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5 Questions to Ask Before Getting Married

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When buying a car, it’s customary to shop around. Before making the purchase you’ll ask about the car’s history, check under the hood for any current damage and make sure that you’ll be able to keep up with any maintenance requirements. And that’s all for something that will only be a 5-10 year commitment.

Getting married is a huge life step, but surprisingly, many people tend to jump right in without doing proper research, and with a commitment this serious (we’re talking the next 50-60 years, people), there really are a few things you need to ask yourself before you walk down that aisle, and these are the top 10.

1.) What am I expecting to change or remain the same? From a psychological standpoint, a person’s habits can change, but their character typically does not. For example, if someone has a gambling problem, that can potentially change through effort. Belittling everything you are passionate about, however, is more a character trait, and is probably not going to change.

Plus, it might be an issue if you’re expecting something to change in a few years and your partner is expecting it to stay the same. If you work in a dangerous profession, for example, your mate might be okay with it right now, but they might not be prepared to live with the stress for the next 30 years.

2.) What about this person do I love so much? You want to make sure you aren’t in love with someone for short term reasons. It’s great if they have a great job or they have a great ass. These are all components of a person that change; he could lose his job or get really sick. Instead, it’s important that you’re in love with your mate for reasons that are consistent, like his sense of humor or his caring nature. In essence you want to make sure that you not only “love” your partner, but also “like” them as a close friend.

3.) Why are we getting married? You should be getting married for one reason and one reason only: because you’re in love. Not because it’s been three years and it’s the next logical step, not because your parents want you to, not for insurance purposes and not because you’re pregnant.

4.) How well do we communicate? There are many aspects of a marriage that need to be hashed out, such as finances (all current debts, financial goals and spending habits), having children (what forms of discipline will be used, who will stay home when you can’t get a sitter) and which holidays you are going to be spending with the in-laws. This also includes anything sexual. You need to comfortable with expressing your needs and wants in your relationship.

5.) Do we know how to fight? Believe it or not, many couples do not know how to fight. Screaming until you feel you’ve gotten your point across is not going to accomplish anything, and after 10 years it could lead to a lot of damage. Fighting fair means no name calling or belittling, and allowing the other person a fair chance to speak. A few quick counseling sessions will often give you some great ground rules for fighting in the future.

 

5 Tips for a Green Wedding

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In this day and age, it’s all about eco-friendly. And why not? Green weddings, as it turns out, can be incredibly more convenient and cost-saving than traditional weddings, And if you really think about it, all it takes is just a few little adjustments to make sure you don’t end up paying for a lot of wasted food and energy.

1.) Buy local. The number one rule, by far, is to use local vendors. Since they don’t have to pay for shipping costs, their product is already better priced. And wouldn’t it feel better to be supporting your local community anyway?

2.) Get creative with the flowers. A few years ago, I attended my cousins wedding and found that her centerpieces weren’t made of cut flowers (read: expensive), but were instead various potted plants. At the end of the night, guests with a green thumb were invited to bring some home, while the ones she kept were planted in the front yard of the first home she and her new husband bought. She saved thousands on flower costs, and each year when the flowers in her front yard begin blooming she’s reminded of her wedding day.

However, if potted plants aren’t for you, talk to your local florist about recycling your flowers. Many varieties can be used again for another wedding, so instead of purchasing all the flowers, you actually only pay the price for renting them, which can be a huge cost-saver.

 

3.) Use candles for lighting. Candles are not only eco-friendly (especially soy candles, which are cleaner and longer burning), but they’re incredibly romantic. Just picture it now; you, looking deep into the eyes of the love of your life as you exchange vows in front of friends and family…all while bathed in the romantic glow of candlelight…yup, I think I’ve made my point.

4.) Go paperless. These days, there is nothing you can’t do over the internet. Invitations sent by email are not only a great money saver, but are also a much more convenient way to for people to RSVP and take a look at your gift registry. And that super expensive calligraphy you could never afford in real life? Online it’s available, and for no price hike whatsoever.

5.) Do good with your venue. Wedding venues are not cheap; we all know this. But sometimes, you can get a great deal if you decide to have your wedding at a place where the money can be going to the community. Instead of having your wedding at a generic location (a hotel conference hall, for example), think of having your special day at a local museum, art gallery, or wildlife refuge. The money will be going to something you love, and your guests will be able to enjoy the unique setting.

Wedding Dress Shopping: Rules for the Perfect Entourage

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Ask any bride about the first thing to pop into their heads as soon as they slip on that engagement ring and they will probably tell you something about going out to celebrate or wedding planning in general, but every hot-blooded woman in the country knows what they are really thinking: Oh my God wedding gown shopping here I come!

The truth is, the act of shopping for the perfect wedding dress is almost as important as the dress itself! It not only makes the wedding immediately feel more real, but also gives the bride a chance to bond with new family and friends. And since we’d like every dress shopping occasion to be the magical experience every bride should have, we’ve gathered a list of things you should keep in mind when shopping for your wedding dress.

Do:

Bring those closest to you. Finding your perfect dress is a very significant experience, so you’ll want to include those that mean the most to you. If your grandparents raised you, invite your grandparents. If you have a close friend that you consider family, invite that friend. Most likely, your parents have been thinking of this day since you were a little girl, so make sure they feel included. Remember this is about you and finding your wedding dress.  No more than 3 people is best when searching for that perfect wedding gown.

Bring a fashion-savvy buddy. Fashion can be a tricky thing, and while you may find something you think you love, a close friend with an eye for fashion will be able to let you know if you will be having serious regrets when you look at your wedding photos in 10 years. Bring someone who knows what will look good in the future, but still cares enough about you to accurately inform you of how you look but will also be supportive no matter what you choose to walk down the aisle in.

Don’t:

Bring children. As much as you might love your 4 year old niece, bringing her along as a part of your entourage is a huge mistake. Dress shopping is your special day, meaning all the attention should be on you. No matter how well behaved a child is, they are still going to be irritated that no one is paying attention to them…for the next few hours. And on top of that, you’ve brought them to a pure white wonderland where they can’t touch anything and the amount of small items they could put in their mouths (beads, pins, etc.) is endless. A better option is to bring them to the final fitting, where they can see you in all your glory and only have to contain themselves for 30 minutes at the most.

Invite too many. Inviting too many people creates a situation where members of your entourage begin competing with each other. Each person has an opinion, and the more people you bring the more opinions you are going to have to deal with. Keep your numbers low for the best appointment possible.

Things to Consider When Choosing Your Wedding Dress

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Choosing a wedding dress can be an overwhelming task. Think about it; it’s one of the most important days of your life, everyone you love and care about is going to be looking at you, and you’re going to be saving pictures from this day in beautiful, acid-free paper, how could the thought of choosing what to wear on this important day not be stressful?

Alright now, let’s take deep breath; everything is going to be just fine. All you need to do is keep these things in mind when shopping for your wedding gown:

1.) Know what you like. Even if you don’t know the actual terminology of wedding dresses, or if you haven’t the slightest clue what silhouette you’re going for, being able to describe how you want to look (and feel) on your wedding day is important. Maybe you want to look regal, elegant and sophisticated, or maybe your personality is more cute, quirky and fun. And if you’re not great with words, bring a few pictures of wedding dresses you like from catalogs or magazines. Even if you don’t want the exact dress, it’ll give the consultant an idea of what you’re looking for.

2.) Know the date and venue of your wedding. Knowing when and where you’re getting married is huge in the process of choosing your dress. Will you be getting married in June on a beach in southern France, or will you be getting married in December in your local church. A heavy, royal gown might not mesh with your laid-back beach wedding vibe, and a light, airy dress with exposed shoulders might not be appropriate for your conservative church. Knowing the place and setting will help narrow down the options.

 

3.). Have a definite budget. As every person who has ever gotten married will undoubtedly tell you, a wedding budget can quickly go out the window if you’re not careful. Plus, if you don’t have a budget, you could end up trying on something you can’t afford, falling in love with it, and then never being able to find anything within your price-range that measures up. Decide on a budget before you enter the store; a number you’d like to stay around and a number you can’t go above no matter what.

4.). Wear the right undergarments. These include nude bra and panties and whatever Spanx or corset you might be considering wearing on your wedding day. It takes a lot of focus to choose a dress, and exposed bra straps and a bright pink thong could definitely be distracting…especially to those you brought along in your entourage.

5.) Trust your consultant. The store consultant has one job: to find you a wedding dress that you will absolutely love. What’s more though, the consultant has done this more than once. They’re going to know what kind of silhouette looks good on your body shape and what style of dress you’re looking for when you’re having trouble describing it. If she comes back with something that doesn’t quite look like something you would choose, try it on, you might surprise yourself.

 

Prom Blowout Sale

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It is that time of year, time to clear out our Prom Dresses. Select prom dresses are 40% to 60% off. Dresses that were normally $499 are now $299. What a great savings! Sale will continue to the end of May.

Lily’s Bridal has the largest selection of exclusive prom dresses in Maryland. We carry designers found no where else in Maryland. What does that mean to you? We can guarantee that no one else will show up at your prom in the same prom dress as you, when you purchase one of our exclusive prom dresses.  Other shops can not guarantee no one will show up in your dress because they do not offer exclusive dresses and all their dresses can be purchased online. So why take the chance of being in the same dress.

Shop for your homecoming dress or next year’s prom dress. At these prices you can’t go wrong. Hurry in before they are all gone. Sizes 0 to 30 available.

Wedding Day Fitness Tips

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Ask any bride about her goals for the big day, and one of them will most likely be to get in shape. And why wouldn’t she? This is the day when she is the center of attention, the day when her friends and family will all gather to celebrate her new marriage, and a day of photographs that will be seen for the rest of her life; it’s only natural that a bride would want to look her best.

But with all the stress of planning a wedding, finding time to eat right and make it to the gym is a bit of a laughing matter. No fear though, for there are a few proven ways to looking your absolute best on you wedding day.

1.) Set realistic, healthy, accomplishable goals. Yes, believe it or not, I can hear you now thinking to yourself, “Screw realistic, I’ve got to drop 30 pounds and I don’t care how I do it!” Stop it. It does matter how you do it, and if it’s not a healthy method it’s not worth doing. Now I know that at 5’4” I’m never going to be one of the lanky models I see strutting down the Victoria’s Secret runway every November, so it would be futile to aim for that standard. Instead, think about what you can realistically do (you might want to consult a doctor to make sure it is realistic), and then move on to step two.

2.) Plan ahead. Planning is always key when considering a fitness regimen. Setting goals for yourself can only get you so far, now you need to know how to reach them.

Start by writing things down, and then creating steps to reach these goals (this is where your doctor can come in handy). Creating a workout schedule will help keep you on track. Personally, I find I work out faster if I have a checklist I need to take care of rather than just showing up at the gym and “winging it.”

This will also help with nutrition. Plan out your meals ahead of time and think of ways to stave off those unhealthy snacks. You always eat late at night? Go to bed earlier. You always end up starving around 3:00 in the afternoon and then eating junk food? Bring some healthy snacks to work.

3.) Keep a journal. Don’t stop writing out things just in the planning phase, make sure to write down everything you do. Keep a food journal of food you eat and keep a workout journal of exercises you do. It’s pretty tough to say to yourself “I can’t run more than one mile” when the day before you just ran five. Writing things down will keep you honest and help you stick to the plan.

4.) Keep things in perspective. The truth is, you are probably being harder on yourself than you need to be. Your fiancé did not fall in love with the perfect, flawless, fit version of yourself that you are envisioning walking down the aisle, they fell in love with the person you are right now. The caring, talented, and hilariously funny person they are going to spend the rest of their life with. So good luck in your fitness goals, but remember; it’s your wedding day! Live it up!

Tips for the Perfect Wedding Speech

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For many people, just thinking about having to give a speech at a wedding can be a nauseating experience. What if I make a fool of myself? What if no one thinks I’m funny? Calm down. Chances are it’s not going to be quite the disaster you’re thinking it up to be in your head. In reality, the wedding speech really isn’t all that difficult as long as you keep a few things in mind:

1.) Don’t procrastinate. Leaving your speech-writing tasks until the last minute is only going to add to the pressure of giving the speech in the first place. Set aside a time months before the wedding and write down a rough draft of the speech, then come back to it every couple weeks to make any adjustments. Sound a little ridiculous? Maybe, but already knowing exactly what you’re going to say is a huge part of settling your unsteady nerves.

2.) Keep it short. No one wants to sit through a 40 minute speech, no matter how beautiful or moving you may think it is. People are hungry, they want to dance, and there is most likely going to be children there that are going to be using all their “good behavior” capabilities to try and sit still through the first three minutes. Don’t torture people. Try to keep the speech around five minutes long and you shouldn’t get any eye-rolls or “move it along” gestures from audience members. Get up, give the speech, and let the wedding move on.

3.) Keep it appropriate. Humor is always a great way of putting people at ease, but if it’s not appropriate it could just end up making everyone feel awkward. If you’ve got a story you want to share run it by the bride and groom beforehand, but if there’s any chance of giving Grandma Ethel a heart attack, leave it for some other time.

4.) Be kind. Someone is, as a matter of fact, getting married, and that means the entire mood of the speech really needs to be congratulatory. This isn’t a time to get carried away with embarrassing stories, it’s a time to let the newlyweds know that you are happy for them and you wish them a fantastic future together.

5.) Practice, practice, practice. Just as anything else that makes you nervous, practice! Practice giving your speech in front of the mirror, making sure to pause at the right spots and gesture to the right people. Within just a couple run-throughs, you’re bound to feel more relaxed. Now practice raising your glass….

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5 Essential Tips for Perfect Wedding Day Hair

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1.) Plan! Since it is necessary to buy your dress a few months in advance, it’s also necessary to plan the other aspects of your look in advance too; namely your hair, makeup and accessories. Since all of these components are meant to work together, not a single one of them can be shoved back to the last minute. So book an appointment with your salon as soon as you have a few ideas floating around.

2.) Choose your hairstyle with your veil or headpiece in mind. Even though it may seem like common sense, may brides get so caught up in the planning that they choose a hairstyle and a headpiece separately, and then the two don’t work well together when they do a test drive closer to the big day. If you fall in love with a headpiece or a veil, or are thinking of wearing flowers or feathers in your hair, bring everything along to the salon when trying out potential wedding day hairstyles, and if there’s a hairstyle you’re already set on, keep it in mind when choosing your hair accessories.

3.) Practice. After you settle on a hairstyle, you shouldn’t become strangers with your hairstylist. It’s important that they practice the look on your hair at least twice before the big day. This also gives you a time frame for how long it takes to create this specific style and what time you should be showing up at the salon.

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4.) No surprises! That means don’t go coloring your hair the day before your wedding unless your hairstylist is fully aware of it. From your first appointment right up until your wedding day, they should be involved in every decision you make with your hair. You never know, that “little trim” you got could add time to creating a specific hairstyle you had your heart set on. Keep your hairstylist in the loop.

5.) Be honest. If you don’t like something, speak up! If you think your hairdo makes you look like a wet poodle and you don’t say anything, you’re just going to be bitter about it long into your 80’s when you’re looking at wedding photos with your great-grandkids. It’s your wedding, you should always have the final say. Bringing pictures and magazine cutouts to your appointment should help clear up any confusion.

Having said that though, it’s also important to trust your hairstylist. They’re the professional, and they probably have very good ideas when it comes to what might perfectly compliment your wedding dress. And don’t complain during. It’s the final product you care about, not how they get there.

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3 Keys to Walking Gracefully in Your Gown

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If there’s one thing many brides tend to have nightmares over (and tend to completely overlook), it’s a fear of not being able to gracefully navigate in their wedding dress. And while many people may chalk it up to nerves, the fact is that it’s a very realistic fear. You’re going to be wearing an article of clothing you’ve never worn before, along with shoes you’ve probably never worn before, and you may also be walking on a surfaces you’ve never walked on before (a linen walkway covered in rose petals, for example).

Never fear though, all you need is a little bit of preparation to make sure you’re as graceful as ever in your gown. So in order to calm your fears, here are few tips to help you move gracefully and confidently on your wedding day.

1.) Choose the right dress in the first place. Knowing what you’re going to be doing in the dress is very important. If you’re planning on spending most of the night on the dance floor, you’re going to need a dress that will be able to move with you in fabric that will be able to breath. Anyone would have trouble dancing in a 50 lb ballgown. You’ll want to choose a dress that will be appropriate for the tasks it needs to fulfill and make sure it’s hemmed properly.

2.) Break in your shoes. Shoes are shoes, and regardless if they’re a gorgeous pair of wedding shoes or your favorite pair of hiking boots, they need to be broken in a bit before they’re comfortable. Wear your shoes around the house on a day when you’re doing chores, like vacuuming or doing dishes. Personally, when breaking in a new pair of heels I like to wear them while watching television. It helps more than you think.

3.) Get accustomed to your undergarments. Undergarments are not everyday wear, so it’s perfectly reasonable for them to feel awkward when you put them on. However, this is a day when everyone is going to be watching you at all times (most likely with a camera in hand), so this may not be the day to wear something you’re going to be “adjusting” every 10 minutes. Make sure to wear particularly awkward undergarments (a corset and Spanx, for example) around the house a few times before your wedding night. This will not only help you get a feel for them, but will also allow you to discover anything that needs to be fixed or adjusted (like a particular area that keeps getting pinched).

3 Places to Hire a Professional

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Weddings. Are. Expensive. We all know this. So it’s perfectly natural to try to cut as many corners as possible. Thoughts like, “I bet those party favors wouldn’t be all that tough to make at home,” or, “Would anyone really notice if the flowers were fake?” are probably running rampant through your head right now.

However, cutting corners can be a dangerous game. Here are just a few examples of when you simply have to just buckle down and dish out the dough.

1.) The band or DJ. No, just because your cousin owns an iPod and knows how to work it does not mean he is even remotely qualified to determine which blend of original music and cliché wedding songs is going to be best combination for your wedding reception. Does he know how to get people up on the dance floor? Does he know how to make “The Chicken Song” someone everyone wants to participate in rather than someone everyone groans over? Does he have the censored version of your favorite Drake song so you don’t have to worry about offending your grandmother should it come on a little earlier than expected? The answer to all these questions is no. And even if you answered ‘yes’ to one of them, it doesn’t count. Hire a professional entertainer.

 

2.) Hair and makeup personnel. This one isn’t necessary all the time (you’re getting married on the beach with your hair in loose waves and a single witness), but for the most part you need to hire a professional. There are so many things to stress about on your wedding day, that your hair and makeup often come last unless you have a set appointment. I can’t count the number of weddings I’ve been to where there have been delays because the bride was in the back “touching up.” You know why she was constantly “touching up?” Because her hair went flat because she didn’t know how to do it in the humidity, or because she’s sweating and the makeup she usually uses is coming off. A professional hair stylist can create a hairstyle that won’t be going anywhere, and a true makeup artist will be able to give you a look that will last the whole night through.

3.) The photographer. There seems to be an epidemic in this country right now with people who claim to be photographers and people who actually are photographers. Your sister-in-law who just got a new camera is not a professional photographer. Does she understand how to use lighting? Where to stand to get the best shots without being in the way? What about how to properly edit photos, how take naturally flattering pictures or which angles set you a part…the fact is, it looks easy but it’s not. These are going to be memories you’ll want to remember for the rest of your life, make sure you get them done right. Otherwise, the moments you think are being capture could turn out to look like this: