Real Wedding: Eunice and Eddie at The Fields at Willie Green's

What I loved about this wedding: 

Eunice's and Eddie's wedding was the perfect balance of incorporating two unique cultures into a wedding! They included big and small details from both their American and Korean heritages throughout their special day. Their adorable grandmothers and mothers, who were all a part of their wedding processional, wore their traditional Korean attire down the aisle and for most of the night. After the American ceremony, Eunice and Eddie changed clothing and participated in their Paebaek ceremony, a traditional Korean wedding bowing ceremony where family members wish the newlyweds luck. There's flying fruit, piggybacks, and a lot of smiles involved! I especially liked how both wedding ceremonies were announced in English and Korean to ensure all guests were included!  

The Vendor Team:

Venue: The Fields at Willie Green's
Photographer: Wyat Livingston
Caterer: Maverick Catering
DJ: 206 Events
Coordination: Thrifty Events


Real Wedding: Jacqui and Aaron at Within Sodo

What I loved about this wedding: 

Jacqui and Aaron included several little details into their wedding day that spoke to their fun and caring personalities. Being outdoor lovers, their reception table numbers were printed on different pictures of them hiking, with each table named after the trail/park.Their dog, Nigel the pug, was a part of their wedding party - complete with bow tie. And they honored their love of cooking together by choosing a nonprofit catering company with ethnic and diverse plates for their guests to choose from. These small but special touches made their big day even more special and unique.

The Vendor Team:

Venue: Within Sodo
Photographer: Steven Zhang
Caterer: Project Feast
DJ: Bamboo Beats
Coordination: Thrifty Events


7 Tips on How To Include Your Dog in Your Wedding

We absolutely love dogs here at Thrifty Events, and there is nothing better than when couples incorporate their fur babies into their wedding day. Here are my tips to make sure you and your dog are wedding day ready!

Real Wedding: Lauren and Mikey at Hall at Fauntleroy

What I loved about this wedding: 

Lauren and Mikey were the sweetest couple and their friends were just as awesome! I’ve never seen a Stanley Cup inspired trophy at a wedding until this one. Between their college friends, every time one of them got married, their names were engraved on the trophy. Then, the last couple that had gotten married got to present it to the newlyweds. What a cool tradition, right!? They may not all live in the same place anymore, even Lauren and Mikey were planning from Indiana (my home-state!), but when they came together, it was a big party. I love when my couples prioritize having fun with their guests above everything else.

The Vendor Team:

Venue: Hall at Fauntleroy
Photographer: Lisa Monet
Caterer: Tuxedos and Tennis Shoes 
Dessert: Morfey’s Cakes
Hair & Makeup: The Outer Edge
Coordination: Thrifty Events


Destination Wedding Planning: Part 2

While the wedding may be over, I have not stopped thinking about how amazing the entire experience has been coordinating my first destination wedding. This video is the second in a 2 part series. I'm sharing how the wedding day went, the things that made it extra special, and a few lessons we learned, plus some photos from Brianna and Will's big day. If you haven't watched Part 1, which covers the 4 days of wedding prep in Jamaica prior to the ceremony, be sure to check it out, as well!

Real Wedding: Joy and Ethan at The Foundry

What I loved about this wedding: 

A wedding celebration and New Year’s Eve all wrapped up into one… Does it get any better than that? Joy and Ethan really wanted to highlight the NYE’s vibe, so they kept things simple with an ivory, black and gold color scheme and small odes to NYE everywhere, like their champagne jelly beans with the escort cards. Of course, they still wanted their ceremony to feel formal, but after dinner, they let loose! We brought out large 2018 balloons, party hats, glow sticks, a countdown to midnight on a TV monitor and, of course, champagne. It was the perfect way to bring together family and friends to celebrate their love and the new year!

The Vendor Team:

Venue: The Foundry by Herban Feast
Photographer: Roddy Chung
Caterer: Herban Feast
Flowers & Decor: Herban Design Studio
DJ & Photo booth: Injoy Entertainment
Coordination: Thrifty Events

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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.