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9 Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Colors

Photo Credit: CYork Photography

Let’s talk color! It’s definitely safe to say that whether we realize it or not, color has a big role in our lives – and I’m glad. After all, playing with hues is fun – especially when you are planning your wedding, and this is a time when you can definitely use some wedding color advice.

Before I get into the nitty gritty of talking about color, I want to stress one thing. This is YOUR wedding! I want to give you suggestions and guide you along the way, but the one thing I love about today’s bride is that she gets to use her creativity and stay true to herself. I’ve seen soft, lovely monochromatic weddings, yet there are also stunning events that use a whole rainbow’s worth of colors. So, keep in mind that this is your special day.

Ok, let’s chat about the “lovely” and other things to consider when you are choosing a color palette for your day with 9 tips for choosing your wedding colors:

Think About the Season

Some hues lend themselves to a season more easily than others. When I think of fall, browns, burnt orange, yellows and rusty reds come to mind, yet that is contrasted with spring, where soft pastels are more useful. The season – and flowers that may be in season at the time of your wedding – play a big part in your color scheme.

Assess Your Location

When you are getting married outdoors, pretty much any color can come into play – yet move things inside, and you truly need to assess your location. If your ballroom is dark or small, you may want to consider a lighter, brighter color palette to make the room seem larger and more spacious – especially when it comes to reception linens.

Determine the Personality of Your Event

Looking for a regal, upscale feel? Choose jewel tones, metallics or a monochromatic palette. Want a vintage vibe? Pastels and lighter colors will evoke a sense of nostalgia.

Be Thoughtful

Afraid of color? Use bold colors selectively. If you love magenta yet are afraid to utilize it full force, then use it as an accent – the writing on your invitations, the boutonnieres, floral ribbons and the like may be where you want to use those fun pops. If your bridesmaids are bold, have them wear a bright hue, which will look stunning!

Photo by CYork Photography

Photo credit: CYork Photography

Placement is Key

Your colors evoke a feeling, yet so does how you utilize them. If you are bold enough to go for orange, there is a big difference between having your bridesmaids decked out in the hue and having it in your bouquet vs. utilizing it for the main table linen color and uplighting. You can do it all, but careful color placement has a higher impact than overuse.

Trends? What Trends?

Don’t be afraid to buck the trends. There I said it! If I’m seeing a ton of a certain color wedding palette on Pinterest, my personal tendency would be to stay away. You shouldn’t feel pressured to utilize certain colors just because they happen to be en vogue at the time – again, this goes back to being true to yourself. If the hot hue is blush, then by all means don’t be afraid to deck your groomsmen out in red. We all love a great surprise.

Photo by Stephanie Leigh Photography

Photo credit: Stephanie Leigh Photography

Color Wheel

We all took art, but you don’t have to be an expert! A friendly glance at the color wheel can also help to blend colors. Honestly, I’m not a big fan of complementary colors, which are opposite on the wheel. Supposedly they go together well, but I’m not sure I’d want to have a bright purple and yellow wedding, yet softening the colors to a more pastel hue would work nicely.

Expect the Unexpected

Look in unexpected places for inspiration. When you are undecided, finding cues in your everyday may be the best thing. Does the floral pattern on your yearly planner bring you joy? Take note of the hues on the cover – maybe they could be translated into a wedding scheme. Going for a walk may even help. A budding flower garden may inspire you to combine colors that you didn’t even dream of! Perusing a local art gallery will provide ideas, too. Look at what pieces speak to you and draw inspiration from the artist’s color choices.

Photo by Franzi Photography

Photo credit: Franzi Photography

Neutral for the Win!

When in doubt go neutral or monochromatic. If you truly are unsure of yourself, going with a neutral, natural palette won’t steer you wrong. Neutrals include whites, browns, grays and greens. Yes, green is a neutral – after all have you ever seen a flower that didn’t match it’s stem? I dare say that blue – powder, denim, navy – is also a neutral. Think about the sky and your favorite pair of jeans. It’s hard to find something that doesn’t complement blue! Play around with different neutrals. If that doesn’t work, a monochromatic palette of your favorite color is also a lovely choice.

No matter your choice, your event will be a day to remember, and in the end you get to marry the love of your life. I’d be tickled pink over that… ha! Happy wedding planning!


Jennifer Prince is Virginia based wedding blogger who enjoys providing wedding inspiration at www.hillcitybride.com and in your Bride Box each month. She loves spending time with her husband and three children in the great outdoors.


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Wedding Flowers: Real vs. Artificial

Artificial Flowers

Wedding Flowers: Real vs. Artificial

Should you use real or artificial flowers in your wedding? This is not a question easily answered, as there are pros and cons to both.  We have outlined what we believe to be the key points to wedding flowers: real vs. artificial, so that making an informed decision is a little easier for you.

Real Flowers

wedding-flowers

Pros

Some say there is nothing quite like the smell and appearance of real, fresh blooms at a wedding. The aromatic ambiance that a real flower creates is usually unmatched; a wonderful feast for the senses. If you are buying in season, they can also be relatively inexpensive, depending on the type of course. If you are using real flowers, it is generally assumed that you are going through a florist, so you will have the added bonus of a professional who is taking care of the nitty gritty so that you don’t have to.

Cons

Believe it or not, real wedding flowers can sometimes have a few downsides. The flowers of your dreams might have to be imported, which can obviously cause the price to spike a bit, due to shipping costs. The price can also go up if you are choosing blooms that are out of season. Also, that enchanting aroma that we were talking about earlier, can also be a con. If you have guests with strong allergies, (according to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, roughly 7.8% of people 18 and over in the U.S. have hay fever), then this can cause your guests to be extremely uncomfortable, which is the exact opposite effect that you are trying to achieve.
Wedding Flowers Real vs. Artificial
[photo by Yuri Vaysgant]

Artificial Flowers

Artificial Flowers
[photo by Dotmoxee Photography]

Pros

There are actually upsides to using artificial flowers in your wedding. First off, if you are more of a DIY person, then artificial might be your thing. These flowers do not usually come with a florist who is behind the wheel, so you can get your control freak on! The most popular material for these kinds of arrangements is silk, which can look quite beautiful and feel quite soft. Another advantage is that you don’t have to preserve your artificial flowers until the big day, because there is no expiration date for these puppies. Some people don’t realize that you can also add lotions and perfumes to silk flowers to make them smell like the real thing.

Cons

Even if you are embellishing your flowers with lotions and perfumes, chances are it’s not going to smell like the real thing and that could be a deal breaker for you. Some of you may not be very creative, and therefore find it more stressful to DIY. If this is your case, then you’ll probably want to opt for real flowers with a florist in charge. Also, if you are choosing silk material and lots of it, then artificial can often times be MORE expensive than real flowers.
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Are you using real or artificial flowers in your wedding? Tell us about it in the comments section below!
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6 Common Wedding Flower Mistakes

wedding florists

6 Common Wedding Flower Mistakes

They say nobody’s perfect. That is especially true when it comes to planning and budgeting for your wedding flowers. This can be one of the most complicated elements to your wedding, so it’s only natural that some mistakes are made. Thankfully, there have been millions of brides who have made a million mistakes already so that you don’t have to. Check out our list for the top 6 common wedding flower mistakes:

Waiting Too Long to Book Your Florist

The high-quality florists tend to get booked up pretty early on in the season, and they have to limit the amount of weddings they take on, so you don’t want to wait too long to schedule your consultations. Plus, giving your florist plenty of time to plan, means that you’re more likely to get the blooms you want.
6 Common Wedding Flower Mistakes
[taken from nanzkraft.com]

Not Trusting Your Florist

As women, we tend to have a very strong sense of control. This is not always a bad thing, but if you don’t put enough trust into your florist and try to take on too much yourself, this can lead to head-butting and clashes in opinion, which can therefore lead to more stress. Try to relax and let them do what they do best.
wedding florists
[taken from waldimports.com]

Using Strongly Scented Flowers

We know that the temptation to woo your wedding guests with a bold, aromatic presence is strong. However, you need to consider the possibility that many, or at least some of your guests, might be prone to allergies. This will negate that romantic atmosphere you are trying to create.
strongly scented flowers
[taken from allergyzone.co.uk]

Not Taking Care of the Flowers

Many brides in the past have been disappointed with the looks of their blooms in photographs. This is because they did not consider the lifespan and needs of the specific flowers they chose. Some flowers are more fragile than others, and this should be taken into consideration when choosing which ones you desire for your wedding.
take care of your wedding flowers

Not Reusing Ceremony Flowers

You can file this mistake under “financial blunders.” The flowers you are using in your ceremony can be re-purposed for your reception. For example, the flowers you are using in the aisles and at the alter, can be moved to your reception buffet table, or even the guest tables. If you are ordering separate flowers for both events, this can add significantly to your expenses.
ceremony flowers
[taken from bestofflowers.com]

Ruling Out Expensive Flowers

Don’t let the high price tag of certain flowers scare you off. The more expensive the flowers, the bigger they are, and the bigger impact they can make. Orchids, hydrangeas, and peonies are all considered “statement” flowers, and you don’t need to buy too many in order to make that statement.
expensive wedding flowers
[taken from frugalflowers.com]
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That’s all for now brides. Stay tuned for the next part of our Wedding Flower series: Winter Wedding Flowers, coming soon! Do you have any wedding flower advice? Tell us about it in the comment section below!
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Buffet Style Vs. Plated Wedding Dinner

Buffet Style Vs. Plated Wedding Dinner

Buffet Style Vs. Plated Wedding Dinner

One of the first things you will deal with when planning your reception is the age-old dilemma of a buffet style vs. plated wedding dinner. Which is less likely to break the bank? Which one will make your guests jump with delight and make their glands salivate? Check out our blog for the pros and cons of both options!

Buffet Style

buffet style wedding

With a buffet style dinner, all courses are served on different tables, and guests are invited table by table to come up and serve themselves. There is usually no table plan at a buffet dinner.

Pros: Buffet style usually offers a wide variety of food for your guests so that there’s something for everyone (remember to include a vegetarian main course.) This option will save you a bit of money on the amount of service staff needed. A buffet also provides opportunities for your guests to mingle and warm up to each other before hitting the dance floor for some uptown funk action!

Cons: People usually think that buffets are cheaper than seated dinners with set menus, but that’s not always true. Usually, the caterer will make a lot more food than will be eaten so that it doesn’t run out. Because of this, buffet style dinners can create a lot of wasted food. This arrangement can also get a little crazy and people can end up waiting a while to eat if certain guests are slower at getting their food.

Tips: You can really up the elegance of this option by decorating each buffet table with intricate little details. Present each dish in unique, and beautiful serve-ware and serving utensils. Combine cold and hot dishes with finger food options. You can also include a fresh-cooked option, i.e. having a chef prepare sushi or wok dishes right at the table!

Plated/Served Dinner

Buffet Style Vs. Plated Wedding Dinner

The plated dinner is generally the most traditional of the different dining options for a reception. The Bride and Groom constructs a table plan which gives each guest a place at a particular table (usually denoted by specific associations or circles) and guests are served a 3 or 4 course set menu.

Pros: You will usually save money on the amount of food, because the caterer will know exactly how much to buy based on your numbers. Your guests won’t have to worry about finding a seat or people to sit with, because this is prearranged for them. Also, everyone will be fed around the same time, so hopefully you don’t have too many hungry guests!

Cons: The staff portion of your bill will be a bit higher, as you will need more servers per guests. Since there are fewer options with a pre-planned meal, you might have certain guests who won’t be able to eat everything and might go hungry.

Tips: Give guests at least a couple of options for the main course. Send out a meal choice option with their invitations, so you can get this info to your caterer long before the reception. Avoid any options that might be considered too exotic so you can be more safe.

That’s it for now brides! Are you planning on having a buffet style or plated dinner for your reception? Tell us about it in the comment section below!

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Five Ways to Save on Wedding Flowers

five ways to save on wedding flowers

Five Ways to Save on Wedding Flowers

Flowers can be one of the biggest expenses in your wedding budget. They are also one of the most important elements to your ceremony and reception, and they can make or break your style. How do you use the beautiful flowers you want while staying within your budget? Check out our five ways to save on wedding flowers so you don’t have to sacrifice the elegance.
five ways to save on wedding flowers

Cut Down on Your Wedding Party & Guest List

First and foremost, you need to whittle down that wedding party and guest list (see our previous blog: How to Narrow Down Your Wedding Guest List for ideas). Once you have those exact figures, including your table numbers, you’ll know how many centerpieces you need. The fewer the tables, the less money you’ll spend.

Cut Down on Large Centerpieces

We know you want to wow your guests with large, striking centerpiece arrangements. However, these centerpieces are the biggest portion of your flower budget, and if you can cut on the amount of them, it can save you tremendously. Try interweaving alternative centerpieces with the floral ones. Fruit, candles, or even stacks of books can make great substitutes.
Book Centerpieces

Consider Your Region and Season

Obviously if you’re buying flowers that are in season during your wedding month, then the cost will be cheaper. (See part 1 of our Wedding Flower Series: Wedding Flowers by Month.) Another thing to consider is your region and climate. If you’re using flowers that thrive in that area, they’ll be strong enough to be repurposed. For example, the bridal-party bouquet can make great decorations for the guest book table, cake table, wedding party table, etc.
bridal bouquet

Trust Your Florist

A lot of brides make the mistake of not trusting their florist and taking on too much DIY themselves. If you have decided to hire a florist you trust, then you should do exactly that. They will know where to get the best deals on buying in bulk. They will also know which cheaper flowers can be doppelgangers for others that are too expensive. Kick back a little, they got this.
wedding florist

Be Your Own Florist

If you have decided NOT to go with a professional and want to be your own florist, that’s fine. That will cut down on at least one hiring expense. In this case, we would HIGHLY recommend buying in bulk from local farmers. These farmers are more than willing to work with you when it comes to price negotiations, plus you are helping out your local agriculture and economy.
Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers is a wonderful site that can help you source local farms in your area.
flowers
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That’s all for now brides. Stay tuned for part 3 of our Wedding Flower series – coming soon! How are you saving money on your wedding flowers? Let us know in the comments section below.
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Ways to Deal With Wedding Stress

Ways to Deal With Wedding Stress

Ways to Deal With Wedding Stress

Ladies, we know that planning your wedding can be one of the most stressful periods in your life. We are here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be. If you can implement just a few new habits in your daily routine before you start planning, and keep some things in mind during the process, it can be a lot less stressful for you and your guy.

Sleep/Exercise

Ways to Deal With Wedding Stress

Get plenty of sleep and exercise! Doctors and sleep experts recommend you get 7-8 hours of sleep per night in order to maintain a mentally and physically healthy lifestyle. The exercise will help you burn off some of that stress steam, plus it will  help you fall asleep at the end of your day.

Meditate

meditation

Even with getting enough sleep and exercise, you’re still going to have some freak-out moments. This is completely normal when planning a wedding. A good way to combat this is to meditate for at least ten minutes a day. Studies show that meditation can decrease mind-wandering and stress. So, find a quiet place, put on some comfy clothes, sit down and relax. You can picture yourself on a beach in Maui, listening to the gentle crash of waves, or pretend you’re sitting on the dock of a crystal-clear lake in Maine, surrounded by Honeysuckle trees.

Organization

organizing

If organization isn’t your strongest skill, there are ways to develop it. Buy a dated planner/organizer and keep everything (receipts, ideas, names, and numbers) in it, so you don’t lose info or miss an appointment. There are also wedding planning apps such as The Knot Wedding Planner and Our Wedding Planner you can download that will help. The more organized you are, the less stressed you’ll be.

Wedding Day Contact

mother of the bride

One of the best things you can do to lift a huge chunk of stress off your chest, is appoint someone to be your wedding day contact. On the day of your wedding, your mind is not going to be capable of grasping such concepts as organization, planning, and scheduling. You will be off, floating in the clouds of another dimension, where new and different emotions are taking over. If you give a close friend or family member the authority to be the central contact person for venue employees, bakers, florists, etc., you will be able to focus on the one thing that matters at that point, which is marrying the man of your dreams.

Spoil Yourselves

couples massage

A lot of couples say that they felt distanced from each other during the planning process, and that this added to their overall stress. Take time out from the chaos every now and again and spoil yourselves. Continue to have date nights, go get a couple’s massage, get outside and ride your bikes. Or, if money is tight, just have a quiet night at home with all devices turned off, and reconnect. The next day, when the planning recommences, you’ll be thinking, “This is all worth it.”
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We hope this helps relieve some stress for you! What steps are you taking to ensure your wedding planning is as stress-free as possible? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

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Rustic Weddings

Vintage-Rustic-Decor

Rustic Weddings

Mason jars and chalkboards and burlap, OH MY! If somebody told you a year ago that the rustic wedding trend would be dying down by the end of 2015, they would’ve been wrong. Rustic weddings are STILL the most popular wedding theme at the moment. What is a rustic wedding you ask?

Rustic weddings, also know as barn weddings, or wild west weddings, are a way for a couple to offer chic, quaint charm and without spending a gargantuan amount of money. Some couples also prefer it because they want to create a warm, enchanting atmosphere, as opposed to cold, formal and stuffy.

Think a rustic-style wedding is for you? Here are some tips for how to create a rustic wedding that will put your guests under the whimsical spell of love.

Location

As for the location of your rustic wedding, the obvious choice would be outdoors. There are rustic wedding venues all over the U.S. Some let you rent out a large barn space, and some let you rent out farm land, either way, you will most likely be getting married amongst the beautiful trees.
barn wedding

Invitations

You will most likely want your invitations to be simply designed, with natural, earthy colors. Using lace, burlap, or even old-style typography will also strongly communicate your theme to your intended guests. We adore these invitations designed by Etsy seller tranquillina:
rustic wedding invitations

Decorations

You have many decorating options to help you create your rustic atmosphere. Just grab a bunch of mason jars, burlap rolls, hay barrels, and wild flowers and go to town! Here is some inspiration to get your creative juices flowing:
Vintage-Rustic-Decor

Cakes

Whether you choose a simple, minimally frosted, or bare naked cake, your rustic wedding cake should be a complement to the themes and colors you have displayed for the rest of the wedding. We think that naked cakes are the perfect touch on a rustic wedding. These cakes tend to be decorated with fruits, flowers, and even plants as opposed to thick icing and fondant designs. We love this Three-Tier Naked Cake with Strawberries and Roses by Ellen Hutto:
Naked cakes
(BY GABRIELLA RELLO)

Bouquet

Your rustic bouquet should also be a reflection of the rest of the wedding decor. Taut, sphere-shaped bouquets are not for rustic weddings, and should be considered more for formal weddings. Instead, try piecing together wild flowers that match the other decorations, and don’t worry about making it look perfect, as they are supposed to evoke a come-what-may feeling!
rustic wedding bouquet

Guest Book

Signing a guest book at a rustic wedding should transport your guests to another world for even just a few moments. You could set up an old typewriter (one that still works!) on an antique desk so that your guests can type out their messages of love, or you could have postcards that your guests can fill out and then “mail” back to you by putting them in a vintage suitcase. We love this message-in-a-bottle idea from Etsy seller Angelfishweddings:
message in a bottle wedding idea
Planning a rustic wedding? Tell us about it in the comments section below!
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How to Narrow Down Your Wedding Guest List

wedding guests

How to Narrow Down Your Wedding Guest List

how to narrow down your wedding guest list

We know that the stress of planning your wedding can feel like being inside a pressure cooker at 250 degrees Fahrenheit. On top of that, the guilt of having to nix people from your guest list can send you boiling over the edge. We are here to tell you that you don’t have to indulge that guilt. This is YOUR special day, and cutting people from your guest list is one of the fastest, most efficient ways to cut from your overall budget. Here at The Bride Box, we’ve gathered some wisdom and techniques on the art of the guest-list chop. So, grab a pen, pair of scissors, or X-ACTO knife and get ready to cut cut cut…

1st Consideration: Venue

First and foremost, you need to decide on a venue. You can’t really determine how many people you can afford to entertain unless you first know the cost of entertainment per head. Decide on the location of your reception and then you will have a rough number to start with.

2nd Consideration: Percentages

You also need to decide on what percentage of the guest list is allotted to you and your fiance, and what percentage is allotted to your parents. Because the bride’s family pays for most of the wedding, they usually have more control over the guest list than the groom’s family. You can work that out however you see fit, but keep in mind both sets of parents will want to invite their close friends.

3rd Consideration: Groups

Another good way to slash larger quantities of peeps is to think about the groups they fit into, such as young children, co-workers, extended family, or acquaintances. Perhaps you decide that you don’t want to invite the extended family that you never see anyway. Maybe you decide that you don’t want to mix your private life with your work life by inviting your co-workers. If you cut the entire group, you will also avoid hurting certain people’s feelings.

4th Consideration: Time

If there are still more people that you are conflicted about, a good rule of thumb is to think about the last time you saw them. If it has been a year or more, you can probably leave them off the list. Of course, there are going to be exceptions to this. If your bestie moved to the Southern France two years ago, to live off of wine and baguettes, you’d still want to toss her an invite!

5th Consideration: Introverts

Another thing you may want to think about is any introverts that are in your circle of friends. Some people may care a great deal about you but also dread weddings due to their shy nature. Cutting these people from the list may not only do you a favor, but them as well. If you’re not sure about a particular person, you can always just be honest and ask them how they feel in a way that doesn’t put them on the spot.

We hope this helps you cute down your wedding guest list! Remember, this is one of the most important, special days in your life, so don’t let ANYONE make you feel guilty for your guest-list decisions! Good luck brides!

wedding guests

What techniques are you using to narrow down YOUR guest list? Let us know in the comments section below!

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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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Unique Wedding Favors

bottle wedding favors

Unique Wedding Favors

Hey there brides! Sometimes, you just get overwhelmed with all the options for wedding favors. We’ve assembled some of the hottest wedding favors out there right now. We’ve also provided some out-of-the-norm ideas if you want something a bit more unique:

Vintage Inspired Packaging

We are in love with this Vintage airmail gift packaging from The Knot Shop.

You should be seeing more vintage-inspired favors pop up in weddings this year due to the popularity of the rustic and vintage wedding movements.

unique wedding favors

Succulents

If uniqueness and adorableness is what you want your favors to be, then look no further than tiny succulents. Everyone could use a little extra exoticism in their homes or lives, and they will appreciate something they can use to enrich their office lives. We found these cute, 2-inchers at Etsy seller AudandEl.

The perfect size for your guests to carry with them!

succulent

Bride and Groom Cookies

Who doesn’t LOVE Oreo cookies? Who wouldn’t ADORE little Oreo cookies dressed up as a bride and her tuxedoed groom? These cookies are among the bestselling favors at beau-coup.com, and if you read the stellar reviews, you can see why. Yummy!

oreo cookie wedding favors

Koozies

Koozies are a great gift for your guests. They are inexpensive and incredibly useful, especially if you’re having a beach wedding. Just think about it: everyone can actually use their favors AT THE RECEPTION. Genius! These koozies, from Etsy seller and partner of The Bride Box, RookDesignCo are sure to keep those wedding beers frosty!

wedding koozies

Spices

They say love is the spice of life. Why not package up some love for your wedding guests with some serious seasoning? Your guests will think of you and your wedding everytime they’re cookin’ up the goods in the kitchen. Etsy seller spicywedding lets you customize little spice bottles with photos of you and your groom to be. Simply adorable!

spice wedding favors

Mint Rolls

After all that delicious food and champagne, let’s face it, your guest are gonna need some minty freshness. These amazing creations from Etsy shop BabyEssentialsbyMel, are sure to please. Not only is the packaging perfect for an outdoor/rustic wedding, but you can also personalize the labels. Perfection.

mint wedding favors

Customized Jones Soda

I’m sure all you smart ladies know that Jones Soda Company will customize and affix a label for your ordered sodas. Now why not customize it with a picture of you and your honey for wedding favors? This is definitely a unique idea and bound to be a crowd pleaser.

bottle wedding favors

Skeleton Key Bottle Openers

Add a touch of ornate magic to your reception by giving your guests skeleton key bottle openers, like the ones we found on Etsy shop TreesofLace.
Your guests will not only appreciate the uniqueness, but will also be able to “unlock” their favorite beer while partying at your reception.

skeleton key wedding favors

Chopsticks & Silk Fans

If your wedding theme is a bit on the exotic side, why not give out personalized silk fans and/or chopsticks? If it’s hot, your guests will appreciate the usefulness (especially in the south) of the fans, plus they will create luscious photo ops. Check out these gorgeous fans and chopsticks at myweddingfavors.com.

asian wedding fanswedding chopssticks

Seed Packets

Rock solid, long-lasting love requires patience, understanding, and nurturing. Why not give your friends and family members something of their own to plant and nurture? Sending your guests home with white hydrangeas, pink peonies, or even African blue lillies will create a visual reminder of your special day. We found these wonderful, customizable seed packets on Etsy shop FavorUniverse:

let love grow wedding favor

Stay tuned for more wedding tips and advice! Be sure to let us know what you’ve chosen as your wedding favors in the comment section below!

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Top 10 Money Saving Tips for Your Wedding

elegant wedding invitations

Top 10 Money Saving Tips for Your Wedding

Greetings Brides! We thought we’d take the opportunity to help many of you out there, who are planning your weddings, with financial advice. We know it can be a grueling, arduous effort to plan your nuptials, complete with nagging in-laws, cat-fighting bridesmaids, and more cake tasting than the average stomach can handle. The least we can do is offer some tips on helping you save some of your dough so you can alleviate some of that palpable stress you’re bound to be feeling.

Tip #1: “Hire” Your Friends

Do you have crafty gal pals? Why not ask them the favor of helping you put your wedding together? Hiring a professional wedding planner/organizer/crafter can be one of the biggest wedding expenses that you’ll have to dish out for. Getting together with your friends on a weekly basis for a wedding-craft and wine extravaganza can not only help you towards your wedding goals, but also provide you with some much-needed stress relieving laughs. You could also tell your friends that their time put into this endeavor can be their wedding gift to you, thereby saving them money as well. It’s a win-win ladies. Check out this DIY idea board from Weddbook.com:
diy wedding crafts

Tip #2: Bigger & Fewer Tables

Ladies, we know you fantasize about your reception hall, and how there are tables for miles, with everyone you’ve ever known, sitting around them, their eyes glimmering with a mixture of awe, emotion, and jealousy. Now picture fewer, bigger tables, instead of lots of little ones. Fewer tables means you have to construct fewer centerpieces, and fewer dollars dished. We love this outdoor table set up from Rajabf.com:
wedding reception tables

Tip #3: Friend Photography

Do you know any amateur photographers with amazing, expensive cameras? Chances are you do. With photography software becoming increasingly popular, people don’t necessarily have to take the most perfect pictures on site, and can tweak them later. There are a lot of folks out there who are fairly savvy with a camera and VERY savvy with Photoshop, so you don’t necessarily have to spend lots on a photography bill.
Top 10 Wedding Saving Tips for Your Wedding

Tip #4: Buffet vs. Dinner

You may want to consider having buffet-style food at your reception, as opposed to plated, or family-style. Having plated meals with controlled portions, being served by an elegant wait staff may SOUND appealing, but that can add up quickly. Firstly, you need to pay for the extra wait staff AND tip them at the end of the night. You also need to send out response cards so that guests can indicate their meal or meat preference, which is another added expense. Look at this unique dessert buffet set up from Cakeslindalewis.com:
Wedding Dessert Table

Tip #5: Your Friend’s Band

We all know that typically, a DJ is going to be less expensive than a band, right? Well, what if your friend, or your friend’s friend has a band and is willing to play for very little money, or even free? Maybe you pay these nice musicians back one day by hooking them up with free mani-pedis, or whatever your trade may be. Hey, musicians need to stay well kept too…(below picture was taken from DanceBands.com)
wedding bands

Tip #6: Local Flowers

Flowers can be one of the most important, mood-setting elements of your special day, and we don’t think you should have to skip them altogether just to pinch pennies. If you buy flowers that are local, or in season, you will most likely save a decent percentage on this expense. The Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers is a great resource for finding flowers near you.

Tip #7. Design Your Own Invitations

According to TheInvitationBlog.com, the standard, one panel wedding invitation can cost around $2 – $5 per invitation, while a print-your-own design version can be $1 or less. Try your hand at making your own design, or enlist the help of a friend who’s good with Adobe software. Make it a simple, elegant black & white design and save even MORE on the cost of printing. We are loving these simple, but beautiful invitations from onewed.com:
elegant wedding invitations

Tip #8: Bargain Hunting

I’ve got three little words for you, brides: Ebay, Craigslist, and Etsy. There are loads of former brides out there who are willing to sell their gently-used sets of wedding decor on Ebay or Craigslist, you just have to spend a little time hunting. Etsy.com is great if you’re in search of decor that is fresh and new. If you are able to find a newer shop on Etsy, they will be more willing to haggle with you in order obtain your business and garner a good review.

Tip #9: Secondhand Dresses

You don’t necessarily have to buy a severely USED dress, ladies. Sometimes women will just decide against a certain dress, after they’ve purchased it. They may have gained a bit of weight, making the dress no longer fit, or they may just decide to go in a different direction at the last minute. Websites like oncewed.com or stillwhite.com connect brides to be with former brides looking to get a little something back on their purchases. Just make sure you get plenty of photographs, and even ask the owner to Skype with you for a bit before buying. Look at this gorgeous gal selling her stunning Monique Lhuillier gown for 67% off the original price!
Wedding dress for sale

Tip #10. Twigs & Branches

The centerpieces at your reception can be one of the most biggest expenses in your wedding budget, especially if they are floral. They can be upwards of $150 per centerpiece. Luckily for you, natural/rustic weddings are all the rage right now. If you were to assemble your own pieces using twigs and/or branches, it could save you roughly 75% percent of the cost. Start collecting branches now, ladies. Nature is free! Martha Stewart has some awesome ideas for branch-themed centerpieces!
branch themed center pieces

We hope these tips will help you save some on your big day! What are you doing to save some money for your wedding? Please let us know in the comments 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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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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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?