We all know weddings are expensive, but here’s an infographic that was shared with us by Jenny Creno, contributing writer for the Credit Card Insider, that may help you when you’re deciding on a budget (and sticking to it!). They have also created a wedding budget calculator to show how much of you budget should go into each category, based on the infographic below. But of course you know it’s YOUR wedding, so if you want to allocate more of your budget to photography, your dress, your venue — go for it!
I wanted to make sure I asked my bridesmaids in a special way. Each bridesmaid has played a special role in my life and I couldn’t imagine walking down the aisle without the help from these four spectacular friends.
I wouldn’t say that it came as a surprise to any of my bridesmaids that they were going to be asked to partake in our wedding, it was one of those things I didn’t even have to think twice about (possibly the easiest part of planning thus far!).
But because I love the element of surprise, I made sure to keep my lips sealed on their duties until they received their hand-crafted packages that officially asked them to join Mr. Sparkler and I in our wedding celebration.
I had been thinking about how I wanted to ask the bridesmaids for quite sometime, utilizing Pinterest and Etsy, I found numerous creative ideas. After doing my research and finding some ideas I liked, I settled on crafting a box to send off to each bridesmaid. I didn’t quite know what I wanted the boxes to look like, but it hit me when I saw the perfect silver metallic box at Target. It took me three trips to three different targets to collect all the boxes, but I do have to say they worked out perfectly! I found several cards on Etsy that I liked, so I took elements of each card I and combined them into one card, typing them up and printing them at Kinko’s.
Two of my bridesmaids are out of town and the other two are in town so I made sure to stagger the deliveries. I wanted to make sure I dropped off the in town bridesmaid boxes when they weren’t home, that way they had the same effect as those being mailed out — totally unexpected and a pleasant surprise!
Inside each box:
– a bottle of champagne, because I was “popping the question.”
– a card I created asking them to “say yes” to helping me say “I do.”
– a handwritten note, which individually thanked each bridesmaid for their friendship over the years.
I would say that my bridesmaid boxes were a success, all four of them said yes and my Maid of Honor even called me crying (happy tears, of course) because she was so excited!
Upon seeing the reaction I got from my bridesmaids, Mr. Sparkle wanted to do something creative himself. Because a groomsmen box would’ve been a little over the top for a guy, we came up with the idea of doing a wanted ad attached to each groomsman/ushers favorite drink. The invite was short and sweet and was an absolute perfect way to invite his friends to partake in our wedding day.
When I got engaged, back in the last century, I automatically turned everything over to my mother. Truly, it never crossed my mind to plan my own wedding.
As soon as we were engaged, my mom kicked it into gear. Seven months later, she pulled off the perfect wedding. She even got the rain to stop for the garden reception.
My mom really planned it all herself. From time to time, she would drag me somewhere to decide on something. But, she had it all under control. Early on, a friend advised, “I know it’s your wedding, but don’t get involved. Let your mom do what she wants and it will all turn out fine.” She was right.
This has an added benefit: my mother recalls that I was a delightful bride. Althought she hasn’t forgotten that I asked her a few days before the wedding, “What do you do all day when you aren’t planning a wedding?”
My uncle informed my husband that when asked for an opinion, he should just respond, “Whatever you want, dear.” Alas, he did not continue to follow this advice after the wedding.
So, thirty-something years later, my daughter announces that she is getting married. OK. I’m primed. I’m ready to kick it into gear. It’s my job to plan this wedding, right? Not so fast.
Guess what? The world has changed. Today’s bride doesn’t want to “be involved.” She wants to be in CHARGE. The groom is the one who is expected to “be involved.” As my husband reminded me repeatedly, “it is their wedding.” My rebuttal of “Yeah, but…” fell on deaf ears.
Both my daughter and I approached the wedding with certain expectations. She felt that since it was their wedding and it was taking place 500 miles away, in the town where she lived, she should orchestrate it … a perfectly logical point of view. Of course, that is injecting logic into a totally illogical situation.
I believed that since we were paying for the wedding, my vote superseded all others. This may be a more emotional point of view. A friend kept asking me, “Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?” Both! Being right makes me happy.
At one point, my son asked my husband how wedding planning was going. My husband responded, “There isn’t going to be a wedding. Your mother and sister will kill each other long before the wedding. So, one will be going to jail and the other one will be going to the cemetery.”
Fortunately, we did NOT kill each other. There were times that I thought she was “Bridezilla” and she thought I was “Mother From Hell.” We both might have been right. We both like being right.
So, if we had to do it all over again, which both of us swear we will never do, what would we do differently?
1. Try not to have any expectations.
2. When that doesn’t work, explain what you expect and LISTEN to what she expects. Try to understand their point of view.
3. Set a budget. A real budget. Check your expenses against the budget along the way.
4. Have a contingency budget for emergencies of for stuff that you really want that isn’t in the budget. This is the first that my daughter has heard that I did this. SURPRISE!
5. Be receptive to her opinion, even if you really think it is a stupid idea.
6. The Mother of the Bride doesn’t have to wear beige. I wore orange and my daughter approved.
7. Guess what? This a really emotional time. You both may have a tendency to overreact. It didn’t happen to either of us, but we have heard stories.
8. After you overreact, apologize. It helps — really.
9. Something ridiculous will happen. It will seem like a total disaster. And that’s the seed of the stories you both will tell over the years.
10. Have fun and enjoy the wedding.
It was a great wedding. My daughter did a fabulous job. The music, the venue, the food were all perfect. Her attention to detail paid off big time. Everyone had a great time. She was right about a lot of thins. And she even admits that I was right about a few things. It’s all good.
Kathy Koch Joyce is the mother of only one daughter, who notes that this is a nice piece of historical fiction. Her two sons plan to elope (not with each other!), as they can’t match the perfect wedding that their sister created.
Hello ladies. It’s my first official post, so I thought I’d go a little picture-crazy and talk about my wedding colors and what’s blowing up on pinterest right not — OMBRES! Ombre hair, cakes, dress — everything.
Those pro photographer, pro wardrobe-planner, airbrushed pictures online look pretty darn amazing, but let’s be real. That’s not me. I needed some dumbed-down pointers to make this ombre thing work out. Here’s my tips for making your ombre dreams come true.
1. Keep all your dresses the same length and same fabric. There’s a fine line between classy mismatched and….not sure the lights were on when you picked those. You can mismatch your dress styles, but it’s important they all have the same textures. I went for long and chiffon. These are four of the six dresses that have come in — all long and chiffon. Different styles for different smiles = perfectly mismatched.
2. Pick your shades. Easy, right? Not. I wanted purples. There are cool purples and warm purples that just don’t jive with each other. I also tried to keep all my bridesmaids dresses within one brand, which proved to be impossible. Take your time on picking out your shades. If you’re not finding enough swatches, don’t be scared to bring in a new brand of dresses so you can get the shades you need. I used a combination of Allure and Alfred Angelo colors.
3. Assign your shades to each bridesmaid. You want them to have an idea what shade they’ll be in before they shop for their dress style. We brought dress swatches to the suit store and found a tie option for the groomsmen to complement each color. The bouquet above is my fabric/brooch bouquet I ordered on Etsy. I wanted to have my bouquet as a keepsake and love the bling this bouquet offers.
4. Let your bridesmaids pick out their dress. Within reason, right? We all know they gotta stay long and chiffon, but I LOVE this idea. All my bridesmaids are different heights, shapes and styles. By letting them pick out their own dress shape, I’m hoping they can feel comfortable and confident on wedding day. And, as we all say, they can totally wear their dress again for other occasions! (although, I don’t think this ever happens in real life.)
Photos by Christopher Tierney Photography
Heidi’s engagement story appeared on our blog last January when she joined the Wedding Essentials team as our intern. After waiting seven months for her fiance to get back from a deployment, graduating from college and getting her feet wet as our new designer, she finally got to have her engagement photos taken — so of course we couldn’t help but share!
Heidi’s idea of the perfect engagement session was to go on a date with Matt and have the photographer (Dan Thorson Photography) follow them around to document their day. Typically, their date nights consist of dinner and a movie, but after hearing about their nephew’s recent adventure at the apple orchard, Heidi’s inner child (and need to get outside) kicked in. They decided to take this date to Ditmars Apple Orchard in Council Bluffs.
Best. Decision. Ever.
After spending an hour picking apples and goofing around Heidi and Matt (and Dan) couldn’t resist the smell of fresh apple cider donuts — and what better to go with donuts than some old-fashioned root beer. They parked it on a bench outside the corn maze, ate their donuts and made a quick wardrobe change to go into the corn maze. (Tip: Walking through a corn maze in heels is easy. NOT.).
Once they left the apple orchard, Heidi took Matt and Dan on their first visit to the Pedestrian Bridge to catch the sunset (and perfect light) before going to dinner.
It was one of the best dates the couple has ever had. They still talk about how much fun they had every time they look at their engagement photos.
Photos by Dan Thorson Photography
Sometimes we get the urge to try out some of the popular things we see brides (and future brides) liking on Pinterest — just to make sure they don’t end up as one huge fail. We don’t want you wasting your sweet wedding planning time.
Here’s a product from our latest crafternoon:
WHAT YOU DO:
1. Cut your 8.5×11 in. brown paper (preferably with a light texture to it) into a size that will fit into the envelope size of your choice. You can also buy plain pre-folded cards.
2. Take the gold Sharpie and the ruler to draw evenly spaced lines on your brown cards.
3. Cut out two small triangle from the black paper. Use the single-hole punch and punch out one circle from the black paper. Use the single-hole punch to create a rounded indent at the top of each triangle you cut out. Now you have the pieces to make the bow-tie.
4. Use the single-hole punch to cut out seven circles from the white paper. Now you have the pieces to make the pearl necklace.
5. Lay out the bow-tie and pearl necklace to lay evenly in the center of the front of the card. Glue pieces in place.
6. Take the black pen and write ‘bride’ underneath the pearl necklace and ‘groom’ underneath the bow-tie.
Now you have a card that can be used as an invite, thank you note or congratulations piece for a bride-to-be. Embellish as you wish.