Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Dealing with Difficult People

Planning a wedding means talking to lots of people. From family and friends to caterers and salespeople, you'll be interacting a lot. And while you can hope that all your communications will go smoothly, chances are you'll run into someone who is difficult to get along with or talk to. Maybe he'll have his own ideas or doesn't listen. Or maybe she comes off as aggressive or pushy. Regardless of who they are or why they are difficult, there are some things you can do to take control of the conversation:
1) Make a Change: If the difficult person in question is a potential vendor, even if he is the highest rated, most sought after wedding professional, you might want to reconsider your choice. Different people click with different personalities. If the two of you aren't meshing, it might not be a good working relationship. Keep in mind it is a relationship. You will be working with this individual up until your wedding day. If you don't like each other, you won't be enjoying yourself. Choose wedding vendors, who you find easy to communicate and work with. Period.
2) Listen: Your future mother-in-law loves sharing her thoughts on what your wedding should look like. It's driving you nuts and she's not the easiest person to confront. This might be one of those instances you decide to zip it up and simply listen. Whether it's a family member or wedding professional, there is nothing someone likes more than to be listened to. In an age of social media and multitasking, being heard is quite quickly becoming a lost art form. Give people a few minutes to say their spiel. Don't interrupt, interject, or question. Just actively listen to what they have to say. While it may not change their behavior, it may make them appreciate your thoughtfulness and time.
3) Find an Agreeable Point: Once you've done your listening, find something you can agree with. This doesn't mean you have to do it, you just have to find some truth in what's being said. For example, your trail make-up session is not what you expected. The make-up artist has her own ideas and gives you a dramatic look, as opposed to a more natural one you were hoping for. She tries to convince you to be bold and stand out from the normal. Instead of shutting her down completely, you could say, "it is different and I might try something like it another time, but for now let's see what lighter tones would look like." It's a much more friendly than saying "I don't like it" or "That's not what I asked for." Of course, always  be honest. Just think ahead of time on how to phrase things when dealing with challenging people.
4) Don't be Judgmental or Condescending: Let's say you totally disagree with everything someone is telling you. You don't like their ideas or want their help, but you can't fire them. Re-read points 2 and 3 and make sure to mind your manners. No one likes to be put down or judged. Whatever you do, don't name call, laugh, or embarrass anyone because of their opinions. You may be tired of hearing for the 100th time how purple is so last year, but that doesn't warrant eye rolling. Okay, well maybe a little and in private. But in front of someone difficult to deal with, always be the bigger person. It gives them less leverage to start an argument.  
5) Assert Yourself: Finally, just because you're listening, agreeing and being the bigger person, doesn't mean you don't get what you want. It's your wedding! This is a hard one, especially if you're the shy type. Assert your rights, hopes and dreams. If a less expensive shindig is what you and your fiancé want, make it known. Be gracious, but straightforward about it. Once you put all these points into action, dealing with a difficult person should be less challenging. But do keep in mind, that you can only control your behavior and side of things. If all else fails, know you've done your part and move on!

Friday, September 19, 2014

How to Make Packing for Your Destination Wedding One of the Things That Doesn't Stress You Out

Destination wedding planner extraordinaire and star of TLC's "Wedding Island," Sandy Malone, shares some very helpful information on packing for your destination wedding on today's blog!
Have you started packing for your destination wedding? Even if you’re getting married six or more months from now, you should have already started. No, I’m not kidding. Think of how stressed you get packing for a vacation or business trip at the last minute – this is YOUR BIG DAY. You should start packing the day that you start planning. 
First, you need to get out two boxes (eventually you’ll need more). Label one “things to pack” and label one “things to ship.” Find a nice safe place for them (not in the back of some closet where the cat has been known to divest herself of hair balls, please). 
Second, you should sit down and start an actual packing list for your wedding week. You’re probably clearer-headed the farther out you are from your wedding. Put EVERYTHING on that list and keep it going as you plan your wedding. Makeup, perfume, headpiece, back-up CDs in case the DJ screws up, wedding gown emergency kit (chalk, Shout wipes, diaper pins, etc.), extra razor blades. Put everything on there. You can always erase it later and laugh about what must have been going through your head when you put it on the list. 
Third, as you start acquiring things for your wedding, put them in the appropriate boxes. Yes, you’ll pack everything into suitcases and shipping boxes later. But start using those boxes from day one. You aren’t going to (or shouldn’t) wear the lipstick you’ve chosen until the day of. Into the box. Same with special scents (perfume, bath gel, body lotion, etc.) that you can’t wear til that weekend or you’ll spoil the whole point of making them the smells that remind your spouse of the day you married for the rest of your lives.  
When the time to pack and ship comes – you should REALLY start packing a month prior to your departure – almost everything will be sorted out exactly where it needs to go. That’s the time to do that drugstore run for the travel-sized things on your list, force your fiancé to get the new shoes (oh yes, your future spouse’s stuff going into these boxes too), and go through that packing list again to add and delete what’s become more important and totally unnecessary as your planning progressed.  
Tip: Tackle the “to be shipped” items six or more weeks out so that you can mail them the cheapest, slowest way possible to your destination (that advice DOES NOT APPLY to actual wedding gowns – dresses go via overnight delivery ONLY). 
In the month prior to your wedding, you may have a bridal shower (at least one) and a bachelorette party to attend, as well as finishing up any DIY things you couldn’t resist. It took three bridesmaids to help me finish dipping in chocolate the 700 homemade buckeye candies for my hometown reception in DC a week after my destination wedding. Although I’d hand-painted ornaments for destination guests as favors with plenty of lead time, each needed to be carefully wrapped, tied with ribbon and then packed carefully in shipping boxes with as much bubble wrap as content. These things take time. 
You are about to get married, and your head will be scrambled. If you follow my advice here, you won’t be hunting for the beautiful hair pins you purchased the weekend you got engaged eight months later when you actually need them. They’ll be in your “things to pack” box waiting for you. No stressing.
Sandy Malone is the star of TLC’s “Wedding Island” reality show and FOX’s “Bodas Increibles.” She has almost 500 weddings of destination wedding experienced and is a regular blogger for The Huffington Post and Brides. To learn more visit or and on Facebook at

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

You Said "Yes," But Can You Say "No?"

You found the guy! He popped the question. You said "Yes!" That was the easy part. Now that your wedding planning has started, you might find yourself saying "yes" to lots of things. Yes to the appointment, to the bridal shower and the bachelorette party. Saying "yes" is easy, it's saying "no" that's often the harder thing to do. And there are times when saying "no" is necessary.
Preparing for the big day is no simple task. It involves lots of work and decision making. Couple that with work, family, social activities and life in general, you may start feeling like you're being stretched thin. Chances are you're not going to have time to do everything that comes your way. Enter the power of "No."
There are times when you will and must say no to preserve your sanity, if not your health. Here are some guidelines to help you know when it's okay to say "No." If you're sick or feeling under the weather, you must take care of yourself and decline outings, get-togethers, or even a scheduled appointment if you can. Running around while you're feeling unwell will make you feel worse and likely hinder your recovery. Put yourself first. No guilt. Period.
Already overwhelmed and stressed out? Then don't add more responsibilities to your ever-growing to-do list. If you feel like your are taking on too much, then don't volunteer your services if you can't. Also, if a situation doesn't directly relate to you, you have the right to say no. For example, your friend is moving to a new apartment and asks you to help. While, under normal situations you might agree, now that you are super busy with your own issues, you can decline. Unless it's something important to you or mandatory, just say no. Adding more stress to your life at this busy time will likely be counterproductive.
So how do you say "No?" You might think, "How can I say no? They'll think I'm rude, mean, or inconsiderate." That may, in fact, be true. But what others think is not your problem. Your issue is how to say "no" in order to put your physical and mental health first, And for that, you must be honest. When it comes to turning people down, always be upfront with them. Tell them you're not feeling well, stressed out, or have too many other commitments. You can also tell them when you might have more time for them; like, after your honeymoon! If you still feel guilty, you might try asking someone else if they can pitch in. "I don't have time to volunteer for the holiday party this year, but I know someone who wants to be more involved and can help," would be a great way to turn someone down without leaving them empty-handed.
The key to saying "No" is saying it and then sticking to it. Don't get caught up in long explanations either. Keep it simple. It's hard initially, especially if you're used to always saying "Yes." But it's a powerful tool that will help you get more things accomplished and take better care of yourself.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Boudoir Photography: What Your Need to Know

Today we have an awesome guest post by photographer, Chelsea Lavere, of Persuasion Boudoir. Chelsea shares her insight  (not to mention her beautiful photos) into the world of boudoir photography and how  women can get the most out of it, while feeling comfortable.
Thanks to wedding blogs, boudoir photography has wonderfully been better communicated over recent years. Once unknown and stigmatized, it's finally seen and shown as what it really is: a beautiful art form that celebrates femininity, self-confidence, and womanhood for all women, shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and beauty.
And this art form has definitely been exceedingly popular in the wedding world as bridal boudoir! Because while it embraces a woman's confidence, bridal boudoir can make for one perfect gift for one's future spouse... though you set the bar high because that gift will be difficult to top in the years ahead!
Most women I'm honored to photograph are like me. They are a little bit on the shy side and see boudoir as a definite "out of my comfort zone" kind of thing. With good reason! It's not really easy getting down to your skivvies with someone you don't know very well.
So my main top piece of advice is always, always be comfortable with your photographer before you book a session. You want to feel completely at ease and have no inklings of doubt, and your photographer should be one who can calm your nerves and really help you feel gorgeous before the session even begins. Nerves and awkwardness are totally normal! But it's how the photographer handles those nerves and awkwardness that makes her job and investment invaluable.
Other key things to look for in a boudoir photographer is their portfolio. Do you like their style? Do you prefer sexy or romantic? Modern or classic? Edgy or delicate? There really is a photographer for everyone, and you'll know when you see photos which style you prefer.
Many women give permission to share their photos to help inspire other ladies thinking about a boudoir session, but they might not be on the photographer's website due to privacy. So if you don't see a lot featured publicly, send the photographer an email and ask to see a complete photo session that way you'll know exactly what you see is what you'll likely get.
I wholeheartedly believe that boudoir is such an incredible memory for any woman to experience no matter the reason for doing a session. And while women have many different purposes, the commonground is embracing a facet of beauty that she might not have ever known existed.
Chelsea LaVere is the boudoir photographer behind Persuasion Boudoir based out of Williamsburg, Virginia. Since 2010, she's been photographing women all over the state of Virginia and has been featured in Professional Photographer Magazine as well as various online publications. To learn more visit Persuasion Boudoir on Facebook at or on Twitter at and Google+ at

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Recognizing Red Flags in your Relationship

Did you read about the groom who allegedly faked his own death to avoid marrying his fiancé recently? You can read more about that here. Seems a bit drastic, no doubt. And while we don't know all the details, it certainly helps to address any potential anxiety, fears, or cold feet before the "I do." Being open and honest about your feelings ahead of time is the best way to start your relationship and is a critical component once you're married. How do you know if your relationship is in trouble? Here are some red flags to look out for.
1) He's Not Involved- This may not necessarily be a red flag, but can be. Some men aren't into the whole wedding planning thing, but most men enjoy at least some aspects of it. If your groom seems to not want to participate in anything wedding related, you may want to broach the subject with him. Not showing an interest or being involved in any of your wedding preparations could be a sign that he's not ready or certain of your upcoming nuptials.
2) He's Not the Same- If you begin seeing changes in your groom's character and he doesn't appear to be "the same" as when you were dating, be weary. Behavior or personality changes, like being more quiet, not socializing like he used to, or even having trouble at work or sleeping can mean something significant is bothering him. Best to find out what before you spend too much time, money, and effort planning for your wedding.
3) He's Always Busy- You used to be inseparable and all of the sudden your groom is too busy with work and other commitments to go out with you. Sure, you're busy too with all the wedding details, but making time for each other is key. If you don't seem to be spending enough time with each other, set aside a day to discuss your schedules. If your partner appears to have excuses for every day you'd like to have a date, call him out on it. Be upfront and express your concerns.
4) He's Apathetic- Personalities are different. Some people are introverts and other extroverts. But even if your groom is an introvert, he should be able to show some positive feelings about your engagement and wedding. If he appears apathetic about the whole thing, there is a problem. The two of you might be under stress but still should feel excited about the new phase in your relationship.
5) He's Become Abusive- Emotional, physical, or verbal abuse is never okay. If your partner has always been kind and gentle and is all of the sudden degrading you or abusive in some way, take a big step back. You might think, 'he's just under a lot of stress,' 'he's always been wonderful before,' or 'this is a just a one time thing.' Your partner may even tell you some of these things. Unfortunately, that's usually how abusive relationships start. Get out before you get hurt or too involved in what could be a highly dysfunctional or potentially dangerous relationship.
These 5 potential red flags are in no way a comprehensive list. It's a start. You know your partner. If there are other things that seem unusual or out of character, try to get a handle on it and talk it through. Remember that red flags can appear at any point in your relationship and the sooner you address them the better off you'll be.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Top 5 Tips on How to Use Uplights at your Wedding Venue

Today, DIY Uplighting is going to share their top 5 ways to use uplights at your venue. With plenty of ideas and photos to match, you'll want to read this one!
There is nothing worse than a bland wedding venue. Who wants to try to coordinate an awesome color schedule with wall decor that’s so 1980s? Instead of shelling out a fortune on a better venue or expensive and distracting decor, try turning off the lights and turning on the uplights! With a ton of custom color options and hundreds of ways to use them, lighting is some of the most versatile design choices you can make without spending tons of money. DIYing your uplighitng design has never been easier. Here are our top 5 tips on how to use uplights in your venue:

1. Drapery and lights

One of our favorite trends is combining soft and translucent fabrics with uplights. Simply drape the fabric on a wall or pillar and then place the light in front of the fabric. Shimmering or white fabrics glow for a dreamy and romantic feel. This look even compliments backdrops for ceremonies, picture locations, and head tables. And no worries about overheating-- modern uplights stay cool all night long!

2. Focal points and lights

Have a wall with a fabulous piece of artwork or large, dramatic pillars? Don’t let your focal point get washed out! Instead, highlight it by strategically placing the lighting under the item. If your focal point is high up or reaches to the ceiling, let your lights shine. They will hit the top in even the tallest building.

3. Color changing and combo lighting

Can’t decide on which light to use? Don’t! Instead, do what many brides have started doing: combine your lighting colors. This creates a funky and fun look that works amazingly when using complementary colors like purple and blues or turquoise and teal. But who says you have to be limited to two or three lights? Don’t stop with just a couple-- light up your venue in alternating lights for a festive party atmosphere that especially looks awesome during late night dance parties.

4. Color wash lighting

Who needs intrusive and/or unflattering lighting? Uplights can completely take over for typical venue lighting through color washing. Color washing is when the entire room is lit up in one or several colors. It gives the room a soft, colorful glow while still providing ample lighting for your guests to see. This type of lighting is perfect for those who want to create a certain feel or work with a dramatic theme like a “winter wonderland” or an ocean/beach theme.

5. Table lighting

Walls have all the fun, right? Wrong! Uplighting doesn’t have to be used just on walls, it can be placed under or behind tables for extra emphasis. We love this look for cake, sweetheart, and head tables as it draws the attention to that special space without being too much like a spotlight.
Whether you’re looking for a colorful look to match your theme or a way to hide little imperfections in your venue, uplights are a great choice for brides and planners alike. With its ability to transform and highlight, uplights can make any room into a great room.
DIYUplighting is a one-stop-shop for your wedding and event uplighting rental. Save hundreds by creating your own lighting design with our professional LED pan lights. Reserve your lights today at DIYUplighting and follow on Facebook and Twitter for daily inspiration.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

5 Ways Not to be an Overwhelmed Bride

So you're planning your wedding and it hits you. This is hard. How do you juggle planning the most eventful day in your life with work and everything else you do on a daily basis? You feel stressed out and the last thing you want to become is an overwhelmed bride. Don't worry. We've got five things you can do today to feel less overwhelmed:
1) Delegate: Sure, you think you can handle it all by yourself. It's been fun up until this point, right? While some of it is fun, trying to do it all is bound to stress you out to the max. You'll fare much better if you begin delegating specific tasks to certain people. You know who is involved or who you want to be involved with your wedding details. Start asking if they can pitch in with some of the smaller things you have to get done. Stuffing envelopes, anyone? Once you get some help, you'll start feeling the weight lifting off your bridal shoulders.
2) Stay Organized: When you think organization, you might think "uh, more work". And although initially it might take some effort getting yourself on task, in the long run, staying organized will help you focus better and stay on track. That means getting more crossed off on your to-do list. Definitely a key factor in feeling less overwhelmed.
3) Just Say No: While you're multitasking life and wedding planning, people may ask additional favors or requests of you. If that's the case and you are already feeling overwhelmed and have no interest, time, or ability to handle something else to do, say "no." It's okay to let others know that you are feeling overextended, if that's the case. You have a lot on your plate and adding more to it will just create more stress.
4) Schedule Accordingly: Don't overwhelm yourself by scheduling too much in one day or one week. Try spreading things out over the course of the week or weeks so you don't feel pressure to get everything done all at once. Having too many appointments in one day, for example, may make you feel like you're running on empty. Instead, pick one or two key things to get done each day or week. The benefits: Not only will you feel less overwhelmed, you're much more likely to accomplish those fewer tasks since it seems easier to manage.
5) Take a Break: Okay, you can't spare a minute in the day, right? Wrong. If you don't want to be an overwhelmed bride, take a break from the wedding planning. Even if it's a 5 minute walk around the block, getting out and clearing your head from all things wedding is important. Taking regular breaks will help you reduce stress, think clearer, and be happier overall.