The Perfect Pick: Advice for Choosing the Venue That’s Right for Your Wedding!

So you’ve found the one, you’ve bought the dress, you’ve picked the colors and designed your centerpieces… what could possibly be missing? Oh, yeah! The venue!

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Okay, so we totally understand why you’d want to procrastinate when it comes to choosing the perfect locale for your big day. It’s a major decision that has a big impact on how your wedding will plan out! All the more reason not to make any choices lightly, which is why we’re rolling out our handy-dandy guide for picking the venue that’s right for you.

Nail down that date.

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Can’t decide whether you want a spring soiree or a fall fest? Well, your choice in venue might help you narrow things down! Prices vary throughout the year at different venues depending upon how busy they expect to be. Peak wedding season is between June and September, which means that venues may charge more based on availability. This time slot also puts you in the ~hurricane danger zone~ on the southeast coast, so before you book, maybe consider budgeting in the cost of wedding insurance, too.

Keep your guests in mind.

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Are your friends and family local? Are you treating them to a getaway with your destination wedding? Bear your guests in mind in the process of picking a venue! Locations that are closer to hotels and airports are more convenient for those who are coming in from out of town. Downtown Savannah is especially convenient when planning a destination wedding because in addition to being close to airports and tons of hotels, there’s plenty entertainment for before and after the wedding-- and all within walking distance!

Try to have an open mind.

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So, you have your heart set on an outdoor wedding. That’s definitely doable, but y’all know the weather down here can be a taaaad unpredictable. We’re talking pouring down rain out of nowhere, 80 degree weather in October kinda unpredictable. Keep an open mind when it comes to picking a venue-- does it have outdoor AND indoor space to accommodate your guests in the case that the weather doesn’t cooperate? Sure the outdoor space is nice, but the indoor space match your vision if you’ve got to take shelter?

Read the fine print.

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What’s included in your contract? It can be nice not to have to worry about catering, linens, and tablewear… but then again, having to work with a venue’s preferred vendors can add up! Take a moment to speak with the coordinator about what services the venue will and won’t provide. You don’t want to worry about being responsible for sweeping up on your wedding night.

Ask your planner.

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No, seriously. We know what is and isn’t realistic for your budget, the number of guests attending, the venue layout-- any number of things! Chances are we’ve worked at that venue before and we have an idea of how the final picture will look when all is said and done. And hey! We might have a venue suggestion you’ve never thought of before… it never hurts to ask!

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Got questions about picking your perfect venue? Let us know in the comments down below or find us on our Facebook and Instagram pages!

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[Vendor Credits] Photography: Danielle George // Planning, Floral & Dresses: Ivory & Beau // Venue: Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum // Food: Cha Bella // Cake: Vanilla & the Bean // Hair & Makeup: Hustle & Blow Dry Bar // Spray Tan: Body Bronzing by Becca // Tableware Rentals: Ultra Pom // Furniture Rentals: Southern Belle Events // Other Rentals: Event Works // Calligraphy: McKenzie Does Calligraphy // Wedding Dress: Blush by Hayley Paige available at Ivory & Beau // Bridesmaid Style: Hayley Paige Occasions available at Ivory & Beau // Videography: I Thee Film

Ultimate Guide to Wedding Food Your Guests Will Rave About

Let’s be real, here: the only thing people love more than a wedding is the wedding food. I mean, who doesn’t get a little excited every time they stroll in from cocktail hour to the smell of steak fresh off the grill or the sight of a delectable buffet spread?

 Image via Pexel

Image via Pexel

But, c’mon… this is Ivory & Beau speaking. You know we’re about to tell you how you can wow your guests by putting a non-traditional twist on all of the classic foods you and your guests love.

Do It Family Style!

 Image via Pexel

Image via Pexel

Hey, that title seems kinda inappropriate, now that we think about it, but trust us: this dining option is nothing short of family friendly. Rather than corralling your guests for a buffet-- a dinner service that often involves long waits for each table to get a chance at their turn-- consider serving your meal family style. Guests will have the perfect opportunity to get to know one another as they pass plates full of your favorites around the table!

Reinvent the Staples:

 Image via Pexel

Image via Pexel

There’s nothing wrong with a good steak’n’potato dinner! Hearty, filling, and universally loved, it’s no wonder this meal has become a go-to for couples who have to consider the tastes of a wide variety of guests. However, because it’s become a classic doesn’t mean it has to be boring! Dress it up by offering your guests a chance to customize their meal at a baked potato bar or find a caterer that cooks steaks to order right before your eyes for that added wow-factor.

Fancy Soul Food? Yes Please!

 Image via Pexel

Image via Pexel

There’s nothing more comforting than a nice, warm grilled cheese and a bowl of tomato soup. If you love it, why not serve it at your wedding? Jazz it up by adding tomato, basil, and bacon and serving your soup in fancy dishes! Think of all the fancy soul food possibilities: lobster mac’n’cheese, dressed up fried chicken with greens and sweet potato casserole… our mouths are watering just thinking about it.

Showcase Your Favorites:

 Image via Pexel

Image via Pexel

Think about where you and your friends/family like to meet up for dinner. Do you frequent Jalapenos? Do you love to slurp pho and chow down on fried gyoza at your local Asian-fusion restaurant? Emulate that in your wedding menu for a plate that’s guaranteed to keep your guests raving for months to come!

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What are you serving on your big day? Let us know in the comments down below, or find us on our Facebook and Instagram pages.

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How Do I Choose?: A Guide for the Bride Who Loves Everything

“I just love them all! How am I supposed to choose?”

You wouldn’t believe how often this exact phrase is uttered in our shop. It’s common to see a bride stood before her three favorites, one hand on her hip and the other beneath her chin and she and her bride tribe-- supportive friends and family that they are-- scrutinize every last detail of the dresses that topped her list and took her breath away. 

When it comes to a question like this, the truth of the matter is that there isn’t a single right answer. But fear not! Just because the path to your perfect wedding isn’t simple doesn’t mean it won’t be amazing. If you’re stuck choosing between two details, whether it be your wedding gown or your theme (or anything in between), we’ve got just the guide for you.

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Take a Picture

As someone who has personally sifted through thousands of wedding photos, I can tell you in full confidence that what waits for you on the other side of that lens is sometimes different from what you expect. While you may love the way a certain fabric or color looks in person, it could be that you totally end up hating the way it photographs. If you can’t choose between gowns, your consultant snap a couple of shots-- capturing both your favorite details and the look from afar-- and compare from there. 

Don’t Overthink It

Many similar blogs will offer you the tried-and-true advice to sleep on it. There’s a time and place for beauty rest, but we find that more often than not, this recommendation leaves brides tossing and turning all night. We’re not saying you need to make any decisions while your florist or your planner is standing over your shoulder, but don’t allow yourself the time to overanalyze. Go with your gut. You may just surprise yourself with how wonderful things turn out! 

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Keep Your Party Small

No, no-- we don’t mean your wedding party. But when it comes time to make the pressing decisions, whether it be on your dress, your venue, catering, or anything in between, the fewer people involved, the smoother the process generally is. We totally understand wanting everyone to be a part of celebrating this big moment in your life, but that’s what the wedding is for. The planning should be all about you! You run the risk of overwhelming yourself with too many outside opinions otherwise. 

Same-Day Excitement

Let’s preface this by saying this particular piece of advice is not a sales pitch, but rather, an honest tip from our experienced bridal stylists. Amanda, our amazing resident I&B bridal consultant and recent bride herself, says that if you even think you’ve found the one-- be it the dress, the venue, or any other element of your wedding, stop there and GO FOR IT! We mean it. Book it, buy it, BAM! Right there. That moment should be magical and while we promise it will still be special if you have to step away from it, there’s something to be said about knowing you’re walking away from somewhere one step closer to the wedding of your dreams. 

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Nothing is Permanent

Lastly, we want to assure you that there is no damage that can’t be undone. If you really feel that you pulled the plug on something prematurely, remember that there’s always someone in your corner willing to help you think of a creative solution. Sure, it might take a little time, effort, and money, but at the end of the day, it’s all worth it for that glorious moment when you and your SO spot each other on either end of the aisle and everything falls into place. 

Do you have any advice for brides who are struggling to make decisions? Are you stuck on something and looking for help? Leave us a comment down below or find us on Facebook and Instagram-- we’ll do our best to help! 

Nicole’s Got a Question: “What Wedding Gifts Should I Buy for My Parents?”

Spoiler alert: if you are Nicole’s dad or future in-laws, CLICK AWAY. On the off chance that I do happen to pick something she thinks might be perfect, I would so dearly hate to ruin the surprise! Stop scrolling. Stop it! Click away! Resist temptation!

Okay, so if you aren’t Nicole’s future in-laws: do not click away. I have a feeling I’m going to need all the help I can get-- I mean, you were there the last time I tried to answer one of Nicole’s pressing wedding questions and you saw how THAT went. She’s really stumped me this time, leaving this in my inbox to find:  "What should I buy for my dad!?!?!?!!? And mother-in-law?"

I’ll concede that Nicole is definitely not the first person to ever ask a question like this. When you Google “wedding gifts for parents,” over 322,000,000 results pop up. Uh… because that much information seems a bit ridiculous to sort through-- especially when you’ve got a whole wedding to plan!-- I’ve taken it upon myself to narrow things down. Fingers crossed that together, we manage to find something that sparks Nicole’s imagination! 

Wedding Gifts for Your Mom & Mother-in-Law:

As with any gift, the more personalized the present is, the better. Try to consider the personality of the giftee before making any decisions! Is your mom likely to tear up mid-ceremony? Etsy has lots of great options for embroidered handkerchiefs. A thoughtful message from you is sure to get the waterworks going. 

 DIY Handkerchief Tags via  SomethingTurquoise

DIY Handkerchief Tags via SomethingTurquoise

If you want to surprise your mom and mother-in-law with something special to walk down the aisle with, consider gifting them jewelry that coordinates with yours. Do you have pearls in your belt? Think freshwater pearl earrings! Did they pass down a necklace or bracelet to you as your “something old?” Get them something new and have a bracelet engraved! 

 Custom Mugs via  Mugsby

Custom Mugs via Mugsby

Are the ladies in your life not much for jewelry? It’s all good! Ditch the custom jewelry boxes and get them an engraved glass or custom mug instead. They’ll think of you every time they sip their morning tea or evening wine! You might even have a label made to wrap around their favorite bottle of wine-- you can even find a bottle for your parents to share from their anniversary year. 

 Custom Wine Labels via Label With Love

Custom Wine Labels via Label With Love

If your mom is anything like mine, she is all about a cute container. Pack their gifts into a basket that they can reuse for anything they want. It may even end up being their favorite part of the present! 

Wedding Gifts for Your Dad & Father-in-Law:

I can’t be the only one who finds their dad absolutely impossible to shop for. I can’t even begin to imagine what I would get my dad as a wedding present, so I completely understand why Nicole might be a little lost as well. I do know one thing, though: dads always appreciate the opportunity to embrace their soft side. Your dad might be a tough guy mine on the outside, but trust me… they’re practically filled with Build-a-Bear stuffing when it comes to your big day.

So it goes without saying, then, that the dads in your life would doubtless appreciate an embroidered handkerchief, too! Think of the teary-eyed look he’s gonna give you when he first sees you in that wedding gown. 

If your dad is always running behind-- or always 15 minutes earlier than he needs to be, just like mine-- keep him on schedule with an engraved watch. Match the metal to some custom cufflinks and you’ve got one fly detail shot. There’s also a whole wide world of tie options out there. To make this accessory EXTRA special, hand write a teeny-tiny note or draw something funny on the flipside just to make him smile! 

Keep it cool by getting him a cooler complete with a custom-designed sticker that matches the theme of your wedding. Want to get major bonus points with your bonus dad? Gift it pre-stocked with his favorite beverage of choice and an engraved bottle opener. You’re the fishing trip hero! 

 Engraved Hammer via CarolinaHighCotton

Engraved Hammer via CarolinaHighCotton

Got a handyman in the fam? You guessed it: you can TOTALLY get tools customized too. What dad doesn’t love a toolbox of his own?! It’s a great excuse for your hubby to get him over to help with check off those honey-do’s, too. 

Wedding Gifts Perfect for Both Parents:

If you’re looking to get something perfect for both presents and can stand to wait until after your honeymoon to get the ball rolling, you might want to consider pressing some flowers from your ceremony and including them with a handwritten note in a custom-made shadow box for their mantle or wall. Want to keep it lively? Get them a plant that they can nurture and grow-- just like they nurtured you as you were growing up! You could even put it in a pot that you and your fiance painted yourself.

Let’s be real here: your parents were an instrumental part in making your big day happen. They deserve to be pampered! Stock them a kit with their favorite snacks, a nice bottle of wine, candles, some robes, slippers, and a pair of fluffy socks for some post-wedding R&R sesh. 

If all else fails, look for decor. Keychains, coasters, and wall art are great go-tos if you want to gift your parents with something that will make them think of you every time they walk past. (And yes-- you can also get ALL of those things customized. Isn’t the internet a great place?!) 

 Flower Pot via  Flowers in December

Flower Pot via Flowers in December

Whew… okay, that’s a lot. How’d I do, guys? Did I find anything you hadn’t thought of before? Do you have any better ideas? Let us know in the comments down below or give us a shout on our Instagram and Facebook pages. We’d love to hear from you!