Wedding Wednesday: Setting (and staying within) a Reasonable Wedding Budget

It’s #Wedding #Wednesday, and we’re pretty sure the phrase ‘better late than never’ applies to today’s post! We’ve been working on some GORGEOUS fall weddings over here, and dreaming up ideas for next season as well – but what good is all of that prettiness without a solid foundation on which to build it? The reality of the matter is that weddings mean incurring a very specific set of costs, and surprises are not fun. Never fear: you can still have the wedding of your dreams without taking out a second mortgage or selling your handbag collection!

Said bluntly: most people over-spend on their weddings, fail to account for all costs up front, and get frustrated when an established budget isn’t enough to cover the realization of their hopes and dreams for their event. Planning a wedding is hard enough – when you add budget planning into the mix, the process can become overwhelming very quickly. Here are our top 5 tips to set a reasonable wedding budget – and stay within it – keeping you sane, happy, and in control:

  1. Play the numbers game: One very real (and controllable) expense is the guest count for your event. I can be tempting to invite everyone you have ever met and your dry cleaner to witness in your blessed event – after all, you’re wearing a gown! You paid for an ombrè aisle runner! The best predictor of wedding cost is the number of people you plan to feed, host, and entertain. Tailor your guest list to your budget – instead of trying to stretch a modest budget to cover 500 guests with an elephant grand entrance. In addition, it’s worth noting that the party who foots the bill for the wedding has the power to establish the guest list – so if your parents aren’t contributing, you don’t have to accommodate their request to invite Crew friends from the old days or their ex-business partners and their wives (anyone non-family) unless you want to. Tailor your guest list to exactly the people you want to celebrate with, and the rest will be fairly straightforward – after all, it’s your wedding, and its about your new union.

  2. Rank your priorities:  Are you a foodie who solely cares about the food and beverages served at your event? Or perhaps an interior designer, incredibly focused on the styled details of your wedding decor? Maybe you’re not sure what you care about most – but you really want the pictures from your big day to last a lifetime, and you plan to be picky about your photographer. Whatever your priorities are for your wedding (everyone has them), you need to establish a ranked list, in order to justify the cost of each line item as you book vendors. Typically, catering will be your largest expense – but that doesn’t mean you have to serve caviar and filet mignon. Your list should include typical areas of focus, including: florals, decor, rentals and furniture, attire, honeymoon, venue and location, food and beverages, photography, videography, dessert, and guest entertainment. My top 3 would be: Florals, food and beverages, and venue – once you have your list established, you can make decisions about which vendors are worth splurging on or spending more.

  3. Prepare for surprise costs ahead of time: There are always costs beyond what you see on a proposal. ALWAYS. Whether these are a broken glass here, missing lanterns there, or perhaps greatly appreciated gratuities you share with your service staff on the day of your event, the best way to handle these additional costs is to prepare for them. Ask your planner or research best practices around gratuities, comb through contracts with a fine toothed comb, choose vendors who come in below budget, and never assume your bill is final until it’s final. Budget for extraneous costs while you’re planning, and add 5% of your total budget as ‘swing coverage’, to be used just in case.

  4. Be willing to negotiate and compromise: Catering proposal too high? Not feeling like you’re getting enough bang for your buck with your floral contract? Really consider your priorities (refer to point #2), and decide where compromise is necessary. Perhaps you LOVE your floral design, but you’re slightly over budget – is there somewhere else you can cut back? Do you really need three cheese stations set up by your caterer, or would one suffice? When you’re flexible and deliberate with your budget, you can breathe easier, knowing that you’re not overspending in every category. Be willing to negotiate, but be reasonable: most wedding vendors are small and medium sized business owners, who are selling their artistry and craft as much as their product.

  5. Stay organized – the devil is in the details: if you do not have a wedding budget tracker (broken out by line item, proposed amount, actual amount, and due date) you’re not keeping track of your budget as closely as you can. As a planner, I have a spreadsheet template that I share with clients ahead of time, to give them an idea of standard percentages of your budget that should be devoted to each line item. For instance, typically, food and beverages equate to 30-40% of your total wedding budget. From there, keep a copy of every proposal and contract you receive/sign, to stay ahead of spending.

    Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Budget Advice

    Wedding planner by Confetti Shop UK

If your wedding finances are organized proactively, the planning process will be much more feasible and enjoyable!

Perfectly Styled: Equestrian Wedding Inspo

Loyal followers, I’m sorry my presence has been spotty (at best) this week — keeping up has been TOUGH recently (totally my fault), and I’ve been a little too human for my own liking! That said, we missed Wedding Wednesday this week (which y’all KNOW is my secret favorite), and I wanted to make up for that today.

Let’s talk about Equestrian: not only is horse sport one of the oldest pastimes in the books (since medieval times, no pun intended), it’s also one of the most beautiful. Not everyone rides or loves a horse of their own, but most people inherently appreciate the history and class that lives in the Equestrian aesthetic. (Hermes built a business upon it in Paris, and girls everywhere don riding boots each winter as a style statement).

Refined riding has always been popular among a select set of citizens, but recently, we’re seeing a revival of equestrian design in the public eye – specifically in the wedding industry. I’m starting to ride again at a local barn in September, and last weekend, Kaella Lynn Events pulled off a wedding in Los Altos with an equestrian vibe – so I’ve got horses on the brain! Here are some of my favorite inspirations for an equestrian wedding that is equal parts girly, classic, and traditional:

Detailed & Delighted // Equestrian Wedding Inspo

A gorgeous floral horse wreath on a pretty mare // Photo by Corbin Gurkin via Style Me Pretty

Detailed & Delighted // Equestrian Wedding Inspo

Derby inspired cocktails in silver Julep Cups // Photo by Jodi Miller via Style Me Pretty

Detailed & Delighted // Equestrian Wedding Inspo

An orchid adorned leather saddle // Photo via This Is Glamorous

Detailed & Delighted // Equestrian Wedding Inspo

Horseshoe escort cards // photo by Jessica Lewis Photography via Style Me Pretty

Detailed & Delighted // Equestrian Wedding Inspo

Bridal Portrait //Photo by Heather Rowland Photography via Southern Weddings

Detailed & Delighted // Equestrian Wedding Inspo

Pretty pink place settings // Photo by Kristin Moore via Style Me Pretty

Detailed & Delighted // Equestrian Wedding Inspo

Trophy centerpieces // Photo by Al Gaulik via Burnett’s Boards

Detailed & Delighted // Equestrian Wedding Inspo

Prize ribbons vignette in shades of blush // Photo via Grace Bonney

Wedding Wednesday: California Rustic Wedding Inspo

It’s really easy to forget that while I live in a bubble of weddings, sunshine, and the ‘California’ aesthetic, not everyone is a 30 minute drive from the magic that is wine country, or an hour outside of Carmel! Rustic luxury is a wedding ‘theme’ (I hate that word) that came into the popular spotlight in the last 10 years, and it’s major. Perfectly in tune with California’s look (golden hillsides, perfect sunsets, vineyards and ranches galore), rustic doesn’t have to mean your wedding happens in a barn or that it looks overtly ‘Pinteresting’ – the key to this look is simplicity and an abundance of natural elements. In keeping with easy breezy west coast style, California weddings are really popular, and they’re typically characterized by incorporating some of the outdoor beauty of the event venue into the design and styling of the event. You can get married in a garden, in a field, or in a forest – the idea is to keep the vibe ‘natural’.

Here are 5 key components that many rustic California weddings have in common:

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: California rustic weddings

1. An outdoor venue space, like this grape-covered area at Holman Ranch, in Carmel Valley

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: California rustic weddings

2. Natural wooden furniture, like these bistro chairs and farm tables (Photo by Michael Radford via Style Me Pretty)

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: California rustic weddings

3. Lots of natural light and fine art photography (Photo by Delbarr Moradi via Style Me Pretty)

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: California rustic weddings

4. A loose wildflower aesthetic, bonus points for peonies and dahlias (Photo via Inspired Bride)

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: California rustic weddings

5. Natural greenery elements, and un-stuffy desserts and presentation, like this naked cake on a wooden cheese board, adorned in olive branches and tea roses (Photo by Jemma Keech)

Wedding Wednesday: The 10 BEST Wedding Favors

When you read the words ‘Party Favors’, what does your mind immediately recall? For me, I remember the incredibly thoughtful and creative goodies my mom would help me customize for all of my childhood birthdays. We’re not talking about plastic baggies from Party City filled with $0.89 cent plastic toys – that would not fly in our household. I’m referring to things like craft frames she had kids decorate at my cowboy party, and then filled with photos of them taken at the event in western garb. THAT level.

So it’s no surprise that when it comes to wedding favors, I’m of the opinion that they should be completely tailored and customized to the bride and groom, as well as their event. I’m an eater – so edible gifts are my very favorite! A lot of couples opt for home items or small styled tokens instead – which, when done well, can be lovely. Here are three rules of thumb to keep in mind when choosing your wedding favors:

1. Is the favor either immediately edible or mainstream useful (like a bottle opener or dishtowel)? If not, it’s likely to end up in a junk drawer somewhere.

2. If you’re customizing or personalizing the item with a monogram or wedding date, can that be removed to lend the item to every day use in someone else’s home (such as the dishtowel mentioned above)? Consider finding a way to attach a tag or sign with the personalization, and keep the item neutral.

3. Does the item go with your decor, theme, or aesthetic? And if so, is it something you personally would be excited to take home or eat? If not, it’s probably not the right favor choice. You want your guests to be excited about the object that helps them remember your day!

Here are our top 10 FAVORITE favors from around the web, chosen for beauty, creativity, and usability:

1. Bottle Openers with personalized tags

2. Personalized Jam Jars in the couple’s favorite flavor

Detailed & Delighted // Top 10 wedding Favors

Photo by Laura Gordon Photography // via Style Me Pretty (this is my friend Junie’s Wedding!!)

3. PIE POPS!!! Tied with Ribbons! These are my absolute favorite dessert, so obviously…

Detailed & Delighted // Top 10 wedding Favors

Photo via Williams Sonoma

4. Customized miniature bottles of the bride or grooms’ signature drink (great for after-parties!)

5. Cake jars (dessert on the go!) with a late night treat inside

Detailed & Delighted // Top 10 wedding Favors

Photo by Our Labor of Love via Martha Stewart Weddings (From Cacee Cobb and Donald Faison’s wedding!)

6. Customized candles from the BEST soy candlemaker in the world, Illatos Lang (The owner, Jade, is my cousin, and her candles are just BEYOND!!)

Detailed & Delighted // Top 10 wedding Favors

Illatos Lang Australia’s ‘Love’ Candle

7. Honey jar favors with stirrer sticks and tiny tags

8. A perfect customized loose leaf tea blend in cute pouches

9. Mini succelents – perfectly pocket sized, and life-durable

10. Olive oil favors with custom favor tags in Italian – molto benne for an al fresco affair!

Wedding Wednesday: Glittering Summer Gowns

Happy Wedding Wednesday! Today we’re taking a look through all of the divine jeweled gowns we’re seeing this season, both at real events and across the runways. The summer is the perfect time to break out one of these fluffy jeweled confections, and strut down the aisle to the beat of your own drum! If you’re a little less overstated, a matte-sequined bodice on a classic gown still looks feminine and glam, with a slightly less punchy impact on your overall wedding aesthetic. The rules of wearing this type of wedding dress are simple: keep makeup and accessories simple, and let your gown do the talking (read: singing).

Here are our top 6 favorites from all around the web – will you be wearing a glitter gown this season?! Let us know!

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Glittering Summer Gowns

Dress by Truvelle // Photo by Sarah Nickerson

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Glittering Summer Gowns

Dress by Zuhair Murad // Photo by Getty Images via Style Me Pretty

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Glittering Summer Gowns

Photo via HappyWedd

Wedding Wednesday: The 7 Golden Rules of Wedding Technology

These days, technology pervades everything – including the wedding industry. On the consumer side (that’s you, brides) there are a number of different ways to use technology to make your wedding day easier and more logistically feasible – think online inspiration boards, web-payments for your vendors, email communication, the wedding #hashtag, and so many more!

Here are the ‘7 golden rules’ of the tech game to remember as your big day approaches:

1. Facebook is not a glass of wine or your best friend – do not turn your profile into a perpetual wedding venting session.

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Golden Rules of Wedding Tech

Getty Images // Photo via The Knot

With friends getting married, I typically expect one of two social media circumstances: they’re either going to be overtly happy and excited, and only share the great things that happen along their wedding journey (fine), or they’re going to vent and complain publicly for 3-18 months until their wedding day. If the latter, I usually ‘mute’ them from my feed – it’s more a survival mechanism for our friendship than anything else. Try not to be this bride – if you need to vent, find an offline way to do so.

2. E-vites for classy weddings are not “a thing”.

This may be a hotly contested point by modern brides (‘People LIVE in their email inboxes!’) – but that’s the point, really. An invitation to a wedding should traditionally be a departure from the everyday (the inbox), and a call to something special (your wedding). A paper invitation sent by mail feels more formal and considerate, and every recipient will be grateful for the time and thought you put into crafting them/addressing them/sending them out. Looking to save money on paper goods? Try printing sources like Wedding Paper Divas and TinyPrints, who can help you design the invitations of your dreams at a fraction of the cost.

3. Do not waste money buying decor (or even your wedding dress) on a shady discount website.

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Golden Rules of Wedding Tech

Photo (and dress) via Ebay

Say it with me: “If it sounds too good to be true, it most definitely is.” That custom Marchesa wedding gown you’ve been dreaming of that’s listed for $50 online, special-mail-order-sight-unseen from China? That’s a hoax, and a ploy to chip away at your valuable wedding budget. Save yourself the time, money, and heartache, and order online from reputable sources only. If you’re looking for a discount, plenty of reputable sources exist!

4. Instagram is for documenting your life, not just wedding planning – remember to have one.

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Golden Rules of Wedding Tech

Photo via How He Asked

WE ALL HAVE THAT FRIEND that has posted 185 images of their engagement ring/dog in a bowtie/random wedding crap on social media this year, leading up to her wedding. It’s overwhelming, and can incite feelings of negativity and annoyance in friends, followers, and loved ones. Our best tip? Don’t spam their newsfeeds – keep the rest of your life intact, and make your wedding a small part of it. Instagramming and posting wedding details periodically can be an exciting and fun way to share your experience, but don’t forget everything else you have going on outside of your wedding.

5. Pinning is not the same as planning.

Pinterest is a FANTASTIC wedding resource – to a point. While you’re in your ‘inspiration’ and ‘design’ phases, online Pinboards and visual curations of your ideas are a great use of your time. But pinning won’t organize your service contracts, curate your wedding day timeline, or write your vows for your ceremony – so keep it in check. One last point: don’t confuse vision with action. You may have wonderful design ideas and taste – but it will take action, and a team of wedding professionals, to bring that to life.

6. Read every contract before you sign – even if it only takes one click online to ‘e-sign’.

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Golden Rules of Wedding Tech

Photo via Brides

Online signatures require very little effort – but do you know what you’re signing? Be sure to take the time to read each and every contract that you receive from vendors, including you event venue. Seem daunting? Hire a planner or month-of coordinator, who can do this for you – they’re trained to look for tiny nuances within wedding contracts that can make all the difference, and can communicate any changes that need to be made.

7. Emails are not always as impactful as conversations – don’t assume that people read yours.

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Golden Rules of Wedding Tech

Photo via OneWed

When in doubt as to whether or not someone has received your email (like a bridesmaid or your cake bakery), pick up the phone and call them. Tone and context are important, and everyone is busy – a quick call can do the work of 3 back and forth email conversations. You’ll be very thankful when you show up at your event, and everyone is accurately informed.

Wedding Wednesday: Destination Inspiration in Lake Como

Since the day I fell in love with weddings (and those of you who know me know just how long it’s been), I have been excited about the idea of planning a destination wedding. I picture somewhere far, romantic, and removed from every day life in the busy cities of San Francisco or LA – a departure from reality. We’re not just talking about Ojai, CA or Tulum, Mexico here – this wedding I’ve dreamed up is a a plane, train, and boat ride away on Lake Como, in Italy.

George Clooney and John Legend’s wedding aside, Lake Como has gained more and more popularity over the last 10 years – and it’s apparent why. Italian Lake Country (in the northernmost part of the country) is surrounded by steep alps, crystal clear lakes, and a seemingly endless array of sprawling Italian villas, rich with history. Though it’s not they type of wedding to be hosted on a small budget (flights alone are more than a thousand dollars), it is the type of exotic locale to inspire a week’s worth of wedding festivities, and a lifetime’s worth of memories. A destination wedding here would need to be tailored down to the tiniest detail: a guest list comprised exclusively of one’s closest friends and family, the perfect seasonal (and local, duh…) menu of Italian foods and beverages, and a perfect aesthetic of mediterranean elegance and organic elements (I picture a lot of green). Swoon!

Enjoy the inspirations below, and let me know if you could picture yourself in a villa on the lake, celebrating your own wedding and living ‘La Vita Dolce’ – I know I could!

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Lake Como Destination Inspo

Custom Invitations via Meagan Tidwell

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Lake Como Destination Inspo

Photo via Pinterest

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Lake Como Destination Inspo

Photo via Flickr