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12 Wedding Traditions You Can Skip…And 5 You Should Keep (part 2)

This is the second part of a 2-part series

 

If you’ve been to many weddings, you’ll know there’s a certain ebb and flow to them and certain main elements you can rely on, mainly being that weddings have some type of ceremony with some type of celebration after. What those end up looking like is totally up to you and your personal style and taste.

I mentioned I am a traditionalist, to an extent. I love the formality of weddings, but I also love it when couples change up tradition to match their personal preference, taste and personality. What’s great about weddings being full of traditions, is that, by definition, means that they aren’t rules. You can basically do whatever you want. While there are some traditions that can totally be skipped or changed up, there are 5 that, in my opinion need to stay:

RELATED: 12 WEDDING TRADITIONS YOU CAN SKIP…AND 5 YOU SHOULD KEEP

Wedding Tradition: Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue

 

Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

What’s great about this tradition is that it’s vague enough that a bride can make it as obvious or as subtle as she wants. That’s why it’s a tradition I think should always be kept…more so than keeping a white dress. Why? Because fashion changes, times change, styles change. A dress is something that will be memorialized in photos and is one of the outwardly obvious indications of the bride’s personality so she should choose what she likes and what makes her comfortable and radiant.

This is such a time-honored tradition that I think any bride, no matter how traditional or off-beat will agree, is something she won’t be walking down the aisle without doing. The something new is almost always a wedding dress, so that can be ticked off a bride’s list right away. The something blue can be something subtle like blue shoes or blue stickers on the bottom of her shoes spelling out “I do” to something more obvious…maybe a blue dress or blue flowers or even blue hair!

Something borrowed can be absolutely anything and sometimes, can be combined with something old. For me, my old and borrowed item was a brooch my grandmother always wore which I had attached to my bouquet.

Wedding Tradition: Keeping the ceremony a ceremony

 

Back in the day, almost all wedding ceremonies took place in a house of worship. Now, more and more ceremonies are taking place outside or in non-secular locations. Either way, they are beautiful in their own right. However, every once in a while you hear about the couple that gets married under water, gets married while sky diving, or gets married doing some sort of non-traditional activity. While I do agree it’s your wedding and you can do what you want with it, it’s VERY, VERY important to not make light of the situation. A wedding is a sacred, special, meaningful day, and the ceremony itself is so life-changing that it needs the proper attention, formality, and dignity it (and your relationship) deserves. There are other times during the day you can express your love of diving, running or any other activity you enjoy, but the ceremony needs to be a ceremony…dignified and formal (however you define it).

Wedding Tradition: Mailing out paper invitations

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

I know couples are strapped for cash and sometimes, invitations can get expensive, so especially now, in this tech-based society, many couples are opting for paperless invitations. While I understand the financial aspect of it, and understand most people just throw them out afterward, it kind of goes back to my last point about keeping your ceremony formal and dignified. Now, does that mean you need to spend $10 a piece on invites? Heck no! You can print them yourself. What that does mean is seeing your wedding in the bigger picture. Are all your guests going to be able to navigate an e-vite? Are you going to want pictures of your invite? Are you going to want to keep some for framing?

Now, there are things you can do so save paper and money. Maybe send electronic Save the Dates, or have guests RSVP electronically to save money on postage, but sending a paper RSVP to grandma instead. You could even try sending post card invites and then include all pertinent information on your wedding website. Whatever you decide, sending an invitation sends a message to your guests that it is a special event.

RELATED: WHAT IS IT REALLY LIKE TO BE A DIY BRIDE?

Wedding Tradition: Hiring professional vendors

 

In this day in age, it’s very easy to say “I’m going to have a friend take our photos” or “I’m just going to play my iTunes playlist” or “I’m going to cook all my food,” and while that’s all well and good, you have to think about the end result, and what that all really means.

While it’s not really tradition, it is something you shouldn’t skimp out on. Is your Itunes play list going to give you the type of entertainment you want? Who’s going to announce you, or announce the speeches or announce the cake cutting or last dance? Are your friends’ photos going to capture every moment you want? Do you want your friend to work or have a good time? How long will it take to the photos back? Will they be edited? How are you going to get an album? Same with the food…are you going to cook or get married? You can’t really do both without having to work on your wedding day. Who’s going to set up?

So, that’s why the professionals are there, to help you enjoy your day and make it everything you dreamed of.

Wedding Tradition: Honoring those who have passed

 

At most weddings, there is either something said about those who couldn’t be there physically with you, something written about them, a candle symbolizing your loved ones or even a table with photos of your loved ones. However you want to recognize your loved ones is up to you, but it’s a tradition that needs to be kept. Remember, your wedding is about two families coming together, sharing love, and honoring your loved ones reminds everyone of their love for you and how their loved shaped you into who you are today.

What wedding traditions would you keep? Would you trade one of these for another tradition? What traditions are you keeping in your wedding? We’d love to know.

Featured Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

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Featured Couple: Kristen & AJ

Their Love Story…

 

“We found love in a hopeless place … and, yes, that was the song that we walked into as we were introduced,” says Kristen. “That has been our ‘theme song’ since we started dating.  We used to work together at a bank … dating someone you were working with was frowned upon!  So needless to say we kept it a secret for a long time … to the point when people ask us how long we have been together we really don’t have a solid answer.” Hiding their relationship was no easy feat because even out in public, Kristen was afraid someone from work would see them.

 

“AJ eventually switched locations and we were no longer at the same branch … so one night when we were out, we texted our boss and came clean! Felt so much better!” Soon after they came clean to their boss, AJ surprised Kristen with Broadway tickets to see Mary Poppins, which was Kristen’s favorite movie as a kid. “That’s when he made it official that we were dating, so if we need a date that we started dating we use January 28, 2012!  We were honestly friends first … and the rest is history! We wouldn’t change a thing!”

 

The Proposal…

 

Photo from bride’s personal collection

“His proposal was perfect!” says Kristen. “It was our official 3-year dating anniversary.  AJ got up in the morning before me and had breakfast on the table with flowers by the time I got up. We ate breakfast, got ready and both headed to work.  It was a normal day.” The day progressed as usual — a trip home during lunch to grab her food and walk their dog, Tex. Toward the end of the day, AJ started texting Kristen wanting to know when she was coming home. She texted him and when she got home and was in for quite a surprise.

 

“I opened the screen door to the house to a Post-It above the lock, with the following: ‘Hey, baby! Welcome home … may want to have your camera out … card first … Tex is fine (upstairs) … Happy Anniversary!!!’ ” When Kristen opened the door, she found flowers on the table, presents next to the flowers, rose petals and candles everywhere, and ‘We Found Love’ playing in the background.”

 

“There were more instructions in the card in regards to the presents.  I decided to skip the presents and go find him. … Our bedroom door was closed with rose petals leading to it, the word ‘Love’ spelled out on the door, and I finally picked up on what was happening!” says Kristen. “I opened our bedroom door to more candles and petals, and there he was.  He started to talk to me. … I started to cry but held it together!  He got down on one knee, opened the box, I lost my breath, and he said those four words every girl wants to hear.  And bam, we were engaged.”

 

Wedding Theme…

 

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

“Our theme was all about us!” says Kristen. “I love the bling, but it was a simple, elegant bling.  Everything that we had that night in the Grandview had a meaning behind it!” For example, each table centerpiece had three vases on them which has significant meaning. “The most important part of that is that there were three on every table, three for love!  It was always something my grandparents and parents always said to each other and to us, and it was something we wanted to incorporate into our special day.”

 

Why the Hudson Valley?

 

Kristen says “Hudson Valley is home … and we simply fell in love with the Grandview. Couples panic about their venue; I panicked because we only looked at one! They had and offered everything we wanted — perfect venue, Shadows next door for the after party, hotel rooms for all of our 246 guests with transportation … it was honestly perfect for us!”

 

Most Memorable Moment…

 

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

“Honestly, if you asked us separately, at different times, we would both say the same thing: the first time we saw each other!” says Kristen. “He (AJ) was up at the altar, and I was walking down the aisle with my parents. …  I swore I wouldn’t cry, and I didn’t, I was just smiling from ear to ear.  My smile couldn’t get any bigger when I looked at him, and then I saw his lip quiver.  I looked away from him for a second to kind of regroup and the next person I made eye contact with was my Aunt Pat, who by the way was hysterically crying! I remember laughing in my head!  Everyone tells me that they were all looking at AJ when I walked down the isle and that makes me happy because his reaction was by far the best ever.  I’m proud of him for not crying but he will always tell me ‘You cut me deep, babe!'”

 

Hudson Valley Vendors…

 

Venue – The Grandview (Poughkeepsie)

Photographer – Majestic Studios (Hopewell Junction)

Florist – Annex Florist (Pawling)

DJ – Jimmy Dee Music Productions (Briarcliff Manor)
 

Photo credit to all: Majestic Studios (click photo for larger view)

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Featured Couple: Melissa & Kaveh

Their Love Story…

 

Photo Credit: Emma Cleary Photo & Video

Their story started out as a series of missed moments. Melissa says, “Kaveh and I spent years just missing each other, as a mutual friend kept trying to set us up, but the timing never quite worked for both of us. Then about 4 years ago we were invited to the same holiday party where we met for the first time and have been together ever since.”

 

The Proposal…

 

Their proposal didn’t go quite as planned but worked out perfectly in the end. “Kaveh had been working on planning a proposal for just before my 30th birthday,” Melissa says, “however I got sick and threw a bit of a wrench in his plans. I insisted on staying home to rest up and he switched gears and prepared to do it another time. We ordered sushi and had a picnic in our living room, surrounded by tissues and tea. It was there that he ended up proposing, saying it was those moments that made him want to spend our lives together so what better way to ask.”

 

Wedding Theme…

 

“We didn’t really have a theme,” Melissa says, “but I love rustic elements and pastels.”

Photo Credit: Emma Cleary Photo & Video


 

Why the Hudson Valley?…

 

Melissa says, “I have family that lives in the Hudson Valley and growing up it was always one of my favorite places to visit. With so many happy memories there it was a natural fit for our wedding.”

 

Most Memorable Moment…

 

Melissa says the most memorable moment for her was during their first dance. “It was when my nerves melted away,” she says, “and it was just me and Kaveh surround by our cheering friends and family.”

 

Hudson Valley Professionals…

 

Venue – The Garrison (Garrison)

Photography/VideographyEmma Cleary Photo and Video (New York City)

FloristFloral Fantasies By Sara (Rhinebeck)

HairAnnaliese & Co. (Fishkill)
Makeup
Bridal by Alexandria (Fishkill)

 

Photo Credit to all: Emma Cleary Photo and Video (Click images for larger view)

 

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30 Truths You Need to Know About Your Wedding (Part 3)

One of the most special days of your life is here and you are bursting with excitement! You’ve waited for this day for so long and you’ve played it out in your head so many times, you know exactly how the day is going to go before the day even arrives. However, there are things that happen on your wedding day that may stray from the vision in your head. Good or bad, there are things that no one ever tells you about your wedding day, that they should. Today, we finish our massive list of 30 wedding day truths you need to know.

 

Wedding Truth #21 You may not get cash or gifts you registered for

 

Part of planning your wedding is registering for gifts. Most couples do this, but some, if they have been living together for a long period of time, opt out. And that’s totally fine. The main purpose of the wedding gift registry is to make sure you have most, if not all of the items you need to start your life together. Typical items may include china, bedding, kitchen appliances etc. Most of these gifts are given at the shower, but if there are still items left, some guests may give them to you at the wedding. Another popular wedding gift is cash. However, you may have a guest who, for whatever reason, strays from that registry and would prefer not to give cash either. Perhaps they are crafty and decide to craft you a wedding item. Maybe they are giving you an heirloom. Be prepared for guests to take liberty with your gift. Some of the best gifts we received were hand-made and now hold a special place in our home as a constant reminder of that day.

 

RELATED: 7 Practical Ways to Create Your Awesome Wedding Registry

 

Wedding Truth #22 Your wedding is not the time to change who you are

 

Photo Credit: Christine Ashburn Photography

Your wedding day will inevitably change who you are forever in terms of your marital status, but it’s not a day to change who you are as a person in terms of how you act and what you look like. What do I mean by that? Take me, for example: I wear glasses, always have since the age of 9. They are part of who I am. I wasn’t about to ditch my glasses (though I did go as far as trying contacts for the day and hated them) just because I am getting married. I realized that’s part of who I am. Why is today any different? If you wear natural makeup, your wedding day may not be the time to try cat eyes with mascara or a bold red lip. If your wardrobe is full of classic staples, you may not want to wear a blinged-out wedding dress. I know there is a lot of pressure to have a “perfect” day and I realize that in magazines, you hardly ever see brides with glasses on, but guess what? That’s not real life. You have to be you, after all, that’s who your fiancé wants to marry.

 

RELATED: The One Thing That Will Ruin Your Wedding and 4 Ways to Prevent It

 

Wedding Truth #23 You will tire of kissing and smiling

 

Wedding days are full of love and romance, there’s no denying it. There’s also no denying that by the end of the night, you are going to be really sick of kissing and smiling…in a good way. From the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep, you will be posing for photos all day. Many of your wedding photos include kissing poses. You are going to get really tired of having to pose for kissing shots or pose with a smile. Sure, it makes for awesome photos, but soon, you are going to want it all to stop so you can actually smile and kiss organically and naturally. You are going to get so used to smiling and kissing that the day after, it’s going to feel weird not doing that.

 

Wedding Truth #24 You will be the most exhausted you have ever been in your life

 

I mentioned before that your wedding day will be the best day ever. It’s so much fun and so full of excitement that you will never want the day to end. And you don’t. However, no matter how much you want the night to go on forever, you will be exhausted! Trust me, when everything is said and done and you finally have a moment of quiet to yourself, exhaustion is going to hit you like a ton of bricks! You’re probably already working on little sleep from the night before (if you were too excited to sleep), then you were the center of attention all day, then you partied hard, then you had to maybe entertain guests for a few days and you have to pack and prepare for your honeymoon. It’s exhausting and you can only sustain that for so long before you crash. For me, I passed out on the plane on our way to our honeymoon and didn’t even realize I was asleep until we were in our descent. I never, ever sleep on planes, no matter how hard I try, so I knew I was spent! My loving hubby took some pretty funny selfie photos of me dead asleep, too!  I actually love them because they say so much.

 

Wedding Truth #25 Not everybody dances

 

DIY Wedding

Photo Credit: JT Sander Photography

Dancing is the part of the reception I think everyone looks forward too, however, it doesn’t matter how great your DJ is and how pumped he gets your guests, the truth is not everyone is going to dance. It doesn’t mean they are not having a good time, but some people are just not into dancing and won’t under any circumstance. And here’s a bit of advice if you notice some people not dancing at your wedding. Do not force them to dance! Ever! You could be making it very uncomfortable for them. Just let the non-dancers do their thing.

 

RELATED: The One Mistake Couples Make When Hiring Their DJ

 

Wedding Truth #26 Your wedding day is not just about you

 

In some instances, your wedding day may coincide with a special day one of your guests might be celebrating, like a birthday or anniversary. If that’s the case, make sure you acknowledge that. Yes, people are there to celebrate your marriage, but your guests are at your wedding when they could be celebrating their special day, so make sure you do something special for them, too. Perhaps ask the DJ to play a special song, or purchase a small cake or cupcakes and have everyone sing happy birthday. At our wedding, one of the kids we invited was celebrating his 6th birthday. We surprised him by purchasing a special cake, asked our maître d’ to put in a candle, told our photographer and DJ what we had planned and everyone sang happy birthday to him. It was truly a sweet and special occasion for everyone!

 

Wedding Truth #27 You are going to love the attention

 

One of the things that stressed me out the most about our wedding was knowing that we were going to be the center of attention. I hate being the center of attention and I was even shaking walking down the aisle because I knew everyone was looking at me. Even though two people are getting married, it’s always the bride that seems to get the most attention. Everyone wants to see the dress! No pressure! But, I have to say, that by the end of the night, I actually missed being the center of attention. Think about it. It’s the one day where you are put on a pedestal. Everyone wants to make you happy, and will do whatever it takes. You’re catered to all day, and without sounding arrogant, it’s kind of nice. It’s the only time in your life you are going to experience that, so enjoy it…but don’t let it get to your head.

 

RELATED: 30 Truths You Need to Know About Your Wedding (Part 1)

 

Photo Credit: Christine Ashburn Photography

Wedding Truth #28 You are going to be congratulated by everyone…even strangers

 

It’s not every day you see people walking around in tuxes, evening gowns and big white dresses. Remember, for everyone not at your wedding, your wedding day is an average, normal day. People are out running errands, living their lives, so for them, seeing a wedding party out and about is an exciting coincidence. People you don’t know will be congratulating you everywhere you go. We had some photos taken at a park, so everyone who was walking or jogging by said congrats. Even people driving by honked their horns at us. It was really cool!

 

Wedding Truth #29 Your wedding day makes you a better person

 

I mentioned earlier that your wedding day is not a day to go changing who you are on the outside, but fundamentally, getting married changes you. The unromantic side is that it really boils down to you signing a piece of paper, but that signature represents so much. I remember being in a constant state of euphoria for months after our wedding. I felt like I was in a unique and elite club. There’s something so amazing about being officially married, saying “husband” or “wife” for the first time, knowing, that forever and ever, you have someone watching your back, a trusted partner. Even people I know who were in long-term relationships prior to getting married say nothing beats that feeling. You literally become a better person!

 

RELATED: 30 Truths You Need to Know About Your Wedding (Part 2)

 

Last but not least…Wedding Truth #30 Your wedding day goes by incredibly fast

 

You’ve all heard the expression that time flies when you are having fun. It goes even faster on your wedding day! Actually, there have been studies done on this phenomenon. No matter how much you want to stop time and savor the day forever and ever, your reception does have to come to an end. It really feels like in a blink of an eye, it’s all over. All the planning, all the prepping, all the coordinating, it’s over in a flash. That’s why it’s so important to hire a professional photographer and videographer to capture the day. The experience is one you can never really repeat and to have photos and videos to replay the day whenever you want is priceless.

 

Are you recently married? Is there something you discovered about your wedding day that no one told you would happen?

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30 truths you need to know about your wedding day (part 1)

One of the great things about having been a recent Hudson Valley bride is I can relate tidbits of information back to you, the engaged couple. They say hindsight is 20/20 and now that my wedding has been over for a few years, I can tell you there are at least 30 (maybe more) truths about your wedding that no one tells you…but really should.
 

Some of these may be a no-brainer, and some of these may come as a surprise – but either way, they are things you need to know. So, because this is such a long list, I’m going to give you 10 now, share another 10 with you next week, and the final 10 the week after that.
 

So, let’s begin, shall we…
 

Wedding Truth #1 – Your wedding day will be the BEST. DAY. EVER.

 

I know this sounds really cliché, but when I tell you it’s the best day ever, it really is. I thought I knew what walking on “Cloud 9” felt like before, but it wasn’t until our wedding day that I really knew what that meant. Why is it the best day ever? Because it’s the one day that encompasses every aspect of what makes something the best: excitement, love, family, friends, good food, good drinks, fun dancing, fairy tales, delicious dessert. Everyone that has ever meant anything to you is in one room together. The reality is, it’s probably the only time that will ever happen.
 

Wedding Truth # 2 – The most important part of your wedding is signing your marriage license

 

Ok, this is the unromantic truth. You can have the most gorgeous couture gown, have the most exquisite décor and flowers, have your meal prepare by a world-renowned chef, etc.; but at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is signing your marriage license. Without that piece of paper, your marriage is not legal. It needs to be signed by both you and your spouse, and two witnesses, usually the maid of honor and best man.
 

 

Wedding Truth #3 – Always check your reception area

 

Photo Credit: Myles Studio Photography

No matter where you have your wedding, and even if you have a wedding planner setting up the space, always check the reception area prior to guests entering the room for the formal reception. You need to do this for three reasons. One, it is a great moment for you and your new spouse to break away, get a moment to yourself, and really absorb the atmosphere, alone. When you are being announced and walking in to the space, you won’t have time to really enjoy the space and see it. Two, it gives you the opportunity to give it a once-over to make sure everything is placed the way you like it and to make sure nothing is off. For example, I noticed the flowers on my cake were missing, and if I hadn’t had that moment to notice it and have it fixed, it would have made it very awkward later on. It also gives you a chance to speak with your DJ to go over the intros. And three, it’s a great photo op to be in the center of the dance floor, just the two of you.
 

Wedding Truth #4 – You will be very warm all day.

 

Even if it’s the dead of winter, between the endorphins and adrenaline, being the center of attention, the excitement of the day, running around, and your dress and tux, you are going to be warm all day. I remember being outside taking pictures and some of my bridal party notice it was chilly, and I was hot, to the point of almost sweating – and I’m usually the one’s that always cold. And, let’s face it, a wedding gown, as pretty as it is, is made out of material that is not very breathable, same with tuxes. So, it’s essential to bring with you that day, things that keep you cool or help you deal with the heat. You can download your free wedding day packing checklist here.
 

Wedding Truth #5 – Never give your rings to kid or dog ring bearers.

 

Photo Credit: JT Sander Photography

I will be the first one any day to say kids and dogs make the cutest additions to your bridal party. However, cute does not always equal responsible. Your rings are expensive, and, just after your marriage license, they play the second-biggest role in your ceremony. They don’t say “With this ring, I thee wed” for nothing. Therefore, if you are having a little kid, or your dog be your ring bearer, they can walk down the aisle with a pillow or a little box tied around the dog’s collar for pictures, but make sure an adult has the rings at all times. Again, this is usually the responsibility of the best man or maid of honor. Anything can happen and the last thing you want is for the dog to see a squirrel and run off with the rings, or try to pull the box off the collar and chew it. Little kids, depending on their age, might chicken out, and not even make it down the aisle, so, you want to make sure the rings are in good hands, near you at all times.
 

Wedding Truth #6 – You may probably never see the photos your guests take.

 

Your guests will be taking photos all day, and I explained how creating a wedding hashtag makes it easy for you to gather all the photos guest post on social media. I also give you tips on what to do if you don’t want guests sharing photos on social media. However, the reality is most likely, you will only see a fraction of all the photos taken. This is because either the guest doesn’t think they are good enough photos that you would be interested in, or they just don’t have the time to email them or send you hard copies. For whatever reason, don’t expect to see many of them.
 

Wedding Truth #7 – You are going to feel gutted when your wedding ends.

 

The first truth I mentioned was your wedding day is your best day ever. That’s why, when the final song is played, when the last guests leave, when the house lights go up and the staff is packing up your wedding day décor, it’s gutting to think it’s all over. Yes, you have a whole lifetime to look forward to, which will bring with it days that are just as good, if not better. However, when something you’ve spent countless hours, days, and months working on is now over and done with, a little part of you thinks “Now what?” It’s very bittersweet.
 

Wedding Truth #8 – The most relieved you will feel is during your recessional.

 

“We did it!” was the first thing that came to my mind when the ceremony was over and we were leaving the church. I literally felt like a ton of bricks was just lifted off my shoulders. The formalities of the day were over, the worry about getting to the church on time, the anxiety of planning and making sure everything ran on schedule was over and now the fun could begin. When I look at those pictures of my husband and I walking down the aisle, we have the biggest smiles on our faces – pure euphoria.
 

Wedding Truth #9 – Some guests may come to the ceremony even if they are not invited to the wedding.

 

If you have a wedding in a house of worship, you may have guests show up who weren’t invited to the wedding. Think about it: If your reception is at the same place as your reception, it’s obvious there is a closed private event going on. However, houses of worship are open to the public, regardless of what is going on. To explain what I mean, how many times have you been to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan and seen a wedding going on? It’s the same situation, just a different setting. Also, your wedding may appear in the house of worship’s bulletin or other announcements; so if a parishioner sees your listing – and maybe knows your parents – they may ask to come to the service only.
 

Wedding Truth #10 – Your bridal party relationships may change.

 

Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

When you choose your bridal party, you choose the friends or family members who have always been there for you. Your bridal party could be as little as zero people – you don’t really need a bridal party – or upward of 10 or more. However, you need to realize that while those people have been important to you, and you plan on them being in your lives forever, relationships change. I don’t mean to end on a sad note, but friendships change with time. Things happen, through no fault of anyone. Also, just because you were in someone’s bridal party, does not mean you have to invite them to be in yours. Keep that in mind when choosing your party. If you have a lot of members who are there because you feel like you have to pay them back, rethink your choices. Do you want to look back at photos and think “Who was that?” or “Why did I ever invite them?”

 

Join us next week for part 2…
 

Featured Image Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

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Just engaged? 3 important things you should and should not do

An engagement is an exciting time, to say the least. Take it from me, it’s very, very easy to feel a little (or a lot) like your mind has turned to mush after your significant other pops the question, especially if it was a surprise and comes out of nowhere.
 

My engagement came as such a surprise, I think I blanked out for a while. Seriously, I don’t remember anything. Everything seemed like it was happening in slow motion. I don’t remember hearing any sounds, I can’t even tell you what my husband said to me. I just remember seeing my husband kneel, the ring shimmering in its box, and crying with joy, then feeling an overwhelming sense of “Oh, my God, we have a wedding to plan!”
 

There’s such a flood of so many emotions, and perhaps you might feel a little overwhelmed. Who do you call? What is your next step? When do you start planning? How do you make sense of everything that just happened?
 

From my experience, there are three things you should and three things you should not do once you get engaged.
 

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

What you should NOT do…

 

Number 1 – Social media

 

I know this might sound crazy to some of you, but as I mentioned in earlier post, sharing wedding-related details on social media is a bad idea. I know we live in an age of immediate gratification and satisfaction, and I’m sure getting a ton of congratulations on social media is very heartwarming; but trust me, this is one instance in which you want to make sure you’re the gatekeeper and control the news. I know you’ve probably waited a long time to change your status to “engaged,” but why is it so important to do it right away?
 

Number 2 – Do not plan anything yet

 

When your mind is running in a million-and-one different directions and your adrenaline is pumping, that is not the time to even think about planning one bit of your wedding. If you are like me, that almost seems like an impossible feat. “What do you mean don’t plan?”
 

It’s very easy to blurt out what you think you want your wedding to be like; but honestly, take a few weeks once you’ve gotten over the shock and excitement, once you’ve kind of floated back down to reality, to really start to plan. Wedding expos are a great way to get acclimated to the wedding world you’ve now entered. In fact, here are ways you can prepare for your first bridal show.
 

Number 3 – Do not make statements you can’t follow-up on

 

What do I mean by this? It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of the moment. You are going to be inundated with congratulatory well wishes from everyone and their uncle. People are going to start asking you questions right away like “When’s the date?” or “Where is it going to be?” or “How big is it going to be?” Just tell them the truth. One way to quell the onslaught of questions or to put those who are pushing to be on your guest list at bay is simply by saying, “We really haven’t had much time to think about it yet,” or “We’re thinking of a small wedding – just family and close friends.” Don’t tell your co-workers they’ll all be invited if you don’t know for sure. Don’t make grand gestures without spending time with your fiancé to really hash out the details.
 

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

What you should do (in no particular order)

 

Number 1 – Call your parents, siblings, and anyone in on the engagement first

 

Think about it: Your significant other most likely asked your dad and/or mom for permission to marry you, so they are waiting on baited breath to find out how everything went and if there was a “yes.” Sometimes the family might have even been in on the surprise as well, coordinating efforts to get you to the right place at the right time, maybe telling little white lies in the process. They are going to want to know right away, so make sure your immediate family knows.
 

But here’s the thing: Make sure you tell them not to spread the word, that you will be calling others later. Make sure they know you want to be the one telling others. Why is this important? Well, wouldn’t you like to hear from the engaged couple personally instead of hearing the news through the grapevine?
 

Number 2 – Enjoy the moment

 

YOU JUST GOT ENGAGED!!! Seriously, once you get the important phone calls out of the way, enjoy the moment. Stop everything, actually look and examine your ring in all its beauty, spend time with your fiancé, get the scoop on how it all went down. Literally, just let it all sink in, take a deep breath, and enjoy. Things will get busy quickly, so this may be the only time for a long while that you may have just to enjoy your new status. Being a fiancé lasts but for a little while, so practice using that term. It’s really a lot of fun and, if you are like me, makes you a little giddy, too!
 

Number 3 – Do something special to celebrate…alone

 

This is a big step, a life-changing occasion, a moment that you will remember forever. Depending on the situation, if your family witnessed the engagement, there may be something already planned to celebrate. If that’s the case, make sure you also set aside alone time with your fiancé to celebrate.
 

If nothing has been planned, go out to dinner, have some nice wine, go out for ice cream, whatever. But do something special to celebrate, just the two of you, alone. I can’t stress alone enough. There will be time to celebrate with family and friends, but right now, this is your moment. Enjoy it!
 

How did you celebrate your engagement? Do you have pictures of your proposal?

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Social Media and Your Wedding: What You Need to Know

It’s hard to remember a time before social media was such a big part of daily life. It’s almost second nature now to go directly to your favorite social media outlet and share news, especially exciting news, like your wedding.

 

When you got engaged, the first thing that probably came to mind was to immediately change your status. Got a gorgeous ring? Then you need to show it off? Got your invites? Went for a tasting? Booked a venue? Got your dress? Got your tuxedo? Then people need to know, right? Wrong!

 

Getting engaged is an exciting and life-changing moment – there’s no doubt about that – and being able to share your wedding planning journey and eventual wedding day with others is a normal and natural response. Now, don’t get me wrong, this is not to say that social media is bad; but when it comes to your wedding day, there are some things to consider when it comes to social media, regardless how “social” you are in your normal everyday doings.

 

When it comes to your engagement…

 

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

It’s completely normal to want to share your good news with everyone, but think about the people connected to you on social media. How many of them are really good friends and how many are just really good acquaintances? How many do you see or speak to on a regular basis? Does everyone need to know that instant? Do you REALLY want all those people to know, or do you just like the feeling you get when you get acknowledgments and likes? I don’t mean to sound harsh here, but think about what your urgency is to want to post on social media right away.

 

If you do want to post the good news, make sure you set the privacy setting so only those you really want to know can see. If you only want certain people to know, you might just want to pick up the phone and call them. I, for one, would much rather find out through a phone call that my friend got engaged than to see it online first, then get a call. There’s something very distant and informal about sending such great news via the Internet instead of face-to-face (or via phone call or Skype or Facetime).

 

When it comes to wedding planning…

 

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

Posting every detail about your wedding planning, while you mean it to be innocent, can have adverse effects. Some people may automatically assume since you are sharing all your planning details with them on Facebook they will be invited to your wedding. Then, what happens if they aren’t? Just try to put yourself in their shoes. While most may not care, some may. Think about the folks that you are ‘friends’ with and how many of them will actually be invited. Again, not to sound harsh here, but unless your friends or family are in the wedding or helping you plan it, most people don’t really care about every little detail. It may come across as annoying or gloating to folks, even though you don’t mean it to be.

 

When it comes to your wedding…

 

Posting pictures of your wedding day kind of goes along the same lines as proclaiming your engagement. For your online “friends” who thought they might be invited, but who weren’t – because, let’s face it, every wedding guest list has to be cut at some point – you may be causing a lot of hurt and resentment.

 

Also, if you are like me and value privacy, sharing wedding day photos to your friends online means you are really sharing them with the world. If someone you know shares one of your photos, do you know who they are sharing it with? Anyone can save that photo and do whatever they want with it. Do you really want complete strangers seeing photos of your private, personal day? If that may be a concern for you, don’t post. It’s best just to email people some photos, or invite them to view your album online from the photographer.

 

Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

Also, this is MAJOR, beware of copyrights. If you plan on sharing photos on social media, make sure you own the copyrights or have written permission from the photographer to do so. Most Photographers will put a watermark on photos and will say that if you want to use photos on social media to please keep the watermark on for that reason. If they say you can use the photos and they don’t have a watermark, make sure you give kudos to the photographer anyway. When you think about it, you are giving them free publicity, so pay it forward and make sure you tag them in the photo or post.

 

Lastly, you know your guests are going to take photos. However, if you do not want photos of your day shared online, you need to make it specifically clear to them either in the invitation or at the wedding (such as in your program or signage at the event). Otherwise, it will happen. If you don’t mind that guests share your photos, you can make it known to your guests that it’s ok by creating a hashtag and posting that hashtag in the same way.

 

What are your thoughts? Are you, or have you, shared photos or details of your wedding on social media? What was the feedback you received?

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7 Practical Ways to Create Your Awesome Wedding Registry

Did you know the wedding registry, as we know it today, is a fairly “recent” tradition? It’s been said to have been started in 1924 by Macy’s department store. Can you believe it? However, even though a guest gift exchange is a fairly modern phenomenon, families have been exchanging gifts at weddings in the form of a dowry paid to the Bride’s family dating back to several centuries B.C.

 

But enough of the history lesson for today. Wedding registries are still a hot commodity, even though they are taking on many different forms. This is because, in today’s world, couples are waiting longer to get married, and there is an increase in numbers of couples living together before marriage. Therefore, they are acquiring many of the items typically seen on a gift registry such as pots and pans, linens, and general household items long before they get engaged.

 

Whether you need everything from a can opener to a couch, here are 7 practical ways to create the perfect registry that is right for you:

 

Take a good look around your space.

 

Look at what you have and what you need. If you are going to be moving in together after the wedding, you may need a lot of items. Combining possessions can be a fun, yet arduous task. Perhaps you have a set of pots and pans but need new ones. Maybe you’ve always wanted a fancy coffee maker. Are you getting a larger bed and need new sheets, or even something as basic as an iron and ironing board? Take a good look and start making a list.

 

Make a list that has items at all various price points

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

You want to make sure your registry has items spanning a wide range of prices, from $1 wooden spoons to pricier items such linens, a vacuum, kitchenware, or china that could potentially cost well over $200. Why the price variation? Your guests are going to be coming from very different financial situations. Some guest may (and can afford to) splurge on the expensive china or kitchenware, while others may combine some of the smaller, less expensive items into a basket or give you some of those less expensive items with a gift not on your registry. (Yes, just because you have a registry, that doesn’t mean everyone will purchase from it).

 

Always put more items on your list than what you think you need

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

There are a few reasons for this. One, like I mentioned before, some people may purchase a lot off your list at once, and you want to make sure that everyone who wants to get something off the registry can. Second, you aren’t going to get everything, but you want to make sure you don’t run out of items, either. You will, most likely, get gift cards to wherever you registered, so, if you do not end up getting that coffee maker or all the sets of china you registered for, you can go back and finish the list at a later date. Think of your registry as the ultimate Christmas or birthday wish list: There are going to be things on there you need, things you want; but you can also put “wish list” items on there, too. We never thought the really expensive items would be purchased from our list, but they were, to our great surprise.

 

Register at more than one location

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

Just like you should have items in many different price ranges, you also want to make sure you register at more than one store. Why? You are not going to find everything at one store. Plus, not everyone lives next to a Crate and Barrel, or Bed, Bath and Beyond. Granted, with the Internet, it doesn’t really matter, but some people like to actually see what they are buying before they purchase it. Also, different stores have different price ranges. Some guests may just be able to afford items from the more affordable stores, while others can afford higher price points usually found at high-end niche stores.

 

What if you don’t need or want any more “stuff?”

 

If you and your fiancé really don’t need or want any materials items, you might want to consider a Honeymoon Fund or a Honeymoon Registry. A quick Google search will generate sites like these where you plug in where you are going, and they populate a list of things to see and do while you are there. For example, if you are going on a cruise, you might have a spa treatment or shore excursions on that list which people “purchase.” Basically, you are saying something to the effect of “$75 will allow us to get a spa treatment; $150 will allow us to go parasailing,” and so on. Your guests aren’t purchasing that item, per se, but rather just giving you enough money so you can do it.

 

Make a charitable donation

 

Again, if you really don’t want or need any more “stuff,” you can ask guests to make a gift to your favorite charity (or charities) instead of purchasing a gift for you. Perhaps there’s an animal shelter that’s near and dear to your heart or a medical facility that has personal meaning for you. Maybe it’s a community organization looking to raise enough funds to build a playground. Whatever the case, asking guests to make a charitable gift is a great alternative.

 

What if you just want cash?

 

This is a delicate subject. If you really just want cash, coming out and saying you just want money, is, well, rude. In my opinion, there are only two ways to give guests the hint that you don’t want gifts, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll just get cash. One is to not have a wedding registry at all; the other is stating on the invitation “no gifts please.” Most guests will get it, but it won’t guarantee you’ll only get cash. You might still get gift cards, maybe small tokens. Maybe you won’t get anything at all if you say “no gifts.” However, there are polite ways to work around this delicate subject. I’ve known couples who live out of state who were flying in for their wedding, and because they couldn’t check or ship gifts back, they asked for “no boxed gifts, please.” You may still get people who take that literally and will put a gift in a bag instead, but most people will understand what you mean, especially if they know your travel circumstance.

 

You might also tell your close family and bridal party to politely spread the word if anyone asks. If someone asks them what they think you’d like, they can say something like, “I know they haven’t registered for anything, so I’m just going to give them a check to add to their down payment on their house (or splurge on a nice meal on their honeymoon, or save it for a new car).” It’s a bit passive, but that will at least put the idea in the guests’ mind that money or a check may be the best option for a gift. Is it a sure-fire grantee? No, but it’s a start.

 

Did you have a registry and how did you build it? Did you not want any gifts at your wedding? How did you handle that?

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