Mother of the Bride

The mother of the bride is the closest guest to my heart.

Within weeks of my engagement my mom took on a multiple roles- mother of the bride (by birth), best friend (by choice) and stellar wedding planner (by love). The last role has been a challenge. While I do not exactly fit the criteria of a bridezilla, I am not the easiest, walk in the park type of bride. I am sometimes indecisive, lovingly laid back and quick to lose focus between all the embellished possibilities. There are too many options for invitation fonts, bridesmaids’ dresses, flower choices and bridal beauty styles. I needed mom!

To be honest, during most of my mom’s perfectly posh planning I was stuck in a bridal daydream.

Enter Ina. My mom is focused, ultra organized and incredibly invested in every detail. Since there were hearts on the programs, the MOTB ordered matching hearts for the cocktail napkins and menus. My mother knew that a flute makes all the difference during the procession. Apparently, the hospitality bags need to be packed with proper nutrition and a timeline for guests. Everything was planned with an extra touch of love and effort.

Brides often babble about bringing their bridesmaids for dress shopping, trials and various appointments. If possible, I suggest bringing along mom and cherishing the time you two have together. A mother knows her bride best.

Of course, there will be laughter, moments of stress and sporadic yet very happy tears.

Mom, remember when we picked dramatically different flowers on our first trip to the florist? Thankfully, I took your advice for the final arrangements.

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A stunning MOTB with impressive taste.

Remember when we left bridal boutique six out of seven feeling defeated? Would I ever find my dream dress?

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Despite minor frustrations, we always managed to capture the moment!

Of course, you must remember when I tried on the one? We both lit up. We had found the perfect Pnina.

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We said “Yes” to the dress!

With the big day just moments away, I will soon focus on meeting my groom at the end of the aisle. With that said, when I look back on my wedding, months and years down the road, I will remember the elegant belle behind every bow, pearl and sparkle. Thank you to my sweet mom for planning a beyond fairytale wedding. Thank you for devoting your time, heart and endless energy into our special day. Although we have shared many memories together throughout the years, wedding planning with you has been a very vivid reminder of why a mother is a girl’s best friend.

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I love you endlessly mom!

Categories: Uncategorized

A summer, timeless bride

On my latest trip home to the in-laws in Lancaster, PA, I had the opportunity to travel back in time as a 1920’s bride.

My journey began just beside the horse and carriages of the Amish country.

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helping me in, like a true gentlemen.

JB’s maternal grandmother surprised us with a romantic ride alongside rolling hills. I was swept off my feet and shuttled with my groom as if we had just exchanged vows. Despite my tee shirt, sneakers and messy hair, I felt the breeze and royalty of a 1920’s bride. We made a mock getaway in a “just married” all original Model T. Our speed was slow, our kisses sweet and our engine just bearable. I cherished the characteristics of the car such as the wooden floorboards and its antique, fragile structure- a crank to start.

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just like this Model T– marriage takes work!

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always, always kiss the bride!

A few hours later, I was surprised yet again by another family treasure. JB’s sweet Aunt Jane handed me a copy of The Bride’s Magazine from 1945 that belonged to her mother and was read in the summer months leading up to her big day. As a writer and a bride this gift is incredibly precious and educational. On a more sentimental note, the bride behind this magazine reminds me that I am following 68-years of marriage and sacred love. Like JB’s Mommom, I am a true summer bride.

At first glance, the magazine reads as a distant, pretty feature of the past. Weddings have certainly changed. For example, a beautiful, ruffled dress at Saks Fifth Avenue sold for approximately $250.00. Although a similar, conservative style most likely exists in the bridal department at Saks, I know the price tag comes with additional zeros.

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pages 80-81.

Price aside, the value of this magazine remains intact. As I carefully flipped through the sturdy pages of this treasure, I noticed that many of the articles address me, a June bride. Every year, before and well after 1945, summer brides take a leap of love down the aisle.

I was particularly excited about one article in the issue titled, “To you Bride of summer 1945.” Three paragraphs in, George Platt Lynes writes,

“To you —the girl who’s lost her heart but still has a head for romance… and uses it charmingly with one of the engagingly new bridal headdresses, like the ones sketched below, that outstanding American milliners are creating especially for you. None of them are bridal headdresses in the conventional sense of the word…but tempting, delicious little hats that after the wedding you’ll wear happily again minus the veil.”

Despite my quick judgments of brides from this era, I found the author’s writing edgy, flavorful and fashion forward. Apparently, women in 1945 considered headdresses that transitioned from a summer wedding to a summer soiree- “just pleasantly peasant enough to look delicious at a summer wedding, and after the wedding… pouff! it becomes a baby straw bonnet to work wonders atop a dark town sheer.”

Who would have thought that Mommom, a 1945 summer bride might recycle her wedding headdress for a night out in town?

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pages 78-79.

As much as this issue pushed barriers and pressed buttons, the conversation regarding headdresses and lingerie advertisements did not mask the domestic perception of brides. I’m glad summer brides of 2015 are encouraged to venture well beyond the kitchen.

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I suppose our current Bridal magazines still include recipes. Page 109.

I wish I could take that Model T, hop on a time traveling highway and head back to 1945. With that said, based my cooking skills, or lack thereof, I would have been a single gal. Nonetheless, I imagine a blonde, sans apron, Sarah blogging from a completely different perspective. I would incorporate poetry, fashion and wisdom from each and every decade in between Mommom’s and mine. I would mimic the charisma and charm of this 1945 bridal magazine, which promises a rosy future for all summer brides.

~Dedications~

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Thank you Grandma Yost for an unforgettable ride.

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Thank you Aunt Jane for taking me back in time to meet bridal writers, editors and elegant summer brides.

Thank you Mommom for sharing a beautiful bridal treasure. I will be thinking of you this weekend, on the warm summer night of June 20th.

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License to Wed

About one week ago, I headed to Town Hall with my fiancé to apply for our marriage license. While I’m used to renewing my driver’s license and updating my passport, I was completely clueless about the process. To make matters worse, the lady executing our paperwork did not share my wedding jitters and casual humor. When she asked whether or not the groom was also my cousin, I could hardly keep it together.

A Polish bride and Pennsylvania Dutch groom? We were surely far from family.

Rule 1: however ridiculous, answer each question with composure. Brides, bring your serious, commitment face.

Documents to say “I Do.”

Naturally, out of pure excitement, I failed to bring all of the necessary papers to our appointment. Although hard to admit, I just may need my wedding planner for everything bridal (mom knows best)!

I advise brides to read all rules specific to their Town Hall/City Hall before skipping through the doors. The bride and groom will most likely need to gather birth certificates, passports and proof of residency, among other obscure papers. These are the types of documents usually buried deep in safekeeping.

Timing is essential. 

Pay close attention to the timeline for applying and obtaining a marriage license. For example, my town requires registering no more than thirty days before the wedding date and no less than seven.

A basic bridal equation:

No marriage license= no marriage.

Bring a buddy- AKA the witness.

Pick a witness to oversee the process, initial several forms and take an oath. I suggest choosing someone of significance. After all, acknowledging a marriage is an honor. We asked my grandmother, Gladys, to sign our papers and act as the witness. While I laughed over a few of the questions, she cried tears of joy. We struck the perfect balance.

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a necessary selfie.

Brides, don’t forget to snap a quick picture with your memorable marriage receipt. It’s certainly the best $28 I have ever spent!

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Guest before Bride

I spent Sunday evening of Memorial Day Weekend attending my cousin’s fabulous wedding. Ashley and Keith became husband and wife at the very same venue where I will marry JB in just a few short weeks. My one night role reversal from bride to guest was surprisingly liberating. It was a much-needed break from wedding planning.

Since my hair will soon be flowing like the brides, with a sparkling veil, I decided to throw it up in the highest pony possible. I wanted to rock the farthest look from that of the bride.

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Mission accomplished with a slight Mohawk.

If at all possible, I suggest brides attend at least one wedding before tying the knot. On that note, it’s better to be just another guest so that you can observe the affair with zero responsibilities. Bridesmaids are busy.

Below are a few observations from the perspective of a guest, rather than that of a bride-to-be.

Cocktail hour is social hour!

The ceremony is intimate. The reception is where family and friends surround the happy couple with song, dance and champagne filled cheers. I recently learned that the cocktail hour, however, is intended for the pleasure of the guests. It’s roughly one hour where couples, families and the string of singles begin an evening of indulgence. From this hour forward they will be eating, drinking and mingling well past midnight.

At first, I was surprised to observe that the bride and groom were out of sight for most of cocktail hour. Apparently, I will be intentionally hidden too. Perhaps someone was busy helping Ashley bustle her dress. The bride and groom most likely snacked before greeting their guests. I’ve learned that newly married couples rarely enjoy their delicious cocktail hour. They are far too busy receiving congratulatory hugs and snapping pictures. Starring in your own show is hard work.

Solidify the details of special dances.

I’m not the type of bride who can cry on cue. Although moved, I kept dry eyes throughout Keith and Ashley’s beautiful ceremony. It was during the father/daughter dance, however, where I became emotional. While a familiar version of Rod Stewart’s “Have I Told You Lately” belted from the band, I looked over at my dad and imagined our dance together.

My father has always been my dancing partner. Whether we are at a family party, wedding, work dinner or just at home in the company of two rambunctious Chihuahuas, we never waste an opportunity to share a dance.

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It’s hard to make us sit still at events.

Direct the band before your big day.

The ride home from Ashley and Keith’s wedding was spent discussing music. JB contemplated a few songs for the dance he will share with his mom; he is currently deciding between the iconic Billy Joel and the adorable Jason Mraz. The band at my cousin’s wedding drew a joyful, energetic crowd to the dance floor. The beats were popular, playful and catered perfectly to both the friends of the bride and groom and those from a (dare I say) slightly older generation.

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#AshleyandKeith2015

Dedicated to the magnificent bride Ashley and my sweet cousin Keith. You two make a magical couple. Although I will soon swap places with the bride, I know we will both share the dance floor for the entire evening!

Categories: Uncategorized

“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!

Categories: Uncategorized

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.

Categories: Uncategorized

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.

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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.

Categories: Uncategorized

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.

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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.

Categories: Uncategorized

The Rehearsal Dinner

The night before my cousin Lisa’s gorgeous wedding, the bridesmaids and groomsmen took a joyful walk down a flowerless aisle.

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practice makes perfect!

We spent about forty-five minutes reviewing the ceremony. People were everywhere, decorations were nowhere and the excitement for the upcoming day was palpable.

The next evening, when my cousin Jason and I received the cue, we walked arm in arm to our assigned spots just beside the beautiful chuppah. We were paving the way for a magnificent bride.

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What a difference from the night before!

Nearly four years later, and two months closer to walking down my own aisle, another rehearsal dinner is coming together. Much to my surprise, our dinner will not make use of a rehearsal. The wedding party will review all details of the aisle on the big day, rather than the night before. Apparently, I’m excused from the madness.

Our rehearsal dinner will take place at the hotel where our guests will stay, as opposed to the chateau. The short yet sweet evening will be filled with food, laughter and toasts. There will be no learning to line up. Leaving all instructions until an hour or so before the ceremony is a bit risky, right? I thought so too.

A couple things for brides to consider when planning a pre-wedding dinner:

Don’t make your wedding party rehearse speeches. 

I’ve learned that the rehearsal dinner is purposefully casual. However, the menu certainly requires careful selection. Perhaps there will be small flower arrangements on each table. When all planning is done, don’t be the bride who bosses the bridal party. They’ve been through enough. You’ve probably picked their dresses, hairstyles and seating arrangements. Let them live a little at this dinner. It’s their time to spill embarrassing stories without remorse. Essentially, the rehearsal dinner is a free pass.

Don’t overthink your glam plan.

Rehearsal dinners are intimate and calm. The wedding day is grand and pleasantly chaotic. Therefore, I have reconsidered wearing heels to the gathering. I may have my hair (professionally) thrown up with minimal makeup. While I still want to look like the bride, there is something special about saving the glitz for the white dress. The wow factor should be reserved for the wedding day.

Lastly, the bride has a bedtime.

When the final bite of dessert has been consumed, it’s the bride’s cue to say goodnight. Most likely, the groomsmen will just be beginning their night. It’s almost like a second bachelor party for the men. The bride, however, needs to prioritize beauty sleep over anything else remotely tempting.

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Rehearsal dinner = rest for the bride.

Photo credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/479422322805352490/

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Showering Sarah

A few months back, if readers remember, I mentioned the idea of a couple’s bachelor(ette). After attending my own parties this past weekend, I will admit that I have grown immeasurably from the mindset of that post. I have transformed from a young (22), naïve fiancé to a still quite young (24) yet capable bride. My bridesmaids proved that although I will make a perfect Peterman, the solo Sarah will never lose her spunk:

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Since I am still pre-wedding, I can freely shout my feelings from the rooftops of Trump Soho (where I slumbered with my bridesmaids): I had the best two days of a bride-to-be’s life!

Here’s a peek into the festivities that taught me why every bride needs bridesmaids, both before and well after the wedding:

There’s no man who can replace the bond between women!

Every moment of this past weekend was filled with constant love and laughter (far too much to capture in words and pictures alone). Below, I have attempted to summarize a few of the most unforgettable highlights. These memories may serve as a guide for bridesmaids who are in the process of planning a celebratory weekend for their beloved bride. With that said, it doesn’t matter whether you’re the mother of the bride, the bridesmaids or the bride-to-be herself- the bachelorette and shower are happy occasions for all.

Here’s what you should do to make the most of each moment…

Laugh harder than you ever thought possible.

After checking into our chic downtown hotel, I was escorted to a workout class of sorts. Since I live in leggings, I was appropriately dressed for my first surprise adventure. I assumed I was attending a girly tuck session known as Pure Barre or perhaps a trendy hour of Bikram yoga. Truth be told, I was actually enrolled in a “twerk” class more commonly known as pole dancing.

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Posing amongst the poles with my girls during an incredibly silly hour of nonstop laughter and quite a bit of blushing!

The giggles were clearly contagious. One day later, at my shower, I found myself plucking undies off a clothing line right in front of my mother-in-law. Based on style and rhyming clues I was asked to guess the giver.

 

This game is a must for every bride at her shower! I love all my panties and the clever clues!

Make new memories and savor the old.

At the start of my shower I was presented with a gift that made my mascara run. One of my bridesmaids, Shonna, had asked each friend and family member to submit photos and a letter or note of love via e-mail. She spent countless hours creating a masterpiece.

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Each page was carefully crafted.

(surrounded by two of my bridesmaids, Mallory and Alexa)

The book of memories is titled, “Showering Sarah with Love,” and is unquestionably my favorite treasure from the weekend.

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The gorgeous heart behind my book of love- Shonna, my bridesmaid.

Take a moment to pause and look around.

Nearly one week later I can be found floating around my apartment in Savannah wearing my bridal sash and tiara. I can still very vividly feel the warmth and see the smiles from the women who shared in my happiness. Although I was absolutely showered in gifts, I have yet to start cooking with my food processor, blender, roasting dish and baking pan. Despite inching two months closer to the big day, I remain the same Sarah that my family and friends know too well; I’d rather use the kitchen for storage than cooking!

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Embrace the truth.

Dedicated to three incredible women who fill my life with beauty.

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Aunt Diane– Thank you from the bottom of my heart for planning the most magnificent bridal shower. Every detail was sparkling with love. I will never forget the pretzels you put on each table from the location of my engagement, Reading Terminal Market…wow!

Shonna– Thank you for putting so much time, affection and energy into a book I will adore forever.

Lisa– Thank you for showering me with sweetness, tiara’s and activities throughout the weekend. We shared some of our best laughs during these two days.

I love you all, endlessly!

Categories: Uncategorized

The Value of a Veil

The majority of my second dress fitting was spent selecting a veil for the ceremony. The options were plentiful. Aside from choosing the length, I also considered design, fit and sparkle. I ended up ordering a medium length veil with rhinestones that will be woven into the fabric to compliment my dress. Kleinfeld Bridal is the queen of custom.

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Lace? Pearls? Sparkles? Kleinfeld has just as many veils as dresses!

The very next day, I had the pleasure of visiting Cantor Lee Coopersmith who will officiate our wedding alongside a Pastor. I have known the Cantor of my congregation for most of my life. In fact, Cantor Lee was my teacher and mentor in preparation for my Bat Mitzvah (the ceremony where I officially entered adulthood).

It was incredibly meaningful to sit down with my Cantor, ten years later, as I prepare to take the vows of marriage. Our meeting was spent exchanging memories, reviewing the program, and discussing the progression of blessings. At one point, Cantor Lee mentioned the veiling ceremony known in the Judaism as Bedeken. Before I walk down the aisle, JB will cover me with the veil as a confirmation that I am the right bride!

In the Biblical story, Jacob unintentionally marries his bride’s sister, Leah, who was wearing a veil. Only after the wedding ceremony was performed, did Jacob notice the gravity of his mistake.

I will gladly participate in the veiling ceremony…

© Casey Fatchett Photography - www.fatchett.com

After all, I am the one and only bride for JB. No tricks please!

Photo credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/216735800791124568/

After meeting with the Cantor, I assigned a new value to my veil that had everything to do with marriage and nothing to do with sparkles.

~Dedicated to Cantor Lee Coopersmith. Thank you for always providing an important perspective to major milestones. Your kind words, vast knowledge of religion, open mind and heart have filled me with a profound appreciation for Judaism and Christianity. I am confident that both faiths will unite us as one.~

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Pondering programs.

My parents recently attended a gorgeous wedding in Palm Beach, Florida. From what I could see, my favorite detail was the big bow that cascaded down the back of the bride’s dress. I adore a bold bow! Since mom was both a guest and a wedding planner on a mission, I received a full recap of the dreamy affair with plenty of pictures. Visuals are key when planning.

With three months left until the big day, there’s not much time to spare for new inspiration. With that said, we are still debating the necessity of programs for our short, yet very sweet ceremony. The question of the week is as follows: Are programs just another piece of paper to bejewel before being tossed, or will guests be puzzled without paper?

Below is an image taken by mom just minutes before the ceremony commenced…

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Gaze across the aisle…

At first glance the romantic floating candles consumed my attention. If you look closely, however, you will spot a guest in a seafoam gown studying the program rather carefully.

Since our wedding will include an interfaith ceremony, it might be helpful to provide an explanation of blessings and rituals, both Jewish and Protestant.

The Jewish tradition of breaking the glass can definitely alarm guests if caught off guard!

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(My cousin Bryan and his beautiful bride Jamie are pictured above)

The program also included a list of people who walked down the aisle. It’s nice to introduce the entire entourage from the proud grandmas to the rambunctious best man. Stella, my two-pound Chihuahua, just might make an appearance down the aisle (escorted by the ring bearer) should I decide to include friends with paws.

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Bridesmaids come in all shapes and sizes.

The program concluded with a small note of love and gratitude from the elated couple. It expressed appreciation for those who watched the ceremony with love from either side of the aisle.

After considering the information guests may wish to know, I am excited to map out a program for our wedding.

Below I have summarized my main reasons to push a program. Hopefully, some of these thoughts resonate with other brides-to-be:

  • If guests arrive early they will have engaging reading material
  • Religious blessings/traditions can be explained
  • Honorable members of the wedding party can be properly introduced
  • Guests will feel included in the intimate moments of the ceremony such as the vows

I am no longer indecisive when it comes to pondering a program.

~Dedicated to Bryan Drew. Thank you for breaking the glass which welcomed a true beauty (inside and out) to the family!~

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Just How Sweet is a Sweetheart Table?

There are so many details to consider when preparing the seating chart for your wedding. Who should be seated closest to the dance floor? Is it okay to mix colleagues and college friends at the same table? Although all of these questions are legitimate, I have learned that there is no perfect formula for assigning seats.

In fact, a wedding that my friend attended a few months ago made use of bar stools, rather than the traditional round tables to avoid structured seating. Seating was determined on a first-come, first-served basis. Apparently, the wedding felt like a fancy game of musical chairs. Guests simply swapped stools with those who visited the buffet or hit the dance floor. Interesting idea, right?

At the moment, the most important discussion related to seating is whether or not the groom and I will make use of a sweetheart table. If not, will we sit with our wedding party, or just with our parents and siblings? Every group seems to have their own opinion. But, what will the sweethearts decide?

Here are my current pros and cons of sitting pretty as a couple:

PRO: the sweetheart table will truly compliment the purpose of the affair…

to celebrate the bride and groom!

At my cousins wedding, a few years back, I loved how the bride and groom shared a sweetheart table at the edge of the dance floor. Side note: They barely sat during the wedding. The Drew family takes dancing very seriously. However, when my cousin Lisa and her lovely groom, Todd, sat down to enjoy their champagne and heartfelt speeches, every guest could see their emotional faces.

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Lisa and Todd embracing the sweetness.

The sweetheart table definitely enhances the spotlight for the bride and groom. It is certainly wonderful to highlight the happy couple in the presence of their family and friends.

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A beautiful sweetheart table courtesy of Posh Petal and Pearls

CON: I’ve heard it’s possible to feel disconnected from your guests…

What couple would volunteer to be isolated at their wedding?

Plenty of people have said it: you have your entire married life to spend in the company of your spouse. Why invite three hundred guests if you plan to sit far from them?

With that said, I believe a sweetheart table can work well and look quite charming in an intimate dinner setting. Our wedding, however, may prove too big to make use of this seating arrangement. On the other hand, if the room is grand and the guests are plentiful, wouldn’t it make sense to have a special area for the bride and groom? We can be easily located for a congratulatory hug!

Here are some questions to consider before deciding whether to sit sweetly or not:

  • How big is your wedding?
  • What shape and size is the dance floor?
  • Are you planning to sit pretty for multiple speeches?

In conclusion, here’s a thoughtful compromise to a sweetheart table: my future mother-in-law recently purchased antique “Mr.” and “Mrs.” hand-painted signs that are intended to hang behind our chairs. We will be able to make a statement as the bride and groom of the party while still sitting nice and close to our loved ones.

For now, these beauties separate my side of the closet from his…

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Soon, however, they will be placed on the back of our chairs at the wedding!

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When Traditional Meets Trendy

In preparation for my trip home this week, I have been obsessing over all things Kleinfeld Bridal including Facebook official updates, “Say Yes to the Dress” re-runs and the store’s customer service line which remains on speed dial. My dress should be arriving from Israel any day now. Will I have my first fitting this week? Possibly.

In anticipation of Pnina’s arrival, I will be heading to Kleinfeld Bridal sometime this week to try on potential shoes and pick a veil that will compliment, rather than clash with my dress.

A few days ago Kleinfeld’s social media page shared a clip from ABC news. The short video entertains a bridal debate that is currently trending: to ditch or not to ditch traditional gowns for shorter options with far less coverage? Take a peek:

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/brides-ditching-traditional-gowns-shorts-29073984 

Don’t worry, potentially conservative MOTB’s, Terry Hall, the Fashion Director Kleinfeld explains how this trend is not necessarily intended for long walks down the aisle. Hall hinted that some brides may opt to wear a jeweled jumpsuit to the reception, after party, or even on the plane as a pre-honeymoon fashion statement. I happen to love the last idea.

If Savannah brides-to-be are searching for the middle ground between a crop top and a traditional princess gown, I suggest popping by BleuBelle Bridal Boutique to try on a look similar to the one pictured below:

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The jeweled back is the latest bridal treasure.

http://www.bleubellebridal.com/index2.php#

With that said, if southern belles have the opportunity to fly north, I recommend camping out at Kleinfeld Bridal. Whether brides are looking to be traditional, trendy or a combination of both, the options are endless. Most importantly, Kleinfeld Bridal and the sister stores are open to accommodating just about every and any request.

For example: During one of the more recent episodes of SYTTD, Lori (a fierce bridesmaids consultant) entertains a bride with a daunting twenty-two bridesmaids. Half of these girls are intended to light the aisle for the bride as “biblical bridesmaids.” Most likely, bridesmaids with a religious purpose will not be sporting high fashion attire with particularly low cuts. Luckily, Lori was able to fit the biblical bridesmaids in very pretty, yet highly appropriate wedding wear.

This week, while home, I will be visiting Bella Bridesmaid, a local dress shop with stores around the country for my cousin’s first fitting. Lisa is ready to say “yes” to my choice of dress, although she is still debating straps verses strapless.

Back to the news: ABC’s discussion as whether or not brides still qualify as traditional in a three-piece suit or shorts does end in a very happy union. Here’s the Tuesday moral, no matter the material: Brides, “It’s your day, so be you!”

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Dancing with the Stars- bridal edition.

I did a pirouette this past Christmas when JB’s mother presented us with dancing lessons. There is something enchanting and timeless about watching couples waltz together. Before opening our gift, I viewed ballroom dancing as an elegant treasure of the past.

I never imagined that my spear fishing, hunter hubby-to-be would choose to rumba with me in a classroom setting (and enjoy it)! From the bias perspective of the bride, I believe we stole the floor and may have a future on Dancing with the Stars- but first, allow us to master our slow dance.

So far we have attended two, thirty-minute sessions with the energetic team at Savannah Ballroom Dance Studio. Meet our peppy personal instructors: JaeLynn Fulks and Gabriel Alexander.

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The dream team.

When we entered the studio, the team at Savannah Ballroom instantaneously calmed our nerves by playing “Stand by Me,” which was the song that solidified our proposal.

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12/8/13: At that moment, I had no idea we would be dancing to this song at our wedding!

For our first lesson we focused on learning the box step, a routine which appears effortless after memorizing the mechanics. Since I come from a ballerina background, I entered the studio with camera-ready confidence. Although the posture of a ballerina does mirror that of a ballroom dancer, the steps, rhythm and mindset are considerably different. The first half of our lesson was spent missing the floor and instead, stepping on each other’s toes. I definitely regret wearing my snakeskin heels. Luckily our instructors are painfully patient and love to laugh just as much as they love to dance. It’s also probable that they’ve seen worse…

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When all else fails…just laugh.

This past Friday we waltzed into our second class with increased confidence. During the week we had practiced our steps in the hallway of our apartment, on the sidewalks of Savannah’s whimsical streets and of course, in our heads.

For our second class I showed up in far more casual attire. Although I believed yoga pants would be most fitting for moving with freedom, my instructor handed me a floor length skirt that felt less like a breeze and more like a bag of sand. The purpose was to simulate the weight of my wedding dress. In reality, my gown has incredible volume and intricate details, which will make it challenging for JB to latch on and lead with ease. I was thankful to dance with the imagination of wearing my own dress.

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“Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels.” ~Faith Whittlesey

After two entertaining classes, the need to extend our package proved obvious. Hopefully, the additional classes will allow us to master our first dance. Here’s the good news: our instructors believe that we will waltz with wonder on the big day. As a bridal blogger, I highly recommend the Savannah Ballroom Dance Studio for couples at any and every dance level.

Brides- rumba while remembering: the lady always leads with her right foot, because she is always right (sorry, JB).

~Thank you Mama Peterman for encouraging me to dance with my star!~

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What’s the right time to say “I Do?”

Although I am the first of my friends to marry, sometimes I feel like a twenty-four- year-old bride stuck in a forty-four-year-old woman’s gown. Let me explain. Friends and family have often referred to me as an “old soul.” In many ways, I agree. I will always choose a low-key evening compared to those my age who live to see the sunrise each weekend (these lifestyle preferences do not apply to my bachelorette, of course). I’m a fairly cheap date since I will happily nurse a glass of red wine over the course of an entire evening. Unfortunately for JB, my lack of wine does not make up for my love of non-alcoholic purchases such as handbags and shoes. That’s just me and luckily, I found my match. But how will my routine translate into our wedding schedule?

A few days ago I received a mock itinerary of the big day via e-mail. I learned that the guests will arrive at 6:30PM, and the ceremony will commence at 7PM. When I did the quick math, I imagined that after cocktail hour, our guests would eat a very late dinner with limited time on the dance floor.

After digesting the full schedule, I politely requested that the ceremony be moved to 6:30PM. Ironically, it was the elderly of the party planners who rejected my suggestion with little empathy. In their defense, they explained that our wedding will take place on the longest day of the year. It will hopefully be a beautiful summer night, and generally guests prefer an evening affair to kick off as close to sunset as possible.

And so, the ceremony remains as scheduled. There are plenty of other factors that justify a 7PM start. For one thing, the paparazzi will most likely arrive around 2 or 3PM to begin the storm of photography, capturing the bridesmaids mid-pamper, the big reveal and the organized, (majorly posed) family photos.

I am sure there are other brides, like me, who have questions and hesitations about the appropriate time to start their celebrations. I have learned that almost everything regarding a bride and groom’s wedding are entirely unique to that day or evening. After all, weddings are (hopefully) once in a lifetime events.

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There is no right time to walk down the aisle…as long as you’re with the one you love.

Who knows, I may end up shocking my hubby and guests by finishing a full glass of wine and staying up the entire night. I won’t be twenty-four forever. Also, there will be plenty of time to rest on a beach somewhere remote after the big day. With what feels like endless wedding planning, I have come to understand why newlyweds schedule honeymoons!

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Top Hats and Goodnight Kisses

“Every night in your married life should end with a kiss goodnight.”- Grandma Gladys

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On June 7, 1953 my grandmother Gladys married her love Selwyn at the sweet age of twenty. Last week my grandmother visited my new home in Savannah for the first time. My only request was that she carry her oversized wedding album so that I could share in one of her happiest memories. She unpacked a love story that I had never known, and explained certain charms from her wedding day that will now be part of mine.

My grandparents married at the Hotel Essex House, a structure in New Jersey, which no longer stands. The ceremony took place on a Sunday afternoon, surrounded by about one hundred friends and family. The first picture that caught my eye was taken of my grandmother posing with her blue garter. In the process of planning my wedding I have disregarded the tradition of wearing a garter. Since I blush at the thought of showing some leg in front of wedding guests, I can only imagine how brides felt in the 50’s! The real treasure was learning that my grandmother still owns her delicate garter and would be honored to pass it down as my “something blue.”

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My beautiful grandmother with her blue garter.

My grandmother’s dress was made of white tulle with iridescent pearl flowers, a sweetheart neck and a crinoline slip. The intricate details of her dress have certainly inspired my own wedding gown.

After looking through the entire album I was most surprised by my grandfather’s choice of attire. Standing over six feet four inches tall, he chose to wear a top hat in combination with striped pants and a rather elegant tailcoat. The top hat is my favorite aesthetic detail from their wedding. It evokes memories of my grandfather’s effortless sophistication.

Although I am not carrying on the tradition of wearing my grandmother’s dress like my own mother did, I am honored to adorn my leg with “something blue” from one of the most special women in my life. As I have taken the time to learn about both of my grandparents’ very different weddings, I have decided to frame one picture from each of their special days at our venue. I feel very lucky that wedding planning has provided the opportunity to learn and appreciate the love stories of those in my family. I only hope my ceremony, like my grandmother’s, will officiate fifty-plus years of romance and memories with my groom.

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At the end of the wedding album my grandmother told me that although every wedding has its own bells and whistles, the real treat is kissing your groom goodnight.

~Written with a newfound appreciation for top hats and goodnight kisses~

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NAVIGATION