Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Poll Results: Will you write your own wedding vows?

The results from last week's poll are in:

100% of you voted that you will not be writing your own vows and will instead stick with the traditional vows.

There will not be a poll this upcoming week since I will be out of town. Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Stay tuned for next week's blog series about D-I-Y (do-it-yourself) wedding programs, seating cards, and other wedding day items!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

New Poll: Will you write your own wedding vows?

Things have been quite busy around here lately, so we apologize for the lack of blogs over the last week or so. Spring/summer is always a very busy time for us, so naturally I am not always able to post as often as I'd like to. However, this wedding season is shaping up to be one of the best and we are very excited about our upcoming weddings! Stay tuned for more creative ideas as well as photo's from our events this summer!

In this week's poll, tell us your plans for your wedding vows. Are you opting for traditional vows or do you plan to write your own?

Poll Results: Who is paying for the wedding?

Here are the results to last week's poll:

Bride's Parents: 0%
Groom's Parents: 20%
Ourselves: 0%
Bride & Groom's Parents: 20%
Splitting it with Parents: 60%

Ironically enough, the majority of our readers voted that they would be splitting the wedding costs with their parents as opposed to the age old tradition of the bride's parents taking on the majority of the wedding costs. I think it's great that more and more couples are pitching in and are working together with both sets of parents to make their wedding day come to life! :)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Ceremony Seating

I often get asked what the proper etiquette is for ceremony seating. Traditionally for Christian ceremonies, the bride's family & friends are seated on the left side (facing the altar) and the groom's family & friends are seated on the right. However, this is not always optimal if one person has a significant amount of guests compared to the other. As more and more people move around and relocate to other area's of the country, couples are having to think hard about where they will have their wedding. No matter how much thought goes into your wedding location, often times the city/state just isn't close by to both sides of families and all invited guests cannot always attend. For this reason, guest counts are rarely 50/50.

If this situation applies to you, relax! You are certainly not alone! Have your ushers sit guests on both sides - of course, parents, grandparents, and close relatives should always be seated on the proper sides in the first rows (these seats should be reserved for them only). However, once these seats have been filled, have your ushers escort guests to the best seats on either side. If certain guests are persistent about seating on a particular side, go ahead and let them. Chances are though, that most people will not care, just as long as they get a seat where they can actually see.

Additionally, immediate family (such as grandparents and parents) are seated right before the ceremony begins. This is often called the "Seating of the Grandparents" and "Seating of the Mothers". They are sat in the following order: Groom's Grandparents, Bride's Grandparents, Groom's parents, and lastly Bride's mother. The seating of the bride's mother signals that the ceremony is about to begin.

Happy Feet on Your Wedding Day!

The old saying..."beauty is pain" definitely rings true when it comes to your wedding day...especially in the shoe department. Finding the perfect shoe is hard enough, but finding a shoe that will be comfortable after hours of standing and not to mention dancing, is a task in itself! Your perfect shoe may be miles away from comfortable, but with these tips you'll be well on your way to comfort:

1. Break your shoes in - I cannot stress this enough! While your shoes may feel comfortable at the time you tried them on, chances are they will not feel the same way on your wedding day. Several weeks before the wedding, start to wear your shoes around the house to slowly break them in. Take note of any blisters or sensitive areas that develop and place band-aids or cushions on these areas the day of the wedding.

2. Use insoles - Dr. Scholl's makes wonderful insoles for a variety of shoes and have developed a complete line of insoles and cushions specifically for women. They have insoles designed for every type of shoe you may choose to wear on your wedding day, including ones for open toed shoes. Dr. Scholl's products are available at most drug and retail stores.

3. Be sure the shoe fits - Your wedding day is not the time to "squeeze" into that narrow shoe you just have to have or attempt to wear a size smaller than you actually are. Make sure you shop for your bridal shoes in advance to allow for your correct size to be in stock. I recommend purchasing your shoes no later than 6 weeks before your wedding, if you have not already done so at the time you purchased your gown. Another important thing to remember when purchasing your shoes, is to account for the heel size in relation to where your gown meets the floor. You don't want your gown dragging on the floor in front of you as you walk, and you certainly don't want your gown to stop at your ankles if you choose a heel that is too high.

4. Opt for ballet slippers - If you have your heart set on those beautiful rhinestone stilettos, no need to worry. Go ahead and get 'em! Wear these shoes for your ceremony and into your reception dinner. Just before its time to hit the dance floor, change into a ballet slipper. There are many bridal salons and online bridal stores that carry these and they come in a variety of styles and colors.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Bridal Shoes

After researching bridal shoes for one of my brides, I wanted to share a few of my findings. Shown below are five favorites of mine! The shoes range in price and apply to a variety of budgets. Click on the link above each shoe for additional details and where you can purchase these shoes.

1. Benjamin Adams Wallace Bridal Shoe

Retails for $239.00. Available in white - hand crafted using duchesse silk & Swarovski crystals.

Retails for $620.00. Great for a splurge item and what girl doesn't love Jimmy Choo shoes?!

3. Grazia Alicia Bridal Shoe

Retails for $210.00. Available in Diamond White & Pearl Ivory.

4. Nina Viliana Bridal Shoe

Retails for $112.99. Available in white satin and are dyeable.

Retails for $89.00. Dyeable silk - available in standard white.

Happy shoe shopping ladies! :)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Marriage Experience

As Summer approaches more and more couples will be glistening with excitement as their wedding day draws near here in the Pittsburgh area...all of the hours you've spent planning your wedding have finally paid off and you'll be able to get some much needed (and deserved) rest! Congrats, your wedding day is almost here! But with all of the excitement surrounding your wedding, its often difficult for couples to actually grow and strengthen their relationship during this time. Premarital counseling is a very controversial topic these days and I can certainly understand why. Many couples are strongly aware of who they are as a person and as a couple, and are confident that premarital counseling is not for them; however, on the other end of the spectrum, other couples feel that premarital counseling is an absolute necessity before marriage. As a wedding planner and just as an individual in general, I feel that while premarital counseling should never be pushed on to any couple, I certainly see a benefit in it. I'm a big advocate for reducing the divorce rate (how could I not be?!). My parents are coming up on their 26th wedding anniversary and even more impressive are my grandparents coming up on their 67th wedding anniversary (and they are just as cute as ever as they age into their mid 90's now!)

Many premarital programs aren't exactly fun...or let's just say they are less than thrilling! However, The Marriage Experience, a unique seminar for engaged and newlywed couples is coming to the Philadelphia area (sadly, no date for Pittsburgh as of yet) on Saturday June 7th. This seminar takes the idea of premarital counseling and turns into it a fun and creative weekend where couples can really get to learn about each other. The seminar takes place at the Valley Forge Convention Center in King of Prussia, PA. A variety of topics will be discussed from various relationship and marriage experts, including merging lives, gaining insight to and understanding your partner's needs, and why conflict is good for you. Couples can choose to stay just for the day, or the entire weekend. Following the conclusion of the seminar, couples will enjoy a "date night" with a dueling piano and comedy show. The cost to attend the seminar for the day is $189 per couple if you register early and $209 per couple for the regular registration. Weekend retreat costs are as follows: $1,349 per couple for early bird registration & $1,499 per couple for regular registration. For more information or to register for the seminar check out their website directly: The Marriage Experience.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

New Poll: Who is paying for the wedding?

In this week's poll tell us who is paying for the wedding. More and more couples are contributing to their wedding costs these days taking the burden off of the bride's parents. In addition, I'm also seeing more groom's families taking the lead role financially as well. Traditionally, wedding costs are divided as follows:

Bride's Responsibility
  • Wedding ring for the groom
  • Wedding gift for the groom
  • Gifts for bridal attendants
  • Personal stationary/Thank you notes
  • Guest book

Groom's Responsibility

  • Marriage license
  • Bride's engagement ring and wedding band
  • Gift for the bride
  • Rental of formal wear
  • Gifts for attendants
  • Bride's bouquet
  • Boutonnieres for self and attendants
  • Corsages for mothers and grandmothers
  • Officiant's fee
  • Honeymoon
Bride's Family
  • Photographer/Videographer
  • Wedding Consultant
  • Engagement party
  • Wedding invitations, announcements, and postage
  • Ceremony fees
  • Bride's gown & accessories
  • Entire reception: rentals, caterer, wedding cake, decor, tips, and takes
  • Music (ceremony & reception)
  • Flowers (ceremony & reception
  • Bridal Luncheon
  • Father's boutonniere
  • Transportation

Groom's Family

  • Wedding gift for couple
  • Wedding attire/travel expenses
  • Rehearsal dinner
  • Assists groom with his financial responsibilities if needed
Bridal Party
  • Bridal Shower
  • Their wedding attire & accessories
  • Traveling expenses
  • Gift to the groom/bride
  • Bachelor/Bachelorette party
  • Individual gift to the couple

Saturday, April 5, 2008

10 Tips for Staying Organized

Well, I'm finally back to blogging after a busy few weeks and I must say I'm happy to be back! Today's blog is all about staying organized while planning your wedding. The key to a smooth sailing wedding day lies within proper planning and organization. Here are my top 10 tips for staying organized:

1. Create a wedding binder

There is nothing that will cause a headache faster than having to search for hours for that one receipt you need or that all important photographer's contract that you suddenly have the need to look at. The easiest and most logical way to stay organized is to create a wedding binder that you can easily take with you wherever you go. Your binder should have a separate tab for each wedding category/vendor. In each section you should keep ALL documents you receive from each vendor, store, website, etc... this includes all receipts, contracts, business cards, brochures, notes that are taken, and any other misc documents. If you take the time to create a binder at the start of planning and keep it updated throughout planning, you will save yourself many headaches in the long run!

2. Buy a calendar/planner

Having a calendar where you can schedule all of your wedding appointments is essential to organization. Now, that probably goes without saying but you'd be surprised as to how many people I see that do not have a calendar of any kind and simply rely on sticky notes and scratch paper to keep track of their appointments. If you have a Blackberry, iPhone, or other PDA phone, schedule your appointments here and you'll receive reminders as to when your appointments take place.

3. Don't Procrastinate

Simply put, do not wait until 4 months before your wedding date to start planning your wedding unless you absolutely have to. An average sized wedding can take up to 12-18 months to properly plan. If you are getting married during 'prime wedding season' aka spring/summer, you will need ample time to secure your vendors as many vendors will book up to 2 years in advance. Waiting until the last minute and trying to cram all of your planning in at once will leave you stressed out.

4. Create a wedding email account

Another great way to stay organized and keep all of your wedding related information in one place, is to create a joint email account with your fiance solely for wedding stuff. Not only will this help you stay organized, but both you and your groom will have access to this account and can check the account when the other one is not around. I know many people that have several different email accounts, and creating one specifically for wedding info can relieve a lot of the confusion.

5. Share duties

Now, I know sharing wedding planning duties isn't always optimal for every couple as there are many grooms-to-be that simply wish to leave all of the decision making up to their brides. However, this is not the best way to get things done! Sure, she may have help from her mother or maid of honor, but planning a wedding should really involve both the bride and groom. Even if you choose to hire a planner, including your groom will make him feel as if it is his wedding too. My advice is to make a list of all things that need to be done and then talk over each item to see who feels most comfortable doing each item. Many men aren't going to be too concerned with what type of flowers you choose, or what color your bridesmaid dresses will be; but, they may have an interest in booking/planning the honeymoon, or helping to choose your transportation style to and from the wedding sites. Communication is the key here and you may be surprised just how helpful your groom-to-be can be! :)

6. Set a budget

Let's face it, weddings are expensive. It is imperative, that you set a budget early on and decide who is paying for what. These days, many groom's families are contributing to the wedding costs and more and more couples are also paying for a large part of their wedding as well. Talk with each of your families separately and ask them to commit to a specific dollar amount, or ask them to finance a specific aspect of the wedding, such as the reception dinner, honeymoon, or ceremony site. Once your budget is set, it is important to keep up with your wedding expenses in a spreadsheet or software program of some kind. Our full service package includes full budget preparation & tracking with due date reminders. Many online websites have free budget trackers to help you stay on track as well. Choose which method works best for you and update your budget on a regular basis.

7. Create a Guest List Tracker

Create a comprehensive gust list tracker that not only includes the names and contact information of each guest invited, but also includes space for items such as: rehearsal dinner attendees, out of town travel arrangements, gift tracking, thank you notes sent, and seating arrangements. This will help streamline the planning process and all information will be stored together, making it less stressful for you!

8. Bridal Party Duty Checklists

Giving your bridal party their specific duties ahead of time will avoid confusion later on in the planning process. You may wish to write everything down for them and present them with a checklist so no items are left out. Including your bridal party members in the planning of your wedding will make them feel important and it is also a great way to bond with your girl friends/family members. Talk with your bridal party ahead of time to make sure everyone is comfortable with their duties and are able to perform them.

9. Set aside time

Set aside a day of the week to focus on wedding related duties. The day chosen should be a time that both you and your fiance will have time to sit down together and work on these items. Early on in the planning process when vendors are first being secured and towards the end, as your wedding day approaches are typically the busiest and when additional days for planning will be needed. During this time, go over what duties have been completed and what duties are still to come, make vendor phone calls, schedule appointments, and update your wedding expense file or budget tracker.

10. Hire a wedding planner

Naturally, I am a bit bias; however, having a planner whether it be for the entire planning process, the month before, or for day of coordination is simply put...invaluable. The average wedding can take 200+ hours to properly plan. Many couples today simply do not have the time to devote to coordinating the hundreds of details that go into planning their wedding day. Or, maybe you do have the time, but just don't quite know where to begin. A professional planner will streamline the planning process and be able to provide their expertise in order to fully plan and execute an event from start to finish. Hiring a planner will help keep you organized and save you an enormous amount of stress. In addition to the logistic matters, a planner also serves as your creative partner (or new best friend as we like to call it!) helping you with color and theme selection, decor, proper etiquette, and vendor selection. Lastly, after all of your hard work leading up to the months of your wedding, the last thing you need to do is work on your wedding day! Snags and mishaps still occur even in the most organized and properly planned events; therefore, having a planner present the day of your wedding will allow you to enjoy yourselves knowing that in the background your planner is putting out any fires that may occur without you even knowing about them!