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Opening Wedding Gifts: With or Without the Family?

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Opening Wedding Gifts - Wedding Gowns, Prom Gowns,Dresses,Maryland,Plus Size

The wedding is over, and it’s time to relax. You might be looking forward to the honeymoon but there’s one more thing to get excited about before that: the presents!

Now it might sound tacky, but let’s be honest: no matter how old you are, everyone gets excited to open presents. Plus, with how expensive weddings are, it can be a relief to know a few of your relatives pitched in to cover some of the cost with a cash gift.

But how do you go about doing it? Some families have a tradition where the bride and groom meet for brunch the next morning and open presents in front of their closest family members. This allows people to be there firsthand as they unwrap something handcrafted. Your Grandma has been working on that quilt for an entire year, she deserves to see the look on your face when you first lay eyes on it. Of course some would also argue that this is insensitive and disrespectful, and it mostly focuses on the gifts, not the couple themselves. Plus, not every gift is interesting. Watching people unwrap toasters, gravy boats and cash cards isn’t exactly an exciting afternoon.

Others, on the other hand, opt for a more private setting. The gifts are opened (with no one else present) after the couple returns from their honeymoon. In a more private setting, the couple is free to organize gifts as they come, as well as map out their thank-you cards accordingly. Plus, they won’t have to deal with a Mother-in-law’s judging eyes as they open a gift from the groom’s fraternity.

Whichever route you decide to take, we thought we might put together a list of dos and don’ts that apply in either situation.


– Remember it’s the thought that counts. If your grandpa gives you a handpainted mailbox, be excited about it. When you move back home take a picture of it standing in your driveway to send to him and take it down if you must. If he shows up unexpectedly, say there were a string of mailbox vandalizations and you were too worried something would happen to it.

– Refer to money as the gift you’ll use it for. This gives the gift more weight in the eyes of all the other handcrafted gifts.


– Forget the thank-you notes no matter how late you are. Things happen and life catches up with you, everyone knows that. A thank-you note is still a thank-you note no matter if it is received three days later or three months later. You’ll want to write them as soon as possible, but don’t slack off just because time has gone by.

– Use generic terms. Send a handwritten note, no matter how insignificant you may feel that it is. Don’t just print the message and then sign your signature; talk about how happy you were to see them there (or how much you missed them) and of course reference how much you love their gift!

Lily’s Bridal is Maryland’s Premier Bridal Boutique offering Exclusive Wedding Gowns and Prom Dresses. We cater to all sizes from 0 to 30. Call to book your appointment today!

Wedding Day Snafus Your Vendors Aren’t Responsible For

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You want your wedding day to be perfect, and an essential part of making sure everything runs as smoothly as possible is hiring the right vendors. Not only will they be able to perform the job to your high standards, but they’ve also seen just about everything; meaning if something goes wrong, chances are they’ve already dealt with a similar situation in the past and already have ways of fixing the situation.

However, there are some things that your vendors simply have no control over, and if any of the situations below pop up at your wedding, don’t hold the vendors accountable. They’re only human too, you know.

1.) Bad weather. Bad weather happens, and if you don’t have an indoor location, you’re pretty much putting yourself at risk for whatever Mother Nature might have in store. If it rains on your wedding day and you don’t feel like getting a bunch of umbrella photos with your bridesmaids, don’t blame the photographer for a lack of photos. Trust us, they’ll try to make up for it later by dragging you off the dance floor the second the clouds break, but if you wanted a picture with the landscape and it’s been pouring rain for the last three days, you can’t blame them.

2.) The bugs. Besides the venue (they should give you fair warning if they have an abundance of bugs in the summertime), your other vendors can’t be held accountable for the creepy crawlers. Sure, your bakery probably knows a trick or two to keep the ants and flies away from that gorgeous cake of yours, but that’s about as far as they can go.

3.) The guests. Your vendors have no control over the people you invite. It’s the DJ’s job to get people riled up and dancing and it’s the bartender’s job to serve the alcohol (so long as your guests can provide adequate proof that they are legal to drink). If your guests get too drunk or too loud and crazy, it’s neither the DJ nor the bartender’s fault. You probably already know the patrons that tend to overdrink, so assign a member of the wedding party to keep an eye on them.

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4.) The timeframe. If your DJ needs an hour to set up before the show, don’t expect them to be able to do it in 30 minutes. The photographer might need two hours to get in all the photos on your list, if your hair and makeup crew runs late, don’t expect your photographer to be able to snap all the photos you requested in 20 minutes.

Lily’s Bridal – Maryland’s Premier Bridal Boutique – Wedding dresses up to size 30. Call to book your appointment today.

Alternatives to Rice Throwing at the End of Your Wedding

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Rice Throwing at Your Wedding - Wedding Dresses, Maryland, Plus Size

It’s tradition; at the end of the wedding the bride and groom make their grand exit while guests shower them with…something. It used to be rice, but with the awareness of how unhealthy it is to birds (we know they don’t die, but it’s still not good for them), people have been exploring their options of what else they might want to throw at the end of their wedding. Of course we aren’t ones for making you do countless hours of research, so once again we’ve made a handy-dandy little list for you:

1.) Bubbles! Yes, some may consider it a worn out trend, but we feel it’s here to stay. And why? Because of all the pros: bubbles don’t stain clothes, you will have nothing to pull out of your hair, there’s nothing to clean up, it’s not bad for animals or the environment and it’s just plain fun. Everyone loves blowing bubbles…everyone. Show me someone that hates bubbles and I’l show you either an alien or a robot.

2.) Flowers. It’s also not uncommon for people to toss flower petals. And why wouldn’t you?! They’re beautiful, smell amazing and are easy to pick out of your hair and clothing (very unlike rice). Plus, they are large enough that they show up well in photos. Just imagine how beautiful of a scene it would be as you and your new spouse are running through a tunnel of cascading rose petals. Yeah, we thought so too.

3.) Sparklers! Sparklers are also a growing trend as of late, for the exact same reasons as bubbles. For the most part, the clean-up is a minimum and everyone likes sparklers. You could have the worst day ever and as soon as someone puts a sparkler in your hand all you can think about is the best way to write your name in the air before the flame goes out. Just look at this list as an example; the words “Bubbles” and Sparklers” are the only two points followed by an exclamation point instead of a period. It’s not a coincidence, folks.

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4.) Bird or grass seed. If you really want to through something as similar to rice as possible, consider one of these two options. It’ll be almost exactly the same as rice, but it’s good for the animals and environment so you won’t have to clean it up afterward.

5.) Nothing – hold something instead. Having your guests hold something over your head to create a tunnel is just as good as throwing something or waving it around. Umbrellas, for example, make an absolutely adorable way to send off guests. Plus, guests can also be taking pictures with them all night long!


Lily’s Bridal – Maryland’s Premier Bridal Boutique – Offering Wedding Dresses, Bridesmaids Dresses, Mother’s Dresses, Prom Dresses, and Tuxedo Rentals. Call to book your appointment today!

How to Ask for Help when Planning Your Wedding

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It might seem like an odd problem to have while planning your wedding, but it happens to more couples than you think. Even with the most helpful fiancé of all time, sometimes you just need an extra set of hands. Think about all the long distance couples out there; he might not be able to come to the cake tasting, and if you need a second opinion and your family all live far away, your left with your friends. Some people don’t want to be a burden, so it can be very tough to ask. However, a wedding is an incredibly stressful event to plan on your own, so we’ve gathered a few ways to get a little help here and there when you need it most.

1.) Throw a wedding planning party. It’s a party, so it has to be fun: key word being “fun”. Don’t make people show up with pads and pencils and sit quietly in a circle, that’s no fun at all. Have drinks and snacks readily available, and let them know any idea is open for discussion. If you start shutting people down immediately no one will want to help.

You can assign categories to make it interesting (your mom is in charge of coming up with a floral scheme while your girlfriends are in charge of coming up with drink specials) or you can just plan on everyone bringing their top  general ideas to the table. Either way, keep the drinks and snacks abundant and you should be able to have a great brainstorming session.

2.) Play up to their expertise. Everyone likes to be called an expert, so when you tell your friend what amazing fashion sense she has and then mention how difficult it’s been to find a bridesmaid dress, she’ll gladly offer her help. That’s the beauty of this; you really don’t even have to ask. All you have to do is give a compliment then wait to say ‘yes’ when they offer their assistance.

3.) Just call someone and ask. At some point, you have to be a big girl and just ask for help. Call your friend on the phone and ask if she’ll come meet the florist with you later that week. If you’re mature enough to be getting married you’re mature enough to pick up the phone and ask your friend for a quick favor.

4.) Don’t forget the strangers. That woman at the bridal shop might know more about weddings than you ever imagined, so it might be a wise move to ask her opinion on matters other than the dress. She might be full of useful information that you would otherwise be missing out on.

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5.) Get help where you can. Need an extra set of hands but have literally no one to help out? Get creative. If you’re a kindergarten teacher, bring one of your wedding to-do’s to class as a project. It will save you a lesson plan and keep your kids busy. Have them fold origami swans instead of paper airplanes. It might not be the best route to take but at least you’re getting the work done and our kids are learning what swans are.


Lily’s Bridal is Maryland’s Premier Bridal Boutique – Lily’s Bridal offers Wedding Dresses up to size 30. Call to book your appointment today.

Ways to Make a Grand Exit

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Grand Exit at Your Wedding - Wedding Dresses, Maryland, Plus Size

Yes, the exit. We think about all the other aspects of the wedding: the cake, the food, the music, the flowers, and completely forget about the end of the night! Your exit is the very last thing your guests will remember. I don’t know how many weddings I’ve been to where I’ve drank and danced the night away, and honestly the last thing I remember is watching the bride load paper plates of half-eaten cake into a black garbage bag. Not the best mental picture to be ending your night on.

So plan a grand exit instead. Either budget to have the venue do the cleaning up, or assign the duty to your close family or wedding party. This is your night and you should be heading out the door in one of the following scenarios, not on your way to the garbage out back in the alley.

1.) On a bike. Grab your grandma’s old vintage bicycle, tie a few cans to the back and add a front basket with a “Just Married” sign. Have your hubby do the grunt work while you ride on the handlebars. This kind of getaway is perfect for a little ceremony or when the bride is wearing a short dress (don’t want it to get caught in the tires). Or have bikes for both of you, and have the photographer take a few pictures of the two of you walking off into the sunset together.

2.) In a horse drawn carriage. People say horse-drawn carriages are overrated. They say the horse stinks, it’s loud, it’s not a smooth ride; please, let the naysayers be naysayers! We love the idea of a horse-drawn carriage! And take it from me, a girl born and raised on a horse ranch in western Montana, the naysayers got it all wrong. It’s still incredibly romantic. People may complain all they want, but they sure as hell will remember (and talk about) your amazing exit for years to come.

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3.) In a boat. Personally, I’m particular to the idea of hoping on a jet ski in a little white bathing suit and twisting the throttle until you’re headed toward that sunset at a respectable 65 miles per hour. However, if you’re looking for something just a bit slower paced, stepping into a gondola, a sailboat or even a rowboat can be super romantic. Just make sure you know what you’re doing; that rowboat is a lot tipsier than people want to believe.

4.) In a balloon. Rent a hot air balloon. It’s not that expensive (maybe a few hundred dollars, depending on the company), and it’s incredibly memorable. You’ll be able to glide across the countryside with your new spouse. What’s a better way to make an exit than that?


Lily’s Bridal – Maryland’s Premier Bridal Boutique – Offering Wedding Dresses, Bridesmaids Dresses, Mothers Dresses, Prom Dresses, and Tuxedo Rentals. Sizes up to 30. Call to book your appointment today.

Wedding Lingerie Tips

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Your wedding dress is a huge part of your big day. So much so, that it’s the first thing many brides run out to purchase as soon as they’re engaged. They call their parents, friends and family to announce their engagement, then they hang up the phone and start looking at dress magazines. No worries, this is completely normal.

Of course there happens to be one aspect of wedding dress shopping that many brides tend to shove to the side until the last minute, and that would be what they are planning on wearing under the wedding dress. So if you’ve just purchased your wedding dress, here are a few tips to making sure your wedding lingerie is just as perfect as the rest of your day:

1.) Make sure the style goes with your dress. Just as there are countless styles of wedding dresses, there are also countless styles of wedding lingerie, and you want to make sure the two match. If your dress is strapless your lingerie should be strapless, if your dress is fitted, your lingerie should be smooth and seamless, and if your dress has any sheer aspects to it, your lingerie needs to be appropriately placed where any words or embellishments won’t be showing up for all to see.

2.) Make sure your lingerie is comfortable. There’s nothing like a 12-hour day of awkwardly tugging at your underthings. You’re going to be walking around greeting guests, dancing, eating and among other things, getting married. The last thing you want is to be distracted by uncomfortable tugging, rubbing or pinching. So after you buy your dress and your lingerie, wear it around the house for a full day. This should give you an idea of what your wedding day will feel like. Plus, this will give you plenty of time to take it to a tailor so they can have a chance to fix any uncomfortable areas.

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3.) Make sure it fits your personality. This may seem like a silly point to include, but it’s important. Just as with any article of clothing, your lingerie says something about who you are. If your fiancé loves you for your sense of humor, a cheeky (haha “cheeky”…get it?) or clever phrase written across your undies might be just the fit. If you’re more of a bling girl, take a look at an embellished set. Either way, make sure your lingerie is just as much of a reflection of your personality as your wedding dress.

4.) Make sure it’s sexy. We could’ve skipped over this point entirely, but let’s be honest: lingerie has one very, very specific purpose. Sure it’s important that it creates the perfect shape underneath your dress, but that’s not exactly why brides purchase wedding lingerie. They purchase wedding lingerie because they want it to be seen and then removed in the frenzy that can only occur after someone has gotten married. And with the countless cut and fabric options, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to find the set that makes you feel that the amazing woman you already are.


Lily’s Bridal – Maryland’s Premier Bridal Boutique – Offers Wedding Dresses, Bridesmaids Dresses, Mothers Dresses, Prom Dresses, and Tuxedo Rentals. Call to book your appointment today!

Groom’s Tips for Surviving the Wedding Day

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Groom's Tips for the Wedding Day - Bridal Gowns, Wedding Dresses, Plus

We’ve done plenty of articles for easing the stress of the bride for the wedding, but the grooms out there may be feeling just a bit neglected. And hey, it’s their wedding too! So this one is for the fellas; if you’re planning on getting married in the near future, here are a few tips to helping you keep your sanity, even if your bride is losing hers.

1.) Don’t procrastinate with the tux. Your bride has most likely been dreaming of the wedding dress she’ll wear for years, while you probably have a general look in mind and will go with that. However, that doesn’t mean you can put off the process until the last minute. You should be giving yourself 4 to 5 months to find a tux. Maybe even a bit longer if you’re planning a spring or summer wedding as it’s the busiest time of the year and other grooms will be doing the exact same thing.

2.) Keep the lines of communication open. Planning a wedding should be a job for the two of you, not just the bride herself. After all, you both are getting married. So offer to help with the little things and make sure you’re educated on planning updates. If she’s freaking out about something, knowing exactly what the problem is will be the first step in solving it.

Groom's Tips for the Wedding Day - Bridal Gowns, Wedding Dresses, Plus

3.) Know the right time to shave. You definitely don’t want to be walking around on your wedding day with a harsh case of razor burn. But then again, having her face nearly sanded off during your first kiss is probably something your bride isn’t looking forward to either. So choose your shave time wisely; most people recommend shaving in the direction of the hair just moments before you get dressed for the ceremony.

4.) Go easy on the booze. This should be one of the happiest days of your life, so of course you’re going to want to have a drink or two. Look out though, since free booze tends to be a slippery slope for everyone. Besides, this isn’t your average Saturday get-together; this is your wedding. You’re going to want to remember this one. So by all means have a few drinks, but keep it classy. Besides, how rough would it be to end up passed out or puking at the end of the night in from of 250 of your closest friends and family? Not great. Especially when they all have camera phones.

5.) Relax. Know that all the planning you have done has led to this point, so sit back and relax, the planning is over! Now is the time enjoy the fact that you’re getting married. Appreciate the company of your friends and family and if something goes wrong just let it slide. No one will remember the little snafus anyway since they probably didn’t know what was expected in the first place. All anyone will remember is how amazing your big day turned out to be.


Lily’s Bridal – Maryland’s Premier Bridal Boutique – Offers Wedding dresses, Bridesmaids dresses, Mothers dresses, Tuxedo Rentals, and Prom Dresses. Call to book an appointment!

Wedding Themes You Secretly Love

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Talk of wedding themes can be very hit or miss with a lot of couples. Some couples jump on the idea while others are bit gun-shy. It’s quite understandable why one would go against the idea of a theme wedding. After all, if you’re looking for classic and timeless, a theme wedding might put you in a tough spot. Choose a theme that is trendy at the time and you’ll end up with wedding pictures that no one understands. Of course, if you’re crazy, fun and carefree, a themed wedding might just be the perfect way for the two of you to begin your marriage. So here are a few fun ones we’ve found with a little digging:

1.) Scary theme. We’re talking Halloween or Zombie theme. You can either go all out, with the bride and groom painted to look like real, scary zombies, or if you can add little touches in to a still very elegant and classy wedding. Think orange and black cocktail drinks or skeleton pieces of art as table settings. Plus, we guarantee you your wedding will be the talk of everyone in both of your families, forever.

2.) Movie theme. This one is quite broad, so we’re leaving the gist of it up to you. Basically, you both choose a movie to plan your wedding around. Have the two of you always wanted to be secret agents? How about a James Bond theme. Your man gets to wear his amazing tux, while all your guests can dress up in their dressiest outfits. It would be sophisticated and fun. Or maybe you guys could go a different direction, and choose something whimsical like Alice in Wonderland. With all the movies out there your options really are endless!

3.) Geek/Nerd theme. Have an obsession with video games? Legos? Anything that could be considered just a tad bit nerdy? Run with it! People are owning their geekiness like no other these days, so why stop there? A lego-themed wedding would not only be the talk of the town, but everyone would undoubtedly feel like a 7-year old again. Just imagine the nostalgia! Plus, if you think about it, your friends are probably all somewhat nerdy or geeky as well (we tend to be friends with people similar to ourselves) so they would probably love it!

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4.) Superhero theme. There’s nothing wrong with letting your “secret identities” show for a day! You can go all out, or just have the groom wear his Superman shirt under his tux while you keep your Wonder Woman undies under wraps until later that night.

5.) Fantasy theme. The fantasy theme can come from a number of places, from Fantasia to Lord of the Rings. You can wear fairy wings down the aisle, or you can choose a more subtle approach, like having vines twist through the Arbor you’ll be standing under. Just imagine how beautiful it could be!

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Lily’s Bridal – Maryland’s Premier Bridal Boutique – Offering Wedding Dresses, Bridesmaids Dresses, Mothers Dresses, Tuxedo Rentals, and Prom Dresses. Call to book your appointment today!

4 Tips for Wedding Dress Shopping

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Let’s be honest; back in the day when our grandmothers got married, shopping for a wedding dress was a very simple experience. If you didn’t have one that was being handed down to your or personally made for you by another family member, you simply went to the one dress shop in town, picked out your favorite and moved on to other aspects of wedding planning.

But this isn’t your grandma’s wedding, and this isn’t the 1950’s.

It’s the 21st century, which means the ways to shop for a wedding dress are not endless. You now have unlimited options when it comes to fit, color, cut, material and everything else, not to mention the little fact that a dress halfway across the world is no longer off limits, and with a little bump in shipping and handling you can have that custom-made dress from Italy shipped right to your doorstep. So you would think the process would be even better than it used to be, right?

Not quite. As it turns out, all these options are sending brides a bit over the deep end, so to prevent you from running off the same cliff of wedding dress anxiety as the rest of them, we’ve gathered a bit of advice on how to shop for your wedding dress in our current day and age.

1.) Know what you want. Now we don’t mean you need to know the exact cut, fabric, color and every other detail of your dress, but you should know the general logistics of it. Are you looking for something that’s a bit whimsical and earthy or something more classic and traditional? Short or long? Knowing your venue, price range and other wedding factors will help you narrow things down to a general idea of what you’re looking for.

2.) Trust your store associate. If you’ve entered a boutique with sales associates that really know what they’re doing (research to find a boutique with a stellar reputation in this department), trust them. They know which cuts work well on which bodies, and even though you might think a mermaid cut will only make you look fat, let them show you otherwise. You may be limiting your search and not even know it.

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3.) Bring pictures. Don’t worry if the dress in the picture is $40,000 over your price range, the picture will help give the sales associate an idea of what you’re looking for. These bridal consultants see brides like you all the time that probably have a picture in their minds but can’t quite think of how to describe it in fashion-forward terms, and as good as they are at being able to turn your blabbering made-up words (“flowy-ish”) into concrete examples of exactly what you’re looking for, a picture sure would speed the process along.

4.) Stand your ground. You try on a dress and it’s perfect: you’re twirling in front of the store mirror, imagining yourself walking down the aisle to your future spouse and you see his/her face light up when they see you. Honey, you’ve found the perfect dress. If your mother-in-law thinks “it’s a bit over the top”, your sister thinks it’s horrid and your Maid of Honor just shrugs, who cares. They aren’t the ones getting married, you are, and you’re the one going to be wearing this amazing dress you’ve already fallen in love with.


Lily’s Bridal – Maryland’s Premier Bridal Boutique – Wedding Dresses, Bridesmaids, Mothers, Prom Dresses, and Tuxedo Rentals. Call to book your appointment today.

5 Ways to Keep Your Wedding From Sucking

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As much fun as weddings appear to be, we almost always run into one or two over the years that many of us wish we had just stayed home for. We could’ve used the money we spent traveling and taking off of work on a better gift for the happy couple…or something like that. The fact is, just because two people are in love does not ensure that the day will be a pleasurable experience for all. Here are a few ways to make sure your big day is awesome rather than lame:

1.) Make sure people are comfortable. Sure, sitting in the sun for a 10 minute ceremony isn’t going to kill anyone, but they aren’t sitting there for the ceremony. They’ve probably been sitting their closer to 30 or 40 minutes by the time you actually start heading down the aisle. In addition, cramming all your loved ones in a tiny venue won’t go unnoticed. If you want to invite 250 people, be prepared to dish out the money for a venue that can handle 250 people.

2.) Get them involved. There is a difference between coming to a show and coming to an experience. If your guests are under the impression that this is about you, they will sit back and let you do your thing. If you make it about sharing this day with you, they will gladly join in the festivities. So keep the “watching” portions quick: the ceremony, the cake cutting, the toasts, and really focus on the shared parts, like mingling during food and drinks and dancing at the reception.

3.) Make it personal, not impressive. Just because you have extravagant decorations does not mean people are going to remember your big day. You know where else I’ve seen huge, gorgeous flower arrangements? In Vegas. Unless your flower arrangements have a personal connection to you and your new spouse, they go in the memory bank under “huge flowers”. Right next to the ones I’ve seen in Vegas. So have your initials in their somewhere, or do a combination of both of your favorite flowers. Then it gets filed under “unique wedding flowers”, and you’re definitely in the lead in that category.

5 Ways to Keep Your Wedding From Sucking-Wedding Dresses,Lily's Bridal

4.) Stick around! People come to your wedding to see you! I’ve been to a wedding where the bride and groom literally stuck around long enough to have a piece of their own cake and then left to go to their honeymoon while their guests were still being served dinner. The DJ started in with the music but everyone just stared at each other. What would you do if you were invited to a house party and the host was on her way out as soon as you got there? Awkward.

5.) Thank them afterward! It’s a lot of work to take time off work, ride in a car/bus/plane for 6 hours and pay for a hotel room along with it, so don’t let them leave empty handed! Give them thanks during your speech at the beginning of the night, thank them when to speak to them one-on-one during dinner, thank they on their way out with a small bag of goodies and write them a handwritten note as soon as you possibly can. They need to know how much you appreciated the fact that they made the trip.


Lily’s Bridal – Maryland’s premier Bridal Boutique – offering wedding dresses, bridesmaids dresses, mothers dresses, prom dresses, and tuxedo rentals. See you soon!