I know, wedding planning can seem horribly overwhelming and stressful, but it truly doesn't need to be that way. I'm going to tell you a secret that most Brides would kill to have. This is not a joke and it is not over-hyped. If someone gave you the blueprint to stress free wedding planning, would you take it? Phase 1: PURE BLISS | Phase 2: OVERWHELMING BLISS | Phase 3: EXPRESS YOUR BLISS | Phase 4: COUNTDOWN TO BLISSRead More
Weddings are a big social event and people love going to party the night away. However, the guest list can cause major headaches for the couple, especially when their venue is small and they can only invite a certain amount of people.
So when inviting guests to your wedding, do you need to give everyone a plus one?
The short answer to this is no.
The rule with Plus ones if:
They are married - obviously their spouse should be invited.
They are engaged - they are a couple at this point and go together.
If they have been together for years - you know that couple, they have been together for 8 years and don't plan on marrying.
That's it! Every one else can come to the wedding solo. You are under no obligation to feed a person they "need" to have with them to have fun. If they are truly your friend, they will be there. If they are petty enough to not come because they will be alone - then fine. You don't want them there any way. Plus, it will save you money.
Guests: don't expect a plus one. If you have been married and planned a wedding, you will totally get this. It's expensive!
Remember - this is YOUR WEDDING. You invite friends and family to celebrate with you. No need to add 100 guests who don't know you from Adam. It should be enjoyed with people you know.
Here's to Bliss!
Your buddy/brother has just taken the plunge – he’s found the love of his life and proposed. Now he is up to his neck in china patterns, color swatches, Chicken Marsala, and checklists. He has entered a world that is foreign and, frankly, a bit scary. However, there is a silver lining – YOU!
Yes, you, the best friend, the best bud, the Best Man. Contrary to popular belief, your job is not to find the most expensive stripper and drink the most beer. Sorry! You have actually been entrusted with very important duties as the Groom’s right-hand man.
Yes, you will still have fun – really! Take pride in the fact that the Groom trusts you with such an honor. So here’s your chance to help your friend through the maze of wedding craziness and, if you follow the suggestions in this Guide, you just might make the Bride fall in love with you, too!
The Duties of the Best Man
In days of old, the Best Man was there to fight any other man or marauding tribe who may come to claim the Bride (yes, seriously). But because that doesn’t usually happen these days (thank god), you get to help the Groom with the following:
Assist the Groom with getting the Groomsmen‘s and Ushers’ measurements taken for the tuxedos.
Keep the Groom on-time and organized.
Organize the Bachelor party.
Ask the Bride and Groom what they would like you to do.
Be perceptive to the unspoken needs of the groom in the weeks before the wedding and the day of the wedding.
If you are coming in from out of town for the wedding, consider arriving by Thursday evening.
Attend ALL of the pre-wedding festivities (except bridal showers); most importantly, the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.
Be available to pick up guests from the airport or hotels, if necessary.
Help decorate the hall the night before.
Make sure that the Groom has the marriage license the day of the wedding.
Clean and decorate the get-away car.
Make sure the men of the bridal party are ready, where they should be, and on time for the ceremony, reception, and for pictures.
Guard and present the rings during the ceremony.
Assist the Groom with all of his clothing and accessories at the church and the reception.
Along with the Maid of Honor, witness the signing of the marriage license.
Act as the chauffeur to the Bride and Groom if there isn’t a professional hired.
Act as one of the hosts at the reception. Help with anything that needs to be done, dance with the ladies, and thank people for coming on behalf of the Bride and Groom.
Act as the “main security official” at the wedding. If there are any problems, you are to take care of them.
Give the first toast (Please don't be drunk, rude, or crude).
Make sure to deliver payment to all vendors (clergy, musicians, disc jockey) the day of the wedding.
Assist as needed in removing all items from the reception and cleaning up at the end of the party.
Coordinate the transportation for the Groom and Bride to their honeymoon suite or to the airport.
Return all of the tuxes the day they are due back after the wedding.
Your Financial Responsibilities
Your tuxedo and all of your accessories.
Your travel and accommodation expenses.
The bachelor party (sometimes this expense is split between all of the Groomsmen).
Your wedding gift for the Bride and Groom.
Nothing is sexier at a wedding than a man that knows what he is doing and is helpful (the tux helps too). Here is your chance!
Times have changed. Weddings are becoming bigger productions, and it is hard to get everything done. If you take the advice above to heart, you will not only help your friend immensely, but the Bride will remember it – forever! You DEFINITELY want to be on her good side. Have fun!
Here's to Bliss!
The Bachelorette Party is a rite of passage for every Bride. Some like the traditional bar night with free drinks, while others prefer a classier version of wine, cheese and lingerie. Whichever you choose to throw for your Bride, there are a few rules you need to stick by to make the evening fun and not let it cost you a friendship!
DON’T: have it the night before the wedding. A hung-over Bride is not attractive. Plus, you will all need as much beauty sleep as possible.
DON’T: have a stripper if you know that it will make the Bride or Groom uncomfortable. There are a lot of other ways you can have fun without watching a stranger take of his clothes (really!)
DON’T: look at this party as the last time to shove as much alcohol down the Bride as possible. Unfortunately, health and safety incidents can happen that may ruin the wedding and your friendship.
DON'T: Make your Bride wear a veil with condoms or penises all over it if that would mortify her. Some women just don't like that.
DO: make the occasion very special! It’s an opportunity to create memories for the Bride!
DO: keep the Bride in mind. If she would rather have a sleepover at a hotel, don’t take her out to 5 bars and force her to drink all kinds of alcohol. Remember: it’s all about her.
DO: ask the Bride who she would like invited. She may want her mom & soon-to-be mother-in-law invited. If so, plan accordingly.
DO: have a designated driver if there’s drinking – enough said.
DO: ask the Bride if cameras are allowed. She may not want photographs of intimate moments to be available.
DO: have fun! These are memories you’ll have for a lifetime – assuming you are sober enough or that they are memories that you want to remember!
Here's to Bliss!
You go, girlfriend! You are the chosen one – the one that the Bride has entrusted with assisting her with the wedding of the century (at least in her mind!) By the time the wedding is over, you will be a planner, an organizer, a referee, a weight-loss consultant, a therapist, a counselor, a day laborer, and a gopher - all in the name of the perfect wedding.
If your Bride has chosen a wedding planner, a lot of these will be covered by her. However, for this blog post, let's assume she is doing it all on her own. In this case, you have a lot of roles to fill. Being in the wedding party is not just a bunch of fun - it is an honor and has responsibilities that go along with it. Here goes...
Your Duties As Maid of Honor
So, what exactly do you do? Other than “everything the Bride asks,” there are some tasks that you are specifically responsible for:
Assist the Bride in choosing her gown and the gowns for her attendants (if she asks).
Follow-up with all of the Bridesmaids to make sure they make their choices and get measured in a timely manner.
Keep the Bride on time and organized.
Help address invitations.
Help the Bride and their family with anything they need. For example; putting favors together, taking invitations to the post office, deciding on decorations.
Attend as many pre-wedding events as possible.
Organize the bachelorette party (with the Bridesmaids).
Attend the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.
Help decorate the hall the night before.
Make sure the bridal party and the Flower Girl and Ring Bearer are in their places when they are supposed to be.
Arrange the Bride’s gown and veil before and after the ceremony.
Hold the Groom’s ring before and during the ceremony (if the Best Man doesn’t hold both).
Hold the Bride’s bouquet and fix her train during the ceremony.
Along with the Best Man, witness the signing of the marriage certificate.
Make sure the Bride looks fabulous all day by keeping an extra lipstick and powder with you.
Make sure all items get from the church to the reception (unity candle, guest book etc…).
Act as a hostess to the wedding guests and assist them in any way they may need.
Give a toast after the Best Man. (This is optional. Ask the Bride if she would like you to do this.)
Assist Bride with her clothes after the wedding.
Assist as needed in removing all items from the reception and cleaning up at the end of the party.
Your Financial Responsibilities
Your dress and accessories.
Your travel and accommodation expenses.
Make up and hair expenses (This should be your choice. If you feel you can’t afford it or just don’t want to spring for a professional make up artist be honest and tell your Bride.)
The bachelorette party (sometimes this expense is split between all of the Bridesmaids).
Your wedding gift for the Bride and Groom.
How to Provide Emotional Support for a Bride
Very carefully! Patience and forgiveness need to be two virtues with which you are very familiar. As you know well, women start planning their wedding the moment they are born. Your Bride is no exception.
Keep her stress level in mind; she has 5,001 things on her mind and in order for her to get them all done she believes that you are not only able to read her mind, but to anticipate any problems that might get in her way.
If you have been watching any of the popular shows on T.V. featuring “Bridezillas,” you know how bad a Bride can get. I thoroughly believe that most of them need spankings, but I know that even the nicest, most even-tempered Bride can lose it. So what do you do if your Bride’s stress begins to show?
1. Take a deep breath. Not just good for life, but keeps you calm.
2. Tell her that you are there for her in anyway that she might need – then do it!
3. If you have any problems with any of the scheduled events, make sure she knows ahead of time. If you tell her last minute, she’s liable to explode.
4. If she asks for your opinion, then give it. Don’t give it to her if not solicited. The only exception to this is if it concerns something that would really embarrass the Bride. We have all seen decorations that are so bad we feel that we are on candid camera. However, this is not an area that warrants your intervention. Pick your battles!
5. Sometimes the Bride just needs to vent – or cry. Let her do it. She will feel better when she’s done. Ask her if there is anything you can do to help. If it is something that doesn’t include anything illegal, do it for her. If she says nothing, then take her out for some serious chocolate.
6. Try not to get caught up in family disagreements. Just be there as support and look for ways that might lessen her stress.
7. In case of “Maid of Honor abuse,” you need to determine whether it is bad enough to ruin a friendship. If you walk, or if you confront the Bride on her questionable behavior, there may not only be an ugly scene, but you may never speak again. I am not giving the Bride a free pass here – but it’s something you need to think about very seriously.
Most likely, this will be a wonderful experience that makes you and the Bride closer. A wedding brings families and friends together in a common purpose: to see two people commit to each other for the rest of their lives. Your job is to help the Bride plan this event and prevent her from being committed in another way – to a mental institution.
Remember that this is all in the name of love and friendship and, don’t forget, you can always get her back by having her be your Matron of Honor!
Here's to Bliss!
When it comes to weddings, we love us some traditions. Everything seems to have a tradition: the diamond ring, the proposal, not seeing the bride before, saving the top of the cake, throwing the bouquet..... But does anyone know WHY we do things this way and is it really important that we follow them?
The answer to both questions is a big fat NO.
Most people have no idea where these traditions came from and why we do them. I once heard a story about a family that passed down a pot roast recipe where they cut off half the rest of the roast and set it on it's side. They did it this way without question for 4 generations. Finally, the daughter asked her great-grandmother why they did this? Did it make the roast cook quicker or softer? The great-grandmother responded, "No dear. I had to do that because the roast wouldn't fit in my pan the regular way".
Such is the way we follow wedding traditions in America. We do it because it has always been done that way. I promise you, after you learn what you are about to read, you may look at your wedding differently.
Let's get started.
Wedding dresses are white because of purity & virginity: NOPE! This tradition started when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert. She was such a popular Queen that it was a huge fashion choice that ultimately crossed the ocean to us. I have watched as so many older women whisper, "she shouldn't be wearing white" or "how dare she put color on her dress. That's just not right". Well, Grandma, you are wrong. So many people judge others because of misunderstood traditions. That could be said about so many other things in our society, but I digress...
Engagements Rings Need to be a huge Diamond: Not at all true. You don't even need to get a ring to be engaged. This has become commercialized so much it has become a part of the American psyche. If you want to learn how this tradition REALLY got started, check out my blog post How Diamond Engagement Rings became one of the biggest scams in the Wedding Industry. It is amazing that people still feel they have to buy a $4,000 diamond in order to say "I Do". No you don't!
The Bride & Groom Not Seeing Each Other Before the Ceremony: Today's Brides think this tradition is so the Groom can be surprised by her beauty, collapse into tears and "all the feels!" That is not the case. This tradition is based on arranged marriages. The Bride would enter fully veiled with a blusher over her face & the Groom would Not see his wife until he lifted the veil (and it was too late to run). There is no real reason for the couple to NOT see each other before the ceremony. Now they can do "First Looks" which is when they see each other & get great pictures. They can touch, talk and kiss - not to mention going into the ceremony as a united front. It helps make the day go more smoothly and and you get pictures over with quickly. First looks are the way to go.
You Have to have a full Bridal Party with Bridesmaids, Groomsmen & honor attendants, flower girls, ring bearers OH MY! Again, nope. Back in medieval times, marriage parties had their clansmen and ladies in waiting surrounding the couple in case of marauding tribes would come and try to kidnap the bride. That's why the guys stand with their sword side showing. I kid you not. Bridesmaids were made to look alike to confuse evil spirits so they couldn't cause any unhappiness to the Bride. The Groom was always to the left of the Bride so he could protect her from kidnapping soldiers. In this day and age, we use people who are important in our lives to stand up with us, but it is not crucial to have anyone with you. As long as you have witnesses to the event, you are official.
Saturdays are the best days for weddings: This tradition was started in medival times because it was bath day. That's also why they carried flowers (often with fragrant herbs) - to help them smell better and to ward of evil spirits. Yummy. These days it seems to be easier to have weddings on a weekend because of our work-week. But marriages to do not have to be on a Saturday. You can get married on a Monday and still have the same chance of success as if you got married on a Saturday. But I do suggest bathing before :0).
You have to save the top of the cake, freeze it and eat it on your first anniversary or you will be cursed and everything will go to hell! Not so! Things may go to hell before your 1st anniversary :0). Just kidding. This tradition is just plain stupid and frankly, dangerous because you could get food poisoning. You can wrap that cake up as perfectly as they tell you and it will still get freezer burned or worse. This was originally done so you could eat the top of the cake at your first child's Christening - which of course, you pushed out quick if you were a good wife. Emily post was the one who suggested eating it on your first anniversary. You made it a year! Go get yourself a fresh cake on your anniversary. You deserve it. In fact, a lot of cake bakers offer you a coupon for a free six inch cake on your anniversary. Hey, my body is made by cake & I never turn a chance to eat it down. However, I prefer fresh and I am sure you will too. I'm 21 years into a Blissful Marriage so I am proof you can let this tradition go.
Throwing the Bouquet & Garter: This tradition is basically to find the next couple that will be married - which we all know, rarely happens. In fact, single people are making it clear that they DO NOT like to be "singled" out and some don't ever plan on being married. This is an archaic ritual that people only do because it has been done for years. Brides like to keep their bouquets now a days because they cost a fortune, hence toss bouquets. Some Brides don't like the idea of the Groom disappearing up her dress in front of all their family and friends, and most groomsmen want to catch the garter like they want to catch the plague. Actually, people used to cut pieces from the Bride's dress for luck. Try that now and I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't the Guest who got cut! In a twist to doing it the traditional way, I suggest to couples that they do the anniversary dance which is where married couples come on the dance floor & the couple married the longest is the last on the floor. The couple presents them with her bouquet and it is a wonderful moment for pictures. This has been a dying tradition for the past few years.
Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue: This comes from our not to distant past - the Victorian era. It was basically meant for luck for the Bride. Something Old: This represents the ties to the bride’s family and her past. Something New: is the life to come with her new husband. Something Borrowed: is an item from someone who has or has had a successful marriage to pass on the “good luck.” Something Blue: is for faithfulness, loyalty and purity. Some Brides use this custom & some do not. It has a lot of meaning behind it but is ultimately superstitious and not needed.
Carrying the Bride over the Threshold: This came from Roman times when the Groom was protecting the Bride from evil spirits in the floor that have come to curse the couple as they start their union. Personally, I think this tradition causes more back sprains and hits to head while trying to get the Bride & her huge dress through the door. But it seems to be the gentlemanly thing to do - I would just be more concerned with my Groom having pinched a nerve before we got to the wedding night!
The Wedding Shower: Just how did the tradition start to throw the Bride a party before her wedding? Most people believe it comes from a legend in Holland where a Bride's father refused to pay her dowry. So her friends and family came together to "shower" her with gifts and money so she could marry her love. It was a tradition that took off evidently. I really wish I could create one of those traditions where it happens every 10 years you are married. I could really use some more towels and sheets!
The Honeymoon: In ages past the couple had to literally hide so other tribes could not come reach the Bride before a child was conceived. This made the marriage super-duper official because no one wanted to raise another man's child. Now, couples go on a honeymoon to get over the wedding planning. They relax and start their marriage off spending time together without the fear of marauding tribes coming to steal the Bride. Unless you like that kind of thing. To each his own.
The Bachelor Party: This fun night out came from the Romans. It was the last chance the Groom got to "sew his oats" and for his buddies to feast and toast to him. It was his last bit of freedom and they partied like it was 1999. Nice eh? So throughout the years, we women got in on the fun as well. Hopefully, no one is sewing their oats one last time!
So, now that you know MOST of these traditions are based on superstitious beliefs against evil spirits and bad luck - you can choose to incorporate them into your wedding or not. And when you hear Grandma whisper that you should not wear red on your wedding day, just tell her at least she doesn't need to be afraid you will be carried off by evil spirits, fairies or demons. That should shut her up. :0)
Here's to Bliss!
Ah, the diamond ring: the pinnacle of what every woman expects when the love of their life pops the question. Woe is the man who dares to defy tradition by buying a small one or worse yet - NOT A DIAMOND AT ALL!
Does that really happen?
Does the man live through the proposal?
Seriously, what Bride could ever expect to start a successful marriage without a diamond ring worth AT LEAST 2 months salary. Pshaw - everyone knows that's the rule.
What if I told you this was one of the most successful marketing campaigns - like ever! There is no tradition connected to the diamond ring. No rule (note: there are no wedding police out there. You really can do what you want) saying it has to be a diamond or (GASP!) no ring at all.
In 1938 the De Beers Diamond Company crafted (in my humble opinion) the world's most effective marketing campaign. They grew their company from nothing into one of the most profitable businesses by making people BELIEVE and have an EMOTIONAL CONNECTION to their made-up "A Diamond is forever" campaign. So much so, it has persisted through the past 2 centuries! Not too shabby De Beers.
Here's the lowdown on the claims of De Beers:
~ A diamond is forever: well, yeah, I guess if you take care of it. It will certainly be something you can pass on (if your marriage survives) and you want an heirloom - but that's about it. It doesn't mean that your marriage will last forever (ask 50% of people over the past couple hundred of years). Also, I might add that it could be said the same of any other rings or jewelry. No real benefit to a diamond over others.
~ It should be AT LEAST 2 months salary: to this, I politely call bull hockey. Another arbitrary rule made up by the De Beers people to get you to buy more of their diamonds. And if you are a Bride who expects this or is ready to "Ring Shame" your love, SHAME ON YOU! The size of the diamond does not measure the love or respect he has for you. That reminds me of something else - hmmmmmmm....
~ A Diamond Ring is an investment: another bull hockey statement. Very similar to a car, your "investment" loses 50% just by walking out the door. (Kind of like divorces are - buh dum bum. Thanks every body, I'm here all week). This is not a true statement. You will never get all the money out of it that you spent on it. Just try it & you will see.
~ It has to be a certain cut or clarity to be the best diamond: ultimately, that decision is up to you. You may not like the really clear ones, or emerald cut or the ones that go "BING!" Seriously, this is yet another way the De Beers company has got you feeling like you have purchased a rare, high quality diamond, that will be a huge asset for your marriage - WRONG.
Look, diamonds or jewelry are just like people. There are all kinds of shapes, sizes, colors and depending on their personality - clarity. I have had many a Bride tell me they hate diamonds but their finance got them one because "he had too". Nothing could be further than the truth. If you feel like you want a ring (and I get it, what woman wouldn't?), then look around. There are all kinds of them out there. Get your birthstone, a precious gem, black gold, a simple band, whatever appeals to you. If I were to get married again I would ask my husband to go to Pandora. Their rings are awesome & will not make him take a mortgage out BEFORE the wedding.
If you are reading this and are saying to yourself, "I don't care what she says, I want a diamond - a big one. I deserve it and he better get the one I like or I'll kick him to the curb". You just might want to adjust that attitude or he might just kick YOU to the curb.
I am not anti-diamond. I have one on my finger in fact & love it. However, what I DO HATE is the fact that there is NO RULE saying you have to get a diamond and that you have to spend thousands on it for you to be respected. People save for years and wait to get married because of this lie and that makes me mad. We have all fallen for it for years. But now you have the knowledge - the power to make your OWN decisions instead of following a 79 year old marketing campaign that was devastatingly effective.
The truth is, the success of your engagement and marriage depends on you. What the two of you put into it and how you work together. The ring is nothing in comparison.
Here's to Bliss!
Congratulations! He popped the question and you said YES. For some women, at the very moment he slips that ring on her finger, they turn into a nervous, stressed, and sometimes, mean person who their family & friends have never seen before.
Why does this happen?
If you consider that most women have dreamt of this moment since they were 5 years old, you come to realize that a lot of time, planning and emotion have already been spent trying to make this moment perfect. Wedding Planning often makes laid-back and usually easy-going women crazy and neurotic.
So, how do you get through one of the most incredible, but often overwhelming, times in your life, while keeping your family & friends? By NOT doing the following things:
1. Do NOT be mean or rude - This is should be very obvious, but unfortunately it is not. Stress can make you turn ugly and trust me, no one likes a stressed Bride. Remember, no matter what happens, at the end of the day, you will be married to the love of your life. It doesn't matter if it rains, the cake wasn't what you expected, or your weird Uncle Eddy got drunk and hit on every girl above 20. YOU WILL BE MARRIED!
2. Do NOT emulate Bridezillas - Seriously. If you fancy yourself a Bridezilla, you have to stop and reevaluate your attitude. Most Bridezillas (in my humble opinion) need a spanking & then therapy - a lot of therapy. Why do some Brides feel it is their right to be an adult toddler just because it is their wedding? I haven't figured that out, but I have seen it and it is NOT PRETTY.
3. Do NOT assume the wedding is all about you - of course it isn't! Remember that really cute guy who gave you that ring? Its about him too! Oh, and your families who helped you get where you are. Look, a wedding is about love and the joining of families. To think it is all about the Bride is arrogant and just plain wrong.
4. Do NOT pick dresses that are outrageously expensive or that don't look good on every body type - Your Bridesmaids will most likely never wear this dress again. BE KIND. Not just to their pocket book, but to their body type. If I had to wear a dress that was made for a 5'9 model who only eats broccoli, I would be screwed. Give them options. Get a dress that comes in several different styles. Let them add sleeves if you want. Honestly, the focus will not be on them (unless you make it so by putting a 5'3, 200 lb woman in a dress made for Angelina Jolie). Also, choose a color shoe & let them get their own. They will be more comfortable & they will love you for it.
5. Do NOT abuse your vendors - This is a big one. Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on their part & if you are a personality type who LOVES to worry & stress, don't expect the vendors to react well to that. We event professionals LOVE to help you have a beautiful wedding. Most of us are very good at it. We are not out to make millions off of you. We like to make enough to feed our families, pay for school books, or maybe take a vacation once every 5 years. Please speak nicely to us, don't patronize us & for the love of God, do not try to do our jobs. Our goal is to exceed your expectation, but if you are constantly changing those, it's really hard to hit a moving target. Do your research, hire good, reputable vendors and you will be great.
6. Do NOT try to ruin a vendors career if they didn't provide the services you paid for - If you are unhappy, talk to them. Perfection is rarely attained. Mistakes happen, but that is just what they are - MISTAKES. If you cannot get rectification by working with the vendor, go to the BBB or take them to court. Remember, while you may be angry - it is not right to slander anyone on social media. That is all too common these days and it is so wrong. Not only that, you could be sued and you will most likely lose. Be an adult and try to get it corrected yourself. If that doesn't work - take them to court.
7. Don't get drunk - Seriously, hard to find something any more unattractive than a Bride that is wasted. It might be funny for a few minutes, but that gets old - and embarrassing quick. Trust me, you don't want that to be what everyone remembers from your wedding.
8. Do NOT forget to be grateful - Everyone works hard putting a wedding together. Make sure you let your family know how grateful you are for their help, financial contribution and support. It takes a village to raise a child - so thank them!!
A wedding is a joyous thing. Forget about the small things. They are nice, but not the focus of the day. Who cares if your pinterest idea fell apart? Trust me, no one else does. They are there to celebrate the beginning of your new life. Enjoy that. Soak it all in and you will have memories that last a lifetime.
Congratulations!! You are marrying the love of your life and now you get to plan the wedding of the century.
Wedding planning can seem overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be! The Bliss Method™ is a 4-phased system that walks you through the planning, delegation, coordination and direction of your wedding. The free timelines you see online are out-dated and just do not work anymore. This method will help you whether you are planning in 2 years or 2 weeks. Let me show you how easy it can be.
Think of your planning as if you were building a house:
Phase 1: "Pure Bliss" - This is when you should pick out a plot for your house. So with a wedding, you need to do your guest list FIRST. You need to know how big it will be before you "build" your wedding. This is also the time you set your budget, talk about who is paying what, date, and overall theme of the wedding.
Phase 2: "Overwhelming Bliss" - The framing of your house. This is where you book all of your vendors (caterers, venue, photographer, etc...). Start looking at wedding gowns (they take 6-8 months generally), confirm the budget and send out save the date cards if applicable.
Phase 3: "Express Your Bliss" - This is the fun part! Decorations and making it yours! When you come up with decorations, favors & cute photography poses. Unfortunately, Brides want to start here and that is what causes problems. This is where you do decorations, themes, favors, invitations - all of the creative bits that people will remember. But you shouldn't do this until the other phases are complete. Pinterest becomes your friend in this phase :0)
Phase 4: "Countdown to Bliss" - No one is in bliss anymore at this point. They want in the "house" already but lots of details need to be taken care of first. This is where you are getting all the tiny details in place, like who has the marriage license, how is everyone getting to and from the church, who is taking stuff from the church to the reception, how are the Bride & Groom getting to the bridal suite.... Things that can get you stressed and overwhelmed.
These phases all work together to help you plan your wedding "Blissfully Simple™". Sometimes you can get too bogged down in what you read on the internet. Don't let that overwhelm you. Stick to the 4 phases in order and it will not only be easy, but make total sense.
Weddings are meant to be savored. Don't get caught up in what you see on TV or in movies. This is the day you marry your soul mate. Don't lose sight of that. This is all about Bliss & it will happen.
Don't forget - you can always hire us here at Blissfully Simple Events & we do this all for you!
So, what is the rehearsal dinner?
It is basically, the dinner you have right after your rehearsal. Easy right?
Generally, (not all the time), the rehearsal dinner is paid and hosted by the Groom's parents. With today's Brides & Grooms marrying later, often they pay for it. Ultimately, it isn't important who pays for it, however, there are some important things to remember so you don't offend or leave anyone out.
First, this dinner DOES NOT need to be formal! It can be pizza at someone's house, lasagna made by mom, or catered by a company that drops off. Don't think that t has to be very fancy, at a banquet hall or a swanky restaurant. It doesn't. It literally needs to feed the people who were at the rehearsal dinner. It is also the last time you get to be with each other before the formality of the next day. It should be as early as possible so people can get a good night's sleep and keep the alcohol to a minimum.
Second, who do you invite? This tends to be the most contested question when discussed among the families. So here is your answer:
- Immediate family (Grandparents, parents, siblings and their families)
- Anyone involved in the ceremony (Bridal Party, ushers, readers, singers, pastor, Flower Girl & Ring Bearer). The only exception to this is if they are paid vendors such as musicians, videographer, photographer if they are there. It is still nice to always invite the Pastor & spouse if there is one.
- Any family or friends who may have traveled a very long distance or you haven't seen them in years. It is a nice gesture to invite them as well. They may not come, but invite them still. Again, this is optional.
Third, do you need to provide alcohol? Absolutely not. Just like at your wedding, you are under no obligation to provide alcohol to your guests. Besides, you do not want to be drinking too much the night before.
Fourth, it is generally when you present gifts to your Bridal Party. Since there are fewer people at this dinner, it makes it easier to take this opportunity to thank them graciously for their help and participation.
The rehearsal dinner should not go late into the night. The next day is very long & stressful and you want to make sure you get a good night's rest. There will always be last-minute details to take care of that night and you don't want to feel rushed. This dinner is the last chance you have to spend with your closest family & friends before the craziness of your wedding day. Don't over-think it and certainly don't over-do it. This is when the official wedding festivities start. Make it fun for everyone!
I receive hundreds of questions from Brides and wedding planners throughout the year. I THOUGHT had heard just about everything .
Today I received a question that made me gasp. No, I mean LITERALLY gasp!
This question came from a fellow wedding planner, but I think it is good for Brides to know the answer as well. So I thought I would share it with you in all it’s glory and give my best “no-holds barred, are you serious, take the high-road”answer. Please feel free to share this with anyone. Hopefully, we can stop this kind of thinking, promote civility and get back to the real reason we are in business – TO SERVE!
Here is the Question:
“Crista, I have been a planner for 4 years now and I love all the information you put out there for us. I know that a lot of planners have problems with booking Brides or with marketing but I have a much different problem.
Every wedding I do I seem to be at war with the vendors. Even though I create the timeline and agenda, they create their own, they don’t return my phone calls and go behind my back and call the client even though they shouldn’t. How do I make it clear to them that I am in charge and they should report to me? I don’t get the respect I deserve and I am getting really frustrated. This happens at every wedding I run. How do I fix this?”
Here is the Answer:
First, I am glad you asked me this question and not someone else because I will to try to answer it gently and not respond with anger.
Second, your question is offensive to any and all professional wedding and event vendors out there; and let me explain why. Most (and I only put most because we all know there are a few vendors out there that are not up to par) of your fellow vendors are extremely good at what they do. In fact, many of them probably have more training, more blood, sweat and tears invested their business than you could ever comprehend. The fact that you expect them to cow tow to you just because you have the title, “Wedding Planner” is not only ridiculous but just plain wrong.
Your issue is not that your vendors don’t respect YOU – it is that you don’t respect your vendors. Look, wedding planners sometimes see themselves at the top of the pyramid, giving orders to the vendors beneath. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Blissfully Simple ™ Planners (and most other professional planners) are taught the “Bottom Up” Philosophy. A good planner is at the bottom holding everyone else up. It is truly a team effort. Your Vendor team (which includes you) needs to be laser focused on helping the client have the best experience possible. There should be no struggle for the top position because there IS NO TOP POSITION.
I highly suggest you change your way of communicating with your fellow professionals. Remember, just because you have given yourself the title, “Wedding Planner” does not automatically mean people will start bowing to you and saying, “Yes Ma’am” to everything you say. In order to gain respect, you must give it. Start fresh and get to know each of them. Do research and see how much they have put into training. Read their stories. They are people just like you are and deserve respect as well.
When I plan weddings I try to get to know the vendors as well as possible. I want them to know that I am there for them in addition to the couple. If a photographer needs help corralling the Bridal party – then I do it. If the caterer needs help busing tables, then I do it. If the DJ needs help setting up, then I do it. Remember that our main goal is to SERVE and this doesn’t stop at the Bride’s feet. Stretch your personal comfort zone and change your attitude. It will do wonders for your business and it always feels better to be nice anyway. Yes, this has been some tough love, but crucial advice if you expect to grow. Good luck & behave!!”
Brides - you need a wedding planner that works well with others. Your vendor team will work tirelessly to make your day everything you imagined.
So what do you think, did I answer it correctly? Did I miss anything? I’d love to hear your responses!
Crista Tharp, CBSP
We are called many things: a Wedding Planner, Bridal Consultant, Wedding Coordinator, Event Planner, and so on. Each of us choose to call ourselves whatever we feel comfortable with, (some of us are self-taught, others have gone through a certification process, and there are others… well, we aren’t so sure WHAT they’ve done), but that doesn’t really help our clients does it? Brides don’t particularly care what we call ourselves, they just want to know that we are going to help them through this experience to the best of our ability so they survive it and ultimately, walk down that aisle and say, “I Do.” Right?
So, what IS a Wedding Planner?
Often, we get bogged down in the services we provide; this is what a “Day Of” coordinator does, this is what a “Full Service” planner offers; yes we CAN address your invitations, no I don’t return your tuxes. This stuff is important but is secondary to the actual job description of a planner, coordinator, consultant or whatever you are choosing to call us.
I learned the REAL description of a wedding planner when I spoke to one of my, guess what…BRIDES!
She shared with me that she had been a doula for many years. A doula is basically a labor coach for pregnant women. Having had 10 babies, I knew what a doula was and how critical they were to a mother during her pregnancy and birth. She went on to say that she is a firm believer in getting help when you need it and she REALLY needed a wedding doula – A WEDDING PLANNER!
I was struck by how perfect that example was. “The overall goal of a doula is for the mother to feel safe and comfortable, enhancing the goal of doctors and nurses which is to ensure a safe delivery for mother and child.” (From Wikipedia).
That is truly the goal of a Wedding Planner: for the Bride & Groom to feel secure in the decisions they have made, enhancing the goal of all other wedding professionals to ensure a seamless, stress-free and blissful experience for the couple and their guests.
Yes, we do actual things like set up, pin on, clean up and keep on track; just like the doula holds the hand, talks softly, encourages and supports. But as a planner, we need to make sure we do not focus on those specific duties. We are there to create an experience like no-other. Focus on the EXPERIENCE, not the work.
That is my mission with Blissfully Simple ™ Wedding Planning. To focus 100% on the experience for my clients.
Wedding doula – I could get used to that! :0)