Wedding Playlist: Kelsey + Kevin

When I was planning my wedding, I did a lot of research to figure out the “right” songs to play. After listening to hours and hours —and hours — of music, I came to the realization that there is no such thing as a“wrong” playlist If it’s right to you, then do you, boo.

With that being said, I wanted to tell you about my wedding playlist. Our playlist is not for everyone, but it was perfect for our wedding. You may not choose the same songs, but maybe it will inspire you to complete your perfect wedding list.

** Before we start, my husband did not have too many opinions about music, so I did pick out a majority of the songs. But I did run every song by him except the song I walked down the aisle to.**

Ceremony

What He Walked Down the Aisle To:

While I was listening to the hours of music, I knew I wanted an instrumental song that pulled my heartstrings a bit. I found lots of pretty songs but none that tickled my fancy.

Until I watched The Greatest Showman.

I immediately knew that I needed “A Million Dreams” in the ceremony. Along with the beautiful melody, I loved the lyrics and the meaning of the song.

We can live in a world that we design

'Cause every night I lie in bed
The brightest colors fill my head
A million dreams are keeping me awake
I think of what the world could be
A vision of the one I see
A million dreams is all it's gonna take
A million dreams for the world we're gonna make

As much as I love Hugh Jackman singing this, I found a really pretty piano version by Kim Bo.

What I Walked Down the Aisle To:

Again, I wanted a song I connected with, one that would make me cry if I was a happy crier. I tossed some ideas around, and was thinking of an instrumental version of “Can’t Help Falling In Love,” but it just wasn’t me.

As a Disney lover through and through, it just made sense to play ”I See the Light” from Tangled. Finding an instrumental version ended up being a bit tougher than anticipated, but I found a version that was actually billed as a lullaby It was perfect — sweet and simple.

Tip: if you have your heart set on a certain song but can’t find an instrumental version, adjust your search. Google a lullaby or string quartet version of what you’re looking for. A high-quality karaoke version may even work in a pinch.

Reception

First Dance:

Lots of couples have “their song” picked out long before the wedding day. We did not. 

The go-to first dance song at the time was a very popular Ed Sheeran song… which we both hated. That was out.

We really like singing “Love is an Open Door” from Frozen, but that wasn’t a slow song. I looked into the version they played in Disney’s new fireworks show, “Happily Ever After,” but they never released the full version.

We joked for years that our first dance song would be “The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)”, and even went as far as finding a slow “romantic” version on Youtube — only for it to magically disappear when I tried to download it. 

So, while we painted our house, made dinner, and did all our other day-to-day chores, we listened to music to try and figure out what “our song” would be. After hours of listening to Spotify, we decided on “Just the Way You Are” by Billy Joel. It wasn’t a typical first dance song (at least not at this time), but I really liked that it. It was not super serious and pretty simple (seeing a pattern?)

Father/Daughter Dance:

As a cheerleader in elementary school, halftime during the “homecoming” game was reserved for a choreographed father-daughter halftime routine. My dad and I both REALLY wanted to re-enact a routine we did together  because it was hilarious and so fun… but the song was mixed specifically for my squad like 15 years earlier. We searched for the song on Youtube. Couldn’t find it. We searched for the video of us dancing to it. Couldn’t find it. We were at a loss.

So my dad decided on “Rainbow Connection”.


He actually had this song picked out for a long time, since he was originally going to use it as his father/daughter dance with my older sister. But they ended up changing the song (for any of you that are curious, they danced to “Return to Pooh Corner” by Kenny Loggins. My sister did ballet to this when she was younger, so it was like things came full circle).

Anyways, he picked out “Rainbow Connection”and I found a fun jazzy version so Kermit did not have to sing it.

Mother/Son Dance:

I asked Kevin to write a little blurb about this because it was his song.

“My mom said it was my sisters’ song, and I hate Phil Collins” — Kevin

First Dance for Everyone:

This is an important song because it gets the party started and sets the tone for the night.

We REALLY wanted to play “Bodak Yellow” by Cardi B. Honestly, that song is a BOP.  But our DJ thought it might upset the older crowd, and advised us not to open with it. So, we played “Can’t Stop This Feeling” by Justin Timberlake. Still a bop and it brought the crowd onto the dance floor — which was great for our photographers. They got LOTS of great dancing pictures.


We ended up playing “Bodak Yellow” later in the night, and it slayed. I honestly think my grandma and mom came out to dance to this song BECAUSE IT ROCKED SO MUCH.

Tip: Consider your audience. Yes, it’s your party, but you don’t want to make your conservative great-aunt uncomfortable. Consider playing a mix of fast and slow songs from various decades if your guests are of all ages, and save the racier stuff for later in the party after easily-offended guests have left.


I hope this eases your mind about creating a wedding playlist and has inspired you to incorporate music that fits the tastes of you, your spouse-to-be and your guests.

Maid of Honor: Roles + Duties

Your best friend is betrothed and she asked you to be her maid of honor with the cutest bridesmaid proposal box. Now you *officially* get to be her right-hand lady and help her with all her wedding needs. SO EXCITING --- Also, a little daunting.

There are lots of hats that the maid of honor wears. In some instances,  she may help pick out the bridesmaids dresses, or is there when the bride finds the dress of her dreams, and she may also wrangle the bridal party together for different activities -- this is something to discuss with your bestie to see how involved she’d like you to be. Along with all those typical duties, there are some important roles that you don’t want to forget:

Before the Big Day

Host / Co-Host a Wedding Shower

Planning a wedding shower is so fun! Of course, you do not have to plan this entire thing yourself. Get the bridesmaids involved to help you out -- this will be a great way to bond with the rest of the wedding party.

Some fun themes I’ve been enjoying are:

  • Brunch and Bubbly: Mimosa lovers unite!

  • Falling In Love: Hello, Pumpkin Spiced Everything.

  • Traveling from Miss to Mrs: for those wanderlust travelers

Plan the Bachelorette Party

Same with wedding shower, you do not have to plan this yourself! This can be a joint effort, but be the initiator of the conversation! Ask the bride-to-be what she wants in a bachelorette party and go from there.

Wedding Day

Celebrate!

Grab some bagels, orange juice, and bubbly -- YOUR BEST FRIEND IS GETTING MARRIED TODAY! Be her hype woman and make sure she’s feeling great and beautiful today!

Make an Emergency Kit

Think about making a little emergency kit in case the bride needs something. Things that should be included: safety pins, Tide To-Go pen, Advil, Tums, some bandaids, and maybe those comfortable shoes she says she “doesn’t need” because she wants to wear her heels all night.

Keep the Grooms Ring Safe

This important role may be given to you, or the Best Man may have both the rings. Either way, make sure this is sorted out before the ceremony.

Prepare a Speech

Please don’t wing it. I know it sounds like a good idea, but maybe prepare SOMETHING!! Usually, a speech should be around 5 minutes. Talk to your bestie beforehand to see if she has any stories she wants you to include (or definitely does not added). There’s lots of good advice that can be found online to come up with the *perfect speech*, but my ONE piece of advice is PLEASE DO NOT SAY “Hi, I am Kelsey. For those who do not know me ….”

*CRINGE*

Just say your name and your relationship. People that don’t know you will figure it out, I promise.

Bustle that Train

If the bride is bustling her train for the reception, go with her to her last dress fitting and record how the seamstress bustles the train. This will be your lifesaver. Bustling a dress is difficult, so give yourself enough time to do this on the wedding day.

After the Big Day

Make Sure All the Gifts and Decorations are Safe and Sound

This may not be your job specifically, but make sure the couple has someone picked out to take down all the decorations, and bring those and all the gifts back to the couples house safely.

Hot Tip: If the couple wants to take the cake home, make sure you stick it in the fridge/ freezer (my mother brought my gifts and decorations home… and left the cake on the floor -- luckily my cats were not interested in it)

Ways to Destress from Wedding Planning

Are you in fully immersed in that wedding planning grind? Do you feel like it’s a full time job? 

Take a break from those Excel  spreadsheets and step away from all those invitations that need stamped. You need some R+R, and here’s the good news: you don’t need to have a million bucks to feel like a million bucks.

Here are some inexpensive ways to de-stress on a budget!

Pamper Yourself

Though booking a facial may sound great, it may not be in the budget in the midst of wedding planning. Lucky for you, there’s some great face masks that you can do at home! This one is one of my favorites. The Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay was a staple in my wedding planning months! The calcium bentonite clay draws out all the gunk in your pores, giving you a real nice, clean face! It’s great mixed with water, but you can add a bit of apple cider vinegar to clear stress-induced breakouts and achieve that bridal glow. 

As with all skin products, make sure to test this on your skin  before slathering all over your face to make sure you don’t have any adverse reactions to it. Also, this mask can dry your face out, so make sure to moisturize! And finally, don’t introduce any new skincare products in the week or so leading up to your wedding as a precaution.

Take A Sip:

There’s nothing like sitting on the porch during these hot summer days with a cold glass of iced coffee. I enjoy going to a coffee place now and again, but I have found such a great way to make coffee at home for a fraction of the cost! This has changed my home coffee game. My hand frother is probably my most used kitchen tool because I love it so much! I add a bit of flavored syrup (I get them at Marshalls or TJ Maxx because they are usually less than $5) and add some milk. My go-to is oat milk or almond, but you do you, and froth it up! Next, pour in your iced coffee and add some ice. It’s delicious, super easy, and has that nice froth that I get from the coffee shop — all without changing out of my pajamas and leaving the house. 

Bring In The Wedding Crew:

Remember all those people that you asked to ring in the big day? They’re here to help! Whether you’re stuffing all your wedding invitations or putting together welcome bags for your out of town guests, they’ve got this! Invite over some of your close friends, get some bottles of wine, and plan together! Catch up with your friends, tell each other stories, watch the new movie you’ve been dying to see, and enjoy each other’s  company while getting stuff done!

Remember Why You’re Doing This:

Between deciding how you’re going to display your table numbers and what white to choose for your table linens, the real reason why you’re getting married can get lost. Take a minute. Take 5 minutes. Honestly, take a day and relax with your partner-to-be. Remember all the love you have for one another and all that life has in store for you. Yes, your planning may be stressful, but your love is number one! In 10 years, you probably won’t remember what white table linen you chose for your reception, but you will definitely remember all the feels you have for your significant other!

photography by Sanchez Studio

photography by Sanchez Studio














Bridal Party Proposal: $20 Box Challenge

Your fiance of your dreams proposed to you -- super magical and meaningful!

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It’s time for you to propose to your tribe! You also want it to be magical and meaningful just like your proposal (because they are your best friends, obviously). So how do you ask them to be part of your special day? 

There’s lots of fun things on Pinterest that would be meaningful and fun -- but holy moly they can get expensive! How many “Bridesmaid 2020” mugs is too many? Do your bridesmaids need 5 hair ties to help you “tie the knot” (honestly maybe… I go through go hair ties like there’s no tomorrow) -- but not for those crazy prices.

Whether you have 2 bridesmaids or 30 (please don’t have 30… that’s way too many), here is a proposal box that doesn’t break the bank and is full of useful things that your tribe will love!

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Proposal Box

First things first, skip the gift box section. At Target, these suckers can run for something like four or five dollars? Woah. I got this Kraft Box Photobox from Michael’s. It’s basically the same thing as a gift box, but it costs less than three dollars. While I was at Michaels, I also picked up some shredded paper.


Next is all the goodies! The champagne glass is from Walmart. I used my Cricut to personalize it (is that cheating in my $20 proposal box challenge?). Marshall’s is one of my favorite places to get candles. They have so many fun smells, they are always getting new stock in, and they never break the bank -- even the giant candles are around $12.  For the chocolates and succulent, I went to Trader Joes. They have so many yummy snacks and pretty much always have a good succulent section. And last was the mini champagne bottle. I picked them up from my local grocery. Cupcake Champagne tastes like pure goodness, but don’t let me sway you :)

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So, just for cost purposes, here is some math for you:

PhotoBox: $2.66
Shredded Paper: $1.50
Champagne Glass: $2.00
Candle: $4.00
Chocolate: $2.00
Succulent: $2.00
Champagne: $3.50
--------------------------
Total: $17.66

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You're Engaged: Now What?

You just got engaged to the person of your dreams! CONGRATULATIONS!! There’s a million and one details to plan, but where do you start? I drafted up a short list to help you get started without getting overwhelmed. It’s easy to get caught up in all the excitement but remember: enjoy this beautiful time now.

Photography by Kristin Vermilya

Photography by Kristin Vermilya

Let All Your Inner Circle Know

This is such an exciting time for the two of you! Before posting the big news on social media, make sure to take some time and share it with the people that mean the most to you. Though it would be great to tell them in person, over the phone works too. After you’ve let your besties, parents, siblings, and all the other people in your inner circle know, go share it with your 500+ facebook friends and Insta followers so you can celebrate with them too.

Pick A Season

Picking a season is your first step in locking down a date! Do your wedding dreams include kissing under a snowfall? Or does it include beautiful red hues of the fall trees? Chat about it with your partner to see what suits you two best!


Hire A Planner

Though you can hire a wedding planner at any point during your planning process, hiring one sooner is always better! They’ve got tips and tricks up their sleeve that can make the whole process less stressful, so why not use their expertise?

Draft Your Wedding Party

Photography by Kristin Vermilya

Photography by Kristin Vermilya

Pick the people you want to celebrate every step of the wedding with. You do not have to choose right away — in fact, do not choose right away. Take some time to think about who the most important people are and who would enjoy being there with you. If you have a friend who hates weddings, hates making plans, and hates group activities, maybe think about not having them stand by your side. Some of the people who love you aren’t into the responsibilities that come with being in a wedding party — and that’s OK. Involve them as much as they want to be involved in an unofficial capacity. That way, everybody wins.

Enjoy the Time

So many couples get bogged down with wedding planning the minute they get engaged.That’s rough — particularly if your partner isn’t as pumped about vision boards and color stories as you are. You got months to decide what shade of white you want for your wedding flowers. Enjoy the time you have together, and if need be, limit talk of the wedding during date night. Instead, just pop a bottle of champagne and relax with your new fiancé!


10 Questions to Ask Before Booking Your Wedding Venue

When it comes to looking at wedding venues, there are a few things to think about besides just the cost!

For example, you might find an amazing venue and it’s in your budget (YEEHAW!). You book your dream venue, sign the contract… and then read the fine print. You find out that you have to supply all the rentals, ie chairs, tables, linens, flatware, etc. And on top of that extra cost, you have to use their preferred caterer who has a minimum of $15,000!!

Ouch.

photography by Sanchez Studios

photography by Sanchez Studios


Here are the questions you should be asking:

Do they have your date available?

This is an obvious question. If you are having your ceremony + reception at the same location, your venue might actually dictate the date you get married! Choose a year and a month, and see what the venue has available.

photography by Sanchez Studios

photography by Sanchez Studios


How many guests does it accommodate?

When you’re choosing a venue, you may not have your guest list all figured out. Have a rough estimate before you start looking at venues. You have to make sure your Great Aunt Edna has a seat

What all is included in the venue?

Be sure to ask what is included with the price of the venue. This will change from place to place. Some venues may only include the rental space and nothing else. Others may include all tables, chairs, linens, etc.

Is there a preferred vendor list?

A preferred vendor list is a great perk! These are vendors that the venue has worked with before and trust to work with again. One of the many great perks about this is that they have already been to the venue, so they know what they need to bring to do their best work. Whether that be 10 uplights to create that perfect ambiance, or tape to hang floral pieces to the wall instead of hammering nails in. These vendors usually know what is up and can help you create something beautiful.


photography by Sanchez Studios

photography by Sanchez Studios

If it is an outdoor venue, is there an alternative location if there is bad weather?

PLEASE do me a favor. If you are having an outdoor ceremony and/or reception, MAKE SURE there is an alternative location. Weather is a tricky beast, (especially if you are an Ohio bride) and it cannot be tamed.

When does the rehearsal take place?

Generally speaking, you will want to have a rehearsal so your wedding party can practice before the big day. Venues usually have multiple events happening all weekend, meaning your rehearsal could be early in the morning.

What time can we set up? How long do we have to  tear down?

It will take a while to set up a venue, IT WILL. I know you think it will only take a couple hours because you know exactly where everything is going to go. Unfortunately, you probably will not be setting it up yourself -- it’s your wedding!! You will be busy getting ready. So, your friends or wedding planner will be setting it up. They will need several hours to make sure all of your DIY projects  and signs make it to their proper places. Additionally, when the wedding is over, who will be cleaning up? If you have hired your family and friends to help you tear down all the flowers, lanterns, and magical parts of your wedding, how long will they have? Do they have to pick up everything that night or are they allowed to pick it up in the morning?


Are there any decor restrictions?

photography by Sanchez Studios

photography by Sanchez Studios

If your Pinterest wedding includes a sparkler exit, make sure your venue allows this! A lot of venues restrict open flames, which includes sparklers and candles. If this is the case, you may have to nix your sparkler exit, and maybe trade it for a bubble exit. This also means a high price for candles since they will now have to be electric.


Is there a minimum?

Yup. There may be a minimum cost that you need to spend in order to have your special day at their venue. Some places (i.e. places that have an in-house caterer) require a minimum amount of money to be spent through food and alcohol. If you’re on a tighter budget, this may sway the place you book for your venue.


What other events may take place during my wedding?

PLEASE LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES. I didn’t think this was an issue until about a week before my wedding -- when I found out there was a renaissance festival happening at the venue. Yes, this is true. No, my wedding theme was not renaissance. Make sure to ask this question, the last thing you want (probably) is for a knight to be walking around aimlessly during your ceremony.  






How to Stay Sane As A DIY Bride

CALLING ALL DIY-BRIDES:

This one is for you.

According to Martha Stewart Weddings, couples working without a wedding planner will spend 200-300 hours on their wedding. During a 9-month engagement, that could be 30 hours a month! Hello, new part-time job!

As a DIY Bride, I wanted to make sure that I had enough time to do all my crafts without the stress of getting them done last minute, while juggling my full time job.

The Happy 2019 12 Month Mini Planner Adventures Jan 2019 - Dec 2019

The Happy 2019 12 Month Mini Planner Adventures Jan 2019 - Dec 2019


While I was planning my wedding, my planner was my most prized possession. I took it everywhere with me -- to work, restaurants, coffee shops, bars… seriously, I just put it in my backpack, and it kept me SANE.

This is the planner that I used, but I’m sure that all others will do the trick just fine.

Once you have your planner,  it’s time to create a timeline. This will probably seem intimidating at first because there are so many decisions to make ahead of your big day (not to mention booking things far enough in advance, keeping up with vendor communications, gathering the supplies for all the things you have to DIY — ugh. Exhausting.)

But I wouldn’t leave you hanging! Here’s a month-by-month breakdown that I recommend for the 10 months before your wedding.

As with accomplishing any big goal, breaking things up is key. Create weekly and even daily goals with your big goals in mind. This will help ensure you’re spreading out the work and can enjoy the last weeks before your wedding without much stress.

Side note: The venue was booked through a catering company, so I did not have to look for a caterer. My partners family did all the prep and planning for the rehearsal dinner, so there is very little dinner planning on my timeline.

Side note: The venue was booked through a catering company, so I did not have to look for a caterer. My partners family did all the prep and planning for the rehearsal dinner, so there is very little dinner planning on my timeline.

Keep in mind that this schedule is just a starting point! If you’re not planning on making your own invitations, floral arrangements, favors, etc., then feel free to omit. Plus, there’s no shame in hiring professionals to help your wedding vision come to life. Check out some of the services I offer that won’t break the bank.


Five Ways to Get Guests Excited About Wedding Favors

The rush of excitement is real when you’re a guest at a wedding and see a little wedding favor, wrapped up like a little gift and placed at your table setting during the reception. You open up the little treat, and it’s a pack of mints. NEAT.

If your guests aren’t excited about your wedding favors, you’ll have spent precious time and money on them… only for them to likely be left behind when the celebration is over. Then you’ll be left trying to pawn them off on unsuspecting relatives and random strangers.

But with careful planning and a little imagination, your wedding favors can be more than an afterthought! Here are five ways you can get your guests excited about your wedding favors.

Give Them Something They Can Actually Use

Not that I have anything against little mints or a little bag of Jordan Almonds (I don’t, I love them both. One gives me breath of an angel, and the other is a tasty treat I can leave in my car for a long commute), but what if you gave them something they could actually use?

I gave each of my guests a canvas grocery bag that had “totes got married” printed on them. You can find similar favors online, but DIY-ing 150 bags cost only 50 cent apiece and about two months of very leisurely crafting. Not everyone took one, but a majority of guests did because saving the planet is cool. Plus, I can still use them. I will never have to buy another reusable grocery bag again, and that is pretty neat

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Think About Placement

Just because it’s tradition doesn’t mean that you have to put a favor at each place setting. Think about other ways to distribute your favors.. Doing this means guests can take it if they want, but no pressure if they don’t.

It’s becoming more common for brides to set up a cute table near the reception exit to showcase all the goodies. One of the benefits of this is that you don’t need to buy one a favor for each person!

I was at a wedding where the bride decided to put her favors by the front door so guests could take them on the way out. They had treats for humans and treats for pups. As I do not have a dog, I just took the human treat!

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Have An Activity to Go Along With It

I went to a wedding that had cool sunglasses with the couples’ names on it. BUT, the only way you could get them was if you took a picture in the photo booth and signed their wedding book. Let me tell you, those glasses were a hot commodity and there were none left by the end of the wedding. I still have my pair of Curt+Erica glasses in my closet, just in case I need to root them on.

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Make A Donation In Their Name

Are you and your spouse-to-be super into a charity or cause? Instead of buying favors for each guest, think about donating that money to a charity that means something to you instead! This is great because guests will feel good knowing that the money you would’ve used went to a good cause.

To let guests know you’d made a donation in their honor, place a small card at each table setting that says what charity the money went to, or have it printed on the bottom of the menu if you are having a seated meal.

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Forgo the Gift All Together

Honestly, you already paid anywhere from $50-$100 to have each guest there. Even though you may think a favor is totally necessary, let me just say: as a guest, a bride and a coordinator, I do not think they are a must! I have never been to a wedding and thought, “Dang, where are my jordan almonds?!” As a guest, we are just excited to be invited to your event and love seeing the love between the newlyweds.

Forgo the wedding favor. I have given you my permission.