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!

Tips for Planning a Beach Wedding

Do you want to get married in the sand? If you are a bride that has always dreamed of a beach wedding here are some things to consider that will make your wedding day a breeze for you and your guests.

Hire a Professional

Planning a beach wedding is not quite as easy as it seems.  There are details only a professional may consider, especially if your destination is far from home. Before you start planning, find a local wedding planner who knows the area and the details involved with pulling together a seaside ceremony.

Weather

It is always best to have a Plan B in place if you choose to tie the knot outdoors. Take the time to research wedding venues close by. Choose a location that has an indoor option in the event of bad weather. Many people will take time off work and travel for a destination wedding, so cancelling and rescheduling could complicate matters.

If the sun is on your side, still schedule your ceremony in the morning or at dusk to avoid extreme heat. Position chairs in a shady spot facing away from direct sunlight. Be sure to also research the best time of day to avoid high tides and windy conditions.

Hotels

Call a local hotel and request a room block for your guests. This helps travelers know where to stay, usually at a discount. Some travelers enjoy staying close to the wedding party and other guests so they can stay in touch through the wedding festivities.

Attire

Beach weddings are typically more casual than an indoor event. Dress and accessorize for the wind, sand, and sun. Rather than a wedding gown with a long train, choose a dress that is lighter and flows easily. Select attire that will keep you cool and won’t get ruined by a little ocean water.

Simple Ways to Make Your Guests Feel Included

If you are planning a wedding of over 100 guests, the thought of trying to make every person feel especially welcome may seem daunting.  While you can’t have a friendly conversation with everyone, here are a few ways you can create a more intimate vibe.

Place Settings

Name cards strategically placed on your reception tables is a small way to help your guests feel remembered. If they walk into a large space and are unsure of where to sit, it can be comforting to use them as a guide. People also feel honored to know that you considered them personally during your planning.  Even better, there are beautiful ways to incorporate them into your décor!  

Open the Dance Floor

Most weddings include traditional dances that everyone has grown to anticipate and adore. The first dance as a couple and the special father/daughter moment have been enjoyed for decades.  But there are also ways to invite your guests and make them feel included in the moment. Play a short song for couples married 50 years or more, then turn it over to those married between 25 and 49 years. Give every couple a chance to shine whether they are seasoned or newlyweds and don’t forget the singles of the group.

If you have the opportunity, also try to set aside a few songs to mingle with your guests. Even if it is a short dance, it will give you time to personally greet those around you.

Toasts

The maid of honor and best man may have a toast prepared for the reception. Also allowing the opportunity for a few quick shout outs from the crowd can create intimacy. It is essential that you only set aside a brief window for this to take place so the toasting does not monopolize the evening.

Some brides like to play a short game with their guests by letting them guess if the bride or the groom is “guilty” when asked a series of questions.  For example, ask, “Who will be guilty of stealing the covers in the middle of the night?” First allow those who believe the bride will be the culprit raise their hands, then follow up with those who believe it will be the groom.  It will be entertaining to see who wins the battle and your guests will feel engaged.

Greet Everyone

Your wedding is a big event and your time is limited. But, even if it is a quick hug, a personal thank you for attending your wedding goes a long way. If you are not a fan of greeting lines, spot those who you have not yet seen and make your way over to say hello. Your guests will understand it is not the time for a long conversation. Most people just want to wish you the best and show gratitude for the invitation. Just try your best to say hello to everyone.

Choosing Your First Song and Dance

Your first dance as husband and wife is such a memorable event. Let’s make it count!  If you are unsure of how to select your song, here are a few tips to get you digging through your playlist with purpose.

Express Your Love

Not every couple has “our song” and that’s OK! There are timeless pieces that represent romance and make beautiful first dance selections. You can choose a tearjerker or a tune with lyrics about unending romance.  Here are the top first dance song selections in 2018:

Tell Your Story

If you and your partner already have a song that represents YOU, this is the time to show it off. If not, choose something that doesn’t fall on the top 10 list but tells your unique story. If you started off as friends and it wasn’t love at first sight, there’s a song for that too!  A great example is, “Lucky” by Colbie Calliat and Jason Mraz.

Change Things Up

Think outside the box. You do not have to slow dance to songs about romance at your wedding. This is your day. If and your partner want to lighten the mood, choreograph a silly dance or take ballroom lessons to perform on stage. Changing things up will excite and engage your audience for a reception to remember. 

Dancing to your song is a perfect way to begin your journey and husband and wife while friends and family admire your love. Just have fun with it!