Wedding planning can be a stressful time, especially if you let it get to you. Read on for five ways to stay sane during your wedding planning process.

wedding-planning

1. Have date nights with your partner where you agree not to talk about the wedding at all. You have to have some time together when you can talk about all the other important things in your life!

2. Schedule some time with friends. Whether it is a pedicure, a night out, or a weekend away, getting in some quality bestie time is often just what the doctor ordered to beat the wedding planning stress.

3. Enlist help. You can’t plan your entire wedding all by yourself! Whether that help comes from hiring a great wedding planner, or from you and your fiance’s parents or friends, ask for help and delegate tasks when you can.

4. Indulge in some stress-beating activities. Whether it’s a couples massage, regular yoga workouts, a weekend hike, having a cocktail or two, or binge watching your favorite cheesy television show, find whatever works for you and do it! Repeat as often as possible to feel relaxed.

5. Get enough rest. We know it’s easier said than done, but the best thing you can do to be stress-free (and look good too!) is to get enough sleep. If you finding yourself staying up late to work on DIY projects, or if your future spouse thinks your laptop is permanently attached to your lap, set a limit of how much you’ll do in the evening and stick to it. Better yet, unplug and spend some time relaxing before bed so you’ll sleep even better.

Wondering when on earth to start thinking about wedding invitations? There’s a whole slew of steps involved in finding, ordering, and sending the perfect invites, so we’ve mapped out every part of the process right here. You’re welcome!

wedding_invitations

Photo by: Lara Hotz

 

Find inspiration – 6+ months before the wedding
Invitations should NOT be your first wedding planning priority (you have a venue to find and a caterer to hire!), but start browsing the web for styles you love. You never know if an invitation suite could inspire your whole wedding style!

Meet with stationers or order a sample kit – 4 – 6 months before the wedding
Just like you’d “interview” other wedding vendors, you’ll want to get a feel for invitation options before committing. If you’re hiring a local independent designer, meet with them in person to review some of their past work and discuss what you’re imagining. Opting for an online stationery resource like Wedding Paper Divas or Minted? Request a sample kit to see (and feel!) paper types, colors and more.

Pro tip: You might want to think about other wedding day stationery, like menu cards and programs, before this — especially if you want all your stationery to coordinate.

Order the invitations – 3 to 5 months before the wedding
Printing and shipping take time, so the sooner you place the order, the better. Plus, ordering earlier means you’ll have time to see proofs and make changes (without any time crunch). Ordering the invitations includes deciding what they’ll say, so remember that you’ll have to have your venue, menu, accommodations, and timeline finalized first. If the stationer is handling your envelopes, too, you’ll need a guest list ready.

Address the envelopes and assemble the pieces – 2 to 3 months before the wedding
If you’re hiring a calligrapher to address the envelopes, they’ll likely want around two weeks to do the job (but it depends on your guest list and the specific artist, so ask ahead of time!). No calligrapher? Whether you’re printing or hand-writing addresses, it’s still helpful to give yourself two weeks in case of any mistakes.

While putting all the pieces of your invitations into envelopes isn’t really hard it definitely is time-consuming! We’d recommend having a little party with your family or wedding party to expedite the process. (Just keep the snacks and drinks away from the freshly printed stationery!)

Send the invitations – 6 to 8 weeks before the wedding
You might have already sent a save-the-date to get your wedding on guests’ schedules, but sending invitations between one and two months before the wedding gives them plenty of time to plan. After all, they might need to make travel arrangements or find a babysitter.

Ask for RSVPs – At least 2 to 3 weeks before the wedding
A final headcount is key for the caterer, and they’ll probably want your total tally a week before the wedding. A few extra weeks out gives you time to call non-responders and ask if they’ll be attending. Plus, you’ll need some time to plan the final seating chart.

Of course, you’ll want to adjust these guidelines for your particular wedding. For example, you might want to send invitations a little earlier for a destination wedding. Or, if you’re having a super intimate wedding, you might be able to get away with pushing the RSVP date back a bit. But this starting point should point you in the right direction!

 

These days, more and more couples are financing their own weddings; with the average age of marriage on the rise, today’s couples often have more cash at their disposal than those who married 20 years ago. However, there are still plenty of couples who need parental support to pay for their big day. But asking for that kind of financial backing can be a sensitive subject, so here’s some advice on how to make the big money talk as painless as possible.

 

Wedding-Budget-love-2-love-wedding-planner

Photo by: I Love Wednesday Photography

 

1. Talk to your partner about the type of wedding you’d like to have before you do anything else. 

Sit down with your spouse-to-be and have a frank talk about the type of wedding you want to have, whether it’s a small backyard affair, a beautiful barn wedding or a black-tie. Details like when and where you’d like to marry and roughly how many guests you want to invite, will help you estimate your wedding costs. With those details in mind, start researching how much you may need to spend to make those dreams come true.

2. Decide how much the two of you can afford to contribute. 

Before you ask your parents for financial support, it’s important to determine how much you and your partner can realistically bring to the table. Do you have savings or will you be able to put away a certain amount of money each month during your engagement? Whatever the case, you’ll want to have a solid understanding of what you two alone can afford before you blindly ask your parents for help. They may actually be willing to chip in a little more if they know you’re willing to spend some of your own money, too.

3. Don’t commit to anything until you know your EXACT budget. 

Don’t sign on ANY dotted lines until you’ve completely finalised your budget. Don’t assume you know how much your parents can contribute and don’t just assume you’ll figure it out later. That could turn out to be a very costly mistake…the last thing you want is to have put down a deposit on a venue you ultimately can’t afford. Be patient and once all money matters are set in stone, get your planning on!

4. Ask your parents to sit down and discuss the wedding budget. 

Whatever you do, do NOT surprise your parents with a chat about the budget. Give them a heads-up so they can look through their personal finances and get on the same page. You want them to be able to prepare for the conversation rather than having a knee-jerk N-O reaction. Keep in mind that whether your parents are divorced, still married or remarried, you’ll want to talk to all parties before accepting any financial contributions or making any major decisions.

5. Have The Talk. 

Once you’ve set a date to chat, it’s time to get down to business. Let your parents know what your ideal wedding looks like and then present the facts: the average costs in your preferred location, any backup options available, and the amount you’re able to contribute. Then, if they haven’t brought it up already, ask them if they’d be able to contribute anything to your budget. Make sure it’s clear that you’re not demanding a contribution, just inquiring. When you get their final number, be grateful for any support!

6. Be sure you understand your parents’ expectations before accepting their contributions. 

If your parents offer to financially back your wedding in any way, discuss how involved they want to be in the planning process before accepting any money. Some parents may want to plan the whole thing if they’re paying for the whole things, while others may be happy to just foot the bill whenever the time comes to pay for goods and services. Just make sure you’re on the same page from the beginning and that you’re comfortable with any of your parents’ demands.

7. Keep in mind that bigger isn’t always better. 

If after talking about the details with your parents you agree on a number that’s not quite as large as you originally thought it would be, you might feel disappointed at first. But while it’s hard to let go of your dream wedding day details, having a small budget actually has some big benefits. It will force you to get creative and focus on what really matters!

Rules? What wedding rules? We’re all about making your wedding as perfectly you as possible, no matter what. So, here are eleven traditional big day elements you can totally bail on.

wedding-rules

Photo by: Sarkodie Photography

 

1. Wearing a wedding dress.

Not down with a gown? If you’re just not feeling a frock, try a wedding pantsuit, jumpsuit, romper, or separates.

2. Wearing a white gown.

Blush, mint, and blue are are increasingly popular options. But if you want something a little more avant-garde, or you’re totally not support of the traditional implications of a white gown, it’s a-okay to rock your favorite color!

3. Choosing even wedding parties.

It’s highly unlikely that you and your partner have the exact same number of friends you want to include in your big day, so no need to force it. You may just need to get a bit more creative with the processional and photographs!

4. Having gendered bridal parties.

Who says you can’t have a “man of honor” or a “groomswoman”? Fill your wedding party with the friends and family that matter most, regardless of gender

5. Making your ‘maids wear matching dresses.

Why not embrace your besties’ unique styles? Consider setting some guidelines, like length, color, cut, or fabric, and let your bridal party pick what they’re wearing (with your final approval, of course).

6. Carrying a bouquet.

Love flowers but don’t want to keep up with a massive bouquet all day? Consider an alternative, like wearing a flower crown, a corsage, or a floral necklace.

7. Reciting traditional vows.

Your “I dos” don’t have to be cut and dry. We love the idea of personalizing your wedding vows to reflect your individual love story, whether that’s through writing your own vows or even singing a song.

8. Having a first dance.

Not into the limelight? It’s absolutely okay to forgo the first dance. We recommend choosing an alternative activity, like a champagne toast, bridal party dance routine, or photo slideshow instead!

9. Doing a bouquet or garter toss.

Another tradition that you can totally skip if you aren’t a fan of being front and center. Instead of a bouquet toss, consider inviting friends to the floor for a fun single gals dance, or just keep the party going and ditch the notion altogether.

10. Having the night end after the reception.

Who says the party has to end with the last song? Consider hosting an after-party post-reception, or just pick a bar nearby that all your friends can meet you at afterward!

11. Jetting off to your honeymoon the morning after the wedding.

These days, you can take a honeymoon whenever you want or you can skip it altogether. If traveling sounds totally overwhelming, opt for a staycation or minimoon, or hold off on the big trip until you’ve got the time and energy!

We’re not typically in the business of telling you what you should and shouldn’t do on your wedding day because we believe that every couple and every wedding is unique. However, the more we think about it, there’s one aspect of your day that we really (really) do encourage: writing your own wedding vows. When it comes down to it, what’s most important aren’t the decorations on your tables or the colour of your bridesmaids’ dresses, but rather the marriage that begins on your wedding day. If you’re still on the fence about whether or not to write your own vows, we’ve got four good reasons why you absolutely should.

wedding-vows

Photo by: I Love Wednesdays

 

1. What You Vow is Up to You
Your love and your relationship are one-of-a-kind and your vows should be too! When you read your vows, you’re reading what you are uniquely promising to your partner – something no one else can decide for you. It may be helpful to look at traditional vows for inspiration when deciding what promises you want to make, but at the end of the day, the most honest and true vows are inspired by your love for the person you’ve chosen to marry.

A great place to start when deciding what to vow is your story together. How have you been there for your partner, or how have they been there for you, over the years? Is there a time when you felt you fell short for them in the past but are now aware how you can do better in the future? Consider the tough times and the tremendous times you’ll no doubt experience in your lives together and write vows that address how you want to handle those situations as they come.

2. Remember Why You’re Getting Married in the First Place
Wedding planning can take a lot out of a couple. It’s easy to lose sight of what’s most important when your conversations revolve around choosing a menu for your reception and going to dress fittings. The experience of sitting down to write your vows is a wonderful opportunity to remember why you’re getting married in the first place. This process can help ground you and connect you to your partner when wedding planning seems to get out of control. After the wedding is over, you’re married to this person and get to start your lives together. Embrace all the feelings that come with embarking on your next chapter and write vows that honour this time in your lives.

3. Your Guests Are Here to Celebrate Your Love
We hear a lot of couples say they want their wedding to feel like “them” – and you know what – your guests want that too! You loved ones are gathering on your big day to see two people choose to love each other forever and they want to hear why and how you’re going to keep choosing each other every day for the rest of your lives. Wedding guests pack tissues in their purses and pockets for a reason – they’re expecting to cry! Don’t be afraid to get a little emotional at the altar; your guests will appreciate it more than you know!

4. It’s About What’s In Your Heart, Not How Good a Writer You Are
The number one reason we hear that couples don’t want to write their own vows is that they feel like their writing skills aren’t up to the challenge. We’re here to tell you that it doesn’t matter! Great vows come from the heart and no one will be paying attention to how you decide to string those words together, just that you said them. As long as you’re honest and speak from the heart, your vows will be perfect because they’re yours!

The signature wedding cocktail is one wedding tradition we absolutely love. It combines two things we’re big fans of alcohol and theme parties! (Also, serving just beer, liquor, and a signature cocktail is a fantastic way to save money on your wedding.) If you’re struggling to try to figure out what cocktail represents you as a couple, here are three tips for choosing your signature wedding cocktail for your big day.

 

signature-wedding-cocktail

Photo by: Lara Hotz Photography

 

1. Take inspiration from your location.

If you’re getting married in a state or region that is known for a specific type of alcohol, incorporate that into your drink somehow. It’s a fun little detail that guests like and it’s a way to share a bit of your culture with out-of-towners. If there is no local distillery or brewery, try something inspired by or incorporating another local food.

2. Think about your style and tastes as a couple, and how you could work that into your drink.

This could mean working your shared love of Scotch, your local sports team, or your dogs into your drink. If you’re world travelers, introduce guests to a drink you tried on your favorite trip. It doesn’t have to be super literal either. If you’re both major jokesters, a tried-and-true drink with a clever new name might be the perfect signature cocktail.

3. Serve two signature cocktails.

If you’re a tequila girl but your partner can’t stand it, choose two different cocktails that complement each other. I love when couples do this and put up a cute sign on the bar letting guests know which drink represents which half of the couple.

 

It seems like every time a fun new trend hits weddings, someone is already declaring it “over.” The wedding photo booth is one of those trends; it’s gone from a fun novelty to a common occurrence at every wedding. Now many couples are worried it’s played out. But before you put away the funny props and fake mustaches, here are five reasons it’s still worth it to have a wedding photo booth.

Photo Booth

Photo by Cliq Booth

 

1. It’s a good source of entertainment.

Having a few activities besides dancing at your reception is a good way to make sure all your guests have fun. Sometimes people just want a break from busting a move, and the photo booth provides a nice escape. It’s also a good place for people to gather and socialize.

2. It creates a wedding keepsake — for you and your guests.

A lot of guests will appreciate having a photo of themselves with their friends, their kids, or their date. But even if they don’t care about that, you will love having fun pictures of your wedding guests. If you think of it like a modern guest book, it seems silly to skip it just because it’s been done before.

3. Your guests don’t spend hours looking at online inspiration.

While your also-engaged maid of honor might think photo booths have become a wedding cliche, that’s probably because she’s got wedding planning (and attending!) fatigue. But your older relatives and guests who don’t attend many weddings will likely still find the photo booth totally delightful and fun.

4. Just because a wedding trend is popular doesn’t mean it has to be abandoned.

If you think your photo booth is going to be the coolest thing ever that none of your guests have ever seen before, you may need a reality check. But if it’s just a new wedding tradition that you happen to like, who cares if it’s been done before? Some elements of your wedding will be personalized and unique, but many others will be part of bigger traditions that started out as hip trends before becoming ubiquitous.

5. Every photo booth is different.

The vibe at every wedding is so different, thanks to everything from the time of day and the venue to how strong the bartender is mixing drinks. That means every photo booth will be different too. Even if people are overtaking pictures with their dates, they might love a chance to take silly pics with old friends or relatives whom they haven’t seen in a while.

 

Thinking about hiring a wedding planner to help with your big day? Other than the wedding day setup and coordination (which a day of coordinator can cover!), many of the wedding planning duties involve organizing big day logistics prior to the day.

wedding planner

Photographer: Lara Hotz

From finding your style to helping you secure the best vendors, here are five things that your wedding planner will totally take care of:

1. Helping you hone in on your style.

Not so sure what type of bride or groom you are? Worry not! A wedding planner will help steer you towards your very own big day style. Maybe you like Mason jars and glitter, but you’re not sure how they go together? Maybe you’re dying to get married in a ballroom, but you can’t imagine serving anything other than pizza? A pro planner knows how to help you build a cohesive vision that reflects who you are as a couple.

 

2. Working with you to set a budget. 

Building a budget can be a bummer… It’s hard work, after all! But an expert planner will be there to consult you on all the costs associated with your big day. They can advise on where it’s worth spending big and where you’ll probably want to cut costs (which will save you a lot of trouble in the long run). Some wedding experts might even offer a budget-friendly flat fee wedding planning service themselves.

 

3. Sourcing items for your big day. 

Think of your wedding planner as your ultimate personal shopper or the perfect personal wedding concierge. They’ll take your style and vision, and track down all the little pieces that’ll make it a reality. From helping you find your dream gown, to locating those sequins linens you’re just dying to put on the reception tables, to securing a custom cake topper, they’ll seriously hook you up.

 

4. Securing vendors and taking care of contracts.

So many options, and so little time! You’re wedding planner will connect you with vendors they’ve already vetted and help you build relationships with the ones your choose. Your planner can answer any contract questions before you sign, and will attend vendor meetings with you during the planning process.

 

5. Serving as your wedding guru before the big day. 

Your wedding planner knows a lot about the industry. From etiquette advice to answering those tough timeline questions, your planner will be your go-to. That’s why he or she is a wedding expert!

I have seen how hectic and overwhelming the getting ready process can be for brides. Establishing a beauty timeline is essential for creating a stress-free wedding day. Below are my top ten tips to keep things on track for your hair and makeup before you say “I do.”

 

Hair and makeup

Photography by: I Love Wednesday

 

1. To ensure that everything runs smoothly on your event date, be sure to schedule a consultation and trial session with your makeup artist and hair stylist 3-6 months prior to your event. You’ll feel relaxed and won’t be making decisions under pressure.

2. Day-of hair styling will take approximately 40-45 minutes per person, depending on the type of hair style. Makeup applications take approximately 30 minutes per person.

3. Once you’ve determined the time when you need to be ready, we suggest working backwards in 30-40 minute increments to determine an arrival time for your beauty team.For example, if you need to be ready by 3 PM and have six applications/styles total, the start time would be 11 AM for hair and 12 PM for makeup.

4. Contrary to what most people think, it’s actually best for the bride to have her hair and makeup done toward the beginning or middle of the timeline as opposed to the very end. In the (highly likely) event that things are running a tad behind schedule, you don’t want your stylists rushing on the bride.

5. If you are hoping for some getting ready photos, the planned time slot for the bride’s hair and makeup should coordinate with arrival time of your photographer. The day will continue to run smoothly and photos won’t be delayed.

6. Typically, we suggest having hair done first followed by makeup, but I wouldn’t let this stress you out too much! Truthfully, it really doesn’t matter which order you go in.

7. We always suggest having your bridesmaids or other family and friends arrive 5-10 minutes prior to their assigned time slot. This way, if things are running ahead, you can keep the ball rolling.

8. Arrive with dry hair. If possible, wash hair the day before (not the day of) as the oils will help your style hold better. Also, arrive with a clean face sans moisturizer. Your makeup artist will apply primer before your foundation.

9. Ask your beauty team in advance if touch-up time is included or if it can be added into your contract. If touch-ups are not offered or not within your budget, be sure to bring a few key items with you– blotting sheets, pressed powder, and a lip color.

10. If you have a large group and an early ceremony time, ask your beauty team if they can bring assistants with them to save on time. If this is not an option, be sure your guests take their assigned time slots seriously.

Choosing the right wedding florist can make all the difference at your event. Researching wedding vendors can feel totally overwhelming; there are so many options (and so many dollars!) involved, and in many cases, you’re shopping for something completely new to you. So here are 4 basic things you should know before booking your wedding florist.

wedding-florist-love-2-love-wedding-planner

Photographer: Michelle Fiona

1. Should I look for a florist that focuses specifically on weddings and events? 

A lot of retail florists just don’t have the ideas, vision, or time to create dynamic events (0r they just have no interest). Be wary of the retailer that does a lot of weddings; unless they have a business partner or an incredible staff, it’s hard to focus on both aspects of florals and do both well.

2. How many years of experience should a good wedding florist/floral event designer have?

Experience speaks for a lot..at the same time, someone who has been cranking out the same designs for 20 years may not be a fit for the unique style of wedding you want. The visionary up-and-comer may be more your design style, but they may not have the notches on their belt to be able to execute their designs in a professional and timely manner. Finding a balance is key.

3. Is a tablescape mockup included or do I have to pay extra?

Depending on your budget, most designers will include a mockup, but some will charge an additional fee. If you require a visual of the end product, make sure your designer includes this as part of their package. Some brides prefer to leave the design details to their vendor and won’t require a prototype.

4. Can I rent the vessels and candles from my florist or do I have to buy them?

Some floral designers have the inventory to provide these items for a rental fee, which will likely be cheaper than renting or buying them elsewhere.