Category Archives: Events

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.

An Overview of All Things New

Each year, the world of weddings experiences growth in the form of new trends, ideas and possibilities for brides to add to their already infinite number of options. 2017 is no exception and brings with it some exciting and fresh alternatives for just about every aspect of your big day. Some of the notable highlights are below….

Do Things Separately: Bridal stores will be filled with an increased number of both two-piece gowns and traditional ones with detachable skirts to remove for your reception as customizable dresses are the latest “must haves.” Separates are appropriate for all seasons as skirts exist to match the bottom of any wedding dress. In the winter, pair one with an elegant, embellished sweater or match it with a sleeveless, lacy top during the warmer months. Detachable skirts give you two dresses for the price of one so your ceremony can be formal with a floor length gown that you simply remove when the reception begins and it’s time to let loose and celebrate.

A LITTLE Bit of Glitz: Gone are the radiant, bright colors that flooded every aspect of weddings last year. More popular are bouquets made of ivy, local succulents and other greenery and color palettes based on tones of beige, creams and shades of gray. To add some elegance and glamour, the trend is to add gold or metallic accents through stemware, table runners, bouquet ties, ribbons, etc.

It’s All About Location: The general tendency of late to promote local businesses is spilling over into the wedding industry leading more brides to “keep it local.” Opt for decor that is representative of your community (while keeping in line with your personality). Choose a menu that celebrates what sets your area apart and gives your out-of-town guests a feel for what your life is truly like. Not only does it give back to local vendors but you will be guaranteed to have a comfortable, relaxing day.

Honorable Mention: An increase in couples will be asking for less for themselves and more for others. More infrequent are registries of household items, money for a honeymoon or wish lists filled with fun, new gadgets. Instead, brides and grooms are compiling options of charities from which each guest can choose to donate to in their honor. Most likely, you already have most of what you need and there’s immense gratitude and satisfaction knowing that those who require help are able to receive it because of your special day.

The fun and innovative ways to plan your big day that are emerging for the new year are endless. Take some time to explore all the possibilities because you may very well fall in love with some ideas that have never even crossed your mind and will turn your current vision upside down.

Banded Together?

Your reception is just as important as your ceremony as the formalities of the day are over and it’s time to relax. Everyone gets a chance to congratulate and celebrate with you, catch up with people they probably haven’t seen in quite some time and enjoy great food and dancing. While less planning is needed (relatively speaking), it is the part of the day that many attendees look forward to most so there are still details that need to be tended to. One of those is your music source as, getting people on their feet, is a large portion of the day’s merriment.

Bands are something you don’t see nearly as often as in the past so hiring one would give a personal touch and set your reception apart from most others. Additionally, they are great if you are looking to stay within a specific genre of music and aren’t finicky about which songs are played. However, they are more expensive as you are paying for time and labor and, the possibility that they will be able to perform an eclectic variety of music (in a way that is recognizable) or stick to an exact playlist is uncertain.

DJs are more cost-effective and have easy access to all types of music ranging from the Big Band era to the newest releases that have just hit the charts. Unlike a professional band, the songs played will be those of the actual artists so there will be no mistake as to the recognition of your choices.  You can give them a list of “To Play” and “Don’t Play” songs, the order and time you want to hear them, and (fingers crossed), enjoy your evening without worry.

Unfortunately, DJs often view each gig as an opportunity to showcase their personal skills which can lead to unwanted remixes, morphing your song order into a sequence he/she feels more appropriate and numerous other potential difficulties.

A great way to sidestep all these concerns (AND POSSIBLY FOR FREE) is to use an MP3 player.  Compile a few hours of music, including some throwbacks that have meaning to your college friends, ones that the older guests will appreciate and whatever else you and your fiancé choose. They can play in a definitive order or be set to shuffle and the only potential cost is having to download tunes you don’t already have in your collection(s). However, it is imperative that you inquire about your venue’s sound system, any fees for using it and do a test run to be certain everything will work as expected.

The allure of live music and the prestige of a DJ are lost when you opt for an MP3 player. There is a time and place for both of those but, on your big day, the allure and prestige, attention and excitement are all focused solely on you and your fiancé. Your personalized music and special songs will make your guests realize the energy and thought you took to include each of them in your celebration and appreciate your doing so.

Tis the Season

If your heart is set on a particular day, choosing your wedding date is one less thing to worry about. If you aren’t one who falls in that category, selecting the right time can be more challenging than you think as there are factors to consider. Breaking down the pros and cons of each season is a good place to start and, at the very least, helps narrow down your time frame.

Spring is the time of year associated with rejuvenation and newness as colors begin to reemerge and the climate warms following the drabness and cold of winter. The lush landscaping and countless flowers beginning to bloom make for wonderful photos and beautiful bouquets. Chances are your friends will be thrilled to get together and celebrate after the hullabaloo of the holidays is over.

Because it is not the most popular time for a wedding, you may be able to get lower rates with vendors but, with summer approaching, the competition will increase for venues, available dates and prices will begin to rise. Additionally, the weather can be finicky and occasional showers do occur without warning.

Summer is the most popular time to wed for a variety of reasons. With children out of school, parents often plan on a more relaxed schedule including vacation time which would allow your friends and family separated by distance to share in your special day with you. Also, due to the hectic nature of the first half of the year, chances are your guests haven’t been spending much.  Therefore, they may have a bit in their budget for extra special wedding gifts for you.

On the negative side, the first thing is the weather. Regardless of how cool the inside of a venue may be, the heat can cause issues with your hair and makeup during outdoor photos, not to mention the discomfort for those who either just don’t like the heat or cannot tolerate it well. On another note, because it is the most popular time for a wedding, prices will be at their peak and there is a chance that some of your guests may be invited to another ceremony on the same day.

Fall is ideal for you if you are a fan of oranges, gold, rust and darker colors as well as falling leaves and cooler, brisk temperatures. It is a time that brings with it a sense of togetherness and tranquility. With fruits, vegetables and leaves being abundant, there are numerous ways to create one-of-a-kind decorations that are not only elegant but incorporate the sentiments of these months.

Unfortunately, if berries and greenery won’t replace your heart’s desire for bright, vibrant flowers, this may not be the time of year for you unless you are willing to have flowers shipped in from wherever they may be available (at a very steep price). Also, school begins again, people have plans for Labor Day, Halloween and Thanksgiving so you need to keep those dates in mind.

Winter might not be your first choice (as it isn’t for most brides) but, with it comes an air of coziness and romance unmatched by any other time of year. Not only is everyone already feeling a sense of togetherness, the sun sets earlier and there is nothing warmer in the world than closely holding the arm of your new husband. Vendors are more likely to be available and because there is less competition, not only are prices typically already lower, there is often room for negotiation.

Despite the unexpected pros, there are some drawbacks. One is that the cold and lack of foliage can make outdoor photos less desirable so many of them may have to be done indoors. As well, your guests are probably saving money for the holidays, have preexisting plans and travel arrangements are much more expensive and difficult during this time.

Your wedding will be wonderful regardless of the day you choose but, realistically, no matter the day, there are always factors and possible conflicts that may arise which are out of your control. A seasonal breakdown is an easy way to quickly eliminate large spans of time so you can begin focusing on the particular day.

Never(tr)ending Ideas

Every year (and often each season), new and creative styles and ideas for your wedding day emerge as the notion of what is acceptable or expected continues to evolve. These allow every bride, from the most conservative to the extraordinarily eclectic, have some fresh ideas in their stockpile from which to choose.

Sometimes two is better than one (pieces that is). More and more brides are opting for gowns consisting of a top and separate skirt. Doing so opens up the door to infinite options by letting you mix and match fabrics, styles and even colors. Additionally, you will have fun designing your own dress and know that it will truly be one of a kind.

Having a friend or loved one perform your ceremony is also growing in popularity although it requires research as well as time and effort. The person you select must be willing to go through the necessary steps to become ordained and the laws regarding officiants vary depending on location. On the upside, doing so gives you the chance to work together on the ceremony script, making it highly personalized.

Flowers, whether for bouquets, boutonnieres or table decorations, are being taken over by berry-accented greenery, moss, ivy and succulents. Doing so can be pulled off in a very elegant, unexpected and surprising (not to mention cost-effective) manner.

It was typically expected that your wedding would be filled with bright and cheerful colors as a symbol of your marriage. As options expand, there is an increase in those who opt for neutrals, whether all white, ecru, tan or similar shades with very few accents. Surprisingly, rather than appearing drab, such tones radiate while creating a sense of elegance.

You can step outside the box and experiment with what is new and modern without doing so in ways that will make you look back at your wedding photos and wonder what you were thinking. Do not be afraid of the word “trend” as it don’t not have to be synonymous with blatant or over the top.

Let’s be ReaLISTic

Creating your guest list is no different from many other projects as you will start with a monumental idea only to realize the need for a more practical outcome. Whether you are planning a small, intimate ceremony or one to which you invite hundreds, there are some that should NEVER be included and others whom there is no obligation to extend an invitation to.  Here are just a few of those….

Certainly, there are people you see often and seemingly know every detail of your life, whether your manicurist, co-worker, boss etc. Therefore, you have had conversations about your upcoming marriage and perhaps each aspect of the planning process. However, neither that knowledge nor the amount of time spent together necessitate an invite.

There is no need to include all members of your family as, most likely, you have relatives with whom you don’t keep in contact with unless via holiday cards or see every few years if you happen to pass through their town or attend a family reunion. A great way to include them in your celebration (while alleviating feelings of guilt) is to send them an announcement along with a photo and personalized note.

It goes without saying that you exes belong in the “should NEVER be invited” category even if you have been apart for years and remain friends. Perhaps he/they has moved on as well but there is no assurance that seemingly long gone emotions won’t be stirred up. However, you can likely guarantee that his/their attendance would create an uncomfortable situation for your fiancé.

Plus ones are often expected to be included as some feel more comfortable attending an event which is a celebration of love, happiness and unity with their significant other rather than going alone. Of course, you should encourage your close family and friends to bring a guest. However, if you are not including certain relatives or others with whom you spend much of your time, there is no requirement to surround yourself with people you have never met.

Friends from high school with whom you only exchange occasional hellos with on social media, neighbors and friends of friends also fall into the “should NEVER be invited” category as you would not expect them to attend, mind if they didn’t or notice if they did. Also, it may seem as if their inclusion is merely an attempt to get more gifts as many do feel obliged to respond to an invitation in such a manner.

Chances are that you have heard all about weddings that you were not invited to and probably didn’t even give a second of thought to it. It is your day to be surrounded by those who mean the most to you. Including many who are either strangers or acquaintances casts a shadow over the value of ones you hold nearest and dearest.

Some Rules Were Meant to be Broken

Weddings are often planned around age old traditions, some of which you may feel comfortable making slight variations to but don’t want to appear as if you are either stepping too far outside the box or not taking your commitment seriously. Thankfully, times are changing and, after all, it is YOUR day so here are some ideas you may not have considered….

You don’t need a theme and not everything has to match. It would not only be unique but an honor to let your bridal party choose their own gowns. One may be pink, long and satin while another could be short, causal and floral. There’s an element of fun in letting those closest to you show their individual personality (not to mention that it makes for great photos).

Customarily, your parents pay for the wedding and your fiancé’s do so for the rehearsal dinner although the two of you may be on your own. One way to save money and set yourself apart, regardless of who is contributing, is to have your bridesmaids wear corsages. Opting out of bouquets not only significantly reduces your budget but makes it easier for them to help you both in preparation for but as well your ceremony.

Maybe white isn’t right whether it comes to your ring or your dress. If there is a stone you love and would prefer over a diamond, select it as you will be wearing it for countless years to come. What matters is the meaning behind it to you. Additionally, in reference to your dress, a selection of white paired with another color is one option or, if you have your heart set on red, blue pink etc., any gown can still be made to look as elegant and special despite not being white.

Weddings are celebrations and meant to be fun. Not only should you show off your individuality/personality but allow everyone else to do the same.

First of All

When wedding planning, regardless of the hours spent or attention paid to details, it is almost guaranteed there will be glitches and unexpected occurrences you won’t be prepared for. Neither micromanaging nor being completely obsessed will ensure flawlessness.

You can easily be consumed with every facet which detracts from the joy when walking down the aisle as you may obsess thinking of every detail you are seeing. It is not a reflection of your lack of love and should not make you question your decision. It should instead be a sign that you need to take a deep breath, relax and realize that, even if everything that could go wrong does, you’ve made the absolutely right choice for you.

Despite having a photographer, some guests will want to take photos or videos on their phones and get in the way of the professional shots. One recommendation is to include in your invitations that there is a “no photos” policy. It is simple to kindly say that photos will be distributed once developed but someone has been hired to take on the task and, while you appreciate the interest and effort, you have control of that aspect.

Often, you will have a recently married friend who is now an expert on everything involved and suddenly become a dispensary of unwanted/inappropriate advice without regard to the fact that it is YOUR day. Sweetly tell her that, while her wedding was lovely and you appreciate her advice, you have a different style and have made choices that are perfect for you.

Unfortunately you will likely find someone who is consumed with jealousy and bitterness over their own relationship history. The best way to handle him/her is to have a private conversation, ask if they would like a particular song played or find other small ways to make them feel special and included.

No wedding will be exactly as you’ve dreamed of but it will always turn out perfect in the end and it is the mishaps that you can look back on which make it even more than what you imagined.  

Bar(Gain) Shopping

The common belief when dress shopping is that the more expensive, the better. That is not true and you would be surprised how many locations have beautiful gowns for less than $1,000. It is important that you stick to your budget and don’t even try on a gown you cannot afford as, most likely, you will fall in love with it and nothing will ever compare afterwards.

Many wedding shows on TV project the idea that, if you aren’t willing to spend at least $2 – 3,000, you have to settle for something you don’t really want.  However, that is far from the truth. In actuality, keeping your budget low does not mean that you must opt for a bland dress made of cheap fabric, second-hand, resembling a prom dress or anything else. With a little research and effort, you can find exactly what you have always dreamed of for a very low cost.

No one will know the name of your designer, where the purchase was made or what you paid (unless being completely inappropriate). In fact, typically the name determines the price and has nothing to do with the quality.

Whether a ball gown, mermaid style, sleek and sexy, over the top for a huge wedding or simple/vintage (perfect for a rustic country home feel) are available.

Saving on your dress also doesn’t require you to alter your vision and may even result in you discovering something you love more than what you’ve ever imagined. After all, taking time doing some research far exceeds spending thousands of dollars on a dress you will only wear once.

Here is a place to begin looking just to get some ideas….
http://www.stylemepretty.com/2016/01/10/budget-wedding-dresses-1000-dollars/

Getting Trendy

Every year, wedding trends change and, while they may be a jumping off point when it comes time to begin planning, there is no need to base your entire day solely on what is currently in style. Many brides want to fit in with what is “hip” and “chic” in the moment and fear getting caught up in the past or seeming too far out of the box. However, here are some trends for 2016 and years to come.

Patterns: Have some fun. Not everything has to match nor does your color scheme have to solely consist of one or two colors. You can select the colors you want for flowers, decorations and bridesmaids dresses, making beautiful combinations of each for your save the date cards, invitations, napkins, etc. Color blocking/random combinations are both expressive and creative.

Sleeves: Although strapless, sweetheart neckline gowns were the rage for years, the creativity with both short and long sleeves is growing. Having either, especially with an open back, is very popular due to exuding femininity, sensuality and elegance at the same time. They can be made of lace, crystals or other beading and accentuate your dress whether simple or the most extravagant.

Incorporation: If you opt to have a reading included in your ceremony, rather than being performed by the pastor, give short portions to certain chosen guests where they can stand up and read them from their seats. Not only would each be honored to do (those won’t be chosen will not feel left out) but it creates an intimacy and an unspoken symbol of value to everyone you invited.

Personal Moments: Personal photo shoots have always been a tradition but now, rather than being intimate, it has become more stylish to take pictures as you get dressed with your bridesmaids, your mother and those nearest to you buttoning your dress or perfecting your veil because the most beautiful images are those which silently express your anticipation and excitement.

Smaller, more intimate unions are not only more meaningful to each person involved but make any sort of variety of old and new both fun and memorable, and that, perhaps, is the biggest new trend of all.