Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Wedding Reception Basics

However tempting it might be to run off after your wedding ceremony with your new spouse to sip champagne, pose for hours of wedding photos, or just get a burger, remember that your wedding guests are waiting for you! The wedding reception is one of the most enjoyable parts of the wedding for the people who love you most, and part of their enjoyment hinges upon getting to see you in all your finery up close.

If you're going to be late to your wedding reception because posing for wedding photographs is going to take a while, be generous and have sumptuous treats to greet your wedding guests. Cocktail hour creates an environment conducive to mingling and conversation, especially when you have soft music playing in the background and plenty of drinks to go around.

Having a cocktail hour at your wedding reception gives your wedding guests an opportunity to get to know each other and talk. To set the mood, opt for jazz classics piping through your reception venue's sound system. Jazz classics are enjoyable, but at the same time set an elegant mood that reminds people that they are in attendance at a solemn and important event.

Consider springing for extra wait staff at the reception venue. It is quite a hassle to have to repeatedly go to the bar, and once there, wait in line. It also adds a sense of refinement to your event to have butlered drinks being passed. Here is a chance to incorporate your personality by having a signature drink passed and available at the bar. Put up a little sign in a silver plated frame explaining the significance of your custom wedding cocktail.

Trust us when we say that it's little touches like that that make a wedding feel truly special... even if the bride and groom haven't yet arrived!

Click to learn more about planning a wedding reception

Monday, 16 February 2009

Wedding Themes

When a bride comes to us here at Smart Wedding Planning, the first question out of our mouths is usually "What's your wedding theme?" If they answer that they haven't chosen a wedding theme (or a wedding color scheme) we usually let out a collective sign.

Wedding themes and wedding color schemes are so much more important than most brides imagine! Unless you've been envisioning the perfect wedding since you were a little girl, you're probably going to need something to guide you as you choose wedding invitations, wedding favors, a wedding gown, a reception venue, and all of the other elements of a modern wedding.

If you don't have a wedding theme, you may just find yourself with five different unrelated things in your wedding, which can look messy and uncoordinated. So pick a wedding theme! A wedding theme doesn't have to be big or overt -- look at who you and your fiancé are. What are your hobbies? What do you do for a living? How about these wedding themes: Golden Age of Hollywood, Mardi Gras Masquerade, Country, Mediterranean, etc.

The possibilities are endless! And just to simplify things, your wedding colors can be your wedding theme. However, you must be consistent. If your "theme" is going to be green and pink, decide on shades and stick to them. Don't have forest, chartreuse, lime, and mint all over the place. Also, try to pick a maximum of three wedding colors and make sure that they complement each other. Try to pick "in-season" colors as well -- pastel pink at a November/December wedding is a bit off.

Remember, your wedding theme will pull your whole event together, from food to favors to flowers.

Click to read more about choosing a wedding theme

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Something Old, Something New

While some religions like are very strict when it comes to wedding gowns and bridal accessories, you can still bend the rules and honor the wedding traditions of your culture. It's not always easy, however, which means you should dedicate a little time to researching your heritage before you get too creative.

For example, when Tina (a recent bride from Norway living in New York) decided it was time for her to find a traditional wedding headpiece, she went with the herb wreath common in her culture but wore a stylish updo for her wedding hairstyle.

Michelle, a Chinese bride, decided to add a modern spin to her wedding by wearing red and gold crystal hairpins in her wedding hairstyle to match her ceremonial red wedding gown.

"I knew I wanted to incorporate the colors from the tartan kilt my fiancé was wearing," said Jennifer, a Scottish bride, "so I used blue and green flowers and used those colors in my bridal tiara."

Catherine, a Spanish bride, wanted to remember her heritage by wearing a bridal tiara with colored stones to match the embroidery on her Flamenco-style wedding gown. "I wanted a different twist on the white wedding dress and bridal veil."

How did they honor tradition and get the wedding day look they wanted? Here's a tip that will help you emulate these creative brides:

Use traditional colors or patterns in non-traditional ways, like using flowers or colored stones in your bridal headpiece or tiara. Use accents of jade if want to include some green, rose quartz to capture the look of cherry blossoms, or tanzanite stones to capture the look of African violets.

Click to learn more about wedding traditions and weddings in different countries

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Red Wedding Favors

In honor of Valentine's Day, we have compiled a list of five of our absolute favorite red wedding favors. If you're not one of the many brides who have chosen some shade of red or pink as their wedding colors, these wedding favors may inspire you to find similar gifts for guests that match your chosen color scheme.

"Chinese Tapestry" votive candles are a beautiful accent for your wedding reception or bridal shower tables, adding a sophisticated touch to any Asian-themed (or red hued) event.

Personalized wedding mints are a chic and practical wedding favor that almost all of your guests will appreciate.

Two darling red-and-black ladybug magnets have sweet, smiling faces and tiny, black hearts on their plump, red backs. These wedding favors compliment a number of different wedding themes, from ladybugs to red and black color schemes.

Charming snow cone bath salts look like festive and colorful red and white edible cone desserts, but they actually hold skin softening salts that are guaranteed to help wedding guests relax after a long day.

Practical and whimsical, these exquisite apple themed salt and pepper shakers add an amusing touch to your guests’ kitchen tables. While these are wonderful for fall weddings, they make a great wedding favor all year long.

Enjoy, and happy shopping! One of the most fun parts of wedding planning is shopping for wedding favors, so take your time and let your true self shine through in your gifts for guests.

Click to shop for red wedding favors

Friday, 13 February 2009

Wedding Videography Advice

Wedding photography can eat up a huge chunk of your overall wedding budget, simply because the best wedding photographers tend to charge both for their time and their services. When you're creating your wedding budget, keep in mind that your attitude toward snapshots and home videos should determine how much money you end up dropping on your wedding photographer and wedding videographer.

So how do you decide how much to spend on your wedding photographer (or videographer)? Consider your preferences and your lifestyle. Are you the kind of person who regularly pulls out photo albums to browse through your well-organized and cataloged photograph collection? Or do your family photos sit unloved in boxes that haven't seen the outside of your attic for a decade? How would you feel about sitting down to watch someone else's wedding video?

If pictures mean the world to you, hire the best shutterbug you can afford-cut back on the hors d'oeuvres if that's what it takes. On the other hand, if the thought of looking through your photos bores you to tears, you may want to consider stocking your reception tables with disposables and calling it a day. The same goes for wedding videography -- if you think that you (or your spouse-to-be) will treasure your wedding video for the rest of your days, spend more money on it so you get a superior product.

Click to read more about wedding photography and wedding videography

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Black Bridesmaids Dresses

We here at Smart Wedding planning despair for those brides who have to hear over and over again how "a wedding is not a funeral" and "isn't that a little morbid?" when they choose to dress their bridal attendants in black dresses. Black bridesmaids dresses have traditionally not been in vogue because black was seen as being inappropriate for the occasion. That, however, has changed in recent years, leading to an upswing in the number of black bridesmaids dresses for sale in bridal salons.

If your wedding colors include black -- and don't be afraid to choose a wedding color scheme that includes it -- you will soon discover that there are benefits to dressing your bridesmaids in black. The little black dress never goes out of style, which means that your bridesmaids will likely be able to wear the dress you have chosen again in the future. Black is slimming, and we've yet to meet a bridesmaid who wouldn't like to appear just a tad skinnier. Black also looks good on many complexions so you don't have to worry about one of your gals looking greenish at the altar.

Are there downsides to choosing black bridesmaids dresses? Well, yes. Older and more traditional wedding guests may wonder just what your color choice means, even though it likely means nothing at all. Expect to hear from friends and family that Aunt So-and-So said your ceremony looked like a funeral. But we say ignore the haters! Black is a chic and elegant choice for bridesmaids dresses, and it doesn't look like it will be going away any time soon.

Click to read more about dressing bridesmaids or wedding attendants

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Free Wedding Newsletters

Planning a wedding can go from difficult to overwhelming in the blink of an eye. Sometimes, the only way to stave off stress is to consult with experts. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to call up an experienced wedding planner every time the wedding planning process goes awry.

That's why we love Smart Wedding Planning's free wedding newsletters! The site's experts compile daily wedding planning tips that deal with everything from bridal fashion to wedding favors to wedding etiquette. Instead of having to search, you get expert advice delivered right to your e-mail inbox every day. The best part is that it won't cost you a cent!

Click here to sign up for Smart Wedding Planning's free wedding newsletter today!

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Silk Shantung Wedding Gowns

When it comes to luxury wedding gowns, it doesn't get much better than silk shantung. For those brides looking for a more unusual wedding gown, this beautiful frock from Emerald Bridal should fit the bill. A dramatic silk shantung and cheetah print glamour tulle dress sheaths brides in pure wedding gown couture.

Yes, we said cheetah print... definitely not something your wedding guests will have seen on any other bride. The bodice features Swarovski beading on a tank top bodice whose low waist is gently curved, hiding even the most irksome figure flaws. Rows and rows of ruffles complete the look, falling into an extended cathedral train.

Click to shop for gorgeous wedding gowns

Monday, 9 February 2009

Wedding Risk Management Pt. II

(Note: See yesterday's post for Pt. I)

The hosts of the wedding -- e.g., the bride, the groom, the parents, or anyone whose names appear on the wedding invitation -- have both a legal responsibility to the guests to plan and maintain a safe and secure wedding environment. Also, the more assets the hosts own, for example a home, a car, a business, or investments, the greater the risk when hosting an event.

That puts a whole new spin on planning a wedding, right? Who knew there was so much potential for disaster! The good news is that liability coverage will protect you and your assets. Within the general liability coverage, you should consider what's called "Broad Form Comprehensive General Liability Endorsement." This is an amendment to your general liability policy that provides extensions or varies the terms of coverage provided. It also expands your general liability policy to cover other areas you think you'll need protection in, like fire legal liability (if you're using fireworks or candles), which protects against claims for fire damage to the wedding venue caused by your negligence.

However, Joyce added that if your wedding reception is at a venue that requires a "Certificate of Insurance," this is different from general liability and may be required in your wedding venue contract. Sometimes venue contracts will detail the type and limits of insurance that must be in force by both parties. And some wedding venue contracts will require copies of "Certificate of Insurance" naming the wedding reception site as insured up to $2 million per occurrence. However, keep in mind that many venues do not require their clients to obtain this type of insurance.

Click to learn more about wedding planning and troubleshooting a wedding

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Wedding Risk Management Pt. I

So you have your wedding insurance, but that doesn't mean you're entirely protected! First, you need to ensure that you have solid vendor contracts you can turn to if any of your wedding vendors fail to provide the services you've reserved. Then, you need to look into a little something called general liability coverage.

General liability insurance offers protection against claims involving bodily injury or property damage related to your wedding. Think nothing can happen? Think again! Basically, if anyone at your wedding gets hurt or some part of your reception venue is damaged during the wedding, there is nothing to prevent others from seeking monetary reimbursement from YOU.

If you currently have homeowners or renters insurance, you can obtain a one day umbrella policy under your homeowner or renter insurance policy that will cover the day of your wedding. Depending on your insurance carrier, there may or may not be an additional fee for this policy. If you do not already have insurance, you can obtain a one day special event insurance policy through Fireman's Fund or WedSafe. The premiums range from $150 to $300 and, like wedding insurance, you will pay a one-time premium.

How important is this type of coverage? Joyce Scardina Becker, certified wedding planner, owner of Events of Distinction (www.eventsofdistinction.com), and Director of the Wedding Consultant Certificate Program California State University East Bay, thinks that it is extremely important to protect yourself.

"Weddings today have the potential for negligent activity that unfortunately can lead to long and costly litigation due to our litigious society," she says. "As the number of professionally managed weddings has increased, so has the concern for risk management. Gone are the days of doing business with a handshake. The importance of legal compliance such as signing written contracts and securing proper permits, insurance and licenses are a must."

Click to learn more about wedding planning and troubleshooting a wedding

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Wedding Budget Basics

It can be hard to set aside the romance of your wedding to think carefully about dollars and cents. After all, picking out a wedding gown and a bridal bouquet is fun... writing up a list of wedding expenses and figuring out how much you have to spend is not. Still, creating a wedding budget is an important part of planning a wedding, so make it a priority and get it over with!

To create a wedding budget, you need to ask yourself a few questions. Who will pay for the wedding? How much money do you have to spend? And what are the elements of your dream wedding that are most important to you. Answer these three questions and you're haldway toward planning a beautiful wedding.

The traditional rule of the bride's family paying for the entire wedding is fast becoming history. Today, the bride's family, the groom's family, and the bride and groom themselves usually share the cost of the wedding ceremony and wedding reception. Many couples are getting married later in life and are well established with their own careers, thus they feel inclined to pay for some or all of their own weddings.

Once you know who pays for the wedding, the bride and groom should discuss which elements of the wedding are most important to them. For instance, is it the reception venue, the bridal gown, or the entertainment that is most important? Maybe it's the wedding cake! You should choose roughly three or four items that are your top priorities and set the rest of your budget from there.

Click to learn more about wedding budgets or creating a wedding budget

Friday, 6 February 2009

Wedding Dress of the Week (2/6/09)

Today's wedding gown of the week is a combination of delicate ruffles and beautiful tailored structuring that adds drama to an otherwise traditional look. This wedding gown is for the bride who wants to put forth a demure image without giving up her ability to flirt. The just-low-enough plunging V-neckline features a double ruffle of organza that is designed to stand up behind the neck, giving a definite designer touch of elegance. We think this wedding gown looks like it costs a whole lot more than it actually does for that very reason! Finally, the cross-over bodice ends at the natural waistline with a pleated sash and a handmade organza flower. The best part? The pockets! Because no bride should be without lip balm and a breath mint on her wedding day.

Click to read more about choosing a wedding gown or to shop for wedding dresses

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Choosing Wedding Shoes

We're going to guess that you haven't spent all that much time thinking about you wedding shoes. That's okay -- unless your wedding gown is so distinctive and unusual that it screams out for a certain kind of wedding shoe, why would you think about something that should be as simple as choosing wedding shoes. Well, if only it were that simple. Wedding shoes come in every possible color and configuration these days. If you were picturing plain white pumps in the same fabric as your wedding gown, you can probably find them. But don't limit yourself to the most basic option! Here are some tips to help you when you're choosing wedding shoes:

Some brides feel the shoes are the least important of the wedding day attire, and they choose to wear decorated tennis shoes. If that's too much shoe for you, think about bridal flip flops!

Other brides hardly think of wedding shoes at all except as something to cover their tired feet and so they choose pretty, dainty ballet slippers.

Still others want the most ornate wedding shoe with the highest heel ever, making them feel more regal and more elegant. If this sounds like you, just be sure to break them in well!

One of the most important things a bride-to-be must realize is that their wedding shoes are important when the altering the wedding dress. Once you've established the height of the heel, you must have the shoes in order to have your wedding gown fitted properly. Changing the height will change the hem of the dress.

We recommend that once you've found your wedding dress you start looking for the right wedding shoes immediately. You should have your shoes by the time your gown is delivered and ready to be altered because you will need to bring them to every fitting.

Click to read more about bridal accessories

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Wedding Accessories

One of the most overlooked bridal accessories is the bridal tiara. Most brides-to-be picture themselves wearing a veil and not a tiara on their wedding days. What they don't know is that when they are choosing their wedding accessories (e.g., bridal jewelry sets, wedding shoes, and bridal hairstyles) they don't have to limit themselves! You can wear a veil that clips into a bridal tiara. That way, if you're so inclined, you can wear a traditional wedding veil to your wedding ceremony and remove it before the wedding reception so it isn't in the way.

How do you choose your wedding tiara? Here are some tips to get you started:

The tiara should flatter your face by framing it, not draw attention to dominant aspects of your face's shape. When you choose your tiara, follow these simple guidelines:

For a round face, select a tiara that has height and will draw the eye upward, giving the illusion that your face is longer.

For a long face, use a tiara that is flat and sits close to the top of your head. It should also extend over the sides of your head to draw the eye horizontally, rather than vertically. This will make a long, thin face appear fuller.

For an oval face, try a headpiece that either sits on the forehead, or an ornamentation that sits on the back of your head to make your face appear less oval.

For a full face, wear a tiara that has height and forms a "V' shape to draw the eye up for the illusion of length and out for the illusion of a thinner face.

Your hairstyle will also dictate how "heavy" a tiara you will wear. Short hairstyles look best with a light tiara that has subtle ornamentation, while a large amount of hair can carry a bigger tiara that is amply encrusted with gemstones.

Click to read more about wedding accessories and bridal beauty

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Choosing a Wedding Dress

We've talked about choosing a wedding dress in the past, but it's definitely a topic that never gets old. Let's say you already have the wedding gown you'll wear as you walk down the aisle... congratulations! That doesn't mean, however, that you can't keep collecting wedding dress tips for your engaged girlfriends. There's always someone who needs help choosing a wedding gown, so we try never to be without a few helpful tips up our sleeves. For those brides-to-be who know absolutely nothing about choosing a gown, here are some basics:
  • If you're going to be trying on wedding dresses, wear undergarments that are close to those you imagine you'll be wearing on your wedding day.
  • Let bridal salon employees make suggestions -- they deal with brides of all shapes and sizes, and they usually have a good idea of what will look good on you.
  • That said, don't let any salespeople (or loved ones) bully you into choosing a wedding gown you don't like. It's your dress, and you're the one who has to wear it!
  • Explore colors other than white. There are lots of shades of this traditional matrimonial color, but colored wedding gowns are also popular right now.
  • Read those bridal magazines. Even if you're just checking them out at the library, scanning the ads will give you an idea of what wedding gowns are in stores right now.
  • Finally, if you don't buy your accessories at the bridal shop, take home a fabric swatch to match your accessories.

Click to shop for the perfect wedding gown

Monday, 2 February 2009

Cheap Wedding Gift Ideas

With the economy being what it is, it's no wonder that everyone from brides and grooms to wedding guests are scaling back when it comes to spending money. That means that newlyweds can't expect to get as many wedding gifts as they might have gotten in days past, and wedding guests won't be spending as much as wedding gifts as they did, say, ten years ago. But as we all know, money isn't everything! You can get great inexpensive wedding gifts that are useful and beautiful.

Here are three wonderful, meaningful wedding gift ideas that are based on wedding gifts employees at Smart Wedding Planning received:

A Simple Note
Kim said: "After all of the adrenaline from the day faded, I truly enjoyed the lovely thoughts that people had imparted in their cards to me and my husband. Some offered tried and true advice on marriage. Others related some inside jokes from high school and college which I am sure will completely perplex us 10 years from now, but which reminded us of our special bonds with these particular guests."

An Invitation to My Own Wedding
Jackie said: "One guest who gave us our invitation back. Only she had matted it and painted a beautiful design around it that meshed so well with the invitation's colors." If you are not skilled with a framing kit, you can always take the invitation to a framer who will do the trick for you.

Lend Me a Tenor or a Calligrapher
Mike said: "We had a DIY wedding, and most of our wedding vendors were our friends and relatives! My mom cooked all the food for our rehearsal dinner, and my dad's college friends who get together to jam were our wedding reception band. A bunch of my wife's girlfriends created the bridal bouquets and floral arrangements. It was all beautiful, and I swear you wouldn't know that we didn't hire professionals. All that help was the best gift we could have gotten."

Click to read more about wedding gifts or to shop for wedding favors and wedding accessories

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Wedding Reception Checklist

Once you've said your "I dos," it's time to party! While there are many ways you can format your wedding reception, most wedding receptions involve certain must-have elements. You can't, after all, have a wedding reception without a reception venue, and it is the obligation of every bride and groom to feed and entertain their wedding guests. Most wedding receptions are somewhat formal, but yours can be anything from pizza and beer at the bowling ally where you met your spouse-to-be to a English-style garden party complete with finger sandwiches.

No matter what kind of wedding reception you choose to have, you'll need to be familiar with certain elements of reception planning. Here's a helpful (albeit short) checklist to get you started:

__ Book your wedding reception venue at least six months in advance. Ask for discounts if you feel like it -- the worst the site manager can say is no.

__ Ask about special wedding packages before you book your wedding date or sign any contracts. Many venues will give you freebies or perks because you're the bride.

__ If you don't understand the fees you're paying, a second pair of eyes (your intended, your mom, etc.) can ensure you don't get scammed or overcharged.

__ Make sure your preferred venue will accommodate all your guests.

__ Don't forget that your reception venue will have its own color scheme. Consider whether your wedding colors will clash with the walls, the carpets, or the linens.

__ Ask the reception site manager whether you can use your own caterer or are obligated to use the house service providers. If you can, make sure your baker and caterer are familiar with the site.

Click to see our complete wedding reception checklist

Saturday, 31 January 2009

Bridal Weight Loss

Most brides-to-be want to lose a few pounds before the wedding, even if they don't really need to. It's just a fact of life for brides -- everything they look at, from movies to bridal magazines to wedding web sites is encouraging them to be (or become) a certain size. Losing weight or toning up requires aerobic exercise, but you shouldn't neglect your diet! After all, working out doesn't mean you can go nuts at the buffer table.

Here are five bridal diet tips that you can use for the rest of your life. Remember, you should always think of pre-wedding diets in terms of simple lifestyle changes instead of excessive changes that could be unhealthy. To clarify, we don't want to see you starving yourself or exercising four hours a day!

1. Drink plenty of water. Sometimes we feel hungry when we're actually thirsty. When we don't address that thirst, we keep feeling unfulfilled even after having a snack. Hint: Brides should be drinking water anyway, so their skin looks beautiful on the wedding day.

2. Up your fruit and veggie intake. It seems simple enough, but most of us still do not get enough produce. Why? It spoils quickly, it can be boring, and it costs money. Makes sense to me! So look for ways to sneak more veggies and fruit into your diet. Roasted Brussels sprouts are awesome. Make a pumpkin pie without crust and omit some of the sugar. Yum!

3. Focus on health. Even if you are looking forward to your wedding, dieting sucks. If you're obsessed with depriving yourself, you're going to fall off the wagon. Think about healthy choices you can make now and keep making after the wedding, like cutting out trans fats or eating less processed food.

4. Join a farm share (if you can). Supermarket produce gets boring. Apples and oranges, apples and oranges, right? A farm share will introduce you to foods you wouldn't try otherwise. Burdock root, anyone? How about kale? Expanding your horizons can shrink your waistline!

5. Get supportive to get support. Join a weight loss group. Ask your sister, mom, or best friend if she wants to diet with you. That way, when you're jonesing for a chocolate chip cookie you know you aren't actually hungry for, you can call your weight loss buddies and they'll talk you down from the fridge.

Click to learn more about bridal fitness

Friday, 30 January 2009

Wedding Blogs and Wedding Websites

Getting a little bored reading the usual wedding websites? We feel your pain, and we'd like to suggest a novel solution: Make your own! A personal wedding blog or wedding website is a great way to make wedding planning a lot more fun and accessible to the important people in your wedding, like mothers, bridesmaids, and groomsmen. Oh, and your future spouse, too!

There are plenty of free wedding website hosting services online, or you can use a free blog program like Blogger to set up a simple collaborative wedding blog. We like both options, having tried each, though both have different utilities.

A wedding website is great if you're looking to share wedding information with your wedding guests. For example, you can put directions to the ceremony and reception on your wedding website, as well as links to the stores you're registered at. You can share the story of your courtship and pictures of you and your fiance on your wedding web site, and pretty much anything else you want to show people.

A wedding blog, on the other hand, can be a place where you share your wedding ideas (like we do) or a place for you to communicate with your bridesmaids. You can make both a wedding website and a wedding blog that link back to each other so wedding guests and wedding VIPs can keep track of your wedding planning progress.

Connect with other brides-to-be on our awesome wedding forum -- it's free!

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Avoiding Wedding Risk

How can you protect yourself from unknowns like sick vendors, really bad weather, and fire damage when planning a wedding? You, bride, need some wedding insurance.

Wedding insurance (also known as event insurance) is a type of property and causality policy that originated in Great Britain in 1988, but has only been available in the U.S. since the mid 90s. It typically covers cancellation or postponement of a wedding if a member of the bridal party dies or gets sick. Keep in mind that if the wedding party member becomes sick or dies because of a pre-existing medical condition your wedding insurance probably won't cover it.

Wedding insurance also covers a bridal party member's failure to show because they are injured or are called up to active military duty or there is a shutdown of commercial transportation. Additionally, it will help pay for the reassembling of the bridal party in the event another photo session is necessary because the photographer lost the film or it's damaged at the lab. Finally, it will provide money for new wedding rings if the originals are lost and the replacement of damaged, stolen, or lost wedding gifts.

What isn't covered? Changes of heart! If you or the groom gets cold feet, your wedding insurance will not reimburse your expenses.

The typical cost for a basic policy is between $125 and $350 (with a $25 deductible). Like any other insurance coverage, the premium varies depending on the amount of coverage needed. But unlike other coverages, the premium is a one-time payment even if the policy is purchased well in advance of your wedding date. In most instances, a policy can be purchased from two weeks to two years prior to the event.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Wedding DJ or Wedding Band

The question that every bride and groom must answer is this: Wedding DJ or wedding band? If you aren't getting married anywhere near a big city, the answer may be clear. In less densely populated areas, you'll find more wedding disc jockeys and fewer wedding bands, simply because demand for the latter won't be as high. If, on the other hand, you live in New York or Boston or some other musically inclined metropolis, you'll probably have a ton of wedding entertainment options to choose from!

Oh boy, another decision to make... To make it easier, let's lay out some pros and cons. A wedding disc jockey is less expensive, able to play selections by original artists, generally does not take up much space, and travels just as far as a wedding band. On the other hand, people who make a living studying, writing, singing, recording, and performing music are more apt to have a better foundation of music presentation.

But selecting a wedding band can be a frustrating and time consuming process -- just ask some of your married friends who opted for bands over DJs.

Videos of live performances can sometimes be helpful, but you should know that 99% of them are lip-synched and are seldom a true representation. People also tend to hear with their eyes and not focus on the music. After the fifth video the eyes can get a bit blurred from all those tuxedos. A very basic band video costs about $5,000 to produce and can quickly become outdated depending on its content of current music selections. With a CD you can really hear the care that a band puts into their product. You can listen to it in many different situations, and if it's any good, you should hear a wide range of material. If a demo has a great variety of songs sung well by different people and features decent horn playing, guitar work and strong background vocals you are headed in the right direction. Having an excellent song list is also a good indicator that can help in the selection process.

If you find a wedding band that you think is the one for you, and are having a Saturday evening reception on a popular wedding date, don't put off hiring them. There is a very high likelihood that others are inquiring about the same date, unless your wedding falls between January and the end of March. Bands generally can't "hold" these dates due to the high number of Saturday calls they get. It is very normal to book a band with a good name from a promotional package instead of risking waiting for the perfect opportunity to see them live.

Click to read more about choosing wedding entertainment

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Wedding Reception Itinerary

No joke: I have actually attended weddings during which the father-of-the-bride approached me (the family wedding expert) to ask when they should cut the wedding cake! Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course, but it did strike me as somewhat odd that neither the bride nor the groom had taken the time to research a sample wedding reception itinerary! After all, it was their own wedding ceremony and wedding reception. They had a vested interest while I did not.

To ensure that your loved ones never have to do the same at your wedding reception, here is a sample wedding reception timeline that will give you a rough guide you can modify based on your own needs and wants.

First Hour of Reception
  • 5:00 Wedding guests arrive. Cocktail hour begins. Waiters may serve trays of champagne and hors d'oeuvres to guests.
  • 5:15 Bride and groom arrive. Photographs may or may not be taken at this time. If not, bride and groom may mingle with guests or retire to a private bridal chamber for some quiet time.
Second Hour of Reception
  • 6:00 Wedding party and guests of honor line up to be announced by the emcee or wedding disc jockey.
  • 6:05 Wedding DJ makes formal announcements.
  • 6:10 Bride and groom's first dance. Caterer begins serving champagne to the tables for the champagne toast.
  • 6:20 Cocktail hour ends. Cash bar may begin here. The wedding disc jockey may announce dinner and introduce the wedding officiant if he or she is saying a blessing.
  • 6:25 Wedding DJ introduces the best man for his toast.
  • 6:30 Dinner is served.
Third Hour of Reception
  • 7:00 Bride and groom cut the cake.
  • 7:15 Father-daughter dance.
  • 7:25 Mother-son dance.
  • 7:35 Wedding party dance.
  • 7:40 Wedding DJ invites all wedding guests to hit the dance floor.
  • 7:45 Wedding cake and coffee are served.
Fourth Hour of Reception
  • 8:00 Wedding DJ announces the Bride's bouquet toss.
  • 8:15 Garter toss.
  • 8:45 Bride and Groom's last dance.
  • 9:00 Bride and Groom say goodnight and leave for honeymoon destination or hotel.
  • 9:15 Parents of the bride (or other designated persons) gather all the wedding presents and other items (see After the Reception Checklist for more details).

Monday, 26 January 2009

Wedding Music Order of Events

If you can afford to have live musicians at your wedding ceremony, we say "Go for it!" Live music adds a special touch to a wedding ceremony that cannot be replicated with a CD in a boombox or a wedding disc jockey playing Here Comes the Bride. Live wedding ceremony music is not only a nod to wedding traditions of days gone by; it's also extremely elegant and entertaining for wedding guests waiting for the bride to make her grand entrance.

Of course, once you have hired live musicians to play at your wedding ceremony -- we recommend a classical quartet -- you still need to know what music happens when. Your musicians may or may not be familiar with the usual order of wedding ceremony events, which means it's your job to know everything you can about wedding ceremony music. Here's a primer to start you off:

The Prelude
As guests are arriving and being escorted down the aisle to their seats, a mix of classical pieces and soft contemporary songs lets them know that something special is about to happen.

The Pre-processional
Wedding music helps build emotion as family members and other honored guests who are not members of the wedding party are escorted down the aisle. The mother of the bride is usually the last to be seated before the wedding party comes down the aisle.

The Processional
This is the point in the ceremony when the groomsmen, best man, groom, bridesmaids, maid of honor, ring bearer, and flower girl walk down the aisle. The bride and father of the bride are the last ones to walk down the aisle in the most dramatic part of the ceremony.

The Ceremony
In a traditional Christian church wedding, hymns, calls to worship, or other wedding music that is part of the order of the wedding service can be performed by your wedding musicians as the ceremony unfolds. This is also the appropriate time for an instrumental or vocal solo.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the wedding officiant announces that the bride and groom are married and music is usually played at this point. This is when many couples let their personalities shine through with their music selection. During the recessional, the bride and groom are first, followed by the wedding party and the officiant.

Interlude or Postlude
This is when the guests exit the church. Wedding music can be played until the guests are out of the ceremony area.

With a few modifications, this order is appropriate for a quicker or less traditional ceremony. It's always a good idea to have wedding music as guests arrive, as the wedding party enters, and as the bride and groom exit together.

Click to learn more about choosing wedding musicians or the order of wedding ceremony events

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Out of Town Wedding Guests

Nowadays, it's unusual for a bride or groom to live in the town or city where their parents, relatives, and friends live. You might have some family nearby and some family in a different country, while your friends are spread out throughout the nation. That means that at least some of your wedding guests will be traveling to attend your wedding ceremony and reception.

We've put together a list of tips that will help you make out of town wedding guests more comfortable. While you don't have to arrange everything for your out of town wedding guests, you can make it easier for them to make it to your wedding!

Hotels and Accommodations
Choose an affordable hotel located near the site of the wedding ceremony or reception. Out of town wedding guests will then have an easy time finding their way to the big event. Out of town wedding guests are sure to appreciate amenities included in their stay, such as pool use, a complimentary breakfast, and free Internet access. A hotel is also a refuge from all the wedding activities and can be a place of relaxation. Make sure the one you choose is quiet and well managed.

Eating is something that can be fun when your out of town wedding guests travel to your locale, but as they flip through the local directory they might be overwhelmed by the large number of options. One useful item for out of town wedding guests is a list of local restaurants that you enjoy, including a general description of food and menu prices. Choose low to mid level restaurants and consider providing coupons to any local favorites. Also, if you know there will be vegetarians, vegans, or gluten intolerant guests at your wedding, include some appropriate restaurants on your list.

Providing out of town wedding guests with telephone numbers of car rental companies can help save them time and frustration. Some companies give coupons for groups traveling to a celebration, so consider talking to the company prior to the event. And don't forget about public transportation! Providing bus, cab, train, and subway information can save time and money for wedding guests. Finally, if many guests are staying in one hotel, consider arranging a hotel shuttle to and from your wedding.

Click to read more about wedding guests

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Jewish Wedding Traditions

Cultural wedding traditions are truly wonderful! The best part about cultural wedding traditions is that anyone can integrate them into their nuptials, whether or not they belong to a particular culture or religious group. However, that said, many cultural wedding traditions require that brides and grooms go above and beyond the usual wedding planning checklist! Here, for example, is just part of a Jewish wedding planning checklist that defines all the essential elements of a Jewish wedding:

__Announce your engagement to local newspapers

__Select the appropriate date as certain wedding dates are off-limits as per Jewish law

__Choose an ideal location for your Jewish wedding ceremony and reception

__Send the save-the-date cards

__Decide on a caterer

__Book a photographer and a videographer

__Select a rabbi or cantor to preside over your Jewish wedding

__Check if the bride needs to cover her shoulders or the groom needs a white ceremonial robe called a kittel

__Order the wedding dress and veil

__Choose attendants

__Select a florist

__Compose the guest list

__Book musicians for the wedding ceremony and disc jockey or band for the reception.

__Order your wedding cake

__Order thank-you notes with wedding cards

__Order Kippahs and benchers

__Purchase attire for the groom

__Select a Ketubah for your Jewish wedding

__Choose gifts for bridal side

__Reserve hotel rooms for people coming from out of the town

__Prepare a guest book

__Choose your reception dinner menu

__Decide who will hold the Chuppah and read the seven wedding blessings

__Select appropriate chairs for the bride and the groom

__Arrange Jewish wedding ceremony details using rabbi and/or cantor.

__Mail invitations and design the program

__Obtain a marriage license

__Buy wedding bands

__Workout plans to contribute your wedding dress as offerings, if desired.

__Wrap neatly the wine glass for breaking

__Organize candy for aufruf.

__Ask one of your best friends to handle the ritual elements Ketubah, Chuppah, Kiddush cups, wedding rings, and glass for breaking

__Confirm the seating, and study the Jewish wedding processionals and seating rituals.

__Begin fasting to purify yourself at sunset, only if you desire.

Click to read more about Jewish weddings

Friday, 23 January 2009

Choosing a Bridal Bouquet

Where did the tradition of the bridal bouquet come from? The first bridal bouquets weren't actually bouquets at all -- they were gatherings of herbs carried by brides to ward off evil.

It was the Victorians who really raised the tradition of wedding flowers having a symbolic meaning to new heights. A shy suitor, raised in a tradition of the decorousness of emotional reserve, really had to say it with flowers to get his feelings across to his ladylove. Each time he gave her a bouquet, she found out where their relationship was going: If he gave her red roses, it was love, but if he gave her yellow ones, he only wanted to be friends. And when he gave her red tulips, his love for her was ardent.

We may have forgotten those meanings over time, but we still follow the tradition of carrying a bridal bouquet. However like most traditions, it has undergone some tweaking to give it our own personal touch.

In addition to choosing the flowers that will go into your bridal bouquet, you have the option of adding a wide range of embellishments that will change the look of your bouquet. Gold and bronze bullion wire, crystals and rhinestones, bouquet jewelry like butterflies or initials, feathers and beads all add pizazz to bridal bouquets. If that sounds too flashy for you, why not customize your bridal bouquet with fruits, vegetables, greenery, or even wood?

Today's brides are breaking away from the standard rose domes and educating themselves on specific designs such as biedemeyers, waterfall cascades, and composition bouquets. Yes, there are plenty of different bridal bouquet styles, so ask your wedding florist for a rundown of the types she or he is able to make.

Click to see our comprehensive wedding flower checklist or find a wedding florist in your area

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Planning a Honeymoon in Italy

Here are five excellent reasons to consider planning a honeymoon in Italy:

The Food
Honeymooners in Italy should always sample the delicious regional cuisine. Hearty game and other rustic specialities are enjoyed in the north of Italy, while the south of Italy is best-known for its seafood and vegetable dishes. Additionally, Bologna is known as the country's gastronomic capital.

The Wine
Those who choose a honeymoon in Italy are in luck! Italy cultivates more grape varieties than anyone else and almost every region produces memorable wines. Reds include Tuscany's popular Chianti and Piedmont's robust Barolo, while Verdicchio and Gavi are among Italy's distinctive whites.

The Art
Newlyweds honeymooning in Italy should know that the land of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci reputedly has 60% of the world's most important works of art and half of these are in Florence. Galleries in every main city display stunning Renaissance works and many, such as the Guggenheim in Venice, have amazing modern collections.

The Nature
Honeymooners can enjoy the fabulous scenery and wildlife of the national parks, such as those in Abruzzo and Friuli Venezia Giulia. Sicily has two parks and Mount Etna to explore. If you're mountain-minded, try inland Sardinia or head north into the Alps.

The Shopping
Fashionistas on their honeymoons should head for Milan, but most cities have stores selling the latest from Prada, Armani, and Versace. Bargains can be found in designer outlets, particularly in Tuscany, and at street markets around the country. If you can't afford designer duds, you can always look!

A honeymoon in Italy is a wonderful choice year 'round! There are almost always bargain flights to be had by those brides and grooms who are willing to shop around and if you work with a travel agent, you may just be able to get great deals on hotels, car rental, tours, and honeymoon perks like free champagne and upgrades.

Click to read more about planning a honeymoon

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Bridal Bouquet Basics

Think of your bridal bouquet as just another one of your bridal accessories. It is no less important than your earrings, your necklace, and your wedding veil considering that it will likely appear in at least half of your wedding photos! When your wedding flower wishes go awry, it can be a disaster, so brush up on your knowledge of bridal bouquets, and get ready for some great tips from Smart Wedding Planning.

The big potential bridal bouquet issues are flowers not being delivered on time, flowers that aren't fresh, and flowers that aren't the flowers the bride ordered. To ensure that none of these happen to you, choose a wedding florist with a good reputation and sign an iron-clad vendor contract. Make sure your florist knows your wedding color scheme and your chosen bouquet design inside and out!

Be definite about the colors and types of flowers you want in your bridal bouquet and in your bridesmaids' bouquets. Include this information in your vendor contract! Some flowers are available in just about every color, while others are limited. Even though, nowadays, many flowers are available all year long, you need to take the season of your wedding into account when you are choosing your flowers. Sunflowers in the middle of winter may not convey the tone you want, plus out of season flowers arel probably be more expensive.

When you are planning the budget for your bridal bouquet, keep your total wedding budget in mind. Discuss your budget and its limitations honestly with your florist at the very beginning. He or she can work with you to explore different ideas that will make your day perfect while making sure that your bouquets don't break the bank.

You also have to consider the size of the bouquets for both you and your bridesmaids, the shade of your gown, if you are going to have an additional bouquet to toss, and the temperature of the ceremony and reception venues, if you will be outdoors for any length of time. (Many flowers react badly to very cold temperatures.) And as if that is not enough to worry about, you need to worry about pollen that may stain your gown. For example, lilies should have stamens removed because of this problem. Be flexible, and make sure you take the advice of your florist, who wants your day to be perfect, too.

Click to read more about bridal bouquets and wedding flowers

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Wedding Glossary Pt. VI

Is your brain full yet? Here's Pt. VI of our comprehensive wedding glossary:

A decorative mesh of interlaced threadwork that is plaited, knotted, looped and turned to make either simple or complicated patterns and raised work. Alencon, Chantilly, Spanish and Venise are just a few of the many lacework types available.

An icing adornment on a wedding cake that zigzags. It is often made of gum paste or other forms of wedding cake icing.

Maid Of Honor
Known as the chief bridesmaid in some countries, she is the last bridesmaid to walk down the aisle before the bride herself. If the couple are exchanging wedding rings, then it is her duty to hold the ring destined for the groom, and hand it over to the bride at the right time, as the best man does in reverse. She will also hold onto the bouquets during the vows, and see that the bride's dress is properly turned out.

Man Of Honor
Some brides prefer to have a male friend attending to the duties of the maid of honor. If so, this is his title.

This is a Spanish word literally meaning "little cloak." It is a lace or tulle shawl that the bride can wear around her head and shoulders.

Made of sugar, egg whites and almonds, this substance can be used as a base for icing, or to mold decorative forms such as flowers from, on the wedding cake.

Matron Of Honor
This is the proper title given where the maid of honor is herself married.

This abbreviation stands for maid / man / matron of honor. See entries on wedding attendants.

Nosegay (bouquet)
See Posies.

This is the name of a specialist hard foam used by florists in bouquet holders or vases. Holes are made in it for the flower stems to fit into, as an oasis (as its name suggests) will preserve water for a long time. This will naturally allow for fresher looking flowers at the wedding.

This is the cleric or secular wedding official that carries out the ceremony. For non religious weddings, he or she might be a justice of the peace, magistrate or even the Captain of a ship (when onboard).

Pageant Bouquet
See Presentation (bouquet).

Pages or Page Boys
These are small children (usually boys) who follow the bride down the aisle carrying some of her train. They can also be known as train bearers. (See Train).

Click to see the entire wedding glossary

Monday, 19 January 2009

Wedding Glossary Pt. V

Wow, we're almost halfway through our comprehensive wedding glossary! Hopefully, you're finding it helpful to get a handle on the jargon that wedding vendors and other wedding professionals use to confuse brides and grooms who aren't already wedding experts. Never fear! By the time you've worked your way through our great glossary, you'll BE a wedding expert.

Here's Pt. V:

Gum Paste
This is a mixture of sugar, starch, and gelatin used to decorate wedding cakes. It's what many of those realistic looking flowers, fruits and ribbons are made of. Note that it doesn't taste particularly nice.

Half Crown
An ornate headpiece for the bride that lies between a crown and tiara in size and weight.

These are the male friends and family of the groom at a Muslim wedding.

Honor Attendants
The best man (or woman) and the maid (or matron or man) of honor. You can have no honor attendants or all honor attendants in your wedding party.

A dance at a Jewish wedding where the bride and groom are lifted high on chairs. This is seen in movies a lot.

A flower bedecked canopy that is an essential part of a Jewish wedding.

This is an extremely dramatic and artistic form of flower arranging that originated in Japan, but is now popular all over the world and often seen at weddings.

Imam Zamin
This is a good luck tradition at a Muslim wedding in which the mother of the bride ties a coin that is wrapped in silk around her daughter's arm.

Juliet Cap
This is a close fitting cap that is often decorated with precious stones and is sometimes worn as a bride's headpiece. Not at all common.

In Jewish weddings, this is the wedding contract between the bride and groom. It is usually highly decorated and often framed and put on a wall in the couple's home.

This is the title of the best man in Eastern Orthodox Christian weddings.

Click to see the entire wedding glossary

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Last Minute Wedding Details

As tempting as it is to assume that everything is taken care of in the two weeks before your wedding, you can't rely on older confirmations from your wedding vendors. For all you know, your details have gotten lost on a messy desk somewhere or your florist has come down with a case of the flu.

Better safe than sorry, we always say here at Smart Wedding Planning! If you confirm your last minute wedding details with each and every one of your vendors, you can be 99.9% sure they will show up at your wedding ceremony or wedding reception on time. Here are just some of the details you should confirm before taking a much needed pre-wedding break:

Wedding Limo Company: Confirm pick up time, location & directions.

Wedding Florist: Confirm flower order, drop off time and discuss any last minute details.

Caterer: Confirm head counts and any last minute details.

Wedding DJ or Wedding Band: Confirm, time, location and special song selections for special dances.

Baker or Cake Designer: Confirm cake order, drop-off time & location.

Photographer: Confirm start time and location.

Videographer: Confirm start time and location.

Officiant: Confirm rehearsal time and marriage license.

Organist or Ceremony Musicians: Confirm music selections.

Honeymoon: Confirm reservations with your travel agent.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Selling A Wedding Gown

There are lots of ways to sell your wedding dress after your wedding is over... if selling your dress is what you want to do. Many brides can't imagine selling their wedding gowns, until it's seven months after the wedding and they're moving into a new apartment with tiny closets! If you're not sure what you want to do with your precious wedding gown, have it professionally cleaned and put it away for a few months. After the glow of newlywed life fades a little, you may be surprised how sensible selling your wedding dress seems.

There are many consignment shops and secondhand shops that you can take your dress to. If it is one of the latest styles or a designer wedding gown, it won't last a day on the racks. You can also place an ad in the newspaper or in a local trade magazine. Some post offices and supermarkets will allow people to place items for sale on their bulletin boards. Even local daycare centers often have bulletin boards that you can advertise on.

Another way to sell your wedding dress is on the Internet. You can either post an ad on a local web site (like Craiglist) or look for a web site that sells used wedding dresses (like Preownedweddingdresses.com). You will sometimes have to pay them a fee for listing your wedding gown. eBay is another very popular method of selling things, but you won't get much for your gown there because there is so much traffic from custom dressmakers.

If your wedding dress is taking up space in your room or sitting on your ironing board, then do consider selling it. Your life will not be over if you let go of your dress, and it's doubtful that your future daughter will want to wear an outdated wedding gown. Your marriage will not be cursed because you sold your gown. Concentrate on your marriage and not a box that will more than likely languish in the closet. If you sell your wedding gown, it will bring someone else as much happiness as it brought you.

Click to read more about how to sell a wedding gown or to shop for a wedding gown

Friday, 16 January 2009

Fun Wedding Favors

Just because your wedding is a solemn event doesn't mean that your wedding favors have to be super serious. Remember, wedding favors are a gift you give to your wedding guests... you want them to love and use your wedding favors, not be afraid of them because they're delicate or breakable or look too expensive to touch!

That said, we've recently come across five wedding favors that we think are super fun:
Our personal favorite is the keyboard magnet wedding favors, which are sets of five magnets that resemble keyboard keys and spell out LOVE. The fifth key is an enter key emblazoned with a tiny heart!

Of course, this is just what we like -- you should choose your wedding favors based on your preferences, interests, and your wedding theme. Let's say you and your intended are big Nascar fans... why not give each wedding guest a Matchbox car in your wedding colors? If you're ig foodies, then give the gift of something nice to eat! Or if wine is your thing, a playful wine stopper will round out your reception decor nicely.

Click to read more about choosing wedding favors or to shop for wedding favors

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Budget Wedding Gowns

When you are looking for your wedding dress, make sure you discuss your wedding budget with your family or whoever is paying for your gown. If you are footing the bill yourself, then it's time to consider how much you want to spend on this most important piece of clothing. Knowing how much you can spend on your wedding gown will ensure that you don't inadvertently go over budget when you find a dress you love. Wedding gowns can be really expensive, and it helps to have a defined limit written into your wedding budget.

Designer wedding gowns, for example, are almost always going to cost more than machine-made wedding dresses from department stores. Both are lovely -- which you choose just depends on what it is that you are looking for and how much you can spend. There is a third option! Having a gown custom made by a seamstress is often less expensive than designer or mass-market wedding gowns, so check in local tailor shops for the names of dressmakers in your area.

When you go shopping -- whatever option you choose -- let your helpers and the sales associate know what your price range is. You don't want everyone handing you $5,000 dresses to try on when all you can afford are $2,000 ones.

Finally, it's a good idea to know what it is you're looking for, even if the mental sketch of your future wedding gown is vague. Pick up bridal magazines from your local grocery or book store and look through them. Cut out the pictures of the ones that interest you. Look at all the wedding dresses online that are for sale. Print out the ones that you are most attracted to. There are many styles of wedding dresses. After you have compiled all the pictures, go through them and see if there is a common theme. You may realize that you have picked out several that look the same!

Click to read more about choosing a wedding gown

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Choosing A Wedding DJ

Your wedding entertainment can make or break your reception! It may seem like a less than important detail, but the wedding disc jockey or wedding band you choose will wield a great deal of influence over your guests and reception. Why? Because great wedding DJs and band leaders are trained to read and influence the mood of the crowd to ensure that everyone is having a great time.

So let's say you've decided to opt for a wedding disc jockey over a band (or a wedding band just isn't in your wedding budget). How do you hire the best wedding DJ you can afford? Here are some tips we've put together so brides and grooms don't get burned on their wedding entertainment:

You'll have to hire a wedding disc jockey, unless you are related to one or have one as a close friend. This isn't merely the less expansive option! A wedding DJ is an advantage in terms of space and flexibility. With the professional overheads being lower, a wedding DJs can bring more music that satisfies more tastes than a wedding band can.

Hiring the right wedding disc jockey is vital. To start with, you need to decide on where the wedding DJ fits in your reception plans. What is the role the DJ will fill? Will the DJ just be spinning music or are you expecting him or her to also be the master of ceremonies (emcee)? What kind of music would you prefer to hear -- will the DJ be able to accommodate that? Your choice of guests may also play a role in the kind of music you choose.

First, look at Yellow Pages listings, then ask around for recommendations. Check with local dance clubs and radio stations -- they can often provide good leads. Your wedding vendors may know a great wedding DJ. Magazines and newspapers sometimes have advertisements for companies that provide DJ services. Check into as many leads as possible. This will give you a broad picture of the prices involved and will also help narrow down the list to fit your budget.

Click to read more about choosing a wedding DJ

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Wedding Dress of the Week

Rum pink is a color that many brides find confusing as they search for the wedding gowns they will eventually wear down the aisle. Why? Because rum pink wedding gowns aren't exactly pink and don't really bring to mind anything resembling rum. Rum pink wedding gowns are pink... ish and sometimes more golden than not. What I'm trying to say is that if you're looking for a pink wedding gown, search for pink wedding gowns. Rum pink wedding gowns are a whole different animal.

Which brings me to the latest wedding dress of the week! We're loving this silky shantung rum pink wedding gown adorned with handmade roses in shantung and organza. The unique accent vines and leaves are created with hundreds of tiny glass beads, and the flowers and beading flow down the center front to the left side of the V-shaped dropped waist where the skirt is draped and pulled up to create a dramatic effect.

Drama is right! This is a wedding gown for the bride who isn't afraid to make a big impression!

Monday, 12 January 2009

DIY Wedding Favors

Every couple starts out believing their wedding will be an elegant affair. And it will, no matter how much money the couple has to spend on their nuptials. It's not always easy to believe that, however, especially when brides and grooms see just how much things like ceremony accessories, reception decor, and wedding favors actually cost. They frequently start wondering if they'll even be able to afford to have a wedding at all!

The good news is that when it comes to saving money, wedding favors are a great place to start. There are plenty of tools that let brides (and grooms and bridesmaids and the mother-of-the-bride) create perfect wedding favors from scratch! It's actually pretty easy to craft professional looking wedding favors at home, with supplies that don't cost much at all. Here's a list of some of the basic supplies brides and their helpers use when creating DIY wedding favors:

There are a ton of other DIY wedding favor supplies out there, shaped like everything from chairs to cars to palm trees! You can fill your wedding favors with candy or some other remembrance of your special day... anything goes. Since you're at most putting candy (or whatever) in your favor boxes and tying a ribbon around the whole works, you don't have to worry about not being the perfect crafter. Anyone can make DIY wedding favors!

Remember that there are some very well-known craft chains that have wedding departments with the materials to make everything from bridal bouquets to reception centerpieces to bridal headpieces. Of course, you can also find the makings for some pretty nifty wedding favors there, too.

Click to read more DIY wedding favor tips

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Best Man's Toast

Ah, the best man's toast. They can be absolutely lovely -- so moving that there's not a dry eye in the house. They can also be excruciating to sit through, especially if the best man has had one too many glasses of champagne punch. If you're worried that your man's best man will give a toast that falls into the latter camp, pass this best man's toast how-to onto him.

First off, the most beautiful sentiment you can express is the positive change you've seen in the couple since they met. If you're having trouble coming up with the right words, ask yourself how the groom has grown and evolved since meeting his future wife. How has he changed overall since you first met him? If you were kids together, choose an anecdote from your youth to share.

When you think about adding humor, remember that everyone has a different idea about what's funny and what isn't. Keep in mind that you are speaking to a wide demographic and some people will take what you say very seriously. It's best to always remain proper and gracious. Don't share any embarrassing stories or talk about sex.

But be yourself. Don't look for a very formal script from a book if you aren't a formal person. Make sure your toast sounds like you. There are lots of ways to personalize your toast to keep the audience engaged.

Above all, remember to keep your toast very, very short. When you're done toasting, thank the audience for coming even though you aren't the host. Being the best man, you had a vested interest in your good friend's wedding turning out perfectly, so you're well within your rights to do so.

(By the way, if the maid-of-honor is giving a toast, these guidelines will apply to her as well!)

Click to read more about giving the perfect toast