A Brides Master List

This is it! This is the list of everything you need for your wedding. Every little detail, every big picture. When I was first starting to plan our wedding, I sat down and typed up everything that came to mind that had to do with a wedding. I’ve since tidied it up a little and figured I would give it to you. It’s a good start for all brides, if you haven’t already done this yourself. I broke it down into categories so it’s easier to keep track of what you’ve already taken care of. You may want to add to/edit and print this list and carry it with you in your wedding planner. You’ll be able to jot things down on it, scratch things off, and look at it while you’re out and about. Good luck, and happy planning!

The Brides Master List

Misc:

Premarital counseling

Wedding invitations

RSVP cards

Thank you cards

Return address stamp

Gift registries

Wedding website

Photographer and Videographer (if you choose to have one)

Wedding night accommodations and reservations

Wedding party gifts

Honeymoon accommodations and reservations (if applicable)

Bride:

Gown, undergarments, and shoes

Leg garters

Earrings, bracelet, necklace

Make-up

Tiara

Veil

Cover-up robe (for getting ready the day of)

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue

Bridal hair appointment

Manicure and pedicure appointment

Wedding Party Attire:

Bridesmaids dresses, shoes, and desired accessories

Grooms tux and shoes

Father of the brides tux

Groomsmens suits/tuxes and shoes

Flower girl dress and shoes

Ring bearer tux and shoes

Ceremony:

Venue

Officiate

Aisle runner

Flower petals for the flower girl

Ring bearer pillow

Flower girl basket

Pew and front decorations

Unity sand/candle set

In Memory candles

Guest book and pen

Brides bouquet (and a toss bouquet)

Grooms boutonniere

Bridesmaids bouquets

Groomsmens boutonnieres

Father of the bride/grooms boutonnieres

Wedding rings

Vows

Entrance and exit music

Reception:

Venue

Cake (and grooms cake if applicable)

Cake knife and serving set

Cake topper

Plates, napkins, utensils (if applicable)

Toasting flutes

Tables and chairs

Linens

DJ or band

First dance song

Father-Daughter dance song

Mother-Son dance song

Decorations [table runners, centerpieces, balloons, Christmas lights, tulle, disposable cameras, etc]

Party favors

Caterer or food

Card box

Gift table

People to get for Help:

Wedding coordinator (at your ceremony venue or church)

Ushers (for ceremony) and “aisle-runner-puller”

Someone(s) to be at the reception before the other guests

Cake cutters and servers

Someone to take gifts home for you after the reception

Decorating help

Clean up crew (for both the ceremony site and reception site)

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Your New BFF’s

Pinterest and Michael’s. If you don’t already, you’re going to love them.

My mother-in-law and one of my sister-in-laws turned me on to the whole Pinterest thing and oh my gosh it was a fast addiction. They have everything under the sun. I spent hours looking through pins in the Weddings and Events section, and I got a lot of my ideas from there (such as my centerpieces. I’ll post about those later). There are lots of centerpieces, decorating tips and ideas, and cute unique things you never would have thought of. They also have a Crafts pin section, which is where I spend more time nowadays. There you can find ideas for home crafts, things you can use for the wedding, and all kinds of accessory ideas. Pinterest also has recipes, ideas for the home and home decorating, useful crafts for home, and things for kids for when your happily-ever-after starts.

Michael’s proved to be a great help since I was so DIY for my wedding. They have weekly coupons on their website that I printed and used a lot. You can also just show them on your mobile phone if you have a smart phone. Very handy if you are there on an outing and find something you must have 😉 Michael’s has fake flowers, painting supplies, frames, baskets, jewelry making supplies, and some home decorations. Pretty much anything craft related you could ever need for your wedding.

Michael’s also has a couple aisles dedicated entirely to wedding things. They have centerpieces, gift boxes and satchels, invitations, stamps, stickers, candies, fun bride and bridesmaids t-shirts, and the list could go on and on. I got my flower girl basket, all of the ribbon I used, some wedding mints, bubbles, and a few other miscellaneous things there. Things can be a little spendy there, but it’s all nice quality and with the coupons it’s not so bad. I’m also planning on getting the paper and embellishments for our wedding scrapbook there when I get to do it. They have tons of stickers, albums, papers, punches, and accessories for scrapbookers (I definitely am one)!

I have posts with my flower girl basket, ring bearer pillow, and centerpieces in my DIY & Crafts category. Here is the link to my Pinterest profile. Check out my Ideas for Weddings & Parties board for inspiration. I also have a board for Recipes and a board for Crafts. Enjoy 🙂

 

 

“Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4 NIV)

A Lesson In Trust

This is a little less wedding planning and a little more engagement survival. I want to be clear that engagement, and marriage for that matter, is not always pretty and it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. It can be hard, it can test you, and if you aren’t careful it could break you. It is also however, an overall beautiful thing that should be cherished and enjoyed. Constantly remind yourselves of your love for each other and the reason for the planning and stress – you are coming together as one, and at the end of your wedding day that’s all that matters. (You should probably know now – don’t expect your male counterpart to do a whole lot of the planning with you. It’s a girl thing. But do try to include him as much as possible, and if you really want him to go with you somewhere to do something wedding related, tell him so.)

The longer your engagement, the more  issues you may run into (just a gander really, seeing as mine was 6 months long). At first everything was great. We were very happy and excited about planning our wedding. But it very soon occurred to me that there was no “we” in planning… My fiance was indifferent, unexcitable, and at the worst irritable. If I so much as asked him a question related to the wedding he would get angry at me and impatient. My excitement for the wedding was hard to keep up, and my self esteem was pretty low too. We fought. Quite a bit, and way more than usual. I was under an unimaginable amount of stress (being a full time college student, working 25 hours a week, and planning my own wedding…) and my being stressed made him stressed. Especially after a long day at work for him. And all the fighting and tension between us left me feeling like crying and just clamming up.

There came a time where I was nearing rock bottom. I had no one to turn to that would genuinely listen or understand my position. I remember waking up one morning thinking, “I should call this off. This isn’t right.” For days I worked up the courage to tell Andy it was off, we weren’t getting married. I felt as though I was getting no support from Andy; not just physically, but emotionally as well. And there were days where I questioned if he even still wanted to marry me. We had a few heart-to-heart talks, and things would improve for a few days, but I always ended up back there. I even straight up asked him if he loved me and if he wanted this wedding. I know now that I hurt him by doing so, but I was desperate.

I literally cried out to God. Not just in quiet prayer, but literally spoke out and asked Him, “Is this what you have meant for us?” and “Am I doing what you have planned for me to do? Am I doing the right thing?” I told God I needed to know, I needed assurance, because I don’t believe in divorce and I was facing a very scary situation. I asked him to show me what He has planned, to give me the courage and the strength to do whatever was right. I cried out on more than one occasion, and probably more than two or three occasions. I started to notice that when I did, I felt a sense of peace. And soon I was noticing a change in Andy’s behavior as well (praying for your spouse is important, and I will elaborate more on this in the future). Andy even began to reassure me that it would be okay, and that after the wedding all the stress would be gone and we would be just fine.

Then I knew. I heard a voice inside my head that told me, “Trust the Lord in this. Place this in His hands and let Him do it.” So I did. Our engagement not only strengthened Andy and I’s relationship and marriage, but it also taught me how to trust in God and in His plan. This was something I had struggled with in my walk with Christ, and He used such an important time in my life to teach me. Learning to trust in God was the most important thing I learned through our entire engagement, and it has helped me tremendously in my everyday life.

You know in Sunday school and High School groups they always told us to “Trust in the Lord” and “Take your biggest problem or worry and place it in God’s hands”? That is some of the greatest advice you can receive, and I’m telling you it again here. Trust Him. He really does know what is best for our lives and He really does have our best interests in mind. A Christ centered marriage (and family) is such an amazing, rewarding, and beautiful thing. I’m by no means saying we’re perfect, because clearly we’re not. But we are working toward that goal, and with the help of the Lord and by placing our trust in Him, I know He’ll lead us there. I have faith.

So in this precious time of your life, remember to pray. Give thanks, pray for your fiance, pray for guidance and strength, and pray for your upcoming marriage. Place your wedding and engagement in His hands, and I promise you won’t be disappointed. “If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.”

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

The Brides Attire

It’s one of those moments we girls dream of from a young age – getting to try on those pretty white dresses and pick out the one. And now it’s your turn. There are lots of great bridal boutiques out there and there is bound to be one near you (unless of course you’re reading this from anywhere in Alaska… then you’re pickin’s are slim). Here in Anchorage, there is a dress shop called Anderson’s Bride, and the service there is wonderful and the gowns are always beautiful. One of my girlfriends who was married the year before I was got her dress there and I had the privilege to travel up here to Anchorage with her to enjoy the experience. I myself, however, did not go there… I went with David’s Bridal.

You should pick out and order your dress at least 6 months in advance of the wedding, to allow time for shipping, any mishaps (Lord forbid), and alterations. I highly, highly recommend David’s Bridal, wherever you may be, for all your wedding apparel and accessory needs. You can sign up on their website and save dresses, shoes, veils, headpieces, accessories, bridesmaids dresses, and everything to your favorites. They also send you monthly emails with tips, advice, and a cute countdown, too. Then when you go in for your first appointment, you can print off your favorites sheet and bring it with you.

David’s Bridal also gives you all sorts of benefits just for buying your dress from them. You get a book of coupons, discounts on shoes and dresses for the bridesmaids and mother of the bride/groom, and save on your headpiece and veil. You also get a deal on tuxedo rentals from Men’s Warehouse and their colors are the same as David’s. David’s bridal has 44 colors to choose from, and bridesmaids dresses, shoes, and sashes in almost all of them.

My consultant brought me every dress I asked for, some I wouldn’t have thought of, and helped me pick out a  tiara and veil to match the dress I chose. Even after my first appointment she continued to check in on me, and whenever I went in for something else she was always there talking to me, joking with me, and again checking on me.

If you choose David’s for your wedding dress or at least your bridesmaids dresses, definitely purchase the color swatch cards they have. They’re $1.00 each and you can carry them in your wedding planner and it will really help you pick out decorations, accents, and flowers.

Any bridal consultant will be able to help you further, but this is my advice, from a bride who’s been there done that. You will be absolutely beautiful no matter what accessories or dress you choose.  But don’t over-do it, and try not to lose sight of what your wedding represents. You are being united in marriage to your husband, and he will love you no matter what dress you wear or how many accessories you choose. Do not become vain or lost in it all, and trust the Lord to help you make your decisions.

One last thing. Be sure to bring people with you; your mother, bridesmaids, maybe sisters if you have them. Since I was living in Anchorage, only one friend was able to go with me, and my mother couldn’t make the trip. It made my decision harder.

Me in my gown, minutes before walking down the aisle. I wore an Oleg Cassini gown from David’s Bridal.

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” (1 Peter 3:3-4 NIV84)

Getting Organized

You’ve picked your date and all your friends and family are hyped up and excited about your wedding day. Now it’s time to get organized. It’s the easiest way to minimize your stress and keep you from ripping your pretty hair out (which I would not recommend prior to a wedding day. A bald bride is never a good look).

You by no means need a glorified, high tech, marketed wedding planner. They are expensive, and most of what is in them you can find for free on the internet such as countdowns, timelines, and checklists. I went to Barnes and Nobel and bought a regular day planner. I paid around $10-$15 I think, and it was the greatest investment I made! I’ll include a photo at the bottom for you. Maybe you can find the same one. It has a year and a half of calendar space in it, a ribbon place marker, about 15 pages of note space in the back, an address book section, and a magnetic close feature. It even so happened to match my main wedding color. Plus for me!

I also bought a separate address book, because the section in my planner isn’t very big and I wanted them all in one place. It was inexpensive, and I figure I’ll always have it until it falls apart. The address book I got from the Hallmark store. I carried my planner and address book with me in my purse just about everywhere I went for 6 whole months. Just in case I ran into someone or saw something in a store or anywhere that gave me a thought or idea. This is very smart, you should do it too.

I would also suggest buying a tote – you know, the big plastic ones you see at WalMart or Fred Meyer. I waited a little too long to do this, and I lived with wedding items cluttering up my apartment for quite a while before figuring it out. You can store every single wedding related item you purchase in it, and keep it under a table or in a spare room. Mine is big, really big. Like 3 feet long, 2.5 feet wide, and about 2.5 feet tall. Roughly. It fit just about all of our wedding items in it and it was easy to put in the back of the truck for the drive to Homer, AK and the ferry ride to Kodiak.

Lastly, finances. Paying for a wedding is expensive. And I’ll say it now, anyone who tries to tell you “the bride’s family traditionally pays for the wedding” or “[bride or grooms] family pays for [such and such]” is not a person you should talk to anymore. Walk away. It’s 2012, not 1952, and both families should decide what works best. We decided to divide the costs as equally as possible. And it worked out rather well (for the most part…) One of the best things you can do, to minimize “cost shock”, is buy a little at a time over your whole engagement (another reason why 6+ months is best). So maybe this paycheck order the invites, next paycheck pick up some decorations, paycheck after that… you get the picture.

Being extra organized will save you time and energy. Believe me, your body will thank you, because stress takes its toll and you’re going to have plenty of it.

My “wedding planner”. Served its purpose and then some.

The opened view of the planner. I kept important wedding related things in there too such as my color swatches, business cards for my bridal consultant, photographer, etc, and shopping lists and sticky notes. MUST DO!

You may notice the David’s Bridal color swatches sticking out. Please see my “The Brides Attire” post to see why I highly recommend David’s and why you should get those color cards.

I haven’t said this before, but if any of you have a question you don’t see answered or have a problem you need some help with, please please please leave me a comment. Don’t hesitate! Now go get organized!

 

“I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust’.” (Psalm 91:2 NIV84)

I’m Newly Engaged, Where Do I Start?

Congratulations on your engagement! This is where the fun begins leading up to your happily ever after.

No one should need to tell you this, but it’s good advice anyway: be sure to notify close family and maybe your best friends before making it Facebook official. This means a phone call, or a text message at the very least. Believe me, they will appreciate it and it will save you a lot of grief in the aftermath.

If you are planning a big wedding (and by big I mean the whole shebang – ceremony, photos, reception, food, guests…) you will want to give yourselves at least 6 whole months. The longer the better. Our engagement was about 6 and a half months, and I felt rather pressured. However, when I look back on it it was plenty of time and we didn’t want to wait a year or more. If you are not planning a big wedding (maybe you’re just having a few close friends and your family for a short and simple ceremony and party) then all this wedding stuff in this blog is probably not for you; skip ahead to my newly wed stuff.

Next is pick a date! You can’t do much more before this part! After you have a date, make a wedding website. TheKnot offers free wedding websites which are amazing and beautiful and did I mention helpful!? You can view ours here for inspiration: www.andrewandlynda.ourwedding.com. It was pretty time consuming, but believe me it will be more than worth it in the end. You can post photos, list all the information about your big day, and add your gift registries. Guests can view your site by going to your unique URL and can access your registries right off of it, without going to the website you registered on and searching for you.

TheKnot also has much, much more wedding tips for you like hair styles, bouquets, cake designs, and dresses. They even have a store you can order favors, gifts, and reception items from. You’ll love them as much as I did, I promise.

My last bit of advice: get a Pinterest account if you don’t already have one. More on Pinterest to come later.

This should be a decent start for you. When you’ve done this, come back and move on to the next thing. Remember, this is the very beginning of a long journey for you and your soon to be husband. Get used to thinking in terms of “we” and not “me”. Good luck!

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” (Ephesians 5:31 NIV84)