Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Stay sane

A friend of mine has a daughter getting married this fall, and everyone is feeling a little overwhelmed.  I offered her, and her daughter, some of my advice the other day, then it occurred to me that should share it here, too. I've already posted about getting started, but I haven't really discussed keeping the overwhelming  details form drowning you.  Silly me.

The trick to getting through the planning of any event with your sanity is baby steps.

  • DON'T FREAK OUT!  This is the first rule of wedding planning. Panic and tears solve no problems, so set them aside in favor of a can-do attitude.  Take a deep breath, have a drink, meditate, light a candle- whatever you need to do to be calm.  
  • Remember that goal of a wedding is to be the beginning of a wonderful marriage together. It's easy to get tunnel vision and forget this.  When in doubt, do what's best for you and your significant other.
  • Don't neglect important parts of your regular life for wedding planning. Eventually, the wedding is over, and you will need to return to regular life.  Your relationships, family, home and job are still important. Don't forget that.
  • Give up on picture perfect and aim for what makes you happy.
  • Find your vision. This can be a sketch, a photograph, a paragraph, a piece of music, or a list of key words.  These can help the people around you figure out what you need or want when words fail you or if the stress makes it too hard to focus.  Keep these in your planner.
  • Find a way to keep all your ideas and contracts and phone numbers organized. There are many, many printed wedding planners available, but a large envelope, a notebook or journal or even your smart phone might be the best choice for you.  Wedding planning generates lots of information that you may need to refer back to.
  • Ask your professionals for help, advice, or inspiration. Their experience and knowledge can save you tons of time and effort.  Bridal salons tend to know the area's seamstresses, lingerie providers, and shoe stores.. Caterers know venues and DJ services really well. Photographers and videographers often know lots of professionals, plus they can also show you what other people have done that worked out great, or conversely, totally destroyed an event.  DJ's and bands can also help you design the flow of your event, and can be great allies for getting things to run in a timely fashion.  If you are looking for a supplier for anything, these people often have the connections to make it happen in a few phone calls.
  • When things get to be too much, take a break. Trust me, a few hours off will not make or break your wedding.
  • Prioritize what you most want.  For details that don't matter much to you, go a ahead and take the advice of the professionals around you or allow friends and family to help make the decision.  As I wasn't super picky about my wedding flowers, I gave up control of these decisions. I got fabulous floral decorations at my wedding when I gave the florist a list of flowers I loved (and a notes on those that I hated), and let her make something beautiful, new, and perfectly suited to my venue. Better yet, I had fewer meetings and details to worry about.
  • Create a timeline-  the end date will obviously be your wedding day (to start with), but you should also mark other important dates such as:
    • One month away from the event should have final fittings scheduled and suit measurements submitted.
    • Wedding gowns typically need  12 weeks to be delivered, plus that month for alterations. Bridesmaid's dresses typically need 6-8 weeks.  If you need things quicker, be sure to state that up front.
    • Wedding invites should be sent out 6-8 weeks before your date, and save the date cards should go out up to 18 months in advance if you have lots of out of town guests or a destination wedding.
    • Your caterer will give you a date by which the final guest count needs to be in. Take my advice and lie to yourself  by moving it up a few days on the calender.  Any major due date could benefit from this treatment.
    • Any due dates for payments should be highlighted.  Some contracts are void if not paid on time. Don't tempt fate.
    • To preserve your relationships, don't forget to keep reminders of friends' and family members' birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. It gets very easy to forget these when you feel stressed, and a fight is the last thing you need right now.
    • Keep a couple of swatches handy (but in different locations). You might unexpectedly find a great deal on decorations, jewelry, dresses or anything else, and it is handy to be able to match your swatches before you buy to prevent reverse shopping trips.
    • Accept help from the people who offer, even if it's for something small like tying bows on favors.
      • Divide up the labor. You don't have to do everything yourself.  Friends and family, and most importantly, your significant other, can be a huge help in getting every detail taken care of. Many people around you are waiting for you to ask.
      • Don't be afraid to politely pass on the help from those people who are likely to sabotage your plans or become flaky.  These people will stress you out more than they will help.
    • When things get to be too much, take a break. Trust me, a few hours off will not make or break your wedding. Schedule in some relaxation.
    • Ask for contracts in advance so you can read them at your leisure before you sign. This also gives you a chance to write down your questions and contemplate your purchase before you commit to anything.
    • Make back up plans for getting out of town guests to hotels, picking up tuxedos, and other minute details that require an errand runner more than anything.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Guest lists and fairy tales

From: http://weknowmemes.com/2013/04/everybody-says-they-want-a-fairytale-wedding/

That whole affair with Sleeping Beauty could have been prevented. All the king and queen had to do was make sure they invited all the fairies to the poor kid's baptism.  Hurt feelings aren't any fun, and a wedding is very public declaration about who is and isn't important in our lives.  There will always be people you don't want to invite, but should to keep the peace. Just as importantly, there are people whose absence will make your day run more smoothly.  Of course, both decisions will have long and short term implications. I have few ideas about making your invitation process a little easier.

Drafting your guest list should not be done all at once. Start by listing all of your family and friends, which if you're anything like me, will require carrying paper at all times because your mind suddenly became Swiss cheese. List out all those great aunts and third cousins.  Start researching addresses (sometimes this can take an absurd amount of time).  Write down all those friends from high school, bar buddies from college, and people you've worked with. Don't forget spouses and children (which isn't necessary if you aren't welcoming little ones).  Are you close to your neighbors or past neighbors (like the ones you grew up next to)?  Write them down.  Now your list should be very, very long. Don't Panic!

Start coding your list into categories: People you want to attend, People you HAVE to invite, People you should invite, and people who should receive a wedding announcement.  Make special note of any people on any list who may be problematic. Run the list past the major family members (like the parents) to make sure no one was missed.  Decide what your maximum number of guests will be and prioritize invitations based on whatever criteria is most important to you (this will likely be a group effort, prepare yourself).  When you've whittled your list down to who will receive invites, make copies and give them to responsible people for safe keeping, this way, when you lose one copy, you don't have to go back to square one. Start compiling addresses, even for people you don't invite, as you may need it later to send an announcement or a thank you. Send out "Save the Date" cards, letters, or e-mails to people who will have to travel long distances, will require major scheduling to attend or who you really, really want to be able to come months in advance (If you have a date picked out and a contract signed for your venue- up to a year in advance is fine). Invitations should, generally, go out 6 weeks before your event. Announcements within a month after the event (though, it is nice to get help addressing those when you get the invites done).

As you complete your guest list, remember that it is very difficult to make everyone happy.  This is life.  No matter what you decide to do, there will be people who don't like it. For some reason weddings and babies break down the normal filters that caution people to keep their advice to themselves for politeness' sake.  Think of wedding planning as your fist lesson in being a spouse, which will mean that you develop a duck's back against commentary, smile and say "Thanks!" when you don't want to, and find yourself wondering why you didn't elope. Just remember to be polite, and leave the bad fairy off the guest list at your own peril.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Guest books and alternatives

Guest books are incredible way to hold onto wedding memories, well wishes, and remember who was there for your big day.  Years ago, my husband and I attended his grandfather's 85th birthday party.  A guest book that went back decades was passed a round so that everyone could leave a note; I flipped through and read notes from dinner parties, celebrations, and times that were far sadder. That guest book, and it's predecessor, were an history of an entire marriage.

Your guest book or another item can hold a life time of memories.  There are beautiful options from the very traditional leather bound book to jigsaw puzzles, autographed plates, and wishing trees.  I've been searching etsy for my favorite guest books and alternatives.  Thanks to some incredibly talented crafters, I have both links and pictures for you.

100 piece Alternative Guest Book Wedding Puzzle HEART TREE - your initials in the heart

This 100 piece jigsaw puzzle is a fun and imaginative alternative to guest book. It's also a great way to show that all the people in your life come together to make it complete.  You can find BellaPuzzlesToo at this link: https://www.etsy.com/shop/BellaPuzzlesToo?ref=seller_info.

Guest Book Stones - Wishing Stones - Guest Book Alternative - Unique, Fun, & Eco Friendly - 85 Count

A beach or outdoor wedding might be better memorialized with Wishing Stones.  Guests can write their messages on stone that can be incorporated in your decor, an altar space, or just left in a neat box or bowl.  Visit thepaperynook at  https://www.etsy.com/shop/thepaperynook?ref=seller_info.

Wishes for the Happy Couple Cards - Unique Bridal Shower Activity Game or Wedding Guest Book Alternative - Set of 200

Is your crowd into games and activities?  Wishes for the Happy couple is cute way to pass those between times at the reception and collect some fun wishes from your guests. For those who live in small spaces, this is a great option, because these can be tucked away in a drawer or cabinet or included in a scrapbook paired with photos of your guests. Visit Erin's Artwork at https://www.etsy.com/shop/ErinsArtwork?ref=seller_info.

MARCH SALE-10% OFF... Oak and Earth...Beautiful Real Acorn Beads in Binding...Xl Book of Shadows...Triquetra...Xl Journal and Quill Pen...R

A handmade or custom book might be the perfect way to keep track of all of those beautiful wishes from your guests.  Pick something symbolic or simply pretty and put it on the book shelf when you're done.  This book from Mystic Moon Media is handbound and features acorns on the spine, which would be perfect for a fall wedding. https://www.etsy.com/shop/mysticmoonmedia?ref=seller_info

There are many other options for guest books and alternatives.  I've seen signed engagement pictures, Christmas ornaments, photo booth pictures with messages on the back.  There are also thousands of different style blank books that would do the trick.  As with any other part of your celebration, be creative, and find something that suits your relationship.  Happy planning!

Just a reminder, all images are owned my their creators.  

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Happy Spring!

Happy Spring Equinox!  I hope that you are filled with new life, growth, and sunshine!

Ostara Comments
~Magickal Graphics~

Friday, January 25, 2013

Tradition- connecting past to present

Weddings are a rite in which we begin to think about tradition.  For some people, who have strong family tradition or ethnic tradition  this is easy to do.  For some of us, it's very hard.  I'm from a family that lacks inter-generational traditions, but the idea appealed to me.

At my wedding, I wore pearls that had been a gift from my great grandmother, who I adored, to my grandmother, who I didn't. My mom had ended up with them, and I wore them as a connection to my great-grandma who had passed away not long before I got married.  They still belong to my mom, but that day, they were a link to the past.  I also wore my mom's best friend's  (who, now, is my aunt by marriage and who can no longer remember me due to Alzheimer's) sapphire ring.  She has loaned that ring to other brides, and it has been a good luck charm. One day, I hope to see her daughter wear that ring at her wedding.  Although the tradition wasn't from my family, it was one from a dear friend who was there with me that day.

When looking for traditions to incorporate in your celebration, don't limit yourself to just your family or to those that are well known.  If nothing speaks to you, start your own tradition, one that is part of your love and your life.  Carry flowers that your significant other likes to buy for you (I had a bride, back when I was selling wedding gowns who carried hot pink tulips because that's what her groom always bought for her), get married on the anniversary of your first date (a friend of mine did this and it was so sweet that nearly everyone cried over that detail), play that song that you both listened to in the car at the reception ( my husband still reaches out to hold my hand when he hears a Cars song come one the radio). If your late grandfather loved growing roses, carry one (or an image of one) with you.  Be creative and get personal.

Traditions are reminders of our pasts, and when we pass them along, we connect past, present and future, which is a beautiful and powerful idea.  Traditions doesn't need to be direct, and they can start with us as individuals.