The guest list is potentially one of the most stressful parts of planning your wedding day. It doesn’t matter whether you’re having a small gathering or a giant affair in a mansion; there are still people who’ll expect to be invited who you really don’t want to be there. But how do you get around this? We’ve given it some thought and here’s our handy way to determine what people you don’t need to invite to your big day.
How do you decide which of your several hundred "friends" to invite after you've posted your engagement photos online? Do you put anyone on a waiting list? Having planned dozens of weddings and seen these questions come up repeatedly, I decided to investigate what the relevant etiquette sources had to say on the subject. And after finding them lacking, I ultimately came up with my own list of rules that I have been sending couples for years to help them in their quest to generate the best and most appropriate wedding guest list.
Getting Started ~
So you're engaged! You and your fiancé may be wondering "Where do we start?"
1) Write down all of the names of everyone you would like to see when you walk down the aisle.
2) Then, consult your families.
* This is a very important step. Depending on your situation, parents have expectations about who is invited to your wedding. Especially if they are paying! Discuss these expectations from the start to avoid future conflict.
3) Now go down your gust list & discuss if they should be invited using the chart above. Chances are several of the names on your list can be crossed off.
Like any set of rules, there are always exceptions, so use your best judgment.
Finally, you need to be prepared for that incredibly painful moment when someone says, "Congratulations! Am I invited?" Here's a wonderful opportunity to deploy a phrase that you'll use countless times after you have said your vows: "Let me check with my spouse/partner and get back to you."
Even though most weddings are only a one-day affair, the planning leading up to them can be overwhelming. There are so many vendors to coordinate, people to manage, and details to attend to. It’s enough to make any bride’s head spin!
Of course you want your wedding to be the best day EVER, so obviously any bride-to-be will feel the immense pressure to make it perfect—but that doesn’t mean it has to be overwhelming or stressful. With the right hacks and wedding planning tips, your day will be smooth sailing.
We pinky swear promise!
Instead of spending your day worrying if the guests are happy, if your caterer got there on time, or if your heels are going to sink into the ground and make you trip on your walk down the aisle, you should be thinking about how happy your life will be, and that you’ll get to spend the entire night eating great food, dancing, and toasting with family and friends. And with our roundup of useful little hints, this dream can absolutely become a reality.
To make your life easier, we’ve gathered some of the most useful and practical wedding hacks that every bride should take into consideration.
To ease some of the stress and workload, here are 30 of the best wedding hacks to make your planning a whole lot smoother.
Save-the-Dates, Invitations and RSVPs:
#1 For cheaper invites, find a downloadable PDF and print it out yourself. There are also some lovely DIY invitation kits that you can design on your own & print at home. You can embellish them with ribbons, Rhinestones or décor to go with your wedding theme.
#2 Write guests' names on the back of the RSVP cards before mailing them. This will avoid any confusion if they forget to say who they are (and they usually do).
Tip: Free Online RSVPs Made for Weddings
#3 You don't need to provide an invite for each person in a household. Instead, send one invite per couple or family, addressed to all the relevant people - this will effectively cut numbers in half, as well as saving you a fortune on invites & postage!
#4 Proof read (more than once!) all your stationery before it is printed. This will spare you having to fork out twice to cover up any unfortunate typos. Enlist the spell check skills of a second pair of eyes too.
#5 When it comes to sealing the envelopes: use a thin brush and water to spare your tongue the risk of paper cuts.
TIP: If you need to re-open an envelope just put it in a freezer bag and leave to chill for two hours. You should then be able to slide it open.
Money Saving Tip: CONSIDER EFFORTLESS ONLINE WEDDING INVITATIONS AND RSVP TRACKING.
#6 Consider a venue where you can hold both your ceremony & reception. This will cut the cost of booking two separate venues, as well as time because you won't need to get from Venue A to Venue B.
#7 Use a free online table seating designer, this will mean you can move people around without having to keep starting from scratch on a new sheet of paper.
#8 Once you've found the venue, investigate what the price differences are for booking during peak-season (spring/summer) and off-season (autumn/winter), as well as between a weekend wedding and a week day celebration.
#9 Don't be afraid to ask the staff at their venue for their insights. What sort of decorations do they normally think work best and can you see photos? Where would they recommend you display the cake for maximum visibility (and safety from drunk guests)? Utilize their experience and make it work to your advantage.
#10 Before you book your venue, check that you can use suppliers other than the ones they recommend, or possible require. While it's great to work with recommendations in mind, it's also good to have the flexibility to bring in your own vendors if you choose.
#11 Weather forecast for your big day looking hot, hot, hot? Make sure your venue is able to cope with keeping your guests cool.
#12 Invest in pretty weights to stop your skirt and veil from flying up on the off chance your celebration is hit by a gust of wind (your bridesmaids might also appreciate, these too).
Tip: Heel Protectors will prevent any awkward moments & ruined heels if you have to walk on muddy grass.
#13 Be on the lookout for sample sales. Even if you've already purchased your wedding dress, they're a great way to find accessories, veils and outfits for you & the bridal party at lower prices.
#14 Don't be afraid to book trial sessions with make-up counters in department stores. This is a great way for you to try new products and work out how much you do (or don't) want to wear make-up-wise on the big day.
#15 Break in your bridal shoes with the help of socks and a hair dryer.
TIP: Wear thick socks while wearing the shoes; blast with your hair dryer to soften the leather. To minimize slippery soles, rub heels and the underside with sandpaper.
#16 Get rid of any static on your dress by slowly running the long side of a coat hanger down it (just make sure it's clean first!)!
#17 Partial to a glass of red wine…or three? Avoid the dreaded red tooth side effect by sipping on carbonated water in between mouthfuls (the bubbles will help keep your teeth clean).
#18 Wearing heels? Remember to bring a pair of flat shoes, too. As super human as you may feel on your wedding day, your feet will ultimately let you down by evenings end. Spare any hobbling horrors by bringing a pair of super-comfy flip-flops or pretty ballet shoes.
#19 Give your guests favors that are actually useful: whether it’s something that can be used at the reception (such as a customized glass they can take up to the bar), or a snack they can enjoy on their way home.
#20 Want to cut-back on the cost of your flowers? Buy blooms from wholesale markets - but only if you're confident with arranging them yourself (or have an experienced person to step up). Make sure you work this out in plenty of time before your wedding date; otherwise, if things don't work out, you'll be left scrambling to book a florist in time.
Tip: You can order your flowers online & have them shipped to your home.
#21 Bring the decorations from your ceremony over to your reception venue. This will not only cut costs but will also keep the theme seamlessly running from one location to the other.
#22 If you don’t have a videographer, ask someone to film the speeches. You'll be on such a cloud of happiness that you might not take them in properly first time round!
Tip: Wedit, LLC is a fun and interactive way to capture your total wedding experience while saving big bucks!
#23 Create a DIY photo booth area to help you cut down on the cost of hiring one; also, set up a wedding hashtag. On the subject of photography: scope out all the beautiful locations around your venue you want to have your formal pictures taken after your ceremony.
#24 Make sure your MOH has the contact info of all your vendors who you'll be awaiting deliveries from on the wedding day; this will mean you're spared hanging around on the phone when you should be getting ready.
#25 Decide ASAP what your policy on kids is, are you inviting them or not? Let your guests know as soon as you can to guarantee no one is able to pull the 'couldn't find a babysitter' card. People will only be irritated if it's a last minute decision so be upfront about your policy from the off. If you are inviting kids, have activity packs to keep them entertained throughout the duller moments of the day.
TIP: It’s acceptable to tactfully include this information on the invitation.
#26 Don't be afraid to haggle with your vendors: sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but always try!
#27 Set up a wedding only email address, that you and your partner can both access and use to keep wedding emails separate to your day to day emails.
#28 Set up a mood board on Pinterest (like you don’t already have one, or three). Consider everything you want for your wedding day, from specific photography ideas to decoration details. Do your research and get it all down in one place to make sure you don't forget anything you want to include.
TIP: Be sure to share your boards with your wedding planner so they can get a feel for what you like.
#29 Sign up to as many money saving newsletters as possible (use your wedding email address if you want to avoid a huge influx of emails) and keep your eyes peeled for any relevant offers or discounts.
#30 Keep a detailed wedding planner. Be sure to include pockets in each section for receipts & color sample swatches.
Planning your wedding doesn't have to be stressful or cause you to mortgage your 1st house, if you plan wisely. You don't have to skimp on elegance by using smart planning hacks.
Hunting for the perfect wedding venue can be one of the most fun parts of planning your wedding … or one of the most stressful!
You want a country house, your partner wants city center. Your parents chime in with ”oooooh a castle might be nice!” but you can’t think of anything worse than a drafty old theme park styled castle. Then there are other things to consider – a venue with or without staff, with or without a roof, with or without accommodations. If you’re lucky you’ll stumble across the perfect combination that makes you all happy. If you’re lucky.
But what do you do when you’re struggling to find that perfect location for your wedding? What if you’ve been hunting everywhere and you just can’t find/agree on ‘the’ one? Maybe it’s time to consider getting married in your own back yard!
Let’s take a look how you can start planning to get married at home:
First things first, you need to think about size. How many guests do you want to have? If you live on a farm you can most likely have a herd of guests, but if you live in a four bedroom with a small backyard you might need to limit your numbers.
Tell the neighbors! You might not want to invite them to the whole thing but do be willing to invite them to the evening bash. This will warm them up to the idea & smooth a lot of ruffled feathers if the music gets too loud. Warn them about the potential for noise, traffic and parked cars.
Which brings us to parking! By all means ask your neighbors if they’d be willing to let your guests use their driveways on the day, but if not and parking is limited on your street, consider a ‘park and ride’ area – a lot or car parking area somewhere close by that everyone can meet at and you rent a shuttle bus to transport them to your house. Failing this option ensure your guests know the parking situation and encourage taxis & Uber!
Now a delicate topic…. the toilet situation needs attention. 30-50 guests and you’ll probably be ok with your own home toilets so long as you have more than one and are happy for people to traipse through your house, but more guests and you’ll need to consider hiring in porta potty. But not those vile grey plastic boxes, nope, you can get lovely festive self-contained units now so shop around for something a little better.
TIP: Unless you live in the country, you’ll probably need to get a permit from the city.
Catering shouldn’t be too much of an issue – you have a kitchen and a running water supply (not always the case with a tent set up) so your caterers are already happy. However a word of warning – not all caterers are insured to work in a private residence so check this out in your search. A good alternative is to have the food cooked elsewhere and brought to the house to be served. This may limit your choices but with a good caterer you should be able to come up with some great ideas. Or ask your favorite restaurant if they will cook and deliver. You’ll have to bring in waiting staff though, so check out some agencies, or even the local catering college.
Another idea? How about hiring a couple catering trucks to serve your guests? These food trucks are no longer only considered "roach coaches", there are some fabulous gourmet trucks to choose from!
Where will people sit and what will they eat off/with? It’s likely your caterer will supply all of the required cutlery, crockery and glass wear so that’s one less thing to worry about. When it comes to seating however, not many people have enough tables to seat 50 people laying around so you might have to consider renting tables, chairs & linens. On a budget? Ask friends and family if you can borrow tables and chairs for a bohemian feel.
Put the bar in the garage. That way you have plenty of storage at the back to keep all of the drinks cool and it’s out of the way. No garage? Consider hiring a mobile bar or a van.
So let’s see – you’ve told the neighbors, rented the furniture, got the toilet situation sorted, booked the caterer and decided on a bar. What’s left?
Do you have pets? You need to consider your four legged family members if you plan to wed at home. It might be worth putting them in a kennel for the weekend but this can be just as stressful as all of those people in their home. Perhaps leave them with a neighbor (easier with a dog but your cat might not be OK with it) or take to them to a family member’s home where someone could house sit with them.
Where’s the alcohol coming from? Short of buying out the grocers stock of whatever wine is on offer, consider a wholesale warehouse liquor center who will usually offer you sale or return on the wine, will deliver and collect and – should you think you’re going to run out – will top you up during the day (check with the supplier).
Who’s your cleaning crew? You will need to enlist the help of friends and family before AND after the wedding for cleanup. You could consider hiring an event crew for this part if you don’t want to impose on friends & family but to be fair, a home wedding is ALL about friends and family coming together so they probably won’t mind.
Have an ‘inclement weather’ plan! the weather is not always going to cooperate, so have a backup plan for the rain/snow/scorching heat! You can have a tent set up in your backyard, however you’ll need to consider overall size, height (do you have poles & wires hanging over your yard?) & consider how it’ll be delivered & set up. Is there a side entry gate wide enough to accommodate tent poles & tarps? If you rent a very large tent it’ll need to be offloaded from a trailer that will need to access the backyard.
One plus to setting up a tent is that with side walls you can monitor the inside temperature with fans, air conditioners or heaters, depending on the weather. But, you’ll most likely need electricity or generators available to run those elements.
And don’t forget the most important element in a wedding, besides the couple of course, you need an Officiant to conduct the ceremony. It won’t be anything other than a party until you get a marriage license & have an Officiant perform the ceremony.
Is your ceremony considered legal if it’s conducted in your back yard? Yup! Your license to marry is legal at any location within the jurisdiction it’s issued. You can get married in those rented porta potty’s if you like (but yuck don’t do that!).
So there you have it – our tips for planning your wedding in your own back yard. Your wedding day should be special and wherever you choose to do it there will be a lot of planning and preparation so we hope this guide is helpful.
BTW backyard weddings are our specialty! Give us a call to discuss your dream backyard wedding!
Bouquet Breakdown: Perfectly Peach & Pink Bridal Bouquet
Peach…It is such a HOT color for any wedding! And although we are officially still in Winter, we are fast approaching Spring…which brings me back to peach…It works beautifully for both seasons and is a great color for those transitional times…like right now. So, lets check out a perfect bridal bouquet for this time of year in today’s Fabulous Floral Breakdown!
This Peach and Pink bridal bouquet has subtle hints of Spring that I just love, but it could just as easily be used in a Winter setting!
This bouquet includes the following flowers: Peach and Pink Ranunculus, White Dinner Plate Dahlia, Bronze Amaranthus, Pink Pepper Berries, and the greens are the Pepper Berry Greenery.
Bronze Amaranthus ~
Warm up with the rich and regal colors of fall anytime of year with the mystifying orange glow of Bronze Amaranthus. Amaranthus features long, curvaceous stems, each lined with fuzzy orange foliage, which makes it an elegant and fashionable choice for adding volume to arrangements.
Pink Pepper Berry ~
Pepper Berry is sometimes sought out for the delicate leaves of the hanging variety. This berry comes in shades from soft pink to muted red. Add a hint of subtle color to your floral palette.
A favorite filler for the latter part of the year, Pepper Berry is coveted for their ability to add ambience to arrangements. For autumn events, the hundreds of tiny red berries represent the harvest and abundance; in wintertime, they add colorful holiday accents that gleefully light up events.
Pepper Berry Greenery ~
Boasting lush, natural hues, this bold greenery is ideal to play the supporting role in any design. The texture and dimension of this wild-growing foliage is a great way to add style and sophistication to any arrangement.
White Dinner Plate Dahlia ~
White Dinner Plate Dahlias are an exquisite white large bloom that swirls to a clear eye center. Delicate Dahlias would add a touch of sweet innocence to any wedding flower arrangement.
Peach & Pink Ranunculus ~
Ranunculus are our favorites! They are so dainty and beautiful they are a staple at almost every wedding! They are pretty hardy considering how delicate they appear and have the longest vase life out of all the delicate flowers (IE. peonies, anemones, veronica, etc).
The Ranunculus flower symbolizes attractiveness and charm across cultures and generations. Originally known as a cost-effective alternative to peonies and roses, these gorgeous blooms have become extremely popular with brides recently as a prime choice for both bouquets and centerpieces.
Interested in DYIng this bridal bouquet yourself? Fifty Flowers can help!
I love the very idea of eloping! The idea of tossing the guest list, the budget spreadsheets, the piles of sticky notes, and running off with your love somewhere exciting to say your vows, just the two of you. So romantic! But even if you're opting for a no frills wedding, planning your elopement still deserves a little thought. Even if you’re just going to the courthouse, you need an appointment & there’s the paperwork to fill out. You need to consider where to do it, what to wear (important!), how to make it special, and what to do afterwards - plus handling all the emotions that come with it - not to mention how to tell your parents and your BFF.
So, if you're thinking of making a run for it, and planning a wedding with just the two of you, we've put together a list on how to elope - the must-dos, and the most definitely don'ts to get you started...
1. Do It For the Right Reasons
Eloping can be something of a statement in itself, so if you're planning to get married without your friends and family, make sure it's something you really want and that you're doing it for the right reasons. Saving money, avoiding fuss, keeping things intimate and personal, or avoiding family drama, are all completely valid reasons to elope - just make sure you've thought a lot about your decision, and you're sure it's what you both want.
2. Don't Feel Bad About It
There can be a lot of guilt associated with elopements so this might be easier said than done, but try not to feel bad about your decision - you don't have to justify it to anyone. Your marriage is going to be about YOU, so your wedding should too! Of course some friends and family might be initially disappointed not to be sharing your day with you, but once they get over the shock, but chances are, they'll be nothing but thrilled for you. I think the adage of “prepare yourself for the worst but expect the best” is key for this, hopefully everyone will be cheering for you, but try not to be upset if a couple of people aren't as excited about your news as you'd hoped.
3. Do Have a Reveal Plan
You might want to throw a big party when you get back, and let everyone know you've eloped, you may want to send out announcements, or perhaps you want to quietly tell your nearest and dearest about your good news and leave it at that. However you let people know about your elopement, have a plan. When it comes to parents, siblings and close friends, it's important that they hear the news from you, ideally in person, and not through the grapevine or worse, on Facebook! Save the relationship status updates until after you've told your family. Have a script ready to go - as I said, you don't need to explain yourself - but you both need to be on the same page when it comes to letting friends and family in on your big surprise.
4. Don't Dismiss the Legalities
Make sure you read up on the legalities of where you're getting married; how long you need to have your license in advance, what ID and paperwork you need to bring, and whether the marriage will be valid back home. We all have a romantic notion of an impromptu wedding where you just book your flights and say 'I Do', but sadly, even the most fanciful gestures take some logistics. Oh, and don't forget to collect your certified marriage copies before you fly home!
5. Do Think About the Destination
Do you want a chic city elopement, a sunset ceremony on a cliff overlooking the river, or would you prefer to say your vows next to a lake or waterfall? Once you've decided where you want to go, and the feel you want from your elopement, you can start building a plan from there. It's not a bad idea to hire in a local elopement planner who will not only advise you on the legalities, but can also set you up with an Officiant, photographer, and any other vendors you might want, as well as arranging on the day transport and dining. They'll also know some quiet locations for your vows or photo session, so take advantage of their insider know-how, rather than spending your trip running around looking for a florist and booking taxis.
Don’t burden yourself with the stress of planning. Just because you are eloping doesn’t mean you have to do all your own wedding planning.
6. Don't Forget To Book a Photographer
We always think booking a photographer is sound investment for your wedding day, and even more-so if you're eloping. Having pictures to show your friends and family will make them feel part of your day. Plus you'll have keepsakes of your day to keep the memories alive!
7. Do Make It Special
Just because you don't have 120 guests to wine, dine and entertain doesn't mean your elopement shouldn't be special. Whether it's writing personalized vows, hiring out on a fancy limousine, eating wedding cake for breakfast, or going to a five star restaurant for dinner - do whatever it is that will make your wedding day feel special and truly memorable to YOU. The best thing about eloping is that you can do whatever you want - so make sure you do!
8. Do Rock Something Gorgeous
It doesn't have to be white or formal. It doesn't have to be a dress or a suit. And it certainly doesn't have to be “wedding appropriate”. But do make sure you wear something special to you on your wedding day, whether it's a sequin bridal jumpsuit, a little white dress, your granny's pearl necklace, your favorite t- shirt, or full formal wedding day attire. Have some fun with your look and make sure you feel fabulous on your wedding day, even if you're only dressing up for yourself and your other half.
9. Don't Dismiss a Wedding Day Timeline
You might not think you need one; after all, eloping is about throwing out the rule book, right? But thinking about the structure of your day is the best way to make the most of it. If the ceremony takes 15 minutes, and dinner takes two hours, there's still a lot of day to fill on your wedding day. Take time with your hair and make-up, have a leisurely breakfast or pre-ceremony lunch, have a couples' massage, or go all out with your photography session - just make sure there is a flow to your day so you can keep up the excitement and momentum.
10. Do Expect Some Costs
A lot of couples will plan an elopement to save on the expense of a big wedding, but that doesn't mean there won't be some costs. Your marriage license, bridal bouquet, outfits, hair, make-up and Officiant will all cost the same, no matter how many guests you have - though do ask your planner and photographer if they offer elopement rates, as you may require less of their time on the day. That said, if you can afford it, it's no harm upgrading to a fancy hotel or a plush suite on your wedding night, treating yourself to a fabulous meal or going all out on a fancy bottle of Champagne - what's the point in eloping if you can't indulge a little!
11. Don't Book a Package Without Looking It Over
Lots of resorts, and some planners, offer all-inclusive elopement packages. These often include the ceremony, an in house photographer, local flowers and decorations, sometimes along with cake & champagne. These packages can be handy, and cost effective, especially if you're not really into the details, but make sure you're happy with all the elements before you book.
Do you think Eloping is for you? Give us a call to discuss your wedding day. We'd love to be the professionals you choose to be by your side on your big day!
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