Warning Wednesdays- The Proper Hostess Etiquette

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Warning Wednesdays- The Proper Hostess Etiquette

Hosting events can be an exciting task to manage. Sometimes though, it can be so overwhelming that you end up throwing up your hands and saying, "oh well, they can go down the road and eat at the diner if there isn't enough food or sit on the floor". 

When we become frustrated we tend to start cutting corners on tasks just to make it easier on us. We say we don't care but when the day of the event actually arrives we over-stress trying to finish everything we tried to cut out. When acting as host/hostess or planning an event, you need to have a manner of decorum about you. Yes, there are etiquette rules for hosting a party. You may have read our post from March 29th about Etiquette rules for the host/hostess of a baby shower. Some of these rules apply for all hosts/hostess' but don't cover all of them. 

When hosting a Wedding or special event (even if it's just a party), you need to keep these rules in mind.

1. Invites- Make sure your invites are clearly written with concise instructions so the guests know what they are sending an RSVP to. 

2. Organized Planning- Make sure you organize your planning lists. An organized planner is a happy planner. Being organized helps making party/wedding arrangements go soother so you aren't a frazzled mess.

3. Happy Hostess- Be a welcoming and happy hostess. Not every guest will bring a gift and that's OK. Remember to greet guests with a smile and cheerful demeanor. Weddings are a little different when greeting guests. If you cannot be there to greet your guests due to having to stay hidden until the wedding ceremony, then make sure you have a greeter willing to show guests to their seats and where to sign the guest book. Make sure to make your rounds later to thank everyone for coming and make sure they are enjoying themselves. 

4. Be Flexible- Sometimes the best laid plans can go awry. One of your guests could bring an unexpected plus one which may decrease the amount of you can feed your guests or leave you with a seating issue. Be gracious and try to accommodate your guests as much as possible. You may have to move your events timeline or rearrange your entertainment due to some pop up problem. Don't stress. Remember, you're the only one who knows the timeline. Your guests will be happy with whatever order or events you provide.

5. Be Appreciative- You may receive a gift you didn't like, guests you didn't invite may arrive and mistakes may happen on the day of your event. The key to being a happy host/hostess is to show your guests that you appreciate them regardless. You should always send thank you notes and thank them in person for attending.

I hope these tips helped you in hosting your next event. If you have any ideas to add we would love to hear them! Please comment below and don't forget to subscribe to this blog. Also check us out on Facebook!

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Trending Tuesday- 2017's Wedding Flower Trends 05.23.17

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Trending Tuesday- 2017's Wedding Flower Trends 05.23.17

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Spring is upon us and flowers are in bloom every where you look. Roses, Peonies, Daffodils, Lilies and so many other beautiful flowers adorn gardens, roadways and floral arrangements offering a beautiful treat for the eye to behold. Brides tend to gain new inspiration in Spring for the fragrant beauties that will decorate their wedding venues. Each year the trends seem to evolve into masterpieces that tend to wow anyone gazing upon them. This year is no different. This year you will see a lot of:

Sprigs. Brides are using sprigs as fillers and chair decorations to give that fresh from the garden effect. These sprigs may have some fruit buds on the ends or a fuzzy feather looking tip. Many brides are obtaining these items for their bouquets from local farmers. This helps with cutting costs for flowers and makes wonderful fillers for all types of arrangements.

Dahlias. Dahlias are dominating the Floral industry for weddings this year. Expect to see them in Fall and Winter weddings the most.

Greenery. Garden weddings are such beautiful and enchanting venues for any couple on their wedding day. These Garden themes make it easy to keep your decor simple and cost efficient by adding plants and few flowers placed strategically around the venue. This allows for any theme to take form with minimal effort.

Cake flowers. I love seeing flowers on cakes. Especially if those flowers are real or silk instead of the sugar made ones bakers take so much time to create. It's easier to place real flowers as well as cheaper to decorate any cake.

Simple Floral Vases. Quite a few of the weddings you might attend will have a large style bouquet or arrangement placed in the center of the table. These are beautiful but can sometimes be hard to see around to the person on the other side of the table. I predict that this year you will be seeing less of the larger arrangements and more of the simple vase with a few flowers placed in them. 

No longer just the round bouquet. Bouquets have taken different shapes over the years. Some have hung down to make a triangular shape while others have been formed into a perfect circle or ball. This year you can expect to see what I like to call "the messy arrangement". This arrangement is made up of multiple flowers, sprigs and other stems placed at many different lengths and directions within the arrangement. This creates a somewhat controlled messy look. These floral designs are beautiful and can work well for the modern, rustic or Victorian themes.

Burlap. Burlap flowers are all the rage these days. Brides can make these flowers for much less than the cost of real or silk flowers and can reuse these flowers for home decorating later.

Not your typical bouquet. I have seen bouquets in all different forms. I have seen the wedding party carrying feathers, balls of Styrofoam with silk flowers glued to them, long stemmed Lilies with a ribbon tied around it and purses for bouquets. I have also seen the wedding party carrying animals instead of flowers. These days brides want to stray from the norm and make their big day unique and different than other weddings. You will see a lot of this trend this year and in the years to come.

We hope these trending ideas help you plan your big day! Don't forget to subscribe to this blog for weekly post updates and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

 

 

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Money Makeover Monday- Top 10 Money Saving Ideas for Flowers 05.22.17

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Money Makeover Monday- Top 10 Money Saving Ideas for Flowers 05.22.17

Weddings can be such a magical and beautiful event. You can make them any style you wish to best suit your personality and spend as little or as much as you choose on your special day. I have seen so many weddings that are whimsical and majestic due to the hundreds of flowers and arrangements that adorn the aisles, tables an arch ways. These weddings are extravagant but can be costly. I decided to share with you my top ten tricks on how to cut down the cost of floral decor and bouquets so you can afford a romantic wedding setting as well. As a quick disclaimer- You may not be able to achieve a million floral arrangement style, but with these tips you can cut down on some of the cost to afford more flowers than originally planned. 

1. Wholesale- If you are looking for a specific type of flower but dot want to pay the expensive florist fees; try buying from a wholesale distributor online. You can usually get these flowers for half the price than what a florist would charge. I can't guarantee the quality of delivery for these flowers but if you do your research and check out the companies reviews before purchasing, you should be OK.

2.Silk instead of real- I personally like silk flowers. My wedding bouquet is a silk flower arrangement and sits in my living room to this day. I prefer silk because you can use the flower arrangement from the wedding to decorate your home, give as gifts later and have those beautiful flowers you spent so much money on last a long time instead of dying days afterwards. Silk can be a bit tricky to purchase. If ordering online make sure you are getting a great quality. Ask them to send you a few samples of the types of flowers you are looking to purchase. Once you have checked the quality of the flowers, purchase in bulk and ask for a bulk discount. Usually if purchasing in mass amounts, distributors will give you either a percentage off or a certain amount discounted for every specific dollar amount spent. Don't forget to look for coupons and promo codes.

3. Reuse them- I have been to several weddings where the ceremony and reception were immaculately decorated. The table arrangements, bouquets and aisle arrangements were so beautiful but they all had one thing in common. They were all identical to each other. Instead of buying double to decorate all the needed areas, purchase half the amount needed. Use the flowers in the ceremony first and when the guests are waiting to enter the reception hall and are away from the ceremony location, move the ceremony flowers to the reception. This cuts down your floral budget so you can spend money on another needed area.

4. Choose greenery instead of flowers- Flowers are a wonderful and beautiful way to decorate, but so are luscious green plants. Instead of adorning your venue with tons of roses or lilies, choose to use more green. Plants are much cheaper to purchase and can be great space fillers when you need a beautiful replacement. You can also use plants to cut down on the amount of flowers you need to purchase. As an added plus, you will have some house plants to adorn your front lawn with after the wedding is over.

5. Go simplistic- There are so many venues these days that offer a great backdrop for weddings. Beaches, rose gardens, parks and back yards can offer a wonderful location where you can choose to go simplistic with your decor. You don't really have to go all out on decorating, especially with flowers if you already have a beautiful backdrop or scenery.

6. DIY your arrangements- Florists are pretty amazing when it comes to making arrangements. They have that unique eye on how to arrange the flowers and sprigs just right. They can be pretty costly though when it comes to using their services. Why not do it yourself? You can take a quick class at Michael's on how to arrange a bouquet or make a flower arrangement (I'm sure they would help you recreate the arrangements you'd like by showing you how to do it once) so you can do it yourself for your wedding.

7. DIY the flowers- Some people may laugh at this one but I promise when it comes to DIY you can save a ton of money. Real and silk flowers can be costly if you have a very limited budget. Why not try to make the flowers yourself? You can make paper machee, burlap, ribbon or cloth flowers. There are so many trends these days with flowers that are not naturally grown and they turn out amazing.

8. Don't ship- If you use a local florist you reduce the cost of shipping and help support a local business. Some florists will give you a discount for using local as well

9. What's in season?- Many brides tend to have their heart set on specific flowers for their wedding. When it comes time to order them they find out that those flowers are not in season and will have to pay double, sometimes even triple the amount to have them at their wedding. it's always best to keep an open mind when it comes to these things. Try to pick flowers that are in season so you don't have to worry about having out of season flowers shipped in. There are so many flowers out there that I'm sure you will find flowers that are just right for your big day that are blooming now with out the extra cost.

10. Don't over do it!- Flower arrangements are gorgeous when there are multiple different styles of flowers. This can be costly however. Try to stick to two or three different flowers. The more you order in one type of flower rather than multiple smaller bunches of flowers can reduce the cost with discounts. Your arrangements will be just as beautiful with 2-3 types as the others.

Don't forget to subscribe to this blog for more money saving tips on events and special occasions. You can even like us on Facebook, twitter and instagram. For more ideas follow us on Pinterest!

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Watch Out Wednesday- 5 Tips For Choosing The Perfect Bridesmaids Dresses 05.17.17

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Watch Out Wednesday- 5 Tips For Choosing The Perfect Bridesmaids Dresses 05.17.17

Planning a wedding can be a very exciting time in your life. You get to pick out your flowers, try on wedding gowns, and ask those most important to you to be in the wedding party. Sometimes though, this can be very daunting. When you are choosing what your wedding party should wear you have to keep several things in mind. If you don't take these tips to heart, then you might have an upset group of bridesmaids or some very unfortunate wardrobe malfunctions.

1. Beware of their differences- Every bridesmaid is shaped differently. You may have one curvier than another, shorter or taller and some may be larger chested than others. Some brides pick a dress and think it will look good on all her bridesmaids. Only the bride has to look good right? Wrong! You want your wedding to reflect your style and personality. Having an improperly dressed group of gals doesn't reflect well on the couple getting married. Try to stray away from the one style of dress to changing the top half up a little bit. Someone who is larger chested may need more support that a strapless dress doesn't offer. A shorter woman may not look good in a long dress and that curvier figured friend might not want to flaunt her curves with a tight dress.

2. Do the bounce check- Have you ever worn a dress that was a bit short and bent down to pick up something? Did your rear end expose itself in the process? You don't want that happening to your poor bridesmaids. Before purchasing the dress, make sure your girls do the bounce and bend test. If it shows their rears, it's too short.

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3. Don't waste their money- Bridesmaids usually have to pay for their own dresses, unless the bride is willing to foot that bill. When picking out a dress, bridesmaids get irritated when they have to purchase a dress that will only be worn once. Try to keep in mind what occasions this dress may be worn at other than your wedding. No one likes wasting money on something that cannot be used more than once. Instead of opting for a fitted mermaid gown, try something that's a little more low key like a knee length pencil dress.

4. Don't forget about undergarments!- Too often we tend to focus on the gown and not what needs to be worn underneath to make that gown shine so other parts of us don't. Make sure you don't forget to plan for the right undergarments your gals might need. Proper chest support, spanx, clear straps, and slips are just a few things you should be looking into. You don't want your wedding party having malfunctions causing them to not enjoy the evening.

5. AVOID WHITE- You don't want to confuse your guests as to which beautiful lady is the bride. Imagine if you will your bridesmaids are walking down the aisle. In white. All white. The guests might start to question who the real bride is (even though they know who sent the invites and who's union they are supposed to be celebrating) they might start to thing multiple weddings are about to take place.

Picking out the best dresses for your bridesmaids don't have to be difficult. Try following these 5 tips and we are certain you'll have a properly and beautifully dressed group of gals. They will even love that they can use the dress more than once!

Want even more tips for you wedding or special occasion? Don't forget to subscribe to this site to get all of our tips sent straight to your email. You can also follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!

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Baby Shower Etiquette- It still exists!

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Baby Shower Etiquette- It still exists!

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Baby showers are always supposed to be such a joyous occasion. You get to dote on the mama-to-be and offer her all of your best parenting advice, discuss birthing stories and play baby related games. Many of the baby shower stories you hear are wonderful stories. I have two. One is a great one, the other not so much. Today's blog post is for Watch out Wednesday so I am going to tell you about my horrible baby shower experience and give you tips on how you can avoid sharing a similar story.

I was very blessed with my first baby. I had a horrible pregnancy but behind me was a wonderful support team. My husband is in the military and lived several hours from our family members. We decided for the sake of travel expenses, to just have a baby shower near family instead of spend the money on two showers. A few friends, who lived next to us at the time, were upset they couldn't attend and demanded a second baby shower be thrown near them. Now, if you're a hormonal pregnant woman who just likes to appease everyone (like me) you'll stress yourself out over this as etiquette states the mama never throws her own shower. j

This is where my husband and a few friends stepped in. They decided to throw me the second shower to quiet those upset friends. Long story short, those "friends" turned out to completely negate their responsibilities, decided not to plan anything and didn't even show to the shower. I ended up throwing my own baby shower near my home. This made me put out money I didn't want to, made my pregnancy harder due to the extra stress, and I heard a ton of horrible rumors from said friend about myself. Apparently I demanded an expensive, specially made cake, extravagant decor and required specific food items. This was not the case at all. I was asked what I wanted and I gave a few ideas of what the person supposedly planning the shower could do and do it as cheaply as possible. I am no longer friends with this person but wish them well. 

I loved my second shower just as much as the first (if you read Tuesdays post you'll see photos from that shower) and ended up having it done right. I learned a lot from this experience and have come up with some hostess etiquette tips for those planning on throwing someone a baby shower in the near future.

  1. Etiquette states that the mama-to-be never throws her own shower. This falls on family and friends to take up the challenge and plan a killer shower for these expectant parents. Never make the mama do any of the work. You can ask her what she would like as it is her shower. If she makes some demands then that's OK. Remember, she has been waiting a long time to be able to celebrate this growing life inside of her.
  2. The host/hostess pays for the party. The expectant parents should not have to purchase any of the food, decor, venue or entertainment items as they should be saving for diapers and formula. 
  3. Always ask the mama what she wants. Some mamas have dreamed of their baby shower since the day they found out they were preggo. This is a day that's all about them and baby. Let her pick the theme, type of decor, food, and so on. You, the host, get to do all the work making it happen.
  4. Follow a timeline for planning. Make sure you send out the invites by a certain date, order the food and cake, hire a photographer and rent the venue. There are timelines posted on our pinterest page if you need one to follow.
  5. The expectant parents-to-be are to never clean up after the celebration. This is the hosts' job. The parents' job is to make sure all the gifts get to their home safely.
  6. The host is supposed to purchase thank you cards for the parents-to-be to fill out and send. 
  7. When throwing an even, you want things to run smoothly. Make an outline or schedule of the days events this way you can easily transition from one game to the next and don't have your guests there for hours. You want to make sure your celebration doesn't last for more than 2-3 hours. If guests want to mingle for a while and talk then that is OK as long as you have the venue covered for a lengthy time.
  8. If you are a mama-to-be and your host backs out then try and find someone else you rely on to help. In my case I had to do the work as no one else was willing. Then and only then is it ok for the mama to throw her own baby shower. Your baby shower is supposed to be a fun and relaxing day for you to enjoy. Not to stress over what game you'll play next and if there's enough ice.

I hope you have a wonderful celebration welcoming your newest member to your family. My hope for you is that it is a stress free and relaxing day you will be able to remember with joyous thoughts. Please don't forget to subscribe to our page!

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Cheat Sheet for 2017 Baby Shower Trends

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Cheat Sheet for 2017 Baby Shower Trends

"From there to here, from here to there, baby things are everywhere"

Dr Seuss

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Babies are amazing little bundles of joy that just make our world a little brighter and a much better place to live in. I remember that feeling of expecting my first little one. I was so excited and couldn't wait to have her so I could hold her, kiss her and love her no matter what. I couldn't help but be anxious for her to arrive. I would sit in her room and picture her scooting around on the floor laughing and playing. Having a child is such a wonderful time and one that should always be cherished. I never imagined how little a child needed; I was instead blessed with so much more than I needed. 

Expectant mothers and fathers to be are usually treated to a baby shower which is hosted by a family or friend. My mom threw me a baby shower and we received a living room full of gifts. I'm not exaggerating. It took over an hour to open gifts. My children are super spoiled by grandparents, family and friends and need or want for nothing. I was very thankful for that baby shower as it has helped us immensely when it came to saving us money on the items we needed. We were also able to celebrate the soon coming of our first child and enjoy such a wonderful time in our lives. My mom threw a wonderfully decorated and well organized country themed baby shower (I absolutely loved it!). That was back in 2013 and the trends were different and a little more simpler then. These days the trends for baby showers have taken a turn for the more glamorous and extravagant side.

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E-vites- Invitations are not as popular to send out anymore. Today's trend is to send e-vites. I prefer paper invites myself as I can put it on the fridge but to save money and time e-vites are the new invites.

Sprinkles- Baby shower etiquette states you don't have a shower for every child you are to give birth to. Usually you will have a baby shower for your first and if the second is the opposite sex, then you would have another baby shower. Instead, many people are having Sprinkles. These are similar to a baby shower but are more low-key and gifts are generally diapers and clothes.

Extravagant Flare- These celebrations are no longer your basic plastic banner and bottle decorations. Finesse and extravagance are the key. From sparkling balloons, tissue paper streamers and dessert bars to larger guests lists, special venues and hired entertainment; these showers have evolved into amazing events. Some baby welcoming parties can cost upwards of $15,000. I have seen some even cost $30,000. You can have an amazing party but not make your wallet burst into flames doing it. You just have to DIY and budget.

Giving Honor- Mother's-to-be are not the only ones being shown special treatment at these parties any more. Grandmothers-to-be and Aunties-to-be are also be recognized for their changing role in the family dynamic.

Co-Ed- Baby showers are not just for women anymore. Co-ed parties are happening all the time now where dad's are more involved and are recognized as well as the mom. The men are also involved in the games and genuinely have a great time.

Fancy Feasts- Party foods have definitely changed. Gone are the days where food was haphazardly placed on a table for you to choose from. 

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  • Cuisine is now labeled with beautifully decorated labels or framed in picture frames
  • Different types of food are displayed bite size or in individual cups for easy serving
  • Delicacies are decorated to match the theme of the shower- i.e. blue colored foods or watermelon cut like a shark for an underwater theme
  • Chocolate covered everything! Most of the desserts these days are covered in chocolate such as pretzels, Oreo's, Twinkies, licorice and more.
  • Dessert bars are all the rage, but of course who doesn't love a ton of desserts?
  • Prego-tinies and mock-tails- these wonderful drinks are being served instead of alcohol so that the mother-to-be doesn't feel left out.

Unique Guest Books- Guest books are no longer just books.  Hosts are now incorporating the guest log into the room decor by making a picture using the guests thumb prints. They will also use wooden letters to have guests sign or a onesie that gets framed later.

Instead of a Card-Hosts are asking guests to bring a signed book instead of a card tagged along with the gift. This is a great idea that I used for my baby shower several years ago. We still have the books and read them to my kiddos often. I love opening them and seeing those sweet notes my guests wrote in the books for my kids. It's something I really treasure.

The much needed diapers-Guests who bring diapers to a baby shower are amazing and get it. New babies go through diapers like fire burns through paper. So if you bring a box of diapers you are a great guest and truly care for the mama and papa-to-be. These days though, bringing a box of diapers isn't enough. There seems to be some sort of unspoken competition to see who can bring the best gift or created item. That's why you might start seeing more diaper cakes. Instead of just the box, many guests feel the need to craft it up by creating awesome diaper cakes and trying to out-gift the other guests.

Write me a note- Advice, notes of encouragement and notes that induce laughter are all great forms of written help. Baby showers are now asking guests to offer these tid-bits of love in a fun way:

  • Advice for the new parents jar- friends and family can fill out a small piece of paper with the best advice they can offer the new parents to be.
  • If the expectant parents have yet to pick a name, you can suggest a great name and place it in a pre-selected jar. The new mama and papa can use these names to narrow down their list.
  • Time Capsules- Time Capsules are something you see cities or schools doing and are usually buried for a certain amount of years. The time capsules at baby showers are a little different. You would write a note to the new baby and try to depict what he would be by age 18 or 20. You can predict what type of job he/she will be working, major in college, and pretty much anything. Always try to keep it positive.

Craftaholics- Craftaholics love baby showers that incorporate some crafting fun. Baby showers try to fill the time and keep their guests busy by playing games or doing a craft. These days you can make a headband or bow tie, decorate a onesie and decorate a bib. 

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Favors- When you think of favors you usually think of the little goodie bags you receive from a kids party. Well, that's what favors are; little thank you gifts for taking time out of your day to help the family celebrate the special occasion. You'll see a lot of DIY favors this year. Hosts are making their favors now to save on money and to make the favor fit the theme or style of the party. You can expect to receive homemade food items such as chocolate dipped anything, treats and candies. Also given away are homemade chap-sticks, bath bombs, lotions, and soaps.

Baby showers are so much fun and is a great excuse to have a fun day surrounded by friends and family. Even if you are a guest who may not know anyone except the mama-to-be, it's always fun to play some games, meet new people and celebrate this wonderful time in your loved one's life. I am so grateful for my friends and family who went above and beyond with gifts, decorations and their support. 

For more great ideas for your baby shower click here for our Pinterest page where we did the research for you. Don't forget to subscribe to this blog and like/follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter. Congratulations on the newest soon to be member of your family!

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Silence the Negative Nellies; A Destination Wedding Guide

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How to Silence the Negative Nellies; A Destination Wedding Guide

 

Fiji, Cabo San Lucas, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Iceland. These are just a few of the many beautiful and exquisite destinations that engaged couples plan to wed at. The desire to get married abroad is a trending theme and wildly growing in popularity. Some people however, don't care for this new idea. They would rather the happy couple tie the knot close to all of their family and friends or in their hometown church. New ideas and changes to the social norms tend bring negative nellies out of the wood work and can make you feel horrible about your wedding decisions. Planning a destination wedding won't be without it's ups and downs, but I can help in avoiding some of the worry factors surrounding it.

  1. Safety- I think one of the main concerns of family and friends who want to attend their loved one's destination wedding is "how safe is it?" This all depends on the location you chose. Make sure you look into the crime stats and news from the area you are interested in getting married at. You don't want to have your guests fearing for their safety in a bad part of town or in an area where it's known for it’s rise in crime. You can provide comfort to your guests by letting them know you have spoken to the local authorities and the area you are requesting is reasonably safe.
  2. Guest Expenses- Wedding etiquette dictates that the guests pay for all of their travel costs. These costs include airfare, lodging and food. They should also pay for any added excursions they choose to go on while they are at the wedding destination. Some of your invited guests may not be able to attend due to these costs or time they have to spend traveling. I have spoken to several brides who said this was a major setback for them. While they want their family and friends to attend, they prefer to have their destination wedding- which is the wedding of their dreams. There are two ways to go about this: 
    1. Live stream the wedding and air it at a specific venue in your home town so all of your family and friends can view the wedding festivities for afar. This allows you to still have your destination wedding and hopefully will reduce the amount of hurt feelings.
    2. Host a reception for all your loved ones when you get back from the wedding. This way they can celebrate with you and still feel a part of the wedding memory making.
  3. Wedding Party Expenses: Being in the wedding party can get pretty expensive if you're in a wedding where you have to travel. The wedding party will have to pay for their attire, airfare, lodging, gifts, bachelor/bridal parties and any other expenses that arise. If you have a member of the wedding party that cannot pay for all of these expenses, you might want to pay for an item to help them out. Just remember, what you do for one, you need to do for all. Let's say you've paid for the bridesmaids’ attire but one of them is still complaining that they cannot afford to go and are demanding you pay for all the other expenses. As much as you want them in your wedding, I know this may not be feasible. Even if you do decide to pay for this persons way, other wedding party members might catch wind of this and demand you do the same for them as well. To avoid a mutiny, just tell that person "I am so sorry but we cannot afford to do this. We really want you to be a part of our big day but understand if you cannot afford to do so."
  4. Questioning who pays- Some guests may question if the bride and groom are paying their way to the wedding after receiving their invite. To avoid this confusion, insert a saying such as "Some options you might like to consider for airfare and lodging is ......... These sites have reasonable and competitive prices."  Make a short list to include sites that offer competitive fees for airfare and lodging so your guests have an easier job of researching and booking their travel plans. You will also need to state when you want to know who is able to attend so you can book a large enough venue and order enough food for the wedding.
  5. Unwanted Honeymoon guests- Having a destination wedding with all your friends and family which were able to attend is a great way to celebrate your nuptials. However, it's not a ton of fun if they tag along on your honeymoon. How to avoid this is pretty simple. You can change hotels/resorts after the wedding so you aren't bumping into family in the lobby each day. You can also tell everyone goodbye after the wedding so they know you are going off to enjoy your honeymoon, just the two of you. 
  6. Holiday Weddings- Just don't. Holiday weddings, especially destination weddings during the holidays, are not joyous for quite a few people. This means they (if they can afford to attend) would have to give up their holiday traveling to someplace they wouldn't normally go and possibly have to give up their family traditions to celebrate your wedded bliss. Their holiday would no longer be a holiday.

I hope these tips have helped you in some way. If you have some tips on how you handled a stressful situation with your destination wedding we would love to hear about it.

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The Complete Guide to Your Destination Wedding Trends for 2017

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The Complete Guide to Your Destination Wedding Trends for 2017

"Sandy toes and salty kisses, please join us as we become Mr and Mrs in Puerto Rico!"

Destination Weddings are becoming more and more popular among brides and grooms. Couples are opting out of the larger weddings to save money and have a wedding that they will never forget. This year's destination weddings are proving to be "outside the box" and Here's why:

  1. Weddings are no longer a one day celebration. Couples are using the money that they saved from having a destination wedding to pay for tourist excursions for their guests to enjoy as thank you's.
  2. Cruises are becoming more and more popular as the couple and their guests can spend several days or more having fun at sea. All their food, lodging and events on board are covered by one flat fee. The happy couple will only have to pay a flat fee for a wedding package, will be wed on the ship before it sets sail and then honeymoons on the cruise.
  3. Canada, Italy, Iceland and Ireland are quickly becoming the go to locations for weddings as couples are tired of the typical locations such as Mexico and Hawaii.
  4. Weddings are moving away from the usual beach themes and are being held on sky terraces, gazebos and other unique locations that may overlook the beach or some amazing scenery. 
  5. Brides and Grooms seem to be annoyed by the marriage license laws that some countries have and the requirements surrounding them. They are now having symbolic weddings instead of worrying about the legal side of marriage. They may decide to have a quick court house wedding in their hometown to obtain a marriage license after or before their wedding ceremony.
  6. One trend that makes me very happy to see is the use of private estates or smaller boutique hotels. This trend gives the "backyard wedding" feel while on destination.
  7. As mentioned in our post from Monday we discussed brides utilizing local vendors for their wedding plans. This is not only a smart move budget wise, but local vendors have more knowledge of their area and items that can be used.
  8. Maps are being given to guests. These maps are marked with the bride and grooms favorite spots that their guests can visit while not attending wedding festivities.
  9. Invitations are more creative than ever. Some invites resemble passports while others look like plane tickets or are adorned with the countries scenic flare.
  10. Guests are receiving amazing favors. Instead of your usual candle or candy satchel favors, couples are handing out local trinkets or souvenirs as goody bags for their guests.

We hope this post helped you in deciding what trends you may want to follow for your destination wedding!If you spot a new trend or had a destination wedding we would love to hear all about it! Please feel free to send us photos and your comments using our contact us page. Don't forget to subscribe to our site and follow/like us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. 

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Why you should plan a destination wedding!

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Why you should plan a destination wedding!

"A Wedding is a party, not a performance. If at the end of the day you are married to the one you love, then everything went perfectly."

A Wedding is a joyous celebration of two people madly in love, joining together as one in holy matrimony. There are many cultures that celebrate their nuptials differently, but they all have the same result; a happily married couple. Every little girl dreams of her big day. What she will wear, the type of flowers she will have, who her bridesmaids will be and possibly what she imagines her groom will look like. That moment she is an adult and gets asked those four very important words, "Will you marry me" is like the start to a dream coming true.

Once you're engaged it's time to start the planning. You pick a budget, set a date and then discuss locations. Should you have a backyard wedding? Maybe a wedding in your hometown church is best? Sometimes the venue you've chosen doesn't have an availability for the date you want, so, what do you do? Change the date or the venue? I suggest changing the venue. Weddings can be very stressful to plan and can put a major strain on your wallet. Would you prefer a wedding that is relaxing, beautiful and most of the work is done for you? Then  a destination wedding is the best option for you. Especially if the destination spot is someplace that holds great significance to your relationship.

Destination weddings have their pro's and con's like any wedding but are still a wonderful option to consider. I have taken the liberty to list those pros and cons for you and as you will see, the pros far outweigh the cons.

Pros:

  1. Beautiful Destination: You can pick a beautiful destination like Hawaii, Fiji or maybe Jamaica. You don't have to travel far to have a destination wedding either. If you live in Virginia, you could travel to New York or Pennsylvania for example. 
  2. It holds great significance: Certain locations may hold a great significance to you and your fiance and would be a great spot to tie the knot. For example- if you first met while on vacation in Puerto Rico or you became engaged in Hawaii. Tying the knot at that special place would make your day that much more memorable.
  3. Already in your honeymoon location: If you did a destination wedding you could just stay the week for your honeymoon. You can usually obtain discounts for booking a longer reservation.
  4. Ready made theme: Planning a wedding and picking a theme is daunting. Destination weddings allow you to take it easy because your theme is already set within your destination.
  5. Less Expensive: Destination weddings are typically less expensive. Especially if you purchase the Wedding Packages offered. 
  6. Possible Discounts: You may obtain possible discounts for reserving a certain number of rooms for you and your guests at the same hotel. 
  7. Heavy lifting is done for you: Most of the wedding planning is done for you by the wedding planners and resort staff. You will just need to express what you want, check in from time to time, and finalize everything once your there. You may also want to plan a trip during the planning process to make sure everything you are requesting is being fulfilled. Just make sure to add this extra trip into your budget.
  8. Family drama: Having a wedding a ways away from family means you won't have all that family drama. Mainly because not all of your family and friends will be able to afford flights and will therefore have to miss your wedding. Just think, you'll miss your aunts rude comments oh how puffy your dress is, your uncle's weird hugs hello and your families judgmental stares at your new in-laws. This results in a smaller guest list- which brings us to #9.
  9. Fewer guests: Yes you may have fewer guests than you'd probably like, but you will be getting married in a great location and fewer guests means a smaller wedding; which means less money spent on food for the guests, etc.
  10. Guests pay their own way: You don't have to pay for your guests to fly to your wedding. This is something they will need to budget for. Just make sure that those whom are able to attend book their flights and let you know in advance so rooms can be reserved in a timely manner. You might be able to get them a discount by booking the reservations in bulk.

Now the cons:

  1. Difficulty planning long distance: Some brides have complained that it is difficult to plan long distance. The solution to this is planning a trip out to the venue once or twice before the wedding to make sure that everything you are asking for is what you'll be receiving. 
  2. Legal issues: Marriage license legalities vary in different states and countries. Some countries require you to live there for 6 weeks before obtaining a marriage license. Others require blood tests. Make sure to check the laws in regards to marriage licenses before fully deciding on the location for your destination wedding.
  3. Has to be a smaller wedding: Again some of your guests may not be able to attend due to money or travel issues. They might even be required (if the wedding will be out of country) to obtain a passport.
  4. Hurt feelings: I have spoken to a few brides who said that they have family members who are hurt that they can't attend the wedding due to travel and money issues. This is something you may run into but always remember it's your wedding day- not theirs. You can always live stream the wedding so that family and friends who couldn't afford to attend can still be apart of the nuptials from afar.
  5. Honeymoon crashers: Having a destination wedding and a honeymoon at the same location may mean sharing your honeymoon with your family and friends. You might want to plan activities for your family members so that they can do their own thing while you and your love bug enjoy some quality alone time.
  6. Extra luggage: You may need to purchase extra luggage tickets for the flight home due to wedding decor, souvenirs and gifts you'll be receiving.
  7. Weather: If you are planning your wedding in a specific month, make sure it isn't during hurricane season. This could put a damper on the festivities or cancel them all together.

Destination weddings in my opinion are a wonderful way to get married. I honestly wish I was able to have been married in Hawaii or Italy instead. If you are interested in planning a destination wedding I have a few tips to help you along with your budget and planning ventures.

  1. Factor in accessibility for guests: You will need to figure the costs for travel, flights (including connections and layovers), hotel and food for your guests to and from their location. This will allow them to book their flights in a timely manner and save for the trip early on. 
  2. Marriage License: Always check the laws for marriage licenses where you are getting hitched. You don't want to show up the week of your wedding, get married and then find out that you're not really married because you didn't follow the laws for the marriage license.
  3. WEDDING PACKAGES: I put this in all caps because I strongly believe you will save time, money, and stress if you hire a wedding planner through a wedding package. A wedding package can include flowers, location, food, cake, photography and entertainment. You will be responsible for your wedding attire and those of your wedding party as well as thank you gifts for the wedding party.
  4. Weather: Always plan your wedding away from hurricane and tourist seasons. You don't want to get rained out on your wedding day. You also don't want to have to combat tourists for the proper amount of hotel rooms you and your guests will need for the week of your wedding.
  5. Plan ahead of time: Plan ahead of time and pack many of your own items such as toiletries (hair stuff, makeup, etc.). The more personal stuff you pack, the less you'll have to spend time purchasing the week of your wedding.
  6. Get wed during the week: Getting married during the week may be cheaper on a non-peak day and may mean more availability for wedding spots during tourist season.
  7. Save on the extras: You can take off site excursions for your honeymoon or group outings during your wedding week. This may save you more money in the long run. You can even see what packages the hotel you are staying at has available for all the "fun stuff".
  8. Choose local: Choose all local vendors when planning your wedding. Your wedding planner can help you with the best bakers for your cake, florist, photographer, and rentals in the area of your wedding. This helps you save on shipping costs and local might get you a  better discount. If you purchase a wedding package, it just might include most of these vendors in the package already.
  9. Give it the boot: You don't need to provide your guests with favors and gifts. This is something you can cut from the planning. Again this not only saves costs on shipping the items to the location, but also saves you from having to purchase and worry about them at all. If you prefer to purchase thank you gifts, wait till you get back from your honeymoon to give those out. This saves you from having to ship them to the destination wedding site.
  10. Express-ship gifts: Have your guests send their gifts to your home several weeks prior to the wedding. This helps in saving the guests room in their luggage and you don't have to worry about shipping all those gifts home with you. You'll have enough luggage to worry about- wedding decor, souvenirs, and small gifts from guests who don't like to listen. 

"So much of who we are is where we have been"  

William Langewiesche

I hope that wherever you plan to wed, your wedding day is a joyous and memorable occasion. I pray that your special day is beautiful, relaxing and that you're surrounded by your family and friends no matter how big or small the occasion turns out to be.

For more information or ideas for destination weddings click on over to our Pinterest page where we did the research for you. Don't forget to subscribe to this site, follow and like us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

 

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Money Makeover Monday- 3.13.17- To Cake or Not to Cake...

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Money Makeover Monday- 3.13.17- To Cake or Not to Cake...

I apologize for this blog being late. My hand required an additional procedure on Monday, so we decided to push it until today! <3 V

 

To cake or not to cake....

Weddings:

Your wedding cake (or other dessert) is a statement piece on your day. It helps tie everything together and you can really make it representative of you and your partner. The bakers are highly skilled and as such, you pay for their time, ingredients, and also the "up charge" of it being for a wedding. The cake can be so expensive- upwards of $500 sometimes. I am here to help you cut costs without skimping on flavor or design.

  • Minimize- have our baker create a small 2 tier cake for display and cutting and supplement with a sheet cake in the back- this can save you up to 20%/slice. 
  • Supplement- if you still want a 5 or 6 tier cake, have the top tier or two be real and the remaining tiers be made of Styrofoam and supplement with cupcakes, sheet cake, or other desserts.
  • Create your own- have a small single cake created for your head table for you and your partner to cut into and have friends and family assist you in advance crafting sweet treats for your guests. Making homemade desserts can save you as much as 70% on your big day! You can put that additional savings towards your honeymoon or back in your pocket
  • Deconstruct- instead of having the baker stack the tiers for your cake, display the multiple tiers on various cake stands. Not only will this be a unique display, it cuts costs drastically by saving on the baker's time.
  • Buttercream for the win- fondant is two to three times more expensive than buttercream, so an easy way to cut costs is to nix the fondant and opt for buttercream icing. You can do so much with buttercream these days, you won't be sacrificing in design!
  • Shop Around- don't be afraid to branch outside wedding cake vendors- research your local bakeries, crowd source on Facebook for local at home bakers, speak to specialty grocery stores, and even check out your local ethnic bakeries. I promise your guests won't know the difference and you will get the same incredible cake for far less.
  • Floral Decorations- instead of using costly sugar flowers, purchase in season flowers from your florist or a local green house to decorate your cake. Not only will you get a more vibrant and stand-out design, you will save about 75% on the cost!
  • Simplicity is on trend- gone are the days of vanilla or chocolate cake- the options are endless. But... for every added flavor, there's most cost. A less expensive way to add a pop of flavor is to choose a fruit filling or add fruit purees to your dessert table for guests to add to their cake if they choose. You can always choose a special flavor for the top tier that you and your partner can enjoy!
  • Get crafty- there are so many gorgeous cake toppers, but they come at a premium cost. DIY your own cake topper as another way to save money on your cake.
  • Ask questions- when determining the cost of your cake you also have to find out what the cost of delivery is, if there is a cutting fee, if they charge for set-up, etc. Some venues will take care of these things and include it in your rental fee, but you always want to double check so there aren't any last minute surprises.

Birthdays/Other Celebrations:

Many of the same tips apply for birthdays and other celebrations, but there are a few unique things you can do for birthdays/other celebrations.

  • Double-duty- Have your dessert also function as your favor for your guests. Use customized packaging to allow your guests to take home a treat from the event.
  • Sheet cake- Go with the sheet cake! You can purchase a sheet cake from your local supermarket and customize it yourself. Check out Candace's transformation from Thursday to see just how easy and amazing this idea is!
  • Freebies- a lot of bakeries will give your child a free 1st birthday cake! They also have clubs where you get points for every purchase. If you are already buying other items there, save up your points for money off/free cakes for your events!
  • Naked Cake- if your having a child's birthday party, bake the cake or cupcakes, and allow the attendants to decorate their own cupcake or work together to decorate the cake. This is a fun way to make great memories and save a ton of money!
  •  Be unique- you don't have to have a cake- think outside of the box. Krispie treats, cake pops, pie, frozen yogurt, donuts, etc. All of these are things you can do simply and far cheaper than a cake.

I hope these tips will help you when you are planing your event! What is your favorite cost saving idea? Make sure you are following us on Pinterest and are subscribed to our blog for all of our planning tips and tricks.

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Try This! Thursday 3.16.17- Cake Transformation

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Try This! Thursday 3.16.17- Cake Transformation

Have you ever wandered into a bakery and looked at the drastic prices of their beautiful cakes? Pretty steep huh?! I decided to take a regular store bought cake and make it into two different cakes: A birthday and a wedding cake. The way I made these cakes was pretty simple but still takes time to complete. I used a 9"x13" sheet cake with white buttercream icing that I purchased from a grocery store. After I was finished with the cake, it was a small double layered cake. Here's how I did it:

  Birthday cake:

 Wedding Cake:

Wedding cakes can be pretty expensive these days. Especially if you are trying to have a small wedding but still want to have a beautiful cake. I took that same Lucky cake and transformed it into a wedding cake. This cake is rather small but can be used on top of another cake as a top tier.

Whether you decide to have a baker make your wedding cake or you choose to do it yourself, make sure your cake is a reflection of you. 

For more do it yourself ideas for cakes, check out our Pinterest page. Make sure you subscribe to this blog and follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter!

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Watch-Out Wednesday 3.15.17- Save the Cake

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Watch-Out Wednesday 3.15.17- Save the Cake

"Hi, Victoria! I wanted to let you know that Bobby and I can make the party next weekend, but I'm dairy-free because of my son's allergy"
"I'm so glad you can come, Ashley! No worries, there are tons of food options that don't include dairy and we can let Jason know and he can cook your burger on foil separately so it doesn't get near the spray."
"Oh thanks Victoria! I love cake and you always make the prettiest cakes, so I'm looking forward to eating that too. Gotta go, bye!"

Oh no..... the cake!!!!!!

This week, I want to talk about ways to make your desserts for your celebrations allergen friendly. As a Mom who has a child with severe dairy and soy allergies, I know what it's like to have to cut it all out of your diet and being afraid every where you go. Of course it's not mandatory to provide allergen friendly food, but if you know you have a close friend or family member with food allergies, it's always nice to make sure they have a safe food option if you can, and who doesn't love dessert?

Some of the most common food allergies are to dairy, soy, and tree nuts. A common misconception is that cutting out milk solves a dairy issue, which is actually not the case. There are so many hidden items that contain dairy, so a great resource is Kelly Mom- she spells out all of the hidden dairy items and even gives you samples of items that may contain milk protein. Soy is also something you find in many food items you would never expect. Kids with Food Allergies has a very comprehensive list of things to avoid.

First, lets look at some options you have to provide allergen-friendly dessert options.

You also have the option to make the dessert yourself to ensure the safety of your guest(s) and prevent cross-contamination.

Here are just a few links to some amazing recipes and great substitution ideas:

Being allergen friendly can be as easy and inexpensive as purchasing a Duncan Hines cake mix and mixing with a can of soda or other ingredients you likely have on hand!

While being allergen-friendly is certainly not a must, I can tell you from experience, it is most appreciated!!

What's your favorite allergen friendly dessert? Share in the comments below. Don't forget to check out our Pinterest page for more amazing allergen friendly dessert ideas!

 

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Trendy Tuesday 3.14.17- Trending Cakes for 2017

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Trendy Tuesday 3.14.17- Trending Cakes for 2017

"A party without cake is just a meeting".

Julia Styles

Cake is my favorite dessert. I could eat it morning, noon and night. It's also one of the go-to desserts for most celebrations. Like wedding gowns and party themes, cakes have evolved. They are now more intricate in design and have a plethora of flavor combinations. 2017 is already proving to be an amazing year for these decadent treats. 

Weddings

At this years weddings you will see a great deal of:

Wedding cakes are not only changing in style, they are also transforming their flavors. There are a slew of flavor combinations to choose from and none of them are going out of style any time soon. If there's a combination you can think up, I'm sure a baker would be more than happy to create it for you.

Birthdays

Cakes are delicious and amazing works of art. You name it, bakers can make it. Cakes now a days can move, blow smoke, spit fire, and I have even seen some hang upside down. I have seen some masterpieces that you wouldn't believe was even a cake. Whatever style cake you want, talk to your local baker about how to go about creating it. I hope this trends post has helped you decide what type of cake you would like. For more trending styles check out our Pinterest page.  Now go and enjoy some sugary goodness.

Please don't forget to subscribe to this site and follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter!  

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Try This! Thursday- 3.9.17 DIY Wedding Gown Sash

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Try This! Thursday- 3.9.17 DIY Wedding Gown Sash

Congratulations on your engagement!!

Now it's time to go searching for that perfect gown. The one that makes you feel like a million bucks. The very dress that makes you swell with tears and get all giddy inside. You set your budget, get your gal pals together and head to the bridal store. You try on several dresses and have a blast with your friends. You eventually find the dress you want. It's the one you've always dreamed of, but, it's lacking something. It needs a touch of sparkle, pizzazz or flare. 

There are several ways in which you can add to your gown to make it more extravagant. You could add a broach, embroider beads into it, add more lace, or tie a sash around the waist. I personally love the sash idea. It's something that you can easily take off and switch out later. 

Sashes are something you can make yourself as well. I recently went out to see what the stores had to offer in the way of items to make for a bridal gown sash. Creativity got a hold of me and I came up with three different ideas.

Sash #1:

What you'll need-

  • fishing line (not pictured)
  • needle (not pictured)
  • ribbon
  • earrings
  • hair barrettes
  • burlap bow
  • broach
  • hot glue gun/glue sticks (not pictured)

I took the backs and rod off the earrings, the clip off the barrette, and cleaned up the burlap bow. Next, I sewed (using the fishing line and needle) the broach into the center of the burlap bow. Now I was ready to assemble. I placed my items on the ribbon in the order which I wanted it. I then sewed into place each item with the fishing line and needle. Once done, I then hot glued another piece of ribbon on the back to cover the fishing line which added extra security to keeping the decor in place. This was a super easy project- other than burning my fingers with the hot glue gun. I would like to warn you, sewing with fishing line is never easy. It is a little hard to keep on the needle and even harder to tie it off.

Sash #2

You will need:

  • fishing line (not pictured)
  • needle (not pictured)
  • hot glue gun/glue sticks (not pictured)
  • ribbon
  • 2 head bands
  • 2 barrettes

Cut your ribbon to length making sure you have enough to tie it off in the back when wearing it. Now, cut the black backing off of the head bands so all that's left is the top decorative pieces. Take off the backing (barrette) piece of the flower barrette and then place on ribbon in the order you want it. Next, sew into place and then hot glue an additional piece of ribbon to the back.

The 3rd Sash

You will need:

  • 2 sets of earrings
  • 2 headbands 
  • ribbon
  • hot glue gun/glue sticks (not pictured)
  • fishing line (not pictured)
  • needle (not pictured)

Follow all the same directions as the other sashes. Make sure to take the backing and rods off the earrings and cut the elastic ends off the headbands. 

You can always add beads, diamonds, broaches, and anything else you want that would make your sash unique. Check out our Pinterest board for more ideas which we have collected for you!

For more DIY ideas or other blog posts, subscribe and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest

 

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How to Properly Handle Your Wedding Gown- Watch out Wednesday 3.8.17

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How to Properly Handle Your Wedding Gown- Watch out Wednesday 3.8.17

Picture this- You're in your favorite gown. You know the one?! The dress that cost you a fortune that you'll only wear this one day. Your hair and makeup is done, you have your bouquet in hand and your just about to walk down then aisle when... Gasp!! You notice a dark smudge mark on the front of your dress! Oh no! You can't walk down the aisle with that! It'll show up in every picture and instead of people noticing your beautiful dress, they'll be staring at this annoying disaster on your beautiful gown!

Fear Not!!

We have some easy ways to avoid and fix these types of gown mishaps. Just follow our simple instructions and your dress will be perfect when you walk down that aisle! 

To avoid these mishaps you MUST treat your dress like you went broke buying it. Let's face it- you almost did right?!

1. When purchasing your dress, make sure it fits perfectly and then leave it at the boutique until 48 hours before the wedding. Ask the store to steam or iron the dress for you- rule of thumb- always let the professionals do the work you are uncertain with.

2. It's 48 hours before your wedding and you have picked up your dress. Now what? Store the priceless gown in a room where it will not be disturbed. Take it out of the bag so it can breathe, hang it up, and if you'd like, place a very thin lightweight sheet over the dress to keep it dust free. 

3. When handling the dress it's always best to keep your hands freshly washed and dried. You don't want to take a chance of getting any spots on it. I suggest purchasing and having anyone who touches the gown, wear white gloves to keep from getting dirty finger marks on white satin. Your friends may want to touch it as they ooh and aah over it. Don't let your friends with fresh manicures or dark colored nail polish to handle the fabric. Their polish may rub off onto the dress creating an unwanted stain.

4. Should a stain or smudge mark happen to appear, don't touch it yourself. If there is time, take it to a professional to have cleaned. Whatever you do, DO NOT RUB IT!  You will rub the stain further into the fabric making it that much harder to remove.

5. On the big day, try to hold your flowers away from your dress. Rubbing your bouquet against your dress can leave green/yellow smear marks that more than likely will ruin your photos.

6. Always keep emergency supplies on hand. These supplies help you to alter, remove or fix any thing that may happen to your Cinderella dress on the day of your wedding. Supplies you will need to include:

  • Needle and thread
  • Lint brush
  • Spot treatment liquids
  • Safety pins
  • Chalk/Baby powder
  • Cotton swabs/q-tips
  • Hairspray
  • Fabric paint the color of the dress
  • Clear nail polish
  • baking soda/corn starch

Just Breathe!! It will be OK!!

Should you mistakenly ruin your dress (I use that word lightly- it will be OK!) there are ways you can try to fix the issue. I do stress however, that you try a professional cleaner first (if there is time). You need to make sure that you know what fabric your gown is made of. Knowing this helps you get rid of stains easier. 

  1. If you happen to spill coffee, tea or other water soluble stains on your gown try this: Very gently DAB the spot with cool water, or club soda, and let it air dry. Rubbing the stain hard will damage the finish of your gown.
  2. You decided to touch up your makeup but dropped your lipstick and watched in horror as it rolls down the side of your dress. For lipsticks, grease and other types of cosmetics- try dry solvents. Again don't rub and always try to cover your dress while doing makeup touch-ups just to avoid these types of accidents.

  3. Your smudge wont come out? Try covering it up. You can always use chalk, baby powder, corn starch, fabric paint, white out or baking soda. There is no guarantee this will work but it's always worth a try. 

  4. Remove pesky wrinkles with a hair dryer or hand steam press. DO NOT iron straight on the fabric. If you have a dress that you have to iron with, dry iron. Don't use the water or steam from the iron as it will leave marks. Your best bet to using a dry iron is putting a piece of non-coated tissue paper  or thin cloth between the fabric and the iron. 

  5. Silk is such a beautiful fabric, however, it can be tricky to iron. Never steam silk as it will make it wrinkle like crazy.

  6. Last piece of advice- When the bride is wearing her gown, do not try to steam or hot air dry the wedding gown. There is a potential of burning the bride and that is not something you would want to happen on her big day.

When all else fails, try to ignore the mishaps and focus on the magic and love being celebrated that day. 

Don't forget to subscribe to our site and like us on facebook, pinterest, instagram, and twitter. 

 

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Trendy Tuesday- Bridal Attire- The "Must Haves" for 2017/2018

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Trendy Tuesday- Bridal Attire- The "Must Haves" for 2017/2018

We've seen it all come and go- poofy sleeves, lace, no lace, beads, no beads, low-cut, high-cut, white, blue... trends come and trends go, but they always come back in fashion. The must have trends for 2017/2018 are no exception and I think you will see a trend from almost every era back this next year. What's so exciting about that is there is something for just about everyone in these trends.

Bridal Attire Trends:

  • Forget the dress- bridal suits and even beautiful corset tops with pants are all the fashion this year. You can buy them from the most common bridal boutiques all the way up to the highest fashion houses. This look is stunning on any bride and is a unique way to put your stamp on your big day.
  • Off the shoulder- an off the shoulder gown can be sweet and flirtatious or make a serious statement. You can pair the off the shoulder with sleeves or a caplet and really make it your own.
  •  Statement piece- speaking of adding a caplet, you can also add a cape and not only be on trend, but also draw all eyes to you as you walk to your partner. You can go from delicate to bold with your choices, it's all up to you.
  • Go Nude- we all know blue and blush were recent favorite color choices for gowns, but this year, it's all about the nude. It pairs beautifully with the simplistic features we are seeing in the wedding decor and also with the more casual attire you are seeing for men.
  • 70's child- bell sleeves are back! Made trendy and modern with net fabric or ethereal with layers of silk and tulle- bell sleeves are beautiful and flattering. Pair them with an off the shoulder cut, and you will be sure to wow all of your guests!
  • Fish net?- fear not, we aren't actually suggesting you use fish net (though you could!), but gowns inspired by fish net patterns or with net pattern details are all the rage this wedding season. You can incorporate it more subtlety in a open "v" on your back or go for it with an all-over look. The net fabric design is sure to draw many compliments this year!
  • Low, low, lower- it's ALL about the low cut back this year. No worries if the idea of low cut makes you nervous (I'm looking at you, pink thong), because it's paired this year with illusion details to keep it in place and soften the look. You can make this trend sexy and sultry or very dainty- it's all up to you!
  • Not just from behind- the deep "v" is getting a makeover in the front of gowns as well. Paired with sheer fabric to keep everything in place and add a bit of cover, it's the perfect combination for those who want to add some drama without exposing it all.
  • Picture perfect- combining that deep "v" on the front or the back of your gown or suit with some strategically placed details will add an alluring touch to your gown. The sheer fabric combined with the details in just the right place will make sure you are covered up, but showing off your figure as well.
  • Cross- cross back details made from lace, thin satin, or even ribbon in a corset design are a hot trend in gowns and suits. You can pair the cross back with a deep v to make it more subtle or add additional coverage. 
  • Show me the shoes- tea length is back on trend and we are so excited about this trend! It's beautiful, soft, and romantic- perfect for late spring or summer weddings. You can also utilize the tea length trend in suits by shortening the pants to a capri length. It also gives you a chance to show off your amazing shoes!
  • Just enough- simple. clean. elegant. Minimalist gowns are popping up from every designer and we love them. Some Brides aren't interested in a lot of detail and picture very clean gowns. There are so many to choose from now and we also love that you can take these gowns and really make them your own with an added detail or pop of color if you choose.

Something to keep in mind though is that trends are just that- trends. You need to be true to who you are and rock whatever makes you feel alive, beautiful, and most like yourself. Hopefully this helps give you a place to start though and gives you a few new ideas to add to your list when you are going to look for your dream outfit.

Want to know how to budget for your wedding attire? Check out yesterday's post. Make sure you are subscribed to us to get all of our ideas for every celebration as we post and also are following us on all of our social medias to get little extras every week! Our pinterest page today features several attire suggestions to go with each trend, so make sure to check it out for more ideas!

 

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Money Makeover Monday- 3.6.17- Wedding Attire

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Money Makeover Monday- 3.6.17- Wedding Attire

Many brides dream of their wedding day- the love of their life, the location, the friends and family, the I do- and the attire. Oh the attire. Tulle, lace, sparkle, silk... everyone has their own style, but we can all agree we want to feel and look beautiful on our special day, so paying extra attention to our style for that day is important.

When you talk about beauty and style, you immediately see dollar signs. Did you know that on average a wedding gown in 2017 will cost $1,600?! Add in the veil, alterations, undergarments, and accessories, and you are around $2,100. Some Brides have the means to spend far more and there is nothing wrong with getting the gown/suit of your dreams, but I am here to help you get your dream wedding attire on a budget.

Once you've narrowed down what you picture yourself in and your style, it's time to go shopping.

You have a multitude of options, so I am going to first list the options and their pros and cons.

  •  Chain Bridal Attire Retailer- Great for 1st time shopping to narrow down style
    • Pros- plethora of designers and styles, wide price range, in house alterations, sells accessories
    • Cons- in house alterations, chain store (not unique), limited to what they have (can't have designer make changes to match your wishes)
    • Budget- $$-$$$
  • Private Bridal Attire Retailer- Perfect if you want a specific designer/style
    • Pros- style and price point specific, defined collections, unique styles, individualized experience
    • Cons- Smaller collections, difficulty with specialty/rushed orders (depending upon boutique), may not have accessories/alterations
    • Budget- $$S-$$$$
  • Trunk shows- Ideal for those who want a specific designer
    • Pros- limited selection to make it easier, can leave with dress/suit same day, only seeing what you are interested in, sample dresses = cheaper price
    • Cons- limited quantities, may not have accessories, no alterations available, sample items may have flaws
    • Budget- $$-$$$$
  • Online Vendors- Budget friendly option for everyone (IE. Etsy)
    • Pros- custom items, unique design, custom fit, budget friendly, one-on-one service
    • Cons- can't try on in advance, no accessories, longer turn-around
    • Budget- $$-$$$$
  • Budget Finds- For the crafty, those with a seamstress friend, and a longer timeline Facebook Marketplace, Thrift Stores, Yard sales
    • Pros- Most budget friendly, , can completely customize and alter attire, can often get styles out of circulation that are brand new donated by stores
    • Cons- May not be able to alter due to previous alterations, may have stains/tears, limited options (sizing and style)
    • Budget- $

So now that you have options for where to buy, what are some other tips to keep things in budget?

  • Shop EARLY- some gowns can take up to ten months to come in, so don't be afraid you are shopping too soon. I bought my dress 15 months before my wedding and am so grateful I did, I was able to get it in time to get alterations "done", realize they weren't actually done, and have it corrected before my wedding without (too much) stress.
  • Take your time- don't be afraid to shop at many stores and multiple kinds. Don't buy the first dress or suit you find- really make sure you are in love. Every bride wants to feel beautiful, confident, and like herself- so don't rush into a purchase. Some salons and boutiques will really push you to buy today, but if you aren't ready to commit, there's no rush.
  • Deals- don't be afraid to ask for discounts- maybe you can get a discount for buying your bridal party their attire at the same store or maybe there is a Military discount if you or your fiance are in the armed forces. Also, if you are buying from a brick and mortar store, pay attention to their sale schedule. A lot of stores will offer sales in November and December prior to the start of the new wedding season, so you have a really good chance of scoring a major deal in the wedding "off-season".
  • Something borrowed- maybe you spent a little more on your attire of choice than you planned- but you can save money on accessories like jewelry and veil by borrowing from a loved one or friend. Not only will you save money, but you can have a piece or multiple pieces from those you love to complete your ensemble for your special day.
  • Get a 2nd opinion- maybe you have a friend who is a handy seamstress or an Aunt who is super crafty and can create the sash of your dreams. Don't be afraid to get your alterations done somewhere else or even have unique pieces crafted elsewhere for your attire. A lot of shop's alterations are expensive- my dress was $950. But I (naively) didn't source out for alterations and ended up spending over $600 for alterations (that weren't even done- horror story for another day). DON'T BE LIKE ME!!! Shop around.
  • Sell/Donate- you can also sell or donate your attire after your wedding to recoup some of the cost or at least get a tax write-off at the end of the year. There are some amazing organizations that do everything from outfit brides facing terminal illness to create gowns for babies born sleeping. 
  • Re-purpose- my wedding gown is having the train cut off as we speak to create a Christening gown for my son. I will also keep the dress to wear for our 10-year vow renewal in a few years. I'm saving money on a dress for that occasion and a Christening gown which is a win-win. You can also save it for photos with your children as they grow, turn it in to bunting for a bassinet or crib, or create throw pillows for your bed from sections of your gown or suit.

As I said, the most important thing is that you feel exactly how you pictured you would on your special day. With a little planning you can achieve that and stay in budget, which will make you feel even better!

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Try This! Thursday- 3.2.17 DIY Funeral Memory Guest Book

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Try This! Thursday- 3.2.17 DIY Funeral Memory Guest Book

Life. It passes us by so quickly. One moment we're coming into this world, we share all sorts of memorable experiences with family and friends, and then we pass away. Our lives may one day end, but our memories will forever live on in our lived ones. The best way I can think of to keep those memories alive forever, would be a guest memory book.

A Guest Memory Book is a guest book in which photos and stories of the beloved are placed by the guests attending the funeral or reception. This is a very simple and wonderful way to preserve those great experiences your loved one had with all those whose lives they've touched. On the date of passing every year, you and your family could pull the book out and read some of the entries as a way to remember and honor the deceased. 

To make this kind of book you need to ask those attending the funeral or reception to bring with them a photo of themselves along with the dearly departed. When guests arrive, have the book (or you could have multiple books to keep the line moving more swiftly) laid out on a table in the foyer. If you have multiple books and all the pages aren't filled by the end of the ceremony, add in your own stories and photos or simply remove the pages. You could even move all the pages into one book.

You will need:

  • Picture book which allows you to write in it. (Michael's scrapbook would work best- they usually cost $10-25)
  • Double sided scrapbook tape
  • Pens- You could do different colored pens to make it easier to differentiate the different writing excerpts
  • White out tape - in case someone makes a mistake with their writing
  • scissors- in the event someone would like to to make their photo smaller to fit
  • Trash can or bucket for paper scraps
  • Sign- stating what the books are for and directions on what to do.

This is such a great way to keep those memories alive and a fun way to look back over your loved ones life. You may be surprised at some of the stories you will read and might get a few chuckles out it.

For more ideas on planning for a funeral celebration subscribe to our blog. Don't forget to like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and Twitter and get more ideas on our Pinterest page.

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Watch Out Wednesday- 3.1.17 Funerals- Putting the Pieces Together

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Watch Out Wednesday- 3.1.17 Funerals- Putting the Pieces Together

In continuation of our discussion about planning End of Life Celebrations this week, I thought today it was important to continue our conversation from yesterday about the complications that arise when planning.

As I mentioned, the emotional toll losing a loved one adds to planning a service can be overwhelming and all consuming. I know too many people who look back on a service for their loved one and regret not including certain things or not having other people involved. 

While it's not a particularly enjoyable conversation to have, discussing your wishes for your end of life celebration is so important. Having these conversations with your partner or family and getting your directives in writing will allow your family to celebrate your life without the added stress of trying to ensure they honor your memory in a way you would be proud of.

Here are some tips for conversations to have:

1) DNR- this is one of the more difficult parts to discuss, but you need to lay out what your wishes are in regards to medical intervention. I've been involved with family while they were making these decisions because there was no directive and watching them have to make decisions was so difficult. Discuss what kind of interventions you would want and also a time frame you wish for them to try to stabilize you. While every situation is different and there is no cut-and-dry answer for every situation, having a general guideline will make these decisions far easier for your loved ones.

2) Draft a Will- this takes time and careful consideration depending upon your marital status, family situation, and assets and it will likely change over time. It's never to early to draft a will and then just update it as events arise that necessitate a change. You can use simple websites like Legal Zoom, retain a lawyer, or even write it out and have it notarized. Make sure you let several family members or friends know where they can find your will. You have the option to give them sealed, notarized copies to hold on to, but that can be tricky in certain family situations, so do what feels right for your situation.

3) Cremation or Burial- you have the ability to pay into a funeral expense account immediately or even pay off an entire service and burial in advance. If you have the assets to do so, this makes the final planning so much less burdensome for your loved ones. One of the first steps in that process is determining if you wish to be cremated or buried. You can reach out to various cemeteries and funeral homes to determine pricing of both options and decide what is most important for you. If you do wish to be cremated, you can direct what should be done with your ashes. Some people opt to have them scattered, some want to have their ashes buried or placed in a family vault, or some wish them to be distributed among family members. There are some truly unique options as well- having a small amount of your ashes given to family members to be used to create ink for tattoos, you can have them incorporated into fireworks, or even used to help construct coral reefs. The options are endless, so I am including an article with links to various resources if you wish to be cremated.  If you wish to be buried, you can pre-determine all of your selections and also purchase a cemetery plot.

4) Memorial Plans- do you want a funeral in a church? Do you want a quiet gathering with a burial on your property? Do you want to forgo the visitations and funerals and have a party instead? You have an opportunity to arrange your final send off in a way that honors your memory and your life in any way you choose. Based on your family situation and your wishes, it may be best to write a very detailed plan- you may also wish to lay out only the basics and allow your loved ones to add their own touches. Either way, make sure you express what is important to you. It will be so helpful to your friends and family after you pass to have a direction to proceed with. 3 common rules of thumb to use when planning a service are that you want the service to show how much they will be missed, showcase the life of the person, and showcase how many people loved and cherished them. In other words, you want to consider the gestures and touches in and around the service that show how much they were loved, items/songs/spoken word that define the person's life, and lastly, the pictures/tokens/and inclusion of all of the people who were touched by the loved one's life. It's a little hard to consider all 3 of these things when you are talking about yourself. This is where it is helpful to have these conversations with friends and family because they will be able to help make sure all of the important people, moments, and tokens are covered. 

An important add to this topic is the discussion of visitation and open/closed casket if applicable. Whatever your preferences on this topic, it is very important to make them clear. I have seen so many families stressed and angered when making this specific decision, so make sure to include this in your memorial plans.

5) In Memory- you can make a decision to have donations placed in your name, in lieu of flowers or food donations to family, upon your passing. You can choose a charity or organization close to your heart or even establish a scholarship or grant to be overseen by a family member/bank/business. If you wish to create a scholarship or grant, it may be best to visit a local bank or city organization. Grant Space also has some amazing resources to begin the process online. There are so many options when it comes to your legacy, make sure to do research and choose what is right for you.

6) Money- money will tear people apart in life and in death. So many families are left struggling to pay for final expenses when a loved one passes. It's a weight off of you knowing you have provided for your final expenses and it will also be one less thing for your family to worry about as they celebrate you. You can speak to your place of worship, a funeral home of your choosing, or even set up a fund at your bank specifically for final expenses and list it in your will. Your employer may offer final expense insurance, but you can also purchase it privately. You can also add it on to your current life insurance policy. There are many options to make it both affordable and easy for your loved ones to access upon your passing.

7) Executor- choosing the executor can be a difficult decision. Certain family dynamics can make this a difficult decision, as well as unforeseen circumstances that may arise after that person has been chosen. Each situation is very different, but be sure to choose someone you trust without hesitation and you know you can count on to be present, take the lead in planning, and ensure your wishes are followed through on. You can select someone other than your partner to be executor. I know from experience within my own family that choosing an outside person, like a family friend, can be beneficial. It gives the spouse time to grieve and spend time with family without the added stress of being responsible for all of the planning.

Planning your last celebration is difficult and not an easy conversation to have, but I promise, you will find peace in having these plans in place and knowing that your family doesn't have to stress or worry about what decisions to make.

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Tuesday Memories- 2.28.17

Tuesday Memories- 2.28.17

Usually we discuss trends on Tuesday, but we thought while discussing funerals and memorial celebrations, we would take this opportunity to talk about ways to celebrate the life of your loved one.

I think one of the most important things to remember when planning a service is that it should represent your loved one in every way. I know that sounds really simple- but it's often difficult when you factor in grief, emotions, multiple opinions, the loved one's wishes, budget, feasibility, and religious preferences. I wanted to break down a funeral planning checklist and how you can incorporate special touches while keeping in mind the many pieces that go in to planning a funeral.

1) Obituary- Gather all information you wish to include. This is something your loved one may have already put together or they may have a person in mind they wish to write it. If there is not already a plan in place, it is often helpful to gather stories and information from several family members and close friends to include to make sure you don't forget an important piece of information. Items to include: Name, date of birth, location of birth, parents names. Brief description of life achievements- school, career, trade, hobbies, marriage information/partner information, child(ren) names and locations, grandchildren (names and location or number if too large to include names). Brief description of things that made them who they were- activities (IE. chairperson of Church Social Committee for 23 years, President of Golf Association, Raised over $80,000 for Autism awareness, etc). Funeral arrangements- location/time(s) of visitation(s), service location/time, burial/ash spreading location/time (if applicable). If you wish to have donations made in their honor, include the recipient information. In an obituary, it is important to capture their lives and what made them special. Writing an obituary is difficult and emotions can flare during the writing, so keep an unbiased way of writing (IE. list all children in order of age, list all partners/spouses or none at all, etc).  A great resource for help with writing obituaries is Ever Plan

2) Personal effects- Deciding what clothing your loved one should wear and what jewelry or personal items should be included are also difficult. While it is best your loved one make these decisions when possible, it isn't always applicable. Another decision that will need to be made is whether these personal items/jewelry will remain with your loved one or if they will be returned to you. For some families, it works out best to have a family conversation about this specific topic and ask that everyone contribute a personal item to remain with your loved one (a pin, a small token, a letter, etc). For help deciding what personal effects to include, discuss with your family what items come to mind when you think of your loved one and start there.

3) Choosing a Funeral Home- Choosing a funeral home, church, or other venue is also something that can be determined in advance, but if it is not, there are many ways to go about determining a location. Your loved one may have wished to use the same funeral home as their partner or perhaps, they had a favorite location where the services can take place. The important take away is to not be afraid to call around and to not accept the first place that is available. For some tips on budgeting for a funeral and questions to ask when selection a funeral home, refer to our Monday post linked here.

4) Finalizing Services- selecting a casket, deciding upon cremation or burial, selecting a burial plot or location to spread ashes, & viewing and visitation preferences may also be predetermined. If they are not, considering what would be most meaningful to your loved one is important. If they had expressed a wish to be cremated, it is more important to follow their directive than to choose burial based on family wishes. It can be difficult to follow-through on your loved one's wishes because often times you want to do more or feel you can honor them in a better way, but remember- these are their wishes. The funeral home of your choosing will offer many options for finalizing services, but remember, you can organize the arrangements however you wish and do not have to opt for a "package" just because it's available. The FTC has a Funeral Rule that makes it illegal for funeral homes to force you to purchase packages- you only need pay for the services you request.

5) Personal Touches- Photos to be displayed, personal items to be out for viewing, guest books, floral arrangements, religious or fraternal considerations, speakers, music, poems, and memorial cards are all personal touches that can be included to make the service special. You can choose to play music by their favorite artist/band, have all of the flowers be in their favorite color, ask various friends and family to speak about their favorite memories or most influential moment with them, utilize some of the items most recognizable from their home to make the funeral home/service location feel more like them, have bags of the loved one's favorite candy for everyone, create a pocket charm for everyone that is a favorite item or meaningful item to your loved one (ie. peony pin, mini replica of a favorite hobby, a mini bottle with a note containing a lyric from a favorite song, etc). 

6) Participants- deciding who will be participating in a service can be difficult and cause a lot of tension in the family. I recommend sitting down with a designated person from each family and discussing how to involve at least one person from each group. You can include people not only as pallbearers, speakers, and ushers, but also as someone in charge of the memory book, someone in charge of greeting friends and family at a luncheon, someone in charge of organizing the special touches, etc. I've been in a situation where I was nearly left out of participating in my Grandfather's service, and we were very close. It was heartbreaking for me, but in the end, my family was able to include me which meant so much. It's hard to step back and consider everyone's feelings at a time like this, but it's important to do the very best you can.

7) Transportation- as Candace discussed on Monday, it's not necessary to have transportation, but it's often a service families are grateful to have. Nobody needs to worry about driving and everyone can focus on spending time together. If your loved one had a favorite car, it might be nice to hire one for transportation to the funeral for their spouse/partner. You could also have the drivers play their favorite music, have little picture books on the seats, or provide their favorite drinks and snacks in the cars.

8) Thank Yous- writing thank-yous after a funeral can actually be a very helpful method of working through your grief and memorializing your loved one. I know from experience that sitting down several days later and writing Thank You's with other family and friends brings up the best stories and memories- you spend time remembering the happy, the silly, the joyful, and every little detail. If you have the ability, including a picture of your loved one with the person you are thanking is a wonderful touch for the recipient. It's also a great time for you and your family to reminisce. 

We are so sorry you find yourself in a time of need for planning a funeral, but we truly hope we can help you make this time in your life more simplified so you can focus on celebrating the memory of your loved one. Please make sure you are Subscribed to our blog for more ideas.