Tag Archives: {advice}

peace out antiquated trends + traditions

Engagement, it totally changes the relevance of weddings for you as a guest.

All of a sudden you start scrutinizing the invitation of a dear friend, front to back, knowing exactly how much time and money went into it {Letter pressed, really? Girl should have gone without and saved the dough!} You start making a mental check-list of how yours is going to be better.

Then, when you actually get to the wedding, you find yourself picking apart every detail, sizing up the centerpieces, taking note of posture, examining the font size on the programs, and performing a Top Chef-worthy taste test on your free meal.

No joke – this is what being a to-be-bride turns you into.  Basically a wedding researcher {forget the “guest” part of it}.

On the other hand, you do learn to appreciate the little things that others may not notice or forgive. You know what it means to get that RSVP in the mail on time, understand that the slightest default on the address label doesn’t really matter and accept that the bride can {and inevitably will} go a little nutty at any point prior to the ceremony.

If you are not, or have not, been a bride, you may not understand. Brides – they make wedding planning their life for a year plus, and it’s too easy to judge others when you’re going through the exact same process.  Hence the phrase bridezilla – most often given to her by someone other than a current or recent bride. You may not understand ’til you are – simple as that.

My point is that it turns you into a very judgmental person.  And that’s not necessarily a negative inference {or positive for that matter} – you just change the way you observe how things go down.  TLC even picked up on this little character morph with their new series, Four Weddings.  The entire show is based on four brides attending each others’ weddings and judging them from best to worst. Winner gets a free honeymoon.

Anyway – I’m swaying from the point of my post, but you get the idea.

Having attended a friend’s recent wedding, there were details that I, of course, couldn’t help but focus on through out the night. And I’m talking intricacies – things normal people probably didn’t see at all. But it really got me thinking about antiquated traditions, wedding activities I don’t care for and certain events that seem a little odd – for us.

Disclaimer: these are my opinions and my opinions only. They’re not right or wrong.  Just because it’s a “tradition” though, doesn’t mean you have to do it. Remember – to each her own.

Traditions  I’ve observed/don’t like/aren’t including in my wedding day

{get out of there}

garter toss: Okay, I do love garters. I think they’re cute. I think they’re fun. However, my new husband crawling up under my dress in front of grandma is neither.

receiving line: This one can go. It takes up too much time and makes for a few awkward embraces among people you’ve only met for the first time.  Not to mention, those that want to chat will hold up the line, delaying dinner and making others a little grouchy.  In the Yakima heat, no less.

head table: I get that the bride and groom may want their dearest friends to surround them for their first meal as man + wife. I even get that they want them to “stand out from the crowd.” However, it alienates the significant other of a bridal party member and chances are, they don’t know many people there. Sure you can do a gigantic head table to accommodate for the significant others, but there are two alternatives I prefer:

1. Ask your best man and maid of honor (and their counterparts) to sit with you, making the head table a total of 6;


2. Make the head table a table for two and reserve the needed number of tables around you for the bridal party and immediate family – making room for all.

{how awkward. no dude lays like that.}

cheesy poses: I want to have fun in my pictures sure, but cheesy poses {see above} make me cringe.

a too choreographed first dance: I’m all for learning a few steps in favor of the middle school sway for our first dance, but if you get too technical, that special moment becomes stiff and concentrated, rather than natural and light. I’d like to really just enjoy this moment . . . not stare at my feet the entire time.

cake smashing: It took a long time for me to get my face to look like that. Please don’t mess it up before the first dance. This silly little tradition can fade away for all I care.

tight updos: Again, this seems a little more high school dance than romantic wedding to me. I don’t hate them, I just don’t prefer them.

an all rose bouquet: I like roses, but we’re at a wedding, not a funeral. I prefer an array of blooms.

{love this idea}

taking pictures after the ceremony: Much like the receiving line, the lull keeps your hungry guests waiting and un-entertained. However, I do believe in a few exceptions: entire family pictures (you really don’t need them all there pre-ceremony); an all guest group shot; grandparent photos; signing of the marriage certificate, etc.

Mr. and Mrs. his first, his last name: Yep, I am taking his name – his last name. What happened to my first name? I’m still here and you can present us as Mr. and Mrs. his first name and my first name then, our last name.

poor posture: Bridesmaids – make sure that invisible string on your head (the one mom showed you) is holding your shoulders up. Also, feet together . . . you’re in a dress and heels, not boots and jeans. Poor posture doesn’t make for pretty pictures.

tiaras: Ew. Unless you’re the homecoming queen, just don’t.

{sorry Ms. Abdul}

keeping your back to your guests: Kind of. During the ceremony, at the very least, I’d like to try to keep some of my face visible to the guests. They want to see the emotion and hear the words.  It may be a little awkward to stand sideways, but when you have your back completely to your friends and family, much of the ceremony can get lost. I don’t want that.

Hmm, I had a lot more to say than I thought.

Again, these are just my preferences.

Food for thought.

Make it you,


Filed under ceremony, Reception, tidbits, {advice}

Secrets from the Cake Maker


 Meet Christie of Christie’s Cakes – cake aficionado, flawless froster and an all around awesome lady.  Not only did Christie take the time to meet with me and the FI on a family trip to Tacoma (since we couldn’t make it down to Yakima), but she also answered all our questions, led the conversation when we weren’t sure where to go next and brought some of the most amazing samples for us to taste test.  Being involved in the wedding process for almost 12 years, Christie has a lot of solid information to share with brides-to-be that I couldn’t resist posting it for all of you. Thank you again, Christie! I’m so excited to see our cake on the big day!    

How many years have you been baking cakes?      

I am starting my 12th year…     

How did you become interested in cake baking?     

My mom is truly the best baker in our family; she makes the best cheesecake, so I grew up baking.  I had a Holly Hobby oven at 6, and had my dad try ALL the flavors, all the colors.   So years ago when my youngest brother was thinking his girlfriend was the one, I decided I would do their cake.  After lots of practice, and offers from lots of guinea pigs (otherwise known as every friend of mine), I’ve gotten pretty good…     

What is the hardest thing about baking/your job?  

Having to tell people that I don’t have a spot left for their cake…  I am one of those people with a talent who loves to share it, so I am always sad that I have to turn them away.    

What do you love the most?   

It is probably two fold, first, I love working through the planning with them, being creative, sometimes brides have no idea which look they are going for, and when I see that light bulb go on for them I realize I have just helped them create that special cake their biggest day.  Second I love the finished product, and sometimes when I am lucky enough to be there when the bride sees the cake and smiles at me, I know I’ve been a part of that….  it’s a great feeling.   


What is your best skill for cake decorating?  

I listen to people, listen to their story, I think it helps me when I am decorating, and lots of patience!  

You’re known for your whip cream frosting, why do you choose this one?   I prefer the natural look it makes, and I love the taste.   Some people have a specific look they are going for and while whip cream can’t re-create say a “Mad Hatter” type color scheme, but it can do most other looks.       

On average, how long does it take to create a wedding cake and what’s involved in the process?  

Every cake is different, but the time starts from the first meeting, shopping for the ingredients, baking, designing, cleanup, and delivery…  sometimes it takes more time than I think, but I always make sure to leave myself plenty of time for each cake.   

Does it seem like everyone is straying from the usual two or three tiered cake with plastic “husband and wife” perched on top, in favor of something a bit more unique?     

The styles of the cake are sometimes offset or have both square and rounds together, or arranging individual cakes on separate stands.  More and more often people are choosing flower toppers, monograms, or more comical ones like bobble heads, or the bride chasing the groom.  

Are couples more interested in taste than design, or vice versa?    

I think everyone expects to show up and see a pretty cake, but when it’s pretty and it tastes good, people will be talking about it for a week…  I start with great family recipes, only book 2 cakes in a weekend, and never bake too early, freshness is critical to a great tasting cake!    

What are your favorite types of cakes to create?   

I love wedding cakes, they are so lovely, but I also love baby shower cakes with little pink accents and ruffles…… or maybe my individual Chocolate Fudge cake with Espresso touches!    

Have you noticed any trends lately?     

With the popular new shows like Cake Boss, people bring in pictures of cakes that cost several thousand dollars expecting for it to fit into their budget, those shows aren’t very realistic for what most people are looking to spend.  

What are some of the common mistakes couples make when choosing a wedding cake?   

I think people do more research, so I find brides do a pretty good job of knowing what they are looking for, I usually find the most common problem isn’t the cake, it’s the placement of the cake at the reception.   I do try and suggest things that they might not think of, e.g., keep it away from windows, avoid hanging electrical cords, or exposed outlets.  Make note of the things that are behind you in the pictures, sometimes these make for some laughs when the photos come back.   

What tips can you offer to those shopping for cakes for their own weddings?   

Bring pictures, the cake topper, and fabric swatches, it isn’t always necessary, but it helps to make sure we are thinking the same thing.     Pick flavors that will appeal to most people, remember brides, you aren’t eating the whole cake!     Many couples like to store the leftover cake in the freezer for their first anniversary, what storage tips can you offer?     

I would say about half of my brides intend to save their top tier, so I suggest that they put it in the box, put it in the freezer and then when they come back from their honeymoon, take it out, wrap it in plastic wrap, put it back in the box, and then plastic wrap the whole box….     

Are there any interesting “wedding cake” stories or mishaps you’d like to share? 

I have flown to Hawaii to do several cakes, and going through the airport with cake decorating supplies raised a few eyebrows!  Checking my cake luggage sure didn’t stop me from going again though!    





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Filed under cake, planning, tidbits, {advice}

Wedding Venue Cost Calculator

Found this helpful article and wonderful little tool, courtesy of Blue Orchid Design – felt the need to share, enjoy!


I’ve talked about the plus/plus rate and the hidden costs in wedding budgets on this wedding blog before, but in case you missed that post, plus/plus, in a nutshell, stands for plus tax, plus service charge. These figures are in addition to the cost your venue or caterer will quote you for your wedding.Wedding Venue Cost Calculator. The calculator is an excel spreadsheet that you can download for free. Don’t let the word spreadsheet intimidate you: all of the instructions (it’s pretty easy) are included.  The calculator also has space for you to compare the cost of three different venues so you can see at a glance which is the better deal.Download your free wedding venue cost calculator here.

In order to help you figure out what your real costs will be for your wedding location, I’ve created a

If you have any trouble downloading the calculator, try right clicking and selecting “save target as” and then opening after it’s saved.

I realize that talking money and calculators isn’t the most glamorous or inspirational part of wedding planning, but having a grasp on all the logistical details will help your day run smoothly.


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Filed under Budget, Catering, finances, planning, tidbits, venue, {advice}, {budget resources}

Let’s Hear it for the Boy


Here is the groom information {part deux) that I gathered from the wonderful world of The ManRegistry!

The following article {from MR} is written by Marie O’Mara of Honeymoons.com and talks about the grooms responsibilities during the planning process.  Really interesting, a different take on groom’s duties and a very entertaining read altogether, check it out!

Groom’s wedding planning duties have evolved from what we traditionally remember them to be.

Purchase engagement ring. Check.
Propose. Check.
Pick groomsmen. Check.
Purchase wedding rings.  Check.
Pick out tux and get groomsman gifts. Check.
Plan Rehearsal Dinner. Check.
Plan & book the Honeymoon. Check.


Traditionally the groom’s responsibility includes a short and easy list that covers the basics, and for the groom, that is where the “Wedding Planning” responsibilities once ended!  However, as many of you are already finding out, that isn’t the end. We have listed a few things to consider and keep in mind to make your PRE WEDDING life go a bit easier. This list may not apply to everyone, but should keep any groom out of the doghouse and more importantly, keep your fiance thrilled for even offering! 

From here on out in the wedding planning process you should know that:  

1)  You are happy to be involved in the planning & choosing vendors.

2)  You are expected to go with your fiancée to register, and yes this is a big deal.

3)  You need to make sure someone is planning her bridal shower.  DO NOT ASSUME. (You don’t need to be involved, but keep an open ear to make sure someone has taken the lead and planning is underway.)

4)  You are expected to get the names & addresses of the guests on your list. (Facebook, email & phone numbers do not count.)

5)  YOUR mother is not in charge of planning the wedding!

6)  You’re already thinking of what songs will make a great first dance.

7)  You’re not inviting your ex girlfriend to the wedding, and it is not appropriate to even ask. (Ok, Mr. Geller?)

8)  You want to be involved, or at least offer, to stuff the invitation envelopes!

9)  You have researched plenty of honeymoon locations and have done all the homework before picking the place!

10)  You understand how stressed your fiancé is with planning the wedding. She won’t appreciate being nicknamed Bridezilla. It’s funny, but it’s also hurtful.

11)  Sex on the wedding night is most likely not going to happen, and that this isn’t a “preview” to your sex life for the rest of your life.

Love it! Guys, this post is really meant to help you help her by getting involved and knowing when, how and where to do just that.  This isn’t an event you’ll want surprises to pop up at because the day represents both of you.  I also recommend checking out the Groom’s Guide to Thank You’s {yep, you gotta to them too ;)} as well as Budgeting the Groom’s Side of the Wedding . . . as a girl, I know how easy it is to get caught up in the manicures, makeup and bubbly for the ladies, but brides can certainly benefit from this article as well! Don’t worry though guys, there are plenty of fun posts to weed through too, such as: A Groom’s Guide to Surviving a Bridal Expo; a discussion on Jim and Pam’s Wedding {a la The Office}; and a ton of cool-looking groom’s cakes to drool over!

Still a little lost on what your role should be in the planning grooms? Brides — need help directing him on what to do? The ManRegistry also hosts a Groom 101 section that “includes all of the articles, checklists, and tips that you {the groom} will need to get ready for the big day.” This is a great “short and to the point” area for the guys who want to make a difference but aren’t into all the pretty flowers and don’t obsess over centerpieces day-in and day-out.  Really, we do understand :).

Here is a small preview of the categories you can find over at Groom 101: wedding tips for grooms and wedding advice for grooms, bachelor party games, who to invite to the bachelor party, groomsmen duties, usher duties, wedding pranks, best man doesn’t like the bride, man showers.  Some of the categories are very sweet and romantic while others are, well definitely geared towards the male species (wedding pranks…really? :)).   


Hope you enjoy {and bookmark} this wonderful find!



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Filed under Groom Resources, Thank Yous, {advice}

{happy birthday to me}

On Tuesday I turned {{{hold on, let me catch my breath and muster up some courage here}}} . . . 24.  This is something that does not flow easily off the tip of my tongue.  It was a day in which I mentally struggled with the number {my number} that we all tend to measure and compare the successes + failures — and overall quality — of our lives with.

It took me the entire day to finally realize how much I have to look forward to in this year . . . one of the most wonderful things in a woman’s life will happen to me at the age of 24.  I have no choice but to embrace it and as I do, I am able to  look forward to the happiness that this change in my life will bring with it.



“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

-Abraham Lincoln

{a pragmatic reminder}




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some friendly advice

My cousin was recently married at the beautiful Tracy Castle, located in Wilkeson, Wash.  Just today, he left me this small peice of advice that I thought was so important and so true that I had to share it with the rest of you.

From Chad:

“Just to let you know…. after going through the “big day” recently, there is only one thing I would insist you make a part of your day. Not only do I want to tell you what it is, but I want to explain myself as well.   Becasue the day is such a blur, you and Kyle will probably not get much time to focus on each other, and it is a huge moment between the two of you that happens so quickly when you recite your vows to one another.  So…… at the end of our wedding ceremony, Steph, Jordyn, and I took a ride in the carriage together, and it’s the highlight of my wedding.  Just to have the moment to ourselves and to take in that moment – together for the first time as husband and wife – before the insanity of the reception began.  Make sure that you have that moment for the two of you as well. [Whether it’s a] carriage ride, a walk together, something . . . with JUST YOU TWO that allows you that moment.  I can’t explain its importance, you’ll just have to experience it for yourself.”

unity sand 2 

What a {sweet} peice of advice.  I’m sure it’s too easy to get caught up in it all to really enjoy the presence of your new husband or wife.  Thank you Chad, for seeing that special moment and reminding us all to step away from the haste and focus on your new life.

Congratulations, once again, to you, Stephanie and Jordyn . . . they are wonderful additions to our family. 🙂



 P.S. Robin, of the Yakima Valley Bride magazine, also offered this advice:

“…make sure to eat at your reception–[her] one BIG blunder!”  🙂 bet you don’t think about that until your stomach calms down and starts growling at you!

Thanks Robin + Chad!

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