I Do! (Not Know Where to Begin) Month 1: Finding My Bride Tribe

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Welcome back friends!

Today we’re going to talk about a subject near and dear to my heart: picking your bridal party. If I’m being honest, this is something I’ve thought long and hard about for years. And in that time, a lot of people have changed on the list! When we decided to keep the wedding small, I knew that it also meant that I would want to keep my bridal party small. I have so many amazing friends that I would love to have stand by my side for my big day, but if I had them all up there, who would be our guests?!

All wrapped up!

All wrapped up!

There are a lot of politics involved, and I really didn’t want to deal with that. I know we’re going to deal with that when it comes to trimming down the guest list. This should be a fun and simple choice. Traditionally you don’t need to pick your bridesmaids until the 9-12 month mark. But seeing as we’re two years out, I’m stretching the timeline a bit and didn’t want to wait that long (especially because they already knew!). That’s one of my favorite parts about having all this time before the wedding, I can really take my time to ensure that I’m doing things exactly how I want, and I have way more flexibility in when they get done. You can see our traditional one year timeline here and my modified two year timeline that I’m following here! So the decision came down to this: who am I the closest with? Who are those people that I talk to constantly and trust with my life? Like I said, there are so many great friends who would be wonderful bridesmaids, but three people were miles ahead here. My sister, my cousin (who is like a second sister), and my best friend for as long as I can remember (who is also like another sister).

At first I didn’t like the idea of having an odd number of bridesmaids, but I decided that the number isn’t what matters. I don’t have anyone else that I would put on that same level and if I started to branch out, I felt like I would get into that territory where I could potentially hurt someone’s feelings. I know it’s no fun to expect to be in someone’s bridal party and then not get asked. So by keeping it nice and small, I felt really confident in my ladies. Not that I need to justify my choices to anyone, but sometimes with the politics of wedding planning, it really feels like you do! I know that people will look at my bridal party and think “oh yeah, that makes total sense.”

Just a little something fun!

Just a little something fun!

So this was all my thought process before I even had that ring on my finger. Which meant that they all knew it and once we were engaged, I had to backpedal a little bit! Even though they knew I would be asking them, I still wanted to get them each a little something special because you only ask your girls to be your bridesmaids once! So to Etsy I went. I went personalized everything, because why not. Cute little boxes with their names on them, makeup bags with their names on them, knot bracelets with their initial on them, and probably the most perfect card I could ever find. “Now act surprised like you had no idea this was coming.” I’ll take three, please.

I think it’s so fun to get your girls a little something, especially knowing all the time and energy they’re going to be putting into helping you with your big day. Nothing crazy, but just a little something that says “I appreciate you!” I’m so lucky to have three amazing ladies to make up my tribe and so happy they all said “yes” to standing by my side! That’s a wrap for the month one breakdowns, but be sure to stay tuned because we’re only a couple weeks away from diving into month two and all things guest list, photographer, and more!

I Do! (Not Know Where to Begin) Month 1: The Venue Hunt

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Hi friends!

Jill here again. In case you missed last week’s introduction, I just got engaged and am starting the wedding planning process while sharing all the real time details and steps with all of you! I hope that this can give you some direction in planning your own big day, especially if you’re an everyday girl with an average budget just like me. Today we’re talking all things venue-hunting. Buckle up, because this one has some bumps in the road!

Before we got engaged, our original plan had been a fall 2020 wedding (October 10th to be exact, because how cool would it be to say your anniversary is 10/10/2020?!), but upon engagement we decided to try and get things together for an October 2019 wedding instead. Well, friends, that was probably one of the most stressful weeks of my life. I reached out to 20+ venues, all of which were already completed booked solid for October 2019, many of which already were partially or completely booked for October 2020 as well. On top of dealing with the venue search, we were being overwhelmed with love and support from friends and family -- which is great, don’t get me wrong -- and the chorus of “when’s the wedding?!” already beginning one week in.

Off to venue hunt!

Off to venue hunt!

We hit a point where we pretty much accepted that it was going to be a 2020 wedding and that there was a good chance that it wouldn’t be on 10/10 either. From there, the pieces sort of fell into place. It’s amazing how life works out when you just accept that things will be what they will be! We re-visited our list of venues that we liked, narrowed it down to a handful that were in our ideal budget and location zone and reached out for their availability. For round one, two of the three had 10/10 open and a third had a later October date available, so we set up venue tours.

Melissa, Parsimony’s Owner and Creative Director, impressed on me the importance of viewing multiple locations of different caliber and style to really get a feel for what we want and what our options are. That being said, if you don’t have the budget for a $10,000 venue, don’t go see it. Because chances are you’ll fall in love and then be crushed when you can’t afford it or you’ll compare every other venue to what you saw there. That last condition crossed quite a few options off our list! It’s also extremely important to review what is and isn’t included in your venue fee. Are tables and chairs included, or will you have to rent those separately? Can you bring in whatever vendors you want, or are you stuck choosing from a preferred list? Does the venue host multiple weddings a day, or are you the sole occupant for your day? If catering is only in house, do you have minimum spending amounts? You can download the full list of questions I asked here. The cost of catering can really come into play quickly with your budget as well. Many of the places I started to look at had low venue fees, but astronomical food minimum spending requirements that knocked them out of the running. That’s fine for some people with larger guest lists and budgets, but we just aren’t looking to drop $15,000 on food for one day. This is why it’s really important to know what is included with your venue fees. Is it just for the space, or is catering included? It can be really deceiving to see a venue with a super low fee only to find out something like this where it’s crazy pricing for the in-house catering. Definitely keep that in mind during your venue hunting process!

Exploring venues in person proved to show a huge difference at times from what you see online. It’s almost like house shopping where you look at the space and think “hmm, they must’ve really gotten up into this corner to get a great angle to make this space look so large online.” Smaller spaces, deteriorating conditions at times… it was certainly an eye-opener! Driving all the way out to places, having a great tour, only to be told that they actually aren’t available on the date they said they were, but that they have a Friday open instead. It was definitely a frustrating process at times. After our tours, we had a favorite of the three. It was a beautiful location, checked most of our boxes, was budget friendly, and had 10/10 open. But something just didn’t feel totally right. We took a few days to really think things over and weigh our options. It’s difficult when you feel like you’re up against a clock and dealing with a budget. Was this the best we were going to get for our price point? Can we overlook the things that didn’t really align with our vision for the day? After reaching out to a few more venues, we decided that yes, we thought this was probably going to be our best option, so we asked to see a copy of the contract to start reviewing.

Then, my mom threw us a curveball.

This, my friends, is a perfect example of “it doesn’t hurt to ask.” My mom had mentioned a specific venue to me on multiple occasions and I basically just assumed it was way out of our budget from places in the same area. Well, my mom decided to put in an inquiry to find out some more information. And man, are we glad that she did! Not only did they come in right around (if not slightly under) the same price point of the first option, but it was absolutely beautiful. We immediately set up a viewing to go see it in person. And let me tell you, it did NOT disappoint. Like I said, the price point was right where we wanted it but our dollar went much further at this place. I think it actually checks all the boxes on our list. While it’s a little further out of our initial radius, we easily conceded that point for all the added pros it has over the other locations we looked at. I really think it’s going to be the perfect location for our wedding!

Moral of the story: it doesn’t hurt to ask and never settle! Go with your gut. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Sure, we would have had a wonderful and beautiful wedding at the first location, but the second place really just blows things out of the water. Ask questions, review your options, and really just don’t give up! Researching a variety is key if you ask me. We went from looking at a big venue that can host up to almost 200 people to a venue specifically designed for smaller, more intimate weddings that max out at 90 people. Not only did the spaces seem to fit what we were looking for more, but because they’re expecting smaller groups, it was priced much more accordingly.

Not only did we find a perfect venue (for us) but we got our date… 10/10/2020. Things have a funny way of working themselves out. All that’s left is to dot the I’s and cross the T’s and we’ll officially have our venue!

I Do! (Not Know Where to Begin) Month 1: First Steps

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Hey friends!

If we haven’t already met, hi, my name is Jill and I’m the Editorial Director here at Parsimony. This company is my heart and soul, so when I recently became engaged and we discussed my writing a column in real time to share the struggles and ups and downs of the planning process, I couldn’t wait to start! Coming from a background in the wedding industry, you would think that I would have been adequately prepared to start this journey -- I thought so too, but NOPE! I’m just your average girl with an average sized budget trying to create my dream wedding. Each month, I’ll share what’s been going on in the planning process. The highlights, the struggles, what I expected versus the reality… all the good stuff. When applicable, we’ll also provide resources and downloads that have made my life easier along the way. So with that being said, let’s dive in!

Our “we’re engaged” selfie!

Our “we’re engaged” selfie!

It’s been almost one month since I said “yes.” Which seems totally crazy! It’s certainly been a whirlwind month to say the least. I think once the initial crying and jumping up and down wore off, it was almost like a “what now?” kind of moment! A million things on the to do list immediately jumped into my head. The first being: we need to tell people… the right way. This meant making sure that all our loved ones found out from us and not from social media. We sat down and made a list of those people (romantic, right?) and decided we were going to hold off on social media for a few days. By the end of the night, we were completely exhausted from all the phone calls, facetimes, and texts we exchanged with friends and family. We gave ourselves a few days to just soak it all in and get some nice pictures before we went public with it.

You can mentally prepare yourself as much as you want, but I don’t think you’re ever fully prepared to announce your engagement and have so many people reach out to congratulate you. People you haven’t spoken to in years will come out of the woodwork. People whose numbers you don’t even have in your phone anymore will text you. And some of these people will even ask if they’re invited… awkward! My best advice is to smile and just roll with the punches, things will quiet down after the initial excitement wears off. Laugh off the questions about when the wedding will be and just say you’re enjoying the moment and excited to experience engaged life. You don’t owe anyone any answers but just remember how lucky you are to have so many people who care and love you enough to want to share the happiness of your big news!

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Now when it comes to the actual planning, the first step is definitely sitting down and establishing a budget. We had a rough estimate of what we wanted to spend, but after sitting down and looking at average costs, we made some adjustments. It’s also a time to consider whether or not you’ll accept any assistance offered by loved ones and whether or not that will affect your budget or if it’ll just save you money from the original bottom line. It’s important to have a clear-cut established budget right off the bat to make sure you aren’t going wild only to find out you spent 75% of your budget on a venue. We have a great outline illustrating what percentage of your budget should be used for what category. You can download the worksheet here!

In our budget meeting, we reviewed a couple of venues to get a feel for what we were both looking for and discussed general ideas and came up with a first round guest list. We both want a small wedding, so we’re looking at a max of 70 people thanks to my large, close-knit family. Style, guest list count, and budget will be three of the biggest factors in your venue hunt, so make sure you discuss them before you start seriously looking.

From here, the real fun begins! Your next step will be officially starting the venue hunt, which I can pretty much guarantee you, will be an adventure. We’ve had quite the wild ride with this one, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it next week!


Alexis and Lyle: The Perfect Rustic Wedding

The Perfect Rustic Wedding 

When a couple beams as bright as Alexis and Lyle did on their wedding, you are reminded how special a wedding is. Their day was filled with special moments and details. 

Alexis shared her wedding planning process and how it all came together.


Where did you get your inspiration for your wedding? I wanted something that represented my husband and I as a couple. We love the outdoors (you can often find us hiking, fishing, and camping) and simplicity. I was inspired by natural wood, burlap, twine, neutral colors, and antique bottles. I went to Pinterest for ideas and was blown away by the amount of DIY wedding projects.

What area of your wedding did the bulk of your budget go to? The bulk of our wedding budget went towards booking the venue. Feeding over 100 people is not cheap, plus you need to buy table cloths and chair covers for the entire dining area.

Was there any part of your wedding day that wasn’t worth the cost? Honestly, no. I actually have regrets about not hiring a videographer. I wish I spent the extra money to have our wedding captured on DVD.

Did you hire a wedding planner? If so, how did they help? I did not hire a wedding planner. I was planning a local wedding (Sturbridge, MA) and had a little over 100 guests so I did not think it was necessary. Plus, I liked handling all the fine details.

What is your best advice for future brides and grooms on their big day? My best advice would be: STAY CALM! There are hiccups during any event and you would be setting yourself up for disaster if you did not think this also applies to weddings. It's best to go into your wedding day feeling calm, ready to tackle any problem head on, and with a smile. Is it the end of the world if your DJ plays the wrong song or if your Uncle Freddy has a little too much whiskey and starts busting a move on the dance floor? No. It's these obstacles that make for incredibly memorable wedding stories.

What moment do you cherish the most about your wedding day? I cherished the first look photography session the most. To see how my husband looked at me was priceless and I wouldn't want anyone else stealing that moment from us. My husband was able to be emotionally open without people watching us and it made for a truly romantic photography session. It was also fun to twirl around and around in my dress without anyone telling me to stop! : )


Vendor List 

Photographer: Victoria Mello Photography
Location: The Publick House, Sturbridge, MA
DJ: Rocco Productions
Florist: Michele Bernard

The Perfect New England Fall Wedding

The Perfect New England Fall Wedding 

 

We are in L-O-V-E with Lindsay & Tyler's beautiful New England wedding. The perfection of this day is found in the elegance of this couple and their warm and inviting style. 

We were lucky enough ask Lindsay about her wedding planning process and how it all came together.

 

 

 

What area of your wedding did the bulk of your budget go to? Landscaping my parents yard and creating a large level space for the tent were definitely the most costly. (Is there an up-charge for wedding dirt?) My dress was a big ticket item and I probably spent more of the budget on flowers than most people do. I love love love flowers and my florist was wonderful. Annmary of Dandelions spent hours meeting with me and asking questions to ensure she understood exactly what I liked and was looking for.
 

 

Where did you get your inspiration for your wedding? We love living in New England and wanted to celebrate fall in New England. My aunts made pies and we served Vermont cheddar cheese from the Boston farmer's market. The wedding was at my parents' home in the hill towns. We embraced the firewood piles and my dad built a pallet bar for the reception along with a birch arch for the ceremony. Our guests "camped" at the AMC, and we gave them cider donuts, maple syrup from our favorite farm in Granville, and local honey from a beekeeper we met at the fair! We used family china I collected from our mothers, grandmothers, and aunts. I didn't want my wedding to look like a Thanksgiving table so I used white pumpkins, peach flowers, gourds, blue hubbard squash, rust colored mums, sage colored succulents, herbs, eucalyptus, and gold stripes.

Did you hire a wedding planner? If so, how did they help? I hired Tanya Costigan Events for month of and day of service.  Her team was integral to day of set up. I had spent a year choosing the table settings and she made sure it was perfect on the wedding day. She also was a knowledgeable resource and suggested Classical Tents & Party Goods for rustic rentals.

What is your best advice for future brides and grooms on their big day? Include the traditions, moments, and decorations that are important or sound fun to you and skip what's not!

What moment do you cherish the most about your wedding day? The cocktail hour! (Ours was an hour and a half and we were there for every minute of it!) We did wedding party and first look photos ahead of time as suggested by Andrea York Photography and cocktail hour was the most unscripted and natural period of the day. We could start celebrating, visit with our friends and family, and enjoy drinks and our favorite band with our guests.


modern elegance on a colonial style estate: patrice & Chris

Patrice and Chris put together a stunning wedding on a colonial estate. We asked Patrice a few questions about what it took to create this gorgeous event.

PV: Where did you get your inspiration for your wedding?
Patrice: We drew our inspiration from a lot of different places. We spent a lot of time on Pinterest looking up other estate weddings. We also looked at wedding blogs and magazines.

PV: What area of your wedding did the bulk of your budget go to?
Patrice: Food!

PV: Was there any part of your wedding day that wasn’t worth the cost?
Patrice: We were pretty budget conscious and had a good sense from the beginning where we were willing to spend more money and where we weren't. There really wasn't anything that wasn't worth the cost.

PV: Did you hire a wedding planner? If so, how did they help?
Patrice: No, but we did hire a day-of coordinator, and she was a huge help even before the day of our wedding. She laid out our timeline and made vendor suggestions. On the day of the wedding, she made sure everything ran smoothly and exactly according to our plan. Our wedding wouldn't have been perfect if we hadn't hired her.

PV: What is your best advice for future brides and grooms on their big day?
Patrice: Build a cushion into your budget.


Photographer – Pizzuti Photography
Day of Coordination - Without A Hitch
Caterer – Capers Catering
Ceremony and reception location –Commander’s Mansion
DJ – Kevin Dottin, Sounds of Success
Makeup - Makeovers by Ligia
Transportation - Boston Bridal Bus and Rockstar Limo
Florist –Karla Cassidy Designs
Photobooth – XO Photobooth
Videographer - Lollie Videography

 

Whimsical Bohemian Wedding: Francesca + Dennis

Francesca & Dennis, who met when they were 18 years old, chose a venue close to Francesca's heart, her childhood day camp Camp Massasoit at Springfield College, so she could incorporate her best memories from childhood. This August wedding captures the best elements of bohemian saturated colors and whimsical details. It all works together to create this magical day.

We asked Francesca where she got her inspiration for the wedding's style, because we are swooning over it! Francesca shares, All over the place!! Magazines, Pinterest, other weddings I've been to. At the camp they have this special spot in the woods called The Chapel of the Pines. The spot is so magical and ethereal it sparked inspiration in me and the next thing I knew the ideas were coming.

The budget talk! Paying for a wedding can be overwhelming so we asked Francesca and Dennis to give us their lessons learned during their experience. The biggest ticket item for us was the location and the food. There is never a time that you want to skimp on food. No one will have fun if they're hungry! But keep your budget in mind when you choose your venue and caterer. Have your budget worked out before you start the planning process, this way you know your budget for each part of the wedding. Things will be adjusted but at least you will be able to have a starting point that you are comfortable with.

The Botaniste captured Francesca's vision in this STUNNING, textural bouquet.

Francesca offers up advice to future brides and grooms. Enjoy the process. Start early so you get to have everything you want. It will give you a chance to shop around and save money. Most importantly, don't stress too much. The day is going to go so fast you won't even notice half the stuff you spent so much time worrying about- and your guests won't either! I wish I could go back and do it all over again.

Look at those favors! Details like this make an event but details mean work. Francesca and Dennis tell us about their decision to hire a wedding planner. We decided to hire a planners to help us through the process and it was the best decision we made. Our planner was our rock. She helped us from start to finish. From budget planning to site visits and rentals to decor and more importantly- execution of the decor- which is harder than one may think. She was my "day of" coordinator as well, which I think is necessary regardless of whether you decide to have a wedding planner or not. Otherwise, your friends and family are stressed trying to help get all the last minute stuff done rather than enjoying the day getting ready and being in the moment.

These pictures are amazing! Lydia Leclair of Lydia Leclair Photography captured every single detail of this amazing wedding. Even the dreamy night sky!

 

VENDORS

photography: Lydia Leclair Photography // wedding design: the bride and groom // venue: Camp Massasoit at Springfield College // dress: Daniel Faucher Couture // florals: The Botaniste // rentals: TJ's Taylor Rental // DJ: Chris Hamel Productions // catering: Springfield College Catering // cake: Cerrato's Bakery