Bride to Bride: Why Are Weddings So Expensive

I get this question a lot. And I usually get it one of two ways:

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Scenario One: A bride has booked one of my planning packages, and we’re working together to find the perfect vendors for her needs, style, personality & budget. She emails me something like this: “I just don’t understand why ____ is so expensive!! I don’t want to pay that much for _____. Maybe they’ll come down if we do ____ and ____; maybe we can negotiate.”

Scenario Two: A bride contacts me because she interested in my packages & prices and in the very first email tells me she doesn’t know if she can afford me, before getting all of my information. After receiving all of my information, she tries to negotiate various aspects of my package… what’s included, what’s not, the price, the travel required, etc..

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Below are the statics for the national average cost of wedding… put together by The Knot. I’ll be honest, I hesitated in showing this because I don’t really agree with ALL of the averages listed… I think that every couple has different priorities, so for some of you, your photographer & flowers will be above the average price since that’s your PRIORITY; but your engagement ring and reception band are under the national average, since those aren’t make-it-or-break-its for you … that’s okay!! What I DO agree with is the bottom number… practically $30,000.

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So, coming back to my original question … why are weddings so expensive??

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You’re paying for professionals. I’m going to copy an analogy I just heard that hit home with me: When you’re out to eat, you don’t negotiate the price of the steak with the waiter. When you’re buying that new blouse you don’t negotiate the price at the checkout counter. You understand the QUALITY of what you are receiving, and you’re willing to pay ____ to receive it. Sure, you have a budget for your meal & a budget for the blouse, but depending on the desire at which you want said item, you’ll even tweak your budget to make it happen. Right? Right. The same goes for your wedding professionals. When you hire a wedding planner or calligrapher or photographer, you’re paying them for their time, expertise and talent, among other things. They are professionals; and you’re paying for the professional service. Trying to negotiate package or price when it’s not offered to you as negotiable, comes across as a bit rude… let me ask you this: why do we think we can negotiate with our Wedding Professionals & not the other professionals of the world (restaurants, department stores)?

Wedding Professionals are Business Owners. Wedding professionals are trying to make a living doing this. It’s not just a hobby. We have bills to pay, taxes to pay, and not to mention all of our time that goes into this. When you’re cringing at the price of your dream vendor, think about the TIME they spend meeting with you, emailing you, formulating proposals & contracts … and that’s just BEFORE the wedding day! If it’s a florist, think about the pre-wedding day prep of designing, transporting, and set-up that takes place. If you take their total package price & look at the HOURS they’re working for you, I bet you they’re making less than minimum wage.

You’re paying for experience. Your paying not only for the experience the vendor has, but also for the experience YOU receive by working with them! The Wedding Industry is interesting business. It’s not made for the price-shopper. If you’re just looking for a good deal or the best bargain, wedding planning will be hard for you!! Why? Because wedding planning is emotional, intimate & once-in-a-lifetime. You want to work with the people that will make you feel like the Bride. That will go above & beyond to give you the entire experience of getting married … that will make you feel special & cared for. It’s like the experience of shopping in Coach vs. Ross, or The Loft vs. Plato’s Closet. Sure, you might find a diamond in the rough… but when it comes to your wedding day, do you really want to take that chance?? (I’m telling you all of this knowing full well that my package prices are lower than others in my area. I have my reasons for setting my prices the way I do – for example: my talent, experience in the industry & my love for helping “lower-budget” brides - However, I know that I’ve been asked to charger lower for the services that I give DSE Brides, while also having DSE Brides tell me I charge too little. Interesting, right?)

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I was just a bride. Because of that, I absolutely understand the cost of a wedding from the BRIDE standpoint; and now that I work in the industry, I understand even more the cost of a wedding from the PROFESSIONAL standpoint. I know that the majority of the time it’s a shell-shock to brides & fiancé’s & parents of the bride/groom when the realize the price tag associated with weddings, because for some reason, there’s this thought BEFORE you get engaged that YOUR wedding won’t be that expensive. You can find a good deal. You can negotiate. You can DIY and make it happen for cheaper than your sorority sister did.

But here’s the thing…

A wedding is a luxury, not a necessity. You DO NOT have to have a wedding… you can go to the courthouse in that sundress you already own, with no flowers, music or food. You don’t need photos or styled details. You don’t need a timeline or friends from all over coming to see.

But we want the Wedding right? We want the dancing & the laughter & the amazing white gown. We want the photos to show our grandkids, the guests to come from all over, & the entire experience to be stress-free & beautiful. And in order to receive the dream you’ve dreamed, paying for professionals to give you a piece of their time, talent, expertise and experience is required.

Brides, it’s really, really important to remember that!! It’s important to remember that your wedding vendors are in this industry because they LOVE it, not because they’re making a killing!!! We honestly CARE about you, and your wedding & your marriage. And we want to give the experience of a lifetime. We want to have a brand that makes a lasting impression on you; and develop a friendship that truly helps your wedding planning process seem easier, more manageable & just downright more fun!! We understand the budget… money is a yucky thing right?! But when you ask us to negotiate, or you ask why it’s so expensive, it’s just awkward. And it makes us feel like you don’t think the final product is worth it… when we all know it is.

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PS. I firmly believe in everything I have written, however I understand it may strike a chord with some of you. If you don’t agree or have more questions, please email me!! I’d love to clarify!:)

xo! kat

(( Bouquet Designed by Dear Sweetheart Events and Photographed by Katie Nesbitt Photography ))

Our Home: Guest Room

One thing I strive to do on this blog is show you what my life REALLY looks like… I think that in today’s society of picture-perfect instagrams & Pinterest ideas, we tend to feel like we can never live up to it…  that we have to have the PERFECT outfit, styled room in our home, proposal story, wedding… the list goes on & on. And while I LOVE perfectly styled décor, we don’t always have the budget, time or means to make it happen. And, that’s OKAY!! It’s OKAY to decorate your home with family heirlooms & hand-me-downs rather than the latest-and-cutest at Target… because in the end it’s not about the décor, it’s about the love that’s already IN the home!

I think it’s really important to be PRACTICAL with your décor, especially in your home. You want it to be stylish, functional and fit who you are as a couple. I firmly believe you can be creative & have a wonderful décor theme even if you have a smaller budget; It’s just not financially responsible to spend double-digits on home décor if you’re a newlywed trying to save to buy a car & a home!! You need to have things that are functional for the room, show your personalities AND fit your budget!

After we got married, I wanted to buy EVERYTHING! I desperately wanted our home to be Pinterest & blog worthy. But, we’re newlyweds on a budget and that wasn’t practical. (My husband is an excellent saver; and I’m an excellent spender. We definitely butted heads about how & where to spend our money; and the Contentment Challenge really helped me to realize that our home IS amazing, even if the décor is clearance-finds & the furniture is hand-me-down.)

So, this is a new blog series that focuses on decorating on a budget… free furniture, clearance décor & a whole lot of love! Welcome to Our Home!!! (My friend, Ashlee, has a similar post series. Check out her sweet baby girl’s nursery here!)

A little background info: Right now, Matt and I are renting a 3 bedroom, 2 ½ bathroom townhouse. We love the space it gives us, the fenced in backyard for Knox & the price was just right. I actually lived here for 2 years with roommates before Matt and I got married. When Matt moved in and we had the entire place to ourselves, I was so excited to make it our own. With the help of my parents, we painted a LOT, hung a ton of pictures and slowly but surely it started feeling like “us”.

When Matt and I decided to continue rented this townhouse after we got married, I was both relieved and nervous. I was relieved because that meant I didn’t have to actually MOVE; I just had to move things around the house itself! With the wedding getting closer & closer, I knew throwing a move on top of that would just add to my stress. But, I was nervous because I had already lived here for 2 years with 2 other girls; I really wanted the place to feel like OURS and not feel like he was moving into MINE. My goal was to decorate differently with him in the house; giving it a look and feel that showed who WE were as a couple (and I was given strict instructions to not have pink in any public spaces, ha!). We painted the entire house, and it’s amazing how something as simple as changing the paint color can really make a room feel different! I switched up my decorations in various rooms, but I didn’t want my old things to go to waste. (With our tight budget, that would not have been very efficient of me!) So, instead of throwing out the old, I just moved it around!

Today’s post is all about our Guest Room.

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Before Matt moved in, the living room was a color scheme of light green, cream & yellow. When I redecorated our living room, I had green curtains, a few throw pillows and wall décor that needed a new room to call home. When I found a reversible yellow & grey comforter on sale at Kmart ($20 for a queen size), I decided to decorate our guest room in yellow & green.

The furniture isn’t necessarily our style, but it was a free gift from my old roommate so we happily took it! She was moving to Maryland and decided it would be too difficult to move her furniture up there.  The queen size mattress-set is practically brand new; it was giving to us by a family friend who was also moving & needed to get rid of it (we are so blessed!!).

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This room also doubles as a “music room”. Matt’s guitar & the keyboard are kept in here. (He’s incredible talented & I love coming home hearing him playing the piano:). The closet is also “his closet”. My amazing husband allowed me to have the master walk-in closet all to myself (what a keeper!), so he uses this space for his things.

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The B&W ocean over the keyboard was a wedding gift from my aunt & uncle. The canvas above the bed is a Home Goods clearance find ($12); and the green basket on the dresser is also from Home Goods ($10). The black wall frames are from Walmart and were in the old living room décor; they’re filled with green & yellow fabric (also from Walmart a few years ago). The green frames around the room are from Target (old living room décor) and now hold wedding & honeymoon pictures; the hanging plant is from Michael’s clearance ($8). The candles and candle pillars are from Target clearance ($12 for all 4); and the lamp is a gift from my dad when I was in college. The You Are My Sunshine canvas is from TJ Maxx clearance ($6) and the B&W quotes are from an online shop years ago. The throw pillows & curtains are from Target (old living room décor); and, like I said before, the comforter is Kmart clearance (I NEVER shop in Kmart but happened to look there when I was searching for a comforter & couldn’t find one in our budget).

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The guest book on the bedside table was a wedding gift from Matt’s parents; I was happily surprised when it just so happened to match the room! The mattress is really tall on the bed frame, so even when the comforter was on it, you could still see the box springs. Needless to say, it really annoyed me! I brought a Pinterst idea to life by buying a green fitted sheet & putting it over the box springs (Target $15); I love the pop of green it adds to the room.

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I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into Our Home … all together, the room cost about $90 to decorate and furnish. I’m so thankful for free furniture, reusable decor & clearance items!!

xo! kat

(( all photos by V.A. Photography ))

 

Weekend Wrap: A Weekend At Home

This past weekend was wonderfully relaxing & much needed. To tell you the truth, I really didn’t do a whole lot of work… and every now & then, I think a weekend off is so necessary! This was actually our last weekend of “nothing” until June… so we soaked it all up by taking Knox to the park, eating on the back deck & watching movies with the windows open.

- Matt’s parent’s came to town and took us out to dinner to celebrate our birthdays. Due to snow & traveling, we couldn’t find the time to get together until recently, but it was so nice to see them & enjoy a yummy meal!

- Michael’s was having a KILLER sale over the weekend, so a sweet friend and I perused the aisles… I’m happy to say I found the perfect styled shoot décor items for 50% off AND an amazing 3 drawer cart for my workspace for 60% off. YES!

- We watched Frozen for the FIRST TIME on Saturday night. Y’all. I’m IN LOVE WITH IT!!!!!! I’m not at all ashamed to tell you that I watched it AGAIN on Sunday afternoon while working on DIY projects for a DSE Bride. Matt may or may not have called me a 9 year old girl:)

- It’s crunch time for my May brides & I’m so excited for a month FULL of weddings!!! I have 3 amazing brides in May… all of which have very different but very detail-filled days. I can’t WAIT to bring them to life!!!

- This week is a 4 day work week for my full-time job … Can I get a YIPPEE?!? I’m SO excited for a day off that doesn’t include driving all over the state for venue & vendor visits. While I LOVE doing that, it’s nice to know I have a day off coming up where I can sleep in, (finally) finish organizing the DSE Office Space & do things around the house that I keep putting off. With the DSE wedding season so close, I’m planning to soak up every bit of my day-of on Friday since I know the next one will be a long time coming!

And, because every post looks prettier with pictures, here’s a sneak peek of tomorrow’s blog post… a look into Our Home!

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How was your weekend?!

xo! kat

(( photo by V.A. Photography ))

Emily’s Proposal

2 weeks ago, my friend Heather & I got a group text from Ryan… telling us he was planning to propose to Emily!!!!! We were standing in Marshalls, and I’m pretty sure we started squealing!!! Who doesn’t want to know that they’re best friends proposal is right around the corner?!

Emily, Heather and I have been best friends since college. Honestly, I think we’ve become CLOSER friends even with the distance after college. We all live in different cities at least 2 hours apart, but no matter what, we make time for girl’s nights, silly group texts & phone dates.

They were so, so supportive when I was planning my wedding… listening to my crazy details, minor bridezilla moments (we all have them!), and showering me with love over & over again. After my wedding, we were actually all saying that it was going to be really special when the next person got engaged… and now that’s Em!!!! YAY!!!!

Heather & I arrived at the JMU arboretum last Saturday morning to meet Jill and find the perfect hiding spot. We waited for about an hour, with Jill hiding behind a tree a bit closer to them, and Heather & I waiting behind a magnolia bush (or tree? I’m not really sure, ha!). Anyway… when he got down on one knee, Heather and I literally started squeezing each other’s arms so tight to keep from squealing!!!! We were crying, laughing and just so incredibly excited to be witnessing this beautiful moment!!!!! Poor Emily was crying so hard, haha!!! She was not expecting it AT ALL!!!! I LOVE that it was a total surprise!!!! We waited what felt like FOREVER to give them a few moments of romance… and then we ran (literally sprinted) down the hill to meet them. She was even more shocked to see us there; and then to realize that her dream photographer (the amazing Jill) was there taking pictures!!!!

It was the surprise of a lifetime… I’ve never, EVER seen Emily so happy or smile so big! And, Ryan: Thank you, THANK YOU for inviting Heather and I to be there!!!!

I’m so excited for the two of them and you better believe we’ve already jumped right in to planning their 2015 nuptials!!!

2014-04-10_0002.jpg 2014-04-10_0001.jpg 2014-04-10_0003.jpg And here we come… awkward running pic on the left, the “high five we did it” pic on the left:)

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I love this!!! We’re all shrieking, and Ryan looks so chill:)2014-04-10_0004.jpg

2014-04-10_0006.jpgA few portraits of the new bride & groom!!!!2014-04-10_0013.jpg

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Such joy!!! I love this!!!

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Matt dropped us off so she wouldn’t see our car.. then he joined us for all the fun:)

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Emily gave me this veil on my engagement night… I had to start the tradition of passing it on

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 With our bride!!!! YAY!!!

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xo!! kat

(( All images by the AMAZING Jillian Michelle Photography … she was so sneaky & we had so much fun! Thanks, Jill!!! ))

(( Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about yesterday’s giveaway!!! AND, I have TWO books to giveaway instead of one!! Yippee!! The winners are Katie & Amy!! You’ll get an email from me today!! YAY! ))

A Giveaway: Flowers by Southern Lady

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As many of you know, I attended a phenomenal wedding floral workshop with Anthomanic this past Sunday & Monday. We created absolutely STUNNING floral designs & I am so honored to have been a part of it! I definitely have flowers on my mind, and with this beautiful Spring weather we’ve been having, it seems fitting to tell you about my newest floral obsession: Flowers with Southern Lady.

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I’m a firm believer that even in the digital age, a good print never goes out of style. I still love to look through wedding magazines, and inspirational books for home décor & event styling; Flowers with Southern Lady is the perfect addition to my collection!! It’s a wonderful, 100-page, hard-cover book that will absolutely brighten up your coffee table or office, while also providing beautiful floral inspiration!

This pretty little book is arranged by seasons, giving you the perfect amount of inspiration for Spring, Summer, Fall & Winter. It’s also very realistic in it’s design approach & provides helpful tips & how-tos for the DIY floral designer.

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Flowers by Southern Lady is wonderful for the newly engaged, the wedding creative, your sweet friend, or even a special spring treat for yourself! It’s full of Southern insight, beautiful blooms & realistic details; it makes me want to sip sweet tea on the porch with my momma!! Because I love it so much, I’m giving away a copy to one of you!!! YAY!!! All you have to do is comment below telling me why this book would make a great addition to your home! And, for those of you interested in purchasing a copy, it’s being discounted for a short period of time; be sure to click here to snag your copy! (And, visit the entire Hoffman store here!)

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The giveaway ends TOMORROW, so be sure to enter today for your very own copy!!

xo! kat

((This is a sponsored post by Hoffman Media, however I truly do love this book & happily recommend it to you!!))

 

Meet a DSE Bride: Ali

Every month I plan on introducing you to one of my sweet brides … you’ll see some pretty pictures & find out a bit more about her & her sweetheart. You may remember Joy was the DSE Bride featured last month, and this month I want you to meet Ali!

Ali & Michael have the cutest relationship ever! Every time I’m around them, they are constantly smiling & you can just tell that they are each other’s best friend. (They modeled in a styled shoot for me a few months ago, and I can’t WAIT to show you those images once it’s published in June!!!) You can tell by the way Ali styled their engagement session that their wedding is going to be detail-filled and perfect for them! They booked my Wedding Weekend package & I’ll also be helping her style & set-up her amazing décor on the day-of! I can’t wait to work with Kimberly Florence Photography on their romantic-vintage-wedding in May!!!  But enough about what I think… meet Ali!!!

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Your Name: Ali Morris

Your Sweetheart’s Name: Michael Lupton

How’d you meet?! Through mutual friends at Bridgewater College (fun fact-we didn’t get along very well)

Fill in this statement: We go together like macaroni and cheese.  (I love food)

When did you know he was going to be your husband? Did he know before you? I actually mentioned it to my mom a couple years before we even started dating. He loves to sing and I remember showing my mom a video of him saying, “I’m going to marry this man”, but I REALLY actually knew within our first few months of dating.

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How’d he put that pretty sparkle on your hand?!  Were you surprised? Did you cry, scream, jump up & down?! On vacation down in Kiawah Island, SC! We were going down to the beach to “take a few good pictures together”. It was all caught on camera, and I sobbed for about 10 minutes.

When & Where are you two getting married? What made you decide on that venue & time of year? Bridgewater, VA! It is a special place. Where we met and went to school. It is also semi local for us.

Describe your wedding in three words: simple, vintage, and romantic.Ali & Michael 4

Okay, now tell me more!! Theme, colors, style, must-haves? I really don’t like the word rustic, but the reception is in a barn after all-I like the barn atmosphere, but we are styling it with alot of crates, mismatch centerpieces, jars, vases, and just about anything old and vintage. Our colors are blush and gray with a little bit of ivory, white, and golds in there. (A lot of pastel colors I guess you could say). We are following the mason jar trend which I love no matter how overplayed it is, old books, and I am really into old bottles . LOTS of wine bottles are being used for centerpieces and decorations. Oh! And teacups! I LOVE old teacups.

What’s your favorite wedding blog or magazine? I really like Southern Weddings, which is kind of the only one I have really read because I found it after I got engaged and became hooked!

What have you loved most about planning your wedding? Collecting all of the knick knacks that I am using to decorate- I love finding really old jars, teacups, crates, and anything else I can make fit the theme. It’s even better when I can find them at a thrift store.

What’s been the most difficult? Making decisions and being budget friendly. Also thinking about myself instead of pleasing others!

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Have you always dreamed about your wedding day, or is this a new thing for you? How has your dream changed over the course of your engagement? Never!  I never wanted to be married until I met Michael, but even then I never had a picture of what I wanted our wedding day to be like.

What are you most looking forward to on your wedding day (besides being his wife!)? I can’t wait to be with all of the people I love in one place, that doesn’t happen very often. I am also really excited about the getting ready process and just lounging with my best friends all morning.

Are you two taking a honeymoon? Where to & what do you plan to do? YES! Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. I am a beach freak and will stay out there all day!!

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Why is marriage so important to you two? What are you most excited about or nervous about? Coming from a family of divorce or not so happy marriages, I have seen a lot of what doesn’t work well. I grew up to not believe in marriage, at the hand of my own teachings. Then of course that all changed when I met Michael. I can’t wait to actually have a marriage and a promise to one another and God. I am so excited to learn and grow together for the rest of our lives.

Do you have any advice for the newly engaged? Or do you have any questions for the already married? Take your time and make sure you really like something before moving forward. Don’t just make decisions because you feel like you have to at that time to check something off of the list. Try not to get wrapped up in the small details that no one will remember, and focus on the marriage!

 

xo! kat

(( all images by Lauren McKeown Photography ))

The Planner In Me: Daybook by Elle & Co.

2014-04-06_0005.jpgToday’s blog post comes at a perfect time for me, because I’m sitting here looking at my to-do list like there is no end to it. Don’t you hate that? So, SO many to-dos & so little time? I’m trying really hard to be very INTENTIONAL with everything I do… to put my very, very best foot forward & give all areas of my life the same amount of attention. And, friends, it’s been HARD!! My natural tendency is to work myself to the ground… going & going & going to conquer the to-do’s and not thinking about the PEOPLE over the list. I make an incredible long to-do list for the day, and even though in a perfect world I would be able to complete all of them, I know in my heart I’ll only strike off a few. Why do we do that to ourselves? Why do we set ourselves up for failure like that?! It’s IMPOSSIBLE to get everything done, so instead of beating ourselves up, we should EMBRACE it by setting realistic goals for the time we have, and understand that some things ARE more important than a full inbox or dirty dishes.

Today is date night with Matt. We’ve planned to go to mall to get him a few clothes for work, and then enjoy a delicious meal at Red Lobster thanks to a birthday gift card. I’ve already written his name in my planner and set aside time to be INTENTIONAL with him, not answering emails or working on a brides project. I’m so excited to just spend time with my husband!! And even though I KNOW my to-do list will be waiting for me, I’m slowly making decisions in my life the reflect what actually matters… people & memories over to-do lists & emails.

So what does that little rant have to do with today’s post?? A lot, actually! I promise:)

A few months ago I was introduced to Elle & Company on social media. Lauren has the BEST heart! Her blog, her products, her super encouraging messages… she is constantly helping me direct my heart to what matters most. I LOVE her, and we’ve never even met!! I mentioned her in a previous post when I talked about her amazing free iPhone downloads. I have one on my iPhone & one on my iPad… I love them that much:)

Lauren’s blog is one of my favorites because it’s real, uplifting and very practical for a busy woman. She gives great tips on organization, simplifying life & focusing on sweet moments that matter (#sweetspots). She graciously gifted me with a Daybook when it debuted and, friends, it’s AMAZING!!!

I use my Simplified Planner for everyday use. I carry it with me pretty much everywhere I go, and use it to organize my busy life (client meetings, date nights, friend’s birthdays, weekly meals, daily to-do’s, etc..). But I found that I needed something specifically for my business. I needed something to dedicate to DSE in terms of my blog schedule, client due dates, styled shoot projects, etc.. And, the Daybook is PERFECT for that!!!

The Daybook fits perfectly inside a 3 ring binder (I use the old generation Simplified Planner pink binder). In my binder, I have tabs by Martha Stewart & a pocket pouch by Martha (similar), my Daybook Planner and Daybook Inserts.

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The Daybook has a “Year At A Glance Review” in the very front, and then each month has a monthly view and a weekly view. I use the monthly view to write client due dates, wedding dates, styled shoot dates and mark off other weekends I’m not free (vacation, my brother’s graduation, etc.).

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I love that the monthly view gives you a section to list Monthly Goals, Notes & Tasks. I think if I used this planner for everyday use, I would use those much more frequently. Because I use it for business, I use it a bit different than the way you might! Each week there is a section for a weekly Verse, To Do and Not-To-Do. I LOVE the idea behind the Not-To-Do section!!! Again, I don’t use this for every day use, but if I did, how GREAT is that?!

2014-04-06_0013.jpgThe Details: You purchase the Daybook Planner (yearly view, monthly view, daily view), and then you choose the inserts you think best fit your lifestyle. You can purchase them separately (20 per pack) or you can buy a Starter Kit for Family, Business or Student. I LOVE that!! I love that she’s created a tool specifically for areas of your life you feel you need a bit more help… for me, the Business Kit is perfect!

The Business Kit includes these Inserts: Day Planner, Blog Calendar, Client Details & Project Planning. I don’t use the Day Planner since I do not use my Daybook for everyday use, but I LOVE the other three inserts! My Blog Calendar is perfect for organizing monthly blog posts; I use the Client Details insert when I have video chats & calls with DSE Brides; and my Project Planner inserts are great for Styled Shoot & big ideas I have for DSE. I keep all 3 inserts in my binder, under the appropriate tab.

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Overall, I love using my Daybook and would definitely recommend it to  anyone looking for a functional, modern & stylish way to organize areas of their life!!

What do you think?? Do you have a Daybook? How do you use yours??

(And, make sure you hop on over to Lauren’s blogFacebook & Instagram to get to know her a bit more!!)

xo! kat

Weekend Wrap-Up: A Proposal & Beautiful Blooms

It’s already Monday?! WHERE did the weekend go?!

I’m attending Day 2 of Anthomanic‘s Wedding Workshop today so I’m publishing this post before our styled shoot design day begins!! I am learning SO much from Amanda; she’s such a mentor to me! I love how in her 3rd trimester of pregnancy she’s putting on this amazing, intimate workshop… talk about super woman!!! I’m soaking up all the knowledge I can from her, and having so much fun creating beautiful bouquets & centerpieces with fluffy, gorgeous blooms!! Rachel is coming to the styled shoot today, so you know the images are going to be STUNNING!!!! I already can’t wait to share them with you:) Be on the lookout for a few Insta-sneak peeks today!!!

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In other AMAZING news …

ONE OF MY BEST FRIENDS IS ENGAGED!!!!! Ahhh! I am so, so excited for Em!!!! And even MORE excited that my friend Heather and I were invited to hide out in the woods at watch it happen!!! We looked a little sketchy hiding behind a magnolia tree in the middle of the arboretum, but I’m so, SO glad Ryan invited us to be apart of their special moment!! Running out of the woods shrieking & crying was totally priceless:) Luckily, Jill was there to photograph the whole thing and I can’t WAIT to show off their sweet proposal story!!! For now, a few of my iPhone pics will have to do:)

(Heather & I waiting in the woods … we were SO nervous!!!)

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 (A mini photo shoot after SHE SAID YES!!!)

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Emily – you’re truly like a sister to me. I am so, so excited for this AMAZING time in your life & can’t WAIT to see you become his wife!!!! Let the planning begin:) YAY!!! 

 

I hope your weekend was just as full as mine was:) I’m heading off to eat donuts and play with pretty flowers:)

xo! kat

Making Things Happen – After

I’m still having a hard time putting into words just what I learned, how I felt, and how completely amazing my 2 days in Chapel Hill were.

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I went into the conference with this mindset:

They’re going to give me the courage, the tools & the mindset to come home & quit my full-time job & run DSE full-time.

I also went into the conference COMPLETELY and utterly terrified, nervous & anxious. It’s funny because things have been going a mile-a-minute for the last few months, so after I registered, I didn’t have time to think twice about it. Then, all the sudden, it was the day before & I’m packing my suitcase. I think I said “I’m so nervous” 17 times that day (sorry, Matt!). I was nervous because, although I thought I’d be learning about myself as a business owner, I really had NO IDEA what I would be learning or doing! There’s no posted schedule & a lot of things about the conference are kept pretty secretive… and the planner in me hated that.

Can I just say that that was the most beautiful thing about it?!

We had to be vulnerable. We dug deep, go messy, laughed, cried, and I learned more about myself in 2 days than I have in a long, long time.

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I learned that…

I am saying NO to my corporate job & DSE taking priority over my husband.

I am saying NO to tight-fisting my life & never allowing God to move in it.

I am saying NO to the yucky idols I fought so hard to hold.

I am saying YES to ordinary and beautiful nights spent with my husband.

I am saying YES to people over to-do lists.

I am saying YES to lazy night cuddles with Knox, to making flowers because I love to & to cooking dinner with Matt.

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I went into the conference completely exhausted … feeling like I was trying to wear too many hats & not balancing them or doing anything well. I felt like a failure as a wife, a business owner & a woman. I’m literally crying as I write this to you because those feelings and thoughts were so REAL to me … I was so, so burdened and broken deep down in my soul.

But that’s not the end… Praise God that’s not how I left!!

I left the conference feeling the most refreshed I’d ever felt, even though I barely got any sleep for all the late-night-bonding that took place. I left feeling refreshed, inspired and ACCEPTED. I left feeling like I wasn’t alone…having ugly cries with women who GET IT. Who understood what it felt like to be a woman balancing a lot, and trying to strive for some unwritten rule of success. I met the most amazing speakers, and dug really deep in my breakout group with Amber & Karen. I got to hug Emily & Lara & Rhi … I got to have amazing conversations with ”the Taylor’s” & Meagan & Bonnie & Laura … I made LIFE LONG friendships, and changed my way of thinking for ever.

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I learned that setting boundaries is a GOOD thing. It doesn’t make you a failure to take a night off, or set up “office hours” for emails & client chats. It makes me a WISER woman because I’m focusing on what fires me up, what lights up my life, and what MATTERS. I dug down deep at the core of who I am as a woman & wife; and what I want the core of DSE to be.

I did not leave ready to quit my full-time job & run DSE full-time … I left that idol at Jesus’ feet. I left the conference with the heart for intentionality … being intentional & present in EVERY area of my life … as a wife, a business owner & in corporate America. Yes, my goal is to run DSE full-time; but GOD’S timing is better than my own … AH! How refreshing to type that out and MEAN it!!! In my heart of hearts I know that this season of my life is EXACTLY where God has placed me!!!!! I need to OWN IT! I need to be the best wife I can be… to love my sweetheart with every fiber, to dedicate nights spent with JUST him – no emailing on the couch beside him. I need to be the best business owner… to show my clients the core of DSE & to truly change their wedding experience. I need to be the best salary worker I can be … focusing on my day-job & owning that responsibility. I realized that it’s not about trying to do everything perfectly … it’s about having PURPOSE in all that I do. Purpose of perfection is a beautiful thing.

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If you’re on the fence about attending Making Things Happen … GO. Make it happen. (yes I just did that!)

It was change your life in the most AMAZING way!!! I’m so excited for the lessons I learned, and the fact that I will KEEP learning them as I process through all that took place. And I’m SO excited for the October attendees!!! There’s still spots open… it’s worth the financial investment, the time spent away from home & the amazing, amazing ways you’ll be changed!!

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xo! kat

 

The Contentment Challenge: Recap

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I’ve struggled writing this post today.

I think that, honestly, ending the contentment challenge while experiencing Making Things Happen COMPLETELY rocked my world. My poor little heart didn’t know what to think!!!

I learned SO MUCH about myself the last 3 months. I learned about the idols in my life, the ugly, gross things I keep close & don’t want to let go. I learned about WHY the contentment challenge was important to me and why I felt called to do it.

And I learned to always keep going even when you fail.

I think that’s what hit me the most.

It’s not about rules. It was never, ever just about rules.

It was about a life change. A mind and heart change. An experience that I think every person would benefit from.contentment-challenge-feb

At MTH, one of the reoccurring phrases was Purpose Over Perfection. Friends that hit home with me so, so much. I plan to talk more about MTH tomorrow, but that phrase resonated SO WELL with the contentment challenge.

If you look at my blog posts about this challenge (all the links are below), you’ll notice that in the month of March there was only one post outside of the monthly goals post. Why? Because I was tired. I was exhausted, y’all. I felt like I was balancing so much & just failing at ALL of it. So I just didn’t know how to tell or what to say about it … and then I went to MTH and heard: Purpose over perfection and I cried tears of heartache because I’d been trying to live my life so perfect, I forgot about my PURPOSE in it.

I did not do it perfectly. In fact, there were multiple times I failed either by buying that drink or that cute-whatever-I-didn’t-need, or mentally failing by relying on myself over Jesus. But it’s not about how “good” I was… it was never, ever about that. It’s about the PURPOSE of it. WHY was I doing it? Why should I keep doing it? What do I want to learn? How do I hope to grow? Purpose OVER Perfection.

So that’s what I’m doing. I’m going to continue my contentment challenge journey. I’m not quite ready to stop because I think my stubborn heart still has a lot to learn. I’m going to keep going, and I’m not going to give myself an “ending” date yet. Maybe it’ll be 3 more months, maybe 1 more month. I don’t know yet.

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It’s rocked my world so much I’m sure I’ll mention it on the blog, probably for the rest of my life!! However, I don’t plan to have anymore weekly posts about the challenge. If you’re looking for them, you find my 3 month journey links below:

The Contentment Challenge: Jan, Feb, March 2014

Contentment Challenge: January Goals

“Needs”

Thankful

Comparison

Courage

Contentment Challenge: February Goals

Radical

Reuse the Old

Ugly Cries

Contentment Challenge: March Goals

Sweet Reminders

If you joined in the Jan-March challenge, I’m so happy for you! I’m so, so glad you walked through it and I pray you continue to let it work on your heart. If you’re beginning the challenge now, I am SO PROUD of you!! You took the first step – you started – and that’s sometimes the hardest part! Be brave & know you will fail. Focus on purpose OVER perfection and allow it to change your heart. You won’t regret it.

xo! kat