Merry Brides


Posts tagged Advice

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Always A Bridesmaid And Never A Bride


It’s always surprising to me when I see a young, beautiful, accomplished woman tell me that “all the good ones are taken.” As a wedding blogger, I hear this complaint often, but does it have any truth?

Most of us are convinced that people 10 years younger have it easier, have more selection, and that more people want dates in a lower age range. The ironic part is that men and women of all ages tell me the same story - but they’re all young, eligible, and very dateable.

I’m here to tell you with confidence that no, all the good ones are not taken! There are plenty of eligible, good looking, and actually intelligent people out there, no matter what your age - and there are lots of ways to find them. Sometimes it is wise to consult a professional when it comes to matters of the heart. 

For all you single readers out there looking for love, I want to introduce you to my friend Ms. Cowan, also known as a matchmaker extraordinaire! She is the owner of Cowan Introductions an upscale matchmaking company catering to the most elite and eligible bachelors in New York City.

Recently Ms. Cowan was gracious enough to sit down and tell us little about herself and how her company can help you find a special person.

Why did you decide to make matchmaking your life passion?

I was once a client for a very high-end matchmaking company, and did not receive the service I deserved as a paying client. I felt like “a number” in a multitude of many therefore my wishes went unheard and my thoughts and desires to find love through this vehicle were challenged. From this disappointing experience it was clear that the high volume environment, which is common in traditional matchmaking agencies, could not offer the personalized service that is needed when connecting two people. All experiences serve a purpose in this life’s journey and this experience wasn’t any different.  A new desire emerged, the desire to improve the matchmaking experience.

What makes your company different than other dating services?

Most matchmaking services are very simple, they conduct a consultation and evaluation of their client then search their database for a potential partner to match. They exchange numbers the day of the date and then leave the rest up to chance. Cowan Introductions offers a different type of matchmaking service and experience. We differentiate our business from competitors by offering special services….

  • Interview  and Consultation: During your interview, we take the time to get to know who you are and what you are looking for in your mate
  • Relationship Coaching:  We will provide the tools you will need to allow your relationship to flourish.
  • Mock Dating:You will have an opportunity to go on a mock date, which will allow us to observe you and sharpen your dating skills. 
  • Full Service Concierge:  We are here to make this part of your life easier. No matter how lavish or nontraditional your requests are for your first date, Cowan Introductions concierge will arrange and manage every aspect of the initial introduction. Every detail is meticulously planned including transportation, location, reservations, and special requests. This service can extend beyond the first date depending on your package.
  • Image Consulting:  Enjoy an in-person  consultation with our stylist who will ensure you dress and feel your best when you meet that special someone.
  • Just Us Single Ladies: Seminars: Just Us Single Ladies Is a monthly get together to discuss challenges in relationships. Advice is given on how to successfully date as a professional single woman. During the 90-minute seminar, they learn to clarify their values, vision, and personal goals for a relationship, and develop a strategy to achieve them.

How does the client screening process work?

Our service is completely confidential and professional. The screening and selection process for our members is among the most rigorous in the industry which ensures our clients meet only the best possible companion.

Do women pay for your services or just men?

Women do not pay for the service only our male clients.

What are your goals for this year?

The goal for Cowan Introductions is to become a strong presence not only in New York but beyond.

Also, I am very excited as my new book “Just Us Single Ladies” will be in bookstores very soon.


****  For more information, please visit Cowan Introductions online. Or give them a call at 917-545-8822.


Filed under Dating Advice matchmaking

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DIY Wedding Tips


Q. Hi Jasmine.  I am trying to have a total DIY wedding and it’s not going well. Nothing is turning out the way it should and I feel like pulling my hair out. Plus my mom thinks DIY projects will make me look cheap. What do you think?

A. Here is my thinking on DIYing for your wedding. I am all for it as a way to add some personal touches, to get your hands dirty and to be able to stand back and say “I did that”.

If you are a natural born crafter certain projects can be a soothing, creative outlet to buffer the wedding planning madness.

The problems can arise when:

A) You aren’t creative by nature.

B) You over reach and try to take on to many projects

C) You think it is a money saving option.

Rather than being a stress relieving fun project, the first two will only increase the stress.

The third is a reality that too many brides don’t really realize. A lot of DIY projects don’t really save you all that much money. Sure, a few bucks here and there but when you factor in the stress they can add, the countless trips to the craft store and time you spend, it isn’t really that much of a savings.

My advice? Pick no more than 3 projects that really make your heart sing, that play to your strengths and that will add a big “punch” to your wedding.

Filed under DIY Advice Questions

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Wedding Thank You Notes Timeline


                        Thank You Just Married Wedding Postcard 

Samantha asks…

What is the proper etiquette for sending out thank you cards? My bridesmaids are hosting a bridal shower for me just one month before my wedding date. Along with that, wedding gifts have already started to arrive! I know I am going to be swamped with wedding tasks in the coming weeks, and will have little time for thank you cards.

When do I need to send my thank you notes? Do you have any advice for making this to-do list item a little easier?

                       Thank You Red Rose Blank Greeting Card

A. This is a great question, Samantha. Writing thank you cards has become a dreaded task for many brides, when it really should be a pleasant activity.

First and foremost, it’s important to remember why you are writing these thank you notes – because you are surrounded by loving and caring individuals. Beyond the gifts they may give, you are really expressing thanks for your friends and family who have taken time out of their schedules (and, quite often, have spent money and effort to travel) to celebrate in your special day. Looking at your ever-growing thank you list in this mindset may help bring some joy to the task!

                                Thank You Damask Floral Postcard

I recommend sending thank you notes within two weeks of a bridal shower. Usually, your bridal shower is much smaller than your wedding guest list, so it will take less time to complete the thank you notes.

Proper etiquette for weddings is to send a thank you note within two months of your wedding.  But, thank you cards for your wedding gifts may be written as soon as they arrive. With wedding registries so prevalent, many modern brides receive the majority of their gifts in the weeks leading up to their wedding date – and it sounds like you are no exception. This is the perfect opportunity to get a head start on your thank you notes.

                           Thank You Photo Wedding Postcard

If you would prefer to send them after the wedding, photo thank you notes are a great option! Be sure to ask your photographer to send a few select photos immediately after the wedding, so you can order your thank you notes, write and address, and mail out to your guests in a timely manner.

Filed under Thank You Notes Etiquette FAQ Wedding thank you notes Advice

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One of the most beautiful components of a wedding is the flowers. Bouquets, nosegays, arches and centerpieces help pull the theme and aesthetic together. Learn how you can put together the perfect floral arrangements and save money.


Use Expensive Sparingly

For a rustic-style table, look at mixing bright and fresh-picked blooms. A mixed arrangement can also save money. Mix expensive flowers with less expensive ones. If you love peonies but can’t afford heaps of them, use them sparingly. Bring in affordable flowers like roses, carnations and lisianthus. The peonies will still shine and elevate the other flowers.


Go Bold With a Single Color

For a wedding with a faraway feel, stick with bold colors. Dominant shades of pink can remind you of tropical beaches, while deep red can whisk you away to the Far East. Using a single type of flower to create arrangements can also cut down costs. Stay with one or two types of flowers and let them carry through the entire wedding, A floral designer is sometimes able to get a better price if they are ordering boxes of a single type of flower. Plus, one or two flowers can make an impact, especially if they are in a bold or complementary color combination.


Use Greens to Stretch Your Dollar

Think small and loose-style arrangements for a rustic, organic feel. When choosing your design, don’t go for extremely tight, compacted styles that use tons of flowers. Pick lower arrangements that feature lush greeneries, like seeded eucalyptus, bear grass and plumose. The greens will help stretch out the size of the arrangement.


Try the Local Market

This charming spring bouquet is tied with a swath of lace and an antique pin. For the DIY bride, Purchase flowers from the local farmers’ market. Try to plan your wedding around the time when flowers are in abundance.


Provide the Florist With Containers

Antique silver, Mason jars and even tin cans can be upcycled into vases. Provide your florist with containers. You can save money if you find a comparable container yourself, but be sure to take measurements. A container with a larger opening will call for more flowers.


Go Seasonal

A blushing white bouquet will look elegant at a wintry white wedding. If you are getting married during the winter holidays, look for flowers that are in season. Regardless of the season, brides looking to save money should always opt for seasonal flowers. Though this does not guarantee rock-bottom prices, it always helps when flowers are readily available and abundant.


Expect to Pay More Around the Holidays

A holiday wedding may call for an arrangement of red and green flowers to accessorize cocktail and reception tables. When planning a wedding around Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day and New Year’s, be sure to include extra room in your budget.. The quality of flowers at these times is not as high, as the flowers are forced to bloom. Flower growers charge more for flowers around major holidays due to supply and demand.



Soft flowers like roses and ranunculus are a wonderful way to celebrate romance. If you need to be budget-conscious, repurpose flowers that were used during the ceremony. You can repurpose flowers from an arch or gazebo to work elsewhere when the ceremony is finished. Lay the bouquets of your bridal party around the cake table, or use the flowers from the aisle for the sweetheart and cocktail tables.


Think Beyond Flowers

A romantic flower arrangement can also be accentuated with unconventional elements. Here, light and airy feathers complete an ethereal bride’s bouquet. 


Filed under Floral arrangements Wedding flowers Flowers Budget Advice

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Etiquette Q&A: “Who Gets a Plus One?”

Q: My fiancé and his family think we should invite everyone to the wedding with a guest. What’s the rule?

A: You needn’t invite every single person to your wedding with a guest. In fact, most couples today don’t —  unless they have an unlimited budget. You should, however, include partners of the following people:

► Everyone who is married (even if you don’t know their spouse)
► Couples who are engaged
► Couples who are living together
► Guests who have had a steady significant other for so long that it would seem awkward not to include their partners.

The last instance is a judgment call, but in most cases, your gut will tell you what to do.

Filed under Etiquette Invitations Wedding guests Q&A Advice

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Top Wedding Styling Tips

1. Create a brief 

You can’t design anything without a proper brief! Sit down with your fiancé and write down all the words that describe you as a couple.  Next, write a list of all the words you want your wedding to be, how it looks and most importantly how it should feel.

2. Collect your ideas

During the early stages of your planning you should collect everything you like! Try and cover all the different elements of your day, from dress and accessories, to ceremony details, flowers, stationery, reception décor and cakes!  Online resources such as Pinterest and Loverly are brilliant for this as you can collect all your ideas onto different boards – and always find where they came from! Pinning from other blogs is great too, Style Me Pretty and Martha Stewart Weddings are two perennial faves!  Collecting from magazines is great too! Just gather all your cut out’s safely in a file.

3. Refine your ideas

Take all of your images and separate them into piles of different styles or colour palettes.  You’ll quickly be able to determine if one style is in the lead!  If you’re taste is more eclectic and you end up with more equal piles, go back through the images and try and remember what you loved about them.  If you still can’t decide, don’t be scared to combine two or more different styles. Vintage boho? Modern eclectic?!

4. Create an inspiration board

Don’t be too specific about the actual elements that go into this board, it’s more about communicating the colour palette and mood.  Use swatches of fabric or lace, beads and ribbons to bring it to life! Use this to explain to your suppliers (or curious friends and family) about your chosen style.

5. Source the right suppliers

Finding the right people to help create your dream day can make all the difference.  Perhaps an online retailer who’s product line really suits your style, or a hire company who can supply all the perfect little details.  Floral designers and cake designers are perhaps the most important of these, especially as the flowers will have the biggest overall impact on your day.  Find people who you can trust and who you like! Ask yourself if you’d like to be friends with them. If the answer’s yes you’ve probably found your match!

Filed under Advice

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10 Things No One Tells You About Getting Engaged

No matter how long you and your fiance dated or how many times you’ve been a bridesmaid in your friends’ weddings, there are some truths you just don’t find out about until you get engaged.

1. You’ll have a big zit on your chin the day he proposes.

Okay, maybe you won’t (or didn’t). But the point is that whatever fantasy proposal you had dreamed up (at the most romantic place in the world, wearing the most perfect dress, with the best hair and complexion you’ve ever had) isn’t reality.

Our Advice: Your proposal story — whether it happened on the couch in your PJs with no makeup on, or in the middle of the Caribbean in a hot swimsuit — is more important (and special) than that fantasy proposal you might have had in your head. Why? Because it’s your story and no one else’s.

2. You won’t be able to stop staring at your hand.

Maybe you went ring shopping together and picked it out yourself, or maybe it was a total surprise. Either way, there’s a big difference between imagining it on your hand and actually seeing that brand-new shiny ring on your finger.

Our Advice: Everyone is going to want to see the ring, so get a manicure (and be careful gawking at your hand while driving or crossing busy intersections!).

3. You’ll have to tell your proposal story a million times.

As soon as you get engaged, one of the first questions people will ask is how he proposed. Get used to it. Telling and retelling the story is part of the fun of being engaged.

Our Advice: To make it easier on yourselves, write down your proposal story (put it on your wedding website and in your online wedding planner) and send friends and family the link so that they can get the full details.

4. People will ask you about a wedding date and location before you’ve had a chance to even think about it.

You know how it goes: Everyone is excited. But before you’ve even had time to sign up on and start your checklist, your family and friends are already asking for details.

Our Advice: If you have no idea where and when the wedding will be, come up with a blanket statement you can use whenever someone asks. Say something like, “We’re so excited just being engaged right now. I’m sure there will be plenty of time to figure out the logistics in the coming months.” They’ll take the hint.

5. There might be a few sours…

There’s usually at least one friend or family member who may not come off quite as supportive or elated as the rest of them. If this doesn’t happen to you, be thankful, because you’re in the minority.

Our Advice: A not-so-positive reaction to your good news is a reflection of that person (not you). Don’t dwell on negative feedback. Focus on the positive — you’re getting married!

6. …But your best friends will be there for you.

You’ll know the people you can count on. They’re the ones who post five-exclamation-point messages to your Facebook wall the minute you announce your engagement; they’re the ones who take you out for drinks the day after you get engaged to celebrate; they’re the ones who tell you they’re ready to help you with whatever you need.

Our Advice: Lean on the friends who express excitement for you (and celebrate your newly engaged status often!).

7. Recently married friends will suddenly become wedding planning experts and give you (oftentimes unsolicited) advice.

There are plenty of reasons this happens. Some friends may be going through the “postwedding blues” and miss the excitement of planning their own weddings. Others may just think they’re doing you a favor.

Our Advice: If a friend offers wedding planning advice (say, “You shouldn’t invite kids to your wedding,” or anything else that starts with, “You should/shouldn’t…”), take it in stride. Graciously accept it as a sign of their friendship (there’s no need to get defensive). If you agree with the advice, take it; if not, thank them and move on with your plans.

8. You’ll watch wedding movies and TV shows differently.

Whether you’ve seen dozens of Say Yes to the Dress episodes, or you wouldn’t be caught dead watching a “cheesy wedding show,” you might now find yourself a little (or a lot) more interested in wedding movies and shows.

Our Advice: Rent Father of the BrideMy Best Friend’s Wedding and Rachel Getting Married – and don’t feel bad about sitting through and enjoying a TLC wedding special or two. This is one of those guilty wedding pleasures that you’re totally allowed to indulge in while you’re engaged.

9. You’ll have a hard time not jumping into wedding planning right away and will find it difficult to “just enjoy being engaged.”

Sure, you recognize there’s a long road ahead of you and there’s plenty of time to plan out a wedding. But after the shock wears off, the next natural step is to start working out wedding plans.

Our Advice: It’s okay (and good!) to get started early — just be sensitive to him. He more than likely just spent a lot of money and time planning out the proposal. So give him a little time to relax if he needs it. A few things you can get started on right away: planning out the guest list (at least your family and friends) and documenting your proposal story.

10. Your relationship will feel different (even if you’ve been living together for years).

A marriage proposal is exciting, but it’s also serious. You’ve just agreed to commit to one another — for forever.

Our Advice: Work out the nitty-gritty details you may have only touched upon when you were dating. Decide what you’ll do for holidays every year, whether you want kids, where you want to live long term. Make actual plans. Even if they change, it’s good to know where you both stand on the big topics. If you’re not required to through your church or temple, consider signing up for prewedding counseling, where you’ll be led through the process by a pro. Having worked out hard-to-make decisions together will make the wedding ceremony that much more meaningful.

Filed under Engagement Advice

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How Does the Wedding Party Line Up?


Q. What is the proper order to line up the bridesmaids and groomsmen? I was under the impression that you have them in the order of who is important in your life. Someone else said you put them in order by height. Which is right?

A. This question is actually tougher than it sounds. The height thing is a matter of opinion, not etiquette. If it matters to you aesthetically, you may very well want to line people up by height. But the idea of lining up your attendants in order of importance — the maid of honor (perhaps your sister) closest to you, then your best friend, then your cousin, and then your other two close friends — makes sense too. The one weird thing about that is that all of these people are important to you, or else they wouldn’t be in your wedding party. You don’t want them to feel like the closer they are to you in line, the more important they are to you. And another thing: Even if you line people up by height, the shortest ones may feel that they are least important. See how this can get sticky?

Do the height thing automatically only if you care about it for the pictures. But approach the “you’re important to me” thing with care as well — you don’t want any hurt feelings.

Filed under Etiquette Wedding Party Advice

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How To Trim Your Wedding Guest List


Determine who makes the cut…

Paring the guest list down to size can be as formidable as predicting the weather for an outdoor spring ceremony. To determine who makes the cut, ask yourself these “to invite or not invite” qualifying questions. If you answer mostly yeses, extend the invite. If nays have the majority, save the postage – and the meal cost. 

1) Guests from Afar

Some people (siblings, close friends) will make your A-list regardless of where they live, but others (second cousins, old sorority pals) fall into a gray area when they reside far from your wedding locale.  These long-distance guests may be unable to travel to your nuptials, so is an invite merely a gift request in disguise? Decide on a case-by-case basis.

  • Have you seen or spoken to them within the last six months?
  • Have you exchanged invites to other milestone events (their wedding, graduations, hallmark birthdays)?
  • Are they close with other invited guests?

Rule of Thumb:If your special day would not feel complete without your college roommate who now resides in New Zealand, go ahead and send an invitation. Let your guests decide for themselves whether or not they want to travel.

2) Pint-Sized Partiers

Not inviting children can make for tough planning for some of your guests, but the opposite can make for some interesting moments you hadn’t included in your wedding day dreams – like crying babies during the vows.

  • Are you planning a relaxed daytime event?
  • Does your budget and venue size make inviting all children a possibility?
  • Can your caterer provide kid-friendly menu choices at a reduced cost?

Rule of Thumb: Have a blanket no-children policy or make a sweeping cut based on age (no one under 13), as picking and choosing may offend some parents. If you anticipate complaints, schedule a black-tie evening affair, which is generally understood to be a kid-free zone. 

3) “And Guest”

If space or budget won’t allow the extra guests, some single pals may have to come solo. 

  • Is this person in a committed relationship (living together or engaged)?
  • Will s/he be the token bachelor or bachelorette?
  • Must s/he travel and plan overnight accommodations?

Rule of Thumb: Sure it’s nice to let your unmarried friends bring a date, but unless that date is a long-term love (living together or engaged), you don’t have to send the “and Guest” invite. Just be sure to handle seating arrangements with care – your single friend probably won’t appreciate a table of couples sharing stories about how they fell in love. 

4) Office Space

Deciding which coworkers to include depends on the size of your office and the nature of your relationships.

  • Do you regularly socialize outside of work?
  • Is your office or department close-knit and small (fewer than five people)?
  • Is your work relationship with a few direct supervisors or assistants particularly close?

Rule of Thumb: If you work in a small office, best to follow the all-or-none policy. In a larger office, you can safely invite your happy-hour crew or direct supervisors and assistants without incurring the wrath of the uninvited. 

Filed under Advice Guest List

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8 Fights You Should Have Before Getting Married

  Guest Blog by Cori Russell


Being a bride-to-be is certainly fabulous, a sparkling rock on your left hand, a valid excuse to go overboard on shopping (you need those Manolos for your honeymoon, after all), parties thrown in your honor, blowout arguments with your fiance… Uh, I beg your pardon??

Of course I jest, but there’s a hint of truth here. Remember, the engagement period is more than the time needed to plan a big party. It’s also the trial run for your marriage and future life together. And guess what – any unresolved issues during your engagement are clues to future marriage woes. The bottom line – discuss potential challenges and disagreements now, not after you’ve cut the wedding cake.

So while up until now you may have been the couple that never fights; here’s your chance. Read this list of the top pre-wedding fights ‘er” discussions to have before you say “I do”.

1. The “Don’t Leave the Toilet Seat Up” Tussle

Now’s the time to address any petty grievances you both may have ignored until now. You’ve heard it a thousand times, and it holds true here, communication is key. We know – blah, blah, blah – but it’s cliche for a reason. You need to clear the air now, because these little gripes – left unsaid, can build up underlying tension over the years, only to bubble over and explode into a completely unrelated future argument. Remember to keep this discussion productive and lighthearted. Nagging or initiating a screaming duel over his pants left on the floor (again) is not going to solve anything.

2. The “You Want Me To Do What?” Melee

Unless a personal maid and assistant is on your bridal registry (a novel idea!) – someone’s gonna have to scour the shared bathroom in your new dwelling. You’ll soon find that the key to marital bliss is agreement on whose task is whose. While an itemized chore list is a tad ambitious, lay out expectations in advance and avoid future blowups. You should know each other well enough by this point to divvy tasks accordingly: common sense dictates that your fiance who bounced 3 checks last month should relinquish bill duty, and if your white sheets are now gray – best hand over laundry duty. And while you’re divvying out chores – discuss broader marriage roles. How do you see yourself as a wife? a mother? a professional? How does he see himself?

3. The “When Should We Procreate?” Debate

Don’t even consider walking down that aisle without a game plan for children. Avoid this discussion, and you risk bringing innocent bystanders into a world of dysfunction – namely, yours. Before your wedding day, reach a consensus on: when those little feet will start to pitter patter, how many feet will be doing the pattering, and whether they’ll even patter at all.

4. The “Festivus for the Rest of Us?” Controversy

If your Tree is his Festivus Pole it’s time to talk religion. Combining two faiths can be tricky. Discuss together your values, and identify what religious traditions are most meaningful for each of you to incorporate into your wedding ceremony and marriage. How will you combine holidays? Raise your children? And even if you share the same religious background, what role will religion play in your life together?

5. The “Not Tonight Dear, I Have a Headache” Tug of War

Sure, things may be spicy now, but your sex life is bound to evolve and change a number of times throughout your marriage. What are your sexual expectations? Are you able to speak openly about sex? Have a frank discussion now, when your relationship is new and confidence is high. Otherwise, you risk establishing a pattern of avoidance and inability to discuss sexual wants and needs – a huge marital red flag.

6. The “Does This Make Me Look Fat?” Confrontation

Til death do you part… that allows an awful long time for your body to age. And even if you both succeed in fighting off middle age weight gain, inevitable wrinkles, gray hairs, or hairs in the wrong places will eventually makeover your once - youthful selves. How are you going to deal? What are your expectations for your own and your spouse’s physical upkeep?

7. The “You charged WHAT to the Amex?” Brawl

Without a doubt, financial woes are one of the main stressors in a marriage and a primary cause of divorce. For new couples, the topic of money can be uncomfortable, and certainly unromantic. But how romantic will it be when you’re forced to pawn that rock on your left finger to pay off your groom’s insurmountable gambling debts? Bottom line, get over yourself, and practice full financial disclosure. What will be your combined income as a newly married couple? Do you have any current debt and how will you manage it together? Is there anything (real estate, travel, college fund) for which you’re willing to take on debt? How will you manage savings? Investments? How and when do you plan to retire?

8. The “Not So All in the Family” Feud

Ah, in laws, the quintessential love/hate relationship. Remember, when you marry the man, you also marry the family. So while it’s not essential to tell your hubby-to-be exactly how you feel about his needling mother, it is important to come to terms with family involvement and what level of closeness is acceptable. If your idea of the perfect Thanksgiving involves skiing in Switzerland and his involves a big sit down with his extended family in Toledo, it’s best to express these expectations out now, and start crafting a compromise.

Filed under Advice

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Committing wedding mistakes can be extremely costly, especially with all of the costs associated with weddings. So, to help you avoid wasting your money I’ve compiled a list of the top ten mistakes that could drain your bank account!


When you’re planning a wedding, it’s super easy to get caught up in the fun and forget about your budget. When you put your budget as a priority, not only will you be saving money, but you won’t be overspending on details that might not matter in the end!


Wedding planning isn’t something that just the bride plans, there are typically a lot of other people involved and I gotta say, the biggest wedding mistake that most brides make is allowing themselves to be pressured into something that they don’t want. For example, do you really need to have the biggest suite at the hotel? Do you really need the $4,000.00 wedding dress? Scale down and listen to your own words!


I speak with a lot of brideshe sales department and I gotta say, it’s crazy how many brides don’t pay attention to the fine print! If you are signing your life away on tons of contracts, it’ really important that you are reading the fine print. That way you know exactly what you are getting into before you sign!


As I said before, wedding planning isn’t just about what the bride wants, there are lots of people involved. Having a plan of who is going to plan what and who is going to take care of what is huge! This will not only save you a ton of time, but it’ll also save you money!


A lot of people, when they are getting married just leap before they look. If you’re planning a wedding, you gotta have a venue to have it – are you looking at more than one venue? comparing prices? This is huge to save money! Heck, if you can even switch your wedding date to a Friday or a Sunday, you can probably get a better deal!


Typically, if you are going with a creditable catering company, they will often over estimate the number of people that they are going to feed. What this means is that you might not need to have six appetizer choices, instead you could probably stick with just two or three and be fine.


When you’re trying to handle each and every detail yourself, it can actually end up costing you money that you otherwise could have saved. Why not involve your bridesmaids, the mothers and even the fathers on both sides? They all want the day to be a success, so why not let them help?


Think outside the box and be creative to save money. Why not visit your local garden shop rather than a high end florist who will import expensive flowers.  Rather than go to an expensive cake bakery, why not visit your local grocery store bakery. A friend of mine had her cake specially made from a Walmart and it was beautiful. I bet nobody would have guessed where she got her cake, and she saved a lot of money! 


When you’re planning a wedding, you should definitely make sure that you have a cap on your guest list. If you are planning on 150, you should cap it at 150, not keep adding to it. This is definitely one of the most common wedding mistakes that brides make all of the time!


Finally, it’s really easy to get sucked into the details of a wedding and the details are important, but do you really need the wine charms to go around the glasses? If you scale down on some of the extras, I promise, you’ll save a ton of money in the long run!

Filed under Budget Advice

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How to Create An Unforgettable Event

When I ask people to describe the most unique weddings they’ve ever attended, I’m always surprised that they can usually think of no more than one or two.

Here’s my top list on how to create a unique wedding or event using a few key reception ideas:

1. Flow is extremely important. Make sure you have enough servers so that your guests are never kept waiting. No one wants to stand in a long line at the bar or buffet.

2. Everyone loves a great band or DJ,but if the music is too loud guests won’t be able to converse without screaming at each other. A few seconds of screaming and your guests will start to hate the music. Early in the evening, keep the music at a low volume. Later in the night, pump up the volume to get everyone dancing. It will make all the difference for your reception.

3. Try to avoid too many long speeches, and keep the microphone away from any family members who are likely to drink too much. All of the important speeches should be given at the rehearsal diner the night before.

4. Pace your mealso that everyone gets each course at the same time. There’s nothing worse than when some tables are finishing their course while others are still waiting to be served.

5. Your wedding is not the Superbowl. Make sure that your wedding decor includes dim lighting, which will create an intimate and romantic environment. Candles help, too.

6. Speaking of which, candles generate heat. You don’t want your event space to feel like an oven in the warmer months. Keep the air conditioner a bit higher than usual to balance the heat.

7. As for wedding reception decorations, remember to leave enough room for your table settings (people need those glasses and plates!) No one enjoys eating at a table that is overcrowded. 

8. We live in a culture that believes the more alcohol that is consumed, the better the party. However, if one of your guests drinks too much he or she may become mean or disruptive. If this happens, don’t hesitate to ask the person to leave, and if the individual won’t leave, you should have him or her removed.

Filed under Wedding Reception Advice

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10 Rules for a Happy Marriage

1.  Never both be angry at the same time.

2.  Never yell at each other unless the house is on fire. 

3.  If one of you has to win an argument, let it be your mate.

4.  If you must criticize, do it lovingly. 

5.  Never bring up mistakes of the past.

6.  Neglect the whole world rather than each other. 

7.  Never go to sleep with an argument unsettled.

8.  At least once every day say a kind or complimentary word to your life partner.

9.  When you have done something wrong, admit it and ask for forgiveness.

10. Remember it takes two to make a quarrel.

Filed under Relationship Advice Marriage

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The Bridezilla Syndrome: Do You Have It?

In a fast-paced world of wedding planning, stress levels are high; immune systems are low; and over the course of the past 20 years, brides have transmitted, what has become a bridal epidemic of our time.

The number of victims has steadily increased; and to date, there is no cure. It’s been dubbed various clinical names: Multiple Personality Disorder, Schizophrenia, Temporary Insanity. But in the world of matrimony, anyone who’s been exposed - fiancés, family, friends, and victims themselves - this broadening illness has been commonly termed “Bridezilla Syndrome” or “BS.”

A contagious condition, BS has become more prominent and has plagued today’s busy, wedding-planning woman. In a preliminary study, the disease has spread at an alarming rate. Symptoms of victims of BS - better known as Bridezillas - include reoccurring mood spells, bouts with selfishness, signs of controlling behavior and feelings of meticulousness.

Unfortunately fiancés, bridal party members, friends and family eventually fall victim to the actions and attitudes of a Bridezilla.

Research suggests that symptoms are recognized most often by the fiancé and Maid of Honor, and are completely undetectable by the actual victim. In some cases, a bridal party member, who having had too much alcohol to drink, confronted the Bridezilla. Most often, an emotional, breakdown of the victim would follow, thus intensifying her condition. In a survey of 100 Maids of Honor, an alarming 85% said they avoided confrontation with the victim for fear it would only exasperate the illness.

So we must ask the underlying questions: Where is all this BS coming from? How does one know when she’s full of it? Unfortunately the source has not been found; though it is believed that it has existed since the dawn of the institution of marriage. A short-term condition (symptoms persist about 1-2 years depending on one’s wedding date), Bridezillas seem to have been unfairly blamed for their actions, for which some believe they have no control, albeit their control over everything else. In fact, it’s been clinically proven that a Bridezilla actually does have feelings - feelings of selfishness, insecurity, anxiousness and stress!

Though it’s been said there is no cure, there are ways to prevent infection of BS. A survey of healthy brides, whom successfully planned their weddings without contracting the disease, was conducted. Results showed commonalities of the actions performed to avoid the disorder. Doctors, psychologists and wedding planners strongly suggest the following preventative therapy:

1. Keep Perspective - remind yourself that the wedding is only one day in your life. When things get out of control, close your eyes and remember the reason why you are planning this wedding in the first place.

2. Don’t Assume Your Groom Doesn’t Want to Help - ask him what he’d like to take responsibility for; and then let him. (note: some grooms may follow the cliché and decline this offer.)

3. Know That You Can’t Control Everything - realize this and accept it!

4 Delegate. Delegate. Delegate - If you act like you can handle everything, people will let you. Spread the duties.

5. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff - people won’t remember whether or not your invitations had those cute little tissues enclosed.

6. Treat The People You Cherish with Love - the wedding is one day; your family and friends are forever.

7. Allow Others to Vent - give your fiancé, family and bridesmaids permission to tell you when you’re going off the deep-end.

8. Take the Heat - give yourself permission to hear them.

9. Do Something for Yourself Every Day - the catch is that it must not involve the wedding.

10. No Wedding Talk After 10pm.

Although preventative therapy is available, some brides inherently fall victim and still contract BS. But there is hope! This is not a terminal illness. In fact in most cases, the bride has been known to be miraculously cured once she has returned from her honeymoon. Doctors and psychologists theorize that the change in altitude from flying coupled with excessive levels of the love hormone, counteracts the disease by boosting the immune system, thus eliminating symptoms.

In cases of remission, the disease has been known to resurface when a person, under certain circumstances, may be planning her wedding again. According to research, those brides with a higher IQ score avoided the reoccurrence of symptoms by simply eloping.

Whatever your situation, whether a Bridezilla, fiancé, friend or family member of one — join in the fight! With love, hope and education, our brides of the future and their bridal parties will have a winning chance against all the BS!

Filed under Advice