Category Archives: Insider Tips

Bride to Bride: That Damn Budget

Budget. Budget. Budget. Budget. Why do we have to talk about the budget?! Unfortunately, all weddings require money, so it’s best to know before you even begin replicating your Pinterest board, how much you have to spend! For me, Pinterest sometimes made me question how much I needed to spend to get the vision I wanted. I am sure you have scoured the internet and stumbled across weddings where you bookmarked the page because “THAT IS YOUR WEDDING”! When you show your picture to a vendor, they give you a side eye and then drop the bomb of a price WAAAYYYY outside of your budget. Believe me, I was there a couple of times and when they presented me with the quote, I gave them the side eye back. Planning for a wedding is definitely about saving and really having a look at your wedding desires and making it fit inside of your budget. Here are some tips to help you do just that:

1.) Talk with ALL parties involved who will be contributing to the wedding. Traditionally, the parents of the Bride handled a majority of the financial responsibility for the ceremony and reception, while the parents of the Groom handled the rehearsal dinner. However, times have changed and there are NO rules as to who pays for what. So you and your boo need to be able to have an OPEN and REAL convo with anyone contributing AND with yourselves.  Establish a base. Figure out how much everyone wants to contribute and/or take care of. For Brian and I, my parents gave me what they were willing to take care of and contribute, Brian’s dad let us know what he was willing to contribute and then Brian and I determined between ourselves what we would be able to save and contribute. Luckily for Brian and I as soon as we got engaged, my mom had a number in her head of how much we would probably spend on the wedding, so having the money talk with her wasn’t so bad.

2.) Make a preliminary guest list. What? Why are we talking about a guest list… isn’t this a budget post? Your guest list dictates almost everything pertaining to your wedding! Say you have a budget of 10K, but you want to invite 200 guests and it cost $30/per person to feed them, that’s $6,000 right there, leaving $4,000 to cover everything else like the photographer, florist, DJ, a wedding gown, wedding planner, etc. Now gorgeous weddings CAN and do happen for under 10K, you just have to be smart about planning. (Almost) EVERY SINGLE ITEM stems from your guest list – size of the venue, food, tables, invites, favors, and centerpieces (to name a few). Therefore, you have to do a guest list in the EARLY planning stages, so you can determine what your wedding day priorities are. You can make it work, but you need to know at the beginning what you are working with!

3.) Decide on your priority areas. Now you need to decide what are your three priorities. What are priority areas, you ask?! I explain it to my couples as – if you only have enough money to pay for three things, what would they be? Note – you cannot say one of your areas is the reception! There are SO many components to creating a reception, so you have to be specific about the areas.  For my own wedding, I wanted people to eat good, have awesome stationery products and dance the night away! Once you have determined and taken care of these areas everything else is NEGOTIABLE! Making everything a deal breaker can really be stressful and overwhelming to you and your family. It is your day, but you have to live life after.

Beautiful weddings can happen on any budget, you just have to keep an open mind to the vision of your day!

XoXo ~ Jevettra

Picking the Perfect Ring

This post is for the those who are ready to pop the question, but not sure what ring to get. Hopefully when you finish reading this (promise to keep it relatively short) you will have a better idea on what you look for when purchasing a ring.

As most people know the 4 things to look for when getting a ring is Carat, Cut, Clarity, and Color!

Carat weight: For most women, this means the bigger the better! Gems are measured in carats and carat weights are given points, with one carat = 100points. So the more points the better!

Cut: A diamond’s sparkle is determined by the angles and proportions to which it is cut. The cut should not be confused with its shape (round, oval, marquise, etc.). Cuts have 5 grades: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor. You will get your BEST bargains in the Good grade of cut. Some sparkle is forfeited for size in this category.

Clarity: The number of inclusions (flaws that are categorized as marks, cracks, chips, etc.) establishes a diamond’s classification: Flawless (F), Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1,2), Very Slightly Included (VS1,2), Slightly Included (SI1,2) and Included (I1,2,3). Stones classified SI1 and better are considered “eye clean”, meaning no flaws are visible to the naked eye. Best deals are in the SI classification.

Color: The GIA’s color-coding chart starts with D-F, the “colorless” ideal; G-J, almost colorless; K-M, a hint of yellow; N-R, very light yellow; and S-Z, light yellow.

Once a diamond reaches a carat level, its price climbs, so go with a weight slightly under the carat mark you are targeting. For example, it you want a two-carat ring, shop for those at 1.9 – the difference in size will be hard to notice, and you will save!

The round brilliant-cut shape is the most expensive; choose one of the “fancy” shapes – marquis, princess, oval, emerald – which are less expensive.

Hopefully this gives you a start as you search for the perfect ring! Happy hunting!!

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Ways To WOW Your Guests

“The Knot” had an article about ways in which to WOW your wedding audience. Of course I had to read through it to see what their take on it was. Well I must say they had some pretty good ideas and if you have some extra money in your budget, I would definitely consider adding one or more of these elements into your wedding.

Guest Transportation: If you are planning on shuttling your guests from the ceremony to the reception, make the journey part of the fun by renting some cool mass transportation. Hire an old-fashioned trolley to get guests from point A to B. And for extra flair, customize the ride by playing fun music or decking out the bus with signs that reads “Sarah and John’s wedding or bust!”

Pre-ceremony Cocktails: Nothing like getting the party started a little early?! Your guests won’t be expecting any drinks until the reception, so give them a pleasant surprise by setting up at table of light beverages on the way into the ceremony. Just DON’T serve anything too strong– think mimosas or fruit-infused iced teas they can sip before taking their seats.

Standout Escort Cards: Instead of a paper card that’ll get lost or thrown away, upgrade your escort cards to something worth keeping (or eating!). Try personalized cake pops with guests’ names and table runners written on them in icing or on a cute tag, or engraved martini glasses that double as favors.

Thoughtful and (Useful) Favors: Keep your guests comfortable all day by thinking ahead. Planning on dancing the night away… put out a basket of flip-flops (in your wedding colors, of course) so guests can take their shoes off. Having an outdoor reception… well it might get breezy, keep your guests warm by offering up some cozy pashminas. And for the summer outdoor ceremony, provide a station with spray-on sunscreen and a stack of inexpensive sunglasses.

To-Go Valet Gifts: Send guests home feeling taken care of by having your valets place small favors or end-of-the-night snacks in your guests’ cards before handing over the keys. No valets? Set out baskets of the gifts, such as soft eye masks with notes that say “Sleep tight!” or even hangover kits… for guests to grab on their way out of the reception.

Convenient Child Care: Hire a babysitter or two… and set up a room so your youngest guests can have a place to go when they tucker out. If it’s possible pick a room near your reception location so parents can stop by to check in on the little ones and then return easily to the party. Stock the rooms with snacks, games, and a portable DVD player. Also make sure there is a soft sofa and lots of blankets for those inevitable naps.

Guest Book Alternatives

As you know I am BIG for DIY projects and bringing quirky elements into your wedding! One place to start is the GUEST BOOK… so everyone has signed it, now what!! For many newlyweds, after their wedding they find they have no use for it and it gets packed away to collect years of dust!! But with these guest book alternatives, you can remember the words of wisdom of family and friends for years to come!!

Photo books or Instant Photos… A picture says a 1000 words. Capture the moments with a Polaroid camera or pre-make a photo book for guests to sign.

Instant Pics

World Atlas… I know that I want to travel the world with my significant other! Why not have family and friends sign where their favorite travel destination is and leave some ideas of things to do while there.


Artwork… After guests have signed it, the artwork can be displayed in your house for all to see.


Wine Bottles… Create blank wine labels for guest to sign and open one each year of your anniversary!!

Wine Bottles

Vintage Items… Have guest sign your favorite collectibles.

Vintage Items

Envelope Guest Book…  Transform a store-bought album into a guest book that has a handmade feel. Use double-sided tape to affix envelopes in assorted sizes and colors to the pages of a plain-paper photo album or scrapbook. Leave cards and a pen on a table for guests to write wishes. When they’re done, they can tuck their cards inside the envelopes for the bride and groom to enjoy later.


Artistic Guest Book… Inspire guests to express themselves artistically as they write down their sentiments on your wedding day. At the reception, set up a table with craft and office supplies — pretty card stock, colored pencils, an array of stickers — and invite guests to embellish their notes with fun designs. Finished cards can be placed in a clear glass bowl and arranged in a scrapbook later.


Mail Anyone… So who doesn’t like a little mail? Rather than signing a traditional guest book, give guests a postcard with the bride and groom’s address printed on the back to fill with good wishes during the reception and drop in a copper mailbox displayed in the lobby. The cards are to be mailed the next day by a friend of the couple, so that when the newlyweds return from their honeymoon, they return to a brimming mailbox of well wishes!!


Wrapped in Love… Have your guest sign fabric squares that will be sewn into a keepsake quilt. Not only does it make a FAB guest book, but can be passed down through the generations!


Fall by the Numbers

Just thought I would share a few FALL facts about weddings….

  • 14% of weddings take place in September, the most popular month for weddings
  • 12% of weddings take place in October, the third most popular month
  • 6% of weddings take place in November, which ranks ninth in popularity
By these numbers, you would find some of the best deals among vendors in November (off season) and be ready to pay a little more out of the pocket in September (peak season). Astonishing what a few months can do to the budget of a wedding!! 
Fall Wedding Inspiration
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3 Reasons to Get Married in the Winter

With summer official over, we are starting to move into cooler temperatures (bye bye beach weather). Many people are hesitant about getting married during the winter months, so I thought I would share 3 reasons to get married in the winter!!

Many people fear having a winter wedding because of the cold weather and short days, but there are some advantages to having your wedding during winter season!!

The biggest one for me are the DISCOUNTS!!  With spring and fall being the busiest times for weddings there is an increase in price because of supply and demand for vendors.  Because vendors are less busy in the winter, they are willing to offer GREAT discounts.  There are savings seen in venues, photographers, florist and even honeymoons. It’s typically cheaper to travel in the winter because it is a slow season (except around the holidays)!! 
Horse and winter wedding

The second bonus of having a winter wedding is the AVAILABILITY of venues and vendors.  Many vendors allow brides to book a year in advance.  If you have your heart set on a particular vendor, you have to book early. There are also issues at the dress stores. Sometimes, you have to get alternations done 3 months before the wedding because the seamstress is so busy, but in the winter, the dress store can accommodate your schedule and needs.
Winter Wedding Place Cards

And last but certainly not less is the SNOW.  Many brides fear snow on their wedding day, but it can a beautiful plus. Translation: you will have stunning pictures and a romantic setting. Just make sure you have a backup plan in case of heavy snow. Most venues have a cancellation or postponement policy, so make sure you ask before signing contracts. No matter what season you choose, your wedding will be beautiful. When making important decisions about your wedding, always consider your budget, style and vision, and don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Some of the most beautiful weddings are the ones that take risks. Translation: horse and carriage in the snow or February beach wedding. 
Debra Gulbas Photography

Happy planning!
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