3 Unique Wedding Gifts to Give

Guess what! Wedding season is all year round – so if the Save the Dates are starting to fill up your fridge, here are a few ideas to stash away, or better yet – order ahead of time to give as the perfect shower or wedding gift this season.  Trust me, I’m not one to promote veering away from the wedding registry but after receiving a few of these ourselves I was shocked and taken aback by the thoughtfulness!
Unique Wedding Gifts - the bee life
Okay – let’s get to the good stuff!

  1. Custom Family Cross Stitch – We got this as a wedding gift, and I nearly cried when I opened it and saw our little family stitched into a beautiful frame.  Yes, it even included MOZ! which I think is what made me the most happy – upon further viewing behind my tears I noticed that the outfits B and I wore were the same from our engagement pictures! It was seriously one of the most thoughtful gifts and we have it hanging it a prominent spot to swoon over it.  Here is a similar one on Etsy. This could also be done as a custom painting or portrait of the couples new/first home or engagement picture! Better yet, if you’re crafty enough you could make this yourself!
  2. Monthly Wine Club Subscription – This could even be a food box service for a few months (while they’re adjusting to married life) or some other beverage/cocktail service that the couple can enjoy and experience together.  Giving them a few months free is a great way for the couple to get excited about something new and make a new married tradition.  Check out Winc, Clubbubbly or Home Chef.
  3. Honeymoon Help – A lot of registries, like Zola allow couples to add a Honeymoon Fund to their registry.  This is something to keep an eye out on! Another way to help a couple on their honeymoon is with a gift certificate to a restaurant for a dinner date on their honeymoon!  We greatly appreciated this as it helped us plan a special night out and around the rest of our trip. Does this couple love traveling? This 50 States Photo Map on Etsy is also another great gift and keepsake to help traveling couples document their travels!

The important thing when giving a gift is knowing the couple! And if you’re just not sure, but want to give something a little different talk to a closer family member or friend to gut check or figure out where they’re honeymooning.  Cheers to wedding season!

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Tips for Swoon Worthy Engagement Pics

Planning your engagement photos?  With the Pinterest & Instagram the exposure and pressure to have pin-worthy engagement photos is kind of a thing.  There are sooo many stunning photos out there it’s a bit intimidating! So how do you make yours special? Well, I have a few tips to help make sure these photos are swoon worthy, personalized and show stoppers.

Wardrobe.  If you really want something show stopping, yet simple – steal the show with a jaw dropping look. Whether it’s a gorgeous skirt, bright color in front of a stark back drop, or a casual look on a fall day – don’t skimp on the wardrobe! Also ladies, don’t forget about your significant other and making sure they step up to the plate and match your look.  Just remember, wear what you’re comfortable in, and true to you both as a couple!

Location.  Beach? Forest? City-scape?  Your favorite diner? With the help of your photographer scope out your spots, and see what might work – but have a couple ideas in mind.  Working to get multiple locations in one day? Make sure they’re close, and again chat with your photographer too see what might be possible. Don’t forget that some of the simplest locations will result in the most stunning pictures.

Time of Day.  We wanted some beach photos, and our photographer recommended sunrise photos instead of sunset.  Although we had to get up super early, the sky was perfect, no one was around and we were able to capture some gorgeous shots.  Evening photos could get tough and might need lighting to be involved, which could be a bit more costly, and some locations might not allow photography, so be sure to ask ahead of time if you photographer doesn’t!

Photographer. Finding the right photographer that has a portfolio inline with your vibe is important! But don’t forget about working within your budget – since you still have to save up for the big day! Although, this is a good test run to see how you’ll work with them on your actual wedding day.  Some photographers might also offer a package for engagement & wedding day, so be sure to ask!

For B and I, it was a little awkward at first, posing, kissing, and trying to look longingly at each other.  But once we got warmed up, we started to get the hang of it and have a little more fun.  Also have fun with props (balloons, your pup, fresh flowers) and don’t over think it – but also talk with your photographer and be sure to share your vision and even a few examples from your Pinterest board to show some different angles or inspiration!

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Missed Out? Or planning your wedding? Check these out:  Our Engagement Photos Tips for Creating your Wedding Registry How to Plan your Honeymoon Our Wedding Sneak Peak

 

Image Sources: Black & White Close-up Blue Tulle Skirt White Dress Kiss Forest  Hands & City

Tips for Creating Your Wedding Registry

Since we are in the prime of engagement season, a lot of you newly engaged ladies and gents will be looking to start creating your wedding registries! This is a super intimidating process, regardless if you’re needing everything new or looking to upgrade existing pieces.  So here are some tips I recently learned creating my own registries, and some tricks I learned after, to help you create your dream registry!
Wedding Registry Tips - the bee life
Tip #1: Take A Walk Either through your house/apartment and make a check-list for each area and start creating your wish list of things you want/need!  Since everything is digital now, I also recommend going to the store, especially if you can’t decide between two stores.  Seeing, touching and comparing products will help make a decision and then no surprises when you receive gifts.

Tip #2: Use Starter Guides/Check-Lists These are pre-populated lists made by your Registries and they’re life savors, more and more sites are creating these.  It wasn’t until I’d already created two of our registries that I found Zola and their check list.  It was a game changer! The checklist allowed me to think of things I needed, ideas for pieces to upgrade, and filter out things that weren’t that important for us!

Tip #3: Star Your Most Wanted Obviously everything is a most wanted item, but reality check, not everyone is going to buy off your registry, and if they do – make sure you get your priority items first! I regretted not doing this sooner, as I ended up returning items in place of ones we needed more.

Tip #4: Take Your Time Since this can be a bit overwhelming, don’t feel like you need to do this all in one day or one weekend, start early, browse, shop, and add as you go and think of things.  You really just want everything final about a month before your first major wedding event (people are last minute shoppers!)

Tip #5: Put a Cap on It After you have your list created you’ll quickly find out what your priority items are, so limit the number of registries you create! This will be a life savor for you and your guests.

Tip #6: Use Zola The part I love most about Zola is the behind the scenes interface for brides/grooms, not only do they have a wide variety of products and brands, on top of money funds that you can create, they also make returns, shipping, exchanging, SUPER EASY AND you can be really secretive about it so you don’t hurt anyones feelings! Their app is easy to use and their customer service is great!

Tip #7: Link to Wedding Website Be sure to link your registries with your wedding website! This will be helpful especially if you plan on using your wedding website URL on all the various invites and serves as one central place for your guests.

Tip #8: Download the App! A lot of the apps for registries make it easy to shop, check-in and have built-in scanners for shopping in stores.  It can also allow you to check-in on pieces that might become out of stock or discontinued (because that happens more than you’d think!)

We had three registries; Target was a no brainer for me just based on shear convenience for myself and guests, Pottery Barn was mainly used for new dishes and few other fun pieces, and Zola was the catch-all but mainly all my dreamy Kate Spade pieces and other fun and functional pieces.  This is one of the fun parts about getting married, so don’t stress, add as you think of things, and get ready for a lot of awesome new stuff!

Happy Shopping!

Weddings: Creating Your Sweetheart Table

One trend that seems to be increasingly popular is the idea of a sweetheart table for the bride and groom. I’ve read a few articles about the pros and cons of having a sweetheart table, and I am sure each bride and groom have their own reasons. For us, it’s simple. We have a small bridal party, and I think it would silly to make them sit without their sig-o’s at a table! Plus I love the idea of B and I having our own intimate spot to sit together and watch the magic of our wedding unfold.

And since we’re doing a sweetheart table, I wanted to do it right, which means pulling in the key elements to really make a statement with our table. Those key pieces to help make your sweetheart table standout are; the chair(s), floral accents, pop of personalization, and placement. Creating Sweetheart Table - the bee lifeThe Chair: Consider a furniture rental vendor that has awesome vintage chairs or a bold settee, these will stand out from the rest of your chairs in the venue signifying these are for the bride and groom.

Floral Accents: My personal favorite for a sweetheart table is a garland floral arrangement. This adds texture and depth to your table, while also calling it to be different from the rest of the tables.  Also consider bold arrangements that could be placed along side the tables or back flanking the space.

Pop of Personalization: The go-to seems to be adding Mr. & Mrs. on top of the table or a sign hanging from the back of the chairs. But consider other meaning full words that might be used or even using the initial of your new last name to make a bold pop.

Placement: When considering all of these elements for your sweetheart table, think about where this will be – if you’re going to have signs on the back of your chairs, will your chairs be in a place that others will be able to view and admire? Is a floral arch behind your table going to flow with the space or look out of place?  You can also work to make your sweetheart table to be the focal point of the venue if it’s lack luster our outdoors.

Pulling these key elements together will create a special place for you and your groom to dine to enjoy your first meal as husband and wife! Happy planning!

Image Source Inspiration: Top Left | Top Right | Bottom Left | Bottom Right

The Truth: Weddings & Registries

It’s that time of the year again, wedding season! And with every wedding season, comes the cycle of bridal showers, multiple registries to review, and the actual wedding gift…  As a bride-to-be this upcoming fall, and a guest to four-weddings before then, I feel your pain! But here are answers that will help ease some of those questions and help you conquer all your gifts with success this wedding season!
Weddings & Registries Guide - the bee life
The Gift. If you’re like me, you’re often conflicted with wanting to give the couple something unique and not on the registry.  But I’ve also heard from many past brides/friends say; “I just want the stuff off my registry!” I always thought buying off the registry was boring! But, news flash, it’s not about you or me!

Ultimately it comes down to knowing the bride/couple.  Will they like something specific and personalized if you stray from the registry? Or are they picky and have a specific style, so it’s best to just buy off the registry?  When in doubt, buy off the registry.

Money. Yes, it is tacky to talk about money, but it’s a topic many people struggle with, myself included! How much is enough? Especially if you’re attending four or more weddings in one year!  So I did a little research, and asked my friends and fellow brides-to-be. The consensus for a bridal shower gift was around $50. Although, there is an exception if you’re in the wedding party/close family friend.

Okay, so now how much for the wedding? The going response was basically covering the cost per person/per plate. As you can imagine, this could vary depending on the city, venue, type of food, but a low, but safe baseline is about $50 per person. So between you and your hot date, grand total/minimum of $100. But again, this all depends if you’re in the wedding party, family, or simply just a guest!

The Wedding. So back to that $100 for the wedding gift.  Do you just write a fat check? Or do you head back to that registry for more goodies?  Well consider this; a box of envelopes is much easier to transport after the wedding for whoever gets stuck with gift duty vs. 50+ different sized presents. Also, logistically as the guest, lugging around a gift during the ceremony and cocktail hour might not be the most enjoyable! The couple will most likely buy items they didn’t get off their registry (with a discount) with that cash anyways. So when it comes to the wedding, stick with cash/check.

Before I dived into all my registries, I jokingly talked about creating an online fund for our kitchen remodel! But I found something better, Zola Registry! Zola is a one stop shop for planning the big day, registering for your standard gifts from a number of known/unique brands, but also allowing couples to register for experiences, trips, and personalized cash funds for a kitchen remodel or honeymoon!

As a bride-to-be that has spent many hours searching for the perfect pieces, I’m learning a new found respect for gifting off registries and knowing when it’s okay to just gift with cash.

Happy Wedding Season!

#EmnBWed – MOH Dress

In prep for our upcoming shopping trip, I been doing some searching for MOH dresses. I definitely have a lot of ideas and want something that is unique, stunning and going to make a statement for my right-hand MOH.

moh-dress-inspiration-the-bee-life

I’d like to say I have the color figured out and style – but about the only thing I am certain about is the length. I have some color ideas, but it ultimately comes down to what Kates feels comfortable in and what looks best on her! Since Kates is my one and only in the bridal party we can totally work and find what she likes, be picky and shop around more.

I think Nordstom has a lot of stunning bridesmaid dresses, but the price point (no surprise) is a bit higher than I would want my bestie to spend. And as much as I would love to check out one of the newer sites with dresses, there are just a lot of styles and fabric combinations that just need to be tried before buying. We will make the rounds closer to Katie so that she can work to order and pick-up at her convenience.

More to come on the first shopping trip!  I am hoping we find something so we can cross it off the list and start looking for accessories, but I also don’t want to rush it and make sure it’s perfect from all aspects!

Sources: Top Left | Top Right | Bottom Left | Bottom Right 

#EmnBWed – December Update

It’s time for our monthly wedding update and the last one for 2016! With less than a year away and according to The Knot’s wedding checklist I think we’re doing pretty good, especially with those “Essential” tasks.

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Within the last few months we were able to accomplish;
– Venue = Booked
– Church = Booked
– Caterer = Booked
– Wedding Dress = Bought
– Rings = Purchased
– Hotel Block = Reserved
– Invitations = Being Designed
– Photographer = Secured
– Cake = Figured out

What else is there to do? *smiles* … But in all seriousness we are both feeling really good going into 2017 to be full-on wedding planning mode, with some fun and breaks in between! A few things we’ll be continuously working on/really need to get started on is working out and getting in shape, whitening our pearly whites, and slowly buying some of the little details as we find them and go.

With that being said going into our wedding year,  I would love some ADVICE from any current brides planning their big day or all you veterans out there with anything you learned, would’ve done differently, cut costs on, etc.

This past year has been a whirlwind and I just know this upcoming year is going to be pretty much the same (if not worse!) and I want to enjoy every single moment of it, because 2016 was amazing.

XO —

Wedding Plans – An Update

Now that it’s officially June – I figured I would start sharing and writing a little more about our wedding planning (or lack thereof).  If you remember, I wanted to wait awhile before we started planning since I feel like a lot of couples rush into it, and don’t actually enjoy being engaged or take advantage of it! (I might be taking a little too much advantage of it :])

Venue
Source: Style Me Pretty

So here is the thing I’ve learned with the tiny bit of “planning” aka research I’ve done so far… EVERYTHING IS SO MUCH MONEY.

Period, end of story, done.

But seriously, I truly can’t believe or fathom spending that kind of serious cash on ONE DAY. Granted it’s a day of celebration and the start of a new journey, but it’s just crazy to me, there are SO MANY OTHER THINGS, I would much rather spend that money on. Don’t even ask what, because the list will be endless. I don’t even want my parents to spend that much money on our wedding either – it’s crazy! Unless Donald Trump wants to pay for our wedding, it’s hard to reason it all.

Long story short, there has been no wedding planning, just a lot of chats to try and figure out what sort of direction we want to go in (small, large, or half-half).  We were set on one direction, but the more I started researching and vetting out options, the less interested I’ve become, mainly because it doesn’t seem like it’ll save any money, and would be more involved from planning. So I truly just don’t know what to do. B and I have a few more chats that need to happen, I am thinking an evening or afternoon with some continuous beers will help make some decision, and then of course sticking to it.

One of these days, I’ll actually have something solid to report back on. The only thing we have planned right now is our engagement pictures… so stay tuned for a first look at those in the next few weeks!

 

#CoakleyEverAfter – Part 1

The festivities for Katie & Travis’ big day started Thursday night, when Katie, Jodi and I met up for manicures to get our fingernails in tip-top shape for the big day, a wedding must in my opinion if you’re in the wedding party! The entire long weekend was really surreal to the fact that is was actually Katie’s wedding. I’m not sure if it’s because we’ve known each other for so long and have gone through so much, or what? But I kept having moments of disbelief, yet being extremely happy and emotional through the whole thing!

Friday was the rehearsal, which went as most rehearsal’s go, a little chaotic but smooth at the same time,  working out the kinks and asking all of the questions.  From the venue, we headed out to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. It was a nice dinner, especially when it came time for the presents – because the thought that was put into them by Katie and Travis was overwhelming, especially for the parents, there were tears all around. She gave all us bridesmaids a bag of goodies, including our jewelry for the big day and she gave me a special bracelet that reads on the inside; “Today my Maid of Honor, forever my best friend ❤ 5.21.16” it is so perfect.

After the rehearsal, Katie and I headed to the hotel, to have one “final” girl’s night together before the big day! It was nice having some one on one time before the craziness of Saturday happened. She actually brought a notebook that I had made her all throughout high school and even early into college, it’s an old composition notebook that is filled with pictures, notes, stories, memories, stickers, from all of our fun times. It was pretty funny to look back on and read. We of course popped some bubbly and chatted more about “can’t believe you’re getting married tomorrow” and Katie also finished writing out her vows. Not to mention the hotel cups were pretty funny.

Saturday, May 21, 2016. The big day! We both woke up pretty early, it got to the point where we were just sick of laying in bed, trying to fall back asleep. So after Katie rewrote her vows, we had a Backstreet Boys/N’Sync jam session (I highly recommend this on a daily basis). It was the fun little start to the day to help get the jitters out and have a carefree moment during the day. Then the morning started with a Starbucks run (of course) and over to the venue to set-up some of the centerpieces and last minute details before we needed to be back at the hotel for hair and make-up to begin at 10AM.

The day didn’t seem to go too fast, although Katie might object to that statement. We (me and her sister Jodi) had to make a few trips to get some last minute things that were forgotten or needed throughout the day and making sure everyone was on track and where they needed to be, transportation was ready, and even checking on the weather for the ceremony location, since the rain clouds were rolling in.

Come back for Part 2 – tomorrow!

XO