Category Archives: guests

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.

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.

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.

You’re My Favor(ite)

Despite the fact that your guests should and probably do feel honored to be a part of your wonderful day, it is only appropriate that you give them favors as a token for their attendance, any gifts they have given you and especially if they have traveled or rearranged their schedule to attend. However, that is not an indication which requires spending a great amount of money nor be typical or easily anticipated.

One inexpensive way to kill two birds with one stone is to use small and economical containers, each filled with different sorts of succulents. On the front, you can put labels with the name of each guest and simply the number of their table at the reception. Therefore, not only does it keep you from making seating assignment cards but is a token of your appreciation which can grow and is long-lasting.

Select something meaningful and useful to which you can attach a card letting each guest know that you have made a donation to a charity on their behalf. No matter the organization, each attendant would be both surprised and humbled by the thought behind your decision to do so.

Find something local and unique to your area, whether candy, granola, tea etc. and package them in modest containers. If you wanted to extend yourself, cover the containers with local maps giving extra meaning to guests who have traveled for the occasion. If you choose not to use a map as a cover, simply fold it into a uniquely styled tag with a hand written message.

Any favor would be appreciated but there are many ways you can show your gratitude while both remaining in your budget and thinking outside the box.

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.  

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.

Minimal Assistants


It goes without saying that, as a bride, you likely have a plan (or at least a clear vision) in place regarding most of your wedding day details. Making your ideas come to life may be challenging for many reasons leaving you wishing for sole responsibility over every component. Unfortunately, that is an impossibility as outside help, whether from friends and family or hired professionals, is required. However, every decision including the amount of assistance you want or need and from whom it comes is yours to make.

Remember that the period leading up to your special day is not just exciting for you but for those close to you as well. Many will offer their time, advice and skills to ease your burden and lower your stress level. While usually successful, occasionally their good intentions lead to uncomfortable situations and hurt feelings.

One objective of your wedding is for your guests to enjoy themselves which includes being able to take in everything going on around them. If someone offers to provide their services on the day of for something other than what you want, kindly pointing out some of the special things they would miss is a great way to decline the offer while avoiding being offensive.

Unsolicited offers will not just come for your ceremony and reception but may arise throughout the planning process too. Fortunately, those are easier to handle. During this time, you can include the individual(s) in different yet equally meaningful ways making it seem as if you are not being dismissive. For example, if your mom is determined for you to wear her veil and your heart is set on a birdcage, invite her to help you choose just the right one and offer to sew a piece of the veil inside your gown or to use it as a wrap around your bouquet.

All intentions are good when those who love you offer a lending hand as difficult as that may periodically be to keep in mind. However, it is the one day that all attention is on you and your future husband. Therefore, while always doing so kindly and with consideration, you should not feel guilty for ensuring that what you envisioned is exactly what materializes.