Registering for wedding gifts can be one of the most fun parts about the wedding planning process. How many times can you go into a store and make a wish list that people are excited to get? But there are a few things to keep in mind
1. Quantity counts – Make sure your registry has enough items to cover most of the wedding guests. Remember, many people also use the registry for bridal shower gifts so you’ll want to have a lot of choices. If you don’t, you may end up receiving more cash gifts which also might not be too bad. On the other hand, you may end up decorating your house the way your Aunt Ida wants if she can’t find anything suitable on your registry.
2. Financial spread – Your registry should consist of items that are just a few dollars all the way up to hundreds or even thousands depending on your guests. That’s not to say that one guest will spend hundreds of dollars on your gift but they may want to go in on something big with other guests so you never know. Guests like choices so giving a large range of options will only help.
3. Store locations – You want to make it easy for your guests to shop so choosing stores that have locations close to where most of your guests live will be just that, easy. If they want to go in and look at your registry, driving to the local mall will be much easier than a boutique 150 miles away. Also, don’t be afraid to registry at several stores. If that helps give more choices, your guests will appreciate it.
4. Creative ideas – Registries are not all about fine china and new towels. Many newlyweds have lived together for years and have homes or at least apartments that are already set up. You can register for almost anything you can think of … honeymoon, home down payment, sports equipment, anything you want. So, think outside of the gift box.
The big thing to remember is that your guests want to make you happy. It’s your job to make it as easy as possible for them to achieve that. By doing so, you will also achieve your own bridal dream.Allison's Insights - Creating the Bridal Dream | No comment
When you are planning a wedding, leading up to a wedding and just got married, it seems that everyone is constantly showering you with gifts and help. My husband is not exactly versed in weddings. Like most men, he hasn’t dreamed of his for years and hadn’t really paid too much attention to other peoples but had one resounding sentiment when we got married….It brings out the best in everyone. I can’t believe how generous our friends and family are. And he’s right.
Now, I’m not just talking about actual gifts. Don’t get me wrong, we were overwhelmed with the generosity there. But there are also the countless hours that people take helping you plan, prepare and just listening to you talk about your wedding. These should not go overlooked. The time and effort your bridesmaids and groomsmen put into your shower and bachelor/bachelorette party often times is a small part time job for them. Make sure you put some serious thought and effort into their actual gifts. I understand that not everyone has unlimited means to be able to get the most special people in their lives exactly what they want to but sentimental items often mean just as much. When my best friend got married, I made her a scrap book of the many memories we had through the years. I gave it to her the night before her wedding and the best part is that she had made one for me also. We laughed talking about the times we had shared and which one’s made her book versus mine. What an incredible way to say thank you. She also got me a silver Tiffany’s necklace to wear with my dress which wasn’t so bad either.
And don’t forget the family. Sometimes you don’t have each of your family members as actual wedding party members but if they helped in any way, they should get a thank you too. Maybe it’s just a hand written note telling them how much you love them and appreciate what they have done for you or maybe their help was so significant that it was present worthy. You could also choose to thank some of these people during your speech at the wedding for all to hear. Either way, make sure to thank everyone.
Lastly, be sure to send a personal handwritten thank you note to each guest. Now, I understand that not everyone loves writing thank you notes. But it is the least you can do for the many generous gifts that you receive. Do your best to add something specific to each one. Don’t just make it a generic “Thanks for the gift.” Also, send these in a timely fashion. I don’t know what etiquette book ever said you have a year to write them but that is just plain rude. Get them out as soon as you can.
Making sure to thank all of the important people in your wedding celebration will certainly help to keep your bridal dream a reality for years to come.Allison's Insights - Creating the Bridal Dream | No comment
So, you decided that you want to go away for your wedding. Maybe you want it to be small or maybe you live in New England and have always pictured a tropical beachside wedding. Whatever your reason, there are a few things you should consider before taking on this challenge.
1. A DIY destination wedding will take more time. While it’s not impossible, it will be much more time consuming to find vendors when you aren’t anywhere near them. Picture trying to do a food or cake tasting to pick your caterer or baker….not likely to happen. If you were planning on making a lot of your own decorations, centerpieces or favors, you will have to transport them which means either lugging them on the plane or sending them on ahead. In either case, that could get expensive.
2. All inclusives handle all the details. Many resorts will give you the tools to plan your entire wedding by choosing from their package weddings. They will take care of everything from the food to the entertainment to the ceremony or even special details that will make your bridal dream a reality. These packages are typically more economical and a lot less stressful. These resorts handle so many of these weddings, they are practically flawless and allow you to enjoy the full experience.
3. Your guests may be limited. Let’s face it, not everyone that you would like to be at your wedding can afford a vacation in order to attend. So, if you are one of those people who think quantity over quality is most important, than a destination wedding may not be for you.
4. You don’t have to plan a separate honeymoon. Many brides and grooms extend their stay past the wedding in order to take their honeymoon. Talk about convenient. Many times the resort will even offer discounts for this longer period as part of the whole wedding package. There is nothing like starting your vacation honeymoon, the minute you say I do. No packing and getting on a plane in a couple of days. You just let the vacation begin.
Destination resorts can certainly make your bridal dream come true just be sure to consider the options and let someone else handle the details.Allison's Insights - Creating the Bridal Dream | 1 comment
In this day of social media and ever changing technology, it’s not a surprise that the newest “thing” would soon be showing up in a big way on a couple’s big day. There are many ways that our newest programs can make your special day even more special.
Brides and Grooms are creating blogs or websites dedication solely to their nuptials. These can serve an entertainment role, an information role or both. Answering big questions like “Are kids invited?” or “Where can we stay?” or “Where did you register?” makes it easier to discuss topics with the masses instead of having to speak to each guest individually. While showing off the wedding colors or the wedding party or even letting guests vote on a honeymoon destination makes everyone feel more involved and interested. Some of these sites will even allow guests to RSVP without making it to the mailbox. Maybe you’re not the tech gal yourself, there are many sites out there that will walk you through the creation process for a small fee.
Another idea that…. Brides and Grooms are now adding large screens to their reception décor and allowing their guests to upload real time pictures and messages for all to enjoy. This also acts as an electronic photo/memory book that the bride and groom can keep. They can even print pictures from those that are uploaded. This could replace the old time disposable cameras that typically littered wedding reception tables making it easier and faster to have your guests providing some really great pictures. Not to mention the immediate satisfaction everyone gets from seeing pics as they are happening.
Technology can sometimes feel like it’s taking the personal contact out of our lives but used correctly, it can unite 150 people instantly creating the perfect bridal dream before everyone’s eyes.Allison's Insights - Creating the Bridal Dream | No comment
So you are planning your wedding, want to know the “in” look for weddings this year, casual elegance. The best part about this is that it has a very broad spectrum of ideas that fit into this beautiful trend.
One of the biggest, especially around the New England area, is the restoration and use of old barns to host weddings and receptions. New Hampshire and New England are filled with old barns that just scream history. They are beautiful additions to our rural landscape and have become the backdrop for countless weddings.
One of my cousins got married last September at the Sunny Slope Farm in Alton, NH. The wedding itself took place outside with the guests sitting on hay bales covered in blankets. The reception followed in the beautiful old barn. It was decorated with white lights and hanging light up copper stars. The barn had the bar, dancing, band and pre wedding appetizers set up inside. There was also a tent set up with tables for a more sit down dinner portion. This wedding was particularly unique because the food was catered by a food truck. Each guest got to decide what they wanted to eat and when. The food truck stayed for about 4 hours and continued to serve the usual menu as well as a Mediterranean kabob dinner that was specific to their wedding. I also loved the fact that they got use of the farm house attached so that the entire wedding party could stay right on the premises for the pre and post wedding festivities.
Another cousin got married last April at Whitney’s Inn in Jackson, NH. Again, the wedding itself was outside but the reception took place in the renovated barn that is actually made into a pub called the Shovel Handle Pub. It’s a multi level beautifully done barn that allowed for plenty of seating as well as the dance floor and buffet. The large windows next to the dance floor looked out to Black Mountain giving a beautiful view. White lights are hung everywhere and the touches of tulle and flowers that the bride added, softened the rustic and added the elegance. The attached inn allowed for many of the wedding guests to stay right on site continuing the fun and party well into the night and keeping everyone together.
Finally, this coming August, I have two friends that are getting married at the Moody Mountain Farm in Wolfeboro. I can’t wait to see how they take this rustic barn and farm house and turn it into a truly amazing wedding venue.
So, if you are looking for the inspirational back drop for your bridal dream, look further than the local hotels and function centers. There is so much inspiration to be found in New England history.Allison's Insights - Creating the Bridal Dream | 1 comment
RSVP’s, not just a square card anymore
I have come across a few great ideas for creative ideas in RSVP’s lately. More often than not, RSVP cards simply have a place to write your name, how many attendees and maybe your choice of food. These days, brides are putting a new spin on an old tradition.
The first came from one of our My Bridal Dream brides, Miriah King, who got married on June 23rd. She sent blank RSVP cards to all of her guests and asked that they draw something and return the card. She ended up with some really great works of art. She then decided to turn this into a game at the wedding. So, she hung up the decorated cards for all of her guests to see and vote on the best. The winner got a prize.
The second idea came from my cousin who is getting married on Sept 29. I just received her invitation and inside was a NH postcard that she asked us to return with a note and the usual information. Now she has a collection of cards that are beautiful keepsakes of her big day.
Another idea was to have a Mad Libs rsvp card. You remember Mad Libs from your childhood right? Basically, you write out the RSVP card but leave spaces for people to fill in words. So, one might say “adjective” and the guest needs to fill in an adjective in that space. The complete card typically leaves guests and the happy couple giggling with delight.
Another great option is for RSVP’s to request either memories or marriage advice. Friends and family love to talk about their memories of the bride and groom. Some will know you from when you were little and others have only known you a short time. Chances are, they will all have a great story to tell if they are guests at your wedding. And advice can always be helpful or at least comical. Either of these options could be used as a wedding display to share the memories and advice with fellow guests.
It seems that RSVP cards are another way you can personalize your Bridal Dream.Allison's Insights - Creating the Bridal Dream | 1 comment
Springtime Inspiration for your Wedding
I love every season but there is something about spring to get wedding inspiration flowing. Everything is new and beautiful just like a wedding. We have just come off of a dark, dreary winter indoors and all we want is some bright colors and warm weather. This time of year screams love, weddings and the great outdoors.
Everywhere you look provides inspiration for your big day. Pay attention to the gardens in your neighborhood or the flower displays at your local grocery store. They are full of colors that can take your wedding from beautiful to extraordinary. Using those flowers that are springtime bloomers can also save you bundles. Anytime you choose to use what is available now, you will save big time.
Walk around your local clothing shop or the mall. You will see colors galore. There are pastels in every shade to compliment your bridesmaids. Maybe you want to be a little daring, go for one of the bright colors. Mix it up. I love the combinations of bright pink and lime green. Purple and orange are show stoppers together. You can even mix it up with the flowers and the dresses to add that little touch of wow. Throw in a different color shoe to pop those dresses including yours.
Springtime food is also a great place to shine. Fresh vegetables are abundant. No more heavy chicken with stuffing and gravy. Go for something light and fresh that will leave your guests feeling refreshed instead of weighted down for the long night ahead of dancing and fun. Don’t be afraid to serve something a little different. If chosen correctly, it can make the difference between no one remembering the food and everyone talking about it for years to come.
This is also the perfect time of year to incorporate the outdoors in your big day. This is the place to be most cautious though. Springtime can be warm and beautiful but can also still be downright chilly. Make sure that you have all of your bases covered. I personally love the idea of having an outdoor daytime wedding with the reception inside with access to an outdoor courtyard so if the weather is right, the guests can move between the two spaces. Dancing under the starts is a beautiful way to celebrate a special occasion.
Springtime lends itself to new beginnings just like a wedding. Take your inspiration from the season and your Bridal Dream will surely come true.Allison's Insights - Creating the Bridal Dream | No comment
Spring has sprung and with that, a host of those bugs that buzz are going to be cropping up at an outdoor wedding near you. Whether you’re planning a spring, summer or even fall wedding, you may find that mosquitoes are an issue. We all love to have nuptials outside but if you are having an outdoor wedding, mosquito control is a must. It’s one of those things you probably wouldn’t think of but your guests sure will when they are scratching bites for the next few days.
My brother-in-law got married last October in a beautiful riverside, backyard wedding at the bride’s cousin’s house in Maine. The setting was serene and beautiful but during the rehearsal, I noticed the buzzing and swatting I was doing to the many mosquitoes who wanted to watch the happy couple. While it’s not romantic, simple steps can be taken to battle these pesky uninvited guests.
There are many natural remedies that you can apply to the lawn up to days before. Search online and see what other people say. If you want a quick fix, local grocery stores and hardware stores frequently sell what look like really big cans of bug spray. You just spray them onto the lawn a couple of hours before the event and you should be bug free. Some people say that there are certain herbs and flowers that help repel the pesky buggers so consider incorporating those into your wedding décor. You can even burn citronella candles to add ambiance.
I ended up buying 2 of the traditional cans for the wedding and had them sprayed on about an hour before the ceremony began. I’m happy to report that I did not see a single guest swat at a stray intruder helping the bride to have her Bridal Dream come true and helping her guests enjoy the day that much more.Allison's Insights - Creating the Bridal Dream | No comment
If there is one item I would suggest every bride has, it’s a comfortable pair of shoes to wear at her reception. I love shoes. There are so many beautiful choices to match everyone’s style, color and price. Many times, the perfect shoe to complete your look is not the perfect friend to your tired feet.
During your wedding, you will average 8 hours in those perfect shoes and most likely they are either brand new or you’ve attempted to break them in slightly around the house. Either way, they are not likely to be the ultimate comfort for your tired feet. You will be dancing, walking, taking pictures and having fun which can all be ruined very quickly by blisters and pain.
I am not one of those people who like to run around barefoot. If you are, go for it. But if you’re like me, find yourself a comfy, cute and slightly fancy pair of wedding sandals, sneakers or slippers. With most wedding dresses, you can’t see your feet anyway unless you are walking down the aisle. So once the wedding is over and the party starts, take those gorgeous shoes off and slip into some comfort. For my wedding, I found cute off-white sandals that had fabric rose buds on the top strap. I even found them in black and bought a pair for all of my girls to be comfortable. For my best friend’s wedding, she bought the bridesmaids bright pink slippers that had feathers all over the top and matched our dresses perfectly. Don’t forget that the comfort of your girls should be an important aspect too. It’s not going to be any fun if your dancing queens are resting on the sidelines.
This same lesson goes for your honeymoon. My husband and I planned a trip to Paris and Rome. I bought a pair of really cute, comfortable flats for all of my city walking. I did not think this one through and realized quickly that even a comfortable flat can be incredibly uncomfortable when they are new. I spent a good bit of time searching for socks while I was walking around in Paris just to add some padding to my poor feet. I also had to figure out how to say Neosporin (FYI, they do not have that product in Paris) in French.
So start the hunt for the perfect reception and honeymoon footwear and help make your bridal dream a more comfortable reality by making sure your feet are pampered just like you should be.Allison's Insights - Creating the Bridal Dream | No comment
I have heard from many women that they are dreading their bridal shower. They are leery of sitting for hours at a time opening gift after gift while the closest women in their lives look on lovingly at another set of glasses. I have made it my mission to help brides have showers that they look back on with thoughts of enjoyment not dread by providing ideas to make a bridal shower more fun for the brides and for the guests
I must admit, I stole this idea from my family. The shower I attended had enough guests to just about fill four tables. My family arranged it so there were four courses of food served buffet style. During each course, the woman of honor would take a designated seat at a different table. While there, she would get to catch up with all of those guests, open their gifts so they had a front row seat and at her place setting, they had a rolled up piece of paper that had informational tidbits about her and her husband or marriage in general. This set up eliminated that awkward gift opening marathon that can be tedious for both bride and guests. It also encouraged the guess to chat, have fun, move around the party and gave the bride some down time between gifts to enjoy herself.
Another idea is to have a drink/food tasting. You could set up different stations or tables where the guests could try different wines and cheeses or mini martinis with appetizers. It would get the guests mingling, discussing what they like and don’t like. You could also have some party games or have the bride choose a particular gift and whoever’s gift it is gets a wine inspired prize.
There is nothing quite like a well planned bridal shower to make the beginning of your Bridal Dream come true.Allison's Insights - Creating the Bridal Dream | 1 comment