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Friday, May 29, 2009

Engagement Photos - love 'em or hate 'em?

Do you ever wonder why people spend money on professional engagement photos?

We certainly do!

These engagement photos are yet another modern day wedding trend appearing on the scene in recent years. Unlike the rediscovery of peace sign necklaces and neon colored nail polish, this trend seems to be a new frontier. We have all seen Facebook pages laden with black and white photos of a couple skipping through a beautiful park scene or frolicking on a trendy NYC street.

The photographer who suggested taking these photos initially must be the superhero amongst the photography industry. Some genius figured out yet another way to make money off of the bride and groom even before overcharging them for duplicate albums and extra 8 x 10’s for their grandparents.

Where do our readers stand on the engagement photo debate?

Are these pictures imperative for the success of the wedding?
Are they a waste of time?

We could argue both sides of the equation.

On one hand...having great pictures that are more casual than the ultra posed pictures from the wedding may be nice later in life and black and white photos are great for framing in your home. It is a nice opportunity to get to know your photographer before wedding day madness. It is a good idea to become comfortable in front of the lens pre-wedding day and it is important to decide which side of your face holds the light better. Also, it's another excuse to make you fiancé do ridiculous things like holding you in the air Dirty Dancing style. Of course he MUST do it because its part of your picture perfect princess wedding!

On the other hand….do your friends really want to start looking through 200 pictures of you before you have even picked a wedding date? Like constant Facebook status updates, is it simply another self indulgent way of trying to get attention? Take the pictures, we can't stop you, but please don’t post so many albums on Facebook. One or two pictures is ok. We love you, but seeing a photo of your fiancĂ© pinning you against a wall with a seductive stare freaks us out a bit. Just like one or two pictures of a pregnant belly is ok, but we don't need albums upon albums. Again, a little freaky.

We leave this one up to you. No matter what side of the debate you’re on, it is a given that you will come across these photos in the upcoming months.
Check out the related discussion on

Monday, May 25, 2009

Wedding Vendors - Important Decisions!

Don't Make a Decision You Might Regret...

Weddings are full of important decisions. Venues, bands, flowers, caterers, jewelers, invitations, photographers, bridal party gifts – there are endless decisions to be made. Bridelines wants to help our brides make these important decisions.

We are asking all married ladies, vendors, wedding planners or just girls who know about this planning stuff to help out all those ladies in the midst of wedding planning. Give us your recommendations.

Tell us the vendors you used and loved!

Please list name (so brides can Google) and website (if available). Also, please list the city and state where the vendor is located. Although spending habits differ by location, giving some information on price point is always helpful.

Budget Friendly- $
Middle Ground - $$
On the Higher End - $$$

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wedding Guests: Who Gets a Plus 1?

Whether to invite friends with a plus 1 can become a very uncomfortable situation.

As the bride/groom, you are trying to manage costs wherever you can and inviting your single friend with a date usually doesn’t take precedent over adding extra dessert (although maybe it should because one eats the dessert). There are no set rules when it comes to the plus 1 issue, but there are a variety of situations that should be considered.

Regardless, you are bound to have one friend that gets upset, so when this happens, remember Bridelines told you so.

If you are a bride/groom on a budget, you may want to make a rule that you are only inviting guests with dates who are married, engaged or you may want to stretch it to people living together.

Usually, brides/grooms invite those with dates who have a “serious” significant others. Serious, however, can be as difficult to interpret as Paula Abdul's American Idol comments. We all know those girls who think they have a boyfriend when they really don’t. Just because he writes you cute texts doesn't mean he is your boyfriend! If a guy is going to get awkward when you ask him to come to the wedding, you aren’t serious and maybe this is your wakeup call to move on.

Some very generous brides invite their whole bridal party with dates or invite many of their single friends with dates. It is necessary to invite a friend with a date when she is the only single friend in a group. Or in the case of a New Years Eve wedding, everyone should have the option to bring a date - this we know from personal experience! We think the best thing to do is to tell your close single friends that if they have someone they want to bring and have been dating, to inform you. This does not mean single girls should go on a man-hunt to find a date and please don’t hire a escort.

All the Single Ladies:
Remember this isn’t sorority formal. Dates aren’t necessary. Bringing someone (even when he is your serious boyfriend) requires you to be responsible for him and pay attention to him. You cannot run off with your girlfriends when you have a plus 1. Also, when you bring a date, you are blocking yourself from meeting other eligible bachelors.

Personally, we think weddings are fun when you go without a date. You get to spend time with your girlfriends and we all know a bride is happiest when she has all the attention. So, you and your friends can dance in a circle around the bride without having some guy watching over your shoulder.

What's your opinion on the plus 1 issue? Check out our survey on Bridelines.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Toast To The Happy Couple

A best man once said…”I've heard that a best man speech should be as long as it takes for the groom to make thanks everyone, enjoy the night”

Why is a best man speech usually so much funnier than a maid of honor speech?
And now that rehearsal dinners are the mandatory pre-game event, there are entire nights dedicated to men trumping women. With rehearsal dinners popping up as often as Internet photos of Adam Lambert, we thought it was important to inform women why their speeches are lacking the male pizazz. As women, we are bummed to make this sweeping generalization, but it is the truth.

The problem with many speeches by bridesmaids is that they are filled with cheesy quotes, off-beat rhymes or inside jokes. Cheesy quotes and poems were cute while you were making your Senior year collage, they were adorable for your sorority rush skit and are even still fitting for your parents anniversary gift.

However, listening to 6 girls alternating rhyming lines is even less enjoyable than that new Parks and Recreations show. Because a poem is made up of fragmented sentences, listening to it sounds like the teacher in Charlie Brown (wah wah wah). If we actually do hear what you are saying, we can bet it goes something like “we have been friends for so many years, through the laughter and through the tears.” By the time you get to sentence 4, everyone in the room has already stopped listening and asked for 2 more shots to numb the pain.

If you think you are a good poem-writer, and you can have someone other than your mom verify this, then you might be an exception to this “please don’t torture us with a poem” rule. We consider ourselves exceptions to the “no poem” rule, but only because we practiced for many years at camp, writing multiple alma maters/cheers and receiving compliments for our writing. So if you can write a good poem, please stand up there alone and recite it, use some witty humor and speak very slowly.

If you aren’t funny, which, 60% of you probably aren’t, we suggest you just be sweet and nice. Being sweet and complementary goes a lot farther than corny. Tell one nice story about your friendship with the bride and say what a lovely couple she makes with the groom. Complement them and hand the microphone to someone funnier.

For everyone, funny or not, tell stories that everyone can relate to. Be general and do not tell inside jokes. If you want to tell the bride/groom inside jokes, save it for the wedding card – or any other time when you aren’t in front of 50 people. Don’t be too inappropriate, its awkward for the grandmas.

Lastly, a big no-no - do not make the speech a personal attack on the bride/groom if you happen to not be their biggest fan and do not bring up unpleasant situations from the couple’s past. Wedding Crashers was totally on point - “ the whole funny-because-it's-true bit only works if the truth is a *small* thing like "everyone knows Jennifer likes to shop, ha ha ha".

Before deciding to have a rehearsal dinner, you should really evaluate your bridal party’s speech-giving capabilities. It might be the difference between a great night and a snoozefest.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Thank You For Being A Friend (Bridesmaid)

For the past year, your best friends and siblings supported your obsession with dresses, seating arrangements and save-the date cards. Your bridesmaids played silly games at your destination bachelorette party and summoned their artistic talent to create a “hat made of ribbons” at your bridal shower. Your big day is almost here and your bridesmaids will be there to help you bustle your dress and toast to your upcoming marriage.

To thank your bridesmaids for their help, patience and overall wonderfulness, you should buy them all a little something (or a big something).

We understand many brides are dishing out money for their weddings and the bridal party gift should never put any bride in a compromising monetary position, but brides should take into consideration the expenses their bridesmaids have endured. If your bridesmaids had to get on a plane or buy an expensive dress, it would be nice to spend a little more.

More importantly, the gift should be thoughtful. Since you’ve spent months thinking about yourself and the details of your weddings, we do think it’s reasonable for you to think about your friends’ likes/dislikes and demonstrate to them, via this gift, that you appreciate them dealing with your OCD and attending all the (required) events.

Here are some ideas we gathered from brides:

Always Appreciated

Buying bridesmaids dress. No one complains about a dress they didn't pay for.

Hair and makeup day of event. We all want to look pretty, but sometimes we don't want to pay.

Monogrammed Favorites

Monogrammed Velcro Shower Towels. We know a bride who gave this at her spa bachelorette party.

Monogrammed Beach Bag. We know a bride who gave this at her Mexican/Miami destination bachelorette party.

Monogrammed Aprons – We know a bride who gave this to her bridesmaids when they brought in a private chef at the bachelorette party. We suggest:

The Trendy Gifts

Jewelry. Necklaces that are popular right now are the round plates with an initial on it – a nice extra is to write a message on the back.

Massage/Facial. We know a bride who went to lunch with all her bridesmaids after the wedding, and then all the girls went for their massages.

Juicy Sweat Suit. To wear while getting ready

Monogrammed Travel Makeup Cases.

Clutches, Wallets, Handbags.

Specialized For You

Digital Photo Frame. Put in images of bride and the friend (possibly from the wedding).

A Goody Bag with each girls name on it – and personalized goodies inside.

___ Of The Month. Can determine one for each friend (ex. some wine, some cheese, some choc pending on what they are into).

Gift Certificates. If you don’t have too many bridesmaids, get each a different gift that would work for them. Maybe gift certificates to their favorite store, or restaurant, personalized for each girl.

Bridelines Favorite Story!

“The bride to be took us to a store where you can select from several different bag styles, and hundreds of fabrics and we were told to pick out 1 bag from the mix and make it our own with whatever fabric we wanted. The space had been rented, so we brought food, champagne, music and spent a few great hours together at the store. On the wedding day, the bride handed out each out of our bags to us at the same time and read a poem that described the contents of the bag. She had filled them with everything you may want in a pocketbook – nail polish, nail files, Band-Aids, etc, as well as a bracelet she had made each of us (not with the expectation we’d wear it that night!) Best of all, she had sewn in a individual quote in each bag that represented the friendship between that person and the bride. Not only did we have fun making the bags, and get something that we know we’ll all like/use, but the bride put some special touches in each one.”

If you just got engaged and haven’t asked your bridesmaids yet, ask them with a “Will You Be My Bridesmaid” card.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Step 1: Admitting You Are A Bridezilla

Bridezilla: "A woman who, in the course of planning her wedding, exercises or attempts to exercise a high degree of control over all or many minor details of the ceremony and reception."
*please take this post in good humor. If you get offended easily, maybe you should stop reading…now…*

Based on stories sent in by our readers, we have consolidated some of our favorite bridezilla moments to share. If you have committed any of these bridal misdemeanors, by virtue of this post, you are now forgiven. Time has passed and your friends have decided to remain in your life – phew! We know your brain was invaded by pink flowers and lace dresses and for a one-year period (give or take a few months), but we still love you.

Making your bridesmaids go spray tanning.

Brideliners Say: Most of us know we look better tan and if you have a summer wedding, we will try to be tan for it. Not because you told us to, but because we are as self-absorbed as you are. BUT, if we want to be pale and we like the way we look, that is our decision. Also – caution, some people actually look worse after a spray tan…orange skin with pink dresses will clash.

Making your bridesmaids wear specific jewelry.

Brideliners Say: It can be nice to give your bridesmaids jewelry as a gift for their participation on your wedding day. But if you do so, try to match their individual personalities, or change the styles somewhat. 8 girls in brown dresses, matching shoes, matching earrings and bracelets belong in a 5th grade dance recital – not a beautiful wedding party.

Making a bridesmaid take off her necklace during the formal pictures because you liked hers better than yours.

Brideliners Say: We are going to let this one go and blame it on wedding day jitters. We will do what you ask because its your day, but seriously, calm down. No one can even see a necklace in a picture.

Making your bridesmaids all wear a specific nail polish color.

Brideliners Say: It’s understandable if you don’t want us wearing Wicked or have chipped nails, but if you are going to request a certain color, you can pay for the manicure. Give us some freedom, please.

Making your bridesmaids match their shoes with their dress.

Brideliners Say: The first consideration here is the length of the dress. If your dress is short, we might be sympathetic to your request. But please do not make these shoes costly, uncomfortable and ones we won’t ever wear again. If the dress is long and no one sees the shoes, what is the difference? More specifically, enough with the dyeable shoes – that was so 1985.

Making your friends view hundreds of dresses on the Internet.

Brideliners Say: Do not put your bridesmaids through the task of looking at every dress you like on the Internet. If you torture yourself by looking at pictures daily (which you probably do), don’t IM or email your friends with every picture. Bring some friends to an actual store to try the dress on and then send the final decision to those bridesmaids in other cities. Most of us just want to be told what dress to order.

Making a weekend out of every event.

Brideliners Say: It’s not your “engagement party weekend” or your “shower weekend” or your “bridesmaid dress shopping weekend.” Don’t expect your friends to come to town for an entire weekend and attend a big dinner the night before your shower. Leave this for family and celebrate with your friends the day of. While you have forgotten that you have a life during the bridal parade, your friends have other things to do with their time.

Making your bridesmaids wear a certain hair style.

Brideliners Say: Allow your bridesmaids to live freely and feel pretty as they are also standing up in front of all your guests. Don’t require up-dos, half up, hair off face, etc. Not only is this very controlling, but it may accent someone's big ears, especially if you make all your friends wear the same matching earrings.

Having multiple engagement parties.

Brideliners Say: We love parties, but this becomes a nuisance. We know so many people do this, because the couple throws a party and the parents throw a party, but we are going to buy you an engagement gift regardless, so one party is enough. Also, please do not have an engagement party closer to the wedding date than your engagement date. Now you are just taking advantage of us.

Making your bridesmaids wear a train.

Brideliners Say: Only the bride should be bustling her dress on her wedding day. This is costly, a hassle and hard to dance in. And just plain ridiculous.

Thank you for sending in your bridezilla stories. Continue to vent in the comment section! Don't forget to forward Bridelines posts to all bridesmaids and bridezillas in your life.

If you're a bride-to-be, please consider our Brideliner requests, after all, happy bridesmaids make a happy bride.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Bridelines: The Male Perspective

While you are thinking about flowers, he is thinking about vodka...

“He’s just not that into you.” Why can't women ever be that honest? Women are constantly letting their friends down easy, with excuses or half-truths:

“He does like you, he’s just really busy with work”
“I do want to attend your 3rd bridal shower in New Jersey, I just might have to take care of my mother's dog”
“Spending a weekend with your bossy sisters and loud crazy college friends really sounds wonderful.”

As the type of friends who routinely serve as probono shrinks, we know what it’s like to give our girlfriends advice and we all know that sometimes its hurts to hear the real truth from a girlfriend. But…for some reason, it doesn’t hurt as much to hear the truth from a guy friend or someone else’s boyfriend. Here is the honest truth, from our very own male blogger.

The male perspective on what guys care about at weddings...

1. Hitting the Dance Floor: If you are in a relationship and your man wants to dance. Dance! Guys don’t always love to dance, but with enough shots of patron and a good cover of Beyonce’s “crazy in love” they will surely hit the floor. If you don’t dance, don’t be mad when they start freakin your friend on the dance floor!

2. Registries: I have a huge problem with registries now-a-days. I don’t have a problem spending money on you and your fiance, but I have a problem spending money on stuff that’s totally useless! Just because you are getting married doesn’t mean you need to register for 50 dollar salt shakers! You really want me to spend 80 dollars on two tea cups?? Do you think you hold fancy tea parties after you get married? Rather, are you hosting fancy dinner parties in your studio apartment? And $600 luggage? Has the 40 dollar suitcase you bought at Marshalls really been bringing down your lifestyle? Sometimes I actually feel bad buying you the salad bowl for $150 instead of giving you cash…or rather I am just embarrassed you want a $150 salad bowl!

3. Vows: My girlfriend once got mad that I arrived late to a wedding ceremony and missed the vows (mind you it was only because her parents picked me up late!). The wedding was of a friend of hers that I hardly knew and the groom whom I hardly like. But to be honest, I could care less about a couple’s vows. Those are vows you make to your spouse and really only matter to your spouse. And the couples that give their vows in Hebrew…well you can just wake me up when the cocktail hour starts…

4. Cocktail Hour: This is the ONLY thing that guys and guests alike ever really remember and/or talk about. I can tell you which cocktail hour had the best sushi, best martini bar and of course the best ice sculpture. I am a sucker for those things. Which got me thinking - You remember those ice luges we all use to throw our faces against at a frat party freshman year? Some frat boy would stand at the top and pour schnapps and vodka down the luge and you would get ultra wasted and have the “best night ever!” Can someone please have one of these at their wedding already?! **Sidenote: Last time I got down with an ice block I blacked out, had to be undressed, and threw up in my bed. Maybe this isn’t such a good wedding idea!**

5. Too Much Champagne: If you have the reputation for being an uber drunk, a wedding may be a great place to show your “skills.” However, don’t be that girl that passes out at the table and everyone starts taking pictures of. At 21 that was funny. At 24 you still had a small audience. After the age of 27, it’s just sad.

6. All the Single Ladies: I have been to several weddings as a single guy. Never did I find a plethora of single girls. However, there are ALWAYS a ton of single guys. If you are a single girl, then make it your job - no your mission to look smokin at weddings! Girls, there is no better place to meet a guy then at a wedding. It’s a black-tie, open bar for FREE. Remember to be friendly and talk to people! If you can’t strut your stuff, look hot and find a man at a wedding, you may need to reorganize your priorities.

7. Wedding Cake: As important as the cocktail hour is, the wedding cake is likely the most overrated and least remembered part of the wedding. NO ONE will remember how the cake tastes or really how beautiful it may or may not look. The only time people will remember the cake is if they were so bored and sober by dessert that viewing/tasting the cake was a focal point! Have your tiers, have the little statues on top, have some sugar flowers and call it a day. If it’s a choice between keeping some of the extra wedding money and getting full day spa treatments in Hawaii vs. adding two more tiers to the cake….I think the decision is pretty easy.

8. Skinny and Pale: I appreciate that brides and grooms lose weight for the weddings. You are in a ton of pics, you are on display and you want to look your best. I get it. But what I don’t get are the skinny brides that forget to get some COLOR for the wedding. Spray tan, go to Miami for a week, or hit up the tanning bed. White looks GREAT with a tan. Pale looks terrible with everything!

9. Sunday Weddings: I don’t really get it. No, I DO UNDERSTAND why you have them. It’s a lot cheaper…I get that. But really, is it worth the extra money on the flowers to give up a Saturday night wedding? Your guests are never going to have that much fun because they have work Monday and can’t get trashed. And most likely everyone is going to be tired from the weekend. So instead, I suggest you just take the money you would have spent on a wedding, fly your family and close friends to the greek isles, and have a sunset wedding on a cliff. And feel free to exchange your vows in Hebrew..because I won’t be there to care!

We conclude with some Do’s and Don’ts

DO have a great brunch Sunday. We all dropped a ton of loot on you two. The least you can do is give us some good grub to fight off a post-wedding hangover.

DO get an objective opinion about your bridesmaid dresses. There are poor single girls in the wedding party that need to find a man. Teal and rhinestones aren’t gonna help their cause!

DON’T let your annoying relatives give 20 minute toasts at your wedding - there is no bigger buzz kill.

DON’T tell your boyfriend/husband how much he can or cannot drink at a wedding. Unlike girls, guys are hilariously entertaining when drunk and ALMOST passing out. **Brideliners tend to disagree, as we know some guys who are horrendously sloppy and not remotely entertaining when they are drunk**

DON’T hire a band that ONLY plays music your parent’s friends are going to dig. There is nothing worse than 3 hours of 1950’s rock and roll songs. **Check out the Brideline survey on the top right of the blog**

DON’T neglect having a bar in the room where the wedding is taking place. You lose half the wedding if the bar is in the other room.