Taming Those Pre-Wedding Jitters

Your wedding day is fast approaching, and all the major planning is behind you.  Just when you think it is time to sit back, relax, and wait for the festivities to happen…you are hit hard with pre-wedding jitters. Perfectly normal.  Here are a few things you can do to help calm your nerves. 

Take a Break

You have spent hours working out details and meeting with wedding vendors over the past few months, it is only natural to feel overwhelmed! Perhaps you have woken up in the middle of the night stewing over your seating chart? This is just a sign that you need to take a break.  YES, get away for a little while.  The wedding will not fall apart if you take a breather, don’t worry!  Plan a day out with friends and have lunch or get a pedicure. If you are up for the challenge, try to not even mention the wedding. It may be the biggest part of your life right now, but after some time passes, it may be nice to think about something else for a change. 

Write it Down

After you have taken a breather, write down everything that is creating anxiety. Your list may be long and seemingly tedious, but that’s ok.  Putting your thoughts on paper may be a sweet release.  If there are some to-do items on your list that are causing extra stress, consider asking a bridesmaid to help with the task.

Now that you have a complete list of what is making you feel jitters, find a close friend to walk through it with you.  Getting some things off your chest could help ease your jitters. 

Recognize What’s Going On

If your nerves are beyond planning and details and more focused on the traits of your fiancé that tend to annoy you, be assured that you are not alone. This happens to many brides before tying the knot. Stress can make these feelings seem a little more elevated than they really are. If you are concerned that there is something deeper in your relationship that needs attention, do not delay. Find a counselor or trusted advisor and work through your concerns before walking down the aisle. 

There is a lot that goes into planning a wedding, so the feelings of fear you have are ok. Just a little TLC and time away may be just what you need!

What to Know Before Engagement Ring Shopping

Becoming engaged is very exciting.  While your friends and family will be eager to congratulate you, more than likely their first words will be, “Let me see that ring!”  It will be with you always, so if you are beginning the selection process, here is a guide for choosing your style. 

Shape and Texture

Typically, the shape of the diamond if the first thing you will select.  Square, round, and pear-shaped stones are very popular this year, and each of these options are stunning and timeless.  But, keep in mind the difference between shape and cut of your stone.  While the shape reflects its appearance, the cut describes its ability to reflect light.   Try on a variety of options, as one may look better on your finger than the next.

After you decide which shape and cut you prefer, pay choose attention to its texture. Note your preference to the stones that are smooth on the top vs. the ones with more of an angle. It may be the determining factor between a few of your top choices. 

Color

While you may already know if you prefer a gold or silver band, you may be surprised to find that adding color into your ring gives it a beautiful edge.  Look at a variety of colored diamonds and even branch out into rings with alternative stones. For example, sapphires, emeralds, and amethyst are beautiful and each carry a special meaning. Diamonds aren’t for everyone. 

Yes, some couples like to shop for engagement rings together, but you may find that your significant other will surprise you! If you have a unique preference in mind, don’t be afraid to speak up…and no need to be conventional.  

Who Will Give Me Away?

Brides have been walked down the aisle by their fathers for many generations, and it is a beautiful wedding tradition.  Unfortunately, there are varying situations that leave brides wondering who will fill the spot of “Dad” on their wedding day.  Here are some alternatives.

Close Friend or Relative

Relatives that share a close bond are always a terrific alternative when a father cannot be present.  Brothers, uncles, step fathers, or cousins who have played a significant role in your past are a great substitute. Although, they can’t take the place of a late father, it is nice to have love and support from someone special who will stand alongside.   

If there are no family members that can fill this role, reach out to close friends.  Do you have a best friend who supports you and your marriage?  Remember, this is your day…the friend does not have to be male!  

Walk Alone

If deciding who will lead you down the aisle give you away during your ceremony is not so easy, rest assured that many brides are choosing to walk alone these days.  Simply asking your officiant to leave out the terminology, “Who gives this bride away…” is okay.  Many grooms meet their bride half way down the aisle and complete the walk by her side. This gesture is sweet, romantic, and speaks volumes to the start of a new life together.  If you are choosing to walk alone, but still want to honor your father, carry one single flower or candle to symbolize and honor his presence.

If walking alone is what you choose, note that many brides find this decision to be easier if they keep the decision close to heart before the ceremony.  Gathering too many opinions can become emotionally overwhelming and possibly stir up conflicting opinions.  The choice is yours, and there is not right or wrong answer.   

Whether you walk alone, or with a loved one, remember that you will be surrounded by friends and family who are there to honor your new marriage.

How to Choose the Perfect Dress

You want to look and feel like a princess on your wedding day, and the endless available options can make any bride feel just a little overwhelmed.  Here are a few elements to keep in mind when shopping for the perfect dress. 

Your Style

Select a dress that fits appropriately with the style of your wedding.  If you are planning a beach wedding, chose an option that reflects a more casual tone.  A long evening gown with gloves to match may not flow very well in the sand and sunshine.  If you are hosting an evening ballroom reception and a church ceremony, this is where a stunning evening gown can wow the crowd. 

Body Type

Admiring a gown displayed on a mannequin does not reflect exactly how it will look on you. We are all shaped differently.  While some choices look stunning with your figure, others may not. Consider your body type and use this guide to help with the selection process.

  • Curvy: Brides with plenty of curves may want to choose a style that isn’t too snug. Accentuate a natural shape with a dress that is flowing and comfortable.
  •  Straight-Lined: These brides can look for a dress that creates curves. A tighter fit in some areas is the key to shaping a straight figure to look its best.
  •  Tall: A dress with a lower waist line that creates a curve looks exquisite on a taller bride. 
  •  Short: Higher waist-line or A-line dresses can lengthen a petite bride. In addition, a gown flowing to the ground with some accents up top can help create a taller look.
Comfort

Once you know the style and shape of the dress you need, it is crucial to keep comfort in mind.  You want to be at ease making vows at the alter and letting loose at your reception.  When you try on the perfect dress, walk around for a while.  Sit, stand, and even dance in the gown if you can get away with it.  An extra 30 minutes can make all the difference when determining if your selection will get you through an entire evening.  Most importantly, make sure you have room to add appetizers and dinner in the mix. 

Be sure to take a few trusted friends and family along and be willing to accept their honest feedback.   Together you can find the perfect gown while having lots of fun!

Creative Wedding Transportation

Finding clever, romantic transportation ideas for you and your sweetheart is one of the more fun tasks of wedding preparation.  Whether you need a lift to the reception, or just way to ride off in style, here are our top picks. 

For You

Golf Cart: If the reception venue is close, take a moment with your new hubby and have a little fun! This option is simple and affordable. Decoration is the key to making this idea a creative masterpiece.
Wedding Transportation Golf Cart

Horse and Carriage: A romantic option that allows you to travel the streets of town feeling like a princess.  Spectators will gaze with a smile as you make your way to the reception, and the photo ops are amazing! This traditional favorite will never go out of style.
Wedding Transportation Carriage

Limousine: Commuting to your reception in a limousine is a classic way to feel comfortable while you and take a small break and sip champagne amid a very busy day.  You can let the wedding party tagalong, or just spend a few minutes alone as newlyweds. Either way, a limousine offers a stress-free ride to the party and beyond.
Wedding Transportation Limo

For Your Guests

Party Bus: This is a great alternative for guests who want to enjoy themselves without the stress of driving, especially if you are offering alcoholic beverages at the reception.  It also let’s your guests stay in a party spirit!  Play some fun music, offer snacks, and encourage plenty of comradery.  Your guests will thank you for this added treat.
Wedding Transportation Bus

Getting from Point A to Point B can be stress free if you organize the logistics beforehand.  You don’t want to worry about a ride at the last minute, especially on such an important day. 

 

Keeping the Peace: Handling Family Drama at Your Wedding

Weddings are a time for celebration.  Family and friends from all sides will gather to pay their respects to the happy couple.  However, those who love you most may not share the same endearment towards one another.  Here’s what to do if you expect family drama on your wedding day.   

Separate

If you are arranging a seating chart, pay special attention to place conflicting family members on opposite ends of the reception hall.  It is not your responsibility to babysit drama on your wedding day, and a little pre-planning may go a long way to keep the peace.  Here you can find more tips for creating a seating chart.

 
Stay Neutral

It’s important, regardless of who’s side you’re on, to stay neutral through your wedding day. Protect yourself from getting wrapped up in drama that will crush your excitement.  There are plenty of last minute details that require your focus instead.  Staying neutral, and making your intentions clear, should prevent anyone from pulling you in the middle of a family war. This is not the time to be forced to take sides.  

Request Peace

If necessary, make it clear from the beginning that you wish your wedding to be a time full of happiness and joy.  It is okay to ask all parties to put personal matters aside and fully focus on the celebration.  With a bit of luck, making your wishes known in advance will give family rivals time to set aside their resentment and attend with a diplomatic heart. 

Happy weddings are peaceful weddings. Keep a close friend handy to help alleviate tension if it arises.  With a light heart and fun celebration, your wedding may even be the event that brings family together instead!

Hottest 2018 Summer Wedding Trends

This summer is all about going “natural.” Here are a few 2018 trends to help you with your dress selection, cake choice, and reception décor.  Let’s give your guest a taste of the summer season!   

Casual Dresses

While this summer welcomes a flowing and natural look, adding an oversized bow is also a hit. Many weddings this season are held on the beach, mountains, or other tranquil outdoor setting. Keeping a smooth and casual look is the perfect way to tie in nature with romance. 

Summer Dress

Colorful Cake

This summer, details and selection are what stands out at your dessert table.  Giving your cake a facelift with beautiful tiered décor, unique shapes, and add-on elements are sure to he a hit.  Be creative with your color and design to allow the sweets to become a focal point at your reception.

Summer Cake

String Lighting

String lighting is a beautiful and affordable way to make your wedding reception elegant with little effort.  It is also a perfect for adding just the right amount of illumination to an outdoor summer wedding reception.  These lights can be used as a back drop or a spectacular addition to your reception tables.  The possibilities are endless! 

Summer Lights

Make your summer wedding one to remember.  A mix of warm weather and a natural outdoor setting will create a perfect mix for your special day!

Budgeting for an Open Bar

Weddings are a time for fun and celebration…with a few cocktails in hand of course.  If you choose to have an open bar at your reception, there are a few things to keep in mind when preparing your budget. 

Numbers

The first step is to consider your numbers. Rest assured that some guests will opt for non-alcoholic choices, and some will only have one glass with dinner.  The tricky part is approximating for the crowd that likes to throw back a few and liven up the party.  A safe formula is to assume 3 drinks per guest and recognize that some will have more than others. 

Choices

Knowing your crowd will make it easier when considering how to stock your bar.  For example, if you have many guests who prefer beer, splurge on an extra keg and ease off the liquor. Reception halls that frequently serve alcohol should already be stocked with a variety of choices, which will alleviate this added pressure for you.  But, if you are responsible for preparing your bar, begin with an equal amount of choices and make substitutions where you see fit.   

Closing Time

Just because you have an open bar, does not mean it has to stay open all night.  Some brides will decide to leave an open bar until a certain time.  If the amount of alcohol consumed starts to get out of control, you can modestly close the bar at your choosing.  Some venues will allow you to set a certain dollar amount and quit serving when the tab reaches this number. You can even re-open the bar with drinks for purchase if your guests want to keep things going. Remember, leaving a bar open for any amount of time is very generous and you should not feel guilty if you need to close it down. It is recommended that you assign a trusted companion to make this decision on your behalf, so you can focus on celebrating instead.

Extra Fees

Don’t be surprised when you receive your final bill and there are bartender and restocking fees included.  You may be charged and additional service fee per hour, or just one combined fee for the evening.  Discuss these details in advance and include the numbers in your budget before you are shocked by any charges you didn’t anticipate.

Although an open bar is the most expensive option, it is certainly a crowd pleaser!

Planning for Unexpected Weather

If you are planning an outdoor wedding, you may be a little concerned about the weather. Rightfully so. But, mother nature does not need to add extra stress. Here are a few tips to work around any curve balls she may throw your way. 

Have a ‘Plan B’

Although your alternate plan in not the ideal situation, it will bring you relief in the event of unexpected weather emergencies.  Work with your planner and have the details ironed out before your big day. Also, make sure your venue is on board and ready to shuffle things around easily for any last-minute decisions to bring the party indoors. 

Party Tents

If your dream to tie the knot outdoors must happen regardless of rainfall, consider placing the meal, tables, and all other festivities inside an oversized party tent. If the weather is not perfect on your wedding day, no problem, you already have shelter.  If your special days turns out to be sunny and perfect, a tent is still great refuge from the sun. 

Insurance

In a worst-case scenario, you will be relieved if you purchased insurance that will cover any costs due to a natural disaster.  Although it may not seem like a great idea in the moment, while under the stress of a budget, think twice before you refuse an optional insurance offer if you are planning an outdoor wedding.  It also never hurts to ask all your vendors what their policy is for rescheduling or refunding in a last-minute crisis. 

Remember that you cannot control the weather, but you can embrace it and roll with the punches. So, prepare for the unexpected and have a plan just in case!

 

 

 

 

 

The Best Time for Wedding Toasts

It is a time-honored wedding tradition for key people to take the floor and give a speech to honor the happy couple. Fathers, members of the wedding party, and old friends have brought tears and laughter to celebrate old times and the new union.  Here are some tips on how best to incorporate this custom into your own reception.

Wait until everyone is seated

While there are options when deciding on what time is best for your wedding toasts, waiting until everyone is seated is the best way to keep the room engaged.  As your guests make their way to the dining hall after the ceremony, allow some time for cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and mingling. Once your guests are fed and settled with a drink in hand, it is appropriate to pull their attention to the stage and commence.  Here are a few prime opportunities to consider.

  1. During the meal: If you are not one for waiting and prefer to get the party started right away, now is a good time for toasts. Those speaking may even be grateful to eliminate any waiting, especially if they are nervous in front of a crowd. It also kicks off the party by drawing attention to the happy couple.
  2. Before the cake cutting: This is a good opportunity to grab the attention of full and happy guests. When the toasting is finished, you can direct their gaze to the wedding cake. Many times, guests can miss the cake cutting simply because they didn’t know it was taking place.
  3. Before the first dance: For some, dancing is the highlight of the party. Raising your glass and sharing stories about the happy couple is always a positive way to get the crowd cheering and ready to groove.

If your evening is set up to flow gracefully and you have someone to announce the special moments, there are plenty of opportunities to give a toast to the newlyweds. Make sure you have someone to videotaping so you can share the laughter and tears for many anniversaries to come!