Difficulty Compiling Your Guest List? 5 Expert Tips to Help You Consider Whom to Invite

Difficulty Compiling Your Guest List? 5 Expert Tips to Help You Consider Whom to Invite

Wedding GuestsOne of the most difficult tasks couples have to face is who to invite to the wedding. Here are 5 expert tips:

1) Stick To The Boundary – Spend some time with your fiancé and decide on a clear-cut criteria, and stick within those guidelines. Period. For instance, aunts and uncles, but no first cousins; or close coworkers but no coworkers’ spouses/guests. You may want to consider having another celebration (brunch, cocktail party, BBQ bonfire, etc.) to invite those who weren’t invited to the wedding but who would want to toast to your happiness.

 

2) Don’t Think Too Hard You and your fiancé are the hosts of this grand gala, and just like hosting a party in your home, you should feel comfortable inviting those that are on your list. If you have to really think long and hard whether they make the cut, this should be a gut instinct that they shouldn’t be invited.

 

 

3) Small Is Okay  If you’ve decided that you want a small wedding, get the word out quickly that your wedding will be intimate. Mention this on your wedding website, and ask family and your bridal party to spread the word.

 

 

a-troubledbride

 

4) Save The Date’s Require Careful Thought Remember your save-the-date announcements are sent to request that the recipient will “hold” your date and that they will be expected to be invited to your wedding. Don’t start the save-the-date process in haste—be sure your guest list is finalized first—since there really isn’t a tactful way to “un-invite” someone.

 

B&G on beach5) Destination Fun If planning a destination wedding, you can feel free to invite whomever you wish, but be realistic—not everyone will be able to afford the trip, find suitable childcare, or be able to take that much time off from work. You can always go with a smaller, intimate destination wedding, and like the idea listed in the first tip, follow-up with a post-nuptial celebration with your extended friends and family.

 

Need more help in figuring out your guest list? Our expert team will help you narrow-down your choices, we’re a call away!
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6 Tips To Ensure You’ll Love Your Wedding Gown

6 Tips To Ensure You’ll Love Your Wedding Gown

Well I don’t think my job would be “my job” without a little wedding gown drama now and then. Recently one of our “encore” brides “Paula” (name changed for privacy) decided at her most recent gown fitting—just 3 months before the wedding—didn’t like her dress, and felt down about her body image. Believe it or not, this is not the first time a situation like this has happened in our experience.

In an email sent to me, Paula wanted to be sure I fully understood exactly where she stands about her mishap, because I was going to attempt to work with the gown shop in trying to finagle a way to make this work. Again, this wasn’t a situation where she put a gown on “hold” or placed a “deposit”, this was Paula’s chosen and fully paid wedding gown, which was supposed to be ready for the first round of alterations. In Paula’s words (note: Paula has given me permission to share her email in this blog):

Dress shopping for my first marriage was a breeze.  You try on one fabulous dress, it fits perfect, you have that “feeling” and you move on.

You do what every bride to be does, look at the magazines, look online, watch all those fun TLC shows….you think you know what you want, you certainly know what you don’t want.

Fast forward 12 years and a baby later.  You go into the process thinking you will have the same experience, that magic moment.  What your brain forgot is there’s some body issues going on and stuff is not in the same place.

Paula's gown

Paula’s Original Gown She Chose

Even if it’s not your second wedding or you are not a mom, I’m sure you could relate to Paula’s situation. Did Paula go about it the wrong way or make  some terrible error in the wedding gown selection process? No. Even with our 6 Tips To Ensure You’ll Love Your Wedding Gown  as informative guidance, Paula simply felt that after 9 dress shops and 80 gowns later, she really felt the pressure to pick something.

This story does have a happy ending though. The dress shop’s specialty seamstress has begun working with Paula to redesign the gown (a little trim here, take from here, reattach here) so that she will have a gown that she will love, without sacrificing her payment and needing to start from scratch.

6 Tips To Ensure You’ll Love Your Wedding Gown

gowns

1)      What’s NOT to Love. It’s easy to pin/cut-out images of gowns that you like. Do yourself a favor and also have a board/folder for those designs and details that you DON’T like. Sometimes focusing on what not to wear helps your stylist in determining the right shape, silhouette and gown for you

2)      The Top Has All The Glory. Remember it’s the top of your gown that usually gets the most attention, especially in photos, as your mostly captured from the waist-up. Don’t spoil the mood with something “trendy” but doesn’t work for your body type (i.e., modest bosom).

3)      Designer Gowns, CHEAP. If you’re considering a designer gown, find out if the designer does sample sales (yep, running of the brides), or consider second-time bridal stores or even Ebay.

4)      When To Schedule Your Fitting. Try to schedule you’re fitting for the first available morning slot. This tactic usually results in a more energized and focused style consultant.

5)      Don’t Stare At It, Try It On. You know the drill—don’t just stare at it on the hanger, try it on! Really, a dress can look absolutely stunning on the right body frame versus hanging on the hanger.  However trying on more dresses doesn’t necessarily make it easier to find the right one; it might even backfire actually. If you’re at the point of stress, take a break from gown shopping and reconsider numbers 1 and 2 above.

6)      Leave Behind The Drama. Don’t pay attention to the drama or negativity of others. Select the gown that you love, even though it might not be everyone else’s favorite. When I selected my wedding gown but decided to not wed the man I was engaged to at the time, everyone thought I was nuts for choosing that same wedding gown years later when I decided to marry my now husband. Ten years later, I’m still in love with my gown!

Need help finding the perfect gown? Let us help!

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Inspiration Board: Bridal Cover Ups

Inspiration Board: Bridal Cover Ups

Are you a winter bride or a bride who gets chilly easily? Need something to cover your shoulders in your place of worship? Then we have the perfect solution for you—bridal cover ups! Select from vintage-lace style wraps, faux fur jackets, or beaded chiffon wraps. See our former blog for a detailed explanation between the different kind of cover-ups. See below for purchase information.

 

cover ups palette

1.     Ivory Feather Wrap –  $99  David’s Bridal    

2.     Champagne Faux Fur Shawl  – $89 Light In  The Box

3.     Beaded Botany Caplet – $140 BHLDN

4.     White Lace Bridal Cover Up – $45 Etsy   

5.      Faux Fur Jacket – $170 Advantage Bridal

6.      Ivory Nicolette Wrap – $80 BHLDN

7.     Chiffon Beaded Wrap – $29 David’s Bridal

8.     Long Sleeve Faux Fur/Feather Wrap  – $20 Light In The Box  

3 Ways The Big Game Is Like Wedding Planning

3 Ways The Big Game Is Like Wedding Planning

3 Ways The Big Game Is Like Wedding Planning

In just a few days, some of us will be gathering for the most biggest end of the season football game—The Big Game. As we finalize our plans to decide where we’ll be watching the game, our focus will also be on food and drink (I bet lots of people take off that following Monday, which should really be a national holiday off, no?).

Whether you’ll be cheering-on your favorite team or ignoring the game but enjoying the commercials, all this preparation on the big game made me start thinking how the players of these two opposing teams must feel similar to what wedding couples feel like the week of their wedding. Here are 3 ways that the big game is like wedding planning:

1.      Keeping Perspective: Focusing On The Game That’s Played Versus The End Result

Imagine what the football players feel like: I’ve been playing this sport and practicing for years, and now it’s just this one chance to win. Gheesh, talk about pressure! But for athletes, it’s not just about winning (yeah, that nice ring they receive is a plus!), but it’s about how they played the game: after all, that latter is the main predictor of whether or not that team retains that player or trades him. But what do you think lead them to this big game in the first place? Sure, it was determination and skill, but it also took a ton of preparation and rehearsing the opponent’s possible next move. Well, wedding planning is quite similar. When we couples hire us, we give them a questionnaire that helps to determine which areas of the planning process will give them the most stress (preparation), and from there, we make sure to focus on those areas to minimize or eliminate planning stress (determination and skill). While the end result “win” (wedding day) always remains in focus, a well-played “game” (preparation) allows you to remain relaxed and more likely to achieve the result you want.

7 Just Married Car

2.      You’re More Than An Individual, You’re On A Team

Just as the big game is played with a team of players, your wedding is no different. While well-meaning advice from your fiancé, your future in-laws, your bridesmaids and office mates can sometimes feel overwhelming, keep in mind their intention is to help.  One of the most common things I see and hear from couples during their final days leading to the wedding, is the stress that builds because it’s finally here: they’re running around picking up last minute things or trying to finish putting together welcome bags for out-of-town guests. These are areas that can be delegated—and should ­be delegated—to others who want to help. Remember you’re playing on a “team”, and you don’t have to shoulder all of this alone.

a-wedding list

3.      Keep Your Concentration Away From The “Uncontrollables”

Frazeled Bride

Athletes are accustomed to performing their best under pressure, and they must do this despite anything that occurs that is outside of their control—injury, the coaches decisions, the crowd, and the outcome of the game. The uncontrollable will potentially sneak up on your wedding day too—the traffic en route to the ceremony, staffing issues, the weather. Focusing on all those “what if’s” is a mental trap, making you to think of another immediate consequence which will cause to lose your confidence and increase your nervousness. My suggestion: allow yourself that moment of chaos by making a list of all those “uncontrollables”, toss it or burn it, then return your concentration to the present, and the areas that you can control. If you want to play well in the game, you have to stay relaxed, and we have 5 ways to relax before your wedding day. 

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Finding A Way To Conquer The Fear Of Wedding Planning

Finding A Way To Conquer The Fear Of Wedding Planning

With most planning couples we work with, there comes a time where there’s a bit of fear—fear that you might be doing “it” wrong…fear that you’ve chosen the wrong style gown, that the centerpieces may not be the right fit, or that the menu you’ve selected should be more formal/less formal/more hors d’oeuvres/less hors d’oeuvres—the list goes on and on.

In our most recent tasting appointment with one of our brides, “Sally” was nervous and was left wondering: what if the tasting-station menu she’s been imagining wasn’t enough for the guests to feel full? What if her future in-laws didn’t like the already-chosen-and-deposited venue? What if the open-seating floor plan arrangement wasn’t accommodating? Sure enough, all of these items made it into the discussion during the tasting and the tour of the venue.

 

Mmmm! Sampling Tasty Treats.

Mmmm! Sampling Tasty Treats.

 

 

Tasty! Sally's Idea Of A Pot Roast Upon Hand Mashed Potatoes Served In A Sundae Glass.

Tasty! Sally’s Idea Of A Pot Roast Upon Hand Mashed Potatoes Served In A Sundae Glass.

But the most common fear I hear from our brides, is that the wedding won’t be the epitome of what they envision in their mind. Despite many books, posts and well-meaning family members who recite “don’t let the true meaning of marriage overshadow the wedding planning”, when there are so many design tasks and logistics to tackle, the fear of wedding planning is inevitable.

Sally Weighing Options In The Dining Area

Sally Weighing Options In The Dining Area

Just as there is no perfect marriage, no two couples plan the same way, and there is no “right” way to plan a wedding—just what works for you. We’ve had one bride who was a newly-promoted school principal who knew the minute she was engaged, that she wouldn’t have a single moment of time to do any of the research, so we did all the legwork for her. We met one bride at a bridal fair who hired us on the spot because she realized she’s a procrastinator (and confided to us that college was stressful because it was full of all-nighters and last minute term papers), so our customized planning timeline and budget sheets were a God-send, which decreased the fear of wedding planning.

Fear Of Wedding Planning Solution: Down The Aisle’s Budget Worksheet

 

With Mother Nature and People (guests) both playing the unpredictability card at your wedding, it’s best to take the approach that you will not be able to be in control of everything, and this means that not everything may go perfectly; however, nothing trumps preparation, and with this list of top wedding planning tips from the area’s top wedding planners compiled from Liz of Makeup Artistry by Liz—one of our favorite make-up artists—you’ll be rest assured that the fear of planning planning will be minimized.

Overwhelmed with your wedding planning? Have no idea where to get started or how to create that “wow” factor? Down The Aisle can help! What separates us from others is that we have a realistic, systematic approach to creating a customized wedding that’s centered around the joy that brought the two of you together—because of this, our brides experience a stress-free wedding planning experience, which allows them to let loose and relax on the day of. Contact us to learn more about how we can help.

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Thanksgiving Weekend: My High School Reunion and the Makeup Chair

Thanksgiving Weekend: My High School Reunion and the Makeup Chair

Thanksgiving Weekend: My High School Reunion and the Makeup Chair

As Thanksgiving weekend was spent with family, friends and loved ones, the arrival of December in the same weekend was also spent by me attending my high school reunion. I graduated from a large class, and connecting with a few of those who I have lost touch with, was exciting…and nerve racking. Perhaps similar to the wedding day (in that even though I wasn’t a bride) having many years pass since seeing some of these folks meant that I wanted to look my absolute best.

Phobia Revealed: I’m Afraid Of The Makeup Chair mimi

We hear it all the time: people afraid of spiders, of flying, going to the dentist, but have you ever heard of being afraid of the makeup chair? Well yep, that’s me. Ever since my senior prom—when I let a famous, but will remain nameless retail store chain—apply my make-up. You know it’s bad when you leave the store in tears, go home to wash it off, and then retry it yourself.

This phobia changed the day I met Liz Washer of Makeup Artistry By Liz, a professional make-up artist recognized for her natural-look application and high-def makeup arsenal. We met over a business luncheon and Liz and I connected immediately. It wasn’t that her work has been featured in editorials, ads and commercials, or that she’s worked with celebrities on the runway or in fashion shoots that lured me. It was the way she really listened when we talked, wasn’t interested in swarming me with a bunch of mumbo-jumbo information, but she just generated warmth. She was herself.

The Makeup Portfolio That Changed My Perspective

But the moment I saw her portfolio, my perspective on makeup in general was changed. I just knew that this would be a person I’d feel comfortable referring brides to. The women in the photos looked like a better version of themselves, not the look that would be impossible to achieve unless you were a Holly wood celebrity. Most important to me personally, was that they looked so natural, some of them looked like they didn’t have makeup on at all (how is that possible?!). I know that many brides I work with, want the same “natural” but more radiant on their wedding day.

This drew me in immediately and I knew that I had to book Liz for makeup for my high school reunion.

The day arrived, and the 130 miles I drove to her home studio, was well worth the drive! While Liz’s home environment is charming, and her studio remarkable (SO many choices that I wouldn’t even know how to put any of that stuff on at home!), it was her adorable dog Edie who relaxed me, as she sat nearby.

Here I am Before:

 

Before: Sans Makeup

Before: Sans Makeup

And after:

After

After

 

Natural, right? Of course these photos don’t do it justice to really showcase Liz’s skill, as they were taken with my cell phone, but I know arriving at my high school reunion with a flawless look, really allowed me the confidence I needed to not have to worry about my makeup wearing off, or that I’d done it “wrong”, having done it myself…Ladies, I’m sure there are a few of you out there that may be skilled when it comes to makeup application, but why try to worry about DIY makeup on your wedding day when you have other things going on? THE day that all eyes will be on you? With someone like Liz, I received compliments all night (not to mention my husband was amazed!).

Photo Of Me At The Reunion

Photo Of Me At The Reunion

Thank you so much, Liz! Looking forward to working “wedding magic” together!  Brides, if you’d like to inquire if Liz would be great for your wedding-day makeup, she can be reached at: liz@lizwashermakeup.com or http://www.bridalbyliz.com/

A Wedding Story In The Eyes Of An Intern At Interlaken Inn

A Wedding Story In The Eyes Of An Intern At Interlaken Inn

After working on a couple of weddings as an intern assistant day-of coordinator at Down the Aisle, having the experience of working on a wedding with a lot of design and detail was extremely rewarding.

 

The couple, Megan and Michael, chose a beautiful venue in the northwest corner of CT at the Interlaken Inn, to be wed in early November. Working with wonderful staff at the venue, the Interlaken Inn, to make their day special and memorable was amazing. It was not only a great wedding in terms of the couple we worked with, but a great learning experience for me. I have never had to work on and execute as much detail before, so it was really exciting!

 Interlaken Inn: A Wedding Weekend In The Foothills Of Connecticut

Me Setting up the “reserved” signs at the ceremony at Interlaken Inn

 

After meeting with the couple for our final in-person meeting we finalized all the details including vendor contracts, extra decor details, and anything else that they wanted to happen on their day of. The final meeting(s) are crucial because they give us, as the day-of coordinators, the ability to understand everything the couple wanted in order to execute it on the day of. From there, we went to Interlaken Inn for the wedding ceremony rehearsal.

Christine, lead planner, with the couple at their final consultation

As a post Sandy and outdoor wedding, this wedding story could not have been better. While we had a slight last minute snafu with some deliveries from the NJ area,  we had everything under control–the couple did not have to deal with this issue–which they were grateful for–and there was little to no damage on site at Interlaken Inn.

 

After a cloudy morning, the sun came out just in time for the ceremony, which made the lake really shine. Megan and Michael had a “first look” session, in which they chose to see another in private prior to the ceremony. The awed expression of the groom seeing his wife-to-be here is priceless!

Photo by Capture Photography

Photo by Capture Photography

 

To watch the beautiful bride marry the love of her life was so magical. It never ceases to amaze me how romantic and how special it feels watching each bride and groom get married.

Ceremony Site at Interlaken Inn Overlooking Lake Waramaug

 

Photo by Capture Photography

Photo by Capture Photography

One thing I loved that the bride and groom chose to do was serve pie instead of cake. They had different kinds of pie and still did the traditional “cutting of the cake”, just with pie!

 

The day of was fast paced and busy–definitely it was what I expected for a wedding with a lot of detail and set-up! We set up everything from linens and centerpieces to extra things like a candy bar, details, and a photo montage. It was really amazing to be able to see what the reception area looked like before and after we set everything up. It turned out beautifully.

 

 

 

One of my favorite parts of the experience was getting to meet all the other vendors. It is so interesting to work with a variety of people and get to know others in the industry.

 

Megan and Michael’s wedding was truly an unforgettable experience, and I am so fortunate that not only was I able to intern with Down The Aisle, but I was then hired as part of their team!

 

~Submitted by Emily Wagner 

The Consequences Of DIY Wedding Projects

The Consequences Of DIY Wedding Projects

What Do DIY Wedding Projects And Smartphones Have In Common?

When I made the switch from the “dumb phone” to the Smartphone a couple of years ago, I was skeptical at first. Seeing everyone with their heads down on their digital device in the oddest of places, just never really made me think I have to have this. 

Amy

 

But once I did, I never needed anyone to persuade me to change my mind that it was a necessity. I mean sure, my old phone still made phone calls and prompted me for reminders, but it couldn’t give me directions to my next location or give me updates so I know who has what I need on sale (since that will then save time AND money). But the real cinch, was that it has allowed me to run a business–checking emails at the end of the night on my PC just wasn’t cutting it. Now with these mobile phone apps, I can check for a last minute weather update (everyone knows that the weather is the most unpredictable part of wedding planning), pluck color swatches, and voice-record meetings when I’m meeting with a client.

DIY Escort Cards

The Consequences Of DIY Wedding Projects

So I’m here to remind you of the lesson I learned from my Smartphone upgrade. I made a large investment to purchase the top-of-the line (at the time) Android, and it has allowed me to save so much time. Time is the biggest consequence of all DIY wedding projects because once it’s spent, you can never get it back. It’s innate in all of us to save, yet I’m always in awe when I see couples taking on WAY too much, especially in their final weeks of their wedding planning.

welcome

Sure, DIY wedding projects definitely have their place, but with Pinterest, reality TV shows and YouTube making it look sooo easy, it’s always tempting to give it a try without really knowing how labor intensive it will be. Things that at the time seemed like a good idea to DIY (like escort cards) to save on the budget, but in the end the stress of trying to wrap up a project with a deadline unlike no other–a wedding–chasing you down, just doesn’t seem to be worth the cost to save a few bucks.

Girls on computer

So Who Should Do DIY Wedding Projects?

Unless you have a lot of free time, have a very helpful group of bridesmaids or office mates, like shopping at the end of season to grab those bargains, or don’t mind the interruption to your daily life that DIY wedding projects dictate, then I’d highly encourage you to reconsider…or chat with us first. With a quick phone consultation, we can help guide you with the materials you’ll need (such as how many flowers really are in that centerpiece that you’re trying to recreate), we know the amount of time it will take, and we may even have a wholesale resource available to help you save on your DIY projects (did I tell you I like to save?).

Here’s to keeping your wedding plans in balance,

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How To Go Unplugged During Your Wedding Ceremony

How To Go Unplugged During Your Wedding Ceremony

In terms of guests “paying attention” during your ceremony, weddings are just not how they used to be. If you’ve been to any wedding recently, you will notice that most guests are realizing they just have to capture images on their technical device rather than live in the moment of the vow exchange (I’m quite curious to know if they ever really develop these pictures? I’ll give you the answer below, so keep reading).

no phones

While many churches have a no camera policy, more non-secular couples are also following suit by requesting their guests to go unplugged during the wedding ceremony. I’ve been asked by most of our day-of couples, to ensure that guests put down their cameras—or even iPads (just unbelievable that someone would consider using this bulky item at a wedding)—to physically be a part of the ceremony versus through a viewfinder: either couples have been adding a “please unplug” request in their program, or when we rehearse at the ceremony rehearsal, we review the ushers to gently guests to put the cameras down.

 

How To Go Unplugged During Your Wedding Ceremony

flower girl turn off cell phones

I know, it’s uncomfortable to ask your guests to Be Nice and Turn Off That Device. But we helped one of our brides compose this verbiage, and the officiant announced during the ceremony:
Before we begin, Angela and Derek have a special request: we know that technology can sometimes be a burden. So please, we ask that you turn off your cell phones, and put down your camera. The photographers will capture how these moments look, and we encourage you to all capture how it feels with your hearts, without the distraction of technology. Angela and Derek will be sharing their professional photographs with each of you”. There. That’s how to go unplugged during your wedding ceremony.

 

But if you still want to collect those candid, more “in the moment” shots from your guests, this blog will help you prepare with 6 ways to collect the photos from your guests. Especially, since we all  know, your guests will leave those photos on their devices, and never get them developed. How do I know this? Because I once went up to a couple guests to ask this when we mingled post-ceremomy: they said they felt “compelled” to take photos but then they didn’t do anything with them to get them developed.

~Contributed by Christine

unplug

Six Innovative and Memorable Exits

Six Innovative and Memorable Exits

After you’ve said “I do” its time to walk back up the aisle and exit from your ceremony. There are many ways to make your exit memorable.

Here are some ways to have an inspiring exit:

Birdseed: Traditionally, guests would throw handfuls of rice as you exit to your getaway car, but a more eco-friendly and modern way to exit is having your guests throw birdseed. Streamers: An easy clean-up throwing wands of streamers make for a fun and exciting, and pretty exit. Pom-poms: Throwing little pom poms is another colorful way to spice up your exit. Bubbles: Have your guests blow bubbles as you exit, this can look enchanging in photos and reaches out to those of you who are truly young at heart. It is also beneficial because there is no cleanup!

Sparklers: For an evening exit, providing sparklers for your guests adds to the festivity of your exit.

Petals: Petals don’t just have to be for the flower girl! Give your guests some to throw too-add in colorful petals to go with your color scheme.

 

There are many ways to make your exit noteworthy and incorporate your guests so they have fun too.

~Submitted by Emily Wagner, Down The Aisle Intern/Assistant Coordinator