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6 Ways Social Media Is Changing Wedding Planning

Planners dish on what’s different in the age of Instagram.

Contributing Writer
woman using cell phone

Photography by: Getty Images

There’s no arguing that social media and its many platforms and pretenses has forever changed the world of weddings. In fact, it’s even difficult for some to imagine a time when the only people who caught a glimpse of the bride and groom on their wedding day were the hundred or so attendees themselves—and maybe a lucky handful who spent some time on the newlyweds’ couch flipping through their glossy album. Nowadays, anyone in the world has immediate access to the attire, décor, location, and events that occurred at any given celebration. Even going into work once your wedding weekend or honeymoon has concluded isn’t the same—everyone has specific questions about “that view” or “those stunning flowers—what were they?” To dig deeper into the many ways weddings have changed thanks to social media, we talked to wedding planners who’ve seen it all.

 

CAN SOCIAL MEDIA HURT YOUR MARRIAGE?

 

Brides have exposure to a variety of different weddings.

The image of the modern wedding is no longer limited to what one sees in a magazine or on a television program, Kimberly Lehman, wedding and event planner at Love, Laughter & Elegance points out. Now, the images are everywhere: on mobile phones, tablets, laptop computers. Think about how little you would know about weddings if you had to subscribe to a number of wedding magazines and wait every month to get your hands on the latest copy? Now, with consumer demand, countless wedding websites (like this one!) deliver instant information at your fingertips.

 

Expectations are set so high and can be unrealistic.

“The hard part that we’ve all found is that social media allows for brides and grooms to see other weddings and love what they are seeing without realizing the time and money it actually took to create the look,” explains Brandi Hamerstone, a wedding planner at All Events Planned. “Unfortunately, there are so many unrealistic expectations that people now have for their day that they might not be able to afford, or won’t have the time to create if it’s DIY.” This isn’t to say you shouldn’t browse the web to storm up ideas for your big day, but it’s important to keep in mind your own limitations—which are totally okay to have.

 

Couples connect more with friends and family.

Chances are, not all of your friends and family will be able to make your big day. The good news is that social media allows them to feel like they were a part of the event even if they weren’t physically present. “Unique apps can transmit important information about your wedding to those who weren’t able to be there,” says Candice Dowling Coppola, owner and creative director at A Jubilee Event. “The one downside we’ve noticed, however, is that some couples crave a sense of privacy that social media makes it hard for them to have.” In her experience, she’s had to ask several guests and hired creatives to refrain from posting pictures of a couple’s wedding unless they’ve given consent. “Some couples prefer to have control over how their wedding day is shared with others,” she adds.

 

27 WEDDING PLANNERS YOU NEED TO FOLLOW ON INSTAGRAM

 

The bevvy of information and inspiration is limitless.

If you’re a bride-to-be who hasn’t scoured Pinterest yet, log on! It’s become the go-to resource for gathering ideas for planning a wedding. “Users can create virtual bulletin boards of their favorite flowers, dresses, cakes, poses for pictures, decorations, and more, as well as share pictures with others, and follow boards that have the same vibe as their own,” says Lehman. YouTube is another hot spot with thousands of videos of everything from wedding hair and makeup tutorials to heartwarming wedding films. “You can watch amazing choreographed wedding party dances, adorable flower girls and ring bearers as they attempt to walk down the aisle, and memorable wedding speeches,” says Lehman.

 

Virtual meetings avoid unnecessary travel.

Any bride- or groom-to-be knows that time is precious when you’re planning a wedding—especially when it comes to managing all of the various meetings you’ll have with vendors. This is when live streaming can seriously come in handy. Instead of commuting two hours in rush-hour traffic, or across the state or country if your wedding location isn’t nearby, you can set up a Google Hangout, Skype call, or any other live-streaming service to chat wedding details with as close to an in-person charm as possible.

 

Couples now “brand” their wedding.

Who knew hashtags would allow you to collect all of the photos and videos from your wedding so easily? “When friends and family upload their pictures to a social media site, they will add the special hashtag so everyone has access to all of the posts in one spot,” Lehman explains. Companies and vendors are also catching onto the trend. “If a couple is looking for a photographer in their hometown, they may use a hashtag such as ‘#ChicagoWeddingPhotographer,’ and the search will deliver listings for wedding photographers in that area.” Can’t come up with a clever hashtag idea for your big day? Try one of the many wedding hashtag generators available online! There’s social media doing its thing once again!

 

 

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How to Choose the Perfect Rehearsal Dinner Venue

Plus, other planning tips.

Contributing Writer
natalie jamey rehearsal dinner tables

Photography by: KT Merry

The second most important event of your wedding weekend will undoubtedly be your rehearsal dinner. Typically, this is a less-formal event during which close friends and family come together (generally following some form of wedding rehearsal) in celebration of the big event. It’s especially beneficial if many of your guests are coming from out of town, as it’s a nice excuse to spend more time together.

 

“The rehearsal dinner is one of the most anticipated and cherished traditions of a wedding celebration,” says Kimberly Lehman, wedding and event planner at Love, Laughter & Elegance. “For many couples, this will be the first opportunity that their friends and family members will have to meet each other.” To make the most of this treasured evening, we asked twp wedding planners to explain how you should go about selecting the right venue for this important pre-wedding event.

 

THE ULTIMATE WEDDING REHEARSAL AND REHEARSAL DINNER CHECKLIST

 

Step 1: Determine your budget.

First and foremost, figure out how much money you have to spend on the rehearsal dinner. This will help you figure out what kind of event you’re able to have, and how many guests you can invite. Setting your budget also means figuring out who will be shouldering the cost. “Traditionally, the groom’s parentsare the hosts of the rehearsal dinner,” says Lehman. “Today, however, as more couples are paying for the expenses of the wedding themselves, the cost of the rehearsal dinner is often included in the overall budget.” Be sure to allow enough time to scout out the perfect venue, taking into consideration the overall cost of enough food and drinks for guests.

 

Step 2: Settle on a theme.

This is the fun part! Just as you likely chose a theme for your wedding, be it nautical, vintage-traditional, or rustic, you can have fun with the vision you choose for your rehearsal dinner. The food you choose can play a role in this effect as well. Are you big on Italian food? A lover of guac and chips? Don’t feel the need to go fancy just because your wedding day is upscale. “A rehearsal dinner can also be as casual as a pizza party or barbecue in the backyard of the couple’s home, or a local park,” says Lehman. “Generally, whoever hosts the dinner has creative control, taking into account their budget, and the tastes of the couple, aesthetically and gastronomically.”

 

Step 3: Find the right venue.

The rehearsal dinner is often held at a local restaurant or country club, but Lehman points out that any location will do. “A rooftop with a great view in the city, a nostalgic bowling alley, a private home, or a clambake or a bonfire on the beach are all great ideas,” she says. Though she does warn that it’s wise to choose a venue that’s close enough to the wedding ceremony that it provides guests the convenience of not having to travel too far. “Visit several venues to see if there are enough areas for seating and standing, clean restroom facilities, and friendly, well-trained wait staff,” she adds. Will the venue allow the wedding party to bring in decorations, entertainment, and catering as needed?  Will the venue be able to accommodate special dietary needs of guests? Will there be a dress code? These are all things she suggests considering when finding the right venue.

 

LITTLE WHITE LOOKS FOR EVERY WEDDING EVENT

 

Step 4: Finalize your invite list.

Just as your guest list for the big day is important (and likely involved some cutting), you can expect the same when it comes to your rehearsal dinner. “If you’re having a traditional rehearsal dinner, your guests are your VIPs: your immediate family, bridal party, and their dates,” says Tessa Brand, wedding and event planner and owner of Tessa Lyn Events. “A party this size should be able to fit in a private room in a restaurant.” However, if you are extending the invite to all guests, she says this is more of a “welcome party,” which means you will need a larger space. Knowing your approximate guest count will help you determine the price per guest. “Keep in mind, that even if you invite all your wedding guests, the acceptance for a welcome dinner will be lower than your wedding, as people arrive from out of town at different times.”

 

Step 5: Pick your ideal menu.

“The menu is probably the single most influential factor when debating where to have a rehearsal dinner,” says Lehman. “Many couples choose to host their rehearsal dinner in the location they met or where they had their first date.” This is cute and all, but remember that your rehearsal dinner can hold as much or as little meaning as you want. After all, you have a whole wedding dedicated to your love for each other the following day. Have fun and be adventurous! “Sharing the experience with those closest to the couple is what it’s all about,” Lehman adds.

 

Step 6: Plan your décor.

Once you’ve locked down your rehearsal dinner venue and selected from the menu options, your next to-do is décor. Brand suggests going with a completely different color scheme for your flowers, and switching up the décor from what you’ll have at your wedding. “While the idea of having one cohesive wedding weekend may sound ideal, it is much more fun to switch it up and will show you put thought into each event,” she says. “Plus, this leaves an element of surprise for your guests to see on your wedding day.” Floral additions are great, too, as they will easily last a few days and can be repurposed for a farewell brunch at the end of the weekend.

 

We have been featured on Martha Stewart Weddings!

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8 Wedding Planners Weigh In: Can a Guest Wear White to the Wedding?

Is it really that taboo?

Contributing Writer
bridesmaid drinks

Photography by: Clary Pfeiffer Photography

It happens to the best of us—you fall in love with a stunning cream- or ivory-colored dress that would be just perfect to wear to that wedding you have coming up in a few months. But wait—is it too close in hue to the bride’s attire? Does she care? Will other wedding guests care?

 

Some might say “go for it,” while others will be quick to say it’s a bad idea. Like any other situation, there are two sides to every story. “The tradition of the white wedding dress began when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert in 1840,” explains Kimberly Lehman, wedding and event planner at Love, Laughter & Elegance. “Victoria selected a white satin gown lavishly embellished with lace that was handcrafted in England. After the photographs of the wedding were widely published, brides began copying Victoria’s style by wearing white gowns to their own nuptials.” Since that infamous celebration, it’s generally been frowned upon for anyone other than the bride to wear white to a wedding.

 

But is it still a no-no for wedding guests today? We asked eight wedding planners from all different parts of the country to give us their most unbiased and unfiltered advice.

 

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO DECODING WEDDING DRESS CODES

 

Don’t risk it.

“Out of respect to the bride and the legacy of tradition, go with another color,” says Lindsey Sachs, wedding planner and owner of COLLECTIVE/by Sachs. “Whether you know the bride’s stance on this topic or not, you can’t go wrong by playing it safe. Consider hues that coordinate with the current season, or those that complement the wedding color palette. By not wearing white, you won’t end up the topic of conversation among other curious guests and, most importantly, your wardrobe choice won’t detract from the bride who deserves to be honored on her wedding day as the leading lady in white.”

 

It’s no longer taboo to wear white!

“According to the Emily Post Institute, it’s acceptable to wear white, as long as it doesn’t ‘distract from the bride or her attendant’s dresses.’ For example, a colorful, cocktail-length dress with a white lace overlay is acceptable,” says Lehman. “A casual sheath dress also works well, but if the dress is white and floor-length or full-skirted, it won’t work. If a guest or attendant has any hesitation about appropriate attire, it’s usually best to check with the bride, and follow her wishes.”

 

Only when it’s part of the theme.

“There’s only one scenario in which it’s okay to wear white to a wedding and that’s when the couple asks you to. A friend of mine planned a wedding where the bride wore a fuchsia dress and the couple asked all of their guests to wear white. I personally think that’s such a fun idea and a great way to flip tradition on its head,” Leah Weinberg, wedding planner, owner, and executive planner at Color Pop Events, says. “It also made for really striking photos. I’ve also seen couples have their wedding party wear white. Clearly the rule of not wearing white to a wedding doesn’t apply to smaller details like white stripes or polka dots, but my rule of thumb is this: If you’re picking an outfit and the question pops into your mind of whether or not this is too much white to wear to a wedding, then don’t wear it.”

 

Never!

“The bride may or may not wear white (maybe ivory, maybe champagne) but it’s her color for that day. You don’t want to be mistaken for the bride in a white or lace gown,” Brandi Hamerstone, owner and wedding planner at All Events Planned, says. “You don’t want to stand with the bride and look as though you were attempting to look bridal on someone else’s day. Even when or if that wasn’t your intention, that’s what people (and possibly the bride) will think and who wants to be ‘that’ person?”

 

16 WEDDING TRADITIONS AND SUPERSTITIONS

 

I’ve seen it at nearly every wedding.

“After planning hundreds of weddings, I’ve noticed that there are always at least one or two people wearing something along the lines of white at every wedding. Beyond the wedding, it can also be inappropriate to wear a white dress to the rehearsal dinner or bridal shower as you wouldn’t want someone to mistake you for the bride,” says Wendy Collings, catering sales and conference services manager at Stowe Mountain Lodge. “Not that I recommend it, but if you have to wear white, I would follow a few rules to keep the glancing looks from other guests at bay. Don’t wear a floor-length or strapless dress and try to stay away from a high neckline with lace. Do add a bright pop of color like a belt, earrings, chunky statement jewelry, and stay away from updo-style hair.”

 

White’s for the bride only.

“While many wedding traditions are going away, I feel strongly that wearing white or ivory should be reserved for the bride only. That’s not to say that you cannot wear an outfit with some white in it (like a white camisole underneath a jacket with a colorful skirt) or as part of a pattern—just don’t wear a solid white outfit,” Vicky Choy, event planner and owner of Event Accomplished LLC, says. “Even if it’s a summer beach wedding, don’t do it. You can’t tell me that with so many colors out there that the only outfit you can wear to a wedding is a white one.”

 

Tradition stands in this case.

“White is still reserved for the bride(s) or groom(s) only. Of course, there’s almost always an exception to the rule, and in this case I find only one: It is okay to wear white if, and only if, the couple has specifically requested that attire be worn,” Megan Seaton, wedding planner at Molly Mae Events, says. “For example, I had a wedding where all bridesmaids wore a white dress, which was a specific request of the bride. Another example is when couples throw a ‘White Wedding’ or ‘Black and White Party.’ In this case, the attire will be specifically mentioned in the invitation. If it’s not on there, don’t risk it.”

 

There are certainly exceptions.

“If the wedding attire is all white and it has been requested, it’s safe to wear white. We’ll take to Hollywood, where Solange and Tina, Beyonce’s mother and sister, both had an all-white affair for their wedding day,” Myriam Michel, owner and creative director of M&M Elite Events, says. “For my wedding, I had a good girlfriend wear a brocade ivory dress, which, for November, was tastefully done and I didn’t feel upstaged. Use your best judgment as you really don’t want hurt feelings.”

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AUGUST 14, 2017

What to Do If You and Your Partner Disagree Over Wedding Planning

Don’t let it get the best of you!

Contributing Writer
Couple Arguing

Photography by: Getty Images

Disagreements and arguments are normal—even healthy—aspects of any relationship. That’s especially true when you’re dealing with something as stressful as planning a wedding. Appeasing both families, creating the guest list, and choosing the venue can leave you feeling pitted against each other rather quickly. “Emotions are running high, way too many people are meddling in your life because of the event, and the logistics are crazy-making—if you didn’t have a fightbefore the wedding, it would be unusual!” says April Masini, New York-based relationship and etiquette expert.

 

But even if it’s normal to disagree while planning your wedding, no couple wants to feel resentment towards their partner. To help minimize fighting, we reached out to relationship and wedding experts for their best tips for keeping the peace.

 

WHAT YOU & YOUR FIANCÉ WILL FIGHT ABOUT BEFORE THE WEDDING ACCORDING TO REAL COUPLES

 

Listen to one another.

This involves more than simply hearing what your partner has to say (even when you don’t like it.) You should also try to understand what your partner is trying to say and how he or she truly feels. “If you can’t listen to each other now, this will most likely be an issue in the future,” says Cristen Faherty, wedding and event planner at Cristen & Co Event Coordination & Design. And it’s not just about listening, but also about communication patiently. “This will help you better understand one another and resolve big and small issues quickly so you can move on to happier moments.”

 

Make a list.

“Whatever the topic of debate is, write it down,” says Kimberly Lehman, wedding and event planner at Love, Laughter & Elegance. “Break it down into sections for discussion and go over each subject individually.” For example, if the argument is over the budget, list out your individual priorities for the celebration and then discuss how you can come to an agreement on what’s most important. Another helpful strategy is to rate each item on your list on a scale of one to ten (ten being a very strong preference) to show its importance to you, suggests Claudia Six, Ph.D., clinical sexologist and relationship coach. For example: “I want my ex-wife’s parents to attend, and that’s an eight for me. I feel pretty strongly about it.” The other person may say: “My objection to your ex-wife’s parents being there is a two, so let’s invite them.” You rate your preferences and go with the highest rated option.

 

Delegate whenever possible.

“There will be wedding-related tasks that one person, or both, just do not wish to take on, such as choosing table linens or floral arrangements,” says Lehman. Her quick-fix? Consider the interests of each partner and then divide and conquer. “If your fiancé is a fan of local breweries and pub food, consider having him choose a craft beer as part of the cocktail hour, or selecting favorite appetizers to delight guests with.” When neither party feels compelled to decide on a certain aspect of the wedding, be it the flowers or the napkin fold, divvy those decisions up to family. Bottom line: Not everything has to be decided together.

 

Take a break for a while from planning.

In addition to being exciting, wedding planning comes with its fair share of stressful moments. If you and your partner find that wedding stress is getting in the way, or leaving you with less time to enjoy being engaged, plan an escape. “This could be something as simple as a romantic dinner together or taking off on a weekend trip,” says Lehman. “Rediscover all of the parts of each other’s personality that made falling in love so enjoyable.”

 

Focus on the big picture.

“Remember that you’re planning a day, but it’s the life beyond that day that truly matters,” says Nikki Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC, a clinical psychologist and couple’s counselor. “This day is a celebration, and it is symbolic, but it is only a day, and the planning and execution of it is something that you are supposed to enjoy.” Her advice is to not let it create undue stress or drive a wedge between the two of you. Remember that it’s the rest of your life after that day that matters. “Keep things in perspective and don’t let too much weight be on this event, enjoy it, because hopefully you will only do it once.”

 

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MAY 12, 2017

Who Gets the Final Say in Wedding Planning When Your Parents Are Paying?

Whose wedding is it anyway?

Contributing Writer
196SHARES
brooke-shea-wedding-371-d111277.jpg

Photography by: Rachel Thurston

Ahh, wedding planning. It’s one of the most joyous and exciting times in your life, but it’s also stressful and exhausting. Planning your dream wedding almost always involves working together with your parents (and maybe even your fiancé’s parents) to get the job done. The only thing that can complicate things even more? Who’s paying. “When engaged couples have a certain vision for their wedding, but the parents are paying, there can be some tension involved,” says Kimberly Lehman, wedding and event planner at Love, Laughter & Elegance in Massillon, Ohio. So what exactly do your parents have the say over and what’s left in your control when they’re writing the checks? We asked three wedding planners to weigh in.

 

TIMES TO INVOLVE YOUR PARENTS IN WEDDING PLANNING

 

Parents do have a say when it comes to venue.

If they’re paying, this is likely the biggest expense they will have throughout the entire process. That being said, it’s important that the couple is happy with the choice in venue. “You may go back and forth about certain aspects of the venue, but ultimately you should come to a compromise,” says Myriam Michel, owner of Boston-based M&M Elite Events. “For example, if the bride and groom are leaning more towards one venue, maybe give the parents more leeway to choose the food you serve.”

 

Parents don’t have a say in ceremony or vows.

It doesn’t get more personal or intimate than the ceremony and vows. “The support of a couple’s family is of the utmost importance, however, at the end of the day, the couple should decide what they say (and don’t say) in their vows,” says Lauren Chitwood, wedding and corporate event planner and owner of Lauren Chitwood Events in Louisville, Kentucky.

 

Parents do have a say in the wording of the invitation.

When Mom and Dad are paying, they’re technically the hosts, which means they should be comfortable with the invitation that’s being sent out. “It’s important to work closely with parents on the invitation, as it sets the tone for your wedding and is sent to the entire guest list,” says Chitwood. “I strongly advise my clients to work with a credible stationer to navigate politics of how to word an invitation, especially when divorced families are involved.”

 

Parents don’t have a say in the attire of the bridal party.

The bride’s wedding dress and the bridesmaids’ dresses are personal decisions. While they often end up being a collective decision because the bride wants input from her friends and family, she’s the only one who should have final say here. “The bride should be able to choose the dress she wants and how she wants her bridesmaids to look on her wedding day,” explains Chitwood. “That being said, I’ve never to see a bride make this decision alone—ultimately, parents, family and friends help her decide on attire.”

 

Parents do have a say with the wedding guest list.

“I think it’s important that hosts have a strong say with the length and composition of the guest list, however, the couple has the right to determine the size and scope of their wedding,” explains Chitwood. In other words, if the couple wants a small, intimate wedding, the hosts should grant that wish. “Inviting business contacts and family friends can be very important to hosts but doing so should not dramatically go against a couple’s wishes on wedding size.”

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