Thursday, December 30, 2010

Your Wedding Priorities

At the beginning of the wedding planning process, make a list of the elements and wedding details that are important to you. Is it important to get married at a specific location? Do you need to have a designer wedding dress? Is a delicious menu at the top of your wish list?

Once you have an idea of the type of wedding you want, ask your fiancĂ© to list his priorities. Remember, it's his wedding too. 

After you have both lists you may want to ask your parents and his if they have any wishes for the wedding too, especially if they are contributing financially.

Pull all the priorities together on to one master list and as you begin to meet and hire wedding vendors, make it clear to them what elements and details you want for your wedding. It'll make it easier for them to see your vision by explaining what you want and what you don't want. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Great Bridal Party Gift Idea

Okay, so not everyone is going to agree with me but even if you don't you'll have to admit that it is a useful gift and something that can be used again and again.

Getting stuck home today wasn't ideal but I had my work computer so I was able to get stuff done.  Unfortunately for some reason I couldn't get a wireless network and had to save files to a USB drive and transfer them to my home computer.

I remember when a USB drive cost a fortune but now they're inexpensive and I get one in the mail or at a press event every week.  Most of them are personalized with a company or product name/logo.

I don't know how expensive the personalization would be, but there are themed USB drives that you can get and give each member of the bridal party a character that they would like.  I've seen Star Wars characters, Hello Kitty, M&Ms, colors, patterns and even one that looks like dog tags.

So while this may not be the bridal party gift that you thought you'd give, it is a gift that your bridesmaids and groomsmen will be able to use again and again -- unlike a flask and jewelry that matches the bridesmaid dress.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

If You Get Engaged On Christmas Eve or Christmas...

Don't forget to call the insurance company, if your fiance hasn't already, to add your engagement ring to your homeowner's policy.

With all the excitement of getting engaged making sure your ring is insured is probably not at the top of your list but it's important that this gets taken care of right away.

The January issues of bridal magazines are hitting stands this weekend if they're not already available so pick up a few and start tearing out pages for ideas.  Visit wedding websites and blogs and bookmark your favorite pages.

Don't think you need to plan everything in the next few days and weeks.  Take your time and enjoy your engagement.  There will be lots of fun bridal events to attend and parties to celebrate your upcoming wedding.

And as for your wedding dress, check your local bridal salons trunk show schedule to see which designers will be popping by with their latest collections.  You may want to wait until salons get the Spring 2011 dresses in before making your appointment because you'll have more to look through and try on.  They should arrive between January and early March.  The Fall 2010 and even Spring 2010 dresses will still be on the floor so you won't miss anything if you wait.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I know Shoesday posts are on Tuesdays and I'm not writing about a specific shoe but the idea of Shoesday in general.

Shoes are fun and they can be fabulous.  Let's face it, how many times have you swooned over a pair of shoes.  I even own a few pairs that I had to have even though they weren't comfortable or were a little too small or too big. (Yes, Dave I'm thinking of those fabulous bubble gum pink Christian Louboutins I had to have and wore maybe once.  They are so fabulous, just a little too small.  And they were on sale!)

Anyway, a lot of bridal salons carry bridal shoes in shades of white and ivory, but your wedding shoes can be in any color.  You're matching them to a white or ivory dress so feel free to add a splash of color to your wedding day look with a colorful pair of "bridal" shoes.  And with a colorful pair you're more likely to wear them again.  I've never worn my wedding day shoes after my wedding day,

I know off the top of my head that the blogs Santa Barbara Chic Blog and Merci New York both write Shoesday posts  but I'm sure there are many others.  Click on the "Shoesday" tags at the end of their most recent posts and you'll find all of their Shoesday content.  You're sure to find some amazing shoes for your wedding day or any day!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Have a Wedding Magazine or Book With You At All Times

I was at the doctor's office today and there was a wait.  A two and a half hour wait.  Boy was I glad that I had a book in my bag to read - William & Kate: A Love Story.  There's no TV in the waiting room and reading magazines that are months old isn't enjoyable after the second one.

While planning your wedding you'll soon learn that there are dozens of wedding books and magazine to flip through for both information and ideas.  It doesn't hurt to keep one on you in case you have time to kill -- on the train, bus, at the doctor's office, waiting for a friend at a restaurant.

You can also download wedding planning podcasts to your iPod and listen to them for wedding planning ideas and tips.  I recommend the Wedding Podcast Network because they have a pretty extensive library that you can download.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Lingerie for Him - Why Not?

Well maybe not something made of lace but satin PJs might be nice.  So many wedding night and honeymoon stories focus on what they bride should (or shouldn't) wear but why can't the groom get dressed in something sexy too?

Either on your wedding night or the night before when you and your groom exchange wedding gifts give him something that you would like to see him wear the night of your wedding.  You can buy him a pair of silk boxer shorts or satin pajamas or a thong if you'd prefer.

And if you really want to get down to details, treat him to a trip to the spa for a mani/pedi and even a wax before the big day.  You can make it a date where each of you get a full body treatment.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Wedding Party Animals

A German magazine just published exclusive photos from Nicole Richie's wedding.  (I found them via Jezabel.)  I'm not commenting about her Marchesa wedding dress or how happy she looks.  This post is about the fact that she had an elephant at her wedding.

Why the bride wanted an elephant at her wedding is something I'm not familiar with but here are some thoughts about having animals or pets at your wedding.

It is not uncommon for a bride and groom to include a family pet - dog, cat, bird - as part of the wedding processional.  No one, I'm assuming, expects their household pets to spend the night on the dance floor.  But it's important that there is someone at the wedding, other than the bride and groom, who is in charge of the pet.  To feed it, walk it, clean up after it and babysit it before, during and after the ceremony.

When it comes to "wild" animals - assuming the elephant at the Richie/Madden wedding sparks a trend - you need to make sure that you have the proper zoning and licensing paperwork to have the animal there and that there are certified animal trainers on hand in case of any accidents or incidents.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bookmark You Favorite Sites

When surfing the Internet for ideas for your wedding it's important to favorite or bookmark pages and sites that you like so that you can easily find them again.  I can't tell you how many times I come across something online and think to myself oh I won't forget that site and of course I never remember it and can't find it again.

While planning your wedding you'll probably be looking for wedding dresses, planning information, style ideas and a zillion other wedding things online.  With a magazine you can simply tear the page out and put it in your organizer but with a website you have to either print out the page and/or save the page.

Make a bookmark folder and label it by category:  wedding dresses, wedding planning, wedding style, etc... and don't be afraid to bookmark any and every site you come across.  It doesn't cost anything and will take up a minimal amount of space on your computer.  It will save you time and stress.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Multiple Wedding Dresses

I read today that Nicole Richie wore three wedding dresses, all by Marchesa, to her wedding this past weekend.  Reception dresses have been popular over the past year where a bride will change either before her wedding reception or at some point during the reception into a shorter, sexier dress.

While I think you should do whatever you want for your wedding I want to encourage you to forgo the second wedding dress and here's why:

Your wedding dress will be the most important fashion purchase and the most expensive fashion purchase you ever make. You should love the wedding dress you buy so much that you don't want to wear any other dress.  And one of the signs that you found "the one" is that you won't want to take it off at the bridal salon.

You can always wear a short, sexy party dress to someone else's wedding or any party.  How often do you get to wear a ball gown or mermaid gown or even a lace gown?

The wedding dress you buy can be sexy and even short!  You can buy a wedding dress in any style you like and if you want to look and feel sexy on your wedding day then shop for and buy a sexy wedding dress.

Above all it's important that you love your wedding dress and feel beautiful in it.  Take your time, start early and try on any and every dress the sales consultant brings you at a salon until you find your wedding dress.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Just Engaged: What To Do First

I met a woman today who had just got engaged over the weekend and she was very excited but a little confused as to where to begin.

I told her she should register somewhere even if she only registers online and then goes to the stores in a few weeks.  It's important to create a registry because if friends and family want to get you an engagement gift it's better to have a few items on a registry then to receive unwanted gifts that you can't exchange or return.

I asked her if the ring was insured.  It was.

I asked her if she had any idea as to what type of wedding she wanted and she answered that she just knows that they want to get married in the next 6 to 9 months.  They don't want a long engagement.

These are some of the things every just engaged bride should think about.  The next steps should include:

Discussing your wedding budget with your fiance and both sets of parents to determine how much you can afford to spend on the wedding.

Looking at venues and thinking about possible wedding dates.

Subscribing to wedding magazines and start browsing wedding planning websites and blogs for ideas.

While you should wait until you book a venue to shop for your wedding dress, you may want to start searching online wedding dress galleries and designer websites to get an idea of the styles you like.

Draw up a preliminary wedding guest list to have an idea of how many people you are planning on inviting to the wedding.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Engagement Portraits

When you're meeting with wedding photographers ask them if an engagement portrait session is included or if you can add one.  You want to know the added cost, if there is one, for the shoot and the cost of prints or albums from the shoot.  Find out how you will receive them, as printed proofs, on a CD or if they'll be posted on a website to review.

Besides framing a few photos in your home, and maybe gifting one to your parents and his, you can use your engagement photos on your save-the-date cards, wedding website and holiday cards, if you send them.

Engagement portraits are not a wedding must-have, but how many times in your life will you hire a professional photographer to take pictures of the two of you?  It might be worth cutting other areas of your wedding budget to make room for this expense.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Something Sky Blue, Navy Blue, Midnight Blue

I think most brides pick a something blue that's a light shade of blue but you're not bound to that part of the color spectrum.  The proverb isn't specific as to exactly what shade of blue is the one a bride should wear or carry with her down the aisle so pick a hue that feels right to you.

You can accessorize with sapphire blue jewelry or wear navy eye makeup or wear a pair of bold blue shoes a la Carrie Bradshaw in the first Sex & the City movie.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Dramatic Wedding Dress Trains

I've been doing a lot of reading on royal weddings lately and I'm amazed at how long the trains are on the wedding dresses of royal brides.  Princess Diana had a 25' train and Sarah Ferguson's train was 17'.  Now granted it took each of these brides 3 to 4 minutes to walk up the aisle at the church but can you imagine having to bustle that train or removing it after the ceremony and formal pictures were taken?

When you are selecting your wedding dress ask about the length of the train and make sure you have a friend or two at your fittings to learn how to bustle it or remove it for the wedding reception.

You may also want these friends to straighten your train once you reach the altar.  After being dragged along the aisle it may not look picture perfect by the time you stop at the end so ask your friends or bridesmaids to straighten it out so that your guests can see the back of your beautiful dress and to ensure that photos taken from this angle look great!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Hostess Gift Tip

I went to a holiday party tonight hosted by Colin Cowie for members of the B-List and brought two bottles of champagne as a gift from the bloggers.

I knew well enough not to show up with the bottles in a plastic grocery bag but I was mortified when I realized that I had forgotten to remove the price sticker from each bottle.

Vane from Brooklyn Bride and I quickly scraped as much as we could of the sticker off the bottle, but I still felt horrible that the sticker was there to begin with.

So before you enter the home of someone throwing a party remember to remove any price tags or stickers or other items that you don't want them to see on your hostess gift.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Sourcing Wedding Details

I got an email the other day from a woman getting married next spring and she was trying to find a pair of shoes with a specific design.  She said she did a Google search but she couldn't find anything that fit what she was looking for.

So I did a search of some shoe and style sites and couldn't find what she was looking for either so I told her to ask the bridal salon where she bought her wedding dress as well as local shoes stores.

While Google is a great resource don't forget about the salespeople who know their business inside and out.  They will know everything from where to find what you're looking for to whether or not it's even available. So call or email local stores that sell related or similar items and ask them if they have, can get or know where you can get whatever it is you're looking for.

And this doesn't just go for shoes.  This is for every type of wedding detail, wedding accessory and any and everything else you can think of.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Post-Wedding Photo Tip

After you look through your wedding photos - whether printed proofs or online, you may want to order a few copies of pictures to gift to your parents and his.  They're sure to appreciate the kind gesture.  You can also make these prints holiday or special occasion gifts.

And when deciding to frame photos for your home, make sure you have photos from both sides of the family - your and his - so that one family doesn't feel slighted because there are a dozen photos of the other side all over your walls and shelves.

Friday, December 03, 2010

The Festival of Lights

In honor of Hanukkah Dave inspired me to write a post on lighting.

Do you know how celebs look great in photos?  It's because they're lit well.  Lighting can make a difference in the way you look in a photograph and can also help the mood in a ceremony and reception space.

Ask your location manager what lighting is provided by the venue - dimmers, pinspots, etc...  And then talk to your florist about what additional lighting you may want to bring in via a lighting company.

Of course bringing in a lighting company will add to your budget, but asking won't cost you a thing so get all the information and then make a decision.  It might not cost as much as you think and to cover the additional costs you can pull money from another area of the wedding budget to cover it.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

How Do You Know What to Register For

I'm a firm believer in registering for your wedding, bridal shower and engagement party.  I don't think it makes a couple look greedy and you'll make it easier on your guests if you tell them what to get you via a wedding registry.

Now you could just go to the store of your choice and run around with the clicker and add any and everything to the list, or you can decide to add only the items that you really need and want for your home.

But how do you know what you need and want and really use.  Simple, take an inventory and think about your entertaining style.

If you and your fiance love to cook, register for a great set of pots and pans and cooking tools.  If you love to have people over and entertain, register for a complete set of china, barware and flatware.  If you love to relax in the bath, register for luxurious towels and new bath accessories.  If you haven't bought new bedding in years, register for pillows a comforter and new bed linens.

It's okay if you end up changing your mind and return/exchange some of the gifts you receive.  I wouldn't tell someone that you returned their gift but just know that it's okay to if you need or want to.

No matter what type of gifts you register for, it's still important to register for items that are less than $25 as well as pricier items for group gifts.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

When Your Wedding Vendors are Your Friends and Relatives

Some of your friends and relatives may offer their services as a wedding gift.  A musician may offer to play at your ceremony or someone who likes taking pictures may offer to be your wedding photographer or a baker in the family may offer to bake your wedding cake.

All of these offers are generous and can save you money, but you may want to think twice before accepting their offer to work your wedding.

Friends and relatives who have wedding-related hobbies are not wedding professionals and may not have enough experience working a wedding to deliver the service you require.  Also, if they are a professional and your wedding is a freebie, they may cancel on you if they get a paying gig for the same day.

It's very important that if you do "hire" a friend or relative that you sit down with them well before the wedding and make sure that they understand exactly what services you require and that you understand exactly what services they can perform.

It's okay to say no thanks if someone does offer you their services.  Just explain that you either already hired someone or that you wan them to be a guest at your wedding and enjoy time with family and friends.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You Parents Don't Have to Pay for Your Wedding

I woman emailed me recently that after paying for her daughter's college and graduate school degrees as well as living expenses and a car, she and her husband decided that they can only give their daughter $10,000 towards her wedding.  The daughter thought this was too little an amount and the mother was asking me what she should do - give her more money or not?

My answer was that if they can afford to give their daughter $10,000 towards her wedding that's very generous.

I don't know where the couple is getting married and she didn't mention the groom's family contributing money but either way paying for your child's wedding is not a mandatory parenting duty like clothing and feeding your child when they're young.

Don't look in your parents' bank accounts.  You don't know what their savings looks like and what they can afford to spend on your wedding.  If your parents are able to give you money towards your wedding that's wonderful.  Thank them with a big hug.  But don't make them feel like bad parents if thier gift doesn't live up to your expectations.

No one should go into debt to pay for a wedding - not you and your groom or your parents.

If you have to cut back on the scale of your wedding make the necessary cuts, and then for a future anniversary make it a grander celebration and renew your vows.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ordering a Custom Wedding Dress

While a custom wedding dress by Vera Wang can run you tens of thousands of dollars, a custom wedding dress from a non-famous designer can cost a lot less.  I remember looking into having my wedding dress custom made my a dressmaker who worked full-time at Vera Wang and the price of the dress she was going to make me was a quarter of the price of the Vera Wang version.

If you're having trouble finding your dream wedding dress you may want to look into having a professional seamstress/dressmaker design and make your dress.

But how do you find a reputable person?  You can ask friends and search local wedding directories online and in local wedding magazines.  You can also do a Google search but if you find someone through a Google search you should thoroughly research that person/company via non-Google methods.

Always check references and ask to see a portfolio too.

You have to truly trust the person you hire to be able to create your dream wedding dress and if you're not 100% on the idea then keep visiting local salons and order a dress you find there.  It's not worth risking $1000+ and your peace of mind.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Royal Wedding Related Tip: Your Parents and the Wedding Budget

The wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton have indeed taken over my life and since their press releases come out while I'm just waking up I'm exhausted, but I didn't want to miss another post, so here goes:

The couple announced through their press office that the royal family and the Middleton family will be picking up the tab for the wedding, while taxpayers will cover security and transport.

Now I think it's safe to say that no one reading this blog will have to worry about tax payers paying for any part of their wedding, you probably will have a discussion with your parents and his as to what their contributions will be.

Through media reports we learned that Kate's parents have offered to pay for their daughter's wedding dress and the couple's honeymoon and I'`m assuming Prince Charles and the Queen will pay for the rest of the wedding.

Divind the budget by category is a great idea, however your parents should be told what the estimated cost will be for the specific category they are paying for.  So if mom and dad say we'll buy you your wedding dress you should talk to them about how much a wedding dress will cost and what they think it will cost.  You don't want to find a $5000 designer gown and then find out that mom thought you'd find your dress off-the-rack for less than $1000.

This tip follows all wedding categories from invitations to flowers to photos to music.

And here's another reason I'm so tired:  We just launched a comprehensive website dedicated to covering the royal wedding from every possible angle. Hope you'll check it out!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Shopping for a Wedding Venue

You  may have heard that Kate Middleton was spotted leaving Westminster Abbey this week so the newspapers are speculating that Westminster Abbey will be the location of her wedding ceremony.

Every bride should visit ceremony and reception venues before signing a contract.  The exception for this of course if you're having a destination wedding, in which case I suggest hiring a wedding planner who you trust to vet locations for you.

Bring along a list of questions to ask the location manager and don't be afraid to ask any and everything that pops into your head.  Better to know the answer before paying a (non-refundable) deposit and signing a contract.

Some brides will look at several locations and narrow the list down to their top 3-5 and then bring their groom and parents to take a look and check out the space.  You may also want to do this with several vendors, especially ones your fiance isn't that concerned with like the florist.

I dragged Dave to 10 locations in one weekend and I think we saw a dozen florists and I could tell that after the 3rd or 4th appointment he really didn't care and just wanted to go home.  It would have been better for me to vet the locations and vendors and only take him to my top 3 picks where I would have had his complete attention and interest.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Slideshows for Your Bridal Shower, Rehearsal Dinner and Wedding

My daughter hit some button on my computer and all of a sudden a slideshow appeared with photos we had taken and there was music playing.  The photos seemed to be in a movie format with closeups and pans.

I'm sure you and your fiance probably knew that such technology existed but in case you're like me (and Dave) and didn't know it's a great find!

Lots of couples make slideshows of their life together to play at the rehearsal dinner or wedding and bridesmaids will put a slideshow together of the bride and groom as children through adulthood as part of the entertainment for the party.

I always thought you had to hire someone to do this but I guess you don't.  You may want to consult your wedding band or DJ for slideshow playlist suggestions.

I do know couples that have played slideshows at their wedding reception but my personal opinion is that it's better to have a slideshow at a pre-wedding party and wherever you do show it keep it brief -- 5-7 minutes max.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

It's Time to Plan a Royal Wedding!

And while I'm not actually involved in the royal wedding plans I am covering ever detail of it on

Here's what real brides can take away from the royal engagement and wedding:
  1. If you're still shopping for the perfect engagement ring maybe you want to get one that looks like Kate Middleton, or another princess bride.
  2. There will be a lot of decor and wedding details that you can get inspired by -- it's just a matter of time until we learn what those details are.
  3. A royal wedding will follow a different format from American weddings, maybe you want a similar format for your big day:  Formal ceremony in a house of worship followed by a luncheon with a limited number of family members and close friends.
  4. If getting engaged in Kenya is not in the cards, why not book a safari honeymoon?  I'll have details on where Prince William and Kate Middleton stayed (and got engaged) in Kenya tomorrow on

Monday, November 15, 2010

Jessica Simpson's Ruby Engagement Ring

I'm sure you've heard that Jessica Simpson is engaged to Eric Johnson and that the groom proposed with a ring that has a ruby as the center stone and diamond side stones.

It used to be that sapphires were the colored stone of choice for brides and grooms looking for something different (Princess Diana, Monica on Friends), but you can get an engagement ring with any colored stone - sapphire, ruby, emerald, etc...

Try on colored stones at the jewelers as you begin your search for the ring. And if you're already wearing an engagement ring maybe you want to try on some wedding bands with colored stones instead of diamonds.

Don't be afraid to be different from your friends.  Get the ring or band that suits your personal style.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Weddings Styled for Photo Shoots

Many sites and magazines feature beautiful reception settings with an "Anthroplogie" feel.  You know what I mean - a long wooden table set in a field with mix matched china and chairs.

To rent these items for one arrangement is probably not too pricey but if you need 5, 10 or even 20 of these tables and other details your budget just got bumped up a lot.

While these images are beautiful, unless you can really afford it, they are for inspirational purposes only.  You can take elements of the image like the antique china or rustic feel and incorporate those elements into your wedding.

Just because you may not be able to afford everything you see on a page doesn't mean you shouldn't tear it out or bookmark it and show it to your vendors. They'll be able to help you bring your vision to life at a price you can afford.

Remember, you should not go into debt to pay for your wedding.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Engagement Photo Session

It's very common these days to have an engagement portrait session where your wedding photographer takes photos of the two of you.  Sometimes the couple may use the pictures on their save-the-date cards or wedding website, but I think it's just nice to have them framed for your home - and your parents' homes.

Until you have kids you are probably not going to splurge on a photographer to take formal photos of you and it's really nice to have great pictures of you as a couple for your family albums.

Check out portfolios of wedding photographers and click through wedding blogs to see what other couples have done to capture great engagement photos.  Splurge on a great outfit that you'll wear again and make him get dressed too, and go get your hair (and makeup) done.  After the session, since you're all dressed up, make it date night or why not host an informal engagement party.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Cost of Wedding Goods and Services

I overheard a conversation today where a woman was explaining to a male co-worker that she spent $200 on a pair of shoes.  His response was that shoes cost $20, where would you even find $200 shoes?  It reminded me of when I was engaged and my grandparents were comparing the cost of goods and service for my wedding to what they paid for in 1945 when they were married.

Grandma thought my wedding dress would cost no more than $250 since her dress cost $25 and grandpa and his brother couldn't imagine why a cake would cost more than $50 since it's made of "flour and eggs."

Don't be surprised if your parents and his experience some sticker shock when it comes to meeting with and hiring your wedding vendors.  Your parents were probably married 25 years (or more) ago when the average wedding cost no more than $10,000.  And how often are your parents hiring caterers and photographers and musicians for an event with 100 people or more, right?  They, and you, are probably not aware of what the going rate is for each type of vendor.

It's important to be upfront and honest with yourselves, your parents and your vendors as to what you can really afford.  Look to wedding magazines and wedding websites as a guide on how much you should be spending on different details of the wedding.  And don't be afraid to ask recently married friends and relatives for ballpark figures on what they paid so you can learn if you're being over charged.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

It's Important That Your Wedding Shoe Fits

I was a commentator at today's Wedding Central If the Shoe Fits contest where one lucky bride won an amazing prize package for her wedding.  The idea of the contest was 20 brides searching through 250 wrapped boxes to find a pair of designer wedding shoes that fit perfectly.

There were 11 pairs of designer shoes and when a bride found a pair that she tried on and thought fit she would bring it to the judges who would decide if the shoe indeed was a perfect fit.

As I watched each girl try on shoes I noticed that some tried to squeeze their foot into a shoe that was obviously too small or try to slide their foot back to keep it on.

When you're shopping for shoes for your wedding day make sure that you find a pair that truly fits you.  You don't want something too small or too big no matter how fabulous they are.  Remember that you'll be wearing them all day and night.  You'll be posing for photos in them.  You'll walk down the aisle in them.  And you'll dance the night away in them.

Once you find a pair that does fit don't forget to break them in in the weeks before your wedding.  Walk around the house in them to get used to them and remember to score the bottom of the soles and heels so you don't slip and fall on your big day.  You may want your groom to follow the same advice.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Wedding Trends: Avoid a Cookie-Cutter Wedding

I gave a talk this evening at the Wedding Salon's Bootcamp at Dylan's Candy Bar.  I mentioned a number of trends for 2011 regarding fashion and wedding style but the first thing I said was:  While there are indeed trends we are seeing for 2011 weddings, the most important thing to know about wedding style is that the #1 trend year after year is planning the wedding you want and personalizing the details.

The only way to avoid the dreaded cookie-cutter wedding is to plan a wedding that reflects you, your groom and your families.

Everyone will wear a dress.  Everyone will have some type of wedding ceremony.  Everyone will have some type of party and most likely there will be some type of cake that the two of you will cut.  So as you can see all weddings will have the same elements, but it's how you tailor these elements to reflect your style  and your likes that will make your wedding unique.

Friday, November 05, 2010

FREE Tickets to The Wedding Salon Bootcamp on Monday, November 8th

I've been asked to speak at Monday, November 8th's Wedding Salon Bootcamp event at Dylan's Candy Bar in New York.  I'm one of several wedding industry experts who will talk about a variety of wedding planning topics including style, trends and how to work with various vendors.

If you're interested in going you can get free tickets by visiting and  entering the promotional code WTDC.

Remember when you attend wedding events always bring a pen and paper to take notes and don't forget to take business cards from the vendors there.  Also, don't be afraid to ask questions -- you're probably not the only one with the one you're thinking.  And there's never such a thing as a stupid question!

Since the event is at Dylan's Candy Bar there are sure to be plenty of sweets to enjoy -- Hope to see you there!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Bridesmaid Gifts They Will Love

Have you ever been a bridesmaid?  Now honestly, how many times did you wear a bridesmaid dress again?

I have one bridesmaid dress that I never wore again and then as maid of honor at my sister's wedding I re-wore that skirt and top as a bridesmaid at a friend's wedding.  But actually I just wore it for the photos because we didn't walk down the aisle.  After formal portraits I changed into a different dress I had fallen in love with at a vintage store a week before the wedding -- with the bride's permission of course.

Anyway, the point is that I never wore these dresses again and you probably won't wear any of the bridesmaid dresses you've had to wear again either.

Did you get a gift that went with the dress like a necklace or earrings?  If you're never wearing the dress again when will you wear the accessories?

My point is that when shopping for bridesmaid gifts treat each of your bridesmaids to a meaningful and personal gift.  You don't have to get them all the same thing.  And like a wedding favor it's better to put your money into something that your friends will use and enjoy.

And as for how much to spend on bridesmaid gifts that's up to you.  If you're buying each girl something that she will truly enjoy I'm sure they won't compare notes behind your back and guess how much each item cost because they'll be so touched that you spent time thinking about getting them something special and not some token gift that either matches their never to be worn again bridesmaid dress or is some generic bridesmaid gift item they saw in the back of a bridal magazine.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

A Marriage License for Your Destination Wedding

Once you pick a destination for your wedding you must find out how one gets married there, whether it be a state or another country.  Remember that each state in the U.S. has its own laws regarding obtaining a marriage license and every country in the world has it's own laws too, so don't assume you can just land at an airport, go to a government building and get hitched the next day.  In some cases a blood test is required, others may insist on a residency requirement and some may have a waiting period of 24 hours or more before a license can be used.

To save yourself the time you may opt to get legally married in the city/state you live in before or after your wedding.  This doesn't mean that the civil ceremony isn't a special occasion.  You can invite your parents, siblings and/or closest friends to bear witness, get dressed up and even go out to eat after the "I dos."

Some couples choosing to get married abroad, including Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, will have a civil ceremony before they leave for the country they are getting married in to avoid residency and other legal requirements.

And look at it this way, now you'll definitely need a second wedding dress!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

A Bridesmaid Luncheon or Tea Party

You may have read about a bridesmaid luncheon or tea in a wedding planning book but I don't think I know anyone who planned or attended one.

A bridesmaid luncheon or tea is a party the bride hosts in honor of her bridesmaids as a thank you for being her support system while planning her wedding.  When I was planning my wedding I decided to host a tea party for my 'maids.  Unfortunately things got busy between planning my sister's shower and wedding and my wedding within a few months of each other - and my grandfather passing in between - that I decided to cancel the bridesmaid tea.

But if you can swing it it's a nice way to spend non-wedding planning time with your closest friends.  And if tea isn't your thing you can make it a day at the spa or another outing but make it something about your girls and not your wedding.

This party may also be a good time to hand out bridesmaid thank you gifts, especially if the gift is something they can wear or use at the wedding.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Your Engagement Ring Can Be Any Style YOU Want It To Be

A friend got engaged a few weeks ago.  Her fiance bough her an antique ring they came across while vacationing upstate.  She loves it.  It's very deco and unique and when she took it to her local jeweler for sizing he told her that it was not an engagement ring.  Her sister said the same thing.

Your engagement ring can be anything you want it to be.  It can be a colored stone instead of a diamond.  I even know two women that chose rings that are more in the style of an eternity band than a traditional diamond engagement ring.  And you know what, their rings are lovely and what's more important is that they love them.

You are the person that has to wear the ring daily and it's a gift from your future husband, so pick a style that reflects your personal style and tastes.  It doesn't matter if others do or don't like your engagement ring as long as you do.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Love What You Do

This really isn't a wedding post but a lot has been going on with friends so I wanted to put this out there.

Love what you do!

I can't tell you how much I love going to work everyday!  And tonight I'm still here at 8pm and I miss the days that I would stay at the office till the craziest hours and the time just flew by.

It makes such a difference in your life when you love what you do.  If you're not enjoying your job then look for another one in the same or a different field.  Or go back to school and learn new skills.  It's never too late!

I promise you that the happier you are at work the happier you will be in general.

Now that doesn't mean you should just quit your job first thing Monday morning -- never quit a job until you have another one lined up -- but keep your eyes open, talk to friends and colleagues, sign up for a LinkedIn account and start going to networking events.

Life's too short!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Name Game

Are you planning on changing your last name to your husband's after the wedding?  There are number of companies and government agencies you'll need to reach out to - social security, department of motor vehicles, credit cards.

But since you won't be filing the paper work until after your wedding and probably after you returned from your honeymoon make sure you book your flight and hotel reservations in the name that appears on your current ID cards - passport, driver's license - and that would be your maiden name.

You can still let the airline and hotel that the reason for your trip is your honeymoon and enjoy any perks like free champagne on your arrival.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Kids' Menu

Kids of all ages love the kids' menu.  I remember my cousin's bat mitzvah party 10 years ago where there were two cocktail hours.  One for the adults with a quartet and fancy hors d'oeuvres (crab cakes, mini lamb chops, cheese bar - it wasn't kosher) and the kid cocktail hour with a DJ and kid-friendly hors d'oeuvres (pigs in a blanket, sliders and mac n cheese).

I remember that a lot of the adults were in the kids room and my aunt was annoyed because she was spending all this money on fancy food and all everyone wanted was kid-friendly fare.

You may want to consider adding some childhood favorites to your wedding's cocktail hour because it really is food that everyone will enjoy.  And if you and your fiance are fans of something specific don't be afraid to add it to the menu.

You know I love pigs in a blanket but there are a lot of other fun finger foods that you can serve:  sliders, fries, mac n cheese, chicken fingers and mini-pizzas are just a few ideas.  Talk to your caterer about different menu options and ask your parents and close friends what their favorite cocktail hour foods are too.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Photos of Your Wedding Dress at the Bridal Salon

If you've started shopping for your wedding dress you will have learned that bridal salons frown on brides snapping photos of you in your dress unless you've bought it.  The reason for this, I'm assuming, is that the salon doesn't want you taking the picture to other salons and buy it somewhere else.  That's also why a number of bridal salons will remove tags and style numbers from dresses and create their own style number system.

With digital cameras and cameras on phones it's easy to snap photos when the sales consultant leaves the room.  I'm not advocating breaking any store's rules but once you decide to purchase a wedding dress here are some tips:

  1. Make sure to snap photos in good light - maybe out of the dressing room and in the main salon area - of you in the wedding dress.
  2. Get pictures of you in the wedding dress from several angles:  front, back and both sides.  You may also want the consultant to create a bustle so you know what you'll look like at both the ceremony and reception.
  3. Ask for a swatch of the dress so you always know the color of your gown.  But remember the swatch you get at this point may not be the exact shade of your dress because the dye lot will be different, but it'll be very close.  You'll need to ask for another swatch at your first fitting. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Celebrating Milestones: My 700th Post

Wow I can't believe it!  And this doesn't count the hiatus to iVillage Weddings for a year.

Dave and I had a 22 month engagement so to keep the excitement of planning going - more for him than for me of course - on the 22nd day of each month leading up to the wedding (we were married on the 22nd of June) I wrote a short four line poem and gave him a token gift.  The gift had to be in the quantity of the number of months to go.  I remember for 19 months I gave him 19 Hershey Kisses and I think for 10 I gave him a MetroCard with 10 subway rides on it.

After we were married we celebrated the 22nd of every month for the first year.  And after June 22, 2004 we just celebrate our wedding anniversary with a card.

It's important that you don't just focus on the wedding day itself after you're engaged.  Remember that after the wedding you are married to this person for better or worse till death do you part - or if you decide to divorce, which we don't hope for when we decide to marry someone, right?

Keep the spark alive throughout your engagement and your marriage by doing little things for each other.  You don't have to spend a lot or any money.  Leave a post-it on the bathroom mirror or front door that reads "I love you" or surprise him with reservations to his favorite restaurant even thought you hate it.

I went on vacation in September 2008 with my mom and sister and when I left I put a post-it on the inside of the front door that read "I love you. Have a good __day  __night *check one that applies."  The note is still on our door - post-its really do stick - and every day we both see it when we leave the house and lock up at night and it makes me smile and I know it warms his heart too.  And that little post-it didn't cost anything and to us, 2+ years later, it's priceless.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Win $5K for Your Wedding and a Fabulous Pair of Shoes

WE tv's new wedding shows all the time network Wedding Central is hosting a contest in New York in early November where 30 brides will compete for $5,000 cash, a pair of designer wedding shoes and a $5,000 prize package from their team of experts - some of them are personal friends of mine so I can honestly say it will be an awesome package.

Anyway, they reserved 5 spots for readers and if you want to enter the contest all you have to do is comment on the post I wrote on the contest earlier this week.  Here's the link!

There are 5 spots available so post soon and you can read all the contest details on the post or via the links to the contest page on

Good luck!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Temperature of a Plate

I hate it when I'm served salad on a hot plate - one that probably just came out of a dishwasher.  At a meeting this afternoon I ordered cake a la mode for dessert and the plate it was served on was chilled.  I don't recall ever getting a chilled plate but it was the perfect detail b/c the ice cream didn't melt as quickly.

I don't know how much control you have over this for your wedding, though you can bring up the subject at a meeting with your caterer, but it's something to think about when serving food at home.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Vera Wang's 20th Anniversary

In honor of Vera Wang's 20th anniversary Vera's blog editors asked a few editors to write what they think of Vera's impact on the bridal industry.  You can read my post at  There's a photo of me and Dave on our wedding day - my mom's comment was that Dave looks so young, but I look the same - thanks mom!

The editors also pulled together a gallery of images of a variety of Vera Wang wedding dress designs over the years.

Today was the Fall 2011 Vera Wang bridal show - the pics are live on - but here's a link to a  post on the Vera blog on the hairstyles in the show.

It's crazy to imagine having the limited option of wedding dress designs before Vera Wang hit the market in 1990.  I'm just glad that while designers have been inspired by past fashion trends they have all neglected to include the 1980s in their collections.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bridal Market Coverage

Sorry for the missing posts but Bridal Market has taken over my life!  On there are almost 100 posts on the shows including galleries of the runway, reviews and trend reports.  There's still more to come and until market and coverage is completed next week I may miss a post or two or more.



Friday, October 15, 2010

Your Wedding in Three or More Acts

Mark Niemierko of Niemierko wedding planning in London shares a great wedding planning tip:

Think about your wedding in different acts.  Each part of your wedding is a different stage and each one can have a different theme.  You don't need just one theme throughout your whole day.

Traditionally a wedding has three acts - ceremony, drinks/cocktail hour and dinner/dancing - but you can add more such as a separate dessert area, an after party/night club.

And think about how your guests are going to get from one area/part of your wedding and make each act an experience.

By having different stages/themes it keeps your guests excited, interested and guessing what is coming next.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Beware of Bracelets

I was flipping through the Winter 2011 issue of New York magazine’s Weddings issue today and I saw a tip from a jewelry designer that I wanted to share.

Bracelets have been a popular bridal accessory over the past year or so but it’s important to pick a bracelet that won’t snag on your wedding dress and your veil. It’s very possible that a bracelet that has a lot of stones or small pointy things (sorry I couldn’t think of a better description) can snag the fabric of your wedding dress and even tear a hole in your veil.

If you do decide to wear bracelets make sure that the material it is made of is smooth and can’t harm your dress or veil in anyway. Or just wear it for photos and take them off for the reception.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Shopping for Bridesmaids Dresses

Shopping for bridesmaids dresses is not easy.  You have to find a dress that will fit and flatter each girl and that's not even the headache of trying to schedule shopping appointments when everyone is available.

When you find a bridesmaid dress that you like schedule an appointment for as many of your bridesmaids to go with you to try it on.  For those who can't make it, see if it's available in their area and have them make an appointment and email you a photo of themselves in the dress so you can see what it looks like.

Once you've picked a dress make sure each bridesmaid gets her measurements done correctly, the sales consultant can give them directions, and confirm that everyone has ordered their dress in a timely manner.

You should always check the store's return policy but I'm gonna bet that once ordered you can't cancel the order for a full refund so only place the order, or have the bridesmaids place their orders, after they've all tried on the dress, you've decided that it's the right color and style for your wedding and you are satisfied that everyone looks great.

Don't worry too much about picking a bridesmaid dress they can wear again because no matter what you choose they probably won't wear it again.  Sorry, that's the truth.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Making a Party Playlist

If you're like me then you have no idea how to put together a party playlist.  I am always eyeing the iPods of friends to see what songs they have on when we're over for a cocktail or dinner party.  My playlists are built by decade or artist so guests will either get an all Elvis playlist or an all '80s playlist.

When having guests over for a pre-wedding celebration like an engagement cocktail party or a more formal event like your rehearsal dinner you may want to put on some background music.  While a wedding-themed playlist can be fun for the first 10 minutes, you may want something a little more sophisticated for the rest of the night. is the perfect, free, service to help you put together the right playlist for your party.  You enter the name of a song or artist and they will create and play a playlist for you with music by that artist and similar sounding songs.  You won't end up with a playlist of one artist.

The songs will play continuously at no charge and you can play the music directly from your computer or attach a pair of speakers to your computer for more/better quality sound.  And speaking of sound, remember to keep the sound loud enough to hear the music but not loud enough so that your guests have to yell over it.

And while you can use to help find the right songs for your wedding ceremony, cocktail hour and reception playlist, I recommend hiring a professional wedding band or DJ for your wedding day.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Bridal Market Starts This Week

Starting on Wednesday wedding dress designers and bridal accessory designers will show buyers and editors their latest designs.  While wedding websites and blogs will feature the images from bridal market in a matter of hours consumers will not be able to purchase or order the items until 2011 - probably January at the earliest but most likely late February/early March.

Keep this in mind when browsing the Spring 2011 designer runway galleries.  If you are shopping for your wedding dress remember that you probably need to purchase your wedding dress six months before your wedding day, which will allow three months to manufacture the dress and then three months for your fitting.  And the more detail on your wedding dress the more time needed to make it.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Date

A lot of couples are getting married this weekend, and more specifically on Sunday, not because it's a three-day weekend or because a Sunday wedding may be less expensive, but because this Sunday's date is October 10, 2010 also known as 10-10-10.

And similar to 07-07-07 and 08-08-08, a number of couples think that the repetitive number means the date may bring them good luck.

I wish the best of luck and all the happiness in the world to each couple getting married on 10-10-10, but here are some other things to keep in mind when picking your wedding date:

1.  Choose a date that doesn't conflict with a business event or other family function that important wedding guests may have a conflict with.

2.  If you are having a religious wedding ceremony check with your officiant that there are no religious restrictions to having your wedding on the date you are thinking of.

3.  There are some holidays and events that may keep guests away, or at least in front of a TV set during your wedding, such as the Super Bowl, Thanksgiving Weekend and Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

4.  Make sure that other engaged friends or relatives haven't picked that date and are about to send out their save-the-date cards.

5.  If it is very important to you that you hire a specific vendor, such as a caterer or photographer or planner, make sure that he or she is available on your wedding date before signing a contract with a venue or other vendors.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Wedding Invitation & Stationery Trunk Shows

You often hear of wedding dress trunk shows, but there are also trunk shows for wedding invitations and stationery.

Similar to a wedding dress trunk show, at a stationery store you can expect to find a stationery designer  or representative from the company.

He or she will have the entire line available to look through and talk to you about all your options - especially customization options.

And similar to a wedding dress trunk show the stationery company/store will also offer you discounts and/or promotions.

Some stationery stores may require an appointment so you may want to call the store ahead of time to see if scheduling an appointment is necessary.

Next week Spark Letterpress Love will be having a trunk show at Kate's Paperie in New York City. There are three promotions being offered when you purchase a Spark Letterpress Love wedding invitations, thank you notes and social stationery.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Sick Day

I never like to miss a ay to post but I am so horribly sick - and so is Dave - that I can't even think straight.

So a really quick tip re: getting sick.

If in the weeks leading up to your wedding you start feeling sick - like a cold, sore throat or flu - get to the doctor asap and start treating it.  Don't let it linger because it may get worse and you don't want to be sick on your wedding day.

I can just see a sick bride walking around with the reception site with a hospital mask and air kissing everyone.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Bringing (Uninvited) Baby and Kids to the Wedding

My sister went to an engagement party over the weekend and she called me the morning of the party to ask an etiquette question:  Would it be okay to bring her baby to the party?

My first response was what happened to the babysitter.  Nothing they (his parents) were still planning on babysitting.

My second response was to ask if the baby was invited to the party to begin with.  She wasn't sure.  So I asked if the envelope the invitation came in read : Mr. & Mrs or The Smith Family?  She hesitated but said just to the two of them.  So I told her I didn't think it would be appropriate to bring the baby.  It was clear to me that she wasn't invited.

She asked me if there was any way she could bring the baby and I told her that she could call and ask the host if it was okay but since the reason wasn't that the babysitter canceled at the last minute she would have to just ask nicely and hope that her friend said it was okay.  Which she did.

If you get a call from a guest who at the last minute wants to bring their kids it's up to you to make the cal based on space, money and your relationship to the guests.

In some instances there physically will be no more room at the site.  If the kids are over the age of 4 their parents may expect you to cover their meal - that will cost you money and you also have to find out if the caterer can do a kids meal at the last minute.  Is your wedding kid-friendly?  Your guests won't know in advance but you will - think about whether there will be other kids there and what entertainment will be there for the kids.

In the end it's your call and be prepared for the parents to say that if the kids can't come they can't make it.  I would hope this won't ruin your relationship but you know your guests better than me so make sure that you are comfortable with your decision - financially as well as emotionally.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Dessert Course Idea

If you and your fiance are thinking of serving a dessert course in addition to wedding cake here are two ideas you may want to consider:

1 - Select two dessert items and serve each one to every other guest.  Since many of your guests will be couples and likely to share with each other, every guest will get to enjoy both desserts.

2 - Give each guest a tasting plate with two or three desserts in a smaller size so that each guest can enjoy a little bite of each one.

I like the idea of a dessert medley or dessert tasting plate because not everyone likes chocolate or pies or mousse.  These two options allow you and your guests to enjoy several desserts and pretty much guarantees that everyone will find something on the dessert menu to eat.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

How to Approach Registering

I was thinking about wedding registries the other day because a friend just got engaged and asked me where I thought she should register.  I told her that she could approach her wedding registry in one of two ways:

1 - Register room by room.  Think about the different rooms in your home and create your registry by what you need for each room.  So kitchen:  Do you need new pots and pans?  Do you want to upgrade any appliances.  For the bedroom:  Do you need new bed linens?  Maybe a set for warm and cold weather?  Do you need furniture for your bedroom.  Etc...

2 - Your lifestyle.  If you and your groom love to cook maybe you should focus on great cooking tools.  If you love to entertain maybe you want to focus on living and dining room items.  If you don't really need anything for your home then register for items that complement your interests.

No matter what you register for it's important to have a variety of price points covered and don't worry about overloading your registry.  Better to have more items for guests to choose from then not enough.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Experience Wedding Gifts

If you and your fiance have decided that you don't really need the traditional household gifts you'd expect to find on a wedding registry, consider registering for experience gifts.

I've seen an increase in experience gifts where you and your fiance are gifted everything from massages to cooking classes.

There are several websites that offers service as well as product gifts such as and with companies like and that allow you to create one registry from items you find all over the web it's easier than ever to create your dream wedding registry!

I will however add that there will be some traditionalists on your wedding guest list and they will want to gift you those traditional items - linens, pots/pans, kitchen gadgets, etc... - so you may want to add some of these items to your registry too.  You might as well upgrade the items you already have with the latest versions of them!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Setting the Ceremony Time

I went to a wedding a few weeks ago and the invite read 5pm so we got there at 5:20.  We missed half the ceremony!  Of course we felt bad and the truth is the couple didn't notice, but we were surprised that the wedding actually started at 5pm on the dot.  All of the weddings we've ever been to started about 30 minutes after the invitation time.  During that half hour guests will mingle, have some water or champagne and find a seat for the ceremony.

Talk to your ceremony location regarding exactly when the ceremony will begin.  Does it have to start on the dot because there's another wedding behind yours or is there some wiggle room?  And then talk to your parents and his -- they'll know if their relatives and friends are used to a window of time before the ceremony or if they're used to a wedding starting exactly at the time listed on the invitation.

I remember a wedding in college that started over an hour late because most of the guests didn't arrive until an hour after the invite time.  And then there was another wedding where the bride knew her guests had a tendency to arrive late by an hour or more so she added the word "promptly" to the invitation time so those guests would arrive on time.  It worked.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Officiants: Make Sure He or She Can Legally Marry You

When my aunt was married in 1985 she hired a Justice of the Peace to be their officiant.  The wedding was in Suffolk County, Long Island.  After the officiant arrived for the ceremony he notified the couple that he wasn't licensed to marry them in Suffolk County, only Nassau County.

After their ceremony at the catering hall my aunt, new uncle and two witnesses got in a car and drove to the county line on the Long Island Expressway.  They pulled over to the side of the road and in the car the Justice of the Peace redid the ceremony - making their marriage legal.

It's very important to confirm that your officiant can legally marry you.  If you're not sure what the laws are in the state, or country if it's a destination wedding,  you are getting married in then contact the local government office.  Each state, and I'm assuming many countries, will have marriage license laws listed on their official website so it shouldn't be difficult to find.

Also, if you are having a friend or relative marry you confirm that they have been ordained through a ministry - online or off - that the state (or country) recognize.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Wedding Gifts: Getting the Home From the Wedding

It's not uncommon to bring wedding gifts to a wedding.  The couple will probably arrange for a gift table to be set up at the reception.  You may also find a white birdcage on the table for guests to slip cash or checks in envelopes into.

Cash and checks are not heavy and easy to carry but boxes of wedding gifts are a little more difficult to leave a wedding reception with.

As the bride and groom you should decided before the wedding wedding who will be in charge of taking the wedding gifts at the end of the night and where they are going to put them.

If the bride and groom are returning home after the wedding then make sure there is enough room in the car for gift bags and boxes.  If the newlyweds are heading to a hotel or leaving right aways for their honeymoon then a friend or family member should be put in charge of making sure all the gifts are taken from the reception and brought to either the couple's home or someone else's home.

As a wedding guest you can help the bride and groom out by shipping your gifts to their home before the wedding.  Don't have it arrive while they're on their honeymoon because there won't be anyone to accept it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Weddings Questions Answered

Wedding planning brings up a lot of questions.  Some are financial - how much things cost, how much can you afford to spend.  Family and emotional issues arise - who has to be invited, one parent or family is really pushing an idea the couple isn't excited about.  And some are general wedding planning and etiquette question - how to do something, what the proper procedure is.

I get emails daily from brides, moms, bridesmaids and every now and then a dad, and over the years maybe a handful were the same.

I'm working on a QA section and I'd love to hear from you!  Please email me at with your wedding-related questions.  They can be as simple as a "can we do X" to something more involved.

For those of you who have emailed me in the past you know that I try and respond to every email and I will this time too.

And I'm a firm believer that there are no stupid questions - as they teach us in school.  If you have a specific question I'm sure other people have the same question you do!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Registering for Items Your Guests Like Too

I find that most people in our circle who are from my grandparents' generation prefer to shop at a store where they can see the actual item they are buying.  Even though it is on your wish list the gift giver wants to like the gift too.

When helping people pick out wedding gifts I almost always hear them say that they personally like the item they are giving.  In fact I don't remember one person giving a gift that they thought was ugly or not useful.  I remember registering for items that I personally didn't like but I knew that some of my relatives loved and just as I suspected they bought them and I got a great credit towards my All Clad pots and pans.

Now I know some of you are thinking that it was wrong of me to do that but I knew that if I didn't I'd end up with similar style gifts that they purchased at stores I wouldn't be able to exchange them at.  The gifts would have ended up at a thrift store or neighborhood garage sale.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Wedding Night Surprise for the Bride and Groom

The bride and groom may decide to stay at a hotel or in their own home on their wedding night, either way as a member of the bridal party - or a thoughtful friend - you may want to have a special gift waiting for them when they arrive or delivered soon after.

If they are staying at a hotel you can talk to the concierge about having champagne, chocolates or strawberries delivered to their room after their arrival or waiting when they arrive.

For couples spending their wedding night at home try and get a key to their house or apartment and set up a romantic setting in their bedroom with food, drinks and maybe flower petals scattered around the room.  Stay away from candles since you don't want to light them in advance and unlit candles aren't as romantic.

You can also call the hotel the newlyweds are staying at on their honeymoon and surprise them with room service, dinner at the hotel, spa treatments or champagne.  I always find that when you tell a hotel that the couple is on their honeymoon they go above and beyond to make their stay memorable.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Rain on Your Wedding Day

I just watched How I Met Your Mother and while we don't know whose wedding Ted is the best man at we now know that he meets his future bride at a wedding.

Just as Ted and Marshall are making their way inside the church for the ceremony it starts to rain and while no one in the show mentions it, rain on your wedding day is considered good luck.  I think it's a good luck omen the same way if a bird poops on you -- people tell you it's good luck to make you feel better.

No matter what the weatherman says I'd pack a few umbrellas in your wedding day emergency kit, especially if your wedding ceremony and reception are at different locations.  And while you could just toss any old umbrella in the bag you may want to splurge on a golf umbrella which will cover you and your groom.  I've seen some great shots from weddings where the couple is using an umbrella to protect them from the rain.  You can even pick up a pattern or color that matches your wedding palette!

You can't tell from the photo above but Dave's brother, the best man, is holding a lavender umbrella over the two of us as it started to drizzle while we were taking pictures outside the temple we were getting married at.  Lavender was one of the colors in our wedding palette and the accent color on my wedding dress.  My mom found a bunch of lavender umbrellas at a 99-cent store the day before my wedding and bought a bunch of them.  We still use them.

Photo Credit:  Matthew Septimus/Martha Stewart Weddings

Friday, September 17, 2010

Did You Know Some Gift Cards Have Expiration Dates?

I received a $50 gift card to Macy's a few years back as a holiday gift and since I don't shop at Macy's regularly I didn't have a chance to use the card for about a year and a half.  When I got to the register the cashier swiped the card and informed me that the card had expired.

It turned out that I only had a year to use it.  I didn't read the fine print on the back of the card.  So I'm out $50 bucks and my aunt gave Mr. Macy a very nice holiday gift.

If you receive a gift card as an engagement, shower or wedding gift make sure to read the fine print on the back of the card to see if the card is good for a limited time.

When I returned a number of shower gifts to Crate & Barrel I received a few hundred dollars in store credits and I made sure that the credit wouldn't expire.  About five years later I took the credits to the store and was able to use the credits on items for our new home.

I would have freaked out if I had "lost" $800 to Crate & Barrel.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Food Allergies and Your Wedding Menu

There is absolutely no way for you to know the food allergies and dietary restrictions of all of your wedding guests.  And you should not take a poll to find out.

Your caterer is a professional and he will know how many vegetarian meals should be made based on the number of guests you are having and his experience and years as a caterer.

As for guests with gluten, peanut and other allergies, they'll know what they can and can't eat and won't be afraid to ask the catering staff if the food contains whatever it is they are allergic to.

If you happen to know that there are some guests who are kosher or vegetarians you can give your caterer a heads up to prepare special meals for these guests, but you do not have to reach out to each guest in advance of the wedding and find out what he or she will or won't eat.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Proofreading All Printed Materials

Before you finalize the printing of your save-the-date cards, wedding invitations, wedding programs, menu cards or any other items that will cost a lot of money to print make sure you have someone proofread it.

While you and your fiance and even your printer may have looked over the copy a dozen times, sometimes you may not see something because your mind knows what you mean/want it to read.

Ask a parent, sibling or friend to read the final draft just to be safe.  Remember that spell check won't catch everything - especially correctly spelled words that are misplaced like your and you're and there, their and they're.

If you sign off on the final draft/proof and you notice a typo on the printed item because it was something you missed on the proof you'll be financially responsible for the re-print, if there's time for one.  You may incur a rush charge if the wedding is only a short time away.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Don't Be Surprised If What inspires You Costs a Pretty Penny

If you had a chance to read the article in The New York Times on wedding blogs this past weekend then you probably caught what Maria Cooke, owner of Ritzy Bee Events and Ritzy Bee Blog editor, said about brides finding inspiration on wedding blogs.

“Blogs are nice in that when brides are ready to place an order with a vendor, they have all their ideas already. But I have a lot of florist friends I work with daily, and they’ll say couples automatically look at the picture of a flower setting without asking, ‘Is it within my budget?’ or even, ‘Are the flowers even available at that time of year?’ ”

Maria makes an excellent point.

Blogs are filled with beautiful wedding inspiration but the captions are usually limited to a photo credit.

It's not uncommon for a bride to take an image she found on a blog - or in a wedding magazine or website - to a vendor and find out that that arrangement or detail is out of her budget.  When you can't get exactly what is in the photo let the vendor help you find something similar, inspired by the photo, in your price range.

Unfortunately costs will vary per region as well as per season, so if a November bride in Manhattan with 250 guests and a June bride in Des Moines with 150 guests both take a photo of a centerpiece to their local florist they are both going to get very different prices on what the arrangement costs.  This, I'm assuming, is one of the reasons there are no prices on a lot of wedding inspiration shots.

Don't be upset if a vendor says you won't be able to get what you want at your budget.  

After finding inspiration meet with several vendors in each category to see who can give you what you want, or as close to it, at your price.  Let the work you find on a wedding blog, magazine or website inspire you and your vendors.  You don't have to duplicate the image exactly.  No one is going to compare your detail to the source of inspiration.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The B-List: In the NYTimes and How to Join

Vane from the blog Brooklyn Bride and I started The B-List in 2009 as a way for bloggers who have emailed and read each other's blogs over the years could finally get to know each other.  The event was a huge success and in April 2010 our group grew and The B-List had an even more awesome event in Washington, DC.

Wedding blogs have become more and more mainstream in the past two years.  Bloggers have been featured in national wedding magazines (BRIDES, Martha Stewart Weddings) and quoted in a variety of news outlets.

Over the weekend the New York Times published a story in the Style Section on the popularity of wedding blogs and how they have become an important part of the wedding planning process for brides. (Click here to read Blogging Brides.)  While there were a number of bloggers and blogs mentioned, the writer also highlighted The B-List as a professional organization of wedding bloggers.

The B-List is a community of wedding bloggers who help nurture and support wedding bloggers across the country and around the world.  Being a member includes free admission to our annual conference as well as events throughout the year and promotion to traditional media outlets as a trusted wedding resource.

If you are interested in becoming a member of The B-List please visit and complete our online application.

If you have any questions about The B-List you can email me and Vane at

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Tips If You're Planning a Surprise First Dance

I recently assigned a story that was published today on on first dance videos.  I had the writer pull together 10 great surprise first dances - you know the type, where the couple starts with a traditional first dance and surprises their guest by suddenly dancing to a choreographed upbeat song.

Anyway, one thing I noticed with almost all of these dances was that it took a long time to get to the surprise.  One couple slow danced for a minute or so before breaking into the upbeat choreographed number.

My advice is that if you are going to surprise your guests keep the slow or traditional dance to no more than 30 seconds.

Another tip is to let your photographer and videographer know what you're planning so they aren't recording the dance from behind you.  You'll want to see the smiles on your faces when you watch your wedding video.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Girl You're Amazing, Just the Way You Are

I don't know if this is the title of the song but it was playing on my way home tonight.  If you listen to the lyrics he is singing about how beautiful and perfect the girl is and that she shouldn't change a thing about herself.

I posted a story on today titled Extreme Beauty where we featured some cosmetic treatments you may be considering, including lash extensions that last for months, specific hair treatments, teeth whitening and botox.  These aren't that extreme when you think about the lengths people have and will go to make themselves over.

There's a new reality show being taped as I type this featuring about a dozen brides who compete in challenges to win - not a beautiful wedding - but plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures for their wedding.  Seriously.  The winner is then "unveiled" at her wedding.

Can you imagine the groom at the end of the aisle waiting to see his bride and she looks completely different?  He is marrying you for you and think your perfect just the way you are.

I'm sorry but there is really something wrong if you think you need to have plastic surgery before your wedding, unless of course you were in a horrible disfiguring accident.

I'll be honest, I don't love my nose and have thought about having it "fixed" but in the end I decided that this is how G-d made me and I'm happy with who I am and what I look like.  Also, how do you know that after the procedure you'll look any better?  I know a few people who had work done and one of the nose jobs didn't make them look any different and someone else decided to have her chin implant removed because she liked her chin better pre-implant.

I get emails weekly from doctors who perform plastic surgery specifically for brides and I think there was one email about a group session where all the bridesmaids and the bride can get work done together - what a fun bachelorette party idea, right?

I don't promote plastic surgery on either site because I don't want to encourage this as a trend.   Be happy with who you are and know that you are amazing, and beautiful, just the way you are.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Re-Gifting Tips

While you should never re-gift something you have probably thought about it and maybe even done it.  I know when I was in college and had no money I would re-gift things that my parents had received and didn't need or want.  Sorry, it's true but I had no money.

I remember going to a bridal shower and the bride opened a box and inside was a card to Sharon and Michael, wishing them all the best.  The bride who opened the box was Adrienne and her groom was Daniel.

My sister opened an engagement gift from friends of our parents and after unwrapping the present the box looked a little dusty and in some spots you could see the cardboard where the original wrapping paper was held with scotch tape.  The gift was a plastic serving tray that also had dust on it.

Both of these gifts were obviously re-gifts.

Here's my advice if you are going to re-gift something - for a wedding, shower or any occasion - and yes I know that you shouldn't re-gift something but the truth is, it happens:

  1. Double check the box the item came in to make sure there isn't a card written to you or someone else, in case this gift to you was a re-gift.
  2. Make sure there are no receipts that show the date the purchase was made, unless it was in the last 30 days and exchangeable.
  3. If the items has been out of the box, clean it so it doesn't look dusty and buy a nice box and tissue paper to wrap it in.
  4. If there are marks on the box that show where wrapping paper was held with tape then try to use tape in the same places so that when the paper comes off it can be assumed that this wrapping paper made those marks.
Now I'm not saying that re-gifting is okay to do.  What I am saying is that if you're going to do it follow these tips so that you don't get caught.

Friday, September 03, 2010

If You Have the Ball to Do It Then Have the Balls to Say Who You Are

RE: Commenting on My Blog and Other Sites

Unfortunately I don't get to go through comments on this blog everyday but I try to weekly and reply when someone asks a question or make an interesting point.

I welcome comments and emails from readers but I draw the line at comments that are rude to other commenters just for the sake of being rude.  Calling someone a name is just plain mean and not necessary.  There's no reason people can't disagree with each other and still respect and be civil to each other.

A commenter, Anonymous, on a post I wrote about Registries Not Being Greedy didn't like that a commenter thought that she received crappy/bad gifts from guests who didn't use her wedding registry.  There's nothing wrong with disagreeing but to call the commenter a "brat" and wish that her "marriage fails" is unnecessary and obnoxious and rude.  Plus, if you're going to have the balls to write something negative to or about someone at least have the balls to put your name on it.  Which is a personal beef I have with the Internet.

I think it's disgusting that people feel that they can act their worst because they can use the username "Anonymous" or a fake name and hide behind the screen.

I didn't delete the comment because I was hoping that you will go to the post and read the comment - it's the second Anonymous - and in the future when you write a comment on a post on this or any website  think about your words before you type and click ok/send.  Remember that there is a person on the other end of that post/comment you are commenting on and think about what you would say to that person's face if you had the chance.  Would you be rude and mean?  Would you say what you're writing?  Would you wear a mask to hide who you are and say mean things?  And how would you like it if those things were said to you?

Just something to think about.

Staged Wedding Photos

We just got back in from dinner near the Fulton Ferry Landing in Brooklyn and there was a group of people taking formal portraits with the Manhattan skyline behind them.  There was a girl in white, a guy in a tux, some kids all dressed up and a group of girls in matching purple dresses.  From the looks of it you automatically thought wedding but this was actually a sweet 16 group.

This location is very popular with bridal parties and on a Saturday and Sunday you can expect to see one posing for pictures at any time of day.

If you and your groom want to take portraits or some candids at a location other than your wedding ceremony or reception venue make sure that your photographer is aware of this and that you make time in your wedding day timeline to get to and from the shoot location and have time to take all the photos you want there.  Give your photographer a list of what you want and make sure that someone in the bridal party  or your wedding planner's assistant is checking off each one so you don't forget a must-have shot.

It's important to make sure this information is in your vendor contract with your wedding photographer because you don't want to incur overtime charges or at least you want to know if there's an extra fee associated with this off-site shoot.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

A Second Wedding Dress: Do You Really Need Two?

There was an article in the New York Times last week about the trend in buying a second wedding dress.  The story noted a number of recent celeb brides - Chelsea Clinton, Carrie Underwood - that changed into a second dress for the reception or at least for part of the reception.

Now I'm a firm believer in doing whatever you want and I know it's good for the economy but I really don't like this trend.

The wedding dress is probably the most important "outfit" you'll ever buy and possibly the most expensive, so why only wear it for a few hours?

I believe that there really is just one dress out there for each bride - just like the guy and ring.  I do realize that people do get divorced but at this stage you are set on spending the rest of your life with this one guy.

It may not be the first dress you try on and it may not be the 100th but trust me it's out there.  You can wear a slim fitting or minidress to any event but for your wedding buy your dream wedding dress and wear it for the whole day.  If you can't dance in it and dancing is important to you then buy a dress that you can dance in.

The person who alters your wedding dress should be able to make sure that you can walk dance breathe and hug people in it.

I'm sorry and I know a lot of you may disagree with me on this but I just think it's a waste of money and if you feel the need to buy a second wedding dress then maybe the reason is because the first one is not THE one.  Trust me, it's worth the wait!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Write Down Your Vows and Toasts!

I'm studying up for a TV segment I'm taping tomorrow on engagement rings and trying to memorize the different ring descriptions, prices and designer names..  There are six that I really should know by heart, but to be safe I'm writing the information down on notecards.

I'd rather refer to a card on set than make something up or say I don't know the answer to a question.

While it would be nice to recite your own vows by heart or toast the bride and groom without a printed speech, it's better to have a note card or paper with the words you want to say on them than forget what you wanted to say and be stuck with the mic.

No one in that room will hold it against you or look down on you for referring to your notes.  This is a very important day and it's better to get the words you want to say out correctly than have to make something up on the fly.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Wedding Bank Account

If you and you're groom or planing on setting money aside for your wedding you may want to open a checking account specifically for the wedding.  This way you can put money in there and write checks from it without worrying about the money you use for daily and monthly expenses.

Monday, August 30, 2010

We Couldn't Make an Engagement Party At the Last Minute

Yesterday we were planning on attending an engagement party for a friend of ours but at the last minute we couldn't make it.

The party was just over an hour away from us and we were told we could bring the baby but about an hour before we were about to leave for the island Dave got stuck at work with an emergency and we had to cancel.  We felt horrible because we had RSVP'd yes and the party was formatted like a wedding - cocktail hour, formal meal.

If this situation happens to you and you are the hosts (bride and groom) be gracious and understanding.  Don't start a fight with the guests - I'm sure they feel terrible that they can't make it.  They may not go into detail but they probably have a good reason for not being able to come so don't quiz them, just accept what they say and say you're sorry you missed them and that you would have liked them to celebrate with you.  If there is another pre-wedding party coming up mention that you look forward to seeing them at that event.

If you are a guest in this situation try and call the hosts (bride and groom) as soon as you know that you won't be able to make the event.  If the decision to not go is made after the event has started, don't bother the hosts (bride and groom) but call a friend or relative who is there and let them know.  They can tell the couple and you should email or text the couple stating that you won't make it and that you'll ring them after the event.  If the event you can't make is the wedding just wait till the next day if you can't reach them before the invitation time - you don't want to ring them while they're about to walk down the aisle!

What did we do?  Dave texted the groom that he was held up at work just before the party started and called a friend going to let him know what was going on.  Then about three hours after the party was over, Dave called the groom to apologize and explain what happened.  Then I went on the couple's bridal registry and sent them a nice gift -- spending a little more than we had planned.

Friday, August 27, 2010

It's Good Luck If It Rains On Your Wedding Day

Was I upset that it rained on our wedding day? Yes, because we only got a few photos outdoors and couldn't have cocktail hour outside.  But one of the best shots our photographers got were the two of us walking back into the schul as it stared drizzling while Dave held a lavender umbrella over us - and his brother, the best man, held my train.

After seeing the forecast my mom and I ran to a dollar store and found colored umbrellas and the lavender ones matched the weddings color palette so it worked out great in photos.  But it would have been a great photo even if the umbrella was black or had a pattern.

If rain is in your wedding day forecast grab a few umbrellas and hope for the best.  There's nothing you can do about the weather so don't stress about it.  And if your wedding will be entirely outdoors, make sure you reserve a tent and the necessary accoutrements just in case you need them.


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