Are You Sure You Know When To Give a Gift? Your Wedding Gift Giving Questions Answered

wedding gift giving advice 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”.

Showers

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.

Weddings

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.

For more answers to your questions about gift giving call Alexandra’s Bridal at 508-916-2443 or email us at [email protected] and speak with an experienced consultant.

Have a friend still shopping for a dress? Download our free guide How to Avoid the Six Mistakes Every Bride Makes.

6 Really Awesome Tips To Avoid Wedding Day Stress

avoid wedding day stressIf 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.

3. Budget.

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.

5. Plan.

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.

For more ideas call Alexandra’s Bridal at 508-916-2443 or email us at [email protected].

Still haven’t bought a dress? Download our free guide How to Avoid the Six Mistakes Every Bride Makes.

Wedding Notes: 7 Things Every Bride-to-Be Should Know About Engagement Photographs

Ideas for Engagement PhotosEngagement 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:

  1. 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.
  2. If you plan a destination wedding, have your engagement photos taken with stacks of luggage next to a bus, car, train or plane.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Do you like amusement parks? Have your photos taken on a merry go round, or roller coaster or Ferris wheel.
  7. The setting you choose can help your guests to understand you both as a couple and communicate the love you share.

For more ideas call Alexandra’s Bridal at 508-916-2443 or email us at [email protected].

Still haven’t bought a dress? Download our free guide How to Avoid the Six Mistakes Every Bride Makes.

Ten Wedding Tips Every Bride Needs – A Working Wedding CheckList

A Working Wedding Checklist

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.

Research, decide on and book photographers, florists, caterers (if needed) and entertainment (if wanted).

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. Set-up your registry.

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.

For more ideas call Alexandra’s Bridal Boutique at 508-916-2443 or email us at [email protected].

Wedding Notes – Photos are Forever

Why Wedding Photos Are So Important

Photographer taking wedding picturesI 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.

For more ideas call (508) 916-2443 or email [email protected]

Best of Borrowed & Blue!

The Best of B&B 2017 Award

B&B AwardWohooo!! 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

Wedding Notes – It’s Entertainment!

bride admiring her guests at the wedding receptionA 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.

For more ideas call (508) 916-2443 or email [email protected]

Wedding Notes – Ceremonial Music

Bride and Groom DancingMusic sets the tone and atmosphere of an event.  The right music can pull your wedding plans together while the “wrong” music can offset any plans you may have made.  Take the time to select the right music and the right venue.  A formal evening wedding sets expectations for the music chosen, just as an informal beach wedding is best carried off with music that matches the surroundings.  Seek out the advice of experts, audition musical groups and have a good sense of the mood you want to create for your wedding.  Audition professionals who will have a real impact on your ceremony.

Before you fall in love with a “must have” playlist, be sure to check with the church or synagogue where your ceremony is to be held to learn of their requirements.  If there are restrictions – you must follow them.  If there are few, here are some guidelines that will be helpful as you plan this part of the ceremony.

*Music should begin about 30 minutes prior to the ceremony.  This introductory music is usually instrumental and designed to set the mood for the ceremony to follow. If you have planned a solo, it is customary for it to be sung just after the mother of the bride is seated.  That is a signal to the guests that the professional is soon to begin.

*The processional is usually an instrumental that has a good beat to walk to.  Once the attendants have all reached the altar, the music “changes” and announces the bride’s entrance and her walk down the aisle to the altar.  The music chosen can be traditional or more contemporary depending on personal taste but try not to make a drastic change of mood or tone.  It is usually an instrumental.

*One or two songs may be played or sung during the ceremony.  More than that is considered too much.  Again, they should reflect the tone of the ceremony.

*Recessional music is likely to be more upbeat as the wedding party exits. The bride and groom and the attendants should be smiling as they walk back down the aisle.

It is likely that you will want live music for the ceremony but pre-recorded music may be used in some places.

If you don’t know what music you want, consult an expert, chat with the musicians you’ve chosen or go online to sites which list music ideas. 

For more ideas call (508) 916-2443 or email [email protected]

Wedding Notes – Some Worthy Changes

pexels-photo-70291Are Bridal Bouquet Traditions Changing?

For years and years brides have been following the tradition of throwing their lovely wedding bouquet into the air to be grabbed and tousled by single female guests at her wedding reception. Worse, she had her garter removed by her groom and tossed to single men at the reception or auctioned off. (Note: The wise bride wore the garter below her knee.) These customs came from European cousins who had in their history the tradition of chasing the bride to grab a piece of her clothing for good luck.

While the sentiment was nice, the practice wasn’t, so brides began throwing flowers from the bouquet to the crowd chasing them in the hope that would slow them down enough for her to escape with garments intact. The modern version of throwing the bouquet and/or garter says that the person who catches the item will be the next to marry – although not necessarily to each other.

The good news is that tradition is changing. Today’s bride often chooses to present her bouquet to her grandparents or to the couple at the wedding who has been married the longest. Some brides have the bouquet constructed with a removable centerpiece that is used on the bridal table at the reception. Other brides have a smaller version of the bridal bouquet – a tossing bouquet if you will – for those areas that still practice this tradition. Very few brides ask for pictures of the groom removing the garter for her photo album. Many of those shots are not very flattering and best not considered. Besides, most brides want to keep their wedding garter and instead provide a special tossing garter for those areas where it is still expected.

One new version in some areas is to have the attendants sign the bottoms of the shoes worn by the bride and groom. Whomever’s name is left legible on the soles of the shoes after a night of dancing is likely to marry next.

The important part of considering traditional practices is your comfort level. If it makes you uncomfortable or feel silly, don’t do it. Instead, consider starting new traditions or finding ways to make old traditions your own. We can help with ideas to put your personal touch on “something old.”

For more ideas call (508) 916-2443 or email [email protected]