From the Bride's View

Planning a Christmas Wedding Dos and Don'ts

Before you send out your Christmastime save-the-dates, buy a sleigh, or book a Santa Elvis (what -- that's not on your dream wedding agenda??) for your reception, check out these tips on how to plan a perfect holiday wedding (which you could easily apply to a bachelorette, stressed out maids of honor!):

By Benjamin Kerns of Trazee Travel

December is increasingly becoming a popular choice for weddings. The idea of saying “I do” amid a winter wonderland is a dream of many young women, but it’s important to keep a few things in mind when planning your Christmas nuptials.

Do Embrace the Season

Winter ‘tis the season to be jolly, and what’s more jolly than a wedding? If you’re going to have a Christmas wedding, there’s no reason to avoid holiday themes. Red, green and white make great color palettes, as do simple blues.

Don’t Overdo It

That being said, an ice sculpture of Santa Claus at your reception might be a tad too merry. Do your best to embrace the season, but don’t slide down the aisle on a sleigh led by a troupe of reindeer and a bright red nose.

Do Accept Rejection Gracefully

Christmas is traditionally a time for people to visit family, not attend weddings. It’s a bit much to ask people to forgo visits home in favor of your ceremony, so don’t be angry when people have to decline your invitation. In fact, you might want to go ahead and plan a small wedding in advance.

Don’t Wait Too Long

Cakes, venues and outfits should be ordered well ahead of time. The holidays are the busiest time of the year for bakers, tailors and churches so you need to have your wedding booked in advance or you run the risk of not having anyone available to supply your food or clothes.

Do Have It Inside

As much as having a wedding in the snow might seem fun, the reality is it’ll just lead to a bunch of miserably cold guests. Stage your wedding inside and use fake snow, if necessary. You don’t want your first memory of your big day to be how your toes were freezing with frostbite while you recited your vows.

Wedding Blogs to Follow

By Holly Riddle of Trazee Travel

If you’re looking for someone to help you with wedding planning, look no further than some of the most popular wedding bloggers. With focuses on everything from DIY to themed weddings to venting about wedding nightmares, there’s a place for everyone and everything. Check out some of the below blogs to help you get from the proposal all the way to wedded bliss.

Snippet & Ink

This wedding blog offers daily planning inspiration for the most luxurious events. You’ll find some amazing vendors regardless of what you’re looking for, as well as real photos from real weddings to inspire your own big day.

Southern Weddings

You don’t have to be born in the South to love all things southern. Mason jars, college football, sweet tea and monogrammed everything — this blog helps you plan a wedding that’s all southern-inspired, from the vendors to the honeymoon.

Wedding Chicks

Wedding Chicks has all of the bases covered for you. From free printables (think wedding signage, monograms and more) and wedding registry tips to bridal workouts and doughnut cake ideas, they’ve got it all.

A Practical Wedding

For those who just want to get through wedding planning as easily as possible while still having the time of their lives, there is A Practical Wedding. They help you save your sanity by answering the tough questions, like how to ask your sister (nicely) to adopt better hygiene habits for the wedding, how to tell everyone you’re not changing your name and when it’s okay to give a wedding vendor a negative review.

Staggered

This wedding blog is all about the men — the groom, the groomsmen and the fathers. It gives advice on everything from how to fit into your role in the wedding and where to go for a bachelor party to what constitutes a great wedding present.

Equally Wed

Equally Wed is the leader in LGBTQ weddings. The online magazine features preferred vendors, wedding planning tools, wedding inspiration and more. In addition to your typical wedding advice, they also feature articles on LGBTQ news, travel, fashion and more.

Guest Post: How to Personalize Your Wedding Photos

By Holly Riddle of Trazee Travel

You want to remember one of the biggest days of your life with spectacular photography that captures the emotion of every moment. While sometimes just hiring the right photographer can do the trick, you don’t want your wedding photos to be just another picture of a bride and groom. Everyone has wedding photos — make yours stand out from the crowd and reveal your personality to the world.

One of the easiest ways to personalize your wedding photos is to have them shot in a location special to you as a couple. Whether it’s the site of your first date, the place where he proposed or just the park where you meet for lunch every week, choose a place you’re comfortable and that makes you happy. No one said you have to take your wedding photos at your venue.

Props aren’t just for the photo booth at the reception. If you’re having a themed wedding, bring along a few items that speak to that theme. Colorful balloons, confetti or sparklers can add a touch of fun and whimsy to your photos. Background props, such as a rustic chalkboard with a meaningful quote or a personalized mini marquee, add personality without overshadowing the focus of the picture — you!

Even just a change of shoes or a favorite accessory can liven things up. Are you both huge fans of the same sports team? Get a shot of the two of you in matching team swag. Maybe you’re the type who prefers cowgirl boots or Converse to heels. Include it in the photos.

While you may need the help of a friend or family member to act as zookeeper, there’s no reason to keep your furry best friend out of the fun. A well-behaved pet can help you make fun memories that will last a lifetime.

Awesome Bachelorette, Bride, and Bridesmaid Gifts

For those of us not magically blessed with the "awesome gift shopping" gene (trust us, it's a thing), coming up with a thoughtful, creative, and beautiful present for the bachelorette, bride, or bridesmaids in your life can be a painful exercise in Pinterest searching and cursing Amazon Prime for not being able to fix all problems like usual. To help alleviate your gifting woes, here are some of the best gifts we've seen this year:

1. Kate Spade bridesmaid bangle

2. Gigi NY customized clutch.

3. Goodie box with her favorite things (or a tote?). Include favorite foods, especially anything from hometowns, travel or wedding destination, or favorite bakeries, or things you'd normally have together. (The gift bag of Twizzlers and Diet Coke was perfect for our friend Erika's wedding, for example!) Other items to include can be customized sunglasses, framed photos, a tank top with a photo on it, ear buds (these are super cute), collapsible wine glasses (you can get these customized as well), and Stella & Dot customized jewelry.

4. Charms. One of favorite sets here.

5. Design a boardgame!  You can customize Monopoly and include inside jokes/photos!

Happy gifting!

Guest Post: DIY Bridal Makeup

Makeup ... we all try to pretend we don't really use it, but it's a critical part of wedding and pre-wedding prep. But if you're doing your own, here are tips from our friends at Trazee Travel to make sure you look great, not garish!

By Holly Godbey

With the cost of the average wedding creeping into the dozens upon dozens of thousands, many thrifty brides like to DIY as much of their wedding as possible, from centerpieces to invitations to favors. Brides with a few cosmetics skills and a willingness to invest in some high-quality products are also able to DIY their bridal makeup for the big day with fantastic results. If you find yourself bravely considering doing your own day-of makeup, remember these tips and tricks to make makeup the last worry on your mind.

Practice, practice, practice! The last thing that you want to do is wait until the week before your wedding to try your hand at bridal makeup for the first time. Watch Youtube tutorials to learn the makeup style you’re after and then go crazy. No one learns to contour on their first attempt.

Use varying lighting. Once you have your style down, make sure to try it out in different lighting. Your face changes appearances in every single varying form of light — direct sunlight, shade, fluorescent bulbs, etc. You’ll find you’ll look different throughout the day if you do your makeup in the car versus in your bathroom versus by your bedroom window. Create your look dependent upon your venue’s lighting. If you’re unsure what the lighting will be like at your venue, go take a look around.

Use a setting powder. Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder sets your makeup in place to prevent caking, creasing and running. This powder works for all skin tones and greatly improves your makeup’s appearance in photos.

Invest in high-quality brushes and other tools. If you’re using cheap, worn or dirty brushes, you’re doing yourself and your face an injustice. You can find brushes that are great for your skin at any department store cosmetics counter or specialty cosmetics store, usually for a relatively affordable price of less than $50.

Don’t shy away from false lashes. Even if you’ve never tried them before, that doesn’t mean you can’t now! Throw some false lashes into one of your trial runs to see how they look. Particularly if you’re going for a more dramatic and bold theme, falsies can only enhance your appearance.

Take care of your skin. This may be the most important thing to remember! You want your skin to look just as great without makeup as it does with makeup. In the months leading up to your wedding, be sure to drink plenty of water; stop touching your face with germy, oil-covered hands; don’t pick or scratch at just any annoying little zit; and be sure to keep up with your daily skin routine.

How to Survive Engagement Season (Regardless of Your Relationship Status)

engagment.jpg

Engagement season is now underway in full force (FYI: Christmas -- one of the most popular days of the year for engagements). Whether you're one of the newly engaged or are as single as it's possible to be, the impact will swamp all of us in the next few months. So how does a girl navigate it with some measure of grace?

If You Just Got Engaged:

  • Enjoy yourself. And get a manicure ASAP if you didn't see this coming. But please ... keep the number of ring selfies on facebook and instagram to a reasonable number.
  • Be prepared for the deluge of congratulations - texts, emails, phone calls, and so on. You're going to get really good at telling your engagement story. Although everyone knows you're swamped, try to respond promptly and personally to messages, particularly those from family and close friends.
  • Also be prepared for mountains unsolicited advice and opinions about everything wedding related. Some of it will be helpful, some of it will be unhelpful or completely off base, some of it (such as requests from your future mother in law ) may need to be handled with a lot of care and tact. Just remember that (pretty much) all of this is coming from a place of love (hopefully). If not, assume that everyone is well-intentioned anyway. Convincing yourself of this will make it a lot easier to ignore the more egregious comments.
  • On this note: have a united front with your finance. Agree that neither of you will sign up for something important (like, say, doubling the wedding budget) without discussing it first.
  • And ... trust us. As much as your best friends think you're the best, almost no one is hurt by not being named a bridesmaid. (Family may require more delicate handling!) Let anyone who might have been expecting it down gently, but don't feel guilty and expand anything beyond what you're comfortable with.

If All Your Friends Are Getting Engaged:

  • We know. Your fingers are tired from texting and typing "Congrats!!!!!!!!!! So excited for you!!!!!" You haven't done any of your holiday shopping. You're possibly more than a little tired from the eighteen or so parties you've attended in the past month. But even if this is the eighth engagement this week, send the text, pick up the phone, and sound just as excited as you did for the first.
  • ... and then, after you've registered your enthusiasm, keep your mouth shut unless your opinion is really required or directly solicited. You think that the venue is awful, the ring is heinous, and the invitations uninspiring? Not your wedding, your life, or place to comment. The bride-to-be already has far too many people telling her what she should be doing. As her friend, make her life easier, not harder. Only when things impact you (or are hugely important in some other way) should you say something (like a bridesmaid dress that is light years out of your price range), and even then - be thoughtful about how you bring it up.
  • It's okay to set boundaries and limits with your engaged friend. You are not a wedding planner (probably). Nor are you a DIY expert, cake baker, chauffeur, personal stylist or marriage / pre-marriage counselor. Unless, of course, you actually are and want to take on those roles for your friend's wedding. Otherwise, do not feel guilty about politely saying no to requests that are far outside of your capabilities or time constraints.

Anything we've missed? Thorny questions we didn't tackle? Let us know in the comments.

 

 

Friday Finds: DIY, Why to Say Yes to (Pretty Much) Everything, & more T. Swift

Lots of news: we got interviewed on our travel tips and tricks AND guest blogged on Bridesmaid for Hire about our tips for planning a great bachelorette. We're also posting new itineraries (Sonoma's up!) and there are many more updates on weekend trips coming soon (Nashville, Maryland's Eastern Shore, and NYC all on the docket).

And in between all that activity, we obviously found cool stuff for you:

Happy Friday!

 

Who to Invite: Bachelorette Guest List Tips

 Image courtesy of   American Greetings.

Image courtesy of American Greetings.

Who gets invite to the bachelorette? It can be a tricky topic, although (likely) less loaded than decisions around bridesmaids and whether Great Aunt Sue is invited to the wedding. Still, we have a couple rules of thumb to simplify your decision-making process:

  • Start with your bridesmaids. If possible, you schedule the bachelorette  around them. You can (and should) skip inviting bridesmaids who would be too young to enjoy whatever your maid of honor plans, although including them in the pre-wedding festivities in some way will make them feel like a grown-up (so, say, have them along to a tame bridesmaid and friends dinner).
  • Add in your 4am friends who aren't bridesmaids. These friends are easy to identify: If you needed to for some reason, would you call her (or him) at 4am? If not, why are you thinking of inviting them? (And have a co-ed bachelorette if you want -- just be ready for more logistics and asking your maid of honor for a little more creativity.)
  • Choose family (and future family) selectively. You don't have to invite your distant cousins or fiance's sisters or cousins (unless they are bridesmaids), but make sure you won't create a blow-up if they aren't invited. Be prepared with some other event you could do with them to avoid fall-out.

At this point, you should have a decent list. Then ask yourself two questions:

  • Are they invited to the wedding? Unless you're having a tiny, family-only or destination wedding, it's awkward to invite someone to your bachelorette who wouldn't come to your wedding. (However, if your wedding will be truly tiny, this can be a good way to celebrate with those who won't be able to come.)
  • Would they have fun with the type of event that's being planned or are you willing to tailor it to them? Older and younger relatives and friends are more likely to enjoy a bridal shower or spa day than a raging party.

The most important thing: having the people you care the most about.