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Planning Wedding Ideas

  • While a lot of focus is placed on the bride’s wedding attire, there are a lot of decisions to be made for the groom as well – such as, what will the groom wear?  Most people think ‘tuxedo’ or ‘suit,’ but there are a slew of ideas when it comes to what the groom will wear.  Here are a few things you should consider when planning your soon-to-be husband’s wedding attire.

     


    Photo by Shaun & Skyla Walton, Groom's Attire by Express Men

     

    Will the Wedding be Formal or Informal?

    One of the most important factors in deciding what the groom will wear is whether the wedding will be formal or informal, and to what degree.  For instance, if your wedding will be very formal, your groom should probably go all out, including:

    Tuxedo Tie or Bowtie (depending upon personal taste) Vest Cufflinks

    This ensemble provides a nice, formal style without creating the stiff look that many grooms are opposed to.  By choosing colors for the vest and tie which complement the bride’s gown, the look can be very stylish and dapper.

     

    If the wedding is more informal, but you want your groom to stand out from his groomsmen and still appear very stylish and charming, you can mix it up a bit.  For instance, rather than wearing a tuxedo, your groom can go with a formal suit and tie.  With or without the vest, this look can be very charming.

     

    What Will the Groom Wear for a Destination Wedding?

    Destination weddings and informal weddings are a lot of fun because you can break away from the traditional.  For instance, for a destination wedding to Hawaii or Jamaica the groom may be able to wear very informal clothing which still looks handsome and proper.  For this situation, you may want to mix up the beach and tropical elements with dressy clothing.  Here are a few ideas:

    Dress Slacks or Khakis Short-Sleeve, Collared, Button-Up Shirt Bare Feet or Sandals Tropical or Hawaiian Shirt

    If you will be wearing a beautiful but more casual dress, your groom can get away with the short-sleeved or tropical shirts and khakis.  Bare feet are wonderful for a beach wedding, but this is a matter of your personal preference and taste.

     

    What Will the Groom Wear for a Themed Wedding?

    For a themed wedding, deciding what the groom will wear can be a lot of fun!  Sometimes, working around a specific theme can make the decision a lot easier.  For instance, if you will be having a fairytale wedding, the groom can wear a classic black tuxedo with a buttoned, collared shirt, vest and gloves.  Or, he can don a handsome velvet jacket to marry his princess!

     

    Spend some time with your groom, determining what he’s willing to wear and what he’s definitely opposed to.  By considering these questions and looking at different groom attire online and in magazines, you can find something that both you and your groom will love!

     

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  • Can't decide on just one color palette for your wedding or party? Include a rainbow of colors via polka dots! This happy fun sparkly polka dot invitation paper was the perfect inspiration.



    To create this look, you can wrap long skinny glass vases in polka dot paper. Wrap your silverware in coordinating polka dot ribbon. Then fill the long skinny vases with huge dot cookies on a stick!


    For your cake decor, bake your round sugar cookies and decide what colors work for you. Decorate the cake accordingly - and then you can eat any leftover cookies!


     


     Images courtesy: i am baker

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  • Flowers are a beautiful addition to any wedding – creating color, detail and composing a huge part of the entire wedding décor. In fact, most brides devote between 10% and 15% of their wedding budgets to the flowers. Your florist can be a huge help to you as you make the decisions about how many flowers you need, what kind and how much to spend. Here are some important questions to ask the florist before the wedding.

     

    Photo by Jen Huang, Flowers by Sarah Winward

     

    What Flowers Will Be In Season at the Time of My Wedding?

    This is one of the first questions to ask the florist you’re considering hiring for the wedding. Not only will it allow you to gauge the experience of the florist, but also using ‘in season’ flowers will save you a lot of money. Let your florist know what colors you want and see if he or she can suggest in-season flowers in the colors you’ve chosen.

     

    What Can We Do with My Budget?

    Your florist should be able to provide you with as many flowers as possible for your budget. You will probably need flowers for the centerpieces, décor, bouquets, flower girls, boutonniere and more. Let your florist know what your flower budget is and everything you need flowers for so he or she can help you order the flowers you need without overspending.

     

    Can I See Samples of Your Past Work?

    This is another one of the most important questions to ask the florist. You want to know how knowledgeable he or she is and what sorts of things they can do with floral arrangements. Ask to see pictures of past weddings and the flowers used. If your florist has done weddings in the past at your ceremony or reception location, that’s even better! Ask to see those pictures – not only will it give you an idea of their experience and talent, but it may give you some ideas on how to decorate for your own reception or wedding.

     


    Photo by Rebecca Amber Photography

     

    What Flowers Are Best for the Time of Year I Will be Married?

    Since many delicate flowers wilt quickly in hot weather, it’s important that you know which flowers will last if you’ll be married in summer. Keep in mind that many flowers wilt quickly regardless of the temperature and you don’t want a wedding full of withered flowers. Be sure to mark this on your list of questions to ask the florist well in advance so you can plan accordingly.

     

    Don’t be shy when asking your florist questions. You’re essentially hiring a florist and most people conduct an interview before hiring, right? Create a list of questions to ask the florist so you don’t forget anything. By carefully listening to the answers you receive, you can determine whether or not to hire a particular florist for your wedding.

     

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  • How do you sift through all the wedding inspiration to create an event that's a true reflection of you as a couple? With so many ideas out there, it's easy to get overwhelmed when planning your big day. Sometimes the wedding industry or even family and friends have their own ideas of what your wedding should look like.

    For a little perspective on this issue, we recently chatted with wedding planner Beth Helmstetter. She's one of our favorite wedding planners and designers, assisting everyone from celebrities and athletes to everyday brides and grooms in planning their weddings. Beth's design sense (pretty and effortless, we think!), business savvy, and calm demeanor make her the perfect partner to plan your wedding with. Luckily, Beth was kind enough to share some planning ideas with us. Here are Beth's top five tips for creating a personalized wedding concept:



     1. Do What You Love

    Forget everything you've ever heard about having to have a set color scheme, crisp white linens, classic tuxedos and so on. When designing your wedding, think about what you really love and find a way to pull it together. It doesn't have to "match" it just has to reflect your style. If you are clean and modern, go that direction. If you are a classic beauty, let that inspire your day. If you are eclectic in your every day life, then why would your wedding be any different?



    2. Consider Approachability above Over-the-Top

    The most successful weddings are not necessarily the most expensive. Instead they are the ones that create a comfortable atmosphere where guests can relax and enjoy. I like to throw in a few simple but unexpected details to remind guests that they are not at their every day wedding.



    3. Go Residential

    When thinking about comfort, what comes to mind? For me and many of my clients, it's our homes. Adding touches throughout your event that remind people of being at home such as couches, rugs and dressers is not only a great design addition but also a good way to set the tone for your guests.

    4. Make Your Own Rules

    Don't be confined by tradition and etiquette unless that's who you are as a couple. Breaking the rules a bit can not only be fun, but also give your guests a new experience. A great example is the "tattoo parlor" that was at one of our recent events. The couple was a little edgy and this was the perfect favor and activity for their style.



     
    5. Be the Life of the Party

    If you want to have a wedding where guests dance into the wee hours of the night, then you must dance until the wee hours of the night. If you want a low-key dinner party with great conversation, then start talking. Simply put, guests are there to celebrate you and will follow your lead in how to act at your wedding day.

    For a celebration that is truly about you and your love, consider adapting some of Beth's tips to your own wedding plan. Toss the rules out the window, forget about impressing people and stay true to who you are in your everyday life.

    Photos courtesy of Jonathan Canlas. Special thanks to Beth Helmstetter.

     

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  • Your vision of your wedding day is absolutely perfect – complete with smiling bridesmaids, charming groom and breathtaking décor. No matter how much planning and scheming you do to make your ceremony perfect, though – you simply can’t control what Mother Nature has in store for your big day. Here are some tips and tricks that will help you prepare for bad wedding weather.

     


    Photo by Lucida Photography

    Outdoor Wedding

    If you will be having an outdoor wedding, it’s important that you have a plan B if bad wedding weather should come your way. The last thing you want is for all of your guests to become soaked and dripping during the ceremony. There are several options you can use to protect your guests and keep the ceremony going.

    Tents – if you live in an area of the country where rain showers or thunder storms can visit unexpectedly, tents are a great way to keep dry. There are even massive tents available which would accommodate the entire reception. The thing to remember about this option is that it can get pretty hot under those tents and pretty expensive as well.
      Moving Indoors – having a plan B is pretty important if you want your wedding to continue without many problems. If you’ll be having your wedding on the grounds of a hotel or mansion, can you move indoors if need be? Speak with the staff and determine what is appropriate if the need should arise– chances are they’ve dealt with bad wedding weather before!
      Alternative Venue – although this is a bit of a frustration and can cost an arm and a leg, you might consider having an alternative venue for the reception if it looks like it will rain during the ceremony. You need careful planning in advance so you can easily move to the alternate location on the day of the wedding if need be.

    Other Ways to Prepare for Bad Wedding Weather

    Think about your wedding location and time of year and consider what sorts of bad wedding weather you may have to deal with. For instance, if you choose to marry on a beautiful beach, it could probably get pretty windy. You may want to plan an updo rather than leaving your hair down, and provide some sort of shelter. If a rather large breeze picks up, you don’t want sand flying into your guests’ eyes and hair.

     

    On the other hand, it has been said that rain on the wedding day ensures that the bride will shed no tears during her marriage. If it does rain on your wedding day, just remember that rain is considered a blessing rather than a bad omen; contrary to popular belief. If you plan for bad wedding weather early in the planning, you can be prepared to switch things up at the last minute and still enjoy your beautiful day!

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  • Bridal Shower Games - Bingo!

    Bridal shower bingo is a fun variation on traditional bingo that's an enjoyable way to pass the time at bridal showers. Like regular bingo, bridal shower bingo uses a card with five rows, each of which has five boxes. But instead of numbers, in bridal shower bingo each box has a wedding-related word or words, such as newlywed, honeymoon ... or even bridal shower.

    Playing bridal shower bingo is a terrific, easy-to-play bridal shower activity - everyone knows how to play bingo, so there's no need for any complicated instructions. Pre-printed or blank cards for bridal shower bingo can be purchased as party stores or ordered online. Many websites offer free printable cards for bridal shower bingo, or you can make customized bridal shower bingo cards on your home computer. By making the bridal shower bingo cards yourself, they can include the names of the bride and groom and other personalized words, like the wedding location and/or theme.

    Another way to customize bridal shower bingo is to give each guest a blank card when she arrives, and ask her to fill in the boxes with shower gifts she thinks the bride is going receive. (Since it's unlikely that more than 24 totally different gifts - the number of empty boxes on each card - will be given, especially at a small party, it's okay to write the same gift in two separate boxes.) When it's time to open the gifts, each guest will cross off her own bridal shower bingo card, and the first one to get five in a row wins a prize.

     

     

    Bridal shower games - bingo basics:

    Bridal shower bingo is played just like regular bingo. In advance, the hostess will have compiled a long list of wedding-related words and written each one on slips of papers, which are then folded and put in a paper bag. Every guest is given a marker and a bridal shower bingo card with 24 of the wedding-related words printed on it in random order - like conventional bingo, the middle square is "FREE". When bridal shower bingo is played, the slips are drawn out one at a time, the hostess announces the word on each, and guests then look for that word on their bridal shower bingo card and cross it off if they have it. The winner is the first guest who gets five marked-off squares in a straight line, either horizontal, vertical or diagonal.

    Depending on the number of bridal shower bingo cards that are prepared in advance and how long it takes to play the game, bridal shower bingo can be played more than once during a shower. If the first game goes very quickly and the guests seem really into it, play a second game of bridal shower bingo right away. Have the winner of the first game be the one to call out the words in the second game of bridal shower bingo.

    Here's a sample bridal shower bingo game card from bridalshowerbingo.org, which provides free printable cards and instructions on putting together your own customized version of bridal shower bingo:

     

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  • While some women have been choosing their bridesmaids since they first caught sight of a wedding dress (like at age five)...others tend to gravitate to close companions, sisters, and favorite cousins. However, choosing bridesmaids can affect some of the details of wedding and you never want to settle for selecting someone just because you feel obligated. This is your special day and in order to make sure that it unfolds accordingly, don’t let others put pressure on your decisions.


    Photo by Paper Antler

    Choosing the Number of Bridesmaids

    For some, limiting the number of bridesmaids means cutting the overall wedding costs for flowers, dresses, shoes, accessories, gifts, luncheon costs, and the rehearsal dinner. You should research potential costs before choosing bridesmaids to make sure you have enough money for their inclusion. Also, never ask a friend to become your bridesmaid if your only reason is that you were part of her wedding.

    Choosing the Right Bridesmaids

    A bridal party usually consists of between two to 12 attendants. Who do you want to turn to when important decisions arise; your final days as a bachelorette near; and you need a shoulder to cry on? If you want a drama-free wedding, I suggest considering bridesmaids that embody the role of the perfect 'little helper.' A few qualities to consider, include:

    Cooperative: Since this is your special day, chosen bridesmaids should be willing to wear a dress that may not look flattering or appeal to their personal preferences. While you can always listen to the concerns of your bridesmaids, they shouldn’t demand the type of dress they will wear.

    Reliable: There will be fittings, rehearsals, and of course, the ceremony to tend to. Choose bridesmaids that will arrive on time and are ready to shine.

    Helpful: Bridesmaids that are willing to help out at every turn will make your life much easier. Consider the women in your life most likely to assist in shopping, running errands, and handling pesky wedding details.

    Out-of-Town Bridesmaids

    When choosing bridesmaids, there is another consideration to keep in mind. What additional costs or arrangements are needed when you choose an attendant that lives out of town? For starters, she's going to need a place to stay when she comes to try on dresses and/or attend other wedding-related get-togethers. It is common for the bride to foot the bill for out-of-the-ordinary expenses connected to the wedding.

    Overall, bridesmaids are there to help a bride keep her sanity while traveling the road heading towards matrimony. Who will share this important journey with you?

     

     

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  • To Wear: We dressed our bride in a clever, interchangeable ensemble from Elizabeth Dye. The exquisite, structured top is made from silk satin. Multiple skirt options make sure you are dressed right for the day's festivities. For the ceremony, we added a soft tulle skirt, dyed to just the right "ballerina pink" hue. A large handmade flower completes the look with a sweet silk flower in her hair as well. For the after party, consider this adorable green silk organza skirt! Paired with some killer high heels, it will ensure you have lots of fun at your party. A fluff of handmade poppies and roses embellish the waistline.Our bride rocked two hair styles. A soft, side chignon and a sweet and flirty side braid. Both created by Madeline Roosevelt.









    To Decorate: Our deceptively elegant table is really quite budget friendly. We started with basic rentals: ivory linen cloth (to the floor) and gold Chivari chairs. Homemade linen napkins and thrifted plates and utensils make up the place settings. For the centerpiece, we gathered inexpensive gold candlesticks from thrift stores (around $1 each). The gorgeous, tall candles are from our favorite candle company, Creative Candles. They have a wide array of colors so you can find the perfect hue for your table. Two sweet flower pots of peony stems complete the look. For fun, we added some gold swans! Two thrifted swans (less than $5 at a thrift store) were added to the table. We also decorated the room with a few larger gold swans filled with peonies.







    To Eat:  Instead of a traditional wedding cake, consider a croquembouche! A croquembouche is French dessert made from a tower of cream puffs and is dressed with caramel. Not only is it delicious, but it's gorgeous and festive as well! Ours is from Portland-based La Provence Bakery.



    Enjoy implementing these playful but elegant touches to your wedding!


    Credits + Sources:


    Photography: Lisa Warninger. Dresses + wardrobe styling: Elizabeth Dye. Hair and Makeup: Madeline Roosevelt. Prop and floral styling: Chelsea Fuss.Model: Hannah Osborn. Assistants: Lauren Willhite and Amber Johnstun. Headband: Twigs and Honey. Additional flowers: The English Dept. Table card holder: Cabin 7. Large gold swans: Fish Bone Deco. Croquembouche: La Provence Bakery. Candles: Creative Candles.


     

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  • Whether you want to get married with the summer sun shining upon your face or need to work your plans around family and friends, setting the wedding date can become a much trickier task than first expected. When setting the wedding date, it is important to take notice to the many factors that can affect the planning of nuptials. For example, will your favorite uncle be able to attend? Is it possible to book the church of your choice in less than six months?

    A few factors to consider when setting the wedding date, include:

    Setting the Wedding Date First

    Most couples usually have preconceived notions for their wedding date, which may include the season, holiday ideas, sentimental value, and overall time of the year. It is quite popular to decide on a date first and then locate sites and services that work around your decision. 

    Setting the Wedding Date Second

    However, there are some couples who have their heart set on a winery wedding in June or a particular destination, which sometimes requires setting the wedding date after the ceremony location, reception site, and other related services (like caterer or photographer) have been selected.

    Family and Friends' Schedules

    When you begin the not-so-easy task of setting the wedding date, I am almost positive a few glitches or complications will emerge. It's pretty obvious that planning a wedding close to Christmas will surely produce a few no-shows, but did you count on Grandma's gall bladder surgery scheduled for July? If you are dead-set on having close friends and family members at your wedding, then it's a good idea to check any unforeseeable events in their lives that could disrupt their attendance.

    Consider the Wedding Party

    Setting the date for a wedding will ultimately affect the people closest to you. Will all your bridesmaids be able to attend? For out-of-town attendants, will weather conditions pose a problem? What about vacations that attendants and guests may already have planned for the summer months?

    Wedding Site Availability

    Take into account the busy schedules of the churches, synagogues, and other wedding sites.

    Wedding Facilities

    Are you planning to wed at a facility with a reputation of seeing its fair share of father-daughter dances? It's a good idea to check availability for the facilities and sites you already have in mind. Some locations are booked solid for years in advance.

    In-Demand Services

    Don't forget to research the wedding related services of your choice. For example, some photographers are in extremely high demand for their wedding services, while it's a good thing to know that the pastry chef of your choice vacations in October.

    Photos by Gene Higa

     

     

     

     

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  • It's the place where family and friends gather to enjoy heartfelt toasts and comical best man speeches…the place where roses and fondant bring wedding cake dreams to life…and where the 'first dance' melts the hearts of onlookers. Thanks to the reception venue, we share that unforgettable moment when a newly married couple first greets the public as 'husband' and 'wife.'

    How will you plan one of the most important parties of your life?

    I hate to break your thoughts of clinking champagne glasses and tossing the fateful bouquet of flowers, but there's a bit of planning to sort out. Locating and securing the perfect reception venue for your wedding depends on many different factors.


    Photos by KT Merry

    Price

    I probably don’t have to tell you that one of the hardest aspects of planning a wedding is sticking to a budget and juggling the costs of both necessities and desires. Whether your reception is held at a ritzy hotel, winery, or backyard – get a good grasp on your expenses. What will everything cost? For rented reception venues, don’t forget to inquire about cake cutting fees, silverware, tables and chairs, and cleanup options. Also, read the fine print regarding the food and drink minimum.

    Read local reception reviews now!

    Proximity

    In the hustle and bustle of preparation, I know you'll want to visit your reception venue at least a couple of times before your big day. We've all heard about the decorating drama and last-minute snafus that have happened to the next bride. However, if it takes an hour or so to drive out to the venue, you risk facing a cumbersome journey when you need to iron out minor details.

    Location

    The location of your reception venue also plays an important role. For starters, will it provide ample parking for your guests? Will guests have trouble locating the venue? Lastly, how far do you want family and friends to travel after the festivities have come to a close? While you want to host an unforgettable celebration, take into account the safety, convenience, and comfort that your reception venue will provide.


    Photo by Annabella Charles

    Ambience

    Choosing a suitable wedding reception venue will most certainly help set the tone for your special day. Does the reception venue complement the number of guests you expect to attend? Is there enough room to accommodate all involved, including the band, serving lines, and mingling singles? Do you want an intimate, cozy setting or a larger-than-life extravaganza that resonates with matrimonial bliss? When you step into a possible reception venue, does the space feel 'right?'

    Overall, the reception venue provides the setting where guests and the wedding party can let down their hair, share good times, and admire the twinkling eyes of newlyweds in love. It's also the perfect time for you to let out that deep sigh of relief – I'm married now!

     

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  • While a lot of focus is placed on the bride’s wedding attire, there are a lot of decisions to be made for the groom as well – such as, what will the groom wear?  Most people think ‘tuxedo’ or ‘suit,’ but there are a slew of ideas when it comes to what the groom will wear.  Here are a few things you should consider when planning your soon-to-be husband’s wedding attire.

     


    Photo by Shaun & Skyla Walton, Groom's Attire by Express Men

     

    Will the Wedding be Formal or Informal?

    One of the most important factors in deciding what the groom will wear is whether the wedding will be formal or informal, and to what degree.  For instance, if your wedding will be very formal, your groom should probably go all out, including:

    Tuxedo Tie or Bowtie (depending upon personal taste) Vest Cufflinks

    This ensemble provides a nice, formal style without creating the stiff look that many grooms are opposed to.  By choosing colors for the vest and tie which complement the bride’s gown, the look can be very stylish and dapper.

     

    If the wedding is more informal, but you want your groom to stand out from his groomsmen and still appear very stylish and charming, you can mix it up a bit.  For instance, rather than wearing a tuxedo, your groom can go with a formal suit and tie.  With or without the vest, this look can be very charming.

     

    What Will the Groom Wear for a Destination Wedding?

    Destination weddings and informal weddings are a lot of fun because you can break away from the traditional.  For instance, for a destination wedding to Hawaii or Jamaica the groom may be able to wear very informal clothing which still looks handsome and proper.  For this situation, you may want to mix up the beach and tropical elements with dressy clothing.  Here are a few ideas:

    Dress Slacks or Khakis Short-Sleeve, Collared, Button-Up Shirt Bare Feet or Sandals Tropical or Hawaiian Shirt

    If you will be wearing a beautiful but more casual dress, your groom can get away with the short-sleeved or tropical shirts and khakis.  Bare feet are wonderful for a beach wedding, but this is a matter of your personal preference and taste.

     

    What Will the Groom Wear for a Themed Wedding?

    For a themed wedding, deciding what the groom will wear can be a lot of fun!  Sometimes, working around a specific theme can make the decision a lot easier.  For instance, if you will be having a fairytale wedding, the groom can wear a classic black tuxedo with a buttoned, collared shirt, vest and gloves.  Or, he can don a handsome velvet jacket to marry his princess!

     

    Spend some time with your groom, determining what he’s willing to wear and what he’s definitely opposed to.  By considering these questions and looking at different groom attire online and in magazines, you can find something that both you and your groom will love!

     

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  • Can't decide on just one color palette for your wedding or party? Include a rainbow of colors via polka dots! This happy fun sparkly polka dot invitation paper was the perfect inspiration.



    To create this look, you can wrap long skinny glass vases in polka dot paper. Wrap your silverware in coordinating polka dot ribbon. Then fill the long skinny vases with huge dot cookies on a stick!


    For your cake decor, bake your round sugar cookies and decide what colors work for you. Decorate the cake accordingly - and then you can eat any leftover cookies!


     


     Images courtesy: i am baker

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  • Flowers are a beautiful addition to any wedding – creating color, detail and composing a huge part of the entire wedding décor. In fact, most brides devote between 10% and 15% of their wedding budgets to the flowers. Your florist can be a huge help to you as you make the decisions about how many flowers you need, what kind and how much to spend. Here are some important questions to ask the florist before the wedding.

     

    Photo by Jen Huang, Flowers by Sarah Winward

     

    What Flowers Will Be In Season at the Time of My Wedding?

    This is one of the first questions to ask the florist you’re considering hiring for the wedding. Not only will it allow you to gauge the experience of the florist, but also using ‘in season’ flowers will save you a lot of money. Let your florist know what colors you want and see if he or she can suggest in-season flowers in the colors you’ve chosen.

     

    What Can We Do with My Budget?

    Your florist should be able to provide you with as many flowers as possible for your budget. You will probably need flowers for the centerpieces, décor, bouquets, flower girls, boutonniere and more. Let your florist know what your flower budget is and everything you need flowers for so he or she can help you order the flowers you need without overspending.

     

    Can I See Samples of Your Past Work?

    This is another one of the most important questions to ask the florist. You want to know how knowledgeable he or she is and what sorts of things they can do with floral arrangements. Ask to see pictures of past weddings and the flowers used. If your florist has done weddings in the past at your ceremony or reception location, that’s even better! Ask to see those pictures – not only will it give you an idea of their experience and talent, but it may give you some ideas on how to decorate for your own reception or wedding.

     


    Photo by Rebecca Amber Photography

     

    What Flowers Are Best for the Time of Year I Will be Married?

    Since many delicate flowers wilt quickly in hot weather, it’s important that you know which flowers will last if you’ll be married in summer. Keep in mind that many flowers wilt quickly regardless of the temperature and you don’t want a wedding full of withered flowers. Be sure to mark this on your list of questions to ask the florist well in advance so you can plan accordingly.

     

    Don’t be shy when asking your florist questions. You’re essentially hiring a florist and most people conduct an interview before hiring, right? Create a list of questions to ask the florist so you don’t forget anything. By carefully listening to the answers you receive, you can determine whether or not to hire a particular florist for your wedding.

     

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  • How do you sift through all the wedding inspiration to create an event that's a true reflection of you as a couple? With so many ideas out there, it's easy to get overwhelmed when planning your big day. Sometimes the wedding industry or even family and friends have their own ideas of what your wedding should look like.

    For a little perspective on this issue, we recently chatted with wedding planner Beth Helmstetter. She's one of our favorite wedding planners and designers, assisting everyone from celebrities and athletes to everyday brides and grooms in planning their weddings. Beth's design sense (pretty and effortless, we think!), business savvy, and calm demeanor make her the perfect partner to plan your wedding with. Luckily, Beth was kind enough to share some planning ideas with us. Here are Beth's top five tips for creating a personalized wedding concept:



     1. Do What You Love

    Forget everything you've ever heard about having to have a set color scheme, crisp white linens, classic tuxedos and so on. When designing your wedding, think about what you really love and find a way to pull it together. It doesn't have to "match" it just has to reflect your style. If you are clean and modern, go that direction. If you are a classic beauty, let that inspire your day. If you are eclectic in your every day life, then why would your wedding be any different?



    2. Consider Approachability above Over-the-Top

    The most successful weddings are not necessarily the most expensive. Instead they are the ones that create a comfortable atmosphere where guests can relax and enjoy. I like to throw in a few simple but unexpected details to remind guests that they are not at their every day wedding.



    3. Go Residential

    When thinking about comfort, what comes to mind? For me and many of my clients, it's our homes. Adding touches throughout your event that remind people of being at home such as couches, rugs and dressers is not only a great design addition but also a good way to set the tone for your guests.

    4. Make Your Own Rules

    Don't be confined by tradition and etiquette unless that's who you are as a couple. Breaking the rules a bit can not only be fun, but also give your guests a new experience. A great example is the "tattoo parlor" that was at one of our recent events. The couple was a little edgy and this was the perfect favor and activity for their style.



     
    5. Be the Life of the Party

    If you want to have a wedding where guests dance into the wee hours of the night, then you must dance until the wee hours of the night. If you want a low-key dinner party with great conversation, then start talking. Simply put, guests are there to celebrate you and will follow your lead in how to act at your wedding day.

    For a celebration that is truly about you and your love, consider adapting some of Beth's tips to your own wedding plan. Toss the rules out the window, forget about impressing people and stay true to who you are in your everyday life.

    Photos courtesy of Jonathan Canlas. Special thanks to Beth Helmstetter.

     

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  • Your vision of your wedding day is absolutely perfect – complete with smiling bridesmaids, charming groom and breathtaking décor. No matter how much planning and scheming you do to make your ceremony perfect, though – you simply can’t control what Mother Nature has in store for your big day. Here are some tips and tricks that will help you prepare for bad wedding weather.

     


    Photo by Lucida Photography

    Outdoor Wedding

    If you will be having an outdoor wedding, it’s important that you have a plan B if bad wedding weather should come your way. The last thing you want is for all of your guests to become soaked and dripping during the ceremony. There are several options you can use to protect your guests and keep the ceremony going.

    Tents – if you live in an area of the country where rain showers or thunder storms can visit unexpectedly, tents are a great way to keep dry. There are even massive tents available which would accommodate the entire reception. The thing to remember about this option is that it can get pretty hot under those tents and pretty expensive as well.
      Moving Indoors – having a plan B is pretty important if you want your wedding to continue without many problems. If you’ll be having your wedding on the grounds of a hotel or mansion, can you move indoors if need be? Speak with the staff and determine what is appropriate if the need should arise– chances are they’ve dealt with bad wedding weather before!
      Alternative Venue – although this is a bit of a frustration and can cost an arm and a leg, you might consider having an alternative venue for the reception if it looks like it will rain during the ceremony. You need careful planning in advance so you can easily move to the alternate location on the day of the wedding if need be.

    Other Ways to Prepare for Bad Wedding Weather

    Think about your wedding location and time of year and consider what sorts of bad wedding weather you may have to deal with. For instance, if you choose to marry on a beautiful beach, it could probably get pretty windy. You may want to plan an updo rather than leaving your hair down, and provide some sort of shelter. If a rather large breeze picks up, you don’t want sand flying into your guests’ eyes and hair.

     

    On the other hand, it has been said that rain on the wedding day ensures that the bride will shed no tears during her marriage. If it does rain on your wedding day, just remember that rain is considered a blessing rather than a bad omen; contrary to popular belief. If you plan for bad wedding weather early in the planning, you can be prepared to switch things up at the last minute and still enjoy your beautiful day!

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  • Bridal Shower Games - Bingo!

    Bridal shower bingo is a fun variation on traditional bingo that's an enjoyable way to pass the time at bridal showers. Like regular bingo, bridal shower bingo uses a card with five rows, each of which has five boxes. But instead of numbers, in bridal shower bingo each box has a wedding-related word or words, such as newlywed, honeymoon ... or even bridal shower.

    Playing bridal shower bingo is a terrific, easy-to-play bridal shower activity - everyone knows how to play bingo, so there's no need for any complicated instructions. Pre-printed or blank cards for bridal shower bingo can be purchased as party stores or ordered online. Many websites offer free printable cards for bridal shower bingo, or you can make customized bridal shower bingo cards on your home computer. By making the bridal shower bingo cards yourself, they can include the names of the bride and groom and other personalized words, like the wedding location and/or theme.

    Another way to customize bridal shower bingo is to give each guest a blank card when she arrives, and ask her to fill in the boxes with shower gifts she thinks the bride is going receive. (Since it's unlikely that more than 24 totally different gifts - the number of empty boxes on each card - will be given, especially at a small party, it's okay to write the same gift in two separate boxes.) When it's time to open the gifts, each guest will cross off her own bridal shower bingo card, and the first one to get five in a row wins a prize.

     

     

    Bridal shower games - bingo basics:

    Bridal shower bingo is played just like regular bingo. In advance, the hostess will have compiled a long list of wedding-related words and written each one on slips of papers, which are then folded and put in a paper bag. Every guest is given a marker and a bridal shower bingo card with 24 of the wedding-related words printed on it in random order - like conventional bingo, the middle square is "FREE". When bridal shower bingo is played, the slips are drawn out one at a time, the hostess announces the word on each, and guests then look for that word on their bridal shower bingo card and cross it off if they have it. The winner is the first guest who gets five marked-off squares in a straight line, either horizontal, vertical or diagonal.

    Depending on the number of bridal shower bingo cards that are prepared in advance and how long it takes to play the game, bridal shower bingo can be played more than once during a shower. If the first game goes very quickly and the guests seem really into it, play a second game of bridal shower bingo right away. Have the winner of the first game be the one to call out the words in the second game of bridal shower bingo.

    Here's a sample bridal shower bingo game card from bridalshowerbingo.org, which provides free printable cards and instructions on putting together your own customized version of bridal shower bingo:

     

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  • While some women have been choosing their bridesmaids since they first caught sight of a wedding dress (like at age five)...others tend to gravitate to close companions, sisters, and favorite cousins. However, choosing bridesmaids can affect some of the details of wedding and you never want to settle for selecting someone just because you feel obligated. This is your special day and in order to make sure that it unfolds accordingly, don’t let others put pressure on your decisions.


    Photo by Paper Antler

    Choosing the Number of Bridesmaids

    For some, limiting the number of bridesmaids means cutting the overall wedding costs for flowers, dresses, shoes, accessories, gifts, luncheon costs, and the rehearsal dinner. You should research potential costs before choosing bridesmaids to make sure you have enough money for their inclusion. Also, never ask a friend to become your bridesmaid if your only reason is that you were part of her wedding.

    Choosing the Right Bridesmaids

    A bridal party usually consists of between two to 12 attendants. Who do you want to turn to when important decisions arise; your final days as a bachelorette near; and you need a shoulder to cry on? If you want a drama-free wedding, I suggest considering bridesmaids that embody the role of the perfect 'little helper.' A few qualities to consider, include:

    Cooperative: Since this is your special day, chosen bridesmaids should be willing to wear a dress that may not look flattering or appeal to their personal preferences. While you can always listen to the concerns of your bridesmaids, they shouldn’t demand the type of dress they will wear.

    Reliable: There will be fittings, rehearsals, and of course, the ceremony to tend to. Choose bridesmaids that will arrive on time and are ready to shine.

    Helpful: Bridesmaids that are willing to help out at every turn will make your life much easier. Consider the women in your life most likely to assist in shopping, running errands, and handling pesky wedding details.

    Out-of-Town Bridesmaids

    When choosing bridesmaids, there is another consideration to keep in mind. What additional costs or arrangements are needed when you choose an attendant that lives out of town? For starters, she's going to need a place to stay when she comes to try on dresses and/or attend other wedding-related get-togethers. It is common for the bride to foot the bill for out-of-the-ordinary expenses connected to the wedding.

    Overall, bridesmaids are there to help a bride keep her sanity while traveling the road heading towards matrimony. Who will share this important journey with you?

     

     

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  • To Wear: We dressed our bride in a clever, interchangeable ensemble from Elizabeth Dye. The exquisite, structured top is made from silk satin. Multiple skirt options make sure you are dressed right for the day's festivities. For the ceremony, we added a soft tulle skirt, dyed to just the right "ballerina pink" hue. A large handmade flower completes the look with a sweet silk flower in her hair as well. For the after party, consider this adorable green silk organza skirt! Paired with some killer high heels, it will ensure you have lots of fun at your party. A fluff of handmade poppies and roses embellish the waistline.Our bride rocked two hair styles. A soft, side chignon and a sweet and flirty side braid. Both created by Madeline Roosevelt.









    To Decorate: Our deceptively elegant table is really quite budget friendly. We started with basic rentals: ivory linen cloth (to the floor) and gold Chivari chairs. Homemade linen napkins and thrifted plates and utensils make up the place settings. For the centerpiece, we gathered inexpensive gold candlesticks from thrift stores (around $1 each). The gorgeous, tall candles are from our favorite candle company, Creative Candles. They have a wide array of colors so you can find the perfect hue for your table. Two sweet flower pots of peony stems complete the look. For fun, we added some gold swans! Two thrifted swans (less than $5 at a thrift store) were added to the table. We also decorated the room with a few larger gold swans filled with peonies.







    To Eat:  Instead of a traditional wedding cake, consider a croquembouche! A croquembouche is French dessert made from a tower of cream puffs and is dressed with caramel. Not only is it delicious, but it's gorgeous and festive as well! Ours is from Portland-based La Provence Bakery.



    Enjoy implementing these playful but elegant touches to your wedding!


    Credits + Sources:


    Photography: Lisa Warninger. Dresses + wardrobe styling: Elizabeth Dye. Hair and Makeup: Madeline Roosevelt. Prop and floral styling: Chelsea Fuss.Model: Hannah Osborn. Assistants: Lauren Willhite and Amber Johnstun. Headband: Twigs and Honey. Additional flowers: The English Dept. Table card holder: Cabin 7. Large gold swans: Fish Bone Deco. Croquembouche: La Provence Bakery. Candles: Creative Candles.


     

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  • Whether you want to get married with the summer sun shining upon your face or need to work your plans around family and friends, setting the wedding date can become a much trickier task than first expected. When setting the wedding date, it is important to take notice to the many factors that can affect the planning of nuptials. For example, will your favorite uncle be able to attend? Is it possible to book the church of your choice in less than six months?

    A few factors to consider when setting the wedding date, include:

    Setting the Wedding Date First

    Most couples usually have preconceived notions for their wedding date, which may include the season, holiday ideas, sentimental value, and overall time of the year. It is quite popular to decide on a date first and then locate sites and services that work around your decision. 

    Setting the Wedding Date Second

    However, there are some couples who have their heart set on a winery wedding in June or a particular destination, which sometimes requires setting the wedding date after the ceremony location, reception site, and other related services (like caterer or photographer) have been selected.

    Family and Friends' Schedules

    When you begin the not-so-easy task of setting the wedding date, I am almost positive a few glitches or complications will emerge. It's pretty obvious that planning a wedding close to Christmas will surely produce a few no-shows, but did you count on Grandma's gall bladder surgery scheduled for July? If you are dead-set on having close friends and family members at your wedding, then it's a good idea to check any unforeseeable events in their lives that could disrupt their attendance.

    Consider the Wedding Party

    Setting the date for a wedding will ultimately affect the people closest to you. Will all your bridesmaids be able to attend? For out-of-town attendants, will weather conditions pose a problem? What about vacations that attendants and guests may already have planned for the summer months?

    Wedding Site Availability

    Take into account the busy schedules of the churches, synagogues, and other wedding sites.

    Wedding Facilities

    Are you planning to wed at a facility with a reputation of seeing its fair share of father-daughter dances? It's a good idea to check availability for the facilities and sites you already have in mind. Some locations are booked solid for years in advance.

    In-Demand Services

    Don't forget to research the wedding related services of your choice. For example, some photographers are in extremely high demand for their wedding services, while it's a good thing to know that the pastry chef of your choice vacations in October.

    Photos by Gene Higa

     

     

     

     

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  • It's the place where family and friends gather to enjoy heartfelt toasts and comical best man speeches…the place where roses and fondant bring wedding cake dreams to life…and where the 'first dance' melts the hearts of onlookers. Thanks to the reception venue, we share that unforgettable moment when a newly married couple first greets the public as 'husband' and 'wife.'

    How will you plan one of the most important parties of your life?

    I hate to break your thoughts of clinking champagne glasses and tossing the fateful bouquet of flowers, but there's a bit of planning to sort out. Locating and securing the perfect reception venue for your wedding depends on many different factors.


    Photos by KT Merry

    Price

    I probably don’t have to tell you that one of the hardest aspects of planning a wedding is sticking to a budget and juggling the costs of both necessities and desires. Whether your reception is held at a ritzy hotel, winery, or backyard – get a good grasp on your expenses. What will everything cost? For rented reception venues, don’t forget to inquire about cake cutting fees, silverware, tables and chairs, and cleanup options. Also, read the fine print regarding the food and drink minimum.

    Read local reception reviews now!

    Proximity

    In the hustle and bustle of preparation, I know you'll want to visit your reception venue at least a couple of times before your big day. We've all heard about the decorating drama and last-minute snafus that have happened to the next bride. However, if it takes an hour or so to drive out to the venue, you risk facing a cumbersome journey when you need to iron out minor details.

    Location

    The location of your reception venue also plays an important role. For starters, will it provide ample parking for your guests? Will guests have trouble locating the venue? Lastly, how far do you want family and friends to travel after the festivities have come to a close? While you want to host an unforgettable celebration, take into account the safety, convenience, and comfort that your reception venue will provide.


    Photo by Annabella Charles

    Ambience

    Choosing a suitable wedding reception venue will most certainly help set the tone for your special day. Does the reception venue complement the number of guests you expect to attend? Is there enough room to accommodate all involved, including the band, serving lines, and mingling singles? Do you want an intimate, cozy setting or a larger-than-life extravaganza that resonates with matrimonial bliss? When you step into a possible reception venue, does the space feel 'right?'

    Overall, the reception venue provides the setting where guests and the wedding party can let down their hair, share good times, and admire the twinkling eyes of newlyweds in love. It's also the perfect time for you to let out that deep sigh of relief – I'm married now!

     

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