Nicole Elizabeth

7 Wedding Secrets From a Planner

Angela Duncan Photography

Shhh… I have secrets to tell you. Believe it or not, wedding planners aren’t born with wings or a magic wand. Directing a wedding day from the moment the couple wakes up to the moment they’re whisked away under the moonlight actually does take a little magic, mixed with a bit of something else – perhaps sugar, spice, and everything nice? (And… queue theme song!)

OK, back to reality. The emotions on a wedding day can be overwhelming for couples, bridesmaids, groomsmen, and families… but for planners, it’s all normal. Planners like me love emotions – they give us energy and purpose and makes all the months of effort so worth it.

Angela Duncan Photography

But, we also understand that budgets may not allow for a planner to manage the wedding day logistics. After factoring in the cost of securing venues and caterers and floral designers and bartenders, sometimes a planner doesn’t make it on the list of must-haves. (No hard feelings, we understand.)

So if you’re getting married and you’re unable to hire a day-of wedding planner, or if you have friends and family who want to pitch in and help on your wedding day, here are 7 wedding secrets to remember to help give you a more flawless and stress-free day:


7 Wedding Secrets From a Planner


1. Getting Ready: If you’re hiring beauty professionals for your hair and makeup, make sure the bride goes second to last (or sooner). Yes, we want the bride’s makeup to be fresh, but if things run a bit behind schedule (mimosas and giggles tend to linger), the couple’s reveal photos can move forward while the last bridesmaid is getting gorgeous.

2. Pre-Ceremony Photos: Wedding day timelines flow more smoothly when wedding party photos (and family too if time allows) are taken before the ceremony begins. Just be sure boutonnieres are pinned on the groom and his fellas (some photographers can do this – just check ahead of time). My heart cringes when I see photos without them.

3. Ceremony: When your flower girl is feeling a little shy walking down the aisle all by herself, here’s my little trick… I hide a piece of candy at the bottom of her basket, under the petals. I whisper that if she gets to the bottom of the basket she can have it. I of course make sure she asks Mommy or Daddy first.

4. Cocktails: An outdoor bar is a breath of fresh air (weather permitting), so ensure the bar is in a shaded area. If not, the ice will melt super fast and service may slow down to keep the ice replenished.

5. Reception: When hors d’oeuvres are served during cocktails, guests’ appetites are full enough for the first dance and parent dances to happen before dinner is served. Otherwise, try to serve dinner as quickly as possible. If you’re having a buffet, it’s best to have table numbers. Even if seating isn’t assigned, having table numbers helps maintain the flow at the buffet because the DJ can release guests by table.

6. Special Moments: Always make sure the mothers of the couple are in the room when the first dance, parent dances, cake cutting, toasts and bouquet/garter toss are happening. It really is their day, too.

7. Grand Exit: Be aware of lighting outside of your venue. If it’s very dark outside with little to no lighting, bubbles and rose petals are nearly impossible to see, and a photographer’s flash can only go so far. When using sparklers, buckets of water are messy and useless. A couple of pails with sand to keep the sparkler upright is all you need.

Angela Duncan Photography

Whether you’re a bride, a groom, a parent, or part of the wedding party, knowing these 7 secrets gives you an edge on the wedding day. Be prepared for some high fives, eye winks, approving nods and thank you grins from those who notice you taking action. And even when guests don’t notice the magic you sprinkled on the wedding day, glancing at their smiles does the trick, too. Happy planning!

How to Survive a Bridal Show

Bridal Show Survival | Sensibly Chic Weddings

Now that your “we’re engaged” Instagram post loves have slowed down, now is the time to start thinking about the questions in your comment feed…

When is your wedding date?
Where are you getting married?
Can I bring my cousin’s best friend’s babysitter?


Inspiration vs. Action


Blogs and magazines can help inspire your wedding colors and overall decor, but when it’s time to take action and start booking vendors, there are two paths to take.

First is to clear your calendar for a chunk of days, email dozens of vendors for their availability and book individual appointments with the vendors you found online and drive all over town to meet with them. Or, you can attend a Bridal Show and interact with hundreds of vendors in one location for only a couple of hours. Seems like a no-brainer huh?

Now, Bridal Shows are known for being incredibly informative and a bit overwhelming. Thousands of couples attend shows like these annually in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.


Bridal Show Survival | Sensibly Chic Weddings

Mommy & Me at the Dallas Bridal Show in January 2017

After being a customer and a vendor in Bridal Shows for the past 5 years, I’ve collected a few survival tips to help you get the most out of it and keep your sanity.


Bridal Show Survival Tips


1. Dress comfy and cute! Show your personality! Vendors are people too and if you’re rocking a cute pair of Kendra Scott earrings or a graphic tee of your fave band, you’ll strike up conversations that don’t start with “so… what’s your wedding budget?”

2. Bring your fiance + 1! A Bridal Show is the place to meet vendors and make decisions. Having your fiance’s vote keeps you from digging through a pile of flyers and business cards later. Your + 1 can be another decision maker, like a parent. Since many vendors offer discounts for booking the day of or the week of the show, you’ll get the best price by being ready to make a decision on the spot.

3. Print your contact and wedding info on address labels! Some shows offer this service for a small fee, but if you like to plan ahead, go for it! Be sure to include the following: your full name, your fiance’s full name, wedding date, phone number, email address, and mailing address.

4. Take photos of the offer flyers you like most! If you adore the decor of that vendor’s booth, take a photo of that too (if the vendor doesn’t mind)! Your goodie bag does serve as your shopping cart, and when you’re ready to leave, a large collection of vendor info will be in tow. Taking photos makes it easier to sort through the vendors you connect with or want to learn more about.

5. Take notes! Rank your top 3 choices per category based on what’s important to you, such as their energy level, pricing, design ability, and wow factor (just to name a few). A pen and paper works dandy, but if your cell phone battery can handle it, a note taking app does wonders too. Choosing your top 3 while you’re at the show saves time later in case your #1 choice isn’t available.

6. Eat something! Prepare yourself and your entourage to be walking and talking for at least 2 hours straight. Being hangry the whole time won’t make for a positive experience.

7. Know your schedule! Be prepared to book appointments on the spot with your top 3 vendors in each category you’re looking for. If you’re not ready to make a decision at the show, booking an appointment could allow you to keep the discount if you decide you want to move forward after doing more research.

Now that you’re armed and ready, if you’re near Dallas, I invite you to experience one for yourself! Come visit us at the Dallas Bridal Show on Saturday, July 29th and Sunday, July 30th from 10am to 5pm at Dallas Market Hall. When you get your tickets online, use Promo Code SENSCHICWED to save $1 off admission.

Is Pinterest Breaking Your Wedding Budget?

Pinterest-worthy Wedding Flowers | Sensibly Chic Weddings

Browsing Pinterest for wedding inspiration is like browsing romantic comedy movies for boyfriend inspiration. The fantasy of what could be versus the reality of what actually is today can be shocking (or for some, shockingly disappointing)!

There’s nothing wrong with loving Pinterest, just remember to balance your expectations before adding Pins to your secret wedding board. Say this with me “Pins may show inspiration that exceeds the limits of my budget.” See, that was easy, right? Hopefully this helps to ease the shock when you see your proposal for wedding flowers that match your pretty Pin.

Similar to romantic movies, Pinterest is meant to inspire and excite. Actually expecting a Hollywood hunk-worthy hero to sweep us off our feet could leave us bitter, disappointed and miserable in life and love. Likewise, expecting to get the exact Pinterest-worthy look for our wedding that fits within our budget could break hearts in the long-run.


What the Pros Know


Allow me to demystify Pinterest wedding flowers so you can know what the pros know. (Shhh… keep this between us!)

On average, Dallas couples spend around $2,500 on wedding flowers and a bridal bouquet usually starts around $150. That luscious, jaw-dropping bridal bouquet Pin you’re swooning over could come with a $300 price tag!

Here’s a video that helps to explain the actual price of the flowers in photos you’re drawn to.

Price of Wedding Flowers

Bootah Jardin Florists

Are you really willing to double your budget to match a pretty photo?

So, how do you balance your Pinterest fantasy with your budget reality? Allow me to introduce you to our newest creation – BYOB: Build Your Own Bouquet! Can you imagine saving up to 35% off the price for wedding flowers just by opting to DIY? BYOB is ideal for couples with a do-it-yourself spirit who desire stunning budget-friendly blooms for their Wedding Day.

BYOB: Build Your Own Bouquet | Sensibly Chic Weddings


Not a Fan of DIY?


If you’re planning to meet with a wedding florist soon, here are 4 quick tips to have a flawless floral consultation:

  1. Be honest, upfront and realistic about your budget
  2. Treat Pinterest as a translator – it helps you non-verbally communicate your style (then…)
  3. Treat Pinterest as an ex-lover – you both had great times but you’ve moved on
  4. Remain open-mined and trust your floral designer

Happy planning!

Introducing Floral Design

Floral Design | Artistry

Floral design isn’t just an art. I believe it’s a natural form of soul therapy, and here’s why.

Have you ever received a bouquet of flowers (perhaps for your birthday or for no reason at all) and it just made you feel incredibly special? For a moment you’re taken aback, a huge smile crosses your lips and a rush of happiness surges through you.

It’s the emotion flowers bring to our lives that draws me to their power and beauty. Somehow, when I look at a symphony of daisies, hydrangea, ranunculus, lilies, roses, baby’s breath and eucalyptus, the world around me becomes silent and I fall into my happy place.

Flowers are powerful that way and I’ve made it my mission to learn them, understand them, and share that power with everyone I meet, which is why I’m venturing into floral design for weddings, special occasions, and just because!


Introducing Floral Design


I went to the flower market last Friday, walked into their cooler, and gazed around until I found a flower that spoke to me. This flower would be my leading lady and I found other blooms and greens that would work well together. I got them all home, prepped them and let them drink overnight. The next day I laid a grouping of stems out and started to work some floral design magic (well, that’s what I like to call it LOL).

The result? I invite you to see for yourself…

Floral Design | Artistry Floral Design | Artistry

After making 1 bridal bouquet, 5 different bridesmaids bouquets, and a topiary centerpiece (the buds are still closed so that pic will come later on Instagram) I really wished I had a wedding to deliver these to. I would have loved to see the smile on the face of the bride and her bridesmaids.

Are you getting married in 2017 or beyond? Looking for a floral designer to bring the emotion of your wedding day to life? Give me a shout! I’d love to create something unique for you to cherish.

In the meantime, follow me on Instagram to discover where inspiration takes me – you may very well be inspired yourself!

Dallas Bridal Show 2017

Dallas Bridal Show 2017 | Sensibly Chic Weddings

Getting married soon? Come mingle with Nicole Elizabeth and her fabulously sweet Mom, Ramona, at the Dallas Bridal Show this weekend!

We’re giving away super cute goodies (while they last) so come early to snag yours!


Dallas Bridal Show Weekend 1/28-1/29!


(In case you missed the show, here’s a highlights video of our smile-filled weekend!)


Visit our booth and enter for your chance to win a free, custom-painted backdrop for your wedding (valued at $295)! We’re debuting “Mauvelous” this weekend as the backdrop of our booth (romantic shades of blush pink, taupe, plum and rose gold).

We love planning and decorating weddings and we’d love to get to know you and hear your ideas! Come and share what you’ve planned so far and let us know how we can help!

(Psst… for my awesome blog subscribers: when you visit our booth, mention the secret word “cupcake” to let us know you’re already part of our #SensiblyChicTRIBE of happy couples!)

If you get tickets online, be sure to use code SENSCHICWED at checkout to get $1 off admission!

Saturday, January 28th from 10am to 5pm
Sunday, January 29th from 10am to 5pm

Dallas Market Hall
2200 N Stemmons Fwy Dallas, TX 75207

Because you’re fabulously engaged, that’s why!

We’ll see you there!


Let’s Connect!


Follow us on Instagram to get a behind-the-scenes look-see at our booth – and the giddy moments in-between!

Major Wedding Invitation Mistake to Avoid

Invitation Mistake to Avoid

Your invitation is (usually) the first piece of wedding stationery your guests receive and the saying holds true – first impressions matter! Every checklist on the planet recommends mailing out your invitations between 6 to 8 weeks before your wedding, but what checklists don’t tell you is how much postage you should be using.

The major mistake you may be tempted to make is using too much postage.

Sure, it may be easy to stick on an extra Forever stamp, but that could cost ya… and if you’re sending 200+ invitations out, the over-spending could be the cost of a bridesmaid’s bouquet!

Perfect Postage


How to Get the Perfect Invitation Postage


Follow these steps to get the perfect postage for your wedding invitation:

      1. Assemble It. Insert your invitation, RSVP card and envelope, reception card (etc.) into your inner envelope. Then insert into your outer envelope – but don’t seal it closed.
      2. Weigh It. Grab a handy dandy digital kitchen scale and weigh your entire ensemble. Remember to round up to the next whole ounce (if your ensemble weighs 1.7 ounces, round up to 2.0 ounces). *As of this post, the cost of a First Class Mail Letter (1 ounce) is $.47 which one Forever stamp will cover… but…
      3. Avoid Temptation. Please please please don’t assume that by adding a second Forever stamp (or your custom standard Zazzle stamp) would cover the cost. The last thing you want is for all of your gorgeous invitations to be returned to you – which means you’ll have to order more envelopes ($100+ bucks), more postage (another $140+ bucks), and more whimsical calligraphy (another $600 bucks – but it looks so pretty)!
      4. Know the Secret. If you’re mailing a 2 ounce invitation, it won’t need one Forever stamp for each ounce! *The first ounce is $.47 but each ounce after that is only …. drum roll please … $.21! So for a 2 ounce invitation ensemble, the postage is only $.68 which saves you $.26 per invitation! Bam – $52 bucks saved already and I bet you can use that on Etsy!

*P.S: I heard a rumor that postage pricing for 2017 is expected to increase by the end of January 2017, so keep an eye out before purchasing your stamps. (Pricing is based on when your invitations are mailed out – not when the stamps are purchased.)


Attention May and June Couples


If you’re eager to order custom stamps from websites like Zazzle, I highly recommend that you wait until February 2017 to purchase them. In case the cost of postage does go up on Sunday 1/22/17 from $.47 to $.49 for the first ounce, it’ll save you a headache and a half down the road.

Real Wedding: Jackie & Cory at Rustic Grace Estate

Rustic Grace Estate | Sensibly Chic Weddings


Rustic Grace Estate in Van Alstyne Texas


Wedding Date: July 8th, 2016
Wedding Colors: Navy, Blush, Ivory, Hot Pink

Rustic Wedding - Jackie & Cory | Sensibly Chic Weddings

Quite possibly the cutest couple on the planet, Jackie and Cory married in a quaint chapel and partied the night away in a rustic, barn-style reception adorned with chandeliers and bistro lights. 130 guests shared in Jackie & Cory’s love and were delighted by a photo booth wagon, cupcakes, a guitar-shaped groom’s cake, and a popsicle stand (Texans love options). When the sun went down, the glo sticks came out, and so did the bride’s blinged out sneakers!

Want to know how their love began? Read about Jackie & Cory’s engagement!

Rustic Grace Estate | Sensibly Chic Weddings rustic2 rustic3 rustic4 rustic5

Photographer: Stanley Tongai
Wedding Planner: Sensibly Chic Weddings
Venue: Rustic Grace Estate
Florist: Petals Couture
Catering: Babe’s
DJ: Black Tie Sounds
Beauty: Elan Makeup
Favors: Steel City Pops
Table Linens & Napkins: A-1 Wedding & Party Rentals
Photo Booth: Photo Wagon
Bartending: H&H Liquid Catering
Officiant: Dr. Rusty Wheelington

Real Engagement: Stephanie & Warren

Stephanie & Warren's Engagement | Sensibly Chic Weddings

Stephanie & Warren’s adventurous souls met in college at the Bush School of Government at Texas A&M in 2012. Warren, who grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa, has a unique sense of humor, often starting jokes with the punchline. Stephanie, who grew up in Coppell, Texas shows her sweet side as owner of Blonde Bakes in New York City.

Stephanie & Warren Engagement | Sensibly Chic Weddings


Stephanie & Warren’s Love & Engagement Story


They both share a passion for traveling and dancing! This eclectic couple currently resides in New York City, and when they’re not travelling or planning to change the world, they enjoy new restaurants, exploring the Big Apple, and making memories together.

According to Stephanie, love didn’t come instantly. She admits there was that awkward “is this more than friends” stage that lasted for month, but over sandwiches one day, Warren expressed his feeling for her and their adventure together began. (Hmm, wasn’t this love of sandwiches portrayed in Frozen with Princess Anna?)

Warren’s version is a bit different. He knew early on that there was something incredibly special about Stephanie. After Salsa dancing and “cooking” for her (aka ordering a pizza but serving it like he made it) during their courtship, he realized that Stephanie was one of the most amazing women he’s ever met. Warren took a leap and prepared a Spaghetti Bolognese that won first prize… Stephanie’s heart!


Warren’s Proposal


Stephanie & Warren's Proposal | Sensibly Chic Weddings

One and a half years of long-distance dating allowed their connection to blossom. On a December day at the Bush Library pond, and with both of their families hiding in bushes and taking pictures, Warren asked Stephanie to be his wife.

Stephanie & Warren will marry on October 28, 2016 with 120 of their world-traveling guests. There will be warm emotions, electric energy, delicious food, vibrant African fabrics, live musicians, sweets by the bride-to-be, and an evening of fun and dancing under the stars!

Congratulations, and welcome to the #SensiblyChicTRIBE!

Real Engagement: Jackie & Cory

Jackie & Cory's Engagement | Sensibly Chic Weddings


Jackie & Cory’s Love & Engagement Story


Jackie & Cory's Engagement | Sensibly Chic Weddings
Photography by Stanley Tongai

Wedding Date: July 8th, 2016

Jackie, a college Freshman and Cory, a college Junior, met through mutual friends. They admit (now) that there was a mutual chemistry between them, but at the time, Jackie was in a relationship with someone else. In the Summer of 2014, Jackie and Cory reconnected on Snapchat.

Their first date was later that Fall. Well, it wasn’t just a date… it was actually a 5 hour conversation at a restaurant that continued into the parking lot. Just like in the commercials and the connection was automatic! Shortly after their first date, Cory went on a ministry trip to Venezuela for a few weeks. He returned for one week though – long enough for a first kiss – then he traveled to Africa for another ministry trip.

The emotional connection between Jackie and Cory grew organically and they continued to spend time together and talk. Jackie fondly remembers her calls to Cory, and Cory was very grateful for them day after day. Their connection was getting stronger and it wasn’t long before their first “I love you.”


Cory’s Proposal


Christmas weekend a year later, under moonlight in a gazebo near a pond, and with Jackie’s close friends nearby, Cory literally gave Jackie the key to his heart. Cory eagerly waited, ring in his hand and a smile lighting up his face. Jackie, blindfolded and curious, was lead down a path of red rose petals and candles, towards Cory. “It was like a dream,” Jackie recounts. Down on one knee, and with a sky full of stars, Cory asks for Jackie to be his wife. Jackie said “YES!”

Real Wedding: Nettie & Kevan at the Aristide

Nettie & Kevan at the Aristide in Mansfield | Sensibly Chic Weddings


The Aristide in Mansfield Texas


Wedding Date: April 7th, 2016
Wedding Colors: Poppy Red, Soft White, Grey

Poppy Red, White & Gray Wedding | Sensibly Chic Weddings

The vibrant romance between Nettie and Kevan spanned years and distance, which proves that the bond of true love can not be separated for these two “love figurines” – you’ll see what I mean from the photos! They were joined by family and friends for an intimate outdoor garden ceremony, followed by a colorful and love-felt ballroom reception. A sitting vignette near the dance floor encouraged conversation and guests were delighted by the multi-tiered dessert table!

Aristide Mansfield Wedding | Sensibly Chic Weddings
Aristide Mansfield Wedding | Sensibly Chic Weddings
Aristide Mansfield Wedding | Sensibly Chic Weddings
Aristide Mansfield Wedding | Sensibly Chic Weddings

Ceremony Music: Forte Strings
Wedding Planner: Sensibly Chic Weddings
Videography: Spinning Leaf Films
Photography: Thanin Photo
Venue: Aristide
Bakery: Moonlight Cakes
Hair & Makeup: JTorry Makeup Artistry
Officiant: LoveNotes Weddings
Florist: Query Events
Reception Music: Black Tie Sounds