Advice for Picking out Your Wedding Dress

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Fifteen. The general number of how many necklines you can choose from on a wedding dress. That’s not even counting how many different styles, colors (off white and white are two totally different things), or lengths you can choose from. I mean, you probably had a hard time picking out what color to get those heels in last week, how are you supposed to pick out your wedding dress? How does the wedding dress buying process even work? Well, that’s why I’m here! I stopped by at two of Tampa’s finest bridal boutiques with the nicest gals and did a little research so you don’t have to worry about finding that perfect dress any longer.

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The Do’s:

  1. Know your body type and work with it. There are certain dresses that flatter your body no matter what odd or irregular shape you may have. Find a boutique that carries said dresses. If you do a quick google search, you can find tons of websites that list all the dresses that will make you look as lovely as you’re supposed to for your big day.
  2. Schedule appointments ahead of time at the boutiques you’re interested in shopping at. Many boutiques will only take appointments so they don’t have six different brides shopping around Saturday morning. Shops like Malindy Elene and The White Magnolia takes appointments only so that you’re the only one in the shop. How great is that?
  3. Try on as many dresses as you feel you need to. Don’t let time, pressure, or anything else affect your decision when purchasing your dress. You should feel comfortable, beautiful, and that it’s the right dress for your day. If you just aren’t feeling it, maybe schedule an appointment at a different bridal store or try some dresses on that maybe you didn’t think of trying on before.
  4. Ask a lot of questions. Not only to who you bring with you, but to yourself. Do you feel beautiful? Will it photograph well for pictures? Can you dance in it? Is there no parts to it that make you feel self conscious? If you said “no” or feel uneasy about any of these, it may be time to try on a different dress.
  5. Buy the dress you answer these questions with “yes” to. So many brides regret finding the dress and walking away from it. You never know who can come in and purchase it before you come running back to buy it. You don’t need to cry when seeing yourself in it, but if you feel that it’s the one, don’t walk away from it!

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The Don’ts

  1. Don’t try and pick a dress based on what’s trendy now. This is your wedding dress on your wedding day. My mother shows me pictures of her and although it’s very 80’s, I wouldn’t call it “trendy.” Go with something that when you look back on pictures in 30 years,  you won’t cringe because it had whatever accessory to show you definitely got married in 2014.
  2. Don’t shop around too much- advice from Malindy Elene. If you find something you like, buy it! Don’t go to three other appointments when you keep checking that picture of yourself in that one dress on your phone every chance you get.
  3. Don’t bring too many people to your appointment-  advice from The White Magnolia. If you really don’t care about what your mother has to say about your dress, do not bring her. Don’t feel obligated to bring your entire bridal party or your groom’s cousin’s aunt either. Just bring the people that when they give their opinion, you’ll listen to it. Which is probably one or two people, if we’re being honest.
  4. Don’t try to lose that “extra 5 pounds” before your big day. You’ll regret it and just be miserable the whole time. The planning process is stressful enough and you don’t need to be hungry on top of it. You’ll look beautiful 5 pounds heavier or not.
  5. Don’t show pictures beforehand. God forbid someone tells you something you didn’t want to hear and you now regret making that purchase. No one will say anything about your dress on your wedding day but you’re taking a big chance when showing it off ahead of time.

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Now go off, have fun, and find that perfect dress!

Wordless Wednesday: Dresses

One of the best parts of the planning process is choosing your wedding dress. I’m sure you have an idea by now on what kind of style you’re looking for. Personally, I’m not even close to being engaged and I know I absolutely need a Cinderella dress. So many names, so many colors, so many styles! This week we’re dedicating wordless wednesday to one of your favorite things: dresses! And not just your wedding dress, but flower girl dresses and bridesmaid dresses, because your bridal party needs some love too. So take a look and maybe you’ll realize that the bright white Cinderella dress that you’ve always wanted just isn’t for you (but it is for me).

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How To Pick the Perfect Wedding Planner

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Congratulations! You’re engaged! You’re probably flipping through bridal magazines, checking out the hottest bridal websites, and creating some new wedding Pinterest boards to show your future bridesmaids. Maybe you’ve considered a professional wedding planner, maybe you never even thought of it. The truth of the matter is, a planner is a good investment to actually save money for your wedding day. Whether you choose to plan your wedding and just want a day-of-coordinator or want the full service, there are some tips and tricks on how to pick the wedding planner that right for your needs.

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  1. Figure out your budget. This goes for anything in regards to your wedding; your dress, your cake, your venue, even the floral decorations. Have a full budget and then create smaller budgets for your needs. If you decide that a larger chuck of your budget will go to a planner because you need more help, a full or partial planner would work best. If your budget is smaller, try finding a day-of-coordinator who will help you during your big day and the month leading up to it. Remember, even though it seems like a planner is an added cost, a majority of the time they will end up saving you money and time. And time is money.
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  2. Know your date and an idea of how many people you’d like to invite. These are the first two questions a planner will be asking you. This way, they already have an idea for what type of services you may need. And who knows, maybe they’re booked for that day and can’t help you in the first place! Try to have a date set before contacting planners so they can help you as much as you need the help.
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  3. Go for the interview. There was obviously something about this planner that made you want to contact them in the first place. Some planners charge for the initial interview, some don’t, it’s just a matter of what company you’re considering. The interview is one of the most crucial parts of picking a planner. Here, you can get an idea of the knowledge they have, if you believe you can get along with them, and if you think they can do a great job planning your wedding. You wouldn’t hire someone for your business without interviewing them, right? Same goes for hiring a planner.
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  4. Ask the right questions. You don’t want to be asking your potential planner questions that you might be asked for a job interview, this is your wedding day! If you have a venue in mind or booked, ask about the venue. See what type of connections they have with vendors, if they can save you money in the long run. There are a ton of websites out there that cover hundreds of questions you can ask to make sure this planner is the right fit for you.
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  5. Go with your gut. If you get a great feeling after the interview, this planner might be perfect for you. If you leave feeling uneasy or unsure, talk to your fiance about it or don’t go with that planner. It’s all a matter of how well you mesh and how you feel regarding it. If you don’t feel confident going into it, you aren’t going to be happy later on.

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It’s time to go for it. This is your big day and it should be perfect. You don’t want your mother, your sister, your maid or honor, or even worse, you, running around trying to figure out where the DJ is when you should all be enjoying yourselves. Look around, do some interviews, see where a planner can fit into your budget. You’ll thank me in the long run.

Wordless Wednesday: Wedding Organization!

Organization is the key to planning a successful wedding. Whether you decided to go with a planner or not, keeping things in check and together is crucial. Wedding binders, checklists, folders, even a google doc are all great ideas to make sure that everything is covered and checked off. Below are a few great ideas to make sure that you remember everything for your big day!

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Easy Ways to Use Pinterest to Plan Your Wedding

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What woman planning a wedding in 2014 doesn’t use Pinterest? If you raised your hand, it’s time that you start. Remember back when your mom was planning her wedding (okay, you probably weren’t born yet, but you get the idea) and she had to come up with creative ideas on her own, if she even had anything creative at her wedding? Now, there is no need to sweat. You can just click on one small “wedding” link under the interests tab and BAM your entire wedding could be planned out for you with just a few clicks. However, there are a few tips that could really get the ball the rolling and you using Pinterest like a Wedding Planner pro. 

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1. Follow People Who Know What They’re Doing
At this point in the game, you have probably heard of websites like Wedding Wire or The Knot. Well guess what, they have Pinterest! Look around, I am sure a majority of the websites you’re using are actively using a Pinterest where they’re “pinning” all their favorite ideas. By following the pros, you can see what’s in and get some really creative ideas that aren’t just found by a random pinner.

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2. Download the “Pin It” Bookmark
This is actually the best thing I have ever used when it comes to an add on for a website. The “Pin It” bookmark downloads directly onto your browser and you can use it in conjunction with any other website you may be looking at. For example, say you’re on a bakery’s website and you see a beautiful cake in their portfolio. You’d like to “pin” the image of the cake for future reference but don’t want to save the image and upload it and link it and so on. With this handy dandy button, all you need to do is click it and a pop up will appear asking you what image you’d like to pin. You can choose your board, write a little caption, and pin!  That’s all! So easy.

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3. Use the Search Bar
I have come to notice that not a lot of people take advantage of the search bar. They check their interest pages, their home page, maybe the popular one, but rarely do they ever actually type something in. I beg you, please use it to your advantage! Let’s say you have your entire theme planned out. You want to go coastal. Sandy, pastel colors with white chairs and seashells. How silly would it be to go through pages upon pages of anything related to a wedding? Just search “coastal wedding” and alas, a bunch of pins related to coastal weddings. You can also type in things like, “wedding nail designs” or “floral updos.” Get detailed, get specific. Pinterest loves it.

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4. Pin Away but Don’t Really Pin Away
One of the greatest things about Pinterest is that you can pretty much “pin” anything. Have a few boards related to your wedding (think details, venue, dresses, etc.) because one board just won’t be enough. However, be wary of your pins. You don’t want to be planning your wedding later on only to see twelve centerpieces you once thought was cute during a brief moment cloud your judgment. Pin some stuff you love, that you’d want at your wedding. Don’t go overboard. 

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5. Involve Your Bridesmaids 
Maybe you knew this, maybe you didn’t, but you can invite people to add pins to your boards as well! Create an entire board just for you and your bridesmaids to use. Then, they can add on ideas that you may not have seen or possibly dresses that they would actually like to wear (crazy idea). Just click the board you want them to contribute on and invite them through e-mail. If you can’t trust your bridesmaid’s input, then they probably shouldn’t be your bridesmaids (just kidding). 

So now it’s time to sign up for that account (if you haven’t already) and start pinning away! Good luck, and say goodbye to your social life. Cheers!

Wordless Wednesday: Pinterest Ideas

This week is all about one thing, the one thing we waste a majority of our time on, the one thing we use and say “I’ll make that!” but never do. Yes, yes, I am talking about Pinterest. We’ve all seen the Pinterest fail blogs (people, let your baked goods cool before adding frosting, please!) and have failed on our own, but all these ideas should be relatively simple. I emphasize the word should, since a lot of Pinterest DIY’s look a lot easier than they are, as we all know. You can find the link to some of the how-to posts so you’re not searching all over Pinterest for that DIY. Good luck and don’t forget to post your finished product (good or bad)!

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How To Pick the Perfect Honeymoon Spot

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Your honeymoon is a big deal, don’t let someone tell you otherwise. It’s a chance for you and your new spouse (congratulations) to get some alone time and fully unwind. I don’t know if anyone has ever told you, but planning a wedding can be extremely stressful! Now, it’s your chance to fully relax and enjoy some one on one time that you haven’t really had once the engagement was announced. But the big question is: where should I go? There are so many places to choose from, and now the world is your oyster (thanks, Shakespeare). Whether you have a ton of money to spend, if you’re on a budget, you like beaches and he likes skiing, you can find a place that suits both of your needs. Here are some things you can do to choose the best honeymoon spot for you and your new hubby!

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First, consider all the logistics. Just like your wedding, you need to know how much you can spend and what your budget will be for the trip. You’ll also have to take into consideration work or other commitments and how long you’ll have to get away from it all. If you have a huge budget and lots of time, a place farther away and more lavish may suit you. If you have a tighter budget and less time, perhaps somewhere closer where you can spend a week may be right for you. It all depends on your needs. But once you figure this out, you’ll have a better idea of what location you can realistically do.

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Second, use google to your advantage. There are so many places out there that I’m sure you or me or anyone else has never even heard of. There are hundreds of lists and blog posts (including my previous one, check it out) showing many different unique places you could go. There are even some extremely different hotels you can find so you can truthfully say that you’ve spent a night in a treehouse instead of in a Hilton. Find ones that you (or him) might be interested in a make a list. Jot some of your favorites down to research and figure out which ones are the most realistic for you both.

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Third, ask around. Ask your friends, ask your family, ask your hairstylist. What was the best place they’ve ever been to? What was their most interesting and fun vacation they’ve taken? You’d be surprised at what someone might say and it might spark your interest in checking that place out. It’s always better to take advice from someone you know and who can tell you straight up instead of reading something about it on the internet.

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Fourth, read the internet. I realize I just told you that advice from someone you know is better than what you read on the internet but hear me out. Check out websites like Trip Advisor or Yelp and see what activities or restaurants are near where you’re looking. If you notice that the top attractions are museums and landmarks and you’re the type of couple who enjoy jumping off cliffs or zip-lining, that location may not be right for you. People on these websites aren’t getting paid so their reviews are straight up honest opinions of what that place is like, which can really help you out in the long run.

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Fifth, talk to your spouse. I understand that you may have had this dream since you were a little kid to go to France for your honeymoon. However, you have to take into consideration what your spouse wants. Maybe he has been there a few times and it’s nothing really new anymore. Maybe they have a better idea, something that you both can really enjoy and new that you both have never seen before. Really, sit down and have a conversation. Like I said, your honeymoon is a big deal and it’s not going to be that amazing trip you’ve always dreamed of if both of you aren’t fully stoked for it!

So, take my advice and take your friend’s advice. Find somewhere that’s perfect for the both of you! It’s hard to get used to, but now it’s really “us” instead of “you”. Hopefully that doesn’t freak you out. Good luck and enjoy that amazing vacation and relaxation that you deserve!

Wordless Wednesday: Honeymoon Destinations

If you’re in the planning stages of your wedding and still haven’t picked a destination for your honeymoon yet or  just want to see some great pictures of where you could  be right now, this post is for you. Let these photos awaken the traveling side of you and pick a honeymoon destination that is a little…unconventional. I mean, do you really want to be the sixth of your friends who went to Hawaii for their honeymoon? I didn’t think so! I’ll let the pictures do the talking this week for our Wordless Wednesday!

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Cape Town, South Africa

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Copenhagen, Denmark

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Disneyland Paris

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Lencois Marahenses, Brazil

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Make Peace Island, Australia

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Portmeirion, Wales

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Satorini Island, Greece

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Tulip Fields, Netherlands

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Vaadhoo Islands, Maldives

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Vancouver, Canada

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Tunnel of Love, Ukraine