Last week, S shared an excellent post on new and innovative ideas around guest books. Using a wine bottle, or two, as a guest book is another modern way for guests to share with you their best wishes. Blythe, our guest blogger and dear friend last week, also used this great idea.
By simply peeling the labels and providing guests with a metallic marker, guests can leisurely sign the bottles with their thoughts for you and your new husband throughout the night. These bottles can then be displayed in your new homes and opened on special occasions. You can place multiple bottles out and label them with when they will be opened such as first anniversary, first night in your new home, first child, etc. When sharing the wine as husband and wife, you will be reminded of your special day and all those around you that shared in it. For a former bride who is currently experiencing quite a bit of nostalgia as her first anniversary approaches, I can't help but adore this idea and all the love it has to offer!
Happy Friday to all..Here is some early morning inspiration for hair that we adore. We love the casual curls that still manage to be classy and stylish. Thank you to Linda Chaja Phtography and the beautiful bride for sharing this beautiful-do!
I'm loving this perfect moment! Taking the time to center yourself during your wedding day is a must. I love that the photographer caught this bride while she was praying. Such a beautiful moment on a wedding day.
To piggyback off of S's excellent escort card advice, (how beautiful were her candy apple masterpieces?!? SO worth the work :) I wanted to share an easy way to personalize escort cards that guests seem to love. My first tip is when possible, always find out the guests name. Go the extra mile even if your family and friend returned the RSVP card with the "And Guest" to find out who they are bringing. Adding their name to the RSVP card offers a very personal feel. Take the time to email, text or call your friend and family to ask who is going to be sharing the day with you all. This will help the "guest" feel at ease from the moment they walk in the door. It also becomes extremely helpful for you and your fiance when writing thank you cards!
Another simple, but extremely appreciated tip, is to acknowledge the other soon to be brides out there. Nothing is more exciting then attending a wedding when you are planning one and the excitement and love felt during the wedding is multiplied by 100 when you are thinking of your own day. My sister chose to acknowledge those people by labeling their place cards ..."The soon to be Mr and Mrs____." I followed suite with this advice and all of my engaged family and friends loved the personal touch. It also increased their excitement of their upcoming nuptials. I had one cousin tell me she kept the escort card on her fridge until they got married!
After I did the envelope printing I figured printing place cards would be no problem. I mean, I just did about 700 envelopes, 200 place cards, cake walk. You see where this is going right? Yeah, nowhere good.
I ordered the seating cards in cream and brown metallic paper from here. The place cards I ordered were supposed to come with a template, but the template was actually just a piece of paper that told you what size the place cards should be set up, but they did not take into account the margins between each place card. Serious PAIN!! I spent one night on the phone with customer service and had no luck. Basically, I was on my own.
However, I did just look at the downloadable template they have on their site now and it would work perfectly. Making this process seriously 10 times easier now. Honestly, it took me about 4 nights to figure it out. Four night about a month before your wedding is a TON. There were tears (everybody that knew me), there was blood (mine), there were curse words (mine), and I almost gave up and had my mom handwrite them, but I persevered and finally had 200 place cards printed.
Once I had a working template I was able to use mail merge on Microsoft Word to get my very very HANDY excel sheet. I had a column for inner envelope which is also the same as place cards.
After I had them all printed out I (with the help of my mom) started gluing them to the larger pieces of brown metallic paper that I cut out. I used this tape because I hate glue. I also used a paper cuter for this project to make sure all the brown pieces of paper were the same size ( I started cutting paper about 6 months before the wedding, it was an easy mindless task to do during the lull in planning).
Two days before the wedding my caramel apples came in huge boxes. I ordered my apples and the individual plastic bags from here could not have been happier with them. The apples came in boxes of three and three days before the wedding we started packaging them up. I had about four people helping at any given time and they took about 2 hours to complete. I used red ribbon to tie them up. I also found these brown little jewels at Michaels a few weeks before the wedding and was feeling extra crafty and added them.
After the actual printing fiasco making the place cards was one of my favorite tasks. It was the ONLY task that waited until last minute(due the perishable nature of the apples), but it was well worth it.
If you are printing place cards I would give yourself some time for perfecting the process. Don't wait until the month before just because you want to wait for the final guest list. There are people that you know will be there like you, practice with those names so that you are all set to go when you start getting the RSVP cards.
One of my wishlist requests was envelope calligraphy by Laura Hooper. Her work is seriously beautiful!! However, towards the end of wedding planning my budget was stretched thin and I had to delegate funds elsewhere. I decided that hiring someone to do computer calligraphy made no sense. My reasoning was I have a computer and a pretty good printer, I can handle it. I also printed my save the date envelopes so I did have some (albeit) limited experience.
Here is how I did it;
5 months before the wedding: I made sure my excel sheet was free of errors. I missed a few which caused me to go back and fix after printing ( Lesson learned- order extra envelopes). I then did a basic mail merge to two separate documents, inner and outer envelope. I also perfected the color I wanted to use. I used a dark brown instead of black due to the fact that my invites were dark brown and dark red. I downloaded the font from my invitations. I used this website, but there are many many others.
4 months before the wedding: My husband (then fiance) made envelope templates. I had him cut out about 30 pieces of paper that were the exact size of the envelopes so I could figure out how to feed the envelopes, how I wanted it centered. This was a great idea because it probably saved us from ordering even more envelopes.
After I "mastered" the technique, I started printing the outer envelopes. I printed them in alphabetical order and did it one at a time. For some reason my printer had issues with multiple envelopes. If you have lined envelopes be prepared for this issue. It took some time, but I hand fed each one. It took me about 2 evenings to do it. I kept them in alphabetical order in a box.
I then did the inner envelopes. My printer let me do about 10 at a time which saved me time and I did the inner envelopes in one evening.
This process caused me to pull out about half my hair (good thing I have lots of hair). For some reason I had a huge smearing issue that only happened with the outer envelopes (again, I think it had to do with the thickness). I tried everything from cleaning the heads between each print, manually wiping the ink compartment. In the end I could not figure it out, but it only happened sporadically which didn't actually cause huge issues besides for making me slightly insane.
After I had everything printed and in order my mom, sister, mother in law, and I started stuffing. We had a good system going. My sister numbered the invitation with an invisible ink pen, my mom put the invite in the first envelope. I stuffed them in the outer envelope and checked it against the list to make sure the inner and outer envelope matched, and my mother in law sealed and stamped them. It took us about 5 hours to do the entire thing. We did it the evening after my bridal shower.
3 months before the wedding: Everything got mailed out! My mom actually took them to the post office and had them hand stamp each envelope, she wanted them out of her house because they were sprawled out all over her dinning room table, ha.
The printing was mostly a one person job especially since I am pretty crazy and really need everything to perfect. I realized if I had someone helping me I would have made them crazy. The stuffing was made so much easier and more fun by the help of others!
In the end I had to order more envelopes because of the ink smearing issue, but the total for printing 315 invitations was about 60 dollars including ink. I would say DO IT if you already have a printer and some patience. It saved us a ton of money (especially since I had so many invitations).
Confession: I actually thought my mom would hand address the invitations because she has fantastic handwriting, but due to the fact that I am a perfectionist after a few envelopes I decided I really wanted the precision of exactly the same writing on each invite. However, my mother had a great point at the time that I wasn't hearing. Only a few household really get more than one invitation so by in large no one really knows what everyone else's invitation looks like. Furthermore, it isn't a detail most people even notice. However, at the time this advice was lost on my OCD bride brain.
Oscar de la Renta is now infamous for his own bridal collection after working under many other fashion designers. He is constantly working on elegance and definate style for his brides to be and we get so much inspiration from his very different, always fashionable designs. (Think Jenna Bush!) Here is a little dress inspiration for your Friday morning : )
You say tomatoe I say tomoato. More recently rehearsal dinners have become synonymous with rehearsal dinners. It's likely that the terms have begun to be used interchangeably because when getting married at popular venues instead of churches it is often hard to schedule an actual rehearsal the day before the event. In which case rehearsal's may be skipped all together or there may be a quick run through immediately before the wedding (minus the bride).
Therefore, a welcome dinner inviting out of town guests to kick of the wedding festivities has often taken the place of a typical rehearsal dinner. I have to admit I love love big fun dinners. I myself had a large welcome dinner (most of our guests were from out of town). I loved having everyone there and mingle before the wedding. Etiquette has always stated that you should invite all out of town guests to the rehearsal dinner, but let's be serious for one second doing so may make your dinner almost the same size as the wedding. This is simply not in everyone's budget nor does this suit everyone's tastes. Now, I'm pretty traditional and by no means am I saying totally disregard the standard etiquette, but instead I'm suggesting maybe stretching the etiquette rule just a weeee bit. Here are a few options:
1. Having a small dinner with close friends, family, bridal party (and their significant others), and close out of towners. After which have small event at the hotel bar or patio area were you have reserved blocks. Take sometime to thank everyone for coming. This works because there is no pressure for guests to come to a long dinner, but they can still feel important and loved. The pitfall of this is that it might make your night a bit longer than you would like in which case planning an early dinner may help. Remember you should try at least to get some beauty rest the night before the wedding.
2. Another option is including dinner information on your wedding website. This works if having a welcome hour at the hotel isn't practical or your style. Include restaurant's that are close to the hotel as well as directions, phone numbers, and dress codes. Make sure to also include information in a welcome package or in a letter that will be in their hotel room. Keep in mind guests are traveling to come to your wedding. You don't want them to get stuck eating in a hotel room eating takeout alone.
I want to hear your ideas on this, did you think outside the box for your rehearsal dinner?
There are tons of creative ways to personalize your wedding day and table names seems to be one of the newer trends. Many bride and grooms want their big day to excude their personalities as a couple and this is an easy way to do it. It is also an easy way to incorporate a theme. Rather then seat your guests at table 1,2,3, etc, you can give each table a unique name. The bonus is that the names have no apparent order so you dont have to worry about family members or guests getting upset that they are at the table "after" so and so. (Yes, that really does happen!)
For our wedding, J and I decided to use words that we found to be important in marriage in lieu of table numbers. We chose things like love, friendship, trust, faith, etc. The task was a fun one because we spent the night each chosing a word and then explaining how it was important in our relationship. We were hoping to include that on the tables as well, but that was one of the DIY details we had to cross off our list at the end.
Other great ideas that I had come across along the process:
-Wine Names: J and I are big fans of vino and so naming our tables after different bottles of wine was an idea I adored. This is a perfect idea for a vineyard wedding. The place card holders can even be wine corks! Examples : Merlot, Pinot Grigio, Shiraz, etc. A brief description of the wine and how it is a metaphor for marriage could also be a fun way to incorporate this idea.
-Names of Cities: My sister and brother in law used this idea and found post cards from each of the cities. They chose cities they had travelled together, had family in, grew up in, etc. If you and your fiance' are big travelers, you can list names of all the cities you have been and ones you plan to travel to together. You could also put a picture of you both while in that city!
-Hobbies: Anything that you and your fiance do together frequently can be a great way to name tables. If you have a love for beaches, each table can be the name of a beach that you have been on together or again, plan to go on. My friend's sister used this idea for her summer wedding and it exemplfied them perfectly as a couple. The same can be done for ski mountains, golf courses, etc
-Song names: I saw this on a blog while I was doing some research and thought it was a great idea. The bride and groom were avid music lovers and they chose the name of a song for each table, placing the lyrics on each table as well.
-The word "Love" in different languages: This one of my favs and we tackled with the idea of using it as well, but weren't able to due to the amount of tables we had. Its a great idea and exemplfies love having no limits or barriers. Some of the romance languages sound beautiful, but we struggled with how some of the languages sounded after about 12. Still, a very unique and romantic idea.
-Where you met/Got engaged: Weddings are the best place to tell our sappy love stories. Maybe it was college, maybe it was high school, maybe it was via the internet, but a great way to tell a story is to name each table after something that was significant on your first date and then have the story of the significance on the table for the guests to read. For instance, if you met at college, you could have each table be the name of different locales that your love bloomed. This is fun for the guests and equally fun for you and your fiance to do. The same type of thing can be done to tell your engagement story. Again, fun to share with your guests and great to reminsce with together.
There are a number of other creative ways we have seen bride and grooms personalize their tables and we would love to hear yours as well. This is just one of the many fabulous details that can help personalize your big day
1. Self portraits. Put a great Polaroid camera with some tape and markers on a table near the entrance. Guest snap a quick photo of themselves and then tape it in the book and sign a cute message. It's easy and a great momento. A great way to spruce this idea up is to include fun props on the table. Goofy pictures are always always a DO!
2. A coffee table picture book. Compile pictures of you and your fiance through the years and use shutterfly or snapfish to create an album. Make sure to leave space on the pages for people to sign around your pictures. Guests will love seeing pictures of you guys through the years. A fun spin on this is including pictures when you were growing up. Make sure to include markers that will show up on photo paper. Cute baby pictures always a DO. You can leave out the awkward adolescent pictures.
3. Post card collection. I'm loving having guest signs blank fun post cards from special places. Guests can pick a post card from a time in your life they were apart of. After the wedding these post cards can make beautiful wall decoration (check out this link). Double duty wedding keepsake and wall art a total DO.
4. A wishes/advice container. Have guests fill out wishes for you and place them in a large mason jar. It will be so much fun to read what guests wrote after the wedding. Sprucing this up by swaping the plain paper out with rocks, Creative and sentimental defiently a DO.
Our first featured wedding comes from one of my closest, dearest friends whom without, I would have never managed to plan a wedding and stay sane. She was my confident and sounding board through the tears and laughter of my wedding planning journey, and of course, a fellow mental health guru. Here is her advice on how she managed to stay sane (and plan a truly fascinating wedding across the country) . Please take note of the amazing photos, all courtesy of Geoff Horowitz and Joy Moody, whos work we absolutely adore. Doesn't hurt that the bride and groom are absolutely stunning and madly in love.
This will hopefully be the first of many guest posts that Blythe will make, as she has an insane amount of information to offer all brides, not to mention creative and innovative wedding details
When asked to share how I stayed "sane" during my wedding planning process, these four things came to mind as the most important tools that kept me balanced, centered, humbled, and happy:
1. Friends. I am lucky to call both Francesca and Sherin my friends! And luckily enough, all three of us were planning our weddings around the same time—I had two equally creative, stylish, and smart friends to experience wedding planning with. They too understood curse of what we clinicians diagnose newly minted bride-to-be’s: Wedding on the Brain. That’s right girls; we become wedding-obsessed women with WOTB. Every other word out of our mouths is “florist”, “dress fitting”, or “table settings”….and from my personal experience, nothing cures that better than the look you get from your non-bride friends that says, “Girlfriend, snap out of it.” I found relief from WOTB at my job because it put me around people who weren’t asking me to make seating charts and re-edited church readings. Sure, there was the occasional inquiry—my coworkers were interested, but not life-line dependant on details of our wedding. That environment snapped me out of WOTB and back into the world of every day life. To those friends, I am equally as grateful as I am to those who taught me about the world of planning/obsessing neurotically about a wedding (S & F, you girls are the best!)
2. Yoga. Yoga came into my life about three months before the wedding. I was a recreational runner before then, but when a friend invited me to a yoga class, I became hooked. Yoga turned my world upside down. I found myself checking into my inner issues—impatience, perfectionism, control—and learning how to let go. If I can accept my body for what it can do and stop expecting it to be perfect in yoga, I could take my yoga “off the mat”, as my teacher says, and find my breath and patience in my wedding planning. In yoga, we begin practice with an intention. At the end of practice, we express gratitude to ourselves for what our body was able to do. My advice to you, as a bride-to-be, is to wake up and before the every day thoughts take over, say your own gratitude: I am grateful for the roof over my head…the love in my life…the clothes on my back…the ability to move my body… You will be amazed at how quickly it shifts your thoughts from negative to appreciative of what life is giving to you at this moment.
3. Furbabies: Nothing makes me laugh harder than watching our lanky, leggy, goofy, wobbly, and knock-kneed 2 year old Great Dane puppy run around the dog park. With her long tongue hanging out the side of her mouth, Kingston teaches me so much about the laughter in life. She makes me smile even when I don’t want to. She seeks out any one for a good booty rub or a slobbery kiss on a cheek. There is so much I learn from her: If Kinston is tired, she takes a nap. Or two. Or three. She’s always up for a snuggle (yes, a Great Dane snuggle is quite a sight to see) and a belly rub. She truly lives life to the fullest. If we can learn any thing from our pets, it would be that life is too short and every moment counts—Great Danes, for example, live an average of 7 years. And they LIVE IT UP in those short years on earth! Our girl Kingston radiates that motto every where she goes…..eating a whole pizza off the counter top in one fell swoop? Why not, it was at her eye level….no qualms about it. Life is too short.
4. Let It Go. Also known as “How I Planned a Wedding Across the Country.” Let me explain: My husband is from New York, I am from Pennsylvania, and we live in Texas. Not exactly an ideal situation, but when we decided to have the wedding in Philly, we put on our big girl/big boy pants and strapped in for the ride. I’d say 90% of my planning was via email, research online, and phone calls. That left 10% for the few trips I made back to PA, flying solo, to meet with vendors. I would schedule all of my appointments in that week. Freak out central? Check. All of our vendors knew of our situation—a couple living across the country with a groom knee-deep in active duty Army ER residency. I had to be the decision maker and do my best to represent both of our needs. It wasn’t ideal, but it was my reality. My advice to you is work with what you got and BE FLEXIBLE! You will surprise yourself at how much natural beauty can radiate from the day itself—if you don’t have time or resources to make a bathroom basket, don’t worry about it. If you can’t transport wedding guest gifts on an airplane, you can’t. Our weddings give us this great opportunity to celebrate our love with those we love. Do the guests care about the linens? No, no one remembers the linens. Do the guests remember if the bathroom toiletry basket was lush and flowing? No, most people walk right past it. Your guests will remember the smiles on your faces, and the way you look at your new husband as you take your first dance. Your guests will remember your warm embrace and personal words of thanks to them for being there. Your guests will ultimately carry home the beauty of the day and it will reflect the gratitude you have for life—love, family, friends, food, and music.
The reality is that your wedding is going to be beautiful. Why? Simply because it is your wedding. Human nature teaches us that the simple gift of altruism—giving to others—feels good. Sharing your love with others is all you need. You and your future husband alone are the key ingredients for that beautiful day, not the accessories. Accessories are simply that—side notes to the bigger picture.
It took me awhile, but I finally made peace with not having all the “pieces” I thought were important. In a way, planning from a distance was a blessing, as working within my means forced this Type A lunatic to take a chill pill and just let love lead the way. I will confess, however, that there was one very LARGE wedding day accessory missing that I wish I packed on the flight from Texas: A certain lanky, leggy, goofy, wobbly, and knock-kneed 2 year old Great Dane puppy that loves the wind in her flapping gums, stealing pizzas from the kitchen, and who makes life worth living for…
Trying to find the perfect combination of colors is not always easy when it comes to planning a wedding. The colors depend on so many things like season, venue, preference etc. It also helps sets the tone for the affair especially in terms of the formality of the event. We always love ways to make choosing colors a little easier and so when we came across the new post at Creature Comforts blog, we just had to share. Check it out. You can browse by main colors and find inspirational combinations. We are sure you will find it helpful!!
What types of color combos did you use? Where did you find your inspirations? We would love to know!
I received an email this weekend that touched on a bit of an etiquette question,
T from NJ asked "I'm in my soon to be sister in law's wedding this fall (we are marrying brothers a few months apart). I wish I could say I'm elated to be in the wedding, but we haven't bonded and have very little in common. The kicker to this whole situation is not only am I in the wedding, but I am the wedding party. I'm not sure how to plan all of her events on top of planning my own wedding. Would I be totally out of line to ask her mother and my mother in law for help?"
Wedding parties and siblings, or soon to be siblings, is always a touchy subject. I hope that perhaps the wedding planning process can be a boding experience for the two of you. At the same time I can imagine how planning a shower and possibly a bachelorette party would be insanely stressful while planning your own wedding. I would definitely consult her mom and your mother in law about the events. There are many brides that forgo showers all together. If a shower is a definite think about doing a couples shower that you and your fiance would both host. If not you could always host a small shower during the day and the bachelor/bachelorette parties that evening. As far as asking the mom's for help, I would say yes. Even if they can't or don't want to contribute financially they can help with some of the planning and prep work. Best of luck!
Weddings really push budgets to the max. Often times vendors turn out to be slightly over your expected budget. There are a few ways to deal with this, one being finding a different vendor, and the other is doing a little negotiation. Negotiation isn't always just about getting a lower price (which may not be possible), but it could include either asking for a bit less ( think a sample dress instead of a brand new one or having one less appetizer station or dinner choice) or asking for a bit more. Stretching the dollar further could really be beneficial in the long run. For example, it may be worth it to keep vendors at a certain price, but ask them to sweeten the package (think about asking a photographer to include thank you cards or extra prints for your album or asking your reception site to include better liquor). Keep in mind that once the wedding is over you have no bargaining chips, so it's either before or never, so be sure to make sure your photography and videography packages have everything you want in them. You may have to pay a pretty penny to add things afterwards.
There is no question about it, I am probably one of the least creative people out there so whenever I read about DIY on wedding blogs, I cringed a bit wishing I had more a little more Martha in me. There are lots of easy DIY details that add so much to weddings and I wanted to be sure to include some in order to personalize our affair, but it took a lot of effort and help from my mom, sisters and friends to make that happen. I find that the influence of a wedding definately adds a few things to a woman's repertoire, creativity being one of them. I now kind of miss the hands on tasks involved and look forward to helping others create such things for their own affairs.
One of the creative touches I added were luminary bags. Sounds like such a silly idea, but the effect when massively produced is phenomenal and so very cost effective. The outside of my venue had a path leading to a circular driveway type and so I decided to light this path up for when my guests left in the evening. And all I needed were white luminary bags that I ordered online at Lumabase for next to nothing and a trusty Martha Stewart patterened hole puncher(which can be used again in other diy wedding projects like stationary). I chose a hole puncher that reminded me of lace which mimiced my gown and simply punched the top, similiar to the luminary bags picture above.
The work involved was a bit more intense then anticipated as we needed 150 bags to be punched individually. This is one of those projects I suggest brides start during that "lull" we so frequently discuss. Hindsight is 20/20 and my experience was hustling to get these bags punched during the month leading up to the wedding. While at work, my mother was busy punching away and I spent a weekend outdoors trying to get some last summer sun while punching these bags, one at a time (it's all about multitasking ladies!). In the end, it was well worth it. It produced a simple and special touch that not only looked amazing, but added warmth and love to the affair. Unfortunately, I never got a picture of the luminaries lighting up the path as a hole -total bummer- but I still do remember the love and satisfaction I got when sneaking a peek outside the front door and seeing the pathway all lit up.
I adore the patterns in these bags featured on Elizabeth Anne Design which are a bit more intricate. The lace detail pictured left would have been perfect for our wedding day. I also love how they used these bags as a different sort of decoration throughout the venue rather then outside. There are so many fun ways to incorporate this idea and it takes the ordinary candle decor a step further. While I believe there is nothing more romantic than candles throughout the wedding to set the tone and mood of the affair, luminary bags help to take that feel one step further.
The details of the big day really help pull it all together ..What other sorts of DIY details are you planning to add or did you add to help personalize your big day ?
Came across this centerpiece from Elizabeth Ann Designs and wanted to share the inspiration. I love the summery vibe that is recieved from the bright colors. Not only did the popping of color catch my eye, but the simple vases that are aligned together also inspired me. I love how at a quick glance it looks like one long centerpiece, but when you take another glimpse it is actually 3 seperate pieces. It is a simple detail that is great for our guests who can each grab one and take a bit of the sunshine home and even better for a beautifully decorated table setting! Perfect inspiration for this rainy summer day in NY.
I'm so intrigued by the phenomena of post wedding blues. I (like most brides) was so excited for my wedding. I had so much fun planning, but there were certainly times I wished it would just be over already. I loved my wedding day and had a fantastic time spending a few days in Miami after. I was truly so happy enjoying (my very new) married life.
This is why I did not anticipate crying on the airplane home from our minimoon. Yes, you read that right, crying. I suppose it could be chocked up to being exhausted, but at the time all I remember thinking ( and saying in between sobs) was I can't believe it's all over. I knew that after we got off the airplane I wouldn't have to contact any vendors. I didn't have to think about place cards or invitations and believe me that made me SO SO happy, but there was a part of me that could not believe after a year of planning that it was over. I quickly pulled myself together and fell into enjoying married life within a few hours. However, I did long for another party or event to plan. I pretty quickly started honeymoon planning.
Part of me thinks it's only natural to get a little nostalgic and perhaps blue after the wedding day is over, but I really want to know am I the only one that suffered from a little post wedding day blues?
I recently featured another perfect moment by Stacy Reeves, but this image also captured my attention. Like the last perfect moment, this moment really goes to show you how important and special it is to take time with those you love.
So the overwhelming tasks of choosing a location, season, date, along with finding the perfect ceremony & reception venues are behind you and you are left with piles of wedding magazines and likely a list of "preferred vendors" from your catering company and venue. Hopefully the budget and guest list are for the most part done given that a rough draft of both are definately needed before booking the big day. Where do you begin ? We get this question quite frequently from our readers and wanted to take the time to help organize this for all our brides to be. Unfortunately, there is not ONE right way. Different brides have different priorities to where they want and need their next move to be. Different geographic locations will need you to pay attention to different things before others, and different time lines will also come into play when trying to map out your next move.
Our biggest piece of advice is to organize and research. Give yourself only one or two tasks at a time so as it does seem overwhelming. Everything will and does get done, but having a focus helps keep you sane. If you are planning to send save the dates or a wedding website, this might be a good place to start. This takes some of the stress out of having to choose another vendor and helps get the bride and groom excited for what is to come. If an engagement party is being planned, it is also a good time to focus on that and have some fun before diving into some of the other tasks. If the engagement party is the only pre-wedding party that you will be having(i.e. no bridal shower), bride and grooms usually opt to register. If this is the case, registering for the party before the invites are mailed will also be priority.
The wedding dress and bridesmaid dress orders typically take some time so beginning the dress hunt (see our previous posts on how to get that fabulous task started!!) is usually important. Choosing a bridal party (if you choose to that is) should also be done in the first few months. Not only is this proper etiquette, but its also essential to having assistance in all of these wedding tasks. Bridesmaids are an excellent source of help and support and while all of your real friends will be during this time, its helpful for them to know in advance as well as they are going to need to prepare emotionally, financially, as well as with their schedules.
Vendors that tend to book furthest in advance are photographers and entertainment, i.e. band and d.js. Beginning to do some research, check out websites, schedule appointments and go to band/d.j. showcases will be a good place to start with this. Always think about people in your life that may have trusty referrals. An old friend, a relative whose wedding you adored, or even online community sources such as..you guessed it, blogs! Florists, limos, hotels, makeup, hair and invitations can usually wait while you and the groom handle the rest aforementioned tasks.
While this is a very brief summary simplifying enormouse tasks, it is a guideline to map out the plan of action in advance. Of course, keep in mind that things don't always work out how you planned and that is OK to. So if you happen to fall in love with a florist that you met while booking your venue, go ahead and book him/her. Be flexible! Just make sure that you don't make any decisions under pressure. Always give yourself a night to think, process, and compare before signing contracts and handing over that check.
And our most vital piece of advice is to discuss all decisions and plans with your fiance' and enjoy every moment. While the decisions may seem stressful at the time, it is how you come to the decisions together as a unit that foreshadows so much of what is to come in your marriage. And taking the time to stay present through it all makes the process that much more enjoyable. Which is probably why I was filled with tears of nostalgia and joy as I flipped through my wedding album for the first time this weekend, a month before the marking of our first anniversary together!!
I find that some of the most fantastic weddings that I have been to have all had one thing in common , they were unique. All of my favorite weddings included elements that screamed the bride and groom.
A great way to escape the cookie cutter trap is to include parts of your culture in your wedding. I'm half persian and my persian culture is so important to many of my family members that it was almost a given that I would include that in our ceremony. We actually had to ceremonies, one christian ceremony and a persian ceremony immediately after. I loved that we were able to combine the two cultures seamlessly.
Often times it doesn't have to be as drastic as two ceremonies, but can simply be unique elements added to your existing ceremony. For example, including a Chinese tea ceremony, reading the irish blessing, and Mexican "lasso" wrapped around the individuals. As a note if you include unique cultural elements in your ceremony that only some of the wedding guests may understand including a description and the symbolic meaning of the event should be placed in your program. You don't want half your guests sitting there thinking, what is going on?
images via Bride's Personal collection
note these are NOT professional pictures and do not do my Sofreh-Aghad justice
Including elements of culture doesn't have to just be incorporated into the ceremony, but can be displayed in your reception. For example, including Italian (or any other culture) music during the reception, a hena party, almonds as favors, and breaking dishes.
I'm dying to know did you include cultural elements in your wedding?
I fell in love with the so many unique and adorable DIY details before my wedding. I actually had a hard time being realistic about not only my skills but the amount of details involved in any wedding.
I'll be the first to admit that it can be so easy to go overboard on the details, signs, paper cones for flowers, and the limitless amount of cute favors. The wedding blog world is a great resource for fantastic details, but one thing I had to remind myself was that bride with the cute signs, she didn't also have the chair decorations, the paper cones for flowers, the personalized favors, etc. There is a point where little details go from aww inspring and clutter central. Think about decorating a room, how many little details before it looks less chic and more chintzy.
In general, you want your details to match your wedding. If you are having a modern affair in a large city loft then rustic chair signs aren't really the detail you should include. Similarly, if you are having that beautiful vineyard wedding you may want to rethink the back and white mod chair bows. I always tell my husband that I really could have planned about three very different weddings and still not have used all the wonderful details I came across in the year I was planning.
Besides for your details matching the wedding, you also want your details to match each other. If you are doing a monogram, keep the monogram the same throughout the event. If you are doing the vintage paper cones have the same paper pop up in other elements like table numbers or place cards. However, even better than the same paper is coordinating paper. It avoids the whole matchy-match thing, but won't clash.
While details can be a great way to make your wedding your own, it's important to be realistic. Believe me it will save your sanity. Know your limits. Trust me, there isn't an unlimited amount of time right before the wedding so try to limit your last minute DIY to one item. For example, I really wanted caramel apples for our favors and I knew that due it's perishable nature it was going to be a last minute thing. This was the only thing I did myself immediately before the wedding and I was so glad because there was not much time. If you are DIY a few items make sure some of them can get done in the months or weeks before your wedding, the sooner the better.
Another important aspect of being realistic is knowing your abilities. I am not that good at crafty things. Intricate little crafts that required talent, not for me, I tend to get more paint in my hair than on the paper. Therefore, I had to really be smart about what crafts I decided to tackle on my own. It helps to ask friends that may have experience and may be better crafters than yourself, but be careful not to overwhelm them.
A recent first time homeowner, I've fallen in love with YoungHouseLove over the past few months. Who doesn't adore Sherry and John and how they have invited us into their home and given us so much direction and inspiration. Well this week is there wedding anniversary and in light of that, they have dedicated their posts to all things wedding and love related. I can't help but push all you brides to their site to get them equally hooked...Whether you are planning on buying a house, renting an apartment or just starting a new home for your new life, this is the blog to visit. So, Happy Anniversary to our favorite bloggers; this has been one special year with the birth of your daughter. And to all our bride bloggers, visit them for wedding week and everyday after...Style Me Pretty guest blogged on it today, you won't be disappointed!
Before your wedding there are likely to be a few pre-wedding events. A shower is typically thrown for the bride a few months before the wedding. Who throws the showers varies from area to area, sometimes it's the mother of the bride or groom, the bridal party, maids and matrons of honor, or friends of the family, but regardless of the host there is usually a few key features to a shower, opening presents and playing some bridal shower games.
For many brides showers can be overwhelming. Here are a few tips that make the whole day more enjoyable! First, you don't have to open gifts. You can ask your host(s) to specify clear paper or paper-less gifts ( it's green). If you do open gifts be sure that you have a friend write down the name of the guest and the gift they gave you. Secondly, there is no real need to act super surprised, but being thankful is key! In most cases you registered for the gift so you won't have to really act like you like it because you picked it out! The key here is to make eye contact with the gift giver and thank them. When you get a gift you didn't register for it's key to say thank you and comment on how useful/thoughtful the gift was. In general, if you are thankful and remember that everyone came out to celebrate you it will show on your face!
Shower games don't have to be embarrassing anymore. Most of the time you don't really get a say in the types of shower games played so unless you really really have an issue with games in which case spread the word to all possible party planners. In cases where you are throwing a shower some great games include quizzes about the bride, a little game on how well the bride and groom know each other, pocket book scavenger hunts, etc.
Showers also don't just have to be for the ladies anymore. Couple showers are great alternatives when the bride may not know a lot of people from the grooms side. These are usually evening events include less games and more mingling.
Two final words on showers, write your thank you cards as soon as you can. Remember hostess gifts for the people that gave you a shower (if they aren't in your bridal party.)
We have all obviously delved into the world of social networking as is evident by the fact that we are active bloggers. What would life be if it wasn't for our daily Facebook check-ins? With that has come a whole new wedding predicament...How much is too much? This thought came to me this weekend when one of my best girlfriends got engaged (Congratulations to Laura and Joey, one of the most beautiful couples I have ever seen!). As we were all capturing the moments of her and her new fiance glowing, (She is usually the photo snapper) I promised I would send the pictures her way. She laughed and said , Not on Facebook! This brought me back to the "relationship status" change dilemma that came my way when first engaged. Becoming engaged and getting married is such an intimate thing, that its hard to feel comfortable sharing it with "friends" who you really don't know all that well outside of cyberspace. But with the age of technology, people are likely to congratulate and discuss the new hot topic before you even get a chance to log on yourself. It took me 3 months to change my relationship status. Some were confused as to why I wouldn't want to yell on top of the mountain (or newsfeed) and share this wonderful news, but to me I felt exposed and wanted to share the moment with those around me first. Believe me, I was beyond ecstatic, but that didn't mean I was ready to share the moment with people I hadn't spoken to in years. That being said, once the congratulations start coming, family members or friends who haven't been alerted might get upset that they are finding out this information via the internet versus you personally. That means that today more then ever, it is you and your fiance's responsibility to share the news personally whether it be email, text, or phone call, to all who you think should know before it gets to them in this way.
And after you get passed the "relationship change," it goes on to status updates. Is it ok to make a countdown via status changes? or how about venting about vendors, friends or in laws? When the emotions start running high through the process, there sometimes feels like their is no other outlet. While it is likely to happen at times, I would say use this sparingly. You never know who will get wind of your updates that may not even be on facebook. The last thing you want is an awkward call from your in-laws asking what your latest ranting status update is about after cousin Billy(He's my friend on this thing?!?!) gives them a call. And while you are counting down the seconds to your big day on the regular, daily updates counting them down are likely to make your "friends" hide you on their newsfeed. While we have entered an age where sharing your happiness with the world in such a way is the norm, be sure to indulge in your happiness with yourself, your fiance, and your friends, in the actual moments. This is easier in hindsight, but something to keep in mind along the way.
Lastly, the photos. About 5 minutes into your wedding day it is likely that someone will "mobile upload" your photo onto facebook allowing everyone an IN on your big day. Be sure to communicate to the people around you what your feelings are about this. Some brides are happy to share and be posted on the internet before they even make it down the aisle, but others feel exposed and angry. It is likely if you express your feelings on this to those closest to you, that they will be happy to listen. At the end of the day, they are just as excited for you and want to share the excitement. Just be sure that it is on your agenda. Photos will begin to make their way onto facebook rather quickly and so before your wedding day even approaches, I encourage brides to make a decision on their photo privacy settings. Facebook allows you the option to block certain people from seeing tagged or uploaded photos and this might be something you want to do for certain someones. Once it comes time for you to decide if you want to share your own professional photos, you can also make the decision to block certain "friends" from seeing. It is inevitable that there are people out there jealous or not able to be happy for you and you want to surround yourself with only positive energy around such an intimate day. I was hesitant about sharing my own photos despite how much I absolutely loved them, but in the end, decided to share a few of my favorites in order to allow my family and friends the oppurtunity to see them while (hopefully) not wedding overloading my other devoted cyber buddies.
What are your fears or hesitancies about Facebook and social networking sharing when it comes to weddings? What decisions did you make and why ? We would love to hear (and help!)
I know that I just shared a perfect moment yesterday, but I came across this image today by Dallas Photographer, Stacy Reeves, and couldn't resist sharing it. I love how the photographer caught such a peaceful moment between the couple.
You all know just how much we adore Anthony Vazquez, not only by the fact that we feature so many of his photos as our perfect moments, but obvious by the fact that both S and I enlisted him on our big days. Anthony has become our friend over the whole wedding process and almost a year later, we still cannot help but be fascinated when looking through his work. It is emotional, raw, trendy yet classic and constantly innovative. So when asked to write a blog post, he of course chose to discuss one of the newest bridal trends, Aftershoots. See below for Anthony's words on Aftershoots and his mindblowing photos taken at his latest aftershoot. An underwater camera for wedding photos? Who would have ever imagined!
And check out his site for our own guest post! We couldn't be more thankful and excited...
"Many people refer to the after shoot as a "Trash the Dress" shoot. We don’t really trash the dress, and if we do, it is not the dress the bride wears on her wedding day. It is usually much less expensive than my bride's original couture gown. Think $99 off the rack.
The idea behind these shoots is to allow my team and myself a large portion of time where we can push the limits of what we do with our art. Recently I had the pleasure to work with my dear friend and future bride, Vanessa. She had always envisioned a particular shoot, and our job was to make her dream a reality. We flew to The Breakers in Palm Beach where her event is taking place next year. The venue is extraordinary.
Another misconception about these shoots is that they always occur after the wedding day. They are often scheduled prior to a wedding, which I really prefer. It really helps us build a great relationship with my bride and groom. I also love having the opportunity to work with my clients in a much more intimate setting without the bright lights and stress of the wedding day I wanted to push the envelope and create something really special for Vanessa, so we started with the idea of shooting her underwater, and then I had my stylist prepare a few stunning wedding gowns for her to wear during her shoot.
Below you will find a selction of images from our shoot with Vanessa. I hope that you enjoy them. You can see more of our work at http://www.anthonyvazquez.com/"
Getting married is truly the joining of two (and sometimes more) families. It's often hard to keep everyone happy and involved during wedding planning, but here are some tips.
Sisters (in laws) and brothers (in laws) are usually pretty easy to keep happy. They likely want to be a part of your wedding. If your husband wants to include your brothers in his wedding party you would be wise (VERY WISE) to include his sisters. If you are unsure have your husband talk to his siblings or his mother and see what the best idea is. If you can't include them in the wedding party give them another important job, a reading or handing out programs.
Fathers, Groom's dad's don't typically have a large role in the wedding. They are probably the person the groom goes to for advice, but as far as wedding planning I think they enjoy taking the backseat and enjoying the party.
Mothers, Groom's mom's do usually really want to be included during the whole process and including her as much as possible will really be to the benefit of everyone. Keep your mother in law involved by giving her tasks. Typically your mother in law (or her friends) may want to throw you and your husband to be a shower in her home town and will likely want to take the front seat in planning the rehearsal dinner. These events are really important to her and in general it is easiest and the best course of action to go with the flow. If there are parts of the event that you really aren't thrilled with (perhaps she's envisioning a larger rehearsal dinner than your wedding) talk it over with your fiance and if you guys really can't live with her plans than have him talk to her. Present your case fairly and calmly offer alternatives. In general be thankful. Remember she wants to show how happy she is for both of you!
If possible have your mother in law tour the venue with you and your mom. Ask her for her advice, share your ideas with her, take her for one of your dress fittings, ask her to come for one of the tastings. In my opinion most mother in laws want to feel involved. The more involved you keep her the happier everyone will be.
When things get sticky and sometimes they do it's important that you and your fiance present a united front. I think that usually each person knows the best way to deal with their families and therefore if you are having an issue with his family than it's better to ask him how it should be handled. If possible have him do the talking, if it's not possible than ask him how to talk to his parents.
Well, we can't always be the bride at the wedding now can we. Sometimes we get to be a bridesmaid and our attire is usually picked for us, but oftentimes we get to attend weddings as guests. I often attend weddings (and other formal events) with the same crowd of people. I have a hard time wearing the same dress over and over again. Mostly, I love dressing up and I love new fancy dresses. However, new fancy dresses are not very budget friendly.
I recently came across the website Rent the Runway. Now girls, men have been on to this idea for years, hello rental tuxedos why haven't we gotten on board earlier? I must admit I was skeptical at first. I mean how clean were the dresses going to be? How would I know if they would fit?
I have to say Rent the Runway totally and completely exceeded my expectations. I ordered two different dresses (in two sizes, a backup size is included) for an event, the first dress cost 50 dollars and the second dress was 25 dollars. They offer a backup dress for only 25 additional dollars, but they also offer pretty detailed reviews about the fit of the dress so I would wager to say a backup isn't always necessary. Total cost 75$. The price of one dress alone was 800$. They provided the return envelopes and I wore the dress put it back in the envelope and sent it on it's way. The dresses were clean and just as they were pictured.
For a second event in the same weekend with all the same people. I rented two more dresses (what can I say I like a backup plan). Unfortunately, at the last minute my backup dress wasn't available. They had excellent customer service who called right away explained the situation and sent another dress in it's place, but again, my original dress was perfect. I spent 75$ for the second event. The cost of the dress I wore was 450$.
Overall, It was a win-win for me. I got to wear trendy dresses that I normally wouldn't buy because they were way out of my budget for a seasonal piece. I also was able to save some money by not buying another dress I would likely only wear a few times.
Just because we won't always be a bride doesn't mean we can't always look good! Try it out. You need an invitation to join, but if you click here it should connect you.
The extreme heat on the east coast has me seriously dreaming of light airy dresses and beautiful beach weddings. Jenny Packham's dresses are a perfect choice for so many events including a perfect beach wedding. I've been a fan of Jenny Packham's designs since Elizabeth Hurley wore one of her designs on her wedding day. The british deisgner's dresses mix a good amount of modern edge with traditional bridal details.
I'm going to be honest with you and tell you a few secrets.
First, No matter how hard you plan your wedding will not go a 100% exactly the way you wanted. However, your wedding will be PERFECTLY IMPERFECT.
Secondly, No one except YOU knows how exactly you wanted your wedding to be. No one coming thinks you didn't plan to have that shade of red as one of your colors. Everyone thinks this wedding is just as you wanted, so why not jump on board. It's the day of your wedding, it is just as it's going to be and let me tell you it's perfect!
I can hands down tell you I am the worlds most obsessive planner, but despite all my planning I had a few oops events happen at my wedding. I did what everyone told me to do when dealing with them. I stayed calm. I dealt with what I could, let others deal with what they could, and I just simply let the rest GO.
Truth: My ceremony seating chart got misplaced in transit to the venue. I had made about 20 reserved seating signs and my day of coordinator, Amanda of Amanda Barbara Events couldn't do much without the list. After a 10 minute phone call I recited the list the seats were labeled and the wedding day went on.
Advice: Always keep spares of important lists. Make sure there is one with you or your maid of honor and one with the person setting up.
Truth: We left my husbands wedding ring at my parents house. I know right? Doesn't everyone pretty much joke about this happening. It did. Not even kidding, I looked at my sister and said, "You have the rings right?" and she responded, "I have your wedding ring, not W's" I laughed and she said no really I don't have it. I can tell you everyone in that room just stopped. It was as if time stood still. We all looked around hoping someone else grabbed it, but it wasn't there. So about 20 minutes before we were set to walk down the aisle we had no ring. Amanda ran back to my parents house and ran back with time to spare. I found out later she had to break in to my parents house, which unlike our normal protocol was locked up like Fort Knox. Regardless, we went down the aisle with smiles on our faces. Guess what, not one of our guests even suspected we were ringless a mere 10 minutes before.
Advice: Um, double check that you (or the ring safekeeper) has the ring before you leave your house. Seriously, DUH!
Truth: My closest aunt and mother of my very very young flower girl and ring bearer was so sick she didn't make it through the ceremony. My flower girl didn't make it down the aisle by herself and the ring bearer didn't even have his shirt tucked in. Bottom line I regret that my closest aunt couldn't be there, but my uncle that literally had to carry my little cousin (flower girl) down the aisle all the while pretending to be the flower girl and throwing petals from her basket is HYSTERICAL on the video. Shirt not being tucked in, oh well, still the cutest.
Advice: If you have young flower girl and ring bearers be prepared that they may not make it down the aisle. My cousins are so important to me that it made no difference that they were 2 months shy of two years. They were part of the wedding. I was fully prepared that they may not make pictures (they didn't) and they may not make it down the aisle (they sort of did). If they do, great if not it's still ok. Just be prepared that little ones don't always follow plans.
Truth: My very newly minted mother in law passed out during the cocktail hour (she's fine). For the year or so that we planned our wedding my husband and I always joked the safest place to be would be at our wedding. My father and his family and friends are pretty much all physicians. My husband and pretty much all of his friends are physicians. Seriously, if you got sick at our wedding it was well covered. However, we didn't actually mean we wanted people to fall ill, ooops. My mother in law didn't eat, was overwhelmed, stood for a very long time during the ceremony, and then she passed out during the cocktail hour. Honestly, it was dealt with within 10 seconds there was a wheelchair and she was ushered up to her hotel room. She drank some soda ate a little and was (almost) as good as new in a 1/2 hour. My husband and I made a quick decision to push off our first dance and our parents weren't introduced at the beginning of the reception. In the end only people standing right around her realized what happened. We had our first dance a bit later on when she was able to make it down and the party went on.
Advice: Mishaps will happen. Just smile, figure out how to make the best of it and remember that you are in love and just got MARRIED.
All of these crazy little things happened at my wedding, but when I think back on that day I think back to all of the great memories. I remember saying "I do" I remember dancing the night away, and I remember all of the friends and family that celebrated with us!
Stay sane all the little mishaps, just make for a better story.
We want to see your wedding and hear your tips. If you have pictures and details to share email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please be sure to include your name, the date of the event, your photographer's website, and ADVICE. We are looking for all different types of weddings in various settings. Just remember the most important part of your submission is your advice!
About Sane Bride
Meeting the perfect man? Check! Fall in love? Check! Perfect Ring & Proposal ? Check! Champagne Toast and celebrations? Check!Budget. Guest list, ideal venue….eeek! Checking has just gotten a little more difficult. That’s where we come in! Sure, you are likely to be on cloud 9 for the majority of the time until the big day, but unfortunately reality comes and goes throughout the whole process and brides begin to learn that pretty quickly. That reality doesn’t have to be so anxiety provoking. We are here to make it more fun. Our love for all things weddings really grew out of our own experiences planning. Two friends who came together while planning weddings at the same time; that includes research, breakdowns, tears, brainstorming, decision making and laughs.
We are hoping that we become part of your daily morning routine. Look here for inspirations, tips, and ideas. . We will cover everything from color palettes to design ideas to budgeting, negotiating prices, choosing a dress, picking bridesmaids, narrowing your guest list, finding the best vendors in your area, venue shopping, dealing with in-laws, registry basics, etiquette and just staying SANE. The process is something you will remember forever, we are here to help let it be fun. Feel free to email us topics that you want to discuss, questions that you might have or your own wedding inspirations that we can share. We are always looking for ideas for our readers.
About Francesca: I spent 14 months planning one of the best days of my life and was married in August 2009 to my high school sweetheart (Insert eye roll here). Through that time, I learned much of which we hope to share with you on this blog. I have a love for fashion, family, friends, music,dancing, and of course my husband; All of which were incorporated in the planning of our big day. My 9-5 involves me being a therapist, allowing me to fully understand the emotions that run parallel to this process. Currently enjoying the wonders of being a newlywed and Home & interior design blogs are my new obsession as we are settling into our first house, yet never can fully break away from the wonders of weddings.
About Sherin: I got hitched in late October 2009. It took about a year of planning while in school full time (headache central). I'm a New Yorker that married a true Texan cowboy and tried my best to integrate both of our styles and family traditions into one BIG event. Our wedding was hands down the most amazing day of our lives and I hope that I can share some tips I learned along the way and perhaps give you just a bit of advice on how to stay sane. I'm in love with small details, perfect colors, flowers, traditions, and of course my husband. Currently, I am in school full time getting my doctorate in psychology and my husband is a pediatric resident. We live a pretty hectic life (we wouldn't have it any other way) in NY with our adorable puppy. We couldn't have asked for more.