August 6th, 2017

Save the Date!

Photo by Ashley Billone

You’ve got the wedding date picked, the location of your wedding and the venue…now what? Well, the good news is that you’ve got the big stuff (mostly) out of the way — now you have to pin down your guest list and get your Save the Date cards out!

When it comes to your guest list, you and your fiancé should make an “A” list and a “B” list (read more on determining your guest list in one of my earlier posts). You should definitely order enough cards to cover both lists, because you never know who will get back to you and say they can’t make it (it’s helpful to get that notice in advance). When you’re going through your guest list, I would recommend starting a word doc or excel sheet to store all this information (it will be helpful down the line when you’re getting ready to ship out your RSVP’s). When you’re going through the list together, make sure that all your guest names are spelled correctly (it’s more formal to address your guests by their full name rather than a nickname) and that all mailing addresses are up-to-date (I learned from my mistake!).

It’s really up to you when you want to send your Save the Dates, but I would recommend waiting at least a year. I was so eager to send mine out in the spring but as I thought about it more, I realized that it would confuse friends and family if they saw June 2nd, even though it would be for the following year. Long story short, we just sent ours out and we are now about 10 months out. I think that’s an appropriate amount of time since it will give friends and family the heads up that this is the day and place so they can start looking into travel.

Now, if you’re not sure where to start or even what you want your cards to look like, I’ve been there. I did a couple of months of browsing different websites, comparing prices and themes. It’s a good idea to sign up for your top three sites so you can get emails of sales and whatnot. We ended up ordering our invites through Wedding Paper Divas and we loved how they turned out! They had a great setup where you could import the photo you wanted to use (if you want to use an engagement photo) and it will show you what your photo would look like on all the different templates. If you built your wedding website already, I would recommend adding your website on there (an include your PIN/Password if it’s private) so your guests have access to it and can keep up with any new information that you put on there (like hotel blocking, rehearsal location, etc).

Here are a few other sites that have great themes and discounts:



The Knot

Another thing to keep in mind while planning out your Save the Dates — it should correlate with your theme that you’ve started coming up with. It’s the first taste that you will be giving your guests as to what the big day will be like.

June 16th, 2017

Spring Brides: Flower Power Edition

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Photo via Pinterest

Spring has sprung! If you’re a Bride this season and are still struggling on perfecting your hairdo for your big day, I’ve got your covered. Your wedding day can be overwhelming as it is with the little decisions, so I’m here to tell you to take a deep breath —exhale— and look at the different ways that you can spruce up your hair.

Naturally since it’s Springtime, flowers are always the first thing that come to mind. You might be thinking that flowers in your hair may be for, I don’t know, flower girls but they can look just as beautiful for a glowing bride-to-be!

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If your dress has a Boho edge to it, you can take it a step further with a low messy bun and add some delicate touches of flowers. This is a good go-to if you are a little hesitant about having something in your hair but want to add a little touch. This will have everyone saying “ooooh” and “aaahhh.”

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Photo via Pinterest

This style has more of a “Winter Wonderland” vibe to it, but it would look equally as beautiful for a “Whimsical Woodsy” wedding. This is more of an established flower crown with more greens added—giving it that beautiful nature touch.

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Photo via Pinterest

This messy fishtail style is for those risk-takers. When you see this hairdo, you wouldn’t naturally think of it being a bridal look, but when you see it and then add delicate, white flowers you can’t imagine it being for anything else. Also, if you have an ombre do going on, this could add an extra layer of edginess.

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Photo via Pinterest

Lastly, this look is a mix of the classic, elegant waves tied in with some soft pink and green. You can make a beautiful flower crown of your choice (and pallet). You can also add flowers to make it thicker. If you want to continue the theme, your bridesmaids can wear their own flower crowns, but thinner and add more greenery to differentiate the two.

Don’t forget, you can get these simple styles done for you at the closest Blo Blow Dry Bar near you!

April 17th, 2017


Photo via Pinterest

You’ve picked your dress, now it’s time to find the perfect dress for your bridesmaids. The more girls you have in your wedding, the harder it can be to accommodate everyone’s comfort and needs, but it can be done! There are different routes you can go down when it comes to picking your bridesmaids dresses and I’m here to help you (or at least try)!

For starters, it can be a little overwhelming to figure out what type of dress you want your best girls rocking on your big day.

Long or short dress? (For me, I think full-length dresses are more formal)

Same color dress but different styles?

Same style dress but different color?

Different color and different style?

Do you want each dress to fall within your color palette

I think by now you get the picture– the questions go on and on. Another question to think about is, will the dress you chose favor your bridesmaids body types? It’s nerve-wrecking to think that the same dress will look amazing on everyone, but think of it as Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Trying to find that one magical dress that will look amazing on your girls. You want to look your best on your big day, so why wouldn’t you want your bridesmaids to feel their best also?

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Photo by Ashley Billone

If you feel like you’re all over the place with choosing a dress, there’s a couple of factors and things that you should consider first:

Your bridesmaids dresses should go well with your dress. Not in the sense that they should match, but if you have a tighter dress or a mermaid-style dress, your bridesmaids dresses should not be poofy. You should still be the center of the attention. Think of it as their dresses should be a nice compliment to yours.

Look through Pinterest and and some bridal magazines and make your own mood board. Sometimes it’s good to cut things out in order to see everything that you like that’s not on a computer screen.

Share your thoughts with your bridesmaids. Once you’ve put some thought into what you like (and don’t like), show your bridal party what’s on your mind. Maybe they will have some input that can be helpful.

Xoxo- Ashley

March 10th, 2017

And How You Can Too…

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Photo by Ashley Billone

OK, so probably one of the most important decision you make while you’re engaged is finding the dress…and I’m not talking about just a dress, but the dress. You know, the white one you wear on your wedding day where you take photos in looking like a princess? Yeah, that one.

In my wedding research that I’ve done so far, I’ve read that you should get your dress a year or ten months in advance of your wedding day. When I say you should “get” your wedding dress, I mean that it should be ordered, since it can take up to eight months for the dress to even be made and shipped to you or the store. After the dress has been shipped, you go to your first fitting and then you get the alterations, which can take another couple of months. You see how time is starting to add up?

Though I’ve only been engaged for a couple of months, I can’t even imagine looking for a dress any longer and dealing with that timeline. If you haven’t caught onto my vibe, I’m extremely organized about everything and really am not trying to become a Bridezilla (or lose my hair–which would actually be really hard because I have a lot of it!). Anyways, I really don’t think it’s too early to start looking because everyone has their own preference and their own pace for looking for things, and this is definitely something you don’t want to short yourself on time.

If you live in a big city, it can be a little overwhelming as far as where to start looking. Here are some questions to ask yourself before you start diving deep.

What is your budget? (This is the most important question). With this question especially, and if you’re on a tight budget, include everything in your overall dress budget: shoes, vail, jewelry and alterations. If you say your budget is $5,000, you have to ask yourself if that means just for the dress or all in because if you’re thinking only about the dress, it will easily be an extra $1,500-$2,000 for all the other things. *This is an important one!!*

What is your style? A-line, mermaid, princess…the list goes on and on. If you’re reading this and have no idea what any of these styles even look like, that’s totally OK! Do some research. Go on websites and start looking at dress styles and pick ones that would appeal to you and your body type because *shocker* everyone has different body types!

What is the look you’re going for? By the time you pick your wedding dress (or start looking), you should have a good idea of where the venue will be. I’m not saying this in the sense that your dress should match your venue, but at the same time, it would look a little weird to pick a boho-style dress and get married in a cathedral– you get me?  If you know you’re getting married in a church and are going more for the traditional setting, your dress should be more of a classic, timeless dress and have a train. Again, In the end, it’s completely up to you and it’s your day.

Now, some other pointers that I’ve learned along the way is that you should consider how comfortable your dress is. I mean, you’re going to be wearing this thing all day. I tried on a few dresses that were not on my radar (and for a reason). It’s pretty and looks good in photos, but I can’t move! How will I walk around all day? For example, the dress pictured below was gorgeous, but I was waddling in it like I was on my way to the bathroom. To me, that does not seem very bridal!

Photo by Ashley Billone

Another important pointer: How does the dress make you feel? If you try it on and immediately don’t feel anything, it’s not the dress! When I was trying on some of these dresses, I would look at myself in the mirror and just didn’t feel like a bride. I had a vail on, I was wearing a big white dress, but I didn’t have a connection with the dress (yes, I know how insane that sounds). Out of the seventy-something dresses that I tried on (eeek!) in the past few months, there were three dresses that made my eyes sparkle. The one below is one of them, the other is not in this post and the third is not going to be shown yet because it’s the dress that I found ;).

Photo by Ashley Billone

When you try on the dress, you should immediately start feeling things. When I tried on my dress, it was the fifth place I went to that weekend and my hopes weren’t high. I was tired and started feeling doubtful but as soon as I tried my dress on, I looked at my mom and my two bridesmaids and said “this is it.” I will share the rest of the story after my wedding with specifics, but the point about this post is that there are some things to really think about when you’re trying on dresses. Don’t go into an appointment seeking out your dress. You will find it when you find it-whether it takes you a month after you get engaged or six months. Take photos, twirl in it, laugh in it. These are moments that you will always treasure!

This is one of the most important dresses that you will be wearing in your entire life and you should feel so happy and special in it! Now, just one more photo just for fun.

Photo by Ashley Billone



March 8, 2017

Planning For Your Happily Ever After

Photo via Pinterest

After I got engaged, I would get advice to just “enjoy being engaged” and then start planning. Now, I have a very Type-A personality, which means that planning part of my nature. Any given opportunity where I can plan, I will do it. So as you can imagine, it was a little hard to take this advice.

With that being said though, I did take a couple of weeks (and I really do mean a couple) of weeks of enjoying my engagement, but then it was crunch time. Even though we are getting married in spring of 2018 (recently decided), it’s important to start getting all your ducks in a row because i’ve quickly found that there are girls  who literally have their entire wedding planned out by the time they get married. Though I am Type-A, I am also very indecisive but I’m getting better!

Whether you are getting married in six months, a year or even two years from now, it’s always good to take a step back before you start any planning just to get a sense of where to start. Now, there are many ways you can tackle this. If you’re a list person (eh-hem like me), this is probably the best route for you. If you’re flustered and aren’t sure of where to start first, there are different resources you can (and should) utilize to keep yourself organized and sane.

  • Kate Spade has a “Love Is In the Air” binder that has pages filled with checklists, sections for notes, more lists, budget information and even pages to create your own mood boards. (I have one of these binders and it’s been great so far)!
  • The Knot is also a great source because once you create your own profile with basic information, it creates a dashboard for you and has a digital checklist for you (if you prefer typing over to writing). It also has a checklist for all the vendors and breaks it down into a timeline and when you should be completing those duties based on your wedding date. Obviously, you don’t have to stick to the timeline verbatim, but if you like that precise timeline then this is a great outlet for you! You can also put your overall budget for the wedding and each time you mark off vendors and deposits, it will automatically subtract from the total budget.
  • Google Spreadsheets is a place maybe you wouldn’t think of using, but works just as great! If you like spreadsheets and having multiple tabs, this would be a great outlet for you. Also, there is no specific layout and you can tailor it to however you and your fiancé will best understand it and keep track of things. To my surprise, my fiancé made one of these very shortly after we got engaged and it’s been a great source for us. We have a main page with our budget and two columns broken down to the main elements of a wedding (venue, catering, florists, photographer, music, etc.) and we have a “low ball budget quote” and a “high ball budget quote” so that we can see roughly what we can work with and how these different categories will fluctuate as we move forward.

Once we lock down that category, we mark it in green and keep track of the deposits we’ve made, how much more we will owe later on and then the numbers will                 automatically change based on what you put. The tabs come in handy because you have a tab for everything: vendors, music, florists, catering/bar, photographer/videographer, guest list, other wedding services, etc. For each tab, you can keep track of your research and store all of the information because everything will start to seem similar and you will forget what quote that person gave you or what information you told them. Once you start talking to more and more vendors of all categories, start making notes of why you liked them or maybe why you didn’t like them (bad reviews, too expensive…) and it will help immensely down the road!

Lastly for the spreadsheets, it’s nice to have another general tab with a list of all the expenses (bride and groom included) and make separate columns of what’s in progress, what hasn’t been completed, what you need to inquire on or what you’ve completed. You will add all the categories again, but you will go into more detail for your checklist and include things such as wedding dress, shoes, hair and makeup, engagement shoot budget, bridesmaids and groomsmen gifts, bachelor/bachelorette potential costs, save the dates, RSVP…I think you get the point. You can add or delete whatever you want– the point is that you are tailoring this to what makes sense for the both of you!

Now, I will admit that I am using all three of these outlets to get organized for my wedding. Like I said, I’m crazy with this stuff so don’t feel bad if you’re just doing one!

Last but not least, my one piece of advise would be to save everything and take everything in. Take notes, tear a page out of a bridal magazine that you like, save that card you got at a bridal expo or whatever it may be. I have a box going where I’ve been hoarding all of the wedding stuff I’ve gotten so far. I do have to sift through it but I am going to be glad that I’ve kept all these things that have been special memories along this beautiful journey.



Jan 28, 2017

You’re Engaged…Now What?

Photo via Pinterest

So…I still can’t wrap my head around it, but I am getting married! It’s been one of the most amazing feelings I have ever endured and I hope it never goes away.

Not only am I going to be marrying the love of my life and my best friend, but I get to plan a wedding too! Some days, I sit at work day dreaming about what my wedding day will look like, while other days…not so much. It’s all fun and games Pinteresting your dream dress, cake, location, flowers, etc. until one day you actually have to make decisions!

I’ve been engaged since the end of November (Thanksgiving) and within a week, we had people texting and calling us if we’ve not only picked a location…but a date too! Now, I get that some women have their weddings planned to the tee so when the planning actually happens, they are all set. But, this is not my case.

My fiancé (I’m still getting used to calling him that!) and I have of course talked about marriage and things that we would like and wouldn’t like at our wedding, but now it’s show time and all those hypotheticals have become our reality. After getting good advice from friends and people who have gone through this, I have reassured myself (several times already) that everything will be ok in the end and we will make the best of it no matter what!

Now, for those of you who are also newly engaged or are on your way to that point, here are some obstacles that I’ve had to overcome and let me tell you, it’s not easy.

The Wedding Budget: Now, this can be an easy or difficult topic depending on if you know you will be paying for the wedding, or will go a more traditional route and have the bride’s parents pay for it. Personally, enjoy being engaged for at least a week before this topic comes in play. It won’t be an easy convo, but it’s something that needs to be established early on so you can start browsing and set some boundaries. (The Knot has a budgeting tool that I found useful to look at just as an average per topic).

The Bridesmaids and Groomsmen: Another tough topic to figure out. If you have a sibling or a family member who you are very close with, well then that’s an easy solution as to who you can pick to be in your wedding party. It gets tricky when you and your fiancé don’t have the exact number of close friends who you would want by your side, so I suggest each writing down a list your closest friends/family who you want by your side and go from there.

The Guest List: (Groans). This has easily been my least favorite thing to tackle so far. Not in the sense that you don’t want to invite people, but because you really have to consider size (especially if you have a venue in mind already). After naming off family and close friends, the list is already at about 100 people. “What about your second cousin and their family, and the neighbor from down the street?, etc.” I say, leave it. If you’re really unsure and don’t want to hurt feelings, make an A list and a B list. The A list will consist of family members and close friends (i.e. wedding party), and family friends. The B list will consist of maybe some high school friends, those friends who you keep in touch with once in a while and maybe any parent’s friends. If you send out the RSVP and find out that more people can’t make it than you thought, then it may be a good idea to invite some people from your backup list. To me, it was pretty black and white (with a few exceptions) as to who I wanted to invite because for me, I don’t want to be shaking people’s hands all night or have a business meeting feeling. This is our wedding and we want to be surrounding by people who we really love and cherish. If you’re unsure about them from the start, I say it’s probably not worth it sending an invite (but that’s just me).

The Venue: This area can be a tricky one, depending on how big both of your families are and where they are located. No matter where you get married, people are always going to have to travel. I had always imagined a destination wedding in Mexico since it’s very near and dear to my heart and also so full of culture. We recently went down for Christmas and very quickly realized that it would be a logistical nightmare to ask about 150 people to travel to Puebla, Mexico. We live right outside Manhattan so for us, we are thinking that Manhattan is a great place to get married (aside from it being expensive!)– it’s a great hub for everyone to fly into and there are many ways to access the venue (we are leaning towards the Upper East Side). It never hurts to look around though, because you would be surprised as to what you’ll find and it’s also a good way to get ideas as to what you both like and don’t like in a venue. I treated venue shopping like apartment shopping- photos will always be different from the real thing (this could be both a good and a bad thing) and you don’t want to look at too many, because then you could start to get too picky as to what you want. It’s always good to ask as many questions as possible and get a sense of what’s included with the space, otherwise things can add up veryyy quickly.

The Dress: Yes, the dress. That long, white, beautiful dress that you’ve been dreaming about all your life. This is a big decision (especially if you can’t even make up your mind what you want for breakfast…or maybe that’s just me). Now, we are looking to get married in late spring of 2018 so yes we have time, but at the same time, I’m new to all of this and you think you know what you want in a wedding dress until you start trying them on! For this one, I say it doesn’t hurt to start looking early because it may take a few months to find the one and you don’t want to feel rushed in the process!

This is about all i’ve had to deal with so far, and I take all advice with a grain of salt. You will get the pushy people who ask if you’ve got it all figured out, the ones who ask if you’re stressed yet, and the ones who will tell you to just relax and enjoy every moment. As mentioned above, take everything with a grain of salt. Write down the things you want, the things you don’t want, cut stuff from magazines for inspiration, make Pinterest boards, do it all!

I’m learning all of this along the way and I’m sure it will get to me and I’ll be doubtful, overwhelmed, and I’m sure much more but this is an exciting journey that I’m on and I’m ok to mess up along the way. If you’re in the same boat as me, I hope you will follow along as well and that I can provide some sort of intel that can help along the way.

Xx, Ashley

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