16 Things a Bride and Groom to Be Need to Ask Their Wedding Venue

Is the wedding venue available on our wedding day?

Sounds like an obvious first question doesn’t it, but you really need to ask it first. There is no point visiting a potential wedding venue, falling in love with the idea of getting married there and not being able to make your dreams happen because another bride and groom got there first.

If you’ve already chosen your special date, then we suggest you telephone the wedding venue ahead of the visit and state you can only make that date, if they are already booked up then get back to the list and find another fantastic wedding venue.

How many guests can be seated for a meal at the wedding venue?

This is fairly crucial, you don’t want to book a wedding venue that have a seating area for 250 people if you’re only inviting 60 to a sit down meal.

In turn you also want to ensure your guests can sit comfortably without being crammed into a small venue, or even worse, being left to feel as if they’re shoved in at the back, and can barely see the top table. Once you’ve got a rough idea of how many wedding guests are being invited, you need to make sure your chosen wedding venue suits your requirements.

Request to see a sample seating plan, ask about whether they have round tables, maybe even ask to see photos of previous wedding meals and how the tables are laid out. This will give you a good indication of whether you can seat your wedding party and ensure everyone is happy.

How many guests can the wedding venue accommodate for the wedding reception?

Some couples prefer to have a small and intimate wedding ceremony, and then follow that with the mother of all parties in the evening. If this is your plan, be sure that the wedding venue can accommodate this. You don’t want to have 200 evening guests descend on your wedding and find them all squeezed in, or unable to get to the bar. Again, the flip-side is that you don’t want to find out your wedding venue has a separate dance floor and bar area that resembles a barn – the single easiest way to have zero-atmosphere at your wedding reception is to find the wedding DJ or band playing to a half empty hall, with your wedding guests sitting around the edges not mingling.

What time can we access the wedding venue?

“Exclusively yours for the entire day!”… says their website. But what does that mean exactly? Each wedding venue will have their own rules of when you can access the building on your wedding day.

Simply confirm what time you can arrive ahead of the wedding, you don’t want to be left standing outside waiting for the cleaner to turn up.

Can the bridal party get ready at the wedding venue?

Maybe this is something the bride would prefer, instead of rushing around in the morning, why not ask the venue if they have the facilities for the bride to prepare for her wedding day in the comfort of her wedding venue.

Obviously you’ll want something nicer then a conference room, or a ladies changing room at a golf club, but if the wedding venue has a nice quiet comfortable room for the bride to arrive and perhaps have her hairdresser, make-up artist and the rest of her entourage help her prepare for her wedding day then all the easier.

Can we give you a CD of our wedding music for the bride’s entrance?

If you’re having a civil ceremony performed in an approved premises you won’t be able to use any music that has religious references in the song at all. By this we mean, terms like: Angels, Heaven, God etc etc. So no Robbie Williams ballads. The wedding venue will be fully aware of this and may have a CD of acceptable music, which is fine. However, if you want to make your wedding entrance to music of your choice you need to ensure that the wedding venue does actually allow this.

Assuming they are OK with you bringing along your own CD with your favourite song on it to play at the bridal entrance, it’s well worth dropping it off a day or two in advance to the wedding venue and asking them to test the CD on their player. You don’t want for them to try and play it as you’re nervously standing there only to find out your old CD is scratched or your CD-R won’t work on their machine.

The registrar will have to approve the songs you’ve chosen ahead of the wedding, but they should clarify all of this when you meet them.

Can we agree a timetable of the day, or are we set to your times?

Obviously a good wedding venue will suggest times to you, they’ll know how long each stage of the day will take. Ensure you can discuss the day’s timetable, agree when the ceremony will start (you’ll also need to approve that time with the registrar), plan how long the photos will take, agree the start time of the meal, decide what time to invite the evening wedding guests, and when the cutting of the cake and first dance will take place.

Can we bring our own drinks to the wedding venue, if not can we see the bar prices?

This is an interesting one, and well worth asking the question. Even if a wedding venue has a licensed bar available they still may agree that you could bring your own drinks along – even if it’s just fruit juices for the kids, it could save you money.

If you’re hiring a marquee at a venue, they will have a temporary bar for your guests – ask if you can stock the bar yourself, maybe even do a deal with someone who’ll buy all the booze for you and manage the bar for the night.

Should the wedding venue insist that you must use their bar facilities, ensure you ask to see the bar prices first, whether you or your guests are paying, no one wants a huge bar bill. Also check about wine served at the meal, and champagne for toasts.

Do we have to use your caterers, or can we instruct our own?

Some wedding venues insist that you must use their caters. This may be a restriction, however their own caters obviously have the knowledge of the venue and their kitchens, and would of catered for many weddings before – so maybe it’s not a bad thing.

However, it’s worth asking the question as if you are not committed to their caters you can shop around, and enjoy plenty of food tasting along the way.

If it’s raining, where would be the best spot to take our photos?

It won’t rain on your wedding day, surely not. Hopefully not. Maybe.

If the sun lets you down on the most important day of your life, you need a back-up plan. Have a good look around the wedding venue and ask where photos are normally taken during rainy days.

You really want to avoid having an awful backdrop indoors, when you were planning lovely photos out on the lawn. Most wedding venues are beautiful places anyhow, so they’ll be used to the British weather letting down brides before, and no doubt have a proffered beauty spot indoors to act as the back-drop for your wedding photographers to take your photos.

Is there a sound limiter on our wedding DJ or band?

Not a question most brides or grooms would consider asking, hence we threw it in the mix.

The thought is that if you’ve paid up to £500 for a wedding DJ, or potentially even more for a wedding band, then you want to be able to hear them at the back.

Unfortunately a lot of wedding venues in residential areas will be restricted to acceptable noise levels – this may mean your live entertainment loses some atmosphere on the dance floor. If you are planning a huge party for your wedding – check this first.

Do we need to order the full amount of guests for the buffet?

If you have 100 wedding guests in the evening, do you need to book a buffet for 100 people? You know that your mates will be more interested in the bar, most people who ate the wedding breakfast won’t be too hungry, so why not ask the wedding venue if you can just pay for 80% of the expected guests.

This way you’re saving some more money, and potentially saving wasted food at the end of the night.

Is there accommodation available at the wedding venue?

Maybe the wedding venue has a honeymoon suite available? A lot of weddings have visiting relatives from far afield, this means they’ll need somewhere to stay. You need to check in advance where you are going to spend your first night as a married couple, and if the venue has accommodation available then this could be your best option.

Even if you chosen wedding venue happens to be part of a hotel complex, you’ll still need to book accommodation for those who need it, so get your bookings in early.

Do you have a wedding cake stand we can use?

Your wedding cake needs to sit on something, it’s a focal point of your wedding day, and will set you back a fair few quid. No doubt the wedding cake maker will offer you a cake stand and knife for hire, but quite often the wedding venue will have a top quality cake stand ready for you.

If they do, it’s another little saving and one less thing to worry about.

Will there be any other weddings on at the same venue?

Why have we left this one so late? Well, it’s a personal choice whether you want a wedding venue entirely to yourself for the day, or whether you mind having another wedding party on the same day.

Whether it makes much difference or not depends on the size of the wedding venue. A small wedding venue may not have the space, or the different rooms for two large weddings.

You may find yourself sharing facilities, do you mind bumping into another bride?

Large hotels or golf clubs or private manor houses are often designed in a way that they can easily accommodate more then one wedding. Lets face it, weddings are big business so they want to attract as many as possible. If your chosen wedding venue will be playing host to more then one wedding on YOUR wedding day, ask to see where the two parties take place and ensure you’re comfortable with the idea.

What time does the bar shut, and what time do we have to leave?

Surely the most important question, what time can we party until? A good wedding venue will not go around at the end of the night throwing guests out of the door, however they will expect your wedding guests to leave at an appropriate time. Clarify with the venue what time is last orders at the bar, and what time does the music have to be finished by.

You’ll want one big farewell and send-off at the end of the night, so ensure your DJ is aware of the closing time and that he is prepared for the last dance and farewell to the new Mr & Mrs!

How to Become a Successful Wedding Planner With Inexpensive Weddings

Can you make a living planning weddings? Yes. As a self-employed professional, you can either charge a set fee for the wedding or a percentage of the total cost. Your income can be uncertain when you first start planning these extravaganzas, but as your reputation spreads and you gain more experience, your income can increase dramatically.

Of course, you will make more income on an elaborate, huge wedding, but several smaller and simple weddings will be less stressful when you are starting out and, when the separate income is added together, you will probably make the same amount of money.

Some agencies who track salaries report yearly incomes in the $50,000 range for wedding planners. One such agency, PayScale, currently reports these average hourly rates for the profession:

* California $28.00

* Georgia $27.50

* Massachusetts $20.64

* New York $15.00

* Louisiana $14.00

* Pennsylvania $10.23

* Texas $9.00

As with any self-employment, your success depends entirely on your creativity, reliability and marketing skills. There are online courses you can take to teach you the skills you need to plan the perfect wedding for your clients. Some of those courses will lead to certification as a Wedding Planner, which will give you more credibility with your clients and improve your professional standing with your colleagues.

Getting Started

What a professional Wedding Planner actually does is take on the details and responsibility of the event, relieving the bride and groom and their families, from the stresses involved. In turn, this allows them to enjoy the preliminary wedding events, like bridal showers and picking a honeymoon location.

There are lots of details you, as a Wedding Planner, need to know to keep things running smoothly and within the budget available. You will have to have a set of resources you can tap into to get the best service at the best prices, like reserving the church or chapel, catering the reception, ordering flowers, getting the wedding dress designed and ordered, selecting invitations and announcements, booking the music and hiring a professional photographer, among many other tasks.

It would probably be very good advice to start your career on small and somewhat inexpensive weddings. Giant extravaganzas can be very complex and time consuming to the most experienced Wedding Planner and you would be well-advised to start smaller and work up.

Some of the following tips should help you get started on planning a smaller wedding that will save money on several of the more expensive features of normal weddings. The bride’s father will love you for it.

The Wedding Gown

* The wedding gown can be expensive enough to break any budget. You can offer your client several options that are affordable and will still make the bride look like an angel as she floats down the aisle.

Renting a gown is becoming more popular every day. Think about it. The bride is going to wear it once and it was probably worn once before she rented it. It also avoids the storage problem for 20 years if the bride will not be saving it for her firstborn child to wear at her own wedding.

* If a member of the bride’s family is a good seamstress, suggest that she ask the family member to make the dress. Providing all the material and even paying the family member for the service will more than likely be less expensive than buying one from a bridal store.

* Another way would be for the bride to wear her mother’s wedding gown, if she saved it. You might want to check it carefully for any deterioration before the bride commits to wearing it. The mother is probably from a generation that thought saving her wedding gown was an obligation of the marriage and believed for several decades that her daughter would wear it at her own wedding.

The Reception

Another budget-buster is the reception, but some planning with a true reality check can reduce your client’s expenditures here.

* Think smaller. Talk to your clients about how they can downsize the guest list. When the excitement of the coming event takes over, your clients and their parents will many times have a very long list of people to invite to the wedding and the reception after.

Many of the parents’ visions of the reception can resemble an extravaganza with hundreds of guests, munching caviar and drinking champagne all night long in a huge ballroom. If their budget will not cover the considerable expenses involved in their dream reception, your skills as the Wedding Planner will be well served here.

To start with, keeping the guest list small and only inviting close family and friends will save money and still provide the dream celebration your clients want. If your client hasn’t had a close relationship with college friends or neighbors from four moves back, don’t put them on the list.

Instead of renting the largest hall or club banquet room in your town for the reception, you have a couple of inexpensive options that might appeal to your clients:

* Check out restaurants in the area. Some have banquet rooms that they will either rent out or provide free if you use their services for the sit-down meal or the buffet.

* Consider suggesting that your clients hold the reception at their home. The party does not have to include a full meal. Catered hors d’oeuvres and a champagne fountain will set the festive mood your clients want.

* Weddings held in gardens or other natural settings are very popular and beautiful. There’s minimal decoration needed and the only expense might be for the minister, rabbi or Justice of the Peace.

* Not having a full bar will save a lot of money, regardless of where the reception is held. The champagne fountain mentioned above can also be combined with beer or wine if the clients want to provide additional libations for their guests.

The Photography

The formal wedding service requires a professional photographer who will create a beautiful album to record the special day and preserve the memories to relive as they wish. If you create a relationship with several photographers as you build your career, you will know which one to hire for your client’s purposes.

The rest of the celebration can be recorded by all their friends and relatives with a digital camera in their pockets. Some clients put disposable cameras on tables for anyone to use. Have a decorated basket nearby and visible to give your guests a place to leave the cameras when they go home.

The Wedding Invitations

Newly engaged couples can go way overboard on their wedding invitations and your task, as their Wedding Planner, is to suggest ways for them to save money on this expensive item.

Those engraved invitations with the ribbon attached or the edges cut into curvy designs are expensive. The same effect can be achieved with a good card stock and one of those edge cutters used for scrapbooking. The necessary items can be found in any good craft store and some stationary stores. They come with matching envelopes, too. The actual text can easily be printed with a good inkjet or laser printer.

One way to make homemade invitations special and very personal is to order stamps from the US Post Office with the couple’s engagement picture on them.

Consider suggesting that your client include making her own thank you notes and, even the place cards, if you are including a sit-down reception for their wedding. Once again, a good laser or inkjet printer can do the fancy fonts and include a picture of the couple to make them personal. The thank you notes would stand out if they were sent with a wedding picture on the stamps.

The Flowers

It is not necessary to buy fancy floral arrangements and pay for the floral designer’s time and expertise. Simple flowers arranged beautifully in clusters or cascades can be created by either the bride’s family or a crafty friend. They can be delivered to the church by you or by friends.

If you are building your business, create some relationships with flower vendors and provide that service to your clients. They will be delighted at the savings and the vendors will love you for the business.

Depending on the time of the year, the flowers can be picked from the bride’s own backyard or from a friend’s yard. A few inexpensive vases, some ribbon and both the wedding and the reception will be beautifully decorated while not breaking the family’s budget.

A few flower arrangements can attractively set off a buffet table or on the tables at a sit-down dinner. Think about several weddings you have attended as a guest. How many flower arrangements do you really remember? During the entire wedding ritual, most of the guests were focused on the bride and groom; weren’t they?

A simple floral bouquet can be easily arranged from flowers out of a garden with the stems wrapped in a ribbon that complements or matches the bride’s gown. When you toss the bridal bouquet before you leave the reception, you will be tossing out a truly personal memento of your wedding and not one that was exorbitantly priced.

Any flowers left over can be scattered in the bride’s hair to make her even more beautiful as she walks down the aisle.

The Wedding Cake

There’s lots of tradition around the wedding cake, including saving a piece to be eaten on the first anniversary of the wedding. The top layer of the cake is normally put aside before the cake is cut and frozen to preserve it. Some bakers have been making a top layer that is a light fruitcake. It freezes well and thaws better a year later.

Wedding cake history can be traced as far back at the Roman Empire and the traditions have gone through so many changes between now and then that there is no comparison.

Today’s “traditional” wedding cake practices can be anything the couple wants them to be. Some have abandoned the white wedding cake and substituted frosting colors and decorations that reflect the bride’s choice of décor or the color of the bridesmaid dresses.

The multi-tiered cake is not an obligation and can be a heavy drain on a limited budget. Friends can make the cake for the reception or something else can replace the cake entirely, like a wedding cake made of frosted cupcakes stacked in layers. The cupcake wedding cake is becoming very popular, not only for economy, but for it’s novelty and the range of cupcake flavors that can be offered.

As the Wedding Planner, you will need to have a list of different and affordable wedding cakes to give the couple choices. If no one in the family or set of friends can make the wedding cake, you will also need a list of economical bakeries.

Lists – How To Plan A Small Wedding

When you first begin to work as a Wedding Planner, you will be buried in details that can only be managed if you know how to make ordered lists. Over time, you will probably create your own templates on your computer and be able to print out a complete set of templates whenever you book a new wedding.

Your templates will be your “spare brain” and will keep you informed of what needs to be done and when, along with favored vendors, the services they provide and what their fees are.

Your templates should include the following information:

* A reasonable timeline for all activities concerning the wedding from start to finish. That should include preliminary details, like scheduling the bride’s appointments for fittings, reserving the banquet room or restaurant for the reception, booking the chapel and anything else that needs advance scheduling.

Waiting too long may require rescheduling that might interfere with the travel arrangements made by the out-of-town guests or make finding a caterer difficult, to name only a couple of serious possible problems.

* After your templates are printed and initially filled out, you need to make a preliminary wedding budget and include the fees for your services. As the director of this event, you will be spending the money and have a responsibility to provide records when requested.

* The actual wedding ceremony should be painstakingly detailed to ensure that all aspects are taken care of in advance. Leave nothing to the last minute.

o Have the bride and groom choose their wedding date as soon as possible. Everything needed to be in place for that date has to be scheduled and confirmed before any other plan can be completed.

o Decide upon the wedding site, church, chapel, garden, park, etc. Make that decision specific. Get the details of the church or chapel, the address of the garden and the phone number of the relative or friend who owns it or permission of the agency controlling the park.

o Book and confirm the minister, rabbi or Justice of the Peace who will be performing the wedding ceremony.

o Start selecting the music with the couple for the actual ceremony. Include the music for the reception and book who will be providing it…disk jockey, small band, etc.

o Send the couple to get the marriage license. For their book of memories, see if a friend or family member will take a few photos of this necessity.

One thing you might consider is using your own digital camera and recording most of the less dramatic events of preparing for the wedding, like getting the marriage certificate, making or addressing the invitations, trying on wedding dresses.

A CD or DVD given to the couple after they return from their honeymoon will serve two important purposes.

1. They will have something to remember all that went into the ceremony that will not be included in the normal wedding album.

2. When they share the CD or DVD with their friends, some of whom might be contemplating their own wedding, your name and contact details will be prominent.

Referrals are what will build your business. Subliminal ads, like on the CD or DVD label and at the beginning and end of the photos might bring you some business. At the very least, your unexpected gift after the excitement that goes with any wedding, will be remembered by the bride and groom.

The wedding ceremony rehearsal needs to be scheduled as soon as possible. It normally takes place a night or two before the actual ceremony (after work) and can be easily forgotten in the rush of last minute details. Additionally, the church or chapel might be previously booked by another wedding party.

Some have a small dinner party in a restaurant after the rehearsal. If your couple is planning one with their bridesmaids and groomsmen, make the reservations as soon as possible and confirm a few days before the rehearsal.

Make sure that everyone knows who will be in the wedding processional and the recessional and what to do. Practice it with the actual music, if possible, so it looks graceful during the actual event. Never forget that you are creating life-long memories for the couple.

The wedding reception has its own set of details to schedule and set in motion.

1. You need to determine the time of day for the reception. Be sure to allow enough time for the photographer to take the album photos after the ceremony and for the newly married couple to travel from the church to the reception.

2. Make sure the place for the reception is set up, decorated and stocked. It would be a wise decision to check with the restaurant or hall about a week before the wedding to check details and to discuss any changes in the menu or times with the manager. A phone call the day before the event wouldn’t be a bad idea.

3. Normal wedding reception activities need to be scheduled and coordinated so they feel like a natural progression before the couple leaves the reception.

Those activities can include the receiving line, the first dance, cake cutting, tossing the bouquet, speeches and toasting from the best man, parents or friends.

How To Find A Job In The Wedding Industry

There’s over a dozen different industries that might be interested in hiring Wedding Planners or consultants, if you were interested in working with companies.

Resorts in popular vacation spots are becoming sites for destination weddings and would have the need for a Wedding Planner. This would be a way to work and enjoy all the amenities available in some of the world’s most beautiful spots.

Hotels almost anywhere, even in your current location, are always sites for weddings or receptions in their banquet rooms and many might need a Wedding Planner or Event Coordinator to keep their wedding parties from becoming a disaster.

Churches and synagogues might be on the lookout for someone to handle the weddings being scheduled at their churches and temples. Distributing a well-designed flyer at each facility might get you referrals, if not an actual job. Make sure to include some business cards with the flyers.

Finally, do not forget to leave your business cards with local bridal shops, caterers and florists. These businesses handle some aspect of the wedding preparations every day. They would be good reciprocal referrals for your services. If you, in return, used their services in the wedding planning, it would be a Win-Win situation for all involved.

You should have enough information to decide if being a Wedding Planner is the career for you. You can find eCourses to take online and several step-by-step eBooks or manuals that explain everything you need to know and even provide templates to help you organize the details.

Start out slowly. Make a list and check it twice. Learn to network with all the appropriate vendors. Have some fun. You can do it! Here is a link to a great site for more info on becoming a wedding planner or to plan your own wedding.

Secrets In Choosing The Right Style Of Wedding Photography On Your Wedding Day

What is Wedding Photography?

For most couples, this may sound an odd question to ask, most would answer that wedding photography is the kind of photography done during weddings. That is partly correct. But that over simplifies the meaning of wedding photography. The art of wedding photography has change tremendously in the past twenty years. Today it may even have a different meaning for each couple.

In the past, wedding photographers are technicians behind a black box almost mystical that very few would even try to operate it. Back then, wedding couples are hiring wedding photographers to produce wedding pictures of their big day. It is to simply record the event. And the one they chose might be doing six weddings a day.

In 2010, almost all wedding guests have their own digital camera that could produce well-exposed pictures at very minimal cost. What it means is that the professional wedding photographers must have something more to offer to their wedding couples. At the same time, the digital revolution also allowed wedding photographers the new technologies to offer something different. This is one of the reasons why wedding photography has improved compared to what it was years ago. It also attracted people who would never venture into wedding photography if not for the new technology of digital photography. Wedding photographers who at their prime offer beautiful and stunning photos that record the wedding in an artistic and narrative, sometimes evocative and most of the time in a flattering manner.

But it also means that being a wedding photographer today; one has to be able to offer something not seen before. True to the complexities of wedding photography today, it would not be true anymore that all wedding photographers are the same and that all wedding couples desire the same kind of photography.

Here is a Guide to Photographic Methods

The good thing about the Internet is it makes it easy to research the work of a big number of wedding photographers. Check some photographers’ website and you will be amazed by the different photographic styles.

Reportage photography is also known as documentary or photojournalism photography; it is best described to have an approach which simply covers and document the event without directing the wedding couple or its guests. Instead it tries to capture the event as it happens in the most natural and creative way possible.

Traditional wedding photography is use to describe the old fashioned way of lining up the wedding couple, their guests and family for traditional photos.

Contemporary wedding photography can be described as glossy which can be trendier than traditional wedding photography.

My humble advice is to look beyond the labels of wedding photography. It can be more confusing than being helpful in deciding which kind of wedding photography suites you as a wedding couple. Another reason is that the style often times is a combination of several photography styles anyway. Third, it implies that wedding photographers offer just one style of photography during their wedding coverage.

In reality, weddings offer a chance for wedding photographers to show different photography styles. Wedding photographers sometimes just can’t ask the couple to move to a spot where there is a better light during the wedding ceremony. Also, it is quite often that couples expect to have formal photographs which show them at their best. Even the most modern weddings will require having traditional and formal family shots.

Many photographers excel in one style of wedding photography and emphasize their skill and it may even be part of their marketing strategy. Some would describe their kind of wedding photography as a mix of classical and modern. It may be a mix of reportage and contemporary. It is quite necessary to have a time with the wedding couple wherein they will be directed to be at their best. It will give them the kind of photographs that can be described as fine art. The limited time of weddings make it important for wedding photographer to be a good director.

Choosing Your Photographer

For couples, the best way would be to decide which wedding photographer is right for you is to decide together what kind of wedding pictures you expect You may want something traditional which means you like a professional account of the wedding day without having too much interruptions.

You may be a photography enthusiast as well, and desire to have a creative set of wedding pictures. You may be looking at high end and contemporary photography style.

Once you both as a couple decide on what type of wedding photographs you desire, you can start examining different galleries of photography for quality. Be warned that galleries represent the best work of photographers, so it is quite important to see a sample of a whole wedding to be sure of consistency.

Awards of excellence can help you decide which photographer could be best suited for your wedding. A membership to well know professional body is also something to consider.

It is of utmost importance that you as a wedding couple can communicate with the photographer and have the rapport to be able to share your wedding photography goals. As much as photography style is an important factor, you and your wedding guests would expect to have a high level of professionalism, organization and experience on your wedding day. Finally you need to consider the wedding packages being offered by the photographer.

Budgeting For Photography

There is no such thing as an appropriate budget for weddings. What can be more helpful is the percentage in terms of value to the total wedding cost.

Professional wedding photography will be what will define the memories of your wedding day. You are going to entrust a photographer to use his skills to document your wedding as if it was taken through your eyes. Discuss with your wedding planner what you think is the best budget for your wedding photography. A good wedding planner would be able to help you with the right budget and if you need to allocate more to get the kind of photography you desire.

The price of a good wedding photographer sometimes comes as a surprise to wedding couples. But quality wedding photography comes at a price. The better skilled a photographer is the higher the fees he can command. One should note that it is not a one day event for wedding photographers but it takes days to plan, shoot the wedding, and spend time on post processing the images and designing the wedding album Ultimately you as a couple must have to make the final decision on how important having a high quality of wedding photographer and if it the price is worth paying for.

Explore more of Nap Beltran powerful Internet Marketing Tips on Photography. Be sure to visit his blog for more tips on how to help your business succeed online. Visit Fotopalooza.me/photography for specific “how-to’s”, along with more all-free lessons, advice and, photographer’s forum, contributor’s gallery and much more. It’s a MUST-VISIT for photo enthusiasts!

Complete Details for Wedding Gown Cleaning and Preservation

Complete Facts on Wedding Gown Cleaning and Preservation

Getting your wedding gown cleaned and preserved as soon after your wedding as possible helps to give you the very best possible results. You can still have your gown cleaned and preserved years later, but the delay can cause problems. Which of the three wedding gown preservation methods is best?

There are many wedding gown preservation companies that all claim their particular method is best. It doesn’t need to be confusing when you have the facts. This special report is designed to educate you, so that you can understand for yourself the three methods with their various pros and cons.

When you’ve competed this report you’ll have the facts you need to decide which method you want to use for your wedding gown preservation.

What you’ll find inside this Wedding Gown Preservation Report:

Chapter 1
The 5 Top Reasons to Have Your Wedding Gown Cleaned and Preserved:
-Remember your special day
-Celebrate an anniversary
-For use by a family member
-For a christening dress
-For a bassinette cover

Chapter 2
How should your wedding gown be cleaned:
-Dry-cleaning
-Wet-cleaning

Chapter 3
The three types of wedding gown preservation:
-Boxed method
-Sealed Boxed method
-Bagging method

Chapter 4
Debunking the myths, misinformation and out right lies:
-Boxed vs. Bagging
-“Museum” storage
-Cloth bag storage
-Boxed storage
-Sealed boxed storage
-Examining the dress
-Mold and mildew growth
-Insect infestation
-Allowing the fabric to breathe

Chapter 5
The goals of wedding gown preservation:
-Yellowing
-Permanent creases
-Brown spots and oxidation

Chapter 6
Upgrade offers:
-What’s included in an upgrade
-What’s the value of an upgrade
-Why is an upgrade offered

Chapter 7
Wedding gown cleaning and preservation summary.

Chapter 1

5 Top Reasons to Have Your Wedding Gown Clean and Preserved.

1. The first and foremost reason is obviously because it is your wedding gown. It is the most expensive dress you’ll ever own and it’s part of the celebration of the most important day of your life. It is the dress in all of your wedding pictures. It is one of the things you’ll remember most about your wedding.

Sure you have your pictures, but to actually be able to see your actual wedding dress beautifully preserved will always bring back a flood of wonderful memories.

2. You may want to wear it to celebrate your 5th, or 10th or 25th wedding anniversary. You could put it on a mannequin and display it for an anniversary celebration.

3. Wedding gown preservation keeps your dress in perfect condition so your sister or your own daughter or even granddaughter can wear it on their wedding day. (It happens more often then you may think and is a wonderful opportunity for you and the lucky girl who wears it.)

4. Many brides are making a christening dress from their wedding gown. Being able to make your wedding gown into a dress that your precious daughter will wear on this important day is something to look forward to. It can start a great family tradition and heirloom.

5. Something that is beginning to take off in popularity is making a bassinette cover made out of it. This can easily be done and provides a wonderful reminder of your special day and the special little one inside the bassinette.

No matter the reason, wedding gown preservation is important. You may not think so now, but years from now you don’t want to regret that you missed the opportunity. There will be a time when you’ll want your wedding gown in beautiful condition again.

After the wedding many brides just leave their dress in the plastic garment bag thinking they’ll get it preserved “sometime”. There is always good intentions, but that “sometime” turns into weeks or even years. By procrastinating you may be in for some serious risks to your gown.

You know your wedding gown has some stains on it. There is the dirt, grass stains, and sometimes asphalt parking lot oil on the hem of your dress. Then there is the underarm deodorant, the perspiration, the body oils, the make-up, the spray tan that gets on the dress. There may even be a wine spill or two.

There can also be stains that are not easily visible, like soda, champagne, or cake frosting. Stains caused by any liquid will oxidize over time and turn brown. The longer any stain sets, or oxidizes the more difficult it is to remove. It’s important to have your wedding gown cleaned and preserved to prevent this from happening.

Keeping your gown in a plastic bag is probably the worst storage situation possible. Plastic is made from petroleum and gives off fumes. These chemical fumes causes yellowing in your dress. That’s also why you should never take your dress to a dry-cleaner and leave it in the plastic bag it comes home in.

Hanging your dress can cause additional problems. Your wedding gown is very heavy and hanging it will stretch the fabric and the seams. If your dress has sleeves then the weight of the dress will stretch the seams in the sleeve. If it’s strapless or you hang your dress by the side-seam hanging loops the manufacturer provides you’ll stretch the fabric and the side-seams. And for those dresses with a long heavy train the same can be true of the hanging loop for the train.

Wedding gown preservation done right can protect your treasured keepsake.

Chapter 2

How should your wedding gown be cleaned?

There are two types of cleaning methods: dry-cleaning and wet-cleaning.

Dry-cleaning really isn’t dry at all. Dry-cleaning refers to not using water for cleaning. It is cleaning with a petroleum solvent as the cleaning agent. The most common agent for dry-cleaning is perchloroethylene – “perc” for short. It is an excellent degreaser and can be used on all fabrics including silk, acetate, rayon and polyester. It can cause damage to some sequins and beads. It can melt the coating on some beads and melt the glue if the beads and sequins are glued onto the fabric.

Stoddard solvent is not as popular because it is more expensive and it has more regulations for it’s use – like it cannot be used in a facility in a strip mall. It is an excellent degreaser but has the added advantage that it will not harm beads or sequins.

Exxon DF-2000 is also a petroleum based solvent. It will not harm beads or sequins, but is not as good of a degreaser as Stoddard solvent. It does have fewer regulations so it is more popular for some dry-cleaning establishments.

Cleaning should be done with what is called “Virgin Solvent”. Virgin solvent is solvent that has been specially cleaned and filtered before each use. Many dry-cleaners use the same solvent over and over which means the solvent can retain residual oils and “dirt” which can be re-deposited on your dress. Dirty solvent will also leave a “dry-clean” smell on your dress.

Wet-cleaning, using water to clean your dress has several advantages. Water is best for removing any type of sugar stain, food stain or plain dirt on the hem. It is a poor degreaser, (but petroleum solvents cannot remove sugar or food stains.) Wet-cleaning also removes the sizing in fabrics (sizing is a starch like substance that is used to give “body” to the fabric by the manufacturer). Sizing in fabrics attract mice and insects. Proper wet-cleaning will not leave any odor in your gown.

The care label inside your wedding gown should indicate which method is recommended by the manufacturer.

Experience is the most important criteria to consider in selecting who should do your wedding gown cleaning and preservation. Asking questions is the most effective method to determine their experience. How long have they been in business? Do they specialize in wedding gowns, or only clean them once in awhile? Do they examine each dress individually or just place it in with all of their regular cleaning?

Chapter 3

The 3 Types of Wedding Gown Preservation

The three types of wedding gown preservation are:
1. Plain Boxed method
2. Sealed Box method
3. Bagging method. Let’s examine each.

The Plain Boxed method. Your wedding gown is cleaned first and then is placed on a cardboard bust form. The bust form and dress are secured in the box. If the bust form was not secured properly in the box, the dress would slide and end up in a messy heap in the bottom of the box. The dress is folded and layered with tissue paper. The box may or may not have a windowed display area. The box is closed and sent to you.

Sealed Boxed method. This method is the same as the Plain Boxed method except it goes a step further in your wedding gown preservation protection. The box is sealed completely. It is sealed to keep out moisture and to keep out insects.

Bagging method. Again the gown is cleaned first and then it is hung usually on a padded hanger and then placed in some kind of cloth bag.

Chapter 4

Debunking the myths, lies and misinformation.

Let’s discuss these methods and debunk some of the misinformation, misunderstanding and out right lies being published on the internet about wedding gown preservation methods.

First, understand that the companies who use each of these methods try and get you to believe that their method is best. But let’s look at the logical and scientific facts.

Boxed vs. Bagging. The Boxed methods provide a convenient sized preservation box that can easily be stored under a bed or in the bottom of a closet. Bagging, depending on the size of your wedding gown can be very bulky and take up a considerable amount of closet space, especially if your gown was fuller or had a train. Consider where you would store your preserved wedding gown and how much storage space you have.

The Bagging method is also referred to as “Museum” storage or “Museum Quality” storage. The pitch behind this is that museums store their dresses in bags and not boxes. That is partially true. Even their own information explains that these museums also store dresses folded in drawers.

Museums do store most of their dresses in bags. Most of their dresses are thin A-lines and regular women’s wear dresses throughout the ages. These can easily be hung, take up very little “closet” space and will only need light touch-up and preparation for display.

It is different with bulky dresses, dresses with trains and wedding dresses. As mentioned before, if they are bagged and hung they take up a considerable amount of closet space. Also if they are hung the weight of the dress can cause the fabric the stretch. Have you felt the weight of some of the wedding dresses?

The dress manufacturer sews a ribbon loop into the seam of the dress and recommends hanging it from those loops. Yes, the loops can be reinforced but still the entire weight of the dress is suspended from the seams and it will cause the fabric to stretch. If the dress is a light weight “destination style” dress then this won’t matter.

If the dress has sleeves and it is hung from the sleeves the stretching can be worse. The shape of the sleeve can be deformed. The hanger can leave permanent marks in the top of the sleeves.
Other advantages this method purports to have is inspection of the dress and no folding of the fabric. When the wedding gown preservation is done with the Bagging method you can open the bag and easily examine the dress. If the dress is short with no train, then it shouldn’t have any folds. If it has a train then the train will be hung by a ribbon loop in its seam and will be folded about half way up the train, this will cause a double fold back for the last 12″-24″ of the train, from the hanging loop to the hem of the train. Remember how the train on your wedding dress was hung in the bag when you took it to your wedding. It will be hung the same way for this method. So dresses with trains will always have at least two folds in them using the Bagging method. (If they really don’t hang the train by the hanging loops then the entire train will be a wrinkled mess piled in the bottom of the bag – there is no place else for it to go).

Lastly, the cloth storage bag that is used in the Bagging method should be addressed. There are two areas of concern in regards to insect infestation when using a cloth bag for storage. Insects can get into the tiniest places and through the smallest cracks and openings. We have all experienced spiders, earwigs, pill bugs and other insects in some pretty unusual locations. The closure area, in many bags it’s a zipper in the Bagging method it is usually tied shut. This can provide an opportunity of insects entering at the ties or in between them. Second is the hole in the top of the bag where the hanger goes through. Insects can enter at this opening and get in a ruin your dress.

Cloth bags do let air pass through but that also means moisture can also pass through to the dress. As the humidity rises there’s more moisture in the air and therefore in the fabric of your dress. It really doesn’t mater much unless the humidity gets too high and that can promote mildew growth on the fabric.

Something else that can happen with the cloth bags. Cats, dogs and mice especially like to “mark” their territory. It has happened where an animal has urinated on the bag to mark their territory. Obviously it can soak through the cloth bag and onto the wedding dress. The dress would then have to be re-cleaned.

OK, now lets discuss the Boxed method. Two types of boxes can be used, one with a windowed display area in the top and the other just plain cardboard box. This is really a personal preference for each individual to decide.

With this method of wedding gown preservation the dress is cleaned first. It is then steamed and pressed. Then it is placed on a shaped bust form to fill out the top of the dress and makes it display better. The bust form is attached to the box so that the dress doesn’t slide around in the box and end up in a heap at the bottom of the box.

As the dress is placed in the box it is folded and layered with acid free tissue paper. This layering is to protect and soften the folds. If it is a plain cardboard box then a final layer of tissue paper is placed on top of the dress. If the box is a windowed display box then this layer is not used so you can see your dress through the display window.

The box can then be stored under a bed or in the bottom of a closet.

The Sealed Box method goes through the same process with the added step of sealing the entire box.

What are the advantages and disadvantages to each. The Boxed method says you can open the box see the dress to make sure it’s yours and to examine it. If it’s a windowed display box, you don’t need to open it to make sure it’s your dress – you can see it through the window.

However, there are problems if you think you can just open the box and examine the dress. First, you should never touch a cleaned and preserved wedding gown unless you have white cloth gloves on. You may or may not have clean hands, but your hands will have body oils on them and so you need gloves.

If you have white cloth gloves then when you open the box you’ll discover the bust form is attached to the box, so you’ll need to unattached it. Next you’ll need to unfold the dress, layer by layer to examine the train which will be the bottom layer in the box. Once you are satisfied you’ll need to refold the dress as it was before and reattach the bust form. This sounds considerably easier than it is.
If you actually take the dress out of the box, you’ll find it even more difficult getting everything back in the box properly.

Something else to absolutely make sure of before you open the box and try to examine your dress is the wedding gown preservation company’s guarantee. It may or may not say you can open the box and examine your dress. It may say you can open the box to examine your dress but doesn’t specifically say whether you can take the dress out of the box. If it isn’t specific then you should ask specific questions to make sure of what you can or can’t do that would void their guarantee.

Wedding gown preservation companies must protect themselves from the situation where a bride can take her dress out of the box, wear it, get something on it, put it back in the box and claim that the stain or dirt or whatever was never gotten out in the original cleaning and preservation process and demand it be reprocessed for free.

Don’t assume that just because the box is not sealed that you can open it, examine the dress and or take it out and not void the guarantee… you need to check first.

Boxes that are not sealed are susceptible to insect infestation. Insects love to get into small thin opening and into the fabric to build their nests. Just because the box is closed doesn’t mean insects can’t get in.

The same warning applies to Boxes as to the Bags when it comes to animals marking their territory. Cardboard protects better than a cloth bag but still can be ruined by an animal urinating on it.
Moisture and humidity can also vary in an unsealed box – same warnings apply.

What about the Sealed Box method then? It provides all of the benefits of the Boxed method with much more protection. You don’t have to worry about animals or insects.

What about examining the dress and the question of moisture and mildew in a sealed box? A number of the wedding gown preservation companies site these two reasons as a warning to not use the Sealed Box method.

Let’s address them one at a time.

Here’s the actual science on mold and mildew growth from a publication by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Science. Optimal conditions for mildew to grow is 70%-98% relative humidity and 77-88 degrees Fahrenheit. When relative humidity is less than 62% mildew growth ceases completely.

So if your wedding gown is either boxed or bagged but not sealed you run the risk of mildew if you have high humidity and warm temperatures. If you live in an area of the country where the humidity level can be higher than 70% your unsealed exposed wedding gown can run the risk of mildew growing on it. You could also run the same risk of mildew if your box is sealed and you have sealed in that high moisture content in the box and dress.

So for optimal wedding gown preservation you want to have the Sealed Boxed method with little or no moisture sealed in the box. That would mean you need to make sure that your wedding gown preservation company dries your dress and controls the humidity prior to sealing the box.

Another objection some companies have about the Sealed Boxed method is that the fabric should be allowed to breathe. That’s almost comical when you think about it. Fabric doesn’t have any lungs – it doesn’t and in fact shouldn’t breathe. Having the fabric breathe means that air is allowed to flow through the fabric.

The problem with air flowing through the fabric is that the air carries dust, dirt, pollen, mold pores and bacteria. The fabric acts as a natural filter. So if the air is allowed to circulate through the dress then more and more of the contaminants can build up on the fabric. A sealed box does not allow the air to circulate and eliminates this problem. So what some companies pitch as a determent actually turns out in reality to be a benefit for sealing the box.

When it comes to wedding gown inspection with the Sealed Boxed method you simply can’t thoroughly examine the dress. You will want to choose a company that has a windowed display box so can see and verify it’s your gown. You will void their guarantee if you open the box to take your dress out and examine it.

That means you will have to “trust” the wedding gown preservation company that you use to do the cleaning and preservation right.

Check out the company. What type of reputation do they have? Read their testimonials. Are they members of the Better Business Bureau and with what kind of rating. How long have they been in business? Do they specialize in just wedding gowns, or do they do every kind of dry-cleaning? Can you call and get your questions answered personally?

Chapter 5

What do you want your wedding gown preservation to do for you and your dress?

1. You want your wedding gown preservation to prevent your dress from yellowing. Yellowing can be caused by several situations. Don’t use a plastic bag for long term storage. Plastic bags give off petroleum distillates that can yellow your dress over time. Storing your dress in a non-acid free environment can also cause yellowing of your dress. This would include a regular cardboard box, or using regular tissue paper instead of acid free tissue.

2. You want your wedding gown preservation to prevent any permanent creases in your dress. Make sure that the company you use properly cares for your dress. If you insist on using the Bagging method they should make provisions for your train especially so it does not double fold back on itself in the bag. If you use the Boxed or Seal Boxed methods they should carefully fold the dress and buffer each fold with acid free tissue paper. This buffering will make the folds gentile and keep them from creasing.

(Be aware that some companies will promote the idea that your wedding gown should be re-folded every few years to prevent permanent creases. Although this sounds good in theory it isn’t true at all. First if your gown is stored properly, buffered with acid free tissue paper, the folds will remain folds. Unless there is some force that “squishes” the dress flat, or specifically flattens the folds into creases, creases won’t happen. Folds don’t “automatically” flatten themselves into creases. The fact actually is – creases can be removed from the fabric by proper steaming and or ironing. Seamstresses do this all of the time. If a seam or hem has to be changed they can easily make the “creases” disappear when they steam and or iron it.)

3. You want your wedding gown preservation to prevent and mold, mildew or insect growth or infestation. This can only be guaranteed when you use the Sealed Boxed method – see that section under “Wedding Gown Preservation methods”.

4. You want your wedding gown preservation to prevent brown spots or oxidation spots on your dress. Brown spots usually occur when a stain in the dress was not properly cleaned. The stain will oxidize over time and turn brown. This is especially true for any sugar based stain – ones caused from soda, wine, cake frosting or food.

These stains may not be visible when you send your dress in to be cleaned and preserved. It’s important that the company you use not only does a careful visual inspection but also a black-light inspection to reveal any hidden stains. And that the company completely removes all of the stains in your dress.

Chapter 6

Upgrade Offers

Some wedding gown preservation companies offer an upgrade service. The upgrade consists of using muslin in place of acid free tissue paper, additional insurance, and a upgraded storage container. Upgrades can cost anywhere from $40.00 to $100.00 more than their standard offer.

Upgrades are a “rip-off”!

Muslin is a very cheap fabric and offers no added benefit over acid free tissue paper. It sounds great, but it does nothing to make a better storage environment or keep the dress safer or better. Acid free tissue does everything muslin can do – and saves you money.

Most wedding gown preservation companies automatically provide $500.00 of insurance on their cleaning and preservation insurance. The insurance is actually provided for and through U.P.S. (or Fed-Ex). An upgrade increases the insurance to $1,500. You can purchase additional insurance when you ship your dress for $2 per $100 value, so for $10-$20 you can get the maximum insurance.
Remember insurance is provided so that the company providing the insurance can make money. It is a huge profit center for U.P.S. and Fed-Ex. Realize also that insurance companies do not like to pay out on claims and will minimize the payout as much as they can. They will claim your dress is used – (which it is) – that it is in poor condition – (that’s why you are having it cleaned) – that it’s last seasons or older model dress – (which it is, bridal manufacturer’s bring out new dresses twice per year, creating two seasons per year, so your dress is at least 1 to 3 or more seasons old). Get the picture, insurance is for the insurance company. Oh, and as and aside, in 12 years that I personally have dealt with U.P.S. shipping wedding dress for cleaning and preservation they have yet to lose a dress. I guess wedding dress boxes are too big to lose.

The last of the upgrade items is a different storage container. Check and you’ll see that the box is exactly the same except it’s a different color. The size, shape, it’s materials are all the same, the only difference is the outside color of the box.

So is there really any significant value in purchasing an upgrade? Absolutely not. It’s just a great ploy by that particular wedding gown preservation company to get you to spend more – thus increasing their profits dramatically.

Chapter 7

Wedding gown cleaning and preservation summary.

Cleaning summary:

Determine the fabric of your wedding gown. If it is polyester then it can usually safely be wet-cleaned. If it is silk, acetate or rayon then you have a few choices. Does it have beading or sequins on the dress? Percloroethylene (perc) is the most common dry-cleaning solvent but can discolor or melt the coating on the beads and sequins and can dissolve the glue if they are glued on. The better alternative is Stoddard Solvent or DF-2000. These dry-cleaning solvents are still excellent degreasers but will not harm the beads and sequins. Stoddard solvent is the best degreaser of the two.

Read the manufacturer’s fabric care label to help guide you on your choices.

Select a wedding gown preservation company that uses virgin solvent. You don’t want your dress being “cleaned” in dirty solvent that can leave an unpleasant odor in your dress.
Select a company that specializes in wedding gown cleaning and preservation. Choose a company that has been in business for a substantial time, is a member of the Better Business Bureau and has excellent reviews.

It’s also best to use a company that carefully hand inspects your dress and then does a further inspection using a black light. The company should do minor repairs at no additional cost to you. They can fix those loose beads, replace a button or fix a small tear in the fabric as part of their service.

Carefully examine the entire wedding gown preservation method. Select a company that will provide you the peace of mind, where you know your treasured keepsake will be put in an acid free environment, will be protected from unwanted creasing, protected from mold, mildew and insects, and provides a lifetime guarantee.

A to Z Guide to Wedding Planning

A is for Atmosphere

Setting the scene for the perfect wedding can be a daunting task and with wedding trends changing rapidly over time, it can mean decision making is hard. Often the best place to start is by thinking about the formality of the event and how you would like your guests to feel on your wedding day! Whether you choose a relaxed garden wedding with subtle coloring and natural tones or a themed wedding at a wild venue with bold wedding colors and outlandish wedding decorations, whichever way you go it is the wedding atmosphere that you create that will generate the most memories!

B is for Bachelorette Party & Bridal Shower

Second to choosing your bridesmaids, this is often the next stage in the planning of your pre-wedding activities! This is the event, other than the wedding itself, that the girls look forward to most! Renowned as the tamer of the two, a bridal shower is a gift-giving party held for a bride-to-be in anticipation of her wedding, it is a time for the females in your life to get to know each other and to share advice before your big day.

The Bachelorette Party also known as a hens night, hens party or hens do on the other hand is deemed “an evening of debauchery,” a girls night out in honor of the bride-to-be in the style that is common to that social circle. This is when the bridesmaids take control, organising silly outfits for the bride, dares and games along with gifts for the girls including name tags, fun drinking straws along with personalised bachelorette koozies for a unique gift idea!

C is for Ceremony

Ultimately your ceremony, the moment where two people are united in marriage, is the reason you are planning this special day. The way that you choose to perform your ceremony and the wedding reception that follows are often linked in formality and theme and the options are endless.

For the ceremony you will have to give some thought to the location, a church or temple, beach, garden or formal venue often this is driven by the choice for a civil or religious ceremony. Most ceremonies have a similar structure, with your vows, readings and music making a personal service.

D is for Destination Wedding

More and more couples are escaping the traditional big celebration wedding in favor of a smaller more intimate ceremony in an exotic location. Whether your destination wedding is overseas or interstate it can still take a lot of organization, not only for the couple and the wedding day itself but in making it fabulous for the guests that have gone that extra mile to share in your special day!

E is for Engagement

Congratulations on your Engagement, let the fun begin. Start with your engagement announcements, maybe a notice in the newspaper to inform the community or an item that you can send in the mail to let your friends and family know the good news! If you are moving fast you could even add your wedding save the date to your engagement announcement to help with your planning budget.

Some couples will choose to have an engagement party, an opportunity to celebrate with family and friends and for future guests to get to know each other before the big day. Engagement party favors are often handed out to the guests as a thank you for attending, such as candy treats or custom beer koozies to take home as a memento.

F is for Favors

Wedding favors also known as bonbonniere are small gifts given as a gesture of thanks to guests from the bride and groom. Wedding favor ideas have become a major part of wedding planning, with modern gift trends including: CDs with the favorite music of the bride and groom, candy jars, picture frames and wedding koozies. Gifts may also be personalized with the couple’s names, initials or wedding date and even an individual guest name to create a gift and place card.

If you choose wedding Koozies as your wedding favors then it is a great idea to start browsing the designs a few weeks before you need them to be delivered. There is an extensive range of designs available to help you create the perfect match to your wedding color scheme, theme and more. Please read a previous article to help with your design; Personalized Wedding Favors on a Budget – Inspiration for Wedding Koozies to Wow Your Guests!

G is for Gift

A wedding present is a gift taken by a guest to congratulate the couple on their marriage. There is usually some etiquette when it comes to gift giving, some couples may choose to take the hard work out of this for their guests and have a gift registry with a wish list to choose from. Others may have a wishing well, this is where guests can anonymously drop cards and monetary gifts into a box known as a wishing well to help the couple on their way to starting a new life together.

H is for Honeymoon

A honeymoon is the traditional holiday taken by newlyweds to celebrate their marriage in seclusion. Jetting off to somewhere exotic and romantic is not uncommon although the holiday should be something of choice that suits the couple’s outlook and interests. For couples on a budget a destination wedding can be a great way to spread the cost making the addition of a few days for a honeymoon easy.

I is for Invitations

Wedding invitations are a great way to set the scene for your guests. As a follow on from your wedding announcement or save the dates, your wedding invitations can be fun or formal but should be informative and hold an RSVP date so that you can keep to a deadline in your wedding planning.

In modern times the way an invitation arrives is becoming more and more imaginative, you might choose a link to an online wedding website where guests can respond electronically or include a link to a video message. Items sent in the mail can also be creative and unique such as origami style folded gifts, printing a message on a balloon that can only be read once blown up or sending custom wedding koozies for your guests to enjoy at home and on bring on the day!

J is for Jewellery

Wedding jewellery can be simple and sophisticated or bold and colorful. This is a very personal choice that that bride will make when choosing her wedding dress and bridal party attire.

Sometimes traditional jewellery will be passed down the generations within a family, bridal accessories can include earrings, bracelets, tiaras and hair combs to name a few.

K is for Kiss

“You may now kiss the bride”… the words that the groom has been waiting for all day! Many couples will have a discussion prior to the wedding about the kiss, some even finding this the moment that makes them most nervous! Questions like, how long should it be? Should it be a full-on smooch? Or just a peck? What is the etiquette in wedding kisses? The answer to which is that there is not really an etiquette, just show each other how happy you are to be making this promise to each other and show this off to your guests, just bear in mind that you might be in front of your parents, grandparents and young children.

L is for Love

LOVE. An intense feeling of deep affection and the reason you have been ploughing all of your time into planning the ultimate wedding celebration. Say no more.

M is for is for Music

One big question for your wedding reception, DJ or Band? Often the answer to which is dependent on budget, formality of your event and location. There is also the decision of which music you should be walking down the aisle to, creating an amazing playlist that will get your guests on their feet and of course the first dance! Here are our choices for a first dance song;

Top 5 First Dance Wedding Songs

Make You Feel My Love – Adele
You Are The Best Thing – Ray LaMontagne
Kiss Me – Ed Sheeran
The Way You Look Tonight – Michael Bublé
Better Together – Jack Johnson

N is for New

If you are following tradition in the sense of the rhyme “something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue” then this is your something NEW! You can include your wedding dress as your something new if it is made to order, or perhaps one of your bridal accessories or a fancy new pair of shoes. Let’s face it when it comes to your wedding there will be a whole heap of items that you can consider using to tick this box!

O is for Outdoor Wedding Venue

Weddings are often planned for the perfect weather, the most popular seasons for a wedding are spring and summer so that you can have great light for your wedding photographs and that you have the best chance of enjoying sunny spells outdoors with your guests over welcome drinks.

Your outdoor wedding venue might be in a national park, flower garden, winery or a beautiful beach, whichever you choose for your outdoor wedding be sure to have a wet weather plan on hand, just in case!

P is for Photographer

Wedding photography for a lot of couples is a big box to tick. It is lovely to be able to capture your big day and all of that hard work into images that you can cherish for years to come. Choosing a photographer can be a daunting task, be sure to ask around for recommendations, view portfolios of previous work and get to know your photographer so that they learn to capture what is important to you. Looking at your photographs together as a family is a beautiful way to connect after the event, each image will tell its own story and each story will be a memory captured for life!

Q is for Quiz

The Mr & Mrs Quiz, the ultimate quiz that any bachelorette should have to complete on their ‘last night of freedom’..! It is a fun way for the maid of honor to connect with and get to know the groom before the event. She will prepare a series of questions that the groom will answer, things can of course get a little cheeky depending on the formality of the bridal shower or bachelorette party, the bride will then need to see how many answers she can match to the groom’s responses, often followed by a forfeit for every wrong answer.

R is for Reception

Wedding reception, this is the fun part, after you have nervously said your vows in front of your family and friends you can relax with food, drinks and dancing at your wedding reception. Wedding reception ideas include a formal sit-down meal, cocktail reception or a casual beach BBQ. You can usually leave this up to your wedding planner or venue to organise, that way you can enjoy the celebration and spending time with your guests.

S is for Save the Dates & Stationery

Your wedding announcement and first item of wedding stationery is your Save the Date! An ideal gift used for long engagements this is designed to be sent out to your guests well in advance of the formal invitation, once you have your date set you can mail these out so that your guests can save the date in their diary. Some popular methods of sending a save the date include; postcards, calendars, tickets, magnets, custom beer koozies and more.

T is for Table Plan

T is also for troublesome, often considered one of the most controversial parts of the wedding planning process, the dreaded table plan! Great aunt Joan cannot be near second cousin John and really you’d like to sit with your pals rather than follow the traditional top table style with your parents… at the end of the day this is your wedding and as a couple you should be able to choose a seating plan to suit your wedding formality and your guests.

U is for Ushers

An usher, also known as a groomsman is normally a friend of the groom that has been recruited to direct guests at the ceremony, and generally be available to the bride and groom for assistance throughout the whole wedding event. The ushers would generally be dressed in the same wedding attire as the groom and best man and would feature in the formal wedding photographs alongside the bridesmaids.

V is for Vows

The exchange of wedding vows is an important part of your wedding ceremony. It can be a very romantic moment and often the perfect place to express your feelings for each other. Vows can be modern or traditional, led by a minister or celebrant, written for you or by you and can be tailored to your individual personalities.

W is for Wedding Dress

Almost every girls wedding dream begins with the dress! There are so many gorgeous styles available and all designed to suit different shapes and sizes… you can find the perfect wedding dress style amongst these… Ball gown, mermaid, A-line, Sheath. Strapless, V-neck, halter-neck, one-shoulder, illusion and more!

Once you have found the perfect style, you can start to create a unique look through the color and density of the material, heavier fabrics such as brocade and jacquard or lighter materials like silk and chiffon, traditionally a wedding dress would be predominantly white or ivory in color, but these days anything goes!

X is for X -rated (entertainment at bachelor party)

Although it is not necessarily the way every groom will spend their last night of ‘freedom’, the bachelor party, as portrayed in the movie The Hangover, certainly has a reputation for being a night or indeed a weekend of debauchery! Some will go all out with a weekend in Vegas, but generally the party vibe will include trendy bars, nightclubs and, most importantly, strip clubs!

Much like the bachelorette party, this is where the best man and other members of the bridal party will shine with ideas, organising embarrassing outfits for the groom, along with drinking games and dares! Gifts for the guys might include matching t-shirts, shot glasses, beer horns or custom beer koozies personalised for each of the guys!

Y is for Years

The number of years spent together, number of years engaged and then number of years married. Once your wedding day becomes a wonderful memory you have the many years of wedding anniversaries to look forward to and to celebrate. Each anniversary that passes will have a symbolic gift that is presented, there is both a traditional and modern gift here is the traditional list;

1st Paper
2nd Cotton
3rd Leather
4th Fruit/Flowers
5th Wood
10th Tin/Aluminium
15th Crystal
20th China
25th Silver
30th Pearl
35th Coral
40th Ruby
45th Sapphire
50th Gold
60th Diamond

Z is for Zero Regrets

In a perfect world, every bride and groom would have the perfect wedding with absolutely no mishaps. However, this is not the perfect world and every turn makes for a new story! Our only advice is to enjoy every minute of your special day, spend as much time with each guest as you possibly, and have zero regrets!

Wedding Traditions and Superstitions That You Should Observe

Over the past fifty plus years that I have been alive I have had many occasions to watch friends and loved ones marry. There are more than a few things I have learned about weddings as a result of all this, but adhering to some of the most common traditions and superstitions associated with weddings are the most important. Why? Because it just so happens that many of those who chose to ignore these seemingly nonsensical and sometimes almost comical steps to get to the alter have often paid a high price for their disrespect of these long standing customs.

The Wedding Dress

We have all heard that it is bad luck for the groom to see bride in her wedding dress before the ceremony. The truth is that a longer standing tradition says that it is bad luck for the bride to wear the complete wedding outfit before the day that she takes her wedding vows. That is why you almost never see a bride trying on a wedding dress with her wedding shoes, veil and so on. A female college friend of mine knew a young girl who decided to ignore that tradition and display her complete wedding outfit to her bridal party for the purpose of having “some photos taken with her friends” the night before her wedding. So she said, most of those present think she was just showing off. The dress seemed unusually tight to some who saw the bride all decked out that night and soon gossiping tongues spread the news quickly.

The next day the groom decided not to show up for the ceremony after my college friend said that she called and told him that his bride looked “fat or pregnant” when she saw the bride in her outfit the night before. My friend was not being mean, but she felt sorry for the groom who had gone out of his way to keep his bride pure (she had claimed to be a virgin) by abstaining from sex with her. He had never seen her in the wedding dress, but even his sister said that she noticed an unusually rapid weight gain in the bride who was not one known to fluctuate in her weight or overeat. There could have been a lot more to the story than that, but I have no doubt that the catalyst for the groom’s cancellation was that phone call from my friend and the call would never had been made if the bride had not been showing off and scoffing at a long-standing tradition.

The Wedding Shoes

Both bride and groom should know that the superstitious among us say it is unlucky to wear any shoes for the ceremony that are not to be used specifically and only for the wedding. They claim that it is also bad luck to wear the shoes before the day of the ceremony, or to ever wear them again after the bride and groom take their vows. The shoes should be ripped apart or burned sometime shortly after the ceremony and never given away to anyone else. This tradition began sometime in the late 1800s and probably came from merchants eager to sell shoes. However, there may be some truth to it.

A friend of mine reports that a neighborhood friend of his who got married about twenty years ago had some very bad luck as a result of ignoring this odd superstition. Ben was a thrifty guy who hated wasting money. Sometime in the year before he was married he had purchased an expensive pair of shoes to wear for weddings, funerals and other special occasions. When my friend went out with him to help choose an outfit for his own wedding, he asked Ben about shoes. Ben told him that he was going to wear his best pair of shoes because they had barely been worn and were like new. After all, even back then a new pair of quality shoes could easily cost over one hundred dollars and Ben felt that money would be better spent elsewhere.

My friend told Ben about the wedding tradition regarding shoes that he had heard about from his mother, father and grandparents. My friend took the advice himself, got married without incident and has remained married ever since. Admittedly, he and his family are very superstitious about things like weddings, but there have been few divorces in his family line and many successful weddings and marriages. Ben wore his “best pair of shoes” on the day of the wedding despite the warning he received from my friend. Amazingly, his bride had her own unique plan for wedding footwear. She decided to wear sneakers for the wedding as a kind of joke as to say that she might be a runaway bride. The joke backfired.

Ben and his family were highly insulted by the presence of the sneakers and an argument began during the wedding reception which continued throughout the honeymoon and for weeks afterward. Things really came to a head when relatives on both sides viewed the wedding photos. The photographer became fixated on the bride’s sneakers and kept taking pictures featuring them. Many of the guests were captured displaying a scowl on their face as they spoke to the bride and stared down at the sneakers. The couple broke up and divorced within three months of their wedding. I say that we should add wearing sneakers to a wedding to the bad luck list for wedding footwear, apparel and choices.

Placing a coin (especially a silver dollar) in one of your wedding shoes is considered extremely good luck. Although this applies mainly to the bride, I suppose that the groom has nothing to lose by trying it as well. This tradition goes back to the “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, A Sixpence in your Shoe” wedding superstition from old England. Relatives and close friends would give the bride small tokens of their affection to wear or carry with her on her special day. These items were presented just before the wedding began and were not wedding gifts, just mementos to remind the bride that she has family and friends that care about her and support her decision to marry.

Something Old was usually a token carried by another bride at a previous wedding who has had good luck or a successful and happy marriage. This gift is about sending the previous bride’s good luck and fortune on to the present one. Something New is supposed to impart good luck to the bride giving her hope and confidence for the future. Something Borrowed is said to represent happiness that is imparted to the bride from her family and friends. Any happiness that they have experienced they offer to loan to the bride while she makes her own happy memories. Something Blue is given with the hope that the bride’s marriage will be filled with an honest and pure love, as well as fidelity. A Sixpence (Coin) In Your Shoe is said to impart a financial blessing on the marriage. Few brides dare to ignore this tradition which many consider the most important of all. I know one that did.

She insisted on a marriage ceremony with included just her, the groom and a clergyman. Most of the bride’s family and friends, as well as those of the groom, were against the marriage due to a huge age difference between the bride (who was very young) and the groom (who was thirty five years older). Most of the groom’s family thought she was a gold digger because he had a substantial fortune and his family was well known in the city where they lived. However, the bride also came from money, but it was new money. Sadly, I think her decision to marry this man really had more to do with the fact that she may have wanted to enjoy the status of being married into a family with a major standing in society than real love. Anyway, she decided to punish all the nay sayers who were against the marriage and prove them wrong by insisting that her wedding be held in a public park with no guests. The couple spent the money that a huge wedding would have cost on an elaborate honeymoon.

That bride broke nearly all the rules of tradition and superstition involving weddings. This included the tradition of bringing tokens to her wedding given to her by a friend who thought the age difference thing was no big deal. That friend could not attend the ceremony regardless of whether she was invited or not because she was living in another country at the time, but she hoped that the tokens would bring the couple good luck. And they might have done their job if those items had been brought to the small ceremony by the bride. They were not. Despite what seemed like a marriage filled with bliss during and just after the honeymoon, the couple divorced after just five years citing irreconcilable differences.

The Wedding Rings

It is considered extremely unlucky to go shopping for a wedding ring on a Friday because that is a tradition Sale Day and a highly discounted ring set is considered bad luck overall. It is even more unlucky to wear a wedding ring (other than trying it on) for any length of time before the ceremony. I know of at least a dozen occasions where either the bride or groom wore their ring (for whatever reasons) for hours or days before the wedding and could not for the life of them remove it. This not only caused physical and emotional discomfit, but ultimately ended up in arguments that broke up four of those couples before the day of their weddings. There could have been a million other reasons for those break ups, but why take the chance?

There are other things to watch for when it comes to wedding rings. Too loose and that could mean a husband or wife might stray from the marriage bed because they would forget the full meaning of their wedding vows. Too tight could curse the couple to a marriage full of arguments and fights bringing out the worst in one or both people. Wearing the ring on the left hand is considered very good luck. That tradition goes back centuries to when most work was done with the right hand making it appear more aged or dirty than the left. A plain wedding band is good luck compared to a highly decorated one in some societies, while a ring with religious or cultural icons on it is considered very lucky in nations with people from a Celtic background.

I cannot say that anyone I know has ever broken up over a plain or decorated wedding ring, but more than a few have had major disagreements over the cost and style of wedding bands which may expose a lack of character on the part of the bride, the groom, or both. The biggest superstition surrounding a wedding ring involves dropping it. Superstition says that a bride or groom who drops a wedding ring during the ceremony will be the first to die. This is said to be almost guaranteed if the ring rolls to a stop on a memorial or remembrance stone in the church or chapel. Wow! Be careful not to drop the ring.

The Flowers

Tradition says that the best choice of flowers for the bridal bouquet are either orange blossoms or roses. Orange blossoms are said to represent chastity and fertility, while roses stand for true love. It is also considered extremely good luck for members of the wedding party to wear garlands. This is a very old tradition, but one which has been making a comeback over the past several decades. If the bride tosses her bouquet and it is dropped, the bad luck is not on the bride, but on the person who failed to catch it; so no worries there. It is thought of as good luck to catch the bouquet even if that does not lead to the person catching it being the next to marry. No good or bad stories to share here, but fresh flowers do often help make the wedding and/or reception photos all the more precious when the wedding album is complete. Beware of the presence of wilted flowers which are considered extremely bad luck.

The Wedding Cake and Reception

There are many traditions involving wedding cakes. One of the most popular has been that when a couple agrees to place a statuette of the bride and one of the groom on the cake these should be of equal height. This is said to represent equality in a marriage. However, more often than not, people these days choose not to include likenesses of the bride and groom on their wedding cake. Instead, many are choosing eatable representations of their favorite flowers on the cake presented in various styles and set in all kinds of positions. Another popular trend is for the wedding cake to include the favorite flavors of the bride, while a separate cake is prepared called the Groom’s Cake which is designed to please his taste buds.

It is considered bad luck for anyone except the bride or groom to be the first people to taste the wedding cake. So I guess the tradition of getting a piece of cake shoved into your face will continue for some time to come. The bride usually does that to the groom first, then some grooms reciprocate. Others fear the wrath of ruining that expensive make up job that most brides have professionally applied shortly before most weddings. On multi-tier cakes it is considered very good luck to save the top tier, freeze it and eat it about three months later or after all the wedding photos have been entered into the wedding album. Most couples serve the remainder of the cake to a small circle of family and friends who stop by to view the completed wedding photo album.

Many brides like to include special charms into their bridal shower or wedding cake. This long-standing tradition brings good luck and normally includes gold or silver charms in the shapes of hearts, clover, horseshoes, wedding bells, baby carriages or money purses donated by bridal shower attendees or wedding party members. Sometime in the 1980s it became a new tradition to include one or more French-style Cream Puff Trees (croquembouche) in the bridal shower and wedding reception among with the cake. This amazing creation is made of many individual cream puffs covered in caramel and presented in the shape of a tree. Guests can use a small spoon or fork to remove as many cream puffs as they care to eat and place them on small plates.

Some couples opt to have their wedding cake divided up carefully and plated by serving staff out of sight of the wedding guests after the cake is shown to everyone and the bride and groom take the first piece or pieces. This is a popular way to make sure the cake is carefully and equally divided. However, the bride and groom should always be sure that the first piece or pieces of cake are cut with a silver cake knife and silver server. Those first pieces should be placed on fine china and eaten with silver or high quality forks. This is considered extremely good luck. Having been to a number of wedding receptions, I can tell you that nothing says cheap and nasty like a couple who choose to cut their cake with a regular kitchen knife and serve it with a pie server. The only thing worse is slopping those first pieces of cake on to paper plates. Once the bride and groom are served, cake should always be served to guests on ceramic plates.

Beware of cracked or damaged plates. The presence of cracked or nicked plates is considered extremely bad luck for the bride, groom and wedding guests. I have never personally seen this (or, I should say I am personally unaware of it), but some of my older family members claim that almost anything bad that happens during or after the reception is brought on by the improper presentation of the wedding cake and other food items. I have heard of everything from fist fights to auto accidents and missed flights blamed on bad or improper presentation of the cake and food during the wedding reception. Even bad toasts are extremely unlucky and usually the cause of spats and fights, so never hand a microphone to someone that you know will say something stupid or improper.

The Wedding Vows

People who write their own wedding vows may think this is the best way to express their love, but wait! A newer wedding tradition says that writing your own vows is not the best of ideas and could mean disaster to a newly married couple. This is probably because of all the hippie marriages that took place in the sixties and seventies. People used pet names for each other and authored often long, convoluted and embarrassing vows that made no sense to anyone at the ceremony and sometimes had nothing to do with the couple’s promises to each other. I sat through one of those types of weddings and wished I had not. No one knew what the couple was talking about and they even appeared to confuse each other. This is why people should never do drugs. The couple I spoke of broke up within two years and now hate one another.

A long-standing tradition says that wedding vows should be set by the minister. A more recent tradition states that it is good luck for the vows to be written by the bridesmaid for the bride and best man for the groom when the minister suggests the couple provide their own vows. Superstition says that parents should keep quiet during the ceremony accept for occasions when a father or mother is asked if he or she gives their daughter or son away to marry. Having a stand in for the bride’s father is considered bad luck. I know of at least two weddings where both the parents refused to attend and both marriages later ended in divorce. I am sure there were other causes for those break ups, but why take the chance?

The Parent’s Blessing

Finally, it is extremely good luck for the groom to be given the blessing of the bride’s parents or parent. This goes back to Biblical teaching and tradition, and also happens to be a tradition that I think is essential for a long and happy marriage. That is just my opinion. I guess I have just seen too many couples torn apart by family influences and interference because someone had something against the groom (or the bride for that matter) to begin with and that remained a matter of contention until it caused an eventual break up and divorce. Only the strongest of couples can stand up to that kind of pressure, so I do not recommend ignoring this tradition. If worse comes to worse try to get on the good side of the family of the bride or groom well before you announce an engagement or wedding date.