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May 2012 Archive

The Bride Room's Newest Addition: Wingate Alexander Arnold!

Oooh, how we love babies! One of our favorite ladies in the industry, Stephanie of The Bride Room, just welcomed in her firstborn (adorable) child on May 7th, Wingate Alexander Arnold! Congratulations, Stephanie and David!!!! We are absolutely THRILLED for you!!! Winn is beyond precious!!!! :)

Kelly Plans a Wedding: The Food

Throughout my recaps of our wedding planning written for this blog, I really haven’t had anything negative to say up to this point. Sure — working with a limited budget has been stressful, finding a date seemed near-impossible for so long, and finding the perfect dress to fit my 6 bridesmaids was less than a cakewalk. But I haven’t had a completely negative experience in this process until this point in time.

Ultimately, I think I set myself up for failure in the area of food & beverage. Drew and I wrote out a priorities list back whenever we started planning and have since tweaked it some, but as a whole, we knew what things we wanted to really invest in and what things we didn’t really care about. As you can guess, food was on the bottom of the list.

As a wedding planner myself, I know catering is expensive. Good food doesn’t come cheap {but apparently neither does mediocre food}. On top of paying simply for the products your guests will be consuming, you also have to budget for plates, utensils, napkins, linens, the works. One of the reasons we chose our venue was for its all-inclusivity:  The Livery Stables provides tables, basic hotel-style stackable chairs, and china/crystal/utensils. They also offer in-house catering, at what was originally quoted to us {back in November, when we booked} at an outrageously low price. Honestly, those two features were main reasons why we chose our venue to begin with.

{Wedding Food I Love:  Strawberry butter, to accompany a biscuit bar!}

Let’s back up a moment. In November when the Great Venue Hunt was on, Drew and I talked to our first-choice location about hosting our wedding there, and were completely sticker-shocked at their required $40++ per person food costs (and labor, and cake cutting fees, and gratuities, and $18pp — beer and wine only– bar charges, the list goes on…). It was a deal-breaker for us, racking up the venue charges alone to over $15,000. {So in other words, that’s not including my dress, photography, videography, flowers, entertainment, our cake, invitations, etc.} So when the NEXT place we looked at offered $6-12 per person catering and a much lower venue rental fee, it was music to our ears.

{Wedding Food I Love:  Mini ice cream cones!!! I love minis and I LOVE ice cream!}

I should’ve known after I told Mary Alice and Hillary about the $6-12pp quote and they LAUGHED. Out LOUD. I should’ve known! Brides, take heed. If your caterer estimates their prices at $6 to $12 per person, things will probably not end well for you. You’re either going to be eating Tostitos and salsa, be extremely understaffed and unsatisfied, or end up with absolutely nothing in the end… because let’s face it. $6 to $12 per person is not a realistic amount of money to spend on catering. {SORRY! If you’re as cheap as we are, just splurge on the cake and serve champagne or coffee and go simple. Or do brunch. But you probably can’t even do brunch that cheaply, so really just give it up because it’s not going to work out. Sorry, sorry, sorry.}

So anyways, we booked the venue. We tasted the food. {Mediocre, but decent for being so cheap.} We asked for an estimate based on the menu we toyed around with. We heard nothing for three months. We met in April with the catering manager (also the venue owner) to discuss a more specific menu and “finalize” some ideas. We asked for an estimate based on THAT menu. Nothing. We emailed three weeks after the meeting and were promised that a proposal was coming that evening. Nothing. We emailed the following weekend. Nothing. This has continued for weeks. My mother, fed up with hearing nothing, called our catering manager/venue owner and was told over the phone that the proposal had been sent but that she would send it again that afternoon. NOTHING. Eight zillion emails later, we have still not heard a SINGLE WORD about the missing proposal. We have given her multiple email addresses to submit it to, multiple phone numbers to call to explain what’s going on, offered to pick it up IN PERSON — all to no avail.

{Wedding Food I Love:  Chicken and waffles!}

Looks like someone can’t deliver their $6-12 catering prices. Or doesn’t care enough to want the business.

I honestly don’t know what the issue is (clearly — communication has not been substantial at any given point of time) and can only postulate what could possibly be going on. I have given every opportunity to explain, try multiple avenues of transmission, etc. We have been polite but insistent, but at this point we are absolutely fed up with the unprofessionalism our venue/caterer has exhibited. {Another golden nugget of advice for other brides:  If your venue owner or caterer or — God forbid, planner– ever tells you, “This is just my hobby! Some people like scrapbooking; I do weddings for fun!” you better RUN LIKE HELL! Run! Flee! GET OUT OF THERE!}

Needless to say, we will no longer be using their catering services.

Instead, we’re going to have one spectacular wedding cake and take care of feeding our friends ourselves. Catering is not an area I would ever recommend to brides to DIY (by any means — if you’re looking for a legitimate, wonderful, will-deliver-what-they-promise caterer, please refer to our StudioWed caterers!! they’re FANTASTIC!). However, at two months out from the wedding day, having taken for granted that we would have cheap food all along, it’s too late to restructure our budget and book a legitimate caterer. This is one lesson we probably should have learned in January, but for better or worse, this is where we are.

{Wedding Drinks I Love:  Lemonade — with pink striped straws, of course!}

So, my family will be buying, preparing, and serving our wedding meal. Fortunately, my parents do have the experience of having catered both my sister’s and cousin’s weddings in years past (as well as countless parties I’ve thrown growing up). It will not be professional, it will not be overly fancy, but it will be tasty and satisfy our need for a meal (seeing as our wedding starts at 5:30PM and I’d prefer for guests not to leave right away). It will be a family affair. It will probably be extremely stressful (as it always is, having to get things ready on the DAY OF OUR WEDDING). There will be sacrifices made. But we made our bed and we will now lie in it.

And no one will go hungry. That’s the thing that counts, right?

The Bride Room Sample Sale

As a Sample Sale Bride myself, the Bride Room‘s currently ongoing sale is dear to my heart! If you are a bride with a budget, short engagement, or affinity for fate, call, email, or visit The Bride Room to see their selection of lovely sample gowns today!

Stay tuned to The Bride Room blog for updated pictures of available dresses!

Today’s pick:  Amsale’s Blakely!

And some more info from TBR girls themselves:

We are actively selling dresses off the rack on an on-going basis, but a few times a year, we like to highlight some favorites that are eligible to be sold as a sample. Fresh off of April Market, we’re ready to showcase some great gowns again and let you know what’s up for grabs. . .

The posts to follow in the coming days will have info on style, color, size, and condition of gown. A few additional things to remember:

  • Though gowns are not brand new, we will not sell a dress off the rack if it’s beyond reasonable cleaning and repair. We make every effort to disclose everything we know about the dress {needs a new zipper; the train needs extensive cleaning, etc}. We don’t want to sell it to you if we don’t want it to walk down the aisle! :)
  • Sizes vary. That is, from ready-to-wear to bridal, your size will most likely be different. Also, almost every designer we have runs differently per their size chart. An 8 in Monique Lhuillier is not the same as an 8 in Jim Hjelm Bridal. Please understand your best and safest option is to try on the gown of interest.
  • We will happily facilitate Sample Sales via phone, email, etc. . .{see note about sizing}. We will provide photos of our Sample piece, all pertinent info, and help guide you as best we can. We operate from good faith and give you every bit of info we can!
  • Since gowns take 4-6 months to order, Samples purchased directly from us are a great option if you are having a shorter engagement. Also, they are a great option for a bride on a budget or if you are a perfect fit in the gown!  We love a great match between a Sample gown and the perfect bride!

So check back in the next few days! We have gowns from every designer that we are parting with, and the perfect gown for you just might be available!

Email me at for more information or contact TBR directly at today!

~ Kelly

Kristyn Hogan's Work Featured in Rustic Weddings Book

Kristyn Hogan and Cedarwood‘s collaborative work will be featured in Maggie Lord (of’s new inspirational book, now available for pre-sale! The book’s release date is August 1, 2012.

~ Kelly