With a 4 hour layover in Munich, Germany, we decided to take the train from the airport to a popular pub Paulaner to get a German beer, cheers!!

FINALLY! With hardly any sleep from the earthquake and 13 hours of travel.. we made it to Florence, Italy @Firenze

The Duomo

The Italians love ham, cheese, pizza and pasta and SO DO WE!!!

My husband loves taking pictures of me when I’m not paying attention. @Osteria Dell Agnolo

Here’s another picture of him catching me off guard with our Tuscany painting.

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I’m not talking about a sign from the heavens, I’m referring to use of the signage at weddings.  I got a little ‘sign happy’ when I was planning my wedding and I literally had to cut myself off.  Do you need a sign at your reception next to your escort cards that says “Find your seat, but your place is on the dance floor”?  Well no… but I do want my guests dancing all night!!  Guests can usually figure out what to do without signs, but they do serve the purpose of making the day run much smoother, rather than having to remind your guests all night to sign the guest book.

Signs can really tie the wedding together visually, so it’s important to know your wedding colors and theme before you start ordering signs left and right.  Do you have a wedding logo that you can put on your signs?  Do you want to use the same font as your invitations on your signs?  Or do you want to mix it up a little so it’s not so matchy matchy?  There are many stores and websites that you can purchase your signs from, my personal favorite was Etsy because everything can be customized (refer to my blog Pinterest and Etsy – My two BFF’s).  Below are some examples of wedding signs, but really any sign that your little heart desires, you can create!

Ceremony Signs
– Directional sign
– Welcome sign for water table
– Sign at front of aisle “Today two families become one, so pick a seat not a side”
– Here comes your Bride (sign for ring barrier)

Cocktail Hour Signs
– Signature cocktail sign
– Please sign our guest book sign

Reception Signs
– Find your seat, but your place is on the dance floor sign
– I’m her Mr., I’m his Mrs. sign for back of bride and grooms chairs
– Please take one sign for favors
– Find the perfect pair and dance without a care
– Table names or numbers
– Escort cards
– Let love sparkle sign for sparklers
– Love is sweet sign for cake table
– Gift tags for wedding favors

How do I pick my wedding theme?  Your venue is at a winery, but you don’t want rustic. You want a nautical wedding, so a yacht club, right??  You would describe yourself as shabby chic, so how do you incorporate that into your wedding?  It’s winter, should I do a winter wonderland theme?  I’m super girly, can that be a theme?

Before considering the venue or the season for your theme, think about who you and your husband are as a couple.  Stylish, sophisticated, beachy, playful, etc.  On The Bachelor, when Sean and Catherine were asked “What’s your wedding theme?” she replied “Grown Sexy.”  As long as they can describe what that is to their vendors, then they can help create the grown sexy experience that they envision.  Obviously… there is no right or wrong answer.  Think about the adjectives that would describe you and your fiance as a couple.

Next customize the wedding to you as a couple.  Do you like Rock and Roll?  Did you grow up riding horses?  Are you obsessed with bling?  Did he play football?  Do you love apples?  Did he propose to you with fireworks going off?  Is he British and you were born in the USA?  This is so important to incorporate who you are individually and who you are as a couple into your special day.  Your seersucker wedding theme can have mason jars as wedding favors and also have elements of where you are going on your honeymoon.  For example, name your table names after cities you are going to visit on your honeymoon in France…. Paris, Champagne, San Tropez, etc. Your new last name is Healy, so make a large “H” and use that as your wedding book for guests to sign.  Have you been together for 3 years?  Then incorporate 3 candles on each table.  These little ‘touches’ will make your wedding so special.

Once you have your wedding theme, incorporate the venue and season into your wedding.  If its fall, you don’t need to have pumpkins and orange and brown as your wedding colors, unless you want to!!  Instead, make sure your guests will be warm, serve coffee and hot chocolate or provide blankets if it is an outdoor ceremony.  If the venue is at a vineyard and you want a rustic wine theme, then do it!!  Name your tables after different types of wine and have wine barrels as cocktail tables.  You can always customize your wedding to create a distinctive wedding that is uniquely YOU.

So what came first… the nautical wedding or the yacht club?  You decide!!

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Before getting engaged, I did not have a Pinterest or Etsy account.  And initially I thought I could do a lot of DIY projects myself, purchase them from a wedding supply store or rent items from rental companies…It all started when I tried to order my wedding invitations online and I just couldn’t find anything that perfectly represented the vision that I had in an invitation.  I spent way more time than I’d like to admit looking online and in stores!!  If you do want to purchase your invitations online, FineStationery is the exception and a one-shop-stop, see beautiful examples below.  My friends told me to try Pinterest, and my obsession began!!!  In searching my wedding colors, I found the attached photo and I was in LOVE.  When I clicked on it, it lead me to an Etsy link for a cute little shop in Washington where I got in touch with Brittany who was happy to help alter these invitations to my wedding.

I joked that planning this wedding was my second full time job, so my BFF’s Etsy and Pinterest could allow me to still have a life and order anything… ANYTHING I wanted online and have everything customized 🙂  I ordered signs for the back of our reception chairs, a directional sign, a signature cocktail sign, escort cards, our table names, customized paper napkins, my sparkle cake table linen, my wedding favors, a welcome sign, a large white ‘S’ for our guest book…… are you still with me?? 🙂  My fiancé joked “How could we get married without these ‘Just Married’ paper napkins??” Ok……. I went a little overboard, but I would not have been about to accomplish all of this alone!!!  Thanks BFF’s 🙂

Additionally Pinterest provides inspiration to make your wedding unique with your wedding colors, theme and personal style.  It’s so helpful to see your wedding come to life all on one board.  And don’t forget to help Etsy with their reviews after you purchase so they can help other brides as well 🙂  Follow me on Pinterest and happy pinning!!! 🙂

Find Wedding Invitations

I’m guessing you are rocking a new pretty sparkler on your left hand!  And if so, congratulations!!  So now you got the ring, you got the guy, now what?  This is such a celebratory occasion, but before you start to panic and tell everyone that they can come and tell your future brother-in-law that he can photograph the wedding.  Take a breath.  This is the time to enjoy being engaged and share your good news… because once the wedding planning starts, its hard to think about anything else!  Travel, take an art class, learn more about each other, do things that would be hard with the stress of a wedding, or even better, with kids 🙂  Wedding planning can be a bit overwhelming, so when you are ready, here are tips to help with the initial planning.There are really TWO key first steps:

1. When you are ready, the first step is to book the venue.  Do you want to get married locally?  Did you grow up in a different location than you got engaged?  Did your parents get married at a venue in your hometown?  Should you do a destination wedding?

2. Along with selecting a venue you have to come up with your wedding budget.  And unfortunately you will likely go over your initial budget because when you say ‘wedding‘ everyone charges like you are shopping on 5th Avenue in New York City.  To save money by paying whole sale prices rather than retail, see my blog Top 10 Wedding Budget Tips.

Once you have a budget established that will help to narrow some of your venue choices.  Start making appointments with on site wedding coordinators at your favorite venues.  Bring your mom, your closest friends, anyone that has an opinion that really matters to you.  Now that you have a budget, can you invite your Great Aunt Doris that you haven’t seen in years, and give all of your guests including the grooms best man a plus one; even though he doesn’t even have a girlfriend right now?  Or do you want a small wedding with only close family and friends and no plus ones?  The best thing I learned in wedding planning is that there is no ‘right‘ answer, everything can be customized to you and your wonderful family and friends and what you envision for your special day.

Your first task as a future Mrs…. is to talk with your groom about what type of venue is important to you as a couple.  Once you have your venue, their availability will determine your wedding date 🙂  And you’d be surprised, I booked my wedding only 7 months in advance.  I’d love to hear where you are in your planning!

Caitlin and fiance at dinner after getting engaged

WEDDING SIGNS: WHERE THERE’S A SIGN THERE’S A WAY