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Tips for the Budget-Friendly Bride

By | Ruthe Tuesdays

If you’re like me, you’ve been thinking about your wedding day since you were 6 years old. While it’s been a far off vision, you haven’t stopped planning it in your head…or on Pinterest. Now you’re engaged and that vision is quickly becoming a reality! But your fairytale wedding with extravagant florals in an England mansion venue doesn’t come cheap. You and your fiancé have to start getting real creative to afford the wedding of your dreams! I’m here to tell you that thinking about the small things really do add up. You can stand to save a lot of extra cash by following some of these budget-friendly tips.

Pick a less than popular date:

Since picking a venue is one of the first things on your wedding planning to-do list, you have to consider picking a date that is not during peak wedding season. Some venues might offer discounts to couples that book their date during slow months. See if a January-March date works for you and your family. Or maybe a weekend in August? Perhaps you and your fiancé are even open to picking a week day for your event. You will be happy to see a huge price difference in the quote you receive from venues.

Keep your eyes peeled for promos:

Wedding vendors constantly advertise sales, discounts, and promotions. The best way to keep up with this? Follow their social media accounts! Find a few promising vendors you like and don’t forget to check back with them regularly for sales. Some vendors even host social media giveaways for free or discounted products and services. It never hurts to try and win! Additionally, you can sign yourself up for a few local bridal shows. Vendors often slash their prices for brides that commit to them at the show.

Save the trees:

Ordering printed menus on beautiful stationary is definitely Pinterest-worthy, but is it really necessary? Save the paper and the cash: say no to menus. Instead, post your dinner menu on your wedding website or have it displayed on a single acrylic sign at the reception. Speaking of stationary, you can save even more of your budget by simply addressing your invitations yourself. Get your bridesmaids together for a wine and invitation party! You’d be surprised how much cash will stay in your pocket.

Less is more:

Flowers can be another huge item on your list. While I am a huge lover of grand flower arrangements and archways, it might not always be practical for everyone. Consider sticking to one large statement arrangement and a few smaller flowers everywhere else. Or perhaps you can reuse your ceremony flowers and bouquets for the reception space. Placing those arrangements near the bar, on the cake table, or the sweetheart table can really make a difference. Whatever arrangements you choose, make sure you are selecting flowers that are in season! Don’t pay the hefty price tag for those flowers that are hard to get at the time of your wedding.

Think of the children:

Lastly, if you’re having children at your wedding, don’t pay for additional plated, four course meals. Ask your venue if they have kid’s menu options at a more affordable rate. Plus, those options will probably be more popular among the kiddos rather than your steak dinner and shrimp cocktail. If you’re reading this and you’re an RJC bride, we even have a special space just for the kids. We’ve had babysitting companies and even bounce houses entertain the kids while you dance the night away with your new husband.

When you’re planning a wedding on a budget, and most all weddings have a budget, it goes without saying that you need to stick to the budget. I firmly believe you can have the wedding of your dreams and be financially stable at the same time! Thinking through each wedding purchase and following money-saving tips is sometimes all it will take. And if you’re ever caught in a bind or need extra advice, don’t hesitate to reach out. Best of wishes to you always!

Bridal Hairstyle Guide

By | Ruthe Tuesdays

When you get in the middle of wedding planning, little details begin to pop up! You begin to think and consider every part of your big day. One of those little details is how you decide to wear your hair! If you are like me, this is a super exciting topic! However, if you need some guidance on how to select the best hairstyle for you, look no further!


Step One: Find Inspiration
If you have a specific aesthetic in mind for your wedding, you can easily coordinate your hair around it. For example, if you are going for a casual, rustic evening, you can opt for a loose half-pinned hairstyle that incorporates loose flowing curls. Pieces of hair can be left out of the pinned portion to frame the face. On the other hand, if you want a formal event, you might consider an updo with tight curls or buns. A great idea is to check out Pinterest and find styles that you like. Once you have a few picked out, you can present them to your stylist to see if they can be done.

Step Two: Decide on Length
Long or short? It’s as simple as that! If you want long, flowing hair in your wedding pictures, make sure you give yourself enough time to grow it out. Alternatively, you can always buy hair extensions to speed up the process. If you’d like to keep your hair short, consider what options of styles are doable for your length. And as always, communicate with your stylist. They can point you in the right direction depending on your hair type.


Step Three: Accessories!
Now that you’ve decided on the hair style of your dreams, it’s time to consider accessories! Lately, I’ve noticed a trend towards veils that are clipped into the pinned hair. If you want to go this direction, find a veil that suites your hair and won’t give you trouble. The last thing you want to be worrying about is if your veil is going to stay on your head or not. There’s also a plethora of bridal clips, flower crowns, and elegant pins to compliment your beautiful style!

Considering your hairstyle is one of the many fun decisions to make for your wedding day. With these easy steps, you’re sure to find the best fit for you! And I hope that this small read makes your decision process a little less overwhelming!



Get the Most out of Your Honeymoon!

By | Ruthe Tuesdays

With all the wedding planning you and your fiancé have been doing lately, I bet you both can’t wait to get away! Once all the wedding stress is done and over with, you’ll be able to finally relax and enjoy married life! And a honeymoon is a perfect way to unwind and connect with your partner before settling into reality again. But before you get on that plane, make sure to consider these helpful honeymoon tips to make the most of your special vacation.


Pack Ahead of Time:
Obviously, if you’re going somewhere for your honeymoon, you’re gonna need to pack. However, don’t wait until the last minute. Try getting this done before the wedding! Once your wedding is over, the last thing you’ll want to do is laundry and pack luggage. Do yourself a favor and get the chores done so you don’t have to stop the wedding fun.


 Do Your Research:
Another thing that shouldn’t be taken lightly: researching your destination. Make sure that super nice hotel deal online isn’t too good to be true. Maybe there’s a reason the price is so low? Also take the area around the hotel into account. Make sure there isn’t anything concerning that is deterring business.

Balance Your Activities:
When it comes to planning the perfect getaway, you want to make sure you have a balance of scheduled, fun activities as well as downtime. Having too many places to see or activities to go to can get overwhelming. Before you know it, your honeymoon will be over and you’ll realize you had zero time to actually relax! On the other hand, too few scheduled events can make your honeymoon kinda boring. You can only spend so much time in that hotel room. Find a fun thing to do at your destination and make memories that will last beyond your trip!


Make it Romantic:
This is super important! A honeymoon is such a special vacation. Often times, it might be the only vacation that solely focuses on you as a married couple. Life goes by so fast and before you know it, you might be vacationing with young kids or other family members. Take advantage of being alone. Choose a destination that you might not be able to enjoy later on in life. Invest in a nicer hotel or couples package. Do something out of the ordinary!

Ultimately, deciding on your honeymoon details will reflect on you as a couple, your personalities and your interests. Any trip, both across the world or a few minutes down the road, can be beautiful as long as you focus on each other! We hope as you consider these honeymoon tips, you take the time to celebrate the love that you both share and have the best experience ever!

Post Wedding To-Do’s

By | Ruthe Tuesdays

Congratulations! You’re finally newlyweds! All the planning paid off! But did you realize that there’s a lot to get done after the wedding as well? Sorry to burst your bubble, but the to-do’s aren’t over yet. Let’s go over a few of the main items to check off your list!


1. Make it Official (on paper)
Besides getting your wedding certificate, there’s a lot of other changes you need to make formally. If you’re legally changing your last name, you’ll need to change it on all of your accounts. This could include your bank account, memberships like Netflix or the local gym, and your driver’s license. Trying to remember to change your information on everything can be overwhelming, I know! But there are plenty of online services that can help you get this done in a flash.


2. Keepsakes
If you’re sentimental like I am, you’ll want to keep a lot of your precious wedding items. You’ll want to preserve these things relatively soon after the wedding, especially if they have an expiration date. For example, you might want to designate someone to save the top tier of your wedding cake after you have left the night of your wedding. You can preserve the cake for your one-year anniversary by simply wrapping it up well in plastic wrap and storing it in the freezer. Another item you’ll want to designate to a loved one would be your wedding bouquet. If you’re planning on preserving or drying your florals, it needs to be done as soon as possible. Don’t wait until after you get back from your honeymoon! Lastly, if you want to keep your wedding dress, look into ways to store and preserve it from the test of time.

3. Thank You’s
Your guests, wedding party, friends and family have all done their part to make your big day a success. Don’t forget to properly thank them for their help! Mailing thank you letters is always a great way to do this. To shorten your list of to-do’s, you might consider starting these thank you notes in advance. If you have received a bridal shower gift, for example, go ahead and send that thank you card before it piles up with the rest of your notes!


4. Purge
For those less sentimental wedding items that you bought, you probably don’t want them taking up space in your garage. This might be table centerpieces, wedding signs, or candles. You might consider giving them to friends or family that you know are planning a wedding next. There’s also online marketplaces for wedding supplies where you can potentially recoup some of your wedding cost. And if nothing else, there’s always the option of donating them to a local charity!

While this list isn’t exhaustive of all post wedding to-do’s, I do hope that this will help you move forward with your newly-married life. Once you start checking things off the list, it’ll be easier to get back to a routine with your new spouse. And if you happened to celebrate your wedding at the RJC, don’t forget to leave us an online review or send us your sweet wedding pictures! We hope your wedding day was nothing but amazing!

Why You Should Create a Wedding Website

By | Ruthe Tuesdays

A wedding website? Do I really need a whole website just for one day?? The answer is yes! In this day and age, everyone seems to be relying on technology. While mailing invitations certainly hasn’t gone out of style, there are plenty of wedding details that can’t be lost on one piece of paper. Creating a website can make your wedding details easier to access for your wedding party, family, and guests. Plus, there’s no chance of someone losing your invitation with a digital copy. And most importantly, most wedding websites are free to make! If you still need more convincing to create your website, here’s a few more reasons:

  1. A card won’t do you justice
    I will happily admit that nothing beats receiving a beautifully printed wedding invitation in the mail. There are so many aesthetically pleasing designs nowadays too! But you can only fit so many words on a small letter. And I’m sure there’s more you want your guests to know than just what day and time to show up. That’s why wedding websites were created! You can post all of those details for your guests to easily access. This can include information like if your wedding is an adult-only party, where out of town guests can stay, how to get to your venue, and more. No one is going to want to keep track of sending this information out by texts, emails, or snail mail. Don’t give your guests an excuse to lose this important wedding info. Make sure it’s all at their fingertips!
  2. Share Your Story!
    A website is also a great place to share the love story of you and your fiancé! Guests and relatives will love to read your sweet story. This can include how you two met, got engaged, and what you are most looking forward to. I’m sure your grandmother would appreciate this nice wedding website touch as well!
  3. Don’t Make Them Guess
    Besides where to meet and what time to show up, your guests will also have other questions. Avoid the 100 phone calls and upload all that extra information onto a website. For starters, they will want to know where you and your fiancé are registered for wedding gifts. Do you have a dress code? You can include this as well! You could even add a few pictures of appropriate dress for both guys and the ladies.
  4. Shoutouts!
    Another great wedding trend is to add a section on your wedding website all about your wedding party. You can include full bios of your bridesmaids and groomsman. Often times couples will include how they met each member of the bridal party and why they were chosen to stand by them on their big day. It’s such a cute way to make your friends/siblings feel special and included!
  5. Digital RSVP’s
    This might just be the biggest reason why you should create your website today! It’s so hard to get guests to RSVP on time or even at all! While a website can’t completely solve this issue (because this issue has been around since the beginning of time), having a digital way to RSVP sure does help. Guests are more likely to get that RSVP sent in if it’s as easy as a click of a button. If you still want to have the traditional RSVP card with your mailed invitation, that’s ok too! Some people have a mix of both mailed and online RSVP options. This might be a great option for you especially if you have older family members that aren’t as tech-friendly.

If I still haven’t convinced you after all of this, I’m not sure what else is to be done! But I do hope you consider this fabulous and free resource for your wedding planning. While there are plenty of wedding website options out there, I’ll leave you with the link to The Knot’s resource here.

DJ Play That Song

By | Ruthe Tuesdays

If you’re like a lot of couples, you might have a DJ or band at your wedding reception. It’s a great way to celebrate, get the energy up in the room, or just to have a fun time! But deciding on a DJ isn’t as simple as paying for the service. You need to meet with your vendor in advance to make sure the right music is being played at your wedding. Don’t forget to include your fiancé in this process. Follow these simple tips and you’re sure to have a good musical experience on your big day!

  1. Timing is Everything
    You might have a wide range of music you want to have played at your wedding. Make sure that each song is being played at the right time. For example, you don’t want that explicit jam on that you and your college friends love while your grandmother is at the reception. Keep in mind what is appropriate for your guests. Give your DJ or band an itinerary for the evening helping them determine what songs are appropriate for each moment.


  1. That was Awkward
    We all have a list of our favorite songs! I’m sure you and your fiancé have a few in mind that you definitely want to hear at your wedding. But did you think about the “what-not-to-play” list? You might have a few songs you simply don’t like. Or maybe that one song that just doesn’t vibe with you. Make sure you create a list of songs for your DJ that he knows not to play. And if a guest requests one of those songs, the DJ can simply say he doesn’t have it available!


  1. Say What??
    Having a huge dance party can be a blast…but not if you’re trying to eat dinner and catch up with relatives and old friends. Make sure your band or DJ knows when to really get the music bumping and when a quieter song is required. We’ve all been to that wedding when you’re trying to talk to the person next to you but you can’t hear anything because the music is so loud! This goes back to thinking about your grandmother in the room. There’s a time to jam out and there’s a time to enjoy the company of your loved ones.


  1. The First Dance!
    The most magical moment of the whole reception: the first dance! Some couples just know what song to dance to. And that’s great! But for others, it can be a little harder finding that perfect song. Maybe you and your fiancé just never had that one song together. That’s ok! Make a list of possible songs and narrow things down from there. One tip of advice is to make sure you choose a song with an appropriate length. Don’t wait until your big day to decide that maybe you’ve been dancing for 6 minutes now and it’s getting a bit long. Find a time limit that is comfortable for both you and your fiancé. You can also ask your DJ or band to cut the song down to your preferred time.

I hope that these musical tips give you a new perspective on DJ’s and bands. Remember to choose music that really shows the personality of you as a couple! Stick to what you love and what you know your guests will enjoy. And don’t forget to have fun with it!

How to have the Ceremony of your Dreams

By | Ruthe Tuesdays

Before you’re ready to celebrate, you gotta put a ring on it! The ceremony is one of the most emotional, beautiful parts of a wedding. You need to put as much thought and detail into it as you would the rest of the wedding. You might be thinking a wedding ceremony is just a standard ceremony. How complicated can it be? Nowadays, ceremonies can be extremely customizable. It’s important to clearly voice what you want at your ceremony to the officiant. Here are a few things you can consider in the process.

  1. Religious or Secular?
    Will you wed your fiancé at a traditional church or maybe a beautiful garden? Will your officiant be conducting a religious centered ceremony or a speech tailored to you two as a couple? It’s important you communicate what you do and don’t want your officiant to share. Simply holding a meeting with them will allow you both to get a better idea of what style ceremony you really want.
  1. Standard or Personal Vows?
    I’ve heard my fair share of the classic wedding vows, but I’ve also experienced many ceremonies with personal vows written by both the bride and groom. It’s a good idea to decide what route you and your fiancé are going to take early on. This will give you time to prepare a speech if necessary. And remember there’s no right or wrong answer here! Choose whatever vows make your day the best for you!
  1. Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace!
    Everyone should recognize this age-old wedding phrase. It used to be said a lot during the ceremony before the officiant proceeded with the wedding. This would allow anyone who objects with the union of the couple to come forward before they were joined forever. It would be a very shocking event if someone did come forward! Usually you don’t hear this being said too often in weddings anymore. It can be seen as unnecessary and possibly quite awkward. If you want this removed from your ceremony, make sure to communicate this to your officiant.
  1. Stories, Quotes, and Poems
    Sometimes officiants will share quotes, scripture readings, poems, or even stories about the couple during the ceremony. Have your officiant go over his speech in detail with you. Make sure to communicate anything you want included specifically that isn’t traditional to most weddings. And if you happen to be related to the officiant, make sure they don’t tell unwanted and possibly embarrassing stories of you on your wedding day! We’ve seen it happen before!
  1. Whatever you do, time it out!
    This is the most important aspect! Rehearse the timing of your ceremony with your officiant. If you are adding any additional pieces like a candle lighting or sand ceremony, this is especially important. Make sure you don’t create a ceremony that is longer than what you wanted or expected.

Whatever you decide for your big day, you can ensure a smooth ceremony by simply keeping a clear line of communication with your officiant. Even running through the ceremony once can make you and your wedding party feel a lot more confident about how it will go on the day of. And most importantly, the ceremony will be beautiful because it ultimately celebrates the love that you and your partner share!

Remember to take it all in!

By | Ruthe Tuesdays

Wedding planning can be an all-consuming, crazy, stressful, yet exciting task! It can really take over a lot of your time and energy, especially as you get closer to your date. There’s a lot that goes into making the day of your dreams happen financially and logistically. So why not take a moment to let it all sink in? Through the long days and countless hours, don’t forget to stop for a minute and really enjoy the season of life that you are experiencing. This is also easier said than done. Again, it can get crazy! That’s why I’ve got a few tips on how to really take it all in as a couple embarking on this marriage journey!

  1. Don’t stop dating
    Just because you’re about to be newlyweds doesn’t mean you have to stop going on fun, romantic dates! It actually means you should be consistently carving out time for your relationship! Don’t let wedding planning hinder this either. Remember to set aside a night or maybe a lunch date frequently throughout the busy wedding season. And when you schedule these dates, make sure you are taking advantage of them. Spend that time together talking and sharing your lives with one another, rather than on your phone scrolling through Instagram. Remove those distractions!
  1. Set a Timeline
    Your wedding to-do list is probably really long. Don’t let it overwhelm you. Set a timeline for yourself that allows you to accomplish tasks on time. Set goals for each week or month within your wedding planning. Another way to help relieve some stress is to make it a high priority to have ALL wedding planning completely done one week out from your wedding date. This allows you to take it all in, enjoy that last week, and spend time with your loved ones.
  1. Take pictures
    I’ll admit, sometimes I just forget to take pictures during big events or celebrations! It’s hard! For me, I love to be present in the moment instead of worrying about pictures. That’s one of the reasons why we hire photographers at weddings! But in the midst of planning, getting ready, crafting at your house late at night, or that time at the salon, capture that moment. They don’t have to be professionally done. They don’t have to be aesthetically pleasing. Again, that’s why we hire photographers. But, it’s good to have those little pictures that you can have on your phone when everything is over.
  1. Fifteen Minutes
    This is probably one of my favorite ways to take it all in! After your ceremony is over and you walk back down the aisle as newlyweds, give yourself a breather. Before the reception starts, sneak into your beautifully decorated reception space to really take it all in as a married couple. Just the two of you. Admire the hard work that you and your vendors put into making this day happen before your guests can enjoy it. Let it sink in that you are actually married! Enjoy being in the moment.

I hope these few tips make your wedding planning a little easier. Don’t forget that this season is all about you and your fiancé! When you focus on the two of you, everything else can fall into place.

Show Some Bridesmaid Love!

By | Ruthe Tuesdays

After getting engaged, I would say the next special part of your wedding planning is selecting your bridal party. It can be such a sweet time asking your friends, sisters, or even future sisters to stand by you on that big day. For the next several months, they are going to be there for those milestone moments. They’ll be there to see you say yes to the dress, picking out vendors, and maybe even shedding a few tears. These are your girls! That’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re making them feel special and loved in return. So here’s a few helpful questions to ask yourself that will guide you and your party through the wedding season!

Have you talked about finances yet?
Just like that conversation you had with your parents about finances, you should be asking your bridesmaids what they feel comfortable contributing. For example, consider if your bridesmaids can afford to pay for their own hair and makeup for the day of the wedding. Maybe this is something you want to have done. Similarly, bridesmaids usually pay for their own dress. But make sure this is clear with your party and no assumptions are being made.

How is your line of communication?
Communication is key! From the beginning of your wedding planning, you need to be clear on what you expect from your bridemaids. If you are taking on a lot of DIY projects for your wedding, this is especially important. How much time, crafting, and support are you asking of your girls? How many pre-wedding parties and events are they attending? Your bridesmaids probably have responsibilities and time commitments aside from your wedding. No matter what you decide on, make sure you are being considerate of them as well.

Did you say thank you?
This is an obvious one! Your bridemaids have been your cheerleader since day one! The wedding went without a hitch thanks to them and their support. Now that the big day is done, make sure to send them a thank you. A cute way to do this may be to give them gifts on the day of your wedding. Personalized totes, robes, or jewelry are great ideas that are sure to please. If you want to get extra creative, check out the Ruthe Jackson Center Pinterest Boards as well! Hand-written cards sent in the mail after your blissful honeymoon can also mean the world to your girls!

Picking out your bridemaids may come easy to you, but make sure these little details do as well. When you are all on the same page about your wedding vision, things can go a lot smoother. Then you and your loved ones can focus on what really matters: the celebration of you and your groom-to-be!

How to Get the Groom Involved

By | Ruthe Tuesdays

He finally popped the question! You couldn’t be more excited! The thrill of announcing your engagement to all of your friends and family sets in. But now it’s time to start wedding planning! A lot of brides can’t wait to start this season of picking out colors and vendors. Some brides even have zero problem with taking all control over this process. But you want to make sure your fiancé has a hand in it too. After all, it is a day to celebrate both of you. Plus, you could use the support in wedding planning that is quickly proving to be overwhelming. Ruthe is here to share some easy ways in which you can get your man involved!

1. Help with the guest list
This can be an obvious one. You need to make sure your fiancé is inviting his friends and family to the wedding. Communicate with his parents as well to make sure you don’t miss any extended family on your list. You, your fiancé, and both of your parents should have a generally equal amount of guests. If his family is inviting more than your wedding budget can handle, this is when your man will need to step in. Have the conversation early on with both sets of parents on what a realistic head count will be for your event.

2. Rehearsal Dinner
Traditionally, the rehearsal dinner is financially covered by the groom’s parents. If you plan to go this route, it’s a good idea to let your fiancé know in advance. Communication is key when it comes to budgeting and planning the event. You can even give your groom specific tasks that he can coordinate to make sure the rehearsal dinner runs smoothly. This not only takes a load off of your to-do list, but it involves him in the wedding details.

3. The Guys
If you plan on including a wedding party into your big day, your fiancé needs to find groomsmen. To create an even-looking ceremony, it’s also important that you and your groom have an equal amount of bridesmaids and groomsmen. This means one of you might need to add or subtract a few from your side of the wedding. After he has selected his groomsmen, your fiancé can also take charge of finding gifts for his friends. This is a kind gesture for the men who have committed to stand by him at the wedding. Don’t let him forget to say thank you!

4. Vows and Speeches
“Through sickness and in health!” Just about everyone can recognize these lines from the traditional wedding vows couples have opted to use. Nowadays, we are hearing less and less of this. In current wedding trends, couples have decided to write their own vows. This is often seen as more personal and emotional. If you decide you want to join in on the trend, you need to give your groom plenty of time to consider his portion. Allowing him to write his own vows lets him into the wedding planning. Don’t forget about any other speeches you want during the reception that he will need to coordinate as well.

5. Let’s Dance!
Who can forget about the first dance? It can be such a magical moment between couples after just being wed. You may want it to be a perfectly coordinated show with a complicated dance routine. If this is your dream, you’ll want to take a few dance lessons months before the big day. Have your fiancé commit to this fun date idea with you! Not only are you preparing yourselves for the wedding, but you are carving out dedicated time to spend with each other during the chaotic wedding planning season.

Having your fiancé plan your wedding day with you can such a rewarding experience. No matter how you decide to involve him in the process, make sure you are both committing to the vision you have shared for your day.