Real Wedding: Sarah and Hunter at AXIS Pioneer Square

What I loved about this wedding: 

This was my first JewBu (Jewish and Buddhist) wedding! Sarah and Hunter knew from the beginning that they wanted their wedding to match both of their personalities, and they did just that! Sarah has a very laid back personality, so the day was focused on their guests having a really good time. Hunter is a woodworker, and took charge of the decor, hand-making their chuppah, as well as all of the centerpieces and wood round decor. Because of these personalized details, even though their guest count was large, the day felt so intimate and unique to them.


The Vendor Team:

Venue: AXIS Pioneer Square
Photographer: Urban Light Studios
Caterer: City Catering Company
Flowers & Decor: DIY
DJ: Integral DJs
Make-up: Swink Style Bar
Coordination: Thrifty Events

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Destination Wedding Planning: Part 1

We've been in Jamaica for 4 days, and this video covers all of the wedding planning lessons I've gathered pre-wedding day - from arriving, to planning meetings, and all the fun stuff in between. Look out for Part 2 to hear more about the wedding day! 

Real Wedding: Shannon & Scott at Cama Beach State Park

What I loved about this wedding: 

Cama Beach State Park holds a very dear place in my heart since that’s where Eli and I held our own wedding ceremony. When Shannon and Scott reached out to us to coordinate their wedding day and mentioned that they were incorporating their love of travel in their decor, it felt like a match made in heaven! These two incorporated a thousand cranes into their wedding day, all handmade by them throughout their engagement. In the Cama Center, each table was designated by a different place Shannon and Scott had travelled, and each guest was given a passport to travel around the table and collect their stamps. The cranes tied each table together, and it was an amazing way to showcase their trips together to all of their wedding guests.


The Vendor Team:

Venue: Cama Beach State Park
Photographer: Sasha Reiko
Caterer: Cama Beach Cafe
Flowers: Island Floral Shop
Make-up: Contour & Blush
Coordination: Thrifty Events

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5 Tips for Booking a Competitive Venue (aka PNW Parks)

You may have heard stories about couples waiting in line at the Parks Department to book their wedding venue and wondered to yourself if it's really that competitive. Well friends, I'm here to confirm, the stories are true. You certainly aren't the only one that has their eye on that perfect location for your wedding, not to mention all of the other families and businesses that want to host picnics, parties, and family reunions there, as well. That's why I'm sharing my top 5 tips to help you prepare and create a plan so you can book your dream venue without all the stress. 

How To Make The Most Out Of The Time With Your Photographer

I'm sitting down with Meredith McKee of Meredith McKee Photography, and we're talking through the entire wedding day from start to finish and how you can create a timeline that works well logistically, but also allows your photographer enough time to get all of those beautiful photos you want so badly. Hint: we're sharing how much time you need to wrangle family, when to sneak away for sunset photos and so much more! After listening to her advice, you'll feel more ready than ever to create your wedding day timeline! 

4 Ways to Sleep In Spite of Wedding Stress

Thank you to Samantha Kent with The Sleep Help Institute for writing this article and sharing these great tips!

Wedding planning is often one of the most stressful times in a couple’s relationship. Between coordinating the guest list, the caterers, the venue, and making sure everyone is where they need to be, it can get overwhelming. When that happens, it’s common to have trouble sleeping, which, of course, makes everything else even harder.

If you’ve found this is an issue for you, you’re in luck! Here’s a couple of tricks you can try to help you sleep well the night before your big day.

1. Meditate

Meditation is a great way to help calm anxiety, and also to help de-stress your entire body.

If you’ve never tried it before, the New York Times has a guide. Studies have suggested it can ease anxiety and bolster the quality of life for cancer patients.

Meditation is calming for all of your body, and even if you can’t get yourself to fall into the moment the way you’re supposed to, you’ll still be relaxing a little bit. Clear your mind, take some deep breaths and give it a shot.

2. Journal

Stress and anxiety can be problematic for sleep. Our minds often worry when they’re supposed to let us sleep. Do you have thoughts about everything racing through your mind while you try to count sheep?

Something that might help is keeping a worry journal.

Does Aunt Sally still need to pick up the centerpieces? Is a bridesmaid stationed at the entrance to make sure someone else gets to where they need to be?

Writing those stressful thoughts down can help your brain think that it’s okay to stop worrying about them until you have to deal with them tomorrow. It also gives you a semi-complete checklist of things you need to do or delegate!

Another thing that will help is to write down all of the things you’re excited about for your big day, leaving your journal entry on a positive note.

3. Add Soothing Scents

Creating a calming environment for yourself is vital to a good night’s sleep. One way to do that is through soothing scents like lavender, chamomile, bergamot, jasmine, rose and sandalwood.

You can get those scents through essential oils, pillow sprays, wax warmers, candles and through lotions - whatever is the best option for you.

4. Include Plants in your Bedroom

If your centerpieces are plants, you might want to keep them in your room. NASA has suggested that maintaining cleaner air with houseplants has a positive effect on sleep. Also, make sure that your mattress supports your preferred sleeping position. Let’s avoid aches and pains on the big day!

Planning a wedding can be stressful, but don't let that keep you from feeling refreshed and relaxed on your big day. Using meditation, journaling and soothing scents can help you fall into a restful sleep before your wedding.

How to Make the Most of Your Time at the Wedding Rehearsal

You'll usually have a one hour window for your wedding rehearsal, so you want to make sure you make the most of your time. In this video, I'm sharing how I run a wedding rehearsal and the order you should practice each piece to ensure nothing gets missed during your rehearsal. 

How To Have the Perfect Kiss During the Wedding Ceremony

It may seem silly to practice how you're going to kiss during the wedding ceremony, but trust me on this one, it's definitely something to consider! Kissing in front of a lot of people can feel awkward, so today I'm going to share some tips to make sure this moment is as picture perfect as you've imagined it.

How To Hand Off the Bride During the Wedding Ceremony

You've walked down the aisle, all eyes are on you, now how do you make the transition to the front of the ceremony? This exchange between the bride, father of the bride (and sometimes her mother) and the groom is crucial! I'm taking you step-by-step through the process so you can nail these picture perfect moments and make the hand off a smooth one.

What To Do with Your Hands During the Wedding Ceremony

Nobody wants to look awkward while standing in front of all their family and friends during their wedding ceremony, which is why today we're talking about what to do with your hands - from how to hold your bouquet to getting that perfect photo of placing the rings on each others' finger - you'll know where your hands belong during each part of the wedding ceremony.

How to Create Your Wedding Processional Order

I'm sharing the traditional wedding processional order and ways that you can mix it up when your wedding party or family doesn't quite align with what's usually done. I'll give you some practical alternatives and fun options to help you create the perfect wedding processional and recessional order for your wedding ceremony. 

4 Things to Consider Before You Decide to DIY the Catering for Your Wedding

Today we are going to tlak about the things that you should consider before you decide to DIY the catering portion of your wedding day. 

Catering tends to be the largest part of most wedding budgets, and for good reason. Food is a big part of any wedding day. Caterers will provide and serve appetizers during cocktail hour, the dinner, sometimes late night snacks, and often they will also be your bartender and serve desserts. They have a big part in your day, they are on site for a long period of time, and that's why it's a big budget item. Because of this, though, many couples consider DIYing this part of the wedding day to save money. 

There are a few ways to do this:

1) You can order food from a restaurant that will deliver the food, and then you manage serving it on your own. 

2) You have a family member or friend cook all of the food and manage serving it. 

There are some big things to consider before tackling this part of your wedding. After reading this, you'll have a better sense of the questions you need to ask yourself to decide if either of these options are a good fit for you, or if you actually should bring in a professional caterer. 

First, you need to determine if you know someone that has the ability, and wants to cook on your wedding day. Now, there is a big difference between finding a family member that is used to cooking for 10 or 20 family members and an actual chef that is used to cooking for hundreds of people at one time. Try to find someone that is a chef, or has experience working in a commercial kitchen.

Then, find out if they actually want to cook on your wedding. Keep in mind that the person cooking will not be participating in the rest of the wedding day activities. They will be in the kitchen cooking and prepping food during the ceremony, and won't be available for pictures, and certainly won't be enjoying dinner with the rest of your guests. 

Next, you need to consider staffing on your wedding day. I recommend having designated individuals that are solely focused on being in the kitchen, stocking the buffet lines, and clearing plates after dinner. Keep in mind, again, that if someone is working in the kitchen, they really won't be enjoying the other parts of your wedding day, like the dinner, toasts, first dances, etc. Try to set really clear expectations and responsibilities between staff and guests at the wedding day, especially if you are using family or friends to help. You need those individuals really focused on the food service piece, otherwise, things can fall behind schedule and serving the meal will start to feel disorganized.

 If you DIY the meal for the wedding, that also means that you'll need to handle all of the rentals and serving ware. Often times, catering companies will bring everything they need in the kitchen and to serve the food, but if you have someone cooking, you may need to rent these items on your own, like heating ovens, chaffing dishes, tables, linens, and serving utensils. For the serving ware, like plates, silverware, and glasses, you have the option to rent glass or china, or purchase a disposable hard plastic or paper, but you are still responsible to order or purchase the correct quantities and have a plan for how those items are getting to the venue, and for rented items, you'll often need to make sure they are cleared of any food scraps and returned on time to the rental company afterwards. 

Finally, and this is a big one, you need to consider what your venue allows. Some venues will allow anyone to come in a serve food, while others will require it's a licensed catering company. And the same is true of bartenders. Some places will allow self-serve, and others will require a licensed bartender serves all alcoholic beverages. On top of that, though, you should also consider the amount of liability you want to take on for your wedding day. You may know someone that is a great cook, but what if someone got sick or got food poisoning? Again, cooking for small groups is different than cooking for large groups, and it's important you have someone that knows how to cook all of the food safely. Ultimately, you need to make sure you know how much liability you are willing to take on for the event. If you are going to DIY the meal, you are responsible if someone were to get sick or if something were to happen. That's true for the food, and also the bar. If you have self-serve without a licensed bartender, then you would be liable to manage your guests' intake.

I've seen weddings that have successfully DIYed the meal, where they had restaurants deliver food and had designated servers, and it all went really smoothly. Not to mention, the couple saved a ton of money! But, it definitely took more planning on the front end to bring those pieces together and make sure all of their bases were covered to ensure it all went well. If you're willing to take that on, then DIYing the meal may be a great plan for you. If not, then I'd recommend hiring a professional catering team to handle all of this for you.  


Real Wedding: Sierra & Brendan at Salty's on Alki

What I loved about this wedding: 

Yodeling, log-sawing, and individual cakes on each table - this wedding was full of personal touches and unique cultural traditions! And yes, you read that correctly, there was log-sawing. It's a Swiss-German tradition that after the ceremony, the couple will use a handsaw and cut through a log together, which represents overcoming their first challenge together as a married couple. Of course, just sawing through a log isn't enough, so during the father of the bride's toast, he also made  Brendan put together the sawhorses blindfolded while Sierra gave him instruction - a complete surprise challenge for the couple. But, they handled it like champs! The shot, taken "shotski" style from the log, probably helped. ;) I love learning about different cultural wedding traditions, and this one was hands down the most fun to watch! 

The Vendor Team:

Ceremony venue: UW Catholic Newman Center
Reception venue: Salty's on Alki
Photographer: KNDM Co. 
Caterer: Salty's on Alki
Desserts: Bakery Nouveau
Flowers: Pike Place Market
DJ: Karr Productions

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Why You Should Stop Following One-Size-Fits-All Wedding Planning Timelines

Today we are going to chat about one of my biggest pet peeves - the plethora of “one size fits all” wedding planning timelines. If you do a quick search on Pinterest or Google, you will easily find pages upon pages of graphics that tell you how to plan a wedding in 6 months, or 9 months, or 12 months, and while these can sometimes be a helpful starting point, I am here to tell you to stop following them like they are your wedding planning bible! There are so many problems with these timelines, which I’ll discuss, but the main issue is that they end up causing more stress, anxiety and FOMO than actual guidance and support. Here's why. 

1. Most of these timelines are created for and posted to reach a national audience.

Your wedding here in Seattle may be nothing like a New Jersey or New York or Alabama wedding. Those locations have totally different peak wedding seasons, different trends, different spending habits and different vendors available. Try Googling “New York City wedding” and “PNW wedding” and you’ll see exactly what I mean. They have completely different styles! And that means very different priorities during the planning process which can impact your planning timeline. To give you another example, Southern regions will have very different seasons than places with harsh winters, and the length of warm weather in an area has an impact on the number of weddings happening during summer months. Here in the PNW, we get nice, sunny, warm weather from about July to August, and anything outside of those two months has a higher chance of rain. But, in places like Texas, their summer is much longer and the wedding season often extends much further into the spring and fall months, which gives couples many more weekends to choose from for a wedding with good weather. So, usually the shorter the summer season, the more weddings there are and the more competitive it may be to find available vendors and therefore, the longer you may want to plan. 

2. These timelines assume you are wedding planning every single month, week and weekend.

Spoiler, life is still happening while you’re wedding planning. You have your job, family, social life, vacations and so much more that you need to plan around. It’s impossible to plan in every bit of spare time. Even the most excited couples get burned out on wedding planning eventually and will need a break. And that’s totally normal! Goodness, I’m a wedding planner, and I can’t keep going 24/7. I need vacations, too. These timelines, though, can get so detailed, and while their intentions may be good because they are trying to make sure you don’t forget anything, it gives you a massive to-do list which can easily take over all of your free time.

3. these timelines often make couples feel behind, even when they are actually doing a great job with planning.

The feelings of overwhelm are all too common when wedding planning, and most of this happens when your to-do list is long and FOMO begins to creep in. You may start looking at these one size fits all wedding planning timelines and they’ll include everything from save the dates, invites and wedding programs to guest favors, dress alterations, and beauty-prep tips, and suddenly you feel like you have to include all of these things in your wedding day, even if they don’t really fit your style, personality or budget. I’ll be the first to admit that my beauty regime leading up to my wedding day consisted of just trying to get a full nights sleep and remembering to shave my legs the night before. Everything else I left to my make-up artist and hair stylist to work their magic on. Now of course, if you are really into beauty products, that may be totally different for you, but I’m here to tell you that one person’s plan may not be the plan for you to follow, and some of the small details that work great at one wedding may seem out of place at your own. Don’t be afraid to cut things that just don’t fit for you or are causing you stress throughout planning. 

Overall, most of these timelines are unrealistic to follow to a T, but I know many of you may be thinking, “oh great, what am I supposed to do now? What are my other options?”

My biggest piece of advice is to stop following them as if they are the end all be all to your wedding planning. Often times couples will search online and find the really detailed timeline that includes the most items, thinking that’s going to set them up for success, when in reality it becomes overwhelming and not a great match for their actual planning style. 

1. Look for timelines that keep things fairly basic, and focus on getting the big pieces in place.

Once you have that, then you can always look for a more specific timeline that’s geared toward the details that you are looking for. So, let’s say you have all of your vendors booked, but you want to know when you need to get paper products designed, ordered, and sent. You can definitely find specific timelines for this, and often times, they will be created from stationary companies that actually know the ins and outs of that portion of wedding planning.

2. Try to find timelines or guides that are created by wedding professionals.

Anything that’s created from someone that planned their own wedding and suddenly thinks they have expert level knowledge to guide your wedding planning is not someone you want to follow. Wedding professionals are creating tools and resources based on hundreds of weddings, not one single wedding. Be aware of who is creating the tools that you are using!

3. Try to find resources and guides produced by local wedding vendors.

Almost all wedding planners have blogs, so do a quick search for planners in your area and scroll through their resources online. The tips they are providing are directly related to your region or city and will likely be much more applicable to your wedding. Not to mention, you may find a great, knowledgeable vendor to book in the process!  

4. Don’t be afraid to make adjustments to tailor the timeline to fit your needs and wedding ideas.

Make sure you are planning around the other things going on in your life, and cut the to-do list items that don't apply to your style or wedding day. Your wedding is unique to you, so make sure your planning timeline is unique to you, as well. 

Real Wedding: Blair & Raul at Washington Athletic Club

What I loved About this Wedding:

I am so glad these two New Yorkers decided to get married in Seattle and chose me to be their day of wedding coordinator. They were the sweetest! Blair was shy and repeatedly told me that she didn't want to be the center of attention throughout the day (which is a bit impossible, but we sure tried!). Rather than doing a grand entrance, Blair and Raul joined the cocktail hour to mingle with their guests and they kicked off the reception with a short first dance and father daughter dance, allowing Blair to relax throughout dinner knowing those things were out of the way. With little adjustments, we were still able to incorporate many wedding traditions in a way that better fit their personalities. Being comfortable and relaxed on your wedding day is important, and I'm so glad I could help them find a way to tailor their wedding day to be exactly what they wanted and needed to enjoy it. And man oh man, did they have a fun wedding reception!  When the father of the groom changed into a Seahawks suit, the party really began. They danced the night away and their guests had a blast! 

The Vendor Team: 

Ceremony venue: Blessed Sacrament Church
Reception venue: Washington Athletic Club
Photographer: LMS Photography
Catering: Washington Athletic Club
Cake: Washington Athletic Club
DJ: One Knight DJ
Florist: Country Bouquets Floral
Hair and Make-Up: Divine Touch
Coordination: Thrifty Events

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6 Tips for Hosting a Backyard Wedding


If you have access to a private property to host your wedding, then consider yourself extremely lucky! Not only does having a backyard wedding save you a ton on renting a venue, but it also offers you more flexibility when it comes to the timeline, and sometimes a much more relaxed atmosphere. However, there are some serious logistical items that need to be considered before committing to a backyard wedding.

1. Parking

Even a small wedding will mean more cars than usual parked on the property, so considering available parking options is a must. Is there an abundance of street parking? An open field or lot? A nearby business or church that will let you use theirs? Or will you need to have guests park off-site and offer a shuttle to the property?

2. Restrooms

First consider if you want guests going into the house or not. The backyard weddings we’ve hosted have been about 50/50 on this, so there is no right or wrong answer here, it’s simply what you prefer. If you want the house off-limits, then you’ll need to rent port-a-potties. If you are using the house, consider how many bathrooms there are, how easy they are to find, and if you are on a septic system, make sure it can handle this influx in people using the bathrooms. There will be a lot more flushes than you normally have, and nobody wants backed up bathrooms on their wedding day.

3. Level surfaces

This is important for chairs at the ceremony and tables during the reception. Remember, what may seem like a slight slope with nothing on it may become much more noticeable once you’re sitting in a chair that’s leaning or trying to eat on a crooked or wobbly table. Consider the slope of the yard when planning your layout to avoid uneven ground.

4. Cost of rentals

When you’re starting from scratch, everything will need to be rented, from the chairs and tables to a tent for a covered space just in case it rains or to protect you and your guests from the sun. While you may be saving on the venue, these costs can definitely add up. The good news, is that you can save on delivery fees by allowing things to be brought in a day or two early and picked up a day or two after the event.

5. Power and outdoor outlets

You’ll need power for lighting, but most importantly for the DJ or band. Make sure there are outlets, or nearby power sources for where the DJ will need to be set up for the ceremony and reception

6. Landscaping

Keeping a backyard looking lush and green during the summer takes a lot of work. If the owners take care of this regularly and enjoy gardening, then you’re in luck, but if not this will be a big undertaking. It costs quite a bit of money to update landscaping, install lighting, keep things watered, etc., not to mention the time it takes to maintain it. If it’s not your property, this is a great area to offer to help so the burden doesn’t fall completely on the property owner. Last week I shared Kirsten and Kris's backyard wedding on Bainbridge Island, and this was a perfect example of a gorgeous property and the work they did prior to the wedding day on the landscaping. This couple went to the parent's home on the weekends to help plant flower beds, lay gravel on the pathways, trim trees and keep the lawn watered and mowed. It was a team effort and a great way for the couple to show their appreciation for allowing them to host their wedding on the property. 

I love weddings on private properties, and as long as you take these logistical items into consideration, I have no doubt you’ll be able to host a successful backyard wedding!

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.