Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Groomsmen Responsibilities

I'm guessing that most of the people reading this post are female, but the intended audience is male. That means it's your job to pass this on to your husband-to-be so he can pass it on to his best man and his groomsmen. After all, it's not like guys are born knowing what they need to do when they're asked to be in a wedding party. There's a good chance that your future spouse's dudes are wondering just what being a groomsman entails.

The good news is that groomsmen responsibilities can usually be counted on the fingers of one hand. That's right -- unlike bridesmaids, who are asked to help with everything from addressing invitations to crafting floral centerpieces, groomsmen aren't usually expected to do much other than show up on time in the right clothes. That's not to say that guys are incapable of doing more (far from it!) but rather than most grooms-to-be never think about asking their dudes for help.

These are just a few of the traditional groomsmen responsibilities:

  • Attend the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. This is very important as groomsmen have to appear in certain places at certain times on the day of the wedding. Also, free food!
  • Groomsmen also attend all pre-wedding events such as engagement parties, co-ed showers, and planning meetings.
  • Find out what to wear and where to procure your outfit. Whether the groomsmen will be wearing a tux, a suit, or neither, it had better be the right one. Groomsmen may or may not visit the rental shop as a group and help the groom-to-be choose the menswear.
  • The groomsmen typically make sure the groom and best man have tried on the tuxedos well in advance of the wedding date. One of the groomsman will usually be responsible for picking up all the formal wear before the wedding and returning it to the store after the ceremony.
  • Groomsmen are in charge of decorating the couple's getaway car...or not. Before groomsmen fill the car with packing peanuts and tie tin cans to the bumper, they should think carefully about how the couple will react.
  • Groomsmen can pack a bag of last-minute grooming items for all the men in the wedding party.
  • The men in the wedding party often serve as ushers at the wedding.
  • Help the groom relax and get dressed on the wedding day. If he's nervous, the groomsmen can keep him loose.
  • The groomsmen should have a plan for hauling the gifts from the reception. They should know where the gifts are to be delivered. The men should load, transport, and deliver the gifts. If the wedding couple needs any other items transported, the groomsmen take care of that as well.

In the past groomsmen were also charged with entertaining any single ladies at the reception, but it is no longer considered the kiss of death to attend a wedding alone. Let your groomsmen know that they don't necessarily have to ask every unattached woman to dance.

Click for great groomsmen gifts and more groomsmen responsibilities

Monday, 29 September 2008

Bachelorette Party Checklists

Now that you're getting married, chances are that someone in your life is going to think about throwing you a bachelorette party. Even though the bachelorette parties you've seen on television have likely included male strippers and lots of booze, don't assume that you have to wear a phallic tiara or ask strangers for condoms if that isn't your style! Enjoying your bachelorette party is a matter of subtly giving your gals an idea of the kind of party you want.

Do you love shocking others and getting crazy with a drink in each hand? Remind your MOH how much you love Animal House style shindigs. Or if you prefer a quiet evening at home watching sappy movies with your best girlfriends, it might just be time to bring up how tacky you think the usual bachelorette parties are. Trust us when we say that your MOH and your 'maids will be happy to have your input.

Bachelor parties have traditionally been a way for men to remind other men of everything they are leaving behind by getting married...you know, like the horrors of dating, the threat of STDs, and really bad hangovers. Bachelorette parties are a relatively new invention, so there's a lot more leeway. Fun bachelorette party ideas include slumber parties, spa parties, Las Vegas weekends, and of course, the tried and true trip to the strip club.

If you're worried that your gal pals are going to plan a bachelorette party you won't like, e-mail your MOH this bachelorette party checklist from an anonymous e-mail account to ensure you have as much fun as your 'maids.

  • A bit of research about your best friend, i.e., "the bride," will go a long way.
  • Cater to the bride's interests, not your own.
  • The theme can be anything from the normal to the exotic. For example, if the bride likes to read, a literary theme might be just right.
  • Consider whether your chosen location is easy for everyone invited to get to.
  • Use a location that can easily be modeled to your theme. Maybe you can hold it at a lakefront, in a forest shanty, or even on a ship. Whatever the case may be, do not be inhibited by the norm.
  • Music, food, and decorations can all set the tone, making your getaway all the more realistic.
  • Always have a secondary plan and double check the reservations and invitations.
  • Food is an often overlooked aspect of a proper party. Spicy exotic entrees go a long way to setting the feeling.
  • Ask the bride's family if there are any foods or beverages she really hates, then scratch those off your list.
  • Serve both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks!
  • Create a custom cocktail in honor of the bride and groom to take the party to the next level.

Click for more bachelorette party tips and ideas

Friday, 26 September 2008

Destination Weddings

Have you already nixed the idea of getting married in a fabulously exotic locale? It may be time to reconsider the destination wedding! While getting married in another state (or even another country) sounds complicated, it can actually be a lot simpler than planning a wedding in your hometown.

Don't believe me? Consider these major destination wedding pros:

  • No responsibilities...almost. Most destination weddings that take place at resorts are handled by in-house wedding coordinators, so you don't have to worry about anything other than choosing colors, choosing a cake, and showing up.
  • A destination wedding typically involves fewer guests, so there's not as much pressure to invite everyone from your third cousin to your mom's chiropractor.
  • While a regular wedding can feel like a feel overwhelming, the pace of a destination wedding is usually a lot more relaxed. Most brides and grooms stay at their chosen destination for a few days before and after the wedding, so the wedding becomes a vacation...or the honeymoon!

If you do go the destination wedding route, you may encounter resistance from family and friends who either wish they were invited or are invited, but don't think they'll be able to attend. Traveling for a wedding can involve taking time off, spending money on travel and accommodations, and coordinating babysitting and pet-sitting. Don't be surprised if some of your guests just can't make it. If you look at the "Declines with regrets" cards realistically and don't take it personally, your destination wedding will be a lot less stressful.

Click to learn more about destination weddings

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Charitable Wedding Registries

Of all of the traditions associated with weddings, none carries with it more potential controversy than the wedding registry. Some couples don't even think about it -- it's just one more responsibility to deal with. Other couples get excited about it! Who doesn't like getting gifts? Then there are the couples who specifically choose not to create a registry or ask that their wedding guests donate to a charity in their names.

There is, however, another option that lets you choose gifts AND give money to worthy charities. The I Do Foundation has established partnerships with a number of national chain department stores that donate between 3% and 6% of the purchase price of the gifts on your wedding registry to charities that you pre-select. The best part? It doesn't cost you or your guests anything -- the mixers, flatware, and everything else you like best are the same price they'd be in a regular store.

Once you start your gift registry with any of the partner stores, you can manage and change your registry online or in the store in accordance with the guidelines the individual store has established. You don't have to stick to one store, though. You can register with as many I Do Foundation partner stores as you like, and we're talking regular stores like Target and Linens-n-Things.

Registering with the I Do Foundation is a great way to compromise if you don't particularly want to set up a registry, but your family and friends are bugging you to create one. They don't run the risk of buying you something you don't want, and you can rest easy knowing that at least some portion of the price of your gifts is going to help a good cause.

Click for more information about setting up a wedding registry or a charitable wedding registry

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

DIY Wedding Photography

Forget the disposable cameras from the drug store -- unless you want grainy shots of your uncle's rear end as taken by your four-year-old cousin. There's a new mode out DIY wedding photography out there and its name is You Shoot!

The company -- based in Cambridge, Massachusetts -- is the first national outfit to rent high-resolution digital cameras for weddings. These cameras make an excellent alternative to the disposable ones because they cost far less per picture to use, and the quality is decidedly better.

That means that your uncle's rear end will actually be in focus! Um, yeah...

Of course, you don't have to leave all the wedding photography up to your guests. Even though someone else will be snapping the pictures, there are plenty of steps you can take to ensure you look your best in wedding photos. For example, when a shutterbug is taking candid pictures during the reception, DON'T look at the camera! The beauty of a candid shot is capturing the magic and emotion of a particular moment when people in the photograph are interacting with each other.

Want to know more? There are a ton of great tips on how to look your best in front of a camera at the preceding link.

Creating a Wedding Budget

It's time to set aside the romance for a moment and talk dollars and cents. Unless you're one of the chosen few for whom "the sky's the limit," you need to set a wedding budget. In fact, creating a budget should be one of the first things you do...before you fall in love with the $100 a plate caterer and the $15,000 gown!

The traditional rule of the bride's family paying for the entire wedding is quickly becoming history. Today, there is much more sharing of wedding expenses between the bride's family, the groom's family and the bride and groom themselves. Many couples are getting married later in life and are well established with their own careers. That means they are able to pay for more of the expenses -- sometimes they even want to pay for the entire wedding themselves.

A good way to begin creating a wedding budget is to set priorities. The bride and groom should discuss which elements of the wedding are most important to them. For instance, is it the reception location, the bridal gown or the entertainment that is most important to you? You should choose about three to four items that are your top priorities and set the rest of your budget from there.

How should you allocate your money? That's up to you! If you need help, however, there's a great wedding budget breakdown at Smart Wedding Planning. Go check it out!

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Bridal Shower Favors

When it comes time for your bridesmaids to plan your bridal shower, slyly remind them not to forget the favors! While favors aren't strictly necessary, the people who care about you most will be happy to have some memento of your shower. The favors guests are most likely to appreciate will be those that are useful or edible. Decorative items can be nice, but they don't always gel with peoples' decor.

The following favors are sure to delight and amuse all in attendance!

Queen for a Day favors will fit right into a spa themed party. Pink and posh, these salon-quality toe separators offer your friends a regal pedicure…perfect for a poolside party. Plus, if you're the kind of gal who loves to do her toes, you can ask your maid of honor to give you the leftovers!

How about nail file favors? Perfect for pampering your fingertips while dishing about all the guys from days gone by, this whimsical nail file set is conveniently shaped like a matchbook, offering portable emery boards for everyday emergencies. Again, if you love to do your nails, remember to ask for the leftovers.

Or keep things sweet with shower gel favors. With charming personalized labels in sweet and sassy designs, these fun shower gel bottles offer a practical gift for bridal shower guests. This is yet another wedding shower favor that lends itself to leftovers.

Whatever your ladies choose, e-mail them the following link to this page about bridal showers so they don't forget anything :-)

Wedding Expo Tips

Walk into a wedding expo and your senses are immediately bombarded with sights, sounds and scents! It's exciting, but a little overwhelming at the same time. If you're not careful, you'll get sucked into one vendor's sale pitch and lose valuable time better spent browsing everything else on offer. Making the most of a wedding expo is a matter of formulating concrete goals before the event and pacing yourself once you're inside.

Prior to the expo:
  • Prepare your tools for the expo on the night before so you can maintain your focus on the day of the event
  • If the expo has a website, take a look at the vendors who will be exhibiting.
  • Create a list prioritizing the categories you wish to gather information about
  • Label folders according to each category of products and services you wish to gather
  • Use standard letter envelopes to hold business cards for each category. Mark the front of each accordingly
  • Use a compact notebook, pen and yellow highlighter
  • Pack a tote bag with your supplies and personal essentials in place of your purse
At the expo:
  • Upon entering the show, immediately locate a program listing exhibitors
  • Step aside from the crowd and find a space where you can review the program
  • Scan the list to find those exhibitors who match your high priority categories
  • Make a list of their booth numbers. If possible organize the list in numerical order
  • Next, familiarize yourself with the space's layout and arrangement of booths
  • Use your list of booth numbers to determine your first stop
  • Head straight for the booths for your top priority vendors
After the expo:
  • Give yourself ample time to decompress, even if it is several days
  • Review the materials you have collected at the show only when you feel refreshed and enthusiastic
  • Sort through the materials on a category by category basis rather than all at once
  • Do not throw away any business cards until you have hired a vendor in case you need to revisit the selection process
Do all this, and you're guaranteed to get something out of the expos you attend. But here's one more tip: Create a wedding specific e-mail address where you can centralize all of your vendor communications. Once the wedding is over, you don't have to worry about year's worth of weddingy e-mails!

Click for lots more
wedding expo tips

Monday, 22 September 2008

Wedding Invitation Etiquette

Before you read on, keep in mind that wedding etiquette is a lot more malleable than it used to be. In other words, the rules of yesteryear may not apply. The information that follows is an overview of traditional wedding invitation etiquette, which was a lot more formal than the etiquette of today.

If you want truly formal invitations, choose engraving over thermography and opt for pure white or cream-tinted paper. Said paper should be medium weight and unglazed but smooth in surface, and roughly seven inches in length by six inches in width.

Plain script is favored for the engraving of the wedding cards -- old English script, Roman capitals and block lettering are all effective. A good stationer will show you the types of lettering most suited to wedding invitations at the present time. Remember: It's their business to be able to advise you of the latest trends and formalities.

Traditional formal invitations are issued in the name of the bride's parents, or, if she is an orphan, in the names of a married brother and his wife, of her guardian or her nearest male relative. If the bride's family has a family crest, it may be embossed in white in the center at the top of the engraved sheet, but not on the flap of the envelope. A recent fashion is to have the bride's initials embossed in white where the crest would appear. Both are nice, but decorations such as gilt-edges, entwined letters or coats-of-arms in colors are in bad taste.

Now that you know the rules, you're equipped to break them! You want lime green cotton fiber invitations printed with soy ink? Go for it! Or maybe you like seal-n-send invitations that save paper and time? Fab! The only time you really need to worry about proper wedding invitation etiquette is when you've got your heart set on them. Otherwise, choose whatever invitations resonate with you and your intended.

Click to learn more about wedding invitation etiquette

Engagement Rings

Presumably if you're reading this, you're already engaged. Then again, maybe not! Many people out there are wedding enthusiasts who love to read about nuptials and nuptial issues even when they're not getting married or are already married.

Chances are, however, that you are wearing an engagement ring or will be wearing one in the future. It's interesting to look back at the history of this oh-so-significant piece of jewelry.

Did you know, for example, that the tradition of exchanging wedding bands is much older than the tradition of the groom-to-be giving his beloved a ring of her own? In many if not most cultures, marriages have been historically associated with the exchange of wealth. Sometimes it's the bride price and sometimes it's the dowry.

One essay I found had this to say:

The engagement ring may be a custom that is distantly related to this payment of a bride price, similar to the custom of the bride's family paying for the expenses of the wedding-- derived from that of providing a dowry.

Historical records in Europe show that future grooms from wealthy aristocracy gave engagement rings to their beloveds beginning in the 1400's. This coincides with the rise of Courtly Love, with the wealthy and privileged classes more free to romanticize marriage, beyond its practical economic, political, and social purposes.

Many different types of engagement rings were given as symbols of binding promise, including rings made of every metal from gold to iron, set with no gems at all, or emeralds, rubies, sapphires, and of course diamonds. The practice of marking a deep and binding promise through the giving of precious jewelry is ancient.

As for diamond engagement rings, that's a whole different story. For now, remember that no matter what kind of ring you have, it will likely be a special treasure you hold close to your heart for a lifetime...even if you don't wear it every day!

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Joseph Todd Events

Are you a New York City bride? Lucky you! If you're in the market for a planner and coordinator, check out Joseph Todd Events! For nearly twenty years, owner Joseph Todd St. Cyr has been involved in the coordination of all manner of social events, which means you can be pretty darned sure that you'll get what you pay for, i.e., one helluva gorgeous wedding!

Be it an intimate Tuscan-themed tent wedding by the lake or a winter wonderland in Grand Central Terminal, this coordinator has the experience and, most importantly, the contacts to set your imagination in motion. A company rep will be by your side every step of the way providing expert advice on wedding etiquette and tradition, overall event design, blending family dynamics, and much more.

Think you don't need a planner or can't afford one? You'd be surprised how much money a planner can actually save you! Planners like Joseph Todd Events know vendors personally, so can get you some great deals you'd never be able to get on your own. Oftentimes, the money you spend to hire the planner will be a lot less than the money you'll save in the process!

Visit Joseph Todd Events online, or call them at (646) 345-6367. For more New York City wedding vendors, visit the preceding link.

Bridal Shower Etiquette

Tradition holds that the first bridal shower was thrown for a Dutch bride who married below her station. She loved the village miller, but her wealthy father had other ideas about who she should marry. As is often the case in these old tales, she ran away with her beloved miller, causing her father to disown her and withhold her dowry. The bride didn't mind being poor, as long as she had her miller at her side, but life was hard.

Their low fortune didn't last for long, however, because the villagers took pity on the newlyweds because the miller had always been unfailingly kind to them. They "showered" the bride and groom with gifts, thereby starting a tradition that has lasted for centuries!

In the modern day, showers have evolved and become more relaxed, but there are still certain rules of bridal shower etiquette that should be observed. Since there will almost always be a variety of attendees there -- friends, family and coworkers in most cases -- it's important to understand how everyone should interact. Mothers and grandmothers in particular can place a great deal of importance on proper bridal shower etiquette, so make sure you know what the rules are!

Here are a few:

  • The bride should never, ever host her own shower. Additionally, it is considered bad form to have a relative host. Typically, this responsibility falls to the MOH and the bridesmaids.
  • Don't badger potential guests with registry information or tell them exactly what to gift to buy. A bridal shower is a party that is concerned with gifts, but don't turn it into a frantic gift grab!
  • Keep the shower relatively small, and make sure that everyone invited to the shower is invited to the wedding. Excluding shower guests from the main event is just plain mean.

Unfortunately, that's not all there is to know -- who'd have thought that planning a low-key party could be so complicated? Look for more on bridal shower etiquette at the preceding link.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Bridal Beauty Eyes Checklist

When it comes to bridal beauty, "the eyes have it." Regardless of the kind of jewelry or veil you've chosen to wear, it's your eyes that are really going to POP in photographs. It makes sense if you think about it...those will cry with happiness when you say your vows. They'll light up with happiness when you see your new spouse. And they will speak volumes when you greet your guests.

There's a great bridal beauty checklist over at Smart Wedding Planning that outlines a whole lot of tips and tricks geared toward brides who want to use cosmetics wisely. Here are just a few things you can do to make sure your eyes are as gorgeous as they can possibly be:

  • Hire an experienced makeup artist who has worked with many brides through many weddings. Ask them to do a test run before the wedding.
  • Use OTC eye drops if your eyes look tired or red. A cold compress can help you beat puffiness.
  • Sleep well prior to the special day -- you'll look AND feel better.
  • Banish dark circles beneath your eyes with Vitamin K cream.
  • Apply an off-white matte eye shadow so that your lids will not appear too shiny or oily.
  • Especially at the eye corners, blend the eye shadow well as cameras highlight the makeup lines. You don't want your makeup to be too obvious!
  • Your brows should be well defined -- use a pencil that matches your hair color to fill in any sparse spots.
  • Apply a minimum of two layers of mascara after using an eyelash curler on both sides.

Remember that the fresh and natural look is still hot, so don't overdo it when applying your makeup. Instead of looking like Tammy Fae, you'll glow with that unique blush only brides have!

Flower Girl Dresses

Aren't flower girls just the cutest? My favorite flower girl dresses are the ones that let little girls look like little girls instead of miniature brides. This one, from the Jessica Lynn collection at Emerald Bridal, features a diagonally tucked organza bodice accented at the round neckline with pearl centered flowers. The very full tulleskirt has an organza sash with a floral cluster at the front and a double-loop bow with flowers at the back.

When I was a wee one, I would have loved to wear this dress. In fact, I probably would have worn it until I had outgrown it completely!

Friday, 19 September 2008

Wedding Dress of the Week

Without further ado, here is this week's wedding dress of the week:

This gown from Emerald Bridal really sparkles! Beautiful beaded lace adorns the strapless bodice and ballgown skirt of this dazzling dress. You'll look elegant in white or ivory lace, but choosing black lace adds a touch of drama. Yes, it's an unusual choice, but the classic lines of this gown will ensure that no one has any reason to criticize.

For advice on choosing a wedding gown, follow the preceding link

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Choosing a Wedding Band

Remember Aunt Helen's wedding where the food was soggy, the flowers were nauseating and, worst of all, the rock band they hired drummed up a migraine in your head? As your own big day draws closer, don't make the same mistakes. Think about how much effort it's going to take you to speak to all your guests and keep them happy and amused. The perfect answer to your wedding woes is a totally rockin' wedding band!

But with so many bands out there, how do you choose the right one? For starters, keep this trio of tips in mind when you're interviewing bands:

  • Your wedding band should be able to play a variety of music well. Reception music usually starts out slow and picks up speed as the night wears on. If it turns out your band can only play popular dance hits, people will miss the slow stuff.
  • Bring a list of must-have songs to the interview and walk away with a copy of the band's DVD. Ask them if they have any actual wedding vids up on YouTube so you can see them in action. Don't leave anything to chance!
  • Think about your guest list -- you may love deathmetal, but it's unlikely that your extended family shares your passion for headbanging. There will always be another mosh pit, but you'll (hopefully) only ever have one wedding. Your chosen band should help your guests have the time of their lives.

Of course, you'll need to think about more than taste when making your final decision. There are more helpful hints and tricks that will help you when choosing a wedding band at the preceding link. Go on...go check it out, then come back here and see what new wedding planning advice we have for you!

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Silver Wedding Favors

Silver wedding favors are just about the most traditional favors out there. Even when silver means silver-plated, things like beautiful gilded measuring spoons or dainty shiny picture frames call to mind an older, more elegant time. Contrary to popular belief, silver wedding favors don't have to be expensive -- in fact, some of them are downright reasonably priced!

Here are some steals and deals I found:

The tea infuser is my favorite, but then again I drink a lot of tea. Remember that you can't please everyone when choosing wedding favors, so you may as well choose favors that you like. Believe me when I say that you'll have plenty left over! That's right -- as much as you'd like it if all your guests were to take the little gift you leave at their place setting, many will leave them behind.

Why? Some people won't realize the favor is for them. Some people won't like the favors you've chosen. And some people will simply forget when the last dance of the evening has finally been danced! Don't be offended. If you have enough leftover favors, you can always recoup your costs by putting them up on eBay!

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Personalized Bridesmaids Bags

After talking about personalized bridesmaids bags in the previous post, I couldn't resist linking to a few of my favorites! There's no denying it -- totes and other bags are a very popular gift for bridesmaids! If you don't feel like a tote is present enough, you can always use the tote as the wrapping for another gift.

Here are four of my favorites:

Bridesmaids lunch totes are a cute, eco-friendly alternative to gift bags. Pack them with little presents for an easy-to-carry treat that will come in handy for many years after the wedding.

Pack your gals' wedding day emergency kits in a mini travel duffel bag to kill two birds with one stone...especially if you're having a destination wedding. Then the next time you and your girlfriends have a weekend away, no one will have to worry about luggage.

For your green gals, how about packing their prezzies in an organic personalized carry all tote? It makes a great reusable grocery tote, and there are no nasty pesticides here!

If you're after something smaller, the Corina hanging toiletry bag may be just what you're looking for! Your attendants can pack their extra lipsticks away in these adorable bags.

Who Plans the Rehearsal Dinner

A reader recently wrote to ask:

Who plans the rehearsal dinner? I always thought that the groom's parents did all the planning, but my sweetie's mom and dad have said that they're happy to pay, but don't want to plan. With everything else I have to do, I don't really feel up to planning a whole other even right before the wedding. Can you answer this question for me so I can either send my future in-laws a link to your answer or resign myself to "doing it all?"

Typically, it is the groom's parents who host the event, which means that they plan as well as pay. However, modern brides and grooms (and their families) are bucking tradition these days, which means that almost every established wedding rule can be broken without shocking family and friends.

If telling your in-laws-to-be that the rehearsal dinner is usually their responsibility doesn't inspire them to have a change of heart, all is not lost! You can host it all by yourself without breaking the bank or losing your mind. The truth is a "rehearsal dinner" doesn't have to be a dinner at all. If you feel you must have a rehearsal, keep it casual, and invite participants to your home for pizza and beer.

On the other hand, if you do want to take advantage of your groom's parents' offer to foot the bill, consider holding the rehearsal dinner at a local restaurant where chefs and staff will handle all the details for you. You can enjoy a nice meal without having to worry about ordering food, decorating, or reserving a hall. Just make sure that everyone invited to participate in the rehearsal and attend the dinner knows where and when to show up!

Learn more about rehearsal dinners are the preceding link

Monday, 15 September 2008

Talk About Weddings

Being a bride-to-be can be a lonely business. Sometimes your fiance is just not that into helping you plan or listening to you talk about weddings. Maybe you think your mom is starting to screen her calls so she doesn't have to field your tearful diatribes about the aforementioned fiance. And your friends...well, they'd like to be able to go to happy hour without you wearing your Future Mrs. So-and-so shirt.

Trust me when I say that sometimes it pays to talk to other brides or even wedding experts who can answer your questions. Questions like
where do you start? How do you plan the "perfect" wedding? How do you deal with finding all the wedding services you'll need: wedding florists, caterers, wedding entertainment, wedding photographers (the list goes on forever!). What will your bridesmaids wear? What music will you play as you walk down the aisle?

The best part of bridal communities has to be the validation you'll receive. Even when everyone in your life is second-guessing your choices, the online friends you make will remind you that it's your wedding, so you get to make the decisions!

Wedding Day Emergency Kit

If you're lucky, you won't have ANY wedding day emergencies...but very few brides are that lucky. The good news is that even though almost every wedding day is marred by some catastrophe, the things that go wrong are usually relatively minor. Think scuffed shoes rather than serious sunstroke.

Instead of worrying about what could happen on the day you say, "I Do," why not create a wedding day emergency kit? There are pre-made kits you can buy that contain drugstore samples and sewing kits, but it's usually cheaper to put one together yourself. If you plan on making them for all your 'maids, you can put the money you save toward cute personalized bridesmaid bags!

Here are some of the items brides-to-be usually pack in their wedding day emergency kit:

__Aspirin or other pain relievers
__Upset stomach medicines such as Pepto-Bismol
__Feminine hygiene products
__Stain removal
__Sewing tape or masking tape
__Sewing kit and safety pins
__Extra buttons
__Extra earring backs
__Extra pantyhose
__Mouthwash or breath mints
__Floss, toothpaste, and toothbrush
__Perfume or cologne
__Bobby pins
__Straight pins
__Small scissors
__Lint brush
__Make-up remover
__Cotton swabs or balls
__Wet wipes
__Hand lotion

But your own wedding day emergency kit should be unique because the contents will depend on your needs. Not wearing makeup? Then you won't need makeup remover. Allergic to perfume? Don't put any in, of course -- you don't want your emergency kit becoming the emergency.

Find out what else you might want to pack in your wedding day emergency kit in the preceding link!

Honeymoon Savings Tips

A lot of people don't realize that the $30,000 wedding price tag they see everywhere includes everything from the engagement ring to the honeymoon. The post-nuptial trip can be pretty expensive, all told -- the cost includes airfare, hotel stays, dining out, and all the other splurges we associate with luxury travel.

Keeping that in mind, how can a money-minded couple keep costs down? Try these honeymoon savings tips on for size:

When booking a hotel room never mention your membership discount privileges (AAA, AARP, military, government, etc.) until after you have been told the room rate.

Upscale hotels charge for just about everything: Telephone calls, breakfast, internet, sometimes gym privileges…Most of their guests are traveling on expense accounts and don't put up a fuss. But mid-range hotels tend to include that stuff for free. When in doubt, ask before it's too late.

Before booking room over the phone, check the hotel's site for its 'Web-only" rate.

Bring a cooler on road trips. Stocked with ice, drinks, snacks, the cooler will save you time and money on your trip.

It's often cheaper to buy a ticket to London and then fly onward to other European destinations via a regional low-cost airline like EasyJet (easyjet.com) and Bmibaby (bmibaby.com).

By joining the free Playbill Club at Playbill.com, you can find half-priced theater tickets in New York and other U.S. cities without standing in line at a theater kiosk or waiting to buy tickets on the day of the performance.

Easy, right? Sometimes saving money requires real legwork, but a lot of savings strategies are no more complicated than asking for a discount. The worst someone can say is "Sorry, no."

Click for more sweet honeymoon savings tips!

Friday, 12 September 2008

Wedding Terms and Definitions

Planning a wedding means learning a new language. Sure, it's easier than picking up Japanese, but there's still an awful lot to learn! Figuring out what all the new words mean can take a while, and while a lot of what you hear will likely be familiar to you, there will definitely be words that make you scratch your head.

Have you, for example, ever heard of these wedding terms and definitions I found at Smart Wedding Planning?

Snood: A snood is an knitted net the bride may wear at the back of her head to enclose her hair.

Imam Zamin: This is a good luck tradition after a Moslem wedding where the mother of the bride ties a coin that is wrapped in silk around her daughter's arm.

Euro Tie: Often worn with a spread collar, this is a long tie that is more formal than a regular necktie, but less so than an ascot.

Biedermeier: A type of posy where the flowers are arranged in rings according to their color.

Wow, confusing right? Don't worry -- you'll get used to the wedding jargon pretty quickly! You can find even more wedding terms and definitions at the preceding link.

Shopping For Your Wedding Gown

TIP 1: When you go shopping for your wedding gown, don't bring ALL six bridesmaids and your mother. If you bring too many people shopping, it can be VERY CONFUSING. Try shopping with just one or two people...preferably people who will give you an honest opinion!

TIP 2: If you're buying your wedding dress and bridesmaids' attire and mother-of-the-bride's dress from a bridal shop… try and purchase ALL of the dresses from the same shop. They'll usually give you a pretty good discount off the dresses or free alterations. If nothing else, buying everything at one shop will be convenient and potentially easier on everyone involved.

TIP 3: When you go shopping for your dress, so what you can to look your BEST. Sometimes even the most beautiful gown, won't look "right" when your hair is a mess and you're wearing sweat socks. You may not be able to wrap a sweet French twist, but you can put your hair up in a neat ponytail!

TIP 4: Trust YOUR instincts and you'll know exactly when you've found THE DRESS. Don't let anyone pressure you to buy a dress that doesn't feel right.

Shopping for your wedding gown should be fun, not stressful! If you're not having a good time, then grab your team, leave the bridal salon, and go cool off over a latte. The shop will still be there tomorrow, and as long as the dress you like is current, the salesladies will be able to order you one. More than anything, don't feel pressured to buy immediately -- unless your wedding is in a few short months, you probably have plenty of time.

Click for more tips you can use when shopping for your wedding gown

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Gifts for the groom don't have to be complicated

Everyone knows about bridesmaids gifts and groomsmen gifts, but far fewer newly engaged couples are familiar with the bride's gift and the groom's gift. No one knows where the tradition came from -- it may be new and it may be old -- but it's a nice way to calm frazzled nerves and soothe away tension just before the wedding.

The groom-to-be usually has it pretty easy because he can get away with buying a piece of jewelry if he's at a loss. The bride doesn't get off so easily! Men, as you may know, can be pretty hard to shop for. The good news is that gifts for the groom don't have to be complicated. It's likely that your groom will dig anything that he's been eying for his groomsmen.

Here are four cool, dude-friendly ideas:

A personalized humidor
A fancy shaving set
A steak branding iron (no kidding!)
A real personalized pocket watch

Want to know more? Smart Wedding Planning has put together a short primer on gifts for groomsmen, and you can draw some more ideas from there. Now start shopping!

Monday, 8 September 2008

Choosing A Wedding Reception Site

Choosing a wedding reception site isn't as easy as you might think. Most couples have never rented a commercial event facility. With that in mind, here are some of the questions the staff at Smart Wedding Planning recommend you ask when looking for and ultimately choosing a wedding reception site:
  • How much will it cost to use the site?
  • What are the deposit requirements?
  • What are the conditions of cancellation?
  • Is there a payment schedule or plan?
  • Is there a reception package?
  • If there is, how much does it cost?
  • What is included and what is not included?
  • What "extras" cost how much?
  • How long can I have the site?
  • Is there a minimum?
  • Is there an overtime fee?
  • What is the overtime fee?
  • Is your party the only party? Or is there one before or after?
  • If there is, will there be sufficient time to clean, prepare, and redecorate the site?
Once you've chosen a site that meets your needs, don't forget to get all the details in writing. Contracts can be hard to understand, but if you read carefully and make sure all the important information is there, both you and the reception site will be protected. Good contracts benefit both parties entering into a deal!

Click for more questions you need to ask when choosing a wedding reception site

Monday, 1 September 2008

Questions to Ask Your Wedding Officiant

Just as with all your other wedding vendors, the officiant you choose should harmonize with your personal style and the type of wedding ceremony that you'd like to have. For instance, the officiant you might choose for an informal wedding in the park may not be the same officiant you'd choose for a formal religious ceremony in a church.

Your officiant may ask to meet with you several times before the wedding to discuss your feelings about love, marriage, commitment and sometimes your religious beliefs. Now, we can't help you with that -- but we can point you toward a great list of questions to ask your wedding officiant so you make the very best choice.

Go check it out!