts and guests. So essentially, they spent most of their wedding day in a blur. 

A wedding planner or coordinator is there to manage the background chaos that occurs on the wedding day. More like a mediator and personal adviser that navigates you through the day, ensuring that you are present in every moment. This again should be budgeted, because think about it, do you really want to spend your day managing and worrying about everything that can go wrong? Or do you want to be in the moment when you’re pronounced husband and wife so you can be excited about your first kiss as Mr and Mrs?

Not making enough time for each other

The final regret I’d like to share today is “not setting enough time aside before the wedding for each other”. Planning a wedding is stressful. With help, it can be less so. Although sometimes relationships have been known to be ruined during the wedding planning process. It is very important to set aside time for yourself and your soon to be fiancé before the wedding. This time will allow you to collect your thoughts and have a safe space that does not involve any wedding planning anything. Don’t become caught up in the phase, because the wedding day is only the first stop on the journey to forever. Budgeting is essential here too because if everything is locked into the wedding, where is the “get to grow with each other” time? You used to date each other before the proposal and the talks of marriage. Maybe it wasn’t always the fancy restaurants, maybe sometimes it was an apple pie from McDonalds, or maybe it was ice cream in the park. Budgeting a miscellaneous expense would compensate for the times when you both just need a break from the crazy, and to be able to take the time and just love on each other. Maybe this calls for a weekend where you get away or a stay-cation involving Netflix and some popcorn. Make time for fun with each other.

Hope these tidbits encourages you to try to live with no regrets and to set you up for success. Every decision that you make always has a consequence, and that applies to weddings too. There are lots more regrets that various brides have, what advice or thoughts have you come up against that you would like to share?

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$MONEY$ BABY, $MONEY$ BABY!!!

Hey everyone!  We're blessed with another day Y'all. We have another opportunity to do great things and be our awesome selves. So today, I want to continue our discussion on details involved in the wedding planning process. I am excited, are you?

The topic today is finances and budgeting. Okay, I know some of you mentally said “ugh” followed by "boring" - or your brain immediately started going into sleep mode. Because really, who thinks about finances as a fun topic other than accountants (and me on the d/l)? Well, hate to be the bearer of boring news, but finances when planning a wedding are important, so we have to talk about it.

Are you ready? Here we go.

Did you know that the number one reason for divorce today in the United States of America, is listed as financial reasons?  This is because each person has a different money mindset. I found out just yesterday that I am a financial dreamer (the dreamer part I knew because I already have franchises in my head for Unique Elements, a story for a later time). Who knew that it wasn’t just practical to have a financial advisor, it was imperative for who I am as a person/businesswoman?  It is these things that we need to know and understand before we say “I do” in order to better equip us for marriage.

You may be wondering how that applies to you.

Let’s talk about two very opposite experiences I’ve had planning weddings.

Wedding planning scenario one: the bride was very much dedicated to the wedding planning process and understood that deposits and subsequent payments had to be made to secure the vendors needed for the wedding day. The groom, on the other hand, refused to cooperate or allow her to release any payments until the vendors were basically threatening to not provide their service (a recipe for financial disaster if not corrected soon).

In the second scenario, the bride and groom had budgeted their wedding (the first scenario had a budget and due dates as well) and created a separate account to pay for all of their wedding-related expenses. Due dates were discussed and vendors that could be paid off before the wedding day were paid (e.g. florists, wedding planner, cake). Which do you think was easier to work with?

It comes back to what we spoke about last week, about premarital counseling and discovering who you are and what love languages you speak. This week I’d like to take it a step further and press you to figure out your money mindsets, one partner is always the Nerd (apologies to all who may feel some way about the use of this term) or the Free Spirit. This categorization is brought to you courtesy of Dave Ramsey, who does an awesome financial course called Financial Peace University. Check it out here. You may not agree with all of his theories, but 80% of what is taught makes a lot of sense, and I encourage every couple to take the class. At the least, it helps you to view yourselves and categorize your spending habits. This will save you tons and tons and tons, and did I say tons? Of arguments in the future. It can save you many arguments during the planning process.

Finances are important, and as every wise woman who’s ever been married before has repeatedly told me, I share this with you, "start like you mean to finish". Talk about everything. Finances, especially. Talk about who is going to pay what. Separate accounts or joint? Or as a beautiful couple who taught us about financial peace said, three accounts – one joint for billing, and two separate for pleasure - now let’s not get crazy and think 90% of the paycheck goes to pleasure and 10% in bills. Or even that it will be skewed with one person saving more than contributing to bills. This would have to be discussed at length, and a plan formulated based on your budget and to have an equal payout.

However you decide to sort it out, it is very beneficial to your marriage and mental health to know where you are financially as a couple. After all, your guy may want to have some drinks with his friends or catch a game and some drinks. And we know, us ladies want hair and nails done. It just needs to be budgeted so everyone can have some breathing room and not feel choked.  

That is why as a planner asking about your budget and helping you to formulate one if you do not have one is so important. It is like the analogy from last week — compasses and starting points. Knowing where you are and where you need to go makes it easier to chart a way to your destination. Your destination right now is marriage, with the hope of forever. The destination is not the wedding day, that is the first stop on the journey. I love planning weddings, and sharing with you helpful traits to avoid or to implement. But the ultimate goal is to succeed. Better together remember? Let’s become more aware of who we are and become more successful in our marriages. We are more than just the wedding day.    

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PREMARITAL COUNSELING. Is it really worth it?

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We’ve been talking about little details that can help with the wedding process. These are things that as a planner I’d wanted to share with you because we all need a little help along the way. Another exciting topic we are going to talk about (and it is a good one) is premarital counseling.

It is so easy to get caught up in planning the wedding. We create vision boards, have color schemes and financial plans of how to achieve the perfect wedding day. We hire wedding planners to ensure that the day goes smoothly, we track budgets and screen vendors to ensure that they are the right fit for us as individuals and that our personalities agree. Can I tell you that the wedding day is only the beginning? We put so much effort in the day, shouldn’t we think about the rest of our lives as well?

We get caught up in the excitement of wearing the ring. And we are supposed to. As humans, we crave relationships. We are our best selves when we have right relationships. When it comes to marriage though, we should have our best efforts plugged into to making our marriages successful. Now, you may be thinking, wow, she is a wedding planner, why is she talking like this?

Let me tell you why.

From experience, couples have gone from really close and in love (my fiancée or fiancé is my best friend) to the brink of calling it off because coming into agreement on a decision became difficult.The planning process is often when the first signs of how couples handle conflict come to light. In a healthy marriage, conflicts will happen. How conflict is handled determines whether love will remain or resentment will start. Looking at statistics in America today, half of the marriages (meticulously planned and executed) end in divorce. As your planner, I want us to win in life, so I feel it is my duty to equip you for the new venture that you about to embark on.

As such, I feel that sharing about premarital counseling is imperative for the survival of our marriages.  After the honeymoon phase, it is little things that can derail what was a beautiful relationship. The little things that you thought were cute, become annoying real fast when you realize it isn’t a quirk. What if it is your partner’s thought process?  You cannot change a person’s thought process. Only them can change it.

Counseling opens our eyes to the mindset that our partner has and helps us to learn to deal accordingly. We have to learn our partner’s love language and how to deal with situations in a language that us and our partners can understand. Now, I will be honest with you. There are always red flags of things that can become a problem later. If we pay attention to them and deal with them early, it will not grow into a problem.   If you are like me, I ignored counseling and later desperately clung to “love covers a multitude of sins” (I grew up in church).

Can I tell you that love isn’t enough?  A friend of mine (he passed away earlier this year, God rest his soul) always said, love, is a verb. It is funny that we tend to get high on the euphoria being in love brings. But love is. It is action. That lesson is a hard one to learn because we believe love is only a feeling. There will be days when you don’t feel in love (sorry to peel back the curtain on marriage, I want you to succeed) but you have to purposefully commit yourself because love is action, not just feeling.

 A compass is needed to travail territory that had not been travailed before. Counseling is like the compass for marriage. It provokes thought which provokes conversations that were probably glossed over in the creation of a dream life together. Do you know that marriage should be purposeful just like every other dream that you have?   For instance, do you have a vision for your marriage? What about conversations about the steps that will get you to that dream?

Without planning for your future together, there will be lots of days in the fetal position. There will be things that you don’t feel equipped to deal with. Having premarital counseling though?  You have that compass that will point you in the direction of where to start so that you can chart a way through your situation.  After all, we can’t wait to begin our lives as husband and wife. So, let’s create vision boards for our marriages, even as we create the vision for wedding days. Let’s win at life together. We are our best selves when we have healthy relationships - always better, together.

What are your thoughts?

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Invitation Drama - Part 2 – Don’t be tacky!

Today’s issue is about being classy with your invites. We already know that there are so many things out there that we may want for the wedding or for our futures. Sometimes the traditional gift is not what we want. Who wants another toaster, or another set of towels. You already have two households that you are combining into one. That’s already two different color schemes and towels, a compromise can surely be found with the towels or sofas. Everything will surely not be thrown out when you move into one house (although ladies, sometimes the majority of the stuff that they bring, surely should not only be thrown in the trash but actually burnt. Live fire, Melissa McCarthy in Life of the Party style). 

The solution that has been the latest trend is, “keep your gift, just give me the money', (thanks Pink!). The sad fact is, many brides want to include this on the invitation. A big NO NO. Not only is it tacky, it makes you look like a beggar. In a recent article on Brides.com, it highlighted a bride that took it an extra step and canceled her wedding because she asked each of the attendees for a whopping $1500 per person. Like, she seriously wanted the guests to pay for her wedding because her dream wedding cost upwards of $60,000 CAD. She and the intended groom had a son. After a while even he thought that the request was insane, and when he agreed with the guests that invitees that basically said “Hell-to-the-NO” (and that she was insane), she got mad and literally called off the wedding ladies (read the full article here). Bear in mind, they have a son together. Maybe it was for the best...who knows?

I digress, but you see how it would seem like, (in the terms of my grandmother) “you are helping up yourself” with things you can’t afford. Basically asking for them to pay your way through your wedding. Especially when there are stipulations on the amounts that will be accepted. So back to my original reason for this piece. It is acceptable to want monetary gifts, or that you have a gift registry or maybe you’ve even scored coupons that will save guests some funds. Never, ever, include this on your invitations. There are so many beautiful types of invitations and weddings are usually classy, emulating your style. The whole excitement and perception of receiving the invitation is changed when we start asking for monetary gifts in the very same thing that we say “you are cordially invited to”. It is like we are saying, you are invited and by the way, we want some of your money. Not your gift, because we may not like your taste.  Or, you can come, but make sure you bring some money. You get what I mean right?

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Tacky.

Of course, there are ways to be cute and clean about it. Some of the masters of wedding planning in The Association of Bridal Consultants suggest that it is better to have a specified space where your invitees can get additional information about the wedding. If you haven’t a website, maybe you have the emails of all your attendees. Create a nice single sheet and send them what you can call a wedding newsletter. It would be so fun for them because here, you can include places where your out of towners can stay, coupons for hotels, your gift registry (if you do have one), and of course, your preference of money over gifts. Your guest would enjoy this because they are invited and feel like this is something only the persons who have agreed to come are privileged to obtain. It also leaves the choice of bringing a gift or giving money completely up to them. Check out this wonderful list of places where you can create a monetary donation wedding/honeymoon registry compiled by Brides.com here.