Now is the time for beach weddings. And if you find yourself newly engaged (congratulations!), you might be considering a beach wedding for your special day sometime next year. And why wouldn’t you; exchanging your vows in a gentle breeze as water softly laps at your feet is a beautiful way to start off your marriage! So here are a few tips to ensure it ends up as stunning and memorable as you have in mind:
1.) Choose the right beach. A beach in Mexico is vastly different from a beach in Hawaii, which is vastly different from a beach in North Carolina, which is vastly different from a beach in California, so be sure to choose the right one. And the right one is often one that is special to you. Are you both avid surfers? Perhaps you can use the beach closest to your favorite surf spot.
2.) Be prepared for the weather. Any outdoor wedding needs a backup plan, and the beach is no different. If the weather is generally mild, a large tent might do the trick, but if the weather is known to be particularly nasty that time of year, you might need to have a sturdy, indoor location to direct guests. Make sure all guests are away of your backup location before the wedding day.
3.) Don’t overthink the decorations. The great thing about having a beach wedding is the setting itself. There’s no need to go overboard on decorations when you’re never going to top the view of the sun setting over the ocean anyway. Keep things simple and let the venue do most of the work. Some creative touches (like unique sandcastles, brightly decorated tables or some tiki torches) might be all you need to compliment your gorgeous background.
4.) Keep the food on theme. If you’re having your celebration at the beach, seafood will of course be welcome! If you’re on a beach in main, a traditional clam-bake might be a clever idea. A Hawaiian wedding might lend itself perfectly to a Hawaiian pig roast. Or you could just put something on a grill, like chicken and steak skewers! As long as you make sure to have a few food options for guests with specific food needs (shellfish allergies, vegetarians), everyone is sure to be thrilled with the cuisine.
5.) Don’t forget the lighting! As with all outdoor weddings, when the sun goes down (or goes behind clouds), you need to provide some kind of lighting. On a peaceful night, candles will work beautifully, as will glowing lanterns gentle swinging from a few trees. If there are no trees in site, a handmade trellis would lend itself nicely to strings of white sparkling Christmas style lights. And when in doubt, a few firmly planted torches will illuminate the sand beautifully.
Now this post may ring as common sense for most people, but for those of us that are scheduled to be bridesmaids this coming year for the first time, it can be a bit of a rude awakening.
Personally, I had my first bridesmaid experience a year ago for a very close friend of mine. When we went to breakfast I didn’t bring any money, because I knew the groomsmen were getting their paid for, I assumed we were too. I was wrong. When the bride asked us to arrive at her home at 4:00 to “get ready”, I showed up at 4:00, hair still wet from the shower, only to find my fellow bridesmaid all looking gorgeous; dressed donned, makeup and hair done. The term “getting ready” was for the bride. I was clueless.
So here are some things to keep you from landing yourself in a similar situation as a first time bridesmaid.
1.) Bring lots of money. Folks, being a bridesmaid isn’t cheap; you often pay for your dress, your shoes, your travel expenses and to get your hair and makeup done by a professional. Even if you think you can do it yourself, if the bride wants your makeup professionally done, it’s up to you to pay for it. And we haven’t even started including things like the wedding gift and food for the weekend. If you’re a bridesmaid, save up some cash.
2.) You’re not there as a guest, but as an employee. It is your job to help make sure the bride’s Great-Grandmother makes it back to her hotel in one piece, and if needs someone to hold her up to see the cake cutting during the reception, than damnit get over there and give her a shoulder to lean on. This is the bride and groom’s day, and the reason you are in their bridal party is because they consider you one of their best friends as well as someone that can help make sure their big day runs as smoothly as possible. If the bride runs out of tiny paper serving plates, stop dancing and get your ass to the store to pick some up. The bride and the groom should be enjoying themselves, not running out to get more paper serving plates.
3.) The Maid of Honor is your boss. This you will just have to accept. The Maid of Honor is the bride’s right hand lady, so if she needs something done, do it, and don’t argue. Chances are, she’s had to put just as much time and effort into this wedding as the bride has herself, so don’t cross her; she’s got a lot of responsibility riding on her shoulders.
Nowadays, a marriage not only means adding on person to your immediate family, but also a few children as well. If your family is increasing in size and you’d like to have everyone involved in the ceremony, here are a few stress-free ways to do it:
Let them help plan the wedding. Wedding planning is difficult stuff, and often so many choices will paralyze you from making a decision, so let the kids help! Chances are you’ve gone through about 30 different fonts for wedding invitations, and they are all starting to look the same at this point. So if you’ve narrowed it down to your top three options ask your soon-to-be daughter-in-law which one she prefers, and go with her choice.
As far as more significant planning issues, such as the band or the flowers, take them along one time and hear their opinions. Even if you don’t take their advice on having camouflage wedding favors, they’ll still feel involved in the process.
And if you’re completely clueless, ask for input! Bubbles or racecars may sound silly, but you’d be surprised how far a little bit of whimsy goes on your wedding day.
Give them specific tasks. As we all know, children can have a hard time focusing, so give them a very simple task they can perform. A ring-bearer or a flower girl are easy, fast tasks that let them steal the spotlight for a second. Even playful directions, such as, “Alright Junior, Mom and Dad are going to go get ready, so it’s up to you to keep everyone in line. Don’t let anyone eat any of the cake until we get back!” If they’re older, let them take on more responsibility, like ushering in guests, perhaps.
This also includes tasks before and after the wedding. Helping decorate before the ceremony can give a child a sense of ownership over the big day. Also, giving them a task after the day is over, such as making sure Grandma doesn’t forget her hat is a simple, specific task without a huge amount of pressure or consequence.
Include them in the ceremony. Many weddings not only signify the love between two people, but the joining of two families. A friend of mine had her son at her side during the repeating of the vows, and even gave him the chance to write his own vows to his mother and new step-father. Allowing your children to join in on a candle lighting ceremony or a sand mixing ceremony are just two fantastic ways to let them know that they are all an equal part of the family.
Wedding disasters do happen. Sometimes the dress gets stained (don’t worry, you can edit it out of photographs and after the celebration bring it to Lily’s Bridal for professional advice on how to get it looking good as new), sometimes the cake melts (keep it in the cooler until it’s time to eat, otherwise just know it’ll still taste delicious either way), or another fiasco of some kind. Here are a few of the more common ones:
1.) It’s raining. Always, always, always have a back-up plan! For many people, rain is actually a good thing (it’s considered good luck!), but no one wants nasty weather to ruin their big day. The second you choose an outdoor venue for your wedding, you need to be asking about option #2. Does your venue offer an indoor service in case of inclement weather? As the day gets closer you’ll be able to take a look at the impending forecast, but you never know. A $200 deposit on an indoor site might just be worth the peace of mind in knowing you definitely won’t be stuck saying your vows in the middle of a hurricane come your wedding day.
2.) Your hair and makeup is ruined. Let’s face it, weddings are a landmine of hair and makeup issues. The weather (hot and sticky, wet and windy), the nerves (sweaty palms matched with fidgety hands), and emotions (tears of joy streaming down your face) of the big day can be a lot for your look to stand up to. To prevent this, it’s important to use smudge-proof and water-proof formulas for your makeup, ask for a quick tutorial on how to recreate the basic look should anything go wrong, and take your pictures as early as possible.
3.) One of you is sick. People get sick; it’s a fact of life. Personally, I’m one of those lucky people that suffers from what I call “stress colds.” Everytime there is a seriously stressful occasion coming up, I somehow arrive at the day with a stuffy nose, a sore throat and a headache. For your wedding day, unless it is something very, very serious like one of you is sitting on the bathroom floor holding the porcelain throne for dear life, suck it up. The show must go on. Take comfort in knowing your pictures will still turn out gorgeous (if you’ve hired a professional photographer…which you always should), since everything will be edited later.
4.) Someone gets drunk and makes a scene. It is possible, especially if you are planning on serving alcohol at your wedding. Thing is though, as the bride, this is where you get to delegate responsibility to your groom, and him to his groomsmen. If someone is drunk and causing a scene? Get them home safely. This is your day, and if someone else decides they’re going to ruin in they can sleep it off in the hotel room.
5.) No entertainment. Every once in a while (and by ‘every once in a while’ I mean very, very rarely), the entertainment either doesn’t show up or the sound equipment doesn’t work(this happened to my wedding). I know, I know, you checked it all the night before and everything worked fine…yada, yada, yada. The prevention of this disaster is much like the prevention of disaster #1: you need a backup plan.
Even if you’re ready to rock out to a band all night, bring your Ipod just in case. And it never hurts to know a good sound man or electrician, if you need to doctor up a down sound system in a jiffy.
HOW TO KNOW WHICH DRESS WILL FIT YOU BEST
The search for your wedding gown can be an overwhelming experience if you’re not sure what to look for. Your choice will be much easier when you know the four silhouettes of wedding gowns and which one will look most flattering on your figure. Wearing the right cut of gown for your body type can draw attention to your best features and minimize those you’re concerned about.
The four silhouettes (ball gown, sheath, princess cut and empire) all create varying visual effects on different body types. If you haven’t tried on wedding dresses before, it is recommended that you try on at least one dress in each silhouette. This will allow you to see which cut best complements the look and feel you are trying to evoke at your wedding.
You can find all four silhouettes at Lily’s Bridal. Your personal stylist will help you determine the best silhouette for your shape.
The Ball Gown
The ball gown has a form-fitting bodice with a full skirt. It is the most traditional of all wedding gowns. Ball gowns can have several types of waistlines. These include:
• Basque features a fitted bodice with an elongated triangle beneath and at the front and center of the waistline. This style diminishes the width of the dress at the waist.
• Natural waistline for this dress is between the hip and the ribcage.
• Asymmetrical features a change in waist height from one side of the dress to the other.
• Dropped falls several inches below the natural waistline. This style of dress elongates the torso.
The sheath is a form fitting dress that closely follows the line of the body. The skirt has either a slit in the front, side or back of the dress or can flare out into a trumpet or mermaid style to make walking easier.
Aline Gown/Princess Cut
Princess cut or A-line gowns have an A-shape, created by vertical seams running from the shoulders to a flared skirt, and are characterized by their narrow-at-the-top, wider at the bottom shape. This style of gown is designed to elongate the lines of the body, adding a classic elegance and an illusion of length. This dress doesn’t have a defined waistline. It fits through the torso and then flares out from the waist.
The empire has a high waisted seam just below the bustline that falls into a sheath or A-line skirt. The skirt begins 2 or more inches above the natural waistline and has a slender fit. This waist-minimizing cut allows extra room for brides who have tummy issues or are pregnant.
After the initial rush of the engagement…I’m so excited! I have to call everyone I know! Oh my God I get to buy a WEDDING DRESS!!…another exciting point will probably enter your head: the wedding registry. And why wouldn’t it? After all, you’re basically just running wild through Bed, Bath and Beyond with a scanner that magically adds coveted household items to your wish-list with all the ease and whimsy of writing a letter to Santa Claus. But before you get too carried away, there are a few things you need to know:
1.) Choose items with a large price range. Some guests may be able to splurge on that $350 Stand-up Mixer, whereas other may only be able to buy one of the $12 attachments. There’s nothing wrong with going for high-dollar accessories, but in order to give everyone a fair chance in getting you a gift from your registry, make sure to have some low priced items on their too.
2.) Choose stores that are part of a chain. There might be a darling little ma-and-pa shop just down the street from your home that you would love to create your entire registry from, but that would be a bad idea. It’s better to choose stores that have different locations throughout the country, meaning your grandma can shop at the store in her own town she’s comfortable in on her own time before making the trip to come to your wedding.
3.) Have an online registry. Having an online registry not only means guests can search for presents from the comfort of their living room, but it also means they can search for a better deal. You want a particular blender from a fancy box store? Your niece might be able to find it half-price at Kohl’s.
An online registry also means people will have a place to look to see how your names are spelled. Sure you might have known your friends and family all your life, but they may have no clue how to spell your fiancé’s name.
4.) Choose gifts that are easy to ship. Many guests won’t be able to make it to your wedding, it’s just a fact of life, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to be involved, so many of them will still want to be able to get you a wedding gift. So choose some gifts that will be foolproof to ship.
5.) Give your guests plenty of time. Giving your guests a decent heads up (we’re talking at least 2-3 months) will ensure you don’t end up with a million of the same thing. If you inform them of your registry too late, they might have to get you a present using their own imagination, and nothing’s quite as awkward as staring at three customized mailboxes the day after the wedding and having to decide how you are going to change them out when the corresponding giver comes to visit.
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