Saturday, November 21, 2009

Free Wedding Time Capsule from Sterling Silver Weddings!

The wedding is a wonderful occasion and every bride wants to save that special memory, photo's, videos, scrapbooks and special memories. But what about the future? Going into a marriage is when we think about what the rest of our lives are going to be like. A wedding time capsule offers another opportunity to hold onto some cherished memories in a unique way. Time capsules have long been a fun and mysterious way to capture memories and mark significant life transitions and as a special gift to you, Sterling Silver Weddings would like to give you one for free when you contract my services.

So here is what you do! As a couple decide on the date you want to open up your wedding time capsule. Will it be on your 10th wedding anniversary or how about the 25th, Silver Wedding Anniversary? There will be plenty of things to include in your time capsule, here are a few ideas:

1. Items from your wedding including a copy of the invitation, one of the party favors, napkins, matches, a piece of lace from your dress and of course photo's and a video of your wedding.

2. Predictions from the bride and groom, where you will live in 20 years, will you win the lottery, what kind of jobs will you have, what kind of vacations will you take?

3. Of course the most important question, will you have kids? and if so, how many? boys or girls? what will their names be? Who will your kids look more like, the bride or groom?

4. Write each other a letter to include which will capture the love you are feeling for each other at the time of your wedding. Another extension of this would be a copy of your wedding vows.

5. Have the time capsule at your reception and ask your wedding party and guests to include their thoughts and wishes for you on slips of paper.

6. Other fun things to include would be the cork from your champagne toast, a copy of the wedding days newspaper, and silly questions such as who will get gray hair first, the bride or groom?

Contact me today at (703)863-6720 to schedule your free wedding planning consultation from Sterling Silver Weddings. Once we have decided on the services I will provide, I will give you your customized time capsule. Let the memories begin!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wedding Dress Shopping Experience!

This weekend I found myself spending the day at David's Bridal in Woodbridge, VA. The experience was much better than I had anticipated. I had been on many different appointments at this vendors, but this time it was a little different. I attended the appointment with one of my Brides... and all of her family. This included two of her attendants (Maid of Honor and one of the Bridesmaids) two flower girls, Mother of the Bride, Cousin of the Bride, Aunt & Uncle of the Bride and the M-I-L to be! What a crowd this was! We had a pre-arranged appointment with a wonderful person named Ashley. Ashley approached and spoke to the Bride about what she wanted in a wedding gown, colors for wedding, and general information about how she was going to organize this crowd who had shown up to give their opinion about the infamous wedding dress. She placed the Bride in a dressing room and gave her a special bra and slip to put on. While the Bride was busy in the dressing room, Ashley was busy pulling dresses from the multitude of racks. She brought out about 5 dresses initially and began helping the Bride get dressed. I was on standby to help, but was mostly getting chairs together so "the family", who were all waiting in anticipation to see their lovely Bride step from the dressing room for the first time in a wedding dress. And suddenly there she was! Standing before everyone in a mermaid style gown with beautiful beading and design. It was just what she was looking for, everyone gasped in awe! Tears began to flow from a few eyes. At that distinct moment, it was all sinking in. She was actually going through with everything and buying the dress was the ultimate confirmation.

After the initial gasp had gotten out of everyone's system, it was time for the brides maids and flower girls to try on a few dresses themselves. It was decided that everyone would find a dress that mimicked the Brides gown. Inititally they wanted Palm Beach Coral that matched the Beach Themed Reception. After everyone tried on several, the two lovely little flower girls made an appearance in matching Champagne colored dresses. Suddenly the color had taken a drastic change. Everyone loved it, very formal, yet sandy colored, and would still work with the theme. Sort-of a formal shabby sheak, as everyone could picture off white colored seashells, sanddollars, and starfish floating in sand filled vases across tables with a dash of Palm Beach Coral thrown in.

I would definately recommend David's Bridal Shop, but particulary the Woodbridge store and please ask for Ashley. The appointment is a must, walks-ins could have even worked, as they were not too busy on a Sunday afternoon (this could change with the impending Christmas rush coming). Ashley was extremely organized and well informed in regards to dress styles and colors, stock, delivery, pricing, and sharing the discount program with all. Ashley presented us with her general knowledge and showed just how much she cared which made this a wonderful day.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Who is eating the cake and the wedding expenses?

Planning a wedding and don't have the money? Look at the big picture. Do you really want to start your marriage off with a huge debt? What to do:

  • If your wedding expenses rely on you

  • If you have no or limited resouces for financial help (ie: brides parents)

  • If you don't have the money saved for your wedding

  • If you have agreed (as bride and groom, collectively) to utilize the almighty credit card

  • If you have planned on securing a loan for your wedding

Here are some suggestions you need to consider before going into debt for a wedding. Really? Do you want to start your marriage off with a wedding debt?

  • Create a budget. Decide, right now, what amount your are willing to stretch yourself out for. If you have no idea how much, then consider this, the average wedding in the DC Metropolitan area costs around $23,000. If this is too large, lower it. Cut it in half or deduct a third and decide how long you want to stretch yourself out for. Are you willing to pay a monthly amount of $X over the next XXXX years? Figure in extra's such a interest and be realistic about it.

  • If you are like a lot of people and this is your first wedding but you have moved away from the nest, it may be expected by your parents that you cover the wedding expenses yourself. It is tradition that the brides parents pay for the wedding and the grooms parents pay for the rehearsal dinner. But today it is different, in the majority of cases the traditional family unit is no longer the norm and parents may be on their own, having been divorced and may not have the resources themselves. Also, brides and grooms may be already living on their own and have established jobs, homes, and this level of independence may be why some parents feel it is no longer their responsibility. If this is the case with you and things have gone on unspoken, it will be up to you to ask your parent(s) if they are going to help you pay for your wedding. You need to, right now, approach your parents and ask, "Are you willing to gift me any money for my wedding and if so, how much"? Maybe this is your second wedding? It will definately be your responsibility now. If this is something you can not do because it is uncomfortable for you, than this is part of what I can do for you as your Wedding Planner. I start with open dialogue and ease in the $$ situation so you don't have to!

  • Remember, keeping it simple is a key component to your wedding financial success! Be flexible, be willing to bend, be creative, step outside of the box, make decisions that reflect your budget. We all have dreams of a beautiful extravagent wedding, but please keep it in perspective and look at the big picture.

  • Decide what area of your wedding is most important and put the money there and reduce in other areas. Is your Honeymoon more important than those chair covers? Then think about what is most important to you when spending your money. A good way to do this, is pretend it is 15 years down the road and you are looking back at your wedding day.... what area do you think is sticking out in your memory, the wonderful cake, the beautiful decor, the dress? Spend your money there.

  • Have one account set up for your wedding expenses. Whether it be a checking account with debit card or a credit card account, don't take from various accounts for your expenses. Keep all of your receipts and vendor contracts in one place. One of the best organizational tools is a 3 ring binder with a three hole punch handy. Include a calendar of every month leading up with a couple of months past your wedding date, plastic inserts, dividers with labels and a calculator. Only put in the binder your contracts and schedule. You could also include a wish list and make sure you include your timeline up front and stick to it. When I contract with you to plan your wedding, I keep track of all your budget expected and actual costs.

  • A great way to reduce a huge cost is to be very savvy about the wedding date. Consider booking your venue on a Friday night or Sunday afternoon in leau of the traditional Saturday. Venues are looking to book their facilities on alternate days and what are normally considered odd days such as Mothers Day, Fathers Day, or other days as seen as calendar holidays. Also, the time of year determines price. Early in the year (Jan/Feb) are great cost cutting months and should be considered.

  • Rely on yourself. If you want a huge amount of flowers but can't afford a florist, grow your own or look to a discount warehouse such as Costco to provide them. You just have to do the work of putting them together. Decorate your venue (church/reception) yourself. Borrow items, such as dresses, decorations, linens. Consider food stations instead of full blown dinners or buffets. Reduce time, which reduces alchohal consumption. Consider printing your own invitations and do simple post card save-the-dates to know who is coming and who is not up front.

  • ASK ME TO BE YOUR WEDDING PLANNER! Did you know that a wedding planner provides the best cost cutting advantages? I have built relationships with vendors to provide YOU with the best prices for weddings. Right now with the economy being in such poor condition, vendors are will to negotiate their prices to secure your business. I am a pro negotiator! Let me help you save $$ and as an extra tip, my prices are very reasonable too!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What Every Bride Wants.......

Chair Covers! Yes, it's true, the infamous chair cover. At least 100 of them please, or more, depending on how many guests RSVP to your dream wedding! Frankly, chair covers are the single most requested item in the wedding industry and by having them, it can make your wedding look elegant, posh, and expensive!!! You can see the difference it makes by looking at the before and after example in the above pictures #2 & #3. I mean, who wants an off green color chair if you are using pink and purple in your wedding? Made of any material and color imaginable, linen, satin, organza, crush, etc. with the added matching sash or bow, is sure to make your event decor come together. Of course, pricing can range anywhere from $2 to $8 a piece jacking your price per person amount up substantially. Brides are going crazy trying to find chair covers in the right color, with the right color sash. They are on the hunt searching on-line, ebay, calling their local rental store and generally flipping out over these items. But what if the chair covers you bid on and ultimately win are not the right size and shape for the chairs at your venue? If you rent or purchase the wrong size and shape, it could end up looking tacky and not tailored for your room. Believe it or not, there are so many different size and shape chair cover. Your wedding facility could house a banquet round, square, scalloped, large, or folding chair. Let me do the homework for you and find the right size to make the right fit.

With that said, there is no need to worry. I have partnered with a service that rents chair covers that will fit 99.9% of the chairs out there. They also provide the sash and other things, such as matching napkins, table clothes, and table runners. They take orders all day long and ship them for a small shipping fee. The items you order arrive cleaned and pressed and ready to throw on a chair. After the reception, all of the chair covers are put back into the boxes they were shipped in and returned. If Aunt Sally spills her red wine on the chair cover, it is okay, they will clean and re-press the items and make them ready for the next event.

If chair covers aren't your thing, but the chairs at your venue are just not acceptable, you could always rent the chair itself. Most pricing for the foldable white chairs begin at $3 a piece with a delivery charge on top. Who would have thought, that where Aunt Sally sits and what she sits on would be such a big part of your wedding planning?
For more information go to:

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Gray Area Photography

Pictures preserve life's moments, an image captured forever. Gray Area Photography can capture those moments for you. A photographer for all occasions; events, auctions, fundraisers, festivals and weddings; portraits, musicians, live bands and cover art; architecture, landscapes, historic locations and nature. We'll shoot your event, and develop your images for web, print or multimedia.We specialize in creating great pictures and professionally developed images, all done at reasonable prices. As well as offering great images we also use cutting-edge techniques, including tethered PC for instant rendering, a full line of digital image-processing software, and professional Nikon cameras and lenses.
When you choose Gray Area Photography, you'll get a Photographer that strives to offer you great results by bringing professionalism, personality and passion to everyshoot. I share a positive and easy to work with attitude that creates a relaxed atmosphere for your photo experience. My name is Donnie Gray, and welcome to the world of Gray Area Photography.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Ritchie Farm

So, I went out to Ritchie Farm with Bride & Groom ~ Angela & Blake. It is located in rural Bealton, VA, and is very beautiful, simple and perfect for the couples May date. The venue consists of a huge covered pavillion situated next to a wide open fresh water lake. The grass is flat which will serve as a perfect spot for the ceremony against the lake. The Pavillion itself has a seperate entrance for restrooms (his and hers) as well as a full service kitchen. But the biggest surprise of the day was when Mrs. Ritchie opened the storage room and it was filled with white tables
and chairs! No extra renting necessary. If you are looking for a great place to have an outdoor wedding and can withstand the (easy) drive you and your guests would have in order to get there from Northern Virginia, this place is it! The price tag is also easy on the budget at $750 for the full day (until 11:00 pm) with a $150 deposit. One draw back could be the rehearsal, which is not included but if you pay $250 for the night before you can rehearse for 2 hours.