Friday, June 22, 2012

Wedding Belles

As many southern brides to be know, wedding planning can be quite overwhelming. From the guest list to the food to the ceremony it all seems quite daunting. As a southern belle myself I find that southern weddings don't have to be as formal and complicated as you think. Here are some helpful tips to consider when planning your dream wedding.

1. Guest List.  The Guest list seems to always be too long and if you hate to cut it short then don't plan your wedding accordingly:
- Have the ceremony and reception in the same venue so that way you don't have to worry about so many people traveling from place to place and you aren't paying for 2 locations.
-Venue location is key, pick a simple open space that is large enough to accommodate the multitude of guests but without breaking the bank. Outdoor venues are great for this cause you can place additional seating around the covered area, or set up multiple tents.
-If you are determined to have your wedding in a either very expensive or small space that cant accommodate a lot of guests then invite only select group of people to the ceremony and then invite everyone else to the reception.

2. Venue.  Like I said above, pick a venue that is large and spacious but is not expensive, outdoor spaces are great but think outside the box and try warehouses, barns, parks, a field or a friend's big back yard. Also try unusual locations like a community theater, meeting hall or auditorium, places like this are made to hold at least a hundred or more people and usually cheap to rent. If you choose a theater you can decorate the stage and aisles to give the venue character and atmosphere so it looks like it was meant for a wedding ceremony.
Wedding at Marysville Opera House. (Marysville, WA)
 Photo By Lindsay Borden.

3. Wedding Attire. Except for the wedding dress all other wedding attire could stay somewhat casual, choose fabrics like chiffon, and jersey or a nice cotton instead of silk for bridesmaids and consider short dresses. The bride could even go a little casual by sticking with similar fabrics. As for the groomsmen nix the tuxedos and opt for suits, so the guys could actually reuse them and focus on the ties and vests more to create a unified look. For a even more causal look try slacks or khakis with cotton button down shirt and bold ties, no jackets. Mix and match for guys to find the right look and to save money. Focus more on your colors and theme than traditional wedding attire, have fun with it!

Plaid Shirts. Photo By Jagger Photography.
bridemaids in prints
Sundresses. Photo By Jagger Photography.
Grey Suits for Groomsmen. Photo By Emily Heizer.
Gingham Men. Photo By Jill Thomas Photography.

Mix & Match Dresses. Photo By Tyler Branch.

4. Food & Beverages. Of course you don't want to skimp on the food and beverages, but they will take up a good chuck of your budget. So some ways to save money is first of all is to do buffet or appetizers. DO NOT do a full menu it will cost way too much! Hors d'oeuvres are a great option you can lots of variety to please all your guests with out it costing too much. Doing a buffet is another great option since you can have a multiple food choices and everyone serves themselves, just use small plates that way people can't get too much at once. As for beverages keep it simple offer water, lemonade and sweet tea, they are super cheap and easy to serve. Set up a drinks bar where guests can serve themselves and have lemons, limes and other fruit to add to their drinks. You can also serve punch, here are some recipes that would be perfect. If you choose to serve alcohol do not serve liquor, instead serve beer and wine, champagne or do a punch with alcohol, like champagne punch or sangria.
Lemon Drop Champagne Punch. Photo Courtesy of Martha Stewart

5. Photographers.  You have to have pictures taken but you don't have to spend most of your budget on them. The best thing is to prioritize what is important to you with your wedding and decide where do photos lie on that list. If they are towards to top then look for professional photographers and no matter what your price range is check out their work before you pick one. The best photographers are gonna cost but you could cut your cost by only having them come for the ceremony and part of the reception, since they will charge by the hour. Also talk to the photographer and work out a deal most will negotiate. If the photographer isn't your biggest concern then look for amateur or student photographers. They will be much cheaper and usually will still do an amazing job. Finally you can always find a family member or friend who has a nice camera and knows what they are doing somewhat, they will do it for next to nothing, it could be their wedding gift to you. A really fun, but old school idea is to pass out disposable cameras for your guests to take candid pictures sounds cheesy but some of your favorite photos will come from them. Another idea is to set up a "photo booth" set up some kind of backdrop and a digital camera on a tripod and have your guests take pictures as they arrive and throughout the reception. You can have some props and someone to keep an eye on the booth, your guests will have so much fun posing for pictures! 
Vintage Frames Booth.

Photo Tent.

**Some great local South Carolina photographers that I personally recommend:
Lindsay Rogerson (Charleston, Sumter)
Nicole Ouellette (Florence, Sumter)
Megan Manus Photography (Sumter) 

6.  Invitations. Wedding invitations can be very expensive but they don't have to be, try using websites like and design your own. You can also find freelance graphic designers that will do they for a fair price. If you are good at a computer, you can design and print them yourself (as long as you don't have 200 guests). Try to keep them simple with only 2 or 3 colors at the most, and don't bother embossing most of them will get tossed anyways. Type should be fun but legible and the text clear and concise, you can find different fonts at for free. Just keep them simple and affordable since most guests won't keep them.
Wedding Invitation.
Design by Caroline Duncan of Market South.

Anyway you choose to plan your dream wedding I hope you found this information useful to stick to your budget and plan your wedding easily. If you need any help with your big day let Market South help! Creativity is the key to a great wedding and that is what I do best! 

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