Jen Grobrosky is the brilliant mind behind Blush Printables – an amazing online shop for print-at-home wedding invitations, holiday cards, and baby announcements. Read on for an exclusive interview with Jen Grobrosky of Blush Printables and her “Wedding Advice for Newly Engaged Couples”…
Jen Grobrosky is the brilliant mind behind Blush Printables – an amazing online shop for print-at-home wedding invitations, holiday cards, and baby announcements. Jen is a loving wife and mama who is thrilled to share her wedding day planning expereince with y'all. Jen remembers her wedding day as, "so kick ass. I could hardly sleep the night before, and woke up feeling like I was 5 and it was Christmas morning. I was so excited I practically ran down the aisle!"
Read on for an exclusive interview with Jen Grobrosky of Blush Printables and her "Wedding Advice for Newly Engaged Couples"…
How long after your got engaged did you begin planning the wedding?
Almost immediately. We had been talking about getting married for awhile and even picked out a ring together. The engagement was definitely not a surprise (which is totally fine, because I h-a-t-e surprises, trust me!!). We were engaged on a Thursday night and set a date by the following Monday. I wanted to get married in my university’s chapel, and they booked years in advance. We had to move fast to secure it! We were engaged in May 2007 and wanted an August 2008 wedding. We booked the chapel a week after we were engaged, and totally lucked out: We got the last time slot available for August 9th!
How did you determine the wedding’s budget and who contributed what?
We were both still living at home when we got engaged, and decided to not live together until a few months before our wedding. This gave us a huge advantage when it came to saving money because at
the time, we had very few expenses. Between the two of us, we were able to save enough money to pay for the entire wedding ourselves in a 15-month time span. My amazing parents offered to pay for the food and alcohol at our reception, and my mom surprised me by paying off my wedding dress.
We never really said, “We don’t want to pay more than XX amount for this” or “we are only spending 5% of our budget HERE..” but instead we prioritized and made a list of our wants versus our needs versus our must haves.
How did you keep track of your wedding planning (book, planner, Excel, other)?
Excel, excel, excel. I had a spread sheet of every item we had to purchase or contract, with three columns: who the vendor was, how much we thought we’d pay, and how much we actually paid. It was an invaluable tool throughout our planning process.
I’m ridiculously type A, so you better believe that spreadsheet was color coded.
When you discussed the wedding, what 5 things where most important to the two of you?
Creating an experience
Making sure the day represented our personalities
How did you incorporate those 5 things into your wedding?
Setting priorities – We set our priorities pretty really on, and hired a photographer that would work for us for 12 hours. We’ve never regretted that splurge! Knowing what we wanted also allowed us to book the vendors we wanted, too, without worrying that they wouldn’t be available on our day. We were engaged in May 2007 and had every vendor booked by Thanksgiving.
Food – we wanted our guests to be happy and full, and this included a gigantic dessert bar. Our reception had buffet style food, complete with a carving station, huge portions and side dishes galore. A family friend made us 1500 assorted cookies, and instead of a traditional wedding cake we had a dessert buffet. We had a small 4 tier wedding cake, too, but everyone went nuts over the desserts.
Photography – we’re picture people, so we splurged on our wedding photography. We couldn’t have been happier with our photos!
Creating an experience – We really wanted to WOW our guests with décor, music, food and drinks. We didn’t want a cookie cutter wedding and wanted to do something different and new. Things like a dessert buffet are trendy now, but four years ago they were only starting to emerge. At the time, we were the only ones in our families and circle of friends to do something like this, and it made a huge impact.
Making sure the day represented our personalities – We wanted our guests to walk into our reception and think, “Wow, this is totally Ben and Jen!” and I think we accomplished that. We served our favorite foods and desserts; hand picked the music selection, and worked closely with the florist to create gorgeous floral centerpieces. It really was a collaborative effort and definitely reflected our style and personalities.
Did you register for gifts and was it a good experience?
We registered at Bed, Bath and Beyond because they had amazing prices, and you can use their 20% off coupons on their fine china, which is something Macy’s didn’t offer. We had a lot of fun registering in store and online.
But WOW was it difficult – the sales clerk gave us a check list of items to register for, and half the stuff I never even would have thought of. A melon baller? WTF is that? Can you tell I don’t know my way around the kitchen?
Could you share some wedding planning advice for newly engaged couples?
HOORAY, you’re engaged! Don’t rush and try to get everything done in one day. Do lots of research and make sure that the vendors you’re interested in reflect your style. You don’t want to a hire a bakery that specializes in fondant if you have your heart set on buttercream! Take engagement photos in the same season you plan on getting married, and use the same photographer for your e-pics and wedding photos so you get a feel of what to expect on your wedding day. Take a deep breath and tackle each task one at a time. You’ll be less stressed out and enjoy the planning process so much more!
Where did you splurge and where did you save?
We splurged on photography and my bouquet. I wanted a statement piece, and I think I got it!
We worked with a local wholesale bakery who gave us one hell of a deal on our wedding cake, pies and desserts. They were amazing. We go back every year for an anniversary cake!
What specific cost surprised you (pleasantly or unpleasantly)?
I was surprised at how much our floral quotes were. We wanted something simple and vintage, and got quotes anywhere from $600 per table to $75 per table. We were completely shocked at the outrageous price differences – we knew there’d be some differences, but figured they’d be in the same ballpark range. Boy, we were wrong! We hired the floral company whose personalities best meshed with ours, had the best portfolio, and was the most creative.
Could you share a favorite DIY project from your wedding?
I’m a stationery designer, and we DIYed all of our paper goods. I made ceremony programs, table numbers, escort cards, our guest book, the whole nine yards! I’m my own worst critic, so I drove myself crazy trying to design everything. It was definitely a labor of love, that’s for sure!
I had a table of wedding photos, too, from both sides of our families. We displayed wedding photos of our parents, grandparents, and all the way up to great-great-great grandparents. It was so awesome!
Did you use any tutorials or downloads from other websites/blogs while planning your wedding?
We got married in the stone age (four years ago) so, no, we didn’t. Sites like Style Me Pretty were just getting their feet wet, so I was left to theknot.com and bridal magazines. I have a background in graphic design, so I knew how to execute all the DIY projects.
Did you have to handle any tricky or delicate issues while planning your wedding and how did you cope with them?
Nothing too over the top or dramatic. I have a ridiculously huge family, and we really didn’t know where to draw the line when it came to the guest list. We ended up with a guest list of over 350, and crossed our fingers that people wouldn’t be able to come. In the end, we had 304 people at our wedding! It was difficult finding a reasonably priced reception venue that could accommodate that many people.
We also had an exhausting, emotional summer: We moved in together in May, three months before our wedding, on my 24th birthday. We were literally getting into the moving van when I found out that my aunt had passed away. It was a tough day for me – it was my birthday, we were moving into our apartment that day, and my favorite aunt died. A few weeks later, we had to take a last-minute trip to Virginia Beach to see Ben’s ailing grandmother. She was expected to make a full recovery, but passed away unexpectedly over the 4th of July holiday. Neither of us were prepared for the emotional toll this would have on the two of us.
Could you share some wedding day advice for newly engaged couples?
Your wedding day is going to be the most amazing day of your life, but it passes by so quickly. Take a quiet moment for yourselves after the ceremony or during the reception, and let it all soak in.
Could you share your favorite photo from the day and tell us why you love it?
It took us over a year to choose photos for our wedding album, and you want me to pick just ONE? You’re a tricky slut!
My favorite group of photos is of us at the Pillars in Oakland. Some of our formal photos were posed, but the one of us kissing as a candid shot – it’s my favorite, and I’m so glad our photographers captured that moment. It was pure wedded bliss!
Thank you, Jen! I loved how you shared how your wedding planning process was more about hitting the impotant items on your checklist than in dedicating X number of dollars to each item/vendor! Be sure to follow Blush Printables on Twitter and Like them on Facebook!
Would you like to ask Jen any questions about her wedding experience? Leave a comment and we'll try to get back with you!