8 Ways to Host a Tech-Savvy Wedding

The information age is upon us, and there’s no reason you can’t include some fun techie things in your celebration! Here are some great options for hosting a tech-savvy wedding.

How to Host a Tech-Savvy Wedding

  1. Skype or G-Chat with your bridal party: The easiest way to plan your  bridal shower and talk wedding with your bridesmaids all at once is to talk to each other on a webcam hangout. This is especially helpful for bridesmaids who live out of town.
  2. Utilize Your Pinterest Board: I know you’ve been using pinterest to dream about your wedding, but now’s the time to put it to good use. Create a shared wedding board so that you and your bridesmaids (and even your fiancé!) can pin bridal shower and wedding items. Communicate with each other about them through the comments.
  3. Blog Your Way Through the Process: When I started planning my wedding, I had a ton of thoughts that I wanted to share about how insane the process was, so I started a blog documenting my journey and how I felt through the process. I found it to be cathartic, and I had regular readers who loved to keep up with what was going on…that’s how my wedding planning book The Realist Bride came to be! Your guests will have a different perspective about your wedding when they see the process it took to get there. Start by signing up for a website domain at DreamHost.
  4. Register Online: Register at places like Amazon, which has pretty much everything, or on BluePrintRegistry, where you can customize a blueprint for your home and add items to your registry by room from several different stores – all in one place.
  5. Use a QR Code on Wedding Invitations: Nothing says tech like a QR code. Your guests can scan with their phone to get to your wedding website for details or to RSVP. Get one for free at www.qr-code-generator.com.
  6. Get a custom 3D printed item: 3D printing is the hottest tech craze right now. From personalized cake toppers to favors, create your very own unique item by using a 3D printing company such as Shapeways.
  7. Set up a wedding webcam: If you’re having a destination wedding that some people can’t make, ask your videographer if they can set up a live stream so they can share in your big day from across the globe.
  8. Use a wedding hashtag: Put up a sign at the wedding indicating what your wedding hashtag will be. Example: #jandjgethitched. Every time someone facebooks, tweets or instagrams pictures from your wedding while using your personalized hashtag, you’ll be able to find them easily by using the hashtag to search. If you’re looking for something more private and cohesive, use WedPics, an app where you can share and customize your photos with people who have your specific wedding ID.

Will you incorporate technology into your wedding day?

Second Wedding Etiquette

Second marriages are more common than ever before, and it can be tough to know how to handle a second wedding, with old school traditions and your family chiming in telling you what “the right thing to do” is. If you’re getting remarried and not sure how to handle it, here’s some basic info.

Your Second Wedding Etiquette Questions, Answered

If you have kids, tell them first. If at all possible, you should have a discussion with them about it before you even get engaged. Then tell your parents, then other family and friends. If you still speak to your ex or you have kids together, you need to let them in on the information as well.

This one’s on you. You and your fiancé should be paying for this wedding. If your parents offer to pay and they’ve paid for a wedding before, you should say that you appreciate the gesture and politely decline. If you paid for your first wedding and your parents feel like they are in a better financial state to help you out this time around, it’s okay to accept help, but you should still contribute.

It’s okay to have an engagement party. Especially if you didn’t have one the first time around – but it should be casual and intimate.

You can register for gifts. If you need an upgrade in household items or you’re still missing some, you’re allowed to register; just take it easy. You should skip the fine china and crystal and your registry should be much smaller this time around. Check out where we recommend you register here.

You can have bridesmaids. Skip the huge bridal parties, though, and opt for one to three close friends or relatives on each side.

Skip the bridal shower. It’s tacky to ask for gifts in a second round of showers. Opt instead for a small luncheon or a night out with your closest friends and family where gifts are not the center of attention.

You can wear white. Or ivory. Or any other color you want to wear. You can wear a veil, too, if you want. Go with attire that makes you feel beautiful and that suits your venue.

Your guests may not all give gifts. Especially if they attended and gave a gift at the first wedding. The gifts that you do receive will probably be less valuable than the first time around. Be gracious for any gift you receive.

Have the kind of wedding you want. Just because you had a big bash before doesn’t mean you have to get married at city hall this time, and vice versa. Most people who have a big wedding choose not to have another one, though. (Probably because it was so expensive and stressful the first time around!)

Involve the kids. They can be attendants, flower girls/ring bearers, or they can do a reading. Involving them will ensure that they know they are still just as important and you won’t leave them behind in your new marriage. Don’t force them to take part, though, if they don’t seem to be comfortable. It might be too soon for them, or they might feel like they’re betraying their other parent by taking part. Leave the decision up to them.

The most important thing to remember is that you’re entering into marriage with a completely different person, and that this marriage should be awarded its own wedding that suits you and your new fiance. If it feels like the right thing to do, then go for it.

Mother of the Bride Duties

Every mother looks forward to seeing her baby girl get married, but for some reason, the responsibilities that come along with being the Mother of the Bride – known as the MOB – may go unchecked, even when you have the best of intentions. Here’s a complete list of what you should be doing throughout the engagement process through the day of the wedding.

   Mother of the Bride Duties

  • Stay calm. The bride will be freaking out at points – don’t mirror the behavior. Keep yourself together, and your daughter will eventually follow suit with your calming presence
  • Shop with the bride for her gown (and bridesmaid dresses if she requests you be there)
  • Attend dress fittings with the bride and learn how to bustle the dress
  • Reach out to the mother of the groom if you haven’t yet met
  • Choose a dress that the bride approves of for the wedding day, and let the groom’s mom know what it looks like so she can get an outfit that doesn’t clash
  • Provide names and addresses of who you would like to invite to the wedding (and do not get offended or make demands if not all of your submissions end up being invited – it’s their day). Separate your list into categories of A, B & C to show which people are most important to invite
  • Help the bride & groom address invitations
  • Follow up on guests’ late RSVPs
  • Attend bridal shower
  • Attend rehearsal dinner
  • Speak with Maid of Honor regarding Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed & Something Blue to see if any family heirlooms can be incorporated
  • Pose for photos for photographer while getting ready the day of the wedding
  • Help the bride get dressed for the ceremony
  • MOB is the last person seated before the wedding begins, signaling that the wedding is starting
  • MOB is the first person to get up and exit directly after the wedding party
  • If you are hosting the wedding, stand in the receiving line, if there is one
  • Pose for family photos after the ceremony
  • Help make sure the reception runs smoothly – including greeting guests and getting down on the dance floor!
  • Be a shoulder to cry on when she needs it…and she will need it at some point

In general, your main job is to help your daughter in any way that she needs – whether that’s logistically or emotionally. Planning a wedding is not easy, and your daughter will be especially thankful if you make this important time a little easier on her.

The Best Wedding Registry – EVER

Finally, a non-stressful aspect of wedding planning… Registering for gifts!

Registering for Wedding Gifts

There’s a million places to register for your wedding, and it’s a time consuming task. Why not register easily online from any store that you want, and add as you find things you like?

Enter Blueprint Registry. This site is awesome.

All of the top retailers, including Crate + Barrel, Target, Amazon, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Pottery Barn, Anthropologie and more, are available on the site – so you can register for items from ALL of your favorite stores all in one place, from the comfort of your home. Who says you’re going to love every piece of kitchenware from one store? Now you don’t have to. Options are key.

One of the coolest aspects of using Blueprint Registry is that you can shop by room. It’s so much easier to visualize the space with a blueprint of a room rather than looking at a long list of items that may not even apply to you.

Not only can you register from tons of stores in one place, but you can also add your honeymoon fund right onto your registry. No need to make a separate web page – it’s all in one place, and your guests can choose whether they want to give cash or a gift. Even better, you’re more likely to land your larger ticket items with Blueprint’s Group Gifting, where your guests can opt to buy just part of an expensive gift!

Remember to register for any and every thing you might want; Blueprint gives you 10% off any registry items that you purchase for yourself after the wedding! Better yet, Blueprint Registry lets you opt for the cash value of a gift someone bought for you if you change your mind!

Get started by personalizing your registry with a special message for your guests and a photo of you and your fiancé. Don’t fret if you already started another registry – you can import your list right on the site.

What are you waiting for? This is one of the FUN parts of planning! Get started here.

Happy shopping! 🙂


Wedding Paper Divas Exclusive Coupon Code

Hey Brides,

I have an exclusive coupon code I can give to my readers for www.WeddingPaperDivas.com

$50 Off Orders of $150 or More for New Customers!  But Hurry This Coupon Code is Only Good Until February 21st, 2017!

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If you’re new to my blog, feel free to look around for all your wedding planning tips, advice and more!  Sign up for my newsletter too for all of my exclusive coupons!

– Jessica


How to Book a Wedding Hotel Block

You’re likely to have at least one out of town guest, even if you’re getting married locally. A hotel room block isn’t just for out of town guests, though; weddings are a ton of fun, usually ending late with lots of drinking going around. A hotel room block is a necessary accommodation for your guests who may choose to stay the night rather than drive home tired or after drinking.

Booking a Wedding Hotel Block

Here are the basics of how to book a wedding hotel block for your guests:

Find the Right Hotel

If there’s a hotel at the venue, that’s the one you should use, because it’s the most convenient for your guests. Our hotel was at our venue and it was great for everyone, including us – no rushing around between the ceremony and reception. If that’s not an available option, scout out hotels within a mile or two and choose one that has reasonable rates that’s still nice. (You should always be offered a discount for your block of rooms.) You can locate hotels in the area here.

Ask if they have a shuttle to your venue and what the schedule is like/how late it runs. Shuttles are the easiest option to get to and from for your guests so they don’t have to drive, but if you get a nearby hotel that doesn’t have one, it’ll be easy and cheap for your guests to uber over.

Book as Early as Possible

Once you’ve secured your venue, you should be on the hunt for a hotel. You’re asking for a large number of rooms to be set aside, so the earlier, the better. You want to make sure there are enough rooms for everyone, and the rates will probably be better so far in advance…especially for holiday weekends or if special events are taking place in the area that day.

Is There a Free Suite in it For You?

If you’re going to be bringing the hotel business, they may be able to give you your room for free, or at least give you a nice upgrade.

Courtesy Block Versus Guaranteed Block

Some hotels have a minimum booking percentage rate and/or deposit requirement. This means that you’ll be required to have a certain percentage of rooms booked under your block- it’s called a Guaranteed Block. For example, if you’re required to book 60% of your block, that means that if you block 30 rooms, you are guaranteeing the hotel that at least 18 rooms will be booked. Be sure to read anything you sign carefully to see if this clause is anywhere in the contract so you’re not on the hook for paying for hotel rooms that aren’t booked.

You can usually avoid deposits and minimums if you don’t need many hotel rooms in your block with a Courtesy Block, which means that you can get 10 – 20 rooms under your block with no obligation. If you’re not sure how many rooms you’ll need, you can always start low and add more once the rooms start to get booked.

Let Guests Know Where You’ve Booked

On your wedding website and under the ‘accommodations’ section of your wedding invitation, give the name and address of the hotel and their contact information. Be sure to include what name the hotel block is under so they will receive the discount.

Get the hotel block out of the way as early as possible. You’ve got bigger things to worry about, and you can cross this off of your to-do list!

10 Tips for Throwing An Out of Town Bachelorette Party

The bachelorette party is the responsibility of your bridesmaids, but you and your Maid of Honor will most likely have to work closely together if your aim is to have your party become a vacation. I personally had a combined bachelor/bachelorette party in Las Vegas, and we had a lot of fun. You’ll make memories you’ll cherish for life, you’ll get a mini vaca away from wedding planning, and it’s a great way to bring your bridal party closer.

How to Throw An Out of Town Bachelorette Party

Here’s a collection I put together of the best tips for throwing an out of town bachelorette party:

1. Plan way in advance.

People will most likely need to request time off work/arrange childcare/have other commitments, so you’ll want to give as much notice as possible to ensure that everyone has the best chance of making it.

2. Set up an evite.

Private facebook groups can work, but not everyone has facebook or checks it regularly…and some people never check their facebook events at all. If you set up an evite, it will go straight to their email, and everyone can still discuss plans together and the information will be easily available for them to access.

3. Purchase all of the plane tickets at once.

This is where a reliable person in your bridal party comes in. They should be responsible for finding flights, giving everyone the details and price, and collecting payments by a designated date so that one person can buy all of the tickets. This will eliminate last minute no-shows, and if you purchase all of the tickets together, you’ll all be able to sit together on the plane. You’ll want to purchase tickets at least 3 months in advance to ensure there’s enough empty seats to fit everyone. The person purchasing the tickets will need first and last names, birth dates, and addresses of all travelers. Check out the phone app SkyScanner to see all flights available going to your destination.

4. Designate a hotel where everyone will stay.

You can ask if the hotel will give a discount on a number of rooms if you have a large party. Even if they don’t, I can’t even tell you how much more convenient it is to all stay in the same hotel rather than all over the place. You will all have access to the same pool, and meeting up will be much easier. Remember to pick something central to the activities you’ll be doing and not to pick anything too expensive (unless you’re picking up the hotel tab.) List the hotel name, address, phone number and price in your evite so that everyone can book their own room. Expedia and Groupon are great places to find hotel deals.

how to plan out of town bachelorette party

5. Make dinner reservations in advance.

Large parties are hard to get seated quickly, and then you might have people wanting to go to all different places and no one will agree, so it’s easier to have the plan already made. Reservations in Vegas proved to be tricky. We had 12 people in our party and most restaurants wanted to charge us a minimum, so do some research before booking if you’re headed to a touristy area.

6. Make it a joint party.

If you’re doing a party out of town, I personally think it’s way more fun to have all of your friends there to celebrate. Save one night that’s just guys and just girls doing separate things so you still get the bachelor/bachelorette experience while having fun together the rest of the time. Drama will be much less likely to happen if it’s not just girls 24/7.

7. Don’t go too hard the first night.

We had a few people who got too drunk the first night, and they were sick all day the next day. When you’re only gone for a weekend, that eats up a huge chunk of the vacation! Eat and drink plenty of water with your alcohol, and save the heavy drinking for the last night on the town so it doesn’t ruin your trip.

8. Don’t be offended if someone decides not to go.

Being a bridesmaid is not only a huge responsibility but it’s also very expensive. Adding an out of town bachelorette party in the mix might be too much of a financial burden or stressor for some of your bridesmaids, so if they can’t go, try not to get upset. It’s their decision, so don’t try to guilt them into coming.

9. Group texts are your friend.

Create a group text including everyone on the trip so that if you all do something separately, it’s easy to keep everyone in the loop of when and where to meet for your next meal or activity.

10. Roll with the punches.

Traveling with a group means that you’ll probably be irritated by something someone does at one point or another. Try to let it roll off your back and focus on the fun. You only get one bachelorette party, so enjoy it as much as you can.




21 Wedding Favors Your Guests Will Actually Want

Why spend the money on a wedding favor that’s just going to end up in the trash? Give your guests a gift they’ll keep and use by choosing one of these wedding favors your guests will actually want. Here’s a list of the best wedding favor ideas.

1. Mason jars

Mason jars are super popular right now…meaning that everybody wants them! They’re fun and they’re functional. Choose from a variety of styles and colors!

2. Shot Glasses

personalized shot glass votive holders
Shot glasses are a fun wedding keepsake that will remind your guests of the great night they had at your wedding.

3. Candle Holders

Everyone uses candles, so giving your guests a holder that goes with your theme will be of use to just about anyone.

4. Wine Glasses

personalized stemless wine glasses
Everyone I know would get a lot of use out of a wine glass.

5. Tea

whole leaf tea sachet favors
Tea is one of the most popular beverages in the world, and a tea favor goes perfectly with garden or rustic weddings or bridal showers.

6. Succulent Plants

Succulent plants are easy to maintain, they’re small, and they’re adorable. Personalize the pot with a sticker label.

7. Note Pad

Make jotting notes down more fun. This one is customizable & eco-friendly!

8. Playing Cards
wedding favor playing cards

Everyone loves a good game of cards, and now they’ll remember your special day at every game night!

9. Bottle Opener
wedding favor bottle opener

A bottle opener is a gift that people don’t think to buy, but everyone can use them.

10. Adult Coloring Books

The latest trend in de-stressing is using an adult coloring book. These are great for whimsical weddings!

11. Flip Flops

Whose feet won’t thank you for this by the end of the night!? Most guys won’t grab them, so you can get away with buying one pair per couple.

12. Cocktail Mix

This favor is so much fun, and who doesn’t love cosmos or margaritas? They’re naturally non-alcoholic, so any age guest can grab one.

13. Oil & Vinegar

If you’re Italian or you’re having a Tuscan wedding, olive oil or vinegar with your wedding tag is a gift that goes with your theme that everyone will enjoy.

14. Drink Koozies

The perfect solution for keeping your guests’ drinks cold and their hands warm.

15. Personalized Blankets

Absolutely everyone uses them as a decorative throw or to cuddle up in the cold.

16. Flower Seeds

Your guests can easily plant these in their garden and be reminded of your special favor each year when the flowers bloom.

17. Tote

Everyone uses a tote at one point or another, whether for traveling, the gym, or just as a regular purse.

18. Maple Syrup

For rustic or fall weddings, maple syrup favors are just the right touch.

19. Stadium Cup

Durable and fun, stadium cups are a favor everyone can enjoy.

20. Lip Balm


No matter the gender, everyone uses lip balm for chapped lips.

21. Alcohol

Use mini wine or champagne bottles with your personalized label to give a gift that will let the good times roll!




7 Important Questions You Should Ask Your Fiancé Before Getting Married

There are certain questions that couples avoid because they’re afraid to hear the answer, or they think it will start a fight. Don’t make that mistake. These questions are important to ask to make sure you’re on the same page in order to have a happy and healthy marriage. If you don’t address them now, they are certain to rear their ugly head later.

7 Important Questions to Ask Before Getting Married

Every person on the path to marriage should ask their fiance these crucial questions.

1. Do you want kids?

This question is first on the list because it’s the most important. Having kids is a momentous, life-altering decision that should be made only when both partners are on board. Hopefully you’ve discussed this at least a little bit before getting engaged, but now’s the time to get more in depth. How many kids do you think you want? When do you expect to start trying? Who will be in charge of late night feedings and diaper changes, or are you willing to split the work equally? What happens if we want kids and can’t have them? If we don’t want them, what happens if we accidentally get pregnant? Some of these questions you won’t know the true answer to until you’re in the situation, but it’s helpful to know if you’re both in the same ballpark when it comes to such a huge decision.


2. Who will make the big decisions?

Hopefully the answer will be that you’ll make them together. One head of the household is a surefire way to create tension and resentment. Decisions you’ll have to make together: When is it time to upgrade or downsize our home, or move out of state for a job opportunity? Will one of us stay home with the kids, or will we use daycare or a nanny? What happens if we get into financial straits? This isn’t the 50s, so make sure your partner is on the same page that you’ll be equal partners in the marriage.


3. What is your take on religion?

You may know your partner’s affiliation, but do you know what religion or spirituality means to them, if anything? Will you be expected to convert, or are you expecting your partner to convert? What religion will you raise your kids, or will you allow them to decide for themselves when they get older? Are you expecting to get your children baptized? Do you go to church every week? Will you be celebrating all of the holidays associated with each of your religions? You should get an idea of how important religion is to both you and your partner, and discuss what you expect your life to be like with (or without) religion.


4. Is there anything that needs to be worked out with any of our family members?

If there’s been a strain in your relationship with any of your partner’s family members or vice versa, now is the time to try to repair the relationship. Weddings can make people act completely nuts, so you may not get the resolution you’re looking for; just try to remain civil and don’t say anything you can’t take back. These people are going to be in your life now whether you like them or not, so make your life easier by side-stepping conflict where it’s not necessary. (Don’t become a doormat, either. There’s a time and a place to voice your opinion. If you feel strongly about something, you should say it, just try to be respectful.)


5. What do you expect to be different once we get married?

Discuss what each of you think married life is like, and what, if anything, you expect to change. Putting everything out there beforehand can quash any unrealistic expectations and give you a better idea of what your partner thinks a marriage is. You’d be surprised what some people expect to change once the marriage license is signed.


6. What would you like to change about our relationship, on your end or my end?

This is a tricky question that many people would rather not get into, but it’s important to understand what is meaningful to your partner before getting married. Do you want them to spend less time at the office? Do they want you to find a better solution to working problems out than yelling at them? Maybe they want to make more time for the relationship, or maybe they need one hour of personal space to unwind after work before doing anything together. Do your very best to remain calm and listen with an open mind, even if they say something that makes you feel defensive. Each person is different and has different needs, including you. If you discuss with each other what will make you happier in your relationship, the only place to go is up.


7. Where do you see us in five years? Ten years? 30 years?

Will you be parents? Traveling the world? Running a business together? Living in another state or country? It’s essential to have a similar vision for your future…but let me tell you, life takes you in unexpected places, and it’s a whole lot easier to deal with when you have your best friend by your side.

Everything You Need to Pack in Your Wedding Day Emergency Kit

Any former bride will tell you that a “bridal emergency kit” is a must. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. You never know what crazy thing will happen on your wedding day- I personally had to use safety pins, a sewing kit, and a tide pen! Here’s a complete list to cover all the bases in case of emergency on your wedding day.

  • Allergy medication: you never know when your allergies will act up, especially at an outdoor wedding or with outdoor photos. Avoid any medications that will make you drowsy.
  • Antacid: Avoid a major stomach or acid reflux situation.
  • Antibacterial Wipes: Avoid leaning up against wet sinks and use hand wipes instead.
  • Bobby Pins, Comb & Hairspray: If your hair starts to come loose, you’ll want to get it set back in place without any flyaways.
  • Oil Absorbing Sheets: You’ll likely be stressing, and this can cause your face to get oily. Avoid shiny photos with these natural absorbing sheets.
  • Compact: You’ll want a mirror to keep in your clutch so you can always make sure your make up is on point throughout the night.
  • Deodorant: Always have extra on hand…it’s a nerve wracking day.
  • Earring Backs: The last thing you want is to have an earring go missing.
  • Extra contacts: All the crying can make your eyes go dry or make your contacts fall out, so you’ll want to have extras.
  • Eye Drops: Crying (or even hotel air) can dry your eyes out, so keep comfortable with some extra drops.
  • First Aid Kit: In the event of any true emergencies, you don’t want to rely on the hotel to have everything you need, so bring your own kit.
  • Floss: You’re not exempt from a food in the teeth disaster on your wedding night.
  • Lotion: Keep your hands from cracking and bleeding by keeping them well hydrated. Hands are in photos too, especially in pictures of your rings!everything you need to pack in your wedding day emergency kit
  • Makeup & Makeup Utensils: You’ll need to update your lipstick several times throughout the evening for photos, and to be safe, keep all other makeup available in case you need to touch anything else up. You’ll be sweating, and makeup may run!
  • Mouth Wash/Breath mints: You’ll be doing lots of kissing, so be sure to stay fresh.
  • Nail Polish & File: Fix any chips that occur at the last minute.
  • Pain reliever: For headaches and/or cramps.
  • Pens: You’ll need to sign the marriage license with something!
  • Safety Pins: The latch at the top of my dress flew off when I leaned over to pee, and a safety pin was the only thing that could hold the dress together!
  • Scissors: Any extra threads can be clipped in no time.
  • Sewing Kit: If anyone’s hem comes undone (this happened to my mom’s dress), you’ll be ready.
  • Straws: Avoid lipstick on your teeth and losing lip color and use straws for drinks.
  • Tampons: You never know when tragedy will strike.
  • Tide to Go Pen: You’ll want this in case of any spills. You’d be surprised how often spills happen.
  • Tissues: There will certainly be lots of tears..if not from you, then definitely your friends and family! You can even get personalized tissues made.
  • Tweezers: Be ready for any stray hairs that need plucking.
  • Water: It is essential to stay hydrated… and you won’t believe how quickly your mouth goes dry when you’re nervous.

If you’d rather save the hassle and get a kit that’s already put together for you, choose this pre-made emergency kit!

Feature photo courtesy of JLB Wedding.