Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bridesmaid Dresses - The Truth

The truth is that your girls will probably never wear the bridesmaid dresses you ask them to wear ever again.  And here's my reasoning:

1 - It probably looks like a bridesmaid dress in style and fabric.

2 - If you have more than two bridesmaids chances are they will probably travel in the same social circles and will be attending the same events - weddings, bar mitzvahs, birthday parties, etc... Therefore others will know it's the bridesmaid dress from your wedding.

3 - There are very few occasions where one has to wear a formal, floor-length gown so if you choose one chances are your 'maids won't have an opportunity to wear it again.

So don't pick a bridesmaid dress based on whether or not it's truly wearable after your wedding because even if you think it is, it probably isn't.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Grooms Without a Clue

Don't expect your groom to know anything about planning a wedding.  He may think that once he proposes he's off the hook as far as wedding responsibilities go until the big day.

It's not his fault that this is the way he thinks planning works - that it's all on you, the bride.  But it's up to you to tell him if you need or want his help.  Don't expect him to jump into a wedding theme and color palette brainstorming session or just start calling wedding vendors to get pricing information and availability.

If you want his help, after all it's his wedding too, then be clear from the beginning of the process that you want him to be involved and meet with vendors or even research certain vendors and wedding details.

Don't let the wedding day be a complete surprise for him.  Part of the fun is planning the wedding so take him with you to appointments and some wedding shows and enjoy cake and champagne together.  It'll be a big help to you to have his input and support when making tough decisions, like what color the linens should be.  : )

There are some great wedding sites just for guys that he's sure to enjoy.  Forward him any or all of these links:
The Man Registry
Temple of Groom
Ben the Groom

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Two Wedding Shoe Tips

So at dinner tonight I must have slipped, and caught myself, a dozen times at the restaurant we were at. Of course Dave wants me to throw at the shoes and I said never, I'll just be more careful.

To which he replied: Just score them before you wear them again, okay.

His favorite wedding planning tip:  Remember to score your shoes and your groom's before the big day so you don't slip down the aisle or on the dance floor.

And a related tip:  Dave bought new shoes this weekend and he called me yesterday to say that they were hurting him and he thought he would have to return them. But I reminded him that it takes time to break in shoes so wear them for the week and see if they feel better.

You and your groom should also break in your shoes before the wedding. You don't want to deal with sore feet and blisters on your wedding day. And it's a good idea to add extra band-aids to your wedding emergency kit in case your feet do hurt.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Babies and Weddings

We went to a wedding yesterday and of course our daughter came with us. I know the relatives would have been terribly disappointed if she didn't. Unfortunately when it comes to entertaining her that responsibility falls on us, her parents, and it is hard to have a good time and visit with other guests while trying to calm a teething baby.

Not to say we don't enjoy having her with us. We do. But at a wedding it's hard to keep a baby from crying or yelling or fussing during quiet times such as the ceremony and toasts. Halfway through the ceremony Dave had to take her for a walk outside. During the reception I took her for a walk to the puppy store down the block so he could eat and then when he was done he met us there so I could eat.

I want to stress to you that if a guest doesn't want to bring her baby or toddler to your wedding - even if the child is your niece or nephew - say okay, and offer to help find a sitter if the family has to travel to your wedding location. They'll appreciate you not giving them an argument. And if the wedding is at a hotel the babysitter can bring the child to the reception for a short time if the parents and you want them to, and leave once the child starts getting fussy.

Friday, May 21, 2010

What's a Destination Wedding?

I went to a trade event today hosted by Destination Weddings & Honeymoon magazine and there were a variety of hotels and resorts from across the country and around the world - though mainly Caribbean destinations - exhibiting.

Each resort offers amazing amenities and unbelievable wedding and honeymoon packages but there was a discussion as to whether a destination wedding could be described as a wedding taking place in the continental 48 states that I wanted to address in this post.

A destination wedding is a wedding held at a location that neither the bride and groom call home and one where they as well as many if not all of their guests will be traveling to.  So for example, if you call New York home and get married in Napa or Charleston or Aspen you are having a destination wedding just as if you were getting married at an international location, such as theUSVI, Mexico or Italy.

If you are planning a destination wedding then here are some of my planning tips you may want to follow:

1.  Hire a wedding planner who is either based at the location of your wedding or very familiar with the area.

2.  Try and hire as many vendors in the local area as possible so you don't have to fly vendors in.  You will have to pay for their transportation and accommodations as well as their fee.

3.  Don't over schedule activities for your guests.  Besides the wedding, rehearsal dinner and post-wedding brunch you can suggest activities but you don't have to pay for every activity your guests take part in.  And remember this is a vacation for them and they may just want to relax by the pool.

4.  If you are making guest room gifts or out-of-town baskets for your guests make sure to include information on local resources such as a pharmacy, doctor, restaurants and attractions.  If they speak a foreign language you may want to make a mini-translation guide.

5.  If you can - and with the help of your wedding planner or hotel - try to arrange group transportation to and from the airport.  Your guests will appreciate it.

6.  When making your guest list follow the general wedding guideline that 10% of your guests will not be able to attend.  Don't assume that just because it's a destination most people won't make it.  You don't want to invite 200 people thinking 80 will come and then end up with 180.  Especially if your budget will only allow for 80.  Only invite those people you really want to be there and the number of people you can afford to have.

7.  Create a wedding website to keep guests informed of hotel and flight discount rates you've arranged as well as weekend activities so they can plan accordingly.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Can You Fire a Bridesmaid?

This was a question I got today at my inbox and before I answered yes or no I emailed back:  Did you just get in a fight or do you no longer want to be friends with her?  Because firing a bridesmaid is pretty much saying I don't want to be your friend anymore.

The bride replied that she doesn't want to be her friend.  She only asked her to be her bridesmaid because the bride was her bridesmaid a few years ago and they have since drifted apart.  Also, the bridesmaid had done a few things lately to piss her off.

So, I replied that you can simply say that you think you're drifting apart and that you are upset with the few things she has done recently - and name them - and that you don't want her to be a bridesmaid anymore.  In fact, because being a bridesmaid is expensive you're actually doing her a favor!

When you and a friend are drifting apart and there's very little connecting you anymore it's okay to let go and say goodbye.  It's kind of like a break up where you both know it's over but neither of you have the balls to say it.

In this situation you just have to have the courage to say, "You're fired."  But in a nicer way. You're not Donald Trump and life is not a TV show.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Getting Fit For Your Wedding

I wouldn’t know a thing about it - Dave says should be the first line of this post. I went to a new doctor this week and she asked me how often I exercise and without hesitating I told her the truth. Never. I don’t know but I find it boring and I’d rather spend my time doing other things.

So where am I getting with this. Here:

I bought Dave a Wii for his birthday. And the new one ($199) comes with a Wii Sports and Wii Fitness Package so if what I’ve read online is true I will finally have some fun while exercising. A friend said to play bowling but to be honest I don’t know how much of a sweat I’ll get from that. Maybe tennis will be better.

I’ll find out soon enough - as soon as I can find someone to put it together for me.

But for your wedding you may be thinking about losing a few pounds or getting toned to show off the area of your body your dress doesn’t cover. I think it make more sense for you to join a gym. Ask them if they have a special package for brides - many do. And they may also have a two-for-one program if your groom joins you. Could be good for non-wedding planning time for the two of you.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sex & the City 2: Spoiler Alert

I'm not the biggest SATC fan but I'v seen all the shows and the first film and I am looking forward to the sequel but more because I can't wait to see the wedding of Stanford and Anthony.

After seeing the wedding cake I just new this was going to be some amazing wedding with unbelievable attention to detail.  From the trailer and the few stills I've seen here's what I'm assuming we'll see on the big screen:

  • Carrie acts as Stanford's best woman and wears a classic black tux
  • Stanford wears a white tux and bow tie "like a virgin," his words not mine, and Anthony wears a black tux
  • The rest of the bridal party include's Charlotte's daughter Lily as flower girl and about 12 men in white tuxes
  • Liza Minelli performs at the wedding

A friend went to a press screening and if I can get her to dish I'll share more details.

Photo:  via Gawker

Monday, May 17, 2010

Direction Cards: A Few Do's

Since the Stationery Show is in town I thought I'd write some posts on wedding stationery.

If you are including a set of directions to your ceremony and reception sites in your wedding invitation it's always a good idea to test drive them.  Your venues will probably have pre-made cards that you can use and it's a safe bet that the direction on them are correct.  But give them a once over just to check they didn't miss a typo.

You can also ask your stationer to create a direction card that matches your wedding invitation's design --for us, for lack of a better word, anal brides.  Me including.

If you are having the cards printed, I suggest double and triple checking the directions you are giving because once you sign off on the proof you are responsible for them.  If after they are printed you realize you wrote left and you meant right it's on you to re-print them and pay for them, as well as any rush fees that may apply.

In addition to you and your fiance proofing the directions, don't be afraid to ask the venue's location manager, a friend, member of the bridal party or a parent to proof them to.  And you may even want to get in the car any actually try them out to confirm that they are correct.

As for where to get the directions, your venue may have them listed on their website or in a brochure or you can use MapQuest.  Make sure to get the directions from multiple directions - north, east, south and west.  And if you are getting married in an area with mass transit you can also add those directions too.  HopStop has train, subway and bus directions for many metro areas.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Remembering Other Milestones During Your Engagement

Today is my daughter's 1st birthday and to celebrate with her I left work early -- something I never do.  It's important that throughout your engagement you take time out to enjoy other events in your lives -- birthdays, anniversaries as well as other happy occasions.

I once left my best friend's engagement party to bid on something on eBay that I thought I would want for our wedding.  That was a mistake.  I won the auction but never used the items.

Yes your engagement and wedding planning is a very exciting time in your lives but don't forget the other fun things in life that happen during this time.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

What's That Smell?

We went to dinner with another couple tonight and towards the end of our meal we began to smell something really funky.  At first we thought it was garbage from the busser station not far from our table -- yes it was that foul we thought it was garbage -- but after we mentioned something and they cleared the station the smell was still there.

A waitress came over and explained that it was an ingredient in the food on the next table and we couldn't believe it.  It was so bad that we skipped dessert and left the table.  We paid standing at the hostess' desk.

When choosing the items for your menu ask if something has a strong odor and see if there are some alternatives.  You don't want your guests leaving early because something is making them nauseous.

I know this is kind of random but I never would believe that at a high-end restaurant we would have to leave early because of a horrible smell and thought it could happen at a wedding.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

When to Schedule Parent Dances

I stopped by Bloomingdale’s on the way home to hear Vera Wang speak on her 20th anniversary and ran into a DJ, Jason Fioto from Generation Events in New York City.  We originally met at another Bloomingdale’s event a few months back where I politely asked him to turn the music down because I was having trouble chatting with Jessica from Judy Paulen Designs in the next booth.
Anyway, since I hadn’t written my post for today I asked Jason to give me one of his top wedding music tips.  Here it is:
“Save the parent dances till after the main course. That way the first dance, which takes place at the beginning of the reception, is all about the bride and groom.”
And Jason also gave me his thoughts on tipping so I’m adding an update to my recent post on tipping vendors.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

You Don't Invite People to the Shower If They're Not Invited to the Wedding

A friend of mine just got an invitation to a bridal shower, but she doesn't think she'll be invited to the wedding.  My immediate reaction was of course you'll be invited to the wedding -- you can't get invited to the shower if you're not invited to the wedding.

To which her husband replied, "Really?  I don't think people know that."

Well, now they do.  You don't invite people to a bridal shower if they are not invited to the wedding.

However, there are exceptions:

1 - You eloped and the shower is post-ceremony.
2 - Your office threw the shower and they know they're not invited to the wedding.
3 - You are having a very small wedding but your mom wants to throw a shower for you with her closest friends.
4 - Same as above but this time it's your fiance's mother.

Any questions?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Gratuities: Who Gets What

Your catering contract will include gratuity for the waitstaff and it will usually be somewhere between 18 - 25%. This fee is not negotiable and since waiters, bussers and bartenders work for tips it would be rude, in my opinion, to try and cheat these workers. But when it comes to other wedding vendors my views on tipping may vary from others in the industry.

The hair and makeup artist should be tipped if they work for a salon and are not independent contractors, meaning they are not self-employed. The same for drivers.

I do not think you need to tip the florist, band, photographer, videographer, officiant (you will probably pay him/her a fee), baker, DJ and wedding planner. Valets are similar to waiters and their gratuity is probably included in their contract.

For your wedding planner, you may want to buy a token gift if you’ve been working with him or her for your entire engagement.

Of course do what you think is right and if I missed a vendor comment or email me and I put in my two cents.

And while a gratuity may not be necessary it’s always a good idea to write a thank-you note.

UPDATE: Of course if you think the band, DJ, wedding planner, etc... did an amazing job you can give them an extra few bucks -- the total amount is up to you but $50 or $100 is probably average per person.

Friday, May 07, 2010

You're Not Being Greedy When Registering for Gifts

I spoke to a bride today about a number of details for her wedding and before we parted she asked me how much was too much to register for.  She was concerned that her guests would think they were being greedy if there were too many items on their registry.  She also wanted to know how many stores she should register at.

It's always a good idea to register at two or three stores.  Make sure that between all of the stores your guests can shop online at at least two of them.  You can choose stores that all carry the same types of items or you can choose stores that carry different products -- housewares, furniture, special interest.

As for how much to put on your registry, think about how many guests you're inviting to your wedding and don't forget about your engagement party and bridal shower too.  Each couple and single guest will buy you a gift for each of these events he or she is invited to.  So if you do the math:

100 people at your engagement party = 50 gifts, assuming everyone is there as a couple
30 shower guests = 30 gifts + wishing well items
150 wedding guests = 90 gifts, assuming that you have a mix of couples, singles and families

That's 170 gifts total!  And you want to make sure you have a lot of options in items and price points, so register for just under 200 items.

You may not believe me but a registry actually makes it easier on your guests because they know what to buy you and what stores to shop at.  So do them a favor and make sure to register and check back to make sure it's updated.  Items get removed if they are sold out, no longer available or discontinued - especially seasonal items.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

What to Expect If You Have a Pregnant Bridesmaid

I've heard stories about brides who actually get upset if one of their bridesmaids gets pregnant and will begin showing by the time of the wedding or brides who are concerned that their friend will be too pregnant at the wedding.

First of all, your bridesmaids are your closest friends and relatives and you should be nothing but happy for them.  But here are some thoughts on pregnant bridesmaids:

1.  Make sure to choose a dress style that is both flattering and comfortable for an expectant bridesmaid.  This dress can either be the same dress for all the 'maids or a complimentary style.

2.  Think about how far a long she'll be at the wedding.  You should have a seat in the front row for her to sit if the service is long or if she gets uncomfortable standing at the altar.

3.  Don't make any comments or jokes about her having the baby at the wedding or being too big to walk down the aisle.  They are not nice and you may think they're funny, she may not.

4.  Allow her to choose her own shoes.  Don't insist on heels that she thinks are too high.

5.  If you are planning a spa day for you and your bridesmaids check if the spa offers pre-natal massages or other treatments for pregnant women.

6.  If she has to pull out from the bridal party for any reason, especially medical, tell her that you're sorry but understand and don't make her feel bad about it.  It may be her OB's call and not hers.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Don't Forget to Number Your RSVP Cards

My aunt is getting married in a few weeks and told me that she got an RSVP card back with no name and no return address.  I immediately asked if she had numbered her RSVP cards and she answered, "obviously not."

When you are putting your wedding invitations together number the lower corner of the back of the RSVP cards and make a list - on paper or on your computer (maybe on an excel sheet that also tracks your will/will not attend) - where a guest name or couple corresponds to each number.  This way when you get an RSVP card back in the mail with no name or return address you can easily figure out who sent it back and you won't have to worry about calling everyone you are waiting to hear back from to see if they were the nameless guest.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Hair & Makeup Trials

It's very important to have a hair and makeup trial in the weeks before your wedding even if you're planning on doing your own hair and makeup.  The morning of your wedding is not the time to experiment.

At your trial remember to bring a digital camera, not just your camera phone, and make sure you take pictures of yourself from the front, both sides and for your hair, from behind.  This way you can see what you'll look like from all angles.

Your makeup artists should take notes, writing down exactly what colors she is using on you so on the day of your wedding she is not trying to remember which shade of pink blush she wanted to use.

You can ask for a copy of the notes to have for your own records and if you want to purchase any of the products, such a the lipstick or liner, make sure you have the brand and color name correct.

Monday, May 03, 2010

New Rule: Cash Registries are Tacky. Don't Get One.

Are you familiar with Bill Maher's New Rules segment?  Whether you are or not, here's my new wedding rule:

Cash registries are tacky.  Everyone wants cash or checks as wedding gifts - who wouldn't want $100 to use on whatever you want?  But you cannot register for money.  You can't put a button on your wedding website directing guests to PayPal.  You can't tell people to just write you a check when they ask what you'd like as a wedding gift.

Register for gifts either at a brick and mortar store or online or even for your honeymoon - though I'm not huge on these either.  And choose a store or site with a good return or exchange policy so if you do get something you don't want, need or like you can exchange it or return it for a store credit.

The only excuse for this situation is if you and your groom are moving out of the country and it'll be impossible to move everything to your new home.  I know of two couples who had this issue and one was in the military.

So register at a store - or two or three - and if you really want cash gifts keep your fingers crossed that your guests are the cash/check-writing crowd.


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