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Dear Inspired

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

JM3A9696.jpg

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

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

Kate Ross 472.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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