Category Archives: Guides

Wedding Toast Do’s & Don’ts

Wedding toast dos and don'ts.

Writing a great speech for your wedding toast can be intimidating. After all, you want it to be funny, meaningful, and sentimental and …perfect. This shouldn’t be too hard right? Here are some wedding toast dos and don’ts to help you master the perfect speech that will leave everyone wanting more:



  • Be yourself – they chose you for a reason!
  • Be brief. Keep your speech under 5 minutes long.
  • Mention both, the bride and the groom.
  • Be funny.
  • End with love and a well-wishing for the couple.
  • Speak into the microphone so that everyone can hear you.


  • Don’t be a drunken mess while giving your toast.
  • Don’t use vulgar language – there are kids in the audience.
  • Ramble on..and on…and on.
  • Don’t mention any exes.
  • Don’t tell any inside jokes that no one will understand.


Don’t forget to have fun with it!

Wedding Vendor Booking Timeline

Wedding Timeline for Booking Vendors

Once you’ve decided on the basic details for your wedding day, it’s time to start researching and booking vendors. After all – without them in place, your wedding timeline may fall apart. We’ve put together this wedding vendor booking timeline so that you don’t miss anything in the craziness of planning your big day.

12 Months

  • Ceremony venue
  • Reception venue
  • Wedding planner

10 Months

  • Photographer
  • Caterer
  • Florist
  • Videographer
  • Band
  • DJ


8 Months

  • Ceremony music
  • Officiate
  • Wedding dress
  • Stationer (save the dates)
  • Guest accommodations


7 Months

  • Cake baker
  • Bridesmaid’s dresses
  • Honeymoon travel consultant
  • Stationer (invitations)
  • Party rentals (chairs, linens, etc)
  • Hair stylist
  • Makeup artist

5 Months

  • Men’s attire
  • Bridal accessories
  • Transportation

3 Months

  • Wedding rings
  • Favors

Unexpected Wedding Expenses to Watch Out For

Unexpected wedding costs to watch out for.

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes… THE BILL… (Input dramatic music here). A common mistake that most couples make is not leaving a little extra wiggle room for unforeseen wedding expenses.

As you prepare your wedding budget, avoid getting heart palpitations upon receiving that hefty bill by being prepared for the unexpected. Here are the top unexpected wedding expenses to watch out for:

Uncle Sam. When checking all your vendors’ estimates, clarify if the sales tax is included in that price.

Delivery Fees. Almost anything and everything you need on your big day can be delivered – for a price. Be sure to ask what the deliver fees are ahead of time so you can budget wisely and be prepared.

Gratuities. Most of the time gratuities are not included in the initial wedding budget. Make sure you read the fine print in your contracts and estimates to see if your caterer is already adding that extra 20%. Make a list of all the people you need to tip included the band, DJ, photographer, florist, caterer, hairdresser, coatroom attendant, drivers, bartenders, servers, etc. Also make sure you have cash on hand on the day of your wedding. It’s a good idea to prepare tip envelopes ahead of time in order not to forget anyone.

Postage. Special envelopes – like the kind you’re probably sending your fancy invitations in – usually have an extra surcharge. If you’re including stamps for the RSVP envelope that’s also another added expense most couples forget about. Don’t forget about the stamps and envelopes for the thank you notes!

Wedding Party Gifts. It’s customary that you show gratitude to your bridesmaids and groomsmen for all their time and hard work. On average, it’s recommended that you spend between $75-$150 per person. This can quickly add up, so include this cost in your budget.

Set-up fees. Even if you’re bringing your own liquor you’re still likely going to end up paying a bar set-up fee or a cork fee. If the venue is helping set up your event on the big day, ask if they have a set-up fee as well.

Cake Cutting Fee. You can have your already overpriced cake..but if you want to eat it too, you’re probably going to have to pay a cake cutting fee first. These costs are a provision for the plates, forks and servers.

Tips to Save Money on Wedding Flowers

Planning a wedding on a budget? Here are some Tips to Save Money on Wedding Flowers

Flowers are one of the biggest expenses when it comes to your wedding. However, you don’t necessarily have to waste a majority of your budget in this category. Here are a few tips to save money on wedding flowers without compromising the decor you’re dreaming of:

Look for wholesalers. When purchasing flowers, search for wholesalers or a flower farm for the best prices.

Choose a naturally floral setting for your reception. If you’re having an outdoor wedding, there are probably tons of beautiful flowers and landscaping details in place already.

Choose in-season flowers. Opt to decorate with flowers that are in-season since they tend to be cheaper.

Artificial flowers. Faux flowers tend to be cheaper and are a great option if you’re looking to save money. If you opt for this, you can also always rearrange them and re-use them in your new home!

Choose an alternative. Who said centerpieces always have to be flowers? You can always choose an alternative centerpiece such as framed photos, desserts, candles, favors, etc.

Song Guide for Your Wedding Day

A guide to choosing wedding music

No matter what style or type of wedding you’re planning, there’s a list of major categories that you’ll need music for. You’ll need to decide on different songs for specific parts of the day. Here is a song guide for your wedding day to make sure you don’t forget a soundtrack to any of your special moments.

  • Processional. You need to pick a song for your bridesmaids to walk down the aisle to, and then another for when you walk down the aisle yourself.
  • Recessional. After you say your “I Do’s” you’ll need to have another song for your big exit.
  • Cocktail Hour. If you’re hosting a cocktail hour between the ceremony and reception, you’ll have to have a playlist of songs ready.
  • Reception entrance. A song to mark the bride and groom’s entrance as well as the wedding party. This is a good chance to set the tone for the reception.
  • The first dance. We’re sure you didn’t forget this one.
  • Father-daughter dance. You’ll need a song for the mother and son dance as well.
  • Reception playlist. Give your DJ an idea – and perhaps a list – of the music you do and don’t like.
  • Cake cutting. This song can be cute, sweet and upbeat.
  • Bouquet toss. This should be a fun and upbeat song.
  • Garter toss. This should be fun as well.

28 Questions You Should Ask Your Wedding Venue Before Signing a Contract

Questions You Should Ask Your Wedding Venue Before Signing a Contract

When comparing wedding venue options, it’s important to make sure you understand all the details of each offer so you can compare wisely and choose the best option. After all, choosing the cheaper venue only to be later surprised by a bill with unexpected costs is no fairytale.

Here are some questions you should ask your wedding venue before signing a contract:

  1. How many people can this location accommodate?
  2. What dates are available in the month I’m considering?
  3. What is the cancellation policy?
  4. Do you have a weather contingency plan for outdoor spaces?
  5. How much is the deposit? When is it due? Is it refundable? Is there a specific payment plan for the entire bill?
  6. Is there an added charge for using my own vendors? Sometimes wedding venues have their own coordinators, caterers and other professionals that are already included in their cost. It’s vital that you clarify these details so you know which responsibilities fall on you as well as to avoid double booking the same professionals.
  7. Can I bring my own food, drinks and cake? If you have the option to bring your own, discuss how it affects the price they first quoted you. Do they charge extra for this option or does it bring the original price down?
  8. Are party rentals included in this package? Chairs, tables, tablecloths, etc. Also be sure to ask what color linens are available so that you know when planning your colors and theme.
  9. Are there set up fees?
  10. Is there a charge for parking? If there is valet parking or a parking garage you should decide if you or the guests are responsible for the charges.
  11. What time can my vendors start setting up on the day of the wedding? How early can my deliveries be made?
  12. Does the venue provide assistance getting gifts or décor back to a designated car or hotel room?
  13. Is there a time limit? If so, what’s the cost of going over? Most venues only allow you to utilize the space for 4-6 hours.
  14. Is there a coat check service?
  15. What are the tax rates and other fees? State and local sales tax, hospitality fees, included gratuities, etc.
  16. Price per person. If you are charged per person, make sure you clarify how they will arrive at the final number. Your hired professionals (photographer, videographer, band, etc) will also need to eat. You need to know if and how they will be counted. Do you get a discount rate for these vendors? Make sure you are aware of all taxes and service charges per person.
  17. Do children have different pricing?
  18. Can we do a food tasting prior to finalizing our menu selection? Is there an additional charge for this?
  19. Do you provide cake cutting utensils?
  20. Do you offer on-site coordination? If so, what services are available and is there an additional charge for them?
  21. Do you offer any security services?
  22. Do you have liability insurance? If the venue doesn’t provide it you should look into getting your own in case someone gets injured during your reception.
  23. Do you provide overnight accommodations? Is there a discount for booking multiple rooms? Do you provide a complimentary room or upgrade for the newlyweds? What are the nearest hotels to the venue? (Some venues have partnerships with local hotels that offer a discount if you block rooms off).
  24. Do you have signage to direct guests to my event?
  25. What is the last possible date that we can make changes?
  26. Do you have sound equipment and speakers or will they need to be rented?
  27. Are there decoration limitations such as candles?
  28. Who will be our point person before the wedding? What about the day of the wedding? Can we meet them now?

12 Mistakes Brides Always Make

The journey from getting engaged to saying “I Do” is filled with hurdles and mistakes. Here 12 mistakes brides always make and how you can avoid them.

  1. You announce your engagement on social media too soon. Tell your family and closest friends first, and in person, if possible. Grandma and Grandpa will be more appreciative of finding out in person than through a distant relative who happened to see your engagement first on Facebook.
    Cushion cut engagement ring
  2. You don’t account for hidden costs. Sales tax, cash tips and last-minute extra charges can wrack up hundreds in extra fees.
  3. There’s a large time gap between the ceremony & reception. Do your best to minimize the in-between time between the ceremony and reception. If this isn’t possible, make sure your guests are entertained or have a place to lounge and mingle, like a cocktail hour.
  4. You cheap out on wedding party gifts. It’s definitely not cheap being a bridesmaid. Make sure you don’t skimp when buying the bridal party their gifts. A rule of thumb is to spend between $75 and $200 to show gratitude for their time and money that they’ve spent helping you with your big day.
    customized bracelets for a bridesmaids gift
  5. You don’t consider your guests. Friends and family who are traveling to attend your wedding are spending a considerable amount of money. Be sure to arrange group activities the night before and the morning after the wedding. Go the extra step and make sure you block out hotel rooms for them and provide transportation.
  6. Don’t spend all your time greeting guests. One of the biggest regrets brides have is spending a majority of their day greeting guests. Long post-ceremony receiving lines and table rounds at the reception can drastically reduce the time you’re actually having fun. Be sure to make the most of your day – don’t get held up at one table for too long.
  7. You don’t do your flower research. Make sure you research floral costs. Don’t put strong scented flowers like lilies on your table since they can overpower the food. Hydrangeas may wilt in the hot summer heat if you’re having an outdoor wedding. If flowers aren’t in season they could cost you more than you think.
    Wedding flowers and bridal bouquet ideas
  8. Don’t purchase your gown before choosing a venue. It’s your day and you can wear whatever you want. However, if you choose to book The Plaza for your wedding venue, you’ll most likely regret buying a low key wedding dress fit for a rustic outdoor wedding.

    Winter wedding isle decor

  9. You don’t consider your venue when planning your décor. If you’re having an outdoor wedding at a venue that’s already graced with gorgeous landscaping you may be able to forgo spending a large sum on flowers.
  10. You don’t leave schedule enough time for your hair and makeup. The last thing you want to do is be overwhelmed and rushing to get to the ceremony. Or worse-be hours late to your own wedding!
  11. You opt for a trendy bridal look. Skip the trendy seasonal look when it comes to your big day. Today’s red carpet look is tomorrow’s awful wedding photo regret.
  12. You get carried away with Pinterest DIY ideas. Sure, Pinterest is a wonderland for geniously-creative ideas. However, make sure you’re being true to your talents. Remember that tackling your own décor can also mean that you’ll be arranging details up until the last minute before you walk down the aisle!


How to Put Together The Ultimate Wedding Planning Notebook

how to put together the ultimate wedding planning notebook

When planning your wedding, organization is key. Having a wedding planning notebook where you can keep everything in one place is extremely helpful to keeping your sanity. With so many different kinds out there, it can get a bit overwhelming trying to find the perfect wedding planning binder for you. With these tips on how to put together the ultimate wedding planning notebook, you can channel your inner DIY expert and create your own!

Things you’ll need:

  • A binder
  • A clear zip pouch to include fabric samples, business cards, etc.
  • Post-it notes. Because who doesn’t love them?!
  • Dividers and tabs for the different sections
  • A whole puncher
  • Calendar printable

Label your dividers to create these categories:

  • Important
    • Calendar with all appointments and dates marked
    • Planning timeline & checklist
    • Vendor contact list
    • Vendor contracts
    • Wedding party contact sheet
    • Family & guest list contact sheet
    • Wedding day emergency kit checklist
    • Wedding day timeline
    • Checklist of everything you need to buy for the ceremony and reception
    • Checklist of all responsibilities
  • Budget
    • Wedding budget worksheet. Include percentages for each aspect as well as a sheet for what has already been spent
    • Important payment dates and deposits
    • Splitting the wedding tab? Include a guideline for divvying up the costs.
  • Ceremony
    • Copy of ceremony text
    • Questions to ask your wedding officiate
    • List of processional & recessional order
    • Contracts
    • Officiate contact information
    • Costs & tips
    • Music playlists, DJ and band contracts
    • Décor
    • Seating arrangements
    • Program
  • Reception
    • Timeline of reception (dance, cake cutting , toasts, etc)
    • Music
    • Rentals
    • Décor
    • Setup info and instructions
    • Menu
    • Beverage list
    • Playlist with special songs
    • List of people who are toasting
    • List of people to thank at the reception
    • Favors
    • Cake
    • Guest book
    • Photo booth
    • All relevant contracts
    • Exit sparklers/flowers/bubbles
    • Reserved seating signs
    • Toasting glasses
    • Band contact info, pricing, etc
  • Guests
    • Mailing addresses & contact information
    • RSVPs
    • Dinner choices
    • Gifts received
    • Thank you notes sent list
    • Guest hotel info
    • Welcome bags
  • Attire
    • Bride
      • Schedule of fittings
      • Dress
      • Jewelry
      • Bag
      • Shoes
      • Lingerie
      • Veil
    • Groom
    • Bridesmaids
      • Dresses
      • Accessories
    • Groomsmen
    • Mother of the bride
    • Ring bearer
    • Flower girl
  • Photographer
    • Contract
    • Must-have photo list
    • List of everyone needed for photos
    • Props
  • Florist
    • Contract
    • Pricing & budget
    • Ceremony arrangements
    • Reception arrangements
    • Bouquet arrangements
    • Boutonniere arrangements
    • Family member flowers
  • Rehearsal
    • Venue contracts
    • Décor
    • Caterer contract
    • Menu
    • Vendor contact list
    • Rehearsal dinner planning checklist
    • rentals
  • Miscellaneous
    • Honeymoon plans
    • Honeymoon planning checklist
    • Transportation
    • Gifts from bride and groom
    • Registry info
    • Registry checklist
    • Best man and maid of honor duties



Amazing & Free Wedding Planning  Printables We Love:

  1. Wedding planning timeline printable  from Russel and Hazel:

  2. Wedding planning binder printables from Botanical Paperworks:,article/573/free-printables-wedding-planning-binder

  3. Martha Stewart Wedding Planning Printable:

  4. Buzzfeed Printables Every Bride Should Know About:

NOTE: Plan your wedding or event on and make use of our bride’s workbook which allows you to:

  • Add your own vendors
  • Keep track of hired & pending vendors
  • Manage a to-do list
  • Keep notations on each vendor and the event planning process
  • Track all budgets
  • Keep track of multiple events all in one place (reception, rehearsal dinner, brunch, etc).

How to Clean Your Engagement Ring at Home

How to Clean Your Engagement Ring at Home

Your engagement ring is one of your most prized possessions. You’ve been dreaming about getting one for as long as you can remember and – let’s be serious – there’s nothing more mesmerizing than watching it sparkle in the light.

When you finally get your dream engagement ring you want it to look as clean and shiny as possible at all times. It’s extremely important to schedule regular maintenance appointments with your jeweler (at least once a year) to make sure all prongs and stones are tightly in place and to get your ring cleaned.  However, you can polish up your ring at home in between appointments to remove built up makeup, lotion and hair spray and keep your rock looking ever-so-sparkly.

Here are some tips on how to clean your engagement ring at home:

What to do:

  1. Make a solution with warm water and mild dishwashing soap. Soak your ring in it for about 20-40 minutes. GENTLY brush the stone with a very soft toothbrush and then rinse under warm running water. Repeat if needed.
  2. Jewelry stores offer jewelry cleaner that is also safe for cleaning your rings at home.


What not to do:

  1. Never use household cleaners such as bleach, chlorine or acetone. These harsh chemicals break down some of the base metals in your ring.
  2. Never use abrasive products like toothpaste, baking soda or any powdered cleaners because they can scratch metals.

How to Avoid The Biggest Wedding Budget Pitfalls

How to Avoid The Biggest Wedding Budget Pitfalls

You’ve been dreaming about (and obviously planning) your wedding day since you were a little girl. Thanks to Pinterest, wedding planning is a whole new ballgame these days. However, all these endless ideas can really wreak havoc on your budget. Knowing wedding budget pitfalls and preparing for unforeseen costs is key to avoiding a minor heart attack when being presented with a swoon-inducing bill.

Plan the wedding you’ve always dreamed of without cleaning out your savings account with these tips on how to avoid the biggest wedding budget pitfalls.

How to Avoid The Biggest Wedding Budget Pitfalls

  1. Being unreasonable when setting your budget too low. Sitting down and planning a wedding budget is one of the first things you should do after getting engaged. However, many couples tend to experience sticker shock when they start talking to vendors and realizing how much it actually costs to have their fairytale wedding in the real world.Sound familiar? If this happens to you, make sure you revisit and reassess the budget conversation to be more reasonable. Don’t just start splurging because you think you need to.

    How to Avoid The Biggest Wedding Budget Pitfalls

  1. Wedding Parties & Events. When you initially discuss your wedding budget, be sure to specify if that budget include all the other wedding parties and events (engagement party, bridal shower, engagement shoot, rehearsal dinner, etc). Depending on the size of your family and friends, these parties can all add up to almost as much as your wedding!

    bridesmaids gifts.

  2. Spending too much on extras. Be careful when you’re purchasing extra-nice favors, expensive bridesmaids gifts, jewelry, wedding programs and accessories. Although these extra details can start out as small expenditures, they can really add up to a large amount.

    Glittery jimmy choo shoes

  1. Bridal Accessories. If you’re a fashionista bride and want to wear Louboutins or Manolo Blahniks as you strut down the aisle, remember that you’ll probably never wear those white shoes again. If you wouldn’t have it any other way, think about at least opting for a nude pair so that you can wear them again after your big day.


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