How do I form my Wedding Guest List?

I get asked this question really often when working with couples. Hill Country weddings are a little different than say Dallas or Austin weddings. Typically they are smaller and more “destination-like”. If you follow the rules and formula below you’ll end up with a really close number to use for your budget and give to vendors!

First, divide up the guest list. No matter who is paying for the wedding, the general split is 50% bride & groom invites, 25% to each set of parents. This may not be applicable if one side of the family is significantly larger than the other, but if there are questionable invites use the rules below to decide whether or not they should be on the list.

 

 

Rule #1: If neither of you has spoken to or met them before, including distant family relatives, don’t invite them (this doesn’t include dates of people you do want to invite).
Rule #2: If anyone is on the list because you feel guilty about leaving them off (maybe because you were invited to their wedding or they are friends with a lot of people who are invited) don’t invite them.
Rule 3: If don’t see yourself being friends with them in 5-10 years, don’t invite them.

 

 

Some common questions to address…

1. Do I have to allow everyone a date? Yes! No explanation needed. Just yes. You don’t have to account for everyone having a date if you are pretty sure they won’t bring one, but you must give them the room to bring one if they wish.

2. Do I have to invite kids? Absolutely not! Even if you have kids in the bridal party, you don’t have to invite everyone’s kids. Just try to keep the rule consistent, like bridal party kids but no one else, or just relative’s kids but not friend’s kids.

3. Do I have to invite my parent’s friends? Well, in general, if it is within the allotted percentage of guests that you gave them, yes, even if it is annoying. If you are really worried about cutting back, I’d present your parents with a guest list of the family/friends related to them you want to invite and maybe just give them a few other invites (but make sure they still fall within the rules listed above).

The Magic Formula to Estimate Your Guest Count Correctly

How do I know how many guests will come? How many guests should I account for in my budget? A lot of websites will give you a general percentage, but for me that’s just not good enough! It also doesn’t take into account the fact that Hill Country Weddings are often “destination-ish”, with people coming from all over and very few actually living in the area.

Make a master guest list and split it into three different categories:

  1. Wouldn’t miss my wedding for the world.
  2. I have no idea whether these guests will be able to make it.
  3. I’m sending them an invite as a courtesy, but I know they won’t come (maybe you know they won’t be able to swing the travel cost, or get away from work or school).

Then take the following percentages:

  1. 100% of these guests
  2. 75% of these guests
  3. 0% of these guests

This always yields a number within 10 guests of the actual count! It’s a magical formula! Well maybe not magical, but it is customized to your guests (because you know them the best!).

After putting together these numbers, see if your budget is realistic to your wedding head count and cut back even more if necessary. You’ll want to work on this guest count number BEFORE booking your venue. After it’s final, its final! You do not want to lose several thousand dollars in deposit money because you have more people to invite than what your venue can handle.

Hope this helps some of you out there put together a Hill Country wedding guest list!

Photos thanks to Amy Karp  from a wedding at Camp Waldemar. More from this gorgeous wedding to come in later posts!

 

Moody Peach & Lilac Hoffman Haus Wedding

Lindsey & Cody’s April wedding at Hoffman Haus was such a fun palette to style! Lindsey came to me with the idea for this palette from a Jenny Yoo bridesmaids dress inspiration photo and it was so fun to bring to life. This palette could work in Spring, Summer or even Fall. Lindsey designed these invitations herself using Minted’s custom color matching service.

Viridian put together the perfect loose bouquet that incorporated succulents and blooms. I love the way the Fredericksburg limestone in the buildings at Hoffman Haus brings out these peachy tones in our palette.

These Anthropologie copper terrariums filled with lavender, brought the lilac color to the ceremony and smelled fantastic! Lavender grows really well here in the Hill Country and was a nice local touch.

I love to use these farm tables at Hoffman Haus for the head tables. They are so beautiful and unique!

Whew that dress! Mckenzie Baird was the wonderful photographer, i just love the way she uses light! Her images just feel so warm and cozy.

The linens were one of my favorite parts of this wedding! La Tavola’s lilac velvet print for the cake table and Trouseau Smokey Amethyst for the cocktail tables added the purple touches we needed in the Great Hall. I also just love the greenery on the drapes, just a nice little installation that looks so custom!

We ended the night with a little sparkler fun!

Venue: Hoffman Haus
Photographer: Mckenzie Baird Photography 
Planning & Styling: Hill Country Bride 
Catering: Otto’s 
Cakes: Sophie’s Bakery 
Hair & Makeup: Brandy Pate
Officiant: JR Nutt 
Music: Anthony Garcia

My Top 5 Favorite Wedding Ceremony Songs for 2019

I have a lot of  people ask my advice on wedding ceremony song choices when we are in the wedding planning process. I’ve seen a lot of different things, but admittedly I have my favorites. Ultimately, the more the song is meaningful to you and your fiance, the more memorable it will be. However, here are some ideas that you might love or might get the ball rolling for you! These are in no particular order and I’d recommend the instrumental versions without words for all of these.

  1. Tale as Old as Time from Beauty and the Beast. If you grew up dreaming of being a princess (like we all did!) this one might make your hear flutter. You might sub this with whatever Disney Princess soundtrack is your favorite. These usually sound beautiful played by a string quartet!
  2. Cowboy Take Me Away by Dixie Chicks.  If you are going for more of a Texas country wedding this is a good choice. This makes a great entrance song in the instrumental version, but it’s also one of my favorite first dance songs for a couple. Come on, “in the comfort of your arms… on a pillow of bluebonnets…” you can’t get more Texas than that.
  3. Ed Sheeran’s Perfect. Cause we all turn up the song and sing all the words when this comes on the radio, and the instrumental version is beautiful and builds really nicely. This is another one that makes a great first dance song (with words). Also, Ed Sheeran shows up at wedding video, because you need something to do on your lunch break. Your welcome.
  4. Here Comes The Bride. I mean you can’t go wrong with traditional. We all put pillowcase veils with flower crowns on our heads and practiced to this one when we were kids. It will for sure make your Mom and Dad cry and it will never feel dated.
  5. Cannon in D. This is another traditional bridal entrance song. It’s a little less obvious than “Here Comes the Bride” but still a beautiful melody. I linked a harp here, because it’s become one of my favorite ceremony instruments. It’s sounds classic, but more subtle and acoustic sounding than a string quartet.

These are some of my favorite bridal entrance songs for Texas wedding ceremonies, but you could use a mixture of these for your bridal party or family processional. Just for those who don’t know, this is a typical order of walking and songs you might need for the ceremony:

  1. Seating of the families (grandparents and parents usually)
  2. Procession (entrance) of the Bridal Party
  3. Procession of the Bride
  4. Recessional (Exit song at the end)

Depending on how large your bridal party is, or how long your aisle is, may determine how many songs you need, but you can always loop a song to make it longer. It’s never good to have a song play for just a short amount of time because you want multiple songs. It tends to feel rushed. Better to have one song loop (if it can be done smoothly) than have multiple songs that you aren’t even getting through the first verse. Especially if you have live musicians, since there will be a pause between different songs. Often at weddings, if the aisle is fairly short and the bridal party is fairly small, we use the same song for seating of the families and procession of the bridal party.

I hope this info helps in planning your Texas Hill Country Wedding! What are some of your favorite wedding ceremony songs?! Please share with us!

Photos by the lovely Amy Karp Photography! of a wedding at Camp Waldemar in Hunt, Texas!

Pretty Pink & Red Wedding at Hoffman Haus

I got these photos back this week and was so excited to share them! This fall wedding at Hoffman Haus, photographed by Benjamin Garrett Photography, was filled with such happy colors and smiles. The bride, Grace Anne, is one of those girls that is so pretty, especially when she isn’t trying to be! Some of my favorite shots are the candids of her just laughing with her gals. Feast on the lovely florals by Sprout; Michelle’s use of the really dark greens in the bouquets, centerpieces, and ceremony arch tied in perfectly to the greens on the invitations and the dark ivy foliage at Hoffman Haus. Whoever said red and pink don’t match (my mom never let me wear red and pink together) just didn’t know how to do it well (Sorry, Mom). The champagne  undertones in Grace Anne’s dress complimented the palette perfectly! Champagne was also the linen color we chose from the Nuovo collection from La Tavola Fine Linens. It’s a great neutral that lends just slightly to the feminine. Sophie’s made the lovely, and tasty, cake and Feast & Merriment catering designed those beautiful cocktails and the food was amazing!

I hope you enjoy these lovely reds and pinks in the spirit of Valentine’s Day!

Benjamin Garrett Photography

Hill Country Wedding Venue

Hill Country Wedding Venue Feature: Hoffman Haus Fredericksburg, Texas

As a part of my brand spankin’ new snazzy website I now have a vendor referral page, in the hopes that you will bring a long the best of the best Hill Country Wedding vendors to make your day PERFECT (or as close to it as possible). I’ll be debuting my personal favorites on the blog weekly, then they will get added to the vendor page with contact info and all the important deets. Photo above thanks to Two Pair Photography.

And the first Hill Country Wedding venue feature goes to…. drum roll please… Hoffman Haus in Fredericksburg, Texas! It is one of my most favoritest (yes, I know, not a word) venues ever to work with for so many reasons. Here is the simplified list below:

1)It’s pretty. Actually beautiful. Pottery Barn furniture, marble top bar, antique mirrors, stage with silk dupioni draping, beautiful accent pieces like farmhouse tables and pine tables for your buffet. I could go on for a long time. See for yourself. Photos thanks to Breanna McKendrick Photography. Hill Country Wedding Venue Photo

Hill Country Wedding Venue Photo

Breanna McKendrick Photography

2)The staff and owners are fantastic people. They care about their clients and do what it takes to make things go really smooth. They treat their guests like family. The kind you choose, not the kind you are stuck with. ha ha. Photos thanks to Benjamin Garrett Photography & Sarah Goss Photography.

Hill Country Wedding Venue Photo

Benjamin Garrett Photography

Benjamin Garrett Photography

3)Location. In the heart of amazing, lively, downtown Fredericksburg. Need I say more? If you are reading this and you haven’t been to Fredericksburg, continue reading, then book your stay immediately for a girls weekend or romantic retreat to our lovely town. Don’t forget to stop by and say “Hi”, I’m likely hanging at a winery, shopping main street, working on my porch with a view of the hills, or watching live music and eating yummy food at one of our amazing restaurants…. Do I sense jealousy?? Yes, I live in the most amazing town ever.
Hill Country Wedding Venue Photo Hill Country Wedding Venue Photo 4)Logistics. They provide tables and chairs and pretty furniture, you get the property mostly to yourself for the weekend, and the guests can leave the reception and walk back to their rooms or some close by hotels, or to a local dive bar for late night shenanigans.

Hill Country Wedding Venue

Sarah Goss Photography

5)It really is just lovely here. They pay attention to the details. The art hanging, how the ivy crawls along the stone, the beautiful bathtubs in the rooms, and the amazing breakfast delivered to your door every morning (seriously, they do that). There are so many reasons why this place is just plain awesome. Visit them and discover for yourself! Photos thanks to Sarah Goss Photography.

Hill Country Wedding Venue

Sarah Goss Photography

Cedar & Stone Workshop Stylist- Sneak Peek!

Happy Fall everyone! I can’t get enough of this 70 something weather right now. I fear the heat returning, so I’m wearing scarfs and making yummy fall treats to celebrate. One of my girlfriends always says, “buy the pumpkins and the weather will follow!” I hope that’s true!

Another exciting thing about this fall is the Cedar and Stone workshop that I’m styling! I’m super pumped about working with the amazing team of vendors (see some listed here) we have lined up. It’s going to be a weekend of hard work and hanging with cool people, but I’m most excited about the creative side. It’s so fun to create something original and have people engage with it. We will be setting up our styled shoots at three really great Hill Country Wedding Venues- Montessino Ranch, Pecan Springs Ranch, and The Liney Moon.

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Since I mentioned it last week as a teaser, I thought I would share a little inspiration with you for one of the shoots! I can’t share all of the details, because that would ruin the fun, but here are some of the inspiration images, colors, and patterns that showed up on our mood board.

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For those of you that aren’t familiar, mood boards are super helpful in setting the tone for a shoot or event. They guide all of the vendors on the “feel” and the color story, but are never meant for copying. We want to come up with something original, but this allows us to communicate the vision. Then each vendor can come up with an original design inspired by the mood board. It’s really neat to see the initial mood board and compare it to the final product. I can’t wait to show you the results!

There are a couple of spots still available if you are interested in attending. It’s going to be super inspiring and amazing!

Inspiration thanks to: HappyWedd.Com; Elizabeth Anne Designs; One Summer Day Photo; My Sequined Life; Green Wedding Shoes; Amy Lynn Photography; United With Love; Luck & Love Photography;

La Tavola Linen’s Dreamy 2016 Collection!

In the past month I took a “work trip” up north a few hours to visit some amazing vendors in Dallas (I say this in parenthesis because I really just met cool people and played with fun linens). I had a great time doing a little private mentoring workshop with Lindsey Brunk (if you don’t know her name, you should, she is pretty much the bee’s knees of the planning and style world). I also got to visit the La Tavola fine linens show room and fell in loovveeee.wedding_planner_fredericksburg_0062

I often use linens as the inspiration piece for designs in weddings and in my home. When designing a wedding or a room in my house I almost always start with a table runner I’m in love with (or some other form of wedding linen) or a pillow that I paid way too much for. I’m a sucker for pillows especially. Some girls have shoes. Some girls have jewelry. I have pillows. And will never have enough. PS- La Tavola has pillows you can rent for your party. This shouldn’t be an “extra” but a necessary in my opinion… Okay maybe not for everyone. One day, I will do a blog post entirely on the purpose of a pillow at a wedding. Feel free to drool here at this stunning assortment.

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So they are the shiz in fine linens for weddings. They search the world for the latest patterns, colors and textures and manufacture them in the sunshine state of California. I would sleep in their soft linen Tuscany collection any day. Even their basic poly blend linen is woven to feel like pressed cotton. I can tell you folks, one big way to make your event Style Me Pretty worthy, pick out a decent linen. The best part? La Tavola’s basic linen starts at just $13.00 (plus shipping) WHAT. A. STEAL.

Here are some photos from their 2016 Linen Collection Release Party that happened in Napa (sorry I couldn’t make that one!). Thanks to Studio EMP for the pretty photos. Credit to Found Vintage Rentals for the furniture, Casa de Perrin for the tabletop decor, Paula Le Duc for the catering, and of course La Tavola for the showstopping linens.

Geometric fun! wedding_planner_fredericksburg_0066

Fall inspiration!

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And my personal favorite… these botanical prints! I have been dreaming of mid century modern wedding (or styled shoot) lately with lush tropical botanicals and a green color palette…

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A particular velvet table runner (from La Tavola) has actually been the inspiration piece for styled shoot/workshop I am styling this November (Cedar & Stone Workshop). Maybe I’ll post some sneak peeks soon!

Elegant Film Wedding at Hoffman Haus

I was so excited to work with Sarah Goss Photography on this wedding back in the early spring. This was our first event to work together and she did an amazing job on these photos! I absolutely adore the richness in the colors in the film, almost as much as I adored this couple. Shannon and Harris found me via referral of Hoffman Haus, but after getting to know them, we found out that they actually worked for the same company as my mom and knew her! A company all the way in north Texas. Small freakin’ world.

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They were darling and in love. Shannon had amazing taste. The antler sheds on the centerpieces were prizes of her Dads from his many years of hunting and the silver flower containers belonged to her mother’s family. Her family was boisterous and bubbly and so much fun to be around. Sweet Magnolia provided the pretty florals!

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The colors were neutral grey with just a hint of lavender. Perfect for a hill country wedding! Hoffman Haus was the ideal venue for this classic wedding. Sophie’s made this dreamy cake (it was soo tasty too!). They had these adorable bar napkins made with their faces drawn on. Ha too funny! Notice all of the pillows in the following photos… (if you don’t regularly follow me, you may not know, I have a pillow problem…I’m a pillowaholic). wedding_planner_fredericksburg_0065 wedding_planner_fredericksburg_0068 wedding_planner_fredericksburg_0067wedding_planner_fredericksburg_0066

The evening was a blast- fun people, fun vendors! Cartewheels Catering made the yummy food and provided amazing service, as usual! wedding_planner_fredericksburg_0070 wedding_planner_fredericksburg_0069 wedding_planner_fredericksburg_0071

 

Pink & Gray Wedding in Fredericksburg, Texas

“Who is that stunning blue eyed beauty?” That’s the new Mrs. George!  She is the most spunky person I know and her smile lights up a room. To add to it, she has the ability to channel all of her bubbly energy into really productive tasks to tackle the career world. Plus she is a way cool mom of three equally gorgeous kiddos. Jason, she is quite the catch! To sum it up Jason and Mary Leigh were a blast to work with and it was so special to be a part of their day. A beautiful setting in the Hill Country at Rock House Hideaway, fresh florals by The Flower Pail, tasty treats by Sophie’s bakery and wedding planning by Hill Country Bride of course! Lori Blythe Photography deserves her own sentence of appreciation, beautiful images and the best to work with- great job once again girl!

 

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