We are getting SO close to Jacqueline and Jared’s wedding! As our Couple of the Year, we’ve been following these love birds as they’ve planned every detail of their wedding from engagement parties and initial venue visits, to dress shopping, flowers, and the stress of guest lists. With their big day under a month away, the final countdown is on!
Am I regretting not getting a wedding planner at this point? Yeah…a little bit. It is not the end of the world that I don’t have one but it certainly would have helped. Now being about LESS THAN A MONTH out (OMG!!!), I wanted to have more done than I do already, but there are certain things that I just am not able to do until the time gets closer, such as making some details final with the vendors, seating charts, ordering signs for the wedding day and making the day-of timeline. Then there are other things that I am putting off because they are just too hard. Have you tried picking linens before?! Or deciding how you want your escort cards to look? There are just SO. MANY. CHOICES. I can’t focus long enough to actually make them, and I am a professional at overthinking (ask my vendors, they’ll tell you).
So a wedding planner even just for the last two months would have been awesome but I know myself and I would be trying to take too much control anyways. Does anybody else every feel more stressed when somebody is doing something for you instead of you doing it for yourself? No…just me?
Even though I stuck with my initial decision and did not get a wedding planner, I feel so lucky that I have some AMAZING vendors that I am working with. If you follow along with us on Instagram you would have seen the Q&A’s that we have been doing about wedding planning, and aside from questions about the dress and the guest list, the most asked question is about how I found my vendors and who I am using. So, I wanted to take the time to share with you all how I found some of my favorite vendors (mostly by Instagram) and what I have learned along the way.
Venue: Blithewold Mansion
I found this venue before we were engaged but I had never gone to visit it before. I generally knew what I wanted in a venue, and from my earlier blog posts you will see that Castle Hill was ideal for me, minus the whole budget part. But aside from the gorgeous gardens, the mansion and tent at Blithewold, the reviews for the staff were great. Karen, the coordinator there, has answered every single one of my questions plus more, and has always responded quickly. I ask A LOT of questions (everybody should) and she never makes me feel that I am asking too much. I have a lot of trust in how they will be handling my day, and I knew I would from the beginning. The Knot and Wedding Wire are great places to look for reviews, but I really recommend using the local wedding industry community to find what is best for you and do your research. Ask photographers or musicians that have worked at Blithewold what their experience was like working there as a vendor, and ask venues which vendors they have loved working with. Obviously my wedding hasn’t happened yet so my advice is only as good as how far I have already gotten in this process, but I do not want to worry about ONE thing besides enjoying our time on our wedding day, which forced me to make sure my #1 priority was hiring vendors and a venue that would be able to make everything easy for us.
Photographer: Pat Furey Photography
So, my photographer was the vendor that I was most excited to choose, and most important vendor in my eyes. I was so picky about who I wanted and I found all of my options through Instagram. I found the photographer that I knew I had to have, contacted him, and he was available on my date! He was expensive but I was willing to splurge on this one. BUT I wanted too long… I thought since it was 1 year and 9 months away there was plenty of time to book a photographer but guess what, It wasn’t. When I went to sign the contract that he had sent me 2 months before, he told me that he had already booked somebody else because I had not responded, and I was so upset. So, here is a piece of advice that I know is needed: BOOK YOUR MOST WANTED VENDORS FIRST. However, it did work out for the best for me. When I had to begin my search again, I went deep into Instagram, looking through hashtags, and I found this one picture and I felt inspired just looking at it. For some reason, I had been struggling to picture exactly how my ideas were all going to come together for the wedding and what the style was really going to be, all I had were bits and pieces of a lot of different ideas, but had not put together the big picture yet. I clicked on their page and the style that him and his wife capture just fit perfectly and everything clicked. Here’s the catch… they are located in Philly. I contacted him and he was available for my date and I refused to make the same mistake twice! We came up with a package and I signed the contract for him and his wife, Claire, to come shoot our wedding.
What I liked most about their style was how organic it is. I really wanted personality to show in our pictures, and style. Their photos are more than just wedding poses and the typical pictures that most people get in their photography packages and I just connected with it. And let me tell you, they are SO HELPFUL! Any questions or stress I have they tackle right away and always have the best answers. I am so excited to work with them and see what they can do for us, and of course I cannot wait to share my pictures here! If you are in the Philly or NY area and are reading this, definitely look into hiring them.
Musicians: Murray Hill Talent
We wanted a band for our wedding so badly! Nothing gets a crowd going like a band does. There is nothing wrong with having a DJ, but it is something about the energy of a band that just makes everybody have such a great time. Unfortunately, this wasn’t too much of an option for me. We are having a 200 guest wedding and the dance floor at Blithewold is perfect for that size of a wedding, but it would not be if there was a 9 piece band on the dance floor as well. It was a battle that was easy for me to give up on since there was nothing that I could really do about it, but I think I found a pretty good solution, thanks to the help of Karen at Blithewold Mansion for the recommendation and Tom Pendergast at Murray Hill Talent for the coordination.
Instead of having a full band, we will have a guitarist and a vocalist for the guest arrivals, ceremony and cocktail hour. Then, for the reception we have a DJ as well as a sax player. I had never been to a wedding that had a DJ with a sax player, but my maid of honor said that her experience with it was the most fun she ever had at a wedding and I had to do it, so I did! One of the most important parts of the night will be to make sure everybody is having fun and is right where they belong, on the dance floor!
Caterer: Emery’s Catering
When you have a wedding at Blithewold Mansion, one of the downfalls is that they give you a list of caterers that you have to choose from. But on the other hand, you at least know that if they are recommended by Blithewold, they will be great and you don’t have to worry about trying to find one on your own. Out of the 3 options we had, we went with Emery’s, and to be very honest, the reason we went with them was the price. It was much more affordable, and I contacted them right before the rates were about to go up, so we locked in the cheaper price and it was the easiest decision of the whole wedding. The other options were a little more upscale, and much higher priced. Elizabeth, the catering manager who is overseeing our wedding has been extremely helpful and attentive, and the food tasting went GREAT!
Videography: The Dufault Bros. Photo & Film
I am extremely excited to have my cousins, Jamie and Jesse Dufault film our wedding! Since I saw a few years ago that they started filming weddings I knew that was the perfect choice for us. It is always more meaningful to have vendors that you have a connection and every time we watch our wedding video, knowing that it was family that shot it will make it that much better! They are really great at what they do and we could not be more excited!
Florist: Jasmine & Geraniums
Jerilyn Gagnon of Jasmine & Geraniums emailed me one day after reading The Newport Bride and said she would love to discuss the floral design for our wedding. Originally, I did not care much about the floral décor going into the wedding planning because I would have rather put my budget into other details, and we are already getting married in such a beautiful garden. She has so much experience in the wedding and event design/ planning industry and just took the steps to open her own floral design business, which is her passion. After talking to Jerilyn I completely flipped my view and now the florals are something that I am looking forward to the most. We have had multiple phone calls and meetings where she has gone over details that I never would have thought of. The way she put together her proposal for our wedding was so beautiful, and she is professional and fun! I cannot recommend her enough, and the wedding has not even happened yet! She listened to every thing that I had to say and gave me her honest opinion about it, and morphed it into visions that I would have never though of. I am so looking forward to seeing what she does for our big day!
Decorations/Rentals: Exquisite Events Décor
So far, working with Exquisite Events has been amazing! I have been talking to them CONSTANTLY over the past two years while we have been engaged and went to meet with them once to really be able to have a discussion of my vision. Their team is amazing and has so many options for everything that you would need, but does not hesitate to express their opinion of what they thing would be best, which is really important to me. They are flexible and work around what you want and are professional and have great experience in event design. I am renting my bar, head table, DJ booth, lights, and fabric for the tent from them. I have a feeling it is going to look better than I can even imagine!
While we have so many more vendors that we are working with, a lot of the other ones are for smaller details and unique elements and personal touches that we are incorporating into our wedding. I am so excited to be able to share the pictures after the wedding and let you know of some of the surprises that we have planned! With only a short time left before the wedding there is still a lot to tell you so stay tuned to hear about my amazing bridal shower, and some of the events we have planned for the wedding weekend!
Jacqueline and her florist, Jasmine and Geraniums at the Newport Bridal Show!