Planning a “Green” Eco-Friendly Wedding

Are you planning a green wedding? Green weddings are becoming a huge trend, allowing couples to maintain their commitment to the environment by having an ecologically responsible wedding. Green weddings are planning in consideration of how each factor – invitations, beverages, food, location, and flowers – will impact the environment.

With the average wedding costing more than $25,000, going “green” for your wedding can save you plenty of green along the way. Here are some ways to green up your wedding.

Wedding Food

One of the best ways to go green at your wedding with food is to choose locally grown, organic products to serve. From organic greens to range-fed chicken, you can offer food choices that make a difference. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that organic food tends to be pricier than non-organic, so shop CSAs and Farmer’s markets to save extra money, or limit your menu choices to make it feasible.

The Wedding Cake

If you have ideas about how to make a wedding cake that tastes good while still being good for the environment, you’ll have to let me know. But you can choose to support a local bakery or chef rather than a chain store, and you can opt for a smaller cake (a lot of it ends up going to waste anyway).

The Wedding Invitations

Your wedding invitations provide an easy area to save money and be good to the environment. Printing your invitations at home on recycled paper allows you to minimize the impact, and if you skip the response cards and ask people to RSVP electronically, you eliminate much of the paper. Alternatively, you can create your invitation online and send out virtual invitations.

The Wedding Dress

While we may have grown up thinking that we have to spend $1,000 or more on an heirloom dress that we then carefully store for 30 years in the hopes that our daughters will wear the dress, it just doesn’t happen. Rent a dress or buy a used one to save money, or choose a dress made of hemp, cotton or silk with no synthetic materials or dyes used.

Wedding Favors

There are a number of different wedding favor options that are environmentally friendly while still creating a lasting memory for your guests. From organic jellies to handmade jewelry to beeswax candles, you can choose wonderful

Wedding Flowers

green wedding ideas - recycled flowersWhen choosing wedding flowers, you can save money and be environmentally friendly by choosing to work with a florist who uses recycled flowers and foliage for bouquets. You can create inexpensive and memorable centerpieces with live plants that your guests can take home.

The Wedding Transportation

There can be a huge environmental impact to destination weddings or even having a large number of out-of-town guests, so arranging to provide group transportation using hybrid vehicles can be helpful. Arrange to have your guests stay near the wedding location to reduce the impact, too. Instead of departing your wedding in a limo, consider a horse-drawn carriage instead.

Wedding Location

Green weddings are often held in natural environments, such as botanical gardens or nature preserves, or even in their own back yards. This reduces how many decorations you need. Hosting the wedding and reception at the same location can also minimize transportation requirements for everyone and allow your guests to spend more time with you. Choose a venue that already embraces eco-friendly practices, such as solar energy and recycled water and trash, or even offer to connect you with other green-friendly vendors. Some eco-friendly venues even donate a portion of your fee to supporting environmental causes.

After the Wedding

Rather than throw rice, have your guests throw biodegradable options, such as freeze dried flower petals. Bird seed is also a great option.

Do you have ideas or products to help people have greener weddings? Let us know!

Modern Weddings – All the Frills, Frugally

Getting Real With Shadra Bruce
Modern weddings can be fancy and fun – with all the frills – while still being frugal. These money-saving tips will help you make the most of your nuptials without breaking the bank, giving you more money to spend on the honeymoon. From dresses and flowers to photography and gifts, you can have the wedding of your dreams without going broke.

The wedding industry is a multibillion dollar industry, and when it’s your turn to say “I Do” it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you need to have the biggest and the best wedding.

My advice? Save it for the honeymoon.

The Wedding Dress

Wedding CakeAt the end of the day, no one is going to care if you were in a$99 bridal store special or a $5000 custom-made gown with real diamonds. It may take a little more time in the dressing room to find the perfect dress for your body, but buying off the rack – or if you’re really trying to save, renting the wedding dress – is one of the best ways to save money. Saving money on the veil is even easier. Rather than paying $200-500 for a store-bought veil, buy the materials for less than $40 and make one.

The Wedding Flowers

Whether you work with a florist or put together your own floral arrangements, consider silk. Silk arrangements can be used later to adorn your new home. If you love the idea of real roses, save them for the bridal bouquet – but be sure to make a smaller silk bouquet for throwing. Boutonnieres and corsages can be simple – and inexpensive – carnations wrapped in a ribbon that is in the colors of the wedding.

Wedding Photographs

While forgoing a professional photographer may not have been something a couple would have considered even five years ago, the advances of digital photography have made it possible to have most of your photos taken by friends and family with digital cameras from which you can make inexpensive prints using an online service.

Wedding Decorations

It’s amazing how nice a wedding hall can look with tulle, balloons, and Christmas lights. For less than $75, you can have everything you need to create magic. Centerpieces for the tables can be simple candles, and wedding favors can be simple, handmade mementos that let people take something home to remember the special occasion.

Wedding Video

Like photography, the ability to obtain excellent quality video from a home video camera has never been better. You can ask family members and friends to capture video, splice it together, and share the entire thing on YouTube with no more than a few clicks of the mouse and free software.

While not every cost is avoidable, even the more expensive wedding items such as the cost of renting a hall and catering can be minimized with some creativity. Perhaps someone you know owns a beautiful home that would make the perfect backdrop for the wedding. It never hurts to think creatively while planning. The more money you save on the wedding, the better the honeymoon and your future, debt-free life can be.

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5 Tips for the Bride for a Happy Wedding Day

A happy wedding day might be difficult to imagine if you’re stressing about the wedding plans and all that goes into them. Your wedding day is supposed to be the most wonderful day of your life, so why is it always so stressful? Let these five tips be your guide to a happier, less stressful wedding day.

Getting married is an exciting and stressful time. They don’t have shows like “Bridezillas” for nothing! For some women, the stress is overwhelming. These five tips are designed to help you survive the day in style.

Happy Bride Tip 1

1373409498haeemEvery time you start to worry about whether or not you like the DJ, why your fiancé insists on doing the chicken dance, or how frustrated you are by your future mother-in-law’s constant criticizing, take a deep breath and think about how you plan to celebrate your tenth wedding anniversary. Ten years after the big day, you’re not going to be thinking about how embarrassed you were on the dance floor or how frustrated you were with your mother-in-law. You’re going to be thrilled she’s watching the kids while you and your husband escape for a weekend. Put it in perspective.

Happy Bride Tip 2

Everyone is going to have an opinion about everything. The truth of the matter is, though, that it is your wedding. You and your fiancé should have the ultimate say on the details. Where compromise is possible, do it. Where it’s not, learn how to say a firm “no thank you.” It’s good practice for all of the helpful opinions that will come with the first child.

Happy Bride Tip 3

Tact and diplomacy aren’t just for global peace; they help keep peace on a familial level as well. People want to feel like they are contributing to the day. While you may not want 15 bridesmaids, you might need someone to help seat guests, to encourage people to sign the guest book, or to take gifts as the guests arrive. Put your willing friends and family to work doing things that are important but won’t equate the cost of another gown or tux rental.

Happy Bride Tip 4

Quit worrying about the myths and legends and do what’s right for you. If taking photos before the wedding means your wedding album will be picture perfect, then by all means let your fiancé see you before the ceremony. And rain doesn’t mean bad luck; it means there’s a rainbow right around the corner. Happiness is all about how you choose to look at things (advice worth remembering after the wedding, too).

Happy Bride Tip 5

No matter how chaotic and busy things become, take one moment for just you and your fiancé on the day of your wedding. That moment will be something you cherish.

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Important Dos and Don’ts On Your Wedding Day

For a couple in love, their wedding day is the most important day in their lives. It is the culmination of their dream and their togetherness as official  and for life – that is, for most couples at least.

Weddings are intimate occasions where only chosen guests are invited — usually only those related to the couple, their close friends and some extended family members.

As expected, every wedding takes a lot of planning and preparation to make things run smoothly and without a hitch. Nevertheless, it is unavoidable that things can still go wrong even with a wedding planner assisting the couple. This usually happens when it comes to last-minute details before the wedding day itself.

wedding dayHere are some dos and don’ts to make that day hassle-free, smooth-flowing and especially memorable.

Wedding Day Dos

1) Have an emergency kit ready. You can prepare it days before the wedding. Make sure you have all must-haves for “just-in-case” situations like safety pins, hair spray, breath spray, nail polish, comb, nail cutter, scissors, or anything else you may think will be useful for similar scenarios.

2) Put someone you trust in charge and let him/her be the point person for your wedding vendors. Vendors are the people who have assisted you in making this wedding come to life. They can be the caterer, the florists, the photographers, etc.

3) Organize all the things you need to bring along with you, if any. Have a separate basket or bin for your shoes, of which you should have at least 2 extra pairs to change into after the wedding ceremony. Anything with lower heels or wedges and flats would be fine. Extra hankies would also be handy for your happy tears.

4)  Have a fixed schedule ready for the hair and make-up for you and your entourage. Even if you know how to do make-up, on this occasion, it would be best to let the professionals do the job for you so you can relax and maintain focus.

5)  Take care of yourself. Get a good night’s sleep and drink plenty of water. Do not let the pressure get the better of you. One important thing most brides forget – eat before and during the wedding.

6) Hand the rings to someone responsible and trustworthy. It can be your mom, a friend or another relative. Instruct the person to be the one in charge to give the rings to the ring bearer before walking down the aisle.

7) Remember your wedding vows. Take time to practice your wedding vows before you actually say it in front of your spouse during the wedding ceremony.

8) Don’t forget to say thank you. A lot of people were helped you prepare for the wedding. Hence, before the reception is over, it would be apt to give acknowledgement to these people behind the scenes. Such gesture would be greatly appreciated.

Wedding Day Don’ts

1) Not showing up. Are you having wedding day jitters? It is normal that brides go through doubts and fears before the wedding day. Make sure you have this sorted out before the actual ceremony. Talk to your fiancé about it. Having cold feet on the wedding day (and bolting) is not only embarrassing, but also a waste of time, effort and money.

2) Being late. It’s understandable to be late, but not on your wedding day. It will not only be annoying to your guests, but especially to your spouse-to-be.

3) Complaints about wedding gifts. It’s unethical and uncalled for to gripe about such trivial matters. Furthermore, you can avoid this by signing up for a gift registry so that your guests will know what are the things you need and like. Remember, gift giving is not mandatory. If you have received something you don’t like, you still have to be gracious and thankful.

4) Getting drunk. It’s fine to enjoy yourself, but not too much. Everything should be in moderation. Don’t forget that being drunk during your wedding party can cause embarrassment to your spouse.

5) Not being flexible. Sometimes things may not go as planned, and some disasters or mishaps may occur which are beyond anyone’s control. Don’t lose your cool. Try to have a back-up plan for such eventualities. Most of all, try to retain a good sense of humor.

You will surely cherish fond memories of your wedding by following these important do’s and don’ts for your wedding day. For more wedding tips, features and similar articles, visit Best Bride 101.

A to Z Wedding Trivia

Dave n Shadra Getting Real With Shadra Bruce
Weddings are filled with tradition and draw from ancient customs. Did you know that brides in Zimbabwe think it’s bad luck to get married in the month of November, or that the average age of a Western bride has continued to increase?
Have fun discovering the history of popular wedding traditions as you explore fun wedding trivia from A to Z.

Age: In ancient Greece, the age of the bride was calculated from the day of her wedding rather than from the day of her birth.

Bridal gowns and veils: The longest wedding dress train was more than 7,500 feet long. The Greek believed the veil protected the bride from evil spirits, which is why it covered the face and was not lifted until the end of the ceremony. Now that it has become part of the wedding costume, many brides choose veils that do not cover the face at all.

Cake: The towering shape of the traditional wedding cake was modeled after a building in London.

Danish brides and grooms, in an effort to ward off evil spirits, cross-dressed.

Embroidered cranes on a wedding robe symbolize fertility in some Asian cultures, although today most women choose a Western style gown for the ceremony.

Favors: Giving out wedding favors is a custom that dates back to 16th Century French royals, who were likely to give out precious stones or gold to their guests.

Garter: The garter tradition stems from an ancient tradition in which the garter was a virginal girdle that the groom removed as a part of the wedding ceremony.

Here Comes the Bride, the traditional Wagner wedding march still popular today, was first played at Princess Victoria’s wedding in 1858.

Internet dating has had an effect on relationships: 19% of married couples who participated in a 2007 survey met online – 2% more than those who met at work and the same as those who were introduced by friends.

Jumping the Broom is an African wedding tradition that symbolizes the fresh start that comes with getting married.

Kissing: Ancient Romans believed that the Kiss at the end of the wedding ceremony sealed the contract, while many Christian cultures believe the kiss represents an exchange of souls.

Length of engagement for a pre-marital couple has increased from 12 months to 16 months in the last five years.

Marriage vows can be traced back to Medieval times. The vows, which were published in the Book of Common Prayer in 1549, are eerily similar to today’s vows, with the bride and groom promising to love each other “for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part.”

Number of weddings in the United States has two million per year each of the last 20 years.

Old, new, borrowed, blue: Something old represents a link to the past while something new represents the road ahead. Something borrowed is supposed to be something borrowed from a close friend or family member whose happy marriage will bring good luck to the newlyweds. Blue was the traditional color of wedding gowns prior to the late 18th Century, but today blue is often incorporated in more subtle ways.

Planning a wedding takes an average of seven to twelve months.

Quilted gowns were popular in 17th Century Provence.

Rings are worn on the fourth finger of the left hand by nearly three-quarters of the world’s cultures.

Standing on the left of the groom became a tradition because the groom needed to keep his sword hand (the right hand) free to protect his bride.

Throwing rice does not harm birds, and will not cause them to explode. This myth was perpetuated by Ann Landers when she implored her readers to consider the birds when planning their weddings. Rice does, however, provide a dangerously slippery surface for the humans who are walking through it.

Ushers were originally men who were friends of the groom and protected him from the bride’s angry family after she was kidnapped to be wedded.

Valentine’s Day is the busiest wedding ceremony day of the year in Las Vegas.

Wedding costs have continued to spiral, with the average wedding ringing in between $20,000 and $25,000.

X-rays of the chest are required in Mexico as a part of the health exam in order to be able to marry.

Young brides are becoming a thing of the past in the Western world; for the first time, the average age of the bride tipped past 30 (2009 statistics).

Zimbabwe brides believe it is bad luck to wed in November.

 

A Short or Long Engagement: Which is Right for You?

After getting engaged you will no doubt want to spend some time celebrating and enjoying the time together as a newly engaged couple. Once you are ready to start the planning there will be one main question to answer first, do you want a long or short term engagement? There are a number of benefits to both types and it is a matter of personal preference to which one you choose.

Choosing a Short Engagement

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou may be a couple that like to live in the moment and will therefore benefit from a short engagement. A spontaneous wedding can be exciting and full of surprises for the guests as well as yourselves. Weddings that are arranged in a matter of months or even weeks can be achieved and have even sparked programs such as ‘Don’t Tell the Bride,’ in which the groom arranges the nuptials in only three weeks. This can often be very stressful but by compacting the time spent on the organization you will save yourself a huge amount of worry in the long run.

You may have circumstances which alter the time constraints for you to get married such as a family member suffering with illness. You also may be getting married later on in life and simply do not see the point of waiting around. This way you can enjoy married life for even longer and make the most of the time you have together.

You may be under the impression that by having a long engagement, that you will be able to save money and get certain deals. However, if a venue has a slot that has become available unexpectedly, they will be concerned about it being left untaken. You may therefore be able to knock their regular price down significantly, grabbing yourself a bargain.

One further benefit of a short engagement is being able to keep on trend. Fashions and styles change at a fast pace and it can often be hard to keep up. Therefore, choosing your colour scheme and outfits years before the actual event could be a huge mistake when further down the line you see them as old fashioned.

Choosing a Long Engagement

You can alternatively pick a long engagement which has a range of benefits to both the couple and also the guests. It can often be difficult to find a date soon after becoming engaged which everyone can attend. Therefore, by having the wedding later on you can give plenty of notice to all of the people who are special to you so that they will be sure to make it.

If you are the laid back type, a long engagement could be just right for you. You will have plenty of time to make the arrangements as and when you wish, giving you time to really consider what you want from the occasion. You will be able to visit a variety of venues so that you can get an idea of exactly where you want the nuptials to take place. It will also allow you to get the date that you were hoping for as they are far less likely to be booked already.

With a lot of the wedding depending on budget, stretching out the time before the big day will give you and your other half time to save so that you can have exactly the day you have always dreamt of. This will also be highly beneficial if there are any money mishaps that occur unexpectedly. It can be very hard to recover from these with a shorter engagement and can cause excess stress.

Whatever option you choose, it depends on your personal preference and the needs of your relationship. With benefits to both options, the main thing to bear in mind is to enjoy the time and make the most of being the bride and groom to be.

 

Image Source: DaSh factor

 

This post was written by Amy Bennett who recently got engaged to her long term boyfriend. Choosing a short engagement was an easy decision after 8 years together and after seeing her beautiful ring from 247 Engagement Rings, she can’t wait to get a wedding ring to match.

 

 

Top 10 Tips For Planning The Perfect Outdoor Wedding

One of the many, many decisions that every bride needs to make is whether to say their vows inside or outside. The former option is certainly the easiest but if you’ve been dreaming about the latter your entire life, an outdoor ceremony is the only way to go.

The good news is that while certainly more challenging, planning the perfect outdoor wedding isn’t quite as difficult as most people believe. Provided you’re both aware of the inherent challenges and plan for them in advance, there’s no reason why your big day can’t go off without a hitch.

Here are ten straightforward tips for throwing the perfect outdoor wedding.

Choose the Right Month

First off, we have the small matter of scheduling, if there’s one thing that you don’t want to get wrong, this is it. Rather than blindly choosing a Summer month, take the time to do your research. Which month is historically the most reliable in terms of both sunshine and the absence of rain?

Keep a Tent Standing By

Regardless of how hard you try to predict the weather, freak rain and wind cannot be completely ruled out. What you can do however is prepare for them. Wedding tent hire isn’t expensive but it’s an invaluable back up plan to have. Even if you don’t use it, you’ll benefit from the peace of mind of knowing that you have it.

Visit the Venue

When it comes time to check out potential wedding venues, it’s important to time your visits appropriately. Don’t visit during the morning if you plan on having your ceremony during the afternoon or evening. Noise, insect and tranquillity levels can all change drastically over the course of a day.

Go Easy on the Decor

One of the many perks of hosting your wedding outside is that you don’t need to spend as much money on décor. In fact, excess décor can easily take away from the natural look that you should be trying to create. Choose somewhere beautiful and let the location speak for itself.

Keep the Insects in Check

For all the beauty of an outdoor wedding, there’s no denying that indoor ceremonies tend to have a lot less insects. If you don’t want your wedding guests to be swatting the air while you’re saying your vows, it’s therefore important to take a few countermeasures. Look into bug sprays, citronella candles and granular repellents.

Hire Experienced Professionals

As you’ve probably guessed by now, outdoor weddings come complete with quite a few unique challenges. It’s therefore important to hire professionals with actual outdoor wedding experience. Do your caterers know how to keep food warm/drinks cold on a Summers day? Is your photographer familiar with ceremonies that are held in the sun?

Choose Appropriate food

Regardless of how experienced your caterers are with outdoor food, it’s important to realise that they can’t work miracles. Some foods just aren’t a good idea in the Summer sun. When they tell you what those foods are, listen to them and take their advice. The last thing you want is to serve your guests spoiled food.

Accept That Your Dress Will get Dirty

 

If you want to a spotless wedding dress, have an indoor wedding. If you want an outdoor wedding, accept that keeping your wedding dress spotless is impossible. Don’t spend the happiest day of your life worrying about a dress that you’re never going to wear again. Even the most well cut grass leaves stains.

Help Your Guests Prepare

In theory, telling your wedding guests that you’re having an outdoor wedding should be a sufficient way of encouraging them to dress appropriately. In reality however, fail to give instructions and half of them are likely to turn up completely unprepared. Your wedding invitations should therefore include a brief note about outdoor shoes, cool clothing and sunscreen.

Keep Everyone Hydrated

Finally, don’t underestimate the importance of keeping everybody hydrated during the ceremony. Alcoholic beverages might be a wedding essential but they are the very opposite of thirst quenching. It’s therefore important to serve your guests a wide selection of non alcoholic beverages too. For style points opt for home made lemonade and delicious virgin mojitos.

Clark Douglas, the author of this post, works at MDM Shelters, a well-known wedding tent manufacturing company. He likesto write articles on various topics in his free time.

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Top Ten Wedding Planning Mistakes

MomsG

For all the joys of getting married, there’s no denying that the planning stages can get a little hectic, to say the least. There’s not only an endless selection of decisions to be made, for most, there’s also a strictly limited time frame within which to make them.

Should you find yourself dreaming of the perfect wedding, and you’d rather not lose your mind in the process, here are ten surprisingly common mistakes that are well worth trying to avoid.

Trying to fit into the Dress

Most brides would like nothing more than to drop a few pounds before the big day. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with a pre wedding diet, trying to motivate yourself with a dress that’s a size too small is, more often than not, a recipe for disaster. Wedding planning is stressful enough without throwing forced starvation into the mix. Choose a dress that you can fit into today, not in a few months from now.

Not Interviewing the Photographer

There’s more to hiring a wedding photographer than portfolios and pricing. There’s also the small matter of personality to consider. The more comfortable you are around your photographer, the better the resulting photos will be. And do you really want to spend the happiest day of your life being photographed by somebody that you don’t like? Interview all potential candidates and choose someone who genuinely puts you at ease.

Booking the Venue before the Guest List

Most wedding venues have strict limits regarding just how many guests you can invite. Booking a venue before you’ve finalised the guest list can therefore prove to be a major mistake. It’s also worth noting that guest lists tend to get bigger, not smaller. To avoid awkward conversations, limit yourself to venues with more than enough space.

Partying the Night Before

Stag parties and hen parties have long been a popular wedding tradition. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with having one last night on the town, that last night shouldn’t be the one before your wedding day. The only thing worse than a drunk bride is a hung over one.

Being Unclear About Speeches

If you don’t want to sit through scotch inspired speeches on your wedding day, make this fact clear well in advance. If you make your wedding ceremony an open mic night, you only have yourself to blame for the resulting embarrassment. Drunk wedding guests aren’t exactly known for their eloquence, or tact.

Thinking it’s All About the Bride

Just because your groom doesn’t care about floral arrangements and wedding cake flavours, that doesn’t give you the right to run the entire show. Chances are he cares very much about other decisions such as the band, honeymoon location and exactly who does and doesn’t make it onto the guest list. Resist the urge to become bridezilla.

Hiring Talented Friends

In an effort to cut costs, a talented friend can seem like an excellent alternative to an expensive professional. Unfortunately however, professionals are usually expensive for a reason. Professional wedding snaps require more than an expensive camera. And there’s a big difference between baking a cake and baking a wedding cake. If the results matter, stick to professionals.

Skipping the Rehearsal

At first glance, a wedding rehearsal might seem like an optional formality. Unfortunately however, this is a mistake that has lead to many, many regretful brides. The purpose of a wedding rehearsal is to make sure that everyone understands both what they are supposed to do and when they are supposed to do it. It’s also designed to ensure that any inevitable problems happen before the ceremony, rather than during it.

Starting Married Life in Debt

When faced with something shiny that you cannot afford, the correct answer is always no. There’s nothing wrong with wanting your wedding to be perfect, but no wedding is worth starting your married life in debt. Try to deal with unexpected costs by making sacrifices elsewhere. And before you blow your budget on a change of plans, ask yourself whether or not the change is really necessary. In most cases, it’s not.

Losing Perspective

Finally, there’s the small matter of perspective, it’s important that you try to keep it. And when you find yourself having panic attacks over flowers, it’s important to realise that you’ve lost it. Your wedding day, while obviously important, is just that, a single day in your life. And while the ceremony going off without a hitch would obviously be preferable, isn’t your choice of groom ten times more important?

Today’s guest post contributor is Jamieson Dean, a prominent name for wedding photography in Toronto. Uniqueness is what he looks for whenever he intends to click pictures. Apart from photography, his other interests include swimming, reading novels and hiking.
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10 Things The Maid Of Honor Should Never Forget

It’s easy to forget that the maid of honor is there to do more than just carry the bridal bouquet. She’s there to remember all the little things that no-one else is thinking of; and which help to make the bride’s wedding day as special as it can be.

The maid of honor is someone very close to the bride, either a best friend or a family member. Her job is to make sure the day runs smoothly without stress.

The first of your duties is probably one of the most important. It’s the night she will remember and the night she will leave down to you…

The Bachelorette Party

Maid of HonourJust as the boys look forward to the bachelor party, the girls get just as excited for their night out. This is where you need to do a bit of ground work beforehand to reveal what she has in mind. You know her better than anyone (probably even the groom!) and so planning a night of her favourite things should be an enjoyable task.

Pick out her favourite drinks, invite her favourite friends, and go to her favorite place – but don’t forget to throw in a few surprises!

The run up to the wedding can be an exciting but also a stressful period. When it finally comes to the big day, it’s time for all that preparation and planning to be put into practice. However, on the day there are still a number of things to remember duties especially for you.

Speech, Speech!

After the wedding ceremony- the bit that everyone looks forward to! You must have been to a wedding where bets are placed for the length of the best man’s speech; or someone has tried to include a joke and no-one has laughed.

It really is all eyes and ears on the spokesperson and during the reception you will be required to make a speech. Make sure you have this prepared to avoid any hiccups. You can find lots of guides online that offer do’s, don’ts and tips for writing the perfect speech.

You’re In Charge

On the wedding day your chief bridesmaid duties may have doubled, tripled, or even multiplied by five (depending on how many bridesmaids there are)! As maid of honour you are in charge.

Some of your fellow bridesmaids may not know each other as well as you and the bride so try to keep spirits up and stay calm and friendly.

Although you are labeled as the “maid of honor” there are a number of other labels you will inherit along the way. Here are the additional roles that you will be expected to take on in the run up to the big day

The Personal Shopper

One of the most exciting things about a wedding is the shopping element. You might be asked to accompany the Bride when shopping for her dress, shoes, or any other accessories for the wedding.

Making final decisions can be somewhat overwhelming for some Brides; this is where your friendship and advice will come in handy, and also your honesty as a friend.

The Counselor

This is probably one of the most important roles, and one which is no better suited to anyone other than the bride’s best friend.

There is no doubt that the bride will become stressed or nervous at some point. It’s your job to keep her calm, and get rid of those nerves – this is where the hip flask and the bumper box of tissues may come in handy, so make sure you have packed them! No matter how stressful a situation might get, this will be the happiest day of her life so try to keep things relaxed and calm.

The Secretary

If needed, you are the perfect person to help carry out simple tasks or run errands that the bride may not have time for. This can vary from helping to write and hand out invitations; to creating a gift list for guests.

With that long list of things to remember it’s easy to become overwhelmed with your list of duties. It is a good idea to plan ahead, make a timeline and list everything you might need and when.

Shopping for wedding supplies can be quite stressful, but not if you allow yourself enough time. Adding finishing touches to the day like favours can help make the day that little bit special and the bride will be impressed and appreciative at the fact that you have thought things through.

Do you have any suggestions for helping a bride keep her cool before the big day? Share your tips and stories in the comments!

image source Image By Tracy Vierra

 

Get your wedding supplies online and save yourself some stress at the Wedding and Party Store.

The Perfect Wedding Dress for Your Body

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Getting Real With +Shadra Bruce, Owner of +MomsGetReal

There is not a bride out there who doesn’t think some part of her body is less than perfect. Even if others look at her and think she is the most beautiful person, the bride herself will see only her perceived flaws. Just getting ready for a normal day for most women has pressure, but when you absolutely must look perfect, it’s even more daunting when you don’t have the confidence you need to look beautiful.

There are so many mistakes that women make with everyday fashion when it comes to dressing for the body they have (not the one they want, the one they think they deserve, or the one they “plan” to have by the time that big day comes) that it is easy for the same style problems to carry over into bridal fashions.

Brides want to be beautiful and look fabulous when they make their grand entrance, whether they are being escorted by their fathers in front of 500 guests or standing in front of a justice of the peace in the county courthouse.

wedding dressWith 40 million women wearing a size 13/14 or larger, I want to focus on finding the perfect dress for the plus-size bride. Plus-size is not a one-size-fits-all problem. Two brides might wear the same size or weigh the same amount but have very different bodies and different areas they want to emphasize. One bride might have beautiful legs but a larger, rounded middle. Another may be thinner all the way through the behind but have large thighs.  Still other women may be “thick” all over.

There is nothing to worry about!  You are perfect the way you are and shouldn’t be trying to mold your body to fit the dress – you just need to find the dress that works for you. There is a perfect wedding dress out there for each type of bride.

A few secrets you should know up front

  •  Shiny materials make everyone look heavier.
  • Thinner materials outline every bump.
  • Pleats and ruffles around the waist are not complimentary for most fuller-figured women, since they make everyone look bigger.
  • Simple elegance that makes you feel great is better than intricate design that draws attention to all the wrong places.

Shopping tips

The best advice is to visit a bridal store with an open mind. Scouring bridal magazines is important, but sometimes the dream style in a magazine might not be the most flattering for you. Let bridal consultants make suggestions (they are the experts!) and try on at least three different gowns.  After all, what could be more fun than trying on gorgeous dresses? Make a day of it with one family member or friend you trust and enjoy this special time!

  • Obtain help from the professionals in the bridal boutique.
  • Take someone with you whom you can trust to give an honest opinion.
  • Once you’ve found a complimentary dress, make sure you can sit and move around in it safely and comfortably, without having to worry.
  • Buy the appropriate undergarments AFTER you choose a dress to make sure they work together.

Dress Trends

Some of today’s wedding dress trends are perfect for the plus size bride. According to TheKnot.com, “Ball gowns are bigger than ever, ruffles are more elaborate, and covering up — it’s never been more chic.” They’re top ten trends for 2012 include these perfect plus-size styles: off-the-shoulder designs, ball gowns, and A-lines. The wonderful thing about being a bride, though, is that you can choose from any style that suits you and you’ll always be the most beautiful woman in the room. The beauty of today’s bridal assortment is that there is truly a look for everyone. Brides can feel like a princess with beautifully embellished ballgowns or channel their inner diva with sleek, sexy sheaths and trumpets. Brides can choose a classic figure flattering A-line or float down the aisle in a soft and billowy chiffon gown.

Foundation Garments

Having the right foundations are key to adding support and a smooth, sleek look. A push-up garment is perfect for filling out strapless gowns while a supportive corset with boning for support can minimize while still flatter a full-figured bride. The emergence of soft “goddess” silhouettes have made sleek lycra slips important while A-lines and ballgowns still require the traditional full slip. Undergarments don’t have to be uncomfortable!!  The key is working with the consultant to get the proper measurements and fit, which are essential to the overlook look.

Cultural Considerations

Many religions and ethnicities require more coverage for the ceremonies than the classic strapless silhouette.  You can easily find a gown with a lace jackets or higher neckline.

Dressing for Your Body Type

Pear-Shape

Pear-shaped brides may want to accentuate the bust and torso while minimizing the hips.  A classic A-line dress, off-the-shoulder design, or a ball gown with a strapless sweetheart neckline will help complement her silhouette.

Hourglass Shape

Brides with an hourglass shape can choose a mermaid style or corseted bodice to really accentuate her curves. (The full figured bride can show off her curves just as much as a size 8!)  Regardless of the size of your waist, an A-line dress with princess seaming and corset boning help create the “illusion” of a smaller waist and a best complement to your body.

The “Top Heavy” Bride

 Cleavage can be a blessing and a curse, but finding a wedding gown can be difficult.  Depending on your size, off-the-shoulder or strapless gowns are difficult because even if you can find a strapless bra to support you, the worry will be there that it won’t.  If you are big-breasted but still have a defined waist or hourglass shape, choose a dress that has a simple bodice – extra frills around the bust only add more attention.  Ball gown dress styles work well.

If you have a large chest but you also have a thick waist, an A-line is the best choice. This style also works well for the “Bottom-Heavy” bride, as it easily disguises larger thighs, hips and behinds while still being extremely flattering and feminine.

Round Waist

Brides with a little extra around the waist should avoid sheaths which draw attention to the midsection and show everything.   Empire waistlines are perfect for hiding any imperfections and help to fit and flatter. The bride with the round waist is sometimes the most difficult to fit, depending on how large the belly area is.  While the A-line above is complementary, it may not completely hide the larger tummy.  The Empire waistline slenderizes the thicker waist and gives the illusion of a longer, thinner, smoother body.  This style also works well for those brides whose hips present an issue. Another style that works well for hiding hips is a gorgeous A-line.

Remember, this is YOUR day. This isn’t about fitting into the latest fad or being something you’re not – it’s about you being comfortable in your own skin, wearing a dress that makes you feel fabulous.