Highlights from our best year yet!
Ohhhhh…. we are so excited to work with you to plan your wedding, so let’s dive right in!
First, let’s discuss HOW we plan your wedding. We will get on the same page by sharing any contracts/invoices etc and organizing them. We’ll send over a digital folder full of our favorite planning resources, and you can pick and choose which are the most pertinent for your wedding.
We also REALLY love the resources available on some of our favorite wedding websites, like these:
A Practical Wedding. The name says it all! Practical resources and TONS of customizable spreadsheets for your wedding This is one of our all time fave sites, and we have been published on APW a few times(like this gorgeous wedding!)*
Offbeat Bride: Another site rooted in practicality, it’s also oriented to non-traditional weddings, but has great resources that can serve any wedding couple.
Zola: This site is wonderful because you can create your own wedding website, track guests and it has nice checklists as well!!!
Next, let’s discuss the process of working together!
Working with Burlap & Rose: We love weddings, and we love staying organized! For most of our Collaborative Planning clients, we schedule a phone chat about once per month to check in and stay on top of things. In between calls, email is our best friend, and we are usually very quick to respond (often within 24-48 hours, sometimes much quicker… though during busy wedding weekends we will get back to you during the work week!). We typically save texting for emergencies/4 weeks out from the wedding, because if we keep most of our written correspondence to email, it keeps everything neat and tidy and in one place.
Social Media: We do love sharing images and when clients tag us in comments of something you love, but if we start getting message over Instagram/Facebook, things can get a little messy, so email is still the best place to send us info you want to make sure reaches our eyeballs!
Timing: For the most part, we are flexible and we do try to work with client’s schedules to make the process as stress-free for you as possible! Unlike some vendors/planners/venues who ONLY work with you during the 9-5 M-F work week, we make things easy for YOU! We will schedule calls in the evening/nighttime etc, and we try our best to not reschedule calls or mtgs on our end, as we know you are busy and we want to respect that! If at all possible, we ask you to also keep to scheduled calls as much as possible, or give us 24 hrs notice when you can… but let’s be real, we know life happens and sometimes things come up so don’t stress it if you do have to postpone a chat!
*Our one word of caution about A Pratical Wedding and Offbeat Bride: sometimes their articles skew a leeetle heavy on the low-budget, you can do anything DIY side. And while we believe in sticking to a budget, we also think you have to be realistic about what things really cost!
A Wedding Costs How Much?!
If you have started planning your wedding, you have probably already had a few instances of sticker shock. While I can totally relate to the feeling of having your eyes bulge out initially when seeing the costs of wedding services + items, I also encourage you to consider the reasons why things cost what they do. Ultimately, it’s up to you to create a wedding budget that matches your vision, and you get to decide what is worth it to you to spend your hard earned cash on. But before you start researching and reaching out to vendors, it will likely be helpful to take a crash course in wedding costs. Once you understand more about why certain goods or services cost what they do, you can decide what you splurge on and where to save!
Small Business Owners Need to Charge Fair Rates to Stay Afloat
Most of the vendors I work with are small business owners, and they have to have a sound business that pays the bills in order to continue doing the work they love. The alternate of a working with a vendor charging a fair rate is to contract with some one who charges less than the industry standard, likely undercutting other professionals in the process. A vendor who is charging too little is often creating an unsustainable situation where they can’t fully meet the stipulations of their contracts because they aren’t earning enough to keep the business running.
What Should I Expect to Pay?
I always tell my couples to expect a wide range of price points for each category in the wedding world. Why? Just like in almost every sector of our economy, you can purchase similar(ish) items or service at vastly different price tags, and (usually!) those price tags reflect the overall quality of the product or service. You can buy a plain white t-shirt for $5, or $50 or even $500, and generally you can tell the difference in quality. Sometimes the cheaper option is just that, but sometimes It’s up to you to decide which option you want/need/can afford.
For some aspects of your wedding, the least expensive option might be just fine. You may want simple florals, or cupcakes over a tiered cake, or maybe simple dress over a wedding gown will do the trick. But for some aspects of your wedding you might know that you want the best option available, like amazing photos that will last forever. So don’t skim on the photographer! Decides what matters to you the most(ideally pick the top 3-5 items) and spend your money there!
There are some helpful (and some not so helpful!) resources online to help you figure out your wedding budget. Here are some that I find actually helpful:
Match your Wedding Vision Match Your Budget
My biggest piece of advice: Be willing to adjust your budget somewhat as you learn how much things cost, and adjust your budget accordingly. Spend where you want to, save where you want to and don’t stress it too much!
I’m publishing this blog post just in time for our three year anniversary. On May 24, 2015 I had my first ever true “light bulb” moment. It was just a few short weeks after my own wedding earlier that month, and on a trip to the beautiful mountains of Ojai, I thought wow, this would be a really beautiful place for a wedding! My hubby reminded me that well, we just got married… So instead of trying to plan another wedding for myself, I came to the realization I should start my own wedding planning business. And now here we are… and this weekend we will celebrate our 90th wedding!! Holy wow! That milestone calls for some sparklers, like those at one of our fave Palm Springs weddings last year at Colt's Lodge!
So excited to share these exciting updates for our three year anniversary!
Updated Rates and Packages
First off, we are updating our packages and rates based on what our couples have shared would be most helpful!
We consolidated our packages to two easy to understand options:
Wedding Management: Rates start at $2,500*
Collaborative Planning: Rates start at $5k*
Based on client feedback, we’ve adjusted our partial/full service planning and combined them into one! We realized clients usually needed a little more than what we had included in Partial Planning, but not as much as Full Service, so we combined the two and have a price point starting at the mid-range.
Since we are just putting down roots in Austin, we’re happy to offer $1K off either package for those getting married in Austin, Hill Country and surrounding areas!
Updated Wedding Galleries
We still have TONS more weddings to update from last year, but hey we’ve made a dent and started to share some of our favorites. Check them out here!
We’ve updated our fave Venues page!
Check it out here, with our number one favorite venue, Hudson Loft, right at the top!
New Logo + Web Updates
We freshened up our look with some fun tropical vibes, reminiscent of my hometown Miami. When marking milestones like a biz anniversary, it’s fun to shake things up and put a fresh coat of paint on!
Our Team + Associate Planners
Check out our updated Meet The Team page to learn more about the folks who make the magic behind the scenes. Our Associate Planners are all based in LA and are taking on more weddings on their own... at a discounted rate to clients! Ask about our Associate Planner rates if you want to work with us, but are on a budget. And, you can see a pic of our newest team member, Lucy!
Lastly, in the coming year we hope to blog more frequently, sharing our best expert tips and tricks and refine our systems even more to be of most use to our happy wedding couples. We already have almost 15 weddings in the works for 2018, and several booked for 2019. Can’t wait to see where our clients will take us!
Looking to the next three years!
Jen + the Burlap & Rose Family
While there’s tons of modern inspiration for weddings easily available online, it’s harder to find fresh modern takes to Baby Showers that aren’t saturated with pink or blue. We used the Pantone Color of the Year, Ultra Violet, as our anchor color and created a rich colorful palette of blues, reds and yellows to complement the many shades of purple.
We wanted to highlight a beautiful (yet affordable!) well-designed shower for an intimate group of friends that didn’t need to break the bank. Here’s how we put together this inspiration shoot, with tips on how you can create a similar shower/shoot for yourself or a new Mama to Be in your life!
What a truly amazing year you were 2017...
And sometimes that takes setting aside the time for real reflection to remember it all. Thanks to all the great folks we got to work with to make it our best year yet! Here's a few photos and thoughts on some of the highlights!
Love Wins Out
Yes, we knew that 2017 was going to have hardships with having a Cheeto as our President, but... one of the first major events of the year we helped create was LOVE WINS OUT, dreamt up by our friends as part of the LA Wedding Vendors and Creatives group. Jessica Schilling was the mastermind behind this event, and conceived it shortly after the election as a way to affirm LGBT/Queer couples and show solidarity in the face of oppression. Jessica writes: "Over 40 talented and generous members of LA Wedding Vendors and Creatives came together and donated time, products, and services to pull off stylish, sweet, and smooth elopements for five different couples. Lots of details of the beautiful flowers, decor, cakes and food and wine, and then all of us celebrating at a kickass dance party!" For more photos and a list of all vendors who participated, check out Jessica's fantastic recap!
Toasted Wedding Expo
We also helped put on two kick ass modern wedding expos early this year! In February, we partnered with a national wedding expo called Toasted to bring a fresh spin to wedding expos for the first time in LA! Hosted at one of our favorite venues, the Ruby Street, It was a smorgasbord of delights: bright florals, colorful designs and creations from our favorite wedding vendors friends! Natalja Kent of Two Moon Photography photogrpahed the day and we love her bright blog post that captured the essence of our expo.
Later in April, we were excited to partner with The Bruncheon to host their first annual expo in Los Angeles, where we were a featured florist and panelist. The recap video by Ace Wedding and photos by Amy Gray tell the story of a great vendor team sharing their expertise over brunch with dozens of almost married folks!
Ohhhh, and did we also mention we help to plan/design/floralize thirty weddings, two elopements, and an international engagement shoot? Yep, you read that right... our team was busy this year! From the beaches of Malibu, to the Redwoods of Northern California, to the boulders of Joshua Tree... we got to travel to some of the most epic places in California to plan and produce some amazing weddings!
Please scroll down for Full Photography Vendor list at end of post!
We had so many great collaborations throughout the year, including our one year Pop-Up Collective we created called LoveSpell, a feminist business incubator where we got to help get two wedding planning businesses get started! We formalized our mentorship/apprenticeship program and grew our in-house Burlap & Rose team. In addition, we continued our #WeddingWomenWednesday collaboration group, where we met over coffee in nature with some of our favorite entrepreneurial ladies in the wedding industry. The Burlap & Rose team as also active with many other local networking groups like our local Rising Tide/Tuesdays Together groups and the LA Wedding Vendors and Creatives group. We also expanded our horizons by participating in the Yeah Field Trip!, Yellow Collective + Conference, and the Being Boss Vacay in New Orleans.
Travel + Expansions
In between all these great weddings of 2017, we also got to spend time traveling and expanding our horizons for 2018. We went venue scouting with clients in Virginia City, Nevada AND Napa, California, AND New Orleans, and one of our favorite places of all time, TULUM Mexico, oh my! We also got to take on a different role as Wedding Officiants for two of our close friends getting married. Most importantly... The Clarys also moved to Austin, Texas! We are so stoked to be able to continue our work in Southern California while also shifting our home base to the Hill Country of Texas... and of course, beyond! We love travel and will go anywhere your wedding takes us!
On a personal level, we also explored buying a venue in Joshua Tree (!!!) before ultimately deciding Austin was the better fit for us at this point. And, we're welcoming a new member of the team in early 2018... Baby Clary!
We rounded out the year with a sweet Holiday Party with some of our favorite vendors, clients and friends. Check out some of the highlight photos from Julie Shuford, photobooth pics by Oh Snaptastic! and our lovely recap video by Anchor Pictures!
Full Vendor List from Holiday Party
Hand crafted jewelry + Vintage Wares @FaithfulArtisans
Photography: Julie @julieshufordphotography
Videography: Mason + Savannah // Anchor Pictures @anchor.pictures
Burlap & Rose Team: Jen @burlapandrose
Luisa + Kat
Catering: Amy's Culinary Adventures @chefamyj
Bar: Yvette + Vincent @la.speakeasy
Desserts: Nika @sugarstudiola
Luisa Cartagena (flute) @luisamcartagena
Lily(harp) + Simon (cello) @strangeinterlude
Photobooth: Monica Oh! Snaptastic @ohsnaptastic
Photos of Weddings in order from L to R:
Isaiah + Taylor, Cassie Rosch, Karl Verkade,
The Brides and the Bees, Nate Dumlao, LaRousse,
Nature Wedding Photography, Amy Gray Photo, Kathy Deninno
Amy Gray Photo, The Brides and the Bees, She of the Woods
Jessica Mendoza, Christine Flower, Red Anchor
Iris & Light, Client Photo, Julie Shuford,
Joe Clary Photo, Taylor Cole, Jose Alvarado,
Amy Gray Photo, Julie Shuford, Jessica Andrade
The Allens, Hannah Costello, The Figlewicz
Abbi Cooley, Madison Hope, Norris Photo,
Elyse Fair, Josh Reiss, Betsy Newman
We are so excited to share some big news here at Burlap & Rose HQ! As it finally starts to feel like Autumn in Southern California, we’ve got Additions, Transitions and Expansions on the mind. The first 2.5 years of our business have been an amazing journey, and we are even more stoked for what is coming next!
We’re excited to share we’ll have a new, tiny staff member starting in February, when Baby Clary (BC) makes her debut! We’ve been a family affair since Day One when I started my company with my husband, and later my tribe of four sisters, by my side. And soon, my mini-me Baby will be here too tagging along with her working Mama!
A new baby is really exciting for us, but we also understand many current and prospective clients might be asking, but what does this mean for our wedding?
First, we want you to know we’ve got you covered in any and all circumstances! We are so excited by the amazing team of gals we’ve cultivated over the past several years. If you haven’t yet, take a look at our recently updated Meet the Team page and check out the snazzy Bios and Pics.
There are many wedding vendors, and wedding planners specifically, who operate as solo acts or one woman shows, and for some, that works well! However, we knew from our very beginnings we wanted to have a different, collaborative approach with our clients, by bringing not just one person’s expertise to their wedding, but a whole team of talented people. While I’ll be taking a few weeks off for Maternity Leave(liking around mid-February through mid-March, though exact timing will be determined by BC) my team will be monitoring all calls/emails/etc and keeping things on track for all of our clients!
In addition to a new baby, The Clary’s will be moving to Austin! We’re so excited to grow into a new family home in Texas at the end of this year. Like many of our clients who are juggling the costs of planning a wedding with buying a new house and starting a new family, it’s exciting to get to that phase when it all comes together and we are there! We’re also really excited to explore new wedding markets, like those in and around Austin. The Texas Hill Country beckons with tons of great outdoor venues, and Austin itself has some fun new venues in downtown and beyond.
While we are still happily booking clients for 2018 and 2019 currently, another transition we are looking forward to: taking on less weddings! By taking on fewer weddings overall, this allows us to focus more on Partial and Full Service Planning, along with offering more Design and Florals options, while still offering some select Month-Of packages for those clients who take a more DIY/budget friendly approach.
With a big move like this, you might also be be wondering, again… but what does that mean for our upcoming wedding?
This is where our awesome team comes in once again! We aren’t closing up shop in LA, rather growing into the Austin market as well. In addition, we’ve been taking on more destination weddings around the U.S. Being so centrally located also opens us up to easier travel to some of our favorite places, like New Orleans, where we just had the pleasure of touring several great venues. We’re also that much closer to the East Coast, and happy to hep plan the perfect wedding in Florida, DC, New York or beyond! I’ll personally be back in LA several times over the coming year to be in person at weddings and venue walk-throughs, and for those meetings when I can’t be there, my team of gals will be available.
We’re also offering discounted services with our Associate Planners as Lead Coordinators on Wedding Days. This tends to be a great win-win for everyone involved, as it allows us to offer generous discounts off our usual rates, which helps those clients with smaller budgets, and it offers great leadership opportunities for more members of our team. The best part? I get to stay involved in the planning in the lead-up to your wedding, so you also get the wealth of knowledge that comes from working with an experienced planner(with over 75 weddings under my belt) at a much lower rate!
It’s an exciting time of year. As I write this in mid-November, we are gearing up for our last two weddings of the 2017 Wedding Season. Our first weddings of the 2018 season aren’t until late March/early April, which means we’ve got some precious time to regroup, take a breather, and focus on 2018 weddings! We are thrilled to have the time to re-write some of our materials, catch up on blogging our weddings of the past year, and really just figure out the best ways to offer more to our clients next year. In that vein, we’ll be taking a little time off around the holidays, see dates below.
On behalf of everyone at the Burlap & Rose team, thanks for reading and sharing our journey!
Lots of Love,
Jen + Co
PS: Our Virtual Office will be closed for the Thanksgiving Holidays from Nov. 22-Nov. 27
We’ll be closed again for Christmas/New Years from Dec. 22— Jan. 2
Maternity Leave will likely be mid-Feb- mid March: exact dates TBD closer to the time!
During any of these times, please still feel free to call or email us— it will just take a little longer than usual to respond :)
The story behind our name!
(Or, why I ignore the haters and stay true to me)
I started my wedding planning business just a few weeks after my own wedding. Post wedding, I was missing the whole planning process, and at the same time I knew it was time to make a career change. Voila: it clicked that I could start my own business!
After that initial lightbulb moment, I wanted to get started quickly. I had the energy and vision, and after some quick internet research, I saw that a wedding planning expo was coming up near me in just a few weeks. I got inspired to put myself out there, and get things up and going in time to attend this expo and start meeting people in the business.
First step for me: choosing a business name! As a kid, I Ioved naming things: my dolls, plants, random toys etc. I once filled an entire journal when I was 8 years old making up a town of people and whole families who lived there, mostly so I could name dozens and dozens of people. I don’t have kids yet, but as a name-aholic, but I have had lists of potential baby names for years.
So, choosing a business name could have been an impossible task. I knew it could become a block if I let it; as someone kinda obsessed with names, wouldn’t I have to choose the perfect name for my business? In order to be successful, wouldn’t the name have to be unique, amazing, definitive, trendy but classic, etc etc?
In fact, I only allowed myself two days to come with my business name. I knew I couldn’t move forward on any other of the big aspects (website, business email, biz cards, etc) until I had a name in place. I simply didn’t have the luxury to be indecisive! So I researched what other wedding planners called their businesses, and I played around with a few different combinations. In the end, I liked the idea of having a name that tied into aspects of my own wedding, to have the name grounded in something that mattered to me from the beginning.
For my wedding, I choose burlap as the accent for our farmhouse tables, and roses were the main florals, so Burlap & Rose came to me as a pretty name, rooted in things I liked enough to choose for my own wedding. I liked the idea that burlap is affordable and simple, and roses are classic and beautiful, and the juxtaposition of the two.
In the past few years, burlap, mason jars, baby’s breath, chalkboards (ie, anything rustic) has become popular and trendy to hate. The interwebz are overflowing with stories on how mason jars and the like are so last year. When asked “what are the most overdone wedding trends, industry and bride to be facebook groups alike usually put burlap and it’s rustic cousins near the top. Roses on the other hand don’t get singled out as much, though my own wedding floral accent baby’s breath is equally (if not more?) hated than burlap. I know these trends started because these items are affordable, and can make great wedding decor options that people can source themselves and not spend a ton of money on. After the recession, affordability became not a trend, but a necessity!
There have been times I’ve wanted to change my business name, because with so many people declaring the rustic theme dead, why keep it? Burlap and it’s economical friends have become easy targets for people to pick on… which is one big reason I ended up keeping the name.
Look, the reality is, there is a good chance that anything that seems unique and wonderful today will be overplayed before ya know it. This past year, I’ve had many, many clients into rose gold/terrariums/geometric shapes/tropical anything, and on and on. More people than I can count have been excited by their unique and clever decor idea, only to be disappointed to find it plastered all over Pinterest soon enough. Tiny gold spray painted dinosaurs? Three weddings in a row. Donut Walls? Ten this year alone!
And ya know what? Who cares? As Offbeat Bride reminds us often, someone, somewhere will find something about your wedding ideas tacky and I know the same is true for how wedding planners represent themselves.
I’ve thought about re-branding, but besides the amount of time and money that will take, for now I like keeping a name that’s “over”. It’s a reminder to me of who I am and where I started, and a nod to keeping things affordable and real.
Plus, in truth: I actually still really like burlap and rose. I think there are elegant and humble ways to bring these affordable options together and create something beautiful. I put together a simple dinner table setting for my hubby and I tonight, and felt inspired to recycle some decor elements from past weddings. Too much in the wedding industry ends up in the garbage, and I love finding ways to make things sustainable by recycling items that are still perfectly good.
Regardless of my business name, the ethics I have grounded my business in: a commitment to affordability, diversity + sustainability, I’ll keep forever.
I’ve been really looking forward to the summer season that has just started. I know it’s time for some changes personally, and with the solstice and start to a new season it feels like a great time to welcome in some new energy and ideas.
Right before summer kicked off, we had the honor of collaborating on our 50th Burlap & Rose wedding since our founding!* Yep, the Big 5-0! Getting to this milestone feels big and monumental. Laura + Rich’s non-traditional backyard wedding was a perfect celebration. We not only provided Full Service Planning for this wedding, but also design and florals and got to bring in some of our favorite vendors as well. It was a truly stunning bright, bold, colorful wedding.
As we head into our third year of business, the change we are most excited about is moving more into Full Service, Design and Florals. We’re doing less Month-Of Coordinating, and instead we are collaborating more deeply with our clients to help create memorable rituals and celebrations that are still budget friendly AND well-designed! We’re transitioning to a stage of taking on less clients, and being more involved, and that change feels really exciting.
What are you excited about in this new season?
Photo by Kat + Leo of the Gathering Season
*I’ve also personally worked on dozens of other weddings with other planners as co-collaborators and have over 75+ total weddings under my belt, but the Big 5-0 under our Brand was with Laura and Rich on June 17!
On May 3, 2015 I married my best friend, my middle school sweetheart. Doesn't that just sound barfy? We officially got hitched in one of our favorite places on the planet, the Central Coast of California, in the mountains outside a little magical town called Cambria just south of Big Sur.
The absolute most amazing part was the feeling of pure joy I kept feeling throughout the weekend by having all of our friends and family gather in one place over a four day period of time. The best highlights included our wedding hike through the forest to a little Treehouse in the woods, our musician friends serenading us both during the ceremony and then again by candlelight at night, and all the love and care and good energy contributed by our friends and family(including baking us cupcakes! Go #TeamJen!).
So many times you just see the pretty photos on a wedding blog, and not the reasons behind them. I'm going to start letting y'all in and take some behind the scenes sneak peaks, sound good?!?
Photos below by the super talented Michael Stephens.
We had an amazing team of vendors who worked with us to bring our dream wedding to life! Here's a little bit of info on these great folks ,not only WHO they were (including links to their websites) but why we chose them!
Planning/Design/Florals/Styling: Burlap & Rose Weddings! Yup, I hatched this baby myself! But see below, I did have the foresight to hire a Coordinator for the day. Like many of you, I did tons of reading and planning online, and wanted to DIY and plan out many of the aspects of my day. The planning and design for me included making chalkboard signs instead of having paper goods, picking wildflowers (a perk of a spring wedding) and incorporating them into my bouquet, and creating many of the little details that made the day what it was.
Photography: Michael Stephens Photography. I met Mike at the one and only Bridal Expo I attended as a bride, at the majestic Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo. When I met Mike at this expo, we instantly clicked. Compared to many of the other folks there, he just felt like the right down to earth vibe. He was offering a special of 15% off if we signed on the spot, and while that can feel like a risky move for some things, it felt right to sign with him then. It ended up being a great choice because we got a great deal, and love our photos. If you find yourself at a Bridal Expo or are otherwise offered a similar discount, my advice to you is to ask to see as much of a vendor's work as possible and see if it is a good fit. Most importantly, you have to decide what your budget priorities are and where you are willing to make trade-offs or take a potential risk. While we really wanted (and got!!) great photos, we knew we only had a certain amount of $ we could spend on this, so our trade-off was only booking 5 hours of wedding coverage. That meant we didn't get those getting ready shots(which weren't important to us, but are to many people!) or any night time dancing shots, which could have been cool, but again #priorities.
Venue: Red Mountain Retreat VRBO. Ah, our venue!!! It took us forever to find it but once we did... it was a match made in heaven. This is what we spend the most time trying to figure out! Unlike with our photographer(which was literally a 15 min convo and decision made on the spot!) depending on how ya look at it, it took us either five months... or two years, trying to find the right venue! For the first few years of our engagement we were considering getting hitched in our home state of Florida, including some rad places like the Keys. We did end up having our Wedding Part 1 in my family's back yard(more on that later) but after we relocated to California in the summer of 2014, we wanted to get married here too!
After checking out many cool places up there, including a kick ass summer camp right on the ocean, and a sweet, tiny family run winery, my mama stumbled upon this listing on VRBO. They had only done one small family wedding there before, but with 160 acres, including lemon groves, a hiking trail and secret hidden treehouse, we knew it would be amazing.
But, let me get real with you, while it was PERFECT, it wasn't perfect, if ya catch my drift? There are tons of amazing ways to make a non-traditional wedding space work for you, but it can be more work than you anticipate, and the costs really can add up if you have to bring everything in. Plus, there were a few surprises when we got there, so you have to be willing to roll with that, and we also literally had to roll up our sleeves and do some last min yard maintenance that hadn't been finished! But all things considered, I am so glad we took the time to find the right place. And honestly traveling around to gorgeous places was my favorite part of wedding planning... and ultimately a big part of why I wanted to become a wedding planner myself!
Catering/Bartending: Haute Skillet Doing Catering Tastings is another of the truly best parts of wedding planning, because, Food! Every catering company handles tastings differently. Some don't charge a fee at all, some will but apply it to your total bill, etc. We tried a few really yummy places, but Anna with Haute Skillet won us over with her locally sourced, delish comfort food. We had really wanted a food truck wedding, but the steep mountain roads leading up to our venue didn't quite work for the truck, so instead we got an even better meal with "drop-off catering" and hired some of the folks who work with Anna to set up a buffet and bus. This is one of the best budget ways to cater your wedding, but do note: you must have at least some service staff! Even if you don't want a full fledged catered meal, you do have to have some extra hands on board to manage/serve/prep/clear. I've been (mostly) vegetarian for most of my life, but my hubby isn't so we found a great compromise with delish veggie and meat options.
Dessert: Linn's Pies (Local Berry Pies)/The French Corner Bakery(Cake)/ Friends(#TeamJen Cupcakes!)
Y'all! I'll be honest. I know its a big trend now, but. I. Just. Do. Not. understand the fake wedding cake trend! To be honest, I was never a big fan of wedding cakes in general(and to all my fabulous baker friends, I am not disparaging you-- I LOVE sweets!) I just never saw the appeal of the over the top tiered cake, and TBH I'm kinda glad that trend is no longer everywhere. I love me a good dessert bar with lots of options, so that's what we had! We had a delightful small cutting cake from the local French Bakery, then we also got local berry pies from the local pie baker, then we also had home made cupcakes prepared by friends. And then, because obviously that is NOT enough sweets for one wedding, we also had a DONUT TRUCK for our morning after brunch because donuts!!!.
Morning After Doughnut Truck: Sugar Lips Mini Donuts Did I mention donuts? Doughnuts? Should I mention these again? Yes, donuts!
Hair & Makeup: Danielle Roberts. I found Dani online, and absolutely loved her sweet energy and kind aura. She helped whipped me and my gals into purdy shape. There was a time when I considered DIYing my hair and make up and I am SO glad I went profesh for this instead.
Coordination: Eventful Wedding Planning. Here's where I confess, again, that at first I thought I wouldn't need a Wedding Coordinator. Yep, this is now what I do (?!?!) but for a while I was very committed to sticking to a really tight DIY budget and I couldn't fathom how a Coordinator could fit that. I asked a family member if they would coordinate, and she politely turned me down, because: your friends and family want to have FUN at your wedding! For the most part, they do NOT want to work! There are exceptions to every wedding rule, and many friends won't mind contributing something your wedding, especially if it is a short time commitment(Ex: we asked our musician friends to play 1-3 songs each, not play an entire music set). Coordinating a wedding is an ALL DAY affair, and ain't nobody got time for that when they are also trying to boogie with you on the dance floor! I found Colleen from Eventful Wedding Planning online, and we clicked in the planning process. I asked her for a discount, like many of you ask me-- and here is the deal: I knew that in order to get a discount, I would have to offer up some things in return. For example, I offered to lead my own rehearsal the day before, and create my own timeline with minimal input, AND handle all vendor communications, in exchange for a mild $200 off her rate. That was reasonable for both of us. I'll write more about asking vendors for discounts in another blog, but it's always a good rule of thumb in life, you have to be willing to let something go in exchange for something else, right?
Transportation: Ride On Shuttle. I really truly believe that you should give an open bar, and you should encourage people to have a great time, and you should really really make it easy for people to get home safe. Drinking and driving straight up stinks y'all. Offering shuttles can seem expensive, and depending on the venue and where folks are staying it isn't always an option. Thankfully for us it was, and I HIGHLY encourage all my clients to think about safety, and put money towards this as a top priority.
Rentals: Taylor Rentals This is a great rental company for Central Cali. Affordable and reliable!
While we love and appreciate all the pros who worked with us on our wedding, it was incredible to have the love and support and time and talents of our friends as well.
Processional: Kate + Jenna serenaded us on the violin and flute. These gals, friends from DC, were effin amazing. They played The Swan, and yep-- The Bridal March! I wanted so many non-traditional elements, but I also thought throwing in some hella traditional aspects could also be fun, and they nailed it.
Recessional: Aimee + Michael played a friend edited version of Home by Edward Sharpe as our Recessional. It was pretty friggin perfect. We walked down the aisle as a married couple with our best friends singing their hearts out while we were surrounded by bubbles. Yasssssss.
"First Dance=Last Dance": Instead of having a traditional First Dance, we had something more like a Last Dance towards the end of our reception.
Vasu is another dear soul from the DC area who I got to collaborate with on a Flash Mob for Voting Rights on the Steps of the Supreme Court to call attention to Voting Rights. (Yup, that was my work before I got into weddings). Vasu's voice is just down right amazing and instead of having a "first dance" which just did not fit us, we instead had tons of dancing with everyone to kick off the reception, and once it got dark, we handed out candles, and had our friends surround us with light and love while Vasu played Stay With Me by Sam Smith, and then led into an acoustic medley. It was truly magical. So this is what the end of our wedding looked like!
Art: Our dear friend Alex created this graffiti piece for our wedding, along with the design of our Save the Dates for our CA and FL Wedding Celebrations. Pretty amazing, no?
The Whole Wedding Weekend Baby!!
While our actual wedding day was magic, it was having the whole weekend together that made the experience a true ritual/journey/community celebration.
Before my hubby Joey and I actually got married, we had a pretty kick ass test run shindig a few months early. We were engaged for about three years before we actually tied the knot, and didn't do the whole engagement party/bridal showers shebang.
So instead, we had a two part- party! We knew that for many of our family and friends, it would be most convenient to throw a party around the Holidays when many people would be back "home" in Miami, where we are both from. We also knew that some of our family and friends would find it easier to travel to California, so we ended up having two weddings. Because, hey, getting married is fun!
We weren't sure exactly how to go about having two sorta kinda weddings, and many of my clients have asked for suggestions on how or whether to attempt something similar.
Pros: We were able to accommodate more people by letting them choose where and when they could celebrate with us!
Cons: It was obviously a little more money to have two parties instead of one, but we had lots of DIY elements at both to make it work!
ONE: It’s the one year anniversary of my business, and as I mark this milestone, I’m taking some time to reflect on the wonderful whirlwind this past year has been.
Just a few weeks after my own wedding last year, my husband and I did a weekend get-away in Ojai. It was so beautiful and truly inspiring, especially after I had been feeling some post-wedding blues. We had a wonderful wedding weekend with friends and family from all over the country flying into to California for a four day affair. And then just as suddenly as they surrounded us with love in our new home state, they flew home and it was back to reality.
I was left to confront the feelings I’d been having that it was time for a career change. For months, I had no idea what that career change could or should be. I went to graduate school for non-profit management, and had given my heart and soul to that world for about 12 years. But I could feel it was time for something new, and for quite awhile I didn't know what that next step was going to be.
And then, suddenly, like the proverbial light bulb going off, it hit me while we were in Ojai: I wanted to work in the magical world of weddings.
I had never expected this, and to be honest, it still feels a bit foreign to call myself a wedding planner. As I planned my own wedding, I felt really strongly that I wasn’t interested in most of the crap that is the Wedding Industrial Complex. But, what really did speak to me were all these non-traditional, rule-breaking weddings I saw friends create and I was reading about on blogs. I realized that just as there are people out there who want to have non-cookie cutter weddings, there is also a need for wedding professionals who have a vision and set of ethics built on something different than what glossy bridal magazines have to sell (And don't get me wrong, sometimes I love those mags and pour through them too... but it's like sugar and only good in small doses!).
This new career path was being built as I planned my wedding, only I didn’t realize it at the time. Once that lightbulb went off, it came together quickly. Within a week, I came up with a name for my business, inspired by design elements of our wedding, along with a website. I went to my first bridal expo as a vendor a few weeks later with shiny new business cards, and in just those first few weeks, met some truly wonderful wedding vendors who believe in community and collaboration over competition.
TEN: I cold called and emailed several wedding planners to see if I could shadow them for free and learn the business from the inside out. After getting radio silence from some, I was able to team up with two incredible wedding planners who took a chance on me. I started shadowing with them right away, and in just a few months collaboarted on ten weddings and felt ready to start looking for my own clients.
I am eternally grateful to those first few clients who signed on with me, when I had very little to show that early on. I am equally grateful to those wedding vendors who suggested me to venues and to their clients, as all this early work built a solid foundation that I've been lucky to grow from. Along with those ten weddings I worked with other wedding planners, as of this writing, I’ve also just successfully completed my tenth wedding of my own in this first year! I know that every new business has both growth spurts and stalls, so my approach has been first to count all my damn blessings, and also look for as many ways to pay it forward as possible. A huge part of that for me has meant bringing on some amazing women to join my team, all incredibly talented and inspiring gals who I couldn’t do this work without! Read more about our growing team here.
FIVE: When I first started this company a year ago, I never considered the possibility of also incorporating floral designs. And then a bride saw my florals at a Bridal Show booth I had created just for decoration, and she said: I want you to do the florals for my wedding! I tried to explain that wasn’t a service I offered, but she was convinced I could and should create the florals for her wedding, and her enthusiasm convinced me that maybe I could(and so I did!) I’ve now gotten to work with five couples to not only coordinate their weddings but also create simple floral designs that worked with their budgets. A year ago I never would have considered myself artistic or creative, but these days it’s been fun to try new experiments.
It’s been an exhilarating year, and I’m excited to see what the year ahead holds! We've got some fantastic love stories to share, in some beautiful locations, like Joshua Tree, Palm Springs, and even Ojai!
#ForeverGrateful #OneYearinBiz #Thanksbabesforbelievinginme!
How Can We Help You?
-Do you want a stress free wedding day?
-Do you want to work with people you can trust to make your wedding day special?
-Do you want to take the guesswork out of all the wedding planning and have a fun, friendly professional guide you through the whole process?
One of the most important tasks in planning your wedding is finding professionals you click with who will help ring your wedding vision to life. Let’s find out if we might be a good fit! Read more below, and let’s set up an in-person consultation, which is always complimentary!
Burlap & Rose Weddings was founded in early 2015 by Jennifer Toth Clary. While planning her own wedding, Jen realized there is a need for high quality professionals who can help brides who want something other than a cookie cutter wedding!
The majority of our clients are looking for more than Day-Of(or even Month-Of!) Coordination, and most don’t want or need Full Service Planning. Most of our clients are looking for that sweet in- between, what some call partial planning, and what we like to refer to as our Collaborative Package. As we build our roster of satisfied clients, we are finding that many people want advice and consultation from the day they book us, be that one month, or one year before their wedding. Most of our bridal couples want a wedding that has some traditional elements, but also some alternative aspects that reflect their lives and personalities and are anything but cookie cutter. While we work with all kinds of weddings, from 50 folks to 200+, we find most of our weddings tend to be in the 75-150 range.
READ MORE ABOUT OUR WEDDING PHILOSOPHY:
DIY/Budget-Friendly Weddings: One of the biggest myths in the wedding world is that you have to break your bank to have an amazing one-of-a-kind day. Many wedding vendors will add premiums to things you don’t really need, will try to upsell you at every turn, and will turn their noses up at the word budget. Not me! I was a Budget Bride myself, and learned many awesome budget wedding tips I am eager to pass along to you!
Commitment to Diversity and Multicultural Inclusion: Our staff is made up of approx 505 Women of Color, and our clients are from all over the U.S. and include several international folks too! We have worked with people from all religious and cultural backgrounds, and we love helping with both religious and secular ceremonies, and everything in between!
LGBTQ Weddings: I worked for several years on same-sex marriage campaigns. When the Supreme Court finally confirmed that all people should have the right to marry who they love in June 2015, I cried tears of joy knowing that finally (finally!!) marriage equality for all is here! I am happy to plan LGBTQ-friendly weddings and would be very invested in making your day as special and amazing as you!
Eco-Friendly/Green/Sustainable Weddings: An environmentalist since a young age, I am happy to find ways to “green” your wedding, from eliminating unnecessary waste, to reducing your overall wedding carbon footprint, to incorporating vintage and sustainable products into your special day.
It’s hard to believe it has been less than a year since the U.S. Supreme Court (FINALLY!) ruled in favor of same sex marriage. Before I started my wedding planning business, I worked for many years in the advocacy/non-profit work, and one of my big issues areas was Marriage Equality and LGTBQ Rights. So when it came time to plan my first ever styled shoot, I knew we had to feature same-sex couples.
There are tons of great wedding blogs out there that give you ideas on what you should ask wedding pros before you book them. Here are some of the most common and important questions you should ask, along with my responses. Feel free to ask for more detail on these or any other questions you have.
1. How much do you cost?
Many wedding vendors don't list their prices online, or make you go through several rounds of communications before giving you a quote. When I was a bride, I found that really frustrating, so I like to be upfront about my pricing and packages and what you can expect. I can help you to evaluate what other vendor's pricing and contracts include, because every vendorʼs package includes different items and services. And price can be relative when you factor in experience, expertise, and reputation. So many people in the wedding industry run their own small business and prices really vary widely! If you take a look around, not everyone is transparent about their pricing and many in this industry will not work with you at all to negotiate their rates. I am committed to offering fair and transparent services and pricing my work at rates that most brides can afford, especially those who don’t have huge budgets! Many wedding vendors shy away from the word budget. I myself didn’t have a huge wedding budget, and I learned so much ways to save during your wedding planning that I want to pass along great cost saving ideas to my clients!
2. How much is the deposit? When is the balance due?
This one should be pretty self-explanatory. The deposit to work with me is usually half the total rate, and is due upon signing the contract. The balance will be due thirty days prior to your wedding.
3. What specifically is included in the cost?
The lowest cost isnʼt necessarily the best deal, because packages will vary from vendor to vendor. Some higher quotes will include services that you have to pay for in other vendorsʼ packages. I outline everything in my contract so that you understand all that is included. I am also happy to adjust services in advance to suit all of your needs, as long as we discuss it before-hand so we both know what to expect on your wedding day! In addition, I will work with you so that you can ask all of your vendors the right questions to ensure they provide the right services for you, and you don't get any surprise costs for other vendors.
4. Is my deposit refundable? What happens if I cancel?
It's a good idea to clearly understand with all vendors you book if the deposit is refundable and what happens if you need to cancel your wedding. Most deposits will be non-refundable, so be prepared for that if you suddenly decide to chuck it all up and elope. Generally, they are turning away other business to take yours, and the deposit covers some (not all) of that risk. For the most part, my deposit is non-refundable, and that is outlined clearly in my contract. However, if you have an emergency that comes up, I will ALWAYS try to find a way to work with you. My job is to keep you happy so together we can find a solution!
5. What happen if something happens to the Wedding Coordinator or another vendor?
With all vendors you work with, you want to know if they have a backup plan in case something happens to them. You want to know that they will they attempt to find someone within their network of professionals who can help them out in an emergency. In the unlikely case that I have an emergency comes up with anyone on the Burlap & Rose Weddings team, we always have a back-up plan! This includes a network of other trusted professionals and assistants who can help. You will never leave be stranded!
6. Do you use a contract?
You are looking for a very simple answer here: YES! If the answer is no, run away and do not give this person your money! A contract is designed to protect both you and the wedding professional. Verbal agreements will not hold up in court, so get something on paper!
Of course, both clients and vendors should ALWAYS want to have clear expectations outlined in writing.
7. Are there any additional fees?
You want to ask every vendor you work with about taxes, travel fees, service charges, delivery fees, etc. Make sure you understand exactly what is included. This should be clearly defined in your contract. Keep in mind that reputable businesses pay taxes, so you should expect to pay state and local sales tax (if applicable) on any items or services you purchase.I will always state my rate upfront when you sign your contract. Unless you choose to add additional services, I will never tack on additional charges.