Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: Winter Wedding Attire

It's Wedding Wednesday and today we are bringing you a few tips for dressing yourself, your gals and your guests for a stylish wintry affair. 

BRIDES
We adore a long-sleeved wedding dress for your winter wedding.
Too heavy?  A lace sleeve is also seasonably appropriate, and won't make you feel overly covered.

You can also find beautiful removable pieces that will add warmth during pictures and the ceremony (churches can be drafty!), but that can be removed for the party.

Pair a strapless dress with a bolero jacket or fur wrap.  Here is a lovely and moderately priced beauty from Alice and Olivia.

Try evening gloves!  They are a "look" but when done right, they make for an impactful and beautiful accessory.  

And the creme de la creme (in our humble opinion) of winter accessories is the under-utilized fur muff.
Oooh La La!  

Photos Courtesy of Ruffled Blog

BRIDESMAIDS
Don't feel like to have to dress your maids in wool and long-sleeves for your winter wedding.
Go with what speaks to you and your your wedding style...
...BUT, DON'T LEAVE THEM FREEZING!

If you plan to take outdoor pictures, give your gals something to cover up with!

Common winter accessories make for fun pictures!

TOPSHOP has an array of mittens at great prices that will complement almost any wedding style/color palatte.    

We also love festive hosiery to complement a winter look.
(we think every gal should own a pair of Wolford's).

You can find fab faux fur wraps and capelets at many moderately-priced stores starting in the Fall.  We love this one from Kohls.  Etsy is a great resource, too!

Tip: be careful with hats and even scarves, they can wreck havoc on beautifully coiffed do's.
Photo Courtesy of Koru Wedding Style   



GUESTS
Dress appropriately for the occasion, but be prepared for the cold weather!

When in doubt, call ahead to ensure the venue offers a coat check.

Bundle up and protect your feet, too - we don't want you turning blue or ruining your Choo's in the snow.

xoxo

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: How to Nail a Toast

Wow!  It's such an honor that the bride or groom chose YOU to give the toast on their special day.  But, as you prepare you may feel the pressure mounting:
Will I be funny?
Will guests be bored?
Will my voice crack?
Will I sob uncontrollably?
I sure don't want to embarrass myself - or worse, THEM!
(well,  maybe just a tiny bit) 

Don't worry, we're here to help!

AE Brings you...

How to Nail a Toast:

Photo Courtesy of Bridal Musings
Practice makes perfect! 
Write your speech down.  PRACTICE!  Try to memorize key phrases.
BUT, don't read it word for word, and DEFINITELY, don't read it from your phone. 

Do it alone.  
A joint speech can get messy!
Unless very very choreographed, duo speeches can be distracting and confusing. 

Photo Courtesy of Bridesmaids 
Be Specific.  
Give short elaborations. Stay away from long sagas.
Keep content personal to the bride and groom. 

Be appropriate. 
Leave exes and former love life out of it!
Rule of thumb - if you are questioning whether to add a particular anecdote, don't. 

It's okay to get emotional.
Bring a tissue. 

Photo Courtesy of Southern Weddings 
Be yourself.
 Mean what you say.
Humor needs to be heartfelt and authentic.
Don't force funny.

Still need help?
Follow this formula:
Introduce yourself and your relationship to the bride/groom
 +
Tell a catchy story about your friend
+
Tell the crowd why you love him/her
 +
Tell why the spouse is such a great match
+
Give your blessing to them
+
"Cheers!"
+
A big hug for both
=
A TRULY KILLER WEDDING TOAST

Go Get 'Em Tiger! 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Ask Ady: Budget Convo Advice

Dear Ady,

My fiancé has recently proposed and we are in the very early stages of planning our wedding.  Both sets of parents have previously alluded to contributing financially to the wedding, but since we have been engaged, neither has brought up the topic.  I know I need to establish my budget, but I have no idea what they are planning to give.  

I am feeling a little bit shy about asking for and discussing financial help for our big day, especially with my fiance's parents, and I was hoping you could give me some suggestions.  Do you have any recommendations on how to initially bring this topic up with our parents?  Is this a meeting that we have with both sets of parents together, or should we have separate conversations?  Thanks, Ady!  Any advice will help!

Sincerely,
Meghan J., Columbus, Ohio

Dear Meghan, 

Ah yes, the dreaded budget conversation.  This topic is tricky on many levels, but especially tricky when you have to bring it up!   Your first step will be to do your due diligence and put together a budget for what you THINK your wedding will cost.  Make some initial venue calls and put down some preliminary numbers on paper.  Be thorough - don't forget little details like tuxedo rentals, save the dates, and transportation.  Smaller budget items tend to add up quickly.  

After you have established your preliminary budget, talk with your fiancé about what the two of you can afford to contribute, IF you need to.  

At that point, it is best that you have individual conversations with your parents rather than a group conversation.  If you are uncomfortable about being included in the conversation with your fiance's parents, there may be a good reason for that.  You should each be prepared to speak to your parents privately and independently of each other.  

It is "tradition" that the bride's parents host the bulk of the wedding day activities, while the groom's parents host the rehearsal dinner and the "day-before" details.  It is important to ask your parents what their expectations are before launching into what you expect of them.  If the two expectations do not coincide, you will then need to have a deeper conversation about what you actually need.  

A few further bits of advice:  

Until you know how much you have to spend, refrain from making big planning decisions.  You don't want to blow a large chunk of your budget on a designer dress or super expensive venue if you can't actually afford it.  

Embrace your budget.  Whatever it is, is what it is.  You must work within it.  It does not make sense to go into debt to host a party more lavish than what you can comfortably pay for.  

Be grateful that your parent's are contributing to the costs, no matter how much that amount is.  Be sure to show them your gratitude.  

You can do it!  You aren't the first and won't be the last bride to find herself in this predicament.  It WILL work out!

xo, Ady 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: What to do with that big blank wall?

Dressing up a naked wall is a great way to add visual interest, intimacy, and cool decor to your space. 
Use a blank wall to exhibit personal photos!  Whether canvas prints or gorgeous frames, personal photos will create visual interest for your guests and bring a truly personal element to your wedding decor.

Blank walls are also a great area to display a cool guestbook or out-of-the-box seating chart.

 Consider create a photo moment!  Whether you have a back drop (or any actual booth!), put some props on display and let your friends and family go at it!  These pictures make a fun guest book or, just give you some really great candid memories :)

Tip:  Be sure to talk to your venue manager about their rules regarding affixing items to their walls.  You don't want to be surprised when they say nails are a "no-no."

Photos Courtesy of Martha Stewart Weddings and Esty

Another idea… play home videos on your blank wall.  This can create a wonderful background ambience and you can make it a classic, timeless piece when family movies are projected in black and white.
Tip: Make sure the wall is either not placed in a major thoroughfare or be sure to project from high enough up that guests won't constantly be standing in the projector light.


Play around with lighting!  Ambiant lighting can easily fix a blah space and using a GoBo for walls or makes your monogram larger than life!
Tip:  Be sure to test the hues before making a final decision.  While pink lighting may sound like a great idea, when translated into a large space, it might be overkill.  

Photos Courtesy of Peak Styles, Rent My Wedding, The Bridal Detective, and Aves Photographic Design
Draping blank walls with fabric gives the most luxurious results (but it is also the most costly)!  Fabric can also be used to hide open ceilings that may not be the most attractive.

Tip:  Fabric does not work well when done sparsely.  If your budget doesn't allow you to drape the room appropriately, then opt for a less expensive decor option.  Lighting does wonders to transform a space. 

Photos Courtesy of The Knot and Pix 2 Brix


Friday, November 8, 2013

Happy Hour with AE: Spiked Cranberry Apple Cider

Surprise guests this Fall with a new twist on an old classic by adding cranberry juice to your hot apple cider.   The blend of apple and cranberry is sweet and tart and the addition of cranberry turns the cider a beautiful red color, making this a perfect beverage to carry through the fall and right into your holidays! 
Photo Courtesy of Betty Crocker

Serves 24

Ingredients:
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp whole Allspice
4 sticks cinnamon 
1 bottle (48oz) apple cider (6 cups)
1 bottle (48oz) cranberry juice cocktail (6 cups)
4 sliced navel oranges
1 orange cut for garnish 
1 bottle Clear Creek Apple Brandy
(spiced rum or whiskey can be substituted) 

Directions:
Mix all ingredients, expect the Apple Brandy, in your medium-large slow cooker.  Heat on low 4-6 hours.  With a slotted spoon, remove allspice, cinnamon and orange rinds before serving.  Add a shot of Apple Brandy to individual mugs, throw in an orange garnish, and fill with cider.  Voila!  

AE Tip:  This recipe freezes beautifully.  Double or Triple this recipe and make a nice big batch this fall.   Freeze in smaller individual containers and serve all throughout the season!  Note - any cider that has brandy already added, will not freeze well, so save the liquor for serving time!  

ENJOY!




Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: Use Seasonal Decor in Multiple Ways

 Taking full advantage of the multiple ways to use seasonal elements can add unique details to any wedding.

Pumpkins don't have to be for Halloween only!  If you're planning an autumn affair, don't stray away from this seasonal must.  Just as the foliage turns to hues of golds and orange, pumpkins become readily available to bring a fall feel to a wedding without reminding everyone of ghosts and goblins.

If orange reminds you of jack-o-lanterns, opt for gourds and pumpkins with a little more character.  Shapes, sizes and color, not one will be the same as another, making incorporating this seasonal favorite easy.  From making a flavorful "pumpkin" palate for your guests to enjoy over dinner, to creating a fun, friendly feel in decor, pumpkins can be painted, decorated, and sculpted to fit into every fall wedding theme!

Photos courtesy of Martha Stewart Weddings 

If leaves are more within your comfort level, bring on the opportunities!  From gorgeous foliage backdrops, a simply printed invitation or name card, or incorporating autumn colored hues into your lighting, leaves are a timeless way to bring fall into your wedding decor.  Twigs and branches will help set off just the slightest difference in decoration so that the seasonal elements are not over used.  Wood and other natural decor will help to create an effortless look that doesn't lack in beauty!

Pictures courtesy of Martha Stewart Weddings and Bunches of Bliss
   





Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: Playing with Fall Color

The leaves are turning and Fall is here -- in more color than ever!  

Reds, browns, and yellows have been booted this season (thank goodness!) as jewel tones take over.  While these colors can stand alone, they become even more vibrant mixed with metals and wood.

 Glam it up with golds and silvers to make a sparkling impression, or neutralize your jewel tones with ivory and creams for a more subtle, natural look.  If you can't choose which route you prefer, do both!  The beauty of these colors is that they are VERY versatile.

Whether planning a fabulous fall wedding or in-home soiree, don't be afraid to play with rich, bold color this season!  

Some of our favorite jewel tones: 
pink ruby, sapphire, turquoise, emerald, amethyst 

Fabulous use of color and mixed mediums:
Photo Courtesy of The Knot



Friday, September 27, 2013

Ask Ady: Cash Bar v. Hosted Bar


Dear Ady,

One of my good friends is in the middle of planning her wedding.  Sometimes she will ask for my advice on certain issues, as I have a very large family and have been a guest at many many receptions.  In a recent conversation, she had asked for my thoughts on hosting a cash bar at her wedding (which she is currently planning on).  In my opinion, I would not expect my guests to pay for a drink at my house, and therefore, I would not expect my friends and family to pay for a drink at my wedding.  Weddings are already expensive, and I know that adding in alcohol only makes those dollar signs go up, but are there any other opinions to make an open bar less expensive?  What are you thoughts on hosting a cash bar at a wedding?


Thanks for any advice,

Grace
Savannah, GA

Dear Grace, 

Ah yes, the cash bar conundrum.  Your instincts (and adherence to appropriate etiquette) are correct.  While offering a cash bar may seem like a great money saving option, it's terrible for your friend's PR.  If she TRULY cannot afford to provide alcohol for her guests, then I would recommend that she not serve it at her reception, at all.  Perhaps there is a bar in the venue open to the public that thirsty guests can visit if they need a drink - she should spread the word that this is the case so that guests are prepared for a dry(ish) wedding.  

She may also want to consider changing the format of her wedding.  If she is planning a sit-down dinner in the evening, perhaps it becomes a heavy hors d'oeuvres party which will free up dollars to include a bar.  Or perhaps, she hosts a beautiful brunch with just a bloody mary and mimosa bar.  

However, if she can eek out some dollars here and there to offer alcoholic beverages at her evening wedding, that is the way to go.  Even if it's just beer and inexpensive wine.  Guests will remember a cash bar long-after they will ever remember decor, the cake, favors, and other accoutrements so perhaps she reduces her budget for these items to allow for a hosted bar.  

Assuming that her wedding is still some time away, I would also suggest that she start saving monthly for the bar expenses.  Refraining from buying those new jeans here, or having a steak dinner there, will quickly add up to a nice little nest-egg to use toward her bar costs.  

The bottom line is this, most guests want to have an adult beverages at weddings.  Period.  Of these guests, few will feel warm and fuzzy about footing the bill.  Double Period. 

Grace - tread lightly when discussing this with your friend.  She may not take it well. And if she does go forth with a cash bar, I would recommend you carry a well-appointed flask in your evening bag.  

Good luck!

-Ady

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: Travel Apps

For our destination wedding hosts, guests, and, of course, honeymooners, traveling abroad or to any foreign locale CAN be a breeze!  Check out these helpful apps, and ask yourself, again, how did we ever live without our smart phones?  

Communication & Etiquette: 
64 languages are available for written and spoken translation. 

Vocre
Translates anything you say into the mic.  Just set the language you want to translate from, then plug in the language you'd like to translate to.  But be sure to speak clearly, you don't want Siri to ask for octopus arms when you wanted tuna sashimi!



World Customs
This app features cultural facts and traditions allowing travelers to seek immerse in the foreign soil they travel. Learn proper greetings, gender issues, taboos, and gestures for 165 different countries. 




Money Matters:
Oanda Currency Converter 
Chose from over 190 currencies and 4 metals to convert your money when traveling.


Getting There:
Packing Pro
Don't forget anything at home!  Create a list of items to pack, or select from sample lists to ensure you have everything you need!


 TripIt
No more looking through countless emails for reservations - with this app, all your itineraries are in one place!  You will have your flight times, rental car information & hotel accommodations at just a glance.



Getting Around:
AroundMe
This locator app tells your all the points of interest around your detect location.  Find what you're looking for by selecting from categories such as, restaurants, museums, and bars.


LocalEats
Skip the national-chain restaurants.  Eat like a local.  This app features independently-owned restaurants and local places only!



HopStop
HopStop takes the guesswork out of even the most complex public transportation systems.  Never again will you be the tourist holding the map in the middle of SoHo!   Enter your starting point and destinations and HopStop will provide step-by-step instructions.


Just for Fun:
Postagram
ONE OF OUR FAVORITES!  Bring back the charm in sending a postcard to friends and family while vacationing.  Upload a picture to this app, type in a message and the recipient's address.  A personalized postcard will be delivered to their (actual) mailbox within a few days.

Trip Journal 
Not one to scrapbook?  Don't worry!  This app tracks your trip's pictures for you by GPS.  You can even have your friends share your vacation with you by inviting them onto your page!  They will be able to see what places you have visited and all the pictures you've taken.

Convert Clothes
Shoppers!  While traveling abroad, let this clothing size converter help you when trying on foreign fashions.


Friday, September 20, 2013

Happy Hour: Classic and Updated Bloody Mary's


In honor of our newest team member, Brittany Sitz, being a Columbus native and proud Buckeye, we are sending a shout out to her and her team by featuring Ohio state's official juice - TOMATO JUICE!  And while tomato juice is yummy on it's own, this wouldn't be a happy hour blog without offering some of our FAVE takes on the Bloody Mary!  

These are sure to keep tailgaters in Ohio and beyond refreshed, filled with vitamin C, and ready to cheer on their favorite team!  Cheers!  

Photo courtesy of My Recipes
Basic Mix:
1 46oz container Tomato or Vegetable Juice
(we love R.W Knudsen and Trader Joe's low sodium, both organic)
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp hot sauce (optional)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce 

Pick your Poison:
1/2 - 1 cup Vodka

Sick of the Same Old? 
Try a different variation. Or become the ultimate host and offer a Bloody Mary bar!

Feeling Spicy? 
Try Stolichnaya's Jalapeño Flavored Vodka.  Careful- this is hot!  Balance the heat with some bleu cheese stuffed olives.

Bacon Lover?
Use Bakon Vodka for a boost of flavor.  You can season this bloody mary with celery salt and horseradish (for spicy). Throw in a thick slice of peppered bacon and a celery stalk to garnish.

Photo courtesy of Heirloom Chef
Not up for Vodka?
USE TEQUILA!  It's called a Bloody Maria & lucky for you, the smokiness pairs really nicely with the tomato flavor.  Play it up with a teaspoon of dijon mustard and garnish with cucumber and lime. 

Presentation, Presentation, Presentation
Experiment with some new garnishes.  Pair your bloody mary with pickled vegetables, radishes, mozzarella balls, dill pickles, cheery tomatoes, carrots, 






Friday, September 13, 2013

Ask Ady:

Dear Ady,

I am a member of the bridal party in an upcoming fall wedding.  In regards to thanking the bride and groom, I have always wondered what the appropriate etiquette is for bridal party members after the festivities are over.  Is one to thank the bride and groom for having you participate in the special time in lives?  And, if bridal party gifts are given, is a thank you gesture necessary (something other than letting them know how appreciative you are in the moment)?  

Sincerely, 

Mary-Elle, Cincinnati, OH

Dear ME, 

While it is not necessary to send a thank-you for a thank-you, it is a lovely gesture to share your gratitude at having been a part of their special day.  This can be handled by a note post-festivities, as part of the sentiment in the card accompanying their gift, or by a special note to the bride/groom on the wedding day if a gift has been sent in advance. 

However, it IS appropriate (and often times forgotten) to thank the hosts for the wedding they hosted which you enjoyed.  Sending a note of thanks and cheer to the hosts (for a wedding or any event) is sure to make you stand out as a gracious guest and will ensure future invitations. 

A good rule of thumb...when in doubt, send a note.  At the very least, you will brighten the receivers day.  Everyone loves to receive a sweet piece of mail.   

xo, 

Ady 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: Wedding Websites

WEDDING WEBSITES!  


weddingwindow.com


How are they helpful to wedding guests?  
Wedding websites provide all information pertaining to the wedding weekend all in one place!  Brides can customize their website to include information about hotel reservations and registry, which should NEVER be included on printed materials, best travel accommodations, attire guidelines ("Our reception is outside, so wear your wedges, ladies!), and all the other questions that you just don't have time to answer over and over again!  

Here are two of our favorite sources.   Both are very user-friendly and boast interesting designs:
Wedding Window
Wedding JoJo

We recommend upgrading to a personalized URL so that guests can easily remember your website name.  For example, samandjoe.com is SO much easier to remember than samandjoe.4444.weddingwebsite.com, wouldn't you agree??!  It's well worth the nominal upgrade fee. 

While these sites have their convenience and charms, they may not be for everyone!  Brides with small quest lists, or who are concerned about privacy, or just plain prefer a traditional form of communication may want to consider a dedicated wedding email, correspondence via mail, or a good old-fashioned phone call to share information.  

Friday, August 30, 2013

Happy Hour with AE: Minty Lime-Ady


SUMMER SEND OFF: MINTY LIME-ADY

 If you're feeling the heat on these last summer days, entertain your guests (or just yourself!) with a refreshing mint limeade!

Whether looking for a non-alcoholic cocktail for everyone to taste, or one with a grown up twist, this beverage is one for all ages to share.  


photos courtesy of Mark and Graham and Marin Mama Cooks



MINTY LIME-ADY

Makes 12 ounces of delicious limeade.  Will stay fresh for 2 days so this is a great recipe to make ahead!

What You Will Need:

 Your choice of vodka (try Tito's! It's taste is smooth and so is it's price!)
A 12oz. container of frozen limeade concentrate (we think Minute Made is the best)
Juice of 2 fresh limes 
Approximately 15 whole, washed mint leaves
Club soda (any will do!) 
Ice cubes


         Mixology:

In a blender, combine the frozen lemonade concentrate, washed mint leaves and juice from 2 limes.  Blend ingredients until mixture is smooth.  Chill in the refrigerator until ready to enjoy.  Give the mix a good stir before pouring it over ice.  Add vodka to taste, stir, and garnish with a fresh mint leaf!

Pretty Presentation:

Try serving your minty limeade in a copper mug (Moscow Mule's aren't the only bevies that taste delicious in copper!)  Add a paper straw for a cute touch.  Want to be a little more glam?  Try a copper straw... we love these.  Bonus!  Good for the environment.  





Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wednesday Wednesday: An Invitation to Remember

Every bride wants an invitation that is so beautiful and unique that guests agree, it is just too lovely to throw away!  Brides are making trendy statements with 3D invitations, patterns and pops of color to make sure that their invitation stands out amongst the others!

3D
Forget about the plain envelope and flat card.  Brides are taking invitations to the next level with pocket folds, bellybands and booklets to make sure their wedding invitations are not missed!

Photo and Graphic Design done by our friend Ink and Ivory Design Studio 

Patterned
Patterns are on the rise AND we LOVE them!  From backing to borders to bellybands to liners - you cannot go wrong!  Patterns are also a great way to introduce your theme and set the tone for your BIG DAY.  

Photos courtsey of Micky Chase Jewelry and Oh So Beautiful Paper

Pop of Color
Don't be afraid of experimenting with a little bit of color when it comes to invitations!  While, save the dates have traditionally lent themselves more easily to color, don't fret about carrying it right on through to your invitation.   We love using colored paper and special ink treatments (such as foil stamping) to achieve color that wows.  
Photos courtsey of Marilyn Keepsakes and Parrott Design Studio 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: BEAT THE HEAT!


Well, August is almost over and we find one of the most beautiful times of the year to be a bride coming to a close. While we still have the last vestiges of summer upon us: green grass, blue sky, and flowers in full bloom, we are also embarking on one of the warmest times of year to host your wedding.  But, don't fret!  Today we are bringing you some inspiration to stay cool on your big day!

Print your wedding program on a fan...this will not only keep your guests cool, but also doubles as a special memento for guests to keep!


Photo and Programs Credit: our friends at Ink & Ivory 

Ask your makeup artist to prepare you for hot weather by not using any liquid products. Try to use powder or crayon options along with a primer and finishing spray to keep your makeup in place and looking great!
Photo Credits: Jim Davis Hicks

Let's not forget about the bridal party! When picking the bridesmaids' dresses and groomsmen's attire, look for a light weight material that will not only look good but keep them comfortable on your special day.


Photo Credits:  Our friends, Guerrin and Brett's, Instagram and Ava Strange 

Carry this light and airy feeling over to your reception. Opt for summer food selections like cold soups, fresh fruit skewers and simple, refreshing hors d'oeuvres!  Anything with cucumber is sure to cool down your guests.
Photo Credits: Anthony's Gourmet Catering, Delish, and Food & Wine

Provide guests with other 'stay-cool' options as favors. You could include items like sunglasses, flip-flops, personalized water bottles, parasols or even sunscreen! 


Photo Credits: Red Gallery Photography, Princess Wedding, and Great Lakes Bay

And last but certainly not least, we adore a lemonade stand!  Refreshing au natural and even better with a bit of vodka for a speciality drink that your guests will love.  Just seeing an ice cold lemonade makes guests feel cool and happy!

Photo Credits: Style Me Pretty and Lauryn Byrdy  






Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Ask Ady: Gift Giving Etiquette for Bridesmaids

Dear Ady:

As a bridesmaid in my dear friend's wedding, I am having some trouble weighing out gift giving options.  With the financial endeavors that come along with bridesmaid duties, am I still obligated to give gifts for the engagement, the shower, and the wedding?  My hotel, dress, shoes, and hair and makeup is already tallied at over $800.  Even though I love my friend dearly, the expenses of her wedding are beginning to weigh on me.  


What is the appropriate gift giving etiquette when the wedding costs are costly? 


Sincerely, 


Gift Guilt, Columbus, Ohio 


Dear Guilty in Columbus, 

Interestingly enough, I just had a similar inquiry a few weeks ago - so that tells me this is a common worry for gals on a budget committing to weddings these days.  So, before I answer this question, I would like to say a few words to all of our beautiful brides out there... 

Ladies - go easy on your bridesmaids.  Where you can, please either make items like hair and makeup optional OR perhaps keep a bit held back from your budget so that you can treat your girls.  Also, when choosing bridesmaid dresses, bachelorette locations, etc. remember your bridesmaid's overall financial status.  If you are well into your careers and have discretionary income, then by all means choose a Marchesa dress and head down to Cabo, however, if most of your maids are new college grads or embarking upon growing families and you know their dollars are tight, then perhaps make more cost-effective choices.  At the end of the day, the important thing is not where you go, what designer your girls wear, or whether their makeup is done professionally.  The important thing is that your nearest and dearest stand with you on the most special day of your life. 

Ok, now onto the question at hand...when you accept the honor of being in a wedding as a bridesmaid, you also except the financial responsibility that comes along with it.  A good average is to plan to spend around $1,000.  If that is something that will tighten your purse strings just too much, you must talk to your bride-to-be immediately and be open and honest with her.   Ask her if you can cut out the more personal variables of her big day like doing your own hair and makeup so that you can afford the dress.   This upfront conversation may also prompt your bride-to-be to consider a dress/shoes/etc. that are on the more affordable side.   Remember, though, once you say yes, you are on the line for the commitments that accompany your choice.  You can't go back.  

Regarding gifts, yes, you must give the bride gifts to any event you are invited to attend.  So, in this case it would be the engagement party, shower, and of course, the wedding.  Here are a couple of suggestions to help you not overspend on gifts.  

The first would be to see if the bridesmaids would like to go in together on group gifts for each of these events.  Perhaps set a budget of $25 per bridesmaid for both the shower and engagement party and $50-$75 for the wedding gift.  This will allow each BM to save a little money, but also by pooling your funds you will be able to buy your friend something more extravagant.   

The other tip would be to set a TOTAL gift limit for yourself.  For example, $150.  Spend less on the engagement party and shower and the bulk of your budget on the wedding gift.  You could also "build" your gift as you go along.  For example, if she is registered for 12 wine glasses, perhaps give her 2 for at each of the parties leading up to the wedding, and for the wedding gift, give her the remaining 8.  

The bottom line is this..  

Being a bridesmaid is expensive.  Period.  However, it's a small price to pay for the very special honor and the memories you will create.  And remember, your besties will do this for you one day (if they haven't already)!  

Brides - remember you are honoring your best friends, do your best not to burden them.

xo, 
Ady   

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: Flower Fluff!

It's Wedding Wednesday and today we are dreaming of happy, fluffy, flowers...

Be it a voluminous bouquet, a single stemmed bloom, or a lush centerpiece, flowers with fluff are a visual favorite of ours.  These pretty poofs make for an impactful finish to any decor plan.  

Fluffy flowers can be found year round and at many different budget levels.  While peonies are ideal in the spring, and especially May, and tend to be a little higher priced, zinnia's are at their best in late summer and tend to be very cost effective.   Garden roses, however, are great options always and mid-priced. 

Here are examples of arrangements and bouquets for each of these fave fluffy flowers...  


Images courtesy of The French Bouquet Tulsa and Olivia Johnson


Photos courtesy of WeddingWire and The Blush Blog   

PEONIES

Photos courtesy of Wedding Bee, our good friends at Rose Bredl, and Ashley Rose Photography


And, don't forget about the carnation.  While this poor gal tends to get a bad rap, when used wisely, she is a great cost-effective way to get full fluff! 

Photo courtesy of Floret Cadet and Martha Stewart Weddings


In fluff we trust, 
AE!!  xo




Thursday, July 18, 2013

Ask Ady: Destination Wedding Gift Giving

Dear Ady:

My new husband and I are attending a destination wedding for a good friend in Mexico. I have received invitations to the bachelorette party and shower. Do we buy this friend a wedding gift also or is attending her destination wedding gift enough?  What is the wedding etiquette with destination weddings when the travel is over $1000?

Not to mention, I did not invite her to any of my showers? 

Sincerely,

Mrs. Newly-Married-And-Trying-To-Furnish-A-Home

Dear Newly Married, 

Well, you aren't going to love my answer, but yes, you do need to give your friend a gift for her wedding.  It is your choice to attend her wedding whether it be in Mexico or around the corner from your own home.  Regarding the shower and bachelorette, again, the gracious thing to do is to also give a gift. 

However, you do not need to break the bank.  My advice is this.  Commit to a TOTAL gift amount in your mind.  Let's say $100. I know this is pillows for your new couch, but think how you would feel if guests attended your recent wedding and opted to have THEIR flight/hotel be YOUR wedding gift.  Out of that $100, purchase something small for the shower (around $20-$30).  Perhaps a fun cookbook or kitchen utensils from her registry.   Also, purchase something small for the Bachelorette (panties aren't THAT expensive), let's say $10, and with the $70 that is left, purchase a lovely something to send as the wedding gift. 

Note, if you don't attend the Bachelorette, you can get away with not giving a gift.  However, even if you do not attend the shower, you will still need to send something.  

It is important to remember that the couple should be given a gift as a THANK YOU for hosting you at what will surely be a beautiful evening in Mexico, and subsequently as a token to remember you by as they start their new life.  

Just buy a few fewer lattes over the next couple of months and you will rack up your "gift budget" quickly.  

xoxo, Ady 

ON THE FLIP SIDE....BRIDES!  Listen up!  Be sure to go easy on your guests and manage your expectations!  With destination wedding travel, it may be cost-prohibitive for some guests give a large gift.  Remember, the memories with your guests are the best gifts you will receive.   

One more tip, do not invite any guest to more than one shower with the exception of your immediate family and bridal party.  Be sure to let your bridal party/family know that you do not expect them to attend all showers and that you do not expect them to give you a shower gift, at all.  


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Ask Ady: My BFF may not make a good MOH


Dear Ady-

My fiancé just proposed in February and we have been working on selecting friends and family to be a part of our bridal party.  My lifelong best friend is the woman I would like to be my maid of honor, but I have a few reservations.  She always makes herself the center of attention, whether or not it is someone else’s special day.  I am very worried that instead of supporting me, she will make my wedding all about herself.  Also, my fiancé and I are very thankful to both of our parents for the generous budget they have given us, allowing us to have an open bar throughout the entire reception!  My best friend, however, also has a problem with alcohol. She would argue that she doesn’t but she has never been able to control herself or stop after she has reached her limit.  This isn’t only a concern for being the maid of honor but also as a guest at our wedding. After all of the work, time and money our families will put into our wedding and engagement, we both want our wedding to be an event to remember for all the right reasons.  Should I choose someone else as my maid of honor?

Sincerely,
Megan H., Columbus, OH


Dear Megan,

Well, this is certainly a tricky and emotional subject.  If you are concerned that your bestie will be a source of stress and not take her role of MOH seriously and respectfully, then you may be better off with asking another person to fill this important role, or perhaps not choose to title someone MOH at all.  However, you cannot make this decision without ensuring that you have clearly spelled out your expectations to your BFF.  Without having a conversation with her, a Pandora's Box of speculation will open for her to wonder WHY she wasn't chosen, as clearly a lifelong best friend is always the obvious choice for the role of MOH.  You need to be very upfront with her.    

This leads me to a deeper thought...it sounds as if you and your bestie have had years of these situations that seem to be unresolved.  Perhaps this conversation on the MOH topic will allow you to also share your frustrations with her as an attention seeker, and more importantly, your worry over her binge drinking.  If you are truly lifelong friends with mutual respect for each other, this conversation should make your relationship stronger.  If it doesn't go that way, perhaps you will have learned a tough lesson in friendships: As you grow older, QUANTITY does not always make for QUALITY.    

What I will caution is this:  You can never change a person, you can only change how you choose to let that person affect you.  Change must always come from within.  

Sending you lots of luck on this, Megan.  An honest conversation is your first step. 

xoxo, 

Ady