Where to Splurge

where to splurgeWhere to splurge… Top 4 Wedding “musts” that should take priority in your budget

Undoubtedly, the union between you and your fiancé is the most important thing about your wedding day, and to ensure a successful event, keep that first and foremost in your minds when planning your event.  Beyond that, prioritizing your wedding budget may not be an easy task, but here are a few tips to know where your splurges will be well worth your dollars.

  1. PHOTOGRAPHY:  At the end of the day, the photographs and video will be all you have left to look back on from your wedding; the portrait sitting on your nightstand that you wake up to EVERY morning and the canvas of you with your wedding party hanging in your living room that you walk past ten times a day. So do your research, hire a professional and dish out the cash or you will be regretting it forever when your ceremony shots are blurry or when there’s not a single picture of you with your parents.
  2. REPUTABLE BRIDAL BOUTIQUE SERVICE:  The bargain shopper in you may lead you to believe that purchasing a gown via the Internet might sound like a great way to save a few dollars, or that skimping on a full-service bridal salon with an experienced alterations department is a safe way to cut corners. However, when ordering online you are risking getting inferior quality, not getting the gown delivered on time, or even worse, not getting your gown at all! And dress sizing is not a simple task, ordering a dress online or from a “Big Box Store” might actually cost you more money in the long run on alterations when you need to rush to an experienced seamstress at the last minute. An ill-fitting gown that you are uncomfortable in or that you are constantly adjusting can really ruin your vision. And back to those photographs you will be looking at every day for the rest of your life, it’s crucial that you are in a dress that you love, that you look lovely in and that you will not look back on and say “what was I thinking?”. Every bride has a vision of her wedding and that vision is focused on her in her dress, this is NOT an area to cut corners. So read reviews, buy from a reputable bridal boutique with an experienced alterations department and budget for a dress you will love for eternity. Remember, it is okay to splurge because chances are you will not remember the shrimp appetizer or the gold leaf on the Thank-You notes on your 25th Anniversary, but you will always remember THE DRESS!
  3. MENU& SERVICE:  Make sure your guests are well-fed and that the service is impeccable. Food and service are some things that people tend to talk about during the reception and beyond.   If your guests leave hungry or have an encounter with a rude server, this is what they will be remembering from your wedding.   Even if you have a tight budget, you can still select a menu that tastes great and fills tummies, well served guests are happy guests!
  4. A BAND OR DJ:  Your ceremony make take 30 minutes to an hour, and dinner usually takes roughly an hour, so what happens during the rest of your five or six hour reception? The entertainment! This is another “wedding must” so decline the offer from your neighbor’s cousin’s brother-in-law who is in a band as a side gig and forget about hooking up your phone to a boom box! Take the time to do your research and actually attend performances of prospective DJs or Bands, it is totally worth your budget dollars to book experienced musicians with good reviews. This is a huge part of your celebration and if you provide your guests with a fun evening of recognizable songs and a packed dance floor, you will have them referring to your event as the party of the year!

With Love,


Spice up your Wedding Reception


Whether you and your partner would like to honor your family’s heritage, or if you simply want to give your reception a bit of extra flavor, adding a cultural theme to your reception can be a great way to spice things up. Try these easy tips to give your reception a unique flare!

SERVE CULTURAL DISHES The best way to incorporate a cultural theme into your wedding reception is to start with the food. In lieu of your average American meal, pick your favorite cultural food and develop a menu of traditional dishes. You could create a Mexican fiesta with traditional Latin dishes, an Indian buffet with a curry station, a Japanese sushi bar with bottles of saki, a Russian meat and caviar spread with bottles of vodka, a Spanish tapas table with sangria, or an Italian buffet of pastas and cheese with a coffee bar! If you and your partner have different ethnic backgrounds, speak to your caterers about designing a custom menu that can blend the cuisines of both cultures into a one-of-a-kind feast.

ADD CULTRAL DECOR & MUSIC After you choose the cultural theme for your menu, you should turn your attention to the decor of your reception. You don’t need to completely transform your venue, but you can make plenty of design choices that will reflect the influences of your cultural theme. Do a bit of research on national flowers and plants that have religious or historical significance to your culture, and add a few stems to your floral arrangements. Hire bands, solo musicians, and DJ’s that can play traditional music and set the tone for your cultural theme. For example, if you’re having an Indian wedding, you might consider hiring a sitar player to entertain guests during dinner. If you’re having a Latin wedding, you may consider hiring a Spanish guitar player or a mariachi band to play between reception activities.

Whatever you decide, take pride in your culture and give your guests something to talk about!

With love,




Centerpieces aren’t just pretty floral arrangements any more. These days they are mini-showcases or tablescapes for your personality, your theme, or your wedding union. Thinking ahead, reprint some photos from when you were dating, gather up some vintage pieces, ad some flair from your hobbies, or build clever arrangements with wedding favors for the taking. Pinterest can be a great resource for centerpiece ideas. Your tables will be unique, memorable, and, as a bonus, there will be less waste and/or cleanup.

With Love,



The Theme is Themes…

wedding theme We are more than 20 years into the Internet age and with every passing day, life becomes more and more customizable. At your fingertips, you can share ideas among thousands of people. This means you can create and fashion a wedding of your dreams. Enjoy a full-out Gatsby wedding theme if you have the means, but budget does not have to be a factor. Have a “blue” wedding and request that all guests dress in blue. Even a garden wedding! Fabulous photo ops! Or hats… or high school jackets… Whatever your heart desires! Show us what you got.

With Love,



Bridesmaid 101


Being asked to stand up in a wedding is a honor. With that said, it is the brides choice to what style and color she wants for her big day.  Bridesmaids dresses have come a long way and traditional rules do not apply anymore.  A lot of brides will pick a color and fabric and will let the girls choose the style that works best for their body. Also, some brides will go for a more hombre look, different shades of a color.

Frequently asked questions…

What size dress should my pregnant bridesmaid order?

If their was only a way to look into a magic ball and see what size she was going to be.  It is impossible for us to suggest a size, everybody’s body changes differently.  A standard rule is we can only alter a dress down 2 sizes without distorting the look of a dress. Some designers offer a maternity style dress in the style your regular bridesmaids are wearing.

Why do you wait to order all my bridesmaids until everyone has ordered?

When your girls are wearing the same dress or dresses in the same color and fabric, we wait to order so the dresses are all cut from the same dye lot.

How long does it take to order the dresses?

Standard ordering time for bridesmaids dresses is 16 – 18 weeks.  Make sure you also add enough time for your girls to get their dresses altered.

Your bridesmaids will forever be remembered in all your photos.  Choose a look that flatters everyone in your party.

With love,



Bridal Attire Timeline

bridal atire timeline

The Bride: 1 year – Allow at least one year before your wedding to find your gown.  Most designers take anywhere from 6 – 8 months to receive a gown. In addition, you need to allow 6-8 weeks for alterations.  No such thing as ordering to soon, only to late.

Bridesmaids:  6 months – Wrangling a group of women together and deciding on a dress can be a long process.  The bride has friends and family that are scattered around the world, and getting them all together is almost completely impossible.  However, if you want all your dresses to be in the same color, they need to all order form one location, ensuring they come from the same dye lot of fabric. Allow enough time for the dresses to arrive at our shop and then be shipped to the out of town bridesmaid to be altered for your big day.
Mother of the Wedding:  6 months – Yes, moms dresses can take up to 16 weeks to arrive from a designer.  Don’t limit your options by waiting to the last minute.
Tuxedos: 6 months – Bring in you man and we will dress him up in different styles. The great thing about our tuxedo shop, is we own all of our stock.  What does that mean?  Say your groomsmen live out of state and arrive the day before the wedding, they come in to pick up the tux and it doesn’t fit…easy, we just refit him right then and there!
Let time be on your side and never feel rushed to make a decision.  Happy shopping!
With love,

Take Time for Each Other

take time
Reserve the venue, choose the ceremony hall, find your dj or band, book your photographer, select the perfect invitation…I could go on and on! Planning a wedding can become a full time job, don’t get so caught up in all the detail that you loose track of what is really important…enjoying each others company.  You need to make it a priority to take a break now and then for a fun night out or even a weekend getaway.  Their are plenty of inexpensive things you can do without tapping into wedding funds.  Some of my favorite things to do are a picnic in the park, biking through the forest preserve or even a couples massage.
Allow plenty of time to get all the details together and enjoy what will be one of the most memorable days of your life.
With love,

Ceremony Traditions

Deanna’s Tuesday Tip

ceremony traditions


A truly meaningful union ceremony is one that beautifully expresses the infinite love you and your beloved carry in your hearts.  I love when brides incorporate something special into their wedding vows.

One of my favorites is sand layering, symbolizing the coming together of separate lives into one.  Each layer of colorful sand represents one life and as they are interwoven layer by layer, the separation disappears and a new complete family unit is created in its place.

Two hearts, one light into a unity candle.  Three candles are set side by side, as the bride holds her candle and the groom olds his, they light the center together.

Jumping the broom means different things in many cultures.  Whether symbolizing sweeping away past wrongs, removing evil spirits or symbolizing the beginning of your new life together, jumping the broom has been around since the 18th century.

Breaking the glass at the end of the ceremony symbolizes that joy must always be tempered, followed by Mazel tov…congratulations on the beginning of your new life together.

No matter what tradition you have, celebrate the beginning of your marriage and forever love.


Sparkle without the Shine

Deanna’s Tuesday Tip



Whether you were a figure skater, dancer or pageant girl you have probably worn your fair share of sparkle. With that said, you are now getting married and it’s time to find your bridal gown.  We often have brides struggle to step away from the “costume” they’ve always worn and see themselves as a bride.  Finding a dress that makes you feel beautiful, fitting not only your body, but your personality, is the most important thing.  You can make a statement and have the wow factor on a dress with sophistication and amazing fabric, with no beading necessary.  In the end, you are the bride and will sparkle from within.

With love,


Keeping Your Guests Comfortable

Deanna’s Tuesday Tip


flipflopYour guests comfort can make or break your wedding. We have all left a party because our feet were killing us or our hair hurts from having it up all day.  But guests’ that are comfortable and having a good time are going to stay longer.  So try and think of ways to make sure your guests are nice and comfortable.

I have been to several weddings over the years, and the ones that stick in my mind are the ones that I truly had a blast at. The DJ’s were all amazing, the guests are all ready to get their party on, the open bar was flowing and they had the guests comfort in mind.  They had flip flops in a basket next to the dance floor to let the ladies take a break from their heels and a cooler with bottles of water for when the party was getting too hot.  If your wedding is in the winter, consider having shawls available for ladies with sleeveless dresses instead of having to take their coats with them everywhere.  For outdoor weddings, especially in the summer, have sunglasses out so your guests are squinting into the sun.  You could also make your programs into fans for your guests to cool off during your ceremony.

Plan your wedding with your guests comfort in mind and you will have an unforgettable day. Trust me the more fun your guests have the better your wedding will be.  You want your wedding to be talked about for years after as one of the best wedding’s anybody has ever been to, by keeping your guest happy and having fun yours will be the wedding of the decade!


With Love,