Friday, May 22, 2015

5 Things Every Mother of the Bride Should Do on the Wedding Day


Things to Take off Brides Hands
Photo: Abby Jiu
 
The second most important woman at a wedding is the Mother of the Bride. No, seriously, she is also a "guest of honor" and that's why she sits in the key seat in the front row on the left side of the aisle. But along with the honor comes responsibility. After all, whether you've paid for it or not, everyone treats the parents of the bride like the hosts of the wedding reception. Before you get to bask in the glory, you have to be prepared to do the following five things.

1. Manage the family.
If you know that certain relatives get on your daughter's nerves, don't insist she include them in everything on the wedding day. She needs some time and space to get ready without any drama or stress. Be the bouncer on your daughter's bridal suite and keep the wolves at bay until after she's gone down the aisle.

2. Marshall the boys.
That includes your husband if you're married to the bride's father. And even if you're divorced, as long as things aren't acrimonious, try to keep him on schedule too. Work with the groom's mother to make sure all the gentlemen will be dressed and ready to go at the appointed time so that the bride doesn't have to worry about it.


3. Be sure the bridal party is eating.
They're going to be drinking (champagne or some other concoction) and it's easy for them to get tipsy on empty stomachs. Not cute on the wedding day before the ceremony. Plan ahead with your daughter to have food and soft beverages available for the ladies so that they can have something in their tummies.

4. Have your own act together.
Don't bring two dresses and ask the bride to choose for you at the last minute, she doesn't need that additional mental challenge. The biggest gift you can give her is to be easy, organized and ready so that if she needs extra hands or help, you're already dressed to go and you can be there to help your daughter.

5. Be the voice of reason.
If something goes wrong, stay calm as you try to correct it. Things go wrong and as the mother of the bride, some of it will come to your attention. The problem is there are some things that might not be able to be fixed — such as the florist delivering the wrong flowers just before the ceremony. Instead of getting upset about it with your daughter, tell her how unimportant the detail is in the grand scope of things and how you'll laugh about it later. Minimize problems and help her focus on the good things happening around her.

The most important thing a mother of the bride can do on her daughter's wedding day is to just be there for her, completely and selflessly. You're her mom, and she needs you.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

6 Things to Consider BEFORE Choosing Your Wedding Colors

After "So when's the big day?" one of the first questions you're bound to be asked is "What are your wedding colors?" And that totally makes sense given how much your colors can impact the overall vibe of your big day. But a major color palette mistake could make your guests cringe and your photos look, well, not so great. So before you pick your palette, make sure to consider these super important factors.
 
1. Choose your venue first. Imagine booking a stunning ballroom that was decorated with deep jewel tones and rich wooden details after you decided to go with hot pink and green details. Your bridesmaids and centerpieces would stick out like a sore thumb. That's why it's so important to select your venue BEFORE picking out a color palette. That's not to say your venue has to perfectly match every detail of your wedding — that might look a little odd. Instead, think about the venue's overall style and tone. If it's filled with neutrals or pastels, choose colors that would complement that mood. Dead set on colors already? Select a venue that's basically a blank slate.
 
2. Keep formality in mind. Yellow and turquoise might not fit the bill at a swanky affair, and a sleek, black and red palette could feel out of place at a vintage barn wedding. The colors you pick can seriously affect the overall tone and mood of your wedding, so think about what kind of celebration you want!
 
3. Pick Pantone colors. You’ve probably heard of Pantone’s color of the year, but did you know that Pantone has a whole collection of cleverly named colors? These hues are actually universally used by designers, artists, and more — and they come in handy for to-be-weds, too. Let's say you have a very specific color in mind — more emerald-ish than kelly green, for example. Your baker might not picture the exact same shade when you say "emerald," so avoid any incompatible tones by providing him or her the Pantone number of the color you want. There will be no confusion, and you’ll get exactly what you’re looking for. 
 
4. Don't forget the neutrals. We're all for a colorful wedding — so fun! — but too much color can be overwhelming. No matter how bright you want your wedding to be, adding a neutral into the mix is essential. A little bit of white or taupe here and there will balance the brights and make the whole event easier on the eyes. A good way to work with neutrals is to use them for the biggest details, like tablecloths. Then, you can add pops of color that won't be too garish or overwhelming.
 
5. Think about texture and lighting. Color isn’t the only element that contributes to the overall look and feel of your wedding. Texture plays a big role, too. Varying the texture of your linens, for example, can make as much of an impact as varying the colors. Same goes for lighting; colors will look vastly different in soft, romantic lighting than under the blazing afternoon sun. 
 
6. Limit your colors. A good goal when it comes to wedding colors and style is to make the whole event feel cohesive. That's hard to do if you’re working with five, six, or more color. Your decor and other colorful elements will feel disjointed. Instead, stick to four colors tops, including that neutral tone. To add a level of intrigue, use shades of the same color. Get creative — just not overly colorful!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How to Find Your First Dance Wedding Song

Bride and groom's first dance song
Photo by Green Vintage Photography
 
Maybe you're dreading the much-hyped first dance. Or could it be that flaunting some fancy footwork is your ultimate fantasy? Which of the seven dancing personality prototype do you guys fit into? Figure out where you belong, and then do yourself a favor: learn the ropes from a pro. Whether you have a band or DJ, they should be able to provide you with a close proximity to the song you request. In the end, a first-class first dance will come down to confidence, chemistry, and a whole lot of attitude.

Couple #1: The Traditionalists

For Emily Post's poster children, the first dance is no trifling matter. In fact, many by-the-book brides and grooms regard their dance-floor debuts as the ultimate opportunity to drive home a display of grace and good taste. What "classic" lacks in risk-taking, it more than makes up for in elegance. Hopefully, you have the moves to do the moment justice.
  • Songs to Sample: "At Last" by Etta James; "Moondance" by Van Morrison; "Unforgettable" by Nat King Cole; "Fly Me to the Moon" by Frank Sinatra; and "Stardust" by Billy Ward & His Dominoes

Couple #2: The Jesters

With your radars permanently set to "irreverent," your first dance of course will provide excellent fodder for joke-cracking and other forms of farce. Choose a cheeky song to communicate your insouciant sense of humor. You can obnoxiously ham it up or roll your eyes with a mischievous air of irony.
  • Songs to Sample: "She's No Lady" by Lyle Lovett; "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong; "I Think I Love You," by The Partridge Family; and "Love is Strange" by Mickey & Sylvia

Couple #3: The Hipsters

You live in a renovated loft. There's more gadgets than homegoods on your bridal registry. Ever on the pulse of "what's hot," an old-fashioned standard just isn't suited to your too-cool-for-school sensibility. After all, you can't stand cliches. Still, you're game for first-dance formalities -- as long as the artist is of the Tom Waits or Aimee Mann ilk. Just remember, a song with no beat can cause a first dance meltdown, so don't sacrifice a good beat for the sake of hipness.
  • Songs to Sample: "Ice Cream" by Sarah McLachlan; "Truly, Madly, Deeply" by Savage Garden; "Fever" by Peggy Lee; "Wild Horses" by The Sundays; and "Head Over Feet" by Alanis Morissette

Couple #4: The Hopeless Romantics

A passionate, sentimental pair, one of you always seems to be uttering the words, "They're playing our song." And suddenly you're both in tears, shamelessly waltzing and/or smooching in train stations, ballparks, and grocery aisles. Lyrics, just as much as melody, are important to you: poetic, intense, and emotional.
  • Songs to Sample: "You're All I Need to Get By" by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell; "I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)" by Stevie Wonder; "In Your Eyes" Peter Gabriel; "Somebody" by Depeche Mode; "Unchained Melody" by The Righteous Brothers

Couple #5: The Rebels

Some people call your sense of style unorthodox -- others call it unseemly. You generally raise eyebrows wherever you go, but beneath all the attitude, tattoos, and leather, there's a little part of you that can kind of get with the first-dance hype. As with other aspects of your anarchistic lifestyle, your spin on the dance floor will be less about making a scene than it is about making a statement.
  • Songs to Sample: "Like a Virgin" by Madonna; "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" by The Beatles; "Start the Commotion" by The Wiseguys; "The Joker" by Steve Miller Band; and "Sweet Emotion" by Aerosmith

Couple #6: The Shrinking Violets

We don't want to call you scaredy-cats, but as a rule, you eschew the spotlight for fear of looking foolish. The solution: Alleviate the pressure and sway to a song that's familiar, easy to dance to, and innuendo-free. "Cute" is also pretty easy to pull off. Don't worry, if you can walk, you can dance. Let that be a comfort to you. Professional dance lessons will be essential to a successful spin on the dance floor, so go for it! Start about six months before the wedding. With enough practice and preparation, you'll be comfortably -- and confidently -- cutting a rug in no time.
  • Songs to Sample: "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong; "Chances Are" by Johnny Mathis; "The Way You Look Tonight" by Frank Sinatra; "Dream a Little Dream of Me" by The Mamas and the Papas; and "Cupid" by Sam Cooke

Couple #7: The Smooth Operators

You can't keep your hands off each other in public. You've got movie-star good looks. And you're never afraid to strut your stuff. Turn up the heat with a tune that's sexy, sensual, and made for moving and grooving.
  • Songs to Sample: "Cruisin'" by Smokey Robinson; "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" by Lauryn Hill; "By Your Side" by Sade; "Beautiful" by Mary J. Blige; and "Ribbon in the Sky" by Stevie Wonder

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Pro Planner on the 4 Worst Wedding Toasts She's Ever Heard







Bad Wedding Toasts
Bad Wedding Toasts Photo: Readyluck Photography

Owner of Weddings in Vieques, a destination-wedding planning company off the coast of Puerto Rico, Sandy Malone has helped countless couples plan their big day since 2007. Here, she shares four of the worst toasts she's ever heard at weddings. I am a huge advocate of reminding your friends and family that they are "toasting" at your wedding, not making speeches. There's nothing worse than, as a wedding guest, being stuck in your seat for an hour listening to people you don't know recite the bride and groom's resumes and every achievement since kindergarten. It's a snore. That said, boring is better than mean — and that's what happens when drunk guests start to "roast" the happy couple instead of toast them. And that happens far too often.

Here are four examples of the worst toasts I've heard at almost 500 weddings:

1. The mother of the bride toasted for 22 minutes, listing every famous person she had ever introduced her daughter to in her entire life. See More: How to Give a Maid-of-Honor Speech That's Memorable (in a Good Way)

2. The 11-year-old daughter of the bride and groom got up to toast, and began to cry. "Thank you so much for getting married, I never believed it would actually happen," she sobbed. We couldn't tell if she was crying tears or joy or sadness — it was a twisted moment.

3. The best man was too drunk to toast, but that didn't stop him from getting up with his pages to read, and mumbling through all of them — for more than 10 minutes. Then he slumped back down in his chair and began to loudly snore through the rest of the speeches.

4. Everyone believed the bride and groom had met on a blind date, until the brother of the bride gave a toast — as a really good rap — and busted them for having met online. This was a few years ago, before it was so common, and the bride was mortified. The groom wasn't too pleased. All of the guests found it absolutely hilarious and teased them through the entire wedding reception. I felt sorry for my clients. That wasn't a nice thing to do at all.

The lesson to be learned: Choose wisely when asking someone to make a toast at your wedding. Be clear about your expectations — both time and content. It may seem demanding but it's worth it.

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Best Wedding Band Trends of 2015

So you already have that whole engagement ring situation figured out. Congrats! Now you and your partner are on the hunt for the right wedding bands. Kiss the traditional flat wedding band goodbye and say hello to an exciting spread of beautiful bands for ladies and gents. From vintage-inspired details for her to edgy engraving for him, choose your big day band from today's hottest trends.
 
 
via Lover.ly

For Her:

Stack 'em up: Modern brides-to-be are all about the stacking style right now. Why settle for one band to flank your sparkler when you can have two, three, four...or more? Diamond bands in particular look great stacked. The best part is that this style gives you options — you can wear the multiple rings without your engagement ring and you can switch up the metals. Plus, you can start with one band on your big day and then have your partner gift you new bands on anniversaries and other monumental life moments.
via Lover.ly
Vintage vibes: This year, what's old is new again. Brides are loving the delicate and elegant look of vintage-inspired diamond bands. The round stones, the milgrain detailing, and the side-view of these rings will definitely get you attention for all the right reasons.
via Lover.ly
Mix up those metals: If you have a white gold diamond ring, up your ring finger's wow-factor by adding a rose gold wedding band. Or, add a band that offers both hues. The two-toned look is very popular right now because it gives ladies the chance to bring their unique personalities to their jewelry.
via Lover.ly
Pavé it up: The pavé setting is a hot trend in wedding bands right now. It's elegant, practical (the stones are securely set as close together as possible), and oh-so-pretty. This look is perfect for brides-to-be who want bling without being too over-the-top.
via Lover.ly
Colored bands: A wedding band with some color is a great way to make a statement on your wedding day (and every day after). So this route is ideal for anyone looking to standout in the world of cookie cutter bands. Pick your favorite color or look to your birthstone for some inspiration.
via Lover.ly

For Him:

Diamonds for dudes: They say "diamonds are a girl's best friend," but that doesn't mean they're off limits for grooms. Right now, stylish guys are loving the subtle sparkle and sophistication that a few rocks convey. Vary the size, shape, and number of stones to control (or step up) the bling factor.
via Lover.ly
Engraving on the inside: Sure, engraving your wedding band isn't anything new, but personalized bands are so on point right now. Your wedding band should be uniquely you, after all. Ask your jeweler to add your names, your wedding date, the coordinates of your wedding venue or a cute message on the inside of the band for a truly one-of-a-kind ring.
via Lover.ly
Mix up your metals: Most guys only rock one ring on their finger after the big day, so why not pick one that's dynamic? The mixed metal look is a great way to add a little flair to the band without getting too fancy. Go for the two-tone gold look, pair rose gold with charcoal rhodium plate or bring on the black and silver. No matter how you mix your metals, have fun and find the match that fits your style.
via Lover.ly
Get alternative: Does your guy like the outdoors or is he really athletic? Consider skipping the traditional gold and silver in favor of a sophisticated black tungsten band. Alternative metals are more durable and scratch resistant than gold, so they're made for men who are active. To soften the band's brash feel, look for a band with grooved details and polished edging — it brings in that radiant shine.
via Lover.ly

Friday, May 15, 2015

10 Beauty Steps You Should Never Skip

A swipe of moisturizer, a dab of gloss—you may think that's the only pre-wedding beauty routine you need (or have time for), but you have to up your beauty game if you want to look on-point for your wedding day.

Bride getting ready in bathroom
Photo by Brooke Schwab

1. Taking Off Your Makeup At Night

A cozy bed can be so, so tempting after a long day, but you should never fall asleep with your makeup on. Not just because it clogs your pores (which it does!), but during the day free radicals from the environment cling to your makeup. If you don't wash your face, those free radicals will breakdown the healthy collagen in your skin while you sleep, causing fine lines and premature signs of aging. If making it to your sink is just too much work, keep a pack of makeup removing wipes in your nightstand for a quick fix!

2. Exfoliating Your T-Zone

Washing your face is kind of like brushing your teeth: You can do it fast and haphazard, but you're probably going to pay for it in the long run. Taking the extra 30 seconds to scrub your T-zone or acne-prone areas on your face can help reduce the build up of sebum (thick oil) and keep your pores clear and unclogged.

3. Using a Toner

It may sound like an unnecessary step in your daily routine, but using a toner actually helps the rest of your skincare routine work more effectively and penetrate deeper into your skin. Skip toners with alcohol if you're worried about over-drying and opt for solutions with calming, anti-inflammatory ingredients, like vitamin E, for less irritating results.

4. Wearing SPF Daily

We know, we know: You work indoors all day, why would you need to wear a sunscreen? Because windows and glass aren't UVA proof, that's why! Even just a little bit of sun exposure everyday can lead to long term skin damage. If you're worried about smelling like a pina colada at work, there are many moisturizers on the market that double as sunscreen without the SPF smell.

5. Cleaning Your Makeup Brushes Weekly

Here's a novel idea: Take your makeup brushes in the shower with you once a week. Use your face cleanser and warm water to disinfect your brushes and remove oil, makeup, dirt and bacteria that can get caught on your brush's bristles and clog your pores, causing breakouts.

6. Using a Primer Under Your Makeup

If you're not familiar with it, primer can seem like a totally unnecessary step. But when used correctly, it can actually save your skincare routine and shorten your time spent trying to cover up imperfections in the mirror. Try a tinted formula in green or lilac to target specific problems like redness or dullness.

7. Throwing Away Old Products

Old beauty products are a breeding ground for bacteria. General rule of thumb is to toss your mascara after three months, get rid of lipsticks after one year and ditch your favorite lipgloss after two years.

8. Applying a Basecoat

The reason you probably skip this extra layer on your manicure is because you don't know what it does. Not only does a basecoat act like a glue on your nails for your polish to stick to, but it also keeps your nails healthy. As polish chips away it takes pieces of your nail with it, making your tips weak and brittle. A basecoat will prevent air bubbles from forming under your polish, which will stop polish (and your nails!) from flaking.

9. ReplacingYour Loofa

Do you know what's growing on that thing? Neither do we, but we can promise you it's a lot of germs, bacteria and fungus. Loofahs are usually used and left in a shower, meaning they never fully dry, which make them a breading ground for all things gross. Plus, all those dead skin cells your sloughing away get trapped inside it's mesh material. Plastic ones can last up to two months, but avoid using it on your face and after you shave.

10. Conditioning Your Hair

Do you always finish your shampoo before your conditioner? Then this is a tip for you! If you have fine or thin hair, the last thing you think your hair needs is a daily conditioner. But while shampoo helps strip your hair of dirt and oil, conditioner coats each strand and protects it from daily damage. Just avoid conditioning your roots--you'll get all the shine without the grease.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

20 Amazing Guys Who Took Their Marriage Proposals To The Next Level

The only thing more exciting than your actual wedding day is the moment the love of your life drops down on one knee and asks for your hand in marriage.

Like most ladies, you’ve probably dreamed about this since your childhood days of acting out picture-perfect proposal scenes via Barbie and Ken.

If there’s one person who knows a thing or two about a seriously impressive proposal, it’s Stacy Tasman.

After seeing her friend get engaged, this hopeless romantic set out to find some of the most epic marriage proposals on the face of the Earth and compiled them all onto one incredible Instagram account called How He Asked.

Now would probably be a good time to grab a couple of tissues because these proposal pictures are so heart-melting they’ll make you cry harder than the first time you watched “The Notebook.”
According to Tasman,

I started HowHeAsked.com after I was part of a friend’s proposal a few years back. ‘How he asked’ was so unique and special that I began to think how beautiful all these stories could be.

Because of that, I started the website and the Instagram, and have seen over 3,000 proposals since – including my own proposal, which happened four months ago in two feet of snow.

Seriously, all of these dudes deserve an A-plus for their proposals.

Stacy Tasman is no stranger to awesome proposals.

proposal-ideas-in-colorado-DSC_0012

Hey girl, wanna get married after we figure out how to get down from this cliff?

1

Rocking the boat with a 2-carat ring.

2

You just won… a brand new husband!

3

He’s ready to take the plunge.

4

Popping the question with an “Up”-themed proposal? Yes, please.

5

This might be the luckiest woman alive.

6

The hipster proposal at its finest.

7

He’s not afraid to fight for her love.

8

Give me a Y! Give me an E! Give me an S! What does that spell? YES! YES! YES!

9

He found his one and only fish in the sea.

Surfing-Marriage-Proposal-_-Cool-Marriage-Proposal-Ideas_1077

Now that you’ve survived jumping out of a plane, will you marry me?

12

Now this is a seriously impressive place to pop the question.

13

Nothing can put out the burning love these two have for each other.

15

His heart was racing when he finally asked the question.

16

Talk about hitting a hole-in-one.

17

There’s about to be some Navy nuptials in the near future.

18

It’s a good thing she agreed to stay for the “Phantom of the Opera” after show.

19

This gal has her man trained just as well as the dog.

20

And they lived happily ever after.

Disneyproposal

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

15 Money-Saving Tricks from Real Brides

With weddings becoming more and more expensive — according to CostofWedding.com, U.S. couples spend an average of $25,656 on their big day, and that figure doesn't include the cost of a honeymoon — brides are constantly looking for ways to achieve their dream day for less.

Although weddings can be super pricey, there are always ways, big and small, to save a few dollars. We asked money-savvy brides to spill their best tips!

How to Save on Your Ceremony and Reception

1. Marry during the off-season.

Venues and hotels usually lower their rates during the off-season (which is from November through April), so planning your wedding during this time could help you cut major costs, like it did for Melissa Phillips from New Milford, NJ, who's getting married on January 18th.

Plus, this gives you the opportunity to play up the colder weather and feature unique wedding details that wouldn't be possible during warmer months, like a hot chocolate bar complete with marshmallows and whipped cream!

2. Take advantage of the holidays.

If you marry during the holiday season, you could benefit from beautiful churches and venues that are pre-decorated with flowers, lights and holiday sparkle, keeping out-of-pocket décor costs down to a minimum.

"I always dreamt of getting married during Christmas, with the church ablaze with red poinsettas and my bridesmaids in red and green velvet dresses," says New York City bride Samuella Becker-Maltese.

To her surprise, her dream wedding cost much less than she had anticipated. "When I booked the ceremony, I discovered that there was no charge for the flowers, as they are paid for every year through donations by members and friends of the congregation who wish to honor a loved one," Becker-Maltese says.

christmas flowers church during christmas poinsettia wedding ways to save money

Becker-Maltese's beautiful holiday wedding featured free poinsettias and Christmas wreaths.
Photo courtesy of Samuella Becker-Maltese
 
3. Host your wedding earlier in the day.

You can save up to 30% by having a Sunday brunch reception instead of an evening reception. Michigan bride Brittany Scherr and her husband decided to host their party in the afternoon: "We started our ceremony at 11 a.m. and had a full buffet at lunchtime for half the cost," she says.

And just because it's earlier in the day doesn't mean it can't be just as fun as an evening wedding! Scherr reveals that "We still had a DJ, a full bar, and dancing. We saved a ton of money by simply having our wedding earlier in the day."

4. Have your ceremony and reception at the same venue.

Holding your reception in the same location as your ceremony is an easy way to cut the cost of transportation and decorations.

My husband and I saved money during our July wedding by having the ceremony and reception at the same site," says Nicole Nelson from Milwaukee, WI. "We had no travel costs. We saved a ton of money by utilizing the outdoor decorations, indoors."

outdoor to indoor wedding wedding money saving tricks real brides
outdoor indoor wedding ceremony and reception money saving tricks from real brides
Nelson's outdoor ceremony and indoor reception was held at the same place.
Photo courtesy of Nicole Nelson

5. Host your ceremony and/or reception at a non-traditional location.

"We skipped paying the crazy banquet hall prices and decided to hold our ceremony in Central Park in New York City," says LeslieAnn Dunn from Throgsneck, NY. "It was free, minus a $25 fee we had to pay to make sure no one came jogging through during our ceremony."

park reception money saving wedding tricks real brides

Dunn got married in a breathtaking (and budget-friendly!) Central Park ceremony, complete with live musicians.
Photo Credit: Mitchell Media Visuals 

How to Save on Products and Services

6. Pay for your dress in full.

Ask your bridal salon if they offer any discounts for paying the full price of your gown upfront, like bride Lisa Padley from Easthampton, NY did.

"I asked and got another 5% off. Although it doesn't sound like a lot, it all helps towards paying for other parts of your wedding day outfit," she says.

7. Consider buying your dress off the rack.

our wedding gown is arguably one of the most important outfits you'll ever wear, but with dresses costing up to thousands of dollars, it can be frustrating trying to find the perfect style that's within your budget.

Jennifer Ostdiek, a bride-to-be from California, says her solution was to buy a dress off the rack. "I purchased my gown at half off the regular price and it was exactly what I wanted," she says.
Before purchasing an off-the-rack gown, be sure to check for stains, rips, or loose beadwork. Also, keep in mind that it's much easier for seamstresses to let a dress in rather than letting it out, so don't be afraid to purchase the next size up.

8. DIY whenever possible.

More brides are taking on bigger DIY projects to cut costs, especially when it comes to invitations and decorations. "I even made the ribbon wands and bows for the aisles myself," says Phillips.

But going the handmade and personalized route doesn't always cost less. In order to determine whether a DIY project will actually save you money, we recommend researching the purchase price of that item and comparing it to the cost of supplies if you were to make it yourself. Plus, factor in the value of your time. Consider the skill level of the project and come up with a plan B if you find that it's more difficult than you anticipated.

9. Skip anything that's not important to you.

If you don't want a three-tier cake or a skyscraper-like centerpiece, then skip it! There's no reason to purchase something if you truly would prefer not to have it.

"We are doing away with aisle runners and programs," says Phillips.
Amy Mitchell from New York City tells us she's ditching wedding favors: "Who really wants a tin of mediocre candies anyway? Instead, we will be making donations in each of our guest’s names to a charity or organization of our choice

Of course, hindsight is always 20/20: Newlywed Anshwa Lewis from Houston, TX says that if she could go back in time, she would have skipped the programs, menu cards and bar menu. "I don't think my guests noticed these things as much as I thought," she says.

10. But don't skimp on what you truly want!

Before you cut out something from the budget entirely, consider if (and how) it'll impact you and your husband years from now. Caputa-Speranza's tip? "You'll want a keepsake years down the road," she says.

Instead of forgoing a videographer, she decided to opt out of the edited DVD footage. "We got the raw, unedited footage, and we didn't miss a thing!" she says. If you go with a basic, no-frills package, you always have the option of upgrading after the wedding.

11. Buy in bulk.

If you don't want to skimp on alcohol or you dream of having a lush candy bar, you may be able to cut costs by buying in bulk. Discounts are usually given to larger purchases of candy, liquor or craft materials.

"I've bought everything from my candy and flowers to bells, ribbons and gable boxes in bulk. It's really helped out a lot with staying on budget," says Phillips.

12. Double up!

Newlywed Joelle Caputa-Speranza from Lake Hiawatha, NJ, used centerpieces that served double-duty as wedding favors. "For my wedding, we purchased adorable and cheap vases at Ikea and put baby's breath in them. Each guest took a vase home as his or her favor," she says.

centerpieces babys breath favors vases weddings

Speranza's gorgeous centerpieces/favors.
Photo Credit: 1314 Studio
 
Or you can skip the florals and use more budget-friendly décor, wherever possible. "My husband and I had a big bridal party so I knew flowers were going to be expensive. Because I also wanted to be a little different, I had my bridesmaids and flower girls carry vintage purses down the aisle instead," Caputa-Speranza says. "This not only cut down on floral costs, but also counted as part of their bridal party gifts!"

ways to save money in wedding money saving tricks vintage purses bouquets
Caputa-Speranza's bridesmaids pose with their vintage purse "bouquets."
Photo Credit: 1314 Studio
 
13. Utilize discount sites.

Groupon has become extremely popular for anyone looking to save a few dollars, but did you know it can also be great for planning a wedding? Caitlin Mooney, a bride-to-be from Connecticut, has used the site to purchase items for her  February 14, 2015 nuptials.

"We have bought several Groupons that helped us save a ton on our save-the-dates, the photo guest book, our gifts for the bridesmaids and groomsmen, and even my fiancé's wedding band," she says. "And we still have a year to go!”

14. Recycle items from former brides.

Brides are taking advantage of websites like RuffledBlog.com and Tradesy.com, which allow them to score steep discounts on gently-used items that are still in excellent condition. You can find anything from candles and table numbers to chair sashes and wedding dresses.

Amy Mitchell loves browsing RuffledBlog.com for products she can potentially use at her upcoming June 2014 wedding: "I literally check every day for updates," she says. The items listed are not only a steal, but there's some super creative finds you may not be able to get anywhere else! Once the big day has passed, you can continue the cycle by cashing in on items you don't want to keep (think wooden table numbers, vases and handmade signs).

15. Enter sweepstakes and competitions.

Entering sweepstakes and competitions is an amazing (and free!) way to win items or services for your wedding.

Megan Cook from Cleveland, OH tells us that she won both her candy buffet and her honeymoon from entering competitions! Ostdiek was also glad she took the time to enter giveaways — "Enter as many contests as you can. It is very much worth the time!  I won our wedding bands and our honeymoon," she says.

Enter BG's Alfred Angelo's Ariel Sweepstakes to win the Disney Fairy Tale Weddings by Alfred Angelo bridal gown featured on the cover of our November/December issue, plus a 6-day Disney World honeymoon!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Why I Didn't Take My Husband's Last Name

As a little girl, I took it for granted that I would probably meet the right person and get married one day and when I did, my last name would probably change just as my mother's had, just as her mother's had. As I grew older, the idea of taking a man's last name seemed less automatic to me, as did the idea of marrying at all. But when I started dating the man who eventually became my husband, it became quickly apparent to me that maybe I would wind up marrying, after all. When he told me he wanted to marry me, I agreed with the idea. We worked well as partners and I liked the idea of committing to our partnership.

Throughout the months of engagement, I wondered about my surname. I wasn't certain that I would keep it — I liked his last name better than mine phonetically and I wondered about the nuances of having different last names if we had children together. I wasn't sure that the issue of changing my last name or not was important to me, but I've never been too traditionally minded either. As the date and decision-making time neared, my instincts grew louder and my clarity on the subject sharpened: I couldn't change my name.

While planning our wedding, I found myself facing ethical quandaries throughout the process. The more I researched the history behind what I perceived to be relatively innocent wedding traditions, the more they seemed to be anything but. I am a feminist because I refuse to settle for less than equal rights between men and women, and many modern wedding traditions are symbolic of the rights women have been decidedly not allowed to have throughout the centuries. With this in mind, making wedding-related decisions was difficult for me. This isn't to say that women who engage in these traditions or who change their name after marriage aren't feminists, but with equality for women in mind, many of these gestures became a little heavier for me.

I didn't eschew every wedding tradition — my father walked me down the aisle and I'm glad he did. But I couldn't compromise on changing my last name. I've worked hard over the years for successes and experiences that are each tied to my name. My friends, my colleagues, and my acquaintances know me by my name. And I know me by my name too. To strip that identity away from me for the sake of tradition seemed absurd by the time my wedding day rolled around. I considered the unfairness in me having to take the time to wait in lines and fill out paperwork for a new passport and license and everything else, all for the sake of tradition.

In the end, what made the most sense was for me to simply not change my name at all and for him to do the same. We weren't abandoning our pasts to start a new life together — we were two people, each with our own histories, agreeing to walk together where we once walked alone. My name does not define me, but it's a lot more relevant to who I am than my husband's.

When our daughter was born, we deliberated for days trying to nail down what her name should be. We wanted her to have his last name, but we weren't sure how — or if — we would incorporate my name into hers. It was my husband's suggestion to then give her my first name as one of her names instead, so she now carries his last name as her last and my first as her middle.

And me? I am who I always was — and that's exactly the point.

Monday, May 11, 2015

6 Things You Should Never Do on Your Wedding Day



Things You Shouldn't Do On Wedding Day



By the time your wedding day rolls around the only thing you should have left to worry about is getting gorgeous and walking down that aisle. To avoid turning into a total bridezilla or, worse, risk ruining those wedding photos you paid a pretty penny for, may we highly suggest not doing these six things the day you say, "I do." You'll thank us later, we swear!


1. Don't drink like there's no tomorrow
Because tomorrow you might have a post-wedding brunch to attend! Seriously though, a small glass of champagne is fine pre-ceremony, but too much alcohol too early on in the day is just a recipe for disaster, warns celebrity wedding and event specialist Donnie Brown. "You definitely don't want to be that bride projectile vomiting all over the dance floor." Plus, have you ever seen drunken photos of yourself? Our guess is it's not your best look.

2. Don't let the little things get to you
Frown lines are so not becoming on a bride! As much as we'd love to promise you that everything will go exactly according to plan on your big day, the likelihood of that actually happening is slim to none. Sit back, relax and just trust that your wedding planner, maid of honor or someone else in your bridal party will handle any hiccups that may occur with your best interest in mind. Oh, and smile...you're about to marry the love of your life!

3. Don't overschedule yourself
Your wedding will be hectic enough as it is so hosting your bridesmaid luncheon or tea the day of probably isn't the smartest idea. "There's really too much to do and staying on schedule is critical," points out Brown. "You simply don't have the time to allocate to an event other than the wedding on your big day." Of course, you should feed your bridesmaids, but you girls can always munch on mini sandwiches while you get ready.

See More: What to Expect When You're Expecting...to Plan a Wedding
4. Don't skip breakfast
Speaking of food, please don't "forget" to eat breakfast simply because your gown is form fitting. "You need energy to make it through the day, and good nutrition will give you stamina," notes Brown. "It doesn't have to be anything heavy. A little protein like egg whites will go a long way without affecting your silhouette."

5. Don't go commando
Put some panties on, brides...like, for real! After all, you never know if someone will have to get underneath that skirt to tie your French bustle. "It happened to me once," says Brown. "And it lives on in my nightmares!" On the flip side of things though, make sure you don't rock undies that give you a panty line.

6. Don't test out new beauty techniques (or products!)
If there's one day you leave things up to the professionals, it's definitely your wedding day. "I know this seems ridiculous and an incredible thought that someone would do such a thing, but I've personally seen a bride try to repair her broken false eyelashes with super glue to ensure that they stayed in place," tells Brown. "She was rushed to the emergency room, and it took a scalpel to cut her eyelids apart." Needless to say, you're better off playing it safe when it comes to beauty, brides!


Friday, May 8, 2015

5 Honeymoon Details Not to Worry About

honeymoon planning

So clearly, you should not worry about anything while on your honeymoon—the focus should be on having fun and enjoying time with your new spouse. However, there may be a few nagging things that may stress you out just a bit before you leave on your big trip—but shouldn’t. Here’s our list of things not to worry about before you head off on the trip of a lifetime.

The Weather
There’s no need to obsessively check the weather for your honeymoon destination—because you can’t control it. Even if the weather isn’t ideal, have a positive attitude and talk to folks at your hotel to find out fun activities you can participate in. And there’s the always-wonderful activity of snuggling up with your sweetie in your hotel room. Remember, it’s all about spending time with your new spouse, not being outside in the sun 24/7.

Your Wardrobe
You do not, and we repeat, do not, have to buy a completely new wardrobe for your honeymoon. Sure, it’s nice to pick out a few new outfits for the trip, but this is vacation, not a fashion runway. As long as you’re comfortable and relaxed, you’ll look fabulous no matter what!



Planning Every Minute
While it’s nice to have a few planned activities during your honeymoon, do not feel that you have to have every second scheduled out. It’s to have downtime to relax, explore, snuggle, have a leisurely lunch, and generally do whatever you want! Also, you may hear about exciting attractions, or restaurants in your destination after you arrive, so be sure to leave flexibility in your schedule so you can fit in these last-minute activities.

Anything at Home
Remember, you are on your honeymoon. We repeat: You. Are. On. Your. Honeymoon. That means, no emails, no phones, try to go off the grid as much as possible. Assign a friend or family member to check in on your house and be an emergency contact if you’ll be away for a long period of time, but otherwise, try to avoid worrying about any potential issues at home.

Taking a Ton of Photos
Of course, it’s nice to have photos of your honeymoon, but there’s no need to go overboard. If you forget to shoot photos at an attraction, don’t worry too much about it—you were probably having too much fun to think about photos, anyway! And your friends don’t want to scroll through thousands of images on Facebook anyway!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The 2015 Guide to Wedding Party Gifts

wedding blog, wedding party gifts

I’ve discussed ways to recognize the people in your wedding party, and the most popular way is through gifts. Whether they’re something useful or something meaningful, gifts are wonderful tokens of appreciation. If you’re searching for gifts to get your wedding party, here are some of this year’s most popular ideas:


Bridesmaid Gifts:

Monogrammed wedding shoes: There are many styles of monogrammed wedding shoes, from heels to ballet flats. This is becoming an increasingly popular gift trend, especially in the couple’s wedding colors. Check out sites like Etsy.com for ideas.

Floral print robes: Esty.com also has these incredibly cute floral print robes. These gifts will allow your bridal party to be comfortable and look great in photos as they’re waiting to have their hair and makeup done.

Alex and Ani charm bracelets: Jewelry is always a popular gift for wedding party attendants, and Alex and Ani charm bracelets are an elegant and thoughtful option.

Personalized scents (perfume): Another rising trend is the creation of truly customized scents for each person in the wedding party. Sites like thegreatestsmellever.com offer couples the option of purchasing personalized perfumes and colognes…a step above just having a gift engraved.

Wine glasses: Glasses are popular because they can easily be personalized with words and/or pictures. You can commission an artist to paint pictures on each glass that have meaning to you and each attendant. If wine isn’t your thing, martini or margarita glasses work well, too!

Groomsmen Gifts:

Cufflinks: This is always a popular choice because they can be customized in both lettering and style. Sites like custommade.com offer a variety of options, allowing you to choose cufflinks that suit each attendant.

Flasks: If you’re not having a dry wedding, flasks are another popular item for groomsmen. Personalizing them with the groomsmen’s names and the wedding date will make these nice keepsakes.

Whiskey: Known as a “man’s drink,” whiskey has become a trendy groomsmen’s gift. Just make sure if you go this route that the bottles say closed until after the wedding so you don’t have inebriated attendants on your hands.

Personalized scents (cologne, beard oil): Much like the bridesmaid’s gifts listed above, personalized scents for groomsmen are on the rise. And with facial hair now considered hip, beard oil is a great option.

Guys’ outing. Sometimes it’s better to spend time with the guys than worry about finding the perfect gift. Go golfing, fishing, skydiving, skiing, or anything you and your closest guys want to do. Make sure to take some pics to record the occasion.

Gifts for Either:

Name hangars: Hangars with “Bridesmaid” or “Groomsman” are cute and popular gifts. Etsy.com is a good place to find them.

Time capsule: Create a time capsule based on the time when you met each attendant. It can include things like ticket stubs, photos, movie listings, newspaper/magazine clippings, and other trinkets.

Photo frames: For something personalized and sentimental, have photo frames engraved with the attendants’ names and the wedding date, and include a picture of the two (or three) of you in it for them to keep.

These are just a few of the trendiest wedding party gifts this year. Do you have any suggestions for other couples to consider? Please share them with us!

Photo credit: Set Free Photography

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

8 Questions You Should Ask Before Buying Your Wedding Bands

Hear us out: This is probably the only piece of jewelry you two will ever shop for together (and wear every day!). So to make the process of shopping for wedding bands a little simpler, ask yourself these eight questions before heading to the jewelry store.


Silver and platinum wedding bands and engagement rings
Photo by Antonis Achilleos

1. What color metals do we like?

Do you like yellow or white gold? What about rose gold? Today, the options are just about endless. You could even choose from a combination of metals, like platinum and rose gold. So think about your options and make some preliminary choices before you hit the stores.

2. How much do we want to customize it?

Will they be plain and simple or something one-of-a-kind? Decide, and then also keep in mind that more customization and extras usually means more money. A plain 14-karat gold band will start at around $200, and plain platinum bands cost upwards of $600 a piece. Adding diamonds will drive up your cost, and there's also engraving to consider. That price depends on the font and whether you'll have it engraved by hand or machine.

3.What's our budget?

According to our 2013 Engagement and Jewelry Study, couples spend on average $3,674 for the bride's wedding band and $741 for the groom's. And that's just the average. For a wedding band with diamonds or extra customization, you'll probably spend quite a bit more. Our advice: Consider investing more in bands that will stand the test of time in both quality and style. When you think about it, pricey wedding rings seem more reasonable when you divide it by the number of days you'll wear them.

4. Do we want to match?

You'll see a lot of coordinating wedding band sets for couples when you hit the stores, but that doesn't mean that you two have to match. Your fiancé may go crazy for a yellow gold band while you're obsessed with a white gold ring with colorful stones. Show off your personal styles by mixing it up! And if you still want something that coordinates, you could do this in other ways. One fun idea is to get matching inscriptions (your wedding date or a short quote) inside the bands.

5. How classic do we want to go?

Timeless rings are elegant and, for the most part, unadorned. If your wardrobe is full of clean lines and neutrals, this is the way to go. Look for bands that are clean and simple -- you really can't go wrong with a single metal in a smooth finish. If you're someone who follows trends (you've got some harem pants and crop tops in your closet), then go for a more modern look. Choose a ring with a mix of shapes and maybe some edgy black diamonds, but if you do tend to get sick of some trends and fads, be wary that you may get tired of this type of ring in a few years.

6. Do we want the band and engagement ring to perfectly match?

Many jewelers sell shadow bands (the type of band that fits with the engagement ring like a puzzle piece). Some couples love this option because it's easy and obviously makes for a perfect match. While some shadow bands look good alone, if you plan on not always wearing your engagement ring, it may not be the way to go. If you're going to wear it solo, look into getting a band that shows off your style even if you aren't wearing your engagement ring.

7. What would we consider too delicate?

Depending on what you do for a living (or for fun!), you may need a sturdier band. If you play sports or an instrument, look for a slimmer ring with rounded edges (appropriately called the “comfort fit"). If you work with your hands, search for a simple, solid metal ring because stones can come loose and carvings can trap dirt. And if you're really active, maybe go for a metal like platinum, which is strong and durable (when it's scratched, the metal is merely displaced and doesn't actually wear away).

8. Do either of us want more than one band?

If you travel a lot or are an outdoorsy type, you may not want to take your fancy band on your adventures. Maybe get something simple in an affordable titanium or silver in addition to the ring you really want. Think about whether you want that and how it might look with the rest of your rings (if you like the stacked look) and by itself.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

11 Romantic Sayings That You Haven't Heard at Every Other Wedding


Romantic Sayings for Your Ceremony That Aren't Overused


Love is patient and love is kind, but if you want to deliver a message your guests haven't heard at every other wedding, you might want to look beyond 1 Corinthians. From quotes on love to what it takes to have a happy marriage — gathered from our favorite movies and the most eloquent poets, thinkers and writers — here are 11 unique selections for your invitations, programs, ceremony and more.

"We need a witness to our lives. There's a billion people on the planet — I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you're promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things — all of it, all of the time, every day. You're saying, 'Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness.'" — Shall We Dance?

"You and you alone make me feel that I am alive. Other men it is said have seen angels, but I have seen thee and thou art enough." — George Moore

"Love doesn't sit there like a stone. It has to be made, like bread; remade all of the time, made new." — Ursula K. Le Guin

"Marriage: If you want something to last forever, you treat it differently. You shield it and protect it. You never abuse it. You don't expose it to the elements. You don't make it common or ordinary. If it ever becomes tarnished, you lovingly polish it until it gleams like new. It becomes special because you have made it so, and it grows more beautiful and precious as time goes by." — F. Burton Howard

"Love me and the world is mine." — David Reed

"A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person." — Mignon McLaughlin

"Love is a partnership of two unique people who bring out the very best in each other, and who know that even though they are wonderful as individuals, they are even better together." — Barbara Cage

"You meet thousands of people and none of them really touch you, and then you meet one person and your life is changed forever." — Love and Other Drugs

"There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage." — Martin Luther 

"Sometimes I do wake up in the mornings and feel like I've just had the most incredible dream. I've just dreamt my life." — Richard Branson

"To love abundantly is to live abundantly, and to love forever is to live forever." — Henry Drummond

Monday, May 4, 2015

10 Hottest Wedding Songs for 2015

We know you want fresh, new song ideas for your wedding day. Here are our top wedding song predictions of the year.

  1. "Thinking Out Loud," by Ed Sheeran

    This song is so timeless, we're predicting it will go down in history as one of the most classic first dance songs (just like John Legend's "All of Me" which topped our hottest wedding songs of 2014 list). The lyrics describe love that lasts a lifetime and it's perfect for dancing -- just watch the video as proof!

    Lyrics you'll love: Take me into your loving arms/Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars/Place your head on my beating heart/I'm thinking out loud/That maybe we found love right where we are
  2. "Coming Home," by Leon Bridges

    "Coming Home" is a modern take on the classic R&B first dance songs, so if you're looking for an alternative to Otis Redding, Sam Cooke and the Temptations then this is it!

    Lyrics you'll love: I'm coming home/To your tender sweet loving/You're my one and only woman
  3. "A Sky Full of Stars," by Coldplay

    Not only does this "A Sky Full of Stars" have some pretty romantic metaphors in the lyrics, it's also got a fun party vibe that will get everyone out on the dance floor.

    Lyrics you'll love: Because you're a sky, you're a sky full of stars/Such a heavenly view/You're such a heavenly view
  4. "Uptown Funk," by Mark Ronson (featuring Bruno Mars)

    We're calling it: "Uptown Funk" is the "Happy" of 2015. It's a fun, upbeat song that no one (young or old!) can resist dancing to no matter how many times they've heard it. The sound is reminiscent of classic hits like James Brown's "Get Up Offa That Thing" and Prince's "Kiss."

    Lyrics you'll love: Ride to Harlem, Hollywood, Jackson, Mississippi/If we show up, we gon' show out/Smoother than a fresh jar of skippy

  5. "Run, Run, Run," by Kelly Clarkson (featuring John Legend)

    When it comes to wedding-worthy love songs, Kelly Clarkson and John Legend have sung their fair share of must-plays and this emotion-filled duet is no different.

    Lyrics you'll love: This love is just made for bleeding/Hung upon the water/But still keep on, trying to breathe in

  6. "Lay Me Down," by Sam Smith

    Grammy winner Sam Smith's voice will give you chills (in the best way possible). But we think this tune make a perfect instrumental for your ceremony too.

    Lyrics you'll love: Can I lay by your side?/Next to you, you/And make sure you're alright/I'll take care of you

  7. "Shut Up and Dance," by Walk the Moon

    This song is guaranteed to get everyone (even the most chronic of wallflowers) dancing, which is exactly what you want post-cake cutting.

    Lyrics you'll love: I felt it in my chest as she looked at me/I knew we were bound to be together,/Bound to be together
  8. "Sugar," by Maroon 5

    We couldn't think of a more appropriate song for the cake cutting than rock hit.

    Lyrics you'll love: Need a little sweetness in my life/Sugar/Yes, please/Won't you come and put it down on me?

  9. "I Want You to Know," by Zedd and Selena Gomez

    Mimosas plus this pop song with an electronic beat is the perfect combinations to set the mood on the morning of your wedding.

    Lyrics you'll love: I want you to know that it's our time/You and me bleed the same light/I want you to know that I'm all yours/You and me run the same course

  10. "Only One," by Kanye West and McCartney

    Written from the perspective of Kanye's mom looking down on her son from heaven this song is a beautiful, sentimental ballad with hints of a lullaby. It's perfect for the mother-son dance!

    Lyrics you'll love: Hello my only one/Just like the morning sun/You keep on rising til the sky knows your name

    Special thanks to Scratch Weddings and DJ Matty Stuart, MD Music and Entertainment

Friday, May 1, 2015

Wedding Invitation Etiquette Dos and Don'ts




WEDDING RSVP

With the popular summer wedding months right around the corner, most couples are deep into the planning process. But when it comes to invitation and RSVP etiquette, it's often times confusing for the happy couple and their guests. What is the proper protocol?

Here are some helpful tips:

For guests who don't RSVP and show up anyway: While you should make contact ahead of time with those who don't respond, don't make a big fuss of it on your wedding day if someone shows up who didn't RSVP. Yes, it's rude on their part, but simply ask a trusted friend or staff member to find them a seat and let them stay. The caterers typically prepare about 10% more food than required so it should not be a big problem.

For guests who show up with their children: A gentle way to deal with this situation is to have the family table off to the side or back of the reception area. That way if the children are disruptive, their parents can whisk them off quickly. Better yet, when you send out the wedding invitation, provide the name of reputable babysitter in your area who is willing to accommodate parents who want to attend the wedding.

Your friend's significant other is now her ex: This can be incredibly awkward but happens more than you might think. Etiquette says that if the invitation is addressed to your friend and a guest, she is free to bring whomever she chooses. However, if you address the invitation to your friend and her significant other by name, technically they're both on the guest list. If they're no longer together, you should allow her to bring someone else. You may want to have some spare place cards on hand with the word, "guest," written on them, just in case this happens.

Your parents want to invite all their friends but you want a small gathering: He who foots the bill has the power. If your parents are paying for the wedding, you certainly should consider whom they'd like to invite, however, it's still your wedding. Have a private and honest discussion with your parents if you are uncomfortable with their choices. Try to reach a reasonable compromise.

Never include registry information in your invitation: This is outright tacky and a big no-no. People will usually ask you directly, or ask a parent or other family member where you are registered. It's fine to list this information if you have a wedding website.

Asking for money versus a gift: It's becoming more common nowadays for couples to request money instead of gifts, particularly if they just moved into a new home, want to go on an exotic honeymoon, or if they have been married before. Guests may either choose to give money or a gift, depending on their financial situation.

The appropriate wedding invitation and RSVP timeline: Save-the-date cards are best sent approximately four to six months before the wedding. Invitations should be sent approximately five to six weeks before the wedding. The RSVP date should be two to three weeks before the wedding. Thank-you notes should go out as soon as possible, but try not to wait any longer than two months after the wedding. Handwritten thank-you notes are still the best way to go even in a digital world.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

How to Set Up a Wedding-Day Gift Swap with Your Fiancé

Your wedding day can fly by in a blur of joyful and emotional moments, which can make taking a beat to relax with your hubby a challenge. When you're constantly surrounded by well-wishers, there is barely a moment to soak in the celebration let alone exchange wedding gifts. Our etiquette experts weigh in on how to set up a gift swap during the matrimonial madness. 



Make sure to choose a moment when your husband can really savor the gift. Weddings are notoriously frenzied affairs, so try to select a time before the chaos begins to present your guy with his gift. Many couples choose to courier gifts via bridesmaids or groomsmen just before the ceremony, when both parties are dressed and ready for the day. Alternatively, bestowing a gift on your husband after the reception is a perfect way to wind down after a long day of celebration, and allow him to fully appreciate the gesture. If you anticipate exhaustion foiling your gift exchange post-nuptials, set aside a personal moment between the ceremony and reception when you and your husband can take a beat away from the crowd. Not only will you be able to take a breath and focus on your new husband, the act of giving him a gift will be all the more significant considering the vows you made mere moments earlier.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

18 Honest Photos That Show What The Wedding Night Is Actually Like

People often have a romanticized notion of what the wedding night is like. Newsflash: It isn't all rose petals, orgasms and fancy champagne.

Recently, we asked our readers to send us a photo that more accurately represents what the night after the wedding was like for them. Some couples chose In-N-Out over pricey room service. Others opted for a peaceful night in their own bed instead of a night at a swanky hotel. And guess what? They still said it was perfect.
 
Courtesy of Gina Toth
 
"On the way back to our hotel, we were starving since we didn't have ANYTHING at our wedding except some cake. Californian tradition, and it was perfect."
 

 
Courtesy of Ashley Dowdy 
 
"My husband took this picture at 3 in the morning when we finally left the after-party at our hotel. This pretty much sums up the last 24 hours." 
 

Courtesy of Julia Greenstein
 
"After partying with friends and family until about 3:30 a.m., we finally made it back up to our room and found this on our mirror from the best man and maid of honor!" 
 
 

Courtesy of Kristen M. Dennis 
 
"Playing around at the Surf and Sand Hotel." 
 

Courtesy of Dr. DeAndrea Matthews 
 
"The only photo from the wedding night. My husband running my bath water." 
 

 
Courtesy of Veronica Rios-Campos and Richie Campos 
 
"We were still so wound up from the evening, but I did not have enough energy to even get out of my wedding dress or take my hair stuff out. We sat and read all the well wishes and sipped on hot cocoa in our new 'Mr. and Mrs.' mugs." 
 

 
 
 Courtesy of Micah and Karen Kronjaeger
 
"After a monsoon washed out roads and a bridge, two-thirds of our friends were not able to make it because it was so flooded. These were the first things out of our pockets: his wallet, phone, pocket knife and my veil with ALL bobby pins and bouquet. And hello mother-in-law on hubby's phone. It's the epitome of our married life."
 

 
Courtesy of Heather McKenzie 
 
"My husband ordering at the drive-thru at Hardee's the night of our wedding. We were starving."

Courtesy of Mercedes Mondragon
 
"We didn't have a fancy wedding, it was in my parents' backyard so we had no bridal suite. After the wedding we slept for the first time in our freshly rented apartment, so there was a lot to do. This collage is a picture of us dancing and later him arranging the living room, me sleeping and our first not-so-fancy breakfast as a married couple. It's not the normal wedding night but we loved it!"
 

 
Courtesy of Dave Cummings
 
"Me rapping LL Cool J's 'Mama Said Knock You Out' after the reception was over. I rapped and her parents still like me." 
 

 
Courtesy of Tara and Al Belmondo
 
"After our wedding reception was over, my feet were killing me! My hubby carried me upstairs to our suite!"
 

 
Christina Iafrate 
 
"We decided to cancel our hotel room next to the hall so we could go home and sleep in our own bed. My husband had a few drinks so I drove home in my giant wedding dress!" 
 

 
Courtesy of Carissa Jensen
 
"My husband and I were married while on safari in Tanzania. Afterwards our guide arranged a campfire beneath the full moon." 
 

 
Courtesy of Karen and David 
 
"After the wedding when we came back to our house. He carried me across the threshold." 
 

 
Courtesy of Kaelyn Row
 
"My husband took a bubble bath in our hotel room solo! I didn't want to mess up my hair for brunch the next day." 
 

 
Courtesy of Sara Stanford 
 
"We never dress up and I think we were pretty smitten with not only each other, but ourselves! After we finally put our phones down, we got into jammies and watched 'Seinfeld' in Spanish and fell asleep by midnight. It was perfect." 
 

 
Courtesy of Elizabeth Colvin
 
"My husband and I spent the rest of the day and night celebrating our daughter's first birthday after we surprised everyone and got married at the backyard party!" 
 

 
Nicole Ruffo 
 
"Tired after a long day."
 

 
 
Courtesy of Colleen Temple
 
"Right when we got back to our room. Partied out!"