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.


Put together a wedding planning schedule and do things one by one, in a logical order, so you don't take on too much too fast and end up with everything snowballing around you. Don't hire any vendors before you've confirmed your date; don't design your cake before you've envisioned your flowers; and don't book a band before you've settled on a space.
Finally, and most importantly, there are no rules! Want to have a BYOM (bring your own meat) picnic on blankets in the park? Do it. Don’t care for cake? Do without it. As someone who has worked in the wedding industry, I’ve seen it all too often become just that—an industry! Don’t buy into it if you don’t want it. Pick what is most important to you and prioritize based on that, not on convention or expectations. Don’t get so wrapped up in everything else that it takes away from being there in that moment."  —Sophie and Bobby
Another unforeseen expense? Feeding your wedding day crew. Before you sign the contracts, make sure you're not required to serve the same meal to your vendors that guests will receive. Otherwise, you could be paying for 20 additional lobster tails. Choose a less expensive (but equally hearty) meal for them instead. You will have to let your wedding caterer know a couple of days before the wedding exactly how many vendors you need to feed (don't forget photography assistants and band roadies) and what you want them to serve.
"It was one of the best decisions we made during our wedding planning. Our photographer and videographer collaborated and found a secluded area, away from all the madness that was going on that morning; we got a moment to see each other for the first time. It allowed us to take a deep breath, let the moment sink in, feel all the emotion we were about to feel all day. No matter what you decide, the important thing is choosing what's right for you as a couple." —Leah and Kevin
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!

You've been dreaming about the day for years. You waited for the right man or woman, and when the two of you came together, you both knew your love was the real thing. Now, with the question popped and the "yes" given, it's time to plan that glorious day when you and your loved one become partners for life.   All of us at FTD congratulate you on your engagement, and we want to do whatever we can to help you plan that magnificent day. We know it can be as daunting as it is exciting to bring your dream wedding into reality, and that's why we've worked hard to make FTD something of a one-stop shop when it comes to flowers for weddings. We can offer expert guidance on the wedding flowers you'll need, from the wedding boutonnieres to the bridesmaid bouquets and any other wedding flower arrangements you desire. We only use flowers of the highest quality, and only those loveliest to behold. It is your wedding day after all; only the best wedding bouquets will do!   These flowers will simply take your breath away, notto mention your wedding bouquet will be something you will feel proud to throw into the hands of a future bride-to-be. And when it comes to our wedding flower centerpieces, our staff will work with you and your chosen colors to produce stunning centerpieces that will be the talk of every table. Speaking of color, whether it's wreaths, centerpieces, or bouquets, and whether you want elegant whites to match your wedding dress or the deep red of long stemmed roses to signify your love (or any color in between), we at FTD work tirelessly to make the vision for your wedding become a reality. Find delicate lilies, exotic orchids or beautiful tulips to complete your vision of walking down the aisle.   That's ultimately what FTD is all about: helping you make the wedding of your dreams the wedding you actually receive. Whether you’re looking for lily flower arrangements or centerpieces for the rehearsal dinner, trust FTD to make your day extra special. You can even order your wedding flowers online! But if you prefer to see our mixed bouquets in person, our attentive staff will offer you our years of knowledge and experience in producing the best wedding flower arrangements for your special day. With FTD by your side, your wedding flowers will be something you never forget. Have top rated flower delivery year-round to make each event all the more special.
"We wanted the whole day to be a celebration of the rest of our lives. We wanted people to walk away saying, 'That was so much fun.' And we were able to accomplish that. Choose the few things that are really important to you, like the photographer and DJ were to us, and then go from there. Be flexible on the other details and remember to have fun." —Jeanae and Scott

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

Pare down your guest list with the "tiers of priority" trick. Place immediate family, the bridal party and best friends on top of the list; follow with aunts, uncles, cousins and close friends you can't imagine celebrating without. Under that, list your parents' friends, neighbors, coworkers and so on. If you need to make some cuts, start from the bottom until you reach your ideal number.


You have four choices: You can welcome children with open arms; you can decide to have an "adults only" wedding; you can include immediate family only; or, you can hire a child care service to provide day care either at the reception space, in a hotel room or at a family member's home. To prevent hurt feelings, it's wise to avoid allowing some families to bring children while excluding others (unless, of course, the children are in your bridal party).
"We wanted the whole day to be a celebration of the rest of our lives. We wanted people to walk away saying, 'That was so much fun.' And we were able to accomplish that. Choose the few things that are really important to you, like the photographer and DJ were to us, and then go from there. Be flexible on the other details and remember to have fun." —Jeanae and Scott
A wedding dress is perhaps the most carefully chosen dress a woman will ever wear. Our gown collection gives you plenty of options to choose from and you are sure to find a wedding dress that is just right for you at BHLDN! Plus, our online shop makes finding “the one” a breeze. As you narrow down your favorite wedding day looks, think about silhouette, style, neckline, and season. Keep this same mindset as you search for your perfect bridesmaids dresses and mother of the bride dresses to complete your bridal party!
Another unforeseen expense? Feeding your wedding day crew. Before you sign the contracts, make sure you're not required to serve the same meal to your vendors that guests will receive. Otherwise, you could be paying for 20 additional lobster tails. Choose a less expensive (but equally hearty) meal for them instead. You will have to let your wedding caterer know a couple of days before the wedding exactly how many vendors you need to feed (don't forget photography assistants and band roadies) and what you want them to serve.
Our printing processes are art forms that are only as good as their canvas - the paper itself. This is why we are pleased to have the finest quality paper stocks that you absolutely will not find anywhere else. We offer an assortment of paper to choose from. We have our signature stock and our signature smooth stock. Both with a creamy, soft texture and off-white hue. Our pearlescent stock adds a subtle shimmer to your design. For the eco-conscious brides, we offer a recycled stock that does not compromise quality. Finally, for the brides looking to make a statement, we have double-thick paper, and for an even heavier statement, we have triple-thick.
A wedding invitation and the accompanying suite of products are a prelude to one of the most memorable days of your life. It’s something most brides and grooms would not leave up to chance. So, you want to touch and feel the paper products in your hands before you make a purchase. Minted understands this and we want to make sure that you are able to make the most informed decisions about paper, printing techniques, and colors for your big day. This is why we offer free sample kits so brides can see our rich colors and papers in real life. You can actually request up to ten samples for free, which is about double what most competitors offer.

A wedding dress is perhaps the most carefully chosen dress a woman will ever wear. Our gown collection gives you plenty of options to choose from and you are sure to find a wedding dress that is just right for you at BHLDN! Plus, our online shop makes finding “the one” a breeze. As you narrow down your favorite wedding day looks, think about silhouette, style, neckline, and season. Keep this same mindset as you search for your perfect bridesmaids dresses and mother of the bride dresses to complete your bridal party!

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. Then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and baking powder, add to the creamed mixture and mix until all of the flour is absorbed. Finally, stir in the sour cream. Mix for 1 or 2 minutes just to be sure there are no lumps. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

"Remember why you are getting married, and try to truly make it be an event about (and for) the both of you. Have faith in your vendors and photographer, and trust that they will do their job well! And once it's happening, just go with it. One of my favorite memories is calling my dad after he walked me to the dock to meet Jim because he had my vows in his jacket pocket! Everyone laughed, and so did I.
You've been dreaming about the day for years. You waited for the right man or woman, and when the two of you came together, you both knew your love was the real thing. Now, with the question popped and the "yes" given, it's time to plan that glorious day when you and your loved one become partners for life.   All of us at FTD congratulate you on your engagement, and we want to do whatever we can to help you plan that magnificent day. We know it can be as daunting as it is exciting to bring your dream wedding into reality, and that's why we've worked hard to make FTD something of a one-stop shop when it comes to flowers for weddings. We can offer expert guidance on the wedding flowers you'll need, from the wedding boutonnieres to the bridesmaid bouquets and any other wedding flower arrangements you desire. We only use flowers of the highest quality, and only those loveliest to behold. It is your wedding day after all; only the best wedding bouquets will do!   These flowers will simply take your breath away, notto mention your wedding bouquet will be something you will feel proud to throw into the hands of a future bride-to-be. And when it comes to our wedding flower centerpieces, our staff will work with you and your chosen colors to produce stunning centerpieces that will be the talk of every table. Speaking of color, whether it's wreaths, centerpieces, or bouquets, and whether you want elegant whites to match your wedding dress or the deep red of long stemmed roses to signify your love (or any color in between), we at FTD work tirelessly to make the vision for your wedding become a reality. Find delicate lilies, exotic orchids or beautiful tulips to complete your vision of walking down the aisle.   That's ultimately what FTD is all about: helping you make the wedding of your dreams the wedding you actually receive. Whether you’re looking for lily flower arrangements or centerpieces for the rehearsal dinner, trust FTD to make your day extra special. You can even order your wedding flowers online! But if you prefer to see our mixed bouquets in person, our attentive staff will offer you our years of knowledge and experience in producing the best wedding flower arrangements for your special day. With FTD by your side, your wedding flowers will be something you never forget. Have top rated flower delivery year-round to make each event all the more special.
"Remember why you are getting married, and try to truly make it be an event about (and for) the both of you. Have faith in your vendors and photographer, and trust that they will do their job well! And once it's happening, just go with it. One of my favorite memories is calling my dad after he walked me to the dock to meet Jim because he had my vows in his jacket pocket! Everyone laughed, and so did I.
If your officiant is affiliated with a church or synagogue, you're often expected to make a donation to that institution. If you're a member, you'll probably want to give a larger amount than if you're not. However, if you're getting married there and they're charging you to use the space, feel free to give a smaller amount. Tipping the officiant, both nondenominational and denominational, is also appreciated. 
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