Jul 052011
We’ve covered the planning, the shower, the gifts, the ceremony and the reception.  Now that all the work is done, it’s time for play – the honeymoon!

This might sound a little crazy, but I actually enjoy packing.  And I think I’m pretty good at it.  When I packed my car for the first time to drive to college (from Maine to Florida) my Dad was helping me pack.  At one point he said “Okay, that’s it, you can’t fit anything else”.  Which wasn’t going to work at all since I still had stuff I wanted to take.  I just laughed and repacked the car.  Not only did I fit all the original stuff plus all the extra stuff, there was still extra room and the view out the back window from the rearview mirror was completely unobstructed.

I can’t come pack for you all, but I can share some packing tips:
  • Do your laundry a few days early.  Wash (or have dry cleaned) everything you’re even considering packing, even if you’re not sure.  Better to have it done and available to choose from rather than decide you want it and have to scramble to get it cleaned at the last minute.
  • Once everything is clean, make a list.  Think about the weather of the area you’re heading (check their tourism website if you’re not 100% sure.  Most will list average temps and rainfall by month).  Also think about your plans once you get there.  Will you be hiking or sitting on the beach?  Do you need any dressy clothes for a nice dinner one night?  You might like this nice free travel packing checklist from Frommer’s.
  • Start packing things away in your suitcase at least a week in advance (heavy on bottom, lighter on top).  You don’t want to be rushed and forget something!  Also designate one sheet of notebook paper (or the checklist from Frommer’s above) to each suitcase or bag and write each item as you place it inside.  Not only will you appreciate having this list if your bags get lost (yikes!) but it also saves you having to dig through every bag looking for that pair of shorts “I just know I put in here”.
  • Roll instead of fold.  Clothes that wrinkle easily especially benefit from this packing space-saver.  Roll tightly and pack tightly to keep them as wrinkle-free as possible.
  • Stuff socks and other small garments into shoes to help them hold their shape.  I also like to stuff a couple of zip-top plastic bags in them to toss dirty shoes in on the trip home.  Who wants sand all through their suitcase?
  • As much as we all love new clothes and shoes and it’s always fun to take something new and pretty on vacation, don’t do it, especially with shoes.  You don’t want to be breaking in a pair of new shoes as you walk around Disney World or up and down the streets shopping in the Bahamas.
  • Think your bag is full?  Close it and tap it on the ground a few times to help things settle and you’ll free up some space.  Just don’t pack so tightly the seams or zipper are straining.  If the zipper busts while being transported you could find yourself being delivered an empty suitcase.
  • Pack an empty bag as an extra to bring home any souvenirs you pick up on the trip.
  • All of your valuables, one set of clothes, toiletries allowed by the TSA, some snacks and entertainment (Suduko, iPad, Nook, etc.) should go in your carry-on in case your bags get delayed.
  • Unpack as soon as you arrive.  Not the most fun part of your trip but it will help you feel more settled and also helps keep clothes from wrinkling.
Here are some additional packing tips for checked bags from the TSA to reduce the chance of an issue with your bags:
  • Pack shoes and other footwear on top of everything else.
  • Avoid packing food and drink items in your checked bags.
  • Don’t stack papers or books on top of each other; spread them out.  From my experience this is also true for carry on bags.  Once I had a few extra notepads, folders and books in my briefcase from a seminar I had attended and I was pulled out of line for additional screening.  The person who did my screening said it was because of the stacked papers.  I had no idea that was even a red flag of any kind but now I spread it out as much as possible.
  • Place a personal identification tag inside your bag along with the ones you have on the outside.  If the outside tag gets damaged or lost during transit at least the airline will still be able to identify it when they open it.

Jun 272011
Throughout the Goin’ to the Chapel series I’ve mentioned having a “Big Day Bag” a few different times in my posts.  But what exactly is a Big Day Bag?
A Big Day Bag is basically an emergency kit, also called a wedding day survival kit.  It’s full of things you might not think you’d need – and that you hopefully won’t need – but that you’ll want to have just in case.  Here are a list of items you might want to pack in one:
  • Band Aids
  • Safety Pins
  • Tissues
  • Floss (you would be amazed at the myriad of uses floss have. It’s like Duct Tape.)
  • A small sewing kit
  • Mints
  • Aspirin or other pain reliever
  • Baby Wipes
  • Snacks and cold bottles of water (for you and your bridal party)
  • Double-sided tape
  • Mini hairspray and mini brush
Of course you may want to include other things, as well.  If you’d like to save yourself having to think through what you need, there are some great wedding day survival kits that you can purchase.  The Knot has a Wedding Day Survival Kit that has some of the above items (and some additional ones).  Amazon also have one for the groom, the bridesmaids, and mother of the groom.

Having a kit – either purchased or homemade – will be well worth the time, effort and cost if it helps keep something random from ruining your big day!

Jun 262011
So the big day is (hypothetically) here and there are a million last minute thoughts flying through your head.  You’re stressing out because the blemish on your chin (that no one else can see) looks as big as a house, the flower girl missed her nap and is in the middle of a melt-down, and the ring bearer has decided that neither McDonald’s nor a new truck is enough payment to keep his jacket on and walk down the aisle.

I can’t help much with two and three, but Milene from Mary Kay can help you with the first one.

To start with, the morning of your wedding isn’t really the first day that you want to start experimenting with a new look.  By the time the big day arrives you want to have already decided on your colors, style, application process, etc.  But before you get to the big day, definitely play around!  It’s a one-day event and so you may want to shake things up a little bit with a special look.  As with anything, I’m big on “try before you buy” when feasible.  The Virtual Makeover on Milene’s Mary Kay site is a great way to do just that.  You can choose to use one of the site models or for a more authentic display upload your own photo.  From there you get to play with everything from lipstick, liner and gloss to eye color and cheek color.  You can even choose accessories – including bridal veils! – to see how it’s all going to pull together.
Mary Kay Bridal Makeover in “Natural”
Maybe you’re a gun-shy when it comes to choosing cosmetics or colors.  Not only can you get recommended looks by skin tone and “look” (natural, dramatic, and classic) and makeup artist looks by trend, you can get makeup artist bridal look recommendations.  Seriously perfect, right?  There are seven recommended bridal looks, including classic, glamorous and evening.  When you choose each look a virtual Mary Kay compact filled with all the matching products shows up on the right so that you know what to select and a “buy this look” button makes it easy to snag them all at once.
Mary Kay Bridal “Emergency Kit”
You can also check out the “Vow Factor” section that shows all the bridal kits.   My favorite is the Emergency Kit that comes with Soothing Eye Gel, Oil-Free Makeup Remover, Brow Gel and Oil-Absorbing Blotting Papers.  The products look compact and easy to toss into your Big Day bag and with the tears you’re likely to shed during or after the ceremony it could be a lifesaver.  Swipe off the old makeup, touch-up with some new.  Give your eyes a little break with the eye gel on the limo ride to the reception.  Keep your brow, nose and chin shine-free for the hundreds of pictures that are sure to be snapped that day.  Really seems like a great kit and something that might be a nice gift for the bride.

No matter what you choose to create your look for your ceremony – or if you decide to hire someone to do it for you – you’ll want to have made decisions and had a couple of dry runs ahead of time.  It will save you a few extra moments of stress the morning of, and with the flower girl in tears and the ring bearer having run off, you’ll want every stress-free moment you can get!

Thanks to Milene, Independent Mary Kay Beauty Consultant, for sharing the information on how Mary Kay can help you with your wedding day look, and for providing a great prize for the Week 3 giveaways!

Jun 232011
Rue La La, one of the boutique daily deal sites, is having a “Style. I Do!” sale (curated by The Knot which I posted about during Week 1) that will be running for the next 36 hours.  They have wedding dresses, tuxes, veils, bridal accessories, shoes and more!  Prices are low – nearly $2000 wedding dresses selling for less than $400, and some wedding gowns for less than $100 – and inventory is going fast.  Pop over there now to grab some goodies at a steep discount before they’re gone.

Here are some examples of sale items:
Private Collection Pleated Bodice Wedding Gown
DaVinci Beaded  Satin Wedding Gown

Majorica Silver & Pearl Necklace
Kenneth Cole 2-Button Tuxedo
Elie Tahari Black Stripe Silk Tie
Jun 182011
From the day the engagement is announced to the day of the wedding itself, there are a number of occasions where someone may want to purchase a gift.  Some people may choose to give an engagement present (especially because some couples now throw engagement parties), and then there may be a gift for the shower, a gift for the wedding – possibly even a bachelorette or bachelor party gift.  And the couple may want to purchase gifts for their bridal party, too.

Whatever occasion you’re looking for the prize sponsors for Week 2 of the Goin’ to the Chapel event have items that anyone would love.

Simply Said Wedding Wall Design
Appropriate for an engagement party, bridal shower or wedding gift the wall sayings from Candace at Simply Said Designs would make a nice touch for the couple’s new home.  I also think they could be very unique shower, ceremony or reception decorations.  They have four whole pages (14-17) of wedding design packages.

Simply Said Last Name Design
And for the home they have personalized designs of the couple’s name and year of marriage as well as sayings like “Together We Make a Family”, “Be True to the Family Name You Bear”, “A Smile Last a Moment, the Memory Lasts a Lifetime”, “I Gave You My Heart and You Filled it With Love”, and “Together is a Wonderful Place to Be”.  All the designs come in a variety of different sizes and price ranges so you’ll be able to find something perfect for every spot in the home at the price point you’re comfortable spending.

Scentsy DIY Silver Wedding Pack
Another great option are the products from Brandy at Scentsy Candles.  Almost everyone loves candles and that warm feeling you get when you catch the soft scent in the air.  Scentsy gives you that great candle scent minus the fire (which, as an aside, makes them a nice gift for college students who can’t have a flame in their dorm room).  One item they have that I think would make a great shower gift would be their DIY Warmer with DIY Wedding Theme Packs.  Not only is it a nice home decor item, the bride could set it on the head table at their reception.

Scentsy Bar in Love Story
If you’re giving as a shower or wedding gift you could also pick something that might match the couples decor, their favorite sport, or their favorite team to cheer for together (go UK!).  Then you can choose one of the scented bars to add to the warmer.  The Romance Collection or Corner Cafe Collection might be good places to start to select a scent.

Outdoor Cool & Serve Square Tray
And of course you can’t go wrong with selecting a gift if you’re choosing something for the kitchen.  Everyone loves to eat (they do say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach) and preparing food together is an activity that can truly bring a couple closer together.  Pampered Chef in Louisville (delivery US-wide) can help you choose a gift that’s perfect for the couple.  Do they like to grill or entertain outside?  Then maybe one of the grilling tools or outdoor serving & dining pieces would be a great choice.  Maybe they’re bakers?

Dip Set with Bamboo Spoons
And for a great wedding present you may consider purchasing a knife block and choosing a couple of knives like the chef’s knife, Santoku, paring or utility knife.  They have a lifetime warranty and I guarantee they would be used on a daily basis in the couple’s new home – even if they’re not big cooks.  (And if they’re not big chefs, you might want to think about tossing in a cookbook or two and maybe some mixes or spices.)

Our giveaway sponsors have put some great prizes up for this week and I will be posting the entry forms shortly.  In the meantime please take a moment to visit them and show them a little support if you enjoy their products!