Planning

6 Secrets to Staying Calm Before Your Wedding

It’s no secret that planning your wedding can be a stressful experience. Even the most organized bride can become overwhelmed by the work of planning a wedding. As you juggle the guest list, your last-minute fittings, and the myriad of details that you need to wrap up before the big day, you may experience symptoms of anxiety such as sleeplessness, fatigue, poor concentration, or excessive worry.

However, there are ways to keep these feelings from spoiling the joy of marrying your best friend. Here are six ways to stay calm in the hectic days before your wedding. 

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1. Treat Yourself to a Spa Day

Enjoy a day of stress-beating indulgences at the spa.  A facial, manicure, or pedicure will help you relax while helping you to be your most beautiful on your big day.

Many spas offer bridal packages that you can share with your bridesmaids. Make an appointment for the day before your wedding, and your skin and nails will be in top form for the special day.

2. Take a Yoga Class

Yoga is a mind-body practice that combines physical positions, controlled breathing, and meditation or relaxation. Yoga is a proven way to help you relax and manage stress and anxiety.

Breathing techniques mixed with yoga poses direct more oxygen to your body's vital organs. As a result, you will experience tension relief, sharper concentration, and less stress.

If you have time to take a yoga class before your wedding, do so. If not, you can follow along with a beginners’ DVD or YouTube. Here are two easy poses to get you started:

The Bridge Pose

1. Lie on your back, with bent knees and feet placed flat on the floor about hip width apart. Slide your arms along the sides of your body with the palms facing down. Your fingertips should lightly touch your heels.

2. Pressing your feet into the floor and keeping your knees hip width apart, inhale and lift your hips as you slowly roll your spine off the floor.

3. Press into your arms and shoulders to lift your chest, using your legs and buttocks to lift your hips higher.

4. Hold this position for about six deep breaths. Then release on an exhale and slowly roll your spine back to a flat position on the floor.

Standing Forward Bend

1. From a standing position, exhale and bend forward, bending your knees enough to bring your palms flat to the floor and lightly press your head against your legs.

2. Feel the stretch in your spine as you gently pull your head down and then in towards your legs. Press your hips up and straighten your legs to intensify the stretch.

3. Hold this position for about six deep breaths. Then bend your knees and inhale as you raise your arms and torso back up to the standing position.

The more time you spend focusing on your breathing and on your mind-body connection, the stronger you will feel.

3. Delegate Some of the Work

Remember when your friends and family members offered to help you with the wedding when you told them about your engagement?

With the wedding fast approaching, it’s time to take them up on their generous offers. You cannot do everything on your own. Enlist help for running last minute errands and making phone calls. Here are a few other tasks to assign to trusted individuals.

  • Picking up out-of-town guests at the airport or train station
  • Making tabletop decorations or favors
  • Ushering
  • Handling the guestbook
  • Making or checking place cards
  • Confirming times and other details with caterer, photographer, florist, and musicians

4. Be Your Most Beautiful

If there ever was a day to want to look and feel your absolute best, it is your wedding day. After searching the internet and the wedding magazines for possible hairstyles, it is time to visit a trusted hair salon for professional advice and assistance. 

Consider both your dress and your wedding headpiece when you make your decisions.  Bring along a close friend or family member to take photos. Allow plenty of time to try different styles, so that you will look your most beautiful when you say, “I do.” 

5. Indulge ... A Little

Most brides begin a diet and fitness regime long before their wedding day. It’s great to want to look and feel your best, but eating a very low-calorie diet can add to the stress of wedding planning. 

What are your favorite treats? Ice cream? Chocolate? Mom’s homemade lasagna? Plan to indulge in one of your favorites before the wedding. Food is one of the comforts of life, and you will enjoy the way a little letting go helps you unwind and relax during this stressful period.

6. Read a Great Book

Reading is a great escape. When you find that you cannot turn off your mind from all the wedding tasks, grab a good novel and leave the rest of the world behind for a little while.

Getting lost in a book can lower your heart rate and ease the tension in your muscles. A University of Sussex research study found that reading can reduce stress by nearly 70 percent, and it works faster and better than other known stress-reducers such as listening to music or drinking a hot cup of tea.

Think about why you’re doing all of this work. Think about the love you and your fiancé share and about the wonderful life you will build together. When you consider all the wedding details as simply a means to a glorious end – the two of you together – that makes it all worthwhile.


Today's tips were brought to you by Grand Salon, a full-service beauty salon based in Denver. We pride ourselves on outstanding customer service, and offering the most fabulous cuts, color and style services in Denver. Come explore our skin care services today!

5 Father Daughter Dance Tips, Inspired by Darth Vader

Don’t you love “Star Wars?” I remember standing in line with my dad to see it opening weekend. Not only does this date me, but it brings me to the relationship of fathers and daughters everywhere.

Check out these 5 father daughter dance tips, inspired by quotes from Darth Vader.

1.  "He is as clumsy as he is stupid."

This is how many dads feel when dancing. 

2.  “You do not yet realize your importance.”

Darth Vader was important to Leia, and dads are really important to their daughters. Your father daughter dance is your last embrace before she takes on another man’s last name.

3. Jedi gain power through understanding.”

Take on your inner-Padawan and gain some understanding so you can feel the power of leading your daughter around the dance floor. Start planning your father daughter dance 3-6 months in advance of the wedding so you have time to feel natural dancing. 

4. "You may use any methods necessary.”

Take dance lessons with your daughter, your wife, or on your own. Then take time to practice and visualize your new skills. Use every opportunity to go out dancing with family and friends. 

5. "The circle is now complete. When I left you, I was but the learner. Now I am the master."

With the confidence from learning a few dance moves for your father daughter dance, you can be the master of your force on the dance floor.

Do you feel like you move like a technological terror? Believe in the force; become a Padawan of dance, and master the art of dance. Armed with these tips, you can use your power for good and not evil as you sweep across the dance floor with your daughter on her wedding day.


These tips are brought to you by Holly Collins.

Holly is the author of "Holly's Hot Wedding Tips" and owner of Adventures in Dance. She is a champion ballroom dancer and coach, and winner of The Knot's Best Wedding Dance.

You can learn more about Holly's services at adventuresindance.com

7 Pro Wedding Makeup Tips

My favorite kind of makeup to do is bridal. I love being a part of one of the most important days in a couple's life. Not only is bridal makeup one of my favorites, but it's one of the most popular services that I offer. Here are some helpful bits of advice that I can offer to you if you or someone you know may be getting married soon.

Think timeless.

This is not the time to be trendy. Consider being more trendy with your makeup for a boudoir shoot or your engagement photos. Your wedding photos are forever and will be enjoyed by generations to come.

Stay true to the theme of your wedding.

If it is a beach destination wedding or something more rustic, consider a more natural look. If it is a black tie affair, think more dramatic.

You need more makeup than you think for it to translate well in the photos.

Always take a photo after your wedding trial to see what I mean. In photos, your makeup will appear to be much subtler than in real life. Take your trial run photos in natural light, as it is the most honest lighting. If you are lucky enough to live in a beautiful Colorado, many of your actual wedding photos will be outside, so it just makes sense.

You must do a trial run with your makeup artist before the wedding.

It will make for a much smoother process on your wedding day. You should be able to just sit back and relax on your wedding day, knowing exactly what your makeup will look like. Sometimes, you may not be a good fit with a particular makeup artist and you will want to determine that ahead of time.

Wear white during your trial run.

This will help you to envision how your makeup will look with your wedding dress. Even better, you could time your makeup trial to be on the same day as your hair trial or your dress fitting. The more pieces of the puzzle you have in place, the more confident you will feel. Show off your makeup trial by scheduling it on the same day as a special occasion such as a bridal shower or bachelorette party. If you are unsure of how you feel about your makeup, you can get the opinions of your family or friends. Plus, you should never let good makeup go to waste. Don't go home and sit in front of the TV. How often do you get your makeup done by a professional makeup artist?


Never try any new procedure or service right before the wedding.

It seems like the perfect time to pamper yourself by getting that new microdermabrasion or chemical peel, but if you don't know how your skin is going to react, try it a few weeks ahead of time. If you are considering a spray tan for the first time, try it out for another occasion like a weekend getaway, not your wedding. Plan ahead of time with your appointments so that you can get in with your usual hair colorist or brow waxing specialist. This is not the best time to try someone or something new.

Look for models who look like you for inspiration.

For example, this will help you imagine how you'd look with a bold red lip, if you're a redhead. Pinterest is amazing for inspiration. I was not lucky enough to have this resource back in the day when I got married. It's always a good idea to come prepared with as many visuals as possible on your trial day so that you can communicate clearly with your makeup artist. A "smokey eye" can mean very different things to different people, so inspiration pictures are always helpful.


Today's tips are brought to you by Nicole Toledo Makeup Artistry. She provides on location makeup services to the Colorado area. With over 15 years of makeup experience, you can be guaranteed beautiful makeup that will be long wearing and photograph gorgeously. Nicole prides herself in providing a positive, stress-free experience for all her brides.

 If you or someone you know is in need of a wedding makeup artist, please reach out to her at nicoletoledomakeupartistry.com

7 Bridal Party Rules of Etiquette

Communicating with bridesmaids can be tricky business. To avoid tension and meltdowns, learn the proper etiquette when dealing with sticky situations between you and your bridal party. Whether you are unsure of the proper protocol or you don’t know how to deal with a certain situation, we want to give you a guide for getting through the showers, fittings, and rehearsals leading up to the big day.

Asking for Participation

When asking some people to help out with your wedding day—for instance, your long-time friend—you know you will get an automatic confirmation. However, there may be some people, such as your future sister-in-law, who give you a vague answer.

When someone gives you a less-than-enthusiastic answer, don’t feel slighted. Perhaps you two are not that well acquainted yet, or she's low on cash. Do your best to communicate kindly and openly to get to the heart of the issue. Make sure you get a definite answer either way, and move on.

Gifts

Since your bridesmaids do a lot to make your big day a success, you should always try to gift them with something special. It doesn’t have to be expensive, and if you are on a budget your bridesmaids will understand; just something thoughtful to show your appreciation is enough.

Attire

While deciding on a dress can prove to be a difficult task, there are no real etiquette guidelines on how involved you should or shouldn’t be. You may want to give your bridesmaids guidelines and a color/style to go by. Or, you may want them to choose their own dresses.

What is important is that every bridesmaid feels comfortable in her dress. You want each bridesmaid’s opinion to feel respected, especially if you are making a group decision on the dress.

(For more bridesmaid dress styling tips, check out the Colorful Colorado Weddings blog post, "5 Bridesmaid Trends for Modern Weddings".)

Pregnant Bridesmaid

Just because a bridesmaid may be showing by the wedding doesn’t mean she can’t be in it. There are plenty of dress options, like an empire waist, that will fit over her belly without drawing too much attention to her.

Order of Bridesmaids and Groomsmen

Ordering your attendants can get tricky. You may want to line them up by height if you are worried about that sort of thing in photos. Be warned that if you want to line your party up by relationship to you (“you’re closest to me so you go first …") you may hurt some feelings. To avoid ruffled feathers, you might consider allowing your bridesmaids and groomsmen to choose the order of lineup themselves.

Uneven Number of Groomsmen and Bridesmaids

Just because you don’t have the same number of groomsmen and bridesmaids doesn’t mean you should host a casting call for stand-ins. It is completely acceptable to have an uneven number. Have two groomsmen escort a bridesmaid down the aisle, or find creative ways to take photos with the odd number of attendants.

Plus Ones for Your Wedding Party

It is a nice gesture to allow all your bridesmaids and groomsmen to bring a plus one to the wedding. However, if you cannot allow every single attendant a plus one, at least extend the invitation to spouses, fiancés, and life partners.


Today's tips are brought to you by Ron Burg of The American Wedding, which has been a family-owned business since 1919. As a USA-based company, you can expect the hardworking staff to meet your high standards of quality and value by creating error-free processing according to your specific needs. 

Visit The American Wedding for all your wedding invitations, stationery, tableware, party favors, and more!

5 Tips for a Frugal Fall Wedding

Planning a fall wedding has tons of advantages—a beautiful natural backdrop, off-season vendor pricing, and less risk of sweating through ten layers of tulle. Even if your dream venue offers a discount after the summer wedding rush, keeping your budget under control (hello, approaching holidays!) is still a concern for most autumn brides.

Check out these five tips for planning a beautiful, frugal, fall wedding!

1. Go Au Naturale With Fall Foliage

Unlike your marriage, costly floral arrangements won’t last very long. Splurge on your bridal bouquet (or, if you’re crafty, make your own!) but choose seasonal foliage to save serious cash. Leaves as greenery can look just as stunning as an expensive arrangement, especially if they’ve turned brilliant red and gold. Jack-o-lanterns may be too Halloweeny (unless you’re having a Halloween-themed wedding!), but uncarved pumpkins make unexpectedly charming centerpieces.

Extra Frugal Tip: Repurpose your bouquets as decorations after the ceremony. You’ll need to get your maid of honor to wrangle them (you’ll be busy!), but have vases ready on your cake or head table to turn bridesmaids’ bouquets into beautiful table arrangements.

2.Forget the Cake—It's Pie Season!

Nontraditional wedding desserts are more popular than ever—cupcake towers, cookie buffets, and even sundae stations are rapidly overtaking the traditional wedding cake. Since the fall season is the perfect time for pie, why not serve it at your wedding?

Unlike cake, which is a standard at birthday parties, retirement send-offs, and graduations, pies are generally served only around the holidays (unless you have an awesome grandmother who makes them for you all the time and, if so, please invite us over), so they’re more of a rare treat. Consider replacing the four-tiered frosted wedding cake with a pie buffet—with so many pie options, everyone will be able to find something they like!

Extra Frugal Tip: Host a pie-baking marathon the weekend before your wedding, and get friends and family to help you assemble your delicious desserts. Buying ingredients in bulk will help save cash, and you might even be able to recruit Grandma.

3. Take Advantage of Gently-Used Wedding Gear

The summer wedding rush is over, meaning Craigslist is packed full of summer brides trying to unload their used decorations, dresses, and tableware. Scour local buy-and-sell groups to see what kind of deals you can score. Lots of brides have figured out that buying things like tablecloths and wine glasses is cheaper than renting if you can sell it later, which means bigger savings for you. If you can match up with a bride with similar tastes, you may be able to score centerpieces and other decor for a fraction of the price—and, if they’re DIY, will be a huge time savings for you.

Extra Frugal Tip: If you can find a bride whose wedding is the weekend before yours, offering tear-down help in exchange for wedding items could save you hundreds or more. For example, she may be willing to cut you a crazy deal on items like tablecloths or wine glasses if you pick them up right after the wedding—you may have to wash them, but you’ll save serious cash.

4. Spend on Photos, Save on Video

Recording the memories and emotions of your wedding day is a huge priority. If you’ve already spent your photography budget on a great wedding photographer to capture those fleeting moments, you may have given up on the idea of videography to round out your digital memories of your big day. Here’s the good news: while relying on guest photos alone to fill your photo album isn’t the greatest idea, you can DIY your wedding video and preserve your wedding day story—often for free!

Consider getting a friend with a good artistic eye to record video of your ceremony and some of your reception highlights, and then deliver the digital footage on an external hard drive after the wedding. Services like WeVideo allow you to edit video online for free, and with a bunch of awesome features like non-cheesy transitions, stylized text, and voiceover narration, you can make your wedding video look professional in no time at all. They have easy drag-and-drop editing, so it’s simple to cut out Uncle Doug’s long-winded (and not entirely sober) speech about how awkward you were as a kid!

Extra Frugal Tip: Try out the WeVideo Flex package—it’s cheaper than a recurring subscription, and won’t expire until you use it.

5. Ask for Help Instead of Gifts

We all wish we could afford a wedding planner to take care of every detail (and manage demanding relatives) leading up to the wedding, but at upwards of $2,000 for a day-of coordinator, it may not fit in your frugal budget. If you’re not afraid to ask, you’ll be surprised at the number of friends and family members willing to lend a helping hand in lieu of a gift.

If you’re doing a backyard wedding or renting a super-minimal venue, you’ll need help setting up and tearing down. Recruit your younger cousin whose student status means he can’t afford a lavish gift. Let him know you’d be super appreciative if he could help move heavy tables or sound gear, and you’d consider it the best wedding gift of all. You may be worried that it sounds greedy, but guests tend to stress over gifts more than you might think and giving them a free (and hugely appreciated) alternative will make everyone happier.

Extra Frugal Tip: Seek out friends with special talents, like your crafty former roommate or piano-virtuoso coworker, to help with decorations or provide reception music. Just be careful when using “friendors”—if you put too much pressure on someone to help out they may back out or feel resentful. Only ask them for what you know they can handle, and be gracious if they can’t commit.

Remember, your wedding day is about you and your future spouse! Don’t be afraid to replace old traditions with things that are extra-meaningful to the two of you, especially if it helps slim down your wedding budget. Having an autumn wedding is a great way to save cash and create a beautiful, memorable event that you and your guests will cherish forever.


Today's tips are brought to you by Lauren Colman of WeVideo. She is a video creator, social media nerd, mom to a French bulldog named Squish, and power napper.

Visit WeVideo.com to learn more about how you can create your own outstanding wedding video.

5 Bridesmaid Dress Trends for Modern Weddings

While the bride will be the center of the show on her wedding day, we can’t forget about her girls! They’re there to compliment and complete the picture perfect day!

The bridal party is all about doing things in uniform; hosting a bridal shower, engagement party, getting down with a bachelorette party, and maybe even helping out with a few DIY projects. But just because they do things in uniform, doesn’t mean they have to wear one solid uniform!

We wanted to share a few of our favorite bridesmaid dress trends to help kick off that conversation with your girls that everyone would love and appreciate!

Photo by  Jessilynn Wong

Trend #1: Mix and Match Styles, Same Color/Color Palette

The bride has a vision, all her BFFS in one uniform…but then reality hits and she realizes that not all her girls look good with the same dress style. While days of old show us bridesmaids wearing the same dress style, break tradition and switch it up! We often see brides giving their bridesmaids the freedom to choose the style they want, but in the specific wedding color. With this style trend, we have each of the bridesmaids in a dress style they’re comfortable with and this makes for a great photo op on the big day!

Trend #2: Mix and Match Colors, Same Style

Let’s face it, whether you have an opinionated group of girls or not, the color choice is always going to be a controversial one. This new trend of mixing and matching colors, yet in the same style of dress, is one that should please everyone. The bride chooses the dress style and her girls can choose from the different colors that the bride has picked. Preselected colors are best so that there aren't any clashing colors.

Trend #3: Mix and Match Colors and Styles

Photo by  Jessilynn Wong

What about the bride that wants to give her girls the best of both worlds? The bride can choose a family of colors and have her bridesmaids choose from a variety of styles. It gives the bridesmaids a chance to have as much freedom as they can while also ensuring that they could wear the dress again!

Trend #4: Sparkles

Thinking of having a Cinderella-inspired wedding? Why not go all out and add some bling-bling to the dress? The girls will shine bright like a diamond and complete the fairy tale wedding!

 

Trend #5: Floral

A bit on the non-traditional side, floral printed bridesmaid dresses transform the look of the entire bridal party. It’s romantic and adds a bit of that forest fairy flair to the big day.

Which trend do you love the most? We would love to know in the comments below!

 


Today's tips are brought to you by Francesca Castor of Pastel Dress Party.

Pastel Dress Party is a one-stop online boutique offering attire, painless shopping, and virtual styling services for the modern bridal party. Their bridesmaid dresses are all made-to-measure and can be customized to fit any bridal party’s needs. 

Check out more of the latest bridesmaid dresses and tips at PastelDress.com.

How to Create a Weather Contingency Plan for Your Outdoor Wedding

I distinctly remember checking the 10 day forecast for my outdoor wedding and bursting into tears upon seeing the threat of rain because I had no Plan B. By taking the time to develop a weather contingency plan, you can ensure a lovely wedding day, rain or shine. There's no need for you to shed tears over your outdoor wedding, unless they're happy tears! 

General Weather Considerations

Plan Alternative Photos Plans

Talk with your photographer about ways to capture unique, beautiful photos, even if the weather isn't nice. Perhaps you'll have a photoshoot in the snow, under an umbrella, or even in a classic car!

Consider Event Insurance

While wedding insurance might seem like an extra expense, it would protect you from losing money from disasters ranging from stolen gifts to a tornado strike.

Book a Backup Venue

If possible, book a community center, fire hall, theater, or church reception hall as a backup venue. You can hope for the best that your first choice venue works out, but you'll have peace of mind knowing you have somewhere else to go if you need it.

Make a Final Call

I'll never forget sitting through my husband's college graduation in the pouring rain because the school made the call to have the ceremony outside over 24 hours in advance, when the weather report seemed okay. For your wedding, you can make the final call about 3-5 hours before the ceremony begins. Confirm this plan with your vendors, but this time frame should give you time to see how the weather will be, and give your vendors enough time to set up accordingly.

Communicate Your Plan

Your plan should include a schedule of where guests and vendors should be and how supplies should be set up. Clearly state on your wedding invitation or wedding website what the weather contingency plan is and collect cell phone numbers when you ask guests to RSVP. Delegate friends or relatives to help announce the final plan on the wedding day. For example, your maid-of-honor could text all of your wedding guests whose last name starts with A-D, etc. 

Rainy Weather

Bring Umbrellas

Not only will umbrellas keep your guests dry, they can be used as a charming accessory in wedding party photos.

Move Somewhere Else On-Site

If possible, book a venue that has both indoor and outdoor facilities. I recently coordinated a wedding where the couple planned to set up tables for an outdoor reception, but there was a barn on the same property that they were able to set up in when they realized it was going to rain.

Book a Tent

If you book a venue that has absolutely no indoor or covered option, ask if they would allow you to rent a tent in the event of rain.

Bring Spare Shoes

If you're outside in soft wet grass, shoes with spiky heels will sink right into the ground. The bride and bridesmaids should pack flats or even rain boots. The bride can cover up rain boots with her dress or show them off for some cute, unique photos.

Postpone the Ceremony

If you have no where else to go, consider postponing the ceremony anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour to wait out a shower.

Cold Weather

Hot Beverages

Consider having a dispenser of hot coffee, cocoa, or cider for guests to sip on while they're waiting for the ceremony and reception to begin.

Blankets

Colorado is known for unexpected snow showers! Even if you're getting married in May, you may want to have blankets on hand just in case guests need to bundle up during your ceremony.

Program by  DWE Haus  // Photo by  Jon Stars

Program by DWE Haus // Photo by Jon Stars

Hot Weather

Water Bottles

For your guests' safety, make sure to provide plenty of water bottles to the wedding party, helpers, and guests so everyone can stay hydrated.

Fan Programs

If you're planning a summer wedding, consider handing out paper fans with your ceremony order of events printed on them. They'll keep your guests cool and informed!

Humid Weather

Hair

The bride should talk with her hairstylist about a hairdo that will withstand humidity. Also, try using anti-frizz hair products such as Frizz Ease.

Makeup

If it's so humid it feels like you're swimming, the bride and bridesmaids will likely need to fix their makeup throughout the wedding day. Remove shine with Clean & Clear's oil absorbing sheets and pack spare makeup for touchups.

Good Luck!

Bad weather doesn't have to ruin your wedding day, especially if you take a little time to think through a weather contingency plan. It's an old saying that a rainy wedding means good luck in your marriage! Remember, no matter what the weather is like, at the end of the day, you'll be happily married!

Sources: Reflective Bride // Lover.ly // Married by Josh // The Knot

Tips for Planning a Wedding From Out-of-Town

Whether you want a wedding outside the U.S. or in your hometown after moving away, there are unique challenges in planning a wedding from out-of-town. Destination weddings are fun, romantic, and exciting, and can be executed expertly with some careful planning.

Save-the-Dates

Your guests will need plenty of time to make travel arrangements and request time off from work for your destination wedding, especially if you're getting married over a busy holiday weekend. After you book your venue, send out your save-the-dates about 1 year in advance so your guests can mark their calendars and begin prepping to celebrate with you.

Research Local Laws

Before setting your wedding plans in stone, make sure to research local laws to avoid surprises. For example, I planned my wedding reception in a state park in New Jersey, only to later realize alcohol is not permitted and there is a strict limit to how man cars will fit in the parking lot. 

Also, research what you have to do in order to obtain your marriage license. If you're getting married in the Denver area, read "How to Get a Marriage License in Denver."

Plan Details Virtually

Your destination wedding will have a lot of moving parts, with supplies and help coming from all over. Using Google Docs and Google Sheets to plan your wedding will help ensure nothing falls through the cracks.

The great thing about Google Docs and Sheets is that they can be shared via email with anyone. You're working in Chicago while your fiancé is finishing law school in Pittsburgh and your parents are helping plan your Denver wedding? No problem. You can all look at your wedding budget and edit it in real time. The documents save automatically and are stored in the cloud.

After thoroughly planning out your wedding weekend itinerary, share the document with all vendors, friends, and relatives who are involved in executing your wedding plans.

Consult a Local Wedding Planner

Destination resorts often have an on-sight coordinator who can recommend wedding pros they usually partner with and assist you in arranging your wedding plans from afar.

If your venue doesn't have a coordinator, consider hiring a wedding coordinator based in the area of your wedding. If you haven't budgeted for a full-service planner who can help you find local vendors, at least consider hiring a local day-of coordinator who can support you in executing all of the wedding day details.

If you're getting married in the Denver area, check out our directory of local planners and coordinators.

Read Reviews and Get Recommendations

Browse the internet to get a feel for what past clients are saying about your prospective vendors and check out what people are saying about them on social media. Also, put local networking to use. Once you book a vendor you really like, ask them for their suggestions. For example, if you find an amazing caterer, ask them which florist they love to work with.

Be Upfront About Your Budget

It's quite common for wedding pros to hold-off on giving a price quote until they've had the chance to meet with you face-to-face. You don't have time for this process if you're planning from out-of-town, of course.

When you reach out to vendors, be upfront with your plans and budget. Explain that you're planning from out-of-town, what you're hoping to accomplish with their services, and approximately what your budget is. This will help you quickly find the vendors that are right for you.

For more budgeting tips, check out "How to Create a Wedding Budget."

Schedule Meetings for the Same Day

If you can arrange at least one visit before booking your vendors, meeting with them in person will definitely bring you peace of mind. While you probably won't visit the Bahamas to check out your potential wedding venue in advance, you might be able to schedule a visit to your wedding locale if it's in a nearby state. 

You won't have time to meet 5 different photographers, so before coming to town, narrow down your favorite vendors. Schedule appointments with all of your prospective vendors for the same day or two so you can crank out as many meetings as possible during your short visit. While time may be limited, don't forget to read all vendor contracts carefully before signing them.

Make Payments in Advance

If there's one thing you don't want to worry about, it's transporting large sums of cash to pay vendors in person on the wedding day. Always ask vendors if it's possible to pay in advance via credit card. Be sure to ask for a receipt and pay off your bill right away.

Consider National Chains

Using a national chain when possible can reduce some potential confusion. Renting the groomsmen's attire from a chain such as Men's Warehouse will allow you to easily make arrangements from anywhere.

The groomsmen can go for a fitting at the Men's Warehouse near their home, and their information can be sent to the Men's Warehouse near the wedding location. It will also be simple to get a replacement of the correct color tie in case anyone spills mustard on theirs!

Consider Accommodations

If possible, have your ceremony and reception in the same location so your guests don't have to worry about transportation. Before booking your venue, consider whether it's easily accessible from local hotels and an airport. It's a nice gesture to reserve a block of rooms at a hotel so that your guests don't have to decide where to book a room. 

For more ways to welcome your guests, read "Accommodating Out-of-Town Wedding Guests."

Simplify Your Decor

Traveling with loads of decorations and favors can be challenging. Consider keeping your decorations simple. Try to rent a venue that has natural beauty and doesn't need a lot of decor. Brighten up your venue with flowers arranged by a local florist, and consider renting other decorations and purchasing favors from local providers instead of trying to bring them with you.

Plan Your Flight

If you'll need to fly to your wedding destination, it's never too early to sign up for airfare price alerts from Airfarewatchdog or Kayak. Before purchasing your plane ticket, consider the airline's luggage policy. If you have a lot of DIY decorations or attire to pack, consider flying with an airline such as Southwest (domestic flights only) which allows you to check 2 bags for free. If possible, put your most important belongings in your carry-on luggage so you don't have to worry about it getting misplaced.

Arrive a Few Days Before the Wedding

Can you imagine missing a flight and not making it to your own wedding? Leave plenty of time in your schedule to arrive to your wedding area without feeling rushed or panicked, and encourage your family and wedding party to do the same. This will give you time to tie up any loose ends, track down missing luggage, purchase local supplies, pick up rentals, and meet with vendors, if necessary. 

Rent a Home

Skip the hotel and consider using Airbnb to find a home to rent near the wedding venue. You and your wedding party will be traveling from out-of-town with luggage, wedding clothes, decorations, etc. Having a house to settle into for the weekend will help everyone feel at home, reduce stress, and prevent important wedding items from getting lost. You'll also save money by cooking in, instead of staying in a hotel and dining out.

Be an Early Bird

Remember, it's never too early to start planning. Nail down as many details as you can in advance so you'll have time to hammer out any last minute issues. Start by booking your venue and the vendors that are important to you, and branch out to smaller details from there.

Soon you'll be well on your way to an amazing, memorable destination wedding!

Sources: Every Last Detail // The Pink Bride

How to Get a Marriage License in Denver

Filling out government paperwork is not the most glamorous part of wedding planning, but it's a vital step to legalize your marriage.

There are 5 basic steps that you'll follow to make things official:

  1. Apply for a marriage license.
  2. Appear at the Clerk and Recorder office in person with ID to answer questions.
  3. Fill out the marriage license on your wedding day.
  4. Mail it in.
  5. Receive your marriage license in the mail.

Start Online

You can save time by beginning the application process online. When you complete the application, write down your confirmation number, and the Clerk and Recorder office will be able to pull up your file when you go in.

Where to Go

To get your marriage license, both you and your fiancé must go in person to the license counter at the Office of the Clerk and Recorder, located on the first floor of the Webb Municipal Office Building, 201 West Colfax Avenue in Denver. They're open 8:00-4:30. Once you get your marriage license, it can be used anywhere in the state of Colorado.

Both Partners Will Answer Questions

  • Provide the date you are getting married.
  • Are you are getting married in Colorado? 
  • Provide the exact date and location of your divorce or spouse's death if you have been married before.
  • Are you related by blood and if so, how?
  • Provide the city and state where parents of both parties were born.
  • Provide your social security number.
  • Be able to answer if you are marrying in front of a judge, through an officiant or religious ceremony, or if you are marrying yourselves by signing the license at the marriage counter.

Each Partner Will Present One Form of ID

  • U.S. state-issued driver's license or permit
  • U.S. state-issued ID
  • U.S. military ID
  • Passport that is bilingual or multilingual and includes English or passport with a certified English language translation if non-English
  • Not-acccepted: birth certificate

Cost

The marriage license fee is $30.00 cash, check, or credit card (Visa, MasterCard or Discover).

Fill it Out

Please read the Office of the Clerk and Recorder's instructions for filling out your marriage license correctly. These instructions are for anyone getting married with an officiant or by themselves. 

Wedding Coordinator Tips

Photo by  KissMe Weddings

Plan Pre-Ceremony

Often, couples forget to plan the details of how they'll deal with the marriage license on the wedding day. During the rehearsal or on the morning of the wedding, ask your officiant or day-of coordinator to hold onto the marriage license and a pen for you. 

Plan Post-Ceremony

Typically, the easiest time to sign the license is right after the ceremony, while your officiant and wedding party are still nearby. Traditionally, couples ask their maid-of-honor and best man to sign as witnesses.  Be sure to give your photographer a heads up if you'd like him/her to shoot you and your new spouse signing the license. Decide on a safe person to hand the marriage license off to, such as a parent, and ask if they'd be willing to mail it in for you, so you don't have to worry about it during your honeymoon.

Timing is Everything

Before the Wedding

Your marriage license will be usable as soon as you get it and is valid for only 35 days. I've seen super organized couples get their marriage license months before the wedding, only to realize it was void by their wedding day.

After the Wedding

It's free for your marriage license to be processed if it's mailed in within 63 days of your wedding. After that, there will be late fees. It takes 2-3 weeks to be processed, and then your marriage license will be mailed to you.

Changing Your Name

If you'd like to change your name, you should wait until your marriage license has been mailed to you. You should take it to the Social Security office first, then the Department of Motor Vehicles.

More Info

You can visit DenverGov.org to learn more marriage license information directly from the government.

Good luck making it official! 

How to Assign Seats for Your Wedding Reception

You’d be amazed by how many couples I've heard say creating a seating chart for their reception was one of the most challenging aspects of wedding planning for them!

Do You Need Assigned Seating?

When to Skip the Seating Chart

Some couples don't bother with assigned seating. If you’re having a cocktail reception or serving a buffet dinner to less than 50 guests, you could get by without a seating chart. Think about what would make your guests comfortable. For example, my wedding reception was in a state park with a self-serve buffet, giant picnic tables, and a loose schedule. A seating chart wouldn’t have made any sense in that laid-back setting. 

When Not to Skip the Seating Chart

While it can be challenging to create a seating chart, sometimes there may be more issues if you don’t take the time to do it. If you have more than 100 guests, just the right amount of seats, or a sit-down dinner, there is likely to be some confusion if there are no assigned tables.

  • People are used to finding an assigned table when they go to a wedding reception. When there aren’t assigned tables, I’ve seen guests wander around in confusion, trying to find their escort card.
  • Valuable reception time can be wasted if families can’t find seats together and are trying to switch chairs around with other guests. (This can also be stressful and embarrassing.)
  • It will be easier for waitstaff to serve entree options if they already know where the chicken people are sitting and where the vegan people are sitting.

Assigning Seats vs. Tables

If your servers need to know exactly where each guest is sitting, you will have to take the time to assign and label every seat with a place card for each guest’s name. In most cases, it’s more than sufficient to assign just tables, and allow your guests to choose their own seats. You won’t need any labels on the table other than the table number. You’ll write each guest’s name and table number on an escort card, which guests will pick up on their way into the reception.

When Should You Start Your Seating Chart?

While assigning seats comes later in the planning process, you don't have to put it off until the last minute. Set your RSVP date 3 weeks before the wedding so that you have plenty of time to round up straggler RSVPs and assign tables. Having a final guest count sooner than later will also be helpful for your caterer and venue manager.

Table Info

Your venue will be able to tell you how many tables you can fit in their space. Don't forget, guests and servers need room to walk between tables. You’ll need about 5 feet between each table, which may sound like a lot, but it’s not once chairs are pushed out.

An even number of people should be at each table, if possible. Below is the typical number of guests that can fit at various tables, but be sure to confirm with your venue or rental provider:

Rectangle Tables:

  • 4-6 guests: 30" x 48"
  • 6-8 guests: 30" x 72"
  • 8-10 guests: 30" x 96"

Round Tables:

  • 4 guests: 36" 
  • 6 guests: 54" 
  • 8 guests: 60" 
  • 10 guests: 72" 

Head Table

There are many ways you can choose to arrange your head table. Here are a few ideas:

  • Long rectangle head table consisting of the bride, groom, and the wedding party, while the ring bearer, flower girl, and plus-ones of the wedding party sit at a regular dinner table (Consider whether the wedding party’s plus-ones would feel more comfortable sitting at a table together, or spread out at tables with other people they already know.)
  • Long rectangle head table consisting of the bride, groom, the wedding party, and their plus-ones
  • Small sweetheart table consisting of the bride and groom, while the wedding party sits at regular dinner tables (This can provide a few minutes of alone time during your busy wedding day.) 
  • Small head table consisting of the bride, groom, maid-of-honor, and best man, with or without their plus-ones
  • Small head table, consisting of the bride, groom, and their parents

How to Organize Your Table Assignments

WeddingWire does have an online seating tool, but if you’re like me, you’ll prefer to see everything right out in front of you, and be able to easily move it around with your hands. I recommend using some notebook paper and small sticky notes. This makes sorting and rearranging super quick and easy.

Step 1: Write Down All of Your Guests' Names

Look at your guest list, and jot down one guest name per sticky note.

Step 2: Organize the Guests by Relationships/Commonalities

Label one piece of notebook paper each with a different relationship to you or your fiancé. For example, one page will say, “Childhood friends of the bride,” another will say “college friends of the groom,” etc. Then, fill up those pages with guest name sticky notes. All of your dad's co-workers will be on one page, while your volleyball team is on another page. It’s helpful to see how people are connected to each other before you try to break them into tables. 

Step 3: Divide Your Guests Into Tables

Once you’ve sorted your guests into groups, you should have a good idea of common relationships and interests, and you'll be able to divide your guests into tables. Grab some more blank notebook paper and label one page each as “table 1,” “table 2,” and so on. You can start moving guests from their group papers to the table number papers, and rearrange as much as you need to.

Once you’ve finalized your arragement, you can copy the assigned table numbers onto your guest list and make your escort cards.

Tips for Deciding Where People Should Sit

What Does Tradition Say?

Traditionally, the bride and groom’s parents, grandparents, siblings (if they’re not already sitting at the head table), and the officiant would sit at a table or two together. They would sit close to the bride and groom’s table, and be served dinner right after the bride and groom. If your parents are divorced, you could talk with them about who they would enjoy sitting with, such as close relatives or friends. If possible, seat younger guests closer to the dance floor, and older folks farther from the DJ's loud speakers.

Ask for Input

Something that could help you get started is to ask some of the people you know for their seating preferences. Asking for input will especially be helpful when you’re trying to figure out how to seat your parents’ friends.

Play Match-Maker

As you group people into tables, consider their interests, careers, and phase of life. Your guests won’t all know each other, but they could have a ton of fun meeting new, interesting people. If you still have an odd-ball friend or co-worker who might feel uncomfortable alone, it would be a nice gesture to allow them to bring a plus-one, even if you haven’t given that option to all of your guests.

Avoid Tension

Try to be considerate of anybody who might feel uncomfortable sitting together. (My husband and I have now shared a table with his ex-girlfriend at two weddings, ha!)

Be Creative

There are so many creative options to consider as you group guests together. I’ll always remember how much fun I had in high school at a wedding where I was seated with all of my cousins. At first it may have seemed logical for the bride and groom to seat me with my immediate family, but I see them all the time!

Don't Stress

It might be impossible to assign everyone the ideal table, but don’t stress out. Try your best to be sensitive to your guests’ feelings, but also remember your guests will be so happy to be at your wedding, celebrating you! You can also take comfort in the fact that your guests won’t really be chatting with their table-mates for that long before they’re listening to toasts and going off mingling, dancing, and visiting the bar anyway.

Photos by Vert Photo

Sources: vistapartyrentals.com // apracticalwedding.com // theknot.com

To DIY or Not to DIY?

DIY is always the cheapest way to go, right? Well, you’d think a do it yourself project would be cheaper than purchasing pre-made products for your wedding, but that’s not necessarily always the case.

I definitely saved money by making the bunting that’s pictured below instead of purchasing it, but looking back at the hours I spent cutting paper for my wedding decor, I've realized DIY projects cost more than just money.

Before beginning any DIY project, ask yourself 3 questions:

  1. How much money will the materials cost?
  2. How much time will this cost?
  3. How much stress will this cost?

To DIY

Maybe you have a specific way in which you 'd like to save money, or you have a specific talent you'd love to use. At one wedding I coordinated, the bride showed her love for thrifting by purchasing a unique, vintage mug as each guest's favor. That project was a time consuming undertaking, but she had a ton of fun doing it, it reflected her unique personality, and it allowed her to save money on favors.

Not to DIY

Sometimes by the time you buy all the supplies and invest a maddening number of hours into a project, you realize it might have been worth it to buy the product pre-made. Sometimes the monetary cost is about the same either way, or it might even be worth spending a few extra dollars to save yourself time and stress.

When I got married, I wanted to save money by catering the reception ourselves. My mom helped me realize it would not be worth the huge amount of time and stress required to prepare and serve all of the food to such a large group of people. We ended up hiring a caterer and found other ways to save money.

Do What's Best for You

DIY projects can be a fun way to get hands-on with your wedding prep, but don’t drive yourself crazy trying to save a few cents.  Most of your guests won’t know the difference or care whether you painstakingly handmade the guestbook or ordered it off Amazon for 10 bucks.

If you need a break from wedding planning, you can check out some hilarious Pinterest catastrophes over at PinterestFail.com Have you had any DIY projects go wrong? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

Accommodating Out-of-Town Wedding Guests

Not only is Colorado a popular destination wedding spot, couples often meet after moving to the area and decide to get married near their new home. In either case, most of the wedding guests are not locals. If your wedding guests are traveling from out of town, there are creative ways to be an accommodating host.

Save the Dates

If most of your guests will be traveling from out-of-town, or if you're getting married over a busy holiday weekend, send out your save-the-dates about 1 year before the wedding. This will give your guests plenty of time to make travel plans for your big day. Save the dates should include your names as well as the date and location of the celebration.

Wedding Website

A wedding website like the one I made for free when I got married using TheKnot.com is a great way to share information with your guests. Your website should include a wedding weekend schedule, the locations of the reception and ceremony, suggested hotels, the names of the nearest train station and airport, public transportation information, and suggested sightseeing. For example, you could mention your favorite Denver brewery or museum. You and your fiancé may be busy every waking moment, but your guests might like to fill some down time with local attractions that are special to you.

Accommodations

Before booking your venue, consider whether it will be easily accessible from local hotels and the nearest airport. While there are many gorgeous, remote wedding spots throughout Colorado, some are harder to get to than others for out-of-towners, especially if there's a lot of snow. Consider reserving a block of rooms in a nearby hotel, so guests can easily book a room near the wedding venue.

Transportation

A wedding shuttle is my favorite way that I’ve seen Denver couples accommodate their out-of-town guests. Your guests are already paying for a flight and a hotel room; rather than your guests renting cars and trying to navigate in a new city, treat them to bus transportation. You don’t have to worry about anyone getting lost and your guests can continue partying and socializing during the ride without worrying about drinking and driving. Just have all of your guests stay in the same hotel, and they’ll be whisked off to the ceremony and reception in a bus like the one pictured below, provided by Limo Denver. It’s fun and stress-free, and shows your guests you’ve gone the extra mile to accommodate them.

Welcome Basket or Bag

You might like to treat your guests to some special goodies to help them feel at home in their hotel rooms. You could include anything from snacks and souvenirs to toiletries and a local map.

Face Time

Your wedding guests made the effort to come to your wedding so they could spend time with you, so be sure they can. Arrange a get-together prior to the rehearsal dinner such as a laid-back lunch that includes all of your out-of-town guests. During the reception, make a toast and acknowledge how touched you are by everyone who traveled to be there. Since couples often fly off to their honeymoon some time the day after their wedding, it’s growing increasingly popular to have a brunch the morning after the wedding with everyone who's still in town.

Have you thought of other creative ways to show your out-of-town guests some love? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below!

Source: theknot.com

How to Create a Wedding Budget

No matter how much or how little money you have for your wedding, a budget will help keep you from spending more than you'd anticipated. If you track your expenses carefully, you might even come in under budget! Let this motivate you: Anything that's left over in the wedding budget can be used for a new home, car, or vacation!

Answer Some Questions

  • What is your wedding philosophy?
  • Who's paying for the wedding and how much do you/they have? (Remember, the more people there are funding the wedding, the more opinions you will need to take into consideration throughout your planning.)

Pick Your Tool

If you're a math loving technophobe, by all means, create your wedding budget with paper and pencil. For the rest of us, there's Excel, Google Sheets, or a wedding planning website such as Wedding Wire or The Knot.

  • Excel Document:

While Excel is a powerful spreadsheet tool, it is difficult to share updated versions with your fiancé, parents, or other wedding money decision makers because your spreadsheet is saved onto your computer's hard drive.

  • The Knot or Wedding Wire:

TheKnot.com and WeddingWire.com both have free budgeting tools. This a great option if you're feeling overwhelmed because you don't know where to start. There are suggested fields for you to fill in under headings such as "Reception," and "Ceremony." This means you don't have to come up with much from scratch.

You can just skip the fields that aren't applicable to you. The downside is that it's not easy to share with others, although it is printable. I didn't end up using this tool, but the suggested fields did guide the creation of my budget.

  • Google Sheets:

The advantage of Google Sheets is that you can easily share them with others. If you have a Gmail account, you can create a Google Sheet for free. You can adjust the settings so the people you share it with can view the sheet or view and edit it.

Create Your Budget Document

Your budget needs three columns. "Items," "Projected Cost," and "Actual Cost". Don't forget to use a sum formula at the bottom of your Projected Cost and Actual Cost columns which will total up each amount for you.

Recognize the Difference Between Negotiables and Non-Negotiables

Using your wedding philosophy, you and your fiancé can decide what is important enough to you to splurge on, and what would be okay to cut in order to save money. For every couple, these things will be different.

For example, as ridiculous as it may sound, one of the few dreams I had for my wedding was to have an inflatable bounce house at my reception! I didn't care what it would cost; I had to have it. My parents really wanted to serve coffee at the reception, but I felt coffee had nothing to do with my wedding philosophy, and it just wasn't a priority to me like the bounce house.

Needless to say, our wedding guests jumped around in a bounce house, caffeine-free. Your list of. It is totally possible for you to stay within budget and go all out on some things, as long as you're willing to save on details that aren't as important to you. Your list of negotiables vs. non-negotiables will allow your budget to focus on what you can buy, instead of what you can't.

Research

Browse our Local Venues & Vendors Directory, make phone calls, and search the Internet to get estimates for the items you envision for your wedding, and enter the prices into your budget under Projected Cost. Start with big ticket items such as venue, catering, and photography or any extremely important non-negotiables.

Then, move onto smaller, negotiable details like your rhinestone "BRIDE" bathrobe. Leave wiggle room for unexpected expenses because they will pop up! (It's going to be 30 degrees hotter on our wedding day than we expected!? We better buy more water bottles!)

Once you've seen your projected expenditures, you and your fiancé may need to discuss tweaking some things in order to stay within your budget. 

Record Your Purchases

As you make purchases and book vendors, carefully keep a record in the Actual Cost column of your budget. It is much easier to enter prices into the budget immediately after each purchase than it is to try to remember them accurately later. Don't forget, you might have to cut some of those negotiable items. ("GROOM" boxer briefs??)

Stay True to Your Wedding Philosophy

Creating the budget isn't the hard part; sticking to your budget is the hard part. When disagreements arise about how to spend the budget (and they will arise) check to see if the expenditures in question align with your wedding philosophy to keep decision making simple.

What are some negotiable expenditures you're going to cut in order to stay within your budget? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Photography by Jon Stars

The One Thing You Need to do Before You Start Wedding Planning

Before you begin wedding planning, there’s one thing you need to do with your fiancé:

Create a wedding philosophy.

Before you pick out napkin colors, ask yourselves these questions:

1. What is the purpose of our wedding?
2. Who is our wedding for?
3. How do we want to feel at our wedding?
4. How do we want our guests to feel at our wedding?
5. What are our values and priorities?
6. What is our budget?

Framework for Tough Decisions

Your philosophy might be, “We want to honor our culture's traditions and our guests.” Then, when tough decisions come up like, “Should we spend an extra few hundred dollars to buy an arch to stand under during the ceremony?” you can look and see if it aligns with your philosophy. Is the arch an important part of your culture? Is it an important family tradition? Will your guests feel more honored seeing the arch? If the answer to these questions is "no," your decision has been made for you.

Stick to Your Philosophy

As you plan your wedding, you can continually ask yourselves, “What details will help us meet our wedding goals?” You will have to make so many difficult decisions about what to spend the budget on, so having some kind of framework to work within can really relieve stress and simplify the process. Your wedding philosophy will help you determine what's worth it to you to splurge on, and what's okay to save on, ultimately helping you stay within budget.

Inspire others by sharing your wedding philosophy in the comments below!

Photography by Jon Stars.

Source: 2000dollarwedding.com