Sunday, 30 November 2008

Honeymoons That Are Heavenly

How can you plan the perfect honeymoon? The first step is remembering that there should be a bride and a groom involved in the decision. As much as you want to travel to Mexico, your future spouse may be thinking that Iceland would be the perfect honeymoon destination. Before you book a trip only one of you may enjoy, sit down and talk about your honeymoon wants and wishes.

Questions to ask: Do you want to go around the block, or around the world? Do you want the honeymoon to be exciting and adventurous or lazy and relaxing? Do you want to save money, or really splurge on a big ticket vacation? Do you want sunshine or snow? Do you want to marry in the same place you plan to honeymoon?

Even if your answers to these questions are less than specific, having a general idea of what each of you wants out of your honeymoon is a good start! Remember that the best reason to go on a honeymoon is to rest, relax and regroup after the stresses and rigors of planning and conducting your wedding. Sure, planning a honeymoon is stressful in and of itself, but the end result is more than worth the trouble.

Even if you and your future spouse are already living together, you should try to get away and relax after all the work you have done to get to this point...even if all you can swing is a weekend honeymoon at a bed and breakfast. One word of caution, however! Do not treat your honeymoon like another vacation, because it is a time to bond, to set new directions, lay out goals as a married couple, and to renew your romance.

PS -- Don't forget that there's a great place to talk to other brides-to-be (and wedding vendors) at Talk About Weddings! You can even learn a thing or two about planning a honeymoon there!

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Bridal Shops We Love

In some cities, there are hundreds of bridal salons where brides-to-be can buy everything from their wedding gowns to wedding accessories like bridal jewelry sets. In other cities, there are hardly any wedding shops to choose from. Being that we at Smart Wedding Planning spend A LOT of time thinking about weddings and brides and grooms, we obviously have our favorites, and it's not hard to see why! In today's post, I want to profile three of the bridal salons that have given us (and our friends) great deals over the years.

The Rose Dress
This great wedding shop offers a large selection of beautiful designs, fast shipping, and the best customer service and price. If you're the kind of bride who isn't afraid to buy her wedding gown or bridesmaids' dresses online, this might just be the bridal salon for you! Shipping is immediate, so you won't even have to wait too long to try on your perfect wedding dress.

As You Like It
If you're looking for a bridal salon experience that combines custom dressmaking and the elegance of bridal boutiques, look no further. Shop from a gorgeous collection of styles that you can actually try on in your size, hand-select every detail of your dress, and have the perfect fit and unmatchable beauty of a custom-made gown.

Blush Couture
Whether you prefer a classic and sophisticated look or a chic and glamorous style, this bridal salon's exquisite collection caters to all tastes and offers only the finest in couture bridal fashion. Every design we carry can be personalized to your individuality.

PS -- Don't forget that there's a great resource out there for finding wedding vendors called Wedding Planning Links! New cities are being added all the time, so if you don't see yours, check back!

Friday, 28 November 2008

Bridesmaid Dress Trends

How do you, the bride-to-be, choose the perfect bridesmaids dresses? Hopefully, the same way you decide on anything else having to do with your wedding... You research, listen to wedding experts like us, and follow your heart. Honestly, your bridesmaids' dresses aren't going to make or break your wedding, but they might just compromise your friendships! Be careful and be nice, and make sure you know what's in and what's out before you outfit your bridesmaids.

Here's a basic bridesmaid dress primer:

Styles: Sleeveless styles continue to outsell dresses with sleeves, even in the dead of winter, so think about buying matching pashminas for your bridesmaids. Tea and ballet length dresses are gaining in popularity for bridesmaids and brides alike!

Colors: Two tone dresses are hot right now, so you don't have to choose just one color. Platinum is in style at the moment, as well as pale colors like yellows, sand, and taupe. There is also a trend toward burgundy and hunter for autumn weddings, and black is always in style (though your older female relatives may not really get that it's okay to choose black).

Hemlines: The old rule that states that the bridesmaids' hemlines must match the bride's hemline have gone out the window. If you're wearing a floor-length bridal gown, you can still dress your bridesmaids in tea length dresses or knee length dresses. If you love a bridesmaid dress, don't worry about the hem. Better yet, switch up your hemlines!

Fabric: Many of the designers today are also using better quality fabrics like dupioni silk, silk chiffon and satin, velvet, and crepe. Note that these don't always come cheap, so don't be shy about asking for volume discounts or buying last season's styles.

Although today there is less tradition around colors, styles and seasons, it is always wise to use common sense. For example, it would not be wise to choose a short cut and strapless bridesmaid dress during the winter, while a heavy material during the summer in an outdoor ceremony may cause fainting, or worse.

Click to learn more about bridesmaid dresses and choosing your bridesmaids

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Wedding Caterer Tips

Hiring a wedding caterer isn't always easy, particularly because there are a lot of caterers out there. Then there are the people who call themselves caterers, but are actually not very experienced when it comes to creating a menu, accommodating special dietary needs, or sourcing ingredients. How can you find the best wedding caterer you can afford and make the best use of all they have to offer? We have even more tips we think will help!

When determining a final head count for your caterer, you should include a meal for your entertainer (DJ or Band), wedding photographer, and Wedding Day Coordinator. Note: Always confirm with your wedding vendors that they want a meal before you include them in your head count. It is up to you whether you'll serve them a less expensive vendor meal 0r let them eat what your wedding guests are eating.

Ask your caterer to prepare a "leftover basket" that is a sampling of all the food at your reception. That's for you, i.e., the bride and the groom. It's likely that you and your new spouse will not get a chance to really sit down and eat (and enjoy all of the wonderful food at the wedding reception). Even if you're leaving the next day on your honeymoon, a leftover basket makes for a great late night snack!

Be sure to ask your wedding caterer about "guaranteed numbers." Many caterers will quote prices based upon a minimum or "guaranteed" number of guests, but these counts don't always correspond with reality. Many base their figures on a minimum of 100 guests, for example. If your final guest count is less than a hundred, there may be an additional fee.

Find out what decorations, tableware, and linens (if any) are included in the caterer's price. Ask to see pictures of their table displays if they do include some decorations in their price. If your wedding caterer provides these services, talk to them about your color theme so that all your beautiful decorations and floral arrangements will coordinate.

Be careful as to how many hors d'oeuvres you order. It is so tempting to get one of everything, but waste is never nice. Do you really need eight different varieties of puff, cake, and roll? You'd be surprised -- some wedding caterers will suggest that you need a ton of nibbles, even if you're serving a full meal. If you are doing hors d'oeuvres, four different varieties is usually sufficient.

Click to learn more about choosing a caterer and planning a wedding reception

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Wedding Officiants

Unless you've been a member of a church or other religious institution for some time, you're going to have to find your own wedding officiant. This could be a priest or pastor, a rabbi, a justice of the peace, a Muslim officiant, a non-denominational officiant, a Wiccan officiant, or even (in some states) a friend who is ordained for a day specifically to perform your wedding ceremony.

If you're interviewing officiants in preparation for the big day, there are some questions you MUST ask before settling on the one who will eventually perform your wedding ceremony. Here are some highlights, and a link to the full list will follow.

  • Will the officiant be available on your wedding date?
  • Do you have to travel to their house or worship or will they come to you?
  • Will this officiant allow you to write your own vows or recite contemporary readings?
  • Are there photography or videography restrictions in his/her ceremony?
  • Can this officiant recommend musicians?
  • Does this officiant have rules about which music can be played at the wedding ceremony?
  • Can a second officiant also take part in the ceremony?
  • Will this officiant marry you and your fiance even if you're of different faiths?
  • Does this officiant require that you attend premarital counseling?
  • Is there an officiant fee or suggested donation we have to pay in advance?

Click for more tips on interviewing your wedding officiant or to shop for ceremony accessories

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Save Money On a Wedding Dress

When your wedding budget it tight, shopping for a wedding gown can be a less than pleasant experience. If the dresses you truly love are priced so as to be available to only the most well-to-do brides, you're going to feel disappointed and maybe even a little angry. After all, everything from wedding movies to wedding magazines has been telling you that you deserve the perfect fairy tale wedding dress.

The reality is, however, that real life often gets in the way of even the most well-established bridal fantasies. You, the bride-to-be, have to work within the realms of your wedding budget even when it comes to your wedding gown. Don't think that means that you have to give up your dream of looking like a princess or wear a shapeless sack! No way! Having a tight budget just means you have to be a little more clever than other brides.

When it comes time to shop for your wedding gown, don't forget to factor in the cost of your:

- Headpiece and/or veil
- Jewelry
- Shoes
- Lingerie
- Alterations
- Garter

Now, if you don't have a vision of the perfect wedding gown lurking in the back of your consciousness, you can start off by looking for wedding dresses that DON'T have lacework, hand beading, or very long trains, as these will almost always be more expensive. Plain sheaths, a-line gowns, and ball gowns will tend to be less expensive. Don't overlook the prom section of your local department store, as many carry beautiful white gowns or can order them if you request they do so.

Next, shop with an open mind. Shopping with an open mind involves trying everything in the salon. Do not eliminate any style. And even if you find a wedding gown that you detest on the hanger, you can try it on just so you can have a better idea of more unique styles and how they will look on you. Do not settle for the first wedding dress you see! Always try on many styles and when you find one you love, go home and sleep on it. If it's a one-of-a-kind wedding gown, ask a manager if he or she will set it aside for you.

Good luck!

Click for more tips on choosing a wedding dress or to shop for your wedding gown

Monday, 24 November 2008

Wintertime Wedding Gowns

Brrrrr! As the weather turns colder -- if you live in that sort of clime -- brides' thoughts turn to wedding gowns that are more appropriate for wintertime weather. So long, strapless dresses! Sorry, tea length dresses! Long wedding gowns are in, and sleeves are de rigueur for all but the bravest brides. We've chosen three gowns that are perfect for those brides getting married in snowy locales, and we hope you love them as much as we do!

This chic silk chiffon sheath dress with its chapel train is entirely beaded and features a matching jacket with detachable fox collar. The overall look is one of true elegance and toasty warmth.

This off-the-shoulder a-line gown of Alencon lace and silk taffeta features three-quarter length sleeves and a gathered waistband. The bodice and waist band are adorned with pearls and tiny crystals. The full, gathered skirt extends into a semi-cathedral train with a bouquet centered at the back.

Elegance, beauty and grace are combined in this spectacular long sleeved bridal gown. The waist features a diamond pattern of Swarovski crystal beaded metallic embroidery, and the cut of the skirt and cathedral train gives fabulous volume and presence to this matte satin dress. The best part? No goose bumps!

Click to learn more about
choosing a wedding gown or to shop for a wedding gown

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Wedding Blog Roundup

We at Smart Wedding Planning try to follow all the great wedding blogs out there. It's not always easy to read all of them every day, but we read as many as we can. Here are four blog posts from some of our favorite wedding bloggers:

Want to plan an
eco-friendly wedding?
Emily Anderson of Eco-Chic Weddings finds the most beautiful earth-friendly wedding accessories, like this week's gorgeous necklace from eco-fabulous Lucina Jewelry.

A wedding planner is a financial investment
Kelly of Tidbits on Weddings reminds us that even though hiring a wedding planning or wedding coordinator costs money, it can save you money in the long run. Look in the potential cost savings before you discount it it as an option.

Plan a bird-themed wedding
Never teh Bride of Manolo for the Brides posted a tutorial from Martha Stewart Weddings that teaches brides-to-be how to create beautiful bird-themed wedding stationery, from invitations to napkin rings to place cards. The directions are totally easy to follow and the materials are inexpensive, so check it out.

Drink up: Cranberry Bellini
Annette of Swanky Tables found a delish recipe for a cranberry bellini that includes cranberry syrup, cranberry juice, Cointreau, and Prosecco. Yum!

Click to read more about wedding planning and tying the knot

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Honeymoon Cruises

What is it about honeymoons? Planning a honeymoon can be just as stressful is planning a wedding... mostly because you're planning your honeymoon smack dab in the middle of planning your wedding. Right about when you're trying to make sure that your caterer understands just what a vegetarian is, you have to decide whether to go skiing, go to Hawaii, go to Europe or stay home for a week of relaxation.

There are also hundreds of different types of cruises to choose from for those brides and grooms who are comfortable on boats. Here are some things to mull over if you think a honeymoon cruise might be in your future:

Cruising is considered one of the best vacation values, as it is almost all-inclusive. Your fare usually includes meals, your cabin, on board activities, parties and entertainment. Additional costs can include drinks, shore excursions, photographs, spa services, and of course, shopping. Expect to spend some money in port, even if you don't usually bring home souvenirs. At the very least, you'll probably want to sample the local food and drinks.

There are cruises that take you to just about everywhere. There are warm weather cruises to the Caribbean, Mexico, the Bahamas, and the Panama Canal, which are always popular. Cooler climate destinations, such as Alaska, are offered between May and September. European cruises are between April and November and to Bermuda, between April and October. You can even cruise to Antarctica between December and March!

The most affordable cruise times are non-holidays and during school sessions. However, with so many new ships and cabins to fill, there are excellent values to all destinations available year-round, including summers and holidays. You may get a better deal if you book your cruise through a travel agent, but don't be afraid to try your hand at booking your own trip if you have the time.

Finally, there is a wide selection of cruise ships to select from to suit all tastes, including size of ship, number of passengers and onboard ambiance, such as casual and casual elegance. You may choose from an intimate yacht to the latest floating resort. Some cruises even have themes, so if you love Disney or fine cuisine or reading, consider choosing a cruise that revolves around your passions.

So if you're thinking about cruising into the sunset with your new spouse, how do you choose which is the right honeymoon cruise for you? To help you make a decision, you should take into consideration the price of the cruise, the itinerary of the cruise, the size and age of the ship, the accommodations and amenities onboard, the other sorts of passengers you may encounter, the length of the cruise, and the destination.

Happy cruising!

Click to learn more about honeymoons and planning your honeymoon

Friday, 21 November 2008

Greek Orthodox Wedding Ceremonies

Maybe you adhere to the beliefs of the Greek Orthodox church. Maybe not. But whatever your religion or belief system or lack thereof, the wedding traditions of other cultures and faiths can give you some great ideas when you're planning your own wedding ceremony. You may notice that the Greek Orthodox wedding is a bit different than other weddings you've attended in the past -- that's because the traditional wedding ceremony is less about the bride and groom and more about the church itself.

The Beginning
Guests wait with the groom outside of the church until the bride arrives, though sometimes sneaky wedding guests do manage to get in. Some of the guests may actually be there to watch an earlier or later wedding, as the church can host many weddings in a single day. Those who love to look at the wedding gown will often get a treat in the form of seeing multiple brides!

Meanwhile, the groom waits for the bride at the entrance to the church, often with her bridal bouquet in hand. He gives it to her as they enter the church, where the guests sit down or stand where they like. There is no separation between the bride's side and the groom's side.

The Service
The wedding ceremony itself is comprised of two parts, the Service of Betrothal and the Ceremony of the Sacrament of Marriage.

The exchanging of rings is the focus of the Service of Betrothal. The priest blesses the rings by holding them in his right hand and making the sign of the cross over the heads of the bride and groom. The rings are then placed on the third fingers of their right hands. The Koumbaro, the couple's religious sponsor, then swaps the rings over between the bride and groom's fingers, three times.

The Ceremony of the Sacrament of Marriage consists of several key parts. First, several prayers are said and then as they come to an end, the priest joins the right hands of the bride and groom. Their hands remain joined until the end of the wedding ceremony, which symbolizes the couple's union.

The Crowning
The bride and groom are crowned with lovely thin crowns called stefana, which are joined by a white ribbon and have been blessed by the priest. The crowns symbolize the glory and honor that is being bestowed on them by God, and the the ribbon symbolizes their unity. The koumbaro then exchanges the crowns between the heads of the couple, three times.

The Common Cup
The crowning is followed by a reading of the Gospel, which tells of the marriage of Cana at Galilee. Wine is given to the couple and they each drink from it three times.

The Ceremonial Walk
The priest the leads the couple, who are still wearing their stefana, three times around the altar on their first steps as a married couple. The Koumbaro follows close behind the couple holding the stefana place. At this point the couple (and anyone standing nearby) is usually showered with rice, which was earlier handed out to the wedding guests. The priest will often make use of the bible he is holding to give himself some protection!

The Removal of the Crowns
When the ceremonial walk has ended, the priest blesses the couple, the crowns are removed, and he then separates their previously joined hands with the bible, reminding them that only God can break the union which they have just entered into.

Click to learn more about Greek Orthodox weddings and other wedding traditions

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Saving On Wedding Decor

If you haven't been touched by these tough economic times, we here at Smart Wedding Planning envy you! But if you're like most people and you're feeling the pinch, you may be looking for ways to save money on your wedding. It's not easy -- many ceremony accessories and reception accessories are heavily marked up by vendors who know that brides- and grooms-to-be are willing to pay a premium for "the best."

One way to save money on your wedding is to embrace the do it yourself spirit. Yes, putting together wedding favors or making your own bridal bouquet takes time, but the end product is often more beautiful and more interesting than anything you might buy in a shop. We've put together a short list of ways you can save money on your ceremony and reception decor without having to become a master crafter.

1. Use candles for centerpieces instead of flowers. DIY is easy with candles.

2. Decorate with balloons -- this is fun if you're having kids at your wedding. Let each child take home one or more balloons at the end of the evening.

3. Use silk flowers. They always cost less than fresh flowers, plus they can be rented. If you want to make your own bouquets, it's a lot easier to do so with silks.

4. Bridal and bridesmaid bouquets can double during the reception as decoration for the head table, cake or gift tables. Just make sure you have vases ready.

5. To really save costs, have each bridesmaid carry a single bloom.

6. Make your own pew bows instead of purchasing them. See Making Pew Bows.

7. Use more greenery, tulle, and baby's breath for decorating, and less actual flower blooms. Green bouquets and centerpieces are hot right now!

8. Use only flowers that are in season, and consider choosing less expensive flowers like carnations.

9. If your ceremony site is having more than one wedding that day, contact the other bride-to-be and talk about sharing decoration expenses. The worst she can say is no!

10. Purchase candles, white lights, and other white and silver decorations after the holidays when everything goes on sale.

Click to learn more ways to plan an inexpensive wedding

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Wedding Planning Books

Planning a wedding isn't easy and, let's face it, those magazines with all the pretty pictures don't do much to actually help you plan your wedding from start to finish. Wedding planning books, on the other hand, are a lot more useful...especially the ones that take you through the entire process from start to finish or help you put a unique touch on your wedding.

Here are four of our favorites:

In Style: Weddings (In Style)helps you create your unique expression of what is a timeless ritual. A world of inspiring options is shown in exquisite detail, from invitations to dresses to flowers to music to cakes. Tips from today's top wedding planners on how to make it all come together in a way that's personal, meaningful, and just right tie everything together. If you're looking for inspiration, this is the book for you.

Offbeat Bride: Taffeta-Free Alternatives for Independent Bridesserves as inspiration for those who are interested in a vegan buffet, avoiding bouquet tossing, doing away with the elitist guest list and being a control freak without becoming a Bridezilla. Filled with sidebars, tips, tricks and planner encouragement (all taffeta-free) to help you figure out your special day, this book is perfect for those who think the traditional wedding is a little bit tired.

iDo: Planning Your Wedding with Nothing But 'Net is great. From venues to videographers, from bouquets to boutonnières, author Christa Terry has put together a treasure trove of resources that give you the freedom to plan a wedding from anywhere, at any time, using your computer. This guide is much more than a list of links, though -- it will help you plan your entire wedding, it addresses issues of wedding etiquette, and it offers reassurance to eclectic brides-to-be.

The Everything Wedding Organizer; Checklists, calendars, and worksheets for planning the perfect wedding features everything a frazzled bride-or groom-needs to get organized. Complete with dozens of worksheets, checklists, pockets, and loads of helpful hints, this handy planner can help you develop a working strategy to create the wedding of your dreams. This wedding planning book is especially good for less organized brides-to-be!

Click to learn more about wedding planning

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Wedding Gowns ... With Flair

Sick and tired of seeing the same old wedding gowns in wedding magazines and on wedding web sites? So are we! It's all strapless A-line dresses and princess pouf skirts and beads, beads, beads. Choosing a wedding gown can become positively boring when you're confronted by the same choices over and over again, so sometimes it's good to check out some wedding dresses that defy the stereotypes.

Here are three gowns from Emerald Bridal that are unlike anything you're going to see in the pages of your wedding magazines:

Get shorty! Richly embroidered lace on organza, completely sprinkled with crystals and tiny glass beads, forms the bodice and the two tiered ruffled skirt that ends above the knee. A gathered ruffle of illusion peeks from under the bottom tier and adds both style and youthful appeal. This is obviously a gown that can be used for multiple social occasions.

How about sexy? This three piece silk crepe set takes you from the ceremony to the reception in true fashionista style! The off-the-shoulder midriff top features long sleeves with deep lace bell ruffles. An inset panel of lace creates a fabulous train on the skirt and lace panels accent each pant leg.

Forget the beads and lace! Handmade camellias trim this matte satin mermaid gown where the organza skirt meets the modified sweetheart long torso bodice. Separate organza arm bands with camellias give an off-the-shoulder look. A matching cathedral veil is included to give the final touch.

Click to shop for wedding dresses and flower girl dresses

Monday, 17 November 2008

Wedding Invitation Wording

When it comes right down to it, very few people on your guest list will notice if you flub your wedding invitation wording and include someone who shouldn't be included or forget to spell out dates or times. The fact is that wedding invitation wording used to be a lot simpler -- the bride's family hosted (read: paid for) the wedding, which meant their names were on the invitation and the groom's parents' names were not.

Nowadays anything goes when it comes to who pays for the wedding. Sometimes the bride's parents pay, sometimes the groom's parents pay, sometimes the couple pays, and sometimes so many people contribute to the cost of the wedding that it's hard to say who actually hosted the event! It's not always easy to know what to write on wedding stationery, even if your family is relatively small and not marred by divorces. But if your family is anything like mine, there are a whole lot of moms and dads involved in the planning.

Below you'll find some traditional etiquette wording for invitations along with some less formal and contemporary wording, too. If you don't see any wording that applies to your particular situation, you can find a more comprehensive list of wedding invitation wording over at Smart Wedding Planning.

General Invitation Wording:

When Hosted by the Bride's Family:

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Allen Brooks
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Melissa Ann
William James Russo
on Saturday, the sixth of June
nineteen hundred and ninety-seven
at three o'clock
Saint Anne's Church
Manchester, Massachusetts

When Hosted by the Groom's Family:

Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Thomas Russo
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of
Miss (or Ms.) Melissa Ann Brooks
to their son
Mr. William James Russo
on Saturday, the sixth of June
nineteen hundred and ninety-seven
at three o'clock
Saint Anne's Church
Manchester, Massachusetts

When Hosted by Bride and Groom:

Melissa Ann Brooks
Mr. William James Russo
request the honour of your presence
at their marriage

Hosted by Both the Bride and Groom's family:

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Allen Brooks
Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Thomas Russo
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their children
Melissa Ann
and William James

When Hosted by the Groom's family:

Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Thomas Russo
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of
Ms. (or Miss) Melissa Ann Brooks
to their son
Mr. William James Russo

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Out of Town Wedding Guests

Chances are there will be guests coming to your wedding that live hours or even entire states away. At my own wedding, at least one of the guests came from as far as Germany! Here's the deal: Out of town wedding guests know what they are getting into when they decide to travel to a wedding, so you are under no obligation to provide them with goodie bags, care packages, or other presents. Don't feel like you haaaaave to splurge on your wedding guests.

But if you want to go above and beyond helping with travel arrangements and accommodations, go nuts!

Send out a wedding newsletter early on, via e-mail or snail mail. Make sure your wedding newsletter includes information like the date of your wedding, the location of your wedding, the names and phone numbers of local hotels, restaurant suggestions, and stuff to do around town if you expect they'll be staying for a few days before or after the wedding.

You may also want to include rental car information for those traveling by air, as they will have to leave their cars at home. If you can afford it, arrange to have a car service pick them up at the airport. It's a nice way to welcome them, and helps your wedding guests avoid getting lost.

Provide your wedding guests with transportation to and from the wedding, e.g., a hotel shuttle bus or van. You can even rent a charter bus if it's in your budget! This is a really nice gesture for your out-of-town guests that don't know their way around your city or town. It is also good for any elderly guests that might have trouble driving.

Place wedding-themed gift baskets or gift bags in your wedding guests' rooms before they arrive. You can work this out with the hotel fairly easily. Include food, candy, any local "delicacies," a bottle of wine or mineral water, tourist information, a map, and a special thank you from the bride and groom. Some brides and grooms include fun stuff like rubber duckies!

Consider inviting your out of town wedding guests to the rehearsal dinner or a post-wedding brunch. It is a nice way to make them feel included in the proceedings, and it keeps them from spending too much time locked away in hotel rooms.

Click to read more about taking care of your wedding guests

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Diamond Engagement Rings

(Looking for our first article about engagement rings?)

Much like we do today, people from cultures throughout history have paused before saying "I do" after saying "Yes, I will." For thousands of years, couples were betrothed before tying the knot. Sometimes the bride and groom were promised to one another by parents long before the wedding... sometimes before they were even born!

Whether the marriage in questions was an arranged marriage or a marriage of choice born out of love or convenience, the engagement provided time for the members of the larger tribe or community to react to the betrothal and to plan the wedding.

Engagement rings, however, didn't hit the scene until much later, and in fact, historians aren't even sure when the practice came into vogue! Yes, engagements were almost always marked by an exchange of some kind of wealth, whether in the form of oxen or precious metals or money, but the practice of giving a gift to the bride-to-be, rather than to her family, is fairly new. But of course once grooms started giving their brides engagement rings, a new tradition was born.

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. Yet diamonds weren't always a girl's best friend -- for quite a long time, they were considered inferior to gems like sapphires and pearls.

The prevalence of the tradition of diamond engagement rings dates to the 1800s in Europe and America. Diamonds were at first exceedingly rare, and their hardness, brilliance, and value lent an extravagant air to the act of proposal. As the 1800's unfolded, more diamond veins were discovered and the gem became more widely accessible. Smaller diamonds became relatively affordable even among less wealthy members of society. The near-indestructibility of diamonds, combined with their crystalline purity and light-reflecting dazzle, makes them the perfect stone to symbolize the serious commitment to marry.

Click to learn more about engagement rings and wedding rings

Friday, 14 November 2008

Pink Wedding Favors

What do you think the newest wedding favors are? There are tons of great ideas out there and lots of hot products that work well as wedding favors. In fact there are so many different wedding favor types that it can quickly become overwhelming for the uninitiated. One of the easiest ways to choose your wedding favors is to base your selection on your wedding color scheme. Pink is a very popular wedding color choice because it is feminine and pink represents love. We've put together a selection of beautiful pink wedding favors from American Bridal. Maybe one of them will help you choose your own wedding favors!

Adorable “Love Notes” Sticky Note wedding favors are perfectly suited for wedding day gift giving. They are engagingly presented in a white box sprinkled with pink hearts and enduring sentiments, like “Hold Me Tonight,” “One Heart, One Soul, One Kiss,” and “Do You Know How Much I Love You?” If you're buying one hundred or more, they're only $1.95 each.

These clever Mini Heart-Shaped Hand Warmer wedding favors spice up a snowy ceremony with comfy creativity. These reusable handwarmers are the perfect solution for your winter wedding favors, adding a welcome note of good cheer…and cozy warmth to your winter wonderland. These favors are great for skiers and cost $2.98 per piece if you're buying seventy-two or more.

Contemporary Hearts Hand Fan wedding favors are excellent additions to a summer wedding ceremony. These elegant wedding fans are decked out in romantic colors, making them perfect for your garden nuptials. Guests will enjoy the lovely breeze created by these beautiful keepsake fans, which are sold in sets of six.

"We Clicked" Mouse Pad wedding favors pay trendy homage to the technological age! Your guests will be delighted to receive these perfectly practical wedding favors and use them for their daily surf through their favorite web sites. These romantic and handy favors are sold in sets of six.

Having a Vegas themed wedding? Why not give your guests mini slot machine wedding favors? If you buy more than seventy-two of these cute wedding favors, they are a mere $2.98 per piece.

Click to shop for wedding favors or to learn more about wedding gifts

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Choosing a Wedding Photographer

When it comes time to choose your wedding photographer, you should think about more than just the eventual photographs. Yes, you should love the pictures your chosen wedding photographer takes, but if they're sketchy in other ways or they simply disappear without ever giving you your prints, you're out of luck. It's better to protect yourself from the very beginning, by getting a vendor contract and choosing a photographer with great references.

That said, there's nothing wrong with wanting to save a little money. After all, the wedding photographer you love more than any other might just be out of your price range, forcing you to compromise by choosing a second or third favorite. Here are some tips that will help you get the best wedding photography possible for the least amount of money.

  • Ask your photographer to limit the time they spend taking pictures. Consider a "ceremony only" package where the photographer takes pictures before and during the ceremony, but not at the reception. Your wedding photographer will take all of the formal pictures of the bride and groom, family and wedding party, and photograph the ceremony. How many pictures of Aunt Edna eating cake do you need, anyhow?
  • If you go that route, ask friends and relatives to take candid photographs at the reception. Some brides and grooms even provide a laptop with memory card readers at the reception venue so wedding guests can download their photographs before they leave.
  • When using disposable cameras or rented digital cameras, think twice before placing one at every table. The film cameras themselves are inexpensive, but the cost to develop 20-30 roles of film is not! And while digital photos are all but free, renting a camera for each table can get pricey.
  • Choose a photography package rather than purchasing individual shots and print sizes separately. If there is something that you really want that is not included in a package, ask the photographer if something can be swapped without increasing the price.
  • Sometimes choosing the smallest or least expensive photography package is not the most cost effective option. One bride chose the least expensive package and afterwards spent $700 to buy additional prints that were not included in her original package. A more comprehensive package would have cost her only an additional $250 more if purchased up front.

Click to read more about wedding photography and choosing a wedding photographer

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Memorable Weddings

Imagine not being able to see your spouse as they speak their wedding vows. Now imagine you have only so long before you'll lose the ability to see your spouse. That was the fate Paul Jenkinson of North Wales was facing. A rare eye condition slowly robbing him of the ability to see threatened to prevent him from ever seeing his bride in her wedding gown.

“When I proposed to Angela I wanted us to marry quickly before I lost my eyesight but I only thought we would have a small do.

“I don’t know how long my sight will last. I have had some treatment to improve it but doctors can’t seem to give me any answers. I just wanted to be able to see Angela in her wedding dress.”

The couple didn't have a lot of money, but neither did they have all the time in the world to save up and plan the perfect wedding. Paul's mother, seeing a possible solution to that conundrum, entered Paul into a national competition to win a fairytale wedding worth over £20,000 from Diane Roberts, owner of bridal store Wedding Belles.

Amazingly, he won. This meant that everything from the transportation to the reception venue to the men's suits were paid for. Everything was taken care of...including the bride's wedding gown.

Paul got wish and more...he was able to buy his bride the lavish wedding he felt she deserved, and he was able to see her clearly as she revealed herself at the foot of the aisle. (source)

Click to read about wedding planning basics and romantic weddings

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Jewish Wedding Rings

Incorporating wedding rituals and wedding traditions from different cultures into a wedding or into the wedding vows can make your wedding that much more special. Even if you're not Jewish, consider co-opting some or all of the Jewish wedding ring ceremony into your own nuptials.

I wouldn't suggest that you go the Orthodox route and skip the double ring ceremony (unless you're into that) but consider the merits of the traditional gold band and all it represents before you opt for something flashier!

Now, onto the ceremony...

The Jewish wedding ring ceremony consists of the groom placing the ring on the bride's right index finger. Afterwards, most women move it to the customary "ring finger" of the left hand. You can modernize the ceremony by also placing a ring on your groom-to-be's right hand.

The reason the ring is placed on the right index finger is that in the time of the Talmud, it was commonly believed among Jewish people that the right index finger was more closely connected to the heart. The Christians, on the other hand, believed that the left index finger was more closely connected.

In most Jewish wedding ring ceremonies, with the giving of the ring, the bridegroom repeats a Hebrew vow after the Rabbi. The bridegroom declares, "Behold, thou art consecrated to me with this ring, according to the law of Moses and Israel." In Hebrew, this phrase is Hare at mekudeshet li betaba' at zo k'dat Moshe v' Yisrael. With a little practice, you can easily learn to roll this phrase off of your tongue in no time at all, but don't worry if you or your spouse-to-be would rather say it in English. It's just as meaningful.

This statement signifies that husband and wife are holy to each other. It is as if they were saying, "As Shabbat is to Jewish time and as Jerusalem is to Jewish space, you will be to me."

Beautiful, no?

Click to learn more about wedding etiquette and wedding traditions

Monday, 10 November 2008

First Dance Songs

There are so many wonderful love songs out there today that choosing a first dance song can be more stressful than fun. It is especially difficult when you and your intended like different kinds of music or don't see eye to eye when it comes to different artists. How can you get past an impasse? Compromise, compromise, compromise!

You are going to have to learn to do this a lot over the years, so you two might as well learn how to do it right now. Do your best to find something that has relevance to your relationship and try to pick one that you both agree upon. Maybe you can look back into your past to find the perfect first dance song -- did you ever dance on a date or go to a concert early on in your relationship? That can help you choose a song.

Here are some of the most popular first dance songs chosen by brides and grooms:
  • "At Last" (Ella Fitzgerald)
  • "God Bless the Broken Road" (Rascal Flatts)
  • "Wonderful Tonight" (Eric Clapton)
  • "Inside Your Heaven" (Carrie Underwood)
  • "The Way You Look Tonight" (Frank Sinatra)
  • "Amazing" (Aerosmith)
  • "Thank God I Found You" (Mariah Carey)
  • "Ain't No Other Man" (Christina Aguilera)
  • "Always" (Shania Twain)
  • "I Cross My Heart" (George Strait)
  • "It's Your Love" (Tim McGraw and Faith Hill)
  • "I Need You" (Tim McGraw and Faith Hill)
  • "Lost in This Moment" (Big and Rich)
  • "Just Like Heaven" (The Cure)
  • "Don't Take The Girl" (Tim McGraw)
  • "I Don't Want to Miss A Thing" (Aerosmith)
  • "Angel" (Aerosmith)
  • "When I'm With You" (Sheriff)
  • "A Whole New World" (Peabo Bryson)
  • "Angel Eyes" (Jeff Healy Band)
  • "Breathe" (Faith Hill)
  • "Because You Loved Me" (Celine Dion)
  • "Amazed" (Lonestar)
  • "Could Not Ask For More" (Edwin McCain)
  • "Don't Know Much" (Aaron Neville)
  • "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" (Elton John)
  • "Endless Love" (Lionel Richie and Diana Ross)
  • "Everything I Do" (Bryan Adams)
  • "Faithfully" (Journey)
  • "From This Moment" (Shania Twain)
  • "How Do I Live Without You" (LeAnn Rimes)
  • "I Swear" (All 4 One)
  • "I'll Be" (Edwin McCain)
  • "Love of a Lifetime" (Firehouse)
  • "Unchained Melody" (Righteous Brothers)

Click to check out some cool wedding resources:
Wedding Planning Help
Daily Wedding Tip
Talk About Weddings

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Fruit Bouquets

In the summertime, you can decorate your reception venue inexpensively and easily using in-season fruit. But have you ever considered that fresh fruit has other uses? Some brides-to-be -- especially those whose wedding themes incorporate fruit -- choose to include fruit in their bridal bouquets. You might be thinking that a fruit bouquet would be interesting, but that it might not be quite the look you want for your wedding.

Well, you'd be surprised how chic and beautiful a fruit bouquet can look! The best looking fruit bouquets are smaller than your average wedding bouquet and they have to be carefully prepared, but artfully designed fruit bouquets can become the centerpiece of your overall wedding day look.

The trick is to not overload the bouquet with too much fruit. If you add too much fruit, it will start to look tacky -- think fruit salad -- and you'll have trouble carrying the bouquet down the aisle. Remember, fruit is a lot heavier than flowers! The most beautiful bouquets include both fruit and flowers. Try a variety of small fruits like:

  • Apricots
  • Nectarines
  • Mandarins
  • Passion fruits
  • Small apples
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Strawberries

One thing to be aware of when choosing your fruit is that some fruits (like strawberries) will stain if you are not careful. Just spray them with a clear fixative -- available at art supplies stores -- and you won't have to worry about everything getting stained. Just makes sure no one tries to nosh on your bouquet!

Once you've chosen your fruit, you need to wire the fruit into the bouquet. You will need to use heavy gauge wire, which you can get from your local flower shop. You can either put the wires straight through the fruit and then tape the wires, or you can wrap the fruit in cellophane first, and then wire and tape.

The next thing to do is add some leaves to the bouquet. I like to use big leaves, as they make it look like the fruit is hiding in the leaves. This make the fruit bouquet more subtle, and stops it from looking like a fruit basket.

You can also cut a bunch of leaves off a fruit tree and wire the fruit amongst the leaves. Make sure the branch is fairly straight. This will allow you to tape the branch, and will add a more bridal look to the bouquet. Finally, place some ribbon bows near the leaves, to soften the fruit bouquet, and to add some elegance.

Ta da! You have a beautiful fruit bouquet!

Click for more information about bridal bouquets and wedding decor

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Wedding Ceremony Music Tips

When people think of wedding music, their thoughts typically turn to reception music, as it is the reception music that keeps the party going. But when you're thinking about wedding music, don't forget the ceremony music! It is the processional and the recessional that set the mood. The music that is played before the ceremony even starts keeps guests amused as they wait for the big entrance. And, if your ceremony is a religious one, the music played during the ceremony itself can clue less religious guests into the solemnity of the ceremony.

The following tips can help ensure that your wedding music is the perfect backdrop to your ceremony, from start to finish.
  • If you're not going to ask your wedding DJ to provide the music, try to book your musicians at least one year in advance. Think about whether you would prefer an ensemble or a soloist. Don't forget to factor in cost!
  • Make sure your wedding ceremony location has room for your wedding musicians and their equipment. If your wedding will take place in a house of worship, ask your officiant whether there are rules regarding music and musicians.
  • Ask if there are any acoustical considerations at your ceremony venue. Your wedding musicians may need to adjust their volume or use specific equipment.
  • If you're not sure what musical selections to choose, don't hesitate to ask for recommendations from your musician. Aside from the wedding standards, she should be able to suggest several options. Don't be afraid to go against the grain and choose music that is meaningful to you.
  • Don't be afraid to mix music styles. Whether you're trendy or traditional, a mixture of classical and soft contemporary has wide appeal.
  • To avoid your first few guests sitting in silence, have your wedding musicians start at least a half hour before the ceremony, preferably as the first guests begin arriving. You can choose the music that is played at this point or let your musician choose popular standards.
  • While it's not necessary to have a special wedding song during the ceremony, it can lend a poignant and moving moment for guests, family, and the couple. You may choose to have a musical number during the exchange of rings or lighting of the unity candle.
  • Pay attention to song lengths. If the bride will be walking down the aisle, prelude music length should coincide with song length. It's best for prelude music to fade out, not stop abruptly or play too long. If you having music mid-ceremony during the ring exchange or unity candle, the times should coincide as well.
Rememberthat carefully chosen ceremony musicians will leave a lasting impression for your guests and a precious memory for you and your partner.

Click for more information about wedding music and wedding bands

Friday, 7 November 2008

Breaking Off the Engagement

Romance isn't always enough to keep two people together, and it occasionally happens that one person in a couple decides that marriage is not right for them. Some of these individuals go through with the wedding anyway because they simply cannot figure out a way to break off an engagement gracefully and tactfully. No, it isn't easy -- there are always going to be hurt feelings to contend with -- but you can take steps to cushion the blow if you are the party who wants out.

A broken engagement is always embarrassing for both the man and the woman involved, no matter who called off the wedding. Friends and relatives, if they are truly well-bred, will not ask questions or demand explanations. Unfortunately, few people are actually that well-bred. If you have broken off your engagement and you are still on speaking terms with your ex-intended, decide together what you will tell people before you announce your split to the world.

Now, what about vendors and guests? It's the MOB's job (if the former bride's parents were hosting the event) to send cards to each guest informing them that the engagement has been broken. These cards might read thusly:

Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Bettencourt beg to recall the
invitations issued for the marriage of their
daughter, Aimee Lynn, and Mr. Jack Bauer,
on Sunday, March the third.

If you have already paid vendors a deposit or signed a contract, you may be obligated to pay for some or even all of the canceled services. Most deposits are listed as non-refundable, though if the wedding was to be in a year or mores time, you might be able to negotiate a smaller sum. Don't be afraid to ask -- the worst a vendor can say is no, and then you're no worse off than before.

If your ex-intended gave you an engagement ring or engagement gift, you must return it unless they insist yo keep it. If you have already received shower gifts or wedding gifts, you are obligated to return them along with a brief note explaining that the wedding is not to take place. It is still necessary to thank the donor warmly as if nothing had happened.

Remember that breaking off an engagement will never be pleasant, but it is infinitely better to go through the ordeal than to face a marriage which is certain to end in disaster. It takes a great deal of courage to face the situation bravely and to go through it without a sacrifice of dignity. One thing we must remember: Don't be afraid of what people will say. It is not their happiness which is at stake.

Click to learn more about engagements and weddings

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Rehearsal Dinner Basics

The rehearsal dinner serves multiple functions. Often, it serves as a pre-wedding party for those guests who have traveled to the even from out of town. A laid-back atmosphere gives friends and relatives on both sides a chance to meet one another or renew acquaintances. And the bride- and groom-to-be can chat with loved ones without the pressure to circulate from table to table.

The groom's parents usually host the dinner, but this is no longer a strict rule. Sometimes the bride and groom will host the dinner, or it might be hosted together by several people. Rehearsal dinners don't have to be fancy, even if the wedding is going to be quite formal. Beer and pizza served at the MOB and FOB's house will suffice, though most people do go above and beyond bar food.

If you're planning your own rehearsal dinner, here are some basic guidelines that will help you ensure it is enjoyable and memorable:

  • Many hosts have lots of fun with the rehearsal dinner by incorporating a particular theme, such as a Mexican Fiesta, a Western Barbecue, a Hawaiian Luau. Think about a nautical theme and chartering a boat and having a dinner buffet on board! You can plan a clam bake at a restaurant or on a beach. You can even barbecue in the backyard!
  • Some restaurants have private rooms that are great for a larger rehearsal dinner. If you do rent a private room, ask the restaurant to set up a table of hors d'oeuvres. Make the first hour of the rehearsal dinner a cocktail hour, giving guests who live at a slower pace plenty of time to get to the venue and get settled in.
  • The rehearsal dinner invitation tells people exactly where and when the rehearsal will be held (sometimes it's not held at the church or ceremony location) and where and when the dinner will take place. You should include directions to the restaurant even if you think your guests are familiar with the area.
  • You should invite all those who will take part in the wedding ceremony to the rehearsal dinner. Spouses or dates of all adult attendants should also be invited. Parents and grandparents of the bride and groom are always on the guest list. It's up to you whether you will invite out of town guests or best friends.
  • You should make sure that everyone is introduced to each other, either through formal introductions ("going around the table") or informally ("mixing and mingling"). Here's a nice idea: Once everyone is seated, the bride- or groom-to-be introduces everyone and says something personal about each one.

Other than these rules, anything goes! The food and the venue are up to you or the host planning the event, and can be as simple or as fancy as you like. There's also no one dress code -- what you and others will wear to the rehearsal dinner will depend on the event itself, though many brides-to-be pick a special outfit to wear...remember, people WILL be taking photos!

Click to learn more wedding planning basics

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Planning a Memorable Wedding

Now that the U.S.'s presidential race is over -- at least for a few years -- brides- and grooms-to-be can start thinking about an entirely different sort of leadership. Confused? Don't be. The fact is that memorable wedding receptions depend on good leadership. After all, you're going to have a lot of people working on your behalf to make your wedding great.

So what makes a good leader? First, know that the leader can be a day-of wedding coordinator, a wedding planner, your mom or dad, or even you. If you plan on conducting the show, know that you're primary job will be to delegate but you will still have to spend time supervising. When the leader is someone working on your behalf, you can sit back and relax.

We've assembled a short list of tips that will help you plan and host the best wedding ceremony and wedding reception ever.

Hire the Best
Select the finest wedding professionals you can afford, because they will need the least supervision. Their expertise will also give you the best results and save you lots of worry and, in the long run, money. Hire only those vendors you like and trust -- don't try to save money by hiring someone who is less than professional in how they handle themselves. When you have the best working for you, they will listen to what you want.

Inspire Teamwork
Choose vendors and helpers who are easy to work with. Stay away from egomaniacs, lazy people, and individuals with bad attitudes when deciding who will be responsible for making your wedding beautiful. If your best friends aren't reliable, ask your relatives (rather than your bridesmaids) to give you a hand with favors, food, and day-of details. Remember to always be gracious, however, as a smile goes a long way when you need a favor.

Be Prepared
The more prepared you are, the less stress you'll experience. Make sure that those people who are playing a part in your wedding know what they have to do and when they have to do it. Don't leave anything to chance. Supply you emcee with names and pronunciations of your bridal party, and the people giving toasts and blessing. Tell your caterer when you want food served. Remind your niece that she is lighting candles in the church. Etc.

Stay Positive
Something will go wrong -- there's no getting around that. Let it roll off your back like water off a duck's back instead of freaking out. If you keep your cool, everyone around you will mimic your good example and be more likely to step up to the plate when you need help. Maybe your wedding gown splits. Maybe the bottom tier of your cake cracks. Maybe your officiant is late. It's not the end of the world, so don't treat it that way.

Good luck! We guarantee you'll do great!

Click to learn more about wedding planning and wedding troubleshooting

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

The Morning Banana Diet

When it comes to bridal beauty, moderation is key whether you're talking about cosmetics, skin care, or...yup, fitness and weight loss. Yes, some brides buy a wedding gown that's two sizes too small or go on crash diets runway models might admire, hoping they'll lose weight before the big day, but that's not a healthy attitude. Remember, your intended asked you to marry him/her -- or said yes when you proposed -- at the size you are now. If you want to buff up before the big day, that's one thing, but your wedding shouldn't be an excuse to engage in unhealthy weight loss behaviors.

One diet that brides-to-be have recently gotten excited about is the Morning Banana Diet.

The main feature of the Morning Banana Diet is the recommendation of eating two bananas, with room temperature water, for breakfast. While the dramatic popularity of the Morning Banana Diet has been fueled by anecdotal evidence of many Japanese who've lost weight by following the regimen, decades of nutrition research validate the idea that increasing consumption of fruit and vegetables in general, and bananas in particular, can help support healthy, sustainable weight loss.

Sounds faddy, right? I'd be inclined to agree if it were not for the fact that the point of the diet is to get calories into those people who would otherwise skip breakfast. Skipping breakfast, as you may know, is a real metabolism killer, while having even a small snack in the morning helps you burn calories all day long.

The Morning Banana Diet recommends that bananas be eaten for breakfast, which could provide a metabolic boost for chronic breakfast-skippers. Research shows that breakfast-eaters burn an extra 200 to 300 calories a day. A healthy morning start may also cut down on total daily calorie intake: A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women who ate breakfast consumed about 100 fewer calories a day.

If you feel the need to diet before you tie the knot, do it sensibly. Stay away from things like the ever-popular cabbage soup diet and those nasty shakes, and exercise in moderation. You could do worse than to have a few pieces of fruit in the morning, along with a sensible lunch and dinner.

Click to read more about bridal beauty

Monday, 3 November 2008

DIY Wedding Hair

DIY is here to stay when it comes to wedding planning. With the economy in the tank and couples paying for more of their own weddings, brides- and grooms-to-be are looking for ways to economize. Sometimes that means cutting your guest list, sometimes that means choosing simpler wedding favors, and sometimes it means doing whatever you can yourself.

I am not good with hair -- after 29 years on this earth, I am only just now learning to style my hair. Doing my own wedding hair? There wasn't a chance in heck I was going to risk it. Some ladies, however, are born with the beauty gene, and they are the ones who should consider doing their own wedding hair. Not sure if that's you? We've put together a handy guide that will help you decide whether DIY wedding hair is right for you and then help you stay sane when doing it.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Do not wing it. No matter how skilled you are, there is always room for improvement. Schedule plenty of test runs.
  • Be prepared. Time your practice session, and make a list of all of the tools and products you will need. Buy everything ahead of time so you can be sure you won't run out.
  • Put everything you will need in a basket, and hide it away to bring out fresh and ready for your special day. If you have roommates, tell them your basket is off limits.
  • Schedule time for a shower, and give yourself enough time to dry your hair. Rushing leads to mistakes and STRESS.
  • Make sure there is a mirror and a counter or table to work from where you'll be getting ready. If you don't think you'll have enough light, bring a plug-in makeup mirror.
  • Make sure there are proper outlets -- if not bring a power bar and extension cord.
  • Don't be ashamed to ask for help, especially if your hair style is elaborate. Even having an extra set of hands to hold pieces while you work can be helpful.
  • If you don't want to do your bridesmaids' hair, let them know ahead of time.
  • Put on all of your pretty under things, and cover up with a button down shirt or robe. When you're done, you can just slip right into your gown without mussing up your 'do.

Click to learn more about bridal hairstyles and bridal beauty

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Questions to Ask Before You Get Married

I'm going to guess that unless you're just a wedding enthusiast like me, you've already decided you're going to get married. Congratulations! If you're well into the wedding planning process, you've probably already thought a lot about married life. If you've only just gotten engaged, you may be wondering just what being married will be like. The short answer is that it will more than likely be a lot like partnered life...just a bit more intense.

Why? Because your spouse's joys are your joys, their problems are your problems, and you have no choice but to face the world together. No ifs, ands, or buts! Being that this is the case, you should definitely prepare yourself for married life before tying the knot. Here are just some of the factors you need to consider:

Your attitudes about compromise
You must have the ability to compromise with your spouse because you're not always going to agree on everything. Compromising with each other is essential, as those who are unwilling to compromise will create serious issues.

Your attitudes about money
Money is vital to gratify all your family needs. Make sure you and your spouse have similar ideas about spending and saving. Before getting hitched, consider the costs of the wedding that you wish to have and how you will be able to afford to have it. This does not mean that you shouldn't get married if you don't have the average $30,000 -- it just means that you may need to have a smaller wedding. Make sure that you are emotionally and financially prepared to meet the financial demands that you may incur after you get married, e.g., buying a house, raising children, medical emergencies, etc.

Your attitudes about decorum
From here on in, you have to consider your spouse when making decisions, whether you're choosing between drapes or considering changing careers. Respect your spouse enough to never force them to do anything that goes against their moral, personal, or professional values. While you are a couple, your spouse is an autonomous human being.

Your attitudes about religion
If you are very religious, you shouldn't feel the need to give that up for your spouse. Conversely, if you are not religious, you shouldn't feel obligated to adopt their faith. However, you should respect that your spouse is or is not religious, and encourage them in their religious endeavors.

Good communication
This is absolutely essential! Be gentle with your spouse even when you disagree and always be willing to listen to their side of things. You may be surprised to find that they are often right. Remember that there are ups and downs in every relationship. You just have to be able to talk things out sanely and overcome the hurdles that are thrown at you.

Click to learn more about marriage and planning a wedding

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Daily Wedding Tips

I don't know about you, but I love getting the info I need delivered directly to my e-mail inbox so I can read it at work without looking like I'm slacking. We at Smart Wedding Planning know how important it is that brides-to-be can think and read about wedding planning whenever they have a spare moment. Thus, we have a little gift for all the future brides out there.

The Daily Wedding Tip is a series of free newsletters designed to help you become the best bride you can be. These info-rich newsletters will help you plan the wedding of your dreams by giving you the expert wedding planning advice and information you need to help you create a guest list, put together wedding budget, find a wedding gown you love, choose your bridesmaids, choose decorations, find a local wedding photographer, find a wedding caterer, select the right wedding reception site, save money...and more.

In case you're wondering, the whole system is secure -- we don't share your name, info, or e-mail address with anyone, ever. That's because we hate junk mail as much as you do.

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