Jul 202017

Premier Bride Expo – St. Augustine – September 24, 2018

Bridal Shows, Planning a Wedding Comments Off on Premier Bride Expo – St. Augustine – September 24, 2018

It’s the last PREMIER wedding expo of the year!  Brides, grooms, friends and family all know that the Premier Bride Expo is Northeast Florida’s biggest and best wedding experience! Join us and 120+ professional wedding vendors on Sunday, September 24th at the Renaissance Resort at World Golf Village!  Newly engaged to almost brides-to-be are encouraged to attended because there is something for everyone!  With vendors representing over 20 different categories you will find new ideas and inspirations down ever aisle!

We have live music, manikin fashion shows, food, sweets, swag bags, prizes, décor set ups and so much more.  It’s a great afternoon to be shared with your fiancé, moms, bridesmaids and/or friends.  Check out our tips for attending a expo to make your experience the best it can be!

Discounted tickets are available online, just make sure you print your confirmation for fastest entry to the show.  You can also purchase tickets at the door for $12 cash.  Go to www.PremierBrideExpo.com now to purchase your discounted tickets!

The Premier Bride Expos are sponsored by Premier Bride Magazine of Northeast Florida, so make sure you pick up your latest copy of the publication and find out how you can have your wedding featured!

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!


May 222015

My Premier Wedding: Eileen and James – West House Photography

My Premier Wedding, Uncategorized Comments Off on My Premier Wedding: Eileen and James – West House Photography

Premier Bride magazine loves to feature “Premier Weddings!”  View this  beautiful wedding in St. Augustine featuring many premier wedding vendors.  The photographer is the talented West House Photography.

If you would like your wedding featured, click the link here to submit!

Bride: Eileen

Groom: James

Wedding Date: 3/7/15

Ceremony & Reception Location: River House in St. Augustine

Catering: Mai Oui!

Photographer: West House Photography; second shooter; Stephanie Whisler

Photo booth: Iphotocube

Videographer: Dean Digamon

Flowers: Pinky Rose Florals

Cake/Sweets: Publix (cake) and Mai Oui (desserts and sweets)

Wedding Gown: Maggie Sottero

Grooms Tux: Men’s Warehouse

DJ: Footloose Entertainment

Transportation: Country Carriages

Décor/Rentals/Linens: Luxe Party Rentals

Wedding Planners: The Eventful Gals

Hair/Makeup: Michele Renee

Wedding Officiate: The Rev. Dr. Joe Molina from Sensational Ceremonies



Mar 232015

Gifts for Your Bridesmaids and Groomsmen

Attendents in Your Wedding, Tips and Opinions, Traditions Comments Off on Gifts for Your Bridesmaids and Groomsmen

Being a gracious bride and groom means taking care of your wedding attendants!

They’re the friends you have known for years or perhaps soon-to-be in-laws who you admire and cherish for their special words of love and laughter.  Wedding attendants play a large part in weddings and it’s no surprise that brides often languish and toil over the perfect wedding attendant gift.

It’s no wonder that you want to give these special people a gift and long-term memory of how important they are in your life.  If some of your attendants are traveling in from out of town how about holding a luncheon for them the day before the wedding?  Local attendants can also be treated to a nice lunch, however in this case you can do it several weeks before your big day.

In regards to the luncheon you might also want to include your mother, the groom’s mother and a few of the other participants who are helping to round out your day.  This could include singers, organists, attendants at your reception and even parents of important people who have helped your day come together in such a unique way.

A special gift is also in order and you might even want to present it to the attendants at the luncheon if you desire.  More than anything the gift is a thank you for all their hard work.  Many times gifts are engraved and can range from a jewelry box to a key chain to a toasting flute.  Jewelry is another gift that just about any woman can appreciate. It has become customary for brides to give the bridesmaid jewelry as their gift or for the bride to pay for the hair and/or makeup to be done!

It used to be the rule, that when giving,   make everything identical with the exception of your maid/matron honor and, for the man, his best man.  However, there are no rules to weddings anymore and if you would like to customize your gifts…go for it.  Just so feelings don’t get hurt….try to make each gift appear of equal value and significance.

Wedding albums are also becoming quite popular since it is a wonderful way to keep your special day in mind.  Perhaps an album engraved with the name of the couple and the date of the wedding might be a nice change of pace for your attendants, both his and hers.  If you don’t just want the professional pictures think about asking your guests to download an app or use a hashtag to capture your wedding images.   Also, ask your wedding planner for ideas and companies that make customized gifts!

Tried and true gifts include:

•           Silver or gold bracelet

•           Silver picture frame

•           Silver engraved compact

•           Silver or crystal engraved jewelry box

•           Wine bottle stopper

•           Wine accessory set

•           Toasting flutes or gold rimmed champagne flutes (perhaps even engraved)

•           Candle with verse

•           Handkerchiefs

•           Engraved key ring

•           Wish pearl and necklace

•           Silver notepad and pen set

•           Compact mirror

•           Roses that are 24k gold

•           Personalized wedding cake topper

•           Silver-plated lip stick case

•           Silver-plated makeup brushes and pouch

•           Silver heart shaped bookmark

•           Bridesmaid bookmark with silk ribbon

•           Engraved bud vase

•           Ribbed glass trinket box

Men also have the responsibility of giving their groomsmen and ushers thank you gifts for their time and loyal friendship.

For men, thoughtful gifts include:

•           Key rings

•           Corkscrews

•           Cuff-links

•           Engraved beer mugs

•           Personalized wallets

•           Business card holder


However, for every tradition in the world there is an opportunity to break it and nowadays some couples are getting more than just a little creative with their attendant’s gifts.  A good way to have the entire group together while enjoying one anothers company is buying concert tickets to Veterans Memorial Area, Ponte Vendra Concert Hall, or St. Augustine Amphitheater  or sporting event tickets to Everbank Field  or even host a dinner for the wedding party after the bride and groom return from the honeymoon.

If it’s a destination wedding you might also opt to pay for your attendant’s airfare or hotel accommodations in order for them to be able to attend.  While some of the attendants you choose to be part of your special day might be able to afford a trip to the South Pacific, others might have to say no.  An excellent gift in this case is just offering to get them to the destination at no charge or offer them a discounted room rate.  Once there, it’s certain that your attendants will also be able to relax and enjoy your special day with you.

Whatever you decide make sure it reflects the fact that these special attendants realize how much you appreciate their time and efforts spent on your behalf.

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