Wednesday, September 25, 2013

It’s the Little Things

We’ve explained - and you’ve probably seen performed on T.V. shows – the main jobs of a wedding planner. Those tasks, however, are the big ones. What about the little things that a planner undertakes on her client’s behalf?

It’s the little things that often make a wedding memorable; it’s the little things that allow for the description of “perfect” to be ascribed to a wedding.

Often, it’s the wedding planner who takes care of the little things, and often it’s those very things that are overlooked as having been completed by the wedding planner. So, today I take some time to talk about the little things that a planner does that many brides, grooms, and guests would never know about:

Setting up your unity candle: although the wording used during your ceremony is under the control of your officiant, ceremony elements are not. Therefore, someone has to set up those unique items that you included in your ceremony. Not only does a planner set up your unity candle, but she also ensures that there’s something to light the candle.

Calling your florist for last minute items: did Uncle Paul decide during the last five minutes of your rehearsal dinner that he actually wanted to be an usher? It’s your wedding planner who calls your florist the morning of your wedding to add a boutonniere to your order to ensure he matches your other ushers.

Handing out final payments and tips: many vendors accept final payments while performing their services during your ceremony or reception. It’s your wedding planner who actually delivers the check or cash to those vendors’ hands so that they don’t stop playing music or serving cake.

Delivering tips: tipping many vendors is usual, but it’s not usually the bride and groom who deliver those tips. A wedding planner ensures that the extra cash you want to gift as a “thank you” falls into the right hands.

Corralling guests for pictures: picture-taking time can be one of the most hectic times of a wedding. It’s the one time when you need everyone’s attention, but also the one time when everyone’s so excited that nobody wants to give attention to anyone but other guests – after all, they DID just see someone very special to them get married! Your wedding planner finds those guests that you want included in photos who may have strayed from the photo-shoot location and also corrals other guests during the photos to ensure that photo time progresses smoothly and quickly.

Telling vendors when to eat: you provide some vendors with meals on the night of your wedding, but the timing of when those vendors are supposed to partake in their meal is up to you. A wedding planner tells those vendors the appropriate time to eat so that your wedding progresses smoothly. She’ll also bring dinner to your DJ behind the booth, if necessary.

Handing out programs when necessary: if your ushers don’t show up on time, your planner usually takes over the task of handing out your programs. This ensures that guests are seated in a timely manner and that your ceremony can begin on time.

Keeping transportation by your side: your photos can take longer than expected, especially if your guests decide to wander. Your planner usually ensures that your transportation stays by your side during this time so that you aren’t stuck without a way to get to your reception.

Gathering elements you forgot: did you leave special wine glasses in the bridal suite? Are the signs meant to accompany your favors buried in your luggage? It’s your planner who finds those items and ensures that they’re where they need to be.

Relighting or lighting candles: candles blow out easily, particularly when there are 100+ guests walking by them for hours on end. Your planner will help keep those candles burning bright.

Planners are invested in their client’s weddings; just like the bride and groom, she wants the wedding to be beautiful and go off without a hitch. Because of this, there are a million little tasks that planners perform on behalf of their clients – and each is performed with joy and dedication.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Adorn Yourself!

Even Kate went dainty for her wedding. 
Brides love their jewelry.

When it comes to jewelry, though, more can be, well, more. Too much, in fact, depending on the bride’s headdress and gown.

Wedding jewelry is supposed to catch the eye, but it’s not designed to be the main thing that guests focus on as the bride walks down the aisle. Instead, it’s the bride herself, her gown, and her veil that are supposed to draw the most attention.

The exception to this is a bride’s engagement and wedding rings. These are the main pieces of jewelry that guests will ask to see and ‘ooh’ and ‘ah’ over during the reception. However, these pieces are, usually, hidden when a bride walks down the aisle (by her bouquet), allowing guests to see her gorgeous dress and headdress.

Jewelry designers seem to have missed the memo detailing the fact that wedding jewelry should truly accompany and not dominate a bride’s wedding attire. This becomes obvious when brides begin shopping for jewelry and find that options for the pieces they seek are usually extremely intricate, over-the-top, large or quite heavy. Added to the fact that much wedding jewelry is extremely expensive for the length of time it will be worn and that it usually cannot be worn more than once, and brides may find themselves at a loss.

Therefore, we take this time today to provide hints about how and where to purchase wedding jewelry that won’t overwhelm a bride’s attire or credit card.

How to buy wedding jewelry:

Less is more: smaller, daintier pieces usually work much better with wedding gowns than larger, shinier pieces. Not only do these smaller pieces allow the bride and her gown to shine, but they usually appear better in photographs. Additionally, although only worn for a short amount of time, heavy earrings and necklaces are still worn for approximately eight hours and can cause quite an ear or neck ache at the end of the day.

Limit your sparkle: wedding jewelry that has only one or two types of sparkle shows up best in person and photos. If you love Swarovski crystals, go for it! Just don’t pair those crystals with rhinestones, pearls, gemstones, and metal. Stick to two types of sparkle, such as crystals and metal, for the best appearance.

Be mindful of your budget: wedding jewelry should have a small allocation in your budget, mainly because it’s usually worn only once and for a short time. Don’t break the bank on a bracelet when you might be able to add an extra appetizer for the same cost.

Don’t overlook your head: for budgetary purposes, hair combs, clips, and tiaras are typically considered wedding jewelry and not accessories. Make sure to spread your budget evenly so that your hair is not bare.

Where to shop for wedding jewelry:

Second-hand wedding gown stores: many of these stores offer small- to medium-sized jewelry selections of items they purchased from brides who sold their gowns to the store. Remember, the bride who previously owned that bracelet only wore it once, for about eight hours. Take advantage of those savings!

Large department stores: although these stores usually don’t specifically design their jewelry departments for brides, they often have several pieces that will work great for the occasion. Check local newspapers and online for coupons to save on any items you buy.

Quinceanera shops: being designed for girls 16 and younger, the jewelry at these shops may be a little on the small size, but you still may find earrings or headpieces that’ll work great – at less cost.

EBay: rather than sell their items in a resale shop, many brides turn to EBay to unload their wedding jewelry.

Etsy: looking for something custom? If so, Etsy is the place to go. Most sellers will customize their products, often at no additional cost. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Guests lists, Limitations, and Values

One of the most stressful tasks of wedding planning is creating the guest list. Where to draw the line and why are rules that most couples struggle with, and jobs that each approaches differently. Some ask for help while others wade through the spreadsheet, paperwork, or other list format on their own.

When asked for advice by our couples, we typically state that it’s necessary to set limitations and values. However, these limitations and values are vastly different than the ones that people set in other areas of their life.

In addition to having different definitions, these terms provide couples with reasons to give to (somewhat rude) guests or (inquiring into why they or other people weren’t invited, or (simply curious) family members wanting to know why the lines for the list have been drawn where they were.  


Establishing limitations for a wedding guest list is not the same as establishing boundaries for your life. Sure, the two are similar, but when it comes to the former (your guest list), the term has MANY more definitions:

The size of your ceremony site and reception venue. Your ceremony site and reception venue can likely only accommodate so many guests, limiting how many people you can add to your guest list. This is the most basic limitation, and the one that can be most easily relied upon and used as an explanation for why you chose to pare down your guest list or not invite certain individuals.

The size of your budget. It wouldn’t be a Bridal Times Blog Post without a mention of your budget, right? Unless you’ve an unlimited budget, which is rare, the amount of money you have at your disposal to spend on your wedding dictates the size of your guest list. Your budget has to stretch to accommodate everything; inviting too many people may mean you have to skimp in other areas. For this limitation, a simple statement that your funds wouldn’t stretch enough to accommodate everyone can answer any inquiry into why the guest list is planned as it is.

How much you want to handle. A larger guest list equals more people to manage, which equals more for you to plan prior to your wedding and oversee on the day itself. If you’re uninterested in extensive amounts of planning, you might want to keep your guest list small. Most guests understand an unwillingness to go overboard on planning or add to your stress levels.

Who is adding names to the list. Are you and your fiancĂ© responsible for creating the list or are family members submitting names? If the latter, are those family members also contributing financially to the wedding? If so, you might find that the line you draw for the guest list must land in a different place – a place that may require you to move some of the people you added to the list off it. It’s perfectly acceptable to say that your family member’s guest requests needed to be accommodated on the guest list, limiting your invitees.   


Like limitations, the term “values” also has multiple definitions when it comes to wedding planning:

What your wedding means to you. When you envision your wedding do you conjure images of everyone you’ve ever known celebrating your or a small affair only involving family and very close friends? Seriously consider what you want your wedding to be and how you want to remember it before you create a six-page long guest list. It’s perfectly acceptable to tell guests that you and your future spouse wanted a smaller affair.

How you want to distribute your wedding budget. If flowers and really fancy food mean a lot to you, you might find that you’re unable to invite a large number of guests. Explaining to family members that you wanted to spend your money somewhere other than having a large number of guests often quells their inquisitiveness.

The size of your potential guest list. Couples with large families on both sides and extensive numbers of close friends may find that their guest list is literally unending. A large number of potential invitees may require drawing the line in the sand a lot closer than you originally intended just to make the invitee list easier. If having a small wedding is the only way you know how to keep your guest list under control, say so – friends and family members who truly know you and the size of your list of acquaintances will understand.

Every couple needs to create a guest list; and every couple needs to decide where to draw the line that dictates who lands on and off that list. Considering what really matters to you as a couple can help not only create the list, but provide you with valid reasons for why your list stands as it does. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

How to Wear a Wedding Dress

 Make sure it fits!

Almost from the moment the ring is placed on her finger, a bride is inundated with questions about her dress: “What does your dress look like?” “How long until it takes to arrive in the store?” “What designer made your dress?” “Can I go shopping with you?”

Yes, much of wedding planning focuses on a bride’s wedding dress. However, although the dress itself is the focus prior to the ceremony, it’s how a bride wears her dress that garners the most comments during and after the wedding and reception.

Wearing a wedding dress refers to how a bride holds herself in her gown, specifically how she walks in it and generally how she carries herself while wearing her dress. How to wear a dress is rarely talked about; bridal stores, friends, and family tell you which dress looks the best on your frame and a seamstress tells you what alterations will make the dress into the best shape for your body, but nobody tells brides how to carry themselves when wearing that dress.

So, here we go:

Have the dress altered. Alterations to a wedding dress are a standard occurrence. And, while expensive, these alterations are usually quite necessary. Whether taking in the bust or shortening the hemline, the purpose of alterations are to make the dress the best shape for the bride’s…well, shape. Yes, alterations are expensive, but without them your dress will not drape or hang appropriately on your body, which could potentially ruin its lines and make it appear less than perfect.

Buythe appropriate undergarments. Bridal dresses are usually white and many are made of thinner fabrics. Undergarments not only protect the private parts of your body (remember, you are the focus of all your guests’ eyes as you walk down the aisle), but also make your dress fit better and hang appropriately.

A note about alterations and undergarments: A few days ago, I watched a television show that followed brides as they selected their wedding gowns at an upscale New York City store. After spending $5,000 on a dress, a bride declined any alterations to it due to the cost. The neckline of her dress was so large that she could fit her fisted hand down it and still had extra room. Her solution: “I’m fine with my guests seeing my undergarments.”

Um, no. First, undergarments and your body are private. Second, this bride’s dress looked like it wasn’t truly hers because it was so large and not shaped to her body.

Beware your hemline. Most bridal dresses are floor length. This means that a dress’s hemline typically covers the tips of the bride’s shoes. The hemline, however, should not fold or bunch up on the floor, which means it’s too long, or show the tips of the bride’s shoes or her toes, which means that it’s too short.

Walk appropriately. Few brides wear floor-length gowns on a regular basis and, therefore, know how to walk in a long gown. Because of their hemline, the front of a bridal dress may need to be raised at certain times during the wedding and reception so that the bride does not trip while walking. However, the only time that a bride should NEED to lift up the front of her dress is when she is walking up the stairs. Needing to raise the front of a gown at any other time - for example, so that a bride can walk across the reception floor - means that the hemline of the dress is too long. A few notes:
  1. When walking down stairs, slightly kick the hem of the dress out so that it falls over the edge of the lower step. This prevents tripping.
  2. When you DO raise your hemline, do so no more than two or three inches from the floor – so that only the tips of your toes are showing. Any more is unnecessary.
  3. If your dress has a train, don’t try to walk backwards until its bustled.

Stand and sit up straight. Doing so shows off your dress’s lines to perfection.  

Don’t worry about getting dirty. You wear your (very expensive) dress for only a few hours, enjoy yourself in it! Also, forget about the fact that it’s white; almost all stains it attracts can be easily removed at the dry cleaners.

Buying a wedding dress is fun, but wearing one is even more fun – as long as you do it as best as you can.