Married in a Month!

When reading my monthly bridal magazines, I immediately flip to the timelines. It is on these particular pages where editors advise brides based on the number of months and weeks before the wedding arrives. Six weeks before the big day, Brides Magazine suggests:

  • Confirming delivery of bridesmaids’ dresses
  • Applying for a marriage license
  • Printing the programs, menus, et cetera.

June/July 2015 issue

Instead of discussing outstanding tasks on my one-month countdown, I have decided to take a different approach. Hopefully my advice will help future brides as they inch closer to the daunting four-week mark.

Here are some thoughts that I have gathered along the way. I discussed these with my mom, a few days ago, after leaving my very last dress fitting. Although I’m not one to dwell on the past, it was interesting to note what we would have done differently had we only known.

If I could start all over (please, no) I would…

Tell a tiny bridal lie about my wedding date.

(A white lie seems most fitting for the bride.)

An extra month can go a very long way. For example, if you’re wedding is set for June 20th, tell vendors it is sometime in May. When alterations are involved, it’s better to have too much time than just enough to sew the very last seam. Some brides are golden with just two fittings, while others require four. In certain cases, like mine, veils need to be special ordered.

Ultimately, the potential for multiple alterations is too great to risk the rush. If a bride happens to finish her fittings one month early, she has an extra four weeks to admire her dress. Lucky me!

Proofread everything one too many times. 

As I writer, I never imagined that I would catch multiple errors on our simple wedding program. For example, since my groom’s name is John, I had not considered the alternate spelling of the very same name, for a very different Jon, both in personality and punctuation. Also, since our program represents an interfaith marriage, many traditions are written phonetically. I recommend that two sets of eyes aside from those of the bride and groom proofread all wedding materials such as programs, welcome notes and names of guests.

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Catching last minute errors with excitement- perfection is possible!

Send Save the Dates.

Way back when, as a naïve newly engaged gal, I decided to skip save the dates all together. I figured filling in close family and friends on the exact date would suffice. Unfortunately, even the most important people don’t always remember things one year in advance. People appreciate the comforts of a tangible date. I recommend sending guests a playful magnetic reminder to decorate their fridge. I would choose something simple that sticks!

Last but not least, always listen to your wedding planner!

Whether you have the fabulous Posh Petal and Pearls team planning your wedding, or possibly your very own mother, listen up! Although the bride and groom are the stars of the show, the wedding planner sits on the highest pedestal. They provide the brains behind the wedding, while the bride provides her very best smile.

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My personal, beautiful wedding planner.

Whether brides have ten months or one month left, wedding planners get the job done!

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Brides who Brunch

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http://wibride.com/brides-who-brunch-hosting-brunch-wedding

The morning after our wedding my parents will be hosting a brunch for family and friends who have stayed the night. Since the Chateau will cater our brunch, we have a very rigid timeline to follow. Guests will be brunching from 9:00AM-11: 30AM, allowing the team ample time to prepare for their next big event. Although hard to admit, saying goodbye to my bridal palace is inevitable. There’s always another bride who needs to get ready!

I am thrilled that we will be concluding our wedding weekend with a brunch. Guests can reminisce on the highlights of the evening, mingle with those they may not have seen during the reception, and savor the energy of the wedding over much needed coffee.

Brunch is the last hurrah of the wedding weekend!

Here are two specific questions that I debated while planning our post-wedding brunch.

Should the entire guest list be invited to brunch?

Depends on the venue. In our case, those who are staying over in the Petit Chateau or the hotel nearby are certainly invited. Guests may wish to grab a bite and snap one last photo before making the trip home. There will be some guests, however, who choose to spend their Sundays recovering and celebrating Father’s Day without a bridal breakfast. Each bride should base her brunch list on the size of venue, guest accommodations, date of wedding weekend and overall budget.

Should the bride brunch casually?

There is only one bride (at a time). Why shouldn’t she approach each affair from the rehearsal dinner to the farewell brunch as if going to the Oscars? I have three very different outfits prepared for the weekend of June 20th. While my brunch attire is nowhere near the level of my gown, it’s playful, put together and vibrant. I’m using brunch as an opportunity to wear something aside from traditional white. Some brides, however, commit to wearing white from beginning to end. Although this isn’t my wardrobe plan, I happen to love the idea!

So brides, how will you brunch?

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“I Do” and I Don’t

Clearly, I know I will be saying “I Do” on the big day. In fact, I can’t wait to voice those two words followed by an epic kiss with my groom. I imagine something like this…

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pretty perfect, right?

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/295689531758281833/

Despite the definite “I Do’s” to come, it’s time to discuss the big don’ts that creep up before the wedding day. I’ve noticed a few.

Bask in the bridal shade, don’t bask in the sun!

Spoiled by Savannah’s beaches, I am often tempted to spend weekends in the sand, soaking up the southern sun. I only realized the repercussions when sunbathing was followed by dress fitting number two. From the front, I loved everything about the dress including the way it hugged my body. However, my “Say Yes to the Dress” fan club, sitting just behind me, noticed a problem. There was a thick tan line running straight across my backless dress. The tailor and my mother were equally horrified.

Burn your usual calories, don’t be an excessive bride! 

While I am a huge proponent of the bridal pure barre package, I know that every bride-to-be has a personal limit. Working out with goals to feel healthy, toned and energized is blissfully bridal. Pushing your body too far, however, will backfire on any bride. Stick to a workout routine that is challenging without being overbearing.

Be an open-minded bride, don’t be an overly adventurous one!

When I first started planning (way back in 2013) I was jazzed about every and any bridal possibility. Over time, however, I have learned how the beauty and accessory markets cater to vulnerable brides. A bride is a most desirable customer, since her budget tends to fluctuate with ease.

For example, at my initial hair consultation I was quickly convinced to purchase extensions.

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hair care is my weakness!

My makeup trial was followed by excess appointments in preparation for the big day such as a “bridal boost” facial. Apparently the vitamins and glowing results are specially crafted for brides. My limit was reached when my esthetician suggested scheduling an arm wax, spray tan, and an exfoliation to ease the “bags” just beneath my eyes.

Ultimately, every bride-to-be should remember that there’s nothing they need to change, add or “fix” before their wedding. While trying new things is exciting, none of the added glam is necessary. I think I’ll keep the blonde hair on my arms and the pale complexion of my skin as is.

As for the bags underneath my eyes, well, I don’t even see those!

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Beyond the Bride

Throughout the planning process, I’ve been repeatedly told, “this day is about you and JB.” After all, everyone watches the bride as she takes her graceful last few steps as a single woman. With six weeks before our wedding, I have broadened my thoughts beyond the bride and groom.

I’ve also heard classic, “you should have eloped,” comment from those who catch me buried in bridal thoughts. Every bride-to-be should know that a little bit of stress is expected. Despite all the planning, plotting and layers of white tool, I’ve learned that there’s simply no wedding without the bride and groom’s family.

These last few months have been filled with valuable memories- the best of which have been with my parents and grandmothers. They have all taught me that marrying the one you love will be the most rewarding life decision.

In previous posts, I have conveyed shortened versions of two beautiful weddings remembered by each of my grandmothers. The first was a story of finding and savoring love amidst the agony of the Holocaust. Ultimately, my grandmother Esther and her beloved Martin surpassed immeasurable hardship and thrived with a very specific mindset: they would live for all the good in the world.

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49.5 years of pure happiness!

The other story, is one of tremendous love, promises of goodnight kisses and an incredibly fruitful marriage. My grandmother Gladys and sweet Selwyn filled their marriage with constant adventures, travels around the world, romantic surprises and contagious laughter.

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53 years of excitement!

Lastly, I am aware that our wedding falls on an incredibly special, family weekend- Father’s Day. Many people have jokingly said, “This Father’s day your Dad will be giving you away.” What an unfortunate point of view! I am honored to link arms with my greatest role model as I walk toward my groom. There’s no passing of the bride from one man to another. I am lucky to know that both relationships are mine forever.

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My strongest support as Sarah Drew and as the future Sarah Peterman.

As the RSVP’s continue to arrive, I check off each “yes” with growing excitement and gratitude. Although I love hearing stories about couples that have successfully eloped under the Eiffel tower or the starry skies of isolated beaches, I can’t imagine saying “I Do” without my family.

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Honeymoon Registry

Since our wedding is just forty days away, I haven’t had the time to daydream about our honeymoon. However, just one day after the chaos comes to a bittersweet close, our first adventure as newlyweds will begin. This seven-day affair requires little makeup and far less people. I will leave my ball gown at home.

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Adios!

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/177610779024518818/ 

We will be honeymooning in the Bahamas. Good news: At our resort, with the luxury of a quick shuttle, we can access the waterslides at the Atlantis without any babysitting commitments.

When we revealed our sunny location, a few family members and friends mentioned two honeymoon sites that provide guests with an alternative option for wedding gifts. Both websites titled Wanderable and Honeyfund allow the bride and groom to customize a list of desired activities such as spa treatments, scuba diving, dinner with an ocean view and even a night at a preferred hotel.

At first, I was very hesitant to create a website that essentially asks for vacation perks. With that said, it’s nice to provide guests with another option aside from the traditional wedding registries. I’ve received so many wonderful cooking supplies that I am beginning to feel guilty for completely avoiding the kitchen. Aside from my cookbook titled I Don’t Know How to Cook, I am finally motivated to learn the dials on our oven. Luckily, JB enjoys playing with many of our new gadgets such as the food processor and high tech mixer, while I keep busy arranging our incoming collection of frames.

I suppose, in some ways, I am already prepared for our honeymoon. At my bridal shower, just a few weeks ago, I unwrapped a collection of beachwear from my fashion forward cousins. I received an adorable crop top, fringe shorts and a beach hat. Packing will be easy.

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honeymoon shopping from Topshop.

While I don’t believe creating a honeyfund of sorts is a necessity, I do like the concept.

Below are two sites for honeymooning with a little help:

https://www.wanderable.com

http://www.honeyfund.com

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Table Etiquette

In the world of weddings, seating arrangements are taken seriously. At this point, most if not all RSVP’s are in, and it’s time to seat parents, cousins, friends, friends of friends and everyone in between. For the upcoming Drew/Peterman wedding, we have over two hundred and fifty guests to successfully seat.

Thankfully mom, my wedding planner, is extremely organized and has a thoughtful process for accomplishing every task. The clever MOTB used paper plates and an enlarged version of our wedding list to help place guests. After all names were cut, the slips of paper were clipped to each plate based on tables of ten. Apparently, there are methods to certain aspects of wedding madness.

I’m a bride from the generation of Mean Girls. Don’t misunderstand me- I’ve never been and will never become a mean girl; it’s far from a coveted title. It is, however, a famous movie. If brides-to-be haven’t seen this film by now, don’t bother. However, there’s one line that remains popular and is consistently modified to fit just about every trend.

“You can’t sit with us.”

For example, at Pure Barre some say, “You can’t tuck with us.”

I must admit, although terrible, this phrase applies to weddings. Table etiquette is today’s discussion.

Some seating thoughts for consideration…

Can the bride and groom mix friends with family?

Absolutely. It’s challenging to make separate tables of ten for every category of loved ones attending. We have friends from different walks of life such as high school, college, work and Savannah! Some have met my cousins throughout the years, while others wouldn’t know Betty from Barbara if they guessed.

Just remember: weddings are happy occasions where mingling is encouraged. Making new friends by the end of the evening is a plus.

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my feelings exactly.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/562457440932881258/

How strict are seating cards anyway? Is it acceptable for guests to switch tables?

Aside from the ceremony, weddings are loud, wild and unpredictable! Table cards simply help the rush from cocktail hour to the ballroom appear organized. Seating assignments should not be enforced. I encourage our friends and family members to table-hop. Guests who spend too much time sitting, miss the life of the party on the dance floor.

At our wedding, guests can and will sit with us. In fact, I will be

seated with my groom at a big table of friends instead of waving from a far off sweetheart table.

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DIY Brides

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Not your typical Bridal Salon.

I recently discovered a popular section of NYC known as the garment district. M&J is a shop in this area that sells trims, buttons and fabrics with a specialty bridal department.

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It’s rare to waltz into a NYC bridal salon without an appointment!

On the day of my visit I stepped into a fabulous sample sale showcasing bridal accessories such as Gatsby inspired hats and other vintage pieces. Take a peek at a few of my favorites.

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1920’s themed wedding, anyone?

By now, I am sure Brides-to-be are asking what M&J and trimming has to do with the big day?

Perhaps brides would like to border their aisle with pearls? They may even wish to drape fabric over the chairs at the ceremony. I also like the idea of embellishing tablecloths in the ballroom with a delicate lace trim.

I entered the trimming store for inspiration. The sash on my bridesmaids’ dresses could use a touch of sparkle. Although excited for my city adventure, I was wildly unprepared for M&J’s floor to ceiling walls of trimming.

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Just half of one wall. Overwhelming, right?

Without realizing, I had become a DIY, “do it yourself,” kind of bride. I have always admired women who craft their own bridal decor, flower by flower. The mother of my dear friend Jamie designed and created a beautiful installation to sweeten and personalize her daughter’s wedding day.

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A magnificent hand crafted focal point for the reception.

~Kristin Vining Photography~

The flowers were made of silk dupioni fabric sewn in “tubes,” stuffed with old newspaper and coiled into the shape of petals. The flowers were then pinned to insulation boards and covered in white fabric. Jamie and her husband, Drew, chose neutral, soft colors for both their ceremony and reception. For this statement piece, Jamie’s mom utilized a romantic combination of champagne, cream, silver and blush pink fabrics.

After constructing the installation, Jamie and her mother placed pins and brooches throughout the boards. The bride vividly remembers spending most of Thanksgiving, one week before her March wedding, assembling the entire piece with the help of mom and bridesmaids. Although this project was an enormous undertaking, it was a labor of love well worth every petal.

Before leaving the city, I decided to purchase a few yards of a rhinestone trim from M&J.

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My choice is hidden somewhere on this wall!

I plan to sew the beaded fabric on each sash to create four belts that shimmer down the aisle. Truthfully, I may save the sewing for a professional. Although I’m far from creating a complex flower installation, my visit to M&J does bring in a “do it yourself” aspect to my wedding planning.

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~Dedicated to my Southern sister, Jamie. You have made Savannah feel like home. I can’t wait to see you and Drew at the wedding! ~

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Vows

A few months ago, I popped into Anthropologie in Washington, D.C. to browse the elaborate wedding section. I ended up purchasing vow books for our ceremony. One is ballerina pink, while the other is boyishly blue.

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his and hers.

http://www.bhldn.com/shop-decor-ceremony/

Flash forward to mid-April. While JB packed for a work trip, I spotted the vow book tucked safely inside his bag. I wondered, “Is he really working on his vows?” If so, how many pages of the book has he filled? Surely not all of them.

I immediately withdrew my pink vows from my panty drawer. All this time I had been carefully hiding a collection of blank pages. Was I planning to begin just a few days before our biggest day?

As a writer, I assumed my half of the vows would be simple. Words of love would flow from heart to paper with little effort. Despite these assumptions, writing my vows has been one of my hardest wedding assignments yet. It doesn’t help that there is an approaching, hard deadline of June 20th!

Here’s why:

Emotions can run too high:

When I visited JB’s home this past December, I spoke to his mother about reciting our future vows. There was a vivid warning: Don’t make them excessively sentimental. Supposedly, at a wedding Mrs. Peterman attended, the bride divulged intimate vows such as the promise to kiss her groom each night before bed. My future mother-in-law was stuck in the audience somewhere between a smile and a cringe.

Keep vows PG, please.

Remember the purpose: 

Ideally, I’d like to fill my pink pages with lighthearted promises:

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Unfortunately, these vows won’t cut it under the chuppah.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/475411304385629167/

I’ve learned that vows are not the appropriate time to unveil a love story. Inside jokes, personal details and entertaining promises are best reserved for speeches. I plan to keep my vows concise and thoughtful. Although the bride and groom are speaking to one another, the ears and hearts of those in the audience should be considered.

Just remember: vows are lifelong, public promises.

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NAVIGATION