When Scheduling Your Wedding Dress Appointment…

Anna Pope, APSU Junior, Public Relations

Choosing your wedding dress is a big decision so you need to make sure you are your best self and prepared when you go shopping. This is the first part of a two-part blog. In this one, I give you suggestions to keep in mind while scheduling your appointment. These will help you to choose your wedding dress with ease and with virtually no stress.

Schedule your appointment earlier in the day.

If you schedule your appointment earlier in the day, you will be more energized and more excited to go shopping. This will be beneficial because if your appointment takes longer to find your dress, you will be more energized and willing to continue trying on dresses. Also, appointments typically take an hour and a half, so it will be a long day anyway.

Keep your party small.

Keeping your party around 2 to 4 people is best. When bringing people along, always remember that everyone has opinions that they think you want to hear. It can be overwhelming and sometimes upsetting if your vision is overshadowed by your party’s vision for your dress. Keeping a party small makes it a less stressful time and allows for you to identify what you want.

Some shops charge for appointments or cancellations.

When scheduling appointments, every bridal shop has a different cancellation policy and appointment policy. Some shops ask for your credit card information to charge you to make an appointment. Others ask for that information to charge you for a cancellation or a no show. Make sure you know what you are paying for when you schedule appointments.

If you have your accessories already, bring them.

Most bridal shops provide undergarments, corsets, and shoes for you to try on when you try on dresses, but some don’t. It is always good to bring your own just in case.

If you already have your shoes, bra, veil, undergarments, or etc., BRING THEM. This is always beneficial because you will be able to see a clearer picture of what you will look like on the big day.


Check next week for Part 2!




3 Types of Ceremony Music

Anna Pope, APSU Junior, Public Relations

While planning your big day, it is easy to forget to book a ceremony music performer. Ceremony music is important to book far in advance because they book up fast. There are not many available either, so look at performers as soon as possible.

There are 3 basic options available to book. These are instrumental soloists, music ensembles, and DJs.

Instrumental Soloists

A single piano, violin, or guitar can be beautiful for a ceremony. It is a simple, cheaper way to have a romantic ceremony. Instrumental soloists are perfect for smaller, simpler weddings. If the venue is small enough, they can even perform without any microphones and speakers. They also do not take up much space, so if you are tight on space this is a wonderful option for you. This is not the best option for outdoor weddings. If you want this and have an outdoor wedding, you need to make sure that you have proper sound equipment so that your guests can hear the music.

Music Ensembles

There are many different types of music ensembles like string groups, duets, and many instrumental combinations. To book an ensemble, you usually cannot piece together the instruments you want. The groups are typically grouped together and booked together. If you want two musicians that don’t normally play together, chances are that they will charge you for rehearsal time. This option is good if you have a larger wedding or if you want a more rich sound for your ceremony. This is also a good option if you have a friend that you want to sing or perform.


While DJs are not the most popular option, they are definitely a viable option. They also could be potentially cheaper. If you get a DJ for your reception, they might have a package deal where they provide a cheaper ceremony rate especially if your ceremony and reception are at the same location. They also can provide a wider range of ceremony music than soloists or ensembles can. If you want a complicated song performed, some musicians don’t always have the music for it or the capabilities to play it. A DJ is a great option to have a larger selection of music and capability to mold what you want performed.



Have Your Cake and Eat It Too!

Anna Pope, APSU Junior, Public Relations

There is so much that goes into a wedding cake: flour, sugar, eggs… LOL but really it can become a bit overwhelming when you need to decide what you want and what you need. These sometimes clash and you have to determine which is more important to you.

How Big?

Make sure that your vision encompasses your guests’ needs. You may envision a small 2-tiered or 3-tiered cake but have 200 guests. You may also be on the opposite end and want the super large 7-tier cake and have 200 guests. Each layer serves a certain amount of people so make sure it accommodates your guests. You can also have multiple cakes to serve from or cupcakes. Look up different cake sizes to see what you will need.

What Shape?

There are infinite cake shapes and designs to choose from. Some will fit your design and some won’t. Filtering through this can get a little overwhelming at times. Round cakes are a simpler design and are usually considered elegant. Square shaped cakes are more modern and generally considered sleeker in their design. Scalloped, Heart, and Topsy-turvy cakes are considered unique and can be tailored even more to fit a more casual wedding. These are not the only cake shapes and cake boss type cakes can even be served if you want a unique detail of your life to be expressed through your cake.

What Flavor?

Cake flavors are all up to you and your groom. Traditional wedding cakes are white cakes with buttercream frosting. It is not necessary at all to keep your flavors traditional because there are so many different flavors available to you. If you have a specific flavor in mind, like orange-creamsicle, make sure that the bakery you choose can do this for you before you decide to hire them.

What Toppers?

You can choose from an infinite number of cake toppers but these 3 are my favorites. My first favorite is the sign/banner. It is a simple way to top the cake and can be customized to your names, the date, a phrase that is important to you, and any number of other things. My second favorite is the silhouette of the couple or any bride and groom. It is simple and elegant and can also be customized to your needs. My third favorite is the traditional cake topper models of the bride and groom. These are also simple and can be customized as little or as much as you want.



Questions to Ask When Choosing a Caterer

Anna Pope, APSU Junior, Public Relations


Food is a big portion of your wedding reception, and your wedding budget, so you need to make sure that it is delicious. You also need to make sure they will come through and be able to provide you with everything you need on your wedding day. Here are 10 questions to ask potential caterers.

1.) What services are included in the package price?

You need to know what you are getting upfront because most caterers offer add-ons for an additional cost. Usually you will pay a set price per person but this cost differs depending on what items you choose to serve.

2.) What services are not included in the package price?

You also need to understand that they might charge additional fees for traveling to your venue, setting up, tearing down and etc. Figure out if this cost is included in the initial quote.

3.) What ingredients do you use and where do they come from?

You need to make sure you understand what you are paying for. If a caterer gets higher quality ingredients from locally sourced places, it will be more expensive than if a caterer gets average quality ingredients in bulk for the weddings they cater. You also need to determine if you are willing to pay more for the higher quality ingredients or if you want to go with a cheaper caterer that can also provide you with what you need.

4.) Do you provide buffet style and plated style dinners?

Most caterers provide both buffet style and plated style dinners. Buffet style dinners are typically casual, while plated style dinners are more formal. Figure out if you want your event to be casual or formal before you talk to a caterer.

5.) How will the food be prepared at my wedding?

The venue that you choose may or may not have a kitchen. Also, caterers may also prefer to cook the food ahead of time and transport it to the venue the day of the event. Both options of where the food is fixed can play a role in how good the food is. If transported, you need to make sure it can be adequately heated or cooled before it is served to your guests.

6.) Who handles the rentals?

Before you meet with caterers, figure out what the venue will provide. They might have tables, chairs, linens, barware, heaters, and tableware. All of these are necessary to serve your guests. If the venue does not have these available you need to ask your caterer if they bring their own heaters, barware, tableware, and tables to set up and serve on. They might have an additional rental charge if you have them bring their own equipment.

7.)How flexible are you about working with me to make the menu?

Some caterers can only fix what they list in their menu for you to choose from. Others are more flexible and are willing to do special items if they are adequately compensated. Usually this means that you have to pay more but it is worth it to get what you want.

You also need to keep in mind all of the food allergies of your guests and make sure that their plates are taken care of. This may cost extra but you have to be considerate and take care of them. I have 2 vegans and a diabetic with celiac disease coming to my wedding, so this means I have to have extra food prepared for them and set aside beforehand. Make sure your caterer understands the severity of their food allergy.

8.) What food items do you suggest?

Trust your caterers. They know what foods are best and what they are best at preparing. They also know what is safe for different types of events. So, if you are worried about pleasing everyone in attendance, ask what your caterer would serve everyone.

9.) Do you have tastings?

It is best to taste your food before your wedding so that you provide your guests with high quality, good food. You also need to make sure that the food you provide will satisfy the taste buds of most people in attendance. That way everyone can stay full, satisfied, and happy.

10.) What will the dishes look like at the wedding?

Plating of dishes, while not the most important, is still important. Make sure that the food prepared looks good so that people want to eat it. If something looks strange, people will not be as welcome to the idea of trying it. Plating can also make your event fancier if it is done correctly.



How to Do Wedding Favors Cheaply

Anna Pope, APSU Junior, Public Relations

Let’s be real here, you’ve already spent at least $1000 over your original budget (if you’re lucky). The last thing you want to do is deal with getting everyone an expensive wedding favor, because let’s face it; you invited your mailman, his best friend, and everyone else under the sun.

Wedding favors are not the biggest expense but can still end up being expensive if you don’t watch out. Luckily for you, there are lots of cheaper options to choose from. Most of these options can be found for under $2 or made for under $2 a piece.

There are many different, cheaper seasonal options for you to choose from. Each option can be customized to fit your wedding and your colors.

For Spring:

  • Seeds
  • Tea Bags
  • Fans

For Summer:

  • Etched mason Jars
  • Honey or Jam
  • Sunglasses

For Fall:

  • S’mores
  • Macaroons
  • Custom Wine Glasses

For Winter:

  • Hot Chocolate
  • Candles
  • Matches


You can also create little packages for your guests to send you and your groom away after the wedding. This is a way to knock two birds out with one stone. It can be done very well and customized to fit the feel of your wedding too!

For Sending the Bride and Groom Away:

  • Sparklers
  • Bird Seed
  • Rose Petals

5 Crazy Wedding Traditions and What They Transformed Into

Anna Pope, APSU Junior, Public Relations

There are SO many wedding traditions its hard to weed through them all to figure out which ones are important and which ones you could live with out. Truthfully, you could live without any wedding traditions, but some are still fun to indulge in. Here are 5 wedding traditions, how they came about and what they transformed into for modern day.

Bachelor Parties

These parties originated in Sparta as a celebratory night of the last night of a man’s freedom. This tradition has not changed much other than the fact that watered down wine has been replaced with some much stronger drinks and women now have bachelorette parties as well.

Engagement Rings

Pope Innocent III introduced engagement rings in the 13th Century. The ring was to symbolize the period of waiting between betrothal and marriage. This idea was expanded upon when the first diamond ring was presented by Archduke Maximilian of Austria. He proposed to Mary of Burgundy in 1477. Engagement rings are still a big part of weddings and a diamond ring now stands for something that lasts forever just like the marriage.


Bridesmaids have played a number of roles over the years. Originally the bridesmaids were supposed to also wear white to confuse demons and evil spirits who were targeting the bride and groom. Now they make sure to help the bride with organizing the wedding and keeping everything together on the big day.

Tossing the Bouquet and Garter

Believe it or not, this was not always a tradition. It developed after another tradition to stop its predecessor. Before the tosses of the bride’s bouquet and garter, wedding guests would legitimately rip off the bride’s clothes as a tradition for good luck. Thankfully, this 14th century tradition has transformed into something much more humane.

The Honeymoon

The honeymoon is a Norse tradition. This started because after Norse couples were married, they would go into hiding. During this hiding, one of their family members would bring them honey wine for 30 days. The saying honeymoon comes from this. The couple had “one moon’s worth of honey wine”, hence honeymoon. This name and tradition of getting away after the wedding carries on even to this day.




9 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer

Written By:  Anna Pope, APSU Junior, Public Relations


Documenting your big day is a big piece of your wedding, so why would you hire anyone that is subpar for the job? The hope of this blog post is to assist you in asking photographers important questions when considering them for your big day.

I am currently planning my wedding and, in my opinion, the photographer is the third most important part of a wedding right behind the actual act of getting married and the venue.

To get the best photography service, you have to ask 9 questions going into your vendor meetings.

  • What style of photography do you use most often?

There are many different types of photographers. Some love traditional photos while others are all about capturing those genuine, candid moments. Some have a more natural approach to photos with natural lighting and some like to stage every photo with lighting and backdrops. Figuring out your style will play a large role in who you end up booking.

  • Do you “photoshop” or correct your photos?

Some photographers focus on taking great photos and do not like to touch up their photos. One photographer that I was looking at and ended up booking for my big day rarely “photoshops” her photos because she likes the more natural feel but is willing to touch up acne and flyaways. Meanwhile, other photographers are all about making your photos as flawless as possible with an airbrushed face, no acne, no flyaways, perfect smiles, big eyes, and overwhelming color adjustments. Both types of photographers are good, but it really depends on your preference.

  • Is there a second photographer or a team of photographers?

Most photographers offer the option of having two shooters, although it is usually not included in packages. Some studios only have one photographer so you have to consider your needs. It is not necessary to have two wedding photographers to capture all that you want. It is helpful to have two while people are getting ready. One can take photos of the women and one can take photos of the men. Also during the reception it is nice to have two focal points, one to capture the bride and groom and one to capture everyone else. Having two photographers is not needed, but it is very nice to have.

  • How do you work with videographers?

Some photographers are constantly moving around to get the best photographs. This can be an issue if you also hire a videographer. Some photographers make an effort to work with your videographer to ensure that your photos and wedding video turn out perfect, but some cannot do this as well. If you don’t hire a videographer then this is not an important question to ask.

  • Can we make a shot list for you to take?

Most photographers take shot lists. Shot lists are a list of photos and poses that the bridal party wants. Make sure that photographers are okay with taking the shots that you want before you book them. There may be a few that they are uncomfortable taking or have never taken before so always make sure.

  • Do we have access to see all of the photos?

Photography is expensive. It is very important to make sure you are getting what you expect. Some photographers do not give their clients access to all of the photos they take. These photographers allow clients to choose the photos they want to keep, and if clients want more, they have to pay more. Most photographers create a wedding website or download all the photos to a flash drive for the client to keep. Make sure this is what you are getting because it is what you are paying for unless you really want a specific photographer that does not do this.

  • Do we get print rights to all of the photos?

Getting the print rights to photos is completely different than getting the access to photos. Some photographers require you to order prints through them, but others allow you to have print rights to all photos so you can print the photos from any service you want. Initially it may not seem important but it could turn into a really expensive pain that puts you way over your budget in the end if you don’t get the print rights.

  • What photography packages do you offer?

Packages are very important to consider when booking your photographer. Most packages are tiered off based on time shooting and additional services and add-ons. More hours shooting always costs more money, but you should only pay for what you want. If a photographer has a package that has a bunch of add-ons that you don’t want, don’t choose it. See if they will work with you to create a custom package to fit your needs.

  • Are you familiar with the venue of the wedding?

Sometimes photographers have shot at a venue before and are familiar with it. Other times, photographers do not know the venue and will have to arrive earlier to figure out where everything is. This may be an additional cost in the long run of time spent shooting. It is always a benefit to book a photographer that knows the venue and its layout.


P.S. Do not book a photographer that is difficult to work with initially. They will continue this trend and frustrate you further. Your wedding day should be as stress free as possible. Difficulty getting pricing and difficulty with communication are signs that this photographer will not be easy to work with.

A Venue Checklist for Everyone

Lakyn Jarman, APSU Senior, Public Relations 

Finding the perfect place to hold your event can be difficult. It can be easy to get caught up in the beauty of a venue. However, it is important to create your own checklist of things you are looking for in order to stay on the right track. You need to also keep in mind that you may have to book your venue far in advance. 
Here are some items to keep in mind: 
Scheduling and Accommodations: 

* Is the venue available for your proposed date? 

* Are there any other events happening that day? 

* Will it be able to accommodate your number of guests? 

* Will you be able to hold your ceremony and reception here? 

* How long will you have the venue space? Is there an overtime fee if you stay longer? 

* Is it handicap accessible? 

* What is the parking availability? (Will you be charged extra for this?) 

* Are there any other rental options available? (i.e. canopy, arch, cake table, or any other decorations)  

* What comes with the venue fee? (i.e. chairs, tables, changing rooms, linens, plates and utensils) 

* How much is the deposit? Will it go towards the final balance? 

* What is the cancelation policy? 
General Q’s: 

* Can you create a back up plan for inclement weather? 

* Will someone be responsible for setting up and tearing down? 

* Does the venue require insurance? 

* Will there be a provided coordinator? 

* When are the vendors allowed to setup? 

* What are the decoration limitations? (i.e. confetti, rice, or glitter) 

* Are open flames permitted? 

* Does the venue have sound equipment? Is this an extra fee? 
Food and Beverage: 

* Does the venue require in house catering or from a preferred vendor list? 

* Can you bring in a cake from an outside bakery? It there a cake cutting fee? 

* Is the venue licensed to provide alcohol services? Do you have purchase the alcohol through the venue? 
All venues will have pros and cons. Remember you may have to put in a lot of work to make some venue dreams a reality while others need no work at all. Having this list on hand will help you to be able to answer the hundreds of questions you will have when searching for the right venue.  

It’s Your Party and You Can Have Alcohol If You Want To

Lakyn Jarman, APSU Senior, Public Relations


Not all events have it, but most do. Alcohol can be a tricky party favor to include for your guests. Many hosts do not know what to order or how much to order. Should it be an open bar or a cash bar? Many questions such as these can arise so it is always important to keep a few notes on hand.

Here are some basics:

Serving sizes– First things first. It is important for any planner to know severing sizes. You never want to run out of alcohol, but you also do not want to have too much left over. A normal bottle of wine (750ml) will serve approximately four or five glasses. Baby bottles of wine (187ml) will serve one glass. One large keg (1,984oz) will serve 165 12oz cups. A smaller keg or pony keg (960oz) will serve 80 12oz cups. Spirits can be a little tougher to judge depending upon the drink being made. One 750ml bottle of liquor can make about 12 to 16 servings.

All hands on deck– It is always good to have an extra set at an event with alcohol. This includes a bartender and a security guard. Bartenders tend to keep track of how many drinks each person is served and check IDs. A security guard can be an extra set of eyes for outside drinks and to keep things under control. These are both good suggestions to keep in mind with a larger event.

Cab’s here– Providing alternate transportation for guests is highly important for any event. By keeping a local cab company’s number on hand, it will ensure everyone’s safety. If cabs are not your guests’ thing, companies such as Uber will occasionally give promo codes for your guests to use once they are ready to leave.

What to order– This is where you need to do some research. Any wine, beer, or spirit option can sound confusing if you are not use to drinking it. Wines can be sweet or dry, red or white. Beer can range from a pale ale to a dark lager. Liquor options can be endless. It wouldn’t hurt to ask your quests what they would like to drink. Another option is to ask the venue representative what some of their popular packages are.

Cost– One of the main reasons people do not want alcohol at their event is the cost. Many venues require you to purchase the alcohol through them for liability purposes. This is why it is important to have a solid headcount prior to your event. Although this does not mean it keeps cost down, it is one less thing you will have to worry about. However, having a cash bar may keep cost down.

Having alcohol at your event does not have to be a headache. It never hurts to ask questions and to stay educated on laws and procedures. Your guests will have fun regardless.

Picking a Playlist- 5 questions to ask when selecting music; Because sometimes “the Thong Song” just isn’t appropriate.

By: Paige Crawford, APSU Communication Alumn

You may have had it happen to you once or twice- you’re at an event and the music’s going, it’s a great time- and then all of a sudden a song comes on that just makes you feel weird inside. It could be some risqué r&b favorite, or a vulgar hip-hop hit, on the other hand it could be some slow-jam ballad from the 90’s that just totally kills the mood. In either case music has a purpose in any event- to set the mood. So avoiding this listening disaster at your next event should be high on your list of priorities. Here’s 5 questions to answer when selecting a playlist for any event.

  1.     What kind of event is it? Weddings are relatively easy- some romantic slow songs, some crowd favorites and dance mixes, and a lot of whatever kind of music the bride and groom like. However, playing the Cha Cha slide at the next Gala may not go over so well. If it’s a business event, music may be more of a background sound and should be softer in tone and volume, as there is likely to be a lot more serious conversation going on.
  2.     What is the pace? Music can help set where the event is going from beginning to end. To get people excited when they walk in, play some more upbeat contemporary music. If it’s a slow progression in to the night then playing some softer contemporary music at first will help to build the mood for later. Maybe the whole night is more serious so a climactic song won’t fit at all. As for ending the night, winding down the tempo for the last 20-30 minutes while the crowd dies down is a great way to let people wrap up their night. For weddings and parties my go-to end of the night song is definitely the classic, “Closing Time” by Semisonic. When people here it, it’s a good laugh and a great opportunity for a heart-felt sing along, but definitely gets the point across. “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here!”
  3.     What is the general age group? If you’re hosting an event at a senior citizens home, playing the top 40 hits of 2016 is not going to entice the audience much. The beautiful thing about music is that you can go back over 100 years of styles and types and find something that will appeal to any age group. Class of 1986 Reunion? Bust out the 80’s ballads and you’re sure to have a good time. If it’s a festival or school function for kids then it’s important to play music that is appropriate and kid friendly for them.
  4.      Is there a theme? If hosting a dinner party or wedding with a 1940’s flapper theme, then choosing music from that time period is best. Halloween bashes are a hit when you’ve got “Monster Mash” going. If you’ve got the décor and the food for a theme, then choosing music to go with it will only heighten that theme.
  5.     Is the event personal? If the event is something you are hosting in honor of something or someone, then choosing music that is loved by you and whoever the event is in honor of will add a nice personal touch. Music speaks emotion, therefore, dedicating songs to a specific someone creates a connection between you and that person and lets the audience in on that moment with you.

Between choosing centerpieces and dinner plates to setting color schemes, there are tons of pieces that go into creating a lovely event. Just because you can’t see the music doesn’t make it any less important than the rest of the pieces. Music is the train that takes your audience through the event- so make a playlist that will move your audience right along through the night!