Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Questions to Ask while setting a Wedding Date

Coming up with your Wedding date is one of the first thing a newly engaged couples should do.  It is the date that will drive your timeline, and possibly which vendors you can use.

I've developed a set of questions to help you narrow down the possibilities.

Do you already have a specific date in mind? 
 Maybe you'd like to get married on your parent's anniversary? 
 Maybe your anniversary?
 Always imagined being a June bride?

Do you have a specific venue in mind?  destination wedding?
What are the best time?  If you live in the Midwest and are planning an outdoor wedding, that will limit your options. Also, it's a good idea to visit the venue and speak with a on-site coordinator, they will be able to show your pictures of the venue for different seasons that will help you make the decision.

Are you alright with a long engagement if it means waiting for the date/venue you want to become available?
I know it is ridiculous but people have pushed out Weddings over a year to hold it on a certain date or at a certain venue.

Do you have budget concerns?

Most venues offer discounts for Friday or Sunday weddings.

Remember if you ever have any questions or need any advice just drop me a line!


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Little ways to add a theme to your Wedding

I've been noticing that theme weddings are making a comeback.  Remember in the 90's when everyone was having a Star Wars or Wizard of Oz Wedding?  Yep, they are back.  I am not opposed to them, I just think there is a way to do it right. 

When I was in the car on my way to work the other day the question of the day was "Does your spouse/significant other love you too much?"  One lucky bride called in to say 'yes, because he agreed to have a Disney wedding' - I assumed that was a wedding at Disney, but no it was a wedding where all the bridesmaids would be princesses and the groomsmen would be an assortment of characters.  I'm talking Woody, and Buzz.  Better known as a Cowboy and a Spaceman.  Why they aren't the Princes I have no idea.  All I could think was...How old are you? 

Last year, my cousin threw a golf themed wedding and it was done very nicely.  Honestly, during the ceremony, you have never known about the theme.  The colors were green (get it green?) and blue and the golf theme was evident at the reception, but not over done.

The question is how to do you hit that happy medium?

Let's look at 2 different themes and how you can make them into wedding themes.

Beach and Vegas.

Color.  What colors come to mind when you are thinking about your theme?  When I think about Beach, sand, greens and blues.  Vegas, red and black.  These would be colors to use in the bridesmaids dresses, the table linens and accent colors for your invitations and programs.

Favors.  The beach reminds me of summer, so how about a cute pair of sunglasses with your names and wedding date on them?  A bag of chocolate coins would be perfect for Vegas.

Accent Pieces.  The beach theme could be represented by scattering seashells on the tables.  The place cards at your Vegas wedding could be made out of playing cards.

Food.  The beach reminds me of the boardwalk.  After serving some light (and budget friendly) seafood fare at dinner, a mid-reception snack of popcorn and cotton candy could be served.  If you are going for the Vegas themed wedding, you have to have a buffet. 

Drinks.  My favorite way to carry a theme through a reception is to create a signature drink.  The beach wedding theme drink could be created with a light rum mixed with a simple fruit juice (think pineapple!).  The Vegas thing could represented with something fancy like a Cosmo.  Don't forget to give it a personalized name!

Pretty easy, huh?  The best part is that you can still have an elegant wedding while showing alittle personality.

As always, please feel free to send me any questions, I am here to help!

Happy Planning!


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Where you should register for your wedding

Last week we covered what you should register for, this week we will cover where you should register.  Almost every big box store and department store offers a service that will allow you to register for gifts.

Where to start. 

How many places do you want to register at?  I recommend 2. 

Do your guests have access to these stores?  I know that everyone has access to the internet, but some people are not comfortable with that, especially if they are buying a last minute present.

Compare the Stores.

I always recommend that you compare the stores for items that you are looking for.  Target and Kohl's have great everyday choices.  Along with kitchen items and dishes, you can register for bed and bath items and also home décor (not to mention vacuum cleaners and grills!)  The items are responsible priced and they have a lot of different options.

If you are looking to stock your kitchen, I would head over to Crate & Barrel or Williams Sonoma.  Items at each of these stores is alittle more expensive, but is very high quality.  I am always alitte disappointed in the dishware options at Williams and Sonoma, but it is a great place for appliances.  I like Crate & Barrel because of their color palate, we registered there and we able to get several serving platters and bowls that we have been able to mix and matches with the dishes that we had prior to getting married as well as our new dishes.

I am just going to say it.  I am not a fan of Bed, Bath and Beyond.  I think it's because they have so much in that store, but nothing that I would actually buy for a shower gift.  There are so many other great options, that this should be a last option for your registry.

Department stores.  Sigh.. It's not 1965.  If you want to register for china and 1,000 count sheets, this is your place.  But, these days I don't know how many crystal vases or candy bowls one couple needs.

Today registering is easier than ever.  Stores offer consultants and parties where you can mingle with our couples while you scan away with your little scanner guns.  Most stores have apps that help you manage your registry from your phone. 

Look for the benefits that each store offers.  Many offer you a percentage off on items you didn't receive when you go into the store to close your registry out (bring your gift cards!) Be aware that a lot of the department stores only have these offers for couples who apply for a store card.

This is one of the fun parts of planning your wedding.  Have fun with it!

As always, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to drop me a note!


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

How to plan your Wedding Registry

Like many ladies my age, I didn't decide to get married until I was in my thirties (I know, the horror, right?) anyway, I was concerned about creating a registry.  I had lived on my own (and with Hubs) for many years and I didn't need towels, or pans, and I had absolutely no need for china.  So, I did what every Bride does, I called my Mom.  She convinced me that I had every right to register for items for the showers and the Wedding, and if I didn't give people ideas, lord knows what I would end up with.  As always, she was right.

So, I made a list.  Items that needed replaced, maybe it was time to have a set of dishes that matched or some dish towels that weren't what my Mom sent me off to college with.

1.  Pick your colors. 
What color do you want your kitchen or bathroom to be?  Register for towels in those colors some of your shower invitees will use your registry to pick out some cute accessories to compliment those colors.

Photo Credit: Crate and Barrel

2.  Service for Eight.
Pick out some plates that you love, and add the matching serving dishes, bowls, and everything else.  Remember, they don't all need to be from the same set. Mix and match, just make sure they  compliment each other. You don't have to use them for everyday, but when you start entertaining you will have everything you need. 

Photo Credit: Crate and Barrel

3.  Silverware.
Register for a nice set and a nice silverware storage box to keep them in.  Bring them out when you have company, it will bring a sense fancy to your dinner when you are not eating off the same silverware that you had mac and cheese off of the night before.  Break them out for company, and don't forget to count them when you are putting them away, so you don't miss anything.

4.  Add a couple of big things.
My family is big on 'going in' on big presents.  Some suggestions?  Vacuum cleaner, grill, mixer.

5.  Do not register for china.
Raise your hand if your parents have a set of china in attic from either your Grandmother or Great-Grandmother with your name on it?  If you really need a set, ask for it.

6.  Replace the old.
Think new towels, new mixing bowls (ok, maybe I just wanted another set), drinking glasses.

Photo Credit: Crate and Barrel

Have fun with registering.  Make your fiancée take you out to lunch, and then head to the store and play with the little gun.

Next week we will talk about WHERE to register.

Happy Planning!


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Tips for choosing your Bridal Party

Remember when you were little and you thought, when I have my dream wedding I am going to have 12 bridesmaids in big puffy pink dresses, and they are going to fall at their feet and serve me on my big day.  Fast forward to reality.  Do you have 12 friends/family that you would like to have in your wedding?  Pink is very 1985 (which is when you were probably planning that wedding)

There really are no etiquette rules how to choose your wedding party.  It is a process that can strain friendships and hurt feelings.  It's not easy, especially when you have a large social circle.  Below are some 'guidelines' that you might find helpful during the process.

  • Siblings.  I had both my sister's in my wedding, but I adore both of them (even though they are polar opposites) so you may want to consider your siblings if you are close

  • Friends.  All of your friends will expect to be asked.  Of course, this is not possible if you actually want to have some people sitting in the congregation.  Who are closest too?  Who were the first ones that you wanted to call when you got engaged?  Just because your friends are not in the wedding party it doesn't mean that they cannot attend the bachelorette party or the bridal tea.  They will love being included without the expense!

  • Soon to be in-laws.  Don't feel like you have to include them.  Don't pass over a good friend to have your finance sister in the wedding if you are not particular close.  Ask her to perform a reading or act as a greeter while your guests assemble for the ceremony.   

  • Married Couples.  Just because your fiancé will be his best man, it doesn't mean you need to include his wife or girlfriend in the wedding (this works both ways) - in fact if they have small children, it's probably best that one is not in the wedding.

  • Children.  This is tricky.  I don't think that children under 3 should be included in the wedding party.  They are too young.  They can be included in the pictures and even listed in the program as the 'ceremonial' ring bearer or flower girl. 

*One more note on ring bearers and flower girls.  They should not actually carry the rings, and they should be seated with either one of their parents or their grandparents during the ceremony, they will be more comfortable (and entertained) and less likely to steal the show!

How to ask someone to be in your wedding?

I would invite them out of drinks or lunch and ask them.  Please make your intentions clear.  Do you expect a bachelorette party in Vegas?  Where will the wedding by held?  Out of town?  Make sure that you set expectations, that way if it is something they don't feel comfortable committing all that you expect, they can be up front with you. 

If they decline to be in your wedding, don't take in personally.  These days people don't always have the means to be in a wedding, with all the dresses, travel, and gifts that it involves.  Give them a hug, and order another drink.  It also doesn't mean that she doesn't want to go with you when you try on dresses, or help you with your registry, include her as much as you can!

I hope this helps, gives you something to think about as you make these decisions.  As always, please feel free to drop me a line with any questions or concerns that you have during the planning process.  Also, I have some great ideas on my Pinterest boards, held over there and check them out!


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Things that your Wedding doesn't Need

There are so many things that you need to have or do at your wedding.  Here are somethings that you can skip...most of these are outdated traditions that have lived there usefulness.

Money Trees/Dollar Dances

These were very popular in the 80's when couples were marrying younger and needed the extra spending cash.  In a age where couples are spending upwards of $25,000 on there weddings, doesn't it seem alittle inappropriate to ask your guests to participate in this tradition?

Announcements During your Ceremony

The best part of a wedding is watching a bride walk down the aisle, it's magical.  The next moment when the minster says "We are gathered here today..." and then everyone knows to sit down.  This moment should not be followed by, "please remember to turn off your cell phone" - I actually witnessed this at a wedding last year.  This was after walking past a sign in the foyer that asked me to it.  Please make sure that you cover this with the minister.  People do have a enough sense to turn there ringers off.

Cameras on the Tables at the Reception

In today's world everyone has a cell phone with a camera (even my parents).  Instead, join Instagram create a hashtag and then let your guests know.  Imagine how much fun you will have on your honeymoon exploring the pictures your guests took.  Leave little signs like the one below all over your ceremony (don't forget the program) and reception.

Photo Credit: The Frisky
Cash Bars
Even if you don't have a huge budget for alcohol for your big day, limit the drinks served, not the amount.  A guest should never have to pay for anything after they enter your wedding.
Plan on!!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Choosing a Wedding Officiant

The newest trend in wedding ceremonies seems to be having a friend or family perform the ceremony.  Most of the them choose to become ordained on-line.  I have mixed feelings on this.  I have seen this go well, and have seen this go poorly. 

Not Everyone Can Officiate a Wedding

If a couple decides to go down the road of having a friend perform the ceremony, there are some important ground rules you will want to establish.

  • Tone of your Ceremony - serious or silly, make sure you are on the same page
  • Stick to a Script - ask to read what they plan to say before the big day, no surprises
  • Attire - suits (matching tie to the wedding colors) - for the ladies a dress, that complements the wedding colors
  • Make sure they attend the rehearsal, so they know what is expected
  • Research the paperwork - make sure all the licenses needed are completed
  • Treat them as part of the wedding party
Hiring a Professional

It may be your best option, and in my opinion the least stressful one.  Here are something to consider

Where do you find one?

  • Ask for referrals - family, friends, co-workers
  • The Knot - that is where I found mine!
  • Ceremony Site - they will typically have a list of preferred officiants

What to ask them?

  • What is your typical ceremony like?
  • Will you give (or not give) a sermon?
  • Will you allow us to personalize our ceremony?
  • How many times will we meet prior to the wedding?
  • Will you attend the rehearsal?
  • Do you have any references we can call?
Typically, when you are paying an officiant they will let you do pretty much whatever you want to do, but it doesn't hurt to ask.

How much is a Wedding Officiant?

Budget to spend around $200 dollars.  Once you've paid the fee, and I would pay them up front before the date, it is completely acceptable to tip the remaining money you budgeted.  But, just like with having a friend, make sure they understand your vision for your day.

Couple of more things...

  • Invite the officiant and their spouse/significant other to the wedding/reception
  • Make sure to get a picture with them when you are signing the license

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Wedding Traditions to Keep

I was recently reading an article about how all of these wedding traditions were out of style and how they needed to go away.  They were old fashion, today's couples don't want those things at there wedding.  Why not take the concept of these old traditions and modernize them? 

Having the Bride's Father Give Her Away

It is understandable in this world of step parents,  and adoptive parents, that sometimes there is more than one 'Dad' in your life.  Some Bride's choose not to pick between them for this honor, and walk alone down the aisle.  But, there are a lot of other solutions, the Bride could have both Dad's one on each side.  One Dad could walk her half way with the other taking her to the altar. 

I've been to many weddings where Mom(s) gave the Bride away.  Uncles are very popular, and don't forget about Grandfathers.  The important men in a Bride's (and Groom's) life can also be honored with a special dance after dinner.

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

One of my favorites.  Easy to Update.  Be Creative!

Something Old -

Momma's pearls
Momma's dress
Pin one of your Grandmother's broaches to your flowers or the inside of your dress (or suit).
Momma's, Grandmother's, or Sister's Veil

Something New -

Dress (or Suit)
Shoes (go all out!)

Something Borrowed -

Momma's pearls
Dad's Handkerchief
Niece's Hair band, tied around your flowers
Nephew's Baseball Card tucked into your belt or sash

Something Blue -

ditch the blue garter...

Shoes (or just paint your wedding date in blue on the bottoms, which will make a great picture!)
Sash, ribbon or bow on the back of your dress
Jewelry, little accent pieces, small earrings, pendants

Throwing the Bouquet

I know, people don't like the little girls running around, you can have all the little ones come out and you can throw some candy for them and then let the big girls at the Bouquet.  Make sure that your florist makes a bouquet for to throw, because you will not want to give away yours.

Cutting the Cake

What is a wedding without cake?  Some many couples are choosing to move away from one large cake, and are serving actual dessert, or cupcakes.  These are not bad trends, but with most venue's offering a cake with the catering package, sometimes it doesn't make financial sense to turn down the free cake and pay for cupcakes. Go with the cake, do the ceremonial first bite (smashing is optional) and then have the entire cake (expect for the top layer) cut, and what your guests don't eat after dinner, have the leftovers put in cake boxes and left on the place card table for guests to grab when as they leave.  If you are essentially getting a free cake, you can still have the your sweet table thing.  What I don't like, is when people have one cake for their bridal party (or family) and then serve their guests sheet cake, if you are going to do that, skip the cake.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

5 Easy Ways to be a Good Wedding Guest


With the beginning of wedding season upon us, take a minute to refresh your wedding guest Oh, that time of year is upon us.

#1 - Return your RSVP card.

Honestly, there is nothing more irritating than people who do not return their RSVPs. It is very
frustrating trying to figure out how many people to plan for when you have 20 RSVP floating around.  Seriously, you only have to check a box and sign your name, it could be worse, you could have to fill out this.

One final note on this, if you return your RSVP that you are coming at the last minute you can't make (I know it happens) - call the Bride (or her Mom or the Groom or his Mom) and tell them please.

#2 - Dress the Part

I can't believe I am saying this. 

  • No Jeans
  • No Shorts
  • No printed logo t-shirts
  • Men should not wear flip-flops
That is all.

#3 - Attend the Ceremony

I know the reception is the fun part, but there has been alot of planning and time spent on the ceremony as well.  Go and Enjoy.  Hold your partners hand while the Bride and Groom say their vows, it will remind you of yours.

#4 - Watch your fluid intake

The open bar is tempting. Remember you are a guest.   A couple of drinks will get you loosened up for the 'Electric Slide' - just don't get too loose, if you know what I mean.

#5 - Don't Forget the Gift

Wedding gifts are easy.  Cash is King.  Although as a precaution, I always advise people to write a check when possible, that way if something happens to the card box, you can stop payment, and write them a new one.  When determining an amount, keep in mind, that you at least want to cover your meal, and catered dinners go from $17 - $24 dollars.  Make the check out at least a $100 for a family of four.

Bonus Tip -  Enjoy Yourself

Eat, drink, dance.  Catch up with family and old friends, make some new ones!


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Engaged? Wondering what to do first?

Photo Credit: Helzberg

The Holiday season is always big for engagements.  This year was no differnt, even George Lucas got engaged.

I remember when Hubby and I got engaged, I was like this awesome, but I have no idea how to plan a wedding, where do I start?  I looked and looked for a book that would lay the whole process out like a road map.  Like, Step 1, buy a dress - Step 2 find a church. 

But, let me assure you, there is no such book.  There are plenty of books that tell you how to do each step, but not where to start.

This is my answer to that.  Over the next 8 weeks, I will get you ready.  Help you navigate the first few months of being engaged, help you get organized and get you on your way to planning the biggest day of your (as some would say) life.  So after you have taken a couple of days (or weeks) to just enjoy the moment. 

Let's Get Started.

Step #1

Inspiration Board.

I know that (despite what the film industry thinks) there are so many out there who exactly have not been planning their wedding since they were 5 years old.  Many of us had envisioned it, but not actually started planning beyond day dreams.  Get yourself a poster board and a some bridal magazines, cut out everything that you like.  Dresses, colors, favors, flowers, anything.  go through that stack and narrow that stack down to the things that your really love.  Compare them to each other, eliminate the ones that you can live without.  Decorate the board and hang in your home office or somewhere were you are going to see it.  It would also be a good idea to start an on-line on Pinterest.

Step #2


This is the ugliest part of wedding planning.  Who will be helping?  Get these conversation out of the way early.  This will help you figure out lots of things, it will help you allocate how much to spend on each aspect of your wedding.  I found the best chart on Weddings by Lilly, that breaks down these costs.  You really want to know how much you can afford to spend when you are start looking at venues.

My best suggestion is that during the budget process is that everyone needs to be as honest as possible.  It is better to know how much support you can expect.  It is also a good idea to sit down with your fiance before bring parents into the discussion, to determine a number you are both comfortable contributing.

These are enough things to think about this week.  Next week, we will work on putting together your bridal party and how to pick the date of your big day.

Good Luck!