Real Wedding: Kirsten & Kris, Backyard Wedding on Bainbridge Island

What I loved about this wedding: 

First, I think Kirsten and I were drawn to each other because of our awesome asymmetrical curly haircuts ;) It's like we were meant to work together! Their wedding was so unique to the two of them, starting with the location of Kris's parent's home on Bainbridge Island. Each element of the day was intentional and incorporated their own style and personalities, as well as their family and friends. They traveled to the Labrynth at Hall Hills Park for their first look, which was a special place for Kris, they had family helping with the flowers, and the tables were decorated with hand-dyed napkins and a small cookbook for each guest to take home, filled with their favorite recipes. They passed their rings around so each guest could see and bless them during the ceremony, and the reception kicked off with a local band that Kris knew - he even got on stage for a surprise special performance for Kirsten! Then, they ended the night with breaking bride and groom pinatas full of treats for their guests. There wasn't a single moment that wasn't thought through, and it turned out to be a perfect day filled with so much joy and laughter! 

The Vendor Team: 

Venue: Private property
Photography: Karen Obrist Photography
Catering: Jemil's Big Easy food truck
Rentals: Puget Sound Farm Tables and All Seasons Events
Flowers and Decor: DIY
Desserts: Snohomish Pie Company
Band: Funky 2 Death
Coordination: Thrifty Events




5 Tips on How To Ask for a Discount

Today's topic can be a bit of a touchy one because we are going to discuss money. Now, some of your may be excellent bargainers, but others may try it and feel uncomfortable and awkward about it. When you're wedding planning on a budget, though, it's sometimes necessary. Here are my tips on how to tactfully ask for a discount so you aren't offending anyone. Now, of course, there may be some vendors that get offended, and some that may even be offended that I'm making this video, but I don't live in a bubble where I pretend no one ever has or ever will ask me for a discount. I did name my business Thrifty Events after all ;) I live in the real world where I know the importance of sticking to a budget, so I'm sharing my tips so you can do this really well and aren't left guessing how to go about asking for a discount. 

1. Do your research.

When you aren't finding the right vendor within your budget, there are a few things you can do to help. First, try to find vendors that are over your price point by just a few hundred dollars. The reasoning here is that it's much easier to ask for a small discount than ask someone to completely slash their prices to meet your budget. Next, look for vendors that offer off-peak rates, or have recently offered some kind of special. Sometimes you can find this information on their websites, but often times you'll have better luck looking at their social media feed. Most vendors don't delete old posts, so if they had been offering a discount, you may be able to still find it. Then, when you reach out, you can mention that previous discount and see if they'll still honor it. 

2. Be willing to compromise. 

Find out if there is something in their package that you might be able to cut. If they are bringing down their price, then it's only fair that you're willing to budge on what services or products are offered. To give you an example, I've had clients come to me in the past asking for a discount on my day-of coordination services. There are certain things that I know I can be flexible on to help meet budgets. Now, it's not something I usually recommend doing because I've designed my packages to offer couples everything they'll need on their wedding day, however, it's great when the client knows exactly what they are looking for versus what they are able to handle on their own. 

3. Take advantage of wedding show discounts and seasonal specials.

Often times at wedding shows, vendors will offer discounts and giveaways because they are trying to book as many clients from that show as they can. This is an easy one. Simply attend the show and sign up for any giveaways at their table. Usually the discount will automatically be applied, so you don't even need to ask!

4. Know your budget.

It's never appropriate to ask a vendor how low they will go on their package pricing. If someone sends me an email saying my day-of coordination package is out of their budget and asks how low I can go on the price, I'm likely not going to entertain that request. They are essentially asking me to cut out all of my profit, expenses, or chance of paying myself, and that's not fair. Instead, know your budget, be upfront about it, and ask the vendor if they are willing to meet your spending limit. If someone emailed me and said, "We only budgeted $1300 for day-of coordination, is there any way we can chat and are you able to meet my budget?" I'd be much more open to having a conversation with them and hopefully finding some kind of compromise. 

5. Explain any special circumstances that may sway your vendors.

Let's be real. We're all human. And all wedding vendors want to ensure that every couple has an amazing wedding day. Sometimes really unfortunate events happen during the wedding planning process that are going to be relateable to wedding vendors because they understand more than anyone that these things happen. I recently had a couple come to me that had originally booked a wedding venue out on the peninsula, and then went to book hotel rooms for their guests at the resort, but the hotel didn't have any rooms left available. This was a huge problem since all of their guests would be travelling a significant distance to get to their wedding location. They ended up having to cancel their booking and selecting a new venue in Renton, just south of Seattle, at a hotel where their guests could still get rooms. They even had to change their wedding date in the process. The previous venue was offering a coordinator as part of their package for a lower rate, but when the bride met with me, I could tell she had done her research. We are located really close to Renton, so there was no travel for me, and their wedding was now on a Friday, so even though it's still peak season, it's an off-peak date, and she came to the meeting knowing everything that was offered in my day-of coordination package. She had really clear ideas of what she didn't need help with and what she did. Now, I wasn't able to meet her original spending limit exactly, but we were able to compromise and find the perfect middle ground.  

When you do your homework and come to a meeting prepared, you can confidently ask a vendor to meet your budget without offending anyone in the process. 



Real Wedding: Lindsey & Brian at Crossroads

What I loved about this wedding:

They say opposites attract, and that is true of these two in the cutest way possible. Throughout planning, Lindsey was always the detail-oriented one, while Brian was laid-back without a clue of the plan. They compliment each other well, and you could see how much love there was between them through every conversation. On the day of the wedding, their priority was to put each other first and enjoy every moment together. 

One of my favorite moments was how the officiant asked everyone to put their phones away before the ceremony. He entered and asked everyone to take out their cell phones and take a selfie. He even grabbed his phone and took a selfie with all of the guests behind him. It was awesome and everyone got a good laugh. Then, he told everyone that was the only picture they got to take during the ceremony. He asked them to be present in this moment with the couple and enjoy this ceremony with them. The hired photographers would handle the rest. And it totally worked! Not a single guest had their phone out and they got the most gorgeous photos from their ceremony because of it. 

The vendor team: 

Venue: Crossroads
Photography: Breanna Marie Photography
Videography: Derrek Morales
Caterer: Flame Catering
Florist: Jessica Vann-Campbell Flowers
Desserts: Henry's Donuts and Simply Sweet Cupcakes
Rentals: Sweet Buffet Lady
HMUA: Karissa Davidson
Coordination: Thrifty Events

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6 Money Saving Tips for Choosing a Wedding Venue

Choosing a venue can be a tough decision. There are so many options to choose from, and yet, it can sometimes feel difficult to find one that has everything you want and need. Or, more likely, you don’t really know yet what amenities you actually need, so everything sounds like mumbo jumbo, wedding industry slang and it's making the selection process that much more difficult.

It's also likely your first big wedding planning decision and contract/payment, which can feel a little scary. It’s hard to know if you’re setting yourself up for a decision that’s a smart one financially, so I’m going to share some of the things that many venues provide that I’ve found to be the most helpful in wedding planning, and that can save you quite a bit in your budget if you don’t need to pay extra for them.

1. Chairs

Did you know that the white folding chairs can cost anywhere from $2-3 each and those fancy Chiavari chairs can be upwards of $8-10 each? Multiply that by your guest count, and then add in any delivery and set-up fees, and you could be spending hundreds of dollars on those items. When the chairs are included, and there are enough for both the ceremony and reception, that can make a huge difference in your budget. 

2. Tables

Along those lines, having tables on site can save you quite a bit in terms of rentals and delivery charges. Check their quantity for each size, though, so you know that there are enough for your guest count.

3. On-site kitchen

Whether your caterers are cooking on site, or just need space to prep the food and clear dishes, having a designated kitchen for them will make food service go much smoother. There are also a few things that you may be required to provide if there isn't a designated space for your caterers. The most common is a covered space, which would mean a tent rental with walls around it. You may also be required to provide additional tables for them to prep food on, and sometimes they may even need warming ovens. You can get all of these items from a rental company, but when you don't need to provide them, it can save you a lot of money.  It can also be great if your venue has running water so your caterers to rinse your dishes, that way when they're returned to the rental company, you're not stuck with any additional cleaning fees. 

4. Rooms for getting ready

When you can get ready on site you’re saving yourself the headache of finding a large enough space for all of the girls to get ready off-site. That means you can save money because you won’t need to rent hotel rooms or an AirBNB style home. Not to mention, it’s really nice to arrive to the venue and stay on-site the entire day, have a place to store your bags and personal belongings, and not need to pack up mid-day to change locations.

5. Garbage disposal

This is probably one you haven’t heard about, but some venues require that you take the trash off-site at the end of the evening. That may sound easy, but consider for a moment the amount of trash that’s produced from 100+ people eating and drinking heavily all night. And trash bags full of food and drinks are messy! Save yourself a trip to the dump, and save your cars interior, by choosing a venue that provides the disposal on their own. Or, this may be the only time I recommend you splurge and pay their trash disposal fee, if they have one. 

6. Additional decor available on-site

This doesn't mean they'll have everything you need to style your wedding, but sometimes venues will have larger pieces on-site that can be rented and set-up before you arrive. This could include large furniture pieces, vintage tables, arbors for the ceremony, etc. It can save you a lot of time if these types of items don’t need to be sourced from another vendor, and while they may have an additional charge to use them, it’s usually less than the cost to rent them elsewhere and have them delivered to the venue.  


Real Wedding: Sarah & Liz at Guemes Island Resort


These two ladies have introduced me to my new favorite location in Washington, and for that I am forever grateful. They also exemplified what it means to host a destination wedding. Their guests traveled to Guemes Island to stay for the weekend and they made the most of their time there. From a crab feast to gatherings on the beach by the fire pits to late night karaoke parties, this group had a blast! When it came time for the wedding ceremony, they followed Quaker traditions and allowed their guests to stand and speak about love, their relationship, and marriage. They wrapped it up by exchanging their own vows and exiting to a family member playing the bagpipes. It was so personalized to them, and absolutely perfect! With heartfelt speeches and gorgeous views, this wedding was one for the books.  


Venue: Guemes Island Resort
Photography: Tiffany Brooks Photography
Catering & Desserts: Serendipity Catering & Events
Band: Free Rain
Hair & Make-Up: The Outer Edge
Coordination: Thrifty Events
Flowers & Decor: DIY

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What To Do After You Get Engaged

Today we're going to talk about the things that you should do first after you get engaged. 

1. Celebrate with your fiance!

Now, I know that everyone's mind always goes first to telling their friends and family and posting it on social media, and we'll definitely talk about those things, but I want to highlight the importance of actually taking time to celebrate together, just the two of you. 

2. Tell your family and friends. 

What you may want to consider first, though, is the order that you're going to tell people. You want to make sure that no one is going to get upset that someone else found out before them. Of course, you don't need to tell everyone those details, but it's still good to consider. Everyone's family and friends are going to be a little different. How you communicate with them on a regular basis will likely impact how you tell them about your engagement. There is no cookie cutter way, and while there are many people that will tell you it's inappropriate for family and friends to find out over social media or by a call or text instead of in-person, but if you're not with your family, or you aren't able to communicate regularly with them, it's totally fine to use these methods. At the end of the day, it's your decision. 

3. Practice saying, “We don’t know yet, we’re just enjoying being engaged. We’ll give you more details when we have them.”

This is going to be your answer for almost every question, because right after you get engaged, they're going to start asking you about the wedding. And clearly, if you've only been engaged for a few hours, you won't have answers yet. Get really comfortable with this sentence. Let people know that you're just enjoying the moment, you aren't jumping in to wedding planning right away, but you'll fill them in once you get started. 

4. Decide how and when to share on social media

This could include your Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc., just make sure that you and your fiance our on the same page about it. There are a lot of ways that you can share the news. You can post a picture of the ring, you can do a simple status update,  share some photos of the two of you together, or go in-depth and share your love story or the story of the engagement. It's totally up to you and you can do as much or as little as you'd like. Don't feel like you have to post a picture of your ring, though, if that makes you uncomfortable, or don't feel like you have to tell the proposal story details if it's really personal to you. As long as you and your fiance are in agreement, do what feels best for you. 

5. Start thinking about your wedding

First, make sure you're talking about the vision for the wedding day with your fiance. This should be a conversation that you have together to get on the same page about everything before you start looping in your family, friends, or anyone that has an opinion on what your wedding should be. What's most important is that your wedding day is what you two want it to be, so take some time to discuss this together, just the two of you, before you share  those details with everyone else. 

6. You can secretly enjoy your beautiful ring 

It's totally fine! It's shiny, it sparkles, it's going to catch the sunlight and then catch your eye. It's totally normal to look at it and play with it. What's not acceptable is shoving it in other people's faces and saying, "Look at my ring!". That's mean and rude. Only show it when people ask, and trust me, they will ask. It's beautiful and they want to share in your excitement, and part of that is admiring your ring. Just make sure they ask first. When you're alone, you can admire it all you want! ;) 


Real Wedding: Tareva & Garrett at Heyday Farm


I had the honor of planning Tareva and Garrett's wedding from start to finish, which makes them feel like friends more than clients (many trips over to Bainbridge Island together will do that), and I have to say that their relationship is one of the strongest I've witnessed. They met on the east coast, and soon after they began dating decided they'd move to the PNW together, where Garrett grew up. Garrett worked multiple jobs while Tareva studied for the bar (and passed, of course!), they bought a new home together, then both started new jobs, oh and they planned a wedding. Just a few big things on their plate, no big deal ;) Their support in each others' endeavors and willingness to always put the others' needs before their own was amazing to witness. Their wedding planning journey included a few bumps along the road, including needing to choose a new venue mid-way through, but they prevailed and their day was perfect! Tareva had dreamed of her wedding day since she was a little girl, yet they still managed to find the perfect mix of incorporating both of their personalities into the day. My favorite part was during their toast after cutting the cake, when Tareva said, "Thank you Garrett, for giving me the wedding that I didn't even know was my dream wedding."  So. Sweet. Enjoy these photos from their wedding day filled with sunshine, bright colors, amazing food, and lots of laughs! 


Venue: Heyday Farm
Catering: Madres Kitchen
Photography: KLM Photography
Videography: Amora Cinema
Flowers: Petal & Posy
Rentals: Seattle Farm Tables (tables, chairs, and benches), Kitsap Event Rentals (tent),  All Seasons (dishware)
DJ: Bamboo Beats
Desserts: Craft Cakes Clt
Hair & Make-Up: Angela and Camilia
Transportation: Shuttle Express
Planning and Coordination: Thrifty Events

How to Prepare for Wedding Shows

It’s officially 2018 (yay!) and with the start of any new year comes lots and lots of wedding shows, so today we’re going to talk about the different types of wedding shows available to you and how to make the most out of them. 

To get started, you first need to understand a little bit more about the types of wedding shows available for you to attend.

1) Expos

These usually take place at a convention center and each vendor will have a booth to display their product or services. All you'll need to do walk through the aisles to meet everyone. 

Pros: You get to see A LOT of vendors all at once and in one place. 
Cons: You're meeting A LOT of vendors all at once, so it can be difficult for you to remember all of them and keep them straight. 

2) Tours 

These take place at multiple venues and each venue will be set up like a wedding and showcase one vendor from each category. 

Pros: These are a great time to check out venues because they are set up like a typical wedding. It's also a great way to see the work that vendors can do, such as flowers, design, transportation, music, coordination, etc. Similarly, tours are a great way to gather ideas and style inspiration. 
Cons: Tours are usually longer days, and while some are self-guided, others provide transportation which means you'll need to stay on the route and see all of the vendors, even if you aren't interested in them. 

3) Open Houses

These usually take place at a single venue, and usually have a variety of vendors on site, but they may not cover every category and you won't see nearly as many vendors as expos and tours. 

Pros: These are free events for the public and a great way to tour venues. 
Cons:  Sometimes these can be difficult to find out about because invitations are sent to the vendors' clients and prospective clients. If there are particular venues or vendors you're interested in, I'd recommend reaching out them directly and asking about any upcoming open houses that they are hosting. 

Now that you know a little more about the different types of wedding shows, it's time to set some goals and intentions for what you'd like to accomplish at the upcoming wedding shows. 

So first, let’s talk about your goals.

If you’re newly engaged, wedding shows are a great way to gather ideas, see what’s out there, what your options are, gather some pricing information, and just overall kick start wedding planning.

If you’ve been engaged for a little while, your goal may be a bit more focused, like finding a photographer, or tasting foods from different caterers, finding a florist whose style you really like, or finding a dress.

If you’re mostly finished with planning, you may want to use the shows to finalize small details, like calligraphy or signage, or you may even want to attend just to check out the vendors you’ve hired one more time in person.

Regardless of where you’re at in the planning process, wedding shows can be very useful, but setting your goals and intentions before you arrive is really important.

Once you know your goals, it’s time to determine which shows will help you achieve them.

Here’s how:

1) Check the dates, times, and locations of the shows to ensure you are available.

I'd recommend giving yourself the entire available time for tours, at least 2 hours for the larger expos, and about an hour for open houses. 

2) Check the vendors that will be participating in each show.

Look at the overall number to gauge the size of the show, and check the number of vendors within each category, especially if you have specific goals for a particular category. 

3) If you find vendors that you like, check out their websites ahead of time so you can prepare questions for them at the show. 

Once you've chosen a few shows to attend, here are a few extra tips:

1) Buy your tickets online, if possible, to avoid lines. Some shows will offer discounts for pre-ordered tickets, as well, so take advantage!

2) Bring a bag for brochures, giveaways, and other goodies.

3) Invite your friends or family. This doesn’t mean your partner doesn’t need to attend, and honestly if you can both make it, that’s even better. But having a trusted friend nearby to ask questions and help you choose vendors that fit your personality can be helpful, too. 

2017 Year in Review (And my first vlog!)

As I wrap up 2017, it's time to reflect on all of the amazing things that have happened this year. This has been a big year for me and my business, and I couldn't have done it without the support of my awesome clients! So, without further ado, here are the top 5 things that happened in 2017, in countdown fashion. 

5) The launch of Wedding Building Blocks

This is an online wedding planning course for engaged couples. It's also the reason I learned how to do video editing and was actually able to put together this first vlog post, because it's a video series that takes couples through the wedding planning process, including getting organized, planning, and executing their wedding day. There are downloadable templates and worksheets, and it's hands down one of the coolest things I've ever created. If you're looking for more wedding planning help you can find the course here, and make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel where I'll be vlogging regularly in 2018 with more wedding planning tips and advice. 

4) I went full time with Thrifty Events

I launched Thrifty Events in 2015 while still working full time, then transitioned to part-time work, and this year I officially quit my day job to pursue this passion. It's been an amazing experience being able to make a living doing the thing that I love, but if you asked me how it was going back in March, I may not have been able to give that answer because this pushed me way out of my comfort zone to make this kind of leap, but I'm so happy I did! I've worked with the best clients in the world and 2018 is looking to be just as great. 

3) I joined the Kent Chamber of Commerce and the Rising Tide Society's Tuesdays Together Tacoma group

I joined these groups to get to know other business owners, creative professionals and wedding industry folks. Both of these groups have taken me in under their wing and I've learned so much! I'm excited to announce that in 2018 I'm going to be serving a board of director for the Kent Chamber and a co-leader for the RTS Tuesdays Together Tacoma group. 

2) This is the most we've traveled... so far!

We're based in Western WA, and we've traveled all the way up to Guemes Island, which is near the San Juan Islands (almost near Canada), all the way down to Centralia, which is south of Olympia. Eli and I love to travel and we have a goal to go somewhere new every year, and usually somewhere outside of the United States. This year we went down to Costa Rica, we have a trip to Iceland planned in early 2018, and I'm most excited to announce that we'll be coordinating a destination wedding in Jamaica this year, too! I'll share a lot more on that soon, so stay tuned! 

1) We adopted an English Mastiff puppy named Whooper

Ok, this one has nothing to do with wedding planning, but she's just too cute to leave off the countdown. If you're following me on Instagram, you've probably seen tons of photos of her already, but if not, enjoy this cuteness overload! And then, hop over to Instagram and give me a follow for more wedding planning advice and inspiration, and a regular dose of puppy adorableness. 

Real Wedding: Season & Wilson at Hotel Bellwether

What I loved about this wedding: 

Season and Wilson called me about 6 months before their wedding because they were living out of state and desperately needed help putting together a traditional style wedding for their small group of family and friends. They were two of the sweetest people I have ever met, and we immediately clicked as we discussed the details for the day and the importance of keeping their wedding small and intimate. With guests travelling down from Canada, we chose a location in Bellingham, and the day couldn't have turned out more beautiful! One of the most special moments was when Wilson and his best man played a special song on the piano and violin for Season. They are both award winning, classically trained musicians, and it was awesome to be able to incorporate their love for music into the reception. Not to mention we were serenaded all throughout set-up as they practiced, which was a major bonus!  

The Vendor Team: 

Venue: Hotel Bellwether
Catering: Hotel Bellwether
Photography: Clinton James Photography
Florist/Rentals: Ever After Events
Chair Rentals: Bellingham Event Rentals
Planning & Coordination: Thrifty Events

Venue Highlight: Crossroads


Name: Crossroads, aka Thomas Family Farm
Location: Snohomish, WA
Capacity: 500+ 
Separate space for ceremony and reception: Yes, although for indoor ceremonies there is usually a room flip for larger groups. 
Rooms for getting ready: Yes
Rental time frame: 12 hours


Why I love this venue: First, this is the most immaculate barn venue you will ever see. Seriously, not a spec of dust anywhere. The owners put their heart and soul into their venue! Second, I love their outdoor spaces! In the front of the barn there is a large lawn space surrounded by trees, giving their entrance a private feel, and the back of the barn has a second lawn space for outdoor ceremonies and a covered area with fire pits. For summer weddings, you can’t beat these spaces for guests to mingle and enjoy a beautiful day outdoors.

One piece of advice: If you want an outdoor feel without the worry of rain, you can keep the ceremony inside and open the barn doors behind you. The view looks over the back patio and fields and makes for a beautiful backdrop.

2018 Wedding Shows in Western Washington

One of the best ways to kick start your wedding planning is to attend a wedding show. I know there’s nothing worse than finding out about an event after it’s taken place, so I've put together a complete list of upcoming wedding shows, expos, and tours throughout Western Washington from now through the beginning of the summer. Mark your calendars and get your tickets because there’s lots to see and do in the coming months! 

* Any show with an asterisk means Thrifty Events is a participating vendor. 

*January 6th & 7th: Tacoma Wedding Expo

Hosted by Bridesclub, the Tacoma Wedding Expo features over 150 wedding vendors, a fashion show, and gown sale. It’s a great way to kick off wedding planning! The expo takes place at the Tacoma Dome from 9:30am - 3:00pm on both days. Tickets are $16, and if you’re purchasing them ahead of time, you can get 3 tickets for $33.


January 13th & 14th: Seattle Wedding Expo

The largest wedding show in Western Washington, the Seattle Wedding Expo features over 400 wedding vendors. It takes place on Saturday, January 13th from 10:00am - 5:00pm and Sunday, January 14th from 10:30am - 5:00pm at the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle. Tickets can be purchased ahead of time for $18 or at the door for $20 each. For those attending on Saturday, they’ll offer an option to have your hand stamped so you can return for free on Sunday. I’d recommend taking advantage of this, as it’s a lot to see in one day!


*January 20th & 21st: Everett Lynnwood Expo

Hosted by the same group that puts on the Tacoma Wedding Expo, this show is a great opportunity for couples located north of Seattle. The expo will feature over 150 vendors and takes place at the Xfinity Arena in Everett. The show runs from 9:30am - 3:00pm on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $15, or you can purchase them in advance to get 3 tickets for the price of 2.


January 27th: Skagit Wedding Show

The Skagit Wedding Showcase will take place at the Skagit Center from 11:00am - 4:00pm on Saturday, January 27th. Tickets are $8 each and can be purchased at the door. This year, they are also hosting a Wedding Expert Panel Breakfast for $35. Gather information over breakfast and champagne. Vendors will  give a short presentation followed by Q&A. Pre-sale tickets are required for the breakfast. 


January 28th: Weddings in Woodinville

Weddings in Woodinville is a tour style wedding show, taking you to 7 different venues (transportation provided!) and featuring over 100 wedding vendors. Each venue will feature drinks, tastings, and a completely styled space. The event runs from 12:00pm - 5:00pm, and the tour itself takes roughly 4 hours to complete. Tickets are $48 and must be purchased in advance.


January 28th: Bellingham Wedding Expo

This smaller expo will take place at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites. This one day expo takes place on Sunday, January 28th from 9:30am - 3:00pm. Advance tickets are 3 for the price of 2, or $15 each at the door. 


*February 10th & 11th: Northwest Bridal Showcase

For those on the north side of Seattle, the Northwest Bridal Showcase will be at the Lynnwood Convention Center. The show takes place from 11:00am - 5:00pm on Saturday, February 10th and 11:00am - 4:00pm on Sunday, February 11th. You’ll be introduced to over 100 wedding vendors, as well as special guest speakers, a fashion show, and gown sale. Tickets are $15 each.  


February 11th: I Do Sodo

Another tour style wedding show, I Do Sodo highlights 8 venues and over 100 vendors in the Sodo district of Seattle. This tour provides parking at Safeco Field and shuttle service between each venue. The event takes place from 12:00pm - 5:00pm, with the tour lasting about 4 hours. Tickets are $35 for a single ticket, or $25 each for groups larger than 2. This is a 21+ event.


*March 24th & 25th: Tacoma Spring Wedding Expo

A second wedding expo for couples located south of Seattle, the Tacoma Wedding Expo features over 150 wedding vendors and takes place at the Tacoma Dome. The spring expo will be on Saturday, March 24th from 9:30am - 4:00pm and Sunday, March 25th from 10:30am - 4:00pm. Tickets are $16 each, or 3 for the price of 2 with this coupon.  


May 6th: Whatcom Wedding Tour

Hosted by Whatcom Wedding Professionals, this self-guided tour will take place on Sunday, May 6th and features venues and vendors in Whatcom county. Check their Facebook page for more information as the date approaches.


*June 3rd: Snohomish Wedding Tour

Hosted by the Snohomish Wedding Guild, this is one of the largest wedding tours in the area, featuring 17 wedding venues in Snohomish county and over 100 wedding vendors that serve the area. The tour takes place on Sunday, June 3rd from 10:00am - 4:00pm. The tour is self-guided, so you can travel on your own to see as many venues and vendors as you’d like. Tickets are FREE this year! Upon signing up you’ll receive confirmation, a map of the venues, and information to plan your route. No on-site registration required. Simply choose your favorite venue and begin there!

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Real Wedding: Amy & Steven at Woodland Meadow Farm

What I loved about this wedding:

A few words to describe Amy & Steven - creative, down to earth, and just all around awesome. Sometimes as a wedding planner, you get lucky and you really click with the couples you're working with. Sometimes you get lucky and you really click with the couple's wedding style. And then sometimes something magical happens and you click with the couple and fall in love with their wedding style. That is the best way to sum up Amy and Steven's wedding. Their creative touches to everything made the day not only feel like a unique wedding, but a day that was truly built around their personality and style. Amy was my favorite kind of bride, too. Fun and organized, but not afraid to share what was causing her stress, and then she let it all go on her wedding day. She turned over the details to us and just soaked up all the joy of getting married. They had a blast, and I was so honored to be a part of their day!  

The Vendor Team: 

Venue: Woodland Meadow Farms
Catering: Spanish Caravan Catering
Photography: Veesh Photography
Photo booth: Shutter Bus Co. 
Desserts: Tin Box Bakeshop
Bartender: Bartenders Extraordinaire
Floral: Moon Bloom Floral
Decor Rentals: Vintage Ambiance
Make-Up: Amber Leigh Make-Up Artistry
Transportation: Starline Luxury Motorcoaches
Coordination: Thrifty Events

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It's Dressember Again!

It's Dressember! - Photo by Kendra Design

It's Dressember! - Photo by Kendra Design

This will be my second year participating in Dressember, which is a national campaign of women wearing dresses each day in the month of December to promote awareness and raise funds to help end human trafficking. The Dressember foundation partners with IJM, A21 and McMahon/Ryan to help rescue enslaved women, provide care to victims, and fight for justice and stricter laws to end modern day slavery altogether.

While the funds raised go specifically toward human trafficking, when I put on my dresses this year, it feels like a much larger fight for women’s rights. 2017 has been a tough year for equality. It’s often hard for me to balance the feeling that we’ve come so far in the women’s rights movement, and yet have so far to go. Our presidential election, the #metoo campaign, and all of the recent publicity around sexual harassment cases have proven this to us over and over again. We still have a lot of work to do.

Did you know that there are millions of women and children that are sold as sex slaves every year? And not just in other countries. It happens here in the US, too. A lot. I remember in 2012, I was living in Indianapolis where the Super Bowl was being hosted, and there were organizations that came to the local hotels to teach staff and the public about how to spot human trafficking, the warning signs that someone is a victim, and how to get them help. It’s nothing short of disturbing to think that something this vulgar is happening in the cities where we live, but we can’t shy away from talking about it just because it makes us uncomfortable.

That’s what I love about Dressember. It brings the conversation to the forefront of the women’s rights movement. It gives us a way to have these conversations and bring awareness to this issue. While wearing a dress each day may sound silly or insignificant, it opens the door for more conversations and allows more and more women to get involved. The entire movement was actually started in 2009 by just one woman, Blythe Hill, and in 2016 there were over 5,000 women participating and over 3 million dollars have been raised. Wearing a dress doesn’t seem so silly now, does it?

As part of Team Beauty and Dignity, which is a local group of women based around Tacoma, my goal is to raise $1,000. Our team goal is to raise $25,000. It’s only December 3rd, and we’ve already raised just over $10,000. Impressive, but again, we’ve still got work to do. And that’s where you come in! If you’d like to support this cause, you can donate directly to my page:

It might have been a tough year, but there’s still hope. As long as we continue to take steps toward equality, whether that’s wearing a dress, voting, donating, volunteering, or just spreading the word, then progress is being made.

Thank you for your support of me wearing a dress, and thank you for your support for this wonderful cause!

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Venue Highlight: The Lodge at Trinity Tree Farm

'Tis the season! With the holidays around the corner, it's only fitting to highlight a Christmas tree farm this month. Here's what you need to know... 


Name: Trinity Tree Farm - There are actually two venues on this property, 1) The Lodge and 2) The  Barn. In this blog, we’re going to talk specifically about The Lodge.
Location: Issaquah, WA
Capacity: 150
Separate space for ceremony and reception: Yes
Rooms for getting ready: Yes
Rental time frame: 12 hours, 11:00am to 11:00pm
Cost: $4,400 (based on 2017 wedding prices)


Why I love this venue: If you’re a tree lover like me, then consider this your magical, hidden gem, off the beaten path, perfect venue! It’s really not far from the city of Issaquah, but after taking the winding road up the hill and entering the venue property, you’ll feel like you’re on a little retreat away from it all. The Lodge has a gorgeous lawn space for outdoor ceremonies, and you’ll make quite a grand entrance coming down their staircase! The reception space is a photographer’s dream, full of natural light. The room is light and airy and the chandeliers and lights stay up for every wedding, no additional cost (cha-ching!). In my opinion, though, one of the things that truly makes this venue stand out from many others (and I’ll admit it’s a small factor, but a commonly overlooked one), is their beautiful (and huge) suites for getting ready. One space is on the second floor and includes a wall with mirrors and counter tops for hair and make-up, a lounge area, a massive bathroom (like I would trade my own bathroom for this one), and a covered deck overlooking the venue (perfect for photos of you putting on your dress or first look). The second room is off the main lobby and has it’s own bathroom, lounge area, and pool table. It’s also adjacent to the fire pits with a covered patio, so you can relax outdoors before getting ready. Those amenities may seem trivial, but you can’t go wrong by starting your wedding day in a relaxed, spacious, and gorgeous setting.

One piece of advice: Since there are two venues on this property, make sure you specify to your guests that your wedding is at The Lodge. The property owners do a great job of providing signage for wedding guests, and will include your names at the entrance, but it’s always great to give guests a heads up so they know they are in the right place.

Also, take advantage of the gorgeous lawn spaces and firepits by providing your guests with an outdoor cocktail hour, yard games, and other fun activities. They can enjoy this gorgeous setting while you sneak away to take some pictures with the trees!

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All photos provided by Pam and Tara Photography

Real Wedding: Claire & Matt at Pickering Barn

What I loved about this wedding: 

Two words: daytime wedding. Almost completely unheard of, but amazing! This couple was so in tune with their style and planned a wedding that perfectly matched their personalities. They wanted to gather their friends and family to celebrate and hang out over good food. When you know you have a relaxed group, offering lunch from Skillet catering, beer, and plenty of time to just hang out and enjoy each others' company is really the best thing you can do! 

The Vendor Team: 

Venue: Pickering Barn
Catering: Skillet Catering
Photography: Pam and Tara Photography
DJ: Lion's Den Entertainment
Rentals: Linen Sensation
Planning, Coordination, and Design: Thrifty Events

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Real Wedding: David & Xiao at The Lodge at Trinity Tree Farm

What I loved about this wedding: 

David and Xiao were planning from San Francisco, and planning from a distance can be tough, but we made the most of their visits to Seattle, and communicated so much via email that I think I actually went through withdrawals after their wedding. :) They were awesome! Not to mention, literally, two of the smartest people I've ever met. It began when they were selecting their wedding date, and Xiao made a spreadsheet that predicted rain on any given Spring 2017 date. And it worked! Their ceremony was held outdoors at Trinity Tree Farm, the first outdoor wedding of the venue's season! At the wedding during the toasts, a friend just casually mentioned that Xiao was getting calls from Bill Gates himself offering her a job after she graduated MIT. And she turned him down! WHOA! But to be honest, it may run in the family. Her parents lived in the area and attended every tasting with us, where they gave each dish a 1-100 ranking. Not 1-10, 1-100! It was seriously impressive. What else runs in the family? Some awesome dance moves! This was hands down the best father daughter dance I've ever seen. Scroll on down to the bottom to check it out! 

The Vendor Team:

Venue: The Lodge at Trinity Tree Farm
Photography: Pam and Tara Photography
Catering & Desserts: Madres Kitchen
DJ: Injoy Entertainment
Game rentals: Yeti Yard Games
Rentals: Sweet Buffet Lady
Hair & Make-Up: Christy K Make-Up and Hair
Planning, Coordination, and Floral & Design: Thrifty Events

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Real Wedding: Chrissy & Sean at Sodo Park

What I loved about this wedding: 

This is hands down the most adventurous couple I have ever worked with. Probably even the most adventurous people I have ever met! A week before their wedding they were travelling and heli-skiing. Yep, you read that correctly, they were jumping out of a helicopter and skiing down a mountain. I can barely get off the blue trails when I go skiing, so I have some major goals now. But, what I loved is that their laid back, carefree attitude carried through planning and the entire wedding day, and they had a blast! It was so clear that these two treat their relationship has their greatest adventure, and their friends and family are at the center of their lives, which shone through in every part of their day. From the goofy moments with the wedding party while getting ready, to the awesome choreographed dance during the reception, this group made the most of the day! 

The Vendor Team: 

Venue: Sodo Park
Photography: Salt & Pine
Catering: Herban Feast
Band: Blue Wave Band
Flowers/Design: Herban Bloom
Desserts: DIY from family and friends
Coordination: Thrifty Events

Wedding Buiding Blocks: An inside look at the creation of the course

I have to admit, this course almost wasn't created. It was an idea I had at the beginning of 2017, but in the midst of planning my transition from part-time at the UW to full-time with Thrifty Events, it was daunting and overwhelming to even consider how I would create the course at the same time. 

When the course was still on my mind in June, I knew it was important. I frequently overthink things, but there was something different about this course. It excited me in a way that I hadn't experienced before with wedding planning. I could see the potential impact this course would have for couples. How much easier it would make wedding planning for them. And how much more accessible working with a wedding planner could become for the many engaged couples that want guidance, but hiring a wedding planner is completely out of their budget. I knew the course had to be made! 

Then, the summer wedding season kicked in to high gear. While the content easily flowed into a course outline, and I had scribbled out my to-do list for creating the course, the thought of filming myself and editing video content seemed so overwhelming. I like to think I'm technologically savvy, but video editing? That seemed out of my wheelhouse. Having the entire course outline sitting in front of me, but feeling like it was impossible to create, was tough. But, luckily, there are some amazing online course creators that have shared their experience with how-to guides, and you better believe I binged all of it! I read every blog I could get my hands on and watched webinar after webinar on video editing, hosting a course, and how to use the platform. I was determined to get this course out there for the world to use, and luckily, I prevailed. #Girlbossmoment 

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This course was a labor of love. I think I tapped into the depths of my creative ability, plus some. There were times that I wondered if the course would really interest couples, and if it was worth all the sweat and tears (oh yes, there were tears), but I knew more than anything, I would regret not creating it more than not trying. And when the moments got tough, I feel very fortunate to have an even tougher husband and support system of friends to get me through it. I've always loved the quote "Great things never came from comfort zones", and now, I feel like I have a new appreciation for it. From finding the motivation to begin, to getting the courage to post and launch the final product, it's been challenging, but in the best way possible. I am so incredibly proud of this course, and I know it's going to make such a huge difference for so many engaged couples struggling to get through wedding planning. They'll learn the basics of event planning, how to stay organized, get the inside scoop from a wedding planner in the industry, and have the ability to ask questions and share their progress.

With anything new, it can be a little scary, but as that fades I'm getting more and more excited to see where this journey takes us. I hope you'll join me!  

Wedding Building Blocks: A wedding planning course for couples

I recently launched a new online wedding planning course for engaged couples, Wedding Building Blocks. It’s pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. It’s a step-by-step guide to get you through wedding planning. It eliminates the overwhelm of not knowing where to begin or how to progress through planning, and gives you an easy guide to follow.

What’s included in the course?

The course contains 10 chapters covering 3 major areas - organizing, planning, and executing.  In the organizational section, we cover big picture planning topics like choosing an overall budget, the look and feel of your wedding, and when you’d like to get married. From there, we discuss establishing your guest list, and how to prioritize your vendors. And finally, we wrap up the prep work by creating a budget.

In the planning section, we cover how to find and book your venue and all of your vendors, as well as how to efficiently use Pinterest to assist you with planning. Pinterest can easily cause FOMO, and we’ll discuss some tips and tricks to stay more organized with your Pinterest boards, as well as keep realistic expectations for DIY projects.

In the last section, execution, we discuss how to create a wedding day timeline, and how to track all of the small details.


Beyond the content in each video, the online course also includes downloadable worksheets and templates to help keep you organized. Each has instructions, and we discuss how to use them in the corresponding videos to ensure everything is easy to use in your own planning.

And, if all of that isn’t enough, you'll get curated content from other wedding industry pros. Taking the time to search and sift through the many blogs, articles, and planning websites to find what you’re looking for can be frustrating, so I’ve taken the leg work out of it for you. For chapters that you’re looking for more information, you can follow the links to find great information from other professionals discussing their particular area of expertise.

That’s the course in a nutshell!

It’s jam packed with great information, and laid out in an easy to follow guide. You can enroll in the course through my Teachable page. To celebrate the launch, when you join by the end of the year (December 31, 2017) you can use the coupon code “LAUNCHSPECIAL” to get VIP level access for the price of just the course. VIP’s get access to the private Facebook group “Wedding Building Blocks”. In this group, you’ll be able to ask questions and share your progress, and I’ll be going live weekly to share even more wedding planning knowledge. I hope to see you in the group!