So you just got engaged, Congratulations! You have accomplished the near impossible task of finding a person you’d like to share the rest of your life with! With such a big decision off your plate, you’ll now have room for a new challenge: planning your ideal wedding. If you’re having a bit of trouble getting started, we are ready to lend you hand as you begin to navigate the brave new world of everything bridal!
So where does a newly engaged bride-to-be begin? If you’re anything like us (a bit obsessed with the wedding aesthetic) you’ve likely already got a Pinterest board full of ideas for your dream wedding. If you haven’t yet ventured through the plethora of hair, flower, gown and pantone inspired pins this isn’t a bad place to start. Once you start to see what other brides are doing you can begin to narrow down your preferred time of year, colours, style, etc. You might love a rustic-summer-barn wedding with lace accents and sunflowers. Or maybe you prefer a pastel-spring wedding with lavender to toss and a flowy tulle dress to twirl in. Whatever you imagine for your bridal vision, the next important step will be tempering your expectations to match your chequebook.
Setting a budget is so important when setting out to plan your wedding. It becomes very easy to throw caution to the wind and book your dream everything in all the excitement of picturing your big day. Unfortunately for most of us, this can inevitably lead to post-wedding-remorse when the bills start piling up. To avoid any extra stress and save a few dollars for after the honeymoon, you may want to call around for quotes from your ideal vendors to establish just how much your dream wedding will cost. Once you have a rough idea of what you can afford, you can start to prioritize where you are willing to sacrifice for the sake of your bank account. Many brides choose to lock down their perfect venue, dream dress and an experienced photographer while opting to decorate their own church or hall, do their own makeup and swap the five-course dinner for a more modest meal. A practical and organized bride-to-be is a happy and stress-free bride-to-be.
Now that we’ve got the bridal vision and the wedding budget sorted it’s time to start thinking about our timeline. Whether your engagement lasts one year or five, it’s ideal to give yourself at least twelve months to plan your big day. Venues will start booking over a year in advance and there are only so many Saturdays in the year. If you are willing to be flexible on your wedding date and location, it can of course come together more quickly but it might mean making a few sacrifices along the way.
In terms of shopping for your dream dress, most bridal designers will require 4-6 months to make your gown. This means you should order your gown no later than 8 months before your big day, as alterations generally require about 3-4 fittings over the course of 2 months once you have your gown. If you’re reading this and you have yet to find a gown for your wedding this summer don’t panic! Many boutiques are able to get gowns a bit more quickly with an extra fee for a manufacturing rush. In some cases, your dream dress might even be a discontinued sample style that is marked down to sell right off the rack! Who doesn’t love a gorgeous gown on a budget?
In terms of your wedding party, bridesmaid and mother-of-the-bride/groom dresses take about 4 months to arrive and another month after that for alterations. Similar to your bridal gown search, it is always better to start shopping sooner rather than later so that you don’t feel rushed into choosing whatever style and colour can come in the quickest. Though shopping early is a good idea, ordering early is not usually recommended for bridesmaids. Because many bridesmaid groups often include new moms or moms-to-be, we recommend waiting to order until about 5-6 months before the big day as bodies can change a lot in the time it will take the gowns to come in! As for the men, tuxes can usually be rented or purchased a bit more quickly but don’t forget that the guys might still need to think about tailoring if they opt to purchase their own suits.
Once you have your venue booked and your dress ordered you can start to organize things like invitations, catering, photography and videography, music, officiants, decorations and so on. When looking for recommendations, word of mouth and even local Facebook wedding groups can be so helpful! Many brides are happy to share their experiences and offer suggestions based on their own time spent as diligently researching brides-to-be.
Timelines can often seem a bit daunting to the newly engaged bride-to-be, especially if it’s her first time being a part of the wedding planning process. A bride’s most important asset will always be her trusted and organized family and friends. Don’t forget to enlist lots of help so that you and your fiancé can enjoy your time spent planning your big day without all the stress of doing it by yourselves!
We hope this post has given you an idea of how to start planning your dream wedding! The most important thing to remember is that this day is all about celebrating you, your fiancé and your love for one another. No matter what happens leading up to or on the big day, you'll still come away with so many special memories and a partner for life! Now that sounds like a pretty good deal to us!
If you have any wisdom or advice to share with any of the newly-engaged ladies reading this, please leave it in the comments below! We love hearing from experienced brides too!
Happy wedding planning <3
So you’ve chosen to have a winter wedding. I’m with you! Winter makes for beautiful photographs, it’s a time for families to come together and who doesn’t love cozying up with their partner when that cold weather sneaks up on us? Whether you’re planning a glamorous New Year’s Eve celebration, an intimate woodland themed ceremony or a romantic Valentine’s Day wedding there are a few tricks and DIY’s every blushing winter bride should know!
First off, around the holiday season venues and churches will often already be decorated, so this is a great time to have a wedding for someone who is looking to save both time and money on décor. We recommend adding your own personal touches using natural greenery like pine and spruce branches, pinecones and winter berries (think DIY wreaths, centerpieces and aisle décor). Choosing a venue with lots of windows is great if you love the idea of a crisp snowy backdrop. Large fireplaces or brick accents are a great way to make your guests feel cozy.
Source: Fête Events, Rideau Acres
Depending on your venue you may want to consider supplying your guests with a way to keep warm during your ceremony and reception. If you’re planning on having any part of your wedding outside or in a location that tends to be a bit drafty, you could consider collecting throws and blankets and rolling them up in baskets for your guests to grab on the way to their seats. Alternatively you could also tie them to the chairs themselves to add a functional touch of texture and colour to your décor.
For a winter wedding we LOVE the idea of mixing up cocktail hour with a make-your-own hot chocolate bar! Why not expand on this idea and offer gourmet coffee and tea options as well. Nothing says comfort like a warm beverage. To add a twist to this you could even provide specialty liqueurs for your adult guests. As is the case with some venues, you might need to acquire a special occasions permit to offer your guests this complimentary alcoholic option.
Now that you’ve got your guests all taken care of, let’s talk about how to keep you and your bridal party warm! Part of the magic of a winter wedding is taking photos amongst the sparkling white landscape, with its dark contrasting trees in the distance. However, when we come across these stunning photos we often forget one very important detail: with glittering snowscapes come cold temperatures. Many brides opt for gorgeous faux fur boleros to fend off that winter chill. Another trend we are seeing lately is the cashmere wrap sweater over a tulle or chiffon skirt. Either of these options can look stunningly elegant and allow a winter-bride to craft and customize her own unique vision.
There are a million and one ways to put together a one-of-a-kind winter wedding but we hope these suggestions help you on your journey to your perfect snowy altar! We absolutely love hearing tips, tricks and trends from our readers. Please tell us about your favourite winter wedding ideas in the comments section!
Being the savvy bride-to-be that you are, you’ve probably already heard about the oh-so rare and illustrious trunk show. However, for many of us who have never attended one of these events ourselves, it’s hard to know just what to expect. How does it differ from a regular day at your favourite bridal retailer? Is it in any way similar to a sample sale? Does one still need to make an appointment if she wishes to try on dresses? Prepare to have any of your pressing trunk show questions answered to complete satisfaction!
In general, a bridal trunk show is an event where exclusive styles are available for brides to try on and purchase for a limited time. Many bridal boutiques will host these events in partnership with designers to give their patrons a chance to sneak a peak at brand new styles -- so exclusive! They are often only a few days long, which means that you’ve got to act fast if you’re hoping to snag one of these special gowns. Unlike a sample sale, the gowns are not typically sold off the rack but special ordered specifically for each bride, just like any other normal gown in the store would be. That being said, some retailers will offer a special discount on the trunk show styles if you can find your perfect gown while attending the event!
When it comes to ensuring that you will get a chance to try on some of these exclusive gowns it is best to make an appointment, just as you would if you were visiting the store on a normal day. The only difference in your appointment will be that you will have even more gowns to choose from! It never hurts to take a peak online at the collections being featured in the trunk show if: A) you know what they are and B) can find them on the designer’s website. Sometimes the actual trunk show gowns will be so new that they won’t even be featured online yet! At the very least, it never hurts to bring some ideas about silhouettes, necklines and details you would be interested in seeing in person.
Source: Val Mitchell, Pinterest, Alison Irwin
The most important thing to know about a trunk show is that the gowns you have access to for the event may very well not be found in the store in future. Having the opportunity to see these styles before they are released is an amazing opportunity but don’t forget to ask your bridal consultant about future availability if you aren’t ready to commit to the gown you love on the day of. If the trunk show style you like is from a designer that the retailer regularly carries, chances are they will still be able to order it for you down the line; you just might not get the chance to retry the sample gown before making your decision. If however they are featuring a designer whose gowns are not normally sold in their store, you might not be able to purchase this gown from your desired boutique at a later date. Ideally you should go to your bridal appointment with the intention of locking down and purchasing a gown, that way you won’t miss out and will get the best price to boot!
So how does one go about actually tracking down a trunk show to drag your most trusted and honourable matrons to? It’s helpful to check out the designers’ websites as well as the social media pages of your favourite local bridal retailers. Once you catch wind of one of these exclusive events, set up an appointment as soon as possible as space will fill up quickly!
You are now ready to find the trunk show dress of your dreams! Don't be afraid to strike while the iron is hot if you find a style you like. Nothing beats knowing you got an exclusive gown at an especially great price. You're such a fashionable and practical bride, you go girl!