Five Simple Steps to Start Your Wedding Planning Process

You're engaged!  YAY!  Life is suddenly a happy whirlwind of Instagram posts, ring emojis, Facebook status changes, congratulations from friends...and questions.  Lots and lots of them.

 'When is the wedding?'  'Do you have a venue?'  'Have you chosen your bridesmaids yet?'  'What are your colors?'  'Who's doing your flowers?'  'Will you have live music?'

Oh boy.  Before the stress of all the Unknowns hits you like a tidal wave, grab a cup of coffee (or a glass of wine!) and follow YWW's 5 Simple Steps to Start Your Wedding Planning Process:

1) Plan dates to talk about Your Wedding Day. 

            Setting aside special, focused 'dates' to discuss your dream wedding is smart no matter how you cut it.  It will give you and your fiancé something to look forward to -- and time for each of you to do a little (enjoyable -- we promise) homework!  Before your first date, grab a notepad and start a list: what kinds of weddings have you been to in the past?  Where did they take place, and what moods or feelings did they evoke?  What did you like or dislike about them?  Write down all of your favorite (and least favorite) elements from past weddings and events you've attended, to compare with your sweetie's. 

Yohana Williams Weddings :: Wedding Planning Tips

Yohana says: For your first 'discussion date', keep things light, fun and fanciful.  From barn to ballroom to Paris elopement, bat ideas around with your beloved, compare notes and do a little brainstorming.  Save the serious stuff for your second date.

2) The Money Talk. 

            We know what you're thinking.  'There goes the fun!'  But realistically, you can't start planning your wedding until you know how much you can invest.  It doesn't matter who's footing the bill -- be it you and your fiancé, your parents, or all of the above, there's a number out there upon which everyone can agree.  And that number might evolve!  But as a starting point, you need to know what's already in your reserves, and how much you can realistically save before your ideal wedding date.

Photo by Jacob Ammentorp Lund/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by Jacob Ammentorp Lund/iStock / Getty Images

Yohana says:  Give yourself a safety cushion.  Once you come up with a dollar amount, deduct 15% off the top.  Tuck that 15% away for unexpected extras, and use the remaining figure as your wedding budget.

3) Who's Coming (and Who Isn't)

 Okay -- another somewhat tedious subject.  But you must decide how many guests you're inviting before you can start looking at venues.  We recommend creating two guest lists.  List A is comprised of the people who have to be there no matter what -- friends and family members who have been part of your journey.  You'll be sending them Save-the-Dates as well as formal invitations, with plenty of time to RSVP.

            List B includes guests you want there, but don't plan on sending Save-the-Dates.  You can also mail these folks their invitations closer to the wedding.  Don't forget to ask each of your parents for their lists, too!

Yohana says:  If your mom, aunt, sister or friend is requesting that so-and-so be invited, that's lovely.  But if you or your fiancé haven't heard 'so-and-so's' name before, it doesn't belong on your guest list!

4) Pick a venue. 

            Feel free to pin down an 'ideal' wedding date, but keep an open mind -- it may ultimately depend on your venue's availability.  Seeing potential venues in person is a must (and can be a pleasure to do).  But before you schedule tours, be sure that you and your honey have a list of 'must-haves' to hand.  For example, if you're already planning on hiring a caterer that you love and trust, there's no need to visit venues that include in-house catering. 

Allie Bennett Weddings

Allie Bennett Weddings

Yohana says:  There are wonderful online resources to help you as you begin your venue search.  Some of my favorites are The Venue Report, The Knot, and Real Weddings on StyleMe Pretty.  Check them out!

5) Plan on having fun while planning!

            When anxiety sneaks up, breathe deeply and remind yourself what this 'big day' is really about: marrying your best friend.  Sure, there will be logistics to discuss -- dates, times, vendors.  But take them one at a time.  And never forget that your wedding is both an expression and a celebration of who you are together.  If you hold onto that truth throughout the planning, fun will always be at your fingertips.

Yohana says:  Plan 'no wedding talk' dates throughout the process.  And try not to get upset if he doesn't know the difference between 'blush' and 'pale pink' -- you're not marrying him for his taste in colors (I hope!).

~Best wishes -- and happy wedding planning!

If you'd like more information on how Yohana Williams Weddings can plan, design and execute your wedding day...let's talk!

Almost Heaven Elopement Styled Shoot

Standing at the top of Raven Rocks overlooking the striking views of the beautiful West Virginian mountains, our amazing team of vendors have created the most breathtaking Almost Heaven Elopement Styled Shoot. Callie Lindsey Photography was there to capture every magical moment.

Our inspiration transpired from the awe inspiring backdrop of our magnificent state. Together we transformed Cooper’s Rock State Forest into our own private wedding venue. Cara Ewald from Blooms Florist provided lush flowers and foliage. She brightened up our rustic table with a floral table runner, tall candle sticks, crackled glass wine flutes and place settings adorned with a fern leaf.

For our shoot we dreamed up a unique tree planting ceremony, Margaret Madeline Calligraphy beautifully transcribed a watering with the words "Vow to Grow Together" and our couple unitedly watered their growing sapling and their growing love.

West Virginia is truly Almost Heaven so let these Country Roads take you home!

:::: WEST VIRGINIA WEDDING TEAM :::

Planning + Styling: Yohana Williams Weddings // Photographer – Callie Lindsey Photography// Floral Design – Cara Ewald from Blooms Florist // Invitation Design – Zimmer and Jack // Hand Lettering – Margaret Madeline Calligraphy // Signs – Lauren Heim // Bridal Gown – Jasmine Bridal courtesy of Coni and Franc

Whimsical Garden Styled Shoot

We're so excited to share an extra special project we worked on this past summer with an amazing team of local creatives! Cara Ewald from Blooms Florist was the visionary genius behind this graceful imaginary shoot and we couldn't be happier with the finished design. Cara first dreamed up this Whimsical Garden Styled Shoot when she came across these beautiful upholstered chairs (aren't they to die for?)! We find that couples are often intimidated when using too much color and this shoot was really about showing them what you can achieve when you allow yourself to dream outside of the box. Callie Lindsey Photography did a phenomenal job capturing every single detail. We can truly envision this inspiration coming to life!

Cara's here to tell us a little more about what sparked her design:

INSPIRATION

The chairs were the inspiration for this design. I love the classic almost formal shape paired with the preppy pink stripe, it adds a whimsical touch as well as the skirt of the bridal gown. Also, I like the idea of a sweetheart table. Couples with limited budgets may get more impact concentrating on one area instead of spreading small arrangements throughout the reception.

COLOR

I picked the colors because they look really great outdoors and pick up the stripe in the chair. We kept the table and hydrangeas neutral so the peaches and pinks would pop and look really fresh.

FLORALS

White Hydrangea Finesse Roses Mayra Garden Roses Pink Majolica Spray Roses Sweet Escimo Roses Panda Anemone in the Bouquets

:::: WEST VIRGINIA WEDDING TEAM :::

Photography Callie Lindsey Photography // Styling & Paper Goods Yohana Williams Weddings // Concept, Floral Designs & Rentals: Cara Ewald from Blooms Florist // Gown: Hayley Paige courtesy of The Vow Boutique // Cake Designer: Laura Grim of Lolita's Cupcreations // The Mrs. Box Wedding Heirlooms {The Scarlett}

Stonewall Resort Wedding: Blush & Navy

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Happy Wedding Wednesday Lovelies!

We're SOOO excited to be back in the swing of things and sharing this beautiful June wedding  with you today! With a color palette of navy blue and blush pink, Mandy and John’s big day was classic with feminine details and bright accents.

The bride met her soon-to-be-husband for a lake-side first look session wearing a Cristiano Lucci trumpet gown with keyhole illusion lace back that she purchased from Bridal Beginnings. Her timeless look was completed with a chic top knot. The ladies of the bridal party wore blush Noir by Lazaro dresses with a similar illusion lace neckline to bring the entire style together.

Despite an 80% chance of rain forcing them to move their once-outdoors ceremony to the lodge of the Stonewall Resort, Mandy and John still exchanged vows in epic fashion. They were even still able to enjoy a post-ceremony surprise from the brother of the groom – a live butterfly release! Upon entering the reception,family and friends signed various wine bottles, each marked to open on a specific anniversary. Striped, floral,and paisley printed escort cards showed guests to their seats, where they were greeted by photos of a younger bride and groom and centerpieces filled with white hydrangeas and pink roses from Blooms Florist.

Thanks to Alex O’Neal Entertainment, the dance floor was packed all night. But that didn’t stop Mandy and John from interrupting the fun with a little surprise of their own – a choreographed dance to The Devil Down to Georgia, complete with a costume change! All of the details came together flawlessly with the help of Yohana Williams Weddings, and were captured beautifully by Amberlee Christey Photography. And don't miss the amazing highlight film that Studio 213 Films hand crafted for Mandy and John.

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Mandy and John | Wedding Film | West Virginia from Studio 213 Films on Vimeo.

:::: WEST VIRGINIA WEDDING TEAM :::

Photography Amberlee Christey Photography // Cinematographers: Studio 213 Films // Wedding Planning & Styling: Yohana Williams Weddings // Wedding Venue: Stonewall Resort // Bridal Gown: Cristiano Lucci // Hair: Virtuosity Hair Salon // Wedding Flowers: Blooms Florist from Bridgeport, WV

Waterfront Place Hotel - Spring Wedding

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No matter the trends, a classic ballroom wedding full of romantic details will always be beautiful. Today’s feature is no exception. With the help of Yohana Williams, the bride and groom designed a May 23 wedding inspired by clean lines and Southern traditions. After exchanging vows at the Trinity Episcopal Church, the couple celebrated with their family and friends at the Waterfront Place Hotel in Morgantown, W.V.

Upon arrival, guests signed what was a unique spin on the traditional guest book - a wooden bench, handmade by the bride’s father to serve as a piece of furniture in the pair’s new home and as a memento of their big day. Soft, feminine details, such as the neutral taupe and cream color palette, chiffon Adrianna Papell bridesmaids dresses, a lace trumpet Monique Lhullier wedding gown, and lush, garden-style florals from Blooms Florist, were accented by gorgeous, hand-lettered escort cards from Margaret Madeleine Calligraphy, shimmery table coverings courtesy of Lendable Linens, and a sea of candlelight. Romantic and organic, but still modern and stylish, this wedding, and all of its beauty documented by Abby Caldwell Photography, is sure to leave you swooning.

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:::: WEST VIRGINIA WEDDING PROFESSIONALS :::

Photography Abby Caldwell // Planning + Styling: Yohana Williams Weddings // Ceremony Location: Trinity Episcopal Church in Morgantown, WV // Wedding Venue: Waterfront Place Hotel in Morgantown, West Virginia // Bridal Gown: Monique Lhullier // Hair: Toni Exquisite Hair // MakeUp: Beauty by Joy // Wedding Flowers: Blooms Florist from Bridgeport, WV // Ceremony Musicians: Riverside Quartet // Wedding Cake: Sweet Babes Cakery // Calligraphy: Margaret Madeleine Calligraphy

My experience with #2dayswithIntrigue Floral Workshop

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Last July, I spent my birthday with a talented, creative, and amazing group of ladies. I was fortunate enough to win a scholarship for the #2dayswithintrigue workshop in Annapolis, MD with the one and only, Sarah Campbell, owner of Intrigue Designs. The workshop was two days filled with hands-on floral designing and presentations.

View More: http://nataliefranke.pass.us/2dayswithintrigue-july

Welcome Box by Marigold & Grey

On day one, we learned about pricing, flower recipes, and a lot of other business-related subjects that were extremely beneficial. After a delicious lunch, we hit the design tables-- and wowza! We were given the opportunity to work with so many different flowers. I was in heaven. I had never seen white hydrangeas so big, or even so many white phalaenopsis orchids in one room.

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On day two, we had two lovely guest speakers, Christina from Paper Rock Scissors, and Diane from Dee Kay Events. Their presentations were jam packed with an abundance of awesome tips regarding wedding stationery and styling.

One of the best aspects of #2dayswithintrigue is that at the end of each workshop, there is a styled shoot. Ours had a nautical theme. How cool! We created oversized centerpieces, a flower wall, and floral chandeliers. Each attendee also designed a bridal bouquet. Sarah helped each one of us with our designs in order to create wonderful and beautiful bouquets.

View More: http://nataliefranke.pass.us/2dayswithintrigue-july

Sarah helping with my bridal bouquet.

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That day, Natalie Franke joined us during lunch and photographed all our creations. Then, we headed to the Carroll House for the styled shoot.

Watching Sarah, Christina, and Diane put together such a beautiful shoot was really something special. These pictures help bring to life just what I got to experience first hand!

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Someone pinch me...that's my bouquet with the model :)

View More: http://nataliefranke.pass.us/2dayswithintrigue-july

I highly recommend attending any workshop from Intrigue Designs. Sarah is very generous in sharing her techniques, and is truly a great instructor. Nothing is off limits. She is a force of creative energy oozing with talent. I left feeling, happy, inspired, and best of all, with new friendships from all over the country!

View More: http://nataliefranke.pass.us/2dayswithintrigue-july

XO, Yohana

ALL PHOTOS CREDIT: NATALIE FRANKE PHOTOGRAPHY

::: STYLED SHOOT CREATIVE TEAM ::: Venue: Carroll House Downtown Annapolis // Designer: Intrigue Design and Décor // Planner: DeeKay Events  // Photographer: Natalie Franke Photography // Dress: Enaura Bridal  // Suit: Christopher Schafer Clothier  // Hair & Make-up: Behind the Veil Beauty  // Paper: Paper Rock Scissors // Cake: Charm City Cakes // Furniture Rentals: Vintage Affairs // China & Linen Rentals : Party Rental LTD // Video: Kent Heckel // Models: Dana & Aaron Frederick  // Hard Goods: Potomac Wholesaler  // Shop Wild Things  // Alaska Peony // Accent Décor

Elegant Jewel Tone Wedding in Morgantown

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Bright and bold, today’s wedding is no shrinking violet. The jewel-toned flowers, created by Blooms Florist, provided a striking pop of color against the black linens and otherwise neutral Museum Education Center at WVU. Subtle elements of sparkle were added by beaded bridesmaids’ dresses from Badgley Mischka, rhinestone-embellished escort cards, a sequined cake table, and suspended votive candles. Despite making a statement with the pretty color palette, this wedding still stayed true to tradition. The bride wore a classic beaded lace Maggie Sottero ball gown, purchased from The Vow. She exchanged I Do’s with her groom at a romantic outdoor ceremony before they partied the night away with their family and friends. Feast your eyes on all of the dazzling details, styled by Yohana Williams Weddings and captured by Callie Lindsey Photography.

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West Virginia Wedding Inspiration, Morgantown Wedding Planner, Callie Lindsey

WEST VIRGINIA WEDDING CREATIVE TEAM Photography:Callie Lindsey Photography ||  Wedding Planner & Stylist: Yohana Williams Weddings || Ceremony and Reception Venue: Museum of Education Center at WVU || Wedding Cake: Sweet Babes Cakery || Bridal Hair and Makeup: Nico Spalon ||  Rentals: All Occasions Party Rentals || Linens: Elite Bridals & Events || Bridal Gown: Maggie Sottero / Style:Hannah via The Vow Bridal Boutique

#AskYohana: Hiring Wedding Vendors

"My fiance and I got engaged last December, and we are planning a 2017 Spring wedding, I attended a few weddings shows, contacted a few vendors, but I feel they "dont' want my money" as it's so hard to get a hold or even a reply, do you have any tips on hiring wedding vendors? Thanks" - WVlostbride

Dear WVlostbride, first YAY! Congratulations on your engagement, and sorry you feel unappreciated by the wedding vendors you had contacted so far. Here are 5 tips that will help you communicate better with your wedding vendors:

1. Communicate via email first:

A huge percentage of business is done online, so instead of calling and leaving messages or showing up without an appointment, send an email with all the details about your wedding, and give the vendor a couple of days to reply. If you send an email on a weekend, don't expect an answer right away, as I'm sure that vendor is working another event, but if after a few days, they don't reply, give them a follow up call to make sure they got it.  Here is a tip how to send your email:

SUBJECT: Wedding Date / Location / Couple's last names (Ex: 06.18.2017 / Morgantown, WV / Smith/Jones wedding) - You won't believe the amount of emails a vendor gets with the subject - Wedding - so by providing your wedding date, location and last names, the vendor will be able to recognize yours, and make his/hers life easier.

Contact Vendors

2. Provide your budget:

It seems this is the million dollar question...and I understand you might say: I don't know how much things costs. But YOU DO KNOW how much you can spend, and even if you say "I don't have a budget", think about this: Can you spend $1MM on your wedding? OH NO WAY!...we can only spend $XX,XXX.XX so there you go...voila! you have a budget :)

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Image Credit: The Knot

3. Search at least 3 options:

"Not all wedding vendors are created equal" You will need 3 estimates from different vendors to decide which one it's the best fit, based on style and pricing, maybe you love the first vendor, but still, get another estimate, to compare and decide. We suggest you make a list of 3 vendors in each category that fit your style, and take it from there. But don't contact E-V-E-R-Y wedding vendor in your area, as you don't go to E-V-E-R-Y shoe store to find shoes, you narrow it down to the ones you love and see if you find something.

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4. Ask questions:

I know you are super excited about your wedding, but at the end this is a business relationship, and you need to dot the i's and cross all the t's. Be very specific, and ask questions, never assume! Some questions can be: For florist: how much for delivery and setup? for DJs: how much for additional hours? For photographers:  when can I expect my digital files? For Videographers: Do I get a hard drive with my film? For your venue: Are there other charges (dance floor, generator, bartenders, etc..) not included?

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5. Trust your gut:

If a wedding vendor doesn't get back to you, doesn't respond your emails/phone calls, and you don't feel they are respectful of your time: WALK AWAY! That's not the way to start a healthy business relationship, so if you don't feel they are a fit, move on! and keep looking until you find the one.

trust your insticts

BONUS:

And if you decide to move forward with another vendor, please let the other ones know, be polite, as there is not need to keep them in the dark. A nice "thank you for your time" email doesn't hurt anybody.

thank you gold foil

 

XO, Yohana

2015 WedLuxe Wedding Show Recap

"The details are not the details. They make the design." - Charles Eames

Today you are in for a treat TMB readers, as we bring you our WedLuxe show recap. Back on January, Amberlee Christey and I, headed up to Toronto to attend the WedLuxe wedding show for the first time. We knew it was going to be fabulous, as the magazine editorials, sponsors and exhibitors, are very talented wedding vendors, but they blew our minds! It was an outstanding event, every vendor crafted an amazing exhibition, everywhere you looked, you found beautiful details and elegant touches.  The show was hosted at Arcadian, one of Toronto's most sought out event complex, all included exhibitors from all sides of the wedding industry such as decorators, cake designers, florists, stationeries and more. Click on the vendor's title to visit their websites.

Be Inspired Morgantown Bride and Happy Monday! xoxo, Yohana

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Nadia & Co || Art & Pastry

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Arcadian Court || WedLuxe 2015 || Toronto, Canada

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Oliver & Bonacini || Events & Catering

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Bellegem Waffle Bar presented by Oliver & Bonacini

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Bobbette & Belle || Artisanal Pastries

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Ines Di Santo

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Kleinfeld at Hudson's Bay

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Flower Market Presented by Frank Rea, Forget Me Not Flowers wedLuxe-show-recap-toronto-2015-yohana-williams-amberlee-christey-photography_0030

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The Social Rose || Event Design

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FIFTH ELEMENT GROUP || EVENT DESIGNERS

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ALL PHOTOS CREDIT AMBERLEE CHRISTEY PHOTOGRAPHY

RECENTLY ENGAGED? Win an Engagement Photo Session or Ring Box from TheMrs.Box

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Calling all West Virginia Brides: get ready to show us your rock!

We are excited to announce that Yohana Williams Weddings and Amberlee Christey Photography are giving away:

+ One Engagement Photo Session here in Morgantown, WV with our talented friend: Amberlee Christey Photography

west virginia wedding photography coopers rock

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+ One vintage velvet ring box from The Mrs. Box

themrsboxgiveawayTheMrs.Box photo:  Jose Villa and Joel Serratostyled by Grey Likes Weddings and Type A Society

The contest will take place on Instagram.

HOW TO ENTER:

1. Take a photo using Instagram that captures your engagement ring.

2. Upload your original photo to Instagram

3. Caption that image with the hashtag #RockYourRockWV

4. Tag @YohanaWilliams AND @AmberleeChristeyPhotography to the image

All four together make up the “Submission”.

The contest ends at Midnight on Monday January 26th, the 2 winners (one prize each) will be announced on Instagram Tuesday January 27th. You can submit one photo/per day.

Click here to read the contest rules.