Friday, December 14, 2012

Top Songs To Play At Your Holiday Party By DJ Dôjo

Ben Goldsmith aka DJ Dôjo from BackHaus Productions, is a renissance man. He's a DJ, comedian, actor, singer and an all around entertainer.

If you can't afford to hire him for your holiday party this season here's his top must plays.

From Michael Buble's Christmas Ablum: The Christmas Song and Holly Jolly
Mariah Carey: All I want For Christmas is You
Ella Fitzgerald: Santa Baby
Wandering Flakes: Jingle Bells, Silent Night and Feliz Navidad
And finally Andre Boccelli's entire Christmas Album is outstanding.
From Ben himself, "small list, but golden nuggets."
 XO & Happy Holidays,

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Interview with a Newlywed

One of my dear friends from high school Chelsea Hunter just became Chelsea White. Although I’ve been on the wedding planning side and have watched weddings from the spectator’s standpoint, I wanted to hear first hand how each part of the process felt for her and her finance. Here’s her story and advice.

Events By Chelsea: How did you meet?
Chelsea: Andrew and I met at church. He was leading worship for our youth group at the time and I was just a volunteer helping out. He was very shy so he wrote on my Facebook one day and said we should get together sometime. We met up for coffee the next week and after that the rest is history!

Events By Chelsea: What advice do you have for a recently engaged couple?
Chelsea: My advice for a recently engaged couple is to ENJOY it! I think too many brides get too hyped in wedding planning right away. I took the first month to just soak it all up. It's such a fun time and I didn't want to take away from that by stressing myself out about trying to put a wedding together that second.

Events By Chelsea: How long were you engaged for? 
Chelsea: I was engaged for 7 months.

Events By Chelsea: What's something you spent a lot of money on that now looking back wasn't as important as you thought?
Chelsea: Honestly my wedding was only a few thousand dollars so I don't have any regrets there.

Events By Chelsea: How many dresses did you try on before you found the one?
Chelsea: I tried on about 5 or 6. I picked out a dress online from David's Bridal. I know my body shape and what looks flattering on me so I had an idea already what style I wanted. I did try on a few styles to amuse my mom and sister though! The dress I originally picked out was a bit plain and I picked a similar dress with a bit more pizzazz to it.

Events By Chelsea: What was your favorite part of your wedding?
Chelsea: I have a few but one of my favorites was walking down the aisle. There is just something about that feeling that you are getting married, everyone is watching you and you're starting a new chapter. Plus, I walked down to "Chapel of Love" which is mine and my grandma's favorite oldies song! I walked down by myself and it was a moment of me putting my independence behind and marrying my best friend. I loved having Andrew grab me towards the end and just let me know I was no longer going to be by myself, that we were now committing to each other forever. It was just a blissful moment and one I will never forget.

Events By Chelsea: Biggest tip for planning a wedding? What was your strategy?
Chelsea: My biggest tip is getting a wedding planner. I thought I didn't want one but my friend Jennifer Edmon from Something Blue Weddings offered to help plan my wedding and boy am I glad I agreed to have her help me! She helped me with every detail, from keeping my sanity to running my wedding that day. It's a very important aspect I think people overlook and it just helps the bride, groom and everyone else have a smoother day. I highly recommend putting one of your higher costs into a wedding planner. My strategy was having a lovely day and with her it was perfect!

Events By Chelsea: Did your finance take a big part in planning?
Chelsea: Andrew took as much apart as he could. I really valued his opinion and this day was just as much about him as it was me. I feel sad when the groom seems like he just shows up to his own wedding. The wedding was a very blended mixture of us both. It had all my simple and vintage elements along with his rock and roll side all mixed into getting married in a little church chapel.

Events By Chelsea: If you were to do it over what would you change? Any regrets?
Chelsea: If I could do anything over the only thing I would change is the date! It was the middle of July in the afternoon. Our wedding day was SO HOT! Like almost dying hot. Luckily, we planned on having a fairly short wedding with just a dessert reception, which was perfect, but everyone thought they were going to melt and we almost did. Honestly, that is literally the only thing I would change. We loved every detail because it was created by us. We got married in a church a lot of his family was wed in, we had many DIY details and all our loved ones surrounded us. Who could complain about that?!

Events By Chelsea: Any other advice? 
Chelsea: My other advice is, make it your own. This is about you and your groom. Don't let anyone else stray you away from what you really want or you will regret it. We literally did whatever we wanted and it really showed because it reflected us.

Also, I’m not big on going into debt over a wedding. I really find it foolish to start out your newlywed life in debt. Obviously, there are some debts you can't avoid like school or a car loan etc. but adding to that debt over a wedding will just set you up for a harder financial situation. It's just not a smart choice in my opinion. My wedding was literally under a few thousand dollars. That included EVERYTHING. We got away with it because we used every resource, friend and creativity we could muster up.
Also, I think in a wedding budget the most money should go towards photography. That's what you get to take home (besides your dress) at the end of the day. Make sure you hire a photographer you LOVE. Even though my wedding day was extremely hot you could never tell in my pictures.
My last bit of advice is to ENJOY your day. I see to many brides getting flustered, upset and angry on their wedding day. Just relax because it literally goes by in a blink of an eye. You are marrying the love of your life and on that day that's all that should matter. 
Tips on accessories: My necklace was my something borrowed. My earrings were vintage from my grandma. I wore a pearl ring from my grandma and my other ring was the one I gave my bridesmaids. My shoes were glitter Toms. I wanted to be comfy and they were also my something blue. I think accessories should add to your dress and style. I say pick one big piece too and downplay the rest. I wore a huge pearl necklace and wore small earrings, no bracelets, and small rings. If you did hair up and big earrings I would suggest a smaller or no necklace and bracelets. I also think at least one if not all the pieces should be meaningful. It's a big celebration and me being able to wear pieces that all meant something to me made me feel even more special. Shoes. Well every woman has very different opinions so pick a pair you love, get them photographed and rock em!

Chelsea and Andrew were married on July 21, 2012 at Bay Point Church.

Thank you Mrs. White for all your help and advice. :)

XO, Chelsea

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Festive Holiday Cocktails

Holiday Cocktails
Here are my favorite recipes for this holiday season. Fun names you’ll enjoy saying just as much as you will enjoy drinking them. If you try one (or all of them) let me know which was your favorite!

Rudolph’s Tipsy Spritzer

  1. 5 cups of orange juice
  2. 2 cups chilled lemon-lime soft drink
  3. 1 ½ cups vodka
  4. ½ cup maraschino cherry juice
  5. ¼ cup fresh lemon juice

Garnish with lemon slices. Makes about 9 cups.

(Southern Living – December 2008)

This next recipe is one of my personal favorites. The first time I tried it was in London, the taste always brings me back. J It’s basically warm sangria, only better.

Mulled Wine

  1. 1 bottle of merlot or other red wine, chilled.
  2. 1/3 cup sugar
  3. 1 sachet mulling spice blend
  4. ½ cup fresh orange juice
  5. 1 bag frozen unsweetened strawberries
  6. ½ orange, thinly sliced and cut in half
  7. 1 can club soda

Combine 1 cup wine, sugar, and sachet in a small saucepan; bring to a simmer. Cook 5 minutes. Removed from heat, cool. Discard sachet. Pour mixture into a pitcher; add remaining 3 cups wine. Chill and add juice, strawberries, orange, and club soda.

Makes about 8 cups.

(Julie Hasson, Cooking Light – December 2008)

Frozen Cranberry Margaritos

  1. 1 can frozen mojito mix
  2. ¾ cup tequila
  3. ¼ cup whole-berry cranberry sauce
  4. 2 tablespoons orange liqueur
  5. 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  6. Ice

Blend and serve! Makes about 5 cups.

(Southern Living – October 2007)

For more delicious recipes check out my Pinterest board: Tis the Season

XO, Chelsea 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Wedding Budget 101

I've always been a strong believer that personal finance should be a general education requirement in college. Whether saving for vacation, a car, or a wedding the first step is setting a limit and sticking to a budget.

Here are your biggest budget questions answered!

What percentage of my budget should be attire, ceremony, cake, etc.?
Although there is no right answer to how much you should allocate each category of expense, having an approximate percentage allocated can be very helpful.

The Wedding Garden has a flexible percentage breakdown for you to use as a starting point.
Attire: 5-12%
Cake: 2-3%
Ceremony: 6-10%
Entertainment: 3-10%
Flowers: 5-15%
Invitations: 2-5%
Reception: 35-55%
Photography/Video: 7-13%
Transportation: 2%
Rings: 7-15%
So if your budget is 20,000 you can simply multiply 20,000 by the percentage you want to allocate, let’s just say Invitations (3% aka .03) and get $600. If this number is too high or too low you can now easily move money around.

It is also recommended that you create a prioritized list on which part of your wedding is most important to you. Would you rather invite more people and rent a wedding dress or own your dress and invite less? Once you prioritize you can re-weight your percentages to reflect your wants.

Who pays for the wedding?
Forget the tradition of the bride’s parents paying for the entire wedding and the groom’s side getting off easy. Nowadays it is split between the two families a little more evenly and the bride and groom themselves oftentimes pay for a huge chunk also. The key, start saving early and stick to a budget. It is recommended that all paying parties sit down and discuss early on how much everyone is willing to contribute. also breaks it down by area/category.  Here’s the website with the list:

Biggest Ways to Save:
1. Come up with a realistic budget from the start and don’t stray from it.
2. Get married in the off-season months (January, February, March, and November) and on any day but Saturday.
3. Rent your dress instead of buying it.
4. Instead of party favors donate to a charity.
For more detailed ways to save check out

In regards to saving money in general, some couples have longer engagements (more time to save) and open a new joint bank account that both bride and groom can start depositing in each month that becomes untouchable money.

Another big way to save is working with a wedding planner. Although people oftentimes think wedding planners are more expensive, they are able to help you create a budget from day one. They have experience and are able to tell you where your money should and should not be going. Wedding Planners are able to maximize a budget and will get you the best bang for your buck. It is also an advantage to hire a wedding planner because they will know what companies have the best deals for flowers, linens, DJ’s, etc. Since they have worked with these companies before a lot of the time they will give your wedding planner a discount because they already have an established relationship with them versus you dealing with them on your own.

 XO, Chelsea 

Check out these great sites for more ideas on how to save.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Finding the Perfect Wedding Dress

We’ve all been there: The search for the perfect something, the over paying for that item, and the buyer’s regret and worry that there was something else better out there. In regards to your wedding dress, this article will help you find the right dress and hopefully get rid of any buyer’s regret.

First off, according to most wedding advice sites, your wedding gown should be no more than about 8-10% of your entire wedding budget. This will obviously fluctuate depending on what aspects of your wedding are most important to you, but it is important to allocate a set amount for your dress and stick to it. 

Start early! If you are engaged or have marriage on the mind, chances are you’ve seen Say Yes to the Dress on TLC and know how most gowns are not ready to wear when purchased. Most dresses are custom made, with many alterations done after purchase. Whether you plan on adding your own flare or just making sure it fits perfectly, keep in mind your wedding timeline!

Next, where do you look? Two words: brainstorm and research. It is important to brainstorm what kind of look you are going for. Do you want to look classy or sexy? Maybe walk the line of both? White too boring for you? Maybe you want a splash of color. Nowadays many brides are opting out of the traditional white dress and are choosing colors that better represent their personalities.

There is a really helpful iPhone dress finder app that you can download at called “Wedding Dress Look Book.” You can input your bra size, height and weight, best features and problem areas. It will find just-for-you dresses to help get the ball rolling. This is also helpful for browsing designers you like. Dress shopping is all about narrowing the choices to prevent feeling overwhelmed.
After you have a dress type in mind and how you want to feel and look in your dress, research places that are in your price range. Don’t torture yourself by going to stores that obviously will have beautiful royal princess gowns if you know you cannot afford them. Pick only a handful of stores you want to start with and make at least an hour appointment at each.

Now, the dilemma of who comes with you. Try to limit yourself to just two or three others. We all have that one friend, who we love dearly but with whom we do not share the same taste in clothes. Yeah, don’t bring that friend. Always keep in mind that this is your wedding and what matters most is how you feel in your dress. It’s helpful to have friends to help you narrow down choices, but don’t be afraid to go on your own to pick the final one. 

XO, Chelsea