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 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

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Receiving Line Etiquette

The receiving line developed from the ancient belief that brides and grooms had the power to spread good luck among wedding guests on the day of the ceremony. Specifically, they shared that good luck through touch. Each wedding guest was given a chance to press hands with the bride and groom.

In modern times, many brides and grooms wonder who's in the receiving line. This can vary, depending on who hosted the wedding and who participated in the wedding. Some receiving lines are made up only of females with the exception of the groom, so you might have a receiving line like this: MOB, bride, groom, bridesmaid, bridesmaid, bridesmaid. If nothing else, the bride and groom must take part. The most common receiving lines are made up of the parents of the bride and groom, the bride and groom themselves, and their attendants. Sometimes attendants do not participate -- this is for the best, we think, as longer receiving lines can eat into the reception!

Why have a receiving line? Many couples often pass on this and prefer to "make the rounds" greeting their guests during the wedding dinner. A receiving line gives you and your new spouse a chance to greet each and every one of your wedding guests and gives your guests a chance to hug and congratulate you on your new life status. If you're uncomfortable with the idea of greeting each of your guests, just remember that they have come to your wedding to honor you, and saying hello to each of them is the least you can do in return.

Click to read more about wedding traditions and wedding etiquette

Friday, 9 January 2009

Blue Wedding Favors

Blue remains a popular wedding color, and it doesn't look like blue will be going anywhere anytime soon. Brides can buy blue wedding gowns, blue wedding cakes, and blue bridesmaids' dresses... there's never a shortage of "something blue!" Today we want to take a look at some blue wedding favors that may just complement your wedding color scheme perfectly. Enjoy!

Wedding cake cookies are a perfect favor for wedding showers and weddings receptions. Each wedding cake cookie comes package in a clear cellophane bag with matching blue ribbons. Put one at each place setting so wedding guests have something to nosh on while they wait for dinner!

These wedding presents are perfectly sized and practical wedding favors. What's the gift? Incognito sticky note pads are cleverly disguised as gift boxes, wrapped in pretty turquoise blue ribbons to match your wedding color scheme perfectly.

Something Blue gift box candles instantly add the right color accents to your wedding reception tables and double as wedding gift keepsakes. For a little easy aromatherapy, group these blue scented candles in your table centerpieces.

If value is what you're after in wedding favors, personalized pillow candy wedding favors are for you. Elegant clear containers filled with coordinating candy let you coordinate with your wedding colors... in this case, blue!

Share your love of the ocean with your wedding guests with glass sailboat favors. Create the magic ambiance of sail boats moving across the horizon with on your reception tables or simply add them to the existing nautical decor at a restaurant by a bay, harbor, or marina.

Click to shop for the best wedding favors around

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Cultural Wedding Traditions

We here at Smart Wedding Planning love learning about new and different wedding traditions. While we might not incorporate all of them into our own weddings, it's still nice to know how our sister brides in other parts of the world are celebrating their nuptials!

We've shared interesting and unique wedding traditions in the past, but here are a few more unusual wedding traditions from around the world to inspire you as you plan your own ceremonies and receptions!

The Greek bride will often tuck a sugar cube in her glove to "sweeten the union."

According to Hindu beliefs, rain on your wedding day is good luck. On the other hand, some western cultures believe rain is unlucky, so check those wedding forecasts!

In Holland, it is traditional to plant a tree outside the newlyweds' home as a symbol of fertility.

Finnish brides traditionally carried a pillowcase door to door, collecting gifts. (Trick or treat, anyone?) An older married man went with her, symbolizing a long marriage.

Korean brides wear red and yellow outfits for their weddings.

Danish brides and grooms used to confound the evil spirits by cross-dressing!

Egyptian parents traditionally do all the cooking for a week, so that the couple can relax. Lucky them, right?

In many cultures -- including the Hindu, Egypt, and Celtic peoples -- the hand of a bride and groom are tied together as a symbol of their new bond and commitment to the marriage. This is the origin of the expression "Tying then knot."

African-American weddings often hold to the tradition of "jumping the broom." Slaves in the United States were not allowed to marry, so they would exhibit their love by jumping over a broom to the beat of drums. It now is symbol of the couple's intention to set up a home together.

Japanese couples become man and wife when they take the first of nine sips of sake. Wow!

In the Irish tradition, once the bride and groom were in the church, the guests would lock the doors to make sure the groom couldn't back out. It was also important that a male and not a female be the first to wish joy to the newly married bride.

Click to read more about unique wedding traditions in other parts of the world

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Why Are Wedding Dresses White?

Brides have always worn white, right? Not so much.

In ancient times brides wore brightly hued wedding dresses to signify their joy. In ancient Rome, yellow and red were popular colors. In other places and times, brides wore blue, as blue was associated with purity. Even now, many cultures do not see white as a color appropriate for weddings -- in much of Asia, white is a funeral color, while red is the color of weddings!

In the western world "back in the day," many brides simply wore their Sunday best -- unless she or her family was very wealthy, that meant a wedding gown that could be worn again. It might be white on her wedding day, but that dress would later be dyed (and perhaps altered) so it could be worn for other formal occasions.

White for western brides didn't become fashionable until Queen Victoria wore it at her wedding to signify her status. White wedding dresses did not signify purity until the Christian churches put that label on them.

What's that mean for you? If you are one of the unlucky gals who just doesn't look good in white -- like me -- or you simply don't care for it, you should feel free to wear any color wedding gown under the sun. Yellow wedding gowns are going to be popular in 2009, as are silver wedding gowns. But that doesn't mean you can't rock a pink wedding gown or a purple wedding gown or even a black wedding gown. It's up to you!

Click to read more about the history of the white wedding gown

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Wedding Blog Roundup For 1/6/09

It's a whole new year, and that means plenty of new wedding blogs for us to read! Naturally, we're still committed to sharing all the best wedding blog posts with you on a weekly basis so you don't have to spend your lunch hour clicking through blogs. Here's what we're loving this week:

Fair trade wedding gifts
Give the gift of green, says Ethical Weddings. They recommend that wedding guests check out Fairgift, a social enterprise set up in 2006 that offers hundreds of beautiful and original Fair Trade items for your home. Sign us up!

Vintage bridal ads
Who'd have thought that yesterday's ads for wedding gowns and bridesmaids' dresses would be so like today's? Manolo for the Brides recently highlighted two adverts that demonstrate that the more things change, the more they stay the same... especially when it comes to weddings!

The dress of the day
Need bridesmaids' dress inspiration? AisleDash's dress-of-the-day is a gorgeous number from Watters. It's seriously delish!

Woodsy family wedding photos
Check out That Bride's awesome pre-wedding family wedding portraits! They're making us wish we'd been just a tad more creative with our wedding photos. Next to these, ours look positively pedestrian!

Click to read more about planning a wedding and wedding blogs

Monday, 5 January 2009

Wedding Glossary Pt. IV

Like we said, knowing your stuff when planning a wedding is incredibly important. What you don't know can hurt you in this case because unscrupulous wedding vendors will look for any way to scam a bride or groom who isn't up on the common wedding jargon. You can protect yourself from most wedding scams by educating yourself -- knowing how much things cost, the way vendors handle bills, and the common vocabulary wedding professionals use.

Here is part IV of our comprehensive wedding glossary. Stay tuned for the rest, which will appear in upcoming entries!

Father of the Bride
Dad used to pay for everything, but these days brides and grooms are footing more of the bill. He will still typically escort the bride down the aisle, but he may not... it depends on the bride.

These are small, inexpensive gifts that are frequently given to all guests at a wedding reception as a thank you for attendance. They can also to serve as a souvenir.

This is the title of the groom or husband-to-be between the engagement and the wedding.

This is the title of the bride between her engagement to her betrothed and the wedding day.

Finger Tip (veil)
One of the most popular lengths of veil, which as the name suggests, extends to the fingertips.

Fish Bowl
A reception centerpiece in which flowers are arranged together in an ornate or otherwise low and broad glass bowl.

Flower Girls or Flower Children
These are small children (usually girls) who pave the way down the aisle for the bride by holding a pomander or scattering flower petals from a small basket. (See Pomander).

Flyaway (veil)
This is a many layered veil that will barely brush the shoulder.

This is a sweet icing made from sugar, syrup, and gelatin that has supple qualities that enable a layer to be draped over the wedding cake like fabric. It is then used as the base for other elaborate decorations and designs. 3D cake decor (bows, birds, etc.) is also frequently made of fondant.

Fountain (veil)
This is the name of a veil style in which part is gathered up atop the bride's head and the remainder is set loose to fall around her face. A fountain veil will reach to either the shoulder or the elbow, depending on preference.

This is a mixture of chocolate and cream, used either to fill or garnish a wedding cake.

These are flower and/or green leaves twirled into ropes or loops that can be hung from doorways, stairs, and railings. A garland may also be worn by the bride as a headpiece. (See Wreath).

Groom's Cake
A smaller, second cake that may or may not be included in the wedding ceremony. If it is, then it may be served at the rehearsal dinner instead of at the reception. Groom's cakes are often more whimsical than traditional wedding cakes and can reflect the interests of the groom.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

DIY Wedding Guestbook Tips

Most brides- and grooms-to-be have so much to do that the wedding guestbook ends up being an afterthought. Hastily purchased from the nearest stationery store, the wedding guestbook is usually just a blank book with a pretty cover. Sometimes the cover has a slot where the couple can stash a photo of themselves. Most of the time, the wedding guestbook is nothing memorable.

That's kind of sad, right? The newlyweds will someday have nothing more than the photos they collected and the words their guests shared with them with which to remember their nuptials. That's precisely why we think wedding guestbooks should be memorable in and of themselves!

That said, here are three DIY wedding guestbook ideas that are guaranteed to impress your guests and to delight you for years to come.

1. Take paper that coordinates with your wedding colors and cut out a bunch of "clothing." Ask guests to share their well wishes and advice by writing them on a shirt or some pants or a skirt. Then have a volunteer (e.g., a bridesmaid or the MOB) hang each greeting on a makeshift clothesline using real clothespins. After the wedding, you can paste each greeting into a book you buy or make specifically for this purpose. This wedding guestbook is a lot of fun, especially at an outdoor wedding.

2. Buy a coffee table photography book that has a lot of whitespace in addition to beautiful pictures. Make sure it's light on text, lest guests spend too much time reading and not enough time writing. Better yet, use of one of the online services that lets you make your own hardbound book and turn that into your wedding guestbook. You can fill it with pictures of your and your intended, photographs of your favorite places, and even snippets of poems or songs that are meaningful to you.

3. Okay... regardless of what we wrote above, blank books aren't all bad. Go down to your local art supply shop and pick up a large hardbound sketch book. Use anything and everything to decorate -- hot glue buttons, feathers, sequins, photos, etc. onto the cover, making sure that your original creation will coordinate with your wedding colors. This is where your personality will shine. Do you love all things frilly and fem? Let it show with lace and flowers! Are you as quirky as all get out? Decorate your wedding guestbook with army men and toy cars. Don't be shy -- anything goes!

Click to read more wedding DIY ideas

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Wedding Photography Tips

Here are five tips to help you look your best in front of the camera on your wedding day:

1. The bride is under a lot of pressure to look perfect on her wedding day. As a consequence, you may be tempted to overdo your makeup. DON'T! The best wedding photos feature a bride who looks naturally beautiful, not made up. Slather on the cosmetics if you want, just make sure you choose natural shades that will highlight your unique features.

2. Give a designated helper a list of your must-have posed wedding photographs so you don't forget any of the important ones. Even if your wedding photographer has a list, there's no guarantee he or she will remember to bring it along! Your helper can get everyone together and remind the photographer of the shots you want, leaving you free to fuss with your bridal bouquet or hair style.

3. Take your wedding photographer's suggestions to heart. He or she has probably shot scores of weddings, so they have a good idea of what works and what doesn't. That said, if you really want photos of you and your new spouse in the atrium, but it's too dark, have your wedding photographer take the shots anyway. They may turn out all arty and cool, or they may not turn out at all. Nowadays, photogs shoot digital, so it's not like you're wasting film.

4. Relax! You're going to look great in your wedding photos no matter what, so don't put a lot of pressure on yourself to mug for the camera or pose. Some of the most beautiful photographs of the bride and groom are candid shots in which the couple hasn't had a chance to pose or put on a staged smile. Just do your thing and let your photog do his or her thing. Your photos will be all the more memorable for it.

5. That said, smile! If you do feel nervous on your wedding day, smile anyway. Smiling releases feel-good hormones that will make you happy, thus causing you to smile more. It's a happy cycle, and one that can contribute to great wedding photographs!

Click to read more about wedding photography or to find a wedding photographer in your area

Friday, 2 January 2009

Wedding Glossary Pt. III

(Looking for Pt. I or Pt. II of our wedding glossary?)

If we've learned anything in the past few days, it's that weddings can be confusing! You thought you left studying behind in college, right? Us, too, but twas not to be. Knowing the terminology of wedding planning can help you make good decisions when you're buying wedding accessories and get the best deal when dealing with your wedding vendors. After all, no one can scam a bride-to-be who knows her stuff! We want to make sure that you have all the knowledge you need to plan the perfect wedding, which is exactly why we've put together a comprehensive wedding glossary for you to refer back to when things get confusing. This is Part III:

A complicated decorative form of wedding cake icing that resembles ornate lacework.

A single flower bloom or a small spray of blooms that are attached to lace (or greenery) and pinned to the front of a woman's dress or worn at her wrist. Orchids are among the most popular flower choices for wedding corsages, and at weddings they are usually only worn by female relatives of the bride and groom.

One of the things a bride may choose to wear, the crown is a fully circular gemstone or bead adorned head piece that is larger than both a half crown and tiara. In Greek Orthodox Christian weddings both the bride and groom have crowns placed on their head by the Koumbaro, who then swaps the crowns between the couple three times. (See Koumbaro)

This is a broad sash worn around a man's waist on top of his shirt but under the jacket. They are usually black, but may match the wedding colors.

This is a podium or platform raised from the floor. In wedding receptions, it is where the bride and groom are seated. The word is also used to indicate the flower display on the happy couple's table.

This is a linen or other fabric with raised patterns woven into it. Brocade is similar but of a heavier weight. The word is derived from Damascus, the capitol of Syria.

Dotted Swiss
A method of decorating the wedding cake that involves small random dots of icing.

Double Tier (veil)
A two layered veil. Usually one layer will be longer than the other.

These are the edible and brightly colored balls of sugar seen on wedding cakes.

Elbow (veil)
A length of veil that reaches down to the bride's elbows.

These are extra adornments either sewn or glued onto a bridal gown. The additions may include embroidery, lace, glass or crystal beads, ribbons, bows, shiny plastic circular pieces called sequins, fringes, pearls, and other things.

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

Click to access the entire wedding glossary

Thursday, 1 January 2009


From all of us here at Smart Wedding Planning, here's hoping that you and yours have a beautiful and auspicious 2009! If you're getting married, we wish you all the best... and we're always here to help.

So what better way to ring in the new year than with a beautiful wedding gown from Emerald Bridal? This bridal frock features a plunging V-neckline with a double ruffle of organza that is designed to stand up behind the neck, giving this gown a touch of elegance seldom seen these days. The cross-over bodice ends at the natural waistline with a pleated sash and a handmade organza flower. Lovely, no?

Click to shop for your wedding dress