Category Archives: engagement

Let’s Take a Shot

The fundamentals of wedding planning are synonymous with stress, a sense of inundation and often even some hair-pulling moments. When all is said and done though, the frustration and angst are forgotten. No matter how overwhelming things may seem, there are a few that should be nothing short of enjoyable, one of which being your engagement photos.

Despite how casual your ceremony may be, some of those in attendance will be guests of guests who have never met you nor have any inclination as to your personality, relationship or sense of humor. As well, even the most relaxed and informal weddings typically include traditions which tend to take away from your individuality.

While the photos of your special day will most likely be more formal than not, the engagement pictures that accompany your invitations don’t have to be so at all. Nonetheless, some consideration should be taken so you don’t look back and either feel regretful or as if your choice was simply cliché.

If you got engaged while having a picnic date, consider recreating that moment with the news written on a napkin. Maybe you’re avid hikers and can include a shot on a trail with your backpacks on. If there is something (anything) that everyone associates with your fiancé and yourself, depicting that is an option if you’d rather not share something unforeseen.

However, notifications written on a sandy beach, dates spelled out in scrabble tiles, snapshots wearing a t-shirt that says “I’m marrying him” and so on should probably be avoided.

Your wedding does not consist of a single day but the entire length of time beginning the day you get engaged and the planning starts. Each moment and aspect, no matter how mundane or irritating they may feel, should give your guests a glimpse into who you are and set you apart from every other bride.

I’ll Take Care of You

Part of your wedding includes the experiences that you have along every step of the way and those often impact the decisions you make. It is important that each element is made to seem just as meaningful to those involved as it is to you and that you’re made to felt like just a number or source of income.

For example, if while dress shopping, you are rushed to make a decision or only one of many being tended to simultaneously, most likely, you’d be peeved and shop at another location. If a photographer gave you a stringent amount of time he/she would be willing to be of service and was completely rigid and uncompromising, certainly you would look elsewhere.

The same can be said about your venue. Never can one roam around a location unattended and the personality and flexibility of the wedding contact have what may seem a minor (but is actually quite an important) impact on where you choose for your ceremony site. Aside from showing you the grounds, that individual will help you in many ways that a wedding planner would (at no cost) in the sense of ensuring that everything you want is just as you request but also tend to the smallest details as they have intimate knowledge of each aspect of the facility. Wedding planners are good go-to guides but usually end up having to reach out to the wedding contact so if you find an amiable one, you can save money and cut out the middle man.

Not only should contact via phone or email via easy, you should receive both a prompt and accurate response to any unforgotten questions or concerns you may have. Pliability is important as it is your day and if someone is unkind or insensitive, it makes a negative impact on your decision as it’s a reflection on the locale as a whole as well as others from the location who may be involved.

Kindness is key. While purchasing a gown or choosing your flowers, while your interactions are important, in actuality, most likely are quite limited. A wedding coordinator is different from a wedding planner as they know the ins and outs of your ceremony site and are more invested in assisting you and making sure everything is perfect. Therefore, a coordinator can be crucial in your planning experience and your interaction should be strongly considered.

Shower Me with Love

Bridal showers are a fun and intimate way to celebrate your upcoming nuptials with your friends and family. Of all the things that must be considered when planning your wedding, thankfully it is one item on the list that you typically don’t have to take care. However, because (most often) it won’t completely catch you off guard, there are details to keep in mind.

The event is not the responsibility of your mother, mother-in-law or any of your relatives to coordinate. It is the duty of your maid of honor and/or bridesmaids to put together, including the guest list and invites, location, cost etc. It is important to have some conversations so as to help ease in the planning process and avoid any snafus. However, for the most part, the details of the celebration should be something you are surprised by.

Showers are usually reserved for those most meaningful to you and certainly not for every female you have asked to share in your actual day. It is imperative that the hostess is aware of who has been invited to your ceremony as it is never appropriate to ask someone to attend the shower who is not on your guest list. After all, much of the conversation will involve your wedding and reception which would be very hurtful and unacceptable to include someone in who wasn’t important enough to extend an invitation to.

Timing is important as there is an appropriate window in which your shower should be held that is between two months and two weeks away from the ceremony. As you day approaches, things will get more hectic and seemingly overwhelming so, while it will be a nice break from it all, it shouldn’t be something that becomes inconvenient or that you dread. Additionally, it goes without saying that the date and time should be ones that are available for all invitees as well as in a convenient location.

While typically everyone at your shower will come bearing gifts, don’t expect them to be grand or over-the-top as they will (and should) be much less significant than your actual wedding gifts. It is appropriate for the host to include your registry in the invitations but you also should expect that some may not give you anything at that time. Everything you do receive, no matter how large or small, should be appreciated, treated equally and thanked for.

Bridal showers are meant to be fun, to add an extra amount of excitement as well as a way to relax and just cherish your engagement. There should be no expectations and solely appreciation that people love and care about you enough to plan, organize and absorb the costs of doing something special and celebratory for you.

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.