Wedding Ideas

11 Wedding Dress Shopping Tips

Shopping for your wedding dress can be so exhilarating. It can also become quite frustrating and stressful, especially if you don’t know your budget up front or don’t leave enough time to shop. These 11 wedding dress shopping tips can take the anxiety right out of the shopping experience and put you back in the driver’s seat of choosing your own perfect wedding gown!

Tip #1: Set your budget FIRST.

If you know your gown budget – and here, try to set a range rather than a specific dollar figure – you won’t waste time on dresses that are way out of your financial reach.

Tip #2: Start shopping the day of your engagement.

Okay, maybe you are celebrating that day and you want to wait until the day after your engagement. But the point is, the earlier you start shopping the more choices you will have and the more successful your search is likely to be.

Tip #3: Shop to the dress code.

If your faith requires certain standards or the venue has a dress code, it is best to be aware of this before you start shopping. As well, the time of day and venue for your wedding can indicate a more or less formal gown.

Tip #4: Do some preliminary research.

If you are like many brides today, you have already been imagining yourself in your own wedding dress. But you should still take the time to sit down and really do some preliminary research. Write down the features you like. Clip pictures of dresses that inspire you. Bring your “wedding dress book” with you as you shop, and keep clipping and taking notes as you go.

Tip #5: Make an appointment.

Most boutiques and shops that sell wedding dresses like to have an appointment in place – especially if you have your heart set on trying on a particular gown. Calling ahead saves everyone time and ensures the boutique will have a dedicated staff person to assist you.

Tip #6: Keep your mind and heart open to ideas.

This is your wedding day, after all, and you want every detail to be perfect. But sometimes “perfect” is hiding just where you least expect it – in a dress you are just sure will never work. So go ahead and try it on and just see….you never know what you may fall in love with!

Tip #7: Shop on weekday mornings.

Work schedules mean many brides have to shop evenings and weekends only. So shop the slow times if you can – and bring only one other person with you to keep the experience simple.

Tip #8: Shop for your current size.

If you are dead-set on hitting a certain number on the scale before the big day, wait to shop until you’ve hit that number….or shop for the size you are now and have alterations made closer-to.

Tip #9: Read the entire contract.

No one likes reading fine print, but when it is about your wedding dress and when it will arrive, its color and style, how alterations are made and when it will be ready, you want to read every word before you sign!

Tip #10: Shop with your accessories.

If you have already chosen accessories, bring them along….most especially your shoes.

Tip #11: Go with your gut.

There is a big difference between “yes I guess this one works” and “I LOVE it!!” So if your gut isn’t leaping up and down, keep looking. You will know “the one” when you find it!

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Article written by Best Miami Weddings, the premier wedding and event planners in South Florida.

Honeymoon Excursions

After you have chosen your perfect Caribbean honeymoon destination, how do you make your honeymoon even more amazing?!? You add an excursion of course! Going to the all-inclusive resort and taking advantage of everything that’s included is just one part of the experience! You’ll also want to take the memories of the island home with you on your honeymoon.
Whats on your “to do list”? I’ve always wanted to go ziplining, so my husband and I decided the best time to cross this off my bucket list would be on our honeymoon. It was amazing because every time I think of our honeymoon, the thing that stands out is the exhilarating feeling and sense of achievement we both felt from experiencing this together. Think of something that you have always wanted to do-maybe it’s the thrills from driving an ATV or Dune Buggy through the jungle, or it could very well be the excitement from swimming with the dolphins! Get your heart pumping with the Islands’ Adventures!
Each island has something unique to offer. Some islands are very rich in culture, so there are “must see” locations! There is no going to Jamaica without climbing the famous Dunn’s River Falls or diving and snorkeling to see Grenada’s most beautiful underwater sculpture park. Exploring the islands’ culture is just another way of enhancing your honeymoon. You can go on a shopping tour to mingle with the locals and get one of a kind souvenirs, sail on a catamaran to historic sites and beautiful locations and see what the island has to offer.
Excursions don’t have to be tiring! Whats more romantic than an evening horseback ride and swim or  drifting down the river on a bamboo raft while feeling the Caribbean breeze, sail into the sunset while listening to roots rock music and feeling the island vibes. This is a where you forget about the cares of the world, you live in the moment, and enjoy the love you share.
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Whatever you want to do, create memories of a lifetime by exploring the options, finding your “must dos” or as ISLAND ROUTES would say – just LIVE FUNNER!!!

Tips for Finding Bridesmaid Dresses According to Wedding Theme

Your wedding day is one of the most significant days in your life and you would definitely want it to look stunning. A major chunk of the appearance goes into elaborating on a theme that you’ve chosen. Ensure that you already have a selected wedding gown to match with your theme and décor prior to expanding your search to the dresses for your bridesmaids.

Traditionally, bridesmaids are the bride’s closest friends who play a supporting role during the trying times of wedding organization. They not only keep the bride calm and composed but also look out for her whims and fancies. On the final day of the wedding, the bride should ensure that her bridesmaids look as much a part of the wedding as she does.

Choosing a bridesmaids’ dress is tricky and can make or break the visual effect that a bride wants to create. The basics to making this decision can be roughly broken down to a few steps:

  1. Choose your dates for the wedding first since the measurements, tailoring, delivery and fittings can take almost two to three months. Also set your heart on the wedding dress before you focus on the other dresses.

  2. Know your theme and color scheme well. The cut and color of the dresses are greatly influenced by what the couple intend their wedding to look like. If you have a beach wedding, choosing a fabric that’s not well suited for the wet and sandy outdoors is not advisable.

  3. Keep the season of the wedding in mind. If it is a summer wedding on a sunny day, go for chiffon fabrics that are light and airy while autumn can lend a whole new color palate to the wedding theme. Aligning the dresses with the season will give a more holistic feel to the event.

  4. Keep your bridesmaids’ comfort in mind. The bridesmaids usually pay for their own dresses so choosing something extravagant for someone who cannot afford it would be insensitive. Think about their body types and what they are usually comfortable with. Allowing them to choose a neckline that they think flatters their figure is a small way of giving them control on their appearance while the color and design still remains your choice. Let them have a say in choosing the footwear as well, since it plays a crucial role in making their day comfortable.

  5. Opting for prints over block colors for the dresses could be an interesting way of breaking the monotony of your theme. Another way to include a variation is by choosing different shades of the same color, and teaming the entire look with flowers that compliment the overall look.

There are so many new trends in the wedding scene that keeping up with the buzz becomes difficult. Match Z UP helps in not just deciding the theme of the wedding but also in all the other steps that ultimately lead to your D-Day. A few themes to spoil you for choice are:

  1. The 1920s: It is a timeless pick and will ensure elegant photographs and graceful moments in your wedding.

  2. The destination wedding: usually, at a beach. They lend a carefree yet somber feel to your wedding. Sunsets at a beach on your wedding night could be the most breathtaking thing you could experience.

  3. The ‘Boho’ day: going bohemian with a garland of flowers instead of a tiara and choosing a wedding dress to go with the look is as different as it can get. Choose a venue to compliment the attire!

  4. A Fairytale wedding: This is the teenage girl’s dream wedding complete with a stone-studded tiara, a big wedding gown, fitted bodice, and a hairstyle that emulates royalty.

  5. The 1950s: Another classic that never goes out of style and guarantees gasps from all those who have the pleasure of attending it.

Article Submitted By: Andy Bell

Themed Weddings

Weddings are just one way that I can bring my imagination to life. While each wedding is unique, the themes and styles can become very monotonous and really run together. As a planner, this is where it is my  job to get creative and create an event that is different than all the others ones we have done or seen and really make it stand out. My personal goal is to make each wedding better than the last – and that is all relative to the couple I am planning for.

I get excited anytime someone even says “Themed Wedding”. Sometimes it takes effort to actually not jump up and down like a kid (kind of like I do inside my head). From simple country to superheros and princess to Halloween, I find themed weddings to be a great way to shine. If you are thinking about a themed wedding, there may be some things you want to consider, at least as a starting point to the planning process with your planner.

1.) CHEESY? If it really fits your personality as a couple, first let me say – GO FOR IT! If it doesn’t however, remember that this is one of the most important days of your lives. Can you do this theme without it looking cheaper than you think it should? Can you pull it off in your budget? Will you be able to look back at these pictures and still feel as happy and excited to share it as the day you came up with the idea?

2.) Concrete Ideas. There is nothing worse to me than a theme that gets lost in translation or looks like it was confused and half baked. You don’t want to overlook even the smallest details in a themed wedding. Those details are what create the overall picture and turn this vision into a reality. For example: it would be quite confusing to guests to have a Christmas themed wedding without at least some sore of red or green in your decor, bouquets and attire. If you used pink in your Christmas theme, some guest may leave confused of what statement you were trying to get across.

3.) Attire. If you dream dress is a big princess gown with a lot of bling, then you are probably not going to look like you fit into a western themed wedding unless you go with a Gone With the Wind style ball gown. You can either build the wedding to fit your dress, or you can fit the dress for the wedding. If you go with a western or country theme, try looking for something a little more simple, maybe with lace and a slimmer profile. Don’t be afraid of shorter dresses either. If you are hesitant, try having two dresses. I was going to buy a long lace dress for my vow renewal ceremony and a shorter lace dress for the boot scootin’ reception.

4.) location, Location, LOCATION. Lakes and Ice Princess don’t work together well – unless of course you get married on an icy lake in the middle of winter outside – BRRRR! You wouldn’t want to get married in a barn for a Great Gatsby theme either. Find a venue that can be easily transformed into into the look that you are looking for. For an ice princess theme, create an ice palace. Try some place with lighting options so that you can add some blue low-lighting. A place without colored walls makes it that much easier as well as somewhere with light tile in place of carpet. Venue is one of the first things you should find when planning your wedding and is definitely one thing that set the mood for the whole event.

5.) Budget VS. Taste. Anything can be done on a budget. My backyard rock-n-roll themed wedding was proof of that. It may not have been amazing or my dream wedding but for the $1000 I had for the wedding, reception and honeymoon! – it was the best I could have done with only a month and a half to plan. I did have to compromise on a lot of things and kept promising myself that I would renew my vows when we had money (building my business has put that on the back burner now). Make sure that you can stay within your means. Nobody wants to start marriage with debt just so that they could get married. If you don’t want to put off the wedding until you have the money saved, more and more couples are getting married and then renewing their vows on an anniversary after they are financially stable.

No matter what, have fun with your theme. Don’t hold back. I love theme weddings and one day I hope to be the go-to local planner for them. Be passionate about your vision. No one else will be happy with it unless you are. There is no right or wrong for a theme wedding. All that matters is that you both enjoy YOUR day. As long as you accomplish that – IT WILL BE AMAZING and UNIQUE!

Article Submitted By:  Christine at

What to Expect from a Sandals Honeymoon!

Growing up in the Caribbean, I was used to going to the beach and just enjoying the Caribbean music, food, and our culture. I was also used to going to the different resorts, whether it be for just the day or a quick weekend getaway. I always admired how Sandals was able to capture the true Caribbean experience!

To get FREE expert advice from Dionnie or one of our other honeymoon specialists, click here.

When I started working with Wedding Vibe, it was the perfect relationship! I was now able to share my extensive knowledge of the Caribbean to wedding couples and what better resorts, than the Sandals Resorts- true Caribbean resorts. Sandals is not your ordinary “all inclusive”, they found the secret to appealing to every type personality while staying true to the unique exotic feel of each island they are located on.

Their discovery dining allows you to explore different cultures in the most authentic settings. Each resort offers you more than 7 different cuisine to choose from- from the exciting and entertaining Japanese Teppanyaki cuisine,  to the romantic flavors of France, savory Italian, to (of course) exotic unique Caribbean delights! This makes it almost impossible to get bored with food, and if you’re a foodie like me, this is something to appreciate.

When they say luxury accommodations, you can expect the best! I was so impressed  and pleased to see the variations in room types and categories at the different resorts because, let face it, we all like different things. One resort may offer you a private island feel, a cottage or villa type atmosphere while another resort may give you a very chic modern or European setting. Rooms with private pools and romantic Jacuzzi tubs, as Sandals would say is “perfect for two people in love”.

The activities are endless! It’s your honeymoon, so you do what you like! Lay out on the beach or enjoy a “flaming BOB MARLEY” by the swim up pool bar. Unlimited land and water sports are always included. Enjoy some beach volleyball or see what the Caribbean waters have to offer on the daily snorkeling trips. Spend a day in the spa and escape to the sanctuary. And for the fit folks, Sandals state of the art gyms to help you maintain your lifestyle.

The icing on the cake is the people, the warmth in their smile, the welcoming  attitude, and the eagerness to please. It’s easy to feel like royalty! Whether you have a trained butler to cater to you every needs or Joe, the bartender, who wants to introduce you to his unique blends-The Sandals staff will make your honeymoon an experience to remember.

The Caribbean is a fun place to honeymoon, but Sandals will give you the PERFECT HONEYMOON! Get started today and find your perfect Sandals Resort! Check out our awesome honeymoon deals, too!


The Best Moments to Capture During Your Big Day

Wedding Dress- The Most Beautiful Thing You Will Ever Wear

From the time you were a little girl wrapping the bed covers over your head, you’ve already pictured what your dream wedding is going to be like. This magical event has been in the planning process for about two decades or so. Finally when the day arrives, all of this planning doesn’t seem to go so smoothly. There’s so much more to planning out the wedding you’ve always dreamed of, than what you had in mind. From save the date invites, to picking out the best catering service, booking the most exquisite location, figuring out your bridesmaids dresses, decorating the venue. Phew! Well, we could take some weight off your shoulders by guiding you with your ever-so-important dress.

Setting the budget.
First things first, set aside budget for all your expenditures. If you were splurging on your dress then you’d want to cut down your budget for other wedding necessities. Your dress is the sole focus point but it is the other accessories that compliment your dress, which needs equal importance as well. From your veil, to your gloves, to your ‘Cinderella glass’ shoes, every little detail constitutes an important aspect to your wedding dress. So before you step out for your shopping quest, note down a dress budget and a list of all the other top priority-wedding details and begin your shopping quest in a more organized manner.

Stay updated with the latest fashion.
Stay updated with all the latest sales by visiting different bridal boutiques, dress rentals and check out online stores too. Even if you have don’t have a particular style in mind, trying on different dress styles and cuts can give you more of an idea about fits and material. There are plenty of different shaped dresses to explore, whether you look better in an ever so charming flared fit, dangerous body con or a daring mermaid fit. Start the hunt early so that you can buy yourself more time and try out more styles. If the vision of your ideal bridal dress cannot be found, approach a designer or tailor to get more ideas and quotes.

Ordering or tailoring.
Ordering from bridal boutiques and tailoring your wedding dress can eat up a lot of your time. Fittings and trials can be a bit of a headache too, but you don’t want to compromise on the smallest of details for your big day or also you can visit artweddings exclusive dresses. The final result of your perfectly tailored dress brings you closer to achieving your fairy tale wedding.

Ask friends and family if in doubt.
To accompany you on this daunting quest, although it would better to take friends or family along with you to help clear your doubts, try not to increase your entourage numbers. Too many cooks spoil the broth. Just like that too many opinions will only confuse you. So only take a few along, only those whose opinions really matter to you.

Don’t let anything affect your wedding fever
Sometimes not all goes according to plan. Even if you’ve organized everything from start to finish with booking a quiet slot at the bridal boutique to carrying your wedding pumps and corset, in the process of preparing for a wedding, you’re likely to hit some small bumps. But don’t let that affect your wedding fever.
When you’re walking down the aisle on your big day and all heads turn to catch a glimpse of the beautiful bride to be, all of this pain in vain will be completely worth it.

Unity: Your Place of Miracles

Your Place of Miraclesby Michael Letney with Karen Hardin

“Randy” and I have been friends for years. A successful business man, we have shared dreams and ideas and have encouraged each other in both the good times and bad. As he sat across from me in my office, I was in the process of writing “Four Secrets to a Forever Marriage” and shared with him the four principles of transparency, truth, trust and unity. Immediately, our discussion took a turn. What he said next took me completely by surprise.

“Mike, I need that book,” he began as he clasped and unclasped his hands. The tone of his voice got my attention. There was a long pause before he continued. “Two weekends ago, I helped my wife of over twenty-five years move out of our home.”

Randy hung his head as he filled in the blanks of why and how. In reality his story was not so different than mine. He hadn’t offered his wife complete transparency and truth early in their marriage and now, all these years later, his wife was still struggling in her need for these basic elements. But Randy was struggling, too.

“She needs to get past it,” he insisted. “Mike these aren’t new issues. This was all resolved years ago.”

It might have been resolved in his mind, but obviously not in hers.

“Randy, the most common phrase used in every wedding ceremony is ‘love is patient’,” I explained. “You need to be patient as she works through this process. Give her time, hold her hand and walk with her through this,” I encouraged him. “Her feelings may stem from something old, but they are still very real for her. Instead of saying, ‘Hurry up, hurry up,’ you need to patiently walk this road with her to see through her eyes and understand that she needs to see something different. You need to see something different.”

Randy and I prayed before he left that afternoon. His shoulders seemed to sag under the weight of the state of his marriage as he walked out of the office. I continued to pray long after the sound of his motor had disappeared.

The next day I received an unexpected visit. It was Randy.

“Mike, my wife just called me. She told me she is at our house and she is making cookies. I’m surprised and shocked. What should I do?”

I smiled as I responded. This was easy. “Tell her you will go get a half a gallon of milk and that you will be there in a few minutes,” I replied. His wife had just extended her hand one more time in trust. She was hoping and waiting to see what he would do. Although she had moved out, she hadn’t given up. The next move was up to him and what he would do with it. She was giving him an element of trust. It was up to him to treasure it and show her he could be trusted by offering her the transparency and truth that she needed. She was offering him the hope of a second chance to start over.

As I look back over the years, I am grateful for the opportunity of a second chance. Not everyone is so fortunate. Not everyone has someone who is able and willing to forgive, extend grace and start over. I have experienced a second chance in my own marriage, my business and recently with my life and health. Second chances are a form of miracles. In the same way, it is important to understand that for two to become one in marriage is also a miracle. But miracles can and do happen.

Maybe today as you read this and take inventory of your relationship, it is not yet to that place of unity I have described. But if you will begin to apply these principles, it can get there. You just have to be willing to do the work. But let me encourage you, the reward of trust and unity are worth the effort!


Want to know more about building a great marriage with the one you love? You’ve just read an excerpt from the #1 bestseller “Four Secrets to a Forever Marriage: Marriage Tips from a Not-So-Perfect Husband,” which shares the four essential ingredients necessary for any relationship. The book is available at, Amazon, Barnes and and bookstores everywhere.


As the founder and creator of The Unity Cross, Michael Letney has influenced thousands of weddings through the wedding rings he has created and now with the bestselling Unity Cross and Unity Heart which are being used in ceremony’s across the nation. For additional information go to: or

Karen Hardin is a literary agent and published author. Her work has appeared in “USA Today,” “World Net Daily,” “Outlook Magazine,” “Charisma,”“”, etc. For additional information go to:

Is a Sandals Resort Too Expensive for Me?

Often times, when I am talking about Sandals Resorts to friends or someone I run across, the first thing they say is, “Sandals Resorts are so expensive!”. I quickly tell them that they can get get an all inclusive stay that is super affordable, and I explain that EVERYTHING is included in a Sandals vacation- even the tipping (which many are usually surprised by). Sandals has ingrained into everyone’s  minds, that their resorts are luxury, luxury, luxury, (which they absolutely are!) but what many don’t know is that their resorts are affordable luxury.

Even when I was planning my own honeymoon, before I worked for Wedding Vibe, I didn’t even look into Sandals Resorts because I had it in my head that it would be too expensive- I didn’t want to look at all those amazing photos and reviews and long for something I couldn’t afford. Quickly after starting with Wedding Vibe I was kicking myself thinking, dang…. I could have stayed at one of these amazing Sandals Resorts for less than I spent for my honeymoon. And it would have been much easier to plan and less stressful! Sure those amazing rooms right on the beach with your own private pool, hot tub, and butler service might be out of your budget, but there’s a good chance there’s a room that does work within your budget!

My husband and I went to Barbados for our honeymoon.  We did NOT stay at an all inclusive resort, so we had to pay for all of our food, drinks, entertainment, tips, airport transfers etc. We thought a non-all inclusive might be a better route to go because we would only be paying for what we wanted. We often didn’t start having a cocktail until later on in the afternoon because they were very expensive; and to get decent service, we had to carry a wad of tipping money with us. We also had to pay to do any watersports on the beach, and we had to set up excursions and find nightly entertainment off the resort on a daily basis.  Don’t get me wrong, we had an amazing time and I wouldn’t change it for the world, but it probably would have been easier and cheaper for us to go with a Sandals Resort after looking back.

The airport shuttles would have been all set up for us, instead of aimlessly wandering around the airport figuring out where to catch a cab. We could have grabbed a drink whenever we wanted (mimosas for breakfast!). We wouldn’t have had to pay for all sorts of watersports and there would have been more available to us. (Sandals has snorkeling, glass bottom boat tours, kayaking, paddle boarding, scuba diving, and more which are all included!) We would have had a variety of food options to choose from, not just one lone restaurant (We could have ordered lobster, steak, had hibachi or sushi, thai, italian and the list goes on and wouldn’t have had to worry about how much it was going to be.) I definitely think we would have saved money and spent more time just enjoying each other if we had chosen a Sandals Resort!

So go ahead and start using our FREE honeymoon planning service. You’ve got nothing to lose! You don’t need a huge budget to take a LUXURY Sandals honeymoon! We’ll find that perfect fit for you.

For instance a 6 day/5 night stay for two  in Jamaica is only $1,725! This includes your room, all gourmet meals, nightly entertainment, watersports, airport transfers, and tipping.  Sandals also runs various promotions which are value adding too. For instance right now a stay of 7 nights or longer you get a free couples massage ($300 value) along with a Catamaran cruise for 2! My husband and I had to pay extra out of pocket for these things on our honeymoon! Check out our awesome honeymoon deals!

Inquire about a Sandals Honeymoon here. There’s a short form to fill out and we will get you matched up with one of our Sandals Specialists to start planning that perfect getaway! We do destination weddings too! Click here for more info about Sandals Destination Weddings- Stay 3 nights or longer and you get a FREE wedding!

Until Next time – XOXO-


10 Things a Bride Should Ask a Photographer Before Hiring Him

By Kip Shaw of And price shouldn’t be one of them — you can find that on the the photographer’s website. And she will be sure to tell you anyway. But here are some things that they won’t necessarily share unless you ask. So ask.

1. What are her photo backup strategies?Let her answer that before asking about these details: Does she shoot with one or more cameras? Does she use a camera that writes to two cards simultaneously? Or does the camera shoot in RAW and JPEG at the same time? (You don’t need to know what that means — and it’s sure to impress her!) Does she store the images on more than one hard drive? Does she store the images in the cloud?

2. Does she come alone or with an assistant? Does the assistant also shoot photos?

3. What is her shooting style like? How does she work so she isn’t interrupting the flow of the event. Ask her whether her camera has a silent shutter (mirrorless cameras do). Ask to listen to her shutter.

4. How does she dress? Monotone, so as not to attract attention? (Perhaps this would be a good time for me to shift to the “he” pronoun; male photographers aren’t always known for their understated attire.)

5. How long before you get the photos? How are they delivered? Does the photographer provide a few “teaser” shots within 24 hours that you can post on Facebook?

6. Is an online album included in the price?

7. Does she provide a checklist of shots that she provides to you so you can alert her to the photos you want to be sure she’ll take?

8. What kind of “license” (rights) does she give you with the photos? Are they for you to do with what you wish, or are there constraints?

9. What rights does she maintain? Can she use them for marketing purposes without your consent?

10. And, finally, because stuff happens, what are your options if you for any reason are dissatisfied with her work?

If you politely and professionally ask these questions, you should expect the photographer to politely and professionally reply. If she gets huffy, better to find that out now, rather than later. And, by the way, I do have an ulterior motive here, because I would answer all these questions to your satisfaction. So keep me in mind! You can see my work at References upon request.


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