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The Top Questions to Ask Your Bridal Boutique Before Making a Purchase

Once the engagement ring is purchased, it is time to find the perfect wedding dress. Wedding dresses are a high-ticket, once in a lifetime purchase. While there are a collection of reality shows and articles sharing the inside scoop on what is in trend and what is not, there is still a lack of professional advice on the gown purchase process. I know it’s way more exciting talking about things like Bridal Fashion Week; however, my hope is every bride enjoys the dress process from beginning to end. Buying a wedding dress can be an emotional process. The more knowledge you have going in will make things more enjoyable and less stressful. After fifteen years as a bridal industry expert, I’m here to share my top questions every bride should be asking before they say “yes”.

The Top Questions to Ask Your Bridal Boutique Before Making a Purchase
Photography: Kristen Weaver

What is your return policy?

Every boutique is different; however, most boutiques operate as “final sale.” Whether it be an off-the-rack dress or a special order gown, “final sale” is a standard. Most designers do not have a storage facility to hold onto returns. Bridal designers are in many ways very small businesses unlike our go-to ready-to-wear online boutiques. From a bridal boutique’s perspective, it could take a store owner months or years to find another bride for the dress. There are a handful of online bridal sites offering returns, but the challenge is they may hold onto your money for up to a month. Look at the final sale policy as a positive. You have to know when to stop shopping and enjoy the dress you found.

Do you have an in-house seamstress?

Every boutique operates differently when it comes to alterations. Often bridal boutiques hire seamstresses as full-time employees while others have partnership agreements. Occasionally, you will see bridal boutiques not offering in-house seamstresses. Instead they provide their clients with a list of recommended seamstresses in the area. If the dress you are considering needs extensive alterations or custom changes, it may be best to work with a full-service boutique offering an in-house seamstress option.

What does “special order” mean?

Kristen Weaver
Photography: Kristen Weaver

When we hear special order, we think custom. Special order in bridal does not mean the dress will fit you like a glove when it arrives. Your bridal boutique will measure your bust, waist, and hip. They will plug these measurements in the designer’s size chart to determine the closest size. You should still expect alterations. Designers do offer custom gowns for additional fees. When you hear a stylist say “special order,” this is the perfect time to ask what they are meaning by the term.

Where is the dress made?

This question is for those needing peace of mind. If you are special ordering a wedding dress, knowing the location it is being produced in is incredibly important. Dresses made in the U.S. or Canada tend to not run behind as there are less parties involved and shipping is quicker. If a dress arrives with a flaw, the resolution time is faster given it doesn’t have to be shipped overseas. Depending on your wedding date, this question can have more value. Peace of mind is everything when you are weeks away from your wedding.

Is it possible to order extra material from my dress?

Whether you are looking to add a capped sleeve or create a flower girl sash, having the option to order extra material is incredibly helpful. Some designers do not sell the fabric from the gown. This is a concern when it comes to alterations. There are many reasons why a seamstress may need additional fabric. For example, when the CrossFit trend started, we saw brides getting toned while gaining inches of muscle. In this case, a seamstress may need to replace a panel to give you more room.

How long has the designer been in business and do they have reputable stores?

We have all seen the horror stories of bridal boutiques closing without notice. What we don’t always hear about are the designers. There are new bridal designers entering the market every week. Unfortunately, not all of them will make it. Check to see how long the designer has been in business and who their other retailers are. If they are carried in established boutiques that is always a good sign.

The Top Questions to Ask Your Bridal Boutique Before Making a Purchase
Photography: Kristen Weaver

Tali Gallon is an owner and stylist of The Bridal Finery located in Winter Park, FL. The boutique offers a new concept to luxury bridal.

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Wedding Emergencies….They Happen! Are You Prepared?

After years of wedding planning, I have seen it all.  We’ve had a wedding guest pass out from heat stroke and dehydration, a pregnant maid of honor go into labor during a reception, and a flower girl suffer an allergy attack from a bee sting (thank you, EpiPen!!). From broken bones to broken down vehicles, emergencies can happen, even on your wedding day.  So when you are preparing all your Pinterest details, planning your layout, and meeting with your vendors, you need to ask yourself… if an emergency happens at our wedding are we prepared?  If you don’t know where to start, we can help!  Here is a short list to get you prepared:

Wedding Emergencies
Erin Morrison Photography


Stop the emergency before it happens by having some security and standards in place.  Many wedding venues require security, such as an off-duty police officer, to make sure the event runs smoothly and there are no issues with unruly guests or damage to the property.  Is security common?  Yes!  Are these issues common? No (thankfully!).  The presence of security alone is usually enough to deter wedding crashers, drunk drivers, and family drama that has gotten out of hand.

Limit Alcohol

Wedding Emergencies

Repeat after me: No one will take shots on my wedding day.  Now say it louder for the people in the back (especially the groomsmen!).  Over indulging in alcohol can make your wedding turn into a party that you were not intending to have.  Hiring a licensed and insured bartender is key.  They will not only limit alcohol for guests that have over done it, but they will also institute rules like no shots or keg stands (hey, this isn’t a frat party) so your guests don’t get too far gone in the first place.  Oh, and that million dollar liquor liability insurance policy they bring should definitely help ease your mind as well.

Erin Morrison Photography

Take Care of Your Guests

Wedding Emergencies

Food allergies, heat stroke, bee stings… all of these can happen, but they are more likely to happen if you don’t take good care of your guests in the first place.  When choosing your catering menu, ask around for any food allergies or diet restrictions you need to be aware of (sometimes I see this on the RSVPs!).  If you are having an outdoor summer wedding have fans, cooling stations, and plenty of water.  Talk to your venue about their policy on pesticides and spraying for bugs (most commercial venues have a routine for this) and see if you need to offer your guests bug spray or have citronella candles lit outside.

Hospital & Emergency Rescue Locations


I once had a wedding that decided to spoil the kiddos with a bounce house during the reception.  It was great, until the 4 year old ring bearer bounced right out of the house, on the ground, and broke his arm.   Making matters worse, we were in the mountains with no cell phone service and all of the guests were from out of state and unfamiliar with the area.   Because I was knowledgeable about the location of the nearest hospital, I was able to tell the parents directions to the nearest ER.  Do a quick online search of facilities near your venue, or ask the venue owner, and have the address handy or printed directions if you won’t have service or wifi.  During an emergency, minutes matter, and getting someone medical attention as fast as possible can make all the difference.

I hope these getting started tips help you feel a little at ease so if something goes wrong, you know you have it covered!

The Photographer and Venue Credits:

Juice Beats Photography at Cardinals Nest Wedding and Events | Instagram: juicebeats1 | Instagram: cardinalsnestweddings

JoPhoto at Dara’s Garden | Instagram: jophotos | Instagram: daras_garden

Erin Morrison Photography at Dara’s Garden | Instagram: erinm_photography

Leah Moyers Photography at Grandview | Instagram: leahmoyersphotography

Lindsay Ruggieri owns The Bride Link, a wedding advice and planning website, and also owns Custom Love Gifts, Events, & Prints, an event planning company that specializes in wedding details such as invitations and gourmet wedding favors.

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Budgeting for your wedding

You’re engaged!!!  Congratulations! Some of you may already have had your wedding all planned out since you were 5 and some of you probably never gave it a second thought.  Regardless, you have a lot to do from this point on.  Beginning with one of the most if not the most important part of your wedding planning – the wedding budget.

Whether you are having a simple intimate wedding for 30 or an extravagant lavish wedding for 300, the first thing to do before any pinning on Pinterest, is to determine your wedding budget.

Budgeting for your wedding


Determining and agreeing to a wedding budget will save you and your fiancé lots of heartache and stress throughout your wedding planning journey and also keep you focus on what is more of a priority for both of you. So how do you figure out your wedding budget?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • How much can we save on a weekly basis from now until 2 weeks prior to the wedding?
  • Is anyone else contributing to assist with the wedding cost? If so, ask them if they wouldn’t mind letting you know what the amount will be so that you can accurately budget for your wedding.

Once you determine what the total wedding budget number is going to be, know that half of that budget will most likely go into your venue space and catering.

Let’s use $15,000 as an example budget for your entire wedding.  A minimum of $7,500 will automatically need to be allocated for your venue and catering.  If you have 100 guests, that is a total of $75 per person.  Know that your venue and food budget has to include gratuities, tax, etc.

The other $7,500 will need to be divided among everything else (invitations, wedding attire, DJ, cake, flowers, photographer, etc.).  Now that you have a basic idea what the rest of the budget will go towards, you need to decide what is more important to you and your fiancé.  Maybe it’s a $2,000 wedding attire or maybe it’s beautiful flowers.  Whatever is most important to both of you determines how you spend the rest of your wedding budget.  Just remember that if you spend too much on one thing, you will probably have to sacrifice on another.


Well, that’s the quick and dirty version on budgeting for your wedding.  Just remember that planning your wedding should be a fun and stress-free journey to the rest of your wonderful life’s journey.  Whatever your budget is, use it as a guideline. Know that it can always run a little over and if you are lucky, a little under.  The point is, don’t make yourself too crazy.  Best of luck in your wedding planning journey!


Romantic at heart, Jolie Colon is the owner of i do events and party rentals. Also owner of Le Fluer Atelier of i do events…
Published, award winning and innovative planning and floral studio was founded in 2007 and is based in Central Florida.
Globally recognized for providing luxury wedding planning, floral for weddings and events. Weddings are our passion – quality is our trait.

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Your Pre-Wedding Night Packing List

Everything you’ll need to be ready for your big day

Image Credit: Sweet Ice Cream Photography on Unsplash

Wedding planning revolves around checklists and in the days leading up to your nuptials you’ll need them more than ever to make sure everything gets done! Between breaking in your shoes, last minute check-ins with coordinators and submitting your final shot list, you’ll have enough on your plate without worrying about forgetting to pack something the night before. That’s where this guide will come in handy, to give you peace of mind that you’ll have everything you need for your special day.

Essential toiletries & tools

Image Credit: Charisse Kenion on Unsplash

Makeup and brushes – even if you have a makeup artist coming, bring your everyday and best cosmetics. This way, if you end up not liking your look, you’ll have your favorites at the ready for last-minute fixes.

Face mask – choose one that you know hydrates your skin and has no chance of causing a reaction. Do not risk using anything new on your skin in the days leading up to your wedding.

Skincare – pack everything you would usually for a night away. Make sure to have make up remover that can cope if you are wearing heavy-duty coverage.

Toothbrush – toothpaste, floss and mouthwash for fresh breath all day and all night.

Hair care – hardcore hairspray, heavy-duty shampoo and conditioner to wash away hardcore hairspray, dry shampoo, bobby pins, hair bands, hair brushes, any styling tools you’ll be using and heat protection.

Body – shower gel, razor, shaving gel, body mitt, deodorant, moisturizer, perfume.

Extras – Remember to pack your favorite items from your gorgeous bridal subscription boxes, as well as a nail file and tweezers for any hairs that may have escaped waxing or surprise chips in nails. Plus, if you are wearing false lashes, keep the glue close by!

Bridal clothes & backups

Image 3

Image credit: Jeremy Wong Weddings on Unsplash

Wedding dress – of course, plus any accessories such as detachable skirts, second outfits and shrugs/cardigans if it’s going to be cold.

Underwear and PJ’s – something comfy and color coordinated for the day and something special for the night, even if you do both end up passed out in your pajamas after all the celebrating!

Bodice/Spanx – make sure to pack the undergarments you have already tried on with your dress to ensure that you don’t have visible straps or lines.

Tights, socks + extra pairs – even if you are wearing bare legs, having a pair of back up tights and socks is a good idea in case your shoes rub, or you get chilly in the evening.

Shoes – your wedding shoes and any flats for the evening for when your feet get tired.

Veil – and any other hair or headpieces.

Second outfit – everything you’ll need for your evening change of clothes.

Must have accessories

Image 4

Image Credit: Sweet Ice Cream Photography on Unsplash

Something old – something new, something borrowed, something blue… and a silver sixpence for your shoe!

Jewelry – your earrings, rings, bracelets and necklaces for both your wedding and the day after, ideally kept safe in a travel jewelery case to avoid any damage before your big day.

Regular clothes

Casual clothes – For the day after, remember you’ll probably be hungover so have some comfies at the ready and get that #wifey t-shirt packed too. Equally, if you’re doing a post-wedding brunch, make sure you plan your outfit in advance ready to pack.

Underwear – bra, pants, socks, tights and double up on everything so can rest easy.

Weather protection – sunnies and sun cream if it’s hot. Coats, under clothes, hat, scarf and umbrella if it’s not.

Bathing suit – and goggles if you’re planning to use any pool facilities.

Image Credit: Clay Banks on Unsplash

Final thoughts

Sewing kit – for last minute tears.

Safety pins – see above.

Band-aids – for cuts and blisters.

Shoe cushions – in case they rub.

Painkillers and tampons – should you need them.

Birth control – if you use them.

Any medications – that you need to take.

Cash – just in case you need to get a taxi or a drink for any reason.

Charger – to keep your electronics juiced.

Headphones/speaker – for watching movies, shaking it out in your room.

A book – for relaxing the night before.


Don’t forget your other checklists! You should be able to just relax and get ready when you wake up on the morning of your big day, but just in case make a final list of everything you need to check up on and make sure to bring it with you so you can relax fully when you get into your PJ’s for the last night of unmarried life.

And relax

The night before your wedding should be a little nerve-wracking, but mainly super exciting. Ideally, by this time all loose ends will be tied up and by following this guide you should have everything you need to be able to just chill, run a bubble bath and unwind before one of the biggest days of your life!


Nat is a fashion-conscious blogger with an interest in all things wedding related. Having been married for over four years, Nat is still running her wedding blog entitled Help! I’m Getting Married. Her other interests include health and beauty, family, travel and hanging out with her cat.

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10 Types of Wedding Guests

dancing girls

10 Types of Wedding Guests

You know them. You love them (well, some of them maybe.) Waiting in the wings to provide you with laughs, or just plain embarrass themselves. Either way, it makes for great entertainment. Get ready to enjoy the show ladies!

Check out our list of 10 types of wedding guests:

The Crazy Aunt

She’s kooky, she’s judgmental, and she’s decided to ignore the doctor’s orders and mix alcohol with her prescriptions. Look out everyone, here comes crazy Auntie Brenda. This gal will provide your guests with some unexpected entertainment, but you might want to give her with a shiny distraction to keep her somewhat under control.
10 types of wedding guests

Dancing Guy

Slightly handsome, sweaty, and possibly shirtless, he’s the dancing guy and he’s a fixture at every wedding from Long Island to San Francisco. He’s probably gonna embarrass himself and possibly you, but he’s usually necessary to get things going on the dance floor.
dancing guy

The Lurkers

It might be a couple o’ gal pals, or it might just be a broheim out on the prowl. Either way, they’re single, ready to mingle, and they’re lurking around every guest at your wedding…just try to keep them away from your parents.
the lurkers

The Under-Dressed

He rolled in late to the wedding with some excuse, and he’s got the lame wardrobe to back it up. Clothed in cotton, draped in denim, or sheathed in shorts, this guy’s here to be one the more hilarious focal points of the evening.
under-dressed guy
[source: flickr]

The Amateur Photographer

They’re discussing the differences in frame rate and pixels between the iPhone 5 and 6 cameras while furiously snapping pictures of your wedding in increasingly uncomfortable and contorted positions. They are the photographer you didn’t hire, but they think maybe you should’ve.
The Amateur Photographer
[photo: Thomas Stewart]

The Moocher

They’ve starved themselves all day in anticipation of their free wedding dinner, and they’ve piled their plates mile-high with their buffet bounty. Good thing you ordered that extra round of food.
The Moocher

The Moody Grandmother

Her back hurts, she’s used to eating earlier, she doesn’t approved of the music, and she’s not afraid to let everyone know about it. You know her, you love her, she’s the oh-so-lovely, yet oh-so-cantankerous moody grandmother.
The moody grandmother
[source: tumblr]

Gossip Girl

Want to know the REAL reason Jared and Stacey broke up, or why Candice seems to be flirting with every guy at the wedding even though her Facebook page says she’s in a relationship with John? Ask your resident gossip girl. She’s there with her Samsung Sidekick, and she’s typing away furiously.
Gossip Girl

The Drunk

This guy looks for any excuse to get loaded, and what better excuse in the world than a wedding with an open bar? Luckily, he’s one of your oldest friends, and he’s a “fun drunk” that will create some of the best wedding stories.
the drunk
[source: wordpress]

The 3 Sisters

They say 3 is a magic number, and that’s never more true than on a wedding reception. Whether they’re yours or your hubby’s sisters, they’re out there, destroying that dance floor, and the party don’t stop till they say so.
dancing girls
[source: wallflower photography]
Who do you think out of our 10 types of wedding guests will show up at your wedding? Tell us about it in the comment section below!
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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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Top 10 Wedding Tips for Brides

 Wedding Day Tips

The Bride Box’s top 10 wedding day tips for brides to remember on their Big Day!

1) Bring your marriage license! This is important to making your marriage official so remember to research the process well before your wedding day.

2) Please do not sweat the small stuff! It’s your day – let your Maid of Honor, bridesmaids, parents, etc. take care of whatever might come up.

3) Make sure to have your photographer take pictures of you with your family (or have someone remember for you)! We cannot tell you how many brides forget to take a pictures with their family members.

4) Remember to eat small and drink water throughout the day! Staying hydrated and eating small meals like cheese and crackers will help keep you energized leading up to your wedding ceremony & reception.

5) Go over your day-of itinerary ahead of time so you know when to be ready, when vendors are scheduled to arrive, and so on.

6) Do not forget to pack for your honeymoon early so you do not forget anything.

7) Make sure to pack a wedding day emergency kit! Extra bobby pins, hemming tape, face powder/lipstick, hairspray and more!

8) Remember to make your guests feel welcomed that are staying in a hotel by putting together a nice bag of goodies.

9) Have someone be in charge of picking up your belongings if you plan on staying in a hotel on your wedding night and leaving for your honeymoon the next morning.

10) Most of all…make sure to take everything in! It’s the one day that is about you and the love of your life – you’ve spent a ton of time making it beautiful so be in the moment!

We hope this short list of wedding day tips to remember helps in planning out your fairytale wedding day without a hitch! What other tips would you say would be helpful to remember on the Big Day? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below on this post. Remember to check back often for the best advice, contests, and more from The Bride Box!