So You’re Getting Married: 5 Things to Think About

Congratulations! You’re getting married! Your mind is racing and you’re filled with emotions. After the initial rush dies down, it dawns on you – you have to actually plan a wedding! With such an overwhelming task, you often don’t know where to begin. Well look no further. Here are some basic initial steps you need to get you started on the road to your perfect wedding.
1. Relish that loving feeling

First things first…enjoy the sensation of just getting engaged! You’re in love and are making the ultimate commitment. It’s an amazing feeling! However, keep your engagement a private affair for a while, shared between you and your fiancé. Of course, a secret of this magnitude is hard to hold in, so only wait for as long as you can stand, whether it’s a day or a week. But holding out on telling family and friends will increase the intimacy in your relationship. Keep love lingering in the air!

2. Breaking the news

So you can’t keep the secret any longer – well let it spill! Informing your parents is most special when done in person, preferably telling each set separately. Breaking the news to both sets together can be an awkward and overwhelming experience. Of course, if distance is a factor, a phone call will suffice. Emails are a no-no! Traditionally, the bride has first dibs on spreading the good news, but if your future hubby can’t hold it in any longer either, just make the phone calls at the same time. Follow up later with calls to good friends and other important family members.
3. Indulge your every fantasy

Like most women, you’ve probably planned, or at least dreamed, of your wedding since you were a little girl. Well now it’s actually going to happen, so you can put those fantasies to use. Getting married in the church down the street or a beach in Hawaii? Do you want ultra fancy or casual elegance? Inviting everyone you know or just your nearest and dearest? Before you get involved in flower arrangements and menu planning, decide where you want to get married and the style of the ceremony and reception. Your wedding should reflect the type of couple you and your fiancé are.
4. And come back down to reality

Now that said, every fantasy cannot come true. You need to work out a preliminary budget. But if you have your desires in mind, it can help you decide what you can and cannot afford and what is important to you. Is a formal, classy wedding a dream, but your cash is low? Budgeting can allow you to work out what to spend money on. Maybe you can splurge on a dress and decorations, but your guest list must be limited to 50 people. Think rationally; you don’t want to start married life in serious debt!
5. Save the date

Finally, decide when to get married. Choosing a date can hinge on the type of wedding you want and your budget. For a large affair, you’ll probably need at least a year to plan. Small and casual ceremony? Six months should be plenty of time. Weddings take a lot of thought and you need to allow yourself ample time to plan everything. Of course, after a few months of wedding overload, eloping may look pretty tempting. If you want to, then do it! It’s your wedding; make it yours.

And one last thing… good luck!


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Romantic Bride

Have you been waiting all your life for your knight in shining armor to arrive on the white horse to sweep you off your feet? Have you finally found your Prince Charming? Have you daydreamed about your wedding day and all the details since you were a little girl? Do you want your day to be dreamy and soft? While you want your day to be silently beautiful, you still would love to have the grand entrance down an aisle of rose petals. You are The Romantic Bride.

Venue Choice

Anything with old-world charm will work wonders for your overall look. Think of a medieval castle, arbortorium or some sort of historical landmark. Tons of candlelight really helps create that romantic loving vibe. Add candles to your centerpieces, guestbook table and anywhere else your heart desires! The natural beauty of your location should really shine through and your personal touches will really make an impression.

Attire

Imagine a lace pattern over a heavy silk dress that has trumpet sleeves with a long train, or a custom-made dress with embroidery. Dark or light ivory would be simply beautiful. A fingertip veil with matching detailing sets the tone when your guests first see you walk down the aisle. An ornate pearl choker would help complete the look.

Flowers

Your flowers should be soft and feminine, just like you. The color inspirations should follow your wedding colors, but with a soft look–think pale pinks, creams and robin egg blue. Tulips, roses and freesia should definitely be used. The centerpieces again should be complimentary of the overall romantic ambiance. Envision centerpieces with cascading flowers and greenery with pearls hiding the stems in the vase.

Your Bouquet

By using similar flowers as the rest of your wedding, you will create a designer look. However this is the perfect place to toss in some personality. Include some stephanotis with pearls, and be sure that your bouquet is cascading down to help soften your look.

Wedding Cake

Your cake can really go the traditional route or be a little more modern with the design. For the updated look, you can have your cake baker make a similar pattern to your wedding dress by including the same lace look with pearls and butter cream frosting. Intertwining your initials with your husband-to-be is very romantic with a modern spin. A traditional yet delicate bride and groom cake topper would be perfect!

Favors

Candles make a great favor for the romantic in everyone. A key to their heart bottle stopper, glass coasters with the word love on them and maybe some heart shaped measuring spoons all express romance, warmth and most of all love.


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The Destination Bride

Have you visited somewhere tropical with sugar white sand that you just loved? Does the sun beating on your back make you smile? Do you enjoy lying out on the beach sipping a margarita while watching the sunset? When you are walking barefoot through the sand with the waves crashing at your feet do you feel at peace? Do you picture your wedding day to have breathtaking ocean views, sand under your guest’s feet and a comfortable flowing dress?
If you can relate to these things, then you are definitely The Destination Bride!

Venue Location

The only venue of choice here would be to find your perfect wedding destination! Do you want to make it a vacation for your guests as well? Then choose a tropical location everyone will enjoy. Some islands in the Caribbean offer wedding services… so you can plan everything from home! Some thoughts to consider would be: Is there an aisle you could walk down? Is it a private or public part of the beach? How many guests are allowed? Is there a place you can be hidden until it’s time to meet your husband for the ceremony? A destination wedding offers a lot of choices and can be so much fun to plan.

Attire

One thing to keep in mind for your dress is that you will more than likely be in a hot climate, so search for something that is light, comfortable and airy. Sandals gowns are a popular choice. Depending on how formal you want to be, there are so many options for length and embellishments.

There are also more choices for your footwear, you can go with heels which might be a little harder to walk in sand or even barefoot to really feel that relaxing vibe. A sleek pulled back chignon with hair pins will really help keep your hair from blowing in the breeze.

Flowers

The islands offer gorgeous tropical flowers for your floral décor. What one bride might need to import for a city wedding, you can find at your disposal! Stick with whatever flowers are available in the area, but try to choose colors that match your scheme. Also, make sure to use some beautiful greenery!

Your Bouquet

Similar to above, you should use the local tropical flowers. Having a smaller bouquet is normal for a beachside wedding, but by packing it with a bright color punch, it will really stand out. Leaving the stems showing against the bright colored flowers will also be a strong statement!

Wedding Cake

This is the perfect time to actually incorporate the beach into the wedding. Add some sugar starfish, ocean waves, seashells or even sugar granules of sand! The flavors shouldn’t be too heavy and you also should be wary of using whipped cream frosting as it can spoil if it is not kept cool until just before serving.

Wedding Cake

Sand and shell tea light holders, beach pail tin with goodies inside, seashell shaped candles and miniature Adirondack chair frames all make great favors. You should keep an eye out for perishables since the heat can melt chocolates and make sugar-coated candies sticky.


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Glamorous Bride

How can you tell if you are a glamour bride? Do you read People magazine each week to find out what your favorite movie stars are currently up to? Were you on Jen’s side when Brad left her? When you envision your wedding do you see thousands of roses, crisp white linens, and high ceilings all in an elegant hotel? If this sounds like you, then you are The Glamorous Bride.

Venue choice

The ideal location is one that is filled with chandeliers, spiral staircase, ornate details and lets face it…the more dramatic the better. Check out the hotels in your city—especially the older ones. You are bound to find something with old-world charm and a splash of pure elegance.

Attire

Think high fashion on runways—hand-sewn Swarovski crystals on your gown, silky gloves climbing up your arm. You are the bride and the attention will be on you, but you want your guests to really notice all the details. Sparkle, sparkle, sparkle…you can never have too much sparkle or flair at your wedding. Make sure that your rhinestone or crystal tiara is glittering, along with your fabulous matching jewelry set. If it’s late Fall going into Winter, be sure to consider a white fur wrap to keep your shoulders warm.

Flowers

You will need to set aside a large chunk of your budget for this area, but you really can go all out with flowers. The floral displays need to be extravagant and huge. Use candelabras, topiaries or tall vases to add drama to each table. If you stick with one color it will make more of an impact. You want quality flowers but for a glamorous affair you need to up the quantity. For more intense arrangements add berries, bear grass, vines, branches and candles.

Your Bouquet

A new trend is to use glitzy jewelry within your bouquet. It accentuates your flowers and shows a little extra personality. Go to the next level by having your bridal party sparkle as well! The jewels can be monograms of your initials or can even showcase your wedding theme if you have one. Not only can you be a little different on your wedding day, but you can also re-use the bouquet jewelry in your floral arrangements at home for years to come.

Wedding Cake

A cake used to be something we all just enjoyed as a dessert. Not anymore! The wedding cake is now on display for everyone to ooh and ahh over. The more ornate details you have, the fancier your cake will seem. You would definitely want to have rolled fondant to give it that smooth finished look. A new trend is to do have each layer be a different flavor, and have your guests choose a slice they would like. There is no better way to jazz your cake up than to use cake jewelry, such as Swarovski monogram initial cake toppers! These small amounts of sparkle give it the extra oomph. Another new style is to have your baker mimic your dress details.

Favors

Anything personalized is really hot right now. Go for elegant monogram chocolates, boxed mints, or monogrammed candles.  All of these would look great with your names and marriage date, or even just your monogrammed initials.


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Adding Sugar and Spice on Your Honeymoon

After the busyness of the wedding celebration, the honeymoon offers a much-needed time to be alone with your new spouse. It’s a time to relax, explore a new area of the world, and of course, a time for intimacy with the one you have just pledged to be with for life. Here are 10 ideas to make your honeymoon even more romantic:

1. Before you leave home, purchase a book on the art of massage. Pack along some scented massage oil, study up on the plane and then treat each other to a sensuous and relaxing message after a long day of travel.

2. If your room has a private balcony and the area you traveled to is warm, bring the fireworks outside for a night. The sound of ocean waves and starry skies are the perfect backdrop for an extra romantic night.

3. Place a number of votive candles in candleholders around your bedroom for a soft glow at night. In the bathroom, line your private Jacuzzi or jumbo-sized bathtub with a candle or two after the sun goes down. If it is just a bathtub, bring along scented bubble bath.

4. If you are honeymooning in a wooded area, plan a hike and an afternoon picnic with just you, your spouse and nature. Bring along a bottle of wine and glasses for a private toast to your new marriage.

5. Purchase a bouquet of flowers known for their powerful scents and place it next to your bed. Hyacinths or Gardenias will leave the room filled with a sweet smelling fragrance. Every time you smell the flowers again, it will remind you of your honeymoon.

6. Before you leave, make a tape of your favorite love songs to play before and during bedtime. Record the first dance song at your reception as number one on the tape, and re-live that first dance all over again in the privacy of your bedroom.

7. Wear satin or silk to bed.

8. Make a point each day to tell your spouse five things you love about him or her and have your spouse do the same for you.

9. Order room service and set up a private, candle-lit dinner in your hotel room with light music playing in the background. Then, while the night is still young, watch a romantic movie in each other’s arms.

10. Come to bed wearing your spouse’s favorite perfume or cologne.


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Selecting the Appropriate Bridal Undergarments

Specialty shops are often the best to give you more private one on one service from a knowledgeable salesperson who can show you a bigger selection, suggest flattering styles. take your measurements, offer particular pieces for you to try on, etc..

When shopping for these items, it is best to bring photos of your dress (front and back) with you. If you do not have photos of you in your dress, bring the magazine shots of them. It is best if you know how deep a plunge is in the front and/or the back when choosing a bustier, bra, corset, or bodyshaper.

Because the fabric will be so form fitting against your skin, you will want to choose a fabric that does not cause you to itch, perspire excessively, or has very stiff boning in the construction that might become uncomfortable to you throughout the day. If you need boning, it is best to choose one that is flexible.
What style do I need?

If your dress is strapless or an off-the-shoulder style, you might prefer a bustier rather than just a strapless bra. It completely surrounds your torso and at the same time pushes the breasts upward. This style works especially well if you have a full figure or a low cut back.

If your dress is a halter style or backless, often cups sewn into the dress are fine or even the stay cups that are adhered directly to the body. There are also bras with straps that wrap over the shoulders and around the waist to conceal.

If you choose an Empire style gown, which is flattering on many different figures, you can look lovely in just about any bra without having to use a bustier or corset.
Will it show through my dress?

Sometimes, when you purchase a bra, bustier or corset and then try it on with your dress, you realize that the boning, straps, or embellishments show through the dress! If your dress is somewhat sheer with fine fabrics such as chiffon, you should keep this in mind when shopping. You may want to choose a “nude” color rather than white for your bra/bustier/corset .

If your dress is beaded, made of a brocade, shantung or some other heavier fabrics or has 2 or more layers, then this should not be as quite a concern for you.
What about panties and hosiery?

It’s best to choose a panty that is sleek and fits close to the body, and most of all is made of a comfortable fabric for you. If you have a close fitting “sheath” style gown, it will be important to make sure no panty lines are visible. Often brides find that a one piece body shaper is the best answer-that assures no panty lines and provides a smooth look. Body shapers can also be very helpful for the bride concern with “tummy issues” .

For hosiery it is best to choose a size that fits you very well without bagging or slipping and one that will help support the stress on your legs from being on your feet and in heels for much of the day and evening. Also a good quality hosiery will not be prone to snag or tear as easily.
On to the slips!

There are a few different styles of slips to choose from as well. The style that will look best will with your gown will be dictated primarily by the style of gown you choose.

A very full, bouffant skirt will definitely need lots of lift to keep the weight of the dress from pulling the fabrics down and dragging the hem of your dress, so a crinoline slip with many layers of very stiff netting is what will work best.

If you gown is merely an A-line style or an empire style, a crinoline of only a couple of layers of medium weight netting will be necessary to hold the crisp A-line look.

If you wear a sheath or “mermaid” style gown, you may opt for only a nylon half slip or perhaps only a smooth fitting body shaper with hosiery.

Whatever you choose, remember that the undergarments are the foundation for a great look!


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Selecting Your Wedding Jewelry

Today’s bridal jewelry often includes rhinestones, diamonds, faux diamonds–sometimes called CZs, Swarovski crystals, Austrian crystals, and/or a combination of two or more. It’s really a matter of personal style and budget. Most people build up a “look” or theme around one particular piece of their wedding day outfit. Whatever your inspiration, it’s a good idea to try and get each piece of the outfit to accessorize beautifully with everything else. Don’t feel that you have to match everything perfectly, but don’t buy things in isolation.
FOR THE BRIDE

Preparations often seem to focus around the gown style. However, there are many other elements of your look to consider, such as, ceremony style, veil style, and hairstyle.

Gown Style:
The most important thing is to make sure your jewelry does not overpower the dress and that the color works with the gown.

For example, a white gown looks best with white pearls and silver. An ivory gown looks better with ivory pearls and gold or silver both work. A champagne gown looks best with dark ivory/champagne and gold accents. Rhinestones, crystals, diamonds, or faux diamonds (CZs) can work with all gown colors.

Helpful Tips

*For a simple dress with a deep neckline, you should be looking at a chunkier more substantial jewelry set—especially the necklace.
*Pearls always seem to work, but try on different lengths to make sure that they compliment the entire look.
*Many of today’s most popular gowns are strapless or have low necklines. This is a perfect style to showcase a wonderful necklace and earrings.
*Gowns with high necklines may be better off to forgo the necklace and concentrate on the perfect earrings.
*Examine the detailing of your dress and match your jewelry accordingly. For example, if you have crystals and pearls on your gown, you would want to buy jewelry with the same detailing.

Ceremony Style:
The bride’s jewelry should reflect the formality of the wedding. A small, informal wedding calls for simple jewelry, while a large, formal wedding calls for more elaborate jewelry.

Veil Style:
Veils come in many different styles. Always consider the detailing on your veil. The more detailed it is, the softer you want the jewelry to be. If you have a traditional veil with no beading or accents, you can go for a more glamorous or flashy look with your jewelry. It is a simple case of balancing the overall effect of the details.

Hairstyle:
If you have a shorter style or you have selected and up-do for the wedding day, longer or drop earrings that extend toward your neck would be a lovely choice. If you want something simpler, then rhinestone studs or simple pearls can be equally beautiful.
If your hair is down, try and choose and earring that is not too long, like a chandelier length, as it may get tangled in your locks. Short drop earring and studs/simple pearls would be the best choice.

Helpful tips:

*Keep your earrings simple if your necklace is large or grand.
*Bracelets can be worn with sleeveless, short-sleeve, and three-quarter sleeve gowns.
*It is possible to combine a bracelet with gloves as a dramatic accessory worn over tight-fitted gloves.

Keep this in mind when selecting earring styles:

*A button earring accentuates a round face.
*A dangle earring widens a narrow face.
*A squared earring adds interest to a long face.
*If you are not wearing a necklace you may want your earrings to be larger. It is all a matter of balance.

FOR THE BRIDESMAIDS

The greatest benefit of selecting your bridesmaid’s jewelry sets is that it works as a personal gift, as well as gives you the option of what will be worn on your wedding day. Always consider your wedding style, bridesmaid dress color, time of year, and of course, personal taste. If you choose the jewelry with your bridal party in mind, you are sure to select a gift the bridesmaids will appreciate.

It is important to choose a set that not only looks fantastic the day of your wedding, but can be worn again.

Wedding Style:

Keep your wedding style in mind. If you have an informal wedding, you will want to choose a more subtle jewelry set. If your wedding is a larger more formal affair, you may want to go with something a bit more glamorous. Again, this is a matter of personal taste.

Bridesmaid Dress Color:

Keep in mind that if you select a color crystal jewelry set, you don’t have to match your wedding color exactly. Selecting a lovely ivory or champagne necklace set is a lovely accent color that will bring a shimmer to the bridal party while allowing the wedding color to stand out fully in the bridesmaids dresses.

Time of Year:

If you are getting married in the Spring or Summer, you can choose lighter colors such as sky blue, lavender, or mint green. Fall and Winter months lend a brilliant backdrop to burgundy, chocolate, or black bridesmaid jewelry sets.

Do all the bridesmaids need to wear the same set?
Absolutely not!

Choosing a different necklace set for each of your bridesmaids is a fantastic and fun option—just make sure you keep it the same gem style for each lady (all crystals/rhinestones or all pearls). You are technically giving each one the same gift, however you are tailoring the design to their particular personality.

Everyone always has a friend that’s larger than life. She loves to have fun and is brilliantly boisterous. Think lots of sparkle to match her sparkly personality, like a rhinestone jewelry set that’s big and bold or a chunky pearl chocker that has that edge!

For the bridesmaid that’s more reserved and quiet, think classic and traditional, like a single strand rhinestone necklace set or a traditional drop pearl set. This allows you to capture her particular personality while keeping the jewelry in the same family as the rest of the bridesmaids.

Helpful tips

*The most common pearl colors are white or ivory. Which color you choose depends on the color of the bridesmaid dress.
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Airplane Advice

Are you flying to your honeymoon destination? Here are some tips on flying for the not-so-seasoned traveler.

Stay Healthy

* The canned air found in airplanes can dehydrate you. Be sure to drink lots of water. Many people agree that drinking water can also reduce the effects of jetlag.

* Alcohol consumed in the air is much more potent than if it were consumed on the ground. If you don’t have a high tolerance for it, stick to water while you’re flying.

* If you are traveling with a cold, reduce sinus pain by taking a nasal spray.

Keep Comfortable

* On your travel day, wear loose, cotton clothes to keep you comfortable. In addition, dressing in layers allows you to stay cool as temperatures increase or decrease.

* Bring gum to ease the pain that comes with popping ears.

Be Smart

* Be sure to identify your bags. However, do not put your home address on the outside of your bag in case burglars are looking for an easy location to rob that week.

* Pack your carry on with all the essentials, including an extra set of clothes, just in case your baggage is lost.


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Helping the Bride

One of your very best friends is getting married. On that day, you will be standing beside her as a loving supporter of the new life she is about to embark on. Sure, there are some traditional things that you should be doing, like planning the bridal shower and helping the bride get dressed on her wedding day, but how can you go above and beyond?

Here are a few ideas for those women who are thrilled to be bridesmaids and anxious to help out their excited, but stressed, friend.

* HELP – Offer to tie up favors, fold wedding programs, address invitations or whatever else your friend needs done. While some of these tasks can seem tedious, with the right attitude, it can be a great time of bonding. Yet perhaps more importantly, you will be helping your friend tremendously.
* EASE THE STRESS – As the wedding gets closer and closer, nerves are set on edge. Surprise the bride with a massage therapy session a week or so before the wedding. If money is tight, give her sweet smelling bath salts or a box of relaxing herbal tea.
* LISTEN – Sometimes, your friend will just need to vent. Even if you’re in a hurry or you’ve heard the same story way too many times, focus on her and listen to her needs. Offer to take some of her responsibilities if she if feeling overwhelmed.
* THINK AHEAD – Be prepared for life’s little accidents. At the wedding, bring along aspirin, bobby pins, safety pins, spot remover, tissues and of course, breath mints. These can come in very handy and are probably extras that your friend is not thinking of.
* DON’T COMPLAIN – So your expensive dress is an ugly shade of green and your up-do looks less than perfect. Don’t make a point to tell your friend what you think about her tastes. Just let it go. It’s her day and as one of her best friends, do your part to make it a good one.

Being a bridesmaid is really what you make of it. You can do nothing but show up on the wedding day or you can make a huge difference. Considering that she chose you to stand up with her on perhaps the most important day of her life, decide to be a tremendous asset to her rather than just a participant.


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Wedding Vendors & Contracts: What You Should Know Before You Sign

1.Read your contracts carefully. Read every word. Ask questions if something is unclear. Ask to change wording in the contract if you are uncomfortable with any of the language. Don’t just assume it’s a “standard” contract and that everything will be alright.
2.If the contract is lengthy, ask to take it home to review. Or, ask the vendor to fax you a copy of the contract before you meet with them.
3.Before you give a vendor a deposit, always get a written contract which includes all important information such as the date, time and what the wedding vendor is expected to perform.

Be as specific as possible in the description. For example, don’t just say flowers to be delivered – put the number of bouquets, the type of flowers and the date, time and location for the delivery.
4.As you make changes throughout the planning process, be sure to update your contract – even if you just hand write the changes and sign and date it.
5.Think carefully about your choices before placing deposits with vendors. Most deposits are nonrefundable.
6.Most vendors will require a deposit to hold your date. Try to pay as small of a deposit as possible and never pay the full amount up front when booking several months ahead. You never know if a vendor may go out of business and take your deposit with them. Avoid any vendor who insists on being paid in full up front!
7.Whenever possible, use credit cards for all payments to vendors. If there is a problem or dispute, you will have a much better chance of getting a refund than if you pay by cash or check — even if it is several months later.
8.When paying your wedding vendors and making purchases for your wedding, use a credit card that “gives you something back”. There are credit cards that will earn points for everything now – air miles, gifts, long distance calling – you name it!
9.If you have any questions or doubts about doing business with a wedding vendor, call the Better Business Bureau in your area. And, ALWAYS, ALWAYS check RECENT references! Don’t rely on someone who used their services a few years ago.


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