Author Archive

All That Glitters

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Everything glitters when you choose a dazzling gold wedding color theme. NO matter the season or location, gold is a classy way to add unforgettable elegance to your wedding day.

Gold represents richness and luxury, making it the perfect color to include on your wedding day. Regardless of the other colors you use for your wedding theme, gold is a great accompaniment! Whether it’s a shining gold or a matted gold, the result is perfect. Golden weddings give an unforgettable memory to your guests.

Here are just a few morsels of inspirations for you!

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Just My Size

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Planning my wedding included losing baby weight and running a household that was fully intact.  I had a 6 year old son who played baseball all year, an infant who was super clingy, a finace who worked two jobs and I was unemployed!  To top it off, I am a serious stress eater.  I stressed about being big(ger), I stressed about running the household by myself, I stressed about not having a job or money… I just stressed!  Then I would eat and eat and eat.  But when it came time to don the most fabulous gown that I have ever owned… I throw eating out of the window.

The battle of the bulge began in late May of 2008.  I walked into the bridal boutique to show off the dress that I had selected (and could afford) to my mom and my grandmom.  It was nice.  And ladies, if you know what I mean by nice, then you know that it was not my favorite but I could afford it on our budget.  I had just started working and knew that the price wouldn’t break my bank.  But the moment that I stepped out of the dressing room, I knew that it was a poor decision.  My mom just looked, my grandmother (being quite vocal) just told me like it was and I sat in the dress knowing that the search must go on.

We sat in there looking at each other wondering what to do next and before I knew it, a dressing room door flew open to reveal MY DRESS!  There it sat on a hanger next to tons of gowns for another bride.  It was calling my name.  My grandmom must have heard it too because she stood right up and asked the bride: “Can I see this for a minute”!  Gotta love gram!  I looked at knowing that I had finally found my dress, at last.

Next issue: NOT MY SIZE!  The DRESS was the only one in the store.  A lovely size 4 while all of my curves called for a MUCH larger size.  However, my angel, my assistant, my bridal gown specialist saw the passion in my eyes and took that size 4 and held it above my head.  She instructed me to pull one shoulder and arm out and then the other… had me shaking my money maker until that size 4 was wrapped around my childbearing hips.  Leaving the back opened but pinning it to my undergarments allowed the dress to (literally) sit in place so that I could catch a glimpse of what my husband would see the day we became one.

With all that being said, ladies DO NOT SETTLE!!!  Don’t walk into a boutique and head straight to your selection because of your size.  Dig through all the sizes.  Search for the styles, cuts and colors that you desire.

I had set my heart on a white dress.  I had set my heart on a form fitted dress.  I ended up with a ball gown with a fitted bodice that was two toned.  White pearls and lace delicately stitched on top of champange satin with 3 rolls of “puffiness”! All of it screamed ME!

I never would have considered the style if I hadn’t seen the dress.  I never would have seen the dress if it wasn’t in another dressing room simply because IT WAS NOT MY SIZE.

Look at the all… within your budget.  Ask for help.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  I was able to alter the neckline for a better fit, had some enhancements added and made the dress into something totally different from the original garment.  The finish result was a ONE OF A KIND IN JUST MY SIZE!

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When the Time is Right

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…Choosing the perfect time for your ceremony.

Our appointment had been planned almost three weeks in advance.  I was nervous and anxious, so my fiance picked me up from work early so that we could get there a few minutes before the time our meeting was actually scheduled for.  In my little tote, I carried my thick binder and all my ideas and checklists.  We were visiting the church to secure our date!

We sat down, began talking vaguely about what type of ceremony we wanted to have, and what size bridal party we had.  Then, I remember the church coordinator returning my beam while sliding her planning sheet across her desk to us.  My smile slowly dripped into my lap when I realized that the paper was a list of the available times for our ceremony.   There was an 9am, 11am, and a 4:00om slot. My fiance and I exchanged what I’m sure were very puzzled faces as we tried to shield our embarrassment for not having a clear idea about this in advance.  No one ever told me this was an important thing to think about.

If you and your intended are anything like me and my husband were, don’t panic!  It is okay, I promise.  Here are a few things to keep in mind when selecting the time that you start your future:

  • Food - What kind of food would you like to serve your guests at your reception?  A light brunch would be a perfect follow-up for a sunrise ceremony, and also a welcome cut in the cost of your catering!  Wedding receptions held after 5, traditionally serve a heavier meal.
  • Formality - A formal, black-tie affair, for instance, usually takes place after 5pm, but changing trends lend themselves easily to a 4:30 time slot if necessary.  Be aware, contrary to tradition, an after-five reception does NOT have to consist of a full-course meal, and can also be executed with heavy hors d’oeuvres.   However, be sure that if you go this route you release your guests at an hour that won’t cause them to have to run out of your reception looking for a 24 hour joint that will feed them!
  • Are you a morning person? – On a regular day, I can stand to keep collecting beauty sleep until nearly 1pm if I’m left undisturbed.  Knowing this about myself, and my family members, led me to select a 4pm time.  I did not want to leave it to chance that any of us overslept or that any appointments could run late, etc, which would cause my wedding to be delayed.  Be honest with yourself and select a time that is most appropriate for your personality and needs.
  • Distance – If your ceremony is taking place in a location that is pretty far from where most of your guests live or will be boarding, select a time that will give them the opportunity to make it to your venue.
  • Special Effects -  Having sparkler’s lead your way from your reception into your getaway car is a beautiful sentiment, but not at 2pm.  If you are planning for any special tweaks to wow your guests as you leave or arrive, be sure to make the time appropriate to showcase them!

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No Title for this Fight

Repeat after me… It is NOT a competition…

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Wedding planning is not for the faint of heart.  It is an extremely exciting, fabulous, and overall happy time for the bride-to-be, except for those times when it is absolutely everything but.

Recently, I watched the movie BrideWars with my husband.  The story centers around two friends, one a meek and polite teacher, the other a brash and cunning attorney.  The entire beginning of the movie is dedicated to showing how great of friends they are, and how their entire lives they have shared an obsession with all things wedding.  It was a trademark chick-flick that was boring the hell out of my husband until, both women became engaged within days of one another.  As soon as the bridal spotlight was split, the antics began.  Pranks, evil plans and hurtful words began to spew from the once sisterly friends, and I have to say, I stopped laughing.

Why do weddings do this to us?  What is sooo important about that one day,  that women who have been friends for years, are willing to verbally and emotionally attack one another?  What is the big deal?

A wedding day is like a showcase.  It is the one day where women are told that whatever they want, is theirs.  They are queen for the day and they know it.  It is the day where they are shown off to the world as the chosen one, the princess who has been found by her prince and everyone else is to recognize the importance and validity of it.  Whether she wants to be showcased or not, and that is where the pressure comes in.

It would seem that women who “go bridal”, do so because they want to, or that they are arrogant, but I’m here to speak for the other side.  There is a lot of pressure to become the perfect bride, to have the most original theme, or to have the most perfect dress and all of these things can cause panic.  Add to this, the site of another bride who seemingly has an endless budget, a supportive cast of characters, and an overall calm outlook and you can just about wrap it up.

Don’t Make Unrealistic Comparisons

There is no way in hell that you are going to have the same wedding as let’s say, Toni Braxton.  Cut it out, quit fooling yourself.  What you can do, through sites such as ours, is learn how to economically create some similarities.  Getting a case of the big eyes when watching wedding show after wedding show, or reading blog after blog about celebrity weddings, is understandable, but should be left at that.  Turn the television off when you need to and only take away from it what you know is possible to accomplish.  There is no sense in beating yourself up about things that were impossible for you to achieve anyway.

Make No Apologies for your Vision

I had so many ideas in the beginning of my plans, many of which were stumped as soon as I said them by bridal party members or my own mother.  At the time, I pouted, complained about them not being supportive, etc.  But as I look back, who’s fault was that?  If I wanted something, I should have made it happen.  Just as awful as it is for brides to be overzealous ‘zilla’s, it is equally as disheartening to see a bride who has no backbone for what she wants to achieve but is willing to mope and complain about not having what she wants.  Get what you want.  Find a way or make one.

Don’t Be a Jerk

Just because things are going swimmingly for you, don’t forget that other brides may not be having as great a time.  While it is understandable to be happy about your upcoming day, its okay to help out another bride with support, advice or just a friendly ear.  If you see someone struggling to achieve a vision that you also have, don’t hoard, try and help her achieve it.  You won’t have the same guest list, so what difference does it make if she’s doing something you want to do as well?

Your Day is YOUR day

Who cares that she had doves released at the exact same moment as you are planning to?  On your day, her wedding is of no concern.  Feel free to engage in any activities, theme accents or ideas that you have, regardless of who has had them “first”.  In wedding planning, there is no original idea.  Everything has been done before, so take the pressure off of yourself, and keep your eyes on your own paper.  Remember that your wedding is about you and your husband, not the color of the dresses, or the music that played on your first dance.  Relish in the love that is being shown by you and your beloved, and in the family you are creating together.  When the music stops, and the last petal is swept from the aisle, that’s all that was important anyway.

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Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me...

Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me…so I’m telling you!

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Being a part of the ChocolateBrides Community, I’ve been blessed to attend quite a few weddings. Regardless of whether it was a wedding of a fellow CB who I’ve had the awesome pleasure of knowing through the board, friends and family members, or sometimes absolute strangers about which CB is reporting, I tend to see the same repetitive errors….so I’m gonna clue you in to a few.

  • Number or code the back of your RSVP cards to correspond with your guest list so that you can tell who the returned cards belong to! I can’t tell you how many people don’t know how to properly fill out and return an RSVP card. Having a small way to identify their card will save you tons of confusion and time.
  • At your rehearsal the night before, take a minute and jot down the order of the processional into the reception. It holds up YOUR entrance when the DJ or coordinator has to walk up and down the bridal party line with a piece of paper asking everyone’s name, or making sure that people are standing in the same order as they are written in the program.
  • Tell your DJ what kind of music, if not a specific song altogether, that you would like for your bridal party to enter on. I’ve seen at least three weddings where a really upbeat couple had to enter their reception to smooth jazz. Uncute.
  • Clearly DEFINE and EXPLAIN exactly what you want your hostesses and helpers to do! I have been to quite a few receptions where hostesses were sitting around while friendly helpers took on the task of setting up the guest table and other tasks. I’ve also seen people who have no business running the guest list, suddenly being in charge of telling your Aunt Mabel where she’s supposed to sit, and rather rudely I might add. Also, if you expect these people to set up ANY decorations, leave clear instructions about where you want things to be. You do not want people pulling things out of boxes going, “I wonder what she wants us to do with this thing?” No matter how much of a perfectionist or micro-manager you THINK you’re still gonna want to be on your wedding day, you will not be the least bit concerned with these things. Trust me. Plan ahead.
  • Since we’re on the subject of the guest entrance table, make sure you have people at the door who will respect your wishes NO MATTER WHAT. It may mean them catching a few nasty looks, or evil glares, but the goal is not to make them popular, but to make sure that your orders are followed. Even if you made it crystal clear in your invitations that only RSVP’d guests will be allowed into your plated reception, it will go right out the window really fast if your cousin Peaches is at the door laughing and chilling instead of holding up the law.
  • You do NOT have to allow any and everyone who asks to help, the opportunity to help. Woe to the bride who let her shaky handed cousin Pearline cut out the monograms she wants perfectly sized for her programs. Please, give Pearline a job that doesn’t rest solely on her ability to hold scissors steadily and save yourself the heartache of having to wait until AFTER she’s ruined all $15 worth of your specially purchased paper only for you to have to go out and buy some more and then cut it yourself anyway. There are times when trying to be nice, doubles your workload.
  • Take your Maid of Honor with you when you have your final fitting. Not just because you want to “ooh” and “ahh” together, but because you need for this woman to know exactly how you want your dress fastened and how the bustle works! It would make no sense at all to spend that hefty fee for a glamorous bustle and then spend a half hour standing helplessly in the bathroom of your reception hall while your MOH tries to figure out what ties with what.
  • Please inform your mother and mother-in-law that they are NOT to beat up the coordinator on the day of the wedding. As hard as it may be, the mom’s have to realize that the way your day plays out is the way you’ve planned and coordinated with your wedding staff. Let them know ahead of time that they are not to grandstand and assert authority over your vendors or planner just because their baby got married today. I have seen TWO weddings where the mother of the bride and even one where a mother of the groom, who had no prior knowledge of the couple’s wedding plan, came in and restructured seating, changed music selections, even changed the order of the program to suit themselves. Tell Mama nem to “saddown somewhere” or they just might catch a beatdown from your coordinator.
  • If you hire a coordinator, hire one with thick skin. Your wedding day may be beautiful on the outside, but baby there are gonna be some battles underneath. People cuss, fuss, and act a clown behind the scenes at weddings. Nothing will be accomplished easily if your coordinator is in the bathroom crying into her hanky because Aunt Ruthie has cursed her out. Yes, even YOUR dear sweet Aunt Ruthie will act a hell’s bell fool on her favorite niece’s wedding day. Guests, obviously, don’t know the work that has been put into a wedding or reception, all they know is what they see. Some guests, don’t like when they see themselves sitting a bit of a distance away from your head table, or when they find out that they can’t enter the hall until a certain time. And believe it or not, there are some guests who will totally flip if a coordinator politely reminds them that they have not RSVP’d and should stand to the side until they are approved entry. Your coordinator and staff should be well-equipped to handle any emotional outbursts. Take a good long look at her. If she seems like Aunt Ruthie would have her hemmed up, seek other arrangements for the day of the wedding.
  • EAT! Your wedding is a big event. Your body is going to be pumping out so many endorphins that you just might forget that no, you cannot live on love alone, you need fuel. I personally forgot to eat at my own wedding and had a splitting headache until the next morning. Make sure that you have a small snack throughout the day to keep your energy up. You will thank yourself later.
  • SMILE! (or at least look happy) People are snapping pictures from all angles at all times. You do not even want to know how many brides have seen pictures of themselves after the wedding and said, “What was I thinking about right then?”
  • Be attentive to your groom. Yes, its the wedding, and its a big party and you have to greet people etc, but you just attached yourself to this man for LIFE, the least you could do is make sure he knows where you are at your own reception. I have seen with my own two eyes, grooms who are left sitting at their head tables eating while the bride is showing her cousins the new ring.

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