5 Ways to Enjoy the Holidays & Still Plan Your Wedding Day

by Kristi Richardson
Bloomed to Last

So, the holidays are just around the corner and your still in the midst of planning your wedding.

How can you possibly enjoy the holiday and still get everything done on your wedding planning to do list?!

Well, to be quite honest, unless your wedding is within the first 3 months of the year, it will probably take a back seat to holiday festivities. This is okay!!! Taking a planning break can be refreshing, not only for you, but for everyone helping you plan the big day.

However, just because you are not on a full fledged planning schedule doesn’t mean you can’t get ahead during the holidays. Here’s 5 ways you can enjoy the holiday and maximize your wedding planning too:

1. Register for Gifts – if you haven’t yet registered for gifts, make sure to register as soon as possible. Your family and friends, who may be purchasing Christmas gifts for you, are always looking to purchase gifts they know you want and many times if you have a gift registry in place, that’s the first place to look. NOTE – Just remember to select a variety in price ranges and stores that offer on-line services.

2. Make out a wish list – now, you could be asking yourself: “what’s the difference between gift registry and a wish list?” Well, there are many wedding day needs you can’t register for; such as garters, bridal accessories, wedding favors, invitations, transportation to the reception, DJ service, a photographer, and the like. But you still need these items to complete the look of your wedding day. So, make sure to provide everyone with a wish list of wedding needs. They may be able to get a gift card for the service or pledge a monetary gift towards that service for you.

3. Use gatherings to complete tasks – the holidays are a time for family and friends to gather, share stories, catch up, and hang out. Why not use this time to fold programs, stuff or address invitations, and or put together favors? Doing these projects with massive help not only cuts down on the time you will have to spend later, but allows others to share in your wedding day planning. Most family and friends are delighted to help. So go ahead and let them help! NOTE – if you are having them help with food or perishable favor items, make sure they will keep until your wedding day. You don’t want to have to throw them out later because they have spoiled.

4. Now’s the time to dress shop – the holidays can be the perfect time to dress shop for Mother of the Bride/Groom dresses and other formal attire for the wedding day. Usually, the larger department stores are packed with cocktail dresses for Christmas parties and New Year’s Eve galas. Why not capitalize on this? And if you can wait until Jan 2nd all these dresses are on sale. Even if you are planning a spring or summer wedding there will be dresses on the rack. So, take your “moms or grandmothers” out to shop. This is also a great time to shop for bridesmaid dresses. Twice a year, bridal shops have a change over in inventory – normally Nov/Dec and April/May. This change is due to the new styles that are coming into the stores and discontinued styles are deeply discounted to make room for the new. You’ll be surprised at the all the style and color possibilities. (I once had a bridesmaid pick up her dress for $25 off the rack at David’s bridal.) You just never know.

5. Get decorating items at a fraction of the cost – right after Christmas and New Year’s is the best time to find décor items at a fraction of the cost. Everything from colored dishes, candlesticks and candles, table cloths, ornaments, fabric, ribbon and more. If you are decorating your ceremony and/or reception venue yourself, then take advantage of these bargains. Even if you have hired help from a wedding designer (like me), a wedding planner, a rental company, or florist, buying the components at deep discount will save you additional cost later and most professional have no problem working with the materials you provide. NOTE – just make sure you collaborate with any of the professionals you have hired, you don’t want to purchase materials that won’t help achieve your wedding day design and most seasonal merchandise is non-returnable.

The holidays are a magical time. Make sure to stop and enjoy them.

Happy Planning!
Bloomed to Last

Book Review – Bridal Flowers: Arrangements for a Perfect Wedding

Book Review – Bridal Flowers: Arrangements for a Perfect Wedding

This post may include affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission for products purchased, at no additional cost to you. All opinions are my own, and I only share products that I love. Please read my full disclaimer if you are interested to know more.

Book Review - Bridal Flowers: Arrangements for a Perfect Wedding

As a wedding planner and designer, I keep an extensive library of wedding related books on hand to help my brides design their own weddings.

Bridal Flowers by Maria McBride is one of my favorites (actually I love all of her books). It is full of wonderful ideas – not just the traditional “must have” wedding flowers such as bouquets, boutonnieres, and centerpieces, (although those too are amazing!), but the out-of-the-ordinary (but inspiring) boas, decorated lampposts, and gilded calla lilies.

Let The Seasons Guide You – Spring

Ms. McBride shows us that flowers are for more than just simply being carried or worn, and includes stunning statement pieces (LOVE the fresh flowers adorning the dramatic back of a wedding gown), as well as understated arrangements (pots of daisies lining the ceremony aisle) arrangements. There is definitely a timelessness to her flower arrangements.

The large color photos by William Stites are fantastic. Sadly so many other books have little or no photos, or just hand drawn diagrams that end up leaving the reader wondering what the arrangement is really supposed to look like. Ms. McBride’s book lets you see exactly what she is talking about.

Bridal Flowers: Arrangements for a Perfect Wedding doesn’t claim to be a how-to book, but is perfect to take along when visiting your floral designer.

Hearts, Joy, Love!

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Looking for unique ideas for your wedding? Weddings From The Heart can help. Contact me today at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

Bride & Groom Q & A – Keeping Wedding Guests From Over-Drinking

tips to keep your guests from overdrinking at your wedding receptionKeeping guests from overdrinking.

Q – Is there any trick for getting our wedding guests not to over-drink?

A – Great question about overdrinking. No one wants that.

Make sure you have an experienced bartending staff on hand. If your venue is providing the food and beverages, they will usually also provide bartenders. However, even if the venues permits you to bring in whomever you want to tend bar – don’t choose a friend or family member.

Experienced bartenders know what to look for when they are serving. They will know how much alcohol to mix in a drink, when to make drinks weaker, and when to stop serving someone altogether. It’s too easy for a friend or family member to get a bit “heavy handed” when pouring, or to look the other way when someone has had too much.

Another way to keep drinking under control is in what you serve. If you serve just beer and wine, or maybe a signature drink or two, instead of offering every type of drink possible, guests tend to not drink as much (but still enjoy themselves, and not leave feeling like something’s missing).

3 Reasons You Need to Have a Real Bartender at Your Wedding

Another thing about bars – stop serving alcohol at least ½ hour before your reception is scheduled to end. Maybe have a coffee station later in the evening too. While it’s not just to “sober ‘em up” (many folks like coffee) – we’ve got to keep safety in mind.

Several suggestions:
– Low alcohol beer (no triple IPAs) and wine only
– Small glasses (the 8 oz solo cup, not the 16 oz)
– Make sure there is lots of water everywhere
– Have starchy alcohol absorbing food at cocktail hour
– Consider a morning or early afternoon wedding (people tend to drink less)
– Plenty of rolls & breads (more starchy alcohol absorbing food) at dinner.

Hearts, Joy, Love!

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Do you have a wedding dilemma or question you need answered? I’d love to help. Contact me at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

Weddings by the Numbers



How much? How many?

These are common (and rightly so) questions that brides need answered while planning their wedding.

The following is a fun breakdown of the quantities of many wedding elements – starting with Number 1 (and a half!).

1.5 – Feet in a chapel length train

1.5 – Pounds of ice per person needed at the bar

2 – Number of minutes for the ideal toast

3 – Square feet per person for the dance floor

4-5 – Average number of bridesmaids and groomsmen

10 – Maximum number of guests who can be seated comfortably at a 60 inch round table

15 – Number of months for the average length of an engagement

15-20 – Percent of invited guests who will not be able to attend

17 – Percentage of weddings taking place in June (the most popular wedding month)

25 – Number of guests per wait staff at the reception for a plated dinner

29 – Average age of a bride

30-40 – Number of guests per wait staff at the reception for a dinner buffet

31 – Average age of a groom

33 – Percentage of weddings using the color blue in their color scheme

50 – Number of guests per usher at the ceremony

50 – Number of guests per bathroom at the reception

50 – Number of guests per bartender at the reception

68 – Percentage of couples who send out save-the-dates for their wedding

69 – Percentage of weddings that take place on a Saturday

139 – Average number of guests

$28,427 – Average cost of a wedding

86,203 – Number of marriage licenses issued in Las Vegas in 2012

2.08 Million – Number of weddings in the US

Hearts, Joy, Love!

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If you’re looking for fun ideas, or need help with your wedding plans contact me at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586.

Photo credit: James Cridland via photopin cc

I’ll Be Your Mirror – Wonderful Song For Your Walk Down The Aisle

The music world recently lost musician, singer and songwriter Lou Reed. In an interview just one month before his death, Lou Reed said “My life is music.”

In remembrance of Reed, I’d like to share this lovely song penned by him. Perfect for your walk down the aisle or 1st dance as husband and wife.

I’ll be your mirror
Reflect what you are, in case you don’t know
I’ll be the wind, the rain and the sunset
The light on your door to show that you’re home

When you think the night has seen your mind
That inside you’re twisted and unkind
Let me stand to show that you are blind
Please put down your hands
‘Cause I see you

I find it hard to believe you don’t know
The beauty that you are
But if you don’t let me be your eyes
A hand in your darkness, so you won’t be afraid

When you think the night has seen your mind
That inside you’re twisted and unkind
Let me stand to show that you are blind
Please put down your hands
‘Cause I see you

I’ll be your mirror

6 Reasons Why Your DIY Projects Aren’t Working Out

Popular reasons for doing DIY projects for your wedding include saving money and putting your personal stamp on things. Sometimes, however, DIY projects don’t always work out as envisioned. Here’s why:

1. It Takes More Time Than You Think
DIY projects can often take a very long time, they can be stressful, and sometimes they just don’t turn out as expected. Yes, it happens – typos on the programs, crooked printing when the invitations don’t go through the printer straight. So carefully and realistically budget your time before you DIY.

2. Not Skilled In That Type Of Craft
Ok, the directions look easy, but once you get going . . .

Bottom line – not everyone is dexterous enough to beautifully fold origami cranes.

origami cranes for a wedding ceremony backdrop

3. Not Enough Help
It’s a lot of work, and while it may be a priority to you, sitting down for several hours to do a project just doesn’t have the same level of importance, which means they won’t be expecting to have to help.

4. Disinterested (Turning Into Resentful) Help
It’s not that others don’t want you to be happy, or for you to have your unique wedding vision come true. But, like mentioned above, they don’t find it a priority. And we all know what happens when someone tackles a project that they really don’t want to do – it turns out badly, you get stressed and maybe even angry, and they feel resentment.

Anyway, is it fair to your bridesmaids to just expect them to jump right in and help you write out a hundred place cards or fold a thousand tissue paper flowers?

5. It’s Not Always Cheaper
Sure, DIY kits cost less money in the first place, but after figuring in materials, then the time needed to do the job right (researching how-tos, picking up supplies, practicing, picking up that other supply you forgot, messing up a few and having to go to the store again to pick up more materials), you might really be better off hiring a pro in the first place.

6. You Get Bit By The “Perfectionist Bug”
At first, you’re just wanting the project to look good, but once you actually get started you find yourself tweaking and adjusting, because “it’s my wedding and I want everything to be perfect!” Whoa. Relax and don’t put this type of stress on yourself (and those around you). Real life isn’t perfect.

Ok, I’m not saying that all DIY is bad. But, like everything else, you have to prioritize. How important really is each project to you? After all is said and done, will you look back and still see the glory in that particular project, or will you be wishing that you’d have spent your time on something else? If a project really matters to you, then do it.

Hearts, Joy, Love!

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If you’re looking for fun ideas, or need help with your wedding plans or that DIY project, contact me today at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

Keeping it Legal – Your Marriage License

marriage license Wedding planning is in full swing – you’re probably thinking of beautiful things like dresses, flowers, music . . .

You need to remember one very important (although less exciting) aspect to your wedding –

Your Marriage License.

Here are a few important reminders on getting your license.

    • • The rules and requirements very from state to state, and even from county to county, so call your city hall or local marriage license bureau before you go in to apply for your license so you know what you need to have.

• Don’t wait until the last minute to get your license. Some states have a waiting period from the time you get your license to when you can get married. This waiting period can be at least 72 hours, or even 5 days.

• On the flip side, don’t get your license too early. Marriage licenses do have expiration dates. The usual range is 30 – 90 days.

• The bride and groom have to apply together, and have to be in person.

• You will be required to show a valid form of ID. In some states, a driver’s license will do; in others you will also need to bring your birth certificate.

• If you have been married before, you will be required to show a divorce decree or death certificate.

• The cost of the marriage license can vary greatly – anywhere from $20 – $100. And most areas only accept cash – no checks or credit cards.

To apply for a marriage license in the State of Ohio:

    • • If either the bride or groom (or both) lives in Ohio, you must be a resident of the county where you are applying – but the license is good in the entire state.

• If both the bride and groom live out of state, you must get the license in the county where the ceremony will take place.

• There is no waiting period.

• The license is good for 60 days.

• A valid drivers license is an acceptable form of ID.

• Average price for the license is $45-$75 (only cash is accepted – no checks or credit cards).

I know I’m repeating myself here, but it’s very important –

The rules and requirements vary from state to state, and even from county to county, so call your city hall or local marriage license bureau before you go in to apply for your license so you know what you need to have.

Hearts, Joy, Love!

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Do you have a wedding question or need help with your wedding plans? Then contact me today at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

photo credit: the queen of subtle via photopin cc