If your guy isn't quite sure how to get involved in the wedding planning, consider this his simple idea cheat sheet. With a range of options related to style, creative projects, and the nitty-gritty to-dos, we've rounded up a variety of fun ways for him to add his touch to the big day. Share these tips with your husband-to-be to help him find ways to contribute — and take a few things off your list!
From attire to travel to gifts and favors, your wedding can be a major investment for your bridesmaids. Standing up as part of the bridal party means tons of extra expenses, so it's smart to step back and see how you can keep costs low for your friends. Hoping to help them out by minimizing expenses? Here are 7 simple, thoughtful ways to make your wedding festivities more budget-friendly for your bridesmaids.
The wedding ceremony can be overshadowed by the dancing, booze, and food of the reception, but ceremonies truly hold the heart of the big day: it's when the couple officially begins the rest of their lives as spouses. The "I dos" are led by the officiant, and selecting the person responsible for that moment should not be taken lightly. And more and more couples are choosing loved ones for this meaningful duty over clergymen. "In the past few years, we've seen a big surge in the number of couples asking a friend or family member to officiate their wedding," San Francisco wedding planner Jubilee Lau of Jubilee Lau Events told us. "It seems as if the consensus for such a decision is to bring in another layer of personalization to the ceremony." If you're planning on having someone you know officiate your wedding, Jubilee shared five tips:
Dad Might Not Be Best
"Normally, we would advise couples to refrain from asking immediate family members, as sometimes they get too emotional to carry themselves well in front of all the guests," Jubilee notes. But if you or your spouse-to-be has a dad who can handle the responsibility without getting weepy, go for it. Jubilee said they had two weddings recently where the groom's father officiated and the ceremonies were a success.
Public Speaking Skills Matter
It's OK to be picky. This isn't a competition for who you're closest to, it's about who would do the best job. Jubilee adds, "We recommend that they invite someone who is normally a good public speaker (they should be eloquent and articulate), that they feel very comfortable with, and who would have the time and patience to work with them on the ceremony content."
It's More Than a Daylong Commitment
This leads us to Jubilee's next point: "A good officiant does more than just read a script." You need to find someone who's willing to put in the time and effort, not just expect to show up on the big day and say a few words. "He/she should be prepared to spend some time with the couple to understand the elements that they want to bring into the ceremony — religion, families, culture, traditions, etc. — and then help them to incorporate it well." No slackers allowed!
Pair Him/Her Up With a Pro
Chances are that the friend or family member you ultimately choose has little to zilch experience officiating a wedding, and you don't want to be babysitting him or her on what goes into the undertaking. Jubilee offers this solution: "What we've done before is to pair the friend/family member up with a professional officiant, who then helps to write the ceremony. That way, they can properly advise on the content, but the clients still get the benefit of having a close friend officiate on the day of." There may be a fee for the professional (around $300-$500), but it's probably worth it to avoid any major slip-ups.
"Short and Sweet" Doesn't Mean Generic
If you've ever sat through a rushed ceremony, you know that short isn't always better. It can result in everyone at the reception feeling like they're just attending a fancy party, not celebrating a personal, significant joining of two people vowing to spend the rest of their lives together. "Although many nonreligious couples opt for a 'short and sweet' nondenominational ceremony, we always remind them that it should still be meaningful and represent who they are," Jubilee notes. "After all, the ceremony is the core of the reason why everyone is there that day!"
— Additional reporting by Annie Scudder
These days, food trucks are no faux pas when it comes to wedding catering. They're a cheap, trendy way to get good, fresh food out to guests on the fly, and guests are excited to see trucks they know and love at your wedding. However, this is a wedding — not a street fair — after all, so here's how you should do food trucks the right way at your wedding.
In your blog travels, you may have come across the Dekoop Gorgeous Helen Wine Shades which tops off your wine glasses to make easy votive lamps for your parties. I couldn't get them off my mind for months when I first saw them; I thought they were so clever. Sadly, they are no longer available for purchase but then, lucky me, I came across a DIY to make them. The project is fairly simple, and allows a lot of room for creativity. You can leave yours as plain vellum, or punch decorative holes in them, screen-print them, or even paint them! It's up to you, but regardless, this project is fabulous, inexpensive, and perfect for that wedding you're planning!
- 8-1/2" x 11" sheets of vellum (one per lamp)
- Decorative bladed scissors
- Decorative paper punch
- Glue pen
- Wine glasses
- Tealights or a LED battery-operated tealight
- Candle putty (floral clay)
Here's how, from Save On Crafts:
- Download and print out this lampshade pattern.
- Trace the pattern onto your vellum sheet. Cut out the shape with your regular scissors. If you want, you can use decorative bladed scissors along the bottom edge to add another element to the shade.
- If you like, use a paper punch to punch holes evenly or haphazardly throughout the shade, as shown in the PDF.
- Using the glue pen, apply a thin line of glue to one straight end. Wrap the other end over the glued end, and adhere together, forming the shade.
- Secure the tealight with the candle putty, and set the lampshade on top of your glass. Fini!
Diet or not, every bride wants to feel her best on the big day. Whether you're wishing for toned triceps, dewy skin, or healthy alternatives to a boozy bachelorette party, we've got all that and more to get you on your way. Pick a few tips from this list and you're bound to walk down the aisle feeling calmer, more rested, and with a smile that will turn more than a few heads!
— Additional reporting by Lizzie Fuhr, Susi May, Leta Shy, and Jenny Sugar
From long-lost aunts and uncles to your father-in-law's best friend's cousin, it's easy to let your wedding guest list spin out of control. It's tough to pick and choose who to invite — where do you draw the line? Still, when it comes to watching expenses, cutting the guest list can be one of the quickest ways to keep costs low. Whether you're narrowing it down in hopes of a more intimate ceremony or simply doing your best to save money, here are five stress-free steps to help you trim your wedding guest list:
- Consider your budget and venue. Before you analyze your guest list, take a step back and talk to your fiancé about your highest priorities as a couple. Are you hoping for a specific venue? Worried about staying under budget? Those guidelines will help you decide how long your list can be and whether you need to cut back in other areas.
- Agree on a fair split point. Keep things equal by compromising on a guest list ratio. Is it important that your guests are split 50/50, bride's side and groom's? Or do you have tons of mutual friends, making it more of a joint effort? It's important to have an open dialogue about your expectations so that you can avoid any drama or resentment later on — both between each other and among your family members.
- Cut by category. Divide your guests into groups: immediate family, closest relatives, extended relatives, family friends, friends, acquaintances, kids, etc. Once you've both classified your lists, see if you can trim the list by removing entire categories. Maybe you can both nix the young kids, the acquaintances, and the co-workers. Keep going until exceptions start to pop up, then evaluate each possible guest individually.
- Stick to the present. If you haven't seen someone in a long, long time, they can probably be considered for your cut list. (Think childhood friends and old acquaintances.) A good rule of thumb: You should invite the people who know your fiancé — the people who have spent time with you as a couple, who play a part in your present lifestyle.
- Hold to your hard-and-fast rules. Tight on space? If you've decided that only your bridal party and engaged pals can bring plus-ones, you should try to stick to that rule. It's the best way to avoid offending your loved ones, and an easy way to limit extra add-ons.
These simple, straightforward tips are just a starting point — complications are bound to come up. Reach out to both sets of parents for advice, because even if you don't adhere to all their suggestions, it's a great way to double-check your list and come to a settling point. Plus, throughout the process, remember to be practical, considerate, and sensitive. Even more important? Step back and enjoy it: you're bringing together all the people you love to celebrate one of the most special days of your life.
Between the bachelorette party, bridal shower, save the date, rehearsal dinner, and actual wedding-day invites, there are a lot of paper — or, for the most tech-savvy brides, online — goods to go around. If you're designing your own wedding stationery, then a beautiful set of type makes all the difference. Fonts can set the tone for style just as much as the color scheme, and installing custom ones are really easy on both Mac and PC.
We've scoured the Internet for the most elegant font freebies the web has to offer. Whether you're planning a romantic retro-, black-tie-, country-, or fairy-tale-themed affair, these type foundries have fonts fit for every type of wedding. Check out the premium, professional-grade lovely letter offerings, provided gratis.
Brides-to-be who are planning their own big day need not be overwhelmed by all the little details. WeddingHappy (free, with in-app upgrades) for iPhone is a task management and vendor information app that takes charge of everything on a wedding checklist and then some.
Enter in the planned wedding date, and WeddingHappy will build a custom checklist with suggested due dates to complete tasks like completing the gift registry or booking a florist. The main dashboard displays how much you've completed and what the next steps are, so you can quickly keep track of your nuptials's progress. Unlike many other apps, WeddingHappy can be used offline, which is especially useful when you need the address of the venue right away and your data connection is fuzzy.
The free version limits the number of tasks you can add to your list. The $3 in-app upgrade offers unlimited tasks plus a wedding day countdown. Exporting the entire schedule and vendor information to a printable PDF or CSV text file also requires a $3 upgrade. Either in-app purchase will remove ads.
Now that you've got the planning and organization under control, get inspired with new themes by Appy Couple or some creative ideas for a superhero wedding. And don't forget about these seven essential questions to ask your wedding photographer!
Your wedding guests will travel great distances and bestow you with lavish gifts, so a wedding favor is a great way to show your gratitude on the day of your nuptials. The best favors are representative of the newlyweds' personalities, but you can quickly find your wedding budget dwindling like a bowl of jordan almonds thanks to expensive favor options. Before you abandon the idea altogether, follow our tips for savvy wedding favor savings.
- Shop online marketplaces. Search for items on sites like eBay, Etsy, and Amazon, and compare those prices with local vendors to find the best deals.
- Buy in bulk. Look for bulk or wholesale deals, which will trim your per-favor cost. Candy, soaps, and packaging are excellent candidates to find at low prices in large quantities.
- Search beyond wedding vendors. Wedding sites may have items tailored to favor-giving, but they sometimes come with a markup. Browse sites and stores that specialize in the item you're looking for, and try to think outside the box when it comes to potential deals. For example, search framing wholesalers for deep discounts on picture frames or chocolatiers for high-quality truffles or chocolate bars. Hopefully, you'll have money left over to pay for engraving or custom packaging!