Wednesday, November 2, 2011

“I’m Married!....Just Kidding, Just Kidding, Just Kidding!”

…..that is what I imagine Kim Kardashian is saying to her sisters right now as they laugh and laugh and rifle through overpriced Prada and Gucci that no normal human can afford without the assistance of a reality show. No, I am not exactly colored surprised by this turn of events. I mean, they got married on TV, for Oprah’s sake! It is the equivalent of watching the Bachelor, but with less hair pulling. So let’s not act all shocked that 72 days later, she is rushing back to the single’s bar.  But I am shocked by the mockery this has made of this sacred institution.  

So why bother to write about it? Well, because this is a wedding blog, and I write to help ease some of the torture of planning for that big day, or at least amuse, so that every bride can have the most special day possible. I feel really passionate about this, and the sanctity of marriage, because my special day was almost ruined. But that is another story. What we are talking about today is Miss K’s total disregard for this institution. I feel like a lot of women, such as myself, have taken this personally. The flippant disregard that she seems to have taken for a day that many people worked so hard to manifest, is nothing short of selfish.

No, marriages do not always work and I do not think that someone should stay in an unhealthy marriage because people expect them to. But I do think it takes longer than 72 days to find all that out. 72 days after my husband and I got married we were still gushing over wedding pictures and talking about our honeymoon. Hell, we were doing that 6 months afterwards! And I daresay that the reality stars do not have to worry about the things that normal brides do, like finances and their careers and family. All these things really don’t become a reality until after the honeymoon…….and I don’t mean the trip you take, either!

Marriage is a sacred institution that should not be taken lightly. It is not about big dresses and fancy food, it is about making the decision to share your life and your family, with another person.  It is about loving that person more than yourself. I think if Kim and Kris really felt committed to doing those things, it would take a lot longer than 72 days to figure out that they are not capable of them. Now, let’s turn off that reality TV and get back to planning celebrations for real love stories, shall we?  

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My Perfect Winter Party

We are fast approaching the holidays, and whether it is almost your engagement party, shower, wedding, or some other festivity, there are sure to be parties a plenty to go to! Typically my husband and I throw a Christmas party at our home, complete with kitschy decorations and party food. But this year, we are anticipating the arrival of a new family member, and to celebrate that, my wish is that we could give back to families in need this holiday season by throwing a party and having our guests bring toys to be donated to local charities here in Austin,Tx.

A perfect venue for this type of party would be this cool little club downtown call the Swan Dive. It is a little Oasis of jazz and swing inspired décor and entertainment, complete with an entirely white interior, perfect for a Winter Ball. There is hardly need for much décor, given the splendid lighting and furnishings already adorning the club, but to enhance the holiday spirit, I would decorate with green and white Christmas trees, scattered throughout the space, adorned with snowflakes and white lights, giving the illusion of a snowy forest in winter. Soft candlelight would be nestled in greenery on each table. The attire for the event should be white and black formal wear. Food for this event would be anything but vanilla, though. Hot toddies of buttered rum and spiced wine along with cider and hot chocolate for those not imbibing. Decadent hors d’oeuvres would be scattered throughout the winter wonderland, with dishes such as brie with walnuts and honey, smoked salmon crudités, bacon wrapped shrimp, fig and gorgonzola appetizers, mini holiday pecan pie bites, chocolate truffles, and of course, roasted chestnuts, amongst others. The night would be a beautiful romantic celebration with the entertainment from my favorite Big Band, the Vendetta Big Band, crooning out holiday carols and all your favorite standards. And the best part is, at the end of the night, we will have toys to deliver to the kiddos for Christmas! Celebrating and giving back, what could be better than that?

This party will be a wonderful opportunity to do both of those things. Austinites rarely if ever, see a white Christmas, and it would nice to give friends and family and community a small taste of that. But the Holiday season is not just about spending time with friends, it is also about remembering others and reaching out to them, especially our children. To make this night happen would be so special not only to our guests, but also to a lot of families in our community. Now that is a reason to celebrate.

This blog is part of the Win Your Perfect Party contest sponsored by GigMasters. To find out how to enter visit Life of the Party.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Are All Wedding Blogs Just Vacuous Hype?

So here is the question, are all wedding blogs just empty shells decorated with vendor advertisements? Recently a photographer posted a blog in regards to the hype surrounding wedding blogs, and how most seem to cater to overly trendy, elaborate weddings with pictures of only pretty and/or super skinny brides. As a wedding blogger, this is something I would like to address.

First of all, those were my sentiments as well when I started this blog. I do like some of the trends, but I feel like there was no attention paid to the 'average' bride. More accurately, the real bride. I, nor my family, had the money to recreate some childhood princess fantasy of mine.  I also am not a swimsuit model, or terribly trendy. And I am grateful for those things everyday. Because I love who I am and who I have become because I am NOT those things. So why was I bombarded by expensive trends and runway models in wedding dresses when I started to plan my wedding? Why is this the face of marriage in our country?

The truth is, it's not. It is just like any magazine publication. They display the most expensive, trendy, extreme styles. That is what sells. But does it? I have found that even in my teen years I started buying magazines that showcased clothing that I could actually afford. And I have always appreciated the articles about petite actresses with quirky faces over long legged models.  I don't think I'm the only woman in America that can relate to this, either.

So where is the wedding magazine or blog that is the equivalent of a Lucky magazine? Someone should clue them in that real brides do not want cookie cutter style beyond their budget and means. All anyone really wants is to feel special.  We want to feel beautiful, but part of feeling beautiful is feeling uniquely beautiful. Wearing feathers in my hair and decorating a field for my ceremony just like the cover of the latest and greatest won't necessarily do that. Wearing a dress that is within my budget and hugs my curves in all the right places, will. I know we need a baseline for fashion, and everyone wants to know the latest trends, but how about focusing on the attainable ones?  I think the truly gifted writer or photographer can find beauty and originality in the small things. If they cannot do that, then maybe we should find talented writers and photographers that can. It is my job as a writer to captivate you with material you can relate to, and if I am not doing that job, then someone needs to tell me. You are the bride, and this is your day, don't let someone else tell you what it is supposed to be.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


So my husband and I watched Bridesmaids last night, and it was surprisingly funny. Not that Kristen Wiig is ever NOT funny, but sometimes or all the time, Rom Coms tend to be irritatingly formulaic. Overall, the story line centered around one maid-of-honor's struggle to compete with the bride's new friend that continually sought to upstage her. Also, it's a love story, so there's a guy, and stuff happens, and they end up together in the end, duh. But the overall theme centered around how difficult it is to arrange all these activities for a wedding. Especially when you are strapped for cash.

This is something to take into consideration when forming your bridal party. Who might need financial help with travel, their dress, etc.? This can be a sensitive subject, so it should take some serious thought prior to calling all your besties and booking flights to Vegas. Also, who works well together, and who has the time and ability to host all the necessary functions, like showers, parties, etc.?  Not everyone does this, but they are traditional, and most people expect a bridal shower, lingerie shower, and/or bachelorette party. They also anticipate that the maid-of-honor and other bridesmaids will play a part in organizing and gathering the bride on the wedding day. I didn't expect this, but my bridesmaids were like a small army, I could not have asked for more competent and caring friends. I swear it is like they read a handbook before. NO, don't give your bridesmaids a handbook! There is a huge chance you could risk becoming a Bridezilla if you give your bridesmaids any direction.  All you need to do is find their dress and accessories (if that, some are picking out their own these days), make sure they are invited to all parties, have details about the wedding, and most likely host them a small brunch to be topped off with a gift. Afterall, they shelled out the cash to be in your wedding, buy you presents, and throw you a party.  It is the least you can do.

In the end of the movie, the bride realizes that everything is about to change, and she remembers the importance of her friendship with her best friend. None of the parties and presents matter as much as that friendship.  So keep this in mind. Sure, it is an important and special time for you, but your friendships are forever. Try not to let a misplaced bouquet or boring bridal shower overshadow them.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pin A Rose On Your Nose

Flowers! You must have flowers at your wedding!....right? Not really. And as fall and winter approach, there are a lot of alternatives to the usual rose and baby's breath (please don't do this. seriously. It's just not right.)  I love the creative arrangements of pumpkins and gourds mixed with wispy tree branches, or fall leaves and seasonal fruits.  Your color scheme will be predetermined using these elements, yes, but a lot of flower alternatives such as these are are less expensive and easier to decorate with, so it is worth some consideration.  If you are not interested in a fall festival for your wedding, no big deal, traditional flowers it is!  But I want to stay on point with the purpose of this blog, and give you some quick and easy advice and/or suggestions to make the process of picking them out easy and quick.

First of all, there are probably seventy billion florists in your town. They all want to do your wedding. For a price.  Google which are the top florists in your area and ask a few friends that were recently married what their favorites were/are before picking one. Again, you made your budget, so go in and indicate that first so they know what to work with.  Everyone will to up sell you; it is their job. But stick to your guns.  You can still get what you want at the budget you want if you are reasonable and flexible.  So price, check.  Now, you want a cascade of pink and lavender roses as the centerpiece for all 20 tables at your reception. Gorgeous, what a fantastic idea!  But that is likely to be pricey, so know that going in.  Now to decide on all the other places that need flowers to bring your pink and lavender garden dream into reality. This is the part I had a hard time with, so here is a list of things to account for when going into the florist:

1.  Decor for alter/archway/etc. during the ceremony
2.  Aisle decor for ceremony
3.  Reception table decor
4.  Food table decor
5.  Sign in book table decor
6.  Your bouquet!
7.  Your bridesmaid's bouquets
8.  Boutonnieres for the groom and groomsmen
9.  Boutonnieres or wristlets for parents and grandparents
10.  Any additional arrangements you want in the bathrooms, outside the venue, on stairways, on your car or carriage, etc.

If you do not know this already, they are going to ask you, and then you will spend an hour sitting at the florist trying to remember every nook and cranny of your venue and how it should be properly drenched in flowers.

Now, you have figured all that stuff out, they know your budget and have given you your options.  I suggest candles anywhere you need to fit in some proper decor, but puddles of flowers are out of price range.  They are just simply elegant and romantic and will always dress up a table.  Why else would they deck the table of every romantic dinner!  Ok, we are almost home.  So specifics about flowers:  roses are hands down my favorite.  They are easy to procure for florists year round and are fairly durable.  I know, I know, so bore-ing.  Peonies ar gorgeous, and really plump up a bouquet or table arrangement.  Calla lilies are also very popular, although remember miniature callas tend to be a bit more expensive. BUT you can get them in an array of colors, and they are so elegant!  Being a southern gal, I love love love gardenias, but also keep the price tag in mind.  Hydrangeas are often popular, but will wilt quickly.  Tulips are also popular, but these fellas will open up in no time flat, so also be careful with those guys.  And orchids were the missing element at my wedding, beautiful and unusually hardy; these guys can be real stunners in a bouquet.

There!  Now you have all your flowers picked out and ordered!  Do not be overwhelmed or get caught up in the semantics of arrangements, let the florist do that. Pick out your favorite flowers, give them an idea of your color schemes and any particulars (like all white bouquets and all purple boutonnieres) and let them handle the rest. It is, after all, their job.  Now that you are all done with the decorations for your wedding, how about congratulating yourself on a job well done with a little spa treatment and a nice glass of wine! And don't forget to invite me along ; )

Friday, September 30, 2011

Not Your Mother's Wedding

So it's FRIDAY, hooray!!! Today I just wanted to ruminate for a moment on some of the quirky places and ways that people have gotten married. I always wonder what the driving force is behind these unusual engagements. Do you get married under water in scuba gear because you just love scuba diving, or because you want to be on the front page of your local paper? Or is it something so unique and special to your groom that you couldn't do it any other way? Whatever your venue, your wedding is YOUR wedding, and you deserve to have it wherever and however you like. Below I've put together a fun list of the most unique places I could come up with to get married:

1. A graveyard
2. Riding camels
3. On a pirate ship
4. On top of the Sears Tower
5. At the zoo!
6. In the mall
7. At the DMV
8. while having surgery
9. In a hot air balloon
10. In the middle of a play, either as an additional act or during the intermission....hmmm.....

So these are ones that I came up with. Did you or are you getting married in some unusual way or at an unconventional place? Let me know, I would love to hear about your adventurous wedding! Happy Friday, all!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Picture Perfect

Wedding photography, possibly the single most important aspect of your wedding. I am not a picture girl. I have a host of random pictures on my iphone that I have taken randomly, and rarely for special occasions, and I don’t even know where my digital camera is. When I was planning my wedding, photography ranked low on my list. I suppose my indifference stems from hours of looking at the same posed pictures, and thinking ‘who actually cares about these other than the couple and the family?’  the answer is likely no one. BUT you MUST have pictures, if for nothing else than posterity.

                All that said, rank yourself on the picture spectrum. Are you a 2 or 3 like me, just wanting a few pics to show the grandkids one day? Or are you a 9 and uber excited for tons of high quality pictures and video to plaster all over your home and share with everyone? The good news is, no matter where you rank, you can likely find a handful of photographers in your area that will work with customized packages. Not all will, though, so make sure you ask for rates up front before you go any further.

                Now, once you work out a package with your vendor, you need to give them specifics about your wedding. They need to know where to shoot, and when, and if there are particular shots that you want. If you want lots of your grandparents, tell them. If you want lots of you posed with your wedding party, tell them. If you want all candid photos of your reception, TELL THEM! They will also need to schedule when to take pictures right before or after your ceremony, and everyone in your wedding party needs to be ready to go. It is your wedding, but it is an event with a timeframe, and when things go according to schedule, everyone is happy. Remember, your wedding photographer is one of the most important players in your wedding. They often end up being responsible for the flow of events.  My photographer was a pro at this, you can check her stuff out here

                The last thing you want to take into consideration when deciding on a photographer is their style. We went for the oh-so-popular Old Hollywood feel to our wedding. So it was important to me to have some photos that looked like old movie stills. No, not the kind you can take with your Hipstamatic app on your Iphone, the kind only a really good photographer can take. Also, you need to let your photographer know the mood. DO you want playful pics? Or romantic pics? Because they will need to capture those kinds of moments to optimize your package for you.

                I will also say for a gal that is not into pics, I also had engagement photos and bridal portraits. I was lucky to have a very patient and talented photographer friend take these for me, and I am so glad she did. You can check out her stuff at  She did my bridals, and I have to say, it was so much fun and I have that lovely portrait to pass down to my children one day.  Because it is not really about taking pictures to show your friends at happy hour or during your lunch break, it is about capturing memories. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Sound of Music

I can't believe I haven't written about music yet. This is wicked important at your wedding, no joke. Whether you are having a small formal affair or a huge blowout, you are going to need some music. But seriously, who has the time for scoring the interweb and begging friends for info on wedding bands? And then when you find a resource, how do you efficiently and effectively communicate what you want and your budget? Now, I personally have an 'in' into the music industry, so I will give you some helpful tips to make this process go quickly and painlessly while still getting exactly what you want:

1. Decide on live band or dj or both:  Once you decide on a DJ or a band, you can yes, google 'wedding DJs' and find a plethora in your area. Same for bands. There are a handful of reputable sites, like Gigmasters, where you can find quality musicians.

2. Pick your genre of music:  Ok, so you want a live band. Now you need to know exactly what type of music you want. If you want all country music, then search only for bands that specialize in country music.  Rock, standards, covers, etc.

3. Know your budget:  You have decided on a country western band to play during your reception, awesome. Before you contact The Honky Tonky Hoedown Quartet, you should know firmly what you can spend. Provide this information first. Most bands can find ways to work within your budget, depending on your needs.

4.  Provide timeframes and particulars:  You can spend $3400 on your band, great.  But now you need to tell them for how long. Oh, and Uncle Andy wants to give a speech after the first dance? Ok, tell the band that. Special requests? yeah, they need to know that too. Any details needed to be included in your proposal. Remember, it's your wedding, but this is their job, so they are operating on a clock and only with the information you give them to do their job.

So what if you don't know what kind of music you want? Well, most times bands will have websites and you can listen or see some of their music to get a feel for them. Shameless plug:  My husband sings for a wonderful 16 piece Big Band called the Vendetta Big Band that plays all around town and various parts of the great state of Texas. They like other musicians, use several online resources to get their music out their for brides and people planning events. They often have sets designed for occassions such as weddings, but always cater to individuals and will customize depending on your needs. Remember, this part should be fun, but more importantly, quick and easy.  Know what you need before contacting anyone and it will make both your lives easier!  If you would like more information and resources for contacting and engaging wedding bands for your special day, feel free to ask in the comments section. Happy Planning!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cold Feet or Cement Boots

Weddings are fun and exciting, especially for the bride and groom, but don't forget to stop and take a few minutes here and there with your fiance to reflect on the commitment you are making to one another.  For your own reasons, you've decided to make a lawful and in some cases, religious vow to be committed to one another for life. For that reason, you should really step back from the frenzy of wedding plans to ask yourself, and your fiance, what that means to you.

Things of global importance tend to be religion, politics and family planning. Weigh out how important these issues are to your partner and discuss them if you haven't already. I am constantly surprised by people that say they never discussed these issues prior to the aisle walk, and now are in a marriage that has some unresolved issues. Aside from the Big Three, also discuss any other concerns or needs that you have, no matter how small. Your partner rarely can infer everything about your expectations of them through actions. Sometimes you need to just say 'I don't want to move around at all' or 'I intend to keep my job and maybe start a new business while we are raising a family'.  I once dated a guy for years, and when the time came to talk about the future, he informed me that he expected me to support him through medical school and then stay home and raise our children. It was a huge shocker and ultimately ended our relationship.

So clear the air and find out where both of you stand on the issues, even if the only one to discuss is what part of the bottle to squeeze the tooth paste from. These kind of discussions will make you feel closer and more secure as you head towards your big day. Everyone gets a few jitters on their wedding day, but let them be about your future mother-in-law wearing white, or best man getting a stomach virus instead.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Let Them Eat Cake!

Weeeeellll, HELLO stranger!  I know, I know, look at the date on this blog? It's like returning a call to my mother; I mean well, but the time gets away from me.  Well, I'm back from a short hiatus that was well spent getting on track at work, starting a new business AAAAANNND...getting pregnant! So now there is going to be a little Shameless Bride Baby!  In the spirit of pregnancy and all the joys that come along with it, I thought I would discuss the wedding cake.

Now, again, this is one of those touchy issues that always set off some forward thinking brides. Some brides don't like wedding cake, and some quirky brides want something different and trendy. My response to those gals is - do it anyway. Why? Because guests expect wedding cake, that's why. Now, I have been to some very lovely weddings without cakes, and they compensated for the lack of cake with delicious desserts.  But part of me really wanted a piece of wedding cake. Something about the ritual of cutting this towering confection and sharing pieces with every guest is sacred to me. It is the one collective action of all your guests at a wedding, and for me, the wedding cake is what made our marriage official.

Okay, so now that I have talked you into spending an enormous amount of dough (heh heh) on a huge sugary cake that you will take home in droves (delicious, sweet, sticky droves), let's talk flavors. White on white. Nice. I like a good traditional white cake with royal icing. Better? try a different flavor on each layer.  Or different icing or filling. What is your hubby's favorite flavor? Try to marry his with yours. It is amazing what pastry chefs are doing these days, so I bet whatever you come up with, they can do it. I went traditional white, strawberry, chocolate. But wait, it gets better. White icing with the white cake, raspberry cream and raspberry jam layers for the strawberry (ohmigodsogood) and coffee buttercream for the chocolate. The top of the cake is the chocolate layer, which I cannot wait to open on our 1st anniversary! And I'll be darned if it is ruined, I will call the bakery and have another one made! I WILL have my wedding cake for my anniversary!

And how do you decorate it? Well, anyway you like, silly. This is this the fun part, and the only thing I regret is going so classic with my design and not having a little more fun with it. Add some color, have different sized and shaped layers, but tiny Day of the Dead skeletons as cake toppers, go crazy! This is one aspect of the design process you don't want to miss.  Because it will define your wedding in a lot of ways and oh what a sweet sweet payoff.

Friday, June 3, 2011

I Now Pronounce You 00011101010011101

Today I am indulging in one of my favorite topics. Robots. I love them, and if I had known that a robot minister was an option when my husband and I got married, I would have jumped all over that. Yes, a robot minister. A couple in Japan used a robot named I-Fairy that wore a wreath of flowers to perform their rooftop ceremony at a restaurant in Tokyo. Of course, the robot was not programmed completely for the ceremony, so a man sitting behind a curtain programmed in the commands for the robot during the ceremony. So we are almost there, but not quite. 

                Unusual, yes. But is this the future? Possibly. Robots in mainstream America are not as prevalent, as Americans have not yet warmed to the idea of having companions made out of metal. But Japanese culture has embraced robots as their friends. This wacky wedding story is testimony to that. So could this attitude of acceptance cross the ocean to our front door? I don’t know, but I have to give this couple props for their ingenuity and playful attitudes. Oh, and if you are thinking of getting one of these little guys for your ceremony, I would consider my budget first.  The price tag is a whopping 68K, but the good news is you won’t have to pay much for shipping and handling, because out of the three of these robots in the world, there is already one in the US. 

I hope everyone has a great Friday!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Yes, It IS About the Dress

This is Barbie’s fault. At a young age she taught us that we wanted the clothes, the shoes, the Barbie dream car, the Barbie dream house, and of course, Ken. Then when Barbie got her plastic coiffed, asexual hunk of Mattel perfection, next came the wedding. Beautifully perfect (if not completely anatomically unrealistic) Barbie strutted down that aisle on her tip toes in the perfect white dress and veil, like a miniature Princess Di.  Only better. Because she didn’t have those giant sleeves and Ken’s ears were proportional to the rest of his head. Glorious, perfect Barbie, what every little girl wanted to grow up to be. Or at least look like. So when our real live Ken doll came along and decided to make us his Mrs., dreams of that perfect dress immediately popped in our heads!
Or not, actually. Ok, I’ll fess up. I was not in love with wedding dresses. Not at all. I didn’t cry when I found it and it ended up being a decision based on reasonable deduction, which made me think that a lot of the crying done by brides during this process is more from frustration and exhaustion than actual sentimentality. But before you write me off as a cold, callous, robot bride, you should know that no matter what your feelings about it, that dress will become very important to you. It is the essence of who you are on your wedding day. It is the wrapping paper for the heart and body that you are forever entwining with another soul. And if it doesn’t make you well up with tears of joy, it will at some point. I got me. It was a slow gradual process, but one day I found myself alone with my dress bag, hugging the tufted laden skirt as if it was going to transport me into my perfectly wedded future.

I could tell you all the styles that are hot right now and I could tell you which ones look best for your body type, or what websites to go to find the best deals, but you are going to be bombarded with that information. It might be the one really fun thing you like about planning, too.  I will say for the sake of your sanity and time, refrain from taking your entire sorority pledge class and all your 2nd and 3rd cousins along for your fitting. This is not their decision and how could they possibly know what dress is really ‘you’? Also, be reasonable. If your fiancé is footing the bill on a grad school budget, don’t turn into a child when the hand beaded Vera Wang is a few zeros too much for your budget. You will find something perfect and it will not cause anyone to have to file for bankruptcy.  Lastly, be open-minded and free yourself of the pressure to behave any certain way. This is your dress, so find what looks good and what feels good. That is all that matters.  You will know it when you find yourself, alone in your closet, hugging that dress bag.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I take this chicken….or should I take the fish?

 Food. We all love to eat it, and often. So it’s pretty much a must at your wedding. Especially if you plan to have a long ceremony and expect your guests to stay and party. A good rule of thumb is to measure the length of your wedding against the quantity of food. If you are having a short morning ceremony, you might get away with some teacakes and cheese straws. But an hour-long religious ceremony followed by a cocktail hour and four hours of disco requires a bit more.  

                When making the menu for your reception, consider the style of wedding you are having. A mashed potato bar goes splendidly with a quant barn wedding with a homespun feel. Pate and croquettes might prove more appropriate for a museum or upscale hotel wedding. Next, I would incorporate items that reflect you and your fiancé’s cultures and tastes. Crab claws for your New England hubby-to-be and mini latkes to celebrate your Jewish heritage, for example.  Whatever the case, the food should reflect you just as much as the other aspects of your wedding do.

                I would also include what I like to call ‘fillum’. Fillum is anything that fills someone up. Bread is a good example. Make sure there are plenty of items like bread, cheese, fruit, or other items that are basic and distinguishable so that most every guest will have something to eat, regardless of their diet or preference. If you have vegetarian and vegan friends and family, this is especially important. Serving only chicken or beef with a side of mash potatoes and gravy could cause your vegan cousin to step out early. Then who is going to catch the bouquet?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Making The List

You know it, the Guest List. It is what everyone is trying to get on, and now it is your turn to make it. This aspect of planning a wedding is either really easy, or really difficult. It is all up to you. This is key. You must lay down the terms now before someone in your family decides for you. They all mean well, but if you waffle on whom and how many guests to invite, there are plenty of people that would love to step up to the plate. This is how marriages break up before they begin. Do not be scared, though! This is easily avoided. Just sit down with your fiancé first to talk this out. You have two factors to consider here:

1. Budget – why? Because caterers charge per head, that is why.
2. Preference – Some gals want an epic turn out, others just want an intimate circle of family and friends. Remember, you are on stage performing, so it is up to you to decide how many people you want watching.

                Once you know these two things, the rest is a snap. Sit down with your fiancé again and start that list. Of course, consider the people closest to you first. That one is easy. Depending on your budget and approximated guest list quantity, you may find that everyone you invite is a close friend or family member, and that is pretty awesome. But some of you may have to deal with a few difficult ones. Coworkers from your new job or your distant cousin that you do not know well but she invited you to her wedding. These are tough, and if you have room on the guest list, I say invite them.  They will appreciate the gesture whether they come or not. If you find you are running out of invitations, just draw a figurative line in the sand and remember to tell your coworkers and distant cousins that you are having a small wedding and only invited close family members and a few friends.  They will understand. If they do not, they probably have never been married. So it is likely that one day they will understand. Do not sweat it, do what is right for you and your fiancé. 

                NOTE:  Do not invite exes. Period. No one needs the added complication of latent feelings or memories of past relationships on the most stressful day of your life. This is a onetime deal, so focus on your future with your husband to be. Plus, no matter how progressive your boy is, he is likely lying if he says it is cool with him to invite your Heisman trophy winning, Mensa scholar, underwear modeling ex boyfriend. He may act like he does not care, but he will be grateful later. Remember, this is the first day of the rest of your life, so start it out with a strong declaration of respect and complete admiration for the man you want to spend forever with.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Reception vs. Children’s Party

              So you and your man are tying the knot in front of your friends and family, whoa.  That is some heavy stuff.  Seriously, you need to de-stress after all that heavy ‘til death do us part’ talk. That is why God created receptions, aka the Party.  Awesome.  And it is your party and you can have whatever you want! Within budget, of course. But the line between your My Little Pony Party in 2nd grade and your wedding reception needs to be drawn beforehand.
               I know, I know, you love neon green and pink, and polka dots have been quite the rage for a few seasons. But there is a tasteful way to add in your personal style without turning your wedding reception into a circus. Remember, you are going to look back at your pictures from this day, and it is highly likely you will have lost your appreciation for the donkey rides and piñatas that were key elements of your reception. 

                Make these elements part of the ‘accessories’ of your wedding. Instead of fuchsia bridesmaids dresses, try a modest black or cream with a sash or piping. Better yet, an underlay that pokes out a shock of fuchsia. This is refined and trendy at the same time. You want hamburgers and hot dogs? How about miniature ones! The condiments can be placed and delicate crystal or silver dishes. This was also very trendy this last season. And you guys are going to hate me for this one, but ease up on the candy bar. It is overly trendy right now, and I feel that this fad is fast approaching its death. Big cakes are on their way back, and there is plenty of room to get all of the Rainbow Brite colors on it that you desire.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Dolla Bills Ya’ll

Prince William finally proposed to you, so now all you need to do is call your Dream Team - Versace, Martha and Wolfgang - and sit back and let them handle it all, right? I am sure that your fiancé treats you like a Princess, and gurrrl you are ALL princess on the inside!  But unfortunately, most of us probably will not have the scrilla to throw down like royalty.  But I say, so what?! That does not mean you can’t look and feel like a Princess on your big day.  But I know most of you are probably working princesses, so here is a tip for planning when time and money are in short supply:

                Treat your wedding like you treat your wardrobe. Every magazine has the same advice for appearing high fashion on a budget.  Affordable basics, one luxury statement piece (shoes!!!) and accessorize, accessorize, accessorize!  So why not treat your wedding the same way?  Remember your ‘favorite’?  That is your luxury statement piece. Now focus on the basics to compliment your luxury piece. I do not mean compromise, but if you have fabulous flower arrangements draping your reception tables, maybe an affordable satin or matte linen tablecloth is all you need. Warning:  Do not cry about your table linens.  I did. I wanted the expensive ones.  They were nearly identical to the linens that were $300 cheaper. Did I notice at my wedding?  No, it was dark. Lesson learned. But my cake?  Worth every penny.  I almost didn’t want to cut it, it was so perfect. For me, the wedding cake was the most import thing. So think about what is really important to you at the end of the day….and what is not so important.

                So you know what you are going to splurge on, you know what your basics are going to be, and the accessories are everything from actual accessories to DIY projects of your own. Maybe you and your bridesmaids make all the party favors for your guests. The personal touch will make them special, and could save you some cash. But not always, so avoid allocating the time for this unless it is either important to you or a major factor in your budget. Otherwise, I recommend buying favors.  Whatever the case, once you make a decision about the types of items you will either purchase or make, and their budget, you can move forward with a clear wedding plan. This will make shopping for that diamond and sapphire tiara that much easier! 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Always Say Thank You

So Monday is here again and I find the best way to feel good about the week ahead of me is to start the week off with a high level of productivity. In your case, that would mean squeezing some serious wedding planning in.  But if the showers and engagement parties are already starting, today would be a great day to start writing those Thank You notes.

                Fretting over the type of stationary to use is a waste of valuable energy and time. Find a simple and classy style that suits your budget and get to writing. What to write?  It is simple, follow these guidelines and it will make writing those notes a snap:

1. Greeting - e.g. ‘Dear Aunt Bev,’
2. Gift and Use – e.g. ‘Thank you for the blender.  I cannot wait to make smoothies with it!’
3. Mention the past, allude to the future – ‘I have told my fiancé all the stories about summers at the lake house with you and Uncle Jack, and he cannot wait to visit too!’
 4. Grace – e.g. ‘Yours Affectionately’ or ‘Your Niece’ or just a simple ‘Love’
5. regards – e.g. ‘Casey and Dan’

So make it short and sweet, but emphasize the sweet. Remember, these people care about you and are excited for your marriage, and they have shown that by giving you a gift. So say a little more than just ‘thank you for the toaster’. It can be simple and short, but it should key in on your relationship to the person. Trust me, they will remember and appreciate the gesture. 
But however and whatever you write, the key for a busy bride-to-be is to write them NOW.  Do not wait until after the wedding. Etiquette says you have a year, but the further you get into a year, the harder it is to write them. This is something I know firsthand……sorry, Cousin Beth. It is in the mail, I promise!....But seriously, if you write them immediately after an event, that allows you to break them down into groups. So by the time you are leaving for your Honeymoon, you will only have a small stack waiting for you when you get back. And that is something to be thankful for.