• Wednesday, June 11, 2014

    In honor of upcoming summer breaks and beach vacations, we thought we’d take a look at some summer destination weddings for inspiration. If you’re planning your ceremony for next summer and love the seaside, consider a beach wedding to capture you and your partner’s personality and interests. In addition to providing a gorgeous backdrop for your wedding photos, beach weddings make honeymooning simple -- you’re already at your destination! Whether relaxing on the shore is in the cards for you on your big day, or you just like daydreaming about stunning destinations, take a look at some of our favorite beach wedding images.

    Images via Style Me Pretty: 1, 2, 3, 4

    Are you planning on a destination beach wedding or have you already said “I do” on the shore? We’d love to hear your beach wedding location of choice!


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  • Wednesday, June 4, 2014

    Flowers are one of the most personal aspects of a wedding. The blossoms you choose are the common thread for the day of your wedding. From the moment the bride walks down the aisle, bouquet in hand during the ceremony to grand floral centerpieces or hints of blossoming decor at the reception. Whether your day takes place in a formal dining hall or a rustic outdoor garden, choosing the right flowers help set the tone and theme of your nuptials. Our Marketing Coordinator Sam and Stylist Sarah are here with some helpful advice when it comes to wedding flowers!    

    1. Will you have flowers for decoration?

    Sam: Yes, I most definitely will! My location is outdoors and up against the LA mountains, which means lots of green and neutral tones. I want lots of flowers to complement the venue and to add pops of color to the scenery. Since my wedding is in the fall, the florals will have lots of berries, burgundy, reds and lots of lush green.

    Sarah: Yes, we will have flowers as decoration throughout the venue. I am still figuring out whether I want to do flowers on all of the tables, or mix it up with half of the tables with candles possibly in vintage vases.

    2. Describe your bridesmaids bouquets.

    Sam: My bridesmaids bouquets will be a similar version to mine, but smaller and they will also have a bit more color added to them.

    Sarah:  My bridesmaid bouquets will have a mix of peach, white, and burgundy flowers. I am still deciding on exactly what flowers will be used, but I love the idea of burgundy dahlias, white roses, and peach peonies.

    3. Describe your bouquet.

    Sam: This is how I described my bouquet vision to my florist. "Loose, lush, organic, messy – the farm to table look. I hate when there is glitter, diamonds, rhinestones …. I like natural! Maybe a pomegranate thrown around here or there!" Here's what she has dreamt up for me: "Bouquet to be lush, loose, organic.... Full of both florals and greenery with some texture. Colors: softer palette of creams, ivories, whites, with accents of gold and burgundy along with greenery and vines. Flowers to include Garden Roses, Roses, Dahlias, Lisianthus, Spray Roses, Ranunculus (white should be available) with soft green colored foliage and vines. Wrap: TBD Romantic Velvet and Silks."

    Sarah: My bouquet will be similar to my bridesmaids bouquets, most likely with the dahlias and peonies, but I envision mine to have less color and more white flowers.

    4. Do you have a florist picked out? If so, who and how did you decide?

    Sam: Yes, I found my florist, Kim of Art With Nature Floral Design, very early on because she was highly recommended to me. I fell in love with her work because her specialty is the loose and lush look -- as opposed to the tight and perfect glitzy florals that I am not quite a fan of.

    Sarah: I do not have a florist yet, but it is one of the next things on my list. I have several appointments set up over the next month with various florists.

    Images via Snippet and Ink & Style Me Pretty

    5. How far in advance should someone choose their flowers/book a florist?

    Sam: I booked my florist about 2 months after we were engaged (so about 7 months before the date) but I think you should have that vendor nailed down around the 6 month mark. I think it also depends on how important a vendor/aspect is to you. If the florals are very important to you or if you have a particular florist in mind, I'd say that should be your first call before he or she books up!

    Sarah: According to my timeline a florist should be chosen within 6-9 months of your wedding. I was told that once I have finalized my color scheme, it is advised that you meet with florists to get an idea of how what you envision will fit within your budget

    We love how Sam and Sarah's choice of flowers reflect their personal style and overall aesthetic of their wedding. For more helpful advice, follow Sam and Sarah on their journey to wedded bliss!


  • Wednesday, May 28, 2014

    You've carefully opened the invite you received in the mail to reveal dainty paper covered in swirling calligraphy announcing the joining of two of your nearest and dearest. Weddings are an amazing event- it is the chance to attend or throw a celebration completely unique to the engaged couple. All the details from the stationary of the invitation to the venue and food is chosen based on the couple's interests and taste, so shouldn't the gift you choose for their celebration reflect that as well? We've listed some of our favorite gifts for love birds with unique interests: the cooking couple, the art lovers, and the duo that loves to entertain!  

    For the couple that loves to cook, a book filled with recipes tailored to newlyweds is the perfect way to spark some culinary inspiration right after their nuptials. We also love the idea of storing the recipes the couple has perfected together and will eventually be passed down in a vintage-inspired recipe tin. Even something as simple as a tea towel makes a perfect addition to their kitchen adventures and will be a lovely reminder of the nights spent crafting a new dish each time they enter the kitchen.

    For the art lovers, we love the idea of gifting a book filled with inspiring images for them to bond over. Perfect for photographers, This Modern Romance is filled with enchanting engagement photos that can inspire any couple to capture the moments that matter. Books featuring travel photography or vintage images are also perfect for initiating deep conversations during mornings with coffee in hand. A book with an artistic purpose can evoke creativity and the imaginations of couples with an appreciation for many mediums of artwork. 

    For the duo that loves to entertain, we love the idea of gifting fun accessories for summer barbecues or cold weather wine and cheese parties. Colorful coasters or an adorable scalloped chalkboard banner complement an array of decorating styles, and are essentials for any soiree. A cheese plate and knife set (especially when it's heart shaped!) would be a staple in any couple that loves to entertain's home. From evening cocktail parties to a weekend brunch, we love these ideas for the couple that loves to host parties!

    Choosing a wedding gift can be difficult- you want to present them with a gift that not only will appeal to the couple's hobbies, but will allow them to grow and expand their interests together! By reflecting on their interests, you can easily find a wedding gift they will genuinely love and becomes an integral part of their home. For more inspiration, visit our collection of gifts! 


  • Wednesday, May 21, 2014

    Today's installment of Sam & Sarah's Wedding Series focuses on one of our favorite aspects of engagement -- planning the engagement photo shoot! If you've been following along with the series so far, you'll know that Sam is getting married in October and planning a rustic, autumnal wedding, while Sarah's wedding is planned for March of next year and will have a romantic, vintage ambiance. Read on to learn about the gals' engagement photo plans!

    Photos via Robby Cavanaugh Photography

    1. Will you take them? If so, how long after the proposal, will you take them?

    Sam: Yes, engagement photos are very important to the both of us - we took them last month! It’s your test run with your photographer, a chance to see how they work, and an opportunity to adjust to having a camera in our faces. Plus, it’s nice to have professional photos of us in normal clothes to decorate the venue and our future home with.

    Sarah: Yes, we took our engagement photos the beginning of this month, which is approximately 6 months after we got engaged. Time has flown by!

    Photos via Eyelet Images

    2. What was your vision for the photos?

    Sam: Simplicty. I know it is very trendy to go all out on the engagement session right now, but that is not our style. We didn’t have a storyline or props. We both wanted to be outdoors and somewhere with gorgeous trees!

    Sarah: I envisioned them to be outdoors in a romantic setting. I pictured us in a field, surrounded by nature - which is exactly what we got. Since our wedding is indoors, we both wanted to do our engagement photos in a different setting, but still have them evoke that romantic, vintage feel.

    Are you keeping your engagement photos simple, or will you have a them? Let us know in the comments below!

    Make sure to catch up on past Sam & Sarah's Wedding Series entries in time for the next installment! And if you're planning engagement photos of your own, take a peek at our styling guide for helpful tips on pinning down your outfit, and read our blog post on choosing a location.


    *Sarah's engagement photos were courtesy of Robby Cavanaugh Photography.
    *Sam's engagement photos courtesy of Eyelet Images.

  • Friday, May 16, 2014

    Brigitte Bardot is one of our favorite vintage beauties, and this inspirational bridal brunch shoot featured on Ruffled captures Bardot's trademark allure and sophistication and features some of our most treasured items! The warm and rustic color palette is complemented by a myriad of simple details - the touches of lace decor and feather place settings personalize this decadent brunch spread. The pieces featured in this inspirational shoot are perfect for brunch ensembles- versatile and stylish pants with a hint of shine, a light and airy floral kimono, and a flattering jumpsuit radiate femininity and pay a stunning homage to the iconic Bardot! 

    We are so happy to haven been included in this contemporary interpretation of Bardot's iconic style featued on Ruffled! We loved every detail of this inspirational shoot. Which classic style icon would you use as inspiration for a soiree?  


    Shoot Location: New York City, NY, Photographer: Jennifer Trahan, Event Design, Styling and Floral Design: Mandy Forlenza Sticos, Flowers Supplied By: Blooms By The Box, Clothing: Ruche, Makeup: Adriana Andaluz, Vintage Rentals: Little Vintage Rentals, Calligraphy: Fleur De Letters, Model: Suzanne Kvilhaug

  • Wednesday, April 30, 2014

    One of the most difficult aspects of wedding planning is deciding which vendors to work with to ensure your bridal visions become reality. For those of you struggling with the planning process, our Marketing Coordinator, Sam, is here to help! If you've seen our past two Wedding Advice posts, Registry Recommendations and Your Wedding Website, or have been following along with Sam & Sarah's Wedding Series, you'll know that Sam is currently planning her wedding and has a lot of firsthand experience to share. Read on for her incredible advice on how to choose and work with your vendors.

    When it comes to wedding planning, the vendors you choose is an extremely important decision; they are the team that will make your wedding day dreams come true. When picking these members of your team, you want to make sure that they are reliable, experienced (or, if they're new, that they at least know what they're doing), responsive, in your budget, and pleasant to work with. Here are some of my tips and tricks for finding and working with your wedding team!

    1. Do The Research: Do a lot of research! See what what the pricing is like out there -- what seems, low, high, and standard? Compare packages between vendors to help you see what is available and to determine how much certain services cost. For example, some photographers offer packages based on hours only, whereas some base their packages on hours, number of photos you get, and print credit. Determine which type of package is best for you and then you can compare that to other vendors. Most vendors can supply a PDF or list of packages for you to choose from, so make sure to look over each option per vendor! 

    2. Reach Out: Don't be shy; email any and all vendors that you're interested in! I must have emailed about 10 photographers before I found my photographer, Lindsey of Eyelet Images! I found it helpful to save an "inquiry template" and kind of reuse that when reaching out, since I was pretty much repeating the same information. You don't want to write all your points over and over again from scratch! Here's an example of my template for emailing venues:

    Hi there,
    I just wanted to get more information about your gorgeous venue!
    - Fall 2014 availability (August - October, Saturdays are preferred)
    - Pricing
    - Do you allow other vendors / caterers to be brought in?
    - Max capacity
    - Do you require vendors to have liability insurance?
    - Where are the bathrooms and how many?
    - Do you allow more than one wedding at your site per day?
    - Table/chair rental pricing
    - Are there rooms for the bridal parties to get ready in?
    - Do you have a required end time for the wedding reception?
    Thanks so much and I look forward to hearing back from you!

    I felt it was easiest to ask all the questions that could make or break a venue upfront so that I didn't have to go through an email thread of eight messages before you finding out it wouldn't work with my max capacity!

    Here's my template for photographers too! All of these questions might be helpful to you:

    Hi there,
    I found you via _______ and I love your photography style! I'd love to get more information from you to see if you could potentially shoot my wedding! I have a couple of questions:
    - What is your availability this Fall (2014) (or if you already have your date - put your actual date)
    - What are your prices/packages?
    - What's your engagement shoot cost?
    - Do you shoot in digital or film or both?
    - Do you have a second shooter option?
    - Do you supply a disk with all the high-res JPEG files?
    - What’s your approach to shooting a wedding? (are you into more natural shots or do you like posing?)
    - Do you have liability insurance?
    - How many weddings have you shot?
    - How would you describe your post-processing style? How much do you edit the photos?
    Thanks so much and I look forward to hearing back from you!

    3. Make Sure You Mesh: This one was super important to me! I wanted to make sure that my "dream team" (that's how I refer to my wedding vendors) was comprised of people that I liked and got along with. When my fiance and I first met and interviewed our photographer, I felt like there was an instant connection! It wasn't awkward at all, even though we'd only talked via email until that point. She was so friendly and warm, and we both felt like we'd be extremely happy with her following us around for 10 hours on our wedding day. I've been told the photographer is the most important vendor to get along with, because they are the only ones who will be "in your face" all day long. We had a similar situation with our florist! We found out that she had graduated from the same college as my fiance and me, and she was born and raised in the same city as me! There were so many similarities between us and she was extremely laid back and easy to talk to.

    4. Be Realistic With Your Budget: Be honest and up front about what your budget is for each vendor! If you can only spend $1,000 on flowers, than don't bother continuing to talk to a florist whose minimums are $3,000. If there is a vendor who is a bit over your budget, see if you can negotiate over a few details. When determining you budget, don't forget to take all the fine print costs into consideration. Take note of sales tax, gratuity, service, set up, travel, and don't forget to factor in the tip! Trying to think of every little charge is the best way to stay on top of your costs and avoid going over.

    5. Voice Your Expectations:  Let each of your vendors be aware of what you are expecting from them. My DJ was wonderful in making me think about what I wanted his role to be in the wedding day. Do you want your DJ to just setup the speakers and play music, or do you want him to be the MC and entertainer of the night? I told mine that I essentially want him to run the show based off of our day-of schedule. I want him to set up two sound systems (ceremony and reception), keep the music flowing, and announce when the dancing, cake cutting, and bridal party entrance is happening. Let them know as early as you can, so they can do their best to fulfill your needs, otherwise it's not fair to have expectations for them that they are unaware of.

    I was upfront with my florist and told her what my vision and color scheme are, and then let her know she can pretty much do what she wants. I am not knowledgeable with flowers, so I'd rather let her, the expert, have the creative freedom to do her best work. I essentially told her that I trust her and that I wouldn't be dictating a lot with her. If flowers are something you personally want to have a lot of say in, make that known! And if you're expecting a lot from your florist, don't tell her the day of your ceremony that you expect her to style the venue when she was only planning on setting up the floral arrangements.

    6. Finalize The Contract: Make sure you've looked over the contract multiple times and that you have the final price inclusive of any tax, shipping, travel, service, and gratuity. Be certain of when your deposit and payments are due and how your vendors want their payments, be it via credit card, check, cash, or wire transfer. Also, make sure that if you've made any special negotiations, they are listed on the contract. For example, we got permission from our caterer to bring in our own craft beer (which is typically not allowed) so I had the vendor add that to the special notes section.

    Once we decided on a vendor and signed the contract, we made a copy for ourselves along with a copy of the deposit check. Then I added all the payment dates into my wedding calendar with a week-ahead notice so I wouldn't miss a payment or worry about remembering all those dates.

    7. Be Nice: Just because your vendors will be working for/with you on your wedding day doesn't give you the right to be mean, rude, or overbearing. Your vendors are people too, who might miss an email or text and possibly make a little mistake. Just think, they are in the wedding business and they are dealing with not just your wedding, but possibly 20 others. Be nice to them and if you see a mistake in the contract, kindly point it out and don't assume they're trying to pull one over on you. The kinder you are, the more helpful and receptive they will be to you. Basically, don't be a bridezilla -- there's a reason that brides get a bad reputation!

    8. Keep Them Updated: Any time you have a major change or new decision for your wedding, be sure to alert all the vendors that will be affected by that. When my fiance and I finalized our timeline, I emailed all the vendors so they could plan accordingly for set up and take down times. When I finalize the bridesmaid dress colors, I'll certainly send a photo over to my florist so she can see what the bouquets will be held up against and pick the best color scheme.

    9. Give Them A Timeline: I think this is an extremely important aspect of communicating with your vendors. Your vendors will need to know the flow of the day that you and your fiance have decided upon, along with what time they can arrive at the venue to set up. Don't assume how much time they'll need -- make sure you have it cleared with them that they all have enough time to set up too!

    Keep in mind that your photographer and videographer will need the timeline of the day so that they know when each aspect of the big day will occur. The DJ will need to know this information as well so he can conduct and maintain the timeline you have set. If you designate the first dance to be at 7pm, he needs to know so he can prepare the music and make that announcement. Your florist also needs to know the timeline so she can swap around the flowers if necessary; we are reusing ceremony flowers at the reception and moving the cocktail hour flowers to the reception as well, so she needs to know the timeline to figure out when to begin shifting arrangements around. Lastly, the vendors need to know what time the event should or has to end (also known as the "strike"). Similar to the set up, they need to know how much time they have to take down everything and when the venue wants all the vendors off the property. Again, clear it with them so they have enough time.

    My suggestion for managing this timeline is to create a Google document with the finalized timeline and to share it with all of your vendors. They can access the timeline at any point through the Google Drive, and if you update it, they will see those changes. I'd also print out a few copies for everyone on the wedding day itself.

    10. Tip Well: It may feel like you've already spent a lot of money on your wedding, but tipping is pretty much an expected part of the budget. Prepare your tips a week before the wedding, put them in envelopes with each person's name on the front, and assign handing them out to someone you can trust. If you really had a great experience with one of your vendors, I'd even go as far as writing a nice thank you card. After all, what's a few more thank you cards on top of the hundred that you'll already be writing for the gifts!

    Happy planning,
    ~ Sam, Marketing Coordinator

    Images via Ruffled Blog & Lisa Poggi

    We hope this post will help you find and work with your dream vendors! For more wedding advice (and more from Sam!), take a look at our Registry Recommendations and Wedding Website posts.


  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014

    Welcome to our third installment of Sam & Sarah's Wedding Series! In the past two entries, we had the chance to meet these lovely ladies and learn how they're organizing their wedding planning pursuits. This week, we're focusing on engagement party plans! Read on to learn what the gals have in mind for their engagement celebrations.

    1. Will you have an engagement party?

    Sam: Having an engagement party is actually not at the top of my list right now! Since we decided to go for a 9 month engagement, planning the wedding party has taken priority. If we do one, it will be small and with close friends when I have the time to arrange it.

    Sarah: We are planning a small engagement party for next month, when my sister is in town. She hasn’t been back to California since I got engaged, and I couldn’t imagine not having her there!

    2. If so, when and where? What do you envision for it?

    Sam: In my front yard this summer because I have a huge grass lawn. I’d want to keep it small and simple - a BBQ with good beer and time spent around our fire pit.

    Sarah: We don’t have any concrete plans yet, but we are thinking something small at a restaurant. Italian food is at the top of my list!

    3. Which Ruche dress will you wear?

    Sam: Something casual and flattering, like the Vista Trails Embroidered Dress and a cute panama hat (why not? It's warm out!). Shift dresses are my go-to look right now and a hat is a necessity when I'm out in the sun.

    Sarah: I'd definitely go with something chic, like the Waiting For You Crochet Dress.

    For more engagement styling ideas, take a look at our helpful guide. We'll see you in two weeks will the next part of the series, so check out our past installments if you need to catch up!


  • Wednesday, April 16, 2014

    If you've been following Sam and Sarah's Wedding Series or have seen our post on wedding registry, you'll know that our Marketing Coordinator, Sam, is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to wedding planning. This tech-savvy gal is extremely organized and utilizes the best sites to keep her guests, family, and wedding party informed. Before planning your own wedding website, read on for Sam's helpful information on creating your wedding website.

    The first thing you have to decide on is which wedding site you want to build your own site through. There are two well-known and reliable free sources I'd recommend -- The Knot and Wedding Wire. If you're willing to pay and have the budget for it, The Appy Couple, Riley & Grey, SquareSpace and Sitting In A Tree are all wonderful options. Once you sign up for your website, you can include the link in your wedding invite, though I'd suggest sharing it on the backside or on a separate slip so it doesn't ruin the design of the invitation.

    Wedding Website Pros:
    There are so many pros to building a wedding website! First, you can save money on the invites you send out, as you don't have to include as much information in the mail and have the freedom to make changes if need be. Second, you can link your registry to your website, which keeps it all in one place. Third, you can include additional information that isn't typically included in invitations, which will keep you from receiving lots of emails and calls inquiring about those details. Fourth, your site will show up in search engine results, which is helpful in the event a guest loses their invitation or is out somewhere without the link on hand, wanting to access information. Fifth, you can link directly to a map to help guests locate the venue. The list goes on and on -- you have endless possibilities when you create a wedding website!

    Wedding Website Pages:
    Now that you've decided to create a wedding website, it's time to plan the pages! Here are the various pages I recommend including on your site.

    This page is pretty simple. You can include a cute little blurb about how excited you are for your guests to join you on your special day and a reminder to keep checking back for updates on the site.

    About Us: Not everyone will know both the groom and the bride. Some guests may know one of you well and only have briefly met the other, so you can use this space to elaborate more on yourselves. Include information such as where you graduated, your hobbies, where you work, and any other fun facts that best show off your personality.

    The Proposal Story: Similar to the above, not everyone who is invited to your wedding will know the proposal story. I think I've recited mine at least 17 times now, and the last thing I want at the wedding is people asking me how it happened while I'm eating, dancing, or cutting the cake. I figured it would be best to have this on our page so everyone would be able to read it before the wedding.

    The Wedding Party: This is a great way to announce who is in the wedding. You could even go into detail about the friendships and relationships you share with those in your party!

    The Ceremony + The Reception: This page is very important. Here you can add the start times for both events, along with the addresses. We also included a nice description about each location so that guests would know what to expect. This page will include some of the most vital information, so make sure to explain things clearly to avoid any mix-ups or confusion.

    Guest Information: This page can include anything else that guests will need to know. I included the hotels where I blocked out rooms, the dress code, weather prediction, and a very important notice from our venue that they required we shared with our guests. I also included our email addresses and my cell number in case anyone had questions. You can also include a list of possible questions that your guests might have (see below for possible guest questions to include).

    Registry:  To practice proper etiquette, it's best to not mention your registry in your invite and only include it on your wedding site. This page should auto-generate after you've added where you are registered; I made our wedding website through The Knot and it automatically pulled all the stores and products we registered for right onto our site. You can also include if you would rather have gift cards or money to help with a down-payment on a house. See my Registry Recommendations for more information!

    Honeymoon: Unless you are asking for honeymoon funds via your registry, I don't think this page is completely necessary other than announcing where you plan to jet off to after the big day. Since my fiance and I haven't decided yet, I just filled in this page to say we are still debating, but Portland, OR is at the top of our list. Your guests (especially family) might love to know this kind of information.

    RSVP: This isn't a feature on all wedding websites, but some have the option to allow guests to electronically respond via their site. I personally prefer the old-fashioned snail mail insert, but this is definitely a way to save you money by not adding the RSVP insert, an envelope, and a stamp to your physical invite.

    Possible Guest Questions To Include:
    While it might seem a bit overly-informative to include this section on your website, I know I'd rather have all the information available for anyone who might have additional questions. You can even use your question section to try to avoid potential negative situations. For example, include a question like, "Do you have colors you don't want us to wear?"  to make sure that guest won't match the bridal party. Perhaps you didn't consider that situation before, and accidental matching would bother you! Having this question and answer available on your site will ensure that only your bridesmaids will be in blush pink on your big day.

    Here are some other great questions to answer on your site:

    When is the RSVP deadline? You can even include that they should expect a call if the deadline isn't promptly met!

    How do I get to the venue? Link to your Ceremony and Reception page with the listed address.

    Will there be parking? If the venue doesn't have its own parking, you can include local parking options.

    Will I have to pay for parking? Will there be valet? Let your guests know if the parking is free or if you have already covered the cost. Also specify if guests should tip the parking attendant or if that has been covered as well.

    What should I wear? What is the dress code? Take into account the weather -- will they need a jacket or sunscreen? Will the event be taking place on hardwood, grass, or dirt?

    Are there any colors you don't want guests to wear? As we talked about earlier, this is the place to address that your guests should aim to stay away from the bridal party colors, and to mention any other colors you don't want at your wedding.

    Are children welcome?

    May I bring a date? Specify how strict your guest policy is. Are you only allowing guests who were listed on the invite?

    Will dinner/food be served? What kind of food will be served? What if I have a dietary restriction?

    Will there be alcohol? Here you can specify is the wedding is dry or if you will be having an open or cash bar.

    Will there be dancing? Can I request a song?

    Can I bring a camera and take pictures? If you want guests to take pictures, this is a good place to include your email if you would like them to email you afterwards. Also, do you want to have an Instagram hashtag? You can announce it here!

    Are the ceremony and reception locations wheelchair accessible?

    Happy website-making,
    -- Sam, Marketing Coordinator

    Images via Style Me Pretty

    We hope this post will help you create a truly informative and easily accessibly wedding website. Is there anything else you're making sure to include on your site?

    For more helpful wedding information and to be notified when we launch new wedding-related blog posts, "like" our bridal page on Facebook!


  • Wednesday, April 9, 2014

    Welcome to the second installment of Sam & Sarah's wedding series! If you haven't read the first segment, make sure you hop on over to meet the gals, read their proposal stories, and get a feel for their wedding visions. This week, these lovely ladies are discussing getting started with the wedding planning process, sharing how much they've progressed and what tips they've picked up along the way. As a reminder, Sam is getting married in October, while Sarah is tying the knot in March, so their progress correlates with how much time they have left to plan. Read on for their updates and firsthand advice!

    1. How are you staying organized? Do you have a notebook? An Excel chart? A wedding planner?

    Sam: I have a 16-tab Google spreadsheet that includes date availability, guest list, predicted RSVPs, budget, deposit and payment dates, venues, photographers, and vendors, in addition to a separate Google calendar (shared with my fiance and mom) that includes all of our appointments, payment dates and other wedding plans. I have a special "wedding" label in my inbox so I can easily see all my wedding emails, and I've made sure that I've saved my vendors as contacts in my phone and grouped them into a wedding group. I also have my Pinterest boards and a secret dress board for inspiration.

    In addition to all of my online planning tools, I have my favorite Rifle Paper Co notepad and Post-Its with daily task lists. Crossing them off makes me feel great! Physical lists are a great way to keep track of what you've done, because as you progress with your plans, it gets more and more difficult to remember what you've done. Lastly, I have a coordinator - not a wedding planner. Her role is more logistical and comes in around the last month and on the day of. I felt I didn’t need a planner and am happy I chose to do it on my own.

    Sarah: My mom gifted me a wedding planning binder that helps me stay organized. It has tabs that include everything from the reception venue to photography, and everything in between! It is extremely helpful to have it all organized in one place. I keep everything from sample invitations, to copies of contracts and receipts in it. I also have a reception venue coordinator who has been a huge help! She will assist me up until the wedding, as well as the day of. I have a wedding Pinterest board, as well as a moodboard, where I display pictures of my potential dress, bridesmaid dresses, sample bouquets, and color palettes. I am a very visual person, so it helps to be able to see how everything will look together as I continue to come up with ideas.

    2. What have you planned so far?

    Sam: At this moment, I have the venue, photographer, dress, caterer, florist, videographer, pastor, maids and men, hair & makeup gal, and a 99% finalized guest list.

    Sarah: I have booked the church I will get married in, as well as the reception venue and photographer. I have a preliminary guest list compiled, and have asked my bridesmaids as well as my matron of honor!

    3. What's next on the list?

    Sam: Designing the invites, booking the DJ, working on the day before/day of timeline schedule, booking a block of hotel rooms for out-of-town guests, and planning the wedding shower & bachelorette with my best friend and maid of honor, Ariel.

    Sarah: Next on my list is purchasing my dress and the bridesmaid dresses, and deciding on a florist and videographer.

    4. How are you feeling? Any tips?

    Sam: I am feeling really great! Organization (read: OCD) is my middle name, so I am on top of everything. I am loosely going by The Knot’s timeline, but I am knocking out things as quickly as I can. I could really use a massage or facial though. That would be nice.

    Here are the tips I’ve given my plethora of recently engaged friends:
    -- Scour the Blogs: Begin with Style Me Pretty -- you can search the gallery by categories, tags, colors, style, or season. Next comes Green Wedding Shoes, Grey Likes, Once Wed, Ruffled, 100 Layer Cake, Rustic Wedding Chic, Snippet & Ink.
    ** I looked through a ton of posts and if you find a venue you like - search "(venue name) Style Me Pretty" and more likely than not, a couple of real weddings at that venue will come up through the blog, so you can see it without having to visit a bazillion places.

    -- Utilize Wedding Wire: It's not a wedding blog, but it's extremely useful when looking for venues. It compiles information that is presented in a consistent format, so it's easy to compare multiple venues.

    -- Pin Pin Pin: If you haven't yet, create a Pinterest board and pin as much as you can. A lot of vendors will ask for your board to see what you're liking, so if you already have what's in your mind on your boards, it's super helpful. Maybe even make a new account that you only use for wedding planning and make each board specific, with topics like dresses (keep that one secret!), flowers, and specific photo shots so you can send that exact board to each vendor. This is wedding planning of the 21st century - gone are the days of magazine tear-outs.

    --  Sign Up: Make an account on The Knot! It's so much help, as they are a wedding authority with tons of resources and a great timeline to follow with options to customize it.

    -- Buy This Book: It was lent to me by my friend's mom and it is the wedding planning Bible. It has advice for every situation! I am really not kidding - buy it.

    Sarah: I'm feeling really happy and excited! I have some major things checked off my list, so that is a great feeling. I would suggest either getting a binder or utilizing some other organizational tool to keep track of everything. For wedding inspiration, I love blogs such as Green Wedding Shoes, The Lane, Bash Please, and 100 Layer Cake to name a few. I would recommend making an account on The Knot as well. They have a lot of resources and great templates for your personal wedding website!

    Where are you in the wedding planning process? Make sure to check back in two weeks for the next installment of the series. And if you still haven't seen the girls' first post, wander on over to for some truly adorable proposal stories!


  • Wednesday, April 2, 2014

    Registering for your wedding can be a daunting ordeal -- where to begin in the sea of salad tongs and Egyptian cotton? Thankfully, our Marketing Coordinator, Sam, is here to help! This lovely Ruchette is tying the knot in October, and has learned a lot through her personal experience with registering. Before running to Crate & Barrel and blindly opting for the first stemware you see, read on for her informative wedding registry tips.

    There is so much I've learned during my wedding registry process! Prepare for a wealth of information -- I'll be sharing as many tips and tricks with you as I can.

    This advice is a combination of what I've learned from a family friend, information from the The Wedding Book (a must-buy for all brides!), and my personal experience. Let me tell you; it is not as easy as it looks. Yes, it's a lot of fun, but if you do it thoroughly, it's a bit exhausting. Think about it -- it's the biggest shopping spree of your life!  Don't worry though; it will all get done, and the more thorough you are, the happier you'll be with your new gifts.

    From what I have heard, most people say to register at about 3-4 stores. Make sure at least one or two of those stores have physical retail locations so those guests who prefer to pick presents out in person are able to do so. There are many things to take into account, but here's my list of advice to make this shopping trip as easy as possible.

    1. Gather Lists: There are tons of helpful lists available for you to use. Each store you register at will have one, and there are many lists available online. During my process, my two favorites were Real Simple and The Knot. See what all the lists say to start getting an idea of what you think you're going to want and need. Remember that these are only suggestions and you should end up making your own registry list based off what you've seen and what you know you'll personally need as a couple.

    2. Take Inventory: Go through you and your fiance's stuff and determine if there is anything that you already own that you don't want to upgrade. For me, I have a few Le Creuset baking pans and the best peeler in the world, so I crossed those items off the checklists. You may already have pots and pans, but are they the ones you want for the rest of your life (or at least for the next 20 years)? If they aren't, register for the set that you do want and donate your old set. Determine what you and your fiance have and want to keep, and everything else should be registered for.

    3. Pre-Select Stores: What kind of stores do you want to register at? Start looking online and determine which stores best fit your needs and wants. From my experience, different stores are better for different things. We registered at Macy's for electronics and appliances, Crate & Barrel for dinning ware (plates, glasses, flatware, entertaining platters, pitchers), Williams and Sonoma for specialty tools like colanders, wooden spoons, a garlic press, and Amazon for items that we could not find anywhere else (like our highly-rated cotton towels from Africa). When you're looking at the stores, see what brands they carry and start to familiarize yourself with terms such as tri-ply stainless steel and casualware versus fine dining china and brands like All Clad, Le Creuset and Lennox. Be on the lookout for special deals -- many brands give bonus gifts when your guests spend a qualifying amount on that brand! Ask the store representatives about this when you go in to register.

    4. Consider Alternative Registries Ideas: Many couples are choosing to collect honeymoon funds through sites such as Honey Fund and Traveler's Joy. Having a honeymoon fund can be great if you and your fiance don't need or want many traditional home items. You can also ask for gift cards (we asked for Costco) or contributions for a down payment on your future home. If you and your fiance are into camping, register at REI and get that tent that you've been eyeing. Another interesting trend I've noticed is grooms registering at Sears for tools. There are also sites where you can add items from stores that don't have registries such as My Registry and Simple Registry. Don't be afraid to think outside the box -- now is the time to consider what you really want as a couple!

    5. Decide How You Will Live: Are you and your fiance going to be hosting frequent dinners and entertaining brunches every Sunday? Or will it just be you two in a small kitchen most nights? Do you plan on moving a lot or within a couple years of the wedding, or will you be decorating your new place right after the wedding? Start answering these questions, because they will help you decide what and how much to register for. If you plan on hosting your huge extended family for Christmas, then register for a full set of pots and pans and make sure you get that 10 quart stockpot with the pasta insert!

    6. Ask For Advice: Don't be shy - ask the registry helpers at the store! They are there to help guide you through the process and they've helped many couples in the past. If you have a question such as "What exactly does this do?" or "Which microwave is better in your opinion?" ask, ask, ask! The woman who helped us gave us great tips, told us which items were most registered for, and which food processor was at the top of it's category. I also sought the wisdom of my college friend who graduated from culinary school; I wanted to know her thoughts on the best brands for stainless steel pans. I also asked for advice from my neighbor who always hosts large parties at her home. She gave me a kitchen tour and explained what everything was and if/why I would ever need it. I can't even tell you how helpful this was! Don't be afraid to ask those around you who know more than you do; you'll be so thankful you did. Lastly, make sure to read reviews; they really can make or break a product in my opinion (especially if it turns out a product easily breaks!).

    7. Over Register: This is the one piece of advice I have gotten from all the registry representatives: register for anything and everything you think you will need. You can always return items and exchange them for different things later on. The way my fiance and I are treating our registry is as our "everything we need" list. It includes things people probably won't buy us and includes even the smallest things, like chip clips. Whatever is left over are items we will have to purchase in order to put our place together.

    8. Diversify: Make sure you've registered for a good range of price points! Some of your friends are going to only want to spend $30-$50, while some of your older family members might not mind spending $100-$200 on a gift. You want to make sure there are enough options for all your guests to choose from at any given point. Many of the registry representatives ask for your email, so they help you keep track and alert you when you need to add more items in a certain price point. Just imagine if you were going to a wedding and the only gift left was a pricey appliance!

    9. Don't Do It All In One Day: Split up your trips to the stores, because you will not want to do all your registering in one day. An easy way to break it up is by store or what kinds of items you're registering for (kitchen, bath, decor, etc). My fiance and I spent two full days in the home side of the mall, because we mentally could not do it all in one day. We visited two stores in the first day, and then went home and reviewed it all online. We also added things onto our registry that night so we could take a look at them in the store the next day and added things in the store the next day so we could check out the reviews when we got home. For example, we added three sets of dishes in the store and then narrowed down our final decision at home on the computer. Be tactical and take advantage of in-store experience as well as the information found online.

    10. Compromise: This part may be the least fun when it comes to registering (or at least it was for me; I'm somewhat of a control freak). Before we started scanning, we talked about who cared more about which type of item. I said that I'd die if we didn't have the cornflower blue Kitchenaid Stand Mixer, and my fiance has been dreaming about Wusthof knives for years. We kind of broke down different parts of the registry and decided who would have the final say on certain items. I took lead on the specialty baking items, glassware, and cheese party essentials, whereas he took lead on the appliances, knives, and cutting boards. He wanted all white dishware and I wanted a set that wasn't quite so plain, so we ended up compromising on a white set that had a pretty design on it. Practicing how to compromise isn't a bad idea anyways; if you can't compromise over flatware sets now, you're going to run into bigger issues in your marriage.

    11. Don't Be Pressured: Registry lists are just generic suggestions! Don't feel like you have to register for something just because it's what "everybody else" gets. If you don't think you'll ever make cheesecake, then don't register for a spring-form pan; it will just waste precious space in you kitchen. If you can't imagine a day where you will break out the fine china, then don't register for it. Your list should be personal to you and your fiance, filled only with what you want and will use. If you think you're going to bake a lot of cookies, pies and tarts, then register for 4 cookie sheets instead of 2, and get the pie bird, the Silpats, the cooling racks, and a pastry blender.

    12. Edit, Delete, Add, Update: Periodically keep an eye on your registry after you've sent out invites to make sure that you always have enough on your registry. I think I've changed our slow-cooker selection three times now due to reviews. We also decided that we wanted a certain citrus juicer over another. We've made so many changes and that's ok - get what you really want!

    13. Publish Your Registry Online: The Knot has been my favorite site for combining all our registry stores. Through The Knot, you can create your wedding website (to host any additional guest information) along with all the items you've registered for. This feature is wonderful because it also allows guests to search by store, price range, availability and what is still needed. It turns your registry into a shopping site, as it shows viewers the product images, prices, and which store it's from. Your registry site will show up in web search results and you can also link to it in your wedding shower invite. And to make sure guests don't feel pressured into getting us a gift, here's the memo I added to our site: "The best gift that we could ask for is to have all of our friends and family join us for our big day. That being said, if you really would like to give us a gift to celebrate our new life together, we have registered at 4 stores so we can get our kitchen and home in order."

    14. Be Thankful: Remember to jot down who gifted you which item and be sure to send handwritten thank you cards! Many registries can give you this information as well under your account on their site. I'd recommend sending out thank you notes as soon as you get the gift - that way you're not scrambling after the wedding to write a hundred thank you notes. And remember, it's the maid of honor's job to write down who gave you which gifts at your shower, too!

    15. Have Fun: Registering for gifts has been one of the biggest highlights of wedding planning for my fiance and I. When else do you get to go on a huge shopping spree without spending any money? Wedding planning and registering can be stressful, but remember to take it all in and enjoy it while it lasts!

    Happy scanning,
    -- Sam, Marketing Coordinator

    Photography: Jose Villa

    We hope this post has you ready to take the mall by storm! For other helpful wedding planning tips, "like" our Ruche Bridal Facebook page, check out Sam and Sarah's wedding series, and take a look at some of our other informative wedding posts: Questions to Ask a Wedding Photographer, Wedding First Looks, Tips for Picking an Engagement Session Location. And if you're on the search for outfit ideas for your engagement photos, bridal shower, and bachelorette party, our Engagement Styling Guide has plenty of useful advice!


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