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Wedding Guide

Winter 2017 Wedding Trends

Whether you’ve always dreamed of having a winter wedding or your plans just fell into place that way, here’s how you can create a classy winter wedding without over-doing the tried-and-true seasonal symbols. 

  • Timeless color schemes. Red and green color motifs certainly evoke the winter season, but they can also scream “holidays!” and make your wedding feel more like a Christmas celebration than a uniting of families. Instead, glamorizing your wedding with silver, white, and crystal accents is trending for 2017. Use these colors in your centerpieces, invitations, and favors. Create timeless wedding photos by dressing your bridal party in these winter neutrals too.
  • Out-of-season florals. Traditionally, winter brides zeroed in on red flowers like roses and amaryllis. Stand out from the crowd by creating bouquets of white hydrangeas and ranunculus’s. These flowers are out of season during the winter, but they’re worth the price tag. If you’re on a tight budget, use the flowers that work best for your situation, but avoid anything that will come across glaringly seasonal, like poinsettias.
  • Metal accents. Metallic elements are all the rage this holiday season. Use these accents sparingly to avoid going overboard. Include metallic elements in your centerpieces, linens, or bridal party accessories. Play on this theme with ice-carved vases, which serve as a beautiful interpretation of crystal. Surround metallic elements with tea light candles to give your reception a winter-wonder glow.
  • Naked cakes. Brides looking to do something festive that doesn’t include a holly bush cake topper can embrace the idea of winter. The lack of fondant and minimal icing give the naked cake trend a rustic winter vibe that’s stunningly gorgeous. Like the bare trees outside, the cake exposes all, allowing guests to appreciate it’s natural beauty. If you’re the kind of bride that can’t break with the look of a traditional cake, embrace the winter theme with a vintage-style cake enveloped in white icing and glimmering with edible powder or sophisticated floral icing arrangements.
  • Warm and inviting cocktails. Gone are the days of the Wedding Cake Martini. While delicious, Winter 2017 brides are looking for something less predictable and more traditional. Soothe the soul of your wedding guests with classic cocktails like Hot Toddies, Manhattans, or Spiked White Hot Chocolates. These drinks, of course, can be named to befit your wedding hash tag, venue, date, or geographical location.
  • Two-piece dresses. Previously, winter brides sought out heavily-laced long-sleeve or high neck dresses. Winter 2017 brides are looking to push the envelope by embracing the two-piece dress trend. Heavily beaded tops covered in crystals and pearls paired with a delicate and feminine skirt are especially popular this year. Brides can find dresses with sleeves in a variety of lengths from a cap sleeve to 3/4 and full length.

Congratulations to all of the Winter 2017 brides! As your wedding draws near, embrace uniqueness with these upgrades to traditional winter wedding themes.

This post is brought to you by Alessandra Bride, a Detroit wedding dress shop.

Tips For Attending A Wedding Expo

Wedding Expos are a fantastic event to help you plan your wedding. Brides can sample foods and cakes, shop for gowns, and win amazing prizes. It’s also a great opportunity to meet with vendors face-to-face and get a feel for their professionalism and personalities. However, for first timers the experience can be overwhelming, and you may not know what to expect.

Here’s what to know before you go:

* Bring Labels – You’ll be registering lots of grand prizes, and you won’t want to wright your info over and over. Make sure to include your name, email address, phone number, mailing address, and wedding date. Know in advance how many vendors will be at the show, and print at least one label for each. Some vendors will let you enter more than once, so you’ll want to have extra!

* Bring Credit Cards, Checkbooks, etc. – Lots of couples find items and vendors they need for their big day at wedding expos. Make sure you’re prepared to pay the minimum deposit required to secure your date. Bring along your credit cards, check books, and/or debit cards so you don’t miss out.

* Be prepared to take notes, accept business cards, etc – There will be rows upon rows of wedding vendors in attendance at each expo, and you may not be able to remember each one that you liked. Make sure to get a copy of the floor plan and vendor list, and have a pen or your Smartphone handy to take notes. If you see someone you might be interested in, make sure to ask for a business card.

*Dress appropriately – Comfortable shoes are a must, because there will be plenty of walking!

* Bring your groom – Sure a room full of energetic brides-to-be and girly wedding stuff might not be your guy’s thing, but ask him to tag along. You’ll want him to be present to talk with any potential vendors, sample cakes and entrees, and check out exhibitor portfolios. There are also lots of fun things for him to participate in. Can’t convince your groom? Bring along your mom, bridesmaids, or friends instead.

* Plan to spend a few hours – With so much to do and see, you’ll want to plan on being at the show for a few hours. Check the website for a schedule of events before you go so that you don’t miss out on prize giveaways, etc.

* Register for the prizes – What bride wouldn’t want to win a free honeymoon or limo rental? Make sure to register for the show’s grand prizes, and check in with the vendors to see if they’re giving away prizes as well. It’s a great chance to save some loot, and you could win something fabulous!

* Don’t be afraid to talk to the vendors – Wedding Expos are a great opportunity to talk to potential vendors live and in-person. Get all of your questions answered, and take the opportunity to get a feel for their personality. With so much wedding planning being done online, this is a great chance to get to know your vendors and be sure you’re comfortable with them.

*Have FUN – Wedding expos and bridal shows are great for getting your wedding plans done, but they can also be a ton of fun. Enjoy the free samples, get a laugh while participating in the contests, and don’t forget to have a good time. It’s not every day you get to plan your wedding, so make sure you enjoy every minute!

Who Usually Gives Toasts at the Rehearsal Dinner?

wine-glass-250546_1280Wondering who should give a toast at your rehearsal dinner? Our wedding etiquette experts are here to answer your rehearsal dinner questions.

Who usually gives toasts at the rehearsal dinner?

Toasts are often the most memorable part of the rehearsal dinner, and unlike at the wedding reception, where the toasting order is planned in advance, rehearsal-dinner toasts tend to be spontaneous. Since the setting is more casual and intimate, other guests might even want to add their own favorite memories of you and your fiancé, along with their well wishes. To ensure a smooth round of toasts (or roasts!), follow our rehearsal-dinner guide:

  • If the groom’s parents are hosting, his father might start off by welcoming all the guests and offering a toast to the bride and groom. Traditionally, this happens during the main course and is frequently met by a return toast from the father of the bride.
  • Next up: the best man.
  • Followed by any other wedding-party attendants and guests who want to speak.

Keep in mind that rehearsal-dinner toasts can be a bit longer and more humorous than at the wedding, so definitely invite toasters to share their favorite memories, stories, and marriage advice. And be prepared to rise from your seats and thank all of those who have toasted you. This also the traditional time to present gifts to members of the wedding party (especially if the gifts are items you’d like them to wear during the wedding), as well as to the parents, to thank everyone for their love, guidance, and support. Cheers!

Wedding Themes For 2015

Over the past decade there has been a move from the traditional wedding scene into a more unconventional, make-it-your-own sort of ceremony and reception. These days, it seems that if you aren’t adding a unique and personal theme to your wedding, then you’re doomed to the label of unmemorable. And so if you’re leaning more towards fun and distinctive and less towards the standard, here are some of the most striking and playful wedding trends.

Old World Glamour

Think: Lace, Long-Sleeve Gowns, Damask Decorations, Chandeliers, and Classic French Cooking

You’ll feel like your stepping back into France in the 1700’s, and with destination weddings becoming popular in more than just tropical paradises, you might just find yourself at an ancient castle or picturesque villa in the South of France! With the bridal party sporting dresses that Marie Antoinette would have been jealous of, such opulence and a vintage, European feel will make your wedding the most romantic of the year.

Country Chic

Think: Cowboy Boots, Renovated Barns, Mason Jar Lights, Southern Cuisine, and Fern Centerpieces

For the Southern Bell who wants to feel in her element, this whimsical theme celebrates the best of the south. Typically, a smaller style wedding for only close friends and family, it gives guests a homey feel with lots of Do-It-Yourself styled decorations. This is a perfect option for those who want a more laid-back feel at inexpensive prices.

Gatsby Extravagance

Think: Pearls, Short Dresses, Ivory, Veils, Classic Cars, Stringed Instruments, and Champagne

If you find yourself with extra money on your hands and are ready to throw the wedding of the century, Gatsby-style is the way to go. Take a page out of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece, and make the start of your marriage an event that will never be forgotten. Complete with fireworks, fountains, and flapper dresses for the bridesmaids, you’ll be looking all sorts of classy on the rolling lawns of an estate or in the ballroom of a swanky resort.

Clean & Modern

Think: Black and White, A-Line Dresses, Glass, Tapas Plates, and City Views

Into the big city living and want to show off your modern flare in your wedding? Why not book a banquet hall at the top of a skyscraper, giving your reception an awe-inspiring panorama? Between the beauty of the bride and the scenery, the rest of the hall is understated and filled with simple, clean lines, leaving the focus exactly where it should be. Make it a black tie affair, with everyone dressed to the nines in classic, refined attire.

Back To Nature

Think: Flower Headdresses, Flowing Dresses, Parks and Gardens, and Ivy Trellises

As a nature lover, there is no better place to say your vows than in the bright sunlight, surrounded by vibrant greenery and aromatic wild flowers. With craved wood benches, shaded dirt paths, and the serenity of the outdoors, you and your guests will feel relaxed and tranquil amongst the foliage.

Let’s Get Nerdy

Think: Star Wars, Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Zelda, Superman, and Lord of the Rings

Did you and your soon-to-be spouse meet at a gaming convention? Do you share a favorite movie? Do you go crazy over that one book? If it’s meaningful to the both of you, you can make it a theme at your wedding. Show the guests your inner geek with a Super Mario cake, Star Trek Wedding Rings, and Comic Book invitations. No doubt whatever nerdy theme you come up with, your guests will be smiling and laughing about it for years to come.

50’s Pin-Up

Think: Vibrant Colors, Bold Make Up, Mad Men Tuxedos, Bows, and Cocktails

Love the look from yesteryear? Make your big day pop by taking it back a few decades. With brazen red lipstick, daring eye liner, and a dress that shows off your hourglass figure, it looks like you could have come right out of the show Mad Men. And an open bar is a must, as are fun and funky cocktails to keep the whole reception partying late into the evening.

Every Girl’s A Princess

Think: Ballgowns, Silk, Roses, Jewels, Tiaras, and Carriages

Most girls grew up wanting to be a Disney princess, so why not make it a reality on your wedding day? If you’re about to say “I Do” to Prince Charming, why not look like royalty yourself? With everyone decked out in their best gems and jewels and with place settings of gold, it’s fairy tale come true. The high archways, stained glass, and old, polished stone of a cathedral is a classic and elegant place to start your happily ever after. And don’t forget to ride your carriage off into the sunset!

Tropical Paradise

Think: The Beach, Pastels, Candles, Canopies, Shells, and Going Barefoot

Escape the stress and hassles of every day life and begin anew with the love of your life. The sound of waves crashing on the beach, the warm breeze, and the sand between your toes, eliminates almost any pre-wedding jitters you might have. You don’t even have to wait for the honeymoon to travel to paradise; let you guests enjoy the same scenery and relaxation away from the world as you!

How To Choose A Wedding Photographer

wedding photographer1Your wedding day is a once-in-a-lifetime event. It’s not every day you get to say I do to Mr. or Miss Perfect. Walking down the aisle, looking your soon-to-be-spouse in the eyes, and proclaiming your love along side of all the other people you care about is a big deal. Mostly likely, you’ll feel that it went by in the blink of an eye.

And that’s why it’s so important to hire the best photographer for your wedding needs. Having beautiful, quality photographs of your special day will allow you to remember it with clarity for years to come. Those extraordinary moments when you slip the rings on each other’s fingers, have your first kiss as husband and wife, and cut the wedding cake are memories that can be captured and displayed for life.

Here are some things to consider before hiring a photographer for your wedding:

Brainstorm and then Brainstorm Some More

Before you go hunting for photographers in your area, do your research. Go online and Google wedding photos. Find styles that you like and styles that you don’t. Don’t be afraid to print out examples so that when you do go out and start interviewing potential photographers you can show them your preferences instead of just trying to describe what you want. And make sure to do this way ahead of your wedding! You want to leave plenty of time to find the right person and fit them into your plans.

Shop Around and Interview

Make a list of potential photographers for your wedding and either visit their website or make an appointment with them. By doing so, you can see samples of their work and get an accurate assessment of what their style is and what they are capable of. You don’t have to commit to anyone off the bat; take your time considering and make sure that what they are offering is what you want. Many photographers are extremely busy and preferred to be booked a year in advance, so make sure they are free on your wedding day and prices are within your budget.

Preview Their Work

Always, always, always look at previous wedding shoots, not only single photos, but rather entire albums so that you aren’t just seeing the handpicked, best shots. This will this give you a sense of their ability and style, but also the quality of photos they take. Be critical. Did they capture all the right moments in the best way? If the pictures are grainy, taken with poor lighting, or their editing skills aren’t up to par, then you know it’s time to move on to the next one.

Ask Them Questions

  • What is your experience background? Did you receive any professional training?
  • Do you have a preferred style to shoot in? Artsy vs. Traditional?
  • What kind of equipment are you using?
  • What is your typical cost per hour? How many photos are taken per hour?
  • Do you offer any wedding package deals? Are you able to also shoot the rehearsal dinner? Bachelor/Bachelorette Party? Newlywed Photos?
  • Do you shoot with another photographer for more coverage? Would it be possible to have two different styles shot? One more traditional, one more behind the scenes?
  • What rights do I have to the photos? What are the photographer’s rights?

Tell Them What You Want

Many people have unique ideas that lead to fun photos. Make sure to discuss these with your photographer ahead of time to make sure they are on-board. It is better to plan ideas out then to surprise the photographer with them and have the photos not turn out. If you have moments you definitely want captured, make a list: the bride getting ready, the husband looking at his wife walking down the aisle, the couple praying together before the wedding, etc. Be specific.

Learn the Lingo

If you take the time to learn photography lingo, you can more accurately portray what you like.

  • Bokeh – When the front picture is focused, the background blurry
  • Matte – That vintage look with low contrast and muted colors
  • High Contrast – Vibrant, with colors that pop
  • Portraits – Think traditional. Classic poses in front of backdrops.
  • Documentary Style – These are unposed photos of both people and the surroundings. Often spontaneous and people aren’t necessarily looking at the camera

If You Aren’t Sure…

…then don’t commit. You have to like your photographer; you have to trust them because the memory of your wedding is in their hands. The better you get along, the better communication, and ultimately, the best photos you could ask for. And finally, don’t be afraid to set aside more money for the photographer and change your budget around. You probably won’t remember the expensive place settings years down the road, but you will be thankful that you have stunning photos to help you remember everything else.

Your Wedding Budget Worksheet

You probably won’t be needing everything on this list, but we’ve included everything we could think of just in case!

Wedding Parties Amount Budgeted Who Pays

Engagement party $___________ ___________

Bridesmaids luncheon $___________ ___________

Rehearsal dinner $___________ ___________

Out-of-town guests brunch $___________ ___________

Wedding Coordinator $___________ ___________

Stationery
Invitations $___________ ___________

Announcements $___________ ___________

Thank-you cards $___________ ___________

Reply cards $___________ ___________

At-home cards $___________ ___________

Stamps $___________ ___________

Maps, program, calligraphy, etc. $___________ ___________

Bridal Attire
Wedding dress $___________ ___________

Headpiece and veil $___________ ___________

Shoes $___________ ___________

Accessories (gloves, jewelry, etc.) $___________ ___________

Dresses for other wedding parties $___________ ___________

Undergarments $___________ ___________

Hairdresser $___________ ___________

Trousseau $___________ ___________

Alterations $___________ ___________

Photo/Videography
Formal portraits $___________ ___________

Engagement $___________ ___________

Wedding and reception $___________ ___________

Wedding album $___________ ___________

Parents albums $___________ ___________

Extra prints $___________ ___________

Videography of wedding and wedding parties $___________ ___________

Flowers
Ceremony arrangements, garlands $___________ ___________

Brides bouquet $___________ ___________

Grooms boutonniere $___________ ___________

Bridesmaids/groomsmen $___________ ___________

Mothers corsages $___________ ___________

Reception arrangements $___________ ___________

Reception Amount Budgeted Who Pays

Food/Caterer $___________ ___________

Drink/Bartender $___________ ___________

Wedding Cake/Grooms Cake $___________ ___________

Rental of facility $___________ ___________

Rental of tablewares, furniture, tents $___________ ___________

Place cards $___________ ___________

Tips and fees to food servers, doormen, coat check, valet parkers, restrooms, etc. $___________ ___________

Decorations $___________ ___________

Music
Ceremony (organist, soloists, choir, other musicians) $___________ ___________

Reception (band, D.J., pianist) $___________ ___________

Transportation
Limousine/Carriage $___________ ___________

Parking $___________ ___________

Gifts
For your groom (optional) $___________ ___________

Maid/matron of honor $___________ ___________

Bridesmaids $___________ ___________

A gift to your parents (optional) $___________ ___________

Your grooms ring (not optional) $___________ ___________

Fees
Church/synagogue/other location $___________ ___________

Officiant/officiant assistants $___________ ___________

Attendants accessories/rentals $___________ ___________

Odds and Ends
Guest favors $___________ ___________

Birdseed or confetti packets $___________ ___________

Monogrammed napkins $___________ ___________

Hotel accommodations $___________ ___________

Guest book and pen $___________ ___________

Garter $___________ ___________

Honeymoon
Transportation $___________ ___________

Accommodations $___________ ___________

Fun Money $___________ ___________

Wedding Day Time-Table

hairstyle-hair-wedding-brideWhen you make your time-table, (1) schedule each event and (2) plan enough time for it. The following chart will help you with the essentials; the spaces between each item will let you add the things that will be different for your wedding (you might get dressed at church instead of at home, etc.) Make sure your photographer, caterer, baker, florist and musicians, know your time-table and that they approve any last minute changes.

1. Getting up/breakfast

2. Dressing

3. Leaving for the ceremony

4. Photos before the ceremony

5. Parents and guests arrive

6. Wedding Ceremony begins

7. Receiving Line

8. Formal group photos (wedding party)

9. Leaving for the reception

10. Cocktail Hour (before couple arrives)

11. Arriving at the reception

12. Toast by Best Man (and others)

13. Reception Meal

14. Cake Cutting

15. Bridal Dance

16. Dancing

17. Bride and Groom change clothes

18. Bride and Groom leave reception

19. Reception ends

If you are going to change clothes at the reception,make sure someone will take care of the gown and tuxedo.

The Honeymoon and Budget

 honeymoon

BEFORE YOUR TRIP: Decide which destination you can realistically afford. Start saving money each week, to accumulate funds gradually.

ON YOUR TRIP: Keep a record to help stay within your budget. If you spend less than planned, use the money for some splurges.

EXPENSES TRANSPORTATION:

Major Transportation
(air, ship, car): $
Airport limo: $
Tips: $
Gas: $
Tolls: $
Rental Car $
Taxis: $
Total Transportation: $

ACCOMMODATIONS:
Basic rate: $
Tips: $
Extra services $
(laundry, hairdresser, etc.): $
Total Accommodations: $
SHOPPING (gifts): $
MEALS (per couple):
Breakfast:
$_____ per day x_____ days $
Lunch: $_____ per day x_____ days $
Dinner: $_____ per day x_____ days $
Total Meals: $

ENTERTAINMENT:
Sports equipment rentals: $
Theater/Concerts: $
Admission Fees (sight seeing, attractions, museums, etc.): $
Nightclubs/Discos: $
Total Entertainment: $

EXTRA:
Snacks/liquor: $
Total Extra: $
TOTAL EXPENDITURES: $

Thank You and Here

 

wedding giftsChoosing the perfect gift for your bridal party and your betrothed can be a joyous experience if you keep the recipients likes and personalities in mind as you make your selections. Give a gift that you would like to receive. Choose something that is meaningful and unique. After all, these gifts are an expression of your gratitude to the people who will gather together to celebrate your special day. Make sure theyre packaged beautifully, then present them with love. Your gifts and memories of your wedding will be cherished for a lifetime.

If you have a creative theme for your wedding, be creative with your gifts as well. Make the gift a keepsake by monogramming it with your names and wedding date.

 

Traditional gift suggestions include:

For Grooms Attendants  Silver key chain, crystal paper weight, engraved silver accessory box, sterling engraved pocket knife, sterling money clip.

For Brides Attendants  Pearl earrings, crystal box or vase, silver compact, crystal picture frame, jewelry box, crystal ring holder, or a small crystal, china, or silver clock.

Whatever the gift, be it traditional or an original piece of art from your favorite artist, give it from the heart as a token of love and appreciation.

Selecting a Disc Jockey

first danceAsking the following questions will help you to decide which DJ you’re most confident with:

How much experience does the DJ have?

Does the DJ have a professional/proper appearance?

Does the DJ have a tentative format as to what order the events of the reception should occur?

What kind of sound and lighting does the DJ carry?

Will dinner music be included in the DJs price?

Will the DJ set-up before your guests arrive free-of-charge?

Do you feel confident with the way the DJ presents himself/herself?

Will the DJ meet with you personally before your wedding date?

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