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14 Unique (and Cheap!) Ideas to Make Your Wedding Totally You

14 Unique (and Cheap!) Ideas to Make Your Wedding Totally You

It’s time reveal some of my favourite ideas to make your wedding unique and totally “you,” so that your wedding is an unforgettable experience for you and your guests.

Why is this such a big deal?

Well, I don’t believe ANYBODY’S wedding should be “cookie-cutter.”
Your wedding is YOUR day, and it should feel
like the right fit for your personalities from start to finish.

What I realized after seeing hundreds of brides
on their wedding day, is that the thing that makes each wedding unique is…YOU.

Now, before you tell me how obvious that is, think about it.  What is the one thing that is completely original and unique about your wedding day, that no other wedding day has ever seen or done before?
 
YOU.

Your guests have never been at party celebrating YOUR love and relationship with your fiancé.  They’ve never seen YOU in that gorgeous gown, walking down the aisle, partying on the dance floor.

The secret to having a wedding that leaves a lasting impression on your guests and really feels like “you” is weaving as much of your personality as possible into your wedding day.
 
Believe me, I’ve seen hundreds of weddings.  Including the details of what makes you special and the things you love not only makes you FEEL how special you are that day, it draws your guests in, makes them feel connected to you, and without fail guarantees an unforgettable day for you and your guests.  

And these things cost LITTLE OR NO MONEY.

Some examples of how to do it…

14 UNIQUE TOUCHES FOR YOUR WEDDING

 1) Naming Your Tables.
 Instead of using traditional table numbers,
 name your tables after a special interest or hobby that you    share.
 Such as…players on your favorite football team,
 cities you have visited together, or types of wine.

 2) Newlywed Trivia.
 Create a list of trivia questions about you and
 your fiance for your guests to answer.  This not only lets your
 guests get to know you as a couple, it breaks the ice as guests answer questions as each table.

 3) Favors That Represent You.  
Give your guests favors that say
something about your interests.  One couple gave swaroski miniatures since the bride was a big collector.  Another gave bottles of mead (honey wine) they had made themselves.

 4) Share Your Childhood Photos. 
You can do this in a collage of photos of the two of you growing up, in your signature guest book,
or displayed on your gift table.

 5) Display Your Parents and Grandparents Wedding Photos.  
This is a romantic and elegant way to share your family history.

 6) Love Letters.  
You can put together a collage or scrap book of
letters you and your fiance sent to each other if you had a
long distance relationship.

 7) A Groom’s Cake.  
Have a groom’s cake designed to honor your
fiance’s interest or hobby.  A fire engine if he is a fireman; a
guitar if he is a musician.  (Watch The Cake Boss on TLC & you will see what I mean)

 8) Personalize Your Vows.  
Write your own vows and add personal
details like, “I promise to bake cakes with you” or “I vow to
watch match of the day with you”
 to let your guests

glimpse more of your relationship.

 9) Tell Your Love Story.  
Have either your registrar or your master
of ceremonies share your love story with your guests.  

10) A Photo Montage.  
Play a montage of photos of the two of you growing up and then together set to music.

11) Invite Your Guests To Perform.  
If you have musicians or dancers in the family, ask them to perform at your ceremony or reception.
(Just make sure they will still enjoy themselves!)

12) Make Memories With Music.  
Play your favorite songs and artists during your ceremony and reception,or the songs that your family and friends love.  
Some fun places to use your favorite tunes include your walk down the aisle, your introduction music, and your parent dances.

13) Dedicate a Song.  
If there is a song that reminds you of one of your loved ones, have your entertainer dedicate it to them.  It can be serious, sentimental, or silly.

14) Thank Your Guests.  
Take a moment around the cake cutting or at the end of the night to thank your guests.  
You might invite them  to the dance floor to form a big circle and dance together to a song like “That’s What Friends Are For” or “Friends In Low Places.”

You don’t HAVE to use all or any of these things.  But I do encourage you to express your personalities in a way that fits who YOU are, because it will engage and involve your guests like nothing else.

HOW FIND YOUR UNIQUE TOUCHES

1) Make a list of all you and your fiance’s hobbies, interests, and quirks.  
Are you a sports fanatic?  Are you into painting or writing?  Do you have any favorite musical artists?

2) Looking at your list of hobbies and interests, write down some ideas for how you can work them into your favors, decor, or music.

3) Pick out your favorite unique ideas and DO THEM.

Hopefully this blog has given you some inspiration for ways to make your wedding unique.  

Here’s to an unforgettable wedding!

5 Insider Secrets for a Flawless, Relaxing Wedding Day

5 Insider Secrets for a Flawless, Relaxing Wedding Day

Once you’ve spent all that time planning the look, the feel and the style of your wedding, it makes sense that you want to enjoy the day, right?

Talk to pretty much any bride after her wedding and she’ll tell you, “It all went by so fast!”

Here are a few wedding insider tips that will help you relax and enjoy every moment.

SECRET # 1 – Allow lots of extra time in your wedding day.

Wherever you can, allow for extra time.  Think it will take you an hour to get ready?  Give yourself two.

Most brides forget to allow enough travel time.  It takes longer than 5 minutes for your girls to pile into the limo; remember to allow time to arrange dresses, gather bouquets left in the church and take a quick bathroom break.

You can never have too much time on your wedding day.  Those breaks and gaps will be a welcome chance for you to relax, breathe and take it all in.  

SECRET #2 – Leave your mobile phone at home.

Be unreachable on your wedding day.  Give your mobile phone to your mother or Maid of Honor and let them run interference for you.  

Make sure they have a complete list of contacts, but don’t carry it on you.  They don’t make wedding gowns with pockets for a reason.  

You’re hired the best wedding suppliers and planned for everything.  Now let everyone else take care of it so you can relax and enjoy.

Nobody’s going anywhere without you!  You can let go and let everyone else take care of the details.

SECRET #3 – Take your photos before the ceremony.

I know it’s traditional to not see each other before the ceremony.  But it also means you’ll have a very tight timeline between your ceremony and reception.

A tight schedule means you’ll be rushed, stressed and anxious.

 Arrange for a romantic “first glimpse” before the ceremony with just the two of you.  Your photographer can capture those private moments from a discrete distance.

Then you’ll have time for a relaxing, fun photo shoot in the location of your choice.  And at the ceremony, that “first glimpse” will have a whole new and special quality with your friends and family watching.

If you can do it, take your photos before the ceremony.  It will have a HUGE impact on making your day more relaxing and stress-free.

SECRET #4 – Visit the “important” tables first.

A lot of couples want to do the “right thing” and visit each table at their wedding reception.  The problem is that visiting 10 – 20 tables can take a very long time!

Before you know it you only have 45 minutes until the end of the party and your wedding day is over.

Rather than visit every table starting with #1, jot down the tables where your relatives and older guests will be seated.  These are the people who will throw a fit if you don’t say hello.

Visit those tables first and then skip the rest.  Your friends will meet you at the bar or on the dance floor.

It’s your wedding day; use your time for having fun!

SECRET # 5 – Stop and “take a moment” throughout the day.

It’s really easy to get caught up in the rush of your wedding day.  Before you know it, it’s last call.

Grab your partner throughout the day and night and steal a quiet moment.  Look out at the party, look over at your guests and enjoy the moment.  Remind yourselves that this is really happening.

One of our couples made a pact before the wedding.  Whenever one of their special songs was played, they would stop what they were doing and meet on the dance floor.

These quiet moments will help you remember how amazing your wedding day was.  Take them throughout the night to enjoy it even more.

***
I hope you’ve enjoyed these insider tips!  I’ve gathered them from my own experience, the advice of past brides and other wedding professionals.

Happy planning!

How to Guarantee the FUN at Your Wedding

How to Guarantee the FUN at Your Wedding

Pretty much every single one of our clients wants their wedding to be FUN.  Nobody wants a boring party and yawning guests.
So this blog will focus on what you can do to guarantee that your wedding is fun.  When your wedding is fun…it’s the dream
wedding you’ve always wanted.  Your guests will talk for years about how great your wedding was and compare it to all others that come after.

First of all, I’d be lying if I told you that you can do something to “make” your guests have fun.  You can’t.  If your guests have
their hearts set on pouting in the corner, there’s nothing you can do to stop them.

But you CAN guarantee that YOU have a fun time.  And if you take these actions, it all but guarantees that if your guests want to have a good time, they WILL.

1) Set An Example Of Fun.

If you want your wedding to be fun, YOU have to have fun.  Your wedding is all about you.  Your guests will be looking to you for guidance.  You’re the star of the show.  If you aren’t having a good time…chances are they won’t, either.

On the other hand, if you’re having the time of your life, your guests will be compelled to join you.  When you incorporate humour into your day, they will laugh along with you.

If you want your guests on the dance floor…go to the dance floor. Your guests will be drawn to you like moths to a flame.  (It’s the white dress.)  The party goes where you go.

Making sure you have fun at your own wedding is the number one way to guarantee a killer party.

2) Create A Comfortable Environment for You and Your Guests.

What do I mean by a “comfortable” environment?  A big piece of this is selecting an entertainer who “gets” who you are and the vibe you want for your party.

If your guests are naturally shy, and your entertainer tries to drag them onto the dance floor…they will NOT feel comfortable.

No comfort, no fun.

On the other hand, if your entertainer’s style matches your own and meshes with your guests…they’ll feel comfortable enjoying
themselves in whatever way is natural for them.  Comfort leads to relaxation…which translates to FUN.

Guests feel comfortable when they know what’s going on and what’s expected of them.  Make sure your entertainer guides the flow of events so that guests know where to go and what to do.  This sets them at ease and sets the stage for a good time.

3) Be There.

This one sounds obvious, right?  Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the bride and groom DISAPPEAR from their own wedding reception.  Maybe they step outside for a smoke, or they decide to chat with guests in the hall.

When the bride or groom leaves their wedding celebration, it’s like the air gets sucked out of the room.  People are lost without their host and hostess; they wander around like lost puppies.

If you want your party to be fun, STAY IN THE MIX.

4) Get Your Photos Done EARLY.

Work with your photographer to plan your formal portraits so that you can join your guests for as much of your cocktail hour as possible…and for ALL of your reception.

If you leave your reception for a photo session, the party dies without you. It’s YOUR wedding and they NEED you to have fun.

It sounds like the ultimate co-dependent situation…but it’s true.  Do yourself a favor and allow plenty of time for a leisurely photo session BEFORE the reception.  Occasionally, a rowdy group will keep on partying without you…but that’s the exception to the rule.

5) Share Your Story With Your Guests.

Your guests will have the most fun when they are ENGAGED and INVOLVED in your wedding.  The best way to engage them is by sharing your love story and the interests, hobbies and quirks that make you who you are.

There are lots of ways to do this.  Personalize your vows.  Have your entertainer tell your love story to your guests.  Take the
microphone and tell them yourself.  Share your story in your program or on a card at each table.

If you have a sense of humor, play it up.  Ask your entertainer for assistance and ideas.  The more laughs, the more engaged your guests become…the more fun.

Find a way to share your story that fits you.  It will have a huge impact on how much fun your guests have at your wedding.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my Top 5 Tips to bring the fun to your wedding.  My years as a wedding professional have proven that these methods WORK time and time again.

Brides who follow these guidelines have fun, unforgettable parties. Brides who choose to ignore them…well, they don’t have nearly as much fun.

Happy Planning!

6 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Planning Your Wedding

6 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Planning Your Wedding

Let’s face it: planning a wedding isn’t always a walk in the park.  

Sure, it’s exciting and inspiring to check out all the details, dresses, jewelry, exotic locations and honeymoon destinations.  But there is a lot to do and everyone and their mother (and your mother) seems to have an opinion about your day.

If you don’t watch out for these common mistakes, you could end up with a wedding day nightmare.  On the other hand, if you watch out for these mistakes, having an unforgettable wedding day where everything runs smoothly and you have the time of your life is almost guaranteed.

MISTAKE #1 – Having No Gap of Time Between Your Ceremony and Reception.

In life…and especially when it comes to planning a wedding…everything takes longer than you think.

If you have your ceremony and reception at the same location…

Or if you leave exactly enough time for the 8 minute drive between the church and the reception hall…

You will be stressed, miserable and end up with a wedding album where you are frowning on every page.

Do yourself a favor and allow MORE time than you think you will need between the ceremony and reception.  Your guests are creative enough to find something to do with themselves.

Use your wedding professionals as the expert resources they are.  Ask them how long they recommend for getting ready, receiving lines and photos.

MISTAKE #2 – Hiring Amateurs or Friends for Your Wedding Day.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of including your guests in the wedding day.  By all means, have Aunt Sally sing “Ave Maria” for your ceremony or ask your brother to perform a song he wrote on guitar.

But don’t expect amateurs and hobbyists to deliver a professional performance at your wedding.

There will be awkward gaps.  They will miss some of those important moments.  An amateur won’t know what to do when something goes wrong…which usually means things get worse.

If you like your friends and family…and you’d like to keep it that way…don’t hire them for your wedding day.    

*WARNING:  If you decide to hire an amateur or a talented friend to provide a service for your wedding day, make sure you adjust your expectations.  If less than perfect performance in that area is going to make you unhappy, please don’t do it.

MISTAKE #3 – Planning the Ceremony LAST.

Here’s a true story:

Jill and Kevin found the perfect wedding location at a farm on the hilltop near the couple’s home.  They plunked down a big deposit, booked the band and photographer.  Then they started looking at churches…

None of the Catholic churches in the area would agree to marry them because they weren’t members.  The beautiful Methodist Church was already booked up on their date and the only church available was in a run down school house with no central heating and a few broken windows.

Their parents were outraged that Jill and Kevin weren’t getting married in a Catholic church.  The couple faced the painful decision of dealing with parental rage and an ugly, cold church or losing a large chunk of change in lost deposits.

If you are planning a ceremony in a location separate from your reception, make sure you can find an available, acceptable church or space BEFORE you book your venue.  

If you have your heart set on a particular church or minister, make sure they are open before you put down your deposit.  Otherwise, you can find yourself facing some tough decisions.

MISTAKE #4 – Not Considering the Weather.

If you don’t carefully consider the effect of the weather on your wedding day…for your specific location at that specific time of year…you can end up with a wedding day disaster.

True story…

Sara and Bob were getting married at beautiful Mansion on the banks of a river.  Beautiful views, gorgeous mansion, amazing gardens nearby.

Of course, they imagined their wedding day on a perfect June afternoon.  Instead, they ended up with a monsoon.

They didn’t have sides for the marquee, so the guests got soaked.  The DJ moved onto the tiny dance floor to protect his equipment, which meant there was no room for dancing.  Everyone slogged through the mud for five miserable hours.

Before you chose your location, consider the worst case scenario.  

What if it rains?  What if it is blistering hot?  What if it snows?
 
Make sure you are comfortable with your ceremony and reception location in EVERY possible situation.

Make sure your dream wedding will still hold up under the worst the weather can possibly throw at you.  That way you know your day will rock no matter what.

MISTAKE #5 – Having an Unrealistic Day Of Timeline…or No Timeline at All.

Everything takes more time than you think.

Even some of our smartest brides, the ones who are always on time for everything, end up rushed and panicked on their wedding day because they didn’t allow extra time.

If you fall behind schedule on your wedding day, there is no catching up.  You can’t get those minutes and hours back.  Your party ends at the contracted time and there is nothing more painful than watching a bride who doesn’t relax and enjoy her day.

Get realistic estimates for the time it takes to do something, then add on some extra time for good measure.

MISTAKE #6 – Trying to Please Everyone

Every wedding website and book on wedding planning seems to know the “right way” to do plan a wedding.  You’ve family and friends are more than happy to tell you what THEY think you should do.

Trying to make everyone happy is exhausting.  Plus, it’s an effort that’s doomed to failure.

Choose your battles.  If something is really important to you, stick to your guns.  You won’t be able to make everyone happy anyway. Make sure you make yourself happy.

If you’ve already made some of these mistakes, never fear.  Now that you know you can fix them.  Just being prepared is the best way to avoid a wedding day disaster.

And if you haven’t made any of these mistakes…CONGRATULATIONS!  Learn from the bride sisters who have gone before you.  Have fun planning your wedding and decide to make it your best day ever, no matter what.

You’re marrying the one you love.  In the end, how can that ever be a disaster?

Happy planning!

How to Find the Right Suppliers for Your Unforgettable Wedding

How to Find the Right Suppliers for Your Unforgettable Wedding

Hiring the right team is critical to planning your dream wedding…and it can also be quite stressful.

How do you find the right match for you?  How do you know who to trust?  Where do you go for advice?

First of all, this is not an easy task and it’s totally normal for couples to feel overwhelmed, frustrated or confused.

It’s not like you plan a wedding every day!  This is all probably brand new to you, so be patient with yourself.

So how do you pick the wedding suppliers who are   right for YOU?

First of all, STYLE, PERSONALITY, and PROFESSIONALISM are the biggest things to look for.  You want to hire suppliers who your guests will feel comfortable with…because the more comfortable your guests are the more FUN they have.
Each supplier should also match the style and vision of your wedding.

Here are 8 Must Ask Questions to ask ALL your potential wedding suppliers before booking:

1.    How many weddings do you do per year?  How much experience do you have?

This is an extremely important question.  Ideally, your wedding professional should have ample experience specifically with weddings.  Not only will they be more skilled in their craft, this also makes them a valuable source of information and ensures that your wedding day goes smoothly.

2.    How much do you cost?

Price is often relative, especially when you factor in experience, reputation and expert skill.  Generally, the most talented professionals have a higher price tag because they are worth it.

3.    How much is the deposit?

4.    What specifically is included in that cost?

Because packages often vary, it’s likely that you won’t be able to compare one supplier exactly to the next without doing a little figuring.  The lowest cost isn’t necessarily the best deal; some higher quotes include services that you have to pay extra for in other packages.  Make sure you take this into account.

5.    What happens if I cancel?  What happens if you cancel?

Find out if your deposit is refundable under any conditions.  Does the wedding professional have a back up plan if something happens to them?

6.    Do you use a contract?

If the answer is No, RUN!  A contract is designed to protect both you and the wedding professional.  Don’t settle for a verbal agreement that won’t hold up in court.

7.    Are there any additional fees?

Taxes, service charges and travel fees can add up quickly.  Make sure you understand exactly what is included and if there are any other fees you’ll have to pay.  This should be clearly defined in your contract.

8.    Do you carry liability insurance?

The answer you’re looking for here is Yes.  This protects you in case an unfortunate accident should occur on your wedding day.  It’s also a sign that this is a reputable business, since most “fly by night” operations don’t invest in insurance.

 One final bit of advice: READ YOUR CONTRACT.

Make sure you understand everything that’s written and ask questions if you don’t.
There IS no stupid question…except the one you don’t ask.  Make sure you know the price as well as cancellation and refund policies.

GO WITH YOUR GUT.

If something feels “off” about the wedding supplier…you’re probably right.
Make sure you feel comfortable with him, you like him, and that his personality will be a good blend with your guests and reflect the tone of your wedding.

Remember: if chosen wisely, the right wedding supplier will give you expert help and advice on every aspect of your wedding…for free!

Talk to you soon,