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.

Prefer to sort wedding gowns by price? You can do that too! It’s easy to narrow down your options by price range. Whether you’re on a shoe-string budget or the sky’s the limit, there are plenty of options that will align with the number you have in mind. Alternatively, if you’d rather browse dresses by designer, pick your favorites from the filter list. From Randy Fenoli to Mia Solano, you’ll get a feel for each designer’s style. Once you know the different styles and prices available, you can further narrow down your options and pinpoint the ideal one for you.
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.
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.

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!

Once you’ve designed your invites, when do you send them? And what about save-the-date cards? The consensus is four to six months before your wedding for save-the-dates, but allow additional time if yours is a destination wedding. The number one etiquette tip for these is that save-the-dates only go to people you absolutely plan to invite to the wedding. List the city location to give adequate planning time for travel and lodging, even if your exact venue is still undecided. You can create a unique wedding hashtag and spread it to collect memories of your future event.

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.
Choosing the right wedding invitation is almost as important as choosing Mr. or Ms. Right. Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it’s darn close! Before you can start your ‘Happily Ever After,’ you have one heck of a party to plan -- your wedding! Set the tone for your big day by choosing invitations that fit your unique style as a couple. Traditional to eclectic, or whatever your style, Zazzle will inspire you to find the perfect suite of wedding stationery -- from clever save-the-dates to bridal shower invites and wedding invitations complete with custom envelopes and labels. Your wedding invitation is essential because it provides your guests with all of the essential information (check out our wedding invitation wording tips & etiquette blog post) they need to know for your celebration. It’s something that you will have for years to come as a reminder of your magical day.

Need help choosing your wedding invitations? Start by setting a guest list, wedding budget and your wedding theme. Once you've got those figured out, browse wedding invites online that suit your wedding style. You can also browse save-the-dates, escort cards, programs and menu cards in our online photo galleries. Then, find a stationer in your area to get started!
What should wedding invitations say? Be sure to include the date you’re getting married, the location of the wedding and reception, the time of the wedding, and the names of the people being married. If it applies, you might also want to mention who is hosting the wedding and what the dress code will be. Don’t forget to include an RSVP card with a self-addressed, stamped envelope.
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