Photo credit Kaptured Photography
Good news - the "to-do" lists are getting shorter! (Unless you're like my husband and I who planned our whole wedding in 3 months - then you're probably just getting started - feel free to hit me up for advice if you're there with us!)
1. Discuss pre-wedding parties with Maid of Honor and Best Man. Fun stuff! Decide what you want to do to celebrate with your bridal party. An all out bachelor party? A weekend at the lake? It's totally up to you and your crew. If your Maid of Honor and Best Man really know you well, let them plan it! Again, one less thing for you to do.
2. Purchase wedding day accessories for bride. Finalize those details - the earrings, necklace, hair accessories. All the sparkly little details that complete your wedding day look. On wedding day, make sure you have all these things set aside for your photographer to capture. (Read more about details to discuss with your photographer here).
Photo credit Mejia Jones Photography
3. Schedule your stylist trial sessions. Once you have your inspiration photos nailed down, set up time with your stylist to do a trial. This lets you see the results and tweak it so your stylist will have it perfect on your wedding day. This is the time to speak up if something isn't exactly the way you want. Your stylist wants to know so they can make you feel beautiful!
4. Mail Invitations. Check, check! Make sure to ask for RSVP's before the 30 day mark. You'll need that info for vendors and we all know someone will be late. You will probably have to follow up with some people who don't RSVP. Call, text, email. Make sure you know who is and isn't coming so you don't pay for extra guests.
Photo credit Mackenzie Ortiz Photography
5. Decide on your bridal party processional order and ceremony details. Nail these down with your officiant and coordinator. There are several ways to structure your processional and ceremony. The only wrong way is the one that doesn't fit you as a couple. Your officiant can give guidance on ceremony details and what you may or may not want to include. Sit down with your coordinator to understand some common bridal party processionals and what fits your wedding.
6. Order guest favors. If you are providing favors for your guests, order those now. There are endless options for guest favors - food related items are the most often taken home! We've had couples that hand made candles or soap for guests. Our Farm to Table weddings have used our handmade goat milk soaps or lotions for favors. A late night cookie truck as a take away? Yes, please!
You probably have a lot of non-wedding related items going on now, too. Getting settled into a new house or apartment, getting used to your fiance's pets full time, spending more and more time with each other's families. Planning a honeymoon! Take time to focus on those items, too. Enjoy the last bit of time before your last name changes. We know you're looking forward to the big day and starting your life together, but savor the moments as they come - you won't regret it.
Get your 4 month "to do" items here.
Find your next steps for 1 month out here.
Photo credit Capture Thirteen Photography
You're getting closer to your big day! Which means just as you finished your checklist from last month, you better start on the next one. At 4 - 5 months out, you'll want to focus on getting details wrapped up in some areas.
1. Choose your something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. As a blueberry farm, we are a bit partial to anytime a bride uses our blueberries as their something blue! This is a great opportunity to include details and people that mean something to you in your wedding. Pinterest is full of ideas and we love seeing creative ones.
2. Book your wedding cake. After you've done your tastings, confirm with the cake designer of your choice. Finalize the design and give them a guest count estimate. (Bonus points if you include blueberries - something blue AND extra tasty!)
Photo credit Mejia Jones Photography
3. Prepare for your first fitting. Buy your lingerie and any other essentials you need to make sure your fitting is accurate. What you wear under your dress can make a big difference in how the dress fits, so make sure you have those details down and your get the most out of your fitting.
4. Find inspiration photos for your hair and makeup. Pinterest is your friend again for these photos. Another great place to look are styled shoots which are often published on bridal websites or in magazines. Hair and makeup artists will show the latest trends in these shoots and give you some great new ideas.
Photo credit Anchors Aweigh Photography
5. Choose your bridesmaids accessories. Earrings, necklaces, shoes - all the finishing touches. This can also be a great idea for bridal party gifts. Who doesn't love something new and sparkly?
6. Finalize attire for other bridal party members. Flower girl dresses, bow ties for ring bearer or groomsmen. Get it all finalized and ordered. There are so many details that go into planning your wedding. Keep an eye out for things you can ask others to help with. If you trust your sister's taste and her daughter is your flower girl, maybe give her a general idea of what you like and let her choose something. If your groom's style is one of the reasons you love him, ask him for ideas for his groomsmen. You'll need as much help as you can get as the wedding day gets closer!
Photo credit Hillary Leah Photography
7. Purchase your wedding bands. It's common to purchase the wedding band along with the bride's engagement ring, but you probably need to pick out your groom's band. There are a ton of great options for guys bands, besides the traditional gold band. Titanium is a great option if he's hard on things. Wood or horn inset bands are understated. There are even non-metal options which are great for some professions or fit an athlete's style.
That's it for month 4! Good news is, your check list should have a lot more checks on it than empty boxes now. Make sure you take plenty of breaks from wedding planning to spend time with your fiance (not discussing wedding plans). Spend time with friends and family too - again, not talking about wedding planning. Those breaks will keep you from rehashing decisions over and over, and keep you sane. As always, feel free to drop us any questions in the comments!
Read the previous post on 6 month planning.
Photo credit Hillary Leah Photography
At 6 months out, things start to come together quickly. You'll have several final orders to place, final decisions to make on food, design, etc. We've got them all listed for you below!
1. All the dresses. Once you've found that perfect dress, get it ordered! You'll need time for it to come in, get fittings and alterations done before you walk down the aisle.
Confirm your bridesmaid dresses. Thank goodness it's OK to mix and match bridesmaid dresses - sometimes it's too hard to pick just one! Look for inspiration on Pinterest for ideas on how to mix styles, shades of the same color, different colors, prints and more.
Photo credit Hillary Leah Photography, Hair by Honeycomb Charm Beauty Parlor
2. Book your hair and makeup artist. Decide where you will be getting hair and makeup done - salon, house, venue, etc. This will help you narrow down your options on who you want to work with. Look through their previous work and talk with them about the style you want to make sure they can give you the perfect look.
3. Save the Dates and Invitations again. It's time to get your Save the Dates in the mail! After that you can finalize all your invitation details and get them ordered. Double check ALL the information - ceremony time, venue address, spelling of names, etc.
4. Schedule tasting with caterer and set menu options. Selecting a menu that provides plenty of options for all your guests and dietary needs can be stressful. A great caterer can help you choose a delicious menu that provides options for everyone. Ask your caterer to label items as Gluten Free, Vegetarian, Vegan, etc. on the buffet so guests can easily choose what they need.
If fresh and flavorful food is right up your ally, consider a Farm to Table menu. Farm to Table menu's work with local farmers to source fresh, sustainable meats paired with the freshest, in season vegetables. The menu will reflect your tastes and the flavors of the season making for a unique dining experience for your guests!
Photo credit Kaptured Photography
5. Schedule your cake tasting. In our opinion, one of the best meetings! Enjoy tasting the cake and icing flavor combinations. Talk through design ideas with the cake designer, also. Wedding cakes are truly an art that should be both beautiful and taste delicious! If cake isn't your thing, get creative. What about a pie bar? Donut wall? Or dessert bar with lots of options. At our wedding, my husband and I had a dessert reception - it definitely reflected my personality. Instead of one cake, we had several of my family favorites plus pie, cheesecakes, cookies, brownies and more. Yummm...
6. Start the playlist for your DJ. Think through ceremony songs as everyone walks down the aisle and again after you're pronounced man and wife! Go through options for your first dance, parent dances, etc. Your DJ can be a great resource on which songs or types of music will get everyone on the dance floor!
7. Design your table settings. So many options! Choose your linen colors, place settings, specialty chairs for sweetheart or head table, centerpieces, etc. There may be several vendors involved in creating your table settings - florist, rental company, planner, venue, china vendor, etc. Make sure you connect them all to ensure your design flows seamlessly. Once you have a plan in place, get those items reserved!
Photo credit Shannon Ford Photography, Florals Stems Atlanta, Design Winey Blonde Events, China The Prissy Plate Company, Linens BBJ Linens
8. Book transportation. For your guests and yourselves after the wedding! Make sure everyone is taken care of.
9. Reserve any rentals. Need a dance floor? Specialty tables or chairs? Anything your venue or vendors aren't taking care of, you need to get reserved. You don't want to wait until a month before the wedding and realize the gorgeous handmade farm tables you were dreaming of have been booked for another wedding.
10. Rehearsal dinner plans. We'll end on another food topic! Start researching options for your rehearsal dinner. Will you host it at the venue? Are there nearby restaurants with private dining room options? Or perhaps the groom's parents would like to host it at their home. Talk about who will be invited to the rehearsal dinner. Start with those in the wedding party and immediate family. If you have close friends or family traveling from out of town, you may want to include them also.
You're getting closer to the big day! 6 months may still seem like forever when you're waiting to begin your life with the one you love, but it will fly by. As always, let us know what questions you may have for us.
And if you haven't already started to consider it, a full service wedding planner can take A LOT of stress off of you by managing this list of to do items for you!
Next steps - 4 months out.
Previous planning for 9 months before your wedding.
Photo credit Camille Wilson Photography
In our first post in the series (which you can find here), we covered the initial steps in wedding planning - most of which are exciting to work on. We can only warn you that this most may not be as "fun" but they are definitely critical items to work on. Just keep your focus on the wedding day and you can make it through it!
1. Select your bridal party. Bridal parties can range from one important person on each side to 10, 12, etc. Consider brothers and sisters on each side and if they will be included in the bridal party. Who are your closest friends? These may be friends you've known since grade school and kept in touch with, or more recent friends that you can't imagine your life without. Talk with your fiance about who they will have on their side. Good news - you don't have to place equal numbers on each side!
After you have determined the list, make sure you ask them! You can go with a simple heartfelt conversation or a handwritten note to let them know you want them next to you on your big day. Or have fun with personalized gifts, small parties or cute cookies like the ones below from Be Sweet Omaha.
2. Gather addresses for all your guest. This can be one of the more daunting tasks (especially if your guest list has edged up to 200, 300 or more guests). You will need these for Save the Dates and Invitations. Work with your fiance and parents to split up the list and start calling, texting, emailing to get the addresses. You can also check out services such as Postable that will create a link which you can email everyone, they fill out their address and it compiles it into one list for you!
P.S. Don't forget to send invitations to your bridal party, officiant, vendors, etc. This makes sure you have them in your final guest count!
3. Start reviewing invitations, save the dates and other stationery needs. Save the Dates should be sent 4 - 6 months before your wedding date and invitations 8 - 12 weeks before your wedding. Your invitations are the first introduction to your wedding style, so keep them consistent with the style decisions you made earlier. Your choices for invitations can seem endless. You can go through a big supplier like Minted, design your own or go fully custom with artists like The Brumby Nest, Typo Boutique, or Yonder Design.
P.S. If you are choosing your invitation with Minted, drop your email in the comments below and we'll send you a promo code to save on your invitations!
Photo credit Ben Brinker Photography
4. Go wedding dress shopping. Ok, now we're getting to some fun stuff! You can find details on some of our favorite boutiques here. Be sure to try on several different styles - you may be surprised at one that fits you perfectly. It's great to have someone with you to help you with your decision, but be careful about making it too big of an outing (we've all seen how that can turn out on Say Yes to the Dress!)
5. Start your wedding registry. Here's another fun item that has several options for you. Many couples already have the basic home essentials and may not need to start from scratch like our parents may have. My husband and I both had a full set of household items when we got married. We used it as an opportunity to replace items we'd had for a few years, upgrade some things and come up with cohesive sets of silverware, etc. You can choose to visit brick and mortar stores to create your list or create it online.
Feel free to get creative on registries - honeymoon funds, furniture or tool registries are great ideas!
Photo credit Cynthia Sparks Photography
6. Book your photographer and videographer. Photographers book up quickly as they typically only do one wedding a day. When choosing your photographer, look through their editing style and the types of pictures they take. Make sure you meet with them before booking to make sure your personalities click! Find out more on how to work with your photographer to get wedding photos you dream of at our post here.
7. Book your florist. Your florist can play a large part in the overall design of your wedding day. The sooner you have them onboard the more they can help you create a cohesive design.
Photo credit Camille Wilson Photography
8. Research guest accommodations and transportation. Ok, one last guest related task. Research accommodations for your out of town guests. Your venue can often help with recommendations. Think outside of the typical hotel and consider if there are cabins or guest houses near by. This makes it easier for guests to spend time together outside of the wedding not crammed into hotel rooms or lobbies!
Check into shuttles if you have large groups of out of town guests. This makes sure everyone arrives on time, removes the stress of finding a new place in an unfamiliar area and lets them get back safely after enjoying the party!
We know we gave you quite a few tasks this time! Work on it in small pieces and mix in the fun with the "not so fun" items to get you through it. Leave us a comment below if you have any questions we can help with! (And don't forget to leave your email address if you are interested in our savings code for Minted)
Next steps for 6 months before your wedding.
Previous post for first steps to planning your wedding.
Photo credit Camille Wilson Photography
Hooray, you’re engaged! You may have already been planning your dream wedding on Pinterest or you may have no idea where to even start. We’re starting a short series today to walk you through the steps to plan your wedding!
1. Discuss possible wedding dates. Is there a special time of year that you love? Here in North Georgia, Fall is the most sought after season for cooler weather and color. Are there dates you need to avoid for school or work? If you’re an accountant, an early Spring wedding probably isn’t for you! If you have siblings or close friends also planning a wedding, their chosen date may influence your choice. Having some flexibility on specific dates can help you with venue options. If you do have a set date, start looking for your venue as early as possible.
2. Budget and guest count. I’m placing these together as they have a direct connection. It will be very difficult to have a wedding for 200 guests with a $5,000 budget. Sit down with the budget decision makers to determine what your total budget will be. From there, you can start to determine what your max guest count can be. Your venue, tables, chairs, linens, catering, cake, bar and flowers are all directly affected by your guest count. There are several helpful calculators online to figure out pricing guidelines for your area. Try this one as a starting point - Cost of Wedding.
Read more about what makes up your budget at our post here.
Photo credit Gina Cellino Photography
3. Start to discuss wedding style. Do you want an outdoor ceremony or a ballroom setting? Are you looking for a chic space in the city or more relaxed setting? Is a historic mansion your dream space? Or are you looking for an experience? Something like our Farm to Table approach that celebrates the seasons and supports small, local businesses.
4. Now, you can start to look for a venue! Once you understand your ideal dates, budget, guest count and style you can start to narrow down venues to tour. Where do you find these venues? A simple Google search will often provide lots of options. Sites such as Here Comes The Guide, Wedding Wire, Wedding Spot or The Knot let you filter options on several venues. As you look through your options, discuss the different offerings of each venue with your fiancé. Do you want an all-inclusive option to streamline planning, are you ok with food and beverage minimums, do you prefer your wedding be the only focus of the day for the venue or are you ok with a venue that hosts multiple events each day? After you have narrowed down your options, set up tours. Seeing the venue in person and talking with the staff will help you know which space fits you best.
Photo credit Kaptured Photography
5. Talk through the ceremony. Are there certain traditions you want to include? Unity candles, tree planting ceremonies, communion and other options all add to your ceremony. Decide if you will be writing you own vows or using traditional vows. (If you want more info on creating your vows, check out our post here.) Will you have special music during the ceremony? One of our recent brides had her daughter sing a couple songs during the ceremony and it was beautiful!
What about religious requirements? Make sure you understand from your priest, rabbi, etc. what is required and how that impacts the ceremony.
Photo credit Kaptured Photography
6. Start to think through your floral preferences and needs. How many bouquets will you need for the bridal party? Do you want floral centerpieces and what style? Are you dreaming of an elaborate installation for the ceremony or reception space? If you want to highlight flowers that are in season and locally grown, you may need to talk with the farmer florist in plenty of time for them to plant flowers in your style and color or discuss what may be available. We love growing flowers specifically for our brides on their wedding day! It’s one more way we can serve them with love.
Photo credit Shannon Ford Photography
7. Last one for now - food! Start thinking about what type of food you want at your reception. A seated dinner with a full meal for everyone? Cocktail reception with lots of variety? Do you want a buffet or plates dinner option? One of our favorites for smaller weddings is a family style service that encourages community and conversation with guests.
Don’t forget your cake! Or will it be pie, cupcakes, donuts - there are a ton of fun options.
Now that I’ve loaded you up with plenty to think through and talk about, I’ll leave you to it! Feel free to drop a comment below if you have any questions!
Next steps for 9 months before your wedding.
Photo Andy Calvert Photography
Seating charts can be a great tool to welcome your guests and make sure everyone can easily find a seat. A few easy steps will make sure you have the perfect seating chart for your wedding!
1. Know your final guest count and table layout. If your guests haven't sent their RSVP by the requested date, reach out to them and get their final reply. You'll need this count for your vendors also!
With your final count, work with your venue, planner or decorator to set the final table layout. This will let you know how many can sit at each table and where the best tables are.
2. Determine who is sitting with you! Is it just you and your new spouse at a sweetheart table? Or will you have the bridal party sit with you? With or without their dates? This will determine the size of your head table or estate table. If your bridal party doesn't sit with you, you can either give them a reserved table with their dates or sit them at other tables with guests they know.
3. Figure out the family table. Who will sit with your parents and your new spouse's parents? The best thing to do is ask! Do they want to sit with grandparents, aunts and uncles? Or do they want some of their friends included at their table?
4. Start to group guests together. How do you know everyone on your guest list? Extended family, college friends, co-workers, etc. As you start to form these groups, you will create groups of guests that most likely know each other and will enjoy conversation over dinner.
5. Think through where you place any single guests. It can be awkward to be the only one without a plus one at a table of couples - especially if they don't know most of the couples well. Place them with a group they will enjoy and they won't notice their single stats as much. Also, make sure your tables are set up with just the number of chairs needed. Nothing yells "Single!" louder than an empty chair next to someone.
Work with your venue, planner or decorator to make adjustments to the table layout as needed once you have your seating chart decided. Flexible arrangements with communal tables, estate tables, different size rounds or other unique elements will help your seating chart fit your guests and make everyone comfortable!
Cale and I are more “skip-a-generation” farmers than second generation farmers. Second generation farmers aren’t something you find often in the Metro-Atlanta area. He grew up visiting his Papa’s farm – feeding cattle, gathering eggs, and helping with other farm chores were highlights of those visits. But growing up in Smyrna, GA, farming wasn’t viewed as an occupation – farm land was what had been turned into subdivisions and highways during our parent’s generation. My mom grew up in Roswell, GA and can remember when there used to be horse farms where GA 400 is now.
My parents and grandparents always kept a small vegetable garden every summer. My Papa had grown up on a small farm and filled his backyard with tomatoes, okra, corn and more each summer – which my mom and her sisters helped weed, water, harvest and can each year. Family dinners during the summer always included a platter of fresh sliced tomatoes from the garden – it’s a flavor you can’t find in a grocery store!
As the Metro-Atlanta area continues to grow, backyard space for small gardens is becoming more scarce. Many people work long hours added onto long commutes, so time for tending a garden is difficult to find also. But for those of us who grew up reaping the benefits of our parents’ and grandparents’ knowledge – we know we are missing out!
Our goal with Pleasant Union Farm is to reconnect people with farm fresh goods and provide farm experiences within driving distance of where they live and work (an hour drive to our farm from Atlanta is often less then most weekday commutes and a much prettier drive!) We currently offer the farm for weddings, Farm to Table dinners and Farm Camp. We’d love to add on other ways to experience Farm Life with us – like Goat Milking and Lotion making classes, Farm Tours, plant sales and more. If you’re interested in finding out more about these experiences as they are offered, make sure you sign up for our Farm Newsletter!
Photo Camille Wilson Photography
Flowers are one of the most beautiful parts of a wedding. They incorporate the bride's colors and style, but did you know different flowers have different meanings?
Crysanthemum - These are beautiful additions to Fall bouquets and symbolize fidelity, optimism, long life and joy.
Daisy - This cheerful little bloom is gorgeous in Spring and Summer weddings. Daisies speak of innocence, purity and loyal love.
Hydrangea - These large, soft blooms are available year round and show heartfelt emotion.
Peony - Symbolizing happy life and happy marriage, this is a perfect wedding flower for lots of reasons!
Queen Anne's Lace - (one of my personal favorites) adds gorgeous airy blooms to bouquets and symbolizes haven or sanctuary.
Rose - Symbolizing love, it makes perfect sense that this bloom is seen throughout wedding bouquets.
Snapdragons - These spiky blooms are beautiful in Spring and Fall and speak to graciousness and strength.
As your wedding bouquet comes together, look through the flowers represented and what they convey about your marriage. It's another layer to add to the vows and traditions that begin your marriage!
Let’s face it, if you are planning for your “Best Day Ever,” I’ll bet most of your Pinterest boards are loaded with reception ideas and bridal attire. Be sure to set aside time for your wedding ceremony planning. You could consider the ceremony to be the most important part of your wedding day …the reason you have invited all of your guests and where you will display the love you have for one another.
Below is a timeline of ideas to assist in wedding ceremony planning:
The rehearsal can give you peace of mind and remind everyone: when they walk, where they stand, what you two will say, where parents sit, etc. It should take around an hour and can be done anytime during the week before your wedding day. It does not have to occur at the ceremony site, either. Rehearsals are optional, but will give you a better feel for how the ceremony will flow
Plan for thirty minutes of music before your ceremony starts, which is when guests begin to arrive. Did you know its proper for guests to arrive and be seated twenty minutes before? See Wedding Etiquette for more rules every southern girl should know.
Processional: If grandparents are in attendance, they are seated first. Next, the MOB (mother of bride) is escorted by a special gentleman (brother, son, etc) and seated to the left on the first row. Then, the MOG (mother of the groom) is seated on the right on the first row. The groom, best man, and officiant usually walk in together either down the aisle or from the side. Groomsmen will follow. The ladies walk down the aisle, usually to different music, however this is completely up to you. Maid of honor will be last in line, so she will be standing next to you at the altar
Should you have any flower girls, ring bearers, etc., they will walk down the aisle right before you. I think they just add the perfect amount of sweetness to a ceremony. Yes, you should have children in your ceremony, if at all possible. They don’t steal the show, just add to it
Traditionally, a bride is accompanied by her father on her right side and will lift her veil as they reach the end of the aisle. In unique family situations, this is an opportunity to honor your loved ones and choose your escort/s according to your unique situation. See Music for “your” Wedding Ceremony. Now, here’s a tradition I happen to love (I have two daughters). The MOB is the first to rise upon seeing the bride and her father (or whoever is escorting you) and then guests will follow her lead. This gives the MOB a sweet moment before all the guests rise, potentially blocking her view. Also, can’t fail to mention the look on the groom’s face as he gets a glimpse of his true love …another favorite moment! This is probably the best and only reason you might forgo the “first look.”
The officiant will greet all the guests and announce the reason for the gathering. This is also a great time to add a little background to the couple’s story, also known as, the marriage address.
One to three readings are appropriate, (as well as none) but certainly optional. Many other rituals are completely up to you if you choose to include, i.e., unity candle, jumping the broom, sand ceremony, foot washing, and many more.
A hymn or solo is a great way to add a special moment to your ceremony. Again, this can be left out as well.
Exchanging of Vows:
This symbolizes the moment when the bride and groom become husband and wife. Whether you choose traditional vows or write your own, this is your chance to declare to everyone what you will honor in your marriage.
Don’t forget the ring vows, which seals the promises exchanged. Most couples wouldn’t think to practice this, but its a good idea. I've heard so many mention the trouble they had slipping the ring on to someone else’s finger.
After your officiant presents you to your guests and you seal the ceremony with a kiss, you two will walk back down the aisle as husband and wife. My suggestion is to choose an upbeat song for the recession to emulate the joy and happiness of the event.
Now that you’re married, let the celebration continue!!!
- Allison Parker of L&L Farm in Tennessee
Authentic farm weddings hold our heart. We were already excited to add farm grown flowers to our wedding offerings, but after seeing the inspiration dreamed up by this talented team of vendors - we are ecstatic for what the future holds!
Photographer Hillary Leah Photography
Florist Stems Atlanta
China The Prissy Plate Company
Cakes My Cake Lady Lynne
Dresses Wedding Angels Bridal
Hair and Make Up Honey Comb Charm Beauty Parlor
Venue Pleasant Union Farm
Hi - I'm Becky Kimmons! My husband, Cale, and I are the farmers behind Pleasant Union Farm. (It may be a bit of a stretch to call myself a farmer, but I'm learning as a I go.) Our dream and journey began in our engagement and marriage and allows us to celebrate weddings with couples and families. We are learning much about farming and weddings, and my goal is to share as much as I can with you!