Certified Coordinated Bride Tiffany

Journal Entry #2

My Bridal Party and the Dress

Hey y’all! Welcome back for blog post #2!

Today I’ll dive deeper into some exciting aspects of our planning process by sharing how I popped the question to my girls {my bridesmaids and my house party}, things my fiancé took charge with {and how you can get your future husband involved too} as well as my wedding gown experience from start to finish, including how I flew it to South Carolina two weeks ago!

The Bridal Party

I can’t tell you how many ideas there are on Pinterest to help style the perfect bridesmaid proposal! It can be so overwhelming for a new bride to scroll for hours through hundreds of boards to find something unique enough to genuinely express her love and appreciation for the girls she wants to ask.

After pinning wedding ideas to various boards since my freshman year of college, I knew that I wanted to convey the theme of our wedding in true Coordinated Bride fashion. Once I made some decisions, I spent a few weeks collecting the pieces and set a day aside for assembly.

My girls each received a package wrapped in lavender wrapping paper with a hand-tied white tulle bow. Each box contained Essie’s “Hubby for Dessert” nail polish, purple flowers, and a tiny bottle of champagne with a customized label (purchased from Etsy shop: Label With Love) asking them to be part of my bridal party. On the inside of the lid I taped a postcard from our venue, the Rose Hill Plantation. Each bridesmaid’s postcard depicted a different image of the mansion or plantation grounds. I have always been an advocate of hand written cards so this was the perfect space to share a heartfelt message that was personalized for each girl!

There was one more aspect of asking my friends to be a bridesmaid that I think is incredibly valuable to share with future brides. Being a bridesmaid comes with a price tag, that’s no surprise, and so I wanted to be as considerate as possible of my friend’s budgets, especially being that they would have to travel to our wedding.

I created a Google Doc. of an initial wedding weekend timeline and anticipated bridesmaid costs as well as costs that I would cover for my bridesmaids. This let the girls know what while they would be responsible for the cost of their bridesmaid gown, they could choose the style of their choice as long as it was in the color “champagne,” a shade of nude. I also confirmed that I would be covering their accommodations the nights leading up to the wedding, as well as their hair and makeup on the day of.

Talking finances is often difficult, but I wanted to give my bridesmaids the full two years notice of the responsibilities that they were accepting when agreeing to be part of the wedding party. We discussed these details soon after I proposed to them and it really helped to make dress shopping, flight purchases and planning go smoothly over the duration of our engagement. I’m so blessed to say that I have the most wonderful bridesmaids!

The five women standing beside me on my wedding day are not only significant to me, but to my relationship with my fiancé. They love on us in times of celebration and lift us up in times of difficulty. I feel so honored that they would agree to stand with us on our special day. While it is my wedding day, I am thankful for each of their roles in my life as well as my relationship with James and can’t wait to celebrate and honor them!

The House Party

Many girls struggle with picking their bridal party. It’s incredibly difficult when you are surrounded by so many incredible women. It is also difficult to have a large group of bridesmaids because it means that there are more people to coordinate with and more people to ask to make such a large commitment. As a bride getting married in the low country, I love incorporating sweet southern wedding traditions! I’ll tell you more of them over the next two months but for now I’ll tell you about my House Party!

A House Party allows a bride to honor her friendships without crowding the altar. It is very similar to being a bridesmaid but gives the women less responsibility when it comes to being part of the wedding. A way that many brides recognize their HP is by seating them in the second row of the ceremony behind the immediate families and by giving them a single flower to hold opposed to a full bouquet.

I wanted to propose to my HP as well but on a smaller scale so I designed a small card online and hand delivered them to my girls. I love the opportunity to make these special friends feel appreciated as I truly value their role in and influence on my life.

The Groomsmen

For all of the future husbands tuning in out there, I’ll briefly touch on how James asked his guys: He sent a text… the end!  I think that he met his “coordinated quota” in the process of proposing and I’m honored that he used it all up on me!

His groomsmen include our Best Man Bobby, who is James’ childhood neighbor and oldest friend, Bobby’s younger brother Chris, their friends Taylor and Michael as well as James’ high school classmate now coworker, his friend Billy.

Stationary, Florals and Tastings… The Groom’s Picks

I’ve found that many brides express the feeling that their fiancé is not interested in participating in the planning of their wedding. While James didn’t express much interest in the type of chairs we rented, he was very excited about our invitations, as well as florals and of course, food tasting!

As a certified Coordinated Bride {such an honor to say!}, I had a vision for my wedding. I always knew I wanted it to reflect the relationship between my future husband and myself. But in addition to that, I wanted my fiancé to share his creative input as well. Let me tell you, he had NOTHING to say about linens. And so throughout the process when he would get excited about planning, I let him run with it!

The first aspect of planning that he took a liking to was our invitations. Stationary is so important as it is the first piece of your wedding that guests see. It truly sets the tone for the style and vibe of your day. James found a lovely cream colored paper, lined with gold foil and a focal point of lavender colored flowers. Together we agreed upon the wording and decided to make an environmentally friendly decision of requesting our guests to RSVP via our wedding website that we created on the Knot. Rather than including an enclosure card, we chose to print some details on the other side so that we could be environmentally friendly. For our stationary we used Wedding Paper Divas, now owned by The Wedding Shop By Shutterfly. The design is still available under the new ownership. We have received so many compliments on the quality of our invitation and even older family members have been able to respond with ease through our website.

The next aspect of planning that truly took me by surprise when James expressed his excitement was during our meeting with our florist, Flowers by Lauri. One of the main crops produced in past centuries on the plantation grounds where we are hosting our wedding was cotton. In a way to honor the people who worked and lived on the plantation during its active years, James requested that our florist include cotton in his and the groomsmen’s boutonnières. Although our bridesmaids will have simple bouquets of green, I will have greens, white flowers and cotton in my bouquet as well. A way that I am setting my Maid of Honor’s bouquet apart is by adding spray painted gold baby’s breath to her arrangement.

Another aspect of planning that James couldn’t have enough of was our tastings, both with our caterer, Jim ‘N Nicks as well as our baker, Cakes by Lou. Together, we created menus for the rehearsal dinner, reception and send off brunch which include all of the best southern comfort food from pulled pork and a mac and cheese bar to brisket, sweet tea and grits. For dessert, we will have a whiskey barrel bar set up with a buffet of cake pops, cookies, brownies, cupcakes and macaroons. While all of the cakes were amazing, we surprised ourselves and decided to have our wedding cake be Lou’s specialty Lemon Cake… we don’t really prefer lemon cake but Lou’s is out of this world! Now for the rest of our marriage we can order a piece of lemon cake and think back to our wedding night!

My Wedding Gown

I grew up running off the bus from middle school on Friday afternoons so that I could catch TLC’s #FridayBrideday marathon of Four Weddings and Say Yes To The Dress. I was invested in the color schemes, dress materials, venues and of course, the bride’s gown. Bridal fashion has changed drastically over the years {have you tried on your grandmother’s gown?!} but I knew that I wanted something different that not every bride wore, I certainly don’t consider myself ‘trendy’. My style is for the most part conservative, traditional and classic but yet remains unique in a way.

I won’t give away too many details since this post goes live two months before the big day but in September 2016, a few months after we got engaged, I began researching designers that created the style I was looking for. The same day I discovered a designer that created collections that caught my eye, they released their Spring 2017 view book online. And there it was, my dream dress by Demetrios.

I immediately called the designer’s store in Manhattan and asked when I could come in to try on the dress I saw online. I was told that the line had not been released yet but would be debuted at a trunk show the following month and with that my appointment was made! On the day of my appointment I was so calm. And that is how I describe myself through the whole process of planning our wedding. If it’s right for us and meant to be, it’ll work out. If it’s not right, we keep looking. And so I walked into my appointment knowing that I would either hate the dress or order it immediately. You bet it was the latter. I FaceTimed with my Grammy so that she could see the dress on me and share her opinion as I could never bring myself to buy something, especially not my wedding gown, without knowing she loved it too!

Over the next year and a half we made some customizations and typical alterations so that my dress fit perfectly and was made just for me. I can’t rave enough about my consultant Charmaine at the Manhatten location where I had all of my alterations done. She was AMAZING and held my hand through the entire process. She was born and raised in Savannah, Georgia, only 20 minutes from our venue and so she talked me up and raved about how the Spanish Moss of the low country would compliment my dress choice.

On March 30th, exactly three months from our wedding day I picked up my dress so that I could fly it down to South Carolina. The staff at JFK airport and the flight attendants on our Jetblue flight were incredibly accommodating, helpful and kind! The helped to find an overhead bin that was reserved for my gown so that it was laid flat and was safe during travel. Once I arrived at my Grammy’s house in South Carolina I hung it up so that it has three months to rest safely until the big day!

Thank you so much for following along during this most special time, I love sharing my coordinated details with y’all!

Until next time!

XO Tiffany Merridith