Seven Tips for Choosing a Maid of Honor

Choosing your Maid of Honor is more complicated than it looks. Nowhere else in your wedding planning is it easier for vexing problems to turn up! Why? Because the Maid of Honor’s duties are often vaguely defined, and worse, poorly communicated.

In fact, every bride has her own unique idea of what a Maid of Honor should be. Which is fine – the trick is in communicating those ideas!

So what does a Maid of Honor do? On one end of the spectrum, she’s a ceremonial figure who steps off the plane and walks down the aisle before the other bridesmaids.

On the other, she’s a master of precognition who soothes your nerves before you know you’re frazzled, helps you send out your invites, “manages” the bridesmaids, spreads the word on your registry, and offers up her thoughts on everything from the venue to the dress.

Most often, the Maid of Honor is somewhere in the middle. She leads the bachelorette party and/or bridal shower, and tries to “be there” for the bride during the planning process, and the ceremony itself.

All this flexibility leaves a lot of room for misunderstandings. And they happen a lot. The world is full of brides who feel hurt and let down by close friends as the big day draws near. Do you want to be one of them? Of course not!

So here are some tips on choosing – and communicating with – your Maid of Honor for minimum stress, and maximum happiness.

Define what you really want. Are you a do-it-yourself bride, or do you want your Maid of Honor to be your right hand all the way through?

If you’re high-maintenance, accept and acknowledge it. Pick someone who can truly be there for you, and let them know exactly what you want. If you don’t know anyone with that much time or energy to give, think about finding help elsewhere. Is your fiancé an active participant? Can your mother do more? Maids of Honor are not supposed to be wedding co-planners … unless they really, really want to be!

Tell her what you really want. More than one bride has shed tears because a Maid of Honor couldn’t read her mind.  For example: many brides wish their Maids of Honor could give a little speech at the reception , but never get around to asking them. If it’s important to you, talk about it!

It doesn’t have to be family. Never feel you “have to” make a sister or other family your Maid of Honor. If your best friend’s a loyal trooper who goes with you on all the errands, choose her. She deserves it.

Pick someone local if you need a lot of help. No one can do much from 3000 miles away, no matter how badly they want to.

Be realistic; look at past performance. Weddings are exciting. People are human. When everything’s new and you’ve just announced your plans, lots of people will offer to help. But not everyone will manage to follow through.

Who came through for you before the wedding? Who actually managed to rearrange their schedules to be with you, even when inconvenient? These are the people to rely on. No matter how exciting your plans, they won’t make an overcommitted person more available to you. Avoid the trap of asking such a person because you think your wedding will be “important enough” for them to “change their ways,” and you’ll avoid all the stress and hardship of a disappointing Maid of Honor.

Be realistic; look at her life ahead. No matter what a treasure your Maid of Honor is, she has limits, too. Is she expecting a new baby? Is she working through a divorce? If these things slow her down, which they probably will, can you pick up the slack without feeling disappointed?

Consider more than one Maid of Honor if you just can’t decide. But keep in mind, this can cause problems too. Can your Maids of Honor divide responsibilities, communicate well and avoid feelings of jealousy?

Now that you’ve chosen, honor your Maid of Honor with a little sign of how special she is to you. Take her out to a day spa, or go together to have your hair done before the ceremony. Pick out a dress for her that’s a different color from the other bridesmaids, or order her a bouquet with some special touches. She deserves it!

Follow these tips, and you’ll be the bride who spends that all-important day surrounded by loving, warm friends at their ease. Could anything be better?

About the author: Blake Kritzberg is editor at "FavorIdeas.com." Stop by for wedding favor ideas, Save-the-Date eCards, free wedding screensaver, free wedding templates and Bridezilla's weekly adventures at: www.favorideas.com

No Kids at the Wedding Please

– How to Say it Tastefully

As much as you love your nieces, nephews and even your own children, some of you know that an otherwise perfect day can be tarnished by a misbehaving little one. You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, so what should you do? If you don’t mind kids at your wedding, then this article is not for you. If your are in the other group, read on…If you are reading this, you are probably afraid of being labeled as selfish or a child hater, but this is your day. You planned for it, paid for it and deserve to have it the way you want. Even if you are being selfish, having paid a few thousand dollars or more says you have the right to be!Well enough of the pep talk. You must be open and honest from the very beginning. Waiting to long in fear of causing trouble will only make matters worse and leave you feeling even more “guilty” when some people were expecting to bring their little ones from the start. Most people will understand and some have asked it for their own weddings, but there are still a few that need to be told.

Here are some of the ways to get the message across early:

1. Send it with the invitation. That’s right! You could put it on a separate card and make a reference to it being an adults only event. You may not want to say “no kids please” because the words “adults only” is less likely to be seen negatively.

2. Call each and every person who you believe is coming and be honest and upfront. Don’t take too long with the small talk and try to end on a positive note. It would also be a good idea to have babysitters in a separate room at the wedding in case someone forgets or just had to bring little Mark.

3. On that same note. If you just don’t want to feel like you are a kid-hater, just make a point to have babysitters at your wedding. This way no one will feel left out or “betrayed”. You still have to contend with those parents AND children that have separation anxiety. You will have to make sure to tell them that if they plan to bring children with them, they must be placed with the babysitter you or they have provided, in a separate room, no exceptions. Having a room with toys and bright colors could peak a child’s interest, but there is no guarantee.

4. Use psychology. The statement, “This is a day to enjoy yourself too. Leave the kids at home (with our babysitter)”, will definitely bring some of those not-so-understanding parents to your corner. The parents with the most misbehaved kids will be the first to identify with this statement.

If all else fails, just remember the important thing is that you are marrying the one you love and that nothing can change that!

About the author:
Victoria Williams is the editor of the online magazine www.nuptialparadise.com

Cutting Cake Costs

Three Ways to Cut Cake Costs

The wedding cake you’ve fantasized about can also be the one your wallet says “yes” to. Here are some great ideas for a more affordable – but still gorgeous – wedding cake.

  • Get a smaller cake. Show off the beautiful wedding cake for everyone to see, then have a sheet cake of the same flavor cut in the back.
  • Make mini cakes. Instead of one large cake, split up the cost and ask your baker to make every guest a cupcake of your favorite flavor instead. Top each with something pretty, and build a wedding cake tower of your fabulous cupcakes.
  • Offer a dessert bar. Another great way to offer dessert while having a smaller cake: set up a dessert bar with mini pastries and coffee to offset a piece of wedding cake.

Budget Guidelines

Once you have decided on a wedding budget, do your best to stick to it. Record your expenses on the charts we have developed, to help keep track of costs as you plan the details of your wedding day.

Your budget should be flexible enough so that an unexpected expense will not ruin it.

The following are estimates to help guide you in setting a budget for your wedding. You can increase or decrease any item depending on what aspects of the wedding you would like to emphasize.

Reception
Bridal Attire
Flowers
Photographs
Stationary
50%
13%
10%
10%
5%
Music
Rentals
Transportation
Attendant Gifts
Other
4%
3%
2%
2%
1%

The 8 Things Guests Secretly Wish You’d Do At Your Wedding

Psst! Want us to let you in on a little secret? Wedding guests tend to care more about good booze at your big day than fancy favors (that they’re likely to forget to take home anyway!).

While your wedding is, of course, about what you and your fiancé want, keeping the guest experience in mind will go a long way in creating your happily ever after. With that in mind, here are eight things friends and family secretly wish you’d do at your wedding.

The Wish List

  • 1. Demystify the Dress Code
  • 2. Do Away with Assigned Seats
  • 3. Stop Playing Matchmaker
  • 4. Invest in the Booze Instead of All the Other “Extras”
  • 5. Don’t Interrupt the Party for the Cake Cutting
  • 6. Serve Scrumptious Late Night Snacks
  • 7. Help Them Get There Easy
  • 8. Make the Dinner Reception Feel More Like a Party
Read the full list and expanded information at the source, www.brides.com

Wedding Cake Boxes

Many styles to choose from
Approximately 3″L x 2″H

With this set of decorative wedding cake favor boxes, now your guests can take home a slice of your cake figuratively speaking. Imported directly from Italy, these off-white embossed boxes are shaped to perfectly form a wedding cake. Each of the boxes are wrapped with a satin ribbon and accented with an ivory flower. Inside waits a surprise treat for your wedding guests in the form of candy.

Display the wedding cake favor boxes in a circular pattern to form a two tiered cake. This arrangement makes a beautiful presentation as a centerpiece for each table. Approximate number of boxes needed to form a cake: 40-50 cake boxes. These favors are great for more than just a wedding; you can use them for any type of party.

Include a personalized card with your names and wedding or party date to add a special touch. Our lovely satin ribbon comes in your choice of 14 beautiful colors. The candy filling included in our favor boxes is available in your choice of 12 different types of candy.

Wedding Responsibilities of the Best Man

Best Man To Do List

Prior To Wedding

• Host the bachelor party.
• Purchase or pay for rental of own wedding attire.
• Attend rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.

Day of Ceremony

• Make arrangements to transport the groom to the ceremony and see that he is properly dressed.
• Arrive dressed at ceremony site one hour before the wedding for photographs.
• Supervise the groomsmen and ushers.
• Hold the bride’s ring during the ceremony.
• Sign the wedding certificate as a legal witness.
• Forward any payment to the ceremony officiant, musicians, etc.
• Make transportation arrangements for newlyweds, maid of honor, and himself to the reception.
• Offer the first toast to the bride and groom at the reception.
• Transport the couple to the airport or honeymoon suite.
• Organize the return of all rented formalwear.

Wedding Responsibilities for the Father of the Groom

Father of the Groom’s To Do List

Prior To Wedding

• Help prepare guest list.
• Select wedding attire that matches wedding party.
• Plan rehearsal dinner.
• Give toast at rehearsal dinner.

Day of Ceremony

• Arrive dressed at ceremony site one hour before the wedding for photographs.
• Stand to the left of the groom’s mother in the receiving line.

Wedding Responsibilities for the Father of the Bride

Father of the Bride’s To Do List

Prior To Wedding

• Help prepare guest list.
• Select wedding attire that matches wedding party.

Day of Ceremony

• Arrive dressed at ceremony site one hour before the wedding for photographs.
• Escort bride down the aisle.
• Stand to the left of bride’s mother in the receiving line.
• Act as a host at reception.
• Help mother of the bride gather card box and gifts after reception.