It’s the time of year that you’ve been waiting for since January…the Holidays! The time where you get a break to relax, spend time with family, and if you’re wedding planning it’s usually a time for you to get some items crossed off of your list. As many of you have probably realized by now, you’re likely to hit some roadblocks when December rolls around and that can be for a few reasons.

For the most part wedding vendors in particular have been husting all. year. long. and Christmas (like literally, this week) is probably the first time they’ve had to do their own shopping, cooking, and travel for the season. That doesn’t mean you’re stuck in quicksand though! This blog post will be highlighting Bailey + CJ’s beautiful July wedding while also tossing in some tips for getting things done while you’re catching a break at home. Merry Christmas!

bridesmaids getting hair and make up done

floral robes

Go ahead and make any purchases for details that you know you want. This could be bridesmaids robes, a special robe for yourself, dress hanger(s), ring boxes, vow books, koozies, napkins, guestbook, etc. While you may not be on a time crunch there is no harm in getting these things out of the way. For things like koozies that require some thought into the design, be on the lookout for monograms or sayings that you love. Take screenshots or save them to your Pinterest page and voila, you’re ready to order when the time comes.

magenta crepe myrtle tree

beaded wedding dress

garden style flowers

Depending on how close you are to the big day you may have alterations coming up to your dress. Consider saving some of the lace or fabric to be used around the stems of your bouquet. Corey Daniel Florals has used everything from a loved one’s tie, handkerchief, alteration remnants, and of course heirlooms passed on by previous generations. It’s your day and while simple ribbon is beautiful this could be a small touch that you remember and appreciate for years to come.

bride putting heels on

fun socks

mother of the bride

the groomsman suit navy

photos before the ceremony

pike springs photography

groom's reaction seeing his bride

bridal party watching from windows

The key to having tons of fabulous photos like Bailey + CJ is staying on time. Staying on time takes planning and preparation so start now! Though most photography schedules are finalized 2-4 weeks prior to the wedding you can always get a ‘rough start time’ for planning purposes. Once your ceremony time is set, let your photographer know the size of your bridal party, approximate number of family members for photos, and then ask for the time that you will need to be getting dressed. This allows your hair and make up artist(s) to begin your schedule so that bridesmaids know where and when to be, keeping you on time down the road. Also, go ahead and give thought into any other moments you need to make time for like gift exchanges, first look with folks other than your partner (like Dad, bridesmaids, etc.). Though none of these things take a long time, they do require timing and coordination.

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veil pictures

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dogs in the wedding

floral leash for dog

If you’re planning on bringing man’s best friend (and we hope you do!) then you’ll definitely want a leash and collar that is worthy of your wedding photos. Listen, we ALL have the adopt don’t shop leash that has hiked Red Mountain a few times in the rain, there’s nothing wrong with it, but that’s not what you want front and center on wedding day! There are endless resources for attractive leashes and collars ranging from simple white or brown leather to decorative and floral options too. The one pictured here is a champagne rope style leash with artificial eucalyptus and roses which was provided by the couple.

groomsmen in navy suits

Do you still have your pen in hand? Add ‘harass groomsmen about being fitted for the suits’ to your Holiday checklist. We kid, sort of. It really is a great time to reminder your wedding party, ladies included, that if they haven’t already completed their fitting and ordering process then they need to. This can also include accessories like pocket squares, ties, socks, jewelry, and anything else you want them to have.

champagne bridesmaids dresses

bride and groom kissing

Bailey + CJ’s wedding party was dressed completely by online retailers. Read it again, don’t they look amazing? Bailey’s wedding dress was a Colby John Bridal design which she purchased [in person] at Kathleen’s Bridal Boutique in Madison, Alabama near where she’s originally from. Her ladies wore champagne matte satin gowns with a flutter sleeve from Show Me Your MuMu, an online shop that we’ve had so many couples use and LOVE! CJ and his groomsmen rented their navy suits from The Groomsman Suit. What is what you ask? Just an amazing online source for purchasing suits online at a reasonable cost. If the groomsmen don’t know their size, it’s no problem, there’s a guide for that. Not sure which suit you want? No problem, they’ll send you a sample to try for 7 days for FREE. Of course Mr. Burch Formal Wear is our favorite local option but we realize that isn’t always feasible for each couple. For the others, we recommend The Groomsman Suit for purchasing, and The Black Tux for renting.

show me your mumu

white bridesmaids bouquets

maid of honor

ceremony flowers

gold candelabra with flowers

july wedding in alabama

The song you walk down the aisle to will likely be one of the most memorable songs of your life but did you know a lot [almost all actually] couples wait until the last minute to choose ceremony music? We can agree it’s probably not the thing you’re most looking forward to discussing or deciding but it has to be done and there’s no time like the present. Have a glass of wine or your favorite cocktail and get it done. You can always change your mind later but at least you will have well thought choices made in case you don’t give it another thought before the wedding day.

flower girl crown

groom sees his bride

golden hour pictures

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greenery wall

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groom twirling bride

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couple walking to their reception

white tablecloths

The most dreaded question of wedding planning for almost every single couple is undoubtedly, “So how is the guest list coming?” Did it make you cringe? I bet you made a face just now EVEN if you’re done planning. It’s hard to think about and can definitely cause anxiety but that’s why we strongly encourage you to sit down and face your guest list. Our best advice for ‘guessing’ your guest count early? Print your guest list and sit down with 3 colored highlighters: green, yellow and pink.

Highlight your absolute yes’s green. This should be family, bridal party, their dates, close friends and family that you’ve spoken to and spoken to often. You know that pending any emergency they will be in attendance. Second, take your pink highlighter and mark out the ones you’re highly doubtful will come. This could be people who have already told you no, long distance travelers who are simply unlikely to make the trip, and of course every list has a few of the obligatory invitations. You should never 100% count these folks out, but for the sake of guessing, mark them pink. Everyone left without a color are essentially your unknowns. Most weddings with an average attendance can count half of these unknowns as a yes/strong maybe, and combined with your names highlighted green should give you a pretty accurate estimate of guest attendance. By no means is this a fool proof method of guessing your guest count accurately but you may be surprised just how close you are.

unique geometric vase

cake cutting ceremony

reception song ideas

courtyard reception

Do you have guests who are coming from out of town and will need a hotel room for the weekend? Now is the perfect time to set up hotel room blocks or at least do the groundwork of figuring out where you want to have room blocks. While you’re researching hotels be sure to find one for yourself as well [if that’s the plan.] We always recommend choosing a separate hotel for yourselves so that you have peace from guests who wish to continue the party and now is a great time to reserve that as well. For couples looking into a hotel room on their wedding night we definitely have favorites: The Tutwiler Hotel // Redmont Hotel // Grand Bohemian // Ross Bridge Resort All of these will also make great options for guests as well as The Hampton Inn Leeds, Hilton at Promenade and Marriott Grandview which are all easy, short drives from The Sonnet House.

enjoy your reception

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groom dancing at reception

bouquet and garter toss

bouquet toss

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exit pictures

We hope that everyone has enjoyed looking back on Bailey + CJ’s wedding day as much as we loved seeing it come together. Working with them and planning, even through a pandemic, was a pleasure and we hope that their future is just as amazing as their wedding day.

Hopefully this post will bring peace and direction to couples who are planning during the holidays. Just remember that while you’re likely to get peppered with hundreds of questions about your wedding plans, you’re under no obligation to answer them or know the answer to each one. Make notes of any questions you’re unsure about and follow up with your vendors after the holidays.

To everyone, we hope that this season brings you joy, fulfillment, and time to enjoy the celebration and this season of life. Merry Christmas from The Sonnet House!

Wedding Vendors Who Made It Happen:

Venue, Wedding Planner, Catering & Linens: The Sonnet House

Florals & Decor: Corey Daniel Florals

Photographer: Pike Springs Photography

Ceremony & Reception Music: DJ Jeremy Eslick

Bridal Gown: Colby John Bridal from Kathleen’s Bridal [Madison, Alabama]

Bridesmaids Dresses: Champagne from Show Me Your MuMu [online]

Groom & Groomsmen Attire: The Groomsman Suit [online]

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