I just got home from sunny Maryland four days ago and it’s been nothing but rain, dreary overcastness and wet. Very, very wet. I can’t even take the pup outside to get some exercise, it’s nuts! Plus, all this cooped-up-ness has made us both a little stir crazy. Usually, I like myself a rainy stretch of days. It makes me more productive knowing that I can’t get outside and enjoy that beautiful sunshine. But…sleet-rain-wind? No thank you, very much!

As I was surfing my usual sites, I came upon a fun, new, rain-inspired idea for brides. Everyone knows a bride or two who’s marriage had not lasted {for whatever reason} the first time around and is in unending pursuit of happier ever after. Generally, with a second or third marriage, the couple have lived together, purchased house/apartment appliances together and really have no need for a bridal shower…but for those friends and relatives who would love to throw one {my hand is in the air! pick me, pick me; I adore throwing showers!}…what is a person to do. Answer :: throw a sprinkle.

A sprinkle can be defined however the thrower chooses, but generally implies a more laid-back type of shower. No formal gifts or gift opening, no registry, no games. Just a bunch of people getting together to celebrate and offer well-wishes and more nostalgic-style gifts. What a great idea to not only make it known to the bride that you’re excited and happy for her, but also to scale back on the spending and younger-generation-traditions that an older and more ‘experienced’ couple may not enjoy.

So, set up a bar of the couple’s favorite beverages and have a backyard BBQ in their honor…

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…or take her and some ladies out for a fun night on the town!!

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Beating the budget

It’s no secret, and it’s definitely no lie, that weddings get expensive. And quickly. Amazingly enough, once you get done paying deposits for the venues, florist, caterer, photographer, videographer, and DJ, the wallet just keeps getting opened for the invitations, decorations, bridal showers, honeymoon, thank you cards…never ending. All that extra expense can add unnecessar stress and financial strain to the newly married relationship and completely sucks when you’re at wits end with your new family over who should pay for what. So…here’s a few tips on how to save and approach the topic of a budget ::

First and foremost, sit down with your fiance and sketch out a loose budget. Know the boundaries and limitations within each category. Is it a hard top-dollar or one that could possibly be swayed? This will make it much easier down the road.

Instead of telling in-laws what they should contribute to your wedding, ask them what they had in mind. Considering that it is your day and, in most cases these days, you have an established job or career parent’s have been footing less and less of the bill. This will also assist you later in the planning process and you’ll already know what to expect {and may have more creative freedom since you’re covering more of the final cost!}.

Figure out what you can skimp on. The Huffington Post reports that most brides regret splurging on flowers. Maybe flowers are important to you and the honeymoon is not. Or visa versa. Whatever it is, figure it out in the beginning and stick to your guns.

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Register for gifts. If you have lived together for a while, register for your honeymoon so your guests can help you settle into married life on a relaxing and beautiful note. If you are looking at purchasing a place together in the near future, register for home and lawn items.

Send creative and cost effective Thank Yous. If I attend a wedding, I expect to receive a Thank You card with something more than a quickly scrawled ‘thank you’ and a scribbled name. I want to know the couple took time and actually enjoyed my presence at their wedding. There has been a rise in the ever popular photo card, but the cost can also rise with those as they require heavier postage. My thought :: take a Thank You photo at the wedding {either of just yourselves or with your wedding party} and either have it custom printed as a postcard or print the photo at Snapfish, slap a postcard sticker on the back and mail them out at a reduced rate. Love!

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What’s the Best Orange County Jewelry for my Wedding?

‘Tis the wedding season, or should I say time to panic and get last minute plans in order for the big day? If you are a bride to be, in an upcoming wedding or part of someone’s special day, you may be flustered with last minute decor, dress fittings, party planning and last minute touches to ensure a smooth transition to what could be the most important day of your life. There are some brides that have everything in order months before time, and then there are some, like myself, that wait until the last minute to get everything ready (including the bridal gown and whole bridal look). You want to make sure your bridal look is perfect with the perfect shoes, perfect jewelry and perfect makeup and hair.

I consider myself a non-traditional bride in that I like mismatch and things that don’t exactly coordinate perfectly. For my ‘something blue’ I wore a gorgeous opal center ring from the orange county jewelry selection, I borrowed it of course since I would never be able to afford this gem. Nonetheless I felt like a million bucks wearing it. I wore my grandma’s veil for my ‘something old’ it was a beautiful long veil from the 1950’s, vintage anyone? For my something borrowed, I wore my grandma’s pearl bracelet (found lots of gems in my g-ma’s closet). For my ‘something new’ I wore my bridal gown which was a teacup length cute cute dress (I wish I could wear it again I loved it so much!)

Something Blue …

Something Borrowed …

Something New …

Something Old …

Weather…or not?

When getting down to the final weeks and days before your wedding, I’m certain you’ll be scoping out the weather channel. Making sure you have that perfect 70-something day, a little bit of sun, a little bit of breeze; it can be exhausting. Not only do you have zero control over the weather, but it can change without notice leaving you left in the dust, crying in the rain. Or, you can be prepared for anything and roll with the punches.

Picture 31If there’s a chance for rain, purchase enough umbrellas for your wedding party. You can even have them monogramed with your wedding initials, too! Then, if it’s a light rain, you will also be able to take some treasured outdoor photographs.

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Think it might be crazy hot or directly sunny? Snag some sun-parasols for your party {and maybe a few extra for guests!} to help ease the heat while also providing another fun element and splash of color  to your wedding day.

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Winter wedding? Be prepared with coats

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…beautiful shawls

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…or styling boots to keep you and your wedding party cozy and happy!

Invitations; making a decision

My sister is currently involved in the wedding-planning process of one of her good friends. Both my sister and I are married and have been there/done that attitude when it comes to discussions on how to properly plan a wedding. We’re not claiming that we’re experts by any means, but we both thoroughly enjoyed the planning stages with very little to no additional stress. I loved making the plans and seeing how everything came together. Being that my sister was married nearly a year and a half before me, she had created a binder to keep all my notes, quotes, receipts, ideas and anything else I wanted to hang on to all neat and nicely organized. It was wedding planning bliss.

When it came to designing my invitations, I pulled a bunch of ideas from Pinterest {where else!?} and cultivated my own look to not only achieve a final product that resembled our taste, but something that also gave our guests a feel for the wedding they were been invited to. I had a party one night and invited a handful of ladies over to help me put them all together–it was perfect! It was fun! I loved how they turned out and I could not have been more calm and relaxed about it!

My sister’s friend…is not having such a great time. She has teetered with the idea of making them, but got overwhelmed. She was going to have them printed, but then decided it was too expensive. She hemmed and hawed and procrastinated and simply could not make up her mind. Until one day last week, she stumbled upon Minted.com. She found a style she liked, picked out wording and placed her order. Within the week, the invitations were in the mail and she had another item checked off her to-do list.

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{These aren’t her invitations, but just one of the many samples I found on Minted. From chic to simple to playful and fun, they’ve got options for everyone!}

Basically, it comes down to just making a decision and going with it. Don’t over think. Have fun, take it all with a grain of salt.

What was the hardest thing you had to decide on while planning your wedding?