Thursday, January 29, 2015

Pre-registration is open for the Southbury Bridal Show

Did you get engaged over the holidays? Or hoping to be engaged on Valentine’s Day? Pre-registration is open for the free Southbury Bridal Show, to be held right here at the Heritage Sunday March 1, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

It’s a fun-filled day of local experts and professionals in photography, wedding attire, invitations, confections, transportation, jewelry, makeup and more. There also will be gourmet appetizer sampling and a cash bar. Best of all? It’s free! And everyone who pre-registers will receive a copy of “The Little Blue Book,” to help plan your wedding day.

The pasta station in the Terrace room was a big hit at the 2014 Bridal Show
Colorful tables and helpful vendors await you at the Southbury Bridal Show

To learn more, visit The Southbury Bridal Show and pre-register

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Are you unplugging your wedding?

I’ve talked in the past about social media and wedding planning, but what if you want to it all during your wedding? Some couples are happy to make Instagram hashtags and share their day over Facebook, while others want a less smartphone-heavy wedding day. But if you want an unplugged wedding, how do you ask your guests to comply?

It’s easier to request that your guests put phones away during the ceremony than during the reception, especially if you’re having a religious ceremony. Find wording you prefer and use it in multiple places. Your wedding website and signs at the ceremony are great places to start.

You also can ask your officiant make a statement at the beginning of the ceremony. You can say something like “[Couples names] thank you for attending their wedding. So that you will enjoy the ceremony as much as they have enjoyed planning it, they respectfully ask that all cell phones remain on silent and are put away for the ceremony.” Sure, you won’t get everyone to put their phones away, but the vast majority of your guests will be smiling at you, not looking at you through their smartphone screens!

Keeping everyone unplugged throughout the reception will be more difficult. People are used to having their phones out and taking pictures of everything, from their meals to selfies to their crazy dancing; while people who have children at home with babysitters will want to be able to stay in contact. Again, you can ask your DJ or members of the band to make an announcement requesting no smartphone use during the reception. But you may need to compromise a little here, depending on your guests.

You can request that family members leave the photography to your professional photographer during the special moments like cake cutting and first dances. While photographers are used to working around your guests, it will make their jobs easier if they’re not competing with phone camera flashes. It also means you’ll be able to see our guests’ faces in the pictures, instead of a host of phones!

 Are you trying to keep any part of your big day unplugged? Tell us in the comments!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Make the budget, then stick to it!

Whether the wedding of your dreams is a small, intimate gathering that will cost $1,000; an extravaganza that will cost $70,000; or (like most of us!) somewhere in-between, you need to make a budget that you can stick to! But where do you start?

Know how much you have to spend. Are family members helping to pay? Are the two of you using your own savings? Get a real number together, and don’t start shopping until you know what you’ve got! This is a time to be very honest with yourself, your family, and each other. You don’t want to get your heart set on a dress, venue or anything else until you know what your limits are.

Get organized. There are plenty of ways to get your budget together. From the wedding planning binders you can find at any bookstore, to online budget calculators, pick what works for you and do it! The trick, of course, is not only to set up the budget, but to keep it updated. You’ll need to know if you’re going over budget in one area, so you can make up for it in another!

Remember the little things. We know the venue and the dress make up most of a traditional wedding budget.  But don’t forget that the little things do add up. Postage for your wedding invitations will most likely be more than the cost of a single stamp. And you’ll need to order more than Save-the-Dates and invitations. Don’t forget to include things like your escort cards, programs and thank you cards! Are you going to DIY your centerpieces? Plan for things like ribbon, fabric, and other supplies, too! (Of course, if you’re trying to trim your budget, things like that can be cut altogether!)

Other wedding-related events. Are you planning to have an engagement party? Ask your wedding party to be a part of your big day in a special way? Have an engagement photo session? These things, too, need to be part of your overall plan.

Making your budget will take some time (and it will feel a lot like homework) when all you want to do is go to cake tastings and try on some great clothes. But it is such an important part of any wedding planning!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Surprise weddings aren’t just for celebrities!

Celebrities like surprise weddings – Cameron Diaz and Benji Madden had a surprise ceremony just this week! It keeps the paparazzi off the celebrities’ trail and allows them to enjoy their wedding a little more. But you don’t have to be a celebrity to have a surprise wedding, you just need to be a daring bride or groom!

Cameron Diaz and Benji Madden tied the knot in a surprise ceremony this week. But is it for you?
Who would have a surprise ceremony? Perhaps your family relationships are complicated, or you just don’t want a huge fuss leading up to your wedding, but you do want family and friends there. Surprise them with a party that turns into something more!

Let your venue in on the secret, though! Make sure the restaurant, hotel or location knows exactly what you’re planning, and that they know it’s a surprise for your guests. They will be your best help in getting things done.

You still need to plan for the legal parts. Unless you’ve already gotten legally married and your surprise is just the reception, you need to do the same planning every other couple does. You’ll still need a marriage license and an officiant, so make sure you check on the local laws on what paperwork you will need done!

Be prepared for some people to not be able to make it. If you’ve told people it’s a special dinner party or other get-together, they might not work as hard to get to it as they would if they knew they were attending a wedding.

Be prepared for some people to get upset. Your great-aunt, your mom, or your grandfather might get mad that you didn’t follow the usual path for wedding planning. I always recommend having a few stock answers ready for anyone who’s upset by the surprise. “We just wanted to keep the pressure off,” or “We just wanted to have some fun with it.” Eventually, they’ll come around.

If, however, you are looking forward to wedding planning, be sure to come to our Bridal Show, Sunday March 1 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s free, and you can register by visiting