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Keeping Track of your Wedding Guests

ByFarr Design - composing your wedding guest list

Creating a guest list to your wedding is a BIG DEAL. Who do you invite? Who are you allowed to cut? How many lists should you have? Starting from scratch is hard (unless you’re like me and have had a running list for the past five years – the only difference is you have a ring on your finger… Someone quick- bring the wine). Focusing your guest list is easier than you think AND can keep your wedding costs down. Not to mention, it keeps your wedding purposeful by inviting those who are closest to you and need to be there over your mother’s third cousin twice removed. I want to offer you a few tips when you’re creating (or editing) your guest list!

  • List A: These are the people that you and your fiancĂ© MUST have at the wedding
    • Immediate and limited extended family come first
    • Your closest friends and family friends come second
    • If you haven’t spoken to someone you’re debating on adding, chances are they shouldn’t be on List A
    • If you haven’t even met them, I would reconsider putting them on List A.
    • Don’t put people on list A if you feel guilty about leaving them off – I know, I know, she’ll probably invite you to her wedding – keep her on List B and make sure you’ve got the “Must Have Guests” accounted for first.
  • List B:
    • This could include more of your extended family that you don’t see on a regular basis
    • More friends that you’d like to see there, but it wouldn’t be the end of a friendship if they weren’t invited
  • Use software that will help you make this process easier
    • Google Doc’s is a great, free option where multiple people can edit and add names. Invite your fiancĂ© and your mom to the document and give them color coding options (Green=must have guest ; Yellow= not sure about this dude ; Red= who is that again? Or some coding system like that)
    • ByFarr Brides who are having their guests’ addresses printed on their customized envelopes are sent an organized spreadsheet detailing names, addresses, etc. depending upon whether or not she has inner and outer envelopes or a single outer envelope. This helps my lovely brides get it all out on paper and prioritize more efficiently!
    • There are also awesome apps and programs that are more involved and do fun tricks like keep track of multiple lists, track RSVPs, manage venue information, and allow for several users. Examples include The Knot’s Wedding Guest List Manager and the apps “Attendium” and “zkipster”.

If you have any questions or want Bailee to send you our Excel spreadsheet, feel free to email her at Bailee@byfarr.com.

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Forever to Thee

When I received an email from the University of South Carolina that someone would be contacting us to do an interview for the Carolinian – I was excited – no I was ECSTATIC.

ByFarr Design

ByFarr DesignEver since I was little, I’ve loved Carolina. It may stem from me being born on a Carolina gameday in 1984 against Navy – the only game we lost in regular season play – or that my dad went to Carolina and taught me to love the University as much as he does. My birthday parties growing up usually consisted of garnet and black icing and a gator piñata. Yes, my birthday always landed the week of the Florida game and yes, we typically lost in those days. Thank goodness Coach Spurrier is now on our side of the field.

A funny story – in the 6th grade I was REALLY into USC basketball. I mean really into it – I wrote Melvin Watson, the point guard, on my Gamecock lined notebook paper letting him know how proud I was of him. I even called the athletic department asking for an address for him. I’m not sure if he ever received it. By the way, congrats to the women’s team for winning the SEC Championship and going to the Final Four!

When it was time to apply for colleges, I visited Winthrop, Converse, Columbia College, Coker, Charleston Southern and received some incentives to go but I had a hole – a void. These colleges were great for art & music (which I was looking to go into) but they didn’t feel like HOME. At the last minute, I decided to apply to USC and I never looked back. What an incredible 4 years. I met some of the greatest people in my life – one being my husband, Chris Farr. I will forever treasure the experiences, the knowledge and the relationships I gained.

ByFarr Design

When Chris Horn, who wrote the article, came in and gave us our copies of the Carolinian, it was surreal. Not only was it a fantastic story, but we were in the Carolinian! There are SO many amazing people, businesses that have come out of the University of South Carolina and we’re grateful to be featured amongst them.

Thank you Carolina, you will forever be part of me (and ByFarr).

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How to Maintain Fresh Perspective During the Wedding Planning Process

Wedding planning can be a stressful time where you feel the demands of the day outweigh your ability to fulfill them. Being overwhelmed can cause tension in your everyday routine as well as leave you just hoping to get the day “over with”. But this isn’t how one of the most important seasons of life should be! And it doesn’t have to. So sit back, relax, and let us offer you a fresh perspective on how to stay sane during your planning process.

#ByFarrWeddings

  1. Designate specific times to planning. Maybe it’s an hour each day, or three hours on a day off. If every time you check your email you feel like you have to respond immediately and send five more emails, it is going to leave you feeling overwhelmed. Know the specific times you intend on planning- for me, I like to get things done in the morning after I’ve gotten in my workout and (of course) breakfast- my mind and body are ready to handle planning the day ahead. Write the specific planning times in your planner, leave all your emails until that time of day and then spend the whole time planning without distraction. You will be more motivated knowing you only have that allotted time to plan for the day. This will help you set boundaries and allow for a more uncluttered mind.
  2. Choose quality vendors. This is one of the biggest, most important days of your life- you need highly referred, reliable, vendors that will have your back. Your vendors are there to ease your burden by providing their specialized services. Sometimes quality is more important than finding the cheapest price, because it will save you so much stress. Seriously, there’s nothing more comforting than knowing your vendors will do all the behind-the-scene work for you and all you have to worry about is picking up the final product. 
  3. Set aside time with your fiancĂ© and friends that includes NO wedding talk. Sometimes it’s fun to talk wedding details and plan with the ones you love, but it can be too much for them if it’s the only thing that’s discussed. Even though it’s such an important time for you and your fiancĂ©, your friends might not want to discuss each type of flower that will be in your bouquet  every time you’re together. Set aside time to try out a new local restaurant or take a weekend road trip and ask what’s new in their lives so your wedding won’t become the pillar of your relationships and annoy those around you. Plus, it’s always good to offer your loved ones a little surprise they haven’t heard about or seen on the big day!   
  4. Delegate tasks for others. This isn’t an outlet to channel your inner diva, but an opportunity to include friends and family in the process. If you’re struggling with what style wedding dress to go with, call your bridesmaids over for a girls’ night and make a Pinterest board together! What about your first dance song? Pick a night to sit down with your fiancĂ© and make a Spotify playlist with your top choices – clear out the den and put on your dancing shoes!
  5. Write yourself a letter that can set your mind straight when you feel frantic, that you hang in your house to remind you why you’re having the wedding in the first place. Words of encouragement can be the little beam of sunshine on the rainiest of days.

How have you maintained a fresh perspective and alleviated wedding planning stress? I want to hear from you! Leave a comment in the reply section or tag us on social media to let me know! @byfarrdesign

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Launch your Freelance Business – 5 Steps

Today I’m writing to the college student that hasn’t found a job and is about to graduate. Congratulations! You’re excited, nervous, scared all rolled into one and you’re not sure which direction to go. How are you going to pay for rent or your student loans? You’re overwhelmed and you’re not alone.
I had NO idea what to do or how to do it when I first started, guess what – that goes for the majority of people around you. Here are some tips that I’m excited to share that will ease your nerves and help propel you into making money.
1. Be Professional: Check out your Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn Profile photos – are they consistent? Are they (semi) professional looking? If not, it’s as easy putting on a nice shirt, brushing your hair and having your friend snap your headshot in front of a plain background. People will Google you, I promise. Look at yourself and ask yourself – would you hire you? If you look like you don’t take things seriously – the world will not take you seriously.
FreelanceBlogGraphic2. Create Your Brand:
ONLINE - If you haven’t done so already, buy your name as a domain (example: brynleyfarr.com) from godaddy.com or bluehost.com. Setup a simple website that has your name, contact information, your skillset, downloadable resume and your very best work. You don’t have to know code. You can easily setup a wordpress.com site or squarespace site. Do not let perfection get in the way of progress.
PRINT – Get some business cards AND Thank You notes printed professionally. Hand out your business cards to those who ask what you do. Pin them on message boards in places like coffee shops. Be clear & concise. I get very confused when people send me resumes right out of school and they are an illustrator, information architect, web designer, graphic designer, social media guru and marketing consultant. Be very specific – John Doe – Illustrator, Carrie Cats – Graphic Designer – don’t stress to much over the design, you’re the hardest client to design for. Select typefaces and colors that mean something to you and use them, be intentional. You can always redesign later, the main objective is to START and the mission is to share your contact information.
I definitely recommend having your cards locally printed. Can’t afford specialty print processes? That’s ok! Select a specialty paper – I love the variety of color and weights frenchpaper.com offers (verify with the printer first that they can print on it ) and have them printed digitally. Another idea is to have rubber stamps made and stamp your own cards.
Why print Thank You notes? I promise being grateful will go along way in building your business. Writing notes by hand show your sincerity and authenticity. Thank everyone: Your professors, printers, people who recommend you, people that use you, your parents – the list goes on.
3. Set up a separate bank account
I will write an additional post of how to start your own business that gets deeper into the logistics of business. For now, go ahead and setup a new bank account. This keeps everything organized and separate from personal expenses especially when tax season comes around. You will want all of your expenses and payments going into and out of this one account. Get a debit card and/or checks for expenses. Save all receipts. Track your mileage to and from business meetings.
4. What to charge?
Instead of trying to put a value you on your work, put a value on your life. What does it take to do the following each month?
1. Pay Rent
2. Pay Bills (student loans, electricity, internet, car loan)
3. Have proper equipment (monthly fee for Creative Cloud)
4. Eat (grocery budget)
5. Live a little – put a little padding in
Total these up and then divide by 30. This is the daily amount you need to make in order to live. Divide the daily amount into 8 hours – this should be a basis for your hourly rate. You MUST make this as a base. I highly recommend quoting by a project basis. Quote based on the hours you think it will take. You will have some projects that you over estimate and others that you under estimate. Either way you will come out ahead vs charging an hourly rate.
5. To be unclear is to be unkind
Before you start a project, quote your client. Outline everything that will be included and then prior to beginning, charge a 50% deposit. You can use a software like Billings. This way you don’t run the risk of doing work for free. If your client refuses to pay the initial deposit it’s either you didn’t do a good job explaining what they’re going to receive for the money OR they aren’t the right client for you.
These are 5 tips out of many. I hope this helps in your new, exciting adventure. If you have other tips that you’d like to share, please post here! Have specific questions? Email me: brynley@byfarr.com!
Columbia, SC Recommendations:
Bank: First Community Bank, West Columbia |  Ask for Nick
Printers: Professional Printers, The Half and Half (specialty, screen printing), Sun Printing, The Copy Shop (can print up to 80# Cover) and of course, the team here at ByFarr can help with Letterpress :)
Rubber Stamps: Smith Rubber Stamps, Lady Street
Shared Workspace: Soco

E + R = O

I’m so happy that I’m not the same person I was a year ago, a week ago, a day ago. I get the opportunity to change for the better. One aspect of myself that I’m really focusing on is how I react to situations and people. My personality is dominant and action oriented. I care about results, not so much about the details which in turn makes me a not-so-good listener and unapproachable. This doesn’t help my team, family, clients or friends – instead it hurts my relationships.
One of my favorite podcasts is EntreLeadership – the latest one focuses on energy and how you impact others. An awesome story that illustrates the impact of positive choice is of the Ohio State football team and how they won the National Championship despite many setbacks that would typically debilitate a team. They lost their starting quarterback to injury and then their second string quarterback to injury and had an unexpected death of one of their teammates. Instead of throwing in the towel – they rallied around their 3rd string true freshman quarterback and in turn won the national championship. How did they do it? Their motto ->  E + R = O. Events + Response = Outcome. You can’t control EVENTS that happen to you but you can control your RESPONSE which determines the OUTCOME.
This is such a healthy reminder for me that I CHOOSE to respond to the many events that happen in my daily routine, major to tiny, – like being stuck in traffic, an unhappy customer, death of someone that I love, sickness, gossip etc. – I get the opportunity to impact others by the way that I respond, which in turn hopefully produces a positive outcome regardless of what my natural instinct may be to react.
Here are 4 steps that I’m putting into action to help me THINK before I RESPOND:
  1. Empathize – If someone is unhappy with me – why? I put myself if in their shoes to see from their perspective. Whether I agree with their opinion – I want them to know that I understand and hear what they are saying.
  2. Express Gratitude – I start my day off with quiet time, reflecting on all that I’m grateful for – family, health, my job that I LOVE, my house, my car, electricity, etc. This helps me align my day and not get my feathers ruffled over the small stuff.
  3. Check My Motive – Sometimes I want to react due to my pride and hurt someone else because they hurt me. Is that right? No way. So before I write a hasty email or text, I think about my WHY – is this the best solution? Will good come from my response?
  4. Learn From the Wise – I listen to podcasts and audiobooks to and from work. I learn from great people and how they learned from their mistakes and how to better myself as a wife, leader, mom, friend – the list goes on.

By no means am I near where I want to be with this – but I’m grateful that I get to change and improve each day. What are some ways that you take action to better yourself with your responses? I would love to learn from you.

Do you make these mistakes when searching for a job?

Getting a job - ByFarr Blog
We love hosting field trips for high schools and colleges. We take it seriously- maybe with the hour or less we get to interact, we can shed a little light onto a burning need for young grads: Getting a job.
We receive numerous requests for jobs (mainly by email) for full time positions and internships. I will use a student as an example since we receive many of these on a weekly basis. The email typically goes something like this:
I am a senior graphic design student at a school near you. I’m looking to learn more about graphic design and like what you do. I was just wondering if there are any available internships opportunities or if you’re hiring within your company. If so, please let me know. Thank you!
From a business owner’s stand point – this is what I read:
I am a student that has googled design places around me. I’ve written a generic email where I copy and paste business names in. I’m not really sure what you do nor do I care how my experience would impact you. My professor told me that I need experience so I’m hoping that I receive a reply from my generic email. Please let me know – I’m extremely busy with class & social activities so I don’t have time to follow up with you personally.
I’m totally guilty of writing the above when I was a young college student. Hopefully this post will help you in pursuing a job in any field that matters and that you enjoy.
Here are 5 tips of how to pursue and land a job – this can be applied to any type of job:
  1. Identify 10 places where you would like to work.
    Why do you want to work there?
    What skills & experience would you bring to the table?
    What does the company do?
    Who is the owner of the company?
    Why do the above? By knowing the company, you show the company you care. You also identify if this is a place that you would like to work.
  2. Your resume is only worth 25% (or less)
    You’ve created a wonderful, unique resume. Now what?
    Write an authentic cover letter explaining how your skills will benefit the company and WHY you would like to work for them. Avoid terms like your work is cool. Spell check and spell check again.
  3. Follow Up
    You’ve written a cover letter and created your resume. You emailed and mailed it. Do you just wait for the company to contact you? NO! Follow up with a phone call or in person. I would never have received my teaching job if I relied on the online submission process. I called the dean, stopped by in person – and let them know I was willing to stop by at THEIR convenience. In return I was given an interview and ultimately landed the job that I wanted at that time in my life.
  4. Humility & Authenticity Goes A Long Way
    Remember it’s not about you, it’s about them. Be kind & respectful. If you stop by in person, make sure your appearance is professional. If you interrupt a meeting, apologize. Remember, you’re entering their place of business.
  5. Gratitude
    Hand-write a Thank You note thanking them for their time. Whether it was their time letting you know that they didn’t have a position available or they interviewed you – thank them. It seriously goes a long way.  
One of my deepest passions is for people to pursue work that matters and that they enjoy. If I can be of encouragement, please leave a comment or email me. Now go get the job that you want!

Stephanie + Adam

A fall night to remember: Stephanie and Adam’s wedding couldn’t have been more of a dream, as you’ll see below. What’s even more inspiring about this couple is their love for each other and how is shines on their faces! From a long distance relationship to making a big move together to Washington, DC, S&A achieved the most perfect celebration in town and we’re glad they made it back to Palmetto state to do so!!  Their invitation suite, which included hand-drawn fall foliage, calligraphy from Lydia Robins Hendrix, and topped off with a gold wax seal, is one of our favorites!

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How did you and Adam meet? What’s your love story?
Adam and I met while we were studying abroad in London in the summer of 2008. We were from different schools (he went to school in Virginia and I attended the University of South Carolina), but we hit it off and started a long distance relationship that lasted until we both graduated and moved to Washington, DC permanently. We moved in together in November of 2010, and the rest is history.

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What was the best part of your ceremony?
Our ceremony was quite traditional, and the vows were special to both me and Adam. But, I think best part was after our pastor pronounced us husband and wife, we did a HUGE high-five. It was so spontaneous and fun. Our photographer and videographer both captured the moment, and its one of my favorites of the day.

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What was the best part of your reception?
My favorite part of the reception were the toasts from special members of our wedding party. My dad, my sister (Maid of Honor), and Adam’s best friend gave speeches that really touched both me and Adam. It was special to know how much we were cared for on our wedding day.

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Three words to describe your wedding?
Laid-back, elegant, fun

Did you take a honeymoon? If so, where?
We did go on a honeymoon! We traveled to Ambergris Caye, Belize and stayed at a private resort for eight days.I wish we could go back!

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What was your design inspiration?
The main design idea I had when we started planning was that I wanted our guests to feel like they were at a sophisticated, fall affair. We wanted indoor and outdoor spaces that flowed throughout the night, and colors that represented a fall-inspired, jewel tone palette. Our wedding planner, Lacy Geary, and our amazing vendors helped create a relaxed environment that included gorgeous free-flowing flower and greenery arrangements throughout the venue, a special sitting area under the trees outside, cafe lights strung across the outdoor dance floor, and personal touches that represented our personalities as a couple. It was magical!

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Who were your vendors? 

Photographer – Lucas Brown of Kickstand Studio  |  Planner – Lacy Geary of By Invitation Only |  Florist – Sarah Shell of Fern Studio |  Venue/Caterer/Bar Service – Country Club of Lexington |  Cake – we did mini desserts and ice cream with Shennice Cleckley of My Dessert Bar |  Bride’s Gown (accessories) – Dress and Belt – Blush by Hayley Paige from Jo-Lin’s Bridal ‱ Veil – Jo-Lin’s Bridal ‱ Shoes – Jimmy Choo ‱ Earrings and Bracelet – Macy’s  |  Hair and makeup- Hair – Ashley Wright of Cline’s Salon Vista  ‱ Makeup – Chelsey Winford |  Rentals- Custom bar, wooden table numbers, leaf cutouts for escort cards – Lacy Geary of Paper Birch Designs ‱ Tents and other rentals – Party Reflections |  Lighting – Ambient Media

4 Strategic Steps to Improving Client Experience

One of my all time guilty pleasures is watching Project Runway. I enjoy watching creativity under pressure. The contestants are given a client, a budget and a timeline. At the end of each challenge their designs go down the runway and then are critiqued by the judges. It’s interesting to see how the designers choose to respond. The designers that are successful and win are the ones who listen well, work hard and take the critique in stride. They don’t bad mouth or toss blame, instead they get better.

In the creative world, we’re constantly being critiqued. We generate ideas based on a need and budget and present to a client. We must always remember the end goal: to produce a successful design AND please the client in doing so. This is not always the easiest and sometimes the situation can be frustrating.

Here are 4 ways that I focus on improving my interaction- so that when I do receive criticism I know how and where to apply it.

1. LISTEN – When I first sit down to learn about a project – I want to capture the passion, mission and vision of the client. I want to make sure that they understand their own product really well. If they don’t, the design will not be clear and in the end unsuccessful. Take detailed notes, sketch, interact. Make sure you hear both what the client is needing and what they are wanting.

2. EXPLAIN – We create preliminary concepts from our sketches and research and present to the client. I make sure to explain the designs well. I want the client to know everything we did was intentional and thoughtful. Here are some examples: The meaning behind the typography choice, the historical reference, why the illustration fits, how the color enhances and doesn’t detract.

3. ASK QUESTIONS – If your client wants changes made – great! You want them to own their design. This is an investment on both parts. Make sure to ask good questions to clarify the ‘why’ behind the changes.  Collaborate and make sure you have clear action items before moving on to the next editing phase. If you don’t, you will frustrate your client.

4. BE HUMBLE YET ASSERTIVE – No one likes a know-it-all, or the opposite, a push over. Remember you were hired to do a job. Part of the job is to make sure you give your client the best. If they are asking you to use a typeface or color that is going to hurt the end goal of the project, tell them by educating them. Make sure your motive is to give your absolute best, not to boost your ego.

In the end, if you don’t lose sight of your customer and their needs, you will be successful. What are some steps that you take to make sure that you give your best?

Invitations & Champagne… You’re invited!

DropinGraphic

Our letterpress is cranking out the drop-in invitations to hand out at the bridal show this Sunday!

As tradition goes, we like to open our doors on the Thursday after a big Bridal Expo to the loveliest brides that the Midlands area has to offer. We LOVE meeting new brides and seeing familiar faces at the big shows, but sometimes these Expos can be a lot to take in. Brides are usually overwhelmed at the possibilities, bombarded by chatty vendors, and are in a hurry to see what there is and for how much.

ByFarr likes to treat the Expos a little differently- we want you to get a feel for the scope of our services by walking around and not being afraid to pick up and look at our past stationery items and not feeling pressured into a sale. Honestly, we’re just excited that YOU’RE ENGAGED! And we hope to further that excitement by showing you how to enhance your big day through design.

At the drop-ins, we have more of an intimate setting- no big crowds, just our guests and our small team. We want to give you a chance to ask us questions and get a deeper understanding of what we have to offer and how we can serve you. Our hope is at this stage you’ll find a strong connection with us, have a good idea of the stationery you need, and be ready to set up a one-on-one meeting with Bailee to discuss design details and start this fun process!

We want this to be a seamless process for all our brides, starting with the Drop-In. We want to show you, over champagne and delicious food of course, that we’re not your typical invitation shop. With that being said, we can’t wait to see all the brides at the St. Andrews Bridal Showcase this weekend and we hope to see many of you at our Drop-In at the studio March 5th from 5:30-8!