Wedding Planning Guide / Three Months Out

More wonderful decisions !  It’s time to see your florist and finalize your choices for in season flowers.
Remember that you  may  want extra for your hair, your maids’ hair or your cake. Take your time choosing. Flowers put the finishing touch on your wedding day.
2) Shop for your lingerie, both day & evening.Of  course nationally Victoria’s Secret is great but if you are in the Chicago area Underthings on Webster has a divine selection.
3) Ask the people you most most care about to speak at the reception. Give them plenty of time to plan their remarks.
4)  Three months before is a good time to go over the details of your menu with your caterer or the venue’s chef. You may guests who are vegetarians, so remember to inform the caterer of this. Take your time and go over all details such as per person price and what that includes.
5)  After you have finalized the order of your ceremony & reception, touch base with all of your vendors.
     Send them an event schedule. If some of your bridal party have changed their minds about hair and
     makeup or if an Aunt decides to have her hair done by your hairdresser, inform your beauty team so that
     changes can be made in the timeline.
6)  Menu Cards… If you do not care to spend the money to have these printed they can easily be done on your computer. There are many templates available online.

Wedding Planning Guide / Four Months Out

How exciting…Time to talk about your wedding cake ! I LOVE this one. So if you are doing this on  your own
(WITHOUT A PLANNER)   choose 3 bakers first. That way you won’t be overwhelmed. Remember if your budget is somewhat limited think simple & elegant. Wait until you have attended all your tastings before you commit to one. You won’t believe how many flavors there are !

2) Choose your rehearsal dinner venue and book it. This dinner can be as casual or elegant as you wish. I have noticed that lots of couples are going for the more casual to take the stress off their budgets.
3)  Dress fittings:  Make sure that you have chosen your shoes prior to the first fitting so that you can bring them with you. Bridal shops are great places to look for accessories But I have an even better resource for you ! For the most exquisite Bridal jewelry, hair accessories, veils & sashes check out Bella Bleu Bridal  All of their pieces are very well made and absolutely gorgeous.  So back to fittings…definitely start them at 4 to 5 months prior to the wedding so you will have your dress at least 2 weeks before your wedding.

4) Check with your stationer to see a sample of your invitations. Make sure they are exactly the way you want them. This is your last chance to make changes.  
5) Choose your music for the ceremony, your presention at the reception, your first dance & of course music for your guests to dance to. Make it very clear what you like & what you do not want.
6)  If you have not already done so choose & purchase your rings.
      You will need time to order them if they are custom made and for perfect sizing.

Wedding Planning Guide / Six Months Out

  Happy Spring Brides to Be !  Six months out you definitely should have a meeting with your maids about:
1) Their Dresses !  Here’s why you should have a meeting…Presumably you have a color in mind and your maids will go along with your choice. But everyone has some insecurity about their bodies & what they look good in.
So sit down with them and show them your ideas about color & style. If you are flexible, a great trend that I have seen a lot is having one color in various styles. That way everyone can be happy ! Ann Taylor is definitely just one store where you can accomplish this.

2) Shop for & purchase invitations. If you have the budget for a calligrapher, hire one immediately.
    If you are in Chicago & are looking for custom designed invitations or save the date cards Lidia Varesco
of  LVS Design is a great source.

3) Sit down with your fiance`and plan your honeymoon. Here are all the important items to take care of besides your destination.
a) Budget – That’s huge and controls your Hotel choice, Travel agent ? and Flights.
b) Book your flights EARLY… about 10 months before your wedding.
c) Look for hotels & book one. The earlier the better, so you can get the one you really want.
d.) Travel Insurance
e) Passports, Visas (if necessary) & vaccinations if you are going somewhere exotic.

4) Send save the date cards.

5) Meet with your officiant and discuss with him or her how you would like the ceremony.
     If you are having a destination wedding ask the hotel for a referral.
6) Jot down all the wedding day events ( with your Mom or friend or planner) & organize them
into a timeline. This is the perfect time to check in with your makeup and hair team & organize a timeline with them.

Next time, Four months out. Rehearsal dinner, Wedding Cake
your accessories & more !

Wedding Planning Guide / 9 Months Out continued

Hello Brides to Be !  I think that for most women the next section is the most thrilling part of this process. By now you have pulled photos of gowns & found  where your favorites are carried. Please give yourself time for the shopping. You may discover dresses that were not in magazines & if time is on your side you can try on several and have a wonderful time at the bridal salon. Nine months is a good time to find a dress so that you can have at least 3 fittings.

2) Entertainment    Whether you desire live music or a great DJ recommendations are the way to go. Of course if you have been to weddings & events where you loved the music, interview those first. When you find your favorite book them immediately.

3) Catering    Some venues offer their own caterers of course but if they do not, consider your reception time of day & the type of cuisine you are looking for. Again if you had great food at an event you attended start there first. They will do a tasting for you. When you’re sure hire them !

4) Out of Town Guests     If people are attending from out of town book rooms for them. Many hotels will discount (especially in this economy) for a block of several rooms.

5) Bridal Registry    It’s a good idea to choose a few places to register. Yes it takes time but giving guests a choice is a wonderful & thoughtful idea, especially if you know that some guests may be on a budget.

6) Free Wedding Website     Many Bridal Websites offer couples a personal page to list their date, venue, photos, guests’ hotel etc. One great site for this service is Wedding Wire  
They also have lots of fabulous resources & ideas.
After you establish your site send your guests the link.

        Next blog:  Six months out: Bridesmaids dresses,
invitations & more!


Wedding Planning Guide Nine months out

Happy Belated Valentines Day brides to be !  Thought I had better get busy with continuing the Planning Guide Since there were many engagements between Christmas & February 14th.                
So we begin with 9 months out.
1) Shop for your Makeup & Hair team. Get recommendations from friends who have similiar tastes. Try to go with quality as opposed to price and if possible try out a few & take photos at the trials. Also, these people will be spending several hours with you & your bridesmaids & Moms. Make sure they are friendly & likable.
2) Florists. Again, Check out the wedding websites. Usually if a vendor has lots of good reviews they will be winners ! Go to your meeting with a firm idea of what you want and beforehand check out what flowers will be in season on your wedding day.

3) Hire your Photographer & Videographer     Ask other married friends for recommendations and look at their albums & videos. Also ask your makeup artist for photographer references. They are particular & have a good eye.
Ask to see entire weddings from these 2 vendors. You want to be positive that your vision is the same as theirs.
Acquire references from them & call these brides.
I feel a small studio is a much better way to go because you are dealing directly with the people who will be shooting & filming your wedding.
Also find out how long it will take to get proofs & that you see them before they go online.
Next.. in a couple of days I promise; Your DRESS, entertainment, caterers & more.
        Have a great day !

Wedding Planning Guide / One Year Out

Hello Brides to be !  So you just got engaged. Congratulations !  And you already may be feeling a bit over whelmed…OMG WHAT DO DO FIRST !!!  The key is to have a solid planning guide.

The guide that I will be giving you is based on a one year plan though of course you can adjust it to your own timetable.

1) Start a bridal file and fill it with photos from Bridal, Cooking and Home magazines & websites. This will inspire you and help you choose your Dress, Jewelry, Flowers, Table Design & Cuisine. Pinterest can be a great resource for this. Start your own wedding Pinterest Site !

2) Put your budget together. If family members are contributing
    combine your wedding savings with theirs & begin to decide how  
     you will allocate the funds.
3) Choose your Bridal party. Both you and your Fiance should work on this together.
4) After shopping for & choosing a venue, book the date.
5) The guest list.  Of course you need to discuss this with parents
     Just keep in mind that there will be many other costs to be considered so if you don’t have a big budget you may have to be strong on this point. People will
be understanding about this.

6) If your budget allows hire a wedding planner to help with all the details and the vendor search .
     But you Can find vendors on your own….there is plenty of help out there. One Wed, Wedding
     Wire and Wed Plan are great because vendors are reviewed by brides. Good idea to start your
     search now & give yourself 2 months to decide.
7) Book your officiant.

Next time we will talk about florists, makeup, hair, entertainment,caterers and other important things to do nine months out.

Hurricanes & Luck

Hello everyone, I was going to blog about wedding planning tonight. Then I watched the Benefit for the victims of the hurricane and decided that more important things had to be said. I’ll keep it short & not preachy.
      For those of us who did not lose a loved one
and who have a place to go home to… we are so lucky. I know that things are rough for lots of us That money is tight & some of us have to work 2 or more jobs to make ends meet but think about those people on the Jersey Shore & Staten Island.
They have lost everything.
 So if you have just $10 please send it to the Red Cross & help.  Think of how fortunate you are tonight. I know I am.

Part Five Blush & Lips

Happy Fall Brides !
Autumn Weddings are very popular now. Cooler temps and lower humidity are much more desirable than sweltering summer days.
So let’s talk about the finishing touches on your bridal makeup.
    Blush should take a “back seat” to the rest of your makeup. Keep it in the same color family as your lips. Use a really good brush, not the one that comes with the product. Do not take it down lower than the halfway point between your nose & mouth and lightly powder over the blush to give it a more professional, natural look.
Now, for your lips. Lips are sooo personal. Most women are not going to make an extreme change in lipstick on their wedding day.
    For the woman who wants a natural look I suggest a neutral lip colored pencil all over the lip followed by a low key or clear gloss.  If you are going for color please match the pencil to the lipstick. No lip pencil lines!!!  To help keep the lipstick on longer blot and powder between coats. Then finish with a moderate amount of gloss.  Lipcolor REALLY pulls the whole look together so even if you never wear it do a natural color. You will look so much more wonderful in your photos.
Have a beautiful Weekend !

DIY Bridal Makeup / Part Four Perfect Eyes

        Let’s talk about your beautiful bridal eyes.
If you want your eye makeup to last a lid primer is an absolute must. Purchase a high quality one. Great eyes are done with high end products & brushes. Choose a look you love from a magazine or a website. Then go look for the shadows & try them in the store before you buy. Go a few times if you can; then practice until you achieve the effect that you want. If you are not used to eye makeup, keep your look soft. Remember that really good brushes will do the best job & Blend, Blend, Blend !
Invest in waterproof liner & mascara please. They will last all day & well into the evening.

Now for your brows. They are the frame for your eyes so make sure they are well shaped and clean. After applying your brow pencil or powder be sure to brush through with a brow brush. I prefer a combo of pencil & powder. I know this may sound like a lot of steps but it will be worth it when you receive compliments and see your Bridal photos.
That’s all. Have fun shopping for your fabulous eyes !
Coming soon: Blush & Lips

DIY Bridal Makeup Tips Part Three / The Natural Bride

    This will benefit all the brides-to-be who want to make absolutely sure that they look completely like themselves & that their fiances are met at the alter by the “natural girl” that they proposed to.
   Some sort of foundation is really important. Then take the makeup you wear everyday & embellish it. Change it up
with a little bling ! It doesn’t have to be DRAMATIC.
   Here are a few things you can do:
Get a delicate highlight for the area under your eyebrow like MAC Vanilla Pigment
Apply a little glow powder to the top of your cheekbones.  Purchase a new mascara that really brings out your lashes & take your time applying it.
Get a new wonderful glimmery lipgloss in a neutral or pale pink.  Any or all of these will make you feel more
bridal without compromising your comfort level.
Next ; Part Four / Brushes & Eye Makeup