Wedding Ceremony Music: 3 Things to Consider When Selecting Yours

When we were planning our wedding, I spent waaaaay too much time agonizing over the various music selections, especially those at the ceremony.  Is this song too fast for walking down the aisle?  Are these lyrics appropriate for a wedding ceremony?  Where should the pianist sit?  Oh how I wish I would have had a post like this one!  Today, our very own Steven Vance is giving you the scoop on wedding ceremony music and three things you need to consider when selecting yours!

From Steve…

Among the many other things you need to think about, you might not realize that there are a number of factors to consider when getting your wedding ceremony music right.  While it may seem like there are a million details, your musician or DJ can help you to make it absolutely perfect.  Before I get into them though, first things first…

What are the key ceremony music choices you’ll have to make?

The answers, in some order of importance:

  • The Bride's Procession – This is your big moment!
  • Bridesmaids’ Procession – If you want a separate selection from yourself.  For some very short aisles this may not be practical.
  • Mom's Procession – Again, if you want a separate selection from yourself but it may not be practical with some very short aisles.  Some combine the Moms and the Bridesmaids and then do a separate selection for the Bride.
  • The Recessional – This is at the end of the service and is usually bright and celebratory, announcing “Let's get this party started”.
  • Selection(s) During the Ceremony – You may want music for a Unity Candle Lighting, presenting roses to the moms, etc.  My recent favorite was the Unity Science Experiment.  This couple was right out of “The Big Bang Theory” and they turned two different colored chemical liquids into a unified third color when they combined them.
  • Prelude Music – A selection of 5 – 6 tunes as guests arrive to set the tone and create the atmosphere you want.

Now that you know what music selections you will have to make, here are 3 very important things you’ll want to consider.

1.) Indoor or Outdoor
Most sacred settings, like a church or synagogue, have built-in music and sound system options.  A lot of couples come to us because they want to limit or eliminate the organ.  Adding a violin, harp, flute, cello, guitar, or vocalist can enhance the music at your ceremony.  Make sure you know the music restrictions of your faith!  For example, the Catholic Church rarely allows any popular music to be played and Wagner's “Bridal Chorus” (“Here Comes the Bride”) is usually forbidden in the Jewish service.

In a hotel, club, or banquet hall, music restrictions are diminished but you will have to think about microphones for the officiant and musicians.  Many hotels have an A/V department but there is an extra charge for that service.  Your DJ may be able to handle this but be prepared to pay extra for the earlier set-up that would be required.  Some live music performers may be able to provide a mic into their sound system but most acoustic performers would not offer this option.

In an outdoor setting, the music and sound issues are the same but the key is access to power.  No power, no sound system.  Very few musicians or DJs offer a generator but that could be rented separately. You may not need sound at all outside if your guest list is small and your officiant has a strong voice.  My counsel is always better to have it and not need it than to later wish you had sound.

2.) Contemporary or Classical Music
Are you thinking “Canon in D” or “A Thousand Years”?  Bach and Beethoven or The Beatles?  There is no wrong answer.  As I mentioned earlier, in some settings there may be restrictions but you should try to get as close to what you envision as possible.  Generally, a DJ can provide virtually any song than be downloaded.  It's more complicated for live music.  Most classical favorites are readily available but, for example, a string ensemble needs to have an arrangement for that specific set of instruments to properly perform a piece.  Many arrangements you may have heard by the Vitamin String Quartet have not been published so they are not for sale.  Some ensembles can have an arranger work one up for an extra charge. Vocalists need some sort of backing, which could include organ, piano/keyboards, guitar, or a backing track.  Make sure you know the comfort level of your singer working with other musicians or with a track.

3.) Where to Set Up the Music
The obvious answer is where it can be best heard.  An important factor to consider is sight lines; the musicians need to see what is going on with the procession.  It may look easy in the movies but, believe me, it is not.  Generally, the best spot is toward the front where they can see the entrance area.  But in some spaces, being in the back can work, too.  If it's a huge church, often there is a choir loft but all of the guests – and you – are up front.  Putting the musician(s) at the front will allow the guests to enjoy hearing the music more and the visual impact of seeing the performers do their thing adds value.  A choir loft is extra tough if there is no organist or another person to cue them because they can’t see what is going on underneath them and they are trying to read music at the same time.

In an outdoor setting, you should keep them close to power – if they need it – and shade.  Remember, the musicians or DJ are out in the sun longer than anyone.  Besides them melting, the instruments are vulnerable to going out of tune and even risk serious damage in direct sunlight.

Hope you found this overview helpful but free to contact me if you have more specific questions.

BB here…

Thanks for the guest post today, Steve!  This guy knows his stuff!  To read all about what he can do (and it's a lot), head on over to the Burgh Brides Vendor Guide where you can ask him all your burning wedding music questions.

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12 Wedding Registry Must Haves

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What's one of the best things about getting married?  All of the presents!  It's like Christmas morning every day when you come home from work and see packages on your doorstep.  While the UPS man might get sick of stopping at your house, you'll never get tired of opening all of those fun boxes.  Whether you're registered at Amazon, Target, Crate & Barrel, or any of the other million stores, here are 12 items that are must haves on any wedding registry!

12 Wedding Registry Must Haves from Burgh Brides

KitchenAid Mixer

12 Wedding Registry Must Haves from Burgh Brides

Photo courtesy of Target.com

The Mack Daddy of stand mixers.  A kitchen isn't complete without one if you ask me.  With all sorts of capabilities and attachments available, you'll be whipping up homemade cakes, fresh pastas, and even freshly ground beef in no time.  Martha Stewart who?  Plus, KitchenAid offers a rainbow of colors but isn't the mint a-freaking-dorable?

Decent Flatware

12 Wedding Registry Must Haves from Burgh Brides

Photo courtesy of Macys.com

You're married now.  It's time to upgrade to quality flatware.  No more hand-me-downs from your parents and no more mix of random, mismatched forks and spoons.  I personally love the Knork brand.  It's stainless steel, feels heavy in your hand, and the knife-like edge forks make cutting through food a breeze.  Don't worry; the inside of your mouth is safe though.

Glass Bakeware

12 Wedding Registry Must Haves from Burgh Brides

Photo courtesy of Bed, Bath, & Beyond.com

It seems like Pyrex makes an appearance on every wedding registry.  And rightfully so…this stuff is amazing.  Cakes, casseroles, side dishes, whatever…it's all tastes better when cooked in a Pyrex dish.  Plus the oven/microwave/freezer/dishwasher safe-ness makes it super convenient.  Trust me…you need some.

Fluffy Towels

12 Wedding Registry Must Haves from Burgh Brides

Photo courtesy of Bed, Bath, & Beyond.com

High quality towels are an absolute must!  There is nothing worse than stepping out of the shower and wrapping yourself with a large-scale equivalent of sand paper.  Treat yo self to spa-like luxury with Egyptian cotton towels and your skin will thank you.

A Nespresso Machine

12 Wedding Registry Must Haves from Burgh Brides

Photo courtesy of Macys.com

Move over, Keurig.  You have nothing on Nespresso.  I first fell in love with this little espresso-making machine in Europe, where they seem to be all the rage.  Imagine having a delicious cup of espresso or another fancy schmancy drink in your own kitchen every morning.  I'm trying to convince my husband that we need one of these.  If you're a caffeine lover like me, you need one too.

Crock-Pot Slow Cooker

12 Wedding Registry Must Haves from Burgh Brides

Photo courtesy of Target.com

Because who doesn't want to basically have a machine cook dinner for them?  I like to think of the slow cooker as God's gift to wives and moms (or whoever is in charge of meal-making at your house).  This baby literally couldn't make dinner any easier for you…throw a bunch of stuff in a pot, wait 4 – 8 hours, and dig in.  Thanks to Pinterest, there are a ton of recipes available.  Go find your favorites and then invite me over.

A Good Vacuum

12 Wedding Registry Must Haves from Burgh Brides

Photo courtesy of Bed, Bath, & Beyond.com

I loooooove my dog.  Like LOVE.  But oh my word…the hair…I can't take it.  Tumbleweeds of dog hair blow across the room like it's the wild wild west.  Luckily, my Shark gets my carpet looking so fresh and so clean again.  Whether you have pets or kids or just a messy fiance, a good vacuum is a must have in any home.

A Memory Foam Mattress Topper

12 Wedding Registry Must Haves from Burgh Brides

Photo courtesy of Macys.com

Ever wonder what it feels like to sleep on a cloud?  With this pillow of fluffiness, you can find out.  I've slept on one for the last five years and have reached a point where it's very difficult to sleep on a regular old bed now.  Do your back a favor…invest in one!  Better yet, registry for one so someone else can invest in it for you 😉

Casual Dinnerware

12 Wedding Registry Must Haves from Burgh Brides

Photo courtesy of Macys.com

We aren't fancy fine china people.  If you're like us, I encourage you to invest in quality casual dinnerware.  Fiestaware is a personal favorite of mine because a.) it comes in literally every color you can imagine b.) it's is pretty much indestructible and c.) if you should prove me wrong on point B, pieces are easily replaceable.

A Cute Bar Cart

12 Wedding Registry Must Haves from Burgh Brides

Photo courtesy of Target.com

And let's be honest…it doesn't get much cuter than this one.  The gold is right up my alley.  Stock it with crystal decanters, chic accessories, and your favorite libations to not only keep your bar supplies in one place but also to create a conversation-starting decor piece.  It can also double as a serving cart for all those parties you'll be hosting now that you're a married couple.

Good Knives

12 Wedding Registry Must Haves from Burgh Brides

Photo courtesy of Bed, Bath, & Beyond.com

Any self-proclaimed foodie has a good set of knives in his or her kitchen.  I love this Calphalon option because it includes just about everything you'll need – Santoku knives for chopping, a bread knife, paring knife, steak knives, a honing steel, and even kitchen scissors.  The wooden block allows for counter top display while also protecting your precious investment.  Band aids not included.

His & Her Luggage

12 Wedding Registry Must Haves from Burgh Brides

Photo courtesy of Macys.com

Luggage with spinner wheels will CHANGE.YOUR.LIFE.  No more dragging your suitcase through the airport, no more sore arms.  With all of the traveling you're bound to do in your married life (ahem, honeymoon!), it's the perfect time to upgrade to some adult luggage.  Fitting all of your belongings into a carry on is a whole other problem…

What items are on your wedding registry?  Any of the above?  Comment below and let me know what you scanned with that little machine!

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Wedding Favorites from Zazzle & A Giveaway!

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Zazzle is one of those websites that seems to have just about everything.  From pillows to dog collars to phone cases to art prints, and everything in between, Zazzle is like the mecca of online shopping.  The extensive inventory doesn't stop at weddings either.  Here are a few of my Big Day favorites from Zazzle!

Wedding Favorites from Zazzle

All photos courtesy of Zazzle.com

Clockwise from top left:

Spring for these green vintage marquee letters in your and your new hubby's first initials for the brightest reception decoration.

This monogram floral acrylic serving tray is a great gift idea for the next bridal shower you attend.

Add a fun addition to your bar and say cheers to love with customizable cocktail napkins.

I'm sure the newlyweds would absolutely love this Mr. & Mrs. pillow, complete with their names and wedding date.

Celebrate the first few hours of her new last name by drinking out of this Mrs. script mason jar at your reception.

Jazz up your Save the Dates, invites, and thank you cards with these completely legit custom wedding stamps.  USPS approved!

I'm LOVING these watercolor wedding invitations featuring the most popular florals in recent history…succulents!

These craft paper favor bags would make the sweetest addition to your cookie table.  No Pittsburgh wedding is complete without one.

Welcome all of your family and friends to your celebration with this hand lettered gold foil wedding sign.

Move over escort cards.  This floral chalkboard inspired wedding seating display is on point with a trend that is all the rage.

This custom return address stamp is not only made by Pittsburgh's own Blush Paper Co. but it's almost the best housewarming gift idea for the newlyweds.

You know I'm all about these gold glitter thank you stickers.  They'd add the perfect amount of sparkle to your favor boxes!

Which ones are your favorites?  Luckily, you don't have to decide right now because Zazzle is giving one lucky reader a $50 gift card to spend on their own wedding day must haves!  Use the widget below to enter.  Giveaway runs until 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, August 9.  Until then, head on over to Zazzle and start filling up that shopping cart!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Zazzle Giveaway Ts & Cs

  • Prize: One $50 gift card to Zazzle.  No cash value.
  • Giveaway Dates: 8/4/16 8:15 a.m. EST – 8/9/16 11:59 p.m. EST
  • Use the Rafflecopter widget above to enter.
  • One winner will be randomly drawn using Rafflecopter and announced on this page and via Burgh Brides social media channels on 8/10/16.  The winner will also be notified via email.
  • Winner has 72 hours to respond to winning email or a new winner will be selected.
  • No purchase necessary.
  • All readers and social media followers of Burgh Brides are eligible to enter and win. 

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Ask Burgh Brides: Is it ok to invite someone to the bridal shower but not the wedding?

This month's Ask Burgh Brides question is one that gets asked more often than it should.  So, let's settle this debate once and for all, shall we?

Ask Burgh Brides: Is it ok to invite someone to the bridal shower but not the wedding?

The answer?  No, negative, nein, non, not ok.  Etiquette says that you can't invite someone to your bridal shower (and expect them to give a gift) but not invite them to the wedding.  It's a major faux pas.  Inviting someone to one event but not the other sends the message that they were good enough to make the shower guest list, but not good enough to be at the main attraction.  It also sort of seems like you're just fishing for a gift.  While that may not be true, it's still the impression it gives.  It can lead to hurt feelings and damaged relationships.  Just don't do it.

A shower invite list should include a bride's nearest and dearest and it's typically compiled after the wedding invitation list has been created.  Therefore, anyone invited to the shower should already be getting their ticket to the big show.  If that isn't the case, don't include them now.

There is one tiny exception I can think of…work showers.  Often, your co-workers want to celebrate with you and will coordinate an office bridal shower.  In this case, it's absolutely ok to go along with their plans but not invite your colleagues to the wedding.  I think it's safe to assume their expectations don't include a wedding invitation.

What do you think?  Is it ok to invite someone to the bridal shower but not the wedding?  Comment below and help a fellow Burgh Bride out!

Planning a wedding and need some help?  You’ve come to the right place!  Submit your question and you could see it answered right here on the blog.

P.S. Got a few free minutes?  Take the Burgh Brides Reader Survey and you could win a $50 Visa gift card!

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6 Tips for Creating the Perfect Wedding Hashtag

I’m a self-professed Instagram addict.  I’ll start scrolling through my feed and before I know it, I’ve been sucked into the IG black hole, it's 30 minutes later, and my eyes are starting to cross.  Obsessed isn’t even the word.  Couple my favorite app with photos of pretty weddings and I’m a total goner.  RIP.  If you're like me and are going to troll Insta for hours, you might as well look at pics from your own wedding, right?  Here are my top six tips for crafting the perfect wedding hashtag that will allow you to do just that.

6 Tips for Creating the Perfect Wedding Hashtag from Burgh Brides

1.) Make it personal.  Incorporate your names, a nickname, your wedding date, or even a play on words.  Anything to make it reflect YOU!  Add in a bit of humor, alliteration, or maybe a rhyme and your guests will love it even more.  Be creative!  Personalizing your hashtag also helps guests actually remember it…which brings me to my next point.

2.) Make it easy to remember.  This means more guests will actually use it.  If guests are confused and left wondering what the actual hashtag is, they’ll likely use the wrong one…which means you could miss out on awesome photos.  Ain’t nobody got time for that.

3.) Keep it short and sweet.  Don’t overthink it.  Anything too long and it will be tough to recall.  Shorten or combine words to create something unique that isn’t lengthy.  Look for words that could easily be misspelled and swap them out for easier ones, if possible.

4.) Make sure it isn’t already taken.  You don’t want photos of your big day getting mixed in with photos from someone else’s!  Do a quick search of your proposed hashtag.  If it doesn’t yield any results, you’re probably in the clear.  If it does, however, you might want to reconsider.

5.) Use it early and often.  Don’t wait until your wedding day to use your hashtag.  Any time you take wedding-related photos – dress shopping, DIYing in your living room, bridal shower, bachelorette party, and even applying for your marriage license – upload it to Instagram and use your hashtag.  This will help your friends and family catch on.  But, more importantly, it will leave you with a collection of images documenting the entire wedding planning process.

6.) Promote it!  Add your hashtag to your wedding website, weekend itinerary, and even cocktail napkins.  I don’t think a formal wedding invitation is an appropriate location for a hashtag, but if you’re having a casual affair, you could maybe get away with it.  Of course, don’t forget a sign or two in a high-traffic areas at your reception, like the bar or gift table!

After the wedding day is over, don’t forget to collect all of the photos.  Use IFTTT to save photos using your hashtag to an album on your phone or Facebook and even to Dropbox.  Remember – if a guest’s Instagram account is private, you won’t be able to see their photos even if they use your hashtag!

Will your wedding be social?  What creative hashtag did you come up with?  Comment below (and I’ll likely stalk you on IG!)!  Still need some help coming up with the perfect one?  Give me some info about your big day (date, location, names, etc.) and I'll try to help you out!  Happy Hashtag-ing!

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5 Things to Consider When Choosing Wedding Colors

When planning a wedding, one of the first decisions you’ll make is to nail down your wedding colors.  But it’s not as easy as you might think.  You could keep it simple and just choose your two favorite hues.  But I think there should actually be some thought behind this decision.  My advice?  Consider these five things before finalizing the color palette for your big day!

5 Things to Consider When Choosing Wedding Colors from Burgh Brides

Your Venue
This is HUGE!  Take a good look around your venue.  Note the artwork, upholstery, wall paper, and even the carpet.  Steer clear of any colors that would clash with these.  You want everything to be cohesive.  If your color palette clashes terribly with the décor of the venue, your guests could be left very confused because their eyes won't know where to look.  For example, many hotel ballrooms have colorful carpet with crazy patterns.  I’ve never understood this.  You’d think they’d pick something more neutral to appeal to a wider audience.  But I digress.  If your hotel’s carpet is burgundy and navy blue, a lavender and sage green wedding might look totally out of place.  Consider the overall picture!

The Time of Year
Fall and winter weddings tend to feature darker, richer colors.  Meanwhile in spring and summer, we see pastels and brights.  Of course, there are no hard and fast rules about this but a hot pink palette may seem a bit out of place at a January wedding.  Similarly, you don’t often see black as a main color at June nuptials.  That doesn’t mean you can’t choose unseasonable colors!  I'm just saying that you might want to give some thought to the time of year.

Flowers
Think about what kind of flowers you’d like to have.  Do those flowers come in the colors you’re considering?  Or would you be open to another accent color for florals?  For example, while a gray and light blue wedding can be beautiful, there really aren’t a ton of blue flowers.  And there certainly aren’t gray flowers.  All white or all pink florals would make for a beautiful pop though!  Don’t even think about asking your florist to dye flowers.  I will literally hurt you.

Skin Tones
As much as I love my sister, I might never forgive her for choosing the palest of pink/nearly nude color for her bridesmaids' dresses.  That shade and my fair skin tone were not friends.  I was practically invisible.  Anyways, think about your potential colors and how each would look in the form of a dress.  Consider these shades and the skin tones of your ladies to ensure that everyone looks and feels their best.

Your Style
How would you describe your wedding?  What is the overall atmosphere and feel you’re trying to create?  Now think about how the answers to those questions connect to color.  If you’re going for casual and playful, lean toward bright, fun, or whimsical shades.  For a timeless, chic affair, opt for a classic neutral, like black or navy, with an accent shade and even a metallic.  Trying to create drama?  Jewel tones are your friend; pastels…not so much.  Think about what vibe you want your wedding to give off and then determine what colors put you in that mind set.

Any other things to consider when choosing wedding colors?  What colors did you select and why?  Did any of the above play any part in your decision?  Comment below!

A Beginner’s Guide to Table Sizes

Various table sizes and what each of them mean for your wedding reception may seem like a mundane topic, but it can be a very helpful one.  When it comes to ordering linens, selecting centerpieces, and working on the dreaded seating chart, having a basic knowledge of table sizes and what works best with each can mean the difference between smooth sailing and wanting to rip your hair out.  Here’s a quick breakdown of the most common ones!

A Beginner's Guide to Table Sizes from Burgh Brides

Rounds

Six Foot Rounds

  • You may also hear it called a “72”.
  • It's 6’ in diameter (obviously, and hence the nickname) and there are 30” from the ground to the top of the table.
  • Typically, 10ish guests can be seated here comfortably.  Caveats apply, of course; see the end of this post for just what I mean!
  • The table could look a little sparse with any fewer than 7 or 8 guests.
  • A 132” round linen will fall to the floor.  Do the math…30+72+30 = 132.

Five Foot Rounds

  • It's also known as a “60”.
  • The table is 5’ in diameter.  Again, there are 30” from the ground to the top of the table.
  • It will seat 8ish comfortably.
  • Fewer than 6 or 7 guests and it starts to look a little sparse.
  • A 120” round linen will fall to the floor.

Four Foot Rounds

  • AKA a “48”.
  • That's 4’ in diameter.  Yet again, 30” from the ground to the top of the table.
  • Between 4 and 6 guests will sit comfortably, but it's better suited for things like a cake or sweetheart table!
  • A 108” round linen will fall to the floor.

Cocktail Tables

Low Cocktail Tables

These generally come in two sizes.

  • 36” round
    • 36” in diameter (duh) and 30” from the ground to the top of the table (are you seeing trend here?)
    • It seats 4 comfortably but you might be able to squeeze in 5, depending on the chair size.  You would use these for seating at the cocktail reception, not dinner.
    • They also make great sweetheart and cake tables!
    • A 96” round linen will fall to the floor.
  • 30” round
    • 30” in diameter and 30” from the ground to the top of the table
    • Three or four guests could be seated comfortably at the cocktail hour.
    • A 90” round linen will fall to the floor.

High Cocktail Tables

These also come in two sizes but I’ll let you in on a little secret – a high cocktail table is usually just a low cocktail table with an extender on the base (to make it taller).

  • 36” round
    • Still 36” in diameter but this time 42” from the ground to the top of the table.
    • A 120” round linen will fall to the floor.
    • BURGH BRIDE TIP: If you plan on tying a sash around the base, go for a 132” so the ugly table legs remain hidden!!!
  • 30” round
    • 30” in diameter; 42” from the ground to the top of the table.
    • A 120” round linen will puddle on the floor about 3” on each side, but this can make for a really pretty look.  It can also make for a bit of a tripping hazard.  You decide.
  • High cocktail tables are typically used without chairs; guests use them for leaning or standing around instead.  However, they do make high chairs specifically for these tables.  Usually four fit comfortably but you might be able to squeeze in five.

Banquets

In the past, banquet tables were typically been used for things like the DJ, gift table, buffet lines, or anything that was placed against a wall.  These rectangle tables are still used for these purposes, but in recent years, the trend has become to use them for seating, usually with a mix of round tables.  This adds visual interest and a modern twist to your reception space.

Six Foot Banquets

  • You'll hear it also called a “90×132”.
  • That's because it's 6’ long, 30” wide, and there are 30” from the ground to the top of the table.
  • It can seat 6 (3 on each side) or 8 (3 on each side, plus 1 on each end).
  • A 90×132” banquet linen will fall to the floor.

Eight Foot Banquets

  • AKA a “90×156”.
  • It's 8’ long, 30” wide, and there are 30” from the ground to the top of the table.
  • You can seat 8 (4 on each side) or 10 (4 on each side, 1 on each end) guests.
  • A 90×156” banquet linen will fall to the floor.

Whew!  Got all of that?!  Who knew there was so much to know about tables?!

When it comes to how many guests can comfortably fit at a table, the answer depends on a few things.  If the chairs are wide or have arms, you may not be able to fit quite as many.  Likewise, if your place setting is very formal, you’ll need more space per person, which means you can fit fewer people per table.  I recommend discussing the best scenario with your venue or rental company and caterer!

Above anything else, don’t be overwhelmed by all of the numbers!  This guide was meant to be educational and helpful.  There aren’t hard and fast rules or a magic formula.  This is where hiring excellent vendors can play to your favor.  Work with those who know all of this backwards and forwards and let them determine what is best for your wedding.  Happy table-ing!

Wedding Advice from a Photographer Bride

Open your eyes and ears…you're about to receive some EPIC wedding advice from a photographer bride!  Burgh Brides Vendor Guide Member Eva Lin has been on both sides of a wedding…usually as the one capturing beautiful images of the big day.  But last year, she had her own.  And it was just as stunning as you can imagine.  Today, she's guest posting with some great tips for those getting ready to make their own walk down the aisle.

From Eva…

As many of you know, Art and I tied the knot last year, and after our wedding I feel like I have SO much that I want to share with upcoming brides!  Obviously, there are things that worked for me, and I know there are hundreds of opinions out there, so take what you need and leave the rest!

Pre-Wedding Planning

Your wedding day is one of MANY “best days” of your life.  When people say that your wedding day is THE best day of your life, does that mean it's only downhill from there?!  While your wedding day is a huge and super important milestone, it should be one of just many best days to come.  When you think of it as this end-all-be-all-ultimatum date, it becomes this giant thing in your head, creates so much unnecessary pressure, and honestly, makes you go crazy.  Try to think of it more as just planning a big party for all your favorite people, which leads me to my next point…

Remember WHY you're doing it.  It's SO easy to get caught up in the details – and there are a LOT of details.  Remember that a wedding is the celebration of the love between the two of you, not about the decor or the food.  Yes, everyone wants to throw the best party ever, but at the end of the day, remember the WHY behind this giant party to help you stay focused.

Pick and choose what traditions you want to follow.  If a tradition doesn't feel like you as a couple, don't feel pressured to do it.  If it does, go for it!  It's as easy as that.

Set aside 5% of your budget for last minute things the week of your wedding.  So many unplanned things come up last minute (and during your “wedding week,” cost becomes a non-issue!).  If you don't want to break the bank, it's better to account for this stuff ahead of time so there are no surprises!

Once you've set your budget, prioritize what's the most important to you, spend your money there, and be okay spending less in other areas.  Of course for me, photography and videography were on the top of my list, so I chose to spend my money there and less on everything else.  I was so lucky to find vendors who were able to work with my budget in other areas to still execute my vision!  I also plan on re-selling my dress, and I bought my shoes from DSW (which no one could see under my dress anyway).

Spend your money where it counts.  I've been to enough weddings to realize what is memorable and what is not.  As much as I adore beautiful hand-written calligraphy, we usually throw away the envelopes.  So as an effort to save on our invites, we just included one card and had our guests RSVP online.  Invitations can cost up to $1000+ with all the bells and whistles, and we ended up spending $250 on them (helllllo more money for cake pops!).   We chose to do a family-style dinner to avoid the need for individual place cards (we still had a seating chart – having completely open seating is kind of a nightmare).  The week of my wedding, I went a little nuts and wanted to change the backs of the flower crowns for my flower crown station from a white twine to ribbon, which would have been extra.  Luckily, my florist and my wedding planner reminded me that this is one of those things that people will not care about, and I would have regretted spending extra money on it (thank you)!

Do NOT compare yourself to Pinterest or your friends.  Chances are, you've scoured Pinterest for ideas and also have attended many friends' weddings in recent years.  And we all know comparison is the thief of joy.  No comparison, only inspiration.  Let you be you.  Your wedding will be perfect because it's yours.

The Day of Your Wedding

Take time to breathe.  I had my friend, Lauren, teach a yoga class the morning of my wedding – to get grounded, to be reminded of why we do all the crazy things we do for this one day, and to be rooted in gratitude for everyone in my life.  It was AMAZING to help me be completely present for the upcoming day.  Even if yoga is not your jam, take some time in a quiet room by yourself to just breathe some long deep breaths.  Inhale what you need to be reminded of – gratitude, love, happiness, excitement.  Exhale out what isn't serving you at the moment – anxiety, nerves, annoyance.  Repeat.  I did this a few times the day and week before – anytime I started to feel myself getting crazy over silly things.

Stick together.  I got this advice from my yoga/life teacher, Anna, who put it so well.  On your wedding day, everyone will be pulling you left and right, but make sure to stick together as you go around.  When you're talking to guests or dancing, do it together.  It's a beautiful metaphor for the rest of your life – as life takes you in different directions, move through it all together!

Savor each moment.  It's 100% true when people say your wedding day flies by.  One of my favorite parts of our wedding was when we were eating dinner – Art and I had our own sweetheart table, and we just took a moment to look around at all of our friends and family eating, laughing, and talking.  It brought us so much joy just to sit, enjoy that moment, and feel grateful that they had come to celebrate the day with us.

Delegate!  I was lucky I had so many helpers for our wedding.  My friend was my day-of coordinator to organize everything at the venue and make sure the ceremony and reception ran smoothly (some venues offer this, but if yours doesn't – I highly recommend hiring a day-of coordinator).  The last thing you want to do on your wedding day is have people asking you tons of questions left and right!  And this may seem like common sense, but you also need someone, usually your maid of honor, to be your right-hand-woman for the whole weekend.  My sister made sure I got everywhere on time, organized the entire day-after brunch for us so we wouldn't have to worry about it, and was just an amazing help the entire time.  It also helps if this person can operate with little to no direction (#bosslady).  Our friends and families also were a huge help the whole weekend – don't be afraid to ask for help!

After the Wedding

Host a morning-after brunch.  The toughest thing about weddings is that there are so many people who come who you may not have talked to or seen in a long time – and you have NO time to catch up at the wedding!  We originally weren't going to do this, but realized how nice it was to actually be able to catch up with the bride and groom at our friend's wedding a few weeks before.  So our families helped to whip up a brunch last minute and we are so glad they did.  It's also a great time to be able to say goodbye to everyone and thank them for everything!

Get a massage.  I didn't even wear heels on our wedding day, but my feet and body were just so exhausted from standing and dancing all day!  We booked a spa day at Bedford Springs, and it was definitely one of the best decisions we've ever made (that, and getting married)!

No regrets.  What's done is done.  With SO many moving pieces, there are plenty of things bound to go not as you had planned.   Thinking about them over and over will not change anything.  At the end of the day, if you are married and had a wonderful time with all your favorite people, wasn't that the hole point of it all anyway?  If you just can't let something go – just remember – you can always renew your vows in 5 or 10 years and do it again!

Thanks for all of the fantastic tips, Eva!  You're a beautiful soul, inside and out.  Any other vendors have their own advice?  What did you learn from being on the other side of a wedding day?  Comment below!

Think Outside the Bridal Salon: 5 Unexpected Websites Where You Can Find Your Dream Wedding Dress

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If you aren’t one of those ladies who has dreamed about their wedding since they were a little girl, you may dread the thought of wedding dress shopping.  Or maybe the idea of pushy saleswomen fussing over you just doesn’t sound appealing (who can blame you?).  Or maybe you’re like me and you try to do as much online shopping as you possibly can because malls and crowds and trying on clothes in ugly florescent lighting is absolutely the worst thing ever for your self-esteem.  Whatever your reason, I encourage you to think outside the bridal salon.  Dress shops aren’t the only place you can find the perfect wedding day look.  Why not turn to the world wide web?  You probably do for everything else, so try saying yes to the dress virtually.  Although you may never have expected it, here are 5 websites were you can find your dream wedding dress!

5 Unexpected Websites to Find Your Dream Wedding Dress from Burgh Brides

1.) Pre-Owned Wedding Dresses – Remember Erika and Mike’s wedding at J. Verno Studio?  And remember her KILLER art deco-inspired Matthew Christopher gown with the UNBELIEVABLE scalloped train?  I die. Erika got that beauty from a little website called Pre-Owned Wedding Dresses.  As the name suggests, they connect buyers and sellers of gently used bridal gowns.  But they also feature brand spanking new ones and samples too.  This listing service allows new brides to find their dream dress, often at a lower cost, while helping former brides recoup some of the money spent on their wedding.  As Pre-Owned puts it, “wedding gowns…deserve to be loved more than once.”  I couldn’t agree more.

Photos by Beth Insalaco Photography

5 Unexpected Websites to Find Your Dream Wedding Dress from Burgh Brides

5 Unexpected Websites to Find Your Dream Wedding Dress from Burgh Brides

2.) Target – This shopping mecca has everything else.  Why wouldn’t they sell wedding dresses?  While the selection isn’t huge, what they do offer are perfect options for those on a tight budget or who are maybe getting married for the second time.  They even have collections for bridesmaids and flower girls too!

3.) Rent the Runway – Why buy when you can borrow?  I recently used RTR for the first time and it was super fun.  With pieces from Badgley Mischka, Zac Posen, Nanette Lepore, Marchesa, and even the goddess of wedding dresses herself, Monique Lhuillier, you can be a haute couture bride at a fraction of the price.  While I’m all about finding that one special dress that makes you look and feel like a million bucks on your wedding day, I’m anti actually spending a million dollars on it.  Guys rent their tuxes!  Why can’t a bride rent her dress?

4.) TJ Maxx – Stay with me here.  I didn’t believe this either until a co-worker introduce me to TJ Maxx’s new website.  What I found (in addition to various home goods that I definitely don’t need but bought anyways) was a long sleeve, lace Valentino gown for under $2k.  I kid you not.  They actually have a pretty wide selection of dresses for brides, maids, and moms.  The best part?  You can try on at home and return to any TJ Maxx store.  I’m sold based on that fact alone.

5.) Amazon – From attire to jewelry and accessories to even décor and gifts, you can actually get a lot of wedding shopping done on this one site. Amazon is so great for just about everything.

What do you think?  Could/would you ever buy your wedding dress online?  Any other unexpected websites where you can find wedding dresses?  Comment below!

While I did team up with Pre-Owned Wedding Dresses to include them in this post, all opinions are my own.

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Join Me at All the Pretty Things: A Bridal Boutique Event on March 19!

Consider this your formal invitation…I'd love for you to join me at Fascino Boutique TOMORROW for All the Pretty Things: A Bridal Boutique Event!

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This party is going to craaaaaazy!  Ok, maybe not so much crazy but definitely really, really fun!  Co-hosts Fascino Boutique, Bumble Burgh Events, and Diva Gone Domestic know how to do it right.  So you're in for one swanky afternoon.

Teams of talented vendors will bring you inspiration in the form of three different styles and tablescapes.  See their vision brought to life with decor, florals, stationery, and more, and let it spark some creativity for your own special day.  Plus, chat with a photographer, makeup artist, baker, and others, all in the comfort of the hip Fascino Boutique.  Wedding planning and shopping in one fell swoop?  Sign me up.

I'll be there with 20% off of Burgh Brides merchandise and a free tumbler to those who make a $50+ purchase!  And every bride will receive a free swag bag while supplies last.

***(insert flashing lights) FREE STUFF (insert flashing lights)***
(Just want to make sure you got that.)

You really aren't going to want to miss it.  All the cool kids will be there and you should be there too!  RSVP and let us know to expect your pretty face.

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