Archive of ‘Weddings’ category

How to Plan the Perfect Honeymoon

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Who said wedding planning stops at “I do”? As you’ve probably heard, your wedding day will fly by, so you’ll want to have something you can still look forward to after the chaos has died down. It’s important to not get so caught up in wedding planning that you forget to plan your dream honeymoon until the last minute. Take some time, follow these tips, and you can have the honeymoon you’ve always dreamed of!

Start the planning early
Don’t wait until after you’re married to start thinking about your honeymoon. For many reasons, you should start the honeymoon planning shortly after you’ve begun the wedding planning process. Although you don’t necessarily have to book your trip before getting married, the earlier you start planning, the better. Planning early will allow you to find more options, and have your pick of resorts and flights instead of filing through everyone else’s leftovers. An even better perk of planning and booking early is you’ll find better prices, which means you’ll get to enjoy more than you anticipated!

Find room in your budget
Speaking of better prices, be sure to fit your honeymoon into your wedding budget. Most couples tend to focus on how much money they’re going to spend on each detail of the wedding day, but forget to set aside a specific amount for the celebration after. Don’t make that mistake; decide how much you can afford to spend on your trip and create a separate account to budget for that. If you create a budget for your honeymoon, you’ll be able to break up that money into amounts to cover your flights, your hotels, and then your food and adventures along the way. If you fail to set aside a budget, you’ll end up just using the money left over from the wedding (if there is any).

Go with something that fits your personality
While it might be easy to just ask your friends and family what they did for their honeymoon and plan the same trip for yourself, it’s not always the best choice. Whoever you’re getting a recommendation from could have an entirely different personality than you, so you want to choose something that’s going to work for you and your new spouse. If you’re more of the relaxing type, you won’t want to plan a honeymoon backpacking across Europe. Or if you’re in between and like to relax but also like to have fun, you might want to book a cruise that has amenities that allow you to lay low and get a tan but also enjoy entertainment and nightlife. Plan a trip that satisfies your likes and hobbies!

Find the right destination
Once you’ve decided what kind of vibe matches your character, you can start researching specific destinations you want to visit. Maybe consider checking off a bucket list destination, or pick a region you’d like to visit and look into honeymoons available there. Picking the right destination is crucial in your experience, and you want to enjoy yourself fully on this newlywed adventure. Once you have an idea of where to go, you can start planning your activities, your meals, and your relaxation as well!

Use an agent
While it’s likely that you could plan a honeymoon all on your own with the research you do online, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use a travel agent. An agent will be able to plan a completely cohesive trip that has all the amenities you’re looking for. They will also be able to work with your budget to get you what you want (and maybe more) for the amount you’re able to spend. An agent will likely have connections all over the travel community, and will be able to fit you into a certain hotel, or find better accommodation than you could have on your own! So don’t shy away from using an agent right from the get-go.

Your Wedding Budget: What to Keep in Mind

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After the initial excitement of getting engaged, it’s likely that you’ll want to launch into wedding planning mode immediately. While it’s perfectly normal to be excited about what’s meant to be the best day of your life, if you aren’t careful and allow yourself to get carried away, your budget can get out of control fast. To help keep you on track, here are a few things to keep in mind as you begin your wedding planning process.

Be Realistic
Of course you want your wedding to fulfill your wildest dreams, but it’s important to take a step back and make sure you aren’t setting plans in place that you can’t actually handle. Take into consideration your current salary, your monthly bills, any outstanding debts you may have and the future you might be saving toward— while it’s tempting to put all of your spare money towards your wedding, it’s also vital that you keep track of and prioritize the real-world financial obligations that will continue to exist.

Set a Definitive Budget
The sure-fire way to get yourself into financial trouble while planning your wedding is by setting a loosely-structured budget without serious spending caps. To avoid going overboard and to prevent future headache, decide at the beginning of your planning process what your absolute limitations are, and stick to them. When the festivities are over and real life resumes, you (and your wallet) will be extremely grateful that you did.

Determine Your Money Sources
Sit down with your significant other and have an in-depth discussion on how the wedding is going to be funded. Are you going to be paying for it together, out-of-pocket? Would you be willing to consider applying for a wedding loan? Are parents from either party able to contribute anything financially? Could you ask your guests for financial gifts rather than setting up a registry? (Although if you’re going to do that last one, avoid going the route that this woman took!)

There are a number of ways to fund a wedding, but be sure you know exactly where the money for the event is coming from and that you can rely on those financial sources without question before getting too far into the planning process.

Establish Your Priorities
Once you know how much money you’re working with, it can be helpful to decide what components of the ceremony and reception are most essential to you and what things you’re willing to let slide. Have you found a venue that’s too perfect to pass on? Do you need a DJ, or would you be willing to make your own playlist for the reception? Is it important to you that each member of the wedding party receives a beautiful, heartfelt gift from you and your spouse?

While you hopefully won’t have to cut too many things out of your wedding vision to stay on budget, knowing what your priorities are will make it easier to make those cuts without feeling like you’re decreasing the value of the day.

Utilize Your Loved Ones
Do any of your friends or relatives have skills they might be willing to put to use before or during the event? Are any of them talented musicians, photographers or bakers? Is there a certified officiant in your social circle?

Don’t be afraid to ask for their help! It’s more than likely that anyone you’d be willing to put on your guest list would be willing to do their part to make your wedding run more smoothly. Incorporating more of your loved ones into the process will not only save you money, but it will also make the memories all the more meaningful.

Decide On Your Honeymoon
Ask yourself this: do you want to put the majority of your money towards your wedding ceremony and reception, or would you rather splurge on a week-long honeymoon in the destination of your dreams? Economic studies have actually shown a correlation between more money spent on wedding ceremonies and a higher rate of divorce as well as, conversely, a correlation between going on honeymoons and a lower rate of divorce.

While it’s wonderful to spend your wedding day surrounded by your friends and family, it doesn’t have to be an overly extravagant day. Keep in mind what this event is ultimately about: the love that you and your partner share, and celebrating that bond with the people you love most. By placing greater financial focus on your honeymoon, you’ll likely find that it’s much easier to focus on the purpose behind your wedding as you’re planning it and take some of the stress off of your own shoulders.

Congratulations, and happy planning!

You’re Engaged… Now What?

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A Mini Timeline To Help You Start Planning

So your significant other popped the question… or maybe you did. Once the shock has worn off it’s time to start thinking of a game plan for the wedding. It may be hard to figure out the best course of action, but luckily we created this mini timeline including essential steps to take to get you started!

Step 1: Make your announcement

Of course, you want to let your close family and friends know the news before anyone else. The last thing you would want is the unnecessary drama of your brother-in-law seeing the announcement on Facebook before you had a chance to tell him yourself. Once you let them know, it’s time to let your extended loved ones know. There are a variety of ways to make your announcement from a simple post on social media to sending formal cards the old fashion way. Once this step is complete, you’ll probably be fielding a bunch of questions about wedding details so, it might be a good idea to have answers to the typical questions someone might ask such as, when and where.

Step 2: Determine a budget

You can’t plan a wedding until you and your significant other determine the budget. The old tradition of the bride’s parents paying for the wedding’s cost is pretty outdated. Sit down with both sets of parents to see if they’d like to contribute, and if so, how much. Or if you’d prefer to cover the costs on your own, look at your finances and where you have the extra money.

Step 3: Start thinking of a date and a location

You probably won’t know the exact date of your wedding until after you get engaged unless you’re a couple that has had a date in mind since you first met. Either way, it’s good to start planning and doing research on the best time and location that will work for both of you. If you’re trying to plan a large, extravagant wedding, giving yourself a year or two is a good idea as trying to plan in a shorter period of time could cause a lot of stress which no one ever wants. If you’re a quick planner and work well under pressure, a smaller more intimate wedding could be planned within a year.

Step 4: Who will be in your wedding party?

Some of us have known who our maid of honour will be since we were little kids, but others may not. The maximum number of people in your wedding party realistically should be no more than five, however, if you can physically and mentally handle more than that then more power to you. A large wedding party can sometimes be overwhelming and expensive. If you’re having trouble choosing who should be your maid of honour, it’s become more common to actually have two maids of honour or a maid of honour and matron of honour. Choose a wedding party based off of what works for you personally.

Step 5: Who do you want at your wedding?

Figuring out your guest list might be the hardest part of the wedding planning process. You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings but you also want to make sure that your wedding is personal to you and your significant other. Think about what’s best for the two of you. Does the friend of your work friend who you just met a month ago need to be invited? Probably not. Start by each of you making a list of who you need to be there. Come together and compare lists, then go from there.

Step 6: Register

Once you’ve sent out your guest invites, it’s time to register for wedding gifts! This will make it easier for your guests to find what you need as a couple and to ensure you don’t receive any duplicates. Wedding registries have changed over the years with more couples living together before marriage, and luckily there are plenty of nontraditional registry options and custom wedding gifts to choose from.

Step 7: Order your dress

It can take months for your wedding dress alterations to be complete. It’s important to go dress shopping early to find the right one and assure that it’s ready in time. If you don’t have enough time to wait for a dress to be made, try buying a sample from a retailer or off the rack. Regardless of where you get it from, make sure you give yourself enough time to find the dress that fits your style and have fun doing it!

Step 8: Book the caterer, photographer and music

These three details are a few of the most important wedding essentials. Finding the right caterer, photographer and music choice will take some time and attention. Designate specific time during the early months of your engagement to do the research and find the right choices for you. Once these are booked, you’ll have a weight lifted off your shoulders and be able to focus on the finer wedding details (like the decor).

Step 9: Order wedding bands

A fun step in the wedding planning process is shopping for wedding bands. Many couples shop together to pick out what kind of band they would like. Many brides now actually send their engagement ring out before the wedding to be fused with their wedding band.

Step 10: Nail down a beauty regimen

It’s important to solidify a beauty routine that works for you to ensure that you feel and look your best by your wedding day. Many brides-to-be get monthly facials leading up to their wedding to give themselves beautiful, clear skin. If you’re looking to introduce new products into your skincare routine, be sure to try them well before your wedding in case of a negative reaction. As for hair, it’s important to begin taking care of it early on. Doing hair masks, taking biotin supplements, and getting regular haircuts will give you the healthiest hair result.

Step 11: Book your honeymoon

A great part of weddings is the honeymoon to follow! Make sure you arrange with work early enough to get the time off and book a place in advance. Going through a travel agent might be helpful for this part, as they can help determine the best places to go to and things to do!

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