Congratulations to Allie and Kevin from Alexandra’s Bridal Boutique on a lovely wedding at the Villa at Ridder Country Club! Our photography partner Lexi Photography has captured this happy couple at the beginning of their wonderful adventure together. Take a look and be inspired by their beautiful wedding photos.
What Kind of Wedding?
Given the changing social climate, what are the traditional standards that define the formal, semi-formal and informal weddings? And while you may think it doesn’t matter, the degree of formality you choose does influence many other planning decisions. These are the traditional guidelines for determining each style but you can (and probably will) choose your own variations.
Is usually held in a church, synagogue or a luxury hotel. Its reception is usually held in a luxury hotel, private club or private estate. Invitations are sent to 100 or more guests. Engraved or printed invitations are used with traditional wording. The bride wears a floor length gown with chapel or sweeping train veil. The groom wears cutaways or tails as do the attendants. Bridesmaids wear floor length gowns. Guests wear formal or evening wear. The reception is a sit down dinner, with live entertainment, elaborate event design, elegant flowers and luxury transportation.
Is usually held in a church, synagogue, private home or outdoors. The reception is held at the same location as the ceremony, or at a restaurant, garden or home. There are fewer than 100 guests. Invitations may be printed with traditional or personalized wording. The bride wears a floor length or cocktail length gown with fingertip veil or hat. The groom and his attendants wear either matching tuxedos or suits and ties. Bridesmaids wear matching floor or cocktail length dresses. Guests wear either evening or business dress. The reception can be a sit down dinner or buffet or light refreshments depending on time of day. There may be live music or a D.J. The floral arrangements or event design are scaled down.
These type of weddings are daytime ceremonies held in a home, community center, hotel or judge’s chambers. There are fewer than 50 guests. Invitations may be printed or hand-written with personalized wording. The bride wears a simple suit or dress with no veil or train. Groom wears a suit and tie. Each have one attendant. Reception can be held at home, or restaurant. Simple meal or light refreshments are chosen and if any floral designs are used, they are very simple.
Download our free guide How to Avoid the Six Mistakes Every Bride Makes.
If you want to be the kind of bride who is remembered for being a gracious and caring person who had a wedding that was warm, loving and guest-focused, there are some tips from other brides and guests who attended their weddings. (more…)
You are busy assembling all the pieces of your wedding budget. In some cases you’ve come in under your estimate and in others – whoops – you’re over what you planned to spend. There is one more category that you need to add before you finalize the expenditures – TIPS!!!! Depending on the size and scope of your wedding plans, the gratuities could turn into a sizable amount.
Maybe you are thinking that the tip is included in the contract you signed with your caterer. Maybe it is – but check.
Wedding Day Tipping Guidelines
Here are some guidelines that you may find helpful. But remember that they are just that – suggestions. Who you decide to tip and how much is truly up to you.
How much do I tip Caterers and Reception Site Managers?
Each of these spots will usually include a 15-20% gratuity in their contracts. Since catering bills may be paid in full in advance, that will be included and hopefully be shared with the service staff. If you were delightfully surprised by service etc., you may wish to give an additional tip of $1 per guest. – Your choice. (more…)
When you walk down the aisle, your bridesmaids will have walked before you, building everybody’s anticipation for your big, beautiful moment — the one where you stride down in the most beautiful wedding dress, bouquet in hand and your groom waiting on the other side.
You’ve chosen these women to be with you in the most important day of your life because they’re quite important to you. So what better way to show your gratitude and love than by dressing them up to the nines? (more…)
Social media probably plays a huge role in your daily life. Your iPhone or similar device is always on and if not in your hands, close by. And it can be a big help as you begin the process of planning your wedding. There are great sites with wonderful pictures, blogs from other brides and advertisements from venues, resources, and planners. They can be a great resource for information and where to start.
It’s a perfect way to share information about your wedding. Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Websites – all give you an easy way to inform guests about your plans. But there is a downside to this. To quote one expert- “You should be careful what you say and post on social media. It can be shared and manipulated by hackers, thieves, “frenemies” and others. A good rule of thumb – don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your mom to know.”
We are so excited to receive this personal thank you message from David Tutera! You can find his 2017 bridal collection right here at Alexandra’s Bridal Boutique, a David Tutera Platinum Store.
Still haven’t bought a dress? Download our free guide How to Avoid the Six Mistakes Every Bride Makes.
Congratulations to Ami and Ben from Alexandra’s Bridal Boutique on a lovely wedding at Mount Hope Farm! We were glad you chose us to aid you in selecting a wedding dress. Check out this awesome video recap of the beautiful day below for a lace wedding dress idea. Read more about the wedding here: http://blueflashphotography.com/ami-ben-mount-hope-farm-wedding/
Congratulations to Kate and Ayn from Alexandra’s Bridal Boutique who were married on 3/9/2016! We were glad you chose us to be your bridal dress consultants.
Still haven’t bought a dress? Download our free guide How to Avoid the Six Mistakes Every Bride Makes.
As you add “Buy bridesmaids’ gifts for attendants” to your to do list, consider all that they are giving you.
Do you have to buy gifts for your bridesmaids? No! Do you have to thank them for what they are doing for you? Absolutely!
Whether it’s one witness at a Justice of the Peace or 6 college friends who are flying in to be a part of your special day, standing up for you at your wedding is quite a commitment. They are likely buying a dress, shoes and maybe a headpiece of sorts. It’s likely that they are attending at least one shower for you and will no doubt be giving you a wedding gift. Some of them may have incurred flight or other travel expenses just getting to your wedding.
The gift you choose for your bridesmaids is important and must be accompanied by a huge thank you for being a part of the most important event in your life.
What to give for bridesmaid’s gifts? Here are some innovative ideas to consider.
1. Give them some bling.
A favorite is jewelry, accessories, or personal items monogrammed or in individual favorite colors. These gifts are usually given either during a bridesmaid’s luncheon or at the rehearsal dinner along with the groom’s gifts to his attendants.
2. Let them unwind.
If schedules permit, many brides choose to host a spa day for their attendants. A day of relaxing massages, facials and personal attention is hard to beat.
3. Pay their way.
If you are planning a destination wedding, paying their travel expenses would be a marvelous gift. If you can’t swing the airfare, plan to cover at least their ground accommodations.
4. Send a bouquet.
Plan to send post wedding flowers to the bridesmaids at their place of employment whenever/wherever possible. Send a thank you note with the flowers. If they cannot be delivered to the job site, send them to her home.
Still haven’t bought a dress? Download our free guide How to Avoid the Six Mistakes Every Bride Makes.
Brides and grooms are glad to share ideas from their weddings – if you ask them. Some stores send a note with the gown when it is picked up. The note is a thank you from the store, wishing her and the groom a long and happy life together, and asking the bride to share her thoughts after the big event.
This note is usually printed on good paper stock and has the store’s logo on it along with the greetings and good wishes. They also enclose a stamped and printed return envelope. It is a way to encourage brides to remember the help and advice you gave, as well as a way to share with future brides.
Here are some wedding ideas and advice we’ve heard from brides:
1. Start With the Invite
Be sure to mail an invitation with all the inserts to yourself. Don’t open it. Keep it in your wedding book and save it for future generations to open.
2. Include Your Guests in the Fun
Ask all friends and relatives to write a favorite recipe on the back of the response card before they return it to you. Keep them in a special place throughout your married life.
3. Use Your Life For Inspiration
We weren’t sure what color theme we wanted and finally decided to use the color of each of our birthstones. It was lovely.
4. Purchase Extras For the Occasion
If you are going to throw your garter (or the groom will) be sure you purchase two: one to toss and one you want to keep.
5. Start a Tradition in Honor of Your Big Day
We decided to buy a new silver dollar with the year of our wedding on it. We plan to buy a new one every year on our anniversary.
6. Explore the Gift of Generosity
Because it was a second wedding for both of us, we decided we didn’t want any gifts. We picked a charity that we both support and asked that in lieu of gifts to us, gifts be given to the charity. We plan to donate to it every year on our anniversary.
7. Say Thank You Creatively
My groom bought lottery tickets for each of his attendants and placed in one pocket of each tux as a way to say thanks for being in my wedding.
A great deal of time, energy, money and planning went into creating the wedding of your dreams…Everyone wished you well and thought your wedding was one of the nicest and loveliest events they had attended…But…One of the biggest reasons that guests were so pleased to be a part of the event, is how pleasant and charming you – the bride was throughout the entire process.
We want our brides to be happy with the wedding of their dreams and we also want them to be the source of warm thoughts and memories from relatives and guests who see her at her very best. She is gracious and focused on others. The most charming bride is the one whose focus is not on herself alone, but one who shares her happiness with family and friends.
Don’t talk about the wedding non-stop. It’s good that you are enthusiastic and excited about your upcoming wedding, but hard as it is to believe, not everyone in your orbit needs or wants to hear every little detail, every day for the months of preparation. As one guest remarked, “Believe it or not, the world was turning on its axis every day without everyone knowing every detail every hour.”
Your wedding is OUR focus as we help you plan, but not every person you meet shares that focus. Some brides have a “me first” attitude throughout the planning process. That can be hard to take.
People wish you well and want you to be happy, but it is unrealistic to expect everyone to drop everything and focus only on you and your wedding. WE will focus on you and we will help you create a memorable event while you the bride treat your family and friends with genuine care and sharing.
Looking for a dress? Download our free guide How to Avoid the Six Mistakes Every Bride Makes before you buy.
As the wedding season ramps up, it is time to dust off the guidelines on gift giving for weddings. We are frequently asked about when is a gift a must and when it is a maybe?
Here are some simple “rules”.
If one is invited to a bridal shower and plans to attend – yes, a gift is in order. Usually, a shower gift is smaller and more personal than the gift given at the wedding. If one does not plan to attend, a gift is not required nor expected. However, depending on one’s relationship to the bride-to-be, a small gift of remembrance may be sent to the bride in care of the hostess of the shower or via another guest who will be attending.
If one is invited to the wedding and plans to attend, yes – a gift is expected. But if one is invited but cannot attend, the giving of a gift is optional. We say “optional” because the norms around this are changing and even vary by geographic region.
Traditionally, if one was invited to a wedding but could not attend, a gift was not necessarily expected. If the guest was close to the couple, a gift was usually sent anyway. However, today’s expectations are changing and guests may decide to gift anyway. If the bride or groom are close friends or relatives, a gift is sent. If you are only casual friends, a gift may be sent.
Experts now state…
You traditionally respond to a wedding invitation with a gift whether or not you are able to attend.
Some guests may give a group gift which is a good way for casual friends to participate.
Have a friend still shopping for a dress? Download our free guide How to Avoid the Six Mistakes Every Bride Makes.
If you have never before practiced Self Care, do it NOW. All the planning and decision making that go into pulling the myriad aspects of your wedding into place can leave you stressed out beyond belief. This advice comes from wedding planners who know how important this is.
1. Take care of YOU first.
Do whatever you need to do to unwind, relax and sleep well. Take your vitamins, get healthy exercise and find effective emotional outlets for releasing the stress you feel. Remember your groom. Do fun things together and plan together. You need to be healthy and strong and resilient.
2. Get organized.
Get and stay organized. Start early and document every decision made around your wedding day. It doesn’t matter if you keep records on line or in file folders or a paper bag. Find a system that works for you – implement it early on and keep it current.
Together set a budget for the wedding and stick to it. Agree on priorities. Identify those key items that you both really want as well as those areas where you can “under” spend.
4. Show gratitude.
Remember to be grateful for all that you have and for everything others are doing for you. You will get gifts, good wishes and offers to help. Thank those who offer assistance whether you take them up on that offer or not. Because weddings are happy occasions, people feel good and want to help if they can. It’s nice to be a part of a positive and joyous event.
Remember your plan and stick with it. Yes, you’ll hear of a great idea or see something at someone else’s wedding that you’d like to adopt for yours. Be careful of playing “one ups man-ship”. Do you really want that? What are you willing to give up for it? Some you’ll want to copy and some you won’t. This bride is having her big day and you’ll have yours.
6. Ditch the guilt.
And the best advice of all – let go of bridal guilt! You can’t make everyone happy all the time. It’s not worth the worry and stress. Sometimes guilt is OK. It can help us deal with other’s feelings. But most of the time we are simply afraid that we have let someone down or hurt someone’s feelings. Do your best to be aware of the feelings of others and honor them when you can. But the best advice to avoid wedding day stress is to remember that on your wedding day, you are there to please yourself and your groom as you begin your new life together.
Engagement photos have come a long way from a formal studio shot of the bride to be. Favorites are shots of the couple in fun and unusual locations. These are used in newspaper announcements, on save-the-date cards and as part of the wedding day decorations. Working with a photographer on engagement shots gives you a chance to see how you like a photographer’s work and what he/she is like to work with before you sign a substantial contract for ceremony coverage. Done right, these photographs can be introductions to the wedding’s theme or a fun expression of the places and items that mean a lot to the couple.
Below are seven helpful tips every bride-to-be should know about engagement photos:
- Talk over your ideas with the photographer. You may wish to try some vintage shots using a classic car, or vintage bicycle. Or you may consider being in costumes.
- If you plan a destination wedding, have your engagement photos taken with stacks of luggage next to a bus, car, train or plane.
- Find landmarks in an urban setting that are important to you both. Shots taken against a skyline or against a brick wall will provide a different look from your wedding day photos.
- Consider night time shots. Outdoor lights can include timed exposures. Or if holiday lights are important to you, have photos taken with them. Consider candle light or night life lights.
- Are you both outdoor enthusiasts? Have your engagement photo reflect that as you pose with your canoe or water skis, or on horseback or skates.
- Do you like amusement parks? Have your photos taken on a merry go round, or roller coaster or Ferris wheel.
- The setting you choose can help your guests to understand you both as a couple and communicate the love you share.
It may seem overwhelming at first, but every wedding moves according to THE PLAN if you take the time to do it right. No time? No experience? Scared of where to start? Follow this wedding checklist and cross each item off when completed.
1. Create your budget.
Work out your budget. Determine how much you’ve got to spend. What are the sources of those funds? (Hint: do not say my Visa or MasterCard). This will include the guest list. How many people do are you planning will attend? The reception will likely represent the single largest wedding expense.
2. Choose your theme.
Decide on the type of wedding you want. Morning, afternoon, evening? Formal or not?
3. Choose your venue.
Decide on the date and book your venues for the ceremony and reception. If they are in separate places, try to minimize the travel time between them.
4.Choose who will marry you.
Book the officiant for your ceremony.
5. Do the legwork.
6. Shop for your dress.
Find your dream gown. Order it and make possible bridesmaid selections.
7. Choose the wedding party.
Select members of your wedding party. Select and order bridesmaids gowns and order tuxedos.
8. Accommodate the guests.
If you will have out of town guests, book a block of rooms at two or three different sites with price options available for your guests.
9. Set-up your registry.
Register for gifts. Sign up at a minimum of three retail locations – again with a variety of price points.
10. Be confident in your planning.
Know that there are many other decisions you’ll need to make but this wedding checklist is key and will provide a structure for you to follow as you choose options.
Why Wedding Photos Are So Important
I remember a group of brides being interviewed at a huge Bridal Fashion show event that I worked. The interviewer obviously guided the questions and made sure that all brides got a chance to speak. But I’ve never forgotten the answer they gave to the interviewer’s question – “If there was a fire in your house or apartment, what would be one of the most important things you could save?” Many said their spouse and/or a beloved pet, but a significant number of them said “Our Wedding Pictures”.
This reinforces the view that photographs are forever and that long after the ceremony and reception, you have memories AND you have your wedding photos. That makes choosing the best you can afford an important piece of your planning. It is critical that you select your photographer and videographer with great care. You need to look at their work and talk with them about how they plan to shoot your ceremony. Get referrals. Wedding photos are a highly personal look at the beginning of your new lives together so it is essential that you feel comfortable with your photographer. Make sure that your officiant is comfortable with the photographer’s plan. If he/she has any restrictions be sure you know what they are well before the actual day.
Be plain about what kind of photos you want, and provide the photographer with a list of “must have” people to include. Offer to provide an assistant who will work with guests to make sure that those people on your must list are available when the photographer is ready to shoot their photos. The person who managed your guestbook might be an ideal choice for this job – or someone from the groom’s family who can round up the “must haves” on the groom’s photo list.
Other photo options are available:
You may want to have a video playing during the reception which captures the “essence” of the couple themselves. A collage of family photos and a record of the courtship transferred to a video tape or disc along with the music that matters to the couple could be playing early in the reception. Some couples record a video message to their guests that can play during cocktails or early in the reception. Maybe the videographer could also tape interviews with guests that could be included in the final product he/she provides.
Because the photographic record of your special day is so important pay serious attention to every aspect of this segment. Hire the best you can afford because after the food is gone, the flowers have dried up and daily life goes on, this photographic record of this wonderful event will be with you. May you never have to rush into a burning building to save them.
The Best of B&B 2017 Award
Wohooo!! We are proud to announce that Alexandra’s Boutique won a Best of B&B 2017 Gold Medal. The Best of B&B covers 66 markets across the country and this year’s ballot included all wedding vendors in eligible categories with a live listing on Borrowed & Blue. Alexandra’s Boutique stood out among the crowd. We are truly grateful and excited to receive this award. Thank you to everyone who participated!
To learn more about this award, click here
A bride’s wedding video made Yahoo this week! Not content with the traditional father/daughter dance at the reception, the bride and her dad presented a fully choreographed 20 minutes duet that set the bar a little higher for brides looking for ways to make their reception an event to remember. That may not be your choice – nor would most dads want to work with a professional dancer for months before the ceremony practicing like they were auditioning for Dancing with the Stars. But this performance did highlight the changing nature of wedding receptions.
For many brides, there is the ceremony, followed by a reception with cake, a photographer who snaps photos and the couple drives off in a decorated car. And it is a very nice day that they will remember always. For a growing number of brides, the wedding is an opportunity to celebrate by creating guest memories that will last forever. The focus in the ceremony is on the couple. The focus in the reception is on the guest experience. It is the way the bride and groom say thank you to friends and family for being there to witness their marriage. The reward is a great party with entertainment, wonderful food and beverages, and music for dancing.
If your wedding has a strong cultural theme, consider hiring ethnic entertainers for the cocktail hour. If you are Scottish and the groomsmen are wearing kilts, having a bagpiper pipe you into the reception seems ideal. An Irish dance troupe can entertain your guests before dinner. During dinner, light music from a string quartet may be in order. Photo booths and caricaturists provide guests with plenty of diversion. Hiring professional dancers to teach guests to do a particular routine may be ideal for some gatherings. Magicians can also add an interesting element of surprise at your reception.
Your wedding is among the biggest parties you’ll ever host. Make it memorable. Make it uniquely yours. Make it THE GUEST EXPERIENCE that they will talk about for years.