Thursday, January 30, 2014

What to think about before you say “cheese!”

Many couples choose to have engagement photos taken, whether it’s for the Save-the-Dates, a newspaper announcement, your wedding website, or simply to have a record of the engagement. How you choose the photographer is similar to choosing any vendor, but here are some tips to get you started.

Decide how formal you want the photographs. Do you want a simple portrait of the two of you, or are you looking for a full photo shoot on location? A formal portrait can be done through many photography studios, but can feel very impersonal.

Use your wedding photographer for your photo shoot. If you’re looking for a full-fledged photo shoot of the two of you, then check with your wedding photographer. The engagement session may be part of a package deal, or can be added to your existing package. This gives you the opportunity to get to know your photographer before your wedding day, and how he or she interacts with you. It also gives you the chance to add personal details, like your furry, feathered or other animal friends.

Ask a friend. If you’re a couple on a strict budget, or you’ve got friends with artistic talent, perhaps a friend can handle the duties. Depending on what you want the photos for, many amateur photographers will offer their expertise as a wedding or engagement gift.

No matter what you choose, do your homework. Ask to see a portfolio of work or look through their website. Make sure you’ve asked all your questions before you sign a contract. And then, get ready to say “cheese!”

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Creative guest book options

There’s nothing wrong with the traditional guest book and fancy pen to have your guests sign in and leave their special notes. But many couples are looking for alternatives to the traditional leather-bound book. Here are some of our favorites:

Quilt squares – For the crafty or DIY couple, having guests each sign a quilt square will give you plenty of fabric to work with to create a great keepsake quilt. You can then either put it on display at your home, or use it as a quilt in a guest room. The possibilities are endless!

Picture frames – Buy a plain white mat for a large picture and have your guests sign the mat. Then, when your wedding pictures are printed, pick one to place inside the signed mat. Display with pride!

Blank puzzles – You can purchase blank puzzles online. Then, have guests each sign a piece. After you put the puzzle together, you can permanently mount and display the completed puzzle!

Note cards – There are plenty of options here to fit any wedding theme! Have your guests sign individual note cards, and place them in a decorative box. What form that box takes is up to you – birdcages, mailboxes, vases, anything you can think of that will match your d├ęcor!

Brides and/or grooms, what has worked for you? What are you planning to use? Share with us in the comments! And as always, check out our Pinterest page to see how other couples are decorating our space!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Making room for compromise

Every wedding has elements of blending two families, two traditions, into one event. Whether you grew up in the same religious or ethnic background or you’re blending two different cultures, there will always be some compromises that will need to be made. How you handle them might help take some of the stress away from wedding planning.

Communicate with each other. First, discuss your expectations as a couple. What does each of you expect from your ceremony, your reception? Are there traditional elements you are just assuming will happen? This is particularly important if you come from different religious or cultural traditions. Make sure you take the time to explain why a particular tradition is important to you – but also remember to listen to what your other half wants. Find ways to incorporate each of your “most important” elements.

Communicate with your families. Once you’ve made your decisions together, explain to your families what traditions you are sharing – and why. And while some of the discussions may not be easy, it’s definitely better to have them as early as possible. That way, your very-traditional family members will have some time to get used to the idea of a wedding that will be different from what they’re expecting.  

Communicate with your officiant. If you’re having a blended religious ceremony with more than one officiant, make sure both of them are comfortable with sharing the ceremony. If you’re having just one, but taking elements from different traditions, make sure he or she also is aware of how you expect the ceremony to run.

Communicate with your guests. If part of your ceremony is in a different language or some traditions are different from what some of your guests are expecting, help them understand. You can print explanations in a wedding program, have details listed on your wedding website or have your officiant explain different elements of the ceremony.

Really, communication is the key. The more that is discussed and put on the table ahead of time, the easier it will be in the long run.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Choosing your honeymoon destination

In the midst of all your wedding planning, most couples also discover they’re doing vacation planning at the same time – for their honeymoon. We’ve got some tips to help you through the decision-making process.

Decide WHAT you want to do. Sit down together and talk about what sort of vacation you’re looking for. Is it relaxing all day every day on a warm beach? Exploring a new city? Hitting the slopes? Figuring out what you want to do will help you narrow down other possibilities.

Then you can start looking at WHERE you want to go.  Will you need a passport? Do you have the budget for airline travel? You can find both budget-conscious and luxury honeymoon choices no matter what you want to do. Is Fiji out of reach, but you still want beaches? Try North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Dreaming of a French getaway, but Paris or Nice is just too far? Quebec City is just a car ride away. You can be creative with your locations, if you plan ahead.

Remember your identification. If you’re planning on changing your name, remember that the name on your plane tickets needs to be the same as the name on your passport or driver’s license. Unless you’re postponing your honeymoon and you’ll have time to change all your documentation, make sure your reservations are in your maiden name.

Have fun. Celebrate! You just got married!