Friday, May 29, 2009

Planning Your Wedding Timeline

I spoke to a friend earlier today about a wedding she went to last weekend and she said that it was nice but it seemed like the band leader and catering manager didn't coordinate their schedules.

She said that the band would announce that it was time for a course to be served so everyone sat down and the food didn't come out for 20 minutes and by the time everyone finished eating the band took a break.

It's very important that you make sure that your vendors all know what the timeline for the wedding is. The photographer and videographer need to know when you're getting ready and planning on taking portraits as well as the ceremony start time and outline for the reception. Your caterer, location manager and band leader or DJ should coordinate the timeline for the reception -- when each course will be served, when special dances and toasts will take place and when you plan on cutting the cake, tossing the bouquet and garter and any other special moments you have planned.

Your vendors will probably have a form that they will complete with you so that nothing is left off the list, but don't be afraid to ask them to coordinate times with each other. And if you have a wedding planner - for your entire engagement or just day-of - she'll be able to create a timeline for you.

And just to let you know, I created a wedding day timeline with The Wedding Organizer so if you pick up the planner at you can use that as a guide.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Post from the Past: The Munchies

Whenever I go to a wedding I go as both a guest and a weddings editor. It’s hard not to look at everything and think how I can turn the details of this particular wedding into a blog post. And that’s where this post came from - the wedding I went to in California in 2007.

Dave and I got there a little early to take some photos with friends, and some how we ended up in the room the bridal party was getting ready/hanging out in. It was a rather large room with couches and tables and chairs, and scattered throughout were bottles of beer and water as well as bags of pretzels and chips.

I don’t know if the bride and groom, the location or the members of the bridal party brought in the drinks and snacks. The point is that it’s a great idea to have both snacks and drinks for your bridal party because they will be waiting around all day, helping you get ready, taking pictures, setting up the favors, etc.

I came across a company that specializes in creating food baskets just for this purpose and wanted to share their information with you. It’ll save you time and energy by just ordering what you want instead of having to add “buy food and snacks” to your wedding checklist.

Marrylicious creates gourmet gift baskets specifically for wedding parties. They have three packages – Tulip, Rose and Orchid – and each comes with a selection of gourmet treats as well as a wedding day emergency kit. You can also create a custom package if you want to have a themed basket or need to fit certain dietary restrictions. Prices start at $100. The company is based in Seattle but ships nationwide.

And brides, remember to drink clear liquids (water, seltzer, vodka) through a straw so you don’t spill anything on your dress or smudge your lipstick before you walk down the aisle.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hair Care

Many brides purchase or get a cute “bride” outfit to wear while they are getting ready the morning of the wedding. Whether you get a custom “Soon to be Mrs. Jones” top, a shirt that reads “Bride” or just grab something from the closet, it’s very important to wear something with buttons or a zipper.

Here’s why: After hours of stylists getting your hair and makeup just right, you don’t want – and in some cases may not be able to – pull your shirt over your head. It’ll be easier and mess-free to unbutton or unzip something. I’ve heard many stories of brides you had to be cut out of t-shirts and tank tops because pulling them off was not an option.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Excuses. Excuses. And the Stationery Show Wrap Up

You'll have to forgive me this one non-wedding post but I just had to post this picture. Dave and I had a baby girl a little over a week ago. This picture is from her first sponge bath. Isn't she cute?

I wrote up some posts in the weeks before she was born to keep the blog daily, but I apologize now if I miss a day here and there.

Because we welcomed our little bundle of joy a few days before the stationery show, I didn't get to walk the aisles and aisles of invites, save-the-date cards, note cards and any and everything else paper related. Lucky for me - and you - many bridal bloggers did get to cover the show and here are links to three blogs with great reviews:

Friday, May 22, 2009

Culture Club

A friend of ours is dating a gentleman from Scotland. We don’t know if wedding bells are in the future, but if they are Dave and I would love to attend a wedding in Scotland.  if they decide to say “I do” in New York then I’m sure they’ll include some of his background in the wedding: A plaid palette/theme, kilts for the groom and groomsmen and they may even hire a bagpiper to play during the ceremony, cocktail hour or reception.

Whatever your background, or your groom’s, you can easily personalize your wedding by adding elements of your heritage into your wedding details.

If you’re not sure how or what to include talk to your parents and grandparents for ideas. They may have some ideas as well as details they included in their own weddings to inspire you. For example, my grandparents used a tallis as a chuppah for their ceremony, so we found a chuppah that resembled a tallis for ours.

You can also find great resources online. There are a variety of Web sites that you can find by searching Google or search traditional wedding planning Web sites. Simply enter your specific background and the word wedding and see what comes up.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Should a Guest Bring a Guest?

Many brides and grooms will face the same dilemma: Do you invite your friends and relatives with a guest to your wedding?

Since the cost of a wedding rises with each guest, the best way to cut costs is to cut the guest list. There are some simple ways to decide who gets invited with a guest and who doesn’t.

If someone is married both the husband and wife are invited, even if you don’t like the spouse. I was once asked by a bride if she had to invite her friend’s husband because the she didn’t like him. The answer is yes.  You always have to invite the spouse.

If a couple is living together, because they are dating—not just roommates— then you invite both of them and you put both of their names on the invitation.

You can decide your own “rule” regarding friends who are dating someone. Many couples use the six-month rule: If a couple has been dating (not living together) for six months or more they both get invited to the wedding. But you can decide the length of time—four months, 12 months.

If a group of guests are all single then they don’t need to be invited with guests, however if the majority of a group is all attached except for one or two people you may want to invite those singles with a date so they don’t feel like the odd ones at the table.

Mind you, these “rules” are just suggestions (remember Capt. Barbosa: They're guidelines) and you should use your own judgment. Only you know how your family and friends will react if they are or are not invited with a guest.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Fashion Before Function

Did you ever notice at a wedding that the men usually remove their jackets and the women – usually in strapless or sleeveless dresses – are wearing them?

Why don’t we bring a wrap with us to keep us warm?

At a wedding we attended in California a year or so ago, the bride had a supply of pashminas - in a rainbow of colors - available in baskets for women to take as they arrived in case they forgot their wraps at home.

At beach weddings, some couples will supply flip-flops for their guests if the ceremony is on a beach so they can easily get to their seats. I actually attended a beach ceremony where foot “baths” were available afterwards so we could rinse the sand off our feet. And yes towels were also available.

There are a few tips in this post:

If you’re attending an upcoming wedding, remember to bring a wrap to keep yourself warm.  And if you’re a bride, think about your wedding’s setting and if there’s something simple you can do to help your guests feel comfortable.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Gorgeous Garters and Washington, DC Area Event

I’ve been a fan of Julianne Smith’s wedding garters since learning about them last year. They are a bit more sophisticated than the traditional satin and lace styles made popular in the ‘80s, and even if you decide not to have a garter toss during your reception, they can still make a great something blue if you haven’t found one.

On Wednesday, May 27th DC-area brides are invited to a launch party celebrating Julianne’s new collection and you’ll be able to meet with local DC wedding vendors, including Hello Cupcake, Sevan Photography and Carla David Design.

The event will be held from 7:30 to 9pm at Hello Cupcake (1351 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC) The event is free and you can RSVP to

And if you are getting married in or around Washington, DC, pick up a copy of Washingtonian’s Bride & Groom premiere issue and check out their blog, Bridal Party for local resources.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Personalized Stamps

The cost of stamps has just gone up to 44 cents. You don’t want to mail out 100 invitations only to have them come back to you with a return to sender stamp on it. The cost of new envelopes, re-printing or re-calligraphing the envelopes and buying new stamps will out weigh the cost of the stamps you should have added in the first mailing.

To avoid making a postage error make sure you take one complete invitation set – all inserts included – to the post office and have the clerk weigh and tell you the correct postage. Then put it in the mail, sending it to yourself so you will know for sure that the postage is correct.

But what about finding the perfect stamp?

There is a wedding ring stamp available at the new rate, and I like the King and Queen of Hearts stamp. But if you can’t find stamps online or at your local post office that match your wedding theme and/or palette, you can create a custom stamp. allows you to create a custom stamp with your wedding logo, a photo or almost anything else you can think of. The stamps featured above were designed by XYZ Ink, a Los Angeles based calligrapher. Talk to your calligrapher or stationery designer about creating an image that will match your wedding theme and colors.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Budget Bride's Guide

With brides and grooms looking to cut costs on their wedding it’s no surprise that they are looking online and off for budget-friendly ways to create the perfect day for less.

There are a lot of ways to save money on your wedding, including the following ideas:
  • Don’t have a cash bar, simply limit your bar to a signature drink or a red and white wine

  • Have a brunch or luncheon reception instead of a formal dinner

  • Combine elements: favor and program, seating cards and favor, menu and place card

  • Don’t forget your bridesmaids: Allow them to choose their own dresses, but remember to tell them the color and style you want them to wear

The popular fashion site, The Budget Fashionista, has just launched a special Budget Wedding Guide filled with fashion-related advice for brides, moms and other members of the wedding, including guests. Click here to find great advice on how to find an inexpensive yet stylish wedding dress, an affordable mother-of-the-bride dress as well as DIY wedding detail/decor tips.

And here’s my #1 budget tip for your wedding: Once you finalize your wedding budget add 10% to it. You add the extra 10% so that when you go over your budget, which you probably will, you won’t be too upset.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Place Cards: What They Are and When You Need Them

I often get asked what’s the difference between seating cards and place cards. Seating cards will tell your guests which table they are seated at and place cards will tell them which place at the table is theirs.

Place cards are not required but they do look nice on a wedding reception table and sometimes they should be used.

The image above of the long reception table is from a wedding Dave and I recently went to.  The tablescapes were gorgeous and each table sat 12 guests on each side—24 people per table.

Place cards were not used as you can see from the close up of each person’s setting below and that’s where confusion set in.

Because there were so many seats at each table, groups of friends/relatives who would have liked to sit together were divided on each side and each end of the table. We were a group of 10 people and because we all didn’t get to the table at the same time we were forced to separate into sections—2 people on one end, 2 people somewhere in the middle and 6 people sat themselves in one long row making it difficult to talk to anyone except the person right next to you.

The photo below is an example of a place card. They can be stand alone cards with a guest’s name printed or calligraphed on it. They can be placed on a napkin or above the charger or plate. Or you can combine a place card with another detail, such as the menu card or favor. To get some creative ideas, talk to your florist/event designer, stationer/calligrapher or click through online stationery galleries and blogs. Two of my favorite stationery blogs is Oh So Beautiful Paper and A Lucky Orchid Wedding.

The image above is by Beth Helmstetter and the calligraphy is by Laura Hooper Calligraphy via A Lucky Orchid Blog

Friday, May 08, 2009

Philadelphia Wedding Event with Beautiful Blooms, Eclatante Event Design & Me!

I’m going back on the book tour for The Wedding Organizer

If you’ll be in the Philadelphia area on Sunday, June 7th please join me and some fabulous local vendors for the Wedding Inspirations 2009 event.  Vendors include: Beautiful Blooms, Eclatante Event Design, Two Paperdolls Invitations, Marie Labbancz Photography, Claudia Seyler Hair & Makeup, Max Hansen Catering, Eventions Productions, DVideography, Truli Confectionary Arts, Spa-East, The Little Candy Shoppe and The Flour Pot.

In addition to getting wedding planning advice from me, you’ll be inspired by spectacular table-tops, decor ideas, fabulous invitations, and delicious hors d’oeuvres and cakes.  

Here are the details:

Sunday, June 7th from 12-4pm at Liberty Walk in Philadelphia.

The event is FREE but please RSVP to Leila Miller at Eclatante Design ( or 610-565-9977) and include your full name, wedding date, email address, phone number, mailing address and your guest’s name. 

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Follow Me On Twitter

I finally did it. I created a Twitter account.

In addition to following friends and colleagues I thought a FIWTID Twitter account would be a great idea to feed brides more planning tips.

I'm always thinking of wedding tips at the movies, at weddings we attend and just through random conversations and I don't always remember to turn those thoughts into posts, but with Twitter now I can!

So click here to start following me on Twitter and you'll get plenty of planning tips - in 140 characters or less.

Expecting 'Maids

My mom once told me the story of a friend of hers who was very upset that one of her bridesmaids announced her pregnancy a few months before the wedding. Now this wedding took place in the ‘70s but I hear several stories every year of brides who worry that a pregnant bridesmaid may cause new issues to arise: Finding a maternity bridesmaid dress that fits in with the other bridesmaid dresses, what if the pregnant 'maid has the baby early or needs to go on bed rest and can no longer walk down the aisle or even attend the wedding.

Last month, at eight months pregnant, I was having trouble finding an affordable maternity dress to wear to a black tie wedding. The weekend before the wedding coincided with bridal market week and I had the luck to visit the Alfred Angelo showroom the Thursday before the wedding.

As we were previewing the new wedding dress and bridesmaid line my eye fell on a navy dress that looked like it might be perfect for a pregnant bridesmaid. After trying on the dress the designer let me borrow it for the weekend and it was perfect.

If you have a pregnant bridesmaid ask the store or designer where you are getting your bridesmaid dresses what your maternity dress options are.  Since most women won’t be able to guess how they will carry or what their body will look like a few months down the road you may want to suggest a dress that drapes or doesn’t cling to the body.

Do not make a pregnant 'maid feel bad or if she has "ruined" your wedding by getting pregnant before your wedding. This is a very exciting time in your life and hers, and since your bridesmaids are your closest friends and relatives be happy for your friend and include her in every aspect of planning your wedding even if you think she is no longer able to participate. She'll let you know if the pub crawl for your bachelorette party is too much.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Setting the Right Date

Since you can’t choose a location without a date in mind, here’s some advice on how to pick a wedding date.

When choosing your wedding date, think about any possible conflicts that you can anticipate: traditional family holidays (Mother’s Day/Father’s Day), weekends when most guests may have plans (Thanksgiving, Christmas) and of course sporting events that may keep the groom and the men at your wedding at the bar instead of on the dance floor.

Try not to plan your wedding on Super Bowl Sunday or during a playoff season—hockey, basketball or baseball. But of course you can’t predict every possible major event. A friend of mine got hitched Labor Day weekend 2001 and unfortunately/fortunately (it depends on how you look at it) a Yankee pitcher had a perfect game up until the middle of the 9th inning. All the men were running back to their cars to listen to the radio to hear what was happening. (This was before blackberrys.)

You also want to ask your parents, grandparents, siblings and other essential guests if there is a date that won’t work for them. They may have a business trip or another wedding or social event that they need to attend.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Location Advice

Finding the perfect space for your wedding is not an easy task. In addition to finding a space that you and your fiancé love you also have to hope that it will be available on the date you want and can hold all of your guests.

Once you and your fiancé have discussed the type of wedding you want -- number of guests, time of year or exact date, style (outdoor, ballroom, loft space, home) -- start researching locations in your area that fit as many criteria as possible.

When you’re looking for a location, make sure you take a good look around the space, including the cocktail room, reception space, bridal suite and bathrooms. You want to make sure that the entire place looks how you want it to look. You don’t want to spend money re-decorating a space. When working with a florist or event designer you just want to enhance the look. So, if you want to get married in a ballroom, don’t choose a loft. And vice versa.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Black Tie or Black Tie Optional

Dave and I recently attended a wedding and in the lower left corner the phrase “Black Tie” was printed, so he decided to rent a tuxedo.

A few weeks before the wedding Dave saw some of the other guests and somehow the wedding came up in conversation.  He mentioned that he was going to rent a tuxedo to which one guy replied, “You don’t need to wear a tuxedo.” It turns out his girlfriend called the bride and asked if a tux was mandatory, and she was told (by the bride) that a black suit was fine. A tuxedo was not mandatory.

After hearing this, Dave’s friend said that they should have printed “Black Tie Optional” so guests knew that they could wear a suit instead of a tux. (I have to admit, I was impressed that he knew this bit of wedding info.)

My point: Before you print your wedding invitation really think about what type of attire you want your guests in: Tuxedos (Black Tie), tuxedos or suits (Black Tie Optional), suits (don’t print anything) and have the appropriate phrase printed, or left blank, on your wedding invitation.

Friday, May 01, 2009

"Flowers" for Your Groom

While most of the floral details will focus on the bride and the reception don’t think of the groom and groomsmen’s boutonnieres as an afterthought. This small accessory can add the groom’s personality to his wedding day look.

Many brides will have their florist select a single bloom from the bride’s bouquet for the groom’s boutonniere but there are other options.

San Francisco based floral designer Erin Rosenow has just launched a complete line of “Bespoke Boutonnieres” under the name Fritts Rosenow that allow the groom to wear a custom designed boutonniere that reflects the wedding’s location, theme or his favorite pastime.  Here are some examples:


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