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Guest Post: Master Bridal Consultant Karen Brown Debunks DIY Myths

Master Bridal Consultant Karen Brown Debunks DIY Myths

Photos: Top, courtesy Karen For Your Memories~Centerpiece, D. Jones Photography~Rings & Cake, Nhan Nguyen Photography

Today we’re really excited to feature a guest post from Houston-based Master Bridal Consultant (that’s the Association of Bridal Consultants’ highest ranking, btw), Karen Brown of Karen For Your Memories. Thinking of acting as your own wedding coordinator, florist, designer and decorator, to try and save money or put your unique imprint on every element of your big day? Don’t dive in until you read Karen’s post, which debunks many major DIY myths. We’d love your feedback, too! Do you plan DIY all or part of your wedding? Which parts do you plan to leave to a pro? Drop your comments and let us know!

Today’s brides are bombarded with ideas for décor, favors, desserts, flowers, etc., many of which encourage the DIY concept. For some reason the DIY idea is touted as something that is supposed to be 1) fun, 2) less expensive, and 3) a reflection of the bride’s unique personality. But is this really the case?

Fun? “Do-it-yourself” can be a misleading title, which implies that the bride herself is going to take on all or part of the tasks necessary for the production of her wedding. However, in most cases, it really means relying on the participation of the wedding party for tons of tasks, along with dutiful assistance from family members, with the bride directing. But can a group of amateurs with good intentions really replace the expertise and efficiency of a professional with years of experience? AND have fun while doing so? Not likely.

Sure, it can be great fun for family members or friends to get together to address, stuff and stamp invitations, or for “the girls” to gather, chat, eat, drink and laugh while assembling bags and tying ribbons around guest favors. But what if you happen to be the “volunteer” who was recruited for some element of the event that ends up in a YouTube video that never seems to go away (dreadful décor, cake catastrophes, flower fiascos, musical malfunctions…you get the picture)? Surely it can’t be much fun  to be ridiculed internationally when you were just trying to help.

Less Expensive? Yes, professional wedding services cost money. Just like professional medical services, professional auto repair services, professional legal services—or any professional service that is based on years of specialized education, training and experience. Let’s consider the service of wedding flowers as an example. Here are just a few of the things you’ll get for the money you pay a respected professional Houston florist:

  • Personnel who order the exact flowers you want from the part of the world where they are at the peak of their season at that time of year.
  • Staff who pick up and transport the shipped flowers in special vehicles at special temperatures to preserve their freshness and beauty.
  • Staff who put the flowers through a series of processing procedures to activate the opening and enhance the longevity of the blooms.
  • Experienced designers who use complex techniques to create exactly the look you have requested, ensuring that the designs will withstand handling and last beautifully through the day.
  • Specifically controlled refrigeration to store the completed floral arrangements until set-up time.
  • A team to deliver, set up, and, after the event, remove all props and arrangements, in the allotted venue time (while you’re getting primped, dressed and enjoying unforgettable pre-ceremony moments with friends and family).

On the other hand, DIY flowers often begin with inferior product that are not handled correctly and sometimes need to be replaced before the event, are not designed in the most flattering or stable way, are not stored or delivered in the proper temperatures, cannot be properly set up in the allotted time allowed, and most likely will not hold up through the entire event. And what about all those vases and containers and votives? What will you do with them once the reception is over?

A similar scenario can be applied to any professional wedding service. You get what you pay for if you use reputable, experienced professionals. And you’re likely to save money in the long run. Remember that cost is relative. What price do you put on being able to relax and enjoy your special day instead of working and worrying?

A reflection of the bride’s unique personality? I like reading and viewing wedding information on the internet—especially the Houston Wedding Blog—as much as (or maybe more than) the next person. But your wedding is your wedding. The best way to achieve an original look is to hire professionals with the talent to take your inspiration and create something fresh and exciting, someone who makes each wedding tell a different story, not the same story in a different color.

Maybe we should redefine what we mean by DIY.  Don’t Impel Your friends and family to participate in anything but the joy of the ceremony and the celebration of the day. Do Invest Your money on quality services provided by those who do things the right way. You will save time and avoid costly mistakes along the way. Definitely Interject Yourself into all aspects of your wedding and hire professionals who can interpret and bring to beautiful life your vision while you relax and enjoy the process.

 

Inspiration Board: Retro Hollywood Glamour

It’s no mystery why style-minded brides turn again and again to Hollywood of the 40s, 50s and early 60s for wedding inspiration. Heyday Hollywood will forever be a time and place simply brimming with high-drama glamour and mystique. Hear the words “Old Hollywood” and your mind fills with iconic visions: va-voom mermaid gowns and Veronica Lake waves, twinkling chandeliers and tinkling grand piano keys, potted palms and tuxedo-clad waiters tipping Champagne into diminutive glasses, diamonds, diamonds and more diamonds. There’s no need to go into theme territory with your vintage Hollywood wedding design (unless, of course, that’s your kinda thing). Feel free to take cues from golden-era Hollywood rather than scouring thrift and prop shops for the actual thing. Instant glamour. Timeless allure. See credits below pix for details!

Old Hollywood Glamour Wedding Inspiration Board ~ Houston Wedding Blog Old Hollywood Glamour Wedding Inspiration Board ~ Houston Wedding Blog Old Hollywood Glamour Wedding Inspiration Board ~ Houston Wedding Blog Old Hollywood Glamour Wedding Inspiration Board ~ Houston Wedding Blog

Photos: (Box 1 clockwise) “Fanal” gown, La Sposa~Slingback, Christian Louboutin~Earrings, Libby Sweets~(Box 2 clockwise) Vintage Fred Leighton choker, Portero Luxury~Sunglasses, Vince Camuto~Sofa, Hancock & Moore~(Box 3 clockwise) Birdcage veil, Lady K Bridal~Bracelet, Luxe Deluxe~Vintage Bentley, Classic Limo~Chandelier, Garden Lights Plus~(Box 4 clockwise) Lingerie, Electric Wedding~Vintage Champagne glasses, Gilded Age Affaires~Bouquet, Aileen Tran

Brandis and Ronald’s 1940s-inspired wedding captivated us from the first moment we laid eyes on it. The bride, who planned this intimate 80-guest affair herself, put so much heart into every detail. Of course, she did get a lot of help from Etsy artisans, including FrenchKnotCouture, who created the custom bolero Brandis wore over her Maggie Sottero gown. Brandis, who told us, “I did not want real flowers that would perish and leave me with no memory,” instead had Etsy artist Croska create a bouquet of crystal brooches, pearls, satin and sheer fabric flowers in shades of white, off-white and cream, which she plans to preserve in a shadow box. While Brandis, who happened to be completing nursing school while planning her wedding (!!), created many of the wedding’s most alluring elements herself–including those magnificent table number cards and menu cards–she does caution other busy brides not go overboard on the DIY. “I recommend creating DIY items that you can keep as a keepsake.” Amen to that. Congratulations to Brandis and Ronald. And big thanks to Civic Photos, whose evocative images capture this wedding in all its swing-era splendor.

1940s Vintage Wedding by Civic Photos 1940s Vintage Wedding by Civic Photos 1940s Vintage Wedding by Civic Photos 1940s Vintage Wedding by Civic Photos 1940s Vintage Wedding by Civic Photos 1940s Vintage Wedding by Civic Photos 1940s Vintage Wedding by Civic Photos 1940s Vintage Wedding by Civic Photos 1940s Vintage Wedding by Civic Photos 1940s Vintage Wedding by Civic Photos 1940s Vintage Wedding by Civic Photos 1940s Vintage Wedding by Civic Photos

Photos: Civic Photos~Bride’s Dress: Maggie Sottero from Panache Bridal~Bride’s Shoes: Paris Hilton~Bridesmaids Dresses: Watters + Watters~Reception Flowers: Bride DIY~Decor: Hobby Lobby and Save-On-Crafts~Cake: Designer’s Cakes~Ceremony & Reception Venue: Trevisio Restaurant

Minute Maid Park Wedding by Rachel Robinson Photography

Yesterday’s Independence Day holiday has got us in a patriotic mood. So we’re especially excited about today’s wedding—a fabulous spring celebration set at Minute Maid Park, home to the Houston Astros, and one of our favorite wedding locations of all time! And seriously, what’s more American than the great sport of baseball? But, mind you, this was no caps-and-cleats affair. Kristin and Michael’s splendid wedding, shot by Rachel Robinson (a major Houston talent who’s new to HWB, but, we suspect, destined to be a beloved regular) was a first-class fête, from the bride’s stunning Winnie Couture gown to the elegantly outfitted, regal columns of Minute Maid Park’s historic Union Station to the…pink pompoms? OK, so Kristin and Michael weren’t above bringing a few fun, sporty touches to their special day. And we love them for it. If you think a baseball-park wedding can’t be utterly romantic and feminine, Kristin begs to differ. Enjoy, and happy July 5th!

Minute Maid Park Wedding by Rachel Robinson Photography Minute Maid Park Wedding by Rachel Robinson Photography Minute Maid Park Wedding by Rachel Robinson Photography Minute Maid Park Wedding by Rachel Robinson Photography Minute Maid Park Wedding by Rachel Robinson Photography Minute Maid Park Wedding by Rachel Robinson Photography

Photography: Rachel Robinson Photography~Bride’s Dress: Winnie Couture~Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka~Bride’s Hair & Makeup: Michael Saldana Salon and The Perfect Face~Flowers: Mary’s Little Shop of Flowers~Cakes: Virginia’s Cakes~Ceremony Location: St. Paul’s United Methodist Church~Reception Location: Union Station at Minute Maid Park

 

Inspiration Board: In Love With Lilac

Not quite purple, a little blue, touched with pale gray. Lilac is like demure lavender’s chic, cosmopolitan cousin. Which is probably why we love this shade so much for 2011 & 2012 weddings. Paired with white or cream, it’s a dream for springtime bridal palettes. Add a stripe of black here and there, and you’ve got a winter wedding color scheme to die for. We also love how lilac lends itself both to contemporary and vintage-style weddings with equal elegance. Plus just the word lilac makes us think of the spring bloom’s infinitely alluring scent. Subtle and sophisticated, and never, ever dull–what’s not to love about lilac?

Inspiration Board: In Love With Lilac Inspiration Board: In Love With Lilac Inspiration Board: In Love With Lilac

Photos (clockwise, left to right): Iced (cake)~She Hearts Art (invitation)~From the Waist Up (tie)~Girl Dress Line (flower girl dress)~Urban Decay (eye shadow)~The Wedding Bouquets (rose bouquet)~JennyRose25 (tea cup candle)~Pour La Victoire (“Estee” sandal)~Amsale (“Nicca” gown)