Mother of the Bride Series: The Day Of

LCCer034LCCer180 LCRec218 {Photos of Lindsay’s wedding are by Sandra Reed Photography} 10689469_824238180941729_4203671588859891564_n10649703_824239180941629_3764122146997661252_n 996152_824239230941624_5731227780688630533_n 10533398_824239710941576_2742844792554857722_n{Emily’s wedding photos are by Braun Photography}

Inked by Holly

Preparing for the Day Of

As you’re planning, prioritize the things you MUST do and the things that would be nice to do if time allows. Do the must do things first and save the optional items to do as time allows. For us, the optional items included programs, menu cards, bathroom baskets, and hotel guest bags. We ended up finding time to do them all, but we weren’t going to stress ourselves out if those things didn’t happen.  We had some big family celebrations in the weeks leading up to the wedding and worked VERY hard to get the must do’s finished a few weeks in advance so we could relax a little and enjoy the wedding week.

Here are some other tips:
*A random tip for MOB’s, brides, and really anyone in the wedding party: buy two pairs of shoes and switch out when needed. Trust me on this– I’ve been an MOB twice now and still haven’t found the perfect shoe that’s comfortable and looks fabulous in photos. It’s a long day, and your feet with thank you for the relief.

*Some things can be done months in advance, like bathroom baskets for the venue that include small items guests might need like gum, tide pen, sewing kit, etc. We also were able to make table numbers and create an emergency kit (see below) months out and as we found things on sale.

Here are a few items to include in your Wedding Emergency Kit:
Wisp (or small disposable toothbrushes)
Baby powder
Ban wipes
Sewing kit
Lint roller
Static guard
Contact solution
Hair spray
Eye drops
Feminine protection
Advil/allergy medication
Body tape
Snacks (lots and lots)
Water bottles
Extra shoes

Day Of Do’s and Don’ts

The big day is finally here! Everything is planned, every last detail. Know that things WILL go wrong, but you just have to roll with it. Keep the big picture in mind– the new marriage, not the perfect wedding.

The zipper may come apart from the wedding dress (yep, that happened to Lindsay) but it’s ok, it can be fixed. The big fun plan for special donuts as wedding favors fell apart because the donut shop, which is open 24/7, is unexpectedly closed for updates the week of the wedding (yep, that happened to Emily). It was ok, because it’s about the marriage, not the wedding

Here are my tips for the day of:
*Build in extra time in the schedule. Hair and make up could run behind, lunch delivery could get lost, a zipper could break, a groomsman could forget his shoes. You don’t want to be rushed and frantic, so allow lots of time. Start the day much earlier than you need to.

*Feed the people. All the people. A hungry bridal party is a cranky bridal party! Plan to have lunch delivered and plenty of snacks and water bottles on hand. Vendors also appreciate snacks.

*Biggest tip of all: slow down and take it all in. The wedding day goes by SO quickly. Have a friend remind you, if necessary, to stop a few times during the day to just look around and enjoy the moment!

Phew, that’s it! And to think that we’re doing this all over again as we plan Julia’s wedding next summer. :)

Do you have any other tips you’d add?

Mother of the Bride Series: The Dress

em-dresses1 linds-dress1inked by Holly

I do love dress shopping! All of my girls have such different taste, and it’s so fun to see what they choose and how it reflects their sense of style.

Here are my dress shopping tips:
*Don’t be afraid to buy off the sample rack. We bought Emily’s ceremony dress for such an amazing price, and we ended up with room in the budget to also buy a fun reception dress. We were so excited to score two dresses for the budget of one, but something I didn’t take into consideration was the cost of alterations.  Buying off the rack means you probably aren’t buying the correct size. You’ll be told by the sales assistants shop that you can alter it to fit, and you can… but it’s gonna cost you. Also, altering a dress that’s a few sizes too big will affect the finished dress so keep this in mind. This is also true when you order a dress–be prepared that the dress may not look exactly like you thought it would when it was initially tried on in a different size.

*Who knew you can machine wash some wedding dresses?! I threw Emily’s ceremony dress in the washing machine on gentle and line dried. It looked perfect! Obviously, that wouldn’t work for her reception dress with feathers which leads to next tip…

*Shop around for dry cleaners. I took the reception dress to the dry cleaner in our neighborhood and gasped at the price. I called around and found another cleaner who did a beautiful job for half the price.

*Bright white isn’t the only option. Lindsay chose a champagne dress and Emily chose an ivory dress. Bright white shades washed them out, and the slightly darker shades were much more flattering.

*Buy what you love, because you only wear it once. But don’t go bankrupt or blow the whole wedding budget on the dress, because you only wear it once.

Any other tips for dress shopping? Any favorite bridal salons?

Mother of the Bride Series: The Venue

LCCer127 LCRec008inked by Holly

Like finding the right dress, finding the right venue requires some shopping and lots of budgeting. I have a strict rule on no outdoor weddings. Don’t get me wrong– they’re beautiful– but the risk of bad weather in on any given day is too high for me. My girls have to choose an indoor venue, which can make things interesting.

Here are my tips for working with a venue once you find the perfect spot:
*Ask if they have preferred vendors.  This can make things run more smoothly if they already have a working knowledge of the venue and relationship with the staff.

*Some venues have preferred vendors, and others have vendors that you must work with. These are often caterers. Request a tasting and get references before booking– you’d hate to land the perfect venue and need to settle on poor quality food.

*Be sure to ask what is and isn’t included in the rental fees. Are tables included? If so, what size? What about chairs? Are they pretty as is, or will you need to rent covers? Does the venue offer a sound system?

If you’re planning a wedding in the Dayton/Cincinnati area, here are some of our favorite vendors:

Wedding Coordinators
Aviva Events
Pink with Envy Events

Cake Diva

LifeTime Video

Braun Photography
Chloe Luka Photography

Schindler Banquet Center
Dayton Art Institute

Party Pleasers Cincinnati

Prime Time Party Rentals

The Flower Shoppe (Mark is so creative!)

Elite Catering

Mother of the Bride Series: Guest List

IMG_5605Photo by Pink with Envy Events

inked by Holly

Weddings and wedding planning are wonderful times of celebration for a mother and daughter. But if you’re like me, it’s also scary, intimidating, and overwhelming. Emily married the man of her dreams in July and the very next morning, I jotted down some notes. I’ve been the mother of the bride twice but I still have two daughters to go, one of which will be walking down the aisle next summer. For me, wedding planning is a lot like child birth. Once it’s over, you really only remember the wonderful and quickly forget the difficult parts. Until you do it again.

Hopefully some of these tips will help you avoid the difficult, or at least make the planning a little less difficult.

Today we’re talking about the guest list. Oh, it still gives me a panicky feeling! This is one of the most difficult tasks for me. Steve and I know and love so many people and we want them all to share the joyous day with us, but unfortunately there are limits to the seating in venues and limits to the budget. And, I have to remind myself that it’s not my day, it’s the bride and groom’s.

Here are my tips as you work on narrowing your guest list:
*Never invite more than your venue seats. It’s very unlikely that every guest on your list will be able to attend, but you’d rather be safe than sorry.

*Invite those who will be investing in the couple’s future, not just those from their past.

*However, those friends from the past are very special, so make room and compromise when possible.

*One of the toughest decisions we’ve made is whether or not to invite children. For both of the Neal weddings, we made the difficult decision to not include children due to venue size and budget. We also wanted our adult guests to be able to enjoy the celebration. This is a sensitive topic and different for each bride and MOB.

Any other tips you’d add?