Thursday, February 21, 2013

Wedding Dress Shopping. It's never too early.

Okay, I retract that.  I guess it's not NEVER too early.  If you're a single gal on the prowl, owning a poofy white dress "just in case" might set off some alarms in potential partners.  According to ABC news, though, apparently it's not that uncommon to dress shop pre-engagement.  I'm not here to judge.  Shop on ladies.

The point is that if you ARE engaged,  especially if you are planning to be engaged for a year or less, there's no need to feel silly about hitting the bridal salon circuit pretty early on.

Most bridal salons recommend that you purchase your dress at least 6-9 months before your wedding.  Here's why: unless you're buying a sample dress or are purchasing through a retailer like David's Bridal, it will take a while before your dress actually arrives at the store.  You do not get to take home the dress you try on. Once you "say yes to the dress,"  the bridal salon orders that dress from the designer.  In most cases, it takes 4-6 months from the time the bridal salon orders your dress to when the dress arrives at the store.

And even THEN, it's not like you can just pick up that dress and be all set for the big day. Wedding dresses come in a really limited selection of sizes, and if your shape roughly resembles that of a human person, odds are you'll need some alterations.  You will probably be fitted 2-4 times, with little changes made every time, before the dress fits just right.  If you're unfamiliar with the alteration process, here's a picture that should explain everything.

Aside from all of the logistics of getting the gown ready once you've picked it, there is the little matter of actually shopping for the dress.  If you are anything like me, Pinterest has probably convinced you that you are completely in love with about 6,000 dresses.  There are A LOT of options out there, and you want to give yourself time to try on dresses, think about them, and maybe make a few shopping trips before making your final decision.

So get shopping ladies! If you need a little inspiration, check out Glamour's slideshow of the top wedding dress trends of 2013.  And if all of this bridal boutique protocol has you thinking that you're a sample sale/David's Bridal type of girl, you might like Glamour Closet, a bridal store that only sells designer sample dresses.  You might also want to check out Melissa Sweet's line for David's Bridal, which I may or may not be obsessed with.  Okay, I am. The dresses are gorgeous.  I love them.  But I'll worry about me and you go shop.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

You're Engaged!! Now What?

You're engaged!!! Congratulations! I hope that you are reading this in the midst of champagne toasts and glitter and cheers, and that you're as elated as you deserve to be. Bask in the glory of your new engagement.  Stare at your left hand for hours on end.  Introduce your fiancé to strangers on the street, just so that you can say, "This is my fiancé." Dedicate huge portions of your life to watching TLC wedding shows, and justify it as "research."  Buy a wedding magazine at a grocery store. You can do all of that now.  It's okay, because you're engaged.  YAY!

Brief pause for introductions:  Hi! My name is Michelle Ruby, and I'm Amanda's assistant.  I'm going to be posting weekly updates to this blog, with tips, tricks, and useful info about planning weddings and events.  And (bonus!) I'm recently engaged just like you. So we can go through this whole super fun, sometimes stressful, mostly awesome wedding planning process together.

If you're anything like me, part of this engagement bliss is a new found ability to openly, proudly, completely legitimately plan your wedding.  You know that Secret Board on Pinterest covered in wedding dresses, cakes, and blue satin peep toe pumps?  All of those pins are actually relevant now, and you want the opportunity to put those ideas into action!

However, if your first planning impulse is to run to the nearest florist to create mock-ups of those gorgeous peony centerpieces that you saw on Four Weddings, you might want to take a step back.  Calm down.  There's an order to the planning process, and as beautiful as they'll be, centerpieces don't come first.

Here are some things that it makes sense to start doing right away:

  •  Make sure everyone knows each other.  Your family and friends are going to be spending a lot of time with your fiancé's family and friends now, so it's smart to make sure everyone is well introduced and feeling comfortable around one another.
  • Have a date in mind.  It's a good idea to have a general range for when you would like the wedding to be, but if you can, leave it as tentative in order to make the venue booking process easier.  If your dream venue is booked on your first date option, it's nice to be able to ask about the weekend before or after.
  • Figure out who is coming.  This is an important one, because it sets the tone for a lot of other decisions.  Are you inviting 50 people or 500?  Are you going for intimate and serene or big and festive? The number of people that you invite will be integral when making a budget, picking a venue, and establishing what kind of wedding you want to create.  
  • Establish a budget.  Even though this sounds like so much less fun than the centerpieces, it really is a good idea to get some numbers decided upon.  Make sure that everyone is on the same page about who is paying for what, and about how much things will cost.  Getting this out of the way right at the beginning will save you huge headaches down the road.
  • Hire a coordinator. And by that I mean La Di Events, if you haven't already. And if you have already booked with La Di Events, I commend you. You are obviously a brilliant decision maker with excellent taste who is in great hands. That is a completely unbiased assessment. 
  • Start checking out reception and ceremony sites.  Those places book up fast, so there's really nothing too early when it comes to reserving your venue! If you've checked out a few venues and you find a place that you love, I suggest calling dibs on that venue for your date as quickly as possible.
Once you get these big ticket items checked off of your list, you can move on to all of the the fun wedding details that you've been dreaming about.  And if you've already done all of that, good job!  You are one organized bride.  You have our full blessing to get back to designing your centerpieces. 
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