Brenda's Wedding Blog | Fresh Ideas for Creative Weddings

wedding blog + planning guide for creative weddings | inspiration for DIY Brides

Brenda's Wedding Blog is your online resource for planning your dream elegant wedding. Helping you find the "wow" in weddings.

Posts tagged wedding tips
Trash the Dress : Urban Decay + Grunge Look with tips for your shoot

Happy Monday. I'm back from a wonderful week away with my hubby and daughter. There's something so calming and amazing about a week at the beach - I'm back, refreshed and recharged. And, to start the week off, I'm sharing with you a fun and artistic trash the dress session with Judi {whose daughter actually took these photos, you can see her a bit later in the photos}. And, you are all going to LOVE this - the wedding dress Judi is wearing is actually a prom dress made by Masquerade Dresses and only cost her $25 {it was new with the tag still on it}. She bought it from her daughter's high school. And, after the photos, Judi joins us with her great Trash the Dress Tips.

For this particular Trash the Dress session, Judi did not want to get her hair wet so she opted for the urban decay / grunge look which would be best suited to her personality. And, Judi is sharing some great Trash the Dress Tips with us today . . . 

1. A professional cleaning service should be able to restore the dress to brand-new quality so you can do what ever you like with it after the shoot.

2. If you are not sure about trashing your own wedding dress, consider buying a cheap dress off the rack.

3. If you want a bouquet, you can pick up one at a local grocery store or make one from fake flowers bought from the local craft store. Mine are fake.

4. Bring some props to add a unique touch and that is exactly what your looking for.

5. Wear comfortable and contrasting shoes. And, don't be afraid to break out the bling as it really adds to your photos.

6. Not sure what to do? Or are shy? Search Google images for trash the dress photos and print out the ones you like. Your photographer should also be able to walk you through body placement and facial expressions to help you get creative and loosen up.

7. The sun is NOT your friend! The sun will wash out your photos and makes you squint your eyes like crazy. Schedule for an overcast chance of rain day or later in the day as the sun starts to go down.

8. Bring your improv skills and don't be uptight. This shoot is where you want to have fun and NOT do the norm. Relax, be silly, get dirty, goofy and bring out your personality in these photos.

Now, you're probably wondering why I'm now showing you hand-painted glassware, right? Well, if you are looking for something custom made for your wedding or a personalized thank you gift, then you need to check out Judi Painted it. The very same Judi that you see above custom paints dishwasher safe glassware specializing in the wedding industry. Her big sellers are the huge 20 oz wine goblets in the sunflower and stargazer lily design and the custom painted iced tea pitcher set as a shower gift for the bride to be. You can visit her Judi's etsy site, her blog, her web site, or become a fan of her facebook page and share for a 10% discount.

Bridal Blogger : Wedding day advice from wise women

I am so excited to announce this . . . some of you may remember the bridal blogger posts I had on Best Wedding Sites for a short time, well I'm in the process of refining that site even more and have now decided to move the bridal blogger section here, on Brenda's Wedding Blog :) {PS: if you are a bride planning a wedding and have a blog already - please contact me about becoming a part of this section}

And, today, Jess of Shimmer + Silk joins us with her wedding day advice - please give her a big welcome


Ahhh… Here I am, fresh off a weekend in NYC at an energizing conference for women attending business school (as I will be in the fall).

I was fortunate enough to meet tons of fabulous, inspiring women, many of whom are also planning weddings or adjusting to life as a newlywed. Naturally, we spent just as much time talking about our bridal experiences as we did discussing our career aspirations.

I thought it would be fun to share some of the best gems of advice that these ladies imparted on me just a few weeks before my wedding…

via Coffee and Yoga

1. Start the day with a moment of alone time

Take some time before the most hectic and eventful day of your life ramps up to enjoy a moment of solitude. Now is a great time to practice yoga or meditation, do some breathing exercises or enjoy a cup of tea while you admire the views from your honeymoon suite or childhood home. Clear your head of to-do lists and worries and instead just think about the people and events that have brought you to this fabulous day. You’ll feel relaxed, excited and appreciative rather than frantic and nervous.

via 80 Breakfasts


I know… You’ve heard this one a million times before. But seriously. Eat a hearty breakfast. As you get ready with your maids, try to follow every mimosa with a glass of water (and, ahem, don’t forget to stop in the ladies room before you head down the aisle!). Have your site coordinator save you some hors d’oeuvres from cocktail hour to keep you going through your first dance. And yes you do need to greet all your guests, but no you do not need to pass out on your wedding day so make sure you sit down and eat your meal! You paid a lot for that stuffed chicken and you’ve got a few hours of dancing ahead of you so you better take care of yourself so you can enjoy your night!

via Storkie Blog

3. Accept that something will probably go wrong

You spent months (or even years!) planning this day and you want it to be perfect. Everyone understands. But, you know what? No day is perfect. Not everything is going to go exactly as planned and that’s OK! Your wedding day is about marrying your best friend and soul mate. Does it really matter if your florist uses French tulips instead of English roses? You’ll never have this day again so don’t sweat the small stuff!

via Style Me Pretty

4. Spend a quiet moment after the ceremony with your new husband

With all the nerves and excitement, it’s easy to let the entire day pass you by. But make sure you take a time out with your new hubby to let the events sink in. You’ll need a moment to recharge, anyway. And bonus -- if you’re lucky maybe you’ll get some sugar ;)

I’ll be keeping these tidbits in mind when my big day is here. And if I come up with anything else to add to the list, I’ll definitely be back to share!

xo Jess

Jessica is from Boston and is marrying Andy in just under 2 months. Their planning focus has now shifted to the nitty gritty details, like guest welcome bags, ceremony music and readings, favors. Jessica is also the blogger behind Shimmer + Silk whose blog is for chic, modern bridal inspiration.

Valley & Co. Tips: Making Your Guests Feel Special

guest blogging with Valley & Co.

So happy to welcome Aleah and Nick of Valley & Co. back to the wedding blog today - it's been a little while since they were here last to share their terrific wedding tips with my readers. And, today they have great tips for making guests feel special and welcome at your wedding.


At most every wedding and event we plan there are a number of guests traveling from out of town. It's so important to make them feel special and appreciated from when they arrive at their hotel to when they leave your bash.

above photos courtesy of BHG and Kirei Nest {featuring a Wedding Chicks tote}

Welcome bags placed in each hotel room needn't be over-the-top {though we've created some really incredible goodies!}; stock baskets or bags with travel sized lotions, bottled water, a map of your city, an itinerary for the wedding or event, and some snacks. You can theme your welcome bags around the city you are in or the theme of your wedding: think Washington apples, Tim's Cascade chips, and Fran's chocolates in Seattle. Stock bags with gourmet cheeses and crackers and a small bottle of wine and opener for a winery celebration. Your guests will surely enjoy this treat.

above photo courtesy of Brandon Kidd Photography

Whether you have guests traveling from out of city, state, country, or continent, don't forget about them at your wedding! We know this can be easier said than done but visiting with each guest, even if it's brief, speak volumes.  Yes, this is your wedding day, but your guests care about you enough to make it to your wedding and they're here to see you. Consider giving a welcome toast that thanks each group who came. Talk with your photographer ahead of time to schedule group photos with each family, group of college friends, or work colleagues so that no one is left behind.

Send guests off with a thoughtful and usable take-home gift or late-night snack post-bash. We've coordinated everything from Philly cheese steaks and French fries to an espresso stand, milk and cookies, and a gourmet hot dog stand upon exit! Guests young and old will enjoy a little refueling after a day of celebration.

above photo courtesy of The Sweetest Occasion, photo by Jennifer Williams

The day flies by in a flash of fun, emotions, and celebration, and planning ahead makes all of the difference! We're sure you'll look back fondly on the memories and photos as well.


Thank you Aleah and Nick of Valley & Co. for joining me today on my blog to share your valuable advice and tips with my readers.

Wedding Photography Tips : Don't Rain on My Parade

guest blogging with Kismis Ink Photography

Today I'm happy to be joined by Mariana and Khaled of Kismis Ink Photography with their terrific tips on how you can still rock your photo session no matter what mother natures throws your way. With Kismis Ink Photography being natural light photographers and their photoshoots taking place almost 100% outdoors, the weather is both their friend and enemy. Sometimes, you can re-schedule, but this isn't always possible if the client is only in the area for a certain date or the weather changes in the middle of the shoot. If you're faced with a questionable weather situation, here are some wonderful tips from Mariana and Khaled on how to deal with the forces of nature for both photographers and those being photographed.


1. Check your weather forecast as it's accurate more than half the time, one great site is that gives you 15 minute intervals of weather forecasting.

2. Preparation is key so you need to plan, plan, and then plan some more. Always expect the unexpected. It may seem like a burden to take extra covers, raincoats, flashlights, plastic bags, a couple of umbrellas, extra lighting, etc. If you don't have these items and do need them, you will kick yourself later for being unprepared.

3. Review your Plan A, Plan B and even Plan C. Become familiar with the area you will be shooting at; by doing so you have an advantage to change locations smoothly without stressing that the new location won’t work, or worse, that you won’t be able to find something. You might even be able to find combo areas that include both outdoor/indoor possibilities.

4. Communication with the client is VITAL. "Feel the vibe and see if your client is willing to endure not-so-perfect weather conditions. Keep in mind, hair & make-up preparation, clothing that they may not want to ruin or get wet, and props that may not be able to withstand harsh conditions." All of these factors will play a major role in determining if the shoot can continue and adjust to the conditions or be rescheduled.

5. Stay optimistic as the photographers mood will also affect the clients. Demonstrating professionalism, enthusiasm, and reassuring the client that their session will be a hit, then 98% of the time, it will!. Be sure to not throw in the towel too quickly and work with what you have and make the best of it. Make use of available light and get creative. Remember: thinking outside the box will not only create unique and fun images, but will also help a photographer strengthen their skills.

6. This tip is specifically for photographers: if you will be shooting in adverse weather, definitely invest in equipment rain gear & insurance. Equipment is expensive and takes only a few seconds to damage, so be sure to make every effort to insure your valuables that are vital to keep you in business.

Thank you so much Kismis Ink Photography for letting me share these tips with my readers today. To see these tips in more depth, please be sure to stop by the Kismis Ink blog.

The photos shown are from Kismis Ink Photography's past sessions that have been threatened by horrible weather.

5 Tips of What You SHOULD NOT Do When Planning a Wedding

guest blogging with Good Life Events

I'm happy to welcome back Aleah and Nick of Good Life Events on the blog today to share with you their top 5 tips on what you shouldn't do during the wedding planning process. So, here are Aleah and Nick . . .


We often write about fun tips and tricks and what you should do to make for a fun wedding planning process and wedding that’s true to you. Today we wanted to provide our tips on what you shouldn’t do. Although the list is long, these 5 "shouldn't' tips are all too common.

1. Over the years we’ve heard many a client focus on what “Katie” did at her wedding. Or how “Jackson’s groomsmen…” wore this or that. While it’s fantastic to take notes about what you love or don’t like about another’s wedding or to draw inspiration, you should not let this fuel your own vision. Your wedding should not be a competition. Your expectation of your own wedding shouldn’t rely on what you see in the pages of a magazine or blog, or experienced at a friend’s wedding. Your wedding should be a reflection of YOU. Like we’ve said before {and will say again}, craft a celebration that’s just that: a celebration of your entrance into a lifelong marriage.

above photo courtesy of Frank Ross Photographic

Photo Above: This wedding was coordinated by Good Life Events and the bride and groom wanted their wedding their way, at Stephanie's parents' home so Aleah and Nick worked closely to bring in the accoutrements to make it a successful, unique event.

2. Please do not assume that your long-lost family from another country will not attend your big day and send them an invitation anyway. We have seen this before and forewarned clients who have made that assumption. The result can be devastating; our couple was stunned when 30 guests {whom they expected wouldn’t show} announced they were all flying in from Belgium, maxing out our venue space! If you are comfortable with inviting 500 guests to your wedding and both the budget and venue’s capacity allow for this, by all means invite them. But, it’s impossible to predict who will and will not attend. If you’re in this predicament, please send a wedding announcement to your long-lost childhood friends or distant family, rather than making this assumption.

3. Don’t use scented candles. Candlelight often plays such an important role in the ceremony and reception ambiance. How terrible would it be to ruin your delectable {and so well-thought-out} 5-course gourmet dinner for your guests than overpowering the room with the smell of fake vanilla?!

4. When creating your bar menu, know your crowd. Don’t choose one signature drink too complex in terms of ingredients or on color alone {hello, neon purple too-sweet concoctions}. This will likely result in wasted drinks, money, and a very long bar line {as well as headaches in the morning for those who do choose to over-indulge in them}. Rather, focus on drinks you know your guests will truly enjoy. If the bride {or groom}-to-be is married to that neon purple drink, have a separate bar space and menu where best friends can especially order that drink, rather than making it the drink of the night.

above photo courtesy of Frank Ross Photographic

Above Photo: Aleah and Nick wrote that "Stephanie and Coby served up vodka lemonades at their sizzling August bash. Easy to make and a can't-go-wrong summer cocktail, they were a big, refreshing hit!"

5. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Planning your wedding should be fun. It shouldn’t be a burden or a stress. Delegate the minor details to the professionals and tick daunting tasks {like that guest list or seating chart} off your checklist sooner, rather than last-minute. Focus on the fun elements you’re incorporating as a couple. Hire the professionals. Speaking as pros, we have seen the difference between weddings in which the couple took on too much and didn’t hire seasoned professionals, and those who did. We’ve never, in over 7 years, heard someone  say “boy, I wish I wouldn’t have hired a pro” or “man, we’re so happy we stressed ourselves out!” Remember to enjoy the process!

above photos courtesy of Frank Ross Photographic

Above Photo: Aleah and Nick wrote that "Stephanie was a wonderful bride who just let go and trusted in her team. The result was one of the happiest brides and grooms we've seen!"

Thank you Aleah and Nick for joining me today - to see more from Aleah and Nick, please be sure to visit Good Life Events online. And, Aleah and Nick's blog has even more wedding planning tips. Plus, they have a new blog too called Valley & Co.

The photos above are from the wedding of Stephanie and Colby that Aleah and Nick of Good Life Events coordinated. The photographs are courtesy of Frank Ross Photographic.