Archive: ‘Wedding Planning Tips’

Bridal Trivia: Old, New, Borrowed, Blue

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Ever wonder WHY we celebrate certain wedding traditions? I’m a huge trivia fan, and I recently got to wondering where one of my favorite wedding traditions originated:

Something old, something new,
Something borrowed, something blue,
And a silver sixpence in her shoe.

As it turns out, this rhyme — and thereby tradition — hearkens back to the Victorian Era, and each item mentioned in the rhyme is meant to bring the bride good luck. If she carries all of them on her wedding day, the marriage will be filled with happiness.

Something Old represents the bride’s family and helps her carry a piece of her family’s history into her future.

Something New is a symbol of hope and joy for the bride’s life ahead.

Something Borrowed usually comes from a happily married friend or family member, whose good fortune in marriage it is hoped will spill into the bride’s life. It also serves as a reminder to the bride that she has family and friends she can count on to help her, counsel her and guide her as she learns what it is to be a wife.

Something Blue represents fidelity, purity and love. Throughout history, blue has been connected to weddings. Brides in ancient Rome wore blue to symbolize love, modesty, and fidelity. In Christianity, the Virgin Mary is often depitcted in blue, associating the color with purity. And prior to the late 19th century, blue (not white) was the color of choice for wedding gowns, inspiring proverbs like, “Marry in blue, lover be true.”

"Something Blue" by St Louis Wedding Photographer Christa Donald Photography

And finally, the Silver Sixpence represents wealth or financial security, likely dating back to an old Scottish custom of the groom putting a silver coin under his foot for good luck.


If trivia is your thing, you might want to check out the post on why traditionally a bride and groom choose not to see each other on their wedding day before the ceremony!

Wedding Trivia: Why Do Brides Do That?

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

I am not a believer that there’s any one “right” way to do a wedding, but let’s face it. There are certain age-old traditions and customs that when you put them all together, you have yourself a wedding. White dress…check! Bouquet…check! Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue…check! I’m a lover of random trivia and factoids, but the WHY’s behind most wedding customs and traditions are knowledge that had escaped me…until now. My curiosity recently got the best of me, and I hit up Google in search of answers. I’ll be sharing those answers with you in installments, the first of which is today! So fellow trivia lovers, may the information contained herein provide you with the ability to one-up the other team(s) at your next quiz night!

Custom:  Traditionally, the bride and groom choose not to see each other on the wedding day prior to the ceremony.

The Why:  Back in the days of feudalism, way before people got to marry for LOVE like we do today, marriage was considered a business transaction. Lord So-and-So wanted to earn the king’s favor, so he’d make an agreement with Lord Such-and-Such that his daughter would marry Lord Such-and-Such’s son. In exchange, Lord So-and-So would get perhaps a parcel of land, or additional men-at-arms, or maybe Lord Such-and-Such would get a new title. Many times, these marriages were arranged without the bride and groom ever having met. (I know, so romantic, right?) In spite of the fact that marriage was simply a business deal, that didn’t stop Lord Such-and-Such’s son from preferring a fair maiden, as opposed to one of Cinderella’s ugly stepsisters. So to ensure that everything went the way it was supposed to on the wedding day, the bride and groom were often not allowed to meet beforehand. After all, if the bride wasn’t comely, it certainly wouldn’t be advantageous to give the groom a reason to back out of the wedding before all the I’s were dotted and T’s crossed. In fact, some marriage ceremonies took place without the groom seeing the bride until afterwards, when he was finally able to lift her veil! The tradition of the bride and groom not seeing each other prior to the wedding eventually just became one of those things you do when you get married, as did the bride wearing a veil. Interesting, huh?

For our own wedding, Kirk and I stuck to tradition for the most part. But this is one tradition we did buck. We opted to have a “First Look” and see each other before the wedding ceremony so we could exchange gifts, admire one another in our wedding finery and steal a couple of kisses before the big show began. Untraditional? Yes. Do I regret it? Not for a minute!!! In fact, that’s the part of our wedding day that I remember best — after the ceremony began, the day seemed to just fly by and although I know it was one of the most wonderful days of my life (matched only by the births of our children), it’s mostly a blur!

Our "first look." (Photo by Richelle Brown Weddings)

Our “first look.” (Photo by Richelle Brown Weddings)

How about you? Will you (or did you) stay traditional or will you (did you) choose to spend a few moments together before your wedding ceremony? And what other wedding traditions would you like to hear about? Leave us a comment below!

Wedding Planning 101: First Steps

Friday, February 24th, 2012

If you’re newly engaged, first off, CONGRATULATIONS!!! I couldn’t be more excited for you — your wedding day is sure to be one of the most memorable and wonderful days of your life, and that is definitely reason to celebrate! I remember being in your shoes about seven years ago, and of course everyone was so happy for us. But then came the questions. When’s the big day? Where are you getting married? Who’s in your wedding party? Have you found a dress? Umm…no, we literally got engaged 5 minutes ago, but I quickly realized that I was staring down the monumental task of planning the biggest, most elegant party I ever had…and probably ever would. Wow…talk about overwhelming! But somehow I figured it out, our wedding was everything I’d ever dreamed it would be, and I’d do that day all over again a million times over (if only I had access to unlimited funds)! If you’re feeling anything like I did in those first few weeks after getting engaged, never fear! Gwen Wilson, owner and founder of Nuptiae: The Wedding and Event Planners, has graciously agreed to join us and share some great advice for how to get started! Read on….



Engagement RingJust engaged?  Where to begin?

The proposal was perfect, the ring more beautiful than you imagined and you are already dreaming of walking down the aisle and the great party afterward.  The only problem is figuring out what to do between now and then.  How do you get from the excitement of your groom slipping the ring on your finger to waving goodbye to your guests on the way to the honeymoon of your dreams without losing your sanity, or making the people around you crazy? Here’s my advice for taking the stress from the process.

If you can afford to hire a planner and your wedding is likely to involve many guests and wedding service vendors or will be outdoors in a challenging location it can be money very well spent.  From making plans, to coordination and implementation of those plans, a planner can do much of the work for you and guide you through the many decisions you’ll be making.  We can also help you locate vendors known for excellent work and for those who fit into your budget.

If you cannot afford a wedding planner to help guide you through the myriad details of planning, the best place to begin is by figuring out what the total budget for your wedding will be.  If one or both sets of parents will be helping with the costs take the time for you and your fiancé to sit down with your parents alone so they feel free to speak about finances.  It is very important to understand what they are willing to provide up front so you don’t have any surprises later (when we said we’d pay for the alcohol we meant a champagne toast, not an open bar…).

Once you have a dollar amount in mind you can start to decide how to divide the budget among the categories you’ll be spending on.  Deciding how many guests to invite will likely have a big impact on the cost unless it is a very small wedding.   Knowing the per person cost for providing food and beverages for your guests will help you to see if you have to trim the guest list to fit your budget.  From there shop around to find the items you want that are in your price range.  Be sure to set priorities about what is important to you and your groom.  If some items turn out not to be important to either of you and won’t make a difference to the comfort of your guests then think about doing without and spending more on the things that are important.

Once you know what you have to spend on your wedding start interviewing vendors and visiting venues.  Try to get an idea up front what range vendors offer services in to avoid falling in love with a  great reception location or a photographer only to find out they don’t fit into your budget.

Take time to think about each step before moving forward.  Trust your first impressions, and don’t forget to talk to your groom. He may surprise you and want to be involved the planning too!



Gwen Wilson founded Nuptiae: The Wedding and Event Planners, a full-service wedding and event management company, in 2003. Prior to forming Nuptiae, Ms. Wilson worked as a wedding coordinator in Champaign, Illinois. Over the years, she has established strong connections to many area vendors, who offer a wide range of wedding and event-related services. Past Nuptiae clients say Ms. Wilson’s organizational and planning skills, as well as her attention to detail created beautiful and memorable events. Her experience includes everything from small, family-only ceremonies to large, destination weddings.

10 Tips for Getting the Most of Your Bridal Show Experience

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

As a wedding photographer, I love all things bridal, but I hold a special place in my heart for DIY weddings. I was a DIY bride, and those handmade, homemade details that brides incorporate into their weddings just sing to my heart! For all you DIY brides out there, I’ve decided to incorporate some fun wedding planning tips and ideas into my blog from time to time. Here to kick us off is guest contributor Ashley Plunkett, owner of The Elegant Bridal Expo, with some great tips for navigating those upcoming bridal shows.

Attending a bridal show can be overwhelming. There are so many vendors to talk to that it can be hard to know where to start. Just remember that these shows are for your convenience, not to add stress. Visiting with different wedding vendors in one convenient location only makes it easier to be able to compare prices and services and in turn, save you time and money. Follow these tips if you want get the most out of your bridal show experience.

1. Pre-register for the show.
Save yourself some time by registering before the show. It only takes a few minutes and it will save you from having to fill out a registration form at the show. Some shows will allow you to print discounted or free tickets online if you pre-register.

2. Set up a wedding email account.
This will be helpful in keeping your regular email free of spam or unsolicited mail.

3. Bring supplies.
Bring a notebook, pens and clipboard or even a wedding planner if you have one. This will help you take notes and jot down any ideas that come to mind. Bring a camera if you have one. This will allow you to quickly remember some of the fabulous things you saw at the show.

4. Bring pre-printed address labels.
Print labels that include full name, address, phone number, email and wedding date. This will save you a lot of time and writing when you are entering to win giveaways and raffles.

5. Arrive early and don’t forget your checkbook.
Most shows will offer prizes or giveaways to the first couple hundred brides so make sure you arrive early. Many vendors will offer a “bridal show only” discount and this can help you save even more money if you are able to find your wedding vendor at the show.

6. Bring the groom.
It’s his day too and he could be a lot of help in planning. If you find your perfect wedding vendor then you will most likely want his opinion before making arrangements. (Drive separately if you don’t think he would want to stay for the entire show or the fashion show portion.)

7. Wear comfortable shoes.
You will be on your feet for a few hours, so it will definitely pay to wear comfortable shoes. Also, leave your coat in the car so you don’t have to carry it around with you all day.

8. Bring your color swatches or pictures.
This will make it much easier to match linens, flowers, dress and cake and other wedding items to your color scheme.

9. Stay for the fashion show.
This is the highlight of the bridal show and it is usually the time when grand prizes are given away. You definitely won’t want to miss out!

10. Make a day of it!
You should plan on being at the show for several hours. Keep in mind that drawings and prize giveaways are typically made near the end of the show and you must be present to win. This will allow you to visit all the vendors and find everything you need for you big day!

The most important tip is to have fun! 🙂

Ashley Plunkett is a bridal show producer based in Springfield, IL, and the owner of an online bridal guide, When she is not working on her bridal shows and website, she enjoys spending time with her long-term boyfriend, and their miniature dachshund, Jeter.


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