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AlphaBride: The Next Big Thing in Affordable Weddings?

AlphaBride: The Next Big Thing in Affordable Weddings?

On our constant quest for all things fab, fun, and affordable, an ingenious disrupter by the name of Sterlin Barkley came to our local group of wedding professionals.  Sterlin is the founder of AlphaBride.com, an online company that is all about "redirecting the cost of love."  

Here's the quick list of highlights from why I think AlphaBride has great promise in the industry:

  1. Legit Need -- There is a solid niche in the weddings industry to offer event professionals alternative choices to advertising on overcrowded and convoluted websites or buying leads that largely go unanswered.  For example:  AlphaBride will allow enrolled vendors to receive notice when, say, a bride needs videography services.  That video vendor - and others included - can then decide what deal he is willing to offer the bride.  She not only sees his public company info + goods, but she also privately gets to sees the bottom line deal from that video pro.  
  2. Convenience -- Based on the prior highlight, the process should provide some sweet comparisons and convenience for the seeking couple.
  3. Smart -- With the current business model of AlphaBride.com, wedding professionals don't have to pay until they book a wedding. 
  4. Transparency -- Interested vendors will be able to see what discounts are being given by others, so it makes it simpler for them to determine at what rate they can throw their hat in for the intended wedding.  As the great Sherlock Holmes alluded, "The game is afoot!"

At the time of writing this blog post, AlphaBride is in beta mode.  For the non-geek-inclined, it means their tech product is in testing or sampling mode with its target audience.  Sterlin and his team are currently asking for wedding planners in the Atlanta area with interest in learning more to join them at the Atlanta Launch Party; simply email him at dreams@alphabride.com with the subject line: "ABXO - Atlanta Launch Event."  Sterlin, we can't wait to see what comes next!  Keep us posted.  

Alrighty, Bargainistas, Beaus and Pros, please feel free to leave comments and let our crew know if you have any questions!  

Until next time... Happy planning!

Lauren

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GetWedForLess.com Produces Deal-liciously Haute Bridal Extravaganza on Sept 18th!

GetWedForLess.com Produces Deal-liciously Haute Bridal Extravaganza on Sept 18th!

Get Wed for Less is producing its third bridal extravaganza on Sunday, September 18th!  (Please keep reading to redeem special thank you gift below).

Metro Wedding Expo, a division of Get Wed For Less, is going down in less than a month at the illustrious Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center on the campus of the University of Maryland, College Park, from 12-4pm. You won't want to miss the incredible deals, FREE wedding dress giveaways courtesy of St. Anthony's Bridal, celebrity photographer photo opps, and fantastic bites and libations being dished out from the best of the best right in the DMV (that's DC, Maryland, and Northern VA for those who are not "urea"-conscious). 

We will welcome event savants and the host of the finest brides and grooms the DMV has to offer (yes, true words!)  There will be an abundance of local fave Creatives and Tastemakers to wow your socks off at #MWE (check out which local favorite wedding professionals are already confirmed to be in the house on Sept 18th here).  Get there early to catch the glam bridal gowns rocked during our Haute Runway Show -- sure to impress the most discerning of brides!  

As a special thank you for being a getwedforless.com subscriber, we would like to give you $10 off your ticket (that's almost free, friends!).  Redeem online through metroweddingexpo.com, click on Tickets, and enter promotional code GETWEDFORLESS. (You will find the place to enter your discount when you click on "Enter promotional code" directly under the ticket options).

Visit www.metroweddingexpo.com for additional event and exhibitor info (major exhibitor reveal specials are ending very soon and space is limited). It's not too late for your company to be in the spotlight! 

We hope you'll join us, and as always, Happy Planning!

Team GetWedForLess.com and the #MWE2016 Squad

 

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Cricut's Got Serious Swank - You'll Love This DIYers & Designers

Cricut's Got Serious Swank - You'll Love This DIYers & Designers

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through my links.

On my quest to discover + share all things fabulous, fun and affordable, I found serious swank in Cricut… and it awakened major craft-inspiration!  Now I know why this is a not-so-secret addiction for both the DIY crafter and the creative professional.

Fall leaf design cut on vinyl by Cricut red and gold

If you’re like me, you like to find a #hack wherever you can!  This inspiration-loving designer’s hack is acclaimed as the fun-to-use machine that allows you to easily make pretty décor, personalized gifts, and gorg cards.  According to fans far and wide, the Cricut Explore Air™– Cricut's uber popular electronic cutting machine, is the best on the market.  It’s versatile, intuitive and oh-so-precise. It's also surprisingly super affordable, especially since Cricut deeply discounted the cost by hundreds of bucks on the machine and bundles — just in time for the holidays and your special occasion!  #Winning

How Does Cricut Work?

Cricut precision red abstract image

The Cricut Explore Air™ lets you to cut a plethora of material, including cardstock, fabric, plastic, vinyl, and leather (and dozens of others). The company shared, “The Explore Air also features Cut Smart™ technology, which allows you to cut a wide range of shapes and sizes with exceptional precision, from ¼" [to] 23½" tall.  I love that the innate Air tech gives you Bluetooth capability allowing you to design/create and print anywhere from within the free Cricut app wherever you have a wireless connection.

Teacup paper design cut by Cricut crafter

Until next time…

Happy plan…err… crafting!

Lauren

P.S. A parting gift from Cricut: Get free shipping on all orders at Cricut with code FREESHIPNOV

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Lessons from the Cake Boss Buddy V.

Lessons from the Cake Boss Buddy V.

It was great meeting a modern-day culinary legend Buddy Valastro, most commonly known as The Cake Boss.  The Cake Boss, in some random case you don't know, is a hit reality TV series on TLC highlighting incredible edible art and cake engineering feats that makes millions of viewers each season (and customers of Carlo's Bakery) keep coming back for more. Meeting Buddy V. came with a great share of appreciation for the man behind the scenes.  Enjoy this fun piece with great insight from the Boss of All Cakes!

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Photo credit:  Get Wed for Less LLC

Never too successful to be able to relate.

Many "successes" lose touch with reality and become less helpful to those they are to serve once they reach a certain height.  I just listened to a clip in which 2016 Presidential Candidate Donald Trump said he had a "small loan" of $1 million from his father to start investing... in Manhattan!  Talk about out-of-touch!  (Here's the clip: http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/26/politics/donald-trump-small-loan-town-hall/)   

Sorry, Don, most of us can't relate.  I love that Buddy V. talked candidly about how he did the bridal shows, advertising in magazines and everything he could to make a name for himself.  Now, he's the Cake Boss and still super relevant to the hungry entrepreneur... maybe because he didn't start out with a small $1 million injection? 

Not everyone will be your biggest fan.

Buddy V. has millions of fans watching him and his crew on TV and following him on social media and online.  I loved hearing him say, "One of the most important things [to know is] you're not going to make everyone happy."  Gosh!  How many of us are recovering people pleasers or somehow pride ourselves on bending over backwards for, quite honestly, the undeserving host.  Well, it was a breath of fresh air to hear from one so well-loved, so "arrived," that this is a critical key to remember.  Be true to your brand, pros out there! 

Boss?  Always.  Savant?  Meh... Maybe Not.

Hitting on the realness and humility of The Boss, he commented, "Everybody always knows something more than we do."  "Everybody?" Yes, everybody.  Some of us are afraid to ask for help - been there!  We can't go it alone because as much as we try to be "know-it-alls," we don't know everything and trying to be the Jack/Jill of All Trades ends up hurting us and our businesses in the process.  He continued, "Surround yourself with A+ people.  It allows us to do a better job.  

I love the quote, "Everyone is superior in that I may learn from him."  There is always a lesson to glean.  Buddy V. reminded me once again during our session.

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Photo credit:  Get Wed for Less LLC.  Event:  Your Wedding Experience, Atlanta.

Until next time...

Happy planning!

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David Tutera Talks Wedding Trends, Dishes Advice

David Tutera Talks Wedding Trends, Dishes Advice

Our event of the summer had to be David Tutera's inaugural wedding experience event, marking his triumphant entrance into the bridal show arena.  Buddy V, The Cake Boss, was there, too, and we know why America loves him!  There were quite a few golden nuggets we took away from listening to Mr. Tutera himself.  Here, we'll give you our Top 3 Tutera Trends-n-Tidbits!

1) On Creating a Wedding Uniquely You

David mentioned that he always hears from brides that they want their wedding to be unique.  However, as he listens to them explain their vision, it's usually the same boring stuff!  David encouraged the wedding pros sitting in on this catwalk-side chat to really present some out of the box ideas.  How about you have the reception BEFORE the ceremony?  What we got from this segment: Think differently if you want something different from the norm and don't be afraid to try something new - as long as it's YOU!

2) Real Deal on Room in the Budget for Fabulous Story-Telling

He said what really makes a wedding "successful" is to tell the couple's story.  David's words shocked me when I heard him say it.  He said that he can tell the same story with a wedding budget of $30,000 as one with a budget of $1,000,000!  Of course,  $30K is the lower end for Mr. Tutera's repertoire, but, alas, that's great news!  Interestingly, this made me think of one of my favorite chefs in Miami.  Chef Eric's brand drew me in because he focuses on just that - telling the story of the couple in love through how he showcases everything from the setup to the food design.  

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Photos Credit (L and R):  Healthy Gourmet Miami, RSVP Events Miami

3) Battle Royale:  Sparkles v. Lace

If you're like me, then you have been seeing lace at every turn... on more than just wedding dresses.  Well, according to Sir David, his bridal line Mon Cheri was talking lace four years ago!  Sir David said out with the lace and in with the sparkles for wedding dresses!  This world-renowned trendsetter in all things wedding told us Mon Cheri is designing and showcasing "sparkling, more glamour, plunging" necklines.  We also noted subtly plunging sweetheart necklines on a couple of his bride models as they walked about Your Wedding Experience.  Needless to say, I loved seeing the gown on my fave summer bride Jessica shown here; I let her know, "David would be proud!" *Wink Wink*

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All in all, the "Wedding Experience" was wonderful.  It tastefully captured the Tutera brand, allowed many of us to get a foretaste of bridal trends, and connected me with some phenom fellow pros in the wedding industry.  Do you have any "events of the season" you would like to share with us?  If so, please leave comments below - we would love to hear from you!  

Until next time... Happy planning!

Lauren

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New Year Fitness Goals? Here's a Practical Workout Plan for You

New Year Fitness Goals?  Here's a Practical Workout Plan for You

With the start of the new year upon us it’s time to decide what we want to accomplish over the next 12 months.  

For a lot of people that includes wanting to look better in that little black dress (or wedding dress)... and a lot of you will probably get off to a great start, but find that it’s all too easy to slip into old habits that don’t produce the results that you’re looking for.  Then before you know it, the motivation of the New Year is going, and so are the short lived results that you may have seen.  

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Photo credit:  Joe Bauer, WeddingWOD.com

Why does this happen and how can we stick to a fitness plan that works…? 

Well, I’ve been working with people just like you for over 12 years.  I work with brides who want to lose a few pounds to make that wedding dress look absolutely amazing.  And the average person that wants to lose weight and feel better.  

The problem is that it’s easy to fail.

Many times people will find a plan in a magazine that will work great at first, but when they get really sore, or busy at work, the plan goes to the wayside.  

The truth is that the first part of the plan should be really easy to accomplish, and you should be rewarding yourself often.

It’s really all about creating the habit of working out, and being overall healthy.  Once you have the habit the results will come before you know it.

Here’s a good sample plan to get you started, and we’ll conclude with the all important habit creator:

We are going to make this super easy.  All exercises will be done for 2 warm up sets, and 3 working sets of 10 reps.  Each working set should be heavy enough that it burns pretty good by the end of each set.  Also, make sure to rest for 1 minute between each set. 

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Photo credit:  Joe Bauer, WeddingWOD.com

Monday - Resistance training day

- Barbell squats

- Dumbbell lunges

- Barbell deadlifts

Tuesday - Easy cardio

- 30 mins of your favorite cardio method.

*If you have a heart rate monitor wear it, and keep your heart rate between 130 and 150 beats per minute. 

Wednesday - Go for a walk

Thursday - Resistance training day

- Pull-ups, or assisted pull-up machine

- Cable rows

- Dumbbell biceps curls

Friday - Easy cardio

- 30 mins of your favorite cardio method.

Saturday - Resistance training day

- Dumbbell bench press

- Dumbbell overhead shoulder press

- Dumbbell skull crushers/tricep extensions

Sunday - Go for a walk

So, that looks easy, right?  It should be really easy.  As I said earlier… the biggest hurdle is creating your habit, and sticking with it.  Here’s how we are going to do that...

Let’s start with your calendar.

I want you to use a digital calendar even if it’s not part of your normal routine.  This is because the digital calendars can be set up to give you easy reminders, and alerts.  I use a simple Google calendar, which is totally free with an email address.  But any calendar will work.

The first step is scheduling your workouts.  Just pop them into your calendar.  

If you go to work, put your work schedule in there too, and put your workout before, or after work.  Then make sure to be realistic with the time it will take.  I don’t want you to feel rushed.  Give yourself at least an hour for your workouts.  They probably won’t take anywhere close to that amount of time, but put it in the calendar for that long anyway.  Then add a reminder to each workout event to remind you 30 minutes before the workout.

That was easy, right?

The next step is to tell 3 people about your goal to start working out, or losing weight, or whatever your specific goal is...  

Just make sure to tell people that you think will be supportive.  I always like to tell my mom all of my goals because I know she’ll be supportive.  :-)

Here’s an example in my life… my girlfriend and I have recently set a goal of spending a year on the road in an RV to visit all of the National Parks.  We both have the luxury of working from home, so that makes it easier, but we know the commitment to actually do it will be the hard part.  So, we’ve been telling all of our family members about it.  We’ve been telling them about how we are going to afford the RV, how we are going to get wifi to be able to work, and how we are going to do all of our workouts on the road (we are both competitive CrossFitters).

It’s a HUGE goal, but we’ve already told over 20 people about how we are going to do it, and shown them our whole plan.  

It’s scary, but now we have 20 people that are expecting us to make it happen, and that makes us that much more motivated to make it happen.

So, grab the phone and call 3 people that will support your plan.  Tell them all about this plan that I’ve given you above.  It’s super easy, and will start getting you weight loss results.  Maybe they will want to do the workout plan with you...

What’s next…

I would recommend doing this routine for one month before looking to step it up a bit.  Not a lot, but you have to push your body to continue to get results.

When that month is up I recommend that you head over to our website at WeddingWOD.com and take a look at our Burn & Tone workout program.  It will be everything you need to step up to the next level.

You can also send me any questions that you might have.

Joe Bauer CSCS

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

www.WeddingWOD.com 

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She's Got the Cake: An Interview on Wedding Cake Trends with Maria Velasco

She's Got the Cake: An Interview on Wedding Cake Trends with Maria Velasco

This week, I had opportunity to connect with Maria Velasco, the expert cake baker and designer and owner at Once Upon A Cake in Alpharetta, GA.  Satisfying sweet orders for decades, Maria has trained under the best in the industry and was a winning contestant in the North Georgia Cake Challenge. Maria speaks with us here about popular cake trends, the raging "naked cake," and how she got her start in baking.  

-- All photos are used courtesy of Once Upon A Cake.

GWFL:  How did you get started baking?

Maria:  Growing up, my mother never baked. I had a friend named Lisa, and I when I went over to her house, her grandmother was baking.  I found it so fascinating and just started baking!

GWFL:  Very cool.  Tell us, what are the most common trends in wedding cakes you're seeing these days? 

Maria:  Cupcake towers are very popular as well as rustic cakes like the "naked" wedding cake.  Burlap is big.  Brides are adding more color to their wedding cake.  One bride wanted yellow and grey on her cake.  Another wanted a purple cake.  When you add in color to the wedding cake, it adds that pop - it's phenomenal!  I just love that.

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GWFL:  What are the most common requests you get?

Maria:  A lot of brides are liking more intricate piping work on their cakes, like the Lambeth Method, which is a really intricate one.  Simple scrolls are not enough anymore.  Some brides go crazy and want like a science fiction cake or even an upside-down cake.  Anything goes now.

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GWFL:  That's very true - people are becoming less and less traditional.  Emily Post used to be the turn-to for most brides; now they want to go against the grain.

Maria:  Exactly!

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GWFL:  Naked cakes... they seem to be all the rage right now.  Professional bakers have been making them for quite some time, but this year, they seem to be taking off.  Tell our readers, what are "naked cakes" exactly and why do you think brides are loving them?

Maria:  Naked Cake is a rustic kind of country cake that doesn't have any icing on the outside.  There is filling between the layers, usually three or four layers in the cake and usually filled with butter cream.  It is decorated with fruit or flowers.  Not only is it great because it has less sugar, but in rustic settings, like a barn or woodsy venues, which is especially popular here in Georgia, it goes perfectly.  It's great for a country wedding and beautiful when topped with fruit or flowers.

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GWFL:  Do you have any suggestions on how to keep naked cakes fresh?

Maria:  After you bake it, wrap it up and leave it wrapped overnight to keep it moist. The cake is fresh because you fill it and decorate it the day of the wedding. 

GWFL:  Tell us about Once Upon A Cake's Naked Wedding Cake Giveaway.  How did you come up with it?  Do you need to be based in a certain area to enter the giveaway?

Maria:  Yes, wedding has to be based in Georgia.  We can up with it because we say it was a popular trend.  The cake is rustic, it's charming, and we wanted to give one away.  The details are on the site.  The bride with the most romantic story wins the cake. (Visit http://www.onceuponacake.net/contact-us.html to enter for your chance to win, Georgia brides and grooms).

GWFL:  How fitting that you're giving the cake away to the most romantic or fairy tale style wedding with the name "Once Upon A Cake!"

Maria:  Yeah! We're romantics over here!

GWFL:  I could tell when I met you and your husband years ago.  You could tell he loved his Maria!

Maria:  (Laughing) Yes.

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-- Connect with Maria >> You can email, call or text Maria at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (770) 654-9757.

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#BeatSolange Contest!

 
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The Unbeaten Path to Wedding Day Savings: Photography

The Unbeaten Path to Wedding Day Savings: Photography

Photo credit: Boogietek Photo + Cinema

Wedding season is upon us! Now that Spring has officially sprung, I’ve got no less than three weddings to attend this month alone. Perfect for a gal who blogs for a website dedicated to weddings, no? Anyway, for weddings in my community, it takes a village. That is, we who are able chip in financially to make the big day happen for our family members. So, it behooves us to score as many bargains as possible so that we all save some money while still creating a beautiful ceremony for the lovebirds. Perhaps the most costly item on the to do list is photography. It’s also one of the most vital components of the special day. How else can we remember that special day without pictures- lots of pictures? And of course, if you want great, high quality pictures (and everyone does), it’s not going to come cheap.

We’ve come up with a few ways to save your dollars for the big day.

1) Smartphone cameras - Put that ultra expensive fancy schmancy high tech phone to use. With amazing photography apps like VSCO, it’s possible to take beautiful pics from the comfort of your phone.

2) Social Media - Speaking of apps and smartphones, most people have them, so it’s a sure bet that most of your guests will be snapping away during the festivities. You can go online and create a hashtag just for your day. So, whenever anyone takes a picture and posts it to social media, they add the hashtag, and boom! You can collect different perspectives of your day of wedded bliss. #nofilter (Actually, you should probably expect quite a few filters).

3) Get a "professional amateur" - Craigslist is a great resource for all things - well all things period! You can always find a photography student or one who is starting out and needs to beef up their portfolio. Just make sure you check out their previous work, so there are no bad surprises on the big day.

4) Barter - As a bargainista, nothing gives me a greater rush than bartering. Offer whatever talent/service you have in exchange for beautiful images of your wedding day.

Whatever option you choose, try not to stress. This is meant to be a joyful event.

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Surprising Men in Your Life With Gifts

Gift baskets are often viewed as gifts for women, but... I'm here to tell you that men love surprises and gifts, too! We definitely have to customize the gift, so it appears masculine. Using key items (such as their favorite color, sports or hobby items, or cologne) and including dark-colored towels or robes help the gift baskets to have a masculine feel.

All the men's gift baskets that I have customized for my customers have been HITS!! Not only was the man surprised, but he was overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness of the gift! The men who received the gifts really appreciated the attention to detail in their various gift baskets.  

Here are a couple examples from real customers: 

One guy loved Starbucks Coffee. For Valentine's Day, his girlfriend hired me to customize a basket for him, so I assembled a coffee-themed basket filled with various flavors of Starbucks Coffee, his favorite candy, and we put in "Love Mugs" for the two of them to share. Guess what? He loved it!!!

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Another guy is an avid Dallas Cowboys fan!  For his birthday, his wife had me create a Dallas Cowboys basket for him containing paraphernalia that he didn't already have.  This collection was stocked with goodies like Dallas Cowboy glass beer mugs, a Dallas Cowboys scarf, and other items all inside a masculine leather-trimmed trunk!  (Our gift baskets aren't always the standard type of basket, which makes gifts from Stylish & Stellar Gifts by Dar more unique able to really stand out)!

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So, what can we take from this? Brides, be sure not to leave out special gifts for your father, your groom, father of the groom, groomsmen, and the officiant (a male officiant in this blog entry's case). A personalized Bible or Bible cover is an excellent item to add to any officiant's gift basket! 

Closing reminder: Men love receiving awesome gifts, too! To see more gift ideas, please visit StylishandStellar.com

Remember... Always Be Stylish & Stellar!

Dar

Photography credit: Stylish & Stellar Gifts by Dar

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Finding the Best Photographer for Your Wedding Day

"Picture quality is mostly determined by the camera, but composition is determined by the photographer." - Robert Shields  

b2ap3_thumbnail_1529973_570161293070510_123422380_o.jpgPhoto courtesy of One Shine Photography

Many couples don't understand the prerequisites for finding that right photographer for their special day.  One who can deliver quality photographs is extremely important, and I'm here to explain how to narrow your choices.

First, get to know your candidates by inspecting their work, talent, experience, and most importantly their prices.  Keep it simple. You are hiring someone to do a job, and that job should be done to your satisfaction, so quality should be extremely important.  Quality tools help make quality work, but  it also takes a vast amount of skill/talent, hard work, and efficiency to make sure that the photographer can tell your story behind the camera.  

Because you'll be looking at your photos years from now and showing them to family and friends who couldn't make your wedding, the pictures should be expressive and show a great deal of emotion.  The photographer's job is to be able to capture those best expressions in your best light!  Picture quality is mostly determined by the camera, but composition is determined by the photographer.  Photos should make a person looking through them feel like they were almost there.  That's why it is important to browse through a photographer's photos and check out their resumes to get more insight on their shooting styles and compositions.

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Photo courtesy of One Shine Photography

Experience is also a major factor in locating a photographer.  Just because it's your special day doesn't mean that you should spend your whole life's savings on hiring a photographer.  Research your selection of photographers, and, if possible, look for any known references who you could contact.  Also, read testimonies on their website/fan pages.   With the experience comes the love for the art of photography.  It all falls back on quality work.  You should get what you pay for and be able to trust the photographer can deliver your vision.  

Meeting and interacting with your photographer is important as well.  Don't be hesitant to call or meet up with a potential candidate before his shooting on that special day.  You should want to know what kind of photographer you're dealing with beforehand.  Look for an audacious, confident, and charismatic photographer who is 110% sure they can deliver.  That degree of comfort will only make you more certain that you've made the right decision.  

Capturing those special candid moments of you and your significant other are priceless. They are moments that you can't get back, so thoroughly research your choices of photographers to make sure that your wedding day is just as perfect as you envision it!

- Robert

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The Unbeaten Path to Wedding Day Savings: Getting Your Money Right

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Soon after couples announce their engagement, planning the wedding becomes one of the first financial obstacles that the couple has to overcome together. The best thing to do is to learn about typical trends when it comes to planning a wedding and what mistakes lead to the most financial failures among couples during this process.

Realistically, the best thing to do when planning for a wedding is to start small and as early as you can. Today’s world is full of couples that are getting engaged within the first year to year and a half of dating, which doesn’t leave much time to save before the planning starts for the big day. Here are my tips to help you spend less and be empowered financially:

  • - Keep a spreadsheet keeping track of all of your expenses, so you know what you are spending and where.

  • - Be sure to look at the big picture, what really matters to you both. Instead of wanting the best of everything, simple try to have the best of what you can afford and for what is important to you.

  • - Take advantage of the skills your family holds.

  • - Of course, everyone would love for their one of a kind special dress but buying a pre-owned dress is much cheaper and can still be your very own. Think about buying pre-owned then changing a few things on the dress to make it “customized and original.”

  • - There has been a common trend of starting a “wedding account” among financial advisers these days.  Even if you are not engaged, it's not early to start saving. If a person has even the slightest desire to get married some day, he can start saving before dating someone. I guess you could call it the “401-Wedding,” if you get what I mean.

Invest in your marriage, not in your wedding day. There is nothing more stressful for a couple than starting their marriage broke because they had a big lavish wedding day. If the decision is to have more flowers, the perfect venue or something else that is over the top, take the road less traveled and spend less. Having a little nest egg going into your marriage will make things a little easier and less stressful through the first few months.

Still need more info? Should you put everything on credit cards, or create a separate checking account specifically for wedding expenses to avoid overspending? Check out more tips on Credit Card Insider’s community page. Also, try the wedding budget calculator here.

Related articles:  “How Much Does a Wedding Cost?” and “I’m Engaged! Now What? - First Steps for Newly Engaged Couples.”

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Money-Saving Wedding Venue Tips - The Unbeaten Path to Wedding Savings

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You're engaged and checking around at the traditional venues in town.  You're most likely thinking, "Hmmm... can get a little expensive for a room." Sit back and give yourself a minute to think outside the box. There are many options available that might reflect your personal taste and style, cost less, and make a more memorable reception. 

Residential Communities

A lot of residential communities offer recreation/party rooms. In fact, I did a wedding reception in a apartment party room once in the Southwest Waterfront area of Washington, DC. The couple saved so much!  Let's start with their fee; it was just a few hundred dollars. The office included use of the attached kitchen, tables, and really beautiful chairs. To spruce it up a bit, I used white table cloths and went to the fabric store where I bought netting in three colors and used as overlays. I also used colored lights, made fat tulip bouquets for centerpieces, sprinkled contrasting colored petals around the rest of the table, and BAM! A few hundred dollars looked like thousands had been spent. It CAN be just that simple if the budget is really tight. 

Home Sweet Home

Also, consider a house/backyard reception - really! Don't rule out the option because you may be thinking it to be cheap or corny.  Even if not your own house, maybe a relative's or friend's whose backyard is spacious enough can be your wedding site. It does not have to be like in "Father of the Bride" (love the Steve Martin version). Think about it. What could be more personal and intimate? Dress it up by strategically placing floral designs, renting green plants, using simple, elegant dinnerware. These elements will truly transform the space when placed and coordinated just right.

Municipal and Community Treasures

Lastly, local fire house halls, VFW's, and similar type organizations often are available for rent - and are often diamonds in the rough. They can be easily transformed into beautiful settings. A lot of these venues have plenty of free parking for guests and often offer lower alcohol prices and extended hours. 

Faith-Based Buildings

If you are considering, perhaps, church halls, they now are not as strict as they once where. Some permit dancing and even a little wine and or bubbly. A word to the wise and something to consider: Be respectful as far as music at faith-based sites. While I love a little Trina and Two Chainz myself, church receptions won't be the right place for them; there are many acceptable alternate songs out there. (Smiling) Alcohol may be minimal - or nonexistent - here, but, WOW, your pockets would be a little heavier! (By the way, some of the best receptions I have done where ALCOHOL-FREE). Think creatively, think less is more, think it's your day, so it's all about creating something real that will last. 

Thinking outside the box can be challenging in finding your venue. However, it can create a meaningful, symbolic day no one will forget.

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Jeffrey Brown, JaiLynnEvents.com

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The Unbeaten Path to Wedding Day Savings

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Season's Greetings, Friends!  

The 2013 holiday season is still going strong, and we're just days away from the New Year!  Many of us are enjoying lots of needed time with loved ones and are already taking way too much [insert your fave holiday cryptonitreat here] down the hatch.  Warm memories and cherished traditions invoke the nostalgia that magically comes this time of the year. One of my heartfelt memories took place this very holiday six years ago the love of my life popped THE question. The exuberation I experienced in that moment was nothing like ever before. Within weeks, I was in wedding planning mode!  If you're like me, I was reading any and everything wedding that I could get my hands on - eventually becoming overwhelmed. 

These sentiments led me to unpack the next series: "The Unbeaten Path to Wedding Savings." I wish I had had a resource like this series during the midst of planning my wedding. As our gift to you, your bargainista team at GetWedforLess.com will be collaborating with highly respected industry experts over the next few weeks on how to curb costs - without compromising quality - on each of the big wedding expenditures (venue, catering, dress, honeymoon, etc).

We hope you enjoy a very merry holiday season!  May it be a time of appreciation for what has been, what is, and what you hope the future to be. 

Happy celebrating!

Lauren & Your Bargainista Crew

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How to Personalize a Gift for the Person Who Has Everything

How to Personalize a Gift for the Person Who Has Everything

Like many of you, I used to struggle with the answer to this question:  "What do I get for the person who has everything???"

Like my grandmother, she had everything known to man! She even had things that she never even used - still wrapped in the box!  When gift time came on her birthday or at Christmas, it really became a small migraine for us!! So now in my mature years, I now know how to personalize a gift for the person who has everything...

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Felicia Green
I have become a Stylish and Stellar Gifts by Dar fanatic! Every gift basket I have purshased for my associates, friends, and fami... Read More
Thursday, 05 December 2013 08:44
Lee Savoy
Wonderful article. Thanks for giving me some wonderful gift giving ideas.
Thursday, 05 December 2013 09:21
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The Wedding Dress Crunch! - How to Get Your Dress with Less than 5 Months to Spare!

Photo credit: Brittany Marie Photography

It’s (t) - 5 months ‘til your big day (or much closer), and you’re wondering, “How in the world am I gonna “Say Yes to the Dress” in time?!”  Lucky for you, Team Get Wed for Less has come to the busy, bargainista bride’s rescue!  We’ve also consulted the wedding savant sisters over at Kreative Sentiments, a DC-based wedding planning company, for suggestions they share with their brides.

Online Winner for the Dress Crunch

Our favorite online resource for low-price, designer gowns in a jiffy is PS Bridal out of the great US of A.  With a 100% satisfaction and lowest-price guarantees, these pros are known worldwide for their impeccable service and expansive inventory, which caters to brides of every figure (sizes 0-32+). They even allow you to ship overnight and offer helpful options if your fave gown isn’t in-stock but still needed ASAP.

Local Dress Crunch Recommendations

Kimberly & Kelley Smith, the dynamic duo at Kreative Sentiments, recommend “purchasing a gown ‘off-the-rack.’” This way, you can avoid the likelihood of not having your gown in time.  You see, the gowns you’d traditionally order from a bridal boutique typically take months before they’re finished being sewn and delivered.  Furthermore, altering your gown upon arrival can take additional weeks before your gown is aisle-ready.  

Here are a few go-to spots to find gowns off-the-rack suggested by the savvy sisters at Kreative Sentiments:

  1. J.Crew (online only) - Notably a GetWedforLess.com favorite for the whimsical, graceful bride, we were happy to see J.Crew made the Kreative Sentiments list, too.

  2. White House | Black Market has a solid selection of tea-length dresses for the unique-chic bride.

  3. Local consignment shops

  4. Seamstress - “A good seamstress could potentially have a fitting and sew a dress in a four-month time period,” noted Kimberly Smith.

  5. Nordstrom, while more on the pricey end, carries lots of gorgeous in their nationwide locations with Wedding Suites.

  6. David’s Bridal often has gowns off-the-rack and sometimes this popular option can do a rush order.

A Word to the Wise:  Don’t discount thrifting, my friends!  Plenty of consignment shops sell only luxury and premium brand clothing that have either barely been touched or were never used.  

Just remember, when you do find that gown - thrifting or not - it may need to be altered, so add some wiggle room for likely alterations into your timeline.

Until next time… Happy planning!

Friends:  Do you have a great way that you found your wedding dress in a crunch?  Please share with your fellow readers!

Photo courtesy of Kreative Sentiments Inc.

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Your Perfect Honeymoon Starts at the Bridal Shower

Congratulations on this next chapter of your life - GETTING MARRIED!!!

My name is Julie E., and I am a romance specialist. To say this is a big step in your life is an understatement, and the getting wed process started as soon as you got that ring on your finger. You're so excited and are probably already booking appointments for wedding planners, bridal gowns, picking out flowers, picking the venue, and cake testing. Commemorating this important time in your life is not complete without having that perfect bridal shower that gets you all ready for your honeymoon.

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Military Couple Wins LIVE 'Wedding of a Lifetime'

Military Couple Wins LIVE 'Wedding of a Lifetime'

At first glance, J. LeVar & Nyoka Bryan appear to be your everyday working couple with two adorable kids, but when one digs a little deeper, a story of inspiration to defy all odds is discovered.  T. Rose International Bridal Shows heard their story while on the hunt for a couple to whom the company and generous vendors would give a live, "Wedding of a Lifetime." Nyoka and J. LeVar shot to the top of the list.

"I had a crush on Nyoka since our eighth grade science class," admitted J. LeVar, techie, business-savvy husband and dad of the Bryan home in Atlanta, GA.  Much to his dismay, Nyoka never let it go beyond the "friend zone."  Then, when she joined the US Army immediately after high school and was deployed to Iraq, J. LeVar thought for sure all hopes for his long-awaited romance were out the door.  Then, 2006 and a phone call came.

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Fool-Proof Celebration Tips: Seasonal Entertaining for Less

Fool-Proof Celebration Tips: Seasonal Entertaining for Less

Let’s face it, life doesn’t get put on hold so that you can plan your wedding. In fact, impending nuptials seem to attract projects and responsibilities like a moth to a flame. You said “yes!” and the floodgates of celebrations opened. Whether it’s a “meet the parents” luncheon, a brunch for your bridesmaids or dinner with your soon-to-be in laws, suddenly your one special day has spread into ten. I’m Tamiera from TheLifeforLess.com, here to share a few fabulous fool-proof celebration tips, designed with you in mind. Even busy brides can host fabulously and live The Life for Less money, in less haste and with less stress.

Impress the In-Laws Dinner Party

  • Don’t reinvent the wheel. Now is not the time to throw caution to the wind and try out a new adventurous recipe. Stick to an easy to prepare, awe inducing classic that uses simple, high quality ingredients. We love something fabulous and deceptively easy like Ina Garten’s Beef Bourguignon.

  • Cool fall and winter months are notorious for being a time to pack on the lbs. Keep your eye on the wedding dress prize by skipping the usual high calorie side items and desserts. My yummy Warm Winter Salad and Skip the Pie Poached Pears are a delicious alternative.

For Salad

Squash_photo_credit_FoodNetwork.com

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed

½ lb Brussel sprouts, halved

2 Anjou pears, cored and thin sliced

½ cup Pecans

2 oz. Gorgonzola Cheese

2 cups Arugula

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

For Vinaigrette

2 tbsp whole grain mustard

Zest and juice of ½ lemon

¼ cup cold pressed apple cider

Salt and pepper

Put the cubed butternut squash and halved Brussel sprouts on a foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle the veggies with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss to coat. Roast them at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden and tender. Remove and set aside to cool.

Roast the pecans in a dry skillet on low heat until you can smell them. Combine all of the ingredients for the vinaigrette in a bowl and whisk into submission. Toss the arugula and pears together with some vinaigrette and put into your serving bowl. Add your roasted veggies to the salad and top with pecans and crumbled gorgonzola. Serve vinaigrette on the side.

CALORIE SAVING TIPS

- Nix the olive oil in the dressing and allow the mustard to give you a thickened, creamy texture. Mustard has no sugar and 0 grams of fat.

- Keep cold pressed, organic apple cider on hand to use as a sweetener. It will replace honey, maple syrup and sugar in teas, vinaigrettes, marinades and smoothies. It can be reduced to replace honey in your glazes and sauces.

Remember to…

  • Style your table! Be purposeful about making your table or entertaining area beautiful and eye- appealing. Use simple flowers, uniform in variety and/or color to make an easy arrangement. Don’t be afraid to repurpose items from in and around the house to help. A bowl of apples or fallen pine cones make a lovely Autumnal centerpiece.

  • K.I.S.S the party (Keep It Simple Sweetie). Make dishes that don’t require you to be in the kitchen much once your guests arrive. Renting dishes, glasses and flatware (rental companies will typically pick up the dirty dishes after your event. Score!) Offering food family style, limiting drink options and incorporating quality pre-made appetizers or desserts is a great way to keep party pressure down.

Have fun! No one likes a burdened bride-to-be. Remember that your family and friends are celebrating you and your fiancée during this pre-wedding time. If you all are not enjoying yourselves, what is the point? Burned the ENTIRE meal? Oh well! Take it in stride and serve that take-out lo mein right on your grandma’s beautiful china.

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Four Reasons Not to DIY

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Photo credit: WorkingBrides.com
While you'll have plenty of projects to "DIY," your wedding day, one of the most important days of your life, may not be one of them. With 13 years in wedding planning, here are my top 4 reasons to enlist the help of a pro and forsake going it alone.
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Surprise Pinterest Wedding: One Couple's Inspirational Tale

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Photo credit: Meshali Mitchell Photography

For many of us, a conceived thought remains just that - an idea with little to no action following. This is not the case for one Prince Charming who resolved in his heart to give the love of his life the surprise of her lifetime… enter Ryan + Amanda.

“I overheard Amanda say it was her dream to get engaged and married on the same day,” recalls Ryan.  This was almost two years ago when the groom heard his lady express this to a friend.  Ryan got inspired.  When he found Amanda’s Pinterest page, he struck the personalized “wedspiration” jackpot!  Amanda had her “Dream Wedding Day” all pinned up!

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Mark Smith
Hi- This was a very cool wedding and video! We had 2 girls get married in 2 weeks! Lydia, married Ben Rexroth. They were marr... Read More
Monday, 21 October 2013 13:08
Lauren
HOW EXCITING, MARK! Busy indeed! We'd be happy to do a blog post for the couple - we love Real Weddings and fun stories we can s... Read More
Thursday, 31 October 2013 19:37
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The Event Planner’s Secret Weapon!

I think it’s safe to say we entered the event planner’s hidden vault with this find. Just a week ago, we uncovered two savvy apps for event planners.  Then, PerfectTablePlan’s Andy Brice shared a splendidly simple, smart, and cost-effective way to create event seating plans with us.  

    PerfectTablePlan Sample Wedding Layout:

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Here’s our "Top 5 List" of PerfectTablePlan's highlights:

  • 1) Import guests from spreadsheet and personalize with ease (meal preferences, status, age, and other helpful seating 411)

    2) Detailed seating proximity preferences come in quite handy when you have two guests who need to be seated together - or those two who should be as far away from each other as possible.  Using PerfectTablePlan’s nifty Jolly Roger icon (you know, that pirate skull with crossed bones image?) tells the software Uncle Joe and Uncle Bobby need to be seated at opposite poles and places them in safe zones on the layout.

    3) User-friendly templates for easy creation of escort or place card and organized guest lists and seating assignments within the software

    4) Budget-friendly cost puts it within reach of most bridal budgets (runs under $30 for the one-time software download for Mac or PC)

    5) Free email support (They've been quite the responsive team)!

Through the software, we noticed how literally hours of seating layouts can be shaved off and seating layout and formatting headaches evaded.  We look forward to seeing what other updates the pros at PerfectTablePlan come up with.  If you’d like a sweet, limited-time deal on the download of the Home Edition of the software, follow this exclusive GetWedforLess.com link for your copy: http://www.perfecttableplan.com/html/purchase_with_coupon.html?coupon=GetWedForLess.  

FYI: The 25% discount for our readers is good until October 20, 2013.

Until next time… Happy planning!

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What Style of Photography is Right for Me?

This is a very common question for a bride-to-be to ask herself. Sure, you may have a vision of what you want your photographs to look like when everything is all said and done, but how do you convey this to your photographer? The first step is differentiating between the different styles of photography. Here are a few of the basic (and most popular) styles today!

Traditional/Classic/Formal

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(Photo credit: Brittany Marie Photography)

This is a style of photography in which the majority of your photos will be posed and/or staged.  The photographer will place you perfectly in order to capture the traditional wedding photos.

The photographer will be highly involved in this process, sort of like a director. Everything from the way you stand, to where you look, to how you hold your bouquet, the photographer will tell you exactly what to do.

This is a classic form of photography that will definitely be pleasing to all generations attending your big day! These do make for timeless album photos.

Photojournalistic

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(Photo credit: Brittany Marie Photography)

This style of photography concentrates more on telling a story. Rather than capturing a specific moment in time like the Traditional style, this style captures feelings and emotions throughout the day.

With this style you can expect your photographer to follow one step behind, almost like quiet, less interfering paparazzi. This will result in more candid, natural photographs. There is minimal editing done to preserve the naturalness of the images captured.

The photographer will be less of a director and more in the shadows. With this style of photography you can also expect to say, “Wow, I don’t even remember…(insert “seeing my mom tear up,” “your sister laugh at the best man’s speech,” or “my niece twirling around on the dance floor”).

These will also make for amazing album photos.

Artistic/Editorial/Modern

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(Photo credit: Brittany Marie Photography)

This is a style of photography that is going to leave almost everything in the hands of the photographer. These photos are going to have different angles, unique lighting, and unexpected composition. 

There can be more post-processing that goes into these images to create a specific vision.

It is important to thoroughly look over a photographer's portfolio to make sure you both have similar tastes and visions.

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Two Apps for Savvy Event Planning

In our hunt for "all things fun, fabulous, and affordable" in the wedding industry, I checked into a local DC Tech Meet-up last night. There were tons of stellar apps and tech sites demo'd by some serious #TechInnovators.  One that shined particularly brightly was SocialTables (socialtables.com), a dynamic tool widely used by event pros and hotels.  

Working with floorplans, SocialTables seamlessly lays out event spaces on a user-friendly platform.  Let your imagination run wild here, planners and brides!  You can set a ballroom or expo space to fit exactly to your specs, organize seating arrangements by guest name, and even throw in needed registration/greeting tables or booths, furniture, and more into the space.  If that weren't enough, SocialTables creates a 3-D walk-through model of your environment.  How cool is that?

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Photo credits, in order: Boston Event Planning/Corinthian Events, Tech.co, SpecialEvents.com

With the user capabilities, the massive saving of time and energy, ease of use, and a multitude of options for space design and seating, SocialTables is a gem I'm sure glad was discovered on the hunt for all things awesome.

Honorable Mention:

We'd be remiss if we didn't mention one app to keep on your radar, planners.  SurveySnap (survey-snap.com), headed up by Ryan Sears, is a customizable web platform that allows users to collect info on a site and create layouts of the entire building. More capability is being built out for wedding and event planners since the current, dominant user demographic is comprised of engineers and architects.

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Until next time... Happy planning!

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Hairstyles That Will Complement Your Dress

So you found your perfect wedding dress. The one that made you cry as well as your mother and all of your friends. It complements your curves in all the right ways and you know it’ll make his jaw drop when he sees you walking down the aisle. It’s “the one.

Your look is far from finished though. Have you thought about what you’re going to do with your hair? It’s a small, but crucial part of your wedding look! Having the right hairstyle can make you and your dress look PHENOMENAL. Don’t stress if you don’t have any ideas for your hair yet, I’m here to help! I’ve done my research and scoured the internet to find the best hairstyles for you.

Taking the shape of your face into consideration when choosing a hairstyle is important, but don’t neglect the neckline of your dress! For your hair to complement your dress, it has to look right with the neckline. Wedding dresses have many styles of necklines. There are Bateau, High, Halter, Square, Scoop, Asymmetrical, Illusion, and V necklines. Which one does your dress have?

Asymmetrical/One Shoulder:

Photo Courtesy of: kleinfeldbridal.com

Dresses with these kinds of necklines tend to have more weight on one side of the dress since there’s only one strap. To balance out this uneven weight distribution, go for hairstyles that are styled on the opposite side of the strap. Side ponytails would work very well! There are many ways you can style this look.

Photos Courtesy of (left to right): www.bridesheadrevisited.net, Grey Zisser, Grey Zisser, Jessica Janae Photography

Bateau:

Photo Courtesy of: kleinfeldbridal.com

Bateau necklines usually sit either at or sometimes a little above the collarbone so it will specifically highlight your neck. Up-dos will complement this neckline best. It will add height to your hair and will elongate your body as well. Anything that makes you look taller and slimmer is always a good thing! The best up-dos for bateaus are neat chignons and bouffants.

Photos courtesy of: preen.me (left) and fordmodels.com (right)

High Neck (or Closed), V-neck, and Halter:

Photos Courtesy of: kleinfeldbridal.com

The high and closed neckline covers your entire chest area and V-necks and halters draw attention to your chest and shoulders so the best hairstyle to go for is an up-do. Since your dress already has so much going on in the chest and shoulder region, having your hair down will be too overwhelming.

Photos Courtesy of: www.bridalguide.com (top left), www.bridepop.com (top right), Keith Lathrop (bottm left), www.hairstylesar.com (bottom right)

Illusion:

Photos Courtesy of: kleinfeldbridal.com

This neckline has a sheer fabric that spreads across from the chest to the shoulder/collar area. This gives designers a lot of room for design because the sheer fabric is like a blank canvas so you need to take this into account when choosing a hairstyle. If there is a lot of detail on your neckline like beads or intricate designs, any simple up-do would be great because it will showcase the beautiful design on your neckline.  If there is very little or no detail then opt for a half up-do. You don’t want to put all of your hair down because it would take away too much attention from your neckline and that’s one of the highlights of your gown!

Photos Courtesy of (left to right): Chloris Couture, Ciara Richardson Photography, Ciara Richardson Photography

Scoop:

Photo Courtesy of: kleinfeldbridal.com

Oftentimes dresses with scoop necklines feature more detailing on the bodice, which draws eyes to that area so to evenly distribute the attention to your face a low side ponytail is ideal. If you want to add a little flair, you could braid a part of your hair and then turn it into a headband.

Photos courtesy of: braihairstyles.blogspot.com (left) and keikolynn.com (right)

Sweetheart, Strapless, or Off-shoulder:

 

Photos Courtesy of: kleinfeldbridal.com

These necklines bare your shoulders so the best thing to do with your hair is to have it free flowing or you can also do a half-up, half-down hairstyle with soft curls.

Photos courtesy of: perthweddinginspirations.blogspot.com (left) and WENN (right)

I hope this post was helpful and gave you some ideas for your wedding hairstyle. Whatever you end up choosing, I’m sure it will look amazing!

Until the next shopping trip…lots of fashionable love,

Lisa xx

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Amelia Traver
Wedding hairstyles should look beautiful and elegant and all the above ones are just perfect. During wedding most of the people t... Read More
Thursday, 23 January 2014 00:09
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How to Lose 15 Pounds Before Your Wedding

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Would you like to lose 15 pounds before your wedding?  

If you answered, “yes,” you’re not alone.  In a recent survey both men and women were asked about their highest priority before tying the knot.  

Their answer… losing weight.  

Losing weight before their wedding was more important than finding the perfect dress, the cake, and even booking an amazing venue.

If you think about it, this actually makes a lot of sense.  People look their best when they’re lean and toned, but sometimes life can get in the way.  When this happens losing 15 or 20 pounds can be necessary to getting back to that craveable look that we all want.

Losing weight before your wedding simply requires that you follow a few easy steps, but the commitment can be a serious undertaking that shouldn’t be taken lightly.  Before starting any new weight loss diet, please consult your doctor.

Your Diet

It’s easy to follow any of the hundreds of diets that are thrown in your face all the time, but it’s very important that you choose a diet that you can really stick to.

If you think of this diet as something that you’ll do long term, it will help your chances of success through your wedding.  And we’d all love to see you continue your new healthy diet long after your wedding and into your new life ahead.

Dieting can have many pitfalls, so be sure to plan out your diet in advance.  Find recipes, and cook your meals at home.  That way you can easily pack foods with you throughout the day.  This will keep you from slipping into the diet trap that includes getting hungry and eating out.  

If you find that you do end up eating out and having foods that aren’t on your diet, look back and analyze the series of event that lead to that action.  That way you can quickly bounce back to your diet plan and be back on track to losing 15 pounds before your wedding.

Here are a couple of great recipes that you can make today…

Beef and sweet potato

1-2 pounds of grass fed ground beef

½ yellow onion

2 yellow or orange sweet potatoes

1 stick grass fed butter

Turn stove top to ¾ temp. Chop up onion and add to frying pan.  Add ground beef to onions.  Cook until beef is ready.  Microwave sweet potatoes until nice and soft.  Plate sweet potatoes, and cut lengthwise.  Add about 1/8th cube of butter to each sweet potato (while hot).  Add ground beef and onions on top of sweet potato.  Add organic, low sugar ketchup if desired.  This make 2-4 meals depending on your calorie needs.

Amazing Scrambled Egg Salad

2-4 free range chicken eggs

Organic spinach

Organic coconut oil

Organic string cheese

Turn stove top to ¾ temp.  Add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to a frying pan.  Add 2-4 cups spinach to frying pan.  Add eggs to frying pan.  Add 1 stick of string cheese to frying pan.  With a plastic spatula chop string cheese into ½ inch chunks.  You can also chop up the spinach in the pan.  Then scramble the eggs until cooked.  Serve warm or cold.  

You can find more great recipes at:

http://everydaypaleo.com

http://marksdailyapple.com

http://paleomg.com

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Exercise

Your diet is only half of the equation.  Exercising will supercharge your weight loss efforts.  But like dieting it’s important that you keep yourself on track.  

To keep yourself on track and motivated it can be helpful to make appointments with yourself in advance.  Or find a reliable workout buddy that can keep you accountable.  A lot of times you can find this person in your wedding party.  If one of your bridesmaids has a good workout routine, ask if you can tag along.  

Also keep in mind that your exercise routine will be easier to stick to if you enjoy the activity.  Try many different things.  There are so many different types of exercise routines, and there’s a good chance that you can find one that’s right for you.  

At WeddingWOD.com, we’ve found that using your body weight as resistance in your weight loss workouts can be one of the most effective for reaching your goals.  Here are a couple of workouts that you can do over the next few days.

Warm up

3 rounds of:

20 arm circles forward

20 arm circles backward

15 air squats

10 push-ups on toes or knees

30 second plank on toes

Workout #1

Set a stopwatch for 10 minutes, and during that time complete the below routine as many times in that 10 minutes as you can.

20 air squats

-go as deep as your flexibility allow, and stand up tall at the top.

15 push-ups on toes or knees

-these are full range of motion.  Chest to floor to elbows locked out.

10 sit-ups

-lying flat on the ground with bent knees to sitting all the way up and touching your shoes.

Workout #2

*use the same warm up

4 round as fast as you can with good form of:

Run 400 meters

20 walking lunges

1 minute plank on elbows and toes

Your wedding will be the most memorable day of your life. Showing your spouse that you care about your health and are going to be around for a long time is the greatest way to show them you love them.  Wedding diets aren’t easy, but they’re incredibly rewarding when you stick to them!

If you’d like a workout routine for your wedding, visit www.WeddingWOD.com

 

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From Drama to Dream: One Bride's Victory

This weekend, one of my "girls" got married. I say girls quoted because I never gave birth to her; in fact, she is only a few years my junior. Nonetheless, she is my girl - someone who was gifted to me from God to share life with, to shed tears with, to literally laugh out loud with. 

On Friday, she went from a "Miss" to a "Mrs.," and I am overcome with sentiment. Sure, call it girly - it's all good. It feels right to have someone for whom you can feel all warm inside because her journey (that you know so well) and her future (that you imagine and have great expectations for) bring you exceeding joy. 

Getting to marriage is not a walk in the park, and it wasn't easy for our girl. In fact, forces from all over were coming together like Armageddon! It can be downright ugly. Just because the path isn't easy doesn't mean it wasn't destined to be! Without going into a litany of occurrences, my dear friend endured some family battles, last-minute vendor and familial reneges, disagreements on the vision for the wedding, tears, and her fair share of mind games to overcome. She came to realize that marriage - or even getting to the wedding day itself - is not about some fairy tale, but it's about journeying through life with that someone who "for better or for worse" would devotedly write the tale alongside her with unconditional love. 

The rewarding part of the drama is that she didn't have to go it alone. Her faith and encouragement from her beau and loved ones kept the ship moving forward!  Now, she stands gracefully as a "Mrs." stronger than she was, more determined, and focused.

Today, I pray a blissful, spicy, lovingly epic romance for you and the love of your life, my Whit. 

 XOXO,

Lauren

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Makeup for the Untraditional Bride

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Tyler Olson / shutterstock.com

You’ve never been a “pretty, pretty princess” and don’t want to pick your wedding day to start. I get it. You don’t like to follow the rules and have never been a fan of cookie cutter beauty. That certainly doesn’t mean you don’t want to look AH-MAZING when you walk down the aisle. Here are some tips for the non-traditional bride:

1.  Flawless Skin
Your perfect shade of foundation should match your face and body. They should be joined together as one, in holy matrimony. Take three or four shades and place a vertical swipe of each product from your cheek down to your neck (swipe some on your chest too). Pick the shade that matches both. If you can’t decide pick the best match and use a bronzer to take care of the rest. Try Makeup Forever HD Invisible Cover Foundation ($42.00, sephora.com). Don’t forget to test in natural light!

2.  Bright Under Eyes
Bobbi Brown says, “concealer is the key to the universe” and I couldn’t agree more! Under eye concealer will brighten underneath your eyes, covering darkness and giving you a cheap facelift. Your concealer should be two to three shades lighter than your foundation. I heart Bobbi Brown’s Creamy Concealer Kit ($34.00). It comes in a variety of shades and even includes a setting powder.

3.  Brows 
A groomed brow will frame your face. Notice the word is groomed. Fuller brows will keep your appearance youthful. Head over to the Anastasia Beverly Hills counter at Nordstrom or Sephora (Anastasia Brow Kits, from $16.00, sephora.com/anastasia).

4.  Eyes
Every product should be waterproof and crease proof. Stick to long-wearing cream shadows, gel eyeliners, and waterproof mascaras. If you want a natural color eye shadow try a cream shadow that is the same shade as your lid color with a hint of shimmer to bring out your eyes ever so slightly. I like Bobbi Brown’s Long Wearing Cream Shadow ($25.00, bobbibrown.com). Also shop your local CVS for Maybelline’s Eye Studio Long Lasting Gel Liner in Brown ($9.99, cvs.com).

5.  Lips
Choose a sheer, lipstick that has a slight shine and is a bit darker than your natural lip shade. Chanel’s Rouge Coco Shine Lipstick ($32.50) is perfect!  You will have to reapply, but you are probably more of a lip gloss gal anyway. Pucker up!

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Top 10 Reasons Why NOT to Use GetWedforLess.com

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Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries on their wedding day - two-and-a-half months before the divorce. (Photo credit: Albert Michael, startraksphoto.com).

1) You'd rather spend a "cool" 6-figures on your dream wedding because spending a lot of extra money helps you "keep up with the Joneses" and "Kardashians." (Ummm... never mind)

2) You like the idea of spending hundreds of hours researching vendors on your own. 

3) You don't like knowing current pricing and offerings from vendors ahead of time. 

4) You'd rather let your wedding be a vendor's test subject.

5) Why go the easy route?  Stressing out seems fun. 

6) You still believe Uncle Sam won't be able to catch you when you write off your elaborate celebration.

7) You just have tons of free time. 

8) You'd rather search through 30+ pages of vendors on other websites without the info you really want or need.

9) You prefer vague, elusive content that's not easily accessible. 

10) You don't like awesomeness!

OK, friends, thanks for indulging us; of course, you wanna use GetWedforLess.com and spread the word!  Here's why:  About Us

Happy planning, & thanks for joining!

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Find us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, & YouTube 

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Hiring The Right Type of Videographer

Hiring The Right Type of Videographer

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Choosing a videographer can be an easy task if you know what to look for.

I put together a top 5 list of items, I feel, most professional photographers or studio owners would agree with.

Current trends use words like, “cinematic,” “dramatic” or “documentary” to describe the style of video a particular company offers.

The reality is that all wedding videos are documentaries, which by definition is a “motion picture consisting of factual sequences.” What that means is nothing in a wedding is staged or rehearsed (in the formal scenes), creating moments spontaneously, which are captured and edited.

Cinematic video is yet another way to describe a style or format; however, the true meaning of cinematic is “motion photography or motion picture,” and therefore by description all videos are both cinematic documentaries.

What really differentiates one video production studio from another is the video equipment they use, the editing systems, the people who both shoot your wedding and edit it and the formats they offer.

Here are 4 easy suggestions (not in any specific order), which will help any couple identify a quality videographer or video production studio.

  1. EQUIPMENT:When differentiating videographers and video companies to capture your wedding, you must make sure that the company offers the following:

  • 3 chip digital video cameras, or, preferably, HD ready cameras, as High Definition becomes the new standard for wedding video, delivered on Bluray DVD.

  • Wireless microphones  and low light, on camera lights and on camera microphones.

  • A dolly or any other device which will help the shooter steady their shot and remove/reduce any shaky footage.

  1. EXPERIENCE: Experience is also easy to qualify by identifying how long a studio or videographer has been in business. You can also find reviews on various web sites about the videographer or studio you are considering, which can help you learn a great deal about what you can expect to get.

  2. VALUE $$$: What are the costs for the service or product, what do you get for your investment? Get at least 2-4 quotes to have an idea of what is being offered. If the price you are given is way below the average cost you found, then you must know why. If the cost is much higher, then you must, again, find out why. Many factors will affect cost:

  • Keep in mind cost is always higher in higher rent areas or locations, which may require higher overhead and increase the price you would receive.

  • Do you have one videographer or multiple? The more shooters, the higher the cost.

  • The more shooters, the more video footage, which means a higher cost for post production.

  • Additional Equipment, such as lighting, glide cams, etc. (most unnecessary for a wedding, but requested).

  • Length of coverage. A simple rule to follow is the more footage captured, the more footage edited, the more your video package may cost.

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  1. POST PRODUCTION: Who is editing your video and how is it being edited? Is your videographer also your video editor (which is always a nice advantage)? What kind of equipment do they use (if you have some knowledge of video production)? Remember: a full-time editor, depends on the quality of his work and has an incentive to make every couple happy for future referrals. The edit is a critical part of your video. The edit is what makes a good video great; it is why the films you watch on television or in theaters take as long or longer to edit as they do to film. The videographer captures hours of video footage, and the editors select only the best footage for your final video. A seasoned professional has the insight and experience to know what footage is good and what footage is bad. You will also have the added benefits of post production magic with video filters such as Soft Focus, Old Movie and more. Each enhancing the final product.

In the end, a little education will help you ensure your wedding is captured the way you envisioned it.

Here are a few Video Sample to check out.

  1. Theme Wedding Video Highlight

  2. Highlight Video Sample

  3. Highlight Video Montage

  4. Best Man Dance

Thank you,

Alex Ruchaevsky

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The Ultimate Wedding Planning Timeline & Checklist - Part VII (The 2-Week Countdown)

 Photo credit: Photos by Shew Photography (via Nordstrom Weddings)

Note from the Editor:

Greetings, Friends!  

We have reached the finale of The Ultimate Wedding Planning Timeline series, a tremendously beneficial segment.  Enjoy today's post on the final two weeks leading up to your wedding.  We hope you’ve gleaned much wedding planning know-how during this series from Jeffrey Brown of JaiLynn Events.  The fun doesn’t stop here! We have some super cool posts coming down the pipeline from more bonafide pros in their arena!  Make sure to subscribe to this blog, so you never skip a beat.  Until next time…

Happy planning!

Lauren

P.S.  Jeff, thanks sincerely for partnering with us on this fun + informative series.

2 WEEKS from Your Wedding Day

Final Gown Fitting in Shoes, Headpiece, and Jewelry

  1. Be sure to learn how to bustle your gown.

  2. Make sure your fitting is paid for.

Give Picture List to Photographer of Moments You Must Have Captured

  1. Confirm your package.

  2. Confirm cost of extras.

  3. Do you have proof of availability date?

  4. Discuss final payment amount if there is a balance.

  5. Discuss and confirm start time, day, and location!

Final Steps for DJ:  Give Playlist & Special Songs List + My Tips

  1. Make sure you have heard his work (mixing beats and his ability to hype the guests).

  2. Your DJ can make or break a reception, so:

    1. Discuss the flow of dance music.

    2. Remind If floor clears on a song, he should fade out discreetly and move quickly to another.

    3. Confirm his arrival time and set-up location.

Finalize, Finalize, Finalize - and Re-confirm!

  1. Give final head counts to vendors and get final pricing.

  2. Finalize seating chart and floor plans.  Give copies to all parties concerned.

  3. Write out final checks to vendors.

  4. RE-CONFIRM contracted agreements and schedules with all VENDORS.

    - Remember to confirm your appointment for hair and nails to get done the day-of or before your wedding.

  5. RE-CONFIRM schedule and duties with all WEDDING PARTICIPANTS. (Reference Part II's entry).

  6. Have welcome baskets dropped at hotel for out-of-town guests.

Get Fabulous!

  1. Have a spa day for waxing, facials, etc.

  2. Pick up your wedding dress, and keep away from the Groom!

The Day Before Your Wedding - ONE MORE DAY!

Get Mani & Pedi

Have Rehearsal and Rehearsal Dinner

  1. Give bridal party gifts out at the rehearsal dinner (or at the rehearsal if no dinner is being held).

  2. Give rings to Best Man and Maid or Matron of Honor.

Try Get Some Rest!

YOUR WEDDING DAY!!!

Congratulations!  

You’ve arrived at your big day!  All you probably have left to do in terms of preparation is get your hair done.  The last two items on the agenda?  

GET MARRIED & ENJOY YOUR DAY!

Thank you for going step-by-step with me on the wedding planning journey!  If I can help you plan your big day in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

- Jeffrey Brown

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The Ultimate Wedding Checklist & Timeline - Part VI (2 Months)

Photo credit: Rebecca Moses (ColinCowieWeddings.com)

2 MONTHS from Your Wedding Day

Note from the Editor:  And the eight-week countdown commences!  Your wedding will be here before you know it.  Take some time to reflect.  You are about to go from “Ms.” to “Mrs.”!  Allow yourself to remember your single journey, embrace it, journal about it, and look forward to your shared future with intention and a heart full of faith, hope, and love.  

I hope you enjoy today’s post from planner extraordinaire Jeffrey Brown as we near the end of the Ultimate Timeline & Checklist series...  

Happy planning + much love!

Lauren

OK, my Brides and Grooms, we are coming to a close with no time to lose!  Here’s my rundown for the two-month marker from your big day!

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Photo Credit: Elizabeth Messina, Flowers by Amy Osaba (Lonny.com)

Set Hair and Makeup Appointments, and Decide on Your Big Day Look!

  1. Bring along your headpiece and jewelry if available.

  2. If possible, make the final appointment for your hair and nails the day before the wedding or day-of, so your hairstyle and manicure are fresh.

  3. If a makeup artist is being used, set the appointment time and location and how many in your party will be utilizing that service.

Meet with Your Officiant, and Confirm Ceremony Details and Guidelines with Vendors & Participants

  1. Musicians and anyone having a part within the ceremony should be met with in order to confirm times, schedules/order, and responsibilities.

  2. Confirm delivery times for florist, bakery, photographer, and any other vendors.

  3. Check lighting with photographers and videographers and their positioning during ceremony.

  4. Know what time will guest be admitted and communicate to responsible parties.

  5. Know the answers to and communicate often forgotten logistics, such as:

    - Where will guestbook be located?

    - Do you have to provide a podium, tables, and other wedding supplies (candelabra, etc.), or does the venue take care of everything you’ll need?

    - What are cleanup/breakdown time factors for  any props?

    - Is there storage available if any items need to be left overnight for picky vendors?  If so, who will handle that at venue and Is there a fee?

Picture of marriage license

 

 

Apply for your Marriage License!

(Can’t be official without this)!

 

Have Completed Programs and Menus Printed

(Your caterer may do menus for you).

  

Plan Hospitality/Welcome Bags or Baskets for Out-of-Town Guests

Maybe you want to keep your theme or you and your intended’s story in mind to personalize the gifts.  Perhaps, you are getting married at a destination location and want to incorporate that somehow in your welcome gift.  Make them fun and inexpensive, but be creative!

Check back soon for the final part in this series!

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The Ultimate Wedding Checklist & Timeline - Part V (4 Months)

4 MONTHS from Your Wedding Day

Note from the Editor:  It’s time for some more fun!!  In this entry, Jeff Brown of JaiLynn Events gives us the goods on the 4-month marker from your big day.  Discover his expert advice on cakes, rehearsal dinners, and the groom’s plus his men’s gear.

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Photo Credit: Lulu Custom Cake Boutique (Westchester County)

Choose and Order Your Cake!

  1. Taste, Taste Taste!

  2. Choose your icing wisely!  Fondants have come a long way, and many are quite tasty and pretty.  Traditional icings like butter cream are still classic and beautiful.  Nowadays, many great decorators can do the most smooth, clean designs using butter cream.

  3. If choosing cupcakes, think of how they will be displayed, who delivers them, the cost of delivery, who will set them up, and if carry-out boxes can be included for those who opt to take their cupcake home.

 

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Photo credit: Kristen Alexander Photography (Piedmont Room, Atlanta)

Plan the Rehearsal Dinner

  1. If budget is a concern, see if your venue offers a package meal.  You may consider a family-style restaurant for cost-effectiveness.

  2. Out of town guest should be invited but if finances are tight it’s not really considered rude to not invite them

  3. Consider a small limited menu  backyard barbeque hosted anywhere but where you will be staying if not at the hotel

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Photo Credit: Steve's Photo Session (Power Unit - AlLFA Design - Affordable Custom-Tailored Clothing)

Choosing Groom's & Groomsmen Attire

  1. Choosing from a large rental chain allows out-of-town groomsmen to get fitted in their hometown, and tuxes can be waiting upon arrival.

  2. When picking up, TRY ON EVERYTHING!  There's always a small size mix-up somewhere. Also, the tux is not usually in the store but close-by in a warehouse, so exchanges typically take a day.

  3. If due back the day after the wedding, designate one person to collect them, inventory each suit bag, and return them all at once.  With this designee's help, any cash deposits can be collected and returned at this time as well.

 

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Photo Credit: Style Me Pretty

Mail invitations!

Note from the Editor:  While it is an acceptable practice for invitations to be mailed 2 months before the wedding, I’d recommend getting them out sooner.  Yes, you may have already sent off the save-the-dates, but earlier notice of details is always best for out-of-town guests.   Make sure to include directionals, registry specs, and any other pertinent info!

Until next time... Happy planning!

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The Ultimate Wedding Checklist & Timeline - Part IV (6 Months)

6 MONTHS from Your Wedding Day

We're halfway there in our Ultimate Timeline & Checklist series!  We hope you enjoy this entry of key to-do's at the 6-month point!

Send out Save-the-Dates!

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Photo credit: Project Wedding

 

Choose & Order Bridal Party Dresses

(Bridesmaids' dresses, flower girl dress, and look for accessories)

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Photo credit: Bride to Be (AU)

Realize that everyone is not always happy with your choice. They need to get over it, and realize the honor of being chosen! However, do your best to keep body shapes, height, and bridesmaids’ confidence in mind. A size 6, backless, off-the-shoulder may not look as good in a size 18, so consider slightly different designs, which most dressmakers will have.

Remember to get a swatch of dress colors for shoe shopping and vendors!

 

Book Honeymoon

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Catch a Falling Star Resort, Negril, Jamaica - Photo credit: GetWedforLess.com

Here are my honeymoon quick tips:

- Get travel and cancellation insurance.  (You NEVER know what may happen; it's better to be safe than sorry).

- Check for discounts via different airport departures.

- Confirm any immunizations or special documents needed if leaving the country.

- Book to leave for your honeymoon the day after the wedding or later - you’ll need the rest! 

- Check for all-inclusive couples resorts for great deals.

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The Ultimate Wedding Checklist & Timeline - Part III (8 Months)

Thanks for joining us!  Today, we unveil what to check off your list at the 8-month mark from your wedding day.  One of our fave wedding planners and feature bloggers Jeffrey Brown gives advice on accommodation booking, we chat more about your wedding dress, and we start getting your wheels turning for unique wedding registries.  Enjoy!

8 MONTHS from Your Wedding Day

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Photo credit: VESA Photography

If You Haven't Already... Buy Your Gown!

Your gown can take up to 6 months to receive depending on your salon and manufacturer/seamstress.  Alteration time should also be accounted for, so give yourself a comfortable, stress-free window for needed adjustments.  8 months is the minimum lead time recommended by most professional planners and bridal dress boutiques for ordering your wedding gown.

 

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Photo credit: Crystal City Marriott, VA

Block Hotel Rooms

Jeffrey Brown, owner and lead planner of JaiLynn Events in Washington, DC, lets his brides and grooms know that blocking hotel rooms and locking in prices for out-of-town guests are important tasks to complete at the 8-month mark.  

He also advises, “Book a suite for you and any bridal party members the night before if staying.  Also, remember to book a suite for you and your groom the night after your BIG day.  Have your room and bridal party separate from out of-town guests and away from the groom’s room if he is staying there, too.”

This would all be in vain if our folks don't book on-time, so be sure to let critical guests know what accommodations are available to them ASAP - and definitely in the wedding invitation and/or website.  

 

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Set up Your Gift Registry

Nowadays, there are a plethora of options for gift registries.  You may opt for the popular wedding registry route, utilizing registries from hot spots like Target or Macy’s, or you can mix it up a bit!  Today, brides and grooms are opting for honeymoon registries in which your guests contribute financially to your romantic getaway.  Some philanthropic couples have elected cause-based gifting by allowing guests to donate to a meaningful charity, mission, or other non-profit in lieu of (or in conjunction with) the couple’s personal gifts.  It’s your wedding - get creative!  

Regardless of the registry path you choose, I also recommend using a universal wedding registry system, like MyRegistry, that allows you to add gifts from any website - even big buying outlets like Amazon - in one convenient location.

Until next time... Happy planning!

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Engagement Session 411

Engagement Sessions are a great way to document this amazing milestone in yours and your future hubby's life! And there are always a ton of questions that come along with planning an engagement shoot, which is why I decided to write this blog today :) I hope you enjoy!
 
Engagement Session 411:

Congratulations, you are officially betrothed!  This is such an exciting time for my pre-newlyweds, and most love to document their new milestone with photos.  For many couples, setting up an engagement shoot proves to be a fun and meaningful journey into their upcoming wedding planning.  Of course, some may worry they can’t handle the stress of arranging for the perfect engagement shoot, what with the larger task of ‘The Wedding’ looming in the future.  Undoubtedly, it can seem like a lot to take on, but with the right tools and a committed photographer (ahem!) to help you along, the planning and shoot can be both simple and fun!  To get you started, here are a few of my personal tips on how to ensure your engagement session is absolutely awesome:

engagement photo dc

1. Location, Location, Location
One of the very first questions I get asked when preparing for an engagement session is, “Where should we go?”  Quite honestly, the answer to that inquiry is unique to each and every couple.  Usually I probe a couple’s history by asking leading questions; i.e., “Where was your first date?,” “Where was your first kiss?,” “Where was the proposal?”  I typically advise my couples that it is important to consider places that are meaningful to them.  And not to worry - most photographers are more than willing to work with you regarding location choice… for instance, one couple I know had their photos taken in front of the Eiffel Tower at King’s Dominion!

2. Wardrobe Considerations
Ladies, here’s your chance to tell the men, “Yes, clothes are important!”  Of course, this depends on your own sense of style, but my suggestions always include the following:
·    Nothing too busy that will take attention away from you - here we’re talking crazy florals, bold prints, zigzags, etc.
·    If it looks like it belongs under a black light, it’s generally a bad idea - no neon pinks or highlighter yellows.  Sticking to neutral and subtle tones will bring out your natural skin tone and eye color.  
·    Playing Matchy-Matchy can be cute when done properly, BUT you probably don’t want to show up in perfectly matching plaid flannel shirts… unless you have a lumberjack theme, in which case we could make that work!  
·    Variety is the spice of life!  Always bring a few extra tops and/or bottoms.  In this aspect, you can easily change your outfit, which will provide us with a larger variety of photos.
·    For the love of Pete, be comfortable.  If you don’t typically wear it in ‘real life,’ it’s probably not something you’ll want to go with here.  Comfy couples make happy couples and happy couples have fun on their engagement shoots - I promise.
 
 
3. Accessories
With the use of props becoming more and more popular, I suggest that if you like and want to use props that you bring items that, again, have meaning to both of you.  Will you be using these photos for your Save-the-Dates?  A cute heart shaped chalk board or a hand-made sign with your wedding date on it would be a great idea.  Other cute ideas include picnic set-ups, balloons, kites, bicycles, pets (yes, it’s totally OK to bring your furry loved ones along!), etc.

 
4. Hair and Make-up
If you are like me (hair and make-up challenged), I highly recommend having a professional do your hair and make-up before your engagement shoot.  Not only is it a great way to test a salon for your Big Day, this will also take the stress off of you having to do it yourself!  If you have budget issues, perhaps a friend or family member that does great hair will help you out.  Take the opportunity to have fun and experiment with different styles; my only further advice would be to keep things relatively natural.  The focus should be on you and not your make-up; too much make-up can sometimes be distracting.

 
5. Have fun!
This is a ‘no-brainer’!  It may take a couple of minutes to get warmed up, but once you get comfortable, photo shoots can be a very enjoyable experience.  Be yourselves.  Kiss each other when the time feels right, hold hands, jump up and down, crack jokes!  If you’re silly, be silly. A good photographer will want to capture you in that pure state of being head-over-heels in love, so pretend like we’re not even there!  Ignoring the camera and being relaxed is the best way to handle these shoots, you’ll have a lot more fun if you’re not constantly worried about what we’re doing.  Just have a good time, we’ll make sure you look awesome :).
 
>>Photography Credit:  Brittany Marie Photography<<
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The Ultimate Wedding Checklist & Timeline - Part II (10 Months)

10 MONTHS from Your Wedding Day

Start Shopping for YOUR Gown 

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Credit: Inviting Luxury

Here are my big tips  and considerations as you shop for YOUR dress

- LIMIT WHO GOES DRESS SHOPPING WITH YOU - You’re excited, and you want opinions, but too many voices can confuse and frustrate you.

- You may have an idea of what you want, but don’t close your mind!  Often, once trying on gowns, your taste and vision of what you really want will change.

- White, off-white, ivory, or splashes of color?  Try them all see what works for your skin tone. Also, keep the lighting of your venue and color scheme of wedding in mind - it does make a difference in your overall look.

- Chain stores have many sizes to try on different gown styles. More upscale boutiques often have similar or the wrong size gowns, and you don’t always get to try the different styles and colors, feel the weight of the gown, and see how the gown flows.  Even if you are not buying from a chain store, go and try on styles and colors.  Most likely, they will have a dress close to the dress you envision or saw at another shop but wasn’t available in your size.

- DO NOT BUY A DRESS BECAUSE YOU LIKE IT! Crazy right? Think again! When you find your wedding gown, you’ll know it because you will get emotional. TRUST ME, I KNOW after years of seeing it. If you don’t feel something from a slight warming or heart flutter to all out tears of joy, DON’T BUY IT! You will only end up buying another one - being stuck with the one you “liked” since it’s non-refundable.

- Discuss alterations, fittings, cost, and pressing of your gown. Also, check if special undergarments are needed.

- Ask for a swatch of fabric matching your bridesmaids' gown and yours (particularly if your gown is accented with any color). With it, you can match colors with your venue's decor, napkins, sashes, etc.

Let’s Choose our Bridal Party! 

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Credit: Boogietek Photo+Cinema

Your bridal party are the dependable, time-conscious friends and family who can handle any associated financial responsibility.

The general guideline is one bridesmaid and one groomsman per 50 guests. No one really wants to watch 20 people come down the aisle before you. It’s your day - keep it centered on you.

Don't forget your supporting cast! Choose at least 2 ushers. Females commonly serve as ushers. Select an MC for the reception. This is a fun, easy-going, and outgoing person who announces wedding party members and transition moments during your event. The MC also keeps speech-givers within designated time-frames. Guaranteed, someone always has something extra long to say!

- Note from the Editor: Another option for an MC may be your DJ. DJs usually serve dual roles at a very nominal - or already included - rate. 

Choose Wedding Planning Pro! 

Now’s a great time to book your wedding wedding if you haven’t already. 

WHY:

1) They know the ins-and-outs to guide you through the planning details.

2) They often can negotiate with vendors better than you.

3) They have the time, knowledge, and skills to coordinate the details, vendors, handle concerns at venues, as well as receive packages, etc.

4) I can go on and on about the benefits of a professional, but I’ll sum it up:  

We keep you less stressed! 

You cannot effectively coordinate the day-of and be radiant and relaxed when you walk down the aisle.

Choose Your Officiant 

b2ap3_thumbnail_Wedding-411.jpg

Credit: Wedding 411

- Keep in mind, your officiant navigates the ceremony, so choose carefully and consult often. Utilize your officiant’s knowledge of what works and what doesn’t.

- Discuss music, any readings, as well as any religious requirements (if applicable).

- Ask questions on vows. For instance, did you know it’s no longer required for you to say “love, honor and obey,” so some couples have substituted the phrase with “cherish?”

- Lastly, don’t leave questions until the last-minute.

Start Searching & Booking the Rest of Your Vendors

We already mentioned Venue, Officiant, DJ/MC, and Boutique, but let's not forget  your Florist, Baker, Caterer, Photographer (+ Photo Booth?), Videographer or Cinematographer, & any needed Event Rentals & Supplies.  Search through the vendor categories here under Online and Local on GetWedforLess.com to see if you forgot anything - or anyone!

Note from the Editor: Another fabulous entry from planner extraordinaire Jeffrey Brown! Make sure to check out Jeff's recent post: "There’s no such thing as a dumb question..."  It's a great reminder about why not to neglect to ask anything of wedding vendors, and it can save you money and headache later. Also, may I also recommend one of our most popular blogs? "The Right Dress For Your Body" by fashion blogger Lisa Tran of T. Rose International Bridal Shows has a wealth of helpful tips for your search!

Happy planning!

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The Ultimate Wedding Checklist & Timeline - Part I (12 Months)

Note from the Editor:  This has got to be the most helpful blog series on wedding planning timelines!  Jeffrey Brown has broken everything down into bite-sized pieces - from the necessary post-engagement conversations through to culmination - the wedding day!  Because each segment of the timeline accompanies wonderful detail, Jeff will share the goods piece-by-piece over the next couple of weeks.  Today, he unveils the what would ideally be completed a year before the big day.  Enjoy, take notes, and pass it on!  Thanks for joining!  - Lauren

b2ap3_thumbnail_Salon-de-Ning_peninsuladotcom.jpg

Credit: The Peninsula, NY - Salon de Ning

In this Ultimate Wedding Timeline, I’m sharing what I walk through with my brides and grooms.  We’ll use the timeline with key milestones to get you to wedding day ready!

12 MONTHS from Your Wedding Day

Guest List Drafted

- Parents on both sides always have people they want present. Within reason, accept who can you - especially if they are contributing financially.  

Credit: Simply Bridal

 

Money Talks

- Talk all the money details over with your intended to make sure you’re on the same page (see “I’m Engaged! Now What?" blog).  Meet with both sets of parents and other contributing parties to confirm who is contributing what before the bills descend like the monkeys from the Wizard of Oz on Dorothy!

Credit:  The Wizard of Oz, Warner Bros., 1939

Venue(s)? CHECK! 

-  Get your venues booked! While on the hunt, keep in mind that venues set the tone, size, and cost. Be sure they can accommodate your guest count.

More on Venues:

 - Venues can affect your color scheme. I recommend choosing 3 colors, 2 primary, and an accent that go well with your sites.

 - Your wedding day timeline (and wedding vendor travel) can be affected depending on the distance between your two venues.  Make sure the distance is not too much for you and your guests and that it won't increase your fees to vendors later.

 - If your venue is not for lodging, check with the venue on nearby hotels to accommodate out-of-town guests.  You may want reserve a block of rooms.

- Parking, public transportation, handicap accessibility, and security are important considerations for your guest. Check with the venue or your wedding planner on these items to make sure proper accommodations are made.

Stay tuned for the 10-month prep to help you stay on-track with your wedding date!

 

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So Diamonds Are Not a Guy's Best Friend... There's Still Hope for the Diamond Hunt

Recently, I asked a groom-to-be about how he felt about the diamond and engagement ring hunt.  His intial response was two words:  "A headache."  After a bout of laughter and shaking his head, he continued to talk with candor, giving advice to the fellas, "But if you are gonna search, understand women don't really know what they want, and in actuality they really don't care about some of the details. They care about the fact that you are taking that step."  

That was a great note on which to start our segment today.  Women care that you desire to take that next step with them!  Still, how do we help alleviate some of the "headache" that accompanies the ring-finding expedition for so many?  Here's our what, how, and where of the treasure hunt with focus on value + affordability.  Make sure to catch the end to know where to start your search - it's not the mall!

Credit: Gemological Institute of America

Here the quick-and-dirty on something you may have heard about - the 4Cs of diamonds.  The world's foremost authority on diamond ed - the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) - coined the phrase "the 4Cs," which represent Carats, Color, Clarity, and the ever-critical Cut.  A combination of these facets (along with the metal chosen) will determine the price of the ring.  

1)  Carats are the standard for measuring the weight of a diamond - bigger the diamond, typically the higher the price tag. Don't get caught up too much in the stone size, a diamond that may be just under a carat can look bigger pending on the cut and the quality of the stone itself is enhanced beyond size when other indicators of stone quality are in play...

Credit: JewelryDays.com

2)  Color. Unless you are clearing purchasing a canary yellow or a rose diamond - or some other color-identifiable stone, the term "color" means the absence of color.  The less yellow, the higher the quality of the stone. Good news!  The slight color variance is not generally visible to the naked eye, especially when buying stones from jewelers focused on delivering quality for price.  

GIA color grading scale

3)  Clarity tells you have clear a diamond is with the emphasis on the amount of imperfections, commonly known as "inclusions" and (outer) "blemishes."  A well-cut stone will be smooth outside, but many diamonds are "included."  The less inclusions, the higher the value and cost to you.

Diamond clarity chart

Credit: Isbell Jewelers

4)  We've come to the final C: Cut.  Most people mistakenly think the cut refers to the shape into which the diamond is "cut," but it really refers to the overall layout and proportion. The great indicator of a stellar cut is how much light enters the diamond.  A great cut delivers that "bling" effect and brilliance that really makes eyes widen.  Don't overlook the least understood of the 4Cs: it's the workmanship that makes the ring sing.

Diamond cut explanation

Credit: Isbell Jewelers

Where to Go Treasure Hunting & Buy Below Retail

Advice from my hubby?  "Never pay retail!"  Try these online spots for great gems at pricing that won't cause you to miss your mortgage payment: Apples of Gold (40% off retail, the site features a satisfaction guarantee) and Amazon.  Make sure to read up on guarantees as these sites have customer return policies.  Also, look into your city's best pawn shops - for real!  Many times, these places have antique rings (vintage is all the rage right now) and tremendous finds on some really great sets!  You typically can get bigger stone size and value at these spots for a substantially lower price since it's the goal to move inventory ASAP. 

TIP:  If you can't bring along one with a trained eye for diamonds, grab a professional eye loupe to take with you to the non-run-of-the-mill diamond storefront or to use on the diamond you order.  Eye loupes are scopes for checking diamond quality, and they're literally a couple of bucks.  These are helpful for seeing the inclusions and testing absence of color.

Image: Eye Loupe

TIP #2:  Protect that Bling!

Too often, our valuable possessions become lost or stolen.  Check with your home/renter's insurance agency to find out how loss of your purchase may be covered within your policy.  Consider other proactive measures, such as appraisal and diamond laser inscription.

Feel free to deliver any other 411 you feel will be helpful for those on the diamond hunt out there.  Remember:  It's not about finding the most expensive ring; it's about the two of you being the best for each other as you resolve to "take that next step."

Until next time... happy hunting + planning!

P.S. For inquiring minds, here are the most common diamond shapes...

diamond-shapes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Credit: Deliver Me Diamonds

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How To Make Swagalicious, Affordable Candy Buffets - Part II

We sent a couple hundred people home on a sugar rush this weekend.  It's safe to say our candy buffet was a hit! 

We had the honor of being a sponsor for a bridal show in Washington, DC.  Not only did we meet some of the most fun brides-to-be on the planet and some incredible wedding pros, we also got to unveil the much anticipated (OK, maybe just in our minds) Get Wed for Less candy buffet!

    

So how'd we finish it off?  In Part I of making swagalicious and affordable candy buffets, we signed off sharing tips on goodies and embellishments, so next was safely transporting all the containers to the site.  If you have to transport breakable items, make sure to use packing peanuts, paper, or bubbles to avoid breakage.  Keep your meltables cool!  If you are dealing with warm outdoor temps while en route to your destination and packing up the vehicle, keep the goods in the refrigerator as long as possible; then, put them in the car when you're leaving.  If you have a long drive ahead, keep the meltables in the air-conditioned vehicle or use ice packs. 

Upon arrival to the hotel, our intern and I carefully loaded items on our trolley and rolled 'em in.  We arranged our green chevron-printed table runner on the covered buffet table first.  Next, we set up our $9.99 floral bouquet (from Trader Joe's) in its ribbon-embellished vase in the rear-center of the table. We positioned the containers, staggering the taller ones in the back (see image above to get a feel for the layout - some things are just better explained with a visual).  Then, we poured in the goods (alternating the greens and deep pinks between the containers as much as possible), laid out the other tabletop items, and stuck the clear mini (dollar store) tongs into the candy.  

Lastly, don't forget to take a step back and look at your design!  Do you need to switch up a couple dishes?  Are the containers full enough?  My final tip would be to ensure your reserves are close by!  You will need to keep refilling to keep guests happy *smile* and for that continuous presentation appeal.  

We hope you have as much fun as we did making and dishing up our candy buffet!  If this two-part series can help another, please pass it along.  For more pics from the bridal show, check out our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/getwedforless.

Until next time...

Happy planning!

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There’s no such thing as a dumb question...

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How many of you have heard this before?  We all have classroom memories of that kid who’d say, “That was so DUMB!” usually after a well-meaning student asked his teacher a question.  Well, when it comes to planning - and paying for - your wedding, there are no dumb questions!  When conducting business with potential vendors, ASKING IS KEY! 

Today, Jeffrey Brown of JaiLynn Events is hooking our readers up with critical topics to hit before you book a wedding professional or venue! If you have already booked vendors, make sure you know their answers to relevant items on this list.

Jeffrey Brown:

“When shopping for vendors, ask questions - no matter how silly they may seem.

    • - Get everything in writing - EVERYTHING!
    • - Know cancellation and postponement policies.
    • - What are the fees if changes are made after the initial contract is drawn?
    • - What are delivery and set-up charges (if applicable)?
    • - Know guidelines for returning rental items.
    • - Get primary contacts from each vendor, and try to always use those people.
    • - Discuss alternate ideas and less expensive alternatives (if possible).
    • - Confirm deposit amounts, payment options, and the date final payment is due."

Posing these questions will help you avoid potential hiccups and lead you to some very practical, educated decisions, so ask, ask, ask! 

Until next time... Happy planning!

P.S. Thanks, Jeff!  

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How to Make Swagalicious, Affordable Candy Buffets - Part I

We are just days away from exhibiting at the TRose Bridal Show in Washington, DC and can't wait.  (Read further to find out how to get your free ticket).  Like anyone, we LOVE free stuff, so we knew we just had to give away something fun to show attendees.  We'll be giving one lucky bride a free deluxe wedding website subscription, but we're also giving something even sweeter... candy!

Candy buffets are all the rage; they're fun, fabulous, and, when done right, can be quite the affordable favor! Never wanting to leave a moment void of enrichment, we're going a step further with our color-themed candy buffet by sharing tips on how to make one on a budget.  We’ll do this over the course of a two-part series, starting with the hunt for inspired ingredients and culminating with the finished product.

1) Get Inspired!

I’m one who feeds on great ideas.  Sometimes, all I need is a jump start.  To get going, I got my color scheme solidified.  Then, I started my search on Candy Galaxy and Candy Warehouse (two VERY affordable sources for candy of different colors, types, and eras) for candies and designs with the color scheme I had in mind.  This helped me to 1) save money and drive + search time, 2) know what shapes and heights of containers I’d hunt for, and 3) get a feel for the layout of design I liked most.  I love Pinterest and have found great inspiration there as well.

2) Go Treasure Hunting

While this part took a little time on afternoon, I must admit, I had fun going treasure hunting.  Goodwill is a great place to begin your hunt for bargains. I went to my local Goodwill Store and found most of these containers - none of which were more than $3!  A couple of these gems came from my home.  After thoroughly cleaning with good ol' soap and hot H20, I dried and covered to put them away for the sweet stuff later.

      

Note: You can go clear with your containers and create a winning finish, or think outside the box. Perhaps, you’ll find a transparent vase or a fitting design or quote to put around your displayed pieces. Try to incorporate unique, theme-worthy pieces. I found this Turkish-made, food-safe gem (on the left below) at HomeGoods - one of my guilty pleasures - for a stunning $3.99!

      

3) Get the Goods & Adornments

The hardest part about buying the candy was keeping it from my husband and children.  For some of you, it may be keeping it from yourself! *smile*  Honestly, it was quite easy finding colors needed from places like the dollar store, Wal-Mart, and Candy Warehouse.  Make sure not to leave any shipped meltable candies in the sun during the hotter months!  Most of these wholesale candy-type distributors conveniently allow you to order ice packs for melt-prohibitive shipping.  Furthermore, such sites also give help to determine how much candy to buy for the amount of guests at your event.

You'll need more than just treats and containers for a swagalicious buffet!  Consider this your Ultimate Candy Buffet Checklist

- Candy and/or other treats (consider candied nuts, covered pretzels, or something favored by the Guest of Honor)
- Containers
- Risers (clear or a complementary color) - a needed addition for glam and depth if your containers are not varying heights!
- Clear scoops or tongs (depending on the size and shape of candy, you may need one or both)
- Treat bags and ties
- Table cloth
- Adornments (this will vary, but some may include: table runner, adhesive diamond accents, ribbon, printable stickers with monogram,    logo, treat name, or ”Thank You”)
- Printed monogram (for the Bride & Groom/Guest of Honor) or logo (for an organization)
- Beverage napkins
- Frames (for monograms, pictures, quotes, promotion - anything fun and relevant to your affair)
- Hand sanitizer (If you’re a germaphobe like yours truly, this is a must-have for buffet-goers. You may want to pour sanitizer into a cool, reusable pump like the one shown here for extra flair). 
- Scissors
- Craft Glue

     

Swag Tip:  Enhance your “pop” appeal with color blocking, patterns, or another trending style your Guest of Honor will love!

Check back next week as we unveil the final touches in Part II of creating budget-savvy, Swagalicious Candy Buffets!  If you’re in the DC area this weekend, please visit Team Get Wed for Less at our booth at the TRose Bridal Show - we’d LOVE to meet and treat you!  Get your free ticket to the show here with code "GetWedforLess". 

Happy Planning!

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Top 5 Links for Wedding Day Kinks

Photo credit: Outlish.com

Photo credit: Outlish Magazine

I agree - NOT  a good look! I think her aggravation came from unaccounted wedding day woes! It's my mission today to help you avoid looking anywhere in the vicinity of this on your special day. 

We recently polled our friends on our Facebook page and asked what they'd guess to be a bride's biggest wedding day fear. Interestingly, the biggest fear most brides share is not fitting into their dress! While this hiccup doesn't have an instantaneous solution (turnaround time is needed for proper alterations), I can provide you a wealth of helpful tricks to solve other wedding day mishaps in a jiffy!

Here's a round-up of our Top 5 Links for Wedding Day Kinks!

1) Wedding Dress Stains: How To Treat Emergency Wedding Dress Stains by Mary Marlowe Leverette, Laundry Superheroine

Yes, laundry experts exist! *smile*  Remember your mom's good ol' Help from Heloise books?

2) Pesky Pimples: 27 Quick and Crunchy Home Remedies for Pimples by Leslie Martin, Editor & Beauty Savant

3) Unexpected Guests: How to Deal with Wedding Crashers by Stephanie Emma Pfeffer, Writer & Editor

This is where the help of a skilled wedding planner or coordinator comes in handy! They are enlisted to do the dirty work and aren't afraid to be the "bad cop."

4) But You Promised!: When a Vendor is a No-Show by Nina Callaway, Event Planner

One of the scariest wedding day mishaps! I can relate.  The wedding party driver decided to flake the morning of a wedding I was coordinating. All was set, confirmed, signed, sealed, and, well, almost delivered. While all eventually worked out, it can still be a major stress-inducer. Here are some additional helpful tips for other missing vendor snafus not mentioned in Nina's article:

- Wedding Cake 911: Have your wedding or venue coordinator or an über reliable friend/family member attending the wedding save the day by running to the closest bakery to buy cupcakes, a small cutting cake, and a cake tier to display at the reception. 

- DJ 911: Grab an iPod, iPhone, or Droid (that's preloaded with reception and ceremony music) and dock it to speakers at your venue. Have a friend man it behind a table to remain inconspicuous!

- Limo/Transportation 911: You can book last-minute town car rentals (not a limo, but still a sweet ride for the bride and groom plus) through almost any rental agency. On weekends, airport-based car rental centers usually run around-the-clock. You can ask your planner or another über reliable to pick it up. If renting last-minute doesn't fit the bill and timing just won't work, check with a friend/family member who has a fitting vehicle to rescue you!  While the favor will be done out of kindness of heart, give 'em a nice tip anyway!

5) The Catch-All: The Ultimate Wedding Day Emergency Kit by Becca & Megan of Social Graces, Event Planners

Let's remember: The best defense is a good offense. The best cure is an ounce of prevention.  Before anything has the chance to go down, have your plan of action already prepared.  After all, the only thing we can expect is the unexpected itself! Surround yourself with problem-solvers who can help alleviate stress, try your best to remain calm, and carry on.

Until next time...

Happy Planning!

Photo credit: Weddings Illustrated

Do you have any other great tips and tricks on wedding day mishaps?  Have you encounter any of these hiccups at a wedding and want to give feedback?  Inquiring brides want to know! 

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Using Get Wed for Less to Find Your Dress

I have to confess. I’m not your typical bride-to-be. Rather than get all excited and giddy at wedding preparations, the thought of having to deal with all those details makes me break out in hives! Well, there is one detail of the whole wedding planning ordeal that gets me rather excited:  finding the perfect dress.

Get Wed for Less makes it easy that even someone as picky as yours truly can find the perfect vintage dress at one of the vendors in my backyard or online.  

Yes, you heard me correctly: I said vintage. I’m THAT bride. You know the one who doesn’t mind wearing a dress that someone has already donned. Consider it “something old”.  Vendors like J. Crew, for example, or Bhldn (a personal favorite) carry lovely vintage dresses - and lots of other styles - that hearken back to Gatsby-era days.

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Photo credit: J. Crew

For those who find the idea of wearing a used (no matter how gently) gown not so appealing, you can say yes to vintage STYLE dresses using our incomparable vendor directory.

Plus, with social media tools like Instagram and Pinterest, it’s even easier! You simply print out or screenshot your dress of choice and bring it to a vendor to see if they have anything similar with less mileage 

Whether you don’t mind thrifting or you prefer a newer dress, our guide is an indispensable source for you to find the dress made just for you!

Editor's Note: Still want more help getting started? Here are different types of gown styles, which should help as you embark on the quest for your dress. Use this 411 along with The Right Dress for Your Body blog post, and you'll be on your way!

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Photo credit: The Wedded Bliss

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The Right Dress for Your Body

Your wedding day is almost here! It's the day you’ve been dreaming about since you were a little girl. The scrapbooks you’ve made about the location, the food, the band, and the decorations can now all be put to use. You finally get to plan the wedding of your dreams. Of course, no wedding preparation would be complete without the search for the perfect wedding dress.

When you walk down that aisle, all eyes will be on you, so nothing short of perfection will do. I must warn you; this search will not be a walk in the park. You’ll probably have to try on dozens of dresses before you find “the one”, but when you do find it, you’ll know immediately. You’ll feel like that dress was made specifically for you. Just because the search may be difficult, it doesn’t mean you have to go in completely blind. Here are a few tips to make your journey a little bit smoother.

Step 1: Know your body shape. Are you an Apple, Pear, Hourglass, or Rectangle?

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Photo credit: www.msdianekennedy.wordpress.com

If you’re an Apple:

- You have broad shoulders, narrow hips, and slim legs.

- You’re also widest around your torso.

- Your abs and chest look larger compared to the rest of your body.

If you’re a Pear:

- You have a small bust, larger bum, and thicker thighs.

- Your hip measurement is greater than your bust measurement

If you’re an Hourglass:

- Your hip and bust measurements are practically equal in size.

- You have a narrow/defined waist.

- Your arms, chest, hips, and bum are larger compared to your waist.

If you’re a Rectangle:

- You’re straight up and down. There isn’t much variation in the measurements between your bust, waist, and hips.

 

Step 2: Once you’ve identified your shape, know which style of wedding dresses accentuates your best features.

Apples:

Look for…

V-neck and sweetheart necklines. They will draw attention upwards and away from your torso.

Empire waistlines and A-line silhouettes. High waistlines and skirts that flow away from your body will elongate you, making you look slimmer.

Knee or tea length dresses if you want to show off your slim legs.

Avoid…

Mermaid/Trumpet dresses. They’ll accentuate the widest part of you and flare at the slimmest.

Ballgowns. They won’t help elongate your body.

Straight across strapless necklines. They won’t accentuate your bust line.

 b2ap3_thumbnail_Apples---3rd-page.jpg

Photo credit: Kleinfeld Bridal

Pears:

Look for…

One shoulder, strapless, V-neck, bateau or scoop necklines. You’ll be able to balance out your shape by drawing attention to your upper body.

Ballgowns (maybe). With this, you’ll have to use your judgment. For some with hips that are just slightly wider than the shoulders, they can help disguise your larger bottom half. For those with hips that are more prominent, ballgowns can actually emphasize your hips and make them look even larger. I would encourage you to try it on and see how you feel about it.

A-line silhouettes. They’ll reduce attention from your bottom half because the skirt will flow away from your body.

Avoid…

Sheath dresses. They are too clingy for your body shape. You want dresses that flow away from your bottom half.

Mermaid/Trumpet dresses. They’ll put the attention on your bottom half and that’s what we want to put less emphasis on.

Halter or High necklines. They’ll create a disproportionate look on you because these necklines will make your hips appear larger than they are.

 b2ap3_thumbnail_Pears---4th-page.jpg

Photo credit: Kleinfeld Bridal

Hourglasses:

Look for…

Sheath, Mermaid/Trumpet dresses. They will showcase your amazing curves perfectly.

Dresses that will accentuate your narrow waistline.

Avoid…

Empire waistlines. This high waistline won’t show off your narrow waist.

 b2ap3_thumbnail_Hourglasses---5th-page.jpg

Photo credit: Kleinfeld Bridal

Rectangles:

Look for…

Ballgowns. You can add curves with ballgowns because they’ll nip in your waist and the full skirt will flare and give the look of a fuller bottom.

Strapless, V-neck, or one shoulder necklines. These necklines will draw the attention towards your upper half and create the illusion of curves.

Empire waistlines. They’ll feature the smallest part of your torso to create a more defined waistline.

Avoid…

Halter or High necklines. They’ll make your shoulders look narrow and as result won’t flatter your waist.

Sheaths. They’ll make you look boxy.

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Photo credit: Kleinfeld Bridal

I hope these tips will be helpful to you in your search for the perfect dress! I have no doubt you will make everyone’s (especially your future husband’s) jaw drop to the floor when they see you walk down that aisle.

Until the next shopping trip… lots of fashionable love,

Lisa

Recent comment in this post
Amelia Traver
Your wedding dress should be the most beautiful dress of all.
Thursday, 23 January 2014 00:08
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Wedding Day Makeup: Put Your Best Face Forward Walking the Aisle

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Photo credit: MNStudio

The one thing all brides have in common is the desire to look and feel beautiful on their special day; however, one thing brides usually lack when selecting their wedding day makeup is consideration of their personal style.

Countless times I’ve met with a bride-to-be for a trial makeup application and was asked for celebrity looks such as “Kim Kardashian’s smokey eyes” and “Charlize Theron’s glowing skin.” While these are enviable looks, we have to realize they work on those women because it meshes with their personality and everyday sense of normalcy. We all appreciate a woman getting out of her comfort zone and trying new looks, but your wedding day is not the day to try something new.

If you are an everyday-certified-transparent-lip-gloss girl then a Kardashian smokey eye will scare the living daylights out of you once you realize the amount of makeup that goes into executing that type of look. Makeup artists apply products with the photographs in mind, and unless you clearly communicate your personal style and makeup preferences you will walk away with a whole other face applied. When you present your reference photographs to your makeup artist, explain your personality and everyday style so the stylist can understand how much “glam” you’d be comfortable and happy with on your special day.

See Tomara in action at the Spring Cover Shoot for Beauty Etc: 

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Amelia Traver
Weddings are very important specially for the brides as they have to look their best during this time. So for that they have to ta... Read More
Friday, 24 January 2014 23:08
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How Much Does a Wedding Cost?

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The love of my life and I got married just outside of Atlanta, GA where the average couple shells out anywhere between $21,956 and $36,593 for a wedding (from The Wedding Report).  Paying the equivalent of a house down-payment was not on our agenda!  The total for our wedding (including our bling, a buffet-catered reception, a beautiful festival center venue, ceremony site, gifts, and all other associated costs) ran us just around $7,500.

According to The Wedding Report, the average US couple spends $26,000 for their wedding - sans honeymoon!  This nationwide average doesn’t take into account larger expenditures spent on wedding fêtes thrown by relatives of the bride or groom with much deeper pockets.  However, (this should set you free) knowing how much people spend on a wedding and knowing how much a wedding costs are two very different things.  Your dream day does not have to cost anywhere near that amount - even if you’re in the middle of a major city.  

The final tally of your wedding will depend on three key factors:

  1. Resources you have at your disposal
    • Work from first the standpoint of what you have available.  Such resources may include personal finances, highly reliable vendor connections, dependable friends who’ll contribute their time + talents, other-contributed funding, and online resources.
    • Cost-effective wedding websites can help greatly.  For instance, GetWedforLess.com allows brides and grooms to find top-rated vendors with the most competitive prices - saving time, money, and some stress.  The Budget Savvy Bride is a great resource with tons of inspiration.
  2. How flexible you are with your expectations and budget
    • Regarding flexibility on expectations:  
      • This is where making a list your negotiables and non-negotiables is crucial.   Are you flexible on the type of reception and vendors? Will the reception be “dry” or with alcohol?  In a decorated hall vs. pricey grandiose venue?  Will you have a simple cake or one decked out in sugar art?  Are you willing to order centerpieces, flowers, and other supplies online or in bulk?  Do you need a high-end cinematographer or can anyone with the skill to record and deliver raw footage suffice?
    • Regarding budget flexibility:  
      • There’s usually a difference between what couples have available to spend and how much of it they’re willing to part with.  Will you be willing to shift money budgeted for the reception in order to buy that dress you tried and instantly knew was “the one?”
  3. Your ability to say, “No”
    • Wedding costs have a way of getting out of hand when we have the “need to please” syndrome.  Unless one is a bridezilla, the last thing we want to do is offend people who are trying to help.  When suggestions are made that will inevitably increase costs, reply with a cordial, “If we had the money to spend on that, we’d consider it.  However, we don’t.”  Be OK with leaving it at that.

Lastly, here's a nifty tool we found online that allows your to customize your expected expenses:  Wedding Cost Estimator.  Try it out!

Until next time...

Happy Planning!

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I'm Engaged! Now What? - First Steps for Newly Engaged Couples

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CONGRATULATIONS!

As a wedding planner for some thirteen years, I'd recommend the first thing you and your fiancee do is determine is the type and size of the ceremony and reception you both desire and can afford.  A big mistake I see is assuming that the groom has no ideas.  Often the groom's input is not expected - or accepted.  Times have changed - more grooms are taking an active role in wedding planning.

Set a time to sit down and discuss these key preliminary items:

  1. The Timing:  How long of an engagement will you have?  When do you want to get married?
  2. The Budget:  What can you realistically afford -- without going into debt?  Note from the Editor:  Check back next week for step-by-step budget creation!
  3. The Tab:  Who is actually going to pay for what?  It's no longer considered to be the parents of the bride's sole responsibility; although, they do often contribute along with the groom's family.
  4. The List:  Who is really important to you that you must have as a part of your day?  Make a physical list of names. 
  5. The Must-Haves:  What are must-haves for your wedding day?  Are there specific flowers?  Perhaps a certain type of limousine?  Remember:  This day is all about you two!

After the financial aspect is agreed upon and your budget is set, it's time to meet with a wedding planner.  Of course, you can do much of the task on your own; however, most wedding planners often have connections for discounts on venues and many other vendors and can assure you of quality products and services.  Even more, keeping you as stress-free as possible is a top priority!  Honestly, while a wedding seems simple and easy to plan the details, coordination of vendors & TIMING is everything.

Keep in mind your "perfect day" is about your declaration of love and your expressions in front of those honored loved ones you desire to share the day with!

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An Ounce of Perspective Today is Worth Pounds (£'s) Tomorrow

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(Photo credit: Boogietek Photo+Cinema)

All is well in the world.  He finally popped the question as you've dreamed time and time again.  Except now, it's a reality.  You screamed the same ecstatic "YES!" as rehearsed so many times in your head.  It's time to start planning your "perfect day."

It's at this juncture, ladies, that we wrap our minds around what signifies "perfect" - for us.  If your diaries were anything like most Princess Brides, we somehow equated perfection with lots of existential things - the dress, the towering cake draped in elegance - maybe with "Mini Me's" of you and your beau atop, and a ceremony/reception site decked out to the max!  Sure, it's great to want all these things to add to your day, but their attainment will still put your definition far short of "perfect" and your hard-saved bank balance just short. 

What's really the point of the wedding? It's the celebration in which you marry your best friend, the day your two hearts commit before those most important to you, declaring hopes those hearts will beat in rhythm for life.  It's the day symbolizing your perfect love - accepting one another's quirks and imperfections, forsaking all others for the epic love of a lifetime!  At the end of the day, your pure love and respect for one another makes the day "perfect."  

Remember that when well-intentioned relatives and "experts" add in their two cents.  Remember that when you are tempted to splurge unnecessarily.  With a wedding still comes bills and the inevitable trade-off between having more for that one day or more for your future life with your love. 

Some practical steps?  Check back for some helpful "To Dos" to discuss with your betrothed!

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