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!

All the pretty things instagram 2

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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9 Practical Tips to Make Your Wedding Day Photos Even Better

Give a big ol' Burgh Brides welcome to today's guest writer, Leeann!  She is the boss lady behind Leeann Marie, Photographers, she's one of my favorite people in this industry (hence why she's part of the exclusive Burgh Brides Vendor Guide), and she's a total BA with a camera.  Lucky for you, she's sharing her photography expertise with these 9 practical tips to make your wedding day photos even better.  Take it away, Leeann…(oh, and be sure to check out my Instagram feed tomorrow, when Leeann will take it over!)

From Leeann…

As a wedding photographer, it’s important for me to see to it that my brides have as wonderful a wedding experience as possible, especially with their images.  One of those ways I think I can really help is to get you thinking about all those things you might not think about.  Knowing – and practicing – this tips can really help to transform your photos and make them absolutely, perfectly memorable!

9 Practical Tips to Make Your Wedding Photos Even Better from Leeann Marie Photographers and Burgh Brides

1.) Stick All Your Stuff in One Room.
The whole getting ready part of the day is generally chaotic with bags and clothing and whatever else all over the place.  Lots of times, those items are hogging the room with the best light.  Have your bridesmaids store their items in an area away from the room where you will be getting ready so that we get beautiful images without the clutter.

9 Practical Tips to Make Your Wedding Photos Even Better from Leeann Marie Photographers and Burgh Brides

2.) Mom Gets Dressed First.
You know that airplane advisory about putting on your own oxygen mask before helping someone else with theirs?  OK, so this isn’t quite as dire a situation, but have your mother (or whoever else is helping you) get dressed before you do.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve encountered a mom wearing an oversized sweatshirt and yoga pants helping her daughter zip into a dress.  When mom is all ready and looking gorgeous, the photos of her getting you into your dress will turn into treasured keepsakes.

9 Practical Tips to Make Your Wedding Photos Even Better from Leeann Marie Photographers and Burgh Brides

3.) Bend Your Arms.
I recently had a bride who was worried about how her arms would look in her pictures.  I told her that the best thing she could do was practice posing and bending her arms.  Knowing that you’ll be doing things like grabbing onto a suit jacket, holding your bouquet to your hip bone, and grabbing picking up the bottom of your dress can help you get those poses right and make those movements feel natural on your wedding day.

9 Practical Tips to Make Your Wedding Photos Even Better from Leeann Marie Photographers and Burgh Brides

4.) Practice Your Facial Expressions.
You’ll probably want to spend a bit of time in front of a mirror making a fool out of yourself so that you can get those expressions right.  Believe me, doing something that might feel a bit silly now can really prevent you from ending up disappointed with your look later.  I’ve had lots of brides decide on their wedding day that they want to go with a more serious look, so they’ll do that sort-of-but-not-really-smiling-smile (you know, the half smile without showing teeth).  The problem is, if you haven’t practiced that look, you could end up looking angry in your pictures.  I’m pretty sure that’s not the look you’re going for.

9 Practical Tips to Make Your Wedding Photos Even Better from Leeann Marie Photographers and Burgh Brides

5.) Limit Your Pinterest Ideas.
Pinterest is such a great source for inspiration, but when it comes to YOUR wedding day, leave it at that – inspiration.  Use those pins to get excited about the possibilities you can create for yourself.  Don’t get caught up in recreating your Pinterest board because you’ll end up losing the authenticity of your day.  I am always watching for moments, and will capture the day – your day – as it happens!

9 Practical Tips to Make Your Wedding Photos Even Better from Leeann Marie Photographers and Burgh Brides

6.) Hire a Great Makeup Artist.
Contrary to what you might have been told about wearing makeup, more is better than less when it comes to wedding photos.  Whenever we do our own makeup, we tend to go lighter than necessary for pictures.  A skilled makeup artist will know how to apply the right amount that will be stunning and last for the whole day.

9 Practical Tips to Make Your Wedding Photos Even Better from Leeann Marie Photographers and Burgh Brides

7.) Stand Up Straight.
Just like your mother told you, stand up straight for your pictures.  Good posture is good for wedding photos too!  So, stand up straight, suck in your belly button, roll your shoulders back and point your heart to the sky!

9 Practical Tips to Make Your Wedding Photos Even Better from Leeann Marie Photographers and Burgh Brides

8.) No Bouquets on the Head Table.
A bouquet in a vase directly in front of the bride and groom looks really pretty, and I do truly like the look of it (and I probably did it at my wedding :)), but it’s not so great when it comes to getting a great shot for the toasts.  Put that bouquet somewhere else for those photos.

9 Practical Tips to Make Your Wedding Photos Even Better from Leeann Marie Photographers and Burgh Brides

9.) Think about the Fire Alarms.
When you’re planning out the reception, think about where the fire alarms are located around the venue.  Knowing where the fire alarms are isn’t just important for safety reasons.  It’s also important to know when it comes to where the head table is to be placed.  Lots of times, venues stick the head tables against the wall with the fire alarm, which ends up directly behind the bride and groom.  As a photographer, this drives me just a little bit crazy, because it’s something that can be easily avoided.

9 Practical Tips to Make Your Wedding Photos Even Better from Leeann Marie Photographers and Burgh Brides

What do you think of Leeann's tips?  What else could make your wedding day photos even better?  Let's hear it below!

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Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Invitations: A Wedding Paper Series with Inky Agnes

Sue, your snarky calligrapher in residence, here to bring you installment two of the Burgh Brides Wedding Paper Series.  If you haven’t caught up yet with the first post, brush up on save the dates over here!  Got it?  GOOD!  Now hold on because this one’s CHOCK FULL of information!

Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Invitations: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

The invitation.  The mack daddy of the paper wedding suite.  The invitation is the most important piece of paper.  It’s what you will frame, it’s what your grandmother will frame, it sets the tone, and it tells the guest what to expect from the wedding.

No matter what you did with your save the date, if you’re going to have a traditional wedding, this is where you start.  Not sure what traditional means?  This is it:

Traditional

Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Invitations: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

 

  • Issued by the bride’s parents
  • Color is white, soft cream, or ivory (yes, those are three different things) with raised black lettering
  • Paper is double thick
  • Printing is engraved (a plate pressed into the paper) or letter-pressed (a plate depressed into the paper)
  • A 5×7 rectangular
  • Single or double folded
  • Protective tissue included

Modern

Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Invitations: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

Modern is, you guessed it, anything other than the above!

  • Issued by bride's parents, groom's parents, a combination of both, or by the couple themselves.  Typically, whoever is footing the bill, but it doesn’t have to be.
  • Color can be anything Pantone can dream up, including metallics and watercolor
  • Paper thickness is usually related to cost, but if you’re letter-pressing or embossing, the thicker the better.
  • Invitations can be in boxes, circles, pop-up, or traditional 5×7.  Just remember that the more you veer from the traditional shape, the more expensive it may be.

Anatomy of an Invitation: Traditional

Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Invitations: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

No matter what your invitation may look like, there are certain things that can be found on every invitation.

Host Line
Dr. Marjorie Smith and Mr. Jon Smith

Request Line
Request the honor of your presence

Recipient Line (most formal)
Mr. and Mrs. James Wilkerson

Presentation of the Couple
at the Wedding ceremony of their Daughter
Amy Grace

To
Mr. James Harden

Date and Time Lines
Saturday, the Seventh of May
Two thousand seventeen
at six o’clock in the evening

Location Lines
Salt Lake Country Club

Reception Line
Dinner reception to follow

Response Request (traditional, although uncommon these days)
Please respond to inkyagnes@gmail.com

Attire Line
Black Tie

Anatomy of an Invitation: Modern

Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Invitations: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

While anything goes for modern invites, here’s the most common setup for an invitation…think formal but not stuffy.

Together with their families
You’re invited to the celebration of love and marriage of
Ms. Amy Grace & Mr. James Harden
Saturday, May 7th, 2017
at six o’clock
Salt Lake Country Club
Dinner and dancing to follow

This is obviously the most formal and traditional anatomy.  There are stationery rules for everything from deceased parents to Catholic Mass ceremony information and more.

My advice?  If you’re going for formal, contact a stationer who knows the rules…there are A LOT.  If you’re going for a more modern approach, use what makes the most sense to you.

Reply Cards

Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Invitations: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

As you can probably guess, the response card should match the invitation.  Formal?  You can use the old fashioned and aforementioned “Response Request line” in the invitation, or you’ll include a separate folded card with basic attendance information and a pre-posted and pre-addressed envelope.  To save your sanity, or that of your calligrapher, I’d suggest getting these addresses printed with your invites, or creating a stamp you can place on the envelope.  Don’t believe me?  There’s a reason why schools used to reprimand students with writing the same thing 500 times.

Additional Items on RSVPs

Often times, you need to know if Uncle Jerry wants the steak (of course, he does) or if your cousin’s girlfriend wants a vegan option (of course, she does) so you can ask on the RSVP.

Many times now a days, it’s fun to get an RSVP back with something fun written on it, and a prompt can get everyone in the mood.  Common examples are “Advice for the bride and groom” and “Song request”.

Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Invitations: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

WARNING: Adding a million things on the reply card can be messy looking.  Also, if you never play the electric slide for your Aunt Rita, you have about 34 more Thanksgivings to never hear the end of it…

PRO TIP: In the corner of every reply card, write a number.  Then, write that number next to the guests you sent it to.  I GUARANTEE YOU…G.U.A.R.A.N.T.E.E… that someone will send the card back and forget to write their names.  A few extra minutes on the front end will keep you from going crazy weeks before the wedding.

The Extra Goodies

These days an invitation is more than just one sheet of paper with information, it’s an envelope bursting with wedding info!

Maps/Directions

Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Invitations: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

Maps can be tricky.  Rather, they can be ugly, or they can be very cute.  If you’re artistic or are using a stationer/illustrator/calligrapher, a map is beautiful and can show guests how all the important buildings and landmarks interact, especially if location is important to the wedding.  If you don’t have one of those, however, maps can go real ugly real fast.  Written directions are just as easy and you won’t have any of the over 60 set getting lost between the ceremony and reception.

Accommodation Cards

Most times these days, there will be out of town guests and a local hotel with a group rate.  This is going to be the magical card to tell them all that information.  Still have space on that card?  Some people love staying in B & B’s or local, smaller places or they have special requests like a kosher hotel; this is a great place to show these options.

Gift Registry Card

This will be especially useful if you aren’t using a website.  Writing down the URL for your registry or using a QR code to access your registry is a good idea.

PRO TIP: Make it wallet sized so people can slip it in there and whip it out when they finally remember to get that gift three days before the wedding.  Are you making donations in lieu of gifts?  This is a great use of this card as well.

Additional Information Card

Sometimes, there’s a lot of stuff you gotta tell people and this catch-all card is the perfect place to do it. Like what?

“Sandals will be provided for beach wear.”
”The reception is located outdoors and sturdy shoes/sweaters are encouraged.”
“In case of rain the ceremony, will be located in the Pavilion.”
“Present this card for free valet parking at Celebration Club.”

MORE PRO TIPS!

  • Send invitations out 6 – 8 weeks before the wedding.  If you have a save the date, you can go even closer to four weeks.  BE YE WARNED!  Everyone will annoy the living daylights out of you if you wait until four weeks before your wedding to send the invites.  TRUST THE SNARKY CALLIGRAPHER.
  • Paper quickly adds up in weight, and weight equals heavier stamps and higher postage.  Watch out for that added cost.
  • A truly beautiful invitation can be made using calligraphy made into a press and letter-pressed (you knew I was going to say that).
  • This is a great place to introduce a wedding monogram.
  • Wedding websites are so common and free these days.  This is a great place to put a lot of the additional information.

Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Invitations: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

  • Formal invitations also equal 4,398 envelopes (estimating).  Don’t believe me?  Let’s count: external envelope, internal envelope that holds everything together, reply card envelope, additional envelope for extra cards….just a warning.
  • Have different guest lists for the ceremony and reception?  That will be separate invites too.
  • Custom = $$$  Don’t be afraid to reach out to stationers and designers for “semi” custom invites.  For instance, a custom suite they made for someone else, but they use your names this times.  You can usually negotiate a better deal for a custom look.
  • A great way to make an impact is with envelope liners that match your wedding theme and/or colors.

Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Invitations: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

  • Pricing range is usually between $300 and $1500 for 100 envelopes.

Whew!  It was a lot but there you have it…everything you've ever wanted to know about wedding invitations!

– Sue

*Invitation etiquette provided by Emily Post, Julie Holcomb Printing, and Susan’s Desk.  Invitation suites provided by Susan’s Desk, in collaboration with Scribe Fine Papers of Shadyside and Color Quarry.

Breaking Down Save the Dates: A Wedding Paper Series with Inky Agnes

Ahhhh the world of wedding paper…it can be crazy confusing!  Save the Dates, vellum, foil press, hand press, emboss, deboss, what does it all mean?!?!  No one knows.  Ok, that's a lie.  Sue (of Burgh Brides Vendor Guide fame) knows.  And lucky for you, she's sharing her expertise in this new series dedicated to all things wedding paper!  This first installment is all about Save the Dates.  But keep your eyes peeled in the coming weeks for even more tips and advice about invitations, calligraphy, and more.

And without further adieu, I give you the guru herself!

Breaking Down Save the Dates: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

From Sue…

So here’s the scenario, you’ve been going about your business crushing life and living in a world of texts, snaps, and emails… and then you get engaged.  Congratulations!!!

Now, you need to have an opinion on formal envelope addressing, paper weight (yes, that's a thing), tissue or no tissue, edge-beveling, CMYK colors, types of inks, and more.  All on top of having an opinion on wedding dresses, photographers, seating charts, flowers, menus, and picking your wedding party.

Here’s the good thing…you’ve got Burgh Brides!

Welcome to the Wedding Paper Series here at Burgh Brides!  I’m Sue AKA Inky Agnes, the resident snarky calligrapher here to discuss all the questions you never knew you had about the paper for your wedding.

First stop is the Save the Date.  Save the Dates are great because, as the first glimpse guests have of your wedding, they help to set the tone.  These days, the only limitations are imagination and budget.

With that being said, let's dive into the anatomy of a Save the Date, shall we?

The Style
The style sets the tone.  Is it soft and romantic with flowers and flourished script?

Breaking Down Save the Dates: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

Or does it have palm trees for your destination wedding?

Breaking Down Save the Dates: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

A formal wedding can opt for creamy letterpress and gold foil, while custom calligraphy looks great with any save the date.

Breaking Down Save the Dates: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

Here are my top three Save the Dates styles:

1.) Postcard – A postcard Save the Date is a great option for those with a destination wedding, or a wedding that most people are traveling to.  Postage for a postcard is cheaper (woo hoo!) and it's envelope-less.  Again, this is less expensive and greener, and also great if you're going for a minimalistic look.

Breaking Down Save the Dates: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

2.) Photographic – You got those engagement pictures for a reason right?!  A photographic Save the Date is a beautiful way to include the two of you and use the pictures that you paid for!  It also makes a complete set if you’re going to do an illustration or photograph in your invitation suite.

Breaking Down Save the Dates: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

3.) Romantic – What is a wedding if not a celebration of love?!  If you’re looking to showcase that love, a soft, romantic, and often formal invite is the way to go.

Breaking Down Save the Dates: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

Breaking Down Save the Dates: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

The Who
That would be the bride and groom….just wanted to make sure we’re on the same page with that one 😉  Less formal?  Go with the first names only.  More formal?  Use first and last.

The When
At Save the Date time, the “when” really only means the month and date.  But if you know the time of day, it could be helpful to include it since guests are going to immediately start travel-planning.

The Extras
Nowadays, most couples have wedding websites that where guests can find additional information and your registries.  This is great, particularly if you’re doing a more modern invitation suite.  The Save the Date is the perfect place to share your URL with friends and family.

Breaking Down Save the Dates: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

Last but not least, when to send the darn things….

Option A: As soon as you know, within a year.  This is especially true if your guests are going to have to make significant travel plans ( e.g. weddings abroad).

Option B: 6 – 9 months in advance of the wedding date is the traditional time frame.  Although be-ye-warned.  As soon as you’re engaged, you’re going to get asked, “So did you pick a date yet?”  Waiting until 6 months before the wedding may be the death of your patience.

Alright Burgh Brides, go forth and save some dates!

– Sue

Best of 2015: Advice from former Burgh Brides

Since we are in the midst of proposal season, I thought I'd offer up some advice to all of you newly engaged gals.  Except it's not my advice per se.  It's straight from those brides who have already been there.  From staying calm and being yourself to scheduling your hair trial the day of your dress fitting, this year's brides had a lot to say.  To wrap up this Best of 2015 series, let's revisit the best tips, tricks, and ideas from those who were featured on the blog!

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Advice from Former Burgh Brides

Jessica
Our best pieces of advice for future brides and grooms would be to relax, EAT, and don’t follow tradition if it’s not you!  Brian and I did a first look and decided to forgo the formal bridal party introductions, cake cutting, and bouquet and garter tosses. We also made it a point to sit down through the entire dinner and eat with our wedding party.  Having that time allowed us both to relax and enjoy ourselves. Everyone kept commenting on how calm the bride and groom were, and to them we would say, “Shouldn’t we be? It’s the happiest day of our lives!”

Molly
Be creative.  Pittsburgh has A LOT to offer!  Start by figuring out what is important to you and build upon those ideas.  We wanted a party so we started with the concept of a cocktail reception rather than a sit down dinner and went from there.

Erika
The best advice I can give is to just be you.  Corny, I know, but so true!  It feels wonderful looking back on our wedding knowing that Mike and I decided on details regardless of what the “norm” was or the heart attack we may have induced in our mothers.

Kelly
If you’re planning to do an engagement shoot, try to schedule your makeup practice run the same day.  The practice run is often the same cost as the real one, so why not get something out of it?  I did this, and it was such a great call.  I got to have beautiful, professionally-done makeup for my engagement photos and I also got to see how it photographed to decide if I needed to tweak anything before the wedding.

Try to schedule your practice hair appointment the same day as one of your dress fittings.  This way you get to see the whole look put together before the big day.

Rachel
Let others help you!  I couldn’t have done all the decorating and planning without my mom and bridesmaids.

And don’t stress about EVERY detail that day.  As long as you have each other and someone to marry you – everything else could go wrong and that’s all that matters!

Aubrey
My advice to other brides is to try to stay calm!  Things are going to happen during the planning.  Our church music director quit days before the wedding, then our honeymoon had to be canceled 10 days before because of a hurricane. We then had to book a new trip even though we couldn’t get refunded for the original one for 10 days…and lots of other little things along the way.  Just stay calm and everything will work out!

Lauren
I would tell future brides to definitely talk with their fiance and get a clear idea of what they both want for the wedding and reception.  Find a few things that are important to both people and focus on those first.  I would also tell brides to not let the opinions of other people influence how the wedding day will be.  This is your and your fiance’s day and you should plan it together.

Heather
Planning a wedding is like planning your own Christmas but better!  Don’t worry about what you think other people expect from or want for you!  The day is about you, your husband, and the beginning of your forever.  Trust me, once everything comes together, NO ONE will leave saying “I wish she would have….”  There is no other time in your life when you can have a day ALL ABOUT YOU!  Embrace every second of it!

Christen
It doesn’t take money to make it nice!  Save your money for the important stuff (house, savings, etc.!).  There are plenty of ways to make your day special without splurging.  And don’t fret about the guest list.  It’s a day between you, your significant other, and God!

Janae
Everyone always told me not to sweat the small things and not to stress, that everything would fall into place.  Of course, being a crazy bride, I thought this was the worst advice ever and that no one knew what they were talking about!  Sure enough, they did!  The night goes by so fast; those details that you stressed over day in and day out aren’t going to matter.  Your wedding is going to be perfect, even if the napkins aren’t centered or someone forgets to include something.  The fact that you and your hubby, family, and friends are together is all that matters.

Lastly, consider a sweetheart table.  We integrated our bridal party in with the guests so those with significant others or dates weren’t stuck at a table with no one they knew.  We had our sweetheart table, just the two of us, on top of the staircase.  We were able to enjoy the food and really spend time together.  The rest of the night, we were apart from each other, so I’m thankful for that dinner and the time to talk without interruptions other than the clanking of glasses.

What was the most helpful piece of advice you read on Burgh Brides this year?  Have any of your own advice to offer?  Comment below!

Don't miss my other Best of 2015 picks!

P.S. Things will be a bit quiet on the blog until the new year!  You'll see a fun post on Monday and some social media activity.  Other than that, the next week and a half will be filled with Christmas movies, baking, yoga pants, dirty hair, dog cuddling, and QT with family.  I hope everyone has a FABULOUS holiday!  2016 is shaping up to be a BIG year!  I can't wait to see you then!  🙂

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