Article originally posted on The Knot.com
The good news is that you can get a lot done.
When it comes to important life events, weddings easily top most folks’ lists as one of the biggest days of their lives in terms of family involvement, lifelong commitment, and financial investment. So while there have been massive lockdowns nationwide (and abroad) and an increasing number of restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, many couples who've planned for months, or even years, are searching for ways to find a way forward or plan ahead for possible postponements.
Wedding retailers nationwide are taking quick steps to react to the ever-evolving coronavirus news, with many closing their brick-and-mortar stores to prevent the spread of the virus and practice safe social distancing. (Wedding planners, too, are advising couples to listen to officials and health organizations, first and foremost.) With so much hanging in limbo right now, here’s what to know about how to responsibly plan your upcoming wedding amid a global pandemic.
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Communicate With Your PartnerBefore diving into anything else, take the most important step, which is communicating with your partner first. “Work with your significant other, gather your thoughts, and establish your priorities,” says celebrity event planner Edward Perotti. “Ask yourself: Is a specific date most important to you? Or is it a meaningful venue? Is having the wedding the same size a priority, or can you scale to provide more options? Is there a vendor you want to work with no matter what? Then read your contracts, make a list of your ideal options, and start with those phone calls.”
Whether you’re quarantined at home with your partner or hundreds of miles away, you can spend this time working through communication exercises. Services like Lasting can help you navigate possible premarital conversations—without excuses that you’re too busy or inundated with dinners, in-person meetings and more.
Finally, perspective is key. “Remember throughout this process that it’s important not to focus on how things should have been, but to focus on how they can be,” he adds. Indeed, planners far and wide have echoed this sentiment and asked for couples to have an attitude that is solution-oriented as all sides are currently impacted by the ongoing pandemic.
Shift Your Schedules If You’ve Postponed
Now is an ideal time to restructure those calendars and get organized. Talk to your planner consistently or shift your calendar dates where necessary if you’re planning on your own. Communicate accordingly with all vendors once you've locked down a new date.
“Let me be blunt: if your wedding is planned for anytime between April and June, you need to accept that fact that postponement may be necessary,” says Perotti. “Now that the Band-Aid has been ripped off, what’s next?”
Ask about your venue’s postponement policies, and be patient with anyone you speak with; they’re likely scrambling to try to accommodate for multiple nervous couples at the same time. Check your wedding insurance policy and see what will be covered, and if there’s anything that can be negotiated given the unusual circumstances. Read here for more tips if you’ve postponed your nuptials due to COVID-19.
“We are all sailing in unknown waters right now,” Perotti says. “What we can do is partner together. Know that your event planner, venue, caterer, photographer and florist are your team members, and they want to make your wedding [the best possible]. The dream might be slightly re-imagined, but it’s still your dream, nonetheless.”
Seek Inspiration OnlineIf you have yet to nail down your wedding theme, take The Knot Style Quiz to narrow down venue options, color palettes and even floral arrangement ideas. The quiz is an easy starting point; plus, it connects you to the best vendors who can execute your vision in your chosen destination.
While shopping in-store may not be a viable option for the foreseeable future, some brands are offering additional support online for brides looking to get all their ducks in a row amid the chaos. BHLDN, which is temporarily closing its physical locations, recently launched The Book, an online resource with a quiz to find your perfect wedding colors, hair and makeup tutorials, and dress decoders, so brides can be as well-informed and inspired as possible. Of course, there are plenty of articles to help you determine what silhouette or types of accessories work best for your body too. Head over to our ideas and etiquette page for more.
“Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and social media are gold mines for inspiration and shopping,” says Bella Belle co-founder Veronyca Kwan. “We’re always an email away for personalized shoe consultations.”
Create an 'Inspiration' BoardIf you have glue, scissors and poster board, create a physical vision board (or a virtual one on the platform of your choosing). Look at this time of self-quarantine as a gift of focused time and energy that you can use toward doing the proper research to dream up the perfect event, from florals to centerpieces to invitation designs.
Even though it may be tough to be patient with the overwhelming number of mini-deadlines and tasks that come with the wedding planning journey, staying calm and utilizing this time will ultimately be helpful to the overall planning process of your big day.
Technology and social media apps have made it much easier to get planning accomplished from a distance. If you’re still in search of vendors, check out The Knot Marketplace for a comprehensive overview of wedding pros, ranging from planners to caterers and top-tier florists across the country.
Couples who’ve previously hired these same vendors have left reviews about their own experiences. The research is also in one place: you can scan their websites, scroll through their social media pages for past weddings, and review what others have said about these businesses.
Another part of the process is having actual one-on-one conversations with potential members of your wedding team. By using tools like FaceTime, Google Hangouts and Skype, interviewing DJs, live bands, photographers and videographers is no problem. They can walk you through presentations of their past work and you’ll still be able to capture their work style over video.
“You can really get a sense of their personality and if they will be the right fit for you," says Marina Birch, owner of Birch Events in Chicago. From there, keep in touch with your chosen vendors digitally to progress through your to-do list. And, of course, for the comfort of knowing that like you, they’re also busy planning from their ends.
Find Alternative Ways to Shop for Your GownStart by researching local salons in your area to see what designers they carry within your budget range. This will help you narrow down the ideal boutiques you'd like to visit once group gathering restrictions are no longer enacted by the CDC. Plus, your loved ones can look forward to a fun date where you model dresses, sip bubbly, and catch up—together.
Go Online for Your Suits and Tuxes TooFor grooms, ask your partner to get out a measuring tape to work through your measurements. A quick YouTube search will let you know what measurements are crucial to know for suit sizes (this sizing guide from The Black Tux is a great place to start!). There are a good number of tux rental and sales sites where you can then opt to shop. Tell your groomsmen to do the same.
If you’re concerned about your color palette, turn to brands like The Tie Bar and Birdy Grey for groomsmen accessories (bowties and neckties) in a range of hues that'll match the bridesmaid dresses.
Design Your Wedding BandsMany jewelry shops remain closed due to group gathering measures, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get started on designing your wedding band. (Or, for some, the engagement ring!)
Talk to your jeweler about how you’d like your band to rest against your engagement ring or what you'd like your partner’s ring to look like as well. If you're designing an engagement ring, digital technology has advanced to allow for real life simulations of ring shapes and sizes against hands. There are plenty of options out there. Brands like Ritani and Blue Nile are also great places to envision possible jewelry pieces online. See how your rings potentially stack and whether solid gold or platinum looks best on your partner’s hand.
Build Your RegistryYou might have been putting it off, but now is a good time to sit down with your partner and seek out registry products and other types of newlywed experiences to enhance your life in marriage. After all, there’s no better way to identify what your household needs might be than to, well, be at home all day.
Most retailers have online shops where you can peruse items from the comfort of your couch, including Crate & Barrel and trendy sibling CB2. Other traditional retailers like Williams-Sonoma, Target and Bed Bath & Beyond also have e-commerce experiences where you can easily add items to your bigger registry. More specialty shops like REI, Anthropologie and Traveler's Joy also have extensive offerings online (sometimes even more than what they can carry in stores!), so take this opportunity to get creative and start intentionally building your registry online.
MINTEDIf there’s a time to lean into purchasing items for the wedding day, it’s now. Companies like Elli are offering free reprints for change-the-dates, while other brands like Minted and The Knot Shop offer a range of personalized products. With favors and décor, our current advice is to leave off your wedding date (for now) and instead, lean into your wedding insignia or custom emblem.
With local artisans also practicing social distancing, those who are able to help decorate and embellish your venue with beautiful pieces are also on standby. Go to platforms like Etsy and more.
Take a Breath (You’ve Got This!)Wedding planning is a big undertaking in and of itself, and the added uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic can make even the calmest bride feel anxious about her big day. But one of the best ways to move forward is to do so knowing that you’ve got a team of supportive loved ones who have your back, and that this, too, shall pass.
“Take the time to rejuvenate and reach out to your friends and family whom you have not had the time to talk to,” says Kwan. “Do a bit of spring cleaning or watch old movies. Share positivity in these challenging times.”
After all, if there were ever a time to lean into the process of thinking about why you’re hosting a wedding in the first place—to bring all your loved ones together in one place to celebrate your new life chapter—that time is now. Focusing on gratitude and community are key to navigating the chaos.
Article originally posted on The Knot.com
One significant consequence of the coronavirus pandemic has been the mass postponement of spring, and now summer 2020 weddings, as couples are currently in search of future dates. Updated group gathering guidelines from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and the federal government have prompted both couples and vendors to reschedule their upcoming nuptials in the months ahead. As one planner has said, “It is a giant game of chess."
As the situation continues to evolve in the U.S., most couples are now concerned about summer weddings and beyond. “I feel for couples: this is supposed to be the happiest time,” says Jung Lee, founder and event architect of Fête Events New York. “With that said, people more than ever need to see hope, celebration and togetherness in a place where they feel safe.”
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The most important advice for all couples who’ve set 2020 wedding dates is to be informed and proactive with next steps. “You must plan and move forward,” Lee advises. “Set a date [if it applies to you] and tell your guest list. Everyone will understand and it’ll help them better prepare.” Many pros are currently encouraging couples who still want to marry in 2020 to consider Monday weddings. The reasons for this are straightforward: the majority of your chosen vendors will be available on a Monday over, say, a Saturday. The day also falls right off the tail of a weekend, so your guests will have the flexibility of enjoying the welcome dinner and other festivities prior to the nuptials.
We spoke to multiple planners about prioritizing your checklist now, based on your original wedding date. As you navigate this tricky time, let this advice guide you to making a decision that works best for you and your loved ones.
In this article:
Original March/April Dates, What to DoThe Move: Postpone
Most couples with spring 2020 weddings have undergone the process of rescheduling their weddings or have since secured a new date. “We’ve told them to postpone as the situation with the virus changes rapidly, and the length of time [for social distancing] keeps getting extended,” says event planner JoAnn Gregoli. “We are encouraging these couples to move their weddings to the fall or spring of 2021.”
Even then, planners are offering backup-backup dates due to the nature of COVID-19. “I’ve secured two to four backups options for my couples,” says Lee.
After postponing or making that decision, you must notify your guests with a change-the-date alert. "You'll need to communicate a change in date and location to all your guests, which should be clear and thoughtful,” says the Mavinhouse Events team. “If you are downsizing or postponing, say it in a respectful way and thank them for the efforts they've made already to be a part of your celebration. Include as much information about cancellations for flights and contact info for accommodations.”
Going digital, the planners say, is “the most effective way to” pass along any relevant information.
Finally, here’s how to address vendors at this time. We encourage couples to exercise flexibility and patience as many small businesses have been impacted by the health crisis, as well. "Couples with wedding insurance should closely review their policies for verbiage that includes Act of God, Force Majeure, or Other unforeseen and unavoidable circumstances beyond the two parties control,” says the Mavinhouse team. “All contracts are different and may include variations of the above verbiage, but looking closely for those types of words. It’ll help you see if changes to your wedding plans as a result of the coronavirus would be covered by your insurance policy.”
With insurance, the planners have tangible items for you to follow. “We recommend, should you have to utilize your wedding insurance in some capacity, to gather all of your vendor contracts, make a list of the deposits you’ve already made, as well as a list of the remaining money you have outstanding to vendors,” they advise. “The more information you have to provide your insurance agent, the easier the process will be for you."
Original May Dates, What to DoThe Move: Postpone
If you haven’t already, postpone your May wedding too. Most couples have already shifted their weddings through May as the pandemic continues to spread. “The few weddings moving forward at the end of May also now have a backup date for this fall,” says Lee.
"Just like everyone else, venues and vendors are navigating a fluid and unprecedented situation right now. Your venue and your vendors will always want to put their clients first, while maintaining the integrity of their business,” the planners at Mavinhouse Events explain. “If your wedding is before the end of May, you should reach out to your venue and vendor team to discuss your options. Ask about their specific cancellation and postponement policies, alternate dates that are available, and any policies in regards to switching your date to a different season.”
Fall is the preeminent wedding season, far from the case a decade ago when summer weddings ruled. “Remember, fall dates may still be available, but they are considered peak season for venues and vendors. Be sure to ask if you’ll have to pay any sort of premium to switch your date to a peak season time,” the Mavinhouse team notes. This also means you’ll have to be flexible about specific openings if you want to marry in 2020, including possible weekday and holiday wedding postponement options.
Finally, follow the steps in the March/April monthly breakdown above for both contracts, insurance policies and vendor relations.
Original Early June Dates, What to DoThe Move: Postpone
With social distancing measures enacted through the end of April, many couples are now questioning what to do with their June weddings. In short, this month is on the cusp of the eight-week guidance provided by the CDC’s bulletin about limiting group gatherings. "I have advised our clients to consider postponements through the end of June, and at this point, they have all acted on it, moving their weddings and celebrations to October and beyond," says Amy Shey Jacobs of Chandelier Events in New York. "The internal thinking was also, 'Even if business was allowed to resume, would guests even be able to travel or feel comfortable gathering in large groups?' Overall, the sentiment was that June we will still be in some sort of crisis mode."
"While things are still fluid and ever-changing, we are advising our June clients to do what feels most comfortable for them,” says Mavinhouse. “[By] early-April, a client should make a decision on their June wedding. That is our first recommendation. At that time we may have more insight into what the next few months will look like for wedding celebrations and gathering sizes. Being prepared is the most important step.”
Do your homework first. “Today, a client getting married in June can go through their existing contracts to identify any important information on changing the date,” the Mavinhouse team recommends. “And reach out to your vendors about what your options may be."
Continue marking off your checklist items. Check with your respective attire companies (dress boutiques, tuxedo rentals and bespoke services) to see if they will still meet all deadlines for delivery or pickup. If you’re finalizing décor and more, we recommend withholding date stamps from favors and other insignia that could possibly be obsolete.
Original Late June Dates, What to DoThe Move: Postpone; If your wedding is the last weekend of June, make a decision in April.
While the pandemic continues to unfold, it's likely guests and other loved ones might have levels of discomfort regarding travel, group gatherings and more even by late June. "No one has a crystal ball, but based on our clientele, we moved all June events through June 20 to the fall," says Jacobs.
She adds, "Right now, the national ban on gatherings has been extended through April 30, 2020, with state-by-state gatherings and wedding bans in effect for 'the foreseeable future.' We have seen that venues are following suit with their governmental guidelines but many event venues and vendors have been allowing postponements with no penalty well into June. In fact, all of our events at Chandelier Events in June have currently been postponed to the fall in the New York and New Jersey areas."
Add financial volatility, paired with importing and exporting limitations, and Jacobs says something as simple as flowers remain a question mark. "Could they even be imported from abroad [by then]?" she speculates. "That was part of our thinking."
The sooner you move, the better odds you have with securing an ideal date this fall. "As you know, my advice has always been 'the early bird catches the worm,'" Jacobs says. "There are already so many taken dates for weddings in the fall months that were previously schedule. To ensure that a couple would get a good replacement date, we acted very early to work out those dates."
Again, we encourage couples to consider Monday weddings as most of your vendors are currently available on that particular day of the week and it falls right off a weekend.
Original July/August Dates, What to DoThe Move: Monitor in May; Postpone if you’re concerned
The best step a couple marrying this summer can take is to first reach out to the venue to see what’s next. Then, send a note to your vendors to ask which possible dates they have available. By the end of May, most couples marrying in July and August should make a decision.
Since it's peak summer season, most planners are holding off from rescheduling these events for now. "We are advising our July clients to do what feels most comfortable for them,” says the Mavinhouse team. “We are hopeful that given the significant amounts of social distancing and self-isolation that is currently taking place throughout the nation, this will make July events go off without a hitch.”
Some planners are moving quickly and have asked their clients to firm up a decision by the end of April. “Wait and see for both July and August,” Gregoli recommends. “I have asked my clients to make a decision by May 1.”
As you monitor the ongoing pandemic, there is something you can do to get ahead, like discussing options with your vendors. “For today though, it's important to try to remain calm and excited about your wedding plans while keeping an eye on the news and this ever-changing situation," says the Mavinhouse team.
Continue marking off your checklist items. As previously mentioned, withhold from including wedding dates on your décor if they have yet to be printed and it wouldn’t hurt to touch base with your attire companies as well.
Original September Dates and On, What to DoThe Move: Proceed and monitor
The most vigilant couples are now concerned about weddings past September. There is no need to panic at this time as planners are shifting spring weddings into this time frame. If you’ve secured a weekend fall date, then know that you’re in a good place. Continue marking off those checklist items, however, because this fall already appears to be an even busier season for vendors.
Gregoli suggests couples September and on should proceed as planned. Keep in mind that the situation could shift or evolve. Before you sign contracts, review them carefully and make sure you know exactly what is required if you need to reschedule or postpone down the line.
Regardless of your original wedding date, what every couple can do in this moment is reassure themselves that a wedding will happen. “Every person is unique with what they can handle emotionally,” Lee acknowledges. “But it’s important for couples to now go with the flow, because the world has changed. Your love and togetherness is not going to change. People have to stop saying ‘canceling.’ It is about making adjustments to your wedding day. You can’t cancel love.”
Article originally post on The Knot.com
A step by step guide on what to do, when.
In these unprecedented times, more and more couples are taking the advice of both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to limit group gatherings because of COVID-19. As a result, some couples are either postponing their weddings or considering alternative options. In an official statement from its website, the CDC states, “Officials may ask you to modify, postpone, or cancel large events for the safety and well-being of your event staff, participants, and the community. The details of your emergency operations plan should be based on the size and duration of your events, demographics of the participants, complexity of your event operations, and type of on-site services and activities your event may offer.”
National guidelines were issued March 16, requesting the public's compliance with limiting mass gatherings to no more than 10 people. The announcement was made just a day after health officials from the CDC noted it's essential in now containing the virus. “Large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States via travelers who attend these events and introduce the virus to new communities,” CDC officials said. “Examples of large events and mass gatherings include conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies. These events can be planned not only by organizations and communities but also by individuals.”
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Below is a guide on the steps to take when postponing your wedding due to the coronavirus.
Let Your Vendors Know Your Decision ASAPShould you and your partner decide to postpone your wedding, the first people to contact are the ones tasked with making it happen. Your pros should be understanding of your decision and can help provide additional guidance on next steps, from securing a future date to contacting guests. However, keep in mind that your vendors are small businesses and probably dealing with an influx of calls just like yours, so try to be patient. They also may be impacted by things like childcare issues as schools across the country close and figuring out how to keep their employees safe and healthy.
Review Your Wedding InsuranceIf you went the extra step and secured insurance for your day, you’ll want to consult your plan and contact your insurance agent to confirm whether something like this is covered. Unfortunately, it isn’t in most cases, but every plan is different, so it’s better to do your due diligence.
Create a Communication Plan to Inform Your GuestsThe easiest and most effective way to relay your message is via your wedding website. A simple message that’s to-the-point is best. You may also want to consider creating a list of FAQs if you think your guests will have similar questions around travel refunds, your new date, etcetera. Other communication options include sending your guests an email or splitting up the guest list between you, your partner and close friends or family so that you can start making calls.
Consider How You Can Help Your GuestsIf you have a room block, you may want to reach out to the hotel to see if you can negotiate a full or partial refund on behalf of your guests. Taking the burden off of your friends and family will go a long way for those who had made plans to be there.
Be FlexibleWhen working with your vendors to reschedule, try to keep an open mind. While your original date may have landed on a Saturday, securing another Saturday later in the year may not be possible. Consider other days of the week like a Monday, Thursday, Friday or Sunday. You'll have a better chance of securing all of your vendors, and, yes, your guests will still attend!
Let Yourself Grieve Real talk: It’s ok to feel disappointed or upset. Are there bigger issues we’re facing as a country and as a world? Yes. But it’s important to acknowledge your feelings and understand that they are valid. Voicing them to your partner or a close friend can help you start to cope.
Celebrate the Day AnywayEven if it’s not the day you had planned, the date will always hold significance. Find a small, but meaningful way to celebrate. Plan a fancy date night or enjoy your favorite bottle of wine and a movie.
You can find all these steps for postponing due to coronavirus in The Knot's Wedding Planning Checklist.
originally published on bride.com
For the most part, wedding guests are simply happy to be a part of your big day. But it turns out they've got a few pet peeves when it comes to weddings. Here are five things guests hate most about weddings, from real wedding guests.
Delayed Receptions"I have been to my fair share of weddings and love being a part of their special days. But with that said, I absolutely hate delayed receptions—the ones where you get there and no beverages or food are served for more than an hour. Especially if children are invited, there should be activities to keep them busy or else you end up with a room full of hungry guests and bored kids running around." *—Crystal *
Lack of Planning"Every wedding I've attended has been a wonderful celebration filled with laughter, love, tears, and lots of dancing, which makes for a great party every time. But even though every one has been a blast, a couple weddings I've attended have had some rough starts, and the cause usually started with the planning—or lack of planning—that went into communicating with the guests. My one piece of advice as a guest is think about the best way to stay in communication with all of your guests as the wedding progresses, because something almost always changes last minute.
We as guests want to make sure we're bringing our A-games to your big day!" *—Jessica *
No Microphones at the Ceremony"I understand that a lot of guests look forward to weddings for the free food and booze. But not me. I'm in it for the ceremony. What can I say? I'm a big sap. So my biggest pet peeve as a wedding guest is when couples don't consider whether their guests can actually hear them during the ceremony. If you don't use a microphone, chances are we won't hear anything that's happening. And instead of sharing the moment along with you, we'll just be stuck twiddling our thumbs." —Anna
The Bride Venting About Her Wedding (At the Wedding)"I just went to a wedding in which the bride sat down at our table to say hello and just launched into this very long speech about how tough wedding planning was and how she wished she had just eloped. When she got up from our table and moved to the next, I heard her give the same spiel to another guest. I get that she was probably just stressed from it all and needed to vent. But as a guest, it made me feel pretty uncomfortable. Your wedding is a happy occasion, but it's pretty difficult to see it that way when you spend the whole reception complaining about how miserable it was to get there." *—Marianne *
Cash Bar"Cash bars. I understand that not everyone has the budget for an open, full bar. That's OK. But in that case, try to offer a limited bar, such as just beer and wine. Guests will really appreciate it—especially the ones who have traveled or had significant expenses in order to come to your wedding."
article originally posted on Brides.com
While not for the superstitious, first look wedding photos have been topping the list of wedding must-haves for many couples over the past few years. It's still entirely up to you whether or not you want to uphold the idea of not seeing your soon-to-be spouse until the ceremony, but—if these sweet snapshots are any indication—a first look is a beautiful way to start off your married life.
The instant a couple first locks eyes on their big day is incredibly romantic—whether or not it's done in private before you say "I do," or as you make your grand entrance into the ceremony. But while they may not be a time-honored custom, first look wedding photos have become something of a new tradition amongst modern couples who opt to see one another before the ceremony, resulting in heartwarming, tear-jerking photos.
On the fence about doing a first look? Firstly, seeing your partner before walking down the aisle is a great way to ease any pre-wedding jitters. And if you're concerned about your partner's expression being any less excited when they see you walking down the aisle to exchange vows, don't be. Chances are, your love will still get teary-eyed in the moments before they say "I do." And since they've already seen you in your wedding dress, they can appreciate the crystallizing realization that you two are about to become the two luckiest people in the world even more so.
article originally published by The Knot
Whether you're having an intimate 30-person gathering or a huge bash with 500 guests, you'll need a way to communicate with all of your wedding guests just in case plans go awry.
Perhaps your reception space was double-booked, or you've decided to push your ceremony back an hour to align with the sunset. You don't want to blast out the changes on social media (let's face it—you probably aren't inviting all of your Facebook followers, and your great-uncle Charlie hasn't ever touched a computer). If you want to spread the word—fast—to the right people, having a wedding day communication plan makes everything easier. Here are a few easy-to-follow tips to come up with one.
Think of a concise message your guests will understand quickly.
No need for a lengthy explanation of what happened. Keep your message to guests short and to the point. All they need to know is that plans have changed for some reason or another, and what they should do in the meantime.
Make sure your wedding website is accurate and up to date.
Your wedding website will get tons of views leading up to your wedding, because people misplace invitations or forget to bring them along when they're traveling. Make sure the main page of your site contains any new information guests should know and all addresses and times are accurate.
Assemble a group who can be trusted to start a phone (or text) tree.
You'll want to delegate this kind of a task to a few members from each side of the family, so it spreads evenly and no relatives are left in the dark—especially those who aren't likely to check your wedding website the day of, or ever. You'll also want to assign the task to a few friends on both sides of your wedding party to notify all nonrelatives. Once they start spreading the word via text or calling, and the people who heard from them spread it to everyone they know attending, word of mouth will have taken care of any snafu.
Use this handy trick.
Still worried you missed a couple people in getting the correct info out? No worries. Apart from telling your "How They Met" story and explaining where you're registered, one feature of our wedding website and guest list manager is to email every person on your guest list. You can choose to select guests one by one, depending on their RSVP, or you can select all. Simply add an email subject—something along the lines of "Please Read: Important Last-Minute Update to Our Wedding Schedule!" and write out a message to all your guests telling them of your change in plans. Phew, that was easy! You can also delegate this task to one of your bridesmaids or your parents if you're too busy getting ready or dealing with other last-minute details.
Remember that it's always better to be over-prepared.
The beautiful thing about having this type of plan in place is that it applies to so many last-minute changes. Does it look like rain? Follow the communication plan and let everyone know about your plan B scenario. Is there crazy traffic on one of the main routes to the reception hall? Send out your email. While we hope none of these things happen to you on the day of your celebration, it never hurts to be over-prepared.
Haven't set up your wedding website yet? See our latest designs here, and check out our guest list manager here if you need some help keeping track of your guests.
Wedding Ideas + EtiquetteCommunicationRelationshipsWedding WebsitePlanningGuest ListWedding Party
article originally published by The Knot
There's nothing better than having your parents around to lean on for their planning advice, emotional support and helping hands. While the "mother of bride" job title comes with a certain set of expected duties (which we've laid out for you below), your mom should be whatever source of help you need or that suits her strengths. If she's meticulously organized and loves to take the reigns, let her handle some logistics. Is she more laid back about the nuts and bolts but gifted with an eye for design and aesthetics? Tap her for style decisions and mood board input. You know your mom, and she knows you. For a traditional list of mother of the bride duties, read on.
1. Research and Scout Venues
The mother of the bride often helps the couple check out ceremony and reception sites. Whether she actually accompanies you on site tours or pitches in doing research, calling for quotes or asking friends and family for recommendations, it's up to you how hands on you'd like her to be in the venue hunt.
2. Act as a Point Person for Vendors
You and your partner are only two people (presumably with busy schedules), so the mother of the bride can be helpful by serving as either a main contact or just an extra point person for your wedding pros. This will be a godsend, especially if your wedding is taking place in your home town where she lives while you two live elsewhere.
3. Be Your Wedding Dress Confidante
Depending on how close you are with your mom, enlist her help on all things wedding dress or suit related. Can't bear to make a dress decision without her? Don't. Definitely bring her with you to trunk shows, bridal salons and fittings for her expert eye, good judgement and motherly nod of approval.
4. Take Charge of the Guest List (at Least Partly)
Of course, you and your partner should be the majority vote when it comes to your guest list—but the bride's mom can be super helpful by compiling and sending you all the names and addresses to be included on the master list. In addition, she can connect with your partner's family about who's on their list and manage the tricky task of limiting the number of guests, if necessary.
5. Give Input on the Ceremony Program
The mother of the bride is a great resource to tap for family, cultural or religious traditions to incorporate into the wedding ceremony. If she feels strongly about having you include something in particular—be it an important heirloom or a significant unity ceremony—have her do some research and help you plan the best way to infuse it into the program.
6. Find a Look She Loves
Forget what you've heard about mother of the bride outfits. If she wants guidelines, let her know what you'd love to see her in or what would complement the rest of your wedding details and overall vibe. Other than that, she's free to find a gorgeous gown, suit or other style that makes her look and feel amazing. To be courteous, the mother of the bride should stick to traditional etiquette here: Get in touch with the in-laws to make sure they don't either clash or match exactly (although, if they do, everyone will survive—promise!).
7. Attend or Plan Prewedding Events
It's no longer a faux pas for the bride's side to host the shower (it used to be frowned upon because people thought it made the bride's family look greedy for gifts, but that's pretty much irrelevant now). So if your mom wants to throw you a shower, she absolutely should. The same goes for the engagement party and rehearsal dinner. At the very least, the mother of the bride should attend the shower.
8. Know What to Do and Where to Go at the Ceremony
Your mom can escort you down the aisle herself or with your father. In a Jewish ceremony, both parents often accompany the bride down the aisle. At Christian ceremonies, if the father of bride is processing with the bride, the mother of the bride can take her seat in the first pew directly before the ceremony. You can also make your mom part of the processional lineup, even if your dad is walking you down the aisle. The mother of the bride can process first before the wedding party, or follow the wedding party and come down before you.
9. Stand in the Receiving Line
This only applies if you're having a receiving line, of course. As a reception host, she should head up the line and greet/thank/hug guests as they arrive at the reception (or exit the ceremony).
10. Enjoy the Party
The mother of the bride sits at either parents' table, the head table with the couple or mix in with other immediate family or good friends. Chat with your partner and your parents about how you'd like to seat everyone for dinner. If you're doing a more formal first dance sequence, the mother of the bride typically shares a dance with both the father of the bride and your partner after the newlywed first dance.
11. Be Your Rock
The mother of the bride is just that—your mom. She's a well of wisdom, solid advice and emotional support, and her biggest job throughout the wedding planning process is to be the amazing mom she's been for you all along.
Getting married is a joyous occasion where two souls ceremoniously become one. However, it’s also a time marked by a lot of behind-the-scenes changes — like merging finances or finding a new place to live. While many folks plan for a last name swap, Charlie’s willing to bet that very few think about modifying their insurance coverage post nuptials.
Don’t worry, though. Your favorite penguin’s got everything you need to know to make sure you’re properly protected as a couple.
Let’s take a step back — if you’re already married, this is moot. But if you’re not, it may make sense to insure your big day. Even modest weddings can run you thousands, so a $200ish protection plan sounds like a wise move.
Your engagement and wedding rings are symbols of your enduring love — and likely cost a pretty penny. To protect against loss (no judgement here) or theft, it may make sense to buy some coverage. Often, jewelry insurance gets tacked on to an existing insurance policy, typically homeowners or renters. However, there are some insurers who issue specialty policies designed to safeguard your gems.
While the two of you may already have health insurance, it’s a good idea to reevaluate your policies when you get back from your honeymoon. Since getting married is considered a qualifying life event in the health insurance world, you can make changes outside of open enrollment. Therefore, if one of you has more affordable or more robust coverage options than the other, get with your respective human resources departments and make the switch!
Homeowners or Renters Insurance
If your dwelling isn’t insured yet, it’s prudent to protect your belongings and property that you share as a couple. If you have a mortgage, homeowners insurance is required and can be pricey. But, like anything else, shopping around will get you the best available deal. Renters insurance, while optional, is generally very affordable — so there’s really no reason not to have it.
Although it’s tough to think about, one of you could pass away unexpectedly. To protect your loved ones, it’s a smart move to buy a life insurance policy — or increase the amount of existing coverage. The funds can be used to pay off a mortgage or other debt, care for any dependents, and keep the surviving spouse financially afloat until they get back on their feet.
Your employer may offer life insurance as part of their benefits package. However, it’s important to realize that the coverage will likely end when your employment does and may not be adequate to meet your family’s needs. If either is the case, shop around for external policies to ensure continuous and ample protection.
Pro Tip: Check your beneficiaries on existing policies and update them as needed.
If you’re a two income household, you may want to purchase disability insurance. That way, if one of you becomes unable to work, the coverage can help fill in the income gap, allowing you to focus more on getting well than on being able to pay the bills.
If you’ve both got good driving records, getting on the same policy could save you big. Statistically, married people get into fewer accidents, so the insurer’s reduced risk potentially equates to a reduced rate for you. Don’t forget — if you both have a vehicle, many insurance companies will give you a multi-car discount as well.
When you say “I do”, insurance is probably the farthest thing from your mind. However, it’s now important for you to be protected as a couple, rather than as individuals. Getting your policies in order will give you peace of mind and can also save you money — so don’t delay!
Tell Charlie: Did you make any changes to your insurance when you got married?
original article published by hicharlie.com
As someone who has spent an inordinate amount of brain cells mulling over money, a well-known pillar of financial wellness is that you need to budget.
Here’s the thing: while budgeting is touted by many in the personal finance blogosphere as mission critical to getting your money ducks in a row, they don’t always work. Not for long, anyway. For every budget I’ve tried — the 50/30/20 budget, zero-sum budget, spreadsheet, and envelope system — I would start out gung-ho.
I’d meticulously track every purchase and expense, allocate my income into neat categories, and congratulate myself for creating such a pristine, beautifully put-together budget. It felt like magic, at least at first.
Fast forward to a few months’ time, and I’ve let my budget fall by the wayside. Why’s that? The reasons may stem from a number of reasons: feeling boxed-in from having too specific spending categories, lapsing into a cycle of shame followed by guilt for going over in X category, or from weaning interest.
Nix the traditional budget. Here’s what works instead:
Track Your Expenses
This is pretty essential. It’s hard to figure out a long-lasting approach to saving if you don’t know where your money is going. There’s no shortage of free money management apps out there to help you track your spending. After you have a good idea of how much your living expenses are and anywhere else your money is going, you can create a system.
Create a Money Flow System
Having a system for how you save and spend your money will keep things on autopilot. The less “mind time” and work it takes, the more likely you are to stay within your spending limits. Yes, this takes work. It’s not an overnight thing. But what about Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel frescoes? The Leaning Tower of Pisa? Your favorite craft beer? The good stuff takes time.
As a self-employed freelancer, I have both a business checking account and a personal checking account. At the end of each month, I’ll automatically transfer a set amount into my personal account for basic living expenses.
I mete out “buckets” of cash that are then transferred to two separate debit cards. There’s a set amount for discretionary expenses or things that change every month. (Think eating out, groceries, gas, etc.) I also allocate any extra cash toward my savings goals. For instance, I put set amounts toward emergencies, a splurge fund, and a vacation fund. I also save for a house when I can.
Why so complicated? After I’ve devised a money flow, it’s pretty much set and I can forget about it. I methodically check my balance and monitor transactions, but that’s it.
Automation is a godsend for a lazy money person — no shame. I automate as much as possible: savings goals, bills, and for a buffer fund in case my checking goes to zero. My bills are paid on time, and I make sure I sock some away some of my income towards retirement. If you’re new to automation, make sure you schedule your transfers so they hit a few days before or after you get paid. You’ll also want to keep an eye on things at first, just to make sure there aren’t any hiccups.
Create a Space for Guilt-Free Spending
Just like guilt-free afternoons binge-watching “Russian Doll” on Netflix while noshing on cronuts in your otherwise tame week of salads and cycling classes — you need breathing room to do whatever you please with some of your cash. This will prevent you from going hog wild and splurging. Create a separate savings account for some guilt-free spending. Or allow yourself to spend X of each paycheck on whatever you please. Of course, this is only after you’ve covered your living expenses and savings goals.
Have a Buffer
One of your friends decides to drop in unexpectedly for the weekend and you go on a pricey dinner date and night out. Sure, it’s fun times, but also cry-time for your wallet. You’ll want to have a bit of cushion in your budget for small, unexpected expenses. I like to keep a buffer of a few hundred bucks in my monthly budget, and you may need more or less.
Place Your Money on an Emotional Spectrum
Try putting your entire money situation — earning, spending, saving, and investing — on an emotional spectrum. What I mean by this is to think about the things you spend money on. What do you dislike spending money on?
For instance, maybe making payments on your student loans or credit card debt are things that make you groan or ask, “Whyyy?”
What are you neutral about? That could be utilities, rent, and gas for your car. And last, what types of spending and money goals bring you joy? Perhaps that’s when you get to go out for massages or buy hip clothes, or that subscription box of goodies that you look forward to receiving every month.
When you categorize your money on an emotional spectrum, it’ll help guide you toward what you want to minimize or nix altogether, and what you want to have or do more of. So if you detest paying off debt (which is more than likely) focus on crushing it as soon as possible. On the flipside, if you love investing in art, try to find ways to put more money into those areas of your life.
While budgeting doesn’t always work, creating different systems to make saving and spending as easy and painless as possible, does. What works for me may not work for you. That’s why it’s important to approach it as an experiment. Exploring new ways will help you find a strategy that jives best with you.
You're a week away from saying "I do"—and trust us, we know you're soready. But with seven days to go, there are a few seemingly small but important tasks that need to be checked off your list so they don't fall through the cracks. You don't want to be at the altar ready for your groom to break the glass and then realize that there's no glass, right?
1. Overcommunicate With Your VendorsTo make sure everyone is on the same page (so they don't need to call you or your point people on the day-of) call every single wedding vendor and confirm, then re-confirm each arrangement you have with them, including, but not limited to:
4. Schedule Any Beauty AppointmentsYour fingers will likely be texting all week, which makes it even more crucial to keep your nails fresh. Make any minor beauty appointments you want done that week. Think: a mani-pedi, waxing, massage, blowout and facial. This goes for your groom too—make sure his hair is trimmed and face is shaved (if that's the look he's after). Any experimental beauty treatments (like facial peels, lasering, hair coloring and drastic cuts) should be done a few months in advance, just in case they don't turn out as expected.
5. Arrange Help for Any Guests Who Need ItIf you have any ill or elderly guests coming to your wedding, it will be meaningful for them to know you're so glad they can attend. Show your love by making sure they have proper transportation to and from the airport and your wedding events and that they have a comfortable place to stay. You can ask family members, friends or attendants to help with any pick-ups and drop-offs.
6. Hand These Items OffGetting married also means having a lot of important things to distribute among your family and attendants.
8. Deliver Welcome BasketsWhether it's you or an attendant, deliver your welcome baskets for guests to the hotel concierge. Make a list of names, delivery instructions and any additional information you have to prevent any mix-ups.
Crystal Vandegrift is a wedding photographer covering Virginia, D.C. NC and Maryland.
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Pictures were one of my top priorities for my wedding. I spent a lot of time reading through photographers and even contacting some. I was also pretty nervous, I had never been professionally photographed before. Crystal and her team were SO easy to work with and immediately took away the nerves. I trusted her completely and I am so happy I did. Cannot recommend enough! Ellen - Yorktown VA
If you're looking for an amazing photographer who is relaxed, has experience, and knowledge look no further. Crystal took our engagement and wedding photos. Not only were her photos amazing, but she is extremely responsive to messages and will even help you when planning your big day. It was important to us to work with a photographer who has experience with same sex couples, and Crystal and Casey did a great job capturing everything for my wife and I. We couldn't have asked for a better experience. - Emily - Nellysford, VA
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