Living in Groom Apparel
Groom ApparelThough eyes are usually on the bride leading up to the wedding day, the groom deserves some time in the sun too. Groom apparel shows off your status as an almost-married guy, and is appropriate for any time during an engagement and beyond. Though groom apparel is always stylish and fun, we recommend keeping the camo “GROOM” baseball hat at home during the big day. Brides are always proud to show their groom off, especially when he’s strutting some groom apparel, but we have a feeling she’ll be less than thrilled if it’s waiting for her at the end of the aisle. Groom apparel is also wonderful for your bachelor party. From t-shirts to hats to board shorts, there’s no part of your body that can’t be stamped with your marital logo. Groom apparel, for the engagement, bachelor party, and beyond, is always a fun addition to your wardrobe. Though you’re only a “groom” for a day, you’ll be a husband forever. Show your pride by trotting about with groom apparel for as long as you’re able.
There are some who believe that a bride has no place slinging beers at her wedding. The picture of a sparkling bride in white handling a bottle of PBR just doesn’t sit well with some critics. Beer can have a place within a wedding – it just has to be handled classily and correctly. Should you be knocking back Buds from the bottle for six straight hours during your reception? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make beer classy.
The simple allure of a stacked and colorful beer sampler has always caught my attention at high-class breweries. A group of six 8-ounce glasses of assorted microbrews (sometimes mixed with fresh fruit!) is a delicacy that many restaurants implore within their catering services – just ask! This is a more stylish way to imbibe without the threat of ugly half-finished bottles cluttering your tables. And for beer snobs like myself, a sampler per table gives me the opportunity to show my friends and relatives a world outside of Miller Light. You can finish the one you love and ignore the rest – much like a husband. Local Brews
By offering up a beer- only hosted bar, you set yourself up to save a lot of money, but not all couples are gung-ho about the idea. Full bars are expensive, but a beer-specific bar doesn’t have to be bland and insipid. Try experimenting with hosting local and seasonal brews – without the bottle, if you please. Spring for the right glasses. You aren’t shackled to champagne, so try to experiment with something new, full, and exciting if you’re going for beer. Favors A fun addition to your brewed wedding could be a little something delicious for your guests to take home with them – a fermented favor, if you will. If you plan on offering seasonal and/or local brews during your reception, offer bottled versions for later consumption as guests exit. Good beers tend to be bottled in attractive receptacles, and it’s likely that the addition of a bottle at every place setting – or at a display as guests exit – will add to rather than detract from your décor. For younger guests, offer fancy bottled soda as an “I’m Sorry You’re Not 21” consolation favor.
A Worthwhile Personal Wedding Gift
Personal Wedding GiftAs a wedding guest, it can sometimes be difficult to find just the right personal wedding gift for your favorite couple – especially if they are without a registry. If you’re uncomfortable just handing over a gift card and calling it a day, think about finding a personal wedding gift that the couple will be sure to use and love for decades. A personal wedding gift that will really get the couple excited for their new life together is often something monogrammed with their new combined initials. A newly wedded couple will love to see the letters that make up their new life together on everything – glassware, hygiene kits, luggage, or even hankies. Embroidering or engraving the couple’s monogram on a personal wedding gift will make your contribution to their gift pile stand out. Another great way to make any gift a personal wedding gift is to appeal to the couple’s new title set. Newlyweds are always happy to be referred to as “Mr” and “Mrs,” and finding the right personal wedding gift to reflect that is sure to delight. Towels, beach gear, and passport covers are all examples of “Mr” and “Mrs” honeymoon accessories that really work well as a personal wedding gift. So no matter who you’re buying for, be sure that you find just the right personal wedding gift for the happy couple in your life.
Even when planning the smallest possible wedding, you will have to compromise with someone, even if they aren’t contributing a dime to your wedding. That’s just how being a part of a family works. There are some topics that are off the table for discussion (which denomination your ceremony will be composed regarding, for example), but there are some smaller things you might have to let go of. A good test for which details are a part of the “let it go” category is the “10 years” question. Will you remember which cake flavor you went with in 10 years? What boutonnière style your mother wore? Probably not. If something really is important to you, stand your ground, but think about the potential hurt feelings you create when doing so. If your aunt won’t bend on a provocative dress she wants to wear to the ceremony, is it really worth the energy to fight her about it? Chances are good you won’t even notice her during the big day. Weigh which issues mean the most to you, and which you’re willing to compromise on. Know which hills to die on, so to speak, and you’ll spare everyone unnecessary hard feelings. Accept Help and Try not to Ignore Reality
Planning a wedding can sometimes get you swept up in zombie “get-it-done” mode. You know that you’ll be able to do get it done in the way it needs to be done (whatever it is), so it’s sometimes hard to shift that responsibility or task to someone else who wants to help. If your future sister in law wants to help you deal with the photographer and prepare favors (even if you don’t care for the way she ties ribbons to programs), try to let her help. The more you spread the work around, the easier and more manageable all of these tasks and responsibilities become. Remember, trying to make everything perfect by doing it yourself will not only lead to stress on your part, but some unmet expectations on the big day. Your wedding will be awesome because you’re getting married, not because all of your cocktail napkins are embossed in the same direction. When help is offered, accept graciously, and don’t heap unrealistic expectations on those who offered their hand. Include Your Future Spouse
The wedding industry is very bride-centered, so it can sometimes be hard to remember that you are, well, including a second person in this whole affair. That person often has opinions, even if they don’t voice them as often or as vivaciously as you do. Try to really talk and listen about your future spouse’s wedding expectations to make sure you’re both on the same page. If your fiancé hates large crowds and loud music, maybe your wedding shouldn’t be packing 300 people into an after-hours club. You might have had the “perfect” wedding dreamed up from the moment you could say “I do,” but that was before you met the person you’re marrying now. Your wedding should be equal parts of the both of you, and it’s worth it to adjust your expectations accordingly. Take a Step Back
Organization was going to be the last point on my genius list (because let’s face it, a wedding binder with color-coded tabs never hurt anyone), but it isn’t nearly as important as a big cup of perspective as your wedding day draws nearer. The end result of a wedding isn’t a cake or a reception or honeymoon, it’s a marriage. No matter what happens in the weeks and months leading up to your wedding, you will be married when it’s all over. Isn’t that awesome? You get to be legally linked and bound to someone who loves you unconditionally. You get to send holiday cards as a social unit. That is so much cooler than a ceremony harpist.
So whenever wedding stresses seem to get overwhelming, and the DJ won’t call you back after four weeks of frantic emails, grab a beer and watch some crappy reality TV with your future spouse. When all of the relatives have gone home and you’ve returned every duplicate stand mixer, you get to be married to someone who loves you. Keep it all in perspective before you break someone’s fingers for ordering hydrangeas instead of peonies.
Supplement Frames with Wedding Shadowboxes
Wedding ShadowboxesSo your wedding day is through and now you’re compiling memories for every album, scrapbook, and frame that you’ve collected since your engagement. But now you’re noticing that there are many memories that can’t be flattened between the pages of something two-dimensional: your bouquet, favors, confetti, handkerchiefs… – the list goes on. You should start collecting wedding shadowboxes to display these beautiful and invaluable items. Wedding shadowboxes are beautiful contributions to your home, and in addition to showcasing memorable three-dimensional items from your wedding, wedding shadowboxes make storing these items for posterity much easier. It’s the things your future progeny can see and feel that will connect them to your wedding day; wedding shadowboxes keep the items you love most from being lost in moves and garage sales. Wedding shadowboxes also make wonderful gifts, especially post-wedding. Think about saving some of the little things from the wedding you attend of a loved one (escort cards, favor labels, rose petals, etc), and put together wedding shadowboxes as future anniversary gifts. The wedding shadowboxes you present to your loved ones will be a welcome surprise and will definitely find a place of honor in their home for years to come. Pair photos of beautiful memories with the items involved with wedding shadowboxes.
They’ll Love Bridal Party Gifts
Bridal Party GiftsYour bridal party – from your flower girls to your groomsmen – will be the backbone of your wedding day. Hopefully you’ve chosen your bridal party carefully, and you’re extremely happy to have them stand up for you as you marry your future bride/groom. So how should you thank them for their dedication, love, and (sometimes) hard work? Present them with bridal party gifts before the big day! Bridal party gifts are little ways to show your bridal party just how much you appreciate them – from a coloring book set for your ring bearer to an engraved flask for the best man, bridal party gifts should be personal, useful, and simple. The best place to present bridal party gifts will be the rehearsal dinner: the get-together after the wedding rehearsal that doesn’t have to be too fancy (a backyard barbeque is more than enough). As you present your bridal party gifts, think about saying a few words of personal thanks to each of your guests. This isn’t a bad time to thank your parents either, as they’ll be attending your rehearsal dinner as well! Chose your bridal party gifts as carefully as you chose your bridal party; you won’t regret it!
Microsoft Excel is designed to be easy to use and helpful, and is especially wonderful during the wedding planning process - take advantage of it! If you aren't comfortable using Excel (or an equivalent program), try to get help from your new fiancé/fiancée or a particularly friendly coworker. I first learned how to navigate the wonderful world of spreadsheets by looking around on Google and YouTube for quick "basics" tutorials, as you won't need anything past a basic understanding to create a good wedding spreadsheet - it's an amazing tool, as it practically does all of your budgeting for you.
Columns! So Exciting!
Columns can be organized by different budget scenarios, with the running total on top (for ease of access), starting with your ideal budget and working toward budgets that are more specific. I recommend one column for an ideal budget, a column for projected budget (how much you think you'll actually spend. Depending on different variables, you can have multiples of these), a column for various quoted prices, and an actual money spent column. These columns will help you to keep your budget in perspective as you move forward, and it works well for testing out different combinations and package options to see how they would affect your overall budget. Sometimes it's hard to visualize all budget outcomes without a tangible guide, and Excel is a great solution. Rows! Hooray!
Your rows can be as general or specific as you like, but keep in mind that you can always add subheadings for specific items that are a part of a larger group. You can have a row for "party rentals" and a row for "tables," or you can group them together as a single expense. These groupings will change depending on how inclusive venues and packages are and you can always group them in later columns. The reason that Excel is such a great wedding planning tool is that no expense with take you by surprise at the last minute as you add up your expenses and discuss priorities with your future spouse. Excel can be a singular tool that keeps track of your expenses and helps you decide where you want to spend your money on your wedding day! Color code away!