How to Thursdays: Picking the PERFECT Location!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Hello Lovelies!!!

Today I will just drop a couple of tips on how to go about selecting the perfect wedding venue.

Okay there are three MAIN things that will ultimately be a deciding factor for where you will settle on for a reception venue. The first thing is: 


A few "How-to Thursdays" ago we talked about selecting your wedding style and theme. Some people will determine their wedding theme AFTER they find their venue but most people have a theme in mind AS they search. If you want a more springy, garden affair it is more likely you will look for an outdoor space or a venue with many windows that would allow a lot of sunlight to enter the room. If you want something more glamourous and extravagant you would lean more towards fancy hotel ballrooms with large crystal chandeliers. If you wanted something more vintage and classic, a museum or historic mansion would be a nice location to look into. The list can go on and on but at the end of the day it is important to keep your theme in mind (if you have one) when searching for a reception venue because it makes it easier to bring your idea to life when you start off with the PERFECT backdrop!


The guest count is CRUCIAL when searching for a venue. You dont want to pick a venue that is only meant to contain 250 guests but invite 400, that would leave more than half of your guests without seats AND possibly violate the fire code. That is not something that ANY couple would want to deal with on their wedding day. So in order to eliminate these kind of mishaps find a hall that can seat all the guests you want to invite OR tailor your guest list to the venue. A really NICE venue that will seat 700 people is going to be A LOT harder to find than a really nice venue that seats 300. This is where it gets really tricky. Many of the larger hotels can seat up to 1,000 people in a seated reception arrangement BUT most of these hotels WILL also charge you per person/plate. This is something to think about when creating your guest list: Can I afford to have ALL these wedding guests?? Which takes us into the MOST important determining factor...


Okay, so your budget is literally the be all and end all in determining which wedding venue you will select. Primarily because you should not use a hall that will cost you more than you have or are willing to spend. It's important to do your research and know what the market is in the area you are planning to get married in. For example, receptions in metropolitan areas are going to cost more than receptions in small cities. Also, be as realistic as possible when creating your budget! If you have always dreamed of having a reception in an hotel ballroom or a  royal castle it WILL be way more expensive than a church hall or VFW recreation hall (NOTHING is wrong with that AT ALL.) But I just ask that you be as realistic as possible with your budget because if not, you will end up feeling dissappointed and unhappy. So in order to avoid that do your research, get a feel for the market in your area and THEN decide how much of your budget you are willing to spend on a hall. That way you will be able to make a more educated decision.


*RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH!! I can NOT say this enough, with the wealth of information at your disposal with just a click of a button there is absolutely NO excuse for not knowing what venues are available and what they cost. Get on your favorite search engine and search for church halls, catering facilities, museums, hotels, gardens, and universities that may host wedding receptions. Get on the phone and call around to ask for pictures, prices, and set up appointments to get a closer look!

*ASK AROUND! Never underestimate the knowledge base of your co-worker, neighbor, or church member. You never know! You could just simply ask "Hey do you know of any wedding reception sites in the area" or ask them if they have been to any weddings lately and find out where they held the reception. Dont be shy! You have to be pro-active when it comes to planning a wedding!

*GET A PLANNER! One of a wedding planner's duties is to help you find a location AND vendors. This is what they do for a LIVING. Your wedding planner should be able to provide you with a list of possible venues based on your theme, guest count and budget. Simply because they are more familiar than you are with the wedding industry.

*BE CREATIVE! If budget is NOT on your side and you have to settle for a venue that is not exactly what you have always dreamed of, get creative!! Think of ways to achieve the look you want in ANY venue that you select. 

*DONT FORGET ABOUT FOOD! MOST venues will require you to hire their caterers or provide you with a list of suggested caterers you have to choose from. If you are like me, and plan on serving your guests jollof rice and assorted meats (HAHA!), then this is something you will DEFINITELY have to consider. There are some places that will allow you to bring your own caterers as long as they are licensed and insured but not ALL, so be prepared to ask your guests "Chicken or Beef?"! 

*PARKING! Many people may overlook this seemingly small detail, but it is important to consider parking. If you have a downtown wedding and dont arrange for parking for your guests, be courteous and let them know they will have to park in a garage or meter at their own expense. Most of your guests will not mind but it is still a good idea to let them know.

* MOST IMPORTANTLY....dont go overboard!! Don't allow yourself to be pushed into choosing a wedding venue that is out of your price range. It doesn't matter how dreamy the reception venue is; if you overspend on your wedding, you'll start your marriage off on bad financial footing.

Here are a few other questions you may want to take with you and ask when you go on venue visits!

Do they have adequate coat check and bathroom facilities?

 Is the wedding venue wheelchair accessible? If not, are there many stairs to climb? 

How close is the parking to the ceremony and reception rooms?

What's the cancellation policy?

Is there a payment schedule? What kind of deposits are required

Are there any hidden costs? (Before you sign the contract, read it carefully.)

What are the overtime charges?

Do they have a liquor license?

Will they allow you to bring your own liquor? (This is usually cheaper, even with the customary corkage fee.)

 Is there room in the wedding venue for a band and/or dancing?

 Does the wedding venue already own a sound system with adequate speakers or will that need to be rented?

Is there a space for the bride and groom to change and/or relax?

Where will you take photographs? Is there a park nearby, or do the coordinators have recommended spots on the grounds?

Who will be supervising and troubleshooting before the day of your wedding? Who will be supervising and troubleshooting on the day of your wedding? Can you meet them now?

Where can your guests park? Are there extra fees for parking? Do they have valet parking?

Is the wedding venue convenient to public transportation, especially in big cities? How long will it take your guests to get there?

Especially in museums or private clubs, are there limitations on decorations? Do they limit food and drinks to only certain areas of the wedding venue?

Are candles or other open flames allowed?

Where did you have your wedding reception or where is your dream location?? Talk to me!! 

P.S. If you're wondering....I'm DEFINITELY going to do a post on the Royal Wedding sometime in the upcoming weeks, loll! It is ONLY right!!

Stay Beautiful My Loves,
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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Heyyyy guysss! You know that saying April Showers bring May Flowers??? Wellll its almost May and I'm bringing you some BEAUTIFUL and INTERESTING bouquets I've stumbled across! Who says you have to use plain old roses?? I've seen paper bouquets, brooch pin bouquets, and even apple bouquets!! Tell me what you think about some of the ones I've posted!


What do you think of the news print bouquet??

Seashell Bouquet!! Perfect for a destination wedding!

I LOVEE this! Haha!

Jewelry bouquet

MY personal FAVE!

All the pictures above were taken from this WEBSITE.

OH wow! I could KEEP going but let me stop before I overload you guys with florals! LOLL!! Tell me what you think though!!

Stay Beautiful My Loves,
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She Said Yes!!: Beautiful Engagement Stories

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hiiiii guyssssssssss!! So the other day when I asked my wonderful readers, what they wanted to see more of, someone mentioned they wanted to see more engagement/proposal stories. It just so happened I got engaged not to long ago! So I have the honor of our proposal story being the first one we feature!!

Memi Says: Okay guys this is pretty much how it went down! During the week Dapo told me that one of his friends who photographs for the newspaper at Morgan State University (our alma mater) wanted to do an article on couples who met in college and are still together and doing well. He mentioned some names of our other friends who would also be featured so I was EXCITED! Anyone who knows me, knows I'm a camera whore so I was already planning what he AND I would wear for our newspaper photoshoot. So on Sunday he came to my parents house, waited for me to get dressed and do my makeup then we were on our way! So we got to Morgan's campus and met up with the photographer. I kept on teasing him about how this is good practice for our future e-sessions...little did I know what was going to happen in just a short while.

After we took pictures everywhere from the classroom where we met, to some of our old hang out spots, there was only one spot left to take pics:  the infamous "Morgan Bridge" hahaha! As we were walking over to the bridge I saw some people standing around the corner and I told Dapo "Oh look another photoshoot must be going on" CLUELESSS! LOL! As soon as I came around the corner, my heart skipped a beat and my mouth dropped when I was greeted with a SEA of familiar faces! I saw my Dad, my brothers, my cousin, and my CLOSEST friends. Almost 40 people greeted me with cameras, video recorders, and flowers. I was SHOCKED, SURPRISED, and TAKEN ABACK.  A  flood of emotions took over me! As soon as I saw everybody I already knew what was about to transpire and I immediately started crying and shaking while proceeding to yell at my cousin for JUST talking to me about engagements the DAY before, hahaha! I was sooo surprised that EVERYbody knew but me, as nosy and investigative as I am. (I am STILL trying to figure out how that WHOLE thing fell under my radar!) Dapo took my hand, in an attempt to bring me back to reality. Despite everyone that was standing there he still made me feel like we were the only ones out there. He said some sweet things to make me cry EVEN more and got on his knee and asked THE QUESTION! Needless to say I was so filled with joy and love at that moment. I love that Dapo included our family and friends because he knows how important and special they are to me and I am so happy we were able to share such a beautiful and special moment with those who we love the most!

Here are some of the pics from our FAKE newspaper column shoot, lmaoo! 

The actual classroom where I first laid eyes on my future hubby back in 2005, loll!!

Little did I know he saw our friends on the main bridge, hence the awkward face

Okay now here are the pics of the proposal itself!

OH BUT WAIT! Before you see those pictures here is Dapo's version of how it all happened!

Dapo Says: So I was trying to pop the question for quite some time, but every time I wanted to do it, we were always busy. I had something to do, she had something to do, or WE BOTH had something to do. I didn’t want to do it during any of our friends’ events. I wanted this one, unforgettable moment to be on a day where we could share it with our friends and family, with no one having to cancel or rearrange their own plans. I really wanted both of our families and close friends to be there to witness it and I was almost certain that she would love it. I wanted to make sure that I got to see her beautiful smile on level 1000. 

I began calling my family, her family, and our close friends to inform them of the “Big Shabang” (that was my secret code phrase that I told everyone). I wanted to make sure I CALLED everyone and not text, FB message, or SEND anything that could be traced, to ensure that my dear “Detective Memi” didn’t stumble upon any clues. I even told some of our friends to avoid any kind of communication with Memi to avoid “spilling the beans.” So I wanted to come up with something that would get her on campus without her getting suspicious. So I came up with the idea of telling her that a good friend of mine that “works for the Spokesman (Morgan’s Newspaper)” wanted to feature us in the next issue. I told her that they were having an article about Morgan couples that met during school and are still together now. She ATE IT UP! She believed me 100%. She really thought we were doing a photo shoot for the Spokesman.

I came to her parent’s house on Sunday to pick her up. While she was getting dressed, I was secretly telling one of her younger brothers what time they should leave, to make sure they get there on time to witness the proposal. We got to Morgan and began taking pictures around various landmarks on the main campus, including Holmes hall, the Earl G. Graves school of Business, and Carnegie Hall (the first place I laid eyes on her.)

So we finally made our way to the last destination: the Morgan State Bridge. As we were getting closer, she started to ask “why are all these people here.” Knowing exactly what she was talking about, I acted like I didn’t hear what she said, trying to divert her attention to something else. As we drew closer and closer, her jaw dropped lower and lower. Standing there were over 40 of our friends and family awaiting with cameras, flowers, and smiles. I held her by the hand and looked her square in the eye. Although, they were filled with tears of joy, I kind of stared at her for a little bit because I realized  that I was about to ask this beautiful woman to be my wife. I expressed to her that I knew she was the woman that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Got down on one knee, and asked her to marry me. Having our friends and family there definitely made it so much more exciting. Operation "Big Shabang" was complete. :-)

This pic perfectly describes what was going through my mind the ENTIRE time
The moment when I realized what was going on and my heart began to beat out of my chest
Dapo pulling me trying to keep me focused, lmaoo

I LOVE this picture :-)
This pic is hilarious b/c Dapo literally TOSSED my costume ring that I wore on my ring finger, hahaa! Look @ his face

Had to examine the rock, real quick hahahha!

I LOVEEEE this picture!! My friends were SOO excited! They really made the experience 10x more special
My soon to be Mommy in Law!
Dapo and HIS future Mommy in Law!
Daps and his big sis!
Mommy and Daughter
Dapo, Me, and my BFF Ashleigh

Dapo and his Mommy!
OMGGG we're engaged! AHH! Lmaoooo!
Daddy's Girl!
My Auntie Funmi and Uncle Kunle! Love them and Tobi not facing the camera!
My Gorgeous Cuzzo Yemisi and I! She's the one I'm yellin at in the video, hahah!

Ahahah! Corny right?? Dapo's friend edited this one, lmaoo!

Here is the video that my good friend Nikki recorded and edited...dont judge me plz I was in a state of shock! Hahahaha! Also please excuse our CRAZY friends, hahahaaa!

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