Wedding Dress Shopping 101 – Helpful Tips From A Planner

Searching for your dream wedding dress can be both fun and stressful.  Here are some tips to make shopping for your dress an enjoyable and memorable experience.

  • Choose your entourage wisely.
    Every bride wants to be surrounded by friends and family who will be encouraging and honest, but too many people can lead to too many opinions.  When picking your entourage, try to pick perceptive companions who will pay attention to your reaction to the dress before voicing their opinions.  There is nothing worse than falling in love with a dress and having someone proclaim their disdain for it.  Also, limiting access will heighten anticipation.  Everyone wants to know what the dress looks like, why not leave it to people’s imagination?
  • Bring pictures.
    If you have dresses that you’re in love with, bring pictures of them. This helps your bridal consultant narrow down what style(s) you may like. If the salon carries any of the dresses in your pictures it allows you to try them on immediately instead of attempting to describe the dress.
  • Stick to your budget.
    Most websites do not advertise price.  Be sure to verify that your pictured dresses are in your price range before they pull them.  If a dress is out of your budget, the pictures will help your bridal consultant get a feel for the materials, silhouettes, and details you love.  Try hard to only try on dresses that are within your budget.  Once you fall in love with a dress, nothing will compare.
  • Be wary of dress overload.
    It’s easy to walk into a salon and have the urge to try on every dress they have.  Experienced dress shop attendants can most likely help you find the ones that are best suited for your figure and budget.  Keep in mind, that after about 15 dresses, it is easy to forget what the first 5 looked like.  The process can be overwhelming, but don’t let all the options stress you out and call it a day when the dresses start looking the same.
  • Space out your salon appointments.
    Bridal salons can not foresee how punctual their customers are going to be.  If the first appointment of the day is 20 minutes late, your appointment may be delayed.  Scheduling back to back appointments might lead to a stressful day.  Try to space out your appointments with a minimum of 3 hour time gaps in between or better yet, schedule them on different days.
  • Bring water and snacks.
    If you are going to power through multiple appointments in one day, you more than likely will be missing meals. The last thing you want is to run out of energy mid appointment.  You will be surprised how heavy and exhausting it is to lift, zip, tie or button up a wedding dress for the 30th time in one day.  Keep water handy to stay hydrated and don’t forget to nibble on snacks in-between appointments.
  • Bring heels (and a bra too!).
    Bringing a pair of heels allows you to get the added length the dress design was made for to take your breath away.  You may not yet have the heels you will be wearing on your wedding at the time you try on dresses, but any heels will do.  If you plan on wearing flip flops instead, bring a pair of those.  This way you can see what the dress is going to look like and how it will feel in that height of heel.  This is also a great time to invest in a strapless bra.  The right underpinnings can dramatically change the way a dress shapes up on your body.  Spanx are great too.  Whatever you think you might be pulling on to pull it off should be in your bag when you are at the shop!
  • Trust your gut.
    Not every bride gets emotional when they find THE dress, you may find that you keep going back to one particular dress, but aren’t quite sure.  More than likely, that is the one.  If you are concerned that you aren’t making the right choice, take down all the information needed to purchase the dress and spend some time away.  If it’s still on your mind after a good night’s sleep is a good sign that you’ve found the one.

Dresses are like partners, when you find one you love, there is no reason to keep looking.

If you love it, you found it, stop looking and buy it!

Good Luck and Happy Planning!!

~Team Holliday

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Starting Your Wedding Budget

For every couple, wedding planning has to start at square one. The budget! The most common questions we are asked when couples are beginning the budget planning process are:

  1. How much does a wedding cost?
  2. How much should we plan to pay for each guest? 
  3. What percentage should we allot to each category (Reception/Décor/Ceremony/Entertainment)? 

The problem with answering any of these questions is that there is no one size fits all answer.

Since budgeting is one of the most daunting tasks during the wedding planning process we thought it would be best to give you four “easy” steps to help you get started!

First off, sit down with each other (and any other contributing party) and crunch numbers. The first question you want to answer is this: What is your end number? Your end number is the maximum amount you want to spend on this event.

** Planner Tip: Take 20% of your max number and put it in a reserve. Undoubtedly, you will spend that money, but this way you are less likely to exceed your end number.**

The second task is to create your guest list. This conversation should be a part of the chat you have while all who have a vested interest in your wedding are together. While the budget number should be a hard line, your guest list should not be. Feel free to have an “A” List, a “B” List, and a “C” List. Not everyone you have ever met needs to be invited, but inevitably you will have a list of special loved ones that your day just wouldn’t be the same without them.

Step three is to decide on formality and location. Do you envision a casual backyard wedding or a formal ballroom with top hats and tails? Indoors or out? Something in your hometown or do you dream of an exotic destination?

The last and final step is to find out whether or not it’s feasible. We have searched high and low to find a way to do this without having to make phone calls to every wedding vendor needed. After a lot of Google-ing, we stumbled upon a site that will either help you get some reassurance or will offer a reality check:

Not only can this site assist in deciding whether your budget is practical, but it can help you breakout your budget numbers. From here you and your fiancé can go over the figures and decide where you can splurge and where you should save.

Every couple has a list of must haves. Nearly-Weds that are most successful in planning listen to what each other feels is most important and spend in those areas then cut back in areas that aren’t as imperative.

We hope that you found this post helpful in your planning journey!

Good Luck and Happy Planning!!

~Team Holliday

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5 Key Things to Know When Planning A Wine Country Wedding

We love a winery wedding, but there are some things to take in to consideration when you begin to think about planning in the Wine Country.

First things first, why do you want to get married here?  The answer to this question is different for every couple.  Some want the quintessential wine country wedding complete with sweeping vineyard views and others want a dinner in a working barrel room. Begin with finding photographs that reflect the vision you have pictured in your head, and then make a list of the “must haves” for your special day.  You might find that your must haves include having an outdoor ceremony, or you must be able to dance into the wee hours of the night.  This list will come in handy once you get to the site selection phase.

The second step should be your guest list.  This list plays a huge role in the beginning stages of planning and should be taken into consideration when thinking about the must have list you have begun creating.  You may envision dinner in a wine cave that only holds 85 people, but your guest list may top 200.  It is in these early stages that you will need to tweak your original vision; this doesn’t mean you toss the thought out completely; you can always host the cocktail hour there.

Budget is also an area that needs attention early on, regardless of whether you are planning your wedding in Wine Country or another location.  We never want anyone to fall in love with anything that they can’t afford; so knowing budget and its upper limit is key.  You also want to determine what makes up that number, for instance, is your dress included?  What about your wedding rings?  A lot goes in to creating that perfect day outside of just the caterer and DJ, so it’s best to know what you want to spend and what you want included in your overall budget number.  Having this number in place will help you evaluate venues or vendors and will allow you to easily decipher if a quote is within, over, or under budget.

We’ve all heard the phrase “Location, Location, Location” and that is pivotal when planning your Napa or Sonoma wedding.  If your heart is set on a winery wedding, the first thing you should do when looking at locations is to check and see which wineries are permitted to hold weddings or if you have a winery in mind, determine if  it is permitted to hold weddings.  Napa County has some pretty rigid restrictions when it comes to winery weddings (only a handful can legally hold the ceremony and reception). If your desired location is unavailable, you may want to visit some locations outside of Napa Valley, but still located in the heart of the Wine County.  There are amazing locations in Sonoma County not to mention Glen Ellen, Kenwood, Healdsburg, and beyond.  In addition the Tri-Valley is a well-kept secret and should not be forgotten; has some wonderful options as well.

The final key consideration you want to keep in mind is the date of your event.  Wine Country is well known for their wine and culinary experiences, and along with that comes many festivals, winery open houses, wine maker dinners, and the crush, just to name a few.  You want to check with your winery to see what is going on in the area so that your guests won’t be faced with a difficult time getting here and also won’t be hit with a whopping hotel bill.

All in all, you want your engagement experience to be as fun and care free as possible so keep reading and researching.  Good Luck and Happy Planning!!

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Tina and Amit: Napa Hindu Wedding

Tina and Amit’s wedding was a very special day for Team Holliday.  We thought the only way you could absorb the beauty of the day was through the sights and sounds provided to us by Wedding Documentary.

Watch how Tina and Amit’s special day unfolds in this video!

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Jacuzzi Family Winery Wedding

Sonoma Valley has a number of really beautiful locations, and when you choose a site like Jacuzzi, it is hard not to fall in love.  We had the honor of being a part of Stefani and Anthony’s wedding and it was truly amazing.  From the fountain ceremony to the barrel room dinner, guests were treated visually to shades of white, purple, and green.  Lush florals provided by Vanda Floral filled the barrel room at varying heights and each rack of wine was adorned with tiny votive candles.  The couple’s love of wine and sweets was present in every aspect of their wedding day and guests were even treated to a half bottle of Cline wine to take home.  Ken Viale was our photographer for the evening and t was truly a task to narrow down the photos because we loved each and every one of them.  To view more photos from this wedding please go to our portfolio.

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