My wedding day was magical (and yours will be too)

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First dance with my new husband!

This time last year I was deep in the throes of wedding planning. I remember being excited, but also a little stressed and worried.

Number one, weddings are expensive. All of the pretty things, even when you are trying to DIY, can add up quickly on the budget.

And then there is the added stress of everyone telling you not to stress.

“The most important thing is that you are marrying the love of your life. Nothing else really matters,” they will tell you. They are correct. BUT, it doesn’t mean you don’t want the day to be perfect.

If all that *really* mattered was just having the paper saying you are

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All my wedding pictures, even those taken by friends on their smartphones make me so happy to look at it!

married, you would likely just go to the Justice of the Peace, which is also totally fine and will likely be magical for you anyway.

But, if you are planning a regular wedding, and by regular I mean the white dress, cake etc., you really do want it to be magical and amazing and special.

And here is the secret, it will be. And here is the other secret, you will still probably stress out at some point during the planning process.

I had a pretty good meltdown about a week before the wedding. I cried and cursed. Pretty sure I let the F word fly in front of my dad, which is definitely not something I usually do. I blabbered to my fiance that it was all a mistake and we should have just gone to the Justice of the Peace.

But guess what, I think I needed that emotional release and once it was out of my system I was good.

So, the bottom line is this. If you’re in the wedding planning process right now, just take it easy. Ask for help when you need it. Don’t be stressed, but if you do stress, just take it one day and one project at at time.

It is very possible that *something* may go wrong on your wedding day. In our case, my husband’s brother who was supposed to be a groomsman couldn’t come, but luckily his cousin was able to step into the role.

Whatever minor thing may or may not happen, the bottom line really is that you are marrying the love of your life and it will all seem magical once it’s happening. It will all seem magical when you look back at the pictures too.

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I also recommend taking lots of pictures throughout the process, like when trying on wedding dresses. Even though I didn’t pick this dress, it makes me happy to look back at these memories of the wedding planning process.

 

I’m still a new bride having only been married a little more than four-months now, but I’m still obsessed with my our wedding pictures. I can’t stop looking at them.

So new brides-to-be, just relax, you’re wedding will be magical!

 

 

Websites for the newly engaged

IMG_3541Christmas is the most popular time of the year to get engaged. I should know, as my husband proposed last year on Christmas Eve. The holiday season is so magical and it becomes even more special when your love pops the question.

So if you said “yes” this holiday season, here are a few of my favorite websites to get your started with the wedding planning process.

Before you delve into all these wonderful sites, however, I have an important piece of advice to share. The internet (and books and magazines in print) are full of literally millions of amazing wedding ideas. The bottom line, however, is that at the end of the day you need to choose things for your wedding that make you feel happy and are special for you and your future spouse.

Of course along with all these wonderful ideas can come lots of price tags. Don’t get too overwhelmed with all the wonderful ideas. Just find what is special for you and your wedding day is sure to be amazing!

 

Weddings Link Roundup

Here a few sites I used while wedding planning. Purchasing an actual wedding magazine was something I really planned to do, but with a scary budget already looking me in the eye, I couldn’t bring myself to shell out the $10 for the magazine.

The Knot is a good place to start. I will admit I found it a bit overwhelming though I did use it to make our wedding website.

The Broke Ass Bride is one of the cutest and most creative wedding websites I came across. I recommend the book and the website.

If you want to look at beautiful wedding pictures to start getting some ideas of what you want your wedding to look like, I recommend Style Me Pretty. 

If you’re style runs a little more to the eclectic, you’ll love The Rock and Roll Bride.

I also enjoyed The Wedding Bee. You can ask questions in the forum section and get real answers from other brides.

Getting help and advice from friends and family is really what made my wedding come together so beautifully, but the internet was a good place to start getting ideas.

Best of luck to all you new brides and grooms to be!

A bride’s confession about thank you cards

I have a bit of a confession to make in the wake of all the wedding excitement, and hopefully my confession will serve as some helpful advice for other newly engaged or married folks. My confession is in regard to thank you cards. Now, from a young age, my mamma instilled in me the importance of sending thank you cards.

While I think there are many traditions or protocols relating to weddings that can be ignored based on personal preference, sending thank you cards is definitely not one of those things. And when I say thank you card, this does not mean a text message, an email or a Facebook message. This means an actual handwritten, personalized, stamped, mailed, signed, sealed and delivered snail mail thank you card. I personally think handwritten thank you cards should still be sent for any gift you receive for any reason, but bridal shower, wedding and baby shower thank you cards are a definite must!

According to the Emily Post Institute, a couple should send out thank you cards no later than three months following the wedding. However, etiquette also indicates that should that deadline pass, the cards should still be sent no matter how late. Weddings are a busy, hectic time and settling back in following the honeymoon can be crazy too. I imagine people are understanding when it comes to receiving that thank you card several months after the fact.

Another part of traditional thank you card etiquette involves mentioning the specific gift received. At

the bridal shower one of my bridesmaids took copious notes on who gave what. We registered on a honeymoon site that conveniently tracked each monetary gift we received towards our trip and even had a handy downloadable spreadsheet which included the gift and address of the person who gave the gift. I digress again here to say that I highly recommend a honeymoon registry, especially for couples who have everything they need as far as housewares.

After the wedding and reception my new husband and I got into a limo, our heads buzzing with excitement (and some champagne) and headed off for our honeymoon. At this juncture we were handed a stack of cards from our wedding guests. In our excitement we tore open the cards. To our delight there was money in the cards. In our excitement we did not even think to take note of who gave what. So my confession is that I cannot be as specific as I would like in some of our wedding thank you cards. What we should have done is put each card back together with its enclosed gift and waited until we were at the hotel so we could make notes on each gift. So, brides and grooms, if you can contain your excitement when you get into your limo to head off for the honeymoon, try to remember to do that.

A popular new tradition when it comes to wedding thank yous is to take a cute picture of the newlyweds either at the wedding or on the honeymoon holding a sign that says thank you. We did not do this, but I think it’s a really cute way to say thank you. We did however have a photo card made with one picture from the wedding and two pictures from our honeymoon. This is particularly nice to send to any family members or friends who may not have already seen the 600 plus honeymoon photos on your Facebook page.

When it comes time to send out those thank yous, just parcel it out a few cards at a time if you don’t have time to sit down and write them all out at once. Some may be particular that the addresses should be handwritten also, but that’s one tradition I do ignore. I suggest printing address labels for the cards, which can save you a lot of time. You can really save time if you sit down as a couple and do them assembly line style with one person writing out the cards and the other labeling and stamping them. I love printing out labels on the Avery site. There are cute designs to choose from so the outside of your card still looks very personalized. I even printed return mailing address labels that included a tiny picture of me and my groom.

Be a Bridezilla

11227042_10103026074978308_1185687063457009172_nFrom the time I got engaged last Christmas I got tons of advice from friends, family, even strangers, and read lots of wedding planning advice on websites and books. Since doing the deed myself a few weeks ago I now feel equipped to share my own wedding planning advice for those of you who may be newly engaged.

1. Be a Bridezilla. My favorite piece of advice I got was from my matron of honor who told me to be a bridezilla. That’s right BE a bridezilla. She said no matter how polite and accommodating you are, at some point during the process someone will probably call you a bridezilla anyway so you might as well go ahead and embrace it. Obviously you don’t want to be so bossy and overbearing you alienate friends, family or your new spouse-to-be, but the bottom line is, it’s your wedding and you should do it your way!

2. Do it your way. There are many traditions and lots of etiquette associated with a wedding. You may feel pressured to do a certain thing because “it’s tradition.” The most important thing though is that at the end of the day you are married to the love of your life. I spent a lot of time worrying (cause it’s one of the things I do best) about what people were going to think about our wedding. Would they be offended that we didn’t hand address the invitations or send formal invitations with the fancy little onion skin paper thingy. Again, the bottom line is, that’s not what is important about your wedding. If formal invitations are important to you, go for it. If not, find a unique, creative and less expensive way to let friends and family know. We chose to do a single sheet simple invitation style without all the frou frou extra envelopes and such. We also opted to do a dessert-style reception instead of a full meal. The most important thing is to include special things that make the ceremony and reception feel unique and personal to you and represents your relationship.

3. Ask for help. Wedding planning, even if you are opting for a smaller event, is still a lot to do. If you have an extensive budget you may decide to hire a wedding planner to help. If you, like me, are on a tighter budget, don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for help. They are undoubtedly thrilled for you and will be happy to assist in any way they can. You never know what secret creative talents your friends may have. We got married in a wooden band shelter at a winery that was pretty plain, but my godmother turned it into a lovely wedding wonderland with white paper lanterns, beautiful ferns, some candles and flowers from the farmers market. It was unbelievably beautiful.
On a side note, one of the things I was told over and over when starting to plan for my wedding was that everyone would likely not send back their RSVP cards. We opted to include a stamp on our RSVP cards, but still did not receive them all back. Again, don’t be afraid to ask. If it’s getting close to your deadline and you haven’t heard back from folks, go ahead and give them a call and ask if they plan to attend.

4. Shop around. Again, if like me, you are on a tight budget, be sure to shop around for your wedding and decor items. The veil I had my heart set on at the bridal shop was $250, way out of my price range. I ended up finding an identical veil online for only $26. If you are crafty there are lots of neat do-it-yourself ideas for wedding decor. I also found a lot of beautiful things well within my budget on the site Etsy.com, which features individual sellers of handmade items. Another piece of advice I got early on was not to stress too much over centerpieces, people likely won’t remember them anyway. As our wedding was at a winery and our theme was peacock feathers, we had the simplest centerpieces of wine bottles with peacock feathers in them. Find something unique and simple that celebrates you as a couple or ties in with your venue for a neat, no-stress centerpiece.

5. As time goes by. Another thing I was told many times is that time at your wedding will fly by. You spend months and months planning and it all seems like a blur the day of the wedding. This was probably the most true thing I was told about a wedding. I was worried about feeling like we were having to wait forever once we got the venue, but that was not the case at all. Once I arrived, got into my dress, walked down the aisle, said “I do,” danced with my husband and my dad, ate a bite of cake and tossed my bouquet in the air — it felt like the blink of an eye.

You will undoubtedly have a wedding photographer and possibly a videographer and you will be so happy about those images and videos because it will give more time to relive the event in slow motion. Another great thing about getting married this day and age are smart phones. Most likely you will have friends taking pictures and videos on their phones and this is a great way to get a quick look back at the day before your official photographs are ready. Looking back at the pictures has been my favorite pastime since returning from my honeymoon.

To sum up my wedding advice, it is this: read all the articles you want, pin all the things on Pinterest, listen to what everyone has to say about weddings and at the end of the day, do what feels right for you and your future spouse and you will surely have a special day to remember for years to come.