The 3 Things a Bride Can’t Ask Her Bridesmaids to Do

May 25th, 2017

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Photo: Krista Lee Photography

I’ll be the first to admit that bridal privilege has gotten a little out of hand in recent years. Yes, it’s your big day. Yes, in theory, the bride should get whatever she wants. But some Bridezilla-esque requests are, in my professional opinion, downright unreasonable. You know you’ve read stories about crazy brides who drag all their girlfriends to a fitness bootcamp so they look better in their dresses, and brides who intentionally choose unflattering bridesmaid dresses to ensure they’ll be the prettiest girl up front. Or that one bride who asked her bridesmaids to pay for her $10,500 wedding dress. It’s horrible. With that said, there are three things you cannot do, even if you’re the bride:

1. You can’t force your bridesmaids to spend money that they do not have.

This seems obvious, right? Unfortunately, too many brides forget how the expenses add up in the enthusiasm of planning their weddings. Not only do the members of the bridal party have to buy their dresses, shoes and any other accoutrement you’re requiring, but they may also have to pay for travel, accommodations and take time off from work to be there for all of your wedding events. Adding on a destination bachelorette trip to the Dominican Republic a month before your wedding may just be the expense that breaks the piggy bank’s back. Even if your girls have room on their credit cards, they may feel a little bitter resentment about taking on the additional debt.

2. You cannot tell your bridesmaids to change their shape to fit into a dress of your choosing if it doesn’t work for the way they are built now.

No one chooses their friends based on their shape (I hope), and that means you have to be accommodating to your wedding party when you start shopping for bridesmaid dresses. If even one member of your wedding party would look really bad in the dress you’ve chosen, find another dress that you like. You’ve asked them to do you the honor of being a bridesmaid, you don’t have the right to ask them to lose weight, work out, or wear something that makes them feel uncomfortable and unattractive. Most friends will suck it up (and suck it in) to make the bride happy, but they will likely be miserable for the entire event, knowing they not only look terrible, but they’re being photographed from every angle in the offending dress.

3. You cannot ask a member of your wedding party to change their appearance in a way that they can’t undo after your reception is finished.

Brides.com covered the bridezilla who asked a bridesmaid to dye her hair to match the rest of the wedding party. The bridesmaid, a natural red head, was horrified, and rightly so. That’s a completely unfair and unreasonable request. You knew what your friends looked like when you asked them to be in your wedding party. If you’re crazy enough to want something as drastic as a change to hair color, the bridesmaid should have been told before she accepted the invitation to be in your wedding.

This article was written by Sandy Malone for Brides.com.

20 Last-Minute Wedding-Planning Details You Can’t Forget About

May 24th, 2017

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Photo: Erin Lee Allender Photography

You’ve saved, budgeted, researched, and planned, and now your wedding day is almost here. But that doesn’t mean you can kick your feet up just yet. Despite your wedding date inching ever closer, there are some very important details you still have to take care of before you walk down the aisle. Luckily, it’s nothing you can’t handle! (After all, you have already planned an entire wedding.)

We’ll be the first to say it: These tasks aren’t as fun as all the others you’ve completed so far. Cake tastings, wedding-dress appointments, floral meetings, and hair and makeup trials are filled with excitement, so when it comes time to tackle these last-minute to-dos, like making a day-of timeline and coordinating deliveries, we can understand why you might be significantly less overjoyed. But despite being somewhat less glamorous and fun, these details simply can’t be overlooked!

From packing for the honeymoon and assigning a point person to field questions and help you avoid day-of stress to finalizing your ceremony and picking up your marriage license, we’ve outlined the 20 last-minute things you have to do before the big day and why. Reference this handy list in your final weeks of wedding planning so you can be sure all of your earlier prepping isn’t wasted due to one small mishap!

Does Our Wedding Party Have to Be Even?

May 22nd, 2017

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Photo: Morgan G Photography

While you and your hubby-to-be will be the most important people up at the altar on your wedding day, you won’t be the only ones. You’ll have your wedding party up there with you, too! Classic wedding photos flaunt even rows of bridesmaids and groomsmen on either side of the happy couple, but do you really need to have the same number of people on each side?

You’ve seen it before: bridesmaids and groomsmen walking down the aisle, two by two, then parting ways to stand by their friends as they exchange vows. There’s definitely something aesthetically pleasing about all that symmetry, but having even wedding parties is definitely not required.

If you do end up with different numbers of bridesmaids and groomsmen, you’ve got a few options when it comes to the processional and photos. First, if you have more bridesmaids than groomsmen, consider having one (or a few) of the guys escort two gals down the aisle, or vice versa if you have more groomsmen than bridesmaids. In the latter case, you could also pair up your ‘maids with groomsmen, then have the remaining groomsmen walk solo or escort your grandmothers or the groom’s mother down the aisle.

Another option is to have your wedding party walk solo, in whichever order you please. If the difference in sizes is on the larger side (three or more), consider sending all of the groomsmen down the aisle one at a time, followed by all of the bridesmaids in the same fashion.

When it’s time for photos, the difference in numbers will be less distracting if you have your wedding party mixed together around the two of you, rather than separated with the bridesmaids on one side and the groomsmen on the other. Huddle everyone together, take action shots of the group walking, or pose more formally on a set of stairs or in an area that will allow your photographer to layer people in a cohesive way.

This article was written by Jaimie Schoen for Brides.com.

The Best-Kept Money-Saving Secrets for Weddings

May 18th, 2017

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Photo: Krista Lee Photography

No matter what kind of wedding you’re planning or what budget you’re sticking to, chances are you want to save money wherever and whenever you can! Even a small, intimate affair can become a drain on your finances. Since the best money-saving tips are learned by real brides, we asked women planning their weddings on Facebook to tell us the best ones they’ve learned through experience!

“Getting married on a Friday or Sunday is usually half the price of a Saturday wedding.” —Jennifer Lightcap

“I went to a semi-annual sale for my wedding dress. Got half off my bridal gown and I’m in love with it.” —Kasi Foster

“I made DIY invites, veils, candles etc., plus I asked a dear friend to be my on-the-day coordinator, and my husband’s friends to take care of our photographs and videos.” —Rah Castañeda Salonga

“Don’t invite anyone if you don’t actually want them to be there.” —Christine Nokta

“Rather than using a florist, use someone that does flowers out of their home!” —Melinda Sprueill

“Having everything in one place (ceremony, reception, and hotel) means there’s no need for a limo and the guests can come and go from their room as they please.” —Rosalyn Mai

“Bridal consignment shops…I bought and resold so much of my décor there!” —Tina Collins Foye

“Downloadable and printable wedding invitations from Etsy! I had mine printed at Staples for a fraction of average priced invitations!” —Cheyenne Simmons

“Know your intention of your wedding celebrations. I put more effort in making my guests comfortable with good food to celebrate the day. When the banquet company said they provide complimentary chocolate as wedding favors, I chose not to spend further on favors and got a simple cocktail reception with good wine and simple décor.” —Jasmine Lee

“Negotiating prices with the big vendors.” —Morris Stephanie

This article was written by Terri Pous for Brides.com.

What Your Wedding Season Says About You

May 17th, 2017

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Photo: Kristen Weaver Photography

Did you know that the month you get married might shed some insight into your preferences and personality, from what you like to do in your downtime to your general nature? Read on to find out what your wedding season says about you.

Winter

You march to the beat of your own drum and are likely introverted, preferring small, intimate gatherings (and weddings!) with a tight-knit group of friends to large, over-the-top affairs. Even in the darkest of situations, you’re able to see the light and turn a negative into a positive. Although quiet and slightly reserved, you’re an excellent listener and the friend all your bridesmaids turn to for life advice. While you’re much more of a homebody, you do appreciate the natural beauty of winter and the breathtaking scenery the season has to offer. You’re big on family and better at writing than vocalizing your thoughts, which means your personalized vows are sure to rock your fiancé and guests’ world. You’re not one to ever follow the crowd, so it’s only fitting that you chose winter to tie the knot.

Spring

Spring brides are all about new beginnings and are natural-born organizers, making them the perfect wedding planners. You’re easy-going and relaxed but definitely not a pushover when it comes to negotiating those contracts. In fact, many would describe you as a go-getter who achieves anything she puts her mind to, wedding-related goals included! You’re nurturing and kind, you always have a fresh perspective to offer on life’s predicaments and problems. Health and wellness are major points of focus in your life, and not just for the purpose of looking your best on the big day. You’re committed to eating right and hitting the gym year-round. Yoga and meditation are also your go-to’s for stress relief.

Summer

Bring on the fun! You’re the life of the party, and there’s nothing you love more than socializing. Chances are, your wedding guest list will be just as big as your warm and sunny personality. Bubbly, free-spirited, and full of light, you’re always up for a spontaneous adventure, be it with your girls, your fiancé, or both. You enjoy hiking, biking, and being outside in general, which is precisely why you’re planning an outdoor ceremony and perhaps even a tropical destination wedding. Yes, you’re tying the knot, but that doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy your freedom and hate being tied down by a ton of plans. You prefer to wing it and go with the flow instead, seeing where life takes you as opposed to meticulously planning out every last little detail. If you haven’t already hired a wedding planner, you may want to seriously consider it!

Fall

Fall is the season for edgy brides who like to take risks and don’t play by the rules, particularly when it comes to wedding traditions and design. You welcome change with open arms and often seek it out. You can be unpredictable, just like the season, and tend to keep your friends and family on their toes, typically in the best way possible. You’re a trendsetter and a creative artist at heart. DIY projects are so your thing, and it’s impressive how good at them you actually are. You have a knack for fashion and an affinity for coffee. Your future husband doesn’t mind your dark side that comes out in the bedroom either!

This article was written by Elizabeth Mitchell for Brides.com.

The 6 Costs You Should Cover for Your Bridesmaids

May 15th, 2017

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Photo: Love Be Photography

It’s no secret that being a bridesmaid is an expensive role for your friends to take on. They will find themselves paying for pre-wedding events, transportation costs and, of course, the dress you’d like them to wear on the big day. So if you’re looking for a way to pick up some of the expenses your bridesmaids may incur, here are 6 things you should pay for, if you can, for your bridal party.

1. A Wedding Survival Kit

Whether it’s a bowl filled with travel-sized toiletries from the drug store or a personalized tote bag filled with emergency items for the day, be sure to equip your bridesmaids with any last-minute must-have items.

2. Their Transportation Home

Since the average wedding day for a bridal party is 10+ hours, be sure to provide your wedding party with transportation home or back to the hotel. You can do this through a taxi service or a scheduled shuttle for all of the guests.

3. Hair and Makeup

If it’s in your budget, a great treat (and gift!) for your bridal party is to pick up the tab on the glam squad, paying for them to get both their hair and makeup done on the wedding day. If you can’t manage to pay for both beauty fees, opt for one or the other. They’ll definitely apprecaite the gesture.

4. Bridesmaid Accessories

Any and all items you’d like your bridesmaids to wear on the wedding day to accentuate the dress can be items that you buy for each bridesmaid as the ultimate thank you gift.

5. A Mani/Pedi

There’s no better way to relax and pamper your bridal party before the wedding than with a group outing to get a mani/pedi, especially when you’re paying for it! Treat your girls to a fun day at the spa and get wedding-ready while doing so.

6. Alterations

If you’re asking your bridesmaids to buy their dresses themselves, one thing you can do to help keep the costs down is offer to pay for any alterations that they might need. That way you can be sure the dresses fit optimally and look stunning in photos on your big day.

This article was written by Jen Glantz for Brides.com.

How to Have a Wedding With Absolutely Zero Regrets

May 11th, 2017

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Photo: Kristyn Hogan

The last thing you want to do is look back on your wedding day and wish you’d done this or that differently, right? So take it from these wedding planning pros and follow their advice on how to have a wedding with zero regrets, which is the ultimate dream, of course.

1. Set your priorities from the start and stick to them.

For example, if a killer dance band is your number one priority find other areas to cut in your budget, such as from your menu or décor, to make it happen, suggests wedding planner Tracie Domino, founder of Tracie Domino Events. Otherwise, if you commit to too many things before deciding what’s most important, you’re bound to run into major budget problems.

2. Don’t compare your wedding to others.

Whether it’s your friend, cousin or a celebrity, planner Francesca DiSalvo-Follmer of Pure Luxe Bride strongly advises against making comparisons. “Their weddings were special because they did things that were unique to them. Remember: it’s not a competition.”

3. Hire an experienced wedding planner.

Seriously, they are worth their weight in gold! A wedding planner who knows what they’re doing can tell you exactly where to begin and save you valuable time and money, notes Jessica Upton, owner of Uptown Events and Travel. “For instance, an experienced wedding planner can have a conversation with you about the style of venue you’re looking for and can quickly recommend ones you should look at that fit within your budget. No need to spend weeks researching.” Amen!

4. Don’t plan with other people’s expectations in mind.

Instead, make decisions based on your priorities and goals to create the dream wedding you envision, recommends Chief Amazement Officer at Vision Event Co., Daniela Grafman. “Traditions and rituals are just a guideline, and they don’t have to be enforced. So if you don’t want to introduce your wedding party (or do a bouquet toss), that’s ok, don’t let someone else convince you it must be done.”

5. Be present the day of.

One thing wedding planner Lauren Chitwood of Lauren Chitwood Events tells all her brides on the big day is to let go of the details. “Turn off your phone, and truly live in the present moment. It’s not every day that the whole world comes together just for you, so savor this time and feel all of the emotions that come with it.”

6. Mix and mingle with everyone.

Be sure to say hello to every single guest (and hang out for a sec), or you’ll wake up the next day guilt ridden for not doing so, warns Dezhda “Dee” Gaubert, owner of No Worries Event Planning. And trust us, you can never, ever get those precious memories back!

7. Think outside the Pinterest box.

Pinterest is one of the most helpful tools Florida-based wedding planner Aviva Samuels of Kiss The Planner has ever experienced, but there’s a good chance that by the time your wedding photos get processed, your decor ideas will be old news, she says. “You may regret not taking the time to think outside the proverbial Pinterest box. Instead of taking what you see and duplicating it exactly, use it as a source of inspiration to put a new spin on an old idea and incorporate your personalities to make it your own.”

8. Don’t let family drama bring you down.

While it’s great to take your family’s feelings into account when planning your wedding, the most important thing to remember is that the day is really just about you and your fiancé exchanging vows, points out seasoned planner Sandy Malone, owner of Weddings in Vieques. “Don’t let other extraneous noise bother you. Ignore the rest of the world’s drama, and don’t let anybody take away from the special day meant to celebrate you and your new spouse.”

9. Really think hard about hiring a videographer.

Laura Irizarry-Garcia, owner of LIG Events, always ends up booking videographers last minute for brides who think they don’t want one and as they get closer to the wedding decide they do. “You don’t get to repeat your big day, and it’s wonderful to have those memories captured on video.” In fact, not having a videographer is a top regret we hear from brides all the time.

10. Ask for things in writing.

This ensures you’re protected in the event that someone doesn’t deliver what has been agreed upon, explains certified green event designer Veronica Cole. “Be very wary of any wedding professional who doesn’t want to provide you with a contract or email to support what they have promised.” And remember to always read your paperwork thoroughly, she advises. “Yes, it may be boring in comparison to shopping, but it is every bit as crucial. Don’t be tempted to sign on the dotted line without understanding what you’re committing to. No matter how friendly the sales manager!”

This article was written by Elizabeth Mitchell for Brides.com.

50 Must-Have Wedding Photos

May 8th, 2017

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Photo: Kristyn Hogan

Your wedding day is a day in your life that you’ll want to remember forever — and you will. You’ll remember the details, the feeling of your post “I do” kiss and even a couple of songs that you broke it down to on the dance floor. But the best way to make sure your wedding memories are captured and recorded for a lifetime is through the photos that you take on the big day.

You’ll have the urge to tell your photographer to snap photos of everything at every second, and, while that sounds like a good idea, it’s better to come to the table before your wedding with an organized list of must-have photos. The kind of photos that represent the key moments of the wedding and the people who filled the day with endless love, support and excitement as they stood by your side and danced with you on the dance floor.

Besides the group photos of you and your husband, the bridal party, and the guests, there’s a long list of other detail shots you’ll want captured. There are so many small and intricate details that you’ll want your photographer to prioritize shooting, like your invitations, welcome bags and other décor. You’ll not only want these to preserve the memory of those special details, but, as the bride, you’ll find yourself floating with nerves and excitement — you might very well miss the stunning centerpieces and pulled-together place settings that you spent so many hours grueling over on Pinterest. It’s those special elements that you’ll be able to look back on and appreciate having in your wedding album.

So if you’re wondering what must-have photos to have on your shot list, we have you covered. We’ve flipped through countless real wedding albums and broke down the key moments of the wedding to bring you a list of 50 photos you should absolutely have your photographer capture. This way, for years to come after your wedding, you can sit back with your spouse, relax, and relive the magic of the best day of your lives. Let’s take a look at these 50 photos, and don’t forget to pin your favorites to your wedding inspiration board!

What You Need to Bring When Shopping for Wedding Dresses

May 5th, 2017


Photo: Erin Lee Allender Photography

If there’s anything more exciting about wedding planning than shopping for a wedding dress, we don’t know what it is. And that shopping trip is even more fun when it’s a successful one! The key to a great visit to a bridal salon, whether or not you leave with your dream dress, is being well-prepared. Our experts have some tips on what to bring to make sure your experience is a fantastic one.

The Right Undergarments

Many salons will provide a corset to wear when you’re shopping, but there are a few things from your own lingerie drawer that you’ll want to pack. Bring a nude strapless bra, wear nude underwear, and consider bringing along some shapewear. Remember, you’ll be nearly naked as a stranger helps you in and out of dresses, so if you’d be more comfortable with some coverage, Spanx or boyshorts may be your best bet. Avoid anything with too much texture or bright colors or patterns, which can show through gowns and will distract from the look.

The Right Shoes

You’re not having your fittings quite yet, so you don’t need The Shoes for your wedding day, but a pair of heels you’re comfortable in (and can walk in!) will do wonders. Heels tend to change your posture and make you stand a little straighter, and the skirts on those wedding dresses will probably be LONG so you’ll appreciate having some extra height. Planning on wearing something different, like cowboy boots? Bring a pair with you to slip on when you think you’ve found a contender, so you can see how your dress will look with something other than standard satin pumps.

The Right Extras

A few bobby pins, a hairband, and some lipstick will be extra handy when you think you’ve found your dream dress. Pull back your hair, add a swipe of color to your lips, and tuck that veil in to help you see the whole picture!

This article was written by Jaimie Schoen for Brides.com.

50 Things to Know About Your Engagement Ring

May 3rd, 2017

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Photo: Kristyn Hogan

Engagement rings are as personal as your relationship. Some brides want to be surprised, never having imagined the ring until the moment he flips open the ring box to propose, while other women hand their men a thick portfolio of photo research on what constitutes the perfect ring. Some couples discuss budget, and others wear their ring for years without having any clue what it cost. Some brides dream about a splashy, eye-catching hunk of diamond, while others prefer a vintage, retro style.

In terms of the four C’s, the way a diamond’s value is evaluated; by its cut, color, clarity and carat weight. Some brides are laser-focused on size (carat weight), while others are all about achieving maximum sparkle (cut). Some express their love of fashion with an on-trend ring style (like a rose gold band or a halo), while others go classic (a round-brilliant diamond solitaire). Some brides prefer the history of a hand-me-down family heirloom of a great-grandmother’s ring, and others prefer to help custom-design something new that’s exactly what they’ve always imagined. Some brides experiment with colored diamonds, think the six-carat pink diamond Ben Affleck proposed to Jennifer Lopez with, or include bold stones like sapphires or emeralds.

But despite the fact that couples may go about ring shopping differently, or that brides may choose totally different styles, one thing stays the same: the meaning of an engagement ring, how good it feels to know you found your dream ring, and knowing that you get to wear it for the rest of your life. Explore the history of engagement rings, learn about how to shop for one and care for it, and check out fun facts about the ring that means “forever.”

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