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I’m Louise. Blogger. Wife. Designer of TruLu Couture Veils + Accessories.  If you’d like to know more, check out my bio.

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Entries in Reception (16)


{Wedding Color Palettes} Start with the Venue…ALWAYS!

There are color palettes that rape the eyes. Yes, rape. I’ll see some event and blink hard trying to get the offensive sight out of my eyes. Sometimes blinking works, other times, the image is seared in my mind’s eye, begging for another image to take it’s place. Then I run to Pinterest and help that process along…. Then I get a little mad. I get mad because I start thinking to myself, “Who did this? Who let the bride do this?” and then I calm down a little bit and realize that some people are color-blind or  just not all that great at color stories. 

Some of the eye-raping offenders? See below:







OK, first and foremost? I HATE chair sashes. Personal preference. If you’re going to have chair sashes, that’s fantastic. I personally don’t want to sit on something that looks like a gift wrapped ghost. Honestly, they freak me out a little. Like, WTF is under that thing? And nine times out of ten the sashes are satin and shiny and that just makes me gag a little. And I don’t really like bows either, so there’s that.

But getting over the chair sash thing, let’s talk about colors. There’s one common denominator in the photos above: too few colors. That’s right, not enough accent colors to create warmth, only eye-raping contrast.

Now I know that everyone isn’t a designer or stylist or event planner or whatever, but that doesn’t mean you can’t figure this shit out.

First of all, there are a BAJILLION links out there to figure out your color palette. Let’s just get those out there right now. These are my top color sites.

The Perfect Palette

Colour Lovers

Color Collective

Color Hunter

What you’ll want to note with these sites as well as when you’re deciding on your colors is that there are generally FIVE colors. That’s right FIVE. Pick too few colors and you could end up with a two-tone mess as shown above.

Now, if you’re the kind of bride who has been DREAMING of the pink wedding with pink accents ALL YOUR LIFE, remember a few things: first, you are an adult. Time to reconsider and seriously think about what you’ve been dreaming about. Fairytale or reality? Check yourself.

The next thing you should think about? Your venue. Yup. Not what your bridesmaids look good in, not the pink you’ve been dreaming of, the VENUE. Where the hell are you having this shindig? You don’t want to fight with your venues colors. If you do, you’re going to pay more to cover things up (i.e. chairs) and you’ll end up wondering why everything looks a mess.

One of the things that The Candyman and I instantly fell in love with regarding our venue (other than their famous She-Crab Soup) was the warmth of the place: earth tones, dark wood, subtle décor. Here are a few pictures of parts of the venue and the table setting. When I walked into the main room, I actually gasped because the candle light and warm tones were just so pretty. I chose my colors with intention – to create an atmosphere.

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People were screaming at The Candyman to smoosh the cake. And his facial expressions led them all to think he would. And I would have killed him if he had!  But just note the walls and gilded frames, dark wood chair backs.

All photos by Nashville Wedding Photographer Jonathon Campbell Photography.

Then I found this.

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SAME EXACT VENUE. Who? Who in their right minds would desecrate such a lovely setting with KELLY GREEN and then add in the horrid mod white sofa to a venue that is so clearly classic? Wanna know who? Someone who isn’t embracing the venue.  This? This is a perfect example of fighting your venue. Just don’t do it.

So how do you create an atmosphere if you’re wedding is at the VFW? Do you throw your hands up in dismay because the chairs are gold and burgundy and the rug is a giant sea of cabbage roses? Speaking of gold and burgundy, the picture that’s fifth from the top above was *this close* to getting it right. The problem? The white table linens. Too stark against the warmer colors of gold and burgundy. Had they done an ivory overlay, or even a matte gold, it would have been less eye-rape-y.

Here’s a great example of working with your venue:


OK, on their own those chairs are bad, right? Banquet style, two tone monstrosities. GAH! But it looks so lovely with the color theme chosen to coordinate with them. Purple, lavender, silver, white, green = FIVE COLORS. See?


Loveliness created by Kristin Kaplan/Simply Stunning Events, Photography by Chris & Adrienne Scott, Flowers by Brocade Design Arts.

So before you start deciding on table linens and flowers and all that, go back to your venue and look at what you’ll be working with. Go with your planner or your florist or your MOH. Take physical color swatches with you to get an idea of how the colors will react to the venue’s lighting and overall feel.

But for the love of God, don’t force a round peg into a square hole. Embrace your venue, whether it’s The Ritz or your local community center.

How are YOU choosing your colors? Have you considered the venue? How are you going about the wedding color process? Do tell.

I almost forgot! There's still time to win your veil! Enter HERE to win!


{Partnered Post} Personalized Wedding Napkins!

You know, there were so many little things that I wanted to add into my wedding that I simply never got around to. Time. Money. Time. Did I mention time? One of those things was personalized wedding napkins like these. I totally envisioned my little crab stuffed cucumber wheels being passed about with napkins with our names or “Eat, Drink and Be Married” on them.

Yes, I know. This might be cliché in our little wedding blog world we live in around here, but to guests? It’s all pretty unique and fun. To me? Totally cute.

Back when I was a bride, I had read on some blog somewhere about Gocco-ing some napkins and when I looked into that process, I was floored by the cost of the Gocco machine! That was definitely one of those instances where the DIY was way more costly than the item itself.

I knew stamping was an option, but it had the potential to bleed ink on the cheap paper napkins and I really didn’t want to deal with the mess, to be honest.

I should have just ordered them because, for goodness sake, they aren’t that expensive at all!

In fact, the folks over at American Bridal.com have a ton of super-cute options but a very affordable rate! With over 28 napkin colors, 9 ink colors and 40 designs, you can create a wedding napkin that matches the style and colors of your wedding perfectly. I would have done the eco-friendly kraft colored cocktail napkin with the “Eat, Drink & Be Married” logo and our names and wedding date in chocolate brown. Done. And 100 of them are only $21.95. WHA? Seriously. I probably spent that much in time alone researching how to DIY them on-line. CLASSIC bride error. Some things are just easier to buy, y’know?


Personalized eco-friendly beverage napkins.


Personalized guest towels.


Personalized dinner napkins.

So what do you think about personalized napkins? For a smidge over $20 (before shipping, natch), you can order them from AmericanBridal.com and be done. And here’s a cost savings idea if you’re thinking “But wait! I have more than 100 people coming and they will certainly have more than one drink!” Order the 100 napkins and mix them in with an alternating color. That way when they are presented on the bar, or cocktail tray, or even the hand towels in the ladie’s loo, it will still look cool and you’ll save a little dough!

See, I’m always thinkin’…Smile

*This is a Sponsored Post.


Cotton Candy

I think we all know that The Thirty-Something Bride is a sucker for sweet things. Loves me my icing. I think I've made that abundantly clear. Thankfully, the things I really like aren't always available exactly when I'm craving them. This is a good thing, trust me. The reason my faves aren't around for me to totally scarf is because I like to rock my sweet old skool. Candy bars and chips and such don't really tempt me. But when it comes to candy, I'm a dead woman. Since Halloween is bearing down upon us, I'm sure to fall prey to some of my favorites: 

Necco Wafers




 Pixie Stix      

Candy Corn

And last, but certainly not least:

COTTON CANDY! What's funny is that I don't see this as a terrible way to go, this Death by Cotton Candy. And I think this is what I'd actually look like if I was running from a cotton candy tornado. But honestly, I'm pretty sure I'd turn and face the storm head-on, mouth open.


So basically, I love solid sugar. The Candyman gave me a hard time at our anniversary dinner because I was eating the sugar cubes they served with our coffee. I love popping sugar cubes in my mouth and just letting them melt...mmmmm. Sugar.

So I was happily surprised when I was reading through the November issue of Brides magazine. First of all, I totally stole this magazine from my orthopedic guy's office. Can't say I have ever thieved a doctor's office magazine before, but considering the balance of magazines available (People, Parenting and Motor Trends Today), I figured an actual bride left it and no one would really miss it.... Anyway, two little blurbs totally spoke to me.

First, I want to say that when I went hunting for images, it appears that the bain of my existence just posted about this very thing. Sigh. Always a day late and a dollar short. But I don't care, because I simply love cotton candy and now you can too. We ALL can, for the low low price of $50 and a trip to Best Buy. Check it out:


 That's right, it's a freakin' cotton candy making machine by Nostalgia Electrics (also home of the Kegorator). But the cool thing about this particular version is that you can turn HARD CANDY into the freakin' COTTON CANDY! Think about that! Take a Jolly Rancher, a Butterscotch or even a sugar-free hard candy and turn it into cotton candy - FOR $50! I'm all about this little contraption right now. You could totally do this at you wedding/shower/honeymoon (mmmmm...sticky!)!

Via the bane of my existence.


So the other little tasty nugget? More solid sugar. Literally. Now this is something that had I seen during my own wedding planning, I would have fallen for hook, line and sinker. I would have obsessed and massaged the budget for at least a solid week to try to incorporate. I would've been edgy and irritable and snapped at The Candyman for no good reason because here was yet another thing that every other bride in the world was going to have except for me. I would have shook my fist and damned those brides and their "sky's the limit" budgets. "Those bitches!" I would have seethed to The Candyman. And then he would finally catch up to the wedding-angst-du-jour and talk me down from the ledge that was Wishful Wedding Planning and back into Reality Wedding Planning. Soooooo....that being said, this next tidbit falls into the Wishful Wedding Planning. Somewhat wasteful in all aspects, but oh so lovely.

Decorated fucking sugar cubes. Check it out.

Amazing, right? The good thing about these, from Home Sweet Home Sugar Cubes, is that they offer a DIY eBook to download (for a price, of course) if you have a steady hand and the patience of Gandhi.

And if we had done the champagne toast thing (we didn't), I would have engaged in more fist shaking, foot stamping and childish behaviour because I would definitely have longed for these Champagne Sugar Charms.

Dropping the sugar into the champagne will create a champagne cocktail of sorts (minus the bitters), but most of all, it's crazy freaking pretty.

 I'll admit that I'm a sucker for the sugary-sweet-hurt-your-teeth stuff. I've made myself sick to my stomach and ripped mouth completely raw from over-indulging in it's various forms. But I love it. I do. I hope that if there is a heaven and they let me in,  I'll be able to enjoy it like this:  


I hope I haven't induced anyone into un-obtainable Wishful Wedding Planning, but hey, that Cotton Candy machine is only $50 and you can totally use it over and over and over....

So, what's YOUR favorite sweet thing? Do you rock it old skool like me, or does something else make you kookooforcocopuffs?

 Or more importantly, what's your current want-it-but-can't-have-it Wishful Wedding Planning obsession?


Can You Dodge the Assholes?

You know, there are lots of little articles out there about how to avoid wedding day mishaps. I think I've posted a few of my own. Like a Boy Scout - be prepared is the best advice I can give. Or perhaps expect the unexpected.

Know who your partiers/drinkers are and TELL SOMEONE. If Aunt Myrna has a habit of double-fisting the Chardonnay at parties, make sure you sit her next to someone who can handle Aunt Myrna. It is absolutely OK to cut someone off. However, this shouldn't be YOUR job. That why you need spies. I had them. Plant them throughout your wedding. I was lucky and didn't need them as everyone behaved. I think this had something to do with the fact that most people didn't realize it was an open bar and the fact that the wedding was on a Sunday night.

But aside from the obvious drinkers, what else could go wrong? I recently read an article on The Martha about a sister-in-law who "borrowed" the just-married couple's photographer to take some of her own family shots. Uh, hello? What? Apparently, the photographer didn't think to say no to the offending party. In this particular case, the couple missed some shots because of fading light with their photographer off photographing someone else! Can you imagine? *shudder* I would have been so pissed.Thank GOD, I don't have sister-in-laws.

I did have an incident at my own wedding that totally pissed me off. As my long time readers know, I struggled with whether or not to include children in our ceremony and reception. I like children, I really do. I wanted them there. However, what I did not want was children at an adult event. There are a handful of kids out there who can handle a few hours of chillin' out and letting the grown-ups do their thing. Generally, those kids are not under four years old. The majority of the kids at our wedding fell under that age. All were under 10 for sure.

I did a lot of work to make sure that the kids were happy. I had a kick-ass candy centerpiece and Cracker-Jack favors. 


I hired two kick-ass baby-sitters to watch the little ankle-biters. This cost me a little money, but not too much. I thought it would be a nice thing to  offer to the folks with kidlets. Again, thank you ladies!

I also paid for the use of the drop down movie screen and projector so that the kids could watch movies. Again, it wasn't a lot of money, but it also wasn't cheap.

My Flower Girl and her brother fully committed to movie-watching.

All photos by Nashville Photographer Jonathon Campbell Photography.

About a week before the wedding, I sent an email to all the parents who were bringing children. I let them know the "house rules" and what to expect. The reception venue has a balcony and the door to that balcony was near the exit to the room where the kids were going to be. We decided to make that a "no kids zone" to protect myself, Mere Bulles and the babysitters against any sort of liability issues. This made everyone, parents included, happy.

At the reception, right before dinner started, I made a quick detour up the stairs to say hello to all the kiddies and the baby-sitters before I got swept up in all that was the reception. On my way into the Kid Room, I ran into a parent with child in tow on their way out. Since dinner was nano-seconds from starting, I asked what was up. The parent explained that since there was an open seat at their table (a last minute no-show) that they thought it would be okay for their child to join them downstairs for dinner.

Uh, excuse me?

I very curtly said, "All children will be eating upstairs" and breezed by. This actually felt really dramatic since I had on the big gown and things sort of went floating by as I walked away in a huff. Note the Power of the Wedding Gown. Man, was I pissed. Had I not set up coolness for the kids upstairs? Had I not spent small gobs of money on "extras" so that out of town guests would not have to find child care? Had I not done all that I could to make children a part of our wedding day, yet still have the adult reception that I desired? Was it not OUR prerogative to design OUR WEDDING the way we wanted to? The nerve of some people.

And it's not like we banished the kids upstairs for the entire reception - just cocktails and dinner - which lasted a little over 2 hours. We cut the cake and started dancing and the kids were allowed to join in the fun then. Does that make me a bad bride? No, it doesn't.

If you are invited to a party (which essentially a wedding reception is) you follow the host's rules. Period. It's just good manners.

I found out later that the offending parent had asked my dad if it was okay for the rug-rat to come down and what's a Father of the Bride to do? He was put in an immediate and uncomfortable position, so he said it was okay. And plus, my dad had no idea what was going on upstairs. He had no idea the work and planning I had put into it. He had no idea why I cared.

Why did I care? Well, at that point there were several reasons why I cared:

1. Everything I just wrote above.

2. What about the other kids? What sort of ruckus do you think that would have caused the baby-sitters - to see one of the kids get to leave? Not fair or cool at all.

3. What about the other parents? How would they feel if as dinner starts, one child is led in for dinner while theirs are relegated upstairs? Again, way uncool.

I don't think there was any particular thing I could have done to avoid this parental confrontation. I might have had the wedding party more informed. But seriously, that information would have gone in one ear and out the other of anyone other than me or my planner. This was something where I just had to do to roll with the punches.

While my immediate decision might not have been the popular decision with the parent involved, I stand behind it. It was the right decision and the right thing to do. I handled it and did my best to let it go. Clearly, it still nags at me from time to time, but only because I write a wedding blog. I think if I was just an everyday, non-blog-writing person, I would have forgotten it by now. But I'm not, so it's kind of my excuse to hold grudges.

So, are you prepared for those people you personally find unpopular to do something asinine at your wedding? Were you the Bridal Victim of a Wedding Day Assault? Do tell.



Reception Venues - How Do You Choose?

Do you want this:


or this?


When The Candyman and I got engaged, we did not set a date right away. In fact, it wasn't until a month or so later that we did set a date. How did we chose our 10.11.09 date? It was very carefully thought out, the numbers were extremely significant to us and we planned everything around that date........NOT.

The venue we liked was available and half price on Sundays. SOLD.

OK, there were a few more factors involved, but not many. Basically, Mere Bulles chose our wedding date. That was totally OK with us. I encourage you to be flexible regarding your date. How important is it to be married on 10.10.10? Yes, very cool visually - but is there anything wrong with 10.11.10? What if the rates are cheaper? Think about it.

When choosing a venue there are some basics you need to keep in mind:

  • Budget (um, duh)
  • Food
  • Decor

The budget is the big one and the cost of a reception venue varies incredibly from location to location. READ THE CONTRACT. As boring as it is, the details here are so important. I've heard some horror stories that just make me shudder. Contract details that go unnoticed until the last minute can create conflict that is both emotionally and financially draining.

  • A venue in Chicago requires you to use their in-house cake service. As in, you MUST buy THEIR wedding cake. Yeah - lame.
  • Same venue would NOT remove the tip jars from the bar, even though the bar was open and the cost of the venue included 20% tip. Also lame.
  • What kind of deposit is required? Can you afford that deposit right now? If not, it might be better to wait to choose. You don't want to end up in a financial hole from the get-go. A local Nashville venue wanted us to sign the contract and leave a non-refundable deposit that was thousands of dollars, yet could not tell us which caterers they would allow us to use, nor what kinds of flowers would be included in the "all-inclusive" floral arrangements. Yeah - I don't think so.

Food is something you need to consider as well. Do you like the food served there? Have you eaten there before? Did you like it? Did you like the service? I highly suggest you attempt to visit your venue location prior to your appointment. A lot of places put their best foot forward for a tasting/meeting, but what about during their everyday services? The Candyman and I had dinner at Mere Bulles incognito prior to securing our date. We loved the food as well as the service. It was a thumbs up for us. A few things to consider regarding the food:

  • Do they have a liquor license? Sounds silly, but make sure.
  • Do you want to bring in your own booze? Will they allow that? Is there a cork/bottle fee if you do (generally, these fees still make it cheaper to BYOB, but you need to include these costs in your budget)?
  • Do they have a cake-cutting fee? Personally, I believe any establishment who charges for this should be nixed immediately. It's probably one of the lamest charges I've ever heard of. I'd LOVE for someone in the venue biz to try to explain this one away.
  • What's the cost difference between a sit-down versus buffet meal? You might immediately think that a buffet is cheaper, however - hidden costs lurk there as well - the costs for staff to carve, serve, replenish, etc. can increase the per person price more than you think. You've got to add all that junk in. Yes, it's a total pain in the ass.The Candyman and I never thought we could afford a sit-down dinner. We did the math though and guess what? The pricing came out almost exactly even to do the sit-down versus buffet. You need to play with the numbers to see what is the most economical. Do NOT be forced into a meal plan you aren't comfortable with.

Decor is REALLY important. Are you looking at a bare-bones space that will require you to rent everything - tables, chairs, linens, lighting? If you want to create an atmosphere unique to you and you alone, then that might be the way to go. If not, then consider this:

  • How much effort do you want to put into creating a unique atmosphere? If you're flying solo (no planner) then this is going to be a pretty big undertaking, regardless of the size/location of your wedding.
  • If you choose a location that already has decor - is it to your liking? What are you allowed to change? What are you allowed to add?
  • Decor includes flowers and lighting. Will you need to add more of these things to create an atmosphere? Are candles/open flames allowed?
  • What, if anything, is included with the decor?

The reasons The Candyman and I choose Mere Bulles?

  • We loved the food.
  • We loved the service.
  • The decor, without any additional fluff, was already stunningly classic, upscale (without being too snooty) and Southern.  
  • Basic linens were a part of the contract, as were votive candles - if desired.
  • The location was perfect for our guests and for us.
  • There were no hidden fees - our event coordinator was completely thorough. 
  • We could bring in our own wine.
  • I knew I wouldn't have additional worry by having additional rental vendors.
  • NO DEPOSIT REQUIRED. Only a credit card number was needed to hold the date. You could cancel up to 2 weeks prior to the event with no financial repercussions. Please keep this in mind when you are thinking about venues - wedding specific venues will not be as lenient. 
  • They were handicap accessible.

A few other things to consider:

  • Music/Sound/Noise - are they set up for music? Are there any potential noise/music restrictions?
  • Parking - is there enough? A local venue here in Nashville requires a valet as street parking is not allowed. That cost alone adds $450 to the total venue cost. That seemed like a lot to me for a 5 hour event for one dude to park cars. Maybe I'm off on that, but I knew I didn't like it.
  • Is the venue big enough to fit all your guests?
  • Make sure that the venue AND the surrounding areas are free from construction. No one wants orange cones or barriers in their wedding pics.
  • Is it air conditioned/heated?

The venue is one of the first things a bride decides upon. I think it really defines the rest of your planning, personally. The Candyman and I got married in small, Southern chapel. Having a chapel length train and veil really didn't seem to make sense. Neither did a whole lot of bling. Or orchids. Or limos. Or anything really over-the-top. It wasn't our style and our venues reflected who we were and how we wanted to celebrate our wedding. Yours should too. Be realistic. Don't try to put a round peg in a square hole. Unless you've got the cash, don't try to convert a barn into The W Hotel. And if you've got the cash, just go to The W Hotel. Not on the date you want, reconsider your date . It seriously won't kill you and no one really cares other than you, right now. In  a few years, you will think yourself a dolt for believing you had to get married on 10.10.10. Or 11.11.11, or on the anniversary of your first date/smooch/"I love you" particularly if you could have saved yourself some serious dough in doing so.

What have I missed here? Planners - chime in, please. What's important to consider that I haven't covered? Was there something that a venue required or didn't offer that made it a deal breaker for you? Share, please. I want to know! Brides want to know too!