Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Wedding Planning Basics: Tips On How To Splurge and Save On Your Wedding

When it comes to planning your wedding, there's no bigger reality check than looking at your wedding budget and realizing the harsh truth -- you can't have it all (ouch!). But don't hit the panic button yet. We've uncovered plenty of spending shortcuts that won't make you feel like you scrimped. Of course, how much you decide to spend on each element is ultimately up to you. Figure out what's most important to you and go from there.

Your Wedding Dress Style

Makeup SAVE This might come as a shock, but you shouldn't look like a completely different person on your wedding day. Translation: It's completely fine to apply it yourself or have a beauty-savvy friend help.
Wedding Dress SPLURGE Okay, so this isn't a free ride to remortgage your home so you can walk down the aisle in a $25,000 dream gown. But your dress -- the dress -- is a definite "spend" when it comes to your budget. Sure, you'll save more money with a cheaper fabric and less beading, but those extra bucks are worth getting what you really want.
Wedding Veil SAVE Putting a huge dent in your budget so you can have the dress of a lifetime? We get it. Whipping out your credit card for a veil that's almost the same price? Not so much. Stick with a basic design with minimal lace and beading to cut costs.
Wedding Shoes SPLURGE You might not need Manolos, but comfy shoes are a must. Go with a pair in a metallic shade that you can wear again (say, on your honeymoon).
Accessories SAVE Borrow a necklace, bracelet or earrings from the women in your family. Added bonus: If it's a sapphire, you'll have your something borrowed and your something blue! Now that was easy
Wedding Dress Alterations SPLURGE Even a couture gown can look cheap if it doesn't fit properly, so don't skimp on the alterations. Once you have the right fit in the bodice, there's wiggle room with the hem. If you only need the dress raised an inch or two, wear higher heels -- as long as you can walk comfortably in them!

The Flowers

Bridal Bouquet SPLURGE You shouldn't settle for flowers you don't love if you have your heart set on a soft bouquet of pricey peonies. Still looking to save? Have your bridesmaids carry bouquets of fringed tulips or garden roses to get a similar romantic feel with a much more reasonable price tag.
Flower Girl SAVE Instead of having her carry a posy or pomander bouquet, the youngest member of your bridal party can scatter rose petals in your wedding colors down the aisle. Better yet, buy fabric petals at a craft store. Your guests will be admiring the little lady too much to notice that the flowers she's throwing are actually fake.
Centerpieces SPLURGE The centerpieces are a major part of your reception look, so if your venue has high ceilings and calls for tall arrangements, don't downsize. Instead, choose locally grown flowers to cut down the cost, along with cylindrical vases, branches and even feathers to add some height.
Ceremony Chairs/Pews SAVE Adorn pews or chairs with small clusters of blooms and long ribbon every few rows. If your wedding is in an ornate house of worship, you might be able to ditch these accents altogether.
Alter Arrangements SPLURGE The altar is the focal point where you'll exchange vows, which is kind of the whole point of the day. Spruce things up with two eye-catching arrangements.
Entryway Decor SAVE Instead of marking the entryway to an indoor ceremony with elaborate, expensive wreaths, hang pomanders from the door handles. You'll only need two, and you can use them again at the reception to decorate the doors or hang from the front of your bridal table.

The Catering

The Bar SAVE An open bar, though a favorite of wedding guests everywhere (and why wouldn't it be?), is expensive. Only offer wine, beer and a signature cocktail that matches your color scheme, like an orange-colored mango mojito or a chocolate martini.
Late-night Eats SPLURGE If you're hosting an after-party, feel free to treat guests to burgers, fries, milkshakes or other yummy bites to keep the party going. This isn't required, but they'll love the laid-back menu.
First-course SAVE After chowing down on a few appetizers, guests don't need a soup and salad. Cut out one of these starters depending on the season. For winter months, serve butternut squash soup, or go with refreshing greens for the summer.
Entree SPLURGE You could save money if you serve spaghetti as your main dish, but that's just no way to start a party. To control costs, instead of letting guests choose from steak, chicken and fish, serve two or three options together: Think small filet mignon and crab cake or lobster tail on each plate.
Dessert SAVE Cake not your thing? Satisfy your sweet tooth by having a dessert table filled with cookies, macaroons and pastries, or an assortment of chocolate truffles. If you're having a cake, skip the extra sweets completely or box them as favors for guests to take home after the reception.
Hors D'oeuvres SPLURGE You want your guests to eat -- especially if your cocktail hour includes, well, cocktails. This is often a favorite part of the day for guests (who will likely be starving after the ceremony), so have food stations ready and offer passed bites as well. Oh, but you might not need that ice sculpture by the raw seafood bar.

The Wedding Cake

Cake Baker SPLURGE Your cake isn't a DIY project, so if your best friend swears she can bake like a pro, unless she is a pro, take a pass. Not only do you want someone who knows what they're doing, the cake also needs to be transported to the venue properly -- as in, not in the backseat of a Jetta.
Tiers SAVE A six-tiered cake looks formal and expensive because, well, it is. Order a cake with fewer layers, or add faux tiers of frosting-covered Styrofoam if height's a must. Then you can serve sheet cake in the same flavor and frosting to guests. Trust us, they'll never know the difference!
Flavor SPLURGE Fancy fillings will cost you, so talk to your fiance about whether to spend on a fresh filling or to forgo fillings altogether. However, when it comes to your actual cake, don't skimp and get a basic vanilla taste when you covet green tea, white chocolate raspberry or cappuccino.
Frosting SAVE While fondant has a smoother, porcelain look, it's pricier and has a chewy texture and not-so-pleasant taste. Buttercream might not look quite as smooth as fondant, but it tends to taste better and, if done right, you can barely tell the difference in appearance. Only caveat: Since buttercream spoils faster, stick with fondant if you're having an outdoor wedding…in Florida…in August.
Display SPLURGE Add drama to your display by going all out on a cake stand in your wedding colors, LED lights under the table or a mirror beneath the cake. Surround the stand with fresh flowers or create a glowing backdrop with votives. Another way to dress up your display: custom cake toppers! Order cute (and okay, slightly kitschy) figurines in your and your groom's likenesses online.
Accents SAVE Sugar flowers may look pretty, but those mini, edible blooms take a lot of manpower to make, which will cost you. Go with a simple design (think: white icing dots or ribbon bands) and spruce it up with fresh blooms matching your bouquet.

The Reception

Table numbers SAVE Embrace your inner DIY diva and make these on your own. Personalize each table number with engagement photos, postcards of places you've been together or funny childhood snapshots.
Music SPLURGE Pick the wrong band or DJ, and you might as well just send your guests home after dinner. We know $5,000 sounds like a lot, but music dictates the mood of your reception -- not a task for amateurs.
Lighting SPLURGE A sea of hanging lanterns can turn a tent into a romantic venue. We also love spotlights on dramatic centerpieces and an ultra-modern, illuminated monogram projected on the dance floor.
Favors SAVE In lieu of favors, donate to your favorite charity on behalf of your guests. Print a note about the donation on your escort cards. Most guests will be happy to help a good cause rather than take home a mini frame or bag of almonds.
Photography SPLURGE You'll cherish your photos from the wedding forever, so check out different photographers' websites and choose someone who suits your style -- even if they're a little expensive. Our advice: Hire a photographer with an assistant so you have two roaming lenses on your big day.

12 Heartfelt Ways To Include Lost Loved Ones In Your Wedding Day

Nothing compares to physically having all of your loved ones by your side on your wedding day. But by honoring deceased relatives and friends in a way that feels true to your relationship, it allows those people to be there in spirit.

Below are 12 sentimental ways to include them in your celebration.

Monday, March 30, 2015

How to Invite a B-List Guest To Your Wedding Without Being Rude

Without a doubt, narrowing down your guest list is one of the most stressful situations you’ll deal with while wedding planning. If you haven’t already done it, trust us—it can be a painful process for couples as well as their families (in some cases, especially the families). And when you, your fiancĂ©, and your fams can’t find room to budge another inch, a B-list can seem like a pretty nice solution. The big risk? Having anyone find out that they’re on the B-list (yikes!). Here’s how to avoid this invitation faux pas and the resulting hurt feelings—while adding a couple more friends and family to your fete.

Put your b-list together early
Ideally, you should have your list of later additions ready to go at the same time as you put together the rest of your list. Decide who will be invited next and consider groupings (for instance, if you are inviting one friend do you have to invite two others, or if you invite one co-worker do you have to invite the whole office). Then adjust your b-list plan accordingly.

Order extra invitations
If you think you might be sending a second set of invitations, prepare for it ahead of time. Not only will it help make the process smoother, it’ll save you some serious cash since buying invitations in small batches is much more expensive than ordering them in a single shipment.

Don’t wait too long
As soon as you have space on your list, starting sending the B-list invites. This is particularly important if guests are traveling, since they’ll need time to book their plane tickets and hotel rooms. But it will also prevent knowledge of the b-list from becoming public. (In other words, your gossipy Aunt Sally probably hasn’t asked all the cousins if they’ve been invited just yet.)

Remember your RSVP date
One of the dangers of a B-list is sending invitations out with a too-tight RSVP date for your new additions. To avoid this, considering sending out your first set of invitations a little earlier (instead of 6 to 8 weeks before the date, aim for 10 weeks). If this is impossible, consider ordering some invitations with a later response date.

Friday, March 27, 2015

14 Love Notes That Show The Quirkier Side Of Romance

Oh, modern love.

Sure, maybe it doesn't have all of the splendor and classic romance of our grandparents' day and age. But being in love today seems like a heck of a lot more fun, if you ask us. Below is a compilation of 14 delightfully weird love notes from our readers and Redditors too.
  • A sincere apology:
    K. Mason
  • A ransom note from the heart:
    Myra Lawrence
  • An urgent Valentine's Day message:
    Katie Phillips
  • A lunchbox note that tells it like it is:
    Chelsea Rush
  • A gentle plea to put the damn seat down, please:
  • A candid birthday greeting:
    Carrie Wible
  • And a bootylicious one too:
    Annabelle Quinn
  • A stress-relieving proposal:
  • A term of endearment surely:
    Victoria Wilkin
  • A "sh*tty" surprise:
    Cohen Studios
  • An easily accomplished to-do list:
    Susan Brown
  • A simple declaration of love:
    Courtney Ellis
  • A thoughtful warning:
  • A complimentary snack:
    Kristin Payne

Thursday, March 26, 2015

10 Spring Wedding Flower Favorites

Spring is one of our favorite times of the year. The weather starts to get warmer, the sun shines a little longer and did we mention all the gorgeous flower possibilities for your wedding? With so many flowers in bloom during the spring season, the options for your Big Day are almost endless. Take a look at our top 10 favorite flowers for a spring wedding.

1. Tulips
This classic springtime flower comes in hundreds of show stopping colors and varieties.  From fringed to frilly, you’re sure to find a tulip type that you simply adore.  

Photo by Gerber + Scarpelli, Flowers by Vale of Enna

2. Daises
Brighten your wedding with these cheerful blooms. We especially love gerbera daises for a bold pop of color

Photo by Xavier Navarro
3. Peonies

Spring brides, we envy you. The lush, lavish and beautiful blooms are one of the most romantic flowers you can have at your wedding.
Michele M Waite Photography

4. Lilacs
What’s not to love about a lilac? From the fragrant smell to the pretty purple blooms, we’re head over heels for this spring flower.
Sugar and Soul Photography

5. Anemones
This delicate spring flower comes in a wide variety of unique colors. We’re partial to white with a navy blue center, simply spectacular for a nautical wedding.
Photo by Weddings by Scott and Dana, Flowers by Layers of Lovely

6. Daffodils
Talk about a sunny disposition, yellow daffodils just say spring to us. These bright blooms are sure to make any bride smile.
Laura Murray Photograhy

7. Wax Flower
Theses wedding blooms are long lasting, just like your love. They work great as a filler flower or en masse on their own.
Photo by Ava Weddings

8. Ranunculus
Layers and layers of soft petals make ranunculus a bloom that’s hard to ignore. We love the charm that this flower brings to any arrangement.
Photo by Meredith Perdue

9. Orchids
This chic flower has stolen our heart.  Undeniably elegant, there are few things with love more than a waterfall bouquet of classic orchids.
Sean Money + Elizabeth Fay Photography 

10. Forget Me Not
Bad puns aside, this sweet flower is truly hard to forget. This plant bears tiny but exquisite light blue blooms.

-Melissa Hammam

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What Your Wedding-Dress Fabric Says About You

  • Wedding Dress Fabrics
    Photo: Getty Images
    Style is one of the fastest ways to express your personality and point of view, and no ensemble says more about a woman than her wedding dress. This beloved gown is the manifestation of a lady's voice, dreams, tastes, and confidence—all zipped up into one pretty, little ivory package.

    If you've ever wondered what your wedding dress says about you, here's a cheeky take on how your gown's fabric might relate to your personality...

    Structured Satin
    Ah, the traditionalist. You've never met an etiquette book and you've incorporated almost every wedding tradition known to man into your special day. Your classic bridal look will stand the test of time, and we know you'll get those beautiful, monogrammed thank-you notes out in record-breaking time. (Stop making the rest of us look bad, please.)

    Flirty, feminine, and easy-going, you're a social butterfly with a penchant for easy-breezy style. While you're not opposed to bare feet, but also know your way around Bloomingdale's better than most...

    Birthdays, bachelorettes, St.Patrick's Day—in your eyes, all celebrations are cause for two things: tiaras and glitter. Your family calls you "princess" for a reason, and there's no way anyone's stopping you from donning your dreamy tulle ball gown on your big day.

    Hey there, you romantic little bride! We know where to find you on any given Sunday: snooping through vintage dresses at the local flea market. Your nostalgia-loving heart has spent its whole life in search of your very own Mr. Darcy, and now that you've got him you'll be rocking that Victorian lace so effortlessly it would make Jane Austen weep.

    23 Signs Your Partner Is Also Your Best Friend

    1. Sleepovers are 100% more amazing when your bestie is also your S.O.

    23 Signs Your Partner Is Also Your Best Friend

    2. Your social life and your sex life are pretty much the same thing.

    23 Signs Your Partner Is Also Your Best Friend

    3. Your S.O. is the first person you go to for advice.

    23 Signs Your Partner Is Also Your Best Friend

    4. Fighting with your partner is THE WORST, because the person you want complain about them to…IS THEM.

    23 Signs Your Partner Is Also Your Best Friend

    5. And your fights tend to be less about your relationship and more about who ate the last biscuit.

    23 Signs Your Partner Is Also Your Best Friend
    20th Century Fox
    You know they’d never cheat, but they may never earn your trust when it comes to the cookie jar.

    6. High fives are a completely legit form of PDA.

    23 Signs Your Partner Is Also Your Best Friend

    7. You know exactly what to give each other for Christmas.

    23 Signs Your Partner Is Also Your Best Friend
    AKA no expensive, impersonal jewellry.

    8. You’ve got sexting all figured out.

    You've got sexting all figured out.

    9. You’re really good at doing nothing together.

    23 Signs Your Partner Is Also Your Best Friend
    It’s actually the best.

    10. And complaining about everything.

    23 Signs Your Partner Is Also Your Best Friend

    11. You share clothes.

    23 Signs Your Partner Is Also Your Best Friend
    If you ever break up you’re splitting custody of all the hoodies.

    12. You have all the same friends.

    23 Signs Your Partner Is Also Your Best Friend

    13. You’ve tricked each other into liking all your favourite things.

    23 Signs Your Partner Is Also Your Best Friend
    “You WILL love Arrested Development if it kills me.”

    14. You gossip about your mutual friends ALL. THE. TIME.

    23 Signs Your Partner Is Also Your Best Friend

    15. They appreciate the little things about you.


    16. Netflix is basically the third member of your relationship.

    23 Signs Your Partner Is Also Your Best Friend
    20th Century Fox

    17. You’ve done gross completely nonsexual things to each other.

    23 Signs Your Partner Is Also Your Best Friend
    “You can totally use my sleeve as a tissue, it’s fine.”

    18. You actually expect an honest answer when you ask them how you look.

    23 Signs Your Partner Is Also Your Best Friend

    19. You both appreciate a good breakup joke.

    You both appreciate a good breakup joke.
    But you would literally become a social outcast if you ever actually cut ties.

    20. When people say you’re a cute couple it just sounds weird.

    23 Signs Your Partner Is Also Your Best Friend
    If only they knew how gross and weird you are.

    21. You don’t do traditional romance.

    You just do AWESOME.

    22. You’re way too busy hanging out all the time to ~date~.

    23 Signs Your Partner Is Also Your Best Friend

    23. But you wouldn’t have it any other way.

    23 Signs Your Partner Is Also Your Best Friend