Tuesday, May 24, 2016

WEDDING NOTES™ - Bridesmaids Do What?

Brides to be frequently ask us what exactly do bridesmaids do other than appear in the wedding party?

The answer is - they support you throughout the planning and are there on the big day.  Having said that, exactly what does "support" mean?  Know that it means different things to different folks.

If you are planning a big wedding there are tons of details to cover and decisions to be made.  The input of good friends can make many of those decisions easier.  Presumably, the friends and relatives you've asked to be a member of your wedding party, are people that care for you and are willing to help with plans and events.  It is wise to be clear about your expectations up front so that there are no surprises.

Let attendants know about your expectations.  Give them the dates, the list of activities that are likely to occur.  Let them know when you plan to gather the group for gown selections.  You may wish to seek their input on gown choices/ colors.  Be sure to let them know what you are thinking in terms of degree of formality and silhouettes or looks.

The maid of honor is usually the "go to" person for the bride and the rest of the attendants.  She should coordinate dress fittings, attend or host all pre wedding events and help with any DIY projects.  Some brides ask attendants to help with addressing and stuffing wedding invitations. The day of - she is one who helps the bride to dress, takes care of the emergency kit and gathers other attendants for photos.  She may ask other bridesmaids to assume some of those duties or run last minute errands. 

Many brides are reluctant to ask attendants for help with wedding planning details.  If that is the case, consider hiring a wedding coordinator for day-of events or a certified wedding planner for help with the entire wedding itself.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

WEDDING NOTES™ - Social Media Use and Your Wedding

The newest challenge to your wedding planning efforts is the pervasive use of social media.  Brides to be are at both ends of the continuum.  Some brides want to limit their wedding news to a closely selected Facebook list, while others seek out the widest possible distribution of every minute detail of their upcoming nuptials and end up blogging, Twittering, and emailing the world.

Here are some thoughts about how to use the best of social media as part of your wedding planning.

  • ·         Its best feature is the ease with which you can gather information about vendors, search out ideas you may wish to incorporate into your plans and share pertinent information with friends and family members.  But before you type one word, be sure that your privacy settings are right.  Check them frequently since system upgrades can inadvertently reset them.

  • ·         Consider establishing your own wedding website.  It can be a terrific way to share wedding news and specific plans with a controlled distribution.

  • ·         You can use Pinterest to collect great ideas you may wish to incorporate into your wedding plans.

  • ·         Be thoughtful and careful about what you post and say.  Best rule:  Don't put anything out there that you wouldn't want your mom to see.  Hackers, "frenemies" and thieves can troll the net and wreak havoc with a site that shares more than you should.

  • ·         Remember that not everyone is equally immersed in every detail of your wedding plans.  In fact, some people who read your posts may not be invited to the wedding.  Hurt feelings are likely.

  • ·         Even folks who are invited to the wedding and who plan to attend can get tired of continual posts.  And think about it - if you share every little detail with every person out there, where is the WOW factor for your special day?

  • ·         Under no circumstances - don't even think about sending your wedding invitations out via social media.  Some things just don't work.  Your wedding invitation should match the tone and style of your wedding and that is best done with a proper mailed invitation.  Remember that not everyone is "on" social media.

  • ·         Give some thought to how you hope your guests at the wedding will behave.  With the proliferation of IPhone social media will be a part of your wedding.  One can only hope that a friend doesn't  stand up to get a better shot of your dress as you come down the aisle or post an unflattering  shot of you as you get dressed.  Decide in advance how you and your fiancĂ© want to handle guests with phones and set some guidelines you'd like those guests to follow.  Some couples have signs at the entrance to the church or ceremony site requesting "no photographs".  Some even have ushers collect phones to be returned after the ceremony.  You'll need to decide how you wish to handle this new wrinkle in your wedding celebration.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

WEDDING NOTES™ - Engaged to Party

Once you have announced your engagement get ready to party!  An impending wedding is the focal point for plenty of celebrations.  Here is the who, the what and the why of parties with you two as the honored guests.
  • ·         The Engagement Party -Usually hosted by the bride's parents but can and frequently does feature both sets of parents celebrating the event.  Who comes?  Guest list normally includes close friends and relatives of both the bride and groom.  Yours can be formal or informal.  It can be dinner, a picnic, a brunch or a barbeque.  The point is to celebrate your engagement.
  • ·         The Bridal Shower - usually hosted by the maid of honor, bridesmaids or female family members.  The guest list should include all female members of the bridal party, both sets of mothers and close relatives.  If it is a couples shower, it includes men in the bridal party and close friends of the couple.  If it looks like you might have multiple showers, take it easy on the members of your wedding party and remind them that a gift at every shower is not necessary - their presence is gift enough.
  • ·         The Bachelorette Party - generally hosted by the maid of honor and includes female members of the wedding party, close friends and mothers if they choose to attend.
  • ·         The Bridal luncheon - generally hosted by the bride or her family.  Guests are female members of the wedding party.  This is an opportunity to thank them for being a part of your big day. Itmay be luncheon or brunch and many brides follow it with a Spa Day.  That can be expensive so don't consider it mandatory.  Many brides choose to distribute gifts to their attendants at this luncheon rather than the rehearsal dinner.
  • ·         The Rehearsal Dinner - traditionally hosted by the groom's family although both families may host.  Guest list should include anyone in the wedding party, including readers, ushers and soloists.  If you have out of town guests, you may wish to include them if the budget can handle it.
  • ·         The Post-Wedding Brunch - can be hosted by either family or both or the bridal couple themselves.  Invited are bridal party members, parents and out of town guests.  It is a chance to say goodbye and thank you for coming to our wedding celebration.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

WEDDING NOTES™ - What Favors?

People have come to your wedding to help you celebrate this important day and you want to find a way to say thank you for being with us today.  How best to say that thanks?  Most couples choose a little something special as a gift that thanks them for their presence.  Are favors necessary?  No.  Are they nice?  Yes.  Only you can decide if the wedding budget can cover them.  Here are some ideas.

*Edibles - Most appreciated are favors guests can eat either at the reception or take home with them.  Chocolates are the number one choice - Godiva specialties, truffles, chocolate dipped pretzels, nuts and fruits.  Some offer frosted cookies wrapped in tulle or stacked in gift boxes and other brides have given small wine bottles with personalized labels.

*Living Things - Potted plants and seedlings make great gifts as do potted herb plants.  Flower seed packets are popular as are mini bamboo plants.

*Keepsakes - Brides have chosen candles and candle holders in colors from the wedding, glass potpourri bowls with scent packages, silver picture frames (look in craft stores for good buys), books of poetry or quotes, bookmarks that bear your couple's photo and wedding date.

*CD Mixes of your favorite tunes.

*Christmas Ornaments with the date and your names.

*Personal pampering items like hand creams, body lotions and other spa-type goodies.

*For themed weddings, give favors that reflect that theme - mugs with hot chocolate mix inside for winter weddings, sunscreen for summer beach weddings.

Whatever you decide, be sure to attach a preprinted thank you note to each favor signed with your names.

Some couples prefer to place the favors at each table, but others arrange the favors on a special table near the exit for the guests to take as they leave.  Some turn them into the centerpiece at each table by grouping them in a special basket or container.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

WEDDING NOTES™ - The Invitation Package

At one time the best wedding invitations were engraved fonts in black ink on ivory or white velum.  For the adventuresome, the bride could choose paneled or plain paper stock.  Traditional, elegant, understated.  Compare that to the riot of colors, print styles, papers, trims, formats and content variables available to brides and grooms in today's invitation package.  It's amazing, it's fun, it's personal and if you let it, it's also expensive.

Collecting invitation packages has become fascinating and I thank those consultants who send me samples of some of their favorite examples.  They have been a part of the move to the new traditional for a long time advocate of paneled ivory velum with engraved script.  Keep them coming.

One of my favorites is a 5x7 bright red tri fold booklet that features the invitation centered with a wide range of print sizes and styles - an elaborate monogram of the new couple, and the right flap a folder with tri stacked information sheets on thick stock titled - Eat, Drink, Celebrate (reception information), Where to Stay (details for out of town guests and Getting There - elaborate driving instructions and maps.  Folders were inserted in matching envelopes.  Gorgeous and memorable.

I have an 8 X10 package for a wedding of a couple purchased and printed in India with red paper stock, and gold trim and ink.  Elaborate and elegant and part of my collection.

The new guidelines say "Wedding invitations are about a celebration" so why not have fun with them.  Let them show your personalities and who you are as a couple as well as the "when and where" details of your wedding.  Be creative in the shape of your invitations, the paper texture/color, ink colors, the size or how they are assembled.  Create a book with several pages, bound, including an opening page to announce your upcoming wedding, a page for the ceremony location and time, a page for the reception location and time, a page with special details and a page with a personal note from you to your guests.

You might also want to include a page with your picture as a couple and the story of how you met.  It's a great addition if many of your guests haven't had a chance to meet your groom to be.

The invitation has always been an indicator of the tone of the wedding it is announcing.  Today's bride have many more options available to help create the atmosphere they wish.