Category Archives: Wedding Wednesday

Planning a Wedding in Two Months or Less

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How to plan a wedding in 2 months

In Utah (where I live), it is very typical for an engagement to only last 2-3 months. People don’t consider that strange at all. In fact, my own was just under 3 months and it wasn’t difficult at all to find venues and vendors not only available, but “in the know” on such a short timeline. That isn’t the case in most other locations, and that’s why I’m sharing my best tips on how to plan a wedding fast!

Planning a Wedding in Two Months or Less

Set Your Expectations

The time limit may mean that you have to sacrifice some of your ideal wedding dreams for more realistic ideas. This doesn’t have to mean that it won’t still be amazing, it just means that you will find several areas that will need compromise as you proceed with planning. Set your list of things you MUST have a certain way, and then let everything else have a little flexibility. 

Ask For Help

With such a short timeline, you’ll need to call in reinforcements. This isn’t a “Don’t be afraid to ask for help”, it’s a “You HAVE to ask for help!” situation. If you’re a controlling person (like me), and have had your dream wedding planned for years, this might be the trickiest thing to do, but in the end you have to focus on the marriage, not the linen colors. There are a lot of people who would LOVE to help, but need to be asked first, so be brave!

Planning Meeting

To start you need to have a planning meeting with your fiance. What do you each envision and what is realistic for your timeline and budget. Then, have a planning meeting with your parents to get their input. Important decisions to make during your planning meetings are:

  • What is your total budget?
  • Who is invited to the wedding?
  • What type of wedding will you have? Time of day (breakfast, lunch or dinner), Day of the week (middle of the week weddings are wonderful, especially for securing a venue), Where will the wedding be held? Where will the reception be held? Will you have a small reception with hors d’ouveres after the ceremony, or a full meal? 
  • Who will be responsible for what?
  • Who will be in the wedding party?

Set a Date and Send a Save-the-Date Email

Once you’ve had your initial planning meeting you need to select a date based on the feedback you received. Because many guests will need to make work and travel arrangements, send out an electronic save the date while you wait to get actual invitations made. Have this include the RSVP since you can’t wait for the invitations to be mailed and then to have them mail back an RSVP. 

Reserve Your Venue

Get creative! Ask around among your friends and family to find out whether you can use someone’s backyard for your event. If that doesn’t work, check other locations like
parks, clubhouses or churches.

Select Your Bridal Party

Contact those in your bridal party and ask them to be a part of your wedding. There may not be time to order traditional bridesmaids dresses, so give them a color palette and let them select a dress that is flattering to them. I recommend asking each wedding party member to have a specific responsibility. Ideas can include:

Hire a Photographer and Videographer

If you aren’t able to find one available on your date and in your budget ask around to find a friend or a friend-of-a-friend. My main advice on this is, DON’T USE A FAMILY MEMBER! Use someone that isn’t meant to be in any of the photos or videos. Find someone detached enough that they won’t be found on the dance floor when they should be taking pictures of the dancing. Pay them a little and give them access to a great DSLR camera if they don’t have their own and put them to work! 

Mail Your Wedding Invitations ASAP

Have a simple engagement photo shoot and get the edits done as quickly as possible. You can either use a free wedding invitation template from a big box retailer like Costco or Walmart or expedite (costs more) the shipping from a site like Minted, Shutterfly or Vistaprint. 

Find A Wedding Gown

With not much time for ordering a custom gown or even alterations, it’s important that you begin your hunt right away. If the bridal stores near you don’t have what you are looking for consider other options. I rented my bridal gown and loved going that route, you can also look online for previously worn dresses or borrow a dress from a friend. 

Obtain a Marriage License

You may be wondering what the requirements are to get a marriage license. The rules for obtaining a marriage license vary from state to state. Check with your city clerks office to make sure you’ve got everything you need. Many will have information on their website about waiting periods, identification and documentation needed, and fees required.

Flowers and Decor

Many venues will already be “dressed” enough that you won’t need to decorate much at all. Still, you may want to have simple arrangements for the bridal party and the ceremony/reception space. If you’ve got a friend or family member with a green thumb, purchase in-season flowers in bulk from a wholesale store (like Costco or Sams Club) the day before the wedding and ask them to make the arrangements.  You can get inexpensive bulk vases to put them in. This is where flexibility on colors and style are the theme of the day. You won’t be able to guarantee certain flowers, but with a broad enough color palette and style, you can certainly make it work! For even more simplicity, consider a flower-free centerpiece. They can be assembled ahead of time – which means you can DIY it rather than finding a vendor to do it. 

Order Your Wedding Cake

A lot of large, well-known bakeries are booked months in advance. However, grocery stores and smaller bakeries make delicious cakes on short notice. Consider more contemporary dessert options like: a Cupcake tower, a Donut display or a Waffle cake.

Simplify the Food 

Hosting a brunch wedding? Many breakfast foods can be made and or purchased in advance which make them ideal if you’re doing it yourself.  Rather than a full meal, serve passed hors d’ouveres during a cocktail type reception following an early afternoon ceremony. I have lots of teenage nieces and nephews that would be great at passing out bites of food. Don’t forget the desserts! A chocolate fountain or candy buffet is easy to arrange. Here are 10 Fabulous Dessert Bars for more ideas. And again, ASK FOR HELP! 

Secure Entertainment

I hired a friend that graduated in piano performance to play background music at my reception. Others will go with hiring a band or DJ. The type of entertainment you select will largely be determined by your style, theme and budget. The important thing is to get creative. Get on social media and ask around for lesser known groups that will have more open availability. 

ENJOY THE PROCESS!

It sounds so simple, but the stresses of planning a wedding are real! This will be a test of compromise, multi tasking, budgeting, reconciling different opinions and so much more! What a great preparation for marriage, which is really what this is all about! Don’t forget to enjoy the process of planning the celebration of your marriage.

Congratulations on your engagement!

21 Unique Wedding Send Off Ideas

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Gone are the days of throwing rice (most venues don’t allow anymore anyway). Which means you can really theme your wedding send off to your taste, style and wedding theme! That’s a lot more fun if you ask me!

Whether you plan to have your guests greet you as you walk out of the wedding ceremony venue or at the end of your reception on your way to your car – having a planned wedding send off is a MUST! Luckily, it is something simple to coordinate and there are a lot of really cute ideas that won’t break the bank. If you don’t have a wedding coordinator, employ the help of one or two friends (or bridesmaids) to help gather everyone together, get them organized and distribute the send off supplies.

Some of these might seem too unique for you, but the idea is to fit your send off with your wedding theme.

1- Sparklers: Have guests line either side of the exit with lit sparklers! If you can find those that are 18″ – 36″, they’ll not only last longer, but they help keep the flame away from guests.

  sparkler_tunnel

2-  Ribbon Wands: They’re easy to make, but the custom ones on the market are really cute! You can get your name and wedding date printed on the ribbon to really personalize them. I love this idea because they can also double as a wedding favor & can be customized to your wedding colors.

3- Bubbles: I love the idea of the light, airy feeling of running off through a curtain of bubbles. They are fanciful, whimsical and fun for all ages! Would you dare to try the glow in the dark bubbles now on the market? 

 bubbles!

4-  Confetti Poppers: Head off with a bang! These fun poppers aren’t just for New Years Eve anymore! They’ll add a pop of fun to your send off!

Confetti storm

5- Red Carpet With Guests Flashing Cameras: Head out in true Hollywood style by setting up a red carpet from your door to the car and have guests line either side with flashing cameras. You and your new spouse can walk (or run, or dance) the red carpet and get the true celebrity treatment!

6- Flower Petals: Traditionally flower petals are tossed by a flower girl as the bride walks down the aisle. I love the idea of beginning the wedding in that way, and ending it with guests celebrating your nuptials by tossing them as you depart!

freeze-dried-rose-petals-400

 {Image Source}

7- Butterfly Release: They say that a butterfly signifies a new beginning. What a perfect way to end your wedding by releasing butterflies and symbolize your new life together.

8-  Party String: For the kid at heart, this is the perfect wedding send off. It is silly, celebratory and is sure to be a lot of fun for your guests!

9- Chinese Sky Lanterns : This idea is so romantic to me. Many will write a wish on their lantern before lighting it and sending it off. This creates a very impressive sight and will give you some incredible photos!

LK loy krathong yi peng san sai

10- Fireworks: They aren’t just for celebrating summer! Using fireworks as your wedding send off may take a bit of coordination (and aren’t the least expensive option) but are sure to impress and wow your guests!

Feu d'artifice

11- Feathers: Whether you’ve used peacock feathers throughout your wedding or just the large billowy feathers – this is a great way to carry your theme throughout your wedding by using them as your send off as well!

12- Paper Airplanes: I love the simplicity of using paper airplanes as your wedding send off. Let your guests write a wish or a note of advice as they help your sweet marriage “take flight”!

13- Mini Tambourines or Maracas: As a ballroom dancer, I think I would have loved to incorporate this one into my wedding! If you’re playing Latin music during the dancing portion, continue that theme with your wedding send off!

14- Hand Clappers: They’re simple, affordable and can give you a raucous send off! They don’t require assembly and guests can keep them as a favor = win, win!

Wedding Send Off Clappers

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15- Balloon Release: Much like the lanterns these are an impressive and beautiful sight to have all of your guests release a balloon together at your exit. Personalize it by using balloons in your wedding colors, allow guests to write a wish on them or go traditional by using all white balloons.

16- Bird Seed: Much safer environmentally, than their rice alternative, using bird seed as your wedding send off is perfect for the love birds or birdcage themed wedding that is so popular right now! Provide large tin buckets and scoops and allow guests to serve them into small cups or sachets.

17-  Lavender: Mmmmm, the scent of lavender is a favorite of mine. Using lavender as your wedding send off is a very feminine and lady like choice. Not only will it smell good, lavender is traditionally a symbol of love, devotion and loyalty.

lavender wedding rice

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18- Glow Sticks: If you are having a dance at your wedding, these are really fun to hand out during the festivities as guests join the dance floor. Carry that outside as you exit and have guests create an arch from connected glow sticks as an arbor for your exit!

19- Autumn Leaves: If your wedding is during the Fall months, this send off is the perfect fit! Don’t think that you have to use muddy, side-of-the-street leaves. You can use artificial leaves or gather some from a local park to use!

20- Artificial Snow Confetti: Much like the leaves, tossing artificial snow for a Winter wedding will create a perfect picture as you exit! It is biodegradable, safe and won’t turn into a snowball fight! 🙂

Wedding Send Off Fake Snow

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21- Pom Poms: For an avid sports fan, this is the perfect send off. Use pom poms in your wedding colors or that of your favorite sports team to really personalize this send off.

Wedding Reception Entertainment

When planning a wedding reception, there is a lot more to think about than the food and flowers. Gone are the days of selecting a color palette a passing that on to your florist.  It really is all about creating an experience for your guests. It’s very popular to add entertainment pieces to your reception to get guests away from their table, mingling and enjoying the evening together.

  • A photo booth has become a really fun accessory to have at a wedding! When you walk away from your wedding you want two things: to have a great time at the wedding and to have really great photos to keep so that in five, twenty or fifty years from now you can remember all of those good times. The photo booth accomplishes both! Whether you set up your own photo booth with lots of photo props, hire a booth or book one of the photo buses – your guests will love it!
  • Performance dancers can add a fun vibe to your reception, especially if it fits your theme. Ballroom, latin, salsa or hula dancers will light up the dance floor!
  • Fireworks – end the evening with a bang! Be sure to check your local rules and regulations. Where I live aerial fireworks are only permitted during certain calendar dates. Permission may be required, but your venue can assist you with making arrangements. 
  • Caricature artists are a really special way to send guests home with a fun memento of the day!
  • Karaoke hour! Whether you do it on the main stage or in a separate room – you know you’ve got guests who really think they can sing!
  • Dueling pianos are amazing to watch! The fees for renting two grand piano’s can be a little high, so be sure to check your venue rates first, but definitely consider this high energy option!
  • Carriage rides around the venue – especially if your reception is held in a garden of some sort or at Christmas time! So magical!
  • Culinary action stations or a culinary show. Serving bananas foster? Turn it into a show for the guests by having them served tableside!

Post Wedding Brunch Ideas

Post Wedding Brunch Ideas

Many wedding guests will have traveled long distances to attend the celebrations. For this reason, it is becoming increasingly popular to host a post wedding brunch prior to when the bride & groom head off for their honeymoon. This gives those who traveled long distances a bit more time with the couple – which is the reason they made the trip. It is a great way to show those who made a little extra effort, how important they are to you. An invitation card for the brunch can be included in the wedding invitation envelope or mailed (or emailed) separately.

There are several ways this can be handled and all of them have benefits of their own.

– If you are using a caterer for your wedding, hire them to provide a light continental breakfast the next morning.

– Negotiate with the wedding reception venue to hold it there and you may be able to lower your food and beverage minimum or get a better room rental rate by having two events in the same space – especially if the set-up can remain. If you hosted your festivities under a tent, make arrangements with the rental companies to hold off on shutting down until after the brunch.

– If the group is small enough, hold it at a family members home and order pastries from a local bakery or send someone out for donuts & juice.

– Hold it at a local breakfast spot. If you choose, you can indicate on the invite that it is a pay-your-own-way affair. Be sure to schedule with the cafe ahead of time.

Tips:

Keep it simple! The wedding and reception were big, elaborate affairs – this is just an additional chance to thank your bridal party and/or spend time with out of town guests.

Don’t invite everyone! Keep the guest list to those you really want to make sure you get extra time with.

Delegate! Assign the entire thing or portions of it to a willing bridesmaid or eager-to-help mother in-law.

Let them sleep in! Don’t schedule it for 7:30 am just because you want to head off to your honeymoon. A brunch is considered to be between the hours of 9:00 am – 11:30 am. If you and your guests were up late at the reception (and you know they will be), be kind to them and yourself by letting everyone get some rest!

**For ideas on hosting a brunch wedding & reception see this post.

Image Credits: Savory Cuisine Catering 

Wedding Wednesday: What’s Under There?

If we’re going to cover all things wedding, we really can’t leave this subject out. You guessed it – we’re talking about undergarments. This is a little bit of a pet peeve for me because brides put SO much effort into every tiny detail of their wedding and often times leave out this very important piece! You spend a lot of time and even more money on getting the absolutely perfect dress and then fail to invest in the proper undergarments for it.

Most wedding dresses won’t accommodate your everyday bra so its crucial to skip the safety pins and purchase one that actually fits for the style of dress you’ll be wearing. ALL dresses will look better with some shapewear under them. Men are important too – shapewear isn’t just for the ladies anymore! It’s important to have no matter where you are on the weight spectrum because it helps smooth, lift, support and hold everything together and will really give your gown or tux the tailored look you paid for it to have. No matter how well your dress is tailored, the right undergarments will make it fit better and will keep you from tugging, tucking and jiggling things back into place throughout the day.

Even if you are on a tight budget, save $50 – $100 of it for some properly fitted undergarments!! There, I said it – now off you go to the intimates section of your nearest department store!

Wedding Survival Kit

Crap happens, even on your wedding day. It feels like sometimes crap happens because it is your wedding day. You work for months to plan every detail, but inevitably something will happen. So, I love the idea of giving the beautiful bride a WEDDING SURVIVAL KIT! Put it all in a cute bag or container and you’ve got a great gift! It contains a few essentials that will come in handy in the brides get-ready room or just to keep nearby at the reception. 

Wedding Survival Kit

I included:

  • sewing Kit 
  • lip gloss
  • scented lotion
  • clorox Pen
  • pocket size tissues
  • bobby pins
  • hairspray
  • bandaids
  • disposable toothbrushes
  • lint roller
  • deoderant
  • energy bars (what bride actually gets a meal on their wedding day?)
  • tylenol
  • safety pins
  • gum
  • double sided tape (keep those girls in place please!)
  • breath mints
  • diet coke

 

Wedding Wednesday: The First Dance

Typically the Bride and Groom have their first dance at a point during their wedding reception that then begins the dancing portion of the evening. Occasionally, the first dance will be followed immediately by other special dances, such as a father-daughter/mother-son dance, but tradition isn’t tradition anymore. Now, there is a wide range of approaches to fit many personalities. What’s yours?

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Choreographed Dance:

Slow dancing (see Jr. High Shuffle) for the first dance kind of got the boot a few years ago when couples began to perform fully choreographed dances. Since then, it has become almost common for a bride and groom (and in many cases, their bridal party) to perform a choreographed dance for their first dance. I’m not talking about learning 4 steps of the waltz and repeating them while the music plays – I’m talking about upbeat, precise, timed and choreographed to specific music. Some feel that this has been overdone, others can’t wait for their own wedding to come along so they can show off their moves! It’s your day, you get to decide!

Exploring Cultures:

There are some fun traditions in other cultures that you may want to include in your first dance. In some cultures the bride and groom start the first dance together and then after about 30 seconds are cut in by the bridal party. The bridal party offers money to take a turn with the guests of honor and this continues until the song ends. If you don’t feel comfortable asking your guests for money they can offer other tokens – such as a flower or candy lei (that is provided), a kiss on the hand or a slip of paper with wedding advice on it.

The More The Merrier:

For the bride and groom that don’t like the spotlight, it is popular to invite guests or select groups of guests to join in for the first dance. You may choose to invite your family only, your bridal party or include anyone who wishes. The DJ or MC will help make this clear in an announcement. This way, you still get your moment with your new spouse but don’t feel the pressure of “all eyes on you”. Do what is going to make you and your sweetheart the most at ease.

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(Me and my sweetheart Darrell)

What We Did:

Although I have been dancing my entire life and even graduated in college in dance, my sweet husband isn’t comfortable on the dance floor – at all. I am the extrovert and have danced on a stage my whole life and he is very comfortable in the audience – no where near the dance floor. So, we compromised (as any good wedded couple does). We danced a traditional slow dance and invited anyone who wanted to join us in it. We danced to “You’re Still The One” by Shania Twain – the words described us so perfectly. About 1/2 way through we split up and danced with other important people – our parents, grandparents, nieces and nephews. It was perfect for us. We got to have our first dance moment along with our guests and then got to spend special one on one moments with our loved ones.AA7_0177

(Me dancing with my Grandpa)

Wedding Wednesday: Cowgirl Themed Bridal Shower

This fun cowgirl themed bridal shower was submitted by Ember Pilati. She hosted the shower for her younger sister. There are a lot of really fun details to look out for so don’t miss anything!

Here is the party description in Ember’s words:

My sister is a cowgirl, not just a Rhinestone Cowgirl – a “real” cowgirl! She was raised on a ranch, has worked at several dude ranches as a guide and a cattle ranch in Montana.  She is a Veterinary Technician and loves animals.  So finding our theme was pretty simple.  She is going to have a rustic wedding, but not a country theme, so we wanted her shower to be all about her!  We found a darling white cowgirl hat with fake tiara and attached a simple veil to the back that she wore for the shower.
IMG_6395Location:  We rented the dance studio at her local recreation center, because she was a member- it was cheap!  We wanted somewhere that we could enjoy our main activity- Line Dancing!  We set up in the dance studio so we didn’t have to change locations.

Menu:  Keeping with our theme, we decided on BBQ Beef Sandwiches, Coleslaw, Potato Salad, Strawberry Spinach Salad, and Strawberry Lemonade.We also did red velvet cupcakes because they are the Bride-to-Be’s favorite!  To make the cupcakes really shine, we topped them with molded pink chocolate stars and fancy cupcake wrappers!  Our Lemonade just had fresh strawberries in a fancy cup and they could choose Minutemaid Lemonade or Simply Lemonade.

IMG_6384 IMG_6387  IMG_6380
Decor:  I made a simple banner out of hearts (cut from a cricut) in the shower colors of pink and brown and simply sewed them together on the sewing machine.  We used Burlap and lace with touches of pink gingham.  We used chalkboard signs to label everything which captured the country feel.  We used our favors as our centerpieces so it was super simple to decorate.
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Activities:  We played the “He Said, She Said” game with darling cardstock lips and cowboy mustaches that were attached to a bamboo skewer! This was the best game we had ever played at a bridal shower, and everyone loved getting to know the bride and groom as a couple!   It was super fun!  We also learned a country line dance that was really fun for all!  We learned the line dance from the Movie “Footloose” to Big and Rich’s “Fake ID”.  This part turned out to be a lot of fun even for those who claimed they couldn’t dance!  The bride said she would have to add the song to their wedding playlist so we could kick up our heels at her wedding.
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Line Dancing
Favors:  We made the darling “Cowgirl Cookies” from www.bakerella.com.  She has the recipe and the free printable on her website- so it made it super easy!  I used pink gingham for the top and tied it with simple jute rope.  I also did a super easy sugar hand scrub in pink for them to take home.  (One bottle Olay Hand Renewal dishsoap and 6 cups of sugar whipped together in a mixer)
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Do you have a party that you want featured on Events To Celebrate?!

Just email your photos and a description of the party (especially details of any DIY portions) along with a list of where you got items used in the party (so we can borrow your ideas) to eventstocelebrateblog@gmail.com. Let’s party!

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