The Ultimate Guide to Wedding Dress Shopping

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Congrats girl, you're getting married!! Have you pictured yourself walking down the aisle in your dream dress a million times and now are (more than) a little overwhelmed at actually picking the dang thing out? If you're excited about finding the most gorgeous wedding dress but need a little guidance on the process, you've come to the right place. I gotchu!

Let's dive in and start with the basics.

Step 1: Nail down a budget

I know, this is definitely the most boring step...but it's also the most important one. If you haven't noticed already, planning a wedding can be outrageously expensive at times...and the dress is certainly no exception. I certainly don't believe that you need to take out a second mortgage on your house to pay for this thing, but you do need to get realistic about how much you can and want to spend. Don't forget that you'll need to factor in for alterations, shoes, accessories and undergarments. More on those later, but keep that in mind when coming up with a number.

Step 2: Do your research

Now we can finally get into the fun stuff! Start looking up the kinds of dresses you like. Make note of the silhouettes and fabrics you tend to like, but don't get too rigid on this. You might adore every photo you see of form-fitting lacy dresses but later realize that free flowing chiffon dresses look straight up amazing on you. Have an idea of what you like and don't like, but be open as well. Once you start to narrow this down do some digging into the prices of these dresses as well as the designers. You don't want to get sticker shock during your salon appointment when you realize that you'll need to sell all of your possessions just to purchase your dream dress (not worth it, I promise). I personally love the wedding dress finder from Martha Stewart (don't you just love Martha??) to narrow down styles.

Step 3: Decide where to shop

Now that you have an idea of what you'd like to spend and what you like, you can finally start making those appointments! (Scheduled around a mimosa-fueled brunch, obviously). You have a few options which I'll outline below, so feel free to pick your favorite or maybe mix and match:

Chain retailer

The biggest of these is, of course, David'd Bridal. It can be a great place to start because they'll carry a wide range of dresses and styles at a great price. Even if you don't find exactly what you're looking for there you will still walk away with a much clearer vision of what you want and what looks great on you. Keep in mind that these places can get especially crowded on weekends--if you're able to sneak away on a weekday afternoon instead, I'd highly recommend it.

Bridal salon

There will be huge variations in boutique bridal salons but most are appointment only and they create very relaxed and intimate dress buying experiences. When you call ahead, be sure to ask about their range of prices as well as the designers they carry.

Consignment store

Because wedding gowns are only worn once high-end bridal consignment stores are on the rise--and I'm loving this trend! If you have your heart set on a dress from a particular designer that's too far out of reach of your budget, consider buying second hand. Do some research in your city because there are salons that only carry designer dresses worn once that have been carefully cleaned and inspected--your guests will never know that it's second hand! (Don't worry, I won't tell anyone).

Trunk Shows

If you're like me and you love the adrenaline that comes from a combination of a good sale and a rush of people (Black Friday, anyone?!) a trunk show or sample sale may be for you. Do some research to find out the dates of the ones going on in your area and you may just find your dream dress at your dream price. This is great for those that already know the types of styles that they like. At a trunk show, the designer will bring all of his or her collection to be showcased so you can see more than just the few that may be carried in a particular salon.

Step 4: Try them on

Here comes the fun part--finally trying them on! Once you've made your appointments you'll want to come fully ready to enjoy the experience and find your dress sans meltdowns. Here are a few pointers to do just that:

Limit your entourage

If you've ever watched Say Yes to the Dress, you know why they always recommend this. It can be confusing to have too many opinions floating around, so limit the appointments to just the VIPs. I you're having a hard time narrowing down you can always invite half the gang to your first appointment and the other half to your second.

Pace yourself

While this process is extremely fun, it can also get a bit tiring. Don't make more than 2-3 salon appointments at most in one day and make sure to rest and fuel up between them as well.

Think outside the box

If your stylist recommends you try on a few styles that you didn't originally have in mind--try them on anyway! You can always say no, but sometimes the most flattering dresses come as a surprise.

Move around

If you're planning on tearing up the dance floor at your wedding (as you absolutely should!) you'll want to make sure you can do more than stand looking pretty in front of a mirror in your dress. Walk around the salon (extra points for busting out a move or two) to make sure that it'll be comfortable all night long.

Step 5: Purchase your dress and keep track of details

Most of the time when you purchase your dress it will need to be custom ordered so you'll want to ask when it is coming in to make sure you have enough time to get it fitted and altered. Write down the size, color, designer, style and any other details related to the dress. Ask about any undergarments needed (some have sewn in bras while others don't) and schedule your first fitting. Most salons will require a 50% deposit up front but don't be afraid to sleep on it if you're on the fence about a particular dress.

Step 6: Complete the look

Congrats, you've found your dream dress! Now you just need a few more pieces to make your wedding-day look complete. Here are your final items to tackle:

Accessories

The salon where you bought your dress will likely have accessories, some complimenting your dress perfectly (such as a pretty sparkly belt) but the prices will be high. Strapless dresses and plunging necklines tend to look best with statement necklaces but, at the end of the day, just remember to wear whatever makes you feel most beautiful and not what some bridal magazine says you should wear. If you're feeling stumped, bring photos of your dress to the counter at Nordstroms or your favorite jewelry store and see if they can make some recommendations.

Undergarments

If your dress doesn't have a sewn in bra, or you want a little extra support, make sure to get a great fitting undergarment. It might be helpful to buy these right before your first fitting so that if they don't fit well with the dress you can still return it. Va Bien sells some gorgeous undergarments, shape wear, and lingerie.

Shoes

You will definitely want to have purchased your shoes by the time you go to your first fitting so that you can have your dress altered accordingly and your dress should ideally be just skimming the ground. Feel free to have some fun when it comes to shoes! Whether you choose more traditional wedding heels or a more unique option, make sure to wear them around the house to break them in and make sure they are comfortable enough to (literally) support you throughout your entire wedding day.

There you have it! Now you can relax knowing that you've conquered one of the more involved parts of wedding planning (and no more dreams of showing up naked on your wedding day!). I'll leave you with one last pro tip: have someone come with you to one of your fittings to learn how to bustle your dress who can help you with it on the wedding day. During the reception you'll want to be free to move around without your train getting dirty.

Have a story of how you found your dream dress? I'd love to hear it! Leave it in the comments below :)

Happy planning!

-Laura

 

3 things you'll wish you did on your wedding day

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Between all of the binders, lists, Pinterest boards and spreadsheets, it's easy to get lost in the sea of wedding planning. I don't want to add more to-do's to your already overflowing list but I DO want to make sure that you soak up every minute of goodness during your big day. After working with hundreds of couples, I've compiled a short list of things that couples wish they did on their wedding day:

1. Have an unplugged ceremony.

I know, I know, you've heard or seen this one a million times by now. But there's a reason this is such a big trend! And I don't see it going away anytime soon. If you've ever seen beautiful photos of the bride and groom walking back down the aisle during their first few moments as husband and wife with people standing in the aisle with phones in front of their faces...you know what I'm talking about. Aside from the fact that this will ruin your photos (and is a photographer's nightmare) it also takes a little bit of intimacy out of the ceremony. This is the most important and special part of the whole wedding day and those who are nearest and dearest to you are already there (and you're paying good money for a professional photographer!) so there's no need for them to capture it. You can even steal a fun idea from one of my smarty-pants couples and have the officiant make an announcement at the beginning of the ceremony that they get this ONE moment to all take a photo...and then phones are going back in pockets!

2. Plan little moments to soak it all in.

I know you've heard this advice before too: "Slow down and enjoy it! It all goes by so fast!". But what can you actually do about that? I've been told many times by my couples that they day felt like a wonderful "blur" and I always make sure to remind them a couple of times to take a deep breath and soak in the moment right now. But what if you don't have someone there to remind you? Plan 1 or 2 times during the wedding for you and your boo to take a breather together...and actually put it in the itinerary. Right after the ceremony is a great time for this. While family is gathering for photos and the officiant is prepping the witnesses to sign the marriage license, steal a few moments together in a private place, if possible. Having those 5 or 10 minutes to squeal "we're married!!" a hundred times and get those first few married kisses in will be worth it. Promise.

3. Give the photographer a list of the most important moments and items.

Photographers of course know to capture all the big moments like your first kiss, first dance, cake cutting...etc. But you absolutely want you and your photographer to be on the same page so that you're not disappointed when you receive your photos and they were missing one or two moments you really cared about, but forgot to tell them. Maybe your dad is a big sap and you just know he's going to shed some happy tears the moment he first sees you in your dress. Or maybe you have something sentimental from your grandmother attached to your bouquet. Your photographer wants to know these things! You don't need to worry about making a list of every little thing they're going to get a photo of (you hired pro's, after all) but think about the photos you know you'd miss if they didn't capture it...and then let them know!

 

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How to know that you're hiring the RIGHT wedding vendors

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As you've probably figured out by now, booking vendors is one of the most important parts of the whole planning process...and also one of the most confusing. Just Googling "wedding photographers" in your city may be enough to send you straight to the couch for a Netflix binge because you're so overwhelmed...OK, that was a little extreme. But if the sheer volume of vendors available to you isn't enough to induce a little anxiety, finding someone with quality work, great value, and who is fun to work with might send you into a bit of a tizzy.

So, if you've already started booking people to add to your bomb wedding-day team, how do you know if they're up to the challenge? Here are 3 ways to tell that you've booked a quality vendor.

1. They are great communicators.

You might be thinking "who cares if my DJ takes 2 weeks to answer my emails? As long as he's a good at his job, we'll be golden!" While this might be true it can become a problem if you have trouble getting ahold of one of your vendors. It may seem like a slight inconvenience now but it can open the doorway for miscommunication. Setting mutual expectations for what your day will be like is super important in making sure everything flows smoothly. When you're trying to confirm your song choice for your first dance with the DJ and he doesn't get back to you to confirm until 3 days before your wedding...it's going to cause a little unnecessary stress.

2. You'd be friends with them outside your wedding.

Now, this one is certainly not a requirement but if you're going to be working with someone closely for many months or even a year of your life you'll want to get along with them well. This is mostly important for vendors such as planners, DJs and photographers who you will either be working with extensively behind the scenes or will be interacting with your guests on the day of. If a photographer takes amazing shots but your personalities don't click they might not be able to get the most natural looking or candid photos from you. You should be able to feel comfortable and trust your vendors completely so that you can go into your wedding day feeling calm and ready to get hitched!

3. They go above and beyond.

The best in the industry want to make sure you feel taken care of and that your wedding day goes flawlessly. Being in the wedding industry isn't always easy but most people genuinely love what they do and find joy out of seeing you happy! When you find someone who goes beyond their stated responsibilities to make sure you have the best day of your life, give them a squeeze (if they're into that) and make sure to tell them thank you!

These are just a few ideas to get you thinking but at the end of the day go with your gut and with someone you trust. You'll feel much more relaxed throughout the whole process if you are confident that your wedding team will deliver!

3 common wedding day mistakes (And how to avoid them)

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I see a lot of brides and grooms start to get panicky within the weeks before their wedding even if they've planned everything out to a T. I've heard stories of crazy stress dreams they've experienced like waking up on your wedding day and realizing that you forgot to book the venue or showing up at your wedding and your grandma is also wearing your same wedding dress (I can't make this up!). Stress can get the best of us and as the big day approaches it's of course normal to feel anxious as you wonder how your vision will come to life.

Because I want your shindig to flow as smoothly as possible, here are 3 common issues I've seen on the wedding day and how to avoid them.

1. Not budgeting enough time before the ceremony.

I always tell my couples that the most important time to plan for is actually before the wedding even starts. It's fun to plan out how the flow of the reception will go but easy to forget how much needs to happen before you even walk down the aisle! How you start the day will set the tone for the rest of your wedding so you'll want to make sure you budget in plenty of buffer time in between all of the pre-ceremony to-dos.

There are plenty of little things that can throw a wrench in your timeline such as hair and makeup delays, traffic, forgetting your shoes back at the hotel, scrambling to find your marriage license (keep track of that thing...it's important!) or photos taking longer than expected. Do yourself a favor and don't jam-pack your pre-ceremony timeline too tightly so that you can show up at your ceremony calm and ready to marry your boo.

2. Finishing DIY projects on your wedding weekend.

I know it sounds crazy, but I've seen it many times and it always causes more stress than it needs to. Maybe you remember last minute that you want a menu for the bar so after your rehearsal dinner you plan to run around town to find a Kinkos or you procrastinated on doing your escort cards...whatever the case is, try as much as humanly possible to get ALL your projects done at least a week before the wedding! There will inevitably be little issues to deal with that weekend (switching around seating assignments, dealing with family requests...etc.) so make life a little easier on yourself and get yo stuff done early!

3. Getting upset over the little details.

I'm sure you've heard it a million times before, but it's likely that something will go wrong on your wedding day. Most of the time it's a minor detail like you didn't get the exact shade of peony you wanted or the tables are arranged a little differently than you planned. Don't let these little things get to you! The couples that have the best memories of their big day have kept a great attitude throughout their wedding even when little things go wrong.

Barring any major catastrophe (and after witnessing hundreds of weddings, I haven't seen one yet) your wedding will go on and you'll be married to the love of your life. That's something to celebrate!

Avoid family tension when planning your wedding

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You're engaged! This should be happiest time of your life when all of your family and friends are only there to celebrate YOU and your love...right? So it's a bummer when there are fights, fall-outs and disagreements during such a special time. The thing is, weddings bring together a lot of different personalities (for better or for worse) and there is emotion and money involved which is a recipe for tension. But, take hope! (It gets better, I swear).

You can keep the good vibes going all planning long by focusing on these three things:

1. Decide on decision makers and expectations early on.

Many times, tension results from varying opinions and unclear expectations. I often see hurt feelings when parents have a vision that doesn't match up with that of you and your fiance. If you are paying for your whole wedding yourself then you absolutely get full reign on the decision making. If you have family members contributing to your wedding then you may need to take some of their suggestions more seriously, out of respect for their gift to you. I know the money conversation is awkward (who doesn't love asking for money?) but have it early and often to avoid any confusion.

If your parents or loved ones are giving you money no strings attached to spend how you please on your big day then thank them profusely and get on with the planning! But, if they have some constraints on how you use their money, (maybe they want you to get a certain type of cake or invite some of their friends) then make sure this is clear early on so you can decide if you'd like to accept or graciously decline their generous gift.

2. Divide up responsibilities.

People love to be included in special occasions such as weddings. While they may not necessarily want to set up all your chairs for your ceremony (if they do, you have some AMAZING friends...can I borrow them?) but most people like being asked for help. If you have an over-bearing aunt who seems to keep trying to take over your wedding give her a task you know she'll like. Maybe she makes delicious homemade jams that you can use for your favors or she has pretty handwriting and can address your invitations. Recognize the people who are itching to help by delegating a task to them--it also takes one more to-do item off your plate!

3. Pick your battles.

At the end of the day, your wedding is going to be gorgeous and you're doing to marry the love of your life. Your big day will bring both of your families closer and that will likely bring some amount of conflict with it. Choose what items are most important to you and stick to your guns on those things and then be willing to let the little things go.

Prioritize those few items and let your loved ones know which details are important to you and already decided on. If you and your fiance are dead set on having a taco truck and your parents are adamant about having a traditional sit down dinner let them help you make decisions on other aspects that you don't feel as strongly about.

When you get a little stressed in the details just close your eyes and picture standing in front of your teary-eyed family saying your vows and celebrating with your closest friends. Your wedding is going to be perfect, promise!

Have any other tips on dealing with family tension when it comes to wedding planning? Put it in the comments below!

Wedding budget: where to splurge and where to save

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When you think of "personal finance" (super sexy, right?) what comes to mind? Putting money into your 401k? Socking away pennies into an emergency fund? Setting up college accounts for your future kids (what a planner!)? How about, instead of doing all those things (how boring), you put allllll of that money into your wedding day because at least you'll have the photos to remember it by...right? Sounds super responsible.

Since money doesn't grow on trees (bummer) I want to help you decide which parts of your big day you should cut back on and which you can throw a little extra dough towards. When you're trying to throw a pretty party, love on your guests, AND still be able to buy groceries this month...the struggle is real. While we can certainly scrutinize every line item in your wedding budget, let's look at just a few items and decide whether to splurge or save (like all those fun articles in People magazine!)

1. Typical Wedding Vendor Services (florals, cake, DJ...etc.

Verdict: Leave it to the professionals

I know what you're thinking. "Wedding cakes are SO expensive and my aunt Suzy makes all the desserts for our family's holiday parties! It'll be a piece of cake for her to do it." Not so fast. While I will admit that I have seen this go well on the rare occasion, it's not the norm. If you are going to DIY a major part of your wedding you should be VERY confident that your loved one has provided this same service for a wedding before. Doing something as a hobby, or even for big parties, is not quite the same thing. Weddings are their own special beast and I want to make sure your big day goes seamlessly (sans wedding cake fiascos)!

2. Wedding Favors

Verdict: Don't blow your budget on it

While favors are a great way to love on your guests, I wouldn't suggest going crazy here. So many favors wind up getting left on the tables at the end of the night which makes my heart sad to see your precious little trinkets go to waste. If you decide to splurge in this area, I'd suggest something fun like a photo booth! Or how about something super trendy (you hipster, you) like a slow-motion video booth?! Guests will have something to take home with them AND some warm memories as well (awww).

3. Invitations/Paper Goods

Verdict: It depends

Now I'll be the first to admit that I love a pretty invite! After all, your Save the Date and invite are your guests' first impression to your wedding and give little hints of the overall style and feel of your big day. But, there's no need to send laser-cut wooden boxes with butterflies flying out of them, a la Bridesmaids. There are so many options for invites--between the paper's weight, gold foil, hand lettered calligraphy, envelope liners and layers of paper (to name a few)--and it can spiral out of control. This tends to be one of the categories that brides are surprised cost so much. If picking out the prettiest invites makes your heart skip a beat, or you love paper as much as Michael Scott, then go crazy (within your budget, of course). For some lower cost (but still gorg) options, my go-to's are Minted and Wedding Paper Divas for stunning templates.

Have any areas in your wedding budget that you think are worth splurging on? Let me know in the comments!

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Beat wedding planning overwhelm for good

beat wedding planning stress and overwhelm

Picture this. Aunt Terry wants you to have a 4 layer art-deco cake. Cousin John wants to bring all of his new girlfriends as guests (how many can he have?!) and grandma would prefer you do all of the formal traditions she did on her wedding day. All you want to do is have a laid back, beautiful day with your boo in the presence of all your friends and family, but things seems to be spiraling a bit out of control. Between too many opinions, a budget getting squeezed a little too tightly and a million decisions to make you've actually started daydreaming of just eloping. Sound familiar?!

The thing is, wedding planning doesn't need to be a complete stress nightmare. Let's all take a collective deep breath (doesn't that feel better already?). Whenever I have a consult with a new bride I always ask, "So why is it that you want to hire a coordinator?" 90% of the time, their answer is some version of "I need help! I'm completely overwhelmed!".

Whether you are at the beginning of the process, looking ahead at all your to-dos, or towards the end, wondering if all your checks will clear and guests will be happy, this is a valid concern. Pinterest drives us all a little mad from time to time and there is an unreasonable amount of pressure to put on a spectacular event. There's also a good chance this is the first time you're putting together such a big event so it makes sense that can get a little confusing from time to time.

Being engaged is supposed to be one of the happiest times of your life...right?? If you're feeling a bit under water try out some of these tactics for beating overwhelm and focusing in:

1. Get your budget in order.

Now, I know this is easier said than done, but budget concerns are one of the top stressors in the entire process. No matter where you are in the planning process, sit down with your fiance and review wedding finances. Ask yourselves what your priorities are, where you can cut back, and where each penny of the budget is coming from. Weddings cost a lot of dolla dolla bills and I promise you there will be unexpected expenses at the end, so build in some buffer so you can sleep peacefully at night, sans wedding nightmares.

2. Reign in your DIY projects.

Don't get me wrong, I love a good wedding DIY project. I think it adds personality, creativity and uniqueness to a wedding. That said, I have seen some DIY projects spiral a bit out of control (which is a huge understatement). My two big rules concerning DIY are that you should not do more than 3 big projects yourself and don't handle anything perishable (flowers, desserts...etc.). Leave the rest to professionals...you'll thank me, I promise.

3. Get a wedding planning bestie.

No matter how "simple" or small your shindig is, there unfortunately will be some stress that comes along with it. But, this is so much easier to handle when you have someone by your side who is clued in on all of your planning details. This person could be your mom, partner, coordinator, best friend, or dog...(OK maybe they need to be human). Basically, they should be up to speed on all of your planning details so that you have someone to bounce ideas off of, keep you on track, and generally keep you sane. Wedding planning is a collaborative process so let people help!

Remember, the goal of your wedding day is to marry the love of your life...preferably, with your sanity still in check. Your day should be a reflection of you and your partner and the love you share and it's not a competition--don't try to "out-Pinterest" your neighbors wedding. At the end of the day, you'll probably only get to do this once and you'll want to remember the time you spent with your guests and not the exact shade of peony you chose. Enjoy it! Being engaged is so special and will go by faster than you know.
 

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Make your wedding feel more intimate (in 3 easy steps)

how to make your wedding feel more intimate

Think back to some of your favorite weddings you've attended as a guest. How did you feel when you were there? I'm willing to bet it wasn't their color scheme or signature drink that you remember most. For me, my favorite weddings have been the ones where I feel welcomed, special, and an important part of the couple's lives. I love it when I walk away feeling like I know the bride and groom even more than I did before and have some new friends.

The best way to get these warm and cozy feelings flowing amongst your guests is to create a sense of intimacy. Whether you're having a 25-person wedding or a 300-person blowout, it's possible to foster an atmosphere that makes your guests feel at home.

Here are 3 ways to make your wedding more intimate:

1. Serve your meal family-style.

When most people are choosing how they want to serve food to their guests they usually think plated (where the servers bring everyone their individual meal) or buffet/food stations (where guests get up and choose the food that they want). Family style is my very favorite way to serve food and is often overlooked. This is when servers will bring large portions of each dish to the table and guests pass it around and choose what they'd like, just as if you were having dinner at home with your family. This works whether you are having long tables or round tables and it gets people talking to each other. It's my favorite way to share a meal!

2. Create clusters.

If your space seems a little too big for your guest count it may be tempting to try and spread everything out evenly but this may actually make it look sparse. It's better to cluster a few areas of the room to create natural gathering spaces. For example, put all of your guest tables in one area. Then, maybe create a lounge area near the bar. You could even create a fun DIY s'mores or cigar station (get creative!) and throw a few benches and pillows near there. These little spaces will draw groups of people in to hang out for a while and maybe make a few new friends.

3. Honor your own style.

With all of the color schemes and design ideas floating around Pinterest it can be overwhelming to try and pick a particular style. While your guests may not notice the exact colors you choose they'll be able to sense if your wedding truly represents you. Don't feel like you need to have a big traditional cake just because your families are expecting it. If you're more of a pie girl, why not have a fun pie table instead? Style goes far beyond colors and the more you embrace and incorporate the fun things that you love the more connected your guests will feel to you.

Have any other ideas about how to create at intimate atmosphere for your guests? Put it in the comments below! I'd love to hear them :)

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How to make your wedding memorable

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When you think about the end of your wedding day, when all your guests are walking back to their cars at the end of the night, what do you think they'll say? What parts of your special day will they remember? How do you make sure that they leave your wedding talking about how yours was the best wedding they've ever been to?

To make this happen, there's just one thing you need to focus on. Here's the secret...(hint, it's not really a secret)...love on your wedding guests.

(I told you it wasn't a huge secret). The truth is, your guests are there to celebrate and love you...why not love them back as best as you can? Here are a few ways you can make sure your guests feel taken care of, from when you first walk your beautiful self down the aisle until your last goodbye of the night.

1. Thank them

Seems obvious, right? But, guests will appreciate this more than you know. Many of your favorite people will be flying in, taking time off work, and sending their dogs to the finest pet hotels in order to be there for your special day and they will love that you took the time to be grateful for that. Wedding favors are traditionally the way to do this, but certainly not necessary. Favors can get costly and I have seen many many favors left on tables at the end of the night over the years. If you decide to go that route, make sure they are simple and meaningful to you. Edible favors tend to be the best-received (who doesn't like free food??). You can also say thank you by giving a brief thank you speech during the reception (right after cake cutting is a great time for this) or printing a brief but heartfelt thank you note at the bottom of your menus or programs.

2. Make your day personal

The best compliment you can get at the end of your wedding day is not "You had the most gorgeously exotic flowers, did you fly those in from Africa?!" or "Your dress was so beautiful, you must have bought it from Randy at Kleinfeld's!". I believe the best post-wedding compliment you can get is "Your wedding was so you".  At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what everyone else is doing, or what the current trends are. Guests will remember those little elements that reflect your personality and there are tons of ways to do this! I've seen lego cake toppers, unique videos shown during the reception, non-traditional wedding food....the list goes on!

3. Surprise them

I've saved the best for last because this one is my favorite! Anytime one of my couples has a surplus in their budget (doesn't that sound like a dream?!) and wants to know where they should put their money, I always suggest doing something unique...because that's what guests will really remember. But don't worry--you don't need to have extra room in your budget or 147 hours for an insane Pinterest project (ain't nobody got time for that)--to create something special. Maybe you aren't a huge cake lover but are ice-cream fanatics. Why not do a fun dessert station instead? I've seen handmade ice cream sandwiches, liquid-nitrogen ice cream stations, gelato....etc. Or, maybe you do a fun choreographed dance with your bridal party or throw something unique during the ceremony recessional.

Remember, the point isn't to break the bank or to stress about having the "best" wedding. When you shift your focus to your guests, and how to serve them well and show your love and appreciation, it takes some of the little stresses away such as picking the exact perfect shade of linen or choosing the right number of votives per table. At the end of the day, your guests are there because they love you and are so excited to celebrate with you! Focus on loving them back and I promise your wedding will be more than spectacular.

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