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Making the Most out of the Engagement Shoot

By | Ruthe Tuesdays

After getting engaged, planning to get those engagement photos taken is one of the best ways to celebrate the next step in your relationship. Coordinating this photo session can be really exciting as it makes the engagement season feel really real (for those of you that still can’t believe you’re actually, finally engaged)! But before you jump right in, make sure to take some time to really think about what you want to accomplish through your engagement photos. Make the most of this once in a lifetime experience!

  • Select Your Season

Consider how you want your photos to look. Did you want a romantic, wintry engagement session? Or how about a boho, summer look? The time of year you take your pictures will determine what your photos will look like. Unless, of course, you’re taking indoor photos. Once you decide what season you’re aiming for, choose your attire to reflect that season. That means don’t try to pull off that yellow sundress during this February weather. The outdoor landscape of bare trees will give it away anyway!

  • Don’t Feel Pressure to Match

While coordinating outfits with your fiancé is definitely a must, this doesn’t mean you have to look like twins. Don’t be afraid to choose attire that compliments each other. You don’t have to be identical. This also opens up more attire options for both you and your fiancé, which might save your man a trip to the store for a new shirt.

  • Express Your Style

Engagement photo sessions are all about capturing you and your fiancé. And not just capturing a picture of you in the literal sense, but capturing your sense of style and personality as a couple. Let it shine through! Dress it up or dress it down, but don’t choose a style that doesn’t really express who you are. And on that same note, this means it’s also important to collaborate with a photographer that understands you as a couple. Find someone that is willing to embrace the photoshoot vibe you’re looking for. Hire that photographer that is going to think outside the box and allow your personality to radiate in your pictures.

  • 2 Outfit Rule

Don’t overthink your photoshoot! It might be easy to get carried away and want to commit to all of those Pinterest ideas. Instead, choose what you know will work for you and your fiancé. That means try to narrow down your outfit changes to only two outfits. When you start adding several wardrobe changes, it can take away from your scheduled photoshoot time. This might result in fewer pictures you really love. Plus, changing in and out of clothes for a few hours is never fun. Your photographer will also thank you.

Now that you’ve solidified your engagement shoot vision, it’s finally time to make these pictures official! Make sure to have fun with it, express yourself on camera and really embrace this beautiful season of life that you’re embarking on.

The Wedding Registry Explained

By | Ruthe Tuesdays

The wedding registry has been a long held tradition in which friends and family of the bride and groom are able to send their best wishes by helping them furnish their new home together. Registries are super helpful because they allow the couple to receive exactly what they want for their new home. But registries can also be a little awkward to maneuver. You might feel uncomfortable announcing to your guests what you want to receive as a wedding gift. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of do’s and don’ts for this part of the wedding planning process!

  • When to Start

Typically you’ll want to send out your registry list to your loved ones between 4-6 months from your wedding day. Don’t wait until the last minute! Give them ample time to browse the registry, buy their gifts and ship them to you. Also remember not to put your registry link directly on your mailed invitations. Guide guests to your wedding website for gifting details.

  • Give plenty of options

When selecting housewares, kitchen essentials or home décor, make sure you fill your registry with items from all price ranges. Consider your guests and what they are comfortable spending. On top of a wide range of prices, make sure to provide a large quantity of items. Don’t limit yourself to one item per person on your guest list. This will severely limit your loved ones on what is available to buy. Instead, try having a registry with 2 or 3 times your guest count.

  • What about cash?

Maybe you have all the dishes and vases you could possibly need in your house? Asking for a ton of things you already have seems like such a waste. Good news is that a lot of registries have the option for guests to donate to a fund. Couples might opt to have guests contribute to their honeymoon or a larger piece on their registry that might be best funded by several people. This method also helps guests give the exact amount they want, without having to search for the perfect item on your list.

  • Thank You’s!

No matter what kind of gift you’re asking for, it’s super important to keep up with your thank-you notes. Don’t let them pile up! A lot of times loved ones will purchase and ship gifts to you way in advance of your wedding date. Don’t wait until the big day is over…send them a warm thank-you right away! It’s not only courteous, but it keeps your post-wedding to-do list a little shorter.

  • Returns and Exchanges

What if that serving dish you’ve been wishing for just doesn’t look right in person? Don’t panic! When it comes to wedding registries, it’s perfectly normal to return and exchange items that aren’t the best. Just don’t forget to send a thank-you letter to the gifter anyways!

Creating a registry never has to be a chore or something awkward you have to handle before you wedding day. If you follow etiquette guidelines, give yourself plenty of options and follow through with that thank-you note, tackling this wedding to-do can be a breeze!

When Pet Parents Get Married

By | Ruthe Tuesdays

Now more than ever it seems like couples are taking on the responsibility of pet ownership. Being a pet parent seems almost more common than raising children, especially among young adults. I guess that’s how this trend of including your dog in your wedding day started. Well, I love this sweet personalization of weddings and I’m welcoming it with open arms. So I’ve dedicated this Tuesday to different ways to include your furry loved one on the best day of your life.

 

  • Take him for a walk down the aisle

What better addition to a processional than a sweet puppy?! This is especially cute if you don’t have a child to take on the role of a ring bearer. Some couples have tied a ring box around the dog’s collar. Others have simply chosen to decorate the leash with greenery and florals. This makes for really cute pictures!

  • Photo Session!

Speaking of cute pictures, you could include your four-legged friend by having him join in on the bridal portraits or engagement session. Find a photographer that has worked with animals in the past and can capture what you’re envisioning. This is an especially great idea if you can’t have your dog present at the wedding, but still want him included in the pictures.

  • Wanna Treat?

Make your dog incorporation delicious! Ask your baker to include a small figure of your dog onto the cake. Some couples have hid their fur baby at the bottom of their cake. You could even create a custom cake topper that looks exactly like your dog. If you decide to opt out of the traditional cake, you can order custom dog cookies, cupcakes or desserts!

  • Dog Décor

Lastly, if you really want to get creative, incorporate your dog’s silhouette into other decorations for the wedding. Consider placing that furry face on your invitations. Or how about signage for the reception? You could even find your dog on personalized napkins at the bar! Custom designers like brownfoxcreative.com and etsy.com are fabulous at bringing your ideas to life!

We hope you love these ideas as much as I do! I always say that if you can incorporate your personal touches to your wedding and really show who you and your fiancé are, your wedding will always be beautiful. I just hope that we get to be a part of it!

Stop and Save the Roses!

By | Ruthe Tuesdays

I think we can all agree that having fresh flowers at a wedding is one of the most beautiful ways to decorate the day. With the right florist, they’re designed gorgeously, add height to tables, smell wonderful and accent beautiful wedding dresses. But what about when the wedding is over? What happens to all those tedious arrangements that took a lot of time and money to bring to life? I did some research and found a few ways you can use your florals after the party is over.

  • Give to Guests        

Why not allow your guests to continue to enjoy them? As the party is winding down, allow some of those last guests that are lingering to take home the arrangements. They could even be given as a thank you to family members that stay behind to clean up that night. Who knows, some of those family and friends might have another event that weekend that they could use the flowers for.

  • Spread the Love

Continue to celebrate love after your wedding by donating your arrangements to local nursing homes or hospitals. You can’t go wrong with a simple act of kindness like this! You could also ask your venue if they host churches. If you have a Saturday night wedding, the flowers can be given to the Sunday morning church service. You wouldn’t even have to worry about delivering the flowers to another location at that point!

  • Preserve the Memories

If you’re a super sentimental bride, you might consider drying or preserving your flowers. There are numerous companies that specialize in post-wedding florals. Consider pressing some of your flowers into a scrapbook or preserving your whole bridal bouquet in a glass case.

  • Go Green

Nowadays, when everyone is wanting to take part in creating a better environment for us to live in, saving resources is very important. That’s why companies like bouquetforaday.com help brides find other local brides that are willing to share florals on their wedding day. Brides can choose to sell their florals at a discount rate, they can look for second-hand arrangements or simply share with another couple. It not only reduces waste but it saves your wallet too. It really changes the meaning of something borrowed!

Although weddings can be extravagant and exorbitant, they don’t have to be wasteful. Whatever way you decide to give your flowers a second life, it is helping you, possibly your wallet and the environment. Keep spreading the love!

Looking Forward to 2020 Weddings

By | Ruthe Tuesdays

2019 is gone and just like that 2020 is here…and so are some new wedding trends! If you’re like me, it’s always fun to see what new styles make an appearance from year to year. So for our trend-followers out there, here are four 2020 wedding trends that you’ll wanna know about.

  • Micro Weddings

Large guest counts seem to be slowly making its way out of style. From what we’ve seen, micro weddings are in. These weddings have a guest count under 100…some only have a count of 50! They may be smaller, but they don’t necessarily cut down on the wedding budget. Micro weddings choose to have a higher budget per-person. This allows for the couple to choose unique menus, drinks and entertainment for their family and friends. You probably won’t see a simple chicken dinner at this kind of 2020 wedding.

  • Inclusive Menus

Speaking of wedding food, 2020 seems to be the year of inclusive menu options. Couples are making sure each guest gets the dinner that reflects their individual dietary habits. We are talking about vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free menus. More and more caterers realize this trend and push to include menus to satisfy everyone at the wedding.

  • Florals Everywhere!Flowers aren’t just for centerpieces and bouquets anymore! Dried flower petals are showing up in ice, drinks and cakes. Floral patterns make a comeback and appear in bridal and bridesmaid dresses as well as some linens and invitations. If you want your wedding to follow the next-big thing, you can’t go wrong with floral accents in your décor!
  • Videography

            While we’ve already seen this trend slowly appear in 2019, it has taken off completely! Now it is almost a necessity to hire a videographer for your wedding. It is just as important as a photographer. Couples want to be able to relive their day on film. Wedding videos often feature their personalized vows, ceremony, pre-wedding prep and reception. These are all moments that couples say they want their future children to be able to see on camera one day.

While this list doesn’t reflect every single trend of 2020, we believe these were the “greatest hits” and worthy mentions. We can’t wait to see these appear during our next events at RJC! We hope that you could even be a part of it and be one of our trendy RJC brides of 2020!

Advice for the Guy Planning to Propose

By | Ruthe Tuesdays

While all of our past pieces of advice have been for planning the perfect wedding, we decided to switch gears and tailor advice to those guys out there planning the perfect proposal! And if you’re a guy reading this about to propose to your girlfriend, let me be the first to say congratulations! This is a big deal! We hope these tips will help you better plan for this special occasion…and take some stress out of the experience as well!

  •  Communication is Key

While the proposal is supposed to be a surprise, the topic of marriage shouldn’t be! The easiest way to avoid your girlfriend from saying no is to openly talk to her about the idea of marriage. Make sure this kind of commitment is what you both want. Remember, your first conversation about marriage should not be as you are getting on one knee. If family is a big part of you and your partner’s life, consider cluing in the family beforehand as well. Depending on the family dynamic, asking her dad for her hand in marriage might be appropriate too.

  •  Go Shopping 

This one might be obvious, but make sure to have a ring to give to your partner when you propose. Unless you 100% know she does not want a diamond, do not assume she is okay with picking out a ring post-engagement. This step is also about communication as well. Take the time to get to know what she wants and what she’s expecting!

  • Get the Inside Scoop

Don’t overlook this step because it can save you so much stress! Before you propose, get the inside scoop from her family and friends what she likes and dislikes. Her sister might know exactly what kind of proposal she’s been dreaming of her whole life. Her mom might also know what she absolutely doesn’t want. Ask her best friend if she would rather have an intimate proposal or something in front of a crowd or stadium. Don’t guess! The answer to what she really wants is just a conversation away!

 

  • Document the Moment

Everyone in the wedding world seems to agree that the single most thing you should invest in for your big day is a good photographer. We believe the same is true for the moment when you get down on one knee. Your girlfriend will be so glad to know that you invested in someone to catch the whole event on camera. Proposal pictures are some of the sweetest out there, so don’t skip out on this step! Plus, if some of your family or friends can’t make it to the proposal, you’ll have pictures to show them later on.

  • Don’t Wing It

This is a huge thing to plan. Don’t wait until two minutes before getting on one knee to decide what you are gonna say. Take some time to process what you want to communicate to your partner. Be romantic! Tell her how much she means to you. You could even write a poem or speech beforehand and read it to her in the moment. I promise that will really show her how much you care! Secondly, don’t wing it when it comes to planning the proposal. Create a moment that you will both be proud of and something that you can cherish for years. Did you know there’s even proposal planners out there? Yep! You might even consider hiring someone to help you pull-off that surprise for your girlfriend.

Conquering the Bridal Show

By | Ruthe Tuesdays

It’s a new year and that means a new wedding season! There’s no better time to sign up for all the local bridal shows if you’re newly engaged. The first two months of the year are very popular times for vendors to host these fun events. While you might be the bride that is already signed up for every show imaginable, we realize a lot of brides might not feel the same way about these crowded events. It’s easy to get overwhelmed in a sea of vendors, tables and businesses wanting your attention…not to mention the hundreds of other couples in the building. But if you attend these shows well prepared, there’s really nothing to fear! Let’s help you make the most of the bridal show!

 

  1. Recruit Your Team
    Once you find a show that you think you’ll want to register for, the first thing you want to do is make sure your team is available to assist you on this day. Whether it’s your maid of honor, mother, sister, or fiancé, don’t underestimate the importance of having others at the bridal show to help you. They will be there to help you talk to vendors that are your number one priority. They will help you stay on task and track. And they will help you make decisions or give you their invaluable opinion when considering vendors. Not to mention, being with your team is a lot more fun than taking on a bridal show alone!
  1. Dress Confidently
    You might not think to dress confidently right away when considering a bridal show event. However, it’s super important to make sure you’re dressing to fit your style and comfort. Express your personality! If you walk into any event dressed to impress, it’ll only boost your own confidence. You’ll feel a lot more prepared to take on the day and conquer this crowded bridal show. You might even find it easier to communicate your wedding style to vendors and connect with them on a more personal level.
  1. Create an Email
    Logistically, creating your own separate email address for all wedding planning business is super important. It’ll keep everything organized and separate from your other emails that flood your regular address. It’ll also make sure nothing slips through the cracks or gets lost in the sea of your unread messages. This new wedding email can be given out to all vendors from here on out!
  1. Take Pictures
    What better way to keep track of vendors and their work? Taking pictures of that beautiful cake or floral arrangement is probably the easiest way to ensure you don’t forget about it when you leave the bridal show. Even if you don’t end up hiring that vendor, you at least have a picture to show what styles and colors you like. Think of it as creating a bridal show Pinterest board!
  1. Don’t Forget the Labels
    We think this last tip is pretty ingenious! If you’ve ever been to a bridal show, you know that just about every vendor table you visit will want you to fill out a card with your information. Next thing you know, you’re spending way too much time filling out your name and contact information over and over. Trust me, it gets old really fast. Save yourself some time, and create your own contact information label stickers at home. There are plenty of templates out there that’ll allow you to type up these labels fairly quickly. Just don’t forget to use that wedding email address we talked about before!

Once you try out these tips on that next bridal show, you’ll feel like a pro in no time! Bridal shows could even transform from a dreaded chore to find vendors into a fun date with your fiancé or bridesmaids! Don’t forget to be creative with it, enjoy the process and take a moment to really appreciate the engaged season that you are in.

Minted Tutorial

By | Ruthe Tuesdays

Once you set your wedding date and got a handle on who you want to invite, I’d say the most exciting moments of planning your big day is choosing your invitations. This piece of mail is something that all of your guests will see! It describes you, your fiancé, your personality, and what they can look forward to in regards to your day. So don’t be afraid to get creative with it! One of our favorite ways to get creative is by utilizing Minted. This online shop allows you to create fully customizable wedding invitations, suites, and other wedding papers you might need. They even provide you with a free wedding website that matches your invitations completely. We thought we’d just share a quick tutorial with you on how this process works.

Step 1:

While Minted offers a multitude of customizable paper goods for all kinds of events, you’re going to narrow down what you want to invest in for your wedding. Consider whether you want invitations and save the dates. Or perhaps you want to add in some RSVP cards and reception details? You might even decide investing in a full suite is best for you. Whatever it is, Minted has you covered!

Step 2:

Next is the fun part: deciding on your design! Minted allows you to browse their designs by color, theme, trends, or patterns. They have plenty of inspiration to get you started. Or, if you have your own design in mind, Minted will allow you to use their artists to design something totally custom and totally you. Some couples have even added a watercolor painting or silhouette of their venue onto their design! And of course you can add in your very own engagement pictures.

Step 3:

Once you’ve selected a design you feel great about, you can then make those fine-tuning adjustments. You can select different colors, fonts, and wording. Minted even has an advice section on their site to help brides determine proper invitation etiquette. In this step you will also select if you want custom envelopes, belly bands, stamps, vellum overlays or other extras. If you’re unsure of how much this will all cost you, they have a simple calculator on the right side of the screen to help you determine what you want to invest in.

Step 4:

We think this next step is pretty cool because now you get to order free samples! Yep, free! Minted will send you your invitation in the mail so you can see it up close, feel it in your hands, and decide what further edits need to be made. This takes the worry out of ordering over a hundred custom invitations!

Step 5:

Alright you got your free sample, you love how it looks, and now it’s time to finalize your guest list. Go back to your profile and saved design. Enter in all of the guests and their addresses into their address book feature. And guess what? Minted gives you free recipient addressing on all your envelopes! Now your invitations are looking fab and ready to send!

Step 6:

This step is easy: simply place your order! It’ll be a great feeling getting that checked off your list as well! And if you decide later on that you need more paper goods like menus, place cards, table numbers or programs, you can always come back!

We hope this tutorial helped you navigate through wedding invitations. It doesn’t have to be a stressful process. Make it fun with online ordering and Minted!

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!

XOXO,

Ruthe