Aug 192016

Mismatched Bridesmaids; Find Dresses That Suit Each Girl’s Body

Attendents in Your Wedding, Beauty, Bridal Fashion, Bridesmaids, Wedding Trends Comments Off on Mismatched Bridesmaids; Find Dresses That Suit Each Girl’s Body

You’ve asked your best girls to be your bridesmaids — and they said “yes!” Now for the tricky part: dresses. These ladies are your dearest friends, sisters, and sisters-to-be; you chose each for her own special reason, so why put them all in the same exact cookie-cutter dress? Nowadays, it’s on trend to work with your bridesmaids to find dresses that suit each girl’s body type, skin tone, hair cut, signature style, and personality…..Not to mention, this generally makes for a very happy and comfortable bridesmaid!

The Basics of Mixing and Matching

The idea behind mixing and matching up your bridesmaid dresses is that all your girls will coordinate, but not match. In general, you could mismatch in terms of color, style, or length. Changing up one or more of these in each dress not only adds visual interest to your bridal party in photos, but your bridesmaids will be ever-grateful to you for letting them have a say in how they outfit their own body. However, it is definitely imperative to lay down some ground rules. These rules could be as open-ended as “Find a dress with some type of lace on it” or as refined as “Here are two dresses; pick one.”

Though each girl will be dressed differently in some capacity, you’ll still want these ladies to look like they belong together. Make sure each dress has at least one common element for a cohesive overall look. To maintain this togetherness, your bridesmaids might:

•           Wear the same fabric

•           Wear the same color or color theme (ex: shades of blue for an ombré effect)

•           Wear the same dress with different necklines or waistlines

•           Coordinate the length of their dresses

•           Stick to a certain style (ex: bohemian, 1950s silhouette, etc.)

•           Wear accessories to tie them together (ex: shoes, necklaces, etc.)

Making the Trend Your Own

So what do you envision for your bridesmaids? Reach a firm decision before letting your girls know; you don’t want to tell them one thing, then switch directions after they’ve already started shopping. Once they hear what you have in mind, get some feedback — but stand firm as needed. Know when to say “no” and when to be lenient. After all, these are the most important ladies in your life — this should be a fun experience!

If you want things to be a bit more structured, there are some big-name bridal shops all over the country that offer many dress options in the color of your choice. Decide on a color, then have each girl visit her local shop to pick out a dress in that color. This is particularly helpful if your bridesmaids-to-be live in different cities; each can do her own thing on her own time, and unity is still guaranteed. If you’re in Jacksonville and looking for a bridal salon to help with this task, you should definitely visit Bridals & More, located on Beach Blvd. They have a wonderful selection of wedding dresses and bridesmaids dresses…..Their staff is amazing also!

If you’re open to a more eclectic look, give your bridesmaids some loose parameters such as color, length, or vibe (more casual day dress vs. elegant eveningwear). A fun way to approach this is to create a group Pinterest board. Each girl can pin potential options and you can all weigh in and see how the dresses look side-by-side. If not a Pinterest board, at least have your girls run their options by you before they finally decide on a dress. And, if you feel strongly about it, make it clear up-front that you have the power to veto. In the end, you have to do what works best for you: your style, comfort level, venue, and your bridesmaids as a whole.

Jacksonville Wedding Coordinator, Cindy Vallely, owner of I Do…Wedding by Cindy featured this wedding on her blog. To see more gorgeous photos from this wedding click photo below.

Image via Style Me Pretty // Image by Lauren Peele














Image via Image via











Jul 132016

Money Saving Wedding Planning Tips

Planning a Wedding, Tips and Opinions Comments Off on Money Saving Wedding Planning Tips

One of the most popular topics of conversation is how brides and grooms can save money when they are planning their wedding.  It is important to understand, you don’t have to sacrifice hiring quality wedding vendors to save money!


When you are starting your wedding planning process, sit down with your fiancé and establish a budget. Talk with your parents and see if they are going to contribute to wedding financially so you know what you have to work during the planning process.


Sit down with your fiancé and create a list of what are the most important elements of your wedding.  Use this list as a guideline when creating a budget for each element of your wedding.  Remember, it is what is important to you as a couple and every couple is different.  Here is a list of “elements” to a wedding that you can consider when creating your list;

Reception Venue                             Ceremony Site                  Photography                      Videography

Ceremony Musicians                      DJ or Band                           Catering/Food                   Cakes & Sweets

Invitations                                           Wedding Planner             Décor & Rentals                Transportation

Wedding Dress                                 Tuxedo/Suites                  Officiate/Clergy                Flowers

Photo Booth                                      Bar Service                         Wedding Bands                Honeymoon

Hotel/Accommodations                Rehearsal Dinner             Hair & Makeup                  Linens & Place Settings

Favors & Gifts                                    Calligraphy                          Guest Experiences          Other Entertainment


Attend a Premier Bride Expo and pick up your copy of Premier Bride Magazine of Northeast Florida!  The expo allows you to “Speed Date” wedding vendors and can offer discounts!  The magazine is packed with many other tips and advice on all aspects of the wedding planning process!



Wedding Planner Tips

  1. Hiring a wedding planner can save you money in the long run.  Experienced wedding professionals know many tips that can help you save money and eliminate expensive mistakes and misjudgments
  2. If you can’t afford a full wedding planner, consider hiring a Day of Coordinator.  The day of coordinator will work with all of your vendors and confirm times and keep you on schedule all day long
  3. Hiring a coordinator/wedding planner that is newer to the industry might be less expensive than one with many years of experience

Reception Venue Tips

  1. Reduce the number of guests you invite to the wedding!  The more people  you invite, the more of everything you need including; food, invitations, tables, flowers, and more
  2. Reception venues typically have different pricing structures depending on the day of the week.  Saturday’s are the usually the most expensive.  For a more cost effective option, think about a Friday, Sunday or weekday wedding
  3. Having a morning wedding and serving brunch can be a less expensive option in some cases
  4. Time of the year, Jacksonville’s more popular wedding months are October, November, March, April and May
  5. Avoid holiday’s and other major events like TPC or Florida vs. Georgia weekend


Ceremony Tips

  1. Having the ceremony in the same location as your reception saves on transportation costs
  2. Use pre-recorded music instead of live music
  3. Reduce the number of ceremony musicians from multiple musicians to one or two.


Photography Tips

  1. Many photographers have pricing structures that correlate with the number of hours they work, to save money, hire them for 6 hours opposed to 10-12
  2. The time of year and the day of the week can affect the price for your photographer
  3. A lot of photographers also bring a second or third shooter with them, only having one photographer can also save you money
  4. Don’t order your photo album right  away, wait until after the wedding when you can save money to purchase your album


  1. Consider hiring a videographer for fewer hours of coverage or only covering the ceremony part of the wedding
  2. Just like reception venues and photographers, the date of wedding could affect the price
  3. Some videographers are also photographers and vice versa, to save money on both services, considering hiring a company that offers both

Cake & Sweet Tips

  1. Instead of paying for multi-level cake to serve to all of your guests, make a smaller cake for pictures and serve sheet cakes to your guests
  2. Cupcakes can eliminate the “cake cutting” cost at some venues
  3. Having a sweet/candy table can reduce the cost of buying in bulk and you have the containers available

Catering & Bar Service Tips

  1. Smaller guest list means less alcohol you have to serve
  2. Limit your open bar hours so it does not cover the entire wedding reception
  3. Just serve beer or wine and/or have a signature drink
  4. Plated dinners might cost less, but there are additional staff needed to serve
  5. Tell your caterer what budget you have in mind “Per person” – have them discuss options with you to create a menu that fits within your budget
  6. Talk to a few catering companies and get quotes to compare.

Invitation Tips

  1. Size of the envelope, weight and thickness effects the postage rate – take to post office before mailing
  2. Addressing correctly will eliminate the returns, so make  sure you understand the USPS rules for addressing envelopes

Transportation Tips

  1. Having your ceremony and reception at the same location cuts costs on transporting the wedding party
  2. Most transportation companies charge by the hour with a minimum number of hours.  If you are having your ceremony and reception in different locations, have them close together in time to reduce the number of hours

Wedding Dress Tips

  1. All bridal salons have sales racks and many of them will sell you the sample dresses – don’t be afraid to ask
  2. Bridal salons also have trunk shows for wedding dress designers.  These trunk shows typically offer discounts or sales.
  3. Buy your dress 9-12 months out to avoid rush fees

Tux Tips

  1. Attending a bridal show will get you discounted rates on your tux rentals


  1. Reduce the number of attendants to reduce the number of bouquets and boutonnieres you need to have
  2. Fewer wedding guests, fewer number of tables you need to decorate with center pieces
  3. Use flowers that are in season, talk to your florist about flowers that are easier to order
  4. If you are trying to achieve a certain look (height or fullness for arrangements) work with a florist to find alternative flowers that might not be as expensive.
  5. Use the bridesmaids bouquets as centerpieces or to decorate the head table
  6. Florists that have storefronts typically purchase flowers in bulk at wholesale pricing, working with storefront florists could save you money

DJ’s & Musicians

  1. The day of the week and the month of your wedding can affect the price
  2. Larger DJ companies with multiple DJ’s have different rates.  Less experienced DJ’s charge less but still bring great equipment and the customer service is still great
  3. Bridal shows offer discounts
  4. Shorter reception times can reduce the cost
  5. Providing your own ceremony and cocktail music can reduce the DJ cost
  6. Having a wedding coordinator that handles the reception events (dances, cake cutting, bouquet tossing, etc) can reduce the cost of your DJ
  7. Have a bridesmaid or sister that is also getting married?  Booking the same DJ (or the same wedding vendors for that matter) could get you discounts!



Just remember that hiring a true wedding professional will save you money and time in the long run.  Individuals and businesses that work weddings every weekend do it because they love helping brides and grooms create the wedding of their dreams.  Many of them have done hundreds, if not thousands of weddings so and they love to offer advice and tips to their clients….take advantage of their knowledge and experience.  You do not have reduce the quality of wedding vendors you hire…you just have to prioritize what is important to you, be honest with the vendors about budget, and plan smarter!


Mar 172016

Premier Bride Expo – Rock N Roll – Jacksonville

Bridal Shows, Planning a Wedding Comments Off on Premier Bride Expo – Rock N Roll – Jacksonville

Northeast Florida, get ready for the “Rock N Roll” Premier Bride Expo happening on June 12th at the Prime Osborn Convention Center presented by Premier Bride Magazine of Northeast Florida!

The theme for the expo is inspired from the fashion and décor photo shoot that happened for the new edition of Premier Bride Magazine!

Over 40 wedding vendor came together to create over 5 table scapes, 6 guest experiences, and  17 wedding gowns for the “Rock N Roll” spread.  Make sure you pick up the newest copy of the magazine at the show and check out the décor showcase that is all about “Rock N Roll!”  Follow us online on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterst for all the images from the shoot!

Come see us at our booth and grab your copy!

When attending the Premier Bride Expo, expect to meet well over 100 of the top wedding professionals in the Jacksonville and surrounding area at the show.  There will be vendors representing all aspects of the wedding planning process.   There will be wedding venues, photographers, invitations, honeymoons & travel, catering companies, cake & sweets, videographers, bridal salons, beauty, health, grooms wear, florists, DJ’s & musicians, transportation, accessories, and so much more!  For more vendors make sure you check out our vendor directory on our website by clicking here.

We encourage all brides & grooms to attend with their significant other!  It is also recommended that you only bring other people to the show who are part of the decision making process.  Large groups of people are always welcome, but if you are coming to the show to book your wedding vendors, having a large entourage it can be harder to talk to everyone you want too.

Another trick is to print labels so you can peel and stick instead of writing out all of our information.  Most vendors will have prizes at their booths, but they do require filling out a registration form.  Your labels should include your name, phone, email, wedding date and address!

Visit Premier Bride Expo’s website to for more information by clicking here.  We also suggest pre-registering  and pre-paying for the bridal show online and printing out your tickets.   This will allow for a speedy entry at the show.  If you can not print out your tickets, don’t worry, they will be able to look up your registration and payment online.  This line is sometimes long, so if you can print your tickets out that would be best!

Tickets are $8 online or $12 at the door.  Doors open at 1 pm to 4 pm!

Jan 102015

Sliders Seaside Grill and The Ocean Club of Amelia Island are top notch when it comes to planning a wedding.

Reception Venues Comments Off on Sliders Seaside Grill and The Ocean Club of Amelia Island are top notch when it comes to planning a wedding.

Amelia Island, FL is unique in so many ways. It is treasured for its long stretches of quiet beaches, natural beauty, unique history and charming seaport character. Located in the heart of this beautiful area are two fantastic wedding venues that are sure to impress you. They are Sliders Seaside Grill and The Ocean Club of Amelia. We spoke with Nigel Teare, the Director of Catering of both properties, and here is what he had to say about them.

What is your most favorite wedding trend right now?  I am leery of the word “ trendy”!  Just because it’s on the internet doesn’t mean it will work.  Good trends are rooted deeply in traditional history- taking the classics and breathing in a fresh perspective.  I love our new menus that reflect our journey with food.  We have worked hard with the concept of New American Cuisine.  It has roots in haute cuisine and takes all that is great about the American Experience, and our diverse culture, and blends them into recipes with great flavors, colors and textures, featuring locally grown farm fresh ingredients.

What do you do that makes you stand out more so than others in your industry? We are getting rave reviews on our menu offerings and when to take that and add it to the beach setting we have here on Amelia Island – you have a wedding site and venue that is hard to pass up on!  Our brides come for a visit and book the same day!

What is your favorite product or service that you offer brides?  Please describe it.  I have never shown a bride the Ocean Club when they didn’t instantly fall in love with the location on the beach- the décor of the room and even the path through the dunes; it hides them from the view of their guests until the last possible moment when they crest the top of the dune leading onto the beach.  Talk about a grand entrance!

What made you decide to work in the wedding industry? My family has been in the hospitality industry since 1945.  I have a long tradition of fine service and management experienced passed down to me along with 20 years of fine foods catering experience in New York City.  I have a great deal creativity and practical knowledge to offer my clients and I love to share it all.

What do you love the very most about what you do? I love to see the beauty of weddings – the bride in her dress – the room set in anticipation with crisp linens – the guests in their fashion – the lights flickering from candles –the smiles on people’s faces.

What is the most creative and unique thing you’ve done at a wedding? That’s hard to say as I always work with each bride specifically, so no two weddings are ever the same.  I’ve never met a bride who didn’t want to do as much creatively to their tastes to dress up their wedding and I’m happy to brainstorm ideas with every bride.

Will you be on-site during the entire reception until the very end?  Yes, I am on-site for each event.

Tell the brides-to-be your best wedding advice.  Remember to be you in all decisions.  Listen to advise from others, consider all things soberly, then make final decisions based from your heart.  You cannot go wrong.

Do you offer any other products or services?  We love to help brides with arrangements where ever we can.  I recently started working with a rental company with a terrific inventory of “special” items that can enhance the décor details of any wedding.  We are happy to get estimates, place orders, make suggestions and coordinate deliveries and pick-ups. We have great relationships with a variety of vendors and are happy to make local recommendations. We offer candlelight packages and limited centerpiece services as well. We even can customize a menu for a bride or groom and we are a great location for Rehearsal Dinners and the morning after Brunch Gathering.  One stop shopping is our goal.

Will you have an assistant during the wedding? Each event is staffed by a banquet manager.  Both our managers have been with us a while and know how to keep the guests happy.  They are there to make sure things run smoothly throughout the event.

How far in advance should a bride to be contact you before the wedding?  Brides start calling for viewings of the Ocean Club about 6 months or more out from the date they are looking to plan. Once that first call comes in then the season will fill up pretty quickly.  So book early.

What are some of your specialties?  Food and Service – that is what we get compliments on from every client.  They love the fact that they can tailor menus specifically to their likes – we don’t have a “set” wedding package with just three choices from each category.  It’s a day to remember and we want you to remember the food- not just the location.

How long have your been doing what you do? I’ve been in the food end of this Industry for 30 years.  All in New York City until last year when I fell in love with Amelia Island!  It is such a beautiful place.  I met the owner of this restaurant in a store in downtown Fernandina and we got to talking food – the rest is culinary history.  I’ve brought my expertise here and changed things up a bit and it is making us beloved amongst  brides, brides mothers and groom’s moms!  I think I’ll stay a while and enjoy the great south.

What are 5 adjectives that describe you and/or your business

Location, location, location…….Fantastic and friendly!


Name of Business: Sliders Seaside Grill and The Ocean Club of Amelia

Contact Information:











Mar 272014

Wedding Table Scapes

Decor Comments Off on Wedding Table Scapes

Wedding themes are trending and we think that they are here to stay for a very long time.  No more does simple colors make the cut…now everyone asks what is the “theme” of your wedding.  Sometimes brides choose themes that have a clear direction, like “Beach Chic” and then other brides choose wedding themes that leave more to the imagination like “Grown Up Sexy.”

The best thing about a wedding theme is that your inspiration can come from anything; a plate, a piece of fabric, a movie, or your favorite book….they can come from anywhere.  Most couples select a theme together that reflects their relationship, something that they love doing together, or they might have a venue in mind where a theme just fits!  Rules have been thrown out the window when it comes to weddings these days…anything and everything seams to go.  The more creative the better!  It is your special day so don’t be afraid to set outside the box and plan a party that will wow your guests.

Brides can find many inspirations in many different places.  Pinterest is definitely a popular site for brides to use when planning their wedding.  We love Pinterest too…but we caution everyone on how to use Pinterest.  First, use it for inspirations….not for copying someones ideas.  All too often wedding professionals are given wedding boards on Pinterest and asked to copy what they have pinned.  Who wants someone else wedding?  Be orginal and tell your wedding pros what you like and what you don’t and let them get creative….remember, if you hire a professional wedding vendor…they are creative and love a great challenge! Make sure you check out our wedding decor vendors, click here!

Where you can get really creative in your wedding decor is the  table scape.  We wanted to share with you some examples we have used in our own styled wedding shoots.




























Jan 242014

Looking for an experienced wedding consultant based out of Jacksonville? ‘I Do…Weddings By Cindy’ may be exactly what you’ve been searching for.

Planning a Wedding Comments Off on Looking for an experienced wedding consultant based out of Jacksonville? ‘I Do…Weddings By Cindy’ may be exactly what you’ve been searching for.

When asked a few questions about her wedding consultant and design business, Cynthia Valley, owner of I Do…Weddings By Cindy, had this to say:

What do you love most about what you do?

Bringing the couple’s vision to life.  Months go into the planning and design of their special day and when they see it all come together I just love that.  I also have to say having the honor to see the bride’s father or mother’s face the first time they see their daughter in her gown is a very special moment for me as well.

Will you be on site during the entire reception until the very end?

Yes, I will be there to ensure everything is done to the bride and venue’s/satisfaction.

Tell the brides-to-be your best wedding advice.

Enjoy being engaged.  You don’t have to jump into making plans right away……….Enjoy some time with your fiancé.  Also, learn to embrace the stress.  Planning a wedding is stressful but so is most everything else in life.  This should be a positive stress – embrace it.   Oh, one more thing…….Don’t allow online boards to overwhelm you.  Use them for inspiration and then commit to your plan.  A good planner/designer can help you with that.

What is your most favorite wedding trend right now?

I like the way couples are making their wedding about them.  You see a lot more of who they are as a couple in the overall design.  I am a traditionalist at heart but working with couples to make their day their way is fun.

What do you do that makes you stand out more so than others in your industry?

I have chosen to remain a small company in order to give each bride the special attention she deserves.  However, I do work with associates to assist me when needed.  When you read the testimonials on my webpage I think you’ll see one of the common traits is that I listen – I hear what it is the couple desires for their day and I make that a reality.

Will you have an assistant during the wedding?

Yes, I will have an assistant during the wedding and for most, if not all, of the reception.

How far in advance should a bride to be contact you before the wedding?

I can be contacted at any stage of the planning process; however, sooner is better to help avoid mistakes that could add to the overall costs of the wedding.

How long have you been doing what you do?

For nine years I have been planning weddings in the Jacksonville and Tallahassee areas.  My concentration during the past several years has been Jacksonville and the surrounding area.

What are 5 adjectives that describe you and/or your business?

People have always complimented me on my style, creativity and attention to detail.  In addition I’d have to say I’m a good listener and personable.

What is the most unique thing you have seen at a wedding?

It was called “the moon”.  It was a 3 foot illuminated sphere that floated above the outdoor reception site casting a nice light for an evening event.  When it was time for guests to leave the vendor turned up the light to allow guests to walk safely to their cars.

Contact Information

I Do…Weddings By Cindy

(904) 568 – 5580



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