Wedding Menu Breakdown: The Difference Between Seated-Plated, Buffets, and Food Stations

January 19th, 2018

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Photo: Joe Hendricks Photography

Wedding planning can be confusing if it’s your first time planning a large, catered event. Don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it seems! Choosing the style of wedding reception you’re going to host is a LOT easier if you understand the correct terminology. Here’s the breakdown of your options.

Seated/Plated/Served

Seated/plated/served menus are for couples who envision a formal dinner where the guests remained seated while servers bring everything to the table. Although you can bump the costs up tremendously by choosing expensive food, seated/plated is frequently less expensive than other options because the caterers know, in advance, how much of each entrée they need to prepare for the guests. Expect the caterer to require you to submit a complete list of dinner orders 14-30 days ahead of your event so they can plan.

Tip: Strongly consider using placecards (rather than open seating) so the service staff knows who is getting what at which table come dinner time. Otherwise, they’ll have to get orders at each table and hope guests remember what they requested.

Buffets

A buffet features long tables with all of the dinner offerings presented in one line. Usually, there are servers behind the buffet to describe each dish (especially for allergy purposes) and to put appropriate portions on each guest’s plate. If the wedding is large, it’s not uncommon to have two separate buffet tables with the same food to keep things moving. The buffet will remain open for all of the guests to make one trip through, and for extra hungry guests to visit it again, but then it will be shut down rather quickly.

Tip: It’s an excellent idea to have the salads (or soup) served at the table before, or immediately after, the guests are seated so that people have something to nibble on as they wait for their turn in the buffet line.

Food Stations

No less satisfying than a seated/plated meal, and open for much longer than a buffet, food stations have become very popular for wedding receptions. The concept breaks up your food displays with different tables offering different things, usually by category. Stations are a great way to incorporate a theme into your food. We’ve done “around the world” stations where different countries were represented on each table. More traditionally, you’ll find entrées in one spot, sides in another, salads in another, etc. They’re spread out a bit more to let guests roam around and pick and choose. Not everyone has to stop dancing and eat at the same time. Stations are usually kept open two to three times as long as a regular buffet and have station chefs creating items by requests, much like a traditional omelet stations.

Tip: Although you don’t need as many servers as a seated/plated dinner, make sure you have plenty of hands on deck to remove the copious number of empty plates that are likely to be discarded everywhere as people choose their next bite.

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

6 Days You’ll Want to Take Off Work for Your Wedding

January 17th, 2018

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Working fulltime and planning a wedding can feel like you’re trying to juggle two jobs at once. While some days are doable thanks to an extra cup of coffee and an extended lunch break spent on Google, other days are times when you as a bride should go ahead and take off work. If you’re wondering when you should use your vacation days during the wedding adventure, here are six important times we think you should request off from your 9-to-5 gig.

1. The Day Before Your Wedding

If possible, take a couple days off before your wedding. That way, you can handle last minute tasks, take on some beauty appointments and hopefully spend time just relaxing and spending time with out-of-town guests.

2. Your Wedding Dress Shopping Day

While weekend appointments may seem more appetizing, it can be harder to get them at certain stores, especially if you have your heart set on a certain name-brand dress spot. Taking a day off to go in the middle of the week will often mean you’ll have a more personal experience where you’re not rushed or bombarded by a dozen other brides and their attendants. You can make a day out of it with your family and bridesmaids which is always fun, too!

3. Your Bachelorette Party

Most bachelorette parties take place over the weekend, so we recommend you take a day off either before or after the party. Take the day before if you want time to pack and travel to the location, and take the day after if you need 24 hours to recoup before heading back to your cubicle. Or take both, which would be the best-case scenario for the bride with extra vacation days.

4. The Day After Your Wedding

If you’re not planning on jet-setting off immediately after your wedding to your honeymoon, consider taking the Monday after your wedding as a holiday. That way, you can spend the weekend resting up, unpacking, opening gifts and using the day to simply kick back and take a couple of deep breaths.

5. A Day in the Middle

When wedding planning becomes overwhelming, take a personal day off from work. Use the time to catch up on small items or larger to-do list tasks. It always helps to have a day away from work just to catch up on things. And to keep your sanity!

6. Marriage License Day

While this can be done the week before the wedding, use this as a day to spend with your fiancé doing something special and intimate.

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

Wedding Items That Aren’t Worth the Extra Money

January 16th, 2018

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Photo: The Life Lens

While some wedding items are totally worth the splurge, from hiring that photographer you really love to upgrading your furniture rentals, not every detail is a “must have” or worth that extra money. When it comes to figuring out what to skip, there are no better experts than planners themselves! After all, their job is to help you best use your budget to create the wedding of your dreams. We turned to top planners from around the country to get the low-down on which wedding items simply aren’t worth that extra cash.

Over-The-Top Invitations

“Don’t blow your budget on intricate invitations unless money is no object,” says Carolee Higashino, president and founder of White Orchid Wedding. “A box full of rose petals, tied with silk ribbon and finished with hand-painted calligraphy is stunning, but once you add on shipping… ca-ching! There are so many beautiful hand-written fonts available and amazing designers and technology that can help you create this feeling at a fraction of the cost.”

RSVP Cards

Thought these were a necessity? Think again! Alicia Falango, founder of Alicia K Designs explains: “Being in San Francisco, many of our clients want to incorporate as much technology as they can. In lieu of an RSVP card, we do online responses. There are a number of great sites that will help streamline the process, and you’ll save on both printing and postage. Plus, it makes the process so much easier!”

Favors

“Don’t feel pressured to spend money on wedding favors if the items are arbitrary or are products branded with your names and wedding date (which will likely go unused),” says Kristin Banta, founder of Kristin Banta Events. “If you really want to invest in a takeaway, choose something that’s relevant to the two of you, like a jar of the jam you can’t go a morning without, a bag of your signature coffee blend or something poignant like a baseball signed by the two of you if you met playing on your company’s co-ed team.”

Gift and Card Tables

“It’s one more table and linen to rent and isn’t a must-have,” says Banta. “Instead, enlist servers at the venue or your event production team to take gifts from arriving guests and store them somewhere safe until they can be transported to your hotel room.”

Ultra Pricy Wedding Dresses

Hear us out on this one! If your wedding budget is tight, your wedding dress might be one area where you can save even if it’s just a little. “The most important aspect of a wedding gown is a phenomenal fit, not whether every bead was applied by hand,” says Higashino. Once you select a wedding dress that works for you and your budget, find an amazing seamstress to make your dress fit like a glove, add some fab accessories and no one will know whether you spent $1,000, $5,000 or $10,000.

Champagne

“Unless you’re huge champagne fans, you can easily forgo the bubbly altogether,” Banta advises. “You could offer half pours just for toasts, or completely skip it and have your guests toast with whatever drink they have in hand. They’ll likely have already selected their preferred beverage, and won’t be inclined to switch, meaning even that sip or two of champagne won’t be consumed.” Adds Allison Aronne, wedding producer with Fête New York, “If you really want bubbly, opt for a smaller, lesser-known champagne house instead of a brand name, or swap it out with prosecco or another sparkling wine.”

A Full Open Bar

“Reexamining the bar is one of the easiest ways to save a few dollars,” says Higashino. “Forgo the full bar and instead offer two signature cocktails along with beer and wine. Avoid opening the bar too early (before the ceremony, for example) to save on staffing and the amount that is consumed, as well as limit the possibility of overconsumption.” You can also take steps to serve a little less (and your guests will barely notice): “Request that your bartending staff do lighter pours. And skip the shots! These can dramatically increase your consumption fees, since a single shot is much smaller than a full mixed drink.”

The Dessert Course

Serving wedding cake and dessert as part of your dinner menu can cause costs to add up. Explains Banta, “Instead of a plated dessert, offer tray-passed selections that include slices of your wedding cake. Guests will love being able to get up and move and grab dessert whenever the need for sweets strikes. You’ll also save on food since you won’t be wasting those servings that would be offered to people who don’t love sweets, and passed desserts that can be eaten with your fingers instead of a fork will save you on china and silverware rentals.”

The Band

While an amazing band will transform your party if it fits into your budget, an equally talented DJ will ring in at a significantly lower cost. “I know it sounds insane, but there are a few benefits to picking the DJ,” says Teissia Treynet, founder of Firefly Events. “DJs don’t need breaks the same way a band does, and they’ll play your favorite songs exactly how you want to hear them. Sure, there are some cheesy DJs out there (and cheesy bands, too!), but there are also some great ones!”

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

The Top 7 Mistakes Couples Make When it Comes to Their Wedding Day Timeline

January 12th, 2018

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Photo: CHARD Photo

While detailed timelines and strict time limits may seem utterly unromantic, they may be key when it comes to throwing the wedding of your dreams. Even if you and your fiancé consider yourselves super laid back and want a casual affair, it’s important to have a strong sense of how your big day will unfold with a solid wedding day timeline, otherwise you risk missing the chance to enjoy certain parts of the celebration.

Here’s some advice from the pros on how to avoid some of the top wedding timeline mistakes.

Waiting until the last minute.

As soon as you’ve decided in what order you want events to occur (first dances, appetizers, dance party then entrées) and roughly when you’d like them to happen, show the wedding day timeline to your day of team, says Li Zhou of LadyMarry. Share this information at least two weeks before the wedding so that you can work out any kinks well ahead of time.

Skimping on primping.

Be sure to allow plenty of time for hair and makeup says Mike Busada of Mike B Photography. While your aestheticians will try to give you an accurate time estimate for when you should expect to be done, it’s common to run over, especially if someone wants a few tweaks to her look or a late addition shows up. “To avoid this stress early on the big day, simply add a half hour to the scheduled ending time for these services,” Busada says. That way if you finish before that 30-minute cushion, you’ll have a little extra time for fun, candid photos of the bridal party.

Leaving anything to chance.

This goes for a wedding with 50 people or 500 people. No matter how intimate or low-key your big day may be, you should still give the day a lot of structure, says Zhou. Your parents, bridesmaids and vendors will need to know what’s going on at each turning point. Don’t think that you’ll just naturally transition from dinner to dancing to cake-cutting. You have to create a timeline and have someone keeping an eye on the clock to ensure the night doesn’t disappear before you know it.

Not listening to the pros.

If the photographer asks for more time to take shots of the wedding party during cocktail hour, follow her lead. She probably wouldn’t mention it unless it was really needed. “Don’t forget to take your vendor team’s experience and advice into consideration,” Zhou says. “They’ve done this hundreds (if not thousands) of times.”

Dismissing traffic.

“It always seems like traffic jams pick the worst times to show up,” says Busada. Couples getting married in metropolitan areas should allow extra time to get from venue to venue. Busada suggests an extra 10-15 minutes for travel, including any locations you’re stopping by to take photos.

Forgetting forces of nature.

Be sure to check out when the sun will set on your wedding day, especially if you’re hosting an outdoor wedding, Zhou recommends. This will impact when the ceremony begins or ends, as well as where and when you take photos. “The best time for these photos is from 10 minutes prior to sunset and up to 10 minutes after sunset,” Busada adds.

Spreading things out too much.

If your goal is to get everyone on the dance floor, think about combining or front loading some of the events like cutting the cake and tossing the bouquet, says Busada. Otherwise, the dance party is being frequently broken up and guests may lose their momentum. If you take care of these things early on, then guests can have fun for the rest of the evening.

This article was written by Whitney C. Harris for Brides.com.

6 Must-Know Etiquette Tips for Bridesmaids Shopping for Their Own Mismatched Dresses

January 9th, 2018

View More: http://mattandrewsphotography.pass.us/lexi_casey
Photo: Matt Andrews Photography

When it’s done right, mismatched bridesmaid dresses can look effortless, a little bohemian and totally stylish. But that effortless look actually requires a lot of effort! If you’ve been invited to be a bridesmaid for a friend, and to choose your own bridesmaid dress instead of heading to a bridal salon, you’ve got some shopping to do! To help make sure you end up with something both you and the bride love, our experts have six tips to make shopping for mismatched bridesmaid dresses a little easier.

Follow the Guidelines

This is probably the most important tip to keep in mind. Whether it’s a few color swatches she wants you to try to match, a certain fabric or a length, sticking to the guidelines the bride has set will ensure that your dress fits in with the other girls and the bride’s vision.

Remember the Dress Code

Most black tie dresses are floor-length. You know what else is floor-length? Breezy, beachy maxi dresses! Make sure that you pick a style that is both within the bride’s requests and appropriate for her dress code.

Tone it Down

Yes, you want a dress that’s flattering and looks fabulous on you, but you shouldn’t pick the most show-stopping dress in the store. When it comes to wedding day, all eyes should still be on the bride, not on you!

Leave Something to the Imagination

Along with not wearing the flashiest dress in the room, you also don’t want to be wearing the sexiest or most revealing dress. Especially if the couple is having a ceremony in a house of worship, make sure the dress you pick is appropriate. Sure, we love a low-cut neckline or a skirt with a dramatic slit, but you may want to choose one or the other in this instance, instead of both.

Ask if You’re Not Sure!

Having a hard time finding just the right dress? If you live near the bride, invite her to come shopping with you so she can give you her opinion in person. If not, take pictures of yourself in a few different options.

Check in With the Gang

The whole point of mis-matched bridesmaids is, well, bridesmaids that don’t match! Once you’ve found your dress, send a photo or a link to the rest of the ‘maids to let them know what you’ve picked out, that way you avoid showing up with the exact same bridesmaid dress as the girl walking down the aisle in front of you.

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

The Most Stunning Chuppahs From Coast to Coast

January 8th, 2018

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Photo: Black & Hue Photography

The moment you say “I do” will be ingrained in your memory for the rest of your life, a wonderful memory that’s also captured in time by your photographer (and likely your videographer, too!) so you’ll want to make sure your altar is truly something special. Planning a Jewish wedding? One of the most important parts of the ceremony is the chuppah, the canopy under which a couple stands during their ceremony. It represents the new home the couple will create together, symbolized by the cloth canopy and the four poles. A chuppah is a beautiful way to honor tradition while also expressing who you are as a couple.

From classically-draped chuppahs to those adorned with bold blooms, there are countless ways to create the altar of your dreams. Looking for inspiration for your ceremony? Here are eight of the most picture-perfect chuppahs from real weddings across the country.

Your Ultimate Wedding Dress Shopping Timeline

January 5th, 2018

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Photo: Morgan G Photo

There are few experiences more thrilling than shopping for your wedding gown. You’ve finally locked down the person of your dreams (which we all know was the hardest part!) so make these moments fun! The more you plan, the easier everything will be. Unexpected things will occur, but if you set a timeline that gives you some flexibility, you’ll find the process of finding a wedding dress enjoyable. Here, we break it down starting 12 months prior to the day of your wedding.

10-12 MONTHS

Research.

Though you don’t need to decide the exact style or silhouette of your dress before you start your search, you do want to figure out a list of things you like and don’t like, as well as setting for your ceremony. A fall or winter wedding is the perfect opportunity to wear long-sleeves or a high-neck, while a beach wedding calls for a less of a sleeve billowed gown.

Set your gown and accessories budget.

Perhaps you’ve budgeted $5,000 for your big day. Well, how much does that leave for your actual gown, veil, jewelry and shoes? You’ll also need to account for the price of alterations, shipping (if you’re ordering something online) and other fees, such as taxes.

Start your dress search.

Those episodes of Say Yes To The Dress when the bride-to-be, brings her entire girl gang wedding dress shopping looks really fun, but you should really consider limiting the number of people you bring with you. Stick to your mother, grandmother, the person you’re closest with on your spouse’s side and your most devoted and open-minded best friend. Everyone’s viewpoint is not needed and can make the joyous moment even more complicated than it needs to be.

9 MONTHS

Make the final decision on your dress and buy it.

The time has arrived to actually decide on the perfect dress and put in your order. Upon purchasing your cherished garment, you’ll have to put down a deposit, averaging somewhere between 50 and 60 percent of the total cost.

6 MONTHS

Figure out your hair for the day and shop for any necessary accessories.

The perfect hairstyle can either make or break your bridal look. It’s best to know exactly what you want far in advance, especially as you’ve already selected your dress. Are you opting for a veil and any embellished hair accessories? Will you be donning an updo, sleek chignon or loose curls? There are so many possibilities to consider, but you’ll have more than enough time to get everything in order if you plan ahead.

Buy your shoes.

Wedding shoe shopping will definitely be one of the more fun task of the entire process. Perhaps you’ll want a custom-made pair from your favorite designer or need to take time deciding whether you’ll choose a pointed-toe pump or ankle-strap sandal. You’ll also want to have enough time to break those bad boys in before you walk down the aisle. A few days of wearing them in the house will ensure you’ll be ready to dance from sundown to sun-up.

Choose your something blue, borrowed, and new.

For your big day, you might want the shoes you’re buying at this point to be blue, or you might want to wear your grandmother’s vintage clip-on earrings. These are the pieces that will make your wedding ensemble truly special, so you’ll want to decide on them early.

Take a trip to an intimates boutique and select the perfect undergarments.

You’ll want to have your undergarments with you once you go to your first fitting, so there’s no time like the present to order them. You will need to pick up a specific kind of bra based on the style of your dress’s back and neckline, as well as choose the proper shapewear for the occasion.

3 MONTHS

It’s time for your first fitting.

Most brides have two to three fittings to make their dress absolutely perfect, so this will be the first of a few! Timing is everything here and bringing your gown in too late may result in having too little time for alterations. Bringing it in too early may put your ideal fit at risk. There are fees for each adjustment, whether it be a flat fee from the boutique or wedding salon. You’ll want to bring your jewelry, undergarments, shoes and any other accessories you can to make sure everything will be flawless on your big day.

6 WEEKS

It’s time for your second fitting.

Most of the difficult work is done during your first fitting, thus the second is for more minor revisions to your dress, such as smoothing out the hemline. You’ll want to walk around in the salon with your gown on to ensure you are happy with the length, fit and any alterations made.

3 WEEKS

It’s time for your final fitting.

This is where it all comes together! Make sure you wear waterproof mascara because you will shed a few tears seeing yourself so close to absolute bridal perfection. You’ll want one person you’re incredibly close to by your side, like your mother or maid of honor, to bask in the joy with you and to take a couple of pictures for your scrapbook.

Find a place to store your dress for safe keeping.

You will not only want to keep your dress safe, but you’ll also want to hide it from your spouse so it will be a total surprise once you walk down the aisle. Keep in mind that if your dress is embellished, separate your veil so no rips occur. Place it in a bag that will allow for the fabric to breathe and examine it to ensure it’s perfect.

DAY BEFORE

Put everything aside in one place to be as prepared as possible.

Your veil, jewelry, dress and shoes should all be in one place so you never lose sight and misplace a piece. You’ll also want to have a steamer and a bleach pen on-hand, just in case something unfortunate happens.

YOUR BIG DAY IS HERE!

Give yourself ample time to get ready.

This is your moment! You’ll need at least a half an hour to slip into your dress so add extra time into the day. You should be relaxed and not rush for even a second. Then, it’s time to party.

This article was written by Faith Cummings for Brides.com.

The 16 Rules for Choosing a Wedding Venue (Yes, 16!)

January 3rd, 2018

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Photo: Nashville Photography Group

Your wedding date, your décor and your catering all depend on the space. To find yours, consider meaningful locations (have a favorite hotel or art museum?), like the best wedding venues in the U.S. or the most romantic spots to tie the knot around the world, as well as places and spaces to which you have emotional ties. When you’ve narrowed down some options and are ready to tour reception sites, keep these expert piece of advice, from planner Claire Bean, of Claire Bean Events, in mind.

1. Never visit more than three wedding venues in one day.

You’ll experience sensory overload!

2. If you’re having a religious ceremony, first reserve your house of worship.

Many have set ceremony times, which will dictate when your reception can start.

3. Exclude any place, however dreamy, that doesn’t accommodate your head count.

Don’t gamble on RSVPs lowering the final number. It never works!

4. Make a list of non-negotiables.

Like, say, outdoor space, and avoid touring places that don’t tick those boxes, advises Bean. Otherwise you risk falling in love and having to change your plans to make it work.

5. If the majority of your friends and family are traveling, consider a central location.

A remote estate that’s a four-hour drive from the airport can be tough for guests.

6. Hotels sometimes book more than one wedding per weekend.

Be sure to ask about overlapping events and how that could affect your bash.

7. Find out how the venue handles catering.

Is it done on site? If so, can you customize the menu? If not, can you hire anyone you like, or do you have to pick from a list of approved vendors? If you’re a foodie, ask about the venue’s tasting policy. You might be able to sample the cuisine for a fee that gets credited back if you book there; if not, seek out referrals from past clients.

8. Do you want to party all night long?

Many venues (especially those in residential areas) have a curfew or a maximum decibel level for music. Check before you book.

9. Is your dream venue really on budget?

Before you sign that contract, make sure there aren’t any hidden costs that will push you over your limit.

10. Is the site fee all-inclusive?

If not, you may have to shell out big-time for rentals (tables, chairs, china, flatware, etc.). Ask if the total accounts for state tax and gratuity (known as a “plus plus”).

11. If your ceremony is on site, you may be charged twice for setup.

Some venues double the fees for reception and ceremony prep, even if it’s just to lay out chairs.

12. How much time is allowed for setup and tear down?

An hour of overtime could cost $1,000, according to Bean.

13. Check the power needs for a DJ or band.

If the site’s supply isn’t sufficient, you may have to rent a generator.

14. Will you need additional lighting?

15. Confirm the valet and security policy.

Venues can charge between $5 and $25 per car, while others tack on a flat fee, which could be several hundred dollars. (And don’t forget tips — about $40 to $60 per attendant.)

16. Are there bathrooms there, or do you need to rent them?

Now, this is one you don’t want to overlook!

This article was written by Courtney Balestier for Brides.com.

How to Stay Organized (and Sane!) During Wedding Planning

January 2nd, 2018

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Photo: Kristin Vanzant Photography

We know wedding planning can be a bit overwhelming, to say the least. One of the most important aspects of wedding planning is organization. Without organization, wedding planning can grow into a seemingly impossible and super stressful task. To keep the fun in planning your big day (and to help keep you sane in the process), here are our best tips for staying organized throughout your wedding planning experience.

Create a Wedding-Only Email Address

Even the most organized personal inboxes can become overwhelmed with promotional emails, spam and other unwanted messages. When you throw wedding planning related emails into the mix it can get quite overwhelming. To avoid this, create a wedding only email address (Ex. your name + fiancé’s name + wedding@____.com) to streamline all wedding related communications. Not only will it keep you organized, but it will also help you to manage your time, as you can check this email when you want, as opposed to being consistently inundated while at work, out of town, etc. Share the password with your future husband to keep him in the loop, and you’re sure to be organized, at least on the email front.

Google Drive

In addition to the wedding-only email address, we recommend creating budget spreadsheets, guest list and address inventories, guest responses and more through Google Drive. By creating these living documents, you’ll be able to access them in real time, rather than having to have computer access to open and save a saved document. GoogleDocs and GoogleSheets also have apps that can be easily opened, edited and saved on most devices, enabling you to plan on the go.

Commit to One Calendar and One Planner

If you’re a digital bride, awesome. Prefer pen and paper? We totally get it. But for wedding planning purposes, pick an organization strategy and stick to it. If you want to rely on digital calendars, to-do lists and reminders, make sure you only use those to keep tabs on your tasks and responsibilities. Have a planner, calendar or notebook you rely on to keep yourself organized, utilize that and only that throughout planning. By trying to double store info and appointments, or referring to paper based tools at some times and digital at another, tasks, reminders, appointments and more can get lost in the flip-flopping of resources. Our best advice is to commit to one device, or one organizer where everything is stored, safe and accurate.

Designate a Specific Spot

To stay organized and keep balance within your daily living space, designate a specific spot to store all wedding-related information, paperwork, contracts, etc. We also recommend keeping stamps, envelopes, a pen and some paperclips nearby to stay extra organized and productive while planning your wedding. Whether it’s a file box kept under your bed, a folder in a desk drawer, your entire home office or other area of your home, you can easily avoid clutter, increase productivity and avoid misplacing important artifacts by sticking to one spot.

One Task at a Time

It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with things to do while planning a wedding, but to avoid becoming disorganized (and super stressed) it’s best to focus on one task at a time. Even the best multi-taskers will admit that it doesn’t always work out in their favor, so why take a chance? By channeling your focus into single tasks, you’re sure to be more productive, organized and relaxed.

This article was written by Erin Celletti for Brides.com.

The 50 Mistakes Brides Always Make

December 29th, 2017

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Photo: Kristyn Hogan

Any bride who has spent even just one afternoon wedding planning likely regrets skipping Excel classes. With dozens of decisions, both big and small, on your horizon, creating a fine-tuned budget, well-planned timeline and paying extreme attention to detail are key. And since this is likely your first time organizing such a large scale event, it’s easier than you’d think to fall prey to the pitfalls of wedding planning.

So where should you begin so that your planning starts on solid footing? “Once your budget is established, you can make smart decisions on hiring the right team of vendors that work best with your personalities and will execute your vision for the day,” says Sarah True, owner and creative director of Madison, CT-based True Event. “By having these discussions early, it will set the tone for the overall planning and result in less stress as you go through the process.”

Still, even the most vigilant bride can be steered off-course. As you pore over Pinterest, try on gowns, sniff flowers, choose invitation suites, sample cake selections, scout venues and book your honeymoon, refer to this list of the 50 major mistakes brides seem to make while planning their wedding courtesy of expert planners and vendors. From mistreating your wedding jewelry to overdoing it on beauty products or failing to approximate the right budget, find out the most common wedding planning errors brides-to-be make.

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