Should You Have a Wedding Dress Code? We’ll Help You Decide!

Wait before you send those save-the-dates or wedding invitations–you have a decision to make first. You’ll need to ask yourself: Should I have a wedding dress code?

Should you have a wedding dress code?

Image via ereyesleblanc

In the past, a dress code was necessary. They’d let guests know if they should come in formal attire (think gowns and tuxedos) or more casual outfits. These days, there are some arguments on whether wedding dress codes are passe. If you’re stuck on this decision, read on for some serious pros and cons.

Why You Should Have a Wedding Dress Code

  1. You’ll avoid misunderstandings or embarrassing moments. Just because you’re having an outdoor wedding doesn’t mean that flip-flops are a great choice for footwear. By saying something like “casual chic” for your dress code, this’ll avoid guests dressing down too much and feeling like they made a faux pas.
  2. It’ll make dressing for your unconventional wedding much easier. If you’re having a beach wedding or a barn wedding, guests may not know what to wear. After all, they may never have been to a wedding like yours. Help them out by describing a dress code in the invitations.
  3. You want absolute control over your wedding. While you wouldn’t describe yourself as a “bridezilla,” you still don’t want any surprises on your big day. In this case, a wedding dress code is a must.

Why You Should Ditch the Dress Code

  1. Most people already know how to dress for a wedding and already have outfits on hand. Anyone who’s been to a wedding before knows the standard dress code. For a traditional wedding, you needn’t describe what your guests should wear. They’ll know! And if they don’t know, they’ll probably ask you anyway.
  2. Complicated wedding dress codes can confuse your guests. Your Great Aunt Hattie won’t understand a Beach Chic dress code anyway. Remove the confusion by abolishing the dress code altogether.
  3. You just don’t care what your guests wear. You’re an unconventional bride having a non-traditional wedding. Perhaps it’s in your own backyard with a small group of friends. Or maybe you just want your guests to show up as how they usually look–and not a dressed up version. Don’t worry about a dress code!

As you can see, having a dress code depends on your unique wedding and what you expect from your guests. What will you do?

How to Pick a Wedding Date

Congratulations! You’re engaged! Now that you know you’re going to get married, you have one of the very first decisions you have to make: you have to pick a wedding date. You can’t book a location, hire a caterer or any of the other dozens of tasks on your wedding to-do list until you make this key decision.

How to Pick a Wedding Date

Image via MightyBoyBrian

But how do you pick a wedding date that works for you? After all, you don’t want to pick a date that ends up conflicting with other things, reducing the amount of guests that can attend. Read on for some essential steps for choosing a great wedding date.

  1. Choose your ideal season. You can narrow down your potential wedding dates by picking a season. Summer is the most common for weddings, which means you might have a harder time finding locations with availabilities. When you pick a season, consider the weather in your area for that time. You might want to avoid an outdoor wedding during hurricane season, for example.
  2. Skip a weekday wedding. In almost all cases, weekday weddings are a mistake. Your guests may have other obligations during this time, and there’s a good chance they’ll leave the reception early because they work the next day. Stick with the weekend instead.
  3. Avoid any holidays. As you’re narrowing down the search for the perfect wedding date, look at a calendar with all important holidays. If you pick a wedding date during a time when most people are out of town, like Labor Day, you’re going to have a limited number of RSVPs.
  4. Give yourself enough time to prepare. You’re excited. You want your big day to come now. Still, the wedding planning process can take a long time. It can be really difficult to plan a wedding in less than 6 months, and a year is an ideal time frame. Consider this when picking a date.
  5. Pick a date that means something to you. Perhaps it’s the first day you met or the anniversary of your first date. If you pick a date that has special meaning, that’ll make your big day even more special.
  6. Talk to the most important guests. No matter what happens, there’s a short list of people that you need to have at your wedding, like your parents and best friend. Before you finalize a date, make sure that your VIP list can make the wedding on that day.

What day will you choose?

5 Fun Wedding Dress Codes for a Creative Ceremony

Just because you’re getting married doesn’t mean you have to go with the traditional ceremony and reception. While a classic white wedding is good for some, it can be much too constricting for creative types. And, if you’re having a non-traditional wedding, why not have a unique wedding dress code for your guests?

If you’re looking for something different, read on for 5 fun wedding dress codes for your big day. Just list these on your wedding’s save-the-date or invites to let your guests know what to wear for the event.

Beach Chic Wedding Dress Code

Image via Mod Wedding

Getting married in the sand? Ask your guests to dress in Beach Chic. This is all about breathable fabrics and light, pale colors. The men could rock light, linen pants and the women could wear pale yellow sundresses. This is one of the few occasions where guests are allowed to wear white to the wedding.

Roaring Twenties Wedding Dress Code

Image via danani on Etsy

Whether inspired by The Great Gatsby or you’re just a fan of the era, a Roaring Twenties dress code could add some serious magic to your wedding. Let your guests know that anything 20s-inspired is welcome at the wedding, whether a beaded drop-waist flapper dress or a gangster-style suit.

Black and White Wedding Dress Code

Image via Annasinclair and Etsy

A Black and White dress code is an easy yet unique one to ask of guests. Most people have something black or white (or both!) in their wardrobe. Plus, it’s a chic dress code that will look great in photographs.

Costume Party Wedding Dress Code

Image via Jessicajessicax

A Costume Party dress code is a must if you’re having a Halloween or themed wedding. You could ask guests to come in any costume they’d like, or you could narrow the theme even more. Superhero or zombie wedding, anyone?

Cowboy Chic Wedding Dress Code

Image via Tammy McGary

Love the country or the ranch? Then go with a Cowboy Chic dress code. This can be similar to a traditional wedding dress code, but the girls can wear cowboy boots with their dresses and the guys can reach for the bolo tie. Cowboy hats welcome!

What unique dress code speaks to you the most?

5 Fun Outdoor Bridal Shower Themes

You’re in charge of planning the bridal shower. You may be the maid of honor, a responsible relative or even the bride herself. Either way, your main goal is to create a fun, unique and memorable bridal shower.

Outdoor Bridal Shower Themes

Rainbow Fortune Cookie Bridal Shower Favors from Elegant Gift Gallery

Sure, you could have a traditional brunch bridal shower theme, but what’s unique about that? If you’re having an outdoor bridal shower, check out some of these fun outdoor bridal shower themes.

  1. Yoga in the sun. Yoga is a great way to relax and stretch–and it’s even more fun out in the sunshine! Ask your guests to bring yoga mats and ask a yoga-knowledgeable friend (or hire a professional) to lead a group yoga session.
  2. A rustic camping trip. Some brides–and their friends–are all about camping. If you’re having a smaller bridal shower and you know all your guests would be into the idea, make it an overnight camping trip. This would also be a good idea for the bachelorette party.
  3. A s’more party. Just because you’re not going camping doesn’t mean you can’t have a bonfire with one of the funnest aspects of summer: s’mores! This is perfect for an outdoor bridal shower that starts in the late afternoon or evening.
  4. “Kids Again” party. Sometimes you just want to have the fun you had when you were a kid. For this bridal shower, set up sprinklers and slip-and-slides in your backyard. Ask guests to bring their bathing suits and a water pistol.
  5. Glamorous picnic party. Why not spread out some colorful quilts on the grass and have a picnic? Provide wine, cheese and fun salads for guests to munch on as you open presents. You can also give away edible bridal shower favors like the fortune cookies above as the picnic’s dessert.

What outdoor bridal shower themes sound the most fun to you?

5 People to Talk to About Your Wedding

5 People to Ask About Your Wedding

Image via Adam Lerner

Although you could get a lot of wedding inspiration and advice from magazines and blogs (hello!), these aren’t the only places to learn tips and tricks about your big day. If you want some real world advice, ask these five important people.

  1. Your most recently married friend. Step number one? Talk to someone who has experience with planning a wedding–especially someone who did it recently. They’ll give you advice and tips based on their own experiences. You’ll hopefully be able to avoid some pitfalls and learn from their mistakes.
  2. Your mom. Sometimes you just need a mom’s advice and input. This could also be a different mother-figure in your life, like an aunt, grandmother or even your fiance’s mom.
  3. A younger guest. Kids tend to see things that adults do not. If you’re curious about an aspect of your wedding, especially the reception, ask the opinion of a younger guest. They’ll especially be able to help you make sure the event is nonstop fun.
  4. Your marriage officiant.  Marriage officiants, like a priest or minister, have presided over so many weddings, they’ll have all the answers regarding the ceremony. Honestly, they’ve seen it all.
  5. Your fiance. Don’t forget: you’re a pair! If you’re unsure about a decision in the wedding planning process, ask your fiance. This is honestly the most important person to communicate with for your wedding, but is oft forgotten.

Who has been your favorite person to get advice from about your wedding?

10 Questions to Ask a Potential Wedding Photographer

They say that there are three things you shouldn’t skimp on when it comes to your wedding: the music, the food and the photographer. If you have all of those squared away, then you’re likely going to have a really good day.

Choosing a Potential Wedding Photographer

Image via Matus Kalisky

When it comes to the photographer, you’ll want to make sure that you’re choosing someone with not only a lot of experience, but the right experience for your unique wedding. Read on for 10 questions you should ask any potential wedding photographer while you’re looking for someone to hire.

  1. How long have you been a professional photographer? There are a lot of amateur photographers out there that hide their lack of experience behind a well-designed website. Weed these out by asking how long they’ve been a pro.
  2. Can you show me photos you’ve taken of weddings similar to mine? Just because a photographer has been doing it a long time, doesn’t mean they have experience with a beach wedding or a wooded forest wedding. Try to find a wedding photographer who has already done what you’re looking for.
  3. What are your wedding photography packages like? Do they charge by the hour? Do they have one package to choose from or several? Do they let you customize the package for your specific wedding?
  4. Will you be alone? Some wedding photographers work with an assistant. This way, they can get posed shots done quicker. Others have a secondary photographer doing candid wedding photos. Asking this question will give you a good idea of what to expect on your wedding day.
  5. Do you have a checklist to work from? There are a lot of different pictures to take on a wedding day–especially if you have a big family. If the wedding photographer has a checklist they work from, this can help prevent forgetting an important shot. It’s even better if they have one that you can add to in the weeks before the wedding.
  6. Do I get pictures or a photo album with this wedding package? What will you be getting once the wedding is over? Some wedding photographers only give a CD, DVD or USB drive full of the pictures. Others provide an album or canvas print with the package. If they don’t offer exactly what you’re looking for, do they provide it a la carte?
  7. Do I get the rights to my wedding pictures? Although you’re hiring the wedding photographer to capture you on your big day, they still hold the copyright to the photos. Still, most wedding photographers will have an option for you to have rights to do whatever you want with the pictures. If you choose that option, make sure you get it in writing–that way you have proof to show when you try to get pictures printed by a photo lab.
  8. Will you photograph my whole wedding? Some photographers only do parts of the wedding, like just the ceremony and an hour before and after. Others will only do the first few hours of the reception in addition to the ceremony. Make sure the photographer you choose can do what you’re looking for.
  9. Have you photographed a wedding of this size? Having an epic wedding with 1,000 guests? Better get a photographer that has experience handling that kind of crowd.
  10. Have you won any awards? While there are plenty of great photographers without awards, an award-winning photographer at least has some proof of their skills. It doesn’t hurt to ask!

If you ask these questions, you should end up with a great photographer for your wedding.

Should You See Each Other Before the Wedding?

A big question you’re going to ask yourself when planning your wedding: Should you see each other before the wedding?

Seeing Each Other Before the Wedding

Image via Sergio Vassio

While traditional weddings have always had the bride and groom see each other for the very first time as the bride steps down the aisle, that tradition has started to be challenged by modern brides. If you’ve ever wondered what the pros and cons are between each scenario, we’ve got you covered!

Today we’re answering a big question: Should you see each other before the wedding or wait until the ceremony.

4 Reasons to Wait Until the Ceremony

  1. You love tradition. Grooms have been seeing their brides for the first time at the ceremony for decades. It’s the traditional wedding rule. If you’re all about tradition and the classic wedding, then you should wait.
  2. You’re superstitious. Some say that it’s bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding–especially in her wedding dress. Don’t want to take any chances? Then you’ll just have to wait.
  3. You want to capture that first look at the alter. As Katherine Heigl’s character said in 27 Dresses, the best thing to watch is the groom’s reaction at the alter when he sees the bride for the very first time. Make sure your photographer captures that look!
  4. You need all the prep time you can get before the wedding. Who has time to see the groom when you have to worry about hair, makeup, nails, shoes, the dress?

What about beforehand?

4 Reasons to See Each Other Before the Wedding

  1. You don’t care about tradition. Sure, it’s fun to follow some of the rules, but you don’t mind if you choose cupcakes instead of a wedding cake or a pink dress instead of white. Why not see each other before the wedding, too?
  2. You’re not superstitious. You don’t believe in that old superstition.
  3. You want to get the bulk of the posed photography over with. When you see each other beforehand, you can get a lot of the wedding photography done before the ceremony. That way, once the ceremony is over, you won’t have to sit through a bunch of photos while you wait for your reception to start.
  4. You can get his “first look” reaction in a cooler setting. While it would be neat to capture his reaction as you walk down the aisle, you can still get that reaction outside of the church. Just let your photographer know when you’re going to see each other so she can be there camera-ready.

Which one will you choose?

5 Summer Wedding Colors to Add Vibrancy to Your Big Day

Summer is the season for weddings. With summer, you get the nice, hot, sunshiny weather without the danger of rain or premature snow that could occur in a spring or autumn wedding. But, if you’re having a summer wedding, the color theme you choose should match the season. After all, darker colors wouldn’t go with such a bright season.

So, what colors should you choose? Read on for inspirational summer wedding colors you’ll love.

Yellow Summer Wedding Colors

Image via: FestivitiesMN

Yellow is one of the most summery colors you could possibly find. This is an especially good choice if you’re having an outdoor wedding. Incorporate yellow into the flowers, centerpieces and even your wedding shoes.

Radiant Orchid Summer Wedding Color

Image via: Flower Factor

Radiant Orchid is not only a great summer wedding color, but it also happens to be the 2014 color of the year. The fuchsia/purple shade is easy to find in the form of bridesmaid dresses, flowers and tuxedo vests.

Teal Summer Wedding Color

Image via: Sweet Pea 0613

If the groom wants to skip a pink wedding color, go for teal instead. This color matches the summer sky and can make for some great outdoor wedding photos.

Coral Summer Wedding Color

Image via: Jen + Ashley Photography

Coral is a subtle alternative for the pink and peach lover. If you’re having a destination wedding or are saying your vows on a beach, then coral should be on the top of your list of wedding color choices.

Gray Summer Wedding Color

Image via: The Bride Ideal

Some people just don’t like super bright and vibrant colors. If you’d rather have a muted color palette for your summer wedding–as well as something super chic–go for gray. This can actually be a really beautiful color choice.

What color will you choose for your summer wedding?

5 Reasons Why You Should Give Out Wedding Favors

As you’re planning your wedding, there are a few (many, actually!) decisions that you have to make. While you’re planning the reception, one question will inevitably come up: “Should I Give Out Wedding Favors?”

Vintage Key Wedding Favor

Vintage Skeleton Key Bottle Opener Wedding Favor

While that answer could go either way, there are a few reasons why favors are a good choice. Read on for our list!

5 Reasons Why You Should Have Wedding Favors at the Reception

  1. You love tradition. Some brides are all about the traditions–whether it’s a white dress or a classic tiered wedding cake. If you’re one of those brides, then wedding favors are a must. Plus, in some regions, wedding favors are expected and it’s seen as bad etiquette not to have them.
  2. You appreciate your guests. Being a wedding guest is more than just showing up and eating the food. Guests have to get all dressed up (often having to buy a new outfit for the occasion) and set aside at least an entire day to attend your big day. Say thank you with a wedding favor!
  3. Your guests have done even more to deserve it. Sometimes your guests have to do a lot more than the regular chores. For instance, if you’re having a destination wedding, most or all of your guests have to deal with the complications and expense of travel. In this case, it would be bad form not to give a wedding favor.
  4. You love the idea of your guests having lasting memories of your wedding. You want to have an unforgettable wedding. While you’ll be left with photos, videos and gifts, why not give your guests something to remember the occasion as well?
  5. You want your guests to have fun. Some wedding favors are just plain fun. For instance, if you have a photo booth, your guests could take the resulting funny pictures home with them. When they get something they can use or eat, they’re likely to be much happier with it.

What do you think? What’s your biggest reason for providing wedding favors for guests?