Different Wedding Websites

I have worked with some of these websites in the past as a vendor- trying to create profiles, seeing what works the best for me and mu budget (or lack there of). But now that I'm in wedding planning mode, I'm using these sites way more and very differently. 

To be honest, I knew some things about these sites, but not a lot. I didn't really know how brides used them, what they were more known for or how I should be using them. Sure I check out their blogs here and there and see their gorgeous wedding photos, but functionality wise, I haven't really done much research. 

My first thought when I got started was to use the Knot. They are the most prevalent at bridal shows, I have their magazines, and that was just my gut reaction on where to get started. I also found, and purchased, their wedding planning binder, after asking a planner what their thoughts on planners were. I chose it because it looked simple enough to use, it wasn't super expensivem it wasn't too froo-froo-y, and it had a plastic sheet to hold on to additional papers in the back. I love magazines and get a ton of inspiration from them, so this plastic sheet meant I could cut pages out and hang on to them.

Some of these websites below, I have had free business profiles for a while. I mostly have them just to have them and don't invest too much other than ensuring my profile is up to date. But in order to get the full experience as a bride (and not get a ton of spam to my personal email address), I created an email address just for the wedding and created new profiles with it on all of the sites. 

That said, in case you're like me and maybe don't know what each different wedding website really does, here's a quick synopsis of what I've found so far. 

THE KNOT  |  As a vendor, I've heard a lot of different stories, some good, a lot bad, about the Knot. But whether I truly like to admit it or not, it has been the biggest help to me. I've used it for my checklist, budgeting and researching vendors. I downloaded the app on my iPad and it lets me check things off as I do them and gives me a really good timeline as to when I should have things done by. 

The biggest vendor the Knot helped me with was my Venue. I was able to plug in the amount of guests, location radius, and budget and it gave me multiple options that I could look at. 

WEDDING WIRE  |  I also created an account on Wedding Wire and downloaded the app to take a look. It's very similar to the Knot, just different. If I hadn't download the Knot app first, I probably could've used Wedding Wire just as easily.

Working in the wedding industry, I know that different vendors invest in different websites. And different brides relate to different wedding websites. So I have researched vendors on this site as well as the Knot to get more thorough information regarding vendors I don't have any background on. 

Wedding Wire also had a similar venue search and even included the available dates. Although I will say my concern with available dates is, do vendors really update that regularly? What are the chances that if I contacted a vendor that Wedding Wire said had the date open, but they aren't open and hadn't updated it? That makes me a little skeptical....

STYLE ME PRETTY  |  Style Me Pretty is more of an inspiration that anything else. I searched for vendors a few times, but their lists are pretty scarce, so I didn't find much. I did enjoy looking at gorgeous photos and their wedding inspiration and plan on using it more for inspiration than finding vendors. I will say that on the weddings in the blogs that I found gorgeous, I did research those vendors on other sites and in Google to see if they would work with what I needed. I'm a visual person, so photos are a great way for me to see what the vendors have to offer.

SOUTHERN WEDDINGS  |  I LOVE the Southern Wedding magazine the most! Like that is my absolute favorite part of Southern Weddings. They have gorgeous photos, fun inspirations, traditions, and great articles, especially if you want that southern touch. I've gotten some fun ideas and traditions from the magazine that I can't wait to incorporate into my wedding. However, I wouldn't go there for much more than inspiration. Their vendor list is very limited.

WEDDING LOVELY  |  Wedding Lovely is actually the site I had my first Twila & Co. free profile on. It is similar to the Knot and Wedding Wire in that it's more about planning and vendors. They do have a blog for inspiration, it's also easy to use and has a lot of good information, it's just not quite as 'known' as the Knot or Wedding Wire.

WEDDING.COM  |  Wedding.com is an interesting one. I wasn't as blown away with it as I was the others. There weren't a ton of vendor profiles, the website was both underwhelming and overwhelming at the same time in that it was somewhat chaotic and unorganized, but as not aesthetically pleasing as the others. It didn't impress me enough to want to create a profile and get more information.


Just a note from a vendor perspective, it didn't matter if the vendor profiles had paid/developed profiles on any of the websites. I still researched each vendor on other social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and their websites and looked at reviews on various platforms. 

And a note on vendor reviews. Reviews can be an interesting thing to read. As a small business, I know that sometimes reviews don't always tell the whole story and only share one side. I've seen a lot of situations in the industry that have two very different sides, so I always take reviews with a grain of salt. If a vendor has one bad review but 10 good ones, I kind of assume that that one particular bad one was just an unfortunate situation. If the vendor has multiple bad reviews from differing people with different situations, then I see it as a red flag. I also look up reviews on different websites such as Facebook, Google, and even the business page. It helps to get a more well-rounded point of view before booking. 

Best Free Resources

Happy Monday, ya'll! 

Today's blog I'm going to be sharing some of my favorite free graphic design, photo, planning and font websites with you! Because who doesn't love free stuff?? I'm the kind of person that saves EVERYTHING (I'm talking graphics, fonts, photos, etc.) because you never know when you're going to need it. You may have to join some mailing lists, but believe me, it's totally worth it!

Creative Market  |  Join their mailing list for six free goods every Monday. It ranges from stock photos, to social media templates, to fonts, to imagery. Every week is different and I'm always so excited for that email.

SC Stock Photo  |  Join their mailing list for one free stock photo every month.  Shay Cochrane is incredible and so is her photography. I love snagging her monthly photos (along with other photos in her shop!) and hanging on to them to use. They are great stock photos to edit or add verbiage too for Instagram or Social Media.

Shutterfly  |  Yes...you guessed it...Join their mailing list! They do send more emails than the other two website, BUT they are always giving away cards, prints, calendars, etc. I almost always take advantage of these and use the freebies for my brand. I upload graphics and logos and just pay for shipping! 

Unsplash  |  You don't have to join a list for Unsplash! Just create an account and you can snag some free photos. Be aware of their usage policies for different photos.

Free Images  |  Another great source for free images! Just be sure to read the descriptions and fine print as to what they can be used for. 

Font Squirrel  |  If you're look for new free fonts, Font Squirrel has some great fonts that aren't your normal 'Microsoft Word' fonts. 

Later App  |  For the first 30 posts every month, the Later App is a great Instagram planning and posting app. I can schedule posts with photos and hashtags from my computer, and then post from my phone. I can also see my Instagram feed and plan photos accordingly. It's seriously a game changer.

Boomerang for Gmail  |  Boomerang is an app for Gmail where you can send emails at a later time or pause your inbox. I try to keep my business hours pretty strict as a way to maintain some sort of work/life balance. However, there are definitely times where I work passed my said business hours to get caught up on emails. When I do this, I schedule my emails to go out as soon as the next business hours are so it looks like I'm still within my business hours. 

When it comes to pausing my inbox, I answer emails in the morning and in the evening, and pause my inbox during the day to allow me time to get actual work done and get caught up. I have a habit of doing 100 things at once, and that includes habitually checking my email every time something comes through. To keep my distractions down, I know pause my inbox so I can actually focus.


For all free resources, make sure to read the fine print to know where and for what these items are allowed to be used. If credit needs to be acknowledged, make sure to give a shout out to them! We are all in this together

Saying Yes to the Dress

Last week, I said yes to the dress! I still can't believe it. All of this engagement and wedding stuff still feels surreal sometimes. And I mean that in the best way possible. Planning a wedding is an experience you wait your whole life for! Especially as a girl. And when it finally happens, it almost doesn't feel real, like you're in a dream.

Finding your wedding dress is no exception to this. 

After finding the venue and the photographer, this was my next thing to tackle. Dresses can take anywhere from 3 to 8 months to come in, and I didn't want to rush it or chance it, so I made sure to give myself plenty of time to look at dresses, try them on and make a decision without rushing the experience. 

I got my dress at Ava Laurenne Bride (feel free to head on over to their website to check out their newly designed website by yours truly...that'll be coming soon enough to the blog!). And it was such an amazing experience! I got the princess treatment and let me tell you, I truly felt like a princess. It was the most wonderful evening filled wit surprises from friends, family, Catherine from Monkee's and it is something I will remember for the rest of my life. 

The hardest thing about picking a dress is not telling Joe about it. I tell him everything; he's my best friend. And I got home from the appointment floating on cloud nine and it was so hard to not spill the beans to him all about the dress. 

And while I won't share the details about my dress here, I am going to share about my experience what my tips are for not only finding the perfect dress but also how to have the best experience possible. 

Do a little research beforehand. I think we all have a little bit of an idea of what kind of wedding dress we want when we walk into an appointment. With Pinterest and wedding magazines, it's hard not to have an idea of what we want. I sent a few photos to my consultant before going, and also mad a list of what was important to me. For me, I had two things that were 'must haves' (things like strapless, lace, poofiness, etc.) and after that, I left it to my consultant to make suggestions based on my style, wedding theme, and body type. These bridal shops have SO MANY DRESSES that it's hard to go through and see every single one. So that leads to my nest tip:

Trust your consultant. They're the professional! They know what dresses they have in the store, what would look best on your body type, what would match your style and so much more. The dress I ended up choosing had the two must-haves I wanted, but the rest was way different than what I thought I would have wanted. And that's because I trusted my consultant to choose a different style for me and it blew me away. 

Be Open Minded. As I said in my last tip, I ended up choosing a dress that was different than what I initially thought I wanted. I went in just wanting to try things on and enjoy my time with my friends and family and having fun, and it made finding my dress so much more relaxing rather than stressing out about whether or not I would have that 'moment.' Because you will have it. And you'll know it in your heart. 

Schedule it on a week day (if you can), I know this is hard. Our schedules are crazy, work is crazy, LIFE is crazy. But you know what else is crazy? A Saturday at a bridal salon. Seriously. If you want the true royal treatment, take a half day or an early afternoon and schedule you're appointment then. The consultants won't be running around like crazy and be able to spend more one-on-one time with you, you may even end up having the shop mostly to yourself rather than being one of multiple appointments. 

Bring the most important people with you (not everyone!). I definitely can't stress this one enough. Only bring the most important and most supportive people alone with you, not everyone! Yes, I would have loved to have all of my friends there and everyone I want involved in the wedding, I mean, who doesn't want everyone to see them in their wedding dress and have a little attention on them?! But you know that term 'Too many cooks in the kitchen'? That definitely applies here. Only bring those who are going to be positive, supportive, and understand that this is is your decision and yours alone. 

Be decisive and specific. Like I said before: it's your decision. If you don't like something, then you don't like it! Don't let someone else talk you into something. It's about you. But when you don't like something, be specific about why. This can help your consultant understand more about you and what you're looking for. So before taking the dress off, point out the specific things that you don't (or that you do!) like about the dress to help them determine what you're looking for. 

Think alterations. So this was actually kind of a shock for me. I had no idea that dresses get so many alterations. I mean, I know they alter things to your body type and size, but I didn't realize that they added straps and belts and made things lower or higher, etc. In the end, almost no two dresses are the same! It's actually kind of crazy! Another bride and myself could pick the same dress, but with alterations and additions and subtractions, we could end up in two almost completely different dresses. So be sure to use your imagination a little bit and understand that you can make just about any change to make the dress your own.


A HUGE thank you to Ava Laurenne Bride for providing such an amazing experience and to my consultant (and sister!), Jeri, for making my wedding dress dreams come to life. I can't wait for Joe to see me in my wedding dress!

Do you have any tips on wedding dress shopping? Or want to share your experience? Share it with us my posting below! We'd love to hear!

Photos by Tim Souza Photography

Branding Client | AP Stecker

I feel like I'm finally catching up on my blogs and featuring some of my amazing clients. This year, I've felt so blessed to have worked with so many amazing people and their small businesses. I love branding because I get to help people really take their business to the next level of making it feeling like its theirs

Inspiration Board

Inspiration Board

This morning, I'm sharing the brand I worked on with Amaia from AP Stecker Events and I'm so excited! This was such a fun brand to design. She had visions of constellations and stars with blues the same as the shades as the sky. 

I got to work with constellations and the night sky to develop this brand and I know I'm biased, but I think it turned out so cool. If you head on over to the website, one of my favorite aspects is the night sky video when you arrive on the home page. 

Amaia's style and brand incorporated so many fun elements and stayed true to herself and her vision for her event planning business. She was such a pleasure to work with and I'm so excited to finally share it with you! 

 


Style Guide

 
 

Website

 
 
Source: ap

Tyler & Ed | Mount Vernon Wedding

Today's Wedding Wednesday is taking it back to a spring wedding, Tyler & Ed. What a lovely couple they are. As much as I loved seeing them get married and taking a look at those gorgeous photos, I was almost a little bit sad as their day came and went as that meant I wouldn't get to work with Tyler anymore. She was seriously one of the sweetest brides ever. And we added some gorgeous details to her suite that I still can't get over.

photographybymarirosa_1178.jpg

We started with a beautiful amethyst, rectangolo pocket envelope with an embossed monogram on the flap that (I wish you could see! Unfortunately embossed items don't photograph too well. But then we layered the invitation with a silver scalloped mat that really popped on the darker background. 

So in English (ha!) that means a luxurious purple, horizontal pocket envelope (in above photo, it's the purple background) that holds all of the invitation pieces: invite itself, RSVP card, Information Card and Timeline. And the invitation itself is glued onto a silver cardstock with a scalloped edging (you can see the circle-like edging around the invitation) that is then glued onto the pocket envelope.

One of my favorite things about invitations are when we add the simplest details because you wouldn't know it but they just add SO much. In this suite, the embosser (in this case, embossing means that we essentially stamped her monogram into the flap of the pocket envelope by raising and lowering aspects of the paper) added such a subtle touch to the outer flap. And then the timeline. I just love it when brides do timelines like she did. It can just add so much character to a suite and truly show the feel of the wedding in photos.

Invitations are such a great way to set the tone of your wedding to your guests, and it's a great way to brand your wedding throughout the entire event. I just love all of the details of Tyler & Karen's planning of the beautiful florals, the cake, the cake topper, the Mount Vernon inclusions, and more. And Marirosa did a phenomenal job capturing it all. 

Vendor list to follow photos below.


Venue  |  Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant

Photographer  |  Photography by Marirosa

Planner  |  Karen Berl, RSVP Events

Invitations   |  Twila & Co.

Videography  |  Stan Pe Films

Floral Design  |  Barbara Von Elm

Bakery/Desserts  |  Gateau Distinctive Cakes

Hair & Make-Up  |  Alison Harper & Company