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How To Plan An Outdoor Wedding

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Do you want to get married surrounded by nature in all of its glory? If you do, you’re not alone. Many women enjoy planning outdoor weddings that take advantage of spring and summer’s balmy beauty.

Whether you’re considering a casual beach wedding or an outdoor wedding festival with all of the bells and whistles, we can help you to prepare properly and get the results you want.

Here are some tips and tricks for planning the ideal outdoor wedding celebration:

Have A Plan B

Mother Nature is unpredictable – you’ll need a Plan B to make things work at your wedding. If you’re planning an outdoor ceremony or reception, you must make sure all of your wedding flowers, decor, and seating can be moved inside quickly. Lightweight chairs, trellises, and floral arrangements will be the best choices for an outdoor wedding.

Make sure the building you choose for your Plan B is comfortable, clean, and prepared for the event. Without a Plan B, you may be subjected to sudden downpours or gusts of wind that will ruin your white wedding dress and your wedding photos. An onset of bad weather will cause your guests, who are also dressed for a special occasion, to feel uncomfortable – and cold. No matter what the weather forecasts predict for your wedding day, be certain to have a backup plan.

A pretty indoor powder room is a must – this room should have optional heat and be well-stocked with decorative soaps, lotions, and a good, well-lit mirror. The comfort of your wedding guests should be priority one, no matter where you are.

Find The Right Wedding Photographer

Many photographers are versatile – however, you should definitely look for a photographic artist that specializes in working outdoors. To get wedding photos you’ll treasure forever, explain to a photographer exactly where the wedding will take place – also let them know your backup plan, and what type of lighting will be available indoors. Look at sample photos – does the photographer create the poignant, dreamy feel you want for your wedding photos. Pictures should be crisp, vibrant, but still romantic. Your bridal dress and bridal jewelry should be in the spotlight.

The skill of your photographer will have a great impact on whether or not you enjoy looking at your outdoor wedding photos. Ask a potential wedding photographer what tools and tricks he or she will use to get perfect results. Shop around and be sure to take any advice about doing your hair and makeup to get premium results while posing outside in your wedding gown.

You may want to find some nice props – such as a vintage garden bench or trellises. Your photographer may have some props he or she can bring along to get a variety of fun effects. Ask the wedding photographer to experiment with different backdrops that expose the beauty of your chosen locale.

Create an Atmosphere

Are you planning a wedding at a resort in the mountains? Time your ceremony to take advantage of the splendor that is all around you. There will be peak times each day (such as late afternoon or sunset) when the background will be at its most stunning. If you’re at the beach, consider the tides and plan accordingly. Once you’ve set a time for your wedding, add some fun elements to your wedding decor.

Wedding flowers that echo that environment should be chosen – wildflowers will work well for fields, parks, and mountain areas. Classic roses will be ideal for an ornamental garden or manicured park. If you’re in the country, rustic wooden chairs may work well for guest seating – daisies and grosgrain ribbons can be tied on for a touch of homespun beauty. Creating a mood and a special atmosphere can be easy when you know exactly what sort of ambiance you want to create.

Choose The Menu Carefully

wedding cake

When dining outdoors, certain foods and beverages can amp up the mood. Roasting meats will smell heavenly, and they are always easy to prepare outside. Side dishes can be served family-style at each table or stored in chafing dishes, buffet style. Fresh salads with homemade vinaigrette will add lightness to a heavier meat entree – these two dishes will give a menu proper balance.

Crisp, white wine, and cold champagne can be lovely on a warm spring or summer day. Seafood can spoil easily, as can side dishes with eggs or mayonnaise. Consider your refrigeration needs when you decide on a menu – the last thing you want is guests becoming ill from food spoilage. To make things pretty, line up picnic tables and cover them in white table linens – add good flatware and glasses, as well as floral centerpieces. You must still create a luxurious feel, even if your wedding feast is an old-fashioned barbecue.

Add spring or summer beauty to wedding cakes by choosing styles adorned with bright, cheerful flowers…

With these tips, you can begin to plan an exciting and memorable outdoor wedding. Once you’ve found a bridal boutique and chosen bridal rings and wedding dress, you can use their style and details to decide on the right mood and atmosphere for your outdoor wedding. Wedding dresses and wedding veils should be chosen with the climate and background in mind.  Your bridesmaids dresses should also be comfortable and appropriate for the time of year and expected temperature.

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How To Create The Perfect Guest List For Your Wedding

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Whether you’re planning a small, intimate wedding, or a huge ceremony and reception, you’ll need to decide exactly who you should invite. This seemingly simple task can actually be quite stressful – it can be difficult to make these choices, since they may affect your relationships with family, friends, and colleagues.

If you need a little help planning out your numbers, you’ll enjoy this quick guide to creating the perfect guest list for your wedding. With our expert tips, it will be easier to make decisions that feel right to you – you’ll also be better prepared to stay on schedule and on budget. Here’s are some things to think about:

Small, Medium, or Large?

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Your wedding size, the amount of people in your wedding party (bridesmaids, best man, ushers, etc.), and the number of guests you’ll invite are usually closely linked to your wedding budget. Therefore, knowing how much money you can spend on your ceremony and reception is priority one.

Today, many brides-to-be opt for smaller weddings that don’t cost a fortune – typically, as few as 15 or as many as 100 guests will be invited to watch you walk down the aisle in your white wedding dress! A medium-sized wedding will have 100+ to 300 guests, and a large wedding will have a guest list from 300+ to 500+ guests.

In order to set the right budget, you need to decide on the scale of your wedding – when you set up a budget, you should consider the cost of renting a venue, the price of catering and liquor, decor, your wedding dress, bridal rings, live musicians or a DJ, etc. You must also consider the cost of flowers, invitations, wedding favors…there are a lot of things to think about here. Sitting down and plotting things out will allow for a more accurate estimate.

If you’re working with a wedding planner, you must also think about the costs of their services…a wedding planner may actually save you money by finding affordable floral arrangements and decor, etc. Their expertise and connections can help you find deals during the planning process…

When you sit down to make a wedding budget, be generous with your estimates – it’s a rare bride-to-be who brings the whole thing in on or under budget…in other words, prepare yourself for overages and plan accordingly so you don’t run out of money. Using Excel software to make a wedding spreadsheet is a great idea – it allows you to see the big picture every time you open your document. Any good accounting software package, such as Quickbooks, may also be useful.

If you’re not software-savvy, make your own ledger in a notebook – the important thing is write down every single anticipated expense, and to regularly balance your ledger as you write checks, pay for wedding-related costs, and see what’s left to buy or rent.

Once you’ve decided on small, medium, or large, it will be easier to begin crafting a guest list.

Look At Your Relationships

Everyone will tell you that it’s your wedding, and that you should invite whomever you want to…however, life is not really that simple. You must consider your relationships, past and present, when deciding who to invite. You must consider the “political” implications of including or excluding certain people – will they be offended? Will your choices have negative consequences? If your wedding is small, it’s often easier to explain the decision to invite only close family and friends. However, some feathers may still be ruffled by your choices.

Many couples find the selection process very draining, but it doesn’t have to be. Start by going through your contacts in Outlook email, “black books”, and social networking sites. Think about who you really connect with on a regular basis – you should honor the friendships and relationships that are nurtured every day. Aside from immediate family (who should always be invited, unless there is a lot of family drama or issues at play), these close friends who make an effort to connect with you should be second on the list.

Next, think about your career – are there any colleagues, such as a boss or partner, who might be offended if they don’t receive an invitation? It’s often better to include such persons on your guest list – after all, we spend so much of our time at work, that it just makes sense to keep our work relationships as healthy as possible!

Now that you have a master list of immediate family, close friends, and colleagues, add up your numbers. Can you make your “magic” number work with your size of wedding? If you have space left over, think about inviting more distant family members…or allow guests to bring a date with them. If you’ve got too many people for your scale of wedding, you need to narrow your choices down…or plan a larger wedding.

If someone else is helping you pay for your nuptials, you should be very sensitive to their desires, as they relate to the guest list. Yes, it’s your wedding, but they are spending lots of money to make your day special! In light of this, it’s a great idea to consult with your parents or whomever is paying for wedding dresses, venue, catering, and all of the bells and whistles, before you finalize the guest list. It’s all about diplomacy and showing your gratitude.

Stand Behind Your Choices

Once you’ve carefully considered your vision for your wedding, and how it can be realized with the ideal guest list, you should be confident with your choices. In the end, you’ve done your best to think of everyone. Now, it’s time to move on to the “fun stuff”! Choosing a bridal dress, bridesmaids dresses, and wedding accessories can be much more fun than planning the guest list. Stand behind your choices, and truly enjoy the romantic special occasion that lies ahead!