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Wedding + Planning Archive



August 2014

The Unwritten Rules of Wedding Planning

I always LOVE getting comments and suggestions for post ideas from readers. I love that people actually read my blog, feel comfortable asking me to write about certain topics, and value my opinion enough to want to hear my thoughts in the first place.

So naturally, when I got a Facebook message a month or two ago asking me to write about some of the “unwritten rules” of wedding planning, I answered with an enthusiastic YES! Not only is it an awesome topic idea, but I think it’s one of those areas of wedding planning that can be tricky to navigate, since there isn’t really a concrete “right” and “wrong” way for handling many of these certain situations.

I got to work right away taking notes on different “touchy topics” and jotting down my personal thoughts on each. There may have even been a chart. You guys – I wanted this one to be good.

But then of course, summer happened and life totally got away from me, and here we sit almost two months later. I want to give a shout-out to the fabulous gal who requested this post (I’m not sure if she would like to remain nameless or not)! I feel absolutely terrible that it took me this long to get this post up on the blog, so I hope she forgives me. :) And  I hope that the rest of you enjoy as well! She gave me a few specific topics to touch on, but I included some of my own as well. As you read, please keep in mind that these are just my personal opinions on the topic based on my own thoughts and experiences. I’d love for you to share your views as well in the comments!


Is it Ok to give cash as a gift? How about planning my wedding close to a family members? Here are my thoughts on the Unwritten Rules of Wedding Planning!


Is it OK to give cash as a gift?

Ugh, this is a tricky one. Probably should have saved this one for last, huh? But really, my personal opinion is that this is actually OK. Obviously, sticking two crumpled up $20 bills into an envelope is different than writing out a check to “Mr. and Mrs. So-and-so.” Make it look like you planned to give money as a gift ahead of time, and not like you ran to the ATM 35 minutes before the ceremony started.

Also, keep in mind that by giving cash, you will probably end up spending more than if you just bought a gift in the first place. Often times you will be able to find some sort of discount or coupon to use when purchasing a wedding gift, making a $50 gift really only cost $35. When you give money the couple can tell exactly how much you are spending on them.

That being said, I do think that going off the registry is always best. You aren’t the couple and don’t know exactly what they need or will use, so if you aren’t either giving them a gift off the registry or something very personal, go with money and don’t just purchase something you think they will like. Read More

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July 2014

Wedding Guest Survival Kit: It’s Not All About the Bride

Eric and I had a blast attending a family wedding this past Saturday – It was a beautiful ceremony and a rocking reception! I may or may not have just finished hand-washing my dress because the action on the dance floor got so intense that was no longer smelling “so fresh and so clean” when we got home that night. Spoiler: I did.

But no time to relax because we have to start gearing up for our good friend’s wedding this next weekend! There is just something so exciting about attending a wedding and spending the evening celebrating with your family and friends. But getting ready for and attending a lot of weddings lately has made me realize that wedding season doesn’t just take a toll on the wedding party, it can start to be rough on wedding guests as well if they aren’t properly prepared.

There are tons of lists and posts out there on wedding day survival kits for brides and bridesmaids, but not too many on things to bring if you are just a guest attending the wedding.

So in an attempt to help you stuff your purse with even more things you may never need, here is a comprehensive list of the Ultimate Wedding Guest Survival Kit. (But seriously, you may want to consider making sure you have a few of these items along with you.)

There are lots of "survival kits" out there for brides and bridesmaids? But what about a wedding guest survival kit? Well, look no further!

– Flip-Flops or Flat Shoes. If you are like me, then you always think you’re going to make it through the entire evening in your 4 inch heels, which for some reason never ends up being the case. Make sure you throw a pair of flats in your car or in your purse that go with your outfit in case your heels crap out on you at some point in the evening. Unless you like slipping around on the beer covered dance floor in your bare feet – then in that case, you go girl!

– Hair Ties and Bobby Pins. I tend to like to wear my hair down for weddings, but at about 9:30 at night it just becomes too much to handle. I always have to throw a few bobby pins in there at the very least to keep my hair off my face. If you want to put your hair up but don’t want to have to just throw it into a ponytail, check out my go-to summer hairstyle from the lovely Kate. I’ve gotten to the point where I can accomplish this one in about 3 minutes and don’t even need a mirror – perfect for a quick hair switch mid-celebration.

Read more…

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July 2014

How to Survive Wedding Season ~ “Saving Money”

Between family weddings and friend’s weddings, Eric and I will be pretty busy for the remaining summer weekends. And hey, you won’t find me complaining about it! Who doesn’t love a good wedding?!

But we all know that wedding season can get expensive. Especially if you are in your 20’s and 30’s and don’t only have a bunch of your cousin’s getting married, but tons of friends and coworkers as well. Before you know it you have 5 weddings, 4 bridal showers, 3 bachelorette parties, 2 bachelor parties, and a few weddings you’re even standing up in; all within a few months of each other.  All of these gifts, party planning, attire, and travel can add up quickly.

So what’s a girl to do when you want in on all the fun but don’t want to go broke in the process?? Here are a few tips I came up with to hopefully make wedding season a little bit less painful on the pocketbook.

Learn 5 tricks on how to save money during the super fun but super crazy wedding season! "How to Survive Wedding Season ~ Saving Money" | The Newlywed Notebook

ONE | Create a gift budget and pick out the wedding gifts before going shopping.

It’s important to know how much you plan to spend on a wedding gift before even hitting up the stores. That way, you won’t be tempted to get to the store and do the whole, “how much should we spend? I don’t know, how much did xyz spend? I don’t know, this seems about right though, right?”

Knowing how much you plan to spend before even entering the aisles can help you to avoid spending an extra $5 here and $8 there, which adds up very quickly when you have 6 weddings to attend in the next 3 months. Also, if you can look up a registry online before going shopping that’s even better yet. Often times shopping in store can be super overwhelming and you end up just picking something so you can get the heck outta there. I’ve found that if I take 20 minutes or so to plan out a gift using the couple’s online registry, I am able to stay within budget much better and also can put together a gift that feels a little more cohesive instead of, in my haste, picking out 1 oven mitt, a bathroom scale, and a set of beer mugs…

Not sure how much is appropriate to spend on a wedding? Typical guidelines suggest that you spend equal to or more than the meal for your party will cost. You probably have an idea of how much a typical plated meal costs at weddings in your area, but if not, in the midwest a typical wedding chicken meal costs about $16 to $20 and steak is about $20 to $25. So if you and your husband both get the steak, your gift should cost around $40 to $50, if it’s a super close friend or family member you may want to spend a little more. (more…)

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April 2014

What I Didn’t Do On My Wedding Day (and should have)

I can easily say that my wedding day was the best day of my life thus far. Although I almost threw up on myself that morning about 5 separate times, and was a little late to the reception, it really was as close to perfect as you can get. I wouldn’t have changed a thing, however there were a few things that I would have added. 

With how many details you have to remember to do for your wedding, a few things are bound to fall through the cracks here and there. However, I want to share with you a few things that, looking back, I really would have liked to remember to incorporate/do for my wedding day.

what I didn't do on my wedding day

1. I didn’t get any formal pictures with my siblings. On your wedding day, you typically don’t forget to get special pictures taken with your parents; but what about your siblings? I have a great picture of me and my dad, as well as me with my mom, but no professional pictures of just my brother and I. Luckily, my aunt remembered to snap one of the two of us toward the end of the night. But as you can see below, it’s not an awesome pic. I really had wanted to get a nice picture with my brother, as well as a few goofy pictures to really highlight our close relationship. If I were to get a do-over, that’s the most important thing I would make sure to add to my wedding day itinerary. Read more…

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March 2014

Why You Don’t Need a Day of Wedding Planner

You may not know this, but I do a bit of wedding planning and consulting on the side. I love doing this because it’s a great mix of two of (what I consider to be) my greatest skills – creativity and organization. Because of this role I have, I am often asked by people if I recommend hiring a day-of wedding planner. If you aren’t familiar, a day-of wedding planner is usually responsible for things like coordinating vendor deliveries the morning of the wedding, keeping everyone on schedule during the ceremony and reception, heading off any major disasters, paying vendors at the end of the evening, etc. Many brides (and bride’s mothers) think they need a wedding planner there the day of the wedding to take care of these tasks for them.

So, I bet your wondering what my answer to this question is, right? Well, the answer I typically give brides is no, you do not need to hire a day-of wedding planner.

Now, obviously it’s not that black and white – there are a few instances where I would, in fact, recommend having a wedding planner there the day of the wedding. Brides that are having a large wedding (I’d say over 400 invited guests or so) may want to consider having someone there the day of to corral the herd. Also, weddings that are held in big cities (just because of how much is going on not only with the wedding, but the location itself) may also want to consider hiring a wedding planner. I also think a couple that is having their wedding at a unique location may want to consider hiring some extra help, since the typical help you receive from a church, hotel, or reception hall would not be available.

Also, keep in mind that if you have hired a wedding planner to help you throughout the entire wedding planning process, he or she will often be present on your wedding day (if it’s a part of your package). And of course, if you simply just want a wedding planner there the day of to make you feel more at ease, then by all means go for it! But if you would prefer to avoid paying $1,000 to $2,000 for a day-of wedding planner, let me show you how it’s done!


What Does a Day-of Wedding Planner Do and How Can I Do It Myself?


Confirm Wedding Vendors 1 Week Before the Wedding

One of the things a wedding planner will typically do is contact all your vendors 1 week before your wedding to confirm your wedding. Now, I never actually did this for my wedding, but I can see why it’s a good idea. If you do this, it also gives you a chance to confirm your order and if something isn’t correct there is time for last minute changes to be made. Additionally, you can confirm their arrival time as well as location, so that you can count on them being there for your wedding day. The really nice thing is that since this is not a responsibility for the wedding day itself, you can totally do it on your own. If you have a lot of vendors or are super swamped the week before the wedding, give this job to your MOH or your fiance – it’s a hard job to mess up. :)


Prepare Detailed Wedding Day Itinerary for Wedding Party

Typically a wedding planner will create an itinerary for you and your wedding party, so that everyone knows when they are expected to be where. Again, this is a really easy thing to do yourself because it can be done a week to a month before the wedding. Make sure that you include things like when the guys and girls need to be at the ceremony site, when the ceremony starts, where pictures will be taken and how you are getting there, how/when you are all getting to the reception, when the grand march is and where to report, etc. You may even want to code your itinerary one color for the guys and one color for the girls, as they typically have different locations and times to report. If you are using a limo or other form of group transportation, make sure to tell your wedding party where to leave there cars and how they will be getting to and from their vehicle. Also, make sure to include at the top of the itinerary the addresses of the ceremony and reception locations – you don’t want someone to be late just because they got lost.


Meet Vendors at Ceremony and Reception Location

One of the things that a wedding planner will do the day of your wedding is to meet the vendors as they deliver things like flowers, the cake, etc. Now, if you are getting married at a reception hall, hotel, or any place that is semi-familiar with hosting wedding receptions, they will have a coordinator there to meet your vendors. Often times, reception sites must legally have a staff person present anyway along with your wedding planner to do things like supervise and unlock doors. Read more…

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