Guest blogger: Allison Silber, founder and creative director for engagedandinspired.com. Engaged & Inspired is a wedding publication for crafty brides who strive to fill their wedding day with loads of personality. The team of real brides post about the highs and lows of wedding planning and what it takes to pull off their big day. Aside from running Engaged & Inspired, Allison also offers planning and design services to the Carmel Valley area.
"Our biggest piece of advice would be to plan ahead, don’t procrastinate, don’t sweat the little things, only do things that you can afford, try not to do anything wedding related two weeks before the wedding, enjoy your big day, and don’t forget to steal a couple private moments just as husband and wife throughout your wedding day. Things will be stressful as you plan, and things will go wrong on your wedding day, but don’t forget the big picture." —Pearle and James 

The biggest thing is that when your wedding day finally arrives, it literally flies by in the blink of an eye. All of the planning, stress, money, and time put in over the entire year comes and goes in a flash the day of your wedding, so try to enjoy the whole process. At times, you'll be stressed and overwhelmed, but just enjoy the entire engagement and planning period, because when it's all over, you'll miss it and want to do it all over again!" —Malia and Brandon
Make sure your guests can both see and hear from their seats. If people are seated farther than 15 rows back from your ceremony altar or podium, consider renting a mic and a riser. This could range anywhere from $50 to $100, depending on the equipment used. You'll need to coordinate the delivery and setup with your ceremony space, so put your wedding planner or best man in charge of this task.
"This event is an expression of yourselves, but it's not all you'll ever be. It's just the beginning! In fact, some of the best moments were ones we didn't plan for at all—like a fabulous photograph of my dress train all tangled up with leaves and dirt. Sure, it was messy and not what you're used to seeing in bridal magazines, but it was also honest and a truly joyful moment that could easily have gone south if we'd been uptight about things. Embrace the unexpected, and each others' opinions, and don't let an unattainable ideal sour the big picture: You're in this together, now and for the future." —Teresa and Ben
Sometimes, last-minute planning can work in your favor. The closer your date, the more bargaining power you have. Since most people book their wedding venues at least six months in advance, calling for open dates two months prior to your desired time can save you up to 25 percent. And, Friday and Sunday weddings should cost about 30 percent less than Saturday weddings.
"I thought I was planning a simple event, but in retrospect, there is still a lot I could have done without. Despite all of my preparations in advance, because I did so much myself, there was so much I had to think about that I didn't get to enjoy the time leading up to the wedding as much as I would have liked. If I could go back, I would have traded a thing or two for some added peace of mind.
Figuring out how much to tip wedding pros can be tricky, but tipping wedding vendors is an important way to show your appreciation for their hard work. To avoid scrambling on the day of, we recommend creating a list of who you tip at your wedding and organizing the cash tips into envelopes well in advance of your big day. While it’s extra-nice if you are able to hand the tips to your vendors on your wedding day, it might not be possible (you’re going to be super-busy!). Instead, have your wedding planner or a member of your wedding party be responsible for handing out the tips, which should be handed out after the service is rendered. Another great way to thank your vendors? Write them a review on a site like WeddingWire!
As you start your search for the perfect wedding dress, first decide on the silhouette. Ballgown wedding dresses, with their dramatic full skirts and waist-cinching bodices, are one of the most popular styles. If you’re looking for something a little sexier, look for a mermaid wedding dress, which hugs your figure and flares out at the mid-thigh. A-line wedding dresses are universally flattering! With the same waist-cinching effect as a ballgown and a flowy, dance-floor-ready skirt, it’s easy to see why brides love this effortless look. Courthouse brides and brides looking for something a little different often reach for short wedding dresses. We especially love tea-length dresses for their elongating effect and nod to vintage wedding dresses.
"You can be easily overwhelmed in planning a wedding without a full-time wedding coordinator. But once you select the date and venue, the rest will fall into place. Think about the three most important things to you, and work on those next—whether it's the photography, dress, food, music, florals, etc. Make a list and slowly cross things off as you go.
"Reading from The Lovely Love Story was the best decision we made for our wedding! Our guests couldn't stop talking about how adorable and memorable it was, and we still get a bunch of guests sharing random dinosaur posts on our Facebook walls. We also ended up getting amazing wedding films, since it gave the cinematographers something really emotional to connect all of the pieces together. Cinematographers are storytellers, so having a unifying element to drive your love story will truly leave lasting impression in your wedding films." —Lisa and Jonathan
A bride's floral arrangement is arguably the second most important part of her outfit, ranking immediately behind the wedding dress. Therefore, we encourage you to a put a lot of thought into the flowers you carry down the aisle! If you're wondering how to make your bridal bouquet extra special, it helps to turn to some inspiration. Luckily, we've got you covered with 50 of our all-time favorite arrangements. The bundles here feature some of the most creative shapes, memorable shades, and beautiful flowers out there.
If you don't have the money to shell out thousands more on tips, there are a few gestures that will go a long way with your team of wedding pros. Send an email with a review, a handwritten thank-you note or a review on Yelp or WeddingWire are great ways to show appreciation and offer something the vendor can use when booking future clients. Even better, refer your vendors to your friends — this gesture will go much further than a cash tip!

Tipping is supposed to act as a reward, so you don't need to consider it a mandatory expense. Tips are meant to be given for excellent service or for vendors who go above and beyond their contracted duties. Before dishing out gratuity, check your contracts. Some vendors, especially venues and catering companies, will include it in their contract to help eliminate confusion.

Is it OK to send wedding invitations online? Wedding guests still expect a paper invitation in the mail to reply to for your nuptials. Not to mention that with all of the email filters we have these days, your email invitation could very well get marked as spam and never reach an inbox. We live in a modern world and everything tends to be available online, which is why a wedding website is highly recommended to accompany your invitation. When you choose your invitations at Minted, you can match your website style to your wedding stationery.


You’ve found the perfect partner and you have a sparkly engagement ring on your finger, and now all you need is the wedding dress of your dreams. Maybe you’ve always imagined yourself waltzing down the aisle in a lace A-line dress or perhaps you’ve had visions of a silky asymmetrical number for as long as you can remember. Whether you’re dreaming of an elaborate fairytale-inspired ball gown or a sleek and elegant knee-length dress, you’ll find your perfect match when you browse our vast selection of wedding dresses.
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