Friday, August 22, 2014

Summer Wedding Escort Card Ideas

We were married for two days and went out for a celebration dinner. After we placed our order and were waiting for our food, I started talking to Pete about the wedding. I was asking him who he was going to pick for his bridal party.

Then, I was talking about seasons. I said it had to be summer. My mom works at a school and Pete works in the school district, so summer was best for them. I then said it has to be June, even though it's the most expensive month, because it's the coolest summer month here.

There's still another month of summer left, so if you're still planning a summer wedding, this is for you. I put together a list of summer wedding escort card ideas. With summer, there's a ton of fun ways to display your escort cards, so don't miss out on the opportunity to add a pop of theme.

We've had a discussion about this before, but in case you're new here, here's a quick lesson about escort and place cards.

Escort cards are individual cards with the guests names and table number on it. Your guests know the table they're assigned but can sit at any seat at that table. Place cards have an exact seat for the guest, both table and seat. You can have a huge board with table assignments on it then have the place card waiting at the seat. And then, of course, there are table numbers, which are the huge number in the center of the table. Without them, your guests won't know where to sit.

Regardless of if you use escort or place cards, you should definitely alphabetize them. Guests are going to look for their names alphabetically, so make it easier for them. They'll one] spend less time at the table and more time at your reception and two] spend less time at the table and causing a huge hold up behind them.

That's the way ours were set up. We used a combination of Starfish Cards and Sand Dollar Place Cards from Night Owl Paper Goods. We had them placed in rock sand from the house Pete's family rents in the Outer Banks and had a few seashells added to tie it all together.

My favorite are Oceanfront Flip-Flop Card Holders. They're really cute. You can stick a card with the guests' names in them then, after the wedding, they can reuse these as photo holders. Personally, I think these would work best if your colors are already in the blue and teal realm. If not, it doesn't really make as much sense for this exact set.

For a more neutral pallet, there's the Seven Seas White Summer Beach Coral Card Holder. I actually saw a DIY about making your own coral from sponges and plaster, but I haven't tried it yet to see if it would end up being a Pinterest fail. Until I perfect a DIY, I'm suggested these.

For something a little more generic, check out the Hinterland Trading Seashell Card Holders. If you have seashells and a table saw, you could probably make these on your own. Or you can just buy them. If you're making everything else for your wedding, though, these definitely look more DIY than your other options, so it would definitely fit your theme.

On the complete opposite side of DIY is the Shimmering Starfish Card Holders. Your guests will definitely know you didn't add these. But how cute are they to add a little bling to your table?

And, for nautical weddings, which are super popular right now, there's the Kate Aspen "Nautical" Anchor Card Holders. They look a little weathered, which I think is a nice touch. Maybe they're anchors that have been used (okay, they're not, of course, but it's good coloring choices).

Of course, whichever you choose, don't forget to pick up the actual cards to write on. Something simple like these Ivory Pearl Placecards works because anything too fancy would take away from your holder. The only exception, of course, is if you did something like mine and didn't use a holder.

BRIDAL BABBLE: I've seen a few other cute options too, like attaching a tag to a cocktail umbrella or starfish. What other summer wedding escort card ideas have you seen?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Five Tips About Getting Your Wedding Hair Done

I wouldn't ever suggest doing your wedding hair yourself. For a wedding you're attending, sure. Go right ahead. Do your own curls, straighten your own locks, run a brush through it and call it a day.

But with your own wedding, you have to remember all eyes are on you. And, during your ceremony, all eyes are on the back of your head. You want to make sure what they're looking at is perfection and you can get that from a professional. When you're stressing out wedding morning -- hoping that your groom makes it to the church on time, wondering if there will be enough food at the cocktail hour -- the last thing you want to do is stand in your bathroom with a curling iron. You won't have the patience to hold each curl long enough and your hair will be a mess. And you'll regret it.

I put together a list of five tips about getting your wedding hair done so that you don't end up looking at your photos and regretting anything.

1. Don't wash your hair the morning of your wedding.

Showering when I wake up just makes me feel energized. And for wedding day, that's what I needed. Also, I just wanted to be clean, especially since I got caught in the rain the night before our wedding. Plus, you don't ever want to walk down the aisle to hear your groom say, "You look beautiful, but honey, you smell."

So I showered.

And when the gal from the salon sat me down to do my hair, she asked me the last time I washed my hair. "Eight this morning," I said.

"Ooooh," was her reply.

Turns out, you're not supposed to wash your hair the day of your wedding. The style will hold better if it's dirty. I don't know the science behind it, I just know that my wedding curls were perfect through the ceremony, pretty good through post-ceremony photos, and beachy waves when we took pre-reception photos on the beach. Beachy waves fit. And I was the most low-maintenance bride so I didn't stress about my curls coming undone. But it's my personal quest to warn every bride from now on, just in case.

2. Know what you want. And make sure you get it.

Pinterest is an amazing tool to help you find wedding hair ideas. In fact, we have a full wedding hair ideas Pinterest board. Feel free to pin any and all of those ideas. Because when you're getting married, you need an idea of what you want. The technicians at the salon will not look at you and say, "Oh, you have medium-length hair. This is the style for you." Instead, they will say, "What style did you have in mind?" And it's so much easier to show them a photo as a guide instead of saying, "I was thinking something half up and down with curls. I think. Maybe. Or all down. Or no curls. What do you think?"

When you decide what you want, make sure you get it.

I showed my tech the hair that I wanted and she did, um, her version of it. Instead of the top bump being one cohesive piece, it was two uneven bumps separated by a huge part down the center. You can actually see in my getting ready photos that I'm making disgusted faces. I didn't like it. At all. But, you know me, low-maintenance bride, so I didn't say anything and walked to my bedroom to get dressed.

"Do you like it?" my bridesmaid Gionna asked.

"No, actually, I hate it. A lot. It's not what I want." I told her.

"Have her redo it," Gionna said.

"No," I said. "She spent so much time on it and I don't want to tell her I hate it."

"It's your wedding," Gionna reminded me. "Do you want me to tell her?"

"Yes," I said.

And less than a minute later, Gionna came back into my bedroom. "She's gonna redo it," she said.

And the tech fixed the mess of a bump on my head and made it exactly the way I wanted. And my wedding photos are beautiful and I'm so happy with the way my hair turned out. But without Gionna stepping it, I wouldn't have stood up for myself and I wouldn't have gotten what I wanted. I didn't want to come off as bridezilla but sometimes, you need bridesmaidzilla to stand up for you. And really, I'm sure she wasn't even a 'zilla of any sort. I'm sure she just politely asked. Which I could have done myself. And you can too.

3. Don't waste your money on a trial.

This is the most controversial tip, but I am really sticking firm to stating you don't need a trial. Want? Sure. But need? No.

Many stylists will have a portfolio where you can check out their work and styles they've done before (and these are often available in part on Facebook) so you can get an idea of what they are capable of. Salons who attend wedding expos will have these at the booths usually (I've never seen a salon at an expo that didn't have one, but you never know). Portfolios should help you feel comfortable at a salon you've never used before. And if this is your normal salon, you can just your stylist if she feels like she can do what you want. If not, she might be able to recommend another stylist in the same salon who can do it.

And you have to remember, too, you're hiring a professional. You have to trust that she knows what she's doing because this is what she gets paid to do. If you were having surgery, would you go to the doctor for a trial run? No. You would just go and get it done. Extreme example, but same concept.

I didn't go for a trial. And maybe during the trial I would have found out that the stylist would have done my style the "wrong" way first and then would have redone it the way I wanted. And then on wedding day it would have been a one shot deal. But you know what? She redid it the way I wanted, it was perfect, and I didn't have a trial. And none of my bridesmaids had a trial. And my mom didn't have a trial. And not one of them said, "Gosh I wish I would have tried this first."

4. Find out if your salon will travel.

The morning of our wedding, I had to run to the bank. I tried to go the night before to withdraw cash to pay our photographers, but apparently, there's a limit you can take out from the ATM. I always knew there was a limit but never knew exactly what that limit was because I don't generally take out large sums of cash.

Instead of spending the last night of my single life with a wad of cash in my purse, I spent it at Walmart grabbing last minute items (Ban Total Refresh Cooling wipes, if you're curious, which were supposed to go in our sunscreen basket but never made it out of my bag because it just wasn't that hot).

So the morning of the wedding, when the car full of my bridesmaids pulled up, I grabbed my cousin Erica and we went to the bank. And that was enough running around for me. I couldn't image adding in a trip to the salon too.

I didn't have to. The stylists from the salon we used traveled to our apartment and made a makeshift salon in our guest bedroom. It was awesome. It's so much easier that way. You are already having all the maids and your parents and vendors travel to a central location. Ask the salon to travel there as well. It just simplifies everything.

There's a chance you'll have to pay a travel fee in order to get them to travel, but trust me, the cost is worth it.

5. Don't cut or color your hair style two weeks before your wedding.

I cut 18 inches off my hair a few weeks before we got engaged. I wanted to donate 12 inches to Pantene Beautiful Locks so it could be used to make real-hair wigs for women fighting cancer, but my salon-owner uncle decided 18 inches had to go. It was dramatic and made it difficult for me to style my hair any way but straight and down for our engagement party eight weeks later. I vowed then that I would grow my hair until our wedding so I could have enough hair to work with and have my choice of styles.

It was such a smart decision. I had really long locks and was able to wear really long curls. And if I actually wanted to pull off an updo, I would have had enough hair to do that.

It got boring after a while. Almost two years of growing my hair out and not doing anything at all to it. Blah. But it was worth it. The week before our wedding, Pete went to the salon and cut his hair. He had been growing it out the same amount of time as me and cut his to donate it to Pantene as well. I was a little jealous sitting in the salon, waiting for him. I thought maybe I could just have them cut 10 or so inches off for me too.

But no. Just no.

You can't dramatically change your hair within wedding month. Imagine getting bored and dying it and now your roots are showing. Or, even worse, dying it a color that just isn't you and having to look at these photos years from now, wondering who that bottle blonde is. It's tempting to change your hair but don't do it close to your wedding. Just don't. You've been warned.

BRIDAL BABBLE: What other tips would you add for brides?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Our Time With A Jaguar XJL

Part of the fun of weddings is having an excuse to get dolled up. You get to buy a new dress, get your hair and makeup done, and party.

But you definitely need to show up in style.

And this month, that's exactly what we did for my brother's wedding. Prestige Jaguar lent us a Jaguar XJL for wedding weekend. If you follow us on Twitter, you saw us tweeting a stream of photos during our time with a Jaguar XJL.

Pete and I showed up to Prestige Jaguar on Friday afternoon. We took a look around at the cars that were for sale while our paperwork was getting filled out.

We then got a chance to enjoy some Starbucks coffee (which yes, is complementary to customers -- and bloggers) and watch Family Guy on the huge screen. There's another huge screen in the dealership as well. It wasn't working, but it's actually a virtual test drive. When working, the series of screens is basically like an XBOX Kinect, it seemed. You can design your car, then drive it. It sounds really awesome and I'll have to get back to try it out when it's up and running.

When the XJL was ready for us, I got a crash course about the features: how to set the bluetooth, how to turn it on (because it's push button start, not a key), and, my personal favorite, how to use the massaging seats.

Yes, massaging seats.

As soon as I was about to drive, the sky opened and it started to rain. Oh, not just rain. It was thunder and lightning and it was as if the sky opened to yell, "Lisa, be careful and drive the Jag like a grandma. You don't own it so you better be careful."

And so I listened.

The whole ride home, it was as if a grandma was driving.

Yes, that's my grandma, but no, she's not driving. She's just sitting in the car. In the all-leather interior.

The first ride we took with passenger-- in the very reflective Jaguar XJL -- was to the rehearsal at the church. We were stopped at a light, waiting to make a right turn, but I waited because two girls were very slowly crossing the street in front of us.

"A Jaguar," one girl said to the other as her head spun to stare at the car.

We finally got the church, where the rehearsal was. There were only a handful of cars in the parking lot, which was great because of my sub-par parking job. The car is a lot longer than the one I drive in real life, so I definitely parked the first third of the car outside of the space. I wish I could say I did this for the photo, but that would be a lie.

We went from the rehearsal to the rehearsal dinner, then home. That's when we started exploring the features of the car, like the moonroof. It actually took us a while to figure out how to close it, if you want to be honest. But no worries about getting cold because I was sitting in the heated driver's seat. Yes, heated and I was getting a massage. I really got used to that.

The next morning, we stuffed the trunk. See, we were taking the Jaguar to the ceremony, then upstate for the reception, and the four of us were all staying overnight. We had to fill it with our luggage -- plus gifts for the bride and groom. The trunk had enough room for everything. But speaking of the trunk, you don't use a key to open it. Nope. You just push a button and it pops open. It was great because our hands were full, so you didn't have to worry about fumbling with a key, getting it in the hole, and turning it. You just had to wiggle a finger free and push.

The glove compartment has similar technology in that you just push a button to open it. But there, you don't even push. You just get your finger close enough and pop, it's open.

We went to the ceremony then after, I had everyone cheese for some photos. While we were outside, we talked to my cousin's boyfriend who had done valet once upon a time. He pointed out features that I hadn't even noticed.

When you turn the car off, the shifter (which is on a rotater that you turn) becomes flush with the rest of the car. I had driven a few times and didn't notice that. I also didn't notice until then that when you're driving and there's someone in your blind spot, a light will illuminate on your side mirror. That's great so you don't crash your nice car into traffic.

After the ceremony, Pete set the bluetooth to his phone and we listened to his songs the entire way. But I got tired of his songs, so my brother Mike hooked up his phone -- which has the Spotify app on it. It was really simple to disconnect and reconnect.

I let the passengers worry about that, and I was more concerned with the GPS. It shows up in the middle of the console ... until people are playing with other items on that screen. In that case, the GPS actually jumps into the dashboard (so the first circle is the GPS, the middle is the speedometer, and the last is the odometer). It was so easy to be able to just look down and see where I was going next rather than looking down and to the right.

And when I would look, I would check the speedometer. I was trying really hard to not speed, but it's so easy in a car that drives as smooth as the Jaguar XJL. At one point, I looked down and asked how fast they thought I was going. The average guess was 60; the actual speed was 75. It had nothing to do with me having a lead foot. It was just so incredibly smooth, you don't even realize your speed.

The reception hall and hotel shared a parking lot so most of the guest walked over, including my grandma. Well, she got into her wheelchair and was rolled over. After the reception's open bar, though, I was worried about her getting rolled back through the dark parking lot. I was so scared that someone might be a little tipsy, hit a bump, and knock her out. So I decided to let them roll the empty wheelchair and I took her for a ride in the Jaguar.

She was cold (she's a grandma; she's always cold) so I used the dual thermostats to turn hers up to 80 or so and left mine at sub-70. I also turned on her heated seat and gave her a massage. It was a very comfortable 90 second drive.

We drove home and that night, I asked my mom if she wanted to take a ride to Dunkin' Donuts. Inside, a customer was trying to figure out what Coolatta choices there were. I pointed out the list on the counter. "Do you work here?" she asked. "No," I said, "I was just looking at them myself." She was about to take the list outside to show her friends who were still in the car, when she said, "I know you." I thought she might have been a teacher's aide at my high school, so I told her where I went. "That's not it," she said, "But I'll tell you when I figure it out."

I got my Coolatta (frozen mocha coffee, if you're wondering) and walked outside. She was standing outside her car. "Good luck with your order," I said as I walked by.

"I know who you are," she said. "You're a movie star. I've seen you on a TV show or movie recently." I smiled, but I wanted to be say, "It must be the Jag."

The next day, it was back to the dealership for my car ... which actually got great gar mileage. I drove it constantly for the entire wedding weekend on just about half a tank of gas (and that includes an hour-ish there and back to get from the church to the venue). The stats boast 27 miles, highway, and I definitely agree with that.

I gave the Jag back ... and traded it for a cup of coffee.


But it was a good cup of coffee. And a great experience for wedding weekend.

BRIDAL BABBLE: How do you think a car like this could add to your wedding?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Review: Sole Serum (& Giveaway: Ends 8/28)

UPDATE: We are giving away the bridal pack from Sole Serum. Enter for a chance to win below.
Part of the fun of being a wedding guest is getting to dress up. The times that normal people get to wear fancy dresses and amazing shoes is slim, so you have to take full advantage of that when you head to a wedding.

Especially if you're someone like me who works from home. The times I actually spend in shoes is minimal, so when I have a chance to wear pretty heels, I'm excited.

Those are the heels I wore to my brother's wedding. Super pretty ... but super high. And for someone who wears flip flops the majority of the week, I just don't have feet that are used to the pain heels can bring.

I'm good with walking in heels. I'm never wobbly. But there are times when I just want to stop standing and rest my feet.

Unfortunately, at a wedding, there's not that much time to do that. Between mingling and dancing, there's not much time to sit. Plus, you're at a wedding, most of which consist of an hour cocktail hour and a four hour reception. You don't want to spend any part of that (besides dinner) glued to your chair. And if you're a bride, you don't even get the luxury of sitting during dinner. I mean, there's a very good chance you don't even get dinner.

Enter Sole Serum.

We were sent Sole Serum for review, right in time for my brother's wedding.

The product is made of lidocaine and a trio of oils (lavender, peppermint, and tree). Lodocaine, actually, can be used as a local anesthetic for minor surgery, mostly because of its rapid efficacy. Basically, it works quickly.

But how does Sole Serum work, you wonder.

When your feet start to hurt, pump twice onto your foot, then massage. Wait about a minute until it dries, then put your heels on and get back to dancing. You should feel better within 10 minutes.
But ... does it work?
I think it depends on how much pain you're in when you use it. When I used it the first time, it was after I had been wearing heels while getting ready, then all around the church parking lot prior to the ceremony. I was talking and walking with no seat in site. I took off my heels to drive an hour to the venue, giving my feet a rest. I changed back into heels right before entering the reception and was on my feet during the entire cocktail hour. By dinner hour, my feet were really in pain. I used the Sole Serum and stayed in my heels a bit, but I ended up changing into flip flops to make my feet happier.
The next day, though, my feet were sore (I know, I'm a wimp). So I decided to have an experiment. I used Sole Serum on my left foot but not on my right foot. It actually eased my foot and calf pain, so I was really happy about that. Of course, it was less pain than the day before, so I would definitely suggest you using this as soon as you start to feel pain if you really want it to be effective.
Connect with Sole Serum: Twitter | Facebook
BRIDAL BABBLE: Do you feel pain when you wear heels?
UPDATE: We are giving one lucky winner the Sole Serum bridal pack! It contains one large and four smaller tubes. This is perfect for your bridesmaids or for your bathroom baskets.
The winner must be a US resident who is 18 or older. The winner will be contacted via email and will have 24 hours to respond before another winner is selected.
Good luck.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Bride On A Budget is not responsible for prize fulfillment. A Bride On A Budget received Sole Serum for review. Additional items shown (heels) were purchased by ABOAB. All thoughts and opinions belong to ABOAB.
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