You're Engaged! Here's what should come next

The elated feeling that comes from being asked by the person you love most to spend a lifetime of happiness together is unlike any other!  Savor that feeling as long as possible! When you do start to come down from cloud nine, the task of planning your wedding can seem overwhelming.  You can feel like you’re drowning in all the wedding websites, instagram accounts and magazines. Most couples have trouble knowing exactly where to start, so before you lose yourself in a pinterest wormhole here are the first few steps you need to know!

  1. Decide on a budget - Before you start booking vendors, you and your partner should sit down and decide how much you are able to spend on this exciting celebration of your love.  Have a conversation about what is most important to you; if you are both big foodies, then maybe you want to put more resources into having fun late night snacks in addition to the dinner, or if you’re passionate about a certain music style, maybe you want to spend more on a high quality band that will deliver on that specific taste, or maybe you’re really excited to send guests home with cute personalized favors.  Be sure to include family in this conversation even though the traditional breakdown of who pays for what has dwindled over the years. Talk to you parents about what they are willing and able to contribute. And remember, a beautiful and meaningful wedding is not determined by the budget!

2. Pick a date - More goes into picking a date than you may think.  Start by talking about how you envision the day; if you’ve always dreamt of a lakeside ceremony then you probably should select a date with fairly reliable weather, if you’re a sucker for the coziness of the holiday season then you may want to consider a winter wedding.  Budget plays a role in this decision too. Because wedding vendors are in high demand from May to October, so their rates are generally higher during these months. One way to save money is to select and off-season date, or even less popular day of the week. Since Saturdays tend to be the most popular day of the week to get married, some vendors will offer discounts for weddings on weekdays.  You may also need to consider when it would be most convenient for you and your fiancé to take time off from work and how long you feel you need to plan the wedding of your dreams.

3. Select a venue -  The venue should be the first contract you sign, because their availability could potentially alter your date selection (it helps to go in with a couple dates in mind).  Again, there’s a lot to think about when looking for a venue. You want to find a place where you would feel comfortable getting married, a place that reflects the style of you and your fiance.  Are you a barn wedding couple with a rustic vibe? Or do you prefer the more elegant aesthetic that comes with a large ballroom with marble floors and high ceilings? You’ll also have to consider if your venue will be large enough for the number of guests you expect to invite.  If you want to have an outdoor ceremony or reception, consider a venue that has rain locations or accomodations available. Ultimately, you want to choose the venue that gives you butterflies when you think of getting married there.

Once you have tackled those three to do list items, you’re in good shape to start researching and booking vendors!  Even if it still seems like a lot, having somewhere to start when turning to wedding planning tools and resources makes finding what you need that much easier.  And if you’re still feeling overwhelmed you can always turn to the help of a wedding planner who can walk you through each step and alleviate the pressure! Happy planning!

Photo Credit: Rob Spring Photography, Clark+Walker Photography, Tracey Buyce Photography, Tiffany Wayne Photography

5 Really Good Reasons You Should Hire a Wedding Planner

Happy National Wedding Planning Day!!!  In celebration of such an exciting holiday, we here at Bisou thought it would be appropriate to share more about what it is exactly that we do!  Wedding planning can be a stressful and overwhelming process, but it doesn't have to be.  One of the best ways to alleviate stress and fully enjoy the months leading up to the big day, is to hire a wedding planner.  Here are just five of the many reasons why hiring a wedding planner is a really good decision!

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1. Being engaged is an incredible feeling and a unique time for you and your partner.  Why would you want to spend that time stressing over decisions and details that could be handled by someone else?  Hiring a wedding planner allows for you and your partner to focus on the commitment you're making to each other rather than what time the flowers need to be delivered the day of.  So let yourself revel in the excitement and giddiness of your evolving love and leave the details to a professional!

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2. While you may have spent many hours on a beautiful wedding Pinterest board, bringing that Pinterest board to life is a whole other story.  A wedding planner can help you figure out how to make those fantasies come to life.  They will know what is and is not realistic and how to make each idea fit together cohesively.  So before you spend countless hours attempting absurd DIY projects that don't fit together aesthetically, you can consult with someone who has extensive experience and knowledge of what works and what does not!

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3. While you may have a friend from college who took a class in photography, chances are you do not have the same connections to quality and professional vendors that a wedding planner does.  The wedding planning business is a close knit community, and a wedding planner will know from experience which vendors are great to work with and which are not.  Here at Bisou, we know who is the best of the best and who will end up being problematic. Rather than creating more stress for yourself by hiring a vendor who will be a nightmare to work with, you have someone who is able to steal you away from those vendors in the first place.

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4. On your wedding day, the only thing you should be focused on is marrying the love of your life and treasuring every moment of that special day.  What you don't want to be doing is fielding calls and checking in with vendors to make sure everything is running smoothly and happening on time.  That's our job!  We create and distribute a detailed day of timeline complete with contact information and all to all of the vendors and keep things on track while you celebrate with friends and family!

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5. At the end of the day, you simply can't account for every possible incident.  But, you can have a wedding planner available to handle any and all incidents on the spot!  At Bisou, we are quick on our feet and good at on the spot problem solving.  How could you possibly predict that your maid of honor would get heartburn right before her speech, or that one of the buttons would pop of your dress when you're trying to bustle it for the reception? There is enough to think about on your wedding day than unlikely snafus such as these, but a wedding planner would be able to take care of these things before you were even aware there was a problem!

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Your wedding day should be pure bliss.  If you walk away believing that to be true, then your wedding planner has done their job well.  You deserve to enjoy the little moments and joys throughout the whole wedding planning process and day of, and we don't want anything distracting you from those magical moments.  We wish you all a happy National Wedding Planning Day!

Photo Credit: Rob Spring Photography, Clark+Walker Studio, Paul Saunders Photography, Tracey Buyce Photography, Janelle Rodriguez Photography

Valentine's Day Inspired Weddings!

It’s the holiday that spreads a little love and a little warmth into each cold February; Valentine's Day. While many may view this holiday as commercial or cheesy, here at Bisou we celebrate Valentine’s Day by reminding our loved ones how much they really mean to us!

For some couples, there is no better day than Valentine’s Day to commit to one another in love and marriage. Here are some of our favorite Valentines inspired wedding ideas!

Photos: Martha Stewart Weddings, Brides.com, JOSH LEE PHOTOGRAPHY, JENNY HAAS PHOTOGRAPHY, Elizabeth Anne Designs, Bridal Musings, Weddingomania, Popsugar, Wedding Colors

Cute and Creative Seating Charts and Place Cards

Make a statement before your guests even get to the party with a unique, personalized seating chart or place cards!  Using a glass of champagne or your selected wedding favors to help guests find their seat is a fun way to kick off the night.  Here are a few thoughtful, creative and easy to decipher seating ideas that your guests will certainly appreciate!

How to: Write the perfect Maid of Honor and Best Man Speech

So your best friend has asked you to stand with them on their wedding day.  What an honor!!!  There is a long list of responsibilities, as well as perks, that come with the title of maid of honor or best man.  The big one is the speech.  For so many of us, after that initial excitement wears off, the panic and fear of public speaking sets in.  But there's no need to panic!  Here is the best guide to writing a speech with the perfect blend of humor and sentiment that the happy couple will remember forever (in a good way).  

Photo Source: Sugar and Charm

The First Look

We had so much fun at Jenny and Nick's wedding this past weekend!  Every detail was perfect and beautiful, and it was impossible not to smile in the presence of this wonderful couple.  One detail that made the rest of the day so relaxed, was their decision to do a first look.  First looks have been growing in popularity and for years, and for a good reason.  Opting for a first look rather than hiding the bride until she walks down the aisle allows for couples to take a great deal of pictures before the ceremony begins.  Couples are able to capture all of the shots together (and if time allows, with their families and wedding parties) while not taking time away from their precious time with their guests during cocktail hour. A first look also allows for the couple to share and savor that special moment with some privacy.  Although there is nothing wrong with having the first view of the bride be while she's walking down the aisle, the convenience of a first look makes a lot of sense.  Jenny and Nick chose to share this special moment in private, but the pictures look magical!  We wish these two a life full of love and laughter!

Signature Cocktails

Whether you decide to have an open bar, cash bar, soft bar or any other type of bar, a signature cocktail is a great way to add a personal touch!  This is a fun way to encourage guests to try something new and get in on the love.  Signature cocktails are a popular (and tasty!) way to celebrate your newlywed status and share your drink preferences with your guests.  Use your favorite spirits or even choose a drink that fits with your color scheme!

Wedding Party Proposal Ideas

You've said yes to your sweetheart!  Yay, you're engaged!  Now it's time to make sure you have the people you love by your side to make your wedding experience the best it can be.  These are the people who have loved and supported you all along the way and they deserve to know just how much it would mean to you to have them stand with you on your wedding day.  You can show your soon-to-be wedding party some extra love with these fun proposal ideas!

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Photo Sources: Wedding Forward, Aisle Perfect, Etsy, Contemporary Bride

Hidden Wedding Costs to Budget For

With everything that goes into planning your wedding, it’s easy to overlook some basic costs. I’m sure you’re quite aware of the fees for your venue, food and drink, DJ or band, photographer, etc., but what about all of those little things you should financially plan for as well? To make sure that you perfectly prepare your wedding budget, here are a few hidden wedding costs that you probably didn’t even think about!

1) Beauty Treatments: You most likely are planning to have your hair and makeup done for the big day, and I assume you’ve already worked that into your budget. However, don’t forget all of the other pre-wedding prep that you might have done such as teeth whitening, hair coloring, massages, extensions, etc. Also, consider the possibility that you might decide to have more than one hair and makeup trial, so plan ahead for that! Check sites such as Groupon for great deals on massages and salons. You’ll save a ton and have fun trying new places!

Photo credit: Tara Wiley Photogryaphy 

2) Bachelorette Party: It’s tradition for the maid-of-honor or group of bridesmaids to pitch in and pay the expenses of the bride, but if you’re going out of town, many brides will pay at least their own airfare. If you’re expecting a fun getaway, prepare to possibly pay that expense along with any fun travel outfits or luggage you may need to purchase. Our advice is to stay close to home. While it’s always fun to travel, there are plenty of exciting places to celebrate your bachelorette party that are within driving distance. Plus, more girls will be able to attend!

3) Pre-Wedding Attire: There are a lot of pre-wedding events for engaged couples, such as the engagement party, bridal shower, bachelor and bachelorette party, a reception dinner, and even possibly a groom’s dinner. If you’re like me, you will probably buy a new outfit for every one of those events, so plan that into your budget because 4+ outfits isn’t cheap! Our advice is to try a fun option like Rent the Runway, which has designer styles that you can wear for special events! Or, consider thrift shopping (my favorites include Plato's Closet and Urban Exchange), you never know what goodies you can find!

4) Postage: Just think, there are usually multiple pieces of heavy card stock paper that you’re mailing so don’t expect one little stamp to do the trick. Postage can cost about $2/invite depending on the weight. Contemplate skipping the fancy folded pocket envelopes and consider an online RSVP so you don’t have to include an RSVP card and pre-stamped envelope within your invitation suite! 

5) Vendor Meals: Your photographer, videographers, wedding planners/coordinators, band, and DJ are pretty much spending their entire day with you. Please make sure that they get fed just like everyone else! Many venues/caterers offer a cheaper option for vendor meals. Check your contract and make sure you know what they can expect to eat!

6) Out-of-Season Flowers: Don’t get your heart super set on any one type of flower unless you absolutely know they are in season. Peonies, for example, are very popular and always sought after for most of our brides, however if they’re not in season, they can be very expensive. Instead, opt for in-season alternatives. If you need some good examples, check out this list of alternative flowers for the five trendiest wedding styles.

Photo Credit: Clark + Walker

7) Pre-Honeymoon Expenses: Besides the entire cost of the honeymoon itself (which hopefully you’ve budgeted for!), there are smaller fees to remember as well. Passports, travel-guides, language classes, luggage, vacation wardrobe, and car rentals, are all things worth adding to your budget. Our advice is to start planning early! Summer clothes usually go on mega sale and clearance around Fall so shop for your vacation then!

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Unique Centerpiece Ideas

It can be hard to think outside of the box when it comes to wedding centerpieces, and that’s OK! Flowers in vases will always look beautiful, and there’s no need to overthink every item that should go on your wedding tables. But when you DO come across fun wedding ideas that you haven’t seen a gazillion other times, your creativity levels can get a much-needed boost. I love some of the unique wedding centerpiece ideas below, for a whole variety of reasons. Aside from one or two (hello, “Up in the Air” tablescape), they are all relatively easy to DIY or show to a wedding planner for inspiration! At Bisou, we make these centerpiece dreams come to life. 

Do you have a fun idea for a unique wedding centerpiece? Comment below to let us know! 

1) Arrange roses on a tiered cake stand.

2) Vintage oil lamps are perfect for a spring or summer garden wedding. The more the better!

3) Suspend miniature air balloons or flowers for an amazing "up in the air" hanging centerpiece. Or tie balloons to your table for a similar, floating effect.

4) Upside down wine glasses for a 2-in-1 wedding centerpiece!

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How-to: Arrange Flowers Like a Pro

1) Use a grid when arranging flowers in a wide-mouth bowl or vase.

 If you have ever tried arranging flowers in a wide mouth vase or bowl, you know it's not as easy as it seems. The flowers tend to just fall to the side, making it difficult to control the final product. Tip: Form a grid with tape to support your flowers (just make sure the rim of your bowl or vase is dry and the container is full of water before assembling your grid).

2) Double the Vase, Double the Fun

Not only does this trick allow for a gorgeous arrangement, but the small vase inside of the larger vase makes it easier to assemble! You can fill the outer vase with anything that fits the season: lemons, limes, oranges, large leaves, acorns, rocks, colored stones, even photographs, or other seasonal items. 

3) Disguise your stems

Use large, flat leaves such as aspidistra to line a glass vase and hide what lies within. This is helpful if you are using floral foam to assemble your arrangement, or simply want a beautiful, elegant look. You can even use faux leaves, as they are available year round!

4) Bubble-wrap skirt

To give your arrangement a floating-on-water-look, use bubble wrap! This is especially helpful for a longer lasting centerpiece. 

5) Flower Tower

Create this impressive tower with just a few varying sized pots and your choice of flowers. You can even paint the pots to match your theme, and your flower tower can be a great addition to your home as husband and wife.