A place for help, advice, and ideas

Friday, May 28, 2010

red, white, and blue

image credit (l-r) amsale "nicole", elizabeth anne designs, donald yaegar , boutwell studio, darling dexter via ead, red ribbon studio, msw, & amsale

Venue Shopping

image credit author's personal collection, Oheka Castle on my wedding day

So you have the perfect guy, bling on your left finger.........now what?

We'll first you need to get a general idea about your guest list. Are you keeping it small and under a 100 people? Or do you have a large family and your guest list is looking to be tipping the scale at 500 people? Knowing an approximate number of guests is key because some venues simply can't accommodate large weddings, and in other cases venues are so large that 100 people may get lost in the space. (Keep in mind that usually about 20% of your guests RSVP "No." )

After, you have an approximate number of guests you need to firm up your budget. The worst thing you can do is go venue shopping, find something you love, and find out that there is just no way you can make it work.

The first part of venue shopping is online and magazine research. Make sure you look in the area you were hoping to have the reception and some of the surrounding areas. You may be pleasantly surprised by some hidden gems. Magazines that cater to your city will be really helpful as they usually have a section in the back that can answer some of these basic questions. The first thing you are going to do is get organized!

Make a list of all of the venues that even look like something you may like. For each venue write down the information you find online. Your lists needs to contain at least the below basics;

1. Name of the place:

2. Location: (Is it convenient to public transportation or hotels, if that's applicable. Will you have to hire a shuttle from the ceremony location?)

3. Rental Fee: Not all locations have one, but most museums and historical venues do. This is just a fee to rent the grounds and doesn't include food. It may at some places include tables and chairs.

4. Price Per Person: They usually don't have this specific information online so you may have to go in to find out, but most bridal magazines will have a number range.

5. Number of people it can accommodate:

After you have a pretty decent list. You want to start narrowing it down. It isn't reasonable to visit 100 venues.
Things you are going to cross of right away: out of your budget, a large number of negative reviews online, & can't accommodate your guest list.

You should now have about 10 places, and it's time to start scouting them out. Most places will require you to make an appointment. Show up to the appointment a bit early and take a look around the outside space. If you can try to make an appointment on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday morning. Often times they are setting up for events so you may be able to get a better picture of what it looks like.

When you meet with the onsite event coordinator there are certain questions you want to make sure you ask and things you want to take note of. Here are a few; (keep in mind this may not all be applicable to your wedding)

1. Take a note of the grounds. Are they well kept? If you are having a daytime wedding it's possible your pictures will be taken here. This is why I suggested going a little earlier.

2. What is the decor like? The carpet? The chairs? Does it match your style or are you going to have to bring tables and chairs in? Will it need a lot of decoration (i.e. lighting and flowers)
  • What are the regulations about decorations? Are candles allowed? If it's a historical venue can you eat and drink throughout the venue?
  • OUTDOOR VENUES: what's the plan B? Where will the tent go? Where will you have cocktail hour, etc. Hash this out for every single venue if you are considering an outdoor wedding
3. Do they have an in-house caterer or do you have to hire someone? If they have an in-house caterer can you do a tasting before you book? If you don't love the food can you bring in an outside caterer?

4. Make a note of where the dance floor will go
  • Is there enough room for a band or DJ?
5. Does the wedding venue already own a sound system with adequate speakers or will that need to be rented?

6. Do they have wheelchair access, adequate parking? Will they valet cars and what's the charge?

7. What is the payment schedule?
  • What's the cancellation policy?
8. Is there an additional rental fee if you have your ceremony there?

9. Do they have a liquor license?

10. Do they have a place for the bride and groom to get ready and or relax?

11. Will the event coordinator be there the day of the wedding, If not who will be there?

12. Do they let you use any outside vendors that you want? Or do they require specific florists bands, etc. And if they do you should take a look at those vendors just to be sure you can work with them.

Now you should have narrowed your venues down to about 2-4. It's time to start thinking about the exact details of your wedding. Are you having your ceremony off site? Then be sure to get the answers to these questions;

1. How far are the locations and how will you get the guests from one location to another?

2. Do they both hold a similar amount of people?

Are you having your ceremony on site? Be sure to get the answers to these questions;

1. Does the wedding venue have an entirely separate area for the ceremony?

2. If not, how long does it typically take for the staff to change over the room?

Remember venue is likely to be the largest part of your budget and it sets the theme for your wedding. Before you sign any contracts make sure everything is very clear. If they are providing things like chairs, tables, table cloths, valet parking, etc. It should be in the contract. What time can you arrive at the venue to start setting up also needs to be in there. When you are making your final payment a few weeks before the wedding you don't want any surprises.

It's intense, but we want to help you say sane. We would love to help so email any questions you have about venues especially about venues on Long Island and NYC.

Bright Inspirations

Happy Memorial Day Weekend to all! I hope this weekend finds you all with lots of sunshine and relaxation. Here is some inspiration taken from Martha Stewart's Wedding Blog that I think perfectly symbolizes the kickoff to summer....Maybe I am partial to the yellow, but this screams sunshine, fun, and carefree to me.

Thank you MSW weddings for letting us share this. We love your inspiration.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dress Sanity...

We covered the bling and shoes, but how can we talk wedding fashion without mentioning THE dress. As mentioned in an earlier post, the dress a bride chooses usually exempifies much about her personality, so how do you go about finding that perfect dress and remaining sane while doing so. Not always so easy. Here are some tips to help you prepare for the hunt.


-Start off by browsing through bridal magazines and ripping out photos that are inspirational to you. Start a folder. Try to first look at dresses as a whole and once you have gone through the magazines and done that, take another look at the remaining dresses and their parts. Maybe you love the neckline in one gown, but hate the fabric, color, and style of it. Rip it out anyway and circle the part that you adore. Once you go through them, you will start to see similarities in style, color, fabric, beading, etc.

-Go through the ones ripped out and check the designers who made them. Chances are you are likely to pull ones from similiar designers. Once you have noticed some repeat inspiration, check those designers out online and browse their entire collections. You are likely to find others you adore. Print them out and add them to your folder.

-Check out other designers online that have been recommended or that you have heard about to get as much inspiration as you can. Even if the price range is out of what you are looking for, having pictures to show when going to a salon will definately be helpful.

-Check out the blogs (of course!) to get some more inspiration. Be sure to print everything out and put it together in that folder. When you are printing things out, be sure to label where you got them from so if you want to go back to see it, you have an idea of where to look.

(Vera Wang Sophia)

-Once you have some inspiration to go on, start deciding who you want to share this VERY special, exciting, moment with. Because it is so exciting, we are often flooded with so many people who show interest and/or who we want to be there with us. Beware of taking too many people at once. I would suggest going with one or two people for the first time. Their are a lot of opinions out there and the first time can be quite overwhelming. Before you choose who is going to go with you, make sure they have a calming (& helping) personality. Very few people buy their dress on their first excursion so don't worry you have plenty of time to include everyone in the process.

-Give yourself a realistic budget from the get-go. Talk it through with your whomever is dealing with the finances whether it be your fiance, parents, in-laws, etc. Their are plenty of ways to save when it comes to dresses so you may still be able to score that designer dress you are swooning over and still have money for the rest of the wedding.

-Go in with an open mind. What you love on the model, you might hate on yourself. Sticking to only one type of gown will limit so many options that are out there. You only get to do the hunt once, you might as well try on everything! Even if you are going for a sheath, lace gown, I urge you to try on the biggest satin ballgown just because you can. You never know what styles you will love on yourself. And even if you hate it, it makes for a good, calming laugh and a big understanding of what can be x-ed off your list. The dress I had bookmarked before I was even engaged (yes, crazy I know), turned out to be doozey, but I am thankful for that because if I hadn't been open minded, I never would have found my one!
(Amsale Nadine-above)

-Enjoy yourself and have a blast. It really is so fun.. No reason to stress -your dress is out there, I promise. And kind of like that amazing fiance' you have at home, once you know, you know.

More to come on how to schedule appointments and what to expect once you get there....

Same Day Edits

Wedding videos have drastically changed since Aunt Sally and Uncle Billy left you some long winded message about the meaning of marriage and love. Here is a really modern same day edit by Still Motion. This is actually shot and then shown later at the wedding. I love the feel of it and love how they captured such special and intimate moments.

Credit Still Motion (Their work is amazing)

vendor review: minted

This morning we gave you some tips about making the invitation process a little less stressful.I have another tip for you. Find a great vendor! This is true for all of your wedding planning, but with invitations look for someone that is a good communicator, understands your sense of style, and is flexible.

If you find a vendor you love the whole process becomes incredibly easy. I was lucky to have W's cousin do beautiful, wonderful, custom invitations for me. She made the process easy and in the end I got just what I had dreamed.

Not everyone is lucky enough to have her, so I wanted to share another vendor I have worked with. I entered a contest at Minted (R) early on in wedding planning and won! I wasn't sure how I wanted to use the store credit, but I am so glad I decided to use them for stationary, christmas cards, and beautiful invitations (for another party).

Hands down their quality is better than other online invitation stores. The paper is thick and luxurious. It feels heavy and the texture is fantastic. The letterpress is intricately done and they will customize the colors to your liking. It doesn't end with great quality, their customer service is unparalleled. They will spend time emailing designs, walking you through the process, and answering any random questions you have.

There are so many stationary needs that come up during wedding planning, save the dates, shower invitations, thank you cards, bach-ette invitatations, and the wedding invitations; If you are looking for beautiful unique ideas without the cost that usually follows look into minted. I don't think you'll be disappointed. Here are some of my favorite designs.

Save The Dates: I love simple clean designs that get right to the point.

A great way to showcase your engagement photos

a picture not your thing? this is perfect and easy to change up to coordinate with your wedding color.

want something with more personality, don't fret minted has options for everyone.

Shower Invitations. I love anything from mod
ern to traditional with just the right amount of uniqueness

Wedding Invitations: I love tradtional with some color or design, again minted has everything from classic to modern.

Images all taken from www.minted.com

Invitation Tip

Trying to stay sane isn't easy in the last few months of planning.
Hopefully this tip will help with some of the sanity. If you aren't up to this part of wedding planning, bookmark this because you will surely thank us later.

Remember that handy excel sheet S and I spoke about in earlier posts. Add another column to that. This time, number each address that you are sending an invitation to. Since you have likely already compiled this list to either print the address or handwrite them, it shouldn't be so tough. After they are numbered, be sure to put the invites in the same order when stuffing them. With a pencil, label the RSVP cards on the back in one of the corners with the number that coordinates with that invitation list. For example, Mrs. Jen Smith is number one on your guest list. Well put a small number 1 on the back of the RSVP card that you stick in Mrs. Jen Smith's envelope. Follow this for each invite.

Might seem time consuming at first, but it really is such a time saver. Trying to keep sane when Blank, illegible., or duplicate RSVP cards come back in the mail is not easy. Any bride can attest this. While many compare recieving the RSVP back in the mail to Christmas, the Christmas morning can be ruined when you open a card to have it read Mrs. Smith and their are about 10 Mrs. Smith's on your guestlist. People write illegibly, people fill in the number of guests with a little note but never put their name on it and people forget to insert their first names leaving you and your fiance googling handwriting decodement as you sit and ponder.

Trust us, save yourself some time. You'll thank us later.
Any other time saving, sanity keeping tricks? Let us know. Have questions about the above post. Email us and we can help.

Invitations above by LA Engagement Party Invitations via Style Me Pretty

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bling Bling

We recently talked about shoe love, but we can't forget the pretty little bling on our left finger. Gone are the days of tacky ring shots. Here are some very swoon worthy unique shots of engagement rings. A ring shot is a something every bride should have on her "must take list."

image credits (l-r) studio emp, amelia lyon, linda chaja, mille holloman, justin marantz, boutwell studio


Now you can follow us on twitter, Sanebrides!

Foot Phenomenon

Flat or heel? Comfort or style? Wedge or stilleto? Sparkles or Satin? These are questions brides have been asking for decades when it comes to choosing their perfect "glass slipper"....White or Color? This is quite the new phenomenon.

So long to the days when brides are thinking/being told that "you can't even see the shoe under the dress anyway" and hello to the days of wedding photographers everywhere itching to get a few shots of those shoes . Whether it be before they even slip them on, when someone else is helping put them on or just simply peeking out of the bottom of the all white gowns, those shoe shots are a definate at some moment throughout the day. And with wedding dress hemlines getting shorter and shorter, a girl has got be wise when choosing the right shoe.

It just makes sense..for decades, women have been particular about fashion including the shoe. Imagine life without flipping through Vogue gawking over the latest Jimmy Choo's or watching Sex and the City without wondering what Manolo Carrie was going to slip on to complete her look. This obsession has now crossed the border into wedding planning, so add it to the long list you have already compiled, ladies.

And as a traditional, yet fashionable, bride I was quite torn. I went the easy route..used both. I was gifted a beautiful pair of Satin, White Stuart Weitzmans from my maid/matron of honors, aka, best friends aka 2 sisters that I adored, but I was itching for a pop of yellow in my very traditional lace gown. So when my husband bought me these fabulous pair of yellow Louboutins as a wedding gift, how could a girl resist. My mom was adamantly opposed to me "ruining" my dress with these bright fashion statements, but I was resistant to giving them up. So, in order to stay SANE AND HAPPY (not always easy in the wedding world) I practiced what all marriages are comprised of and compromised. I wore my beautiful white heels while getting ready at my parent's house and during our mass and then switched to my yellow fashion statements when hitting up the after photos and reception.

One of my very best friends also opted for the color tradition introducing her traditional "something blue" in a very non traditional way. She rocked a pair of navy blue heels under her gorgeous lace gown and not only checked her "something blue" off her list, but also fashionably coordinated with her classic navy blue and white color scheme to really tie together her whole day.

And when it comes to outside the box shoes, we can't forget to include our groom in the mix. This picture is from S & W's big day. The checkered socks that the W and his groomsmen wore really got quite the hype, not to mention made for an awesome photo op

So, Are you traditional or modern when it comes to wedding day shoes? Thoughts on Color? Favorite shoe shots? Share them with us!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Perfect Moment III

Calm, serene & at ease-A definate perfect moment. It is one that is few and far between during the excitement and whirlwind of our wedding days. Capturing a moment like this takes such an eye as this bride and groom look as though they are having their own moment, not even noticing the photographer.
Photojournalism is the newest wedding photography phenomenon and that is what most of our "perfect moments" exemplify. It forgoes the traditional wedding poses and allows the photographer to become creative, and the bride and groom(and wedding party & guests) to remain natural. I find that these candid shots make for much better frame worthy images, but that is my own opinion. Its always nice to have a few of the traditional ones as well, but the emotions that are exuded from these are indeed, "perfect moments."
It is important when meeting with your potentional photographers you specifiy the types of pictures and photography you are both looking for from the get-go. That will allow you to figure out if your wants match up with the photographer's style. Be sure to go through some of their sample albums to get a better idea of how he/she shoots. Nothing is better than actual past material.
Photo contribution taken from Anthony Vazquez, http://www.anthonyvazquez.com/

Monday, May 24, 2010

flower love

I've been staring at these light pink and fuschia peonies all day and thinking, why didn't I have these at my wedding ???

Well, believe me the only reason is because I got married in October (way way out of peony season, booo). Staying in season is key for keeping your floral budget low, but staying in season doesn't mean you can't get something really close to what you want. For example a popular peony look a like is the garden rose. Although, not an exact match it will give you the same open pillowy like flower. Want to know what's in season when you are planning your wedding, here is a list of popular blooms for each season (via the flower expert). Keep in mind that many popular flowers like roses and lillies are available year round in the U.S.

Spring (March-May)
Anemone, Cherry Blossom, Dahlia, Freesia, Gardenia, Lilac, Peony, Poppy, & Tulips

(Image credit In the Now via Elizabeth Anne Designs)

Summer (June-August)
Amaranthus Baby's Breath , Calla lily,Carnation, Chrysanthemum, Cosmos, Dahlia, Delphinium, Freesia, Gardenia, Hydrangea, Iris, Lilac, Casa Blanca Lily, Gloriosa Lily, & Star Gazer.

image credit (l-r) & unlimited via style me pretty, a thyme to cook via style me pretty

Fall (September-November)
Anemone, Baby's Breath, Carnation, Chrysanthemum, Cosmos, Echinops, Freesia, Gerbera Daisy, Gladiolus, Hypericum, & Iris.

image credits (l-r) Martha Stewart Weddings, Summer 2003 & Real Simple via Elizabeth Anne Designs

Winter (December-February)
Amaryllis, Carnation, Chrysanthemums, Evergreens, Gerbera Daisy, Holly berry, Lily, Asiatic Lily, Casa Blanca Lily, Orchid, Pansy, Queen Ann's Lace, Roses, & Star of Bethlehem.

image credits carolyn rohem via intimate weddings

Also, adding fruits can really bump yup the wow factor for centerpieces adding texture and depth!

Cynthia Rowley down the Aisle

Who doesn't love Cynthia Rowley's tulle skirts & drop waists? This fashionista is known for allowing us women to show our feminine sides and what better day then to do that then a wedding. Rowley has teamed up with Dessy group (right behind designer Lela Rose who we ADORE. She also launched a bridesmaid line for them) and is launching a line of bridesmaid dresses this month. And if you are lucky enough to be in the area of NYC, you can get an advanced viewing on Thursday June 3rd. Don't you want to make your bridesmaids love you a little more? This just might be the trick.

And to top it off, Dessy and Rowley have managed to make these dresses between $175-220, which in this crazy world called weddings, is actually not that bad, Especially for designer Chic.

We can't wait to see them....

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Summer Loving

Cup of Joe in hand, on a Rainy Monday morning on the week ahead of Memorial Day Weekend, and I can't help but daydream just a little. I am sure most of you are feeling the same right about now, but what better way to get through this week then to become inspired by all the love to come in these next 3-4 summer months. Everyone knows that wedding season has officially begun and with that, comes full weekends on the social calendar and lots of different types of fun seasonal weddings. There are beach weddings, backyard bashes, casual BBQ gatherings, vineyard affairs, garden parties, & outdoor golf course settings to name a few. And with that there are Oh so many different types of inspirational ways to design the affair. We can't help but smile when thinking about what is to come :)

The picture above is from one of my best friends' sister's wedding. Inspired by the couples love for all things beach and surfing, pictures were taking at a local lighthouse on one of the most beautiful days of the year. The backdrop was utter perfection for an amazingly beautiful couple. Not to mention, we can't help but be obsessed with that stunning dress, hair and flower (Just to name a few)

What are your favorite summer wedding inspirations? Have you had or been to one that is extraordinary? Share your favorite summer wedding with us via email as we hope to feature one soon!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Dress Inspiration

While browsing for a future post, I came across this in an old email from one of my closest friends who was also planning her wedding with us. While very different than what I chose on our big day, I can't help but continued to be inspired by this Vera Wang number. I even sent it to my sister and told her to bookmark it for her future, as I think it was made specifically for her to wear.

Which led me to think just how much our choice in gowns inevitably exudes our personality. Don't get me wrong, I fell in love with all different types of gowns and loved the way they looked for different reasons, but in the end I chose one that in hindsight, really exemplified my personality without me even knowing it.

More on dresses to come......I can never get enough of all the fashion involved in the big day.

In the meantime, how did you make that final decision? If you haven't yet, what barriers are standing in your way ?

Photography Credit -Grace Ormande Wedding Style Magazine, Vera Wang Gown

A little happiness to keep you sane

Not all wedding related, but in the midst of all the craziness this reminds you that things are still fun!

(P.S. I like my HAIR, I like my HAIR CUT.. more on that later)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

YOUR perfect moment

Who doesn't love diamonds? Hearts on Fire is having a contest and they want to give YOU f jewelry for your wedding day. The contest is on facebook and all you have to do is click here. Enter your perfect moment with a picture and then vote, vote, vote. Good Luck!

I'd pick one of their right hand rings (I think my right hand gets lonely sometimes)

Grecian Honeymooning

After recently mentioning our honeymoon to Greece on a blog post about Honeymoons, we recieved a lot of feedback & searches requesting more information, especially on Santorini. As S mentioned in her previous honeymoon post, it is important to make sure that you and your future husband agree on the type of honeymoon you want to have prior to choosing a destination. For us it was pretty easy both knowing we wanted to go somewhere we could relax, be secluded and get some sun. We made a list of our top three and I have to give credit where credit is due, it was JT's final decision to choose Greece.

We began our honeymoon in Florence, visiting my younger sis who was conveniently studying abroad. We had both been before, but what better way to kick off a honeymoon then in one of the most romantic cities in the world. There are so many locales in Italy to choose from that would be perfect for a honeymoon destination. If you are looking for relaxation and beaches like Jt & I, I would strongly encourage checking out Cinque Terre or the Amalfi Coast.

The remainder of our trip was spent in Greece. We began in Athens where we stayed two nights. It wasn't our favorite part of the trip, but definately a necessity when hitting the country. We did most of the site seeing in a one day period, so if you aren't major history buffs it can definately be done within one day & overnight.

After that we flew to Santorini, which was by far our favorite locale. We splurged on our hotel here having gotten numerous recommendations from others. We knew we wanted to stay here so our travel agent helped us pick out hotels that could keep us within budget while still being able to stay here. I am SO grateful for that. It was called the Astra Apartments (http://www.astra-apartments.com/) I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who is headed that way. It was on the cliff side of the island and our room was overlooking the sea and volcano. We were served private breakfast on the balcony each morning and the sunset from our room was nothing that I had seen before. A lot of people talk about going to Oia to watch the sunset in Santorini, but if you stay at this hotel, you get the same view right from your balcony. The the owner of the hotel, George, was so personal and made our stay so pleasurable. He helped plan out our time there and made sure we knew how to get around. We ended up renting a car one day to tour the island. We were able to see the vineyards, as well as the red and black beaches. These are truly magnificient sites to see. The time we spent here was truly everything one dreams of when they think the word honeymoon.

Our last leg of the trip was taking the hydrofoil (basically a large ferry) to Mykonos. Here our hotel was more of a resort like hotel, still beautiful, but definately less secluded. The nightlife in Mykonos is much more vibrant so it is a good place to go out and dance as husband and wife. The restaurants here were also fabulous.

I guess it is pretty easy to sense that I have never been on such a magical vacation iand while it definately burnt a little hole in our pocket, it was well worth every penny. We knew that there would be no other time when we could splurge and get away without worrying about things such as a house or children. Life after wedding planning and weddings does unfortunately happen.

Budget Tip:With the Euro exchange rate in our favor right now, its a great time to book and exchange some of your cash! Getting a credit card with flight miles is also another option to spend a little less. You can accumulate lots of points while purchasing things for the wedding (be sure to still have the cash in the bank before you swipe so this doesnt equal debt!) and then use those points to fly to bliss.

What locales are on the top of your list? Where are your favorite places in Greece? We'd love to hear ..

Let's talk, bridesmaids

Let's face it being a bridesmaid is often as much fun as a bikini wax. However, there are ways to make it painless and even enjoyable for (almost) everyone. Seriously, enjoyable!

First, remember what it's like to be a bridesmaid....(go ahead really think about it)

After, your finished rehashing your worst moment as a bridesmaid take a few girls dress shopping with you. I would recommend taking two girls that have different body shapes. If you haven't already, consider "sister" dresses, dresses that may have different cuts, but come in the color that you love. This tip is especially important if one of your bridesmaids is pregnant during the wedding (be kind it may be you one day)

Here are some pictures of some gorgeous "sister" dresses

image credit (l-r): anne marie photography via style me pretty, liviasean via style me pretty

Another great idea is using different shades (or totally different colors) of the same dress, it adds so much dimension to wedding pictures.

Here is a great picture of bridesmaids in different shades

image credit: coutureeventssd.com via style me pretty

.....and different colors

image credit christian oth, via style me pretty

If you are really laid back, having your bridesmaids wear a dress they like in whatever color family you pick will win you major brownie points. It will also make your pictures pop! Consider helping each girl because funny enough I've heard picking out your own dress can be quite anxiety provoking.

image credit: Olivia Leigh Photography, via style me pretty

Before we leave the topic of bridesmaid dresses, let's talk price. I am a culprit of picking bridesmaid dresses that were on the high(est) end of the spectrum. I know I'm a really bad bride. Here are some of things I tired to do that I hope made it easier. I tried to be accommodating in a few ways, I chipped in money towards the girls dresses that brought the price down to a bit more reasonable price. I also talked about it with each of my friends privately. After talking to them I then put more money towards some of the others girls dresses. In the grand scheme of weddings remember that these are dresses they will wear once, despite how re-wearable you may think they are. Try to do one better than me and pick cheaper dresses.

Another part of being a bridesmaid that can get quite expensive is hair, makeup, nails, etc. First of all, if it is really important that all of your best friends be with you the morning of the wedding and you want them all to have professional hair and makeup than you may have to consider paying for that yourself. If it's about being together than hair and makeup shouldn't be a required. For me a simple rule to go by is, if it you are insisting that they do something than you need to be the one paying for it. Hair and makeup not only get expensive, but some people simply don't like the way professionals do their hair or makeup.

The best part of being a bride is the amount of quality time you get to spend with your best friends before the wedding. However, remember that sometimes life gets in the way and it may be hard for all of your bridesmaids to get to all the events. Although, it may be hard to deal with such is life. Try to be considerate and talk to your friends about what events are really important to you and what events you hope they can be there at.

image credit: Jessica Loren, via style me pretty

Always remember this, they are your best friends and you want them to be your best friends after the wedding is over.

Do you have a story about the worst bridesmaid experience? Or are you a bride with a maidzilla? I'd love to hear the story!

Reader Q & A- Establishing a Guest List

From our reader Jen, in CA:
"Recently engaged, my fiance' and I are trying to come up with a guest list. Our ideal wedding is small & intimate, but we are feeling overwhelmed because our families are telling us to include people we barely know. We want to make everyone happy, but its just not what we want. Any advice?"
Ohh Jen, first off, Congratulations, You are engaged!! This is a really amazing time in your life. Try not to lose sight of that. Next, breathe. The initial planning of guest list, budget, venue & date were some of the most stress provoking parts of the whole process. At the end, regardless of the guest list, you are going to look back and think of how wonderful a day it was. It is nice to try and want to make everyone happy, but the most important is to not lose sight of what YOUR ideal wedding is. You dont actually have to follow what they say unless of course they are paying for it, in which case it gets a bit stickier. The first thing I would do is ask both of your families to come up with a list of who they think should be invited and then ask them to prioritze the list into two or three groups depending on the total. Tell them to label the absolute musts (Think Grandma, Sister, etc) with a number 1 and then the remaining guests with a number 2 and/or 3, etc. This will cut down on the random, sporadic, late night calls from your parents or in laws that are likely to drive you insane. Once you get those lists, communicate calmly that you guys are going to do your best to ensure that the most people you can will be included. The key to keeping yourself sane is communication with your families. Rather then get angry and frustrated with them (which you are likely to feel numerous times throughout the process), try and express and communicate why you are feeling the way you are and think proactively about what can be done.In the meantime, you and fiance should come up with a list of friends and be sure to tackle the plus one or no plus one dilemma that you are sure to face.
Once you get the two lists, you and fiance can put together an excel sheet with all the prioritized number 1's. Count it up and see how manageable that is. If it seems like you can make it to the number 2's then add them in, and work with those. If people then need to be cut, call the families up, express why it looks as though some of the number 2's(and/or 3's) can't be included and then ask their opinion on who out of those people are the most important to them. Including them in the process and asking their opinion will allow them to feel as though they are playing a part in it, reducing some of the frustration they might be expressing. There is also always the B -List option which means you can send people invites after you have recieved some no responses, but this often gets messy

Hopefully this helps! Best of Luck! and remember, wedding planning and sanity is all about compromise. If it means a lot to your Mom that Aunt whats-her-name is there, maybe you can budge just a little in order to move on and get started with planning the fun stuff!!

Any of our other readers who have dealt with similiar instances have any advice to offer Jen ?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Escort Card Adorement

We don't want to waste your time re-posting other blog's post, but I couldn't resist sharing this wedding from JuneBug Weddings. Doesn't get much better then this... Escort cards doubley serving as pristine decor; vintage vases filled with beautiful blooms and tied with guests names. Utter Perfection.

Any other unique escort card ideas to share? Let us know. S & W had a great idea, using candy apples as their escort cards. Fit perfectly into their fall wedding.

To see more visit, Junebug Weddings & Duet Weddings



Photography credits go to Max Wagner Photography

Staying Organized

While planning my wedding I was (still am) a full-time doctoral student and worked about 25 hours a week. A question I receive frequently is, how did you stay on top of it all?

First of all, believe me when I say every so often wedding planning lead me to feel like this.

Honestly, those freak out moments were far and few between. I really loved wedding planning and I believe the key is staying organized. These days there are so many resources out there to help you stay organized. Most websites offer you places to store ideas, your guest list, even a table mapper for the reception. However, my tired and true resources are likely items you may already have.

First, I think this goes without saying, but use the computer! Get to know common applications like Excel. This is key for composing your guest list. It is so easy to enter the address in Excel and then do a simple mail merge for labels or envelopes. It's simple to make changes every time you add someone to the list or if someone moves. You will need to use this file over and over again, engagement parties, showers, thank you cards, etc. so make sure you keep a backup.

Besides for using the computer for your guest list. There are so many amazing blogs and websites out there that are just full of inspiration. Make a folder on your desktop and simple save all the images you see and love. Eventually you'll have so many images that you'll have to separate them in to categories. When meeting with your vendors simply upload the images you like onto a flash drive and bring them with you the appointment. They will be better prepared to give you amazing ideas if they know what you LOVE.

Again, make sure you save everything twice, no one wants to be begging the guy at Best Buy to save your computer.

My other tired and true item was a plain white 3 ring binder. Of course, ready made binders are out there. Martha Stewart has a great one and if you decide to go this route you will be well taken care of. I'd suggest trying to get a binder that allows you to add and take sections out. You want to be able to customize it to meet your needs. If you don't want to shell out the 40 bucks to get a ready made binder, that's more than ok. Like I said I used just a regular 3 inch binder. You can make a great binder with just a 5 dollar 3 inch binder from your local office supply store. Get some tabs and folders and you are good to go. The binder is a great place to keep an updated version of your guest list, an all important to do list, photos you've clipped from magazines, and contracts. You are going to want to have a copy of every contract you sign with the phone numbers and name of every vendor.

These are pretty basic organization techniques, but they are a great place to start. We'd love to help a bit more, if you have questions, send them our way!

We Can't Resist

Ok, Ok, before you hate on us for another Jcrew post, this one may help alleviate some of financial stress all while keeping you SANE. Martha Stewart Weddings & JCrew have teamed up and are putting a sweepstake out for brides seeking a free wedding wardrobe (and a fabulous trip to NYC!)

Hey, its worth a shot. Thank us when you win :)

The Role of Color

After S posted the summer inspiration board below, I was reminded of just how important the role of color is on the big day. The wedding guru herself, Vera Wang, offers some advice on this on her website, which I think is key. It is so important to keep in mind the season, venue, and most importantly, what exemplifies the two of you as a couple.

So tell us? What color combinations inspire you ? Is finding the perfect color combo something that leads your bridal insanity?

Inspiration Board 1: Summer Elegance

Image Credits L-R (Christos Dress, Julianna via Christosbridal.com, Jewlery Image by Chelesa Elizabeth via Style Me Pretty, Flower Image by Perez Photography via Style Me Pretty, Altar Image by Megan Sorel via Style Me Pretty, Invitation Design Connemara by Bella Figuria, Bridesmaid Dress Marguax by Jenny Yoo, Wedding Shoes image by Laura Novak via Style Me Pretty, Place Cards image by Amelia Lyon via Style Me Pretty, Wedding Cake image by Gourmet Gallery via Style Me Pretty.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Perfect Moments II

I had to add on to S perfect moment post. What a stunning photo that is... Here are two other perfect moments taken courtesy of the photographer that both of us chose. More to come on him & why chosing the perfect photographer is key in showing the unreal love that is shared on the big day. No one would have ever guessed the photo on the right was taken during the pouring rain!...Photos courtesy of Anthony Vazquez, Thanks AV xoxo

Perfect Moments

How perfect is this shot from kiss the groom.

Time alone is so difficult to come by the day of your wedding. I would really suggest that you and your fiance schedule a few moments to just take it all in. Whether you decide to see each other before hand, or just carve out some time during the night, it will really make the night feel even more special.