4 Tips On How To Make Your Guests Happy

Last August I attended one of my friend's weddings at a beautiful golf course in Portland. The ceremony and reception was gorgeous and I was very happy to be there. If I remember right the ceremony started at 5pm and the invite said to arrive 30 minutes prior. We got there in plenty of time and so did the other guests. We were all just standing around unsure what to do. It was 93 degrees outside and we all were sweating. It soon was 5pm, and there was still no sign of the bride and groom. Finally 5:15 rolled around and the groom came out. Tip 1: Start your ceremony on time. Guests don't want to wait around for you especially in the middle of August. After the ceremony we found our place cards and sat at our designated table. There was again a lot of waiting around for the bride and groom to enter so they could be seated and we could begin the dinner. If you are going to be serving dinner you should consider giving two options for dinner. I really liked that my friend did this so they aren't stuck with something they don't like. So Tip 2: Give your guests an option if you are serving dinner at your reception. They also gave out two drink cards per guest to redeem for alcoholic beverages or whatever you wanted besides water. Most weddings I've been to also only have coffee, water or lemonade. It is nice to be able to get a soda or alcohol and not have to pay extra for it. After dinner, we were all unsure what was going on. I had never been to a reception where there was so much waiting around time. Tip 3: The less waiting around time between dinner, speeches, dances, cake etc. the better. After sitting at the table for about 45 minutes, we were being greeted by the bride and groom and thanking us for coming. They took the time and went to every table-every guest to say thank you and greeted them. I have been to many weddings where the bride and groom don't even talk to most of their guests. Tip 4: If you are not going to have a line where guests can greet you, you need to go around to each table and thank your guests so they know you care and appreciate them coming.

Hopefully you can take away from this some valuable tips on how to make your guests happy.

Social Media At Weddings

The trend of social media at weddings is becoming more and more popular. Brides are choosing to have signs at their weddings letting guests know to use their hashtag for pictures, posts etc. via Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. 

In fact, New York City's W Hotels are now offering brides and grooms the ultimate social media experience for only $3,000. The social media concierge live-tweets the ceremony and reception, uploads pictures and videos to Vine and Instagram, and encourages the guests to use the specified hashtag. 

I have helped couples set up blogs and websites for their wedding, but now they are wanting even more social media at their wedding. Currently W is the only company on the market today that has a designated concierge for social media. However, the wedding industry is confident that this will be the next big thing to come.

I personally see the benefits of having a sign at your wedding/ceremony with your wedding hashtag. It will allow you to create an instant, easily accessible photo album of your entire wedding. All the pictures will be freely donated by your guests, all you have to do is encourage them to use it. 

Arnie & Shantae Anaya

One of my long time friends Shantae got married last month, ( I know I'm a little late posting.) I've known Shantae since my senior year of high school when we worked at Bally Total Fitness together. When I found out she was engaged in September, I was so happy for her and wanted to help plan her wedding. Thankfully she gave me permission and we immediately started planning. It was such a fun wedding to plan and be apart of, and Shantae was a perfect bride to work with. However, due to some unforeseen circumstances I wasn't able to be apart of the big day, but it turned out (of course) to be a beautiful wedding and I wish I could've been there.

The wedding ceremony and reception was at The Falls Event Center in St. George. It is a beautiful place to have a wedding. They have indoor and outdoor areas and you get access to all of it. They let you choose your own caterer, and all outside vendors which is nice so you have freedom to choose what you want. They set up the ceremony chairs for you as well as give you linens to use. I know Shantae enjoyed working with them and they were extremely helpful through the whole process.

Shantae and Arnie chose perfect spring colors: light pink, dark pink, and grey and wanted to give off a flirty, fun theme and turned out perfectly. They had yard games for their guests that her and Arnie made and they looked awesome. The food, flowers, cake, guest favors, decorations, everything all turned out great. Shantae made a gorgeous bride and I am so happy for her and Arnie.

Adrian Vanderhoof Photography

Picking Out A Men's Wedding Band

Now that the most important ring is decided on it's time to think about your groom's ring. Traditionally not much money is spent on the groom's ring. Some things to consider when picking out his ring is his everyday style. If he's a laid-back guy you might want a classic band or if he's more of a flashy guy maybe he would like some bling of his own.

Most men these days are all about tungsten rings. For one, tungsten is a hard metal. This is good if he is active and works with his hands frequently. Though tungsten is not scratch proof it is very scratch resistant. Tungsten is traditionally a dark grey metal but comes in all shades of grey. The styles vary greatly whether you want plain tungsten all the way around or one that is inlayed with another material. My husband's ring has carbon fiber in the center. It can be fairly inexpensive (his was free with the purchase of my ring). Any jewelry store will have tungsten rings and they range in price from $30-350 depending on the quality and style. It is a safe, great pick. It is my style of choice and is popular especially with our generation.

Since yellow gold is hot and trendy right now maybe you want to consider that. It is a bit pricier but it is a cool look and you can fall anywhere from very simple to heavy on the "bling". This was hot when our parents got married maybe your dad has a gold ring like this.

Silver or white gold rings are the classy and traditional ring that can start at $40 for silver and $200 for white gold and go up from there. The styles again range from simple and plain to one or multiple diamond studs. You could even go with some black diamonds or get a band that looks more like yours if you're into that sort of thing.

Other options include platinum, titanium and ceramic. Titanium rings are resistant to bending, and is scratch resistant and has comparable prices to silver. Platinum is known for its ability to almost never break and will remain in better shape than silver or gold over the years, however it is very pricey. Ceramic has a similar look of tungsten. It looks like it's always polished and is the least inexpensive  of all.

As you can see there are a lot of options. If you aren't quite sure what your husband would like ask him-there's no harm there.

Ceremony Etiquette: Everything From Processional Order To Recessional Order (Formal)

It is important your bridal party knows the processional order (walking into the ceremony) and recessional order (leaving the ceremony) to avoid any chaos and confusion. You will practice this at your rehearsal dinner and your wedding planning (me) will walk you through it.

For the males that are escorting it is a general rule of thumb that you keep the woman on the left side of you unless they are going to be sitting on the Groom's side (right side) of the alter.

Processional Order:
- Groom's father's grandparents (seated on the right side)
- Groom's mother's grandparents
- Bride's father's grandparents
- Bride's mother's grandparents
- MOG escorted by Groom or her husband
- MOB escorted by a son or FOB
- Wedding Party:

  • First the officiant will walk in and the Groom will follow. Or you can have them come in a side door if available.
  • Groomsmen and bridesmaids will walk in pairs starting with who will stand farthest from the Bride and Groom and ending with the best man and maid of honor closest to the Bride and Groom.
  • Ring bearer and or flower girl
  • Finally the Bride escorted by the FOB. 
Recessional Order:
- Bride and Groom
- Ring bearer and flower girl
- Maid of honor and best man
- Bridesmaids and groomsmen
- MOB and FOB
- MOG and FOG
- Grandparents 

At a later date I will go over song choices that are good to play during the ceremony as well as how a traditional ceremony is conducted.

Who's Invited?

It's a good idea from day one of being engaged to start thinking ahead and asking yourself, who is invited to our wedding? You want to start making a guest list as soon as possible because you'll be surprised how long it will take to compile this list. I remember adding people to the guest list weeks before my wedding because my parents had accidentally forgotten some people.

Here are a few suggestions, rules and tips for proper wedding etiquette: 

As far as who is invited start adding anyone and everyone you would want to include and once you finalize venue arrangements and food plans you can slowly start removing people from the list.  Consider all family-even second cousins, friends of your parents, co-workers, people from church etc.

To organize this list instead of writing it down on some random piece of paper that you will end up losing, you should put it all into an excel file with the name of the person: Example: Mr. & Mrs. Tyler O'Bryant or if you are going to address less formal Tyler & Jocelyn O'Bryant. You could even choose to add family at the end if the whole family is invited to attend. Then make sure you add their full address. You can even make this list in a Google document so it's all in once place, which might be easiest so that multiple parties like your parents and fiancé can view the list and add to it as well.

If you are sending out save the dates then you really do need to have a good idea of who is invited. If you do decide to invite other people last minute then you can send out announcements/invites. Just because you're doing save the dates doesn't mean you should ignore sending out announcements/invites. There is no rule to this so it is up to you in the end. But it is a good idea so you don't have that awkward oh I forgot you phone call.

Make sure to send everyone in your immediate family a save the date/invite if they live in a separate home than you. (This includes brothers and sisters who are already married if you have any.) Don't assume, "Oh, they're family and will just come." Especially if you're having a summer wedding. That is the busiest time of year and most families make plans and have prior commitments.

Since Ty and I got married in the summer and wanted everyone in our family to be able to come we called/texted/emailed them the date right away so they could plan accordingly and make travel arrangements.

Happy wedding planning :)

How To Pick A First Dance Song

Choosing a first dance song isn't always the easiest decision, but it shouldn't be THAT hard either. If you two have a "song" then maybe you can slow it down and use that or if it's already slow you're in good hands. It's not something that you need to be super stressed about either. You will find a song that you are both excited about, trust me.

Here's some questions and tips to help you think of some if you're really struggling.

1. Jog your memory. Was there a song playing in the background the night you met, when you first said I love you, or when you he proposed?

2. If nothing jumps out at you think about your personality as a couple. Do you like sweet and romantic? country? rock? a little Usher?...

3. Google 'first dance song options', and listen to your normal music. Something will jump out eventually. Set a time to listen to a bunch of songs with your fiancé until you finally agree.

4. Pay close attention to the lyrics. Make sure there isn't any appropriate language-because that could make an awkward first dance.

5. Make sure the song is not too fast and not too slow. Practice dancing to a few songs. I have mentioned before I think it's wise not to dance to an entire song because people don't care to sit and watch that for five minutes. At my wedding I had all my dancing songs edited to around a minute so my "audience" didn't get bored.

6. If you are having a band or DJ ask them for some good ideas. They will have plenty of options. That is what they do for a living.

7. There are tons of songs to pick from. Don't leave it to the day or two before your wedding. If that's the case maybe you should skip the dance part because it goes to show you obviously didn't care much about it or you would've found something a long time ago.

Hope these suggestions help. I have some good ideas too if you're really struggling... ;)

LDS Brides: On Your Wedding Day (Temple)

Yay! The day you have been waiting for (for what seemed like eternity) is finally here. Congratulations. You're getting married today in the right place, at the right time, to the right person.

This post is to help you remember everything you need to take to the temple. First off, they will have you, your groom and your mother or (whoever is your escort) arrive to the temple an hour before your scheduled sealing time to check in, show you the brides room and all that good stuff.  I recommend getting there even a before that depending on how busy the temple is so you don't feel rushed. If it's a busy day you will need time to find a parking spot and have plenty of time to change. You'll be surprised how long it takes when you don't want to mess up your hair and makeup. You will also be assigned a temple worker to show you around the brides room, where to put everything and will take you up the sealing time when it is time to meet your groom. On my wedding day my mom wanted just a few minutes alone with me and the lady wouldn't even let that happen so hopefully your temple worker will leave your side for a minute so you can have a little time alone with your mom if you choose so. I also got all the way in the elevator before realized I completely forgot Ty's wedding ring. So we had to go run all the way back to the dressing room to grab that.

Here is a list I have compiled of everything you will need to take to the temple.

  • Temple Recommend (Make sure your parents have there's. My dad realized he forgot his and we had to go all the way back to get it as we were already running late.)
  • Groom's ring (If you are having a ring ceremony at the temple remember this. Put it in your pocket right when you put on your temple dress.)
  • Marriage License
  • Wedding Dress, accessories, wedding shoes, wedding day kit etc.
  • Most importantly: HAVE THE BEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE! :)

The Top Honeymoon Destinations

As I was working, I came across an article titled "7 Most Romantic Places In The World." With Valentines Day approaching I am sure that's why this post was featured. It immediately crossed my mind to do a blog post on it and twist it into top honeymoon destinations. I also found an article "Best Honeymoon Destinations Of 2014". Comparing the two I was able to compile a list featuring the top honeymoon destinations-if you can afford them.

  • 1.) Bali, Indonesia- This is definitely on my bucket lists of travel destinations. It looks absolutely beautiful and that is why it is number 1. I feel like one of The Bachelor's or Bachelorette's travelled here for some dates, but I can't remember who. If you think of who it is let me know!
  • 2.) Charleston, South Carolina- Random. when I saw this I was shocked. Out of all the places this was the only one that made both of the lists-and it's the only one in the United States! I am always told 'The Carolinas' are beautiful and this was a testament that it truly is. Looking at photos it definitely makes me want to visit. 
  • 3.) Italian Riviera-The Italian Riviera is divided into two regions: east and west. The west side is your best bet for night life and beaches, but nothing beats the east side. Either way you go is a win win.
  • 4.) Greek Isles- I always hear how amazing Mediterranean cruises are, and now I know why. Santarini has the best sunsets and Naxo has the flawless white beaches. If you're getting married in the spring or fall you are lucky, because that is the best time to visit.
  • 5.) La Pez, Mexico- North of Cabo lies the beautiful city La Pez, which is the prime spot for the Sea of Coretez. It's all about the crystal blue water here so make sure you snorkel and check out the whales, sea lions, dolphins and sting rays.
  • 6.) St. Maarten or St. John- Either of these two places in the Caribbean are perfect honeymoon destinations. You can't go wrong!

You might be able to find a cruise to some of these locations that will make it more affordable. Granted, you might not be able to get to these spots until you are retired so go ahead and add them to your bucket list. You'll get there eventually ;)

20 Interesting Wedding Traditions And Superstitions

As I was watching Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudici's wedding last Sunday with my friend, I mentioned how it looks like it's going to rain. She responded," I hope it does, that means good luck." I asked, "Really? I have never heard that before." She answered, "Yes! You should look it up and write about it on your blog." So sure enough I looked it up and am now blogging about it and other superstitions and traditions to make sure you have luck on your day!

A lot of these traditions and superstitions I found from theKnot.com as well as from Martha Stewart.
  • 1. Rain on your wedding day is considered good luck according to Hindu tradition.
  • 2. Saturday is the unluckiest wedding day, according to English folklore. Funny- it's the most popular day of the week to marry!
  • 3. The groom carries the bride across the threshold to bravely protect her from evil spirits lurking below.
  • 4. In Holland, a pine tree is planted outside the newlyweds' home as a symbol of fertility and luck.
  • 5. Engagement and wedding rings are worn on the fourth finger of the left hand because it was once thought that a vein in that finger led directly to the heart.
  • 6. In the symbolic language of jewels, a sapphire in a wedding ring means marital happiness
  • 7. A pearl engagement ring is said to be bad luck because its shape echoes that of a tear.
  • 8. Aquamarine represents marital harmony and is said to ensure a long, happy marriage.
  • 9. Ancient Greeks and Romans thought the veil protected the bride from evil spirits. Brides have worn veils ever since.
  • 10. Brides carry or wear "something old" on their wedding day to symbolize continuity with the past.
  • 11. The "something blue" in a bridal ensemble symbolizes purity, fidelity, and love.
  • 12. In Egypt, the bride's family traditionally does all the cooking for a week after the wedding, so the couple can…relax.-Wish this was the case in America!
  • 13. The tradition of a wedding cake comes from ancient Rome, where revelers broke a loaf of bread over a bride's head for fertility's sake.
  • 14. The custom of tiered cakes emerged from a game where the bride and groom attempted to kiss over an ever-higher cake without knocking it over.
  • 15. Seeing Each Other Before The Wedding-This superstition dates back to the time of arranged marriages, when people believed that if the couple saw each other before the ceremony, it would give them a chance to change their minds about the wedding. Today, however, many couples choose to meet up and even have portrait sessions before saying their "I dos."
  • 16. Knives as Wedding Gifts-According to folklore, a knife signifies a broken relationship and is bad luck to give as a wedding gift. If knives are on your registry, just give the gift giver a penny. That way it's a purchase, not a gift.
  • 17. A Spider On Your Wedding Dress-Finding an eight-legged creature on your gorgeous gown might seem like a wedding-day nightmare, but English lore claims that finding a spider in your wedding dress is a good omen.
  • 18. Ringing Bells-Bells are traditionally chimed at Irish weddings to keep evil spirits away and to ensure a harmonious family life. Some Irish brides even carry small bells in their bouquets as a reminder of their sacred wedding vows, and they are a common gift for newlyweds.
  • 19. Breaking Glass-In Italy, many newlyweds smash a vase or glass at their wedding, and they put a lot of muscle into it, too. The tradition says that however many pieces the glassware breaks into will symbolize how many years they'll be happily married. Some of you may remember this from the movie When In Rome when actress Kristen Bell can't break the glass at her sister's wedding. 
  • 20. Crying on Your Wedding Day-It is supposed to be good luck for the bride to cry on her wedding day because it symbolizes that she has shed all her tears and will not have any to shed during her marriage. So go ahead and get teary-eyed. Just be sure to wear some waterproof mascara. 
Now you are all informed on where all these fun wedding traditions started and how to ensure you have good luck on your wedding day. 

Mike & Emily O'Bryant Wedding

So my dear brother-in-law and now sister-in-law recently were married two days after Christmas. It was crazy we flew out on Christmas Day. We rushed through opening presents to leave for the airport at two o'clock in the afternoon. Our flight was then delayed turning what was supposed to be a four hour trip into a six hour trip! It wasn't very fun to say the least, BUT it was worth it. We were welcomed by 70+ degree weather and what felt like summer. It made it hard to fathom that it was still Christmas day.

The wedding was at the Los Angeles LDS Temple. It was very special because my grandparents served a church mission there. I was able to go to the visitors center and see where they served and was able to think about them as they are have passed on. The Los Angeles Temple is GORGEOUS and huge! We found it's the second largest temple and would be the largest if the Salt Lake Temple's underground areas weren't accounted for.

Anyways, the ceremony was beautiful. Mike & Emily make a very handsome couple and it was a pleasure to be apart of it. They had their reception at the Sterling Hills Golf Club in Camarillo. I was asked to help set up and got a few pictures before everyone got there. They're obviously not professional- as I took them on my phone and you can see some boxes on the tables and signs not hung up but you get the idea :) As you can see their colors were mint green and navy blue with some accents of grey and cream. It all turned out very nice.

I didn't get any pictures of the couples first dance, nor the father-daughter and mother-son dance unfortunately, but they did have that and have a video of them playing in the background.

The nice thing about paying for a good venue is not having to worry about the take-down of the whole thing. All we had to do was clean up all the decorations that we brought. We didn't have to worry about the linens or the leftover food because it was all provided.

Congrats Mike & Emily couldn't be more happy for you guys!

4 Hair & Makeup Trends For 2014

Here is what 2014 is forecasting for the hottest wedding makeup and hairstyle trends:

1. Boho Braids: Wedding braids have been talked about for a while now but they are going to be HUGE for 2014. Braids are not just a casual hairstyle anymore they are becoming more glamorous and dressy. Brides are going to be feeling a lot different about braids this year whether it's a simple braid or a bunch of small braids put into an up-do.  

2. Cat-Eyes: Cat-eye makeup has been fashionable for a while now and has become quite popular amongst brides. It gives brides a retro look and classic look while looking AMAZING in photos.

3. Pretty Pink Lips: Notice-me-berry and baby-pink lips are a 2014 spring look for this year. Pink is going to be the statement look for brides. These colors aren't as bold as the red and go perfectly with all flowers, themes and tones. The nude lip is also trendy and stunning and will give a more simple, natural look for brides.

4. Hair Pieces: The vintage hairpieces have been loved by brides. They are a bit limited as to matching with your dress, theme and style but they are becoming more and more recognized and trendy for all brides. I personally love them and think they are very romantic and elegant.

Yay for hair and makeup trends for 2014 :)

Bridesmaids Gifts

As a bridesmaid you help and do a lot for the bride and for the wedding. As a bride you should definitely be thinking about what you are going to give each of your bridesmaids. It doesn't have to be big but it should be meaningful and show your appreciation for all their help. As a bridesmaid you do do a lot and it's nice to know that the bride appreciates what you do. Depending on your budget you should set a small amount of money aside to use for bridesmaids gifts and maybe the groom wants to do so something small for his groomsmen as well.

Most brides have their bridesmaids buy their own dresses. The bridesmaids help plan the showers, and help with all the wedding day festivities prior to and during the actual day. I had a good friend tell me that she was a bridesmaid in another wedding where she was in charge of all the wedding favors. She made over 300 sugar cookies for her friend's wedding which took over six hours! Now I would say that is above and beyond a bridesmaids duties. Being a bridesmaid takes time, money etc. and so as a bride respect your bridesmaids and get them something. They didn't have to be a bridesmaids you asked them and they accepted because they love you. Now depending how much the dress and shoes they had to buy you should make sure you give them a good gift for that. If you bought their outfits, shoes etc. then you can probably get by with getting them something smaller like some lotion, a giftcard, jewelry etc. The possibilities are endless! So don't worry about what to get them. Remember it's the thought that counts! It's nice to write them a nice letter of appreciation as well. 

No matter what your budget it is PLEASE do them a favor and get them something, or they might just not like you anymore and never talk to you again ;) haha. Just kidding (kinda). 

Here are some cute ideas for bridesmaids gifts...