A wedding reception can happen anywhere, but more and more people are choosing to do theirs outdoors. And why not? It’s pretty tough to match the ambiance the open air and a beautiful sunset can provide. However, an outdoor reception area can also spell trouble for the unprepared bride, so here are a few things to keep in mind:
1.) Pick a location that’s practical. Putting a significant amount of money down on a pricey winery location won’t be any good if they won’t let you decorate it. Choose a spot that has a bit of room for guests to mingle as well as a spot for you to walk down an aisle. Oh and always, always be conscious of the price.
2.) Provide some kind of shelter. Even if the forecast is 90 degrees and sunny for the next three weeks, a tent or some kind of covering is absolutely necessary. First of all, you really shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket when it comes to predictions about the weather, and second of all, the sun is just as harmful as a rainstorm. It melts cake and chocolates, it ups the temperature a good 20 degrees, and as an extremely fair-skinned individual, it makes it incredibly difficult to enjoy the experience unless I’m completely drenched in sunscreen.
3.) Provide bathroom facilities. It might not be the most romantic topic, but it’s definitely necessary, and it’s not going to be free. It shouldn’t be expensive, by any means, but you definitely need to plan for this in your budget.
4.) Inform your guests. As I mentioned earlier, I’m incredibly fair skinned, so last year when I attended what was described as an “outdoor, tented wedding” I was relieved. The 2-hour ceremony, however was not held under the tent; it was held in an open field in direct sunlight. While the bride was in the middle of her vows, I was desperately hoping the SPF 15 in my body lotion would hold up.
5.) Plan accordingly for food. Some foods don’t keep as well as others outdoors, and some foods are also more difficult to eat outdoors. Finger foods, like lamb skewers, small sandwiches or small deserts are always sure bets. It’s also to keep in mind the temperature though. Cupcakes with delicate frosting may melt in high heat, and that’s never appetizing.
6.) Work with the natural setting. If you’re getting married on the beach, you don’t need to look far for decorations. Driftwood and seashells can be used to carry the beach theme throughout your setting. And if you’re getting married in a garden or a field, consider using a trellis or gazebo to add some structural interest to the area.
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Okay fine, I admit it; when I picture planning my future wedding I see myself spending countless hours hunched over the living room coffee table, desperately trying to pull off a gorgeous wedding at little to no cost (and succeeding with flying colors, by the way). However, there is often another vision that also enters my mind; the one where I am frolicking through department stores, crazy with the power that only a gift registry gun can provide. I’m not proud of it, but damnit, I also know I’m not alone.
Alright now let’s come back to reality for a second. The fact is your gift registry is a huge opportunity. Many couples aren’t just getting married, they’re also in the process of moving in together, buying a home, starting a family or any other large milestone. Don’t waste your gift registry as the result of a slightly crazed (but most definitely earned) spending spree. So I’ve made a list of items that should be on your gift registry. And trust me, while these may seem boring now, they will most definitely come in handy later.
– Organizational Items. As previously mentioned, there are probably going to be a ton of milestones headed your way, so you’d better be organized. And yes, I understand that storage containers and label makers might not exactly get your engine revving, but this thing will be invaluable down the road.
– Good kitchen knives. Never mind the garlic press (that literally has only one purpose) or the giant punch bowl you’re only going to use twice a year, get yourself some knives. I’m not talking about the set of knives you buy at 4:00 in the morning because you can’t sleep and if you call now you’ll get an entire second set free, I’m talking about the knife that costs a significant amount of money because it’s worth it. As an avid cook, I can’t even begin to explain the need for proper tools in the kitchen, and even if you are a takeout-five-nights-a-week kind of person, you’ll be surprised how often you’ll appreciate a good knife in the kitchen.
– Bedding. This isn’t the time to look at the decorative sheets you’re going to end up putting on the spare guest bed; this is the time to look for heavy duty bedding supplies. A high quality comforter, real pillows (not the ones you still have from college), even a sturdy mattress. You know, something you will be able to appreciate every, single, day.
– Your honeymoon. A honeymoon is as much a part of your wedding as your reception, except it tends to be a bit pricier. What’s more, so many couples end up budgeting for the wedding but then completely forget about the budget for the honeymoon! Instead of leaving yourself hung out to dry, consider one of the many sites that allows you to register parts of your honeymoon. Like one night’s stay, or a massage, or surfing lessons.
– Charity. Admittedly, a wedding is one of the most openly selfish occasions in your life. There’s the dress (no one else can wear white), the pressure (“C’mon, it’s for my wedding!”) and the authority (because the bride says so), so how about a little selflessness? A charity of your choice is a great way to include the less fortunate in your big day.
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Let’s not kid ourselves here, if we all were going to get the wedding of our dreams it would probably be a destination wedding. Whether it’s a beach in Bora Bora or a cabin in Alaska, your dream wedding probably has a dream setting. And even if it’s at your family’s lake house, that’s still a destination.
But destination weddings also prove to be a bit tricky. A friend of mine once got married on a cruise ship, and was thoroughly upset when each of her invited guests didn’t shell out $2,000 for a ticket, take a week off work and buy her a wedding gift.
I didn’t say she was a very good friend…
So here are a few tips to making sure your destination wedding is all that it can be, instead of a major expense and pain in the neck for everyone involved.
1.) Understand what you are asking of people. If you’re asking them to watch you get married in an exotic location, understand they aren’t just paying for the plane ticket, they’re also using some of their hard-earned vacation days to see you. What’s more, they may have other expenses, to pay, like a sitter to watch the kids while they’re gone. When you put it like that, there really aren’t many people that could afford to do that in this economy.
2.) Do your research. If you’re getting married in international waters, all of your invited guests need passports. This means you have to give them heads-up at least six weeks in advance. And you never know, you may have some guests that aren’t able to travel out of the country. In that case, you might want to have your ceremony in Hawaii instead of Figi.
3.) Search for discounts. Discounts are everywhere, you just have to know where to find them! Searching travel sites, calling hotel’s individually and expressing why you are coming to visit (many resorts give discounts to wedding goers since they know their resort will probably be in the background of many beautiful pictures).
4.) Plan ahead. A destination wedding is a lot more complicated than a typical wedding when it comes to travel. Your guests are probably going to need a hotel and rent their own car since they won’t be staying with family. And if your wedding isn’t taking place in the town were most of your family lives anyway, people are going to have to request time off work and book their tickets months in advance. Don’t make them pay more because you didn’t give them enough time to plan things out.
5.) Visit ahead of time. Sure, your destination probably looks like something out of a paradise magazine, but resort managers pay good money for those photos. Visit for yourself before you make any solid decisions; that dream wedding could end up being a hot, sticky, disgusting nightmare if you aren’t too careful.
Alright future (or even current) bridesmaids, this one’s for you. Of course we’re also doing a favor to all those brides out there; if your bridesmaids are engaging in any of the behaviors on this list, either point them in the direction of this article or consider evaluating how much stress is worth having them in your wedding.
1.) Constantly complain. Now don’t get us wrong, as much of an honor as it is to be a bridesmaid, there are also many, many things to complain about. Between the money it takes to buy all the required shoes, dresses and presents, not to mention all the time it takes to throw bridal showers and bachelorette parties as well as attend dress fittings and participate in countless other wedding activities, you’ll start to feel like you’re planning your own wedding. But you’re not. This is her day, not yours, so as much of an inconvenience as it might be, shut your mouth and smile; it’ll all be over soon.
And in the case that there really is a problem (you simply can’t afford to drop $800 on a bridesmaid dress, talk to the bride directly. You can either work something out, or you can decline to be a bridesmaid, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with declining due to financial or scheduling conflicts.
2.) Fight with the other bridesmaids. There is always a chance that one of your sworn enemies will be another bridesmaid, but that is just something you will have to deal with. You didn’t pick the other bridesmaids, the bride did, and frankly, your opinion in this matter is completely irrelevant. And trust us, she has plenty of things stressing her out already; she doesn’t need you and her new sister-in-law bickering on top of it all.
3.) Be late to important dates. Planning a wedding means having to fit countless new activities into your daily schedule: dress fittings, cake tastings, band reviews and many, many more appointments with other wedding vendors. When the bride schedules something that you need to be present for, like a dress fitting, for example, she’s likely squeezing it between two other very important things. Arrive on time.
4.) Ignore the bride. Yes, there will come a point when you are completely overwhelmed with wedding related tasks and you just need a break, but ignoring the bride is not the way to take this break. Just take a second to read her email and answer whatever question she asked. It may sound like much, but my making her tasks a priority you’ll get her off your back much faster.
5.) Take over. Chances are, the bride will probably give you some responsibility when it comes to certain tasks, but that’s where it ends. Don’t invite anyone or change anything unless you clear it with the bride first.
Lily’s Bridal – Maryland’s premier Bridal Boutique – Offering Wedding Dresses, Prom Dresses, Bridesmaid’s Dresses, Mother’s Gowns, and Tuxedo Rentals. Book your appointment today!
Eeee…talk about a touchy subject! Asking anyone to contribute to your wedding can be a difficult topic to breach. And what happens if they do contribute? If they’re paying for it, don’t they get a say in the whole thing? Well, yes and no; here are a few tips to navigating this complicated situation:
1.) Timing is everything. As you have no doubt learned through other life experiences, the time to discuss something with your father is not the second he walks in the door. It’s best to let him kick his shoes off, watch a bit of the baseball game, get a little food in him and then approach the subject. This is the same with everyone! Don’t ask for money just after they get into a huge fight. Use common sense; you want to ask them when they are in a good, easy-going mood.
2.) Ask nicely. Yes, you need to ask. The old, “But you’re my dad, you’re supposed to be paying for my wedding!” is not a realistic argument. If you want to get married that’s on you, not your parents. If they don’t have the money, or simply don’t want to give you the money (hey, they worked hard for it!) then accept it and move on. That means no begging, no whining, and absolutely no guilt-tripping. If you do any of these things you are acting like a baby…and are certainly not mature enough to consider getting married.
3.) Be prepared to negotiate. If you ask your parents for financial help for your wedding, they may not be able to give it to you, plain and simple. But they may be able to help in other ways. Maybe your mom is friends with one of the best florists in town, and this florist owes her one. Having her call in a favor is just as much of a financial help as it is contributing the money herself. Let your family be creative if they want to help but can’t do it with their wallet.
4.) Know the difference between what you need and what you want. Yes, this is your wedding, but having an ice sculpture in the likeness of your favorite cat is not going to determine your future happiness in your marriage, so don’t ask someone else to pay for it.
5.) Know the rules. Yes, if your parents agree to pay for the open bar at the wedding, they can set a limit on it. That doesn’t mean you get to go crazy and rack up a $50,000 bar tab. Maybe it means they can pay for the bar for the first hour of the reception and then goes to a cash bar. If they agree to buy your wedding dress, they are allowed to say what they can contribute. If it’s out of their price range, you can make up the difference.
Lily’s Bridal – Maryland’s premier Bridal Boutique – Bridal Gowns in sizes 4 to 30. Book your appointment today!
As many people probably find out while planning their wedding, the photographer does not come cheap. And how can this be? Cameras are digital now, so don’t they just spend a few hours taking photos then go home, burn them on a disk and call it a day? No, they don’t. Not even close.
The fact is, many photographers charge thousands of dollars to shoot one day at a wedding (and maybe include another day for the engagement.) And if you’re curious, here is where those thousands of dollars are paying for:
1.) The photographer’s equipment. That camera that you’re photographer is holding probably looks pretty complicated; that’s because it is. No professional shoots with even a $400 camera; they shoot with something close to $2,000, minimum. The lenses also cost some serious money, ranging from $600 – $5,000 and in some cases, even more. Plus, let’s not forget all the studio lighting, editing equipment, backdrops and props they also use. That’s thousands and thousands of dollars (well over $10,000) worth of equipment they’ll be using for your wedding.
2.) The photographer’s time. On the surface it may seem like they only spend a couple hours here and there shooting your engagement session and then your wedding. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. For a wedding, a photographer spends anywhere from 60-80 hours editing the photographs. Each one is color corrected and each detail is taken care of. That blemish that popped up on your forehead the morning of the wedding won’t be a problem for a professional photographer, as they will take the time to edit it out of every, single, individual photograph, one at a time.
3.) The photographer’s expertise. It takes much, much more than simple know-how to take a good picture. A professional photographer will know how to handle harsh or dim lighting conditions and which camera settings they need to use to render the sharpest photos possible. They know how to edit each photo correctly to make it look as beautiful as possible. And no, selective coloring is not a skill, it’s something a four year old can do in Photoshop. A professional photographer would never, ever use that as a selling point.
4.) The photographer’s experience. Weddings aren’t something for the inexperienced. Think about it, would you want a DJ using your wedding as their trial run, or would you rather they know exactly what they’re doing? The same goes with your photographer, except their experience is probably even more important when it comes to wedding venders. If they’re standing in the wrong place to capture your special moment, that moment is gone forever; there is no “redo”. It’s well worth your time to pay a little extra money for something that knows exactly what they need to do to catch the essential wedding photographs.
5.) The photographer’s talent. Some people call themselves photographers, when really, they aren’t even close. A true photographer doesn’t just snap a picture; they capture a moment. You don’t want to simply see a bride and groom standing at the altar, you want to see the emotion on the groom’s face the first time he sees you walking down the aisle; you don’t want to see tables and place settings, you want to see the beauty of your special day just as it becomes bathed in a soft sunset light. A truly talented (and seemingly expensive) photographer will be able to accurately capture these memories.
Lily’s Bridal – Maryland’s top Bridal Boutique offering wedding dresses, bridesmaids dresses, mother’s dresses, prom dresses and tuxedo rentals. Book your appointment today!
DIY Wedding Tips
If you’re planning on doing most of your wedding on your own, you aren’t alone. Weddings are one of the most expensive purchases many people make in their lifetime, alongside a home, a car and an education, so it’s perfectly natural to want to cut some costs by doing most of the grunt work on your own. However, if you aren’t careful, some of your do-it-yourself ideas could turn into an absolute disaster. To prevent that from happening, we’ve got a few tips for you:
1.) Keep it simple. Just because you’re doing the bulk of your wedding on your own doesn’t mean you should tackle what a professional could easily do. If you can’t afford a florist, don’t try arranging 40 centerpieces and 12 bouquets all on your own; that would be near impossible and incredibly stressful. Instead, keep it simple; instead of intricately arranged bouquets, have your bridesmaids carry delicate collections of dried wildflowers or a simple bunch of baby’s breath. Even some creative, like a pinwheel can add an interesting (and easy) touch.
2.) Choose a location that does most of the work. Choosing a completely blank space, like a white tent, means you have to decorate the entire thing. Instead, choose an already beautiful spot, like a beautiful old church, an enchanting garden or a relaxing beach. Think about it; with plenty of light shining through vintage stained glass windows, would anyone even notice a bit of streamers by the door?
3.) Go for high impact. Instead of drowning yourself in hours and hours and hours of work, choose small tasks that have high visual impact. Go for bright colors or vivid accents. This not only cuts down on the cost of the materials you’ll have to use, but also the time it takes to put the look together.
4.) Look for the best deals. Just because your local party store has the streamers you want doesn’t mean that’s where you can get them for the best price. In this day and age of online shopping, you can get virtually anything you need for the lowest possible price with a bit of research. Check a variety of stores, including online stores, vintage shops, yard sales and even with friends’ that have been recently married.
5.) Prioritize. Doing things on your own means you can’t do everything. There are going to be some things that you simply have to let go. Focus on the main points of your big day and make sure those aspects come out as perfect as possible. A few things are most likely going to fall through the cracks, and that’s okay, just as long as those are very minor things.
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Your wedding day typically happens in such a blur that it’s a wonder if you remember any of it at all. Think about it; between the dancing, the alcohol, the family and friends and the crazy emotions, it’s a wonder you even remember where you are throughout the day. But as it turns out, there are a few things that you end up remembering, and we’ve decided to list them for you, for your convenience.
1.) The transportation from the ceremony to the reception. Whether you took a limo, a horse-drawn carriage or even walked to the reception site, this is one of the most vivid memories for many couples. Think about it; it’s the first moment right after you’ve officially been announced as a betrothed couple that you are alone. The experience has even been described as time stopping; it’s quite, you hold hands, take a deep breath and then begin the second part of your day: the reception.
2.) The moment you first see each other. Both you and your spouse will not only remember exactly what you and your soon-to-be spouse were both wearing on your wedding day, but also exactly how you both felt upon first sight of each other. “Seeing her in her dress for the first time was something I thought I was ready for,” explains Greg. “But I had no idea how happy I would be to see her. I just lost it.”
3.) The unique distractions. There are so many emotions you need to control on your big day, many people create unique distractions to keep from crying. “I didn’t want to ruin all my professional makeup,” explains Madison, “so I started thinking about what my dogs were doing at home and how excited I was to eat a piece of wedding cake. I don’t remember much of what the Rabbi said while I was up there, but it worked!”
4.) The inside jokes. There are so many little things that are between just you and your fiancé. Whether it’s a little look from across the room as soon as your uncle starts in with his wedding speech, or a couple clever remarks you’ve both added into your vows for a little amusement between the two of you. The little jokes and quirks are part of what makes you such a perfect couple, and they are also some of the things you’ll remember for the next 30 years to come.
Suzie describes the end of the limo ride; “As soon as the limo pulled up to the reception hall, Brian announced ‘21st Floor: Menswear.’ It’s one of his favorite lines from the movie Liar Liar, and it still makes me laugh when he says it.”
5.) The morning after. The morning after is one of the happiest moments for most couples. “You’re very aware that this is the first day of your new life together,” says Tom. Anna had a similar reaction: “ I couldn’t wait to introduce him to people as my husband,” she said.
Lily’s Bridal – Maryland’s Premier Bridal Boutique – Wedding Dresses, Bridesmaids Dresses, Mothers Dresses, Prom Dresses, and Tuxedo Rentals. Call to book your appointment today 410-553-9336 or book your appointment online!
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