Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Guest Blogger- Kaitlyn Morris: Getting the Best "Hair" for your Wedding Day

Our guest blogger today is hairstylist, Kaitlyn Morris, who services Richmond, Charlottesville, and the surrounding Virginia areas.
When you think about having the best hair for your wedding day, do you think about the style or the condition? Most would jump to style, but you should be thinking about the condition of your hair first. To have your style look the best on your special day, you need to have your hair in "tip top" shape. This is not something you rush two weeks before the wedding, it's something you plan 6-8 months before the wedding. Let's talk about a few things you can do to improve your hair's health.
Pregame: First, you need to think about how you will wear your hair. You can't go wrong with growing it out, but make sure you still trim the ends. With some styles you need the length to make it work. You can always cut it after the wedding. To keep your hair healthy for your upcoming wedding get trims every three months. Ask your stylist to cut a 1/2 inch off or one month's growth.  That’s the key to growing your hair and keeping it healthy.
Healthy Hair, Happy Bride: Think about what you put into your body. You are what you eat and so is your hair. Make sure to include some of these foods in your diet as you prepare for your big day: Salmon is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Dark green veggies are a good source of Vitamin C and A, so get as much as you can. And almonds are a good source of Zinc. Working these foods into your diet not only benefits your hair but also your skin. You will be glowing in no time!
Products, Products, Products: You know that feeling when you buy any off brand items? You somehow can always tell the difference from the name brand. Shampoo and conditioner are the same way. Go the professional route and buy products from a salon, since professional products are only guaranteed if they are sold in a salon. Your hair will thank you.
Have your hair colored about 1 1/2 to 2 weeks before the wedding. That gives your hair enough time to "settle" so it still looks fresh, and natural. I would recommend holding off on changing your hair dramatically until after the wedding. You might think you will love adding low-lights to your platinum hair, but if you have never done it before, don't take the chance. If you decide you don't like it and try lightening it back up, you risk damaging your hair. So wait and make a big change AFTER you are married.
You also don't have to just do treatments in the salon, do them at home as well.  Products like "It's a 10 Miracle Hair Mask" and "Pureology Hydracure Intense Moisture Masque" are two of my favorite hair treatments. These simple treatments will not even make your daily "getting ready" time longer. When you shower, put the mask on, shave your legs while it sets. Rinse it out when you're done and you're on your way to healthier hair! The more time you have to leave it in the better, but whatever time you spend in the shower once or twice a week will do just fine.
Trial and Trial Again: Have a trial. When you do, see if you can schedule it around a day you will be active, like going to a party or a night out with the girls. This way you can get a good idea of how it will hold up for the reception. Have pictures ready of hairstyles you are thinking of. It makes it easier on your stylist to know ahead of time what you are looking for. If you don't like the results, repeat. You need to have confidence in your hair choices for your wedding day, so it's one less thing to worry about.
Your Special Day: One last tip: If you can avoid washing your hair the day of, do so. The cleaner the hair is, the more curls and pins tend to slide out. We don't want your hair dirty, so "second day" hair will do and you will appreciate the end result much more. That’s it. Apply these steps for your wedding day and your hair will look fantastic!
Kaitlyn Morris is a hairstylist in Richmond, VA and services Richmond, Charlottesville, and the surrounding areas. She specializes in Bridal hair, prom and homecoming hair, and children's hair. She can be contacted by phone at (804) 839-6931 or at

Monday, November 25, 2013

Home for the Holidays

The holidays are a wonderful time of the year to share in traditions or create new ones. Where you spend them makes them all the more meaningful. Now that you're engaged, you may wonder where you will be celebrating this year and for years to come. Families celebrate holidays differently, so it's a good idea to talk to your fiance about his traditions and vice versa. Learning from each other about your past holiday experiences, what you enjoy about them, what you definitely want to keep doing, or what new traditions you would like to start practicing is an important conversation to have. It will help you understand each other's needs better and may also give you a clue as to where you might end up celebrating the holidays.
Both families will likely want you to visit during certain holidays. So how do you choose? In addition to knowing how each of you feel, try to understand each family, as well. Who you will spend various times of the year with will depend on geographic location, finances, work schedule, family and social commitments, and other factors. It can be challenging, but attempting to celebrate with both families at some point during the year will be appreciated respectively. If that's not possible, alternating visits yearly with each side for different holidays is another possibility. And yet another, may be inviting family to spend a holiday with you, as you and your future husband begin new traditions together. Mutually deciding on how and where you will celebrate is key to your holiday happiness. Explaining to your parents or future in-laws about your holiday plans is equally important. Let them know your reasoning and how important they are to you regardless of where you will be.  Plus, you can practically be in the same room via Skype or other video conferencing, send special gifts, or be creative in other ways to include family. Remember that with the right mindset and a bit of creativity, you can experience meaningful moments wherever you are.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Guest Blogger- My Hotel Wedding: 5 Reasons a Hotel Wedding will 'De-stress' Your Life

Our Guest blogger today is Lauren, from My Hotel Wedding, your one-stop site for seamless hotel wedding planning!
Here are the top 5 Reasons why a hotel wedding will de-stress your life:
1) Convenience - Hotel weddings bring everyone together in one place! Your guests only have to worry about finding their way to the hotel, where everything from the ceremony to the reception will take place. And to top it off, at the end of the night, no designated driver needed. Expecting a lot of out of towners? Choosing a centrally located hotel makes it easier for guests who may not be familiar with your wedding city to get around and sight see. AND who doesn’t like one big sleepover with their favorite family and friends? EXACTLY, we all do!
2) Hotel Staff - Everyone at a hotel wants to make your wedding day special, from the front desk to housekeeping to everyone in between. At the right hotel, they can make you feel like a VIP from the moment you step in the door, to your departure the following morning. Whether they send you special treats or upgrade your hotel room, there are tons of special touches that you only receive at a hotel wedding.
3) Steamer, toothpaste, sewing kit, no problem! – Hotels have EVERYTHING at their fingertips! Whether you forgot your toothpaste or your wedding dress is wrinkled, hotels can make magic happen. I once had a wedding at my hotel where a guest’s halter dress broke. No worries, I said, we have a seamstress on site! So we took a stroll to the ladies room and did some DIY on her dress, which lasted the whole night.
4) Transportation no more – No need to worry about hiring a bus to go from here to there and back again. With everything in one place, people only have to bring their dancing shoes!
5) Fun – Hotels are fun! No noise complaints from neighbors and most times you can party till midnight or later. At the right hotel for you, you’ll bond with your catering manager and the staff.  So it’s like hosting a big party with your family and friends, who are all working together to make your wedding day perfect.
See, weddings don’t have to be stressful. By picking the right hotel and team you’ll be able to kick back and truly enjoy your special day!
My Hotel Wedding is your one-stop site for seamless hotel wedding planning! For more information, visit their website at or contact Lauren at

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Bride and Groom Unite

Now that you're engaged, you will come to realize that everybody is about to start offering you advice. From where and when to get married to what to wear and who to hire, family and friends will have an opinion. If you are open to the many words of wisdom, great! Grab a pen and paper and start taking notes. At some point though, you may begin feeling overloaded with information. That's when things get a bit fuzzy and you're not sure whose advice to follow or why you decided to listen to everyone in the first place.
If you're starting to feel overwhelmed by all the well meaning suggestions, try not giving it too much attention. The next time someone offers you advice, thank them and change the conversation to something else you'd rather talk about. If they are persistent, offer your appreciation and let them know you have already taken care of it or will give their ideas some consideration, if that's the case. You can even let them know that, as it happens, today is your 'day off' from wedding planning talk. Everybody needs a break, right?!
Once you've made some wedding decisions, stick to them. Don't let someone's negative reaction get under your skin. This is when it's time to call in the cavalry, aka your groom. Presenting a united front with your groom gives you support and makes it harder for others to argue against. So if your best friend can't understand why you chose not to use her brother as a photographer, tell her you and your fiance looked at many options and after much discussion decided on someone else. Always show appreciation for their recommendations, but be firm once you've made a decision. No need for explanations either. Make sure your fiance is in the know and on the same page as you in case your friend decides to approach him on the matter too. The important point is that making an argument for your choices together is stronger than making one on your own. And for various reasons, sometimes hearing the decision from your other half makes the news easier to swallow and less of a sticking point.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Guest Blogger- Allison Williams: You'll Want Engagement Photos, Here's Why.

Our guest blogger today is Richmond, VA natural light photographer, Allison M. Williams.
You're freshly engaged! Congratulations! So, what now? What type of wedding do you want? Have you set a date? Have you started looking for the perfect dress? So many questions!! First, slow down and take some time with your fiancĂ© to dream a little and enjoy the new reality -- that soon you will be embarking on an exciting new adventure, together.
Now is the perfect time to have some engagement portraits done. There's nothing sweeter than fresh, new, exhilarating love. Pick your favorite spot -- that has special meaning to you as a couple. Perhaps the place you went on your first date, where he asked you to be his wife or a special place you've been meaning to visit together. It'll be something fun to do together before the wedding planning goes into full gear -- and there are many ways to use the photos throughout your personal 'wedding season.'
Save the date cards! If you plan on sending them, it's nice to showcase yourselves on your cards. It adds a personal touch and gives a warm, fuzzy feeling to the recipient -- making them all that much more excited to help you celebrate your wedding day!
Newspaper announcement! If you choose to include a couples picture in the paper, you'll have many favorites to choose from!
Framed gifts for the parents! Either at the time of the wedding, or a special occasion or holiday before your wedding, your parents and future in-laws would love to have prints to commemorate this time in your lives!
The program! Some couples choose to incorporate their photos into the cover of their program or a small image on the back if they offer a thank you to their wedding vendors, attendants and guests for helping make their special day so special!
Reception slide show or framed and featured in the reception hall! Some reception venues have a large screen or television and you could choose to incorporate your engagement photos (and also photos from childhood, if you like) and create a slideshow to play through all or part of your reception. Another option would be to frame and display the photos on a banquet table or as part of the centerpiece decor at your guest's tables.
Matted and framed 'guest book' alternative! Many couples are choosing a favorite engagement photo and making it the center of their 'guest book.' At the reception an oversized matte is in lieu of a guest book and guests can sign and leave well wished for the newlyweds all around the picture! It is then a great piece to put in your home!
Wedding favors! Some brides get creative with their favors! Sometimes small framed prints are given -- and sometimes wrappers with the bride and grooms face are made and wrapped around chocolate bars! The options are boundless!
Thank you cards! Often, brides want to include an actual wedding picture in their thank you notes, but sometimes they finish their cards before they get their wedding day images back from the photographer. Simply planning to use the engagement session photos can be helpful.
And, don't forget to display them in your home together!! Having your engagement session photos on the wall and on tabletops is a nice reminder of that magical, blissful time right after getting engaged -- the carefree time spent dreaming about your future together.
Allison Williams is a wife, mother and natural light photographer in Richmond, Virginia.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Setting the Date

It's the day you've longed for since before you can remember. It will be one of the most memorable occasions you celebrate. And now it's time to choose the perfect date for your wedding. If only it were that simple. At first glance, it might seem easy. Select the day that works best for you and your fiance, right? Think again. Your parents, siblings, future in-laws, extended family, friends and others will give you their input too. And what once was the best day ends up being anything but, because your Aunt Susie will be on a cruise, your future brother-in-law has another wedding, and your best friend is having a baby then. You get the idea.
Choosing a wedding date can be challenging, once you check in with everybody. So know right from the start that you cannot please everybody all of the time. Trying to will make you a very unhappy bride. There are bound to be people who wish you chose a different date or who won't be able to make it. Your job is to make sure the people who absolutely have to be there (i.e., they are in your wedding party, you couldn't imagine your wedding without, etc.), can be there.  Once you and your fiance pick a date, run it by your "must have guest list." If you're fortunate, there will be no conflicts of interest and you'll be good to go. If not, you may have to look at alternate dates and choose a runner up.
The hardest part ends up being communicating your choice date with an unhappy guest. Be honest, but empathetic. Inform them how you understand how disappointed they are, but the date you chose worked best for your wedding for XYZ reasons. You can also mention how you will miss having them there, but hope to be able to celebrate with them on future occasions. You might ask, if it's possible they make even part of the ceremony or reception. Whatever their response, at some point you need to let it go. Don't let guilt get in the way and bring you down. Once you've decided on a date, stick with it and move forward with planning your wedding.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Importance of Gratitude

It’s important for you and those around you that you find time to take a breather and be thankful for everything you have. Some people tend to focus on what they are lacking, instead of what they already possess. They focus on the “have-nots” in life. It can come in the form of statements like, “I don’t have enough money to pay for this wedding” or “I don’t have the energy to exercise today.” It can also manifest in the actions you do or don’t do. For example, you choose to binge on sugary comfort foods because you think you’ll never have the figure of your friend, who is sure to look stunning in her gown. In this case, you compare yourself to someone else and what they have, instead of focusing on your own unique qualities. If you constantly dwell on what you don’t have, you are more likely to feel sad or depressed. You are also less likely to attract what you need into your life because you are not looking for it, since your attention is elsewhere.
Being in a grateful state of mind, means shifting your thoughts to the things you do have. You can be thankful for the money you have to pay for most of what you want, for the energy to get through another day’s work, even though it may not have included exercise, or for the curves in your body that your fiancĂ© loves. Strive to keep these things in the forefront of your mind. It will prevent you from falling into the “have not” category. Developing an attitude of gratitude gently reminds you that there is always something to appreciate, be it large or small. And even in difficult situations, there is usually something to learn and grow from and therefore, be thankful for.
To help you achieve a gracious mindset, begin keeping a gratitude journal, where you can write down all the things you are thankful for daily. Or if that becomes too time consuming, simply list five things you are grateful for each day. I borrowed this practice from best selling author and coach, Cheryl Richardson. It's a quick, easy and uplifting practice. So, what are you grateful for today?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Guest Blogger- Rev. Phyllis Ann Min: Choosing an Officiant that Fits You

Our guest blogger today is Rev. Phyllis Ann Min, a non-denominational wedding officiant in Richmond, VA and serving the surrounding areas.
So you don’t belong to a church or have a clergy friend who can perform your ceremony… so who will do the honor?  Who will be a good match with your style, beliefs, or traditions and then be able to enhance your ceremony with their eloquent delivery?  Seems a little detective work is in order.
Choosing an officiant is a personal choice.  It does not need to be complicated if you know what you want in an officiant.  This person is participating with you at a very memorable time in your life and needs to be someone you feel comfortable with and connect with.  That is the bottom line!
There are several other features to assist your decision-making as to whom officiates.  It does not matter what size or type of ceremony you are planning: casual, themed, unorthodox, classic or traditional, indoors or out in nature. Your officiant is the key person who is to create a wonderful feeling and delivery of your meaningful ceremony.  If possible, interview a few officiants in person.  Meanwhile, examine what is important to you while considering these helpful key questions:
  • Do you feel comfortable with her/him in your initial meeting?  Let your intuition (gut feeling) guide you.
  • Does the officiant show interest in learning about you, who you are, and have a friendly nature?  Do they share things about themselves so you can see them as a person? Do you feel relaxed with them?  Are they a good listener?
  • Do you enjoy this person who will be performing your ceremony?  Do you like their humor?  Wit? Calmness?  Smile?
  • Is the officiant interested in meeting your parents/family? (It is proper for the officiant to be introduced to your parents at the rehearsal, especially if they never met.)  Can they interact well and socialize with the parents, family members, and friends? Is this officiator understanding and sensitive when it comes to religious customs and family issues?
  • Will you have some freedom or input in creating your ceremony with this officiant?  If you want something unique or non-traditional in your ceremony, can that officiant be adaptive, creative, and even helpful to you in expressing those ideas?
  • Will they let you write your own vows?  Include your favorite prayer or readings?  If personalizing the ceremony, will they offer choices/ideas of various elements for consideration to enrich your ceremony? Can you comfortably discuss your preference for a secular or non-secular ceremony?
  • Do they require pre-marital counseling?  If so, how do they work with couples to establish compatibility and self-awareness of one‘s behavior on pertinent issues for a successful marriage?
  • Does the officiant give you a sense of confidence in their knowledge and abilities in all aspects relating to the ceremony?  Do they demonstrate professionalism and sincerity?  Are they well organized and cover details?  Do you like their overall presentation?  Are they articulate?  Do they communicate well with you and others? Do you want a person who is experienced and can easily handle last minute changes?
  • Do they conduct the rehearsal efficiently in a relaxed, orderly manner? Are they clear on instructions or suggestions to make the rehearsal flow easily?
  • Does the officiant work well with musicians/DJ, photographers, and wedding planners?  Can the officiant offer such referrals if asked?
  • Does the officiant have a back-up in case of emergency?
  • Does the officiant have a sense of spirituality or sacredness that you respect?
Answering these questions will help you understand the qualities you are looking for in an officiant. And knowing what’s important to you, be it someone who exudes a feeling of enthusiasm, love, and joy or someone you feel a heart to heart connection with, will help you choose the one who will be standing in front of you on your wedding day. Best wishes!
For more information on Rev. Phyllis Ann Min, you may contact her by phone at (804) 353-9127 or by email at You can also visit her website or on Facebook at

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Honesty Speaking

Your mother hands you her wedding gown and says she would love for you to wear it down the aisle. She’s been saving it for this very day. You think, it’s a nice gesture, but so out of style! How do you be honest without making her feel bad?
“Honesty is the best policy,” or is it? Honesty is the ability to be frank with others and yourself. Being honest in a gentle, friendly manner works best. So you let your mother know you appreciate her offer and that the gown was beautiful on her. You, on the other hand, have a different taste and picture wearing a dress that’s XYZ. Just as she may have enjoyed choosing her dress, you want to have the same experience. Invite her along to share in these special moments. This is your wedding and you want to make decisions you are happy with. It’s also a joyous time so you don’t want to hurt anyone else’s feelings either. The best way to be honest is to relay information face to face. Emails or phone conversations can make it harder to get your message across. It can also lead to misinterpretation. When you talk to someone in person, you can see body language and emotions and tweak your conversation as you go. The opposite is also true. The other party gets to see your feelings and you can show them that their ideas are important to you, but may not suit your wishes at this time.
Being honest with yourself also means not giving into other people’s wishes just because you don’t want them to feel bad. Unless you see a greater advantage in sacrificing your own needs for someone else’s, don’t cheat yourself out of happiness. That means having the courage to let your florist know you were looking for something different if you’re not happy with the trial centerpieces. Or finding a new hair stylist if yours insists you’ll be happier wearing your hair down, when you have always dreamed of wearing it up. It’s not always easy being honest with someone else or yourself, especially if you’re thinking the other person is the expert so he’s probably right. Usually there is no right or wrong in these cases. It’s a matter of opinion. Find a way to work together to achieve a viable solution for all sides through honesty and integrity. And make sure to check in with yourself too and ask if this is what you honestly want.

Monday, November 4, 2013

So Your Fiance Doesn't Want to Talk Color Scheme, Now What?!

You got engaged, celebrated, and now it's time to get to work planning your wedding. Suddenly, as you dive in to your wedding preparations, you begin to feel as if you are doing most everything and your fiance is just not interested in helping. It may even feel like he doesn't care. So how do you get him more involved?
Not surprisingly, this situation comes up many times. In general, women are the ones who do a lot of the hard work when it comes to planning a wedding. It doesn't mean that your fiance doesn't care or isn't interested in the wedding details. Let's just call it part of nature. Some men enjoy being part of all the decision making and some men don't. So relax; it usually has little to do with your relationship with each other.
If it's truly making you feel bad, talk to him. Tell him how you feel and see what he says. If choosing flowers and picking out a color scheme is not his thing, then respect that. Share your desire to plan the wedding together, but show understanding if he's not interested in all the details. Ask him what parts he would like to be involved in and work on those together. Better he enjoy that time with you, then spend hours upset because he feels forced into doing something he'd rather not be doing. And just because your fiance may not be making some wedding decisions, doesn't mean you can't share your choices with him afterwards. Agree on a day during the week where you can update him on the progress you're making to create a special day for you both. This way, you can feel like you are planning together. Plus, if you made a wedding day decision he doesn't care for, your fiance might just realize the benefits of taking a more active role if he wants some say!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Creating a Wedding Day Mentality

It's here. The moment you've been waiting for: your wedding day. The excitement is in the air. Your venue looks beautiful, your dress fits perfectly, your hair and make-up leaves you glowing. It's exactly as you had hoped. Everything is going smoothly until....
You can fill in the blank with just about anything you can think of. Your centerpiece is missing, your gown tears while dancing, the best man doesn't show up, the flower girl doesn't quite make it down the aisle, extra guests you didn't plan for arrive unexpectedly, and the list goes on and on. You can't expect to plan for every possible thing that could go wrong, but you can decide how you want to respond. It's easy to get flustered when things don't go according to plan.  Practice ahead of time, how you want to feel and act on your wedding day. Ideally, you want to be calm, confident, and happy. That's hard to do if you're too concerned with little things that don't go as you planned. Make an effort to put your enjoyment at the forefront of your mind. Assign someone else, if you haven't already, to step in and take care of unexpected issues. Learn to laugh off minor setbacks and focus on your groom, the love surrounding you and the reason you're getting married in the first place. That is what's most important. Also, what you notice your guests might not. So refrain from putting your attention where you don't want it. Keep it centered on the happy and positive things and that's what your guests will remember.