For generations, brides and grooms have elected not to see one another on the morning of their wedding. Even as couples started living together before marriage, they held fast to this custom, and stay in separate locations the night before the wedding. Today, however, a lot more couples are doing a “first look” pre-ceremony. Find out if it might be right for you to see your fiance on the morning of your wedding.
There is still something to be said for that first moment when the groom sees his bride appear at the end of the aisle in her wedding dress and bridal jewelry to begin walking to him. Even if he went to the bridal salon to help her pick out the wedding dress, that grand reveal is always a big moment. I don’t think there is any question that it will be diminished if the bride and groom have already seen each other in their wedding attire. That said, the first time the groom sees his soon-to-be-wife as a real bride, glowing in a beautiful gown and pearl bridal jewelry is always special, even if it takes place before the ceremony. It’s a good idea to have your photographer there to capture the look on the groom’s face at that moment. That’s why they call it “first look” photography, after all.
There are other options between the first look and not seeing each other at all. I recently saw some beautiful photos of a couple who decided to speak to each other before their ceremony, but not see each other. They stood on either side of an open door, and held hands while they exchanged a few private words before heading to the ceremony. I thought this was really touching and beautiful. As long as you are sure that your groom would not peek, it could be a great idea. For some couples, this could really help to ease the pre-wedding jitters right before heading to the altar.
Certainly, sticking with tradition is never a bad idea either. If you are sure you do not want to see each other at all on the morning of your wedding, you and your fiance might wish to send letters to each other to open on that morning. It would be a beautiful way to let your fiance know you are thinking of him and looking forward to becoming his wife on that day.
The general trend in society these days is “less is more”, but that doesn’t stop some brides from wanting to have a lavish wedding with all of the trimmings. With conspicuous consumption being a bit less acceptable, some brides even find that people they know give them a hard time for spending a lot of money to plan an event for just one day. This begs the question: Is it okay to have a luxury wedding?
There are certain cases in which it is definitely not a good idea to plan a luxury wedding. If you cannot afford to pay for it without going deep into debt, a lavish affair is a very bad idea. It is an equally bad idea if a grand wedding would cause your parents to go into debt. It’s not fair to ask your family to spend more than they can afford, even if you know they would willingly do it. However, if you can afford it, and big weddings are common in your circle, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having whatever kind of wedding you want!
It is important that you are sensitive to the finances of others when planning a lavish wedding. For instance, you might be perfectly happy to spend whatever it takes to get the perfect wedding gown, but that doesn’t mean that your bridesmaids will be willing to spend whatever it takes to get the perfect bridesmaid dress and bridesmaid jewelry! Even if they can afford a designer dress, it doesn’t mean that they want to spend $800 on something they will never wear again. Be considerate when picking out bridesmaid dresses, and ask your friends what they would be comfortable spending. You can help out by giving them bridesmaid jewelry sets, shoes, and their hair appointments as gifts.
Tasteful elegance is a good thing to keep in mind when planning a lavish wedding. If you have the budget, by all means go ahead and order the finest French Champagne and buy a second wedding gown for the reception. Just don’t buy a third or fourth dress for the same event, because that would cross the line beyond the boundaries of good taste! There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to treat your guests to the best quality in food, drink, decorations, and entertainment, as long as it is all done with class.
Everybody knows that Saturday is the most popular day of the week for weddings, but that doesn’t mean that it is the only option. Friday weddings are more popular than ever, and they can have several important advantages. Get prepared with these wedding planning ideas for Friday weddings.
The most important thing to do before booking a Friday wedding is to make sure that your immediate family will be able to make it. Chances are that they can make arrangements to take the day off of work with sufficient advance notice, but of course you will want to be certain of that. Remember to check in with the groom’s side of the family as well. As for your extended circle of family and friends, you should plan to send out a save the date notice about six months before your wedding. That is plenty of time to let people make any necessary special arrangements to attend your Friday nuptials.
One of the best reasons to opt for a Friday wedding is to save money. In most cities and towns, couples can save anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars by having their event on Friday instead of Saturday. When you are on a tight budget, that can make a huge difference! If you really want to see your savings multiply, consider a Friday during the wedding off season, like mid-January. Vendors and venues will be so happy to have your business that you will be in a strong position to negotiate the best possible prices. You are likely to save on site fees, photography costs, entertainment, and maybe even the catering and flowers.
Carefully consider the time of day for your Friday nuptials. An evening wedding can make a lot of sense, as it will allow local guests to come after work. You have to make sure that you schedule things so that they get a chance to eat dinner, though. So you could either have a 5 o’clock ceremony followed by dinner (with the assumption that guests will leave work a bit early) or plan a night ceremony that starts at 7:30 or 8pm, so guests can grab a quick dinner before they come. One of my favorite wedding planning ideas is to start the ceremony at 8pm, and then follow it by either a cocktail reception or a fabulous dessert reception. Consider unique venues like wine bars and art galleries for an evening wedding. And definitely choose a very chic wedding gown to wear with custom bridal jewelry that is sophisticated and stylish.
Working in a bridal salon, I witnessed more than one broken engagement. Happily, I also saw a few reconciliations. The best wedding planning advice in those situations is that if the marriage is meant to be, you will work out your differences and re-kindle your romance. If that does not happen, just be glad that you broke up before tying the knot. Better a broken engagement than a divorce or a bad marriage.
The couples who renewed their engagements were typically those who broke up because one of them was not quite ready to commit to marriage. They were often younger people, perhaps engaged just out of college. It is easy enough to get swept up in the excitement of bridal jewelry, wedding gowns, and love and then start to get cold feet as the actual wedding day draws near. Sometimes it is very helpful to back off and gain some perspective on the situation. You might even realize that the relationship is indeed the right one for you, just that things needed to progress a little more slowly. That is a situation where giving a broken engagement a second chance can be a good idea after some time has passed.
There are other relationships that should not be renewed. If you broke off your engagement because your fiance was cheating on you, it is best to make a clean break and move on. There is no point in taking back someone who is not trustworthy, and in doing so you might be sending the message that he can treat you badly and get away with it. Definitely not a good thing for a relationship! Other engagements are broken because the man starts to realize that his fiancee is more interested in the trappings of a wedding like fancy gowns and sparkly bridal jewelry than in being married to him. This again is a sign that the engagement should not be renewed.
Not everything is so clear cut when it comes to relationships. Sometimes a man and a woman are just very different people. They might love each other passionately, but also have a lot of conflict caused by their differences. If you broke up during an argument over something silly, there is a possibility that the relationship can be salvaged. The real thing to decide is if you are happier with the other person, despite your differences, or happier and more relaxed away from him or her. Distance and time will help you figure this out. Ultimately, only the pair of you can decide when it is right to give your broken engagement a second chance, and when it is best to go your separate ways.
A lot of couples like that having a theme gives them direction in wedding planning. It can be a lot simpler to sort through all of the choices out there when you have narrowed things down somewhat. If you know you want an autumn harvest wedding, for instance, you will know to look at flowers in shades of red, orange, and yellow. If you have decided to have a snowflake theme winter wedding, it makes it easy to decide between the crystal snowflake bridesmaid jewelry and the pearl bracelets. So a theme can be great for streamlining your planning process.
On the other hand, you can also drive yourself crazy by being too faithful to a theme. Many a bride has stayed up searching the Internet for the perfect star and moon votive holders for a Starry Night theme reception. Sometimes brides cast aside very nice things in favor of less attractive options simply because they fit with their wedding motif. And there is the very real danger of going overboard on a theme to the point of overblown kitsch. It is not necessary to cover every part of your wedding with hearts or starfish or whatever your motif happens to be. A theme is best when it is used for setting a tone or to help certain elements “pop”, rather than as a wallpaper that covers everything.
Sometimes a specific theme is unnecessary to planning a beautiful wedding. A lot of brides will not have a true theme like “beach” or “Winter Wonderland”, but instead will define a style that they like. It could be something like simple elegance, urban chic, or classic romance. Or you might just choose your favorite color palette and let that be the unifying factor behind your wedding planning. If you know you love the way purple and green look together, you can pick out pretty lilac bridesmaid dresses and flowers in shades of plum, lilac, and lavender. Mix in a few lime green accents for a nice shot of contrasting color, and you will have a wedding that is fresh and coordinated, but not overdone.
Of course, a lack of wedding theme can also mean a lack of direction. Some weddings just have no specific style, and that can be a real downer. It is not enough to just choose whatever flowers, attire, and music you like; the elements have to make sense together. A formal satin gown with cz bridal jewelry would just look strange with a gerbera daisy and sunflower bouquet, for example. With no sense of direction, a wedding can lack cohesion.
A little wedding can be done in any style. If your taste is a lace dress and classic pearl bridal jewelry, you need a classic venue. A private dining room in a country club or other private club would be ideal. You will have the tasteful setting that is in line with your sense of style, but the space will be small enough to accommodate a tiny guest list. It is important that the room be small enough that it doesn’t feel empty, yet spacious enough that people can walk around and mingle. If you want to have dancing, find out if the private dining room can accommodate musicians.
For a chic reception with a smallish guest list, a wine bar would be fantastic. It is a very sophisticated setting, perfect for an evening reception. Host a late reception so that you do not have to serve a full meal. A nice selection of tapas, cheeses, fruits, and other small bites will be a wonderful accompaniment to the wine. Give wine charms as the wedding favors so people can slip them on their glasses and use them at the reception. A French croquemboche would be a stylish alternative to a traditional tiered wedding cake.
If you and your fiance are art lovers, a small gallery is a fun wedding venue idea. With the art providing the décor, you will only need to bring in minimal decorations. The groom can wear a dark suit, and the bride a fashion-forward wedding dress with unique bridal jewelry. Ideally, you can find a gallery that has experience hosting events, since it can be trickier to organize a party in a place that has never hosted one before. Be sure to ask questions about kitchen facilities and access to the space for set up so you do not encounter any glitches on your wedding day. And for the wedding cake design, how about one inspired by your favorite work of art?
Finally, if your guest list is quite small (like under 30), you might just have the party in your own home. While planning a large tented home wedding is a massive and expensive undertaking, throwing what is essentially a very big dinner party can be quite manageable. You should still hire a caterer so you don’t have to spend your wedding day working in the kitchen, but beyond that the costs will be minimal. Play your favorite music on your iPod, get some nice bottles of wine, and bring in a pretty cake from your favorite bakery. It will be a lovely little party, and a terrific way to celebrate your new marriage.
Brides often get so overwhelmed with wedding advice that they feel pressure to do everything right away. But it is important to sort out the top priorities from the smaller stuff. You can’t do everything at once, so there is no point getting bogged down in the less urgent tasks until you have done all of the big stuff first. For example, it is important to book your florist fairly early on, but you do not need to nail down the exact design of the centerpieces or figure out what color flowers you want for your bridesmaid bouquets.
Speaking of bridesmaids, they can wait a while too. Many brides rush out and ask friends to be in their bridal party in the initial excitement of becoming engaged. Then the wedding draws closer and they start to realize that they may have made a mistake. Take the time to think it through. Let’s say you plan to have a year long engagement; if you waited three months and asked your bridesmaids about nine months before the wedding day, that would be plenty of advance notice. Picking out bridesmaid dresses and bridesmaid jewelry is also something that you should wait a while on, so you don’t need to have your wedding party set in stone immediately after you become engaged.
Very organized brides might think it is a good idea to get the marriage license as soon as possible. It is certainly a critical thing to have on your wedding day, but don’t dash off to the courthouse just yet. Every state has different laws about how long a marriage license is valid. It can vary considerably, from 60 days in one state to a year in another. That is not to say you should wait until the day before your nuptials to get the license, though, because some states have a waiting period before you can tie the knot. So before you get your marriage license, carefully check the laws of your state so you get the timing right.
Another thing to push down your checklist is buying the wedding favors. If you are buying edible favors, wait until the last month so you won’t be giving out stale treats. Brides who plan to make their own favors might want a little longer lead time, but the favors still can be left until after all the big stuff has been done. Besides, do you really want to have to store two hundred favors in your house for six months? Leave the favors until later.
One of the first questions which arises when a couple is playing host to their own wedding is how to word the invitations. While there is certainly nothing wrong with using the traditional format with the bride’s parents’ names at the top, the most proper way is to list no host names. So the wording would be: “The pleasure of your company / is requested / at the marriage of / Miss Cynthia Jane Riley / to / Mr. Todd James Richards, etc…”. One of the really nice things about this third person wedding invitation format is that it eliminates the complications of blended families, remarried parents, and all the drama that can arise from figuring out how to list everyone on the invitation.
Another key bit of wedding planning advice for the couple who is hosting their own wedding is not to solicit opinions if you do not want to hear the answers. A lot of brides relish the freedom that comes with planning their own wedding without their mother holding the pursestrings and therefore the control. While it is certainly sweet to include your mom in your wedding in some way, do not ask for her opinion on the flowers, your wedding dress, the bridesmaid jewelry, and the wedding band if you think you won’t like her answers. You are not really doing her a service to ask for her opinion if you know that you are likely to go a different route anyway. Enjoy the freedom that comes with paying your own way, and don’t sabotage it by setting yourself up for conflict with your mother!
Sometimes brides wonder if certain wedding customs are appropriate to include when they are hosting their own wedding. For instance, is it still okay for the father of the bride to escort her down the aisle and “give her away” when he is not hosting the event? Absolutely! If you want to walk with your dad, you should. And if you prefer to walk alone or even arm-in-arm with your fiance, that is your prerogative too. As for the father-daughter dance at the reception, by all means keep that charming custom. No matter who is buying the bouquets and bridal jewelry, he is still your dad, after all!
Ah, the mother of the bride. She has a big job in helping her daughter to plan her wedding, find the perfect bridal gown, stay on budget, and keep her sanity. Thank your mom for all she does for you with a beautiful mother of the bride gift.
For a lot of mothers of the bride, finding a beautiful dress to wear to the wedding is very challenging. The options tend to be far less plentiful than they are for the bride, and it can be hard for the bride’s mom to find something that works well with the style of the wedding, suits her figure, and fits her budget. Help your mom feel more beautiful by treating her to some special wedding jewelry to wear with her dress. Think about how touched she will be if you go to the trouble to order custom wedding jewelry made especially to complement her dress.
If you are the type of bride who loves making things, a lovely gift idea is to handcraft a photo album for your mom. It is easy enough to do and it really looks impressive. Get a plain photo album, one or two fabrics, a hot glue gun, some batting, and a pretty piece of ribbon trim to create a one-of-a-kind present. What will really make the beautiful album extra special for your mom is filling it with pictures of the two of you together over the years. This is a fantastic gift idea for a sentimental mom.
Another beautiful mother of the bride gift idea is a glamorous handbag. You could treat her to a unique beaded vintage evening bag, a contemporary crystal covered clutch, or stunning silk baguette shape bag. You could also choose to give her a great everyday handbag, perhaps a fabulous designer bag that she would not normally splurge on for herself. After all, with all the money your parents are spending on your wedding, your mother probably isn’t doing a lot of shopping for herself these days.
In all of the excitement of planning a wedding, be sure that you remember to stop and acknowledge the special people who are a part of it, especially your mother. Your mom does so much for you, it is a nice gesture to do something kind for her in return.
Pro: A Wedding at Home Is Personal and Unique. What place could mean more to you than the one where you live or where you grew up? Imagine yourself putting on your wedding gown and pearl bridal jewelry in your childhood bedroom and then having your father escort you down the aisle. If you are getting misty eyed just thinking about it, a home wedding could be perfect for you.
Con: A Wedding at Home Is Expensive. People often assume that getting married in their own backyard will be less costly than having a reception at a country club or a hotel, but rarely is that the case. While traditional wedding venues include a lot of your needs (tables, chairs, linens, dishes, etc.), when you have a reception at home, you have to rent every last thing you need, right down to spoons and salt shakers. And don’t forget the generators for the caterer and the band, the tent, the dance floor, and the portable restrooms.
Pro: Any Date You Want Will Be Available. One of the great things about having your wedding on your own property is that you know that any date you want is available. You won’t be competing with half the brides in town to book the third Saturday in June at a popular reception site. And just think of all the time you will save inspecting different venues and trying to find one that you like.
Con: You Will Have to Deal With Permits and Ordinances. Do you know if your town has a noise ordinance? You had better find out, unless you want the police to show up at your door to pull the plug on your d.j. at 10:02 pm. Large gatherings may also require special permits from your town, and there will certainly be regulations about parking. It is a really good idea to hire a wedding planner to make sure that you do not overlook any of the legal stuff involved in planning a home wedding.
Pro: You Will Not Be Limited By an Approved Vendor List. Did you know that a lot of wedding venues maintain lists of vendors from whom brides have to choose? If you chafe at the idea of being limited to the choices on an approved vendor list, you will enjoy the freedom of getting to pick whatever caterer, band, photographer, florist, and baker that you like.
Con: No Guidance on Wedding Vendors. On the one hand, the restrictions of an approved vendor list can be a pain, but on the other hand, it can be overwhelming to find all of the professionals you need with no guidance. A good place to begin is by asking for referrals from local businesses that work with a lot of brides. The chances are that your bridal salon or the specialty bridal jewelry shop will know which caterers or florist their brides have loved working with.
While planning a home wedding is definitely extra work, most brides who do it say that it was worth every bit of effort they put into it. As they say, there’s no place like home.