10 Tips for “Working Brides”

How to plan a wedding and work a full time job:

1. Make a plan for your lunch hour the night before or even better – plan them out a week in advance. Schedule in phone calls to vendors, errands, short shopping trips, work on your “to-do lists”, reply/send emails to vendors, wedding attendants or family members.
2. Bring your lunch to work. This will save you at least 20 minutes from standing in line to buy your lunch. And, an extra benefit – it will save you money too!
3. Delegate as much as you can! You’ve got TWO full-time jobs now, so enlist the help of everyone you can.
4. Keep the “wedding planning updates” with co-workers to a minimum. You don’t want your manager to think you’re spending more time talking about the wedding and less time working.
5. Save up those vacation days. You’ll need them for your honeymoon and a few days before the wedding.
6. If you need a vendor to call you back at work, ask them to return your call at a designated time, like between 1:00-2:00pm. This will help you better separate work and wedding planning.
7. Use email as much as possible. This greatly reduces phone tag AND reduces the chance that your caterer will call you about menu choices when your boss is in your office.
8. When work gets busy and wedding planning kicks into high gear, your biggest defense is to stay organized. Find a system that works for you (index cards, notebooks, software program, etc) and STICK WITH IT!
9. If you begin to fall behind in your work load, try coming into work an hour earlier (before most people arrive). Many times you can accomplish more in one hour of “quiet time” than you can all day.

A demanding job and full scale wedding – two things than can easily lead to MEGA STRESS! You need to find something that relaxes you and reduces your stress level. Exercise is usually the best weapon against stress. Plan your lunch hour to go to the gym or take a brisk walk.

If you say you don’t have time to exercise or do something to take care of yourself, then you definitely NEED to make the time. There have been many brides that think they can “do it all” and by the time the wedding comes, they have run themselves so ragged that they are sick on their wedding day. Don’t let that happen to you!


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12 Great Catering Tips

1. As far as wedding expenses go, your catering or food bill is typically your largest expense (45-50% of most wedding budgets). Therefore, choose your caterer carefully. Spend plenty of time with your caterer talking about your budget, the style of reception you’d like (i.e. buffet, food stations, sit down dinner or cocktail reception) and the types of food that you’d like to serve.
2. If you are unfamiliar with the caterer, always schedule a “tasting” to sample their culinary skills and take note that the food is attractively presented too.
3. Check References! Many brides ask for references but never call them. Make at least TWO reference phone calls. Don’t by shy, remember — brides love to talk about their wedding!
4. When hiring your caterer, be sure to ask about the dinnerware or china they will be using. Some caterers will include all the dinnerware in their price – but they may be chipped, scratched and worn out. So, ask to see samples to make sure that the place settings nicely compliment the rest of your wedding decor.
5. Service is an extremely important element when choosing your caterer. Be sure to ask about the ratio of servers to guests. Now, this can vary depending on the type of reception you have (seated dinner versus buffet). One good rule of thumb is to have one server for every 8-10 guests.
6. When determining a final head count for your caterer, you should include a meal for your entertainer (DJ or Band), photographer and Wedding Day Coordinator. But, always confirm with these vendors that they do want a meal before you include them in your head count. And, make sure to separate these from your guest head count because your caterer will usually charge you less for “vendor” meals.
7. If your caterer is providing meals for your DJ, Band or photographer, be sure to ask your caterer where the meals will be served for them and confirm that they will be eating somewhere “out of sight” from your wedding guests.
8. Ask your caterer to prepare a “leftover basket” that is a sampling of all the food at your reception. It’s likely that the bride and groom will not get a chance to eat and enjoy all of the wonderful food at the reception. Even if you’re leaving the next day on your honeymoon, it makes for a great late night snack.
9. Be sure to ask your caterer about “guaranteed numbers”. Many caterers will quote prices based upon a minimum or “guaranteed” number of guests. Many base their figures on a minimum of 100 guests. If your final guest count is less than a hundred, there may be an additional fee.
10. Find out what decorations (if any) are included in the caterer’s price. Ask to see pictures of their table displays. Some caterers that do buffets or food stations will include floral arrangements and other decorations. As your wedding plans progress, talk to your caterer about your color theme so that all decorations and floral arrangements will coordinate.
11. A recent trend when doing buffets or food stations is to have a menu board. This is where the names of the entrees (and sometimes a brief description) and items served are scrolled elegantly onto a piece of paper displayed on a board or in a picture frame.
12. Be careful on how many hors d’oeuvres you order. Do you really need eight different varieties? You’d be surprised – some caterers will suggest this! If you are doing hors d’oeuvres – four different varieties is usually sufficient. For more money-saving catering tips, check out the Frugal Wedding.


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Do’s & Don’ts for the Night Before Your Wedding

Don’t drink a lot of alcohol at the rehearsal dinner. Limit yourself to a glass of wine or champagne for toasting at dinner. Instead, drink plenty of water – it will make you feel and look good for your wedding day.

Do eat a good dinner. Don’t just nibble – you’ll need plenty of energy for the day ahead. Stay away from spicy foods or rich, heavy desserts. They may give you indigestion and stop you from getting a good night’s sleep.

Don’t go out after the rehearsal dinner. There will be lots of friends, relatives and out-of-town guests that will want to see you – but resist the temptation and go home directly after the rehearsal dinner.

After the rehearsal dinner, do spend time with people that are close to you… your parents, your bridesmaids or your fiancé. Try not to be around people that can be annoying or cause you any stress.

In addition, do spend some quiet time alone to meditate or visualize your wedding day. Try taking an aromatherapy bath with fragrant candles and soft music and just relax! Use this time to really visualize your wedding day. Picture it clearly (with details) in your mind – everything flowing perfectly!

Don’t over do it! The night before the wedding is not the time to be putting together your favors or to begin packing for the honeymoon. Make sure you plan accordingly and have everything done before the rehearsal dinner – if not, ask for help!!

Do go to sleep early. This may be difficult with all of the excitement. Allow yourself some time to wind down after the rehearsal dinner and before you climb under the covers. Do something you enjoy that relaxes you, such as reading a book or listening to soothing music. The bath may help you get drowsy!


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Top 10 Table Centerpiece Ideas

Small Potted Plants:

Check out your local nursery to find attractive potted plants or flowers to match your wedding colors and decor. You can find potted plants for as little as $5.00 a piece.

If you’ve got the time and the space, you can buy the seeds and grow your own plants. Place the plants in attractive ceramic or terra-cotta pots. Tie with ribbon or tulle for an attractive table centerpiece.

Bridesmaids Bouquets:

Use the bridesmaids’ bouquets as the centerpiece for your tables. It gets the bouquets out of the way and they are so beautiful to look at!

Hottest Hollywood Trend! Add sparkle to your bridesmaid bouquets with bouquet jewelry. Great for the bride’s bouquet, bridesmaid’s bouquets and add to your floral centerpiece.

Candles:

Candles make a very inexpensive table centerpiece and can add romance and elegance to any reception — and can double as a wedding favor. Try arranging several candles of varying heights. White candles are elegant and coordinate with any wedding decor, or use candles that match your wedding colors.

Hurricane Lamp:

For a single candle use a hurricane lamp. They can be rented very inexpensively from your florist or other supply store.

Here are a few tips to decorate your hurricane lamps:

Add greenery around the base

Along with your greenery, add in some silk or fresh flowers to add color.

For a little more sparkle, spread some gold confetti on the table around the candle.

Helium Balloons:

Balloons make a festive centerpiece for a more informal wedding. Talk to your florist, or better yet, a company that specializes in balloon decorations.

Fresh Cut Flowers:

Buy fresh cut flowers from a flower wholesaler or market. You don’t have to be an expert floral designer either; for instance, six fresh cut tulips or white roses look beautiful when simply placed in a small vase. This is a very simple, elegant and inexpensive way to have a floral centerpiece.

Favors that Double as Centerpieces:

You could also use your favors as your centerpiece. It is referred to as a “break away” centerpiece. Just arrange them nicely in the center of the table. Round, flat mirrors can be used as a base to place the favors on. The favors can be boxes of candy, votive candles, tiny potted plants, miniature bells, dried flowers, etc.

Food Centerpieces:

Decorate wicker baskets with ribbon and/or material and put homemade bread or muffins inside. You can also use a cheese board with cheese and crackers and garnish with fresh fruit or olives and peppers.

Floating Candles:

Take miniature candles and float them in a large bowl filled with water. You can also add a few flower or rose petals in the water.

Candles and Mirrors:

Place a clear candle holder with a candle (matching your color scheme) on top of a small round mirror. Decorate with ivy and flowers.


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Seasons of Love – Ideas for Every Season

In what season are you getting married? Below is a year of ideas to help you in your planning:
Winter
Holidays: Christmas & New Year’s Eve
Popular Colors: Blue, maroon, dark, rich colors

Centerpiece Ideas:

* Large snow globes
* Pinecone or evergreen wreath with pillar candle inside
* Ice sculptures
* Decorated Christmas tree

Favor Ideas:

* Miniature snow globes
* Christmas ornaments
* Evergreen-scented candles
* Stuffed Christmas stocking

Spring
Holidays: Easter & Memorial Day
Popular Colors: Yellows, pinks & pastels

Centerpiece Ideas:

* Tulips in watering cans
* Small birdhouses
* Small potted plants
* Decorated Easter or May Day baskets

Favor ideas:

* Small watering cans with a votive candles inside
* Personalized seed packets
* Flower bulbs
* Chocolate Easter bunnies

Summer
Holidays: Fourth of July
Popular Colors: Sea green, peach, vibrant colors

Centerpiece Ideas:

* Fish bowls with fish
* Sandcastles atop a bed of sand and shells
* Vases with flag

Favor ideas:

* Victorian fans
* Sun-catchers
* Seashell candles or soaps
* Personalized sunglasses

Fall
Holidays: Halloween & Thanksgiving
Popular Colors: Rust, gold and earthy tones

Centerpiece Ideas:

* Potted mums
* Jack-o-lanterns
* Bundles of wheat held together by a bow
* Miniature scarecrows

Favor ideas:

* Pressed leaf bookmarks
* Gourds or miniature pumpkins
* Trick-or-treat bags filled with candy


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Top 10 Favor Ideas

Watering Cans – Purchase small tin watering cans that can be found at craft stores. Place seeds or candies wrapped with tulle inside the watering can. Tie personalized ribbons onto the handle.

Beeswax Candles – Make candles out of beeswax. Beeswax can be purchased at hardware or craft stores. Make one candle per guest or two connected by a common wick. Tie with Ribbon and hot glue a silk flower to the bow to complete the look.

Cookie Cutters – Buy cookie cutters in the shape of hearts or other wedding themes. Attach with a recipe for sugar cookies or a small package of cookie mix to get your guests started.

Flower Bulbs – Give away flower bulbs. Wrap them in cellophane and tie with ribbons or place bulbs in decorated terra cotta pots.

Homemade Jam – Make jam and place it into small jars. Decorate the jars with lace around the lid or with ribbon. Finish the look with a label that lists your names and the wedding date.

Painted Champagne Flutes – Purchase champagne flutes and paint them or decorate them with ribbon. Leave the flute empty or place a small bag of candy inside.

Stained Glass Sun Catchers – Purchase or make sun catchers. Sun catcher kits can be purchased at many craft stores. Choose bells, hearts, or other wedding themes. Finish the favor by tying it with ribbon.

Tape Cassette – Make a tape cassette, either on your own or with your DJ’s help. Place all the special songs played at your wedding on the tape. Decorate the cover with a color photocopy of you and your husband or with a simple label depicting your names and the wedding date.

Chocolate Lollipops – Purchase candy molds specifically made for lollipops. Pour melted chocolate into the mold, and secure the lollipop stick. Place in the freezer and after it is hard, put your creations into small bags and tie with a ribbon. For an added touch, glue a small silk flower to the bow.

Caricatures – Hire a caricature artist to do caricatures of all our guests. Place the finished works into frames and distribute them to the guests later on in the reception. If a caricature artist is too expensive, assign someone to take Polaroid pictures of your guests instead.


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The Perfect Fit

With so many styles and designers of wedding gowns, how do you find just the right one for your body type? Some dresses that look great on the models may not flatter your unique body characteristics. Here are some great tips for choosing wedding dresses that will compliment every body shape and size.

FOR A LARGE BUST

* To minimize a large bust, consider styles that draw attention to your face.
* Opt for a keyhole or open neckline and avoid bodices with heavy beadwork.

FOR WIDE HIPS

* Try a horizontal or square neckline. This widens the shoulders.
* Draw attention to your upper body. Consider an empire waist and a decorated bodice.
* Keep the skirt plain.

FOR A THICK WAIST

* Avoid wedding dresses that have a fitted waist.
* Bring attention away from the waist with a unique neckline.
* Try a flowing gown or an a-line cut.

FOR A TALL & SLENDER FIGURED

* Try a bodice with a lot of decoration. This brings attention away from a small bust.
* Choose an off-the-shoulder neckline to show off nice shoulders and arms.
* A wide sash can draw attention away from a long torso.
* Consider a sheath style. If you want a full skirt, try an a-line or bias cut.

FOR A PLUS-SIZED FIGURE

* A basque waist style, characterized by low waistlines, gives the illusion of an hourglass figure.
* Other flattering styles include an a-line, which starts with a fitted bodice and gradually widens and also a ball gown with a flared skirt.
* Avoid sleeveless or strapless gowns if you are self-conscious about your arms.
* Avoid shiny gowns. These dresses create the illusion of being heavier.

FOR A PETITE FIGURE

* Choose a style that gives the illusion of height. Try princess shapes, sheaths or empire cuts.
* Avoid large decorations on the dress as they can be overpowering on a small frame.
* Try a gown with a wedding collar that circles the neck. This can lengthen a short torso.

REMEMBER…

* Wedding dresses often run small. Even though you might be a size 10 in casual attire, you’ll likely need to purchase a size 12 wedding dress.
* Don’t buy a dress that is too small for you in the hope that you’ll lose weight. It is much easier to take a dress in than to let it out.
* Choose a wedding dress that compliments your personal style and personality. That way your guests won’t only be talking about your beautiful gown, but also about how beautiful you look in it.


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Shopping for Your Wedding Gown

Dress shopping is one of the most exciting parts of planning your weddings but can also be quite hectic so here are a few helpful hints to maximize your dress hopping experience.

1. When you go shopping for your gown, don’t bring ALL six bridesmaids and your mother. If you bring too many people shopping, it can be VERY CONFUSING. Try shopping with just one or two people.
2. When you go shopping for your dress – look your BEST. Sometimes even the most beautiful gown, won’t look “right” when your hair is a mess and you’re wearing sweat socks. Here are a few more hints:
* Fix your hair before you go
* Wear a little makeup
* Wear nylons and shoes (not sneakers and sweat socks)
* Wear a strapless bra or bustier. (If you don’t own one, wait until you’ve purchased your gown, so you know exactly the right type to buy.)
3. Bring magazine clippings with you to your appointment with the bridal salon. This will give them a much better visualization of what types of gowns you like.

BUT… be sure to try on as many different styles as you can. A wedding gown is unlike any other dress and sometimes you just can’t tell which style is going to look best on you.
4. Trust YOUR instincts and you’ll know exactly when you’ve found THE DRESS.

MONEY SAVING SHOPPING TIPS….

5. To save money on your wedding dress, buy your wedding gown from a reputable discounter. You may not feel as “pampered” as you would from a bridal salon, but you can save up to 30% off the retail price.
6. When you to go order your wedding dress, order the dress in your current size. Don’t order a smaller size anticipating to lose weight. It’s always easier (and LESS EXPENSIVE) to take in a dress rather than letting it out.
7. If you’re buying your wedding dress and bridesmaids’ attire from a bridal shop… try and purchase ALL of the dresses from the same shop. They’ll usually give you a pretty good discount off the dresses or free alterations. If they don’t offer a discount… be sure to ask!
8. Before you order your dress, be sure to check into the shop. How long have they been in business? With lead times of over 6 months sometimes, you want to feel comfortable that the shop will be in business 6-12 months from now.


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Buying Bridesmaid Dresses

1. Start Early

Bridesmaid Dress manufacturers are constantly adding and discontinuing styles and often increasing prices on more popular carryover styles of bridesmaid dresses. As a result, it is strongly recommended shopping for and ordering your dresses as soon as you have made a decision on the bridesmaid dresses you want. Different bridesmaid dress manufacturers have different lead times. You will also want to leave enough time for alterations for your bridesmaid dresses – usually at least two weeks to one month before the wedding if not sooner.

2. Get Measured

The first thing you want to do is to have all of the bridesmaids professionally measured for their bridesmaid dresses. You can often do this at your first bridal shop or department store. This way you can cross reference them with the size chart for the manufacturer you have selected in order to ensure you order the size that is closest to their figure. Most bridesmaid dress designers make their dresses in accordance with the measurements of their own size chart and not to each individual. As a result, you won’t be able to assume that a size 8 from manufacturer “A” will fit the same way a size 8 does from manufacturer “B”. Also remember bridesmaids taller than 5’7 may need to add extra length to their dresses.

3. Consider Your Bridesmaids Before Deciding on Your Bridesmaid Dresses

When choosing a dress, it is the bride’s privilege to select the color and type of fabric of the bridesmaids’ dresses. It should compliment the bride’s gown, but it should also be comfortable and attractive for the attendants. Consideration should be given to the bridesmaids’ styles, color preferences, their figure types as well as their budgets.

4. Shop Online for your Bridesmaid Dresses

Help your bridesmaids save money buying finding a reputable buying service online. Online retailers offer much better prices than most bridal shops! You can even have the dresses shipped directly to each bridesmaid if you prefer just in case your bridesmaids live in different states or countries.

5. Order All At Once

You should order all your bridesmaid dresses at the same time as fabric dye-lots can vary. If you don’t order the dresses one at a time, the dresses might not all be from the same dye-lot so they might not all be the exact same color. This goes for dyed shoes as well.

6. Leave Plenty of Time for Alterations with the Bridesmaid Dresses

Once you order your dresses, be sure to set up an appointment for alterations for your bridesmaid dresses. Since most dresses will need some degree of alterations, you should allow plenty of time for two fitting appointments. Bridal attendants should bring shoes with the correct heel size to the fittings, as well as appropriate hosiery and slips.

7. Accessories

Accessories, such as shoes, gloves, shawls, purses and hair combs should also be decided upon once the bridesmaid dresses have been selected. Leave plenty of time for shoes to be dyed and picked up. Also consider what color hosiery you want everyone to wear, as well as bras and slips if applicable.


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Weight Training Basics

Weight training will firm your body and maybe even give you some killer biceps. While it doesn’t promise to reduce your weight, those toned arms will look great in your sleeveless gown!

Below are a few facts and suggestions for the novice body builder.

* To start, schedule a weight routine for twice a week, using a 5-lb barbell.
* Your weight routine should include 8-10 different exercises that each work separate muscle groups.
* Each individual exercise should include 10-15 repetitions. If you can’t do 10 repetitions, then your barbells are too heavy. If you can easily do 15, then you should choose heavier barbells to work with.
* If you plan on doing cardiovascular and weights on the same day, work out with weights first, and then move onto the aerobic activity.
* If you like the idea of toned muscles, but don’t feel that lifting weights is for you, consider swimming. The water provides gentle resistance and is especially good for those people who have weak joints.


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