5 Important Steps to Planning your Engagement Party

That glorious new ring on your finger means you’ve officially entered the wedding events planning stages. The very first event is your engagement party, and we’ve got the top 5 things you need to know for your post-proposal soiree. 

  1. Determine if you will host, or have someone else host it. Traditionally, it was the bride’s parents who hosted, but nowadays anything goes. 
  2. Determine the budget. Whether it’s a hall, a restaurant, club, library, backyard or park, understanding what you (or your host) will be spending is an important consideration. It will also help you determine how many guests you can invite.
  3. Determine a gift strategy. While gifts aren’t necessary, some people won’t know whether they should be bringing something or not. Be clear on the invitations, and if people insist, consider a donation to a charity or use this time to set up your bridal registry early.
  4. Set a date. If you have a long engagement, you may want to set your date months into the future. But if you can’t wait and want to share your joy with everyone right away, set it a few weeks into the future. Give yourself a little time for planning.
  5. Book an engagement photography shoot. Fab photos make great announcement cards as well as save-the-date cards. 

Create your Dream #Wedding Vision Board

You don’t have to be a crafty scrapbooking queen in order to build yourself a vision board. Use Pinterest, Instagram, a cork board on the wall, or even a science fair-esque 3-fold poster board. It’s a simple, yet very effective wedding planning tool.

Image / AlissaHenry

Print (or tear from magazines) the images that you love. The ones that give you the feels, and then cut and paste to your hearts content. When building the board, throw your budget out the window. You want pure inspiration. Your style and personality will shine through and it will help you narrow down all the details you hadn’t even thought about. (Theme, colours, etc.) Most importantly, have fun with it!

Bouquet Recipes for Gorgeous Fall Weddings

It’s that time of year. Well, it doesn’t feel quite like it yet, but the cooler weather is coming. And with it, the stunning array of fall flowers. Bursts of burnt orange and fiery reds. Lush greens, browns and deep purples. Fall is a fabulous time for creating floral wedding bouquets. Here’s a few stunning showstoppers for your consideration. 

Image / Pinterest

Image / Pinterest

 

A post shared by Le Mystère Lingerie (@lemystere) on

Image / Pinterest

Which of your Wedding Vendors are Expecting a Tip?

One of the first things you do after your engagement is set a wedding budget. It’s important to remember to reserve a little of that budget for your vendors that go above and beyond. Prepare tips in separate envelopes to be handed out the day of. Not all vendors expect a tip, and some may be written into your contracts to avoid confusion, but there are a few that will be expecting one. Here’s the short list on who and how much is expected.

1. Your makeup artist and stylist. Just like in a salon, prepare at least a 15 to 25 per cent tip depending on the quality of the work. 

2. The Church Officiant.  This is usually a donation of $300 or more. It can be higher if you belong to the church. For a non-denominational officiant, $50-$100 is the norm.

3. Transportation. Check the contract, if the driver’s tip is not included, expect to give them anywhere from $50 and up at the end of the night.

4. Caterers. Including the maître d’, the banquet manager and the on-site coordinator. There will be a service charge (for staff like bartenders, servers, valet staff, coat room attendants etc.,) but if an additional tip is not included in the contract, expect to pay 15 to 20 per cent of the food and drink bill  and/or $200 to $300 for the maître d’.

All other vendors are not expecting it, but do appreciate a tip. If you’ve given a long-list of demands or they have gone above and beyond to give you the wedding of your dreams, show your appreciate with a little extra gratuity.

 

How to Hang on to the Magic when Planning your own Wedding

Weddings aren’t cheap. Can you really put a price tag on your dreams? Pffft.

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Photo Courtesy of Wallippo

For a lot of engaged couples, hiring a wedding planner just isn’t in the budget. And that’s OK because the modern-day DIY bride and groom are a force to be reckoned with. Just a word of warning, planning your own wedding won’t always be fun. 

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The reality is, you’re planning a major event with a plethora of moving parts. It can be one of the most stressful things you can ever do. There will be fights, tears, tantrums, and the occasional hair-pulling. From sourcing out good vendors, to location viewings, timelines, gifts, favours, food, wardrobe, rings, invitations, table seating, and then the stress of having family and friends all giving their advice, ideas, and the always helpful, unsolicited commentaries on family opinions. You no longer feel like it’s a magical day and it becomes more of a full-time job than anything else.

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Photo Courtesy of Genesis Master of Events

And let us not forget the actual day. The culmination of all your careful planning. You’ll be dealing with unforseen issues and problems like late vendors, traffic problems, schedules, timing and missing or incorrect items. 

A wedding is supposed to be a beautiful and magical day for you to enjoy. But any tiny error or over-looked item and your magnificent day could snowball into utter chaos.

Assigning a family member or friend to coordinate certain matters on the day-of is great, but remember that they are technically still a guest. After three glasses of wine they may forget to do the only task you asked of them.

All of that aside, many couples do everything themselves and still manage to enjoy the best day of their lives and throw one hell of a party. That can be you too. Here’s a bit of upfront advice for planning your own wedding:

  1. Start planning early!  At least a year, two is better. This will give you enough time to make sure ever aspect is covered.
  2. Thoroughly research your vendors.  Don’t just jump on the lowest price. You get what you pay for and you don’t want to be disappointed. Be sure to read all negative reviews online in order to find any common issues. 
  3. Put everything in writing. Whether it’s a friend offering you something, or a professional service, put everything in a contract. Have a lawyer look it over. Be protected.
  4. Ask all suppliers, vendors and even your local municipality about any permits or licences you may need to get.
  5. Be organized. Make sure every delivery, schedule, supplier and contact number is all organized way ahead of schedule. Double-check and triple check your delivery dates and times.
  6. After you’ve finalized your guest list, get to preparing the centers and favours. Don’t leave anything to the last minute.
  7. Make sure whoever you have doing your “day-of ” is fully aware of the entire schedule. From the delivery times, to what items are being delivered, where it goes, etc.  Also make it very clear what their responsibilities are and what you expect of them.

In a nutshell, allow enough time, stay organized and most importantly… don’t try and do absolutely everything yourself.  Sometimes, it’s worth it to pay someone to mind the schedule.

5 DIY Wedding Centerpieces we LOVE

The budget-conscious bride-to-be is always on the lookout for ways to cut costs and still deliver the wedding of her dreams. Centerpieces are an easy way to create the atmosphere you want and still be able to keep most of your hard earned cash in your pocket.

Check out these 5 DIY options that we love!

Punched Paper Candles

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Photo Courtesy of Musely

Wood Block Centerpieces

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Photo Courtesy of RuffledBlog

More Wood Block Centerpieces

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Photo Courtesy of Indulgy

Painted/Corded Bottles

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Photo Courtesy of Martha Stewart Weddings

Candles, Candle Holders and Flower Petals

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Photo Courtesy of WeddingBee

5 Free Wedding Apps to keep you Organized

If hiring a wedding planner isn’t in the budget, a much more affordable solution might be to use a wedding planning app. Here are 5 entirely free solutions to help you countdown to your special day.

Wedding Happy – Wedding Planner (iOS)
Here’s the bottom line: WeddingHappy makes you a plan, guides you and reminds you what to do every step between now and your wedding day. It was designed for busy, savvy people who just cannot be thinking about wedding planning 24×7. Find it on iTunes.

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Photo Courtesy of Apple iTunes

Wedding Countdown (iOS)
A multiple countdown app to stretch out the anticipation and excitement of your big day. Find it on iTunes here.

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Photo Courtesy of Apple iTunes

LadyMarry Wedding Planner (Android)
Powered by millions of brides and grooms, LadyMarry helps you plan a dream wedding in a fast and collaborative way. Find it on Google Play here.

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Photo Courtesy of Google Play

Wedding Planner and Checklist (Android)
For the bride or groom, Wedding Planner And Checklist is a simple app to help you plan the perfect and cheap wedding. Find it on Google Play here.

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Photo Courtesy of Google Play

The Knot Guest List and Wedding Websites Manager (iOS)
Easy wedding website and guest management for couples on the go. Access to essential wedding information and photo sharing for wedding guests. Everyone stays organized and excited! Find it on iTunes here.

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Photo Courtesy of Apple iTunes

Get Inspired By Kelly Clarkson’s Wedding Journey

The first ever American Idol winner has yet to get married to talent manager, Brandon Blackstock, but the two have continuously been making headlines. For Clarkson and Blackstock everything from the ring to the engagement shoot to plans for the big day have been unique and exciting.

For all you brides to be, here are some things you can learn from this couple, and one thing you should learn not to do!

The Engagement Ring

WhoSay

Colored diamonds are becoming increasingly popular. This yellow canary diamond is stunning, and what makes it even more special is that Blackstock helped design the ring himself, so he made it just for his fiancé.

If you don’t have the ring yet, thinking of something outside the box is a great way to really capture your personality. After all, the engagement ring is the one thing from your wedding that you’ll have with you every day for the rest of your life – aside from your partner, of course, so it’s important you get it right.

And DON’T be like Kelly Clarkson and lose the ring!

The singer misplaced her ring before going on stage and couldn’t find it until the next day. I would have been a little more careful with a $150,000 ring.

The Engagement Shoot

ArchetypeStudioInc

[photo by Archetypestudioinc.com]

I’m so excited for the country-pop singer who was single so long some reporters questioned her sexuality – she sure showed them! It’s only fitting that she has a huge engagement shoot celebrating this life-changing event.

Clarkson made headlines because she posed in a variety of white wedding dresses, making her engagement photos look a lot like wedding photos.

She’s wearing a gorgeous sheath dress in the image above and a beautiful ball gown in the image below.

ArchetypeStudioInc2

[photo by Archetypestudioinc.com]

I think the idea of uses wedding dresses in the engagement shoot is really creative. Not that everyone has a handful of gorgeous designer wedding dresses at their disposal, but Clarkson pulls it off and I’m sure brides will figure out a way to replicate this type of shoot in the future.

The Wedding Day

The couple was planning an earthy outdoor wedding in fall when out of the blue they changed their minds. Now they plan to elope!

They sent an engagement photo to all those who were originally invited and told them the wedding would just be the two of them with Blackstock’s two kids and the minister.

Surely the guests were disappointed, but I’m sure that eloping is the best thing for the couple. Clarkson says she and fiancé Blackstock are so busy with work that they just can’t handle the wedding plans. Plus, as celebrities, they want an intimate moment alone rather than another very public celebration.

Many couples get swept up in their wedding plans, trying to please their family and friends, that they forget what works best for them as a couple and as a future family.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with sending out a sorry card to the guests and telling them the date is changed or the venue or even that you’re eloping instead. You should never feel pressured into your wedding, and if at any point you do feel that way, follow Clarkson’s example and take control of your day again.

Get Excited and Have Fun

After all, the day really is about celebrating your love and having fun, so instead of stressing about it you should be getting excited.

Clarkson made a song that epitomizes her excitement for her wedding, and even if her small ceremony won’t look like the wedding in her music video it will be equally special, I’m sure!

Give her song a listen and enjoy this pre-wedding excitement.

Wedding Ideas from Pinterest: Décor

What bride doesn’t spend a few hours on Pinterest for some unique DIY wedding decoration ideas? Heck, what girl doesn’t go on Pinterest looking for fun DIY decoration and wedding ideas, even if she isn’t engaged yet?

As a wedding blogger my job is an excuse to peruse the infinite database of wedding photos to find what I think are the most exciting and doable ideas. Here are a few décor ideas that I really like. When my big day comes maybe I’ll use some of these ideas at my own wedding.  Maybe you will too.

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[pinned by weddingwindow.com]

I’ll start with my favourite idea. I love the thought of a colorful fingerprint guest book, and the tree design just brings it all together. It may not be decoration for the wedding, but it would definitely become decoration in my future home should I have one at my wedding.

A guestbook of signatures and stories will get dusty while the fingerprint tree can be framed and hung. Of course it’s nice to have messages from all your loved ones, but you always have the wedding cards from the guests to cherish and keep, so maybe a traditional guest book isn’t necessary.

I love this idea because it’s easy, fun, and guests will want to add their fingerprint to the image. Make sure you have lots of hand wipes for them to clean the ink off afterwards.

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[pinned by crafynest.com]

This next one is almost too good to be true. The final image is so gorgeous I doubt I would be able to put this together.  The picture below really captures all my fears.

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[pinned by themetapicture.com]

If you were to succeed with this craft, the string light decorations would look perfect at a wedding. Maybe I’m just not artsy enough, but I know plenty of brides who have pulled off DIY projects way more daunting than this.

If you’re having a DIY wedding this is a must. You could even keep a few and hang them up in your hallway at home.

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[pinned by heart-of-glass.tumblr.com]

This idea is something much more aligned with my craftiness level, and it’s just as beautiful. All you have to do is take Christmas twinkle lights and a sheer white stocking. Cut one of the stocking legs, fill the foot with the lights, and then string them up. It might get a little tricky with the wiring, but once it’s all set up they look gorgeous at night, both indoors and out.

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[pinned by pocketfulofdreams.co.uk]

This last idea isn’t exactly decoration, but it falls into the category of décor since it will add so much to the ambience at the wedding ceremony. All you have to do here is fill a sheet with confetti or glitter (paper confetti is much easier to clean up afterwards) and hang the sheet above the bride and groom’s head during the wedding service. When they have their first kiss pull a string and release the confetti. It’s the perfect moment for a picture and it makes the wedding ceremony seem that much more magical!

 

Jillian Zacchia is a contributing writer to the Bridal Guide.

Why Four Brides Does No Favors to Brides

Katie Adamchick shares her opinion about Bridal TV Shows and regular brides. Should we second guess ourselves?

By Katie Adamchick

On one hand, I wish that the explosion of bridal shows that are so popular on TV these days had happened just a little earlier. They really boomed in popularity right around when I was getting married…too late for me to garner any wisdom from them. (more…)

Bridal Showers:Advice From One Bride To Another

By Katherine Adamchick

Maybe you’re married and maybe you’re not, but it seems like every girl, at one point, or another, will be responsible for hosting, or at least helping, with a bridal shower.  Even if you have had your own bridal shower, many ladies remain stumped when it comes to planning a bridal shower. (more…)