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10 Tips for an Outdoor Summer Wedding

Publish On 2015-05-19 , 3:45 PM


1. Have a Plan B. This is probably the most important component of all—what will you do in case it rains? It’s hard to predict the weather when you’re setting the date on average about a year in advance, so it is imperative to have a backup location in case of bad weather. You could use a large outdoor tent if there’s only mild rain, but if it’s anything more severe than that you’ll need to move the ceremony someplace inside; since most people have their reception indoors you could move some chairs around to convert the reception space into the ceremony location during a weather emergency.

2. Make Sure Your Guests Stay Cool. Nobody likes going to a wedding and sweating like crazy because of the heat. Be sure to have some sort of cooling device, like large, quiet fans or air conditioners. Also provide individual fans for your guests when handing them their programs, and consider providing small water bottles or a frozen non-alcoholic beverage to keep them refreshed and happy.

3. Shield from the Sun. Consider providing sunscreen and sunglasses for your guests, as people always forget to bring these items. They can even double as wedding favors.

4. Don’t Forget about Bugs. If there is a swarm of flies or mosquitos buzzing around during your ceremony everyone will be focused on swatting those pesky bugs, stealing focus from the ceremony. To prevent this either use insect repellent lamps, which make no zapping noise, or use candles that contain oils that repel insects such as: citronella, cinnamon, castor, rosemary, lemongrass, cedar, clove, geranium and peppermint oils.

5. Plan your Pictures. Don’t take your wedding pictures at noon or too close to noon—the sun will be directly overhead and will cause unflattering shadows. With that in mind, aim to take your pictures in the morning or later in the afternoon/evening. Consult with your photographer for more lighting recommendations.

6. Choose your Location Wisely. A beach may be beautiful but it may also be very windy, and crashing waves may be hard to hear over. Be sure to plan accordingly based on your location. If you’re at any public place where there is residual noise, look into renting clip-on microphones for the officiant and bride and groom so that everyone can hear the ceremony.

7. Provide Chair Cushions/Covers. If the sun is out, chairs (especially metal ones) can heat up in a hurry. So don’t forget to bring chair cushions or chair covers for your guests so they don’t burn themselves when sitting down. This can also be a great opportunity to decorate!

8. Have Summery Food. During your cocktail hour, don’t serve anything too heavy; instead try serving fruit skewers, shrimp cocktail, crisp veggies and other light appetizers, instead of cheese or other dairy-based products that would melt in the heat.

9. Experiment with Decorations. Instead of having a bunch of flowers that will wilt, consider lanterns or other decorations that are beautiful but much less expensive and hold up better in the sun.

10. Be Mindful of Fabrics. Whether it’s your wedding gown, the bridesmaid dresses, the men’s tuxes or any other decorative fabrics, look into lighter material that breathes and won’t make you and your wedding party sweat excessively. Examples include: cotton organdy, chiffon, crepe or voile over silk.


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The 10 Biggest Things All Brides Forget

Publish On 2015-05-26 , 2:44 PM

With all the wedding planning you’re doing right now, it’s hard to imagine there’s any detail you haven’t thought of – but trust us, there are certain to-dos that somehow never make it to the top of list. Here are 10 essentials to keep front of mind:

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 decided 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
If you’re not having a wishing well, 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, add a cute sign and 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 (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 — you’ll probably 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 prior to your wedding day, and bringing along three marriage certificates for you to sign on the day. Also, there is a ‘Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage’ which you will need to sign close to, and prior to the marriage taking place. 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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10 Tips for Surviving a Rainy Day Wedding

Publish On 2015-06-02 , 2:35 PM

Cue Alanis Morissette’s “Ironic.” The thought of rain on your wedding day may seem like a natural disaster of bridal proportions, but there is a lot to be said for a rainy day wedding. Aside from being a sign of good luck, rain on your Big Day is an opportunity to have pictures and a party like no one else’s. For you today, our favorite tips for planning (or the last-minute making) of a beautiful rainy day wedding. We promise you’ll be obsessed, from this day forward.

1. Tent Rental: Always have a back-up venue plan. If you are planning to have your nuptials out in nature, ask your chosen venue if they have a back-up plan for inclement weather and if access to it comes with additional cost. If they don’t have a built-in plan B, have a tent rental on speed dial and be prepared to confirm the rental and set up the week of the wedding if the forecast looks like rain. (via A Swanky Affair)

2. Photography: Talk to your photographer. Find out if they’ve shot a wedding in the rain before. Do they have some ideas for how to make it more fun, exciting and sweetly unique? What’s the plan, logistically and financially, in inclement weather? Will they still show up, stay throughout the night? Find out. (via Katie Cross)

3. Hair Hacks: Call on the glam squad. Obviously, waterproof mascara is a must for any bride. But a little rain may call for some last-minute beauty changes. If you’re worried about out-of-control humidity hair, consider a beautifully messy bun or relaxed flower crown. These styles are on trend and perfect for preventing frizz and falling. (via Green Wedding Shoes)


4. Pretty Parasols: The gift that keeps on giving: umbrellas! Guests will want to stay dry during the ceremony or to and from their cars to the ceremony site or reception venue. Get creative with this opportunity… do you want everyone to have matching umbrellas, or should the audience be a flood of color? Embrace the umbrella and have fun with it. 

5. Accessories: Find fun, rain-friendly wedding party and guest swag. Wellies for the bridal party or umbrellas for the guest aren’t just fun, they’re functional, too. If you’re loving the rainy day vibe, but may see sunshine, you can still incorporate these fun accessories. They make for great photos! (via Cramer Photo)

6. Cool Temps + Wind: Rain may not be the only weather-related issue. The temperature may drop drastically, or the wind may threaten to blow the guests away — and not the way you had in mind. Ask your vendors if portable heaters and tent walls are available, and if not, locate a vendor for these prior to the big day. And don’t forget to have a bolero, jacket or shrug ready to go! (via Inspired by This)

7. Umbrella Party Favors: Create a back-up budget. All the last-minute adjustments for bad weather can add costs and quickly. Early during your planning, be sure to create a rainy day fund. Literally. You’ll have enough things to think about on the big day, money shouldn’t be one of them.

8. Scheduling: Consider a flexible timeline. If a torrential downpour looks likely right at the time of your vows, consider extending the cocktail hour or perhaps going immediately from vows to reception. When planning, allow the schedule some flex room. It’ll keep your guests out of the rain and your stress to a minimum. A little adjustment goes a long way! (via Style Me Pretty)

9. Fans: If you live in the south, a little rain mixed in with warm weather can create some miserable heat. Ensure guests are as comfortable as possible by providing water bottles and fans at the ceremony site, and even a stash of blotting papers and hairspray in the restrooms. These little conveniences will be appreciated by the guests. Or you can go big with air conditioned tents. The options are endless!

10. Stick to The Plan: Whatever you decide, commit to it and have some fun. (via Rustic Chic Wedding)


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Top Ten Wedding Day Tips For Grooms

Publish On 2015-06-09 , 3:45 PM

So you’ve bought the ring, popped the question and planned the wedding down to every detail. Your suit fits perfectly, the guests are checked in and everything is ready to go. Or is it? Here are our top ten wedding day tips for grooms, to help marrying men be absolutely sure that the wedding day goes without a hitch from start to finish.

10.  Use A Checklist
By preparing a checklist of everything you’ll need to remember beforehand, you’ll feel much more secure that you haven’t missed anything. This kind of preparation will really help you on the big day, and also shows your bride-to-be that you’re not afraid to jump in and help the process along. 

9.  Start Early
Since everything has to be perfect, start the day as early as possible so that any issues that come up can be dealt with before it’s too late. You don’t want to put your suit on at the last minute, only to have a button pop off or a cuff link fall into the toilet! Giving yourself the extra time can only increase your chances of having everything go exactly as planned.

8. Pack An Emergency Kit
This one might not be obvious to grooms, but can be an absolute lifesaver. One would hope you wouldn’t need to use it, but it’s better to be over-prepared than to have a problem pop up that you aren’t ready to deal with. An emergency kit is full of items you hope you won’t have to use: Things like extra buttons for your coat, a list of important phone numbers, mouthwash, a lint roller, and anti-diarrhea medication. If you end up needing any of these things you’ll thank your past self for looking out for number one, and if you don’t need them, you won’t regret being ready for anything to go wrong!

7.  Eat Breakfast
Without a  breakfast rich in protein, vitamins and carbs, you may find your stomach grumbling at a point where you no longer have the time to eat a full meal. Awaking early and having a balanced, hearty breakfast will give you the energy you need to last the day. Even better, pack a couple of energy bars just in case you need a quick pick-me-up before the ceremony starts.

 6.  Keep Your Boys In Line
Do all your groomsmen have the right clothes, and do they know what their role in the wedding is? Is your best man going to show up hung over? Make sure that all your friends know the what, where, when, why and how of the wedding and that nothing is unclear about the parts they’ll play. Making sure that your boys are in line will ensure nothing embarrassing happens, or else your new wife (and in-laws) might never let you forget it, and rightfully so! Keep your fiancé looped in, so she knows you’re on top of it and she can feel just a little less stress on the big day.

5.  Stay Sweet
Arrange ahead of time to have flowers, her favorite candies or a sentimental postcard sent to your lady love while she’s getting ready. It’s the kind of detail she won’t forget, and the warm feeling she’ll get when she receives it will help color the entire occasion and even the start of your newlywed lives together. Some men are better at this stuff than others, but grooms should tap their creative side and write her a wedding song for the band to play at the reception, a poem to recite at dinner or a sweet video message for her to discover later. Details count, and she’ll remember the gesture.

4.  Gussy Up
Your fiancé is spending tons of time and money on hair, makeup, nails, and every other aspect of her appearance so that she looks her absolute best. The least you can do is get a professional shave and hair stylist, but a facial and manicure would really make you shine and show how you want to look as good for her as she does for you. For beach weddings, a pedicure would also help so you don’t stroll down the aisle with ogre feet. It all comes back to the same point we can’t stress enough: Women notice this stuff, and they will remember the effort you took.

3.  Stay Comfy
Make sure your shoes are already broken in so you don’t get blisters, your undershirt is thick enough to keep sweat from showing and your outfit is weather-appropriate for the destination. Making sure that everything fits and you’re staying cool and comfortable will help you enjoy the day and not have to worry about wardrobe malfunctions or unpleasant style surprises.

2.  Keep It Real
Is your mother calling every five minutes to check how things are going? There are lots of potential distractions to delay your preparations, so if you need Mom to back off, explain to her gently that you really need the time to get ready, everything is under control and you can’t wait to see her at the wedding. Also, by having as many elements as possible ready ahead of time, and by using a checklist, you’ll be keeping things moving along at the pace you need.

1.  Love It
Doing your job as a groom means you’ve helped prepare, you’ve made your fiancé feel like a queen, everyone knows their role and you’re looking your absolute best. Having everything ready and knowing what needs to be done will make it much easier to enjoy the occasion, even in the wedding day prep phase. Having less stress will rub off on your bride, and that can only increase your chances of making the day go perfectly. You’ve found the woman of your dreams and done everything you can to prepare, so set the tone for the rest of your lives together by loving every waking moment! And now, you may kiss the bride.

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Top 8 Wedding Planning Tips for Moms

Publish On 2015-06-16 , 4:20 PM

Wedding planning isn't just a big deal for the bride and groom -- it's also a major moment for their moms. Here's the lowdown on some of the biggest issues and mother of the bride duties you'll face during the wedding planning process.


1. Have the Money Talk
In the initial excited moments of an engagement, to-be-weds will be thinking the sky's the limit. We're not saying you need to put a damper on their enthusiasm, but you do need to be clear about your limits. (Unless they've also announced that they're paying for the wedding themselves, in which case hey, you're off the hook!) Talk with your partner, then have a sit-down with the bride and groom-to-be to talk about the wedding finances. Be clear about how much you're willing to contribute to their wedding budget: Remember, you're an M-O-M, not an A-T-M.

2. Play Your Part
You probably have tons wedding ideas, from that great wedding florist your friend's daughter used to the cake you saw a picture of in a magazine the other week, and that's totally great. That said, don't immediately assume you'll be taking the reins when it comes to planning the wedding. Suss out what your son or daughter's expectations are by letting them know that if they need help with anything, you'll be there for them. And if there's something you'd specifically like to contribute an idea to, speak up when the time comes. But speed-dialing the bride or groom-to-be for every last tidbit of wedding info? Let's just say there is such a thing as a momzilla.

3. Dress for the Occasion
Whether you're the mother of the bride or the groom, there are some easy rules of thumb to use when choosing your mother of the bride dress. First, follow the formality and style of the wedding -- if it's going to be a casual beach affair, you're going to have to nix that black velvet gown, even if it does look great on you. Second, if you're not sure, ask! Both the mother-of-the-bride and the mother-of-the-groom should get in touch with each other and the bride. The bride can help you by keeping you in the loop about her wedding gown, the wedding colors, and so on. And while you don't need to match each other (or the bridesmaids), it's usually a good idea for both the moms to have somewhat similar styles. The only major no-no? Skip the white (or any shade that's even close)! That hue is for the bride only.

4. Get On the Guest List
Be sure to talk to the bride and groom-to-be about their expectations for the guest list. Yes, they might be envisioning a mega-reception filled with hundreds of friends and relatives -- but they could also be thinking of an intimate outdoor affair with just a few of their nearest and dearest. Find out what their plans are for the guest list and your contribution to it (and remember, the other parents are going to want input, too!). Once you know about how many people you can reasonably invite, you can draw up your own guest list and provide it to the bride and groom. If they're not sure how many people will work, a good idea is to put a star next to the guests you feel absolutely must be invited (don't forget to factor in any plus-ones).

5. Pick Your Priorities
There probably are some things you would really love to see be part of the wedding, whether including your own mother's favorite flower in the bridal bouquet or getting your great aunt Gertrude a good seat for the reception. But if you make a big deal out of everything single little detail, all you'll accomplish is driving the bride and groom crazy -- and chances are, they'll figure out your M.O. pretty quickly and stop budging on their decisions. And they're right: It's their wedding, not yours. So here's a better plan: Choose a few things (say three) that you really, really want to be part of the wedding, and let the bride and groom know about them. Focusing on just a couple of items on the wedding agenda, the ones that really matter to you, allows you to pick your battles wisely rather than fighting it out nonstop.

6. Meet the Parents
If you haven't already, once the engagement's been announced its key for you to meet up with your son or daughter's soon-to-be in-laws. The newly engaged couple will likely initiate this, but if for some reason they don't, feel free to bring it up. Just say something light like, "Your dad and I are really excited to meet Jane's parents." If they live hundreds of miles away, that's one thing. But if it's just nerves about combining the families, be clear with your tone that you're supportive of the engagement and marriage, so of course you want to meet the new in-laws. Dinner at a nice but still casual restaurant is usually the best option; that way, no one couple has to feel the stress of playing hosts or worrying what fork to use, and everyone can just relax and get to know each other.

7. Be Their Backup
Sometimes, wedding guests can be a bit demanding -- wanting an extra serving at the reception, extensive face-time with the bride, or letting their 'talented' youngster play a solo at the ceremony. You need to help out the bride and groom by being their first line of defense; or if that fails, being their backup. If guests come to you with complaints, deal with it tactfully by saying something like, "I'm sure Jane and Joe would love to be able to seat all of your children and their dates at the reception, but they're working with a limited budget and need to keep the wedding small. I know your being there really matters to them though, which is why they included you even though they weren't able to invite your whole family." A statement like this accomplishes three things: It makes the guest feel better, it lets the bride and groom off the hook without coming off badly, and at the same time, it doesn't give in to guests' pushy pleas.

8. Tame a Bride(or Groom)-zilla
Sometimes, it's not just the guests -- the bride or groom can get out of line with their requests. If you've got a bridezilla (or a groomzilla!) on your hands, you need to give them a little perspective. While an important role for a mom is being a shoulder to cry on, if they're making everyone else miserable, a little tough love might be in order. If they're going ballistic over every last detail, listen to their tale of woe -- then remind them that the wedding is just one day. Their love and marriage are the important things, not whether the florist is going to substitute spray roses for the ranunculus. If it's more of an attitude issue, remind them -- jokingly -- that they want the wedding party to be smiling for the wedding photos! Then ask if you there are any tasks -- things the bride or groom might have taken on themselves, or things they're delegating to their attendants -- that you or another relative can help out with to try to relieve some of the stress.


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