Thursday, March 31, 2016

10 Things You Should Practice Before Your Big Day

Photo: Getty Images

Practice makes least that's what they say right? Turns out, your wedding day is no different; you've got to put in the work to ensure everything falls into place perfectly. From scheduling a hair and makeup trial to learning how to bustle your wedding dress, here are 10 things you'll definitely want to practice before the big day.

1. Your first dance
We always encourage our clients to take dance lessons if they have "two left feet", says Jenny Orsini, Owner and Creative Director of Jenny Orsini Events Inc. "Having formal lessons under your belt before the wedding can alleviate the stress and anxiety associated with dancing in front of a large crowd." Plus, it's always good to get the basics down.

2. Vows and speeches
This one pretty much goes without saying! Even if you've written down notes and will have them with you at the wedding, it's still a good idea to practice reciting your vows or saying your speech out loud a few times so you get comfortable with it.

3. Your hair and makeup
A hair and makeup trial is an absolute must, according to wedding planner Leah Weinberg, owner of Color Pop Events. "It's important to make sure that your stylist knows what you want and can successfully achieve it. There's nothing more heartbreaking than a bride who isn't 100% comfortable and feeling amazing on her wedding day." We agree!

4. Posing for the camera
Weinberg also recommends that couples do an engagement photo session in order to not only help them get comfortable with the photographer but with each other in front of the camera as well. "For most people, weddings are really the first time a couple will be professionally photographed together so it will make everyone much more relaxed if you get a little practice session in first."

5. Your walk down the aisle
Anything you can do to tame your nerves is a good thing, right? That's why Florida-based wedding planner Aviva Samuels of Kiss The Planner encourages couples to practice their walk down the aisle. "Having butterflies on your wedding day is completely normal and being able to walk through the ceremony figuratively as well as literally prior to the wedding day will hopefully allow you to be more 'present' once the big moment arrives."

See More: 6 Ways to Stay Present on Your Wedding Day

6. Bustling your dress
Although when you have a wedding planner we can usually figure out ">how to bustle your wedding dress without any instruction, notes Charleston-based coordinator Francesca DiSalvo-Follmer of Pure Luxe Bride. However, it's definitely a good thing for you, your mom and maid of honor to have down just in case!

7. Tying his tie/bowtie
Don't worry; this one is for him to master! Because, as event planner and designer Kristine Cholakian Cooke of Simply Charming Socials points out, every guy could use a refresher on tying a tie or bowtie before the big day.

8. Walking in your wedding shoes
Always practice wearing and walking in your weddings shoes, advises Jyl Deering of Chancey Charm Boston. You'll want to break those bad boys in and ensure they don't give you mad blisters (because that would suck).

9. Ending conversations gracefully
Sounds strange, but trust us, this one will come in handy. As you greet your guests, you'll find that everyone will want to hold a conversation with you, explains wedding planner Chandra Keel, owner of Chandra Keel Events in Phoenix. "If you let them go on too long it'll take your night away." She suggests practicing phrases and sentences that warmly and concisely express your gratitude for your guests' presence and then a polite closure that helps you move on to the next table. "Something like, 'I am so happy you could be here! Thank you for coming. Please, enjoy your dinner and the bar is over there when you're ready for a refill.' This makes you a gracious host and happy bride all at once!"

10. Deep breathing and remaining calm
"You'll use this a ton on your wedding day, but if you can master it sooner, the more at ease and relaxed you'll feel throughout the planning process," notes Chancey Charm Charlotte wedding planner Miranda Tassi.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Best Way to Set Up a Wedding Budget Spreadsheet

  • set up wedding budget spreadsheet
  • Photo: Getty Images
    Most engaged couples run into budget problems during the second half of the wedding planning process because, although they created an imaginary wedding budget before they started planning, all of the numbers they plugged in were guestimates of what things would actually cost.
    The best way to get a handle on your wedding budget early is to create a spreadsheet that you fill in every time you add another wedding expense. Here's how to go about doing that.

    Start with Payment Types
    Start with a column titled "Wedding Expenditures" and then, to the right of that column, create the following headers: Estimated Cost, Actual Cost, Deposit Due Date, Deposit Paid Date, Balance Due Date, and Details About Payments. It's really important to take notes right there about how you have to pay each and every vendor so that you can be prepared with actual money if they only accept checks, or enough room on your Visa card if they do not accept Amex.

    Dedicate a Line to Every Vendor
    When you hire a vendor, give them a line on the spreadsheet and complete all of the information. If you struggle to pay bills by deadline on a regular basis, go ahead and give yourself calendar reminders about when the final balances are due for each of them. Sometimes the vendors won't remind you and you don't want to be in breach of contract for failure to pay the balance when the contract says it's due.

    Take Note of Payment Deadlines
    This detailed information will also help you plan ahead so you can know exactly how much is due to whom, by when, and how you have to pay them. The goal is to be as organized as possible. Organized brides and grooms experience significantly less stress in the last weeks leading up to the wedding date because all they knew what was coming and were prepared.

    Categorize Everything
    You can start your spreadsheet with some obvious categories: Photography, Cake, Ceremony Music, Officiant, Venue (separate lines for ceremony and reception if they're at different locations), Marriage License Paperwork, Reception Music, Reception Catering, Wedding Favors, Rehearsal Dinner, Wedding Gown, Groom's Attire, Wedding Party Gifts, Wedding Day Beauty Appointments, Rentals, Flowers, Permits (if any are required for your events), Setup and Teardown (if not included by your venue or vendors), Lunch for the Bridal Party on the Day of the Wedding, Bride/Groom Accommodations, and Wedding Party Transportation.

    Don't Forget to Tip
    Depending on your wedding's activities, you may have a lot more line items, or some of the ones I've recommended may not apply. Don't forget to add an additional line for gratuities, and to get a clear understanding of who you need to tip, ahead of the wedding week. Some venues build services charges and gratuities into their contracts, but many don't. You need to budget 15-20 percent gratuity for every vendor, and have cash-on-hand on the wedding day to tip people.

    Update. Update. Update.
    It's important to update your spreadsheet if you have a significant change in your headcount, because all catering contracts are based on how many guests will be attending.

    Tuesday, March 29, 2016

    Creative and Clever Wedding Signs for Your Bar

    clever wedding signs for the bar
    Photo: Reese Moore Photography

    Wedding signs are a great way to inject some personality into your celebration, and the bar is the perfect spot to feature them since it's the first place your guests will hit following the ceremony. Set the tone for a fun night to come with one of these cute and witty bar signs.

    Display a cute, calligraphed sign like this one (above) at the bar for a whimsical touch to your cocktail hour.

    clever wedding signs for the bar
    Photo: Cluney Photo

    Let your guests know they should take full advantage of the open bar and get ready to boogie.

    clever wedding signs for the bar
    Photo: Rachel Solomon

    Help guests loosen up a bit by posting a clever sign like this one encouraging everyone to let their hair down.

    See more: 6 Sneaky Ways to Add Your Favorite Comfort Foods to Your Wedding Menu


    clever wedding signs for the bar
    Photo: Peterson Design & Photo

    Remind guests that everything will be caught on film for posterity with this funny tongue-in-cheek sign.

    clever wedding signs for the bar
    Photo: McKinley Rodgers

    A chalkboard sign directs guests to help themselves at a prosecco toppings bar.

    clever wedding signs for the bar
    Photo: Chelsea Brown Photography

    Love wine? Encourage guests to drink up with this perfectly put quote from Julia Child.

    Monday, March 28, 2016

    10 Wedding Trends the Pros Would Love to See Die

    Whether it’s that tried-and-true burlap runner or those hanging crystals of the ’90s, some weddings trends just don’t stand the test of time as well as others. And with all the changing styles and popular wedding locations, it can be hard to keep up with the hot-or-not of the wedding world. What’s a bride to do? Don’t worry — we’ve got you covered! We chatted with a handful of wedding planners that have seen many trends come and go throughout the years, and got the scoop on which popular trends they are ready to see get the boot or are already on their way out. Scroll on to see the top 10 wedding
    trends the pros want to see die.

    Floating-candles-and-flowers-on-wedding-table-000072559639_Medium 1. Floating Florals: Although it’s often a cost saver, submerged flowers and floating candles are a tired trend, according to Beth Bernstein of SQN Events. This look has been around for a long time, and most planners are ready to say goodbye forever. Bernstein begs brides to please, please, please stop drowning those flowers, and instead welcome blooming bouquets and flowing florals for a more whimsical, romantic look.

    2. Groom’s Cakes: A long-standing tradition in the South, groom’s cakes have gained popularity elsewhere too, and are often in a funny shape or theme to fit the groom’s interests or hobbies. The owner of Jordan Payne Events is “ready for groom’s cakes to go away. Sorry not sorry!” Let’s just stick to one pretty wedding cake or a tower of cupcakes, OK?

    3. Moss DecorChristy Matthews Events wants to keep it clean — on the tablescape that is. She pleads with brides to stop using moss on tables. Her one word to describe this popular trend is “ew!” She recommends using things like succulents or floral clippings instead; just nothing with dirt
    attached to it.

    Bacon maple frosted donut with decorated donut in background 4. Bacon-Covered Everything: While bacon is, of course, a delicious addition to every menu, Tracie Domino of Tracie Domino Events says, “It’s fine to have bacon but we don’t need it on every course.” Take a tip from Tracie, and leave the bacon for your savory dishes. No need to add it to the cupcakes, ice cream and donuts on your dessert bar.
    5. Signature Drinks: Okay, okay — this is a controversial one for sure. There’s no doubt that everyone’s favorite part of a wedding is the open bar. Planner Beth Bernstein wants you to keep it simple with the basics. Since people are going to drink their favorite cocktail regardless, there’s no need to stress over the perfect cocktail that speaks to you as a couple, and likely has some spendy ingredients.
    Boho-Hydrangeas-000060488958_Medium 6. Mason Jars: The trusty old mason jar will always be a crafting goldmine. But Keri Ketterer, owner of Always Yours Events, is ready to see the mason jar wedding trend go away for good. She “loved them in 2012 and 2013 when they were relatively unique, but they have been so overdone now!” Antique bottles or milk glass are also great options.
    7. Chalkboard Signage: Chalkboards are super popular in the home and wedding world. Lacy Branch of Lacy Branch Events is just plain tired of the chalkboard signage trend. Lacy insists that chalkboard signs have lived their life and suggests finding a new substitution, like mirrors or natural wood.
    Bride-&-Bouquet-000004730347_Medium 8. Blush Color Palette: When Pantone released its colors of the year for 2016, many wedding planners everywhere were disappointed to see blush (aka rose quartz) as one of the two chosen colors. Sacramento wedding planner Kate Whelan is “just tired of blush weddings.” They’ve been the norm for a while now, so it would be great to see a new It color. Who knows, maybe serenity (Pantone’s other color pick) will shine through instead this year.
    9. Barn Weddings: Planner Maggie Richard of Maggie’s Misc has had enough of the “rustic everything/barn look.” While she appreciates the incorporation of a few rustic elements, she’s tired of over-the-top rustic decor. Boho and whimsical decorations and garden or mountain settings are more beautiful and super on-trend alternatives.
    funny-wedding-signs-000051197504_Medium 10. Too Much Signage: San Francisco wedding planner Amy Nichols of Amy Nichols Special Events thinks that signage in general has been a bit overdone. Directing people where they need to go is one thing, but over-signing everything at your wedding is not necessary. Keep signs limited to places where they serve a function (such as at the bar listing drink options or explaining pie flavors on a dessert bar).

    Thursday, March 24, 2016

    34 Last-Minute Wedding Planning Tips You Can’t Forget

    The big day is fast approaching! What is the countdown to? Two weeks? Two days? Two hours? It’s go time, baby!
    You want everything to run as smoothly as possible. Feel like you might be forgetting something? No worries. We’ve got you covered.

    34 Last-Minute Wedding Planning Tips:


    One to Two Weeks Out:

    In no particular order…
    1. Confirm your arrangements with vendors. You have those contracts taken care of, but it doesn’t hurt to double check the details. Verify date, places, times, setup, take-down, etc. Make sure your venue’s closing time corresponds with your vendors’.
    2. Finalize the payments. The last thing you want to worry about on your big day is the bills that you have to pay. Take care of this ahead of time so you don’t have to carry the checkbook around. Odds are it doesn’t accessorize well with your dress anyway.
    3. On the topic of money… Create tip envelopes. Having these organized beforehand will make it easy to pay out the DJ, catering staff, etc. without having to dig through your purse for cash. This is a great job for a personal attendant.
    4. The marriage license! In some states you can walk in and get your license, in others you have to make an appointment. Do you know what yours is? And do you know how many days in advance you can get it/how long it’s valid without signatures? Find out what documents you need and when you can get them before your nuptials.
    5. Having a signature drink? A cucumber-lemonade chiller, you say? Yum! Get that recipe written down (probably multiple times.) Have note cards ready for your bartenders so you don’t need to rack your brain for the concoction or go on a treasure hunt for the ingredients.
    6. You and your soon-to-be-mister definitely have those songs you love and those songs you hate. Sit down together, pull up YouTube, and craft a “Do/Do Not Play” list for your DJ. Send this over early so that they can get a playlist queued up and ready to go for your night of dancing.
    7. Time to chat with your photographer now, too! By giving them a list of must-have pics, you can enjoy the night knowing they got shots of relatives, friends, and snapped plenty of reception candids.
    8. Craft a morning of itinerary. Having a schedule for you and your attendants will make you feel less like a chicken with its head cut off. Know what you want done and by what time, and it should be smooth sailing. (Always pencil in a few extra minutes for safe measure.)
    9. Review your printed materials. Wouldn’t it be awful if it came time to walk down the aisle and you saw that your name was spelled wrong on the program? I’d cry (dramatic, but probably true). Save yourself the fear and check your table numbers, place cards, menus, and programs as soon as you get them, just in case you need to rush-order a new batch.
    10. Line up gifts for loved ones. This might be something that slips off your radar, but it is such a thoughtful touch. I attended a destination wedding earlier this summer and the bride hand-delivered little goodie bags to each room with all sorts of treats and beach necessities. It was so sweet! It doesn’t have to be something huge, but the intention behind it goes a long way. Let your guests know you’re thankful for them!
    11. Arrange transportation home for your bridal party. You want your guys and gals to enjoy themselves throughout the night. Give them the leisure of knowing that they can have a few drinks, relax, boogie down, and still get back to the hotel or their homes safe and sound.
    12. Plan meals! You need to eat breakfast and get at least one snack in before the ceremony. Depending on how many mouths you plan to feed, call ahead and order some grub for the gang. Depending on what you order, you may be able to complete this task the day before as well.
    13. Do a little outfit run-through with your entire wedding party. Make sure everything is the color and size it should be. This may be challenging if your party is spread out, but a quick phone call, picture, or FaceTime session will give you some peace of mind. Don’t forget to ask about accessories if you gave them free reign!
    14. Your ‘maids and men aren’t the only ones who should do an outfit check. It doesn’t hurt to slip on your gown (maybe with a little help from one of the girls) just to make sure things look right. Also, try on your accessories with the dress to verify that everything is as perfect as you pictured. Suggest this little pre-check to your man as well.
    15. Make sure a bridesmaid knows how to bustle your dress, then practice! They can be really tricky, so I recommend bringing her along to the final fitting for a lesson.
    16. Make sure your hair, makeup, nails, etc. are scheduled with plenty of time. Hopefully these appointments have been made, but call and confirm times and dates a week out just to be sure.
    17. Schedule some alone time or girl time—no wedding agenda allowed. Give yourself a day to read a book, lay at the beach, lie in your bed, grab happy hour with the girls, whatever relaxing activities you have in mind. This will be good for your sanity.
    18. Grooms: If you plan on getting your haircut, do not wait until 24-hours before. We all know that haircuts don’t always turn out like the pictures in magazines. Get this done with a week or so to spare, so you don’t look fresh out of the barber chair.
    19. Sometimes shoes hurt. Practice walking in yours.
    20. Are you saying your own vows? Start writing AND practicing. Weddings are emotional events (for me at least.) With practice and preparation, you will have an easier time saying exactly what’s on your mind.
    The same goes for any speeches. It is customary that the couple says a quick thank you to the guests at some point in the reception. Have an idea of what you want to say ahead of time, so you don’t accidentally choke on your words.
    It’s also important to check in with your fiancĂ© about these things. You don’t have to read each other your vows ahead of time (although this may help with nerves), but make sure they carry a similar tone. Are you going for sweet and sentimental or light-hearted and a little humorous? Get a vibe and be on the same page.
    21. Practice your kiss! Seems odd doesn’t it? But you’re about to kiss in front of a lot of people, including parents, grandparents, and now in-laws. Enough said.
    22. Following tradition? Don’t forget to have your “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” ready for your big day.
    23. Delegate tasks to your VIP’s. This might be challenging for you if you are a DIY kind of girl, but it is in your best interest to pass some tasks along. Ask people to help ahead of time, and you’ll save everyone involved from a headache.
    24. Leaving for your honeymoon shortly after the reception? Pack now! Even if you have a day or two in between your flight and the ceremony, this tip will allow you to get a jump on thank-you cards, spend more time with family while they’re in-town, or even just rest your feet a bit after all that reception dancing.
    bride-with-dandelion bridesmaid-in-gold-sunglasses

    The Day Before:

    25. Don’t tote your overnight bags around on matrimony morning. Drop your bags off the night before or ask a friend/family member to bring them the morning of. Same goes for any supplies you want at the reception. Drop them off early and save yourself the hassle.
    26. Do you have pets? Make sure they’ll be taken care of while you’re tying the knot!
    27. Gown transportation: How is your gown getting to the site? Who is going to bring it? See if you can bring it a day early so you can get it out of the bag and breathing for tomorrow.
    28. Get the limo/party bus driver’s number and share it with the bridal party. Likewise, give your driver the maid of honor and best man’s numbers (or possibly a list of the entire party.) Supply printed directions as well. Taking these extra precautions should get you to the right places on time—assuming you keep to the schedule as well.
    29. Designate gift caretakers. Whether it be a bridesmaid, groomsman, personal attendant, or just another good friend, ask nicely to have someone pick up your presents. Lots of guests are sending gifts straight to the couple’s home now, but for the few that do make their way to the reception, have someone ready to load them up for you at the end of the night.
    30. Find a responsible friend and put them in charge of legal documents. You’ll be all over the place throughout the day, and things tend to have a way of going missing in chaos.
    31. Prep your “Big Day Emergency Kit.” By putting one of these together you’re saving yourself from the scary “what if’s” of wedding prep. Odds are you won’t need everything in it, but extra preparation can’t hurt.
    32. Are you and your fiancĂ© writing each other sweet notes to read as you get ready? You totally should. It’s precious. Opinion aside—this is not something you want to leave until the last minute. Sure, you don’t need days to write a note, but give yourself a reasonable amount of time to write something from the heart that your soon-to-be Mr. or Mrs. can cherish forever.
    33. Plan a moment for just the two of you amidst the chaos and excitement of the big day. You will be constantly surrounded—seriously, I mean it—even when you go to the bathroom… So setting aside time, even just a few minutes, to be with your husband away from family, friends, and photographers, may be good for you both.
    34. I don’t know if you’re like me, but I do not function well on just a few Z’s. You will absolutely have adrenaline kicking in, but it is important feel well-rested. And who wants bags under their eyes in pictures they have to look at forever, am I right? Start winding down early the night before, so you can calm your body and mind enough to get some good sleep on your last unmarried night.

    You’re finally ready for the big day!

    There you have it. You are ready to tie the knot! Breathe easy and enjoy the time leading up to the event. Soak in every second of the day itself. Happy happily ever after, my friends!

    Wednesday, March 23, 2016

    2016 Bridesmaid Dress Trends with David's Bridal

    Brides, we feel you. Finding the exact right dress for your besties to walk you down the aisle in is not an easy feat. To help, we worked with David’s Bridal to break down some currently fabulous bridesmaid dress trends. From multi-color to all-in-white, there are so many new ways brides are encouraging their girls to shine. Browse through and she which style and fit catches your eye!

    Soft colors/pastels

    A spring favorite, pastel colors add a soft, gentle look to your bridal party. Also a great option for a boho wedding. Pair pale dresses with flower crowns for an ultimate spring or summer look.


    The newest trend in bridesmaid dresses, floral print dresses add a great pop of color to your bridal party. These prints are especially perfect for spring and summer weddings. Want to go for a mix-and-match look? Floral dresses look great paired with solid colors! Just pull colors from the floral print and you’re on your way to beautiful.

    all White

    We didn’t believe it at first either, but white has made its way from just a bride trend to a bridesmaid trend. White is the ultimate wedding color (don’t worry brides – you’ll still be only one with the veil!) The trend was made popular by royalty and celebrities, but we’re loving it as a fresh, clean look for a summer wedding and a sophisticated look for a winter wedding.


    +++MS251130_METALLIC_BM_F15UNTOLD_217 (1)
    The perfect touch for a luxury wedding, metallic dresses add glamour and texture to your special day. The best part of metallic dresses is that you can decide how much shine to incorporate into your special day. Looking for a hint of glitz? Add a subtle touch with metallic lace, or go full-on sparkle with beading or sequins allover. The hardest part will be deciding between gold, silver, or rose gold (forget it, just mix-and-match all three!)


    The perfect choice for a bride who knows what color she wants but doesn’t know which shade to choose. The ombre look fades from light to dark and includes several hues of the same color. Pull off ombre by having each member wear a different shade of your favorite color. From there, you can also choose to have your ‘maids select the same shape/style or not – it’s up to you!. This option is a great way to give the girls a bit of freedom to find what they feel their best in.

    For any of these trends, we know that your bridal party comes in all shapes and sizes. That’s why we love the range that David’s Bridal offers brides and their besties. Sizes are available from 0 to 26, they have maternity and junior bridesmaid dresses and even better, they have 100s of styles under $100. Something else most brides don’t think of – David’s Bridal is a great place to get dresses for your engagement shoot! If you’re in the middle of dress shopping, stop by David’s Bridal and you’ll be very impressed by all their HUGE (and of course trendy) selection.