Archive for April, 2011

Engagement Party Plans Are A Movin’ Along ~ Choosing a DJ

Posted on: April 27th, 2011 by admin No Comments

You know, of all the things I’ve budgeted and planned for, I’m one of those brides who honestly didn’t think much about a DJ.  Now, I know I should have; I really should have since a couple of my favorite DJs in Alaska advertise right on the Wedding Guide Alaska website.  I am, however, not a wedding planner.  I am a DIY bride and I’m trying to cut corners with my budget.  Let me explain why I decided this aspect of our engagement party was important after my initial dismissal, and how I managed to stay within my budget while handing the music over to the professionals.

First of all, Jon and I are having a small wedding.  Even though it’s in Alaska, it’s a destination wedding being that it’s about two hours away from where we live.  Since we are having an invitation only wedding that is mostly family and a few close friends, we are going all out for an engagement party in Anchorage that is set up reception-style so everyone feels like they are a part of our lives.  We want to make sure that all our friends and family know how much we appreciate their support.  This is basically why Jon and I changed our minds on our guest entertainment.  We have decided to have a photobooth, dinner, dancing, cake (in the form of cupcakes!), and a themed party to make it more exciting and as much fun as possible for our guests.

Martin James of Alaska Professional Entertainment (aka APE) gave me a little insight on brides who did not focus on their wedding entertainment: 78% have regrets within one week of their wedding and 81% of wedding guests say they remember the entertainment at the reception the most (check out page 145 of the Alaska Wedding Workbook).  This greatly affected our idea that a good theme and food would be sufficient to please our guests.

Fortunately, Jon has a good friend that happens to be a professional DJ and works for Peak Entertainment.  After meeting with the company, we decided to purchase the Deluxe Package because of the price and all the little add-ins.  We are going to have a customized play list and “mood” lighting.  Our engagement party theme is vintage-glam, so our music will begin in the 1920′s upon arrival at the party and progress to current music by the time dancing is scheduled to begin.  In addition to the customized list, Peak Entertainment is setting up lighting that will encourage our guests to dance and not be intimidated by the fact that Alaska’s sunset will not be until much later in the evening.  No one likes to dance in daylight, so our dance floor lighting will provide the illusion of being after-dark.

So how did I save money?  That was the easy part!  Jon and I are helping our DJ by gathering together song lists for our engagement party to help him customize our play list.  We also chose a local DJ service that has a great reputation in the community and that is known to be a professional company.  As far as packages are concerned, we carefully scanned which package gave us the most of what we wanted for our buck.  We didn’t end up going with the most expensive package because we just didn’t need everything that came with it.  Also, we took into account the fact that we won’t have to bother with decor on the dance floor.  We were worried about that and were planning a piece of our budget around the fact that we needed to close off the dance floor to give it a better feel for dancing.  Peak is taking care of all that, and it’s INCLUDED in our package!

I’m quite confident that we will never regret adding the DJ into our budget and I really think our guests are going to LOVE it!  Hey, if you have any music suggestions, email me!

Dress Shopping Rule #1: Keep Your Friends Close

Posted on: April 8th, 2011 by admin No Comments

Guess what?! I got my dress!

I have to admit that I’ve been rather moody lately.  So when my sister flew me down to Portland as a surprise to go wedding dress shopping, I was worried.  But the trip was a success!

What did I learn about buying a wedding dress?  It’s very complicated, but it can also be quite entertaining!  I thought I found a dress that in my mind “would do the job”.  It was pretty, flattering, but it lacked any “WOW” factor for me. I even put a down payment on it.  It was rather nice to go dress shopping again, however, knowing that if I didn’t find anything better, I still had a dress to use for my wedding.  Where did I go wrong?  I was nervous and I settled.

I mean, I’ve watched “Say Yes to the Dress.”  I know that you want to look gorgeous and the dress is one of your most difficult decisions.  But until I tried on my personal perfect wedding dress, I didn’t quite understand that it is extremely important that you find a dress that is exactly what you want…as a bride, your dress needs to “WOW” you!  When I was finally wearing my perfect dress, everyone in the room held their breath, including me.  I could only smile, mom cried, and my sister and friends just kept saying how beautiful it was…it was the one!

I used the worksheet on page 9 of my Alaska Wedding Workbook to help me choose  my wedding dress.  It was very helpful while we shopped because I was able to write down the designers I liked, the style of dress and details I wanted, as well as shoe and accessory ideas.  I especially found useful the “Tips to Remember” section next to the worksheet.  It gives you suggestions to make your shopping experience more successful, such as taking pictures of dresses you like, wearing nude colored undergarments, bringing people you trust along with you, and setting your budget BEFORE walking into the bridal shop.

Also, on page 7, there is a fabulous little section called “Dressing Your Body Type.” It’s an editorial that lists the different kind of styles that flatter a variety of female shapes.  It was super helpful because my instinct was to try on dresses that I thought were pretty but didn’t necessarily flatter me.

Here are a few of those “tips” I found very helpful while I was trying dresses on.  I only realized they’d be issues after beginning to fill out the worksheet in my book, but fortunately before we set out on my wedding dress excursion:

1) It’s okay if you’re a couple sizes bigger in a wedding dress than in your jeans.  Most women are!

2) A dress will very likely require tailoring to fit your shape perfectly.  The other wonderful thing is that a tailor is able to make any number of changes to your dress.  For instance, I’m having cap sleeves added to my dress because I prefer sleeves and it gives my dress a more vintage-y feel.

3) Make sure to keep your friends and family close.  This is a requirement!  You NEED people to honestly critique how the dress looks and if it matches your theme.  You want to look your best and if you feel beautiful, your pictures will be gorgeous and you will have a happy memory of your perfect dress at your fairy tale wedding!

We had a photographer snap a few shots of our adventure and I was SOO happy when I looked at the pictures after!  If you want to flip through a few, click here, but bear with us, Jon is NOT allowed to see the dress before June 11th, so there aren’t any pictures of my perfect dress!