• Planning and Etiquette Spotlight: Sweet Southern Affairs

    Planning and Etiquette Spotlight: Sweet Southern Affairs

    Your Guide to All Things Wedding Planning


Turning Wedding Dreams into Reality

While visions of fairytale weddings dance in our heads, the process of bringing those beautiful ideas to life can be less than pretty. Luckily, Texas event specialist Jennifer Hightower is there to help brides in Austin, Bastrop and the Lost Pines Region turn their dreams into reality. We sat down with the Sweet Southern Affairs co-founder to chat about wedding-planning inspiration, dos and don’ts, trends and more.

Q: What do you love about weddings?

A: There isn’t just one thing that I love about weddings. I love the way they make you feel. Weddings are about two people in love, proclaiming their commitment to one another, including promises, hopes and dreams.

But aside from the feelings, I love the atmosphere and all the fine details that come together to form one big picture. I also love the coming together of family and friends and the smiles and the gasps at the personalization and details the couple has worked so hard to bring to life on their special day.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about what you do?

A: The relationships. You begin to know your clients as you personalize their details from the beginning all the way to the end. We still stay in touch with our couples as they begin other milestones in their life, like having babies and celebrating anniversaries. It is truly a blessing to have these relationships in our lives.

Q: What or who inspires you?

A: I have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest. Pinterest is absolutely wonderful for finding inspiration and getting a sense of your client’s style. However, it can create unrealistic expectations for today’s brides who are not in the social category of famous millionaires. For example, consider a picture of Kim Kardashian’s dream wedding and the client who believes she has to have the exact same. As a designer and planner, it’s my job to get the bride as close as possible to the Kardashian photo, but it’s also my job to keep the couple within budget while planning their dream wedding.

Q: What are some trends you are spotting?

A: We are seeing a strong spirit of individualism in the air – all the details that reflect who the bride and groom are as a couple and their taste, while keeping it elegant, magical and very fun for their guests.

Blush is my hands-down color of the year, whether it’s for bridesmaid dresses, décor or flowers. Of course, this go-to shade will never lose its classiness, but there will be other colors taking a stand, such as powder blue, various shades of gray and burgundy.

Sequins are another trend I am head over heels for. This is the easiest way to inject some mega-watt glamour into the couple’s day. Whether it’s the gown or the venue, we need to embrace the sparkle.

Feathers! I adore the drama of the feathered centerpieces and feathers in a statement headpiece for the bride. Feathers create such a cool, fashionable look – one we will see more brides channeling this year.

Q: What are some of the biggest dos and don’ts around weddings?

A: Do pick and choose a few unique items that speak to you and incorporate them into your day. And remember, simple is better.

Don’t go crazy with DIY. Don’t bake your own three-tier cake or sew your own dress. Most brides do this to save money and put a one-of-a-kind stamp on some aspect of their wedding. But if you are not the hands-on type, don’t drive yourself crazy hot-gluing tulle till 3 a.m. Do what you can without the stress, and beg and borrow and RENT the rest.

Don’t get overwhelmed by all the online resources – wedding websites, chat rooms, Pinterest and resources galore that just leave you wanting more. These resources, although designed to help with the planning process, can sometimes cause unnecessary stress. Don’t feel like you need to have every idea you see at your wedding.

Q: What advice do you have for the bride and groom about how best to partner with you?

A: When you’re done setting your date, picking your venue and creating your dream vision, it’s time to contact Sweet Southern Affairs to begin working on the important details. Make sure our personality and design are the right fit for you. Can you work with us intimately for months at time? You must feel comfortable with us to communicate your wishes and make sure we understand and can share the same vision. Know your budget and where you want to be so we don’t waste your valuable time and set unrealistic expectations. Also know how much involvement you want in your planning, depending on your needs throughout the planning process and your needs on the wedding day itself.

Q: What questions do you want brides and grooms to ask you?

A: We love when brides come prepared with questions. Doing your research is ideal. The first question that should be asked is the availability for the chosen date. Don’t waste your time if we’re not free, but if you’re willing to be flexible because you really want to work with us, ask for a few options so we can take it all into consideration when finalizing the wedding date. Bring magazine clippings, photos and even inspiration Pinterest boards to the first visit. Let us know your style and colors and ask to see what we have done that’s similar. Ask to see our portfolios and what our experience is. We like to have the discussion about design vs. coordination so you know the difference and where we specialize. This is the time when we discuss and ask questions about the breakdown of every aspect of the planning and what responsibilities are yours as the client.



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