Wedding Day Emergency Kit Essentials

We’ve all heard the saying “expect the worst and hope for the best”, right? Well, as a wedding planner, I only want the best for my couples and I don’t rely on hope to make it happen. On the wedding day, my team is putting out fires before our couple even smells smoke. While we don’t wear capes and we’re still working on the ability to fly, there is one thing we have in common with superheros: an amazing set of tools, also known as, our wedding day emergency kit essentials.
I bet you’ve seen other blogs and lists of emergency kit must have products, right? They’re all pretty similar with the same obvious items like bobby pins and hairspray, but what about the not so obvious stuff?
In this blog, I will reveal what is in my bag of tricks on the wedding day so that you really can be prepared for anything. Plus, I’ll talk about why certain emergency kit essentials are better than others and provide you with a free printable shopping list.
Read on to find out what a real wedding planner has in her wedding day emergency kit! And if you haven’t seen our vlog where we take a trip to Target for a bunch of the stuff below, you can check that out right here!!

Everything you need in your wedding day emergency kit from a real wedding planner! Plus, get your free printable shopping list. Check out the wedding blog now!

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through to make a purchase.

The Bag

Over the years, my emergency kit has only increased in size. Why? Because with almost every wedding there is a new emergency and something new that I need to add to my kit.
But I can’t wheel around my suitcase every time I leave the room on a wedding day. Through much trial and error, I have developed a system where everything goes into a roller suitcase, and then I break up the emergency kit into smaller ones with absolute essentials. 
Whether you are the bride or a wedding planner, I highly recommend investing in a great suitcase to hold all of those emergency kit essentials. Unlike the wedding gown, this is something you actually can use again, so it’s not a purchase for a one-time use. My favorite feature on my emergency kit bag? The wheels. 

I love this spinner from Target because it’s the perfect size, it has compartments and it’s on wheels. In the outside compartments I keep things that I regularly grab on the wedding day like tissues and hairspray. Believe me, you don’t want to be this close to crying off your mascara and then have to dig to the bottom of the bag to find something to dry those tears.
Obviously I can’t carry this all day and I do a fair amount of moving around from room to room or even location to location. This is where the smaller bags come in, not just for me, but for everyone on my team. Let’s be real, I can’t be in two places at the same time, so each member working with me has a small bag with the absolute and always used essentials.
I also keep a small emergency kit of these essentials in the room where the bride and bridesmaids are getting ready so that they can grab what they need anytime. 
If you’re a wedding planner, it makes total sense to have a large bag like the one above and a few smaller ones with the basics. Later in this blog, I am sharing a free printable shopping list that includes just about everything in my wedding day emergency kit. You might look that over and decide that a smaller case or a few smaller cases is better for you. I love using make-up cases like this one because the true essentials are small enough to fit into one case, and it’s easy to carry around if you need to.

No matter the carrying case you choose, make sure to choose one that is easy to access and that doesn’t have a ton of zippers and buttons. 

The What and The Why

Every list of wedding day emergency kit essentials I have seen has been the same handful of items with no explanations. The problem with that is certain items shouldn’t be substituted, and other items are available in various forms. This is all important because you don’t want to take the time putting together a kit, only to get stuck with what you don’t need on the wedding day.
Tylenol v. Advil
Often suggested for emergency kits and bathroom baskets is either Tylenol or Advil. But the two are not interchangeable. Tylenol should never be combined with alcohol, and if your wedding is like every other wedding, it will include alcohol. Play it safe and pick up Advil instead. 

bride and groom wish lantern

Bobby Pins
This might seem pretty obvious, but when you’re planning a wedding, sometimes common sense goes out the window. When including bobby pins in your wedding day emergency kit, be sure to get different sizes and different colors. I am a huge fan of these bobby pins that are available in different shades of different colors.


bride

Mints v. Gum
Nothing looks worse in photos than the groomsmen chewing on gum while walking down the aisle. A lot of emergency kit lists will include mints and not gum, but that’s one of those interchangeable products. To prevent the cow chomping, keep the mints and ditch the gum. My favorites? These right here.
The Selection of Sunblock
You probably don’t give much thought as to what sunblock you buy because you’ve been buying the same stuff forever, right? That’s true for everyone else, so we like to provide a small assortment to choose from. It’s less about the SPF and more about skin sensitivity. This is the sunblock we use for kids in the wedding party and this one works well for all the grown-ups. Whatever you pick though, just stay away from the ones with tropical scents unless you want to attract mosquitoes!

The Stuff You Didn’t Think Of

The free printable shopping list provided in this blog is essentially everything I have in my emergency kit. I mentioned earlier about being prepared and no one will be better prepared for the unknown on a wedding day than your wedding planner. It’s common sense to include things like clear nail polish and eyelash glue, but, odds are you’ll need something else not found on all those other lists.
Like what?
Socks. Yes, socks.


bride and groom umbrella

For so many reasons, socks for the guys are essential emergency kit items. As a wedding planner, I have seen the groom and groomsmen either completely forget their socks, wear the wrong color, or damage their socks on the wedding day. I keep two sets in my emergency kit: one is standard black, perfect for black tuxedos, and the other is a pack of neutral colors for those wearing something less formal. 
Along with bringing socks, I also keep a bow tie and a pair of suspenders in my wedding day emergency kit. It’s always great to have a back-up of each in case anyone forgets their own. Just make sure you know how to tie that bow tie if necessary.
I have a surge protector in my emergency kit and I also included it on the shopping list. The reason I have this is because there’s frequently a shortage of outlets at the wedding location, and everyone needs to charge everything. My surge protector is this one and includes outlets and USB outlets as well. If you’re a bride, you can totally go with something simpler like this one here. Think you might not need one? Think about everyone in your wedding party with a cell phone and a charger and get one for that reason alone. 
You’ll also see straws on the shopping list, which we go through at almost every wedding. Once your make-up is done, you’ll hear the make-up artist ask you to use straws when drinking. Most people I know don’t have straws readily available, so pick up a box for getting ready. 

 

lindsay arnold and wedding planner

Ready to start shopping for your wedding day emergency kit? Be sure to print out your free printable shopping list before you head out to the store:

Emergency Kit Shopping List

Got questions about anything on the list or think I left something off? Leave it in the comments below to help out other couples planning their big day.

Everything you need in your wedding day emergency kit from a real wedding planner! Plus, get your free printable shopping list. Check out the wedding blog now!

How To Transform Your Wedding Venue

Are you one of the hundreds (probably more like thousands) of brides getting married on a farm? Maybe you’ve picked out your wedding venue, but you want to make it look completely different? Between the weddings being planned in open spaces like barns, estates and museums, and those being planned in spaces that are blank slates, how to transform your wedding venue is trickier than you might think.

As a wedding planner, I specialize in creative weddings and open spaces. In this blog, I’m sharing some wedding planning advice that we give our couples and busting some myths about these types of weddings too. So, if you want to know not just how to transform your wedding venue, but everything you haven’t thoughts about yet, read on!

How to transform your wedding venue and design an open space. Read this wedding blog if you're looking for ways to change the look of your wedding venue, or having a backyard, farm, barn or at home wedding! #weddingblog #barnwedding

Let’s get one thing out of the way, and that’s the biggest myth about planning a wedding where you get to bring everything in:

You will not save money this way.

I can’t tell you how many brides call me up and tell me they want to get married on a farm “because it’s cheaper”. First of all, no it’s not. Second of all, farms and open spaces in general aren’t right for everyone and shouldn’t be selected because they are the alleged cheaper option.
While we’re on the subject, “wildflowers” aren’t really a thing and using them isn’t one of the ways you can keep wedding costs down.

outdoor wedding

The Wide Open Spaces
When I say “open space”, I am including any type of wedding venue where you’re basically building the entire thing from the ground up. Literally. This includes the following: private homes, farms, barns, wineries, and museums. Basically, all non-traditional spaces that will allow you to have a truly unique wedding design because you’re picking everything


 

I’m not really sure who started the rumor that farm and barn weddings are less expensive than having a wedding in say a banquet hall or other established wedding venue. It doesn’t make any sense if you think about it. Consider a banquet hall the all-inclusive spring break vacation and a farm wedding as that ala carte trip to Europe. The banquet hall is including a whole lot more in that “per person” cost than an open space wedding venue is. Let’s break it down…
You’ve Got Nothing and Everything Costs Something
When you go to a banquet hall style wedding venue, these things are generally included:
  • tables
  • chairs
  • linens
  • food
  • beverage
  • flooring
  • lighting
  • bathrooms
  • staff
  • water
  • glassware
  • utensils
  • a roof
Versus the non-traditional spaces that generally include:
  • the space
See the difference?
I’m not asking that question to be a jerk either. It’s just mind-blowing to me how anyone could possibly think that a non-traditional space like a farm would be a great way to cut wedding costs. I promise you that a farm wedding or any other open space will be more expensive than most banquet hall style wedding venues.
If you believe me and you’re still all about the non-banquet hall wedding, then keep on reading. If I just ruined your day, well…thanks for stopping by.
Banquet Halls for the Basic Bride
My company does not specialize in banquet hall weddings. Crystal and marble just isn’t my style and so we generally work with couples looking for “something different”. That’s not to say we don’t plan our fair share of weddings in spaces with everything included, but when we do, we’re generally transforming the entire venue. There will be more on that later in this blog.

bridesmaid tote bag bride handbag
 

One of the best things about selecting a creative space for your wedding venue is the option to pick your own caterer. Established wedding venues will already have an in-house caterer/kitchen and sometimes that can limit your food selection. Foodies would do best to get married in an open space that allows them to bring in the caterer of their choice. This also means not having to commit to a caterer until after a tasting, which is never going to happen in a banquet hall style wedding venue. 
The catch? Well, there are a few…

wedding tablescape

Depending on your location, you will have to follow local liquor laws, and each caterer has their own policies as well. Bringing in your own alcohol is a great way to keep wedding costs down, so take that option if you can. Other scenarios include having the caterer bring in the liquor or having a completely separate liquor vendor and then dealing with hiring barstaff that is legally allowed to pour alcohol. 
Meanwhile, if at this point you’re not convinced that hiring a wedding planner for this type of wedding is a necessity, you might be crazy. Anyway…
Besides the liquor law nonsense that changes from state to state, your menu could be partially dictated by the venue you select. I planned a wedding industry event at an industrial warehouse once and we needed to bring in an outside caterer. They had a kitchen onsite but it was Glatt Kosher. If you don’t know what that means, it’s basically super strict Kosher and if you’re not following their rules (which you’re probably not if you don’t even know what Glatt means) you can’t use their kitchen. So, my caterer could not use their working kitchen, which meant they had to set up their own kitchen, outside, right down to the ovens and running water. 

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Creative venue spaces frequently have restrictive or smaller kitchens, or you won’t even be able to use them. Other times, the venue might have rules that directly affect the catering team. For instance, one farm that I work at a lot doesn’t allow smokers or water to be dumped anywhere. This farm is the perfect setting for a pig roast, but you’re not allowed to do it, and not being able to use water in particular ways is inconvenient for caterers. The more you inconvenience a wedding vendor, the higher your cost will be.
Does the freedom to choose your own caterer, build your own menu and have unique options for your guests outweigh everything else you’ll be dealing with? I’m treating this blog as a weeding out process, so if you haven’t run away screaming yet, let’s keep going…

wedding venue

Musical Chairs
A big plus to having an open space as your wedding venue is being able to get creative with more than just flowers. If you’re not down with all that food and beverage drama I laid out above, don’t worry, you can get this creative in an established venue too. 
When planning a wedding in your backyard or on a farm, you’re going to need basics including tables, chairs, linens, and serveware. Many times, the catering company will be able to handle these rentals and keep them under your “per person” cost.  If you’re in an established wedding venue that already provides these things, you’ll probably be able to rent different items instead. Before committing to a venue, however, make sure that you are allowed to do that.


 

Caterers that provide these basics are typically going to have the basics of these basics. That means round tables, chiavari or other standard style chairs, and white and/or ivory linens. Things like farmhouse and rectangle tables, different color linens, charger plates and funky wine glasses…pretty much everything you see on Pinterest, fall outside of the “basics”. Work with your caterer to find out exactly what they provide so you know what you would be responsible for. 
Another thing to consider when securing rentals: set up. Specifically, you’ll need to know whom is going to handle the rentals when they are delivered to the venue and then whom is setting them up and breaking them down. You’re probably wondering who usually handles this and the answer is that it varies. Some rental companies we work with will bring in tables and chairs and place them for us, whereas other companies drop them off at the front door and bounce. If you don’t want to show up to your wedding to see 250 chairs stacked in piles, put together a plan and discuss how everything is being set up and broken down.

barn wedding

Designer’s Choice
Design elements are a great way to transform a venue whether it’s a museum or a banquet hall space. It’s not just about what’s on the table, but in the corners and on the ceiling and basically everywhere. The vibe of a wedding should extend past the reception room. You can transform any venue by creating a unique entrance space or changing up the chandeliers. 
Ceiling treatments are perfect for tented weddings, and tents are perfect for a lot of these non-traditional spaces. Fun fact: a lot of the barns available for weddings are small and max out at 150 guests. It’s because they were built to be a barn, not a wedding venue. Because of this, many of the barn weddings we plan at include bringing in a tent for the reception. We’ve also tented backyard weddings and weddings at arboretums, as well as other places where a roof isn’t included in the package.


 

Whether you’re using a tent or an actual ceiling, you can transform the space using flowers, lighting and draping. Flowers can be used with existing lighting fixtures, or even as a perimeter design. You can get creative with lighting by renting chandeliers to totally change up the feeling of the space, or use a wall wash color to pull together the entire design.
Draping is another way to transform any space and you’re not limited to just the ceiling. One bride we worked with absolutely hated her venue because everyone else had gotten married there or been in the space a hundred times before. We got permission to drape the entire space, including the walls, making the venue look completely different than it ever had before. 

barn wedding

As you’ve probably figured out by now, flowers and ceiling installations aren’t what anyone would consider “affordable”. If you truly want to transform your venue though, those are the best ways to do it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not any more affordable to work with a blank space than it is to transform a venue…but I warned you guys about that in the beginning. 

To Transform or Not to Transform?

Did you make it to the end of the blog? If so, thanks for sticking around. Still planning on transforming your wedding venue? Or are you getting married at an open space venue where you’ll be bringing everything in? 

What advice do you have for other brides and grooms? Was there anything in this blog that you hadn’t considered before? I’d love to hear your thoughts so leave them in the comments section below.

And if you are looking for help to transform your wedding venue or design a non-traditional space, contact us right now and let’s chat!

Dress Up Your Rehearsal Dinner & Invitations with These 3 Tips

Choosing your invitations and wedding stationery can be an overwhelming process. Where do you get inspiration and then how do you take that inspiration for your own wedding, without looking like everyone else’s? Check out this guest blog from our friends at Basic Invite, featuring tips to dress up your rehearsal dinner and invitations!

Check out this guest blog on our website from Basic Invite! 3 unique ideas for your rehearsal and wedding invitations that you need to know!

Most brides know what’s trending when it comes to wedding invitations and their special day. And for all of those pre-wedding celebrations like the bridal shower and bachelorette party… themes are where it’s at which makes those festivities just about as celebrated as the wedding. But there is one final moment before the most important day comes that is often overlooked, the rehearsal dinner!
Let’s face it, the day before the big day is so chaotic and unfortunately for the runner up rehearsal dinner things usually seem to be thrown together and the night always flies by. But rehearsal dinners deserve a bit more credit than that. It is the final moment for reflection and gathering and the single life after all!

script wedding invitation

So, let’s show rehearsal dinners some love this wedding season by using these three tips to dress it up!

Go Digital

Wedding websites are totally in right now and for good reason! We are living in the digital age and that means keeping up with people’s needs. Wedding websites make it so easy to let your guests know what’s going on ahead of time and in real-time with instant updates!

wedding invitation

Where does the rehearsal dinner fit in to this? Rather than including rehearsal dinner info in your wedding invitation suite use the address request function on your wedding website to request the addresses of your rehearsal dinner guests and send out separate personalized rehearsal dinner invites to just them.

Always Accessorize

Don’t forget to accessorize! Foil details make any invitation pop! With rehearsal dinner invites, that is no exception. Usually rehearsal invites are sent on a smaller invitation so finding an aspect you want to showcase like your names or the border and make it foil!
Choose from gold, silver, or rose gold to match your rehearsal dinner theme or wedding colors.

It’s All in the Details

Rehearsal dinners are usually a more intimate affair so this is the time to splurge on details! Whether your party is low-key and laid back or black-tie attire, set out personalized coasters for guests to grab or place their drink on.

floral wedding invitation

They can take it home as a favor and you get to keep the rest! It’s a super cute detail all new to Basic Invite. Choose a monogram design or upload a photo!
Put these ideas to use and head over to Basic Invite. They’re an online stationery design company providing brides with all things wedding stationery + more!

How to Plan a Wedding Without Mom

It’s something many engaged couples don’t have to think about: how to plan a wedding without mom. But for those couples without a mom in the picture, the wedding planning experience will be very different. There are moments that some couples will never get to have, both when planning their wedding and on the wedding day, when mom is missing. 
While there are probably thousands of blogs going up this weekend for Mother’s Day to honor a mom’s role in the wedding planning process, this isn’t going to be one of them. I’m not going to give a “Top 10” list of mother of the groom dance songs, or great gift ideas, or anything like that. Because, as a wedding planner, I have seen just how powerful the absence of a mother is for my brides and grooms. So this blog, is for them.

Before I write a blog, I create a new folder with pictures I want to include. For obvious reasons, I wanted to select wedding day photos that included either the mother of the bride or the mother of the groom. 
I was shocked how few I was able to pull. 
Don’t get me wrong, I work with a lot of engaged couples that have wonderful parents and great relationships with them. I just didn’t realize how many of my couples weren’t that lucky. So, if you are planning your wedding without your mom, believe me, you are not alone. Far from it.

When I say “without” mom, that doesn’t necessarily mean deceased either. Of course it can mean that, but I’ve see moms be just as absent from wedding planning while being alive. The struggles are very different, in that a bride who lost her mother to death, doesn’t even get a chance to wedding plan with her. Many brides will feel robbed of the moments like finding the gown and having it zipped up on the actual wedding day. There are countless times when a bride or groom who lost their mom to death will be overwhelmed with feelings; feelings that can easily impact the entire wedding planning process.
Then there are the brides and grooms who have difficult relationships with their moms and struggle to plan anything with her. These brides and grooms have the one person that many others wish they still have. Yet that person could be checked out of the the wedding planning or so consistently negative, that it almost would be easier if she was completely missing in action instead.
And then there’s everything in between. Whatever your relationship status is with mom, a wedding will magnify it.
Being that I plan with most of my couples for at least a full year, I get to know them pretty well. This means I find out about all the family drama, and I learn a lot about the parental dynamic on both the bride and the groom’s side. There are many planners that probably don’t get as personally invested as I do, but seeing as how two people I just met are now trusting me with a pretty important day, I like to have a solid relationship with them. Plus, knowing things like whether or not mom is in the picture, helps me to better understand my couple as it greatly impacts the planning process.

The Present But Absent Mom
I once worked with a bride who called me on a Friday afternoon and said the following:

“Can I just vent to you for a few minutes? My mom is killing me.”

My bride had just gone back to look at a wedding venue that she had already toured and loved. The appointment she was calling me from was the follow up that she brought her mother to. She was excited to show her mother the venue because she thought it was perfect for her wedding. Her mother was over 40 minutes late to this appointment (no apologies) and spent the entire time there picking the place apart. Not only did my couple not end up selecting that venue, but even the venue they finally selected never got the mom’s approval.
Another bride I worked with had a mom that constantly said how much she wanted to be involved, but everything was a struggle. Competing with her calendar of events was a challenge for my bride who just wanted her mother there. After jumping through multiple hoops for each appointment though, the end result was always the same: whatever my bride loved, her mother hated. And she was very vocal about it too. I watched the happiness drain from my bride’s face a little more with each meeting with mom because she was so desperate for her approval. It was almost as if the more her mom hated something, the more my bride wanted her to love it.

The need for mom’s approval is something I see with many of my brides. Most people want the mom that is happy about their engagement, that loves the wedding gown they love and is so excited to help with wedding planning. It breaks my heart to watch a bride’s mom not love something that her daughter so badly wants her to love. But more painful than that, is watching a bride change her details because her mother doesn’t approve, while continuing to need her approval for everything else related to the wedding. 
Approval that is never going to happen.
I’m not talking about moms not being able to have an opinion here; I’m talking about moms that are going to disagree with the bride on everything. If you are getting married and you know your mom falls into this category, do not fall into the trap of needing approval. You will not get it and it doesn’t matter. Yes, it would be nice, but don’t ruin your engagement by stressing over what your mom doesn’t like or changing details to make her happy. 
Sometimes it get to the point where the bride or groom need to cut ties with these moms and make their own decisions. If you think there is a possibility that this tension is just a miscommunication, then try and work that out before removing her from all wedding decisions. Be upfront about how things will be going forward and explain why.
And then do what you want because it’s your wedding…not hers.
The Missing in Action Mother
Over the years, I have planned weddings with multiple couples where one person had never met the other person’s parents. I used to think that was odd, but it’s happened so many times now that I consider it normal. I really hope that if you’re in that situation, you now feel a little less alone.
The couples I work with have everything from parents married for 30 plus years, to parents that were never married, to divorced parents, to parents that got divorced and then only one got remarried….basically every combination you can come up with. Because of that, some of my couples have estranged relationships with one or both of their parents. 

One bride I worked with had never met her fiance’s mother. Not while they were dating, not when he proposed. Never. This happens so much now that I have a policy in place stating that the first meeting will not be on the wedding day. So, this couple, just like the ones before and after them that I have worked with, tried for months to make a meeting happen. They spent time and effort so that the mother of the groom could meet the bride before the wedding day. And just like the couples before and after them, they got the same result:
No meeting. Which also meant, the mother was not at the wedding.
I could work with dozens of other couples in this situation and I will never be able to understand it. As a mother, the thought of not meeting my son’s fiance or attending his wedding, is unfathomable to me. Then again, I’ll probably be so involved in both of my children’s weddings that they’ll end up writing a blog about me…
My heart hurts for any bride or groom with an intentionally absent mother, because that’s not how it’s supposed to be. What I say to my couples in this situation is to discuss together what the ideal outcome would be. Do you want a relationship with this mom? Do you want her at the wedding? It’s important to figure out what you want to happen before making any moves. And then it’s important to know when to let go (if need be) so you can enjoy the wedding planning process. 
But a meeting before the wedding day is essential. If you’re one of those couples that got engaged without mom in the picture, make this meeting happen as soon as possible. If you want to repair the damage, be the one to reach out first. That way, if things don’t come together, you can at least know you tried and did your part.

During the planning process, any time when mom would be involved, be sure to surround yourself with those closest to you. No mom to go dress shopping with? Bring a sibling or maid of honor for support. No mom for the groom to dance with on the wedding day? Consider an alternative family member or even cutting the parent dances if that’s an option. Look ahead to the planning process where you think your mom being absent will make a big impact and prepare so that you’ll still enjoy yourself.
With or without her.
When Mom Is Gone
Then there are the brides and grooms that have no choice but to plan alone. For these people, there is no chance of reconciliation. There are no decisions to be made about whether or not to hear out the opinion of mom. Arguments over color choices and the guest list, ones that brides vent to their wedding planners about, are arguments these brides wish they could have. 
I have planned with many brides that lost their moms years before the wedding. I have planned with a couple for their summer wedding that had to get moved up 5 months due to the groom’s mother being diagnosed with stage 4 terminal cancer. 

It is painful enough to wish that your mom would be the supportive mom you deserve. It is painful enough to know that your mom makes the conscience choice to simply not show up to the wedding. But it is a entirely different level of pain when you have absolutely no control of the situation because she is gone.
And so, for these brides and grooms, they don’t get to call mom after the proposal. The planning process can feel draining and far from joyous. There is a fear that lingers about the wedding day without mom. All of these things and more, are reasons for a solid support system to be in place. Whatever you need to do to feel closer to the mom you lost, is what you should do. However you want to honor her memory, is what you should do.

The Mom Factor
No matter the relationship with your mom, the best thing for any bride or groom to do is work through it right away. Wasting time and effort to get that elusive mom approval, will damper your engagement. Not reaching out to connect with an estranged mom until the last minute will only cause problems at the worst time. Burying your emotions when you miss the mom you lost does you no favors. Be authentic with how you feel and do what is right for you.
Are you planning a wedding and have a mom story you want to share? Comment below and let other brides and grooms know they aren’t alone. Don’t forget to Follow my blog with Bloglovin!

The Complete List of Bridesmaid’s Duties

Being a bridesmaid is exciting to a lot of people because what’s more fun than helping one of your best friends with their wedding? That is, until you hate the dress you’re being forced to wear and find yourself going broke paying for it (and everything else). Pretty soon you’re so over it and ready to rip up that list of bridesmaid’s duties. 

For a bride, selecting her closest friends to stand with her from wedding planning to wedding day can be a stressful task too. The constant worry that you’re offending someone or having to deal with unresponsive bridesmaids can make any bride wish she hadn’t had a wedding party at all. 

But the biggest source of problems always revolves around what is and isn’t required of a bridesmaid. The list of bridemaid’s duties isn’t completely set in stone, so I’ve put together a full list including tasks that vary from wedding to wedding. So whether you’re a bride selecting her squad or a bridesmaid with no idea how this whole thing works, check out the details below to help guide you along!

Wardrobe

Deciding what your bridesmaids are going to wear is a decision that many brides struggle with. I’m not even talking about figuring out color and cut. Nope. That’s the easy part.


 

I’m talking about finding a dress that all of your bridesmaids will actually be happy to wear. Not only that, but they all need to be happy about the price of the dress too. Because, yes, as a bridesmaid you are responsible for the cost of the dress you will wear on the wedding day.
When selecting these dresses, some brides choose to do so on their own, while others like to bring members of the wedding party along for the ride. As with any other aspect of your wedding, if you invite someone to give you their opinion, then be prepared to get it.
If you’re the type of bride that knows what she wants and isn’t looking for bridesmaid input, then make this selection on your own. I promise you, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. If, however, you do want some advice, then bring along your Maid of Honor and perhaps 1 or 2 other bridesmaids. Nothing good happens when you roll up with an entourage.

bride and bridesmaids tossing purple bouquets

Whatever you choose to do, the duty of the bridesmaids is to be happy when you are happy. Too many times, as a wedding planner, I have seen bridesmaids absolutely ruin this appointment by complaining about every last dress they were put in. It’s one thing if a bridesmaid is uncomfortable, but it’s another thing if they’re just uncomfortable with life in general.
As a bride, it’s important to be sensitive to the body types of your bridesmaids, as well as their budget. If it’s not possible to find one style that flatters everyone, then consider varying styles and allowing the bridesmaids to select what they feel comfortable in most. If mixing styles just isn’t your style, then work to find something that will look nice on everyone.
Budget also plays a big factor in the selection of the bridesmaid dress and a fair cost means something different to everyone. In order to get the most options available, the cost will range anywhere between $200-$275. That’s not to say the perfect dress isn’t less (or more), but this window of pricing will give you the most to choose from. As a bride, be considerate of what your bridesmaids can spend and never pick a dress without checking that price tag first. For some amazing dress options under $150, I love The Dessy Group options!


 

As a bridesmaid, one of the duties is to pay for this dress and everything that goes with it. That includes any alterations as well as shoes. You are not required to attend store after store looking for the right gown unless you’re the bride’s sister or Maid/Matron of Honor.   

Shower

It is a myth that the bridesmaids are the ones to plan the bridal shower. While they absolutely should be in attendance, and therefore have a say in the date and location, this is the responsibility of the Mother of the Bride or other close family member. This also means that the cost of the shower does not have to be covered by the bridesmaids.

bride and bridesmaids walking down street

In situations where it won’t be possible for the Mother of the Bride to host a bridal shower (for whatever reason), it is still not the duty of the bridesmaids to do this. Is it a nice gesture? Yes. So, if you’re a bridesmaid and want to handle this, speak to the other bridesmaids first to make sure you’re all on the same page. 

Bachelorette Party

Throwing a bachelorette party is one of the duties of being a bridesmaid. Where it goes left is deciding the details which ultimately decide the cost. While it might be super popular to get on an airplane and hit up Vegas for a weekend, it’s not always realistic financially. The details of the party also depend on the details of the bridesmaids. A group of ladies in their mid 20s with limited responsibility is very different from a group of ladies where some are moms and home owners.
bridesmaids holding bouquets
Domenick Michael Photography
As a bride, it is unfair to expect the bridesmaids you selected to plan an elaborate weekend getaway. Just because these parties have evolved from not existing at all, to a fun night out in a local city, to now a plane ride half way around the world, doesn’t mean you’re owed any of that. Between the expense of the trip and the life obligations your bridesmaids have, it’s important to be gracious and thankful for any type of celebration they plan for you.
Bridesmaids should be sure to talk to each other early on in the planning process about this event. It might seem like the date is far off, since the party would be closer to the wedding date, but everyone knows time goes quickly and calendars fill up. Create a group email to discuss some ideas and more importantly, the budget that everyone is comfortable with. Be upfront and honest with what you are willing to spend and the dates you are available. Keep in mind that any costs associated with the bride’s attendance must be split equally between the bridesmaids.
MOH giving toast
Domenick Michael Photography

Planning

A bride is going to lean on her bridesmaids in one way or another. Maybe it will just be to vent about not finding the right shoes to go with her gown, or maybe it will be about how her mom doesn’t like the invitations she picked. Each bride is different and depending on her relationship with the bridesmaid, what she expects from one might be different than another.
bride and bridesmaids
Jessica Janae Photography
This is also where the role of Maid and/or Matron of Honor separates from the rest of the bridesmaids. When selecting this person or persons, it’s important to consider not just the closeness of your relationship, but their availability. Will they be able to go dress shopping with you or look at a venue that you can’t make a decision on? This person isn’t just the one giving a toast at your wedding and holding your bouquet; she’s going to be obligated to more planning work with you than the bridesmaids, so pick someone that’s actually available.
If you’re selected as a Maid or Matron of Honor, it’s crazy important to understand how that role is different than a bridesmaid before you say “yes”. Whether or not the bride is working with a planner, there is nothing like a best friend to lean on. You’ll also be seen by the bridesmaids as the one who has to get stuff done…so if you’re not going to get stuff done, then nothing will get done and you should probably ask to just be a bridesmaid instead.
bridesmaid and bride
Domenick Michael Photography
Bridesmaids can expect to be a sounding board here and there for the bride as she plans the big day. However, there are no rules that say you must accompany the bride to any meetings whatsoever. Yes, you should attend any pre-wedding functions including an engagement party, bridal shower, etc. , but you do not have to hold the bride’s hand and help her plan.


 

Day of Wedding

The duties of the bridesmaids on the day of the wedding start long before the actual day. Typically, a bride will select the members of her wedding party right before or right after the date and venue are set. A bride should always make the time to ask her friends and family to be her bridesmaids though, before really getting the planning going. It wouldn’t be all that fun to pick out a bunch of stuff, only to then ask people who might not even be available for that weekend, right?
Plus, the people you are going to ask to be in your wedding party, probably have a feeling that the question is coming. It’s majorly awkward if you keep talking about wedding details to them while they have no idea just how involved they will be. And depending on the details of your wedding, many people need as much notice as possible. As a bride, it’s important to recognize how significant it is to many people to be asked to be a bridesmaid. Show your friends and family members the ultimate respect by making time to ask them…especially before you ask them to listen to a bunch of wedding planning drama and insist they book a hotel room for the weekend. Tacky.

bride, groom and wedding party outside

The wedding location is a big factor here as a member of the wedding party. It’s expensive to be a bridesmaid, but the cost of the dress is just for starters. You are also responsible for the bachelorette party costs, a gift to the couple and the costs it takes to get to these places. Know what you’re not responsible for?
The lodging on the weekend of the wedding. 
That’s right. If we want to get technical and get the etiquette correct, the couple is responsible for the lodging costs of the wedding party on the dates of the wedding weekend. This, however, almost never happens. You can quote this blog, you can go ahead and quote Anna Post, but I promise you, the likelihood of this happening is not good at all.


 

This means the (unofficial) duty of the bridesmaids is to cover their personal wedding day costs. It’s likely that the bridesmaids will all need to be together the night before the wedding so they can get ready together on the morning of. You’re now looking at a two night hotel stay as, odds are, you’ll also stay the night of the wedding.
Brides should consider this when selecting their wedding party as everyone might have different circumstances. For instance, it’s a lot easier (and affordable) for a single bridesmaid to make a weekend trip than it would be for a married bridesmaid that has children. If the wedding is a children-free zone, make it easy on your mama bridesmaids by offering to cover baby-sitting costs, or letting them bring their children and providing a nanny service. Otherwise, don’t be offended when they decline the invite to stand at the altar with you.
Yes, that’s right bridesmaids: if being in the wedding party has the potential to be financially taxing on you, then don’t do it. Your duty is to be honest with the bride. While it might hurt her feelings, it would be a lot worse to go through the planning while completely resenting her.
bride and bridesmaids outside
Gabelli Studio
Typically, the cost of hair and make up also falls on the shoulders of the bridesmaids. Don’t assume the bride is going to be picking up the tab or offering this as a gift. While many of my brides have gifted this as a “thank you”, they are not required to cover that cost. But since we’re on the subject, if you’re a bride and the costs are getting crazy because you either had some 4 day bender bachelorette party or are hosting a destination wedding, then picking up the cost for hair and make up would be the right thing to do. 

Recap

The duties of a bridesmaid can vary from wedding to wedding. They depend on many details including the size, style and location of the event. Brides should be mindful of each individual bridesmaid’s situation, and also consider the budget. Bridesmaids need to be supportive of the bride and since that might mean something different to everyone, I’ll put it this way: treat the bride the way you would want to be treated if you were the bride instead.
And no one wants a sourpuss that hates every dress option available.

bride and bridesmaids inside

What are your thoughts on the subject? Are you currently a bridesmaid and getting overwhelmed with responsibility? Share in the comments below what your duties are and what you think they should be!

The Evolution of the Online Wedding Industry

Well, well, well…in a (not so) interesting turn of events, Style Me Pretty won’t be shutting down this weekend. A massive representation of the online wedding industry and a leader in the rustic chic style has been “saved”. Fair warning, I’m going to use more “air quotes” and italic font than you can possibly imagine. See what I did there?

If you’re not familiar with the whole story, I highly suggest reading my earlier blog on this subject. Otherwise, you’re going to be more confused than a bride deciding between table linen colors. 

Only days away from “going dark”, Style Me Pretty made the “shocking” announcement on Instagram that the original owners were taking over. So, is this the result of a major corporate company yielding to a petition to save SMP, or just an amateur publicity stunt that relied on the stupidity of the masses?

Style Me Pretty has announced that it will not be closing after all. What does this mean and how do you not get destroyed by the evolution of the online wedding industry?

The Announcement
Shortly after word got out that Style Me Pretty would be wiped off the internet as if it never existed, a petition was created to “save it”. During that time, the closure notices posted on their social media accounts and even on their main website all disappeared.
What did that mean? 
Then, the original owner posted on her Instagram account that she was in discussion with the corporation she originally sold the website to, and she had no idea what was going to happen, but she felt positive. Just like the original closure notices, that post has also disappeared.
What did that mean? 

bride and groom sparkler exit

And while all of that was going on, those members of the wedding industry that had been published on Style Me Pretty, all scrambled to screenshot their work. Editors from countless other publications dropped their exclusivity rule and began accepting submissions from those that either had been published on SMP or had recently submitted to be published. 
What did that mean? Well, that meant a serious amount of time for hundreds affected by the closure announcements.
Time Wasted?
Just yesterday, a notice appeared on Style Me Pretty’s Instagram page. 

Style Me Pretty IG screenshot

It’s a long statement (which, by the way, came as a surprise to absolutely no one) and many people didn’t read the whole thing. Why? Is it because everyone has a short attention span? Is it because there are no details that will matter to anyone at this point since the majority of people have a “girl bye” attitude to what looks like a PR stunt?
This isn’t a laundry list of thank yous ala Oscar speech style either. There’s stuff in here that people should read. So, was the length intentional, much like a contract would be in order to take advantage of that short attention span?
Here are a few things that jumped out to me:
“…the original founders have acquired Style Me Pretty’s assets so that the brand can live on and thrive and become even better than ever….Tait and I are SO excited to reboot this incredible company and build on the work that the team at SMP has already created.”
Implying what? A re-brand of a site that completely changed focus when it was originally sold? Re-branding is an arduous task for any company in any industry, and many times it is considered suicide. This website died when it was sold, but it seems no DNR was ever signed so here we are with those cardiac arrest plates yelling “clear” and hitting the chest of SMP.
bridesmaids
Jessica Janae Photography
“In the short term, we will be self-funding the site, running super lean and we’ll be making as much time to interview brides and industry professionals as possible so that we continue to build a place that vendors want to stand beside and readers want to devour.”
And by running super lean, I’m going to jump to the conclusion that many people are out of a job. Would they have been out of that same job had the closure actually happen? Absolutely. But, this feels just like when the Titanic sank and only one life boat went back to rescue those that went down with the ship. Rose is all “I’ll never let go”, but she ain’t sharing that door she’s floating on either so…
The interviews they reference are perplexing too. The online wedding industry is rapidly changing and what SMP offered is not what engaged couples want anymore. Vendors that advertise on the website don’t book couples with the success they used to. Unless these interviews are with vendors outside the SMP “you can’t sit with us” circle, it’s a total waste of time.
“I believe that any joy felt here should be gifted to this incredible team and not to Tait nor myself. It is bittersweet that we won’t be able to take them along right now as the work that they have done for this company is simply immeasurable.”
Well, no good deed goes unpunished.
bride and groom
Mary + Roy
The Greatest Show On Earth
It has been said that to write well, you have to write what you know. Well, what do we know?
Was this all a publicity stunt? It’s starting to feel that way, and there is an overwhelming social media response screaming just that. I’ll admit that when I first heard about the closure, that was my initial thought as well. It was one of those rare times when I was hoping to be wrong. But, once again, I’m never wrong. Ask my husband, he’ll tell you.
Out of curiosity, I looked up the expiration date of the domain name. I figured it would be close to the closure date since we had been told the website would vanish from existence. On the contrary, the expiration date was set for 2020. Which could mean a few things:
1. The domain would be held onto until that time, when it would be available for sale.
2. The owners of the domain would auction it off or sell it to the highest bidder before the 2020 date.
Or
3. The website was never going anywhere. At least not until 2020. Which means they already had other plans and transfer of ownership ideas in place.
wedding bands
Jessica Janae Photography
There are rumors that the corporate owners of SMP did try to sell the domain to other companies, specifically to a competing blog called Ruffled. But is it possible that the original owners were given first rite of refusal and leveraged that to drum up some publicity and see if the buy back would be worth it?
It’s not a total stretch and here’s why:
In my original blog written about the “closure” of SMP, I talked about the evolution of engaged couples. Specifically, how they don’t want anything that SMP has offered. They want authenticity, and let’s be honest, there isn’t a whole lot of authenticity in pictures of a blonde bride and groom standing at the top of a mountain bathing in sunlight while holding a 500 pound bouquet of cascading greenery. The percentage of couples that can relate to that is low.
Shocking right?
We know that SMP had millions of monthly page views. But, if those views don’t turn into conversions for the advertisers, then “bye bye” advertisers. I never advertised with them, but I have had a celebrity wedding I planned published on the first page and pushed by their social media team. What do I know? I know I never received a single inquiry from it, yet I received plenty of inquiries from brides that saw those same exact images on my Pinterest page.

bride and groom at Villanova chapel

How do you get wedding industry members to care about your website again when it has become painfully obvious you’re not attracting their ideal client anymore? A petition with thousands of signatures and a bunch of passion isn’t a bad way to start. Combine that with the panic of “if a website like Style Me Pretty can just close, what does that mean?!” and you’ve got a winning combination. There’s just one problem:
It does not matter at all what the wedding industry and these online wedding magazines and blogs think of themselves. It only matters what the engaged couples think. So, if you have to use a PR stunt to raise brand awareness, is your brand worth being aware of? 
As We Stumble Along
The online wedding industry is not the same animal that it was when Style Me Pretty was born. In fact, the entire wedding industry has been in a constant state of evolution. Style Me Pretty represents a niche market, which on some levels can be a good thing. It’s not a good thing, however, when that niche market appeals to roughly 5 people.
Which brings us to the re-branding implications/promises of the former and now once again owners of Style Me Pretty. They are self-funding which I am interpreting to mean no advertising…for now. If there is no vendor book, like the old (way old) original days of SMP, there’s no obligation on their part to publish anything other than what they want to. What do they want to publish?
bride and bridesmaids
Jessica Janae Photography
Their announcement on Instagram was paired with a photograph taken by the photographer who started the SaveSMP hashtag as well as the petition. Before I started writing this blog, I wanted to sift through the comments for two reasons: 1. What was the reaction of industry members and 2. Did any actual engaged couples care to comment?
While there is no shortage of positive comments and heart emojis, there are a fair share of industry members quick to point out the missing diversity and authenticity on Style Me Pretty.

IG QUOTE

IG QUOTE

It was a good thing to see Style Me Pretty fade away. It is part of the online wedding industry evolution, and the evolution of the wedding world in general. You can have a niche, sure, but if the niche only resonates with the smallest percentage of engaged couples available, either adapt or close.  If the picture they chose to accompany their “J/K we’re actually not pulling the plug” is any indication of their level of commitment to re-brand, then we might see the real death of this website sooner than later.
And since there wasn’t a single comment from a bride or groom regarding the “saving” of SMP, I’m guessing that funeral would be poorly attended.

IG QUOTE

Engaged couples want authenticity. It doesn’t get much more black and white than that. Why members of the wedding industry threw themselves in front of a building about to be knocked over to save someone else’s brand other than work on their own is not something I can understand. Maybe they’re afraid of change, but if that’s the case, then their in the wrong industry.
We will never know if this whole thing was a weak sauce publicity stunt (it was) and I personally won’t waste my time on anyone else’s brand other than my own. Authenticity is winning, finally. The evolution of the online wedding industry is no longer moving at a glacial pace. It doesn’t matter what Style Me Pretty does next. 
What’s your next move?
 

Real Wedding Inspiration: Wedding Planning with Blogger, Melissa Victoria

I love sharing real wedding inspiration with you guys, because I know how every engaged couple is looking for something different. A bunch of real weddings we have planned have been showcased on this wedding blog before, and just like you, I always want something different.
Real Weddings show our readers the final product, but what about the months leading up to it? I chatted with lifestyle blogger, Melissa Victoria, about her upcoming wedding and she gave me plenty of details! If you’re planning your wedding, check out what a fellow fiance had to say, including the one (and only) trend she plans to use for her big day!
Wedding blog with wedding planning inspiration
Courtesy of Melissa Victoria

Melissa Victoria, Lifestyle Blogger

I first found Melissa on Instagram (so shocking, right?) and instantly fell in love with her style. Of course, she’s a California girl, because I always fall in love with West Coast brides and their wedding style….or style in general. When I saw that she was getting married, I had to know more about the big day. 
Let me just say that I tend to fall for the bloggers that radiate “real”. There are about 2 bazillion bloggers out there, and sometimes I feel like I am seeing the same person over and over again. It’s that “my life is perfect, buy this product” smile in their pictures that works for so many bloggers and yet makes me want to basically die. Because no one is that happy all of the time and can you please calm down OMG?!

bridesmaid tote bag bride handbag
 

But Melissa makes you smile when you look at the pictures of her smiling. Her stories are fun and you basically want to just hang out with her. As a wedding planner, I pride myself on the fact that I don’t work with brides I wouldn’t want to hang out with. Bridezillas is a show, not my life…generally. Between her fun style and her intense realness, I had to know more about her wedding details.
And I have to say…none of her answers disappointed. In fact, many had me saying “really?!”, but in a good way. Because she’s different than other bloggers and guess what? That makes her different from so many other brides. Thank. The. Lord.

The Basics

Melissa and Martin got engaged on November 12, 2017 during their weekend trip to Big Bear. Since I was not that bride that had her nails done every week (just in case of a proposal), nor did my fiance have a photographer on stand-by, I had to ask if she was surprised by the proposal. I figured that a style blogger with a huge following would have figured out all the details before her now fiance got down on one knee, but nope!
Engagement ring picture
Gabelli Studio
“Looking back, there were SO many signs of him wanting to propose all weekend long, so when he finally did, it was so special.”
And I love that. Because it used to be (listen to how old I sound, wow) about a man getting down on one knee, pulling out a ring and we’re done. Now, it’s drone footage, surprise family appearances and fireworks. While I love the idea of having that special moment captured by a photographer, I am not in love with the whole “hiring a proposal planner” thing. This isn’t to take away from anyone’s proposal, but I personally like this step to be as basic as possible.


 

Anyway, back to Melissa and Martin! Their big day is February 9, 2019, which means their engagement period is about a year and change. As a wedding planner, I swoon over year long plus engagements…especially when the “must have” wedding date is during the most popular time of the year. Over a year gives you time to enjoy the engagement and get the venue and vendors that you want because everyone isn’t already booked.

The Details

Melissa and Martin decided not to plan anything for the remainder of 2017. But you know what they say about the best laid plans, right? In late 2017 they visited a spot two blocks away from Martin’s job and fell head over heels for it. Despite the whole “no planning in 2017” promise, they locked their venue down in December that year.
Wedding escort card table
Images by Berit
I am sure many of you will just glaze over that like it’s not a big deal. But I want to emphasize that it actually is. When you get engaged, you’re likely to put together some sort of timeline to get stuff done. Sometimes, the perfect venue or vendor will come along at what you decided was the wrong time. I love that Melissa and Martin didn’t turn this place down because it didn’t fit their planning timeline. Take their lead and if you find the venue or vendor before you’re “supposed” to, don’t be afraid to lock it down!
Their guest count sits around 200 people, which seems to be the average for weddings right now. Most of the couples we plan weddings with are inviting anywhere from 150-250 people. If you’re still looking for the perfect venue, it’s super important to get your guest list together before shopping. You don’t want to fall in love with a wedding venue, only to find out it doesn’t fit the guest count you’re inviting.


 

Melissa has put together plenty of ideas and details, and yes, that includes her wedding gown. Since she is a style blogger, I absolutely had to ask her about this! Of all the celebrity wedding inspiration available to brides, she was struck by Olivia Palermo’s wedding style, which included chic long sleeve gowns.
Bride in long sleeve lace gown
Jason Rhee
Not unlike many of my brides, Melissa tried on about 10 dresses and went to 2 different stores before finding the one. I always tell my brides that they will know when they’ve found the right gown (and venue and vendors), and Melissa shares how she knew:
“In the end, I went with something I know what meant for me.”
And it’s true…just like your fiance is meant for you, everything else will be during the wedding planning process.

Wedding Day Vibes

With a February wedding date, the winter wedding season is well underway. But between the obsession with pale colors, and her ever enviable California location, I wondered if she wouldn’t have a wedding full of rose golds, creams and pinks. And as a style blogger, where does she turn for inspiration?
Bride and groom
Justin Tinapay
As much as brides are always looking for something different for their wedding day, many tend to do the same exact thing they have seen everyone else do. Different is scary and if everyone else is doing a mix of muted colors, it’s hard not to play it safe. Well, I was extremely excited to find out that this trendy fashion blogger is not playing it safe, but instead, playing with deep colors mixed in with neutrals. 
Let the church say “Amen!”

Give the perfect travel gift - a Honeyfund gift card
 

Along with their fabulous color palette, Melissa and Martin are going for a vintage feel to go with their old Hollywood glam wedding venue. Their wedding party consists of six bridesmaids and groomsmen, but their wardrobe is at different stages. The idea of keeping the bridesmaids in different gowns is something Melissa loves and already has ideas about. But, remember how I said she was totally real? Well, when I asked her about the groomsmen wardrobe she said:
“Martin has a few colors he likes, so he needs to crank that out ASAP haha.”
Sound familiar ladies?
Sparkler exit at wedding
Jessica Janae

Searching For Inspiration

Wedding inspiration available on the internet can legit drown a bride. With countless wedding websites available, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with ideas only to end up hating them all. So, where does a style blogger turn for her own wedding day inspiration?
red rose
Justin Tinapay
Just like any other bride, Melissa turns to Pinterest and Instagram for wedding ideas. As a wedding planner, we book with many of our clients because they found us on either one of those social media sites and I love finding new ideas and vendors on them as well.
But I know what you’re thinking…you’re always on Pinterest and you keep seeing the same damn thing every day. Right? Hashtags and keywords are your friend and foe. When searching for wedding inspiration, it’s important to be more specific in your searches because “Winter Wedding” is going to turn up a bunch of stuff that you don’t like. Hashtags work on both sites, but Pinterest just brought them back, so a keyword search is a better option. Keep your search general enough so you don’t miss out on creative ideas, but specific enough so that you’re not seeing starfish decor for your barn wedding.
“I love to look up my venue’s location on Instagram every Sunday to see what the previous night’s event looked like.”
Maybe you haven’t found your venue yet, and maybe you have. That doesn’t mean you don’t have a few (or 40) in mind…so use the venue’s social media profile and hashtag to see what other couples have done. It’s not about copying their style, but more about seeing what does (and doesn’t) work. That goes double for those of you that have found your wedding venue!

Moevenpick Hotels and Resorts
 

Trends and Have to Haves

When you basically live on social media, it can be hard to plan an event. You’ve seen it all, and the trends might be less “trendy” and more “played out” by the time your wedding day rolls around. It shouldn’t have surprised me, though it did, that Melissa only has one trend she wants to incorporate for her wedding day:
“A hashtag. I’m a social media chick, so obviously, this has to be part of our wedding.”
Social media chick, or not, hashtags have become a major part of weddings. When the idea first came about, it was largely seen as only good for those that were obsessed with social media. In reality, both then and now, it’s a great way to keep your photos all in the same place. What good are those random pictures your friends and family took if you never see them? 
wedding sweetheart table
Domenick Michael
Just like many other engaged couples, Melissa and Martin want to incorporate their faith into their wedding day. As a wedding planner, this is something I see most couples decide on, but many struggle with.  It could be anything from coming from different religious backgrounds to wanting a religious ceremony outside of a religious house, and thousands of other possibilities in between. The only thing that matters here, is that you and your fiance celebrate your marriage in a ceremony that means the most to the both of you. 
What else matters to Melissa and Martin? Two words: Open. Bar.
“We knew we wanted an open bar because duh- the best memories always include an open bar!”
Truer words have never been spoken.

 

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

More and more, traditional aspects of a wedding are disappearing. Couples are making their wedding a reflection of their relationship by using cake pops instead of wedding cake and having that first look happen long before the walk down the aisle. There are very few rules when it comes to a wedding anymore, so if you’re a trendy fashion blogger getting married, what rules are you following?

black and white photo of bride and groom

The bouquet and garter toss have been put on ice by most of our engaged couples. Honestly though, I miss them both and I pretty much thought I was stuck in the “not cool old person” past by still loving the idea. Leave it to Melissa though, to remind me how awesome and trendy I still am (woot woot), when she told me how they will be incorporating this tradition into their wedding day! Along with that, they will have their special parent dances, but are on the fence about the grand entrance for the entire wedding party; another tradition we’re starting to see fade away.
I asked Melissa if they planned on making their heritage a part of the wedding day. My engaged couples are always looking for that something different, but sometimes that something different has been done for centuries that many couples aren’t doing anymore. Their ceremony taking place in a Catholic Church has to do, in part, with their Latin heritage. But in addition to incorporating their religion, their guests will also enjoy other Latin traditions like the lasso ceremony. The wedding ceremony is a great opportunity to celebrate your traditions in a new way as you begin your new life together!
wedding rope ceremony
Justin Tinapay
What about the structure and the rules? Should you tell your guests what the dress code is, or is that no longer acceptable? What about kids at the wedding? There are so many wedding etiquette blogs, with rules that have been written and re-written for decades. Between those and all the endless “helpful” advice brides and grooms get from friends and family, it’s not easy to keep it all together. 
“I would say to do things the way you want to do them. There will be so many previously married people that will tell you all about their experience and what you should do, but no one knows your heart the way you do.”
As difficult as it can be, it’s important to listen to the voices of two people: you and your fiance. When you plan a wedding, trust me, everyone in your life will become an expert. Your BFF that just got married and suddenly knows everything and your Aunt Sally that got married 700 years ago and also knows everything…No one can change the fact that you will know when you found the right venue and the right vendors. It’s the first day of the rest of your lives, and it’s really important to start it off with your own decisions. 


 

Just like any other bride, Melissa can share the worst part of wedding planning she’s gone through. And just like many brides, that worst part had a lot to do with herself. While she recognized the “I can do it myself” part of her, she worried about being too picky. If you’re that bride that can’t (or won’t) let her guard down and won’t trust her vendors, you are not alone here. Melissa shared that she is really a hands on bride and that trusting others was something she had a really hard time with. 
 I told you she was real…
“I think I’m worried about vendors backing out or not showing up on time.”
Every bride worries about her wedding day, and that is completely normal. It doesn’t mean things won’t go as planned; it just means you’re normal. It’s OK to let yourself worry and to vent about completely ridiculous things going wrong that would never ever happen. Surround yourself with supportive people during your engagement process, people that will let you lean on their shoulders…just don’t forget that they have problems of their own that they made need your shoulder for!
bride and groom spelling LOVE
Justin Tinapay

Your Day. Yours.

A wedding day (can) come with a lot of rules. Rules that are set by you and your fiance, rules set by you before you even meet your fiance, rules by your friend and family, and rules set by all those blogs and magazines you read. The thing is, there are no rules anymore. What was a rule 20 years ago, is only a rule if you want it to be. You get one day to wear the dress you want to wear, to say the vows you want to say and to dance to the songs you want to dance to.
I loved interviewing Melissa for this blog, because I expected a style blogger to follow the rules and that’s totally not her. I thought she would be incorporating every wedding trend under the California sun. But really, she is having the only type of wedding that should be trending:
Her own.
Hashtag You Should Too.
Bride and groom save the date
Courtesy of Melissa Victoria
Thanks to Melissa for taking the time to chat with me about your big day! If you want to read more about her planning process, follow along on her blog right here! Don’t forget to sign up for our mailing list in the top banner to get more stories like this one, plus plenty more real weddings inspiration.
What wedding rules and trends are you following and breaking for your own wedding day? Share in the comments below and let your own voice be heard!

 

 

The Top 10 Wedding Products You Need (And Don’t Already Know About)

As a wedding planner, I’ve seen it all (almost), so I put together the top 10 wedding products you needWhy? Because there are so many wedding products out there, and if you’re planning a wedding, you know I’m right. But what’s worth your money and what’s not? 

I’ve made it super easy for you to find these wedding products and have included their websites. So get scrolling through the list and don’t forget to look for special discount codes!

We put together the 10 top wedding products you NEED but probably never heard of right here in this blog! Click through for more!
Images by Berit

The Original Runner Company

You may have seen these before, but you might not have and you need to know about this product! One of my top ten wedding products is the only aisle runner you will ever need.
This aisle runner and more are featured as the top 10 wedding products you need to know about. Read the blog for more!
Domenick Michael Photography
Based in New Jersey, but available worldwide, these aisle runners are completely custom right down to the exact length you need. They feature an exclusive non-slip foam backing. Why is that important? Because people falling down the aisle is not cute
Check out this blog about the top 10 wedding products you need and where to find them!
Studio One Photography
What can you put on your aisle runner? Anything you want. Monogram? Sure. Glitter? Easy. Crazy complicated hieroglyphics? Done. These runners are hand drawn and hand painted, and you can catch some amazing behind the scenes of their artists on their IG page right here. 
Wedding Planner Tip: Be sure to rope off the aisle so that guests do not walk on the runner before the processional. These runners should be put down in advance of the ceremony, so let your planner/design handle that and you’ll be all set!
Custom Aisle Runner for a wedding ceremony
Domenick Michael Photography

XOJuliet

Writer’s block is a nightmare (trust me, I know). But if you’re already tossing and turning over that toast you have to write, then this is the product to help you sleep at night.
Vow and toast writing services plus 9 other must have wedding products featured in this blog!
Domenick Michael Photography
XOJuliet is a website that offers writing assistance for everything from vows to the toasts. Not sure what to say at all? Maybe you have some ideas but don’t know how to put them together? XOJuliet has the package for you, and if you mention the code “RothweilerEventDesign” you’ll save 15% off everything.
The Top 10 Wedding Products you need to know about and where to find them!
Justin Tinapay Photography
As a wedding planner, I find that many people struggle with toasts, and I love this service. It’s never a good idea to “wing it” on the wedding day (I could tell you stories to convince you), and waiting until the last minute is another sounds good but not really good idea. This isn’t cramming for a physics exam the night before, so take the time you need to prep and work with XOJuliet in advance of the wedding date. 
They also offer hashtag assistance, so if you’re coming up empty, let their experts put together some options for you to choose from. Visit their website here and mention “RothweilerEventDesign” to save 15% off your order!
The top 10 wedding products you need to know about and where to buy them!
Jessica Janae Photography

Engaging Invites

A product I have been in love with since I first met the owner of the company is Engaging Invites. Featured in one of my YouTube “Favorites” videos and in an interview, it’s no wonder this made my list of the top 10 wedding products you need to know about!
Our Top 10 Wedding Products that you need and don't know about....Read the blog now!
George Lui
No matter what your wedding vibe is: garden party, destination, gatsby…Engaging Invites can create a showstopping invitation that will be sure to impress your guests. Their motto? “Say it with video”. That’s right, you can invite guests to your wedding with a video and Engaging Invites can even design it for you!
The Top 10 Wedding Products You Need to Know About! Read the blog to see them all!
Alex Borysenko
Perfect for a Save the Date, or even as part of your wedding table decor, there are countless ways to incorporate this wedding product into your big day. You can visit their website to find out more about the process including when to order and how shipping works! 

Repeat Roses

The Top 10 Wedding Products you Need to Know About (and probably don't). Read the blog for details!
Images by Berit
Wedding flowers can get a little cray cray, amiright? Check out one of our favorite florists above, Chad of Carroll’s. He basically brought in a forest and assembled 20 plus centerpieces for a beautiful wedding we designed. You can see the whole thing right here.
But what happens to all of those gorgeous flowers once the wedding is done? If you’re like a lot of my brides, you don’t want to see them go straight to the dumpster. Enter Repeat Roses, an organization that will come in and re-purpose those flowers for a good cause.
The Top 10 Wedding Products You Need to Know About (But Probably Don't). Read the blog for more!
Images by Berit
Repeat Roses will come in at the end of your wedding and take those flowers, re-arrange them, and distribute them to local non-profits, residents of hospices and cancer treatment facilities (to name a few places). Make you feel a bit better about spending all that money on flowers you’ll only have for 24 hours? I thought so. Head over to their website for more details and to find out when to contact them about donating your wedding flowers. 
bridal bouquet
Jessica Janae Photography

Ever Laser

Laser cut is a huge trend and has been for quite some time now. You can do so much and with endless ways to incorporate laser cut pieces, it’s no wonder brides are all about this wedding trend. 
The Top 10 Wedding Products You Need to Know About (But Probably Don't). Read the blog for all the details!
Domenick Michael Photography
But there are so many companies that do the laser cut thing, so how do you know which one to use? Well, you read my blog to find out! Ever Laser is the only company I would trust with laser cut details like that hashtag sign above they created for one of my Fall couples. They do everything from cake toppers to signage and even table names and numbers!
The Top 10 Wedding Products You Need to Know About (But Probably Don't). Read the blog for all of the details!
Domenick Michael Photography
Whether you want to use laser cut as a big part of your wedding decor, or just use it in a few places at your wedding reception, Ever Laser is the company you can depend on. And yes, they can do silver if gold isn’t your thing. Get over to their website to start putting together your order!

Artemix Custom Tattoos

Looking for a fun favor to send your wedding guests home with? Having a more non-traditional wedding? Or maybe looking for something unique for the bridal shower or bachelorette party? You’ve committed to one person for the rest of your life, but maybe that’s all the commitment you can handle?
The Top 10 Wedding Products You Need to Know About (And Probably Don't)! Read the blog now!
Justin Tinapay Photography
Artemix Custom Tattoos is so. damn. cool. Whether you have their artists at your wedding or another event like your bridal shower or engagement party, they can create any tattoo you want to be airbrushed onto your guests. The design can be in black or any color that you choose. It last anywhere from 3-5 days, but the pictures and the memories will be talked about for long after that.
The Top 10 Wedding Products You Need to Know About (But Probably Don't). Read the blog for more!
Justin Tinapay Photography
So what if you’re not ready for the real ink? Your guests probably wouldn’t be all hyped to get a needle in their skin in between salad and the main course either. Contact Artemix for a little fun and mention this blog for 15% off! 

MannaEStore

groom jacket
Images by Berit
Sorry brides, this one isn’t for you. You’ve got the dress, so shouldn’t your groom get to dress up like a rockstar too? 
Yes. The answer is “yes”.
Not every groom wants to rent a tuxedo and suit rentals aren’t the easiest to find when you’re picky (as many grooms are believe me). MannaEStore entered my life a little over a year ago (or maybe longer but I’m old and have no concept of time anymore) and I love them. The second my groom tells me he doesn’t want to rent his wedding day wardrobe, I introduce him to MannaEStore
Groom jacket
Images by Berit
I am a huge (like size of Africa huge) fan of customization in weddings. You two aren’t like anyone else so why should your wedding be a carbon copy of something you found on Pinterest? A custom suit from MannaEStore means everything is custom: the shirt, the entire jacket, the pants, the cufflinks…and my favorite: the hashtag on the inside of the jacket. 
Not only are the details custom, but they are made to measure which means you won’t show up to the wedding in a jacket that’s too big and pants that are too short. They do entire wedding parties too so everyone can look like a boss. This is absolutely a wedding product you need.

BoxFox

What did the fox say? He said that he can totally handle those custom gifts you need. Looking for a the perfect “will you be my bridesmaid” gift? What about a thank you to your parents? Got those hotel bags covered? 
The Top 10 Wedding Products You Need To Know About (But Probably Don't). Read the blog now!
Jessica Janae Photography
You’ve seen those cute boxes on Pinterest full of fun stuff like bath bombs and candles. BoxFox is a company that offers both pre-curated boxed (meaning you don’t actually have to think because they do it for you) and boxes that you create on your own. When you visit their website you can see all of the amazing stuff they have; perfect for everyone involved in your wedding.
bride and bridesmaids
Justin Tinapay Photography
BoxFox will help you put together quality, personalized themed boxes and you can visit their website for shipping and timing information right here

Wedding Dressing Services

Bustles, buttons and bows…all can be really annoying on the day of the wedding. Your maid of honor was with you at the final fitting, but on the wedding day she completely forgets how to bustle your gown? Aunt Sally knows how to do it though and she and her bright red lipstick are quickly approaching you to help.
Not a good time.
Corset bridal gown
Studio One Photography
I can bustle pretty much any gown by now, but sometimes my team and myself are busy running the actual wedding that we can’t spare 30 minutes it takes to lace up a corset. It’s also not always possible for someone on my team to spend 97 minutes steaming a cathedral length veil and all 427 bridesmaids’ dresses.
One of the wedding vendors you might have heard rumors about is a wedding dresser. A personal stylist for the bride and her squad is essential on the wedding day. They are there, not just for steaming and dressing, but they stay on hand for all of those pictures too!
Bride in gown
Gabelli Studios
When you’re spending that much money on photos and video, how happy will you be when the photos are perfect except for that one button that is undone in every last photo? Bring along a wedding dresser and boom, instant zen. 

Honeyfund

You want to register for money, don’t you? Towels are great, and yay monogrammed sheets but….
Honeyfund is an online registry that you can create for free where your guests can give you…you guessed it…M-O-N-E-Y. Should you create a registry for some basic house stuff to appease the Aunt Sally’s in your family? Yes. But that doesn’t mean you can’t create a registry for what you really want.

Just like any other registry, Honeyfund is available online for guests to access and “make purchases”. Once online, they can pay with a credit card (they don’t even have to have actual money….BONUS) and you can put that money towards your honeymoon or any vendor that Honeyfund is partnered with.
It’s your wedding. Get what you really want. Set up a free registry right here. Oh, and it’s free for your guests to use as well. Plus, you’ll get to set up a wedding webpage and see all of the honeymoon packages once you’re there.
See? You can ask for money for your wedding.
We put together the 10 top wedding products you NEED but probably never heard of right here in this blog! Click through for more!
Images by Berit

What do you think of our top 10 wedding products? Can you share more with other engaged couples? Leave your comments below with your “must-haves”!

10 Spring Wedding Ideas

As I write this, the 689th winter storm is quickly approaching the area. It’s the first day of Spring and Mother Nature does not care. Meanwhile, even my three year old is done with the snow. So, to help everybody get ready for Spring (whenever it decides to arrive), I put together 10 Spring wedding ideas that you can steal for your own big day!

Spring wedding inspiration blog

10 Spring Wedding Ideas

When you think “Spring Wedding” you probably think of flowers, right? 
“Flowers. For Spring. Groundbreaking.” -Devil Wears Prada-
It’s a pretty obvious choice to use flowers as much as possible if you’re having a Spring wedding. But most blogs will tell you to just use peonies or other Spring style flowers and you’ll be set. There’s also the idea to use Spring colors like pinks and blues which will only end up making your wedding look like an Easter egg hunt. 
Lighter colors are absolutely the way to go for a Spring wedding, but the answer isn’t just pink and blue centerpieces. There are plenty of color combinations available so you don’t have to feel restricted to pastels. Once you have those colors chosen, you can work with your designer and florist to incorporate them into the decor; particularly the flowers. 

1. Use a Floral Touch at Every Place Setting

Give your guests a touch of Spring when they sit down to your reception by placing a flower either on the napkin and menu or charger plate.
Lavender sprig at a wedding place setting
Images by Berit
If you’re using a charger plate, opt for one with a simple or neutral border, which will allow the floral piece to stand out. For couples offering their guests a meal choice, this is a great way to compliment the menu card as well. 

Floral place setting for a wedding

Instead of using a charger plate, or if your venue does not have the dinner plate pre-set on the tables, use a pop of Spring with a colored napkin to act as the backdrop for your floral piece. Can’t decide on what flower to use? Mix it up and have your florist use two different blooms for every other place setting. 

2. Flower Girl Power

If you have a flower girl or 4 in your wedding party, it’s super easy to incorporate the Spring trend through their dress and even accessories. 
Flower girl ideas for a spring wedding
Jessica Janae Photography
Look for a flower girl dress with a floral pattern or one that can be accessorized with a floral belt. No matter what your colors are, the flower girl wardrobe doesn’t necessarily follow a set of rules and doesn’t have to match everyone else in the wedding party. Don’t be afraid to use a bright pink or purple rose as an accent, even if your colors are white and green. 

3. Flower Crowns

Flower crowns are insanely popular right now (even though I used them at my wedding 100 years ago BTW) and the options are endless. Your florist can create this Spring look for your flower girls, which is always something little girls are excited to wear.
Flower girl floral crowns
Justin Tinapay Photography
Of course, flower crowns aren’t just for flower girls. Bridesmaids are wearing them now and even brides are choosing to wear them over the traditional veils.
Floral crown for a bride
Alicia King Photography

4. Go Outside

Truly having a Spring wedding? Take it outside, even if that means just your wedding ceremony. 
Outdoor wedding ceremony florals
Justin Tinapay Photography
If you’re not in an area where it “looks” like Spring outside, consider adding touches of flowers. Think beyond the ceremony arch or arbor, and put flowers on banisters and railings. Summer weddings can still have a spring vibe, even if the flowering plants have all turned green. Work with your designer to create a Spring vibe, even if it’s just your ceremony being held outside. 
Bride and groom with dog for outdoor wedding
Justin Tinapay Photography
If you are planning on hosting your wedding outside, it’s always important to have a Plan B. For how to prepare for bad weather on your wedding day, be sure to check out our blog on that subject here

5. Bright Colors

Remember earlier when I said you don’t have to make your wedding look like an Easter egg hunt to get the Spring look? While I’m not going to tell you to use bold colors like emerald green or marsala red, you can and should use bright colors like pinks and yellows. 
Spring bridal bouquet
Mary + Roy Photography
Spring is all about new life and new beauty, and sometimes nothing is more beautiful than a bouquet of bright flowers. If you’re worried about the colors being too intense, you can tone it down be using paler colors as well. 
Spring floral centerpiece
Sarah Schulte Photography
Another Spring idea for your flowers is to add in fresh greenery to break up the brighter colors. The greenery acts like a base to all of that color, which is perfect if you’re looking for a more modern look.

6. Lace Dresses

I know there are plenty of brides trying to skip right over this one because you hate lace but hear me out. The reason lace is a staple in weddings is because it’s classic and versatile. For some reason, most brides hear the word “lace” and think of their grandmother’s tablecloths. Meanwhile, lace, when done right, gives a soft and romantic look that is perfect for a Spring wedding. 
Spring bridesmaid
Mary + Roy Photography
When used with other fabrics, lace is a perfect compliment. Even if the bride isn’t wearing a single piece of lace, the bridesmaids can and there are endless options available that even the biggest lace-hater bride would love. Still not convinced? Check out these gorgeous examples our friends at The Dessy Shop have available.

7. Blue Groomsmen Suits

More and more, grooms and groomsmen are pulling away from black tuxedos. Aside from the black tie formal weddings, my couples are always asking me for other options. This trend is likely to continue as more weddings are being designed outside of the standard banquet hall and in places where a black tuxedo just wouldn’t make sense. 
Blue Groomsmen Suit for a Spring Wedding
Jessica Janae Photography
Dressing the groom and groomsmen in blue suits is a great Spring idea for so many reasons. The shades of blue available are endless and even the darkest ones are perfect for Spring. The color is also incredibly formal and can be dressed up (or down) using accessories including shirts, ties and even shoes.
Dusty blue groomsmen tuxedo for a spring wedding
Images by Berit
Not sold on the blue color for your formal Spring wedding? We love when our grooms work with our custom tuxedo designer to create the perfect mix of what they’re looking for. If you want to ditch that black tuxedo, but you know mom wants to see you in something more formal, meet halfway and go for the satin details without everything else. 

8. Cake Flowers

Yes, we’re back to flowers again!! I am a huge fan of real flowers instead of sugary ones on cakes, but for Spring weddings, this is a must
White wedding cake with real flowers
Domenick Michael Photography
There are plenty of ways to add flowers to your wedding cake, making this Spring idea the most versatile on the list. Whether you want to cover the cake in a cascade of roses or simply add a few flowers here and there, we have all the inspiration you need on our wedding cake board right here. 
Roses on top of a wedding cake
Gabelli Studio

9. Floral Linens

Linens are one of my favorite ways to get creative with wedding decor. Floral linen options can be anything from a flat pattern to a more textured cloth. But no matter the color or colors of the floral pattern linen, this is a great spring idea for any time of the year.
Floral reception table
Gabelli Studio
They are also one of the most complicated components, especially when you’re dealing with (at most) a bunch of swatches trying to figure out what works. Since linens can also add up quickly, I always recommend adding linens to a few signature tables such as: cake table, gift/card table, escort card table and the sweetheart table. Since these tables can be different sizes, even using the same linen for all four tables will look different and add dimension to the entire look. 

Floral sweetheart table

10. Sweetheart Table Floral Explosion

The sweetheart table will be a major focus of the reception for the entire night, even if the bride and groom don’t spend much time actually sitting at it. Many times, the sweetheart table will be overlooked and wind up with little decor or just the bouquets from the bridesmaids. While there’s nothing wrong with keeping it simple, there are many brides and grooms that don’t think about this part of the decor until it’s too late. 

The sweetheart table is a great way to bring a little Spring into your wedding decor. Since the table is much smaller, it wouldn’t make sense to simply add another centerpiece. Framing the table with florals is basically inviting the wedding guests into a Spring garden anytime they visit with the bride and groom (which is often). 
Sweetheart table
Domenick Michael Photography
Whether you want to create a lush floral design that drapes to the floor, or frame the table with flowers and candles, you can totally bring a bit of Spring into your wedding by focusing on your sweetheart table!

Wedding Blog about Spring Weddings

Are you having a Spring wedding or bringing a bit of the season into your own big day? What are you doing to make that happen? Share your Spring ideas in the comments below for other engaged couples!

Plan B: How to Handle Rain on Your Wedding Day

All brides stress about different things going wrong on their wedding day. Some have very specific things they are worried about, while others are worried about everything. But every bride, even the chillest ones, all worry about one thing: How to handle rain on your wedding day.
As a wedding planner, my couples trust me to handle everything to make their day run smoothly. This includes things completely out of my control, like Mother Nature. In this blog, I’m sharing how to prepare for bad weather and why that preparation starts on Day 1 of planning.

A blog about handling bad weather on your wedding day

How to Deal With Rain on Your Wedding Day

First things first: this blog is for every bride and groom. Many of my couples choose to get married indoors because they don’t want to worry about the weather. But it’s not just outdoor ceremonies that are affected by bad weather. 
When planning a wedding, it’s important to consider the entire day and not just when the guests are there. That means including getting ready, taking pictures, traveling between locations and more. 
It’s likely that you will get ready at a hotel or private home, as most venues do not have the space brides and grooms need. If you ideally want to get ready at home, consider the distance from there to your venue. If it’s going to be a long drive, it will be even longer with bad weather…especially snow. A hotel closer to the venue might be your best option, so be sure to ask potential venues for a list of ones they work with in the area. 


 

Another part of getting ready includes hair and make-up services. Many times, a styling team will come to your location, but not always. As a wedding planner, I always recommend that my brides work with teams that will travel. Going to a salon might seem like no big deal, but on the wedding day, the less traveling everyone has to do, the better. 
Especially in bad weather…
It’s not a pretty picture to see a bride drive to a salon with her bridesmaids and leave in the rain. Can you say “frizz”? Handling small hair and make up touch ups throughout the day is one thing, but adding 50 more bobby pins to your updo that the wind pulls apart once you leave the salon to go to the wedding venue? Not a good time. 

Outdoor wedding ceremony location

Picture time…

Even in the winter, brides and grooms wind up outside for pictures at one point. Leading up to the wedding day, you’ll work with your wedding photographer on a “shot list” which will include the names of everyone taking pictures as well as where those pictures will take place. 
Your preparation pictures aside, prior to the wedding ceremony, you can expect to be outside for wedding party photos. This is something to consider when selecting where you will be getting ready. Again, the less traveling, the better, so if the home or hotel has an outdoor area that works, that’s perfect. But, if the weather isn’t favorable, you’ll be restricted to the indoor location. Wedding Planner Tip: Be sure to discuss with hotels where you can take pictures indoors if you have to. 
Outdoor farm ceremony
Mary + Roy Photography
Many couples want to find a location for pictures such as a park or garden. Your planner and photographer can suggest places, but it’s essential to have a Plan B in place. Why?

Quick story….

I once planned a wedding where the couple got ready at separate locations and then met at an outdoor location for photos. Their immediate family as well as their wedding party were also involved in these photos, so that meant coordinating both groups getting ready, as well as the transportation to get them from point “a” to point “b”. There was a fair amount of difference between the locations, as well as from the photo location to the venue.
The bride chose to hire a photo and video team that I had never worked with (no, I do not know why) and they selected the photo location. We couldn’t take pictures at the separate locations due to distance, and we couldn’t go to the venue because of another wedding happening earlier in the day.
This left us with this one, outdoor location, for all of the photos to be taken prior to the wedding. My suggestion to have an indoor location as a backup fell on deaf ears.
….And then Tropical Storm “Shoulda Woulda Coulda Had A Backup Plan” came through on the wedding day….I have never used every last poncho in my emergency kit ever
Bride and groom for an outdoor wedding ceremony
Alicia King Photography
At that point, my hands were tied. The time to put together Plan B is not when gale force winds are whipping mud onto your white wedding gown. If you are planning on taking pictures outdoors with everyone prior to the ceremony, make sure you also have an indoor location available. Wedding Planner Tip: This can severely affect your timeline, so make sure your photo and video team still has enough time to capture what you want.

Onto the Venue

Those couples hosting an outdoor wedding still aren’t the only ones that need to worry about the weather. Let’s say that everyone is getting ready on site and the photos are all being taken indoors. When selecting a venue, it’s important to find out what happens in the case of weather so bad that the power goes out. Do they have an on-site generator? How are those situations handled?
For pictures being taken at the venue, be sure to find out what indoor locations are available. Depending on the time of day/year, there might be limited sunlight to work with anyway, and if you need those family pictures with Aunt Sally, you’ll need someplace to actually take them. The venue coordinator will be able to give you the best locations (both inside and outside) for photos. 
Bride outside
Justin Tinapay Photography
If it turns out you are one of those couples hosting an outdoor wedding, Plan B needs to be discussed at length. 
First and foremost, it’s important to know what part or parts of the wedding are outdoors. If the ceremony and cocktail hour are outside, with an indoor reception, then where do they move to in case it rains? Will there be a room flip, and if so, how long will that take? Will that affect the set-up timing for everything from tables and chairs to linens and flowers?
It’s also important to know when that call will be made. If the venue only needs one hour to move a ceremony indoors, but your florist need a full day for set-up, then the florist makes the call and not the venue. If that happens, how much will your vision change? It’s important to discuss with your florist how the set-up will change if you’re stuck with Plan B.
Tented wedding reception
Justin Tinapay Photography
Keep in mind, it’s more than just rain and snow to consider. Extreme temperatures can make outdoor pictures difficult and your guests might not appreciate sitting in 90 degree heat for your ceremony. 


 

Planning for bad weather on your wedding day is never something couples want to do. It’s not likely that you’ll love Plan B just as much as Plan A…or else it would’ve been Plan A to begin with. But it’s so important to consider the entire wedding day and how the weather can affect it all before you make any major decisions.

Are you getting married outside or hoping to play it safe with an indoor wedding? What plans do you have set up in case Mother Nature crashes the big day? Share your tips in the comments section to help out other brides and grooms!