Finding The Perfect Wedding Dress

It’s every girls dream to look absolutely breathtaking on their wedding day. Besides choosing the right person to marry, choosing the right wedding dress is the most important aspect. Most women feel overwhelmed with the task of finding the perfect dress. There are so many styles, colors, and designers to consider. You should choose a dress that showcases your beauty and feels “right” to you. Making the right choice takes time, planning, consideration, and most of all patience! Enjoy a few of our tips to make dress shopping easier:

dallas_wedding_planner_0221*Gown by Maggie Sottero from Lulu’s Bridal ; Photo by The Mamones Photography

  1. START EARLY-You should begin shopping for your dress anywhere from six months to a year in advance of your actual wedding day. Dresses take time to create! On average it takes about four to six months for a manufacturer/designer to make a dress. And let’s not forget about alterations; this could add another two months. Customizing your dress by adding beading, lace, modifying the neckline, or train can take even longer. While many shops do offer rush orders at an additional fee, your choices may be limited. So plan accordingly!

dallas_wedding_planner_0217*Photo by Ivey Photography

  1. BUDGET The perfect dress does not have to cost you a million bucks. Come up with a realistic budget. When creating your budget you should also factor in the cost for alterations; which can vary in price depending on how elaborate your alterations are and where you go to get them done. Don’t forget to add on shipping fees if your dress is not being purchased off the rack. Your dress budget can also include shoes, veil, headpiece and accessories or you can figure these cost separately. Once your dress arrives, it may require some additional care such as pressing or steaming, which can tack on an additional cost as well.                                                                                                                              dallas_wedding_planner_0264*Gown by Anjolique Bridal  from Bliss Bridal Boutique ; Photo by Shannon Skloss Photography

If you are looking to save on your wedding dress as you see it as a one-time wear; try shopping on the sales rack. You may be able to find one that needs minor alterations. There are also many salons that hold big annual sales to clear out their inventory as well as sample sales, where brides can get off-the-rack styles with major discounts.

  1. PLAN AHEAD- Decide where you want to shop for your dress. You can call stores in advance to find out their price range, if they carry the designer(s) you’re looking for, if they offer alterations, and even if they sell accessories. Most wedding dress stores require that you schedule an appointment. If possible, schedule your appointment or shop during non-peak hours. Normally a weekday when you are free; this will give your more time to shop and your consultant’s undivided attention. Carry a notebook to jot down store information with the descriptions of the dresses you like (most bridal stores forbid photos) in case you decide to return back to try on the dress you can’t stop thinking about.

dallas_wedding_planner_0263*Gown by Jenny Packham  from Joan Pillow Bridal Salon of Houston, Texas; Photo by Amy Herfurth Photography

  1. SHOPPING- First and foremost before you set out to go dress shopping, wear good undergarments! This will give you a better visual of how things will look and fit on you. And you’ll thank us later when your consultant see’s you in your undergarments when their helping you into the dresses you’ll be trying on. Before your consultant starts to pull dresses for you to try on, inform them of your budget! You don’t want your dreams crushed by a dress that is out of your price point.                                                                                                                    dallas_wedding_planner_0265*L-Photo by Shannon Skloss Photography ; R-Photo by Amy Karp Photography

To keep your dress shopping experience exciting, do not be afraid to speak up on what you do and do not like. We promise their feelings won’t be hurt; you’re actually making their job easier! Not sure of the perfect silhouette? Bridal dress silhouettes fall into six broad categories: ball gown, empire, A-line, sheath, fit-and-flare, and mermaid. Try on one of each style the first time you go shopping for your dress. Selecting the right silhouette will help narrow down your options. From here, you can decide on the details such as neckline, sleeves, embellishments, etc.

dallas_wedding_planner_0224*Photo by Tracy Autem

  1. NO ENTOURAGE- While it may sound like a good idea to bring all of your eight bridesmaids, your mom, your great grandma, and your aunts for this important purchase; it’s not! The more people you invite, the more opinions you have to consider. An overly opinionated entourage can be confusing and frustrating. Feeling overwhelmed can cloud your judgment on what you actually want. Bridal consultants advise selecting two or three loved ones to attend dress shopping with you. They should know your style, be honest, and have your best interest in mind. If you feel bad for not including everyone, just bring them along to your fitting.

dallas_wedding_planner_0220*Photo by Nicholas Leitzinger Photography

  1. IGNORE THE SIZE In most cases bridal wear runs about two to four sizes smaller than ready-to-wear items. Buy the dress that fits right now or that is closest to your size. Even if you plan on losing weight; don’t insist on a smaller size! A dress is easy to take in, but difficult and can be costly to let out.

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dallas_wedding_planner_0262*Gown by Tara Keely from De Ma Fille in Ft. Worth ; Photo by Amy Karp Photography

  1. KEEP AN OPEN MIND- Don’t be afraid to try on something that doesn’t seem like your style. Also, keep in mind some dresses look different on and off the hanger. A dress that seems average while on the hanger may be the dress of your dreams once on. The same thing goes for the dress you thought was “the one” from the pictures online; it may be a big fail in person. While it’s always great to have an open mind, do not let yourself be talked into purchasing a dress that you’re not absolutely in love with.
  1. FOLLOW YOUR GUT Don’t go with the dress that everyone else wants you to wear. This is your day and your dress! You should choose the one that makes you the most happy. You don’t want to fight with your dress instead of enjoying your day. In the end you must do what is best for you by choosing the dress that feels right to you. You should feel beautiful in your wedding dress! If you aren’t truly sure if it’s “the one”, try adding a veil or other accessories to help you envision yourself walking down the aisle.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  dallas_wedding_planner_0228*Photo by Sarah Kate Photography

CTE Loves Amy Karp Photography

We write this blog with giddiness because we get to talk about one of our most favorite event professionals of all time, Amy Karp Photography!  Not only is she a great friend of ours and an wonderful person, she is also an insanely talented photographer.  She is extremely passionate about what she does, but always keeps it fun and exciting for her clients’ which puts them at ease during their sessions with her.

When interviewing Amy for the blog, we wanted to know how it all started for her.  Here’s what she said: After a stroll down memory lane of some of Amy’s armature photography work from college; her husband, Jon, encouraged her to peruse her dreams of capturing beautiful images and lasting memories. And thus Amy Karp Photography was born.

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While her career started in office management, HR, and accounting she has always had a sweet spot for artistic outlets such as drawing, painting, DIY projects, and designing. Amy still enjoys her DIY projects, gardening and most importantly spending time with her husband, Jon, and their son, Sam. She even has a new found love for Cross-Fit.

For a while Amy was maintaining a full-time job and shooting in her free time. Any spare time left she was gaining experience by working with local photographer’s whose work she admired and respected. Amy was focused on soaking up all the knowledge she could to be an amazing photographer.

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Her amazing style is portrayed through her pictures! It is modern yet traditional with an editorial flair keeping her images timeless and memorable.

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In 2006, after shooting her first wedding she was officially hooked on photography! “I loved the type of storytelling and loved that weddings have so many types of photography fused into one…you must be well-rounded in your craft and be quick to shift gears when needed” says, Amy.

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In 2009 Amy decided to take a leap of faith and jump into her craft full time as a professional photographer. And let us tell you that leap of faith paid off! By the end of her first year Amy was nationally published in Southern Weddings Magazine.  Since then she has been published in so many more magazines and blogs such as Weddings, Texas Wedding Guide, World’s Best Wedding Photographers by Junebug Weddings, and more.

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Amy’s favorite thing about photography is being able to create beautiful images in strange places and playing with different lighting. She’s also a daredevil and loves to shoot underwater photography! While she would love to spend more time perfecting her underwater craft; it’s not for the faint of heart and requires an adventurous client.

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We asked Amy to tell us about her proudest moment in her photography career so far. We couldn’t help but to be proud for her as she told us, “I was named photographer of the year two years in a row by AACWP (American Association of Certified Wedding Planners). That was a great honor to be recognized for my work and customer relations!”

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When asked what advice she would give a bride to help choose her wedding photographer; Amy gave us a few pointers, “Try to picture yourself and your style in the photographer’s portfolio. Try to get a feel if your personalities mesh well together. And when meeting with your potential photographer, make sure they make you feel at ease. And also look for a photographer that has experience with natural and artificial light.”

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We cannot get enough of Amy Karp, her work is both breathtaking and fun! When you meet Amy in person to talk about your wedding or next big event, you’ll be sure to fall in love with her bubbly personality. And make sure you tell her we sent you!!

All images used are courtesy of Amy Karp Photography and a great mini-showcase of her talent! 

Jewish Fall Wedding at The W Hotel Dallas

It was love at first click! Daniel received encouragement from one of Emily’s cousins to send Emily a friend request on Facebook. The two began chatting away and the rest was history. They officially met on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin where they both attended college.
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Five years later Daniel was ready to pop the question. He proposed at the dog park with the couple’s adorable Boxer, Cali. “It was the perfect spot since we love our dog so much!” says Emily!  Soon they were in wedding planning mode and selected the swanky W Hotel Dallas for their ceremony and reception.

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Emily’s inspiration for their wedding was to keep it simple and classic. She stated, “I always imagined my bridesmaids wearing black since it is my favorite color to wear and thought that white and blush color flowers would pop well off of that.” Emily wore a gorgeous Tara Keely gown which she purchased from De Ma Fille in Ft. Worth and her maids picked their own gowns.

 

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The couple kept the simple and classic feel of their wedding with beautiful stationary by Jordana Hoffman from The Paper Mill.

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Setting the tone for the evening, the wedding party and couple made their entrance to live guitar music played by Nick DiGennaro. Emily and Daniel exchanged their vows underneath a beautiful birch chuppah designed by Fleurs de France who also created the rest of the floral pieces for their wedding. This moment was a favorite for both Emily & David as they stood there with their Rabbi and parents.

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During the wedding ceremony, Emily said she unexpectedly became very emotional with tears streaming down her face. The Rabbi read out loud to everyone the letters that the couple wrote to each other. Emily was under the impression that the he would only be using bits and pieces for his speech. Guests’ loved the letters and how accurate they were. Emily and Daniel even heard guests’ quoting exact lines from the letters later in the evening while mingling during the reception.

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The couple and their guests’ danced and sang the night away with tunes played by the band Signed Sealed Delivered and enjoyed cake by Frosted Art. Memories of the evening were captured by the super talented Amy Karp Photography.

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It was such a joy to be a part of Emily and Daniel’s wedding; we wish them much joy and love. Mazel tov!

Dallas Fall Wedding at CityPlace

Jannie and John’s beautiful fall wedding day started with a traditional tea ceremony.

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After the tea ceremony came to a close, it was time to get ready for the ceremony! Jannie gave all of her bridesmaids personalized button downs to wear while they got ready. What a great combination of cute and practical.

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Of course, you can’t start getting ready for your wedding without first bringing out the bubbly!

After Jannie and her maids were all ready to go, complete with makeup from TC Makeup, she walked down the aisle at the beautiful CityPlace venue in Dallas. Their ceremony was officiated by none other than Marty Younkin from Love Notes.

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The reception, which also took place at City Place, was absolutely stunning. Just look at that ceiling!

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Jannie and John chose a navy and burnt orange color scheme, which are both of their university’s colors. All of the beautiful flowers and arrangements were provided by Haute Floral.

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It seems like they really enjoyed what they saw when they got to see their reception space for the first time! Looking back at her reception, Jannie noted that, “At one point in the night, while we were sitting at our sweetheart table we looked out at all of our guests and saw that everyone was talking to one another, smiling, laughing, having a good time, enjoying the food and music, décor.  That is all we ever really asked for – for everyone to have fun.” And fun they had!

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The Cake Guys created beautiful cakes for both Jannie and John.

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While Jannie chose a traditional white cake that fit in perfectly with her theme, John’s came was created based on his alma mater, the University of Texas at Austin. Hook ‘em horns!

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After the cake was cut, it didn’t take long for the party to get started! Music from LeForce Entertainment quickly got all of the guests on the dance floor.

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The beautiful pictures are courtesy of Amy Karp Photography. Isn’t she talented? While Jannie and John chose to opt out of having a videographer record their special day, Jannie later expressed that “we probably would have reconsidered hiring a videographer”

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Now that their wedding day is over and they’ve settled into married life, Jannie and John say it’s good to relax without worrying about wedding planning, and it’s so great to finally be married!

 

Event Planning Tips for 2014

As I reflect back on 2013, I can’t help but think ‘What a year it has been’.  I smile and recall on my many blessings… my crazy, amazing family and friends, my incredible husband, my deepening relationship with God, becoming pregnant after years of trying, my wonderful housekeeper (yes, I am SO grateful she came into our lives this year), all of my awesome clients, and the lessons I’ve learned that have helped me become the woman, wife, friend, planner I am today.   Some of these lessons I’ve learned over the years, but they have continued to present themselves as sort of a reminder to either keep doing what I’m doing or make a change and move on.

With my job, I have the privilege to impart many lessons on those around me to help make their lives easier.  Especially when it comes to the planning and execution of their very special occasion.  Here are a few lessons I hope that you will take with you into 2014.  Whether you’re a bride/groom-to-be, a parent, a member of the wedding party, a family member or friend…this is for you.

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  • Hire the RIGHT vendors for your event.  Bringing in the right professionals will make your life and party so much better than you can even imagine.  Do your research and don’t just hire the first person you come across as you might regret it later.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to solidify plans or make your DIY projects.  Planning and projects take time to do correctly.  Understand that each vendor has their own communication format and turnaround time to get things on their end accomplished.
  • Trust that everything will work out how it is supposed to…especially if you have been doing your due diligence and you have the right vendor team in place.
  • Be flexible when you can.  The more you try to control every little aspect, the more stress and upset you will give yourself and the less you will actually enjoy your event.
  • Plan, plan, plan, but be open to things changing that are out of your control at the last minute.  It will probably end up better than you planned.
  • Know your role within the event….this has two parts to it.
    1. If you’re the host of an event or a couple to be married…this is YOUR soiree. If there are certain aspects to your event that are really important to you, but are giving you concern because family or friends have constantly expressed their dislike in your choice…guess what?   This is YOUR day and you should be able to have what you want.  Now, you may need to make a few tweaks and adjustments to make it comfortable for your guests.  My philosophy is “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” and you should have your way on your day.
    2. If you’re the parent, friend or family member who is disagreeing with certain elements of the hosts/couple’s decisions.  Sorry, but this is NOT your soiree. Your intentions may be only to help and it’s okay to make suggestions.  By all means, if you see something that’s not right, say something.  But then, back off.  Don’t take it personal if they don’t listen.  This is THEIR day and they deserve to have the love and support of their family and friends.  Not the stress of constant nagging, bullying, or “I told you so’s”.  It’s ok not to agree with their every move.  Just put it in perspective…in the grand scheme of things, is it really that important?  Chances are, it’s not.  They are the ones that have to live with their decisions.  You don’t want to be the one thing they feel regret, sadness or even anger toward when they look back on their day.  They need your support during this time more than anything else.  Be proactive and help come up with creative solutions in order to give them what they want.  Or respect their decision if they do not want any help.

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No one event or one client is the same as the next.  That’s one of the many things I love about what I do.  To help them achieve their dream wedding or event and ensure that the above tips are followed is so special.

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Hopefully, these are lessons you will carry with you when planning or helping to plan your next event.  Don’t be shy to share them with those around you for a much more seamless planning experience.  Have any more tips for successful planing, please feel free to leave a comment and share them!

Wishing you all the love, support, success and joy for 2014!

:: Photo Credits ::     Top Left :: Alex Ham Photography     Top Right :: Amy Karp Photography    Middle Left :: Sam Smead Photography                      Middle Right :: Wisner Photo     Bottom Left :: Autumn Light Photography     Bottom Left :: Nicholas Leitzinger Photography

Brilliance and Blush Wedding Showcase

Even though we’re still feelin’ the heat in Dallas-Fort Worth, fall is fast approaching; which means it’s time for you to start planning your wedding again.

What a better way to kick off your new start than by attending the fun yet relaxed Brilliance & Blush Wedding Showcase on Saturday, September 14th from 12:00p-4:00p at Fuller’s Jewelry Store in Addison, TX.

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Mix & mingle with top event professionals and chat with them one-on-one to talk more about your specific wedding details.  Be inspired by gorgeous design elements, get beautified with hair and makeup tips, get photography tips and tricks, start designing your stationary line, taste delicious bites and pick out your wedding bands or wedding party gifts.  Win fabulous prizes just for attending!

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Our brilliance will simply make you blush.  So RSVP today to https://brillianceandblush.eventbrite.com!  You owe it to yourself to make your your planning experience an enjoyable and seamless experience.

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Photos by ::  Amy Karp Photography

:: Spectacular vendors that’ll make your wedding experience the BEST ever ::

Magic Moments Parties & Events     Ducky Bob’s     Amy Karp Photography     TC Makeup        

 ES Events     The Bees Knees Custom Design     Panini Bakery     The Windsor

Fuller’s Jewelry     The Creative Touch, Events by Lauren

Wedding Party Responsibilities :: The Nitty Gritty

She’s your sister, your friend, your ‘girl’, and now she’s getting married. So when she comes to you and asks, ‘Will you be my bridesmaid?’ you blurt out an enthusiastic ‘YES!’ because it’s an honor and neither of you can imagine it any other way.  What you may not have realized yet is the work, the time, the details, the planning, and the cold hard cash that will go into that enthusiastic ‘YES!’.  The same goes for the groomsmen.

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If the couple has a wedding planner, s/he will definitely take a load of stress and responsibility off your plate, but you, as the wedding party, still have a distinct purpose – a job only a trusted bridesmaid or groomsman can fulfill. Your role is a huge compliment to your friendship, but first and foremost it’s a big commitment that should be taken seriously.  After all, wouldn’t you want the same when it’s time for you to get married?  Being a bridesmaid or groomsman is all about you for the first 30 seconds or so (sorry, that’s the hard truth).  After that it’s all about the bride & groom until after they waive good-bye and drive off into the night.

Planning a wedding can be one of the most stressful times an in couple’s life.  Whether it’s family issues that come up, vendor complications, nerves and stress, money or just plain lack of time…they need your support.  That’s why they asked YOU to be in their wedding.

Here are some key pointers of what you can do to be the BEST Bridesmaid or Groomsman you can be ::

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:: The Time ::

  • Attend all wedding related events with the bride/groom (bachelor/bachelorette party, bridal showers, engagement parties, rehearsal, etc).  Let the bride/groom know well in advanced if you can’t make it.
  • Always be on time – Plan your day accordingly so the couple isn’t waiting on you to get things started.
  • Keep the wedding reception atmosphere upbeat – Be present & on the dance floor. Don’t leave early.
  • Be available to assist whenever the bride/groom needs you – Offer to run errands, make sure they eat or drink something, calm his/her pre-wedding jitters.
  • Plan a speech for either the rehearsal dinner or wedding day. 1 ½ -2 ½ minutes is perfect.  Remember that this is a celebration. After a several minutes of speeches, it’ll be snoozeville.  So keep it short.

:: The Planning ::

  • Girls :: Help assemble/address save-the-dates and invitations, organize the seating chart, attend dress fitting appointments, etc.
  • Girls :: Coordinate the bridal shower and bachelorette party.
  • Communicate with each other – Don’t make the bride or groom be the go-between.  Forge new friendships so that you all can easily stay on top of everything.
  • Guys :: Return the groom’s tux and your tux to the rental shop.
  • Be self-sufficient.  Don’t bring the bride or groom into your drama.  Take care of any issues that arise on your own.  For example, if your dress or tux doesn’t fit, take it to the store and get it fixed.

:: The Cash ::

  • Girls :: The bridesmaids split the cost of the bachelorette party and bridal shower – Plan something that won’t break the bank, but will be enjoyable and thoughtful for the bride and her guests.
  • Guys :: The groomsmen spilt the cost of the bachelor party – Plan a party on par with the groom’s expectations.
  • Go in on gifts for the couple together – This will save you money and time, and will allow you to get a larger gift from their registry.
  • The wedding party is generally responsible for paying for their own attire, shoes, hair and makeup, and travel expenses.
  • According to How Stuff Works, a popular show on the cable network TLC, the cost of being a bridesmaid is over $1,000. This may seem overwhelming, but remember that it will be spread over the course of the engagement.  So start saving right away.

Aside from all the lists and quantified expectations, the most important part of being in a wedding is your ability to be there for the bride and groom in their time of need.  They couldn’t imagine you not being by their side on their big day.  So have fun with it and relish what a privilege it is to be trusted with such an important job.  You can do this!

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:: Photo Credits ::  Top- The Mamones Photography,  Middle- Amy Karp Photography, Bottom- On Location Portraiture