Weddings Amidst A Global Pandemic

I’m back after a much-needed break for a few months. A lot has changed during this time, including the beginning of a global pandemic! As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed, and continues to change, every single industry in unique ways. The wedding industry tops the list. It’s heartbreaking, knowing that couples who have planned their big day for years have had to make abrupt changes to their vision just so they could still get married. While others have made the hard choice to reschedule or cancel altogether. In a way, it’s simplified weddings and forced couples to focus on what matters: the two of them, vows, and those absolutely closest to them. It’s no longer about whether or not your third cousin needs to be invited or if the DJ can amp up a party.

I know, however, that simple doesn’t mean easy. I’ve seen a lot of creative ideas thus far and am looking forward to seeing how more couples navigate this time.

  1. Video streaming services allow for couples to bring their big day live to their loved ones. Consideration: Be thoughtful with the platform that you choose since some require logins that your guests may not have.
  2. Drive-by weddings are the new drive-by birthday parties. Allow guests to drive by when you and your spouse exist the ceremony space. The most creative guests might decorate their cars with balloons or throw rose petals out of the window. Consideration: This will work for some locations and/or sizes of guest lists. If you plan to be married in a tight urban or residential area then it may not work.
  3. If your wedding is further out (6+ months), don’t make any hasty changes. While it’s important to research specific policies to postpone or cancel, things will continue to change. If you move too quickly to make changes then you might need to adapt yet again at a later date. Consideration: Reach out to all of your vendors to find out what their cancellation policies are and specific time frames to keep in mind. Set a reminder on your calendar so you know when these dates are coming up.
  4. Even if you host a small event, you will still need to remain cautious and that might require some additional creativity. Keep an eye on your local news and pay attention to guidelines like these from the CDC on how to safely host an event. Consideration: Try to be flexible with your wedding vision. While having wedding rows that are 6-feet apart or signs on extra hand-sanitizer at the food stations weren’t likely what you first envisioned, it could be worth it if it still allows you to have an in-person event during the age of the coronavirus.
  5. You may have found that wedding planning was already getting really complicated and becoming much bigger than you had hoped. This could be your way of making your day just about you two and the love that you share. Elopement-like weddings are at an all-time high and could be done in exotic or beautiful places within driving distance. As long as you have someone to marry you and an epic photographer, this could end up being something really special. Consideration: Before you go this route, both you and your spouse-to-be need to make a list of the people who you believe HAVE to be at your wedding. This could change whether or not it’s feasible something this small. If it’s important for you to be married, you could also do something super-small now and then re-do your I do’s when things settle down.

I’m sorry for the bride and groom’s who have to quickly change their wedding logistics but have been encouraged by the resilience and openness displayed by many engaged couples during this time. Make the best of it and just know that these will make for great stories in the future! I mean, who else can say that they were married during a global pandemic?

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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Wedding Planning Tips from Real Bride Lauren

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Today I want you to meet Lauren Rote Youash, a newlywed, one year as of November,  who found a brand new life passion when she was going through the wedding planning process. (Sound familiar? The same thing happened to me!) Like myself, Lauren continues to share her own tips from her big day. I think that you’ll find that her perspective is unique, tips are incredibly helpful, and it’s all tied together with her beautiful vision and exquisite level of taste.Lauren_And_Edmond_1782-1.jpg

  1. Hi, Lauren! I know you have a new-found passion for weddings, what was so special about the wedding planning process that gave you the desire to create wedding content for other brides? This is a great question. I definitely didn’t plan on the social growth that occurred after my wedding day. I started to receive messages from other brides at all different stages of the planning process. And I was often asked the same question over and over, so something just clicked in my mind. If brides are seeking my advice, I want to give it to them. For me, being able to play even the smallest role in a brides decision making for one of the greatest days of her life, is truly the greatest joy.
  2. What was the best part of your personal wedding planning process? Ah this is so hard! I loved so much of it. Designing our invitations was really fun for me. We worked with a custom invitation designer who really brought my vision to life. Choosing the cardstock, colors, fonts, etc. was so much. I really got to be creative and imagine my guests opening each invitation and thinking, “wow, this is stunning.” At least that’s what I hope they said! I also really enjoyed planning the personal touches to the event; napkins (“I been drankin”), bar decals (Drunk in Love & Bad & Boozy), petal toss (It just got real). I wanted to bring our sense of
    humor and personality to our wedding. Guests LOVED it!
  3. Do you have any regrets on how you handled wedding planning? If you could do something over, what would it be? Stress less ;). As if that’s possible. Overall I actually was really organized, and I managed to find a wedding planner that was just as type A as me. However, the weeks leading up to our wedding I was definitely stressed. Mostly about the weather. Even though we got married in Los Angeles, November can still be tricky. 6 days before our wedding, it said it was going to rain. Cue the panic, the tears, and the stress breakouts. But hey, it didn’t rain. All that stress was for nothing. Ultimately though if it still said rain the day before the wedding, we would have had a backup plan. I think as long as brides really plan ahead (meaning 1 year+) and organize what needs to be done each month, the process can be really seamless.
  4. Do you have any tips for events leading up to the big day like showers, bachelorette party or rehearsal dinner? I chose not to have a bridal shower. This concept seemed really old school to me, and the thought of all the women in my life handing me unnecessary gifts was daunting. Of course my family tried to persuade me to have one, but I held my ground. The bachelorette party should be nothing but FUN. Don’t get worried about the friends who don’t all know each other. We’re all big girls. I think a lot of brides stress out about conjoining friend groups, understandably. But, try to remember you don’t need to play host and worry about making everyone happy. The girls will play nice. They are all there for the same reason, to celebrate YOU. I even had friends that didn’t know each other before my bachelorette, and hit it off that weekend, and stayed talking long after! I love it!
  5. What was your experience like when planning the details of the wedding ceremony? Where did you go for inspiration for all of the details? I studied wedding videos on YouTube for weeks. I quickly learned what I liked and what I didn’t like. I always knew I wanted a short ceremony that was really personal. This is why we chose to have a friend marry us, and why we wrote our own vows. The ceremony was a whole 20 minutes of laughing, crying, and more laughing. It took some time to figure out what songs I wanted for the ceremony (processional, bridal, and recessional). I spent hours looking for the perfect songs. I think I stumbled across Daniel Jang on Instagram. My bridal party walked down to his cover of “All Of Me”. The song I walked down the aisle to was Hailey Reinhart’s cover of “Can’t Help Falling in Love”. And our recessional song was “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by Stevie Wonder.Lauren_And_Edmond_1356
  6. How about planning the reception? What was your theme and can you tell me more about the incredible lights?! Our wedding planner really helped in planning the reception timeline; when to start the speeches, first dances, cake cutting etc. There is a method to the madness. I knew I wanted our reception to be magical & romantic. So of course, LOTS of candles & flowers. I found a photo of similar lighting set up on Pinterest. Lauren Rote YouashI brought the photo to my Rental vendor and he said he could do it! I couldn’t believe it. The lights were above and beyond our expectations. I pulled from both Pinterest and Instagram for reception inspo. I made a public Pinterest board of my bridal inspiration for anyone to check out.
  7. Do you have tips for working with wedding vendors? What about working with creative wedding vendors like photo and video, in particular? Yes. This applies to all vendors – be as specific as you can. You have to remember, these guys have done hundreds, maybe thousands of weddings. Instill your trust in them, but also be as precise as you can. Bring photos, drawings, any kind of examples as you can so it’s crystal clear what you want. Most vendors will appreciate this because it usually makes their job easier! Keep the guessing game out of it. For photography, make a shot list. And if there are photos that you know you want to recreate on your wedding, send them to your photographer in advance! Same goes for video. If there are YouTube videos that you love parts of, send them to your videographer in advance so he/she understands what shots you love, and how you like your videos edited.
  8. Now looking back, is there a wedding planning detail that brides often overlook, but shouldn’t? Yes. I think brides often overlook lighting. I recently did a post on this. The post is pretty specific to brides who are getting married outdoors, but the lighting is still, if not more important indoors. Understanding where the sun sets, what time it sets, and where shadows will be during your ceremony can really make or break your wedding photos.
  9. What’s your top tip for how to keep the wedding planning process focused on you and your future spouse so that the final outcome is a reflection of your relationship? Ah. I love this question. My best advice is to be strong. I know some parents can be very hands on, and insert themselves as it’s their own wedding. There is always going to be some give and take, but the best thing you can do is be honest with what you want and what you DON’T want. This applies to your parents, vendors, and your planner. Be sure to play with personal details where you can, like signage, napkins, songs, pictures etc. Writing your own vows is a great way to personalize the ceremony- adding those inside jokes only you and your spouse know. Ultimately, stay strong and be decisive.

Vendor Love:

Venue: Hummingbird Nest Ranch
Planning: Encore Event & Design
Photographer: Jordan Voth
Videographer: Rayne Films
DJ: Vox Djs
Catering: Contemporary Catering
Florals: Unique Floral Designs
Rentals: A Rental Connection
Dress: Galia Lahav

Lauren, thank you so much for sharing your wedding experiences with me! For any of my readers that are interested in learning more of her tips, visit her website at www.allsherote.com or follow her www.instagram.com/lauren_rote (…you will NOT be dissapointed!)

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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What I Didn’t Know About Marriage

6 years ago today, we got engaged! What I knew at that time: I wanted to be with him for the rest of my life and he would be a great husband. He would protect me and make me laugh. He would provide for me and teach me new things. He would take me out on dates and on exotic trips. I didn’t fully know what to expect, but I was right about these things.

What I didn’t know at the time: 

    Marriage is truly a forever-thing, and that means that it’s not like a Hallmark channel movie where romance is layered into every scenario. When you’re dating, there’s enough separation between the two of you to amplify the romantic feelings and situations. Think about it: when you’re dating, you might be planning to go on a date on Friday night. You get through the work day and are excited about what’s to come, thinking about what you will wear. He sends a text message with an emoji saying that he’s excited, too. He picks you up and then pays for dinner at the end of the night. Fast forward to when you’re married; you both wake up together and start your individual morning routines. You probably check in at least once during the day about pets or finances. And then you are home together doing your individual ‘relaxation’ routines post-work, pick up the dirty socks, before you get dressed to go out on a date. You ride there together and pay from your shared bank account before you come home together. While things can still be romantic, it’s in a different (yet still very comforting) way. 
    I always heard that learning to compromise was a big part of marriage but I didn’t fully understand what that meant. This isn’t about who is going to do the dishes or how you will share your groceries. It’s about getting used to each others habits, families, and cultures, and knowing that they come to you with an entire life that was before you. They are shaped by their past, they saw examples of compromise, life and relationship norms, from people around them, and their view on relationships is likely very different from what you once knew.
    News flash: people change! Marriage will change you simply because life changes you. It can be for the best or in negative ways and will happen to you both so it’s important to keep each other accountable. Think about it…if you were the same person 5, 10, 50 years into marriage, does that mean that you are growing? No. As individuals change, so will the relationship, and that’s ok!
    It’s not as much that marriage is hard but that life is hard, and marriage means there are DOUBLE the joys or the challenges. While one might be on the highest high, the other could be in the deepest valley. You then share the load and support each other in the best way you know how.  

Marriage is a beautiful thing and I am thankful for my life partner. I wanted ‘the ring’ so bad and am thankful that he got down on one knee 6 years ago. There was so much hope and anticipation leading up to this day and it then allowed me to have one year and two months planning for the very best day of my life. 

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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New Seasons Bring New Wedding Inspiration

 

As we are heading into fall season- which will just as quickly become winter- there is a dose of new wedding inspiration that comes to life. No, you don’t have to have maroon bridesmaids dresses for fall, or a blue and white winter wonderland theme. There is so much more that you can do to incorporate the season into your wedding.

Think about these things:

CLOTHING can make your look feel relevant. Bridesmaids getting ready in flannel button ups or pjs? Yes, please. And for the bride, some of the classiest brides that I have seen are wearing a faux fur shrug or carrying a muff (instead of a bouquet.) Grooms can really step up their game with a maroon and black tux or navy separates. You could also both stay warm with matching monogrammed or customized leather/jean jackets.

FOOD is a great way to tie in seasonal details. For fall, you could serve pumpkin pie at the reception or have a candy bar with candy corn. For winter, have a hot chocolate bar or serve peppermint tea/liquor. And don’t forget about your cake flavor and design—incorporate the season into the color, style, and even your cake topper.

DECOR is a given, but don’t feel like it needs to be too literal. Think beyond colors. Use textures like soft velvet or glam feathers. Patterns like leaves or snowflakes can also bring the season to life. And if you’re showcasing photos of you two (like from an engagement shoot), make sure to plan ahead and take some seasonally-relevant photos together. For example, even if you’re doing a spring shoot, you could bring some scarves or blankets for a few extra shots to share while at the big day.

FLOWERS that grow successfully year-round or specifically in this part of the calendar year will be a lot easier to obtain. (Do this research before you dream up your flower details! Here’s a great link from The Knot. According to their guide, Chrysanthemums peak in fall and the Calla Lily can be a good flower choice for Winter, for example.)

FAVORS can help send your guests home with a small piece of the season. From s’more kits, mittens, to snow globes, you could do some really fun things with favors.

Lastly, know that you don’t have to incorporate any seasonal components if you don’t want to. If you’ve had a vision of what you want in your mind and it doesn’t completely match the time of year, do it anyways. Pastel in November, why not? Hot apple cider in spring? If you want. Don’t force yourself into a box that is bound by the calendar, but know that you can still use the time of year to your advantage.

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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Expectation Setting When Planning Your Wedding

Once you have the shiny ring on your finger is when you need to step back and realistically ask yourself and your future spouse about expectations for the big day. The reality is that your wedding day will not meet your expectations. In many, and likely unexpected ways, it will likely exceed your expectations. In other ways, it will not meet the details of the image that you have made up in your mind.

Leading up to the big day, here are a few times that wedding planning did NOT meet my expectations.

  • Once I got engaged, I knew that planning the wedding would become a priority in my life. But I got a quick and very harsh reality check when I realized that other life priorities would still be important, and unexpected hard challenges might still come my way. Life doesn’t stop or become more smooth just because you’re engaged. My ask to you: know that juggling these priorities is a dry run for what life will be after you are wed. When two become one (even from the engagement) means there will be double the joys and double the sorrows. Prepare for that earlier and try your best to welcome what comes your way.
  • After I selected my wedding gown, I came back 8 months later for my first fitting. I thought it would fit better than when I first picked it out and would only take a few alterations to make it right. Wrong. It felt like it almost got worse than the sample gown. It took two other fittings to make it right. It wasn’t a big issue, but it definitely deflated the emotions from my first fitting after dreaming about it all of those months. My ask to you: be patient with the vision that you have for the big day. Whether it be your dress fitting or trimming down before the wedding, it will all come together beautifully.
  • I had three women in my bridal party but only two attended the wedding. A longtime friend let me down leading up to the big day and on the day itself. My expectation was that having a small bridal party with my closest would be a smooth experience, but it blew up and brought a lot of unwanted drama. It ended up working out for the best because the people that genuinely wanted me happy were standing next to me, but it was something that I wish that I could do over. My ask to you: when you choose your ‘team bride’ ask yourself if it’s someone that will be by your side for life before you invite them to join you to be in all of your photos. If there’s someone that you’re on the fence with, trust your gut.

My hopes are that hearing about my experiences, you might benefit when you’re setting your own expectations. It doesn’t mean that you won’t be happy because you will be over the moon, but sometimes a mental reset of what you might expect can be helpful!

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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