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Who Pays for What in a Wedding

wedding photo

Who Pays for What in a Wedding

Picture this scenario ladies: It’s 3000 b.c. and your family has decided that you will marry Lord So-and-Such from a neighboring village. You haven’t met this man, but you hear from the townsfolk that he’s mildly handsome and has plentiful farm land and lots of animals that will provide you with all the support you need. Now picture your father offering this man some of your family’s cows, land, or jewelry in order to make the union between your families more appealing.

It all sounds like such a whirlwind of enchanted romance!

Who Pays for What

Or not. Luckily, we don’t live in the old days anymore. We are no longer tasked with securing our family name’s future and livelihood through marriage. Now, we are free to fall in love with whomever our heart desires. There are, however, some modern financial customs that stem from these ancient dowry dealings. The following is a rough guide to the traditional rules that most modern families adhere to when paying for the various costs of a wedding. Of course, you may have your own take on things, so let this serve as a general outline of information you can turn to if you are lost in a quagmire of financial decisions:

The Bride’s Family:

Traditionally, the bride’s family is going to cover most of the total wedding bill. These costs include, but are not limited to:

– Engagement party
– Wedding planner or coordinator
– Bridal party transportation to wedding
– Vendors
– Gifts for the couple
– Reception costs, including food, music, decorations, rental fees and entertainment
– Ceremony costs including rental fees, decorations
– Flowers for ceremony and reception
– The bride’s wedding dress and accessories
– Invitations, announcements, programs, and mailing costs
– Favors
– Photography
– Their own attire and travel expenses

wedding photo

The Groom’s Family:

Ladies, this is where your man’s family comes in to take some of that pressure off your family’s plate. It will also probably keep your father from having a nervous breakdown:

-Rehearsal dinner
-Alcohol at the reception (optional)
-Their own wedding wear
-Gifts for the couple

groom and mother

But don’t think you and your guy are getting off scot-free! You are both responsible for a few small, yet very important expenses for the big day:

You:

– The groom’s ring
– The groom’s wedding gift
– Bridal part luncheon
– Gifts for the bridesmaids

Groom:

– The bride’s engagement ring
– The bride’s wedding ring
– The bride’s wedding gift
– Boutonnieres and corsages for the wedding party
– The officiant’s fee
– The honeymoon
– The marriage license

bride and groom wedding photo

Did you notice how the groom’s family list was significantly shorter than the bride’s family list? This is most likely due to those ancient dowry customs we were talking about before. But, due to ever-changing, ever-evolving hearts and minds of the modern 21st century couple, these customs are becoming less and less revered. If both of your families have a different take on things, then more power to you all!

Happy planning brides! How are you budgeting YOUR wedding? Let us know in the comment section below!

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10 Wedding Guest Book Ideas

postcard wedding guest book

10 Wedding Guest Book Ideas

Hey brides! We’ve compiled a list of 10 wedding guest book ideas we think you’ll love! These ideas are fresh, unique, and are bound to impress your guests and get them talking.

#1: Game Board Pieces

Ladies, why not dust off some of those old board games and put them to use at your wedding? Your guests can help you “build” memories with an old Jenga or Giant Tumble Tower set, by signing and constructing the pieces. Check out this fun set up: (photo: LOA Studios)

top 10 wedding guest book ideas

#2: Custom Art

One of the best things about the Etsy age is that you don’t have to know any good artists. There is an absolute bevy of brilliant creators, just waiting to custom design almost anything for you. Find one whose work you like and commission them for an illustration of your choice. You can have your guests sign certain elements within the piece. We love this bee thumbprint idea, taken from etsy seller Bleu De Toi:

custom wedding guest book art

#3 Polaroids

This concept might be older, but we still don’t see it many weddings, which makes it a lasting, unique idea. This is not the cheapest guest book option, but if you have the extra wiggle room in your budget, it will be well worth it. Not only will you have signatures and advice from your loved ones, but also a snapshot in time that you can relish for the rest of your lives together. Photo: weddingdecor.sg

picture wedding guest book idea

#4 Postcards

Nothing says, “Greetings from happily-married land!” more than a postcard guest book. Display a box or suitcase full of various cards for your guests to choose from. You could set up a washing line and have guests hang them after signing, or provide a mailbox, so they can “mail” them to the bride and groom as seen in this photo from sweetchicevents.com

postcard wedding guest book

#5 Typewriter

Planning a vintage wedding? It doesn’t get more vintage than a typewriter guest book. Have your friends and family type out a message for you, either of love, well wishes, or sage advice using one of these historically-significant machines. Get bonus vintage points by setting up on an antique desk, complete with lamp and feather quills. Check out this photo (found on Pinterest) for inspiration:

typewriter guestbook idea

#6 Paper Hearts Frame

If sweet chic is more your flavor, then consider assembling a paper hearts picture frame. Let each guest spill whatever is in their hearts onto tiny paper versions. If you think hearts are a little played out, maybe try leaves or something similar. We love this creation from Etsy seller PrettyProposal:

paper tree leaves guestbook idea

#7 Mad Libs

If you are planning a more light-hearted wedding, then how about giving out Mad Libs? You can get super creative with these and provide everyone at the wedding with hours of entertainment. This design from JenezeDesigns.com, is just one of the many options out there for this hilarious activity:

madlibs for weddings

#8 Keys

Everyone seems to have an idea of what makes a happy marriage. Asking your guests to document theirs onto little bronze keys is a good way to capture this wisdom. Just attach small cards and keys with a piece of ribbon and ask guests to sign and drop them in a glass jar, or have them hanging from a centerpiece of your choosing, like this tree, found on danademille.weebly.com.

key wedding guestbook idea

#9 Guitar

Imagine you and your husband, sitting by the fireplace on your umpteenth anniversary while he plays you sweet songs on the acoustic guitar that everyone signed at your wedding. Does it get any more special than that? The concept couldn’t be easier. All you need to provide is the guitar, and then sit back, and wait for the guests paint it with good intentions. Check out this beauty, seen on Bespoke-Bride.com:

guitar wedding guestbook idea

#10 Globe

This one is our favorite alternative guest book idea. It’s unique, elegant, classical, and perfect for you and your fiance if traveling is on your horizon. Guests can not only sign it, but also leave traveling tips from their own experiences. Plus, it’s a wonderful addition to almost any room in your home. This globe, from Weddbook.com makes us want to go EVERYWHERE!

globe wedding guestbook idea

We hope you found some inspiration for your special day! What unique guest book will you have at YOUR wedding? Let us know in the comment section below!

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Top 5 Wedding Trends for 2016

Top 5 Wedding Trends for 2016

Top 5 Wedding Trends for 2016

Hey all you brides to be! Here at The Bride Box, we have scowered the internet and magazines to compile a list of the top 5 trends we predict will be all the rage for 2016 weddings. So, without further ado:

#5: Mad Men Style.

It’s no secret that the popularity of AMC’s Mad Men has slowly given rise to a newfound appreciation for all things 50s and 60s, especially in the realm of attire. We predict that in 2016 you will see more weddings than ever adopt this vintage sass, complete with poodle skirts, bowties, mint juleps, and pillbox hats; just hold the excessant smoking please. We love the mod style of this bride and her bridesmaids from FloridianSocial.com – photo: Christina Karst Photography

Christina Karst Photography

#4: Drone Photography

While drone photography can be a noisy and expensive endeavor, it can provide some lush, beautiful aerial views (such as the shot below, taken from http://www.dronestagr.am/stansky-mlyn/) of your special day. Drones are not the cheapest of options, and of course safety can be a concern, so you want to make sure you have an experienced pilot guiding the drone.

Top 5 Wedding Trends for 2016

#3: GoPro Photography

Given the versatility, quality, and affordability of the GoPro brand, we think you will see more people than ever using it for their weddings in 2016. You don’t even need to stock up on GoPro cameras to create some wedding magic. Even just one camera set up in a photo booth, the arbor, or even the bride’s bouquet can do the trick. You could have the camera set up in a high spot to capture a time-lapse video, or even strap it to a bottle of liquor like these insanely creative people: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Pb4nN7ykHc

#2: Blush Pink

Blush pink weddings have never really gone out of style, but we think that given the rise of vintage wedding trends, you’ll definitely be seeing more blush pink weddings this spring. Not only can the blush tones be seamlessly incorporated into the vintage style, but those lovely blush hues add elegance, softness, and class to any wedding affair. Here’s a color palette, taken from FabMood.com to help your blush wedding scheme:

blush pink

#1: Naked Wedding Cakes.

With people becoming more and more health conscientious, it’s no wonder that naked (not frosted with icing on the outside) wedding cakes are becoming more popular. Instead of garnishing your cake with the usual fondant icing or gumpaste flowers, naked cakes look best when topped with fresh flowers and/or fruits. Thanks to the Jolie-Pitt wedding ceremony in the South of France last year, naked wedding cakes are now on everyone’s radar. Check out this blackberry-espresso filled cake, topped with fresh, dark berries and figs, made by Lael Cakes. Yummy!

naked wedding cake

What trends do you think will be popular for wedding in 2016? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Wedding Planning Q&A

Wedding Planning Q&A

Wedding Planning Q&A

Wedding Planning Q&A

How to decorate the reception tables in a cost effective way when you aren’t having a plated dinner but a buffet instead.

Instead of hiring a florist, DIY your centerpieces! First, you’ll need to decide what type of look or theme you are going for and then you can begin to choose your centerpieces from there! While you can find hundreds of ideas on our “DIY” Pinterest board, here are two of my favorite ways to DIY your décor on a budget:

Floral in Water: Buy tall thin vases, fill with water, and submerge a single stemmed flower (choose your favorite!) or let it float on the top! You can even dress it up by adding a waterproof light in the bottom to light it up when the lights are dimmed!

Vintage Beauty: A couple of vintage books with a small potted plant or succulent makes the most beautiful centerpiece! And don’t worry about having every table match – switch it up and add vintage items such as a birdcage or some pearls to dress it up!

And by adding a couple of tea lights to each table, you can never go wrong.

How to choose the flowers and food for a rustic/country wedding in May.

There really aren’t any specific flowers that are “supposed” to go with a rustic wedding – you can make any type of flower go with your theme, depending on the look you are going for! My best advice to you would be to chat with your florist about the types of flowers you like, your budget, and what look you are going for, and they will have tons of ideas to get you started so that you can narrow it down!

What to put on a table with your guest book for a rustic wedding.

Some items I love to dress up a rustic wedding are box crates, personal photos in rustic frames, and mason jars with simple flowers. And of course, with a burlap or lace runner, you can never go wrong!

What are the most affordable pink flowers for a Spring wedding?

There isn’t really a correct answer to this question, because it all depends on the florist you choose! Some florists have access to every type of flower year round and won’t charge you more even if they are “off season.” And some florists just don’t have that access (typically it depends on where you live) so they may not be able to get some flowers and they may be able to get them at a higher cost.

In addition to that, it depends on the shade of pink you are going for! Some are more of a pale pink, and some are more bright so it all depends on the look you are going for and what palette you’ve chosen! I would speak with your florist about specifics and they can steer you in the right direction!

If you use the “pick a seat not a side” sign for the ceremony, should you still have ushers?

Ushers are never a requirement, but they are a great way to involve friends and family who are not in the wedding party! They can usher grandparents and/or parents to their seats as part of the ceremony, formally walk each guests to the seat of their choice, hand out programs (because wind and programs placed on chairs don’t mix well!), or be there to tell guests to take their seats when the ceremony is about to start!

How do you set up a wine table for guests that will be user friendly, with no bartender?

First of all, check with your venue to ensure this is allowed! Some venues only allow this if all guests are over 21, so just be sure to ask before any plans are in place! You would hate to show up on the wedding day and be told that no wine can be served!

The easiest and most guest-friendly way to do this is to place two bottles of wine on each table – two is generally good to start! I typically place one white and one red on each guest table at the start of dinner and that way, guests don’t even have to get up from their seat and there’s no waiting in line!

If a bottle is used, have the catering staff or your planner replace it with a full bottle, or you don’t need to replace it at all if you want to limit the drinking. From experience, I rarely have to give more wine to tables of 8-10!

How far out in advance should you send out Save the Dates when your wedding isn’t until May 2016? I just don’t want to send them too close to the invitation.

I am going to answer this question with a question…

Are you having trouble narrowing down your guest list?

If the answer is yes: Don’t send out save the dates. This is the easiest way to narrow down your guest list because the later guests know about your wedding, the more likely they are to already have other plans! If they know two years in advance, then most likely every guest will be attending! I know this may sound harsh, but if your guest list is at its maximum, then you can pick and choose who you want to send them to!

If you’re not worried about your guest list, then send them as soon as you’re venue is chosen and your date is booked! And when I say booked, I mean a deposit is given and a contract is signed. DO NOT send out save the dates until then…or you may have to re-send new ones!

How much should I budget for alcohol? What’s a good formula to figure it out when doing a signature drink, wine, and bear instead of a complete open bar?

This is going to differ based on your family and friends. Do they drink a lot? Or are they lighter drinkers? Are they more of a wine and beer crowd? Or do they go right for the shots? The first step is to know your guests and what you expect them to drink that night and how much!

A great resource to use is The Wedding Alcohol Calculator

But always remember, you know your guests better than anyone else does. And you can always use leftover alcohol later on!

Are you supposed to tip the alterations person?

Tipping is a tough subject when it comes to weddings but in my experience, tipping your alterations person is not a requirement or expected. Of course, it will depend on your specific area and the shop you choose!

The best thing to do is to just ask! They will tell you the honest truth as to whether or not they expect a tip.

What are the best websites for ordering invitations that won’t break my budget?

Wedding Paper Divas is probably my personal favorite save the date and invitation site for brides. They have a HUGE variety (almost too huge) for all types of weddings and for brides on a variety of budgets!

My close second favorite are the Etsy shops who make invitations. They personalize your invite, send you the images suite, and you print at home or print anywhere that will work with your budget! This way, you get the personal experience of designing your own invitations, and you’ll be able to work on a very tight budget! Also, they can even personalize other aspects of your wedding to match your invites, such as escort cards and favor tags!

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Check out great wedding planning advice and much more from Jenn at The Overwhelmed Bride and look forward to more expert advice and planning tips in future editions of The Bride Box. Check by often to read more wedding planning questions answered by Jenn.

What are your wedding planning questions? We will get them answered in our next blog post!

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10 Things to be Aware of When Planning A Beach Wedding

10 Things to be Aware of When Planning a Beach Wedding

10 Things to be Aware of When Planning A Beach Wedding

Lauren Louise Photography

I grew up in the beach town Delray Beach, working city events held on the beach and along our beach-side downtown strip. Now that I own a wedding planning and styling company, I am very aware of the beauty and hazards associated with a beach event or wedding.

Lauren Louise Photography

Here are my top 10 Things to be Aware of When Planning A Beach Wedding:

Weather

Wind, rain, and high tides are all something beach brides should be cognizant of when beginning the planning process. Beach weather can be extremely fickle and can affect everything from the landscape to the hair dos. Check average temperatures and rainfall in an area around the time of year you plan to tie the knot.

Sand

Sand is just one of those things that gets everywhere and will stick with you for the rest of the night. Wear a dress that is comfortable and light that allows you to wash off any sand that may sneak up your leg and on your feet. Consider going barefoot during the ceremony and wearing flats at your reception so you do not have to worry about the length of your dress being perfect in heels, but dragging down the aisle.

Erosion

Beaches are natural landscapes built on tiny particles of broken down shells and other sediment. My beach changes constantly. One week there are large drop offs from the sandy beach to the breaking waves, the next it is flat as can be and seems to stretch on for eternity. Check with your city to make sure there are no dredging projects planned around your wedding date.

Handicap Guests

Grandma Sue and her walker are going to have a hard time treading through the sand to your ceremony. Consider your guest list and their needs before committing to a beach wedding. Many rental companies, or beach side venues will have flooring available to rent, but these will of course result in additional costs. Consider what is most practical for your guests and budget.

Shade and Lighting

The thing about the beach is that it is ideal for a tan. No awkward intrusion from foliage lingering over you. However, this can prove a little tricky and at times uncomfortable for guests. Plan on having your wedding begin as the sun is beginning to set. This will give you the best light for pictures and the highest level of comfort for you and the guests. If you plan to have the party continue on the beach after the sun has set, you’ll need to bring in lighting that meets city and environmental regulations and provides enough light for guests to navigate the reception space.

Lauren Louise Photography

Have a Backup Plan

Whenever I am planning a wedding held outdoors I always stress the importance for a back up plan – especially during hurricane season. Many cities have strict rules as far as tents are concerned so if it is raining that perfect beach wedding may need to move to your indoor reception site.

Beach Guests

Finding a secluded private beach is always the most ideal option. Public beaches with high foot traffic can equate to large men in speedos checking out your first kiss. Not always the most ideal photo album cover. Finding a reception venue located on the beach or with views of the ocean, will allow for a private beach space for the ceremony and a perfect back up plan.

Sharp Objects

Everything from broken bottles to broken shells find a way onto the beach. Be sure to rake the ceremony’s location and pick up any pieces that may lodge themselves into your foot while walking down the aisle.

Parking

Parking near a beach can be a real pain, especially during “season” in most places. Plan to either have transportation provided from your reception venue, a hotel everyone is staying for the evening, or a public parking garage.

Cost

While many people believe that opting for a beach wedding, or an outdoor wedding is more cost effective, it can end up racking up the same amount of dollars as an indoor wedding. It will take some research, but it is possible to have the beach wedding of your dreams, for a dreamy price tag.

Hiring a wedding planner familiar with the beach will help you sort out the details and keep your budget in line. They will pull together a team of vendors familiar with the landscape and your dream beach wedding will become a reality.

Photo credit: Lauren Louise Photography
Wedding Design and Prop Rentals: Jenny Does Weddings
Floral Design: Ever After Event and Floral Design
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Jenny of Jenny Does Weddings is a blogger, wedding planner, and stylist who can be found spending her weekdays blogging and her weekends’ thrifting.

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You’re Engaged! Now What?

You’re Engaged! Now What?

You’re Engaged! Now What?

Lauren Louise Photography

Last year on New Year’s Eve my life took an unexpected turn. What I thought was a casual holiday lunch date, with my boyfriend at the time, quickly turned into the moment I would start the process of planning the biggest party of my life along with the merging and creating of a new family.

With engagement season among us, my social media feeds are filled with guys on one knee and ring fingers with extra sparkle. So now that you’re engaged, what do you do next?

Enjoy the Day

First, enjoy the day! You and your fiancé will be surrounded by so much love and so many clinking glasses that you won’t have time to think about anything else. We chose to wait until the next day to post any updates on social media, allowing us to first share the news with our family and close friends who were all coming over for New Year’s Eve – and engagement celebrations that night.
Lauren Louise Photography

Length of Engagement

Deciding how long you would like to be engaged is another important step. Some couples decide to be engaged just long enough to save up for the next ring, while others choose based on the season they would like to tie the knot. We knew we wanted to enjoy the engagement and get married in the spring, so we set a day in May 2015 – one year and 5 months of engagement time. I normally suggest a yearlong engagement. This will give you enough time to nail down your preferred vendors and plan the wedding, honeymoon, bachelorette party, engagement party…. you get the picture.

Budget

Believe it or not, this determines everything. The budget of your wedding will affect everything from the guest list to the venue. Let your family decide what they are comfortable with contributing, then find ways to start saving your own money. We opened a joint savings account through Ally with a high interest rate and opted for a smaller guest list, allowing for more money to go into our honeymoon and venue.

Meet with Wedding Planners

Once your date and general location is decided upon, start researching and meeting wedding planners in the area, especially if you are someone who is easily overwhelmed by wedding plans. Your wedding planner will listen to you, get to know you as a couple, wrap their head around your style and budget, and present you with a clearer vision of your day. This person should make you feel at ease and take on wedding planning responsibilities that are difficult for you to juggle.

You're Engaged, Now What?

Most importantly, remember to fill the planning process with love and fun! Make decisions that are based in love and practicality and you’ll never go wrong.

Photo credit: Lauren Louise Photography – http://laurenlouisephotography.com
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Jenny of Jenny Does Weddings is a blogger, wedding planner, and stylist who can be found spending her weekdays blogging and her weekends’ thrifting.

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Simplify

www.njohnstonphotography.com

Simplify

N Johnston Photography

The main reason why we get overwhelmed in any situation is that there is too much on our plate. We over-promise and over-commit our time and energy to too many people, projects, and events. This can be especially true during the holidays and while planning such an important event as your wedding! We feel it is our obligation to be stressed out. We feel we are doing something wrong if we don’t have a never-ending to-do list. It can be hard not to get lost in the keeping-up-with-the-Jones’ mentality. If you are feeling like it is all too much, I encourage you to pause and take a step back.

Ask yourself “Why am I doing it?”

The best advice I received from a dear friend who is like a mom/cool aunt/honest girlfriend (aren’t those the best?) while my now husband and I were planning our wedding was: “If it isn’t necessary, say “no”. Now, being a people-pleaser and a true “yes” person, this was very uncomfortable and scary for me. In hindsight, I am so grateful for it. To give you a little background, my husband and I decided to do a very non-traditional celebration. Our guest list was 40 people. We rented a property of 4 homes in the Catskill mountains over 4 days. We bused our friends and family from NYC and spent the weekend playing games, cooking, and enjoying the surroundings. We set up a big tent in the back yard and had a long “rehearsal” dinner full of speeches, laughter, singing, tears, and a serious dance party, that rivaled the actual reception. We decided to spend money on what was most important to us, like awesome food from our favorite restaurants and handmade recycled quilts for our guests. The point of the story is, this didn’t “look” like most weddings. It was different from what our friends did, and different from what our family may have envisioned. And it was missing most of the components that blogs and magazines focus on. Every time we thought we “needed” something we asked ourselves “why?”. If it fit our vision and our priorities, then we would work it in. If it didn’t, then we moved on.

Simplify

As a bride-to-be, it is important you take whatever time you have and prioritize it. If your wedding isn’t until the Spring, I encourage you to hold off on any planning until after the holidays. Try to be present and enjoy being engaged! Enjoy all that the holidays mean to you and your fiance, and your soon to be in-laws. Take time to speak with your fiance about traditions that are important to you, and what traditions you would like to have as a new family. Focus on the bigger and intangible aspects of your union. Anything that doesn’t require your immediate attention (be honest with yourself) can wait. You are building the foundation of your life together, and that is the most important thing to remember.

If the big day is fast approaching, and/or the holidays create more than you can handle, I encourage you to see where you can create more space. The first step towards change is the willingness to make it happen. This can be the greatest obstacle. But I can attest that the real magic happens outside of your comfort zone. Practice saying “no”. Take a look at the reasons behind your purchases. Pause before saying “yes”. Is your heart in it it? Why are you doing it? Is there an solution that you haven’t considered? Taking control over your decisions is incredibly liberating. Knowing the purpose and motivation behind your actions is empowering.

It is so easy to get lost in the noise. It is easy to spend hours obsessing over candle holders. But your time, money, relationships, and well-being are far more important. So simplify. Ask yourself what is truly necessary and what isn’t. Ask yourself why you are doing it. And trust yourself enough to know what is best. Your friends and family love you for who you are, not for the superficial stuff. Take some time now to define what matters most. The holidays are the perfect reminder to get back to what we value and what we hold as sacred. Use this to your advantage. Own this important and temporary time in your life to take control as the bride-to-be. And don’t be afraid to say “no” or “I’ll get back to you”. It will benefit you and your future husband for years to come.

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Jennifer Jakes is a Certified Health Coach who is on a mission to support people in living their best life. Through simple recipes, daily motivation, and 6-month programs she helps people achieve their wellness goals. J.J. loves to run, cook, bike, make homemade face masks, be in nature, laugh, play, dance, and find balance as a yogi. She is a student of the world and is always ready for the next book or adventure. Please join her at fastpacedfoodie.com, on Facebook and on Twitter.

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Practice Gratitude

Practice Gratitude

Practice Gratitude

Practice Gratitude

We all know there is a lot of added pressure during the holidays. We feel the need to have the prettiest tree, bring the best dish to the potluck, pick out the perfect gift for the boss, and so on, and so on. Every magazine, commercial, and news show highlights this, only adding to our stress. We are trying to keep up with the needs of our day to day lives with the added demands and requests that the holidays bring. Now add in wedding planning! You may feel completely overwhelmed by your countless to-do lists and calendar appointments. It doesn’t have to be this way! Below are three quick and simple exercises to bring you back to the present moment feeling lighter and brighter.

Practicing gratitude has been scientifically shown to reduce stress and anxiety, while allowing you to experience more joy and focus. Your mindset is an incredibly powerful tool in taking control of your life and how you feel throughout the day. It is the difference between being in the driver’s seat, or feeling as though you are being pulled around by obligations and expectations. Gratitude is creating awareness around and acknowledging the things in our lives that we appreciate. The idea of expressing gratitude may seem fluffy or hippie-dippie, but the effects are real.

Here are 3 simple ways to practice gratitude in your busy life:

1) Make it a part of your morning routine.

Set the alarm 15 minutes earlier (trust me, hitting the snooze button isn’t doing you any favors). Take a moment first thing, before you look at your phone, or respond to emails, or search Pinterest for “place-card holders”. How you act upon waking dictates your day, so create a little space between you and all that you must do. Sit down with a glass of warm water and lemon, or tea, or coffee. Take time to write down all that you are grateful for, in that moment. The thoughts and emotions may come easily. Or, you may be surprised that it is hard to think of anything – and that is ok, too! Try to get super specific. For example: “I am grateful for my Mom”, can be expressed as “I am grateful for my Mom’s great taste in flowers. I am grateful for her ability to speak her mind. I am grateful that she wants to be such a big part of our special day”. Can you feel the difference? Try to write 5 reasons for each person or subject you list. You can either write until you’ve filled a standard sheet of paper, or set a timer for 10-20 minutes. Take a deep breath and now go about your normal morning routine. Notice how taking just a few minutes to pause and focus on all of the good that you already have makes you feel. When we live our lives from a place of comparison and lack, we forget how incredibly blessed we already are – with or without shiny envelope inserts, or the perfect “something blue”.

2) Tell someone.

Whether it is your fiance, the caterer, or your future mother-in-law. Take a moment to call, to text, or to send an e-mail simply saying “thank you”. Tell them why you are grateful for their place in your life. Express this gratitude without any ties to a response or to your own ego. They will be so happy to hear from you without any strings attached. It will also be therapeutic for you to take a break from your day to share love and appreciation with someone important to you. Even in your basic interactions at the grocery store, or when shopping for bridesmaid gifts, pause to look the salesperson in the eyes and genuinely thank them for how they assisted you. If that doesn’t have you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside, then get yourself a hot cocoa and try again!

3) Choose your words wisely.

The words you choose also have a huge impact on your feelings and emotional state. How you think about a task, a person, or a decision, determines how you approach it. If you view a situation as being a burden or an obligation, you won’t be very excited to “deal” with it. Again, bring the idea of creating space into these interactions. Pause and rephrase your internal and external dialogue surrounding the tasks in your day. How you do something is equally (if not more) important as what you are doing. When you find yourself wanting to complain about something or someone, first find one thing that you are grateful for in regards to the situation. Taking the moment to express appreciation will have you feel differently about the situation, and have you feeling more at ease. For example: “I am dreading calling the rental company. I don’t have a final count because my relatives in California won’t get back to me. And, I can’t decide which style chairs I want!” can become “I am so grateful for Mark at the rental company. I trust he will help me make the best decision. I am grateful to have so many family members who want to celebrate with us. I know it will all work out.” See the difference in the tone? Think of how statement one makes you feel versus statement two.

Your ability to express gratitude is responsible for how much joy and ease you experience. I encourage you to begin to incorporate these exercises into your day. Remind yourself how excited and happy you are to have so much to do, and for all of the love in your life. Embrace the abundance that these big events bring. Express gratitude to acknowledge how temporary it all is. Smile and move through your day feeling genuinely grateful. This is a lifelong practice that will support you every step of the way.

Jennifer Jakes is a Certified Health Coach who is on a mission to support people in living their best life. Through simple recipes, daily motivation, and 6-month programs she helps people achieve their wellness goals. J.J. loves to run, cook, bike, make homemade face masks, be in nature, laugh, play, dance, and find balance as a yogi. She is a student of the world and is always ready for the next book or adventure. Please join her at fastpacedfoodie.com, on Facebook and on Twitter.

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Vendor Spotlight: Wedding Essentials

Vendor Spotlight: Wedding Essentials

The Bride Box has worked with some wonderful brands and artists this year! All of these unique items can help make your wedding day exactly how you envision it to be! Here are just a few of them that you should check out:

Nothing But Glisten
This talented artist makes custom hand stamped utensils and jewelry. Use Nothing But Glisten’s “I Do” and “Me Too” forks for the cake cutting at your wedding reception and order a wedding bouquet charm with your initial and wedding date to attach to your bouquet.

wedding bouquet charms

Smock Paper
We love how this great brand creates everything on bamboo paper or 100% recycled paper and are powered by wind energy. Use their notebooks to keep yourself organized during the wedding planning process and have them help you create the wedding invitations of your dreams on their luxurious bamboo paper by customizing a design to make it your own.

smock paper wedding invitation

Burlap and Linen Co.
They use a unique blend of natural and vintage inspired products to create memorable pieces for your big day. Whether you would like shabby chic wedding table decor, a custom ring bearer box or anything else special for your wedding, Burlap and Linen Co. can help you make your dreams a reality.

table wedding decor

Lauren B. Beauty
We loved featuring their blue shades of nail polish in The Bride Box! The quality and color is simply stunning. Their polish is made in the USA, is vegan-friendly, has not been tested on animals and is free of harsh chemicals. Their collection features a wide range of shades from dark to light; you’ll be sure to find that perfect color nail polish for you at Lauren B. Beauty!

nail polish

Have a product you would like to include in The Bride Box? Click here to contact us.

Cheers!

The Bride Box Team

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BHLDN Hacks

BHLDN Hacks

BHLDN Hacks

BHLDN Hacks

As a new bride and stylist BHLDN is essentially a daily feast for my eyes. Everything from their website to the package that arrives at your door is perfection. Well almost everything – their prices can be slightly out of reach for many new brides. The good news, if you love BHLDN then you likely love vintage pieces. And if you love vintage pieces then you love searching for a bargain. Many of their items are vintage inspired and incorporate elements of weddings from other eras. With the right amount of creativity, thrift store hunting, and Etsy searches you can easily make your favorite BHLDN pieces more affordable.

BHLDN

Bridal SashSash

A moment of sparkle doesn’t need to cost over $100. BHLDN’s sashes are gorgeous and completely hackable. All you need is a brooch, or a cluster of small brooches that compliment each other, some tulle or silk or satin ribbon from your local fabric store.
Pin the brooches to the ribbon and make sure the brooches do not weigh the ribbon down, causing your sash to droop. Measure the ribbon by wrapping it around your waist and cutting at your desired length. You can easily pin the brooches with the ribbon laid underneath to your dress and tie the ribbon in the back. Not the crafty type? Check out LoveForeverBridal on Etsy for a affordable bridal sash.

Average price: $40 – $60
Savings: $60

ClutchClutch

BHLDN’s clutches are intricately beaded and reminiscent of clutches from the 40s and 50s. Because they were so common in those decades they are often times easy to find in your local thrift store, for far less than $200. Don’t have a thrift store nearby, or in a time crunch? Visit Etsy and search “beaded clutch” you’ll see a range of colors and prices.

Average price: $30 – 70
Savings: $170

Robes

Robes

Who doesn’t love a picture of the bridesmaids and bride in their coordinating robes as they have their makeup and hair prepped for the big day? Floral silk and cotton robes are certainly trending right now and make for some pretty darn adorable and bright pictures of the bridal party. A $60 price tag may not seem too crazy, but when it is multiplied by the average bridal party size of 5 things get a little budget un-friendly.
Head over to Etsy and search for “floral robes” and you’ll see a variety of robes your bridesmaids are sure to love like the ones featured on SunsetToSunrise.

Average price: $20/robe
Savings: $40

Sadie Wrap

Sadie Wrap

For brides planning to walk down the aisle this fall or winter considering a chic wrap or shawl is a must. I’m a full-bred Florida girl getting married in New Hampshire, so you better believe I was on the hunt for an affordable wrap. I had this vision of white fur covering my shoulders and I found the perfect piece at my local Goodwill. Luck have it, the piece was also 50% off bringing the final price to $30. That is a far cry from the Sadie Wrap’s price of $190. Furs are tricky to buy online, you want to make sure they don’t have any hidden holes or smell funny. I would definitely recommend searching your local thrift stores, especially in wealthier areas of town, as furs were a common status symbol.

Average price: $50 – 70
Savings: $120

Saving money can be fun and very rewarding, but if you absolutely love a piece and you’ve been pinching your pennies whenever possible I think a few splurge items are perfectly fine. I purchased my reception dress from BHLDN and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. The fit was perfect, I will not need alterations, and seeing it on me made me smile like a silly goon for hours. My advice to all brides: splurge when something makes you smile like a silly goon.

Jenny of Jenny Does Weddings is a blogger, wedding planner, and stylist who can be found spending her weekdays blogging and her weekends’ thrifting.

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What to Wear for an Engagement Shoot

What to wear for an engagement shoot

What to Wear for an Engagement Shoot

One of the best parts of my job is styling engagement sessions. They are each so unique to that couple’s own style and love story. I am often asked, “What is the best thing to wear during an engagement shoot?”

Lauren Louise Photography

Consider Location and Climate:

I live in Florida, which means as much as I love pea coats and cozy sweaters, they are hardly ever the practical choice. Think about what will make you feel pretty and handsome, yet comfortable for at least 3 hours. As far as location goes, if your vision is to climb the tree where the proposal took place, a mini skirt may not work. Consider instead a maxi dress that is easy to move in, while still providing a dramatic or ethereal element.

Consider Your Style:

Think about your personal style. What does your home look like, what would you be excited to frame and hang on your wall? I’ve seen everything from bathing suits, jean shorts and a striped v-neck, to formal gowns. I love them all. Having your picture taken for 3 hours isn’t always the most natural feeling, even if you know the photographer. If I wore heels during my session I would have been so focused on not toppling over that going barefoot was the practical choice for me. If you feel confident in what you are wearing you’ll be focused on the moment rather than that tight itchy waistband.

Lauren Louise PhotographyConsider Your Partner:

Do not match. Instead, compliment. A formal gown wouldn’t make sense with a pair of cargo shorts and a white t-shirt. Maybe one of the stripes in your partner’s check is the same color as your flower crown. Having subtle similarities can add cohesion to the pictures, without risking a prom moment.

Micah Kvidt PhotographyConsider Your Props:

The styling doesn’t end at the clothing. Many shoots I have styled feature furniture, textiles such as blankets, pillows, flowers, books, chandeliers, you name it. When we shot our engagement session I knew I wanted to evoke the whimsy found in the pages of my mom’s old fairytale Golden Books. The book’s illustrations and the props I brought along were colorful and graphic. Therefore, Glen and I chose to wear neutral colors of cream, blush, grey, and khaki allowing the props and the fairytales to shine.

Consider Going Bridal:

How many times in your life do you get to wear white lace head to toe and have it looked at as perfectly normal? Not often. I always encourage brides to embrace their bridal style throughout their engagement. Intricate beading, lace, white dresses, tulle, diamonds, full skirts, and sashes are all items and textures I strongly support.

Lauren Louise PhotographyConsider a Flower Crown:

There’s just something about flowers wrapped in a circle and placed on top of your hair that will make almost any girl happy. Skeptical? Just try it; you’ll begin to wonder if wearing one to work is within the dress code.

At the end of the day remember that this session is supposed to be an adventure in love. You are capturing the beginning of your lifetime together. Soak it all in and be sure to wear something you won’t find in your closet – a smile.

Jenny of Jenny Does Weddings is a blogger, wedding planner, and stylist who can be found spending her weekdays blogging and her weekends’ thrifting.

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Top Wedding Questions Answered

Top Wedding Questions Answered

Top Wedding Questions Answered

Q: How to go against all the trends. I’d rather sink the money into finishing out basement than into a wedding.

A: This is YOUR wedding day and it can be whatever you want it to be! If you don’t like the wedding trends, then do what YOU like! Do what reflects the two of you as a couple – that is what makes a wedding so special – not fitting in with the rest of the world.

If at the end of the day you are married to the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, then your wedding was a success. And that is all. Here is one of my articles that may help shed some light: http://www.theoverwhelmedbride.com/the-blog/what-is-a-wedding

Secondly, if you don’t want a wedding, then don’t have one! Financial issues are one of the top areas for divorce so I urge couples to start their marriage with no debt…and a wedding doesn’t help that! If a large wedding or any reception just isn’t your thing, then that is your decision and your decision only! Don’t let anyone tell you how you should start off your marriage – as long as those vows are said, I think your wedding day was perfect.

Top Wedding Questions Answered

Q: How do you serve a nice, elegant but budget friendly meal for a wedding of 130? I can’t find caterers that have affordable dining options.

A: I am so sorry to hear that you are having trouble finding caterers that will work within your budget! They are hard to find but I promise they are out there!

A couple options that tend to work great within tight budgets are:

1. An appetizer reception. No, I don’t mean that your guests get a couple appetizers each and they are done for the night but a large number of heavy appetizers are served, some stationed and some passed, and this will more than fill up your guests. Many caterers call this their “Heavy Appetizer Option” so I would chat with them and see if this is something they offer!

2. Pasta Bar: This is one of my favorites because everyone gets exactly what they want! You have a couple of pasta options available (or even one is fine too!), a couple of sauces, and toppings for everyone to choose and it is served buffet-style! It is a great way to fill everyone up and give everyone what they want. And pasta is always a more cost-effective option when it comes to caterers.

3. Food Trucks: I am not sure about everywhere else, but here in Los Angeles, food truck catering is getting huge! The truck has a kitchen of their own and they are always on wheels, so guests can order whatever they would like from the truck or you can pre-order it, and you just pay for the cost of food! There are tons of food truck options, varying from tacos to sandwiches, and even sea food!

Look forward to more top wedding questions answered in upcoming blog posts from The Overwhelmed Bride.

With Love,

Jenn Hallak

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Wedding Planning Q and A

Wedding Planning Q and A

Wedding Planning Q and A

Jenn Hallak, owner and editor of The Overwhelmed Bride, began coordinating weddings six years ago and immediately fell in love with the industry. From coordinating, to opening new wedding properties, to her position as Catering Director, consulting for wedding venues, and finally marrying her prince charming in June of 2013, this woman has experienced every angle of the industry.

We have asked her to help answer some wedding planning questions directly asked from brides themselves.

Q: How do you keep a buffet style meal for a 150 people served in an hour?

A: You will have no problem getting 150 guests served within an hour and will have plenty of time for seconds. I’ve seen double and even triple the guests go through a buffet line within an hour so you are good to go! A couple of recommendations that may help:

  1. Have your DJ or MC dismiss tables. Generally you will start with the wedding party and family first but the order is completely up to what you and your fiancé choose! This helps the buffet line to run smoothly and ensures guests aren’t standing in line for their food…no one wants to do that!
  2. Instead of one large buffet table, set up buffet stations or a two-sided buffet! You can have the salads at one station, sides at another, and meats at a third station, for example. This allows guests to walk freely throughout the reception and allows more guests to be getting their food all at once!

Regardless of whether you decide to split it up or keep one long buffet line, your caterer will help ensure all guests are fed and full.

Wedding Planning Q and A

Q: What do you do when you don’t want children at your wedding and the MOG won’t listen/doesn’t care and insists on the nieces and nephew being there?

A: First of all, if she is helping to pay for the wedding then you may not be able to do anything about this. I know that this is always a tough one when the parents are paying but at some point, you may have to give in in some instances if she is paying for the wedding.

If not, then here is what I would tell her:

Kids cost money too! Yes, they need to be fed, they need a chair, a table to sit at, a favor, etc. and all of that definitely adds up to far more than just the kids meal cost. I would explain to her that the two of you have decided against all children in order to make everything work within your budget.

This is generally the top reason for not inviting kids. However, if there is another reason you have for not inviting them, then I would just explain that to her! You and your fiancé should sit down with her and clearly explain why you have decided against having kids at the wedding and she should respect that because it is YOUR wedding day!

With Love,

Jenn Hallak

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Wedding Planning Questions Answered

Wedding Planning Questions Answered

Wedding Planning Questions Answered

Q: We don’t want a bartender, how do we display/chill the wine for 20 tables without breaking the bank, or how do we set up a drink station for the wine?

A: Generally when I have a couple who doesn’t want a bartender, we just put bottles of wine on each table, with the whites already chilled. For a table of 8-10 guests, I would generally put one red and one white wine on each table and guests can serve themselves a glass of whatever they would like! And it is far more convenient than getting up to go to a bar or waiting in line for their drink!

I would recommend having some extras as well, and having your servers replace empty bottles once they are finished. Or if you don’t want your guests drinking too much, two bottles at each table will definitely do the trick! The white wine always seems to stay chilled just fine but if you are worried, you can always provide individual ice buckets at each table for the whites. Personally, I think you’re fine without them though.

Q: How do you involve family out of town in the wedding planning process?

A: There are many ways you can involve your family in the planning who are from out of town! If you want the experience to be personal, such as trying on dresses, FaceTime or Skype always does the trick.

Or if they want to be more involved, you can ask for help in researching and getting quotes from vendors for you to then narrow down, collecting or addressing your invitations, or the best way to get everyone involved is to start group Pinterest boards so that everyone you want involved, can look around and pin their favorite inspiration and ideas to your wedding planning boards!

Wedding Planning Questions Answered

 

Q: How can I make my theme flow at the wedding?

A: When it comes to making your theme flow on your wedding day, simple is always better! Don’t try to over complicate everything but rather, focus on the aspects of the wedding that will work best with your theme. Whether you have a very specific theme or just a color scheme for your wedding day, items such as favors, the wedding décor, and your personal accessories are wonderful ways to tie in your theme without overdoing it! The simple and subtle accents that incorporate your theme or colors are what make your wedding so beautiful and unique!

Check out great wedding planning advice and much more from Jenn at The Overwhelmed Bride and look forward to more expert advice and planning tips in future editions of The Bride Box. Check by often to read more wedding planning questions answered by Jenn.

What are your wedding planning questions? We will get them answered in our next blog post!

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The 4 People You Should Hire for Your Wedding

The 4 People You Should Hire for Your Wedding

The 4 People You Should Hire for Your Wedding

Close your eyes and imagine your wedding day. Are you stressed out of your mind while guests stand in an empty warehouse that smells oddly like new paint and only has the echoes of footsteps and awkward conversation to fill the air? I would guess not. You’re likely imagining the opposite. You are sipping on a glass of rosé feeling like a pampered princess while your hair and makeup artists flurry around you, meanwhile guests begin to casually mingle in a charming warehouse space styled to perfection, with an alter area draped in ferns and peonies, while a band plays your favorite songs and the scent of your 5-star meal begins to linger by the caterer’s station. Which is exactly why the following are the 4 people you should hire for your wedding: a wedding planner, wedding stylist, entertainment, and a caterer.

1. Wedding Planner

The 4 People You Should Hire for Your Wedding

Take it from me. I’ve been working in events since high school and even I will be hiring a wedding planner. You may be the most organized person and have negotiation skills that land you a venue for half the price during peak season, but when it comes to the hours before you walk down the aisle to do this marriage thing, the last worry you will want to deal with is finding an extra chair for Grandma Suzy because the hotel miscounted while you were getting your nails done. Find a wedding planner you are comfortable with and who understands your vision. You can hire someone for the entire planning process, or hire a day-of planner who will manage the details for the week leading up to the day. Let the wedding planner sweat over the details while you sweat on the dance floor.

2. Wedding Stylist

Vis Photography featured on Wedding Chicks

A wedding stylist will communicate with you, the florist and the rental company while searching for the perfect props to ensure a cohesive look is maintained throughout the entire event. To take an example from one of my favorite shows of all time, Ace of Cakes, think of your wedding planner as the one who bakes the cakes, while the stylist is the person who comes in and works their magic with fondant and icing to create the detailed cake rendition of Hogwarts. The stylist will work to decorate your space and photographs with all of those perfect details. A great way to do a trial run is to ask your stylist to style your engagement session.

3. Entertainment

Ryan Polei

Whether it is a DJ, the band that frequents a local pub, or a cirque du soleil troupe, invest in entertainment. The best events have a form of entertainment to keep guests lingering longer while taking the pressure to be everyone’s source of entertainment off you.

4. Caterer

Jessica Charles PhotographyYes, you may have thrown amazing parties in the past and made all of the food from scratch leaving your guests raving about each bite. However, a wedding is different than your typical dinner party. Hire a caterer who has similar tastes to your own culinary style. You’ll still feel connected to the experience, even if you weren’t the one rolling each cannoli. Many certified caterers also handle the serving staff, bartender, as well as a liquor license.

At times a wedding can seem like a giant puzzle. Think of these 4 hires as the corners of your puzzle, holding everything together and helping the other hundred pieces to fall into place along the way.

Jenny of Jenny Does Weddings is a blogger, wedding planner, and stylist who can be found spending her weekdays blogging and her weekends’ thrifting.

Who are the 4 people you would hire for your wedding day?

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10 Tips and Tricks to Save Big on your Wedding Day!

10 Tips and Tricks to Save Big on your Wedding Day!

1. Slow down. We know you are filled with excitement the second you have that shiny diamond on your finger. Your heart is racing with the need to plan, plan, plan. You start pinning thousands of glamorous ideas on Pinterest, making purchases on Etsy, even (prematurely) throwing ideas out to every one of your besties about the perfect Bachelorette Weekend and Bridal Shower ideas. Take your time and make your choices carefully. If you make decisions or purchases out of eagerness, you’re likely to waste money on items that don’t end up belonging on your big day.

10 Tips and Tricks to Save Big on your Wedding Day!2. DIY DETAILS. Give yourself lots of time for planning and projects that you can do your self or with your girlfriends over martini’s and a movie. DIY’s cost much less money & make you feel more connected to the details of your day. Another cost saving tip? Remember that details are an extra. If you don’t have them in the budget don’t worry, no one will think something is missing.

3. Utilize The Key Three. This will help you know where you and your fiancé deserve to splurge and where you can save for the honeymoon. Focus on areas that make your heart skip a beat, and you’ll feel OK about skimping on the rest.

4. Bring in your own booze & hire a couple bartenders. While this isn’t possible for every venue, buying liquor, beer, and wine in bulk and hiring a bartender will dramatically cut your costs since venues make a profit on the alcohol your guests consume. Remember to buy enough! Running out of alcohol is a definite way to upset guests and end the party early into the night. RealSimple has a very helpful Wedding Wine and Liquor Calculator to help you with your shopping list.

5. Ditch the reception hall & party in a grassy field, barnyard, or historic home. Hotels are expensive & don’t always provide the ambiance that your reception is calling for. Do some shopping around and find a unique venue that will be memorable for your guests and your partner. A great idea is to get married somewhere you can go back and visit as often as you want, enjoy the afternoon & reminisce about the day you became a family.

6. Hire a Wedding Planner. If you’re planning an elaborate wedding weekend, a planner may actually help you save money by negotiating costs and getting in the biz deals for that you wouldn’t be qualified for on your own.

7. Be Ruthless with your Guestlist. Newly engaged couples have the constant problem of acquaintances and old friends suddenly “popping up” in their lives in an effort to be invited to their wedding. A good motto to follow for all of your wedding guests: If you won’t miss them, don’t invite them. After all, typical per person is at least $50. If you don’t want to spend $50-$200 on them don’t. This night is about you and yours.

8. Friday I’m in Love. Weddings on Friday’s or Sunday’s are up to 30% less than Saturday Evening weddings. That’s not just in the cost of the venue either; entertainment, catering, photography, rental services may all be less expensive on nights that they don’t sell out on their own. Embrace the off-season.

9. Look for an All-Inclusive Package. Choosing a venue that comes with loads of extras means significant savings. Many All-Inclusives come with Entertainment, Photography, Wedding Coordinators, Ceremony & Reception, Florals and much more. An All-Inclusive may equate to saving thousands off of your wedding budget.

10. Borrow Something. You all know the saying, “Something old, something new. Something borrowed, something blue.” Something borrowed means something you haven’t spent money on.

We hope you find these 10 tips and tricks to save big on your wedding day useful! What would you add to this list?

Click here to get more wedding budget tips.

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The Key Three: How to Save Big & Know Where to Splurge on Your Wedding Day

Wedding Tree

The Key Three: How to Save Big & Know Where to Splurge on Your Wedding Day

When you become engaged you are suddenly enamored with a to do list a mile high & dreams of a wedding that you probably can’t afford. You begin to think of all the guests, details, gifts, drinks, pictures, entertainment, favors, THE dress, and so much more… It’s easy to become completely overwhelmed and think that it will be impossible to have the wedding of your dreams. Well, it’s much more possible than you think.

Discuss the three most important items to splurge on between you and your partner. I like to call these The Key Three.

The Key Three: How to save big & know where to splurge on your wedding dayOnly splurge on these items and save on the rest. This is the first question I ask any couple when they begin planning for their wedding. Most couples go way over budget & figuring out what your priorities are from the beginning can help you stay in check.

When I married my husband the key three for us was photography, location, and music.

We knew that pictures and video would be all that we kept from our wedding day so we wanted the best photographer & videographer we could find. One thing you will be told over and over by anyone trying to give you advice is to be “in the moment” because “it will be over way too fast.” This is the truest and most important reason to have tons of amazing pictures and video on your wedding day. When it’s all said and done pictures are the way to preserve that special day. Your wedding day will be such a blur & pictures help keep the memories in focus.

The Key Three: How to save big & know where to splurge on your wedding dayLocation was important to us because that is what sets the mood and makes the memory. We were married beneath a beautiful Kapok tree that grew next to the intracoastal waterway in South Florida. Our romantic spot definitely set the mood & we spent less in decor because the natural beauty of our ceremony spot was all we needed. Think outdoor spaces: a beach, under a tree, a field with mountains in the background or beside a lake. Every state has natural beauty – what special spot do you have as a couple?

Wedding entertainment

Finally, music was important to us because that is what lifts the mood from romance to dance and turns your nuptials into the party of the year! Our DJ was also our emcee, and he literally dragged wedding guests on to the floor and danced with them! He was a riot & kept the party going until the lights forcibly came on!

Your key three may be completely different like: food, drinks, THE dress, wedding decor, flowers, etc.

Whatever your key three are it’s important to decide with your partner and agree as a couple where you can afford to splurge & where you can save.

Entertainment/DJ: http://mbcentertainment.com
Chris Joriann Photography: http://www.chrisjoriann.com

Many Cheers & Happily Ever Afters,

Katie Myers
The Bride Box Creator & Co-Founder

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The Best Tools for Wedding Planning from Credit Card Insider

wedding_budget_calculator

The Best Tools for Wedding Planning from Credit Card Insider

The Bride Box has teamed up with Credit Card Insider to help you save & stay in budget for your wedding day! We’ve found these tools very useful for all of you brides-to-be wedding planners.

The Best Tools for Wedding Planning from Credit Card Insider

Click the image below for a very useful calculator tool based on the budget allocation in the infographic to help you stay in budget. Remember, the calculator is not the exact amount you should spend based on your buget, it’s a guide.

Wedding Budget Calculator from Credit Card Insider

For example:
If your budget is $30,000 but you find the dress of your dreams for $800 then you have room to go a little over budget in another category. It shouldn’t be to goal to hit your budget, if you do, you will probably exceed with surprise costs along the way. If you’re under budget, enjoy the extra cash you have saved for your honeymoon. That romantic helicopter sunset tour will thank you later!

We hope you find these tools helpful in your wedding planning venture. Happy planning!

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Wedding Planning Checklist

Rhinestone Shoe Stickers

Wedding Planning Checklist:

 

i do shoe stickers

Nine Months and More Before The Wedding

Begin with putting together a wedding folder
Go through bridal, lifestyle, fashion, gardening, design magazines, etc. as well as books and Pinterest for inspiration.

Determine a budget
Figure out how much you are able to spend, based on contributions from your family and your own.

Choose who you would like in your wedding party
As soon as you’re engaged, you should think about who you would want to help you tie the knot.

Start figuring out the guest list
Start a spreadsheet that you will use throughout your planning process, with fields for name, contact info, RSVPs, gifts, and any other important information. Unfortunately the easiest way to cut down on costs is to reduce your guest list.

Hire a wedding planner if it is in the budget
Ask around because you never know who has a connection to a great planner.

Pick a wedding date and your venue(s)
Decide on if you would like a destination wedding or local, as well as if you want the ceremony and reception at the same venue, etc.

Research officiants, photographers, bands, florists, and caterers
Contact your top choices and set up meetings.

If you would like, throw an engagement party
Keep in mind that the people you invite should also be on your wedding guest list.

Eight Months Before

Hire the photographer and the videographer
Be sure that the people you hire have good referrals and you know the timeframe as to when you will receive the video and photos of your wedding.

Time to book the entertainment
Whether you choose to have a band, orchestra, or DJ always ask to see a video of their work and/or check them out at a live event before you choose to hire them.

Meet caterers and have a food tasting
This is the favorite part of wedding planning for most couples! Typical wedding venues offer their own catering service, but if not begin looking for one now and hire the service you like best this month or early the next.

Purchase the wedding gown of your dreams
You’ll need to schedule time for at least three fittings after your dress comes in.

Reserve a block of hotel rooms for your guests
It’s smart to go ahead and choose three hotels at different price points close to or at the actual reception venue.

Register for your wedding
Sign up at your favorite retailers or online. Try to choose places with many different price points. For example, Bed Bath & Beyond, Macy’s and Williams-Sonoma.

Create a personalized wedding website
Create a personal wedding page for free at a popular website such as TheKnot.com. Display information such as the date of the wedding, travel information, and accommodations. Then make sure to send the link to all invitees.

Seven to Six Months Before

Purchase invitations (save the date and wedding)
Try to go with a particular theme if you’d like. For example, starfish invitations for a beach wedding. Send your Save the Date invitations during this month.

Begin planning your honeymoon
Get a passport or make sure it’s up to date if going out of the country.

Choose the bridesmaid dresses
Ensure at least six months for the dresses to be ordered and sized.

Meet with your wedding officiant
Go through the ceremony details and documents you need to have with

Book a florist
Florists are capable of serving multiple clients on one given day, which is why you can wait a little longer to hire one. Plus, you should have a distinct idea of your wedding color scheme.

Arrange transportation for you and your guests
Consider limos, minibuses, trolleys, and town cars depending on your location.

Start making a day-of timeline
Start mapping out a schedule of your wedding day and put in each component (wedding toasts, the first dance).

Five to Four Months Before

Book the rehearsal dinner venue
Negotiate the cost and go over the menu.

Select and order the cake
Some bakers require a long lead time. Do a handful of cake tastings before committing to any one baker. This should be another fun wedding planning task!

Send your final guest list to the host of your shower
Think of a theme and be surprised and have your host choose the theme of your bridal shower.

Buy wedding shoes and start wedding dress fittings
Make sure to bring your shoes to your first fitting so the seamstress can make your dress the appropriate length.

Schedule hair and makeup artists or a salon
Make some appointments and take photos at each so you can compare results.

Choose your wedding music
What should be playing when? During the bride and groom entrance, your first dance, cake cutting, etc. Keep track of your must-haves and do not play list.

Three Months Before

Order favors and welcome bags
Monogrammed cookies are always a nice treat. Figure out what you would like to include in your welcome bags for your out-of-town guests, if desired.

Make a list of the people giving toasts and/or doing readings
Who would you like to have speak at the ceremony and/or reception. This is the time to ask them.

Purchase your undergarments
And schedule your second wedding dress fitting.

Print and/or create ceremony programs
Finalize the order of the ceremony and have programs made or do it yourself, if desired.

Purchase your wedding rings
This will allow time for resizing and engraving.

Send your event schedule to your wedding vendors
This allows plenty of time for feedback and adjustments.

Two Months Before

Contact all the vendors
Make sure any questions you or they had have been answered at this point.

Meet with your photographer(s)
Discuss specific locations, people, and other details you definitely want photographed on your wedding day.

Review the playlist with the entertainment
Although you probably won’t be able to dictate every single song played, you should still have a wish list.

Send out your formal wedding invitations
The typical rule is to mail out invitations 6-8 weeks before the ceremony, setting the RSVP deadline at 3 weeks after the postmark date.

Have a bachelorette party!
Coordinating a fun outing with your friends generally is the maid of honor’s task. If nothing has been mentioned by her then feel free to ask since this is typically when you plan one.

One Month Before

Confirm RSVPs and out into spreadsheet
Call people who have not yet responded.

Get your marriage license
The process is fairly simple and can take up to six days depending on where you live so do your research and plan accordingly.

Visit the seamstress for your last fitting
Just in case, you may want to schedule a dress fitting the week of your wedding. You can always cancel if your dress fits perfectly at that time.

Stock the bar and confirm final guest count
Now that you have a head count you can plan accordingly.

E-mail and print directions for drivers, vendors, etc. and confirm arrival times
This gives the chauffeurs and vendors ample time to navigate a route and be on time.

Put together a seating chart for the reception
Make sure you are putting people together that you think would be most enjoyable for them, if possible.

Buy your bridesmaids’ gifts
You usually gives these out at the rehearsal dinner.

Get your hair done, if desired

Week of the Wedding

Reconfirm arrival times with all vendors!

Delegate wedding day tasks
Choose the best person for each task. For example, someone to bustle your dress, someone to carry your belongings, someone to be in charge of gifts, someone to hand out tips, someone to direct vendors, etc.

Send a timeline to the bridal party
Make sure they understand exactly what is going on in terms of where they should be at what time and other important details.

Pick up your wedding dress!
Or make arrangements for a delivery or someone to pick it up for you.

Check in one last time with the photographer
Make sure they know the pictures you want captured that are most important to you.

Set aside checks for the vendors
Put tips in envelopes to be handed out at the event

Book a salon day
Make an appontment for a manicure and a pedicure a day or two before the wedding. A massage would be a fantastic idea at this time as well.

Send the final guest list count to all venues hosting your wedding
In most cases, places close their lists 72 hours in advance.

Assemble and distribute the welcome baskets
We recommend Bow Tie Bags do this part for you!

Pack for your honeymoon and make sure to enjoy every single moment because it goes by in a flash!