The Ultimate Bridesmaid Checklist: 3 Things The Bride Will Forget To Ask But Definitely Will Need

By Guest Blogger

Being asked to be a bridesmaid is a huge honor, regardless of whether you’re a friend, family member, old classmate, sorority sister, or co-worker of the bride-to-be. My sister recently became engaged, and while that news alone made it a great day when she told me, it became even more special when she asked me to be her maid of honor. So many emotions filled my mind, but love and joy were the two that rang the loudest. I wanted to do everything I could to help make my sister’s big day as special as possible, which is exactly what every MOH and bridesmaid should do. I’m not in it alone!

 

Plan with Boundaries

 

We all know that weddings, as beautiful as they can be, are a very hectic occasion to plan.There are so many tasks; choosing a coordinator, finding the perfect venue, deciding on the menu and entertainment for guests, the list goes on and on. As a bridesmaid, you’ll need to take as many of the menial tasks as possible off the shoulders of the bride, all while making sure to not intrude on the planning process. Remember that this is the day of the happy couple, not you.

Give the bride-to-be your thoughts, but make sure you cater them to her, not you. For instance, if she loves a specific film or color pattern, suggest that she incorporate that into her wedding theme. If she decides to pass on an idea, don’t take it personally. This is a memory that your loved one will have for the rest or her life–she wants it to be her way, and that’s okay. In fact, you should always reiterate that the day is hers, and she should do whatever she likes.

When choosing a gift for the bride-to-be, make sure that it’s personal, memorable, and thoughtful. As I was shopping around for the perfect gift for my sister, I landed on this RedEnvelope page with gift ideas that completely fit her personality. Websites like this allow you the option for personalization, which can go a long way toward making a gift memorable. At the same time, they can be used purely to generate ideas and as inspiration.

Make the Time

 

Everyone has a life and schedules that they follow. Even so, you need to make time to be at as many pre-nuptial events as you can. If the bride-to-be wants you to attend a wine or cake tasting, do it. She’s asking you to be there for these special moments, and you should make the time to do so. You can let her know your schedule, and ask that she plan around it, but let her know that you definitely want to be there for her. As the MOH, I wanted to be everywhere, all the time. That was impossible, but I attended as many pre-nuptial outings as I could. This alleviated some of the stress from my sister. She didn’t have to worry about looking at flowers, or finding the perfect dress alone; she knew that I would be there for her.

As a bridesmaid, you should always make time. You don’t have to put your life on hold, but make sure you clear some time for the bride-to-be.

 

 

The Traditional Breakdown of Whose Family Pays for What

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By Lauren Frankfort

 The line of who pays for what for weddings these days is definitely blurred. But, if you or your parents want to stick to tradition (or just want to know the way it used to go for reference) there are very strict delineations for who should pay for what. Here, our etiquette experts outline exactly who should front what bill, according to age-old customs. Please keep in mind, though, that this all depends on your particular financial and family situation.

Traditionally, the bride’s family foots majority of the bill. Of course, this rarely applies these days, but it’s interesting to note all of the costs that the bride and her family were once held responsible for. They include obvious things like the wedding dress and accessories and the bride’s gifts to her bridesmaid and groom. A lot of big-ticket items fall on that list too like the wedding planner or coordinator, invitations and all its corresponding stationery, majority of the flowers, total reception costs, all photography and videography expenses, the groom’s wedding ring, music for the church and the reception, any rentals, the bridesmaid’s luncheon, accommodation for all bridesmaids, and, lastly, all transportation needed for the big day. 

As for the groom and his family’s traditional expenses, they’re a bit less of a burden. Costs include the bride’s engagement ring and wedding rings, the groom’s attire, the groom’s gift to his groomsmen and if wants their attire too, his gift to the bride, all of the boutonnieres and corsage for appropriate wedding party and family members, the officiant’s fee plus accommodation and transportation if they need to travel to the wedding, the marriage license, rehearsal dinner costs, lodging for the groomsmen, and transportation and lodging for the groom’s family and groomsmen.

How to make white pumpkin centerpieces

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An autumn wedding does not need to be associated only with orange, red, and brown. I found some lovely white pumpkins that can create the perfect vase for an all-white wedding. They are so easy to make that you’ll want to use them all year round.

Materials: white flowers of your choice, white pumpkins, knife, flower clippers

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Step 1: Like normal jack-o-lantern, cut a circle into the pumpkin. Don’t make it too small or too wide. Too small might look a bit funny with flowers in it, and too wide might make them fall out.

Step 2: I left all the seeds inside so it would be easier to stick the flowers in.

Step 3: Put some water into the pumpkin for the flowers.

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Step 4: Criss-cross the flowers so they hold their shape like above.

Step 5: Keep on criss-crossing until the pumpkin has a nice shape of flowers.

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Done! Aren’t they just the cutest?

Project and photography by Brittany Watson Jepsen of The House That Lars Built

Tips to Create a Natural Tablescape

By Crate & Barrel

Apr2013_IDo_tablesetting

Blend accessible, seasonal elements to create the perfect backyard reception table.

1. Set a Casual Scene.
Mix solid and patterned dinnerware—whatever you have on hand—and layer over a burlap runner. The natural texture serves as an earthy counterpoint to terra cotta. Instead of elaborate centerpieces, cluster bud vases of single seasonal blooms down the length of the table and keep the arrangements low for easy conversation

2. Bloom Simple and Seasonal.
No need for elaborate centerpieces. Instead, cluster bud vases of single seasonal blooms down the length of the table. Keep the arrangements low for easy conversation.

3. Do Something Unexpected.
Fill bowls with lemons and arrange among the flowers for a sunny burst of color. Fruit breaks up the monotony of the blooms and adds more textural interest. Scatter votives throughout to set the table aglow.

13 Tips to Pull Off the Perfect Summer

By   Azure

Summertime is the perfect time for outdoor I Do’s! You can check snow, sleet, and frigid temps off your list of wedding planning worries, and count on walking the aisle bronzed and beautiful with the sun shining bright.

However, every season, including summer, presents challenges for brides and grooms, but luckily we’re here to help you execute the summer wedding of your dreams!

If you follow the tips below as you plan your special day, you can sleep easy knowing that just about everything will go off without a hitch!

1. Timing is everything. Work with your photographer to plan your pictures and portrait sessions ahead of time. Right around noon the sun will be directly overhead casting unflattering shadows, so you’ll want to avoid taking photos and exchanging vows during the noon hour.

2. Choose hearty blooms. The heat of summer can do a number on freshwedding flowers, so make sure to select blooms that will maintain their beauty throughout the entire day. Or, keep fresh flowers to a minimum and get creative with other decor (like lanterns, paper flowers, succulents, feathers, etc.).

3. Think long and hard before booking a venue without AC. If the wedding venue of your dreams is not equipped with air conditioning, then summertime nuptials may not be in your cards. Be open to a change of venue or season to ensure you, your groom, and guests are comfortable and cool.

4. Consider a warm weather friendly theme or wedding guest dress code. There are plenty of wedding themes that work well for summertime, and allow you and your guests to dress to impress without overheating. Think Hamptons, Luau, or Barefoot on the Beach, rather than Black Tie and formal dress codes which are not conducive to the summer sizzle.

5. Avoid a blushing bride heat wave with a breathable, lightweight wedding dress. If you’re getting hitched in summer, then a big frothy ball gown is not the best choice. Instead choose a gown with minimal beading and layering, in a lightweight fabric like jersey, charmeuse, chiffon, crepe or cotton.

6. Opt for ceremony programs that double as fans, or provide guests with parasols for the outdoor portion of your nups. So that you don’t have wedding guests dropping like flies as you become husband and wife, these are two great options to keep them shaded and staying cool!

7. Have ample refreshments on hand. Make sure you, your wedding party and everyone in attendance has easy access to water by incorporating refreshment stations at the ceremony and reception.

8. Hire a seasoned MUA who knows how to keep sweat and shine to a minimum. Splurging on a great photographer will be a waste if your wedding day makeup can’t withstand the heat! So hire a makeup artist who’s been around the block and knows the right products to combat shine and sweat.

9. Ensure shade at the altar. So that you’re not squinting into your groom’s eyes, or straining to read the vows you worked so hard to write, choose your outdoor ceremony location wisely, and consider erecting an arbor or similar structure that will provide shade for you and your soon-to-be.

10. Keep calm and stay hydrated. Don’t let your nerves get the best of you, or a rowdy rehearsal dinner leave you parched on your big day. Focus on taking deep breaths, staying calm and collected, and make sure to drink lots and lots of water!

11. Choose a breezy bridal updo. While you may have your heart set on aromantic all-down wedding hairstyle, wearing your hair all-up will keep you cooler in the sun. If you just can’t part with the all-down ‘do, save it for the reception once the sun has set for the night.

12. Eliminate bum burns with chair covers or cushions. If your guests will be seated outdoors while the sun is shining, make sure to cover your chairs! Otherwise your memorable ceremony could be interrupted by yelping wedding guests as they’re directed to take their seats.

13. Serve light and fresh fare rather than heavy hors d’oeuvres. No one wants to feast on heavy, fried foods while dining al fresco during the summer months. So choose your menu accordingly, and serve dishes that are refreshing and light (think fruit skewers, sushi, gazpacho shots, shrimp cocktail, etc.).

Useful Resources for Designing on a Budget

 By Matt Slabaugh

“Mom, can I have a cookie?”

“Sure thing honey.  Here you go.”

“But this is oatmeal; I wanted a chocolate chip one.”

“Well Sweetie, beggars can’t be choosy.”

That was the first time I heard the phrase “beggars can’t be choosy,” though it certainly was not the last.  Of course my mother was teaching me that if you want something for free then you need to be willing to take what you’re given even if it’s not exactly what you wanted (though today oatmeal is one of my favorite cookies).

I’m a Graphic Designer, and like most in this profession I do not create ads for Nike, event signage for Red Bull, or page layouts for Wired Magazine.  I do not have access to star athletes, big budgets for helicopter aerial shots, or the luxury of being on-site at a photo shoot explicitly for my cover design.

Though, today I generally have a stock-photo budget, I try to use it as little as possible.  In part to keep the cost of my projects down and I always prefer to use “real” shot whenever possible over a staged one.  So I’ve developed a toolkit of sorts composed of go-to sites, handy tricks, and other resources for designing on little to no budget.

All of the sites in this post offer free design resources but always triple check the copyright information before using something in your project.  Now that legal is out-of-the-way, let’s get to it.

The One Stop Shop

If you have time to visit one site Smashing Magazine  is a fantastic catchall.  From Photoshop brushes and icon sets, to tutorials and best practice articles, this site has everything you need to keep your skills sharp and your tool box full of goodies.

Fonts:

Font Squirrel is my personal favorite.  Not only is everything free but all of there fonts are available for commercial use.  This is a great resource where everything is professional grade and ready for you to use.  Don’t forget to tip the staff and donate to the author.  Even if it’s a $5, it helps them continue to provide you with a high quality products and require nothing in return.

Dafont.com  is another good site; however you need to be sure to read the copyright information carefully because some of their fonts are labeled for Personal Use Only.

Sometimes you have a design that’s almost there, buy you feel it just needs that one extra little element, or ornament to be more precise.  Briar Press has a section where they offer over 700 free ornaments for you to use, and might be that piece you’re looking for. 

Photos:

At this point you should know that just about anything you can think of has a Wikipedia page, and that most of the Wikipedia have at least one photo.  But, did you know that many of those photos like the one below of a locomotives roundhouse (original size 11.5×9 inches at 300 dpi) are available under public domain?  Even  the ones are still under copyright are usually only under Creative Commons (i.e. as long as you attribute the author you can use it however you’d like).  All the photos shown on wiki pages are stored at Wikimedia Commons, a great resource to check when looking for something specific.

locomotives-roundhouse-wikimedia

Speaking of Public Domain, the Library of Congress has done a great job of converting and making available a ton of their images in digital format.  Going for an Americana look?  Want the original city plans of a major city for background?  The Library of Congress might just have what you need.

If you need more recent photos of a particular city, their Convention and Visitors Bureau site is worth a glance.  Just about every city has a CVB, and a quick e-mail asking for permission to use their photos will usually be met with a Yes reply.

Vector Images:

Vecteezy is a good site if you’re in need of vector illustration.  I have found many backgrounds and one-off elements that would have taken me hours to create otherwise.

Need some icons but want a little personality to go with them?  You could do a lot worse than The Noun Project  Everything is free, but just like most of these sites you’ll need to check attribution requirements.  This is an open community where anyone can submit an icon but, event with the multitude of authors you can mix and match to create entire sets that work together seamlessly.

I check at least one of these sites every time I need something, but always keeping in mind the words of my mother: if I want something for free I need to be able to work with what I’m given.  Though with these sites, more often than not I find the oatmeal cookie is what I wanted after all.

Don’t see your go-to site on the list?  Let me know in the comments. I’m always on the hunt for great resource sites and interested in what other designers use.