Tipping your Vendors

Tipping your Vendors
As a bride-to-be, you’re completely immersed in the wedding planning gamut. But what about tipping your vendors? You’ve read opinions from experts to former brides turned wedding planners to the noteworthy sites for checklists, plans, and inspired ideas for our big day.
Tipping your vendors is a personal expression of gratitude for services delivered graciously, efficiently, and on point.Some vendors should not expect a tip on top of the lofty prices you are paying they include: photographer, videographer, designer (for paper materials), etc. The most important people to tip are often overlooked, such as your wedding planner,banquet manager,florist, officiant and altar servers (if church ceremony),and DJ. These vendors may be tipped at the end of their service at your discretion.
The obvious people to tip would be your hair stylist and makeup artist (20%), and your limo driver (20% of the bill).The typical amount is 20% unless the fine print in your contracts state otherwise. Many times the gratuity for your chauffeur, bartenders, and wait staff will be included in your bill. Don’t be shy! Ask your vendors if their tip is included and even ask to see it in your proposal.
Usually, cash is king. However, some of your vendors may accept other means of tips–small gifts and gift cards are also a nice gesture. Your wedding day is an important day in your life, and you need to remember to take care of the people that helped execute your day flawlessly.

Unwanted Guests

Guests You Don’t Want to Invite…But Should
There will always be those unwanted guests that you are obligated to invite to the wedding. If you are receiving financial assistance from your parents or future in-laws- expect this situation to pop up, maybe more than once. However, there are just some people you will have to learn to accept are coming to your wedding even if you aren’t thrilled about the concept. There are five exceptions to the rule that you should (re)consider when sending out those invites. They include:
1) Your Debbie Downer Friend
She’s anti-social, and worse a wedding hater. Sure, you can love her regardless, but will she be so welcoming and open to the L-O-V-E concept on YOUR big day? Well, let’s hope so! If you are considering inviting the wedding basher, sit down with her prior to the event and feel out her mood as to how she feels about coming to your special day. We hope she will put her own feelings aside about marriage and come support you in your decision of marrying the man of your dreams.
2) Your Boss
I’m sure they have heard every little detail of your big day, and it doesn’t seem right to NOT invite them. I even bet you’ve probably done a bit of online perusing for your wedding in general on work time. And, I’m sure they are very aware of this. It’s a traditional concept to invite your boss, but the people you spend the most time with are your coworkers and boss they should be included if your guest list allows for the people. After all, this is the person that decides your salary and PTO!
3) Your Parent’s Best Friends Forever
Sure, you’ve known Mr. and Mrs. So and So for years and years, but do you really want them at your wedding? This is one of those sticky situations because I’m sure your parents have probably attended their daughters or son’s weddings. Think of it this way, I’m sure you’re parents feel like they would have a fun time with them and they will be generous to you in their gift-giving.
4) Extended Cousins
If you have a ginormous family, consider having some hard and fast rules about the guest list-“No second cousins under the age of 18” or “No second cousins at all.” Some of these little details will help keep the list short and sweet and your sanity! However, let’s say you have a very close second cousin to you that is your age range, and you are very close with her. Well, she makes the cut off, right? You don’t have to explain yourself, but if people question you at least you have rules in place!
5) Mr. Slick Rick
The last unwanted guest you should consider inviting includes you fiance’s “interesting” friends. This can include the Casanova who will hit on anything with a pulse. This guy seems to be funny and endearing when you all are out in a group setting; however, it does not seem too appealing at your wedding. Prior to the event you can respectfully ask your husband-to-be if he’d have a word with his friend and ask him to be on his best behavior.
There’s no right or wrong guest list and unwanted guests can make the wedding awkward. But also keep in mind this is your day and no matter how they try to undermine it, all eyes are on you and your groom!

Break the Rules

Rules Are Meant to be Broken
There are many rules and traditions that couples can choose to follow….or not. You can break the rules and it could end up being the best thing you did. Here are a few traditions that you can tweek to your liking.
1) It’s Bad Luck to See Each Other Before the Ceremony
Some couples think a“first look”photo captures that moment of pure excitement and happiness. Instead of the big reveal happening at the end of the altar, you can surprise each other in a special moment between the two of you. It’s nice to have your photographer there to capture that moment forever.
2) Unity Candles are so Blah
Some churches only allow unity candles, but there are alternatives to this“two become one”symbol. You can choose to have a sand ceremony where the two of you pour different colored sands into one vase. Other options are the same concept with spices or vinegar and oil. Keep it creative!
3) Your Wedding Dress should be White
In Indian weddings, brides wear red! Understandably, that’s a pretty bold color if you aren’t practicing in that culture. However, choosing a non-white or ivory color such as blush, champagne, coffee, or nude is all the rage right now. Consider these shades for your big day, they might compliment your skin tone even moreso!
4) Pictures Belong After the Ceremony
If you are choosing to do a first look photo, consider having all your pictures done prior to the ceremony. That way you will look fresh and stunning still! Sure, you might need a little touch up prior to the ceremony/reception, but at least your photos will be flawless. Also, this helps with timing of the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception. Your guests will thank you that there aren’t three hours between events and is one smooth transition to the next.
Sometimes it benefits you to break the rules.  Consider these alternatives when planning out your ceremony / reception day structure.

Wedding Theme

How Important is a Wedding Theme?
To answer the question in the title; in one world- very, very important! The theme of your wedding pretty much dictates a lot of your day. It’s based on what type of couple you truly are–traditional versus non-traditional. Choosing a preppy theme versus a Halloween party versus a British theme will set the tone for the entire day.
When searching for wedding ideas and wedding inspiration, you’ll be faced with seemingly endless options.Having a wedding theme, however, will allow you to edit out things that don’t work. Most people don’t see a need for a wedding theme. Of course, the theme for any wedding is “marriage.” However, when all the little planning details start to come together, you should have some cohesion to everything.
Themes are meant to be carried out throughout everything in your wedding from your invites to your linens. Are you rustic chic or modern and cutting edge? Blurring the line is fine, but setting the tone also sets the tone for your guests. You would not want your friends and family to show up to an event dressed inappropriately or not having some kind of expectations when they walk into the event.
As mentioned above, if you were to choose a Halloween themed wedding and you wanted your guests to dress up in costumes that expectation needs to be vocalized. Do not ever assume that your guests will just know to dress like Superman or on the other hand, for a black tie event. It is in your best interest to be clear about expectations. If you find that you cannot figure out the theme of your wedding, go peruse wedding websites such as Style Me Pretty, Engaged& Inspired and others to find some styles that suit your taste. Understanding your likes and dislikes is the first of many choices you are faced with.

Muslim Wedding

Muslim Wedding Traditions
Muslim couples plan weddings which reflect their unique cultural backgrounds. Muslim marriages throughout North America often reflect the diversity of the Muslim population. In the United States, only about 19 percent of Muslims are African American or Anglo American. The rest are immigrants or people with family ties to the Arabworld, South Asia, Iran, sub-Saharan Africa, Turkey, and other regions in the world.
If you are celebrating a traditional Muslim wedding, chances are you will want to incorporate the following into your big day. This includes the marriage contract, a divine injunction, and the marriage banquet to seal the deal.
Al-Nikah: the Islamic Marriage Ceremony
Marriage is a solemn and sacred social contract between the bride and groom. Both parties mutually agree and enter into this contract. In this contract, any terms and conditions seen fit by both the bride and groom are made apart. The contract is written and signed by the bride and the groom and their two respective witnesses. This written marriage contract is then announced publicly.
Mahr
Following the contract signing, the marriage-gift (Mahr) is presented as a divine injunction. The giving of mahr to the bride by the groom is an essential part of the contract. Mahr is a token commitment of the husband’s responsibility and may be paid in cash, property or movable objects to the bride herself.
The Marriage Banquet (Walima)
After the consummation of the marriage, the groom holds a banquet called a walima. The relatives, neighbors, and
friends are invited in order to make them aware of the marriage. Both rich and poor of the family and community are
invited to the marriage feasts. It is not unheard of to have hundreds of people at a Muslim wedding.
Muslim weddings are viewed as social events that are not to be missed! Family, friends, and acquaintances are invited to celebrate the newlywed’s new life together as man and wife.

Church Shopping

Church Shopping
Church shopping can be as easy as your home church but sometimes it’s harder to find the right place for your ceremony! You might have always imagined yourself walking down the aisle of your hometown church since you were a little girl. However, your fiancé might not feel the same way. There are some things to consider before choosing the right church for your wedding nuptials. Such as, does your church allow for photographers or videographers? If not, that might be a huge part that you’re missing out on.
Who just wants to watch the reception of their wedding day? Sure, it sounds fun, but the wedding ceremony is important! Or, if they do allow these vendors in the church premises, are they confined to a certain spot or do they have free reign to move about the ceremony to capture the best shots? Wedding Décor such as aisle runners, flowers, bows, signs, etc are extras entirely left up to the church ifthey are allowed or not. Do you dream of walking down
the aisle with the white aisle runner rolled out sprinkled with an array of beautiful rose petals? Some churches don’t allow that. Make sure you ask the question.
When church shopping you also need to check on prices of the church. Often times, churches refer to this as your“donation.” Consider yourdonation paying for the church to keep it air-conditioned, well-groomed and maintained, the musicians and cantors paid, and so on. Some churches often ask for $1,000 to cover these fees. Also, you may be asked to partake in religious classes which also cost money and are mandatory.
Ask your church if you are allowed to bring in your own minister or a visiting pastor. Remember the example
from above? Well, your hometown church might not suit your fiancé and you, but bringing the pastor, priest, or presiding religious officiant is the next best option! Make sure there is a solid contract written up that covers insurance, medical accidents, etc. What if your klutzy brother trips and busts his face open on the marble floor while making his entrance to the church. Expect the unexpected bride-to-be!
By keeping these tips in mind, you will be able to choose the right church for you and your fiancé.

Courthouse Wedding

Five Details That will Make a Courthouse Wedding Special
Couples that opt for a courthouse wedding typically are looking to either save some loot or don’t want to be bothered with the minutia of details. A small wedding at a courthouse or city hall can still be special,romantic, and fun. You should still feel like a bride- so dress the part! You don’t have to spend a lot, but the ideal attire for the bride is a white or ivory dress to the knee. There are many fabulous options. Most bridal gown designers have at least one or two short gowns in their collections, and some even have entire collections devoted to short dresses, such as Amsale’s Little White Dress. A hot white suit, a la Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City marriage is another option.
Still yet, you can always wear a dress that makes you feel beautiful and special that’s already in your closet. Invite your closest, most significant friends and family to help support you. A courthouse wedding does not necessarily mean an elopement. You might very well wish to have at least your immediate family and a couple of close friends there to witness your vows. The entire ceremony may not last much longer than a few minutes, so it would be a little strange to pack fifty people into a judge’s chambers to see it.
Invitations for a small gathering or reception are a nice touch for groups more than 10. You will definitely want to have some sort of celebration after your ceremony. Couples generally opt for a limited menu and a selection of beer and wine served at the tables. It can be very pleasant and also very affordable. Naturally,the hosts will pay for everything, just as they would at a more traditional wedding reception.
If you can afford to hire a professional photographer,that would be ideal. If not, at least have one family member with a good eye who is designated to capture the key moments of your wedding. You will certainly want to have some beautiful photographs to remember your special wedding day.A DJ is not necessary, but perhaps an iPod playing some soft music or if it’s possible, hire a pianist or violinist to play some soft,ambiance music.
With these small touches, you can still have simplicity, keep the budget low, and enjoy your special day with the most important loving, supportive people around you on your new journey of marriage.

Green Gables inspired

How many brides can remember Anne of Green Gables? The books, the movies? The cute little red head with a vivid imagination, Anne, can give us a few lessons for weddings! Her muse is chock full of romantic ideas, elegant parties and big fashion.

Prince Edward Island can be great inspiration for your vintage or outdoor themed wedding. Do you crave a simpler time when all you needed was green grass and cows? Anne of Green Gables gives us all that and much more charm. You can channel all that rustic elegance into an old time theme.

Anne is the romantic to beat! You can incorporate twine on the invitations, old custom picture frames, hold the ceremony outside near a meadow or decorate tree branches as center pieces. Whatever your fancy, Green Gables has amazing charm to add to any wedding.  You might want to include quirky elements of your unique relationship just like Anne and her beau Gilbert. Your groom might even want to get a vintage tux for the occasion! There are a lot of dresses inspired by Anne too.

Green Gables gives everyone that romantic, rustic feel of love that is eternal. You can be creative and use your favorite parts of the stories like the row boat, nicknames (Carrots, White way of Delight), The Highwayman poem or just be vintage all around!

Timelines

Timlines

 

Planning a wedding can take time, patience and organization. Timelines are just suggestions but they will keep you on track. Keeping on top of your tasks is important so action items like making payments don’t fall between the cracks.

 

1.
First, we recommend buying a calendar and a wedding-specific binder. Make dividers for each section and keep all contracts, vendor information, and timelines in the binder so it’s easy to find.Mark up the calendar with days for when items need to be accomplished.
2.
Share duties with your partner. Make your groom feel like he has a part in the planning (remember
this is his day too). By talking and sharing timelines, you both will be able to foresee and avoid any future
problems. Grooms come up with some of the best ideas too, so make sure to include him and let him add his personal touch to the big day too.
3.
Set aside specific days to accomplish tasks and enlist friends and family to help with timelines. It takes so much
less time to stuff envelopes and assemble favors when you do it as a team and it’s an easy way to let people help. You will get a lot more done by using your specific wedding planning days and you will feel much more relaxed during your time off. It’s also important to be flexible when planning so you don’t get bogged down.
4.
Figure out a budget on paper. Find out who will be paying for the wedding and come up with numbers for each category, ie: food, music, flowers…and don’t forget tipping and misc. last minute items!
5.
Create timelines for the week of the wedding. Make sure you allow enough time for all your tasks to be completed, ie: when to pick up tuxes, dropping off items to your venue, hair/makeup…etc. There can also be a separate timeline for the reception itself.
6.
Make decisions and then move on. There is so much information available to us these days that you can go crazy looking at websites and seeing new ideas. Once you have decided on your floral design, linen colors, table numbers, then stop looking at those items online!
7.
Of course, hire a coordinator if you can afford one in your budget! He or she can put together timelines for you that are efficient and they will know the pitfalls to avoid. If you have put this much time into your planning, leave it to the experts to execute it for you the day of the wedding.

Decisions!

Decisions are headed your way! Now that you have figured out your top priorities, you can now put your wedding plan into action. The budget has been determined, and all parties have expectations of what they need to bring to the table. The first few discussion points to get your started on decisions and making are recommended below:
– Where is the ceremony taking place?
– Will the ceremony take place at the reception venue?
– Or, will we have a religious ceremony taking place within a church, synagogue, etc?
– What day will the ceremony take place (i.e. Friday, Saturday, Sunday?)
– Will the ceremony and reception be taking place back-to-back or will there be ample time in between for pictures and such?
– Will our ceremony take place early in the afternoon or late in the evening?
Such questions are important to ask yourself. Your engagement is full of making decisions, and while it seems there are many decisions to make that are not very important- do not underestimate the impact your decisions will make.
Tip: Some brides opt to hire a wedding planner to assist with making decisions on their behalf or in a joint-fashion. Some couples are traditional, while others aim to be unique and different. Traditional, Christian brides that chose to have a secular ceremony will most likely opt for a Saturday afternoon wedding. Christian churches
often have several ceremonies during high wedding season (i.e. May through October). This may affect your time slot and availability of the ceremony location. Remember, the earlier you allow your lead time prior to your wedding, the more likely you are to nail your dream location spot. As a rule of thumb, most churches,venues, etc book at least one year in advance.
Non-traditional brides may still have some obstacles to overcome. While they may not be have to deal with a religious point of interest, many parks, private buildings, beaches, etc require licenses and applications, along with resulting fees. Again, availability is something to consider. Figuring out your location whether it involve a church or private park, may take some planning, donations/fees, and paperwork.
Creating a timeline of your day will help map out timing. Remember, this is just a rough idea of what events will transpire throughout the day. As the day draws closer, a master agenda/timeline will need to be drafted up to create a flow of the day.