4 Steps to Writing Perfect Wedding Vows – The Ultimate Wedding Vow Guide

Our good friend Julie Williams, “The Wizard of Words,” is giving us her best tips to make your wedding vows personal and special for the two of you. We are excited to be able to share her great ideas with all of our brides!

The ultimate wedding vow guide

Bride going through her vows

As a couple you have chosen to compose your own, unique wedding vows – possibly the most significant words you will ever share with another person.  This can be an extremely daunting and often terrifying task.  Where do you begin?

Step 1:

One of the first decisions to make is if you are going to recite the same vows or write them separately.   If you are going to do this solo it is always helpful to have a general format for each person to follow so the vows are similar in nature.    Together you will need to determine the overall tone you want to convey.  Will you incorporate a touch of humor?  Will the vows be primarily based on your religious beliefs?  How romantic do you want to be?  Are there specific words or phrases you wish to both include?

Keep in mind these are your wedding vows and will be recited in front of all of your guests so keep everything appropriate.  You do not want to take a chance on offending someone with a humorous story which might not appeal to the entire crowd.  This sort of thing is better saved for a toast at the reception.  Or the bachelor party!

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Step 2:

As a jumping point you might want to consider several questions.  When did you know you were in love with this person?  How does your future spouse make your life better?  What are the most redeeming qualities in your partner?  What do you hope to bring to this union?

You are vowing your everlasting love for another person, so many couples like to declare this in the form of a promise.  Examples can range from ‘I promise to treasure and care for you every day of your life” to “I promise to always walk the dog and occasionally let you rule the remote”

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Step 3:

A basic rule when writing your vows is to start big and edit, edit, edit.  Vows are traditionally about one minute in length.  Ordinarily one minute is not a very long amount of time, but it may seem like an eternity on your Wedding Day.  Here again, if the vows become too long perhaps there are bits which can be added to an event later in the day.

Long before your wedding day always ask your Officiant if you will need vow approval.  Some religions are very strict about the contents of a ceremony and you don’t want to be caught off guard at the last moment.

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Step 4:

Once you have finalized your vows, practice them aloud over and over again.  Chances are you will be nervous on your Wedding Day so you want to know them backwards and forwards.  While most couples prefer to have the vows completely memorized it is suggested you have them printed on a beautiful, small piece of paper just in case you need a reminder.

The primary goal is to truly be yourself.  You want the words to come directly from your heart with your natural cadence and tone.   Afterall, these are the words which will proclaim your love and devotion for eternity.

 

Julie Williams

-Wizard of Words

 

CREDITS:

Photography: Landon Sveinson Photography

Styling: Details Special Events

Destination Weddings: A Welcome Bag Everyone Will Love

The number of out-of-town weddings are on the rise and 24% of weddings will include travel of some sort. Your out-of-town wedding guests made special arrangements to celebrate with you and your husband-to-be. Fuel, flights and hotel costs can add up and that’s why we are showing you how to make the ultimate welcome bag!  These are a few of our favorite stuffers that we KNOW everyone will love.

 

Tips and Tricks:

1) A Personal Touch:

Create custom labels and hand write a thank you card. Your guests will know that you took the time to really consider and appreciate them for making the trip to celebrate with you and your husband to be. With the added cost of flights, fuel and accommodations, these little details matter.

2) Keepin’ it Local:

Every city, town and village has a specialty that they are known for. Maybe it is honey, jam, olive oil or fresh fudge. Get creative and give your guests a special introduction to your town.

3) Packaging is everything: 

When you are putting your bag together, it is important to remember that pretty packaging can take a regular product and make it exciting. Your guests will know that you took time and care when you were thinking of them. Things like ribbon, tags, and charms go a long way in creating an enticing and special welcome bag.

4) Keeping your Cool:

When you are selecting the items you want to include, it is important to consider items that will need to remain cold. Either avoid refrigerated items completely (ie. specialty cheeses) or make sure you have a plan in place. Consider including a little card letting your guests know that there are also some special treats waiting for them in the minibar fridge.

4) Special Delivery: 

Don’t forget to make arrangements with the hotel to deliver your bags. Some hotels will do this for you and others will require you to deliver the bags yourself. Talk to the hotel manager in advance so that you can coordinate in advance.

 

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How to Give your Wedding Guests The. Best. Party. Ever!

One of our very own is getting married in a couple of weeks! We asked her if we could take an up close look at her plans for the big day. We wanted to know how she plans to keep her guests fed, happy and how she plans to give them the. Best. Party. Ever!

Kaila & Jesse

Can you tell us a bit about your wedding?

I come from a big Ukrainian family and you can bet that the day is going to revolve around food, drinks and good fun. It was really important to me to get married in my hometown, but in order to make this happen, many of our guests will be traveling quite a ways to celebrate with us. It is so important to us that they feel appreciated and welcomed.

What kinds of things have you done to make the trip easier for them?

Since it is a very small town and an unfamiliar place to many of our guests, we put together a wedding website that had everything they needed to know. We placed maps, hotel accommodations, camping sites, contact information, and a few things they can do for fun before the wedding.

We wanted the hotel arrangements to be as easy as possible for our guests. We got in contact with one of the local hotels and negotiated a discounted price for our wedding guests. This helped in 3 ways: the rooms were reserved and ensured that everyone had a place to stay. It was easy and saved them a bit of money. And it will be more fun to have everyone together in the same place!

My fiancé and I know that after a long drive we are both ready to just kick back and relax with a snack and cocktail. We wanted our guests to be able to do this as well. That is why each hotel room will have a welcome bag. We included some special local favorites from my hometown, personalized wine and water bottles, as well as some treats that we knew our guests would love! See some of our favorite welcome bag stuffers here!

Because there was travel involved, everyone needed to have enough time to make arrangements. We sent out our save the dates a little earlier than usual to ensure that everyone could come celebrate with us.

How do you plan on making your guests comfortable and happy?

We figured we would just keep feeding them!  Because the reception and the hotel are quite far apart so we wanted to give them somewhere to go between the Ceremony and Reception. My parents offered to host a mid-day reception. Our guests will be having cocktails in their backyard where there will be lots of shade and places for them to relax. I think it’s going to be nice that they can have a drink and enjoy some music before dinner.

One of the things I heard the most on Weddingstar’s facebook, twitter and blog are the best and worst things you can do as a Bride. So, I’ve learned a few things and my fiance and I decided we must have a bridal party hang out.  If you have ever been a bridesmaid or groomsman, you know there there is always a point where the couple goes off to take pictures alone or  to enjoy a little time to themselves. You also know that with so much excitement, eating sometimes gets forgotten. We didn’t want anyone fainting on us! So while we take our individual pictures at our lake lot, there will be food and drinks waiting for our bridal party at a separate location from our mid day reception so that they can relax and enjoy the afternoon and feel fresh for the big party to come!

I think everyone has been in this situation. You get to the wedding reception and you look at the seating plan and you aren’t sitting with anyone you really wanted to sit with. We didn’t want that to happen to any of our guests so we are letting them pick their own tables. We will be reserving seating near the front for immediate family and made sure there were a few extra tables in case there are a few empty seats left here and there.

With the added cost of gas and accommodations, we didn’t want our guests to have to pay for drinks on top of it all so the drinks will be on us that night!

Since it going to be an open bar, it was really important to us that everyone have a safe ride home. We have hired a shuttle service to take guests from the reception to the hotel at no charge to them.

 

7 Tips for a Stress-free Wedding

It can be easy for time to run away on you while you are planning, but your wedding week does not have to be a stressful one. We promise that with a little preparation and these tips, you will be smiling on the day of your wedding!

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1) Cheat sheet

On the day of the wedding, it is important that your bridal party and family members are all on the same page. Make a little cheat sheet with some of the important details that they can refer to. A timeline and list of where they need to be when, a list of phone numbers they might need, addresses of the ceremony and reception locations could help prevent little timing mishaps throughout the day.

2) Payment

In all the excitement of your wedding day, a few key things might unintentionally escape your mind. Like paying your vendors. A great way to avoid this is by placing your cheques in a Thank you card. The night before your wedding, give all your cards to a trusted member of your bridal party or family to give to it’s owner on the day of your wedding. Not only is this a nice way to thank them for all their hard work, but it is a great way to avoid that awkward money conversation at the end of the night!

3) Plan ahead

With such a large list of things that need to get done a few days before the wedding, the thank you speech is often the item that gets bumped to the very last minute.Don’t get caught sitting in a corner on the morning of their wedding scratching everything down. Throughout the whole planning process, keep a little list. Booked your photographer? Add them to the list. Your cousin is helping with the guestbook table? Add them to the list. When the time comes to compile what you would like to say, it is going to be so easy AND the chances of forgetting someone is a lot less likely.

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Featured here: Rustic Wood Pencils

4) Hydrate

Ok, we know this is the most obvious tip, but it is also one of the most forgotten by brides. So we are going to say it again… Drink lots of water. Staying hydrated will keep you calm, keep your mind clear and make you feel your very best. Not only will you feel your best, but it can do wonders for your skin. Think of your wedding like you would think about preparing for a marathon. Athletes spend the days leading up to a marathon drinking extra water to ensure that their bodies are ready for the big day. We encourage all our brides to adopt the same practice to ensure they are powered up and ready.

5) Ditch your device

After countless hours of putting this day together, it has finally come. Now, it is time to let it all go and enjoy it! Step 1 is to hand over your cell phone. It is likely that there will be friends, family and vendors trying to get a hold of you on the day of your wedding. Assign a reliable bridesmaid or family member to man your cell phone on the day of your wedding. Trust us, the day is going to fly by and the last thing you want is to be on your phone all day long. Be present and soak it all in!

6) Put a sticker on it

Wedding décor and accessories can come from many places. Maybe you have gone through a rental company, borrowed from a past bride or purchased some things yourself. When the wedding is coming to an end, chances are that there will be lots of people willing to help with the cleanup and tear down. The last thing you want is to be bombarded with a million questions or for anything to get misplaced or forgotten.  The solution is as simple as a subtle sticker. When you are setting up for your wedding, place small colored dot stickers to the bottom of your decorations. We advise that any rented items be left without a sticker, then use one color for the items you own and one for the items you borrowed. This way everyone will be able to divide and sort things properly and know where they go.

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7) Organize

There are a lot important pieces of paper, lists, receipts and emails that need to be kept track of when you are planning a wedding. As simple as it sounds, it is something that will save you a lot of headaches. Keep everything in one place. Find a file folder, binder, or even shoe box (if that is what it takes) and keep all of your wedding related information in there. When you are doing some last minute searching for the rental contract or a vendor phone number, you will be so glad you did!

 

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6 MUST-Have Items for Your Vintage Inspired Wedding

As your wedding day approaches, you are reminded of the many hours spent as a little girl visiting with Grandma and discovering a treasure trove of the prettiest things you had ever seen. Vintage is about a bold mix of old and new, featuring vintage inspired colors, feminine fabrics and antique finishes that stand in striking contrast to the otherwise modern and minimal space. These 6 products have definitely proven to be some of our personal favorites and are exactly what  you need to bring this theme to life.

Vintage Wedding Theme

Gone to the birds

We don’t think there is anything more vintage than a beautiful antique birdcage. This is a stunning piece on its own, but with the addition of pearls or a tasteful floral arrangement, your birdcage can be transformed into something completely original.

Let them eat cake

Add some vintage flare to your cake (or dessert) display. This cake server set is just like the one your Grandmother used to have. From the intricate detail to the flawless silver finish, it is a detail that is sure to be admired by your wedding guests.

A place for place cards

A place card holder is such a small and practical item that it can often be overlooked as a potential decor piece. These little trinkets provide great opportunity to really show off your theme. This style is one of our favorites! Complete with an aged finish they are perfect for tying your place setting together.

Gifts for the Guys

The flask is a classic groomsmen gift that has proven to stand the test of time.  A unique style, theme appropriate design and delicious?  What more could you ask for out of a groomsmen gift? We know for a fact that these will be a hit – especially when you gift them pre-filled!

All boxed up

When searching for the perfect wedding décor piece, there are 2 things that should be top of mind. Beauty and versatility. These distressed vintage boxes can be used in a multitude of ways, not to mention the number of things you can fill them with to enhance their beauty. Pearls, flowers and lace are some of our favorite fillers!

Finishing touches

These place card holders were inspired by an eclectic mix of salt and pepper finds. With the addition of a few pretty flowers, these shakers create a stunning display of vintage perfection. Invite your guests to take one home as a novel favor they won’t soon forget!

Guiding your guests

We love these frames for 3 reasons:

1) They can be used as table numbers, picture frames, or  event signage.

2) They are a gorgeous addition to any table décor.

3) They can be used after the wedding!

Need we say more?

Props and decor items play such an important role in setting the tone and transforming a venue space in a way that will reflect your theme. Every detail no matter how large or small will work together to infuse your wedding with a personalized touch. Find more favorite vintage items here and customize your vintage style!

 

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Weddingstar Quiz: What’s most important to you? Prioritizing your wedding

 

Quiz: What are your priorities

Wedding How-to: Pulling off the Mismatched Bridesmaid Look

Are you thinking about mixing things up with your bridal party style? The common fear is how it will all turn out for pictures. Every bride wonders: “What if it doesn’t work and looks like a jumbled mess?” We promise that by following a few of these tips, you can create a fun and stylish look for your girls. Once you decide which direction you want to go, we will show you how to pull it all together!

Guided Freedom:

As tempting as it may be to provide your girls with every and any possibility, it is important to give them a few guidelines. You may think that keeping the dress requirements completely open is making it easier for them, but often it is the opposite. Your girls want you to be happy and get what you want for your wedding day. It can often be more stressful for them to try and guess. There are three main elements to consider when deciding on dresses: Fabric, color and style. Pick 1 or 2 elements that you would like to remain the same, and allow your girls to run with the rest. This will ensure your looks stays cohesive, but has some flair.

Photo By: Elizabeth In Love Photography

Color me pretty:

Mixing up the colors is a fun way to add some flair to your bridal party. You have a few options here so the first step is to decide how.

1) Mixed color palette. Find some colors that fit together well by placing swatches together. The trick here is to keep your hue consistent. For example: if you are hooked on a pastel pink swatch, keep the remaining choices in the pastel family.

2) Shaded: Changing each bridesmaid dress by a shade or two can create a very interesting look for your bridal party. To pull this look off, you will need to find a gown with a fabric that is available in many colors. Start with 1 color that you love and start to work into a darker or lighter shade. It is that simple!

The long and the short of it:

When the wedding arrives, your bridesmaids will create a beautiful and elegant frame for you and your new husband. Different dress length can often be distracting to the eye and pull the focus from the couple. There are many ways to play with the mismatched bridesmaid look, but when it comes to hem length, we suggest picking just one.

The Mini-Mismatch:

Mixing up your bridesmaid style doesn’t have to mean everything is completely different. Even something as simple as different shoes, bouquets or jewelry can give your girls an opportunity to show off their personalities.

When putting together your bridesmaid style, there really are no rules. All you have to do is play with the options. Put fabrics, color and styles together until you are completely happy with the end result. Mismatching your girls is all about breaking the rules. So go ahead, be fearless!

From our Brides: 4 Ways to be the Worst Wedding Guest of all Time

It is wonderful to be able to celebrate your new Mrs. status with friends and family, but sometimes the combination of large numbers, varied personalities and high emotions can cause a little bit of stress along the way. When these moments happen, there are three things we want to remind you of.  1) You cannot please everyone. 2) There is always a solution. And 3) You’re not alone. We asked our brides to weigh in with their own personal experience dealing with difficult wedding guests.

Bride and Groom First Look

1) Dealing with the Narcissist:

“When family members who have conflict with each other make the day about them and their issues.” – Sarah Beth

If you have found yourself in this situation, we promise that you are not the first. Emotions and adrenaline are at an all time high at most weddings and this can sometimes cause tension. When diffusing a situation keep in mind that you want to make it better and not worse. If you let your emotions get the better of you. things will only escalate. With a level head and a calm voice, politely remind them why they are here today. Your wedding is a celebration of your relationship and it is OK to remind them of that.

2) Runaway guest list: “I can invite anyone I want to your wedding, right?”

Asking the morning of my wedding if you could bring your daughter, when you didn’t even bother to send your RSVP. And RSVP-ing for 3 when your invite specifically said to Mr and Mrs your name there.” — Michelle Flowers

There are 2 types of guests: 1) There was an unintentional miscommunication and your guest didn’t realize who exactly was invited. or 2) Your guest disregarded your wishes and didn’t think  a plus one was a big deal.

It is so important to be clear who the invitation is intended for. If you don’t feel like the names on the addressed envelope are clear enough, feel free to write the names out on their RSVP Card as well. This should help alleviate any miscommunication. If your RSVP mishap lands in the second category, ask yourself if it is a big deal. Do you have the space and the budget to have them there? Is it more of an annoyance than an inconvenience? If having extra person at your wedding is something you can deal with, consider letting it go and moving on. If having them there is not possible, a conversation is a great place to start. Explain to them that unfortunately you do not have any wiggle room with the guest count and although you wished more could attend, it is not possible at this time. And remember that asking is often more effective than demanding.

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3) Dealing with the Flake:

“We had a groomsmen back out the week of the wedding and then one of them “forgot” he was in the wedding all together.” — Ginny Raettig

Although situations like this are incredibly frustrating, they can often be the easiest to resolve. Many couples feel that it is really important to have an even number of bridesmaids and groomsmen. We are here to tell you that it is totally O.K to have an uneven bridal party. When you initially decided who you wanted to stand up with you, it was probably because they have been a key part of your life. Don’t feel pressured to find a replacement just for the sake of having a replacement. Sometimes the best solution is to let it go.

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4) Head Count:”RSVP’s are just a suggestion, right?”

“Not RSVP-ing or saying I don’t know yet but trying….” — Jamie Wieber

It can be as simple as asking your guests to send an RSVP email or click a button on your wedding website, but hunting down RSVP stragglers is just a part of the wedding planning process. That being said, there are a few ways to make it a little easier on yourself. A handy trick is to set the “please reply by:” date a few weeks before you really require a final head count. This will give some of the stragglers extra time to get their replies in and downsize the number of people you need to track down later.

Your day is about one very important thing, getting to say “I DO”. We know that planning a wedding comes with it’s up’s and down’s, but despite the fuss, it’s going to be worth it! We are so excited to be on this journey with you and helping to put those beautiful elements into your day. We know it’ going to be spectacular!

“None it was my day and everyone put all there problems aside and made it all about me my husband and six kids.” — Stephanie Hodgins

 

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