Do it Youself Wedding Decor

Are you a Pinterest lover like we are?? Honestly, who does not love the creative and unique ideas you run across on Pinterest that you feel you MUST have at your wedding? Or you may be on a somewhat tight budget, or maybe you just want to be able to keep something from your wedding as a reminder of the day you married your true love. Well guess what! You can do it all yourself and make it look fabulous!! We have noticed a new trend lately in that couples tend to use ideas they may have gathered on wedding websites or saw at a previous wedding and use it for their own. For instance, we recently planned a wedding for a couple that got married at The Cotton Dock at Boone Hall Plantation, located in historic Charleston who had an assortment of DIY ideas for their wedding that turned out beautifully!

The couple had a photo booth set up at the reception with different color hearts hanging from the wall to use as a backdrop. They provided an assortment of props for the guests to have fun with, which provided very good entertainment!

Happily ever after
Happily ever after

You may often see a lot of recent weddings that use the window pane to write the drink menu, a black chalkboard to write the dinner menu, “Happily Ever After” signs made out of wood and paint, and providing their own décor to decorate throughout the venue, for example, initials have seemed to be a very trendy and popular thing that couples are doing today.

Just Married
Just Married
Mantle decor
Mantle decor

These are just a few ideas for those of you looking to have some DIY at your wedding. The list goes on and on! You may consider creating your own save the dates or invitations, guest favors, signs, there are so many things to choose from!

Wedding planners love to see how involved the couple gets in their wedding and how creative they can be! But it is important to remember to not get too carried away and lose focus on what is really important! We want this experience to be as fun as possible for the couple!!

Happy Beginnings! Mike

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Where Do I Begin With Planning a Wedding?

Wedding planning whether it here in Charleston S.C. or from the comfort from your home can seem like an overwhelming process — with so many details to take care of and options to choose from, where does one begin? Well we have the answer, Yupper you guessed it! The internet has become a popular source of information for ideas, advice and a helpful tool to get and stay organized, while enabling you to share with your wedding planner, family and friends.

So let’s get started…

Let’s start with the two most important things, you’re wedding date and securing a Ceremony and Reception venue. Simply do a Google search for your destination city and hold on to your seats. Not so fast! We recommend seeking out the right wedding planner who can express the in’s and out’s of each venue while translating the contractual jargon at the same time, or perhaps joining a chat room or forum for helpful info.

Next in order of preference we highly recommend seeking wedding planning vendors who take your thoughts, vision, dreams, and budget and make it a reality. Start with the “Meat and Potatoes” of Wedding Planning vendor’s .What I mean is, you should ask yourself “What do I need not want for your big day. These are what should be on your needs list.Caterer and Bar,Photographer,Floral / Décor ,Band or DJ, Cake and Sweet Treats.

Do your homework when seeking out vendors you are not familiar with. Referrals should be a must as well as a good open line of communication. Did they promptly return or email or phone call or did they just send you to their website? We truly believe in the motto “You only get one chance to make a first impression”.

Happy Beginnings, Mike

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Creative Wedding Favors

The wedding day is a wonderful opportunity to show your friends and family your personality as a couple.  Let your personality shine through with the theme of the wedding, style and design and as your guests depart from your event, with your favors. What a lovely way to show each guest your appreciation for them sharing this special day with you.  Why not show your creativity and personal flair!

I’ve seen mints, drink koozies, bags, sandals for the beach, glasses, box matches and countless other keepsakes.  However, most people find they have enough “stuff” so therefore I suggest to couples favors the guests can eat! How about a local southern  favorite bag of Benne Wafer's or mini bottle of Charleston's own Firefly Vodka?  We also enjoy the idea of mini bags of grits with a Shrimp and Grits recipe attached as seen by Cru Catering photo below

A big hit that's fun and interactive are “Candy Bars”.  A table lined with beautifully ornate glassware and jars filled with different candies all in the wedding colors or theme.  Guests love this as they can snack through the event and take some for the trip home!

Seasonal treats are splendid!  For example, if you’re getting married in the fall what better thing to eat than apples; expand that and get creative and you could have hand rolled candied apples!  Each guest will have the chance to create their perfect candied apple.  

A table lined with glass jars full of crushed walnuts, m&ms, chocolate chips, fun sprinkles, coconut and more; warm caramel, white chocolate sauce and chocolate fudge simmering, waiting for the dunking.  This is not only creative, but serves as a clever late night dessert station as well!  They can be eaten immediately or wrapped and taken home as a fun memory of the recent event.

Get creative, be clever and your guests will love taking those favors home; and bonus, they’ll be talking about it for years!

Happy Beginnings, Mike


Wearing Your Something Blue

Wearing your Something Blue for your wedding? Here are a few creative ways to do it!


Wearing blue shoes is a somewhat new trend for brides, but what better excuse to go buy new shoes?

In your hair

When you're getting your hair done why not have your stylist put a little something blue in your do?


For the adventurous bride, you can spice up your something blue by tinting your veil!

Dreamy Blue Veil 

Dreamy Blue Veil 

A Little Blue in your Wedding Dress

A personal favorite for the daring! Ask your gown designer or seamstress to sew a blue heart or your wedding date in blue thread into your gown.

Blue Bouquets!

Use your wedding flowers to your advantage! Ask your florist to use an array of blue flowers for your bride bouquet.



Happy Beginnings, Mike

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Rehearsal Dinner Checklist

Meet and Greet

Your rehearsal dinner is a chance for the entire wedding  party to be all in one place at the same time before your wedding day. This is a great time for everyone to get to know one another throughout the evening on a more casual level.




...and by rehearsing, I mean rehearsing the processional and recessional of the ENTIRE wedding party.

This is after all, what ‘rehearsal’ stands for! Your wedding planner will have a list of your processional and recessional order, and they will be there the next day directing people where to go. This is also a time for your wedding party to become familiar with the wedding planner, so they know who’s direction to follow the following night. Eliminating any surprises is ALWAYS in your best interest.

Speeches and Toasts

Many couples are choosing to forego the traditional speech segment of their wedding night and instead are asking speeches to be made at the rehearsal dinner. Being surrounded by your closest family, and friends, who know all of the inside jokes can make their words even more touching.

Gifts for the Wedding Party

If you have purchased or made gifts for your bridal party, now’s the time to hand them out!

Your rehearsal dinner can be so much more than a stuffy formality. It’s a time for some quality interaction with close friends and family, since you will most likely be pulled in a few different directions the next day.

Fun tip: Plan your rehearsal dinner with your wedding in mind. You don’t want to take any of the wow factor away from your wedding venue. Think opposites if that’s helpful. If you are having an outdoor plantation wedding then about hosting the rehearsal dinner at a downtown location.

Happy Beginnings, Mike

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Wedding Guest Book Alternatives

Your wedding guest book is a log of warm wishes from your guests. This will be something y'all  will set out, usually in a high traffic place, to be seen by all your friends and family to encourage everyone to jot down some thoughts and prayers for the marriage.

In the past, the guest book was just that...a book. But now more and more couples are choosing to branch out and use alternatives! 

Notes to the bride and groom written and sealed off in a vintage suitcase

They say a picture says a thousand words, so why not let your guestbook be photos of your guests?

Create a custom sign in book with photos from your engagement shoot

Let your guests have a little fun with your custom wedding mad libs!

Happy Beginnings! Mike

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Wedding Planning Basics

When planning your wedding, sometimes it seems like the work is never done. And with social wedding websites  popping up everywhere, the focus seems to be placed more so on the details than the backbone of wedding itself! So if the creative side of your brain is going crazy, give it a rest! There are ways to plan every detail of your dream wedding without losing all your hair in the process. My suggestion to all couples is to make a checklist of the necessities. Crossing off these items will keep you on track and keep planning less of an obligation and more fun!

The Date

One of the most important details of the wedding you and your fiancé have to decide upon is the actual date of the wedding. This should be taken care of first. What is your idea for your perfect day? A Late spring or early fall should be your best bet to avoid the hot weather.

The Budget

Before you start to make your plans, you must have a budget. Know how much you want to spend for each detail of your wedding. With the average wedding costing approximately what you have to spend you want to budget for each detail so you don’t find yourself over extending. Wedding Planner tip: STICK TO YOUR BUDGET! Last thing you want to do is create stress because you’re spending money not initially planned for.

The Guestlist

It is very important to talk with your future spouse about the size of your wedding that you both have in mind. Be sure that you are both on the same page of what to expect, and it will eliminate hard decisions about cousins and uncles or friends on the list.

The Venue

Where your wedding will take place. Looking for a place to have your wedding certainly is important and it is also the biggest chunk of your budget besides your honeymoon. To save money, look for venues which offer discounts for events held off season and other non-peak times.

The Photographer

Sure your friends and family will be taking pictures, but for this special occasion you will want to consider a professional because you want something very special, lasting and visually presentable. Sure, Instagram and facebook updates are allowed but don’t let them be our only wedding album.

Extra Help

Some couples also look to seeking wedding planners who take your thoughts, vision, dreams, and budget and make it a reality. Not quite sure how a wedding planner will benefit you? 

Of course, the food, the entertainment, the flowers, the centerpieces and the dress/tuxes will all come in due time, but trust me, if you get these checked off, you'll be ready for a wedding in no time.  Hope this helps you get started!

Happy Beginnings, Mike

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Wedding Reception Departure Ideas

Grand departures are quickly becoming a staple in any wedding timeline. How do you want to leave your last impression on your wedding day? Take a look at these creative ways to scoot out of yourwedding reception .

Give each of your guests a sparkler, a hand full of rose petals or some dried lavender for a creative flare on a traditional send off. Or jet off in a classic car that you've always had your eye on. How about a midnight water ride? Hop on a boat and jet off into the night. Whether you're walking, running, or dancing off-  Line 'em up before you ship off to your first night as husband and wife!

Happy Beginnings! Mike

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Wedding Gowns - Dress to Impress

The wedding date is set and now it is time to find the perfect wedding dress! But how to choose which style best fits you, when there are so many to choose from! Check out some of our beautiful CharlestonS.C. brides in several different types of wedding gowns!

In recent years the strapless gown has become quite popular.

The neckline of a halter gown features a wide strap that connects the two sides of the dress behind the back of the neck.

The column or also sometimes referred to as the sheath gown is a straight, narrow dress that hugs the body. It is very elegant and sophisticated.

The laced neckline is a beautiful and sophisticated gown; they have also become quite popular in recent years!

On your wedding day, we want you to feel absolutely comfortable and stress free! Having the perfect wedding gown is essential to a perfect day!

Happy Beginnings, Mike

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Wedding Do's & Don'ts

We have compiled a list of do's & don'ts for you on your wedding day! There is so much planning that goes into your wedding, and a combination of nerves and other mixed feelings might deter yourself away from enjoying one of the most important and memorable days in your life! Take a glance at our list, and remember on your wedding day, enjoy every moment of it!

  • Do~ "Be a guest at your own wedding. Be in the moment the day of. Even though you've been anticipating and planning, don't analyze and fixate on if it's going according to plan or on what's coming next. Be present and enjoy the celebration as it comes. That will make the day stick best in your memory and allow you to actually enjoy it and have fun!"
  • Don't~"...wear too much makeup. We guarantee you will absolutely stunning and gorgeous on your wedding day, and you do not want to constantly be worried about fixing makeup, or makeup running."
  • Do~ "Hire a GREAT photographer...not good, but great. Even if you keep it simple, there is nothing more worth the expense than beautiful images to share and look back on. These are the pictures that will remind you of this perfect day forever!"
  • Don't~ "...go overboard splurging on your dress. Especially when you're going to be the most glowing, stunning woman in the room, no matter WHAT you wear."
  • Do~ "Make sure you still look and feel like yourself! On your wedding day, you want to enjoy every moment, and you do not have time to be worried about the small things. If you feel wonderful then the rest of the day will be wonderful too!"
  • Don't~ ...put yourself into debt to throw a blowout wedding. Too many couples think they need to wow everyone with a fancy affair and spend money they don't have to create this ideal 'fairy-tale' wedding. Don't lose sight of the fact of what's really important in all of the planning: Your commitment to each other and declaring that promise in front of all of your loved ones."
  • Do~ "Take a day or two to decompress after the wedding hoopla and before your honeymoon to just enjoy each other and get used to being husband and wife before jetting off."
  • Don't~ ...forget you love your family. There's going to be drama of some kind — either they're too involved or not involved enough. Just remember, on the day of the wedding you will be happy to have them there to share this moment with you!"
  • Do~ "Play an UPBEAT song when you walk back down the aisle. After your first kiss — and the applause and cheers from your loved ones — the energy in the room is so exciting that a slow romantic song might feel out of place."
  • Don't~ " a bridezilla. There is nothing uglier than a stressed-out, grumpy bride. Roll with the punches and try to enjoy every minute of the event even if things don't go according to plan…because they never do!"
  • Do~ "Make the wedding a weekend. More than half of our guests had to fly in from places all over the country!  Give everyone a full weekend to really enjoy ourselves and give yourself enough time to spend with them."
  • Don't~ "...freak out if things don't go as planned. For instance, if your cake doesn't look quite like it was supposed to, hopefully, it at least tastes good! Just remember, everybody will have an amazing time at your wedding, so relax and enjoy your day."
  • Do~ "Have an amazing wedding day and enjoy these moments with your closest friends and family! Live in the moment, dance your heart away, and enjoy every last second of it! This is YOUR day!!"

Happy Beginnings, Mike

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When the Weather Outside is Frightful....

When the weather outside is frightful… Charleston SC is known for its beaches, its charm, and its people. It’s also unfortunately known for its unpredictable weather. One moment the sun is shining and all is right with the world, and then you turn around to face some pretty ominous clouds coming your way. This can be rather tricky to plan around for a wedding, BUT! Don’t fret, we have some helpful tips if it rains on your wedding day!

There’s truly no need to stress over having a little rain on your wedding day. Be decisive about where you will have your ceremony (if it’s outside, have it outside! No one will melt, we promise), trust that your vendors will know what to do, and breathe….you know I hear somewhere it’s good luck if it rains on your wedding day!

Tip for Prevention: If your event is outdoors, think of using Hay as seating. The hay will soak up the water and will prevent mud from forming. If you have a tent, think of lining the tent’s perimeter for extra protection.

Things to remember: Towels! Towels are absolutely necessary if you will have a rainy day. You’ll need them to wipe down chairs, and to sop up wet entry ways.

Grab some umbrellas! This should go without saying, but you’ve put so much time into the way you will look on your wedding day, make sure you’re protected! It would also be a nice touch to have a stash of umbrellas for your guests as well. Do you have ushers? Send them to greet your guests at their cars with umbrellas and walk them to their seats.

Happy Beginnings, Mike

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Bridesmaids Dresses

When planning your wedding, picking the wedding colors can be an exciting time! The bridesmaids dresses make the single greatest color statement of the wedding because the bride's gown is typically white or off-white. This color scheme should influence the choice of flowers, table arrangements, table linens, china and cake decorations.

When the bride is selecting her color scheme, there are certain things she should consider. What are her favorite colors? What color or shades of color work best with the complexions and hair colors of her maid of honor and bridesmaids? What styles of dresses will be most flattering to her attendants' figures? Which styles are most in line with the degree of formality of the wedding?


Here are a few friendly tips a bride should keep in mind when choosing her made of honor and bridesmaids dresses.

  • *Bridesmaids' dresses should be similar in formality to the brides gown. Hems should fall at the same place on each bridesmaid.
  • *When the bridesmaids' figure types vary quite a bit, it is appropriate to select different styles of dresses for each, but in the same fabric or color.
  • *The mad of honor can wear a color or style that is different from that of the bridesmaids.
  • *The bride may choose different color bridesmaids dresses in the same style, or same shades if she thinks it will be more flattering to the complexions of her bridesmaids.

Being able to share your special day with your best girl friends is such an amazing memory for all.

Hope you have enjoyed taking a peek back to our previous Bridesmaids dresses . On your wedding day, what colors and styles will you choose?!

Happy Beginnings, Mike

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How to Choose a Wedding Florist

Do ya'll love flowers as much as I do? After you have decided on the wedding venue, you will want to ask the manager about what flowers and decorations are allowed. There are certain factors that will guide your selection of flowers, for example, the size and style of the building, the formality of the wedding, the wedding budget, and venue regulations.

A brides first meeting with the florist is exciting and important, it will be mainly to discuss the general style, feel, look and themeof her vision. Primary items to approach are bridesmaid's bouquets, the men's boutonnieres, corsages for the mothers, centerpieces for the reception, and any other decorations that will be needed at the ceremony and reception site.

Keep reading to learn more about the symbolism of flowers and bridal bouquets!!


Different cultures have associated flowers with specific meanings and concepts! Here are a few of our favorites!

  • Baby's Breath ~ Innocence
  • Bachelors Button ~ Celibacy or hope
  • Buttercup ~ Riches
  • Carnation ~ Pure, deep love
  • Daffodil ~ Regard
  • Forget-Me-Not ~ Remembrance, or true love
  • Gardenia ~ Joy
  • Jasmine ~ Amiability
  • Lily ~ Purity
  • Marigold ~ Sacred affection
  • Mimosa ~ Secret love
  • Orchid ~ Rare beauty
  • Peony ~ Bashfulness
  • Rose ~ Love
  • Violet ~ Modesty
  • White Daisy ~ Innocence
  • White Lily ~ Purity
  • White Rose ~ Worthiness
  • Yellow Tulip ~ Hopeless love

 Bridal Bouquets 

Spray~ The Spray bouquet is a magnificent bouquet that is a cluster of blossoms arranged in a triangular shape.

Cascade~ The Cascade is a tear-shaped arrangement whose blossoms spill gracefully towards the floor.

Nosegay~ A nosegay is round in shape and consists of tightly bound clusters of small flowers.

Crescent~ The crescent is a bowed arrangement, designed for the bride to nestle on one arm.

Hand-tied~ The hand-tied is a simple cluster of long stems, tied together with a ribbon.

Friendly Tips

  • ~Try using different types of lighting in the venue to add drama to the decorations! Pin-spot lighting showcases centerpiece arrangement. Or, you could place twinkling lights among the trees around the reception area! Your florist will always have creative ideas!
  • ~ If you are planning to be married in a church, consider tall altar flowers! Several churches have high ceilings.
  • ~ Important! The corsages for the bride and groom's mothers should be identical! This is the best way to avoid any feelings of favoritism between the mothers.
  • ~When choosing the wedding day, if your date is set near a major holiday such as Valentine's Day, Christmas, Mother's Day or Easter, flower arrangements will be more expensive because the florist will be charging more at the peak of demand.
  • If you are having an evening wedding, we suggest using white flowers, because dark colored flowers seemingly get lost in the dim lighting and shadows.
  • Lastly, make sure to have fun when picking out your flowers! The energy and the mood of a wedding are largely dependent on the flower choices. Have fun, pick your favorites, and watch your guest walk in to the wedding in awe!!


Happy Beginnings, Mike

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Pre Wedding Parties and Celebrations

We all know that engaged brides know how to party, right?! If you aren't aware of all the fun that you can have during your engagement period, keep reading!

Engagement Party

First let talk about engagement parties. It is customary for the bride's parents to host an engagement party for the bride and groom. The engagement party is a great opportunity for family members to relax and form relationships with each other. Generally, engagement parties are informal affairs, usually taking place as a brunch, luncheon, or dinner. This is a time for the father of the bride to announce his daughter's engagement to his future son-in-law. After the engagement party, the bride and groom should make an effort to thank the host, traditionally the bride and groom will take the host out to dinner or give them flowers as a token of appreciation!

Bridal and Wedding Shower

A bridal shower is a party where the guests enjoy themselves while offering encouragement and gifts to the bride! Today bridal showers serve the same purpose as dowries did in ancient years, it provides the couples with items they will need when they start their lives together. Typically these gifts will be presents for the bride and grooms first home. **Hint** Make sure to finish your registry list before the bridal shower!!!

Bridal Luncheon

The bridal luncheon is held on the day of the rehearsal dinner! Bridal Luncheon's do not have to be a "luncheon", they can be held as a breakfast, luncheon, afternoon appetizers, or dinner. The bridal luncheon is the brides opportunity to thank her wedding party for standing by her side on the day of the wedding! It is customary for the bride to invite her mother and sisters, as well as the grooms mother and sisters. Bridal luncheons would be a great chance for the bride to give a token gift to her mother and mother in law!

Bachelor Party

The tradition behind the bachelor party, is that it is the groom's final fling before he leaves he bachelor days to become a "married" man! ** Hint** Ladies, do not let your men have their bachelor party the day before the wedding! Nobody wants a hungover groom!

Rehearsal Dinner

A wedding is one big celebration from start to finish, and this includes the Rehearsal dinner the night before the big day!! Typically the rehearsal dinner is held directly after the wedding rehearsal, and as we all know is typically held by the groom's parents. However, this does not always have to be the case. Rehearsal dinners are usually held at restaurants, country clubs, or private homes! When it comes to dress, throw all rules out the window! This is no right or wrong dress for a rehearsal dinner, formal wear or non formal wear, this is for the bride and groom to decide when they pick the venue for the dinner.

The rehearsal dinner is a good time for the bride and groom to give gifts to the wedding party, if they have not done so already! It is tradition for the made or matron of honor and/ or the couples parents to give a toast to the bride and groom. Some weddings, typically southern weddings, a grooms cake is common. If so, typically the grooms cake is served at the rehearsal dinner.

The engagement period is such a fun and amazing time for the bride and groom! This is an important time to share with loved ones!

Happy Beginnings! Mike

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Fitness Tips Before Your Wedding Day!


Every bride wants to look her absolute best on her wedding day. Every bride will do almost anything to be the picture perfect bride, from hair and makeup to nails and waxing! Today we are going to share 10 fitness from fitness expert, Marcia Inoue of Hawaii Fit Body Boot Camp. We want to share these tips so that you can feel and look amazing on your big day!!

1. How can brides best tone their shoulders and arms to look gorgeous and fit in their strapless wedding gowns?

The best toning exercise for those lean, are push-ups. Vary the placement of your hands on the ground to target the different parts of your arms. Try these variations of the basic push-up....hands out wide, hands by your shoulders, hands lower by your chest, hands together making a "heart" with your thumbs and pointer fingers. (Expert tip: keep your elbows in towards your body.) Start out doing as many as you can of each variation and work your way up to 15 of each.

2. How can brides best tone their back for those awesome "glance over my shoulder" photos?

The "breast-stroke" is a great back toning exercise you can do on your living room floor! Lay on the floor, stomach down. Stretch your arms out over your head. Arch your back up, lift your head and chest off the ground while doing the breast-stroke with your arms. Return to starting position and repeat. Do three sets of 20 reps.

3. What's the best way for brides to lose those last 10 pounds, 3 months before their wedding?  

Follow these five easy rules and you'll have no problem losing those last ten pounds.

  1. Eat every 2-3 hours. This will keep your metabolism burning! Stock up your purse with some easy snacks. My favorites are "Think Thin" bars and "Lara" bars.
  2. No starches after 3pm. That rice, pasta, potatoes, etc. for dinner. Eat your starches at breakfast and lunch. Load up on lean meats and veggies for dinner.
  3. Drink Up! Hydrate. Divide your body weight by two and that's how many ounces you need to consume a day. (Ex: 135 lbs woman needs to drink 65 ounces per day.)
  4. Cut down on the sweets. Try not to consume any processed sugar. Get your "sweet fix" from natural sugars.
  5. Don't eat within 3-hours of your bedtime. Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night.

4. There are a lot of BUSY brides who don't have time to exercise daily. What alternatives can you recommend to keep "active" during a normal day?

Buy a pedometer (they are very inexpensive and can be found at Sports Authority) and wear it from the time you wake up until you go to sleep each day. Your goal is 10,000 steps a day. Tips on how to reach your goal each day? Take the steps instead of the elevator. Park further away and walk through the parking lot. Find some stairs on your lunch break and run up and down for 5-10 minutes. Take a 30-minute walk after dinner.

5. How can brides best prepare for their crazy-hustle-and-bustle-busy wedding day?

 I always tell brides to get in a great workout the morning of their wedding. It will calm the pre-wedding jitters and wake you up. The best part? When you sweat it unclogs yours pores and your skin will look more radiant. Make sure to drink a lot of water to keep that healthy glow all day long.

6. What should brides eat (or not eat) the week before their wedding?

 Do Eat: Veggies, lean meats or tofu and lots of water. Keep healthy snacks in your purse when you're on the run.

Don't Eat: Carbonated beverages (causes stomach bloating), sodium (causes water retention), fast food, fried food, starches and sugar.

7. Any workout or stretching tips for being comfortable wearing a heavy gown all day?

Posture, posture, posture. Keep those shoulders back and chest out. It may sound simple, but this will line your spine up correctly to alleviate strain from the gown. Make sure to wear your shoes around for the month before the wedding so you are able to walk in them and they don't bother you. The more comfortable your feet, the better your posture will be. Strong core = good posture, so do those sit-ups and planks before the wedding!

8. What are some great restaurants you'd suggest brides eat the week of their wedding?

 Shabu Shabu House (just don't eat the rice and go easy on sauces), Shokudo (spinach salad & salmon dinner). Actually any restaurant is good if you order salads (easy on the dressing) or lean meat or fish.

9. Brides are so busy and excited, they barely touch the food they've so carefully chosen for their wedding. Any tips on what they should eat to keep their energy up?

Eat a well-balanced breakfast with protein (eggs, tofu or lean meats). Make sure to drink water throughout the day. Most fatigue is caused by dehydration. So, even if you can't eat throughout the day, make sure to stay hydrated. Keep a Lara bar or Think Thin bar nearby and just take a couple bites if you can to keep your body fueled.

10. What's the #1 workout tip or fitness advice you'd give a bride?

Make the time for your workouts. This is your special day and you want to look your best. Go for high intensity, shorter workouts since you're limited on time. 30 minutes a day is fine as long as you're working at a high intensity. 

This is your big day, and we want you to feel amazing, healthy, and glowing! As a wedding planner, we are here to make your lives easier! Eating a healthy diet and getting good exercise will not only make you feel glowing, but will also help to relieve the stress that comes with planning a wedding! So relax and enjoy yourself. You deserve it!!

Happy Beginnings, Mike

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History of Wedding Traditions

Weddings are steeped in ritual and tradition, even the simplest ceremony cannot avoid using ancient symbols. When planning your wedding, you may come across some of these customs and traditions, but may not be aware of the symbolism of each! Sit back and relax, lets take a peek into the history of wedding traditions...

  • ~ Why do we throw rice?
  • Throwing grains of rice at the couple symbolizes the desire for fertility. It also expresses the hope for a long life with good health, successful careers, and bountiful harvests.
  • ~ Why do we tie cans to the bridal couple's getaway car?
  • Sounds of bells, the clinking of champagne flutes, and tin cans dragging behind the getaway car are holdovers from the desire to drive away jealous spirits that were thought to lurk at times of change!
  • ~ Why does the bride have bridesmaids?
  • This tradition began in ancient Rome; a couple was legally required to have at least ten attendants to witness the marriage contract. In other cultures, bridesmaids are used to "hide" the bride from any evil spirits who might try to cause trouble for the newlywed couple.
  • ~ Why does the groom have ushers?
  • For the same reason that a bride has bridesmaids, the ushers are used to confuse evil spirits that may be trying to harm the newlywed couple.
  • ~ Why does the bride wear a veil?
  • By concealing the brides face, a bride camouflaged herself so that evil and jealous spirits could not identify the bride. The white veil is a symbol of modesty and virginity.
  • ~ Why does the groom stand on the bride's right side?
  • This tradition started in ancient years. Standing at the bride's right side made it easy for the groom to grab his sword with his right hand and fend off any intruders who might try to do harm to his bride.
  • ~ Why wear a wedding ring?
  • The symbolism of the wedding ring began in early Egypt, the rings circular shape symbolizes eternal and unending love!
  • ~ Why do we have bridal showers?
  • Bridal showers became custom, with brides receiving gifts from her family members and friends to help prepare her for married life
  • ~ Why are wedding dresses white?
  • A white wedding dress symbolizes the brides modesty, like the color of the veil.
  • ~ Why is the wedding ring worn on the third finger of the brides left hand?
  • It was believed that the vein in that finger leads directly to the heart!
  • ~ Why is the wedding ceremony sealed with  kiss?
  • The kiss represents an exchange of spirits, uniting the couple in both body and spirit.
  • ~ Why does the bride carry a bouquet?
  • This ancient Roman tradition began with the belief that carrying bunches of fragrant herbs and flowers would ward off evil spirits. The ancient Greens carried ivy as a symbol of unending love. 
  • ~ Why does the bride toss her bouquet?
  • Tossing the bouquet has come to mean that the single woman who catches it will be the next to find a husband and marry. 
  • ~ Why "Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue?"
  • Something old and something new symbolize continuity while making the transition to a new way of life. By borrowing something from a happily married woman, the hope is that the woman's good fortune will rub off on the bride. The color blue is associated with purity and modesty.

Next time you are at a wedding, shock all the guests with your knowledge of wedding traditions!! They will be amazed!

Happy Beginnings, Mike

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Wedding Reception Styles

Were all excited to start planning our weddings, right ladies?! We all know the reception is the "party" part of the wedding, and brides spend a lot of time and planning bringing together the perfect reception that the guests will never forget!  

Here are three reception ideas that will help you get started with your planning! Happy Beginnings! The Big Three:

Food Stations, Cocktail and Sit-Down Dinner are the most common types of parties today. Special occasions including weddings, showers and Monday night football gatherings are planned for one of these party styles.

Food Stations

A festive and well thought out buffet is a fun and easy way to entertain. It gets the host away from the kitchen and out among the guests. A buffet can be as casual as pasta with garlic bread and a salad or as formal as a standing rib roast with all the trimmings.

There are two styles of buffet. At a lap service buffet, guests eat standing or seated at the sofa. This style lends itself to talking, mingling and grazing. It works for small receptions and parties in small places and it's the perfect way to serve a casual dinner party for card games or an evening of movie watching. A sit-down buffet is suitable for a more elaborate occasions; it works best for family holidays, weddings and large or small dinner parties. No matter what the menu, after the set up, with a buffet, you will be free to relax and enjoy the party too.

Formal Sit-Down Dinner

A formal sit down dinner is served in courses. Invite your guests to arrive a half hour or so early for a relaxed cocktail period.

Place cards at the table encourage lively conversation. Placing talkative people with quieter ones or new guests with regular ones will help spark lively conversation and keep the tone of the party balanced, preventing any guest from being left out of the fun.

Most hosts who plan formal dinners use servers. This allows the host to enjoy the party guests instead of jumping up and down to fetch food. For a formal party, take out your best china, silver and candle sticks. Make your table as beautiful as possible.

Informal Sit-Down Dinner

An informal sit-down dinner may or may not be served in courses, the food may be more casual, but the etiquette guidelines still apply: dinner is served at an appointed time, and assigned seats make it fun and interesting. For an informal sit down dinner, set the table in an eclectic style: mix china, glassware and linen patterns–use serving containers of different sizes, shapes, colors, and materials. Place all the food on the table at one time, and relax and enjoy your guests

Happy Beginnings! Mike

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Save the Date and Wedding Gift Etiquette

In today’s world, planning ahead has become a necessity. Save the dates allow your guests to plan for your wedding day well in advance. This is especially important for out-of-town guests, or destination weddings. Remember, this is not an announcement, it’s just a heads up!

Save the date etiquette is vital here. The most important thing to do before sending out a save the date card is to finalize your guest list. The save the date card is a pre-announcement that lets your guests know that they will be invited to the wedding.

Once you sent out a save the date card to a guest, you cannot un-invite them. If, by chance there is a wedding budget crisis, and you need to make guest cuts, it is good to know this before you send out the cards. You can trim a guest list easier when the guests are not yet pre-invited.

When you send out a save the date card, be sure to list if the person invited can include a guest. There are a couple of ways this can be done. If you know the name of the guest that will be invited, include them when addressing the card. If not, it is acceptable to include "and guest". Also, if children are to be included, list them on the card as well. 

When should save the dates be sent?

Send them as soon as you set your wedding date and have secured your ceremony and reception sites... This can be from 6 months to a year before the wedding. When planning your destination wedding, the more time you can give your guests the better, it can be a year or mom in advance.

Helpful info:

The only guests who will be invited to the wedding should receive a save the date. For wording, keep it shirt and sweet! Your names, wedding date and “Invitation with details to follow.” If it’s a destination wedding how about including travel agencies along with resort and hotel information.

Your save the dates can be anything from refrigerator magnets to photo postcards, skies the limit!

Wedding Gift Etiquette

Wedding gift amount etiquette is a topic that has been discussed with set amounts one should give the happy couple. It is important to remember that the gift is a representation of your love for them... no matter what it costs.

It is not good wedding gift etiquette for a couple to ask for money or gifts when they invite loved ones and friends to their wedding. It is an opportunity for those invited to help the couple start their lives with the gifts that they choose.

Wedding gift etiquette states that if you are invited to the wedding you should present the couple with a gift. It is appropriate to send the gift to the couple or a parent before or after the wedding. If you choose to give the couple money, you can give the card to them during the reception.

When you are deciding how much to spend on a gift, the most important thing you need to do is look at your budget. Also, be mindful of how many weddings you will be invited to during the year. Purchasing multiple wedding gifts in a year can add up quickly, especially if you are invited to bridal showers as well.

Also, you need to take into consideration the amount of travel you will need to do in order to attend the wedding. If you are traveling some distance to the wedding, those costs will need to be factored into the budget amount you have for the wedding gift. The bride and groom will be so grateful that you took the time and expense to attend their wedding, they will not be expecting an extravagant gift.

Once you have looked at your budget and determined how much you have to spend, get creative. Take what you know about the bride and groom and find a gift that is either on the registry, or one that you know they will enjoy. Our favorite gifts from our wedding weren't the ones that were really expensive. They were the little ones that came from the heart of the guests. After 13 plus years of marriage, we still know who the gifts were from.

Wedding gift amount etiquette comes down to what you, the guest can afford. For those you are really close to, it is appropriate to do more for them, if you can. The bride and groom will show their good wedding manners by being grateful for anything and everything that they receive.

Happy Beginnings, Mike

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Finding the Perfect Wedding Photographer

Ok, so now you’re engaged and you’re to do list is going to grow by the day. One of the biggies on that list is finding the perfect wedding photographer. Looking for the right photographer can be one of the more intimidating parts of wedding planning, but wedding photographers in beautifulknow how to get the job done! When you book a wedding photographer you’re purchasing a product (albums, canvases, prints, etc) but you also need to find someone you can trust completely. Knowing where to begin can be a challenge, so don’t hesitate to ask your planner for some referrals. I have provided some tips to get you started and lead you in the right direction.

When should we begin to look for a photographer? It is never too soon to find your photographer! Planning on having your photographer booked at least six months in advance of your day is a good goal. Any less than that the risk is not bingeing able to hire your first choice. Also, having less than six months restricts your options for bridal and engagement sessions. If you live in a region that has more extreme temperatures you may find yourself limited to a hot or cold time of the year. Finally, more time to cultivate the relationship with your photographer is always a good thing.

How do I begin my search? If you have friends that have been married within the last year, start asking them about their wedding photographers. Ask to look at their albums, images and just as importantly pick their brains about the experience of working with that photographer. Google is also ad incredible tool. Search for photographers in your area and don’t forget to search using the name of your venue. Look for photographers that have blogged about your wedding location. Make a favorites folder in your web browser and limit yourself to 15-20 wedding photographers. Once you hit 20 always knock someone off of the list when adding someone new. From that list make a “Top 5″ list. Contact those photographers and set up consolations. From that point you already love their photography. Personality, budget and availability will likely be the deciding factors.

How much do I need to know about their camera equipment? Photographers love to talk about gear, so don’t be afraid to ask about their cameras, lenses and backup strategies. Photographers that shoot digital should be shooting on the latest camera bodies. Technology has made huge leaps in the last 18 months and the creative possibilities available to photographers in low light are better than ever. Your photographer should have backup camera bodies and assortment of large aperture lenses specialized for low light photography. Ask your wedding planner and photographer how they handle the security of your images after the wedding. Typical solutions should include multiple backups in their studio as well as secure off site backups such as duplicate hard drives in a back safety deposit box. They should have “worst case” plans. Hard drives are mechanical and will fail, and home and studio accidents can happen. You want to know the long-term safety of your wedding day images has been planned for.

Are engagement photos really necessary? The time in your life between your engagement and wedding is one of the most exciting you’ll experience. Having a photographic time capsule by virtue of an engagement session is something that you’ll be more grateful for as the years pass. Not only that, the time and experience spent with your photographer before the wedding day goes a long way towards establishing the trust a photographer needs to create their best work. Having spent time creatively together before your wedding, you will understand the way your photographer works and having seen the results you’ll trust that work. Knowing that you can just enjoy the day and your wedding photographer will be there to scoop up the moments is a wonderful feeling on your wedding day.

How important is a second photographer? There is a lot of talk about second shooters these days. Quite frankly, you don’t want to hire a photographer that couldn’t capture your day solo. One person cannot capture every moment but neither can two. A second shooter may add a small measure of security but it is often marginal. Some photographers would disagree with me on this point but from my perspective as a wedding photographer I would rather be concentrating on my clients and their moments on their wedding day than managing a second photographer. If you are paying extra for a second photographer I encourage you to ask to view a portfolio of those shooters images. Photographers often charge for a 2nd photographer and then use unpaid assistants that are looking for experience. If you are having a very large wedding with many attendants (250+ guests) that’s when a second photographer really adds value.

Happy Beginnings, Mike

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How to Bustle a Wedding Gown

How to Bustle a Wedding Gown

A grand tradition emerging once again! Bustles are back, longer trains, longer veils, both traditional and illusion gowns. Love it! A few weeks ago,

You've finally found it! The dazzling gown of your dreams! Now it's time to decide what bustle is right for you, your budget, and style of dress? Bustles are made to lift the train of your gown up off the ground. This is typically done between the ceremony and reception so that the gorgeous wedding gown you have chosen does not accidently get ruined or stepped on while celebrating with family, friends, and your one true love!

A Short Over View of Bustles

The Over Bustle

On an Over Bustle the fabric of the train is brought up to mid-level on the outside of the skirt. This is accomplished with either clips or buttons to shorten the train of the gown.  A good seamstress will hide outer holds into the seams or detail work so they are not easily visible to guests. As with most bustles, the amount of fabric is determined by the height of your shoe and the hem.

The Under Bustle or The French Bustle

With an Under Bustle or French Bustle the points to tie up the gown will all be on the under side. This is typically accomplished with 1-5 ribbons or rings either color coded or numbered. Under Bustles require some assistance from the bride. She will need to hold the upper layer(s) of the skirt while her chosen bridal party member tightly ties the ribbons together. Once all the bustles are in place the upper layer(s) of the gown will be let down revealing a gorgeous, traditional billow or ripple effect on the backside of the gown.

The Bubble Bustle

The Bubble Bustle is a newly emerging form of Bustle designed to create a shorter informal version of your gown.In this instance, the loops or string ties are on the bottom hem of the gown creating a bubble effect at the bottom of your gown. It is important to note, that bubble bustles average around 15 ties and are typically the most expensive of the bustle styles.

Remember Not All Bustles are Made Equal!

Assign someone to help bustle your dress on the wedding day. On the last appointment of your alteration, bring up to three trusted companions to learn your gown bustle. Typically this will include the maid of honor, other members of the bridal party, or your wedding planner..

Its important to keep in mind that bustles do not come standard on gowns by the manufacturer or bridal boutique. They will be added per your request by a seamstress once your gown has been selected. Thankfully, most bridal boutiques work directly with trusted seamstresses who will gladly aid in selecting the right bustle type for your gown.

Happy Beginnings, Mike

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