Invitation Wording 101

February 17, 2018. Category: advice

After you’ve compiled your guest list, the next step of inviting your family and friends to your wedding should be much easier, right? Making sure you word your invitations with the correct etiquette can make the process more daunting than expected, especially if your family dynamic is unique. We’ve included a few tips and tricks below to help you make your invitation as casual or formal as you desire, while respecting your specific situation:

Photo: Bonnie Sen Photography

Traditionally, the hosts of the wedding extend the invitation to all guests. Your guests presence will be requested in two ways traditionally. One, “the honor of your presence” denotes that the ceremony will take place in a house of worship or that a religious service will take place. Two, “the pleasure of your company” denotes that the ceremony will be taking place in a country club, home, outside, generally anywhere else aside from a house of worship.

Photo: Eli Turner Studios

According to Crane’s Blue Book of Stationery, traditional wedding invitations only have the names of the bride’s parents, not stepparents, listed. However, if the bride’s step-parent has been involved in her life since an early age or the bride feels especially close to her step-parent then they can certainly be listed.

Bride’s Mother & Step-Father

Mr. and Mrs. John Matthew Smith

request the honor of your presence

at the marriage of her daughter

Sarah Frances Jones


Bride’s Father & Step-Mother

Mr. and Mrs. Luke Linden Thomas

request the honor of your presence

at the marriage of his daughter

Lindsey Leigh

Another unique situation can be when both sets of parents are hosting the wedding together. To include everyone in a loving way, most couples choose to state, “together with their families” in the hosting line.

Photo: Eli Turner Studios

If both families are hosting, you can also choose to write out the full names of both sets of parents rather than using the statement “together with their families” in the hosting line.

Photo: Gabe Aceves Photography

Most importantly, try to remember that even though this may seem daunting at the end of the day you should have fun! Make your invitations unique, and be true to your relationship with your partner and your families.

Happy planning!

Photo: Abby Jiu Photography

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Mama’s Boy

January 17, 2018. Category: advice, groom

As a woman who only has a sister, it wasn’t until I had a son of my own, that I could understand the special relationship between a mother and her son. Yes, we are all crazy about our sweet boys.  Yes, it is hard (and happy) for moms to see their sons choose a person that will be the most important in their life.

Keeping this in mind, and yes,  you should keep this in mind, we have a few tips to help you stay in your soon to be mother-in-laws good graces.

Photo: Cassidy Duhon

Choose your battles carefully. She will be your Mother-in-Law for a very long time.  Long after the wedding.  Do you really care what color she wears to the wedding? Would it kill you to invite some of her bowling league friends?  Think long and hard before damaging a relationship that could ultimately impact your marriage, down the road.

Photo: Bonnie Sen Photography

Try to involve her in the planning – where you feel comfortable.  Don’t over commit to having her in the planning process, but if there items that she would love and ideally, that you don’t have super strong opinions, invite her to join.  For some brides and grooms this might be the tasting or maybe dress shopping. That said, if you will get frustrated by her two cents, don’t ask.

The Rehearsal dinner is HER party (if she is paying for it).  You do NOT get to choose the location, theme, menu, etc.  I know this is hard because the rehearsal dinner feels like part of your “wedding weekend” but if you or your parents aren’t paying, you need to allow her to make the decisions.  Don’t fret, you still get to choose a KILLER outfit to wear.


Photo: Patricia Lyons

Don’t forget her on the wedding day.  It is a big and emotional day for her.  Let her pick out the song she dances with her son to.  Make sure she knows what time the groom is getting ready so she can pin his boutonniere and straighten his tie



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What Not To Wear

January 01, 2018. Category: advice, attire

Sometimes, you  just really need a second opinion on your look while you’re shopping or heading out to a social event or even your rehearsal dinner. The Style Counsel App is has been recently introduced to us, and we love it!

The app can be your personal stylist on the go, connecting you with fashionistas around the world. For our brides, this is a great spot for you to get an expert opinion on what to wear to your rehearsal dinner or pack for your honeymoon.

Source: BHLDN

Or Maybe you are even one of those brides who wants mismatched, but still perfectly styled bridesmaids? This is the perfect place to get expert feedback and style inspiration for your upcoming holiday parties or date nights. This network of stylists, fashion bloggers, and real women are right at your fingertips, all ready and willing to give you instant feedback on your outfits and accessories!

copyright 2011 Jennifer Domenick, Love Life Images.

The Style Counsel philosophy is that it’s here to make you feel and look great, all while guiding you to make style decisions that are right for you. Try it out! Snap a photo of your outfit, upload it to the app, and just wait. Style experts are ready to give you immediate, personalized suggestions and inspiration.

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Thanksgiving Dos and Don’ts

November 21, 2017. Category: advice, diy

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it’s about that time to start thinking about your celebration, especially if you’re the one hosting! Here are a couple of tips and tricks we’ve picked up over the years that you can use to make your Thanksgiving celebration run smoothly.

DO: Take on only as much as you think will be fun. Don’t overdo it, you want this to be an enjoyable evening for everyone, including yourself! Keep the size of the gathering to an amount of people you’re actually comfortable hosting in your home. By not taking on too much, you’re going to ensure the best time for everyone!

DON’T: Feel like you have to make everything from scratch. There are plenty of delicious alternatives to cooking yourself, whether that’s picking up desserts from your local bakery or ordering dishes from your favorite restaurant or catering company. Ordering or buying a couple of your harder-to-make dishes is going to make your day all the more relaxed enjoyable for both you and your guests.

DO: Plan ahead. One of the easiest ways to make your Thanksgiving morning less stressful is to prepare some of your dishes in advance. A trick that Aimee uses every year is to make her rolls a few days before Thanksgiving and then freeze them. By doing this, they stay fresh and on the day of all she has to do is pop them in the oven, saving time and unnecessary stress!

DO: Delegate to guests. Just because you’re hosting doesn’t mean you have to do it all yourself! Guests are going to be more than happy to pitch in, plus this is a great way for people to showcase their cooking skills. It’s absolutely okay to ask guests to bring a dish or dessert for the party, and involving everyone in the preparation of the meal is going to add to the Thanksgiving spirit.

DON’T: Forget tupperware to send leftovers home with guests. We all love the traditional day-after-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to want to have those leftovers in your fridge a week or two later!

DO: Have an icebreaker. If your guests don’t know each other (or even if they do!) a fun activity at the start of the evening is a great way to get everyone mingling. One of our favorites is asking guests in advance to submit one or two obscure facts about themselves, so that they can guess which facts belong to which person. This is a great way to not only test how well you all know each other, but also learn some new information about your friends and family!

DON’T: Forget to leave space on the table for food. While setting your Thanksgiving dinner table, it’s easy to overlook the fact that even though you want to fill the table with pretty settings and centerpieces, you still need to fit all of the food!

DO: Make a large-batch cocktail or punch. Doing this is going to allow your guests to help themselves to the bar while you’re cooking. Plus, this is a quick and easy way for you to try out a fun new cocktail for all of your guests to enjoy together on Thanksgiving.

DON’T: Wear tight clothing! The best part about Thanksgiving is the food, and at the end of the night you’re going to be thanking yourself for not wearing an uncomfortable outfit. There are plenty of ways to dress up in “comfy chic,” i.e. a dress or big sweater, so that you can look stylish in an outfit you’re going to be happy in all night.

DO: Consider hiring someone to help with the clean-up. After an evening filled with family and fun, cleaning up isn’t going to be something you’re looking forward to. One of our favorites is Protocol Staffing to help out with set up and/or break down after an event.

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5 Wedding Planning Myths

August 29, 2017. Category: advice, wedding planner, wedding tips

 Couples often feel that they have to do, or not do certain things at their wedding. Advice (mostly unsolicited) comes from many directions and prospectives when planning your big day.  Your wedding celebration should feel authentic to you and your partner. Unfortunately, you will never make everyone happy, all the time.

Here we have debunked 5 wedding planning myths. Hopefully, this will help you with your own planning and  alleviate some unnecessary stress!

Buffets are cheaper

Many people think that buffets are cheaper and that they will end up saving money if they opt for this option. What they don’t take into account, is that they will actually need a lot more food than if they had decided on the plated meal.  No one wants the last piece of chicken and it’s impossible to know what will be the most popular item, so you caterer will need to over order for the buffet food.

While your staffing costs may be a bit lower for the buffet, the higher food costs many times, will negate any savings.  Best to choose the format that you prefer and work with your caterer to maximize your budget.

Photography: Jodi and Kurt

You must have the same number of bridesmaids and groomsmen

You really do not need to have the same number of bridesmaids and groomsmen. It is perfectly ok to have a groomsmen walk two bridesmaids or even have two bridesmaids walk up the the aisle together.

It is very important that the people who you are selecting are your very dearest friends and that they will all get along well with one another. One way to think about it is to ask yourself if you will still be close friends with this person in ten years.  If the answer is no, better to ask them to play another role in the wedding.  For example, they do you a reading in the ceremony.

 Also keep in mind, that you do not need to ask someone to be a bridesmaid just because you were a bridesmaid in their wedding. This is your special day and your friends and family will understand.

Photography: Bonnie Sen

DIY is always cheaper

Do It Yourself projects always seem like a great idea that will not only save you money, but  also be fun to do.

We have seen way too many times that these projects have become something that our couple’s wish they hadn’t done. Costs for supplies often mount up faster than expected and the time to do the project while planning a wedding can become a stressful nightmare.

If you really want to DYI an element of the wedding, make sure it is something that can be done well before the wedding, just in case you need a plan B.

Photography: Bonnie Sen

You must have a flower girl/ring bearer

Don’t feel like you have to include a flower girl or ring bearer at your wedding. Often times this can be a very stressful experience for, not only the child, but also for the parents of the child. If you have a niece that you adore or your best friend’s son would be perfect and enjoy the role, then great!  If not, no need to ask someone who’s parent you aren’t that close to.

If you do decide to include kids in your ceremony here are a few tips to make it easier.

  • Make sure the child is the appropriate age. We find 4 year olds to 7 year olds to be the best able to handle the long wedding process, but still young enough to be excited about it.
  • Have them come at the very last possible time to take photos. Better to keep them from be exhausted and have a meltdown at the end of your aisle.
  • Always have good readily available snacks that are not only child friendly but will also not mess or stain their clothes.
  • Remember that they are little and try not to ask too much of them on your day!

Photography: Katelyn James

You need to choose a “color” for your wedding

You really don’t need to have a specific color or theme for your wedding at the start of the planning process. Although it is helpful to have an overall aesthetic or look that you are thinking about when making design decisions, being locked into a specific color scheme might be problematic down the road if you become tired of it.

The colors and look of your wedding can certainly change as you go further into the planning process, so having your Save the dates be a bit more neutral is one a great way to allow your wedding to evolve over time.

Photography: Bonnie Sen


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