5 Things I’ve Learned From Wedding Planning

In case you didn’t already know, I’m getting married in September in the Pocono Mountains. So wedding planning is now in full swing. I’ve finalized the menu, hired the DJ and found an amazing photographer. While I’m sure this is going to be the most beautiful day of my life, there are things I nailed during the planning process and some things I wish I’d done a little differently. Here’s what I’ve learned so far.

Wedding Cake Tasting Woodloch ResortWedding Cake Tasting: Can you guess which flavor we got?

Don’t look at anything until you have a budget

This is by far the best wedding planning advice I have ever gotten and I’m so glad I listened. There is no point in wasting your time researching and interviewing venues, bands, photographers and more if you don’t know exactly what you can afford. You also run the risk of falling in love with a wedding venue or wedding that’s absolutely out of your budget.

Instead take the time to have those tough conversations about who is contributing, how much they are willing to contribute and to what right after you get engaged. It might not sound fun or romantic because it’s not. But, it will make your wedding planning process a lot more seamless and drama-free. Romance may not be based in reality, but your wedding budget absolutely is. So address it right away and then start planning.

Spend your time and money on things you actually care about

If don’t look at anything until you have your wedding budget was the best piece of advice I got, then spend your time and money on what you actually care about is a close second. This advice I got from Bridesmaid for Hire Jen Glantz and it really set me free. When I go to weddings, the only things I remember are was it open bar or not and who I sat with. At the end of the day, no one is going to care if you had embroidered napkins with everyone’s initials on them. If it means the world to you to have them then do it. But, if it doesn’t it’s just another thing that’s going to drive you insane and cost you an insane amount of money.

Every bride is different and cares about different things. I personally couldn’t care less about flowers or decorations, but having beautiful photos is the top priority for me. I did not upgrade any of my tablecloths, dinner wear or napkins. The basic ones offered by the venue are fine with me. I also plan on having pretty simple centerpieces. But, I am spending time and money on getting baller photos of me, my future husband and our bridal party because that’s what’s most exciting to me.

Pro Tip: One great tip I got on Minted when ordering my Save the Dates was not to use abbreviations when addressing the envelopes. Write out everything. Put Street instead of St. and New York instead of NY. It really looks a million times better in print. They do not currently sponsor my blog, but I highly recommend Minted to anyone getting married. They print the addresses on all of your envelopes at no additional cost and allow you to have a wedding website that perfectly matches your invitations. It’s pretty sweet!

Don’t make shotgun decisions

Emotions run high during the wedding planning process. Even if you’re a pretty level headed person, it’s impossible to plan a wedding and not feel somewhat emotional. That’s why everything for a wedding is so darn expensive. People just aren’t thinking logically.

Do yourself a favor and don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Take your time to find venders and make decisions that you’re really happy with. You’re not having a shotgun wedding or maybe you are – I don’t judge, but either way no one has a gun to your head when it comes to wedding planning decisions. At one point I got scared when I started finding that so many photographers and DJs were already booked. So I quickly booked both. The DJ I booked seems like it’s going to work out, but I ended up falling in love with another photographer who did my engagement photos after I’d already booked one for the wedding. Not only was my engagement photo photographer amazing, she was also available for the wedding. I ended up switching photographers and it worked out, but I shouldn’t have been so quick to book someone because I ended up finding the perfect person later.

You don’t have to spend a boatload of money to get your dream dress

Wedding dress shopping can be stressful. Sometimes you can’t find anything that looks good on you. Sometimes you can’t choose between two or three dresses. And sometimes you fall in love with a dress that’s way outside your price range – see my first piece of advice to make sure this one doesn’t happen to you. I got lucky and found the perfect dress in under two hours.

Before you splurge on a designer dress at a fancy bridal boutique first look at other options. Chances are the dresses at the fancy boutique will always be there if you don’t find anything else. But, since this is something you’re only going to wear once, it’s a good idea to give cheaper and equally beautiful options a chance first. I’m lucky enough to live in New York City where there are tons of sample dresses available. I found my dress at The Bridal Garden where top designers including Vera Wang, Oscar de la Renta, Marchesa and more donate their sample dresses when they are done with them. They can then be purchased for under $1000 and all of the profits go to a school in Brooklyn. There are other places in New York such as Our Story Bridal that do the sample thing. If you don’t have a sample dress shop near you, Nordstorm and BHLDN have beautiful dresses for a number of budgets. Had I not found a beautiful Anna Maier at The Bridal Garden, those would have been my next stops.

Don’t worry about things that may never happen

When I first started planning my wedding, I spent way too much time worrying about rain, getting a stain on my dress, etc. You can’t spend time worrying about things that may never happen or that you can’t control. According to Bridesmaid for Hire Jen Glantz, the more you worry about something the more likely you are to make it happen. So spend your energy picturing the wedding you want and it will happen.

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A Tour of Los Angeles

Last year I went to visit my friend Kristi from Currentlycrushing.com in Los Angeles. Well, this year I came back for round two and it was just as fabulous if not more. I am so grateful for all of the travel I’ve already done this year. So far I’ve seen New Orleans, spent a weekend in D.C. and got my engagement photos done in Orlando. In addition to planning my September wedding in the Poconos, this continues to be a year of adventures. Here is my most recent L.A. adventure. Some of the highlights not pictured were lunch at Gracias Madre and a mini hike up Runyon Canyon. Next time remind me to hike all of Runyon Canyon and check out Pink Taco.

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One of my favorite things about L.A. is that you’re always poolside or close to being poolside. This particular pool is in Brentwood.

The Beverly Hills Hotel Velvet Dress

Feeling fancy in front of The Beverly Hills Hotel in my Aqua Velvet Scallop Dress. | Photo by: JusePix

Rebecca Minkoff Flower Print June Dress Rodeo Drive

Shopping on Rodeo Drive in a Rebecca Minkoff Flower Print June Dress. Love this boho look! | Photo by: JusePix

Venice Beach California

I’ll never forget getting off the plane, driving to Venice Beach and sticking my feet in the Pacific Ocean.  Just six hours ago I’d been in New York and then there I was on the other coast with my feet in the ocean. I was surreal.

Wander Beauty Wanderout Dual Lipstick Menotti's Venice Beach

Next time you’re in Venice Beach I highly recommend getting a latte at Menotti’s. I had mine with a side of Wander Beauty – Wanderout Dual Lipstick Girl Boss/ Miss Behave. This two-in-one lipstick is awesome for travel too.

La Chouquette on Melrose Ave

Kristi recommended an amazing bakery on Melrose Avenue called La Chouquette. Their cream puffs were one of the most delicious desserts I’ve ever tasted. Be sure to add it to your L.A. to-do list. | Photo by: JusePix

Pixi Beauty Vanilla Beach Women's Ribbed Scallop One Shoulder Cheeky One Piece Swimsuit

It was too cold to swim when I was in L.A. But, I can’t wait to break out this Vanilla Beach Women’s Ribbed Scallop One Shoulder Cheeky One Piece Swimsuit from Target. These Pixi Pretties look like fun too!

Aspiring Socialite Melrose Avenue West Hollywood Zero UV

To go along with Melrose Avenue’s edginess and my California love, I wore a California flag tee (this is similar), Forever 21 Hooded Longline CardiganUNIQLO Women’s Ultra Stretch White JeanszeroUV – Super Cateyes Vintage Inspired Fashion Mod Chic High Pointed Cat-Eye Sunglasses and there’s my Rebecca Minkoff Tote again. | Photo by: JusePix

Melrose Avenue California

What’s your favorite neighborhood in L.A? Share it in the comments. | Photo by: JusePix

Travel Blogger

Flying over the City of Angels. Goodbye L.A! I already can’t wait to go back. Like I always say, my heart is in New York, but my soul is in L.A.

P.S. – Did I mention what I wore to California Donuts?

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Cold-Shoulder Dress

Cold-Shoulder Dress

I think it’s safe to say that California is my happy place. While I still very much live in New York, California awakens a part of my creative soul that’s often dormant when I’m home in NYC. During my last trip, I got to experience Brentwood, Los Angeles. For an afternoon in Brentwood, I broke out my Aqua Embroidered Cold-Shoulder Dress (now: $34.30) and Swedish Hasbeens – Cross Strap Debutant Women’s Sandals. Until next time L.A!

Photos by: JusePix

Cold-Shoulder

Aqua Cold Shoulder Dress

Brentwood Los Angeles

Aqua Embroidered Cold-Shoulder Dress Bloomingdales

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What I Wore to California Donuts!

Travel Blogger California Donuts

When bloggers visit Los Angeles, they usually hit up the usual Instagramable spots such as the Pink Wall, Venice Beach, Santa Monica and maybe the Beverly Hills Hotel (if I missed any, be sure to share them in the comments and I’ll be sure to stop by someday). Now thanks to the invention of the panda donut, California Donuts is now a must-visit spot for bloggers looking to up their Instagram game with adorable treats.

When I stopped by during my visit with Kristi Elong (currentlycrushing.com), I was pleasantly surprised to see that they were also making unicorn donuts! For this trip to this epic 24/7 donut shop, I wore an Aqua Metallic Striped Cropped Sweater (now $23.80), 7 For All Mankind Women’s The Ankle Skinny Jeans In Featherweight Grey, Express Studded Buckle Booties and Rebecca Minkoff Always On Side Zip Regan Nylon Tote.

In the spirit of honesty and openness, I may not have actually eaten the donuts, but I absolutely couldn’t resist photographing them. Eating the donuts is optional, but visiting California Donuts is not. If you’re stuck on the East Coast, check out my post on the Flour Shop, pretty much the NYC version of California Donuts.

Photos by: Kristi Elong AKA @thecurrentcrush

California Donuts

California Donuts in Los Angeles

California Donuts Los Angeles

California Donuts Panda Donut

Los Angeles Travel California Donuts

Califonia Donuts Unicorn Donut

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New Orleans Gothic Style and Travel Guide

New Orleans Street Style BlankNYC Leather Jacket

Before I took my first trip to New Orleans, I binged-watched American Horror Story: Coven on Netflix. So I set out to find an outfit that would make me feel like one of the witches from the show as I walked the streets of NOLA. I’m pretty sure I nailed it with this Aqua Velvet-Striped Cropped TopAqua Velvet-Striped SkirtTahari – Jodi (Black Stretch Suede/Fabric) Women’s Zip BootsBLANKNYC Metallic Faux Leather Moto Jacket and Rebecca Minkoff Always On Side Zip Regan Nylon Tote. This Rebecca Minkoff Tote is my favorite everyday bag right now. It fits everything I need and expands to carry even more.

I love a good southern gothic horror story and New Orleans is full of them along with drinks, beautiful buildings and amazing live music. I must say that I only scratched the surface during the short time I was there. But, I had an amazing time and I can’t wait to go back.

Here are my top travel recommendations so far:

  • Pat O’Brien’s Bar: This may be the best piano bar in the world! I could have spent days here requesting songs and hearing some incredibly talented people belt them out on the piano – no rehearsal needed. Pat O’Brien’s is also known as the home of the hurricane cocktail and they have some of the best. I don’t even drink hard liquor and I had two.
  • Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar: Lafitte’s is a super chill bar on Bourbon Street. They have minimal electricity so it’s almost like going back in time. However, they do have TVs if you want to have a drink and watch a game.
  • Frenchman Street: Bourbon Street was fun, but when you’re over 30 it can get old fast. It’s a lot of people who seem to be either drinking or seeing alcohol for the first time. If you’re looking for a more sophisticated place to get wasted in NOLA, I highly recommend Frenchman Street. The live music is amazing and you don’t have to deal with passed out college kids or tourists in Mardi Gras beads when it isn’t Mardi Gras.
  • Hotel Monteleone: You need to stop by the Hotel Monteleone’s Carousel Bar. It’s a bar that looks exactly like a carousel and the seats move around the bar like a merry-go-round. This gives a whole new meaning to “Let’s have another round.”
  • New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum: This museum isn’t a must-see, but it’s a nice to see. I’m super into the supernatural so of course I went to see it. For $5 you can get a 20 minute self-guided tour and look through voodoo artifacts, learn more about its history and get to know the famous Marie Laveau.
  • The Catahoula Hotel: This tiny boutique hotel is absolutely beautiful aka Instagramable. I recommend stopping by and having a drink. I did a southern fashion shoot there.

To do list for next time:

  • Voodoo Tour: I’m dying to know more about voodoo and how it shaped the history of the city. Many bar tours and walking tours are centered around the subject and I must go on one.
  • Garden District: During my trip I didn’t get a chance to visit the Garden District and see the plantation homes. I also really want to do a fancy southern dinner somewhere where there’s a strict dress code.
  • Swamp Tour: There are a ton of tours in NOLA where they will take you out to the swamps to look at the wildlife and feed the alligators. I hear you should book these tours in advance because they are often sold out the day of. I also need to go on a graveyard tour.
  • Preservation Hall: This historic jazz landmark is right next to Pat O’Brien’s Bar. Next time I’m in NOLA I need to see a jazz show there. They also tour so I could see them in New York, but it wouldn’t be as authentic.

Photos by: Hannah Pickle

In the spirit of the never-ending New Orleans party, scroll down to check out my blogger link up with Lizzie in Lace!

Rebecca Minkoff Always On Side Zip Regan Nylon Tote BlankNYC

BLANKNYC Metallic Faux Leather Moto Jacket

New Orleans Street Style BLANKNYC Metallic Faux Leather Moto Jacket

Goth Style Goth Girl

Goth Style Velvet

Catahoula Hotel New Orleans Fashion

Welcome to the Friday Favorites link up with your co-hosts Liz from Lizzie in Lace and Vicky from Aspiring Socialite!

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