Thursday, August 28, 2008

Photo Save-the-Dates

I absolutely adore photo save-the-dates and think they are a great way to show off your engagement pictures before the wedding. One of my favorite stationary websites to use, Wedding Paper Divas offers a great selection of these adorable invites! Here are a few of my favorites:

Photos courtesy of Wedding Paper Divas.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ideal Favors

This afternoon I was browsing the internet for plantable favors (seen pictured below) and stumbled upon a great wedding favor website, Ideal Favors. This site has a large variety of wedding favors and personalized items to choose from, and also sells a variety of candles and candle holders. Not every bride opts for favors, but if you're looking for a little extra something, definitely check out this website!

Images courtesy of Ideal Favors.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Search for the Perfect Bridesmaid Dress...

One of the first things brides look for in the early stages of planning is the bridesmaid dress, and often times their first stop is the bridal boutique or store where they purchased their gown. Too often I see the same bridesmaid dresses from the national bridal retail chains...David's Bridal, Alfred Angelo, etc... Not that there is anything wrong with these stores by any means, I just feel that there are SO many other great options out there for purchasing bridesmaid dresses. Often times brides just don't know anywhere else to go and end up settling on a dress that they like, but don't love! Stores like Nordstroms, Saks Fifth Ave, Ann Taylor, Nicole Miller, and J Crew are all great alternatives to the traditional bridal gown retailer. Dresses at these stores may cost slightly higher than your average David's Bridal bridesmaid dress; however, I feel that the quality of these dresses are far superior AND they'll be more likely to wear the dress again. (P.S. Your bridesmaids will love you for this!) Here are a few of my fav cocktail dresses that can easily be used as bridesmaid dresses:


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Real Weddings: Jessica & Brian 08.16.08

Yesterday we had the privilege of working with Jessica & Brian at their gorgeous summer afternoon wedding. Their wedding ceremony was held at Victory Family Church in Cranberry Twp followed by their reception at the Cranberry Highlands Golf Course. Jessica's vision for the day was to create a simple, yet elegant theme that incorporated shades of light blue, gerbera daisies, and lillys...perfect for a summer afternoon wedding! Brian's grandmother, Lilly, who recently passed was honored at the reception by using lilly's throughout the centerpieces. The wedding was beautiful and we couldn't have asked for a more beautiful afternoon!

Here are a few pictures I snapped with my camera throughout the day:

Room set up

One of the biggest hits of the evening ~ adorable cupcakes from Dozen Bakeshop!

Close up of lilly centerpiece

Seating cards

The traditional Pittsburgh cookie table - all the cookies were made by the groom's mother. She did an excellent job designing the cookies and even incorporated the sky blue color theme!

Here is a listing of wedding day vendors:

Church: Victory Family Church

Reception: Cranberry Highlands Golf Course

Bakery: Dozen Bakeshop

DJ: Pittsburgh DJ Co

Florist: Reed & Petals

Linens: Terri Yoho (Yoho's Chair Cover Rentals)

Photographer: Joseph Kennedy (G & G Studio)

Wedding Planner: Simply Perfect Weddings

Congratulations again to Jessica & Brian!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

New Look!

After quite a busy summer wedding season, I'm pleased to announce that this Fall we'll be unveiling our new look here at Simply Perfect Weddings! Our website & blog are being totally redesigned and updated...and I must say that I am super excited for the changes!

Also, keep a look out for our regular daily blog posts to start again in September! I haven't had nearly as much time as I'd like to blog lately and am looking forward to getting back to my daily posts. We'll also be setting up a subscription option for brides who wish to receive our posts directly in their inbox.

I'll keep you posted on the changes as we unveil them...until then, happy planning!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Guest Etiquette

As I was browsing through the morning news on Yahoo! I came across this wonderful article on guest etiquette and wanted to share it with our readers. We typically tailor this blog to brides-to-be; however, this is a must-read article if you are attending weddings this summer!

"10 Things to Never Do at a Wedding"
Thurs, July 17th 'Foxy Festivities' by Elycia Rubin & Rita Mauceri

The day two people exchange vows may not be your special day, but it's someone's special day, so be on your best behavior -- all the way from the I -do's to the obligatory Gloria Gaynor dance marathon...

Don't Be Fashionably Late As the song says, get to the church on time! Allow enough time to get to there 15 minutes early or more no matter what weather, traffic, or other acts of divine intervention pop up. Print out directions to both the ceremony and the reception (if it's at a different location). Many a wedding has been hampered by guests who got lost and showed up an hour late.

Don't Produce Sound Effects While at a wedding and reception, turn off your Blackberries and cell phones, put them on vibrate, or better yet, don't even take them!

Don't Talk Trash It may sound obvious, but it happens all the time. No matter how big or how loud a wedding is, things get overheard. So, be on your best and most polite behavior. No gossip about any of the other guests. No complaining out loud about anything -- whether it's the food or the long line at the ladies' room. And no comparisons to other weddings! As far as the bride and groom are concerned, this is a perfect day, and so it should be!

Don't Come Bearing Gifts Whether you're planning on gifting the happy couple a Cuisinart or cold hard cash, do them a huge favor and don't bring it on the wedding day. If you do, they have to keep track of it and haul it home at the end of the night. Send the gift ahead of time, or after the actual ceremony -- at a time when they can really relax and enjoy it.

Don't Dress Down Whatever you choose to wear, make the effort to look your best for the bride and groom. They'll appreciate that you got dolled or duded up for the occasion. If the invitation doesn't specify dress code, put in a friendly email or call to the bride, groom, their parents, or attendants to get more info. Black Tie means you've got to dust off that long silk dress or rent a tux. If it's an outdoor affair, there may be more leeway, but get details on the location, so you can come prepared (because it's isn't fun to be traipsing around in the sand in your stilettos!).

Don't Bring Mr. or Ms. Random If you're single, choose your date carefully. If it's someone you've only been out with once, it may not be the best idea (could be awkward for you, your date, and the newlyweds). Same if it's someone you recently "sort of" broke up with. Weddings are intimate affairs and bringing in a stranger should be done with thought. Let the bride or groom know if you decide to come alone so they can seat you with other fun "ones!" And as much as you may love your kiddos, don't take them if children aren't invited.

Don't Steal the Show Wedding ceremonies take all forms -- from religious to poetic, musical, or humorous. Whatever the vibe, let the bride and groom set the tone and follow their lead. If you're normally a loud, life-of-the-party type, bring it down a notch and let the wedding couple stand out. If you're a weeper, bring tissues and sit where you can sob without disturbing the I Do's. If the ceremony includes religious rituals, find out what you should do (or not do) ahead of time.

Don't Pig Out If food is serve-yourself, avoid the buffet line stampede and wait until the crowd dies down. Also, avoid going back for thirds. Take a break and save room for cake! Seconds might be okay, once you've seen that everyone has eaten. If the food is served sit-down, eat what is served without requesting substitutions or omissions, unless you have a food allergy. Otherwise, pick delicately or chow down, but don't gripe that you "don't like fish." Worse comes to worst, you can hit Burger King on the way home!

Don't Drag Out Skeletons If the bride blushes, it should be from pride, joy, or sheer love. Not because someone just stood up and told a humiliating story about the loser she dated in high school! Ingratiate yourself to the lady and her groom by avoiding any potentially embarrassing or juvenile behavior -- no bawdy jokes, no tales about their dating habits or exploits, no overdrinking, and no overly sexy dancing. Have fun, but don't have it at anyone else's expense.

Don't Stockpile Party Favors At the end of the night, as you're saying your thank-yous and farewells, avoid the urge to hog all the super-cool (or yummy) party favors! You don't need to take some for people who weren't able to attend. You don't need extras. Take one for yourself, unless someone in the wedding party urges you to do otherwise.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Change of Name 101

Does the daunting task of changing your name after your wedding have you stressed out? If you are like many brides, it may be difficult to know where to even begin in this process. As a wedding planner, I am constantly getting asked by my brides for advice on this area and as a recent bride myself, I wanted to share a few tips with our readers.

First, let's go over the first two documents that MUST be changed in order to get anywhere in the name changing process. These are your driver's license and social security card. Once you have received your marriage license (keep in mind that you must bring a certified copy of the marriage license - a generic photo copy will not suffice), take this along with your old driver's license to the DMV to have a 'duplicate' driver's license issued. Often times, the DMV will tell you that all you need is an update card with your new last name to carry along with your current driver's license; however, many agencies (especially Social Security) do not like this and ask that you have a current photo ID with your new last name printed. The 'update card' is a free service and the fee to obtain a new driver's license is $10. My personal opinion is to suck it up - pay the fee and get a new driver's license - it's a lot easier in the long run!

Ok, so you have your new driver's license in what? Head to the local Social Security office with BOTH your new driver's license and your old driver's license (yes, they will give this back to you, but with a hole punch stamp indicating that it is no longer valid), along with your marriage license. The Social Security Administration will process your application (free of charge) and issue you a new social security card in your new last name. Your new card will arrive in the mail within 7-10 business days.

Once the above items have been completed, it's time to change your name on the rest of your documents. The following is a list of items to help you remember:

  • Credit Cards
  • Bank accounts, personal loans, student loans, mortgage documents
  • Passport
  • Voters Registration (this should be taken care of at the time you change your name at the DMV)
  • Insurance policies (Auto, Home/Renters, Health, Life, etc...)
  • Taxes
  • Property titles
  • Medical Records
  • Employer (this is important for paychecks and federal/state taxes)
  • Investment and retirement accounts
  • Utility bills
  • Any other important documents or bills that pertain to you