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Archives: May 2013

How to Be a Good Wedding Guest

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Everyone has gone to a wedding at one time or another and witnessed what we all like to call “a train wreck.” And yes, while this always tends to make a good story for the guests leaving the party, the bride and groom on the other hand would probably rather do without the huge scene on their big day. And to make sure the person everyone is whispering about isn’t you, we’ve gotten together a little list of proper wedding guest etiquette.

1.) Don’t wear white. It doesn’t matter if the only thing in your closet is a white sheet from a college toga party; don’t wear it. It’s rude, it’s inconsiderate and it’s the #1 rule of all weddings, meaning there’s no way someone will forgive you for not knowing it. Unless the bride and groom have specifically asked their guests to show up wearing white (which does occasionally happen for black-tie weddings), don a frock with some color to it.

2.) Keep your opinions to yourself. It doesn’t matter if you think the bride’s dress looks like a wet poodle, if your place card has a spelling error on it or if the cake looks crooked; keep it to yourself. There’s nothing the bride and groom can do about it, and frankly your opinion doesn’t matter. She picked her dress because that’s the one she wanted to wear, the cake is as good as it’s going to get and there are probably other errors you just haven’t noticed yet; because the bride probably hasn’t slept in a year and a half. Just tell her she looks radiant and let them enjoy their day.

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3.) Be on time. This is the couples’ big day, and you showing up late will only draw attention to yourself. Some couples even have someone man the door after the ceremony has started; ensuring their precious moments won’t be interrupted by the loud squeaking of a wooden door and echoing footsteps and whispers as someone desperately attempts to find an empty seat. The last thing you want to do is walk in during a moment of silence for the bride’s late mother. As a matter of fact, give yourself an extra half hour to get there, just in case traffic or directions prove to be more difficult than you thought.

4.) Get them a gift. Have an old sweater you’ve desperately been trying to re-gift to someone else? Sorry, but you’re just going to have to keep trying. This is not the day for cheap gifts. Get them a gift card or something off of their registry. And if you include a card (of course you need to include a card), put in the time to figure out how to spell both of their names.

5.) Turn your phone off! Do you really want to be the one responsible for ruining the moment just before the bride and groom kiss for the first time because your college buddy just had to send you a picture of his new riding lawn mower? That ruined moment will be on their wedding video….forever. Turn your phone off and don’t even think of turning it back on until the reception is well under way.

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Planning the End of the Wedding

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Planning a wedding is a full-fledged ordeal, as everyone probably knows. However, there seems to be one aspect of the wedding that is generally left out of the planning; the end.

And it’s left out for good reason. This is supposed to be your magical day, so it’s completely natural to not want to think about all your gorgeous decorations being ripped from the walls and stuffed into the nearest garbage can. However, that time is going to come, and unless you make the appropriate preparations, you yourself could be the one tearing down your own wedding at 1:00 in the morning, and nothing ruins Christmas faster than seeing the Christmas tree sans ornaments.

So here are some things you need to make sure to add to the wedding planning to-do lists:

1.) Cleaning up. Unless you’re having the celebration at a private residence (like your parents’ home), you need to be aware of the closing time. Some venues require you to be cleaned up and out by a certain time, while others simply require the party to be over at that time and will allow you to come back in the morning to pick up the remnants. Either way, this needs to be sorted out.

If you are planning on going straight to your honeymoon from the wedding, you need to have someone on hand that will help with the cleaning. Maybe the venue does their own cleaning (did you budget for that?) or maybe you can ask your parents and some members of the bridal party to stop by the next morning to help out.

2.) Getting guests home. If you’re going to provide alcohol at your wedding, you need to provide a way for guests to get safely home. Whether it’s a cab that has been rented out for the night, or a “tipsy trolley” (as we call them back home), which is a bus system that can be scheduled to pick up guests at a designated time and take them back to their hotel. Maybe there is a member of your wedding party that has already stated they won’t be drinking and can help out with taking guests home. Either way, it’s essential to make sure everyone gets home safe. If an accident occurs after the reception your wedding will surely be thought of as a sore subject for years to come.

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3.) Getting your stuff home. A few years ago I attended a wedding where the bride and groom had everyone meet at a local beach for the ceremony and reception. As many of the guests walked, and brought their individual presents, at the end of the night there were no vehicles at the reception. This wouldn’t have been a problem except there were quite a bit of presents. Someone had to make the trek back up to the hotel, pick up a car and drive back down to get the presents. Naturally it wasn’t a huge deal, but it was still a pain in the neck.

Make sure you have a way to get everything from the reception that you’re keeping back to your home or hotel room. This includes presents, leftover cake and food (if you didn’t have a caterer), whatever flowers or decorations you need to preserve (many florists allow you to return flowers for a small refund, provided they are in good condition the next day) and anything that can’t be left in its current location (stereo equipment on a beach, for example).

Lily’s Bridal – Maryland’s Premier Bridal Boutique – Offering Wedding Dresses up to size 30, Bridesmaids Dresses, Mother’s Dresses, and Tuxedo Rentals. Call to book your appointment or schedule online.

Surviving Bitter Parents at Your Wedding

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For many couples, an engagement is a happy thing! You instantly go into wedding planning mode and start creating a guest list. For other couples, however, with parents that have recently split-up and aren’t necessarily on pleasant terms with each other, an engagement can bring about an instant feeling of dread. Just how the heck are you going to get them both in the same place and acting civil for an entire night? With wedding vows and alcohol being thrown into the mix? It can seem like a disaster waiting to happen, but we’ve come up with a few tips that should ensure complete civility at your upcoming nuptials

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1.) Plan your invitations accordingly. If your mother refuses to have her name in the same space as your father’s name, you’re going to have to be a bit creative. Maybe just writing it as, “Along with our parents, we would love to invite you…” would do the trick. Or perhaps your mom just doesn’t want your dad’s new girlfriend to be mentioned (fair enough). Sitting down with everyone (together or separately) will help nip any potential problems in the bud.

2.) Work that seating chart. Not only do you want to seat them far, far away from each other, but it’s also smart to seat them at a great table. Maybe your dad might be a good fit with some of your fiancé’s college buddies. He’ll be drinking and dancing in no time, and will probably forget about your mom on the other side of the room. Do the same with your mom; don’t sit her at a table with your aunt where the two of them can nitpick about your dad’s new girlfriend across the room; sit her with some of your happiest and most welcoming friends and she’ll be in a much better mood by the time the food is served.

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3.) Give your wedding party and vendors a head’s up. Make sure all the necessary people know the situation. There’s nothing more awkward than the photographer asking for a picture with your parents when everyone clearly can’t wait for the picture to be over. Maybe have a set of pictures with just your mom, then have them leave and ask one of the groomsmen to get your dad for the rest of the pictures. Plus, you can have your Maid of Honor and Best Man on the lookout for any potential problems.

5.) Stand your ground. If your parents are just refusing to get along, with your mom refusing to come if your dad is going to be there, tell her too bad. This wedding is not about them; it’s about you and your fiancé starting your lives together. Either they have to grow up and get over their feelings for each other for one night or they can both miss out on one of the biggest milestones of your life. It’s up to them. Now you focus your attention to other things, like your dress.

Lily’s Bridal – Marland’s Premier Bridal Boutique – Wedding Dresses up to size 30 – Book your appointment today!

Tips for Cutting Wedding Costs

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Every bride wants to have her dream wedding, but getting it at a dream cost is another story. And as much you’d like to make your big day a day to remember, you need to ensure you remember it for the right reasons. Otherwise, it could come to be known as a thorn in your side every time you get the credit card bill.

So to keep you on the side of financial sanity, here are a few ways to cut costs on your wedding day:

1.) Let them eat cake. Having a gorgeous wedding cake designed for every one of your 150 guests is going to be incredibly expensive. Instead, have a smaller cake designed for display, and then have a sheet cake in the back that you use to serve to your guests. They’ll get to enjoy the beauty of the smaller cake while still enjoying the taste of the sheet cake.

2.) Rent and borrow. Chances are you probably have a couple of friends with wedding supplies that they aren’t going to use again for a long, long time, like white ribbon or extra balloons they didn’t use. Plus, wouldn’t it be more sentimental to use the cake knife and serving set that’s been in your family forever, instead of using a generic one from a catering company?

3.) Multitask. While everything has its purpose, that doesn’t mean everything is limited to its purpose. The bridal bouquets, for example, don’t just have to be used for carrying down the aisle, they can also be your flower arrangements at certain tables.

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4.) Choose buffet style. Serving each person their individual portion can add up to a lot of uneaten food, and you end up paying for every individual salad that someone just picked over. A buffet allows guests to choose what they want and how much, adding up to a lot less wasted food.

5.) Get creative with transportation. Instead of shelling out the money for a limousine, this is the perfect time to ask your grandpa if you could borrow his 68’ Chevelle to ride in style to your reception. Just guarantee him you won’t be doing any hot-rodding on the way there. Or heck, let him drive you.

6.) Choose beer or wine for your cocktail hour. Hard alcohol can really add up in price, and for most guests, they don’t have a drink they absolutely can’t live without. Sure, your uncle is a scotch lover, but when it comes down to it he’ll survive with beer. And if they complain…wait, there’s someone that would complain about that? If someone complains tell them they can bring their own, you’re not paying to get everyone drunk.

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Lily’s Bridal – Maryland’s Premier Bridal Boutique – Offering Wedding Dresses up to size 30. Book your appointment today!

The Rise of the Unification Ceremony

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Nowadays, a unification ceremony takes place in nearly every wedding, and whether it is the joining of just the bride and groom or the joining of two large families, unification ceremonies are a beautiful touch to your wedding day. Another great thing about them; they can be as unique as you are! Here are just a few suggestions to look over if you’re considering having one on your big day:

1.) Sand-mixing ceremony. In this ceremony, the bride and groom both have individual vases full of sand. Typically, the sands are of different colors, usually along the lines of the wedding colors. The groom may have blue, for example, while the bride has white. They then pour their sand into a collective vase, symbolizing their union.

This is an interesting one because children and other family members are often involved. Each family member, like the bride’s son and the husband’s two little girls, are all given a vase with different colored sand. When everyone pours their sand into the main vase, it symbolized the combination of the entire family, not just the bride and groom.

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2.) Beverage ceremony. This can be done with water, wine, or really any kind of beverage you see fit. Basically, both beverages are combined (wine from her cup and the same wine from his) into a cup, from which both parties drink. Feel free to have a little fun with this one at your wedding.

3.) Candle-lighting ceremony, also known as the Unity Candle. In this ceremony, the bride and the groom each have their own lit candle, and together they use their flames to light a single candle, representing the coming together of two people to one. As one of the most popular ceremonies, the third candle often represents “love’s eternal flame.”

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4.) Flower ceremony. In this option, the bride and groom each give each other a flower. This flower represents the first gift them give each other during their married life. More traditionally, a flower ceremony is called a “rose ceremony”, simply because a rose is often used. In more recent times, however, couples have begun using whatever flower is most personal to them.

5.) Knot Ceremony. Believed to have originated in Irish culture, the ceremony consists of a rope (or ribbon, or anything else you would like to use) that is wrapped around the bride and groom’s clasped hands. The rope is then tied into a “lover’s knot”, forever binding the bride and groom for eternity.

Lily’s Bridal – Maryland’s Premier Bridal Boutique – Offering Wedding Dresses up to size 30. Book your appointment to find your dream Wedding Dress.

Cheap Honeymoon Ideas

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Just because you’re putting all your available finances toward your wedding doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a honeymoon. More and more often couples are opting for lower budget option when it comes to escaping away together before diving straight into married life. So we’ve decided to give you a couple ideas of how you can enjoy a honeymoon without having to sacrifice that down payment you’ve been scrounging to save for a home someday.

1.) Consider a home exchange. A home exchange is basically when you offer up your home to someone in exchange for using theirs for an agreed upon period of time. This can help save immensely on expenses. It ensures someone is at your home to look after things while you are away, and it means you pay nothing for accommodations for the duration of your stay. This is a great source for learning more about home exchanges.

2.) Go camping. Sure people tend to make fun of the idea, but as a born and raised Montana girl, I’ll tell you that there’s really nothing like it. It costs next to nothing, the privacy is fantastic, and the amount of bonding that happens while snuggled together in a sleeping bag staring up at the stars is unlike any other.

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3.) Take advantage of the “off” season. If you’re getting married in August and have always desperately wanted to go to France, setting off on your honeymoon right after you say your vows might not be the most budget-friendly option. Instead, consider waiting until October or early spring of the following year. It’ll give you a little more time to prepare yourself, and the tickets will cost substantially less.

4.) Tap in the family. Does your aunt and uncle have a beach house or a mountain cabin they use a few months out of the year? If so, this would be the perfect time to take advantage of it. And don’t feel bad either; there’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking if you can borrow the residence for your honeymoon, especially if you’re asking for it months in advance.

5.) Have a honeymoon registry. A unique theory a few years ago, honeymoon registry have been popping up all over the place as of late. And for good reason too; your friends and family want to give you a gift you can remember. Everyone knows you’re going to forget who gave you that toaster, but you’ll probably remember who gave you the gift of scuba diving on your honeymoon. So give everyone a chance to contribute to your new lives together in a helpful and  meaningful way.

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Lily’s Bridal – Maryland’s Premier Bridal Boutique – Wedding Dresses Sizes 4 to 30. Book your appointment today!

A Letter to the Bride From Your Bridesmaids

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Dear beautifully glowing bride, First let us just say that it’s an honor to be chosen as a bridesmaid for your wedding. It means that you consider us one of her closest friends and instead of just observing your big day from the sidelines it means you actually want us to be a part of it; thank you so much!

However, being as this is an anonymous letter to every bride across the country, there are some things that you need to know. We love you, but for the love of God please heed the following tips:

1.) We are not rich. Please do not ask us to shell out money for shoes, a dress, travel expenses, hair and makeup, a manicure, a bridal shower, a bachelorette party, and a wedding gift because we will do it and at the end of this experience we will have completely depleted our life savings. Weddings are expensive, we understand that, but so is being a bridesmaid (typically upwards of $1,000). Please have some mercy.

2.) We won’t wear that dress again. As beautiful as the dresses are that you have picked for us to wear at your wedding, we are not going to wear them again, so please don’t use this as justification for an expensive dress. There are very few times in our lives when we will ever need another shiny, strapless lavender dress. It screams “bridesmaid dress” because it is a bridesmaid dress, and even if we did miraculously find another event to wear it to, we’re going to feel awkward all night knowing pictures of us in the exact same dress we wore for your wedding are going to be plastered all over Facebook.

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(The girl on the far left knows where we’re talking about…)

3.) Don’t be crazy. Don’t tell us we aren’t allowed to change into flip-flops at your reception. Ten years from now are you really going to be able to remember if your bridesmaids were wearing flip-flops or not as you and your fiancé danced the funky chicken at 12:30 in the morning? No, but you can bet your ass we will, and it will cause your reception to always be a slightly sore subject…literally.

4.) Feed us! Getting ready for the walk down the aisle is an all-day affair, and while you may not be able to eat a thing due to the overzealous butterflies in your belly, we’re starving. We’ve probably only eaten whatever we had for breakfast and then spent the rest of the day doing the same thing you’ve done: hair, makeup, getting dressed and helping you with anything you could possibly need, including talking to your Great Aunt Myrtle for an hour and a half. Something as simple as a plate of cheese and crackers will do the trick, and remember; a well-fed bridesmaid is a happy bridesmaid, and a hungry bridesmaid will be staring at the buffet table in all of your wedding pictures.

5.) Thanks us. We’re thrilled to be in your wedding, but being a bridesmaid is a lot of work. Besides the financial commitments we’ve made, we’ve also taken time off work to go to dress fittings and cake tastings. We’ve stayed up till 4:00 in the morning with you making delicate origami swans and spent hours stuffing envelopes. While we understand the duties of being a bridesmaid, the fact is that we’re your friends and we do these things because we care about you. Don’t let us forget that you still care about us.

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Lily’s Bridal – Maryland’s Premier Bridal Boutique – Offering Wedding Dresses up to size 30. Book your appointment with us today!

How to Plan a Bridal Shower

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These days, a wedding isn’t just about the actual wedding day. Not only are there the traditional bridal showers and bachelorette parties, but other activities that were meant for the couple are now more commonly being done in groups with the bridal party, such as cake tastings and appointments with bridal shop boutiques. However, even as more and more of the wedding planning becomes a group activity, the familiar tradition of a bridal shower is one that most brides consistently look forward to.

So what exactly do you need to know about it? Read on, and we’ll let you know the main points!

– It’s usually held between 2 months and 2 weeks before the wedding. This doesn’t mean you can’t plan yours sooner or later, but you this is the general time frame. You don’t want to push it to close to the wedding or it will begin to be a burden of stress for the bride (just one more thing she has to do before her big day) and you don’t want it to be too far out (a lot could change six months before a wedding).

– It’s usually planned by the Maid of Honor and the bridesmaids, and as the Maid of Honor or bridesmaids, you can do whatever you want! You can choose a theme, what kind of entertainment you should have and who is responsible for what. Just be sure to give yourself plenty of time and make sure to divvy up the responsibilities to those involved.

– Invite the right people. It’s important not to invite anyone that wasn’t invited to the wedding, as it could definitely set the scene for a sore subject. Check with the bride before you finalize a guest list (unless it’s a surprise party, in which case the Maid of Honor or the groom will be able to help you out). Typically, bridal showers are with the bridal party and a few close friends and family members. Sometimes it’s an all-girl party; sometimes it’s a co-ed (or “Jack and Jill”) party.

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– Choose a time of day. Bridal showers used to be held strictly as afternoon celebrations, but Sunday morning brunch has gradually become just as popular. Many bridal parties are held early afternoon, with the bachelorette party to follow that evening.

– Choose a place. If you would like to have the shower at a restaurant or another public place you may need to make reservations. Some restaurants may not even allow a bridal shower (they tend not to order a lot of food for the amount of time they’re there and they can be rather noisy). Make sure to check beforehand.

– Have ice-breakers at the ready! Games (such as the classic “Wedding Dress out of Toilet Paper”) work great as a way to get the party started, especially if everyone does not know each other very well.

– Keep the bride in mind. Remember, this is her shower, after all. If you’re going to choose a theme, make sure it’s something she would enjoy. I grew up playing games with my brothers (playing with G.I. Joe’s, riding Go-Karts, etc.) so a Barbie Doll themed party wouldn’t make any sense. Likewise with other aspects, like food; if she is a vegan, don’t have the party at your local steakhouse.

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Lily’s Bridal – Maryland’s Premier Bridal Boutique – Wedding Dresses Sizes 4 to 30. Book your appointment today!