Freebie! Bridal Shower Game Makeover: Wedding Day Predictions

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‘People will always remember how you made them feel.’ – Maya Angelou

The great Dr. Maya Angelou wasn’t talking about bridal shower games, but her wisdom rings true for bridal shower games that make people feel out-of-the-loop, like they have a great big spotlight on them for being the one person who doesn’t know where the bride and groom met, or what kind of ice cream the bride loves best.

Not every guest at the bridal shower knows her like a best friend would – think future sister-in-law from across the country, or great aunts who know the bride’s mother best of all. So a bridal shower game that hinges on knowing the bride best could very well make some guests hate bridal shower games even more than they already do. Especially if their scorecards or answers are read out loud.

(Is there anything worse than a roomful of people egging you on to read your wrong answers out loud, or booing if you don’t want to? Ugh!)

So to avoid any discomfort for your bridal shower guests, it might be best to offer a game that has no wrong answers, and doesn’t require knowing the bride’s dating history.

Like predictions about the wedding. Now, closest friends will know about her venue, and maybe even her wedding gown designer, but overall, guests can let their imaginations soar, and write down their predictions about the wedding plans that can be read aloud on a volunteer basis, with the rest tucked away for the bride to read later.

And this game works well at a co-ed bridal shower, too. Everyone gets to use their humor, coming up with silly or out-there predictions, and of course super-sweet predictions like ‘…and this will be the best wedding ever!’

Here is your bridal shower game makeover:

Wedding Day Predictions:

What time will the bride wake up on the morning of the wedding?

What time will the groom wake up on the morning of the wedding?

Who will the bride text first on the morning of the wedding?

What will that text say?

Who will the groom text first on the morning of the wedding?

What will that text say?

Which bridesmaid will be the first to arrive at the bride’s house?

Which bridesmaid will be the first dressed?

The bride’s gown – sexy or elegant?

What silly photo pose will the photographer ask the bride and her bridesmaids to do during their pre-wedding photo shoot?

What color will the bride’s manicure be?

Will the groom be able to tie his own bowtie, or will he need help from someone else?

Will there be a crying baby at the ceremony?

Which kinds of musicians will play at the ceremony?

The first kiss: proper or passionate? (A more proper way to say ‘tongue or no tongue.’)

What will guests shower the bride and groom with after the ceremony is done?

What will be the couple’s first dance song?

Name a dish that will be on the cocktail party menu.

What will the signature drink be? And what’s the story behind it?

What will the wedding cake flavor(s) be?

Name one song that’s on the couple’s Do Not Play list for their deejay or band?

What’s the song that gets everyone on the dance floor?

Who’s going to be the first to be cut off at the bar for having had too much to drink/getting sloppy?

Which guests can you see hooking up at the wedding? And dating afterward?

Name the couple’s wedding hahtag:

 

Use some, use all, or scrap these and make up some of your own, remembering to keep it proper for mixed company. Parents are likely to play, so you don’t want to predict anything improper.

Have fun! Print up card on pretty paper, use decorative hole punches, and skip the glitter!

Get more bridal shower game ideas from my Kindle book The Ultimate Bridal Shower Idea Book.

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The Bride’s Guide to Freebies – Fabulous Big-Money Sweeptakes at Better Homes and Gardens and Martha Stewart

bride's guide to freebies

In my book The Bride’s Guide to Freebies, I’ve shared a ton of my top freebie-finding secrets for weddings, helping you avoid Mistake Freebies and lock into the ones that really add to your wedding day (and boost your wedding budget further!)

When this book first came out, we offered a wedding freebies newsletter, which grew too big too quickly for us to maintain well (and there weren’t always great freebies out there!) So we moved our wedding freebies info to my blog to make it easier for everyone to cash in!

In my book, I recommended the Better Homes and Gardens sweepstakes, which often included bigtime cash prizes, and this has gotten even better for you lately, since they switched their online sweepstakes entries into UNLIMITED entry for most of their big-money prizes. We’re talking $50,000 (which could pay for your whole wedding,) $25,000 (which, again, could pay for your whole wedding,) $20,000 (there’s the wedding gown of your dreams!) and more. (You’ll need to register with BHG, of course, and each entry requires you to click on a super-short video to make sure you’re not a bot. With these and any other online sweepstakes, always read the rules and fine print before you click!)

So, check it out, including the Martha Stewart sweepstakes and other sister magazines’ sweepstakes. We wish you good luck with your entries (and much fun with your winnings!)

Freebie! Ways to Honor Family and Friends at Your Wedding — Part 3: Heirlooms

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You’re loving your freebie tips on personalized wedding elements to honor family and friends on the big day! Here is some more from my ebook, focusing on using family heirlooms in your wedding plans:

Family Heirlooms

  1. Since wedding gown styles are now accented with a sparkling brooch – either on the bodice or in the back, you can honor your mother, grandmother, great-grandmother or an honored woman on your groom’s side by wearing her brooch as part of your ensemble.
  2. Brooches are also popular accents for bouquet handles, so perhaps that brooch, or a cameo pin, can be your bouquet accent in tribute to its owner.
  3. Wear the necklace your mom or grandmother wore on her wedding day. It might be a demure piece you wear only for the ceremony, and then you can change into a more dramatic sparkler for your reception.
  4. Bracelets may be more fitting to your gown’s style, so wear an heirloom diamond tennis bracelet, or it may be that piece that your mom wore at her wedding, either as an heirloom or a gift from your father…which actually honors him as well.
  5. A saint medallion owned by your grandmother can be pinned underneath the skirts of your dress or pinned onto your bouquet handle.
  6. Rhinestone hair clips are often found in grandmothers’ jewelry boxes, and vintage hair accents are in for today’s weddings. If you slip these into your wedding day hairstyle, you add an element of your beloved grandmother’s style to your look.
  7. Sisters can be honored too, by wearing their jewelry or hair clips for your wedding look.
  8. Have your mother’s wedding-day headpiece re-made to include a slightly altered design, perhaps more or fewer rhinestones or faux gems.
  9. You don’t have to be the one wearing the heirloom piece! Perhaps your mother can wear her mother’s jewelry, or if you have a daughter, a small rhinestone hairclip owned by her grandmother or great-grandmother is a pretty way to include honored relatives.
  10. If an heirloom piece of jewelry doesn’t work for your wedding day look, wear it to your rehearsal dinner or engagement party.
  11. Take some lace from your mother’s or grandmother’s wedding dress and use that as the wrap for your wedding bouquet.
  12. Birdcage veils are in now, and if your grandmother wore one at her wedding, you might wear hers for your ceremony, or just for some post-ceremony photos if you’d rather wear a different style of headpiece for your ceremony.
  13. Your groom can wear his father’s or grandfather’s pocketwatch, wristwatch or cufflinks during the wedding.
  14. Handkerchiefs were musts in wedding days of old, so bring your grandmother’s along to the wedding to capture in some of your wedding photos.
  15. Don’t forget that your future in-laws would love to be so honored, so ask if there are any costume jewelry heirloom pieces that you might be willing to work into your wedding look. It’s quite an honor!
  16. If your mother’s or sister’s ring pillow fits with your ceremony style, and is in perfect condition, you might use that as your ring pillow. You can always pin on some pretty faux flowers or ribbon to make it your ‘own.’
  17. Save a little bit of money and honor your parents by using their original cake topper for your wedding cake, or use it as the topper for your engagement party or rehearsal dinner cake if you have a different style in mind for your wedding cake’s accenting.
  18. A mom’s or grandmother’s wedding shawl or wrap, or winter stole, can be a wedding day accessory – just be sure to get at least one pro photo of you wearing it!

Find more wedding freebie ideas in my book The Bride’s Guide to Freebies.

bride's guide to freebies

Ways to Honor Family and Friends at Your Wedding — Pt 1: Photos and Video

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Today starts a new series on the blog — 100 Ways to Honor Your Family and Friends at Your Wedding. Yes, this is a freebie from my e-book, so enjoy!

First up is ideas for your photo and video display at your cocktail party or reception:

Family Photos and Video

  1. At your engagement party, set up a table filled with photos of your own courtship and engagement portraits – guests love to see those – and also display photos of your parents’, grandparents’ and siblings’ courtship and engagement photos, with a sign saying, “We come from a long history of love.”
  2. In addition to framed photos of your engagement and courtship photos, set up a digital photo frame to play a slideshow of those family photos.
  3. At your wedding, fill your family photos table with framed photos of your parents’, grandparents’ and siblings’ wedding portraits, and again set up that digital photo frame to play a slideshow of those gorgeous all-wedding pictures.
  4. Do a treasure hunt of those fabulous, old black-and-white wedding photos from your great-grandparents’ era. Ask relatives if they have any way-back wedding pictures in frames or in photo albums, and you’ll likely find some amazing treasures in the family. Take those photos, and – here’s the secret! – bring them to a professional photographer or qualified photo shop to have them digitally-restored. Marks and spots can be erased, the shade can be freshened to provide better contrast, details such as the lace of your great-grandmother’s dress will stand out. Your new and improved old-time photos go on display at your wedding, and – surprise! – you give copies of the new-and-improved photos to the relatives after the wedding.
  5. At your bridal shower, create a Lovely Ladies photo table with amazing pictures of you and your mom, grandmom, your sisters, favorite aunts, your mom with her sisters…it’s a table tribute for all the fabulous women in your life. You can also do a separate table of framed or digital photo frame slideshow images of you with your best female friends.
  6. On the family photo table, mix up framed family wedding photos with framed printouts of each relative’s wedding song lyrics or their vows. If the color scheme works, using parchment paper gives an elegant look for all the print display items, or choose a colored paper like blush blue or blush pink to coordinate with flowers that will be displayed on the table as well.
  7. Add to your family photos table framed quotes about family, love, and marriage. They might be the same quotes used in your parents’ wedding, or simply quotes that remind you of them. Visit www.quotegarden.com to get inspiration, or look for quote memes on Pinterest.
  8. Of course, if you have children, create a family photo table featuring great pictures of you with your kids, and just of the kids themselves. They might be your self-taken photos, or you might schedule a professional, styled photo shoot to take all-new family and kid photos. They might be the classic everyone-dressed-in-the-same-colors group shots on the beach, or they might be themed like a 1920s-era costumed photo shoot, even something fun and playful like all pictures at the zoo.
  9. Line an entryway wall with fun photos of your extended family, with a budget display method: suspending them at different heights from a hung rod via colorful ribbons. Be inclusive, though…line the opposite wall with photos of your friends and their spouses, or solo photos as the case may be. It’s best to ask permission from everyone, and have them submit photos they’d like shown, rather than grabbing pictures from everyone’s Facebook albums.
  10. Prior to the wedding, take photos of relatives, especially kids like your nieces, nephews or your own children, holding up DIY’d signs saying ‘Reception This Way,’ ‘Ceremony This Way,’ or ‘Welcome to the Wedding’ and then enlarge and display these photos as a great twist on the classic wedding signs that direct guests to the different locations for your celebration. Having the little ones in those photos is an adorable way to give them a spotlight in what would otherwise be just another wedding décor item.
  11. This one is more for the engagement party or for the rehearsal dinner. Send out an email asking all of your relatives to respond with the story of how they met their spouse, and send you a photo of themselves. You can then scan these to make an inexpensive photo book at Shutterfly or other budget-friendly site, and put it on display at your family-attended party…with your ‘how we met’ story right up front.
  12. I love this idea I saw on Pinterest: as aisle or pew décor, hang up pretty, 4” x 4” framed photos of your relatives, not as seating chart markers but just as pretty and personalized family-centric ceremony décor. If you wish, make them all black and white to suit your all-white floral scheme and black-and-white aisle runner, or use colorful photos in all matching frames tied on with a wide ribbon and bow.
  13. Use that digital photo frame to show family photos at the rehearsal dinner; showcasing photos of the family and best friends at this VIP event is a great tribute to them…way better than showing just photos of yourselves.
  14. Guests who cannot attend the wedding due to distance, illness, pregnancy, deployment or other situations can tape and send video greetings to you, and you can play them during the rehearsal dinner. Skyping one close relative might be an option, but keep it as a plan for just one or two close relatives. If you have a dozen, your party gets taken over by a lot of on-computer time.
  15. I love this idea! If your ancestors arrived in this country via Ellis Island, go to www.ellisisland.org to run a search on your ancestors by last name. You may find amazing views of their signatures on the arrival records or ship list, as well as a photo of the ship on which they arrived. These too can go on display on your family photo table, or as a fabulous display of its own at the cocktail party.
  16. Within family keepsake treasures, you might find your great-grandmother’s journal with an entry about her upcoming wedding, or her sweet feelings for her suitor. With family permission, you might scan and enlarge these priceless hand-written entries and display them in your entrance hallway, above the guest book, and or even at the bridal shower. It’s easy and inexpensive to take written family heirlooms, scan and process them and put them on display for your wedding celebration.
  17. Instead of a book of ‘how they met’ stories with photos, consider putting together a photo book that pairs family wedding portraits with copies of their wedding vows. It could be a scan of their original, hand-written vow notes, or you might type them up in pretty font and in a coordinated layout style for a sentimental keepsake that can be built upon in the future by other relatives and maybe your own children someday.

Newly-Engaged? Here’s the First Thing You Should Do

brides guide to freebies

An important part of planning your wedding is knowing what you DON’T want, which clears away the clutter and all those suggestions from other people, allowing you both to get clear about what you DO want.
And talking together about your Don’ts gets you communicating about what’s most important for your wedding day.
So print out and use the following worksheets as an essential part of your planning process…
[Plus, it makes life easier when you can hand these worksheets  to your vendors!]

Click on the links below to download the lists

What the Bridesmaids Don’t Want For Their Dresses
What We Don’t Want For the Wedding Cake
What We Don’t Want In Our Ceremony
What We Don’t Want For Flowers and Décor
Foods We Don’t Want Served at the Wedding

What We Don’t Want for the Honeymoon
Songs We Don’t Want Played At the Wedding
What We Don’t Want For Our Wedding Vows
What I Don’t Want For My Wedding Gown

Visit my site www.sharonnaylor.net for more free worksheets to get your wedding planning started off right!

Free Wedding Worksheet! From my book “Your Wedding, Your Way”

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You can’t dive into wedding planning without first knowing what you and your groom really want for your big day, and setting up a wedding plans Priority List helps you protect your plans from well-meaning parents who have their own suggestions. With your priorities listed out, you know where the biggest chunks of your wedding budget will go, and you’ll be able to tell your parents that you’ve already decided on the location for your ceremony, the kind of cake you want, etc.

These free wedding planning worksheets will save the day:

Our Wedding Priority Lists

Bride’s Top Priorities:

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2.

3.

4.

5.

Groom’s Top Priorities:

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

Lesser Priorities Others Can Help With

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

 

From my bestselling wedding book Your Wedding, Your Way, www.sharonnaylor.net

The Bride’s Guide to Freebies! My new book is almost here!

Wedding costs are sky-high, with the average wedding costing over $20,000 right now. That’s led a lot of brides and grooms to seek out ways to plan their weddings for less…and I noticed that too many wedding couples were taking dangerous shortcuts in their wedding budgets and wedding planning. Especially looking for free wedding elements…and thinking they can save money by not hiring wedding experts. That’s NOT the way to do it! Wedding experts on your team can save you money while still getting you quality products and services, and wedding experts are the best source of wedding freebies! So to help you avoid any wedding nightmares, I’ve written a new book on the right way to get wedding freebies!

In this book, which will be out in December, you’ll find out how to ask for freebies from your vendors, in a way that’s going to be productive, not insulting.

You’ll find out about the freebies that many vendors often offer on a regular day, and how and when to negotiate for additional ones.

You’ll find out how to borrow essential wedding items, getting them for free, how to ask for them, how to avoid post-borrow disasters, and how to make the most of them.

You’ll find out how to win cash and free wedding services and details from my favorite sources, and perhaps get your honeymoon, gown and other pricy things for free.

You’ll find out how to DIY some wedding elements for free.

You’ll find out freebie info for your bridesmaids, parents and for guests, saving them lots of money, too.

And a lot more…

Visit my site for more details on my upcoming book, and find the links to Amazon and Barnes & Noble to get your copy!