Advice To Think Twice About

When you get engaged, you are going to have a lot of family and friends talk to you about your wedding and what they for theirs. One thing I love about weddings, is that there is not a single perfect way to execute a wedding because each one is unique and special in its own way. So, if you get “advice” from someone and it is something listed here, please think hard about your options. You don’t have to do something a certain way or do anything you don’t want to do. This is your wedding day! Make sure you feel comfortable with your plans!

  1. Why don’t you do your own makeup? You’re so good at it!
    • I’m just going to say it like this, if you are good at makeup that does not mean you have to do your own! This is your wedding day; you are allowed to pay someone to do it for you.
  2. You can always sell it later.
    • I would say this is an easy way to go over budget especially with things you don’t necessarily need. Plus, you will maybe get 25-50% back of what you paid for it.
  3. Fake flowers look just like real ones.
    • As someone who used fake flowers in her wedding, they do not look like real flowers in person, maybe in photos. Now if the décor is not a priority, then by all means go with fake flowers!
  4. Just DIY everything!
    • This is time consuming. If you don’t have the resources or the time, try to DIY as little as possible for your wedding.
  5. Don’t make it fancy.
    • Ummm…You do you boo! If you want it chill, make it chill. If you want it fancy, make it fancy. This is your wedding!
  6. Make sure you invite everyone.
    • The more people you invite, the more you will end up spending (check out my blog for helping brides narrow down their guest list!).
  7. At the end of the day, the wedding does matter, the marriage does.
    • Yes, the marriage is more important than the actual wedding itself, but that doesn’t take the importance of your wedding day away! You just spent almost a year (maybe even longer) planning the most special day of your life. Your wedding DOES matter!!

Should I Order a Wedding Album from my Photographer?

Here are three reasons why you should order a wedding album through your photographer instead of making your own/not having one.

1. They preserve the memories of your day. Technology is not always our best friend and you would not want something to happen to your computer and you lost all your wedding photos. Hard copies ensure you can always replace the ones you may have lost (usually the photographer will give you access to an online source to see your photographs or you can pay to have ones printed if you would want to make the album yourself).

2.  They are a keepsake to pass down to your children and your children’s children! Your children will love looking through your wedding album on the day of their wedding. Just thinking about it makes me want to cry happy tears!

3. With the photographer making the photo album, you can be sure that it will be an album that captures your style as a couple since they will be custom designed for you. Usually, they will keep it to the same flow of your wedding, so expect to feel all the feels when you first see it!

Help with Cutting Down your Guest List

Now, I totally get why it’s hard not to invite people to your wedding. When I got married, I got a little carried away with inviting and telling people about our wedding day. We, actually, ended up inviting over 60 more guests than we wanted! Yikes! It’s also important to remember that on average, about 75% of the guests you invite to your wedding will show up (and 25% will not) So, because of this, I thankfully did not go over budget. But, if I would have asked myself these six questions, I probably could have avoided the problem altogether and would have had more time to talk to the people I knew needed to be there verses just wanted to be there.

1. How would you feel if you were not invited to their wedding?

2. Would you mind talking to them for 15 minutes on your wedding day?

3. Are they an ex? Trust me…just avoid this, if you have seen the Friends episode, “the one where Ross says Rachel”, you know why this should be avoided.

4. Do you know their last name? Without checking on Facebook?

5. Have you talked to them in the last 6 months?

6. If they invited you to dinner next week, would you actually want to go?

Now sit down with your partner and ask each other theses questions and start chipping away at your guest list!

How to Make your Wedding Look High End (On a Budget)

1.  Pick a sophisticated color palette like blush with gold accents.

2. Dress up the head table or sweetheart table (this will be the main focus for photos).

3. Pay attention to the details. These are filler images for your wedding day and provide the framework to your story.

4. Look for the light. Find venues that are super open and bright for more flexibility!

5. Have the staff fold the napkins to fit in paper dinner menus (usually, this doesn’t cost any extra).

6. Vary the height of the centerpieces to add depth and dimension to tables. This will keep everyone’s eyes on the décor throughout the room.

7. Write out table numbers “table six”, instead of just writing “table 6”

8. Offer signature cocktails instead of an open bar or beer.

Utilizing Venue Space

Too cold outside? Not wanting the ceremony and reception held at different locations?

Create a floor plan that will allow both ceremony and reception to work in one space (a big open floor plan works best, or even a space with a garage door for some sunlight!). You can go ahead and set up your family in a normal ceremony seating chart (left and right sides with an aisle) and towards the opposite end of the venue you can go ahead and lay out tables for dinner and have everyone else already have their spots for dinner.

It’s also nice to have extra chairs to go ahead and set up tables for family but if there are not any extras (or you don’t want to buy any), just have the “men” in y our family move the chairs from the ceremony spot to the tables.

This is super easy to do and is actually a great backup plan for anyone planning and outdoor ceremony with possible chance of rain!

First Look or First Touch (part 2/2)

As I have mentioned previously, a first look isn’t for everyone, and that is okay! A lot of people want to save that moment for when they are walking down the aisle. And if that’s you, great! There are tons of other people that you could always do a first look with: your parents, grandparents, bridesmaids, even groomsmen.

But how can you have a moment with your soon to-be-spouse without seeing each other?

I like to call it, the first touch. I ask the photographer to find the most photogenic corner they can and put one person against one side and the other person on the other side wall with the corner of the wall separating them. At the same time, reach around the corner to feel for each other’s hands. And let me tell you, there is something about physical touch moments before you are about to walk down the aisle that is SOO special. (My husband and I did this because I wanted to be traditional and not have a first look. We did a first touch and a prayer and it was absolutely breathtaking!) I really recommend to anyone not doing a first look, to do a first touch.

First Look or First Touch (part 1/2)

First things first, I always recommend to all my couples to do a first look. If you want the first time your groom sees you to be when you’re walking down the aisle, totally okay! A first look is not for everyone. But if you are on the fence about having a first look, here are some reasons why it could be beneficial for you:

  1. You can get your photos done before the ceremony (which gives you and your future-hubby time to enjoy yourselves at your own party). If you don’t do a first look, you won’t be able to get your couple photos done (or much of anything else) and you will have to do photos after your ceremony before your reception. From experience, guests get really antsy if they have to wait too long for the photos to get done.
  2. Because your make-up and hair will still be perfect!
  3. It can be really intamite and you will have a private moment with your soon-to-be husband and can even do private vows together that you may not want to do in front of everyone.
  4. You may feel significantly less nervous if you see your future husband and spend a little time together before you walk down the aisle.
  5. It leaves you more time to have fun and talk to all your guests instead of just saying “hi” and “bye”.

Wedding Processional Most Important Tip

I need to tell you something that a lot of brides and grooms (and bridesmaids and groomsmen) don’t think about until they are walking down the aisle… and then it causes a little bit of panic and I don’t want that to happen to you!

DON’T forget to think about the pace that you are going to walk down the aisle to.

You don’t want to run; you also don’t want to go too slow. If you have a wedding coordinator, or photographer they should be able to help you figure out the perfect pace to walk at (also DJs can help with this).

Pretty much think about trying to take a picture while someone is running. You might capture it but it’s blurry in some spots and could be better quality. Think about the time too, if you go too slow, you can really slow down the evening’s events and even frustrate your guests! We don’t want that!

One or Two Photographers?

I was chatting with one of my friends recently who is planning her wedding and it made me realize just how much I enjoy planning weddings and giving out tips and tricks to brides getting married. However, we had a great discussion about wedding photographers and I want to share with you what I told her. She just booked her photographer and chose a package that includes one photographer for ten hours. So, her question to me was, if I felt a second shooter was very important.

She said two photographers for ten hours was more than they wanted to spend, but she felt the 10 hours was more important than eight hours with two photographers.

So, here’s my advice if you are stuck in the same situation and don’t know what to do: I told her I would do eight hours with two shooters.

The last two hours of the night are primarily dancing, and how many more photos do you really need of people dancing? But the benefits of a second shooter outweigh only having one photographer. For example, the second shooter can be with the groom and groomsmen while the first shooter is with you and your girls getting ready. If you are planning on a first look, two shooters will come in handy because you can have them placed where one captures your face and the other captures your groom’s reaction. Also, the main photographer can be shooting portraits while the second shooter is with guests at cocktail hour. The list goes on and on!

Skin Care Routine (For the Perfect Wedding Day Glow!)

Daytime

1. Cleanser

2. Toner

3. Serum

4. Eye Cream

5. Moisturizer

6. Face Oil

7. Sunscreen

Nighttime

               1. Cleanser

               2. Toner

               3. Serum

               4. Eye Cream

               5. Spot Treatment

               6. Moisturizer

               7. Retinol

Makeup Application

               1. Skincare

               2. Primer

               3. Brows and Eyes

               4. Foundation

               5. Concealer

               6. Blush, Bronzer, and Highlighter

               7. Lips

               8. Setting Spray

How-to walk-in heels.

I have seen quite a few videos and how-to’s for wearing high heels. They tell you to land the heel on the ground before the toe and this is WRONG! Please do not do this (especially in grass, please, please, please, because you will sink into the grass and fall backwards). You will fall and bust your tail, end of story. The balance is in the ball of your foot. ALWAYS land the ball on your foot on the ground first when wearing heels. You need to walk like a gazelle (not clumpy or heavy-footed, but light and whimsical). The heel is irrelevant when walking; so, when you are breaking in your shoes, make sure to practice walking in them the correct way!

What to say to someone you didn’t invite to your wedding.

I have the #1 most effective tip on how to have a conversation with somebody who you did not invite to your wedding; but you have been friends, coworkers, so they feel they should be invited to your wedding.

Tell them: “Just let it go. At a typical wedding, every single person there costs anywhere between $100-$300. In the budget, to make everything work, the guest count is the first to go.”

DIY Weddings

So, you want to DIY your wedding (or at least parts of it)? You need to ask yourself this question (and answer honestly) before making any further decisions.

How much joy does what your about to DIY actually bring you?

On a scale of 1-10, if it’s not at least an 8, do not DIY it. Imagine this, it’s two days before your wedding. The most important people in your life are all around you just to hang out and drink, party and just have a good time before you get married to someone you deeply love. And you will want to be with them and be fully present, but instead you are still DIYing some things. 

Here’s the bottom line: You’re either going to trade time for money or money for time. Because it has to get done one way or another. At the end of the day, it’s your wedding, so you do what’s best for you!

Finding the Perfect Venue

Do your research. I have seen so many brides get sticker shocked when they see the prices of venues, and then end up going with a cheaper venue they can find.

Instead, pay attention to certain things. What is included with your venue rental? The price is not the most important thing, I understand we all have a budget. But you may get tricked into a venue that seems cheaper, but in the long run its actually way more expensive. Because it doesn’t include things like tables, chairs, and linens, and the use of microphones. There are venues out there that will nickel and dime you for every single thing that you use.

So just because a venue is more expensive, doesn’t mean it can’t be the right choice for you. It could be more expensive but it could include all of those things. Do more research than just looking at the number!

The Key to a Happy Wedding Day

There is one thing (no exaggeration) that I wish I could tell every engaged couple who is planning a wedding. I am telling you; this is key to a good wedding experience for YOU. 

Your guests will have a good time whether or not you do, but this is YOUR DAY. And I want to give you a piece of advice that… I don’t usually say, because it’s low-key blunt, and people don’t usually receive it too well. 

THE MORE YOU TRY TO CONTROL (AND MICROMANAGE) YOUR WEDDING, THE LESS YOU WILL ENJOY IT. I

am not asking you to not care about your wedding. I am just saying, in the long run, think about what truly matters. Especially if you have hired a wedding coordinator/DJ/MC/Photographer or any other professional. If they are a professional, they will know exactly the best way to go about your wedding day. You job is to ENJOY your wedding day, but you can’t enjoy your day if you keep wondering about grandma getting her coffee with cake or why the candles won’t stay lit. Trust me, leave it to the pros. And if you don’t have one, get at LEAST one of the professionals mentioned.

5 Things You Should Do on Your Wedding Day (that you might not have thought about)

  1. Write notes to your bridal party. This is a great way to share just how happy you are that they chose to stand beside you on this special day.
  2. Know what time sunset is (depending on the time of year and location). If you want to try to get some golden hour photos you will need to dip out of the reception right before sunset.
  3. Put your RSVP on the wedding website. This can save you a ton of money and stationery and it also makes it super easy to make an excel spreadsheet of your guest list. (I ended up using www.Zola.com)
  4. Have something for people to do that don’t like dancing. This gives those people who may not love dancing, a chance to still have a lot of fun at your wedding.
  5. You don’t have to have a traditional wedding meal. There are so many options for food for your wedding now-a-days. You could do appetizers, a food truck, a taco bar, pizza bar, there are tons of fun stuff you can do for food so don’t feel limited!

Things You Need to Know Before Your Wedding

  1. You will be nervous walking down the aisle. Especially when you read your vows. Take a deep breath and just soak it all in!
  2. You will be busy entertaining people. From the second you go into the reception, you will be talking and smiling to everyone. All eyes will be on you!
  3. You may be entertaining everyone but you will not get to talk to everyone at your wedding. You will most likely just be able to say “hi” and “bye” to most of your guests. Remember this when you are preparing your guest list.
  4. Find some time to spend alone. Dedicated some time for you and your significant other to spend some time alone even if it’s just for one song at the end of the night.
  5. You will cry! (even if you don’t think you will). Have your maid-of-honor keep some tissues on her down the aisle in case you need them during the ceremony.
  6. The day will go so quick! Dedicate someone to take candid photos throughout the day so that you have more than enough photos and videos to remember it by.
  7. You will not sleep the night before your wedding! Have some nice facemasks and caffeine ready for you when you wake up in the morning.
  8. No one will remember your décor (except you).
  9. Be prepared for extra people to show up that you didn’t expect/invite. It’s inconvenient (and a little rude…) but it happens almost at every wedding; so just be prepared with an empty table for non-rsvpers.
  10. Be prepared for people who RSVPed to not show up. Things happen and people get busy last minute, so expect for your guest list to be a little off the day of the wedding.

Do You Have A Wedding Box?

What is a wedding box?

A wedding box is something a bride will put together the night/day before her wedding to where everything the photographer (and herself) may need is in one spot. This box is mainly for the use of detail shots before the wedding. Keeping everything your photographer may need to photograph in one place will make sure that nothing gets lost and you don’t have to search through your bags for everything you want a photo of (and it also makes sure you don’t forget to get a photo of something). Anything can be added to this box, but here’s my list of essential items to keep in one place.

What do I put in my wedding box?

  1. Stuff from the wedding
    • Groom’s boutineer
    • Notes to/from bride and groom
    • Jewelry and hair accessories for bride
    • Cufflinks, tie-bar and socks for groom
    • Garter + throw garter
    • Something borrowed, blue, old, and new
  2. Stationary
    • Save the dates
    • Invitation suite (the whole thing)
    • Envelopes
  3. Memorabilia’s
    • Bride’s shoe’s’ box
    • Buy the nail polish color you are wearing (in case of chips)
    • Any bible studies done prior to the wedding
    • Wedding perfume/cologne
    • BOTH ring boxes
  4. Wedding Necessities
    • Checks to pay for last minute stuff
    • A pen
    • Wedding Planner
    • Extra bobby-pins

What Will Guests Remember About Your Wedding

  • The food. People will remember if they were hungry at some point, if the servers were lazy and did a poor job, or if the food was absolutely perfect and service was tremendous!
  • If there are games. Most guests will want something to do while you are around the venue talking pictures after the ceremony.
  • If something crazy happens, like your step-dad decides to have a dance off with your youngest nephew…now THAT is something to remember!
  • And most of all, the dance floor. (This one is a no-brainer hit every time and at every wedding!)

2 Photo Tips You Want to Know

1. Ask your officiant or whoever is marrying you to step to the side before your first kiss as man and wife. This moment is one of the most special moments of your entire wedding day. And it is your first kiss as a married couple! That one, single photo will be talked about for years to come. So make it special, by having just you and your fiancé in that moment (AKA: no awkward body or head behind you as you smooch)!

2. Photograph the last dance. While guests and everyone gets ready for your grand exit, spend a song together with your significant other, dancing and sharing that moment in your empty venue taking in all the decorations and soaking up the day that you spent months planning on. This is such a good idea, because it gives you a moment during your wedding day to really admire the day and your spouse. Make sure the photographer sneaks in at some point to get a really intamite shot of you and your hubby!

Cake Alternatives

First of all, if you don’t like cake it’s OK! Personally, I do like cake but if I had the choice to eat a muffin instead, I totally would! One good alternative to cake would be to have a dessert bar. I really like dessert bars if you are having a large group of people and you kind of want to appease everyone. You can go to Costco or Sam’s and get everything you need for a dessert bar (and for a really good price. Most bakeries can offer you a dessert bar but you will be paying twice as much). It’s also a good stress reliver to have a dessert bar because everyone can self-serve themselves so you do not have to worry about having servers or who is going to cut the cake; it may also bring down the cost if you are paying for someone to hand out food. Another one to consider is you can do something fun like a doughnut wall. If you plan on a doughnut wall, here’s a word of advice: Weather. Is it going to be hot? Children. Kids like to grab things, especially food (I hate to admit this but I have seen kids who will grab multiple doughnuts off the doughnut wall, lick them and taste them, and then put them back on the wall…gross!)!

Challenges You May Face with Fake Flowers

I love DIY weddings! There is that extra feeling of uniqueness when you hand craft something for your wedding rather than purchasing it from a business. I especially see a lot of fake flowers (plastic, even wood has become more popular!) being used more and more in weddings. Which this is always a great way to save money but before you decide on fake flowers, make sure you read these tips to help make the process go smoother!

  1. You have to store them and get them there the day of your wedding. I’ve heard brides say that they will just bring a car load of 2 to 3 boxes of décor, which may be true for someone using real flowers…but in reality, you will have at least 2 to 3 carloads of décor. This is because with fake flowers, all the flower arrangements need to be in separate boxes to make sure nothing gets smooshed. So, if you use tubs, you may be able to fit about 1 to 2 per box, so nothing gets damaged.
  2. If you plan on getting your décor made early, you will have to store it for months (hoping that you have sealed everything tight enough that it won’t get dusty or dirty before your wedding). If you pan on making the décor, give yourself time but also don’t wait too long! I would start making décor 1 month to 6 weeks before your wedding.
  3. Since the flowers are fake, depending on the ones you use in your bouquet, they could have plastic in them which could stick to your dress. So, you have to be careful to not let your bouquet sit on the tool fabric.
  4. That’s about it! Fake flowers are a great way to save money and add your own personal touch to your wedding, make sure to follow these tips for a smooth set up for décor!

Five Simple Steps to Finding Wedding Vendors

Follow these 5 steps to help you decided on the perfect wedding vendors for your wedding.

  1. Find 3-5 vendors for each category. You can do this by searching online or asking other people you know that have gotten married for referrals.
  2. Send those vendors an email. And YES, all of them!! You want to go ahead and get in contact with each of these vendors as soon as you can to make sure that they will be able to service you on your big day. Don’t wait too long to introduce yourself! Make sure you tell them when and wear the wedding will be, and ask them if they are available, and if they have information they can send to you about the packages they offer.
  3. Review the information they provided to you! And again, YES ALL OF THEM! This is where you will want to compare and contrast the different vendors. Maybe some are all inclusive packages and some are not; maybe you can’t afford many of the vendors prices. Make sure to find the vendor that will cater towards your needs on your wedding day. Don’t pay for something that really isn’t a big deal to have at your wedding.
  4. Decide who you would like to have an interview with and go ahead and set those appointments over phone, video chat, or in person. Most can be done over phone but there are a few vendors I suggest to meet in person, and that is the venue manager, the photographer, the DJ/MC, and your officiant. These four vendors are going to be see and talked to a lot by guests so you want to make sure they have the vibe and energy you are wanting for your wedding.
  5. Pick the winner, pay your deposit, and sign those contracts!

Post-Wedding Name Change Checklist

FIRST THINGS FIRST

  1. Social Security Administration
  2. Department of Motor Vehicles (driver’s license, car title, and registration)
  3. Voter Registration
  4. US Passport

WORK

  1. Employer/Payroll
  2. Military records
  3. Email account and signature
  4. ID Card
  5. Business cards

HOME

  1. Landlord, rental office, or mortgage company
  2. Insurance companies (auto, home, life, and health)
  3. Utilities (electric, gas, water, phone, internet, and cable)

PERSONAL

  1. Legal documents (living will and power of attorney)
  2. High school alumni office
  3. College alumni office
  4. Doctors’ office
  5. Email and signature
  6. Voicemail
  7. Magazine subscriptions
  8. Loyalty and miles programs
  9. Church membership

FINANCIAL

  1. Credit cards
  2. Checking accounts
  3. Savings account
  4. 401ks and IRAs
  5. Investment accounts
  6. Loans (auto and student)

ONLINE

  1. Facebook
  2. Instragram
  3. Linkedin
  4. Twitter

5 things to do at your wedding that you might not have thought about

  1. First, get a gift for your spouse. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive; it can even be as simple as a note. It’s a great memoir to look back on that was given to you on your wedding day.
  2. Have the photographer and videographer get there a little earlier than you are thinking. There are tons of cute moments that can be captured in the morning that you might not think about.
  3. A first look with your bridal party! These always turn out so cute and is a really good alternative if you don’t want to do a first look with your partner. And you can always do a first look with your dad, mom, grandparents, or anyone who is special to you.
  4. Do a first touch or prayer or something with your fiancé before the ceremony. This is a good way to calm your nerves, and will give you and your fiancé time to hang out before all of the craziness starts. This is also the perfect time to do private vows or anything else special.
  5. Anniversary cards. When your guests get to the reception sit down at their tables, have them each write a note that you and your fiancé will open on the anniversary of the table that they sat at. So, if they sit at table one, then you will open those notes on your first anniversary. And so on and so forth. Its so much fun to see what people will write over the years and it’s a great way to incorporate your wedding into your future anniversaries.

What not to do with your wedding!

Do not do any wedding planning until you have picked your venue. Why? Because your wedding venue is essentially the theme of your wedding. So, everything else will revolve around where you are choosing your venue. I’m talking your dress, your flowers, the wedding color scheme, and I am talking décor. Do not do anything until you figure out where you are going to have your wedding.

When picking out your wedding colors: do not pick out a wedding color that does not flatter your skin tone as the bride. If this color is not something you yourself would wear, do not put it on your bridesmaids because that is just going to clash with you. And you, want to look your best! You as the bride are going to be the main focus in all of these photos. So, you want to have colors around you that are going to be flattering to you. Find a color that really fits your skin tone because that’s what’s really going to make you pop, its going to make you look that much more beautiful!

Forgetting water!! Everyone forgets this one because the caterers provide water but they leave way before the bartenders do. Make sure to keep extra water bottles behind the bar so you can keep everyone hydrated after the caterer leaves.

What to do with your wedding!

Buy a new perfume! It is so special to have a scent that every time you smell it, you remember your wedding day. Get your fiancé a cologne as well!

Give your photographer more items for the detail shots! Make sure to give your photographer the rings, invitations, veil, flowers, shoes…. but don’t forget about the other things such as perfume bottles, jewelry, lipsticks, belts, pocket silks and those other things that are adding to your wedding day.

Make sure to have time carved out in your timeline for your future husband and you to be alone for a few minutes after the ceremony. 

If you are having an unplugged ceremony, make sure to not only put-up signs that mentions no phones, but also have your officiant make an announcement. If you want to give people that time to take their photos, you can have a “social media minute” where after you walk down the aisle, you can turn and face your guests so they can get their photos done and everyone is happy. It will also give you and your fiancé time to look at your guests and take it all in.

Stock the Bar Party! Invite everyone who will be at the reception to a party a week or so before your wedding and have them bring any and all the alcohol they want, and then you only have to pay for bartenders. Also, signature drinks are always a hit!

Picture-Perfect Wedding Tips

Capturing your special day in photos is one of the most important parts of your wedding memories. And finding the perfect photographer to capture your big day is just as important as finding the right wedding dress and picking the perfect place to get married. 

Here are some good questions to ask yourself:

  1. Are you wanting lighter or darker images?
  2. Posed or candid photos?
  3. And of course, what is your budget?

While the photos are important, the service you get from the photographer is very crucial. This person is going to be with you and your family ALL DAY. You want to be able to have a good relationship with them. You want someone who is a good listener and seems to understand your vision for your wedding day. Look at their previous wedding photos and check out their reviews. 

Make sure to ask the photographer to map out the wedding day for you (how they see the timing of the day). Make sure that all the photos you want taken can get done in the timeframe you book for. Most photographers package their services in hours, so you can get anywhere from 4 to 10 hours with the photographer based on how much you want to pay. Make sure to also ask the photographer how many breaks he or she expects to take (They will need time to be human and eat and go to the restroom, etc.). Make sure to let the photographer know if you plan to have an unplugged ceremony or not, too. They will need to make arrangements with their equipment either way you choose.

Always get a contract from your photographer. Make sure it includes price and payment information, specific attire the photographer should wear, the time the photographer will arrive at your wedding, and when you will receive the photos agreed upon.

Guest List Help

Sit down with your future husband and decide how many people you can afford to invite to your wedding, then start making your guest list based off this initial number. 

The guest list will determine your budget for catering, desserts, how many favors you will need, how many plates you will need, etc.… 

Before you even begin to make your budget and a 400+ person guest list, figure out how many people you will be able to pay for. 

Start with the obvious invites then from there add the other special people in your lives. 

Start with family members.

Second, the bridal party.

Third, family friends.

Then, friends.

If you still have more room and want to invite your acquaintances like coworkers and both your mom’s friends, save them until the end!

Internet Resources

You can find just about anything on the web these days! From tips on proposals, to DIY wedding projects, and don’t even get me started on the abundance of wedding service sites! With so many possible avenues to take, it can be hard to know which ones to trust. I have two reputable sites that can give you just about everything you will need, services wise.

For my wedding, I used www.Zola.com. Honestly, it was everything that I dreamed a wedding app could be! And as a wedding planner, I approve. I was able to make my website, link my registries to my website, enter in all my guest information (they even had an option to convert it to an excel spreadsheet), and order save the dates and invitations with addresses already on the envelopes. They also kept track of my RSVPs and let me ask questions like: “do you have food allergies” and “will you need a hotel room” on my webpage.

The other one that I have known many brides to use is www.TheKnot.com. Personally, I don’t have much experience with this website, but I do know they can do just about everything Zola can do.

Go look on www.Facebook.com and join some wedding groups in your area. Check out: www.Youtube.com and www.Pinterest.com Build on your ideas and make sure to screenshot all the good stuff!

Questions About Invitation Etiquette

If I know a medical doctor, do we include their title on the invitation?

  • Traditionally, yes, medical doctors are supposed to use their professional titles on wedding invitations. However, times have changed so you see more Mr. and Mrs. titles on invitations. 

What if someone I know has a Ph. D. Should I title them as “Doctor”?

  • No, as a Ph. D., it is not proper to use “Doctor” as their title on a wedding invitation. 

What if a couple is married but the wife kept her maiden name? How should it appear on the invitations?

  • As “Mr. John Doe and “Mrs. Jane Smith”

How should my fiancé and I properly put our names on the wedding invitations?

  • A proper wedding invitation will have both of your names (first, middle, and last) starting with the bride then the groom as “Jane Anne Doe and John Michael Smith”.

If our ceremony starts at 9:00AM in the morning how should we word it on the invitations?

  • Never put “AM” or “PM” on a wedding invitation, instead, put “in the morning”, “in the evening”, or “in the afternoon”. This will help reduce chance of confusion.

A good example of a wedding invitation outline:

Together with their parents

Jane Ann Doe

and

John Michael Smith

request the honor of your presence

at their marriage

Saturday, the twenty-fourth of October

two thousand twenty, twenty-one

at five o’clock in the evening

First Baptist Church

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Wedding Music Checklist

A complete checklist of all the “special” songs you will need to pick out for your special day.

  1. Seating Music. This is the music that is played as your guests arrive, and settle into their seats.
  2. Family and Bridal Party Entrance. A song that speaks to you. Something traditionally, slow, to keep the walk slower for everyone so the photographer can grab good pictures.
  3. Bride’s Walk. You can go traditional and use “Canon in D” or go with something that, also, speaks to you.
  4. Exiting Ceremony. Something fun and a little more upbeat. Everyone will be clapping and whoo-hooing because youre married!
  5. Cocktail Hour. This is the music that is played in between the ceremony and dinner/reception. The music should set the mood and put people in good spirits, but you aren’t trying to get anyone to dance yet.
  6. Dinner. It is usually good to play slower music during dinner, maybe even a classical playlist without vocals. You still aren’t trying to get anyone to dance yet.
  7. Reception Grand Entrance. A celebratory song to mark the couples entrance into the reception and set the tone for the party. If you plan to introduce your wedding party first, be sure to choose a separate song for them (or one that is long enough to cover everyone entering).
  8. The First Dance. A song that is meaningful to the bride and groom.
  9. Father and Daughter, Mother and Son Dances. Traditionally, the father dances with his daughter after the first dance between the bride and groom. Some couples also have a mother/son dance or simply integrate that into the father/daughter dance at the end.
  10. Reception Party. Even if you give the DJ or wedding musicians complete freedom with the song selections, it is still a good idea to make a “do-not-play” playlist of songs that you want to avoid hearing.
  11. Cake Cutting. Pick an upbeat song for this sweet part of the evening.
  12. Bouquet Toss. An upbeat, lively song is played for this entertaining part of the wedding. The same applies to the garter toss.
  13. The Last Dance. It is up to you whether you want something slow and sentimental or something fun and buoyant. Just be sure to end the night by making a statement!

Hiring a Band

One difference between hiring a DJ or a band is that a DJ is going to play music that sounds like it does on the radio. The band, instead, is going to play music that sounds similar to what you hear on the radio but with a slight twist to it. If you like the aura of live entertainment and would prefer your music not to be like the music you listen to at home, then a band is right for you.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when hiring a band to play at your wedding:

  1. As soon as you book your wedding date, book a band. Good bands get snatched up as early as a year in advance.
  2. Make sure to hire a band with a good reputation in business.
  3. Ask your venue if they have any recommendations on bands, as they have probably worked with many and know which ones are the best!
  4. Make sure to choose a band that specializes in weddings. You don’t want them to be unfamiliar with the vibe and play breakup songs the whole time!
  5. Make sure to meet the band, face to face. This is the only way to know if you like the people who will be playing at your wedding.
  6. Make sure to clarify exactly how long they will play and if breaks will take place (they should at least get one 30-minute break to eat dinner) and how many breaks will take place.
  7. Make sure on the contract to include the timeframe discussed, make sure to clarify what the musicians will wear for your wedding in the contract, and also list the names of all the band members that will be there.
  8. Remember, a good band is worth its price tag. Think of hiring a band in regards to buying a car. If you find a band new Mercedes and it comes with a really cheap price tag, you have to wonder what could be wrong with it.

DJs/MCs For Your Wedding

At the start of my wedding career, I was working for a DJ in Abilene, TX; and the one rule I learned right off the bat was this: DJs are not people who just stand behind turn tables and play music. Hiring a DJ can bring some magical qualities to your wedding. DJs are known for doing dance steps with guests to encourage people onto the dance floor, lighting systems, hosting activities and games, and of course, playing music. Everyone can benefit from hiring a DJ for a wedding planned for dancing!

What you will pay for a DJ will determine the quality and performance you will receive.  DJs are not cheap, for good reason, as they are the main HOST for your wedding. Think, Ryan Seacrest for American Idol. No, they’re not the main event, but everyone will know who they are. 

The first rule in hiring a DJ is to make sure you like their personality. It is soooo important to meet the person whom you might hire for your wedding. Speak to the specific entertainer and not just a representative; and make sure they are listening to your wants and needs. Keep in mind that DJs can also charge extra for extra things, such as extra people on deck that night and what kind of lighting equipment they use (make sure to ask them about all of this and what the charges would be for each additional thing you might want). Check out reviews and references as well (a good DJ will always be able to provide you with references or reviews).

As with any other vendor, get a signed contract with your DJ. One important item to include in the contract is when the DJ will arrive and when he is scheduled to leave. Definitely give the DJ some “must have” songs and “do not play” song lists. Don’t worry about handling the music for the entire night as the DJ is a professional and should be able to read the crowd to play the best music for the mood. Definitely let him know the first dance, mother son dance, father daughter dance, or any other dances you know the music for.

About two weeks before your wedding, you should sit down with your DJ/MC and map out the wedding detailed from start to finish! This is where a wedding coordinator comes in handy, as they can handle these final preparations for you.

Ceremony Musicians

How much you will spend on your ceremony musician will often be determined by who you hire, as everyone will have different rates. Student performers will charge less than professionals; but don’t let the price the performer charges sway you in your decision making. I always tell my brides: you get what you pay for when it comes to hiring wedding vendors. 

Before you begin interviewing ceremony musicians, find out if your venue has any restrictions on outside musicians. Some venues have house musicians they would rather you use for your wedding. 

As with any other professional you’ll hire for your wedding, having a glowing recommendation is always a good sign! A great way to look for professional musicians is to check out the local symphony in your surrounding areas or make a post on Facebook to get recommendations from others who have experience with a ceremony musician. Recommendations or not, make sure to ask the musician if they can send you a sample of their work, so you can get a good sense of how they play.

Once you get an idea on who will be your musician, talk with them about specific tunes you want played and at what times you want them played at. This is an area the musician should be able to make some valid suggestions on music. Make sure to give the musicians the freedom to bring a variety of appropriate music to play for the wedding ceremony. It would not be good if things were running late and the musician runs out of music! 

As soon as you find your musician, put down a deposit and get a written contract. Make sure there is certain information in the contract to protect you, such as what kind of attire the musicians should wear and what happens if the group has to cancel. Have the musician come with you to the ceremony site as well, so that way they can scout a location for them for your wedding. Make sure they will be able to see who is coming down the aisle (maybe in front of the ceremony site or off to the side) as these visual clues help the musician know what to play. A wedding coordinator can also come in handy, as they can give signals to the musicians wherever they are located.

Ways to Save Money on your Wedding

Firstly, allow yourself plenty of time to plan. This way you can compare prices between different vendors and bargain prices down.

You can also ask family members help out with the wedding, as long as they can do it! You can have your friends and family members help set up and decorate for your wedding, or manage the guest book, just about anything.

You can get great buys in places where you wouldn’t normally shop for wedding stuff. Most people think of bridal boutiques and chain stores such as David’s Bridal, Target, and Hobby Lobby… but you will be surprised what you can find at places like Dollar Tree or even the Goodwill around the corner! 

Limiting the menu for dinner is another great way to cut down costs; instead of having a buffet, or 3 course meal (which can easily run up your bill).

Buy your own liquor! Doing this will avoid any markups in price. In addition, don’t have an open bar. Make sure to limit what’s available to drink (you don’t want guests taking shots at 5PM and drinking until 11PM or later… that’s when things turn into a safety concern).

You can also save money by not allowing children at your wedding. This can cut the catering bill down tremendously. But if you do this, make sure to make it clear to all guests that you are having an adults-only ceremony and/or reception.

You can also take advantage of local craft artists to make the décor and accessories for your wedding. You could also sign up for a crafts making class if you are wanting to do all the designing yourself. You could learn how to make your own centerpieces, bouquets, and much more!

Also never be afraid to ask for a discount! If you are really wanting a certain caterer and they are quoting you at $15 a plate but you can only afford $12 a plate, ask what your options are! Let them know that you were hoping to stay around $12 a plate. Most vendors are willing to work with couples on costs. We know how expensive weddings can be so if there is something we can do to make sure your dreams come true, we will try!

A Financial To-Do List for After the Wedding

1. Use your gift money wisely.

• You can put your gift money in an investment program that you can eventually tap into for a house.

• It’s never too early to start planning for retirement. So stash some of the cash for a retirement savings program.

• You should always have enough cash in savings to cover 3 to 4 months worth of expenses. If you haven’t already done so, put some of the money into a cash investment program.

2. Do a spreadsheet that compares each person’s medical insurance coverage to see which one fits your needs better.

3. Make sure you add your spouse’s name to your medical and life insurance policies as soon as you’re married.

4. If your spouse isn’t already listed as a beneficiary on your life insurance policy, change it now.

5. Get a will drawn up.

6. Keep credit cards and bank accounts in separate names (if you would like). This way, you’ll be able to establish or continue having separate lines of credit.

7. Figure out how much each of you will contribute to a joint savings account. Take into consideration how much each of you earns.

The Ceremony

Although most couples end up spending a large amount of time finding the wedding attire, hiring a photographer, and deciding where to go on their honeymoon; the most important part of the wedding day is the ceremony itself.

Years ago, when people got married, they usually wed someone from their hometown who belong to the same church as they did. Arranging for the wedding ceremony was a snap, because all it required was contacting their priest, minister, or rabbi; expressing their desire to get married in their house of worship; booking a date on the calendar. Now things aren’t as simple.

Today finding a place to get married and a person to preside over it can be quite complicated. Men and women don’t always attend the same church, if they go at all, and sometimes they don’t even share the same religious backgrounds.

The best way to find someone to perform your ceremony, especially if you don’t belong to a church or you’re marrying someone of a different religion, is to talk to other couples you know who have had similar weddings.

Just as couples of differing faith may include certain traditions from their religions in the ceremony service, couples should feel free to adjust to the vows they’re going to take. Your vows should be put into a language that you both feel comfortable with.

Once you’ve settled on what you want to say at your ceremony, practice it. Under no circumstances should you try to memorize your vows because it can cause anxiety on the wedding day and cause you to stumble on your words. Instead, you should rehearse them at home simply so you get comfortable saying them.

Finally, make sure you settle on vows you can live with. Remember, you’re making a commitment to God and to your spouse.

Makeup- Doing it Yourself Vs. Hiring a Pro (Part 2)

Hiring a Pro

• Ask the people close to you for recommendations!

• Make sure that the makeup artist you hire is polite and cooperative and that your personalities click. You’ll already be under enough stress on your wedding day, you don’t want your makeup artist to add to your stress.

• A makeup artist should be willing to travel to your wedding location if necessary so you don’t have to worry about getting to a salon. However, you should expect to pay some sort of travel fee to compensate the makeup artist for his or her time on the road.

• Expect to have a preliminary makeup consultation one month before your wedding.

• Let the makeup artist know whether you’re wearing a white or ivory dress and try to take a swatch of fabric with you to your consultation.

• If there’s a certain makeup style you like, show your makeup artist! However, keep in mind that each woman’s makeup will vary since everyone is different.

• Your makeup artist will probably suggest that your face be thoroughly cleansed, toned, and moisturized before your wedding.

Makeup- Doing it Yourself Vs. Hiring a Pro (Part 1)

While you definitely wanna look beautiful on your wedding day, the morning-of is not the time to experiment with a new eyeshadow color or try on false eyelashes for the first time. Just as you should visit your hairdresser and try out your wedding day hair ahead of time, you should practice with your wedding day make up for the wedding day. Unless you’re really good at applying make up, I would suggest having it done professionally at least once so you can pick up tricks for making your eyeliner look straight or finding a lipstick that doesn’t make your teeth look yellow.

Doing it Yourself

• Keep in mind that you have to do a little more than street make up for your wedding. Otherwise, you’re going to look washed out in your photographs.

• Concealers are a must, to cover up any blemishes or dark circles under the eyes.

• You should apply powder to your finished makeup. It will keep you from looking shiny right away.

• Make sure that your face and neck are not two different colors.

• Play up your eyes with natural colors!

• If you know you are going to cry at your wedding, invest in waterproof mascara to prevent it from running.

• Keep a pressed powder compact on hand throughout the wedding day so you can blot oily spots as they come up.

Planning From Afar

Here are some tips for planning a long distance wedding!

1. keep good notes on what’s being done and whom you might have delegated something to. That way if something happens with your flowers, you can look in your notes and see who was supposed to be handling them and what you’ve got jotted down from your last conversation.

2. Keep in touch with major players in the wedding, such as the bride award or your mother-in-law – especially if one of them is doing some of the planning for you.

3. If you’re going to travel to the wedding destination at all before hand, plan to get as much done as possible during that trip.

4. Learn that when planning a wedding from a far, you’re going to have to give up some control. If you accept that fact from the very start, you’ll save yourself from getting upset later when you realize you can’t control everything – especially over long distances.

5. Confirm everything ahead of time, including the names of the vendors you hired and the date the deposit was sent.

6. Only hire people who were recommended to you by people you trust or whom you have seen in action at other weddings.

Kids, Kids, Kids

I think you really need to think through why you want to have children in your wedding party. It may be because you have tons of nieces and nephews and you want all your family involved. This is great!

But, you might just think, “oh children are so cute,” but how cute will child be after sitting through a long church service? Children have a very short attention span, and they may lose their patience in the middle of the wedding ceremony or begin to cry. And this may not be the atmosphere you want to create for your wedding ceremony.

You may decide to have children in your wedding party because of what I call: the cuteness factor. A little boy walking down the aisle in a miniature tuxedo is sure to get smiles and “awwwws” from the guests. That is, if he does what he’s told to do. Personally, I wouldn’t include children under the age of four in your wedding because they can be very unpredictable.

Children are going to be children, and if they’re not comfortable doing something, then they shouldn’t have to do it. For some children, walking down a long aisle with hundreds of strange faces looking at them might be the most terrifying thing to happen to them in their young lives, and we need to keep this in mind. If you choose to include a child in your wedding, do try to include at least one of the child’s parents as well. It will make it less frightening for the child, and if he or she needs to be comforted, mom and dad are right there.

I believe that if you decide to have children in your wedding you need to be flexible. For example, if the flower girl decides not to scatter the rose petals as instructed, let it go. Likewise, you have to keep calm if the ringbearer decides that he wants to sit with mommy and daddy during the service. You don’t want to feel as if a three-year-old ruined your wedding. Also, do have an back-up plan if a child decides not to do what you want him or her to do.

A great way to guarantee that children don’t run wild at your reception and ceremony is to plan ahead so that way they feel as if they belong. For example, you’ll probably want to offer some kind of appropriate entertainment, such as coloring pagesfor the kids to work on and kid friendly dance music. When it comes to food, offer the kinds that kids love, like macaroni and cheese or chicken fingers. Think about it this way: if the kids like the food you offer and spend time eating it, it will keep them busy for awhile. Plus, with food in their tummies, they will probably be a lot less cranky.

If you think of all the contingencies ahead of time you should be able to have kids at your wedding without worry or disruption.

A Quick and Elegant Way to Assemble your Invitations

Learn how to assemble your invitations so that all of its components are presented to the guests in a beautiful and elegant way. Go ahead and clear up space on your dining room table so that way you can spread out all the parts of the invitations; and have some music playing, this is going to take a while!

1. Have you addressed outer envelopes and your addressed inner envelopes standing in a box for easy access.

2. First, place your wedding invitations, already folded in half, with the print side up on the far left-hand side of the table surface.

3. Next to the invitations, set down the stack of tissues you’ll lay over the invitations.

4. The next pile includes the response envelope, the response card, and the reception card. Start by stacking the response envelopes with the print side down (already stamped) so that the flap is sticking up. Next to the envelopes, place the pile of response cards and the reception cards.

5. Place at the far right end of your assembly line the outer and inner envelopes (it would be much easier with the invited guests names and addresses already written on them) and an empty box (to put the assembled invitations into). Now you can start putting them together!

6. Pick up the invitation and pick up the tissue and lay it over the printed portion of the invitation.

7. Then pick up the response card envelope and place the response card, with the printed side up, under the flap but not in the envelope. Then placed the reception card, on top of the response card, print side up. Lay the stack on top of the invitation; make sure the print on the invitation and the response card are parallel to each other.

8. Slide everything into the inner envelope with the invitation folder at the bottom of the inner envelope.

9. Turn the inner envelope over so that the printed names are facing you and then slide it into the outer envelope. The finished package should be put together in such a way that if you lift the flap of the outer envelope you would see the printed names on the inner envelope.

10. Seal the envelope and place it in the empty box. Do the same for the rest of the invitations (this is why we have music…) and when finished, deliver them to the post office! You’re done!

Invitation Basics

One of the best ways to set the tone for your wedding day is through the invitations you select. If you received an engraved invitation on ecru card stock with fancy black lettering, you can be pretty sure that the guys in the wedding party will be wearing tuxedos. These are wedding invitations rules of thumb, but you do not have to follow these invitation rules to have a good wedding!

There should never be an abbreviation on an invitation (exceptions include Mr., Mrs., St…). You have to write out every single word on the invitation, including a middle name or a street address. Even the year is spelled out (instead of putting 2020, it should be two thousand and twenty).

You have to remember that what is written on the invitation isn’t in complete sentences. An invitation is also not the place to tell your life story. All you need to include is the particulars: Who is getting married, when, where, and who is hosting the wedding. Keep in mind that etiquette states that the first names to appear on the invitation should be the names of the people paying for the wedding. However, in today’s world of blended families, I think it’s perfectly OK for the couple to get a little creative!

Besides the basics of who, what, where, and when, you must also include a response card with an invitation. This will help you calculate the headcount for the caterer. However, even with the response card, some guests still don’t understand that there’s a meal involved and they must respond in order for you to feed them. Instead, they think that they can not respond to your invitation, show up on the day of the wedding, and everything will be OK.

To avoid problems with nonresponsive guests, you must include a “respond by” day on the response card. It may not inspire the guests to respond by that date, but at least it gives you an in to get on the phone and call the people who did not respond by your set date.

Just as there are guests who don’t know enough to respond on time, there are some guests who ignore the names written on the envelope and respond with the names of the people they want to bring. For example, if you’ve invited Mr. Smith only and a response card comes back with the names Mr. Smith and Miss Jones, you need to call Mr. Smith and point out the mistake . I suggest saying something like this:

“listen, we’ve had to cut our guest list to include people who are the most special to us. I hope you can join us for a wedding, but I won’t be able to welcome your friend.” Don’t be shy for mission. I know that in Texas today, you can pay around $50 per person for a wedding. And that’s just the meal, not even the cake. If someone brings a person you’re not expecting, that put you in $50 over budget. If more than one person does this, you’ve got a serious problem. To avoid any last-minute financial headaches, you’ve got to nip the uninvited guest problem in the butt.

Besides uninvited guests, another big problem brides face is response cards that come back with no name on them. You can avoid this problem by keeping a list of all your guests with a number assigned to each person‘s name. Then you can pencil in the number on the back of the response card for that person‘s invitation. That way, if the card comes back unsigned, you can cross-reference it with the number on your list and know who it came from.

Many people like traditional, plain, and simple wedding invitations that have a very formal look to them. Unless you’re having a formal wedding, however, don’t use them. It won’t look right. Instead you can keep a classic format or paper stock but use more casual script or wording for a less formal wedding. How you decide to have your invitation look is also reflective of your community. What all your friends and family typically wear to other peoples weddings in town, they will most likely wear to your wedding.

Also, never write “black-tie optional”. That’s redundant, because black-tie is always optional. You cannot command someone to wear a black tie outfit to your wedding; you can only suggest it.

6 Tips on Choosing a Travel Agent

1. You should get a good feeling when you talk to your travel agent. The office should be pretty organized and neat, and you should be treated politely.

2. An agent is not going to know answers to every question you ask, but he or she shouldn’t brush off questions either. If you ask the agent something he or she is not familiar with, make sure he or she gets back to you within 72 hours with a reasonable answer.

3. Don’t hire someone who works out of his or her home. You want someone who is affiliated with an agency and who is a member of an organization. Typically, someone who is a member of an organization or with an agency will make sure to give you what you need versus trying to oversell you on a lot of stuff that’ll make their paycheck bigger. Ask your travel agent if they make a certain percentage commission off of what they sell to you.

4. Find out if the agency has insurance that will cover you if an airline goes belly up or the resort goes out of business.

5. More and more travel agencies are offering honeymoon registries as an alternative to traditional registries. If you have a hard time deciding what you need for your household, let yourselves off the hook by registering for a honeymoon.

6. By registering for a honeymoon, you can take a honeymoon that you might not have been able to afford otherwise. It’s also easy to work with the travel agent long distance. You can register for your honeymoon and make your travel plans over the phone.

Honeymoons and Travel Agents

When it comes to time to figure out what you want to do and where you want to go on your honeymoon, you shouldn’t just spin a globe, close your eyes, and see where your finger lands. Instead, you and your future spouse should begin researching your honeymoon by jotting down a few items on a piece of paper.

First you need to find out what your likes and dislikes are. Here are some questions to ask yourselves: Where have you traveled to before? Where have you always wanted to go? Do you like the beach or do you prefer to spend a vacation skiing? It’s best for you both to weigh what’s important to you in a vacation, which will help you narrow down where you want to go and what kind of honeymoon you want to take.

A travel agent can help you sift through this information and assist you in making the best honeymoon decision. Make an appointment with the travel agent about a year before your wedding. It’s not uncommon for popular honeymoon destinations to be booked 6 to 9 months ahead of time. Besides your travel preferences, one of the most important factors affecting your honeymoon decision is your budget.

With a travel agent, it’s pretty simple: you tell the travel agent what your dream honeymoon would be, he or she tells you how much it will cost, and then you narrow it down until you find the trip you’re happy with. What’s great about a travel agent is he or she can help you discover ways to cut costs on your honeymoon without compromising the quality of the trip. A good travel agent will send you away from your first meeting together with a handful of brochures to study. After your initial consultation with your travel agent, you can do the rest of your honeymoon planning over the phone. It may take two or more telephone calls to figure out all the details. However, once you decide on a destination, be prepared to start paying for your honeymoon.

Choosing a Hairstylist

You can always do your hair yourself if you don’t trust someone to do it for you; but if you have a special look in mind, which most women do, then the best bet is to seek professional help. I always suggest to, at least, have one dry run with your hairstylist. That way you have a chance to get used to how it looks, and you can determine how long it’s going to take to do your hair on your wedding day. Find a stylist who is going to experiment with a few different looks. If you want to wear your hair down, let the stylist with it that way. If you want it up, let them try a few styles on you.

If you find a stylist that you really like, stick with them. Also, the styles the stylist suggests are their professional opinions. It’s very important for the stylist to be honest about what styles they think will look good on you and which won’t.

Hair Do’s and Don’ts

Don’t do anything drastic the week before your wedding, because you don’t want to take any chances that the end result will be a disaster. You need 2 to 3 weeks to settle into a new hairstyle and you need a week or two for your hair to settle into a new haircut. If you color your hair, have your new color done about two weeks before the wedding. If you’re only having a tint touch up on your roots, then you can have that done the week of or a few days before your wedding. You want your color to look as fresh as possible.

Do eat before you go to the stylus. I don’t want you to faint, it has happened.

Do remember to confirm your appointment in advance.

Do get in writing the services your hairstylist will provide and what time here she will show up.

Don’t leave angry and go home and do your own hair. Make sure to let your hairstylist know if you are unhappy with the results.

Choosing a Florist

Finding a florist who can make your dreams a reality is a huge task, so it’s important to know what kinds of questions to ask, what to look for in well-run business, and how to understand the nature of flowers. Do you research ahead of time, and I’m sure you’ll end up with gorgeous flowers!

As with any other vendors you hire for your wedding day, you want to use recommendations from friends and family when hiring a florist. If you attend a wedding or an event and see some flowers that you think are out of this world, don’t be afraid to ask the host who they used.

One of the first things you need to talk to a potential florist about is your budget. This way, the florist can direct you to the kinds of flowers that would fit your spending goals. Also go to their shop! You want to get a sense of how smoothly things run there and how they treat customers.

Right off the bat, the florist should ask you about the dress you’re wearing and the color of your bridesmaids dresses. It’s a good idea to take a picture if you have one or swatch of fabric. A florist who has experience doing weddings may even ask about your wedding colors during your initial phone conversation. Then when you come into the shop, he or she may have a couple floral arrangements made to give you an idea of what here she might make for your wedding.

A good florist not only will take your preferences into consideration but also guide you to the best flower choices for the season. Many brides make the mistake of taking sheets from magazines with them to their meeting with the florist. This approach may work when buying a dress, but its not that appropriate when shopping for flowers. These pictures can get the florist a good idea of the style for the bouquet or centerpiece you want, but they don’t help with the actual flower selection.

A good florist will take all of your ideas into consideration. Like your dress, veil or headpiece, bridesmaids dresses, centerpieces, ceremony site, etc.

Before you sign the contract with the florist, ask how many other events the florist is doing on the day of your wedding. You may want to steer clear of a florist who you think is juggling too many jobs at once. Have all of the details of your agreement spelled out in a contract, including what time the flowers will be delivered and, in the event that your first choice flowers aren’t available, what kind of flowers the florist will substitute.

Important Questions to ask a Florist

1. Do you specialize in weddings?

2. Are you licensed?

3. Do you have proper cooling devices?

4. Do you have references I can call?

5. Do you have pictures of work you’ve done for other weddings?

6. Are you familiar with the location where I’m having my ceremony and reception?

10 Real-Life Wedding Tips

1. This is 2020. We have lived with this ancient rule that a bride’s family is supposed to pay for everything, but typically nowadays couples pay for their own wedding, and that’s OK.

2. Plan ahead. Simply put the more time you have to plan, the more time you have to collect some cash.

3. Be honest. Once you decided how much your dream day will cost, talk to your parents and find out how they might be willing to help on. Rather than asking them for some money, suggest they pay for a particular expense like the cake or venue.

4. Be shrewd, not cheap. Don’t scrimp on the special event. A little creativity and good advice can save you fortun, but if you can’t come up with a creative way to save money, spend it. If you’re anything like me, you’ll remember how you really wanted those roses on the tables even 25 years after the day of your wedding! Details matter too.

5. Ask around. Talk to everyone you know who has been married in the last couple years. The best events are often filled with ideas or variations of ideas borrowed from several different weddings. Don’t be afraid to “borrow” ideas, but do try to personalize them.

6. Pick a number. Sit down with your future husband and decide how many people you can afford to invite to your wedding. Make up the list and stick to it. Don’t let anyone tell you that you need to invite someone you’ve never met. And most important, don’t fall into the “but they’ll buy you nice gifts” trap. You’ll spend $50 a head for a couple who brings you one of 16 clocks you received that day. You won’t know where to return it because they bought it from the factory outlet store while they were vacationing in North Carolina. Invite people because you want them to witness the special occasion, not because of the gifts they’ll bring. This is not a political campaign we’re talking about, it’s your wedding.

7. Be organized. Create an itinerary for the day of your rehearsal and the day of the wedding, literally minute by minute. This is where a Wedding Coordinator comes in. Most brides have never planned their own wedding, so don’t really know how to do it. Spending a little bit of extra money to have someone plan your big day to save you stress is worth it!!! Plus, you will get to be a guest at your own wedding instead of a hostess; which means you can enjoy your night without having to check the clock every five minutes to make sure that you are still on schedule, because you will have paid someone to do that for you.

8. Love your photographer. Believe it or not, this could make or break the entire day. Tell your photographer exactly what you want and when you want it. There’s nothing like being pulled away with a mouth full of imported cheese to be told it’s time to pose for a photo with grandma Simmons. I’ve seen one too many bridal couples show up 45 minutes late to the reception because the photographer took too long taking photos at the gazebo. If the photographer is not crystal clear on what your expectations are, it will throw off the entire day. I know getting the best shots for the album is important, but it’s certainly not worth ruining the event. Again, a Wedding Coordinator can handle this for you as well.

9. Have fun. Don’t let last-minute details throw you off. Just try to enjoy your day. If you start to feel stressed, think honeymoon.

10. What are you doing? In all the chaos, it is easy to lose sight of the day’s purpose. You and your fiancé are pulling together the people you love to witness this important occasion – the day you commit to spend the rest of your lives together. You are starting a new life together, a life filled with love, fun, and happiness. Whatever you do, don’t let the details allow you to forget about the partnership you are about to enter. That’s more important than any wedding planning decision or detail you’ll encounter.

Finances

Let me tell you, the greatest feeling ever is having your wedding day over and knowing that you don’t owe anyone money! And being able to do that isn’t as hard as you think as long as you plan ahead and stick to your money saving strategy. You, too, can start your new life together debt-free!

Anytime you have to do major financial planning, be it saving for a wedding or your first house, you might want to contact a certified financial planner. What he or she can do for you that you might not be able to do for yourself is tell you how much you have to save each month and suggest a program under which you can earn an optimal interest rate for your needs.

Another great way to save money painlessly, is to have a forced savings plan. Ask your employer to do an automatic payroll deduction and deposit into a savings account. This way, each time you get paid, money is being put into your savings account without you having to think about it.

Beyond saving dollars, another great way to meet your financial goal is to pay down your credit card debt. You’d be surprised at how much money people spend trying to pay off their credit cards and how it can drain their ability to save. In fact, if you were to pay the minimum amount each time you got a credit card statement, it will take you years to pay off your credit card. And you would be incurring interest at a very high rate. Instead, it might be wise to plant ahead and get a debt consolidation loan (if you can’t figure out a way to pay off your debt on your own). This way you’ll have a lower monthly payment and a lower interest-rate.

If you find that the time frame you set for yourself to pay for your wedding isn’t realistic, then ask your parents or grandparents to loan you money for your wedding. Or put your wedding off so you’ll have more time to save. But, trust me, the more that you can pay off at once, the more you will enjoy your wedding!

Divorced Parents

With the divorce rate somewhere around 50% of all marriages, chances are that you will probably have to deal with at least one set of divorced parents at your wedding. You may run into problems like parents who don’t want to work with other parents, parents who don’t get along, and various other wrenches that having divorced parents help throw into the works.

The good news is, if you act sensibly throughout the wedding planning process and keep everyone’s feelings in mind, you’ll probably be able to pull off a great event- even with divorced parents- without shedding any tears.

The first piece of advice I can offer you is this- planning a wedding is stressful without the divorce in the picture. But PLEASE don’t think that the problems you run into have been caused by the divorce. Even couples with happily married parents find that their mothers and fathers argue over certain wedding planning details. So it isn’t just divorced parents that fight.

With that said, you’ve got to approach your wedding plans in one of two ways. If your parents get along well and will cooperate as you see fit, then you can go ahead with your wedding plans as any other bride or groom would. However, if your parents tend to fight, don’t get along, or aren’t on speaking terms, then you’ll need to keep them separate and figure out a way to have them both be involved with the wedding without causing any conflict.

Assuming that just your parents are going to be involved in planning because they’ll be footing the bill, here’s a way to do it: Have your father handle the reception and your mother deal with the ceremony. That means your father will be involved with helping to select the reception site, the meal, the flowers for the tables, and the entertainment. Your mother will work with the church or ceremony site coordinator, book a musician for the ceremony, and handle flowers for the wedding.

Of course there’s no magic way to keep your parents from making you want to call off the wedding. But having a plan of action to keep everyone at ease during your wedding (especially your parents) will definitely help you have the best day of your life! And always remember: your parents love you and they just want you to be happy!

Don’t Forget to Eat!

Many brides are so nervous on the day of their wedding that they can’t eat anything. Or they’re so busy with last minute tasks that they forget to have a meal. Unfortunately, not eating will lead you to be more prone to aggravation, and physically shaky. Add to this: the possible tendency to load up on caffeine as an energy source, and soon, you will have all the symptoms of low blood sugar- headache, sweating, irritability, and the shakes.

Not eating good food can also wreck havoc on your face. If you don’t eat anything on your wedding day, you could end up with some sallow-looking skin and circles under your eyes.

The best plan of action on your wedding day is to eat foods with carbohydrates and protein in them. The combination of the two will raise your blood sugar level and give you the energy you need to make it through the ceremony. Excellent carbohydrate and protein snacks include a bowl of cereal, cheese and crackers, a cold cut sandwich…

Personally, I let my brides know that eating on the day of their wedding is crucial!! If you’re not planning on bringing snacks to the venue, or having lunch: a great cater for the wedding day is Chick-fil-A. They have awesome deals for parties, and not only that but their food is high in protein and carbohydrates. As a wedding coordinator, I would personally go get food for the wedding party. But even a family member or a person in the bridal party can go get this for everyone.

Even a few bites is better than nothing!!

Premarital Counseling

Before you get married, let’s talk about some things that need to be discussed/touched on…

Depending on where you get married, you might have to enter premarital counseling before you actually hold your ceremony (and depending on who is marrying you). With this day and age, we see more weddings held in venues than we do in actual churches. Most couples don’t get the chance to get that extra foundation put into their lives because of this change.

Of course, premarital counseling does not dictate whether or not you are going to have a successful marriage. But knowing what to talk to your husband about, what your differences are, and what you agree on, can definitely relieve stress in your marriage.

Here are the six main topics that every engaged couple should discuss before they get married:

1. Communication. You need to learn to argue in a way that isn’t demeaning.

2. Financial pressures. You may be a spender while your fiancé is a saver. You need to figure out a way you’ll make money decisions that make you both feel comfortable.

3. Having children. Birth-control methods need to be determined ahead of time, and you need to clarify when you each see children coming into your lives. In addition, you need to know how you would deal with an unplanned pregnancy.

4. Extended family and friends. This topic includes the relationship you currently have with your parents and friends and how that may change after you get married.

5. Sexual relations. Some people are raised to think that sex is not a healthy thing, so they won’t communicate with their spouse about what is fulfilling for them. A healthy sex life affects the well-being of your marriage.

6. Philosophy of life and religion. For example, if one of you is a practicing Jew and the other a practicing Christian, you are going to have to figure out how you will accommodate religion in your life.

As a man and wife, you have to share everything together. You become one unit, one body. Taking care of your marriage is taking care of yourself and the person that you dedicated your life to. remember to always keep an open mind with your significant other, and always remember why you’re getting married in the first place.

Time for a Change!

Most women do not have a terribly hard time changing their names. It’s what we expect to do from childhood, and when the time comes to change our names at marriage, women happily take their husband’s names. However, a growing number of women are finding it difficult to change their names.

If a woman has a professional identity associated with her name, she’s more likely to keep it. What many women are doing is living with two identities. Maybe by using her maiden name as her middle name, or using a hyphened last name.

But, approaching the issue of not changing your name is not easy. Since it’s still considered going against the norm, the very topic itself can cause conflict in your relationship with your fiancé. Make sure, if you’re wanting to have this discussion with your fiancé, that you think it through clearly. Present the issue to your fiancé in a conversation that is free of interruption. Make sure you take your fiancé’s feelings into consideration. Make sure that you’re both sharing your feelings equally. If you can’t find common ground, shelve the issue for a little while.

Your legal name is the one that appears on the most recent formal document of maximum authority in your life. Those documents are your birth certificate, marriage license, passport, and divorce decree. As a woman getting married, the legal document that will affect you the most is your marriage certificate. Therefore, whatever name you choose on your marriage certificate becomes your legal name.

Ideally, all of your legal documentation in your life, such as your passport, should then reflect the same name change. But, for example, if your passport doesn’t need to be renewed around the time of your wedding, it really isn’t going to matter that it still has your maiden name on it. Don’t worry, you haven’t defrauded anyone by not changing your name, but you might run into trouble if you try to travel to a different country (I suggest traveling with a copy of your marriage certificate, so that if the name on your plane ticket is different from the one on your passport, you can explain the discrepancy).

If you decide to keep your maiden name professionally or keep using your maiden name because you like it better than your married name, you need to understand that your maiden name is still not your legal name. However, if you don’t get around to changing your credit cards or drivers license, you won’t get into any legal trouble.

If you decide to change your name, then you’ll probably want to make a list of all the documents you will need to update. Start with the most formal documents in your life, such as your marriage license, passport, and perhaps the deed to your house (if you have one yet). Then, add other every day items like your credit cards, Social Security card, drivers license, bank statement, personal checks, investment accounts, and insurance policies.

Also,don’t forget to notify the post office!

Why Should You Hire a Wedding Coordinator?

If you are about to get married, don’t let the stress of planning get in the way of your happy day. This will be one of the happiest days of your life, but trying to plan everything on your own can be stressful.

Everyone can benefit from hiring a wedding coordinator. Even brides who are planning their weddings closer to home can benefit from the services of a coordinator. Not only can a coordinator bring their expertise to the planning table, but they can help things run smoothly on the wedding day too.

When a wedding coordinator helps a bride plan her wedding from start to finish, they bring a level of expertise and know-how that the bride probably does not possess. Look at it this way. You can change the oil in your car, but you take it to a service station because they are professionals; they change oil for a living. Wedding coordinators plan weddings for a living.

When you hire a wedding planner, you can be confident that they know exactly how to plan your wedding, because they’ve done it before. Using your vision for the day, they’ll make a timeline that makes sense and meets all your needs. They’ll also make sure everyone who needs to know is clued in on the timeline, so they’re in the right place at the right time.

Wedding Coordinators can act as a mediator if members of the family are fighting among themselves, or don’t want to be near each other. A coordinator can also help you keep calm when it seems as if plans are getting out of control.

When hiring a coordinator, you should feel that they are your advocate and that their decisions aren’t being affected by anything but your wants and desires. A wedding coordinator should make you feel like you’re free to focus on the things that really matter to you. After all, this is one of your most important days! A great wedding coordinator will always keep that in mind.

Bridesmaid Dresses

I’ve talked to numerous brides who discovered that finding a dress to satisfy every woman in her bridal party was next to impossible.

But you have to remember that this is your day and you’ve got the final say on all decisions. While it is kind of you to take your friend’s and family’s comments into consideration, you should feel free to choose whatever dresses you want!

It’s also next to impossible to have a bridal party of women with the same body types. Therefore, it’s important to find a dress that complements everyone involved.

A great way to avoid problems down the line is to ask the women with unusual body types to accompany you when you shop for bridesmaids dresses. By having her try on dresses, you can find one that looks good on her, which in turn will probably look just as good on the women who’s bodies that are less difficult to fit.

In my experience, I found that you’re never going to please all of your bridesmaids. If you choose identical stuff for them, they might not like the scoop neck on the dresses or how they are below the knee skirts. On the other hand, if you give them a little freedom and tell them that the only requirement is that they have a dress of the same color and fabric, they could complain about the color.

No matter what, remember this is YOUR wedding! So find the dress that you like, and let that be the end of discussion.

Even though dress shopping will occur fairly early in the planning timeline, you should have a pretty good sense of what your wedding colors are going to be by the time you begin looking at dresses. That way you’ll know what color bridesmaid dress is appropriate. Or you can let the color dress you choose lead all your other decorating decisions. You also probably won’t find a dress that your bridal party is going to wear again and again, so pick a dress that your bridal party can afford.

Types of Attire for the Wedding

While you can never demand that anyone wear (or not wear) anything to your wedding….you can always give your guests the attire of your bridal party in the invitation! This can helps guests dress accordingly if they decide to do so.

Below are guidelines to help you know exactly what to say to your guests about the attire of your wedding. Just remember, your wedding can be as unique as you want it to be and does not have to follow these guidelines!

Formal Daytime Wedding

Bride: floor-length dress in white or off-white with a train and long veil

Maid of Honor, Bridesmaids, and Flower Girls: floor-length dress in matching colors with matching shoes

Groom: cutaway coat (traditional) or grey tuxedo (modern)

Ushers and Groomsmen: similar to groom’s attire with variation in shirt and tie

Bride and Groom’s Mothers: long or short dress

Bride and Groom’s Fathers: same as grooms attire

*****

Formal Evening Wedding

Bride: same as formal daytime attire

Maid of Honor, Bridesmaids, and Flower Girls: same as formal daytime attire

Groom: Black tailcoat with white wing-collar piqué formal shirt (traditional) or black tuxedo with white formal shirt (modern)

Ushers and Groomsmen: similar to groom’s attire with a variation in tie style (bow tie and long tie)

Bride and Groom’s Mothers: long evening gown

Bride and Groom’s Fathers: same as groom’s attire

*****

Semiformal Daytime Wedding

Bride: floor-length dress in white or off-white with a short veil

Maid of Honor, Bridesmaids, and Flower Girls: same as formal daytime attire

Groom: grey or navy tuxedo

Ushers and Groomsmen: similar to groom’s attire but with a difference in vest and/or tie

Bride and Groom’s Mothers: floor-length dress

Bride and Groom’s Fathers: identical or groom’s attire or in a dark suit

*****

Semiformal Evening Wedding

Bride: same as semiformal daytime attire

Maid of Honor, Bridesmaids, and Flower Girls: same as semiformal daytime attire

Groom: tuxedo in a range of colors depending on the season (dark colors for fall/winter; bright colors for spring/summer

Ushers and Groomsmen: identical to groom’s attire but can be a different color tuxedo/suit with a difference in vest and tie

Bride and Groom’s Mothers: same as semiformal daytime attire

Bride and Groom’s Fathers: identical to groom’s attire but with a difference in tie

*****

Informal Daytime and Evening Weddings

Bride: cocktail dress or formal dress with a range in colors

Maid of Honor, Bridesmaids, and Flower Girls: dress should be the same formality of the bride’s dress

Groom: suit in a range of colors (fall/winter), sports coat with slacks/jeans (summer/spring)

Ushers and Groomsmen: identical to groom’s attire but with a difference in tie

Bride and Groom’s Mothers: cocktail dress

Bride and Groom’s Fathers: identical to groom’s attire but with a difference in tie

A Guide for the Best Man

When planning a wedding, sometimes you can get overstressed with how much you have to do, errands wise.

Some of the responsibilities that you can put off onto the best man include:

1. Organizing the bachelor party

2. Consulting with other groomsmen and ushers about a joint gift for the groom

3. Assisting in arranging hotel stays and transportation for out of town guests

4. Making sure the grooms suitcase is packed and brought with to the reception for the honeymoon

5. Carrying the bride’s ring (on his person) and giving it to the groom at the proper time

A Guide for Ushers

What is an usher? Why is an usher important to my wedding?

When you’re looking for ways to include family members beyond adding them to your bridal party, selecting them as ushers is often a great choice.

The general rule is 1 usher for every 50 guests. Even for small weddings, you should still have at least two ushers so that no one is left standing and waiting to be escorted to their seat for too long. Having ushers at your ceremony is also beneficial, because you will have designated men who can direct people to restrooms, assist any handicapped persons, and answer questions when the bridal party is busy.

The responsibilities of an usher include:

1. Seats all wedding guests

2. Traditionally, seats bride’s family on the left and groom’s family on the right

3. If seating becomes one sided, tries to even it up

4. Gives right arm to women and escorts them down the aisle to their seat

5. Helps make sure there are no distractions during the ceremony (late arrivers, disruptive kids, enforces “no pictures” rule, etc.)

Including Others in your Wedding

It isn’t always possible to include every single friend and family member in your bridal party, but there are other ways to make good friends and loved ones feel special on your big day. You can always list special friends and relatives in your service program, but if you’d like to get them more involved, here are some suggestions for including people in your wedding.

Have someone be in charge of the guestbook.

Read a poem or religious reading during the ceremony.

Help the wedding coordinator with any needs.

Help call invited guest who forgot to respond to their invitations on time.

Help decorate the ceremony and reception area. 

Help with the bride and groom send off.

Help the photographer to make sure he or she doesn’t miss any important shots.

Help with cleanup after the wedding reception. 

If you do assign a friend or relative one or more of these tasks, have a boutonniere or corsage made for that person to wear on your wedding day. That way all the guests will know that he or she is someone special. 

Bridal Party

I think that choosing your bridal party is one of the most difficult decisions you make when planning your wedding. When you think about it, selecting someone to be your maid of honor or best man is saying to that person: “ you are one of the most meaningful people in my life, and it would be an honor for me to have you stand up for me when I get married.”

Where most people run into problems, and why some bridal parties are so huge, is most people have a hard time deciding who those meaningful people in life are. People also run into a problem when they don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings so they include everyone in the wedding party.

One way to avoid many problems is to apply specific criteria to how you choose the bridal party. For example, you could say that you’ll consider longevity of friendship only or that you are going to stick with family members. That way, if you have to leave someone out of your bridal party, you can explain it by letting them know, “I’ve chosen only family members to be in the bridal party.”

Another good idea, is if you feel really bad about leaving someone out of your bridal party, you can offer them an alternative way to be included in the wedding itself (maybe help pass out cake or be in charge of the sign in table). And if you want them to be more included than just helping, tell them that it would be an honor for you to have them read a poem or do a religious reading during the ceremony.

Keep in mind when selecting the bridal party, you should have one bridesmaid and groomsmen for every 40 or so guests you invite. The bigger the wedding: the bigger the bridal party. The smaller the wedding: the smaller the bridal party.

Accessories

The accessories you choose to wear on your wedding day can really make or break the look you want to create. For example, if you’re wearing a widely decorated wedding gown with an extensive train, you’ll probably want to keep your veil and jewelry simple so as not to distract from the dress… and yourself, of course!

When you shop for accessories, make sure that you will have a chance to see your selections as a finished package. So when you go buy shoes or earrings: take the dress with you. Or make sure you have the option of returning items if they don’t look quite right when you try them on at home. It is very important that your entire ensemble looks good together!

One of the first things you must take into consideration when choosing your veil is the size and scale of the veil compared to your dress. A veil should complement a bride, not overwhelm her. Also, considering how much time and thought you are putting into selecting your dress, you don’t want the veil to cover the dress up. Not only will the decoration of your dress determine the veil you choose, but so will your face shape. If you have a narrow face, you may want to add width to the top of your face with a veil that puffs out around your head instead of hanging down around it. If you have a more round face and want to slim up your face, you’ll want to find a more subdued veil that creates more of a vertical line around your face.

With jewelry, in my opinion, simple is always better. Between a gown that has some bold characteristics to it and something fancy on your head, you will want to keep your jewelry to a minimum. If you wear a lot of rings on your hands, I suggest that for your wedding day, you wear only your wedding set. You also definitely don’t want to wear a watch.

Your decision about wearing a necklace depends more on the neckline of your dress. If you’re wearing a high-necked dress, it doesn’t make any sense for you to hang a necklace over it. for a gown with a lower cut neckline, stick with a necklace 18 to 20 inches long. What’s perfect about a necklace at this length is it won’t be so long that it hangs over the neckline of your dress. However, it’s just the right length to create a V on your upper chest. This elongates the neck, thins the face, and creates a fabulous frame for the face. Do keep in mind, that the neck lines of many gowns are beautifully cut and detailed. Therefore, wearing a necklace would just distract from the beauty of the dress.

When it comes to earrings, my general guideline is that the earring should not be larger than the tip of your thumb. Stick with an earring that is stable, not one that dangles and moves when you walk. This activity around your ears could be distracting to look at. The color of the earrings you choose should complement your dress. Pearls and diamonds are always an excellent choice. Remember: you want the focus to be on the face, not the earrings you choose to wear!

Shoes are perhaps one of the most important purchases you will make. You’re going to be on your feet practically all day, so invest in a pair shoes that will be comfortable for hours! However, do keep in mind, if your dress is detailed and eye-catching, you’ll want to stick with a simple styled shoe. Conversely, if you’re wearing a simpler dress, you can go with a more elaborate shoe. Remind bridesmaids to keep the same advice in mind when selecting their shoe. And don’t forget to break them in!

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