Everything You’ll Need For Your Wedding Website

If the only reason you’re hesitating to make a “wedding website” is because you “don’t know a lot about computers” – don’t worry, it’s not hard. You don’t have to ask your “tech-y friend” for help. Websites like Zola, Wix, and Squarespace are website builders designed for people who don’t really build websites (aka: people like me who really only use the Internet to buy stuff, watch make-up tutorials, and look up “business casual outfits” on Pinterest – if I can do it, so can you!)

Wedding websites are a great way to set up all of your information in a “one stop shop” sort of way – event details, the registry, hotel options for out-of-town guests, etc, etc. You can even include your “love story” or some blurb about the two of you as a couple – but consider that people might quote it back to you for the rest of your lives. “Jamie knew Brad was the one when he agreed to go apple picking on their third date… aww…. are you guys going to go apple picking on your honeymoon? Will there be apple tarts at the wedding?”

You don’t have to include the cutesy stuff if you don’t want to. But if you do, make sure it’s in a separate section from the hard-nosed facts. No one wants to skim through “….and then he took a knee…” when they’re running late to the reception and need to find the address.

Things like : date, time, place, etc should be included front and center. This is the number one reason why people will come to your website – because they either lost their Invite with the information on it, or left it hanging on their refrigerator at home.

Once you’ve made it through the nitty gritty, here’s a list of other things you may consider including on your website as well (because, trust me, people will ask. Including it on your website won’t eliminate the “question” text messages completely, but it may save you from a few.)

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When Should I Start Shopping For My Wedding Dress?

February 25, 2020 in Attire, Early Stages, Wedding Planning - No Comments

People will get pretty nosy about your dress. Of course they’re trying to be nice, they want to show an interest in your wedding planning – and let’s be honest, your dress is probably one of the more interesting things about wedding planning (besides the whole committing-to-one-another-for-life thing, the dress part is just fun.).

Or at least it’s supposed to be. It’s supposed to be fun. But, as brides, we just have to make everything complicated, don’t we?

I was flabbergasted the first time someone ‘shamed me’ because I hadn’t started dress shopping nine months before my wedding. (I mean, not actually shamed me – it was more of a ‘tsk tsk’ sort of shaming, but still. NINE months? That’s how long it would take to grow a human being inside of me. You’re telling me that someone can’t make a wedding dress in nine months?)

“It takes a loooooong time,” this person told me. (This person was my hair dresser. I was dress-shamed by my hair dresser. The same lady who carried a Louis Vuitton Never Full bag to work and seemed to assume that everyone who buys a wedding dress is buying them from some fancy-pants couture shop in Downtown Chicago. I don’t know why, because this salon that she works at is not exactly ‘fancy-pants couture’, nor is it in Downtown Chicago. But whatever.)

“My daughter’s dress didn’t come in, for like, eight months.” She told me. “And then they still had to do alterations.”

Eight months?” Was her dress hand-stitched by blind nuns? Seriously – eight months? I made pajama pants faster than that in Home Ec class.

So I decided to heed the words of my annoying hair dresser and started dress shopping in early February, eight months before the wedding. I don’t know if this was the ‘right’ time to start shopping, but it worked out for me. My dress came in by June, I had alterations done in September, and my dress was ready to roll for our wedding in late October.

But in case you still aren’t sure when you should start dress shopping – don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with a cheat sheet.

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How To Compromise When It Comes To Wedding Planning

It was early in the planning process – like way too early, we’re talking maybe a month after he proposed – when I questioned myself on whether or not I was being a “Bridezilla”.

First of all – can we finally banish the whole “Bridezilla” title? A bride is not a malicious creature with fangs and claws who eats people and climbs buildings like a squirrel. This is the equivalent to calling any woman with an opinion “too bossy” or “too loud” – it’s 2020, you should be allowed to have a specific opinion about your own wedding.

Unless your opinion is…. a little bit…. too….. hmm. Okay – unless your opinion makes your level-headed fiancé say – “Seriously. You want to build a deck so that we can get married on the beach and you don’t have to walk in the sand. Seriously?” Any comment that begins and ends with “Seriously. Seriously?” means you might have gone too far. Reign it back. Just a touch.

The deck thing came later. (I mean – I wasn’t actually implying that we should build a deck, I believe my exact words were: “Maybe they can lay down some wood? But, like, maybe the wood could be like, an inch or two off the ground, you know?”) Anywho – that one came after we’d already decided that we would get married in California. Initially we had planned to get married in Chicago, where we met (and live now).

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the first 10 things you need to do right after you get engaged

January 20, 2020 in Early Stages, Wedding Planning

Getting engaged is fun. Getting married is fun too, but getting engaged feels like gaining access into an exclusive club. Now you can finally start trying on wedding dresses instead of just pinning your favorite “Wedding Inspo” on Pinterest. You can show off your ring in the obligatory “We’re engaged!!” post on social media, and tell everyone about how you were SO SURPRISED! (even if you weren’t, it’s okay, no one really knows the truth except for you.) You can finally start saying things like “my fiancé” instead of “my boyfriend”, and “our wedding” instead of “my wedding” – because now there’s actually a groom. Yay for grooms! Yay for getting engaged!

Of course, it can also be a little overwhelming. Just slightly. After Kyle proposed, and after I said “yes”, and after we immediately popped the champagne that was waiting for us…. something happened. Not anything bad, just… a lull. The excitement was less intense once we’d gotten back into the car to head home. We just got engaged!

….now what?

What do we do now?

“We should call people!” I said eagerly. “Tell everyone!”

“Yes!” He agreed. “Let’s call your parents, and then we’ll call mine!”

So we called my parents, and then we called his. And then we called his sister, and his grandma, and our closest friends, and they all wanted to know about things like “when’s the wedding?” and “where do you think you’ll get married?” and “do you want a big wedding or a small wedding?”

I didn’t know. I mean, Kyle didn’t know either – and we both kept saying things like “uh… I don’t know, we haven’t talked about that yet!” Were we supposed to have answers to these questions? Already? I had no idea. We just got engaged! I was still buzzing from the champagne!

In case you, like me, are overwhelmed and wondering what you’re “supposed” to be doing right after you’ve said “yes!” – below is a list of the first 10 things you should do right after getting engaged. You may not have your colors picked out yet, but if you can manage these things over the first few weeks, you’ll be ahead of the game.

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The Early Stages of wedding planning

January 5, 2020 in Early Stages, Wedding Planning

About three months after you get engaged, something happens. The first two months are all about celebrations and “Congratulations!” and people telling you how happy they are for you. You’ve found your person. The one who’s agreed to smell your morning breath every day for the rest of your life and kiss you anyway (albeit, sometimes on the forehead. That’s okay.) 

“There’s plenty of time to plan”, people will say. “There’s no rush. Just enjoy it!” 

“Just enjoy it,” they say. Until the ‘newness’ wears off. Once your friends and family have already heard the story about ‘how he did it’ and ‘where he did it’ and “did you know? Were you surprised?” – the conversation gradually fades during the upcoming months into questions about dress shopping and guest counts and napkin colors.

Napkin colors. Did you know that it’s possible to have a ten minute conversation about napkin colors? I didn’t. Until it happened the other day when I was asked about “my vision” and “were these napkins going to work with that?”

I mean… they’re still napkins, right? If I spill something, these will be the things used to clean it up? Okay. Just checking. 

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My Experience Hiring A wedding planner

January 5, 2020 in Early Stages, Wedding Planning

Can you handle planning your own wedding? Of course you can. Which is not to say that it will be “easy” – you’ll need excellent time management skills, a Monica-Gellar-level passion for organization, and a notebook. Kyle and I bought a notebook shortly after we got engaged that we deemed “The wedding notebook” where we were only allowed to write “wedding things”. (Five months later we have two pages scribbled with notes like “Flowers?” and “Music….. guitar? Violin. GUITAR.”

If you have the time, and you’re “into” it – so, you’re not going to roll your eyes every time someone asks you about your ‘color scheme’ – you can plan your own wedding, no matter how busy you are, even if you have a full time job and you travel and you have a life outside of “wedding stuff”. 

“But I’m REALLY busy.” I told Kyle, this is back when I was trying to convince him that we “needed” a wedding planner. “Plus we’re getting married in California – and I’m trying to plan everything from Chicago? I don’t really *know* California. I need to find someone who *knows* California. How else am I going to, like, find a florist and a minister and stuff?” 

There’s also Google. But. That’s not as fancy as being able to say that you have “a wedding planner”, now is it? 

So we justified our decision to do a destination wedding in California because we were going to find someone “locally” to do all of the planning. She will be the J-Lo in that movie “The Wedding Planner”. (Except she won’t sleep with my fiancé. Is that what that movie’s about? I don’t remember, it’s been awhile.) She will take all of my vendor meetings, respond to all of my emails, be in charge of set-up and tear-down of our decorations, and keep me in check the day-of so I’m not late to my own wedding.

OR maybe she won’t do any of that, and she’ll just forward emails to me from the florist that say “See below”. Because, honestly, I think that’s what a wedding planner actually does. 

Maybe not ALL wedding planners do this? But that’s what ours did. She was really just one more person that I had to copy on emails. And when I asked her things like, “Do you have any recommendations for this area?” – she would take over a week to respond, and finally come back with some venue that offered “portable toilets”. 

That really happened. She suggested a venue and tried to sell me on “portable toilets”. As if we’re planning a camping trip, and – oh, wait, nope – this is supposed to be a wedding, my bad. 

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FYI – Weddings are expensive

January 4, 2020 in Early Stages, Wedding Planning - No Comments

According to The Knot’s most recent poll – on a list of “The 25 Most Expensive Places To Get Married In The US”, Chicago ranks number three. Number THREE. In the United States. Right under Manhattan, NY and Long Island. According to their research, the average wedding in Chicago costs over $60,000. 

SIXTY thousand DOLLARS. I’ve never wanted to be one of those party-pooper kind of people who feel the need mention things like reality when planning a wedding – after all, it’s the most important day of your life! You can’t put a price tag on that, now can you?

Apparently you can. And that price tag reads $60,000. 

“Maybe we should just get married at city hall.” I said (which is something I never thought I’d say. Getting married at city hall, in my mind, has always been reserved for really, really old people, or those people on 90 Day Fiancé who are trying to get a visa). “I mean, we’ll still be *married*.” I pointed out, as if by paying $60,000 for a big wedding means that you are somehow more “married” than by doing it at city hall. “We just don’t have to do all of the *stuff*.” 

“The stuff” is what adds up. “The stuff” includes the flowers, the music, the food, the drinks, the rental fees, the chair covers, the silverware? Did you know that a lot of places will make you pay extra for silverware? It’s not included with the food. So you can spend $12,000 on chicken and steak and expect your guests to eat it County Fair Eating Contest style unless you dish out the extra cash for some utensils. But it’s your wedding day, right? You want it be “nice”. 

“We’re not getting married at city hall,” Kyle said. 

“Why not? “ I asked. “Carrie Bradshaw did it!” 

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