Gifts for the Girls

Everyone at your wedding is important but those standing next to you at the altar hold a special meaning. Aside from being closest, they’ve helped get you to your big day. Alongside saying how thankful you are for their time and assistance, a keepsake is a tangible reminder of their value.

Although it may seem like a task you can leave for the last minute, doing so may make it obvious by limiting your options. You don’t want to settle for something or worse, have your bridesmaids feel as if you did.

While you should stay within the same price range (whatever that may be), don’t give your bridesmaids the same present. Even though it’s easier, they don’t have the same interests or wants. Selecting gifts with special meanings lets them know you took time to show how valuable they are to you. Add a touching message to make them even more personal.

While each contributed to your shower, decision making and preparation, your maid of honor had the most responsibilities. Giving her a pricier or extra special gift is appropriate. Don’t be too extravagant though as that may make the others appear insignificant.

If the presents are ones to be incorporated in your wedding, it’s best to give them while getting ready so they aren’t accidentally left behind. Otherwise, doing so at the rehearsal is great. That way, the girls can take them home without worrying about keeping track of them during the festivities.

Sometimes it seems as if there’s another cost at every turn. With all the love and support your closest friends have given you, this should be an expense you are more than pleased to include in your budget.

Year’s End Means New Trends

Each year brings new styles, colors and innovative ideas for brides. While exciting and fun, they can make decisions even more complicated. What you wear reflects your personality but is often what ties aspects such as the venue, time of day, formality etc. together. Just a few exciting trends for your gown follow:

Florals: Every wedding has flowers, from centerpieces to bouquets and boutonnieres but now are appearing in various ways on dresses. Whether an actual floral print, used subtly as lace texture or three-dimensional embellishment, they are edgy and unique. If bold enough, your dress could speak for itself and skip the bouquet.

Less Length: Most dresses must be lifted while walking and you don’t want a gown covered in grass or dirt, nor one you might trip over. Showing a little leg is a great solution. They are easier to maneuver and dance in, let you show off an amazing pair of shoes and come in countless silhouettes, so they aren’t just for casual affairs.

Puffy Sleeves: While seemingly a bad throwback to the 80’s, volume is be being done in very tasteful ways. Some gowns are off-the-shoulder with the poof from the elbow down. Others are short and just at the top. If you have commitment phobia to the idea, they can be eased by being detachable for the reception or wearing a fitted gown and minimal accessories.

Ruffles: Light, airy ruffles add a romantic feeling to any gown but need not engulf you from head to toe. Add some frill to the top of a fitted bottom or opt for a corseted bodice with a cascading, dimensional skirt. They are a fun, flirty (and lightweight) way to embellish your dress and show off your whimsical side.

Whatever dress you select will surely be the perfect one for you. There are ways to subtly incorporate the ideas mentioned above. That way, you can be on trend and stand out but not worry about looking back at your wedding photos years from now and wonder “What was I thinking?”

The Venue Too?

As with most aspects of your dream day, finding the perfect venue may require more time and thought than anticipated. You should research and brainstorm before you look for many reasons some of which follow:

Style: While spaces of every size and sort exist, perhaps they don’t in your area. If they do, they may not match your style, vision, theme etc. Work around this by finding venues you can easily transform, i.e. blank slates or non-wedding locations similar to what you are looking for.

Availability: Looking early is important because many book up way in advance. Even those that don’t sometimes have your chosen date already taken. If so, you can ask to be put on the waiting list if your date becomes available while continuing to look. However, if you can’t see getting wed anywhere else, extending your engagement is an option.

Size: If a place is too small, invite only close friends and family to your ceremony and include everyone else at the reception. Alternatively, if you have too much room, see if you can use only a portion of the space or get creative by spreading out the seating to minimize the appearance of the size.

Regulations: Locations without any restrictions are rare so consider what you will accept. Churches, for example, likely don’t allow alcohol, have limits on noise levels and closing times. Such are reasonable due to locational and TABC regulations, etc. Other sites require you to use “preferred” vendors, have minimum time requirements and other ways to increase costs you don’t want, need or can afford.

Given the number of possible places, you need a clear vision of what you are looking for to minimize the time and energy spent looking at venues. Among those considerations are budget, capacity, restrictions, style and availability.

Backing Out

Some of the first things when preparing for your big day is to choose your pastor, the wedding party and who will give toasts and speeches. All are very important roles requiring time, energy and forethought both on your part and theirs. Unfortunately, there are occasions when one or more will back out at the last minute leaving you to wonder what to do.

Don’t get upset. Life happens and those who accepted their positions did so out of care for you. While it may throw you for a loop, there is surely a good reason behind his/her decision.

If a member of your wedding party, replacing them is not the best idea. Who you choose will likely feel as if a backup and be hurt. It is perfectly acceptable to have an uneven number of bridesmaids and groomsmen. However, if it’s your maid of honor or the best man, feel free to ask someone already chosen to change roles.

As far as toasts and speeches go, people put time and effort into saying what they will deliver. There’s no reason to ask someone new. It also puts a lot of pressure on anyone to compose anything meaningful at the last minute.

For piece of mind, you should (at some point in time) inquire why things changed but no wedding is perfect and such questions should be addressed after your ceremony. The best thing is that, at the end of the day, you have married your life partner.

Can You Hear Me Now?

You may not realize music is a sizable portion of your wedding during the ceremony and reception. There are many things to consider when choosing what songs, the number, timing, length etc. you opt for. In fact, sometimes your decisions have an impact on your guests as many things can easily go wrong.

Sound Check: Whether a pianist, violinist or MP3 player, it is imperative you check out the acoustics prior to your ceremony. Doing so ensures the songs you want are familiar, the sound system comes across to your liking and, if not, can be adjusted prior to your big day.

Timing is Key: Many guests arrive early and don’t know one another. That leads to an uncomfortable silence while sitting with people you’ve never met. It’s important to elect music to diffuse the awkwardness.

First Dance: The song you select for your first dance shouldn’t be too long. It is a special moment for you, your husband and guests but it shouldn’t be more than two to three minutes.

Give Me a Break: You should have downtime in your music as well. When eating, it is a good chance for quiet conversation as you likely have seated people who know one another together and too much volume equals overload.

Including Everyone: You and your husband my be huge fans of jazz (for example) but it’s important to mix up the genres so your guests are pleased. Whether dancing or not, you don’t want monotony and people getting bored from what sounds redundant.

While the ceremony and reception choices are quite different, each are equally important and shouldn’t be put off until the last minute. Some venues have regulations which could keep you from having music if you don’t plan ahead. It also makes people smile, enjoy themselves and perhaps even make new friends.

But(ton) Not for you

Buttons are often thought of as tiny things that keep clothes intact. Once lost, you buy another and your outfit is seamless again. If you take a closer look, it is the small threads that connect and tie everything together. Your fiancé is your button that ties your life together and makes everything harmonious. Incorporating them into your wedding is a whimsical way to show your connection.  Following are a few ways how to use them from beginning to end:

Save the date: Because they are cheap, you could use a different one to enclose each card and, once returned, sew them on to the tie that holds your bouquet together. It’s a fantastic way to make all your guests feel special.

Backdrops: It’s likely that no wedding you’ve been to had button banners. The variety in color, shape and size make it easy to sew and hang them behind the altar for a unique alternative as you take your vows.

Bouquets: Of course, you can have a button bouquet as you walk down the aisle in re flowers. If your mom, grandmother or anyone in your husband to be’s family sewed, using their collection would make it extra special.

Centerpieces: Whether you fill your vases with buttons or have flowers made of them going from smaller to larger in diversified colors to replicate real flowers, there are artisans who can make anything you envision.

Grand Exit: Rather than throwing rice or flower petals as you exit after your vows, you can have small bags of buttons at the entrance of your venue for your guests to toss as you leave as husband and wife.

Aside from showing your personality and doing something different, when you think of what buttons are used for is quite appropriate for your wedding as they sew you together for the rest of your life.

Dropping Petals

It has been a long-standing tradition that flower girls drop petals along the aisle prior to the bride’s entrance. Depending on the venue, real petals may be prohibited and artificial ones are used instead. However, as customs lessen, many different and unique alternatives are becoming popular. Here are just a few:

Individual stems: A basket full of individual stemmed flowers for your flower girl to hand out to either give to your guests seated at the end of each aisle or to those who are most important to you and your fiancé.

Bubbles: Blowing bubbles is a fun and whimsical way to precede your entrance. Aside from not being messy, even adults can’t help but smile at the sight of bubbles and some guests might even try to catch them.

Miniature bouquet: Any little girl given a special job would be honored and feel even more significant if she was given a small bouquet (one suitable for her size) that matches yours.

Customized sign: A sign or pennant with a message introducing you is another clever substitute for petals. Whether it says “Here comes the bride” or “Introducing Mrs. (insert your new last name), not only will your guests be surprised but it will be a keepsake to remember your special day.

Paper hearts: Your wedding is a celebration of the love you have built and will continue to grow. Whether made of shades that match your décor or are crafted out of something important to the two of you, they are a wonderful thing to see as you walk down the aisle.

There are many creative and fun things for flower girls to carry. Not only are they unexpected but each will bring joy to both you and your guests and be an element that sets your wedding apart.

Guest Dressed

Your primary focus is on your dress, what your fiancé is going to wear and the clothing for the wedding party. However, there are things to consider regarding your guests as it is YOUR day and some things aren’t appropriate.

White: Wearing white (or even a shade of it) should not be done which goes without saying. Unless you have a black and white theme or specifically request certain people to wear it, doing so is unacceptable.

Black: No one wants a color associated with funerals and grief. If someone feels more comfortable wearing a darker hue, a shade of blue or dark green is fitting. After all, it’s a celebration and colors should be cheery and upbeat.

Sparkles: Guests might want to add a little accent to their outfit but going overboard is disrespectful. That should be saved for their own wedding day as lighting and photography will catch the glimmer and outshine you even if not intended.

The best way to avoid any mishaps is to include a dress code on your invitations. Even if you say semi-casual, your guests should dress up rather than down. To avoid any confusion, include an option where you can be contacted with questions.

Something Old

As part of the saying goes “Something old….,” is a portion of what is representative of good luck for your upcoming nuptials. Whether traditional or modern in nature, many brides follow the superstition if for nothing more than fun.

Your bouquet is a great place to start. Everyone’s grandma had handkerchiefs (usually handmade) that can be wrapped around your flowers rather than the typical ribbon tie. Perhaps you have your parents’ or grandparents’ wedding rings. Even if only borrowing them for the day, you can secure them in the ribbon. Then you can feel them as you hold your bouquet and they symbolize the lengthy marriage you long to have.

Every bride looks forward to opulent jewels accenting their dress on the special day. However, there are many families in which brides have worn the same jewelry for generations. If that is the case in yours, it would be very meaningful for you keep up the tradition for them (and likely in retrospect, for you).

Most girls gather things that are meaningful in some way as a child. If you’d rather not be so traditional, you can incorporate something from your collection and, depending upon what it is, find a way to integrate it into your ceremony or reception.

A great idea is to include your husband. Maybe there is a pin he could wear on his lapel in place of a boutonniere from someone meaningful to you both.

While your wedding day is all about you and your fiancé, it’s hard to discount how meaningful it is for your family to be included. They are your roots, the epitome of relationships you strive to have and the beginning of two families joining together.

Misdressed

Choosing a wedding dress is often beyond overwhelming. Girls grow up with a dream gown in mind only to find out it is not right for their body type, not at all what they expected and don’t think about cost. There are many things to consider before you even begin shopping and below are just a few:

Your Entourage: While you want to get the opinion of everyone closest to you, it can make you preferences get lost in the mix. You can feel perfect in a gown that your mom doesn’t love, your best friend says doesn’t suit you and you end up feeling defeated and settling for something you didn’t really want.

Fit: Wedding dresses are sized differently than clothes so you shouldn’t get caught up in a number. It’s much better to buy bigger as anything can be taken in than to buy smaller and put added stress on yourself to lose weight when you already have enough to focus on.

Pricing: Expensive dresses with designer names are no better than any other. No one will know how much you paid and you need to stay within your budget. Additionally, if you try on an overpriced gown, chances are you might fall in love with it and then nothing will compare.

Fiancés: Your soon to be husband likely has an idea of what he wants to see you in but often it is so far different than what you imagine. It is guaranteed that he will think you look gorgeous in whatever you choose. Your dress is just that (YOURS) and you will look more beautiful when you feel comfortable in your choice.

Your wedding dress is likely the most expensive gown you will ever wear and will keep forever. Go with what your heart tells you is right regardless of others opinions, or brand names because it is all about you and it is one of the most important aspects of your big day.