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So, who got engaged on Valentine's Day?

Posted by Casey Harrison February 21, 2014 09:46 AM

A recent survey estimated that six million couples got engaged on Valentine's Day of this year - six million! That's a lot of people who are jumping into this wedding planning thing, and we all know it can be overwhelming. I thought I'd round up some of our previous posts to give you some assistance as you start your planning journey!

- Where do I start? Picking a venue is a good jumping off point!
- Choosing a day of the week for your wedding.
- Eliciting help from the incredible bounty of inspiration on Pinterest.

And some of our favorite wedding blogs for inspiration:

- Style Me Pretty
- Once Wed
- Wedding Chicks
- Ruffled

Good luck, and have fun! And remember, if you have any questions you can email us at blissfullyinspired@gmail.com. :)

Dear Inspired: Where do I start?

Posted by Casey Harrison January 15, 2014 12:32 PM

Dear Becca and Casey,

I am one of the many brides who got engaged over the holidays! I am SO excited, of course, but also feeling overwhelmed. I want to start by booking a venue but I don't know where to start looking. I'd like to stay in the Boston area, and I think we will have about 200 guests. I'd like something kind of rustic but still clean and beautiful. Any ideas?

Thanks in advance for your help!

Sincerely,
Vexed about Venues

Dear Vexed,

First of all, congratulations!! I love holiday engagements. Planning can be totally stressful - I remember it well! Once you have the venue booked, you'll be able to breathe a sigh of relief. At least then you know that the wedding is happening, and that you you'll have an address to put on your invitations!

I have tons of favorite venues around Boston and New England, but I think the most helpful thing for you to do would be to check out this amazing new website called The Hitch (www.thehitch.com). We are not related to them in any way, and this is not an advertisement - we just genuinely think it's awesome! You can input your desired location, and then sort by all different kinds of things like budget, amount of guests, etc. I would have killed for something like this when I was planning my wedding. I had just based everything off of the venues I knew about, but it would have been so helpful to be able to see all of the options!

Hope this helps, and best of luck with your planning adventures!

Best,
Casey

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Dear Becca + Casey: How to address guests on a wedding invitation

Posted by Becca Olcott January 6, 2014 08:02 AM

EmilyPost.jpgDear Becca and Casey,

I was hoping you could help settle a discussion I've been having with
my fiancee over wedding invitations. Is there a proper way to address
your guests, specifically, the guests of the friends/ family you are
inviting? My take has always been that if a couple is married, they
are adressed, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Smith. Whereas, if a couple is not,
you automatically address the invitation to Jack Smith and guest. She
says it is rude to do so and that you should always make the attempt to
put the name of your friend's guest down as well especially if they
are in a committed relationship. It seems like this could cause a
lot of headaches for those friends who go through break-ups end have a
different significant other by the time of the wedding. More
importantly, it could create a situation where a friends guest is
offended if their name isn't on the invitation. (If you were to give
a single friend the option of bringing a guest only the person they
had been casually dating is more serious than you realized.) For
these reasons, I always figured addressing invitations to, "... and
guest," is the right thing to do. My parents, aunts and uncles agree
with me but, times may have changed since I've been surprised to be
addressed on her friends' wedding invitations since we've been
together. Please let me know what you think.

Thanks,

WF

Dear WF,

With modern day customs being somewhat hard to navigate, I find it most reliable to lean on my favorite leading etiquette guru, Ms. Emily Post. Here's what I found from the trusted leading lady!

Hope that resolves your concerns,

Becca

Happy New Years Eve!

Posted by Becca Olcott December 31, 2013 08:49 AM

What a year it has been. Want to know my resolution for 2014? I'm thinking I'll eat a little bit of chocolate each day in and love with a wide open heart.

Happy New Years Eve, friends!! We wish you an amazing end to 2013, and a wonderful beginning for 2014. 2013WeddingIdeas.jpg

Image taken by our very own Casey of Hello Love Photography, and you can view the whole post here on Wedding Chicks

Lots of xoxo,

Becca + Casey

weekend highlights

Posted by Becca Olcott December 9, 2013 03:06 PM

Did you get married this weekend? We want to hear about it! As dreamy as our New England Summer and Fall weddings can be, I have to admit I'm a full blown sucker for a whitewashed winter wedding. With a magical dusting of snow, it's like the world is winking back at your bold choice.

Here are some fun things to get you inspired for the week:

The pantone color for 2014 was announced last week:

Here’s a fabulous giveaway by Wedding Paper Divas on Style Me Pretty today:

And last but not least, here's a Pinterest board to give you some fresh flowers to obsess about. At least we did. What’s your favorite flower?

Dear Inspired: Table Shots

Posted by Casey Harrison November 11, 2013 02:06 PM

Dear Casey and Becca,

Hi ladies! So I'm getting married in the spring, and my mom is very adamant about having the photographer take photos of each table. I've been to a lot of weddings, and I feel like this practice is a little outdated. What do you think? Is there another way to make sure that guests are included in the photos?

Thanks for the help! Any advice is appreciated.

Cheers!
Guest Photo Girl

Dear Guest Photo Girl,

As a photographer, this is a topic close to my heart! I am of the opinion that table photos are indeed a little outdated, and most of the photographers I know don't do these any more. The main reason, for me, is that I like to stay out of the way. Since I have a photojournalistic approach, I hardly ever pose guests. However, that doesn't mean that I don't think it's important to have photos of your guests! I always make sure to take lots of candid guest photos during cocktail hour, dinner, and dancing. If people ask for a group photo, of course I am always happy to take one.

The other thing I recommend is hiring a photo booth. This is a great way for guests to take photos of themselves, and you can create a guestbook with the photo strips! Guests of all ages go crazy for a photo booth.

If it's important to have lots of photos of your guests, you can mention to your photographer that you'd like lots of candids of people at the wedding. Communication is key, so that your photographer can make sure you are happy with the final product! Best of luck!

Congrats,
Casey

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Do or Don't: iPod DJ

Posted by Casey Harrison October 23, 2013 08:26 AM

I shoot all kinds of lovely weddings - from huge events at hotels in the city, to forty-person shindigs at barns in Maine, to three-person celebrations at city hall. For some smaller weddings, it doesn't make sense to hire a ten piece band or even a DJ. In those cases, I have seen couples choose to make a killer playlist on their computer or iPod, and play it through the dancing part of the evening. I've seen it done well and I've seen it done not-so-well.

I say it's a DO, but you have to some forethought. It's important to pay close attention to the order of the songs, and to include a few slow songs in the mix to appease the older guests and allow people to rest their feet. If possible, try to shorten the pause between each song to avoid awkward silences and breaks in the dance party. Appointing someone to keep tabs on the computer or iPod is also a must. Someone needs to be in charge in case anything goes wrong, or to change up the order of songs if the dance floor doesn't seem interested in what's playing.

You can't replace the expertise of a professional wedding DJ, but for some smaller events it just makes sense to DIY. Just make sure to play "Shout." Can't go wrong with that one. ;)

Dear Inspired...family and traditions

Posted by Becca Olcott October 21, 2013 09:48 AM

Dear Blissfully Inspired,

I'm writing as a new bride who never really dreamed of my wedding growing up. Now that I'm actually getting married I have a question about traditions. Unfortunately my grandmother has decided not to attend because I'm four months pregnant and she's very traditional.

Do you have any recommendations for how I could honor her?
Betsy from south boston

Dear Betsy,

First of all, congratulations! You have so much to be excited for with a new baby and and life with your husband. It's important that as you strengthen your immediate family you also honor the traditions of your family history. Unfortunately I don't think there's much you can do to sway your grandmother but if honoring her is what you would like to do at the wedding there are lots of ways you can.
One possibility is to ask her what traditions she upheld at her
own wedding and maybe you can replicate some of them with your own twists. Another way that I've seen is to carry a flower that she had in her own bouquet. Another option is to simply find a poem or passage that reminds
you of her and have someone read it at the wedding.

Let me know how it goes! Good luck and congratulations again ---what an exciting time in your life! All the best, Becca

Do or don't...Wearing your hair up with a strapless dress…

Posted by Becca Olcott October 2, 2013 08:00 AM

Are you wearing a strapless dress for your wedding? I do cherish that old style myth that if you're wearing a strapless dress you have to wear your hair down. This rule is absolutely out and makes no sense if you're trying to flaunt it. I say go for it! Wear your hair up in a fun hairstyle you found on Pinterest. And if you'd like to temper your look a bit, try a low side bun. Bottom line: be comfortable and confident out there, and pay no mind to the prim and proper guidelines of a bygone era.

Do or Don't: Getting Ready Photos

Posted by Casey Harrison September 11, 2013 10:15 AM

My packages all include an hour of getting ready photos, but some couples wonder if they want photos of themselves getting ready. Guys, especially, tend not to want any photos of them getting ready. However, I think getting ready photos are great to have! It's fun to capture the candid moments of you hanging out with your bridesmaids, sipping champagne and getting your makeup done. It's easy to get photos of the guys getting ready as well - straightening their ties and running a comb through their hair is about all it takes.

And if you're the modest type, don't worry! I am always very careful to keep things PG-rated while you are getting your dress on. But it's great to capture the memory of your mom or maid of honor zipping up the back of your dress for you. Trust me, you'll want that one!

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Do or Don't: Non-Saturday Weddings

Posted by Casey Harrison August 28, 2013 11:41 AM

Weddings are expensive, and it's easy to be tempted by a lower price to have a wedding on a Friday or a Sunday. However, this is another one of those times when you need to keep your guests in mind. With Friday weddings, people likely need to take a day off of work to make it to the wedding. With Sunday weddings, people won't be able to really enjoy the party because they will be heading home to rest up for their week ahead.

I think non-Saturday weddings are a DO, but with a caveat. If you have your wedding on a Friday, consider having a later ceremony (think 6:30 or 7:00) so that people might be able to make it to the wedding after work, or at least work a half day. If you are having a Sunday wedding, consider having everything begin and end earlier (perhaps by 9:00) so that guests can hit the dance floor and still make it home before it gets too late.

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Dear Inspired: When should I do my first dance?

Posted by Casey Harrison August 19, 2013 05:47 PM

Hi Casey and Becca,

Since you guys see a lot of wedding receptions, I'd love your input on this issue. My planner is suggesting that we do all of our dances after dinner, but it seems like that would be a lot of dances in a row (first dance, parent dances, etc.). How do most people schedule the formal dances during a typical wedding reception?

Cheers!
Flustered about the First Dance

Dear Flustered,

I totally get it! Planning a reception takes a lot of coordination, and you want to make sure that everything flows smoothly. I would say most couples go straight into their first dance from their introductions, which works well as you are already standing in front of your guests. I typically see parent dances happen immediately after dinner, which is perfect because it makes a great segue into getting your guests on the dance floor!

Another hint: it can be helpful to have your DJ cut the songs down a bit from their original length. It can start to feel like a really long time if you are dancing for a full five minutes, and I know I was grateful to have the song shortened a bit while everyone was staring at us on the dance floor!

Hope that helps!

Best,
Casey

JM3A3267.jpg Photo by Hello Love Photography

Have a great rainy weekend!

Posted by Casey Harrison August 9, 2013 10:00 AM

What are you up to this weekend? If you are getting married, don't fret! The rain should pass by tomorrow, and it will be another lovely Saturday for a wedding. We are really in the heart of wedding season now, and loving it! Fall will be here before we know it. Here are a few fun wedding links from around the web:

The worst wedding advice ever.

A beautiful Newport Wedding shot by First Mate Photo Co.

And some good wedding advice.

A super-sweet surprise proposal story.

Have a fantastic weekend, everyone!


Dear Inspired...The Groom's Toast

Posted by Becca Olcott August 5, 2013 02:16 PM

Dear Inspired: The Groom's Toast

I’m writing as a soon-to-be-groom with some pressing questions about timing the toast. I'd love to thank all of our guests for coming and to raise a glass to my bride and our families for their love and support. At the same time, I don't want to disrupt the flow or interject at an inappropriate moment. What is the best time for the groom to propose a toast?

Thank you, Grateful Groom


Dear Grateful Groom,

In my opinion, there’s never a wrong time to thank the crowd for coming and it’s an important gesture to make. If you’re looking for an ideal time I would say toasting right before dinner begins is your chance to get the most possible attentive eyes and ears. Keep it simple and honest and you’ll be a huge success!

Good Luck, Becca

Do or Don't: Pinterest Planning

Posted by Casey Harrison July 31, 2013 06:11 PM

In this digital age, many brides can feel totally overwhelmed by wedding inspiration. Blogs, magazines, and now Pinterest are constantly bombarding you with bouquets! and dresses! and DIY projects! It's easy to get buried in all of the wedding beauty.

Pinterest can actually be an awesome way to keep track of ideas without going completely overboard. With all of your inspiration photos laid out cleanly, it's easier to curate your ideas and make sure that everything looks cohesive. It's also really helpful to share your Pinterest boards with your vendors! Planners, florists, stylists, photographers, and makeup artists can all benefit from seeing your vision laid out before the wedding. Also, Pinterest recently unveiled a new "secret boards" feature that makes it easy to keep your ideas under wraps. You don't want your guests to know what your dress options are, or to see the cute favors you want to surprise them with on their way home!

What do you think, brides? Do you use Pinterest, or are you thinking about starting now? I'm totally addicted!

Here's a peek at one of Becca's inspiration boards for a client:
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Do or Don't: Be Strict with your Color Scheme.

Posted by Becca Olcott July 24, 2013 02:11 PM


As a florist, this is of course one of my favorite topics to hash out. The answer may surprise you! While discipline comes in handy for other aspects of wedding planning, I find when couples are too rigid about must-have colors or shades, it can feel abnormal and set the wrong tone. But when the bride and groom are more flexible with their color scheme, the beauty of the day comes alive in a more organic way. If you're looking to highlight your consistency of style, I recommend choosing your look within a specific color spectrum, thereby allowing your highlight colors to pop against a backdrop of more natural tones.

Dear Inspired: What do you think of "trash the dress" shoots?

Posted by Casey Harrison July 22, 2013 02:59 PM

Dear Casey and Becca,

I've been hearing a lot about brides doing "trash the dress" shoots lately. I'm a non-traditional bride, but I'm not sure how I feel about it. Any thoughts on these shoots, or any other ideas for a bride who'd like some unconventional wedding portraits?

Thanks in advance!

Boston Bride

Good question! I have been seeing these lately as well, and I also have mixed feelings on them. I'm all about unconventionality, but it seems a bit wasteful to me. If you're someone who doesn't want to save their wedding dress forever, you can sell it on a site like Once Wed or donate it to an organization like Wish Upon a Wedding, which organizes and funds weddings for couples facing a life-threatening illness. Those options all sound a lot better than ruining your dress and tossing it in a trash can!

Lots of brides still choose to do a "day after" shoot in order to have more time to take photos in their wedding clothes. This is an opportunity to get creative, since your time isn't as limited as it is on the wedding day. Head to a location that's meaningful to you - a favorite pizza place, the movie theater where you had your first date, etc. You can take non-traditional photos in unconventional places without destroying your dress!

Hope that helps! Have a blast taking your photos, whatever you choose to do!

Casey

JM3A2662.jpg Photo by Hello Love Photography

Do or Don't: Separate sides for the ceremony

Posted by Casey Harrison July 17, 2013 08:39 AM

These days, people are thinking a little more outside-the-box about weddings. There's less focus on stuffy traditions, and more focus on making guests comfortable and making the wedding day representative of the couple themselves. One example I've seen lately is allowing people to sit wherever they like for the ceremony. While tradition typically has the bride standing on the left and her family on the same side, some couples are opting for unassigned ceremony seating. I've seen cute signs saying "Choose a seat, not a side" or something along those lines to let guests know that they can sit where they like. It's a good opportunity for families to mingle. It can also make it easier for guests to see the face of their friend or relative - if the bride is your friend and you're sitting on the same side as her, you end up looking at her back through most of the ceremony! I think having separate, assigned sides for the ceremony is a don't these days.

What do you think? Will you stick with tradition or allow guests to sit wherever they like?

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Dear Inspired: How do I give a great toast?

Posted by Casey Harrison July 8, 2013 07:58 PM

Dear Casey and Becca,

I'm a bride-to-be myself, but my question is about my sister's wedding. I am the maid of honor, and I am ridiculously nervous about giving my toast. I'm sure you guys have seen a million toasts by now - what's the secret to a touching and unforgettable wedding toast?

Cheers,
Scared of Speeches

Dear Scared,

I know the feeling! At my sister's wedding, I was terrified to give a toast. But giving a memorable toast is not impossible. You are in luck - our friends Tom and Melissa at Long Haul Films (a truly incredible wedding videography team in Boston) put together a really helpful video about how to give the perfect wedding toast over on their blog. Check it out here for some incredible tips.

Some of their tips include:
1. Don't just "wing it!" The best speeches feel improvised but actually aren't.
2. Avoid sarcasm and speak from the heart. People will appreciate it.
3. Keep the mic on the stand to avoid nervously pacing (I would have never thought of this one, but what a great idea!).

Tom wisely says, "We witness a huge range of wedding speeches - some that are funny, some that are touching, and - unfortunately - some that aren't very good. The real key to giving a great wedding speech is authenticity and confidence. Many times when a speech goes badly - if it descends into an awkward roast or someone delivers a poorly-executed song-and-dance routine - it's because the speaker isn't confident that they'll be interesting enough if they keep it real. But the best speeches are just that - people speaking from the heart with love and authenticity."

Check out their blog for tons of gorgeous videos and great tips from the experts. Best of luck! :)

Best,
Casey

JM3A8751.jpg Photo by Hello Love Photography

Do or Don't: Assigned tables

Posted by Becca Olcott July 3, 2013 10:48 AM

Although assigning tables can occasionally be stressful, it's also a crucial tool for the great challenge of tactfully herding your guests.

Of course Aunt Milly may grumble about her proximity to her snobby sister, but that comes with the territory when you're tasked with bringing family together. Ultimately, structure on your wedding day is your friend. You will be thankful you have it. Your friends will help you stick to it. And you can abide a gripe here and there, they are inevitable.

Keep in mind, assigning tables can actually be a really fun exercise with your partner. Imagine the weddings you've attended where you enjoyed interesting, unexpected conversations at dinner. That's the blossoming of creative seating arrangements. Think of it like thoughtful guest matchmaking. Then, once it's set, forget about it.

Dear Inspired: Point Person

Posted by Becca Olcott July 1, 2013 09:26 AM

Dear BI,

A few of my vendors asked me for my "point person" so they can stay out of my hair with the small stuff. Though I appreciate the question, I'm also a little worried that anyone I'd charge with this responsibility might miss critical details of our vision.

Should I assign this role or try to be true to my own plan?



Dear bride-to-be,

Great question! Your vendors are correct to ask you for a point person and you would be wise to assign this very important role to someone you trust both logistically and creatively.

Furthermore, it's important to remember that things can and often do veer off course on your wedding day. However close your point person comes to your creative vision, don't sweat the small stuff. At some point you simply need to resign yourself to the adventure of it and marry the love of your life. Not all will go according to plan on your wedding day, and that "expect the unexpected" attitude will serve you well after the decorations have been taken down.

All my best,

Becca

Do or Don't: Outdoor wedding in the summer heat

Posted by Casey Harrison June 26, 2013 01:22 PM

Now that summer (and wedding season) are in full swing, many brides and grooms are wondering what the best way is to cater to their guests on a hot day. While a summer wedding is obviously a DO, there are some important considerations to keep in mind. Try not to plan your wedding to begin in the mid-day heat. Sitting outside in direct sun can be really uncomfortable, and can be dangerous for older guests. An late afternoon or early evening ceremony will be cooler, and bonus: the light will be much prettier in your photos! It's also a great idea to offer cool drinks for your guests (lemonade is always a hit) upon their arrival at the ceremony site. If you want to be really considerate, you can even put out a basket of summer necessities for your guests. Think: bug spray, sunscreen, and fans. They will love you for it, and they'll have more energy to hit the dance floor at your reception!

IMG_8678.jpg Photo by Hello Love Photography

Do or Don't: Cocktail Party In Lieu of Formal Reception

Posted by Becca Olcott June 19, 2013 08:00 AM

Total Do!

Feeling the financial crush of a full fledged reception with dinner for all of your guests is a legitimate drag. The sense of obligation you feel is real, through probably unwarranted. It's your party, and your guests are there to celebrate you. I don't think they'll feel slighted if you spare them the chicken or fish dilemma. If you're on a budget, or you're looking to throw a rad party without shelling out too much, a rocking cocktail party is a great way to host your guests, and still celebrate your one and only. It's all about the spirit you imbue the event with. Make an iPod playlist of your favorites with your beloved. Rent a mic and speaker for toasts. Dance, dance, dance. The X-factor will be the way your guests embrace the evening. Their collective good will carry the night and then some.

Of course, in the absence of dinner, make sure to retain a chunk of your budget for extra passed h'ords!

Do or Don't: Wearing your hair down

Posted by Casey Harrison June 12, 2013 09:27 AM

For a while, it seemed like everyone getting married had to have their hair in a curly, hair-sprayed, Shirley Temple style updo. These days, people tend to make a more relaxed approach to wedding-day hair. I always say that the most important thing is to look like yourself on your wedding day, and not some weird over-done "wedding version" of yourself. For that reason, I think wearing your hair down is a DO, especially if you wear it down often. You can even do it yourself, if you style your own hair often and have a favorite style mastered. Whatever look you go for, a natural hair style is a definite "do" on your wedding day. And if you are going to do it yourself, be sure to practice! :)

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Weekend Wedding Inspiration

Posted by Casey Harrison June 7, 2013 12:12 PM

Well, it looks like we are in for another rainy weekend. Hopefully tropical storm Andrea isn't going to be impacting any big plans for you all! In case you'll be staying indoors with some time to kill this weekend, here are a few wedding-related links from around the web.

A gorgeous and unique bridesmaid dress.

Incredible vintage engagement rings - love all of these!

Amazing wedding gowns made out of an... unexpected material.

This eclectic wedding is full of cute, colorful, and crafty details.

Want an unconventional honeymoon? Here are eight amazing "glamping" resorts.

About the Authors

Becca Olcott has a thing for old love letters and good old-fashioned romance. Bringing daily wedding updates and advice is second nature to Becca. She spends her days working with the brides of New England designing tablescapes full of lush florals and antique gems through her business Petal Floral Design.
Casey Harrison is a wedding and portrait photographer in the lovely city of Boston. She spends her days scouting the countryside for beautiful locations for shoots and taking photos of couples in love through her business Hello Love Photography.

Contact Us

E-mail Becca and Casey at blissfullyinspired@gmail.com
Like them on Facebook facebook.com/blissfullyinspiredweddings

Interact

Tweet Becca @petal_floral
Follow Becca on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/petal/
Follow Petal_Floral on instagram
Tweet Casey @hellolovephoto
Follow Casey on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/hellolovephoto/
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