Can’t I Just Plan It on Pinterest?

Pinterest is one of our favorite sites! We can actually get lost on there for hours. It’s addicting. One pin or one board leads to another, and before you know it, well, let’s just say you’ve added a lot of pins to a lot of different boards! And thank goodness for that feature they added that tells you if you’ve already pinned that picture, because I used to find myself pinning the same thing three or four times on the same board! Guess I really liked it, huh?main-pinterest-board

Almost every bride has her own wedding dream board, or boards, that she uses to save all of her ideas. Sometimes she started the boards before she even had a ring! Or in some cases, before she was even dating anyone! Well, a girl can never be too prepared!

Thank goodness they added that secret board option, and now they even have an unlimited number of secret boards rather than just three! You can pin all the wedding dresses you like, and your fiancé won’t be able to snoop around on your board and see any of them! (Assuming he’s on Pinterest!) They’re making it all too easy for us to get lost on there.

And yes, you can certainly use Pinterest as a planning tool. In fact, we even encourage it. We certainly have our share of wedding boards on Pinterest! But there’s one very important thing to remember. Not all of the great ideas you see on there are as easy to do as you think. Or as affordable. Using some of those ideas can easily add another $3,000-5,000 on to the cost of your wedding by the time you’re finished! inspired ecard

How can that be? Easy. Most of those pictures on Pinterest are professional photos, not photos taken by family and friends. The cute DIY favors and table decorations are really gorgeous, but when you start to make them, they don’t always look like the picture! Unless you have a really crafty friend to help you. (Fortunately, we have a number of talented and crafty people who can put together some amazing decorations.) And you can find yourself spending a lot more money than you’d planned, unless you have a lot of those “40% off one item” or “25% off your entire purchase today only” craft store coupons, and several friends to go shopping with you with extra coupons!board-a-reality

You can sometimes go wild with ideas on Pinterest, and decide on an over-abundance of things that you just HAVE to have, and when you start putting it all together for that day, well, there’s sometimes not enough room on the tables for the food! Or you can’t see around the centerpieces to the people across the table from you. Or you decide you like two or three different styles of decor, but unless you know what you’re doing, it can look like two or three different styles that don’t look right together! Or you may fall in love with a certain style of bouquet and decide to make it yourself, but when you’re done, it doesn’t look right with your dress, or it’s too big or too small for you, and it just looks wrong! Then you’re scrambling at the last minute to find someone to help you out!wedding-ideas-board

And all those photo ideas….there are some really great ones, but please don’t pick out 20-30 poses you just HAVE to have, and give them to your photographer. Five or six, yes, but discuss with him/her what your ideas are and let the professional decide what to shoot. He/she most likely has ideas just for you and your fiancé that are perfect for the two of you and no one else! You hired the photographer because you trusted their work and their creativity. Let them do their thing!

One other very important point. Someone has to be available to place all your decorations around the venue, as well as collect them afterwards, and let’s face it. You certainly aren’t going to have time to be doing that, and neither are your attendants, or your family! You have other things to do that day!

Bottom line, if you’re a DIY bride, or a Pinterest bride, that’s fine, but make sure you have someone trustworthy to help you that knows how to put everything together. (Like a wedding planner!) Your friends may tell you they can put all the decorations out for you, but what happens when they forget something, or don’t get to your venue in time? Or even worse, are too sick from the night before to be able to do what they’re supposed to do! It may look easy when you’re pinning all those things you just HAVE to have, but trust me, when you start trying to put everything together, unless you’re really creative and organized, you’re going to get overwhelmed and miss some important details! And your wedding day is NOT the day to have that happen!wedding-planner

Remember…it’s your wedding! You want it right. And we’re ready to help you make your day as special as you are!planning

And be sure to follow us on Pinterest!

Dreams of My Mother’s Wedding

Hanging in our guest room closet is a yellowed and torn lacy dress that has undoubtedly seen better – and happier – days. And it carries memories that I wish I could see and hear.

I found the dress in my mother’s attic many years ago. It had been hanging there since my mom and dad moved into their first and only home sometime back in 1940 or so. They were married on June 18, 1938. 76 years ago this June. And the dress hung there until I had to clean out her home several years ago.

I have this one picture of her and my dad on their wedding day. And I cherish this photo. Mom and Dad Wedding

I wish I knew more about their wedding day. But my mother was an extremely private person, and as much as she loved my father, I don’t know a lot about their early days together. I never had the nerve to ask, because my dad passed away when I was only eight years old. And even though I was an adult in my fifties’ with a teenage daughter when my mom left us, I had never asked her much about her wedding, because I knew the memories would make her cry. Because of all the special times she never got to share with the only man she ever loved.

And although I don’t totally know all of their story, I want to share some of what I know, and some of what I can only imagine.

My mom fell in love with my dad the first time she saw him in high school. I can imagine them laughing together after school, and him coming over to see her at my grandfather’s farm. I’m sure they spent a lot of time together on that big front porch, and rocking in that old porch swing I wish we still had! Times were different in the 1930’s, and I can imagine that my grandfather kept a close eye on the young man who was “courting” his daughter.

I’m sure when my dad left for college, my mom was unbelievably lonesome for him. She went to college at a school close to home, but he attended college in Williamsburg, which back then was a long way from their homes! Although I’m sure they wrote letters back and forth to each other a lot, since phone calls were so expensive, one of the regrets I have is that I never found any of their letters to each other, and my mother kept almost EVERYTHING. What a treasure that would have been!

It must have felt like an eternity for them until college graduation happened. And my mom and dad were finally able to start seeing each other regularly again, in between her teaching school and my dad working as a salesman for his uncle. Obviously, they both knew they were meant to be together. And like every young girl totally in love, she dreamed of her wedding day!

On Christmas Eve, 1937, my dad brought her Christmas present over. She was expecting (and hoping for) a ring. And I can only imagine the disappointment on her face and in her heart when my dad handed her this big box, beautifully wrapped I’m sure, that was her gift. My mom being the lady she was, opened it, and tried not to show her disappointment when she saw it was a hand-crocheted pillow with the initial “C” on it. (Since her name started with an “L” she should’ve known something else was coming, but…) Evidently her disappointment really showed when she told my dad how much she liked it, and he asked her what was wrong (smiling to himself, I’m sure). And then he pulled out the REAL gift! And that ring was…and still is…beautiful! Because I have it now (and the pillow)!

Knowing my dad, and the times they lived in, I’m sure he’d already talked to my grandfather and had his permission. And he’d probably been a lot more nervous asking him than our future son-in-law was when he talked to Ashley’s dad! So now they were officially engaged! And here’s the young bride to be!

From that evening until their wedding six months later, I’m sure all my mom did was count the days until she was a bride. Her two brothers and her older sister were already married, and I’m sure she’d dreamed of her wedding day since the day she first saw my dad.

Weddings in that era were usually quite simple and for the most part, included only family members, and maybe a few close friends. Being a farming community, money was tight, and wedding expenses were kept at a minimum. A few flowers, a wedding cake, and food made by family and friends, and that was basically it. Sometimes there was another couple standing up with the bride and groom, and sometimes there wasn’t. And even more unfortunate, there were very few wedding photographers to memorialize the day. I’m happy to have the one picture! (Just as I’m happy to have this picture of my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary couldn’t resist sharing it!)
Grandparents Anniversary
Mom and Dad also had a small, simple wedding, but nonetheless perfect for them. I do know a few bits and pieces, but here is where my dreams step in, as I imagine her on her wedding day as a young woman of 25, the same age as my own daughter….

My mom was an excellent seamstress, and most likely she made her wedding gown, sewing every stitch carefully because it was the most important dress she’d ever make. (I so wish it had been better preserved.) She wanted to look absolutely perfect when she stepped down the stairs to meet her husband-to-be.

I’m sure she woke up that warm and sunny morning quite early, because she was so excited. Downstairs, her mom, and probably some other relatives, were already preparing food for after the ceremony. I’ve never found a picture of their wedding cake, but I can imagine that someone in the family, most likely her sister-in-law Ruth, who was an excellent cook and seamstress, made it herself as a gift for them.

As the bride-to-be, I can imagine my mom sitting in front of her vanity mirror, carefully arranging her hair and putting on just a touch of makeup. Her hands probably shook a bit, and even though I never remember my mother wearing nail polish, I can see her applying it for that day. After all, her engagement ring was about to receive its mate!

The wedding was set for early afternoon, at my grandparents’ house. Her older sister Mary was there, wearing a light blue dress, and would hold her bouquet for her during the ceremony. Although she would have been called the Matron of Honor today, back then she was just there standing with her sister, and most likely her husband was standing with my dad.

How I would love to have heard the conversation between the two sisters that morning! It’s hard to imagine my mom as the young woman she once was, and I’m sure she was just as nervous and scared and excited as brides are today. I can also imagine their younger sister, who would have only been 13 at the time, rushing into the room and wanting to be a part of the action as well. And most likely being shooed away because they had important things to discuss that she was too young to hear!

As she put on her wedding gown, and her sister helped her zip it up, I can picture her turning to the mirror and watching as her veil was attached, and wondering who that woman in the mirror was. She was becoming a different person…no longer a single lady, but now a WIFE! Wondering what changes that would bring…

Rachel and Clay were married in the living room of her childhood home. Everyone was standing, because there wasn’t a lot of room for extra chairs, and she had a large family, who were all in attendance. I can picture her walking down the stairs on my grandfather’s arm, dressed in his best Sunday suit, nervous but smiling, my mom with her veil over her face, and carrying a huge bouquet of roses, as was the style for brides at that time. All she could see was my dad’s face. And as she walked down the stairs, all he could see was her.

And they were married. No fanfare, no row of bridesmaids or groomsmen. No sit-down dinner with champagne toasts and dancing. No elaborate decorations. Just a simple ceremony, cake cutting and pure happiness. A dream come true for a young bride and groom. A brief honeymoon, and then on to start their life together.
Mom and Dad Young

And yes, until his premature passing a brief twenty years later, they did live very happily ever after.

Photo Sources: Personal files

I’m NOT Sitting with THEM!!

So now you’ve actually completed the guest list. Everyone has sort of agreed on who’s included, and the invitations have been ordered and mailed. RSVP’s are coming in. You’re actually to the point of being able to relax? Right?

Ha! No way. Not if you’ve had a bunch of well, shall we say, discussions (rather than disagreements, controversies, or heaven forbid, arguments!) over the guest list. Because now you have to figure out who’s going to sit where. Some people just aren’t made to get along with some other people. And the last thing you want at your wedding is for your guests, or you, to be uncomfortable!

If you’re one of those lucky couples where everyone on your list gets along with everyone else, makes friends easily, and can talk to just about anyone, well, you’re really lucky, and you can just read this and be thankful that none of these scenarios are going to happen at your wedding!

Unfortunately, there’s almost always someone, or several someone’s, that don’t need to be around certain other someone’s. If you get what we’re saying! Family or friends. It almost always happens.
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Unless you’re dealing with very uncomfortable stepfamily issues in one or both families, seating at the ceremony shouldn’t be too difficult. It’s only for about half an hour. Surely everyone can basically get along for that time. And if you’re having to decide how to seat parents/step-parents so there won’t be any problems, all we can say is turn that one over to your wedding planner and let her handle it, because that’s a controversy better given to someone else to handle who’s a neutral party! And for your sakes, let’s hope everyone can at least pretend to like each other during the service! (Fortunately no one is supposed to be talking during the service, so you’re probably fairly safe. Just be careful during the photos!)

The reception is always another matter. And if you know you have people that are coming to your wedding who just don’t get along, you’re going to need to be really careful where you seat them.

Now, a lot of brides and grooms prefer open seating, so people can sit with who THEY want to be with, not who you THINK they should be with. And unless you’re anticipating problems, maybe open seating will work. However, if you’re having just enough seating for all those invited, you’re also taking a risk that some of your guests will end up with people they don’t know at all and have trouble talking to for whatever reason, or you end up with an odd number of open chairs and some couples or families have to separate to be seated.interest-com

Or what if your families are all trying to sit together (hint: reserve a table or two for family!) and your Aunt Karen can’t find anywhere else to sit but at the same table your cousin Lynn is seated at…and these two absolutely cannot stand each other! And Aunt Karen is definitely the type who will stand up and make a scene with “I’m NOT sitting with HER!”

These are definitely things you do NOT want to have happen! And things that not even the wedding planner can always anticipate…only pick up the pieces afterwards!

You’re sort of doing assigned seating if you have a head table with your wedding party joining you. And as we said previously, you do need to reserve a table or two for family members. After all, don’t they deserve to sit near the wedding party? Since most of the time some of us are paying for it? So maybe you really need to re-think your idea of whether or not you’re doing assigned seating.
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After all, between the two of you, you know everyone who’s coming, and you pretty well know who they get along with and who they don’t. So it may not be quite as difficult as you think to come up with a seating plan that should basically make everyone comfortable. (And yes, people have been known to switch tables with others…and it usually works!) It’s certainly a lot better than having your guests sitting with people who make them uncomfortable, or with people who basically know each other except them, and then people can tend to feel really left out at a time that should be nothing but happy!weddingideasmag

Unless you’re having your cocktail hour in another room that isn’t near the main reception room, you can also find people saving their seats by leaving purses and jackets at the dinner tables while sampling the appetizers and hors d’oeuvres. And usually either no one else knows who’s set their things where, or even worse, someone decides they just want to move your belongings around to make room for themselves and their party, and then you can have more problems! We’ve actually seen people do this, and when confronted (nicely) by the person whose belongings they’re relocating, just shrugged and said, “oh, I didn’t know this meant someone planned to sit here! Were you really saving these seats, because we really want to sit here so we can see better!”

Really? Yes, rudeness is not limited to small children who don’t know any better. And speaking of children, there are also people who really do NOT want to have to sit at a table with children, and could very well make that request very well known if the only seats left are at tables with children!pleated jeans com

So what do you do? Well, first of all, don’t try to solve your problem like one couple did who thought it would be cute for everyone to draw table numbers out of a jar when they walked into the reception. Can we say recipe for disaster as well as angry guests?

And if you’re serving a plated meal rather than a buffet, and gave your guests choices of entrees, or there are vegetarians or guests with food allergies that you’re trying to accommodate, it gets even more problematic. Not only for the waiters who are trying to serve, but for the guests who may get the wrong meal.bella-rose-photography-via-loverly-ly

It’s also important to remember that assigned SEATS are different from assigned TABLES. Unless you’re having a five course meal with several entrée choices being served, assigned tables will suffice perfectly well. Guests can place their escort card with their entrée choice at their seat and the waiters should do fine serving the proper selection. And seating arrangements are really not THAT difficult to make, at least not in theory. (that’s what post-it notes and poster boards are for!) Because you can move the names around really easy…then you realize that there are an awful lot of possibilities out there for seating people, and well, if YOU’RE having questions about who should sit with who, just imagine how your guests might feel when they can’t find a place to sit with anyone they know and end up feeling left out and leaving early because they’re not having a good time!intertwined-events

Now chances are, unless you’ve been living in a bubble, you’ve surely seen all those really cute escort card displays on Pinterest, and we know you’re secretly just dying to try one of them out…. Many of the seating chart ideas incorporate perfectly as part of your reception décor, and can be as creative as you are! We’ve actually found so many different styles and ideas, it’s really difficult to say which are our favorites:

You can also be extremely creative with table names, even if you’re NOT doing assigned tables! After all, there has to be some good way to call the tables up to the buffet lines. (Everyone herding at the same time is NOT a good idea!) You can name the tables to correspond with your theme, or one of our favorites, using pictures of the bride and groom at their ages according to the table number! (Personally, there’s a wedding in the future I really want to do that for!) Imagine the names you can come up with!

But no matter what you decide, this is one area where you have to think of your guests almost as much as yourselves. You want everyone to have a good time, and come away from the wedding with nothing but happy memories!

So what’s YOUR plan going to be now?

Photo Sources: 1st Row: via etsy; shefinds.com; vponsale.com – 2nd Row: iwedplanner.com- 3rd Row: mywedding.com; silberstudiostv.com – 4th Row: interest.com – 5th Row: weddingelation.com – 6th Row: weddingideasmag.com – 7th Row: pleatedjeans.com –8th Row: Bella Rose Photography via lover.ly – 9th Row: intertwinedevents.com – 10th Row:thinksmartdesigns.blogspot; onewed.com; Mr. Boddingtons Studio on Every Last Detail via lover.ly; Meg Smith on SnippetandInk via lover.ly; Bill Blakey Photography; bridescafe.com; apicturelife via bridalguide.com; lilyandval.com – 11th Row: film noir photography; bohoweddings.com; blog.myweddingreceptionideas; zazzle.co.uk; source unknown; apaperproposal.com

You’re Invited…You’re NOT Invited

Recently we’ve been reading about a growing trend that evidently started in Europe about sending out, for lack of a better term, “You’re Not Invited’s”! Personally, I cannot imagine any of our brides doing that, and we would most definitely advise them against it!
Youre not invited

A subtle bit of advice, of course. With one of my not-so-quiet “are you out of your mind??” responses!

To me, this seems to suggest the classic touch of a bride-zilla. However, the more I read, the more it seems that more couples today are actually doing this, either by email, text messages, private Facebook messages, or even asking their wedding planners to call certain people and tell them, well, they aren’t going to be invited!

Since that particular item isn’t listed in any of our packages as being part of our services, we would definitely need to negotiate that one! Hurting people’s feelings, or insulting others, isn’t on our list of responsibilities. How would you feel if you got a call like that?

Drawing up your wedding guest list seems like a simple matter, but it’s definitely not the easiest task involved in the wedding planning. Unless you have an unlimited budget, and we haven’t met anyone yet who does, there are going to be people you’d like to invite, but just can’t. Your venue can’t accommodate but so many people, and neither can your budget. Sounds simple, right? Until you get started. Suddenly you find you have a lot more family than you thought, and a whole lot of friends that you really want to be there.
Scratched off Guest List

More than you can afford. More than your venue can accommodate. And your wedding planner can’t write out your guest list for you. We don’t know your friends and family. We don’t know the in’s and out’s of your relationships. So it’s up to the two of you! We just need a copy.

Now, you don’t want to invite your ex-boyfriend’s mother, even though you still like her. Nor do you want your friend Greg to bring his current girlfriend, because she happens to be your fiancé’s ex-girlfriend. And it wouldn’t be a good idea to have your aunt’s ex-husband there, even though you’re still sort of friends, because she’s coming and bringing her current boyfriend. And good heavens, your fiancé’s father is divorced and dating someone almost no one likes, and his mother will be upset to see him with the woman he left her for, and you really don’t want her to come either, but how do you avoid it?! Unless you elope?

Hmmm. Maybe these “you’re not invited’s” aren’t such a bad idea after all?

(We actually did find an example of a “you’re not invited” that we can see as almost fairly acceptable. It sort of combines an announcement with an explanation. What do you think?)
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But that’s the only example we found after searching for a couple of weeks. What does that tell you?

So what do you do when someone starts asking you about your wedding, and you naturally start talking about all the plans you’ve made so far, and then that person tells you how much they’re looking forward to being there? And they’re not on your list. You hadn’t even considered it. Do you tell them you haven’t even THOUGHT about the guest list yet? Oh, wait, you already mentioned something about that in the conversation…

You can always blame their not being included on your future husband/wife. “He/She just has too many relatives!” “We divided up the wedding tasks and he/she is in charge of the guest list. Not me.” “My parents are paying for everything and they’re in charge of the guest list. I don’t even know who’s on it.” Really?

“A-list” and “B-list” guests? If someone on the “A-list” can’t make it, do you have an extra back-up invitation or two you can send out to the first one on your “B-list”?
Stay Home

There’s actually no easy solution to any of this. There are some rules to follow, though, like only sending out Save the Date’s to people who are actually INCLUDED on the guest list. Or inviting friends to the bridal shower who are actually going to be invited to the wedding! You don’t want someone thinking that you think they’re good enough to buy you a gift, but not good enough to be at the wedding and reception itself! (Which is basically what you’re saying, isn’t it?)

And when you send out the actual invitations, be sure you make it perfectly clear whether it’s ok for your single friends to include a date, and whether your friends’ children are invited or not. (That’s a whole other topic!) Because that can add up to problems as well.

Bottom line solution….make your list. Check it twice. Or more. Yes, you’re stuck with some of the obnoxious relatives you really would rather not be there, but then again, it’s YOUR wedding, and you deserve to have it [mostly] like you want when it comes to the guest list.
Invitation on plate

And please…don’t go out and buy a set of non-invitations that look like invitations to send out when you send your real invitations. I mean, you’re trying to cut costs? You just added them! And gave the “B-list” people something else to complain about when they’re talking to the “A-list” people.

And for goodness’ sake…don’t make a “C-list”!

Photo Sources: 1st Row: Source Unknown- 2nd Row: Source Unknown- 3rd Row: paulandkat.com- 4th Row: Source Unknown – 5th Row: Source Unknown

Toilet Paper Dresses!

I remember my first time. It was scary. I had no idea what to do. Or how to even start, for that matter. Should I act like I knew what I was doing and hope everyone else was just a novice like me? But then who’d know how to make the first, well, roll? So I stood there, a soft squishy roll of fresh white toilet paper in hand, and thought, what am I doing here??? I don’t know where I’m supposed to start, and my bride is sort of counting on me to get the party started, so to speak! (Note to self: ALWAYS talk to the hostess if you’re the planner and invited to the bridal shower to be sure you know what she has planned, so you can make suggestions, or in this case, look up the game and see what you’re in for!)

That was several years ago. And now I absolutely know what to do, even though it’s not a game I’m really good at! At least I can sort of fake it until I figure out who in my group is the “expert”, or better yet, I try to volunteer to be the “bride”!beautydart wordpress com

Yes, it’s that fun-filled and creative game of “toilet paper dresses”! One of those really creative and challenging team games at a bridal shower that seems to take forever, but can really bring out the creativity and talent in the guests. Especially if they’ve had a few mimosas before they start!

Traditionally, the game involves teams of 3-4 participants. It’s a team effort, you know. Each team is given 3-4 rolls of fresh white toilet paper, and twenty minutes to create a designer masterpiece. One of the team members “volunteers” to be the model, and the “seamstresses” work together to create their gown, many times complete with veil, and even a toilet paper bouquet! At one of the bridal showers I attended, the flower girl was actually a guest, and she was of course chosen to be the model for her team. She had a blast! We’ve seen some creations that are absolutely amazing! And some that are, well, obviously not made by the most gifted “seamstresses” around!

I won’t tell you which category I fall into, but I will say that I hope whoever does a bridal shower for our daughter DOESN’T include this game!

When the time is up, there is a “fashion show”, of course, with the bride-to-be judging the contestants, and of course, picking the winner! Fortunately, she doesn’t have to wear their designer creation on her wedding day. Or we’d all be in a lot of trouble!via-tumblr

And believe it or not, we’ve even heard about, and seen pictures of, some of the guys getting into the act at co-ed bridal shows and serving as the models for the dresses! I just couldn’t bring myself to post those pictures though; well, maybe just this one (and the poor guy looks a bit embarrassed!)….inspiredbride net

Toilet paper wedding dresses aren’t just for bridal shower games any more though. There is actually a national contest held every year by Cheap Chic Weddings, with the winners receiving a cash prize for the best dresses made from Charmin (and only Charmin!) toilet paper! And we’re amazed at the winners’ creativity and talent! (For more information on the contest, go to cheap-chic-weddings.) We’ve found a lot of fabulous creations that some very talented ladies have put together! I’m just wondering how they managed to make them, model them, and actually send them in for judging without totally destroying them!

Now remember what I said earlier about knowing what to do now during the toilet paper dress game? Well, there are actually a couple choices. Normally I try to be the one to run the game, going from group to group and talking with the “designers” while they’re working, and of course making some of my wonderful constructive comments to encourage the ladies’ design skills. And also reassuring the “model” about how lovely she’s looking in her beautiful creation….

The other choice, if all else fails…I prefer to hide! Or help serve another round of mimosas!mimosas

Photo Sources: 1st Row: beautydart.wordpress.com – 2nd Row: thebestthingislove.blogspot.com; ribbons.com; mealsandmiles.com; brittanyandmurray.blogspot.com; hellokirsti.com – 3rd Row: via tumblr- 4th Row: inspiredbride.net – 5th Row: sheknows.com; Katrina Chalifoux 2008; Susan Brennan 2013 2nd place; Jaymi Horne Honorable Mention 2008; ewednewz.com; Cynthia Richards dress by Karen Nickel Photography; Charmin Contest winner Mimoza Haska with 2 finalists; Carol Touchstone 3rd place 2013; Ann Kagawa Lee 2009 – 6th Row: source unknown

Keeping the Kids Busy

There’s always a big discussion when you’re making your guest list over whether or not children are invited. This subject can really make a lot of people upset, including a lot of your family members! Especially if they have children who aren’t invited!

First of all, if you’re having a flower girl(s) and ring bearer, you’re going to have children there! And don’t be thinking that you’ll just limit it to just those couple of kids, because if you’re including them, how in the world are you going to tell your fiancé’s groomsman that HIS children aren’t invited!

You want to share your happiness with everyone you love on your wedding day. But why don’t you want their children? There can honestly be lots of reasons. Cost is usually a big factor, since you’re going to have to pay for their meals, too, even though children’s meals are usually discounted. And please don’t try to ask their parents to pay for their children’s meals, like we’ve heard a couple of brides did! That’s worse than excluding them altogether! Some couples have said they didn’t want babies or kids under 2-3 at their wedding because they might cry, and it would spoil their ceremony recording. Even though they have a point, don’t tell the guests that either! Or you may want to limit it to no children because of the adult food and beverages to be served. There are as many reasons as there are weddings.

So let’s look at this issue. And bear in mind, there’s no right or wrong answer.

If you decide not to include children, let your friends and family with young children know as far in advance as possible so they can make arrangements for childcare. We usually suggest that rather than putting “No children please” or “Adults only” on the invitations. And rather than addressing your invitations as “The Smith Family” (which implies children are included) write the names of the adults who are actually invited on the envelope and the inside envelope of the invitation. If the kids are invited, “Children welcome” is fine. And be sure to include on your RSVP card a line for the number of adults vs. children who will attending!
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But it’s YOUR wedding. And you and your future spouse have to make that final determination.

As we said earlier, if you’re having a flower girl and/or ring bearer, then you’re having children at the wedding. You’re certainly not going to have them IN the wedding, and then tell their parents they aren’t welcome at the reception! Although I’m sure that’s been done. But how would you feel if it were your kids?

Personally, I love having the little ones in the wedding, even though we never really know for sure that they’re going to do what they’ve rehearsed. All those pictures on Pinterest of the little ones walking down the aisle with their signs, or their flower baskets or ring pillows are just adorable. But the younger they are, well, the less likely they are to cooperate. After all, when they practiced there wasn’t a whole huge group of people sitting around with all their eyes on them! That’s enough to make anyone nervous, especially when you’re just 3-4 years old! And having to stand at the altar during the wedding and keep still? What’s the attention span of a 3-4 year old anyway? But they are an important part of the day, and who cares if they provide a little light-hearted distraction?

Just remember, don’t make it too complicated for your flower girl(s) or ring bearer(s). Remember, they’re kids; they’re going to be a bit nervous. You’re the bride – or groom – and you’re an adult and YOU’RE going to be nervous as well!

One of our brides had her flower girl and ring bearer, and also her five year old son who walked her down the aisle, since her dad had passed away. We weren’t sure whether he’d be nervous or not and refuse to walk at the last minute, so I did have (as always) a back up plan, but he did great, and was so proud to walk with his mom and hand her off to her husband to be…. Yes, I did almost cry at that moment!Shadoe and Alex

Plus, the little ones do make taking pictures afterwards a bit…interesting. But they’re so cute in the pictures, who can resist?

Then there’s the reception! And the kids, well, they do need some supervision! And almost always the parents are really good about that. Of course, sometimes they do slip away. And then you never know what they’ll get into. (I do wonder, though, if some of these pictures were candids or actually staged!)

Just make sure that if your wedding party is seated together, that the flower girl and ring bearer are seated with their parents, and not at your head table, otherwise you are most likely in for some misadventures!

You could also have a kids’ table, with special kids’ activities, goodie bags, fun kids’ food, and our suggestion, someone to sit at the table with them to “babysit” them. You don’t want their parents babysitting either, because you want them to relax and not have to worry about what their children are doing. They can even have their own special “toast” with milk and cookies! (They might even share if you’re nice to them!)

And the kids do have a great time out on the dance floor, and sometimes steal the show!

Many hotel venues actually offer a separate kids’ room that can be set up just for the younger wedding guests, with games, videos, snacks, and of course adult supervision. To us, that’s ideal, if your budget allows!

Our advice…if you’re planning a wedding start thinking about it now. It may seem like a minor detail, but trust me, it can become an issue if you’re not careful.

And by the way, we’re talking about actual AGES of the children. Not those of your friends and family who act like children on occasion or are still “young at heart”. That’s a whole other subject for another time…..

Photo Sources: 1st Row: greylikesweddings.com; karentranflorals.com – 2nd Row: onsugar.com – 3rd Row: southernbrideandgroom.com; thebridaldetective.com; Arnie Otto Photography on Etsy- 4th Row: weddingbee.com; Biltmore Estates on tworingstudios.com; phoenixweddingphotography via greatkidpix.wordpress.com; hudsonphotos.blogspot.com – 5th Row: SeanHolderPhotography.com – 6th Row: dreamweddingshawaii.com; deviantart.com by achfoo – 7th Row: GPTPhotography via BridalMusings.com; elitesoundsentertainmentgroup.com – 8th Row: theweddingcottage.net; lilsugar.com; greenbrideguide.com; cdn madamenoire.com – 9th Row: Jen Williamson on BorrowedandBlue.com; lovelyindeed.com; meyoujustustwo via tumblr; Michele Beckwith Photography on stylemepretty.com; sweetpaultypepad.com – 10th Row:besthudsonvalleyweddingever.com; thephotoargus.com; unitedwithlove.com; weddingbee.com

Making a List and Checking it….??

We’ve all seen those signs on Pinterest that say something like “Today two families become one, so pick a seat, not a side!”

Well, in theory that’s certainly true. However, sometimes in reality that’s not quite the way it works! (But wouldn’t it be nice if it did?!)

And if only it was just dealing with where someone is going to sit at the ceremony and the reception. More on that in another post!

One of the first (and sometimes most stressful) parts of planning the wedding for the bride and groom is writing out the guest list. Because it’s not usually just the two of you putting it together! Oh, no. Your families are going to want to include their invitees, and rightfully so if they’re paying for the wedding, or even a portion of it. That’s just how it works.

But the guest list can become a real point of contention, sometimes to the point of total “knock down, drag out” arguments in which you don’t speak to each other for days! And that is something you need to avoid.
telegraph-co-uk

The hard truth is, #1, there is a budget. Each guest costs $XX. And #2, unless you’re holding your wedding and reception somewhere with 3-4 moveable walls to accommodate half of a small town, you’re not going to have enough room for your second cousin twice removed and his whole family, or your great aunt Martha who you haven’t seen in twenty years!
Scratched off Guest List

So where do you start?

Tradition says that each side should have an equal number of people invited. However, that tradition is not always strictly adhered to any more, since the couple usually counts their friends as THEIR friends, not his or her friends. Some families and extended families aren’t as large as others. And there are always some out of town family members who need to be invited and almost certainly won’t be able to come. At least so you think! Until they get their invitation! And guess what…they’re coming!bridalguide com

So have your fiancé and his family write out their list of “must invite” and “would like to invite” and “should invite”. You and your family do the same. (This sounds better than an “A” list and a “B” list, even though that’s sort of what you’re doing.) Go ahead and include family, friends, and anyone from your offices that you might think you should ask. But be careful here! Unless you’re really, really close to some of your co-workers, it’s usually best to leave them off the list!

After you have these lists, then ALL of you talk it over. And yes, you do need to agree, at least for the most part, on who you’re inviting. So who’s on the lists? Immediate family, well hopefully you already know each other’s immediate family. If not, you will really soon! Sort-of-distant family. Ok, we got that. And those people who will get really mad at you if they’re not invited, but someone else is. Family Feud may be a game show on TV, but it can really rear its scary head during the preparing of the wedding guest list! Aunt Sylvia is invited but Cousin Harold isn’t? You’ll never hear the end of it! Or your mom and her cousin haven’t spoken to each other in years because of some family incident no one can even remember, but you’re still not sure an invitation should be sent…..Angry woman.

Then you have your friends. And their “significant other”. You really shouldn’t invite someone to come to a wedding by themselves. You’re going to have to try to include “and guest” on the invitation. After all, if you were in that position, wouldn’t you be upset? And remember to include the spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend in the guest count for the bridal party, too.

Now here’s another sticky area. What if one of your really good friends is now dating one of your “ex’s”? And wants to bring him/her. That could be quite interesting. For everyone. As well as uncomfortable, depending on how the relationship ended. (And whether your future spouse knows about him/her!) Hopefully you and your friend can talk it out rationally and come to a solution. Because there’s really no cookie cutter answer for this one. backthird com

And no, you shouldn’t invite your ex’s brother/sister/mom/dad, etc. no matter how much you still like them.

Then you have the acquaintances who may just assume they’re going to be invited. And keep trying to find out details about your wedding, and then they start telling you how they can’t wait until your big day! Well, neither can you! But they’re not invited. What do you do? Well, just mention you’re still working on your guest list and how big a task it’s turning out to be. Then change the subject! And don’t think that just because someone invited you and your fiancé to their wedding that you HAVE to invite them. Or if someone gives you an engagement gift without being invited to a party or shower, that doesn’t mean they have to be invited either. If you hadn’t planned on inviting them, don’t do it! That’s your decision, not theirs!girlsofwisdom

Stepfamilies are always another bit of a touchy area. If you’re in that position, and unless everyone really does get along well with each other, it’s going to take a bit of diplomacy to get through this one. And we’re only talking the inviting right now, not the seating at the ceremony and reception. That’s a whole other blog for another day!

There’s also another tricky question, and that’s whether or not you invite children. But it’s also something you’re going to have to sit down and discuss (and possibly with those who have kids that aren’t going to be allowed to bring them) because you’re always going to have someone who gets mad if they can’t bring their children. Just bear in mind that when you have a flower girl and/or ring bearer, there are children at the wedding! And you have to be careful where you draw the line! Again, that’s a whole other blog to follow shortly.james thomas long photography

And when you’re doing the food count, you should also include your pastor and his/her spouse (who may or may not attend the reception), as well as vendor meals to feed your photographer and DJ’s/band members. And the wedding planner, too! If we have time to eat anything, that is.

Sound like you’re getting ready to walk through a mine field? Well, in some cases that’s exactly what can happen! Just remember, you only have so much in your budget, and your venue only holds so many people. If you have to, use that as an excuse if someone actually has the nerve to ask why they aren’t invited. Which they might.

This is also good training for your married life ahead, because there’s going to be lots of times where you and your spouse are going to disagree and you’re going to have to compromise, and sometimes those disagreements are going to be involving both of your families!

Remember it’s YOUR wedding! The final choice is yours!

(And if all else fails, you can always elope! Then just have a big party!)lilysbridalnet

Photo Sources: 1st Row: iloveswmag.com; via etsy – 2nd Row: telegraph.co.uk – 3rd Row: source unknown- 4th Row: bridalguide.com – 5th Row: thebettermom.com – 6th Row: backthird.com – 7th Row: girlsofwisdom blog –8th Row: James Thomas Long Photography – 9th Row: lilysbridal.net

How to Hide the Dress

A lot of grooms WANT to be surprised when they first see their bride in her wedding gown as she walks down the aisle. You’ve all seen those “first look” photos, and we just LOVE them! The expressions on his face are usually priceless. Several of our grooms have cried when they saw the love of their life walking down the aisle.

Some brides have even threatened their fiancé that “If you don’t cry when you see me, I’m turning around and going back out until you do!” No one has tried it yet, but there’s always a first time.

Some grooms, though, want to see the dress as soon as she buys it. They’re just excited. They’re curious. They’ve heard her talking about wedding gown shopping with her friends, and as much as she’s said about how much fun it was, and how perfect the dress is on her, well, they just want to see what it looks like! Especially if the wedding is several months, or even a year, away. Curiosity, and all that….! Some grooms actually go wedding gown shopping with their bride-to-be, and help pick out the dress. We saw just such a couple at the bridal salon when we were shopping a few months ago. And if that’s what they both want, that’s fine!bbc co uk

Personally, we still subscribe to the idea that the groom isn’t supposed to see his bride until she walks down the aisle in her wedding gown. Which means he’s not supposed to see the DRESS until then, either! We’re not saying it’s bad luck like the old superstition, which actually grew out of the time of arranged marriages and trying to prevent the groom from seeing the girl he was marrying until the last minute, so he wouldn’t try to run! We just like the idea of keeping him in suspense! That may sound like a simple matter to accomplish, but it’s not always as easy as you think. With all the camera phones around today, everyone is taking at least two pictures of every dress the bride-to-be tries on! (Sometimes covertly, because some of the bridal salons don’t allow pictures to be taken! Like that stops the girls!) And sending them to friends to get their opinions, who probably send them to their friends as well!

Then when she finds the perfect dress, well, the cameras are going even crazier, and so are the text messages back and forth with pictures! Hopefully Instagram and Facebook and Twitter won’t be included, because if they are, well…..the secret isn’t a secret any more, and the world has seen her in her dress before she even gets it fitted!glamour com
And then there are the pictures on those cell phones! Very easy for someone, including your fiancé, to pick up the phone before you’ve even thought about deleting the pictures, and he “accidentally” sees them (especially since he knew you were going wedding gown shopping!). Or he picks up your best friend’s phone, and there’s your picture in your dress, as her wallpaper! Oops….. Guess it’s back to the store to pick out a new one?!
newstalkkit com A lot of the bridal shops aren’t storing the wedding gowns for their brides once they arrive at the shop. There just isn’t room. So what’s a bride to do? She has to bring it home and store it in her closet. After she finds the room in her closet where it’ll be safe. We’re talking precious and valuable one-of-a-kind clothing here! It can’t just be stuffed in the back of a closet, even in an opaque garment bag! It has to have its place of honor! You don’t want it wrinkled and smushed up!DSC03789
Or even worse, you DON’T want your fiancé to find it! Because if he does, more than likely, even though he says not, he’s going to want to open that bag and take a look! Locking the bag won’t help either, because it’s really easy to cut open a garment bag if you really want to! Unfortunately the dress might be cut as well…. And then….what if he sees it and he doesn’t like it!? And he tells you? All the wedding insurance in the world isn’t going to fix that one easily! So what’s the best way to handle this situation?

Before we give our suggestion, we have to share a story (yes a true story) about our favorite father-of-the-bride when our daughter brought her wedding dress home a few weeks ago. He was very concerned about where to store it. Not only because he didn’t want it to get wrinkled, but he and a friend of his were also concerned about what they could do to keep the moths away from it! Fortunately I set him straight before he started buying mothballs and stuffing them in the garment bag…. It’s going to be a long year until her wedding…..Ben 2

But the easiest thing to do for your dress, besides not worrying about moths, is to store your dress at a friend’s or family member’s house, if possible. If they want to take the responsibility, that is. Chances are, they’ll be glad to help. Just don’t tell him what you did! Then….have a little fun. After all, if you can’t have fun planning your wedding….. Go out to the nearest thrift store, and pick up an inexpensive wedding dress…something you’d never wear, that doesn’t even look like your style! Maybe even add some gaudy bling or huge fabric flowers to it. You know, really make it look, well, as tacky as possible! It doesn’t even have to fit, in fact, if it doesn’t that’s even better!greenhouse_gypsy4_lifestyle boston globe com

Then hang it in your closet in a garment bag from the bridal shop. In plain view, of course. Of course, since you’ve been talking about your dress shopping, and how much fun it was, and how your dress has already come in and you have to pick it up, he’s naturally going to know there’s one around somewhere! Not that he’d ever go searching, but at some point, either by accident or by snooping, he’s going to see that garment bag, and he’s going to open it! Don’t you wish you could have a picture of that moment! When you think he’s actually seen it, and of course you’re going to make sure to give him every opportunity, start talking about how excited you are about your dress, and how you really wish you could show it to him, but you just can’t…. Really lay it on thick, and watch him get nervous! And the closer it gets to the wedding, the more you play it up, and see what happens! Oh, we can just imagine. Think he’ll let on what he did?

And just imagine the look of relief on his face when he sees you in your real dress on your wedding day! That will be a “first look” photo that will be absolutely more than priceless!
Patchwork Photography2

Photo Sources: 1st Row: kernphoto.com; wanieeey,blogspot.com – 2nd Row: girlywedding.com; katekylejoeelario photography via huffington post – 3rd Row: bbc.co.uk – 4th Row: personal files – 5th Row: glamour.com – 6th Row: newstalkkit.com – 7th Row: source unknown – 8th Row: personal files – 9th Row: greenhousegypsy4lifestyle via bostonglobe.com – 10th Row:styleunveiled.com; PatchworkPhotography.com – 11th Row: Patchwork Photography.com

Something About the Shoes – and Socks!

You spent a lot of money (or maybe not!) on your wedding dress. In most cases it’s long, and unless you’re really kicking up your heels on the dance floor, who’s going to see your shoes!? Right? You might not think anyone will see them, but what about all those really cool pictures you’ve seen of the rings on the heels of those awesome wedding shoes? Or the pictures of the groomsmen holding the bride sideways…there’s usually a pair of fancy shoes peeking out from under the hem of that dress! If you do the garter toss, when you’re sitting down, your groom is going to raise at least PART of the skirt of your dress up, and there’s going to be some kind of shoe that needs to be seen! And if your dress has a slit in the front or on the side, well, there has to be a fancy sparkly shoe making an appearance at the bottom!

It’s part of the tradition! Right?

Now you know you’re never going to wear that wedding dress again, right? But there’s a really good chance you can find other occasions to wear a great pair of sparkly shoes. Shoot, make the opportunity! And even if you don’t like shoes, there’s just something about finding a perfect pair of shoes to go with your fabulous wedding dress! After all, you’re the bride. You’re entitled! And even though I’m not really a shoe person (I know–horrors!) I absolutely adore all those gorgeous fancy shoes designed to be worn with a wedding gown! And they’re in all colors and designs! Your wedding day shoes don’t have to be white, as you’ll see below.

How do you walk in them, though? I’m one for comfort as well as style. And on your wedding day, the last thing you need is for your feet to be hurting. After all, you not only have to walk down the aisle, and stand still for some 20-30 minutes, then walk/run back up the aisle, stand for zillions of pictures, be introduced at your reception, dance at your reception…your feet are going through a huge workout! If you get to the point you can’t walk in those gorgeous shoes any more, what do you do? Besides hope that someone has a spare comfortable, but elegant, pair around to let you wear!

You can’t forget all those cute little gimmicks you see on Pinterest, either. You know, the ones where you put decals on the bottoms of the shoes, or write cute notes on them, or have the bridesmaids sign their names, or you write a note to the groom… What a fabulous photo op! The heck with comfort! Just be sure to have your photographer take pictures BEFORE the ceremony, because afterwards, those shoes are bound to not look near as good…at least not without some photo editing!

And as we mentioned before, there are those pictures with the rings on the heels of the bride’s shoes, or of her shoes in really beautiful positions and poses. Who can resist? Why, it’s worth the cost of the shoes alone for those pictures! Right?? So what if your feet are screaming by the time the dancing starts?

A word of advice, or maybe six words. Make sure your shoes are comfortable. Break them in before you wear them on your wedding day. Buy them well in advance and practice walking (on carpet!) in them. Dance in them. Stand in them. Wear them while you’re seated. And if you just can’t get them to be comfortable, well you have two choices. Either exchange them, or if you really, really want them for your pictures, buy another COMFORTABLE pair to change into when your feet start screaming. You can always decorate them with a bit of bling as well. Be creative. Involve your bridesmaids, even. After all, aren’t two pairs of shoes better than one!? And your flower girl can always wear a pair of leftover shoes!
inspirationlane-tumblr

Or if you’re having a beach wedding, there are all kinds of decorative wedding flip flops. You can either buy them already decorated, or buy your own and be creative! You can even have a party with your bridesmaids, and all of you decorate your flip flops to coordinate with your dresses! Some brides even opt for the non-shoe flip flops, which are basically just jewelry for your feet with no soles. You’ll collect a lot of sand on your feet and between your toes, but your feet will look elegant!

Or you can even go a little crazy with something like these! Or not…. You do know…it’s your wedding, and just about anything goes when we’re talking shoes!

And don’t forget your guests….many of them may end up with sore feet halfway towards the end of the night and what better way to combine comfort with wedding favors and offer up a bucket of dancing shoes for the ladies?
estate weddings and events

How about the bridesmaids wearing all different colors of shoes with their dresses? Or the bride wearing another color? And what about the trend for wearing cowboy boots with your wedding gown? And having your bridesmaids do the same? (Personally…I love cowboy boots…but for a wedding, I’m not too sure. But it’s your wedding!)

And there are other options besides the boots…..

So we have all these fantastic shoes for the bride and her bridesmaids. All these photo ops! How fun!

Wait. We forgot something. Or should we say…someone! What about the guys? Don’t they get to have a little fun with this, too?

Unfortunately they don’t have too many choices. They can wear the standard rental shoes that go with their tuxes, as most of them do. If it’s casual, I mean really casual, they can wear some funky sneakers. Or they can go with cowboy boots if that’s what the ladies decide!ashley gillett photography

And there’s always flip flops or bare feet if you’re on the beach. But really, who looks at the guys’ shoes?
destinationweddingmag-com

But….there’s also a trend that we like that gives the guys their time to have fun, too! How about the socks!? At least they can have a little fun with them! And those picture of the guys raising their pant legs and showing off their colorful socks are almost as fun as the ones with the ladies and their shoes!

How about these socks especially made for the groom with these funny little sayings on them? No one sees them, but at least the wedding party knows they’re there. And again, pictures before the ceremony are always good for a laugh later on! And sometimes there are even sayings that can be put on HIS shoes!

In fact, special socks for the guys can even solve a bit of a dilemma that you may be having. So what happens when the groom wants something special to wear with his tux, or suit, or whatever he’s going to be attired in, and the bride says forget it!

Like the groom wanting a camouflage vest for his guys. And it just doesn’t go with a beach themed wedding. Well, here’s the perfect solution, and let me say right now, we had to search for this one!

Photographer-Colorado-Visions

Problem solved. The socks win it! And we know just the wedding where you’ll find them…..

Photo Sources: 1st Row: eddyk.com; via Pinterest – 2nd Row: everythingsparklywhite via tumbler; obsessedwithshoes.com; bumpinghanger.com; blog.theknot.com – 3rd Row: iloveswmag.com; obaz.com; sistarshoes.com; via Jaliah Henderson.com; Rachael Foster Photography via BorrowedandBleu.com 4th Row: wedingdaypin.com; theknot.com; vinyl decals via Etsy; lovewedbliss.com; amandahedgepethphotography.com; via tumblr – 5th Row: onewed.com; onewed.com; bespokebride.com; apositivelybeautifulblog via tumblr – 6th Row: inspirationlane via tumblr – 7th Row: source unknown; lovewedbliss.com; loveitsomuch.com; abouther.net; Etsy Priceless Princess Bows – 8th Row: lilacchiffon via tumblr; marthastewartweddings.com – 9th Row: EstateWeddingsandEvents.com – 10th Row:weddingthingz.com; Stephanie Hogue Photography via StyleMePretty; budgetdreamweddings.com; personal files – 11th Row: Melissa Biador Photography via Lovely.ly; Caitlin Thomas Photography via Wedding Chicks; Benfield Photography – 12th Row: AshleyGillett.com – 13th Row: Destinationweddingmag.com- 14th Row: source unknown; PrettyChicky mainstreetav.com; ahurstphotography.com – 15th Row: arabiaweddings.com; stylemepretty; stylemeprettyforgrooms – 16th Row: ColoradoVisions.com