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.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I know this topic isn't the most fun or romantic wedding-related one but it's important to address the issue.

While most of us are not gazillionaires protecting a vast fortune there are some of us who are.  There are also family items - money, property, things - that if a divorce should happen you will want to remain in your family.

Just because you and your fiance discuss and get a prenup doesn't mean that you don't believe in your marriage.  But if g-d forbid you do get divorced, and remember that about 50% of marriages do, you'll kick yourself for not having one.

I know that a prenuptial agreement isn't included in the traditional wedding budget breakdowns but price one out with a lawyer - I'm sure you, your fiance or one of your parents will know one - and file the canceled check under miscellaneous expenses.

Do we have one?  No we don't but that's because I don't want his baseball card collection and he doesn't want any of my handbags.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

If You're Giving Out Shower Favors At Least Make It a Good One

While favors aren't mandatory at any wedding-related party, a lot of hostesses like to give them out because it's traditional.

Bridal shower favors can be cheesy but they don't have to be!  You can find something that goes with the shower's theme or something that the bride likes that you think the guests will enjoy too.  It's important not spend too much money on favors and don't buy anything that if you got at a bridal shower you would throw out as soon as you got home.

Here are some favor ideas you may want to consider:
  • Edible favors such as chocolate, cookies, candy, tea.  Food is always a hit!
  • Musical favors.  You can burn a CD of songs that you think guests will enjoy.  It can be a mix of the bride's favorites, somehow related to the party's theme or have a general theme like love songs or dance music.
  • Lottery tickets are very cheap - $1-5 per scratch off - and everyone loves playing.
  • Seeds or a small plant.  This is great for eco-fans but there's no guarantee that all of your guests have a green thumb.
  • Monograms.  Items that can be monogrammed with the guest's initial not the bride's are a good idea but depending on what it is this can be pricey.  I've hosted showers where each guest was given a monogrammed handkerchief (less than $5 each) and I've been a shower guest where I received a mug with a large A on it.  It happens to be one of my most favorite favors ever.
As for pricing shower favors I would try and stick to $5 - $10 max per favor.  Remember that you are giving one favor to every person there, plus the other hostesses and the bride so let's say you spend $8 on each favor times 30 people, you're spending $240 on favors -- and this doesn't including shipping, tax and any special packaging like a cello bag, ribbon and favor tag.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Groom and the Bridal Shower

If you're having an all girls shower than I suggest asking some men to show up at the end of the shower to help bring the gifts to the cars.

You should have the fathers of the bride and groom, any brothers and the groom arrive about 30-45 minutes toward the end of the party to say hello and load the car(s) with the bags and boxes of gifts you (and the groom) received.

Another idea is to get the groom to arrive earlier and take part in a game - like the newlywed game - during the shower.  I like this idea because it's more fun when you hear the groom's responses live and you can see the couple interact with each other.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Bridal Shower Game

If you follow my @aisledash Twittter feed then you read that I was at a bridal shower over the weekend.  It was at tea party at Lady Mendel's in Manhattan.

One of the games the bridesmaids planned was bridal themed Scattergories.  It was a lot of fun - I love Scattergories, and I won!  Here's how it works:

Come up with a list or 8-10 categories and then use the first letter of the bride's name and the groom's name for the two rounds.  We only had time to score one round so another idea is to play one round and  use the first letter of the bride's name or the first letter of what the bride's married name will be.

In this case the letter for round one was S and for round two D.  Some of the categories were:  Something you find at a bridal shower, something the bride will need on her wedding day, a word to describe the bride, a word to describe the groom, the bride's favorite food, something you find on a bridal registry and a pet name for a spouse.

Scoring it is difficult because the idea is that you want to have the most original answers.  If someone else has what you wrote then you don't get a point.  The bridesmaid running the game first had people shouting their answers and she didn't always catch what people said so by the 5th category she went table by table allowing a few people to give their answer.  This allowed people to hear if they got a point or not, but it also dragged the game on and that's why we only got through one round.

So if you play this game, which is a lot of fun, maybe you want to limit it to one round and if you have a lot of guests maybe you want the tables to play against each other.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Keep an Open Mind

When you hire a vendor, sign a contract and leave a deposit you are tied to a vendor but that doesn't mean the ideas you discussed are the final ideas for your wedding.  You have the option to change your mind on your theme and colors and wedding details up until about a month or so before.

Your wedding cake will not be made until the week of your wedding.  The flowers won't be ordered until 2 to 4 weeks before.  So it's okay to keep looking at wedding blogs and magazines to find new and interesting ideas.

When you schedule appointments with your wedding vendors bring all of your ideas with you - especially photos - and let your vendor help you pinpoint what your wedding will look and feel like.  You don't have to use every idea - some may be good for other wedding-related parties or future occasions.  But keep looking for inspiration until about a month before your wedding.  Remember that when you send your wedding invitations out they will show guests your theme and colors and give them an idea of the look and feel over your wedding, so at that point it's just a few details you can tweak you can't really go back to the drawing board with a whole new concept.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

It's Important to Get a Good Night's Rest the Night Before Your Wedding

The night before your wedding is not the time to throw a bachelor or bacheloette party.  If you're having a rehearsal dinner I suggest that you start the evening early - maybe 6 or 7pm - so that it won't end too late and you can get as much sleep as you can the night before your wedding.

If you or your groom are planning on having your bridal party spend the night with you give them a heads up that there are to be no wild parties planned, no surprises.

Of course you're going to be exciting and you may have trouble going to sleep but don't start testing out sleep aids.  Have a calm night -- watch a movie (nothing to suspenseful), have some decaf tea or a glass of wine and relax and try to go to bed early.

You don't want to wake up the morning of your wedding with a hangover or exhausted, and you definitely don't want to oversleep.

Just be safe, I'd set an alarm clock and if you're staying at a hotel, schedule a wake-up call.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Niemierko The Blog

Mark Niemierko, London's top wedding planner and my buddy at bridal market, just launched a fabulous blog that I thought you should know about.

It's written for the British bride but Mark's great sense of style is good for wedding inspiration and basic planning information for brides around the world.

The Blog, the official name is Niemierko The Blog, has a few great franchises including, Love It/Hate It, Mr N with answers to common wedding planning and style dilemmas and Mark Meets with interviews on some of the top wedding vendors and editors.

I love Mark's common sense advice and I think you will too.  And if you're thinking of getting hitched in the UK, definitely schedule an appointment with Mark.  His website is niemierko.com

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Being a Wedding Planner Is NOT Like Being the Bride

I'm sorry, but that's the truth.  I get emails and meet people all the time who say they want to be wedding planners.  Most of the people who have this "epiphany" are brides-to-be or recent brides who are having/had SO much fun planning their wedding that they want to change careers.

What I tell them is that being a wedding planner is not like being a bride.  And then I tell them not to quit their day job.

As the bride you make all the decisions and you get all the attention.  As the wedding planner you are answering to a client's wishes and dealing with her emotional roller coaster that is her engagement and wedding and in some instances, her mother's issues too.

When you're the wedding planner you don't get to plan the wedding you want or would have planned if you could do it again.  You have to plan the wedding your client, the bride wants, even if you don't love her color scheme and ideas.

As the wedding planner you are trying to make a living.  You have to charge people money and $1000 or $2000 a wedding isn't going to pay the bills.  Trust me, no wedding planner, no matter how successful is booked EVERY weekend of the year.

As the wedding planner you're on call all the time and working weekends.  Are you prepared to give up your weekends?

If you truly think that being a wedding planner is your calling in life than here's my advice:

1.  Do NOT quit your day job.

2.  See if there's a wedding or event planner in your area who is looking for interns or assistants who you can work with on weekends or evenings.

3.  Be prepared to work for little money in the beginning because you have no experience and you have to pay your dues.  Planning your own wedding doesn't count as wedding planning experience.

4.  Look into taking event planning classes.  Some colleges offer non-credit event marketing/planning courses or a continuing education program might have a focus on event planning.  Or sometimes organizations like the Learning Annex or the Association of Bridal Consultants will hold seminars on the topic.

5.  Do your research.  Find out how many wedding planners are in your area and talk to other wedding vendors about what services may be lacking.  Maybe you don't want to be a full-service planner.  Maybe you want to focus on day-of, which is never only a day.  More on that to come.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Really Quick Tip Because I Want to Go Watch Mad Men

We DVR'd it - I know it's Monday!

Dave has the worst luck when planning trips.  Not my Dave, a friend of his.

His bachelor party, the bachelor party he planned as a best man a few years back, and most recently his honeymoon were all ruined because of bad weather planning.

Each trip was planned during the destination's rainy or hurricane season and he either had to cut a trip short and catch an emergency flight, change his plans from a rented villa to a hotel airport or cancel the trip altogether.

So when booking your honeymoon - or any trip for that matter - make sure you look into what the expected weather is and book travel insurance if you're going to risk it.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Planning a Bachelorette Party the Bride Wants

Not every bride wants to go to see a stripper at her bachelorette party.  In fact I've only been to one bachelorette party where there was one.

While the bachelorette party details can be a surprise, they don't have to be. And in fact I suggest talking to the bride about what she does and doesn't want for her bachelorette party.

Maybe she wants to go to a spa and dinner.  Maybe she wants to have an old-fashioned slumber party.  Or maybe she wants to get wasted and see some male strippers.  You won't know until you ask or she tells you what she does and doesn't want.

And as for the guest list, you should double check with her on who to invite.  She may prefer to keep it to just the bridesmaids or she may want a larger group.  She may want her mom there or she may not.

The bachelorette party, like the bridal shower, are hosted by the bridesmaids and thrown in honor of the bride but that doesn't mean the bride shouldn't have any input.  The worst thing the bridesmaids can do is plan a party that the bride would be uncomfortable at.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hiring a Babysitter for Kids At Your Wedding

I recently posted a story on aisledash.com on ways to keep kids entertained at a wedding and it focused on entertainment and activities for the kids.

Someone on Twitter commented about hiring a babysitter and then I spoke with a former wedding planner who mentioned that she loved using companies that specialized in babysitters for weddings and events because you could trust that the sitters employed by the company had gone through background checks and had been vetted to make sure they were safe and qualified to care for kids.

So if you're planning on having kids at your wedding and thinking of hiring a babysitter so their parents can have a good time, either hire a sitter you know personally or Google a professional sitter service to be on the safe side.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Honeymoons: Finding the Ideal Locations.

I was talking to Vane from Brooklyn Bride this evening and we both realized that we both went to three destinations during our honeymoons.

Dave and I went to London, Paris and Cannes while Vane and Chad went to London, Paris and Amsterdam.

If you and your groom are having trouble finding the perfect destination for your honeymoon, why not split it up and each pick a location - geographically not too far apart - and split the trip between the two locations!

This way you can have the vacation you want and he can have the one he wants.  For example, I like to be busy and run around while Dave likes to relax by the pool.  So for the first 5 days we ran around London and Paris and then spent 3 days relaxing in the South France.

Both of us were very happy with the trip.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Inheriting an Engagement Ring

Whether you're inheriting an engagement ring from his family or yours there are number of things to consider and do:

1.  Decide if you like the ring as is.  Maybe it's not really your style.  Maybe it's round and you always wanted a pear-cut diamond.  If you love the ring as is great!  If not, you can always take the stones and have it reset or you can always decline the ring and pass it to a sibling or cousin.

2.  Have a jeweler determine if it has to be reset.  Depending on how old the ring is the prongs holding the stone may need to be tightened or the setting may be too loose to salvage, in which case you can reset it the stone(s) in the same design or create a new setting.

3.  Make sure it's always insured.  Before you or your fiance take possession of the ring make sure that you have it added to your home owner's insurance policy.

4.  Make it yours.  Even though it's touching and important that you are receiving a family heirloom it's important that you love the ring and want to wear it everyday.  Don't be afraid to change the setting to something that fits your style.  You could add side stones or choose a band with diamonds.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Can You Serve a Vegetarian or Vegan Menu at Your Wedding?

Did you read the article in the Sunday Style section in the New York Times on vegan and vegetarian weddings? Basically the article discussed whether a couple's dietary choices should dicate the wedding menu. So for example, if the bride is vegan should the menu consist of vegan food only.
It's a tough call because on the one hand you want to stand by your convictions if your diet choice is based on conviction, versus an allergy issue.
You would assume a couple who keeps kosher or halal would serve food at their wedding thyat follows kosher/halal guidelines without any questions, but I guess since vegan and vegetarian are seen not as a religious choice but maybe an ethical one the question is whether you would "force" that choice on your wedding guests.

My opinion is that you should serve what you want to serve. Your guests will survive a night without meat if you choose not to serve it. Today most caterers can create a delicious menu that is 100% vegetarian. Vegan and gluten-free may be a bit trickier but if it's really important to you and your groom then do your homework, and make sure to put more money in the catering budget since going against the norm may add to the menu price.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Tor Picture

We had a housekeeper growing up who was more like a grandmother to us.  Her name was Aggie and that's where I get "I swear on Aggie" from.  We would never lie on swear on Aggie.  Never.

After Aggie retired in 1990 she still lived with us and we took care of her.  Everyday she would sit in the kitchen and watch her shows and before going back up at the end of the day she would make sure she had "money, watch and Tor picture."

The saying kind of stuck with us and when we leave the apartment or house we always check that we have everything, including, "money, watch and Tor picture."

Tor picture was a wallet size photo of my sister as a high school cheerleader.  It was the type of picture you wrote a message on and gave to your friends, and they in return would give you theirs.  Most people probably put them in a scrapbook or shoe box or drawer and forgot about them. Aggie carried it everyday up and down the stairs, to the beauty parlor, to church, wherever she went she had it.  As a grandmother it makes sense that she would carry her grandchild's photo, right?  But no one else would.

So when your wedding photographer offers you a great deal on wallet-sized photos to give your guests as a favor on your thank-you notes, say no thanks.  No one, except maybe your grandmothers, will want or keep the picture.  They'll most likely end up in a shoebox, drawer, or I'd bet money on the third option, the garbage.

Save your money and put it towards framing a beautiful photo from your wedding that you can give grandma and your parents as a gift.  They'll treasure it forever.

*I couldn't find the individual photo of Tor as a cheerleader on Facebook so I grabbed the one of the group of cheerleaders.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Vendors are a Great Source for Other Vendors

Wedding vendors work with so many other wedding vendors.  Every week they work with a different planner, caterer, location, florist, etc...

It's worth asking a wedding vendor you've hired who they recommend for a wedding "position" you're still trying to fill.

So for example, when you meet with your florist, ask them if they can recommend a good photographer or baker or stationer.

Vendors will know who may be a good fit for you based on what you've told them about your wedding and based on the fact that you've hired them and they will know who will best compliment their work.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The Difference Between an Ad and Editorial

Do you know the difference between an advertisement and an editorial story?

Sometimes ads are as clear as day but other times it can be confusing, especially when it resembles other stories in a magazine, website content or blog post.

Magazines will usually (because they have to) put  the word "Advertisement" or "Advertorial" or "Sponsored" at the top of the page when the ad looks like an editorial story, but it's not that clear on some websites.

For example, a Dedicated Email fro Daily Candy is an email paid for by an advertiser.  A *sp may mean sponsored in a Facebook posting or Twitter tweet.  And in fact a number of sites charge people to be part of their vendor directories - even though they may be screened, they're still paying to be part of the listing.

The reasons I'm sharing this is because I'm annoyed that not every site makes this clear.

It's important as a consumer that you are aware what's editorial - there because an editor really believes in or likes a product/service - and what is paid editorial aka an advertisement.

Nothing happened specifically that made me want to write this post.  I just thought it was important after hearing the confusion for the umpteenth time today.

And for full disclosure purposes, I don't accept advertisements on this blog because I don't want there to be any appearance of impropriety at this site or at my day job as a wedding editor.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Paul Rudd: The Bar Mitzvah DJ

I know this is a wedding blog, but as someone who had their Bat Mitzvah in the early 1990s and a Paul Rudd fan, I had to share this video of Paul Rudd as The Bar Mitzvah DJ:

Paul Rudd: Bat Mitzvah DJ from Jewish Forward on Vimeo.

Simply because it reminds me of my own and the many Bar/Bat Mitzvahs I attended and also it's nice to see where people who made it big started out.

But since this is a wedding blog, here's a wedding DJ tip:

It's a good idea to not just hear a DJ in action but to also see a DJ in action.  Either attend an event that the DJ is playing at or get a video of a wedding they worked to see what they're personality is like.  Does he just stand behind the table and play music?  Can he also MC or do you need to hire someone else to do that?  Does he say things that you think are cheesy?  Can he motivate and read the crowd?

Don't be afraid to ask for a video or if you call a reference, ask if you can see their video.  Maybe they can email it to you.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Don't Forget to Order Thank You Notecards

A bride recently asked me if she orders thank you notecards to send notes for engagement gifts is it okay to just put the couple's first names, like:  Jack & Jill or should they use the monogram they are creating for their wedding.

My answer:  You can put whatever you want on your thank you cards but it's not appropriate to use your married initial until after you're married.  Many stationers will suggest that you create a monogram using your first initials for the wedding invitation because you aren't married and using your new last name until after the wedding.

So technically you can create a married monogram for items at the cocktail hour (if you have your ceremony first) and the wedding reception.  But stick to your first names and your maiden name until you say, "I do."


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