Professional wedding planning tips + trends + what to do + especially what not to do

Professional wedding planning tips + trends + what to do + especially what not to do

Thursday, June 11, 2015

So, I'm the maid of honor. . .what am I supposed to do now?

The Maid or Matron of honor has a LOT of duties leading up to the wedding day.  Below are the main priorities (note if Events by Autumn is hired for full service coordination, we will manage the items in pink!)
  • Lead the bridesmaids. It's the maid/matron of honor's (MOH) job to direct the other maids through their duties. Make sure everyone gets their bridesmaid dresses, go to dress fittings, and find the right jewelry.
  • Ensure the bridal party is informed about all pre-wedding parties
  • Help shop for dresses (the bride's and the bridesmaids'). And the MOH pays for her own entire wedding outfit (including shoes)
  • Offer to help the bride with pre-wedding tasks:  addressing invites, assembling wedding favors & programs, etc.
  • Offer to help the bride in selecting a venue, dress, menu, etc.  Give an unbiased, honest opinion – you don’t have to love any of it, but the bride should appreciate you pointing out that an ice cream cake isn’t great for an outdoor wedding, or the heavy, 100lb. beaded dress might get really hot on a July night.  If she still decides to go for it, SUPPORT HER
  • Be knowledgeable about the wedding day plans, so you can be the planners “emergency” contact, instead of the bride
  • Spread the news about where the bride and groom are registered, and even help the bride shop for registry items, if she invites you
  • Help the bride change for her honeymoon and take charge of her gown after the ceremony, by arranging for storage in a safe place until she returns
  • Lend an ear. Whether it's about the planning, the marriage, or the registry china patterns, the MOH should assure the bride that she has someone with whom she can share her thoughts. Even if she seems to dwell on the same subjects repeatedly, the MOH keeps listening
  • Host or cohost AND attend a bridal shower for the bride
  • Attend all pre-wedding parties
  • Keep a record of all the gifts received at various parties and showers (or delegate a bridesmaid to handle this)
  • Plan and attend the bachelorette party with the bridesmaids.
  • See to it that all bridesmaids get to the rehearsal; coordinate transportation and lodging, if necessary
  • Be prepared to help out at the rehearsal dinner where needed.  Volunteer to take duties off the families’ plates
  • If you couldn’t drop off décor in advance, or if the bride forgot something, it’s the MOH’s job to get those décor items to the ceremony or reception venue the morning of (whether you do it yourself, or delegate)
  • Make sure that all bridesmaids get their hair and makeup done
  • Keep an eye on the bridal party while getting ready - a little champagne is good, but make sure everyone is also getting plenty of water too
  • Make sure there is breakfast AND snacks available all morning for the bridal party.  Something healthy which is also easy on the stomach, to jump-start a big day
  • Help the bride get dressed.  Make sure you take an inventory of everything you’ll need BEFORE you get on site:  dress, undergarments, jewelry, veil, shoes, etc. (see the checklist below)
  • Be at the bride’s beck and call!  Be there to answer her phone, grab her lipstick, or just calm her nerves
  • Ensure bridal party gets to the ceremony on time
  • Make sure everyone has the correct bouquets
  • If the bride wants some privacy before the ceremony, make sure she gets it
  • Hold the groom's ring during the ceremony. Safest place to put it?  On your thumb
  • Arrange the bride's train and veil before the ceremony begins and just after she arrives at the altar
  • Hold the bride's bouquet while the couple exchanges vows
  • Sign the marriage license as a witness, along with the best man
  • Bustle the bride’s train for easy dancing at the reception
  • Stand next to the groom in the receiving line (this is optional; the bride may decide to have attendants circulate among the guests instead)
  • Be a gatekeeper.  Was someone invited whom the bride doesn’t get along with very much, but still had to invite?  Help out by politely “rescuing” her from that conversation if she gets trapped
  • Play hostess along with the other bridesmaids at frequent points during the reception: show guests where to sit, direct them to restrooms, tell them to where to put presents, invite them to sign the guest book, etc.
  • Clean the bridal suite.  ESPECIALLY if the bridesmaids used it to get ready in.  Don’t let the bride & groom return to a disaster.  It’s the MOH’s job to clean this room up after the bridesmaids are done in there
  • Collect any gift envelopes brought to the reception and keep them in a safe place
  • Make sure the bride takes a moment to eat something -- refresh her drink, get her a plate of food from the buffet table, or instruct the wait staff to keep her entree warm
  • Dance with the best man during the formal first-dance sequence and possibly be announced with him at the beginning of the party.  Lead the dancing all night (get people on the dance floor!)
  • Toast the couple after the best man.  And makes sure you jot down notes and don’t wing it. . .
  • If the dollar dance is performed, you’re in charge of locking up the money
  • Decorate the getaway vehicle (IF the bride wants you to!)
  • Purchase a bottle of champagne and some late night snacks and have them delivered to the bridal suite for when the wedding is over and the bride & groom finally get to retreat for the night!
  • Troubleshoot emotional crises. In most cases, this will require lots of tissues, hugging, and hair-smoothing. The MOH continues to be a trusted friend, a good listener, and a smart advisor
  • Keep the bride laughing. For the stressed-out bride, laughter can be as effective as venting 

The Maid of Honor Checklist

These are all items that typically a Maid of Honor would be responsible for on the day of the wedding.  That doesn’t mean she needs to buy all these items, but she DOES need to make sure the bride brings them with her, and they’re readily available!

Please note, Events by Autumn brings a “bridal emergency kit” to all weddings, which is stocked with over 300 miscellaneous items, including many of the things listed below.  The bride will want to bring her own items for getting ready, but just know if something is missing when she arrives on site, most likely, Autumn has it in her kit! 
  • Your Bridesmaid Dress
  • Bride’s Wedding Dress
  • Bobby Pins
  • Make-up
  • Make Up for Touch-Ups
  • Clear Nail Polish
  • Nail Glue
  • Hairspray
  • Tissue
  • Perfume
  • Jewelry for the Bride and yourself
  • Wedding Dress shoes and a casual pair for after
  • Undergarments for the wedding dress
  • Needle, thread (white and color of bridesmaid dresses), and scissors
  • Contact solution/rewetting drops or glasses
  • Breath Mints
  • Pantyhose/Nylons (at least 2 pair)
  • Change of clothing for after
  • Phone numbers of all the important vendors
  • Watch
  • Any prescription medication the bride or groom is on
  • Plane tickets and luggage if the newlyweds are going on their honeymoon straight from the wedding
  • Flowers (unless brought by the vendor)
  • Extra money (just in case of emergency)
  • A friend to stand by for back up in case the car has flat tire or engine problems
  • Your speech
  • Card to give the bride (always a cute friend idea)
  • 2 garters (1 to keep and 1 to toss)
  • Grooms Ring
  • Tylenol and Tums
  • Deodorant / Antiperspirant
  • Phone Numbers of all Important Family Members in the Wedding, Bridesmaids, Grooms
  • Toothbrush
  • Antacid
  • Cash (In small bills for tips)
  • Umbrellas - in case it rains or if it is too hot
  • Q-Tips for touch-ups
  • Toothpicks/Dental Floss
  • Small Face Mirror
The maid of honor and the bridesmaids she's responsible for.  Photo courtesy of CakeKnife Photography,

Thursday, June 4, 2015

HOW TO: Change your last name after you're married

Step 1: Make a Copy of Your Marriage License
You’re going to need this to show proof that you’ve gotten married in order to change your last name.

Step 2: Social Security Card
The first step is to change your name on your social security card, which will help you in changing your name on everything else. Visit the Social Security Administration’s website and fill out an application for a name change. (Read more HERE).  You will use your marriage license in combination with the application to prove that you have gotten married.  

Step 3: Drivers Licenses & IDs
Once you receive your new social security card, you can take it (along with your marriage license) to the Department of Motor Vehicles and get your name formally changed on your driver’s license or your ID.

Step 4: Finances
You’re going to want to visit your bank pretty quickly after you receive that new identification with your new name. Your name must match on your ID and your bank accounts in order to access your money, so take your new ID or driver’s license, your new social security card and your marriage license to your bank. Ask them about the process of changing your name on your accounts and get that taken care of.

Step 5: Changing Your Name Everywhere Else
After following the first few steps, you will have all the new identification proof you need to change your name everywhere else.  Here's another list of everywhere else you may want to update your name:
  • Place of Employment
  • Local Post Office
  • Credit Card Companies
  • Utility Companies:  Cable, Phone, Internet, Gas, Water, Electric
  • Doctors Offices:  Primary Care, Dentist, Optometrist, Veterinarian, etc.
  • Insurance Providers:  Health, Vehicle, Home, Life, etc.
  • Schools:  Your alma mater & any kids' schools as well
  • Publication subscriptions:  magazines, newsletters, etc.
  • Anyone who would bill you for services (professional services)

It’s that easy – although the process usually takes a few weeks, you can get started on it early by filling out an application through the Social Security Administration before you leave for your honeymoon.