Thursday, February 26, 2009

How to Be a Stellar Bridesmaid

She asked you to be in her wedding, and now you’re wondering what the job entails. The good news is that you don’t have to be an etiquette guru or event diva to play this role perfectly. You simply need to be your most fun and supportive self and handle a few basic tasks.

But just what are those tasks? Many of us, especially if we've yet to play the bridesmaid role, are admittedly clueless about the world of weddings. That's where this extremely useful list of bridesmaid duties comes in. Nail your job with poise and grace with this cheat sheet of essential bridesmaid to-dos.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Creative and Modern Ideas for Wedding Flowers

Your wedding flowers offer ample opportunity to stretch your creative muscles and add a bit of originality to your wedding day, so don't be afraid to design a floral scheme that bucks tradition. This list of favorite ideas for bridal bouquets, centerpieces, colors and other decorations is a great place to start designing a memorable decor scheme, and these may even inspire your own creations.

Play with Shape

Arrangements with a just-picked, unstructured look are replacing the tightly-bound bouquet and centerpiece shapes of previous seasons. Ensure a modern, not messy, look by choosing the right flowers. Hearty blooms like lilies, orchids, and amaranthus work well in looser arrangements because of the sleek shape of the individual blooms. Also consider incorporating nonfloral elements like feathers, berries, and crystals to add interest and depth and interest.

Get Into Navy

Sophisticated and classic navy is one of the hottest colors on the 2009 wedding palette, and many brides are daring to think beyond basic baby blue by incorporating the darker shade into their floral schemes. Naturally navy flowers may be hard to come by, but there are some options that are a close match: deep blue violets, thistles, and hydrangea are available in various shades of blue and indigo, while roses are a versatile bloom that can be dyed any color - including navy blue. Pair these bold navy blooms with white or ivory for a classic look, or yellow for a bright burst of color.

Think Beyond the Vase

Options abound beyond the basic floral vase for holding your flowers. Consider instead mixing and matching clusters of unique containers like wood buckets, mason jars, cans, pitchers, antique urns and uniquely shaped vases to add interest and reflect your wedding theme. Some ideas: Fill watering cans with wild flowers for a garden fete, or use apothecary jars filled with sand and sea glass to complement to a waterfront wedding.

Lighten Up

Candles, always a popular choice for centerpieces, are becoming even more popular as a budget and eco-friendly enhancement to traditional floral centerpieces. Ample candlelight lends the day a romantic, organic feel, while the natural resource saves electricity and drapes the setting with an intimate glow. Another way to enhance your arrangements with lighting and really make your centerpieces pop is through a technique called pinspotting. This advanced light design shines tiny beams of light from the ceiling to illuminate the center of each arrangement.

Get Stoned

Say good-bye to light pastels and muted shades, and seek inspiration from the baubles on your ears and wrist. Rich gemstone colors like amethyst, turquoise, and amber are hot on this year's wedding color palette. Accent these rich colors with soft sandy tones or grays instead of chocolate brown (so last year!)

Go Green

Going green is easy when it comes to wedding flowers. Consult Mother Nature for inspiration and bring the outdoors in. Natural objects like stones, leaves, pinecones, even twigs can add an organic aesthetic to your reception décor. Place in rustic containers or scatter amongst pillar candles for added ambiance.

Make it Personal

Further seeking to personalize their weddings, brides are using their wedding flowers to call out specific interests by incorporating unique items into bouquets and centerpieces and creating a conversation piece for guests. For instance, book worms can use intricately piled leather-bound books in place of floral centerpieces, and wine lovers can use wine bottles and decanters as centerpiece holders.

Get even more unique wedding ideas for flowers in this complete wedding flowers and wedding decorations resource.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Wedding Rings Made of Wood - A Unique Alternative

Wood may seem like the least romantic material for your wedding bands - that is until you actually take a look at the dazzling array of handcrafted wooden wedding rings from Simply Wood Rings that feature inlaid work and even stones. At a fraction of the cost of traditional wedding rings, wood rings are made from salvaged wood and recycled metals, which should set eco-conscious minds at ease. And if this still reeks a little too granola for your tastes, your tree-hugging groom may jump at the chance to have a tree hug him back.

Learn more about these unique wood wedding rings and the Unveiled Wedding Blog.

Looking for more wedding ring advice? This complete wedding rings guide will walk you through the entire process of choosing, shopping for, and purchasing your rings

Monday, February 23, 2009

Looking for Wedding Hairstyles?

So you've found your wedding dress and planned your accessories. The final ingredient to looking amazing on your wedding day is the perfect hairstyle to complement your bridal look. The key is to choose a style that suits your personality - if you've always been a breezy, no-fuss type of gal, sporting a super high maintenance look on your wedding day may not be the way to go.

Regardless, the best way to start planning your do is to browse as many options as possible. Not sure where to look? This complete gallery of wedding hairstyles has tons of options - from classic, to romantic, to modern and chic. Happy hunting!

Friday, February 20, 2009

10 Essential Questions to Ask Your Ceremony Officiant

Before the big day, you will meet with your ceremony officiant or potential officiants to discuss the ceremony and any pre-ceremony requirements - and ultimately decide if the three of you want to work together. It’s best to come prepared with some questions to help you determine whether s/he is open to your ideas. Here are 10 must-ask questions to help you get started:

1) Are there any pre-wedding requirements, such as counseling?
2) What is the ceremony fee?
3) Is the officiant open to any personal ideas for ceremony? For instance, is he or she open to non-secular wedding vows, wedding ceremony readings or wedding songs?
4) Will the officiant give a sermon or a speech?
5) Will you have input in the ceremony, and will you be allowed to review the sermon or speech beforehand?
6) Are there any ceremony site restrictions such as flash photography, videography, music, dress code, decor, tossing items?
7) What items does the ceremony site/officiant provide, and what must you bring yourself? (pews, isle runners, microphone, etc.)
8) What will officiant wear?
9) What time will he/she be available for rehearsal?
10) Should you bring your marriage license to the ceremony, or will you sign it beforehand?

Looking for advice to help you plan your ceremony? This complete wedding ceremony guide has everything you need to know - from suggestions for unique ceremony sites, to creative ways to personalize your ceremony.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Anatomy of a Wedding Invitation - Guide to Invitation Components and Enclosures

Wedding invitations can include a number of enclosures, depending on the nature of your wedding and your stationery budget. (obviously more enclosures means higher costs). Here's your guide to the wedding invitation components.

Outer envelope: Holds all enclosures, formally addressed to the recipient.

Inner envelope: Holds all contents of the formal, third-person invitation for protection during shipping.

Reception card: Specifies where and when the reception will be held - usually included only if the ceremony and reception take place at different locations.

Response card: On which your guests indicate acceptance or regrets. In self-addressed stamped envelope. Make sure to include an RSVP deadline.

Map/Directional: Optional insertion to help guests navigate and arrange for accommodations.

Looking for more? This complete guide to wedding invitations offers even more tips, trends, etiquette advice, and ways to save on your invites.

Monday, February 16, 2009

5 Ways to Find Cheap Wedding Dresses That Look Anything But

Your wedding gown is arguably the most important garment purchase in your lifetime. No other dress comes with more anticipation – and will be more photographed - than this one. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend like royalty to look like a princess on your wedding day. With these smart strategies, you can still walk down the aisle feeling like a million bucks (without having to spend just that).

Something Borrowed
Today, anything retro screams chic. So consider donning your mother’s wedding gown. You’ll not only honor a family legacy, you’ll save a pretty penny too. With vintage lace overlays and crystal embellishments making a comeback, you won’t have to worry about looking dated. With a few simple (and inexpensive) alterations, you can make it your own.

Avoid Added Adornments
Beading, pleating, stitching, embroidering…all of these trimmings add up and are going to cost you extra. Consider a dress that is simply embellished, yet still elegant.

Shop Savvy
Be on the lookout for sample sales, trunk shows, and outlet bargains. Bridal shops are trying to rid their racks of the previous season’s styles to make room for new ones in the late-summer/winter months. Get ready to brave the crowds for super savings.

Don't Name Drop
Sure, designer duds are nice – but if you’re on a budget – you may want to skip the sought-after label. The good news is that you won’t have to sacrifice on style. If you find a look you like from a high-end dress designer, you can almost always find something similar by another name in your price range.

Be Honest
Just because your wedding dress budget doesn’t match your elaborate vision doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the look you want. Approach this shopping decision with an open mind. When stepping into a bridal boutique, tell them exactly what you can realistically spend, and let them take care of the rest. They are the experts, and you might be surprised to see what they can come up with—the perfect wedding gown exists at every price point.

Think Outside Traditional Tulle and Lace
There’s no written rule that says your wedding day attire has to be an official bridal gown. The look you are going for is often available through another avenue. For instance, many bridesmaids’ dresses come in white or ivory, offering a less expensive, less fussy alternative to the traditional wedding dress.

Get even more tips on finding cheap wedding dresses in this complete wedding dresses guide and photo gallery.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Alternative Ceremony Readings for Unconventional Couples

Traditional ceremony readings peppered with “thou shalts” and “whilst ye’s” aren’t for everybody. If you cannot bear another rendition of “love is patient, love is kind…” at your wedding ceremony, you’ve come to the right place.

Consult this list of alternative wedding ceremony humorous readings and wedding ceremony readings inspired by modern literature, songs, and poetry that pack a slightly edgier punch than traditional wedding readings.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wedding Invitation Printing Options

Before you go shopping for your wedding invitations, become familiar with the invitation printing process and lingo; this will help you determine your needs in advance and avoid unnecessary costs. Price is determined per invitation, so if your guest list is huge - be prepared to designate a significant portion of your budget to wedding invitations. Costs can range anywhere from $1-$50 each. Bulky papers, colored inks and unique graphics all increase the cost. Custom designs can also be pricey.

Printing options also affect the cost:
Engraving - most formal and most expensive - results in raised print that is pressed through the back.

Thermography - less expensive than engraving - results in raised print that does not press through the back

- less expensive than either engraving or theromography - results in print that is neither raised nor pressed through

Laser printing - the least expensive option. - produced on a laser printer and results in print similar to that of lithography.

When factoring total costs, don’t forget to consider postage as part of your budget, including stamps for the response card envelopes. Looking for ways to save? Keep your design simple, sticking to one color. Use lighter weight papers and include less inserts. Use response postcards instead of cards with envelopes.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

7 Creative Valentine's Day Proposal Ideas

It's no wonder why Valentine's Day is one of the most popular days of the year to propose. It's a day already steeped in romance and reserved for spending together, so half of the work is done for you. But if you're not careful, your sweet Valentine's proposal could border on cliché. If you're one of the millions of guys (or gals!) planning a Valentine's Day proposal, skip the chocolate script on the dessert plate and check out these creative engagement proposal ideas for Valentines Day to ensure the moment is memorable and personal.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

How to Plan Your Wedding Reception Music and Make Your Song Selections

Your wedding entertainment can really make or break the atmosphere of your reception. No other detail will command more influence over the behavior of your guests, so you should use this opportunity to elicit the behavior you desire. Thus, whether you want your guests dancing on the tabletops by night’s end or would rather keep the atmosphere formal and elegant, your reception music will help set the mood.

Once you have decided on the type of atmosphere you wish to create, it’s time to hire your wedding entertainment. The overall look and feel of your wedding and your venue may determine whether you should hire a wedding band or DJ; however, either will work in almost any situation.

Shop Around
Selecting your wedding reception music is one of the most important decisions you’ll make, so invest some time and energy in scouting for your band or DJ. Check out local acts or ask friends for suggestions. Other vendors can also provide recommendations. Once you find a few bands or DJs that interest you, check out their websites. Many offer sound clips that will further help you decide. Ask each potential band to send you some sample cds for review.

Meet and Greet
Once you have narrowed your list, set up appointments with your top prospects. Take note of the band leader’s or DJ’s personality. Does he or she have a pleasant manner or grate on your nerves? Also, make sure that your band or DJ wears something that coincides with the overall feel of your wedding reception. Mullets and ripped T-shirts don’t really work at formal dinner.

Plan Your Playlist
Make sure that your wedding entertainment plays a variety of music. You want to ensure that both your 17–year–old cousins and your 75–year–old grandmother will enjoy your wedding reception music and find songs that will entice them onto the dance floor. Supply your entertainment with both a play list and a do not play list. If your vision of your reception in no way involves your relatives performing “the chicken dance,” you must alert your band or DJ so that they will have a ready response when your Uncle Fred requests it. Browse our list of popular Wedding Songs for receptions for ideas.

Consult this complete guide to wedding music for even more ideas and money saving tips.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Unique Wedding Dresses for the Indie Bride

If you’re not the stereotypical poofy white dress type of bride, you may have noticed the lack of suitable alternatives that still make you, well, look like a bride. The Unveiled Wedding Blog reports that a handful of independent designers are answering that call with sophisticated wedding dresses that have an artistic, edgy quality while still being pretty. Seattle-based Chrissy Wai-Ching, an artist who forayed into dress design, specializes in custom hand-dyed silk gowns featuring color choices like golds, reds, blues and greens. San Francisco-based Mignonette Bridal offers custom and ready-to-wear gowns with shorter hemlines, svelte silhouettes and non-traditional colors. Both designers cater to brides all over the nation.

Read more on these unique wedding dresses at the Unveiled Wedding Blog

Monday, February 02, 2009

Wedding Photography Prices – How to Set Your Photography Budget

How much does professional photography cost for your wedding? Learn how to set a realistic photography budget with this guide to wedding photography prices and rates.

The Going Rate for Professional Photography

When determining your wedding photography budget, keep in mind that you get what you pay for. You should expect to spend at least $1000 on having a professional wedding photographer document your wedding (not including the actual prints and other extras). Rates, of course, will vary depending on skill level, experience and geographic region (metro areas are usually considerably higher). The size of your wedding can also affect the photography cost, as additional guests may increase the amount of time that the photographer must spend at your event. For instance, for an event of less than 100 guests, a wedding photographer will typically dedicate four-six hours of time. For a larger wedding of 300 or more guests, a photographer may have to spend eight-ten hours on the job.

Comparing Photographer Rates

Most wedding photographers will give general pricing information over the phone or on their websites, so you can use an initial online search or phone call as your first step towards finding a photographer that suits your budget. In comparing photography costs, remember that different photographers offer different packages - so initial rates can be misleading. Some rates only include the photographer's time, while prints and albums are extra. Other photography packages may include proofs, a set number of prints and an album. Determine what services and options you want first, then compare photographers' rates for providing those specific options to determine which professional works within your wedding photography budget. This article offers even more tips on comparing professional photography services.

Creative Ways to Save on Wedding Photography Prices

If you simply must have a certain photographer who commands higher rates, consider these ways to save on your photography budget:

* Buy a more basic wedding photography package with less prints and albums

* Negotiate and switch out an engagement portrait for an additional parent's album

Get even more ways to save on wedding photography prices.

Photography Contract Points

When reviewing your contract with a potential photographer, make sure that it is specifically clear in what it covers. Consider these questions:

* Do you need to make a deposit?

* What is the cancellation policy? Will you get anything back?

* Is any travel time considered an extra or included in the bill?

* Are you entitled to final prints only, or can you obtain all of the proofs?

Now that you're an expert on photography costs and budgeting skills, this complete guide to wedding photography will take you the rest of the way towards hiring and working with a photographer and planning your wedding day shots.