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Sara Haines Archives - New Orleans Weddings - Reception, Venue & Planning
Dec 022014
 

Meet our latest real bride blogger, Good Morning America anchor and ABC News correspondent Sara Haines! Whether it's how to throw a destination wedding from afar, picking a bridesmaid dress all of her 'maids will love or finding her dream wedding dress, Sara is taking us inside her wedding-planning process. For her last installment, she's sharing how she managed her guest list.

The most difficult part about planning our wedding would have been an issue wherever we got married — the size of the guest list. I had always heard that destination weddings were typically smaller. One of the first things Max and I did when we got engaged was to jot down a list of people we would want on our dream list ... and that grew very quickly. I guess I just assumed that a more intimate sized affair magically happened. I didn't realize that we would have to carve that list into its much shorter self (not fun)!

My oldest sister had a local hometown wedding where the guest list tipped the scale at 400 people. It was beautiful and perfect and everything my sister wanted. And when I was younger, I assumed mine would be similar. But as I've gotten older, my vision has changed. I don't want to spend the entire day/night shaking hands, hugging, and feeling overwhelmed that I didn't really get to talk to anyone. I want the big day to be about Max and I and our closest friends and family getting quality time to celebrate and bust a move on the dance floor together. Actually eating the food we're throwing down for would be a nice too.

See More: 5 People You Shouldn't Invite to Your Wedding

Someone once advised me to plan the wedding as the perfect party we would want to attend. But sometimes the bride and groom have different ideas as to what the perfect party would be like. While Max has been a great sport through all of this, he would have preferred inviting more of our friends. But I just don't thrive or fully enjoy myself when a group or party gets too big. It is the old quality versus quantity thing. Each time we toyed with adding people, one person turned into a group or family that couldn't be invited without the other, and I would start to pull my hair out. In an attempt to include everyone, we were losing ourselves (or at least me) in the process. Inevitably there are people we wish we could have included, but we had to draw the line somewhere.

After deciding who we were going to invite, our list got even smaller because this whole thing is a bit of a trek. We are asking people to take on the expenses of traveling, taking time off from work, etc. And even though we wanted this to be our dream day, it is tough as you learn people won't be able to make it, especially when your mind wanders and you realize they probably could have come if you had just done it in the parents backyard. That game of "what if" will get you every time. So no matter what you decide for the big day, or where it is taking place, it is a give and take. My sister once said, and this is what has helped me in the process, that you won't remember the people who weren't there ... just the ones who were.

Catch up on Sara's wedding-planning journey here!

How GMA’s Sara Haines Chose Her Destination Wedding Venue from Afar

 Honeymoons & Destination Weddings, Real Brides, Sara Haines  Comments Off on How GMA’s Sara Haines Chose Her Destination Wedding Venue from Afar
Nov 252014
 
Sara Haines Picking a Destination Wedding

Photo: Courtesy of Silma Sherman

Meet our latest real bride blogger, Good Morning America anchor and ABC News correspondent Sara Haines! Whether it's how to throw a destination wedding from afar, picking a bridesmaid dress all of her 'maids will love or finding her dream wedding dress, Sara is taking us inside her wedding-planning process.

I'll be honest here. I knew that I wanted to have a destination wedding way before I met my fiancé, Max. So this whole thing was pretty much my idea/non-negotiable demand. I think he saw the writing on the wall, and, thankfully, is on board for the adventure.

I've always preferred the vacation version of myself and I think Max would agree on that point too. Maybe it's because I am getting married later than I thought I would, but I can't imagine taking on the pressures of a more traditional local wedding. It would be a lot tougher to trim the wedding list to the smaller size I have always envisioned, and the thought of only having a four-hour wedding reception to actually see the family and friends who have travelled for the festivities never sat well with me. I need at least a few days to enjoy this time with the closest people in my life.

When we started the process, we only had a few parameters. We knew we wanted a beach wedding weekend and didn't want people to travel too far (which narrowed the scope a bit). Off we went!

See More: 10 Questions to Help You Decide If You Are a Good Candidate for a Destination Wedding

As fate would have it, I bumped into a friend who had recently gotten engaged and planned the perfect destination wedding on a beach. Our workout date turned into a couple hours of breaking down every last detail of her big day. And I loved it. All of it! I told her that she had planned my dream wedding too, and she graciously handed off all of her contacts and information. After researching the location and exchanging some e-mails with the owner, Max and I were sold. We signed the contract, site-unseen.

So, basically, I'm a copy-cat. And I'm totally cool with it. Looking back, this process could have taken forever — I am very much type A (and Max can be type A-ish), so we could have searched and searched again to find a location that was easier to get to, less expensive, or otherwise more convenient. And as much as I would have loved hopping around the Caribbean finding the perfect beach, we didn't exactly have the time or resources to do that. We probably wouldn't advise pulling the trigger on a wedding venue without visiting it, but — it worked for us!

After selecting the venue, everything else has been relatively stress-free. One benefit of a destination wedding is that you pretty much have a wedding planner on the ground for you. So you're not riddled with as many decisions — you're simply presented with options and decide among them. Basically, do you like this or that? My type of planning! Our planner reaches out to us whenever it is time to lock something in, but since this is what they do so well, the infrastructure is already there. So we'll just do our part and fill the seats with our dearest family and friends and have the time of our lives.

Why GMA’s Sara Haines Gave Her Bridesmaids Free Rein with Their Dresses

 Bridesmaids, Real Brides, Sara Haines  Comments Off on Why GMA’s Sara Haines Gave Her Bridesmaids Free Rein with Their Dresses
Nov 182014
 

Meet our latest real bride blogger, Good Morning America anchor and ABC News correspondent Sara Haines! Whether it's how to throw a destination wedding from afar, picking a bridesmaid dress all of her 'maids will love or finding her dream wedding dress, Sara is taking us inside her wedding-planning process.

When the big day finally arrives, I will take my vows with my six bridesmaids (well, five bridesmaids and a bridesdude) standing beside me. My brother, seen below, is my man of honor, followed by my two sisters, and then three of my dearest friends including Erin, who's pictured above.

I've been on the other side of this "ask," and I know what an honor it is. But anyone who has stood up in a wedding knows that the question "what will we be wearing?" dances across your mind embarrassingly soon. In addition to having my brother, (who we decided early on would coordinate wardrobe with the groomsmen) three of the remaining five women have had babies in the past six months. Bridesmaids' dresses are tough enough, but post-pregnancy situations involve changing bodies and the insecurities that come with that.

Sara Haines Brother Man of Honor

Photo: Courtesy of Sara Haines

First of all, how many people you know could really all share the same dress? This isn't Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants folks! As a curvier woman, I am usually the one who can't quite fit into the dress. And regardless of the alterations, we all have such different bodies. As someone who is, ahem, well-endowed on the top (and bottom), I don't look great in certain styles. My bridesmaids range from 5'2'' to 5'10'' with clothing sizes that vary just as much.

See More: 3 Ways to Make Sure Your Bridesmaids Won't Hate You

Secondly, no matter how cute the dress is, what are the odds that these dresses will be worn again? I have had some pretty stylish bridesmaids get ups, but never found the right occasion to pull them out again. I typically donate them, so I know they are cherished and re-worn, but the economics of a one-time-wear doesn't exactly sit well with me.

Since we are getting married in the Bahamas, everyone is already paying for flights and hotels. I didn't want this special honor to come with another price tag in the form of a dress. So, in light of all these considerations, including the fact that I have three new mommies (who are blissfully happy with their new babies, but not as much with their changing bodies), I decided that we wouldn't do a coordinated dress for the group.

I simply asked that each of them wear a dress that will work with the beach setting — i.e. a solid colored dress (no prints) and lighter/nature inspired color (think turqoise, coral, etc.). Hopefully this removes the pressure of having to spend money on a one-time dress and gives them the flexibility to wear something they're comfortable in. Since they all live in different cities, I created a text-group where they are sending pictures and ideas back and forth, just in case they still want to coordinate a bit.

I have had a few people ask me whether I mind that the group may not match in the pictures. I really don't. Aside from laughing some day about our hair and clothing choices, it will always be the faces in those shots that matter most to Max and I.

Catch up on Sara's wedding-planning journey here!

How to Survive Wedding-Dress Shopping — According to One Bride Who’s Been There, Done That

 Real Brides, Sara Haines, Wedding Dresses  Comments Off on How to Survive Wedding-Dress Shopping — According to One Bride Who’s Been There, Done That
Nov 112014
 
Sara Haines Wedding Dress Shopping

Photo: Courtesy of Sara Haines

Meet our latest real bride blogger, Good Morning America anchor and ABC News correspondent Sara Haines! Whether it's how to throw a destination wedding from afar, picking a bridesmaid dress all of her 'maids will love or finding her dream wedding dress, Sara is taking us inside her wedding-planning process.

I'd always been told that you will just "know" when you put on the dress that you are ultimately going to wear on your wedding day. But it just wasn't like that for me. I can barely decide what to eat for dinner, so just hearing those words put unnecessary pressure on my indecisive self. I promise you now: I will never insinuate that anyone will "know" anything.

I am one of those girls who did daydream about getting married, but I never had a clear idea of what the dress would look like. So when my fiancé and I decided on a beach wedding, it at least gave me some parameters as to what I wanted. In my mind, I wanted a simple, flowy, Jenny-from-Forrest Gump type of dress.

A lot of friends said that they really enjoyed the hunt for their wedding dress. I am not one of those people. I don't know why I hadn't really processed that, just because it was a beautiful white gown, didn't mean that I wouldn't experience the same dressing room trauma I always do when shopping for clothes. Okay, "trauma" is a bit exaggerated (as I tend to be), but I definitely get a little stressed shopping for clothes and had let that minor detail slip by the wayside.

Aside from the definite "no's" (of which I found plenty), I did find several dresses that I could have worn, but they weren't accompanied by that "skies parting" or "angels singing" moment. When I came to terms with the fact that my moment just wouldn't play out like that, I was actually able to assess and make the decision a bit more rationally. You know, like normal people.

See More: 17 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Your Wedding Dress

I narrowed my search to three dresses. The first I found on Pinterest. And now that I think about it, even though I wasn't actually in the dress, it was the first one I got really excited about. I was able to track it down at a bridal boutique in NYC. The problem was that the dress was way too expensive, and when I put it on, I just didn't look like the gorgeous bride in the picture. The second dress was the first one I actually bought (yes, the first, not the last). It still fit that beachy vibe and I actually felt bridal for the first time. And, best of all, it was in my budget! Done and done, right? Not quite.

I went to one final appointment that I had booked a while ago with my mom, and I put on a dress that didn't exactly have that beachy vibe that I was looking for — but it actually looked sweetly simple on me. Even though all signs pointed to this being the dress, I didn't decide that day. In fact, I avoided thinking about it for at least another week. After ignoring a few follow-up calls from the different shops I had visited, I knew I just had to make a decision. I returned the dress I had purchased and said yes to my wedding dress — lucky number three.

For as difficult as the process can be, the huge sense of relief you feel when the decision is made is totally worth it. Now, as many of the other wedding details are still being sorted out, I at least know what I will be wearing when I fantasize about that day. Wedding dress — check!

Catch up on Sara's wedding-planning journey here!

Nov 032014
 
DIY Project Brides

Photos: Tara Sgroi/Utopia; Finished Crafts: Cathy Crawford; Illustration: Christina Park

Not sure if you're ready to go the DIY-route for your own wedding? Good Morning America correspondent and bride-to-be Sara Haines tries out four at-home big-day projects to see which ones are actually worth tackling.

1. The Cut-Out Table Number
What you'll need: Magnetic acrylic picture frames, gold wrapping paper, stencil kit, pencil, straight-edge ruler, and paper craft scissors or X-Acto knife.
Estimated time: Four minutes per frame.
How to make it:
1. Cut the decorative paper to fit a frame.
2. Place the number stencil on top of paper, and trace it onto the paper.
3. With a ruler and knife, carefully slice out the number.
4. Put the paper with the stencil cutout into a picture frame.
Sara's verdict: "A little tricky, and I doubt I could make them all look great. I think the last time I stenciled was in art class! I do love that you can reuse the frames after the party, though."

2. The Favor Box
What you'll need: Pyramid boxes (try bayleysboxes.com), truffles or other treats, and ribbon.
Estimated time: Three minutes per box.
How to make it:
1. Fold a box along prescored lines, fill it with candy, and close the top to form a pyramid.
2. Thread ribbon through the holes and tie it into a bow. (Silk ribbon looks best, but acrylic ribbon and colored twine are much easier to thread.)
Sara's verdict: "I'd totally DIY these. We're having only 70 guests, so I can see my five bridesmaids, my man of honor, and me getting together to bang these out assembly-line-style."

Sara Haines DIY Project Brides

Photo: Tara Sgroi/Utopia; Finished Crafts: Cathy Crawford; Prop Stylist: Leah Brisby

3. The Stamped Save-the-Date
What you'll need: Colored paper, white adhesive paper, white square cards, custom rubber stamp, ink pads, hot-glue gun, straight-edge ruler, and paper craft scissors or X-Acto knife.
Estimated time: Five minutes per card.
How to make it:
1. Cut colored paper into five-inch squares.
2. Then cut white adhesive paper into four-inch squares.
3. Rotate an adhesive square 45 degrees so it looks like a diamond, and stick it to a colored square.
3. Trim the excess adhesive paper.
4. To get the octagonal shape, measure a half-inch in from each corner of the colored paper and snip off a triangle.
5. Create ombré text by covering the top half of your stamp in green ink and the bottom half in blue.
6. Stamp the white card once, let it dry, then glue it onto the center of the adhesive paper.
Sara's verdict: "There's no way I could make five of these, let alone 35! But maybe someone slightly higher on the crafty scale could. I'd say I'm a five out of 10. I'd give my fiancé, Max, a two or a three just so he shows up to marry me."

4. The Wrapped Candle Holder
What you'll need: Seven-inch votive holders, votive candles, vintage maps, ruler, hot-glue gun, and paper craft scissors or X-Acto knife.
Estimated time: Three minutes per holder.
How to make it:
1. Cut a map into 3.5-inch-wide strips.
2. Place glue dots on the corner of each strip and a few in between, then wrap the paper immediately around each holder. (The glue dries instantly.)
3. Place a candle inside.
Sara's verdict: "This one's pretty easy. I'd definitely do it for my reception, except I'd use antiqued black-and-white maps of our setting: The Bahamas."

For more with Sara, be sure to pick up our December 2014/January 2015 issue on newsstands today or download it here! Plus, follow Sara's wedding-planning journey here!

Meet Our New Guest Blogger: Good Morning America Anchor Sara Haines Reveals How She Finally Found “The One”

 Engagement, Real Brides, Real Weddings, Relationships, Sara Haines  Comments Off on Meet Our New Guest Blogger: Good Morning America Anchor Sara Haines Reveals How She Finally Found “The One”
Nov 022014
 
Sara Haines Proposal Story

Photo: Jenny Berberich of Jenny Grant Digital Imaging

Meet our latest real bride blogger, Good Morning America anchor and ABC News correspondent Sara Haines! Whether it's how to throw a destination wedding from afar, picking a bridesmaid dress all of her 'maids will love or finding her dream wedding dress, Sara is taking us inside her wedding-planning process. For her first installment, though, she's sharing how she met the man she's about to marry!

I always assumed that I would be married with kids by the time I entered my thirties. In the blink of an eye, that time had come and gone — sans the husband and kids. And although New York City seems like the perfect place to date because there are so many people and places to meet those people ... that's not always the case. At least not for me. Dating is hard — wherever you are. But as it turned out, all of my single friends had online profiles. And because I was tired of living vicariously through them, I too decided to take my dating digital.

I decided on OKCupid because, well, it was free! I didn't want this to be like an unused gym membership, where you pay for something and then feel pressure to use it even during those crazy-busy weeks at work. I whipped up a profile, but I worried that my self-image wasn't in line with what everyone else saw. So I turned to my closest confidants — my brother and my best friend. Their edits to my profile brought some laughs (for sure), but also some helpful tweaks. For example, my best friend explained that although she understood that my laugh may be something people notice first about me (good), that using a term like "cackle" to describe it only calls up images of a witch (bad).

See More: How to Answer Those Nosy Questions Everyone Asks Once You Get Engaged

Once the edits were finalized, and the committee approved, I was off! I really enjoyed the process. After a few weeks exploring New York's finest in this digital wonderland, Max (my fiancé) messaged me (although I had already noticed his profile, so it's debatable who gets the finders fee on this one). We scheduled a date, but something came up, so I had to cancel.

I remember the day, it was a Friday, when I got a message asking, "What happened to our date?" We decided to meet up that night for a drink. While I was texting Max, my brother and his boyfriend had written that they would be at my favorite spot having a drink. So, when Max asked where we should meet, the light bulb went off. Just in case this date doesn't go well, why not have my brother there to continue the evening's festivities? I warned Max (five minutes before our 8:00 p.m. date) that my brother may swing by (he was already there) and then I texted my brother that I was meeting a guy there, so we could make it a group date. Well, my brother never got the text, so when the inevitably awkward moment unfolded, my brother didn't quite realize that we were just meeting for the first time.

See More: The 8 Things You Should Never Do Right After You Get Engaged

In my bro's typical fashion, he and his boyfriend stayed for one drink and then politely excused themselves. Max and I ended up hitting it off pretty quickly. Our drink turned into dinner, which turned into after-dinner drinks. As I always say when people ask if I knew he was the one — I didn't "know" anything (I can barely decide what I want for dinner at night), but I did know I wanted to see him again.

A year later we moved in together. And nine months after that, he proposed.

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