Wedding Invitations Done Right

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Wedding invitations; they seem simple, right? Just send a quick note reminding people about your wedding and hope they RSVP by the date you asked. There’s more important things to focus on, right?

Not exactly.

The wedding invitations are actually one of the most important aspects of the wedding. They provide a ton of important information, and making sure you include all that information will make your wedding run infinitely more smoothly.

1.) The invitation. Of course the main part of the invitation is the part where you inform the person that you are getting married and you would like them to be there when you do. Many couples choose to send a “save the date” announcement a few months before the invitation itself to hopefully ensure their guests will pencil them in for the future.

2.) Response cards. These are the 3633266135_1a406bccfd_largeRSVP cards that let your guests inform you of whether or not they will be coming and if they will be bringing a guest or not. Make sure you make it clear what time the RSVP needs to be returned by. Also, many people have been using online RSVP registries that allow their guest to go online and enter all the information immediately, ridding yourself of the stress of waiting on snail mail to plan the rest of your wedding.

3.) Reception cards. This is to let your guests know if they are invited to the reception as well as (or instead of) the wedding. And because the reception is often held in a different location than the ceremony, this card provides information about what time the reception starts and where it will be, as well as any additional information you deem important, like if there will be an open bar or not.

4.) Maps or directions. Many of your guests are probably going to be traveling from out of town, so it only makes sense to add in a set of directions or a map to the ceremony and reception locations. Otherwise, you might run into the ultimate bridal drama of hundreds of people texting you throughout the day trying to find your wedding. Save them (and yourself) the trouble and just send them a map beforehand.

Tumblr_lsato742cq1qewczgo1_500_large5.) Web sites. This might be the best thing of all to add in your invitation. You can list the places you and you’re fiance are registered at, that online RSVP I was talking about earlier, as well as web sites with information for a destination wedding, like airport, rental car and hotel confirmations and additional information.

All in all, if these five bits of information are inside your invitation, it should save yourself a world of hurt. Putting all the info in every invitation proves that if you don’t answer your phone, all they have to do is get in contact with another guest (any guest!) in order to have their questions answered.

Less Stress on Your Wedding Day

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Chances are, unless you’ve hired a wedding planner (and even if you’ve hired a wedding planner), the responsibility of making sure every little thing is perfect will fall to you, and when it does it can make for a more stressful experience than a magical one. So read on, and use a few simple tips from this list to ensure the only thing going through your mind will be the excitement of walking down the aisle and marrying the love of your life.

1.) Have everything verified a few days before. Calling all of your vendors a couple days before the wedding and making sure they have the right game plan will save some much needed last minute issues on your big day. Make sure the caterers know exactly what you are serving, when you are serving it, and how much, including any other special requests you might have (everything will be made in a peanut-free facility, right?). After you confirm everything have them read back to you all the important parts you just said. It may seem nagging to them, but to you it will make all the difference.Aa848ead798daa885389b205b920057a_large

2.) Have a wedding day emergency kit. Make sure to bring along a bag (or suitcase, just put it in the car) of all the little odds and ends that are going to be useful if anything should go wrong. This list should have you covered.

3.) Have an emergency person to go to. Along with an emergency kit, it’s best to have a trusted friend that you can turn to during the day. Forget that special brooch back at the hotel? Is the groom’s dog your ring bearer and needs to be taken outside for potty breaks during the day? Where the heck are the caterers? You may want to delegate, or just assign someone to delegate, but these are all little things that you should not have to worry about. Just make sure whoever the person is gets a list of the vendors phone numbers.

4.) Avoid last minute when at all possible. Now this may be easier said than done, but be sure to get as much out of the way as you can before the couple days coming up to the wedding. Wedding favors can be made weeks in advance, so try to get them out of the way then. If you don’t have to do it on your wedding day, do it earlier.

Tumblr_lrfssxibij1qdew9to1_500_large5.) Go for a test run. You may think you know how long it’s going to take to get to the location from the hotel room, but really test it out. Are you getting married on a Saturday evening? Take a night to drive the distance from the hotel to the location, so you can give your guests a time estimate of when they should leave the hotel to arrive on time. Same with other aspects, like getting into your wedding dress. Step into your dress a few nights before, corset, extra fluff and all to make sure you have at least a rough idea of how long it will take you to get dressed.

6.) No verbal agreements! If you want a 4 piece band get it in writing. Otherwise, if they lose one of their band members the night before your wedding they’re going to be calling you asking if three is okay. If you have your needs in writing, instead of spending time calling you they’ll be spending time finding a fourth. Get your requirements in writing and let the vendors deal with the hiccups.

Wedding Registry Done Right

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Alright now, let’s have an honest moment of truth. One of the most obvious bonuses of getting married has to be the gift registry, right? How many romantic comedies have we seen where immediately upon engagement brides take to the stores, price gun in hand, with the kind of excited, crazed demeanor only a shopping spree could produce. Well, that scene is there for a reason; because at some point in their life everyone has fantasized about personally selecting everything in a particular store to be freely placed in their possession later.

Also, in the real world the gift registry really does serve a fantastic purpose; to save guests the stress over choosing a gift that you might not need, might not like, or might even be offended by. However, there are gift registries out there that cause even more stress for your guests, so here are a few tips to ensuring you get the most use out of yours.

1.) Choose stores with a large number of locations. While you may just love the boutique just miles from your house, registering there is going to make things difficult on your guests. Choosing a store that is part of a chain allows them to buy the gifts in their own town in advance to coming to your wedding.

2.) Have a large price range. Some68293657_rsgc0qhm_c_large guests may be able to cough up the extra dough for that $800 place setting you have your eye on, but if everything on your registry is high-dollar, many of your guests are going to be left out. Make sure you are registered for gifts all the way down to $20 (or even less) to ensure everyone is able to contribute a gift on your wedding day.

3.) Limit the number of stores. Registering at 10 different stores may seem like a lot of fun, but it can be a real pain in the kicker when you’re the one trying to find something on the registry. It limits the choices at each store, meaning whatever a guest had in mind could be sold out, be in the wrong color, or be out of their price range, meaning they have to go to another store on the list. Choosing a store with a large variety of things will make it much, much easier on your guests.

4.) Opt for an online registry and make sure it spells you and your partner’s names correctly. Many guests may want to personalize their gift for you, and they may need to know the correct spelling. Plus, having an online registry means the store keeps track of gifts that have been purchased already and which guests purchased them.

5.) Choose gifts that are easy to ship. By all means, choose what you want, but keep in mind those family members that might not be able to make the trip. Registering for a few gifts that ship well will allow them to still feel included.

6.) Let your guests know about it! Give your guests at least 2-3 months (more if possible) heads up that your gift registry exists. Once a guest has a present for you, the presence of a registry will very rarely change their minds, and you don’t want to give them a week’s notice and then end up with 8 toasters.

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Wedding Day Emergency Kit

Caleb_ashley_blog_009_largeMany brides consider their wedding day the biggest day of their lives, and between friends, family, caterers, dj/band, the weather, and other issues, a lot can go wrong. However, there are a few ways to be one step ahead of the game. One of which is a wedding emergency kit. Keep a little bag full of these useful items and you’ll be able to ward off wedding day blues before they ever have a chance to hit.

For the bride and bridesmaids: The main issue with the bride and bridesmaids will be keeping their look in place. Between crying, dancing, eating, drinking and taking photographs, makeup will smear, stains will happen and feet will hurt. Here’s a few essentials that can solve some of these problems:

Clear nail polish (for manicure touchups or a run in pantyhose), an extra pair of panty hose, tampons or maxi-pads, hair spray, brush or comb, hair dryer, curling iron,  bobby pins and hair elastics, tissues, makeup, mirror, mini sewing kit, safety pins, antacid or aspirin, lint brush, earring backs, stain remover (a Tide stick, for example), toothpicks, toothbrush and toothpaste, straws (for drinking without ruining your lipstick), baby powder, deoderant, eye-drops, and an extra pair of shoes (probably flats).

And make sure you bring a large enough bag. Keep it in the car or back room until needed. Hair dryer seem a bit much? Maybe, but in a sudden downpour before the pictures you might be happy you have it.There’s no shame in toting around a giant doctors bag full of your essentials, after all, it is your wedding day.

Extras to bring for the groom and groomsmen: In general, the groom and the 3755136_doseadnt_c_largegroomsmen have less to worry about. Stains are not going to be as apparant (they’re usually dressed in dark colors) and they don’t have to worry about makeup, manicure touchups or their hair falling flat. There are, however, a few things they might need.

Bring black or brown socks (you never know when one of the guys will wear the wrong color), band-aids, an extra pair of shoes (their new shoes might be killing their feet too), deoderant, and tweezers.

For everyone else: By no means is it your responsibility to be in charge of the entire bridal party being covered, but hey, if you’re going to be bringing a giant bag full of useful stuff, might as well have your bases covered, right?

Pack a disposable camera, batteries, breath mints, moist towelettes, wrist watch, list of vendors contact information, cell phones and cell phone chargers, an umbrella, and snacks.

Trust me on the snacks; between getting ready, the ceremony, photos, and doing the meet and greets at the reception you might not have a moment to sit down and eat. You might find yourself extremely thankful to have an extra power bar in your bridal emergency kit.

Tips for Renewing Your Vows

It can be generally agreed that weddings are typically one of the most romantic occasions in existence. After all, the entire day is a celebration of the love two people have for each other. But personally, there’s another situation that turns me into a sappy romantic even faster than a perfect wedding: a vow renewal.

A vow renewal is very similar to a wedding except the people reciting the vows are already married. It’s a way to say, “I’m still as in love with you as the day we met,” and is slowly becoming more and more popular as a 20, 30, or 50 year anniversary party. Some ideas for throwing your own?

1.) Consider the time frame. Vow renewals can technically happen anytime after the wedding, though it’s advised to wait at least a year after you’ve been married. The main reason is because you don’t want to interfere with the memory of your wedding. It usually takes a decent amount of time for pictures to be processed, gifts to be opened and thank you cards to be sent. Give people a chance to form a memory before crowding it with another. However, it’s your vow renewal ceremony, so if you want to do it once a month, the more power to you.

It should also be said, that a vow renewal is often used as an official wedding ceremony. I’ve known people who have eloped and then renewed their vows six months later when they had the time and money to have an actual ceremony, and it was absolutely beautiful.Sample-wedding-vows-0664-l_large

2.) Try to find your original vows. I attended a vow renewal last year (20 year anniversary) and the couple did a beautiful thing with their vows; they first read the original vows from their wedding 20 years earlier, then read a new set of vows full of promises to each other for their future. Their reasoning? They were still head over heels in love (original vows), but they had also changed and grown with each other, and were  now slightly different people (new vows). This way, they could cover all their bases.

3.) Choose an officiant. A vow renewal is not a legal ceremony (you are, in fact already married) so you have complete freedom to choose whoever you want to officiate! Perhaps a best friend of the couple that has helped both of you through difficult times, or even one of your children. Some people opt to find the priest or clergyman that originally married them. Either way, this is a perfect time to get creative and involve someone you deeply care about.

4.) Choose your wardrobe. Since this is your party, you can choose to either dress to the nines, or have a casual ceremony. Can you still fit into your wedding dress from all those years ago? Would you rather purchase another dress? Jewelry can be updated with gifts you have given each other over the years. Wear that necklace he gave you on your 10 year anniversary, and he can wear the watch you gave him five years ago.

5.) Wedding party? Many vow renewals do not have a formal wedding party, though they often acknowledge the original wedding party sometime in the ceremony, by having them stand and make a toast, for example. Other changes, like having your children walk you down the aisle, or even walking down the aisle together provide an updated touch to your first wedding.

6.) Have some fun! All it takes is a bit of google research to find Heidi Klum and Seal’s yearly vow renewal ceremonies where they have a different theme. They’ve had a masquerade theme where they wore feathered masks and headgear, while years previous they’d gone with a “redneck theme” where Seal wore a mullet wig and guests were asked to wear jean shorts. They’ve even had a “wedding” theme, where women were asked to dress like brides and the men asked to dress like grooms. So by all means, take a page out of Heidi and Seal’s book and on your vow renewal day, have a little fun!