Saturday, September 24, 2016

Wedding Gifts from the Groom's Parents




When a son is getting married, parents of the groom often want to get their child and his new wife a special gift. Although there are guidelines on what the parents of the groom are supposed to pay for during a wedding, there are no real rules of etiquette regarding gifts they should get the new couple. Most couples have a wedding registry filled with items they prefer as gifts, but most parents choose to get their child something more special. Whether the groom's parents have a small or large budget, there are several gift ideas parents of the groom can utilize when looking for the perfect wedding gift.

Wedding Gift Ideas

Parents of the groom who want to give a special wedding gift to their son and his bride should give the gift to the couple together either at the rehearsal dinner, the morning of the ceremony on in the few days leading up the ceremony.

Money

Although money seems like an impersonal gift, it is an appropriate from the groom's parents, and one that can be very helpful for the new couple. Once the groom's parents have decided upon an amount they are comfortable with, the gift can be given just as money for the couple to use to get on their feet, or for a more specific purpose. For example, the parents may give money with the intention of the couple paying for the honeymoon, or using it as a down payment for a new home.

Heirloom

A family heirloom is another gift that is an appropriate way to celebrate the start of a new union. Items that have been passed down from generation to generation within the family can be given to the couple. An item, such as a piece of jewelry owned by someone in the groom's family can also be given to the bride to welcome her to her new family. New heirlooms can also be given for the couple to cherish such as a bottle of fine wine or liquor that comes with instructions to open on a specific anniversary down the road.

Accommodations

Paying for special accommodations for the bride and groom can be a special wedding present to make the bride and groom's special day even more memorable. Parents of the groom can arrange for special accommodations for the bride and groom to get ready on the day of the ceremony, or the day after the ceremony if the couple is not leaving for a honeymoon right away. Also, parents can get their son and his wife a special hotel room in which to spend their first night together as husband and wife. The accommodations given as a gift should be special and more than just a standard hotel room. If the couple already has accommodations, a gift of surprising them with an upgraded suite or room can be given as well.

Shower Gift Ideas

Wedding shower gifts are often given at the bridal shower, where the son is not in attendance. Even though the son may not be at the actual shower, the gift should still be for both the bride and the groom to enjoy together.

Gift Certificates

Gift certificates may not seem like personal wedding shower gifts, but giving gift certificates to help the couple pay for something in lieu of handing them cash is a more appropriate gesture for a shower. Certificates for the groom to get his hair cut and the bride to get her hair done on the morning of the wedding make thoughtful gestures and make for one less thing the new couple has to pay for themselves. Gift certificates for the couple use on the honeymoon are both thoughtful and useful. Many times, the bride and groom are responsible for paying for all of the meals and activities on their honeymoon, which can get costly. Items for area restaurants or spas that the couple can use together make great gifts.

Items for the Wedding

A wedding shower is a great time for parents of the groom to give the couple a special gift that can be used during their ceremony or reception and then kept as a keepsake. Prior to purchasing a gift, the groom's parents should check with the bride's parents to make sure they haven't already purchased the same gift for the couple. Most wedding keepsakes can be personalized with the bride and grooms name and the date of the wedding. Some wedding keepsake ideas are:
  • Guest books
  • Unity candles
  • Cake knife and server
  • Champagne flutes for toasting

Gift Giving Etiquette

Some parents choose to simply fulfill their traditional responsibilities for the wedding and forgo giving an additional gift. According to most rules of etiquette, the parents of the groom are responsible for paying for the rehearsal dinner and boutonnieres and corsages for immediate family members. The grooms parents may also pay for the honeymoon, the groom's cake and the alcohol at the reception. However, many parents of the groom also volunteer to help with other expenses as a gift.

Letters

Parents who volunteer to pay for all of these items may choose to be more budget-conscious about another gift, so it is acceptable to give the bride and groom a special letter and a small token of good luck on the day of the wedding. According to common rules of etiquette, it is a polite gesture to write a letter to the bride and to her parents on the day of the wedding. The letter should welcome the bride and her family to the groom's family.

The Perfect Wedding Gifts

No matter what type of gift parents of the groom decide to give their son and his new bride, gifts should always focus around the new couple and their love for one another. While choosing a gift keep the couple's personalities in mind to make sure their gift is truly a perfect sentiment for their special day.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Wedding Songs


25 Romantic Songs to Walk Down the Aisle To (That You Haven't Heard a Million Times)


Gone are the days of "Here Comes the Bride"—the processional is now one of the first opportunities you have to inject personality, meaning, and romance into your wedding ceremony. It's also the song that will literally bring you down the aisle to the love of your life so, naturally, there's some pressure to find the perfect tune to accompany that big moment. That's where we come in: 

You want to take this already dramatic moment and find music that complements and enhances it, without overpowering it.  Ideally, the goal is to try and accomplish all of this with music that holds a special place in your heart." Another tip to personalize your processional song is to pair the song with the venue surroundings—like Bob Marley for a beach wedding, Etta James for a classic ballroom setting, or Arcade Fire for a modern space. That said, "you don't want anything too dancey and avoid things like distracting lyrics. Keep it simple and beautiful. With those tips in mind, here are 25 of the best songs to walk down to the aisle to that you haven't heard a million times before.

  1. "Something" The Beatles
  2. "Stay" Rhianna
  3. "Make You Feel My Love" Adele
  4. "Wild Horses" Rolling Stones
  5. "Hallelujah" Jeff Buckley
  6. "In My Life" The Beatles
  7. "Higher Love"- James Vincent Mcmorrow
  8. "Halo" Beyonce
  9. "Crazy Love" Van Morrison
  10. "Pink Moon" Nick Drake
  11. "Your Hand In Mine" Explosions in the Sky
  12. "Future Days" Pearl Jam
  13. "Thank You" Led Zeppelin
  14. "What A Wonderful World" Louie Armstrong
  15. "I Will Follow You Into The Dark" Death Cab for Cutie
  16. "God Only Knows" The Beach Boys
  17. "Fade Into You" Mazzy Star
  18. "I'll Be There" Mariah Carey/Jackson 5
  19. "Blackbird" The Beatles
  20. "First Day Of My Life" Bright Eyes
  21. "Sea of Love" Cat Power
  22. "Falling In Love At A Coffee Shop" Landon Pig
  23. "Can't Help Falling in Love" Haley Reinhart
  24. "At Last" Etta James
  25. "Heartbeats" Jose Gonzalez

Thursday, September 15, 2016

7 Ways to Surprise your Groom at the Wedding


1. Make a "love notes" journal. The Mr. is a published author and while I couldn’t be prouder, he isn’t exactly the king of public speaking or even conversing in a private setting. However, he knows just how to melt my heart by scattering love notes around the house. I will publish each one in a leather-bound journal, along with new letters written by me, and give it to him on the morning of our wedding day. It doesn't cost a lot, but the sentiment is priceless.

Photo Credit: Wildflower Weddings
2. Get your bridal party in on the fun. Although I adore all things mush, we all know I can’t deny my inner sass, which is why I just may have my girls flash my groom a message right before I walk down the aisle. Not only is it adorable, but he’ll never expect it...

Photo Credit: Wedding Day Dreams

Photo Credit: The Lovely Find
…or have your girls text him the message instead. Either way, he’ll be counting the seconds till you walk down the aisle! 
3. Engrave his wedding band with a meaningful message. It can be a verse, your wedding dates or something that is sure to make him laugh. (While he knows about this idea, the Mr. will not know what I choose to engrave—he will surprise me with my own engraved ring on the wedding day as well).
Photo Credit: Susan Stripling
4. Plan a private moment after the vows. We’re marrying in Italy near a lake, so after the vows, I plan on surprising Edwin with a magical boat ride for two. The guests will be mingling during the cocktail hour, so it’s the perfect time to sneak in some alone time. If you're having a fall-themed wedding, consider having a hayride, instead.

Photo Credit: Green Wedding Shoes
5. Include his favorite foods. It’s 12 a.m.—do you know where your man is? Mine is snacking away, and since food is the way to a man's heart, why not include some of his favorite munchies at the wedding? Add them in for cocktail hour if he's a hamburgers-and-hotdogs kind of guy, and you want your reception menu to be a bit more upscale. Or have a midnight lounge where you serve breakfast items like mini pancakes, quiche and donuts, to celebrate his favorite meal of the day.

Photo Credit: Family Bites
6. Have breakfast in bed the day after the wedding. Nothing is more romantic than waking up to your guy as his wife for the very first time. But with crazy events and the never-ending hosting that comes along with throwing a wedding, you may be too busy to enjoy lounging the day after. Ask your Maid of Honor or planner to send over breakfast in bed, which could be just the cure. 

Photo Credit: Zsa Zsa Bellagio
7. Take some boudoir photos for him. It’s a trend that I L-O-V-E and couldn’t be more of a fabulous gift. You don’t have to channel the vibes of Playboy, but you can make it sensual by wearing his favorite sports jersey or his 9-to-5 business shirt (and nothing else). Although most brides surprise their groom with boudoir photos on the wedding day, I plan on giving him mine either on our honeymoon or one-month anniversary so that he won't see it coming.

Photo Credit: Charlotte Boudoir

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Wedding Suggestions


Below are some ideas and suggestions to help your wedding day go smoothly. Enjoy! 

  • If your wedding is held in the warm summer months, plan on enough cold beverages for your guests, and keep them available throughout the day. Chilled bottle water is a simple but thoughtful drink. The wedding party will also appreciate a handy cold beverage if they are being photographed outside.
  • If your gown is an heirloom, allow time for cleaning and freshening, and any alterations that may need to be made.
  • Select a pretty handkerchief to tuck into your bouquet for sentimental moments.
  • Practice wearing your wedding shoes before the big day.
  • Pack a small emergency bag for your dressing area: iron, needle and thread, hair spray, aspirin, nail polish, safety pins, extra panty hose, etc.
  • Planning an outdoor wedding? Have a colorful supply of umbrellas on hand to help ward away the rain. And, don't forget the bug spray! 
  • Remind the wedding party to gather quickly after your vows for group photographs. You'll want to greet waiting guests as soon as possible.
  • It's proper to send lodging information to your out-of-town guests. Most facilities will do so for you if provided with your guest list. You could even provide this information on your very own bridal web site, available for free.
  • Don't forget to place a pretty guest register at the reception.
  • Arrange for a close friend or relative to transport gifts that are delivered to the reception.
  • If you're planning on candles, be sure to appoint someone to light them.
  • Leave your honeymoon itinerary with a family member.
  • Ask your bridesmaids to place their bouquets around the reception area as additional decoration. They'll be thankful not to hold them during the celebration.
  • Select a special gift for your parents as a gesture of thanks. Present it to them the morning of the wedding.
  • Send a romantic note to your fiancé just before the ceremony.
  • Enjoy a light snack before leaving for the ceremony. Many brides never taste the food at their reception.
  • The best time to cut the cake at the reception is immediately after the main course is cleared. Eating the first piece of cake together symbolizes your first meal together. The grain it's made of stands for fertility and fruitfulness. Proposing a short toast to one another reinforces the mood of the moment, making it a special one.

  • Be sure to get a good night’s sleep before the wedding. You'll be glad you did!
  • Be sure to have your gown cleaned after the festivities. Stains that may not be visible now may yellow later. Visit Wedding Gown Specialists to locate a dry cleaner that specializes in cleaning and storing your gown.
  • Gowns are best stored in a cool, dry place. When stored on a hanger, sew straps to the waistline to relieve pressure on the shoulders. Wrap the gown in a sheet or muslin, stuffing the sleeves and bodice with white tissue to prevent wrinkling. Take equal care with the headpiece and veil. Consider Wedding Gown Specialists to locate a dry cleaner that specializes in professionally storing your gown.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Styling the Groom


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Five Irresistible Tips for Styling Your Groom


Take it from a photographer ladies – when it comes to your wedding day, your grooms need to look gooooooood. After all, they’re 50% of the subject matter in a bride and groom photo, and you want your future kiddos to see the man you married as the sweet, wonderful, and stylish man that he is. I’ve seen it happen all too often – in the flurry of designing a vintage estate destination wedding, your main man ends up in a rented black tux that doesn’t fit with the look of the wedding or the look of his fabulous bride.
So ladies, this post is for you AND your man. Grooms listen up, ‘cuz our grooms are the kind of guys with a whole lot of style and impeccable taste, so take a note from these awesome men with five tips that will make the biggest impact on your wedding day look. I make one promise to you – by the time you’re done reading this, you’ll look so handsome that your bride won’t be able to take her eyes – or her hands – off of you.
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1. Fit the Style of the Wedding
When it comes to picking your groom look, don’t just go with a basic rented tux and coloured vest that matches the bridesmaids – can you say blah? Pick an outfit that helps you feel your best. This is your wedding day, folks, not your prom, so find a suit or tux that will fit pair with decor and formality of the wedding as well as your personality. Are you getting married in a meadow under an oak tree? Go with a light gray suit with a fitted jacket and a pop of colour in a patterned bow tie. Is it going to be an elegant west coast wedding at a seaside resort? Think about navy suits with solid ties instead of formal black tuxes (you’ll fit the elegance of the wedding without going too formal).
We loved Ipp’s look for their backyard 1920’s Pasadena Estate Wedding – a three-piece suit with a patterned bow-tie matched with a brown belt and shoes. The bow-tie matched the wedding colours, and the rest matched his personality. Perfect.
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Alex’s traditional southern morning suit was perfectly classic for their morning church ceremony and tea reception in Asheville, North Carolina.
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Of course, if your wedding has a black tie dress code, then you’ll need to fit the bill with a formal tux, but even formal can vary in style and taste. Kent’s smashing tailored tux fit marvelously with their black tie New Year’s Eve wedding at The Four Seasons Biltmore in Santa Barbara and didn’t feel stuffy or formal at all. Cesar went with white tie attire for their upscale wedding at the Langham Huntington in Pasadena. Nothing short of these trim outfits would work for such glamorous occasions.
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2. Buy. Don’t rent.
Before you make another move, please hold up your left hand, place your right hand over your heart, and say out loud!!!.
“I will not rent my wedding day attire.”
Rentals are meant to fit every shape and size, so even though the wonderful folks over at the rental shop wrap you in measuring tape and give you a suit ‘perfect for your size’, I can’t tell you how many baggy tuxes with crazy long shirt sleeves we’ve had to photograph. There is nothing personalized about a rental no matter what they tell you. We see the finished product every weekend, so please trust me when I say that no guy looks good in a rented outfit. Plus, I’ve heard way too many horror stories of rental shops forgetting to include shoes, shirts, pants, or the right sizes altogether.
Think about it this way: the wedding is the perfect opportunity to buy a super nice tailored suit or tux that will last for a lifetime. Every guy needs a nice suit in his wardrobe for job interviews, black tie events, career opportunities, and upscale dinners, so why not invest in one for the wedding? You’ll thank us later when your bride gets invited to that swanky black tie fundraiser event at her favourite boutique hotel and you don’t have to worry ‘cuz you already have the perfect outfit…
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3. Get Your Suit Tailored
Since you won’t be renting, make sure to get your suit, tux, or whatever you wear tailored to fit you perfectly. Some guys like to lose weight before the wedding, so get it tailored a month or two before the wedding when you’ve reached your ideal size. Ill-fitting clothes automatically add ten to fifteen pounds in photos, so avoid the in-camera weight gain and make sure your suit or tux fits your body perfectly.
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4. Add Personal Details
Once you’ve chosen your suit, add some personal touches that are meaningful and reflective of you.
For example, we’ve had groom’s wear Vans…
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Striped socks…
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Their favorite watches…
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Meaningful cufflinks…
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And everything in between to add personality to their looks. Do what fits your personal taste, but add a little somethin’ somethin’ to round out your wedding day style.
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5. The Groomsmen
We think it’s only natural to put a lot of effort into the look of the bridesmaids – there’s so many options, colours, fabrics, and styles with the girls that it’s just plain FUN. But Jeff and I have had our fair share of rockin’ bridesmaids matched with severely blah groomsmen, so don’t forget the boys on your inspiration board.  The look of the groomsmen has a big impact on the entire look of the wedding, so help the guys look and feel stylin’ by thinking buying instead of rental.
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Whatever you decide with your look and with the style of the groomsmen, just make sure that it’s something that fits YOU. Don’t rent black tuxes just because you feel like you should. It’s YOUR wedding and you should be the best version of you on that day. So consider this official permission to make your wedding day look all about your personal style!

Monday, July 11, 2016

THE OFFICIAL TO-DO LIST FOR THE MOTHER OF THE BRIDE


She’s one of the key people in your life, so it follows that she’s heavily involved in your wedding. Here’s how to make the most of the mother of the bride.
Traditionally the mother of the bride is the host of your wedding party – the recetion. It is her job to make sure that everything goes according to plan. Check out what other jobs are ideal to assign to your lovely mum…


Mother of the bride to-do list

  1. Announcing the engagement to the press, locally and nationally
  2. Working with the bride and groom to draw up the guest list
  3. Ordering the stationery and chasing it up
  4. Sending out the invites and keeping an eye on acceptances and regrets
  5. Supplying the wedding gift details to anyone who asks for them
  6. Helping to organise the seating plan
  7. Help you to choose your dress and the bridesmaids’ dresses
  8. Planning the flowers for the ceremony and reception
  9. Ordering the wedfding cake
  10. Arranging table decorations
  11. Making sure all of the guests have got somewhere to stay that night
  12. Help you to get dressed and ready on the morning of the wedding
  13. Give the order of service sheets to the ushers
  14. Organising the buttonholes for key members of the wedding party, including the ushers, best man, bridegroom, and the two dads
  15. Look after the gifts during and after the wedding. This includes finding a safe place to store them during the day
  16. Collect the photo proofs from the photographer while you are on honeymoon
  17. Organise the photo list – send out the right ones to the right people. You may want her to chase up your photos while you are away on your honeymoon, too. It’s great if the contact sheets are already waiting for you to look through when you get back home.  

Remember…DO Look after her – she is going to be working hard for you behind the scenes


  • DO Give her a bouquet at the reception, during the speeches
  • DO Encourage her to wear a complementary outfit to the colour scheme
  • DO Invite her to be involved with choosing your dress. It’s the most special bit for her
  • DO Encourage her to meet up with your fiancé’s mum regularly so that they know each other before the day (and don’t wear clashing outfits)
  • DON’T forget to thank her
  • DON’T exclude her from anything
  • DON’T forget her on the day – she’ll be longing to be useful
  • DON’T leave her to do everything. By tradition, she would be the last to leave the reception, but don’t ask her to stay until the last drink is sunk
  • DON’T forget to book her in with the hairdresser and nail technician in the run-up to your big day
  • DON’T let her interfere. It’s your day really…

                  Friday, July 1, 2016

                  Traditions




                  Here are 15 wedding traditions you could afford to forget when planning your wedding ceremony.
                  Of course, if you do chose to include any of these traditions in your wedding, do it because you’ve decided too, not because that’s just what happens.

                  Bridal party Withers wedding Josh and BrittBridal party

                  Your marriage certificate requires two witnesses, but they don’t need to be in dresses worth hundreds of dollars and wearing a rented suit that doesn’t fit. It’s totally acceptable to not have a bridal party today. The tradition grew out of superstitions that believed that evil spirits would try and attack the bride, so bridesmaids would be dressed like her to try and trick the evil spirits.
                  At my wedding we both had about 5 close friends there and in the end I would have been better off not burdening them with the cost of a suit and what not.
                  For the girls, still invite your best friends to come with you on the journey, and they’ll probably still buy an expensive dress, but don’t make them buy the same dress as four other girls.

                  264168_354969407920675_1500252149_nThe bouquet toss

                  The intention behind the bouquet toss was to distract guests from tearing a shred of the brides dress as the couple left the reception, because it was good luck to have a piece of her dress. These days it serves to embarrass single girls.
                  Khloe Kardashian and her step-dad, Bruce

                  The wedding dress

                  White, red, long, short, above the knee, Vera Wang, Coco Chanel, or not. Traditionally wedding dresses were seen to be the best dresses of that time, but ever since Queen Victoria got married everyone’s been wearing long white dresses.
                  Wear the most beautiful dress you can find, and don’t worry about the colour.

                  Your father giving you away

                  I’ve covered this in another blog post (Post: Giving the bride away), but there is no reason your father, or your mother, or any other person has to give you away. The tradition is rooted in women being possessions that were to be given to another man. You can make the tradition mean something else, but don’t just do it because it’s the ‘done thing’,

                  Parents giving their approval

                  Who gives this woman to be married to this man? No-one does, she made the decision on her own.

                  wedding-photo-behind-door-first-look-before-ceremonyNot seeing each other before the wedding

                  You’ll be no less unlucky if you see your bride or bridegroom on the wedding day before the ceremony. But it might be nice to build the suspense. But don’t do it for luck.

                  Inviting every man and his dog you’ve ever met to the wedding

                  I don’t pay $120 for me to eat dinner, you shouldn’t have to. Any married couple will understand if they aren’t invited, they’ve paid the bills before. So don’t feel the pressure to invite every single person you and your parents ever met.

                  First dance

                  Do you dance? Is the art of dancing a big part of your relationship? If not, why is your first dance together as a couple an important milestone?

                  Garter toss

                  As sexy as it is for the groom to go up his bride’s dress and pull the garter off, I felt so awkward receiving my dad’s new wife’s garter on his wedding night. What are you supposed to do with that thing?

                  Wedding ring traditionThe wedding cake

                  Two desserts does sound like a great idea I suppose. But why get a cake if you don’t like cake?

                  The groom waiting at the end of the aisle

                  There is no reason that the bride can’t get ready early and arrive at the ceremony 30 minutes early like the groom and welcome everyone as well. Why does the bride arrive late and get all the attention anyhow?

                  Having an aisle

                  Why is there even an aisle if we’re not in a church or a supermarket?

                  Wedding rings

                  I wear a wedding ring as a symbol of my relationship with Britt and so every other girl on the planet knows that I’m taken, I like to show off. But you don’t have to exchange rings, in fact one friend where’s his ‘ring’ on a necklace, why not just have a necklace?

                  The veil

                  Brides look beautiful in a veil but they’re no longer warding out evil demons. So maybe there’s a different fashion accessory that you could wear on your wedding day?

                  Being married in a church

                  More weddings happen outside of churches today than ever happen inside churches. Embrace the creative opportunities by staging your ceremony anywhere in the world. Imagine being married on a rooftop, a mountaintop, on a boat, or in a tree. You can choose!

                  Thursday, June 23, 2016

                  Pitfalls on planning a wedding


                  Of course you want to have a fabulous big day, so you must plan accordingly to avoid any potential pitfalls along the way. Take a look at these all-too-common “please don'ts.” (They're all avoidable.) Remember: Forewarned is forearmed!

                  1. Don't be superbride.

                  You're smart, you're focused, you're energetic. But you're still one woman. Superbrides—those engaged gals who devote every waking hour to wedding planning, brushing aside all offers of help—eventually run out of steam and end up near the big day with favors unassembled, invitations unstamped, shoes undyed, heads uncounted. How to avoid this fate? Call in your trusty sidekicks before you're really scrambling. Here's a little secret: People want to help. So do yourself a huge favor and accept their kind offers. Then, once you've got a cadre of pals stuffing your envelopes, sit back and have your toenails polished. You deserve it.

                  2. Don't have a cash bar.

                  Forcing guests to reach into their sequined clutches every time they want to enjoy a celebratory champagne or a refreshing gin and tonic is just plain rude. Think of it like this: You invite people to a party—your wedding, for heaven's sake!—and then you ask them to shell out for part of the fun. It's a recipe for bad feelings! Keep in mind that you don't have to have a top-shelf bar; in fact, there are plenty of other ways to serve and save. You could offer wine and beer only or create a signature cocktail. You might have an open bar during the cocktail hour only and serve wine at dinner. Ask your caterer to suggest lower-cost options.

                  3. Don't include registry info on invites.

                  Registering is a good thing for everyone. When gift buyers are steered to the things you actually want and need, it saves them time—and saves you from having to contend with a pile of cut-crystal candy bowls. Registry info, however, does not belong on your wedding invitation. Why? Giving wedding gifts is never mandatory, though the vast majority of attendees will naturally want to do just that. Best way to get the message across is by word of mouth on the part of your mother or your bridesmaids or on bridal-shower invites.

                  4. Don't be bossy with your bridesmaids.

                  In the most traditional sense, your bridesmaids, in particular your maid of honor, are there to stand up for you as you take your vows, to act as witnesses to this solemn event. Somewhere along the line, bridesmaids have become, well, more like maids, and to an extent there's nothing wrong with that. These are your sisters, cousins, best friends, future in-laws, and there's something sort of sweet about the way they gather around you, wearing finery you picked out, helping you pin up your bustle, holding your flowers. But some brides ask (or worse, demand) far more: They expect their bridesmaids to shell out for needlessly expensive outfits, to run endless errands, to wear their hair just so, to attend (and buy gifts for) countless all-for-you parties. Don't let this happen. Be sensitive to how you'd feel if the tables were turned. Gifts to the maids are always welcome, of course, but a little kindness and care go a lot further than any pashmina shawl or monogrammed trinket.

                  5. Don't make guests cool their heels for hours between ceremony and reception.

                  I once attended a lovely wedding in a quaint wooden church in a rural area. Beautiful. Then I checked my invite. What?! The reception was scheduled for much later in the day, at a location that was a good 45-minute drive away. Sometimes it can be hard to plan a perfectly seamless schedule, especially if your heart is set on sites that are wildly inconvenient to one another or if your ceremony and reception times don't line up. But do your best. If you really must wed at, say, your childhood church, confine your search for reception locales to local spots. If that's truly impossible or if you can't avoid a time gap, provide transportation and/or a comfortable spot for guests to hang out while they wait.

                  6. Don't plan a difficult destination wedding.

                  Ah, the lure of the exotic faraway wedding—you can just picture it, can't you? Exchanging vows on top of a volcano in Hawaii… or how about in a ski gondola or on a majestic slope in the Austrian Alps? Hmmm, nice idea, but will Grandma Gert be up to the trip? Will your college pals drain their bank accounts to get there? No, and no. Destination weddings can be terrific, but as with any wedding, it's not only about you, it's also about your guests. While some friends and families welcome—and can afford—an Alpine adventure, others will end up resenting the cost and hassle or simply decline the invitation. Make it easy for everyone by (a) choosing a well-traveled locale, (b) planning well in advance and (c) providing information and help (securing group rates, for example). Bon voyage!

                  7. Don't go DIY crazy.

                  You know that clever bride who sewed her own dress and designed and made her own invitations? Or the one who baked her own three-tiered cake? Everyone's in awe of the girls who can do these things, and I say good for them—if they did it because they really, really wanted to, and if they managed not to get stressed out. The point of these projects is to use your craft/sewing/baking/designing skills to save money and to put a one-of-a-kind stamp on some aspect of the wedding. But if you are really not the hands-on type, don't drive yourself crazy hot-gluing tulle and folding fiddly favors until 3 a.m. Do only what you can, and beg, borrow or buy the rest.

                  8. Don’t let parents steamroll your invite list. 

                  Back in the days when parents footed the bill and brides were barely out of high school, the guest list was more Mom and Dad’s idea of a good party than the couple’s. Times have changed, but that doesn’t stop some pushy parents from insisting on having the whole book club, golf club or garden club at the wedding. Brush up on your negotiating skills and start early. Once you have a budget in mind, you can rough out the number of guests it’s feasible to invite. Then ask both sets of parents for invite lists, in order of preference, so you can cut from the bottom if necessary. Stay in charge!

                  9. Don’t forget about your fiancé.

                  It may not seem like something you’d do, but plenty of women surprise themselves. We've got our heads stuck in a glossary of floral terms (stephanotis? anemone?) when all our men know is that there will be flowers at the wedding. We’re neglecting our regular TV and pizza night in favor of dress fittings. Hey, listen up: You’re not just having a wedding, you’re getting married—to that guy over there, sitting on the couch, munching a cold slice of pizza. Put aside the bridal to-do lists and go give him a hug, would you? This is not just party-planning time, it’s major life transition time. So talk to each other. Talk about your life together. Talk about what color you want to paint the bedroom, what you want to name the puppy you’ll adopt—whatever. Anything but flowers and crab-cake appetizers, please.

                  10. Don't bow to bridal peer pressure.


                  It’s insidious. You just got back from a friend’s wedding and you’re battling the green monster: She had an eight-piece band while you booked a DJ. She had Dom Perignon, you’re having sparkling wine. Well, stop right there. If you scramble your plans to best hers: 1) You’ll go over budget, and 2) You’ll hate yourself for it. Worse, you’ll veer off the course you set for your own dream wedding. She made her wedding hers. And you’re making your wedding yours. And that’s an “I do!”