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Celebrating & Preparing For Your Big Day with OurWeddingDay.com Today is Saturday, April 19, 2014

Tips for Deciding on a Florist and Spring Wedding Flowers

Apr14

Deciding on a florist is one of the last things that you do in the wedding planning process, after you have chosen your venue, your caterer, your overall theme, your bridesmaids’ dresses, and of course, your color palette. Spring wedding flowers present you with a lot of opportunities to be creative and work with a wide range of color palettes. Here are a few steps to take to ensure that you love your spring wedding bouquet:

Before you decide on your florist, it is important to see a portfolio of his or her work. Also, you absolutely need to have personal recommendations from clients whose weddings they have done. In a recent Colorado wedding during spring, the bride hired a group of florists who were excellent designers, had amazing ability to create gorgeous arrangements, and who had a lot of artistic flair. However, these florists did not have experience with large-scale events (having done a few weddings, but not any with over 50 people); in the end, they did not calculate enough time to finish everything they had promised to deliver. The two main arrangements for the ceremony arrived after it was over, and the bridal party did not have their corsages and bouquets for the photographs (which were taken before the ceremony). Another bride who recently got married in California had a similar situation: Guests were arriving and there were absolutely no centerpieces on any of the tables. These things should be finished at least an hour before guests arrive, if not sooner. Make sure that whoever you hire as your florist understands the timing and technicality of working with a living organism, and has a few backup plans if anything goes wrong.

Consider spring wedding flowers by season, including tulips, daffodils, calla lilies, magnolias, easter lilies, gardenias, hydrangeas, gerbera daisies, and apple or cherry blossoms. You will save a lot of money if you are open to using spring wedding flowers that are readily available.

Consider your color palette. If you are getting married in a garden setting, for example, green and white, or yellow and green, are always lovely color combinations. You can always choose bright, more vibrant colors (but paired with something sleek) such as hot pink with black or lime green with black, with accents of white. For an earthier feel, consider using chocolate brown with blue, pink, or lavender.

Your containers can also be very creative and unusual. Consider using objects like pots, urns, watering cans, teapots, weaved baskets, or wicker baskets painted in colors from your palette.

Add greenery wherever you can. One benefits of a spring wedding, especially if it is outdoors, is that you already have a wealth of greenery that naturally adds to your setting. However, if you are getting married indoors, drape ivy or arbors over areas like mantels or doorways.

If you want add a bit of whimsy and fun, try adding some different patterns, such as polka dots, gingham, lace, or even stripes. Depending on the formality of your venue, patterns like this may not work, but if you are getting married outdoors, these types of accents can be adorable.

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Honeymooning in Portland, Oregon

Apr14

Though many people think beaches, white sand, and tropical weather for a honeymoon, you may be more of a city person with a love of bookstores, shopping, coffee, microbreweries, restaurants, and interesting people. If that is the case, consider going to Portland, Oregon. One bride and groom who recently went there on their honeymoon (as a last-minute decision because airfares were excellent) said that Portland by far exceeded their expectations. Here are a few reasons that Portland is one of the most unforgettable honeymoons:

The charming and inviting downtown area is filled with parks, fountains, hotels (some offer excellent honeymoon packages), shops, museums, and restaurants, and it has a mix of new and historic buildings. Portland is also extremely clean, and is known for being one of the “greenest” cities in the United States. You can ride the MAX, the Portland street car, for free here, as it is part of the Tri-Met’s Fareless Square route.

For a day trip, a drive to the Wilamette Valley is one of the most gorgeous honeymoon ideas because it has some of the most beautiful scenery in the Pacific Northwest. It is the heart of Oregon’s agricultural economy. There are also quite a few wineries and lodges, perfect for unforgettable honeymoons and extra romance. The Oregon coastline is also not far away.

If you are interested in Victorian architecture, Nob Hill (Northwest 23rd Avenue) is filled with cafes, restaurants, galleries and boutiques. It has been fashionable since the 1880s.

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Designer Wedding Shoes: Can They Be Comfortable?

Apr13

In a recent wedding, the bride decided to wear high heels for her entire wedding. They were high-quality, leather, designer wedding shoes. Although they were comfortable for a few hours during pictures, by the end of the night, she was in the worst foot pain. It took almost a week for her feet to recover. Here are some tips on choosing comfortable wedding shoes and how to prevent foot pain:

Some brides opt for flat wedding shoes, or shoes that have only a slight kitten heel. These tend to be a lot more comfortable, but remember that you will be on your feet pretty much the entire day, so a certain amount of foot pain is normal and expected.

A lot of bridal salons sell shoes specifically for weddings, but many of them are extremely uncomfortable. Sometimes it is better to go with designer wedding shoes purchased at a department store, or by a brand that you have worn before and know to be fairly comfortable. Remember that you do not have to choose white or ivory shoes to match your dress. You could wear a soft pink, silver, bronze, or even chocolate brown or black depending on the nature of your dress.

If you choose to go with heels, you can have a back-up plan by bringing a pair of flat ballet shoes to dance in. If it makes you a difference between you dancing and you sitting down in pain at your own wedding, then definitely change shoes. Just make sure that you take this into account when you get your dress hemmed, as you do not want it dragging too much (or be tripping over it!).

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Trends for Spring Bridal Dresses

Apr13

One of the major trends the bridal gown industry is moving toward is the soft, sleek, goddess-like silhouette. You are going to be seeing much less unnecessary fabric and beading and a lot more simplicity and understated elegance. For spring bridal dresses, this is especially appropriate, as spring connotes a “light and airy" feel. Here are a few key trends for spring bridal gowns:

Bridal dresses that are one-shoulder, or off the shoulder, are extremely popular. The one-shoulder trend is perfect for brides who do not want to go strapless, (it seems at least 90% of all the brides we see opt for a strapless dress!), but who love that strapless dresses are flattering to the upper body. With a one-shoulder dress, you can have the best of both worlds. Also, it is a classic look that is always in style.

Another trend for spring bridal dresses is the short dress. Depending on how formal your venue is, short wedding dresses can be chic, elegant, and a bit more unique than floor-length gowns. Some brides actually look better in short skirted  wedding gowns than in longer ones; it just depends on your style and body type. Just make sure that to choose a design that flatters you.

Lastly, bridal fashion is moving away from the huge ball gowns. You do want to feel like a princess, but remember: this isn’t prom. Also, less fabric can be more flattering, more elegant, and definitely more in style.

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Tips on Choosing Spring Honeymoon Destinations

Apr12

If you are wondering where to go during the months of March through May, here are a few important things to keep in mind when choosing spring honeymoon destinations:

Make sure to check that college’s spring break does not coincide with your honeymoon. Flights are often packed during these weeks, and certain honeymoon spots—such as Jamaica, the Caribbean, resort areas of Mexico, or the Dominican Republican—are going to be filled with a lot of college kids getting rowdy and drunk. If you do not want a “booze-cruise” feel to your honeymoon, try to avoid traveling on spring break, even if this means postponing your honeymoon by a couple of weeks.

Europe is a great for spring honeymoon destinations, especially as this is presumably before hoards of tourists arrive during the summer. You may be cutting it a bit close to a busier season in May, but April is especially safe for avoiding crowds. Remember that in certain European cities, the weather may be a bit precarious, and it is often still a bit chilly. However, you will not run out of things to do and see in most European cities.

Hawaii is always an excellent choice in the spring. Any of the main islands are excellent honeymoon locations, such as Maui, Kauai, Hawaii, and Oahu. The weather is extremely pleasant, the people are friendly, and the scenery is absolutely gorgeous.

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Top 8 Wedding Gift Etiquette Questions and Answers

Apr12

There are many questions regarding wedding gift etiquette; many of which are cut and dry, others that are not. Here are a few questions clarified:

If I am invited to a wedding and cannot attend, should I still send a gift?
This is one of the most common wedding gift etiquette questions. The answer is, yes! If at all possible, you should absolutely send a gift.

What if I do not know where the couple is registered?
In this case, make a phone call. Call someone you think would have this info, as this sort of thing usually spreads by word of mouth. If not, you should call a family member, or ask the couple themselves.

If the bride and groom specify that they do not want gifts, should I still send a gift?
Yes, you should still send a gift. Some people do not want guests to feel obligated to spend money on them, but proper wedding gift etiquette would encourage you to ignore this. The good news is, if the couple does not have a registry, you can either 1) give them cash, or 2) be creative with your wedding gift! Sometimes it feels impersonal to get them something off of their registry (like the couple will never remember who gave them what dishes), but if you give them something unique that you personally picked out, they will likely always remember it. If it is the case that the couple is extremely wealthy, then write them a nice card and donate to a charity on their behalf. The point is: Do something that they will appreciate.

What is monetary wedding gift etiquette?
Some couples request cash, and some guests prefer to give money.  If you are bringing a card with the money inside to the wedding, it is probably fine to include cash. Depending on the amount, it might be best to address a check to the couple.

If I am invited to the shower, do I need to get a shower gift and a wedding gift?
Yes! Being invited to a wedding is an honor, and being invited to a shower is actually even more of an honor, because the guest list is shorter and more intimate.

How much do I need to spend on a wedding gift?
This is a point of much debate. Most wedding gift etiquette experts say that across the board, it should be a minimum of $25 for a shower and $50 for a wedding. One thing to keep in mind is that a wedding is an opportunity to practice generosity. You should give what you can afford.

What if I am invited to a deluge of weddings in the same month and cannot afford them?
If you absolutely cannot afford to spend money on all of these wedding gifts, consider doing it in increments. Technically, you can send a gift up to a year after the wedding (which is when most registries close out), but it is recommended that you send the gift within six months. For example, if you are invited to three weddings in one month, set up a personal payment plan over a six-month time period, purchasing a gift every two months. Remember that the bride and groom would not want you to go broke on their behalf, so you do not need to bring them an expensive or elaborate gift. In this case, do the very best you can.

When should I send the gift?
Ideally, you should send it before the wedding if possible, but this is not required.  All gifts should be received before the couple's first anniversary, however.

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6 Scottish Wedding Traditions

Apr11

Celtic wedding customs—particularly Scottish wedding traditions—have long held us transfixed by their beautiful music, old-world charm, and thoughts of stunning, gorgeous green countryside. If you are of Scottish heritage, or if you simply gravitate toward Celtic customs, here are a few ways you can incorporate Scottish wedding traditions into your wedding day:

A grand engagement party.
Scottish people love merry making, and the thought of a wedding is the perfect reason to celebrate. The engagement party is usually held at one of the parents’ home, at a hotel or club, or sometimes at a village hall with everyone in town present.

Stag party.
On the night before the wedding, the friends of the groom throw a Stag party, an often rowdy event involving pranks. For example, there is an old custom where the groom sits in a tub of water, and his friends “wash” his feet by smearing grease, soot and ashes all over them. This good-natured custom is meant to ensure good fortune in his marriage.

Hen's night.
For the bride, the Hen’s night takes place, when she is dressed up with streamers, balloons, (and often soot and flour). She and her troop make their way through the streets for all to see. Her friends simultaneously rattle cans, whistle, ring bells, and clash pots and pans to make a ton of noise and create a spirit of rebel rousing. Sometimes, a friend will carry a chamber pot which townspeople can throw coins into. This is a great way to get some extra funds for the wedding celebration or the honeymoon.

The Loving Cup.
At a Scottish wedding, the couple takes their first celebratory drink as husband and wife from the Quaich, or Loving Cup, which is shaped as a bowl with two handles. It is passed down through the generations; the custom dates back to the 15the century. It symbolizes the two families coming together, and is supposed to bring happiness and good fortune to the couples who drink from it.

Scottish wedding music.
Bagpipes are the first thing that come to mind when thinking of Scottish music, but other musicians can also be involved, such as a fiddler, a string quartet, a piano player, or the clarsach, a small harp that is very popular in Scottish wedding ceremonies. It can be used during the ceremony or as backup music during the meal and the reception. Remember that playing the bagpipes involves a lot of energy, as the bagpipe player has to stand with the heavy instrument for sustained lengths of time. It is a good idea to have other types of music at a Scottish wedding to allow the bagpiper some breaks.

Scottish wedding toasts.
According to tradition, the father of the bride offers the first Scottish wedding blessing, which usually includes advice on how to be happy, with a personal story about the bride and groom. The groom usually gives a wedding toast, with a special thank you to his parents, to the bridal party, and to everyone who helped in preparation for the big day. The best man also makes a toast, as well as a member of the clergy. A typical sentiment that is echoed throughout the wedding blessings is this: “May the Lord keep you in His hand, and never close His fist too tight on you,' in order to wish the couple prosperity and long life.”

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Pre-Wedding Toast Jitters

Apr08

Public speaking takes a lot of skill, and guts. More often then not you’ll find the maid of honor or best man at weddings with sweat on their brow, or a case of the hand shakes. When prepping for maid of honor toasts, maid of honor poems, or a best man speech, keep the following wedding toast tips for de-stressing in mind.

1. Positive Thinking: This has a bigger impact on your performance than you may be aware of. Many self-help guru’s and public speaking coaches emphasize the importance of giving yourself positive pep talks leading up to your speech. If you tell yourself that you’re going to do a great job, then chances are you actually will.

2. Talk Therapy: This is an exercise that is great for the moments leading up to your speech. This exercise entails that you ask yourself simple questions and answer them. Some of the questions you could ask are, “How am I feeling?” or “What kind of mood am I in?”. Asking and answering these questions will alleviate tension and allow you to relax before you take the microphone.

3. Connect with Your Environment: Throughout the reception, prior to your speech, make eye contact and smile with the other guests. Get to know some of the guests you haven’t met and say hi to the guests you do know. This will allow you to feel as though you know those around you, and will make you feel safe and calm.

4. Deep Breathing: This is an age-old technique that works. If you can, find a quiet space to sit and breath. If you have a difficult time breathing slowly then count to five as you inhale and then exhale. If you aren’t able to find a quiet space, then feel free to practice deep breathing in your chair as you wait to be called to the microphone.

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Wedding Garters: How to Make Your Own

Apr08

The wedding garter toss was one of the first wedding traditions, and is still present at some weddings today. If you’re on the fence about having a wedding garter on your big day, then some research could help guide you toward your final decision. Knowing what a wedding garter set’s
use is, and possibly how to make it on your own could influence your decision.

If you’re a young bride, you many not be aware of the history of the garter toss, since they aren’t as prevalent amongst modern weddings as they used to be. The lace wedding garter used to be one of the most important wedding accessories and a close second to the ubiquitous bridal bouquet. There are a few wedding garter traditions, for example that it has always been worn high up on the bride’s thigh.

If you choose yes, then picking a garter that fits your size and unique style is of the utmost importance. The best way to ensure your wedding garter is exactly what you want is by making it yourself.

How does one make a wedding garter? It’s a moderately difficult task, but you’ll find that it could be worth every ounce of energy you put into it. You will need the following materials to create your very own wedding garter is a 3” wide fabric strip that is about one and a half times the circumference of your leg. You’ll also need some lace trim, elastic, a needle and thread (or a sewing machine), and any other decorative embellishments you want to include on your garter.

  • Next, get your thigh measurement. Figure out exactly where on your thigh you want the garter to go, and measure the circumference of your thigh in that spot.
  • Turn the fabric strip so that the wrong side is facing outward, then fold it length-wise in half.
  • Then sew the edge of the fabric, and then turn the tube of it so that the right side is facing outward.
  • Find the seam in the back and center it. Once the seam is flat it will face your leg so that it will be hidden once the garter is on.
  • Find your lace strip and sew it onto the bottom edge of the strip.
  • Next you’ll need to put the elastic into the tube of the fabric. If the elastic is being stubborn and won’t make it’s way all the way through then pull it out and pin a safety pin to the end of it and push it through.
  • Now it’s time to place the garter around your thigh and find a comfortable measurement for the elastic. Once you’ll found the perfect length, mark it and trim it.
  • Use either a needle and thread or a sewing machine to sew the two ends of the strip together, creating a circle. Begin with the elastic, and then move to the fabric and then lace.
  • The last step is to add any embellishments you would like to your garter. Some popular items include faux flowers, crystals, pearls, and bows.

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8 Reasons to Have a Small Wedding

Apr08

If you’re on the fence about having a small wedding ceremony, you might like to know that there are a lot of perks to doing so. While a large and lavish wedding may seem like a dream come true, the realities that accompany such a large affair might not be worth the extra dough and energy. Explore the following reasons as to why an intimate wedding might be the best route for you.

1. Large weddings require a lot of energy and time to plan, which equals more stress. If you choose to have a small wedding, then you’re proactively cutting out unneeded stress during the planning process, as well as your wedding day.

2. Are you planning a wedding or a production? Large weddings typically have banquet captains and wedding planners behind the scenes equipped with headsets and walkie-talkies that coordinate each step in the production. Smaller weddings don’t require this type of manpower and reflect that by exuding a more personal and relaxed energy.

3. The most obvious reason to opt for a smaller wedding is because you’ll save money. Weddings, unless you go the extreme minimalist route, are expensive regardless of the size, however you’d be surprised at just how much you can save by cutting down the guest list. Every wedding guest requires an invitation, a meal, drinks, and a designated spot at your wedding; all of which comes at a cost.

4. If you have a smaller wedding, then you’ll be able to allocate more of your budget to your wedding getaways. How nice would it be to schedule a spa day a day or two prior to your wedding? Or going over seas to an exotic destination for your honeymoon instead of having to stay close to home?

5. There are countless romantic wedding destinations to choose from, but if you’re working with a small budget then you’ll most likely need to cut down your guest list in order to have your wedding at one. Destination weddings tend to be on the smaller side anyway, since a lot of wedding guests aren’t able to get away.

6. The fewer guests you have, the more time you’ll have to allocate to each guest. It’s proper wedding etiquette to visit with each guest at some point during your wedding reception and thank him or her for coming. If there are 600 guests at your wedding, then this respectful gesture becomes almost impossible.

7. If you opt to have a smaller guest list, then you can put more money into other aspects of your wedding, for example your wedding dinner. Having fewer guests could give you the opportunity to be choosey about your wedding food.

8. Fewer guests also means you’ll have more venue options to choose from. For example you could hold your wedding at a home, in a backyard, a park, vineyard, restaurant, art gallery, or perhaps an adorable bed and breakfast.

There are two (or more) sides to every aspect of your wedding planning, including the size of your guest list. The most important aspect of this decision is that you know the pro’s and con’s of each, so that you can make the right decision that fits your budget and wedding vision.

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