Tips to How to Survive a Bridal Show… Again|Triad Wedding Planner|Katrina McCullum

You are engaged and you are ready to go to your first (or fourth) bridal show. You may be going to find all or some of your vendors or to get some great ideas or just going for the prizes. What ever your reason, here are a few tips on how to survive any bridal show. 994269_10151645375439244_1853285205_n

  1. Where comfortable shoes- There is A LOT of walking involved.
  2. Don’t be the first to arrive- Many bridal shows give out the really great prizes and giveaways at the end of the show…so you are once you have visited all the vendors you are kinda just standing around waiting.
  3. Print out labels- Everyone wants you to fill out a form. Print out your name, address, email address, wedding date and phone number on a address sticker, this way you can just stick it and keep it moving.address-label-sample-300x184
  4. Create a “wedding” email- You are going to be overwhelmed with emails regarding your wedding. So not to get it mixed up with your personal or business email address; create one just for your wedding, this way you have all the information in once place.
  5. Focus only on the vendors you need- If you know you , you already have your invitations there is no need to speak to this type of vendor. No need to fill out their information form and no need to make them feel as if you are interested in their services.
  6. Bring your entourage- Divide and conquer is the key, especially if it is a really big show. Give everyone a sheet of labels. Instruct them to be honest of who they are and gather information so you can cover more ground in less time.
  7. Enjoy your self- You are a bride, enjoy the attention. You will state your wedding date a least a million times. Don’t get upset everyone is excited for you. Eat samples, participate, and relax.
  8. Keep the business cards separate from the bridal bag they give you once you arrive. There will be so much information in that bag it will be easy to loose track. So tuck it in your purse, back pocket or keep them in your hand as long as they are separated.

***Bonus Tip***

9.  Ask first, but take pictures of the vendor booths that particularly catch your interest.

Why Do I Have To Have A Cocktail Hour? |Triad Wedding Planner

COCKTAIL HOUR 2The ceremony is now over. You, your new hubby, the wedding party and family have been whisked away to a secret location to take your formal photographs. What will your guest do for that hour? This is why you need a cocktail hour. Your guest can mingle and have some light hor doerves and drinks. Be sure to have light finger foods. Something that the guest can easily pick up and carry even while holding a drink. If you choose to have wedding entertainment, this would be a great time for them to perform.

Photo from The Knot

Photo from The Knot

Be sure to have enough refreshments, you don’t want to  run out. Also, you don’t want to serve anything too heavy right before dinner, but you don’t want your guest hungry waiting for the reception to start. Overall, this is a time for your guest to relax.

Happy Planning!!

The Techy Bride | Modern Brides | Triad Wedding Planner

Click for photo source

Click for photo source

Tweeting and Hash tags and Streaming, Oh my! We certainly are not in Kansas anymore when it comes to today’s weddings. The modern bride needs to know all about apps, social media, live streaming, hash tags and more.

Apps – Apps are shortcut applications that you download onto a mobile device. There are plenty of apps out there for wedding planning, organization and inspiration. Check out the blog we did previously on the 10 Best Wedding

Social Media– Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram are just a few social media sites where you can post exciting news about your wedding or get inspiration. You can follow your vendors and favorite wedding resources.

Hash tags– A hash tag is a word or phrase proceeded by the pound sign, followed by a word or phrase (without spaces) to identify a topic in social media. You can also use hash tags if you want your guest to tweet or Facebook about your wedding #JoshandAprilsweddingbash.

bestweddingblog Websites– Your wedding site is full of information about your upcoming wedding. Here is where you can introduce the wedding party, Tell your guest about the style of your wedding. Share the story about how you and your beau met and/or your engagement story. Who doesn’t love a great wedding story. There are plenty of free wedding websites out there. Check out the features and decide which is the best one for the two of you.

Photo credit by

Photo credit by

Live streaming– Here is a way for the guest who could not attend to enjoy the festivities of your wedding.  Livestream., UStream, Skype  and FaceTime is just a few that can help you show your wedding live. The Offbeat Bride has a great blog about Live Streaming click here.

Forums- Wedding forums is a great way to talk to other brides about plans, stresses, ideas and more. They even have some fun bridal groups on Facebook.

0Youtube-  Here is a video sharing website where you can learn loads of things for your wedding. Especially if you are a D.I.Y bride. One of my favorite channels is Martha Stewart Weddings.

What are some of your favorite wedding tech sources?

Happy Planning!

10 Ways To Save Money During Wedding Planning| Triad Wedding Planner

Savings1. Choose and off season date- Try to avoid the “popular” dates and holidays.

2. Choose flowers that are in season and less expensive blooms. Instead of Peonies try roses. Use flowers that are fuller such as hydrangeas. Talk to your florist about using greenery.

3. Keep your guest list small- Always remember you are paying for each and every single guest. Not only will this cut down on cost of catering but decor and space as well.

4. Consider having your wedding on a weekday instead of the weekend. The weekend is the most popular dates, especially Saturday nights. You can save big time by choosing a less traditional day.creative-non-floral-wedding-centerpieces-28

5.Choose non floral table centerpieces-  Lanterns, candles, branches, plants…even books. Get creative. Find what represents you.

6. Consider having a daytime  wedding. By having the ceremony and the reception earlier and they day can cut cost extensively. You can save on venue, catering and bar cost. Most people aren’t expecting a large bar earlier in the day.

7. Buy things on sale. Coupons and sales are your friend. But don’t limit it there. Visit your local bridal shows. Participating vendors usually have s some type of deal for brides that attend. Also follow your vendors social media pages, sometimes they offer deals and contest on their pages.

8. D.I.Y doesn’t equal money saved. Sure doing things yourself can be fun… but it doesn’t always mean you are saving money. The cost of materials and trial and error can become costly. Not to mention the stress. If you are used to crafting, this shouldn’t be a problem.However, if you are a novice you may want to go ahead and hire the professional. Choose your projects wisely. Things like your cake, flowers, etc. should really be handled by the experts.

 “I thought DIY was the way to save too, however, now that we are 8 weeks away and a few failed DIY projects in, we realize that the stress and time are sometimes NOT worth the few pennies saved. In fact, DIYing things does not necessarily mean money saved. I wish I knew that going into this.”

9. Keep your favors simple- I can’t count the amount of times I have packed up left over favors or reminded guest to take their favors as they are leaving. . If you really want to have them… keep it simple. D.I.Y. or choose and edible favor. Double your  favors as escort cards if you are assigning seating. 1371600-champagne

10. Skip the champagne toast. Your guest can toast with whatever is in their glasses. So much champagne goes wasted. Not everyone drinks it, nor finishes it.

We hope these tips will come in handy.

Happy Planning!

10 Great Wedding Planning Apps | Triad Wedding Planner

 Yes, There’s An App For That!

Wedding planning has changed over the years. Now you can do just about anything at your fingertips. Wedding Apps make it easy for you to plan, organize and communicate  on the go. Here are just a few of my favorite wedding planning apps for Android and Apple.

1. Appy Couple (IOS and Android, Free) – Appy couple helps you organize, coordinate, plan with this great app. Organize your guest list and have guest interact with you. AppyPics_Gallery_3_7_0 Pinterest- Share and create great inspiration boards. Gather information and share or create a private board and invite who you want to view.

Wedding Countdown- Nothing gets you excited quite like a countdown to your “I DO’S”Wedding countdown app The Knot Ultimate Wedding Planner (IOS, Free) Stay organized, manage your budget. You can also get great ideas and inspiration from this wedding Wedpic- (Android, IOS)- Gather all of our guest photos and videos of your wedding in one spot. – Guest can upload pics and videos of the day to your wedding and share them with you and fellow guest. screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-11-28-45-am Wedding Wire – Search and review wedding vendors. Make and manage your checklist, budget and RSVP’s. weddingwire

TableTopPlanner– Create a floor plan including your dance floor and cake table and assign guest to tables.tabletop

Our Wedding Planner (Android, Free)- Manage your guest list, to-do list, budget, vendors and import all your guests directly from your phone contacts and manage the invitations that have been sent, received and pending as well as assign tables for guests to sit.

Pro Wedding Planner

proweddingplanner myPantone Wedding & Events, (IOS)Wedding planning app
These apps can certainly help you organize and keep your wedding details in one place. But even with today’s technology, you certainly don’t want to miss that one on one contact with those involved in the planning. What is your favorite App?

Happy Planning!

Why Weddings Need A Timeline|Triad Wedding Planner

wedding timelineWhat time do we make the toast?

What time will dinner be served?

When will you cut the cake?

We have entertainment, when should they perform?

Having a timeline is essential to every wedding or event. Why can’t I just go with the flow; you ask? You don’t want your guest waiting around for something to happen. Also, you don’t want everything happening at once and leaving your guest without anything to look forward to. Your vendors should have the timeline no later than two weeks before the wedding in case any changes need to be made.  There are a lot of timeline and schedules on the internet; a good timeline should be created just for your wedding. wedding-reception-timeline

How long does it take to get from site a to site b?

When will the vendors arrive?

How long are the speeches?

How long will it take to set up and break down?

Your event planner will know all this information and coordinate with the vendors to make sure everyone is on the same page. If you don’t have an event planner (get one) you need to designate someone to keep and eye on the time and make sure everything is going as planned. An event planner can make quick decisions regarding the timeline if something is running off schedule, and move things around so it still flows smoothly.

Happy Planning!

What Does Being A Bridesmaid Mean|Triad Wedding Planner

rubysweddingCongratulations!! You have been asked to be a bridesmaid in an upcoming wedding. It is easy to jump up and say “YES”, but think before accepting. Being a bridesmaid can be loads of fun if you find out what is expected of you from the beginning. It is a lot more than just standing up there with the bride as she says her’ “I Do’s”.

What does it cost to be a bridesmaid? Financial cost will depend on the bride and the wedding itself but here are cost I am sure you never considered…

  • Emotional
  • Financial
  • Time

Emoticons1.Emotional- Do you agree with the marriage? Yes, this matters and something no one ever addresses.  If you don’t feel the two should be getting married, then your heart is not in it. You do not support them and that is all the thing that matters the most. If you do not agree, will you keep your feelings to yourself to support your friend, sister, cousin, etc… more than likely not…some day your true feelings will seep out and could possible ruin your relationship with the bride.

Will you be there emotional for the bride? Brides go through a roller coaster of emotions and they need support all around. From decisions about the wedding to feeling overwhelmed. Remember you are part of the team to get the bride to the alter with as little stress as possible.  This also means not fighting the bride about the choices she makes about the dresses and other decisions.

breakthepiggy2. Financial-Can you afford to be a bridesmaid. It is not only the dress you must purchase. It may also include your hair, shoes, make up, bridal shower & bachelorette party contribution and wedding gift. If you can not afford it, don’t take on the burden and respectful decline. You should find out an estimated cost before you make any decisions but if you know you can’t afford it explain to the bride why you are declining. She will be grateful for your honesty and you both won’t have any regrets.

Photo from MountainSide Bride

Photo from MountainSide Bride

3. Time- Being a bridesmaid is not just looking pretty, it is time consuming. Be prepared to help the bride with things leading up to the wedding as well as on the wedding day. The bride may want you to help her go gown shopping, help with making DIY projects for the wedding and other wedding activities. Find out what your bridal duties will be up to and the day of the wedding.  If you are not available (If you live in town) then by all means do not accept.

The bottom line is to know what to expect when becoming a bridesmaid. If you are up to the task it is a wonderful experience and honor.

Happy Planning!

Cautions of Hiring Your Wedding Vendors-Avoid Wedding Scams

Cautions of wedding planningPlanning your wedding is stressful enough with all that you have to do. You will be contacted by lots of vendors who want to be a part of your wedding.As with any business there are many good professionals, but occasionally someone slips in to make the rest of us look bad.  Here are things you should keep and eye out for when hiring your vendors. Price is a major sway when booking many vendors but whether they are ubber cheap or high end pricey keep your eye out and beware. We listed the top three wedding scams to beware.

1. Show me your work.Remember in school you had to show your work to explain how you got your answer. Well, this should work in the real world too. The vendor will most likely share their portfolio or perhaps you viewed their websites to see their previous work. If the vendor does not have a few pictures of the same decor or wedding beware it is probably not their work. The vendor should be able to tell you a little about picture, of course not everything but a good deal. They should be able to tell you at least one vendor who worked with them on that particular wedding, event or project. If the vendor is a florist or maybe a baker they wouldn’t have loads of pictures from a wedding but they can at least tell you the photographer or the photographers watermark would be on the photo.

*Tip: You can Google actual pictures. So if a picture is listed on their facebook page or they email you with a picture, you can simply google to see if it really belongs to their company.

2. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket- Another popular one is the One Stop Shops. The concept is you pay one vendor (mainly the wedding planner) to do everything and book everything and you just simply show up. Yes, there are some legit one stop shops out there, but keep in mind you are paying this one vendor and they are supposed to pay your vendors for you. Caution, sign the contracts yourself and know who your vendors are. Ask for a receipt from the vendors once the “planner” pays for services. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, what payment schedule are your vendors on. Do the vendors get paid just before your wedding when you have paid for everything months ago… beware.

3. No this is not pictures of my work but I can create them for you. Copycats are everywhere and will swear they can duplicate the David Tutera image for a small budget. Anyone can copy, a true pro loves to come up with their own ideas and work. The vendor will show you these gorgeous images and promise the same results but has nothing to back it up. Even a novice and whip up something even if they don’t have professional pictures.

Always check references, check with other vendors in the same industry, check with past brides if necessary. Do not always depend on online reviews.If it is too good to be true, it probably is. Listen to your guy, it normally does not steer you wrong. We recommend buying wedding insurance it will protect you in case you run into one of these frauds.

Happy Planning!

Wedding Albums Gone Wrong|Wedding Photographers Jacksonville,FL

Flush Mount Wedding albumsWhat is the difference in wedding albums offered? Very good question. It is important to find out exactly what your photographer is offering when it comes to packages. I have heard many horror stories of professional photographers having to create and fix albums for brides because their photographer did and awful job. Tammie Sybelnik of The Wedding & Portrait Photographers in Jacksonville, Florida shared her story with us and some tips on how to avoid a disaster. .


One afternoon I had the opportunity to meet some wonderful ladies.  They were the bride’s event planner, her mother and her aunt.  They came in to take a closer look at my work hanging on the wall.  They stated the bride already had signed a contract for a wedding photographer but wanted to know if I did boudoir sessions.  I told them yes and to have the bride call me and we would put her on our schedule.
“Sara” (the name has been changed) came to our studio and did a “special session” for her fiance’.  She ordered a flush mount album to present to her future husband on their wedding day.  Needless to say she was extremely pleased with both her session and her album.

I kept in contact with Sarah as she hired my florist friend for her wedding.  We would briefly chat about how her wedding plans were coming and life in general.

About 6 weeks ago (after her wedding)  I received an email from Sara.  In it she stated she had just received her wedding “album” from her photographer and it was AWFUL.
She wanted to know, since the photographer has given her a copyright release to her images, if I could design an album for her.  I made an appointment for her along with instructions to bring the CD of images and her current “album”.  I could not believe what she brought in.

Her “album” was a coffee table style book made from a company similar to Shutterfly or Snapfish.  There was no flow to the album and it did not tell the story of her wedding day.  The “album” even came complete with a barcode on the back.  Sara thought she was going to receive something like what she had purchased from me.  A leather bound flush mount album that you could pass down from generation to generation.  What she had received was a “hot mess”.

Now I am not writing this to bash the other photographer.  If that type of book was included in her package that is fine.  But it should have been explained to Sara exactly what she would be receiving.  

Upon redesigning her album I found that the photographer had made some very rookie mistakes.  There were no room detail shots, no first dance images, and the only image of the father-daughter dance was out of focus to name a few things.  My heart broke for Sara because I know her wedding photography was very important to her.  We did redesign her album the best we could and she was absolutely THRILLED!!

I told you this story to let you know that it is a “buyer beware” world out here.  Here are a few tips when looking to hire a wedding photographer:

1)  Ask to see the photographer’s work both edited and straight out of the camera.  When 
     looking at the straight from camera work make sure the image is properly exposed.  
     You should be able to see detail in both the whites and the darks.  If you have dark
     hair you want to be able to see highlights.  If your dress has beading and lace, you 
     want to be able to see that.  Your dress SHOULD NOT BE a glowing hot with mess!
2) Ask to see a sample of all products given to ensure that there are not misunderstandings.
3) Ask if the photos you receive are edited and to what extent.
4) Ask how many photos on average can you expect.

Make sure everything is in writing BEFORE you sign the contract.  

And most importantly, make sure you like the photographer’s personality.  If you do not like them (and people do hire people they do not “click with”)  it will show in you photos.

I hope that Sara’s unfortunate experience can prevent someone else from going through the same thing.  Or better yet, pick up the phone and call us.  We understand the importance of your wedding day and will go the extra mile to ensure your story is told.

Tammie Sylbenik| The Wedding & Portrait Photography Jacksonville, FL
904-704-7071| 3390 Kori Rd. Jacksonville, FL 32257

That’s Entertainment! |Wedding Entertainment

Local bellydancer: Xena

A fun way to add flaire to your wedding is to bring in some entertainment. Belly dancers, ball room dancers, magicians, specialty bands are just a few examples of what you could choose. Choose your entertainment from your wedding theme, you hobbies or your personality.

Always check with your venue to make sure what you have planned is allowed and ask if you need any permits. If you have an older crowd you may want to include entertainment and exclude dancing. Another time to include entertainment is during dinner or if you schedule is tight. Whatever you choose have fun with it, think outside of the box.