What To Expect At Your First Dress Fitting

April 3, 2020 in Attire, Wedding Planning - No Comments

Tip #1 – wear underwear. Not that I didn’t wear underwear, of course. I’m not that kind of girl, the kind of girl who goes commando to her dress fitting – her wedding dress fitting nonetheless.

I just wish I’d worn “real” underwear. You know, the kind that covers my entire butt, and not just some of my butt.

“Can you hold this?” The bridal consultant asked me to hold a section of tulle from the bottom layer of my dress.

In my defense, I didn’t know I’d have the company of a “bridal consultant” in the dressing room with me. Honestly I assumed they would let me get dressed on my own, wrap a tape measure around my waist and call it a day after saying “Yep! Still fits!” .

In case you couldn’t tell, I don’t get things “fitted” very often. Or, ever.

“What kind of bra were you planning to wear?” Bridal Consultant Girl asked me. “This one?” By ‘this one’ she meant the normal looking bra that I was wearing – the kind that had straps. The kind that probably wouldn’t look so hot with a strapless dress so, no, obviously I wasn’t planning on wearing that one.

“Oh, uh, no.” I said awkwardly. “I still need to find a strapless bra….” Honestly I wasn’t planning on wearing a bra at all – at least not to the fitting, but I didn’t know how uncomfortable Bridal Consultant Betty was going to feel if we were alone in a dressing room together and I ripped off my bra. I was already wearing half-an-underwear (a thong. I was wearing a thong. Can I say that? Let’s just clear it up right now so that you don’t think I was wearing some sort of gross, old underwear with holes in it or something).

“You need cups.” She told me. At the time I’d wondered if this was her seamstress-y way of telling me that I needed bigger boobs. “Here.” She said handing me two…. well, two boob cups. That’s what they are. They looked like a chicken cutlet bra, but they were made out of fabric and designed to be sewn into dresses. “Take that off,” She said, referring to the bra that I was wearing. “We’ll use these.”

Geez,.. I made my husband buy me dinner first, but OKAY BETTY.

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Should We Do A “First Look”?

March 29, 2020 in Ceremony, Wedding Planning - No Comments

The whole idea of a “first look” is to have a cute moment between you and your husband before the ceremony. Traditionally, couples were supposed to keep their distance from one another right up until that moment of “Here Comes The Bride” – (“It’s bad luck”, they said, “You can’t see each other before it’s time”, they said) but, at some point, somewhere along the way, a gutsy bride threw caution to the wind and said “You know what? Screw ‘bad luck’ – we’ve got a cocktail hour to get to, let’s do pictures before the ceremony.”

I don’t know if that’s how it happened. For all I know, they were doing it to be ‘romantic’ and ‘have a private moment together before becoming husband and wife’ (just the two of them and their photographer. Romantic.).

Whatever the reason – there are plenty of benefits to doing a “first look”. 1 – they’re usually really cute photos, 2 – you don’t have to ask your guests to wander around killing time for an hour and a half while you guys are taking pictures, and 3 – (this one may be the most important) depending on what time you’re getting married (and depending on the time of year – like, winter for example when it gets dark at 5pm) lighting may play a critical role. Natural light is always best when it comes to photography, and if you don’t want to have your December ceremony until 4pm – you’ve officially run out of daylight by the time it’s over. Now you have to do the rest of your photos inside against whatever-plain-wall-your-photographer-can-find to use as a backdrop.

Which is not to say that you have to do a “first look” if you’re getting married in December – no one said you have to do a “first look” at all. But if you’re reading this – you are presumably thinking about it. (Otherwise you’re just really, really bored.) So why not take some time to review the pros and cons so that you can make a well informed decision instead of doing what I did and just leaving it up to your future hubby to make the call.

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Popular Money Saving Strategies You SHOULDN’T Follow

March 21, 2020 in Budgets, Wedding Planning - No Comments

There’s a lot that you can learn about yourself when planning a wedding. For example, I’ve learned that I am a very rare breed of frugal. Meaning – normally I’m not frugal at all.

I mean, I’m not NOT frugal. It’s not like I’m drowning in credit card debt or asking my husband for gas money. But I’m also not saying “Hmm….. two hundred dollars on a couple of (okay, five) shirts from Abercrombie? Gee, I don’t know….” <— I know. I very much know. “I’ll wear those shirts all of the time!” I tell myself. “And what’s two hundred dollars on something that will become a staple in my wardrobe?”

A wedding dress is not a “staple” in anyone’s wardrobe. It’s something that you’ll wear one time, for a few hours, and – honestly if you’re anything like me – you can’t WAIT to take it off at the end of the night. (Not in a sexy way – more in a ‘ohmygod please take this thing off of me’ way.) I enjoy wearing dresses, I like to feel pretty and girly – but…. oof. By the end of the night, after lugging around my heavy ball of lace and tulle that was so tight around my waist it was suffocating me – all I wanted to do was put on fuzzy pajamas, slippers, and curl up in bed like the new, boring-married-person I’d become. Yay.

Needless to say, I didn’t want to spend $5K on this dress. Especially when I considered how many shirts that I could buy at Abercrombie and wear them more than once AND they wouldn’t be itchy and made of tulle.

But if you research “How to save money when planning a wedding” (and by ‘research’, I mean ‘Google” – legitimate “money people” who work in the wedding industry may have better tips) – you’ll get a lot of weird stuff. I don’t know who came up with some of these strategies, but I’ve seen them on more than one website, and they honestly don’t seem like sound advice. (At least not if you’re planning a wedding – although maybe this could work if you were planning, like, a graduation party or something?)

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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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more classy, less trashy | 10 Bachelorette Destinations that don’t include vegas

I was twenty-two when I attended my first bachelorette party, and I remember hesitating to mention the ‘bachelorette’ part of the party to my mom. Yes, I was twenty-two and could obviously do whatever I wanted, it’s not as if my mom was going to tell me that I wasn’t “allowed” to go – but.she’s going to imagine me drinking out of a penis straw, isn’t she? I thought to myself. She’s going to imagine us sitting around some Channing-Tatum-style-strip-club while dudes take their clothes off and my friends and I throw money at them.

I don’t know if she actually thought that. I don’t know what she thought, because I remember all she said was “Have fun!” while I walked out the door secretly worrying that my friends were going to surprise everyone by dragging us to some Channing-Tatum-style-strip-club.

It’s not that I don’t like Channing-Tatum-style-strip-clubs, it’s just… you know. I’d rather go to like, a spa or something.

Which is why when it came time for my own bachelorette party, I was equally as nervous as I was excited. I was, like, ninety-nine-ish percent sure that my friends weren’t going to pull a fast one and hire a male stripper to dance around our hotel room and shove his junk in my face, but… that one percent of me was like, “I can TOTALLY see them being assholes and paying some guy to give me a lap dance.”

Look. It’s not that I’m boring, okay? I like lap dances! I don’t think they’re awkward at all!….. okay, I mean, maybe a little..

But aren’t they? Sigh. I just find the idea of some strange man gyrating his half naked body next to me a little…. alright, take the whole “hired stripper” aspect out of it, is there another setting where it would be okay for a strange man to start taking his clothes off and giving you a lap dance in front of your friends? No?

Gah. I don’t know how this turned into a post about strippers. We’re here to talk about Bachelorette destinations, so if you – like me – are a big ol’ boring stick in the mud when it comes to penis straws, male strippers, and the idea of shoving money down some guy’s pants, then this is the post for you. Here are TEN classy, alternative options for your Bachelorette weekend that don’t include Vegas.

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12 Rules Every Bridesmaid Should Live By

Here’s the thing about bridesmaids – I was always under the impression that they were friends. I don’t necessarily mean friends with each other – before Kyle and I got engaged, some of my girls had yet to meet one another because I’d cherry-picked them from different phases and “chapters” of my life – but I’d always assumed that bridesmaids were friends with the bride. That’s why the bride chose them to stand with her on her special day, because she wanted her friends up there with her. Her friends. FRIENDS.

I’m going hard on this ‘friends’ thing because – to my knowledge, unless something has changed with the biblical golden rule – friends are not assistants. A bridesmaid should not be treated as your employee. First of all, you’ve probably seen her throw up after too many shots of tequila (your first clue that you’re not hiring her, you’re asking her to hang out with you and wear a pre-approved matching dress on your big day) and second of all – a bridesmaid/bride relationship should be a fun, girlfriend-y bonding experience. A bride shouldn’t be barking orders at her bridesmaids, or demanding things of them, or asking them to spend thousands of dollars on an elaborate bachelorette weekend. Just because you’re becoming a bride and you’ve got this big rock on your finger, suddenly you think you’re Princess Shiba? Get a grip, Bride Lady. These are still the same girls who ate Taco Bell with you at 2AM in college. They know you’re not that fancy – yes, even though it’s your wedding and they’re all very excited and very happy for you, but they shouldn’t be expected to hang on your every whim. They have lives too.

This has been my PSA in service of bridesmaids, sparked by an article I found on Pinterest from a website called “womangettingmarried” dot com. Not women getting married, woman. Just one. Singular. (Odd choice for a name, but maybe the domain for womengettingmarried was already taken.) The article was called “12 Rules Every Bridesmaid Should Live By” – which already seems like so many. Right? Twelve rules for a bridesmaid? I think I had two rules for mine: “Don’t be late” and “Please drink champagne with me in the bridal suite”. Granted – I was very weird about “being too bossy”, because the last thing I wanted to be was that bride. The bossy “get me another mimosa” bride.

Although when my maid of honor asked me if I wanted another mimosa, and I said sure, and she made it for me… that’s totally not the same thing.

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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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Eleven Things Every Bride Forgets When Posing For Photos

January 25, 2020 in Ceremony, Wedding Planning - No Comments

“Are you ready?” My dad asked me thirty seconds before we were about to walk down the aisle. The aisle. The wedding aisle.

Up until this moment, I’d been so confident that I wasn’t going to cry at my own wedding. Not that this should be some badge of honor, I just…. I don’t know, I’m not a crier. At least not an “in front of people” crier, or a “happy tears” crier (what are “happy” tears? I have never once cried tears that felt ‘happy’, most of the time they feel like I had a bad day at work or something crazy happened on Grey’s Anatomy, but those tears never feel happy.)

But today? Oof. I don’t know what it is about that moment right before you walk down the aisle, but it’s a lot. No one could have prepared me for all of the feelings – like ALL of the feelings, they were all bubbling to the surface – that would rush over me in that moment. The excitement! And the nerves! And the reality of “this is it! This is the THING that we’ve been planning and talking about and HERE IT IS!’

I wanted to say something witty in that moment – I don’t know why, it’s just me and my dad, my dad certainly doesn’t care if I’m witty. But I wanted to say something to make the moment more… I don’t know, or maybe less….? I don’t know. I just wanted it to be nice, you know? Not just me standing there uncomfortably trying not to cry.

“Are we ready?” Margo, our wedding coordinator, poked her head into the room. My dad said, “I think so” with a smile and I nodded. Because apparently talking when you’re trying not to cry is hard. “Alright,” Margo said, sounding more like a proud stage mom, “It’s time. Let’s go!”

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Don’t Buy Your Wedding Dress Without Knowing The Answers To These Questions

January 22, 2020 in Attire, Wedding Planning

About three months before my wedding is when I started to find new things to stress out about. It wasn’t enough to worry about the seating arrangements and the RSVPs and the wedding coordinator not responding to my emails within 24 hours (“She is getting them, right? Does she still work there? Did she get fired because she doesn’t respond to her client’s emails within 24 hours? Do you think she died?”). It seemed like every morning I woke up with a new (usually irrational) fear:

“What if I forget to do something?” “What if the photographer gets sick? Or the minister? Should I have booked a back-up minister?” “What if I don’t like my hair? What if it RAINS? ON MY HAIR?”

And the scariest (and most irrational) one of all: “What if I don’t like my dress?”

I bought my dress. I picked out my dress. I chose my dress in the middle of a store amongst hundreds of other dresses because I LIKED IT THE MOST. But that was six months ago. What if I liked it then, but I don’t like it anymore?

You would think – purchasing a dress that costs the same amount as a Louis Vuitton handbag – that I would be over the moon, head over heels, in LOVE with the idea of wearing that dress. But instead I was filled with anxiety. I’d chosen a dress that fell into the “strapless” category – which basically felt like a tube top in wedding dress form, but I’d seen photos of so many other brides with a similar body type to mine ROCKING these strapless gowns (AKA: slender with no boobs) and decided that I wanted to be one of those brides – so I bought a strapless dress. And from that moment on, I panicked about “arm fat” and how I didn’t want to look like I was “spilling out of it”.

Speaking as a fairly level-headed bride (for the most part), I knew that I had other – more important – things to worry about, but honestly: “arm fat” was higher on my list than the RSVPs. Even when I bought the dress, instead of asking the consultant about things like customization and fittings, I was saying things like “Do you think I would need to start doing arm work-outs?”

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