The First 7 Steps to Planning a Wedding

October 22, 2020

 People spend much of their life dreaming about the perfect wedding. Whether it’s your first or your third, planning a wedding is both exciting and stressful. The average time to plan a wedding often depends on how complex your wedding is to be.

A simple wedding can as little as six months, but an extravagant wedding can take over a year. Regardless of the type of wedding, there are steps to planning a wedding that you need to tackle first.

We’ll examine these first seven steps, so you can correctly plan your wedding with as stress-free an environment as possible.

Celebrate Your Engagement

Your soon-to-be spouse just popped the question, and you’re newly engaged. It’s time to celebrate. Before you begin the wedding planning, plan a quick engagement party. It serves to celebrate your pending nuptials and get the most important players in the room.

You’re inviting friends and family, so you’ll have them all available, and they’re likely all excited about wedding planning. The event should take place about 45- to 60-days after the engagement and be both fun and recruit people to help plan.

You’re engaged, so enjoy it, and don’t forget to gush over the engagement ring and how amazing your fiancé is to everyone.

What’s Your Budget?

Everyone dreams of a fairy tale wedding with horse-drawn carriages and doves released as you leave the church. Sadly, this is possible for many people. Before you invite guests or start looking at dresses, you need to set your wedding budget.

You need to research the average costs of everything from the wedding venue to photographers. When you set your budget, don’t forget to add 10 to 20 percent for surprises. The cost of your wedding has many factors, from extravagance to where you live, but you can expect a minimum of $20,000 to $50,000.

There are ways to save money, such as having friends or family make decorations or do the wedding party hair, but some costs are inevitable. The budget is the most important step in planning a wedding because it impacts everything you do from there on out.

Set Up Your Guest Lists

The number of people coming to your wedding impacts the catering and costs of the wedding venue. The more people you have, the more expensive it’s going to be. The impact of your guest list also impacts the type of wedding you’re going to have.

simple church wedding is one thing, but a destination wedding in the tropics likely has close friends and family only. Don’t be afraid to not invite your second cousin that you haven’t spoken to in six years.

It’s your wedding, and you should invite who you want. Don’t be afraid to ruffle a few feathers. Close friends and family want to see you walk down the aisle, but extended family can live without it.

Create Your Bridal Party

They’re your closest friends and family, and you can’t wait to ask them to be a part of your wedding party. Often, the wedding party members help you plan the wedding and stand with you at the altar.

It’s a great honor to be a part of the wedding party, so ask them all to dinner or talk to each one individually to see if they’re able to join. Be careful of hurt feelings and unstable financial situations because, in addition to being a part of your party, they’re taking on a financial commitment as well.

The most important is your maid of honor, so choose wisely whether it’s your best friend of 20 years or your sister.

Steps to Planning a Wedding Include the Venue

Two places are important to choose for the wedding, the venue, and the reception hall. It could be as simple as your local church or a fantastical place that everyone loves to have their wedding.

You should contact them and see what dates are available. Don’t set a date before contacting the venue. The date may already be taken, so find out what dates are available and choose the one you like the most.

The venue should be a beautiful place that you can have your wedding as well as take pictures. Once you find the venue, the stress of wedding planning truly begins.

Time to Set the Date

The venue determines the date of your wedding, and everything after this revolves around that date. If your reception hall isn’t available on that date, then you need to find a new reception hall. The same goes for photographers, caterers, etc.

Some parts of the year are more popular than others, so keep in mind this could impact pricing. Expect to pay a premium for these popular times.

While you may need flexibility for your wedding date, don’t be forced into taking a date you don’t want. Don’t take a destination wedding during hurricane season because that’s the only date available for the venue.

Find Your Photographer

Your wedding day is a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence, so it needs to be documented properly. You’ll choose many vendors for your wedding, but none are more important than the photographer.

This person needs to document the day not only functionally but also artistically. They need to be creative and not miss anything. Extensively research your photographers and check their reviews.

You need to have a good relationship with your photographer, so if it doesn’t feel right, don’t choose that person. Don’t feel pressured into choosing a photographer because they make you feel like you must choose them.

Your Wedding Planning Has Begun

The steps to planning a wedding are complex, but these first seven can get your started. You still must find your dress, get the caterer and decide a million other decisions before the big day…no pressure.

If you want to learn more about the wedding planning process or more tips for planning a wedding, then please explore our site.

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The Ultimate Wedding Beauty Routine

October 17, 2020

 Every bride wants to look and feel fabulous at their wedding. Many brides start their pre-wedding beauty routine months before the big day. This can involve anything from advanced skincare treatments like chemical peels to teeth whitening sessions. Here is the ultimate wedding beauty routine to get you ready for your special day. 

Invest in teeth whitening treatments 

Yellow or stained teeth are a common issue caused by various substances including coffee, wine, or smoking tobacco products. Being unhappy with the appearance of your smile can have a huge impact on your self-image. It is important that you feel confident while smiling at your wedding, particularly when you will be having hundreds of wedding photographs taken on the day. Your wedding is the ideal time to brighten your smile with teeth whitening treatments. Most dental surgeries offering cosmetic teeth whitening that can lighten your teeth several shades in a single treatment. You can also find a huge selection of home whitening kits that are more affordable. However, you must follow the instructions closely and be aware of the potential risks of home whitening kits such as tooth sensitivity or discoloration. 

Address any skin issues 

All brides want to show off a radiant, glowing complexion on their wedding day. If you have any skin concerns, then you should address these and seek treatment as early as possible. There is now an impressive variety of treatments that can improve or resolve skin issues like acne, redness, or fine lines. Some of the most popular pre-wedding skin treatments include chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and derma fillers. These treatments can help you achieve a fresher and more youthful complexion. Don’t forget that following a good skincare routine will also help to improve the appearance of your skin before your big day. This should include cleansing, toning, and moisturizing your face twice a day. You should also enhance your skincare routine with additional products like serums and a quality eye cream. 

Find your wedding fragrance 

Wearing perfume can improve your mood and instantly make you feel more confident. If you don’t already have a signature perfume, then you can experiment with different scents and find the perfect wedding fragrance. Buying a perfume subscription box from Scent Magic is an excellent way to explore different fragrances and find a perfume that suits you. You can wear your wedding fragrance on special occasions to remind you and your husband of your special day. 

Nourish your locks  

Achieving beautiful luscious locks takes time, but there are dozens of ways to nourish your hair. Start doing a weekly hair mask to hydrate your hair and repair any damage. You can also visit your hairdresser and request nourishing treatments that will boost shine and reverse signs of heat damage. Keep in mind that your diet will also play a role in the appearance of your hair. Some of the best foods for healthy hair include berries, avocados, oily fish, and nuts. You can also take a daily supplement to ensure that you are getting all of the nutrients you need to support healthy hair, skin, and nails. 

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Meal Planning Monday

October 12, 2020

Another week, another menu. 

Stop in the comments below and tell me what you're cooking this week! I need some ideas. 

Monday | BBQ Turkey Hash

Tuesday | Bacon Cheese & Cauliflower Casserole with Grilled Chicken

Wednesday | Sam's Club Knock off Chick-Fil-A Nuggets & fries

Thursday | South of the Border Chicken Casserole 

Friday | leftovers

Saturday | Eating Out

Sunday | Trader Joe's Meal

Meal options outside of dinner for myself...

Orgain Protein Shake
Atkins Granola Protein Bar
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5 Tips for Planning a Family Day Out

October 6, 2020

It’s important to spend time together as a family, whether it’s designating every Thursday night as a family movie night or having a Saturday morning brunch together. Another great way to spend quality time with your nearest and dearest is packing up the car and heading out for the day. There are numerous day excursions you can do together as a family, from theme parks to hiking trails, but whatever you decide it’s important to prepare so you can all enjoy the day with minimal stress. Here are 5 useful tips to help you plan your next family day out. 

1. Distance 

A day out shouldn’t require a 4-hour drive to reach your destination, so be reasonable when selecting what you do together as a family. Not only is a long drive hard on the driver, but kids can get restless, especially if they are young. The last thing you want is being repeatedly asked ‘are we there yet?’ and moans of boredom or asking to stop for a break every 30 minutes. Limit your travel time to no more than a 2-hour drive to make the most of your day and keep everyone happy. 

2.  Make Sure There’s Something for Everyone 

Another challenge when planning a family day out is to make sure that everyone will enjoy themselves. For example, if you have teenagers and younger children with you, is there enough to keep both entertained? Perhaps a theme park would be a good idea in this scenario? If you’re taking grandparents or elderly relatives with you on your trip, make sure your destination can cater to any mobility restrictions or other potential issues that might arise with caring for senior citizens. 

3.  Keeping Your Belongings Safe 

No one wants to go on a lovely day out only to find their wallets or phones have been lost or stolen. To keep your belongings safe, make sure you’re keeping any valuables out of sight, and if you have phones with you, make sure you have bought a phone case to protect it. You can find a wonderful range of phone cases at; some are designed to be worn across your body which is ideal for hiking trips or other activities where you might want to travel light. 

4.  Take a Picnic 

Eating out with the family is always a nice treat, but it can get expensive. If the weather is nice, or there is sheltered seating somewhere at your destination, consider taking a picnic with you to enjoy for lunch. You could pack up all your favorite treats and snacks and perhaps even enjoy some baking together before you go on your trip. It’s a great way to reduce costs and get rid of any leftover food that might be sitting in your fridge. 

5. Entertainment for the Journey 

As mentioned above, younger children can get restless on journeys, so help keep them entertained by playing games like I Spy or the License Plate Game when you travel. Alternatively, consider downloading an audiobook you can all listen to together in the car or creating a fun family playlist for the occasion. Spending time with your family is important. Make sure you’re getting the most out of your next family day out by following these useful tips.
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The End of the Baby Gear Phase

October 2, 2020

 When the baby gear phase is coming to a close, what do you do? 

Save it just in case? Keep only your favorite items? Or do you toss it all? 

I've really struggled with what to do with our gear. For the longest time we planned to have a third child, but with the unexpected business of this new phase of life I just can't imagine toting a 3rd person around. So we've called it quits, two kids it is. Now... how, when, who, and where do I get rid of these baby items. 

Tell me in the comments:: How did you know you were at the end of the baby gear phase of life? 

I decided we had to find a person to donate the clothing to, and I sold our more expensive gear. 

After being giving so much clothing by friends, I just can't phantom donating to Goodwill. I want one single mother to get all of these stuff and for free. There is only one issue... all of my friends have been having girls. 

Many of you know I've been writing for City Moms since I was in Louisiana, so I took to the Birmingham site to ask if any mamas needed clothing. That managed to off load all of my 12-18 month clothing. 

But I still had newborn to 9 months looming around the house. (FYI that is what is in the bags in the photo above. 😲)

Many areas have a local moms Facebook group, Birmingham and Lafayette certainly do. So I hopped on there to offer up my remaining items. Lucky for me I had a taker in no time and found a new mom who would appreciate the multiple bags of baby clothing coming her way. 

Success! I got rid of it all without ever having to worry about it going out into the vortex of donation centers. 

Oh, those big items? I sold them for about half of what I paid for them on Facebook Marketplace. I find Marketplace sells quick if something is priced right, and I feel more comfortable there than on Craigslist. 

Funny story though...

I was shocked when Harrison and I piled into the car after school one day with the mission of delivering all of this clothing... he was furious that I was getting rid of it. 

When he realized what was happening the complaint out of his mouth was, "But what is my baby going to where? Where is my baby going to sleep?" 

Umm... I honestly never thought I'd have to prep him and say we weren't having any more kids. So we had a talk, and he still isn't all that happy with me. He wanted a third, mainly to replace Elliot and hope for a nicer baby. 🤦‍♀️

Tell me friends, who or where did you donate your clothing to? Friends? Or did you brave a consignment shop and sell it all? 

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