{vendor reviews & wedding planning tips}

Well, as promised on my facebook, I am now going to review each of the wedding vendors TJ & I hired for our wedding. I'm also including some tips that I found useful in planning. Hopefully this will be helpful to those of you planning your own speical day!

1. Since I was a young girl, I've dreamed of planning my wedding. For a long time, I've followed photography blogs. A lot of those photographers cover weddings, so I got a pretty good idea of what I wanted my wedding to be like. As soon as I got engaged, I also started following wedding blogs, such as Ruffled (look in the archives on this one....they have lots of DIY ideas for centerpieces, etc.) So use your resources! The internet is an incredible place for ideas. I'm also willing to help you out :)

2. The first thing I did was pick colors and a theme. My colors were white, tan, and chocolate brown. My theme was simple & classic, with a bit of shabby chic. I wanted the atmostphere to be relaxed, with a backyard feel to it almost. Now, this idea in my head shifted and changed as things actually started falling into place.

3. Next, I got my dress. I went to one place and found it in less than 2 hours. Arizona's Bridal Warehouse baby! The girl that helped me gave me an amazing piece of advice as I started to pick out dresses to try on: just grab anything you think you might like even if it's not your first pick. I tried on about 12 dresses. The dress I ended up choosing was not the style I had in my head, but I fell in love with it once I tried it on. Best part is, it was one of the least expensive I tried and it only needed minimum alterations. It fit me and the style of me wedding....super simple and classy.

4. Now the rest of these are in no particular order. Our photographer, Joe Blech of Joseph Blech Photography, was a referral from TJ's Auntie Apryl. He did both our engagements and wedding pictures. Joe was so easy-going and great to work with. He really went out of his way to make sure we were getting what we wanted. We have yet to see our wedding pics, but we are so excited. If you contact him, mention my name!

5. Our announcements were designed and printed by Antar of AmericaJoy. He worked really well with us and designed them just how I wanted. I was so glad to be saved the work of handmade invites, but still have the customization I wanted at a reasonable price.

6. My amazing cousin Ashley Daniel recently graduated from Scottsdale Culinary Institute as a pastry chef. She is very talented, so I contacted her right away. Our tiered cake had only one layer that was real (the top one) which TJ & I cut at the reception (ps, this tier was red velvet cake with cheesecake whipped filling. Heavenly goodness). We served sheet cakes to our guests. It was all wonderful.

7. Our bridal party flowers were done by the talented Amy Jones. For every high school dance I went to, I went to Amy for my date's boutenniere. I absolutely loved the way my bouquet turned out: all white roses with brown pearl beads and a satin brown wrap. Then, only family members had corsages and boutennieres. I didn't do bouquets or boutennieres for bridesmaids and groomsmen.

8. I don't have a link for her, but a close family friend did our catering and the carnations for our centerpieces. Let me know if you want to contact Laura Franccini. We also had ward members and family who helped in the kitchen.

9. Our videography/slideshow was done by someone who has known TJ and I for our entire lives (but we never knew each other): Darren Eyring. We owe so much to this family! Proud to call them my new cousins.

Whew! I think that about covers everything. If you have any questions or want to know more, let me know. We had small budget, so I've got lots of tips as far as that goes. Good luck ladies!

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Thanks for reading! I love reading your thoughts, too :)