Blog

25 Memorable First Dance Songs

Bride and Groom's First Dance at The Glass Factory
Christina Karst Photography

A couple’s first dance is one of the most iconic moments of any wedding.  When I think back on the day Brandon and I got married in 2013, there is so much about that day that is just a blur, but the one thing I do still remember very well was our first dance.  Leading up to our wedding Brandon told me that he wanted to pick our first dance song himself and that he wasn’t going to tell me which song he had picked, so our first dance song was a complete surprise to me.  Brandon did good though!  He chose “Give Into Me” by Garrett Hedlund and Leighton Meester.  It was the perfect choice for us!  But, he is a wedding DJ, so I don’t know why I was even surprised, right?!

Now, enough about us, let’s talk about your wedding!  Are you struggling to narrow down which first dance song fits the two of you best?  Well, hopefully, we can help.  Here is a list of twenty-five of our favorites.  Maybe you will love one too!

Bride and Groom's First Dance at The Retreat of Southern Bridle Farms
Victoria Bonvicini Photography

First Dance Songs We Love

“One Man Band” – Old Dominion

“No One’s Gonna Love You” – Band of Horses

“First Day of My Life” – Bright Eyes

“Wonderful Tonight” – Eric Clapton

“You & I” – Ingrid Michaelson

“Stay With You” – John Legend

“Speechless” – Dan + Shay

“When I Fall In Love” – Nat King Cole

“Wanted” – Hunter Hayes

“You Are the Best Thing – Ray LaMontagne

Bride and Groom Dancing Their FIrst Dance at Tryphena's Garden
Two Chics Photography

“Die A Happy Man” – Thomas Rhett

“I Was Made For Loving You” – Tori Kelly ft. Ed Sheeran

“In Case You Didn’t Know” – Brett Young

“Beautiful Crazy” – Luke Combs

“Beyond” – Leon Bridges

“I Gotta Be” – Jagged Edge

“Rumor” – Lee Brice

“Yours” – Russell Dickerson

“Love Me Tender” – Norah Jones

“Happily Ever After” – Case

“Come Rain or Come Shine” – Ray Charles

“Give In To Me” – Garrett Hedlund & Leighton Meester

“Never Quit Loving You” – Jill Barber

“The Way You Look Tonight” – Steve Tyrell

“Rockin Years” – Dolly Parton & Ricky Van Shelton

I’m sure you are feeling overwhelmed by all of these songs.  No worries, you can listen to each song all in one place over on our Spotify first dance songs playlist.  Just click here.

Before I sign off though, I have a bride tip for you!  When I look back on our wedding day I have one real regret…..we didn’t hire a videographer.  That was a terrible idea because there have been so many things about that day that I wish I could go back and relive.  So, If you are on the fence about hiring a videographer, don’t be!  Trust me, it’s well worth the extra investment, and let’s face it, I’m sure you’re already over budget anyway. 😉

Bride and Groom Dancing Their First Dance in Historic Downtown Macon, Georgia
Jenny Evelyn Photography

15 Wedding Introduction Songs That Guests Love

Wedding Party Grand Introduction Songs Middle Georgia Wedding DJ Macon Wedding DJ
Joy + Everette

Week three is all about making your grand entrance into your wedding reception one to remember!  Choosing the perfect song for your introduction ignites your guest’s energy, and gets them in the mood to party.  Some couples decide to use only one song for their grand entrance, while others choose to use a different song for each member of their bridal party as they enter.  Both are great options.

To help you find your perfect song here is a list of 15 wedding introduction songs that we have found to be crowd favorites.

15 Wedding Grand Entrance Songs We Love - South Georgia Wedding DJ
Two Chics Photography

Wedding Introduction Songs That Guests Love

Jagged Edge – Let’s Get Married (Remix)

Bruno Mars – 24K Magic

Andy Grammar – Good To Be Alive

WALK THE MOON – Shut Up and Dance

Don Omar – Danza Kuduro

Beyonce – Crazy In Love

Chris Brown – Forever

T.I. – Bring Em Out

Justin Timberlake – Can’t Stop This Feeling

AC/DC – Thunderstruck

Jennifer Lopez ft. Pitbull – On The Floor

Heavy D & The Boyz – Now That We Found Love

Florence + The Machine – Dog Days Are Over

MKTO – Classic

Cardi B – I Like It

Now, follow the link to our easy to listen to Spotify playlist that includes not only these 15 songs, but many more to fit your individual taste.  Oh, and one more thing!  If you enjoyed this post, we’d be grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, sharing it on Facebook, or commenting below.

Next week we will be posting our favorite first dance songs, so stay tuned!

Bride and Groom Grand Introduction at Tryphena's Garden in Perry, GA Garden Wedding
Joy + Everette

Our Top 20 Fav Wedding Ceremony Recessional Songs

Ali and Wes Wedding Ceremony in Jacksonville Florida The Glass Factory
Stefanie Keeler Photography

Well hello, friend! This week is week two of our eleven-part wedding song choice series. Today, we are sharing our top twenty favorite wedding recessional songs to help you joyfully walk arm and arm back down the aisle as a new misses. Typically brides want this song to be upbeat and happy because well….. it is a moment worth celebrating, and this song also helps to set the tone for the vibe of your upcoming cocktail hour.

So, without further ado here are twenty recessional songs we love!

Luxury Wedding at Tryphena's Garden in Middle Georgia
Joy + Everette

Wedding Recessional Songs We Love

American Authors- Best Day of My Life

Imagine Dragons-On Top of the World

Natalie Cole-This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)

Stevie Wonder-Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Colbie Caillat- I Do

Justin Timberlake-Can’t Stop the Feeling

Chris Brown-Forever

Bruno Mars-Marry You

Beyonce-Love On Top

Ray Lamontagne-You Are the Best Thing

The Beatles-Here Comes the Sun

Hall & Oates-You Make My Dreams Come True

Michael Buble-Everything

Jon Pardi-Head Over Boots

Steve Moakler-Love Drunk

Ben Rector – Brand New

Queen – You’re My Best Friend

Jack Johnson – Better Together

Kool & The Gang – Celebration

James Taylor – How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You

Now, I know what you are thinking, “This is going to take me forever to listen to each of these songs.” No worries! We’ve made an easy to listen to Spotify playlist that includes each of these songs, and maybe even a few more. All you have to do is follow this link and listen away!

20 Wedding Ceremony Recessional Songs You'll Love
Life and Love Studio

20 Wedding Ceremony Processional Songs We Love

Tryphena's Garden Wedding DJ Brandon Higgins Legacy Events 119
Joy + Everette

In the eight years that we have been living this crazy DJ life that we live there is one question that Brandon and I have been asked by our couples more than any other :

Are there any songs that you can suggest?

So, over the coming weeks we will be sharing some of our favorites with you!

Whether you are into classic, modern, contemporary, country, R&B, or oldies tunes we have something for you to choose from.  This week we will start with a list of our top 20 favorite wedding ceremony processional songs.  So here goes! (Hover over the song title to find a link to preview the song.)

20 Wedding Processional Songs we love in 2019 Legacy Events 119 DJ Brandon Higgins Traveling DJ in Florida and Georgia
Victoria Bonvicini Photography

Wedding Processional Songs We Love

“I Get To Love You” – RUELLE

“The One”– Kondaline

“She Is Love” – Parachute

“A Thousand Years” – Christina Perri

“To Make You Feel My Love” – Adele

“I Won’t Give Up” – Jason Mraz

“How Long Will I Love You” – Ellie Goulding

“Canon In D” – Pachelbel

“Andante” – Roy Todd

“Look At Me” – Carrie Underwood

“Better Together” – Us the Duo

“My Last Name” – Dierks Bentley

“Crazy Love” – Van Morrison

“Makin Plans” – Miranda Lambert

“Marry Me” – Train

“God Bless This Broken Road” – Rascal Flatts

“At Last” – Etta James

“Can’t Help Falling In Love” – Haley Reinhart

“Love Someone” – Lukas Graham

“Sweet Creature” – Harry Styles

Keeping this list to only twenty songs was a real challenge, but it was a start at least.  Do you have any of your own favorites?  If so, make sure to leave them in the comments below!

Stay tuned next Sunday as we share twenty of our favorite wedding ceremony recessional songs.

In the meantime, follow this link to listen to these songs on Spotify now.

Luxury Winter Wedding at Santa Fe River Ranch in Alachua Florida
Footstone Photography

 

How To: Begin Planning a Wedding

Stefanie Keeler Photography

Did you just get engaged over the holiday and now you find yourself asking – now what?!

Well, it’s time to hop into the wedding planning process now, because the sooner you get started, the more you will be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy being engaged!  To help you get started today, we have outlined five steps for you to take to begin planning your wedding with ease (and still have fun while doing it)! So, let’s get started!

#1 Hire a Wedding Planner

You can immediately eliminate a ton of pressure from the start by hiring a wedding planner. Who else will have all the best tips, tricks and ideas than a person whose entire career is spent planning weddings? You might ask what a wedding planner can do for you?  In amongst many things, a wedding planner can help you establish a realistic budget for your big day while educating you on current trends, venues, and vendors.

Additionally, a professional planner (And I’m not talking about your Aunt Sally turned wedding planner for the day) can help you choose the best venue that fits your style, wedding size, and budget. A planner can refer you to florists, bakers, caterers, photographers and DJ’s whom they know personally and trust! You can cut down on the number of phone calls, and the time you would have spent communicating with vendors through hiring a planner because they will handle that for you.  In turn, having less worry and stress will make the days leading up to your ceremony much more enjoyable.

#2 Begin Compiling a Tentative Guest List

It’s never too early to start planning your guest list. Choosing exactly which people you do (and don’t) want to invite to your wedding can be one of the most challenging parts of the planning process – so it’s a good idea to start early! Sit down with your fiance and start talking about who is most important. You can start by asking yourselves who must attend your wedding. Once you’ve established that, then you can begin chatting about which guests are still significant but a bit lower down on your list. Getting an idea of the exact number of guests you hope to invite is especially important when choosing the size of the venue you’ll need.

Sarah Annay Photography

#3 Choose a Few Possible Wedding Dates

Flexibility is beneficial when planning your wedding, so we suggest selecting two or three potential dates for your big day! This advice might sound strange but imagine if your heart is set on one particular day and then you, unfortunately, learn your perfect venue is booked that day. With a few different dates in mind, you can more easily secure the venue, caterer, photographers, and of course DJ that you really want. Also just as a side note, some venues may have discounted rates on certain days – so being more flexible with the date of your wedding can also save you money if you are on a budget.

#4 Select and Secure Your Wedding Venue

Once you decide on your guest list and find a venue available on your day – book it! Do not make the mistake of waiting because most wedding venues book up very quickly, some as much as 18-24 months in advance. When it comes to wedding planning, it’s not just about “saying yes to the dress” but also “saying yes to the venue.” It’s imperative that you book your venue at the beginning of your wedding planning process. The venue quite literally sets the stage for every other step that follows it.

PS. If you need recommendations, we know some GREAT ones!

Ivey Pictures

#5 Research and Hire Your Wedding Vendors

As we mentioned earlier, a wedding planner is a tremendous asset when it comes time to choose your wedding vendors.  However, if you decide to do all the planning on your own then make sure you do your research. Bad vendors can destroy a wedding!  Now is when I would like you to please pause and reread the previous sentence because I cannot emphasize it enough! This principle applies to your photographer, videographer, florist, baker, caterer and most certainly applies to your DJ and Master of Ceremonies!

Next, once you have done your research and decided on the professionals that you would like to use do not hesitate to book them.  It may be surprising, but as a DJ company we have some dates that book out as far in advance as 12-18 months for us, so it is critical to book early especially if you are planning to get married on a Saturday, or during popular wedding seasons such as the Spring or Fall.

We know that all of this info is a lot to take in, but based upon our experience we promise that if you follow these five simple steps you will be on the right track to planning one memorable wedding!  So Cheers from Brandon and I, and happy planning!!  Oh and if you need a super cool and crazy fun DJ…..let’s chat!

Zack Robinson Photography

Facts About Us!

Two Chics Photography

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

Recently, Brandon and I had the privilege of being interviewed for a guest blog piece on Twin Oaks Farm Wedding’s Blog (see the original post here).  Laura Lyn did a great job drawing us out with the questions she chose to ask, and we thought all of you might like to know us a little more intimately as well.  So here you go!

Will you share your love story with us? How did you guys meet?

Brandon and I met while I was visiting a friend of mine in Albany, GA for the weekend. I lived in Florida at the time, and Brandon was down in Albany visiting the same couple on the same weekend. I found out later that he had heard I was coming and wanted to meet me. I, on the other hand, had absolutely no idea who he was until I met him that weekend. I didn’t even pay him much attention until Saturday night when everyone decided to begin singing karaoke. He went up to sing, and to my surprise, he was very good! It peaked my interest in him, and the rest is really history. We’ve been together ever since.

What was your wedding like?

Heather Mason Photography

Our wedding?! Well, let’s start by saying this. From the time we got engaged to the time we got married was 7 weeks!! Yes, we planned our wedding in 7 weeks, and no, we weren’t pregnant. lol Our schedules were just very busy at the time and spring wedding season was quickly approaching and is one of our busiest times from a business standpoint so we decided why not just go ahead and get it done. Thanks to the fact that we had so many great friends in the wedding industry we were able to pull together an amazing winter wonderland themed wedding in just weeks. We had a small intimate garden ceremony with only 30 guests and then followed up with a large 250 guest wedding reception in Downtown Macon. It was truly a blast and we wouldn’t change a thing!

Alright, tell me a little about your DJ business. When did you open? What do you specialize in?

Brandon created the business in August 2011 under its original name Macon Nite Life. When he initially started, his focus was on small events and evening karaoke gigs because at the time he was still employed full time as an electrician. We met in February 2012, and I still remember asking him what he did for a living, and he said, “I’ve been an electrician for 12 years, and that’s what I do full time, but I’ve also recently started a DJ company.” When he mentioned the “DJ company part” I literally laughed and moved on to something else because it didn’t sound like a “real job” to me.

Well fast forward a few more months, and I went with him to a wedding he was DJing. As I was there, I started to see that being a Wedding DJ is so much more than the random party DJs that I had seen in the past. As a wedding DJ, you truly have to command your audience. You have a lot on your shoulders and so many things to coordinate. There are no second chances once you pick up that mic, it’s on you to make sure that your couples special day is exactly the way that they wanted it. To my surprise, Brandon did this very well, and I thought to myself I think we should do this DJ company thing and if we are going to do it, we need to do all that we can to be the very best.

So…..six years have now past since that wedding, and many changes have been made. Brandon said goodbye to electrical work. We now are known as Legacy Events 119, and through much personal sacrifice and hard work we managed to create an award-winning luxury entertainment company specializing in DJ/MC services, lighting design, and photo booth rentals that spans two states. What a ride it has been!

Ashah Photography

For any other couples that may decide they not only want to do “life” together but also want to WORK together…like you guys, do you have any worthy advice for them?? 🙂

It’s important to set boundaries and know each other strengths. In running our business Brandon and I each have our owns roles and assignments. Brandon obviously handles the events and is the face of the brand. He handles wedding flow, wedding vendor relations the day of, and of course all of the entertainment needs of the day. I, on the other hand, am in charge of branding decisions, marketing, social media, and networking. By capitalizing on each of our strengths and remaining “in each other’s lane” has allowed us to truly work together successfully. Now when it comes to our home life and who is in charge of what chores…..well we still haven’t really figured that one out yet! lol It’s a work in progress.

Let’s talk about brides and grooms for a minute. What is your biggest piece of advice for brides and grooms when hiring not only their DJ but all of their vendors?

To be blunt….you get what you pay for! This applies to every vendor category, but specifically when it comes to hiring a DJ it cannot be stressed enough. When you begin researching DJs while planning your big day you will quickly find that there is a very wide price range. In short, there is a reason for this. There are amateur DJ’s and professional DJ’s out there and unfortunately unless you do your research on this before your wedding day (which we beg you to do) you will not realize the key difference between the two until after your big day has already happened and it didn’t go the way that you had hoped. To summarize, a professional wedding DJ/MC handles far more than just playing music at your wedding. Simply put, playing the music is the smallest part of what a wedding DJ does. The key to a awesome wedding DJ at the end of the day is how well they can handle the flow of your event and do they do it with class?! You must always keep in mind that the DJ you chose is standing in front of your guests representing you and is responsible for creating a welcoming atmosphere for you and your guests throughout the entire event. In summary, you have worked so hard planning your wedding day. You have the most beautiful flowers, the most awesome venue, you have found a dress unlike any other bride that came before you, and your photographer is fire….. don’t leave the “experience of your wedding day” to chance. Studies have shown that guests remember two things at the end of the night, Was the food good? and Did they have a good time? The experience matters so make sure to give it lots of thought when planning your very special day.

I may be a bit presumptuous, but I think that almost all couples want a FUN wedding. What’re the keys to success for a fun wedding?

Interactive couples! Through the planning process, we need as much input from the couple as possible. What makes them happy? What is fun to them? Over the years what genres of music have they enjoyed with their friends? What music did they listen to with their friends in college? These are all important things to share. When wedding day arrives though there is one thing that truly effects how “fun” a wedding is…. Brides and Grooms must join their guests on the dance floor! Guests feed off of their couple, and if the couple insists on hugging the side wall all night often times their guests will be more inclined to as well. Everyone loves to see the happy couple on the dance floor enjoying themselves. They came to celebrate with you, so make sure you celebrate with them!

Ashah Photography

We are just getting into 2018 wedding season. Do you foresee any big trends when it comes to receptions for this year?

Hands down the biggest wedding trend of the year is having a fireworks show! We have already had the pleasure of celebrating with two couples this year that included a fireworks show at their reception, and have another upcoming couple planning to do the same. It makes for lots of fun, and the guests truly enjoy it.

Ashah Photography

What do you feel like you guys provide to your couples that sets you apart from others in the industry? Like, what do you “hope” that your couples say after working with you?

Well here is where we could go on and on and bore you by saying that we have the most state of the art equipment, lighting that can transform any room, and an awesome online planner that couples love to use. And, all of those things would be true, but one of our recent brides wrote a review about us after her wedding and said one of the best things we had ever had written about us. Caitlyn said, “They are just all around genuine and cool people that you want to be your friends long after the wedding is over!” That one sentence summarizes what we hope all of our couples feel after working with us.

You guys have worked at venues all across the Southeast. What kinds of things make your job easier when working at a venue?

Good communication! We like to know in advance where we are to set up when we arrive, where power is located and if their are locations on the property where power isn’t available, is there shelter for our equipment at all times, where are we permitted to load in our equipment, and one of the most important things for us to know is where can we park during the event. Parking can be a real challenge, especially at inner-city venues.

Amber Phinisee Photography
Two Chics Photography
We Do Photography

Fun Facts About Us Rapid Fire Style!

What do you listen to in your car?

Lindsay: Depends on my mood! But, its usually between country music or hip-hop and every once in a while I throw in some old school Sam Cooke or 90’s artist such as Jewel or Alanis Morissette.

Brandon: My XM pre-sets in my truck are- Pop2K, 90s On 9, The Highway, The Heat, SiriusXMFly, and The Blend

Your favorite song to play for ceremonies?

Lindsay: Hands down “My Last Name”-Dierks Bentley

Brandon: “Signed, Sealed, Delivered”- Stevie Wonder as the ceremony recessional

Current favorite song to play at receptions?

Lindsay: “Finesse” Bruno Mars & Cardi B

Brandon: “I Want To Dance With Somebody” Whitney Houston

Most cringe-worthy song request?

Lindsay: Honestly I am so over brides walking down the aisle to “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri. I can say this because I even used it to walk down the aisle at my own wedding, but it is now truly the most overused wedding ceremony song to me.

Brandon: “Single Ladies” by Beyonce for the garter bouquet, Saying that this song is overplayed and overused would be an understatement.

What’s your prediction for hit First Dance songs for 2018?

Lindsay: “You Make It Look So Easy” Jason Aldean

Brandon: “Millionaire” Chris Stapleton

First Dance song that you consider tired and overused?

Brandon & Lindsay: “Thinking Out Loud”-Ed Sheeran

Favorite wedding food you’ve ever eaten? 


Lindsay: Any wedding with a mashed potato bar. Mashed potatoes bars are my jam!

Brandon: Always mac + cheese

Two Chics Photography

8 Steps to Throwing A Fun Wedding

Two Chics Photography

Think about the last fun wedding you attended. What do you remember most about it? Among the first things to pop into your mind were probably the food, the drinks, and the music. Those are the top three aspects of a wedding that guests say they remember the most. Now that it’s time for you to plan your own wedding, we are sure that you want your family and friends all to have a good time, and remember your special day for years to come. So we put together eight steps you can take to ensure that your wedding is as fun as it can be!

1. Provide transportation

Providing guests transportation is crucial in the event they will be coming from out of town and staying in a hotel. Offering them a ride from the hotel to the wedding venue will keep their planning to a minimum. Plus, they’ll probably have a great time riding a bus or trolley to and from the wedding venue together. This will help keep spirits high and contribute to your guests’ feeling involved.

Heather Mason Photography

2. Allow your single friends to bring a date

This might drive up the cost of your wedding, but allowing your single friends to bring a date will pay for itself in good times. Go ahead and pay for a few extra plates of food and invite them to bring their significant other, even if you don’t know them. Who knows, your wedding could be the start of another beautiful relationship, and soon you might get an invitation in the mail for your best friend’s wedding.

3. Give your guests an itinerary

You have worked hard to plan the events of your wedding day, so why not share the plan with your guests? This will help make your guests feel that they are fully involved in the wedding, and with specific times for each event, they’ll know what to expect and when. You don’t have to go crazy with this. Just include the essentials, like what time intros will begin, what time dinner will begin, and when the dance floor is scheduled to open.

Two Chics Photography

4. Keep downtime to a minimum

Plan the timeline for your special day to ensure that you keep the action constant. Too much downtime allows room for guests to become bored. A great way to prevent this from happening is by providing music during cocktail hour, drinks, hors-d’oeuvres or even a photo booth. There shouldn’t be any question about where or when guests can grab a drink, and don’t keep them waiting too long before you open the floor for dancing. As long as the drinks are flowing, the music is upbeat, and there are plenty of snacks before dinner, your guests will feel satisfied and welcome.

Amber Phinisee Photography

5 . Make sure the music isn’t just for you

It might be tempting to choose all your favorite songs for your wedding playlist, but you have to consider your guests. Feel free to pick plenty of songs you love, but make sure you sprinkle in some that your guests will enjoy, too. Keep the music upbeat and fun so your guests won’t have to think twice about getting out on the dance floor.

6. Ask toasters to keep their speeches short and sweet

Wedding toasts can be fun, but if they drag on for too long, your guest’s minds are bound to begin to wonder. Nobody wants to listen to your best friend drone on for twenty minutes about how much she loves you. Politely ask your toasters to keep their speeches short, that way you and your guests can get back to the party.

Amber Phinisee Photography

7. Offer late-night food options

Even after eating a full meal, drinking and dancing takes a lot of energy. It’s a good idea to consider offering some munchies for your guests to eat toward the end of the night. This doesn’t have to be a full second course, just something simple like chips and dip, sliders, or mini tacos. Choose something that fits the theme of your wedding, and offer it to your guests to snack on while they party.

Ben & Colleen: Wedding Photographers

8. Lead the way by having fun yourself

Perhaps the most important aspect of ensuring that your guests have a great time at your wedding is by having fun yourself! If your friends and family see that the bride and groom are happy and enjoying their wedding reception, they are sure to join in the fun. Don’t let the stress of wedding planning carry over to your wedding day. That’s all behind you now, and you deserve to enjoy yourself.

 

Ashlee Culverhouse Photo

For more great info on this topic head over to Every Last Detail to learn about 6 Things Your Wedding Guests Will Hate.

Newly Engaged?! Now What?!

Natalie Toombs Photography

Jacksonville Wedding DJ

So you just got engaged! That’s exciting, but now comes the fun part: planning the wedding. There’s a lot of work to do, and that might sound stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. The best advice we can give you is to get started booking services for your wedding right away. The whole process is much easier if you give yourself plenty of time to make decisions, especially because many popular venues and top wedding vendors are booked up a year or more in advance. You want to make sure you get exactly what you want for your special day, and the easiest way to do that is to start right now. Before you start making phone calls, though, you’ll want to make a few key decisions. Follow these steps when you’re planning your wedding, and it will be a piece of cake.

1. Decide On A Date

The most popular months for a wedding here in the South are April, May, June, October, and November. These months are popular mostly because of the weather. It’s not too hot, and not too cold. Because of this, though, many venues and services fill up very fast during the Spring and Fall, so if you’re not planning at least a year or two ahead, you might want to think about a different month. The date doesn’t have to be set in stone right away, though, because your dream venue might not be available on the first weekend you have in mind, but it could be wide open the week before or week after. Being flexible with the date, at least in the early stages of planning, will really make things easier.

2. Make A Budget

Once you have your date decided, you need to get a budget in order. Figure out how much you can afford to spend on your wedding, and keep that in mind for the rest of the planning process. It’s much easier to control your spending if you think in terms of how much of your budget remains, and it helps keep everything streamlined. If it fits your budget, this would also be the right time to hire a wedding planner. A good wedding planner can take a lot of the stress away from planning a wedding, and they can help you secure the best vendors that will fit perfectly into your budget.

Sidney Middlebrooks Photography

3. Choose A Venue

Unless you’re getting married in your backyard, the venue is probably going to eat up the biggest portion of your budget. Start making phone calls and touring venues, keeping in mind their capacity and availability. You should have a general idea of how many people you want to invite, that way you can choose an appropriately sized venue. Once you find your wedding venue of choice, don’t hesitate to book. Nail down a precise date and pay a deposit before somebody else comes along and reserves the day you want.

Amy E Photography

4. Book Wedding Services

Now that you’ve got your venue, it’s time to start filling it up with wedding vendors. You should prioritize things like a good photographer and catering, especially if you’ve chosen a busy time of year to get married. If you’ve opted for a destination wedding, you might want to do some tastings with caterers in the area while you’re in town touring venues, that way you can knock them both out in one trip. You’ll also need to contact a stylist, a florist, a cake designer, and an officiant (to marry you), and a band or DJ (we can help with this! check out our info here), at least 8-12 months in advance of the wedding. Think about the vibe and the flow that you’re aiming for, and work from there.

5. Send Out Save the Dates

You’re coming to one of the final stages of planning a wedding, and it feels amazing. You can picture it now, everything is in order, and now you just need to make sure that your friends and family will be there to celebrate with you. Now is the time to secure a stationery designer to create your Save the Dates! Like everything else, this should be done well in advance of the wedding date, at least six months or so, especially for a destination wedding. Designing the Save the Dates several months ahead will give the stationery company plenty of time to print your invitations, and will give your guests the time needed to make arrangements to attend such as taking time away from work, booking a hotel room, and securing flights to celebrate with you.

Now, you are definitely on the right track! Let the countdown begin, and try not to go crazy with anticipation!

Two Chics Photography

How To: Give An Outstanding Wedding Reception Toast

Adrienne Fletcher Photography

If you’ve ever attended a wedding, you’ve probably heard somebody give a toast. It might have been the father of the bride, the mother of the groom, the best man, or another close friend or relative, but until this next wedding, it wasn’t you. But now somebody dear to you is getting married, and you want to give a toast that won’t leave your audience cringing, something that will elicit feelings of warmth and goodwill to the bride, groom, and all friends and family present. That sounds like a tall order, but don’t worry. We’ve got some tips to help you come up with a wedding toast that you’ll be proud to give, and everyone else will be happy to hear.

#1 Come Prepared

The time to start preparing for this wedding toast is right now. Unless you’re a regular Jerry Seinfeld, it’s probably not a good idea to improvise a wedding toast. Grab a pen and paper and brainstorm some ideas, things you might want to say. You can even give yourself an entire script. Nobody is going to judge you for reading off a card, but I definitely recommend rehearsing the toast a few times before the time comes to tap on that glass of champagne. That way you’ll be confident and smooth.

#2 Play To Your Strengths

When deciding what to say during your toast, it’s a good idea to make a note of what you excel at. For example, if you’ve never been a particularly funny person, it’s probably a better idea to save the humor for later. This isn’t the time to develop your talents; this is a time for giving a toast to two people who are getting married. Keep that in mind, and the whole process will be much easier for you.

Two Chics Photography

#3 Don’t Forget To Introduce Yourself

This might sound obvious, but remember that not everyone at the wedding is going to know who you are. Start your toast with a simple introduction that lets everyone know your relationship with the bride and groom. If you’ve got a knack for humor, you may even want to throw in a little quip to break the ice. Remember, though, the toast is centered around the bride and groom, not yourself, so keep your introduction short, sweet, and to the point.

#4 Be Respectful and Gracious

Fill your toast with positive sentiments and well wishes. Do not, under any circumstances, mention an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, or anything that might remind the bride or groom of such.

Adrienne Fletcher Photography

Talk about bright futures and happy memories, the things you love about the union at hand. Thank the parents for raising such beautiful people, and thank the host for organizing the event. As I mentioned earlier, keep it simple. Don’t ramble, and keep the primary focus on the newlyweds and great things to come.

#5 Don’t Be Drunk

If you plan on getting drunk at the wedding, you’ll probably want to wait until after you give your toast. It might seem easier to speak in front of large groups of people after you’ve had a few drinks, but you don’t want to make a fool of yourself. You want your toast to be something that people will look back on in a positive way. Keep in mind that the people present, especially the bride and groom, will remember your toast for years to come. That’s why a level head is crucial when it comes to giving a toast.  Last of all, remember that weddings are a time for celebration. Now get out there and celebrate!

Livie Faye Photography

 

Summer Wedding Expo at Santa Fe River Ranch

Are you recently engaged and looking for wedding inspiration, reputable vendors, or just a place to get started?  If so, join us on Sunday, August 13th at Santa Fe River Ranch located just North of Gainesville for the Summer Wedding Expo.  Doors will open at 2:00pm for general admission ticket holders.  VIP access tickets are also available for purchase, but space is limited. General admission tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door.

What You Can Expect

  • Premier Wedding Vendors
  • Amazing Prize Giveaways
  • Show Specials & Discounts
  • Reception Table Designs
  • Local Food Trucks
  • Cake Tasting

How to Prepare

  • Decide what you want to get out of the event. i.e. inspiration,  advice, see the latest trends.
  • Know your wedding date – if you’re not sure, try to have a few dates in mind.
  • Bring your calendar and know your availability so you can schedule appointments.
  • Wear comfortable shoes
  • Bring your entourage.
  • Get ready for inspiration because it’s coming your way!

We cannot wait to see you there!  Keep updated with everything #santaferiverranch by liking their Facebook page and following @santaferiverranch on Instagram!

We encourage anyone planning a luxury wedding in North Florida to come to this exclusive bridal event!