5 Things Every Bride Should Do On Her Wedding Day

No, this isn’t a list of the things you are already planning on doing, like getting your hair done, getting pictures taken, showing up … Most brides have their big days planned months in advance, being sure that all of the major must-dos are taken care of. And while each bride is planning to ensure that everything will go accordingly to plan (with only one “hitch!”), in hindsight, many look back, wishing that they would have done some things a little bit differently.

The main moral of the story: How YOU are feeling is the most important part of the entire day.

So many brides are so absorbed in their to-do lists, wanting to be a part of each and every detail, that they miss out on the big stuff.

These five things (yes, add them ALL to your list), will help you not only enjoy your big day, but will make sure that, when you look back on it, it was as special and magical as you had hoped for.

  1. Wake Up Early: Before you start lamenting and saying, “It’s my wedding day! Why in the world would I want to wake up early!”, let’s think about it for just a minute. Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life – why would you want to take a minute from it? Waking up early allows you extra time to relax and to soak up each and every moment. Those quiet moments in the early morning, whether by yourself or with the people that mean the most to you, will be the most reflective, peaceful moments of your entire day. Have a cup of coffee (or a mimosa!) and take e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g in.

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  1. Don’t Worry: Let’s try that again. Don’ worry, too much. You will worry. You’ll worry about the big things and the little things, the things you can control and those that you can’t. But there are some things on your wedding day that you just have to let go of. There are so many moments where you should take advantage of just being present, rather than worrying about if the drinks are being served on time, if your aunt has arrived yet, and if anyone is signing the guest book. As much as you can, take a deep breath, remind yourself of how happy you are, and let other people do the worrying for you!

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  1. Do Something Extra Special: “I’m getting married! Isn’t that special enough?” Yes! Of course it is! But those little extra special things before you say “I do” can help make it even more memorable – and they can help you relax too! What is something you love? What is something you’ve always wanted to do? Things like getting a massage in the morning, having a private yoga class for you and your bridal party, finally trying that breakfast or brunch place everyone has been talking about can help you get in the mindset that, yes, this is an extraordinary day.

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  1. Find Ways to Say Thank You: No wedding can happen without people. From your parents to your family, your wedding planner to your best friend, your wedding is the culmination of amazing relationships. While no one is arguing that it isn’t your big day, saying “thank you” to those you love and appreciate is a great way to make everyone happy. Try writing thank you cards in advance, letters, or arranging for a small token of appreciation (like flowers) to show up on doorsteps and hotel rooms (hint: we also have wedding favors your guests will love).

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  1. Don’t Miss It: This isn’t referring to a Runaway Bride situation. In fact, this is far more common than that. So many brides, so caught up in the day’s schedule and the goal of attaining perfection, completely miss out on their day. They miss out on really seeing how beautiful the flowers ended up looking, how good the cake tasted, how spectacular they looked, how amazing their now-to-be husbands are. Remind yourself to take deep breaths. Remind yourself to pause and look around. Remind yourself that, yes, today really is just that fabulous.

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Photo credit: The above wedding photo and header image used in this post was provided by Smart

Floral Crowns for Brides

Floral crowns, also called floral hair wreaths or flower crowns, have Floral Crownbeen around since ancient times and their popularity has seen its ups and downs throughout the years. Their use in weddings slowed down for a while but we now are seeing brides using them again. Not only do floral crowns work well for brides but flower girls look adorable wearing them. And for a big impact, your bridesmaids can wear them, too!

Once considered mainly for Boho-style weddings, today we see floral crowns incorporated in to many wedding styles. They work particularly well for rustic, country chic, garden and other outdoor weddings. Often a veil just doesn’t seem to “fit” less formal outdoor weddings but the bride may still want to add an embellishment in her hair. A floral crown may be the perfect choice.

Floral crowns can be created with just about any type of flower. Of course the size and shape of the flower used will give the crown its unique look. You can  use all greenery, all one color, or a colorful mix of flowers. And fresh, dried or silk flowers will work equally well. You may want to coordinate your floral crown with your wedding bouquet and/or wedding décor.

If you would like to try making one yourself, I previewed several how-to videos on You Tube and have chosen three below. I also have links to three websites that have instructions.

Three How-To YouTube Videos:
DIY Flower Crowns; DIY Romantic Flower Crown;
Lessons From The Pros: Flower Crowns

Three Websites With Instructions:
DIY Floral Crown; Floral Crown for Wedding; Spring Flower Crown

The photos in the two-photo collage below are from Style Me Pretty. Stop by their site to see more photos from the lovely rustic wedding and to see how well the floral crown “works” with it.  Style Me Pretty Rustic Brunch Wedding
Floral Crown for Bride

Below you will see the collages I created to show you the size and design options. If a large crown doesn’t suit your style, you can still create “the look” with a simple, small one.
Large Floral Crowns

Medium Floral Crown

Small Floral Crowns

For more examples of floral crowns, see our Pinterest board:
Exclusively Weddings Pinterest Board – Floral Crowns

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Photo Credits:
Floral Bridal Crowns:  Large –
Creatrix Photography, Benjamin and Elise, Wedding ChicksDesigned by theposhposy.com –  photography by Nicole Cook –  Hair by Krystle Sheehan,   Pretty Chic, Lexi Moody Photography, Diana Maire Photography Medium – At First Blush and Co, Emilie Iggiotti, Red Telegram, Catherine Mead, Jose Villa Photography Small – Rylee Hitchner Photography, Jill Andrews Photography, eb Photography, Wedding Chicks

Bridal Bouquet Shapes

Hand-Tied BouquetIt’s time for you to choose your bridal bouquet but where do you begin?

Using a florist you trust is a good starting point and then having good communication with that florist increases the odds that you will be pleased with the final results.

Being able to clearly express your preferences will help your florist create your dream bouquet. Sharing photos of what you like and don’t like will go a long way in making it perfectly clear what you want your bouquet to look like.

Also, be sure to bring a picture of your wedding dress to the consultation with your florist so that your bouquet and dress are in harmony with each other. If you have a special hanky, brooch or other personal item you want included with your bouquet, be sure and bring it with you to your consultation.

In choosing your flowers, consider the time of the year that your wedding is taking place.  If you choose flowers that are in bloom during the season of your wedding, you will keep costs down.

In this blog post, I’ll focus on shape of the bouquet because the shape of the bouquet will influence flower choice and size. Other influences are the formality of the wedding, the style of  your wedding gown, and venue. It’s also important that your bouquet is in proportion to your size. If you are a petite bride, then a huge Cascade bouquet would not work just as a small Posy is not the best choice for a tall, full-figured bride.

I have found that there is not consistency among florists when it comes to the names of the bouquet shapes. So that you and your florist are on the same “page”, it’s best to show him/her a photo of the style you want to use.

There are quite a few bouquet shapes and I will focus on five of them here.

Round Bridal Bouquet: A Round bouquet typically uses one type of flower, although it can incorporate assorted blooms, as well. It can be hand-tied or created using a florist’s bouquet holder. When talking about the Round bridal bouquet, it is a natural progression to mention the Nosegay and Posy, since they are so much alike. The Nosegay and Posy have a similar appearance to the Round bouquet but are smaller in size and often more tightly arranged. A Posy’s small size means it can easily be held in one hand.Round Bouquets


Hand-Tied Bridal Bouquet:
A hand-tied bouquet has a casual appearance. It is made by simply gathering the flowers and tying with ribbon. It can be made using one type of flower or combining many.
Hand-Tied Bouquets


Cascade Bridal Bouquet:
Also, called Waterfall, the Cascade bouquet consists of flowers that drape downward in to a waterfall effect. This style is typically the most traditional and formal but as you can see from the bouquet in the last photo, it can also have a more modern appearance, as well.Cascade Bouquets


Composite Bridal Bouquet:
The Composite bouquet, also called a Glamelia, is made from hundreds of flower petals that are wired together to create one gigantic flower. Due to the labor involved to create the Composite, the price can be much higher than other styles.Composite Bouquets


Presentation Bridal Bouquet:
The Presentation bouquet, also called a Sheaf, Flat or Arm bouquet is made from long-stemmed flowers and is carried in the crook of the arm.
Presentation Bouquets

To see more bouquets, visit our Pinterest boards:
Colorful Wedding Bouquets
White Wedding Bouquets
Composite Wedding Bouquets

Photo Credits:
Collage 1: Petal and Bean, Bouquet Wedding Flower, Project Wedding, Project Wedding, Project Wedding, Ken Kato, My Inspired Wedding, Real Etsy Wedding – Collage 2: Southern Weddings, Floral Artistry, My Wedding Concierge, HiFi Weddings, 100 Layer Cake, Tim Duncan Events, Rachel Whiting – Collage 3: Floralisa.com (Project Wedding), Fiore Fresco, Project Wedding, Project Wedding, Rustic Wedding Chic, Heather’s Floral Designs, Vermont Country Flowers – Collage 4: Daniel Taylor Photography, Style Me Pretty, Nightingales, Wedding Planner, St. Jude’s CreationsCollage 5: Amina Michele, A Low Country Wed, Ruffled Blog

Words of Wisdom for the Bride

Happily Ever AfterWhen planning a wedding, there are likely to be ups and downs … times when you get frustrated that things aren’t going as you had hoped. In this sweltering summer heat, it’s time to just sit back and look at what you’ve planned and be proud of what you’ve accomplished so far. It’s time to relax and enjoy the planning process.

Try to make wedding planning a time that you will look back on fondly as one of the most exciting, special …  and fun times of your life.

For this post we want to share some words of wisdom that can hopefully help you relax a little … help you enjoy your once-in-a-lifetime wedding planning process.

Just remember … It doesn’t have to be perfect. Relax. Enjoy the Process.

Do what you can ...

Words

Words

Words

For more inspiring words, follow our Pinterest board:
Words of Wisdom for Brides.

A Wedding Dream Comes True

AliSix weeks before her wedding, bride-to-be Ali was asked by HuffPost Weddings to write an article for them on the subject of planning her wedding. Ali, the product manager at Exclusively Weddings, wrote in her article that what she really wanted her wedding to be almost got side tracked. She took a step back to re-evaluate and re-group, and in the end, she got the exact wedding she had been dreaming of.

Ali was married to Hill on April 28. In looking at her wedding photos recently, I saw a radiant bride who had a big, natural smile in almost every single picture. This was a bride who was relaxed and who obviously enjoyed every minute of her big day. The statement from her HuffPost story, “I just want to marry the man I love in front of the family and friends that I adore” is exactly what happened!

Her HuffPost article is shared below, along with photos.

Reprinted from HuffPost Weddings  –  May 1, 2012: The Pressure To Have A ‘Unique’ Wedding – By Ali Besaw — Some may say I am your typical bride-to-be. I’m a young professional juggling a multitude of things every day. Now one of those items being juggled is finalizing the details of my wedding because I’m getting married in six weeks. The good news — all the major things are done and checked off of my list. I’ve booked my ceremony and reception location, hired a DJ and finalized the menu. But now is the time when those little details have to be addressed which include the question, how can my wedding be ‘”different” or unique? The details I’m obsessing over include: What am I going to decorate my tables with? What about wedding favors? How do I want the bridal party introduced? These small details are taking over my mind. Crazy? Not yet.

Now, some of my friends say I have a slight advantage because I happen to be a product manager for a great little wedding supplies company — Exclusively Weddings. So, I know stuff. I have contacts. But, that certainly does not alleviate the pressure I feel to be unique.

So I search the internet for ideas. Like every other twenty-something year old female, I check out Pinterest — but I do it relentlessly. And I obviously look to my friends and family for help. We can all find great ideas like those crafty DIY projects that could really make your wedding unique. There’s just one major problem: Who truly has the time to do that? Plus, I live and work in North Carolina while my wedding is taking place in Georgia!

Although my fiancé is quite special, he isn’t much help besides answering, “Whatever you want,” in response to my need for his opinion. And, though I’d like to pretend they don’t, my bridesmaids do have lives of their own. In my wedding-consumed mind they can easily dedicate their evenings to hunting down old vintage books that I can set an antique clock on for my center pieces, but in reality, they can’t.

So I have to ask myself, how important are these “unique” touches? Sure, if I had all the time in the world and a never-ending budget, I could pull off a David Tutera-esque wedding. But I don’t. And do the guests really care if I provide them with handmade favors that took hours to assemble? Aren’t they there to witness the “soul’s recognition of its counterpoint in another,” as John Ryan would say? Aren’t they there for the free food and beverage, not to mention witnessing some interesting events such as the guaranteed long-distance relative that has too much to drink? I think emphatically, yes. I just want to marry the man I love in front of the family and friends that I adore.

With all that said. I love the idea of creating something new and unique. But it’s not the handmade center pieces and wedding favors at the reception that will make it so. I know my wedding and reception will be unique because it will be a reflection of me and my fiancé, as well as our family and friends. So, I’m looking forward to providing my guests with yummy brownie pops and having lovely floral center pieces in crystal vases. I’ll be sure to send pictures of how “unique” everything was!

Ali and Hill

Ali and Hill’s wedding was photographed by Kelly Rae Stewart Photography and all photos shown here are from her portfolio. Used with permission. Additional wedding photos can be seen on the photographer’s blog.

Ten Must-Have Wedding Tips for the Bride

BrideWhen planning a wedding, sometimes it’s the little things that cause us to be stressed out. By using our tips, you can remove a lot of potentially stressful situations while creating your wedding and on the wedding day itself.

We hope you will find these tips to be practical and useful.

1.  Try on your bridal shoes well in advance, walking and standing in them often for several days before the wedding. [If you wear them for the first time on your wedding day, you will likely have to apologize to your feet!)

2.  When  you choose the garter that you’ll slip beneath your gown, buy one to wear (and to be your keepsake) and one to toss to all the eligible bachelors at the reception. [You don’t want to spend $35+ for a gorgeous silk heirloom garter only to have it thrown around the reception site and “abused” by the groomsman who catches it! And you’ll love having your heirloom garter as a keepsake and perhaps to pass down to your own daughter or future daughter-in-law.]

3.  When choosing your bridal jewelry, try on earrings, necklaces and bracelets with your gown far in advance of the wedding date. [You don’t want to discover at the last minute that your dangling earrings are catching on the lace of your wedding veil.]

4.  Your wedding headpiece and jewelry should complement your hairstyle. Take them when you visit your hairstylist for a pre-wedding consultation, so that they work in perfect harmony. [Waiting for the big day to plan your total look is just looking for trouble!]

5.  Wear the exact undergarments and shoes that you plan to wear on your wedding day for every gown fitting. [That way, you and your seamstress will see the “total picture” right from the start and your seamstress will be less likely to have to take valuable time to re-do.]

6.  If your favorite shoe style looks great with your gown but won’t be comfortable after many hours on your feet at the reception, consider buying a pair of reception slippers so that tired feet will still be able to dance the night away. [You don’t want to spend the evening with sore feet or the honeymoon soaking them! A pair of comfy reception slippers help you avoid any “foot issues”.]

7.  Prepare a checklist of everything you need to transport to the ceremony site and give it to your maid of honor for safekeeping and easy reference. [At my own wedding, I forgot my wedding shoes! With little time to spare, the best man raced to my home to retrieve them. STRESSFUL… yes! With a little planning, this can be avoided!]

8.  Have your floral designer create a special “toss” bouquet, so you’ll still have  your actual bouquet to preserve. [Having your bouquet to preserve or even to take with you as you leave the reception can be a reality, if you have a separate, small bouquet to throw to your girls.]

9.  Don’t forget an elegant handkerchief for the tears of joy you will likely shed on the big day. [A beautiful monogrammed keepsake hanky will not only look lovely, but it will prevent a make-up disaster by being available for you to dab your tears. Don’t trust this task to a paper tissue!]

10. Have a close friend or relative, who is not already involved in the wedding, available to help the photographer. Create a list of special people and decor you would like photographed, and make sure the photographer and your helper both have access to it. [There is hardly anything worse than your photographer’s missing once-in-a-lifetime photos of special people or your decor. A friend recently told me that her photographer didn’t take any photos of her custom-designed rustic wedding decor including moss-filled topiaries, unique table settings, creative floral arrangements, etc.  Prepare a list and be sure a trusted friend or relative makes certain your photographer follows it.]