Category Archives: Advice

The ABCs of Registries

Who doesn’t love getting gifts especially when you choose them yourself? Wedding registries might be the only time you get to do so but some things that should be considered when making them are for your guests.

Complete your registry at least six months before your wedding so everyone has time to choose what to get you for not only your big day but engagement parties, showers etc. Also, being such a special gift, invitees don’t want to rush at the last-minute or get you something other than what they’d like because of a time crunch.

Register for enough gifts to give your guests options but don’t go overboard and choose things on a whim you’d never use. The number of items needs to be at least equivalent to your guest count. An easy way to achieve that is by breaking down sets (such as cookware) into individual pieces.

Items of all price ranges should be included even if your guests tend to be generous. You don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable if gifts are out of their budget. Many smaller ticket items can be creatively combined in fun ways to look more lavish.

Personal items should remain just that and not be included. As much as you may want a new wardrobe for your honeymoon, your registry is not an appropriate place to ask for it. Request things you and your fiancé can share now and in the future. However, there’s no harm in asking for a nice camera to capture the adventures you will share or items to entertain as your lifestyle will be changing.

Thank each person within two weeks of receiving a gift. Although you will be very busy with planning (and life in general), doing so will keep you from getting overwhelmed down the line and ensure that no one falls through the cracks.

Your registry isn’t a secret but never include it on your invitation. Instead, it should be shared by your family, bridal party or wedding website (if you have one). You will appreciate the thought and consideration put into each item you choose as they will last for years to come and remind you of this special time in your life.

He Said YES!

The time comes when friends and family start asking when you’re getting married and you get antsy for your fiancé to propose. Maybe you find yourself dropping subtle hints or even questioning whether the day will arrive at all. While we all like fun games, the waiting game isn’t one anyone enjoys. Instead, as the saying goes, “Take destiny into your own hands.”

Women are more empowered and independent than ever and there’s nothing wrong with you popping the question. Because it doesn’t happen every day, doesn’t make it unacceptable. In fact, there are advantages to you doing so.

If you are certain about your partner’s feelings and commitment, proposing will calm your nerves and allow you to start planning the next phase of your relationship. Also, the seeds of doubt inadvertently planted by others’ innocent questions will end.

The best part of a proposal is the thought and planning behind it and, of course the complete surprise. How great would it be to give the same wonderful experience to the person you love the most? While it would be taking that away from you, his response will overshadow anything you may worry about missing out on.

When you take charge, a bonus is that you will most likely have some input (if not complete control) over your engagement ring! Unfortunately, some fiancés choose rings their brides-to-be don’t like which leads to awkward situations. That’s yet something else you won’t have to worry about.

Women often start marriage conversations with their partners so proposing isn’t completely out in left field. There are no rules when it comes to relationships and what a fun twist to add to your love story.

Petaling Flowers

Flowers bring vibrancy and beauty to your wedding and often take up a sizable portion of your budget. Being immersed in the colors and smells typically only experienced by florists makes it is easy to get carried away. Below are a few things to consider regarding such an important decision:

An overabundance can become obtrusive and distracting. If you are holding too many flowers, the dress you spent countless hours selecting will be hidden behind your bouquet. Your guests want to see one another during the reception while seated at their tables too. Large arrangements (beautiful as they may be) can easily become disruptive if they interfere with conversations.

Most florists won’t tell you that several blossoms have less expensive ones that are so similar, they could be substituted for the pricier ones without anyone noticing. Doing a little research can quickly keep you from paying more than necessary. Also, countless types of leaves can be transformed to add bulk and reduce costs while accentuating the blooms.

If you are looking to match something, take a swatch or sample of some sort. Not only do people often view colors differently but a lot of flowers come in various shades of assorted hues. Therefore, if you simply say pink, you may end up with magenta when you wanted a light blush.

Take time to “smell the roses” so to speak as certain blossoms have very strong aromas. While that may enhance the ambiance, especially in a smaller venue, it can become overpowering and even cause issues for sensitive guests or those with allergies.

A little bit of learning, thought and discretion will make a significant difference in your budget, the comfort of your guests and ensure you get exactly what you have are looking for.

The Heat is On

Along with the beautiful colors and relaxation of summer comes warmer weather that can create some potentially uncomfortable situations for both you and your guests. Below are a few clever and fun ways to ensure everyone has the most enjoyable experience possible.

Minimize the heat with savory treats. Rather than (or in addition to) a traditional cake, consider ice cream sandwiches. The options for the ice cream (sorbet or gelato if you choose) and cookies are virtually endless. You can even have a little fun and offer various flavors, colors and make them in a signature shape.

If you are having a cake, perhaps a “naked” one is the way to go. Instead of being covered in icing or fondant, the bare layers are held together with cream cheese or fluffy buttercream. Juicy, moisturizing berries and fresh flowers will make the lack of icing go unnoticed.

Sometimes, perception is reality. Use thin, airy fabrics to decorate your ceremony and reception spaces. Tulle, silk, ribbon, tassels and even paper are great options for any venue. When things appear breezy and light, your guests will be less likely to notice the temperature.

Your comfort is most important as all eyes will be on you. Don’t shy away from a tea length dress that can be embellished and made appropriate for even formal venues. Lightweight make up and updos also help keep you looking fresh and reduce the warmth.

Unfortunately, some degree of heat is unavoidable mid-year. With a little thought and creativity however, it is possible to keep your food, desserts, guests and subsequently you from having meltdowns!

I Tip My Hat to You

Wedding budgets are always difficult. It may feel like you spend more every time you even look at something but part of you says it’s your one day to indulge. There will always be unexpected costs, some of which can be minimized or completely avoided. Others, such as gratuities for your vendors should at least be considered.

Officiant: Time and energy is spent making your rehearsal and ceremony perfectly fitted to you. This is done on top of regular job duties and already busy schedules out of joy from uniting couples in marriage. A cash gift should be given by an attendant at the rehearsal. If he/she is connected to your location (and your budget permits), a donation to the venue space is an added way to show your gratitude.

Wedding Planner: Because what is provided is done as a profession, tips are optional and don’t have to be monetary. In fact, they are usually not expected. If you feel inclined, send your gift after your honeymoon (10 – 20% is appropriate). A free option is to send some photos for your planner to enhance his or her portfolio.

Hair and Makeup: Stylists should be treated as you would in a salon if not better. Often, rates are higher for wedding days and wedding parties, but the gratuity should not be affected by that. The styles are more complicated, everything must be perfect and often, hairdressers and make up artists travel to your location. Show your thanks at the end of the service and allow photographs, if requested, for portfolios or look-books.

Reception and Entertainment: Bands or DJs and catering, transportation companies etc. typically add a surcharge to their base rates so additional tips are optional. If you give extra, follow the same guidelines you would on a regular day. However, put an attendant in charge of handling payment(s), all of which should occur at the end of your big day.

Whether gratuities are expected, optional (but typical) or out of the norm, they are always welcome. Everyone likes to know they have done a good job. However, especially at weddings, vendors understand the huge costs you have already incurred. Handwritten, individualized thank you notes are a very cost-effective and special way to show your gratitude if your budget doesn’t allow for monetary tokens of appreciation.

Don’t Forget the Small Stuff

On your big day, it feels like every moment will forever be ingrained in your memory and many of them will. Like everything else though, time will blur and erase some of them. As life progresses and other monumental events happen, memory banks are replenished, hence the importance of photographs. There are pivotal shots every bride focuses on but some that are equally important that may not be considered. Here are a few of those:

Before Shots:  You will have countless glamorous photos looking more beautiful than you ever have. The moments before you start getting ready will highlight your inner glow, undeniable excitement and the naturally beautiful woman your fiancé is committing his life to.

First Look: The first time your fiancé sees you walking down the aisle is priceless as his emotions are unplanned, can’t be hidden and are as heartfelt and unfiltered as can be.

Decorations: While you will never forget the time spent planning every detail, the vision of exactly how it all came together will likely fade. While most brides focus on their guests and festivities, as the saying goes “it’s all in the details” and reminders of those are equally important.

Your Gown: Snap your dress on the hanger before it’s been worn. The instant you put it on, dirt, makeup, food etc. will leave marks that are nearly impossible to remove. Take time to memorialize all its glory after it’s been prepared for you to step into.

Candid Moments: Some of the best shots are those that aren’t posed or planned. Capture everyone when they think no one is looking. Perhaps not the most flattering, these are the most realistic and fun reflections of your special day and the wonderful time had by all.

There are standard photos expected of every couple that every photographer takes. While those are important, equally so are ones that document the smallest details, unplanned moments and emotions that cannot be found in a posed picture.

Trickle Down Effect

Your bridal experience is likely limited to attending weddings and, even if you have been in a bridal party, you are probably unaware of the scope of work planning requires. Therefore, what should be a fun, exciting time often becomes overwhelming and sometimes even dreaded. A great way to avoid this is by figuring out the single aspect most important to you and, surprisingly, everything else will fall into place with much more ease and less stress. A few examples follow:

Dress: Perhaps you can’t get a very casual, informal gown that could double as date night dress out of your mind. From that, without even knowing, you have made the rest of your planning infinitely simpler. It has lessened the likelihood of formal venues, fancy stemware, over-the-top decorations and many of the formalities that go along with ornate, unduly embellished ball gowns.

Flowers: If, for example, you are determined to surround yourself with blush peonies, you have automatically narrowed down the time of year (as they have limited availability) and homed in on a range of complementary colors for both your wedding party and decorations. Also, you have unofficially set a welcoming and familial tone.

Venue: Most important may be exchanging vows in the large, gilded cathedral you were raised in. Accordingly, gone are the less formal dressing options, bohemian style details and whimsical, DIY additions many brides who opt for less formal/less expensive weddings include.

There are exceptions to everything. You may decide to mix and match a bit of everything and, of course, it will come together flawlessly. However, choosing a focal point from which to branch out is a method to save time, energy and help you enjoy the planning process as much as possible.