I am now officially Mrs. Morrison well not quite yet just about 3 forms and a few days to waste at government offices and I will be Mrs. Morrison but the wedding part is over!! A lot of planning, decision making, and bottles of wine went into planning our wedding. Some of the things that helped me along the way were blogs, Pinterest posts, and testimonials from previous brides. So I have decided to write a little bit about the vendors we choose and the planning process for all of the newly engaged women out there! Here it goes!
First, thing I did once engaged was call everyone I know and tell them the entire story. Then I started the planning. Here are the highlights:
- Establish a budget – Wil and I spoke with both parents and set a budget for both the wedding and after rehearsal. We put together an invite list of about 250 (Note: be prepared for pop-up last minute people to be added, also make sure if you want someone there invite them. You will get plenty of declines and you don’t want to regret not inviting someone later). Our wedding had 280 invited and 175 people RSVP’d and 6 were last minute declines (post-RSVP).
- Pick your date and Venue: We looked at Deep Creek Lake at first because I always wanted to get married there but because of the anticipated size of our wedding, we were not able to make it work. I started researching other popular wedding venues in Maryland and ended up deciding on Herrington on the Bay. We set our date for August 11, 2012. The venue is absolutely beautiful and had the feel of a destination wedding, without the commute! (It is only 45 minutes from our house). The staff were gracious, eager to help, and very easy to work with which made the planning process very smooth.
- Hotel Booking: Since we had a large wedding, at a popular wedding venue, in the middle of wedding season we were not able to get large room blocks. (Note: hotels do not offer large room blocks for weddings because wedding blocks usually do not have good pick-up). We were only able to get room blocks with 10 rooms at each hotel. We set-up hotel blocks at the Herrington Harbor Inn, Chesapeake Beach Resort and Spa and Prince Frederick Springhill Marriott. The Marriott ended up giving us more rooms and the Herrington Harbor worked with us to try and accommodate as many wedding guests as possible. Even though the Chesapeake Beach Resort and Spa was a great venue with awesome restaurants (especially their brunch) the staff were extremely difficult to work with and they all had attitudes.
- Colors/Theme: I always wanted an outdoors wedding with a rustic/classic feel. To achieve this Wil and I decided on a white, green, and grey color scheme. Our decorations highlighted chalkboards, mason jars, and a country chic feel.
- The Dress: My mom, sister and I went to a local bridal salon in Maryland that was fantastic called P. Lawrence Bridal. I tried on about 10 dresses and just fell in love with the below.
- Bridesmaid Dresses: To make it easy on me and to help with the girls budgets I just choose a color, length, and fabric and had them pick any dress they wanted to wear with nude shoes. It turned out great.
- Vendors: When it came to vendors I did some research but also went off of the preferred vendor list to save from a hassle on the day with helping the vendors get settled. We choose the following vendors (for full reviews please see the Knot/Wedding Wire):
- DJ: Crow Entertainment (CJ) – Helped us with song selection and was an amazing DJ and so flexible. We had him provide music for the ceremony and our reception. Our selected songs were as follows:
….Processional: “When you Say Nothing at All” by Alison Krauss and “We Belong” by Vitamin String Quartet
….Recessional: “Cant get Enough of your Love Babe” by Barry White
….Our first dance was “La Vie en Rose” by Louis Armstrong
….Father Daughter Dance was “I Loved her First” by Heartland
….Mother Son Dance was “You are the Sunshine of My Life” – Steve Wonder
- Photographer: Rodney Bailey and Associate (Gary) – he was a recommended by my hair stylist and friend. He was absolutely amazing! He was everywhere but was not obtrusive. By the end of the night we were close friends! Photos to come! 🙂 Very reasonably priced for a photographer in the DC area! Highly recommend!
- Baker: Sweet Sue’s Bake Shop – We had cupcakes and a two layer cake! They were absolutely gorgeous and tasted like heaven. If you are ever in North Beach treat yourself to a cupcake! Awesome Prices!!!!!!!!
- Florist: Chesapeake Floral Art (Nancy) is Phenomenal! She is very talented and her and her designers created some of the most beautiful flower arrangements I have ever seen. She worked really well within our budget and suggested certain flowers to help us achieve the look we wanted without spending fortune.
- Transportation: Bayside Limo – overall they were great and we had no complaints their pricing was comparable to other transportation services. The drivers showed up time and got people where they needed to be!
- Hair Stylist: Elegant Hair by Giselle. Gigi is amazing and I have known her most all of my life. If you have reservations about getting your hair done, or you don’t know what you are looking for, she can make it happen! She is a magician when it comes to hair.
Now on to the fun decorations and other decisions!
- Invitations: I designed the invitations and thank you cards myself and then had a printer from work print them for me. It only cost $350 for 200+ invitations, envelopes, info cards, RSVP postcards!
- Favors: It took us forever to figure it out! We just finally settled on bottle koozies. One of the best decisions we made. We used weddingkoozies.com it was only $2.00 per koozie.
- Programs: Since we planned an outdoor wedding in August, we had our programs double as fans. Simple to make with program card stock, Popsicle sticks and strong glue.
- Card Box: To stick with our country chic theme I decided to use lanterns as a fun accent to the reception tent. I found a large lantern from Pottery Barn to use as our card box.
- Guestbook: This was a much larger time commitment than I anticipated. But was a project that I took on knowing I would treasure it forever. I decided to put together a family photo cookbook with family recipes and traditions from my side of the family and Wil’s. It turned out great and I am extremely proud of it!
- Wedding Party Gifts: I really wanted to get something special for the girls in my life and Wil wanted to make sure he got the guys something they truly would like. He decided to get all of his groomsmen a jersey from their favorite sports team which they all loved and I decided to go with my theme and my passions of VT and cooking. I got all of the girls the brand new “A Taste of Virginia Tech” Cookbook with personalized notes from me. I also gave them monogrammed mason jar glasses and scrabble coasters with words that highlighted memories between me and each girl.
- Table Numbers: An easy project was making small chalkboards from $1 wooden Michael frames and Chalkboard Paper they turned out fantastic.
- Name Cards: I saw an amazing idea on Pinterest. (Isn’t that where all ideas come from these days!) Anyways, I decided to string name cards across an old door with a welcome sign. I was just going to bang up a door from Home Depot but my Dad’s friend Joey lent us a door from their farm and it is by gorgeous! It was an easy project and looked fantastic.
All in all the wedding was a blast! Feel free to comment and ask any questions that you need answers to!
Mrs. Morrison xoxoxo