Thursday, March 31, 2011

One Wedding To-Do You Must Do!

I know I harp on this a lot but I swear on Aggie this is a true story.

I was at the dentist and the doctor told me that she was had just sent her engagement ring to be cleaned for her daughter’s bat mitzvah, and not two days after she got it back the stone fell out and was lost forever.

So I said: Please tell me you had insurance.

And she said: No, I didn’t.

I couldn’t believe it. She got $500 from her homeowner’s insurance but because she didn’t have a separate policy for the ring with an appraisal, there was nothing she could do about. And the jeweler refused to tell the insurance company that he had just cleaned the ring, to prove the value, because he didn’t want to get blamed for not tightening the prongs.

Anyway, what’s the moral? Make sure to have your ring under your home owner’s policy with an amendment for it’s appraisal value so if g-d forbid something happens to it you’re covered.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Surprised at What a Wedding Costs?

There are always news stories that the average price of a wedding is about $26,000 but when I hear from brides -- from all over the country -- they seem surprised that their wedding is costing them a lot more than that.

Wedding prices will vary depending on where and when you're getting married and you have to remember that these average numbers include everything from city hall weddings to million dollar affairs.

You need to be realistic in what you can afford to spend and what a wedding will cost in your area.  Don't just wake up the day after you get engaged and say to your self, "This wedding will cost me $30,000 because the average is $26K and I can go a little over that." 

You may soon find out that you can't even get a recepion hall in your area for less than $25,000.

When trying to figure out what the wedding will probably cost, ask friends and relatives who have recently gotten married and find out what they spent on the various vendors.  You may be surprised with what they tell you.  And don't ask someone who was married several years ago or longer, because the prices have probably gone up since their wedding.  

A photographer we met with on the recommendation of a friend who hired her few years before we got engaged paid $5,000.  When we met her the price was $7,500 and now -- 8 years later -- it's well over $12,000.

Now, I'm not saying that you should let the average cost in your area dictate what you spend, but it's important to know what you should expect to spend as you start meeting with and signing contracts.  

And as always, don't forget to save 10% of your budget -- or add 10% to it -- for emergencies and last minute add-ons.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

When There's a Month to Go Get Some Help

Today is March 29th, one month to go till Prince William and Kate Middleton tie the knot!  And like most brides I'm sure Ms. Middleton has a lot on her wedding planning to-do list.

In the final weeks to your wedding you'll want to make sure your RSVPs are all in so you can finalize your seating chart and give your caterer a headcount, confirm that all your bridesmaids have their bridesmaid dresses and that they're being altered, attend your bachelorette party and finalize last minute details such as wedding program, favors and tosses.

I know being a princess bride means that you have a whole staff of people planning the wedding with you, but every bride should have a team of people helping her in the final weeks.

Your mom, his and your bridesmaids can all be your support staff -- making favors with you, binding programs, helping with confirming last-minute details with vendors.  Don't be afraid to ask people to help you.  I'm sure they offered already!

But if you want to hire a professional, remember that a day-of wedding planner actually is hired a few weeks or a month before the wedding.  They'll assist with the final logistics and details.  You can't expect them to show up the morning of your wedding and know what to do, right?  So if you are thinking of hiring someone start interviewing potential day-of planners about three months before the wedding so they have enough time to help you in the final stretch.

Monday, March 28, 2011

I Think I Have the Flu

Seriously, this isn't a wedding-related post.

Just wanted to share why there won't be one today.

Hope I'm well enough for the New York magazine Weddings show on Wednesday!

Will I see you there?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Wedding Rings: How to Choose the Right One

There are so many options when it comes to wedding bands: gold, platinum, eternity ... You should take your time picking the right one.

You can choose a simple, solid metallic band or something with a little more bling. Try on rings that you can wear with your engagement ring on the same finger as well as rings you can wear alone.

While diamond wedding bands are very popular, if it's not in your budget right now, choose a simpler style and wait till a big anniversary to receive the diamond one.

If you're having a Jewish ceremony, remember that you will have to exchange rings that have no breaks in them (meaning, no stones), so shop for, or borrow from relatives or friends, a pair of simple gold or platinum wedding rings for your ceremony.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bridal Market Reminders

I can't believe bridal market is right around the corner.  Shows in Chicago I think are this coming week and then the New York shows start April 6th.  I just wanted to share a few bits of information to keep in mind as you read posts on the designer runway shows.

1.  The dresses shown at market will most likely not be available for brides until September at the earliest, so if you're getting married in the fall you shouldn't wait for the dress to arrive in stores.

2.  Not every dress shown will make it to salons and designers may have a few additional designs that they don't show on the runway but they do manufacture them, so don't assume the runway pictures are everything from that designer.

3.  The best way to see a complete collection is to schedule an appointment during a designer trunk show.  You can see designer trunk show schedules on designer web sites and bridal salon web sites.  Call and make an appointment when you learn of the dates so you guarantee yourself an appointment.

4.  Print out pictures from the April 2011 shows and bring them with you to bridal salon appointments.  Just because that dress won't be available doesn't mean you can't find something similar that is already in salons.

5.  Accessories may hit bridal salons earlier so if you're looking fora headpiece, dress embellishment, bag or other bridal accessory you may have more luck in finding it sooner.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Free Tickets to the New York Weddings Magazine Event

If you are getting married in the New York Tri-State Area New York magazine’s Weddings issue will be your bible. The issue has style and planning advice and listing of everything you could possibly need for your wedding -- from dresses to flowers to invites to yarmulkes.

The Summer issue is on stands now and brides can meet some of the vendors featured at the New York Weddings magazine event.  This annual event showcases the work of over 100 wedding vendors in every category and also allows you to talk to the top experts in New York and get the answers to your wedding planning questions.

The event will be held Wednesday, March 30th from 5-8pm at the Metropolitan Pavilion (125 West 18th Street). Tickets cost $40 for 1 and $60 for 2, and includes attending all demonstrations, free samples and food tastings. Visit for more information and to purchase tickets.

I’m giving away a pair of tickets to the first person to email me at!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

NEW: Bloomingdale's Wedding Shop

First it was J. Crew, then Ann Taylor, White House|Black Market and earlier this year Anthroplogie launched BHLDN, and today Blommingdale's launched The Wedding Shop, featuring fashions for everyone in the wedding, plus fashions for the bridal shower, bachelorette party and rehearsal dinner.

The great thing about off-the-rack wedding dresses is that if you get home or have it shipped and you change your mind you can return it.  Remember that you can't return a wedding dress that you buy at a bridal salon.

And for bridesmaids, while I firmly believe that there is no such thing as a bridesmaid dress you can wear again, these bridesmaid dresses are made as party dresses so there is a possibility they can wear them again.

If you do purchase a dress at Bloomingdale's check to see if they have any coupons that will give you a discount or ask if you open a Bloomingdale's credit card if you will you receive 10-20% off your purchase.

Monday, March 21, 2011

DIY Wedding Dress Alterations

Lots of brides look to cut corners on their wedding by making some of the details or hiring friends and relatives as their wedding vendors.  I've written before about hiring family and friends as your vendors but I spoke today with a friend who mentioned having her aunt do her wedding dress alterations.

I highly suggest you have a seamstress who has a lot of experience with working on wedding dresses to do your alterations.  Hemming a wedding dress isn't like hemming a pair of slacks, and it's not so easy to manipulate a delicate fabric, embroidery and embellishments.

There a lot of ways to DIY your wedding in a "safe" way:  favors, invitations, calligraphy are a few that come to mind.  But it's very important that your wedding dress be fitted to you by a professional so that it fits you like a glove and it looks the way you want it to look on your wedding day.  Remember that your wedding dress will be the most important fashion purchase you ever make and you'll be photographed in it all day and night so ensure that you look and feel beautiful in it by spending the money on a professional.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Cookbooks Make Great Bridal Shower Gifts

They really do.  I know they're not shiny and gadgety but if you're like me and have no idea how to boil water a cookbook can be the perfect addition to your kitchen.

Some traditionally home stores, like Williams-Sonoma, have a variety of cookbooks that you can add to your registry.  Guests looking to put a gift package together may even buy a cookbook and a tool or gadget you can use with it like a grilling book with a grilling kit or a baking book with measuring spoons.

You may also want to add a recipe card box or book to your registry and ask your mom, his and grandmothers to share their favorite recipes with you.  Sharing family recipes also makes a great shower activity.  Simply ask guests to bring their favorite recipe with them and have pretty recipe cards for them to write it on and the bridesmaids can present the recipes to the bride at the shower.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

What If You Don't Have Bridesmaids?

Some brides may decide that they don't want to have bridesmaids, but then wonder who will plan their shower and bachelorette party.  Should the bride plan them herself?

For the bridal shower I would suggest that a bride doesn't plan her own but her mother, the groom's mother or the bride's friends can host the party.  And I know etiquette says that mom shouldn't plan the shower but it's okay if she does.  No one is going to think anything negative about it.  Or your mom, his mom and your friends can all contribute different elements to a shower in your honor.

For the bachelorette party it's perfectly acceptable for a bride to plan it herself, but you have to decide if you're paying for the evening's activities or if you're going to have everyone split the bill.  If you're planning the party, but don't want to foot the whole bill, make sure to tell your friends that you expect them to pay their own way so they don't assume that you're covering everything.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Take a Vacation from Wedding Planning

Is the stress of wedding planning starting to get to you?  Do you need to take a break from inspiration boards, vendor meetings and bridesmaid dress shopping.

It's okay to say you need a break.  Wedding planning can get very involved and with a full-time job and social life it can take a lot out of you.

So put the wedding books down and stop checking the wedding blogs and plan a weekend getaway with your fiance or make it a girl's weekend if he's starting to get on your nerves -- and no this is not instead of your bachelorette party -- and take the weekend off.

You don't have to buy plane tickets and fly off to an exotic (a/k/a expensive) destination.  Hop in the car and book a room at a B&B a few hours away or book a hotel room in the closest big city.  Your weekend itinerary can include laying by the pool, spa appointments, shopping, fine dining or sitting in your room reading a (non-wedding planning) book.

Remember that wedding planning should be fun, so if you're not having fun take a break for a few days or a week and come back to it when you're looking forward to attacking the tasks on your to-do list.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Don't Neglect Your Teeth

Dave is driving me crazy.  Seriously, just because he's a dentist he thinks he can tell me to floss night and day.  He's not my dentist.

But I know he's right.  It's very important to care for your teeth because you only get one set and if they fall out you're going to be in a lot of trouble.  Trust me, I've heard stories.

You'll see lots of ads and stories about having a bright, white smile on your big day but be careful, you don't want to over do it and have blinding, white teeth.

Visit your dentist for a cleaning after you get engaged and make sure to brush, floss and rinse each day from then on and follow up for a cleaning every six month.  You may want to time it so you get a cleaning the week or two before your wedding day.  You may also want to talk to your dentist about having your teeth professionally whitened.

You should also avoid drinks that can stain your teeth like coffee, tea and red wine to help brighten your smile.  

Monday, March 14, 2011

Yes Writing Thank-You Notes is a Drag

But it has to get done.

I got my order of thank-you notes for the baby gifts we've been receiving but I keep putting off sitting down and writing them.  I have the list of who sent what and I even spent 30 minutes on line at the post office buying the "Sunday Funnies" stamps because I thought they were appropriate for a little boy.  I just can't either find the time or make the time - I haven't decided which - to sit down and write them.  I promised Dave I would have them done this week.  Or was it next week?

When you get home from your honeymoon you should set time aside to write your thank-you notes.  And both you and your husband should write them.  You can divide them by family and friends or just divide the list in half.

If you're not sure what to write simply put that you loved the gift, mention what it is and how you plan on using it.  For example:  We loved the griddle you gave us.  Jack makes me pancakes every Sunday and can't wait to start cooking with it!

If the gift is money you can write:  Thank you for your generous gift.  We plan on putting it towards renovating our kitchen.  Can't wait to have you over for dinner once it's done!

Give yourself a deadline of when to write and mail all of your thank yous.  Etiquette says you have two months from your honeymoon to complete this final wedding to-do, but try and get them done as soon as possible.

Friday, March 11, 2011

In the Words of Yo Gabba Gabba: You Can't Always Get What You Want

This is one of my favorite songs from the kid's show Yo Gabba Gabba -- you can hear it here -- and after listening to it for the millionth time today I thought it fit nicely as a part two to yesterday's post on What's Worth Fighting For.

When planning your wedding there will be lots of ideas that you'll come across that you'll want to include.  And there are fabulous vendors that you'll meet, but unfortunately may not be available or not in your budget.

While your wedding may seem like the be it and end all of every event you'll ever plan, I promise you it won't be.  You'll plan birthday parties, holiday parties, showers and even cocktail and dinner parties where you can include cast-off ideas and vendors you couldn't hire for your wedding.

It's important when deciding on your details that you stick to your budget and include the elements that are most important to you.  And if something is out of your price range see if you can take money from another area of the wedding.

Now once the wedding's over don't toss away your unused ideas.  Save them in a notebook or box and when you're planning your next party - whatever the occasion and size - take them out and see what you can use or be inspired by for the event!

It's not worth stressing over things you can't have, especially if you can't do anything about it.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

What's Worth Fighting For

Let's face it, weddings bring out the best and worst in people.  You'll find that you and your fiance, your mom, dad, his mom and dad and your friends will disagree on a variety of different details.  And disagreeing is fine.  What's not fine is a disagreement turning into a fight that includes yelling and tears. 

I know that many brides will want all of the details of their wedding done in a specific way, but sometimes you have to make concessions and compromise.  Maybe it's a budget issue.  Maybe there's a detail that you're not so concerned with but it's really important to your mom.  Whatever it is, before making any statement you'll regret take a breath and walk away from the discussion and really think about how important this issue is to you.

Maybe after thinking about it you'll realize that it's not so important or maybe you can find a way to make a deal on another detail -- kind of a barter.

At my wedding I really wanted a 7-tiered wedding cake but my dad said he would only pay for the 5-tiered cake, and at the time I was really upset about it, but after the wedding I realized that the 5-tiered cake looked great and it was better in the end not to spend an additional $2,000 on the cake.  Instead, I put that money toward a vintage Good Humor ice cream truck.

So before you fly off the handle because your groom is insisting on bottle opener wedding favors or your parents are insisting on inviting 30 additional people you've never met, ask yourself how important are these details to you in the grand scheme of things.  And if you give into their request, remind them that you did when you are asking for something they think is ridiculous.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Picking a Bridal Shower Theme

I love planning bridal showers.  You can get really creative with the theme, more so than you can with the wedding.

When choosing a theme for a bridal shower think about two things:

1.  What interests the bride (and groom) have.  Are they book lovers, wine lovers, world travelers, chefs, etc...  Their interest can help you decide on the type of party to throw and the party details.

2.  What type of gifts the bride registered for as well as needs and wants.  Couples who need everything for their home may benefit from an "Around the House" or "Around the Clock" shower which tells guests to bring specific items for the home.  A couple who is doing a lot of home renovations may benefit from a "Home Improvement" theme where guests bring tools and other items to help their renovations along.

A shower's theme can be included on the invitation, decor, entertainment and favors.  It's okay to make it as cheesy or as refined as you want as long as you keep it in the span of what the bride would like and want at her shower.

Remember that you are planning her shower and therefore you should keep all the plans tailored to what you think/know she would like.  when it's your shower you can ask/tell your bridesmaids and mom what you would like.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Unveiled Wedding Event in Los Angeles

I love attending wedding shows. I get to meet a variety of wedding vendors and sample delicious wedding cakes!

There’s a great bridal event coming up at the end of the month in Los Angeles, and if you live or will be in Southern California on Sunday, March 27th you should definitely check it out.

Unveiled: Bridal Style Revealed is an outdoor bridal event featuring couture bridal collections, the areas top wedding vendors and wedding experts, including Darcy Miller, Editorial Director of Martha Stewart Weddings.

Darcy will share the latest wedding trends and planning tips and you’ll be able to speak to some of the top bridal bloggers, including 100 Layer Cake, What Junebug Loves, Green Wedding Shoes, The Bridal Bar and The Bride’s Cafe.

As with any bridal event you attend, bring a friend or your mom - if your groom can't make it - and a tote to collect brochures and business cards as well as a notebook and pen to jot down notes.

Here are all the details:

Date: Sunday, March 27, 2011
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Location: Beverly Canon Gardens, Beverly Hills
(Between Montage & Bouchon and Beverly & Canon Drives)
Tickets Cost $30 in advance or $40 at the door. Visit to purchase yours!

Monday, March 07, 2011

Trash the Dress -- A Post-Wedding Event

I spoke to a recently married colleague who said that after they got back from their honeymoon they had their wedding photographer shoot a “trash the dress” session. “Trash the Dress” is where the bride wears her wedding dress and the groom wears his own wedding day attire and they take photos together in any setting -- a field, the beach, in water, anywhere -- and don’t care what happens to their clothes.

The bride told me it was the most fun she ever had and so glad she did it.

I saw some of the photos and they were really great. The couple looked relaxed, comfortable and really happy.

If you want to take “trash the dress” photos make sure you talk to your wedding photographer about including the session in your wedding package and contract. It’s important to know if there are any additional costs regarding both the shoot and prints or albums you may want to order.

You also want to make sure that a friend or relative takes your wedding dress either home after the wedding or to a cleaner if you need/want to have it cleaned before the shoot.  You probably won't want to lug it with you on your honeymoon.

After the shoot take the dress to a professional wedding gown cleaner/preservationist to fix any damages or clean any stains that get on the dress during the shoot.

If your groom is wearing rented attire you may want to be more careful with damages and stains.  Check the rental policy on what you will need to pay for re: damages to the suit/tux, specifically stains that won't come out or tears to the fabric.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Organizing Your Wedding Address Book

I have my baby announcements but I don’t have all the addresses of family and friends to send them to. I should because it’s been less than two years since the last time I need everyone’s addresses to mail my daughter’s baby announcements.

This time I’ve decided to make a file of all the addresses -- my family, Dave’s family and friends -- so the next time I need to mail a bunch of invitations or announcements I won’t have to bother friends and relatives for them.

As you plan your wedding and mail out save-the-date cards keep a file of the addresses of your guests so when you are putting together the address list for your wedding invitations you already have a preliminary list. You can even start getting addresses together months before your wedding, but I wouldn’t ask anyone you’re not absolutely sure will be receiving a wedding invitation. How would you feel if someone asked for your address and then nothing ever came in the mail?

Being organized is one of the best ways to keep wedding-planning stress at bay, so start organizing your wedding mailing list early in the process to avoid a wedding-related meltdown.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Asking Guests to Turn Their Cellphone Off

You know how when you go to a movie there’s a slide that reads, “Please turn your cellphone off” or when you go to the theatre someone says over the mic, “Please turn your cellphone off” -- should you have someone say that at your wedding or include it in your wedding program?

Part of me thinks that people will laugh as if it’s a joke, but the other part knows that if I were the bride I’d be pissed if in the middle of my wedding ceremony an annoying ringer goes off.

I don’t think the bride or groom should make this request but maybe the officiant can as he or she begins the service. And say it with a smile.

Don’t be afraid to ask your officiant if this is something they would recommend or if they’ve done it before. I’m sure they can tell you stories of ceremonies interrupted by a cellphone ring or worse, someone who answers the phone during the service.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Will You Wear a Garter to Your Wedding?

After all it is a wedding tradition and it could be one of your “somethings.”

A garter was worn to keep pantyhose on but since it no longer acts as a functional item it’s up to the bride to decide if she wants to wear one.

You may receive one as a shower or bachelorette gift, a relative may pass their’s down and a friend may lend you hers but whether you decide to take part in this tradition is up to you.

I don’t know many brides planning on including the garter toss in their wedding reception, but if you are you may want to get a themed garter and wear a gifted or prettier one for the wedding, which you can keep as a memento.

If you decide that you do want to wear a garter I recommend The Garter Girl. Julianne Smith hand-makes custom garters in a variety of fabrics and colors and can also add a monogram, your wedding date, names or a phrase to your garter.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Always Order Extra Envelopes

I'm in the middle of addressing baby announcements and I'm a little anal about not making mistakes because I ordered the same number of envelopes as I did announcements.  The stamps I purchased, a comic book theme, is a little big for the envelopes and because I don't want to write the address and then find that the stamp covers it, I'm placing the stamp first and then writing the address.

So when I realized that I made a mistake by addressing a card to the wrong address I was pretty pissed at myself because not only did I lose an envelope, but I lost a stamp too!  You know they're 44 cents!

Luckily the sticker adhesive didn't stick too well and I was able to remove the stamp and place it on another envelope but I had to discard the envelope and get a new one.

Is it the end of the world?  No.  But now I have to hope that I don't run out of envelopes.

When you're ordering envelopes for your wedding invitation it is very important that you order extra envelopes -- 15 to 25 should be enough.  This way you won't have to worry if you make a mistake that you'll come up one envelope short.

And you may want to order a few extra sets of your wedding invitation in case one or two get lost in the mail and to save one as a keepsake.


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