Posts in the 'weddings' Category

{Ask Liz} Engagement Party Potlucks & Pretty Wedding Dresses

Got a question for Liz? Go to the Contact page and let us know what’s up!

YES.
(Photography by Alea Moore)

Dear Liz, 

My fiancé and I became engaged in September of last year, and we are getting married this September on our anniversary, which is so awesome! But here’s the thing, we never had an engagement party. I’ve spoken to and read a lot of articles about how you can have an engagement party whenever, but my sister (and maid of honor) is convinced it is much too late for one, now that we are only six months out from the actual wedding. Additionally, because I am a true BAB, we do not have any funds for such an event, which also greatly concerns my sister. But a friend of mine suggested having a potluck in a park somewhere and asking guests to also bring a bottle of wine to help stock the bar for the wedding (something we could really use). Is this too much to ask of people, to bring two items to a party? Is it too late for an engagement party?

Signed,

Late to the Party

Dear Late,

I don’t believe there’s any such thing as “too late” to have a party, and your idea sounds great. I pinned a couple of examples on my Budget Wedding Tips board, too. Just keep it casual. The only glitch might be with the bottles of wine. If you’re not going to serve the bottles of wine people are bringing, you’re going to have to figure out something else to give them. Sodas, water, a specialty drink (sangria is pretty easy and you can make it beforehand), something like that.  Other than that, go for it.

I can only imagine how pretty it looks on you…

Dear Liz,

So, I purchased my wedding dress this weekend. It was the first place I visited and I tried on about 10 to 15 dresses. I purchased the one that looked amazing on me (Allure 9003) and had the feel of a Pnina Tornai I always liked. I felt very ambushed at the shop, and when I got home I had major anxiety that I should’ve looked elsewhere and that maybe it wasn’t the dress for me (I never ever thought I would be in a ballgown). Do most brides have that second thought panic? Or did I choose wrong?

Signed,

Dress Second-Guess

Dear Dress,

I wouldn’t say “most” brides, I’d leave it at “a few.” What I can say is that many brides think they want one dress style and end up loving a different design that looks better on them. That happens a lot.

If you really feel that the dress looked amazing on you, than you made the right choice. It sounds like you didn’t like how you were treated at the shop, but that’s a whole other issue.  You only have to deal with them a couple more times until you get your dress, and on one of those occasions, you can talk to the shop manager about your experience.

Any of you thinking about having a potluck engagement party or wedding, even? And how were you treated when you shopped for your dress? Let us know in the comments below! And, if you’d like to find out more about me and my part of Wedding World, go to www.silvercharmevents.com.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Real Wedding: Natalie & Rich’s Sweet Seaside Elopement In Laguna Beach

These are the kind of pictures I think every bride should see before she starts planning a 25K wedding in earnest. Because you know, if this is all you need for your wedding – a beach, a white dress, a beautiful bouquet, the person you love most in the world, your pooch, and a few BFFs, well then, why not just elope? Friends-of-BAB Natalie and Rich pulled together a gorgeous elopement in Laguna Beach for almost nothing. Natalie’s dress was $200. The flowers were $80.  The officiant was a dear friend, and performed the ceremony for free. The wedding party all went out for dinner afterwards, and of course, no one let the bride and groom pay for their own meal. We’re so pleased to share this celebration with our readers, because BABs, this is what it’s all about.

From the bride: “I’ve always dreamed of a small, intimate and meaningful wedding for as long as I can remember. One that is about the love of two people and where there is no distraction away from that. The stress of extra details and spending thousands didn’t make sense to us because it didn’t feel like us. We just wanted to make the most important day of our lives be about how much we love each other and not about if the napkins match the chair bows. I’m a Yogi and Rich is so laid back so it didn’t make sense to us to have the one day of our lives that is the day we make our love and commitment officially known to the world be a big, fussy event.”

When we talked about our wedding and what it would feel like, it was no discussion- an intimate, oceanside wedding was the right choice for us. With a couple dear friends and the focus on the most important thing; Our Love. A smaller wedding really suited us - I’ve always had a special connection to Laguna so it was the perfect place for our special day. I arranged my flowers myself and my best friend from Canada came down to get ready with me and be there for us.  My dear friend Gigi sang a beautiful song in Sanskrit which I hold dear to my heart. We all joined in as everyone stood in a circle around us. Then our friend Seth said a prayer for us. We wouldn’t change a thing.”

A gajillion thanks to Natalie and Rich for sharing their beautiful day with us! And special thanks to their photographer friend Seth Heringer for sharing these fabulous photos!

{Ask Liz} Rainy Days & Inexpensive Glitz

Do you have a question for Liz? Go to the contact page and let me know what’s up!

I am kind of in love with this picture, actually.

 

Dear Liz,

I am planning an outdoor wedding in April. What do I need to have lined up for a plan B in case of rain?

Signed,

Rain-bowed

Dear Bowed,

I’ve had to deal with this more than a couple of times, and tents usually are the best thing, if there is no indoor space to retreat to. You can also get a bunch of umbrellas for people, and hand them out at the beginning of the ceremony. It will look like this pic to the left, but you know, in your colors.

I made a Rainy Day Wedding Pinterest board, which also has a couple of articles in there about how to plan for, and get through the day, and still have fun. Keep the ceremony short, scoop out the area beforehand to see if there are any outdoor shelters you can set the ceremony near or around, and interestingly, place chairs under trees, which will help if the rainfall is light. Hmm.

 

Ooh. You should see the pins I have with the pearls and the feathers!

Dear Liz,

I am asking for some advice with inspiration. My fiance and I are getting married in September 2013. Ours  is a cross-genre theme, I’m favoring old Hollywood, and he likes the Mobster appeal. We have most of our ideas down-pat, but our venue is going to be outdoors at my dad and step-mom’s home in the country. What ideas could I incorporate to bring that glitzy, glam, but fun side into the reception venue? I really like the idea of using feathers as centerpieces, but I haven’t found any that are affordable. BAB doesn’t even begin to cover how small our budget is. Right now, we’ve only been able to spare about $5000 for everything since my parents are giving us the venue and food.

Signed,

Bling dreams

Dear Bling,

You know, since you’ve already have your venue and your food, you’re not doing too bad! So, say you’ve got 100 guests, so that’s 10 tables, right? I also put together a Pinterest board for this, too (because I’m obsessed), Hollywood Glitz on a Budget. You could do something as simple as round bowls with fake peals and diamonds in them, and surround the tables with candles. Lots and lots of candles. Feathers aren’t as expensive as you think, especially if you don’t use too many of them. Keep the decorations to less than $50 a table, and you should be fine. Once you’ve got the tables figured out, see how much string lights across the lawn will run you. Make it a treasure hunt and have fun with it. If you can keep the whole thing around $1,000, you’ll have room for stuff like rentals, a DJ, your wedding dress, stuff like that.

So, how are you planning on bling-ing it up on a budget?And is a potentially rainy day getting you down? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

See you at the end of the aisle,

 

Dear Liz: Adults Only? And Other Budget Wedding Quandaries

Got a question of your own? Go to the contact page to send it in!

You know. Or not. (Courtesy of Flory Photo)

 

Dear Liz:

We’ve been engaged for a while, but we’re finally getting married in November. When we gave our guest list to my Mom, she pointed out that we didn’t include any kids on the list! I don’t think we want kids at our wedding, and after figuring out how many we’d have to invite, we definitely don’t want to pay for them. Do we have to invite kids to our wedding?

Signed,

Rugrat Reluctant

Dear Reluctant,

No, you don’t have to invite kids, and if you don’t want to, then you shouldn’t. BUT – you have to be willing to stick to your guns on this. Sticking to your guns means telling your family and friends that they can’t bring their kids. Making it clear on the invite that you’re not inviting kids. Calling the people that write their kids into the RSVP card and telling them that it’s an adult-only event – Oh yeah, that happens. And FINALLY – anticipating that some people will not be able/willing to come because they can’t bring their kids. And I’m not trying to dissuade you, I’m really not. I’m just giving you fair warning. Socially, it can be a sticky-wickey. If I’m starting to freak you out, send up a test balloon with your Mom and let her know that you really don’t want to invite the young’uns, and why. Use exact numbers. After that conversation, and how you feel about that conversation, make your decision.

You can choose both wisely AND well.

Dear Liz:

I am a bride on a strict budget and I am worried that I have to take less-than-stellar vendors in order to fit everything I want in my budget. My fiance is convinced that this is the way to go and we don’t have a choice, but we just had a tasting with our (really cheap) caterer and I’m soo unhappy with what we’re getting! I’m looking at photographers now, and I’m angry that we’re going to be stuck with pictures that look like my 14-year old nephew took them. Do I really have to settle this much to pull this off?

Signed,

Less for Less

Dear Less,

Well, I’d really rather that you didn’t! No, but seriously, just because you’re paying less for something doesn’t mean you’re going to get crap, and just because you’re paying more for something doesn’t mean you’re going to get gold. You know what determines the quality of a product or a service? The quality of the product or service. But finding that quality takes a little patience, so start practicing now. You’ve got your price point, right? Start looking at wedding photographer blogs (I google “los angeles wedding photographer” for that, insert your city or state instead), pick a few that you really like and track them down. Bonus points if they list their fees on their websites. Look, if I can find reasonably-priced, fantastic shooters in one of the most expensive wedding markets in the country, you can find one where you are. Patience, young bride!

And before I forget – your caterer! NO. If you’re set with them, go back and tell them that you weren’t thrilled with the tasting and why, and make as many changes to the menu as you need to. If you and your fiance noticed that the food was bad, your guests will notice. Not good.

So, what about you? Were you able to resist the pressure to have kids at your wedding? Were you able to resist the pressure to settle with your vendor choices? Or not? Let me know in the comments below!

 

{Real Bride: Katie} Celebrating Our Family Ties (& Tying the Knot at the Same Time)

Family Tree!

Greetings BABs! By the time you read this on Sunday, I already will have walked down the aisle to the rousing tunes of the Pipes & Drums of the NYPD Emerald Society. I’ll be stuffed full of mini burgers and candy from our penny candy themed dessert buffet. I’ll have danced my first dance with my new husband, and I’ll be a married woman!

If there’s any theme for our wedding though, it’s definitely family. At the very core, a wedding is most certainly a celebration of two families coming together. For brides and grooms, it’s an opportunity meet everyone and try to find their spot in the wider family dynamic. Families often come with their set of rules of engagement, and their own language. It can take a while to figure out why the Fruit of the Loom jingle is so uproariously hilarious and what balookey means.

For us, our wedding has also served as an attainable goal for many of our family members. Our engagement period has been peppered with quite a few health scares. Various family members have used our wedding as a goal for rehab from broken hips, pacemaker surgeries and chemotherapies. To us, the health of our loved ones is absolutely the very best wedding gift that anyone could possibly give us and we are so excited to celebrate our wedding with some of the people that we never thought would make it to the wedding.

However, we know that after our wedding we are going to get thrown right back into the deep end as life gets back to normal. It’s always difficult to manage the emotional side of family illness, but it can be even more difficult as the newest adult member of a family. It’s a fine line between support, and giving everyone enough space and privacy.

The point was really driven home for us when my Great Aunt died just 2 weeks before the wedding. I hear that she was really disappointed that she wasn’t healthy enough to travel to the wedding, but it means a lot to us that she even wanted to try. I remember her as a bright and loving woman, with a neverending supply of Avon chapstick. When I was a kid, I thought she had the very bizarre name of Sirelen, when in fact people were saying Sara Ellen through a strong Central Pennsylvania accent.

It’s very hard for us to make peace with the realization that our future family may not get to experience some of the great traditions from our childhoods. I don’t know that our family will get to sit at the breakfast bar at my grandparents’ house and sip ginger ale during happy hour, while my grandmother zips around making dinner. However, I can say with certainty that my family will get to sip ginger ale and enjoying snacks at my parents’ house on a Penn State gameday.

And that pretty much sums up what marriage means to me and Mr. Officer….the opportunity to move forward in life together, and make our own family traditions. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for us, and we’re really excited to do it together!

{Real Bride: Katie} Keeping Stress in Check

Originally I had planned a completely different post this week about staying in shape on a budget (and I promise that post is still in the works), but instead I got distracted with some thoughts on handling stress. More specifically, people often want to know how we manage the stress of Mr. Officer’s job, and if I’m worried about marrying a police officer.

 Mr. Officer in Action
Photo via NY Daily News

Actually, this is a topic that Mr. Officer and I discussed long before we ever dated. In fact, I distinctly remember having a conversation with him when he was about one year into his job, in which he told me that he couldn’t see himself ever getting married or having a family because he didn’t want to put someone else through the stress of worrying about his safety.

Well I’m glad he abondoned that plan, but now I’m one of the people concerned with his safety so I’m going to level with you……it can be stressful. There have been a few scary incidents involving Brooklyn cops this year (exhibit A: this recent news story), and it’s always jarring to realize there are people out there that hate him just because of his job.

Now this is not to say that I sit at home every night, biting my nails and bracing for impact. In fact, Mr. Officer is really good at dissassociating his professional and personal lives, so most days I kind of forget what he does for a living. And seriously, sometimes the threat of physical danger isn’t as stressful as the general disdain that accompanies his job title. I mean let’s face it, police officers are not usually beloved among liberal-minded partygoers these days.

As backward as it may seem, I think the professional stress actually makes our relationship a little less stressful. We rarely argue (I know, I can almost feel the eye rolls as I write this), but honestly it’s hard to get into a huge blowout over cocktail napkins or floral arrangements when there are so many other things that I can worry about on a daily basis. It’s a little cheesy, but I love Garth Brooks’ song “If Tomorrow Never Comes”, because it pretty accurately summarizes our approach to marriage. Mr. Officer tells me all the time that as long as everything is fine with our relationship and families than he’s happy. You’ve got to admit it’s pretty hard to argue with that logic.

In the midst of all the wedding planning, I hope (nay, demand) that everyone takes a step back to lighten the mood with a kickass date night. That call to the caterer can wait until after margarita night, because you get to marry the person you love and life is good!

So now seems like a good time to get a stress relieving, dance party started. Go on and get down with your bad self…….I’ll even provide the tunes.  Maroon 5 – Moves Like Jagger

 

The Big Kiss… or the Big 51 Kisses

Something you need to understand about wedding planning is that it is OK to shamelessly steal from other people’s weddings.  You NEED to steal other people’s wedding ideas.  In the world of weddings, there is nothing new under the sun.  Don’t waste your energy trying to be original.  You are going to need to conserve that energy just to pick exactly what wedding ideas you are going to steal.

My favorite stolen wedding idea? It wasn’t my brooch bouquets or any other material detail.  It was something we did with our ceremony that was lifted directly from Collin’s twin sister Carrie’s wedding:  instead of waiting for the grand finale of our ceremony to kiss, we kissed each other whenever we felt like it during our ceremony.  Which means we kissed AT LEAST 51 times during our wedding ceremony (it’s possible I missed a few due to edits in our wedding video).

When I saw Carrie start her own wedding by kissing her almost-husband, I knew that I’d be doing that on my own wedding day.  It wasn’t just that it was a sweet moment that wins over the hearts of the crowd, even though kissing before the universally-expected kiss cue absolutely does that.  I realized that like Carrie, I’d be unable to hold myself back from expressing my love with a kiss when I get to the end of the aisle.  And moreover, at that point I already expected to be marrying Collin, and Carrie and Collin are as much alike as you’d expect former wombmates to be, so any chance that I could restrain myself would be made moot by Collin’s enthusiasm for kissing.  [I mean, seriously, 51 times people.  In about 10 minutes.]

Kissing during your ceremony lets you express yourself, and gives you a release for the intense emotions of being married that isn’t breaking down in attractive sobs.  And maybe the greatest gift of all?  It takes so much pressure off “the big kiss” at the end.  Why agonize over having one perfect kiss in front of all your family and friends, a perfectly-timed kiss that strikes exactly the right balance between passionate and family-friendly, when you can give yourself 51 chances (or more!) to hit that mark?

As an added bonus, your photographer gets more chances to get this sort of money shot:

Can you see yourself kissing your partner all throughout your wedding ceremony? Or will you be saving up your kiss mojo for the big finish?

-Robin

Any Excuse to Wear a Sari

I’ve covered the experiences of the engaged wedding guest and the about-to-be married wedding guest.  This weekend is my first go at being a married wedding guest.

I would have worried about going to a wedding only a few days after my two month anniversary dredging up unpleasant comparisons and regrets about my own wedding, were it not for two things: 1) My wedding was the miggity miggity mack of weddings 2) This weekend’s wedding is an Indian wedding, and everyone knows that Indians have the best weddings.  Each culture in the world can claim indisputable bragging rights on something they do better than everybody else—Brazilians are the heavyweight champs of serving meat on swords, the French are the best at being improbably thin, and Americans are the best at triumphantly chanting the abbreviated form of their country’s name.  Indians are the best at weddings.  Don’t even try to deny it.

I tried so, so hard to avoid being an Ugly American as a guest at this Indian wedding, but there were times I couldn’t help but gawk at the spectacle (I was not alone, the two hotel towers surrounding the courtyard where the ceremony was held were dotted with onlookers peering out their windows).  It’s not just that the customs are different (of course, they are, and I’ll get to that in a paragraph), it’s that the scale is so much bigger than any wedding I’ve ever been to.   I’ve been to uber-fancy weddings where every possible chance to demonstrate opulence is exploited to its full gold-plated potential.  I’ve been to huge weddings where everyone from third cousins to the first grade teacher of the bride was invited.  But I’ve never been to a huge, uber-fancy wedding… with a full three-day itinerary of events.

Today’s schedule of events included the wedding ceremony proper, Anand Karaj. Even though I’ve never been to a Sikh religious service of any kind, I can honestly say I was no more confused at this wedding than I am at any given Christian wedding service.  Sure, I don’t speak a word of Punjabi, but it was easier to figure out when to stand and when to bow than it is for me at Catholic weddings.  And whereas at a Catholic wedding I have to respectfully decline the snack because I’m not baptised, at this wedding the priest handed everyone a lump of sacred cookie dough at the end!

I’m sorry.  I’m trying so hard not to be horrifically disrespectful here.  But being a guest an Indian wedding really brought home to me how strange wedding traditions can seem from the outside.  Sure, I was bewildered to see how much mischievous joy the bride’s family got out of stealing the groomsmen’s shoes (and how disappointed they were when the white American guys in the bridal party gave up their shoes without much fight).  But I’m guessing if I grew up Indian I’d be pretty confused at a Western wedding when the bride and groom shove dessert into each other’s faces, or when the bride dramatically hurled an expensive flower arrangement at a throng of screaming women.

But there are certain things that are universal when it comes to weddings. An inescapable feeling of joy and community.  Love between the bride and groom that is almost palpable.  Pride and gratitude from the happy couple’s families.  The religious and cultural differences are completely eclipsed by these similarities.  Weddings are a heady magic no matter what form they take. Love and best wishes to the happy couple, and gratitude for welcoming me and Collin to this fabulous wedding.

Have you ever been to a wedding with traditions from a culture unfamiliar to you?

{Link Lust} Cute Couples + Fun Friday Diversions!

I have been drooling over these blog posts all morning, and I’m super excited to share them with you guys! We have gorgeous handmade rings, a super lovely wedding that’s dripping with pink and black, and an engagement shoot that’s almost too hot to handle…it’s good stuff, folks!

First off, from the virtual pages of  The BAB – Get more collar for your dollar! Check out this chic selection of collared wedding gowns!

This military couple’s engagement shoot on bWed Exclusive will make. your. heart. pound.

Every Last Detail has a modern pink and black wedding this week that has some AWESOME travel-themed details!

OK, Now What Bride has creative ideas for creating your own custom stamp – a great weekend project.

See the gorgeous Jennifer Behr for J.Crew capsule collection on BRIDEfinds.

Wedding Chicks love a Handmade Wedding Ring.