Saturday, September 27, 2008

Wedding Thank You Note Etiquette

After you return from your honeymoon, you face one more daunting wedding task: writing thank you notes. Etiquette states that you should send these out within two months of your wedding, but I recommend you do it sooner, while you are still in wedding mode. Make a list of gifts as you open them, and then pick an evening or two to sit down with your husband with a bottle of wine. Split up the list and get writing. The notes can be short, but try to make them as personal as you can.

Recommended resources:

Read our other posts on wedding etiquette by clicking here.

How to Plan a Green Wedding on eHow

Be sure to check out my latest article on eHow, "How to Plan a Green Wedding." It's got lots of great tips on ways to make your wedding more eco-friendly.

You can also find some great green wedding books at the Perfect Memories Wedding Store, and find more information on green weddings throughout the site.

You might also be interested in:
Eco-Friendly Wedding Favors from Beau-coup.

Personalized Wedding Resources

Every wedding should be as unique as the couple getting married. Be sure to put your personal touch on your wedding day by creating a brand, offering unique food and drink or choosing meaningful music.

Recommended resources:

Monday, September 22, 2008

Real Weddings: Choosing a venue and a date

Our first wedding planning task was to find a location for our wedding. We weren't planning a church ceremony, and both agreed we liked the idea of holding the ceremony and reception at the same place. We also looked mostly north of Pittsburgh, since that's where we live.

Some of the place we looked at online:

By looking online and contacting these sites for some more information, we narrowed our choice down to two: The Grand Ballroom and The Atrium. After visits to both, we selected The Atrium.
What we loved about The Atrium was the light, open feel of the whole place. It felt perfect for a summer wedding. Also, David very much liked the idea of an outdoor wedding, but the thought of weather issues scared me. At The Atrium, they offer an indoor greenhouse for ceremonies, as well as an outdoor gazebo. We didn't need to decide until the day of the event which option we would use.

I also loved The Atrium's packages, because they were so affordable and included a lot of things we would have had to pay for elsewhere, like centerpieces. At the same time, there was a good amount of flexibility for things like menu choices.

Now that we had our location, we needed a date. We had decided on a late summer wedding, because I wanted about a year to plan and because all of our brothers were in school out of town. At the time, all of the August dates were already booked but one--and it was on hold. We picked the last weekend in July as a back up, and waited another week before we got the call that August 11 was free. . .and our wedding officially had a date.

Budget Wedding Resources

Having a small budget doesn't mean you can't have a great wedding. Your wedding can be elegant and stylish or modern and chic no matter how much money you have to spend. Just be flexible and keep everything in perspective while planning. Shop for bargains, and eliminate the wedding elements you don't need so you have more money to spend on everything else.

Recommended sites:

Great online resources:
Click here to read all of the wedding budget posts on Perfect Memories.

Green Wedding Resources

Eco-friendly, green weddings are a relatively new trend where brides and grooms make environmentally conscious decisions in planning their weddings. If you are planning a green wedding, look for products (like wedding favors and dresses) that are labeled green or environmentally friendly, and ask companies and vendors about their environmental policies.

Recommended links:

Great online resources:
Click here to read all green wedding entries on Perfect Memories.

How to Plan a Low Budget Wedding on eHow

Check out my latest article on eHow, "How to Plan a Low Budget Wedding." You truly can have a beautiful, elegant and stylish wedding no matter what your budget, and the article shares a few ideas on how to plan a wedding on a budget.

Topics include:

  • Shop Around
  • Be Creative
  • Eliminate the Unnecessary
Read the article here, and find more wedding budget help at the Perfect Memories Wedding Store.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Find great wedding planning books with Perfect Memories

If you are looking for the best books to help you plan your wedding, we can help! Introducing the Perfect Memories Wedding Store, where you'll find our picks for wedding planners, DIY projects, wedding style, etiquette and more.

Visit the Wedding Store today and browse our favorite wedding book titles. And if you have a favorite book you'd like us to add, let us know!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Wedding checklists at Real Simple

I'm a huge fan of Real Simple Magazine, and was excited to see that they have a bunch of free wedding checklists on their Web site. You can download everything from a wedding budget worksheet to lists of questions for vendors to recommended shots for your photographer.

Check them out (as well as some other handy checklists and forms) here.

Find more wedding planners & checklists at the Perfect Memories Wedding Store.

Monday, September 15, 2008

New poll: How formal is your wedding?

Weddings range from courthouse ceremonies to backyard barbeques to black-tie balls. Vote in our new poll on the left and tell me, how formal is your wedding?

  • Casual
  • Semi-formal
  • Formal
Check back soon for results!

Get ideas for a chic, stylish wedding with wedding style books from the Perfect Memories Wedding Store.

Poll results: How many guests are invited to your wedding?

The results of are latest poll are in, and it looks like most of you are having pretty big weddings!

How many guests are invited to your wedding?

  • 0-24 guests: 7 percent
  • 25-74 guests: 14 percent
  • 75-124 guests: 21 percent
  • 125-199 guests: 34 percent
  • 200 or more guests: 24 percent
Thanks for voting and stay tuned for the next poll!

Keep wedding costs in perspective

Friday's New York Times featured an article on "party peer pressure" and the rising costs of celebrations including weddings and bat/bar mitzvahs, written by Alina Tugend. It's a good read if you're trying to plan a wedding on a budget or feel like your wedding costs are spiraling out of control.

Some things I found interesting from the article:

  • Ever notice how when something is for a wedding, it suddenly costs so much more? According to the article, the trend of marketing and price mark-up for weddings began during the Great Depression--go figure. Marketers in the 1930s pushed the idea that "love knows no Depression" on brides and began offering wedding sections in department stores.
  • One of the over-the-top events the author points to was actually an infamous Titanic-themed bat mitzvah in Pittsburgh. Western Pennsylvania isn't exactly known for high-end celebrations like New York and L.A., and this bash in 1998 made national headlines and even inspired a movie.
  • You don't want to look back at your wedding and think "Why did we spend so much money on one day?" Jean Chatzky suggests thinking about your budget in terms of how many days you'd have to work to make that much money. It will definitely put wedding costs in perspective.
You might be interested in:
Amazing Wedding Planning: Save up to 80 percent of your wedding budget!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Real Weddings: Our engagement story

The story of our engagement is really the story of our not engagement.

For our summer vacation, we took a road trip through the Carolinas, with visits to Asheville, Hilton Head and Charleston, plus a stop in Charlotte on the way home for David's cousin's wedding. David brought the ring along on the trip and basically waited for the perfect moment to arrive. It turned out that moment was much more elusive than he thought (as I found out later).

First, he thought he would propose on our first evening in Hilton Head, when we walked down to the beach. Unfortunately, by the time we got there, a huge thunderstorm was rolling in. We only had time to snap a few pictures and then run for a crowded restaurant for shelter.
The next day, we took a sunset dolphin cruise. Before we boarded the boat, David actually snapped a photo of the spot he planned to take me to afterward to propose. Unfortunately (though not for them!), another couple got engaged very publicly on the dolphin cruise that night. Nothing like stealing your thunder.

So then we were off to Charleston. First up, we took a tour of a plantation with oldest landscaped gardens in the country. If I were to pick a place where I thought David might propose before we left on our trip, this would have been it. It was beautiful and secluded--we never saw another person the whole time we wandered around.
Unfortunately, it was also hot. If you've ever been in South Carolina at the end of July, you understand how hot and humid it can be when you're not right on the coast with an ocean breeze. David kept complaining about the heat, and I couldn't figure out why. I found out later he didn't want to propose when he was all sweaty.

Finally, it's our last night and Charleston and more or less our last night of vacation since our final stop was at a family wedding. We had no plans, so we picked a place for dinner out of the hotel guide. After we ate, we drove down to The Battery--the tip of Charleston Peninsula, where rows of historic houses line the Ashley and Cooper Rivers and lead to a pretty park.

By this point, I pretty much suspected that he was going to propose. Still, we walked around for quite a bit. He just couldn't find the perfect spot. As we walked around the beautiful park, he considered the fact that they used to hang people there and whether it was really a spot for a proposal. We walked into a gazebo, but there was a family sitting there (we're both pretty private people and wouldn't want an audience). We head back along the water toward our car, and a group of older men walks about five feet behind us, enjoying a stroll. We stop to let them pass, but they stop too--I could feel how frustrated David was getting.

At last, we make it almost all the way back to our car. We stop along the Cooper River, across the street from these gorgeous historic homes, finally alone. David starts his proposal. I don't remember what he said--he said later he had a speech planned but forgot it all--but it was beautiful. He got down on one knee and presented a beautiful princess-cut diamond solitaire that he had selected himself. I, of course, said "Yes!"
As it turned out, some people did walk by after he started the proposal, but he was so focused on me, he didn't even notice. It was perfect and beautiful and happened in the city we loved most from our trip--Charleston.

You might be interested in:
Romantics Guide To Popping The Question - 101 Marriage Propsal Stories.

Leading Book On Marriage Proposals. Tips, Ideas And 101 Real Life Stories Of Engagements.
By Michael Webb, Oprah's Romance Expert.

Get help planning your wedding with wedding planners & checklists at the Perfect Memories Wedding Store.