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  • Bon Appetite
  • What's my Wedding Style?
  • How Can I Stay on Budget?
  • I'm paying HOW much for them to DIE?!?
  • How to Pick Your Photographer

Friday, November 28, 2008

More Pictures

So here are some more of my pictures. Again, please see the post below. I needing help naming myself as a photographer. Unsure if I want to use my name or come up with something else. Comments are welcome here and I would love suggestions on what to name the business!

My Photography - Needing Help

So as a "One Woman Wedding Show" most of you know that I also do work as a photographer. Well I currently work as an assistant (http://www.carolwhitephotography.com/) but am hoping to branch out on my own some as well. My problem is, I don't know what to call myself. I don't want to do Amber Thompson Photography seeing that I'm getting married in 3 months and would have to change it. So do I do Amber Dixon Photography? Dixon Photography? Or do I do something completely different like Moment in Time Photography?

Here's where you can help. In a comment, post suggestions of what you think I could call myself. I'll then compile them together and create a poll of the tops ones. You can submit more than one suggestion as many are welcome!

Here are some examples of my work (I'll post more later), and if you would like to talk to me about doing something for you please feel free to contact me using the email on my profile :o)

Do I need a Wedding Planner?

There is really no definitive answer to this question. It really comes down to do you want a wedding planner?

While a wedding planner is very helpful in scheduling meetings with vendors during the planning process, many brides are capable of doing this on their own. A wedding planner is basically there to make the brides life easier during the planning process and on the day of. For a busy bride-to-be who doesn't have much time to do wedding planning, then yes, a wedding planner would be helpful. But for a bride who has time to do the research and go to meetings, then no a wedding planner would not be needed.

However, even for brides who decide to forgo the idea of a wedding planner, a wedding coordinator is a must! The coordinator will run everything from the rehearsal to the ceremony and reception. They are there to ensure that everyone is in their place and that timing runs smoothly. They tell each person when to go down the aisle and when reception time comes they let the bride and groom know when it is time to do the first dance, cut the cake, throw the bouquet, etc.

So while a wedding planner is optional, I think a wedding coordinator (friend, family, or hired) is necessary.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Location, LoCaTiOn, LOCATION

If there is one thing that I learned during my four year in college its that the most important part of a business (or well, event in this case) is the LOCATION! The location sets the tone and becomes the canvas for which the entire event is placed. There are factors to consider when choosing locations.

Do you want a church wedding? An outdoor wedding? Or just a location to hold the ceremony? This can be anything from a church, to a pavilion, to a theater; just about anything can be used for a ceremony.

Your biggest thing to consider, as mentioned in the post below, is budget. You want to make sure that you stay within your budget when choosing locations. However, this is not what most of you would think. So for example... you have found 2 locations:

Location 1: One word... BEAUTIFUL. Comes with tables, chairs, linens (table and chair covers), small centerpieces - hurricane vases with candles in your colors, small mirror underneath, with crystals and flower petals in your colors scattered on the table - (or for a little extra custom ones) and needs little to no decoration. The cost... $1600 and up depending on if you do custom centerpieces or stick with the ones they offer in the deal.

Location 2: Nice. Comes with tables and chairs, but you would need to bring in linens and centerpieces plus other decor. Price... $700.

Which do you choose? The cheaper of the 2? Not here.

While the $700 seems like a good deal, think of all the additional items you are going to have to bring in. Chairs are ugly and you want chair covers... depending on the number of guests you are looking at an additional $400-500 or about $3-5 per chair. Table clothes can run from $10-12.50 and up each. So if you are having 150 guests and each table seats 8, you need 19 tables and 152 chairs. So if the table clothes are the lower price point of $10, you have $190 for tables (and if you want toppers its extra) and if the chair covers are the lower price point you have $456 for chair covers plus $152 if you use chair sashes to go around the covers. So now you are at $1498 and you haven't even picked out centerpieces yet. Centerpieces can run between $15 to hundreds of dollars. So if you are lucky enough to find centerpieces at $15 each (mine range from $20-$35... I'm having 3 different ones) you are at $285 for 19 centerpieces. This brings your total to $1783.

So which would you choose? Just because a location is cheap to rent, doesn't mean it will be cheaper in the long run. You must step back and look at the bigger picture and determine what it will take to make that location into what you imagined.

When it comes to a ceremony location, simple is the key word. You want all of the focus to be on you and your husband during the ceremony so extravagant decorations aren't really needed. If they are your thing then go for it, but you want people to focus on you and your husband, not the decorations. Some ceremony locations can range from $50 up into the thousands of dollars. Just be careful of hidden costs. Most churches or clubs will also allow nonmembers to use there facilities at a higher cost. However, if you know someone that is a member, most churches and clubs will allow a member to sponsor a nonmember; meaning the nonmember can get the member price! Just check and read the fine print of any information you get from any location.

The key thing to remember is don't just book the first place you find. Shop around. You can find great deals by doing research and bargaining. Good luck!

I'M ENGAGED! Now what?

Well congratulations on your engagement! I know there are now lots of details swirling through your head right now. One word of advice... go to the store and buy a three ring binder, dividers, and notebook paper! Ok, done that? Good! Now you need to organize that binder into your wedding binder. You'll need tabs for budget, fashion, catering, cake, guest list, invitations, rentals, DJ, ceremony, reception, flowers, photography, and video. All tabs are not necessary; only use them if they apply to what you want for your wedding.

Since we know that the first thing we all did/do after getting that ring on our finger is rush out and buy any and every bridal magazine we can get our hands on... with your Wedding Binder you now have somewhere to place things so that anytime you have an idea, anytime you see a picture in a magazine you like, anytime you see something online... you can write it down, rip it out, and print it off; punch holes in it; and place it under the applicable tab. This will help you in your planning. This way, if you see a bouquet that you like in a few magazines, when you go to meet with your florist, you will have examples of what you want. Or when you go dress shopping, you will have pictures of styles that you like that your consultant can pull and you can try them on. This will save you time from having to try and explain what it looks like or trying on things that you didn't know you didn't like.

Ok, now, after announcing the engagement to your family, it is time for a family meeting. This means you, your FH, your parents, and FIL (Future In Laws). This meeting is to talk about wedding plans but most importantly... the budget. You need to find out who wants to contribute and what they are willing to contribute. This will help in the overall decision on how much you can spend on your wedding. So, for example, in my case, my parents are footing the entire bill. We did not ask the FILs for any contribution and they did not offer, which is fine since they are graciously paying for our Honeymoon :) They gave us a budget (which we quickly went over) but then we started discussing other things that I wanted... like chair covers. Mom saw this as an unnecessary item and said that if I wanted it I had to pay for it. This meeting will get all the money on the table so that if you thought a $20,000 wedding was reasonable, but mom and dad can only give $5000 and FILs offered up $5000, you either have to watch your money or come up with the additional $10,000. Remember though, you don't have to spend the entire budget. It is only a guide line... it's always great to come in under budget!

Once a budget is decided, the next step is to determine a date. Depending on the budget, you may need more time to come up with the money for the wedding so the budget will help determine how long your engagement will be. After deciding a length of time you need to determine a season: Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall.

Once the date is set, you need to find locations for the ceremony and reception. These are the big things that should be done first, because locations can push back or up your date depending on the availability of the location. You then need to start looking at vendors. Photography and catering would be the top 2 after locations. Then music (either a band or DJ or an Ipod), fashion (depending on the dress you find and the length of time it takes to come in you may need to do this early or you can push it off some), and anything else you want.

Sometimes the brides dress will set the mood for the wedding. Meaning a very formal gown needs a formal setting. You don't want to have a formal wedding gown with paper plates and BBQ (but if that's your dream and budget GO FOR IT!)... nor do you want an informal gown and bone china with a 8 course sit down meal. You have to ensure that the theme goes through-out... I don't mean just a butterfly theme type thing!

Well, I think that may be about it... there will of course be more topics including the one to follow this one. So if you have questions or comments keep them coming! It will only help me to help you!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Let me Introduce myself...

Good evening all! First of all thanks for coming over and checking out my new adventure. I'm really interested to see where this goes.

So, first things first, let me introduce myself. My name is Amber Thompson and I am the future Mrs. Dixon. I was born and raised in Simpsonville, SC and graduated from Hillcrest High School. After graduating from high school, I moved to Greenwood, SC to attend college at Lander University. I graduated from Lander in August of 2007 with a bachelors degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting. Since graduating, I have bounced from job to job due to a long run of bad luck (bad luck = 3 lay offs in a little over a year). Now, due to my most recent lay off, my day consists of job searching, wedding planning, working out, wedding planning, taking care of the house, wedding planning, taking care of my fur-babies, and oh, did I mention... wedding planning?

I met my FH (future husband) in August of 2006 where we quickly became friends. Well that friendship turned into a relationship on November 14, 2006. We moved in together in April of 2007 (quick, yes I know) and have been going strong ever since. We got engaged on February 3, 2008 and the wedding planning began. We have set the date for March 14, 2009 (our 2 year and 4 month anniversary) and are counting down the days until it gets here!

This, however, is not my first wedding to plan. First trip down the aisle, but not first experience wedding planning. I have learned a lot between the two and am glad to have found real love. I have learned so much from planning my own wedding as well as working weddings. I work with 2 different wedding planners assisting them in planning and directing weddings: my mom and a local wedding planner here in town. On top of that, I am also a photographer and work with an event gallery that hosts weddings and receptions. So, with all the wedding talk, my FH said, "Why don't you turn this into something to keep you busy?" So I started researching and decided, eh, why not! So here I am. I am here to post off the wall topics on weddings, advice on subjects that I may have encountered, and any questions that you have.

Got a question about etiquette? Decorations? Colors? Anything? Send me an email with the question and any details you think will help me out and I will research it for you and based on the research and my experience will post a blog topic answering your question.

I really enjoy weddings. My FH asks me all the time, "What are you going to do when our wedding is over?" It kinda makes me sad to think that once my wedding is over, I won't be able to do it anymore. Well, I think I have found my niche. My passion. I love planning and directing and I hope that this blog is only the beginning. If you would like to contact me on helping you plan your wedding... PLEASE DO! I am willing to do it!

I hope that this will be a great help to all of you as well as a great wedding outlet for me. So.... without further ado... lets start blogging!