How Can Bridal Shows Help Me?

It’s that time of year for engagements and sharing your joy with family and friends!  Soon you’ll be in the midst of wedding planning or you may already be well on your way. One of the best things you can do to begin or solidify your wedding decisions is to attend Bridal Shows.

Why should you attend these shows? First, they are a fabulous place to meet vendors from every wedding category and get a feel for who is a possible good fit for you. Be sure to mark down your favorite 2-3 per category after you meet them. Then check out their websites and give them a call after the show. Most vendors are happy to offer a free meeting to answer questions.

Second, many Bridal Shows offer prizes that can help with your wedding budget. In addition, you can get discounts from vendors at the show, and usually a few days following the show. And there’s usually free swag. Never underestimate the benefits of these shows, particularly if you have never attended.

You can also get information on venue Open Houses at bridal shows. Open Houses allow you to meet vendors in a smaller setting, talk with them, and get a feel for wedding teams as many venues have preferred vendors who work well together. There are often venue tours during the Open Houses. They allow you to narrow down your choices, or in some cases, help make your final decisions.

One of the most well-known Bridal Shows is The Pink Bride Bridal Show. The date for the Knoxville, TN show is January 8, 2017 from 11am-4pm at the Knoxville Convention Center. You can learn more about this and other shows on their website.

Bridal Shows can be loads of fun if you have a plan to navigate the show. But be forewarned, they can seem like chaos without a plan.  Always Yours Occasions coordinators are happy to meet with you for an free initial meeting and give you a personalized plan to get the most out of your experience, if you aren’t already working with a consultant. Based on what you desire for your wedding, we can suggest vendors who will fit your budget and style so you know the booths on which to focus.

Another fun show is the Bride and Groom Night Out: A Wedding Experience. It will be held at the Historic Southern Railway Station.  This evening out is coordinated by us here at Always Yours Occasions and is a combination of an Open House and Bridal Show with lots of helpful tips for wedding planning and the chance to meet great vendors.  This year it will be on January 24th from 6:00-8:00 PM. We’ll be bringing you more details shortly on how to sign up for that.


One final tip: Don’t eat too much before you attend bridal shows. In general, there are many great caterers who will be serving samples of their delicious food!

Enjoy this season of engagement and consolidate your planning. Attend some Bridal Shows.

Happy Planning!






The Advent of Your Marriage

Advent season is here! We at AYO have to admit, we enjoy a good Christmas movie or two. Holiday baking is a tradition in our family and even though some recipes have changed with changing diets, the joy of being together hasn’t. Each year, though, we realize more and more that unless there is intention in the celebrating, the season flies by and feels…well, empty.

In a time that commercializes a celebration of one of the most incredible events in mankind’s history, the birth of Christ, we are realizing it’s a choice to step out of the chaos and quiet the heart and mind. Appreciating the season doesn’t need to look a certain way. We don’t have to celebrate Christmas the way everyone else does or tells us we should. The season isn’t about who can give the best gifts and it certainly isn’t about being judged because of the gifts we can or can’t give. It’s so freeing to understand that as fun as some traditions are, we don’t have to wear ourselves out trying to do everything movies portray as part of the Christmas holidays or to be a perfect family.

What is Advent? According to, Advent is “1) a coming into place, view, or being; arrival, 2)The coming of Christ into the world, 3) The period beginning four Sundays before Christmas, observed in commemoration of the coming of Christ into the world, and 4) Second coming.” Webster Dictionary defines Advent as, “1) The period including the four Sundays before Christmas, 2) The first or the expected coming of Christ, and 3) Coming; any important arrival; approach.”


Advent implies a sense of both remembering and waiting for something. Historically, we find ourselves between significant moments in time. Likewise, engaged couples are in between singleness and marriage. It’s easy during the yearning, waiting, and in-between-times to lose focus on the future drawing near. It’s easy to become so lost in the day-to-day routine and traditions that we forget the reason behind them. And it’s easy to become so overwhelmed with the urgent, we forget what is important. This year, though schedules are perpetually full and life may throw some curve balls, let us lift the blinding curtain of consumerism and traditions to remember why we celebrate this season. Let us look gratefully back to the first Advent of Christ as a babe and also look forward to His second coming. Let us also take time to cherish loved ones and let them know how important they are in our lives.

As wedding coordinators, we desire to free you up to enjoy your love story during this time of waiting for the advent of your marriage. Couples often become lost in the details, especially for the wedding day. It is our hope to enable you, our brides and grooms, to relax and enjoy the wedding day of your dreams. It is a day to reflect what you as a couple want to communicate to others about the two of you, and the family you are establishing. Your wedding day points to who you will be as a married couple, the values and beliefs you share, and the life you will lead together. Marriage is more than the wedding day, and we urge couples getting married to spend time focusing on what truly matters.

To Buy or Not to Buy: Tips for First-Time Home Buyers

There are many decisions to make when you become engaged. In addition to wedding planning, there are also a variety of things to discuss such as where to spend holidays, how to juggle careers as a married couple, and where to live. While some couples begin their marriage in an apartment or rental home, others choose to purchase their first home together just prior to or soon after they tie the knot.

Whether you’re newly engaged or have been married for years, the decision to buy a home is exciting! Many first time home buyers are unsure when the right time is to purchase or how to go about the process to their advantage. I recently interviewed Rebecca Fritschie with Realty Executives and asked her questions related to buying a first home. We’re excited to share with you some insider tips.




Cheryl: Hi Rebecca! Thank you for being willing to answer some questions to guide home buyers, particularly those purchasing their first home.

Rebecca: I’m happy to share what I’ve learned. In addition to being a realtor, I’m also considering purchasing my first home, and I understand the buyer’s side as well as the realtor’s side.

Cheryl: What are the advantages of owning a home?

Rebecca: There are many advantages to owning your home. One is that you get to make it your own with your own personal touch. It’s a place to make memories. It provides peace of mind, and you have no renter hassles. You can also build equity, so buying a home, if done right, is an investment. You aren’t spending money on living space that you’ll never get back since you can choose to sell at some point. If done wisely, you can make money by fixing up your home and selling it to upgrade.

Cheryl: Are there any disadvantages to owning a home?

Rebecca: Owning a home is a responsibility. You have to make sure you are ready financially and have the time and/or finances for maintaining your home and yard. Some people travel with their jobs, and don’t want to be the one who handles getting a professional out or having to pay for repairs or replacement items. Even though they don’t get any money back from what they pay in rent, their lifestyle is better suited towards renting.

Cheryl: Is there anything first time home buyers should avoid when buying a home?

Rebecca: Until they make a definite decision to buy, they should avoid Open Houses. Often people go to an Open House just to get ideas, but the homes are way above their budget. Then when they look at homes in their price range they are disappointed. The realtors at Open Houses are working for the seller and have their client’s best interest in mind. They won’t be working on your behalf. It’s better to go to Open Houses with your realtor who will match your needs with your budget and can be an intermediary with the other agents for your protection.

Cheryl: What should buyers do to get the most for their money?

Rebecca: They should hire a good realtor. Many people don’t realize that buyers don’t pay realtors-the sellers do. Using a realtor to buy is free. Good realtors can help you decide when it is a good time for you to purchase, do preliminary leg work, and have tools to help you qualify. They will guide you as to how much to put down, connect you with credible lenders and title companies, and set up your credit for success in buying a home and for the future. They know things that can help increase your credit score.

Cheryl: if you aren’t happy with a realtor you’ve begun working with, what should you do?

Rebecca: Let them know you don’t feel like they are the right realtor for you and find someone else. Buying a home is a major life decision and financial decision. People should have a realtor they can trust, who will work hard for them, who is passionate about what they do, is honest, and will spend hours pulling up comps, statistics, etc based on their client’s vision. A good realtor will know the good neighborhoods, schools, and issues with certain homes and areas. They will research the going price/square footage to make sure you are getting a fair price. They need to be available, accountable, and work with your schedule.

Cheryl: What advice would you give first time home buyers?

Rebecca: When you decide you want to purchase a home, take a step back. Be honest-is this really the right move for you at this time? Is your job stable? Do you have money saved for a down payment, inspections, appraisals, closing, and the unexpected? Is this the right financial decision? Are you ready to take on the responsibilities of being a home owner?

If they are ready to move forward with buying, they should make a list of what they need in a home. Then make a list of what they want. Needs and wants are different. Realtors can usually find a home within a budget to meet needs and some of the wants, but clients should realize they may have to wait until their next home or two to get the majority of their wants. It’s important to not overextend your budget so you have a safety net or emergency fund left in savings.

Don’t make rash decisions based on emotions. Look at the logistics. Also, don’t buy based on other’s opinions. Know what you need, get what you need, and be smart about it.

Cheryl: Thank you, Rebecca for allowing us to interview you. You have some great suggestions and we appreciate your expertise.

Rebecca: It’s my pleasure!

For more information, feel free to contact Rebecca Fritschie at 865-805-8707, 865-693-3232,, or