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10 Biggest Things Brides Forget

Publish On 2014-09-23 , 3:10 PM


1. Making post-wedding plans

We’re not talking about the honeymoon here (who would forget to plan that?). We mean you need to decide what you’re doing immediately after your wedding. If you don’t want the party to end with the last dance, you should pick a late-night spot in or near one of the guest hotels. If privacy isn’t all that important, book your wedding night room in the same hotel as your guests. If you just want to get to bed, we strongly suggest you book a room elsewhere.

2. Bringing your overnight bag
If you’re allowed to check into your hotel room early—and you don’t personally need to be there to officially check in— pick someone to drop your overnight bag at your hotel before your ceremony starts. A guest who’s staying at the same place will more than likely be happy to do this for you, since they’re going to have to check in anyway! If your things can’t arrive sooner than you, ask a bridesmaid to be responsible for bringing your bag to the wedding and finding a safe spot for it in the bridal suite. Even easier, if you’ll have the same car or limo for the entire day and night, opt to keep your stuff in the boot.

3. Picking someone to take your things home after the reception
Your gifts, mementos (think toasting flutes, cake topper, unity candle and guest book) and any leftover food, booze or cake need a trusty escort to get them home. Choose a person and let them know about their responsibility. And you may want to donate your centrepieces. Nursing homes typically accept flowers, but call at least a few days before the wedding to find out when someone can drop off the arrangements. If you’re changing out of your gown before you head to your hotel room, you’ll need a person to take it home, too— even if you have no plans to get it professionally preserved, you don’t want to leave it behind! Make sure there’s a hanger and a garment bag on hand (the one your dress came with will do!) so your gown stays in tip-top shape.

4. Deciding where everything goes
Besides planning where all of your guests sit, you need to figure out where you’ll put programs, escort and place cards, menus (if you’re having them) and bomboniere. Once you’ve picked who’s going to set these out—your wedding coordinator, bridesmaids and banquet managers are all good choices—give them clear instructions on where they should go (one bomboniere on every other plate at tables, for instance, if you want couples to share the takeaways, or all of them in two baskets by the exits if you want guests to pick them up on the way out). Also, if your venue’s staff will be setting out these items, find out when you can drop everything off—some venues want everything a couple of days before your wedding; others won’t take anything until the actual day.

5. Decorating the other areas
Of course, no guest will walk out of your wedding if the bathrooms and cocktail bar are left bare. But with all the energy that’s put into dressing up the reception and ceremony spaces, you might want to put in the small extra effort to give these spots the décor they deserve. A few candles will work.

6. Buying gifts for the wedding party
When gifts are constantly coming to your door, it’s hard to remember that you also need to dole some out! So who makes it on the gift list? Everyone who plays a role in your day—yes, your parents and future in-laws, too. You don’t need to make a big presentation.

7. Choosing how to gather the gifts
There are three times when guests are likely to thrust gifts at you: while they’re in the receiving line, during your table visits and when they leave for the night. Designate a person—one of your bridesmaids, your mum or your groom’s mum—to collect envelopes, and have them by your side with a large but inconspicuous bag when you’re saying hello and goodbye to your guests. That person should also keep an eye out for guests who seem a little lost at the reception—they may be trying to figure out where they should put their gift! If you decide instead to have a wishing well, box or other stationary receptacle, tell a few people to subtly spread the word around.

8. Figuring out your day-after plans
If you’re leaving for your honeymoon straight from your hotel, make advance arrangements for a car service to take you from the hotel to the airport, and be sure you bring any luggage you want with you on your trip (and a passport if you need it). If you’re not going on your honeymoon right away, then you need to know where you’re going the morning after your wedding (to your new—or old—home, or your parents’ house?) and how you’re going to get there. Park your car at the hotel before your wedding if you’re allowed, or ask a friend to come pick you up and bring you where you want to go the next day. Don’t schedule your ride too early—with any luck, you’ll be exhausted.

9. Bringing the legal documents
Signing your marriage certificate after the wedding ceremony is one of the most important aspects of your day; after all, it officialises the reason you threw a wedding in the first place! After all the hours of planning, you’re probably more focused on the party afterwards than the legal side of your nuptials, but without the paperwork, all the stress and money spent will be for nothing. Your celebrant should hopefully keep you on top of all the legal requirements, such as lodging your Notice of Intended Marriage at least one month and a day before your wedding day, and bringing along three marriage certificates for you to sign on the day. Check with them a few days before the wedding so you can have peace of mind.

10. Making and confirming itineraries
Check in with every single supplier, from the limo driver to the linen rental company, one week before your wedding. Many of them will beat you to it, so be ready to go over times and locations whenever you get a call. Send out agendas to your bridesmaids and groomsmen, too—how else will they know what time you’re taking photos? If someone in the bridal party is notorious for being late, start their schedule half an hour early just in case.


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12 Wedding Dress Shopping Tips to Make 'Saying Yes' Less Stressful

Publish On 2014-09-30 , 3:30 PM

Seems like back when our mothers got married, shopping for a wedding dress was so much simpler. They went with their moms to one shop where they picked their gown, or they had a family friend who made the dress, and that was that. It was like the opposite of today's Say Yes-fueled marathon try-outs involving dozens of designer dresses. Forget about "Running of the Brides," huge sample sales at Kleinfelds, or weekly trunk shows. Those are conventions we 21st century brides-to-be have exclusive rights to -- for better or worse.

Thankfully, I was able to find The Dress -- with my mom and my soon-to-be mother-in-law and other VIP ladies' input via iPhone! -- without enduring too much of the complete crazy you might witness on reality TV shows. But I certainly learned quite a few lessons along the way. Here, 12 of 'em I hope will help brides be better able to say they found their perfect gown ...

1. Your mother-in-law-to-be may not be your first pick for a shopping buddy, but if you can include her somehow -- even if you take her on one trip -- you could make her entire year. Being that mine never had sisters or daughters, it may have been a once-in-a-lifetime experience for her to be involved in my dress search.

2. Some bridal salespeople listen ... Others don't, assuming you probably don't know what's best for you. I can't tell you how many times I heard that brides come in all the time asking for mermaid, lace, no beading and walk out the door having signed up for a frou-frou ball gown. Oookay. But many brides do know what they want (or don't). And if you know right away that the dress realllly isn't for you, speak up, and take it off. Playing along just to "be nice" is a frustrating time-suck.

3. At the same time, it never hurts to be open-minded and try something that you'd never choose for yourself. That's what ended up happening with my dress. I thought I wanted a defined A-line, but ended up finding out (thanks to an awesome sales associate) that a slim "modified" A-line did my curves more justice. If the people helping you are good at what they do, they may have a better eye for what works on you than you do.

4. Although there plenty of bridal salons are strict about how many dresses you can try and snapping pics of your faves, there are those that don't mind either. For me, being able to take pics was a must, being that my mom and bridesmaids were all out of town. Thankfully, most of the stores I went to were more accommodating than not.

5. Once you get into your third or fourth trips out, you may want to fib about how, err, "experienced" you are. Assuming you're high maintenance, salespeople might show you fewer gowns and attempt to steer you to "the one" faster than they would otherwise.

6. Similarly, if you already think you may have fallen in love but want to do some comparison shopping (which is totally fair!), don't let on. That's when they'll steer you toward whatever that is you probably already know you want in an attempt to close the deal faster.

7. Do your best not to be swayed/pressured by a trunk show that's going on during the day you hit the shop. The reps may make it seem like it's your last opportunity to get an awesome deal, but you may be able to get just as good a deal in other ways (at a different shop willing to negotiate or thanks to another type of offer).

8. Don't feel pressured into buying anything the day of, no matter how much blather they go into about what your last ditch chance! to order is. Yes, it can take 6-8 months for some gowns to come in, but as long as you get shopping early enough, you should be in fine shape!

9. Speaking of, don't get freaked out about your size prior to trying on what you're assuming will be teeny tiny sample-size dresses (which don't reflect "street sizes" at all). As a weight-watching bride myself, I was surprised by the variety of sizes I encountered at various shops. Sure, they may have a dress you adore in an itsy-bitsy size, but there may still be ways to try it on (using stretchy bands and clips) so you can get the general idea. And while that kind of thing may seem embarrassing or demoralizing, I get the impression that most professional salespeople do what they can to "make it work" in a private dressing room and are completely accustomed to working with women of all shapes and sizes.

10. Do try to involve your bridesmaids/VIPs who live both near and far via texted photos. It's not the same as having them there in person -- but who wants too many cooks in the kitchen anyway?

11. Remember the dress can/will look very different once altered/accessorized. You can always get rid of the sash it comes with (hey, it may even look better without it!), add sleeves, amp up the "wow!" with extra bling, etc.

12. Second-guessing your dress is completely normal, especially given the HUGE amounts of pressure brides are under when it comes to finding the most hyped piece of clothing ever. And second-guessing doesn't necessarily mean it's not The Dress. You might just need to try it on twice (or, err, three!) times before you figure it out and everyone stops and stares and says, "OMG, this is your dress!" and then, you cry. Like I did. Oh, and once that happens, you HAVE to stop looking, cause otherwise, you'll probably drive yourself insane.


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Tips for Preparing for Your Prenup Shoot

Publish On 2014-10-07 , 3:15 PM


These days, having a prenuptial shoot is common practice among marrying couples. Such a shoot would not only be a great opportunity to relax before the wedding, but it would also allow you to practice being in front of the camera. If you're organizing your own engagement session, see our tips for getting ready below.

List down your common interests

If you're having a hard time generating fresh ideas for your shoot's theme, think of the things you love doing as a couple. Be it biking, reading, or playing music, your and your groom's shared passion is a good inspiration for your shoot. Not only will you be easily comfortable with the concept, but your theme will also have more meaning as it represents you as a couple.

Live out your fantasies

While some couples' themes are inspired by what they usually do, you can also take the opposite route and pick a concept that allows you to do what you wouldn't normally do. Your prenuptial shoot gives you the perfect excuse to play with different looks and costumes, so don't hesitate to experiment and step out of your comfort zone. You might be pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

Find your happy place

Location plays a huge role in setting the mood for your shoot. Find a place that you would be comfortable shooting at--it can be your backyard, a favorite restaurant, or a busy street. Make sure that your chosen spot complements your theme so that all the elements look cohesive. Also, check for permits and other fees so everything's set on the day of the shoot.

Narrow down your concepts

It's fun to think of different themes for your engagement session, and it's easy to get carried away. Remember to narrow down your theme to keep your shoot from becoming a hodgepodge of random things. If you can, stick to one concept to make it easier for you to achieve cohesion. That way, you can direct all your efforts into one theme, and you'll have more time to find the perfect location and source props and costumes.

Look at pegs for inspiration

Whether or not you'll be hiring a stylist for your shoot, pegs can help you articulate how you want the different elements to look like. Collate photos of hair, makeup, clothes, props, and locations that complement your chosen theme. Find inspiration in your chosen pegs, but do remember to add your own personalities into the various details.

Practice posing

If you're camera shy, practice posing in front of a mirror to build that confidence. Try different poses to find your best angle, and work on your smile. Practicing allows you to be more comfortable in front of the camera come shoot day, and your confidence will show. To help you get into the zone, you can also prepare a shoot soundtrack that you can play during your prenuptial session.

Interact with your photographer

Establishing rapport with the photographer is perhaps the most common advice given by couples who've done their prenuptial session. While your and your beau's chemistry will be the main ingredient of the shoot, it pays to be comfortable with the photographer. Try meeting with your photographer prior to the shoot, and be open about your ideas and even your apprehensions. Your photographer will help you come out of your shell, and trust plays a role in letting them direct you at the shoot.


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10 Biggest Wedding Day Mistakes

Publish On 2014-10-21 , 3:20 PM

10 Biggest Wedding Day Mistakes Brides Truly Regret Making

If you thought wedding planning stress was bad, there's a whole new chapter of anxiety after you say "I do." No matter how wonderful a wedding turned out to be, many women fall into the trap of re-hashing the big "mistakes" that went down on the Big Day, notes bridal counselor and author of The Conscious Bride Sheryl Paul. Even if it's just in an attempt to forewarn our friends who are about to walk down the aisle, we can't help but drive ourselves a little bit crazy about all the "disasters" that went down at the wedding. But some are obviously much more catastrophic and significant than others.


In an attempt to forewarn brides-to-be (like me), here, 10 minor and major but altogether regret-worthy ways wedding days have taken a wrong turn ...

  1. The florist's (or another vendor's) bill suddenly doubling overnight. Unexpected changes have caused brides to contend with last minute charges that came out of the blue. Talk about an instant headache!
  2. Not letting Dad, Mom, or someone else near and dear express their deepest emotions. Whether it's about avoiding raccoon streaks from our mascara as we walk down the aisle or just wanting the day to be "perfect," brides often want to avoid emotional confrontations. But sometimes, having the hardest conversation or letting yourself embrace the most heart-wrenching moment is exactly what the day is all about.
  3. Failing to think/talk about how your relationships will change ... before the Big Day. With your mom, your dad, your best friend. All of these emotions have a way of rising to the surface on the wedding day if we don't tackle them in the days prior.
  4. Neglecting to discuss the final game plan and get the details in writing from vendors. And then missing out on something you really wanted, having to suffer through something you didn't want (NO disco!), or suffering a hairy miscommunication as a result.
  5. Neglecting to delegate big projects to other people. That's what they're there for -- to make your life and your day less stressful!
  6. Not having hired a day of (or month of!) coordinator. Mostly to avoid having to stress out about all the little details up 'til the last minute or deal with those last minute changes from #1 that you don't want to stick your mom or bridesmaids with, because they have other major duties to tend to.
  7. Missing out on the food. Either before the ceremony, which can set you up for seriously low blood sugar. Or due to socializing and trying to stick to "the schedule," missing out on the dinner, the dessert and/or the cake you worked on designing for months!
  8. Throwing up your hands and "yes"-ing everyone to death. You may want to just give in and let your in-laws take the reins on eleventh hour details like the seating chart, but pick your battles wisely. Some things -- no matter how tedious -- could definitely be better handled by you and your fiance.
  9. Being hell-bent on perfectionism. There's no such thing, especially on a wedding day where there are so many personalities and factors at play. Almost every bride I know who raves about her wedding says she just let go and let the day flow as best she could instead of concerning herself with the minutiae. Someone else should be tending to that anyway! (See #5.)
  10. Forgetting what it's all about. It's so easy to get caught up in the details, the "Big Perfect Day" ideal, what it's supposed to be that we often lose focus of what a wedding really is: The beginning of a lifelong commitment to another person. A rite of passage. If it doesn't go exactly as planned, it doesn't mean the marriage is doomed! It just means you've got something ridiculous to laugh (or, okay, cry) about for years to come ... together.



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Top tips to have an amazing church wedding

Publish On 2014-11-05 , 2:25 PM


Get in Touch Early
This isn’t just about getting your chosen date for your church wedding. Banns (a declaration of your marriage) have to be read in church for three Sundays before your day, and sometimes you might need a licence that can take time to get hold of. Before your wedding, your Vicar may also ask you to an event to help prepare you for married life. It’s a no-obligation invitation, but one that many couples appreciate.

Check your Connections
You need to have a connection to a church, like living in the parish, to marry there.

Get Visiting
Go along to a Sunday service if you don’t already. You can pick up useful tips for readings you might like to incorporate into your church wedding, and how to best use the space for floral arrangements and decoration.

Perfect Readings
You will need to have one reading from the bible in your service but otherwise the choice is yours. If you’re feeling creative, why not pen something yourself?

Heavenly Music
Churches have instruments like organs built for them that fill the space with sound. Consider using these alongside your chosen music to really make the most of the acoustics in the building.

Absent Friends
If you are missing an important person on your big day you could light a candle in their memory to burn during your service.

Nooks and Crannies
Look for beautiful detail in the church that you can enhance. Decorate window sills with candles or line an entrance arch with flowers for a real wow factor.

Learn your Words!
Ask the Vicar for a copy of the service words and vows. This makes a great keepsake, but will also allow you to practice, practice, practice before the big day!

A Musical Interlude
The signing of the register is the perfect opportunity for some different music. Most churches have CD players but perhaps you could ask a friend or family member to sing a favourite song that you have chosen?

Think about Parking
Most churches were built before parking for lots of cars was an issue! Check where your guests are most likely to find a space to avoid latecomers stressing out and interrupting the service.

Are you having a church wedding?


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