This Is What American Weddings Look Like Today

Settle in, everyone—it’s time to talk weddings! Okay, we know what you’re thinking: When isn’t it time to talk weddings here at Brides? But today, our annual Brides American Wedding Study 2018 has finally arrived, revealing everything you ever wanted to know about the cost, trends, and planning[1] of weddings in America today. Ready to see how your nuptials measure up?

Over the past year, we polled hundreds of engaged and newly married women, discovering the average wedding budgets and favorite trends of real brides. What’s the cost of the average wedding in 2018? What’s the most popular time of year to say “I do?” And who the heck pays for everything[2]? The results are pretty surprising, TBH, and they reveal some key details you should definitely consider while planning your own big day.

For example, the study reveals that more brides have been ditching tradition as of late, choosing to rock modern two-piece ensembles or funky jumpsuits in lieu of traditional white wedding dresses.[3] The use of social media is also on the rise, with 94 percent of brides incorporating technology into their big day. Brides are also saying farewell to the heat of summer weddings. With fall weddings[4] on the rise, couples are opting to tie the knot in September and October instead.

Want to know more? Read on below! Want to know how many bridesmaids a bride decides to have, or the average cost of a celebration? Here’s what a wedding today looks like.

References

  1. ^ planning (www.brides.com)
  2. ^ pays for everything (www.brides.com)
  3. ^ wedding dresses. (www.brides.com)
  4. ^ fall weddings (www.brides.com)

7 Common Winter Wedding Mistakes Brides Always Make

You may not have to deal with makeup meltdown or wilting bouquets in the sweltering summertime heat, but winter weddings[1] also come with their own set of potential mishaps—and no, they all don't have to do with snow[2]. When planning their seasonal soirées, there are a few winter wedding mistakes brides always make. Don't let them happen to you!

From forgetting to purchase wedding insurance to neglecting to bring an extra pair of shoes, these winter wedding mistakes are all too easy to make. Don't let these wedding blunders put a damper on your big day. Commit the most common winter wedding mistakes below to memory—and then avoid them like your nuptials depend on it!

Counting on your guests to come prepared for an outdoor ceremony

Yep, even if you warn them in advance. That's why having baskets of blankets[3] and even gloves or scarves, plus a warm cocktail or drink for your guests to sip on during the ceremony is always a good idea, points out event stylist and designer Rebekah Carey of A & B Creative[4]. This ensures that everyone is comfortable and able to focus on you and your soon-to-be spouse, as opposed to how cold they are!

Leaving out winter must-haves in your emergency kit

You know you need a wedding day emergency kit[5], but the winter months call for a few extras you may not have thought of. For example, tissues for any running noses in the cold weather, hand warmers that you can actually put in your shoes or even your dress for any outside photos, and powder for pink cheeks, says Carey.

Forgetting to pack an extra pair of shoes for pictures

Flats[6] are essential for sore feet, but winter brides will also want to consider packing an extra pair of boots to weather the elements. As wedding planner Kelli Corn of Kelli Corn Weddings & Events[7] explains, satin in particular is one of the hardest materials to work with when it gets wet, and your beautiful satin heels will be ruined walking around before the ceremony or taking pictures outside. "Remember to bring a temporary pair of shoes for pre and post-wedding activities so you don't destroy the ones you wear to tie the knot in."

Not taking advantage of indoor photo opps

Even with the proper accessories (shawls, scarves, gloves, leggings, etc.), taking pictures in freezing temperatures is no walk in the park for anyone. Brides often forget how cold it actually is, notes Marissa Levin-Rybalov, Co-Owner of Heyn Photography[8]. "They should look for unique places indoors to use for their photo sessions, as this also helps with the lighting issue," she advises.

Not doing a first look

According to Tracie Domino, Founder and Creative Director of Tracie Domino Events[9], one of the biggest mistakes winter brides make is not accounting for the limited hours of daylight when planning for photos. "If your ceremony is at 6 p.m. for instance, it'll be dark out before it even starts, so if you forgo a first look[10] getting any portraits of you and your husband in the daylight will be impossible."

See more: 10 Awesome Advantages to Having a Winter Wedding[11]

Assuming it'll cost less

In fact, it could cost more for both you and your guests! "Here in Arizona, for example, it's our highest tourist season," says wedding planner Chandra Keel, owner of Chandra Keel Events[12]. The good weather also attracts an influx of major events like golf tournaments and is an incredibly busy time for most wedding vendors, especially in February. "Brides should expect higher hotel rates, higher airfare to Arizona for their out-of-town guests, higher floral costs and a greater chance that their favorite vendors are already booked or charging a premium fee."

Failing to purchase wedding insurance

If there's a blizzard and the governor calls a state of the emergency and all roads are shut down the day of your big day, not only can your guests not get there, your vendors can't either, cautions Kelly Heyn, owner of SociaLife[13]. There's a nice "Act of God" clause in their contracts that cover them, but you'll want to make sure you're covered by insurance for all costs associated with having to cancel or change your wedding date. "For example, you'd still be liable to pay for perishable items from the florist or caterer, however, if you have wedding insurance[14], you're safe."

References

  1. ^ winter weddings (www.brides.com)
  2. ^ snow (www.brides.com)
  3. ^ baskets of blankets (www.brides.com)
  4. ^ A & B Creative (aandbcreative.com)
  5. ^ emergency kit (www.brides.com)
  6. ^ Flats (www.brides.com)
  7. ^ Kelli Corn Weddings & Events (kellicorn.com)
  8. ^ Heyn Photography (www.heynphotography.com)
  9. ^ Tracie Domino Events (traciedomino.com)
  10. ^ first look (www.brides.com)
  11. ^ 10 Awesome Advantages to Having a Winter Wedding (www.brides.com)
  12. ^ Chandra Keel Events (chandrakeel.com)
  13. ^ SociaLife (www.socialifenj.com)
  14. ^ wedding insurance (www.brides.com)

7 Wedding Expenses You Won’t Believe Are That Expensive

Guess what? Weddings are expensive[1]. We'd be willing to bet some precious money[2] that you already knew that, but what you might not know is why you're being charged what feels like an incomprehensible[3] amount of moolah for certain things. To help us understand, we called three wedding industry experts and asked them two things: (1) Which wedding expenses consistently flabbergast your clients by how much they cost? and (2) Why is that number what it is?

We hope the next time you go to swipe your credit card or write a check for something so costly it made you lower your thrift-store sunglasses, you'll remember their responses below and feel a little bit better about it.

Custom Invitations

We get wanting to announce your impending nuptials with all the due pomp and circumstance, but the thicker the card stock, the thinner your wallet. Handmade elements or special details such as quality paper, letterpressing, calligraphy, gold foil, or heavy customization can be pricey, warns Jesse Tombs of Alison Events[4] in Sausalito, California. "But, save the dates and invitations are the first impressions your guests have in regard to your wedding," he says. "Investing in a beautiful stationery suite[5] is a way to tie your design elements into a pretty bow—and get guests super excited for what's in store."

Fantastic Florals

Nothing makes for an Instagrammable moment like “gobs of flowers[6],” says Alicia Fritz of A Day in May Events in Traverse City, Michigan. But you’re paying for more than petals. “Florists make it look easy, but perfectly ‘haphazard’ blooms don’t happen by accident.”

Rentals[7] and Labor Costs

The budget-busting devil is in the details. “Linens, dishes, and decor add up quickly,” says Emily Campbell, founder of Bella Design & Planning in Breckenridge, Colorado. “As do servers, delivery, setup, and cleanup—especially if your venue is remote.” Plus, consider the cost of schlepping labor versus skilled labor, points out Fritz. "There's a difference between someone delivering items and someone running electrical or wiring or programming—someone putting something down versus someone styling something," she says. "There are certain things you cannot DIY. You need the expert."

Think of it as the real-life version of Snapchat’s pretty filter. “There’s no point in creating a beautiful reception if no one can see it,” says Tombs. Splurge on soft, natural light that is neither blinding nor shadowy.

The Cake

It's just flour, sugar, and butter, right? Not exactly. Campbell says that high-quality bakers justify charging anywhere from $12 to $20 per slice because they're sourcing better ingredients—think organic and local—and creating an edible masterpiece. "Sure, you can get tasty cake from the grocery store, but have you read that ingredient list or tried to stack them?" she says. "And consider how much time goes into handmade sugar flowers. In addition to the actual cake part, the per-slice price covers artistic and structural elements that require skill to keep your cake gorgeous[8] until you're ready to serve it."

A Grand Band

Your wedding entertainers do more than play music; they create the overall vibe for your reception. "Bands are audible art, right?" says Fritz. Many are certainly priced like fine art pieces, commanding up to $70,000 for an event. It seems outrageous, but when you factor in travel, rehearsal, the transporting of instruments, food, accommodations if applicable, sound equipment, lighting, and money lost on other potential gigs while on the road for a large ensemble, it adds up. To make sure a band is worth that investment[9], Tombs suggests seeing them perform at another venue or showcase prior to booking. "Make sure you guys have a connection," he says, "and that they love the music you love."

See more: 8 Real Brides Share One Thing They Regret Splurging on for Their Wedding[10]

Your Wedding Planner

If you opt for a full-service planner[11], you'll easily pay in the thousands. But to recover from your sticker shock, Campbell suggests thinking about the number of hours a first-rate planner will give you over the course of a year—including the 16 on your wedding day. "It's usually 200 plus hours," she says. "So when you're looking at quotes from planners, divide that fee by 200 to get a sense of their hourly rate." Not to mention, you're paying to benefit from their experience, industry knowledge, and vendor relationships as well. "Remember too that the rate is also covering their staffing," says Campbell, "and you'll be pleasantly surprised at what a bargain a planner is."

An abridged version of this story originally appeared in the February/March 2019 issue of Brides, on stands starting December 18.

References

  1. ^ expensive (www.brides.com)
  2. ^ money (www.brides.com)
  3. ^ incomprehensible (www.brides.com)
  4. ^ Alison Events (www.alisonevents.com)
  5. ^ stationery suite (www.brides.com)
  6. ^ flowers (www.brides.com)
  7. ^ Rentals (www.brides.com)
  8. ^ cake gorgeous (www.brides.com)
  9. ^ band is worth that investment (www.brides.com)
  10. ^ 8 Real Brides Share One Thing They Regret Splurging on for Their Wedding (www.brides.com)
  11. ^ planner (www.brides.com)

The Ultimate Guide to the Wedding Budget: How to Allocate Your Funds and Tricks to Stay on Track

Breaking down your wedding budget[1] is one of the trickiest (yet most important) wedding planning tasks. Since creating this figure influences all of your other decisions—venue, guest list, which meal options to select, and if you can spring for that pricey DJ—it's essential you select this figure correctly. No matter your starting number, think about dividing your budget in terms of “for you” and “for them,” says Alicia Fritz of A Day in May Events in Traverse City, Michigan. “A budget begins with a guest list that informs most of your costs. Be prepared to spend the most (around 40 percent) on taking care of guests’ basic needs—that's venue, food, and beverage." The remaining amount includes fixed costs like your photographer, videographer, and entertainment. Then, there's the more logistical and arbitrary stuff—transportation, labor, lighting, stationery, and anything else you’ve deemed essential in the mix.

According to the Brides American Wedding Survey from 2018, the average wedding costs approximately $44,105 and has about 167 guests. (Note: Hiring a wedding planner[2]? A day-of coordinator can charge $1,500 and up, while an event designer will cost around 10 percent of your budget.) Use the handy guide below as a rough outline for spending breakdowns and adjust according to your priorities.

Venue and Catering: 40 percent of your budget

Photography and Videography: 15 percent of your budget

Wedding Attire and Beauty: 5 percent of your budget

Music/Entertainment: 10 percent of your budget

Flowers: 10 percent of your budget

Favors and Gifts: 2 percent of your budget

Transportation: 3 percent of your budget

Stationery: 3 percent of your budget

Cake: 2 percent of your budget

Decor: 10 percent of your budget

And keep these questions in mind: Is your dream venue[3] (or that dress, or imported peonies, or whatever is currently weighing on your mind) nonnegotiable for you? If it will put you over budget, cut down in another area that matters less to you. And if it isn't a deal breaker, then find another pick that you're sure to love just as much.

See More: Why Wedding Budget Calculators Don’t Work—And How to Do It Yourself[4]

To track your spending every step of the way, do what wedding planners do and create an Excel workbook or Google Doc.

Here are the important elements to include:

Down the side of your document, break each category into its component's costs. For example, under "Bride's attire," make line items for the dress, accessories, and alterations.

Fill in columns with essential information. Every spreadsheet should include vendor contract information, estimated cost, actual cost, additional service fees[5], and tips, transportation and parking costs for off-site vendors, and taxes. Create a line for your grand total, and use the auto-sum function to add things up as you go.

A version of this story originally appeared in the February/March 2019 issue of Brides, on stands starting December 18.

References

  1. ^ your wedding budget (www.brides.com)
  2. ^ a wedding planner (www.brides.com)
  3. ^ your dream venue (www.brides.com)
  4. ^ Why Wedding Budget Calculators Don’t Work—And How to Do It Yourself (www.brides.com)
  5. ^ fees (www.brides.com)

New Year’s Eve Wedding Etiquette: Is it Rude to Get Married on New Year’s Eve?

New Year’s Eve and weddings have a lot in common. Both involve dressing up, dancing, celebrating, and, of course, champagne[1]. It’s no surprise, then, that December 31 is a popular choice for a wedding date. Run with the glitz and glam! The downside, though, is that it comes with some major misconceptions, including that your decor will be built-in (hint: it’s not!) and that everyone will be available for the holiday. To help you avoid mistakes, our wedding pros share some top tips for NYE nuptials.

Plan Early

Most weddings involve getting a head start on planning, but for New Year’s Eve this is especially critical. Many hotels and venues host their own NYE parties, and you’ll be competing for space against non-wedding gatherings in many destinations, plus all the other brides and grooms looking for a holiday marriage. “Any city where you host a New Year’s Eve wedding will be more hectic than other times of the year,” explains Jack Kane of Sapphire Events in New Orleans. “Commit to a date as far in advance as possible and secure your top choices for vendors early on.” He also suggests that couples send save-the-dates well in advance so that guests can make appropriate travel plans. Flights and hotels can book up quickly.

Speak to VIPs First

You may think that a holiday weekend means everyone is available to celebrate with you, but not all your guests may want to brave the busy travel time to be there. Talk to family and close friends about their availability for your December 31st date. If it seems that everyone is a go, then continue planning. You wouldn’t want to assume, and then end up with fewer people in attendance or the ones you love the most not on the dance floor with you. One comforting thought: “For the most part, couples should be wary of throwing a wedding over a holiday weekend[2],” Kane says. “New Year’s Eve is the exception to this rule. Most guests will be excited to have fun plans for the holiday.”

Hire a Planner

Planners generally help couples navigate the wedding journey and they can be essential for holiday weddings, especially if it’s a destination affair. The popularity of the holiday for all things party can lead to more hiccups along the way. “Enlist the help of a planner and travel expert who can secure group travel rates and hotel rooms,” advises Andrea Eppolito, a planner and event designer in Las Vegas. “You need a person who is well-versed at troubleshooting and coming up with alternative solutions.” Since many NYE nuptials also tend to be destination weddings, a planner can help you more efficiently (and quickly) wade through the available vendors and advise you on best practices for getting all your guests to the location without overspending.

Host a Countdown to Midnight

A New Year’s Eve wedding would not be complete without midnight cheer! Plan to pass out bubbles and shout out “Happy New Year!” when the clock strikes 12 a.m. You can put a unique spin on this by pouring a champagne tower or toast with your favorite non-sparkling wine beverage to personalize the moment. Consider also having confetti rain down from the ceiling, setting off sparklers, or booking a surprise performer to take the stage. Just be sure your venue knows you want the space until after the new year rings in. Many venues cut off at 10 or 11 p.m.

Be Ready to Pay More

Set a higher budget[3] for most decor, venue, and catering line items. Labor, flowers, transportation, room costs, and more all increase on NYE. “Many vendors double and triple their pricing for the occasion,” says Liz Castelli of Tinsel Experiential Design in Brooklyn. “It's not to be greedy or take advantage of couples, but realistically to compensate the teams working on what is also a big night for them.” This increase also trickles down to your guests; the cost per night at hotels will be more pricey, as will tickets for flights. The sooner you can book your pros and let guests in on the plan, the more likely you and they will save.

Carefully Organize Logistics

“Traffic and delays are almost a guarantee,” Eppolito says of getting around on NYE. She advises that you allot extra time[4] for vendors to set up and for guests to arrive at the venue. If you can, keep the festivities to a single venue, and bonus points if the same venue, such as a hotel, includes your accommodations and those of your guests. “Booking a ceremony in one location followed by a reception in another will create delays, confusion, and stress for your guests,” she adds. “Keep things easy and convenient.”

The same goes for the younger attendees. Many guests will likely want to bring their kiddos along, especially given the holiday, so be prepared to keep the smaller guests comfortable. “Little people love weddings, but inevitably cannot make it to midnight,” Eppolito says. She adds that you can satisfy the needs of the children and keep their parents on the dance floor by creating a kids' club in an adjacent space. Stock it with art supplies, snacks, games, pajamas, and sleeping bags. The little ones will love their own secret sleepover, and you can even host a mock-countdown at 9 p.m. so they feel included in the action before they knock out.

Decor is Not Built In

One common misconception about NYE weddings is that decor will come with the venue. That’s false, says Eppolito. While entryways to hotels or venues may still be festively outfitted, the event spaces themselves are often blank canvases. You’re still on the hook for bringing in the decor you want. The positive to that is you can personalize the look of your NYE wedding. Stick to traditional NYE elements, such as sequin linens and jewel-toned colors, or opt to avoid them in exchange for something that feels more like you. Either way, you can always add a pop of NYE at the photo booth with funny hats and 2019 sunglasses.

Honor the Holiday

One benefit of matching your wedding to such a glitzy holiday is that everyone will be in the mood to get glam! Consider hosting a black tie affair[5] or designate your dress code as something sparkly. Eppolito says that she likes when brides change into something with sequins or a flapper-style cocktail dress during the reception to keep the vibe festive. Kane also loves when couples play off the more chic aspects of the holiday rather than the cheesy ones. Get creative with twists on NYE traditions. “Fireworks are such a fun part of New Year’s Eve, but they can be challenging to coordinate,” Kane says, noting a NYE wedding where the couple wanted fireworks but had an indoor venue. “We projected a countdown on a large wall of the ballroom once midnight was approaching. As it hit zero, an amazing projection of an over-the-top firework show played from the floor to the ceiling. The guests were blown away.”

See more: How to Enjoy the Holidays While Wedding Planning[6]

Say Thank You to Your Vendors

“Remember that the professionals working your NYE wedding would rather be celebrating too,” Castelli says. She suggests adding good karma points for your new year and showing your vendors how much you appreciate their effort[7] on a holiday: Request they cheer at midnight with your guests. “Inviting the entire room, including staff and performers, to enjoy a toast and dance at midnight will mean a lot,” she adds.

References

  1. ^ champagne (www.brides.com)
  2. ^ holiday weekend (www.brides.com)
  3. ^ Set a higher budget (www.brides.com)
  4. ^ allot extra time (www.brides.com)
  5. ^ black tie affair (www.brides.com)
  6. ^ How to Enjoy the Holidays While Wedding Planning (www.brides.com)
  7. ^ showing your vendors how much you appreciate their effort (www.brides.com)

10 Tweets That Sum Up What It’s Like to Be Someone’s Plus One

When you’re asked to be someone’s plus one at a wedding[1], you might feel overwhelmed with emotions, questions, and items on your to-do list, things like what should you wear? Should you bring a gift? Does this mean you have to be on your best behavior or can you get a little wild?

As a wedding date, you might find yourself spending the night at a party with a room full of strangers that somehow become your best friends, or you might find yourself hanging, awkwardly, in the corner, wondering when the cake will be served and you can finally get out of there and go home.

Either way, read on for four tweets that perfectly sum up what being someone’s plus one can be like, depending on the wedding and the crowd.

1. It Can Be a Snooze Fest

If the energy at the wedding feels low and the people there aren’t too friendly, you might find yourself glued to your assigned seat, scrolling on your phone, reading an e-book, or having a staring contest with your date, who has to be there because they are related or friends with the couple whose wedding it is. If you find yourself in that position, turn to your date and make a game plan for how to squeeze some fun out of the night ahead.

2. You Have to Dress Up

Depending on the dress code[3] of the wedding, you might have to go out and rent a suit or a dress, find a specific outfit (if the wedding is themed), or watch a couple of video tutorials on how to tie a bow tie or what black tie really means, if that’s what you’re asked to wear. If you’re a wedding date where there is a strict dress code, plan ahead and plan early so that you’re not stuck scrambling for the right outfit the day of the wedding.

3. You May Meet a Lot of New People

If you know absolutely nobody at the wedding, at least be familiar with the bride and groom and ask your date to introduce you to them ASAP. That way, you won’t find yourself talking to the groom thinking he’s just another wedding guest. Either way, get ready to meet and greet quite a few people[5] that day as it’ll be jam-packed with new faces and plenty of handshakes.

4. You Might Have to Rise to the Occasion Last-Minute

Sometimes as a plus one, you’re asked to be a person’s wedding date the same day as the wedding. If that’s the case, act fast. Try to find a place where you can get the most appropriate thing to wear, even if that means borrowing it from someone else’s closet, and make sure you have enough time to get ready and get there on time. You don’t want to be the person who arrives midceremony and causes a ruckus as the couple is reading their vows.

On the other side of the coin, if you’re invited to a wedding and want to bring a plus one, you’ll have your own set of feelings that run through your head. Maybe you’ll feel more confident because you’ll be able to spend your evening with a partner in crime. With someone by your side, you can bust out your best dance moves on the dance floor beside them, cheers with glasses of champagne, and have someone to taste-test desserts with you as the night comes to an end.

Here are five tweets that truly sum up what bringing a plus one to a wedding is really like.

1. You Have a Dance Partner the Entire Time

A big plus of having a plus one is that you have someone to get down with you on the dance floor all night. Which means you don’t have to worry about people judging you for busting out your finest dance moves, solo, you now have a partner in crime to share the dance floor with you until the very last moment of the party.

2. You Have a Drinking Buddy

One of the biggest wedding perks for any guest is the open bar[9], which can serve up your favorite beverages all night long. That’s why when you have a plus one, you can have someone accompany you to the bar, cheers to a fun night with a glass of champagne or mixed drink.

3. You Can Share a Really Fun Date Night

Consider a wedding with a plus one a really nice date night where you can spend the night together dancing, chomping down on good food, indulging in yummy dessert[11], and having a great time, while surrounded by a hundred people who are also having a good time. Whether you bring someone you met recently as your plus one or you head to the wedding with someone you’ve been with for many years (or are married to) weddings can feel like the ultimate night out with your partner.

4. You Have Someone to Share With

With a plus one, you now have someone you can split things with at the wedding, whether that’s a selection of desserts from the dessert buffet to the chicken and the steak dishes you each order during the reception, you have a person you can share with to get the most out of the wedding and also to fill your plate up with even more of the things you like.

See more: 7 Hilarious Tweets About Being a Wedding Guest[14]

5. Sometimes You Want a Plus One for Fun

If you’re always the solo wedding guest[15], sometimes you just want to be allowed to bring a plus one so that you have the option to bring someone, even if that means you have to search high and low to find someone to bring. But sometimes you just want a plus one for a little fun (not as fun as this person in the tweet because that can make the couple stressed out to have to pay for a person who doesn’t show up).


TK of Your Wedding Ceremony Etiquette Questions Answered

During the procession, in what order does the wedding party, including the children, walk down the aisle?

This is a great question. While you can certainly change it up—we love a strong groom’s entrance—there is a traditional order[1]. The bride’s attendants enter first, either escorted by someone from the groom’s attendants or alone. The maid or matron of honor would enter last, with the best man if both roles are filled. Then come the ring bearer and flower girl, either single file or together. At the altar they can stand with the wedding party if they have the attention span; otherwise, have them sit with their parents near the front. Then, of course, comes the bride. For same-sex couples, one, both, or neither partner may walk down the aisle, so it depends on what the pair decides is best. If they have a wedding party, the group will follow a similar order as above.

For a guide on the processional order, watch this handy video[2]!

References

  1. ^ traditional order (www.brides.com)
  2. ^ watch this handy video (video.brides.com)

7 Brides Share Their Weird (But Cool) Wedding day Must-Haves

Making your wedding stand out in people’s minds can be quite the difficult task in 2018.[1] From donut walls to live mariachi bands, it seems like people are truly upping the ante when it comes to finding ways to make their wedding feel unique, fun, and extra memorable.

Some couples decide to ditch traditions (like wearing a white dress or having a sit-down dinner) and instead infuse their personality into every single wedding decision.

Just look at these seven brides who have found a way to make their wedding a little bit weirder, or rather a little bit cooler (!) than the average celebration, with their one big wedding must-have.

A Petting Zoo

“My fiancé and I are extreme animal lovers. We have five dogs, three cats, two hamsters, twelve fish, and a horse. We decided that a cool thing to do at our wedding, during cocktail hour, was to have a zoo. It’s going to be a good way for guests to relax and take some awesome photos. We’re also paying a local petting zoo to come do this at our wedding and all that money we give them helps them out, too.” —Kelly T., 26[2][3]

Five Different Outfit Changes

“I work in fashion and I’m a designer. What does that mean for my wedding? It means I’m having not one, not two, but five outfit changes. I already bought three of the five dresses. I’m going to change once an hour until midnight. It solves all of my fashion needs and also my indecisive personally. It’s also cool because where else can I wear five extravagant dresses to?” —Diana G. 28

Old-School Arcade Games

“On my first date with my fiancé, we went to a bar that was also an arcade. We fell in love that night while getting to know each other and playing games like air hockey, Pac-Man, and Dance Dance Revolution. We spent a big chunk of our wedding budget on getting ten different arcade games rented for the night. We want our wedding to be fun, interactive, and reflective of our love story.” —Rebecca Y., 28[4]

An Area of Mattresses

“We want guests to be comfortable at our wedding and sitting in a stuffy chair at a round table beside guests they don’t know is lame. We’re scrapping the table idea, doing a buffet, and having mattresses brought in and covered with cool fabric. That way our wedding has a cool South Beach vibe and our guests can feel comfortable and at home when they are chilling during the reception.” —Laurel D., 31

Hired Performers

“We went to ten weddings last year. They were all the same. When we started planning our wedding, we vowed to spice things up. We hired a magician, professional party dancers, acrobats, and a stand-up comedian. We want our guests to have fun and interact with performers so that their night feels a little bit goofy but also extra memorable.” —Ashley D., 31[5]

A Different Kind of Meal

“We’ve been to twelve weddings in the last two years and the only thing I can tell you about all of them was that the food sucked. It just wasn’t good. We wanted to bring in food from our favorite spots. We are doing a Papa John’s pizza bar, an Olive Garden breadstick bar, a Taco Bell Taco Table, and a McDonald’s Big Mac station. We put that on the invitation so guests know what to expect and the RSVP’s back so far have people saying they can’t wait for the food at our wedding.” —Rose E., 28[6]

See more: 7 Hilarious Tweets About Being a Wedding Guest[7]

A Castle Bounce House

“I saw on Facebook that a new trend for weddings were bounce houses. I immediately turned to my fiancé and said, ‘We are totally doing this!’ We hired a bounce house company and we’re going to have a bouncy castle at the wedding. Guests will go nuts!” —Sharon F., 28[8]

References

  1. ^ in 2018. (www.brides.com)
  2. ^ cocktail hour (www.brides.com)
  3. ^ petting zoo (www.brides.com)
  4. ^ wedding budget (www.brides.com)
  5. ^ performers (www.brides.com)
  6. ^ can’t wait for the food (www.brides.com)
  7. ^ 7 Hilarious Tweets About Being a Wedding Guest (www.brides.com)
  8. ^ bounce houses (www.brides.com)

7 Wedding Obstacles Brides Overcame on Their Wedding Day

Let’s face it: Despite the long-winded efforts we put forth to ensure that our wedding day is 100 percent perfect, every tiny detail doesn’t always turn out as planned. While our wedding day is incredibly special, it is like any other day—victim to the trials and tribulations of life at any given moment. No matter how long and hard you plan and plot, things happen[1].

The truth is, your wedding day doesn’t have to be perfect[2], and most likely won’t be. The key is to roll with the punches and not let obstacles, big or small, ruin what is sure to be the most memorable day of your life for better or for worse. Here, real brides share the unforeseen instances that happened on their big day and how they pushed on and continued to have the most spectacular and romantic day of their life.

“Obnoxious and selfish family members made my day about themselves.”

“Family on both ends were demanding so much attention that it felt as if they were complaining about stuff that wasn't even important. Does the bride really need to know if a person's steak wasn't cooked to their request? The waiter would have taken care of it, no problem. I had to concentrate on how good the steak was at the location to get zen. I seriously wanted to leave my own wedding thanks to people's behaviors. I got through it drinking wine, but looking back I probably shouldn't have drank so much. I didn't do anything crazy, I just ended up falling asleep. Thinking back I would have eloped[3] and enjoyed my time with my then husband instead.”

—Karla C., 37, from Tampa, Florida

“An annual jazz festival was now happening next door to my venue.”

“Everything was going smoothly in preparation for my October 2015 wedding up until one night when I had this gut feeling to check the local community calendar just one more time. My venue was located next door to the Maritime Museum, which sometimes hosts outdoor festivals and concerts that bring in large crowds. There was a last-minute change of location for an annual jazz festival that would now take place on the day of my wedding. I contacted my venue to come up with plans for parking, crowd control and noise during the ceremony and had lawn signs made up to place at the entrance of our venue to indicate that parking was for a private event, not the Jazz festival to decrease possible through traffic (which surprisingly worked)! We also asked the venue to place valet attendants in the front to monitor parking spaces just in case festival attendees happened to come in. Then, we had our Maitre d' go over to the Jazz Festival to pause the live music for 30-minutes during our ceremony, in an effort to control the noise. Even though we could still hear light music during our vows, it could have been a lot worse given that jazz music is soft and soothing. Takeaway: Always plan ahead, be your own bride advocate and trust your gut.”

—Kailey C., 29, from Bucks County, Pennsylvania

“The week of our wedding there were devastating fires in Northern California's wine country.”

“Initially, we thought that we would be able to move ahead with our plans, but as the week went on the fires only got worse. We spent many tearful hours on the phone with our wedding planner, and, three days before the wedding, ultimately made the difficult decision to cancel. This was definitely a surreal moment for us, but, in light of the tragic events, it was totally the right thing to do. Our planner was literally superwoman for us that week—she had our entire wedding rescheduled in two days. All of our vendors—many of whom were affected by the fires themselves—were incredibly flexible and kind during this whole process, and we're super lucky for that. While it was not ideal that our day was not going to pan out the way we’d planned, we felt so badly for those affected by the fires that it was really hard to be disappointed. My fiancé and I came together as a team over those months, and I truly think it made our relationship a lot stronger.”

—Mandy S., 28, from San Francisco, California

“The Wednesday before my Saturday wedding my husband was unable to walk.”

“My husband was in a car accident the month before our wedding. He felt mostly okay, but he picked up something heavy a few days before our wedding and he could barely move he was in so much pain. His back had locked up so we went to the emergency room. It even hurt for him to sit stand walk and lie down. I didn’t know if we were going to go through at the wedding on that Saturday, which was in New Jersey, about 100 miles away from where we lived, or if he would need a cane or something like that in order to walk or do anything that day. It certainly put all the small details and concerns in perspective! He got some medications and got through it even though he didn’t dance as much. He was able to walk down the aisle and stand up for our first dance as well. He’s tough so he got through everything with a smile and a few grimaces.”

—Diana L., 36, from Queens, New York

“On our wedding day my husband’s pant zipper broke.”

“It completely fell apart the first time he tried to zip and he had no time to get it fixed[4]. He showed up to the altar with it safety pinned shut. During photos, which were after the ceremony, he told me that he couldn’t sit down. I thought it was totally hilarious. Before we went into the reception, however, he was able to change. The new pants looked identical, and it was nice to be able to actually sit next to him at the dinner table!”

—Julia K., from New York City

“My wedding cake fell!”

“It was a beautiful, three-tiered cake and I included the surprise element of an Iron Man hand coming out of the back of the cake as a surprise for my Marvel-loving husband.[5] Unsure of what went wrong, I immediately took him to see the cake as soon as we arrived at the reception. I wanted him to see it before all the guests arrived in the room. When we got to the cake it was leaning forward slightly and my photographer said he was getting as many pictures of it as he could, ensuring it looked straight in the photos. However, moments after we left the reception room to prepare for our entrance, the wedding coordinator came over informing us the caked fell! At this point there was nothing I could do so I had to just say accept the fact. It was mainly the third tier that was unfixable and the event staff managed to salvage the top two tiers for us to cut into. A majority of our guests didn't even know the cake had fallen! It was still the best cake I’ve ever eaten and our guests still rave about it!”

—Aleksandra, 29, from Cleveland, OH

See more: 10 Wedding Day Disasters That Are All Too Common (and How to Solve Them)[6]

“It poured!”

"We planned a beautiful, elaborate outdoor wedding with each discrete event in unique locations throughout the property in historically one of the sunniest months of the year in Florida. Still, it poured[7]. I won't pretend it wasn't disappointing. My bridesmaids turned on the song “Ironic” by Alanis Morissette and I sang it the top of my lungs while my hair was getting done. Ultimately, the sun decided to make make a guest appearance as it set, dipping below the bay and lighting up the sky with the most breathtaking sunset I've ever seen. Those sunset pictures are some of the most special and spectacular from the whole day.”

—Courtney C., 27, from Los Angeles, California


This Is The Kind of Bride You’ll Be Based on Your Zodiac Sign

Wondering whether you’ll be a calm and collected bride[1] or an anxious and stressed out bride[2] when the big day rolls around? Chances are, you’ll be a little bit of both throughout the months, weeks and days of wedding planning. But how will you be on your wedding day? That might depend on your zodiac sign. We caught up with celebrity astrologers to find out what kind of bride you’ll be on your big day based on your horoscope.

Virgo (August 23 to September 22): Organized

Virgos are natural-born planners, so when it comes to plotting their big day, they’re total pros. In celebrity astrology expert Kristin West’s opinion, Virgos embody so much of what we think of as the "perfect bride." Virgos might not need a wedding planner the way some other signs do, but they also may have trouble making decisions, since they’re always looking for the best of the best. “A wedding planner who understands their taste and their high standards may need to keep them on track,” says West. “Virgo rules the harvest, so consider a hayride at the wedding if you marry in autumn, and avoid marrying during a Mercury retrograde[3] period!”

Leo (July 23 to August 22): Majestic

Guests of a Leo bride are going to want to get their portrait mode ready to capture her walk down the aisle looking nothing short of spectacular. In other words, expect to be dazzled at a Leo bride’s wedding. “No matter the dress, her joy and resonance is so majestic the whole reception will rightfully revolve around her,” says Colin Bedell, astrologer and founder of Queer Cosmos[4]. If you’re a Leo bride, it might be worth it to invest in a selfie or photo booth station[5], since every guest will want to snag a pic with you. “Leo brides will also have a special soft spot for children in the wedding party, so don’t be surprised to see a bevy of pint-sized flower girls and ring bearers trotting down the aisle,” says West.

Scorpio (October 23 to November 21): Private

Scorpio brides tend not to love the spotlight[6], but are able to embrace it on their big day. “She’ll restrain the production and scope of a wedding to focus simply on what really matters—the love between her and her partner,” says Bedell. As a result, Scorpios tend to take their vows very seriously, so expect a meaningful ceremony filled with original, heartfelt words. Since Scorpios are ruled by Pluto, the lord of the Underworld, West explains that an ideal ceremony atmosphere would be in a cave-like setting by a lagoon, waterfall or river. “Scorpio brides will let it loose at the bachelorette party, though, so Scorpio women should be sure to have a bestie to keep their carousing in check the night before their special day,” she adds.

Taurus (April 20 to May 20): Meticulous

“Taurus hates feeling rushed, so it may take longer than usual for her to plan her wedding,” says West. For this reason, it’s best for Tauruses to select a wedding planner who’s patient, kind and accepting of their slower pace. “Taurus loves the simple pleasures in life, so a simple ceremony with some trappings of finery, especially gourmet food, will suit them just fine,” she says. “Taurus is also a traditionalist, so they won’t stray too far from traditional wedding vows[7].” If a Taurus doesn’t want a church wedding, she suggests opting for a pastoral or bucolic setting, like a Victorian farmhouse or vineyard.

Libra (September 23 to October 22): Romantic

Libras are definitely the most romantic of the bunch. According to West, the signing of the marriage certificate would be a poignant moment for a Libra bride because of her love of partnership and her respect for order and law. “Many times, the signing of the marriage certificate is something that’s done after the fact, but Libra may want to make that more visible in their wedding experience,” she says. “Libras also hunger for social justice and they may want to encourage their guests to donate to a cause[8] that they and their partner hold dear in lieu of wedding gifts.”

Gemini (May 21 to June 20): Particular

Since Geminis are ruled by Mercury, the planet of communications, West says they will likely pay particular attention to all communications aspects of wedding planning. “The Gemini bride will fuss over the invitations—the font, the words, the paper stock—and will be very preoccupied over the wedding officiant,” says West. “Her officiant has to be an inspiring speaker and someone she trusts to set the tone of her wedding.” She may also be particularly nervous about her toast[9] at the reception and will want each person giving a speech to be well-versed and well-practiced.

Aries (March 21 to April 19): Flashy

Aries is a the cardinal fire sign and are typically bold, adventurous and individualists, according to West. “If an Aries bride could say their vows before parachuting out an airplane, they would,” she says. Needless to say, Aries love thrills and doing it their way. “Don’t expect them conform to a traditional ceremony with vows they’ve heard a million times and don’t be surprised if the happy couple zooms off in a Ferrari after the reception,” says West. “That’s how Aries rolls.”

Cancer (June 21 to July 22): Simple

A backyard wedding[10] at home would suit a Cancerian bride just fine, according to West. In fact, she and her mother would probably make all the food for the guests themselves! “Cancerians love home and hearth, and if they can’t have a backyard wedding, they might consider marrying by the beach to keep things simple and down to the basics,” she says. “Cancerian brides love tradition, so they’ll have something borrowed and something blue and may also feel the desire to honor a deceased relative, like a grandmother, at the wedding in some way.”

Pisces (February 19 to March 20): Dreamy

“Pisces rules our mythic imagining and dream states,” says West. “Pisces is a water sign, so marrying by a body of water or even at an aquarium would delight a Pisces bride.” For Pisces brides who don’t live near water, she suggests adding a cinematic flair to their wedding, since Pisces also rules the cinema and movie making. If you’re a Pisces, she suggests hiring a sympathetic wedding planner who can give you the psychic and emotional space you need to plan their special wedding experience.

Aquarius (January 20 to February 18): Unconventional

It’s not uncommon for Aquarius brides to feel a little uneasy about having a conventional marriage ceremony. “They’re ruled by Saturn and Uranus, which makes them want to defy expectation and create a few surprises[11],” says West. “Aquarians need to plan for a bigger wedding—Aquarius rules friendships and Aquarians have a veritable army of friends, many of whom crusade for social justice with them.” As far as wedding venue, she says that a planetarium might be a fun choice for an Aquarius bride.

Capricorn (December 22 to January 19): Classic

Since Capricorn rules the 10th house, which is at the top of the zodiac wheel, don’t be surprised if a Capricorn bride chooses the tallest building in her city or town atop which to wed. “Ruled by Saturn, who governs time and structure, a Capricorn bride will pre-occupy herself about the schedule of her special day,” says West. “A New Year’s Eve wedding would delight a Capricornian bride, since New Year’s falls during Capricorn season and they could kiss their love at midnight.” A Capricorn bride will choose understated elegance for her wedding day—her tastes are expensive, but not flashy, West adds.

See more: Should You Consult an Astrologer About Your Wedding Date?[12]

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21): International

Given a Sagittarius’s lust for adventure, it’s no surprise if she decides to elope—or opt for a destination wedding. “Sagittarians are lovers of global culture, contrast, travel and exploration,” says Bedell. West adds that Sagittarians are one of the mutable signs, so a Sagittarian bride will want some spontaneity on her special day instead of having everything all planned out. “Be sure to pay some homage to Cupid on your special day, as Cupid, after all, is an archer, just like Sagittarius!”

References

  1. ^ calm and collected bride (www.brides.com)
  2. ^ anxious and stressed out bride (www.brides.com)
  3. ^ avoid marrying during a Mercury retrograde (www.brides.com)
  4. ^ Queer Cosmos (www.queercosmos.com)
  5. ^ photo booth station (www.brides.com)
  6. ^ not to love the spotlight (www.brides.com)
  7. ^ traditional wedding vows (www.brides.com)
  8. ^ donate to a cause (www.brides.com)
  9. ^ her toast (www.brides.com)
  10. ^ backyard wedding (www.brides.com)
  11. ^ create a few surprises (www.brides.com)
  12. ^ Should You Consult an Astrologer About Your Wedding Date? (www.brides.com)