Author: Jessica Dennison | Image: Poly Mendes Photography 

Wedding Planning 1

For most women, planning your wedding can be a serious undertaking!  Getting married is not something that happens everyday.  The easy part is getting that engagement ring on your finger!   You may find yourself asking, "now what!?"  When the pressure starts to build, where will you turn?  Here are three simple tips that will help you plan for the most memorable wedding ever!

Take Notes!

Chose a time of day when you are feeling the most creative.  I am most creative after I have my morning cup of coffee.  That dose of caffeine can help you get your "thinking cap on."  Write down everything that comes to your mind.  Have fun thinking things through with your fiance.  You will learn a lot about your soon to be husband through the wedding planning process.

Do some Research!

Knowledge is power.  The more you know about weddings, wedding cakes, wedding flowers, and invitations, the more you will find out what you like and what you don't like.  If your fiance claims that he just doesn't care about what you chose for the details of your wedding, don't back off of him so easily.  The last thing you want is to have your husband have regrets about not speaking up during the wedding planning process.  He may "not care" now, but in a few years he might care then!  Be sure to include him in on the research phase of the wedding planning process.


One of my favorite movies is, "The Wedding Planner."  If you remember the movie, Jennifer Lopez's character makes the wedding day go so smoothly.  If you are the type of person that can get flustered easily, than I would highly recommend making room in your budget for a wedding planner.  A lot of times wedding planners know how to save you even more money on your wedding because of the connections they have and the insider tips that they can provide.  You too, can find your very own J.Lo! (minus the part where she steals the groom in the movie.)

Remember, you have to start somewhere.  Just chip away at the wedding planning process day by day, and before you know it, you will be walking down the aisle to marry the man of your dreams!

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Image: Lucas Botz Photography


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Source: Huffington Post Weddings; Author: Jill Bieker


Raphael and I spent a month looking for the right venue; we wanted a quasi-industrial warehouse wedding. But despite all of the red brick in St. Louis, we couldn't find what we wanted. That's wehen, in a fit of genius, we decided to celebrate on the land where I grew up -- a centennial farm in Washington, Missouri. 

Wedding Venue Missouri

A mile down the road, in 1928, my grandfather met my grandmother on the day she was born. It was 38 degrees below zero that day, the coldest temperature in Missouri's recorded history. They were married 20 some odd years later, after grandpa returned from WWII, and settled on the farm where they raises seven children. Years later my father built a small house adjacent to his childhood home. A field, our backdrop, seperated the two properties. When my father died in 2001, we moved to town, and so we chose the farm in reverence as much as anything else. 

Wedding Hay Bail

The venue was as stunning as it was significant. And, from the springboard of our space, the details of the day began to emerge. The farm elements were pretty obvious: hay bales, field flowers and farm animal place cards were procured. Barbecue form the local meat shop was a must. But we wanted to "city" it up a bit, keeping in mind our original warehouse idea. Raphael is a writer, so ideas involving paper ephemeral started to crop up: save the date cards were made from a book my grandparents shared in high school, I crafted paper chains fashioned of old books and maps for our alter and typography emerged in all its varied and glorious guises...

He is the writer, and I am the visual artist. We make it work. Here are our tips for planning your DIY day, from the ground up:

1.) Over-think the venue. 

Choosing the venue proved cumbersome. We toured about 10 different spaces and ran into issues all over the place; some had spatial constraints, some were out of budget, and others booked more than one event in the same day, leaving a narrow time frame for use. Ultimately, I wanted to spend more than a day decorating, so that I could participate, and and more than five hours celebrating. These are terms that most venues cannot accomodate. And more than any other factor, this is why we chose the field. We started setting up a week out, and the party could last as long as we liked. The field was also personal, so conceptually the party easily fell into place... While an alternative space was the perfect choice for us, one thing to keep in mind when planning: such projects become BYOV (build your own venue)/ From lighting and refrigeration to toilets and trashcans, we sourced it all. And the process was not any cheaper than choosing a standard, "a la carte" venue. 

Wedding Decor Logs

2) Dream in themes; capital "s."

People will create wedding themes about almost anything. Pick your poison, but be sure to pick more than one. We are inspired by letterpress, books an dpops of color to name a few, so our wedding reflected this; people are layered and events should be too... One of the best "themes" we had was asking our guests to wear black and white cocktail attire. This helped them navigate the unfamiliar territory of a semi-formal outdoor celebration, while allowing for comfort and variety. Even bridesmaids wore their favorite "little black dresses." Not only did the black and white make for great family photos, it also highlighted any color we used to decorate, namely the bunting. 

Ring Bearer

3) Bend your budget. 

I looked at several different budgeting websites before dolling out dollars, and ultimately none of them made sense for us. Some websites suggested spending no more than one percent on, say, invitations. But, we wanted letterpress paper goods from our neighbors at the Firecracker press. Had we paid attention to the one percent rule, this would have been impossible... But, we made up for our awesome (and reasonable pricy) "paperwork" by having buffet-style barbecue and signature cocktails instead of a full bar. And instead of buying a $5,000 dress, I bought a Victorian period piece for $29 dollars and $5 shoes. After I did some repairs and my friend Carolyn capped the sleeves, it was the dress of my dreams. With half of the leftover cash, I collected over 200 pieces of vintage mix-and-match china, which I can now rent. So, bend your budget to accomodate your needs, not the needs of some formal (and propably antiquated) guide. We ended up having everything we wanted and more, while coming in way, way under budget. 

Wedding Bend Your Budget

4) Do a little bit every day or at least every week. 

Time wil still run out. There will be a last minute crisis. And a meltdown is bound to happen. But, by starting early and doing a little here and a little there, the fallout will be minimized. Remember: when all seems lost, resolve the problem and recover quickly so that everyone can move on. 

Wedding Couple & Wedding Signage

5) Delegate until the cows come home, and enlist the oddballs. 

My momma is not a craft-mama. She does, however, have the uncanny ability to follow directions with the acumen of a Navy Seal. With the help of a few tutuorials, she went into craft-mission mania, making a "MR&MRS" marquee and a typewriter cake for my husband. What's more, she taught others what they needed to know. The day before the wedding, "handi-craft" mom was the one instructing our crew of family and friends as to how table runners are made of book pages... With mom as the foreman, my camo-clad uncles proved to be the best sweat-shoppers in the land. 

Wedding Cake Letters

6) Hashtag, hashtag, hashtag

Asking tech-savvy guests to use an Instagram hashtag was an awesome multi-perspective approach to capturing the day, especially considering the two to four-week turnaround rate of some photographers. We even chose a friend's photo to use on our thank you notes a la Printsagram. 

Instagram Your Wedding

7) If you don't know your vendors, get to know them. Quickly. 

Micromanagement only goes so far. At a certain point, you have to have reliable people tying the day together... Luckily, we had long term-relationships with almost all of our vendors: I went to high school with some of the Williams' Brothers catering family; Lynn Terry, the photographer, was a bartender at the restaurant where I work; Annie Brahler of EuroTrash is my mentor; and Tommy Hollaran has been playing music in the same schene as my husband for years. The only vendor with whom we weren't familliar was the rental company. But they were affable and weren't sucked into industry racket... We did run into one minor and unmentionable "bad seed" that day. But, having a first (or at least second hand) knowledge of your crew will greatly minimize any havoc exacted by careless participants. 

Wedding DIY Photography

8) Make sure your filler is killer. And then, repurpose it. 

Every detail should have a purpose and tell a story. If it doesn't, then take it for what it is, superfluous, and consider reconsidering. The same applies for bridal party gifts and guest favors. One surefire way to separate the necessary from the unnecessary is to think about how they object in question could be used after the wedding. Is it something that could becoe a decoration in your home? Could it be turned into another craft project? Or, as a last resort, could it be resold on a wedding-centric website? The latter I reserve for the last resort because, while you don't want to clutter up your house with wedding garb, I firmly believe that the items with which you choose to work should be personal enough to keep around. Unless the hassle of reselling your wares is worth the effort, decor is a big part of the budget so make it count both during and after the big day. 

Wedding Statues


Wedding Greens

Wedding Hay Bails Ceremony Seating

9) Bring a jacket. 

Unless you are getting married on a desert island, have a jacket handy. Jackets are under-appreciated, and often wholly necessary, accessories in the wedding world. The one I chose was cropped with black leather; two of our friends found it on the road and threw it inour breezeway a couple weeks before the event, so I guess it chose me. Either way, though we were at the tail end of summer, the temperature dropped into the sixties that night, and I would have been uncomfortable without it. 

Wedding Lanterns

10.) Give up. 

Being the bride and the wedding planner is tricky, particularly the day of when tables need to be set but one's hair has to be done. So at some point, give up. Put all frets asisde, and enjoy the damn day. 

Wedding Farmers

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Wedding Budget Basics by Becca Hatlestad of Jubilee Weddings & Events

You said yes, and now you are engaged! You have the ring you have always dreamed of, but wait... what comes next?! 

Jubilee Wedding Budget Blog

Family and friends are showering you with congratulations, and then the endless questions come flocking... Date, colors, venue, and the list goes on. Your mind becomes engulfed in thinking about your wedding dress, who to select as your wedding part attendants, outdoor or indoor, buffet or plated etc. This is where we take it back to the basics. 

First things first-- you should not start planning a wedding without establishing a budget. 

But I don't need a wedding budget you may say. 

Think about it this way, would you go out and sign an apartment lease or buy a house without first checking over the monthly rent, utilities, parking fees, etc. to ensure your monthly income is sufficient to cover all your expenses? Your answer should be NO! 

The same goes for a wedding budget. Without a well-defined plan, even with the largest most grandiose amount of money you will almost always overspend. Who wants to start their new life together as husband and wife with additional debt or added anxiety because of monetary complications? Not you I hope. 

Jubilee Wedding Budget Planning

Ok, you say. You convinced me, but I have no idea where to start. I do not even know what an average wedding costs. 

Let's start by going over wedding averages here in Minnesota. 


$20,732 to $34,553

Guest Count: 160 - 180

Price per Guest: $146 - $179

This might make you think twice before adding everyone you know to your guest list



NOTE: These averages do NOT include the honeymoon expenses. 

Check out the COST OF WEDDING to see averages if you are outside of Hennipen County

Averages aside, do not focus on what everyone else is doing. Your wedding is about you and your relationship alone. The amount you are willing and able to spend is completely up to you. Just use this as a general guideline to understand how wedding expenses can truly add up. 

Ok so now we know the averages, but how much am I suppose to allocate for each wedding expense?

Budget breakdown based on United States average of $25,656

US Wedding Budget Breakdown

Now these percentages are not hard or fast rules, use them more as guidelines. With that said, isn't it easy to see how fast everyting adds up?!

Then as the final step before finalizing the budget I always have couples use my budget prioritization tool. 

My prioritization tool is fabulous because it accounts for specific areas of the wedding that may be especially important to you. The couple individually ranks their top 3-5 items when it comes to the wedding day. Together we compare lists, and use these priorities to modify wedding budget percentages. 

For example, if wedding photography was extremely important to the couple, and their ideal photographer is over their allotted amount, we will move additional money into this category and take money away from another category of less significance. 

Do remember that the MONEY ON RESERVE is not for these priorities. Money on reserve is solely meant for the additional expenses that come up throughout the planning process. And trust me, this happens to everyone! Check out my article on 13 Hidden Wedding Costs

Once the overall budget is established and each category is allocated you are able to better select vendors that fit within your budget. As a wedding planner I have various vendors in each category to meet your style and price point. So once the wedding budget is established, I am able to give you the proper referrals. 

Why To Hire A Wedding Planner

Now you may be saying... why would I spend money on a planner? I could just use that extra money to put towards any other areas in my budget to stretch it further. Unfortunatly this is not always true. My main job as a wedding planner is to keep you on budget. Many couples need someone to be their guide and prevent them from starting to overspend. 

Further, as a planner I have established relationships with fabulous vendors in the industry. Due to these relationships, I am actually able to get discounts for my clients on many of their wedding day services. Not to mention I have access to many amazing vendors you may have trouble finding on your own. The common truth is that with a planner you will not only save time and stress, but often the money you pay towards a planner is covered by the savings you recieve from the vendors they refer. Further, planners know tons of tricks to help you save money without your guests even noticing. 

You may also be saying... Um I do NOT have $25,000 to put towards my wedding. And this is totally ok if you are in that place. Please keep in mind that this is the average and not a standard. Many couples plan fabulous weddings for far less. Stay true to who you are and your wedding will be amazing no matter what you spend! 

After reading this you may be thinking... This is such great information! I'm getting married and I could use some help! If that is youthen please give me a CALL or send me an EMAIL

My favorite thing about being a wedding planner is using my skills to help others through this exciting and important time in their life, and keeping it stress free! 

Cheers! Becca 



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Author: Mallory Recor; Source: Style Me Pretty 

He popped the question, now it's your turn. Asking your best girls to be your best 'maids is one of the most exciting parts of the planning process. If I could do it all again, I'd be taking notes from this sweet bride-to-be who rounded up her ladies in a special "Park Date" complete with cupcakes, macarons, and champers, brought along Laura Clarke Photography, and popped the question: "Will you be my bridesmaid?"


How To Ask Your Bridesmaids: 


Give your girls something that they will have forever - and will always remind them of the special day you asked them to be a part of your biggest day! 

From the bride-to-be... "I wanted to give them something that they could have for years to come. Tie in that I'm a big fan of romantic, traditional keepsakes, I thought a handkerchief would be something sweet and would also be unique to our friendships."


Throw a special little party! As if you need a reason to celebrate with your girls. 

From the bride-to-be... "I'm also a big fan of parties and celebrations so I knew I had to ask them in a celebratory way with us all together. With the park across from my condo being our typical landmark, gathering and starting point to most of our events, I knew that it was the perfect location. So I asked the girls to all come to a little 'Park Date'." 


Treats are a must, no matter what the event. And a gathering of all your favorite ladies definitely calls for a gathering of all your favorite treats

From the bride-to-be... "Knowing how much we all love sweets, it was full of desserts and champagne. I ordered cupcakes, macaroons and meringues from a favorite shop of ours, Bobbette & Belle."


We're always advocates of blooms, and this is no exception!

From the bride-to-be... "Since no celebration is complete without flowers, I picked up some colourful stems from Florabunda also in pink tones."


Celebrate this special occasion right, don't forget to bring the bubbly (and maybe a few pretty straws to sip from).

From the bride-to-be... The celebration kicked off with a champagne toast which lead into asking the girls to be my bridesmaids. Each girl unwrapped their handkerchief and they were a huge hit and surprise!"


Bring along your favorite photographer and practice your smize. You're all going to appreciate the camera warm up come wedding day - and what better way to remember the day! 

From the bride-to-be... "After all the hugs we had some more bubbly and proceeded to our mini photoshoot. Not only was I able to spend more time with my friends but I was also able to show them how much they mean to me and now we have these wonderful photos to look back on for years to come!"


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On October 10th, 2013, VIB Provider Noah's Ark Photography shot the fall wedding of Nikki & Mike. The Minnesota wedding ceremony and reception took place in Eagan at St. Thomas Beckett. Noah's Ark Photography captured the rustic elegant feel of the event, complete with sunflower wedding flowers and cowgirl wedding boots. The wedding took place on a gorgeous sunny day, creating beautiful images for this bride and groom.

Minneapolis Wedding Photographers

Minnesota Wedding Florals

Minnesota Wedding Dresses

Wedding Signs Minnesota

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Wedding Planners Minnesota

Minnesota Wedding Ceremony Sites

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Noah's Ark Photography; Author: Kelsey Knight

For a complete list of Minnesota Wedding Photographers click here

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Go to Forever Bride's Facebook page, share this image for two entries, and comment for one! GOOD LUCK! 

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Enter to win this beautiful keychain for your new VIB card! All you have to do is share the Forever Bride commercial on YOUR Facebook page, and tag Forever Bride's page so we know you shared! Winners selected February 12th. Link to share:

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When Erin from Bridal Bliss designs contacted me to see if I wold shoot her light blue wedding gown she had just designed the idea for our shoot around young love was born. 

Shauna from Simply Loves and I incorporated paper Valentine bags like when we were kids, but brought a sophisticated modern twist to it with the help of stationary extraordinaire Paperista. Overall we were going for a muted, romantic palate, not just the typical red or pink. We loved the light blue wedding gown Morgan was wearing and highlighted it with the wedding invites and French ribbon on the table. Brent's suit brought in the colors and textures in the wedding invitations, flowers and ribbon. 

We also wanted to bring in a bit of fun with the school theme by bringing in a chalkboard, desk, and globes. However, we played up the Valentine's theme by adding a lovely backdrop of ribbon and bunting to reminisce about the school yard pretend marriages we had during recess- again with a sophisticated, romantic twist. 

Finally our table was just gorgeous and tied it all together with the chalkboard slate table top, valentines bags on each place setting, chalkboard designs and beautiful flowers by the very talented Ashley Fox Designs. 

And to top it all off Cocoa & Fig provided us with a number of different yummy desserts including marcaroons, heart shaped pies, sugar cookies and a lovely icy white wedding cake to go with our winter in Minnesota. Oh my gosh, not only were they gorgeous, so so so yummy! 

and Hooray! we were published in Style Me Pretty! You can see the post here

and now without further adieu- my pictures! xx -Jody Savage

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Author: Jody Savage; Images: Jody Savage Photography 


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Vintage elegance with a rustic twist was the theme desired for Kelley & Matt's wedding this past summer in downtown Minneapolis. The wedding took place at Aria, with Couture Fleur doing all wedding floral and design. Couture Fleur beautifully brought this theme to life by mixing the rustic look of burlap, barn & drift wood, with the elegance of mercury glass, crystals and lace. Kelley & Matt's wedding colors consisted of soft blush, champagne peaches and pinks with gold accents. Keeping with the theme and color palette, Couture Fleur used champagne peach spray roses, blush pink dahlias, soft pink astilbe, green hanging amaranthus, ivory garden roses, peach stock and ivy in all arrangements and bouquets. Kelley & Matt's wedding theme was beautifully portrayed through floral & design, as seen in these images taken by Vick Photography.

Matching Bridesmaids Dresses and Flowers

Wedding Hair Flowers

Minnesota Bride and Groom

Wedding Photographers Minneapolis  

Minnesota Wedding Aisle


Downtown Minneapolis Wedding Reception

Author: Kelsey Knight; Photographer: Vick Photography 

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