Wednesday, December 25, 2013

OMG I’m getting MARRIED!!!!

He put a ring on it and here come the questions….

When’s the wedding date?

Where are you going to get married?

What are your colors?

LET ME BREATHE!!!!!!  That is what you want to scream from the top of your lungs!  Stop, but don’t drop or roll.  Before the anxiety attack sets in because you have been engaged five minutes and the whole event is not planned, step back, relax and enjoy the moment.  Setting boundaries from the very beginning of your engagement will benefit everyone and most importantly will help you maintain sanity. 

Helpful responses to the wedding planning pressure…

We are taking our time, enjoying the moment; we haven’t even started the planning process. (If they give you a look of panic, just giggle inside!)

We want to keep all our options open and not make quick decisions. 

With a confident shrug, you know what? I am enjoying the engagement, this fabulous ring and my fiancée!

Check out my Pinterest wedding board!  (My favorite, their opinions on their time!)

We are putting all our options together, working with a great planner to ensure a fabulous wedding, got this under control! (Nothing like a little self promotion…

Feeling a little cheeky…..really get them going…We are running off to get married, you’ll be the first to see the pics!

Remember, this is YOUR engagement, YOUR wedding, don’t let the outside pressures take away from the significance of the moment.  You are marrying the love of your life, this is not about colors, or venues, or food. 

Set boundaries from the beginning and you will be guaranteed less stress!
EvanGrace Event Planning


Monday, December 16, 2013

Bridesmaids....not your minions

Not your minions….

Public service announcement to all brides….your bridesmaid’s have a life!  Before you so graciously asked these kind women to stand before your friends and family to confirm your marriage, they were busy being students, Moms, sisters, employees, well, you get the point.  So while certain duties are expected of a bridesmaid, they did not sign up for servant responsibilities over the course of your wedding planning.

We’ve all heard the horror stories, required weight loss, demanding emails, expensive gowns….on and on and on.  One bride took these expectations to a new level in this must read article, while comical, I am confident she meant business; remember these women are your friends, not your minions!

Want to be the best bride ever?  Follow these simple rules!

1.      You choose the color….let them choose the style! Some of our favorites for this.  J Crew and Two Birds

2.      Offer to pay for hair and makeup on the big day! 

3.      Be clear and kind about their responsibilities and expectations!

4.      Limit your DIY needs!  One or two items are fine, but every aspect of the wedding will quickly cause bridesmaid burnout.

5.      Be respectful of time; remember they are still living their life!

6.     Be thankful, saying thank you along the way will show how grateful you are for their friendship and dedication to your big day!


Remember long after your wedding day, these women will be your friends and sometimes family!  Treat them with kindness and respect and they will help you create the wedding of your dreams!



Friday, December 13, 2013

My cousin’s uncle’s brother…..

My cousin’s uncle’s brother…..

If I have heard it once, I have heard it a million times, my brother’s cousin’s uncle takes pictures, and he will do it for FREE.  My response, as politely as possible….you get what you pay for, now let’s check back to reality and consider hiring a professional.  We understand budgets; we understand keeping family peace when the brothers’ cousin’s uncle offers his services, for free. At the end of all the planning, all of the details, all of the hard work, what are you left with to remember the happiest day of your life? Photos! Professional photographers capture these moments. These are moments you will reflect on many years from now reminding you of the love you cherish, as you run around after your screaming children, while irritated by your husband, who has forgotten to take the trash out, and dealing with a mother-in-law who insists on critiquing every aspect of how you handle your life!  You will need these heartfelt images of your wedding day as a reminder, the chaos is all worth it, trust me. 
We regularly lean on a couple of rock stars, aka Cassie Leigh Photography. While we love these two, more importantly they have educated us, as planners, of the value of professional photography. We rock at creating timelines, logistics, design and vendor relations….not lighting, focus, or how to wrangle the two year old for the family photo….we leave that to the professionals and so should you!



Photography will be a large part of your budget, as it should be.  It is the one thing you will take away from the day.  Useful Tips….Photographers have different packages to fit within your budget, make sure you ask for pricing based on your needs.  Bridal portraits are fairly standard here in the South, but you may not want them, ask to replace with engagement photos.  Make sure that you truly bond with your photographer; you will have to ensure a level of trust to make sure you get the best possible images.  Last but not least… takes more than ONE photographer to shoot a wedding!  Make sure there is a second shooter for the big day!!! 

So bypass your cousin’s uncle’s brother….hire a professional, a lifetime of memories investment.

Check us out….

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Back to Life, Back to Reality

As wedding planners, it is our job to ensure that you stay on budget.  At our first meeting we will ask, What’s your budget?  Why you ask?  If it is $5,000 or $50,000, it is our job to MAKE IT WORK.  We don’t ask because we only want big budget weddings , please don’t be mistaken; those are lovely, but not necessarily challenging for us.  We ask to implement the “how” factor, how are we going to help YOU make this day happen.  Now let’s be realistic here, there are no open bars on a $5,000 budget, we aren’t miracle workers,  but we can rock a 50 guest wedding without a bar on 5 G’s in our sleep, that is our job and we are pretty darn good at it!
Invitation Images by Cassie Leigh Photography
Being honest about your budget is critical to the process, it is reality.  A good wedding planner will connect you to the right vendors that fit your budget and personality.  Our favorite stationery vendor is Sweetest Beginnings, yes, we have our favorites; just like teachers, they won’t admit it, but they do. These folks have our back, if something goes wrong; they fix it, before you even know it was an issue. (You will hear more about these great folks in further blogs, stayed tuned!)  Before we introduce you to Susan, the owner, we go over budget, concept, color, etc.  Susan is great about preparing for the meeting, based on the information we provided, allowing you to view her custom invitations, in your price point!  We will not leave her fabulous studio with you falling in love with the latest and greatest pocket, fold out, foil stationery that is $3 per an invitation over budget! At 200 invites, that is $600, plus tax, plus stamps…these are the extras that get lost in wedding budget world!

So moral of the story….when we ask, What’s your budget?  It is not to make more money; it is to make sure you live in the world of reality!  We want to make the process fun, streamlined and painless.  We will introduce you to vendors that will work within YOUR budget and personality! 

Check us out.....

EvanGrace Event Planning

Sweetest Beginnings

Cassie Leigh Photography


Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Touch of Elegance: Holiday Decor

     From centerpieces to bouquets, there are many ways to integrate the holidays into your wedding celebrations. I love the idea of blending the natural warmth that the wintery months bring, with the elegance of traditional wedding décor. There is something romantic and dreamy about it! To create a softness and gracefulness, I decided to go with a color palette of white, ivory, and chocolate brown as base colors and then add accents of lavender or shades of soft green.

     With shabby chic already in vogue, the addition of wintery textures such as bay leaves, branches, and seasonal blooms to white roses can give your centerpiece or bouquet that rustic feel while keeping it classy at the same time. I love the idea of adding wintery treats such as a hot chocolate bar — both affordable and tasty! When it comes to favors, there are many options. My favorite two that I found are photographed below. I absolutely fell in love with the idea of a blanket or scarf with the inscription “Love keeps us warm” on the tag! Pinecones also make adorable favors, and can be do-it-yourself at the same time.

     Below are some more photos of my favorite wintery wedding decorations that are affordable, easy to do, and add just a subtle hint of holiday magic to your special day!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

"Where's My Child?"

We can all ask our parents and know that children are a huge handful in most situations and unfortunately in important events it doesn't change! You take a huge risk in giving a young child an important task in such events but most of the time it's completely worth it! Before you make a decision on using children in your wedding or in any of other situation think about these few things! 

Number 1. Would you be okay if things didn't go EXACTLY according to plan?
Most hosts or brides (especially brides) want everything to go exactly according to plan. That is completely understandable but when you have children involved things could change especially when you have a flower girl and a ring bearer. Most children don't want to stand that long during the ceremony. Some can't be away from their parents. We even had one ceremony where the little one was losing his tooth and went to the bathroom while the ceremony was starting! Little things like this happen all the time and you should prepare yourself for it if you want to use the little guys! 

Number 2. Silly kids can end up taking some Silly pictures!
This does not always occur but sometimes you just can't get the kids to stop making a silly face in the pictures. With photography being as expensive as it is, you might want to make sure the kids can straighten up for a little while and take some nice pictures with beautiful smiles! 

Number 3. It's a great way to incorporate family!
In some cases you are really close with some of your family members than others and this is a great way to use more of your family or close friends in the wedding! Other times families might not have as many children to choose from so it's a easy decision! You definitely do not have to have a flower girl or a ring bearer but it is a nice touch! 

Number 4. It makes for great memories!
You might have a kid in your family who is a complete ham! Pictures of these moments especially at your reception will be great! If they have a favorite dance they get really into it and puts smiles on everyones faces! All of your guests will remember that moment and it will bring back sweet memories of your day! 

Just think about these things before you make your decision! There are other ways that you can incorporate the children without having them in the ceremony! If you do use them you are GUARANTEED a great time! :) 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Finding The Right Vendors For YOU!

As a first time buyer it is  hard to know if the vendors you are choosing for your wedding day are the ones that will create your VISION.  It may end up fabulous, but you could be spending more than needed and getting less. Below is a list of critical questions to ask your caterer, floral designer, cake designer, and DJ or Band.
1.  How Many Weddings Do You Book In A Weekend?
  • This answer will change with your vendor depending on their services and size. If your floral designer or caterer has a team of thirty and does ten weddings in one day, you should be weary. Make sure that your primary contact with the vendor is assigned to your wedding.  It is important to make sure that you have complete trust and security in the design of your flowers and food. You need the correct amount of staff to complete the full picture. You are quality not quantity!

2. How Do You Price Your Service?
  • Does your photographer have packages based on the hours, 4, 6 or 8?  When do you want those hours to begin? How many photographers will be onsite during the day?  Make a list of exactly what you are looking for in services for every vendor. You want to get what you are looking for without all of the extras. Many vendors will have a la carte options! 

3. What Other Services Do You Provide?
  • Your caterer may provide linen rentals, or your cake designer creates candy buffets. Some photographers handle  Save The Dates as a part of your engagement picture package. Explore all of your possibilities and gather information. If you are on a set budget, this is a great way to find alternative options.

4. How Much Time Do You Need To Set Up and Tear Down?
  • This is a logistical question for ALL your vendors!  It is important to make sure that all of your vendors are able to set up in the time allotted by your church or venue. Another aspect with rentals is set up and tear down time. Many rental companies only deliver on weekdays or have a extra fee for weekend deliveries. Check with your venue and vendors on their policies for set ups and tear downs.

5. Where Are Your References?
  • The most influential people during your decision making process are former clients and peers of vendors within the industry. Research websites such as WeddingWire, The Knot, and ask them for a list of venues they have worked with in the past.  Your research will prove valuable, disclosing any warning signs of inconsistencies, unprofessionalism, or failure to meet expectations. Former clients will provide insight as to their satisfaction level of services rendered. Research, Research, Research!!!!

6. Service Charges, Fees and Taxes!
  • $30.00 a person for your catering is a great deal!!!  If you have 150 guests total catering is $4,500, right? Hold tight.  Catering will include an additional line item for your budget, the industry, this is the ++.  This ++ is the service fee, plus taxes.  These fees cover the staff, clean up, setup and applicable taxes.  With standard 20% service charge and 7.5% tax, the total catering is actually $5,805.

Every wedding vendor wants to make you happy and comfortable with their services and products. It is their mission to create be an important part of ensuring you have the perfect day! Find the right vendors to fit your personality, your pocketbook and  YOUR vision.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

MYTH: I Don't Need a Wedding Planner!

           Let's face it, a lot of budget conscious brides and grooms think that winging it will save them a lot of money rather than hiring someone like a Wedding Planner to take care of their big day. Well in most cases this is NOT TRUE! Actually there is a huge chance that you will end up going above and beyond your initial budget with a lot more stress and headaches to deal with.

What we would like to do today is discuss your options. Yes, you have options when it comes to a Planner. The two main options are a Full Event Wedding Planner and a Day Of Wedding Coordinator.

What's a Full Event Wedding Planner?

  • A Full Event Wedding Planner is there from the beginning to the end and changes with every bride. No wedding, bride, or groom are the same so each wedding planner must be flexible and innovative to meet their needs. They begin with vendor referrals, tastings, budget creation, month to month timelines, contract bargaining... you get what I'm doing here. They do it all! They even clean up for you after!

What's a Day Of Coordinator?
  • Day Of Coordinator isn't really the best way to describe this crazy busy position. It's more like Month Before Planner! They basically play catch up on all things planning. They call all of your vendors and confirm dates, times, quantity, logistics, etc. They direct your rehearsal and show up on your big day with all "just in case" items. They then orchestrate the whole day from the rose petals down the aisle to when the DJ announces your send off.  

What Would Fit My Wedding Best?
I highly recommend that every couple have a professional help them whether it is through the entire planning process or right down to the day. 

Advantages to a Full Event Wedding Planner:
  • Stress Free Planning- With a good professional, you should just be able to point and choose and they will make it happen.
  • Vendor Referrals- You are a first time (and hopefully one time) buyer with all of your wedding vendors so if you are budget conscious they aren't really willing to work with you on price. Planners refer tons of brides and will have a better chance of persuading vendors on price because of that built relationship.
  • Vendor Variety- These Professionals know people in the business and are more likely to have a better take on who is a good investment and who you should pass over. They will help you find the best vendors for the best deals.
  • Keep You on Track- If you are trying to stay in a certain budget they will do all they can to keep you there. They are not afraid to set boundaries with you on choices because they have your best interest in mind. Your happiness is the most important part of their job because it leads to recommendations and further use. 
Advantages to a Day Of Coordinator:
  • Double Tap, Double Check- Coordinators will make sure all of your decisions are doable and being executed by your vendors and you. If anything is wrong they will have it fixed before you even know, leaving you stress free and ready to get hitched.
  • Your Guests Are Guests- In most DIY weddings, guests usually end up lighting the candles, calling the vendors, moving tables, setting up and tearing everything. They don't get to enjoy themselves as you had hoped they would. With a Coordinator, they wont have to worry about anything because the Coordinator will do all of this and more!

Some Things to Consider
      Consider this. A Wedding Planner wants your business whether the full event or just coordinating the day. Don't be put off by the price tag. Be honest when meeting with a planner and discuss your concerns, you may be surprised by how they respond. 


Friday, October 4, 2013

Guest Book Alternatives: Written Off The Pages!

Guest books are one of the most important things for a wedding! You always want to know who helped celebrate your special day but just a book can get rather boring and worn out. Here are some unique ideas for guests book that are far from boring!

This is a personal favorite of ours here at Evan Grace! Everyone loves a good game of Jenga so why not remember your wedding day and all who shared it with you AT THE SAME TIME! Each guest signs a Jenga piece! This obviously makes for a cute ring picture too! 

A photo book is becoming more popular with each wedding that we do! Each guest gets into a photo booth and has their picture made and each guest gets a copy and then the other copy goes into a book where you sign beside your picture! These pictures are always a nice touch because you can always tell your guests were having a great time! Our last wedding we did the bride and her mother influenced us to join them in there and the pictures were priceless! 

We have actually done this for a wedding as well! This is a canvas that can be made into a hanging picture after everyone has signed it. This is more of a guest book that could be displayed in your house after all of the wedding festivities are over! 

I actually LOVE this idea! This is a dictionary! What happens is each guest picks a word that they think describes the couple, circles, arrows, or high lights it and then signs there! This could get pretty risky though so be aware of your guests and how they would handle it! 

Puzzle pieces are fun too! This can be really cute if you make the puzzle pieces into an actual picture! You can use one of your engagement pictures and blow it up and make it into a puzzle! 

Finger prints are always a fun guest book especially if you have children involved or invited to the wedding! If you signed with your finger print the couple would know exactly whose print it was! Below are multiple different versions of this book and they are all AWESOME! 

This is just a different version of a photo book! You have to be careful with this one though to make sure you don't miss anyone!!! 

This is a display guest book as well! It's a shadow box! Every guest signs a little wooden heart or whatever shape you choose and drops it in! 

This is a great way to remember everyone that was at your wedding but also to get everyone's birthday's down! I know I have a hard time remembering birthdays so this is a great way to get everyone's at one time! 

The globe is really fun! Your guest could pick out wherever they wanted to sign and hopefully the world would fill up with love! :) 

We hope you choose something AWESOME as your guest book! :) Bring Originality! 

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Peveich Wedding! Photographed by Katy Cook!

Welcome to Belmont Abbey! 

Poppies out of Concord, NC put together this beautiful bouquet! Poppies always does amazing work which is why they are one of our preferred vendors! They really personalized this beautiful bridal bouquet! :)

This was such a good idea to showcase the rings! I love this shot! 

Less is more! This bride kept the aisles free of decorations! Everyone's eyes were on her, just how it should be! 

Exiting the church as a happy newlywed couple! Katy Cook captured this moment perfectly! 

The reception was located at Byron's South End with Best Impressions Catering! It's a beautiful space and with the right decor it turns into something magical and this bride knew exactly what to do! 

White hydrangeas and branches were used for the centerpieces! Everything was kept simple and elegant and it really expanded the space!

Owls were the theme of this wedding so owls were everywhere! If you notice there are owls on each seating card and there are little white owls around the centerpieces! EvanGrace made each seating card and put together the table labels as well! Those cute little love owls on the seating cards were specially designed for the couple by Sweetest Beginnings. Our lovely bride gave every table a different love story couple like Romeo and Juliet, Gatsby and Daisy, and many more!

The bridal parties table was set up a little differently! Small bundles of hydrangeas were used for centerpieces which were also provided by Poppies! This is such a neat way to photograph the table! Katy does some fantastic work!  

A guest book is always a must! Instead of using a book they wanted a canvas! Sweetest Beginnings put this canvas together with a tree and an owl couple sitting on a branch along with Megan and Michael's name and wedding date! This is just a little more personalized than a book! 

Now time for some dancing! This picture speaks for itself. This was a beautiful moment captured during the Father Daughter dance. 

This groomsman and his lady seem to be having a great time! Virtual Sounds brings the party! You are guaranteed your guests will be dancing with these guys!

If dancing wasn't your style corn hole was there too! 

Weddings should be fun! Megan and Michael definitely knew how to throw a great party! We wish the newlyweds a long a happy marriage! Congrats Megan and Michael Peveich! :D

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Chidester Wedding In Pictures by Cassie Leigh Photography!

 Welcome to Brakefield at Riverwalk in Rock Hill, SC! 

This red was the stunning for-front for Ashley's Elegant Theme. We made sure that all of the reds we used at the wedding were about to match Ashley's gorgeous shoes! 

I love this shot! It's so unique! Every girl needs enough hairspray to last the entire day! Cassie Leigh Photography captured this shot beautifully.

Geoff obviously has a love for motorcycles! This is definitely a man's picture! This was also their get away vehicle at the end of the night! How fun!

Here is one of our all time favorites, a Cassie Leigh Classic! Maybe Ashley was peeking out to look at Geoff taking pictures on the motorcycle! Who knows, but this is a beautiful shot! She found that beautiful champagne belt and fingertip length soutache veil at our Bridal Shop!

It's official the rings are on! :) 

Family Fun!

Reception Time! This cake is simple and elegant thanks to Desserts By Dawn! It was a clean cut gorgeous three tier cake which was accompanied by Mickey Mouse shaped rice crispy treats at each seat! Bistro catering provided the delicious food! They had a scrumptious cocktail hour filled with a fruit and coffee bar followed by a fully mouth watering buffet. The Bistro Staff was on point!

Let's Dance! Virtual Sounds provided some great tunes and made it a great party! They got people up and dancing without compromising the elegant and sweet feel of the night!

Sparklers for the send-off! We handed out these picture grabbing sparklers to finish off the celebration! This wedding was beautiful and we wish the best for Ashley and Geoff! :D