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.
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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.
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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.
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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!
In-laws and your wedding. As it turns out, you aren’t just marrying one person, you’re marrying their entire family. That means their overbearing mother is now your overbearing mother-in-law, their over dramatic sister is now your over dramatic sister-in-law and their no-social-skills, creepy uncle is now your no-social-skills creepy uncle-in-law. So naturally, you’d like to be on everyone’s good side. Here are a few lessons to take with you after your wedding to keep things smoothed over with your new side of the family:
1.) Lay some ground rules. Take it from me, I have lived directly next door to in-laws at one time. When we first moved in she was stopping by all the time, and since I worked from home at that time, that meant my day was full of distractions. She’s stop by to drop something off, to say hello to the puppies, to ask my boyfriend a question. All innocent, of course, but still fairly intrusive. So before we both had a mental breakdown we laid a few ground rules; text us first before you come over, try not to come over before noon (I work mostly nights), and remember, we can’t miss you if you’re always here. Problem solved and we get along better than ever.
2.) Make sure family knows that decisions are made together. This way, one family can’t look at you or your spouse as the bad guy. Explain any large decisions from the perspective of both of you, and use the word ‘we’ as often as possible. “We both feel we’d rather stay in tonight” or “We’re waiting to have kids” make it clear that both of you are in agreement about the decision you have reached.
3.) No choosing sides. When you agreed to spend the rest of your lives together, you agreed to stand up for each other through thick and thin. That means if you have a problem with your husband’s mother, he should take care of it and vice versa. You are responsible for each other’s happiness, and if that means an unpleasant conversation with a family member or two, so be it.
4.) “What happens in this house…” Before you ever get into a fight (yes, at some point in the next 30 years you will fight about something), discuss what will and won’t be shared with family. That way, the first time you run off to vent to your sister you won’t end up overstepping any boundaries. You know you both will need to talk to someone else for certain issues, but you both deserve an unwavering and agreed upon level of privacy.
5.) Pick your battles. Sometimes, it’s just not worth the trouble, and it’s better to just agree to disagree. There are going to be situations where compromise is just not an option. These situations are often politically or religiously affiliated, so know when you’re walking on shaky ground and watch yourself accordingly. If your grandma has a problem with the two of you living together, unmarried, you don’t have to hide it from her, just avoid bringing it up and rubbing her face in it every time you see her.
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First impressions are a tricky thing; even after you’ve known someone for years, you never forget what you initially thought of them. Even places, movies or experiences are all subject to the first impression phenomena; I still think of Seattle, WA as a warm, sunny city even though common knowledge tells me otherwise. The first time I ever visited it was sunny for the entire two week trip (something my friend still swears has never, ever happened) and now, to me, Seattle is a beautiful, clear-skied and sunny hotspot. First impressions matter.
So when it comes to first impressions at your wedding, there are actually a few different ones you need to be aware of. Don’t worry, a list has been made:
1.) Your Save-The-Dates. Many people believe the invitations are where the first impression is made but I beg to differ. Save-the-dates are what people put on their refrigerator for the next eight months leading up to your wedding. The invitations bring the necessary information, but that’s about it. Plus, if you are sending out magnet save-the-dates, those things are likely to stay on the refrigerator for many years to come. Think about it; you probably have a few old save-the-dates on your refrigerator right now even when the wedding has already come and gone. People keep these things and they look at them a lot. Guests that come over to their house look at them. Put some time and effort into them.
2.) The walk down the aisle. There are two essential parts to making a great impression during your walk down the aisle: great music and a gorgeous dress. For the music, make sure to choose something that’s actually personal to you, not something that has been played for countless other weddings. And as for the dress, all you need to make sure of is that it makes you feel like a million bucks. So even if everyone in your family says otherwise, if you want to go with the orange feathered concoction, do it, but just one word of advice; make sure it fits like a glove. Even the most beautiful girl in the world can look like a sad sack if she’s wearing an ill-fitting dress.
3.) Your first dance. While the walk down the aisle sets the stage for the ceremony, your first dance with your new spouse sets the stage for the entire reception. To make the impression you’re looking for, do the same as with your walk down the aisle; choose music that’s deeply personal to you. Plus, you don’t have to do the generic slow dance that many couples feel locked into. Surprise everyone by performing a lively swing dance or turn up the hip hop and get down wit’ yo bad self. Does your fiancé break dance? Have you studied ballet for years and years? Show it off! No one is going to forget a performance like that anytime soon.
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Summer is just around the corner and for those of us in the wedding business that means the busy season. And why not; the weather is amazing, it’s the easiest time to travel, it’s one of the best times for people to take off work (they aren’t completely strapped for cash like they usually are during the holiday season) and hey, who doesn’t love an excuse to take a summer road-trip?
However, summer weddings can also prove to be a bit tricky if you don’t know what you’re doing. After all, you want your guests to remember your wedding for all the fun they had, not for how long they made it before passing out from the heat. So as your planning your perfect summer wedding and reception, keep these tips in mind:
1.) Shield guests from the weather. You might plan on only having a 10 minute ceremony, so you figure your guests can sit in the heat for that long and be perfectly fine. Fair enough, but 10 minutes often turns into 20 and 30, and Grandma Edna might start feeling it. Take it from me, as an extremely fair-skinned young lass, I appreciate a fair amount of warning if I’m going to be sitting in the sun for any extended period of time.
Besides that though, heat makes people sweaty, and no one likes getting dressed up, doing their hair and makeup and then sweating it all away. So try to keep your guest’s involuntary sun exposure to a minimum.
2.) Wear the right dress. That breathtaking, heavy satin dress you have your eye on? Probably not your best option. You’ll want to wear something that can breath and preferably has some movement to it. Light, gauzy fabrics are usually the best way to go for a summer wedding. Not to say you can’t wear that dress you’ve had your eye on, you just better prepare accordingly. Having your ceremony in a well air-conditioned setting should be close to the top of your list of priorities.
3.) Be wary of bugs. When you’ve got a sugary cake sitting around outside, it’s going to attract some uninvited guests. You might want to consider having mosquito netting around your venue tent (don’t worry, many options look like light, intricate lace) to keep the flying bugs out. And speak to your caterer or baker; surely they’ve dealt with this issue many times before so they probably have some valuable input of their own.
4.) Keep your guests refreshed. If there are two things that don’t go together, it’s heat and hunger/thirst. A hot bridesmaid is one thing, but a hot, starving and dangerously parched bridesmaid is a whole different animal altogether. Make sure there are snacks and drinks available at all times. Just having some nuts in a bowl and a pitcher of water on each table will help tide over sluggish or irritable guests before dinner time.
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If you’ve clicked on this article, I don’t need to mention how stressful planning a wedding can be. Clearly you’re already to the point that you’re doing web searches for advice on the matter. And don’t worry; it’s perfectly normal. People get stressed out over throwing a surprise birthday party, so when it comes to an event that takes months and months of planning, a seriously tight budget and holds as much significance that it is often consider the most important day of your life, it’s only natural that you would start feeling some serious pressure. Well, you’ve come to the right place. Here are a few ways to ease your mind.
1.) Brainstorm. This is actually the part of wedding planning everyone lives for! All you need to do right now is figure out the look, feel and mood that you want to accomplish. Talk to your fiancé to make sure both of your input is heard out. Do you want a large or small wedding? What do you want for wedding colors? Do you want something fancy and elegant or more on the casual side? Go crazy on Pinterest for a few days and find as much inspiration as you can. After you get this locked down, you’ll have a better idea of what actually needs done for the planning.
2.) Decide on a budget. You’ll need to decide on two budgets, basically: a number that you’d like to stay around, if possible, and another number that is your absolute maximum. So for example maybe your goal is around $10,000 but your cap is at $13,000. Two numbers allow you for some leeway but make sure you won’t let things get completely out of control.
3.) Prioritize. The hardest part of planning a wedding is often just starting to actual plan the darn thing. So sit down, take a moment, and prioritize. There are a few necessities that need to be taken care of as soon as possible, especially the ones that tend to be booked out months (and sometimes years) in advance. Your venue and your dress will be two priorities. Venues tend to fill up fast and your dress will most likely take months to prepare (between fittings, alterations, and custom touches).
4.) Delegate. You don’t have to do everything! So put a little bit of the work off on other people. Your mother-in-law that’s just dying to be a part of the planning can make appointments, stuff envelopes and pick up DIY decoration supplies. Your fiancé can work on any specific projects he’s interested (the band or the food), and your friends can help research florist and baker prices. Weddings are special times and people often want to be a part of it, so let them!
5.) Enjoy yourself. Planning a wedding is stressful, sure, but it is also a very exciting time. Stop and take a look around every once in a while. You’re getting married. Think about how fortunate you are to find someone to share your life with and the commitment the both of you are making to each other. So invite a bunch of your girlfriends over for Margaritas and to have a Four Weddings marathon. Hey, technically you’re just doing research, right?
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Wedding food tends to fall into two very distinct categories: the unbelievably delicious and the forgettable. Now, with all the money you are probably going to spend on feeding all these people, isn’t it safe to say that you don’t want your food to be thought of as “forgettable?” Otherwise, what’s the point in even feeding them at all? So before you put your money down on a caterer and leave the rest to them, you’re going to have to do a little research. To ensure the best quality of food at your wedding, here are some questions you must ask:
1.) Do they have all the proper licenses, certifications and references? Maybe you’ve chosen to handle an up-and-coming florist or DJ, but taking a risk when it comes to food is a horrible, horrible idea. Having forgettable food is one thing, but having it be remembered for the line it created at the restrooms is quite another. You’ll want to make sure everything is prepared, transported and maintained at the correct temperatures, and having the right license is step one in ensuring that, and having plenty of references will also ease your mind when it comes to service and safety.
2.) What does the price cover? Once you know the price range you’re looking at, you’ll want to know exactly what that price covers. Some caterers simply bring the food, serve it, clean up and leave, while others act more like banquet managers, cueing the band when dinner is about to be served and notifying the bride and groom when it is time to cut the cake.
You should also check to see if the cake or alcohol is covered. You may not even need to hire a bartender if that part’s covered in the caterer’s fees. Make sure you know precisely what you’re getting for the price.
3.) Who is your main contact? Just as with any vendor, you need to have the person you need to call with problems on speed dial, and this person needs to know that you consider them your primary contact when it comes to the food. Weddings are incredibly hectic, and an experienced vendor knows that the closer the date creeps up the more frantic many brides become. Of course an experienced vendor will also know how to calm you fears instead of ignoring your many panicky phone calls.
4.) Do they offer a tasting, and can they make adjustments to their food? This is your wedding, so you absolutely need to know every detail about every detail in your wedding, which means not only tasting the food that will be served, but being able to make adjustments as necessary. Perhaps you have a peanut allergy, or you have an aversion to spicy food. A good caterer will always be able to make a few adjustments to their dishes. Of course too many adjustments will change the taste, so you need to discuss these things with your caterer.
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