Category Archives: engagement

I’ll (Re)Consider It…

There is a sense of excitement and anticipation when you are proposed to that is often overwhelming as it is a moment that, perhaps has been long-awaited, will change your life forever and symbolizes the start of something new and incredible. It is only natural to want to dive right in and start planning and getting everything in order. There are so many aspects to weddings that can easily seem overwhelming so it is understandable to want to start checking as many things off of your list as quickly as possible. However, there are some things (of which these are just a few) that you should take some time to think about.

Perhaps choosing a dress is the most important. It is easy to see a gown you like or remember the one you grew up thinking you would want to wear and choose it immediately. Because the thing that all of your guests and your fiancé anticipate most is seeing you walk down the aisle as well as being the most important thing you will ever wear, you should take time to make sure you have made the perfect choice. Have some fun and try on different shapes and styles as you may find that the dress you thought you would never like turns out to be the one you can’t imagine not having.

Selecting who will be in your bridal party is another thing you need to put some thought into. After all, you can’t say “Oops. I didn’t mean that and want to take it back.” Because you were a bridesmaid for someone doesn’t obligate you to make them one of yours. If that were the case and you had prior “always been the bridesmaid but never the bride,” potentially you would have 10+ in your wedding party. Your budget will play a part in selecting the number you have but make your selection (whatever the number) carefully.

There is obviously a fun feeling in knowing that, for the occasion, you will get numerous gifts that you ask for on your registry. While there is a temptation to just go into stores and randomly pick and choose things that suit your fancy, the wise and prudent route to take is to spend time considering what you actually need. Recognize the items that you already have as well as those of your fiancé and ask for what you are lacking and will actually use. Additionally, spend a minute considering items in different price ranges as, while many guests want to give you a gift, they may not have very much money to spare. If you select things in different price ranges, everyone can get something that you want without having to worry or feel guilty for the amount they spend.

Upon hearing that you are engaged, people will innately have countless questions for you but it is important to remember that you don’t have to have the answers immediately. Enjoy your engagement and put some thought behind the decisions you make as you can never go back and recreate that day.

How to Invite You…

As you know, each and every aspect of a wedding takes more time and energy than you realized prior to planning your own. It is easy to get caught up in the small details and obsess over everything but fortunately there are some things that come with “instructions.” No matter how unique and different you want your day to be, some things tend to always be the same but don’t take anything away from setting you apart. One of those things is the information included on your invitations as you can be as creative as you want with the design but the wording should follow “protocol.”

Address: It is important to acknowledge that some of the people you invite to your wedding will be from out-of-town and unfamiliar with the area. While you and most of your guests will know the streets and how to get to the venue, the visitors won’t. While it is not necessary to include the exact street or zip code of your location, it is important to include the name and city. As for those from other cities, a great way to make sure they get to your ceremony without them getting lost along the way is to suggest a few hotels that are nearby and then simply include maps from each one. That way, you don’t have to personalize every invitation with an applicable map nor do you leave them finding a place to stay in an unknown area.

Acknowledgements: Regardless of who is hosting your wedding, it is imperative that those who are receive recognition on your invitations. For example, if your parents are taking care of things, you should mention that they are the ones who request your presence. If the parents of both you and your fiancé are involved, each need to be recognized and should be named. If the affair is one that is being handled solely by yourself and your future husband, what is appropriate is to simply say both of your names and that you request their presence.

Formalities: Typically, numbers on your invitation are spelled out. For example, instead of 7:30 P.M., you should write seven-thirty in the evening. If your wedding is very casual, it is acceptable to use P.M. but if it is more formal, even the letters should be reworded and written out. It is also a good idea to include on your invites a date by which you want an RSVP. That way, you can easily have an accurate estimation of the space you need for the ceremony as well as helping you budget the cost of the reception.

Be whimsical. Have fun and show off your personality when asking your guests to join you for your big day. However, be aware of the information that needs to be included as well as how invitations usually are worded regardless of whether you have chosen to be formal or informal, whether there are only a few guests or a few hundred, whether you have chosen the daytime or the evening or anything else.

Wedding Starts with WE

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Weddings are wonderful moments that happen only once in life and will be remembered forever. The only more important day(s) in your life will be the one(s) that you have a child. It is typically believed that a wedding day is the “bride’s day” but, fingers crossed, your groom doesn’t view it in the same manner because he is just as excited and anxious to be your spouse as you are his. However, whether the two of you are paying for your day on your own or are getting help from family, the financial responsibility is not solely yours. Therefore, in a certain way, there are two separate budgets for your wedding, although it is a single one at the very end.

There are obvious things that a bride or a groom is expected to cover the expenses for, such as the groom paying for the engagement and wedding ring for you as well as you paying for your dress and his ring. Things such as those go without saying but there are many costs incurred that future brides are not aware of who is responsible for. There are also items that neither of you have any responsibility for whatsoever.

If the two of you are paying for your big day on your own, chances are that you, like most couples, have yet to combine your financial accounts (and may never), which leaves two options in terms of payment and budget. One option is to follow how things traditionally go with you handling what’s typically expected of a bride and your fiancé doing the like. Otherwise, you could have a conversation where each of you says “I have X amount to contribute” and combine the funds in reference to all aspects of your wedding. That would mean that, no matter what cost what, you would not go over the agreed upon amount at the end of the day. You may find a $5,000 gown that you must have but if you’ve agreed on a $20,000 budget, you have to be willing to scrimp in and/or eliminate other items.

Whether your families are helping or it’s just the two of you footing the bill, the cost breakdown is pretty much status quo. Without going in to each item individually, aside from the following, any unmentioned items are primarily your responsibility: boutonnieres for the groomsmen, corsages for mothers and grandmothers, your bouquet, the marriage license, any officiant fees, rehearsal costs and honeymoon.

Obviously, that leaves a great deal to you from the invitations, photography, ceremony, reception and the list goes on. However, it will all be well-spent and make for wonderful memories years down the line. Thankfully for you, these days, typically the cost of the attire for your wedding party is their own. That is something to keep in mind when making your selections as, while groomsmen can typically rent a tuxedo or suit for a reasonable price, the bridal party has to actually purchase their dresses. Therefore, you need to be respectful of the cost and, although you may find the most flattering and amazing dress for $400, that’s probably not practical and you can certainly find something just as beautiful for much less.

Keep in mind that because your family many not be able to contribute or your fiancé can’t give as much as you, that doesn’t mean it is any less important to any of them. There are many brides who have to go without some things they would like to have. At the end of the day, you could get married by a friend who became a minister online in your backyard and the meaning would be the same. Wedding starts with WE in the sense of finances but, more importantly, because it signifies the end of “you” and “me” and the beginning of “we.”

That has a Ring to it

When you are proposed to, of course, the shock of it all is overwhelming and in the first few moments, you probably don’t even notice the look of your ring other than to be shocked that you now have a ring to wear on that finger forever. However, as you stare at it for the first few hours or days, thoughts may come into your mind that it’s not the ring you would’ve chosen for yourself, whether it is smaller than the ones your recently married friends have received or is a gem other than a diamond. Many brides feel as if the cost or size of their ring is something to brag about or an indication of how much they are loved. Women look at other’s rings and think of how nice they are or how much they must have cost but, in reality, the ring has the exact same meaning whether it cost $400 or $4 million.

Perhaps, times are tough for your fiancé but he couldn’t wait to make you his wife so he bought the best ring he could afford at the time. Remember that you can always upgrade at a later time if it means that much to you but, to me, that would be the best one. You would be surprised at how many gorgeous and intricate rings there are that are solely bands without any type of gem at all. In fact, you could wear a simple white gold band for which your fiancé saved every penny for months in order to get while your next door neighbor may wear a 20 karat rock with a band covered in diamonds that was simply thrown on her finger for show. Perhaps, your fiancé is a millionaire and would still choose the same band for a personal reason or because he believes it to be more your style. Intent and feelings, not money, in this circumstance, are what matter and are important.

On the other hand (no pun intended), he may choose something with a gemstone, with or without accompanying diamonds. Maybe it is an aquamarine in representation of your birthstone or an emerald because it reminds him of your green eyes. Perhaps, he has always thought rubies were the most beautiful gem or wanted to hand down his grandmother’s ring which was an amethyst. In those instances, the ring should have extra significance to you because it wasn’t just chosen by him walking in to a store and simply pointing at something but was selected after a great deal of thought and consideration. In fact, (not that a wedding ring should ever be based on a trend), rings with gemstones have become quite popular in the not too distant past. Think of Kate Middleton’s sapphire ring, for example. A ring that isn’t based around diamonds definitely stands out in a crowd for both its beauty and uniqueness.

It can be guaranteed that there’s some sort of reason your ring was chosen for you, even if it was solely lack of money and not being able to wait. Whatever it looks like, the meaning behind it should make it the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen. It shouldn’t be something you feel as if you have to explain to others.  It should solely be something that you look down, see and feel absolutely elated about. The roundness of your ring symbolizes a love that is never-ending and is worn on the fourth finger of the left hand, as that is the only one with a vein directly to the heart. That does not change regardless of how it looks or how much it costs.

Weddings 101…Part 1

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Making decisions in reference to your wedding day can certainly make you want to pull your hair out and can easily make you sometimes just want to give up. It is natural to become obsessive about absolutely everything because a wedding is an occasion that only happens once in your life. However, as has often been said, imperfection is perfection and that is what makes every person and every situation beautiful and wonderful in its own right.

Throw caution to the wind. The only perfect way to commemorate your wedding day is the way that feels right to you. It is not the way that traditions dictate, in accordance with other’s opinions or in an attempt to make sure everyone agrees with your decisions. Be honest and true to yourselves and go with your instincts. After all, if you want to wear a yellow dress but choose not to in fear that others may not like it, for example, you will likely look back and wish that you had. You select things for a reason, and while you may offer up explanations, you should never have to seek acceptance for those decisions.

It is important that your wedding day is a representation of the two of you as a couple. In order for that to happen, both of you have to want and be willing to take part in the planning process. Of course, there are things such as your dress selection that will be individual decisions but, for the most part, it should be a team effort. As many times as you might want to hear “You make the decisions and I’ll just show up,” in reality, that is not a good sign. If you and a co-worker were planning for a meeting or presentation, that would never be an appropriate response. Your wedding day is a symbol of the beginning of your lives together and a lack of interest can be indicative of things to come.

Keep an open mind. If your entire focus is on one vision and you are unwilling to accept anything else, you will always look back at your wedding as a disappointment. Every little detail will not be flawless. You  may have forgotten to invite someone. Maybe you wish you had chosen a different hairstyle. The beauty is in those things that were unplanned, unexpected and other than what fit in to the perfect picture. If you get too caught up in everything being just as you envision it, you will lose the enjoyment of a once-in-a-lifetime experience. After all, your engagement period and wedding day are times for celebration and not obsession.

Be yourself. If you feel the tears coming, let them fall. If you’re on the verge of giggling when things are supposed to be “serious,” laugh. Your wedding is a representation of who you are, individually and together. It is a series of moments with those who are important to you that you have chosen to share. Make them honest and true. Don’t filter yourself. The reason you are so important to those at your ceremony is because you are who you are and not because you are pretending to be someone else.

When Less is Best

Now you’re engaged and really excited but you had no idea that wedding planning could be so stressful. There are so many details that go into your big day that you had never even considered and sometimes it seems completely overwhelming because you want everything to be absolutely perfect. It’s important to remember that most people won’t even notice most things that you might and taking care of yourself is a priority. At the end of the day, you will be married to the person you love and that’s the most important thing.

Don’t sweat the small stuff. No one will remember the details but you. All your guests will recall is how beautiful you looked and how happy you were so if the bridesmaids’ dresses turn out a different shade of lavender than you had imagined or the flowers you initially had your heart set on are out of season and unavailable, just take some deep breaths and don’t let yourself get overwhelmed.

Delegate responsibilities to anyone and everyone who is willing to lend a helping hand. Whether hiring a wedding coordinator or assigning various tasks to family and friends to handle, take advantage of every opportunity to lessen your workload because weddings require many more decisions and much more planning and coordination than most brides initially realize.

Take time for yourself. Spend a day at the spa or take a relaxing bath in the evening. Call up some girlfriends and meet them for lunch or find a great book to read. Whatever you choose, doing things to unwind and to take your mind off of the wedding for a little while will make a world of difference in your mood and your stress level.

Don’t have unrealistic expectations and don’t focus on what you can’t have. Most couples don’t have million dollar budgets and compromises and concessions have to be made. Plan ahead and prioritize what is most important to you so that you can spend your money accordingly and stick to your budget. That way, you can minimize pre-wedding stress and eliminate post-wedding stress of debt from overspending on your big day.

Not Your First Choice

You’ve found the perfect guy and can’t imagine spending a single day without him. He gets down on his knee and asks you to marry him and the ring is the ugliest thing you’ve ever seen. What do you do now? First of all, don’t panic or get angry. You are not alone and it happens more often than you would believe.

Consider the source. If it is a family heirloom or something that has a lot of sentimental value to him, he gave it to you for a reason.  Consider yourself lucky and take some time to think about whether or not it is something you could grow to love before you immediately mention your dislike for it.

Is it a conversation you have had before? If the two of you have never discussed engagement rings or your preferences, you can’t expect him to be a mind reader. In that case, his feelings probably won’t be hurt if you voice your opinion and decide to return it for something that is more to your liking.

How much do you value his opinion? Maybe you envisioned a square cut and he chose a pear shape. You wanted a simple setting and he surrounded the main diamond with a million small ones (wouldn’t that be nice) because he thought it was perfect for you. You have to remember that most men don’t buy a ring on a whim. They put a lot of thought and effort into their purchase, ask their friends and family (and probably yours too).

It is a fine line to walk because you will wear your wedding every day for the rest of your life and it’s important that you think it’s beautiful but the question is whether or not something is attractive because you think it is or because of the sentiment and thought behind it.