Taking in the Moments of Your Wedding Day

A close friend of mine had nightmares in the weeks before his wedding. Not because he was getting married, but because he was scared of missing the wedding. And he didn’t mean “missing” as in “not showing up” so much as that he was afraid the day would pass by so fast that he would wake up married, without remembering the entire wedding day.

A couple enjoys the moment of their wedding day! Photo from The Wedding Lens

A lot of people have this fear. It comes up on big days when a lot of times the day passes so fast that the details are soon forgotten. What oh what can you do about this?

Set an alarm. My friend (with the nightmares) had a really great idea. During his reception (not during the actual ceremony!), he set his phone alarm to vibrate every 10 minutes. It would buzz in his pocket, and he’d silence it. Then he would take a deep breath and look around the room — and take in the moment. Obviously you dont have to do this every 10 minutes if you think that’s too much, but the idea is the same: remind yourself to take a moment to breathe and enjoy.

Prepare. One article recommends preparing to be in the moment. In other words, while you’re planning, take a minute and take in that moment. It will mentally help you get used to staying in the moment at your wedding.

Be prepared! Also, be prepared! If you have taken care of everything in advance, you won’t have as much on your mind and you can just be a guest at your own wedding! You’ll be able to enjoy so much that when your alarm goes off to remind you to take in the moment, you’ll be able to just breathe and do that.

Do you have other ideas? Share ’em!

~ Natasha

What to do About Pre-Wedding Tan Lines!

Perfect Tan Photo from The Wedding Lens

Perfect Tan Photo from The Wedding Lens

Two of my friends were getting married this summer (to each other — which is always nice!)…. A few weeks before the wedding, I went to a baseball game with them. They met us at the stadium decked out in really nice tops, one tube top and one halter top. They put my Giants t-shirt to shame (yes, I am a S.F. Giants fan!) with their class. I was just there to yell, after all.

I didn’t want to insult them, but I kept thinking, why dressed so nice? It’s San Francisco, after all! When I mustered to the courage to ask, they both laughed — they were preventing tan lines! Ahhh…. So when I just received a question from a reader about tan lines, of course I thought of this incident and that, my friends, is my first piece of advice:

Easy enough, right? Maybe buy two, just in case you go out a lot.

But what happens if you messed up that one time and wore your bikini top that is oh-so-NOT-the-same-cut-as-your-dress? Well, you can imagine that the first thing I’d say is “who cares?” but I also recognize that you may very well care! So here are my suggestions for the post-tan line assistance:

  • Exfoliate, Moisturize, and Use a Tanning Lotion

Exfoliate the dead skin and then get that skin moist and back to its nice formerly tan state, smoothness wise. Then, I suggest getting a tanning cream or lotion that you might know or like to even out the tan lines. I really like Jergen’s Natural Glow — which comes in different tones and doesn’t look orange. BUT make sure you test this out before you commit to your whole body!

Of course, you can also try to fix the tan lines with more sun in the non-tanned areas and with a tanning salon, but it’s much healthier to stay away from that extra UV light, right? Right.

  • Leave it alone & embrace the tan.

I know, I hinted at that before, but sometimes messing around with tan lines via creams, more sunlight, or more UV rays, just makes them stand out more. Keep that in mind before trying to make it an even tan!

What did you do to rid yourself of tan lines before your wedding?

~ Natasha

Round-Up: All Things Gift Related

Photo from The Wedding Lens

Photo from The Wedding Lens

Because I’ve written so much about gifts and gift-related things, I thought it might be nice to put it all in one nice little blog post for easy access! AND if you, dear readers, have questions I didn’t cover, ask me! editor@theweddinglens.com and I’ll cover it ASAP!

How to Ask for Gift Cards or Money (instead of gifts!)

Tips on the Gift Registry

What To Do About Wedding Gifts (for both the couple & the guests)

Green Wedding Gift Ideas

Gift-Giving Etiquette

Etiquette on Giving Bridal Shower, Wedding Shower, AND Wedding Gifts

Gifts for the Best Man

Maid of Honor Gift Ideas

Out of Town Gift Bags

How To Deal with Anonymous or Unlabeled Gifts

Writing to Say Thanks!

Did I miss anything? Wanna give the gift of an online wedding photo album?

~ Natasha

Green Wedding Tips

Did you know that The Wedding Lens has a list of 50 Green Wedding Tips? We kept them simple, so that you can easily do things to green your wedding without having to spend much and without having to change what you picture as your ideal wedding.

  • Make sure that your venue recycles.
  • Get flowers that are in season
  • Use non-disposable plates, utensils, and cups
  • Donate any leftover foods
  • Choose a dress that you can wear again, or donate your dress when you’re done.

Want more? Check out our complete list of 50 Green Wedding Tips: http://www.theweddinglens.com/green-wedding-tips.

Do you have other Green Tips? Let us know!

How To Get into the Weddings & Celebrations Section

 I am obsessed with reading the New York Times Weddings & Celebrations section, published on Sundays.  I love reading the stories of how people met and how they stayed together or overcame obstacles.  I am aware, however, of a growing population that wants to be in the section. I have noticed some trends that, I suppose, might help you get published. Here are my tips:

  • Get married in the winter. There are FAR fewer stories in the winter than the summer. Surely the odds of getting published are higher when there are fewer weddings occurring. It’s too cold to get married in the winter? Well, then you wont get published. Unless… something else applies.
  • Be famous.
  • Become famous.
  • Be related or marry someone who is related to someone famous.
  • Work for The New York Times.
  • Get a job at The New York Times. (And get to know the people in the Weddings & Celebrations section)
  • Be related or marry someone who works for The New York Times.
  • Do a statistical analysis of the gender and ethnicity breakdown to figure out the best time to get hitched. I know, it’s complicated. But there are always a certain percentage of minority couples (or partial minority couples) and there is also a ration of gay:straight marriages listed. I have not done this research, but if you are THAT determined, I’m guessing there are times of the year when you could benefit from these statistics. I’m just saying.
  • Be super duper interesting. I don’t know where the line is on just kinda interesting verses super duper, but it’s somewhere. And it will help your odds.
  • Hope.

In all seriousness, if you’re interested in submitting your wedding announcement, The Wedding Bee has a guide with what the Times accepts and how to submit your announcement. And HERE is another guide to how to submit your announcement. Have you been in The New York Times Weddings & Celebrations section?? Tell us how!

~ Natasha

Don’t Forget the Programs

Everything is done – the attire, the catering, the music, the decorations… whew! But there’s one more thing: the programs!

Programs are often the last thing people do. It’s usually the quickest, least time consuming aspect of wedding planning. Some people believe this is NOT optional – for reasons I will explain below. The two things to think about are form & substance!

Form: What do they look like?

Wedding programs can look however you want. They can be simple pamphlets (like you would get at a graduation or concert) or they can be creative, like a fan shaped program or one that has photos of each of the members of the wedding party.

Substance: What do they say?

The two most important things that the program says is: 1) who is in the wedding party and 2) what is happening.  Guests like being able to figure out who is who and how they are connected to those getting married.  Guests also appreciate knowing what is happening and what comes next (eg. if there is a reading, then the vows, then a hand ceremony).

There are also optional things that can be on the program. First (and some people think is isn’t optional either) is that you can thank your guests and wedding party for sharing the day.  Second (also not optional for some) is that you can give directions or explain where to go afterwards, if your reception is located elsewhere.

You can include a quote or a poem – something that is uniquely you. You can commemorate people’s memories, so that close friends or family who have passed are remembered on that day.


If you don’t want to work with a printer, you can easily create programs yourself – with a computer and a copy shop! Design it yourself, proofread it, and print!

Are there other things you think programs should include?

~ Natasha

Planning Your Own Wedding – A How-To Guide


Let’s say you decide you don’t want to hire a wedding planner or a day of coordinator; you’d rather do the whole thing yourself. Where do you begin?

First. Create a list of things that are associated with planning the wedding. What does this mean?

(Did I miss any? Let me know!)

Second. Create a budget. And be realistic! Keep in mind that the cost of MOST of the above depend on the number of guests.

Third. Take an item one at a time. Don’t try to do too much at once and ask for help along the way! Each of the items on that list involves many subparts to think about. For example, with food – buffet verses serving, fixed menu, vegetarian options, etc. Or, what will your guests do between the ceremony & reception if you have time in between?

Fourth. Stay organized!Here is a list of suggestions as to what to handle first! And also, I suggest splitting up the planning of the wedding ceremony verses the planning of the wedding reception.  You can use Google to help you with the organization, too!  The Wedding Mapper also helps you with organization and planning.

Do you have other suggestions? Check out real photos of weddings to get some ideas of what you might want.

~ Natasha


What should you do for your centerpiece? Most people do an arrangement of flowers, but you don’t have to! There are plenty of other options out there.

First, if you choose to do a favor for your guests, you can put that as the centerpiece.  I have seen bottles of wine (wrapped in a box) and fancy tea in a box stacked up cleverly to form the center piece. It’s practical and it allows you to use the center of the table (because people can take their favor and put it with their other belongings).

Use an arrangement with candles or use floating candles. It sets a mood and gives you lighting – as well as looking nice.  Here are some photos for DIY candle centerpieces.

Or how about fish in a vase or pretty bowl. The picture makes it look much more classy than I can even begin to describe. 

Be creative with the theme, location, or color scheme! If you are getting married in New York, perhaps you can incorporate a basket of apples (get it? Big Apple?)

You can also create a “bowl of wishes.” Associated Content describes it best — pick a nice bowl, cut strips of paper, and ask your guests to write their wishes for you and put them in the bowl. It’s very creative and gets your guests involved! 

Another idea is to get a vase and fill it with little rocks or stones or something pretty like that. It is probably less expensive than flowers but can look just as classy.

Do you have other ideas?

~ Natasha

Learn more about The Wedding Lens & our FREE photo albums!

Photobooth at the Wedding Reception

photoboothA photobooth is a trendy idea that many people are starting to include at weddings. They’re fun and you get some funny shots of your friends. You can put a guestbook nearby and have your guests paste them in and sign it.

If you hire a photobooth, you can usually get additional digital copies after the wedding is over, so don’t worry about your gusts stealing their photos! Although if you have a sign letting them know that they can get copies later, maybe they won’t even try to take them with them. (Ahem, J.) In fact, one friend who used a photobooth uploaded her photobooth photos to The Wedding Lens as an efficient way to share the photos with her guests. From there, her guests could download or print their own copies of those photos.

There are several alternatives that will have the same effect. For example, you could create a polaroid version in which guests take pictures and sign a guestbook! It’s instant and you get fun photos – not much different than the photobooth.  If you put the polaroid in one place and have props around, it will allow for more spunky photos.

If you want to create a photobooth yourself, the WeddingBee has advice on a “do-it-yourself” photobooth. Basically you need a camera, photo printer, a some props. Here’s another explanation with photos of how to create a simple photobooth using those three items.

Alternatively, you could have the photo area, props and the camera – but put up a sign that informs guests that you will print the photos later and send them to the guests.

Happy photos!

~ Natasha

Invitations & Bringing a Date to a Wedding

Whether you’ve invited people to your wedding or received a wedding invitation yourself, you have probably wondered what to do about the “and guest” or “plus 1” for singles.  Here’s the scoop for those of you trying to figure it out.

If you are the host:

If you want your single friend to bring someone (and you don’t want to specify who), then address the invitation to your friend “plus guest” or “and guest.” 

If you want to specify who someone brings as a date, write that person’s name on the invitation also. For example, if your guest has two girlfriends and you want him to bring one or the other of them, it is acceptable to specify which person (by name) you want him to bring.

If you don’t want your guests to bring a date, don’t include a date’s name and omit the “and guest” from the envelope! It should be known what you mean, even if your RSVP reply card has a line that says “Number of Guests.”  And after reading this blog, your guest will definitely know they’re not allowed to bring someone if it’s not on the envelope! That said, if you have singles at your wedding and you don’t want to be uncomfortable, be sensitive to where you seat them.

If you are the guest:

If you receive an invitation that says “and guest” then you are free to bring any guest.  I received an invitation to a wedding last year and my boyfriend couldn’t come. I didn’t want to assume that I could bring a friend, so I asked the bride.  She said that she specified “and guest” because she wanted me to bring someone (she knew I wouldn’t know anyone else at the wedding) and she didn’t care who it was.

That said, if the invitation specifies your significant other’s name, then you should not assume that you can bring anyone; only your boyfriend/girlfriend is invited.

Likewise, if you receive an invitation and it does NOT say “plus guest” or “and guest” and it does not include someone else’s name specifically (such as your significant other’s name), then you CANNOT bring a date. Please do not put “2” in the RSVP reply card as the number of attendees (even if the reply card says “Number of Guests” on it!). Your hosts did not intend for you to bring a guest and it will only put both of you in an awkward position. One friend had to call the guest to explain that the invitation was addressed only to the guest and that the couple couldn’t afford to host an additional person.

A tip for the single guest who isn’t allowed to bring a date: Be Understanding! Weddings are expensive & there are often lots of family guest list expectations to contend with. Don’t take it personally that you will go it alone and don’t make the couple feel bad! If it’s SO upsetting to be going to a wedding alone, then maybe you shouldn’t go. I hope that helps put it in perspective!

~ Natasha

Learn more about The Wedding Lens & our free photo albums!