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11 must-haves for a classic reception your guests will always remember

Planning a wedding reception is exciting and daunting at the same time. This is the event that your guests look forward to, which demands you plan it well. When done right, wedding receptions are very memorable, and you do want your guests to remember yours fondly.

If you are a creative person, there is plenty you can do at your wedding reception. People remember unique wedding reception themes best. However, the cost climbs quickly with each idea you implement. Nonetheless, there are certain essentials for a reception, that you shouldn’t overlook. Let us look at these wedding reception essentials, that you must have to guarantee a good day.

1.An original theme

There are plenty of original ideas you can adopt for your wedding day. Nonetheless, as a couple, you should be able to identify with the theme you choose. If you think of it, certain themes are more trendy than others in each season. From the Great Gatsby theme in 2015 to vintage glamour in 2017, every year introduces us to new and interesting themes. While there is no harm in picking one of these for your wedding, ensure you do something special with it. In other ways, you should ensure you make it your own. Although you will find inspiration in magazines, on the internet or even at other weddings, try to add your unique touches to the theme you choose.

Whether it is with the color palette, patterns or details, avoid a cookie-cutter wedding by adding a personal flavor to the theme. Or better still, stay away from the trends and find a theme that reflects who you are as a couple. It could be based on your hobbies, what you like to do together or even on your loved story.

2.The perfect venue

The term “perfect” is subjective, for different factors appeal to different couples. However, let us concern ourselves with the wedding guests for now. In their eyes, the perfect venue will be easy to find, comfortable to settle into and welcoming with its ambiance and décor. This venue should also have enough space to accommodate your entire guest list. It shouldn’t be too cramped, but should have enough space for lounging, dancing and relaxing.

Apart from these factors, it is necessary that the venue match the theme of your wedding. Only then will it become the perfect backdrop for your event. Since the choicest venues tend to get booked quickly, this should be one of your priority wedding planning tasks. Start looking at potential venues as soon as you decide on your wedding theme. For more tips on choosing the right venue for your reception, visit this post on the Brides website. 

3.Delicious appetizers

A few signature appetizers are all it takes to nail that first impression. After all, the entrees give your guests a heads-up of what to expect in the food and drink department. Even while the rest of the meal is standard fare, interesting appetizers can pep up the menu. Small, bite-sized food items make a strong impression. It is also the best way to serve up your favorite dishes, if they aren’t suitable as the main course.

Don’t forget to make the presentation of your entrees impressive. This will add to its appeal, and your guests will be amazed by the attention to detail. Make the entire set-up festive and fun by adding a few unique drinks to the mix. If you want some inspiration to get the ball rolling, here are some ideas on the Brides website. 

4.Impressive décor

Your wedding reception décor creates the first impression of the event that follows. So, don’t hesitate to pull all stops to make it striking. Depending on your budget, there are different ways to bring your theme alive. The good news is that with a little research and planning, you will come across numerous options with unique personality and flavor.

While there is no harm in DIY-ing most details, it can tax you in terms to time and effort. In all-inclusive wedding packages, the décor is usually taken care of. However, you can always add your small signature touches to this, and ensure your wedding has its personal elements. If you have hired a wedding planner, you have the right person on board to guide you with the right décor that works within your budget and has the impact you desire. One important thing to remember that it is easy to go overboard or become overwhelmed with the many different options available. Stop when you find the right balance, and don’t add too many details that will simply end up being lost in the clutter.

5.Beautiful centerpieces

Centerpieces are an important element in wedding décor. However, these are also more important than most of the other items in your décor. This is because your guests will be seeing the centerpieces up close for a great part of the evening. So, the better you execute it, the more impressive it will be. While your centerpieces should follow the theme, you can also add unique touches to give it a signature effect.

Exercise your creativity and vary the designs across the tables for more appeal. Whether you choose towering centerpieces or ones that spread out, make sure the arrangement is neat and give each item its space. The centerpieces should also either be high up or below eye level, so it doesn’t obstruct the view. Finally, don’t overdo the details. Since your guests will sit close to it, it can look cluttered if there are too many details.

6.A great menu

Just as with signature appetizers, a good menu will definitely make the wedding memorable. In fact, food is one of the things that your guests will look forward to most. So, don’t disappoint. Find a caterer who consistently delivers  and has the equipment, resources and knowledge to execute your chosen menu to perfection. Don’t forget to match the food to the theme, in terms of colors, flavor or choice of dishes. This will tie it to the wedding beautifully. Also pay attention to the presentation. It doesn’t matter how tasty an item is, if it doesn’t look good it will fail to create the right impression.

Don’t forget to find the right mix of drinks for the meal you plan. Since drinks complement the meal, choose them carefully. Remember that your guests will have different palates and varying preferences. Keep this in mind and choose a variety of dishes and drinks so there is something to please everyone.

7.Great music

The entertainment for the evening can make or break your wedding reception. So, don’t skimp on this part. Whether you hire a band or a DJ, make sure you check reviews and watch a CD or attend one of their actual performances. You should be confident that they will keep the group entertained all evening long.

When hiring entertainment, also remember that your guests will be from different age groups and with varying likes and dislikes. So, plan your playlist in such a way that there is something for everyone. Mix new and fast numbers with classics, so everyone can join in the fun. Also remember that the band leader or DJ will mostly handle the announcements of the different events like cutting the cake and the first dance. Co-ordinate with this person to make sure your reception progresses as per schedule. Also discuss your specific do’s and don’ts, and ensure that the guests have a good time with no unexpected issues.

8.Exciting entertainment

Games are a great way to break the ice, and to help your guests enjoy the evening. It is also a way to get bored guests involved keep themselves busy between events. Make a list of games that will appeal to all, whether they are young or old. Consider space constraints when making your choice. While certain games like musical chairs can be played both indoors and outdoors, it requires plenty of space.

You will also have to co-ordinate with the wedding party in advance, to make sure the games progress smoothly. Brief them on what to arrange, where to be and what to do, so they know their roles. This will help the event to proceed without hitches and your guests to have fun.

9.Good service

You may have good food and a beautiful presentation, but the service matters too. Unless catering arrangements at your wedding progress smoothly and on-time, your guests may end up dissatisfied. Make sure you discuss this factor with the team in action.

If you had your guests pick their food from a pre-defined menu, make sure everything is recorded and done correctly. There may be guests with specific dietary requirements. It is your responsibility to ensure their requirements are adhered to. So, cross check this with the catering manager. Prompt and cordial service and pleasant staff will ensure your event progresses smoothly and your guests are happy with how the day turns out to be.

10.Exciting photography

After your wedding day is long gone, the photos will remind you of the fun day that it was. Have your special day documented in full style by hiring the services of an efficient and talented photographer. He should make it a point to cover all the guests at the event. This will serve as a reminder of all those who attended this important occasion in your life.

While the photography should be fun, it shouldn’t compete for time with the rest of the events. No guest will like to attend an event where they barely get to chat with the couple. Discuss this with your photographer in advance. Set up specific slots of time during the day, that you can dedicate to taking photographs. Also discuss how you want your photos to look, and your photographer can plan his shots to reflect your taste. For more ideas on what to look for in a wedding photographer, take a look at this article on the Knot. 

11.Interaction with the guests

Although it is your special day, it is essential you acknowledge all those who participate in it. Irrespective of whether a guest flew in from a faraway location for your wedding or just stepped in from next door, what matters is that they made it to your wedding. It is only right that you spare a few minutes to chat with each of them and thank them for their time and effort.

You and your spouse can simply pop by at each reception table and engage in small talk with the guests. Say your thanks, give a few compliments and be courteous. Keep it brief and move on to the next table after few minutes. You can then cover the entire lot in minimum ti e. Your guests will definitely appreciate this small dose of attention.

Planning a wedding is a detail-oriented, time-consuming and laborious task. There are several details that can make or break an entire wedding planning event. Nevertheless, with proper planning and execution a wedding can progres smoothly from start to end.

At Best for bride, we try out best to relieve the bride’s stress to a great extent by giving her all she needs for her wedding under one roof. From bridal dress collections to bridesmaids dresses, mother of the bride dresses, bridal accessories, emergency kits and more, we have all you need for your special day. Take a look at our website by clicking this link and see what we have to offer brides who are soon-to-be-married.

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What your guests will remember and quickly forget about your wedding

One of the most important things about wedding planning is ensuring a good wedding guest experience. Although the couple are the most important people on their wedding day, the event will not be a success without the co-operation of the guests at it.

Certain details matter more than others. This checklist will help you identify what will be remembered and forgotten by your wedding guests. Of the various aspects we discuss below, you may consider some of them more important than others. In fact, there is always a gray area, that some people notice while others skip. So this is up to you to identify and fix.

Those that are soon forgotten, because they weren’t worth remembering

1.Wedding invitation stationery

This is one detail that you needn’t lose sleep over or splurge too much money on. Whether you choose to amaze your guests with a stunning wedding invitation or keep it basic, the same purpose is served. Although your invitations give your guests the first idea of your wedding, they will only use it to find what they must know about your wedding. So, choose a good-looking invitation and make sure it contains relevant information about the venue, time and date. Don’t worry about the quality of paper stock or ornamentation. Take a look at this checklist on the Spruce to learn about the basic information that every invitation should have.

2.How special or expensive the linens were

Just like a beautiful invitation is just a beautiful invitation, good looking tablescapes are just that. Every bride and groom wishes to have a beautiful wedding. All the elements you choose for your décor are very important for this. However, quality linens can be very expensive, even when you rent them. As long as they are clean and crisp, we are sure none of your guests will want to know the details. It won’t matter whether your linens are made of curtain panels from thrift stores or sewn up bed sheets. Since no one else is likely to notice, it is better to invest that money in something more noticeable.

3.A super-gorgeous cake

I agree that the reveal of your wedding cake is an all-important moment. A breathtaking cake is an amazing sight. Nevertheless, spending a fortune on a gigantic cake with intricate details isn’t a great idea. Although your guests will be awed by the magnificence of it at the moment, it is unlikely that they will remember much of the details later. It is also good to remember that even the prettiest cake will quickly lose it’s charm if it doesn’t taste good. So focus on how the cake tastes instead of how it looks. Your guests are then more likely to remember the cake.

4.The guest book

Guest books and creative alternatives for it may sound interesting. However, think clearly of whether it really make a difference to your guests? Also imagine how often you are likely to use it in the future. You can of course use it as a keepsake. But I am sure you will have other things for the purpose. Your wedding album will have enough pictures to tell you who all attended your wedding. And amidst the fun of the day, it is unlikely your guests will pay attention to the beautiful guest book. They may sign in it, but not be in the mood to pore over the pretty details in it. So, save yourself the trouble and keep it simple or eliminate it altogether.

5.The bouquet toss and garter toss

Although a tradition at weddings, the bouquet toss and garter toss are two events that you can easily eliminate from your wedding timeline. It is unlikely that your guests will miss this part of the day. You can then hold on to your bouquet and preserve it or have it turn it into a wedding day keepsake. Take a look at this previous article to find out how you can do this. As for the garter toss, let’s face it. Not everyone really looks forward to seeing this bridal garment fly through the air or jump to catch it.

6.The flowers

Are you struggling with the choice between daisies and baby breath for your décor and bouquets? Well, hear this then! Half your guests are least bothered about what flowers you choose. Few years from now, all that matters will be that the floral décor and accessories look beautiful; not what it contained. Since flowers can be really expensive, consider this a sign to take it easy. Don’t use a huge chunk of your wedding budget on flowers that will last no more than a day. Your guests won’t mind, I am sure!

7.The favors

There are few wedding favors that tempt guests to save and use again. Pretty packaging is usually expensive, and ultimately is simply tossed away. Edible favors are the only exception. For your guests won’t really mind the after-party treat to enjoy at leisure. Hence, find a wedding favor with either a utilitarian aspect or make sure it is edible. Unless you do, it will likely be thrown away or confined to the depths of a closet. So, don’t sweat over this detail and just pick a gift that is reasonably priced and will be well-received.

The things that aren’t so easy to forget

1.A wonderful venue

The venue is one of the most important things that can make or break a wedding. The right venue will play up your décor, create the right ambiance for the theme and be easy to decorate. Hence it is important that you pick the right venue for your wedding day. It should easily accommodate all your guests, be easy to reach and have necessary facilities for your guests. Whether indoors or outdoors, the venue should be the right choice for the weather at the time of your wedding. So, aim for a wonderful venue that ticks all the above conditions and your guests will remember it forever.

2.A beautiful ceremony

Even in this digital age, beautiful wedding ceremonies churn up emotions and become memorable. So, plan your wedding ceremony carefully, with due attention to detail. Keep it short and sweet. Remember that you can spoil the excitement of the moment with a ceremony that drags on and on forever. Have the wedding altar decorated with care, so it is a feast for the eyes. All your guests will then look forward to making strong memories of the special moment at which you are married.

3.Well-dressed bride

Half your guests may not recognize whether you wear a ball gown or mermaid dress. Nor will they pay attention to your makeup and accessories. However this doesn’t mean you can take the dress aspect lightly. The image of a bride in her beautiful wedding dress creates a strong impact. It is instantly etched into the onlookers memories. So, settle only for a dress that looks amazing and reflects who you are as a person. This will enhance your best features. It will also make sure you are remembered as a lovely bride on the most special day in your life.

4.A fantastic meal

Food is one of the most important things that guests look forward to, at a wedding. Not only is a good meal the best way to impress your guests, it is also an option you can nail without much trouble. Plan your menu so that the dishes are enticing and appeal to most of your guests. Also make sure there is sufficient quantity to fill them up. Send your guests home happy, and the excellent meal you served at your wedding will be the talk of town in many years to come. You may like to take a look at some excellent advice on choosing your wedding menu is available here, on the Martha Stewart website. 

5.The drinks to celebrate the day

Many couples try to cut down their wedding day expenses by reducing the drinks budget. Unfortunately, weddings and booze are inseparable. Even limited quantities of booze are acceptable, as long as it is available and free. Nothing spoils a guest’s wedding experience like when they have to pay for their own drinks. Don’t forego the bar or ask your guests to pay for their drinks. Instead, take a look at these ideas on the Borrowed and Blue website to quench the thirst of your guests for less. 

6.The cute details of the day

I mentioned earlier that your guests are not likely to pay attention to the umpteen number of details you set up at your wedding. However, there is an exception. A few cute, unusual or quirky details can easily capture their attention and stay in their memories. These little details can range from customized signs to pretty buntings and personalized drinks. At least some of your guests will gush over these details, and consider these ideas of yours brilliant.

7.How good the entertainment was

Good entertainment is crucial to the success of your wedding party. Not all your guests may look forward to dancing at your wedding. Nevertheless, don’t disappoint those who do by letting your entertainment be an after-thought. There are definite benefits to choosing either a band or a DJ. From budgetary constraints to the songs that you personally prefer, you should consider various factors to make your choice between a band and DJ. More information to help you make the right choice is available in this article on the Knot

8.Your hospitality

Other details aside, your behavior on the day will greatly impact the guest experience. Your guests have traveled from far and wide to attend your special event. They expect you to welcome and acknowledge their presence. It will be a terrible disappointment if you are aloof and too engrossed in yourselves. This will certainly remain in their memories. So, don’t make this dire mistake. Extend a hearty welcome to your guests, chat with them at some point of the day and thank them for making it. Follow up with a note of thanks for their presence and their gifts. This will be greatly appreciated by them.

9.How long they can party

What is the point in planning an amazing party, if you must wind up while the guests have just started having fun? The wedding guest experience has a close link to the enjoyment they have on the day. And the longer the party goes on with amazing entertainment, the better they will remember the event. So, plan your party to give them enough time to have fun. Cut the ceremony short, but don’t compromise on the time allotted for the reception. Keep this factor in mind when choosing your entertainment and venue.

Now tell us which of these factors are most important and least important to you, in your wedding planning?

As we mentioned earlier a gorgeous bride is always a fond memory, and we have all that you need for this. Visit us in-store or online at Best for Bride for a wide selection of wedding dresses and accessories. Having been in the industry for over a decade, we have the expertise and inventory to cater to your wedding day vision to the very last detail. We also stock a wide variety of bridesmaids dress collections, dresses for the rest of the bridal party and offer a range of wedding day services. Head over to Best for Bride, the one-stop bridal destination today, and realize your wedding dreams.

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15 Important things to do in the week of your wedding

The last week leading up to your wedding will be a whirlwind of activity. This is the time when you have to complete every last detail on your wedding checklist. Since there will be plenty of work to do at this time, it is easy to forget one or more things in all the hurry.

Having seen so many brides over the years, we can understand how exhausting it is when you should finish it all and also get everything right. Fortunately, we know how to make the task easy. Here is a checklist of all the important things you should complete in the week leading up to your wedding.

Use this list to finish your tasks in a planned manner and without hassle.

1.Pick up your wedding dress

Plan your final wedding dress fitting early in the week during your wedding. This will help you ensure that the dress fits perfectly. You needn’t worry about any size changes following this session, and hence can enjoy the best possible fit. In case your dress fitting is over before this, don’t forget to try on your dress during the last week. You can do any necessary alteration if there is any change in measurement at the time. Also try the dress on with the accessories you intend to wear. This will let you see how the overall look comes together, and you can make any necessary changes.

2.Pack or prep your wedding dress

If you plan to get dressed at home, set your wedding dress on a hanger. Steam or iron the belt or sash that comes with the dress, so it looks crisp and clean. In case you should transport your wedding dress, zip it into a garment bag after ensuring all parts are perfectly packed. Check with your wedding dress boutique to find whether there are any likely issues with transporting the dress. Follow their suggestions, if any.

3.Break in your wedding shoes

Don’t wait till your wedding day to first wear your wedding shoes. Unless you break them in, wearing them on the very day can be painful. Brand new shoes pinch, cause blisters or may feel too tight. If the heel height is more than what you usually wear, it won’t be easy to dance in them. So, start using it the month before your wedding and your feet will get accustomed to the fit. In the last week, wear it for a short while every day. Wearing them in short spurts will help you break it in gradually. Get used to the heel height. Also try to dance in them. For more tips and advice on how to break your shoes in effectively, take a look at this article on the Bustle. 

4.Practice your vows

You may have written your vows already. So, now start practicing it as well. Even if you will be reading it off a piece of paper, try it out in advance. This will allow you to modulate your voice and pace your lines for the right effect. Another benefit of doing this is that it will alleviate some stress. After all, many brides become nervous when the moment finally arrives and they have to say their vows in front of all these people. Prepare yourself with the lines and you are less likely to fumble and make mistakes. Thus, you will feel calm and confident when you have to finally say it at your wedding.

5.Check and confirm with those who will speak at your wedding

This is the right time to cross-check and confirm with those who are saying the wedding speeches and toasts. A gentle reminder will be sufficient for them to get their toast ready in time for the wedding. It is a good idea to inform then of when it will be their turn to speak on the day. Long toasts and speeches are boring. So, ask them to keep it short and not longer than 5 minutes. Also limit the wedding speeches to three or four at the most, so your guests don’t feel bored.

6.Put together your wedding emergency kit

There are many things that can go wrong on your wedding day. Get ready to tackle all such issues with an emergency kit with all necessary supplies. You will have to stock items like tissues, blotting paper, chalk, safety pins, thread and needles to handle potential wedding dress issues. Apart from that you should also include your hair and makeup essentials. Smelling salts, plaster and tape are some of the other items that can come in handy. For the full list of items to have in your wedding emergency kit, visit this previous article. If you don’t want to set up your emergency kit by yourself, you can also buy it ready made. Find out all about what our emergency kit contains and how you can order it from Best for Bride here. 

7.Complete all work-related assignments

You will have to run around a lot for your wedding tasks. So, get your work out of the way before that. Complete all pending assignments and delegate responsibilities to your colleagues in-charge during your absence. Send emails to all those concerned, informing them of your non-availability during your wedding and honeymoon. Get your work things organized and in-place. Create easy to access lists and information for your co-workers, boss and subordinates, so they will not have to contact you while you are away.

8.Confirm with vendors and suppliers

Don’t wait till the day before your wedding to get in touch with your wedding vendors. Call them up early and cross-check if everything is progressing as per plan. Confirm that there are no issues and all required ingredients and materials are available. Inquire about any likely changes, and give the go-ahead only after verifying them. Confirm arrival, transportation and pick-up plans for the day. Provide a contact who they can get in touch with in case of any questions on the day. If you have a wedding planner, she will handle all this. Nevertheless, it is a good idea to verify that everything is moving smoothly.

9.Verify plans with your wedding party

Get in touch with your bridesmaids, ushers and the rest of the members in the wedding party and inform them of the wedding timeline and plans. Check and confirm that your bridesmaids have collected their dresses after necessary alterations. Also discuss their hair and makeup plans for the day. Delegate the responsibilities to the right people, so everyone is aware of what they are in-charge of. Inform them of where they have to be at different times on the day. Also discuss the details of how, where and when they should do their hair and makeup on the day. Once you do the overall planning, delegate the responsibilities to ensure each aspect is covered to your maid-of-honor, best man and bridal party.

10.Pack your overnight bag

Even if you will be getting dressed at your home, put all that you need together for easy access. Make a list of all the things you need to get ready. This should also include your change of clothes, an extra pair of shoes, your emergency kit and other essentials. Then pack a bag with these items and put it away safely. Once you have this ready, simply pull it out when it is time to go. You need not worry about searching for all you need at the last minute.

11.Pack your honeymoon bag

Pack all that you need for your honeymoon in the week before your wedding. Depending on the location, make a list of the different things you have to carry. Then pack these items into your bag. If your honeymoon is abroad, don’t forget to pack your passport and other travel documents. When you get everything ready in advance, you are less likely to forget any essential detail. For new clothes, shoes and other items, get rid of the tags and price stickers before packing them in.

12.Confirm the guest head count

This is the right time to ensure that your seating arrangement is done properly and that there are no changes to plan. If someone has failed to RSVP, reach out to them to find out if they are attending or not. You can make suitable last-minute changes to the seating plan if there is a difference in head count. Share this information with your caterer, venue manager and wedding planner, once the list is ready. If you have asked guests to make a choice from the menu options, this is also the time to follow up with those who haven’t responded already. Your vendors and caterers will need such information to plan their work for the day.

13.Prep your home

There will be people visiting you during the week before your wedding. So, get it ready for hosting, in advance. Do a deep clean, put everything in its right place and neatly arrange your house. Have your kitchen stocked with easy-to-prepare meals, for days that do not go as planned. Plan your outfits for the week, so you can dress quickly and efficiently. If there are items that are to be stored away safely, put them away now and you needn’t worry about them when you have to lock and go. Hire help if necessary, for the cleaning, maintenance and any other essential tasks. Also identify the zones where you will be taking photographs on the wedding day, and set them up neatly and as preferred so they are ready for pictures.

14.Get your mani/pedi and confirm hair and makeup appointments

You should do your manicure and pedicure closer to the wedding day, for best results. So, schedule your appointment just a day or two before the wedding. Make sure it doesn’t clash with any of the remaining wedding plans. You will have to spend at least an hour at the salon for this purpose. Decide on how you want your nails to look for the occasion. Here are some ideas on the Huffington Post.  This will prevent you from randomly picking it up and later regretting the choice. Book your appointment at the salon in advance. If you will be using a hairdresser or makeup artist for your wedding, double-check your booking details to avoid confusion on the day.

15.Brief your maid-of-honor or wedding planner on wedding day responsibilities

You do not want to spend your time overseeing every detail on your wedding day, when you ought to actually have fun. So, assign all responsibilities to a capable person or persons. Discuss factors like what to do with the décor after the function, how to handle vendor payments, what to do with your wedding dress etc. Give clear instructions on each aspect that is important. You can thus minimize their need to consult you with questions on the day. Do a double check of your wedding checklist and make sure everything has been handled.

Wedding planning is strenuous and can overwhelm every bride at some point or the other. To avoid drowning in the stress, it is wise to chalk out time for yourself during the wedding planning process. Also, don’t forget to enjoy every milestone you cross. Finding the perfect wedding dress is a big achievement in your wedding planning, and we can help you with this. Visit Best for Bride for the latest and most modern as well as classic bridal dress collections. Apart from that, also browse through our bridesmaids dress collections, wedding accessories collection and more to jump start your wedding planning today.

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10 Tips to plan an amazing Rehearsal Dinner

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The rehearsal dinner is typically the first occasion when you get a sneak peek at how your actual wedding day will be. Although it isn’t an essential in the list of wedding-related events, it is quite popular. If you are planning to have one before your wedding, our tips will help you organize it well. Before we get to the tips, let us first try to understand in detail, what the rehearsal dinner is all about.

What you need to know about the rehearsal dinner

The main thing couples should know about planning a rehearsal dinner is that it should be a simple event that shouldn’t further strain their pockets nor nerves. Most couples already have their bank balances stretched thin by the wedding expenses. If this is the case, you can altogether skip the event, or tone it down as you deem suitable.

The rehearsal dinner is usually held close to the wedding date, mostly during the week leading up to the wedding. Both the bride’s and bridegroom’s extended families would be in town to attend the wedding, by this time. So, the rehearsal dinner gives them an opportunity to meet each other in an informal setting, so they are better acquainted in time for the wedding.

This is also when the bride and groom usually meet the rest of their in-laws, and so it is a great opportunity for introductions prior to the wedding. Traditionally, the wedding was hosted by the bride’s family, and so the rehearsal dinner was conducted by the groom’s family. Nowadays, there are no such hard and fast rules. Usually, the bride and groom themselves pitch in for the rehearsal dinner.

Although it is called a wedding rehearsal dinner, the setting for the event doesn’t have to be similar to the wedding. It can be organized in an entirely different venue, and you have the flexibility of planning the menu and event details based on your personal preferences. This article on A Practical Wedding Blog tells us about the actual intentions behind rehearsal dinners. This is perhaps the only time when your folks and your partner’s families will all be together, and you might as well make the most of it by hanging out together. So, host a rehearsal dinner to make the most of this opportunity.

If the wedding attendants and family will not be arriving early, you can even replace the rehearsal dinner with a casual get-together on the wedding morning. Basically, you do not need a huge budget for the rehearsal dinner. The main aim is to just break the ice and help all the main people at the wedding relax and get to know each other, so they can have fun together at the wedding. You can also use this opportunity to discuss wedding day plans and share relevant information regarding arrangements, with the concerned people.

Now that we know the gist of what the rehearsal dinner is all about, let us move on to the interesting part of how to plan this event right.

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Tips to nail the rehearsal dinner

1.Keep it relaxed

You will have enough formality at your wedding, so let your rehearsal dinner be casual. Since there are no steadfast rules to planning this event, try to set the ambiance for the venue and meal in a relaxed style, so everyone enjoys the company. Rather than having a traditional sit-down plated meal, opt for an open buffet or even consider a barbecue. The menu needn’t be too elaborate or expensive. Instead, focus on keeping the company entertained. You can have a semi-formal to casual dress code for the event.

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2.Plan the guest list well

The rehearsal dinner is intended only for those who are really close to the bride, groom and their families. This includes the wedding attendants, extended families and close friends. If there are too many people, the atmosphere will cease to be relaxed and fun. So, try to limit the guest list. If you have any out-of-town guests arriving in time for the dinner, do consider inviting them to it. If your budget doesn’t permit too many guests, you can have an exclusive dinner for those who are very close to you, and host a brief tea party or dessert party for the rest of the people on the list.

3.Get the timing right

Rehearsal dinners are usually held on the wedding eve. This allows the wedding attendants to take time off work the evening before, and be free and relaxed in time for the wedding. It also gave an exciting start to the wedding festivities that they were to be involved in. However, this may not always be the best idea, if your wedding isn’t on a weekend. If so, it is better to plan the wedding rehearsal dinner two days prior to the wedding, so all have time to settle down after this event. It may also be better for the couple, if either of them are easily overwhelmed with organizing or attending an event so close to the actual wedding day. If there aren’t many out-of-town guests in the rehearsal dinner invite list, you can plan it for the weekend before the wedding. The main thing to remember is that it should be convenient for you and leave you enough time to recuperate for the wedding celebration.

4.Plan the venue right

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We’ve seen rehearsal dinners held everywhere—from banquet halls, to country clubs, parks and even in backyards. Although there is no right or wrong location, the chosen venue should be one that appeals to the couple. We loved one idea, where the couple decided to bring back some special memories by planning their rehearsal dinner at a quaint restaurant where they had their first date. The wedding was a huge affair, so this was an entirely different and refreshing experience. Your choice of venue should also be based on how much you want to handle yourself. When you pick a restaurant or club, all the details will be handled by the staff. So, you can relax and not worry too much, especially if you have a lot to do on the wedding day. On the other hand, if you have outsourced most of your wedding planning to a wedding planner, you may like to plan the rehearsal dinner yourself, so you can be involved in this fully. A party held in your home or backyard will require more effort, and you must have the time and bandwidth to set it up and clean up afterwards. However, this will usually be a cheaper option, as you will not have to rent the place, and can plan the décor and theme based on what is economical.

5.Pick a theme

Although this is an informal event, having a theme makes it more interesting. The theme could be as simple as a color combination or pattern, or even a style from an era, depending on your personal taste. Although many brides worry that picking a theme will make it more work, the opposite is actually true. A theme gives you an outline to work with. This is better than looking at hundreds of options and ending up totally confused about whether all that you choose will come together. This rehearsal dinner guide on the Martha Stewart wedding blog suggests that you pick a choose a theme that is entirely different from your wedding. This should be a representation of your personalities, and it is also an opportunity to use those quirky ideas that you love, but were not wedding appropriate.

6.Make it interesting by planning activities and games

Although all the people at your party may have heard of each other, they may not know everyone there, and may not ease up till they do. Get them going, by planning some activities where they get to break the ice and help them mingle. You could pass the mike around and ask them to introduce themselves, or start off with a game or fun activity that they will like to join in. Also serve the drinks up right at the beginning of the party, as this quickly lets guests ease into the party spirit and start conversing. It is also a good idea to plan the seating arrangements so everyone gets to sit with someone they will find interesting. Mix up both sides of the party, so guests do not sit with people they already know. This will also allow you to avoid uncomfortable situations where people who do not get along may end up sitting together.

7.Chat with everyone

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You may be too busy on your wedding day to get in touch with everyone. Although you should acknowledge all your guests on your wedding day as well, it is likely that it may not be practical especially if you have a large wedding. Nevertheless, the people at your rehearsal dinner deserve to be specially acknowledged just for the fact that they are important enough to be a part of this event. So, make sure you find time to greet and meet each and every guest there, both from your side as well as your groom’s. Since the gathering isn’t formal, and you do not have any elaborate time schedule for the event, this shouldn’t be a problem. Also use this opportunity to introduce members of the party to each other, so they can start a conversation. Give these new associations a good start, and you will have many more dear ones to add to your circle.

8.Toasts and roasts are fun

One of the fun parts of rehearsal weddings is that the informal atmosphere allows people who toast the couple, to open up and share more than they can at the wedding. There may be a lot of leg-pulling, but take it in the right spirit and it will also be fun as the crowd there knows either of you very well. You can have a bridesmaid or groomsman to emcee the toast(“or roast”) session, just in case you expect some people to hijack the mike for themselves. Nevertheless, plan this into the time-line, probably during the main course, so everyone enjoys it to the most, and you can also listen comfortably to all that they have to say.

9.Gifts are a great idea

You may have party favors for all the wedding attendees. However, the rehearsal dinner is the right chance for you to give a special token of your love to your extra-special guests. So, plan this in advance, and get the invitees a valuable gift to remember you by. It isn’t necessary to give everyone the same gift, as you would at your wedding. Choose different gifts for different groups, like one for men and another for women, or choose the gifts based on age. If you have a color or pattern theme going on at the wedding, consider getting gifts that are customized to match this theme for more excitement.

10.This is the right time for announcements

Before everyone leaves the party, make sure you share any relevant information or updates about the wedding day. Since many of the guests will be playing active roles on your wedding day, use this opportunity for last-minute instructions and updates. Double-check whether they are all aware of the timings, what they should bring and where they should be at what time. Remember that this is not the time for last-minute changes, you should only use this time to remind everyone of what they already know.

Finally, wind up the day and enjoy your journey home, for it will be soon time for wedding bells to ring.

Just like with the wedding, you should dress to impress at your rehearsal dinner. All eyes will be on you, the bride, and you need a fantastic dress to impress the guests from your groom’s side. Find a fabulous dress that will be perfect for the event, from our evening dress collection at Best for Bride. Check out our collection here.

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Destination Weddings: 9 things every couple should know

destination

Weddings in quaint European towns and the exotic Caribbean are no longer a novelty. Many brides and grooms are packing their bags, and getting married in attractive locations far away from home. Nevertheless, it is a fact that while these weddings are possible, they involve more long-distance and detailed planning than weddings near home.

It is not only the couple, but also the guests at the wedding who have to make allowances to attend a destination wedding. As it is far from home, there will be lot of things to consider. From paperwork to aero plane tickets and accommodation, there are many factors to consider.

Since these weddings involve travel, the rules and expectations are slightly different than in the case of a regular wedding. Let us find out what these are today!

1.Be prepared for a smaller and more intimate wedding

It is highly unlikely that all the people on your guest list can practically attend your wedding, when it is held far away from where they stay. If you have a large friend and family group, narrowing down your guest list can be difficult. However, it becomes necessary when you consider the expenses involved. Be reasonable with your expectations when you invite people. The entire scenario is different when you ask someone to travel for a wedding. Not everyone may have the time or the finances to make this long trip. So, when you decide to have a wedding far away, prepare to be satisfied with a small and intimate wedding with the people who matter most in your life. You can always host a reception once you are back, and include all your friends and family in it. This way, they get a chance to be involved in the wedding without having to travel. All the same, this is in no way compulsory. If you are satisfied with celebrating your wedding with just those who attended it, keep it that way.

2.Send out save-the-dates earlier than is usual

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Planning a destination wedding is complicated, and you may not be certain of all the details of the wedding till much later. Even so, you should inform your guests of your plans well in advance, so they can plan accordingly. Attending a destination wedding is comparable to planning a holiday—in terms of money involved and time off work. So, the earlier you provide information, the more convenient it will be for your guests to attend. Anywhere between 4 to 8 months before the wedding, is a good time to send your save-the-dates. Include all that you know at the time, particularly the date and location. Take care to highlight the date on the RSVP, so you can plan your final guest list and confirm the rest of the arrangements based on the number of attendees. If you are very particular about having certain people in your wedding, check their availability prior to planning the wedding date. This way, you can avoid disappointment if they have constraints that do not allow them to travel to your wedding. Once you finalize your plans, don’t delay sending out the invitations. Destination wedding invitations should be more detailed than the customary wedding invitation, as your guests need to know much more to plan and budget their trip.

3.Wedding websites are your best friend

When you plan a destination wedding, your guests will usually prefer to find out as much as they can to make their trip easier. Since a wedding invitation for what it can hold, then use your wedding website for the rest. Include anything and everything your guests should be aware of, on your wedding website. Provide links to places where they can find accommodation, the weather at the time of your wedding, any dress requirements that they should be aware of, what they should carry and transportation options they have. Also share all the details of the wedding program, so they can carry all that they need to attend it. You could also go further and add some information on the local attractions, as it is likely that your guests will want to tour the place. Since you will anyway be seeking all this information out for yourself, do your guests a favor by sharing it with them. Since websites allow you to organize and provide all this information in a streamlined format, your guests will have no trouble finding what they want to know. They will also appreciate your effort in helping them plan their trip so well.

4.It isn’t considerate to guilt your guests into attending

It is your wedding, and you deserve to be happy. Nonetheless, this shouldn’t be at the expense of making someone unhappy or miserable. If an important person in your friends or relative’s circle is unable to attend, don’t pressurize them too far. Remember that the case would be entirely different if you were having your wedding closer to where you stay. Consider the different logistics that they have to work out, financial constraints they may have, or how impossible it is for them to travel so far and take time off work. So, be reasonable with your expectations and life will be a lot easier for everyone. Be understanding of those who can’t attend and answer “No” to your invitation. This is why it may be a good idea to hold a reception party later, when all those who couldn’t participate in the actual wedding, get a chance to congratulate you.

5.Everyone at the engagement party and whoever receives a save-the-date receives an invitation too

Valentines day Wedding Ideas

Whether your save-the-date RSVP says Yes or No, the addressee is eligible for a formal wedding invitation. The same goes for the guests at your engagement party. This is one area where traditional wedding invitation etiquette applies. Even if your guests have confirmed that they won’t make it to your wedding, they still deserve a formal invitation. Some couples worry whether sending an invitation to someone who won’t be coming, is like they are fishing for gifts. It isn’t! The guest you send the save-the-date card to, might in fact feel ignored or slighted if they do not receive a follow-up invitation to the wedding. Things may also change along the way, and if they find a way to make it to the wedding, they may be disappointed when they do not receive an invitation. The other way you could handle it, is to send an invite to the reception you will host later, if they confirm they won’t be attending the wedding. So, if you have an engagement party, make sure that you choose the guest list properly, so that it will only have those people who will be invited to the wedding as well.

6.Your wedding dress should be low-fuss, easy to transport and manage

Wedding dresses are yards of fabric, delicately and intricately woven into splendid designs. Most of the traditional style wedding dresses are heavy, and may easily crinkle or look shabby if handled too much. If there are too many embellishments on it, over-handling can displace stones or crystals and ruin the overall look. These factors make it important to choose a wedding dress that is practical to transport. You will have to carry your wedding dress in your hand luggage when you board the aircraft. So, it should be a dress that is possible to stow away in the overheard luggage compartment or be hung above your seat. Once you are at the location, you may have to steam the dress to get rid of wrinkles and creases. So, it should also be made from fabric that can be ironed easily and not be damaged. Dresses in light, breathable fabric with just the necessary amount of embellishments are your best bet. Uncomplicated gowns without too many layers are practical to be transported and restored to its original look after the long journey to your destination. Dresses from collections such as the Mori Lee Voyage bring you plenty of options that will be perfect for a dream wedding away from home. Here is a sample.

This beautiful Mori Lee 6784 in poetic lace is a dress perfect for a vintage style wedding in an exotic location. The slim silhouette is formed of light layers that hold their shape during handling and the minimal embellishments reduce your risk of damaging the gown.

7.Your guests and wedding party will appreciate it if you offset some of the expenses

You are in no way obligated to foot the expenses for any of the factors that are normally paid for by your guests or bridal party. So, destination wedding or not, your guests will have to arrange for accommodation, bridesmaids will pay for their dresses and the wedding guests have to find their way to the venue. Nevertheless, if you have the funds to help with some of their expenses, like the accessories for bridesmaids or transportation on the day of the wedding, it would be very helpful for them. You could consider hiring a van or arranging a cab to pick your guests up from the airport, to transport them to their hotels. Or you could sponsor a guided tour on a day they are there, and we are sure your guests will love you for the thoughtful arrangement. Another thing you could do is to sponsor breakfast on the days they are there. It will be one meal they don’t have to pay for, and also allows everyone to meet and get together ahead of the wedding.

8.You can still register for gifts

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Don’t think twice about  registering for gifts. The people at your wedding will be spending a lot of extra money to make it to your wedding venue. Nevertheless, they will still want to gift you something to remember them by. The others who are unable to attend your wedding may also like to gift you, since it is a wedding after all! So, do set up a wedding registry. The only thing to remember is that your registry should contain affordable gifts of different prices. This way, your guests will have plenty of options. It will also take the burden off them to buy an expensive gift, after they’ve spent so much money to attend your wedding.

9.Your guests will appreciate it if you help them find cheap travel and accommodation deals

Air tickets are expensive, and so are hotel bookings. While this is on the cards when your guests agree to attending your destination wedding, you can still do a little in helping them along the way. The first thing you can do is to choose off-season wedding dates, so the entire transport and stay will be much cheaper. You could also research bulk airline booking discounts and hotel stay discounts that will lighten their expenses. If you inform an airline that there will be a group of people traveling together to your wedding, it is likely that they will offer you a discount. If you do your hotel reservations in advance, you may be able to block a set of rooms for a lower price and help your guests this way too.

Destination weddings have their pros and cons, just like every other wedding. Despite all the difficulties of planning and getting people to attend it, it is a unique, one-of-a-kind wedding that you should consider if you can afford it. The memories of getting married in an exotic location with the people you love the most, is definitely worth it.

So, if you have a destination wedding in mind, come visit us on Best for Bride and check out how we can help you nail your wedding vision. From the ideal wedding dresses to vendors and everything else you need for your wedding day, we can help you make your planning a big success.

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7 common complaints by wedding guests and how to avoid them

Weddings are wrought with thousands of details, that it is possible you may overlook or forget a few things. While some of these may not matter in the big picture, there are certain others that will make your guests unhappy. Unfortunately, it is after the wedding that the couple usually realize they should have given more attention to these factors. After all, a wedding should be a satisfying and fun event for not only those who are in it, but also for all those who attend it.

Here is a list of the seven most common problems wedding guests complain about. We also have the solutions to each of these issues, to help you handle it easily. Make sure you prioritize these potential issues when planning your wedding, and your guests will be a happy bunch.

#1 Incomplete information in the invitation

Valentines day Wedding Ideas

Choosing invitation stationery and coming up with interesting ways to word the invite can be exciting. In all this excitement, it is not unusual for couples to forget adding crucial information that the guest may need. However pretty your card may be, your guests may not appreciate it if it lacks the basic things they need to plan their availability. Common confusions are about whether children are invited, the invite includes their plus-one’s and unclear venue information.

Solution: The simple solution is to frame your invitation around the basic essentials to be communicated. Follow our invitation checklist on this previous post, to make sure you have all the information in place. And, keep it simple and attractive instead of cluttered. If your invitation has too many details, make sure that the layout and format highlights the essential information like the Venue address, wedding date and time, RSVP date and your contact information. This will allow them to locate what they seek easily.

#2 Getting bored by waiting around

Your guests will quickly be bored after the ceremony, when they have to wait for the reception to begin. They may also have to wait after reaching the venue, before the wedding actually starts. While some amount of waiting is admissible, it can be pretty irritating if they feel they spent too much time waiting for things to happen. So, this is an area you have to work on prior to the wedding.

Solution: Make sure that you have arranged for seating outside the venue, if your guests have to wait before entering it. Similarly, plan some entertainment if there is a long waiting period or delays between events. You can either start the party off with appetizers and drinks during the waiting period at the reception, or have an entertainer keep them occupied. Also, plan your photography sessions and time to change dress or touch up your makeup, so that there isn’t too much delay that bores the guests.

#3 Food that they cannot enjoy

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Some couples make the cardinal mistake of splurging on the décor, dress and other things, while skimping on the food. Remember that if there is one thing your guests look forward to enjoying at the wedding, it is the food. They expect not only appetizing food, but also something different. Dietary restrictions aren’t uncommon, especially when you invite so many people. You will mostly have to handle vegetarians or vegans, those with gluten allergies and nut allergies. If your menu doesn’t cater to these specific requirements, you can be certain that there will be unhappy people at your wedding. Although you may not be able to make everyone at your wedding happy with your choice of food, you should at least make sure that they have a filling meal.

Solution: Make use of your RSVP’s to confirm what your guests can and cannot have. You can ask them to inform you of any dietary constraints they have, by adding that information to the invitation card or your wedding website. If you can have different menu options, ask your wedding guests to select what they would like to have, from a chosen set of dishes. When they inform you of their choices on time, your caterer will be able to set up the dinner plan accordingly. However, the more important thing is to make sure that all your guests are able to eat at your wedding. If not to impress, at least make sure that nobody has to stay  hungry because you didn’t accommodate their dietary needs. Additionally, plan your menu so that it has a range of interesting dishes. If you aren’t sure your special dish will be liked by all, make sure it isn’t the only thing on the menu. Fill your guests’ tummies with appetizing fare, and you will see happy faces all around.

#4 Couples who do not mind them at all

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Don’t undermine the efforts your guests put in, so they can attend your wedding. It is not only those who travel from far, who take pains to be there to witness your milestone celebration. They may have put aside other engagements, made alternate plans to have their children taken care of, driven from far or given priority to your wedding over other engagements on the same day. So, it is only reasonable that they expect you to appreciate their presence. When a couple or the wedding party ignores a guest, even when it is not on purpose, it can put them off. They expect you to thank and acknowledge them for their presence at your wedding.

Solution: It doesn’t take much to make your guests feel appreciated for their presence. Although you may be busy throughout the day, make an effort to personally meet and greet all your guests. They will be eager to congratulate you post the ceremony, so set aside time for this. Also, be pleasant around them and not look too eager to get rid of them. You have to put up with this on your wedding day, so be prepared. Be a courteous host and your guests will remember your wedding for the happiness they experienced there, and not the ungrateful attitude they felt was meted out. Finally, don’t forget to send your guests thank you notes for their gifts and attendance, and they will be pleased to have been part of your celebration.

#5 Any extras that they have to pay

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It is not only the couple who spend money at a wedding. Every wedding guest has to accommodate several expenses to be part of it. First there is the gift, then the expenses to travel to the venue. They may also have to spend extra if they have to arrange care for their children, if the wedding doesn’t include children. Finally, at least some of the guests will be shelling out money on their outfits for the wedding. So, it is a significant amount they spend. For this reason, they wouldn’t be too happy if they had to pay for anything unexpected at the wedding. Whether it is to order their drinks because you haven’t arranged for a bar, or it is an unreasonable parking fee at a specific venue, we are sure no guest will appreciate the extra expenses they have to bear.

Solution: Make sure that your guests will not be required to pay anything unreasonable from their wallet to attend or be part of your wedding. If there is something that they will have to bear, you should prepare them in advance for it by informing them beforehand. Put a word on your invitation and on your wedding website, so they can come prepared and will not end up being grumpy at the wedding reception on account of it.

#6 Music they cannot enjoy

Although many guests pretend they don’t like dancing, very few of your guests actually dread stepping up to the dance floor. Most couples are quite sensible when planning their playlist, and accommodate at least a few songs that are widely appreciated. Nevertheless, there are those who stick with one genre of songs throughout and bore many guests with it. Then the reception can seem unusually long and boring, and you will kill your guests enthusiasm if you take this route. On the same note, they may also not like it if your DJ isn’t too considerate about their comfort level and forces them to participate.

Solution: Irrespective of the theme of your wedding, make sure that there are at least a few songs that are definite crowd pleasers. Discuss this with your band and DJ and add songs that appeal to different age groups. This way, there will be at least a few songs for everyone to dance. Also, have songs distributed evenly, so people can come on and go off the dance floor. They will otherwise feel their turn is over quickly, and will be bored for the rest of the evening. Don’t have too many organized dances either, as people love to relax and simply dance to their heart’s content, rather than feel too restricted by the music being played.

#7 Long speeches

Wedding toasts and speeches are an indispensable part of wedding receptions, but it can also kill the fun if it goes overboard. While your speaker may want to share a lot of things from the past and present that is relevant to you, it may not be so appealing to the guests. Long speeches are no fun at all, and it is likely that not all your guests will know every detail of your life to enjoy all the long stories that your speakers may come up with. Don’t have your guests dozing off as your best man goes on and on, and your Maid of honor can’t seem to get on with her speech from her tears of joy! Your guests see toasts and speeches as a necessary evil associated with receptions, so don’t disappoint them by having it as the main entertainment for the evening.

Solution: Keep the wedding toasts and speeches to a minimum, by asking only those who really matter to speak on the occasion. Even so, tell your speakers that you want them to plan their speeches to extend no more than five minutes. Hopefully they will stick to this limit. If there are others who must say something, move their speeches into the other events leading up to the wedding, and save your guests the torture of sitting through speech after speech. We have discussed the essentials to planning a wedding speech previously, so reading it may give you pointers in this direction.

#8 Being in uncomfortable settings

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Beaches, winter weddings, outdoor garden weddings are all romantic, but notorious for the uncomfortable conditions they can put guests through. While the extent of discomfort may be trivial, or you may not even consider it relevant, it is essential to think of it from your guests’ perspective. Sitting in the hot summer sun on a beach for few hours can be torture for at least some of your guests. Similarly, being in a chilly venue in winter, or in a garden teeming with bugs and insects may not be very interesting. The commute up and down a long winding staircase may also be equally appalling to some of your guests.

Solution: When you choose a venue, look at the various aspects that may make your guests uncomfortable. Then figure out how to counter it. If you must get married on the beach or outdoors in summer, make sure there is plenty of shade through tents or gazebos and cooling using fans. This way your guests won’t mind the time they spend outdoors. Have your winter wedding venue warmed up in advance and throw some blankets into baskets, so your guests can cozy up should they require it. Prioritize your guests comfort and you will have a happier crowd at your wedding.

#9 Queuing up

Nobody likes to wait in queue, and especially for too long. Whether it is to use the washroom or at the buffet to fill their plates, too much of waiting can really be irritating. Fortunately, you can plan your wedding to avoid this discomfort for your guests.

Solution: Make sure your wedding venue has enough washrooms, so your guests don’t have to wait in queue for hours to use it, when they need it. If your wedding is at an outdoor venue like your garden, rent the required number of portable toilets, so nobody spends more than necessary time waiting to use the washroom. Think in terms of numbers when planning your menu options and setting it up. Think of how long the food service will take, and arrange multiple food and beverage stations if necessary.

With a little pre-planning, you can make sure that your guests are happy to be at your wedding and enjoy the experience. So, make it a priority and you will not be the only one happy on your wedding day. And to realize your vision for the perfect wedding, make sure you drop in at Best for Bride. We have everything a bride needs for her dream wedding!

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10 Money Saving tips for your wedding

Congratulations! You are engaged! Doesn’t it feel great?

As the realization of this new relationship status sinks in, you might be super-excited to start wedding planning and that’s when the bombshell drops—crazy wedding expenses! Yes, weddings are expensive. Everything from the venue to the photographer and food can have you straining your bank accounts down to the last penny.

Fortunately, there are several ways in which you can cut expenses and make the most of what you can afford. After all, you do not want to start your marriage in debt. So, here are 10 money saving tips that every couple should consider. This will help you cut a few corners and save some money while budgeting your dream wedding.

1.Venue

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Three aspects of the wedding usually fall into one account—food, beverages and venue. Together, these three components will consume almost fifty per cent of your total budget. The easiest way to reduce expenses on venue rates is to book a single venue for both the ceremony and reception. This will not only eliminate the rental charge for an entire site, it will also allow you to save on transportation from one site to the other. Two birds with one stone! If you want to further cut charges, consider hosting the wedding during the off-peak season or on a weekday, when prices will be drastically slashed. An advantage of doing so is also that it will be easier to obtain the venue booking as the competition will be very less on these days. Saturday nights are usually the most expensive option. Get married a day early, or a day late, and you will appreciate how much easier this will be on your pocket. Another intelligent idea we found on Buzzfeed is to host your wedding on a day preceding a public holiday, so everyone gets to have fun late into the night as they are off work the next day, and you still get to save yourself some money.

2.Guest-list

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Three words—Snip! Snip! Snip!

Be ruthless with cutting names off your guest list and your wedding expenses will be reduced drastically. Rather than hosting a huge wedding where you don’t know half the people and have to skimp on the service due to budget constraints, isn’t it better to have a lavish affair with the few people who really matter to you? A direct approach to reducing your wedding guest head count is to omit children and colleagues from the list. Also, not everyone needs to have an invite with a plus-one. Limit the plus-ones to spouses, serious partners and live-ins only. Well, if your parents are paying for the wedding, they may want to invite a few extra people, so handle this as is appropriate in your case.

3.Food and drink

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Skip the traditional formal dinner and opt for a wedding brunch or lunch instead. Perfect for a casual wedding, you could cut costs this way. Now, if you want a sit-down plated meal, choose a three course meal over a five-course meal, and it will still go down well. And you can minimize costs by choosing to have your reception at a hotel, instead of at a rented venue. This way you will not have to bring too many things in like utensils, seating arrangements, table linen etc, as it will all be available at the restaurant. You can always find the right dishes to serve on their menu. Most good restaurants have beautiful chairs and tables, and there is no doubt that they are perfect places to dine at. So, help your budget by taking this route. When you choose a restaurant that looks stylish and matches the theme of your wedding, half your job is taken care of. When serving beverages, stay away from the idea of an open bar. Serve beer and wine instead of liquor and add one cocktail drink to complete the list.

4.Wedding Cake—don’t make it, fake it

faux cake

Well, maybe not the entire cake, but at least the extra tiers! Remember that each tier will add several dollars to the cost and unless you have so many guests at your wedding, why let it all go to waste? Most bakers can create faux wedding cakes which look exactly like the real thing. They usually use Styrofoam layers and cover it with icing and decorations, so it looks like the real deal. So, you can get the look, but for much less cost. There are several other ways to make the most of your cake budget, the details of which we have covered in a previous article dedicated to the subject. Here are some of the ideas in a flash:

  • Use a smaller couture cake for display and sheet cakes in the kitchen for the actual service
  • Limit the expensive flavors to one or two tiers alone, while using standard flavors for the remaining tiers
  • Choose standard shapes like circle and square instead of topsy-turvy and fancy shapes to reduce cake costs
  • Decorate with economical options like real flowers, ribbons and easy DIY toppers
  • Go for butter-cream frosting instead of fondant and cut the price by almost fifty per cent
  • Use half or three-quarter servings in place of full serving sizes to eliminate wastage and cut costs
  • Serve cake alongside other desserts in the buffet, instead of at the table. Then, only those who want it will have it and you can reduce the overall order this way

5.Rent your wedding dress or buy it second-hand

If you are not keen on having a brand new wedding dress, opt for a rented one or seek one out second-hand. Vintage wedding dresses are a happening trend, and you can max out on this now. Second hand wedding dresses can be found for as low as half the original cost, even when there is little to no damage to them. There are websites dedicated to this, and you will find plenty of choices to select from. The other option is to rent your wedding dress from a consignment shop or bridal boutique like Best for Bride. Here, you can mostly find the gown in the style you want to wear for a fraction of the original cost and not worry about what to do with it later. With the option to also rent matching accessories like wedding jewelry, veils and headbands, you can achieve the perfect bridal look without hurting your bank balance. All you have to do is place your order in time, collect you dress on the appointed day and enjoy your wedding in it. Return it after the wedding, and worry no more about what to do with your wedding dress. It couldn’t be easier. The third option is to repurpose your mother’s or grandmother’s wedding gown with the help of a talented tailor. Not only will this not cost as much as a brand new wedding gown, it will also give your family heirloom new life. Sentimental and sensible, isn’t that smart? Now, your groom could also rent his tux and the two of you could divert the money saved into a well-deserved treat like your honeymoon.

6.Make the most of sample sales and trunk shows

If there is time left for your wedding, you needn’t go wedding gown shopping already. Keep your eyes and ears open for sales and trunk shows and you could pick up a dress at a better bargain. Or, browse through the sale and clearance section of websites like Best for Bride and make your pick from the dresses listed there. If you aren’t too particular about wearing a specific gown on your big day, why not make the most of your wedding budget by choosing the best choice within your means from these listings? The same could apply to your bridesmaids dresses too. Look for any bulk discounts and use it when choosing the dress. They will appreciate your concern, and nobody at your wedding need know that these were picked up at a sale.

7.Try alternate bouquets

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Cut flowers are expensive and not environment-friendly, so spare the pain and still have fabulous wedding bouquets and décor with alternatives to original flowers. Bridal and bridesmaid bouquets using silk flowers and paper flowers are very beautiful and attractive. Similarly, you can vary your décor using fruits, candles and other easy-to-find accessories and still have a fantastic and unique wedding design. You could even consider succulents and potted plants for your wedding décor, and these could be used again either in your new home or gifted to the party guests to take home with them. Now, if you must have flowers, go for the seasonal and local variety and you can save some cash this way too. Ask your florist for what is within your budget and leave her to weave her magic with it. Or, if you are up for the challenge, make your bouquets on the day with what you find at your local grocery store. The price of the flowers you get there will be far less than at a flower shop, and this means you can find more flowers for your budget. Imagination is key, and it is not difficult to create splendid centerpieces, bouquets, aisle decorations and even venue décor using craft supplies from thrift stores, provided you know how to work around them. You can also use the same flowers that were used at the ceremony venue for the reception, and cut down on associated costs. All it takes is a quick move of the pieces from the first location to the second, and I am sure nobody is going to mind it.

8.Go bargain hunting for your wedding favors

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Personalized wedding favors created exclusively for your wedding are stylish and special, but not absolutely essential. The true meaning of wedding favors is to gift your wedding guests a small and sweet memento for their valuable presence at your wedding. This can be anything you deem fit for this purpose. It can be homemade cookies, brownies you had your baker add to your cake package or preserves that you bought on sale.

It doesn’t have to be expensive, it doesn’t have to be in fancy packaging! It just has to be thoughtful and your guests will appreciate the gesture. Our suggestion is not to be too specific with your ideas and there will be hundreds of bargains out there, waiting to be snatched. Visit the sales and discount sections of wedding favor websites, and book a deal that falls within budget. This will give you a good bargain for the money you can spare. You can always customize it with a few craft supplies that can be found on sale, and you will easily have a personalized wedding favor in no time. Consider printing out your own monogram or wedding stationery using free fonts available online, and you can also save on expensive labels and tags for your wedding needs.

9.Hire and buy local

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When choosing a caterer, booking your band or buying flowers think local and it will save you loads. Plus, you will already know what is best in the area and can make a wise and informed decision accordingly. Go with seasonal fare for your menu and the cost of your food will go down. Should your band have to travel from out-of-town for the reception, remember that you will be paying for their effort to travel this far for your function. Go with the local favorite instead, and you are certainly going to get a better bargain. Like we mentioned earlier, flowers that are flown in from elsewhere will cost more. So, think of whether it is actually worth the added cost. Wouldn’t you be able to achieve a similar effect by substituting it with something local? If so, isn’t that better?

10.Choose your transportation wisely

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You do not need a limo, vintage car or even horse and chariot to drive you away from the venue. You can make a grand entrance or get away in any other car dressed up for the event. All you need is to use your creativity to dress up the car with some wedding paraphernalia, add a “Just Married” sign and you are good to go.

Hopefully, you now have enough tips to have a great wedding day without it costing you dearly. For more wedding tips and advice, continue visiting us on Best for Bride—your one-stop destination for everything bridal.

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Our guide to the right outfits for a beach wedding

Is a beach wedding a casual or an elegant affair? What will be the appropriate attire to wear on your beach wedding, or to one that you’ve been invited to? These are few questions that both the wedding party and the guests have, when the wedding venue is a beach.

The natural setting has a casual vibe, so formal wear is ruled out completely. But, you should put in a little more effort than you would when dressing up for a regular beach outing, when you have to attend a wedding. The idea is to strike a balance between semi-formal and casual.

So, we decided to simplify the dress code for these weddings. Read on to find out what attire would be suitable for the couple, bridesmaids, groomsmen and the guests at a beach wedding.

The bride

We strongly believe that a bride should wear a wedding dress she loves, whether she gets married on the beach, or in a banquet hall. Unfortunately, not all dresses are practical for sandy shores. A heavy dress is impossible to carry in warm, sunny weather, and you could trip on one with a long train. The functional choice would be a bridal dress in breezy, light fabric. It shouldn’t weigh you down, and shouldn’t restrict your movement. Nor should it feel too warm. Accessorize to dress up a simple dress, or choose one with embellishments in the bodice if you want a dressy gown.

The groom

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Substitute the traditional dark tux with a lighter shade. For a casual wedding, consider a three-piece suit, or spruce up your look with a colored or checkered shirt. Eliminate the tux altogether, if you want a cool, casual vibe and are planning a Boho wedding.

Bridesmaids and Groomsmen

For a refreshing look, choose pastel colored dresses in light fabric like chiffon or georgette, for your bridesmaids. Shorter hemlines are appropriate for the beach, and floral accessories are just perfect for the natural ambiance. Three-piece suits in light shades are the trend in groomsmen attires. Stay away from ties and work more towards a semi-formal look to keep it appropriate.

Wedding guests

Guests usually have the toughest time deciding what to wear. The look should be effortless and casual, but not too simple. Although the venue is the beach, it is still a wedding. So, our suggestion is to aim for casual elegance. Summer dresses in light fabric are a winner for women. You can choose a pretty patterned one with simple embellishments, or choose a monochromatic look. Choose natural earthy accessories made from stones and shells, and keep the bling to a minimum, so you don’t look out of place. Male guests can wear slacks and semi-formal shirts. Both groups should stay away from t-shirts and jeans, as this is in no way appropriate wedding wear, however casual the wedding may be.

Now that you know what is the right attire, all you have to do is find it. Look no further than at Best for Bride for the perfect wedding dress, breezy romantic bridesmaids dresses and outfits for wedding guests.

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5 things you should do to make your out-of-town weddings guests comfortable

It is likely that every wedding will have at least a few guests who travel from far for the ceremony. As a couple, you should appreciate the time, effort and money they spend to be part of your big day. The least you can do is to make sure they are comfortable and enjoy their stay while they are in-town. Here are some simple ways in which you can make their visit worthwhile and easier.

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Inform them early

As you may be aware, air ticket charges peak as the date nears. Since your guests will be footing their travel expenses, make sure you notify them of the date well in advance so they have enough time to find a good deal. “Etiquette on Out-of-town Wedding invitations” on Map happy suggests giving four to six months advance notice, as this will allow your guests to research their travel options and plan their trip so that it doesn’t cost them dearly. It would be helpful if you could provide them an itinerary of the various events they have to attend, so they can pack for it accordingly. This would also give them enough time to plan their trip.

Be considerate and do what you can to help them

Your out-of-town guests go through a lot of trouble and spend a lot of money to make it to your wedding day. So, the least you can do is to be considerate and help them with what you can. While you are not responsible for their accommodation, they would find it helpful if you could provide a list of affordable hotels and arrange the bookings on their behalf. If possible, visit them once they are in town or at least call and make sure they have arrived safely and are comfortable. Make sure to mention how you appreciate their presence, as these thoughtful gestures go a long way in making them feel the trip was worth it.

Suggest options so they stay occupied

Unless your wedding itinerary is action-packed with events, your guests will have plenty of free time to themselves. It would be a good idea to provide them suggestions on how they can spend this time. If there are local museums or tourist attractions, recommend them. If they are in town at the time of your rehearsal dinner, consider including them. Assign the responsibility of these guests to one of your bridesmaids or groomsmen, so they have someone to turn to should they require any help.

Small treats go a long way

Arrange for a small bag or basket of treats to welcome your out-of-town guests. You do not have to spend a huge amount on it, but they will appreciate your thoughtful gesture of remembering them when they find a bouquet of flowers or a box of chocolates in their hotel room. After your wedding day, don’t forget to send them a thank you note. Besides thanking them for their gift, specifically mention how pleased you were to have them at your wedding.

If you are wondering about what party favors would be good for your out-of-town guests and also all the others at your wedding, visit us on Best for Bride for some fabulous ideas.

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8 helpful tips to help you enjoy your wedding day

After months and months of tedious planning, organizing and anticipation, your wedding day is finally here.

“Poof!” Before you even know it, it’s over!

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How familiar does this scenario sound? Check with the married women you know. We are sure that the majority of them will agree that their wedding was a haze of activity, and they hardly had time to notice and enjoy the details that they meticulously planned and put together. Let this be a lesson learned. If you are a bride planning your wedding soon, make sure that you enjoy your big day to the fullest, and we have the tips to help you make sure you do. So, let us get started.

1.Be calm and stress-free

Easier said than done, we know! There are many details to get right, timing constraints to meet and so many people involved in your wedding. So, don’t be surprised if you find yourself agonizing on how everything will progress, and if it will be hassle-free. In fact, you may find yourself pondering over this days before your wedding, and trust us it can cause a lot of stress. The last thing you want on your wedding day is to be stressed out and unable to enjoy it due to worry.

The best way to overcome stress is to be organized with your wedding planning from day one. Treat your wedding like a project, with specific details and plans for every task and sub-task. Set aside a diary or calendar to include everything you want about your wedding. Or, if you are tech-savvy bride, turn to the digital domain to plan and organize your wedding tasks. Do everything well ahead of time, so you are prepared for every situation and have every aspect in place well before the wedding day. Make sure you mark your calendar with when to follow up with each vendor, check on the bridesmaids duties and other details. Also, set aside some buffer time to accommodate any last minute changes to plan.

If you have an organized approach to your wedding planning, it will be a lot easier. Nevertheless, don’t forget to add in plenty of time for relaxation exercises, meditation and most importantly, “Me-time” free from any wedding planning, so you can unwind and relax on a regular basis. You can find some really good tips on how to handle wedding planning stress in our articles here and here. Trust us when we ask you to take it seriously, it will go a long way in keeping you sane.

2.Get a wedding planner

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A wedding planner may cost you a notable chunk of your wedding budget, but it is money well-spent if you are a bride who is easily overwhelmed with planning and organizing events. Remember that your wedding is a big occasion, the challenges of which you may not be able to fathom. As you are a novice to wedding planning, you may find it eating into your time and energy, and causing stress. Check out all the brides on Wedding Bee complaining about how frustrated the feel about managing every detail of their wedding themselves.  Don’t make the same mistake. Delegate at least part of it, if not all the wedding planning to someone who is capable of it. If you cannot afford a full-time planner, at least consider a day-of-planner, so you can breathe easily on the day of your wedding.

A professional wedding planner has experience organizing every detail of a wedding, and can eliminate a lot of confusion that you may otherwise face. Last-minute changes can drive brides nuts, but with a wedding planner, everything can be managed in the nick of time. Following up with vendors, making sure they are where they should be, checking if things are running as per schedule, managing conflicts and giving you valuable wedding advice—yes, we say hire a wedding planner, and you will thank yourself for it!

3.Delegate most of the responsibilities to friends and family

The last thing you want on your wedding day is to keep checking if your bridesmaids are dressed on schedule and at the venue on time, whether the flowers are where they should be, whether the guests arrive at the venue without any hitches, or the caterers are setting up the food as per plan. Unfortunately, brides end up with a tight schedule on their wedding morning, because of managing all these details. They can easily lose track of time and the result is that they fail to enjoy the important moments as they should. Our advice is to delegate each and every one of these tasks to people who can handle it, and stay out of their way. I am certain that you will have many friends and relatives who are eager to help. So, distribute these responsibilities among them. Let your Maid-of-Honor be in charge of the bridesmaids, a family member in charge of the flowers, one of your friends responsible for overseeing the catering team, the groomsmen in charge of coordinating the guests and your parents responsible for things at home.

All you need to make sure is that the person handling the task is reliable and capable of doing the necessary task with gusto. Provide them with explicit instructions of what they are expected to, and just let it go from your list of tasks.

When you delegate these responsibilities to different people well-ahead of time, you will have to be contacted only if there is an unexpected emergency. This will take a huge burden off your neck, and you can relax and find more time to enjoy on your wedding day. Check out this quick thread on delegating tasks at A Practical Wedding website. The brides here made the most of the help offered by their friends and family, and did it in such a fun manner. You may also be able to borrow an idea or two and enjoy the process, the same way.

4.Be prepared for every scenario and don’t let anything spoil your mood

Wedding day disasters do happen, but it doesn’t mean the end of the world. Although you may cringe at the very thought of such an issue, remember that you should prepare for it, and you will later not regret it. A bridal emergency kit is an absolute must-have and will come to your rescue in most cases. Visit this link to find out how to make your own or buy one. This will help you tide over most wedding day dress mishaps.

As for the other snags that may happen, don’t dwell on it too much and mentally prepare yourself to let it go. Don’t lose perspective of the big picture by obsessing over small details that will be insignificant in the long run. Should an unexpected issue crop up at the last minute, just think of the easiest fix for it at the moment, and don’t worry too much about it. Consider that most of the things that go wrong will be noticed only by you, so give it only the importance it deserves.

Still feel like you need some reassurance? Here’s this interesting article on The Bustle, that details 9 things that can go wrong at your wedding. It pretty much covers everything, but we like the practical solutions they have suggested for each of them. Go through it, and you will find nothing that happens on a wedding day, is as severe as it seems at the time.

5.Plan your wedding day morning so you have plenty of time

Your wedding day is a day that you deserve to enjoy. But, finding time for it is crucial. So, limit your activities and schedule only those that are absolutely necessary into your time-line, so you can relax and savor every moment. Wake up early, and start the day on a fresh note. Begin with exercise, meditation or a long soak in the tub. Refreshing yourself in this manner, will uplift your spirits and help you feel confident that you can handle the day ahead.

Dressing for your wedding will take you time, so schedule in more than just the required minimum for every task. If you have already had a hair and makeup trial, you should have a fair idea of how long it will take you to get dressed on the day of your wedding. Our suggestion is to add an extra hour to this time, just to be on the safe side. Get everything you need for your wedding day ready the day before. Also, supply necessary instructions to the wedding party on the day before the wedding, so you needn’t bother with the details on the day itself, and can put this time to better use. This article on the things you need to do the day before your wedding will guide you in this direction.

6.Make sure you have all your meals and are well hydrated

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Food and water may be the last thing on your mind in the rush leading up to your wedding. Nevertheless, it plays an important role in ensuring your well-being. With all the nervousness and excitement of the wedding running high, you can quickly feel light-headed and dizzy. When you carry on without eating properly, you may feel hungry and without energy as the day progresses. This can take away all the fun of enjoying your day. So, don’t skip your meals.

The best way to ensure you have your food is to designate time for it in your wedding day schedule, and you won’t have to worry about finding time for it. Plan your wedding day meals in advance, so it is quick and simple, but capable of keeping you energetic and fueled. Meals that are high in protein and complex carbohydrates are the best. It is equally important that you stay hydrated throughout the day. Stick with your regular intake of liquids, so your skin and eyes look fresh and glow.

If you aren’t sure of what you should be having on your wedding day, we recommend that you check out this fantastic article on Byrdie.com. Here, fitness expert Jessica Sepel, provides valuable tips on what to eat on your wedding day. This should cover all your bases.

7.Put aside all tech gadgets and attend only necessary calls

We know how impossible it is to get anywhere without our phones, tablets and other digital devices. Let your wedding day be different. Remember that once you open your social media accounts, or just decide to check your mails, you may become engrossed in it and lose precious time. So, stay away from all electronics on the day of your wedding. You may feel tempted to thank your friends and well-wishers for their wedding day wishes right away, but curb the temptation. It can wait till after the wedding, and they anyway know you are busy and don’t expect you to reply right away.

The same goes for your cell phone. Put it aside, even disconnect it. Or hand it over to someone like your mother or maid-of-honor. On your wedding day, the only calls you should be attending are those from your wedding planner. Anything else can wait, or can go through someone else. If you want to click a few selfies on the day of your wedding, definitely go ahead with it, but after that put your phone away.

Turn off your mobile and all other gadgets before you go to bed the night before your wedding, and you will be surprised at how calm your day is and how much more time you suddenly seem to have.

8.Don’t forget to take it all in

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If you want to remember the most important moments of your wedding day, make sure that you spend a minute or two taking it all in. On your wedding day, share a few minutes with your parents and capture that moment in memory. During the ceremony, spend an extra minute just to look around and enjoy the scene. Have a proper look at your bridegroom when he first sees you, and burn it into your memory. Enjoy your wedding photo shoot and live in the moment. Make sure that you have these deep happy moments to recollect later and remember your wedding day by. It will not feel as though it passed too soon, when you do.

For more wedding tips and advice, continue visiting us on Best for Bride.