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Planning Tips Archives - New Orleans Weddings - Reception, Venue & Planning

Here’s How to Get Your Guests to Actually Use Your #Hashtag

 Advice, Planning Tips, Wedding Guests  Comments Off on Here’s How to Get Your Guests to Actually Use Your #Hashtag
Nov 142016
 
how to get wedding guests to use hashtag

Photo: Dan Petrovic

You spent a lot of time creating the perfect, catchy hashtag to describe your happy union. And you'll be very disappointed if no one uses it.

"Couples opt for a wedding hashtag so they can easily see all of their guests' photos in one place, and they often spend a lot of time and creativity coming up with the perfect one," explains Jaclyn Fisher, owner of Two Little Birds Planning in Philadelphia. "So it's only natural for a couple to be upset if their guests don't actually use their hashtag."

You could (and of course should) post signs that include your hashtag and how you'd like your guests to use it. But signs might not be enough. So, here are five other ways to get your guests to actually use your hashtag.

1. Spread the word on your own social media.
Fisher suggests incorporating your hashtag into any social media posts about your wedding. After all, if you don't use it, why would your guests? "Tweet about booking your venue, share photos from your bridal shower on Instagram, and SnapChat from your bachelorette party," she says. "Guests will quickly catch on and start using the hashtag too."

2. Get your wedding party to spread the word.
When you bridesmaids post sneak-peeks of them trying on their gowns, ask them to add your hashtag to their caption, says Amy Nichols, owner of Amy Nichols Special Events and co-founder of The Poppy Group. "Your guests are likely connected to your wedding party as well, and this will help to begin laying the groundwork for getting the hashtag out to guests," she says.

See More: The Top Social Media Wedding Faux-Pas

3. Make it easy to remember.
Few people will want to use a long, complicated hashtag. On the flip side, "choosing a hashtag that's easy to remember will increase the chances of your guests actually using it," says Fisher. "Rhymes, alliterations, and puns are all ingredients for an awesome and memorable hashtag." We even have tips for choosing the perfect hashtag here.

4. Send it out before the big day.
Don't spring your hashtag on guests at the wedding. Instead, "start using your hashtag before the big day by featuring it on your save the date, website, invitation, and welcome bag," says Fisher. "Guests are more likely to remember and use your hashtag after the repeated exposure."

5. Include it throughout the wedding.
Nichols and Fisher agree that you should go beyond signs to show off your hashtag. "The more creative, the more likely your guests will take notice," Nichols says, while Fisher suggests printing your hashtag on everything from your menu to your table numbers to make a maximum impact.

7 Types of Family Members You’ll Likely Find at Every Wedding

 Moms, Planning Tips, Relationships, Wedding Guests  Comments Off on 7 Types of Family Members You’ll Likely Find at Every Wedding
Nov 112016
 

You know what they say: you can choose your friends but you can't choose your family, right? Inevitably, at every wedding, there always seems to be a good (if you want to call it that) mix of relatives. From the overly emotional parent to the jealous sister-in-law, here are seven types of family members you'll find at any big day.

1. The Drunk Uncle
He's a huge hit with all the groomsmen, can cut a rug like no other and still thinks he can drink like he's in his freshman year of college. Well, unfortunately he can't! And while he most likely (fingers crossed) won't cause a scene on your big day, he will have the rest of your family laughing out loud and/or shaking their heads and everyone teasing him about his antics the following day. You can bet your ass he'll be hurting at your morning after brunch too.

2. The Jealous Sister or Sister-In-Law
Whether she's your sister, sister-in-law or first cousin, there's always that one girl in the family who wants to either try and one-up you every chance she gets or bring you down on your big day. She's critical of absolutely every decision during the planning process and totes judging you like she's on TLC's "Four Weddings" the actual day of. Um, jealous much?

3. The Wedding Know It All
This could be any female in the fam! But chances are, she's recently married, around the same age as you and a self-proclaimed wedding expert who isn't shy about dishing out planning advice even when it's clearly not wanted. If she's a bridesmaid, watch out! You'll likely find her bossing around the wedding planner, instructing the photographer and chastising the DJ because obviously she knows more about your wedding than the people you hired to help.

4. The Cool Aunt
She's got style and is arguably the best-dressed adult at the wedding. She looks about 20 years younger than she actually is and all the bridesmaids wish they had an aunt as cool as her. She can kick it with guests of all ages and loves herself a good night out sans the kids. Sit her at any table and she'll strike up a conversation and make your friends laugh. Of course, she's got moves like Jagger and will only leave the dance floor to fill up her cup but she never gets noticeably drunk.

See More: 5 Ways to Deal with a Jealous Sibling on Your Wedding Day

5. The Emotional Parent
Most often, it's mom, however some dads can surprise you out of nowhere too! Get ready for the waterworks because the emotional parent will not only shed tears themselves but also make everyone else cry with an adorably touching speech. You can tell this particular parent loves their daughter or son a ridiculous amount and all that affection makes hearts around the room melt.

6. The Traditional Grandma
The music is always way too loud and she can't for the life of her understand why anyone would choose a DJ over a lovely live band. While she wasn't exactly happy about the fact that you were getting married by an "officiant" instead of a preacher or that you opted out of doing the bouquet toss and other traditions, she's done her best to keep her mouth shut, nevertheless she's secretly she's shaking her head wondering what it is with kids these days.

7. The Creeper Cousin
Beware because sometimes it's the brother too! This dude will start with the bridesmaids then proceed to hit on any single female guests unless he gets a plus one. And even then he'll still be spitting game (or rather trying to) the entire night until legit everyone has rejected him.

4 Things to Keep in Mind If You’re Planning a Holiday Wedding

 Etiquette, Holidays, Planning Tips, Wedding Etiquette  Comments Off on 4 Things to Keep in Mind If You’re Planning a Holiday Wedding
Nov 112016
 

Chestnuts roasting by an open fire, steaming mugs of cider...and a bride heading down the aisle! With indulgent meals and lots of time with family and friends in mind, a wedding during the holidays seems like a perfect fit! It does, however, come with its own set of challenges. Thankfully, we've asked our experts to break down the big things you should keep in mind if you're hoping to get married during the holidays, so the only thing that surprises you is that sprig of mistletoe overhead for your first kiss.

Consider a Smaller Guest List
Even if you plan your wedding a year or more in advance, there's a chance that choosing a date during the holidays will discourage some guests from coming, whether it's because they have their own family celebrations to attend or due to the high cost of travel at this time. If you're worried that you'll have a lot fewer guests in attendance, consider making your wedding a more intimate, family-focused event, then plan a second reception later.

Family Comes First
If you're planning on inviting guests beyond your own families and close friends, you should consider turning your wedding into a family-friendly affair and adding kiddos to the guest list. That will greatly increase the chance of your guests RSVPing "yes," as they won't have to choose between your love and spending the holidays with their children. Look into hiring a few babysitters to entertain the smaller ones once the party gets started, as well as kid-friendly activities (like a 10 p.m. "Ball Drop") to make the evening special for them, too.

See More: Seasonal Ideas to Steal From Our Favorite Winter Weddings

Be Prepared for Higher Prices
Sure, there may be fewer weddings happening during that time of year, but between holiday parties, vacations, and vendors wanting to spend time with their own families, the price of your dream venue or favorite photographer may be higher than it would be during a different season. Be prepared to pay more for a wedding on an actual holiday (Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, or New Year's Eve) no matter the day of the week. This also applies to things like flights and hotel rooms, especially if you're having your wedding at a winter destination. Hotels book up months in advance, and airline prices skyrocket this time of year, so the financial impact could affect your guests, too.

Start Booking Early
You're not just competing against other brides and grooms, but also vying for a space or vendor that's equally tempting to a corporate holiday party or a blowout New Year's Eve Gala. Start contacting and booking vendors as soon as possible: This will give you a larger number of options to consider, as well as time to find a back-up, should that cozy lodge you love already be full of holiday travelers or reserved for a corporate shindig.

How to Not Get Ripped Off While Wedding Planning

 Budget, Planning Tips, Wedding Budgets, Wedding Planning  Comments Off on How to Not Get Ripped Off While Wedding Planning
Nov 112016
 
how to not get ripped off wedding planning

Photo: Getty Images

"Weddings are such a rip off!" How many times have you heard this one before? While it's true you'll probably pay more for your wedding than you would hosting a family reunion at the same venue, it's never okay for a wedding vendor to totally take advantage of you. From really doing your research to checking those contracts twice, here's not to not get completely "ripped off" during the wedding planning process.

Hire an experienced wedding planner.
According to Florida-based wedding planner Aviva Samuels of Kiss The Planner, your wedding planner is going to be your best resource for keeping you within budget. "We have access to venues and vendors galore and know exactly what the price ranges are for each category," she says. "We immediately know if you're overpaying or if you're getting good value for your money." A great planner can help you negotiate a great deal as well, and thanks to their long-term relationships with vendors and venues you'll likely get added value for the same exact dollar amount others would pay.

Be wary of all-inclusive packages.
While they're definitely appealing in terms of simplifying the decision process, all-inclusive packages leave little to no room for pricing negotiations and the fine print of actual expected cost is not always clear, often leading to spending more than you budgeted for, warns wedding planner Marilisa Schachinger of Martel Event. "They also often require use of an exclusive caterer or floral designer which may not be your preferred aesthetic." Bottom line: do your research and get a pro (like your planner) to review that contract.

See More: 4 Wedding Guest Outfit Faux Pas to Avoid

Always get a contract (and fully understand it before signing).
Make sure you get a contract that details exactly what you're getting, as well as the amount for the service and any payment plans, advises Samantha Gieseke, owner of Plan Our Day Houston. "Then read and review the entire contract to ensure you and the vendor are on the same page when it comes to payment, expectations, start and end times, delivery times (for photos) and the cancelation policy."

Do your homework.
Yes, it's typically true that you get what you pay for, however sometimes a vendor may charge more than the going rate, which doesn't automatically mean that they're better, cautions Samuels. "Research the vendor, through online reviews and/or verbal recommendations, looking at both the quality of their product or service while also taking into account the experience other brides and grooms have had in working with them." Does their brand match their price tag or is it a mismatch? Have they been doing this a long time or are they still wet behind the ears? If their experience level and the quality of what they offer seems inferior to their price tag, continue your comparison search to see if indeed they are charging a fair price, she recommends. "If, on the other hand, the price tag is commensurate with their experience and level of talent, you can rest assured that you're not getting ripped off."

How to Not Get Ripped Off While Wedding Planning

 Budget, Planning Tips, Wedding Budgets, Wedding Planning  Comments Off on How to Not Get Ripped Off While Wedding Planning
Nov 112016
 
how to not get ripped off wedding planning

Photo: Getty Images

"Weddings are such a rip off!" How many times have you heard this one before? While it's true you'll probably pay more for your wedding than you would hosting a family reunion at the same venue, it's never okay for a wedding vendor to totally take advantage of you. From really doing your research to checking those contracts twice, here's not to not get completely "ripped off" during the wedding planning process.

Hire an experienced wedding planner.
According to Florida-based wedding planner Aviva Samuels of Kiss The Planner, your wedding planner is going to be your best resource for keeping you within budget. "We have access to venues and vendors galore and know exactly what the price ranges are for each category," she says. "We immediately know if you're overpaying or if you're getting good value for your money." A great planner can help you negotiate a great deal as well, and thanks to their long-term relationships with vendors and venues you'll likely get added value for the same exact dollar amount others would pay.

Be wary of all-inclusive packages.
While they're definitely appealing in terms of simplifying the decision process, all-inclusive packages leave little to no room for pricing negotiations and the fine print of actual expected cost is not always clear, often leading to spending more than you budgeted for, warns wedding planner Marilisa Schachinger of Martel Event. "They also often require use of an exclusive caterer or floral designer which may not be your preferred aesthetic." Bottom line: do your research and get a pro (like your planner) to review that contract.

See More: 4 Wedding Guest Outfit Faux Pas to Avoid

Always get a contract (and fully understand it before signing).
Make sure you get a contract that details exactly what you're getting, as well as the amount for the service and any payment plans, advises Samantha Gieseke, owner of Plan Our Day Houston. "Then read and review the entire contract to ensure you and the vendor are on the same page when it comes to payment, expectations, start and end times, delivery times (for photos) and the cancelation policy."

Do your homework.
Yes, it's typically true that you get what you pay for, however sometimes a vendor may charge more than the going rate, which doesn't automatically mean that they're better, cautions Samuels. "Research the vendor, through online reviews and/or verbal recommendations, looking at both the quality of their product or service while also taking into account the experience other brides and grooms have had in working with them." Does their brand match their price tag or is it a mismatch? Have they been doing this a long time or are they still wet behind the ears? If their experience level and the quality of what they offer seems inferior to their price tag, continue your comparison search to see if indeed they are charging a fair price, she recommends. "If, on the other hand, the price tag is commensurate with their experience and level of talent, you can rest assured that you're not getting ripped off."

The Pros and Cons of Planning a Wedding in Less Than 6 Months

 Planning Tips, Wedding Planning  Comments Off on The Pros and Cons of Planning a Wedding in Less Than 6 Months
Nov 092016
 

Don't want to wait to walk down the aisle? We don't blame you! While a long engagement is the right path for some couples, for others, getting married within six months is the way to go. So if you're considering saying "I do" sooner rather than later, take these pros and cons into mind to help you make your final decision.

PRO: Excitement runs high
Friends and family are most excited about your engagement right after it happens, points out Rachel Jo Silver, Founder of Love Stories TV. "Announcing a date for the wedding and then diving right into showers, bachelorette parties and wedding festivities is a great way to keep excitement up and momentum going for the big day."

CON: You might have to settle for less
In larger cities especially, planning a wedding in less than 6 months probably means that you're not going to have a ton of options when it comes to venues (and vendors), as most venues in big cities book up at least 9-12 months in advance, even more in places like NYC, notes wedding planner Leah Weinberg, owner of Color Pop Events. "Or to get the venue you want, it may mean having to settle for a Friday or Sunday wedding." Snagging

PRO: Better vendor deals
Although your first choice may not be available, if you're having your wedding on an off day or there happens to be a cancellation, a lot of venues and vendors that usually get booked a year or so out may offer added values because they have already counted on that day not getting booked, tells Regina Young, owner of Meant2Be Events. "Venues and vendors have sales quotas to fill so it stands to reason that the closer you get to the wedding date, the more negotiable they just might be," adds Florida-based wedding planner Aviva Samuels of Kiss The Planner.

See More: The Top 5 Wedding Invitation Questions, Asked and Answered

CON: It's much tougher to DIY, especially a destination wedding
According to Banta, it's better to have a longer timeline if you're planning a wedding without assistance and need the extra time to vet and contract vendors. "It's also necessary to have ample time in the case that many guests will be traveling long distances and require time to get off of work and make travel plans."

PRO: You're forced to be more decisive
With a short engagement, decisions usually need to be made more quickly and since you don't have the luxury or time to weigh all the options, this typically leads to less indecisiveness, explains Florida Keys wedding planner Lynn D'Ascanio of D'Asigner Events. Kristin Banta, Creative Director of Kristin Banta Events, agrees. "A short timeline forces the couple to get down to the heart of what's most important. Generally, first instincts are the best and having less time can be beneficial as it omits the tendency to second guess and to spend too much time sifting through images, forcing the couple to plan from their gut and unique point of view."

CON: There's a lot more pressure
Tend to get flustered when the pressure is on? Then a short timeframe may take an already stressful set of tasks and send you over your tolerance limits, warns Samuels. "If you know from the get-go that you don't respond well to pressure, you might consider setting a date well enough into the future to ward off any added stress."

The 6 Things a Bride Should Never Say to Her Wedding Planner

 Planning Tips, Wedding Planning  Comments Off on The 6 Things a Bride Should Never Say to Her Wedding Planner
Nov 082016
 
what-not-to-say-to-wedding-planner.jpg

Photo: Getty Images

Just like any relationship, the one between a bride and her your wedding planner is built on quality communication. There are things you should say and things you definitely shouldn't say if you want the outcome (i.e. your wedding) to be a raging success. So avoid all the stress and pissing your planner off at the same time by not letting these no-no phrases leave your lips.

"My [insert family member] does florals as a hobby and offered to help!"
While wedding planner Marilisa Schachinger of Martel Event loves when couples want to incorporate family members into the planning details, unless that person is a licensed professional, it often adds more stress and work than relief or help. "My hope when brides hire me is that trust my vendor referrals and relationships that have been vetted and proved top-notch. When brides ask to involve family members in large logistical details, it can come across like they don't value your expertise."

"My [insert friend or family member] thinks I should..."
According to Greg Jenkins, founder of Bravo Productions, this indicates there are too many people in charge, which creates a 'Fellini Film.' It's a hodge-podge, mish-mash of decisions and input, often resulting in chaos for the planner, he tells us. Basically, too many cooks spoil the pot. "Brides and groom should make the final decisions. Whoever signs the contract is the one who has the say-so."

"My friend said her planner did such and such..."
As a planner, Jessica Janik, founder of The Invisible Bridesmaid, hates hearing this line. "You hired us for a reason to fulfill your dream of having the best wedding." This is why she advises her clients not to talk to anyone about the specifics of their big days. "You never know the real reason behind the advice people give you and everyone's style is so different. In order to have a wedding that's truly 'you' its best to leave everyone else out of it."

See More: What Your Zodiac Sign Says About Your Wedding Planning Style

"Well, we can spend more than we said."
Followed by an embarrassed giggle...grrrr! It's frustrating when brides and grooms give a budget to work with, and then continue to overspend on every single item, despite my warnings, says wedding planner Sandy Malone, owner of Weddings in Vieques. "Do they not understand how we squeeze and pinch every penny to try to keep them on budget? If they have a bigger budget, why not tell us that up front so we can help them make realistic decisions? We want our clients to feel satisfied that we'll keep them on budget, but we can't do that when they're spending based on a secret budget inside their own heads." True dat!

"I know we said $75,000 was the budget but we need to cut it to $40,000."
Oh and we don't want to compromise on the design either. Uh yeah, okay. This is especially infuriating when couples wait until the last minute to let their wedding planners in on this little tidbit, notes Jenny Orsini, Owner and Creative Director of Jenny Orsini Events Inc. Lynn Jawitz, owner of Florisan Wedding and Event Design in NYC agrees. Her biggest pet peeve? Photos of multiple million-dollar weddings ripped straight from Pinterest along with the phrase, "But I'm on a budget." Well, turns out, "lavish Pinterest weddings cost money, and in weddings as in life, one gets what one pays for."

"I'm not sure what my budget is."
The reality is, you have a sense of your budget, but you may think that if you give the planner a high number, she will spend every penny, points out Nicole Matthews, founder of The Henley Company. Rest assured, a professional planner is not trying to bleed your budget dry. "Instead, our job is to provide and find value. So when you tell us you have no budget, we never believe you." Remember: even a range is helpful. Also, be clear about what your budget includes. "Is it just for the ceremony and reception, or are you also including the dress, rings and honeymoon? A professional planner will help you to manage your budget from concept to completion!"

How to Have A Magical Honeymoon in Cuba

 Honeymoons, Honeymoons & Destination Weddings, Planning Tips, Travel  Comments Off on How to Have A Magical Honeymoon in Cuba
Nov 082016
 
Have A Magical Cuban Honeymoon

Photo: Getty Images

There hasn't been a Caribbean spot as hot as Cuba in recent memory. Not that the other islands aren't gorgeous—they are. But Cuba, just now being opened up to Americans for the first time since the diplomatic break in 1961, is en fuego. It's also, of course, literally quite steamy. These factors and many others make it a buzzy, memorable and ideal beach honeymoon destination.

An ever-growing list of tour operators offer chic and stylish Cuban getaways, but it's also a good idea—especially if going it alone, as in just the two of you—to have an idea of the must-sees and must-dos around the capital and beyond. With direct and affordable America-to-Cuba flights has come greater exploration of the island, but because internet connections are still extremely rare, it's not as if you can run a Google search for a restaurant to visit that night, nor read Yelp reviews of it. Once you land, it's as if you've gone back in time—talking to locals will take you far — they're extremely friendly and love visitors.

One can't-miss is a place natives consider the hottest ticket in town, where VIPs go. La Guarida is in fact the most buzzed-about restaurant in Havana, and arguably the most delicious and romantic, too. If you need proof it's that Beyonce and Jay Z dined there while celebrating their anniversary this April. (Also, Usher is rumored to have gotten married there.) It's a paladar, meaning a privately owned restaurant, perched at the top of a crumbling yet impressive marble-clad home. It's hard to go wrong ordering from the eclectic menu—think suckling pig, filet mignon and duck (none of which you'll find on offer at government-owned eateries). Afterward, daiquiris under the stars on the elegant rooftop bar are a must.

See More: How to Honeymoon in Cuba

Also in Havana, visit El Del Frente for dinner or, at the very least, finely prepared cocktails. The bartenders use tweezers to put together the vivid libations that are as refreshing as they are tasty. Rio del Mar is another private spot in the tony neighborhood of Miramar with excellent food and pineapple mojitos, served all day long. Those who love to dance can indulge in a sweaty salsa session accompanied by a live band at Casa de Musica, but beware the show doesn't usually start until around 1 a.m.

In between mojitos and piña coladas, a trip to the cigar factory allows a fun look into the making of those legendary smokes, and a wander down the Malecón—the pathway along the ocean, where waves crash dramatically at all hours—after nightfall gives you a sense of real Cuban life. A drive in one of Havana's famous '50s classic American convertibles should be a non-negotiable. Pick out your colorful ride after strolling on the Prado, where artists sell their wares, and enjoy the feeling of the wind in your hair as you cruise, cuddling in the backseat, past the city's highlights.

To get off the beaten path a bit, consider also checking out another area such as Santiago (the second capital of Cuba has colonial architecture, lots of music, some beautiful beaches and a huge Carnaval celebration every July) or Trinidad. The latter is quaint and very walkable, full of pastel-hued facades, small museums and a lively set of cobblestone steps where locals and tourists gather with canchanchara cocktails (rum, honey, lime) to watch live bands play every night and, of course, dance along. Sandy beaches lined with Royal palms—the national symbol of Cuba—are also close at hand. And in Viñales, a couple-hour drive from the capital, it's possible to ride horses through farms, learn to roll a cigar and eat incredibly fresh organic cuisine. When it comes to Cuba "love at first sight" definitely applies.

What Brought These Brides to Tears on Their Wedding Days

 Planning Tips, Real Brides  Comments Off on What Brought These Brides to Tears on Their Wedding Days
Nov 072016
 

If there was ever a time to wear waterproof mascara, your wedding day would be that time. Tears will hit when you least expect them to — and during the moments when you do expect them, like the first look, first dance and even just the first time you see all of your guests in the same place. Here are six stories from real brides who share the unexpected reason they cried on their wedding day.

1. We Couldn't Find the Groom
"I started to panic about twenty minutes before the wedding because my husband was nowhere to be found. I was hysterical when they told me he was missing. Apparently he was missing for a few hours and they finally told me when I had to know that no one could find him. My makeup was all over my face. Finally like five minutes before go-time, he showed up. He was out trying to find my favorite cupcake to surprise me before the ceremony and was stuck in traffic." —Laura F., 32

2. The Wedding Planner Quit on the Spot
"I had quite the crew of high-strung people surrounding me on my wedding day. My mom and my sister were ordering the wedding planner around and I don't know who said what, but the next thing I know is that she walked out of my wedding and quit. My mom and sister were so angry and yelling, and it just made me feel so stressed. I walked into the bathroom and I cried for a good 15 minutes until one of my bridesmaids turned into the wedding planner and helped finishing getting the wedding set up." —Carly D., 28

3. When I Almost Didn't Walk Down the Aisle
"There were so many nerves that hit me head-on the morning of the wedding. I was so nervous and just had cold feet all of a sudden, out of nowhere. It was so weird. I almost backed out of getting married and had a cry fest with my maid-of-honor. Finally she told me to just pull myself together and get moving down the aisle. I did and I'm happy about that." —Hilary D., 30

See More: Real Grooms Confess: This is What I Thought When I Saw My Bride

4. Right Before the First Look — At the Venue
"When I saw the room all set up with the flowers and the tables, I cried. I was so overwhelmed. My parents spend about $150,000 on the whole wedding and the room looked just like I imagined. It was the moment I realized I was actually going to have my dream wedding." —Kelsey D., 27

5. When I Saw Myself in the Mirror
"It's going to sound terrible and also make me look totally into myself, but when I looked in the mirror and saw my whole look come together, I cried a little bit. I was all glammed up and ready to start my day." —Tammy P., 31

6. Before Our First Kiss as Husband and Wife
"When the priest said that we could kiss each other, it was hard for my husband to do that because my face was soaked in tears. Happy tears of course!" —Deb S., 29

Jen Glantz is a "Professional Bridesmaid" and the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire. She's the author of All My Friends Are Engaged and frequently wears old bridesmaid dresses to the grocery store and on first dates.

BRIDES Washington DC: Your Guide to Getting Married at the Monuments

 Local, MD, DC and VA, Planning Tips, Washington DC, Wedding Venues  Comments Off on BRIDES Washington DC: Your Guide to Getting Married at the Monuments
Nov 062016
 

Brides in D.C. looking to have a wedding ceremony that no other bride in the country can have? You may want to consider marrying on the National Mall at one the iconic monuments. There's just something truly magical about marrying the love of your life with the looming shadow of one of our founding fathers in the background. Not to mention — guests who are history buffs will love such an original, historical wedding venue. Brides who want to experience this special affair can find out how in the step-by-step process below.

Know Where and When You Can Hold Your Ceremony
When we say ceremony — that's the only thing we mean (no receptions allowed). Couples can only marry in three specific places on the National Mall: the west lawn of the majestic Thomas Jefferson Memorial, the stately D.C. War Memorial and the serene George Mason Memorial. There are time limits for each except the D.C. War Memorial. The Jefferson Memorial is also specific to the west lawn only. Read real brides' reviews here!

Know What Paperwork You'll Need
Weddings are considered Type 1 Special Use permits on the National Mall. The link to the special use permit application is available here. The doc is 3 pages, and can be easily filled out — just keep in mind there's a non-refundable fee of $50 that goes along with it.

Guidelines
Brides can use this handy guide to help them figure out details for their National Mall wedding. Additionally, couples will need to meet with a National Park Service Representative to schedule an appointment to discuss set-up as well as schedule an inspection of the site after the ceremony. Specific items like staking for tents can't be driven more than 18 inches into the ground and no glass containers are permitted, so make sure that you read their rules very carefully.

See More: Not Cherry Blossom Season? Reach Out to These Local Florists for Some Beautiful Big Day Blooms

Study the Calendar
Washington, D.C. can be a busy city. Brides must make sure to plan the wedding around concerts, holidays, and yearly demonstrations so as not to conflict with any major events. Another must-know tip: The National Mall has had areas of construction going on for years, so it's important to know your specific location's situation so that you don't have any construction-filled backdrops in the photos.

Think About Transportation
Parking can be tricky around the National Mall, and riding the Metro in a wedding gown is not ideal, so reserving alternate transportation is necessary. Brides who wish to marry at one of the three permitted monuments should consider transportation like Uber or Lyft, or perhaps local D.C. transport services like Reston Limousine or Chariots for Hire. That way the couple of honor and guests will all be stress-free on the big day.

For more places to say "I do" throughout D.C., be sure to browse our Local Venues page!

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