Ringing in the New Year with Your Wedding

If you are planning to start the new year off at your wedding, here are some great tips and ideas to create a memorable night.

Plan early. If you have a venue or caterer in mind, book them as quickly as possible. Not only are most vendors busy with weddings, they may also be planning other functions for the holiday.

While it is customary to send save the date cards four months before your wedding, plan to send them eight months prior instead. This is a popular time of year for festivities and plans, so you want to let your guests hold the date in advance.

Plenty of Bubbly. Everyone will be excited to celebrate at midnight so stock the bar with plenty of champagne. After you allow time to toast the bride and groom, chill more bottles for the countdown. This celebration will keep your guests partying longer and excited to ring in the new year with romance.

Dance the night away. Most weddings are filled with smiles, laughter, and love. Let your New Year’s Eve celebration take the party to another level.  This is an evening where many guests will arrive in a happy spirit and ready to have a good time. It’s a great night to turn the music up a little and get rowdy for hours on the dance floor.

Decorate and honor the holiday. Remember that you are sharing your wedding night with a major holiday. Do not feel blue if ringing in the New Year shares the same amount of joy through the evening. Celebrate both by decorating, tying in festive music, and hosting a memorable countdown celebration.

What to do Right After You Become Engaged

Congratulations on your engagement! This is a very exciting time and you may be eager to get the planning underway. If you wondering where you need to begin, here are the first items to check off your list to get your planning off to a solid start.

  1. Celebrate! Even before you pick up the phone and call your family and friends, be sure you take a few minutes together to soak up the excitement. Now is a great time to pop a bottle of champagne with your new fiancé.
  2. Call your friends and family and tell them the good news! Perhaps your parents or close friends know it is coming, but they are likely eager to get a phone call from you with good news.
  3. Get your engagement ring appraised and add it to your insurance policy. Be sure to do this as quickly as you can. You want peace of mind that your ring is covered from loss, theft, or damage so you can wear it proud.
  4. Talk about the kind of wedding you want to have with your fiancé and don’t leave out any detail. Consider these sorts of items: Do you want a band or a DJ? Do you want a sit-down dinner or a buffet? Do you want to get married close to home or at a destination?
  5. Organize your budget. Before you dive into planning the details you must organize your finances. Have an honest and open conversation with your finance about how much you are willing to spend. Also consider the areas where you are willing to splurge. Now is also the time to find out if one or both sets of parents are willing to help with the costs. Once you have a budget in mind you can start considering where you want to get married and how many people to include on the guest list.
  6. Once you know how large or small your wedding will be, it is time to start drafting a guest list. The easiest way to tackle this project is to include everyone you know and start eliminating based on the size of wedding you can afford.
  7. Individually ask your wedding party to stand with you at the altar.
  8. Decide when you want to get married. This piece is important for planning. If you are eager to tie the knot soon, you need to coordinate a location fast. Many popular venues book quickly and may not have your ideal date available.
  9. Have an engagement party. Now that everyone knows the good news it is time to have a party in your honor. Some couples hold a stock the bar party, which is a great way to fill your bar for the wedding reception. This is also a good time for guests to shower you with wedding gifts.
  10. Create and send a Save the Date card. People will start asking when you planned to get married so they can organize their calendars. If you are planning a destination wedding, it is imperative that you send these early, even as early as 12 months prior to your wedding date.

Getting Healthy for the Big Day

All brides want to look their best when they walk down the aisle. Whether you are a fitness enthusiast or not, here are some practical tips to help you feel your best on your wedding day.

Start early. If you have decided to begin a new diet or fitness routine, the earlier you dive in the better. While you may feel great initially, it may take a little time to see visible results. This is normal. Do plenty of research on the plan you choose and set realistic goals. Avoid overworking yourself and trying to reach a goal too quickly. You want to feel great AND take good care of yourself.

Have an accountability partner. Whether your fiancé or a good friend steps in as your cheerleader, have a trusted companion help track your goals, keep you motivated, and celebrate your victories. Someone by your side holding you accountable makes it easier to stay on track.

Do it in a healthy way. It is imperative that the diet and fitness plan you choose is good for your body and mind. Crash dieting is never a good idea. Even if you are seeing quick results, the last thing you want on your wedding day is a blood sugar crash down the aisle. If you choose a fad diet or starve yourself to lose weight quickly, you may find yourself in a worse place as your body starts to store fat and recover itself from lost calories.

If you have decided on a health/fitness plan to prepare for your wedding, congratulations! Just don’t stop there. Once you finally tie the knot, keep things going. The hard part is already done.

How to Check Out and In During Your Honeymoon

There are many details to cover when planning a wedding. You meet vendors, budget, and organize until you feel like you have taken on an extra part-time job. Just keep in mind that after your perfect day is over, you get to relax on a much-needed vacation with your partner. The key word here is RELAX. Here is how to balance time away with the reality of life at home.

Set aside time. For some of us it may be easy to power off your cell phone and detach for a week or two. If you are one of those fortunate people, be grateful. If you have kids, a business, or family at home that make it difficult to go MIA. Just be sure you find a way to balance your time. Remember, the purpose of your honeymoon is to celebrate a new chapter with your spouse. Here are a few tips to help you stay engaged and keep your peace of mind:

1. Let your partner know in advance that you need to take a block of time on certain days to check in. If you disappear unannounced, they may feel neglected.
2. Honor the time you set aside and get back to your romantic getaway as quickly as you can. Make short phone calls and keep your business interactions efficient.
3. Put the phone, computer, or tablet aside and power it off when it is not in use so you can stay fully engaged during your honeymoon activities.
4. Give a trusted family member and friend your hotel information just in case they need to reach out in an emergency. This will give you peace of mind when you power off your electronics.
5. Keep the social media posting at a minimum. If you want to share photos, consider waiting until you return home.

Photo Ideas for Fall

Fall is a popular time of year to tie the knot, or just take scenic photos for your upcoming wedding. Now, the summer heat has finally subsided, and nature has created its very own picturesque backdrop. No doubt this is the best time of year to get outdoors and create those fantastic photo memories.

Engagement Ideas

If you and your beau are planning to take engagement photos, this is the best time of year to catch a few lighthearted candid moments. Yes, romantic photos are perfect for the album, but the memories of the two of you playing in nature is sure to spark extra joy. Roll around in the leaves and climb a tree together. Just spend a day having fun and let the photographer do the work. The best photo opportunities happen when you aren’t thinking about the camera.

Save the Date

It makes no difference what time of year you plan to get hitched; Fall is the perfect time of year to create a romantic and sweet Save the Date card. The crisp air gives you an excuse to cozy up together and be romantic. Once you snap the perfect photo, print them onto a save the date card and send them off!

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Wedding Memories

If you are getting married during the Fall months, take your wedding party outside for posed pictures. Most photographers allow time before the reception for this to take place. You may want some indoors or at the altar, but if you mix them in with outdoor shots your wedding album will have an amazing mix.  

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How to Select the Right Vendor for You

Amidst planning a wedding, you will sit down with many vendors.  With so many options available, narrowing down your choices may seem a bit overwhelming. Keep in mind that not all companies are created equal.  Here are few things to consider to assure you find the right person for the job.

Personality

First impressions are a big deal.  When you walk into someone’s shop, do you feel welcome? Do you feel like there is chemistry during the initial greeting? Where some brides prefer efficiency, others may want a little more personality. When comparing two choices, strongly consider the one that best suits your character. Remember, you will be working with this person throughout the planning process and they may be present on your wedding day!

Pricing

For brides on a budget, price is defining factor. A few things can determine why a vendor has quoted you a higher price. It could be high overhead costs, better quality, or even greater demand. If you choose the company that offers the lowest price, just be sure they offer comparable features. Do a little research by checking customer reviews, requesting references, and taking the time talk to other brides who are familiar with their service.

Availability

Yes, it is necessary to confirm that your vendor of choice is available on your wedding day. This is one of the first items that should be covered. After you fall in love with a certain company it is hard to steer in a different direction. If your preferred selection has a team member you want to work with, be sure to make that request in advance as some companies may have a full schedule. The earlier you choose your vendors the better your chances of booking them for your day.   

Wedding Invitation Mistakes to Avoid

After the guest list is finalized and you have selected your stationary, it is time to address and add verbiage to your wedding invitations.  This is a very exciting process, but there are a few common missteps that you want to avoid.  Here they are.

Too much information in a small space.

Have you every passed a sign on the road that had so much information you couldn’t digest any of it? While a wedding invitation is in hand and you can focus more on the details, too much in a small space can be a little overwhelming. It also robs your stationary of its beauty. You want to find the right balance of saying enough, but not too much. Create a bulleted list of the essential details and use as few words a possible to pass them along.  Any extra fluff can get lost and jumbled.  

Including registry information.

While some of your guests will wonder where you are registered, your wedding invitation is not the place to list those details. Your wedding party can help to spread the word for those who ask, or you can include it on your wedding website. Adding this on the invitation can be a little off-putting and requesting a gift is disrespectful.

Failure to proofread.

Once you have finalized the verbiage on your invitation be sure to proofread! Check and re-check, then have a friend check behind you.  The last thing you want is a typo or grammatical error not to be found.  Some brides will even frame and display their invitations, so keep it clean and error free.

Not adding enough postage.

Some stationary is thick and heavy requiring more postage than regular mail. Rather than purchasing a book of stamps and dropping your bulk into the mailbox, take your stack to the post office and have it weighed.  If you are working within a window of time to receive RSVP’s, it is essential each invitation is mailed properly.  Also include accurate postage to the return cards. Your guests should not have to supply their own postage to respond to your invitation.  

Not ordering enough.

Always order more than you need!  It is unavoidable, there will be mistakes made that require a re-do. You may also realize last minute that you accidentally forgot a co-worker or friend on your guest list. Have some extra invitations on hand just in case.

How to Select the Best Wedding Favors

Wedding favors are always an added treat for your guests, especially those who are traveling from out of town. While you don’t need to spend a fortune or go over the top, a small gift that comes from the heart is a great way to show appreciation to your guests.  

Consider edible treats.

Select a favor that represents the location of your wedding ceremony. If you are tying the knot at the beach, fill your gift bags with saltwater taffy.  If there is a popular specialty cocktail in the area, create a small kit with the essential ingredients for your guests to make one of their own.  Don’t forget to attach a small print out of the recipe. For guest who are staying at a hotel, snacks and added beverages are a bonus.

Represent your roots.

Fill a gift bag with favors that represent your history. If you and your finance grew up in the country and love southern cooking, include a small bag of biscuit mix, jam, or local honey. If you are urban dwellers, find a key chain or charm that represents your city. Perhaps gardening is your passion, put together a small kit filled with a painted flowerpot, seeds, and a small bag of soil.  Just be sure the contents in the bag signify you.

Keep the theme.

Consider giving a gift bag that is fitting of your wedding theme.  For a summer wedding, pack a gift bag filled with sunglasses, a beach towel, and sand toys. Winter wedding bags could include gloves, a hat, snowball kit, and so on. If you want to be more specific to your theme, add a small treat from your dessert table, or incorporate colorful goodies that match your ensemble.

While most wedding favors are left at hotels for out of town guests only, feel free to spread the love and leave your gift bags at a welcome table. Don’t forget to include personal note and let everyone know how excited you are to have them by your side to celebrate!

Beautiful Hair Accessories for Your Wedding Day

Every bride wants to look their best when they walk down the aisle. To create the perfect look, start with the right gown. Then move on to a complimentary hairstyle and makeup pallet selection. Finally, add a touch of glamour by including a beautiful hair accessory. If you like the idea but are unsure of how to select the right hair piece for you, here are a few ideas to get you started.

Crowns

One of the most prevalent pieces you can include in your look is a crown. These have been worn by brides for decades and certainly give you the look of a princess.  If a traditional style crown is not for you, consider a more subtle look such as a floral wreath or decorative piece that sits flat.

Headbands

Headbands offer a classic and timeless look.  They are more subtle than crowns and help to set your hairstyle. Depending on your gown, you can find headbands that offer a diamond sparkle. Or go floral instead to blend nicely with the colors of your bouquet.

Hairpins

Hair pins are elusive, beautiful and serve functionally to hold your hairstyle in place. When selecting pins, be sure to match them closely with your other jewelry and select the correct size for your length and style. Hairpins are typically used for half up half down looks.

Hair Combs

Decorative hair combs also offer a subtle vibe.  They are less functional so you can choose your piece after selecting your hair style.  When setting your comb, use elastic bands to help hold it in place to guarantee it will not fall out.

Ways to Include Your Pup in the Wedding Festivities

Is your dog your best friend? If so, then why would he or she miss out on your special day? Here are some adorable ways you can bring Fido along to celebrate in style.

Engagement Photos

There is nothing more loveable than a happy, furry friend. If your photographer is on board, bring the little guy to spruce up your photo shoot. Mix your album with playful candid shots alongside romantic moments of you walking him or her together.  If your dog can sit still, try for an image with each of you on opposite sides kissing a cheek. Just be patient and bring lots of treats!

The Perfect Ring Bearer

This task should be designated for obedient friends. The key to letting your dog take on this important role is practice and abundant praise for obeying. Make sure the rings are situated in a place where they cannot be reached and swallowed.  Secure them tightly in a pouch to keep them from falling out in a moment of playfulness or excitement.

Adorable Greeter

Give your dog the special task of greeting your guests…unless your dog is likely to jump. Dogs are happy to see new faces and they offer a warm welcome. Allow them to hold a sign around their neck and navigate the crowd to the pre-wedding festivities. Make sure they sport a bow or bowtie, so they are also dressed for the occasion.

Include Them in Your Vows

If both you and your partner are bringing a dog into your new family, include them in the wedding vows. Each of you add a line and commit to loving them forever too!