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.
Ready to start planning? The Knot All-In-One Wedding Planner app will take you through the entire process—from finding your style and fixing your budget, all the way to your day-of timeline—so you can actually enjoy every step of the way. You can even add a reminder to tip your pros on your day-of wedding timeline so you don't forget. Click here to download the app and get started. After that, create a free, personalized wedding website to keep your guests informed (and excited!) about your plans, and a time-saving Guest List Manager to organize your attendees. Even better? You can sync your Guest List Manager and wedding website to update everything at once.
"What I mean by this is there will undoubtedly be times of stress, fighting (a lot of fighting), angst, and anxiousness before and during the wedding. What kept us sane was knowing that at the end of the day, it's just not that big of a deal. After the wedding, you will be husband and wife for the rest of your life—the wedding is just a big ol' party." —Lu and Joon
"It's so easy during wedding planning to not take time to check in with each other and just get straight to wedding to-dos. During our one year of wedding planning, it felt like every time we saw each other, we had wedding decisions to make and appointments to go to. At the end of the day, the wedding is just one day in the lifetime of a marriage. It's important to have a good foundation going into it.
Your (amazing!) invitations should arrive in mailboxes six to eight weeks before your wedding, again allowing extra if guests will need to arrange time off and air travel. Set your RSVP date three to four weeks prior to your wedding so you’ll have time to follow up on missing responses before you have to give final numbers to your vendors. A great tip is to use an invisible ink UV pen to mark your response cards with numbers corresponding to your guest list. It’s common to receive back several RSVP’s with no name, and the number system allows you to identify the responders. The UV part keeps it all discreet and the envelope pristine.
You can check your state's license requirements online, but confirm with a call to the county clerk's office to see when they're open. Even if it's open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., they may issue marriage licenses only during slower times like, say, Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Give a copy of your marriage license to your mom or your maid of honor (just in case you lose yours during the final days before your wedding).
Shopping for a wedding dress can be overwhelming. While some brides launch the process with their dream dress in mind, finding 'the one' is still a challenge. We've compiled some of our best tips and tricks for narrowing down your bridal gown selections. Finding a bridal dress is about personal style and trends, season included, whether they are affordable or expensive, it’s your big day, so make sure to have fun and never settle.
"No matter how well-intentioned, friends and family will undoubtedly lend advice, opinions, and even objections to your decisions. It's easy for you two to become divided. But in the end, this is a celebration of your love and future together, and so every choice should be yours alone. Keep your focus on what matters most, forget what you think you should or shouldn't do, and go with your heart. If you keep you two at the center of every decision, it will be the most memorable day of your life." —Kendahl and Nick
"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
In a three-ring binder, compile all your correspondences with vendors, notes you make during meetings, and photos or tear sheets from magazines you want vendors to see. Set up a special email address dedicated to your wedding, and store important vendor numbers in your cell phone. For on-the-go planning that keeps everything in one place, download the The Knot All-In-One Wedding Planner app to keep all of your planning info digitally on-hand at all times.
Begin your search by familiarizing yourself with the different styles and silhouettes of bridal gowns: A-line, mermaid, sheath and ball gown. For starters, an A-line style dress is fitted at the waist and flares outward toward the ground in the shape of an “A.” This style looks flattering on every body shape. The next option is the mermaid style. Sometimes called fit and flare, this style mimics the shape of a mermaid’s tail, as it’s tight at the top, tapering out at the knees down to the floor. As for the sheath style, it’s close-fitted to your body without any flares, which is an amazing option if you’re looking to show off your figure. Finally, the fourth option is the ball gown option, also known as a princess gown, which has a fitted waist and full skirt--ideal for all body shapes and sizes.