Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Step 86 - Check Marriage License Requirements

(1 Month to 2 Months before the Wedding)
In order for a couple to get married, they need to pick up a marriage license. Marriage licenses can be obtained at a County Clerks Office and other specified municipal offices throughout the county. You can also download the forms from the county clerk website. Marriage licenses also can be obtained from the registrar of vital statistics.

Every state has their own procedures and forms that have to be filled out. Each state has their own fee structure and own marriage laws. Some states requires a witness over the age of 18 to come with you when you apply for a marriage license and some states don't. Most states issue a marriage license that is valid for 30 days but in addition generally there is a 72 hour waiting period before they can be used. The marriage license must be obtained from the county om the state from which you plan to marry.

Both parties must have a valid ID such as a driver's license, ID issued by DPS (Department of Public Safety), valid passport, resident alien card, or other government issued identification. A couple is authorized to be married by a licensed or ordained christian minister, priests, Jewish rabbis, persons of religious organizations who are duly authorized by the religious organization to conduct marriage ceremonies.

A couple is also authorized to be married by justices of the Supreme Court, judges of the court of criminal appeals, justices of the court of appeals, judges of the district, county, probate courts, judges of the county court at law, courts, of domestic relations and juvenile courts, retired justices and judges of such courts, justices of the peace, retired justices of the peace, justices and magistrates of the federal courts including mayors and licensed county clerks.

If either applicant is divorced, the divorce documents for the application in question must be brought in at the time of application. It is recommended both the bride and groom obtain the marriage license together in person, if for some reason one person is unable to appear, an affidavit of absent application is required.

Whether or not a bride changes her name after marriage is usually a decision discussed by her and her soon to be husband, whichever route the bride decides to take (change her last name to the husbands last name, use a hyphenated last name or stick with her maiden name) should be something the couple discusses with each other before filling out the marriage certificate before the wedding day. In the majority of weddings in the U.S.A. brides are more likely to change their last name to the husband's surname.

Also before one gets married the couple is recommended to get a medical exam, and get blood tests. Couples are generally not allowed to marry siblings, parents, children, and first cousins. Sometimes second cousins may be allowed to marry if it's determined a gene compatibility exist from a blood test. It's recommended to not change your name on many documents until after the couple is married. No one can change a document until the marriage is legal.

Xerox a copy of your wedding certificate. Make about 25 copies of the marriage certificate and keep the documents in a safe place such as an important paper drawer. Send a copy out with any name change request forms. It is recommended you start making name changes on all your papers beginning the week after your wedding or honeymoon focusing on changing your social security and driver's license first.

There are kits available online that can help you out to change your name after you get married. Some charge money, others are free. The more prevalent name change kits online are shown below.

Online Name Change Kit Websites

Listed below are places where brides need to arrange for name and address places. To get your name changed seems like it is a lot of work and it is, but it's very important. If you procrastinate or don't you are libel to get in trouble with the IRS, have problems with social security, later and damage your credit rating.

Bride Name and Address Places Needing Updating after Wedding

Auto Club
Business Cards
Credit Bureaus
  Equifax         1-(800) 685-1111
  Experian       1-(888) 397-3742
  Trans Union  1-(800) 916-8800
Credit Cards
Department of Motor Vehicle(Driver's License, Registration, Other)
Employers (Employer's Records, Work, 401K)
Family and Friends
Insurance (Auto, Health, House, Other)
Investments (Stocks and Bonds)
IRS/Tax Forms
Library Cards
Magazine Subscriptions/Book Clubs
Maintenance Fees
Memberships (Clubs, Gyms)
Professional License
Property Titles
Schools/Alumni Associations
Social Security
U.S. Post Office
Utility Bills (Cable, Electric, Internet, Phone, Sewage, Water)
Voter's Registration Card
Will/Legal Documents/Lawyer

Whew, that's a lot of work. Once you have updated all your name and address documents, your honey owes you a nice dinner, drink, and dessert. You are now officially a Mrs. and congratulations!

See you on the other side!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Step 85 - Prepare a Bridal Emergency Kit

(1 Month to 2 Months before the Wedding)
Bridal emergencies arise at almost every wedding. If you ask almost anybody that has ever had a wedding, at about 95 percent of them, at least something did not go perfectly right. Very often it's a vendor or two that muffs up the day, sometimes the weather fouls up the plans, sometimes it's a clothing mishap, sometimes it's a stain, either wine spilling on a dress or the wedding dress rubbing against a limousine tire or the little ring bearer getting his chocolate covered hands on the bride's wedding dress. Sometimes the maid of honor passes out after skipping a meal or the groom recovering from a bachelor party from the night before the wedding.

The secret to minimizing bridal emergencies that happen at weddings is to perform proper planning. Make sure the bride and groom do their homework before booking a wedding vendor, do your research verify your vendor with the better business bureau, have there been any complaints from bridal parties that have used this vendor in the past, get personal references or see the wedding vendors in action, how organized are they at other weddings?

Proper planning is another area that minimizes emergencies that happen at weddings. Don't put wedding cakes in dangerous areas, near dance floors and high traffic areas, also watch over areas where children can get in trouble such as knocking over a candy jar or bumping into a table full of coffee cups. Keep drinking under control too, don't let those that can't handle their liquor ruin your wedding, make sure their alcohol consumption is cut off of they reach a certain point.

Many other situations arise at weddings too, you can save the day by preparing a bridal emergency kit. While you never expect emergencies to arise on your big wedding day, little things always seem to happen, it's better to be safe than sorry. Bridal emergency kits can be ordered from many bridal shops, but you can create one yourself. Start off with either a duffle bag, tote bag, large basket, or an over-sized purse. You then want to pick up items that will be there, in the event an emergency situation should ever arise.

Your bridal emergency kit should be prepared well in advance of the wedding. Preferably, one to two months before the wedding. Absolutely, have everything you need at least one week before the wedding. The last week before the wedding, there tends to be so many things on the bride's plate that there just is no time left to find the remaining items for the bridal emergency kit.

The bride should assign someone close to her that is a very responsible person, such as the maid of honor, one of the bridesmaids, mother of the bride, or a close friend that is not in the wedding party. Find a strategic location at the wedding ceremony site and wedding reception facility. Work with the vendor to find a safe but easy to access good location for the bridal emergency kit, it may be a spot in the bathroom, a holding room, closet, or extra room at a venue. Your aide is responsible to getting the bridal kit to the agreed to spot at the wedding ceremony and moving it to the agreed to spot at the wedding reception.

Go through the items listed below and identify what items should be part of your bridal emergency kit. When the wedding is over you should decide what to do with the kit. Keep the kit yourself, give it away as a wedding favor to someone close to you, give it to someone else who has an upcoming wedding, leave it with an officiant to help a bride who is low on funds, or leave it with a wedding planner.

Bridal Emergency Kit Items

1 - Acid Relief Tablets or Tums
2 - Adhesive Strips
3 - Advil, Bayer, Aspirin, or Ibuprofin
4 - Backup Bow Tie for the Groomsmen Tuxedos
5 - Baby Oil
6 - Baby Powder
7 - Baby Wipes or Moist Towelettes
8 - Ballet Flats (Sore Feet after Dancing)
9 - Band Aids (Clear Ones Preferred)
10 - Batteries (Backup for Camera or other Video Equipment)
11 - Bleach Pen
12 - Blotting Paper or Whiteout
13 - Bobby Pins, Safety Pins, or Straight Pins
14 - Body Lotion, or Body Oil
15 - Bottle of Water, Seltzer, Mineral Water, Gatorade, or Powerade
16 - Bug Spray or Insect Repellent or Off
17 - Buttons (Extras for wedding dress, bridesmaid's dresses, or tuxedos)
18 - Calculator
19 - Camera (Regular, Digital, or Disposable)
20 - Cash ($20 for Emergency and Roll of Quarters for Phone, Parking, Meters, and Vending)
21 - Cellular Phone (Turned off for Wedding)
22 - Clear Nail Polish
23 - Cold Medicine
24 - Comb
25 - Contact Lens/Contact Cleaner/Eye Glasses
26 - Copy of Directions to Wedding Reception
27 - Corsage Pins
28 - Cotton Balls
29 - Cuff Links (Extra for Tuxedos)
30 - Dental Floss
31 - Deodorant or Spray Deodorant
32 - Driver's License/ Photo ID Card
33 - Ear Plugs
34 - Emory Board
35 - Eye Drops or Visine
36 - Facial Tissue or Facial Wipes
37 - First Aid Kit
38 - Gum or Life Savers
39 - Hair Brush
40 - Hair Dryer or Curling Iron
41 - Hairspray
42 - Hand Lotion or Hand Sanitizer
43 - Handkerchief
44 - Important Phone Numbers
45 - Janie Stick
46 - Kleenex or Tissue
47 - Krazy Glue or Super Glue
48 - Lint Remover or Lint Roller
49 - Lip Chap
50 - Lip Stain
51 - Lip Stick or Lip Pencil
52 - Makeup Remover
53 - Makeup Sponge
54 - Makeup Supplies
55 - Manicure Supplies
56 - Mascara
57 - Masking Tape (Hem Tape)
58 - Matches or Lighter
59 - Mint or Breath Mints
60 - Mirror (Compact)
61 - Nail Clippers
62 - Nail Polish and Nail Polish Remover
63 - Nasal Decongestant or Nasal Spray
64 - Notepad and Pens
65 - Pantiliners or Panty Hose
66 - Pepto Bismol
67 - Prescription Medicine
68 - Perfume
69 - QTips
70 - Razer
71 - Ribbon, Yarn, or String
72 - Robitussin, Cough Medicine, or Cough Drops
73 - Scissors
74 - Scotch Tape
75 - Sewing Kit or Needle and Thread
76 - Sharpie Black Marker
77 - Shoes (Extra Pair Comfortable)
78 - Shoe Polish (Color of Brides, Bridesmaids, Groomsmen's Shoes)
79 - Shout Wipes
80 - Snacks (Granola Bars, Dried Fruits, Fruit Rollups)
81 - Spare Garter
82 - Spare Money Bag (For Honeymoon Dance)
83 - Stain Stick or Stain Remover
84 - Straws (To prevent lipstick markings on lips and drinking glasses)
85 - Sun Glasses
86 - Sun Screen or Sun Tan Lotion
87 - Tampons or Feminine Napkins
88 - Thread (Color of Wedding, Bridesmaid's Dresses and Tuxedos)
89 - Tide to Go Pen
90 - Tooth Brush
91 - Tooth Paste
92 - Tweezers
93 - Tylenol
94 - Umbrella
95 - Vaseline
96 - Wash Cloth or Hand Towels
97 - Watch
98 - Wedding Fan
99 - Wedding License
100 - Wedding Program

Believe it or not, many of these cosmetic items can fit into your bridal emergency bag, most items are inexpensive and found at your local pharmacy or drug store. Get items little by little over a period of time. Depending on your budget you may consider an emergency kit for yourself and another for the bridal party or the bridal party can use yours in a pinch.

Your bridal emergency kit can save the day for many situations, hair messed up on a blustery day, skin abrasions from a fall, blistered feet from dancing, perspiration from a hot day, a stain on your dress, a rip or tear of wedding dresses, red eyes, a cold, a headache, a dry mouth, a broken high heel, dead batteries, a smudge on your shoes and on and on. You are prepared for most any emergency.

The bridal emergency kit, almost always something is used from it at practically every wedding. It also helps by putting the bride's mind at ease. But even with all the planning you do to try to make the wedding perfect, just things continue to happen at weddings, hopefully yours will be a funny story because you planned your wedding well and your bridal emergency kit just happened to save the day. Don't worry or fret about matters out of your control, you planned the best you could, enjoy, smile, and have a good time, it's the best day of your life, enjoy your wedding day.

See you on the other side!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Step 84 - Develop and Distribute Day of Wedding Schedule

(1 Month to 2 Months before the Wedding)
To insure your wedding weekend runs smoothly, you will want to create contact sheets of all the people involved in your special day and you also will need to create a timeline of events and activities to insure your wedding day is perfect. Depending on who you have hired for the wedding, you may need to create four different types of day of wedding schedules.

The first type "Day of Wedding" schedule you will need is for the wedding day itself, someone to oversee that everything at the wedding is taken care of. This schedule may be created as one of the services provided by the wedding planner. It also might be covered by a coordinator of the reception facility or hotel or restaurant. A family member or friend might volunteer and act as your coordinator, or maybe you can hire a day of wedding coordinator who is similar to a wedding planner but works your wedding day only.

The second "Day of Wedding" schedule is in reality the official high level wedding schedule, a schedule that shows a timeline highlighting the wedding rehearsal, the rehearsal dinner, the wedding ceremony, and shows estimated activities of the wedding reception including when the cocktail hour begins, the grand entrance of the bridal party, the time to start dinner, the speeches and toasts, the time of the receiving line, the first dance of the wedding couple, father and bride dance, the mother and groom dance, the bouquet and garter toss, and the grand departure of the wedding couple. This schedule is shared by family and possibly the wedding guests.

The third "Day of Wedding" schedule is a schedule prepared specifically for the bridal party. This schedule includes all the bridal party contacts and the times and locations the bridal party need to arrive at the rehearsal site, rehearsal dinner site, the expected time the bridesmaids are expected to show at the bride's house, the time the bridal party needs to arrive at the wedding ceremony site, time to be available for the wedding photography and videography and the time they all have to be at the wedding reception. Also the time for the best man's toast and if there are other wedding activities the bridal party needs to make an appearance at.

The fourth "Day of Wedding" schedule is the caterer's schedule. If you are using a professional caterer they usually have their schedule system down pat. Though on the other hand, if you are catering the wedding through a non-professional party, you will need somebody to create a chart for the food part of the wedding. If it's a  medium to large wedding all the food activities best be charted out. Where do all the food deliveries go, when and where does food get prepared and where does it get stored? When do hors 'doeuvres get served and when, what and where is the order of the foods to go out, if it's a multi-course meal, the order for the different foods to be brought out and which seat do the different entrees go. Also any foods and dishes for buffet table such as desserts and coffee are there set up times for them too.

For any of these day of wedding schedules there are a few different types of tools that can be used. They can be set up using an Excel Spreadsheet or even created using a Word document, they can be put into an activity list and set up into a checklist format in which a coordinator can check off an activity as it's performed. If the event is medium or large sized, the activity sheet can be set up using a Gantt chart which is basically a horizontal bar chart with each activity presented using a bar under a timeline.

You can learn how to create a Gantt chart using Excel by going into Youtube and you will see instructional lessons by entering "Gantt chart using Excel" into the browser. (Gantt chart was named after an American Engineer named Henry Gantt who perfected this chart).

If the wedding activities get a little bit complex, you may want to consider putting the wedding activities into a Pert chart (Program Evaluation Review Technique). The Pert chart represents events or milestones in a logical sequence of events. It may show things such as Task A must be completed before Task B can began, or Task A and Task B can be done concurrently, or Task A and Task B have to be completed before Task C can begin. Pert Charts are used to display projects represented in a network diagram using numbered nodes (usually circles or rectangles) which is an event with directional lines used in the diagram to show the sequence of tasks. Pert Charts work well at big weddings with a lot of complexity involved, are especially helpful involving large wedding tents and weddings involving empty warehouses, ballrooms, or banquet halls.

Another tool you can use is a tool found in Google Docs. Go into your Google browser and put in "Day of Wedding Google Docs" and you will find a another guideline to help you create a "Day of Wedding" Chart. Some other websites that help generate tools you can also use to generate wedding activities are listed below.

Day of Wedding Website Tools

If you are using a wedding planner, most likely the wedding planner has their in-house tool that lays out the "Day of Wedding" schedule. If you are planning the wedding yourself, you should create a wedding schedule and identify someone to be a day of wedding coordinator. If you are having a small wedding, you might get away with creating a day of wedding schedule and recruit possibly the bride's mom or bride's dad or close relative or friend to oversee deliveries go to the right place and wedding guest's questions and needs are taken care of.

If you have a medium or large wedding you really should consider using if not a wedding planner a "Day of Wedding" coordinator. That is if the caterer or reception facility or restaurant does not provide one for the reception. There are a few options you have to find yourself a person who can serve this important function. There are wedding planner businesses and wedding coordinators that will work just the wedding for you. You can find these businesses off of wedding websites, yellow pages, and using internet queries. You also might be able to find a relative or a family friend to perform this function.

If you have done all the work, have lined up and booked all the vendors, have laid out all the contacts and created a "Day of Wedding" schedule. You might even think of hiring a student that has started taking Wedding Planning classes. You have done all the upfront work, you just need somebody to oversee the vendor deliveries, where to place the gifts and cards, makes sure the tables are set, and answers any questions wedding guests may have. In all likelihood if you contacted a class that has wedding planners, and interview a few of them and talk to their instructors you should be able to find a pretty good one. You just need to do a good interview with a few students, find one that is organized, well mannered, and would be personable to your guests. Someone who can take your marching order instructions and implement your tasks, and hiring a student shouldn't cost you a lot of money, and they will be appreciative by getting their foot in the door. If you are happy with their service afterward, you should get a picture taken with this person at the reception so they have this experience to pad their resume.

Your "Day of Wedding" Coordinator should have three types of charts on them on the day of the wedding. The first chart should be a contact sheet of all the important people involved for the special day. It should be broken down into two pieces, contacts for the bridal party and wedding vendor contacts. For the bridal party you should include their function (e.g. Maid of Honor, Best Man, etc.) their name, phone number, their address, backup number, and an electronic means of contacting too such as their email. The address is important, you just never know, you might have to send someone out to pick up the bridal party person, for this is the day their car won't start.

Your coordinator should have a contact for all the wedding vendors too. If the wedding vendor is suppose to make a delivery and that have not shown up yet, this day is an important day that all has to be perfect. The wedding cake, florists, decorators, food delivery, limousine service, DJ, musician's, rental services, food, and beverage, reception help, caterer's, etc. they must be all on time. If they don't arrive when they are expected you must find out why and how soon can they get there. The coordinator should have the business name, contact person, time of expected delivery, phone number, business address, and a backup contact with all numbers on a handy contact sheet.

The wedding coordinator should also have available an answer to questions sheet. Answers to any question that a wedding vendor or wedding guest may ask. Where does the wedding cake go? Where do I put the wedding flowers? Where do the wedding gifts go? Where do cards for the wedding gifts go? Where do I find the lady's powder room? What are the directions to the wedding reception hall? If the coordinator does not know the answer to a question she should know who to check with an answer, whether it be the mother of the bride, mother of the groom, maid of honor, or caterer.

The third piece of information the wedding coordinator should have is a sheet of the "Day of Wedding" activities. The wedding coordinator might have a clipboard or a whiteboard of each of the events expected activities. Occasionally some activities might be added, dropped or rearranged. Before the wedding this "Day of Wedding" schedule should be reviewed over and over to insure everything is in order and a little buffer is placed so the wedding schedule is sure to run smoothly, even including the timeliness of the groom and the bride.

A baseline for "Day of Wedding" is shown below. The "Day of Schedule" should get reviewed and reviewed, talk to the officiant, church secretary, bride, groom, mother of the bride, maid of honor, best man, caterer, reception facility, and all the wedding vendors, a summary should be shared with all the participants too.

"Day of Wedding" Rehearsal Activities

Review timing and processional order
Review positions of bridal party during the wedding
Review timing and order of recessional
Provide cues and coordinate readings
Provide cues and coordinate wedding musicians and soloists
Review if anything else needs coverage at the rehearsal
Coordinate any decoration at the rehearsal dinner
Coordinate food served at the rehearsal dinner
Oversee the delivery of the groomsman cake
Provide cues for the best man's speech and wedding toasts
Make sure the groomsman cake is cut and served to guests
Provide assistance to out of town guests at the rehearsal dinner
Make sure rehearsal dinner vendors get paid and tipped
Insure all favors, food bags, leftover groomsman cake, and gifts are not left behind

"Day of Wedding"  Wedding Ceremony Site

Arrive at ceremony site
Greet wedding officiant
Bride and bridesmaid verified ready hair, makeup, dress done
Limousine has picked up bride and bridesmaids
Insure decorators drop off decorations
Insure flowers for wedding arrive
Insure church is decorated for the wedding
Guest book is set up and attended
Wedding party arrived
Bride situated in holding room
Wedding family members arrive
Musicians arrive
Photographers and videographers arrive
Flowers, bouquets, corsages, boutonnieres handed to bridal party
Groomsmen receive wedding programs to hand out
Pre-wedding photos taken
Music Begins
Groomsmen and best man situated at the altar
Candle Lighting
Mothers are seated
Processional is formed
Flower girl and ring bearer go down the aisle
Bride and father processional
Ceremony begins
Music cues
Reader cues
Wedding vow cues
Wedding party recessional
Signing of the marriage certificate
A formal receiving line formed
Photo sessions at the church
Check with guests on directions to the wedding reception
Coordinate any transfers from ceremony to reception (i.e. flowers)
Stay on top of photo shoot and location
Insure ceremony site has been cleaned, misc. items for storage
Insure appropriate ceremony vendors been paid and tipped.

"Day of Wedding" Wedding Reception

Pre-inspect wedding reception area to insure venue is in good condition and clean
Caterer is ready to attend to his food preparation
Attend to rental services deliveries
Bartending stations are ready to go
Verify seating charts and seating arrangements
Is updraft or special lighting or fabric hanging need to be done
Get wedding banquet tables and chairs and buffet tables positioned
Linen deliveries made
Wait Staff help arrived including bartenders and kitchen help
Linen placed on all the tables
Oversee any additional food deliveries
Wedding cake delivered
Wedding cake put on table and inspected
Ice sculpture delivered and setup
Flowers delivered
Decoration materials delivered
Wedding favors delivered
Beverages delivered
Cater food prepared
Photo booth delivered and setup
Guest signing book and station readied
Check in with caterer
Table centerpieces are positioned on tables
Flowers are positioned on tables
Each table place setting with china, napkins, flatware, and glassware
Buffet tables squared away with coffee, coffee cups and saucers, etc.
Disc jockey arrives for setup
Dance floor setup
Musicians arrive for setup
Gift table is positioned
Check in with bartender to insure they are ready (beer, wine, and hard liquor, soda, juice, water, garnishes, ice, they are situated and ready)
Place settings are positioned on tables
Wedding favors placed on the tables
Final decorations placed on tables
Coat and cloak room is ready
Candles and lights are lighted
Take care of special buffet table (candy buffet, chocolate fountain, coffee bar)
Toast glasses and champagne positioned and ready
Cake cutting knife positioned and ready
Wait staff receive final instructions
Check if caterer and wait staff are ready
One last thorough inspection of facility
Get formal picture of reception facility decorated while empty
Unlock front door of reception facility
Begin cocktail hour
Ceremony music begins
Cocktails served by bartenders and wait staff
Wait staff serves hors d'oeuvres
Oversee wedding guests needs and help locate seating
Photographers and videographers arrive from photo shoot
Formal part of wedding reception begins
Wedding guests get seated
Cue musicians or disc jockey
Announcement of grand entrance of bridal party
Bar is closed during formal part of dinner
Bridal party is seated for dinner
First table seated
Bridal party seated
Officiant leads in prayer
Bridal party served dinner by head of waitstaff
Reception tables served dinner by waitstaff in numerical order
Bride and groom on receiving line
Check on special needs tables
Check on children's or teenager's tables
Food prepared for wedding vendors
Check in with caterer
Give cue on toasts and speeches
Formal evening music begins give cue to musicians
Photographers and photographers are positioned for pictures
Bride and groom cut wedding cake
Serve coffee and tea and dessert
Wait staff clears table of dinner dishes
Bar opens back up
Hostess cuts and waitstaff serves wedding cake
Tossing of the bouquet and garter
Bride and groom's first dance
Bride and father dance
Groom and mother dance
Any special announcement (birthday's, anniversary's, after reception matters)
Wait staff starts clearing tables
Insure limousine for honeymoon or hotel has arrived
Hand wedding sparklers out to wedding guests for Grand Finale
Grand finale send off for the bride and groom
Insure tuxedos and wedding dress get returned to tuxedo shop and to cleaners
Make sure final payments to wedding vendors and tips are ready to be handed out
Collect gives and insure delivery to bride's mom's house or couples home
Pack up leftovers and deliver to designated person
Wedding guests continue to dance
Wedding guests start to depart
Wait staff starts removing linens
Rental supplies are readied to be returned
Cleaning staff has arrived and starts cleaning
Insure no gifts, favors or belongings are left behind
Inspect reception has been cleaned
Thank all for a great wedding and lockup
Return the key in the morning

About a week before the wedding you want the bridal party to receive their wedding schedule. They should receive contact information on all the wedding party members along with the time and place of each location of the wedding. Also the wedding coordinator should check in with the caterer to be sure he is squared away, most of the time he is organized well for the wedding but if you happen to come across an inexperienced caterer, he most likely will need help with some type of "Day of Wedding" scheduling tool.

Every wedding is different, they each have different bride and groom wishes and a varied sort of wedding vendors and caterers. The one thing is for sure unless it's a very small wedding, in order for the wedding to be run smoothly it's best they find a tool to aid them in the managing of all activities and events associated for the wedding day.

See you on the other side!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Step 83 - Buy Wedding Gifts for Each Other

(1 Month to 2 Months before your Wedding)
A wedding gift to each other helps add some splendor and romance to your wedding day. Usually the best gifts to give for your wedding is something that reflects your commitment to each other. It's best to find something that is lasting and has special meaning. Engrave the special present with your initials or names and the wedding date. Objects that are engravable, tend to make the best wedding gifts for each other, it becomes a reminder of a special moment in your lives.

It is common for the bride and groom to exchange gifts on their wedding day. There is no traditional moment to exchange gifts, at some weddings, gifts are swapped prior to the actual ceremony, sometimes being exchanged at the rehearsal dinner or by way of messenger early on the morning of the wedding day. At other weddings, brides and grooms may exchange gifts sometime after their wedding ceremony, either right before the wedding reception as they freshen up and some wedding couples exchange gifts at the close of the evening when the two find themselves with a little privacy, at last. Still others include wedding gifts on the gift table along with all the others and open the gifts for each other along with all the other gifts after the formal part of the wedding is over.

The gifts you buy each other, next to the engagement/wedding ring should be a special gift as it a gift marking your very special day. Of all the gifts you will ever give each other, this gift you should give a lot of thought for this gift being on a special occasion will always have a special meaning. If you are having trouble deciding what gift to purchase for your honey, below are some ideas to help you consider. Make sure you put a lot of thought into the right gift to get your honey, but also consider finding the best gifts that will fit your budgets too.

25 Wedding Gift Ideas from the Groom to the Bride

1 - A Handwritten Love Letter Spritzed with your Cologne.
2 - A Book of Poetry, Highlighted with Phrases Describing your Relationship.
3 - A Music CD with Songs Special to the Both of You.
4 - A Photo Album or Photo Frame with a Picture of Him Inscribed with Magical Words.
5 - A Single Long Stem Red Rose with a Note Proclaiming His Love to You.
6 - A Dozen or More Beautiful Red Roses.
7 - A Special Necklace for Her to Wear.
8 - A String of Pearls for Her to Wear.
9 - Diamond Earrings (If She has Pierced Ears).
10 - A Jewelry Box with a Special Piece of Jewelry.
11 - Monogrammed or Embroidered Handkerchief.
12 - Golf Clubs (Be Sure She will Play).
13 - Exclusive Name Brand Sunglasses, and Certificate to Buy Beachwear.
14 - MP3, Portable DVD Player, Blackberry, IPad, Kindle, or Electronic Device.
15 - Honeymoon Beach Paraphernalia, Flip Flops, Beach Towel, Snorkeling Equipment.
16 - A Special Handbag or Purse (Be Sure it's one She Wants).
17 - Matching Set of Jewelry
18 - Portrait, Print, Painting, or Sculpture of her Favorite Artist.
19 - A Big Bottle of Perfume She Loves.
20 - A Bottle of Her Favorite Wine or Liqueur with a Poem.
21 - Rotating Digital Photo Frame.
22 - A Slim Digital Camera She can Keep in her Purse.
23 - Special Lingerie (Be Sure it's Lingerie She Loves).
24 - A Special Gadget She Would Love (Maybe an Espresso Machine).
25 - A Assorted Lotion Gift Bag along with a Spa Certificate.

25 Wedding Gift Ideas from the Bride to the Groom

1 - Engraved Photo of Her with a Poem or Magical Words.
2 - Sporting Goods of a Sport He Really Loves.
3 - Bottle of his Favorite Wine or Liqueur along with a Love Letter.
4 - Customized Calender with Pictures of the Two of You.
5 - Handcrafted Blanket or Afghan with Special Inscription.
6 - Mixed CD of your Favorite Songs and a Love Note.
7 - A New Wallet with your Photo on the Inside along with a Money Clip.
8 - A Photo Album or Scrapbook Containing Many Photos of You, Some which He has not Seen Yet.
9 - Soft and Fuzzy Engraved Bathrobes one for Him and one for You.
10 - Jewelry or Bracelet you know He will Wear.
11 - A Pocket Watch engraved with your initials and includes a Photo of You.
12 - Designer Engraved Cuff Links
13 - Gift Basket with many of His Favorite Things
14 - Man's Jewelry Keepsake Box
15 - Special Clothing for your Honeymoon, Sunglasses, Beach Towel, Bathing Suit.
16 - Outdoor Fun Stuff (Bocce Ball set, Volleyball Set, Croquet Set).
17 - Crystal Photo Frame with your Picture for His Desk.
18 - Gift Certificate for an Adventure of a Lifetime, Scuba Diving, Skydiving, Hot Air Balloon, White Water Rafting, Yacht Rental.
19 - Personalized Golf Balls and Golf Equipment.
20 - Digital Camera, Digital Camcorder
21 - Flat-Screen TV and DVD
22 - GPS System
23 - IPOD, IPAD or MPS Player
24 - Latest IPhone
25 - Latest Video Gaming Equipment (Don't forget Games He Loves).

The wedding is the one very special time in your life to get each other engraved gifts, gifts that are a reminder of your devoted love for each other on your special day. Some online companies that offer engraved gifts are listed below.

Websites of Reputable Engraved Gift Companies

If it fits your budget, you should also consider a special gift to both your parents as a token of your appreciation. Thank them for all they have done to raise you through all these years. A couple of great gift ideas is a nicely frame photo from the wedding, a letter expressing your gratitude, an engraved bowl, and a large bottle of their favorite liqueur or wine. Also consider sending them a decorative centerpiece bouquet filled with beautiful flowers for the dining room or coffee table to show off during the wedding week as company stops by.

As for the perfect gifts for the bride and groom, many people have trouble deciding what to give and how much to spend. The general rule says you should buy a gift for the wedding couple that is around equivalent to what the wedding couple will spend per person to the wedding reception. There are a few caveats that go along with this rule, if you are very close to the couple you should try to spend a little more, but if you have a very tight budget you are allowed to spend a minimum of what you can afford. Couples and families with children can consider buying a nice shared gift.

If you don't know what to get the couple, you first might see if the couple has a bridal registry, many couples these days might have their own wedding website and might include the particulars of where and how the registry operates. Couples usually will choose bridal registries at stores they like. Check with the store of gift items the couple has chosen for their registry. Once a gift item on the registry is sold the gift item is crossed off the store's registry's list, so duplicate items are not purchased for the couple. If enough items are sold from the store totaling a certain threshold of money, the wedding couple has an opportunity to buy some remaining items they want at a substantial cost savings.

A good bridal registry will have a selection of gifts at different price ranges. If you don't see a gift you really want to get the couple, you don't have to buy at that registry, you can move on to another store. But, take note of the style of products from that store it should give you a hint of what gifts the wedding couple is looking for. Other sources of gift buying ideas for the couple is talking to their families, the parents and siblings that are close in age range to the bridal couple, also talk to the maid of honor or best man and see if they can offer gift suggestions. You also may get an idea of things the wedding couple needs and wants by visiting their homes and observe the types and styles of things they like.

One more thing about gift buying for wedding couples. Some couples are just starting on their home and other couples already have many things for their home already. For couples just starting out, it's better to get them a gift that they need, gifts that will make an important contribution to their home, a great gift for them may be an appliance or a set of designer dishes. For other's, the couple may be combining two homes into one and they already have many things already needed for the home. For these couples, the better gift would be a gift that is a want. These type of gifts might include a painting for a wall, a special decorative vase, a sculpture, crystal, or a decorative keepsake, even electronic gadgets may be considered, an IPhone, IPad, or a Kindle.

When buying wedding gifts, because of the special occasion, the key is not to buy gifts that are knickknacks or considered common or ordinary. It's best also to stay away from buying clothing at weddings unless it's a special clothing keepsake that is really wanted and handed down. Also beware of unique and unusual gifts, they tend to be risky choices, they may end up as a very special living room decor or the gift may end up just end up thrown in the trash once the dust settles and the honeymoon period is over.

Items that Tend to Make Great Wedding Gifts

Kitchen - Cookware sets, Bakeware, Knifes, Storage, Kitchen Tools & Gadgets
Home Furnishings - Clocks, Throw Pillows, Decorator Vases, Candle Set, Picture Frame or Photo
Dining - Dinnerware, Flatware, Serving Dishes, Stemware, Glassware and Bar Supplies
Bedroom - Pillows, Comforters, Blankets, Sheet Sets, Mirrors, Lamps, Alarm Clocks
Upscale Electronics - Camcorders, Digital Cameras, IPods, IPhones, IPads, Kindles
Unusual - Oil Paintings, Crystal, Porcelain, Sculptures, Museum Piece, Antiques, Pottery

When it comes to weddings, when you are gift buying, you need to put in a lot of thought, don't buy a gift for this occasion on the spur of the moment decision, really think things through, if you put your shoes on as the other person, would the gift be a gift the person would always cherish and last a long time too!

See you on the other side!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Step 82 - Make Arrangements for your Bridal Party Fittings

(2 Months to 3 Months before the Wedding)
At about the 2 Month Period before your wedding it's considered the bridal party fitting period. There are in actuality, three separate fittings, one for the bride, one for the bridesmaid, and one for the groomsmen. You will want to set up an appointment for each of the fittings around a week in advance, call and be sure the outfits are ready and before you make the appointment you want to be sure all those they need to be fitted are available for the date and time of the appointment.

At all the fittings, you should expect about three appointments, the first is right after the outfits arrive, the second is to correct any mistakes and the third is to verify the outfits fit just perfect. The first appointment up is the bride. Make sure you bring your mother and maid of honor with you. If the mother or maid of honor can't be there, take along a bridesmaid or a close friend.

The brides first fitting should be about two months before the wedding. Make sure the seamstress or fashion designer has plenty of experience, don't be afraid to ask how much experience the seamstress has and determine if going to an alteration shop might be a better alternative. When you attend the alteration fitting, wear any undergarments you plan to wear the day of the wedding as well as any shoes. Matter of fact you need to find a couple of days that you need to wear your shoes, it might seem funny but you need to stroll around your house to break your wedding shoes in.

For your second fitting you want to include all accessories as well, and bring along a camera, the seamstress your mother and maid of honor should see what the wedding day look will be and allow the seamstress to determine if any addition alterations are needed. The seamstress should adjust your hemline to make sure your wedding dress has the right length while you are wearing your bridal shoes. Bodice alterations is another important alteration to insure that the dress fits well at your bust, waist, and hips. The seamstress also examines for any flaws in the lining and embellishments, and along with your mother and maid of honor does everything look all together and offers ideas id necessary.

A good seamstress besides making sure your dress is secure and that the dress has a neckline that sits properly and looks good on your shoulders. The top notch seamstress will also ask you to go through some of your wedding day paces, may ask you to walk, sit, stand, simulate kissing the groom, hug and dance, with arms lifted, the dress should feel comfortable and snug, especially if it's a strapless gown. The seamstress will also focus on the hemline, to insure it's set at a length to insure there is no chance of tripping. Many hems are set an inch shorter in the front than the back, lengthened gradually along the sides, when standing the tips of the toe's of the bride's shoes should peek out from the gown.

Once you have reached the time of your fitting, you want to maintain your weight level until after your wedding, try not to have any weight loss or weight gain so your wedding dress stays a perfect fit. It is highly recommended to have the maid of honor along to learn her responsibilities for the wedding day. In the event that any emergency should happen with the wedding dress, your maid of honor should know your wedding gown and she should know how to perform small alterations in a pinch, your mother should also know what to do as well as a backup plan.

If the bride plans to include a bustle in her wedding dress, let the seamstress know and come prepared with a photo with the type of bustle look that has captured your eye if it's possible. There are multiple ways bustles can be crafted, but you come to an agreement of a certain design, you need to consider will there be enough time to prepare it and someone to aid to put it together. The bustle may be created with buttons, hooks, strings, or ribbons and help provide lift to the wedding dress so it's raised from the ground. There are a number of bustle designs including one-point over-bustle, three-point over-bustle, the ballroom bustle, one-point under bustle, the french bustle, the double and triple french bustle, the austrian bustle, and the sash gown bustle.

It's helpful to the bride to take photos of the wedding dress during the fitting, so the bride can judge for herself the look of her dress and how everything fits all together including all the accessories from afar. Make sure the wedding dress photo is hidden from everyone except for the maid of honor and the bride's mother. One of the most important rules of the wedding, the wedding dress is suppose to be a surprise until the bride is walking down the aisle with her father or the one giving her away.

The bridesmaids except for the maid of honor, should not accompany the bride to her wedding dress fitting. They tend to get opinionated, become a distraction, tend to get out of control looking at wedding dresses for when their time comes. Plus, the store is concerned with having to watch their merchandise with dirt, stains, rips, and tears happening to the wedding dresses instead being able to focus on you, the bride. Also the store has to be watchful to be sure nothing is stolen out of an expensive store, you may trust your bridesmaids but your store may not.

The bridesmaids fitting should be about 6 weeks before the wedding. The appointment should be made when all the bridesmaids are available and when the store is not too busy, avoid Saturdays and Sunday appointments. Remember too, the bridesmaids should be wearing the undergarments and shoes they plan to wear at the wedding. The bridesmaids gowns don't have to be perfect for the wedding especially in the case of a tight budget. The key is that the bridesmaids look good in their gowns and they are comfortable with wearing them. The bridesmaid's first fitting should determine what needs to be taken in, let out, lengthened and shortened. Make sure the bridesmaid's dresses are the exact style, color, and the right size for each bridesmaid's order, and to examine the embellishments (embroidery, beading) to insure there are no flaws.

The second fitting which is usually 4 weeks before the wedding is to make sure every dress, the alterations have been done properly, don't forget to have all the bridesmaids wear shoes and any garments they plan to wear with the dress for the wedding day when getting fitted for their dress. Also consider if the bridesmaids will need to wear clothing over their bridesmaid dresses such as shawls, sweaters, and jackets so they look stylish if they have to wear the bridesmaid dresses in weather. If the wedding might be held in a hot weather environment also consider providing them with a parasol (designer umbrella that matches their bridesmaid gown).

Both the bride's and the bridesmaids dresses should be steamed, ironed, stuffed and bagged so they are travel ready. The bridesmaid's should receive instructions how to keep their dresses preserved for the wedding and generally take their gowns after the last fitting usually about 3 weeks before the wedding. The flower girl's dress needs to be taken care of to, if it the same dress as the bridesmaids, the flower girl should have her appointment along with the bridesmaids. If the flower girl's dress is different, she should have an independent set of fitting appointments. It is a good idea to do something fun with the flower girl, go to a shop, join her in an activity, or treat her to a special lunch.

For the groomsmen, generally it's more cost efficient for them to rent a tuxedo. Groomsmen also tend to get their first fitting appointment about 6 weeks before the wedding. Make sure their appointment is with an experienced tuxedo specialist or a tailor. Again, make sure their appointment is when the store is less busy. Very often the groom and the groomsmen are renting tuxedos at the very same place. Have the groom and/or bride accompany the groomsmen on their appointment. It's better if they both go so the bride is happy with the style of the tuxedos picked out. They also might pick out specific ties, cuff links and designer pocket squares.

Make sure all the groomsmen try on the entire tuxedo they will wear. First during the fitting, slip on the shirt to insure comfort in the neck area and the arms should be raised forward to check the sleeve length. Make sure the pants fit well with the shoes. The pant hem should break on top of the shoe at the 1 inch to 1 1/2 inch level. Make sure the pants don't look baggy and the waist fits comfortably. If there is to be a vest, make sure the vest is fit for size.

Your tuxedo jacket is the most important detail. Slip the jacket on and make sure it fits comfortably. The whites from your tuxedo shirt should show a little below the jacket sleeve approximately 1/2 inch or more. Make sure the jacket is not too boxy or tight. After the fitting, if it can work into the budget stop by a pub and by the gang a brew and maybe share a plate of hors d'oeuvres to show your appreciation for taking the time to be fitted. Don't forget to include a fitting for the ring bearer too.

Also don't forget to address shoes, determine if the shoes should match, if the groomsmen are told to wear their own of a certain color, make sure you inspect them a couple of days before the wedding and are they acceptable to you. Make sure new men's shoes are broken in, worn a couple of times before the wedding, worn around the house a day or two if not worn to a business office, not to a location where they can get dirty.

If the fittings are located at a distant store, consider meeting and carpooling, or even consider renting a limousine and making a little fun evening of it. The tuxedos are generally picked up a few days before the wedding and often are needed to be returned a couple of days after the wedding, many tuxedos stores charge fees for late tuxedo returns, and they make good money from late fees. Find someone responsible, hopefully the best man or maid of honor that will return the tuxedos for you in the event you are on your honeymoon right after the wedding.

Remember, when it comes to fittings, the more labor intensive the request, the more time and money it is going to cost for the fitting. Don't forget to plan for fitting expenses in your wedding budget. The costs will vary depending on how simple or complicated the wedding clothing will be.

Remember a bride pick's up her dress a week before the wedding, bridesmaid's pick up their dress at their last fitting usually 3 weeks before the wedding, a groomsmen pick up their tuxedos about 3 days before the wedding. Make sure all wedding clothes are inspected thoroughly on pickup, check for no rips or tears or any loose strings.

See you on the other side!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Step 81 - Decide on the Rules for a Bachelor Party

(2 Months to 3 Months before the Wedding)
The world of bachelor parties have changed, they aren't exactly what they used to be. The bachelor party used to be a night on the town with the boys which begins immediately after the rehearsal dinner making stops at go go bars and strip clubs. It would be a night full of beer guzzling, smoking stogies, and getting lap dances, stripteases and getting friendly with the opposite sex. The wedding day might end in a disaster with the groom and groomsmen attending a wedding with a nice bachelor party hangover.

Well in reality, thank God, the scenario was the exception and not the rule. Today there are organized bachelor parties and even the girls have gotten into the act and with bachelorette parties too. If there is to be a bachelor party, the party must take place at least 3 days before the wedding. Most bachelor parties take place the weekend before the wedding or two weeks before the wedding. Too much planning and money is put into a wedding so the wedding couple needs to be at their best and leave a good impression on all their invited guests.

The bride-to-be and groom-to-be should bring up the bachelor party conversation two months before the wedding, what will they agree to allow. Will they allow there to be a house party, a same sex bonding activity, clubbing at a night club, or allow each other go to a go-go bar, strip club, or for the ladies to go see a Chip-n-Dales review. Sometimes the event is a surprise, you are told to be ready for a bachelor party and have no idea what's in store.

If both of you are fine with your significant other going to a bachelor party, then everything is fine, just be sure not to go over the line or get out of control with excessive drinking. But probably the best alternative is to help organize a bachelor party yourselves, but you both must be involved in some type of bachelor party. After discussing the type of party you will allow, discuss the possibilities with the maid-of-honor and best man.

One option is to have a party at someone's home, everyone is suppose to bring a sexy or a gag gift. You might even play dirty games and serve little weiners or sausage sandwiches, offer an x-rated cake and create drinks with a sexy name. Make sure you take some good pictures but with camera equipment you can develop pictures yourself. Make sure if there is naughty stuff, make sure your invited guests are tolerant of such activities. If you aren't sure, let guests know before the party so they can decide for themselves to attend the party or not.

The next type of bachelor party is a same sex bonding party. For the guys, this may be a day of golf, going fishing, visiting a brewery, go white water rafting, play paintball, go to a go cart place, go to batting cages, have a poker night, play laser tag, or do some water sports. For the girls you might choose to go to a show, have a day of shopping, visit a winery, go bowling, play miniature golf, see a movie, or have a wine and cheese party. Every group has their own interests, choose an interest most like to do.

A popular trend in recent years are the Jack and Jill bachelor parties. These parties work well if the couple shares the same group of friends. If not, make sure the bride's friends and the groom's friends share the same areas if interest and will mix well together. (Jock groups, Sophisticate groups, Nerd groups, and Party groups may not bond well together).

The venue for a Jack and Jill bachelor party could be a house, barbecue, beach home, a camping trip, or could be a trip to a nightclub or casino. It also could be a fun day at an amusement park, a water park, or a day at the beach.

Jack and Jill bachelor parties are also used to raise money for the wedding couple if they are short on cash as they approach the wedding. The maid of honor and best man are responsible for organizing the event. They might have a sports tournament (golf, foosball, darts, beer pong, volleyball, softball, horseshoes) or they might include a casino tournament (poker, roulette, black jack, baccarat). They might consider an outing for a concert or sporting event and supply tickets creating a profit margin that goes to the wedding couple. Or might create a 50/50 for drinks or as an entrance fee and offer up a bottle of wine or something like a picnic basket.

There is one rule for a Jack and Jill bachelor party that everyone must abide. The event must be simple, no extravagance is allowed. No buying fancy decorations, ice sculptures, or serving fancy foods. Extravagance is saved for but the wedding day itself. Serve simple which includes barbecue, pizza, take out foods, or have guests bring their own specialties. Beer, wine, and homemade daiquiris are allowed but no other hard liquor is allowed. Extravagant spending is considered wasteful spending for this event, is less money for the bride-to-be and groom-to-be.

The next bachelor option is the nightclub option. The question is, is it a night on the town with just the guys or just the girls or is it a coed event. If you are going clubbing, it's might be best to lease a limousine or a party bus or assign a designated driver, a person who won't drink too much. Make sure before one goes clubbing there is not much drinking in the day and the person going clubbing has good filling meals during the day too. Drinks are more likely to effect one on an empty stomach.

The best man is suppose to consult with the bride-to-be on what type of activities are allowed for the bachelor party, the same is true with the groom and maid-of-honor. The guests of honor of the bachelor party or bachelorette parties are expected to be treated to the event and the cost are supposed to be shared evenly or fairly amongst all the attendees. If the event is to be with close encounters with the opposite sex whether it be at go-go bars, strip clubs, or Chip-n-Dales reviews, just be sure everything is agreed to and in good clean fun. The goal of a bachelor party is to celebrate the occasion of the upcoming wedding and have some fun and it's not to put stress in a wedding couple's relationship.

Some psychologists suggest for the bride-to-be and groom-to-be to go out on a dinner date the night before the bachelor party especially if the event leaves them apart. If one is at a bachelor party, the other one should try to have one too, even if the two bachelor parties are quite different. One group can go clubbing while the other group goes shopping, dinner, and to the movies. Just be sure, one person isn't home watching the clock and wondering what the other one's doing, and creating anxiety. If you are going to have a good marriage you need the trust thing.

If you are going clubbing, make sure you go with a responsible group, don't invite individuals that can't handle their liquor, have a quick temper, can't control their hormones with the opposite sex, or tend to get obnoxious. Be sure to bring a camera to any bachelor or bachelorette party and take some good pictures. Don't forget to include the pictures in the back of your wedding album or wedding related album.

Bachelor party invites are suppose to go out a month before the party to help insure there is not a conflict with other invitee's plans. Remember, the wedding couple could be pro-active and help generate a bachelor party in which they both can be comfortable at. Remember the rule, no bachelor parties are allowed once you get within 3 days of the wedding. Bachelor party traditions aren't exactly like they used to be. Enjoy your last days as a single!

See you on the other side!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Step 80 - Organize a Bridal Shower

(2 Months to 3 Months before your Wedding)
A bridal shower is a gift giving party held in honor for a bride-to-be in anticipation of her wedding. The bridal tradition stipulates that the "Maid of Honor" is responsible for organizing and running the bridal shower for the bride but must coordinate the event with the bride's mother. The official bridal shower should include the bride's mom, the groom's mom, all the bridesmaids, even the grandmom's, and other close friends of the bride.

Bridal showers, kind of had their beginning thousands of years ago and started out as a dowry concept. A dowry is a gift of money of valuable goods so she can provide gifts to the groom-to-be for marriage. There may be times that the bride does not have enough money or goods for the dowry. So in order for the bride to have a dowry for marriage she would meet with relatives and friends at a venue and they would provide her with money and goods so she could meet the demands for a dowry for her marriage.

Today bridal showers remain a pre-celebration tradition prior to a wedding as family and friends gather bearing gifts the bride needs and wants. The maid-of-honor is responsible for organizing the date of the event, runs the affair, which usually includes food and drink, bridal shower games, and the unwrapping and opening of the gifts. The gifts for a bridal shower which can run the gamut, can be pre-wedding presents and can be things that the bride wants such as an espresso maker, fancy serving dishes, kitchen things, things for the house, beautiful clothing is acceptable too. Bedroom and honeymoon things such as lingerie, bathrobes, designer towels, slippers, and massage and body lotions and oils are encouraged.

There is no set rule on gift buying for bridal showers, buy what you can afford. Anyone invited to a bridal shower must be invited to a wedding. It would be considered rude and an insult to invite someone that is not also invited to the wedding. Sometimes, the bride's mom will run the bridal shower instead of the bride, that's okay but the bride's mom should work things through with the maid of honor. Sometime's even there are a number of bridal showers, if the groom's mom lives far away should may have a bridal shower, the bride's school friends may run a party and friends from work or clubs may run a bridal shower too. Whoever runs a bridal shower should always at least consult with the maid-of-honor so there is no date conflict, to get bridal registry information and to be informed of gifts the bride has received.

The best bridal parties tend to be at somebody's home. That's because often there are the bridal games and it's best to be in a place where the girl's can really have fun and say a little personal things and let their hair down. If the event is not held out of somebody's home, it can be held in a private room in a restaurant, reception facility, hotel room, beach house, or a private area of a golf, country, or yacht club. The bridal shower invitations don't have to be anything special, the announcement of the bridal shower should go out 4 to 6 weeks before the bridal shower and should be held one to two months before the wedding. It is a good idea to include information on the bride and groom's bridal registry on the invitation.

Sometimes the bridal shower will have a theme and the venue may be decorated to the theme. The theme may be Hawaiian, Mexican, Masquerade Ball theme, Victorian, or something other. Some bridal showers will include the guys, but sometimes the guys ruin the affair, will flirt, embarrass some girls, get in trouble with the girlfriend, roughneck, and tell stories the girls don't want out. The best bridal parties tend to be just with all the women. A nice gesture is when the groom pops in to the bridal shower near the end of the affair.

Sometimes, bridal showers are mixed up with bachelorette party. You should have a separate party if you want a bachelorette party. Many mom's and grandma's and even very conservative friends might formulate a bad impression. The bride too must be open minded to this type of event. Bachelorette parties are very similar to bridal showers, the big difference is the gifts may be a little risque and naughty, with gifts such as vibrators, sexy lingerie, sexy panties, funny t-shirts, and how to have sex guides. Also bachelorette parties, might include male striptease, or maybe include drinking or a night on the town visiting striptease places or having drinks at a late night club. To keep the girls out of trouble with their families, you might consider using a limousine, and have a sleep over pajama party afterward. Some online sites for bachelorette gifts are listed below.

Bachelorette Party Gag Gifts

The main event at bridal showers are the bridal shower games, some common bridal shower games are listed below. The bridal shower games helps to make the event adding some fun and excitement. Don't forget to take pictures and videos of all the ladies in action and keep as part of your keepsake material along with your wedding album and wedding video.

Bridal Shower Games

1 - Wedding Bridal Bingo

Wedding Bridal is just like Bingo but the numbers are replaced with wedding words on the cards. The bingo cards are recreated using wedding words instead. The girls take turns picking a folded paper with the wedding word out of a flower girl basket or a hat appropriate for a wedding and mark the appropriate square on the card. Don't forget there is a free space in the middle. A favor prize goes to the winner, is it five in a row or does the card need to be filled up?

Bingo Letter Wedding Word Replacements

B1 - Altar, B2 - Balloons, B3 - Best Man, B4 - Bible, B5 - Bride, B6 - Bridesmaids, B7 - Bouquet, B8 - Bows, B9 - Candy Buffet, B10 - Catering, B11 - Centerpiece, B12 - Ceremony Site, B13 - Chocolate Fountain, B14 - Color Scheme, B15 - Cruise, I16 - Diamond, I17 - Decorations, I18 - Disc Jockey, I19 - Engagement Ring, I20 - Favors, I21 - Fiance, I22 - First Dance, I23 - Florist, I24 - Flower Girl, I25 - Gift Baskets, I26 - Gifts, I27 - Hairstyle, I28 - Honeymoon, I29 - Hors d'oeuvres, I30 - Husband, N31 - Ice Sculpture, N32 - Jewelry, N33 - Limousine, N34 - Luncheon, N35 - Maid of Honor, N36 - Makeup Artist, N37 - Marriage Certificate, N38 - Mother of the Bride, N39 - Nuptials, N40 - Officiant, N41 - Orchids, N42 - Photo Frames, N43 - Photographers, N44 - Present, N45 - Punch Bowl, G46 - Reception Facility, G47 - Recipes, G48 - Rehearsal Dinner, G49 - Ribbons, G50 - Ring Bearer, G51 - Ring Pillow, G52 - Romantic, G53 - Rose, G54 - Shower Games, G55 - Silk, G56 - Song, G57 - Speech, G58 - Streamers, G59 - Theme, G60 - Tiara, O61 - Veil, O62 - Videographers, O63 - Wedding Cake, O64 - Wedding Chapel, O65 - Wedding Day, O66 - Wedding Dress, O67 - Wedding Invitations, O68 - Wedding March,
O69 - Wedding Musicians, O70 - Wedding Planner, O71 - Wedding Program, O72 - Wedding Sparklers,
O73 - Wedding Tent, O74 - Wedding Toast, O75 - Wife

Wedding Bridal Bingo should be one of the first games played. The words conjure up wedding thoughts and ideas that gets mentioned at the bridal shower.

2 - Wedding Favor Price is Right

Go visit a wedding favor website and gather information on about two dozen wedding favor products and their prices. You can print the screens and show pictures too, but you don't have to. All the ladies start out with $10. Each favor is shown or mentioned, each lady submits the price, the amount she missed the price by gets deducted from the $10. When the $10 gets wiped out the lady is eliminated. The last lady left wins a wedding favor.

3 - Wedding Dress Game

The ladies at the bridal shower break into two teams. Each team gets three rolls of toilet paper and six large paper clips. Each team chooses one member to be the model and is decorated with using the toilet paper into a wedding dress. After the dresses are all made and decorated, the bride chooses which dress she likes the best and that team wins a favor.

4 - What's in the Paper Bag

A bunch of manly things are placed in paper bags. Each paper bag is passed around and the ladies try to figure out and guess what's in each bag. The lady that has the most guesses correct wins a favor. The bags include guy things such as a beer mug, shot glass, jock strap, decorator boxer shorts, men's wallet, shaving cream, razor, aftershave, golf accessories, condoms, tuxedo bow tie, men's tee shirt, baseball cap, suspenders, belt, zany toilet paper, a pipe, cuff links, bottle opener, tools, whatever you can think of. If the groom arrives later at the bridal shower, he is presented with a bunch of these gifts.

5 - Bride and Groom Trivia

Before the wedding, the Maid of Honor asks both the bride and groom a bunch of questions and gets their answers. She then asks all the ladies at the bridal shower if they know any of the answers to the questions. The lady who has the most correct answers wins a favor. Ideas of questions to ask are listed below.

What is their favorite color?
What is their shoe size?
Where did they first meet?
What color is the groom's eyes?
Who's their favorite actor, actress?
What's their favorite sport?
What's their favorite game?
What's their favorite movie?
What's their favorite TV show?
What's their favorite food?
What's their favorite dessert?
Where and when did they get engaged?

6 - Celebrity Hubby

A bunch of pictures of male celebrities pictures are printed out along with a picture of the groom. All the pictures of all the celebrities are rolled up with a rubber band and placed inside a balloon. At the bridal shower all the ladies have to pick a balloon and blow the balloon up and have to bust the balloon, the preference is to sit on the balloon, it depends on the ladies, they could prick the balloon with a pin or toothpick if you can't get the ladies to sit on the balloon. Whichever balloon has the groom, that lady wins a favor.

7 - Pass the Bouquet

If you don't have a bouquet, you can create a makeshift bouquet by gathering all the bows on the gifts and taping them together. This game is played like musical chairs. All the ladies are gathered around in a circle, could be a table or a number of chairs. One lady is given the bouquet and starts passing the bouquet around. The maid of honor or somebody plays wedding music on a music device in a room next door who can't see the action. Whoever was holding the bouquet when the music stopped gets eliminated. The last lady left standing wins a wedding favor.

8 - What's in Your Purse

Time to bring your purses out ladies. A bunch of pieces of paper are folded and placed into a flower girl's basket with things you might find in a lady's purse. Things that are very common might get 1 point, things kind of common get 3 points and things not so common get 5 points. Each lady takes their turn and pick a piece of paper and states what they must find out of their purse. Things like lip stick, chewing gum, nail files, a credit card with the number 4 on it somewhere, lip balm, mini scissors, picture of a guy, picture of a girl, a ten dollar bill, three pennies, the bride's phone number, the maid of honor's phone number, etc. The first lady to get to 21 points wins and gets a favor.

9 - Two Truths and a Lie

Each lady writes on a piece of paper three things on a sheet of paper, two things that they did that are the truth and one thing that's a lie. The maid of honor or bride read all the lady's statements and all the remaining ladies have to guess which statement is the lie. Whichever lady has the most correct guesses, wins a favor.

10 - Lady's Memory Lane Game with the Bride

Each lady writes down three memorable occasions they had with the bride, the occasions are read aloud and the ladies have to guess which lady wrote the memory, the lady with the most correct picks wins a favor. Divulge who wrote the occasions after all the ladies occasions have been read.

11 - Cotton Ball

Hilarious game, take some pictures or videos. Each lady takes a turn, she is given two large bowls and a wooden spoon.  She is blind folded, one bowl is filled with cotton balls. She has 60 seconds to move all the cotton balls from one bowl to the other without touching the cotton balls with her hands. Not so easy because the cotton balls are so light. The lady that successfully transfers the most cotton balls wins a favor.

12 - Guess the Famous Person or Wedding Item

Similar to 8 Ball, a moderator is needed for this game. Pin or tape the name of a famous person or wedding item to each person's back as it becomes their turn. Each lady takes turns in asking a question about this famous person or wedding item. The person asking a question gets first dibs in guessing who or what the answer is within 15 seconds and then the remaining ladies gets a turn to guess and has 30 seconds to formulate an answer. If nobody has the answer then the next lady gets to ask a question. Person who first guesses correctly gets 1 point, whoever has the most points after all the ladies have their turn at the end wins a favor.

13 - Wedding Scramble

Rearrange a bunch of wedding words associated with the bride. Include things that are important to the bride, such as where is the ceremony taking place, the reception hall, the full name of the groom, where the couple met, their wedding song, what is their favorite movie, her favorite actress, where did she go to school, where is the honeymoon going to be, etc. Whoever gets the answers first wins or the most answers wins a favor.

NCUCNA                                     CANCUN

14 - Pass the Spoons

You break the ladies down into two teams. Each team gets a big wooden spoon and has a long piece of yarn or ribbon tied to it. The competition begins, the large spoon with the tied string has to pass down underneath each lady's clothes through her shirt and pants or dress and then on to the next lady. After the spoon passes through all the team member's clothes, a bow has to be tied from the spoon of the last lady back to the first lady with the end of the yarn or ribbon. The team who wins the contest wins the favor. Cut the yarn or ribbon about five foot per person playing.

15 - Stuff It

The Maid of Honor sits down with the groom and asks him a list of questions. What's his favorite color? Who is his favorite actor? Where did they go on their first date? Where was their first kiss? What's his favorite restaurant? The Maid of Honor asks the bride all these questions at the bridal shower, if the answer is wrong the bride has to pop in a wad of bubble gum. Hopefully things won't get too messy.

16 - Wedding Ad Lib Game

You can go to your local book store or game store and find one of those Ad Lib books which tells a story with nouns, names, adjectives, and adverbs missing. You can also get some Ad Lib stories online, one site that has then is Go around the room and have each lady supply a wedding related word and fill the word into the story. When all the words are added, read the story aloud. The story comes out pretty comical.

17 - Chinese Wedding Favor Game

This Wedding Game can be played one of two different ways. It can be played between each bridal game or played like it's own game at the very end. The main difference, the winner of the bridal game picks a wedding favor or each lady picks a bridal favor as her number is picked. The game goes like this.

A bunch of wedding favors sit on a table. There should the same amount of wedding favors as ladies at the bridal shower, each lady is given a number. All the wedding favors should be nice favors at prices that are affordable. The favors might include bath soaps, bath creams, bubble bath, cookbooks, wine corkscrew, kitchen apron, cheese spreaders, cheese and cutting board. etc. You want one or two naughty gifts too, might be a vibrator or some type of sex toy, how to make love book, ball and chain, fur handcuffs, wacky bathroom toilet paper, wacky underwear, sexy lingerie, massage oils and lotions.

Be careful of the gag pick you choose, don't get too wild if the gag will offend some of the bridal guests. Know your bridal audience, ask beforehand if guests might be offended with risque gifts.

The game begins, maybe there are 20 players. The first number is chosen out of a flower girls' basket or a lady's hat. Maybe the first number is picked is lady with the #4. This lady can pick and unwrap a favor. The next number is picked and #11 lady goes, she has a choice, she can steal number #4's gift or pick a favor that has not been opened yet and open it. If #4's gift is stolen she then would pick another wrapped gift and open it. The next number picked maybe it's #13. The lady with #13 goes and can steal either gift that has been open or open a new wrapped favor and open it. If a lady has her gift stolen she can go after someone else's gift or go for a new wrapped favor and open it. The game continues until all favors have been opened and each lady has a favor.

The game gets zany once a number of gifts are in circulation. There are a few rules though. You can't take back a gift directly that was stolen, if somebody takes your gift you can't directly take that gift back, you have to take another gift in play or pick an wrapped favor and open it. Also if you claim a gift 3 times, you can announce I claim this gift and the gift is yours to keep for good. Sometimes the gag gift really gets around and sometimes the person is stuck with it. The game ends after everybody has their turn. It works well from about 6 gifts up to 50, but it may take awhile to play if you have more people.

The other way to play it between bridal games, you need the amount of favors according to the amount of bridal games you want to play. You might have standalone bridal favors for team play.

This Chinese favor gift game always makes the bridal shower a memorable occasion, as long as the favors are pretty good. A good gag gift creates a lot of fun, memories and laughs too. This game is great to have taped and shared with the guys afterward.

So that's it, there are still many other bridal games out there, find others off the internet! The bridal games help make the bridal shower a very special day. Also remember to serve good food at the bridal shower, the food can either be served by the hostess or you can ask each guest to bring their specialty. If there are some recipes someone wants to try out before the wedding, this is a great opportunity to try them out.

Some bridal parties might start off with inviting a wedding hair stylist or makeup artist to give a little talk. You also might invite any of your wedding vendors that you feel comfortable with to the bridal shower that are female. This could be your hair stylist, makeup artist, officiant, wedding cake baker, florist, decorator, musician, organist, wedding coordinator, or wedding planner. There is no obligation, only if you feel a bond or have made a good friend.

Don't fret, the key is to organize it like you remember kid's birthday parties. The bridal games and the good food gets everyone conversing, and makes it a day all you all will always remember. See you on the other side!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Step 79 - Consider a Bridesmaid Day of Pampering

(2 Months to 3 Months before your Wedding)
If it fits your budget, consider treating your bridesmaids to a special day of pampering. These ladies have been special people and close friends throughout your life. Since you will be soon transitioning to marriage, it's only fitting to give them a royal treatment.

One of the best rewards you can give them is their own special pre-wedding spa day, at a fabulous retreat. A day devoted entirely to getting all their bodies feeling good, talking girl stories, and becoming beautiful.

You need to be a realist though, a bridesmaid day of pampering is all dependent on the bride's and bridesmaid's financial situation. If it stretches the budget for the wedding, have the bridesmaids over for dinner and dessert instead, the bridesmaids will understand. The bride should treat the bridesmaids if it works with her budget. If that doesn't work see if everybody wants to do it and go Dutch. But, if it becomes a burden to any of the bridesmaids, it's best to save money for the wedding.

The "Bridesmaid Day of Pampering" often starts out with the girls meeting for brunch. It could be brunch at a nice restaurant or luncheonette. It could also be having a brunch at the bride's or maid of honor's house. Make sure you have the special brunch things like omelettes, eggs benedict, lox and bagels, danish, link sausages, fruit cup or fruit soup, special coffee and maybe a fruity champagne or mimosa. You could opt for a special lunch or dinner afterward instead. The brunch also could be set up at the spa, if the spa allows it. Talk to the spa and talk over the possibilities.

Next it's off to the spa. You will need to coordinate with the spa about two weeks beforehand to discuss the treatments for the day, so the spa can be prepared for the day. Ask if the spa can provide a nice discount for you since you are bringing along a number of ladies. If possible try to have the bridesmaid day of pampering on a slower day if the bridesmaids work does not get into the way. The treatment schedule should be worked out with the spa.

The treatments might start out with the brides and bridesmaids all getting facials, then next maybe manicures and pedicures, then maybe all get a massage followed by a body wrap treatment. Then it's a little break and all hop in the hot water spa or tub followed by a light lunch break. In the afternoon everyone gets their haircut and then their hair styled, do not forget to bring pictures of wedding hairstyles you like. And maybe end with everybody getting wedding makeup lessons. You want to be sure to take pictures of the fun day and make sure everyone gets their own copy. The schedule of treatments can go in any order, depends on who is available when and an order that everyone likes.

Before making an appointment for the bridesmaid day of pampering, the bride or the maid of honor should have a meeting with all the bridesmaids. The goal is to formulate a bridal party look that is altogether and elegant for the wedding day. The look should be very professional that will make a stunning vision to the wedding guests, and for the wedding photography and videography.

The bride should share what her look is going to be for the wedding day, what type of wedding dress she will wear, how her hair will be styled (updo, half do, down, or plans to wear a wedding veil), talk about the makeup she will use, what jewelry and any accessories for her hair. She should also share her vision of how she would like the bridesmaids should look, particularly the hair. At this meeting, the bride or maid-of-honor should share pictures of hairstyles and makeup possibilities and to promote the hairstyles that the bride prefers. Pictures can be obtained from various sources, online hairstyle galleries, wedding related websites, bride and hair style magazines. The bride should address makeup and bridal jewelry, accessories, and shoes to wear as well.

After the bride makes her case for the look for the wedding party, the bridesmaids should first hear the bride out, they should try to go along with the brides decision but the decision is ultimately up to the bridesmaids. The bridesmaid should try to accommodate the brides wishes, but if they don't want to wear their hair a certain way or wear specific jewelry that should not be forced into a decision they don't want to do. The bride might consider bringing a wedding hair stylist to this meeting or a makeup artist as well.

There are five aspects of the bridesmaid's looks, color scheme, bridal dress, hair dos, makeup, and bridal accessories. The goal is to have at least three of them look similar and the other's can be different. Many bridesmaid grouping will have similar body types and some groupings will have different body types. For some families there may be sisters and cousins that have similar body types, while in other bridesmaid groupings the bridesmaids may have all different body types. One bridesmaid be big busted, one tall, one an olive complexion, one a dark complexion, another a small frame. In this grouping the bridesmaid may look better if they each wore a bridesmaid gown according to their body type. Have all of them wear the same color dress and the same style of jewelry.

Hairstyles may be an issue too. Most women tend to wear long, medium, or short hair. Women with short hair is very difficult to create an updo, unless she wore a wig or added extensions to her hair. Also some women have naturally curly, some straight, and a few might even have a hair issue, there are some women they even don't have hardly any hair from heredity to a health issue. In this case you might want to incorporate hats for a consistent look. If the hair can't be all the same you want to push everybody wearing similar jewelry. Try to also match the jewelry to the style of the wedding dress and jewelry that goes well with the color dress, maybe jewelry with colored gemstones that match to the color of their gowns.

If the "Bridesmaid Day of Pampering" is not in the cards, you may focus more on instructional directions at the meeting. The bride and maid of honor could dig up some hairstyling and applying wedding makeup instruction from demonstrations using Youtube or can possible order a tape they like from an online bridal website or try to find a tape at their bookstore or possibly even rent a tape from their local library. Have a fun get together and maybe enjoy a dinner, dessert, and coffee afterward.

There is nothing like having a professional wedding hairstylist and wedding makeup artist though. Every women has their face shape whether it be round, oval, squarish, or somewhere in between. Every women also has different skin tones and hair color and is wearing a specific dress type. The professional hairstylist and makeup artist has more of a basic knowledge of what looks is best on each women, also there are techniques involved in putting hairstyles and makeup on and the professionals can teach the techniques whereas pictures often don't tell the whole story.

There are some websites that the bride or maid of honor can print pictures of different hairstyles and makeup from. Below are some of the websites that you can print off or view on the computer screen. After all is said and done, the bridesmaids should all print out the looks that they like and bring the pictures with them to the "Bridesmaids Day of Pampering" and bring the pictures along to show to the hairstylist and makeup artist. Bring along a picture of color and style of the bridesmaid gown too.

Websites with Bridesmaid Hairstyles or Wedding Makeup

At some weddings, the look may be influenced by the wedding theme such as a Victorian Style Wedding, or a Cowboy Style Wedding. After the meeting the bride and maid of honor should try to find an appropriate date that would be good for all, to book a bridesmaid day of pampering.

At the bridal day of pampering, the bride might consider picking up special bridesmaid favors for the event. There are a lot of different options for the bride to think about. Some ideas of what favors to give include canvas tote bags, jewelry rolls, jewelry, jewelry boxes, cosmetic bags, toiletry bags, perfume, duffle bags, hand bags, purses, lunch totes, gym bags, coolers, bridesmaid flasks. key chains or key rings. Electronic gadgets also have become popular for bridesmaids gifts in recent years including MP3 Players, IPhones, IPads, Blackberrys, and Kindles.

Some brides might consider personalized bridesmaids gifts with monogrammed initials or names on them. Gifts such as Spa Bathrobes, Luxurious Towels, Slippers, Baseball Style Caps, Fancy Sweatshirts, and Parasols. These type of gifts will be cherished for many years long after the wedding.

Bridesmaid Favor Websites

So, if it can fit into the budget, consider a bridesmaid day of pampering to thank these ladies for being important people in your life. Some have heard the saying, when you go on a "Bridesmaids Day of Pampering" you start the day as a girl and you end the day as a women. See you on the other side!