Taking Care of Out-of-Town Wedding Guests

out of town wedding guests - welcome bags 2

There will more than likely be guests coming to your wedding who live hours away. By plane. I’m talking serious travelers, here. People will hustle to your wedding ceremony coping with sleeping off jetlag in an unfamiliar bed. While you, the bride and groom, are not obligated to pay for any of their extra expenses, it’s just simple courtesy to do what you can to make traveling less of a chore for your out of town wedding guests. How can you make your out of town wedding guests’ time in your hometown as comfy as possible? Here are some easy ideas:

* Research hotels in your area and post them on your wedding website. Find two with good reputations and different price ranges and reserve a block of rooms at each. Send the hotel information with your wedding invitations. By reserving the rooms in bulk, everyone on your guess list can score a discounted rate.

out of town wedding guests - welcome bags 3

* Send out a wedding newsletter early on.You can include travel tips and things to do, of course, but if you’re feeling ambitious take it to the next level with a multi-day schedule of events (e.g., a pre-wedding barbecue or a post-wedding brunch).

out of town wedding guests - welcome bags 4

* Of course, that means scheduling events. Ask your mom or a friend to host a pre-wedding cocktail meet and mingle for the bridal party and out of town guests.Just don’t go overboard – give out of town wedding guests a chance to relax, too.

* Provide them with rental car information. And if you can afford it, arrange to have a car service pick them up at the airport. It’s a nice way to welcome guests and take one thing off their plate.

wedding maps - wedding welcome baskets

* Provide them with transportation to and from the wedding. This is a really nice gesture for your out-of-town guests that don’t know their way around your city or town. It is also good for any elderly guests that might have trouble driving. A mini-bus or van can be rented for the day and you can ask a friend to be the chauffeur.

out of town wedding guests - welcome bags

* Put gift baskets or bags in your out of town wedding guests’ rooms before they arrive.The best welcome bags and baskets are fun and useful. Maps are good, as are toiletries hotels don’t usually provide. Local delicacies, from wine to spice blend or even specialty candy, are always appreciated. Don’t forget to include a thank you!

* Don’t go too crazy, though, unless your budget allows. Most welcome bags for out of town wedding guests are a little treat rather than a big to-do. One way to make simple welcome bags special is to choose cloth totes with your state or some other form of personalization on them.

out of town wedding guests - welcome bags 5

* Finally, consider inviting out of town wedding guests to the rehearsal dinner. It’s not a necessity but it is nice!

(Images via Be Collective, An Exercise in Frugality, 23Eleven Events, Anne Elizabeth Designs, Lion in the Sun, The Indigo Bunting)

christa terry author of iDo

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Pro Tips: Setting & Managing Your Wedding Budget

Girls, it’s time to set aside the romance for a moment and talk dollars and cents. Unless you’re one of a chosen few for whom the sky is the limit, you are going to need to set a budget for your wedding. I know, I know. Who wants to talk about money when you can be thinking about matrimony? But I speak from experience when I say you’re going to enjoy your wedding (and the subsequent years as someone’s wife) so much more if you aren’t feeling weighed down by debt. A budget wedding can still be a beautiful wedding, and you’re still just as married even if you only spend a hundred bucks.

wedding budget ideas tips DIY planning

So let’s get started. First, you’ve got to determine two very important things:

1. How much money you want to spend on your wedding?
2. Who will be contributing to the wedding and how much?

The traditional rule that said the bride’s family would naturally be paying for the entire wedding is fast becoming history. Today, there is much more sharing of expenses between the bride’s family, the groom’s family and the bride and groom. You may even be paying for your ceremony and reception without any help at all, and more power to you! Many couples are getting married later in life and are well established with their own careers. Sound like you? These brides and grooms are able to pay for more of the expenses. Sometimes they want to pay for the entire wedding from the open bar to the wedding jewelry themselves, just because they can.

And now on to the nitty gritty. A good way to define your budget is to set priorities. What matters to you isn’t necessarily what matters to me or to Brides.com. You need to sit down with your intended to discuss which elements of the wedding are most important to you personally. For instance, is it the reception location, the bridal gown, or the entertainment that is most important to you? How about your spouse-to-be? You should choose 3-4 items that are your top priorities and set the rest of your budget from there. That way you can spend on the things that really matter to you and cut corners on the stuff you don’t care about. Remember, there are literally no wedding must-haves other than the couple, the license, the officiant, and the witnesses. Everything else is negotiable.

Now let’s look at some of the actual costs. Your reception, including the food and beverages, can average 50% – 65% of your total wedding budget. That means the reception location you select and how many guests you invite will have the most impact on your budget. Tread carefully!

Today, the average wedding costs between $12,000 & $25,000. With that in mind here’s a spending guideline based on a $15,000 wedding budget for about 100 – 125 guests:

Category % of Total Avg. Cost
Reception Site, Food & Beverages 50% $7,450
Photography & Videography 13% $2,000
Music 11% $1,600
Apparel 10% $1,500
Flowers 7% $1,000
Invitations 2% $350
Wedding Cake 2% $300
Transportation 2% $300
Miscellaneous 3% $500
Total 100% $15,000

Don’t forget, that’s simply a guideline to help you get started. You can spend your wedding dollars however you like – and you can spend as much or as little as you want. But keep what I said at the beginning in mind. Debt is not a great way to start a life as husband and wife! Good luck!

image via laurenconrad.com

christa terry author of iDo

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5 Great Organization Tips for Bumble-Headed Brides

That’s not a burn! Believe me – I was as bumble-headed as they come. Gone are the days when most of the wedding planning was done by a mother-of-the-bride who was herself a housewife or a student bride-to-be who could do it all between classes. In the US, the average bride is 27 years old so chances are she has a full-time job and a rich life. Wedding planning is hard to do during your lunch hour unless you’re doing all your planning online or locally. Today, wedding planning requires organization and lots of it. So here are my best organization tips to help you stay on top of all your wedding planning to-dos.

1. Get a notebook and write everything down that has to do with your wedding plans. Phone numbers, decorating tips you’ve heard, wedding vendor information. The bridesmaid jewelry you have your eye on. Your Instagram password. Keep this notebook with you always! Whenever you get a brainstorm or you havea  question to ask a vendor or someone to add to the guest list, write it down immediately. Don’t wait. You will forget.

2. Buy yourself an accordion folder with sections or pick a notebook with file pockets. Label the sections (flowers, church, good wedding planning ideas, bridesmaids dresses, etc.). Then whenever you see a print article about or a picture of something that you love (like a bridal bouquet with evergreens or a bridal veil), tear it out and stuff it into whichever section it belongs.

wedding planning tips organization

3. Buy a wedding planning software program. It can seem like overkill but I swear they are a useful way to track guests and RSVPs, what gifts people have given you, menu selections, table assignments, and more. It also allows you to create a wedding budget and to keep on top of payment schedules. As expenses go, these are cheap. Most range from $35 – $60. Alternately, use a spreadsheet program to do the same thing yourself.

4. Use index cards and a recipe box to file them. This is very simple and a very effective organization technique. Simply write one index card per couple/family or single guest. Include their name, address, and phone number, then include space to mark off if they have RSVP’d for the wedding and/or shower. Write down what gift they gave you for both the shower and wedding and whether or not a thank you note has been sent. You can also include their table assignment for the reception.

5. Keep a Master Wedding To-Do List with all the tasks needed to be completed. Then from your Master List, break down the tasks into weekly or daily wedding planning to-do lists. This will make you more productive by focusing on a few tasks and at the same time reduce some overwhelming feelings by breaking down the larger tasks into smaller, more manageable tasks.

6. Keep a wedding calendar. Like, a paper calendar that you can hang somewhere you will see it every day. Include all of your appointments with vendors and deadlines required by your vendors (i.e., payments due, menu selections, ordering deadlines, etc.). Be sure to include your self-imposed deadlines as well, such as when to have the photographer chosen and when to have invitations ready to mail.

How are you staying organized while you plan your wedding?

christa terry author of iDo

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Ideas You’re Not Going to See at Every Other 2015 Wedding

Looking for wedding planning ideas and bridal accessories that aren’t going to make the trend lists? I feel you! Once a wedding planning idea hits the trend lists chances are everyone and their sister will be using it in their ceremonies and receptions. So here’s what you do – you stay away from the wedding trends lists that are practically ubiquitous. You look at inspiration without an agenda. No theme. No must-haves. You do what you love. And you mix it up with ideas like these:


Botanicals (omg ferns) are going to be a big deal in 2015 but simple tables? When are simple wedding tables ever really trendy? Pillar candles and not much else can make a wedding reception table feel complete.

glitter wedding inspriation

Glitter, glitter, glitter! If you love sparkle, unleash a glitter bomb on your DIY wedding decor and put it on everything. It’s okay – sometimes too much is just enough!


Industrial weddings may be a 2015 trend or not. I have my doubts it’s going to make it much past the pages of the bridal mags so if you love this look you’re probably going to be in the minority.

outdoor wedding blankets

Boring white folding chairs? AS IF. Take your outdoor wedding to the floor with picnic blankets, baskets, and bottles of wine. (Though be kind and put out a few chairs for older guests who might have trouble getting back up once they’re down.) via fresnoweddings.net

photo table runner wedding

How cute is this pictorial table runner I found on Bellatheblog.com? Yes, it’s great for an engagement party but why not use it as sweetheart table decor or a way to gussy up your cake table?

smores wedding favors DIY easy

Who loves s’mores? Everyone loves s’mores. For fall and winter weddings, s’mores favors are not to be missed! via ohlovelyday.com

wedding ceremony arrow decor DIY

This glitter – yes, glitter – arrow I found on 100layercake.com guides wedding guests to the ceremony spot in the most fabulous way. That’s one way to wow your guests before they even see your gown.

wedding coloring book DIY

If you love this coloring book for the kids at your wedding, just think about how much your littlest guests will adore you for having it ready and waiting on reception tables! Or skip the DIY and just print the ready made coloring book here.

wedding dress pin DIY

Embroidered initials on the lining of your gown is okay – if you plan to keep your dress. If not, DIY a dress charm with symbols that are special to you and your spouse-to-be. After the big day, it’s a keepsake you can actually keep with you.

wedding matches DIY old fashioned

Super traditional and not at all trendy, wedding matches are making a modest comeback as favors your guests will actually use.

wedding video booth guestbook

And finally, the wedding photobooth is super played out but still a big hit because, well, it’s fun! You can take the idea to the next level with a video wedding guestbook that will be fun to watch for years to come.

What are you doing at your wedding that WE won’t be seeing at any of the weddings we attend next year?

christa terry author of iDo

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The Style and Art of Bridal Hair

A bad hair day is cause enough for us to shutter, stutter and utter “What will I do with my hair?!” And that’s just any old bad hair day. Now think about your wedding. That’s the day a bad hair day turns into an epically bad hair day. But wait! No panicking, ladies. Bridal hair is definitely more complicated than your everyday ‘do but you’ve got this. I swear.

pearl bridal earrings

Coiffeur confusion? Doesn’t have to be your bridal reality. Here are some expert wedding hair tips from Gretchen Maurer, creator of Weddinghair.com:

1. Say yes to the dress! Maurer says to start with the dress because, “the bride’s total bridal look has to be taken into consideration – every thing must balance. The bride’s dress choice sets the tone for the entire ceremony and the hair design (and her bridal headpiece) has to be a part of that.”

babys breath bridal bouquet 42. Think in terms of texture. “Believe it or not the wedding gown can also dictate the texture of the finished hair design. A smooth, shiny bridal updo of curls or glossy stick straight hair complements a smooth satin gown. Where a gown of sweeping tulle is beautifully accented by soft flowing curls.”

3. See the final silhouette. “Your look from head to toe has a silhouette, either horizontal or vertical. A full skirt is horizontal and best balanced by a wider hair design and or full veiling. A vertical look being narrow and slim is complemented by a hair design of the same lines; it could be a bob tucked behind the ears or a narrow pile of curls on top of the head.”

lace wedding dresses4. Your look might have a history. “No, we are not back in school. But is there a period of history your gown reflects? Theme weddings such as renaissance or swing make a great excuse to have some creative fun with your hair.”

5. Practice proper proportions. “Again the full effect needs to balance. The bride with short hair who is wearing an ornate full traditional dress needs to remember to balance her look with the appropriate headpiece. Like wise the petite bride with too much hair might think about wearing it up to draw the eye vertically.”

bridal headpieces - wedding headbands6. And don’t forget the time of day. “Next to the dress, the time of day should have some bearing on the hairstyle and headpiece you choose.” Maurer suggests for a day or morning wedding less glitz and sparkle. “Save the crystals, sparkle and tiaras for more formal evening weddings. Bridal headbands, flowers, wreaths, and hats are perfect for day or morning ceremonies.”

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Putting Your Best Face Forward: Your Pre-Wedding Beauty Countdown

Brides, this is your guide to looking beautiful on your wedding day. It’s a timeline because, as we all know, beauty is a process. I mean just consider that if you’re waxing, you need to grow your hair out first. If that’s not work I don’t know what is. The good news is most of the items on this wedding beauty timeline are simple – and sometimes even fun when you do them with your besties. Facials, anyone?

With that in mind, here’s your long-term guide to looking great on your wedding day:

bridal facial - bridal skincare3 Months Before: The Skincare Stage

  • Schedule facial treatments every 4 to 6 weeks starting now
  • Drink A LOT of water
  • And start “eating clean”

bridal nails - wedding beauty countdown

2 Months Before: Let’s Talk Nails

  • Enhance and strengthen your nails with a manicure every other week
  • Pedicures don’t hurt, either

1 Month Before: Hair, Hair, Everywhere

  • Color or do any other hair processes involving chemicals
    Grab a professional deep conditioning treatment

3 – 4 Weeks Before: It’s Game Time

  • Get a final haircut
  • Practice and experiment with different hair styles
  • Decide on a hairstyle and do a “trial run” with your bridal tiara and veil
  • Practice make-up with make-up artist (or)
  • Have a make-up lesson or practice on your own
  • Purchase all make-up you will need

bridal beauty practice run

2 Weeks Before: Home Stretch T0-Dos

  • Get a full set if choosing acrylic nails
  • Schedule facials for you and your bridesmaids
  • Mention haircuts for the groom and the men in the wedding party

1 Week Before: Are You Excited Yet

  • Yet another pedicure
  • And waxing (lip, eye brows, underarm, leg, or bikini, eek)

1 – 2 Days Before Wedding: This Is Really Happening

  • Another manicure for you
  • A manicure for groom if he’d like
  • And a celebratory massage for the you

And then It’s Finally Your Wedding Day!

bridal beauty

Today it’s all about the makeup and the bridal hairstyle. All that drinking water, strengthening your nails, and eating clean has paid off. Your skin? Is glowing. Your nails? Are amazing. And you look beautiful even before your stylist gets started.


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Ten 2015 Wedding Trends That You Need to Know About

1. Back to basics! Not every wedding has to be a production fit for the pages of the Rue Magazine wedding issue but you wouldn’t know that because Pinterest lies. And when I say consider having a simple wedding I don’t mean a wedding fit for the pages of Real Simple, either.

pearl bridal earrings

2. Pearls! This mainstay of bridal fashion is back in a big way – possibly because brides-to-be really are going back to basics. Are pearls and pearl wedding accessories a wedding trend? I say they’re timeless.


3. Simple ceremonies! Do we really all need the same rituals to feel wed? I do, you do, we do and we’re done – whether that includes your own vows or the standard vows of your people (whoever they may be) your guests will thank you for jumping on this wedding ceremony trend.

4. And simple wedding photos! The days of the overly processed wedding pics are numbered. Seriously, trends come and go but your wedding photos are forever. Trust me when I say it’s nice to look back at wedding photos in which you will look like you and not some filtered version of you.

5. Wedding cake! Like, just wedding cake. While it’s nice to offer guests options when it comes to edibles the idea that couples need to provide full-on buffets is pretty ludicrous. Have wedding cake alternatives or a full spread of sweets if you want, but don’t feel obligated. And candy bars? They’re a great way to end up with lots of leftover candy.

6. Personal hashtags! Wedding photo booths were definitely cute but all the pics of guests with faux mustaches are starting to look a little derivative. You’ll get more personal, more meaningful shots by snagging your loved ones’ IG pics thanks to your hashtag. Share it on your wedding invite and wedding website so guests know to tag pics from the ceremony and reception.

cinder block wedding centerpieces DIY

7. Cinder blocks! DIYing your reception with pallets and rusty old bathtubs is way five minutes ago. The cool new DIY material can be found in the contractor aisle at Home Depot. Or check Craigslist for freebies.

8. Industrial weddings! Barns are out, factories are in. I’m so done with burlap and lace and mason jars – if that’s your absolutely favorite look great but if your goal is to be on trend then leave the farm to the chickens.

After Six Bridesmaid Dress 6667

9. Vibrant colors! Muted palettes were all the rage a while back and were nice but when I got to a wedding I want to be wowed. We’re loving bright yellows, raspberry, navy, rose gold, and tangerine on bridesmaids, on tables, in bouquets, and even on brides.

10. Bubbles! Wedding sparklers for reception send-offs were big but frankly always made me nervous. That many people with sparks around a wedding gown? Yikes, right? Meanwhile bubbles are fun for all ages (making them great for weddings that include kids), won’t hurt anything or anyone, and maybe most importantly ARE NOT ON FIRE.

View More: http://katelynjames.pass.us/julie-and-jason

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Beach Wedding Ideas for Every Couple

A beach theme wedding can certainly be a lot of fun but it’s no easier planning a beach wedding than it is planning any other wedding. It’s simply an opportunity to take advantage of the romance of the ocean and the fun of the sandy shore. You can have a formal wedding beach side at a cabana or at a beach side garden. Or you can have an informal beach wedding right on the sand. Here are just some ideas to get you started:

beach wedding arch - beach wedding inspiration 2

Weddings on a sandy beach are beautiful with a white arch covered in flowers and ribbons. Even if you don’t have your wedding at the beach, you can use these ideas to convey the same feeling in a landlocked locale!

beach wedding arch - beach wedding inspiration

Start with your invitations. Traditional invitations in a color scheme inspired by the sea will set the stage early for your beach theme. Have chairs set up for your guests, or even ask them to bring their own chair or towel (for more casual affairs). Remember to consider how you will get less mobile guests to the seating area – walking on sand isn’t easy for everyone.

beach wedding signs

Decorate your reception and ceremony sites with sea shells and candles in beachy colors. Tiny sea shells sprinkled on tables or placed in colorful bowls will attract attention.

beach wedding 1

Add shells, pearls, and other beachy stuff to your flower arrangements and your tables. Decorating with what Mother Nature provides can be a real money saver for the budget bride.

beach wedding cake - beach wedding inspiration

Consider having a clam bake or lobster reception – or go all out with Hawaiian shirts and surf shorts. If you relax, your guests will, too! That said, there’s no reason a catered clambake has to be too casual. It’s all in the presentation.

Visit tourist shops near beaches for special items that will help set the mood.

beach wedding sunglasses

Bright coral-inspired colors, beach towels with summery designs, and scallop shell decor can evoke happy memories of lazy days on the beach. Don’t go overboard unless you really want to – after all, you’re already AT the beach so there’s no need to belabor the point!

planning a beach wedding

Add white chocolate sea shells to your wedding cake. Use a lighthouse or starfish as a cake topper. Don’t feel like you have to make your whole wedding cake into a beach scene, though. Pay homage to the sea with the colors you choose and a few well-placed embellishments.

beach wedding shoes - bridal shoes

Don’t forget your wedding accessories! Ditch the shoes in favor of something that makes walking down a sandy aisle easier and choose beachy accessories like starfish hair pins and even a starfish bridal garter!

For favors, do guests a favor (ahem) and pass out small bottles of sunscreen tied with a ribbon. You can also have a bucket of sunglasses ready for guests as they arrive at the ceremony because so many of the people you care about will probably have forgotten sun protection.

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Brides, Roll with the Punches

The backstory: This couple was posing for their wedding photog when they were photobombed by a random gent. And the bride and groom are still smiling. Maybe even smiling bigger because that one photo has a little more flavor for the weirdness of the moment.

how to have a perfect wedding

Is every wedding misstep or mishap cause for celebration? Of course not. But no wedding is perfect. Not ours, not yours, no bride’s. You can get pretty close to perfect – if you’re lucky. Luck plays so much into it, honestly. Consider the weather.


You can’t do anything about it if you’re planning to say your vows outdoors. Just like you can’t do anything about your mouthy Aunt Edna who says whatever comes into her head, come what may. Some things? You can control. You pick your bridal jewelry. You pick your wedding dress – which isn’t to say that something horrid can’t happen along the way because it can. But you can’t help moments like this one.

Point being, there’s no sense in getting incensed when the inevitable happens and something goes amiss. Bad things happen and as much as you’d like to plan for every wedding day emergency, you can’t. Maybe you open your garment bag and your gorgeous gown has a stain that came from who knows where but it’s there now. Maybe the best man never shows. The caterer delivers a sit down meal for half as many guests as you actually have.

Maybe the dock where you were taking pics sinks out from under your wedding party’s feet.

Or maybe it’s something as simple as a photobomb.

How you react to wedding day disasters big and small may just set the stage for how you react to the kind of everyday disasters every married couple has to deal with. The fridge goes bust. There’s a leak coming from inside a wall. Or you’re arguing about the dishes. Again. Make your wedding day a day where you practice a skill you’ll need for the rest of your life. Bad things happen; it’s how you deal with them that matters, now and for the rest of your marriage!

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