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wedding tips

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DC Wedding Planning: How To Choose Your Wedding Party

If you're engaged and wondering how to choose your wedding party, today's Tips Tuesday post is just for you!

Photo: Christopher Jason Studios

Photo: Christopher Jason Studios

Now that you've got the ring, hired your planner and picked out your venue, you're likely turning your attention to picking your wedding party. You also might be stumped on this task and find yourself in one of the following categories:

  1. Before you got engaged, you had ideas of who your future wedding party would be, but now you're reevaluating to be sure

  2. You have so many friends and aren't sure how to pick who's in or out of the wedding party

  3. Your fiancé has more friends than you, or vice versa, and you aren't sure if it's best to have an unbalanced number on each side or alternatively if you should add more people on your side so that it is balanced

  4. You have just a few quality close friends, so you're not sure if a wedding party is even necessary

  5. You have no plans to have a wedding party

Whether you're in any of the above categories or more, today I'm breaking down some tried and true tips to consider before you select your wedding party. Additionally, for those in category 5 above, I've had many couples opt out of having a wedding party and it worked out beautifully for them. In that case, it's almost as if all the guests are your wedding party and the ceremony focus is all on you.

Now, for those of you who totally want your girls and/or guys right by your side, I suggest the following 5 tips.

Photo: Christopher Jason Studios

Photo: Christopher Jason Studios

  1. Think Quality over Quantity - Regardless of whether your fiancé has more friends than you or whether someone told you 5 was the magic number of bridesmaids to have, when it comes to your wedding party it's about quality and not a specific number. Ideal wedding party members are those who have your back, wholeheartedly support your union, are reliable, positive and always great to be around. Now if there are tons of friends/family who fit this category for you, it doesn't mean all 20 of them have to stand with you at the altar. I recommend sitting down with your fiancé and discussing the potential wedding party members you're considering, and get feedback from each other on who is essential for the role.

  2. Consider the Responsibilities - When someone accepts your invitation to be in your wedding party, they are essentially signing up to: be one of your bridal besties; stand in support of your union; help with some personal tasks you may need that are not handled by your wedding planner; buy their dress, shoes, and jewelry for the big day; pay for makeup and hair (if it's not gifted by you); help plan and attend your bridal shower and bachelorette party; show up on time for rehearsal, the wedding and other activities; and be a vital member in your bride tribe. While it's a fun job, for some that can be a big job or something they can't commit to due to other things going on in their life. Think long and hard about who would be all in or alternatively a headache, not able to commit, or unreliable.

  3. Choose from the Heart - Go with your gut and your heart when selecting your wedding party - NOT out of obligation. Just because someone has been your friend for years or because you were in their wedding party, doesn't mean you have to select them to be in your wedding party. Remember, just because someone isn't in your wedding party, doesn't mean they aren't very special to you.

  4. Children are optional - Nothing is cuter than a little flower girl and ring bearer! However, those roles aren't essential for every wedding. Perhaps you don't have children, nieces, nephews or godchildren to fill the role or maybe you don't want any kids at the wedding at all - that's totally ok. Alternatively, if you do want children in your wedding party, my suggestion is to choose children who will happily go down the aisle. On the flip-side, if they cry uncontrollably on day of, don't force them to walk down the aisle.

  5. Consider Other Roles - There are so many ways to celebrate your engagement journey with family and friends, so don't feel bad about not selecting everyone to be in your wedding party. For very close friends and family not in your wedding party, some other great ways to acknowledge them and roles they can fill are :

    • Reserved seat at the ceremony - this is a great option for aunts, uncles and first cousins

    • Ushers and Hostesses - these are other great roles to fill for the ceremony

    • Bridal Shower and/or Bachelorette Party Hosting - the wedding party doesn't necessarily have to host your pre-wedding celebrations, so if close family and friends volunteer to host and you love their knack for entertaining, let them throw your shindigs!

    • Bridal Gown Shopping - if you have a couple fashionista friends and family whose opinion means a lot to you and they are super positive and helpful, those are great folks to join you for your gown shopping

    • Have them wear a specific color - this is a great option for sorority sisters or fraternity brothers who'll be attending the wedding, and makes for a great picture at the reception

Photo: Christopher Jason Studios

Photo: Christopher Jason Studios

A final thought I'd like to share for those who may struggle with people pleasing is something I tell couples all the time - "it's your day, so do what feels right for you two and you two alone". Never feel obligated or pressured to go out of your way to include family and friends in certain roles for the wedding, as that shouldn't be the sole indicator of how close you are or aren't to someone. Those who truly love you will be honored to simply attend and celebrate your nuptials, with no strings attached.

I hope you found these tips to be super helpful, and that you're better equipped to pick your I DO crew. Now let's chat in the comments - share some other tips you'd add to the list or questions you may have surrounding this topic. I'd love to connect with you!

Sensationally yours,

Shalyce

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DC Wedding Planning: I'm Engaged! Now What?

Happy Wedding Wednesday! 

For all of my newly engaged and perhaps soon to be engaged couples, today's post is just for you! :) 

First off, congrats on your engagement! How exciting?! Planning a wedding is an amazing experience, but even more amazing is spending the rest of your life with your soulmate. I celebrate with you in your decision to make your love last a lifetime.

So you're engaged...now what? If you're in the phase of not knowing what to do next, I'm happy to share my top 3 tips for what you may want to consider doing.

Photo Credit: SC Stockshop

Photo Credit: SC Stockshop

 

ENJOY THE MOMENT

Now that you've said "YES", it's a great idea to just enjoy your engagement for a few weeks or more before you hit the ground running with wedding planning. This time will allow you and your love the opportunity to enjoy each other, think about your future together, and share the news with loved ones.

Whether you plan to get hitched shortly after the engagement or perhaps will wed in a year or two to give you more time to iron out the wedding details (and your budget), be sure to enjoy the wedding planning process and preparing for marriage!

Photo Credit: Dave McIntosh Photographics

Photo Credit: Dave McIntosh Photographics

DISCUSS INITIAL PLANS

Now that you've taken the time to enjoy the initial engagement excitement, it's time to get down to the business of wedding planning! I strongly suggest sitting down with your fiancé to discuss your collective vision and desires for the wedding. Think about the important planning topics, such as date options, intimate versus large wedding, location, wedding style and more. 

Wedding blogs, magazines and Pinterest are great resources to begin determining the things that appeal to you; however, be careful not to overload on these resources if you find that you get easily overwhelmed with everything in "wedding world".

As you discuss initial plans, considering your budget and how you will or can realistically invest in your wedding is extremely important. Your budget can drive several factors such as date, guest count, venue and design. The current average cost of a wedding is $35,329, reported by The Knot, so as you dream up your wedding vision also keep your budget in mind and discuss with parents that may be contributing.

Photo Credit: Rekita Nicole

Photo Credit: Rekita Nicole

HIRE A PLANNER

I know what you're probably thinking - shameless plug for Sensational Soirees. But I PROMISE this isn't. I too was once a bride, and when I went through the planning process there was no way I could've done it without the help of a planner.


Whether you plan to be very hands-on or somewhat hands-off with the wedding details, it's important to hire a wedding planner for many reasons. to include but not limited to: 

1. Our wedding industry expertise, as we help you navigate through important wedding planning decisions, which can help save you time and money.
2. Our experience to guide you through the planning process, while making sure nothing is forgotten along the way.
3. Our partnership in being dedicated to you, your vision and management on wedding day, so you can enjoy yourself stress-free.
 

Additionally, a planner who is also a designer, like myself, brings added value to the table in being able to design the beauty and details of your day, and provides expert insight on the cost to bring your vision to life. Designers have great vendor relationships, so that you have a team working together, while you relax, to make your day all you wish for and more.

While parents and the bridal party are of great support to a couple, nothing can replace the true value of a wedding planner right there on your side, helping to bring your wedding day dreams to life!

Photo Credit: Rhea Whitney Photography

Photo Credit: Rhea Whitney Photography

I hope you find these tips to be helpful! If you'd like a copy of my guide "I'm Engaged, Now What?" you can download it here, and feel free to tell an engaged friend! And if you're newly engaged, share in the comments below, so I can congratulate you!

Sensationally yours,

Shalyce

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