Welcome to my home here on the world wide web! I figured it would be proper to do a brief introduction so you have the chance to connect a face to the sassy person on the internet telling you how to plan your wedding.
Headshots by Rebecca Renee Photography
For those of you who don’t know, my name is Kayde and I am the Sales & Events Manager as well as the In-House Coordinator here at Southall Meadows. I am the sassy voice behind this blog, the hilarious person behind all of the cheesy jokes posted on Instagram, the friendly face peaking around the corner at your wedding, the curator of all the pretty things found on our Pinterest and a lover of ALL the weddings.
I’m a literal valley girl and was born and raised in the central valley of Northern California (and to answer your question, yes, I do say “like” about 300 times a day) After high school, I followed my heart all the way to Alabama where I had the AMAZING opportunity to live out my wildest dream and go to Auburn (War Eagle forever and ever) for Graphic Design. During my sophomore year at Auburn a fate filled evening of swiping right brought me to my Tinder Unicorn who would eventually be the one to bring me here to Nashville. Once I moved to Nashville, I decided one degree wasn’t enough and decided to do a second undergrad at MTSU. This May I will FINALLY be retiring as a professional student and I am SO excited to be joining Sarah here at Southall full time.
My Tinder Unicorn and sweet doggies!
On my personal time, you’ll find me going on long walks through Target, hand lettering, or spending time with the loves of my life, Diesel, my Golden Retriever, and Dixie, my Lab (my husband, aka Tinder Unicorn, is cool too). When you see something capitalized or italicized in my blog posts, know that I’m probably emphasizing those words in real life as well. I am an AVID Bachelor Nation follower, (P.S. email me to find out more about our Bachelor/ette Fantasy League). I’ve also seen The Office approximately 87 times, and would be more than happy to discuss how our lives would all be different if Dwight hadn’t of mercy killed Sprinkles. I’m also a lover of punny animal sayings, glitter, confetti, Mexican food, DIYing, memes and the snow.
I’m so so so excited to get to impart all of my knowledge and wisdom onto you- all of my new Internet friends!
Wedding planning is different for every single bride. No two brides have the same planning experience.
What works for some, may not work for you and that’s 100% okay.
So today, I really want to talk about realistic timelines for planing your wedding.
When you’re planing your wedding, you’ll run across oodles and oodles of different timelines telling you when to do what and sometimes, those just aren’t realistic. For example, I distinctly remember a certain big name website telling me to start packing for my honeymoon two weeks before our wedding day. My first thought was, “what am I going to wear for the next two weeks then?”
Just NOT realistic.
So, how I’m going to do this blog today is I’m going to hit the highlights on a few things I see brides confused about all the time. Then at the very bottom, I’m going to attach three different timelines for different engagement lengths.
Side Bar: Put together an estimate guest list before you do anything. This is usually the biggest pain in wedding planning. Its long, its tedious, if an argument was going to ensue its here. Nobody likes doing this. But this is SO SO SO important. Before you go venue shopping, have a rough number of guests in mind. You don’t want to fall in love with a venue that holds 150 but you absolutely can not get your list below 200. This will also help you determine your budget from the get go.
Booking your Photographer + Venue: In my opinion, whether you’re engaged for 6 months, 12 months, or three years, these two should absolutely be the first two on your list. Your photographers will book WELL in advance and if you have your heart set on one, act fast. Same with your venue. If you’ve always dreamed of a May, September or October wedding then you need to spend exactly five minutes enjoying your engagement and then IMMEDIATELY look at venues. ESPECIALLY my long engagement brides. You think you have time, but here’s a bit of insider information for you: personally, HALF of our October 2020 dates are spoken for. That’s a full 18 months in advance. So do not hesitate friends.
When should I ask my Bridesmaids? So, I would recommend asking your gal pals between the 8-10 months before your big day. Maybe a year if you’re absolutely SURE about your picks. This gives you tons of time to think about your choices and to come up with a cute bridesmaids proposal gift 🙂
My reasoning for this is because SO much can change between the day you get engaged and your wedding day. You may get a new coworker or neighbor who you would LOVE to have in your bridal party. You could also have a break up with someone you thought was your absolute greatest friend. Things happen and the last thing you want to do is have to break up with a bridesmaid or do a last minute addition.
Save the Dates & Invitations: When do they go out? This is something that everyone has a conflicting answer about, so take my answer with a grain of salt if you will.
Save the Dates:
If you’re looking at a popular weekend (Memorial Day, Labor Day, right after Thanksgiving or the month of December): 8-10 months before the big day. I’d 100% recommend doing magnets rather than paper for these. People will leave a magnet up on their fridge for longer periods of time and the whole point of a Save the Date is for people to constantly see your smiling faces and not forget about your big day 😉
Any other time of the year: 6-8 months before the big day. The simple truth is VERY few people are thinking and planning much further than 6-8 months out. If there’s someone specific you know that needs ample time, shoot them a text and let them know when the wedding is and to put in their request for time off. Word of mouth is a lot more useful than you would think.
Every time I see someone in one of the numerous wedding planning groups on Facebook say they sent their invitations out 6 months in advance I CRINGE knowing their impending RSVP issue. Here’s the basic facts about sending Invitations.
The earlier you send out your invitation the more likely people are going to forget to RSVP.
I know. It’s annoying. And you may be saying “But my RSVP is online, its so easy.” That’s great. But, I’m telling you right now, when you send your invitations out 6 months early and I see your RSVP date isn’t for another three or four months? I’m going to plop that RSVP on my kitchen counter and FORGET about it until you come chasing me down a month before.
People see deadlines, and they think “Oh! I have time! I’ll do it later.” They just do. So, save yourself the time, trouble and stress and wait to send your invitations.
Send your invitations 10 weeks out and RSVPs are due 40 days before.
10 weeks is just enough time for people to get the invite, see the RSVP is due in a few WEEKS and think “oh! I better do that now!” This works great if you’re operating on an A/B list (which I’ll do a whole blog post on that later) because you’ll get your responses much quicker than you think.
SO, those are my highlights on wedding planning. Don’t forget to download your timelines below and enjoy them! Pin them on your Pinterest, print them, use them to your advantage. If you see something and think “oh no, I can’t wait that long.” Then no worries, adjust it to your preferences. Wedding planning is different for everyone and you should tailor the experience to your needs.
Your wedding was likely the MOST magical day. The weather was perfect (or not, that’s okay too), the food was great and the party was a blast. It was something out of a dream. But, the day has come and gone and you’re probably sitting here asking yourself, “what now?” You may feel sad? Bored? Lonely? Upset? Relieved? All of the above? If you can relate, this is something known as “Post Wedding Day Blues” and for some reason, this is something that NO ONE talks about.
Your wedding is done and you are married. WHAT a dream. But, there’s an empty feeling in the pit of your stomach. Its not the same for every bride, you may feel it through boredom, loneliness or you may just be plain sad. But, there’s that irritating logic in the back of your head saying “But we’re married! This is supposed to be amazing!” And it is. You know you love your spouse, and being married is nothing short of amazing. But, you’re sad and you just can’t shake it. What you’re likely feeling is post wedding day blues and for some reason, absolutely nobody talks about it. Well friends, buckle up and settle in because I have a lot to say about this. If this is what you’re feeling, let me be the first to say, this is normal and we’re going to talk about it.
Disclaimer: I am not a licensed professional. When I talk about emotions, this is through the lens of my own personal experience as a bride/wife who also dealt with this. If you truly feel like the emotions you’re feeling are suffocating and something you can’t handle, I implore you, please seek professional help. Therapy is not something to feel shameful of and if you don’t know where to start, email me (email@example.com) and I will help you start that journey.
I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts that my husband and I had a very long engagement and so when we FINALLY got to our wedding day, it was the most surreal thing on the entire planet. It was like living in a dream and its a feeling I cling to even all these months later. It was the most blissfully, joyous day I have ever experienced. So, when the next day hit, my heart SUNK when I realized “its all over.”
This was such a confusing feeling to unpack. I so badly wanted to live in that blissful joy we felt on our wedding day forever, but that’s just not realistic. My husband didn’t understand this sadness I was feeling and he didn’t understand that being a bride had been my identity for nearly two years. Planning our wedding was my whole world for almost two years and once we were married, I was lost. What do I think about? What do I do with all this free time? Will we ever have anything as exciting as our wedding ever again? We were officially “has beens” and it sucked.
Why was I feeling this way? Well, one of the only other people I know who truly talked about this was my sweet friend, Cadey. She wrote her own blog post about this very same thing and it spoke to my soul and inspired me to talk about my experience dealing with this.
So, WHY am I sad? Truth be told, this is a loaded question. There’s a variety of reasons why you may be sad and why you may be feeling this way. So, my answers may not relate to you. If that’s the case, I encourage you to reflect on why you may be feeling this way.
So, why am I sad? Truthfully, I was sad because, as spoiled, bratty and ungraceful as this is, I missed being the center of attention.
This was something that made me feel so bratty. But, I so desperately missed people being excited for us. I missed that people were excited to ask me about the wedding and how things were going. I missed having something to think about and something to be full of excitement about. I missed being able to talk with my vendors, who had I become such good friends with over the course of our engagement, and be excited with them and plan something amazing with them. I missed the friendships I had made with these wonderful people and I was so sad because I felt like I couldn’t chat with them anymore.
Oh and lets not forget about the constantcompliments and constant doting. It is so easy to get used to people doting on you and saying “Wow you look so beautiful” or “Wow this is gorgeous, you did such a great job” ALL the time. After our wedding, I would DREAD Saturday’s because it reminded me that our wedding was inching further and further away and I was SO incredibly lonely. After being “special” for SO long, transitioning back to being a normal human being, or a “has been”, was HARD y’all.
So, the million dollar question with all of this is, how do you recover?
This, much like the other question, is loaded. What worked for me, may not work for you.
Pulling myself out of the post-wedding funk hasn’t been a fun journey. I literally had to relearn myself. I had to remember the things I loved before we got engaged and my brain became a wedding planning tornado. Bluntly, I NEEDED a hobby, like desperately. But with this new chapter came the opportunity for so much growth.
I finally had time to pick up the hobbies I had been meaning to learn, such as hand lettering. Learning to hand letter has been SO good for my soul. I ordered these books (which we’re not affiliated with, these were just my personal preference and I really like them) and never looked back. Its been a great “mindless” activity to pick up. My husband and I also decided it was finally time to unpack our house- HA. Two and a half years later and we’re finally unpacking the last bunch of boxes (opps). With that, I also Marie Kondo’d our entire house. Decluttering was SO therapeutic. Oh and I threw my husband a surprise birthday party (once a planner always a planner?)
In the spirit of growing and starting a new chapter, I also shifted all of my pent up energy and focused on bettering myself. I made the decision to consciously try and stop comparing myself, my relationship and our wedding to other peoples. This was so so so incredibly important for me because I truly LOVED our wedding and I didn’t want to lose that. Sitting on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, etc. and comparing our wedding to another wedding I found myself slowing starting to feel regret about the decisions I had made (even though I was so in love with it all). So that needed to stop immediately.
Arguably the most important, I took the pure love and passion I found while planning our wedding as my sign from fate that I had found my calling. So, shortly after the new year began I was given the opportunity to live out my absolute dream job here at Southall. I get to spend my professional days with all of you and help bring your vision to life, just like my coordinator did for me.
WHAT an opportunity y’all.
Navigating post wedding blues can be a weird journey full of unprompted tears and unwelcome emotions. But enjoy the early days, months really, of being a newlywed. The days are sweet and your love is so pure and full of hope and excitement for new beginnings. Don’t let your post wedding blues be the reason you miss this time with your spouse.
Don’t be like Elsa, don’t conceal and not feel.
Let yourself feel whatever you’re feeling and pull through. You know you shouldn’t feel that way, but you do and that’s okay.
With that, whether you’re one of my sweet brides here at Southall, or you stumbled upon my ramblings because you’re sad and you’re looking for someone to relate to: If you’re reading this, and I am speaking to your soul, and you want to talk to about this some more, please reach out to me.
I know what you’re going through and it can be SO lonely. So if you want to chat, FaceTime, exchange pictures of dogs, get coffee, cry or vent, then please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll set something up.
You’re engaged and now its time to shop for wedding venues! But oh jeez, there’s so many. Barns, ballrooms, gardens, warehouses, venue only, all inclusive, semi inclusive.
WHERE do I begin?
Greetings my newly engaged friends. The post engagement flow has worn off and its time to get into the nitty gritty of wedding planning. Everyones first stop?
Shopping for the venue is usually one of the more daunting things on your lists of things to do once you get engaged. They’re expensive, there’s an overload of information and there are TONS of them to choose from. Where do you begin?
Decide What You’re Looking For
This may seem obvious, but it is honestly vital. If you’re dreaming of a gorgeous barn with fields all around you and a big gorgeous oak tree to get married under (shameless plug here 😉 that’s us) then start with looking at event barns in your area and go from there. Make a list of what is truly important to you and weed through your options. If something isn’t fitting your vision, don’t be afraid to say no.
DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT be Overwhelmed by Prices
Sticker shock is real friends. But, once it subsides, take a look at what is included in that price. If you’re looking at venue only packages, what does it include? Does it include tables and chairs? If so, renting tables and chairs could cost you up to $2500. So, by getting married at that particular venue, thats $2500 that you won’t have to spend that you may have to spend at another venue that may be cheaper. Don’t be afraid to ask about the values of the things that are included to help you justify and see where your money is going.
Venue Only? All Inclusive? What’s the difference?
So, besides the radical difference in costs, here’s the difference and here’s why All Inclusive isn’t just a ploy to get you to spend more money. These explanations are based off the differences between our venue only and all inclusive packages. But typically, this is pretty standard industry wide.
Venue Only: A venue only rental is quite simply just the venue. Usually this includes the physical venue for 12 hours, a venue representative, an hour for rehearsal the day before (or morning of), two hours of clean up after the reception is over and sometimes tables and chairs.
All Inclusive: An All Inclusive venue is your one stop shop for weddings. Typically, these packages are in the 15-20k range, however, that price covers 87% of your vendors. Most all inclusive packages include: the venue, catering, DJ and ceremony sound, florals, lighting, drapery, rentals (linens, glasswares, special furniture), decor, planning and coordination and your wedding cake + grooms cake. So the money you’re paying your venue, is paying all of the vendors I just listed above. Outside of your all inclusive package, your only major expenses are photography and your alcohol + bar.
With that, your all inclusive package is more money up front, but it truly covers almost everything. This is great for those who are not your natural born planners and want the convenience of someone else handling it for you. This is also great for the brides who aren’t interested in vendor shopping and are happy with using your venue’s preference in vendors. However, if you’re interested in vendor shopping and want to hand pick each of your vendors, then a venue only option is definitely for you.
I think I’ve Picked a Venue. What now?
Woohoo! You’ve found the place you want to get married! That’s wonderful. Your next step is to let your venue know, get your contract, read it, sign the dotted line and send your deposit in.
Picking out your venue is a much simpler process than it seems. Its not quite the undertaking that you’d expect it to be. Enjoy going on tours, remember to ask questions (even if they feel silly) and remember to stick to your list of what you’re looking for and don’t divert!
At Southall Meadows we spend a lot of time looking at the farm, and there’s a ton of beauty there. There are hills covered in trees, deer, rabbits, and wild turkeys that dash across the pathways, and a vintage barn that makes us swoon. We think we’re pretty lucky to look at such lovely vistas all day, but we get ridiculously excited about seeing our brides’ wedding gowns!
Who doesn’t love wedding dresses?! They’re exquisite, feminine creations that are the stuff of our daydreams. But we know that sometimes, actually picking your gown can be a bit overwhelming. All of those ruffles, beading, and tulle (not to mention all the friends and family you brought with you) can throw you for a loop. And the great thing about choosing a dress to wear at Southall Meadows is that you really can’t go wrong. It seems like some venues require certain outfits- like a ball gown for a hotel’s ballroom. At the farm though, anything goes. You can plan a black tie event to go with your romantic Claire Pettibone gown or something a little more modern to go with your dramatic Ines Di Santo dress. You can make anything work!
There’s so much pressure to pick that perfect dress and have a “say yes” moment, so we’re here to help. Don’t stress the dress, chickadee! We guarantee you won’t be gracing the aisle in your birthday suit; you’ll find a dress you love.
For having the best dress experience, choose a great dress store. We’re quite taken with The Dress Theory and Olia Zavozina. Both stores go above and beyond to tailor your wedding dress shopping experience.
When you find your dress, you’ll know. You may not cry or jump up and down, but you’ll know. Maybe it’ll be on sale or look like the one your grandmother wore or make you feel like the prettiest girl in all the land. And, if you don’t love any dress that day, that’s okay too! Like Scarlett says, “Tomorrow is another day.”
For inspiration, check out these photos of beautiful brides at Southall Meadows!